Friday, December 22, 2006
Paid NZ Post to redirect our mail. Cost $30.
Registered Sam's car. Never mind that the form has been lying around for three weeks - he texted me and asked me to do it TODAY cos it expires tomorrow. Gotta love the procrastination, although I guess the later you do it the longer you get out of the 12 months you pay for. Or does it not run from the date you pay? Meh. Cost $180ish.
Nearly ready to move the big stuff tomorrow. Truck: $35 plus 35c/km. Hoping to do it in one go rather than two.
Xmas Dinner at K and R's tonight. Cost: Dessert and drinks.
Xmas Dinner on the 25th at my place. Priceless. Thanks Mum!
Christmas and moving are both expensive, although I'm happy only ONE of those comes once a year!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Most of the house is now boxed up and moved, or ready to move. The big stuff goes on Saturday. I love that our house is split level, but the stairs will be a killer for the washing machine and fridge and beds! I just hope it isn't raining.
Monday, December 18, 2006
When Maths Teachers go out to dinner...
...well, not much happens out of the ordinary. I was home by 9pm. What a Nanna.
We also gave Wee Man a bath
He didn't really enjoy it but he smells a lot nicer now.
I have a house full of boxes, more boxes in the car, and loads of nervous energy. I'm waiting for a phone call from the agent to say that the lawyers have confirmed all is well and I can have the keys. Until then I just have to sit tight and wait. Bored bored bored... I want to get moving!!!
I never realised we had so much stuff! We have now packed 13 boxes full of books and six boxes of CDs. This time when we unpack we will merge my CDs with Sam's. Dunno why it's taken us over four years of living together to do that. The final step on the committment ladder, perhaps?
This week I am also teaching swimming - private lessons at Huia, from 3 - 5.30pm. Bad timing, but it will help pay for a few presents this Christmas.
Ring, phone, ring dammit!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Today we signed all the important banking stuff at Westpac and the important lawyer stuff at the Lawyer's place. YAY!
School is about to end tomorrow. I have the UHC van and will be doing the 'school run' for the five or six people nearby who want to get boozed after prizegiving. The aftermatch is at the Speight's Alehouse in Petone. Sweet.
Sam's work is winding down for Christmas so they have hardly any boxes for us. I WANNA PACK, MAN!! (not to be confused with I want a Pac-Man) :) Anyone got a source that can hook me up?
Friday, December 08, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Please all think positive thoughts about Kelson today. No little K, it's not the one on your street. Further down on the right hand side :)
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
A jaunty angle
This is me just before leaving our motel unit in Napier for Matt and Tania’s wedding. The invite said “Black tie – hats encouraged” And I’m glad they were or I would have ended up with a severe case of sunstroke. I had trouble figuring out what the big yellow thing was up in the sky, as I hadn’t seen it for soooooo long. Now considering moving to Napier. Yeah that’s right, trade one fault line for another. Way to go earthquake-phobic girl :)
Here’s some more piccies. Didn’t we look dashing! We are at the Church Rd winery in case you were wondering. Or not.
After feeling really uncomfortable for the first couple of minutes after our not-so-fashionably-late-more-like-unavoidably-late arrival at Cal’s place, things looked a lot more rosy after I got some good food into me. Thanks Morgue and little K and Cal for sorting me out and giving me hugs, oh and thanks Aaron for Organising Everyone. And I got to meet my long lost twin properly in the flesh and actually talked to her In Real Life (tm). We shared self portrait tips and agreed on the perfect angle for taking them. What fun.
I arrived after the bit where everyone had to say what they were thankful for.
I’m thankful I missed it.
I cried reading Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince on the way up to Napier.
That is all.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Still no place grabbing us. Is it too much to expect all the boxes to be ticked? I don't want to settle for "it's nice enough, but... (insert something not as good here)
Mr and Mrs Reading
Congratulations go out to my bestest friend ever, Sarah, and her new hubby Ronnie. Yay for getting married! In Rarotonga even! Party this weekend should be awesome. I have bought them the coolest pressie - As Sarah reads this blog I can't say what it is, but notkate will know it (from that shop in Greytown, think electricity...)
Ours was at Lane Park, an old factory in Upper Hutt that has been turned into a church space. It's MASSIVE, but we had the entire student body from years 11, 12 and 13, a bunch of parents, family and 80+ staff, and it was completely full. Some people even had to stand. I remember about 4 years ago it was only about half full - either our roll has really grown since then or more people now take the 'compulsory' instruction seriously.
The Dux was a student I have never taught, but the joint Proxeme were students I taught in Year 10. Yay me!! Cos it's all about me of course. Actually, despite being a Dean I didn't even get to hand any prizes out - as they only used one of each dean from each house, and I got to do it last year. I played in the band though, so everyone got to see how cool I look with a clarinet in my mouth and a red face from playing it. Clarinets are so not sexy - Allyson Hannigan made the right choice with the flute, in my opinion.
I'm coaching a combined 10A/10B netball team against a visiting side from Aussie today - should be fun.
Monday, November 06, 2006
... is exactly two years ago.
The morning was damp and misty, but the weather cleared to make a fantastic afternoon and a marvellous evening. I cried lots, as did my Mum and Sister, and probably my Dad. Kind of silly really, as it was THE BEST DAY EVER in my whole life!!!
Love you Sammy!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I spent the first ten minutes trying to get K to admit to taking it. Even though FOUR other people in his class swore they saw him go into the teacher's desk drawer and remove something he wouldn't admit it. Eventually he did when I threatened to take him to the principal.
Then I spent another ten minutes trying to figure out what happened to it after K took it. It seems he passed it to J, who looked after it while Mr L. searched his bag, then he got it back and in a fit of good morals gave it to someone who knew the owner. But J still had the earphones so he told that person to see J. J meanwhile had given the earphones to T, another friend of the owner.
So I spent over half an hour pissing about trying to locate said iPod (which was now back in the owner's pocket) and the headphones, which turned up in T's pocket. WHICH HE DIDN"T MENTION THE WHOLE TIME I was talking to him about witnessing the original theft!!!
