Saturday, December 15, 2007

Help for the poor?

Today on a Chinese television broadcast they finished with a feel good Christmas story.
It was from Thailand. A hotel had built a Christmas tree of almost 20,000 golf balls for their foyer - which is fair enough. It got them on the news and was to help market Thailand as a golfing holiday destination.
The newsreader said after Christmas the golf balls will be given to poor children.
Then he wrapped up the news.
I was left hanging.
What would the poor children do with the golf balls? Could they sell them to make money? Did the reporter just make this up to round out the story? How pleased will the poor children be to receive golf balls partly covered in glue?
I am left unsure how to react emotionally.
Should I be laughing at the apparent absurdity of poor children being given golf balls when they really want food? Should I be touched and glad that this business has the kindness to give something to the poor children? Or should I be annoyed at the journalist for ending their story so oddly without further explanation?
Christmas is always a weird mix of emotions.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Driver paradox

I know this lady. She talks of the years she spent backpacking around the world. She knows the best farmers' markets to buy the weird stuff. She is a vegetarian. She is generous and if you need anything will gladly share what she has.
Her hair is free, flowing and a mixture of colours from the natural palette. Her clothes match her hair. Her smile is warm. Her age is hard to determine.
Yesterday I was at an intersection. The traffic needed to merge to one lane, once they had safely negotiated the traffic lights. Everyone was calmly travelling through, watching each other and giving each car space to fall into single file. Then a large station wagon came flying through from back up the hill. We all had to suddenly brake. The big V6 aggressively elbowed its way to the front of the line.
I was angry at the rudeness. At the selfish disregard for the other drivers on the road. I knew the kind of person who drove like that. As they pushed past me, I caught a glimpse of the driver.
It was her.
I was stunned. Can a metal box on wheels have that much effect on personality?
I wondered which was the true picture of what she felt inside or maybe even hippies have bad days.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Celebrating the little things

Curriculum Vitae cause so much angst when one is trying to put the thing together. Does this show my best side? Have I included everything I should have? Have I included too much?
Recently I was thinking how many things are left out of CVs. Those things we were once so proud to achieve but have long forgotten about now.
I went back and had a look. Here are some of mine that didn't even make it to the CV cutting room floor:
- A Sports Award for: effort during gymnastics
- Second Prize in the pikelet making competition at the local Flower Show
- 50 metres swim award
- Award of merit for rendered meritorious service as a traffic warden (on the school crossing)
- Award for the most independent worker

So maybe today everything hasn't gone well but looking at that list, I feel rather chuffed. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A visit to the Pharmacy

I had a prescription to collect and it was while the Pharmacist was explaining the details of the medication that I noticed them.
Beside the till there was a little pile of cards. They read "If I am sick and unable to talk please read the reverse of this card".
They probably came with certain medications, perhaps diabetics got them free, I thought.
I tried to listen to the Pharmacist but the little pile kept calling for my attention.
I had bought medication, well was about to, could I have a card?

The reverse of my card would say:
For goodness sake stop reading this card and ring the ambulance!!
Why are you still reading this card? Please ring the ambulance!
OK if the above seems too much, prop me up, get my phone out of my pocket, put it in my hand and I'll do it myself.

The Pharmacist had finished his instructions and was asking for my bank card.
I paid and left without been given an "If I am sick..." card
Now what was the right way to take this medication?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Death of a bumblebee

I was quietly hanging up the last items of washing out on the line, when there was a whacking sound on the concrete path.
It sounded like a nut hitting the ground.
There are no nut trees near our clothes line so I scanned the path to see what had fallen. Had some kids thrown something over the fence?
But there it was - a big bumblebee, dead on the path.
Bumblebees look so soft but like other insects they have an exoskeleton that is hard when it hits the ground.
Who knows what went wrong, whether his little heart gave out or he had put on too much weight for his wings.
It had all ended in tragedy, falling from the sky to an unceremonious death on the damp concrete path.
A solitary, short, sharp, knock that did not even echo, was the only sound to herald his passing.
There should be a analogy to human life and struggles in the death of this bumblebee.
But what I will remember is that bumblebees are not soft and cuddly because they make a whacking sound when they hit the ground at speed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I was looking up some evening classes to see if there was any of interest to enliven my twilight hours.
Scanning quickly through the class titles I came across "Learning to paint watermelons."
I saw a classroom of students poised with a watermelon and a paint brush in front of them.
Do you paint a watermelon like doing boiled eggs at Easter?
Perhaps one needs to start by painting it with a plain undercoat. Although maybe that is the challenge of painting watermelons - creating a design that uses that natural pattern in the skin.
Maybe it is not a class painting on watermelons, rather one learns to paint a picture of a watermelon. A naked watermelon sits at the front of the room with students trying to capture its essence on paper.
Rereading the details, it turned out my brain had been a bit too fast on word completion. The course title was "Learning to paint watercolours."
I wonder if they have considered a watermelon painting course? It might have potential.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Butchers

