Tuesday, December 30, 2008

13. fires and meetings

Cath raced for the wardrobe. "Please let there be a bathrobe in here!" There was and she pulled it on, doing up the tie as securely as she could. The alarm was still blaring and she walked out of the room trying to look calm. Everyone else was dressed. Was she the only one who had already gone to bed?
She climbed down the fire escape stairs with the other guests, glad this hadn't been a work trip with colleagues. She caught the flash of red lights as she stepped outside. The firemen had arrived. Was there a real fire? She looked up at the hotel and saw silhouettes of guests against their cream curtains, still in their rooms looking down. Despite her attire, she was glad she was outside. The fireman looked ungainly and out of place striding through the hotel foyer. Cath overheard another guest mentioning smoke near the elevator. Maybe it was a real fire. She watched the sliding doors of the foyer open and close for the fireman. They seemed to be coming and going but not doing much putting out of fire.
Then they came out, got back in their truck, waved and drove away. Cath shuffled back inside with all the others, still not knowing exactly what had happened. She turned down the corridor to go back up the stairs as everyone else waited for the lifts. Maybe she would find out at breakfast what had happened.
The next morning at breakfast, Cath asked the girl filling her coffee if she knew what had happened. She shrugged she didn't know anything. She had been working at another hotel. She did a night shift and then came on here in the morning, while her Mum took her little boy to school. No wonder she looked tired, Cath felt bad that the girl was pouring her the cup of coffee, she probably needed one more. Why was the world always a paradox? - the people who most deserved a holiday serving those that always had holidays.
Cath sipped her coffee slowly so the girl wouldn't have to come and refill it. This morning she had to face the manager who had left the message on her phone.
Her meeting with the manager didn't start well."No. You can not do that."
"But the other manager said I could." She tried to sound brash and confident.
"He didn't have the authority. It is a guest relationship management oversight issue and that is my area." Brad looked away as if the matter was closed.
"I have already advertised this spot for meeting." Cath said, trying to maintain his attention.
"I'm sorry, that is not my concern. You can not use the hotel foyer, it is company policy. It is about the comfort of the other guests." Brad picked up the phone.
It appeared the meeting was over. Cath stared at his name tag, trying to think of a reason he should give in to her.
"Have you ever heard of Jacob Macy?" She handed over the business card. It was looking a bit worn and tatty now.
Brad flicked his eyes over it. "No. I'm sorry it is company policy there is nothing I can do."
Cath stood up, taking the business card back. What would she do now?

Monday, December 29, 2008

12. A quiet night in the hotel

They apologised to the mall security and left quickly. Jack dropped her back at the hotel and as usual disappeared at speed.
Cath went upstairs to her room, hoping for a suitcase to be waiting for her. But there was no friendly, black, canvas, rectangle facing to meet her. She went over to the phone on the desk to ring again about her luggage. Her message light was flashing. Picking up the phone she followed the instructions. Second time through she made it to the message. Her heart sank. It was from some manager of the hotel, she had to call him to discuss using the hotel as a base for her trip to the Reservation. It did not sound positive. She decided to put off calling him until tomorrow, he had probably gone for the day anyway. She checked her emails instead, hoping for a happier news boost, to give her energy to call about her bags. There was a message from Milly. She was still going on about the bad reference Cath's old boss had given. It didn't seem such a big issue now she was so far away from her old familiar life. There was a note at the bottom of the email hoping she felt better after the carpark incident. Had she told Milly about that? She didn't remember telling anyone. She checked her sent emails - nothing there. She went to check her phone and then remembered she had emptied all the messages off it just that afternoon. She decided not to dwell on the weird things that seemed to be going on in her life. Surely it was just her mind playing tricks. Ever since she lost her job she seemed to notice the bad things and collect them like some list of why people were out to get her. She reread the email and tried to take more notice of the suggestions from Milly about how to welcome everyone when they arrived for the trip and she suggested trying outside churches to give away the fliers. That was a good idea for down here in the South, everyone seemed to go to some church of some kind. She grabbed the phone book and looked up the section on churches. The names were fantastically long. It seemed they were trying to encapsulate all they believed in the title. The one that had "Church for anybody" made her smile as with another that included the words" Blessed Assurance" in their name. At least you knew what you were getting she thought. She wrote down a couple of the shorter names and addresses to try tomorrow. She rang the number the lost luggage people had given her. Tomorrow they promised her luggage would be here. Cath felt more in control. She was sure she could talk the hotel manager guy around tomorrow.
She took off the clothes she had bought and decided she might as well give them a rinse in the handbasin. Then at least before her bags turned up she could wear a mixture of her travelling clothes and the new ones. Her travelling clothes were still a bit damp but hopefully overnight they would finish drying. She hung the new ones on the little line, trying to make sure they didn't fall against the others. She slipped between the covers in her underwear and flicked on the TV. She clicked through the channels. There seemed to be hundreds of them.
Then she heard it. It was loud. It didn't stop. It had to be fire alarm. She lifted the covers. She needed something to wear. She thought about her line of wet and damp clothes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas Break

Not related to the ongoing story but imagine..
If Jesus came back as Father Christmas.
The second coming in red and white velvetine.
The kids would fine with it. They'd be looking at the adults saying "What! You said he was real all these years. What's the problem?"
It would be a bit much to take in wouldn't it?
I assume the gifts he bought would be different. It would be quite ironic, though in some ways fair enough since the whole Father Christmas thing is based on Saint Nicholas.
It has a nice kind of balance to it and I don't think the Bible mentions for sure what his clothing will be like on return. Why not red and white?
Imagine the theologians trying to work it all out. The arguements, the proof texting.
All the while the kids would be having a blast.
No one knows the time or place and last time he came completely not as expected so maybe....
Christmas services after that sure would be different.
It's good to be open minded I think.

