Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Waiwera Massage

I thought that Waiwera meant hot pools and bottled water; but it is so much more. I recently won a beautiful massage from Waiwera Infinity Spa after joining their Facebook page.

I was both excited and apprehensive about the massage. Excited because I do not treat myself a lot and apprehensive because being overweight I feel incredibly self-conscious.

I met Antonia who showed me the tranquil massage room, and gave me a key to a locker in the changing room. Opening the locker was like unwrapping a present with a few goodies inside. The disposable g-string made me laugh out loud!

Nevertheless, Antonia made me feel completely at ease. She asked if I had massages often and I said “no”. This is one of those times when you start to think back to all the massages (good and bad) that you have had in the past. The most fantastic massage that I have ever had was with a woman in Hamilton; she was absolutely incredible. I felt immediately at ease and comfortable, and it was like all the stress just evaporated.

I talked to Antonia about how she got into massage. She explained that she was a qualified Radiologist from Eastern Europe and it was difficult for her to become qualified to work in New Zealand. So she looked for other opportunities that
would utilise/compliment her knowledge and ended up attending a massage course run by Wellpark.
After the massage I had the most amazing shower and felt relaxed beyond my wildest dreams.

The whole experience was amazing. Massage is now going to be a regular part of my life. Thank you to both Waiwera and especially Antonia, “Antonia you made this experience truly amazing, relaxing and thought-provoking”.

My advice is to treat yourself once in a while to a massage or a beauty treatment where you are cared for and pampered. It is the nicest gift to yourself, and one we do not do enough. PS: guys this applies to you as well!

Monday, December 21, 2009

2010-2011 List

2010-2011 List
On the 1st January 2007 I started a list of 100 things that I wanted to do in 2007; unfortunately I did not get every far.

So I have decided to try again. Instead of having reoccurring goals, I am going to put down ‘one off things’ to try over 2010 and 2011. I will probably add to the list as I go.

The first 30 things on the list will make up my 30 things in 60 Days Challenge:
1. Body Jam Class
2. Body Attack Class
3. Build a gingerbread house
4. Create a new cocktail
5. Get something published in any newspaper i.e. article or letter to the editor
6. Go to Armageddon
7. Go to the driving range
8. Go up Sky Tower
9. Have a picnic in the garden with the cats
10. Learn to make homemade sushi
11. Learn to make meringues
12. Make an art or craft item and sell it on Trade Me
13. Make and decorate a cake or cupcakes
14. Plant a tree
15. Play softball
16. Prepare Tofu for Mark and get him to eat it
17. Spend the day touring the Auckland Volcanoes (except Rangitoto)
18. Try Bikram Yoga
19. Try Pilates
20. Do Zumba
21. Do 5 RPM classes
22. At least one blog per week
23. Climb a tree
24. Enter a radio competition
25. Go to a Housie Night
26. Make an outfit to wear
27. Gilmore Girls marathon
28. Read The Hobbit
29. Clean the car
30. Hold a formal murder mystery dinner party

31. Complete the photo albums
32. Do a presentation from memory
33. Eat crayfish in Kaikoura
34. Find a book that both Mark and I will read
35. Finish my quilt with mum
36. Go kayaking
37. Go on the Picton Ferry
38. Go tandem bike riding
39. Go to a ball
40. Go to a drive in movie
41. Go to a Hip Hop class
42. Go to Gisborne
43. Go to Motat and pretend that you are a tour guide
44. Go to New York
45. Go to the Opera
46. Go to Tiri Tiri Matangi
47. Go to Waiheke Island on the Ferry
48. Go tramping in the Waitakere’s
49. Grow my hair long and learn to style it
50. Improve writing skills and then enter a writing competition
51. Indoor rock climbing
52. Join in with a busker with my maracas
53. Learn Maori
54. Learn my times tables
55. Learn to apply eye make up properly
56. Learn to back a trailer
57. Learn to ball room dance
58. Make a $5,000 one off payment on my student loan
59. Mount some of our own photos on photo blocks
60. Random acts of kindness
61. Read Lord of the Rings
62. Spend a day in someone else’s shoes
63. Walk to the top of Rangitoto

64. Do a flick flack
65. Try Ballet for Adults (Viva Latino)
66. Walk the Milford Track
67. Run on a Treadmill for 20 minutes
68. Make a cheesecake
69. Lose 20kg in 20 weeks

Monday, December 14, 2009

True Love vs. Obsessive Love

I have been thinking about the differences between true love vs. obsessive love.

At 16, I had my first serious relationship which lasted until I turned 20. Sam was my first love. For 3 years, it was ‘love’ based on my limited experience of what love was or should be.

Personally, I think that romance novels and Hollywood have a lot to answer for about how love is portrayed. For a long time I felt that if I did not experience the fairy tale ‘feeling’, then it was just not the real thing and therefore not true love. I believe that often I did not give love a chance; because I was too busy writing it off as ‘not’ true.

At 20, I met John and fell head over heels for him. My heart beat faster, my heart fluttered, I felt so happy. I believed that I had finally found what I considered to be ‘true love’. The problem was, was that it was not ‘true love’ but a horrible, twisted, obsessive love.

I was so obsessed with loving him and getting him to love me that I virtually destroyed my sense of self in the process. I pursued him mercilessly and seized on any attention he gave me. The problem about being in a destructive relationship is what it does to your psyche and heart.

For me John was like a drug that I could not get enough of. In moments of sanity I would try and wean myself off him, but one of us would always hook the other back in. My friends suffered because I would constantly try and reason out my feelings and/or John’s feelings for me. Unfortunately, I lost friends along the way.

For a long time I blamed John for my hurt and took no responsibility for my own actions however, a few years into it I realised that both parties must take responsibility for their own actions. I think it is very easy to blame the other person when you are in pain, nevertheless you do need to take a good hard look at your own actions.

Please do not get me wrong, I did love John in my own way. I would not change how the next 7 years panned out; as they have shaped who I am today. Nevertheless, I did promise myself (when it finished) that I would never love anyone like that again, and I started to construct walls around my heart.

In the end I felt that I was strong enough to walk away for good. The last thing that John called me was selfish and to this day that really hurts and makes me angry.

At 27, I met Mark via the internet. We developed a “friendship” over a couple of months. The love was not instant for me, not in the ‘true love’ format that I had come to expect. Also, I was still trying to get over John.

A friend asked me a few weeks ago “when did I realise that Mark was the ‘one’ for me”. For me it was probably about 6-9 months into the relationship when I woke up one morning and realised that I wanted to have babies with Mark. For me it was not about literal babies, however more about wanting to spend the rest of my life with this person.

What I have realised from our relationship, is that for me ‘true love’ grows and it is seldom ‘instant’. After John I thought that no one could repair the shattered parts of my heart, however Mark did this. Somehow he managed to pull together the broken parts of my heart and life to make it whole again. Our relationship is not perfect, however Mark is the one that I go to when I feel down and he tries to fix the hurt.

On our wedding day as I listened to his speech, I realised just how much he loves me. Yesterday, I just got given some scrapbooking pages from our wedding and one photo of Mark and I speaks volumes about the feelings we have for one another.

What I have learned is not to let past relationships ruin future relationships and that true love appears in different forms. If you let the past cloud your judgement, you may just miss someone amazing.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Threads Unravelling

The past couple of days have been pretty hard and horrible for me.

Often, it is easier for me to step inside myself and try and repair the unravelling threads of my ‘sense of self’ on my own. If I push you away, remember this time it is not about you, but it is about me trying to cope.

I have realised and re-learned some things about myself:

- I think that I am a kind person and for the most part not a bad person
- I put the ‘drama’ in Drama Queen
- I want to be there for everyone, and sometimes this is at the expense of my own emotional fragility
- Rather than address problems head on, I tend to be passive aggressive
- If I feel that I cannot cope, I forget that other people have problems, thoughts and feelings to
- I have huge mood swings which quite frankly are a ridiculous waste of time and very hard on the people that love me
- I probably need to consider talking vitamin supplements

How can I change my behaviour to be a better person, a better wife, a better daughter, a better friend and a better sister?

