January 30, 2004


I made the drive from Picton to Chch in a little over 5 hours, which was excellent - good luck to get on the roads so early, we didn't hit traffic at all until Chch really. Regan came with me and that was a real sanity-saver - just to know that I could pull over and ask her to drive, or if something went wrong with the car there would be someone else to ask. But as it eventuated, the trip went incredibly smoothly.

I'm staying with some friends of mine (the same people I stayed with over New Year's) so I am surrounded by many cute dogs. Ruby Tuesday (my cat) is adjusting ok - better than I thought she would, in fact. I've kept her in one room thus far and go and give her a couple of 'contact' hours each day, and make sure I spread the dogs scent on her and her scent on the dogs so they get used to each other being around.

I think the emotional reaction to the break-up is starting to set in a little. When I was in Wellington I was in my rational coping mode, turn off everything except the capable part that has to get things done. Now I'm down here and suddenly things are sneaking up on me emotionally again, which is a bit tough. But I guess it is a phase and one that will be worked through. I feel quite overwhelmed at times, panicked about what I've done and the massive upheaval to life in the last few weeks. Seems like a bit of a roller-coaster really.

I don't know if I'm just lazy or what, but the people I'm living in do SO much! They never stop - they always have something they're doing or planning or need to attend to. Makes me tired just thinking about it! I guess I worry that having spent so much time on my own and in hospital in the last few years that I'm just not used to a normal level of stress and activity. I find it freaks me out to think of all the things I have to do and plan and stuff, I just want to cry and hide in bed. Mature huh?! Hoping that it's a part of me I can work on.

Well not much else to say I guess except a HUGE thank-you to everyone for their feedback and support - especially Jenni and Regan. :) And even to Dave, in a way, I think he really tried to make it easy for me to go, even though it hurt him terribly.

Posted by phreq at 07:24 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Last Day in Wellington

My thanks to everybody for their comments and support :) It's been a wild few days but I am off on the ferry at 1.30 tomorrow morning, Christchurch here I come. Regan offered to come with me, which is such a relief because I haven't done a drive like this before and I was (am) freaking out slightly :)

I went for a drive round the bays yesterday, it's one of my favourite bits of Wellington and I will miss it. The rest of the day was spent packing and dragging heavy boxes full of stuff to Jenni's (thanks Jen!).

It actually amazed me how much stuff I have... I took heaps to Jen's, I'm giving the Sallies another car-load, plus there's an armchair, couch, chest of drawers, table and chair, desk and desk chair, fridge, microwave - most of the stuff I'm taking is clothes, books or art supplies. And it's still going to be a game of tetris to fit it (and the cat) into the car tonight...

I hope Ruby can handle the journey... I went to Animates and got a big, solid-sided crate for her with an internal water dish and mattress and stuff. It's big enough for her to curl up in and stretch out in, so hopefully that will be ok. I got this herbal sedative stuff for her, apparently it works to calm animals down without negative side affects, so we shall see how that goes :)

Now all I need is some herbal sedative for me... :)

Posted by phreq at 06:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

breaking up is hard to do

It's been 12 days since dave and I broke up. I feel awful, he feels worse. I think I'm still in shock, a little bit.

I have decided to leave wellington and go to christchurch for a while to let things settle a bit and try to work things out a bit. I can't see the point in prolonging the agony by staying in town any longer than I have, so will put in notice on the flat today and look at getting things organised to go very shortly.

I can't believe how much my life has changed in the last couple of weeks. I'm scared but I think I have made the healthy decision, it's just that it hurts so damn much. I really care about him and to devastate him like this feels terrible. That's why I think I should get out asap, the proximity is making things more intense I think. Or maybe I am just selfish and guilty and want to be on the move to spare myself having to look at my behaviour.

I haven't written in so long so I have no idea if the friday theme is "it's your funeral" - ? - but it seems ironically appropriate. The smell of burning bridges fills my nostrils.

:( sad sad sad. so horrible to inflict pain like this on someone who loves me. I really hope I am doing the right thing.