I stopped on the way home to buy meat at the butchers.
I was the only customer.
While I was choosing my cuts of meat a young girl asked if she could help. I told her I was already being looked after. To fill in the time the young butcher began cleaning the scales and the bench behind the cabinets of meat.
She had the hiccups and went bright red as one escaped while she was cleaning the scales in front of me.
A family arrived behind me and the young butcher quickly put down the cleaning cloth, eager to be the one to get the new customer.
They ordered two pig's heads.
The pig heads were slouching together on white bench at the back of the shop.
I watched the young butcher go over pick one up tentatively. "Eww," She said.
She didn't stop. She continued all the way across to the counter. "Eww, eww, eww, eww, eww, eww," she wailed.
Then she went back for head number two.
Sometimes meat's origins can be a little in your face.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ginsu steak knives

We were in Thailand and the Brits had chosen the restaurant.
They chose Italian.
Since my authentic Thai experience was not going to be, I decided to order the New Zealand steak. Did export beef really taste better than what we got at home?
Our mains arrived.
My steak was an island in a lumpy, brown gravy. The gentle waitress handed me my steak knife.
It was a ginsu.
Had the chef ordered the knife block set for his kitchen and got the ginsu steak knives free?
Had they been watching the infomercial on a quiet night in the restaurant and enthuiastically called and ordered?
Is this where ginsu steak knives came from so everyone has them?
Were they right now cutting through tin cans, tomatoes and frozen spinach out the back?
So many questions to ponder over my steak.
It tasted just like it did at home.

lunar eclipse

It was the night of the eclipse of the moon. It had already turned blood red and was slipping in and out of view behind some fast moving clouds.
By chance I was driving home right when it was happening. It was quite dark without the moon's glow and the street I was driving down was only sporadically lit by streetlights.
My headlights caught something. It was coming in my direction on the other side of the road.
It was a cyclist without lights but wearing a helmet. I couldn't see their face but I could see their neck.
They were craning heavenward looking for the eclipse between the clouds.
It was one of those moments when you feel in community, that everyone is focussed on the same thing. Though perhaps some should be focussed on where they are going.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mannequin Driving

I pulled up at the lights the other morning. The sky was finally blue and the sun was still quite low in the sky, shining in through side windows of the car. I looked in my rear view mirror.
Behind me was lowered black car. (I'm a girl, I don't need to remember makes and models.) A young guy with a cap was in the driver's seat. The shadow of his cap and the sun streaming in through his driver's door window cast his face in a warm light.
His head was tilted slightly to the side. His chin jutted out over his neck. He didn't move, he was completely still with no expression on his face. The light made his skin appear like smooth plastic. He looked like a shop window mannequin arranged in position.
As the lights changed the car driving mannequin followed me down the street towards the mall.

At the Supermarket

I was at the supermarket, looping my way up and back down the aisles. As usual I was seeing the same people over and over as we leapfrogged (or should that be leaptfrog?) each other, picking up what was on our lists.
Rounding the end of lane I came across an older lady. Well if she was your mother you would probably still remember her as young but as a stranger she was middle aged. I had seen her in the last aisle with her husband when he'd been pushing the trolley.
Just as I was stopping to buy biscuits, the husband arrived around the corner with the trolley. His wife looked at him in surprise. "Whose trolley is that?" she asked, looking down at the one she had.
He tried to explain but in the end just laughed turned the trolley around and took it back to the previous lane. I don't know if he just abandoned it or maybe there was another shopper holding a can of something looking around for their trolley that had mysteriously glided off.

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.