- Understand that the world does not always revolve around me (shocking I know)
- Cut out the passive aggressive and Drama Queen behaviour
- Find a better outlet for my mood swings and try not to let these affect others
- Self-medication by way of giant Jelly-beans (thank you Liz)

To my friends and family: “please do not ever think that you cannot talk to me, it is just that sometimes I need to fix myself a little first before I can be there 110% for you”.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Locking Down my Heart

Whenever I feel extreme emotions such as stress, anger or sadness I immediately revert to ‘negative’ learned behaviour.

It is definitely not something that I am proud of, and now that I am older (and wiser) I can usually pinpoint when I start to do it. Regrettably, I have found that when my emotions are extreme that learned behaviour will sneak in like an old friend that I cannot ignore; an old friend that will protect me when I feel that I cannot protect myself.

The most common learned behaviour that I seem to exhibit is that I start to throw walls up around my heart to protect ‘it’ from being hurt. From this point, I start to shut down and shut people out of my world. Although, I can tell when it is starting, there are some instances when I do not have the power or will-power to change what is happening. It is as if I cannot reconcile the feelings in my heart with the thoughts in my head. It makes me frustrated that in 34 years I have not managed to change some of the deeply ingrained behaviours that I have formed.

I am the only person who knows me the best; I know my strengths and weaknesses, and all the secrets and lies. I can recognise the bits I love about myself and the bits that I do not like. While I do not think anyone likes to be told of their weaknesses, I do appreciate constructive criticism.

So if I push you away, please remember that for the most part it is about me and not about you. And I will promise you, that I will try not to lock down my heart when I am scared of being hurt.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing a Blog

I really enjoy writing and I am the first to admit that I am not the best writer out there.

I truly love reading other people’s blogs and I follow a very diverse range of people who write blogs. From their blogs I have found out all sorts of different and exciting things about them, their businesses and their opinions.

I do not think that you need to be a great writer to write a blog, however there are a few things that I think people really should remember when they are writing.

1. Re-read your blog a couple of times before you post it online. I find that reading it out loud picks up any errors that you may have missed. Hint: write it in Word to proof read it, and then copy it into your blog

2. For goodness sake use your spell check! Too often spelling mistakes slip through the gaps especially if you are busy or tired

3. Look for words that are incorrect that your spell check may not pick up i.e. ‘there’ instead of ‘their’

4. Thanks to Cate for this one: try and keep your blog to 500-700 words max (I am absolutely guilty of writing huge blogs)

5. Capture people’s interest with a snappy first sentence or paragraph

6. I do not think you need to be a grammatical whiz when writing. So, a word to the wise; if a sentence sounds or feels wrong then it probably is. So re-organise it until it sounds right

7. Use photos sometimes to ‘mix’ it up a bit! There are some great free clip-art websites if you do not have a photo

8. Avoid text speak where possible; it is not a text message it is a blog! You have room to write the whole word

Disclaimer: I also do make mistakes and am far from perfect. I think you can only get better with practice and time. These are just my thoughts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

7 in a Row with Cate Owen

Firstly, I would like to point out that this was not planned!

Went grocery shopping with Cate because it is her pet hate! I love grocery shopping, so hopefully I was able to make the experience a little more enjoyable and fun.

Had a chocolate shake ‘booty-call’ when Cate brought me a Wendy’s shake and chocolate mousse!

We made the decision to go and see the double feature of Twilight, followed by New Moon. What an amazing experience! So many laughs, far too much popcorn, sugar and caffeine! It was great to go to double-feature with someone who has read all the books. Despite my best efforts Cate would not spoil the ending of the series.

Cate stayed the night, as it was 2.30am when we got home. Later that day, we introduced Pauline to scrumptious Yum Char in Newmarket.

This was the night I really did not think that I would see Cate, so on the way home from my cousins wedding I stopped in for a drink and a chat. We ended up having a really great deep and meaningful conversation.

Cate and I had lunch at The Falls restaurant and then we had dinner together later on that evening. We had another HUGE, deep conversation, and Cate revealed hidden talents not seen by many.

The final day in the ‘7 in a row with Cate Owen’! Pauline, Bree and I had lunch at The Falls restaurant and then went on a coffee run to Cate’s. We then met up with some lovely tweeps at The Corner Bar. Cate and I then had dinner and a hell of a lot of laughs!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Wolfpack

Last night (Wednesday) Cate and I went to a double screening of Twilight and New Moon. I cannot remember the last time I went to a double screening or even movie at 12.01am. I enjoyed the movie. There were funny moments, sad moments and great action scenes. I could pull it apart re: acting etc., but I am not a movie reviewer so I am not going to do that.

What I enjoy about doing movie marathon’s and/or seeing movies late at night is that it does not really matter what movie it is, the audience will often make or break the experience. Also, it is the excitement of doing something out of the ordinary and being one of the first people to see a highly anticipated movie.

I have not read any of the Twilight books, so for me (unlike a lot of people in the theatre) there was no room for disappointment. The problem with highly anticipated movies is that they do not often live up to people’s expectations. A lot of books have not translated well into movies, because I think that books are subjective and how people see the story panning out can be vastly different to how others see it.
To be honest I enjoy movies and there have not been many that I have disliked. I go to enjoy the experience and to let myself be entertained. I do not tend to read reviews as really want to form my own opinion and also if a reviewer does not like a particular genre, then often I wonder if they can truly be objective.

I was looking forward to seeing New Moon as wanted to see what they did with the Wolfpack, and for the most part I enjoyed a lot of those scenes. I enjoyed a lot of the interaction between Bella and Jacob; although feeling somewhat sad for Jacob at times.

One thing that is slightly strange for me is that I consider “werewolves” to be governed by the moon, whereas “shapeshifters” can shift at will. So for me I did not consider the wolves in New Moon to be werewolves, but instead shapeshifters where they could call their wolf and have some control (except when they were angry). There were also some great moments in the film with the Wolfpack running through the forest. Also, the idea of being out of control of your body is a good parallel to puberty.

If you are on team Jacob then you will not be disappointed by this movie, which is a little like a coming of age story for him. I am definitely on team Jacob!

I enjoyed seeing Twilight on the big screen and a lot of the epic scenery was fantastic; think Bella and Edward going to the top of the tree and talking. I found that the “angst” between Bella and Edward and then Bella and Jacob a bit much. The audience were quite vocal and actually very funny. It was great sitting next to Cate who has read all the books and she could fill in some of the gaps and would often turn to me and say “in the book...” which was fabulous.

I love how the vampires sparkle like glittery-diamond dust in the light; I think that this is a nice take on vampires in the sunlight. It makes a welcome change from them turning to a pile of dust, or burning to a crispy critter.

I also found the contrast between Bella and her “friends” at school interesting. Here they are doing all the normal high school things, and she is going through a lot of much deeper stuff. The grief she feels in New Moon when Edward leaves is palpable and made my heart ache for her.

If you do not like the franchise, then do not go and see the movie. For me, it has made me want to read the books.

To quote Cate: “Why why why is Twilight so divisive? FFS just disengage your brain and enjoy the ride. It's not rocket science.”

Monday, November 9, 2009

What have I done to make you feel proud?

For the first 14 years of my life I was an only child. Then I met my sisters. Technically they are my half sisters, but we do not see it that way. We are “full siblings” for all intents and purposes. Because they grew up together, I guess Anna is the “older” sister, and then I am the older sister ‘add on’.

I am the eldest, then Anna and then the twins, Sarah and Becky. I am incredibly proud to call these strong, beautiful, intelligent women my sisters. Sometimes I wonder if they feel proud of me.

Anna lives in New York with her partner and has an amazing job. She has paid her student loan, her staff members love her and she is an amazing role model for her peers and staff. She has not lived in New Zealand for years, and while she misses us like crazy she is really progressing with her career. On the flipside she often works 16 hours a day; often at the expense of sleep and the gym.

