Let Me Entertain You

I’ve been dreaming about you and I don’t know why. I thought if I pieced together my memories of you, they might tell me why you even matter, why you have a space in my brain. Listen to the story of Me and You – a story no one knew existed.

I was drawn to you before I even met you. I saw your photo in the brochure, before I joined the group. My friend saw me staring and told me ‘don’t bother, everyone’s in love with him’.

You were everywhere – loud, eyes sparkling, everyone laughing at your antics. You even had a faithful sidekick, for crying out loud. I can’t remember if we were ever civil to each other, but as soon as you made fun of my clothes I jumped into defensive mode.

To protect myself, I concentrated my efforts on being the anti-you. If you were the Cool Loud Funny Guy, I was the Alternative Weirdo Funny Girl with my over-the-top outfits and obsession with monkeys. I kept you at bay with sarcastic comments when our paths crossed but mostly I ignored you, capering around at break time, head held high, daring you to notice me.

I had plenty else going on in my boy-crazy life, but you were always at the back of my mind. I liked to watch as you played, because it was the only time you were serious. You had beautiful long fingers. I daydreamed about you falling in love with me even while I rolled my eyes at you.

Once you heard I had a boyfriend and repeated this fact at the top of your lungs, incredulous. I think you said you had assumed I was gay. I shouldn’t have expected anything else from you.

Your girlfriends were pretty but boring, no match for you. Maybe you preferred it that way. You spent an entire overseas trip attached to one girl’s face, disappearing into the bushes at every chance. They gave out joke awards for that trip. You were Entertainment Officer and I your second in command. You were dismayed to be in the same category as me, to have our names read out together. I was fiercely glad. I’m an attention-seeker just like you, see!

Late at night somewhere in another timezone, our duty-free liquor and sugary mixers spilling all over the concrete, things came to a head. People asked: why do you two hate each other? You cried innocence. I called you out on the nasty comments. You made some kind of grand magnanimous proclamation that the next day, you would Sit Beside Me On The Bus. An appeasement gesture. I think I was supposed to be grateful. (You didn’t sit by me. Even worse, I saved you a seat.)

On the last night I took advantage of the carnival spirit. You were dressed in drag. In a room full of tipsy, sleep-deprived nerds I joined a massage chain and massaged your back. At one point I covered it in instant mashed potato (so crazy! how memorable!). Nothing happened. It was fine.

I left and you stayed on. You showed up in Facebook pictures posing chummily with your little clique. Some of them were genuinely nice and I wondered how they didn’t see through you. Some of them were even ‘nerdier’ than me. Did you have a change of heart? Did you take them under your wing, or were you poking fun at them even while you condescended to hang out with them? I desperately wanted to be in that inner circle, but I made damn sure it could never happen.

Twice since then we’ve been in close quarters. I tried to keep it casual, light – sometimes I slipped into old habits and got snarky, but on the surface we were two former acquaintances, not a jaded reject and her nemesis.

Teenagers get older and buy houses and get married and think this means they’ve grown up. I hadn’t thought of you at all for years and now here you are, taking me by the hand, whispering that you couldn’t wait to get away from the others, slipping an arm around my waist. Your dark eyes are dancing. I hate you. I don’t want you to leave.

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Doggone it

Here I am again! Do you need the laundry list of excuses? Probs not eh. If you are reading this you probably know me so you are familiar with everything that’s happened in the past 14 months, and also with how astoundingly lazy I can be. (See also: abbreviating words like ‘probably’.)

Instead here is a picture of my dog. Yeah, we got a dog.

Just chillaxing on my super expensive bed that I mostly haven't eaten... yet

Just chillaxing on my super expensive bed that I mostly haven’t eaten… yet

So! Once upon a time I decided I would make a wonderful agony aunt/advice columnist. I still stand by that assertion. For the most part the questions that I received in response to my call for submissions were… not so much cries for help, as the ravings of a bunch of loonies. I do so love my friends. So I have answered them anyway. Enjoy.

