Working Away from Home

I’m writing this in Auckland, in a swanky AirBnB just above Eden Park! And none of us want to go to work tomorrow! Let me explain. I work for a company that does the garden’s for rest homes. During the Cyclone in February, one of the rest homes in Auckland was severely damaged. The boss asked our team if we would come up and assist with the clean up. And here we are. I am “flatting” with two of my workmates, for a couple of days. Talk about teambuilding. We’re only here for a couple of days, but none of us want to leave.

And I am writing too, I only have a few more chapters to do and I will be finished with Finding Sam’s Family. I find that really exciting because I love writing the happy ending. And Finding Sam’s Family has a happy ending on so many levels, an improved relationship with her husband, and actually finding the other half of her family.

So, I will continue to write while in Auckland and keep you updated with progress. And next week I’ll have some photos of our digs.

Kia kaha

Downwards Slide to June

Where has May gone?! And I still have about 13k words to go in Finding Sam’s Family! Progress has been good and steady, and I know that there are still ten days left to write (I’m writing this up on Sunday Evening), but ten days doesn’t seem like enough! It will be, it has to be. And of course, I’m heading up to Auckland at the end of this month (next Sunday in fact), to work up there for two and a half days.

With apple packing over, its meant that I have been able to get more writing done in the evenings, as well as writing in the mornings before work, so I’ve been hitting at least 1k per day, which has been really awesome. But I also had an Organic’s assignment that was due, so it’s been a toss-up between writing longer or assignment. The assignment won out. But its been submitted, so that’s something. One more assignment to do, and its mostly practical, like taking photos of my gardens, and seedlings and everything I’ve been doing, so I think I’m ahead on that one.

And I’ve been card making. I’m working on a project to make packs of cards that have sentiments that you are able to put on yourself to personalise the cards. I’m hoping to sell these packs of five cards for about $10 each, so keep an eye on things, I’ll keep you updated.

And its the weekend again, so I got out into my garden again. Sadly I had to cut back a lot of my dahlia’s as they were past their best, but I have noticed a lot of my jonquils and daffodils are popping up, so that’s the next thing to look forward to.

Lemon tree had a birthday, still some pruning to do once the fruit matures.
The front of the house to the left, which is my Dahlia garden. To the far right, my succulent garden.
Spiced Coffee, one of my favourite roses

Well people I could be updating my blog from Auckland next weekend, please forgive me if I don’t.

Kia kaha everyone

Sense and Sensitivity

Hello! I’m back! I’ve been writing, working, making cards, gardening, sleep, eat, rinse repeat. Some days feel like groundhog day, especially when it was raining, because there was no work, and I would go back to bed and fall asleep for another hour or two.

But Wednesday, we managed to find some fine weather and ended up back at work, which has meant that I have actually been sleeping through the night again. Its amazing how doing nothing makes you tired, but wide awake in the middle of the night!

Thursday, we got to work to find snow very low on the hills around us. This photo below is taken from work, looking towards Mt Campbell which is the one with snow on it. It has to be very cold for it to get on Mt Campbell.

Snow on Mount Campbell and surrounding hills.

So, I’ve also been writing and now nearly 2/3rd of the way through Finding Sam’s family. Loving where the story is going. I did do some planning, but a couple of characters have shown up, unexpectedly, one is Lewis, who is a friend of Cherie’s, its actually one of her workmates, but he’s become her best friend. They aren’t going out together, but they aren’t stopping people from making assumptions either. It suits them for others to think they are. I can’t wait to introduce you to Sam, Tom, Cherie and Lewis, and of course James. I’m getting close to the final part of the story, which is rather exciting. I have 17 days in which to finish the story.

And this weekend, after so many wet weekends, I have finally got into my gardens and given things a tidy up. Its nice to remove some plants, and plant some new ones. I have a plan over the winter to revamp my garden, so watch this space.

My soon to be cottage garden

Anyway, thanks to everyone for liking my facebook page updates, it’s really encouraging to know that you guys are actually getting the posts.

Hope you all have a great week.

Kia kaha

Mayday Mayday Mayday!

Okay, maybe it’s not that serious, but it feels like it. We’ve had so much rain over the last week, that I almost feel like I have webbed feet. We’ve gone from winter like conditions to a Spring feel in a matter of days. The only reason we’ve lit our fire is to try and get some washing dry!

We’ve had a massive tropical low over the top of us, (us being New Zealand) and two highs blocking it in on either side, basically funneling warm northwesterlies over the country. We managed to cop most of the rain on Friday, and Friday night, we were visited by the Rural Fire Service telling us that it would be a good idea to evacuate as their was flooding down the road, and there was a possibility it could keep coming down the road. My partner, Mr H, told them thank you, but we’ll stay here and keep an eye on the situation. I guess if it was more dire they would have told us to leave.

It wasn’t until the next day that we found out that 700m up the road (over a bridge and rise in the road) the culverts on either side of the road had burst their banks and covered the road. The water in the culvert outside our place was up but there would be another metre to go before we would consider leaving.