11. Out on the town

The next morning her luggage still hadn't arrived. She washed out her travelling clothes and hung them in the bathroom, putting on the outfit she had bought at the mall.
Cath rang Bill from the Reservation. He had set aside a couple of hours next Saturday for the trip. Tourists and school trips were mostly who they had visiting. He had a bus to pick everyone up and she decided to see if they could meet in the hotel lobby. She went off to find the helpful guy from yesterday who had organised her room.
Fortunately he was on again today and he agreed to let her use the lobby as a meeting place for the bus pick up. She was feeling more her usual self - organised and expecting success. She used the business centre to print up the fliers she had been working on when she was back home. When Jack arrived to pick her up for dinner, she was in control with a neat stack of flyers in her arms. Still no luggage but surely it would turn up tomorrow.
Jack had a rental car and they drove into the town centre. It was empty. The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? They stood in the middle of the main street looking around them. Lights were on in restaurants but no one was walking the streets. Cath shook her head, she still wasn't used to this country. They decided to grab a bite and then head back to the mall to find the people.
They went into a bar looking place. Cath scanned the menu. "A bloomin' onion? What is that?" She asked the waitress.
"It's an Australian classic."
"It is?" Cath tried not to smile.
"You take an onion, slice it so that when it is battered and deep fried, it opens like a flower and it is served with a dipping sauce.
Cath tried to keep her face looking normal. It was all she could do to just nod. That was not like any Australian dish she knew. She ordered some waffle nachos. She took the wine list and ordered a glass by how much the name appealed - none were familiar. Jack ordered a steak. The waitress came back, apparently that particular wine was not available. Cath chose another at random. The waitress went away and then came back again. That wine wasn't available either.
"Why do you have a wine list if you have no wine?" Jack asked. The waitress didn't answer.
Cath ordered a Coke.
Their gargantuan meals arrived- after Jack's salad, of course. Cath ate as many as she could of the nachos but the plate looked no different. She wondered if anyone ever ate the full plate.
They drove to the mall and finally found some people. Cath put on her best smile and went up to the first person she saw offering a flyer. "We are planning a trip for locals to the Indian Reservation. It is free do you want to come?"
"Excuse me what did you say?" The lady bent her head closer to Cath.
Cath repeated herself again. Then she slowed down and repeated it again.
"Oh I get you. I've never been there except when I got lost once trying to go somewhere else."
"Are you new to the area?" Cath asked
"Oh no, lived here 25 years."
"Well maybe you should come then."
"I might just do that."
Cath felt good. Then the next few people she tried just ignored her, avoiding eye contact. Her confidence started to slip.
Jack was doing quite well she noticed and she tried to get her confident approach back. Then mall security turned up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

10. Help

Cath decided there was no point sneaking past and besides she was curious as to why he was here.
"Hi, fancy seeing you here!" She tried to sound casual and not too nosy.
Jack jumped. "Hey there. Jacob said you'd be here."
"Well I've only just arrived today. What are you doing here?" Trying to get the conversation off her onto his plans.
"Oh I was doing one of these things for Jacob in California and he mentioned you were here and I thought why not come and help."
"Yeah?" Cath sat down. "What were you doing?"
Jack sat on the edge of the squishy sofa, his hands animated with his excitement.
"It went really well but I was just helping. Not starting from scratch like you. We did an outdoor screening of these fantastic short films a group of Mexican kids made. We invited the hotel managers and people like that, who employ a lot of Mexicans to try and build respect for cultural differences, seeing all people as equal - you know the stuff Jacob is trying to do. We had a good turn out and they were impressed with the films. Which they should have been as they were excellent. I've still got to write it up and edit the footage for Jacob's website."
He paused. Cath smiled. It did sound pretty neat. Maybe this trip was a good idea. She did like seeing people change and being more tolerant and understanding seemed pretty good changes in her opinion.
"How is your trip so far?" Jack cut into her thoughts.
"Well my luggage is not here and I have only just arrived and...." She stopped, she was going to mention the car park incident but changed her mind. Jack didn't seem to notice.
"When do you start your project?"
Cath stared at the ceiling. "I was going give the guy on the reservation a call to make sure it is all still okay and then I thought maybe of going into the town centre tomorrow night and talking to people about what they think."
Jack nodded "Sounds like a plan. Shall I meet you here tomorrow night then? We could go and grab something to eat first."
Cath agreed. It was nice to not feel so alone here, even if Jack was hardly a familiar face. Jack was up and gone.
As she got in the lift, she pondered - Did he always leave in a hurry and how come he just seemed to do whatever he felt like at the time? She shook her head. She could not live like that. This project was an experiment but if it didn't lead to something she would move on. She wanted to do something worthwhile and successful with her life - not fritter it away. She stuck the electronic card into her door. Would her suitcase have arrived? Even with the bags on her arms, she really wanted her stuff.

Monday, December 15, 2008

9. The joy of large sizes

It was just a fire escape. Cath didn't look back, she kept running on the thin bit of footpath that surrounded the building, she rounded a corner and there it was, the mall entrance with big, sliding glass doors. She ran through and then slowed to the calmness of the musak, relieved to have made it inside. It felt like a completely different world from the carpark. She looked back out through the doors but all she saw was benign parked cars. Was it all in her mind?
Cath kept walking and entered the first department looking store she came to. She felt her heart slowing as she hid herself amongst the racks of women's clothing. She found a couple of jeans her size and went to try them on.
In the changing room she almost laughed out loud. They were her normal size but the jeans were enormous, they fell off her hips. She felt small and loved it. She got back into her now decidedly, wiffy travelling jeans and went to find some smaller sizes. It felt good. Petite sizes? "Why yes I think I am."
She tried not to remember her last trip to Malaysia where all the clothes were too tight and she felt like a clumsy hippo. Here it was all good. Change country and change your clothing size - more expensive but far easier than dieting. Even better she found they had short jeans. Cath wasn't that short but short enough that normal jeans were always too long. She had asked at home if they could get shorter ones but they said it was not worth bringing them into the country. It was wonderful being able to buy jeans here, that fit right off the rack.
Cath went to choose a top, bra and pants - that should see her right until the luggage showed up. She left the store with bags hanging from her arms and a smile on her face, the weird carpark incident banished to paranoia from jetlag.
But as she wandered back towards the mall entrance she began to feel uneasy. Then as she got closer she saw it was hailing outside. Relieved she pulled the hotel card out of her pocket and rang for the shuttle. It felt frivolous and indulgent but she didn't care.
The shuttle arrived and Cath ran through the hail stones and ducked inside, smiling at the driver. He drove out of the carpark onto the highway and then turned off the highway, up the street the hotel was on and pulled under the veranda. It took all of five minutes. She felt embarrassed to have bothered the driver to do such a menial thing. She muttered her thanks and stepped off.
As she looked up to walk into the hotel foyer she saw a familiar face sitting on the couch by the window. It was that guy from the plane. The one that had given her the card. Jack wasn't it? What was he doing here?