Bastards! So much for my non-contact period.
* Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Very tired. Photos to follow when I get them printed and on a disc (Sam has the digital camera in Oz)
I think I got flashed by a speed camera by Newlands. I was doing 90 but the neon thingys said 80. Bugger.
I'm dancing for Diwali on Sunday. 7.10, 7.50, and 8.20pm. Three different dances. Come watch! The 7.50 is in the Michael Fowler Centre, the other two are in Civic Square. I guess we might be in the Town Hall if the weather is dodgy.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
It's up on the right hand side, if you are facing into the valley. Apparently they have a separate name for this bit - Holborn, cos it's mostly Holborn Drive up there. We would have a view down onto the (Stokes) valley floor, which is nice. The pool isn't that far away either. I assume the neighbours across the road have a view over the Hutt Valley, which would be nicer.
Would people come visit us there?
Sunday, October 15, 2006
It's like they actually KNOW me! Spooky.
I did my "Sun Latte Womens 5/10/15k Run/Walk" today. I ran 5.3km in almost exactly 40 mins. Massive headwind for half the course, but the home stretch had a tailwind which was good or I might not have made it. Little K beat me by 30 seconds or so. I just didn't have the legs to close the gap after sticking with her until the last few hundred metres. I hurt in a good way.
Been to two of the Hen's nights. One to go. Managed not to get drunk at either, which was a necessity as they were in Tawa and Papakowhai (i.e. MILES away) so I drove to both. And I had to run today so didn't want to have a hangover.
4 nice open homes today. Fell in love with another one. Ah well.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
My definition of holding: Stand your ground, don't let the attacking player get past you. If they contact you by trying to go through (rather than round), AND you're not moving into them, then it's their contact and I get the ball.
The knowledgeable attacker will counteract this by dodging ROUND the defender.
Knowledgeable is the key word, however.
Instead, this player runs AT me, and pushes against me with all her weight. I am forced to push against her merely to stand my ground and remain upright. (or give in and fall over. In hindsight, maybe if I fell over EVERY time it might have forced the ref to do something). Anyway, she keeps saying to me, "stop pushing". In return I say "Learn the rules luv, I'm holding - go ROUND me". She then has the nerve to attempt to show me what holding looks like (which looks exactly like what I'm doing, the only difference being, there is no mutant pushing against HER with all their weight). Perhaps I should have told her that I don't enjoy her girly mound pushing against my ass every time she comes into the circle.
But the ref did nothing.
We won anyway, but it pisses me off that she has been playing almost a whole season (and maybe more) but she hasn't yet been pulled up for this behaviour. Netball is supposed to be FUN dammit! (Actually, I quite enjoyed winding her up - being about twice her weight there was no way I was going to get pushed over by her unless I wanted that to happen). And I won the ball off her three times when she thought she had got away with contacting me. Ha!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
In the next 8 weeks, I am going to 3 hen's nights and 2 weddings. In case you're wondering why not three weddings, it's in Rarotonga, and no-one's invited to that one :)
I have bought two gifts already, of course BEFORE I got the official invites, two of which say "please put money into our travel fund". Dammit.
Ah well, looks like I've now got some funky new homewares for me and the hubby.
On another note, I finally organised our wedding pics into an album. Only took nearly 2 years. Although I gather that's pretty fast compared to some people.
Monday, October 02, 2006
* Drove to Taupo, arrived late as! (10.30pm)
* 'Lunch' at 3.30pm!
* Drinking, Dinner and Dancing
* Huka Jet
* Skydiving. Even just watching it was fun :) Happy birthday Michelle!!
* Huka Jet Boat. Yay for 360 degree turns!
* Meeting up with Damon on the road at Paraparaumu.
* Just missing a speeding hedgehog (near Marton)
* Narrowly avoiding a rockfall hitting the car (Mangaweka)
* Drive-by abuse. "I wish you were all fucking dead, you mother fucking bunch of faggots!!" from some strange teenagers in a car as we sat outside at a cafe, having brekkie
* "You look HOT" from some random guy in a bar - yay me!
* Lowered Rav 4 on the main street in Taupo (Oh Dear)
* Organising 12 people is like herding cats. Sheesh...
* Not able to afford the skydiving. One day, baby!
* No AC baths, but swam at the motel instead, which was almost as nice, if only 8m long. Hard to do laps in, but I managed OK
* No mini golf, cos we ran out of time and wanted to get home
Friday, September 29, 2006
I need ideas though. So far we have only got a few things on our list, namely:
1 Swim at AC Baths (preferably at night)
2 Do tourist shots at Huka Falls, whilst faking German accents
3 Craters of the Moon
What else can we do? I can see us just sitting round the pool at the Motel, drinking copious amounts of alcohol if we don't have enough to do. Not that THAT sounds too bad...
Anyway, comments please!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
My big sister was pregnant at Steven's funeral. Megan turns 6 months old today.
You can see a picture of Steven here if you are interested. He looks so much like my Dad. He often says I remind him of Steven. I like that.
Monday, September 18, 2006
I can't WAIT for the holidays! Only four days to go. That's 12 lessons. Only have to see my snotty Year 9s four times thank goodness.
End-of-term-itis always hits worst in Term 3 for some reason. I guess because this is the time of year that the Year 10s finally start to grow up and the Year 9s take over the mantle of 'little sh*ts'. I blame hormones. And teachers not being firm enough because they're tired at the end of term. And their parents of course.
Sam's Party was Aaaaawesome! The music went off, my decorations didn't look too naff, and I didn't get too drunk. I might finally be finding my limit. Not bad, only took me 13 years. NotKate gave me a belated birthday present too - an awesome wooden 3-D fish. Kind of like a jigsaw. Yay! My husband has some lovely friends. Pity one of them was married, eh, D?