Sarah and her fiancé and their new baby boy are moving home after nearly 4 years in the Gold Coast. Sarah has done so well since she worked for D-Vice and then moved to the Gold Coast. Things just suddenly clicked for her there, and she really found her strong sense of shelf. She is an incredible ‘new’ mum.

Becky, her husband and two beautiful twin girls live in Wellington. They have lived in Auckland, Melbourne and this is their second time in Wellington. She was able to stay home until the girls’ went to school and is an outstanding mum. She has the amazing ability to be able to make her home where ever she lives which is fabulous.

At times I wonder what I have done that makes them feel proud of me. I do not feel like a role model most of the time. I have a job, not a career. We do not have children. Mark and I do not own our own home. I am complete crap with money and still have a student loan. I am also grossly overweight and having 3 slimmer sisters often makes me feel like the horrible, fat older sister.

On the flipside, I think that I am a nice person, with a kind heart. I would do anything for my sisters if they needed me, as would my husband Mark. I devoted 2 ½ years to a cat rescue agency; at the expense of my family and friends and now we have an extra four cats who were rescued. Somewhere in the middle of all that we managed to get married with our close friends and family.

At times I have struggled with my own emotional demons and I think that finally I can start putting some of them to rest. For the first time in years I feel happy, and more like a whole person. I have stopped feeling like I want to die, and am learning how to feel alive. Although, Mark and I do have rocky patches, I strongly believe that we have a good marriage and have lots of laughs.

To me success is being happy and healthy physically and emotionally; and not having a house. If I am happy then should it really matter if people are proud of me or not? Should I just be proud of myself and my achievements.

Over the next few months I plan to focus on my health and well being, my career and learning to save.

So one day at a time sounds good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Wear your rollerskates today" - De La Soul

After reading the blog written by my friend Pauline I was inspired to write a short one of my own.

Pauline’s wedding is in approximately 124 days and we have resolved to help each other get fit and lose some weight for our respective goals i.e. her wedding and my sister’s wedding. One plan was to start walking together once a week either at a halfway point or alternate each week. Yesterday after dropping my friend Liz and her daughters off to do the quarter marathon I drove up to Orewa to go for a walk. We probably walked bout 7km and it was lovely; lots of people out on the beach and a really opportunity to chat.

I mentioned that another couple of people and I could be quite keen to put a roller derby team together. Pauline was so excited and was ready to drive down to Auckland and buy us skates there and then. By the time I got back to Auckland, Pauline had arranged an afternoon outing and was picking Jess, Cate and I up and we were going to Skateland in Mt Wellington.

The last time I went roller skating was on the eve of my 20th birthday and there are a few emotional connections and memories associated with that. It was a time when I stopped loving my boyfriend of 3 years and fell head over heels for another person (that is another blog).

My cousin and I used to go roller skating every weekend in New Lynn at the Skateland rink there. Sadly, it is now a Mitre 10. I have fond memories of this from the Goth-like clothes (it was the first time I ever dyed my hair black) to the music videos on the wall, the flashing lights and disco balls. Our two hours of skating never seemed long enough!

Yesterday, there were a few tumbles, lots of laughs and a great time for $7. I have never been a team sports person; however I am willing to become part of a team of roller derby girls. Once my fitness and confidence levels grow, I think that I will enjoy it even more. I hate falling, but realise that it is something I will just have to get used to (yesterday I had A LOT of practise). Mark commented last night that the roller derby girls are “young, fit and vicious”. I do not see why we cannot be fit and vicious, all the while looking super “cool” in our outfits? I am confident that we can do this and it is a great way to strengthen new friendships, have fun and get some exercise.

Monday, October 26, 2009

11. Camping + broken friendships

I can quite honestly say that camping is not for me. For the record, backpacking does not float my boat either. My sister works for a huge, international hotel chain so we have all stayed in some absolutely stunning hotels all around the world.

I love hotels. I love the fact that I have a nice bed, clean sheets, hot water and room service. When you are camping, I dislike the fact that hot water can be intermittent and I get a bit sick of cooking on a BBQ. I also HATE not having a washing machine!

I have had two memorable camping experiences; one good and one bad.

The first was when my friends and I went camping on a private property out in Muriwai at the end of High School. There were over 18 of us and we had an absolutely brilliant time. We had a very private camping site, a beautiful waterfall and had an amazing time and great New Year’s party. Even though I am no longer friends with most of these people, thinking back about this holiday makes me smile. It was also our transition from High School to University.

The second experience of camping I remember is because it was horrible at the end, and the fall out was emotionally draining. We went camping with a friend’s daughter and her family the same year of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

We were very excited about it and probably the one big mistake we made (in hindsight) was being on the same camping site. If we had been on the next site over things probably would have been fine.

In retrospect I probably felt a bit uncomfortable about my weight; nothing new there. Also, when I go on holiday I love nothing better than curling up with a book; which I expect can be seen as unsociable. Do not get me wrong, I did interact with everyone, but sometimes I just like time on my own. Also, we were camping with a lot of children and as we do not have children often it was hard for Mark and me to relate to some things.

It was when another friend of the people that we were camping with turned up; things turned a bit nasty and this new woman and I got a bit bitchy with each other. Even now I cannot stand her. Admittedly perhaps I was being a bitch and unsociable, but in all situations both sides need to take responsibility for their actions. In the end it was really “three’s a crowd”.

After having to hold our tent up and sleeping under the tarpaulin when the worst of the weather hit us and a huge “grrrr” moment with this girl we decided to leave early.

I did not really think a lot of it until a few weeks later when I was talking to my friend (whose daughter we went away with) and that is when things really got nasty. We were talking and I was explaining that I was a little bewildered about how things ended up. To which she replied “it was because I was hard to be around when we were camping and that her daughter did not know what was wrong with me”. What the hell?? I said “nothing was wrong with me and that it was not until XX turned up that things got a bit weird”. Then we got into a huge conversation about how I had been odd and that this friend had only been sticking up for her daughter (or something like that). Anyway I said “well I do not like XX anyway” and then it just got nasty. I then got told that “XX was a lovely person and a close friend of the family”.

Mark and I went from seeing my friend just about every day to not seeing them for over 2 years. It wasn’t until her eldest daughter actually text me out of the blue that I re-formed a relationship with members of this family. I have an amazing relationship with the daughter of my “old” friend and consider her one of my closest and most loved friends.

Looking back I realise that if the roles had been reversed, any one of my friends would have stuck up for me if they felt a person was being rude or unreasonable. However, I think that they would have addressed it at the time, rather than after the fact. The irony is that the person that we went camping holds no ill feelings years later. I still do not like or trust her friend, but then she is not my friend so does it matter?? Also, it is probably time to let it go and give camping one last try!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fantastic Weekend – A Quick Break from my Blog Challenge

As I stirred a pot of mushrooms with a dash of rosemary and then finished cutting the baby carrots that I bought at Oratia Farmers Market yesterday I am reminded of what a perfect weekend we have had.

So let’s go back.

As I packed up to leave work on Friday, one of my workmates wished me a “happy weekend” to which I exclaimed “Liz and Paul are up to stay and it’s the Auckland tweet up tonight, and I am so, so excited”! Suffice to say I do not think he really understood my complete and utter excitement about the weekend. While I do love weekends, I had not been this excited about one for quite a few months.

Mark and I raced home cleaned the house, and then headed off to The Falls in Henderson. This was my second tweetup and certainly will not be my last. I was absolutely blown away by the service and hospitality offered by Alan, Nina and the team there.

What also overwhelmed me was the amount of twitter people (tweeps) that came up and said “you are nessliddell right?” and proceeded to give me a hug and a welcome hello. It is so nice after a few months of tweeting with people to finally meet them in person, and realise that it is not only enjoyable tweeting with them, but also meeting and talking with them in ‘real life’.

After great food, fantastic conversation and lovely wine Liz, Paul, Mark and I headed home. We chatted for a bit and then went to bed.

Saturday morning dawned a beautiful day, and I headed off to the markets to meet my friend Karen. We stocked up on beautiful fresh produce, meat, cheese, bread and bing cherries. Liz had been trying to catch me as I left the house to come with me, however could not get the door unlocked. So, Liz and Paul popped into the market to have breakfast and then raced off to pick up a Trade Me purchase, after agreeing to dinner at Karen’s place.

