Going to school.

In New Zealand, you start going to school after you turn five years old. That's right. The day after your fifth birthday. (Don't ask me. I guess it's a British thing.)

When you start school, you are called a new entrant. I gather that the new entrants' class is like kindergarten in the US. (I just don't get the NZ school system.) But you stay at school from 9AM until 3PM. (The entire day.) This seems long for a five-year-old. I mean, just look at the little boy in the photo. Can you believe anyone that little goes to school?

Anyway, the child is almost five years old. I should give him a pseudonym. Like, Elvis. (It's not a dumb name. I don't care what my husband says.) For the last few Fridays, Elvis has been going on school visits. He's doing so well. And I love his teacher, which is a plus. (I hope it's a love that will last. Maybe I should bring her chocolates.)

The big surprise? The transition to school has been difficult. For me. (You're surprised, right?) I’m happy for Elvis. I'm so proud of him, as he achieves this next step towards independence. But, at the same time, I feel depressed. I used to hear about the empty nest, and I thought it was dumb. (Of course, I was a teenager. I thought everything was dumb.) The first time I dropped Elvis off at school, I cried.

I feel better now. But why does everyone tell you parenting gets easier? They LIE. (Unless you, reader, are a new parent. Then, it’s true. It gets easier. Really!)


I'm overwhelmed.

In my last post, I wrote:
I am far behind in my life. I am caught in quicksand. Would someone please haul me out of here? I need to do a million things, and it's overwhelming. I'm sinking!
But I deleted that paragraph. It just seemed too whingey. Or too personal. I don't want to admit that I’m overwhelmed. And I don't really need to be rescued.

There is a lot going on at Wellington Road. The child is about to start school (another post), we have a birthday party to plan, other social obligations on the calendar, gifts to buy, financial challenges. Autumn is here, and there are chores to do. You know, life.

So, yeah (yawn). I’m overwhelmed. I don’t want to break down tasks into steps, and tick items off a To-Do list. I just want to stay in bed and read your blog. (Yes, yours.) Or chat with you on Facebook. (Yes, you.) Or hang out on Twitter. (I love you, Twitter.) I'm depressed. What happened to summer?

And do you remember when I wrote that post? About the big 'D'? Well, it’s time for an update:

You keep talking to people. If you bring it up yourself, it is OK. But if someone else brings it up? An acquaintance, who you may, or may not, have talked to first? (You don’t really remember. You wonder if she reads your blog.) This person forces you to talk about it, even if you don’t feel like talking. Awkward. And people ask, is there anything we can do? To help? Like babysit? Which is nice, right? But it feels intrusive. Because you aren't even separated yet. And you are all, if I need help, I will ask for it. But you say this gently. Because you are more surprised than angry. Isn't this what you wanted? To talk about it? When the child acts like a monster, people say, he’s acting like that because of problems at home. And you say, I don’t think so. And you don’t.

You realize you don’t want to talk about your marital problems. You understand why it’s a taboo subject. People bring their own baggage to the conversation. So you only talk about it with your therapist, behind closed doors. And you keep a stiff upper lip as you go about your life. Especially if you live in a little village in New Zealand that is prone to gossip. Also, your family doesn't want to talk about your problems. This may be a good thing. You pretend that everything is OK. You carry on a facade. You fake it. Which is what everyone does, from time to time, in marriage. (Isn't it?) But it's difficult for you, and not only because you are a lousy actress.

Adam and I are still talking. He wants to work on things, bless him. I am still doubting. But we have put the issue on hold. For now. We are still married. We are still living together.

Maybe this is what you sometimes do in a marriage. If you need to deal with a life transition. (And you are selfish and cruel.)



Sorry, Michelle, from Harmzie’s Way. It took me a while to finish your meme. (When you tagged me, I was intimidated by your awesomeness.) The idea is to take photos of red things. The red in Michelle’s photos is sensual and exotic. But right now, there isn’t much red in my life.