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
We took Megan for her first swim today. She loved it! Mum came along and took lots of pictures. I love having my Niece in town :) The pool attendant was watching us swim as Megan was the CUTEST BABY IN THE WORLD (tm)
My hair is very short. I look bald. I also write short sentences. Ah, well.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Saturday, my Sister and Niece flew in from Blenheim to spend the week up here. Yay! Then I went to my netball prizegiving, where I won not one, but TWO prizes!
First was the award for most player of the days. Actually, NINE people had got it three games each so instead of the usual cup that gets awarded to one person, we all got a box of choccies. This is despite me being 99% sure I actually had four PoD's this season. Ah well, who am I to deny 8 other people a box of chocolate each?
The second award I got was for most improved player. Yay for me! I was pretty happy to win a prize, given I've been in the club for three years and my husband has won more prizes than me (most valuable supporter - three times)! And he's not even a member of the club!
What a lot of exclamation marks!!!!
... and on another note, I have come to school this morning for the second Monday in a row WITHOUT my school bag! No plan book, no roll book, no choir folder. Grrrr...
Friday, August 25, 2006
We did it! I raised $1030 for the cause. Thanks to everyone who donated their dollars.
Sam came into school and got a 'trim' as well. I think it's called a number zero. I got a number 2.
These two brave souls are Debs (a teacher) and Alysha (student). Deb's hair was way past her shoulders and Alysha's plait was long enough to sell to wigmakers, apparently.
(Thanks to Madame Savage for the picture...)
I went to a dance party last weekend. It was fun. I looked awesome. I was reading HP's blog the other day and saw that she had a feather boa for a party too. We must be, like, lost twins or something to both be so fabulous it exactly the same moment!
I think fashion people should bring back long gloves. They look great :) And purple is definitely my colour.
By the way, my Dad is in hospital until Sunday, and should be home after that. Yay!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
On a sadder note, my Dad went into hospital yesterday with breathing difficulties. His lungs are poked from many years of smoking, even though he stopped way back in the 80s. He spent the night in Hutt Hospital, and Mum is going in to see him today. It sucks seeing my Dad like this. He has always been fit and strong and busy, and now he can't even hold a conversation as it tires him out. He looks all small and frail in the hospital bed.
In triathlon training news, I ran about 3k on Tuesday, and swam a quick 30 laps on Wednesday. I needed to clear my head after sitting in the Emergency Dept with Dad all day, so the swim was just what I needed. Got my bike fixed (for $200, and new bikes start at $250!!) so I'm all set for a ride to netball practice tonight. Need to buy lights first...
Sunday, August 20, 2006
This is a picture of me having my head shaved last year for Daffodil Day. I raised $500 for the cause. This year I'm going for $1000, but so far I have only raised about 6 hundred dollars. The ceremonial shaving takes place Friday 25 August (That's this Friday!!!) so it's not too late to help.
I'm pretty sure some of you in blog-land would like to sponsor me. You can do so by adding a comment to this post with the dollar amount you would like to put forward. Easy huh?
If you will see me in person in the next week or so, I can put the money forward and get you to pay me back. Otherwise you can send it to F. Hall c/- Upper Hutt College, Moonshine Road, Upper Hutt. Whatever you do though, check back in on Friday afternoon. I will post pictures after 2pm!
If you choose to sponsor me - thanks heaps! I am eternally grateful.
If you choose not to sponsor me - that's OK too. Just be aware you are going to die a horific death very shortly. I know Voodoo.
Monday, August 14, 2006
My School netball team has their final game on Saturday. We are second on the table, and are playing the team at top of the table. We are so gonna win! Last time we played them we only lost by eight, so a win is very doable. Feel free to observe - 10am at Sacred Heart College.
My outdoor team is playing 7th vs 8th on Saturday. 3.30 at Taita Courts, in case you're interested. My aim for this game is to earn 'player of the day' again. I have got it three times this season so far. We also want to win of course, and probably will. Our opposition is the only team we managed to beat all season. At least I have learned some new things this season. I've never been too concerned about winning - I'm more of a do-er than a winner.
We had an indoor netball tournament on the weekend. Six 30 minutes games with a 30 min break in the middle. Whew! I wasn't as sore as I thought I would be on Sunday though - maybe I'm fitter than I look. My only niggle was tired shoulders on Sunday afternoon. Fine now.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Now Sam tells me he can't make the school concert on Friday because he has to work, and he's the "only one" who can make it. Out of what, 10 people? Like one of them can't cancel THEIR plans for a change? He's going to miss our new Indian dance, and I'm conducting the choir too. Poos.
I got asked to have my head shaved for Daffodil Day again. Last year I made $550 for the cause. I told them I won't get it done this time for less than $1000. Anyone wanna sponsor me? Free picture emailed to you after the event... anyone?
Monday, July 31, 2006
My Mum got an award at Church on Sunday. From the Bishop. Cool huh? I was proud as can be. It's a bit like getting an OBE or whatever for services in the community, but it was from the Bishop of Wellington for services to our Church. It was kept secret, so Mum didn't find out till her name was called. My Dad cried, he was so proud :)
See the badge-y thing on her shirt.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
...ok, so maybe I wasn't the Belle, but I looked damn fine, so there. Here's a better picture of what I wore, plus I did my hair and makeup this time :)
I danced my ample ass off, thankyou very much and had a great time. I love seeing all the students scrubbed up and looking their best. I even had a few 'proper' dances with some of my students - like holding hands and stuff! I taught a boy how to spin me around so my skirt went all twirly.
Random thing: My cousin Nick was there as the date of our House leader (also called Fiona). We were being introduced, and I was being all polite, ("what school are you from? Aaaah, university? Well done. And what are you studying? Oh yes, very good... blah blah blah"), half thinking he was familiar, then he asked, "You're married to Sam, aren't you?" and I was like "Nick, as in Nick and Henry? Oh silly me!" Mind you, he's actually Sam's cousin's kid, and we only see him every second Christmas, and they have missed the last two Christmasses anyway. He was a wee 14 year old the last time I saw him - now he's 18 or something.
