Tuesday, May 23, 2006

From the sub-ha-lime to the rid-hic-ulous....

Sorry but the usual pronunciations of sublime and ridiculous weren't quite cutting it. Try saying the title outloud with a Pentecostal Southern Preacher accent and you'll have the vibe. (Also spit running down your chin...but only your computer screen can see it)

Well the sublime part comes under the title 'wot i hav bin dooing tooday'

Yes I masquerade (as an angel of light? Nah) as a copywriter...and hence have been unleashing some word power in a very sub-ha-lime direction.

Fatherheart Ministries (you know, James & Denise Jordan...and that lot? The people we moved to the other side of the world to be near? Ring any bells? No? Do I even KNOW you?)

Fatherheart Ministries (sometimes my side comments take on such a life of their own there is no point going back and finishing the sentence I started because no-one can remember the beginning and then it'll just seem even more like gibberish than normal)

Third time lucky.

Fatherheart Ministries has fallen in with a certain Miss Christine Morrison who received a vision from God to go to India and start working with the street children there. Anyway, she pitches up in Mumbai (aka Bombay) and starts feeding the street children who live on the railway platforms. They're mostly orphans or those abandoned by their parents...and they try to earn a few rupees by carrying bags and cleaning carriages. There are children as young as 6 (probably younger) wandering around all alone. So sad.

Anyway so she starts to wish she could have a home to take them to...and she starts to look into rented accommodation. Meanwhile she comes home to NZ (where she has sold her house to fund giving up her job and going to India) and comes to Taupo to hang out in our prayer house. Whereupon she talks to Denise and James (they've known her for years and years). Whereupon they light up like Christmas Trees at the idea of helping these lovely orphans. Whereupon Dave gets involved and the plan accelerates like a Porsche 911 driven by Jeremy Clarkson in some ludicrous scheme to drive across Europe in under 3 days while racing a jet plane, plus exploding a few cars en route, just for fun.

Er, except for all the weird stuff I just wrote about Jeremy 'testosterone' Clarkson.

Yes so then Dave enters and starts to talk about buying land....say, 5 acres and then building, say, 5 homes, for, say, 200 kids and then, say, a school. Just for starters.

Whereupon I look entirely unsurprised at his dashing brilliance. Whereupon Christine looks awestruck. Whereupon James and Denise start grinning like loons.

They like Dave's style. And let's face it, he cuts a dash even in the world of Shapers.

Sooooo....I have been helping Christine and the gang launch Fatherheart Ministries India and the name for the orphanages "Priya Bacho" meaning The Beloved Children. This involves writing the brochure, liaising with our fab designer on the logos, working out the titles to go on the DVD film and writing the copy for the DVD cover. The usual kind of copywriter gig.

We're all jolly excited about it and there has been a lot of interest from people who want to help. James and Denise are taking Christine with them on their next tour and they will be showing the DVD, handing out brochures...and seeing what God does through it all.

"Coincidentally" John Arnott is going to be in Mumbai later this year (and Duncan? and others?) and is going to the church that has been helping Christine in Mumbai. Lucky huh? Connections, connections.

So that was the sub-ha-lime.

And now for the rid-hic-ulous....

"King Kong" by Peter Jackson.

Ok I know you all saw this about a million years ago and have already discussed it and moved on. But I only saw it yesterday.
And can I say, in the immortal words of Alyn Jones: WHAT THE MONKEY?

I mean it's Peter Jackson so let's make it clear from the start HE CAN DO NO WRONG.

But uh....did anyone else notice the film was a bit "King Kong meets Indiana Jones meets James Bond (you know the weird Voodoo one) meets Jurassic Park"?

I think it was the extended BUG scenes that really got me.

I mean I can take a huge monkey falling in love with a blonde woman because she can juggle and say NO in a stern manner....but the BUGS?

I can even take dinosaurs stampeding, eating each other and fighting a monkey....

I can even sort of take it that the monkey would win this one-armed fight (he's holding the woman tightly at the time).....but the BUGS?

I can even take the monkey being knocked out by a brief whiff of chloroform and then being mysteriously transferred back to NY without incident....but the BUGS?

Seriously, the giant bugs were WAY too much.

But I only mention this to you Peter Jackson (he who can do no wrong because he is Kiwi and made LOTR) as the mildest of rebukes. And apart from that the film wasn't too too rid-hic-ulous.....

But OH. Those BUGS.

Shudder.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It's a girl! (We think)





Introducing Little Miss Richards - currently residing in Womb with a View. (Don't ask what the view is)

So we had our 20 week scan (that's 5 months for the mathematically challenged amongst you - Jason W I am talking to you) and hoped that our offspring would not be crossing their legs, so that we could discern the sex of the baby. And indeed she cooperated. Although she was trying to hide her face behind her hands. Wrong end sweetie, but nice try!

We started with an exciting tour of her kidneys, stomach and bladder.

I was slightly alarmed when the scanner lady (radiologist/radiographer...I forget which) pronounced that her stomach was a black hole....but it took me only minutes (long minutes) to work out that she meant the stomach appears as a black hole.

