Monday, July 31, 2006

Proud (Now with added photo!)

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

Belle of the Ball

...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

Too Much

I have this problem. I just can't say NO.

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

fishy and her sewing machine

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.

Quiz Champs!

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

Wee Man

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

New words and the newspaper

New Words

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

pixel top

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.

Today I need to:

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

And then...

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

Run fishy run!

Damon and Leon have asked for my expertise with swimming to help them train for a triathlon. In return, Damon is teaching me how to run properly. Last night we ran from the playground at Petone foreshore to the Petone wharf and back. I figure that's about 1.5km? Not bad for a first run in a couple of years... And I didn't stop, except at the wharf for about 1 minute before heading back.

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

Back to School

Yup, It's the start of another school term. I intend to be more positive with my students this term. Too often I find myself raising my voice or being sarcastic to them. Especially at the end of the day or if I am stressed. Two days down, 43 left till the end of term, and I am doing well so far :)

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

Kate’s Sunday top ten - see not-kate’s blog for explanation

  1. Men in eye makeup are sexy… Johnny Depp
  2. For all night long interesting conversation… John Cusack
  3. I think it's the dimples… Patrick Monahan (the lead singer of Train)
  4. Because sleeping with him looks like fun in the music video… Adam Levine (Maroon 5) Pre-shaved head though. I liked the hair.
  5. He’s probably on everyone else’s list and he’d hate to be left out… Brad Pitt
  6. Gotta see if it’s true what they say about black guys… Will Smith
  7. I love a man who can sing… Ewen McGregor
  8. To fulfil my prepubescent fantasies… Morten Harkett (Aha)
  9. Crossing to the dark side… Janaene Garefolo (gotta try something new, right?)
  10. He's fairly old but very sexy in some strange way... Alan Rickman He makes a great angel too.

Friday, July 14, 2006

As the holidays draw to a close..

Just a few random thoughts...


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 if you want my address. BYO :)

Megan still the cutest baby in the world, cos she's related to me. Don't argue with that logic.

Monday, July 10, 2006

This one time, at choir school...

There is nothing quite like a week away with a bunch of mostly strangers. You have to get to know each other very quickly, friendships and alliances are formed and re-formed, in-jokes abound, and much much fun is had.

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 concert

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

Back in civilisation

I'm back from Mastervegaston! Post on choir school to come, but in the meantime let me just say that Choir school was Aaaawesome. I wonder why I stopped going in the 90's... I had a ball of a time.

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!).