Stink thing: I lost an earring. I wasn't even drunk. And it was my wedding jewellery. I stood on the back bit in my room this morning, so there's hope it may still be in the house. Although the back kind of sticks to the skin so maybe it fell off earlier.
Gratifying thing: being told by heaps of kids that I looked really pretty and my outfit was fantastic. Does great things for the ego. I might start wearing makeup and jewellery to school more often... nah, maybe not. Can't be assed getting up earlier to do it.
Friday, July 28, 2006
This means I take on way too much.
I am in the Indian Dance group at school, and we are practising for a concert next Friday, so we are at it every lunchtime - last week, this week, and next week, getting the dance perfect.
Now the music teacher has asked me to take the choir, as the previous person can't come in during the school day as he is at university. They are singing at the concert on Friday too, so it's not really out of my way, but I really feel underqualified. I mean, I can sightread and sing just fine - I've been in choirs since age 9 - but I can't play a piano part with more than one line, and I've NEVER conducted before! I'm pretty sure that there is a lot more to it than just waving your hands in time.
At least I told her I would only do it this term as a trial.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I got a sewing machine from my parents for my 30th birthday, and now I have made an entire top and classy wrap from scratch! (with a bit of help from Anna and my Mum).
The school ball is on this Saturday, and the theme is "Old School Hollywood Glamour". I'm wearing a skirt that used to be my Grandma's rock 'n' roll dress, with a big petticoat so it flares out at the bottom. Above, I have my lovely new top that I made, and a wrap that I also made. The green of the wrap matches the skirt perfectly, but you can only see the reverse side in the photo. My sister has also lent me her elbow length gloves from HVHS ball '91. Oh, and my necklace is the one I wore on my wedding day. Wedding earrings and shoes too, but I'm not wearing them in the photo.
We went to the quiz at Murphy's again last night, but unlike last week, we WON! $50 between 6 people... um... that's about $8.30 each. Enough for a beer or two
I thought it was about time I put up a piccie of our rat. He's sitting in a hammock that I made with an old towel and some string. Of course now I have a sewing machine, he has a polar fleece hammock with nice elastic ties on hooks. Don't have a photo of that though. What a cutie :)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I was talking with some friends who are Aunties (or Uncles) the other day, and we were trying to come up with a shorter, more gender neutral term for Nephews and Nieces than, er, "Nephews and Nieces". After some discussion, we came up with "Niblings" or "Nieceyews". Neither are ideal, Niblings sounds like something you might serve on a large platter, perhaps with dipping sauce, and Nieceyews is a bit clumsy. Maybe a more efficient spelling might help. Suggestions welcome.
The words below are ones that Sam and I invented, and have arisen from a desire to cut back on the swearing, or perhaps just laziness...
Fidiot - as in, "this fidiot just pulled out in front of me and I nearly crashed!"
Fungry - as in, "man, I'm fungry!"
Figlet - as in, "look at all the food on my plate - what a figlet!"
We have just started getting the paper delivered every morning. It's a free 5 week trial, courtesey of The Caci Clinic, of all places.
Anyway, I just wanted to mention how sad it is that the Dom gave the headline and a massive photo to a lawyer in a dress, rather than the great news that Police have arrested the bastard that allegedly murdered that teacher up North. Dumbasses.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
This is my top that I bought off my mate Janine, for $20, when she went to live in England for a while. Funnily enough, I sold it to her when I worked at The Carpenter's Daughter, a Fat Lady Shop in the Hutt. I wanted to get it at the time but it was too expensive.
It looks very much like my friend Damon's new tie.
Go to Peter's place and pick up my car
Drive to Sacred Heart (coaching 10B at 11am)
Leave game early to make my warmup at Taita (game at 12.30)
Leave that game ASAP to make it back to Sacred Heart for end of second 10B game (1pm)
...I'll probably eat something here...
Go to church for 2 hours to practise for tomorrow's concert (2.30-4.30)
Have a look at the pattern for my top for the UHC ball next weekend
Watch rugby and netball on TV tonight
Tomorrow I need to:
Go to Church to sing and teach Sunday School
Make a lifesize picture of a boat to decorate church Hall for next week's dinner
Make said top for the ball (thankfully Anna will be round to help!)
Sing in concert
Go for a run
Have a spa at Kirsten's place
Probably fall asleep on K's couch while everyone mocks me for being a lazy-ass for falling asleep. Ironic huh?
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Then I played 2 games of netball. We got a trophy each for coming 6th, i.e. losing a minor final. Woohoo. Tuesday netball is all done and dusted now - back to just Mondays and Saturdays. My ankles are thanking me already.
Sam and I are going to the quiz at Murphy's Law in Petone tonight. We are gonna win!
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I must have had really fantastic teachers at school. I never recall any teacher raising their voice at me or my classes in general. OK, maybe one or two teachers ever, but certainly not most of them. Of course I was an uber-geek who would never get in trouble anyway.
I read a comment about myself on ratemyteacher. The person says, "her constant self-depracating comments I found difficult" or something to that effect. Now, I occasionally mention that I am heavy, or say "fat lady coming through" in the hallways, but it's always with a smile, and certainly not constant. What's up with that?
Saturday, July 15, 2006
- Men in eye makeup are sexy… Johnny Depp
- For all night long interesting conversation… John Cusack
- I think it's the dimples… Patrick Monahan (the lead singer of Train)
- Because sleeping with him looks like fun in the music video… Adam Levine (Maroon 5) Pre-shaved head though. I liked the hair.
- He’s probably on everyone else’s list and he’d hate to be left out… Brad Pitt
- Gotta see if it’s true what they say about black guys… Will Smith
- I love a man who can sing… Ewen McGregor
- To fulfil my prepubescent fantasies… Morten Harkett (Aha)
- Crossing to the dark side… Janaene Garefolo (gotta try something new, right?)
- He's fairly old but very sexy in some strange way... Alan Rickman He makes a great angel too.