I found myself having very strange thoughts as the scanner lady roamed around searching for organs. They went something like this:

One kidney! We've found a kidney people! Phew! At least she has one. Ok that's a good start.
Two kidneys? Oh good, one spare. Excellent.

Fingers? We've detected 'some' fingers'. Some is good. We can work with some. You can pick up a pen with some fingers.
Oh? 5 on each hand. Yep that's handy....(arf arf).

Bizarre considering how devastated I'd be if she was really found to be without some of those little bits and bobs. I already know it's weird so no need to fulminate. Just goes to show how illogical I am when smeared in jelly and lying in a dimly lit room.

Yep so I was pretty convinced we were having a boy...and I think I'd convinced most other people....so it took me a few moments for my brain to catch up with the latest plot development. SHE'S A GIRL!!!!

Needless to say it didn't take me long to get very excited about the thought of having a daughter.

I took myself off to Wharewaka Point which is this stunning spot where the wind whips in from the snow-capped mountains and the lake crashes onto the beach. (Also the spot that compelled Miss Dalley to throw both arms out wide and yell BEAUTY at the top of her lungs every time we went there).

I sat there and looked at the waves and thought about my daughter and cried a bit. And felt very glad. And stupidly blessed. And imagined that this scene was a picture of her spirit - wild and beautiful and breathtaking.




Then I went back to the school and ate soup.

Of course they can't be 100% sure that they've got the sex right....so we could be in for a last minute change of plan. Still, at least I know which section of Pumpkin Patch to gravitate to now. It'll surprise you all to hear that I'm rather keen on the little girls clothes in turquoise. Strange that.

Meanwhile, we are still practising our impending parenthood on Harley (the cat). I think we've found a really useful technique for calminga fretful cat/child. Do you think that I should really tell Supernanny....?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Yeah well we've been in this house 6 months so we figured it was time to pack those boxes again, except, oops, we threw most of them away.

I know. I know.

I give the impression that nothing has been happening lately except a few royal sightings.

But that couldn't be further from the truth.

Firstly we've been running the first ever Fatherheart School here in New Zealand...and so Dave and I (plus the rest of the team bien sur) have been scurrying around helping out with that. For some obscure reason I ended up doing a bit of the admin side of things.

Quite possibly because I was opinionated about everything. But if you read the small print you'll see that in my contract it specifies that I should a) be free to be opinionated about everything b) have very definite ideas on how everything should be done and c) have minions to do the actual work involved.

Well the small print got laid to one side and so I became my own minion. Which works quite well as I am both bossy and responsive. And it gives me lots of opportunity to hold business lunches with myself and charge it to my business account. (What do you mean you didn't get the memo about my business account? You mean I have to pay for my own bagel and cream cheese?)

So all this translates to the hilarious situation where I am trying to reply to applications, send out acceptance packs, get waivers signed, work out when people arrive...and all that good stuff. Yes I find it amusing when I am required to do anything left brain as that hemisphere is shrivelled and prune like after too many hours in the bath of Quirk.

Anyway, aside from that....I've been unlocking the church in the mornings for the meetings, putting the kettle on, doing the odd spot of teaching and generally helping out. It's been VERY cool to hear James, Denise & Barry Adams teach...and keep soaking it all up. FAB.

So that has been happening 9 to 5 every day including a few evenings and the odd event at the weekend.

Meanwhile, we have a lovely house guest...Dave's 18 year old niece Sarah has been staying with us for the last 2 weeks. She is doing the school and then sticking around for another 3 weeks to see some of the sights of NZ.

MEANWHILE, we are selling our house. Yes I finally get around to the title of this post.

Ahuh. Well we've been here 6 months...and we've only moved house 6 times since we've been married....and we've got a few weeks left before I become so enlarged I can't see my toes any more...so we figured why not?!

Well not exactly. The sad truth is that the council is out to get us. Although I may be taking the proposed building of a road, a tad personally there. Yep the council want to build a wacking great road over the river, pretty much in front of our house. Oh and they want to put the heavy traffic on there - all the lorries etc to route them around the town rather than through it.

So yeah there goes the view. And the quiet. And the ambiance (unless you like a motorway feel in your home).

Darn it.

The road isn't 100% approved yet but it is very likely to go through...and by the time we know for sure everyone will know and then it will be a tad tricky to sell. So we're trying to get out now while we can.

So here I am again back in the "keep-the-house-immaculate-at-all-times" game. Cleaning like a mad woman in my spare moments and trying to create the impression that our house is a sophisticated den of cleanliness that you should move into right now cos it always looks like this.

I'm trying not to think about it all too much as it's a bit of a bummer....can't say I'm too thrilled at moving again, packing up again, and all that. But I know that it's all in God's plan and he'll turn it for the best.

So please pray for a good sale at a great price and for a swift deal so I can get packing before I lose connection with and sight of my feet.

Ta.