Mark and I ended up in Albany for a bit and met Pauline. We got ingredients for dinner and then raced home to feed the cats, and then onto Karen’s for dinner.

We have a lovely dinner with about Karen and 11 others. My friend absolutely loves cooking, as does Liz. So again we had more good food, fabulous conversation and great wine. Paul brought out the PSP and the sing star with “cordless” microphones (I did not think that Karen was going to let him take them home) and the kids started singing. Then the adults joined in a bit later. What surprises me about sing star is that it truly spans generations and it is great fun.

We left happy and full.

This morning we went to The Falls for breakfast with Pauline, Jason, Bri, Sam etc. What started as a booking for 4 ended up as a table for 10! Once again I was totally blown away by the experience and service we received from Alan and the team.

On the way home Paul mentioned there were some geocaches (kind of like a new generation of orienteering) on our way home. We stopped along the way and found two.

As I sit here on the couch and reflect on our weekend, I feel blessed that we have some beautiful, generous friends and have met some truly astounding people through twitter. Thank you everyone for the laughs and great times this weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

9. Australian Accents and 10. Kiwi Accents

I have never really thought too much about Australian and Kiwi accents to be honest; mostly because I do not think that they are as obvious as American or English accents. Mind you I expect to other people that do not live in Australasia then they probably are. I can think of 3 distinct instances where I have thought about it.

When I went to America in 2000 speaking with a Kiwi accent was better than a pick up line. I remember being in a bar and this guy was absolutely intrigued by my accent. He kept asking me to talk, it was my first real experience where I realised that yes “we Kiwi’s do have accents”. It was a great conversation opener; you did not even need to say anything interesting or witty!

The next two instances were just recently.

1. When flying from Brisbane to Sydney I was next to an Australian couple. It was quite interesting listening to them and thinking about who their accents differed from Kiwi’s. One thing that I have realised is that all Australian’s call women named Sharon, Shazza. I have absolutely no idea why, but I find it quite cliché. I always expect the sound of “cracking chewing gum” to precede the use of the name Shazza. Also, Australian women seem to over use the word “darl” which really ends up getting on my nerves.

2. I was saying Fish and Chips in the car on the way to work this morning after listening to Peter Heller on The Edge radio station. Unfortunately, I think it may actually come out as Fush and Chups with a New Zealand accent...go figure!

8. Road Rage

There are so many things that I could talk about in relation to road rage, however I think it is best for me to pick the two that really drive me absolutely nuts!

The first one is people not using their rear vision mirrors. Why do we have rear vision mirrors in our cars if we do not intend to use them!? The most common mis-use of a rear vision mirror is when a person driving is turning left into a side street, and there is a person coming the opposite way wanting to turn into the same side street but they are turning right. The person turning left fails to check their mirror to see if there are cars behind them going straight through, and blocks traffic because they think that should be giving way. I want to scream in frustration at them to check their rear vision mirrors so they know that they can turn left because ROAD IS NOT CLEAR BEHIND THEM.

The second thing is are drivers cutting into a busy stream of traffic forcing those behind them to break suddenly and almost causing an accident. My favourite is people coming up Hobson Street to go onto the motorway. Two lanes going to South Auckland and two lanes going west. The centre lane going west always has drivers who decide to jump into the southbound motorway lane at the intersection to the motorways. What the hell??

When it comes to road rage, just remember to breathe and take it easy!

7. Unicorns

I was really struggling about what to write about Unicorns (so this is not a huge blog), until I had a bit of a look on the internet over the weekend.

To be fair, I have not given a lot of thought to Unicorns over the years. I see them as a mythical, magical creature and a product of limitless imagination. They have found their way into our hearts by way of books and stories handed down from generation to generation. These stories have slowly helped to weave the magical vision of unicorns around us and into our lives. Also, movies, and books of the fantasy or science fiction genre certainly help keep the unicorn in our minds.

Interestingly enough biblical unicorns found mention in the bible. Did not make it onto the Ark?

Perhaps Unicorns once existed as a flesh and blood animal, before becoming extinct and over time their existence has simply become woven into our lives as a mythical being.

Luckily, in today’s world, there are echoes of unicorns in the rhino, narwhal, Oryx and Eland.

Friday, October 9, 2009

6. Ponies

The last time I rode a horse was in Waipu at least 8 years ago and I will not be doing it anytime soon.

I felt so sad for this poor horse having to carry me up the darn hill and it was really muddy. I kept saying “sorry” to the horse the entire trip. The woman I was with (who owns horses) laughed at me through most of the trip, especially when I said “oh my god the horse is panting”.

Did I want a horse as a child; probably. My parents had a 10acre section in Karekare and I went on my first horse aged about 3 years old. I think that if they had chosen to keep the section and build there, then I would have had a horse, and the annual Karekare beach races would have been part of my life.

We live in Te Atatu Peninsula and every morning and evening we go past a huge block of land with quite a number of horses/ponies grazing there. I always get a bit worried that they don’t have any shelter from the elements, as there are not really many trees. So they are really exposed to the sun and the rain. Most of them have covers which is great if it is cold, but probably stifling if the weather is warm.

One of the greatest things is that they give away free manure for gardens. I cannot wait to start out vegetable garden with a good helping of Peninsula Poo.

5. Old friends

I seem to have quite a few close friends that I have met over the years. However, I am only in touch with two friends that I went to school with, and the rest are from old jobs, people I have met through mutual interests and also the internet.

I am constantly amazed how I can live in Auckland and not really bump into many people I know. A few years ago I came across an old school/university friend that I had wondered about for ages. We met for coffee and talked about all the people that she had kept in touch with. What scared me the most was that she was friends with everyone that I had lost touch with; she also knew everything about their lives. I found it a little disconcerting. When I emailed to say thanks for coffee and say we must do it again, I was a little surprised to get not response back. I am no longer worried, I am glad to have seen her and glad that she is happy.

I then bumped into another person from the same group of friends at U2; I found it quite uncomfortable as in the end I did not really have anything in common with her. I was also glad that I lost touch with her, because I considered her to be a bit of a bitch.

I was “dumped” by a friend who I was really close to. It just ended as she found a different set of friends to hang out with and also she became interested in religion. I think that the main reason that it ended was because I was a bit overpowering, and also I was obsessed with a guy I worked with, and he liked her. All very difficult and messy...hopefully I learnt not to be so overpowering with friends after that experience.

Recently I posted a status update on Facebook about whether some friendships just end naturally with no apparent reason. I found the responses from my friends quite interesting. The consensus from most people is that friendships do end sometimes and it is often the result of lives taking different paths and priorities changing. Another comment was that people come into your life to teach you things.

Yes I have lost friends over the years, and also been “dumped” by others. After taking it personally, I have learnt that it is just part of life.

I love the group of old friends that I have and know that I will be friends with them forever. I also love the new friends that I have met this year as a result of Twitter and other interests.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4. Postcards

When it comes to postcards when travelling I always have the best of intentions. I but the postcards very early on my holiday, and then never end up posting them in time; this means that I normally arrive home before the postcard.

Now for me Twitter, Facebook, email and texting probably help me stay in touch with my husband and family while I am away. Aside from texting, the other options provide an awesome way to send photos to people. Living in the ‘digital photography’ age means that people can take a photo, and then upload it instantaneously for people at home to view.

So, sorry postcards it will be electronic for me now on in. It also means that I do not have to negotiate the post office to get stamps.

3. Duty Free (best and worst)

Love Duty Free shopping. It feels like I am getting such a bargain, when in reality I am probably not. I really enjoy smelling all the different perfumes and looking at the gadgets. I have not brought perfume duty free for years because I was a Le Reve consultant and had all the perfume I could ever ask for.

For the past few years my alcohol allowance (and often my boss’s when we travel for work) has been allocated to my good friends. I end up coming back with between 3-6 bottles of dark rum for them. We are not really spirit drinkers, so it is not really a big deal.