Friday, July 14, 2006
School reports get easier to write each year. No, I don't think it's wrong to copy and paste comments. Some students are incredibly similar. I have three categories to comment on, and five levels within each category, so I just choose the three relevant sentences and paste them together. Voila! If the parents REALLY care, then they should come to the Parents evenings that I have to cancel MY netball games or choir practices to be at. Surely if I can make it for 3 hours, they can make a measly 20 minutes. Sheesh.
Saturday = Tomorrow!
Anna is bringing her Karaoke mike over for an evening of booze and singing. All welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want my address. BYO :)
...is still the cutest baby in the world, cos she's related to me. Don't argue with that logic.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Read on if you can handle the Alison Hannigan in-joke vibes... Or just skip to the bottom to read about the night I slept with 12 teenage boys.
What’s Choir School?
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM)is an international body of which individuals and Church Choirs can become members, enabling access to music libraries, special events, and other choral-y stuff. Once a year, choristers aged between 10 and 19 from all over NZ (but mostly Welly) converge on a boarding school for a week of singing and learning, culminating in a final service, where the parents come to see their little poppets singing their hearts out to glorify God and stuff. Everyone runs around madly after the service, trying to score a hug from their crush, getting email addresses, and taking photos. Eventually the parents leave with their children talking up a storm about "du-bah-dauh!" and how things were "awwwwesome" until they fall asleep in the back seat and dream of the next Winter Choir School.
Harry Potter anyone?
The choir school was held at Wairarapa College in Masterton. I and the other staff had our own rooms but the kids were divided by age and gender into 14 bed dorms. The choristers are also divided into Houses by auditioning them to see where their voices are at. I was officially staff, so didn’t have to audition. When I sang, I was in Byrd. Mostly Alto with a bit of Tenor when they needed me.
Lilburn = young undeveloped voices (mostly wee boys and girls up to about 11 years old) Led by Helen Willberg.
Stanford = Sopranos (girls) and Trebles (boys) that do not yet have mature voices, and are usually 11-13ish, and boys with broken voices that sing Alto. Led by Alison Stewart.
Byrd = This is a full four part choir. Sops and Altos are all young women, Tenors and Basses are young men. This year there was a boy Alto as well, as he had a nice mature sound (too good for Stanford), but his voice was not yet low enough to sing Tenor. Led by the inimitable Steven Rowley. The campest man I have ever met. He wore a different pair of glasses every day to match his outfit, and let the kids tie his hair in pigtails. Nice, different, unusual…
Random quotes and where they came from
Oh! When singing the word "Gloria", one must avoid the nasal “ah!" at the end of the word (so New Zillind) and go more for the “oh” sound in the word “hot”. The fabulous Mr Rowley had us (Byrd house) in fits of laughter as we all picked a random note and practised our “oh”s. You gotta hear it to get the full effect, but imagine each one being higher than the previous and you might get the idea.
Du-bah-dauh! The electric piano we used for rehearsal had all kinds of sounds (strings, organ, piano etc.). In particular, it had a function called ‘voice’. The interesting thing was, instead of just an ‘ah’ sound or whatever, it has three levels depending on how hard you hit the keys. So you could be playing a piece and get ‘du du du du bah bah du dauh!’ all in one go. Stephen would play loud chords to get our attention, and the camp-y action that went with it always cracked us up.
Oh, that's Awwwwesome! Tom from Wellington Cathedral started this and it caught on. Must be said with the required number of double-ewes.
Nice, different, unusual… From Kath & Kim. Must be said in an Aussie accent. Stephen’s saying originally.
When I went to choir school in '88... Christina was the School registrar. She (and I actually), attended choir school in 88. Things that happened when Christina was at choir school in 88 include:
“we got drunk on the bus on the way up”
“I sneaked out to the boys dorms and kissed a guy called Julian – he’s gay now”
“WE didn’t have a television”
Selected choristers I hung with (i.e. the coolest people)
Sophie, 16, Alto. from my church. We were good mates already, and always sat next to each other when singing. We blend well.
Bec, 18ish, Alto. We were both staff, so had lots of free time to muck around. Good fun!
Hannah, 14, and Hannah, 15, from Napier Cathedral. They came down to Wellington instead of returning to Napier, and came to my Church on Sunday morning. I got them to come up and sing with our choir.
Tom, 15, Tenor. Nice abs. He let me touch his abs. Phwoar.
Jack, 15 going on 30, Bass. From Christ’s College, Christchurch. Flirts like mad with girls. I can see a problem here...
Thomas, 15, Bass, and Organ Scholar. Looks just like my netball mate James would look if he was 15 and blonde. What a cutie!
Edward, 17, Bass. Last saw him when he was about 11 and his family moved to Auckland. What a fine young man he grew up to be. He was my source of man hugs when I missed Sam too much. :)
Being sick as a dog and trying to sing is hard
I actually left for choir school in the grips of flu. Serves me right for not getting my flu shot. I slept most of the way on the train on Monday, slept the afternoon away at the school, and had most of the day in bed on Tuesday. When I was up I tried to sing, but I was only on about 40% lung power at that stage, and lost my voice after a bit. I took a vow of silence for two days (laugh all you like, but I did it!) and was finally able to sing by Friday – in time for Friday’s concert and Saturday’s service. I still have a fantastic smokers cough lingering in my lungs. Don’t even think about making me laugh.
The Friday night concert is a choir school tradition from way back (probably even before 1988, Christina!). There is always a wealth of musical talent in these young people, and this year was no exception. I volunteered to go first, as nobody else wanted to, and so I started the concert with an Indian dance that I had made up. I had full makeup and costume on, but I wrapped a blanket round me so people couldn’t really see what I was wearing. I even went up on stage with the blanket and flung it away just as the music started. Dramatic huh? I managed not to fall over and got lots of compliments, so I guess I did ok. I also was asked to dance at a cushion concert we are having at Church soon, so that was affirming.
There was the usual boy-in-drag act (don’t ask!), some ballet, bagpipes, a flute(!), a clarinet, a guitar, and lots of singing. Favourite act - the Byrd boys (Tenors and Basses) singing a Soprano/Alto piece in falsetto. Hilarious! The teaching staff made up a rap, but it was only funny cos it was so bad. The Chaplain lost his voice trying to sing in his act, and had trouble giving the sermon the next day.
