Friday, May 31, 2013

Housekeeping V: Shower cleaning

Kids' shower already bleached.
It might be me, but can anyone else see a map of Australia in the Jif?
Don't look too closely

Shower cleaning. With five adults in our household we have, and mostly need, three showers. However rarely are any more than two going at any one time, but two often are. It's a lot of cleaning.

This is the kids' shower. The idiot who chose such small tiles with such thick grouting ought to be shot (me). Two deadly sins in one cubic metre. Should be big tiles and thin grouting. It's a no-brainer. But I wanted the effect of the thick, regular lines. So I guess it is apt that I clean it.

Six-seven-step shower cleaning:

1. Discovery and decision to clean
2. Bleach sprayed on lower half
3. Bleach washed off with hot water
4. Jif applied to every surface including soap dish with a little water
5. Jif scrubbed into the mouldy bits to eradicate
6. Jif washed off with hot water
7. Self washed

All up, one-and-a-half hours of fairly heavy-duty scrubbing. 

I thought this was the only picture of a man cleaning a shower amongst
dozens of women. Alas even he is not cleaning but installing! Grrr...

I love the way the shower gets priority over washing my own cubicle (me old bod). I wish the shower were self-washing, like cats.  

I think my Jifing today produced a subconscious surge of Australia. I drew outlines of that distinctively-shaped land throughout my childhood. I used to love to shade the curvy coastline in deep blue (sea), and the bulk of the country, the flesh, in pale-brown shade (desert).

Missing home? Say it in Jif - if, that is, you're a girl.



Nothing in the cupboard
The drawer defiantly closed
The car has selective memory
The desk doesn't ever know

The table is too easy
The chair too out of shape
The carpet is an open book
The words walked off the slate

The bag is in and out all day
Any time, any place, any price
Take it lose it anywhere
Find it, think again, at least twice.

Migrating minds

I am none too thrilled at the moment. In fact I am in a right panic over a lost script. I wrote it on a pad, a rookie's mistake if ever there was. Pads migrate. But it was a medium-sized pad and usually kept by the phone in the kitchen, a pad of a certain stature and substance. I did not expect it to travel. I've looked everywhere, even the car!

I'm ready to write it up, keen to see how it develops into a children's story. I haven't written a children's story in a long time. It wrote itself. Perhaps it disappeared itself too. Arrrgh! Nothing worse than a missing story already written! Like having the thing on the tip of the tongue to taste but not to eat. Arrrgh!

FOUND IT! Just now in my bag. A pad that had closed to look more like a book than the pad I remember from the kitchen. Oh well, all's well.
Christian the Cat found!

Flash fiction

I have to get my flash fiction pieces in today. Or piece, rather. I've written three but only one is wanted, I think.

I have checked the regulations and there is no stipulation made either way. Usually they say multiple stories allowed or not.

I would prefer to put all three in to save choosing between them, like Sophie's Choice. My babies. They really are quite small and precious. One is about a last note, a farewell that was never sent because an accident intervened. Another is about reading Kafka and disappearing into a maze, called 'Pen pain'. The third is about drugs and rock 'n roll from a female perspective.

Each is 300 words, give or take ten. I might submit them all.

The Draper effect

A library copy of RS, April 11, 2013 

I'm trying to figure out what's the appeal of ultimate ad-man, Don Draper. It's obvious on one level: tall, dark and handsome. On another level it's about the attitude behind the eye. Where does that attitude come from...? 

Maybe when you're that good looking women (and men) are so nice to you all the time you end up reflecting nice back. Perhaps it's just a reflection. In that case sex appeal is the appeal to something in us that we see reflected in the other. Don Draper reflects - well let's be honest - my skin colour. That's a reflection. As well it's the hair. Black. That's not a reflection. As a child I always wanted to look like Snow White (when I looked more like blonde Heidi). Don Draper is men's answer to Snow White; that's his appeal. 

Mirror, mirror... 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rainy day pictures

This "house"

Neighbour's house behind  a gauze sheet of rain
Random rain flower holding up
Our old tree
End of autumn

Juliet balcony jasmine in rain
Just one tree's loss: imagine the world's fall!

Four dancers

If I'd known that Anne (not her real name) from dance class has just escaped a 38-year abusive relationship and lives in fear for her life in the house that he stalks at night I would have, I don't know what. She told me at length the situation. I rang to tell her about the free class, she wasn't sure if she was going to be brave enough to stay in the house tonight (let alone attend class).
She has several good friends at the end of the line to come get her right away if there's any trouble.  I hope she is alright. She sounded scared. Scared and yet strong.

My dance class regulars are down to four, from six. I usually have a few more than that in class but only four are there every week. One regular is in England with ailing relatives. She made five. Another comes to class to escape the memory of her daughter killed in a freak accident in London last October. Class helps her forget and come to terms with death, she consoles herself that her daughter was at least thirty. But no children.