Friday, December 5, 2008

8. Where do the pedestrians go?

Cath didn't let herself sleep for too long. Time to get out and about. She needed to buy some clothes since she only had what she was wearing. On the wee welcome map, there was a mall across the highway. She fancied a bit of a walk.
The guy at the door tried to convince her to take the free hotel shuttle to the mall. She waved him away but he pressed a card into her hand for her to call if she needed picking up. Walking out into the sunshine, she was bemused at his pushiness. Then she found out why - there were no footpaths.
She walked on the grass verges between a restaurant and a garage. At the end of the street she climbed over the fence and found herself on the edge of a multilane street. There were still no footpaths. Did anyone walk here?
She nervously crossed with the lights and wandered under the highway overpass, cars and trucks rumbling overhead and thundering past. She walked amongst the rubbish and the scrubby grass. Had anyone else ever walked here before she wondered?
Emerging into the bright sun, she was confronted with a confusing crossing of traffic trying to get onto the highway. She watched the lights and then ran when she thought it was right time. She held her breath, didn't dare look sideways and aimed for the other side of the road. There were some horns but she made it.
She stood, catching her breath and getting her bearings. There was the mall. A big square, unadorned building. Malls were definitely not built to be admired from the outside. It was across the car yard and then a massive expanse of carparking. She set off. It would seem no one walked to the mall. This place was set up for cars, not pedestrians. Everything was so spread out. She gazed at the Baskin Robbins across the road. She decided it was too hard to get to - another time maybe, she wanted to try it before she left the country.
At least now she had made it to the carpark of the mall. The carparks were huge. How big were their cars here? You could park a campervan in one of them. Then she noticed that was exactly what they were for.
The carparks shrank to normal size as she approached the grey monolith, if you didn't know, there was nothing to attract you to the building. She thought of the pretty little shops back home with window displays enticing the passerby.
A loud, roaring engine caused her to jump. It was right beside her, she quickly ran between the cars. She wasn't used to the traffic being on the wrong side of the road. She checked before she emerged from the parked cars' protection, thinking she had it right this time.
There was the roar again.
She turned. The same car was there again. Had it swerved towards her?
She ran for what she thought was the mall entrance. She could here the car behind her. Where they trying to run her down?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

7.We share a common language

Of course he had a gun. Cath admonished herself. It was the US - they carried guns here. It felt freaky to her to see them being carried and no one being bothered. She was a city girl, at home if she saw a gun it meant big trouble.
The shuttle stopped and she managed to scramble aboard, her hand luggage backpack slipping off one shoulder, the freebie mystery toiletries still in her other hand. She felt a mess and sunk into the first empty seat - not daring to look at the other passengers.
The hotel was a forty-five minute drive down the interstate. Cath stared out the window amazed at the size of the trucks lumbering past. Their wheels almost level with her window. A corvette cut through the trucks and it looked tiny. At home they stood out on the road - a big car. Here they appeared the same size as other traffic. She began to wonder if she had shrunk on the trip over. Maybe this was how small children feel all the time.
As the shuttle pulled in under the hotel veranda, Cath relaxed at the thought of a hot shower and lying flat on a bed. She handed her booking sheet over at reception, almost too tired to explain.
"I'm sorry your room won't be ready until this afternoon." the receptionist smiled.
Cath's shoulders sagged. "No. I booked for last night so this wouldn't happen, it must be ready."
The receptionist went back to her computer.
"Look I've flown a long way. I need a shower and my room!"
The receptionist didn't look up, hitting keys and clicking her pen.
"You have a cute accent." the receptionist smiled again.
Cath smiled, despite her building frustration. No one had ever said that before. She spotted a plate of chocolate biscuits on the desk, with a complementary note beside them. She suddenly realised how hungry she was. She took one, the chocolate melting on her tongue, the sweetness kicking her brain into action.
"Nice biscuits."
The receptionist looked at her confused.
"Cookies." A man in a suit appeared from behind the wall behind the receptionist. He smiled at Cath. "What is the trouble?"
She re-explained her urgent need for a room and suddenly she had a key in her hand. She stepped away from the desk, taking another biscuit - cookie she corrected herself as she went. Then she stopped. Where were the lifts?
The manager caught her eye and pointed in the direction of the lifts. There they were right in front of her. It was time her overworked brain had a rest. She knew she didn't have much time and needed to get hold of her contact.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

6. A new career

Cath thought about ringing Milly. She had been disappointed to miss out on the job at Milly's work. She hadn't even known if she was going to take it but she sure as hell thought she was talented enough to get it.
It was the backpacker holding a saucer with a slice of carrot cake on it out to her. She nodded and reached out for the plate, dropping her phone into her lap. No more worrying about what could have been, She would take the opportunities in front of her and cake seemed just fine. In fact... Her eyes followed the backpacker guy as he walked back to grab a beer. He was looking pretty nice from this position.
Cath had given up on men after the slow sinking of her last relationship with Nathan. Nothing amazing had gone wrong, just a gentle slipping apart like two boats on the sea and before she knew it, they had anchored too far apart to come back. She knew it had partly been her fault - working long hours, but that was her and if he couldn't accept that then...
Past opportunities - Cath pulled herself back to the present. Then it was the past; a flight, another lounge, a flight, another airport.
Finally she was there in North Carolina, watching the luggage go round and round the carousel and waiting for hers to appear. Hearing new accents and smells all around her. Her brain sluggishly trying to keep up. The bags were thinning out. She kept watching - expecting, willing it to appear. Her brain was ready just to grab any and make the best of it.
It didn't come. Everyone had moved away and only two of them remained staring at the empty carousel squeaking its way around. Then it stopped. There was no ignoring it. Her luggage was not coming.
"It's over here." The stranger, also missing luggage, guided her towards the lost luggage counter. Then they were taken to the lost luggage. That woke her up and fast. An area the size of a tennis court was roped off and patiently waiting inside was row after row of bags. None of them looked like hers, but the stranger's was there. Cath felt glad. Weird how you could barely meet someone and still feel emotionally attached. She waved him goodbye as she filled out the paperwork, got given $50 for some clothes and a wee blue bag of mystery toiletries. The lady at the counter looked as tired and she felt. It seemed her lost luggage was just another in a long day. How could so many bags get lost? Surely it wasn't that hard but it didn't seem a good time to ask. Then Cath went to find hotel shuttle, hoping it hadn't gone while she was busy sorting out her bags. It was pulling away. With, what felt like the final scrap of energy she had, Cath ran waving her arms, not caring about first impressions, just hoping that damn shuttle would stop. She'd seen the distance to the hotel on google earth and she didn't want to walk. The shuttle and her were closing on each other - would he stop and then she saw the man looking like a policeman with a gun.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