I have just discovered that there is a Walker & Hall at Auckland airport which is fantastic, as I am addicted to my Pandora bracelet.

One thing over the past 8-12 months that has really irritated me has been the forcing out of Regency Duty Free by DFS. It was so underhanded and in my opinion just wrong. I think that competition keeps companies honest, and competition is not always a bad thing. After all the fighting and arguments for and against, I know see that they have brought in another duty free shop called JR to Auckland airport. Which leads me to think perhaps they did not want “just one” duty free shop, but wanted Regency out; might have to do a bit of research on that.

2. The little packets of nuts

I wrote this halfway between rainy Auckland and the super sunny Gold Coast, listening to ‘Ego’ by Beyonce. I did actually write it on a sick bag (not used) because I had nothing else to write on.

There is not much that I can say about those small bags of nuts that you get when you fly. Honestly, I think it is more of a domestic travel thing however; I can talk about in-flight food.

Normally when I travel I tend to select the vegetarian option as I do not eat red meat or pork. This usually saves me from some near-miss food disasters and it also means that I get my food first; getting my food first means that I can sleep and relax.

I think that Emirates offer the best in in-flight food and entertainment. You get a cute little menu, although I often wish that I had not taken the vegetarian option when I look at Mark’s menu. Also, on their website they have the LARGEST choice of different meals for people who have allergies, or do not eat specific foods.

The only truly hideous meal I have had was flying from Chicago to LA when I got a vegan meal instead of vegetarian – YUCK!

Weight-loss guru Susan Powter slams in-flight food, and suggests that people take their own meals when they fly. Before flying this time I ate before I got on the plane, and slept through breakfast. It is also impossible now to bring your own food options when you fly unless it is pre-packaged.

My suggestions for in-flight food if you do not enjoy it is to either eat before you go and check which food you can take on the flight with you, or choose an airline like Emirates that will offer you better choices.

Monday, September 21, 2009

1. Air Travel

It is the night before I am due to travel to Australia to meet my gorgeous new nephew in the Gold Coast. I said to @josiecampbell that I would write a few blogs while I was away and this is the first blog in a list of 13 that she gave me as suggestions.

I do not really enjoy too many forms of public transport and have really whittled them down to cars and trains/planes if I absolutely have to. This may seem cliché but prior to 9/11 I loved flying, there was something amazing about being able to go from one country to another with a great deal of ease. I really wish that I was like a bird and could fly without having a metal shell around me.

Unfortunately, the events of 9/11 will permanently be etched in my brain. I will never, ever forget the people who died in those planes or who jumped from the buildings because it was preferable to being burnt alive. On the flipside, I also understand that 1000’s of innocent people have lost their lives as a result of war and/or terrorism, and I hate it. It makes me feel heartbroken that we cannot live in a world where all people can co-exist peacefully despite their differences of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, size etc. But that’s probably another blog altogether.

I now always get nervous before I fly. I feel physically sick, and just can’t wait until I am on the ground again. All I can think about is what happens if we crash, or the plane breaks up in the air (thanks ‘Lost’)? What would I do? Would I panic? Resign myself to my fate? Who knows how one would react until they are put in that situation. In saying that once I am up in the air I do not feel as bad, perhaps it is because once you are in the air you cannot get out until the plane lands.

The other reason I dislike flying is because of my weight. I am conscious of whether the seatbelt will fit, and whether I will be stuck in the middle section with no easy way out. Will I have a free seat next to me, so I can put the arm rest up for comfort? Will I knock the person next to me? Let’s not even get started on the toilets.

To me there is really only one thing that I can fix and that is to lose weight, to make travelling more comfortable. Maybe this will help lessen my fear of flying as well??

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


On the 1st January 2007 I read an article in the paper about a guy named Chris Flack who the year before decided to try 100 new things. He made this decision at the pub with his mates!

I decided that it was an amazing idea and alongside my family and friends (probably with a slight post New Year glow), to write a list of things to do during 2007. Mine was a bit different to Chris’s list and I included medium-term goals and also one off things. I also emailed Chris to tell him what I was doing, and stunningly he replied back; I now follow is blog and also find out what he is doing via Facebook.

I embarked on my mission with confidence and enthusiasm. I got to number 8 and then things ground to a halt altogether. My 8th “thing” was to volunteer for a non-profit organisation. I came across this organisation on a NZ website and decided to approach them to see if they wanted administrative help. I didn’t hear anything for about 4-6 weeks and then out of the blue I received an email. So I started with 1 day a week checking their phone messages. I felt as though I could do more and in typical “Vanessa” style I jumped in with two feet; at the damn deep end.

I just want to make a note here. I also wanted something to occupy my time. I felt incredibly lonely at home as Mark would sleep most of the weekend away and I was often up at 7am on a Saturday and Sunday, so for hours I would be struggling to fill this time.

Over the next 2 ½ years I dedicated a lot of my time, blood, sweat and TEARS to this worthy cause. I do not want to discourage people from volunteering for non-profit organisations, but please heed these words of warning. Think very carefully about the organisation that you want to volunteer for, do not get involved in their petty/childish games, and absolutely make sure that they have processes and a business plan that they follow. Also, make sure that they have a board of trustees to keep the committee in check.

My commitment to this organisation just about broke my marriage, my wedding nearly didn’t happen and my relationships suffered with friends and family. I now absolutely detest a couple of people that are still involved. I do think about the great things that they have achieved, and are still achieving. Nevertheless, I feel a deep sense of sadness and frustration towards their pigheadedness. I am also stunned by the utter lack of regard for other people and also adults who are just wankers and completely rude and hypocritical! Also, the absolute nastiness and bitchiness was mind blowing (even from men)!

Please do not think that I am trying to be a martyr as I can take responsibility for my own actions; however a lot of bullies worked for this organisation and I do not cope well with bullies at all. I also struggle to ask for help and instead try and tackle everything without help. I know my weaknesses, and certainly know what I need to work on.

What are the good things? I met some absolutely amazing people, and one of them is someone who I want in my life forever. I love her without conviction and I am honoured to call her a friend. We got 3 beautiful cats that have helped bring joy to our household.

Things that I think they could do better: Have a business plan. Have PROCESSES and make sure that these processes are adhered to. Don’t have one process or rule for one group and another for some else. Ensure that the committee make decisions that benefit the organisation and also adopt a consultative approach. Also, the person who started the organisation needs to be removed from the committee.

Monday, September 14, 2009


My mum and dad adopted me when I was about 10 days old. It was a time when adoptions in New Zealand were closed, and therefore you were not able to know who the birth parent/s and family were.

My parents were absolutely over the moon to have me, as they could not have children of their own. They felt blessed to have me, and my homecoming was a huge deal for them and their friends. I once asked my dad if he regretted not having a biological daughter of his own to which he responded “you are my daughter”.

From an early age, my parents were very open with me about my adoption and the circumstances surrounding it. I was adopted out as a result of sexual abuse and my birth mother made the hard decision to give me up. I grew up as an only child and would always ask my parents if they would adopt another child, or even adopt one of the countless “permanent placement” kids who appeared in our local paper.

During my early teens, my mum and I would have the odd fight were I would bring out the “you are not my real mother” argument out. It was not until I got older that I truly realised just how incredibly hurtful that this was.

When I turned 14 (and I remember this clearly as we were having renovations done at home) I was going through a pretty rough time, and also I guess a bit of an identity crisis. I did know a lot about my birth mother and father, but sometimes paper is just not sufficient. I came home from school and my mum sat me down and told me that she had something to tell me, and that she did not want me to hate her. Over the next few hours my mum explained that when she took a trip (when she was studying archaeology at University) in 1982 to Africa she was afraid that if anything happened to her that she would not be able to help me find my birth family. So she approached a contact, and managed to actually get my birth mother’s real name. Obviously, nothing happened to her on the trip and she kept that knowledge to herself for nearly 8 years, as she did not believe that she could legally tell me.

