Thoughts: Public Pools

It has clearly become the ‘Summer’ season and my kids (and I’m sure those of pretty much every parent alive) have decided that there is a compulsive need for me to take them swimming every weekend they’re with me.

My closest pool is Pt Erin in Herne Bay, but for some reason it’s not opened yet. So Mt Albert Aquatic Centre has been the best option.

If you’ve never been there, it’s quite a cool place. Multiple pools, sprays, a wave generator, and a decent water slide.

My kids LOVE IT and charge in all guns a-blazin’, and today I reluctantly decided to join them. I’m not big on swimming but more importantly to me, getting amongst a seething mass of humanity in a bowl filled with a liquid of dubious composition really isn’t my thing.

The children pressed me to pony up the cash to hire tubes for them to play with for an hour. Naturally, they ran out of things to do with said tubes after about 25 minutes and wanted me to hold on to them for them. Yeah… nah.

The people-watching dynamic is always interesting. But you’re not allowed to watch too closely as that may be construed as slightly creepy. It’s interesting listening too – the screeches of happy from kids, the cries of torment from kids, the words of encouragement from parents “suck it up, it’s only a bit of water” etc. etc.

It’s when clients of yours bob past that you realise you’re really not looking your best and suck in your stomach. Talking shop and generally being wary of the amount of eye contact your’re engaging in is a tricky balance. You don’t usually have business meetings with little clothing on.

I also found it disconcerting when my kids deserted me to go down the waterslide. There usually is a bit of a wait so I was left there floating in the main pool having to watch them. So… Mid-40’s male, bobbing, alone, surrounded by hordes of children, trying to act nonchalant… Uh oh…

Happily they swum themselves out and I was released from my overthinking.

And once dried and dressed and walking out of the place, I released my stomach muscles. I am after all, just a little bit vain.

God I hate Public Pools.

Thoughts: My iPhone died

So, I woke up this morning to a dead iPhone. Truly dead. Not just flat battery dead. It’s been a long time coming, but the last week I knew it was on its way out. 

I managed to stay calm and collected. I mean, how bad could it be? It’s just a phone, right? 

So, I trotted down to my local Vodafone to get a replacement underway (I do recommend PhoneInsure if you don’t already have it). They dutifully and quickly did their paperwork and a replacement is underway.

But…

  
They gave me this as a loaner. Now, of course I’m grateful for it as it means I have some semblance of being ‘on the grid’, but OMG, how dependent have I become on modern technology.

This Nokia is a freaking nightmare!

I have no contacts loaded. I don’t know who is calling me or the numbers of anybody!!!

I have no idea how to text anybody. The interface is nonsensical. And completely unusable.

I don’t know how much money I have in my accounts. Who has paid me? Who hasn’t. How do I transfer funds when needed? I can’t!!!!

I don’t know where I need to be or who I need to see.

I don’t know what I need to purchase at the supermarket.

I can’t check in to places. My mayoralty’s are at risk!

I can’t claim my purchase receipts at Farro Fresh.

And so many more innovations that have become critically important to my life and business. All gone.
These could be the longest ten-fourteen days of my life.

*breathe breathe breathe calm breathe*

Thoughts: Old Age and Coping with People

I had lunch with my aged parents today. They’re in their early-mid 80’s now and pretty much set in their ways. They are active n their church and consequently meet many people. They are very polite and this politeness can create awkward situations.

They related a tale today of a widow, whom I shall call ‘M’. She’s a Singaporean Chinese lady in her 70’s and has lived in New Zealand for over twenty-five years.

Anyway, my parents were complaining that ‘M’ has latched on to them. She keeps wanting to spend time with them and she keeps giving them things.

During this week, M took my parents to a local cafe for morning tea. Firstly, this isn’t a great environment because my Dad is quite deaf, and the ambient noise of a barista and busy room is imposing. “All that bang bang bang and whooshing – I couldn’t hear a thing”!

Mum was therefore left to talk with M, but told me she couldn’t understand a word she was saying. The heavily-accented English (“she’s been here for 25 years and it hasn’t improved”) was just too hard. Dad told me that just sat there trying to look intelligent. He wasn’t sure if he succeeded.

M had ordered a slice of quiche, and when it arrived the first thing she did was transfer it to Dad’s plate. Dad already had a slice of carrot cake there and wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do – so he cut it in half and returned it to her.

Shortly thereafter, M signaled the waiter to collect her plate. Dad thinks she said she’d finished, but noticed that she hadn’t actually eaten anything. More quiche confusion.

Mum chimed in: “We’ve found out she doesn’t cook. We think she eats only meusli bars. And she keeps trying to give us some”.

They then looked at me and said somewhat plaintively “We actually try to avoid her because she’s a bit clingy. We just don’t know what to do.”

I laughed. I’m going to have so much fun as an octogenerian!

Thoughts: Birthday Gift Panic Guide for Men

Guys, sometimes you have absolutely no idea what to give that special female someone. This could be for a variety of reasons of course, whether it’s financial, whether they haven’t given you any indication of things desired, or possibly you just go blank when you sit back in your chair to consider your gifting options.

I have a birthday coming up that I need to buy for.  I’ve been through some thought processes, and come up with a few suggestions, and in the interest of supporting my fellow men, I’m sharing here to help you make your significant other’s day just that little bit more special.

As you know, I like cooking. I’ve spent time and money researching and acquiring pots and kitchen implements that do the job well. She may not have such good pots and kitchen implements, and this will never do if you need to cook at her place.