5. Turning Back?

Cath stood in the queue to the check-in. Her suitcase, her silent partner. Her heart sank as she read the flickering chart. "Flight cancelled." Was it a sign? Was it fate warning her not to throw away her career on this crazy venture? She could feel a knot pulling inside her. But she tried to relax it away. Theoretically she was on holiday. She was paying for this and maybe if she did a good job, Jacob Macy would pay her expenses, for the story and keep her on his project. She took a deep breath. If it didn't go to plan she could just have a holiday. She went over and over these ideas in mind - an endless loop, the thoughts stuck to one another.
"Next please!"
Cath was jolted out of her thoughts and quickly pulled her suitcase over to the checkin.
"It is alright you will make your connection, you will just have less of a wait."
Cath nodded and waved away the snack coupons. As her suitcase bumped and jiggled onto the conveyor and disappeared, she felt a release. She was in charge, no one was telling her what to do. She turned away from the checkin - smiling. She felt better than she had in ages. Maybe this trip was just what she needed.
"Excuse me - where is the food place for these coupons?" He was young, tattered backpack on his back, ipod headphones hanging around his neck.
"Come with me I got lounge membership, been awhile since I had a guest."
"Obrigado, thank you."
"No worries." Cath grinned. "Follow me." She walked past a group of suits and frowns. She smiled again. The slave is free she thought.
Her phone sang for attention. She reached for it still grinning. It was Milly. She flicked open the text message expecting well wishes and comments of envy.
"Know why you didn't get job. Jim has it in for you!"
Cath read it again. What on earth? Jim had always appeared to think she was great. She thought he would be an excellent reference. She shivered. All thoughts of freedom running for dark recesses in her mind. A little seed of a thought dropped - one she would later harvest.

Friday, November 21, 2008

4. A new start

"Oh that's just some card this guy gave me on the way home from Oz."
Milly unfolded it. "What have you decided to do about work?"
Cath lent on the bench. "I don't think I am going to go to Sydney."
"There's a job at my work you could do. I'll put in a good word for you." Milly said still looking at the card.
"What does this man do?"
Cath took the card off her, flipping it onto the windowsill. "Some travel thing." She went to the fridge to retrieve some more wine.
"What's holding you here? You could call him if you wanted." Milly held out her glass for a refill.
Cath untwisted the cap, secretly pleased by the lack of cork. Twist top wine bottles, were a girl's best friend. She filled Milly's and her own. "But then I should take Jim's offer and go to Sydney." She said.
Milly's bracelets chinked against the glass. "You always moan about the Sydney office. You said yourself just earlier this year, you thought you would be married and thinking of children by now. So why not ditch it all and try something new? Give the man a call." She raised her glass in a toast.
Cath's finger ran through the condensation on her glass. A new path appearing between the bubbles. Maybe she had done the corporate thing for long enough. Maybe it was time to take a chance. She was hardly a fairground of happiness. Success yes but there was always another step to climb, so happy - no. She picked up the phone and lifted the card back off the window sill.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

3. What to do next

"Hey you again."
Cath looked up. She was waiting for the boarding call of her flight, staring at her shoes and still thinking about that meeting.
It was the guy from her flight over this morning. Jack was it? She tried to recall his name.
He flopped down beside her. "Hope your day was better than mine. Just missed getting run over by a corporate banana on his cell phone and the bloke I was suppose to meet, never showed up!"
Cath sighed, not sure if she wanted to get dragged into this conversation.
"My day was crap too. If I want to keep my job I have to move to Sydney."
Jack looked at her.
"Can they do that? I thought they had to offer you other stuff if they changed your job compared to your contract? But could be the best thing to happen to you. What do you want to do? Why not ditch them and travel or something?"
Cath looked at the floor again. Did she really want to take advice from a guy she only met on a plane?
"I don't know I'm that kind of person. I like things ordered and organised." She said.
Jack didn't appear to be listening. "While I was waiting for the guy I was suppose to be meeting, I met this other guy."
He went on, while he peered and poked into his bag.
"Anyway he is setting up some internet thing and he wants people to travel and then write up stuff or do videos or something. Something about peace and bringing people of the world together. He sounded like he was a freekin' rich go getter type who now wanted to do something nice with his millions. It sounded kind of lame to me but if he is willing to pay, I thought I might do it once. Aah here is his card I got a couple."
Jack handed the card to Cath. She took it. "I don't think that sounds like me at all."
Jack stood up."Better get a drink before we board," and he was gone.
Cath looked at card, turning it upside down. It didn't look any better. What a dumb idea she thought. Nice he waited until he was really rich before deciding to help out the world. She wondered how many people he had made move offices. She folded the card in half and poked into her laptop bag's side pocket
Two weeks later, her best friend Milly was over. The bag fell off the bench where it had been teetering. The card fell out and Milly bent to pick it up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