My son had a bag packed, the cat crate in his room, ready to leave. It didn’t come to that, but I didn’t sleep well that night, or the next night, as we watched King Charles III being crowned. Its a once in a lifetime event, although we might see William crowned in twenty years’ time, if the Mornarchy is still relevant by then.

With all of the rain, my co-workers have been joking with me, telling me that I should have finished my story by now. What they don’t realise is that I can’t spend hours on the computer writing. An hour, probably, tops, but then I think of all the housework that needs to be done, and I end up procrastinating, so I only limit myself to an hour at the most. I have managed to get some studying done, and made some cards, so I am feeding my creative juices even if I’m not writing.

And usually, after two days of not seeing sunshine, I am just about beside myself, because of the lack of vitamin D, but I’ve noticed that this time, because I am so focused on writing and making cards, that I haven’t really missed the sunshine, and in fact, if it turns up, I’m normally grumbling because that means I’d have to go to work, lol.

One day, I might make enough money off my writing that I don’t have to work full time. Until then, I will continue to earn a wage.

Apple packing finished a week early too, mostly because of the rain. What is left they’ve decided to leave for the day staff, but that’s okay. I enjoyed the time I had, and my bank looks a little healthier. And, the packhouse manager has asked me to get in touch with her next year if I want to do it again. So yeah, I think I will.

Anyway, better go and get myself into bed before I end up awake for another six hours…

Stay safe everyone.

Kia kaha

Week three Camp NaNo

Ok, so I’m sick. I knew it would happen from pushing so hard, but I’m surprised at how long it took. I’m not dying sick, just a sore throat, and a scratchy chest, which normally means that I have a cold, which has gone into my chest. Cold’s don’t usually floor me, but anything to do with my chest does, so I have to be extra careful this week to ensure that I get the rest I need.

I haven’t been packing as much this week, because it has been a wet week, which means that less apples are being picked, so less need to be packed. Hopefully we are back into it this week. I miss the money when it’s not coming in. Might have to find a second job to bring in the extra cash once packing has finished. I’m just not sure what. I’m too old for bar work, and only one service station is open all night…

Anyway, you’re not here to check out my health, you’re here to check up on my writing. Which has gone incredibly well this week, with 6337 words written. According to the NaNoWriMo website I should hit my target of 25k by Tuesday. I am considering stretching it to 30k, but then I’m worried that if I miss it, I’ll lose motivation.

I’ve enjoyed writing the story, the letters from James, and then the diaries, which my main character, Sam is now wading through. 25k is approximately the middle of the book, so I need to make sure that I can keep the rest of the story going. I sometime feel like I’m going around in circles explaining things.

One of the reasons for posting to my Catherine Mede facebook page is that when it comes to editing, I can show people what the revised version will look like, and I have quite a following. Thank you to those who have liked my posts, it encourages me to keep going.

Alright, so I’m entering the last week of Camp Nano, here’s hoping I can make a strong finish.

Kia kaha everyone.

Camp Nano, Week 2

Another successful week at Camp Nano, and I would like to thank all those who have been liking my posts on my Catherine Mede facebook page. At least I know I’m reaching some people.

I’ve really enjoyed working on the story this week, and it has been coming together nicely. The story has been flowing, and I hope to have more than 25k written by the end of the month.

Yesterday (Saturday), my partner, Mr H and I went to Wineheim to catch up with my Mum. She had some gardening jobs for me to do, and Mr H fixed her garage door so that it was more secure. Mum moved to Wineheim about 14 months ago, and the transformation in her garden is amazing. I came home with a sack full of Dahlia tubers, so if anyone wants any, just let me know.

I also caught up with my Dad and StepMum in Ferrytown. They are working through the process of downsizing, and I ended up with some golf clubs and a trolley, plus a couple of other items that can stay put at their place for now. They are moving into a lifestyle village (not retirement home!) and they need to get rid of things. Their place isn’t big anyway, but Dad has a lot of tools etc. I ask for what I want… but I have no idea what I want!

Anyway, plans to keep ticking along with the story this week, packing in the evenings, working during the day, only a few more weeks and I will have my evenings to myself again.

Anyway, until next time

Kia kaha

Week 1 of Camp Nano

I have been really happy with the progress of Finding Sam’s Family. I wrote 8838 words in the first 9 days and shared some snippets on my Catherine Mede Facebook page. A lot of people have been liking my progress, so it’s been great to interact with people there.

This story has been a strange one to write, because it is about adoption and in this case, Sam doesn’t know until her family is dead that she was adopted. Research-wise, it was an interesting rabbit hole to disappear down, there are so many stories of people, as adults, not knowing that they were adopted until they were in the late 20’s, and how it affected their identity, their sense of place in the world, trust is shattered because it was broken by the very people who raised you. It was very interesting, and sad.

As I’ve said before, this is based on a true story – I was watching The Repair Shop one night. It’s a British TV show that restores vintage and old furniture, toys, paintings, leatherwork. This particular one I watched; a gentleman brought in a lap-sized writing desk. His story was that he found it in the corner of the attic of his sister’s house after she had died. Inside was a birth certificate to say that his sister was actually his mother, and his parents were his grandparents.