Another of the women, once a regular, is a Methodist minister, a relatively rare creature. She brings her daughter occasionally.

Another is visiting from Finland for a year. She is gorgeous.

Another is related to the local woman police constable. And yet another...

Another one of my regulars is coming back to class tonight after two weeks missed (she made six regulars). I called to tell her about the free class and she confessed that she had decided not to come any more because she's not keeping up. I convinced her it was nothing of the sort. She seemed reassured and said she had missed the class and would come even if she had to pay. She is going to bring a friend from work.

I love my regulars


I've decided I haven't talked much about roaming. Every other of my defining 'ings' has been discussed, except for roaming.
Guys and their dog roaming:
First glimpse of a bleak beach today.

I have been roaming my whole adult life. As a child I danced more than roamed, but since the dancing - and dancer - has slowed, I have roamed, a movement closer to walking but with intent, like the dance. Intent to go somewhere. I always walk with intent, even if the destination is unknown, like life itself.
A second glimpse: a beach clearing

I am very lucky in living close to a neat little beach, approximately one K long so just the right length for a daily walk and back. I drive the two minutes across a busy road, park at the top of the hill to get the up-hill climb on the way back, then walk down to the sea. I know that hill street like I know my own kitchen. Every house, when renovated or built, although I know none of the residents even after all these years (twenty).
A beach  (house) cleared. Three seasons in one walk.

There are houses on the beach. I know these too. They have come and gone from batches in the 1940s, to grand houses rented for the summer in the 21st Century. The demolition of one old two-bedroom batch made the newspaper. All seemed sad to see it go.

Generally I prefer a beach without houses except in the winter evenings when the lights from the houses  suggest eyes and provide reassurance to a lonely shore. Rangitoto keeps an ever-vigilant eye and warm company too, but I fear she, like a god, would not deign to intervene if intervention were required. The people in the houses just might, unless they have vacated their bodies of wood and steal for the winter, as I believe many of them do.

Seriously roaming,

The house where everyone goes

I wrote my first poem in the toilet. Many years ago now, though not nearly as far back as some poets go, I sat on the toilet and became drawn into the square-shaped glass of the white-wood framed bathroom window. The glass was black; I had my title. All I remember of the poem otherwise is the 'haphazard hem' of my dressing gown as I sat.

The cat in our toilet
It was many years later that I started to write creatively and came across the Arab saying about the house where everyone goes. Elliot was it, or Auden? I think one or the other. The saying is of course in reference to the toilet (out house).

Our cat with the broken tail uses our bathroom too. She's uses the whole bedroom as if 'the Master' were three, one with broken tail. We've tried various 'solutions' to the cat that wants to sleep on the bed and use the en suite, especially in winter, but nothing works.

For a while we had a kitty litter tray in the corner by the sink. It was shiny black and with the white litter, prior to desecration, the tray was practically a fashion statement. Sometimes I'd be on the loo, directly opposite the litter tray, and our puss would cry like she was sad to be let in, only to rush to her tray and begin the scratch, squat and scratch routine! Sly old puss.

There we'd be, eye-balling each other during our respective ablutions, sat in opposite corners, facing each other directly. Whoever was coyest looked away first. Me, of course. Puss had that funny look in her hazel-green cat eyes that's a couple of degrees off focused contact. Like a moon not quite full. A look very close to human staring.

The house (NZ) where everyone should go

Then there's the clean-up with cat shingle flung right and left by madam, hoping to cover her tracks - fat chance of that!  If there's not enough shingle and her paw hits black plastic she'll look my way sharply and demand to know: Where's all my shingle gone? Practically before I'm buttoned up I'm letting the cat out then toilet-papering and flushing for two!

After America we got rid of the litter; it seemed timely. Now she uses a towel. More washing but no more shingle.

So the Arabs were right: the toilet is the house where everyone, including the cat, goes.


First fire

Housekeeping IV: Fire-making (seasonal)

Easy to see where dance comes from
Italian-tiled first fire!

Be careful what you wish for. It's one of the better clich├ęs.

Perhaps on account of my US nostalgia, I have been wishing for winter. It's still May. Autumn - and it came. Sorry people. But it was winter when we were in the US and I miss it. Then again, I love our first fire! First fire of the year it was, the night before last. We had another fire last night. 

Suddenly it's freezing! as if a decision to freeze had been made in some well-insulated ante-chamber. Suddenly the temperature is in single digits from a balmy 16. Chicago all over. 

I would have posted immediately but I temporarily misplaced the camera, then I couldn't get the camera, once found, to import the fire photos - fair enough. Dangerous thing, fire. Then it worked.

