Long Gone

I’m home, presently in bed with my electric blanket on, having done everything on the list that I said I would do, already, except for number 8 but I’ve been aqua-jogging so that’s like walking (no I’m not geriatric but RJ and I are trying to bring it back for the younger generations).

In prep for our family trip to the Motherland aka the Czech Republic, where my Dad’s family is from, we have been going through all the old stuff of my grandads, from the two boxes that are full of maps, letters, photos, random receipts. All that make up the remains of a life. Today I came across some photos of my grandmother, who died when Dad was 22. It was so weird looking at that face, familiar, but unknown, there’s always been the same photo of her in the house. Weirdly, my first thought was “would she have liked me?”. I’ve always wanted a grandma around, just to do grandma-ish things with – I see it as one cookie-baking, knitting, vintage clothing fiesta.

Isn’t it strange to think of all the people who made up our lives before us, the people whose blood is in our veins, but yet we will never know? It’s sad but it’s also such a strange part of the human condition, unlike most other animals, our families are not just there to teach us the ropes and give us our DNA, they are the backbones of our lives. They will be imperative in shaping who we become, what we value, what contributions we make and how we see ourselves.

 

 

List #2: When I get home…

Last full day of studying today (as in sitting in the library banging my head against a desk, studying) before I have winter holidays (“holidays my ass” says the assignment that I have to write in that time). So to get me excited I made a list of what I’m looking forward to doing when my flight gets in at 1pm Friday.

When I get home I’m going to:

1. Put my electric blanket on, and possibly sleep with it on, and I know that’s naughty but it makes the bed so warm, and I do turn it off eventually, usually when I wake up in a sweat.

2. Open the pantry and the fridge, at least twice. I may not even eat anything straight away, but it’s important to scope out what deliciousness is available at no cost.

3. See what sort of soup Dad’s been making. My Dad’s office is attached to our kitchen so he is always got something on the stove to tend to during the work day. In summer it’s fruit, we have enough stewed fruit to eat solely that for every meal. In winter, it’s soups. We have all sorts of soups (none made with a recipe, of course, don’t be ridiculous) and they vary in awesomeness but we always say that they’re great otherwise Dad gets offended. I have yet to put a bowl down the sink but the one made out of leftover casserole was the last straw for my brother.

4. Have a really long shower. And I mean more than 10 minutes.

5. Catch up on all the television that Mum will have MySky-ed for me. This could very well involve me not moving for at least two days while I get up to date with everything that’s been going on, interspersed with episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

6. Eat fancy expensive yoghurt, you may laugh but there is some incredible boutique yoghurt out there.

7. Tag along with Mum when she goes out so that she’ll buy us coffee. Basically, any errand that needs doing before midday has the purchase and consumption of a coffee attached to it.

8. Go for walking dates with my friends. That is, walking around the lake, a good 5.5km loop, with a friend catching up on all the gossip and burning calories at the same time.

9. Is it my turn to host Book Club? We don’t usually talk about books, but the style is the same, evening, dessert, drinks and discussion (so a usual night in with the girls really but it sounds so much more intellectual this way).

10. Get some space from my Facebook account, during study my daily logins increase exponentially, I wonder why that is??

No I’m not oblivious to the fact that the majority of these things involve electricity and food that I won’t be paying for. Thanks Mum and Dad!