2. The meeting

Cath sat down.
Jim walked behind his desk. His eyes flicking at the emails arriving on screen. He pulled his eyes away and smiled at Cath.
"Great quarter you guys have had in New Zealand. The best you have ever had." He sat down.
Cath smiled and was about to reply when Jim's phone rang.
"Hang on a minute." He looked away, the phone to his ear.
Cath glanced at the papers all over his desk. Attempting to the read the contents upside down. The ones on the top were to do with New Zealand. She could see one of her own reports. She began to feel uneasy.
Jim put his phone down and smiled again. "Look this is going to take awhile. Go have some lunch, I'll call you back when I'm free."
Cath got up, nodded and walked out. She was only here for one day. She went off to find her main friend in the office, Helen. She wondered if she knew anything.
The two them went across the road to the sandwich place. Cath fiddling with her coins, she still wasn't used to the opposite sizes in Australia. She thought two countries so close could have at least have standardised on which coin should be bigger the one or two dollar. She was forever wasting money.
Helen thought she had heard a rumour they were going to close the New Zealand office. Cath nearly choked on her salad roll. "That is crazy!" She said "We'll lose all our customers! No offence but you are a different time zone and...well Australian. We market ourselves on being local."
Helen shrugged. "I know we don't really want to deal with the extra work, we can't cope at the moment to be honest, but that is what I've heard."
Cath chewed silently. This is not what she had expected to hear today. Helen needed to get back to work and Jim still wasn't free. Cath hooked up her computer, cleared emails and waited. She was having a hard time concentrating. The afternoon was disappearing. Her early start was catching up with her as a fog began to settle in her brain. She would have to leave soon. She walked down the corridor past Jim's office again, in the pretence of an errand.
Thirty minutes before the taxi was due to pick her up, Jim finally opened his door and called her in apologetically.
"I have to go soon." Cath said without sitting down.
"Yes. I'm sorry about that. Emergency situation down in Adelaide, I had to placate the customer, he is one of our best. Now what I wanted to say was you have had a wonderful quarter but..." There was a tap at the door. It was Jenny, Jim's secretary.
"Taxi's here Cath."
"Thanks, tell him to wait." Cath turned to Jim.
"We are restructuring and basically it means we are pulling things back to the office here. We can provide much better service will all the people and back up here. I want you to transfer here to head it up. In fact if you continue to do a good job. I can see you being in charge of sales for both Australia and New Zealand in the future."
Cath's mind felt like was simultaneously running through a million different scenarios and not moving at all. All she could say was "But we have done the best we have ever done. We are a profitable organisation over there."
Jim nodded. "I know and this decision is nothing to do with how well you have run the business. It is a new approach worldwide."
"It's a stupid one" Cath blurted out before she could stop herself.
Jenny was back tapping on the door "Cath you really have to go."
"I am coming over next week. Keep it under your hat until then. We will discuss it with the team. I think you will find it enormously rewarding and challenging over here. It would be a great step in your career." Jim smiled.
Cath said nothing. She stood up and smoothed her skirt.
"I'll see you next week then. I'm not sure about the move over here. I need to think about it."
Jim waved his hand "Sure, sure. It is a lot to take in. Have a good flight and I think you will see it is big opportunity for you."
Cath marched down the corridor, gathered up her computer and checked she had her passport and flight details. She swung around Helen's office doorway. "You were right." She said.
As Cath went down in the lift she felt the pricks of tears forming. She was mad. It always made her cry. She was mad that Jim had made her wait all day - to tell her that. She was mad she had come over on an early flight, that always messed up her thinking and put her on the back foot, to be told her job as she knew it was gone. She was mad he seemed to think it was okay not to tell the others until next week. The lift binged. She marched out and flung the glass reception doors open. She freed herself from the building. Maybe she would come and work here but right now it was the last thing she wanted to do.
She was mad. She barely looked at the taxi driver as she got in the back. She stared out the window as they headed out onto the main road. Her fingers stroked the keypad on her phone. What to do. As the distance from the office grew and the simmering anger began to cool, plans started forming in her mind.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1. My new plan

Well, I have been procrastinating for a few weeks. I want to/need to practice a creative writing story structure. You know, the old first do it by the rules before you break them thing. The problem is I am fairly rubbish at writing without a reason. The reason doesn't have to be great but I am VERY goal orientated so even it if it doesn't pan out, at least I am happy if I made the goal. Since I am just starting out in creative writing I am going through the rejection phase of my career. So far it is going very well - getting rejected all over the place. Admittedly I don't aim low and my rejections are the non surprising result. In fact I think if I wasn't rejected that might freak me out a bit at this point.
Anyway that long waffling paragraph is because I have decided to make myself do this, I will use my blog for it so I am going to attempt to write a longer story following my planned structure over the next wee while in this blog. I had planned to plan out the story to the structure a bit but I can see I will never start if I wait until I do that so I am just going to jump straight in. It maybe naff. It may only last a month or may develop into a groovey story who can tell. I tend to be a shorter story writer, despite my longer aspirations, so we will see what happens.
Cath couldn't believe how easily she could be envious. Right now sitting on the plane as it circled above Sydney, she was still envious of the guy beside her. Jack had only just made the flight. He had managed to convince the check-in staff to get him on even though he had been late. Cath had never managed to do that in her life. She was envious of his confidence, his charm and his complete lack of concern that he might have missed his flight. How could she be envious over such a trivial thing? She knew it was crazy. She never told anyone anymore about things like this. It just sounded so self pitying.
"What about your porsche in the garage? What about your gorgeous apartment. What about your great career?" She could hear their rebukes in her head but it didn't help. She had worked really hard to get those things and this was different. She could not control how she felt. It was just a fact, her envy, nothing more.
She sighed and looked out over the brown roofs dotted between the shaggy green tree tops. Soon she would be down there amongst the concrete and cars. It never felt as green on the ground as it looked from air.
Cath arrived at the office in time for morning tea. The smokers were out on the deck, the others were grabbing coffees and heading back to their desks but not without a bit gossip and back chat. There seemed to be something going on. People were looking at her in a weird way. They seemed happy to see her but almost too cheerful. It made her uneasy. It always seemed so mysterious over here. Back in New Zealand there was only four of them. They were like a family really.
Jim, the General Manager, and Cath's boss lent on the door.
"Cath, glad you made it. Come into my office. I have some news for you."
Cath followed him down the hall. She had thought from the emails organising this trip, that it would be good news, now she was not so sure.

Friday, October 31, 2008

When a bus isn't a bus

How come you can have buses with their little sign above the windscreen saying "Not on Service"?
It is a bus. It has a driver. It is going somewhere. Why can't they pick people up?
'Not on Service' buses always seem to be in weird places - a trip on one sounds much more interesting than taking the same old bus route.
These days the signs are electronic presumably they can write whatever they want up there. The old days when they just had a series of signs stuck in a little window and they had to manually change the sign over are long gone. Now they can write, "Off to help a mate" or "Going for a warrant" or probably more helpfully the street where they are going. I'm sure there might be someone who will be happy to catch a ride - to finally find a bus going where they need to go.
If cars with only one person is bad for the environment - what about a whole bus with just a driver?
So good for the environment, payment for the trip and company for the journey - Buses should always be on service.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Driving through the world

Well had to go and do a feel jobs today. It seemed to be a day of noticing weird things.
Like the house that has been adapted to wheelchair access with a big new ramp. Then oddly a new rose bush has been planted at the bottom of the ramp. How is that a good idea? Especially if you are new to operating a wheelchair. That seems an unpleasant situation just waiting to happen.
Then while I was getting stuff out of the car. I watched a person make some odd parking decisions.
First they double parked next to me. I noticed the disability parking permit in the window.
Then they went across the road to the very corner of the busy street. It had yellow lines painted on it and a road works sign a little way in from the corner. Admittedly the person was driving a very small car that could fit in the space. They backed into this non existent parking spot and hit the roadworks sign.
It did make me wonder if their sign on the dash board was a permit or a warning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

5 days working in Colombo 2001

I know seven years ago but I have been thinking about it again. It was a month before 9/11 happenings in the US when I went to Sri Lanka. I still think about the people I met and wonder how they are getting along. I am always impressed how humans just adapt to the world around them and get on with living. Hooray for life.