Yesterday I resorted to a beanie and gloves inside. I couldn't type in gloves so I had the afternoon off the log in a bog, or took the gloves off, which I did after about ten minutes because I can't actually stop writing. I would have taken a photo of myself in the beanie - of course - for the blog, but then decided I didn't want you guys to see me in my beanie. 

Back in the wool today, less gloves, and I want to say that a beanie and Mum's red possum jumper make a very snug study. Mum's red possum jumper, the colour of fire, finished in a rush for the US trip late last year. Possum wool, the latest enviro product. Very soft. I would take a picture...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Megan's Meditation

Now... a different kind of music...

Meditation, the song in strings that conjures so much of my dancing past. The song that brings immediately and vividly to mind a girl called Megan, my rival for top dance dog at our ballet school - to dramatise the situation ever so slightly.

Whenever the piece comes over the airwaves I am transported back to watching Megan with the Snow White looks and long skinny arm,s in her immaculate mauve tutu, dance one of the most beautiful classical variations you will ever see danced. Whenever and wherever she performed it she won.

Megan's Meditation was lyrical to my 'Spanish' (red and black tutu) fast staccato variation with lots of spins and sautees. Meditation was all extensions and arabesques and bendy back. Megan had a fascinating arabesque line. Almost perfect. Almost is better than perfect. Perfect is predictable. Better an arabesque with interest. Megan had an arabesque with interest.

The side effects of sex

The knowledge that you had it
The sense of 'getting lucky'
The feeling in your loins
Of effort fused with ecstasy
Corny sex feet
The shower feels familiar
The pain is just the same
The pleasure keeps on changing
The name of the game

The sly sideways glance
Quick enough to catch
The memory fading fast
Dwarfed by the act

The side-effects of sex
Are sleeping in their beds
School in forty minutes
The rub of sweet success

Till the next sack-race comes
As sure as sound is sleep
A tense patience is found
The side-effects will keep


Young is truly sponge
Grown is truly grown 

Ten is truly ten
Old is truly told

Eighteen is truly young
Sick is truly sick

Forty is figured out
Time is Time tired out

Love is time stopped still
Life is started up a hill

Young is truly sponge
Grown is truly grown.

Courted by Cat

A young Cat
Listening to M's iPod... I am so nostalgic for the US right now! "Rainy Night in Georgia" and it's a rainy night here in Auckland. This song is so evocative of the trip...

And now... Cat Stevens! Heaven help us. Cat Stevens practically seduced me. Such a sad poet. M channelled him while we were courting:

"How can I tell you that I loooooove you.... I long to tell you, I'm always thinking of you...". You just did.


"Wherever I am girl, I'm always walking with you, but I look and your not there..."

I think Cat Stevens must have done quite a bit for cats, really, as well as for love, obviously. I am officially a 'cat person' these days, probably thanks to Cat. I don't particularly like cats.

But most of all I was courted by the Cat (channelled), confirming, once again, that music is the surest way into a woman's heart.

The scholar and the cat

The great W.H.
...and the cigarette. Thanks to M for finding this. Meant to include it with my poem for him - in which our cat features ("Mind and Body").

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beautiful Bonnie

I have a vested interest in and soft spot for Bonnie Tyler, I must say. Not least of all because of her awesome-as song: "Total Eclipse of the Heart".

Also, our daughter is Bonnie, though she mostly goes by Bon. But 'Total Eclipse' defined my nineteen-eighties melancholic mood, particularly in London. I would bet the year was '83, '84 or '85.

Tyler in her prime: 1983

But now she's pushed her luck a bit by representing England in the much fucked-up-by-the-English Euro-vision song competition (pouring like a sky river again here) and coming in a not-so-impressive nineteenth.

I don't know how many European countries enter but 19 is not even close to the top. She sung her Eurovision song on Graham Norton the week before last and she was good. Not great, though.

Hopefully she at least made a bit of money, provided her earnings weren't dependant upon doing well. Getting in the top ten, for instance.

But awesome singer in her day and awesome guts to keep it coming back.

Go girl!

Housekeeping III: Bed-making

One stage in the six-stage process of bed-making -
for the winter.

Hello bloggers and fellow housekeepers!

I wonder if this sequence of pictures rings true for you? Having three kids I change sheets and blankets maybe three times every two months, so in a year it's six times three which is eighteen. And it's a six-step process, including washing the dirty sheets, so that makes 18 times 6 and that equals 108 stages of single bed-making every year.

Plus there's our bed, of course, though we tend to share the load of washing that a bit more than with the kids' beds. I do almost all of the kids' while M works full-time.

Then there's the bathrooms (3), the living areas (2) the Master bedroom, kitchen ,laundry; the polished wooden floor and the out of doors. It all adds up.

