Friday, July 28, 2006

I think mice are not nice

I am alone at home. My father is on holiday in the West Coast. I love having a few days of independence so I thought this was a good thing - until...

Last night I was watching a movie in the lounge, feeling self-satisfied, but then I saw a flash of brown run across the kitchen floor! UGH! I knew there was a mouse around the house because Dad's been leaving a trap out for it for ages, but I made him put the trap away when he went on holiday because I don't want to dispose of any dead bodies! But last night the mouse was literally running all over the kitchen, for about half an hour straight while I watched a movie in the lounge! I finally freaked out entirely and went to bed at 7:30pm. I HATE MICE.

Photo: two of my nephews, Sam and Alex. We have them around on Wednesdays after school every week. Here they are playing our keyboard.

Monday, July 24, 2006


As you may have seen on the index of this page, in the "Currently Reading" list, I have been reading Possession (A Romance), by A. S. Byatt, for a few weeks now. I seem to be reading it in huge marathon-like chunks and then put it down for a while before picking it up again, and today I've read a hefty chunk which has been so amazingly fantastic that I can't resist recommending it on here.

It isn't an easy read. Yet once it gets going I can scarcely put it down. It is written about two modern academics who discover some letters written by a nineteenth century poet they have devoted their lives to studying, written to a woman, also a writer. This sets them on the track of this huge story that could change the face of all the study done so far on these two poets. The novel makes these academics, in a way, into detectives, and I could never have guessed how exciting and suspenseful the book would be. It follows the story of the two poets, and at the same time follows the story of the academics, and is just so well written that it makes most other literature look like child's play.

The most amazing this about this story is that A. S. Byatt completely made up the two poets. They are absolutely fictional. Yet she has created an entire canon of works written by them, letters by them and writing or diaries by people associated with them. She has created a whole fictional modern academia devoted to studying them. And I had no idea they weren't real until my sister, who lent me the book, told me, because it all rings so true.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

feeling God

I don't usually like to go into huge detail about the spiritual things I'm thinking about at whatever moment when I write my blog. But here's a quote that I thought was so great and so relevant to that worry that a heck of a lot of Christians have - "but I don't feel God". It's from The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis. [It may help to know that this book is written from the perspective of a senior devil called Screwtape instructing a younger devil called Wormwood how best to tempt his 'patient' away from Christianity. Here, he is talking about God.]

Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the most faint and mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. ... He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs - to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. ... He wants them to learn to walk, and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Friday, July 21, 2006

ying and yang

Today I am feeling both positive and negative... hence the "ying and yang" title for today.

The first, big, positive news: U2 have rescheduled their concerts! Yippee! The one I was going to, on March 17, will now be on November 24 this year. And I managed to book flights, as my friend Katie with whom I'm going texted me as soon as she heard - I have a feeling there will be some people who left it too late and haven't managed to get any. All the same, the airlines will probably schedule more flights for that weekend.

So that is my positive thing for today. Yet, I have promised myself not to get excited. I doubt they will cancel again because that would just be too evil. But up till now everything has seemed to go wrong in terms of this concert except for the fact that I managed to get tickets to start with.

Negative thing: I've been sick and gross. Yuck. It's just the flu-ey, cold-y, winter thing mainly, but today most of the worst of that has gone and I'm exhausted still. So I haven't been able to go on the Navs camp this weekend, which was really disappointing. (Navs is the Christian group I'm in at university, and they have a winter camp every year - it's always really fun.)

On the bright side, however, this means I get to see my sister Felicity and her husband Mike, who have come down for the weekend and who I was going to miss otherwise. On the other hand, however, they're going to Vanuatu from here and so I will have to listen to Felicity gloating for the whole weekend. :)

[Photos: more from up the hill, the time Finlay screamed at the gunshots.]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Greg and Finlay.
Dad, Greg and Viv at the park.
Viv and Finlay on the see-saw. I think these two fiddled-with photos look like the sort of thing the government would put on a brochure called "Working for Families" or something :)

Tonight I cast off the mantle of the past and venture forward into the bright, bright future!

[Translated: I have finally weedled my way out of having to play the hugest bass recorder in my recorder ensemble and I get to play tenor!!]

If you want the technical name for this instrument I have finally got rid of, it's called a sub-contra bass recorder in C. It goes as low as a cello. I have been The Player Of It at music for about three years or more now as no one else wants to learn the fingering, which is completely different to any other recorder (C fingering in bass clef), and this year I have begun to Tire. I want a change. I've loved playing it in the past and you certainly get a lot of attention with it (it's taller than me) but there comes a point where I'm sick of things and need a change. So, The Playing Of It has been given to a boy called Matt who will now have to figure out all the fingering. Hooray!

If you are reading this and wondering why on earth anyone would bother making more than one kind of recorder aka torture instrument - recorders are actually very beautiful instruments when played properly. Rather like violins in that sense.

Photos: some more fiddled with for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

ice skating

Our church youth group went ice skating last night. I had to organise it because Uelese and I are The Organisers, but I hate ice skating and so I simply sat and watched from the sidelines.