1. Should you mate a mongoose with a possum?

If you did you could call it a mossgum, so absolutely, yes. Also because when I Googled ‘mongoose possum’ I got this image for no good reason:

WTF

WTF

2. What are the key factors that one should consider when trying to decide when/if to return to live in NZ after living abroad?

Well, firstly if you want to buy a house (in Auckland, at least) you’d better have lots of lovely foreign worth-more-than-ours money saved up cos the market’s freaking nuts here.

New Zealand is the same as it used to be in a lot of ways. And sadly we still have a creepy, lying Prime Minister. It’s not the utopia you might feel nostalgic about sometimes.

BUT it’s also changing. there are good places to eat, and things happening in town. Don’t get sucked into that condescending idea some expats get… you know, that just because the dairy on the corner is the same as when you left and the public transport still hasn’t caught up to some of the world’s major cities, we’re all a bunch of hicks who go to bed at 9pm every night. Well, maybe I do. But I’m a nana.

In closing, you should move home if you want to get a dog. And then your dog can play with my dog.

3. What levels of excitement are considered excessive when searching for a sheep & wool factory?

If you’re going to Sheepworld, home of the comical ‘sheep’ logo that looks like a cloud with sticks and eyes (and also bright pink sheep that I’m pretty sure didn’t give their consent to the dye job), your excitement levels should be around 6-8 on a scale where 1 equals the itchy too-tight frumpy jumper your mum made you where when you were little, and 10 equals all the molecules in your body bouncing around something like this:

4. Last week I met a wonderful cronut. We spent a lovely morning together but now I have herpes. What should I do?

Dude, you better get that checked out. Maybe put some cream on it or something. And steer clear of other hybrid foods just to be sure – that rules out cronuts (dirty buggers), cruffins, muffnuts, crumpins and pizzaints. Toast is all you need.

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An urgent and horrifying announcement

Okay not really. But it is very important that you read the following email conversation between me and my excellent friend Mel, who is not only the most Pinteresting person I know but also curates the shiz out of… well, life really. Please note that some of the information in this conversation is extremely sensitive and that I have obtained permission to reproduce it in full.

ME: So apparently toast is the new hipster thing. I look foward to sampling this delicacy at a dedicated Toast Emporium next time we’re in Wellington. FFS.

MEL: Maybe I should quit my day job and open it myself?

ME: You should totes open Toast. You could call it Totes Toast and sell toast and tote bags. Sustainable ones. But no infringing on my new advice column blog idea, Totes Inapropes.

ME: PS in fact you should ensure the totes are made of jute. And sell fresh-squeezed juice to go with the toast. And then Totes Toast will sell juice and toast and jute totes.

ME: OMG WHY HAS THIS NOT ALREADY HAPPENED. GET ON IT YESTERDAY

MEL: Can the tagline be, “get Mel nourished’?

ME: AHH I love it. Start searching for a retail space and I will begin work on your social media strategy!

ME: Okay here is the social media strategy:

1.#excessive #use of #hashtags
2. insult all other eateries in Wellington region via Twitter
3. Post YouTube ‘callout’ videos challenging other cafes to a breakfast duel
4. Smear campaign against crumpets
5. Insinuate that cronuts cause herpes
6. ????
7. PROFIT

MEL: Cronuts do cause herpes #tick

Fin

Image

Evil cronut heard what you said about it

I think we can all take away some key points from this discussion. Firstly the idea of making toast a Fancy New Thing is a) stupid and b) definitely happening. Secondly, there is a reason Mel is excellent at her day job, and that reason is the speed at which she can generate puns. And thirdly*, I have decided that one of the things I am best at in all the world is telling other people what to do, and it is therefore with great pleasure that I announce that I am now taking questions for Totes Inapropes, the newest segment of this blog.