With the rain the washing hangs in the garage disturbing the table-tennis game. Hang on a mo - speaking of hanging - just got to go and hang up B's summer sheets.
Example of the often uneasy relationship between sport and housekeeping

6-stage bed-making:

1: Remove dirty sheets and underlay
2: Wash dirty sheets and underlay
3: Find fresh sheets and underlay
4: Dry old sheets and underlay
5: Put fresh sheets,etc on bed
6: Fold away old sheets

Terror Planet

KATE! What a show Saturday night!!! We loooooooved it, M, Bon and me, that is. A seriously awesome-as night out. Full-blown Entertainment, great 'Youth' vibe and humour, and... CAN YOU DANCE? You can. Excellent opening with the jumpsuits. Loved the lot. Excellento!!!

Amateur photographer on the night. Great stuff.

Letter to our niece for the show she was in Saturday night that was excellent. Can't recommend it enough, even if my beta half bought the tickets and I don't know what it cost. Forty each? ... poor guess, turns out. Twenty-four dollars. Go value!!!  

Mobile Monday

I'm betting you have done as I have and carried a call into the loo. It's a nerve-wracking experience, in a way, because it seems like the person on the other end of the phone can hear eve-ry-thing that's going on, even though you know they can't. Except for the flush, they can hear that provided it's a decent flush - so that's always the most nail-biting bit in case they choose that moment to stop talking and leave the airwaves to the flush and you blow it at the last minute...

I like the bathroom. Evokes Auden (again!) in his white-tiled room.
I wonder what would Auden say?
Churned water log mid downpour

I did it to Air New Zealand earlier today. I'm booking tickets to Aus for my mum's 90th birthday (she had all her children in her forties, so we three children are all in our forties now!). I want my Air-points number from ANZ in case I can accumulate some points while I fly.  But they put me on hold until I simply had to go to the toilet..

I don't think they heard anything because the recorded music continued through the loo, out the loo and to the computer where I put the phone down on its back like an upturned centipede and waited for a change in voice tempo. Sure enough, a male voice eventually broke through the music and I picked up the centipede.

It's actually hailing here! I am on the phone to another agency (I won't bore you) so I can't take a photo of the hail. This is the path moments after the hail has been and gone. Bit of a water-log too, but only in heavy downpours. Regular rain runs off.

Plunger plunge!

This tip to put gentle, steady pressure on the plunger by placing something of a certain size and weight atop the plunger handle - such as a coffee cup with small bottom and an inch of milk or other liquid inside for ballast, was given to M by an Iranian man. Coffee is originally a Middle-Eastern custom and recipe, yes?

The coffee is smoother using this method, plus you are even more ready for the bitter drop (no sugar) having endured watching the slow-plunge session.

Needless to say (so don't say it!) the coffee plunger  and cup set is mine! I will have finished this plunger before eleven. Start now at 9.30, a little later than usual.

The table cloth that you see here showing up the coffee plunger was a wedding present. Yes, I'm - we're - married. Have been forever. I was married at twenty-one. 

The chair is ex-M's father's board room, only reupholstered by Mum and me. The table with the green legs comes all the way from Wellington, and the cup-plunger was inherited in a set. Much of the house beyond the plunger was renovated recently to take out walls and let in light. We (mostly M) did ALL the painting, including doors. 

This is the dining 'room' (only one wall).


Night Garden

Green, yellow, black - splash          
of brown fallen leaves
Lit by the night's spot-light

Hooded lantern with face aglow
Neck stooping ponderously low

Drunken skeleton of
Lank-limbed ivy

Drapses itself upon
The corner pergola
post, climbing,
whilst sinking,
Up and down.

Water-proofed wood
Grey in the night light
Sorry, couldn't find night photo of same

Like owl or moth
Bench-seat for two

Night is everywhere
So close, almost like Day
Yet eternal, like all black

Owl-grey bench-seat and plant at night

Monday, May 27, 2013

A simple sound

A simple sound evokes a soul                   
Wind rushing through a hole

Words play,

raindrops ping

A simple sound,

an endless string

Precious as porcupine


As clear as vinegar
As nasty as wine
As nice as nuance
As precious as porcupine

As fearsome as Peace
As hard as No
As empty as Time
As earnest as Ego

As perfect as pumpkin
As good as green
As faithful as potato
As old as a dream

As thoughtless as pink
As pretty as pride
As harmless as claws
As tasty as tide

Mind and Body (for W.H.) on different time-tables

Like cats and humans...

Different time-tables
Sat on your chest
At rest

Washing wet fur
Weight on one paw -
Of four

Pressing on your
Breast bone

A dirty-toilet dash

A poetry
Reading rash

Busting for your turn - waking

To a cat using your dreams like a wash board

Bone-aching breast
Bubble-bursting bladder
Dirty laundry fest

And a clean toilet waiting

While she washes...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Drought to drown

Happy six-week blog anniversary!

Drought to drown
Six weeks of rain in the life of a flower