Mum then proceeded to say that with my permission she was going to drive up north (the following day) and see if she could meet my birth mum. I was stunned, but never angry. I adore my mum and dad and they have always been incredibly supportive and loving. I could not wish for a more amazing set of parents. I consider my mum a brave person and what she did for me next was one of the most truly beautiful, selfless things that a person could do for another.

My mum travelled up north the following day (a Friday) and went to my birth mother’s home. As she did not know if the family knew about the adoption, she just had to pretend that she was a friend of my birth mother’s. It did not really work as we found out later that her husband knew exactly who she was. My twin sisters were home with the measles! My birth mother was not home, so my mum stayed for an hour or so and then disappointedly decided to leave.

As she drove through the small country town, she saw a woman by a car on the road. My mum decided to take one more chance and approached her, and asked if she had adopted a daughter out about 14 years ago. The answer was ‘yes’ and my mum said “well I am her mum”. Anyway, they both sat in the car while mum showed my birth mum photos of me growing up. They both cried. They then went back to my birth mother’s house and met my step dad and the twins. The irony of the whole story is that my birth mum was a nurse for a number of years at my doctor’s surgery and they lived just down the road from us.

It was an incredibly emotional time for my parents and me; luckily I had some very supportive friends around me at the time. I got to see photos of my mum and her family and it was like looking at carbon copies of me. Suddenly, I felt a little closer to feeling complete. I met my mum for the first time a few weeks later, and when they all came back from holiday I met my step dad and my 3 sisters.

Over the years it took me time to adjust to having an instant family. Some feelings are not instant, and it was a lot for them and us to take in. I think that my step dad struggled a bit for about 18 months, then one summer holiday’s suddenly we just clicked, and things having amazing with him and I ever since. He was around for my birth and while my mum was pregnant, and could fill in a lot of gaps for me. As I got older I did struggle with forming stronger relationships with my birth mum and it is an absolute credit to my mum Pat that she would ask me if I had talked to my birth mother and helped me to forge a strong, solid bond. There is no jealously between these two strong, beautiful women.

My family has grown and I went from having no siblings to having 3 half sisters, a half brother and also another beautiful young woman Grace who I proudly consider to be my sister. There are so many similarities between my sisters and I that it really strikes home that there are some things about us that are heredity and others that are part of our upbringing.

Yes, it has not been easy but the trip has been well worth it. I have an amazing relationship with my mum and dad, and also my birth mother and step dad. I not only found family members but a huge amount of their close friends who I consider to be my family. My mum and birth mother absolutely adore each other and neither is threatened by the other.

Earlier this year I came into contact with my birth father. I had a huge amount of support on the evening and I think a lot of people where worried about how I would react. As it was a huge family dinner I never spoke to him. However, I left the restaurant with the definite knowledge that while I carry his genes; he is in no way my father. I actually felt nothing toward him, not hate, not anger and certainly not love. I felt indifferent.

The person who is my dad is the man that was with me as I grew up, that gave me piggy backs that gave me hugs, has a heart of gold and a huge propensity for love and the man who gave me away on the day of my wedding. My step dad is a strong, grounded, amazing man who has had to deal with a young woman who looks almost identical to his wife and a little like a man that he probably detests. My step dad along with my mum and birth mum also gave me away at my wedding.

I feel complete and have a strong sense of who I am, and I have a beautiful, loving, caring family.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My husband has another woman

My husband has another woman and I am not particularly jealous. I am not jealous of her long slender curves and her natural shape or her ability to attract grown men. Sometimes I get a bit upset that Mark spends a significant amount of time with her.

So the 'other woman' is a metaphor for boats. For as long as Mark and I have lived together he has been absolutely obsessed with boats. In the darkest hours at night I often catch him surfing the net and also Trade Me looking at boats. Honestly, it’s a bit like non-sexual porn (there is absolutely no way that I can compete)! You should see our internet browsing history, boating building, wood for boats.

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s really great that he has another interest in addition to playing the guitar, tropical fish and brewing his own beer. However, I am not really into boating that much, so find it all a little “ho hum” most of the time.

Mark has now upped the ante a little and brought a book about boat building and from this he intends to buy a boat plan and start to build his own little boat. The only main problem that I have with this is will it float or sink. I still can’t get my head around a man made wooden boat floating (despite knowing that other people have done it successfully); I have visions of a mini-Titanic in Te Atatu Peninsula.

The one thing I am really sure about is that Mark is highly analytical and will do the research fully before undertaking even buying the boat plan. If anyone will succeed at this Mark will. So for the meantime until the boat is built and Mark is out fishing I will have to put up with late night boat browsing, boat envy (yes he looks twice when we drive past a boat) and Mark talking to me about boats.

It could be worse.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meeting people via the internet etc.

Times have definitely changed. When I started University back in the mid-90’s, I remember sitting in one of the computer labs with my friend Rebecca and we were actually bamboozled about how to use the internet.

Now in 2009 I look back and I can remember Rebecca and I trying to use the internet; it was a slow and painful process. Given the fact that now I usually have an internet browser open for most of my work day; I can’t even believe that we did not know how to use it.

Where would I be without the internet? Well I wouldn’t be married for starters and I would not have found life-time friend with common interests.

I thought that I could list a chronological history of my internet usage.

Late 90’s - my parents decided to get the internet at home. This opened up a huge world of opportunities for me! I joined Yahoo and started using their chat rooms to talk to people from all around the world. This was an amazing feat in itself. Yes, there were dodgy people out there, however for the most part the people that I came in contact with were interesting and fun.

Early-Mid 2000 – I found some really genuine, lovely people with common interests in US chat rooms. On a whim I decided to visit them for Christmas. This was a massive exploit in itself as I had not been to the USA before, had not met these people and had never spent a Christmas away from home. So on the 1st December 2000 I boarded a flight to LA. Once in LA I flew to Chicago and then on to Detroit. I was met by my “internet” buddy Will and we drove to his home in Reading, Michigan. Aside from being homesick in parts, I had a wonderful trip and met some great people. We had a crazy girl’s weekend in Ohio in the snow and danced the night away in various clubs. I spent a night in a motel room that was reminiscent of a cheap Hollywood horror with a big slash through the door!

2001 – I stumbled across a Yahoo group for New Zealand fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had discovered Buffy when I was flatting; I kept my addiction to Buffy a secret for fear of being hassled for what could be considered a TV show for teenagers/children. Crazily enough I ended up using Buffy as part of a work speech.

This Yahoo group opened a huge door for me and many of the people that I met through this group have remained some of my closest friends. These are people who I feel comfortable with, and have also made me realise that I can see the deeper meanings in Movies, Books and TV shows.

I remember the first time I went to Kerry and Dave’s house; I was so nervous! I left that day feeling contented and happy after watching a lot of Buffy. I got home with a huge stack of Buffy videos so that I could catch up while the group waited for the next episodes of Buffy to arrive on video from a friend of Kerry’s in the USA. Thank you so much akldscoobies and nzscoobies you opened a door to “Narnia” and a world I would have surely missed had I not found you.

2001-2003 – While I have had a lot of wonderful experiences with meeting people on the internet, there have been a fair few nasty experiences that have balanced things out. I do not honestly know if I wanted to meet a partner on the internet, or if it was more that I just wanted to have some fun. I would say that 95% of the men I met were normal guys with no psychological problems; the other 5% what can I say?? Some were just plan nasty and scary human beings.

2002 – I moved in with a good friend Angela who I met through Buffy and we had a great time flatting with her sister in Avondale.

February 2003 – This marked a huge turning point in my life. I changed roles within the company that I worked for and decided to sell my car on Trade Me. While on Trade Me I found a NZ dating site (Findsomeone). I met a number of people through this site, and on about the 16th of February I got a message from a guy who lived in Wellington. Incidentally, Angela and I had just come back from a fun “up your bum Valentine’s day” weekend in Wellington. We started sending messages back and forth, and then started talking on the phone. Mark then threw in his job in Wellington and moved to Auckland (apparently he did not move up here for me...). We met in April 2003 in Hamilton. We moved in together in September 2003 and while there have been numerous ups and downs; we have been married for over a year and have been together for almost 6.5 years.