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January 11, 2004

Goat Hunting and Explosions

I had a day of firsts yesterday - the first time I've been hunting (didn't get anything) and the first time I've seen someone blow up the side of a hill with explosives.

We went out to this real back-blocks station over past Martinborough somewhere. It's a gravel, single-lane road out to the farm and then you have to ford a river (conveniently dry at this time of year). The shooters were staying in the old shearer's quarters, which were like a student flat that had been shifted to the middle of a paddock. Goat parts and bones littered the outside area.

The guys (mainly guys) were complaining about how 1080 had really brought down the possum and rabbit population, which was a considered a great pity because it meant there were fewer animals to spotlight in their customised possum-hunting-cars.

Because the farm is private land, the cars don't have to be strictly road-worthy to be used. So they'd gotten these old cars and cut them down and modified them to be used for hunting - the backs doors and seats cut away, rollbars added, padding, hand-grips, and of course, camo paint and red-neck slogans: "caution: I speed up for small animals"; "do not try to overtake overturning vehicle"; "if you can read this, turn me over" (printed upside down). They'd tied goat skulls to the front of the cars and one of them had handles attached to the bonnet. When we asked what the handles were for, one of the guys (Scott) explained that the car wasn't heavy enough in front to get good traction going up hill with a heavy load, so they had people sit on the bonnet, hanging on to the handles. He conceded that it did make it a little difficult for the driver to see where they were going, but that was easily addressed by having the passengers shout directions to their blinded chauffeur.

We headed off to hunt goats around 8.00am I guess, by which time it was already really hot and felt more like 10.30. Dave and I were riding in this old landrover, which didn't have a windscreen or roof or more than two comfy seats (Dave, the gentleman that he is, volunteered to sit in the tray). It did have a gun rack, though, which is very important!

We drove on this gnarly 4WD track for a while, and then we stopped - someone had spotted some goats. Everyone got out and started looking important with guns, except me, who was trying to keep behind everyone else. One guy started calling the goats and this little baby goat (don't read the rest of the paragraph if you don't like the way it's heading) started answering and coming towards him. BANG! One less little baby goat. Much excitement from men with guns. Then much discussion over whether the meat might be tainted with 1080. Finally, resignation - the little baby goat cannot be used as dog tucker, as it might kill the dogs. We get back in the Landie and drive on.

Because it was such a hot day, most of the goats were well under cover by the time we got out, so we didn't shoot anything else. The guys decided that there was a piece of the 4WD track that needed some attention, so we headed up yet another gnarly piece of hillside, only to find out way blocked by some medium-sized trees. Not to worry! Out came the chainsaw and various shirtless youths and within and few minutes the track was clear.

We got to the bit of dodgy track and to be quite honest, it didn't look any more dangerous than anything else I'd driven over that day, but everyone else seemed to agree that what this particular piece of the road needed was blowing up. Apparently the plan was to blow up the bank to widen the track.

After prudently removing myself from the immediate area (I'd heard tales of previous explosive experiments by these guys and I wasn't taking any chances) I settled down to await the big moment. "Fire in the hole!" and much sprinting. There was a small "BOOM!" and a modest scatter of earth, not particularly impressive. Then came the explanation - the second charge hadn't gone off. Much muttering among the explosives team.

A few moments later they were back, smiling. "I'd move down the track a little bit further, we used 7 litres." Phil advised and I didn't have to be told twice. BOOM!!!. Clods of earth rain from the sky. (Dave instinctively moved to shelter me with his body, which I found most touching.) The guys yelp and grin and run back up to the hole in the bank.

After that came all the digging and dragging of trees and so forth, and then we piled back in the cars and went back to the shearer's hut (a flat tire along the way, but no worries). By the time we got back it was almost 3.00 so Dave had one shot with the high-powered potato gun (it shoots whole potatoes - for hundreds of metres) and then we climbed into his nice sedate car and drove back to nice sedate Wellington.

Man, I slept last night. Even with the sunburn.