Suggestion 1:

Decent measuring cups.

measuringcups

Suggestion 2:

Decent measuring spoons.

measuringspoonvskitchenspoon

Suggestion 3:

Decent pots and pans

baccarat-signature-range_4f5583126c788

Kitchen stuff really is the gift that keeps on giving. She will be so happy she’ll want to cook for you every night using her new gear!

 

Right on to other ideas. Is her place clean and tidy? Does it need a spruce up?

 

Suggestion 4:

A quality vacuum cleaner. Godfrey’s usually has these on sale.

dry-vacuum-cleaner-single-phase-hazardous-dust-industrial-16647-4253907

Look at her. What about her clothes? Are they a bit crumpled?

Suggestion 5:

A new ironing board will rock her world and spruce her up a bit for when you take her out to the local McDonald’s drive-thru on your next date!

MARKO-IRONBOARDS-4

Note that it is important to get one with a cover that is her favourite colour. If you happen to know it. Otherwise just get one in pink with a floral design. It’s a winner every time.

 

Now here’s a true story: I remember once going through Farmers with my then girlfriend. We were in that ‘getting to know each other’ phase so I was paying clinical attention to her every word. We went past the Pond’s counter and she said “I need some more face-cleaner”. Absolute GOLD!!! Her birthday was coming up, so I went back sneakily and bought her some. Spent quite a bit actually. At least $20.

I gave it to her with a nice card.

She was NOT impressed. I didn’t know quite what to make of this. She told me she wanted some. I got her some. It was the best gift I could think of at the time.

Women are strange.

Right, where was I? Oh yes, ideas.

Does she have a garden? Is it a bit overgrown? It may be that she just doesn’t have the right tools which makes maintaining just a little bit hard.

Suggestion 6:

A garden fork and spade. Be classy. Get a matched pair. These bad boys are going to get a lot of use, let me tell you!

draper-16566-easy-find-carbon-steel-garden-fork-spade-set-709-p

My aged Dad likes to garden. He likes to get fertiliser on his birthday. My aged Mother always approves, so this one is totally thinking outside the box…

Suggestion 7:

Sheep Pellets! Awesome.

sheep

Actually, that leads to another true story: A relative moved to a lifestyle block in the country just out of Auckland. He bought a flock of sheep, and couldn’t understand why they were not interested in eating sheep pellets for food.

Sigh.

The benefit of the last couple of suggestions is that you can get them from Bunnings or Mitre 10. And buy yourself a new power tool or table saw. You never know when you might need one eh?

Anyway, I’d best get out to the Mall and get gifting for tomorrow. I hope this post helps you all.

SD

 

Thoughts: Cooking

  

Sometimes you find a cookbook that inspires. I have to say, I’m a little addicted to printed cookbooks despite having accounts with Jamie Oliver and with Big Oven (both digital platforms are highly recommended) there is something special about leafing through pages of recipes and food photos.

One of my recent obsessions has been to dive into Chinese cuisine. This stems from a life-changing journey four years ago where I visited China on a 12 day tour. 

I have learned to experience destinations through their culture and food. In China I loved walking down the alleys watching locals cook street food, as well as visiting their fine-dining restaurants. 

Anyway, this book is awesome. I obtained it because I’d started to obsess about how to make dumplings. It adds so much more.

Tonight’s effort is Taiwanese Beef Rice. The liquid is basically a stock of ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, soy, oyster sauce, rice wine, caster sugar, vinegar, star anise, five spice and beef stock. 
  
If you guys could smell this… Wow!! 

Thoughts: Lars von Trier

Lars-Vontrier

A couple of years ago I saw ‘Antichrist’ with a friend. I’d not encountered the work of Lars von Trier before, and I really was not prepared for what I was watching.  The synopsis for the movie is this: “A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.”

Nature takes its course? What the hell kind of nature does this guy live in?

Over recent months I made the effort to watch the others in his Depression Trilogy. ‘Melancholia’ and ‘Nymphomania I and II’.

Oh my god. This guy has a seriously bleak world view. Clever movies. Well-written movies. Well-directed and crafted movies. But incredibly abrasive and shocking.

I’m still processing how they made me feel. What things I should confront as a result.

I think I need to go back to banter and explosions for a while.

Thoughts: Dreams

dreams

Sometimes in that pre-dawn time, especially after a somewhat restless sleep, I have the weirdest dreams.

Today’s effort was quite odd.

I was in a village – narrow, cobbled streets with laneways. The sunlight was playing on the brick walls of the tall houses and building and it looked amazing. However, I was too tired to appreciate it and was simply wanting to get home to rest.

I knew the way I should walk but for some reason I kept getting turned around. Road signs kept changing. The position of the sun kept changing. The elevation of the paths kept changing. People kept blocking my route so I had to continually find other roads to travel down.

I went down an alley and a person moved a cart in front of me so I couldn’t pass. They asked for my help re-potting some plants (WTF?). Even though I needed to be on my way, I stopped to help. I always do.

When I went to wash my hands, the soap I used wasn’t soap. It was a glue of some description and I just could not get it off my hands. Everything was sticking and slowing me down.

The frustration was just huge and enveloping and increasing. Like a persistent fog that clouds everything.

And just as it all nearly got too much, I woke.

The dream was so clear and I have such good recall of it. What the heck was that all about?

What do you think?