Sitting

Scandretti-Persons, House-Sitters, Dogs Also Minded.

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In Devonport, one would sit anything, and mind on request. Betty is not a dog person, but she is a big fan, for example, of taking the ferry…

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…and of working in the city, and keeping tabs on things to do.

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Must look into that. The week of house-sitting ended with fish and chips on the beach – with perhaps a tiny dish of handmade aïoli from the French delicatessen.

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It was nice. For various, mostly traffic-related, reasons, though, Betty is glad to be home.

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Happy 101

The adorable Katrina from Pugly Pixel awarded me the Happy 101 Award. Thanks, Katrina! In accepting this award, I’m going to list ten things that make me happy. I’m also going to pass the award on to five friends — so brace yourself, blogosphere: Smokey the Magnificent and the boy person friend are invited to tell me ten happiness-inducing things, as are Sweet Sassafras, Geek Threads, and Cider and Faun. (I know, it’s ten friends — but I’m a newbie, so rather than spamming my blogroll, I’ll make it five special ones.) Things that make me happy…

  1. Sleeping in! OK, at the moment this one makes me wistful, but the days of sleeping in will return one day, and they will make me so happy.
  2. Finding a perfect fruit. Perfect avocado, perfect pink grapefruit, juicy green grapes, crunchy apple, melty pear…
  3. Being upside-down. My favourite thing in the Pilates studio is hanging with my ankles in the fuzzy straps. Continue reading

Parachute 2010: Ruby, NewWorldSon and Switchfoot, o my

As readers will know, Betty made the annual pilgrimage to the Parachute Festival on the weekend. Betty’s sister, who loves Parachute inordinately, had a most excellent time.

First, she figured out a plan for the day. It began with the morning meeting, a giant worship service in the sun. A visiting Greek guy from England spoke about Zephaniah 3:17, which explains how God rejoices over his people, quiets them with his love, and exults over them with loud singing (according to the speaker, the last part in Hebrew indicates that God spins round and round like a top in delight over us).

After the morning meeting, Betty and her sister went to another seminar (terrible, sadly), and then perused the foodstalls. Betty’s sister, for readers who are not familiar, is well-known to approximately every fourth person she comes across; she met countless acquaintances and friends of friends, and pointed out the identities of a considerable number of people who were walking past. Finally, she went and bought a shaved ice cone: the proprietor served her and remarked, “You’ve been here before”. Betty’s sister nodded and chatted for a moment, while Betty stood back in some amazement: neither of them was at Parachute 2009, which means that this woman remembered Betty’s sister from a shaved ice purchase two years ago.

After that, they went to the Deluxe stage, which is lovely and cool and dark, and listened to Ruby Frost. Ruby (whose real name is Jane) is a mightily talented wee slip of a thing with a voice like Goldenhorse only tuneful; she sang some original songs and did a lovely medley of “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” and “Beautiful Nightmare”.

She also upped the cute factor in a big way.

Every Parachute, in Betty’s experience, has a surprise. This year’s was absolutely NewWorldSon. Betty had never heard of this band, which was listed in the programme as Soul/Pop; it hails from Canada.

Continue reading

On sun and parachuting

There are a few fixed rituals in Betty’s year. NaNoWriMo is one; others have come and gone, like hot air ballooning every Easter (for something like five or six years, Betty forgets), or strawberry picking in the summer, or abseiling at youth camps. The most enduring, Betty reflects, is quite possibly the annual pilgrimage to the Parachute Music Festival every Auckland Anniversary weekend.

This is a little odd, since Parachute is not really Betty’s thing; she was introduced by her hip friends back in the late 1990s, and reintroduced by her well-connected and keen sister a few years later. Betty’s sister, for reasons related to autism and other awesomeness, enjoys few things more than planning and timetabling, listens devotedly to the radio, and loves fast food. Readers will therefore appreciate the significance of an event that packs dozens of bands into dozens of short timeslots, in a massive tent city peppered with literally dozens of hot dog stands, coffee bars and gourmet pizza marquees. It is like heaven.

It will, Betty readily admits, be fun this year: Switchfoot are headlining on the Mainstage, as they did in 2008, and Betty is quite quivering to hear them; there are also other regular highlights, like the World Vision installation (you line up for hours, wear an earpiece, and undergo some kind of simulated third-world horror; last year it involved sitting in a makeshift clinic waiting to be told if you had contracted AIDS; it was harrowing and very moving), the gourmet pizza, and the midday roller disco or barndance in the Palladium.

By far the most significant part of Parachute, however, is the sun. Betty has an unholy horror of sunburn. Though she spent her childhood tanned to a deep shade of acorn or teak, she is now Baltic pine at the very most, and not at all fond of getting lupus-like flushes of red across her cheeks, or that permanent dark nose-stripe that develops after a day or so of unprotected sun exposure. One year, despite her best efforts, Betty left Parachute with a burned parting in her hair, and a strip of her scalp peeled off in one deliciously satisfying and yet totally unacceptable piece a few days later. There always seems to be a spot — the top of a foot, a corner of neck, a strip of hip, an entire ear — that ends up blackened and blistering.

However, Betty chooses to live in hope. Armed with a small array of sunscreens, a pair of dark glasses, sleeves, and a hat, Betty will once again attempt to avoid burning. The festival is just over two weeks away, so helpful suggestions and recommendations are most welcome.