Another Year Bites The Dust

Down here in Christchurch, New Zealand (aka QuakeZone), 2011 has been unforgettable – and not in a good way.

Admittedly, that first big quake – the one that set off all the others – was in 2010. But this year we’ve had literally thousands of aftershocks (some, incredibly, more violent than the original earthquake). We’ve shovelled silt and patched up our homes and grieved for lives lost and kept going because, really, what else could we do?
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We Remember

It seems incredible to me that ten years has already passed since 9-11 stopped being my friend’s birthday and became instead a symbol of terrorism.

Ten years since I woke to images so horrifying, so emotionally overwhelming that I struggled to comprehend them.

Ten years since I waited by the phone for news of our cousins, who were in transit to the States (from New Zealand). Ten years since I went into work, wondering how I could possibly answer the questions I knew my students would have. Ten years since I, thousands of miles Read More…

QuakeZone – Twelve Days On

Twelve days on and we’re struggling to re-boot normality here in Christchurch, NZ.

It’s not that we can’t function: we can, and very well. Our infrastructures have withstood this crisis amazingly. Our civil defence emergency response teams have been excellent. Our community has come together to help each other through – I’m proud to live here. And, miraculously, no lives were lost.

But it doesn’t feel normal. The shops are open. School’s back in. People, if their job still exists, are back to work. But there’s a nervous edge to it. I avoid large shopping malls. I constantly check where my kids are. I startle at every low rumble. I quiz my son daily on what he should do in an earthquake.

We’ve had 611 quakes in twelve days. There’s nothing normal about that.

Self-Cleaning Hair, Anyone?

I once heard that if you don’t wash your hair it becomes self-cleaning in about four-to-six weeks. It sounded pretty good to me. Maybe I should try it some time.

The perfect opportunity arose when my partner and I embarked on a year’s travel. Nobody would know me while my hair was at the manky stage. Perfect! We flew in to Malaysia and the experiment began. No more shampoo. Water only.

It wasn’t easy. Hell, no. I’m a daily hair-washer. I went through Itchy-Scalp Syndrome and Read More…

Tropical Paradise Holiday

So off we went. Our first tropical holiday in years. Our first ever as a family of four.

We coped with the 5am start. We mostly coped with the first six hours of our seven-and-a-half hour journey, thanks to drugs (for the baby, not us), an in-flight bassinette, and individual in-flight screens which Master Six loved.

Then the baby woke.

If you’re a parent, imagine your child at their very worst. Then imagine holding them in your Read More…