We leave the five star hotel. At the beginning of our journey, every few metres we pass a soldier with a gun. They stand on the road watching the traffic. This is the route the politicians drive to work.
The cars and tuktuks, who pay little attention to road rules, are squeezed together down to one lane. Beside us are two lanes of metal barricades. Then there is a large wall against which dirt and sandbags have been piled. Atop the wall is barbed wire and at intervals along the wall are soldiers, guns at the ready. It is the Prime Minister’s house.
Later we drive past the prison. I only know it is prison because my host waves at a nondescript building that closely resembles those around it but with a thin coil of barbed wire along the top of the outer wall. It would seem it is not the prisoners the citizens are afraid of.
High walls and solid metal gates divide buildings into boxes. Every one employs a guard to open the gate after checking who is coming in.
At the laboratory we have new problems I haven’t experienced. Ants had got into the water bottle through the little air hole.
The guard opens the gate for us to leave at lunchtime. At a fast food restaurant, a man in the carpark shows us where to park. He wears a uniform very similar to the police uniform.
When we leave he stands out in traffic to help us rejoin the non stop flow of cars.
After lunch I am given a tour of the laboratories. In the virology lab on a shelf in a glass case, sits a stuffed dog with rabies.
Driving home we pass a Leyland shop. There is a whole pile of engines for sale, all nicely painted in bright tonka toy red.
The next morning driving back to the laboratory we cram past a little rickety table with all the other trucks and cars, belching diesal and petrol fumes. On the wooden table, there is no ice, no covering, just rows of fish sitting beside a busy roundabout in high humidity.
That night I am taken out for dinner by the head of the company and his wife.
They take me to a restaurant that recaptures the old colonial days. Guards in safari suits and hats are at each entrance.
We sit out on the stone terrace overlooking the sea and sip cool drinks while we are entertained by traditional dance performances. As with getting anywere in this city, to reach here we drove over chalk murals marking where bombs have exploded. The conversation we are having over drinks is about children. My hosts tell me they are not planning on having any children. They think it is irresponsible to bring children into such an unstable and dangerous environment.
Later one of the doctors admits to me, that in her heart, she did not think I would come. They thought I would be put off by a recent bombing at the airport. I did wonder as a flew out if I was making a stupid mistake but how can you not help where you can? The world sometimes is not so big.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Petrol Price

Well everyone is moaning about how much the crude oil price has come down and yet the petrol at the pump has remained remarkably stable. Fair enough. I think a moan is in order.
The smart people who can do sums say that in September 2007, when oil was last at the current price, petrol was 30c cheaper per litre. But we have to think about the US dollar change. The wise ones still suggest it is reasonable to expect a 15c per litre price drop.
There is a couple of problems though, I don't think there is a rule in business that says if your expenses drop you must drop your prices.
Secondly perhaps the petrol companies want to show just how dependant we are on their product, so it will spur us on to creative methods of transport not requiring petrol.
But there is another factor. Petrol is moved around the country in those big tankers. They don't look light and I bet they cost a bit to fill up their tank. I think we need to factor rising transport costs into petrol pricing. We all know fuel isn't cheap - especially these days.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Innocent or Guilty?

I like the theory of being innocent until proven guilty of a crime. But household appliances fall into only two categories. Some are always guilty and some are always innocent.
The classic pair are the television and video. If the television doesn’t work it is your fault. You haven’t pushed the buttons. You have accidently turned the power off or pulled the cord out. It is always innocent. The video while nestling right beside its larger cousin when it doesn’t record the programme you told it to - is guilty without question. You set it up right all it had to do was record and it didn’t do it. Even if further investigation proves you made a mistake. It is still the video's fault for not being easy to programme, having one too many buttons or for just being a stupid heap of junk that is outdated anyway!
Fridges are innocent. They never wreck food or cause it to go mouldy. We always take the blame.
"I forgot it was there".
"I left it at the back of the fridge – silly me."
Even if your fridge does weird things such as suddenly freezing all your carrots and cabbage and lettuce, as well as all the sauces. It is still innocent.
"Oh a bit has broken". The manufacturers must have done something wrong.
"Poor fridgy widgy being soo cold."
Ovens on the other hand - guilty, guilty, guilty.
"It burnt the stew."
"I put it on low and look what it’s done."
"This is a terrible oven."
Microwaves innocent. Dishwashers innocent. Computers - guilty, guilty, guilty. Printers guilty too. You tell them to do the write thing and they just sit there doing nothing even after you have yelled at it. You turn the switch on and off. It sits there with ts little light blinking for no apparent reason whatsoever. Guilty!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finding the weakness

I was driving into town the other day - doing the mother thing, with two carseated children, the buggy, the bag of kids stuff for the different ' what if' scenarios.
Suddenly roaring up behind me was a white car, lowered, loud, drum beat pumping. He was right on my bumper. Usually I don't mind this kind of person. Sometimes I even admire their car control and confidence - which is much better than mine. But this one was being annoying, hassling me forward.
Of course I joined in the battle and made sure I went the speed limit and not a kilometre per hour faster.
Here we were almost locked together, both probably cursing the other.
I checked my rearview mirror again to see what he was up to. He had dropped far behind. Then I realised we had crossed the bumpy railway tracks with its slap dash ashfelt, sticking up in all sorts of mounds and lumps. He was still carefully negotiating them in his lowered car.
My tail was free and I laughed. All that menace beaten by a slight undulation in the road surface. The opponent was too easily foiled.
But if we met again in town and had to race on foot. He would beat me easily. Me with my buggy, my bag, my independently minded children getting sidetracked by the smallest thing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Yay for daffodils

