Monthly Archives: December 2013

The First Sunrise Of A New Year & Other Highlights

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‘For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.’

– Robert Burns

Tonight, two of my favourite things are going to happen – fireworks and new beginnings. I’ve never been one to bemoan the perceived ‘anti-climax’ of New Year’s – any excuse for a party and I’ll find the fun. I’ve had a good time every New Year’s eve back as far as I can remember. January blues I am guilty of, but I always see the old year out and the new year in with a bang!

This year, I’m road-tripping oe’r the holidays. I’ve been camping over Christmas and exploring more of New Zealand’s north island before arriving today back in Gisborne, on the east coast. It’s a carnival-spirited place that will the be first in the world to see the sunrise of a new year.

I’m going to invite you all to join me in one of my evening’s activities and play ‘highlights’ – a game born of myself and my bestie (Amster of Pride and Projection fame) many years back, which we still play periodically, especially at New Year’s (the drinking is, of course, optional – though not really for me and Amster).

Sometimes we start with lowlights – raising a glass to drown the bad points of the past year, those that brought us down and sometimes out, those that we don’t remember fondly. I could pretend here that we toast the learnings that have emerged from the negatives we’ve experienced, but mostly it’s more of a ‘…And remember that happened? Wow that sucked. 2 fingers.’

But the highlight is always the highlights – remembering and drinking to all the best things that have happened to us. They invariably include each other. They have ranged from promotions and resignations, relationships and relocations, to ‘…Hey, I love this song! 3 fingers.’   

New Year’s is always a time to look forward, making resolutions and hoping for a better year, regardless of whether the last was particularly good or bad. Remember to take a moment, for auld lang syne (‘old time’s sake’). Don’t just focus on what you want to go / do better – play highlights. Alcohol often induces bonus rounds – it’s amazing what you can think of to celebrate when there’s a good reason! And drinking to resolutions is also encouraged.

This year I moved into my dream home (2 fingers), set up my business (3 fingers), incorporated my company (2 fingers) and wrote a novel (down it). I became the accountant for a charitable trust (2 fingers). I went part-time at the day-job (3 fingers). I saw lots of friends from home I’d not seen since I left (finger per friend). I… ooh! I love this song! (many fingers). Next year I resolve to publish the book. I will make my business bigger and better. I will eat less fried chicken and do more exercise…. There’s more to say, plan, do, drink – but you get the idea!

What are everyone’s highlights / resolutions? Highlights cancel out lowlights. Resolutions cancel out last year’s failed resolutions (I make the rules here). Enjoy whatever you have planned for your tonight! For many of you this will be in my tomorrow. See you next year! Happy highlights 🙂 

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Escape to Abel Tasmen

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My Christmas Campsite

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and sorry for leaving you hanging like an unopened Christmas stocking!  I’ve been a bad blogger and officially missed two deadlines. My extenuating circumstances are Christmas and camping, so please forgive me. I left laptop and life behind to beat into the bush of Abel Tasmen, walking hours and hours into the wilderness and camping on beaches such as the one above. But words have still been dancing in my head and making their way onto paper, just waiting for some wifi… and here they are. 

I discussed a few weeks ago why life is good, even when it’s not – but, however good life is, an escape can be wonderful. A change is as good as a rest, they say, and a rest from the whirlwind of 2013 was definitely required. It’s been emotional. 

I won’t make a mad recap here – suffice to say, with t minus one week to go, the countdown to fleeing was *on*. The plan was in place (kind of); the budget was beat into submission (sort of); and come Saturday, we finally hit the road, after an early Christmas turkey with all the trimmings. A vegetarian turkey was even genetically engineered for the non-meat-eaters among us. 

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Don’t ask. Or do! It’s an… interesting recipe.

We steamrollered north. Amazing to feel the wind in my hair once more, footloose and fancy-free times ahead. Of course, there’s only so fancy-free you can be. There’s still rent to pay behind you, the price of petrol, tyre dramas, unexpected expenditure (more tyre dramas – hadn’t quite managed to replace the spare after our last eventful road trip); and, of course, camping’s arch nemesis – the weather. 

But just as life is what you make it, so is an escape from it. Face inevitable chores and challenges with good humour and the rewards of rest and relaxation are yours for the taking. Let hitches and hiccups stress you out and you don’t stand a chance of a happy holiday.

Camping over Christmas was a joyful focus on the simple things in life – appreciating nature, finding food and keeping dry. It was fun to hunt mussels to cook for dinner and forget about the internet. It was less fun being damp and being bitten by sandflies. Overall, it was a good reminder never to take for granted a bed, a roof and something separating you from things that want to eat you. 

I hope everyone’s having a fantastic festive season and enjoying some form of escape in the happiness of holidays and the felicity of feasting with family and friends! Has anyone else let some things on the to-do list slide? Who else has overeaten? What do vegetarians normally eat for Christmas?! Whatever you do or don’t do, whether you forget or don’t do it on purpose – don’t forget to have fun. Take a break and escape…

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Finding Christmas Time

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Tis the season…

I’m so annoyed with myself for not yet having decorated for Christmas. I’m actually away for festive week and new year’s week, so if I don’t do it soon there’ll be no point doing it at all… Except the point that I’ll be sad if I don’t, even if I leave it to the day before I leave. I’m thinking of taking some tinsel travelling with me, too.

I’m so *busy* right now! I’m running around like a headless turkey. In the office, the internet and phone-lines have broken, casting us back into the dark ages and making me wonder how we’d cope if the world lost technology altogether (a theme in my NaNo novel!). There are scores of people visiting, some event or another on every day of next week, and we’re hitting the road at the end of it, with next to no itinerary and not a lot organised. Not only have I not decorated, I’ve not done any Christmas shopping or sent any cards. Some of you may be sighing out of sympathy, others out of incomprehension – there are 2 weeks left after all… Except, I’m half a world away from home and from most of the people I want to gift / card – even if I get my act together today, post probably won’t arrive until *next* Christmas!

What am I doing?! Well, I’ve been working at 3 different ‘jobs’ – I have my part-time job as the Reluctant Accountant, which isn’t so part-time this fortnight due to internet issues and the amount to do in the run up to Christmas; I have my business, Right Ink On The Wall, which has been beautifully busy of late, editing and proofing; and I’ve just become the accountant (less reluctantly) for a charitable trust (more on this in another post), which is brand new and just finding its feet, so lots to doooo! 

But, however busy I am – there’s no excuse for not finding Christmas Time. Time to decorate, time to celebrate, time to get in touch with loved ones and send tokens of care. There’s no excuse not to find time to thank someone for a card or a kindness. One can be tired *and* cheery. I need to embrace the festive franticness at everything there is to *do* – and be grateful for all the people there are to *see*.

Who’s feeling that Christmas rush/push/crush?! Who else needs to pause for thought, and take time to feel festive?! It’s the most wonderful time of the year 🙂 Make time to find Christmas Time!

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Nelson Mandela & Saying The Right Thing

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I will keep this brief. It’s one of those times when silence is too little, but words are not enough. If anyone has made the right mark on the wall of the world, it is Nelson Mandela. Today is a happy sad day – it is happy because Mandela died having lived out his life. He lived to see the effects of the marks he made and work he did. He died free, leaving the world a better place. Rest in peace.

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