Friend of the Blog #3 Sir Ian McKellan

Saturday night and the lights were turned down, the wild Wellington wind howled outside and I was disrupting the silence by shuffling along a few seats to sit on an empty end one in order to get a better view as Sir Ian McKellan, actor, gay-rights advocate, Gandalf himself, burst from the darkness of the stage (wearing some of the tightest pants I’ve ever seen on a guy over 25). He began by recounting the episode from the Lord of the Rings where Gandalf saves Frodo from some tentacled thingy (geeks correct me here please) and as Sir Ian yelled those immortal lines “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” a collective smile was cast over the audience and after he whispered, “Run, you fools” I knew we were truly in for a night of magic. What came next was a stunning two hours of perfection, it was candid, it was funny, heart-breaking and beautiful. You really did feel like you and old Ian were just having a chat, with most of the first half dedicated to audience questions. After taking one from the front row he looked right up the back (where all us students were sitting) and asked for a contribution. Noone said anything, so I just jumped up and yelled “I’ve got a question!” and so, mopping his brow he looked at me and I asked him about his performance in Waiting for Godot and was it really as easy for him as it looked? He gave the most perfect reply about his interpretation of the play and how, when you get to his age, even the most revered absurdist play in the world “makes sense because it’s about being old.”

And that’s how I got to be talking to Ian, and throughout the evening it felt like we were just having a coffee, and what an interesting date he was. We all heard about meeting Nelson Mandela, being gay in South Africa, being gay in England, hating on Maragret Thatcher (who then recommended him for a knighthood), about getting the knighthood, does he have a partner at the moment? someone wanted to know. It was a sea of stories punctuated by questions which lead us onto the next adveture in the life of a man with literature in his veins and a twinkle in his eyes. He had stagefright while with Judy Dench, he has been sunburnt in Mexico with Ava Gardiner and he has done Shakespeare with everyone from Maggie Smith to Albert Finney and back again.

The second half was Shakespeare but again interspersed with stories and facts and reasons for doing each selected piece. At the end, the cast of The Hobbit popped up onstage to help him with a last bit of fundraising for Christchurch’s Theatre Royal and there was (Bilbo) Martin Freeman! So, not only is Sir Ian McKellan a talented actor, stunning performer, personable and humble, but he’s friends with Dr Watson (therefore by about three degrees of separation the blog is friends with Sherlock).

Sir Ian, let’s be friends.

 

Wandering Eyes

It’s not a hidden fact that I am a notorious perve. On the way to uni, in the supermarket, on the bus, in lectures, at every party I will always have a wee look for a hot guy that may be lurking somewhere (anywhere!) I have been told that this personality trait is contageous, my flatmate in Lyon said she found herself checking guys out all over the show, not because she was interested (she is in love already) but because it is an interesting pursuit. To me, not only am I doing a bit of hunter/gathering but also it is such a delight to see a genuinely gorgeous guy (like a good piece of art, really).

If law school were not already the bain of my life (that and society’s need to keep paying idiots like Lindsey Lohan to ‘act’ when there are starving kids out there) there are so few hot guys in the place. So much so, that this year I can count only one (happens to be the same guy who told me I had an ‘entertaining laugh’ which I documented in May’s I’ll Take that as a Compliment.) Strangely enough, we’d never seen him before until this year, Chahoo and I have decided that they must keep a pile of hotties in the attic of law school and then release one a year for us to scrap over (not that we’ll be scrapping, we’re all to scared to talk to him sober).

There are so many gorgeous girls around campus, and that’s not just me being bias towards my lovely friends, some impartial boys (who would be dead if they said otherwise) agreed. So shouldn’t karma or the law of averages or some other destiny, fate, life-controlling thing mean that there are equal amounts of babein’ lads, smart, witty and well-dressed? And to top it off, the only hot lecturer bats for the other team!

Am I really asking too much to make our lives at law school the smallest bit interesting by chucking some hot singles into the mix?

when-someone-asks-if-there-are-cute-guys-in-law-school

Dear Mr Depp,

Dear Johnny,

I was so sorry to hear of your recent split from Vanessa Paradeis, it must be wonderful for you to no longer have to wake up next to one of the most gorgeous women in the world.

Now, you haven’t been single since 1998, and let me tell you, things out there have changed. You’re older, wiser but far less bad-ass than before. You’ve gotten a little bit kookier, we’ve gotten a little bit more judgemental, but never fear Johnny, we will have you back on your feet in no time.