Got a dilemma? Are you wimbling and waffling over what to do about the giant, angsty, throbbing question mark in your life? I CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. Come on, you know you’re dying to hear what some random 30-year-old with barely any life experience thinks is the answer! I have all the qualifications necessary for an agony aunt: a lot of opinions, all kinds of etiquette ‘rules’ handed down by very formal family members, and a keyboard.

Send your questions, real and imaginary, to amyneedsaniche@gmail.com, and the best (or all of them, depending on how many of you out there take pity on me) will be featured on the very first instalment of Totes Inapropes.

 

*There is a fourthly, too. It is ‘Amy needs to work on her Paint skillz.’

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2014: My year of…

I think I remember how this is supposed to go.

1. Self-deprecating, mock-horrified acknowledgement of how long it’s been since last blog and apology
2. Attempt at negation of apology with excuse about what you’ve been doing in the meantime
3. Promise to do better in future

Accordingly:

1. Oops, I suck.
2. We went travelling and bought a house. But there were also plenty of times I thought about writing something, and didn’t.
3. Yeah, nah… See below.

THINGS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THIS BLOG IN 2014

Posts about home ownership / DIY / decor / gardening

After months and months of Trademe searches and open homes and lying real estate agents and shelling out for building inspections and auctions that went so far over our limit it was just laughable, we got lucky and bought a house. We move in two weeks and I still can’t believe we really get to live there.

Cat in box

Preparing for the move

Amazingly, it doesn’t even need anything major done to it, but there will be some painting and little DIY jobs, plus all the fun of furnishing a place and making holes in the walls wherever we want and attempting to make stuff grow. I can’t imagine that any of that will go 100% smoothly so you’ll get to enjoy the fallout when I paint something blue when it’s meant to be green or kill my Potted Colour (for some reason that description always amuses me).

Cooking and food adventures

One thing I did do in 2013 was get more adventurous with my cooking. And unlike the Hot Eggy Bread With Jam incident, most of it turned out pretty well. The problem is usually the complete lack of a good place to photograph what I’ve made. But! New kitchen! Which is quite blue but that’s okay!

KItchen

Oh yeah. I’m going to cook SO MUCH FOOD IN YOU. And then EAT IT ON A REAL DINING TABLE LIKE AN ADULT. Once we GET ONE.

What you won’t be seeing, kitchen-wise, is an exploration of the seminal text How To Garnish, because I almost picked it up at the Coromandel Keltic Fair…

How to Garnish book

Everyone needs to know how to make a cucumber shark

but decided to spend my moneys on this instead.

Powell

A must-have for every Kiwi bach

Plus with my haphazard knife skills you’d probably just get a picture of my fingers in a bag of ice on the way to A&E. But I’ll keep an eye out for similar projects cos I sure do love me some Bad Jelly Blog and Gallery of Regrettable Food and it’d be fun to have a go.

Fitness posts

Disclaimer: In no way am I an expert on fitness. Nor do I exercise as regularly as many others, or as hard. I wouldn’t even say I’m On a Journey, and I barely document anything I do through social media. What kind of blogger am I!? So you won’t see mid-run selfies or logs of how many kilometres I’ve run (that’d be a very small log. Or maybe a smallish branch) or ANYTHING to do with weight loss. But I can tell you about stuff I like doing, stuff I’ve tried and failed hilariously at, and tales from my past as a gymnast, ballet dancer, springboard diver and (very briefly) martial arts dabbler.

Travel posts

We travelled through September and the first half of October. So far there aren’t even any photos on Facebook. But I have half-written about one of the best places we went, so I feel reasonably confident in my ability to promise some envy-inducing posts about our holiday, plus some cautionary tales of my previous travel mishaps. Look! Here’s a preview!

Moorish castle in Sintra, Portugal

Being pensive while overlooking Sintra, Portugal from a Moorish castle

Pictures of Nacho

Because he’s the best cat in the world and extremely photogenic. And he likes broad beans and asparagus and I bet your cat doesn’t.

Nacho rowing

You have interrupted my gym session.