My plotting board where I place ideas and thoughts and bring them together to create the story.

It got me thinking about how it would affect someone, what their thought processes were, how they viewed themselves and the relationships around them if they found out that their family wasn’t who they thought they were. Of course, then you have to plot out a backstory which becomes the main story as well as the back story, and things just get complicated from there.

But I am enjoying the fact that the words are coming out, they are flowing, and with a word count of about 850 per day, I have been totally blowing that out of the water.

Still, because it is Easter, I ran out of time to do this blog yesterday, and since today was a holiday, and another day off work, I thought you would all forgive me for writing it now… lol

Until next week.

Take care out there

Up for a Challenge

For those of you who know me, you know that I often need naps during the day, and don’t like too much pressure. I’ve suffered depression for the last ten to twelve years, and as a result, it will be a lifelong thing I have to live with, but I also know my limits and what I am capable of and what I need to do to keep my moods relatively even.

But occasionally I need to push my boundaries. Why? Because sometimes I am capable of doing more than I originally thought possible. Case in point – working full time. For long enough the Doctor would sign a document for me saying that I wasn’t capable of working fulltime because of constant tiredness. When I moved to Motropolis, I realised that I needed to find some work, and the first job I found that I really wanted… was full time. So, I took the risk and discovered that I was capable of doing it. I had days where I was so tired, I would crawl off to bed early, but I also knew that I could do it, and so I have been in fulltime (30+ hours) of work since.

Earlier last month, I decided that I really needed some extra cash, so I took on packing apples in the evening, from 5 until 9 for a local orchard. I only wanted to do it three nights a week, and guess what – I am coping with it. My weekends are my free time, and I generally do sweet nothing, but I don’t mind. The weekends are for resting and doing little to nothing anyway.

So, when it came to writing, I thought, hell, let’s just jump from the frying pan and into the fire. Let’s do Camp Nano – which is National Novel Writing Month, but the camp version is finishing a story, editing a story, planning a story, etc. I knew that I had to start writing one of my stories in this half of the year, so I thought, why not! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And here we are, three days in, and I am already ahead of my word count, which I set at 25000 – for some really stupid reason, which is about 833.333 words per day. I reckon if I can hit 850 per day, I’ll be sweet.

The story is flowing out of me, and I also have been sharing tidbits on my Catherine Mede facebook page, so if you want to get an inside into Finding Sam’s family, head over there to check it out.

Until next week.


All Good Intentions

With having such a busy week, I had all good intentions of spending some time this weekend editing, because I only have 11 chapters to go! But instead… I made cards.

Yes, cards, as in greeting cards – why? I don’t know, except I had a lot of fun making them, and it was something that I wanted to do. I have been watching a lot of cardmaking videos on Youtube lately and felt inspired. One of them was how to make 11 cards out of 6 6in x 6in card, and as I have hundreds of pads (and that isn’t really an exaggeration), I felt like I needed to do something constructive. I hope to one day sell the cards… yeah, because there is nothing quite like selling things that I feel are inferior! lol

Cards using the Cats Meow pad
Another set of cards made with an unknown paper pad.

So yeah, I got a little distracted, and now, it is time for me to head to bed, because it is week 5 of my incredibly busy week! Fortunately, apple packing is 10 weeks long, and I’m only working 3 nights a week, but this week was a little more challenging. I woke up one morning with the headache from hell, which wouldn’t shift no matter how many painkillers and water I drank, so I ended up having a day off work, but I don’t having time off, unless it’s for a holiday. I know that my nights are late, (9pm is late for me), so I just have to cater to that, and ensure that I get lots of liquid and lots of rest, hence quiet weekends doing very little.

So, I have 5 days to edit 11 chapters – completely doable…

Until next week. Keep smiling.

All Quiet on the Motropolis Front

First week of full-on life and I survived, not only that, I managed it superbly. That’s not to say that the wheels will fall off anytime soon. But I managed, and that is the main thing. I went to bed, slept when I could, and only had one nap last week before work, and it was only half an hour. If you know me, you know that I nap a lot, and to work physically for an extra 4 hours three nights a week, only one nap is pretty damned good.

So I am currently packing apples for a smallish orchard in our local area. I can’t say they are the smallest, but they certainly aren’t the biggest. It is 20 years since I last packed apples, and I was given the job because I knew what to do. Surprisingly, the system isn’t much different, except instead of packing boxes ourselves, we have a conveyor and feed the apples onto the trays. The RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employee, normally Pacific Islanders) then pack the trays into boxes.

The supervisor has been testing my skills, by throwing apples (not literally) down the line with signatures on them (to ensure that they are being checked) and working two lines at once – which isn’t easy! And so far, I’m doing okay. And because I have a goal in mind, I can keep going until the end – 8 or 9 weeks away.

And I have been editing. I am up to Chapter 24 our of 42, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I have had limited time. And I have also been going over the chapters from the day before to ensure that it makes sense, so really I have been double editing. I like where the story is going, and enjoying the editing process.

Anyway I only have 12 days this month to finish off the editing, so I guess Io better get my backside into gear and work a little smarter.

Until next week.