You sound worried, with your perpetually confused look and big eyes, and so you should be, the United States is a harsh places, the media spotlight, the fast food, the bright lights, Lindsey Lohan’s driving, all very dangerous. So I propose this to you, recover from your heartache out of the glare of flashing cameras and women flashing . . . . never mind, come to New Zealand!

I’d be happy to show you around, there’s all sort of kookie people here who make music and make films. Your good friends the Black Keys are coming down in November and it is probably about time that you and Tim Burton took a break from each other yeah? He has a wife you know. I feel that here, your cheek-bones and indie style will be much loved by young and old alike (especially young) and don’t worry about the cold, you can spoon me.

Lots of love,

xxx

yummy

One of the Boys?

Last night, prior to going to a 21st party, I sat around an upside down pool table, that acts as a dining table, for a flat of seven boys. We discussed faces on mugs, why one of them has far too many singlets (he only buys new clothes in summer, apparently) and what JF and I were going to say in our speeches at said 21st.

Part way through, HP who had been surreptitiously setting alight to things throughout dinner, started sparring with me in boxing gloves and the ever-protective JF told him to cut it out because, “she’s a chick”. My inner feminist asked “So?” and the wanna-be Muhammed Ali retorted, “She’s one of the boys.”

In New Zealand these days, to be ‘one of the boys’ is a compliment for any young woman in an era where there seems to be an unadmitted attempt to try to act more like our male counterparts, we try to act tougher, drink more, have unattached one-night stands and be less needy. If  your female friend can drink you under the table, she’s a ‘good bitch’, if she’s happy wearing trackies and singlets, there’s respect, the less needy and emotional, the better. Or at least it seems that way.

Under the umbrella of equality that’s all a good thing. It’s nice to know that these boys don’t think any differently of me because I’m a girl (despite the fact that I’d just spent at least 30 minutes doing makeup and getting dressed and looked spectacular). But why must I be ‘one of the boys’ to be in a place where my presence has nothing to do with me being of the opposite sex? Is there a middle ground that can be reached somehow in a time when ‘the boys’ has become a cultural institution? Despite all this appearance of equality, there’s such an obvious double standard with guys, I’m sure they would be grossed out if they knew some of the less ladylike things my friends and I get up to, for the sheer fact that we’re female. So despite all the pretence of being ‘one of the boys’, I never really will be. But for the sake of evolution, I reckon that’s a good thing. Not to say that I won’t make the most of being an honorary lad while I can.

Deservedly Popular

I like to be different, not so different like ‘look at me I’m wearing tie-dye’ but more ‘look at me, because noone else is wearing what I am wearing.’ I will not be caught in the latest designer gear, because there will be someone else in my law lecture wearing that dress too. No insults to those who do, whatever makes you feel good and suits you. Just that, I believe that true style (not that I’m anywhere near mastering it) is more about composition and confidence than money and labels.

Therefore I scorn the latest ‘thing’ the latest designer, the latest salon, the latest café. I like to go to places that are different, unique and far far away from the lunching ladies of Takapuna and Ponsonby who manage to fit in coffee and a blow wave after pilates. For more on my well-educated opinions on such matters, please refer to my April post ‘In the Hood’.

There’s a new café in Newmarket, a trendy shopping suburb, that started off as a catering company in Takapuna and evolved into a cramped café there. Now there’s a cookbook too. The cakes have always been beautiful, rich creamy and delish, but how would the much raved about, written about, talked about, bragged about food, fare? Mum and I were searching for somewhere for our late lunch and we ventured in, she pretty much lured me with the promise of cake. Amongst the large-sunglass wearing women and indie lads the decor was vintage yet practical, with communal tables (which should be a common feature of more eateries – why shouldn’t we eat near each other?), cute vases, minted water and help-yourself relish. I was ready to be a harsh judge but one bite into my mozzarella and meatloaf ciabatta and I was hooked.

I hate to say it but this time my opinion follows that of the trend-focused masses and I suppose that makes me one of them. But I’d happily let my values take a battering for a feed like that.

 

* For those of you wondering, I had a piece of chocolate raspberry cake and it was perfect.

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