Red used to be my favourite colour to wear. Red was also my grandmother’s best colour. Now when I wear red, I feel like I am my grandmother. When I see myself in a (rare) photo, I see someone else, some older person. Is that my grandmother?

I remember when I was a child, looking at photos of my grandmother. (Remember when 30 seemed old?) Now when I look at photos of myself, I think, she looks old. I don’t feel old. Oh, wait, sometimes I do. Never mind.

Red is more fun to wear with dark hair. Over the summer, I was having fun with my dark hair and wearing red.

(Oh, hair maintenance. It’s easier for me to keep up with you if my hair is dark. But I feel younger with blond hair. And I have more fun.)

Here are a few red things at Wellington Road. My mother-in-law got me this cute top for my birthday.

The phone with the tiny buttons. It has outwitted and outlasted me. It's a survivor. And I refuse to buy a new phone while tiny button phone still works.

This term, the child has been riding his scooter (instead of his bike) to Playcentre. He is about to graduate from this scooter.

The chilly bin. This is Kiwi for cooler. Sometimes, I get confused and call it an icy box, and Adam just about dies laughing. I try to remember to bring it to the supermarket. For the ice cream.

My Crocs. I am still wearing them out in public. They are comfortable.

Gorgeous travel journal, unused. There are even maps of major cities in this journal. I must be saving it for an adventure. I can’t wait.

Want to play along? If you do, let us know in the comments.

Edited to add. If you are reading this post in your reader, just ignore that other post. (Also called "Red". Below this post.) You see, uh, I clicked Publish Post (instead of Save As Draft). Yeah, I guess I'm not perfect. Or this is a fascinating look behind the scenes. You be the judge.

Edited again to add. See what you could be missing, if you don't subscribe to me? Fascinating looks behind the scenes. Subscribe today!


I am a weird girl.

I've always been a “weird” girl.

When we broke up, my exasperated boyfriend said, “You are a weird girl.”

I agreed. “Yes. Yes, I am.”

I am weird. I'm not cool enough to be a hipster. But I try not to care.

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It's where I am.

Oh, hi. Wellington Road is still under construction. We have been hammering away at the template (look, three columns!), and we are tinkering with the banner.

My old tagline ("it’s where I am") just wasn’t that good. In the name of marketing, I must do what’s right for my brand. So we have rolled out a new tagline at Wellington Road: world famous in New Zealand. Being in New Zealand is what Wellington Road is supposed to be about. Maybe the new tagline will keep us from swerving off the road.

Recently, I have felt like “it’s where I am” that matters. What I mean is, Wellington Road is not really about being in New Zealand. I like to believe I’m the same person, no matter where I happen to be. (I am a big fish in a small pond.) Wellington Road is about what’s in my beautiful mind. And I will confess, in my beautiful mind, I am “world famous” (and hopefully, not crazy).

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I chose Wellington Road as my blog title with a nod to Kerouac’s On the Road.

But the title is also about Gertrude Stein’s salon in Paris. Stein was an American expatriate. Her friends (artists like Matisse and Picasso, and poets like Apollinaire) met at her salon at 27 Rue de Fleurus to discuss art.

In a way, Wellington Road is my salon. Make yourself at home. Let’s talk.

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905
source: Wikipedia

Edited to add. Russell Crowe ("A Beautiful Mind") is a Kiwi. We don't really want to claim him, but we have no choice.


The Big Chill.

In “The Big Chill” (1983), a funeral causes college friends to meet up again in their 30s. They try to answer questions about who they used to be and who they are now. Nothing is resolved, but the dialogue is brilliant. So is the soundtrack, which is an amazing collection of Motown hits and other tracks (like “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones).

Even though “The Big Chill” is about my parents’ generation, the characters (the failed writer, the lawyer with her biological clock, the confused TV star, the sell-out journalist) are like people I knew in high school or college.

The messages of my youth haven’t added up to anything either. And I’m trying to answer the same questions raised by “The Big Chill”. Who were we then, and who are we now?

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My generation danced while we looked at our shoes. And we don’t seem to have this:

Where is my Big Chill?