A month in images


In the rash and heady early hours of this year I cut myself what I thought was a pretty cushy deal: one blog post per month, minimum. And so today’s leap day leapt upon me and now here I am, working to deadline, watery White Russian in hand, trying to scrape together enough words and stuff to do justice to the February that Was.

Trouble is, I can barely remember February. The pressure is humungous. Plus the White Russian is making my arms ever so slightly floppy. Also I am a newly-converted early-to-bedder and most useful thoughts swiftly exit my head about the time the six o’clock news kicks off, and it’s a slippery slope into sleep mode from there. The upside of this is that I read a grand total of six (adult) books in February (Goodreads kindly keeps track for me). The downside is that nighttime is now almost exclusively for rest. Not making stuff. Unless making stuff includes sandwiches and fruit salad at ~5.30 most mornings. (And that in itself is just downright weird. It feels weird just writing it. But it’s true. This is life now.)

Here are some February photos/images. I thought I would talk my way through them and maybe find/remember something/some things of interest as I go. Figure 1 (above) I made while Oscar was napping last week. I think the internet has done it to me. I have a thing about thumbnails and how they’re pretty. Or how they can be pretty if arranged the right way. (Speaking of pretty, I went to see the new(ish?) contemporary collection at Te Papa last week and eavesdropped on a group of students talking through the meaning of one of the paintings. How the white signified freedom and the black signified societal pressure or something. And I thought: bullshit. And I thought: I just want to look at things that are pretty. I spent a lot of time entranced by an early Peter Robinson, taken with it because one of the objects looked like a giant truffle and another was studded with ruby-like gems. And they were shiny. And pretty. A major in art history (admittedly earned some years ago now) and that’s the extent of it. I like art because I don’t have to attach words to it. That’s what words are for. I will attach words to words ad infinitum, no problem, but art lets me be dumb.)

Anyway, I’m in the process of turning the black and white thumbnails into postcards. If you want some, message me or something. I’m not going to do the Felt shop thing any more; it’s too much like hard work and hard work means staying up past my bedtime.

It’s a lot harder to head for the hills with a 16 week-old in tow. Tomorrow we hit the road and tonight I wander around the house making mental lists of stuff Oscar needs and then promptly forgetting… Man, for a chilled out wee kid who demands nothing of the world but food and smiles, that boy is high maintenance. To better reflect the state of things, we have renamed our den/library Oscar’s cloak room. I should probably mention, too, that his cloak room is merely an anteroom to his bedroom, and for now his bedroom is only used for costume changes and the admiration of dangling objects. Between the hours of 5.45am and 7.55pm, our living area is Oscar’s play area, our bedroom is his bedroom 24/7, and the kitchen table hosts his (increasingly messy) bath each night. And, needless to say, he dominates the laundry. By my reckoning, it’s only the study and the bathroom he hasn’t got his paws on yet. Which might explain why I can count on one hand the number of times I have been into the study in the past four months.

Road trips are cool, though.

This is a photo of a painting of the Canterbury Plains. It’s by Pauline Trengrove, who I believe is Sir Miles Warren’s sister. It lives above my bed and has followed me around the country for the past 14 or so years. I guess it’s not without irony that in the case of an earthquake it could be the first thing to scone us. On the anniversary of the February earthquake I stayed in my pyjamas for the morning and reunited myself with the internet, reading earthquake blog posts and crying my way through the comments. I thought a lot about all my Christchurch family (and, thinking about them, cried some more) and how they’re dispersing. How I’m glad my grandparents, who both passed away shortly before the February quake, didn’t live to see it. On the night of the day it happened, needing to do something to occupy myself, I stripped the apple trees in my garden and made trays and trays of muffins. Now I look out at the garden and the apples are there again (my need for muffin rampages is long gone, though). That day Oscar wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye and now he’s nigh on four months old. I know 2011 was downright ratshit for so many people. But for me it was wonderful. And I guess, in a roundabout way, the earthquake helped it to be wonderful. That’s a pretty vague statement, I know. Sometimes you realise life is too short to be spending it worrying.

And this needs no explanation.

I love my street. It’s full of meatheads and bohemians. Not sure what whoever wrote this was on about, though. Every time I pass it I try to work out what it’s meaning to say. A solution? Not knowing is really bugging me.

Earlier in February, with the Piri Weepu bottle feeding incident, I thought about the furore a lot. With my work hat on, I tried to understand it from a PR perspective, as a reductive media portrayal of hero (Piri) against villain (La Leche et al), and as an abject failure of public service messaging — before and during and after the fact. With my mommy hat on I paid close attention to the outpouring of public sentiment. Having recently failed pretty spectacularly at breastfeeding myself, I had a vested interest in the debate and my own views on the matter (which have since softened as the memory of all that angst and frustration — and guilt — fades). And then when Facebook banned pictures of women breastfeeding I thought about breast stuff even more. And I remembered how in intermediate we used our calculators to spell out BOOBLESS. (Or 55378008 turned upside down.) Now it just seems pointless and juvenile and insensitive. Back then it was a naughty revelation. Wanting to channel my inner tween or something, I found a caculator font (since we don’t have a single working calculator in the house) and replicated it (above). And I saw something I never saw back then. When I look at it now I see GODBLESS as much as I see BOOBLESS. That tripped me out for a bit. Mind you, in recent weeks I have also been known to absentmindedly pat a pair of scrunched up leggings, mistaking them for a cat (WTF? I’m really not sure why that happened, or why I continued to pat them even after I realised my mistake). And one night at about 3 in the morning I sat up in bed marvelling at the fact that thicken rhymes with chicken. In hindsight I don’t know what’s so mindblowing about this, but at the time it was pretty significant.

Now there are only 28 minutes left of February, which makes it very late indeed. It’s pissing down. I’ve meandered for long enough. In March I will make an effort to wear clothes that aren’t always cotton knit. I will continue to hone my extremely rubbish one income budgeting skills. I will sleep more and will not go to bed in lasagne-encrusted pyjamas. I will not watch lunchtime Emmerdale. But I may sometimes allow myself the occasional 4pm Murder She Wrote treat. All lofty goals. And that’s all nothing compared with the month of new and exciting adventures Oscar has in store. Such fun! (As Miranda’s mother would say.)


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