All right, so I don't hate ice skating; I have to admit it looks so fun and it looks easy. It's just that every time I have been forced to go skating for the last nineteen years of my life (ie, my whole life), I've always had to join in because that's what you have to do as a child or you look like you're a wimp or no fun and then I always ended by humiliating myself. So it was such a pleasure to go along to something like this and discover I have graduated to 'adult' status and no one can force me to do anything I don't want to do anymore! And even if they did, I would have absolutely no problem shooting them down in flames because I have learnt to be assertive! Hallelujah! So I sat on the side with a coffee and chatted to the other couple of adults there who didn't want to skate and I watched people.

I think you can learn a lot about human nature from watching people do things like skating. You can watch the little kids with their eyes shining, wobbling around holding their dad's hand. You can watch the cool girls wearing miniskirts and pretending they're not freezing their butts off who skate into their friends on purpose and flirt with the boys. You can watch the athletic boys who skate in that conscious way, ie, I'm-not-aware-anyone's-watching-me-but-if-they-were-I-must-say-I-look-pretty-fly-the-way-I'm-so-speedy-and-cool.

Photos: I was playing around with some of the photos I took last week. These are from the playground, again. I will probably add some more fiddled-with photos.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

am I dying?

I'm sure everyone can relate to this feeling; at least, I'm pretty sure most females can! You know when:

a) you have a headache --> you must have a brain tumour
b) you have slightly swollen glands --> you must have meningitis
c) your period is slightly late --> you must be pregnant (regardless of lack of sexual activity)
d) you're a little out of breath --> you're about to have a heart attack
e) your foot hurts --> you've got gangrene
f) etc. etc.

The weirdest thing about this phenomenon is that the more convinced you become of your own terminal illness, despite a massive lack of evidence, the more determined you are not to see a doctor because that would make it real.

Weird, eh?

Friday, July 14, 2006


I have been contemplating making a concerted effort to get a job. I'm eligible for a pretty reasonable student allowance, so I don't desperately need one, especially as I live at home, but you know how money is - you always "need" more.

However, in the midst of contemplation I realised how crazy my life is; I feel rather busy even in the first week of semester, which should usually be a relaxed week of lethargy/going to the occasional class. And I quite like having my weekends more or less free. Sigh... what to do? Greed versus laziness should be the real title of my blog.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Lydia in lavender, matching the playground.
Lewis about to lower himself down the slide.
Lydia emerging from the covered section of the slide.
The rather cool steps up from the bottom of the slide to the top.

Yesterday afternoon Viv and family and Dad and I walked to a great playground with a long, fast slide and a river nearby at which you can feed ducks. So... more photos!

Today I started my second semester of university for the year. I always like the first week, it's quite exciting... but then, I wonder should I? Because I know very well that it will almost certainly lead to stressed and busy weeks in the near future! I guess it's wise to enjoy it while I can. I'm really excited about the class I started today: War and Society 1900-1945. Which means, basically, World Wars I and II. It is taught by my favourite lecturer ever, which makes such a huge difference to a class. I'm looking forward to starting a couple more classes tomorrow.

sign of the bellbird

Lewis at the Sign of the Bellbird. (Some slightly eccentric settler built houses all over the hills which are all given some bird name such as Sign of the Kiwi, Sign of the Takahe, etc. This one has been allowed to go to ruin, but the other two I mentioned are now tea rooms and a restaurant, respectively.)
Walking through the woods. I didn't like this photo when I first looked at it but then I imagined the little streaks of light were fairies darting around and I quite like it now!
Greg (Viv's husband) + sun, at Victoria Park.
Viv and Lewis inside the Sign of the Bellbird.
Lydia and Lewis at Victoria Park, looking suspiciously like poster children, I think.

My sister Viv and her family, who I stayed with a couple of weeks ago, have just been in Christchurch for a few days (left this morning), so I have been well entertained, what with zoo visits, walks, playgrounds etc. :) On Friday we went up the Port Hills to the Sign of the Bellbird and to Victoria Park and I took these photos there.

The six of us wandered around a track for a while. Despite it being very muddy we were having fun... until... gunshots went off in the distance (probably some DOC ranger). Explosions/bangs are Finlay's pet fear, probably inherited from his big brother Lewis, who is now very scornful of Finlay's fear but about a year ago would have been just as much in hysterics as Finlay, who clapped his hands over his ears, launched into a series of constant screams, and refused to stop until we were well away and ice cream was in hand. It was interesting. He was completely beyond the point of rationality. :)

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I taught my nephew Lewis (7) how to write in phonetics because he's really into writing in code at the moment! It was really surprising how quickly he managed to pick it up. This is a letter he wrote to me. Yes, several mistakes, if you read phonetics, but really quite good for a seven year old! This is what it says:
Dear Allie,
You are so cute I could love you until your skin comes off! Am I cute?
From Lewis.
P.S. Please reply.
Yes... Lewis is a very... creative boy. :)

Monsters, by Finlay. Me, by Finlay! He was in a funny mood and decided to draw me anatomically incorrectly. :) If you can't read the typing, my ears are on my legs, my feet are on my stomach and my hands are sticking out of my skull.

This is my 150th post on this blog!!!! I think this calls for some celebration.

So... I have been shopping and bought CLOTHES. It feels so so so good, although I really shouldn't have bought them right now. I got new jeans (desperately needed), a black jersey, a black jacket, some grey trousers, and a black shirt. (I love black clothes but I haven't got any for a while, and I am in great need of slightly formal clothes, so...) It also helps that almost every item of clothing I bought was on sale! :)