2008/2009 – I found Facebook, and connected with old school/university friends that I had lost touch with. While Facebook does not take the place of face-to-face contact or phone calls, it does provide a quick way to keep up-to-date with what happening with friends and family.

May 2009 – I discovered Twitter after listening to the Morning Madhouse and Jay-Jay and Dom raving about Twitter. I joined, and for the first couple of weeks I wondered what the big deal was about. Then all of a sudden I discovered NZ people using the site and over the past few weeks of July/August I have really learnt to LOVE Twitter.

It seems crazy to me that about 10 years ago I struggled to use the internet, and 2008/2009 has opened the door for me to social networking sites, blogs and just in the last day or so RSS Feeds. It makes me wonder what 2010+ will bring.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Once upon a time I used to be a confident, fairly opinionated person. Over the years, I have learnt to curb my opinions as my confidence has plummeted.

A tweet I received today made me think about why I no longer freely express my opinions like I did when I was younger. Tweet: from velofille @nessliddell if you aren’t sure just say your opinion and if you are corrected then you learnt something.

When I was at school I had a number of friends who were quite opinionated. I found that when I would express my own opinion these friends would almost override my opinion with their own. Over time my confidence started to dwindle as I became sick of having to constantly justify my own opinions, and also to fight to get my opinions heard. To me they were sound debaters and in a way I guess I thought that they were a lot more intelligent than me. I gradually learnt to keep my opinions mostly to myself; only expressing them when I was confident to back them up and not back down.

The other thing that I have realised looking back, is that I would also change my opinion to fit with the majority (even if I didn’t fully agree). Unfortunately, I soon realised that I could avoid conflict completely either by hiding my opinions or changing them to suit the situation. I absolutely hate conflict, and underpinning that is the fear that people will stop liking me because our opinions differ. Also, when I get frustrated or angry I tend to cry, which most people see as a sign of weakness especially in women. I am afraid that if I start expressing my opinion with him, that he will just shoot me down and I will once again be that teenager who let other’s opinions override my own.

As an adult I still reserve my opinions and let fear hold me back.

Currently, my father-in-law is a prime example of when I hold my tongue. I do like him however, he is HIGHLY opinionated, constantly talks about politics and he can be incredibly overbearing (mind you my father is very similar). He is intelligent and respects people that can openly debate with him about anything and everything. I was quite interested in politics at university and got involved a lot, however I don’t feel comfortable debating with my father-in-law or even expressing my opinion. Personally, I don’t care if Helen Clark is a lesbian (what bearing did that have on her as a prime minister), I don’t care to hear racist comments about people and frankly believe there is more to life than politics. Mark and I were raised at very different ends of the political spectrum and as a couple; we try not to talk about politics as a rule. Suffice to say, I don’t go to Wellington a lot.

So where do I go from here? I need to start understanding that an opinion is just that and I believe that we all have the right to express our own. I need to start believing in myself and rebuilding my confidence in my own opinions. If people decide not to like me because of my opinions then do I really want or need them in my life?

So here’s to my “happily ever after”.....

Monday, August 24, 2009


My guilty little secret; I am an absolute wiz at procrastination. When I was at school I thought that when I finally hit adulthood that I would grow out of it. Unfortunately, at 34 years old it does not seem to have happened.

I procrastinate in both my work and personal life. I sometimes wonder if work procrastination comes from a lack of confidence in my own ability to make decisions and to have confidence in those decisions. In previous jobs I have left the hardest jobs (or the jobs I do not want to do) until last and would do everything in my power to avoid having to do them; only to find that when I actually got stuck into the task that it was not that difficult. I have read Eat that Frog and the Fish Philosophy and they always inspire me. I stick to their philosophies but eventually fall back into old habits.

The other thing that I have struggled with since having a job where my confidence was knocked out of me, is asking questions. I constantly fail to ask questions as I do not want to appear stupid, and this often holds me up on particular tasks. Then I start to stew and get even more stressed out, and then I wickedly procrastinate!

How do I break the procrastination habits of a life time?

I will write my “to do” lists and start tackling at least 2 things from both my work and personal lists each day until they are finished. I will tackle the jobs I least like or that are hard in the morning and get them out of the way. I will try not to use social networking sites to put off inevitable jobs and I will close my email and only open it a few times a day.

Just for the record Twitter, Facebook and email’s are great procrastination tools for me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When burglary just isn’t enough of an invasion?

Aside from the obvious crimes that I can’t stand like murder, rape etc. I completely hate burglary! It makes me feel physically sick. I am almost tempted to suggest that convicted burglars have a hand amputated!

After reading a news story on a website today about a cat having to be euthanized after burglars kicked it so hard they broke its pelvis and tail. Not to mention the internal injuries! I felt that I had to write a little bit about my opinion of burglary.

For me this story also hit a nerve, because I am constantly afraid of our cats getting brutalised for absolutely no good reason. I don’t particularly care about material possessions, as most of them can be easily replaced...but people and animals can’t! They are defenceless!

Seriously, burglary feels a little to me like wanting to keep up with the Jones’s. For example, you want a flat screen, plasma TV. Don’t save for it, or even put it on HP. No, just go and steal it from the house down the road.

What makes burglars believe that they DESERVE to steal someone else’s property for themselves, or to on-sell to make some cash??? Who the hell do you think you are?? What gives you the right?

Also, what makes some people think that they deserve to take what someone else has? Do they think that they are worse off because they had a bad childhood? Grow up, most people had bad thing happens in their childhood, and most of us can rise above it somewhat!

I don’t believe anyone deserves to be robbed. Rich or poor people still value their possessions! Not to mention anyone who is robbed probably feels a deep sense of invasion. “Hey, burglars p#ss off, get a job, don’t go to my house and steal my things, or hurt my cats”.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spring Vegetable Garden

When we moved into our new place we decided we really wanted a veggie garden. My friend and landlord kept saying “oh you need to put in your winter garden”. Suffice to say it’s nearly spring and we obviously did not put in a winter garden.

Perhaps if we had spent a little less creating virtual farms on Farmtown, then we would have actually made our own garden.

The area for the garden is pretty much ready, although it needs another weed before we raise it slightly and put soil and compost in.

The best thing is, is that we live in an incredibly fertile area. I think a lot of the land was actually market gardens. Citrus grows really well.

To be honest I am kind of excited and apprehensive about having a garden. I am excited because we get to grow our own food, but apprehensive because I really want it to work. Both my parents are avid gardeners, so it’s funny for me to not really have a green thumb in the slightest.

So Mark and I really need to get started, otherwise we are going to miss another season for gardening and growing our own beautiful, yummy vegetables.

Feeling a little more motivated now, perhaps we will weed this weekend and get the top soil and compost in!

Next year I might consider some spring flowers.

DVD Marathon

I managed to have a blob out day watching DVD’s yesterday (Sunday) which was quite nice. Waited for Mark to get up, and when that didn’t happen I started watching movies.

Started with Paperback Hero again, but DVD kept skipping so started watching Kickin’ it Old School, which was funny, although a little cringe-worthy at times. I decided against watching Vicky Cristina Barcelona, as just really wasn’t that keen. Then I had a bit of a break and did a bit of cleaning and loaded some stuff on Trade Me. I then watched Bride Wars which was quite good, and a little sad in parts.

Went out and picked up some bits and pieces for dinner, and strayed into the video store. I came out $8 poorer with Confessions of a Shopaholic (which I sincerely enjoyed) and Transporter 3 (loved the action and driving scenes...sure 3 movies is now sufficient?).

I didn’t even do any reading!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Love weekends away!

Mark and I have just got back from a superb trip to the picturesque Bay of Islands for the 2009 Jazz and Blues Festival ( We went with our good friends who absolutely love Jazz and we actually shared an apartment that had separate bedrooms (funnily enough) and bathrooms.

Friday 7th August, 2009
We managed to get away from Auckland in the late afternoon and started our drive up North. We made really good time, and I read my book until it got dark. We got to Paihia in 3.5 hours, which was pretty good considering it was a Friday. We waited about half an hour for Raewyn and Roy to arrive, and then popped into Franks on the waterfront for a drink, before heading into the ‘mall’ to get our badges from one of the venues.

