Back at university

I’m back at Auckland University! Twenty-five years after I completed a Bachelor’s degree in English. It feels strange to be back there in 2018 but exciting. I’m completing one psychology paper this semester just to get started. The paper is called Producing Psychological Knowledge but really it could be called Statistical Analysis of Quantifiable Research. it’s really hard for someone who hasn’t studied statistics since school.

This is an example paragraph from the second lecture:

“To keep with Plato’s terms, just remember, if you have the value in front of you, it’s an instance. When we get to things like calculating chi-square, t, or correlation coefficients, the value we calculate is an instance of the form value those calculations produce if we could test the whole population.”

I have to work really hard to understand this. And it scares me. But I need to understand this and I will get there.

Words spoken to children have immense power

The words you speak to children have tremendous power. Think back on a time when someone said something to you when you were young and it changed the course of your life.

For all of us, including children, this is true: What we believe we become.

Thanks to Barb Schmidt for these words. I would add we can still expect our kids to be polite and respectful too.


Merry Christmas 2017

Singing Christmas carols in the car helped with stress levels driving around and around looking for a carpark at the supermarket this Christmas Eve morning. (Buying a few last minute things I’d forgotten.)

Merry Christmas everyone. May you all have good health and happiness this Christmas season.


What I am NOT good at

Everyone has things they’re good at, and things they’re not. I really like people and I’m kind. BUT:

I’m not a patient person. I wish I was. My husband and youngest daughter have the ability to wait patiently, doing nothing, in a queue for ages. That drives me crazy so I always try to carry a book or magazine in my handbag. Then I’m not bored. In fact I’m happy.

And I’m not good at camping. I try. I book the family camping trip to Tawharanui every year. It’s a stunningly beautiful regional park.

I love it there during the day. BUT the facilities are nothing more than long drop toilets across the field and water taps. That’s it. No showers, no kitchen facilities. No electricity or Netflix. And sometimes other campers can hold noisy parties at night.

So, my husband and kids have come up with a plan. Because they love camping they’ll go for four nights and I’ll join them for the last two. Great idea. But I’m already wondering if I can renegotiate to come home on the second evening – maybe leaving Tawharanui about 5pm. Then I can have two whole days with them and still get home in time to have a hot shower and watch whatever I feel like on TV. Sounds like a great plan to me.

I have a feeling the family will not be keen on this idea.

What qualities do you find you lack?

I couldn’t stand the thought of Christmas

I usually love, love, love Christmas but a month ago I couldn’t understand why I wanted it to be months away.

I couldn’t stomach the idea of putting up a Christmas tree or decorations. I finally realised that, as our house is currently a building site (literally), the idea of adding to the chaos and stuff we have everywhere just made me feel sick.

Some of the rooms now have new floors so we can put the stuff back. This has made our house much more livable. And my 15 year old told me firmly a week ago that she was putting up the Christmas tree – her energy gave me the push to drag all the ornaments out (four big boxes of them).

We put up the tree and selected a few favourite ornaments for the lounge. Not many. Then put everything else back into storage for next year.

And now I’m loving the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and the silver deer and tree on the table. And the stockings hung on the chimney.

Meryl Streep’s brutal feedback

Thank you Meryl for sharing this example from your twenties of not allowing some terrible feedback to crush you. I found this article shocking and so inspiring. People’s criticism is not always right.

Imagine if Meryl been so gutted by being told she was too ugly for a role that she gave up acting? How many other young men and women have given up their dreams after someone told them they were no good, or not good looking enough?


Halloween in Auckland

Halloween in my hometown, Auckland, New Zealand means groups of children in costume roaming the local streets, knocking on doors saying trick or treat for lollies.

They come out about 4pm until dinner time, about 6.30pm (often accompanied by a parent or older sibling). By then we’ve generally run out of mini chocolate bars to give the kids so we bring in the signs. It’s getting dark then too so it’s a perfect time to end. Also, our dog barks at every person who comes to the door so it’s a noisy evening.

I’ve always enjoyed this as a time to see the local kids out having fun. One of my neighbours (with kids the same age as mine) doesn’t like kids knocking on doors asking for lollies. So they put a sign on their gate politely saying no trick  or treaters please. And that’s all good. The festival is not for them.

Now one of my daughters is 14 she’s too old to go trick or treating. So she’s going to the movies tonight to see Happy Death Day with a friend. Probably a perfect movie for Halloween.

My Halloween tradition is to watch the movie Practical Magic. This movie has terrible critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (wow, the critics are really damning about this movie)

but I love this film. Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite actors.

What’s your favourite Halloween tradition?