little red jottings

when a little red pen wanders off the page

Tag: spring

Ooops, I didn’t mean to be away that long

Awkward. I was going to write a post about my new job and then I was going to write a post about Fiji and then I was going to write a post about Rabbit’s bike and then I was going to write a post about family life and then I was going to write a post about books and then I was going to write another post about my new job and then I was going to write a post about something else, chickens or politics or coffee or washing or Lionboy or asparagus most likely, and probably definitely about the garden at some point, which has been The Project most weekends lately and now we have 46 kinds of edible things growing in it and here’s some spring evening photos because I’m sorry I’ve been away and I might be back.

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A new house on an old hill, part II

We’ve been in this house for a year now, a full turning of the seasons, a trip round the sun. The sun and the rain are in a constant interplay, and the garden is rioting. I don’t want to get panicked by all the growth; I want to embrace the mess, the vitality, the shaggy glory of it all.

So, photos. Framing, perspective and a bit of wonder. That should do the trick.


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A nothing sort of day

This is the second day in a row I’ve sat by the fire and spent too much time on the internet and a bit of time writing. It’s NOT IDEAL. I’d prefer to lose myself in some mildly tricky but non-essential and yet well-paid work like restructuring a document or proof-reading or, I don’t know, entering data in a table. I should be preparing for August workshops or doing my business plan or making things for Nona’s baby or going for a walk or gardening, and, failing that, I should be doing more of the writing and less of the internetting. Still, here we are.

Partly, it’s the cold. I’m in the warmest patch of the house, and if I move more than two metres, I’ll be cold again. That’s not very motivating. Operation Convince Ian That We Need A Supplementary Heating System got some momentum over the weekend when we realised that the wood supply was about to run out and all the suppliers in town are too busy to deliver and don’t have dry wood anyway so we need to gather and chop all the fuel we need from Dad’s place, which is reasonably straightforward, but not as reasonably straightforward as paying someone to dump a load of dry timber in useable sizes on our driveway. Anyway, we’ve got wood for the week and we’ll get more over the coming weekend and then it will be almost August and that’s SPRING, right? Relatedly, the sky is a dense white grey and snow is forecast and none of the bulbs have stuck their pretty green shoots out yet. Also, if you ring a wood supplier and they hem and haw and say that the wood is only 70% dry, what does that even mean? Will it burn? Will it dry out if we stack it for a few weeks? How do they measure it? Yes, so there’s the cold.

There’s also the introversion thing. I’m pretty comfortable acknowledging that I’m an introvert, even if I do have conversations like this:

Colleague: How do you find working on your own?

Me: Fine. I mean, I’m an introvert, and all.

Colleague (total shock): Are you? Really? You don’t seem like one.

Me (confused and quickly doing a self-check of identity): Yes, yes, I really am.

Colleague: Well, you’re a very high-functioning one!

I’m not sure what introversion means in this conversation, and it’s true that sometimes I am capable of carrying out a coherent and meaningful conversation with another person, although the chances are higher if

  1. I know them
  2. I like them
  3. there’s only one of them

but for me what it really comes down to is that I get scatty and tired engaging with other people for long stretches of time and need some time to myself to recharge before getting back in the middle of it all. Sort of like this. And this scatty−recharging dynamic exists even in close relationships, like with my partner and children, which always takes me a while to recognise and admit because, EMBARRASSING, no? Getting worn out by people that I love and have either chosen to spend my life with or have actually given birth to and nurtured from sweet babyhood into long-legged, ball-kicking, book-reading boydom.

Anyway, eight years into this parenting gig, I’ve started to learn how to read the signs, which is why towards the end of a ten-day holiday I had to say things like, “I’m getting a bit peopled-out now” and also why I now find myself sitting very quietly, letting my mind run off in various directions without trying to corral or even follow it very much. I’m just refilling the bucket, is all.

However. I’m also approaching mid-life, if not a mid-life crisis, and I’m a bit bored. I need more work, less daily grind, more crazy projects with the kids, more focused writing time, less Facebook, more reading, more resolution of wider family bullshit, more exercise, less cheese, less coffee, more water, less scatter, more patience, more drive. Watch this space.


Taking stock

I’m on a new mission to WRITE REGULARLY, which I imagine will go much like my perpetual mission to EXERCISE MORE and BE NICER, ie. I’ll slowly build up my capacity to do these things over a few months, then lapse, then get cross with myself, then start again, although hopefully from a slightly better starting point than the last time. If I look back, I am fitter and writing more than a couple of years ago, but I’m still a cranky old troll, so I guess that’s five points to will power and habit and ten points off for genetics and embedded personality types.

Anyway. We’re home after an excellent holiday in Melbourne, and I have nothing much to say, so I thought I’d just do a general round-up of my state, mood, environment and outlook.

1. The world is unbearably sad and it’d be great if people could stop shooting each other, planes, animals, etc.

2. The rivers are all fucked and I felt less responsible for this when I wasn’t eating cheese.

3. Keeping warm requires significant effort, wood-chopping, fire maintenance and hot drink consumption during the Dunedin winter.

4. I discovered the Dixie Chicks. Slow, I know.

5. If I can watch five episodes of West Wing in the time it takes Ian to watch one, should I bowl ahead and let him catch up in his own sweet time, or should this be a “together” activity?

6. My sister’s having a baby really soon! And I’ll be there! And she is amazing! And I am really looking forward to meeting the wee one! You can expect more exclamationary posts on this topic in weeks to come.

7. Our house is not sunny, but it is light, clean (this week), and pretty.

8. Soon it will be spring and the bulbs will come up.

9. The Cat’s favourite holiday activities were: iPad (strictly rationed), soccer, the zoo, the children’s farm, and book shopping. He just got 30 soccer books out of the library. I really must remember that he’s an introvert and needs equal doses of fresh air and solitude. This shouldn’t be hard. He’s quite a lot like me.

10. The Rabbit’s favourite holiday activity was vacuum cleaning, and he deeply appreciated the heating system in the house we stayed in. I should remember that he likes to keep his burrow warm and tidy. This shouldn’t be hard. He’s quite a lot like me.

Little markers

Well, we’ve come a full turn. The snowdrops by the washing line are out, pale heads noodling in the shadows. The tulip leaves are fat and funnel-shaped in the ground. The camellias are in the pink, the rhododendrons a flick of white in the corner of my eye. I’ve made a new work plan, and it’s workshop season. There’s some warmth in the breeze; each day spins a little longer. Short sleeves are on the horizon.

One year on this blog, and we’re back in spring again.


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