Unfortunately, the bouncer at Cruza Bar would not even look at the tickets that we had that said “you can exchange these for badges at ANY venue”. So Cruza Bar, you get a fail this time! I am about to write a letter of complaint to the manager of this bar, and also the organizers as I was disgusted. This bar will NEVER get my business.

So a little dejectedly we headed down to the Paihia Pacific Resort, where the welcome was much friendly. We told them the problem that we had, had and they were a little annoyed on our behalf. Watched Barry Charles, who was extremely talented as was his amazing harmonica player. He isn’t really my style, but I could not help but admire talent. We then watched the first part of Shingle Bob’s set. I do not know where to start on this one, they are amazing! Their lead singer is fabulous and a true performer; awesome interaction with the audience. I could not stop talking about them all weekend. As a venue I think that the Paihia Pacific is a bit tired, and they definitely need to look at ventilation or air conditioning for next year.

On a side note, I was a little surprised to see that the Lighthouse Tavern/Bar was shut. I spent a lot of great ‘single girl’ nights there with friends, and for me it holds a great deal of memories. From the time that I had so many beers brought for me, the bartender leaned over and said “just tell me when you want your next beer, otherwise they will get warm” to doing the splits in the middle of the bar and our tongues turning different colours from all the Vodka Cruisers!

Saturday 8th August, 2009
We started the morning with a beautiful Salmon Omelette looking out over the bay from my favourite café (aptly named ‘Over the Bay’). I had decided that it was best to catch the ferry over to Russell early and get a good seat the Duke and stay there for the afternoon. So we wandered around for a bit and then had another hot drink and some chocolate cake, whilst watching the beautiful fish in the seawater tank at 35°. Mark and I then hoped on a ferry and managed to score a great table in the corner, and we settled in for an afternoon of great music, wine, beer and nibbles.

The lineup included Shingle Bob, Good Oil, Shimian, Brilleaux, Kokomo, Funky Do Da's and Riverhead Slide. I absolutely loved Brilleaux and Shingle Bob! We then went back to the Paihia Pacific which was absolutely packed! We sat outside in the foyer and had a drink. Met the girls selling the Brilleaux CD’s and then brought a couple for the drive home. We then popped back to our apartment and watched a bit of Telethon and then went to bed.

Sunday 9th August, 2009
Another lovely breakfast up at Waitangi, and then we drove up to Kerikeri to see the farmers market. I was really excited about the farmers market, but I was a little disappointed when we got there. Perhaps I am spoilt by our local farmers market in Oratia. Anyway, we brought some goodies and tried some crazy hot chili sauce!! We then drove back towards Auckland and stopped in at Makana confectionery where we got to drive some divine chocolate. There are no nasties in these yummy treats!

Got home and had cuddles with our cats, and then had a rather relaxing afternoon watching the end of Telethon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A towel or no towel...that is the question!

Okay, so realistically when I am at the gym I should really be concentrating on doing my exercise and not people watching. However, when doing cardio for 45 minutes at a time it’s hard not to look around to pass the time. What I have really noticed is the fact that quite a number of people don’t use towels when they work out. Personally I think that this is a bit gross.

I expect that most human beings sweat at some time or another. Just because you are skinny, doesn’t mean you don’t sweat! Also, the boys that are “too cool for towels”...get over it! I for one don’t want to have to get on a machine after someone has sweated all over it and not bothered to wipe it down for the next person. It really reminds me a bit of coming out of a Chemical Brothers concert dripping and realising that my t-shirt was not only wet from my sweat, but also the shirt-less, sweaty boys that were all around me. Pretty gross really!

So bring a towel people. It’s not that hard!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Quiz!

Got this quiz from girlwhoclicked's live journal...

Name 3 benefits you get from exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss.
1. More energy
2. Feeling of achievement
3. Proving to myself that I can find the motivation to choose life!

Name 3 things you like about exercising.
1. Increase in fitness
2. The music (how would I live without the perfect exercise selection on my iPod)
3. Seeing gym regulars

Name 3 things you could do to make your workouts more enjoyable.
1. Variety of exercises
2. Incorporate some outside activities i.e. cycling and tramping
3. Start doing some aerobics classes (boy have I missed those)

Describe your favourite exercise and why you like it.
Actually loving the Cross-trainer; when I first used this it was so hard and now I love it. Also, I love the fact that I can plug in my iPod.

What are some activities you'd try if only you were in better shape, stronger, more conditioned, etc.
Rock climbing, running, Body Attack, Body Jam, women’s triathlon, 40km bike around Taupo, Gymnastics!

Name your biggest obstacle to exercising. Now, name 3 ways to overcome it for your next workout.
1. Push past the “I don’t want to go to the gym” mindset
2. Changing the songs on my iPod
3. Coming home and getting into my gym gear straight-away and going out before I give myself the chance to change my own mind

Name some rewards you could give yourself for completing all your workouts for one week.
Beauty treatment
Putting my feet up and watching a DVD
Reading a book
Chocolate cake

Name some consequences for not doing your workouts.
Cleaning the house
Weeding the garden

Describe 3 ways in which exercise could improve your current and future quality of life if you did it consistently.
1. Being able to walk up a hill or stairs without feeling like dying
2. Live longer and sleep better
3. Feel and look better

What's your biggest fear when it comes to exercise? How realistic is this fear?
Honestly, I don’t think that I have one!!?

1st Wedding Annivesary

Well Mark and I just celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. Firstly, I cannot believe that we were married a year ago; the time has just gone so fast! Secondly, it’s really amazing that we made it to our first anniversary considering the amount of “challenges” we had during our first year.

We ended up booking a night at The Westin Hotel, which we absolutely love (perhaps biased as my sister works for Starwood hotels in New York) and had a beautiful dinner out.

There wasn’t a whole lot of planning involved, so we walked from the hotel to the viaduct and looked at different restaurant options. The one thing that really frustrates me is when staff members from restaurants approach you when you are looking at the menu and kind of try and pressure you to come inside. This put me off some lovely restaurants. In the end we settled on Kermadec restaurant which was absolutely exquisite. We were able to look out over the water where all the big yachts are moored, and watch the mist roll in and then roll back out. It was kind of eerie watching the mist around the yacht masts.

The cheese board and port was absolutely to die for!

Then we went back to the hotel and watched some music videos, and then went to sleep. Woke up at around 9am and went and had a beautiful breakfast in the hotel.

Then we went home and chilled out and had Indian for dinner.

All and all, it was a fantastic day and night.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gym Workout vs Gym Mirrors

At my gym there are mirrors everywhere. To me this is all about “checking your form” to ensure that you are doing exercises correctly, and not putting unnecessary strain on your body. However, when you are sweating and red in the face it’s not nice to be reminded that you are sweating and red in the face. It also serves as a poignant reminder that you don’t actually look like you think you do in your mind.

On the flip side, I am forced to concede that “yes I am overweight” and “yes, I have no one else to blame for this but myself”. The great thing is, is that I am starting to do something about it. So for the next few months, I will just have to stare down the mirrors and watch my body changing for the better.

I will not let the mirrors beat me!

Vanessa: 1
Gym Mirrors: 0

Creation of a new Blog

Last night while I was on the cross trainer at the gym, I started thinking about the social networking sites that I belong to, and the blogs that I have read. To be honest I was just trying to get to the end of a 45 minute workout and thinking about other things actually took my mind off it.

After my workout, I thought “why am I on so many social networking sites that I just don’t use” and “why didn’t I complete my 100 things to do in 2007?” So I decided to go home, and delete my Bebo, My Space, Live Journal and Yahoo360 accounts. This means that I now only have accounts with Twitter, Facebook and Blog Spot. I have been inspired by other people’s blogs that I have come across.

I want to update my Blog regularly, and keep it short, sweet and interesting and also go about trying 100 new things over the course of a year.

So here goes....wish me luck!!