Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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Going through it

Michael’s Rosen’s “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” is one of the favourite books in our house. I love the illustrations and the rhythm. But most of all I love the sentiment – “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it….oh no, we’ve got to go through it!” And boy have we been going through it this weekend.

We’ve been sick. The whole lot of us. It’s inspiring me to get a t-shirt printed:  “Gastro: It’s a whole lot more awesome when the entire family gets it. At the same time.” Do you think it will be a best seller?? Hmmm, I guess people don’t want to broadcast they have gastro. Or leave the house. We left the house for exactly five minutes today…woohoo!

I hate gastro. I got a terrible case of it when I was travelling around Europe with my friend in a campervan. It lasted for three weeks and I was really miserable. And skinny! And tired. I got pretty snazzy at asking to use a bathroom in the oddest of places though.

The worst part about this bout of gastro actually has nothing to do with my aches and pains. It’s seeing B2 sick. Oh, I hate it!! She’s so upset and not sleeping and her sad face breaks my heart. On top of that she is teething, just an extra little bonus for the poor mite. It’s just not fair. Kids shouldn’t have to be sick. There should be some kind of leave pass, don’t you think?

A close runner up to the-worst-part-about-this-gastro is not being able to enjoy food. I’ve put myself on the old BRAT diet, as white rice for five days straight seemed to be the only cure to my last terrible gastro. So that means nothing but bananas, rice, applesauce or toast for me. Uggghhhh. I feel so resentful. It really makes you appreciate food in a whole new way when you can’t have it, doesn’t it? I’m day-dreaming about food like it is a lover. And I distinctly remember the first food I enjoyed after I’d recovered in Europe. Chocolate Salami.

(photo credit: http://www.tasteinspired.wordpress.com)

I know, I know, it sounds dreadful doesn’t it? Perhaps the Portugese explanation – Chocolate Chorizo – is a little more elegant? At any rate, it is delicious. As rotten as I feel right now, just writing about it is making my mouth water. There are few meals I remember with such poignancy and they all involve a serious level of hunger preceding it. Chocolate chorizo is no exception. When I ate it I was so ready for something tastier than white rice and as soon as I spied it in a tiny, local supermarket in a town on the coast that was famous for lace (name escapes me, memory of chocolate chorizo does not) I knew it was mine to be had. It is completely meat-free, of course, it just looks like salami (cheeky!). It has a lovely brownie texture, perhaps a little firmer after being in the fridge, and stodgier, uncooked. Like a rum ball? As you slice through sweet tea biscuits show themselves in pale studs and sometimes other fruit and nuts too. It’s simple and not too sweet, surely the mark of a perfect dessert. You cut it into thick slices and then share. Or not.

After my dinner of white rice (with salt, oooh la la) I’m almost ready to head to bed. I am writing this at 8pm. On a Saturday night. Did I mention I feel resentful?! I just have to keep reminding myself of Rosen’s wisdom – sometimes there’s nothing for it but going through it. Nothing to make it better or easier, no getting over or under it, just bearing it. I’m not good at doing nothing to solve a problem, perhaps that’s what I need to learn. There is one tiny comfort though. Dreams of chocolate chorizo and memories of travels through Portugal. And resolving to try this recipe once we’re all well.

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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A wedding story

I love a love story. Don’t you? I’ll take almost any kind. The love of a dog, a sister, a child, a mother. But there is a little something extra special about a love story that ends in a wedding.

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I’m convinced I’m not alone. This weekend I had two weddings to attend, both of them my cousin’s – one hindu and the other western. They were utterly different in style, colour, noise, formality, food, decor and location. And yet…

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Watching people at a wedding is a bit like watching children at a magic show. Their jaws go a little slack, their eyes doe-like. They don’t notice other people noticing them. All eyes fixed forward. They gaze at the bride as if she is a religious vision. They stare at her hair, run their eyes over her dress, the silk and the lace, oh-the-lace!, spy the little white tips of her shoes and then quickly back up to her face. The dark lashes, the pink cheeks, the small, elegant, smile. She’s looking at him now. They follow the love passing between them and feel a heart-swell inside their chests. It’s almost too private to watch. Look, she adores him. They press their fingers to their mouths or look at the floor so as not to cry.

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When Matt and I got married people I have known for years suddenly seemed shy speaking with me, The Bride. I couldn’t stop kissing Matt, my jaw ached from smiling, I barely ate and time slipped right through my fingers. People paused mid-stride in the street and tried to sneak a peek into the wedding car. I felt like a rockstar. I’ve never before or since felt so full up, so beautiful, so radiant with joy. The rush.

As the wedding guests watch the happy couple they think of the person they love. They turn to them. They remember the first moments. The perfect and true ones. When it was all so simple and love conquered all. Disagreements dissolve, worries subside. Like a tide retreating from the shore and all that is left is that wonderful, glittery, golden sand. The pure stuff.

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And in those moments I wonder if it’s the wedding I love or the emotion in the people who are there. There is a certain something about a wedding, isn’t there? It doesn’t even matter if you know what is going on. During the Sri Lankan ceremony the priest was speaking in sanskrit. I had no idea what he was saying and neither did eighty per cent of the guests, Sri Lankan or otherwise. But his voice shivered on through the bones nonetheless. The couple stepped around a fire seven times; each one to represent a blessing for a strong union (including sharing in joys and sorrows, growing together in strength and being lifelong friends). Drums were beaten, petals were thrown, whoops went up from the crowd. We watched the love pass between them and we sighed to one another.

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Oh yes, we do love a love story.

Hugs, Hannah x

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Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

 

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Spring Clean

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I’ve done it. I’ve just sent my current work-in-progress (WIP) to my agent to review. After that, off it goes to the publisher by the end of this month to sucessfully meet the stipulated “February 2013” deadline. Phew! Just by the skin of my teeth! I was recently chatting with a “person-in-publishing” and she estimated that only one in four writers meet their submission deadlines and I was quite stunned. And determined. I will be that 25%, goshdarnit!

So, as you can imagine, I was relieved and chuffed to get it sent off. Then, as soon as I sat back from the computer screen, something weird happened. Since your last post I’ve been pondering about my own writing habits and rituals and what I observed as soon as I had emailled off the manuscript was that I needed to clean. Deep, down and dirty clean. Get obsessively organised clean. I assume it is a strange “manuscript submission cleaning frenzy syndrome” (M.S.C.F.S?) or maybe my body clock is still on North American seasons and I have got a Spring clean bug. What’s your diagnosis? Have you got it too? Does it happen after submitting your work-in-progress?

Perhaps it’s more noticeable to me because, well, I do not love to clean. I love the place being clean, I just don’t love doing it. Martha Stewart I am not. There are some chores I don’t mind quite as much as others (cleaning out the fridge, vacuuming, clothes washing) but other chores I have been putting off for a, ahem, disgraceful amount of time. During the manuscript writing time I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to do anything much more than stack the dishwasher and throw clothes into the machine, to be honest with you. Cleaning settled right at the bottom of the priority pile. But as soon I’d hit the sent button on the manuscript….those messy, grubby, cluttered areas were firmly in my sights.

I started with B1’s room. Drawers have been labelled, baby clothes stored away, things folded.

B2’s things also did not escape organisation. More labelling, more tidying. B2 helped by pulling all of the nappies out of their neat stack. Thanks, darling.

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The bookshelf, bane of my husband’s existence (“How can one person have SO many books? But haven’t you read that one already?” I mean, I can’t even respond to those questions, you know?!) finally, finally, got sorted. I stacked up books to give away and have been passing them out, one by one, to my friends when we catch up. A soup cookbook for my sister-in-law, A New Zealand wine book for my favourite cafe owner. It’s been great fun pairing up people and books, like a book-matchmaker, and my own shelf is much tidier for it. Don’t tell Matt but he was right, a cull was really required.

I still have our bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen on the hit-list. Matt did the laundry, bless him, perhaps just to get out of my way as I raced around like a woman possessed. Those areas are going to take a good dose of courage and mettle. A significant amount of elbow grease. When we moved I never bothered to sort out my jewellery and related bits; there is a whole mess of a shelf comprised of bracelets, knotted necklaces and solo earrings. Not to mention the dust that needs dealing with. The stuff that hides in the corners the vacuum can’t be bothered with, the stuff that is on top of and at the back of the fridge. Shudder. A fellow kiwi friend came over to visit last night and she assures me that Australia has a lot more dust than New Zealand. I think she was just trying to be nice, if you know what I mean.

It’s lucky I have this newfound energy for cleaning because, clearly, there is a lot to be done. I’m just trying to use it while it lasts. And before my publisher comes back with a list of suggestions and proposed revisions the length of my broom handle, the thickness of my mega-sponge. Because when that happens the cleaning is going to be as important as it usually is – not at all.

Hugs, Hannah x

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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