Posted by phreq at 06:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 09, 2004

Grand Ambitions

This is a list of things I'd like to do someday. I will add and subtract from it as I cross things off or lose interest. (Last updated 9 January 2005)

1) Drive a car with DC plates
2) Achieve diplomatic immunity
3) Go to Holland
4) And Germany, and Russia
5) Sample unusual creatures and substances
6) Write a story that gets published
7) Sell a painting
8) Live in a house I own or am allowed to alter
9) Make some home-made alcohol (and not go blind)
10) Eat at one extremely nice restaurant every few years.

Posted by phreq at 06:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May you live in interesting times

I had an awesome and productive conversation with David last night about the coming year. I feel that it's a real time of transition for me, and a time to heal, and I have to find the best way of doing that.

Dave encouraged me to think of what I really want, rather than to devise an action plan straight away - to write a list of what is important to me, and then to work out a plan from there. He is so supportive, he said to me that no matter what I choose to do, he will be there for me, every step of the way.

I think it's going to be important to confront my parents in some way, and to explain to them (although they will not listen and will not believe me) that they have really hurt me throughout my life and I need to get some distance from them to work through that. I have this weird desire to see them, even though I know it makes me feel terrible - it's kind of probing the wound or something, I think "this time it will be different, this time I'll be good enough" and it never works out that way - so maybe the best thing for me to do is to say "I need a break from you to become an adult, not a damaged child."

My brother did kind of the same thing, I suspect, with his interminable OE. I don't want to travel overseas yet, I'm not emotionally strong enough - but I do think that moving out of the immediate Wellington region for a few months may be a good move.

I want to be gentle with myself this year, to let the hurt kid inside me heal a little bit and let the adult part of me grow and flourish too. I want to paint, write poetry, take photos, read and learn and experience new things. I want to be around sunshine and nature and have a private piece of the earth that is mine to be in. I want inventive, creative poverty rather than the grinding, drowning kind. I want to learn to love without reservation, without fear of being mauled and stripped when I'm vulnerable.

I think the old-fashioned term for it is a sabbatical... I want to renew myself. I want to be strong enough and self-confident enough to be able to tell people who are toxic to me that I will not be associating with them. I want to feel joy and hope in life, because I've only caught the merest glimpse of that in the last 23 years and small as those flashes were, it seems to me that to grow that sense of life and live in it must be the closest thing humans can get to a personal heaven. To get up in the morning and know that I won't catch myself wanting to die before nightfall. To expect good things, to trust that some people will in fact like me for who I am. To feel strong and not afraid.

Young and strong and free within my spirit. That's what I want to work for this year.

Posted by phreq at 07:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 02, 2004

Ah, 2004....

2004 opened well, I thought. I'm down in Christchurch staying with two of my mates and we spent New Year in the warm summer garden, drinking, smoking and talking about the universe.

I have a few resolutions for the coming year, but not started them yet (too hard to give up smoking when I'm staying with two smokers!) - will do that when I return to Wgtn.

Resolutions for 2004 include:

  • Quit smoking

  • Cut down on alcohol

  • Stay in touch with friends more

  • Study hard (ha ha ha)

As for winning lotto, well, as you can see, it's not a goal for the year (I've never bought a ticket and don't have a clue how to play) but if the hands of Fate should see fit to drop a couple mil into my lap, so be it. I don't argue with the hands of Fate. Or the hands of anyone else, if they're handing me money.

The place I'm staying has 7 dogs - 2 cavalier king charles, 1 miniature poodle, 1 cocker spaniel, 1 pitbull/rotty cross, and 2 adorable 4-week-old spoodles (cocker spaniel mixed with poodle). They are all such lovely dogs, really nice natures and very smoochy. I have fallen in love a little with the poodle, he is a 3-yr-old and moves with tiptoe grace, like a dancer in a black curly leotard. Seriously thinking about smuggling him home with me, but somehow I dont think the cat would approve :)

Anyway I'm in Christchurch for a few more days, soaking up the sun and catching up with people - it's so relaxing :) Am looking forward to getting home though, I want to do more painting!

Posted by phreq at 08:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack