Happy Birthday me!
The 9th of October arrived much like it did last year, with Kate shouting happy birthday and dancing around the kitchen, both of us a least a little drunk, and Kate awake way past her bedtime.
27 snuck up on me. It’s not that I didn’t anticipate the day or make any arrangements for celebrations, it’s not even that I was trying to forget on purpose. It’s just sneaky.
Finishing the cookbook photography, making jewellery, working full-time, and planning a trip to Japan has been taking up all my time. (YES, JAPAN.) So I haven’t even come close to finishing my 26 in 26 list. But I will. This year I don’t have any lists in mind but I am going to try my hardest to finish the one I started. Many of the remaining list items have been started; I have the frame for my SE Asian postcards, I just haven’t put the postcards in it yet (task for today!); I’ve cut a few inches off a skirt, I just haven’t hemmed it yet; I am on the lookout for a good quality second-hand tripod.
I had plans to go to the South Island this year, and I will be going next year in autumn.
For now though, I will finally drag myself out of bed (at 1pm) and have a shower. Followed by bacon butties, antipasto for dinner, and the 16 year old Jura whisky I bought as a present for making it through another amazing year.
On the 21st of May we received an exciting email from Laura to let us know she would potentially be making a cookbook. She’d been keeping it a secret from us all year while working nights and every spare moment, making her way through multiple levels of publisher approval.
The next day Laura found out she’d made it through the final meeting. The Hungry and Frozen cookbook would go to the ball.
On the 29th of May Jason and I got an invite to the ball as well, Laura requested us as her photographers! How exciting, how nerve wracking! Of course we accepted, and Jason requested Kate as a stylist. Thank everything for that, Kate was indispensable.
Also indispensable was Tim, (Laura’s boyfriend/partner/lover/dishwasher) he organised Laura, kept us awake with coffee, did last minute dashes for missing ingredients, held reflectors, gave pep talks, and most importantly did all the ironing and dishwashing.
We had our first photoshoot on the 15th of July and our final one the 15th of September. We shot a motherfuckingcookbook in two months!
And today the manuscript was handed in.
Not the greatest photo, nevertheless it serves as proof that I did in fact bake a fruit pie.
Our kitchen was a madhouse on Saturday with secret birthday cakes being baked and the oven in demand by three of us cooking for a potluck dinner.
Despite the panicky stage fright that overwhelms me when cooking for other people the apple pie was delicious. Definitely a pie I’ll bake again. In hindsight it’s a super simple recipe, the most frustrating part was trying to get my frozen sheets of pastry unstuck from each other. WHY IS IT ALWAYS SO HARD!?
I used Grandma Ople’s recipe
with a few modifications:
- 2 Tbsp flour & 1 Tbsp cornflour instead of 3 Tbsp flour
- Margarine in place of butter to keep it dairy free
- I made the syrup in two batches after it was suggested that the syrup is thick and wouldn’t soak through the lattice very well and that it crystalises quickly:
- I made half the syrup recipe and mixed it with the apples before loading them into the pie base
- I then created the lattice top before making the rest of the syrup and pouring it over
- I cooked the pie at 180C for the full hour and covered it with tin foil about way through the cooking time to stop it from browning any further
A few weeks back I noticed a cool sounding role advertised at Xero. They’re on my list of ‘places I want to work’ so even though I’ve no formal experience as a technical writer I decided to go for the technical writer position anyway. Well, it’s been a few weeks now with no response other than the automatic “we’ve received your email” email, so I feel fairly confident saying it was out of my league.
I halfheartedly applied for another web based role at the NZ Nurses Organisation and was completely surprised when I was called an interview. I haven’t been interviewed for a specific job in over 5 years so the only thing making me not throw up with nervousness was the expectation I wouldn’t get the role. They did have a few candidates with actual qualifications & experience so I didn’t get that one either, and while that’s the result I expected it’s always a bit of a punch in the guts to be rejected.
The day following rejection number one was revelatory though. The 30 day reinvention project is coming to an end and through a combination of story telling & asking the right questions I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life. (!!) I think I really figured it out quite a while back but didn’t have the words to express it succinctly.
I want to help creatives run THEIR dream businesses. I want to be the admin, the assistant, the book keeper, and the extra pair of hands. I want to photograph their art, pimp them out, and be in charge of the lawyers when people are horrible. The amount of pressure to perform on command as a “creative” is too much for me. I’m no good at self promotion or getting things done for myself. Ive always loved organizing things for others, playing with numbers, and meeting deadlines.
In the real world where almost no small time creatives in NZ have the money to pay a helper good money it means I’ll be gunning for great companies first, learning experiences second, and boring but secure and well paying jobs third. All options have benefits. There’s nowhere but up.
On Saturday I took my very first trip on the Overlander, the train that runs from Wellington to Auckland. Mum is in Hamilton so our journey wasn’t quite as far as Auckland, but still a good 10 hours.
Thankfully I’d had a bit of train practice in Asia. In Asia we bought cheap tickets and ended up with a) seats with no leg room, b) hard sleepers, which are planks of wood with thin covers and bed bugs, or c) plastic chairs. There was none of that in the Overlander. Lots of leg room, some bigger couches in a lounge at the back of the coach and clean enough toilets. Though in typical train fashion the door to the toilet was extremely awkward to get through I’m not sure that anyone much bigger than me would have been able to manage it.
Our carriage did come with the requisite “conspiracy theorists” though. Grow From Here on twitter was kind enough to explain to me how odd people are assigned on public transport: “they are allocated by the travel people – sometimes you get screaming kid instead- or paper rustling snarler”. Pleased to say I only had to deal with a guy explaining to me how an Egyptian prince and a Jewish Princess were married way back to broke a deal between feuding families (etc etc on and off for 10 hours). Cool story bro.
But thankfully no screaming children.
Waiting for 7am to check in // My favourite stretch of highway with views to Kapiti // You can see the South Island in good weather, that faint shape in the distance // Ohakune for a pie and coffee break (shit coffee good pie) // Art in Ohakune // Crossing one of the tall viaducts // The windows were annoyingly reflective // What NZ does well – farms
At midnight last night my friend and flatmate Kate shouted Happy Birthday in my face. (We were all a little drunk and I think she was particularly excited to have checked the time exactly on 12.) A little terrifying, but still a really nice way to ring in my 26th Birthday, especially as I’m at that stage in life where a birthday is just an excuse to eat food and drink gin.
Now that my 101 list has passed I’ve written a new list. These all feel very doable. We’ll see.
- Buy a day train pass and go somewhere. Anywhere. Without much of a plan.
- Alter a piece of clothing
- Make something look better by painting it
- Watch 3 Hiyao Miyazaki films (0/3)
- Update my CV
- Visit Mum at least 3 times (0/3)
- Participate in a protest
- Frame my South East Asia postcards
- Apply for a British passport
- Submit a photo to something
- Write a letter to each of my siblings (0/4)
- Renew my learners licence
- Get a tripod for my camera (and take outfit photos with it)
- Post a secret to PostSecret
- Learn a dance
- Make something out of polymer clay
- Go to the South Island
- Make a friendship bracelet
- Make a fruit pie
- Blog every day for a month
- Complete my ‘Wreck This Journal’
- Apply for a job I think is out of my league
- Learn a song on my bass
- Try roller skating
- Grow a plant