The night I slept with 12 teenage boys
The kids were all fired up after the concert, and didn’t want to go to bed. The under 13's were pretty good – they were mostly quiet by 10, only an hour after their proper bedtime of 9pm. I let the over 13's stay up an extra half hour later than they had all week (10.30 instead of 10), but the final service was the next day and we didn’t want them up all night ruining their voices. Between 10.30 and 11.30 I divided my time between the girls and boys dorms, chatting with them, and making sure they were fairly quiet. On my second visit to the girls to check on them, there was a knock at the fire door, and who did I see outside but Tom and Harry from Wellington Cathedral. One might well ask, “where was Dick?” My answer: “That’s who led them to the girls dorm!” Haha. They were mightily surprised to see me, and took off at great speed back to the boys dorm.
I beat them back cos I had inside knowledge. They took a longer outside route. When they returned, I was sitting on Harry’s bed looking pleased with myself. They had a short lecture from me, at which point I grabbed a spare mattress, put both their cellphones under it, cos that's what they had used to organise the hook-up, and settled down for the night on said mattress, right between their two beds. Ha! And thus I spent the night with 12 teenage boys.
The final service
The final service was held in St Matthew’s Church, about 20 minutes walk from Wai-Col. I did a few trips in the school van to transfer the luggage, then took pity on the final stragglers that were walking. The acoustic in St Matthew’s is crap – in rehearsal we sounded like we were singing into a pillow. Once there was a congregation the sound was slightly better. They have a digital organ. Instead of air pumps and tubes and pipes, the console has a computer inside, and just plays sampled organ (and some digitally produced) sounds through massive speakers mounted on the rear wall. Sounds almost like the real thing, except one of the digitally produced voices – oboe – which sounded like a sick duck. Right in a nice quiet passage in our Byrd anthem. Nice.
There were some awards presented at the service. Three choristers were presented with Yellow Ribbons. These are very coveted awards which recognise musical ability and knowledge, religious knowledge, and leadership. They went to Edward (my mate), Paul (the other organ scholar) from Nelson, and Jess (yay for Altos!) from Wellington. Young randy Harry got the award for unbroken male voice and a girl called Phoebe got the similar award for girls. What a talented bunch. Of course, I would have got a yellow ribbon as well, if I wasn’t too old (you have to be under 19). Yeah Right.
Plans for Choir School 2007
1 Have flu shot in May.
2 Take camera and laptop.
3 Learn new Indian dance to wow the crowd.
4 Take fluffy blanket. Sleeping bag not warm enough.
5 Have Sam visit me one day mid-week so I don’t miss him too much.
6 Kidnap all young Tenors and Basses and make them sing in my church choir.
7 Have Sam attend final service so he knows who I am blathering about all the next week.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Coming home was special too. Missed Sam heaps. No offence to my lovely mates, but I was kinda pissed to arrive home and find I couldn't have Sam all to myself right then and there if you know what I mean... they got the message soon enough though (thanks guys!).
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
What I will do with my holidays
Week 1: Choir School. It's kind of like band camp but not as dodgy, and no flutes are involved :) I'm one of the Matrons - camp mum in other words. Quite mad of me to volunteer to spend a week of my holiday with a bunch of pre-teens and teenagers, when that's what I do for a living anyway... and I miss four netball games, possibly finals :(
Week 2: Me time. And Sam is on shift, so we can spend a bit of time together. Awww :) I plan to start back with the swimming - it's been too darn cold to get up and go recently, but I can go a bit later in the day, cos it's holidays. If I'm going to help people train for a triathlon, I'd better get my style perfect first.
I realised the other day that I come across as really rude because I often interrupt people in the middle of conversations. But it's only because I often pick up on what they are saying and finish it in my head. And so I start talking. But the person talking hasn't actually finished what they are saying, and I look like I am butting in - if only people could talk faster than my brain spins...
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
This is me tasting Kava for the first time. Quite strong it was, as we found out later in the week and the locals tried to push diluted stuff on us. The fabulous Tui is standing by.
Most evenings were spent playing cards with our new friends and drinking Fiji Gold, the beer of choice. Note: don't drink Fiji Bitter - it's gross!
Another shot of us chilling with our new mates. Yay for drunken secret telling and bonding! I think the angle is intentional - I wasn't THAT drunk. I hope. This spot by the beach became our hangout during our time at Sunrise. We left the spot late at night and came back early to watch the sunrise each morning.
There seems to be a limit of 3 photos per blog, so till next time...
2 Electric blankets and fluffy sheets.
3 Feeling on top of stuff even though there is so much going on in my life.
4 Driving assorted friends around in my car and having interesting conversations.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
So imagine what I found this morning as I got in the car to drive to Church. You guessed it - another flat! And the same tyre too. Some choice words were offered to the boys at Tony's I can tell you... anyway, as Sam had to go to work today, I had to go inside and wake him and tell him he couldn't go till I got back because I needed his car.
Sam has now left for work and I have just come inside from changing the tyre AGAIN.
I take back all the comments I made about Tony and his mates. The picture says it all really.
Our trip was kinda ‘backpacker-y’, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the poolside resorts in the world. Compare a stay on your local Marae with ‘The RotoVegas Experience’ and I think you’ll know what I mean :).
We met some weird and wonderful friends on our trip. Some have emailed us since – some haven’t. Funny how you all promise to keep in touch but then it becomes a huge effort.
I don’t have the lyrical genius of Sam, so I will tell the story mostly in pictures instead. Enjoy.
Rich, Anna, Kirsten and Sam on the bus waiting to be driven to our hotel in Nadi. Entering the terminal, we were greeted by a bunch of Fijians singing to us while we queued at Customs. Somewhat tacky but also kinda cool. The temperature was just wonderful - note we all look quite hot as we had left Wellington in trousers and warm tops. We couldn't wait to get to the hotel and change.