Pictures of Nacho’s new frenemy

Yup, once we’re properly settled into the house we are hoping to get a puppy. PUPPY! So far Nacho’s encounters with dogs invariably involve furious hissing, growling and attempts to attack the other party even if it’s ten times his size, but we are cautiously hopeful that we can convince him to make friends with a wee pup.

Less censorship

In the (not very many) posts on this blog so far, I have kind of held back here and there, conscious of what my parents would think, should I ever mention that this blog exists. But you know what? I’m thirty damn years old; if I want to say fuck I will. (Sticks tongue out and stomps into bedroom, slamming door.) I’m also going to try to write some serious stuff, because 2013 was full of current events that made me unbelievably angry and it’s time I tried to do something constructive with that anger, rather than just avoiding comments sections.

And the number one thing you can expect from this blog in 2014 is…

Gaps between posts

Because who am I kidding, there’s no point making any resolutions committing to a certain number of posts per week/month. Firstly it takes all the fun out of writing, and secondly I know I’m just setting myself up to fail. Shit happens. Schedules change and fill up, people go into hospital, puppies need cleaning up after (just guessing here), and blogs go neglected. What I can promise is not to hit publish on anything unless I’m reasonably sure someone out there will get a chuckle out of it.

And now I’m off to pack up important household items. Oh all right, the dress-up box. FINE, I’m just going to eat cheese and crackers.

Know-it-all

My whole life I’ve been a know-it-all. At school, I was referred to as Dictionary (hey, it could have been worse, they could have stopped after the first syllable). At work, if a coworker asks me a question and I don’t know the answer I am physically incapable of saying so and leaving it there. If I don’t know the answer I MUST find it out for myself. When I find a gap in my knowledge, it feels like someone’s keeping a secret from me.

At a pub quiz this trait is by turns useful and incredibly dangerous, thanks to my propensity for flailing with excitement when I know the answer, causing my pen to come perilously close to my teammates’ eyeballs.

My know-it-all nature is also how the Pie Story came about. We had apples, we had pastry. I scoffed at my boyfriend when he suggested I look at a recipe, insisting that I knew how it was done. I stewed apples, sprinkled cinnamon on top and blithely tipped the results into a pie dish and covered it in pastry.

Technically, the result *was* a pie. There was a pastry bit on top, and apple filling inside. It’s just that there was an awful lot of space in between, enough that the two elements didn’t in fact touch. It was lacking a certain… something.

Being the expert on things makes me feel good. Yesterday I even managed to feel superior and knowledgeable about junk food, for goodness’ sake. Thanks to my obsessive reading of trashy pre-teen novels and, these days, blogs, way too much of my brain is devoted to knowledge of North American food brands. And so it was that I found myself wandering up and down the aisles at Martha’s Backyard, nodding sagely at Lucky Charms and Baby Ruths, Funyuns and grape soda, as if I was some kind of Professor of Snacks. If only that were a real thing.

This much I do know: my insides are now purple

This much I do know: my insides are now purple

This is the problem I am beginning to recognise. All this knowledge cluttering up my brain is Not Useful. In fact, it’s starting to boot out stuff I kind of wanted to keep, like how to speak other languages and do basic maths. Even worse, it is becoming apparent that information I thought was useful, information I’ve been casually studying and storing away for future use, is worth bugger all when it comes to real life.

Lately a friend of mine has been working through some tough emotional stuff. It happens to be related to some of my ‘this’ll be handy later on’ reading, so you’d think that I’d be a fountain of knowledge at this time and able to say just the right thing, forearmed as I am.

In news that will surprise no one, it turns out that sometimes there’s nothing you can say to make it all better, no matter how much you’ve read about other people’s experiences… and no matter how much you wish you could.

This know-it-all persona of mine has an expiry date on it. Here I am trying to find that hook, that essentially Me topic that I can claim as my own… and now I find I know even less than I thought.

Unless I just write about snacks.

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