I meant to write this weeks ago but September rushed by and suddenly was finished before I had even really got used to it starting.
So somewhat belatedly I wanted to say hooray for the daffodil. It is so big, bright and yellow - it just makes you feel happy when you see it. Even if it is pouring with rain and the wind is not at all springlike, a bobbing daffodil riding out the weather reminds me - it's ok, spring is here and summer is coming!
I also like them as they are one of the only flowers I could draw as kid that anyone could recognise. They are so weird, it is hard to get them wrong and you can draw them side-on with that trumpet (minimising having to draw the difficult petals) and still people know what it is!
I also have a half memory of going with my best friend's family to a big field in the country somewhere and just picking buckets and buckets of daffodils that we brought home and gave away to anyone we could think of. Where was this field? Did we pay to pick them? Did we really pick so many or was it just that I was small? I have no idea, but just thinking about having as many daffodils as one could want - I feel happy all over again.
We have some daffodils that come up every year by the corner of the house at the front. They are a happy note to come home to. Last year when my small child was two - every time she got out of the car she would go and see the daffodils. She thought they were wonderful.
Then they died. They went brown and papery dry.
When she got out of the car she still went over to them and held them and admired their new look.
I just caught myself before I said, "Leave them alone they are dead and yukky." My judgement on the worth of the dead daffodil. Why not admire it for its new look?
It is so easy to miss things in a busy world expecting quick judgements.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Things that make you go Aargh, hmmm, hee hee

Not the best title I know, but I think you know the situations I mean - the ones where something happens to someone else, that you cannot prevent or fix and if you think about it for too long - it is kind of funny.
Like when you were travelling at speed on the back of a open topped truck with other tourists in Thailand, heading to an elephant sanctuary and someone's hat is caught by the wind and disappears under that truck following you.
Like on a day when there was a very small scatter of snow, someone has driven to work in their four wheel drive and then left their lights on in the car park building.
Like when you see a gust of wind suddenly whip loose leaves of paper out of folders left by kids outside assembly. The A4 pages tumble and fly in all directions, defying being reclaimed.
Like when you wake up in the morning to find a text checking to see if you had remembered to pick them up at 4 in the morning for work when you do not know them and aren't their bro. But you still kind of hope the intended text recipient remembered the early morning pick up.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The care and the careless

In the last two days, two things have made me smile.
The first was at the service station while my gas bottle was getting filled.
A car pulls in on the complete opposite side of the forecourt to where the attendant is filling my bottle. A guy gets out of the car and there is a girl in the front seat. The guy yells across the forecourt. "Do you sell pregnancy kits?"
I guess it was nice that he was prepared to do the asking but not sure I would want that yelled across the forecourt while I was sitting in the car.
In case you are wondering garages do not seem to sell them.
So from the careless to the surprisingly caring.
It is rubbish day today so recycling bins have all been out and emptied. Just down the road a group of bins have been emptied but they have not just been thrown to the side of the road, or stacked roughly. They have been arranged neatly into a pyramid.
I like creativity for no reason. I am already wondering what feat of engineering they might try next week.
Rubbish day has just got more exciting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vanishing cyclists

Around the city where I live there is an oddness to the cycle lanes.
From my car I see them there and then next minute the lane has disappeared.
What are the cyclists suppose to do at this point - start to fly?
It is always at odd points too. Like coming up to a particularly nasty intersection where you'd think cyclists would like a lane of their own to protect them. Or weirdly just after special signs alerting motorists to the existence of a cycle lane and after the cycle lane goes across in front of merging traffic. Then it's gone - right where the merging traffic will be appearing beside them.
Do the planners think cyclists can materialise or not at will?
If these lanes are suppose to make the cyclists safer - why do they disappear in the most unsafe spots?
If cyclists could fly - wouldn't they just do this all the time? It would be so much faster.
Maybe the streets are just one big computer game with cyclists as the players. When the cycle lanes suddenly stop they vanish and reappear on another cycle lane somewhere else. Maybe me and my car are merely obstacles passing through.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


From my study sample of two, I am amazed that dancing seems to be innate. As soon as a song with a good beat comes on, dancing happens. If you try to stop the dancing, sometimes the reaction is extraordinary - like you are trying to stop them from breathing or reaching a chocolate biscuit.
They seemed compelled to dance and they just do it without any prompting. Why? Why do humans arrive knowing how to dance but not how to talk? Is dancing that important?
Why do we not feel the need to dance to every song we hear as we get older?
Maybe that is the problem with the world. All the time we spent learning to talk, to read, to be educated and to make money, when we should really have been working on our dancing.
Is that why bizarre programmes like "dancing with the stars" are ridiculously popular beyond what logical, common sense would dictate? Our sub-conscious trying to tell us - dancing is the important thing!
Maybe we should all dance more and see what happens. Next time you're in a queue and a catchy tune comes on, start quietly moving to the beat.
Imagine if everyone starts doing it.
Imagine that becomes the normal way of the world - Everyone just gently jiving along.
Imagine coming across this post years from now and being surprised that in the past everyone didn't use to just dance all the time.
I think that would be cool.
But what about the people that can't dance? What kind of world would it be for them?
What about the poor today? What kind of world is it for them?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The latest news

Everywhere I go lately, I see billboards telling me I need to listen to a particular radio station because news doesn't wait until I log on apparently, nor does it wait - according to the radio people, until I buy a newspaper. Which is odd because if it did wait until I logged on or bought a newspaper presumably there would be nothing to read since it had only just happened as soon as I did something.
Imagine if there was no news until you turned the TV on or got online?
Live reporters would just have to be standing around hoping for something. Then someone would flick their remote and simultaneously there would be an earthquake somewhere.
So if everyone stopped watching or reading the news in this scenario would nothing happen? That would ruin it for the radio station.
News always seems to prefer the bad news stories so maybe only good things would happen. But there would always be some people, that couldn't stand it and need to have a quick check of the news ...and there would be your heavy snowfall stranding holidaymakers. Some would probably get addicted to the power of newsmaking and check all the time.
Anyway the news does wait. When I read it or watch it - it is news to me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Misplaced milk

Most of these things seem to be centred around shopping. Supermarkets are surprisingly interesting places.
The other day while gliding down the aisle, I stopped in front of the soft drinks. There on the shelf right in the front of the Coca Cola was a two litre bottle of trim milk.
What was going on here?
I'm sure we've all been guilty of putting back items, we were going to buy, in a different place in the supermarket. I was even caught once and told off by a not so friendly shelf stacking person.
But why was the milk left by the Coke? Did the person see Coke was on special and think let's buy that instead of milk?
Did they swap healthy trim milk for evil, junk, food Coca Cola?
Did they think two litres of soft drink was liquid so could fulfil the same role as milk but more cheaply? Will they have Coke on their cereal and in their coffee?
And how come they did not leave the milk on a refrigerated shelf?
Even i put like with like.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oil rant