That night, the Oasis fan club (read: bunch of drunk Poms) in the dorm above us kept us awake.
With their rendition of "Don't look back in anger".
Just the chorus.
For about an hour.
I joked about going upstairs and doing a haka outside their door, but of course girls aren't supposed to do haka. Sam eventually went upstairs and earned the respect of the 9 people in our dorm by asking politely for them to go to bed. It was 3am, after all.
After visiting Nadi in the morning (where a guy offered to sell Sam some marajuana), we came back and lazed by the pool all afternoon. I had a meal of raw fish called kokoda. It was YUMMY. I swam at least once an hour till about 7pm.
The next day, we started the actual tour. We were booked on this catamaran that travels up and down the Yasawa Islands every day, stopping at each island to load and unload happy travellers. The trip up and back takes a full day. Our first stop was right at the top of the trip, and so it was that we arrived at Sunrise Lagoon Resort.
At Sunrise, we met the inimitable Tui, the 'camp mum' person who taught me how to ask for a beer in Fijian (see fact #49), and over the next two days met Ann from Ireland, Steve, Claire, Charlie and Dino from England, Johannes and Eva from Germany, and Michelle, Rawiri and his girfriend Carina from Aussie. Actually, Ra was a Kiwi and his girlfriend was Swedish I think, but they lived in Aussie. I tasted Kava for the first time at Sunrise. Tasted but mud, but it grows on you.
This is my absolute favourite shot of the whole trip. It's also one of the only photos of all five of us. Ra took it on the afternoon that we left Sunrise for Botaira. Don't we look relaxed :).
More to come. It seems this is going to be a LONG STORY as my Dad would say...
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
51. I sleep with a teddy bear. No, I don't mean my husband. I mean a real teddy that I have had since I was thirteen. He's about the size of a pillow, so Sam often has to throw teddy out of bed so he can get in!
52. All my toys had names. Teddy, dolly, bear, mousie, lion, ellie (the elephant)... REAL imaginative, huh?
53. I also had a doll called Janet. I think she was the only one of my toys who had a proper name. She was made of squishy rubber filled with sponge, so she was nice and soft. I used to play with her in the bath a lot, and I remember the sponge took ages to dry. Dad used to always remove her head and leave her upside down in the hot water cupboard.
54. I love backrubs.
55. and footrubs.
56. and my shoulders and neck adore a nice firm massage.
57. Despite looking like a beached whale in my togs, I love swimming. I feel really graceful in the water. I love that I can swim properly, not just move through the water, but really swim. All the bits in the process happen efficiently and in the right order. I find it amusing to watch people struggle through 1 or 2 lengths then stop and have a breather because they are exhausted. I usually swim 60 lengths (or more) with no stops.
58. I have sprained my right ankle about 5 times. My left about 4 times. The first time I did the right one was when I was 15, and jumped from about 3m on an Army confidence course. My ankle made a really excellent POP! and was like jelly. I couldn't put any weight on it at all for 2 days.
59. The other times are all netball related.
60. Once I drank too much tequila and puked in my husband's MX-5. He was not at all impressed.
61. "Just once?" you all reply. Yes, just once. The other times I wasn't in his car. :)
62. I think much more often about having babies since I hit 30.
63. I don't worry about losing my figure, as I don't really have one to lose.
64. I like my back. It doesn't have a lot of fat, and it's smooth and strong. I have rather nice biceps too. IMNSHO of course.
More to come...
I made a good clean take - one of those ones where you are behind the other player and you come round with the outside arm and flick the ball away. Unfortunately the ball hit my fingers end on, and my middle one (being the longest) took the hit. I just tried to fit my wedding ring on that finger, but it only goes as far as the first little bendy bit. It fits on my other hand with no trouble.
And typing is really difficult with two fingers taped together. I never realised that I typed with more than just the index fingers on each hand. Yay me :)
Sunday, June 11, 2006
My Sister Carol is visiting the North Island this week with her baby Megan. Today we had 14 of the clan round for lunch, and actually managed to seat 12 of them round the folks' massive dining table. Casserole and pumpkin - yum.
Megan is such a cutie (takes after her Aunt I reckon). I changed her nappy just before. Didn't get peed on, so that's something. I did, however, get the baby badge vomit on my shoulder afterwards.
About time I washed my top anyway.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
...Lego and Escher. :)
I was watching "Futurama" the other day, and it reminded me of this picture I found somewhere. I'll reference the site when I get round to it.
Why Futurama you ask? Bender and Fry were looking for a new apartment, and stumbled on one that looked a lot like this. Cool huh?
I think I need to visit my folks and drag the Lego out of storage...
"Hi my name is fish, and I have a netball addiction."
There. Done. I feel better now.
What to do about it? I know my ankles are starting to show the strain - I hate to think how I will be able to walk 20 years from now. I can't even rise up on my toes on my left foot without pain. Netball keeps me fit, but I think perhaps six games a week is too much. There comes a point where "getting exercise" is outweighed by "walking cos I can't run", and you're not much use to the team. Less is more perhaps.
Thought for the day: You can only sprain a ligament a few times. The other times you sprain scar tissue.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
We didn’t much fancy snow though, so we decided to go up the coast instead.
I took my car with three passengers, and one lucky person at a time got to share Sam’s car. Damon had battery issues, so we missioned off to get him, then away we went. There were six people in our merry band - Sam, Morgue, Kate, Damon, Anna, and me.
We took the coastal route to just out of Waikanae, where we stopped for coffee and a munch. The poor wee girl at the counter got us confused with some student types that arrived before us and who ordered takeaway coffees, and thus we ended up sitting at some lovely tables in nice décor with paper cups and plastic forks. Oh dear. Triple layer chocolate cheesecake made up for it somewhat though. We decided to pop into El Rancho as Morgue hadn’t been there before and was feeling rather left out. Can’t say he was missing much. Mission accomplished, we headed back onto the main road and Northward.