Well everyone else seems to be having a rant about oil price - I thought why miss a chance?
So here is my rant.
Even though the increasing price of petrol is obviously chewing up more of our money. I am finding myself feeling a little distant, a little looking down on the problem or to one side perhaps.
Maybe everyone is feeling like this. Do we really care about the increase in petrol price? Is it really affecting our quality of life? Or is it just something that we can all moan about communally and thus give us something to talk about with strangers?
Maybe I am not so bothered because it vindicates watching all those documentaries about peak oil and people laughing it off as not a big issue.
Maybe I just like that President Bush derided the last administration for the increase in oil price under their watch, but the increase while he has been in charge is so massive, it is not even worth working out the percentage increase. A huge amount, pretty much sums it up. For some reason I find it funny that he was so completely useless at keeping the price any better, especially when he is suppose to be an oil guy.
The petrol stations seem just as busy as I remember them from before the price hikes. The emails about how to solve the whole problem while still living our current lifestyle seem to be only slightly up.
It is hard to feel sorry for all those SUV city drivers who have been blocking my view when trying to turn for the past five or so years.
Of course there is an easy way to solve our petrol price problem - stop buying it.
Do all the things we know we should like use public transport, cycle, shop locally, walk, drive smaller cars.
It just doesn't sound so bad really. It takes a bit more time and you can still use the car sometimes.
The things you see when you are walking - a dead mouse lying beside the footpath, one black sock, a little cute kitten. It is quite an education on where you live.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shopping List

I was walking down the footpath the other day when a piece of litter caught my eye.
Stuck in the weeds was folded square of yellow paper. It was instantly recognisable as one of those note squares for by the phone or anywhere you need some paper handy.
On it was just four short words, one under the other.
Milk, bread, cheese, deodorant
Of course it is a shopping list. So instantly familiar and the list could have been written by me.
The short shopping list always starts with milk most other things one can do without but milk is tricky.
Bread makes the trip worthwhile. Maybe I'll just drink water and get the milk tomorrow but we are out of bread too? I need to go today.
Cheese that you've been doing without since it ran out the day after you went shopping last time - might as well grab that if you are going to the shop.
Lastly the deodorant - onto the last smidgen as you meant to get some last time but forgot.
Somehow the piece of rubbish was reassuring. I may not know who wrote this but we have the same needs.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Communicating what?

Communication is apparently what today's world is all about.
Job advertisement requirements list good communication skills and there are numerous improving your communication skills courses to go on and still it goes wrong.
The advertisement on the television that intones solemnly "especially in these times when the future is uncertain...."
I am left wondering when there were times when the future was certain. I thought that uncertainty was one of the defining features of the future.
Today I spent fifteen minutes on the phone, on hold, waiting for a person from the insurance company to be available to talk to me. During this time I was thoughtfully played a song which had a repetitive chorus about "she's gone, she's gone she's gone". This was interrupted every thirty seconds by a voice that told me, "your call is important to us, we'll be with you shortly."
So the call went something like this "she's gone she's gone she's gone, your call is important to us, we'll be with you shortly oh oh oh she's gone." Am I being mocked?
Then there were the reassuring promises that someone cares. At the mall there was a nice big blue sticker of wheel chair on the automatic door from the car park. Great, easy access for those using a wheelchair - excellent.
Wheel easily through the automatic door and use the low, easy to reach lift buttons, a large lift arrives, plenty of space to turn around and again buttons are easy to reach. The lift lowers to the ground, where the shops are, and out of the lift to find a heavy door that is manual and opens inwards. What is one suppose to do? The door does have that reassuring blue wheelchair sticker on it. Now I grant I may be missing something as I am not in a wheelchair but have used this lift with a child's buggy because I thought the sticker meant something.
Maybe in the future communication will improve after we have all done more courses on it, though I admit that is uncertain.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A tasty morsel

Everywhere you go, people are talking to each other. People are standing kicking the ground, picking bits off bark of a tree and talking into their cell phones. You catch snippets of half conversations. The clips make no sense, are usually dull and wash over you without leaving a trace.
But today I caught a tantalising sentence by accident.
I was walking along at my usual purposeful stride and passed a couple strolling in the opposite direction. They had their sunglasses on, they were in their mid forties and looked to be enjoying their holiday in my city.
She said, "The problem is she has too many boyfriends..." and I was passed them.
I kept walking but the remark rolled around my head.
"The problem is she has too many boyfriends." So she hasn't had too many boyfriends, (whoever she is), but she has too many right now.
How many is too many or is it that she has more than one and that is too many?
Is her problem she can't juggle the time commitments or are her problems on a bigger scale?
Is it a problem in a good way, with her only problem being she has too many boyfriends because she is good-looking, effervescent and rich? Or is it a problem in a bad way, that her too many boyfriends are ruining her life?
Sometimes I want to talk to strangers - just to sort out what is going on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Changing lives

When I was pregnant, several people I respected said to me; "The best thing I ever did in my life was have kids". I found it hard to get my head around this comment. I thought of the child as an independent person who would do their own thing. I had hopes and dreams of what I wanted to achieve in my life and as such, didn't think the very best thing would be having the child.
What about those career highs?
What about those amazing travel stories?
While wanting to have children at some time in my life, I found it a hard choice to make. I felt that it would mean putting on hold what I could do. I would not be able to achieve things anymore as I would need to look after this helpless baby. I thought I would be signing out of making any sort of meaningful contribution to society for a bit.
I always felt that I needed to do something that would make a lasting change in society. I hadn't achieved it quite yet but now it would have to wait until after my baby had grown up enough not to need so much from me.
How wrong I was.
I am amazed at how much an under three year old can offer to others. She has talked to people, I haven't been brave enough to reach out to. She is a carefree, happy child who does as she pleases and in doing so pleases many people.
No one in thirty-four years after meeting me for a mere few minutes, has said, "I'm so glad I met you today". She can motivate a room of people to become involved and to enjoy it. She can turn heavy hearts to smiles - at least for a short while.
And amazingly it was because of her, I was inspired to cause a wee change in my part of the world. A small footnote in the local history.
She is no angel.
But I am almost at the stage of saying "The best thing I ever did in my life is have kids."
They maybe small, but they can work wonders.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fruit Salad Hair

Washing my hair at the moment is a strange thing.
The shampoo smells of strawberries and the conditioner of peach.
Why do my hair products smell like fruit?
Why does my shower smell like someone is concocting a fruit salad in it?
My hair appears to be no different for the fruity injection. I keep expecting my hair to be all sticky.
Why did someone think I would like washing my hair in strawberries and peaches?
I now feel I have had enough fruit by breakfast and reach for the honey.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.