Kate mentioned that there was a nice café in Levin, but unfortunately it was closed. We admired a statue of a generic market gardener while the boys scanned up and down the road for an open food place. Incidently, Levin owes much of its existence to early Asian immigrant market gardeners, but the statue looks remarkably like a Pakeha. Sad. In an ironic twist, we found a Chinese place that was open.
This was the kind of place that does fish and chips, but also has pictures of each kind of Asian dish that you can order. Feeling like a nice hot and sour Tom Yum, I ordered a #16. This turned out to be mostly noodles with a small amount of liquid. Still yummy though. Noodles are really hard to eat with chopsticks. I soon discovered that if you pick up as much as you can and quickly shove it in before it falls, you can bite off what doesn’t fit and drop it back in the bowl.
Better still, I could have asked for a fork.
I had just about finished my soup when the other peoples’ food started to arrive. Brilliant service. Damon’s Bami Goreng (noodle dish) arrived last. About 25 minutes later. Without noodles. I think it was actually a Chicken & Cashew Nut stir fry, but Damon was past caring by then.
Somewhat sated, we waddled back to our cars via the public loos where some guy called Leonard was caught perving under the doors at other men about 10 years ago. Apparently you can say ‘Leonard’ to any Levin-ite in my generation and they know who you mean.
Foxton was the next point of call. We wanted to see the famous windmill and go to the beach. The windmill was, well, a windmill. That done, we headed for the beach with a packet of Mentos and a bottle of Diet Coke.
Damon had recently seen a clip of some crazy Americans (aren't they all?) putting Mentos into Diet Coke, making 20ft high geysers, so we had to see if it could be done. Our geyser was rather sad and pathetic - barely more than 2cm, but what the hey. We need to try that again sometime with warmer Coke and more Mentos I think.
After spitting all the sand out of our teeth we decided it was time for home. Sam tried to lose us by turning off just before Levin. I think he wanted to drive off with Kate, but she made him stop till I had executed two rather stylish U-turns arcoss State Highway 1 and found them. Kate directed us to her Parents' place. She had called ahead and got no answer so we decided to do a quick mission round the garden then head home. Imagine our surprise as we emerged from the bushes right next to Kate's Stepmum, who then took us into the house for coffee and home baking! What a gracious host.
Tip: When you have hayfever and pet allergies, it's a good idea to not sit on the carpet next to a vase of huge lillies. Urg.
The drive home was fairly uneventful. We stopped on the Paekakariki Hill to watch the sunset and stamp our feet in the cold, and then tootled off to my place. Where I cooked a stirfry for 7 people (cos Leon turned up too).
And Damon finally got his noodles.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
26. I play the clarinet. When I was ten, I was on the What Now Wacky Challenge. I had to go busking with this long haired hippy with a bass drum strapped to his back and cymbals on his knees. We made about ten bucks. I also got a Milo tracksuit which I wore EVERYWHERE, and a Milo bag FULL of chocolate and other goodies. Mmm, chokitos were my favourite…
27. I can play some chords on the guitar. For some reason, I just can’t play bar chords. I bet I could if I really tried, but I just don’t manage to practice often enough. I went through a phase last Summer where I had worked up a great set of callouses on my left hand, but I still couldn’t play an F or a B chord.
28. My Great great great great grandparents were murdered in Petone in the late 1800s. A French guy bought some pepper in their shop, then returned later that night and threw it in their eyes before making off with the day’s shop takings. He was hanged for the crime. The story was on Epitaph once.
29. At my school prizegiving in 1981, I got a certificate for “general diligence”. I stopped halfway along the stage to read it, and all the people laughed at me.
30. I can do Rock and Roll. You have to remind me to stop leading every now and then.
31. This line left intentionally blank.
32. I am in an Indian dance group. I like how my hands look graceful when I dance.
33. I never feel completely at ease when dancing. The image that usually comes to my mind is one of those dancing Hippos in Disney’s Fantasia. The ones in tutus.
34. I never believe anyone when they say I am pretty or graceful. I know they are just being nice. I still like hearing it though. I can concede that I did scrub up alright on our wedding day.
35. I believe people when they say I am intelligent.
36. Both my Parents were in the Army. Mum was a nurse, a Captain. Dad was a Warrant Officer. As it was the 70s, Mum was asked (ordered) to leave the Army as it wasn’t the done thing to marry beneath your rank.
37. I was conceived in Waiouru.
38. I love my Mum dearly, but I hate that I am too much like her at times.
39. My Dad often says, “gosh, you’re like Steven”. I like that.
40. He still calls me his "little bubby" or just "bub". I like that too.
41. I was an Army Cadet. 1989 through to 2000. I went on lots of courses and camps, did loads of stuff that I am so thankful for. I gained heaps of confidence there.
42. I was particularly good at drill. Rememberance Day (11 November) was always particularly special. I was in the Flag Party for five years in a row. Slow marching the NZ flag up the length of Wellington Cathedral while the Army Band plays a lament makes the hairs stick up on the back of my neck. Still does now.
43. My brother in law plays the bagpipes. He is one of the top pipers in New Zealand, and regularly wins competitions. He gets invited to play at competitions where he can’t win ‘cos he’s too good, so he’s just there as the floor show.
44. I like to make Milo in a really BIG glass with about 5 spoons of Milo. Mmmm, crusty bits…
45. I had to just go and make a Milo cos #44 made me want one.
46. I love to sleep. I can doze all day if I get the opportunity. Most days I have to get up around 6.30 though. Nanna naps are good too. Put me horizontal or in a comfy chair, and I am guaranteed to be asleep in about 7 minutes. I awake refreshed in about 10 minutes. I often do this in my office at work. Don’t tell the boss!
47. My Grandma is 93 and still lives in her own home. She’s the only grandparent I have left. She fell over and broke her hip last year, but is still going strong.
48. I went to Fiji last Winter. Still dream about going back.
49. Ao vinakata ndua nan Fiji Gold kerekere (apologies for the incorrect Fijian spelling).
50. Kava’s not all it’s made out to be. It played havoc with my digestion processes.