Farewell, fair view. :-(

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pipped at the post by the Pope

It's celebrity spotting season alright!

So if you haven't already - it's time to don your Deerstalker Hat and creep through the undergrowth at your nearest mall/supermarket.

Who knows who you might spot? Ghandi? Elvis? Anything seems possible these days.

Because after my Prince sighting and Cathy's Queen sighting, now we have Sarah's Pope sighting!

Can you believe it? Sarah Dalley whilst holidaying in Rome was just 10 feet away from the Pope and those hunky Swiss Cheese Guards or whatever they are called. She has photographic evidence too! (But I haven't received it yet...so hold your horses for that one!).

Of course it could all be part of some outlandish plot featuring a Da Vinci painting, insane flagellating monks and the Trevi Fountain - but don't say I told you so. Dan Brown may never forgive me if I've stolen the plot of his next book.

I've also remembered (while cleaning my teeth this morning) that our very own Mr Alyn Jones has actually attended one of the Queen's Royal Garden Parties....and I may be wrong, but may have even spoken to the Queen. Or been in spitting distance of doing so anyway. (Obviously one has to allow a greater spitting distance for royalty)

Anyway, it seems that after all these sightings the only way I can top them is to have a divine visitation or a cup of tea with Madonna.

And by Madonna I mean either the popstar or the Mother of God.

I'm not fussy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Goshdarnit I've been outdone but at least it's by one of my favourite people (for a list of my other favourites please send your credit card details)

I've been trumped.
Out-done.
Shown-up.
Superceded.
Rendered null and void.
And all in the nicest possible way.

And by Cathy Harris - a CANADIAN.
(Yes this is relevant and not an indication that I am still harbouring feelings of hatred towards Air Canada)

U-huh.

For those of you who read this blog with a religious fervour bordering on fanaticism - well done. Keep up the good work and consider flagellating yourselves with birch twigs when you don't leave a comment.

Er, where was I? Oh yes - for those blogomaniacs out there, you'll remember my recent brush with royalty.

AKA The Day Prince Glared at Me. ( I would put in a link to the previous post on this, but frankly links are hard work with Macs and I cannot be bothered. Page down a few posts and you'll find it.....charmed I'm sure!)

Well I may get a PRINCE.

But Cathy gets a QUEEN!!!!

In fact THE QUEEN. Her right royal highness the Queen of England, no less.

Yes on her recent visit to London for Nicky & Nathaniel's wedding, Cathy SAW the Queen and not only did the Queen NOT glare at her, but the Queen WAVED.

Good grief!!! How flipping exciting is that???

Anyway, the relevance of the fact that Cathy is Canadian...is that I am English and I've never seen the Queen. HRUMPH.
Although Canada is still in the Commonwealth so she is your Queen too. Ok, ok, I'll learn to share.

SO that's a pretty cool thing to happen don't you think? And couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

(Hey, you Canadians aren't going to take offense at this are you? You know I love Canada? Hey, I'm practically a Canuck. You KNOW I love Tim Hortons.....)

OOh and here is the photo Cathy took:




The Queen is the one in pink on the left hand side as you look at it (yes, in the back seat...the ones in the front are men).

Monday, May 08, 2006

The pregnancy belly revealed...well, sort of.

There are things that go bump in the night.

Things that you might notice...without having to squint and turn your head quizzically to the left.

And then there is my bump.

This bump is 20 weeks old on Friday (that's 5 months for the non-metric amongst us).

Honestly, it looks quite big from my angle:

















And I feel confident that you - being discerning friends and family - can see I am low with child. Although I'll helpfully indicate my tummy for you, just in case you thought Junior was hiding in my elbow. (See, I am nothing if not considerate):






















Ok, how about if I turn to the side? What do you mean there's no use pouting....?






















What if I lean back?
(I do all my own stunts - just like Tom Cruise. Except that I don't go weirdly intense in interviews when you ask questions about religion. And I don't leap on Oprah's couches. And I don't insist on people giving birth in a non-screaming fashion.)



Well at least you can admire the sexy elasticated top of my maternity jeans.....can't you?



Uh. Anyway. I picked this outfit as it shows off my bump. No really. It does. Try squinting and turning your head quizzically to the left.

(By the way I don't know why all my witty comments are migrating away from the photos, or wrapping around them in bizarre fashion....techno advisors feel free to inform me).

Maybe it's just that bumps are notoriously difficult to capture on film (or in a mega pixie). Perhaps they are just like ski runs. You can never get a shot that shows how steep the snow really is. Ditto my belly.

Anyway in skiing terms, I'm traversing away from the baby slopes (ironically) and am definitely a blue run. And just think - in 4 months I'll be a double diamond black run with very dangerous curves.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

All good things must come to a blog....

Dearest friends, I can only apologise for the time it has taken me to re-cap the exciting events of the 3 week whirlwind tour so far.

Just for those of you who have forgotten/haven't been paying attention (I'm in a school marmish frame of mind after scolding Mr Jones on his blog for his scandalous lack of personal updates)...here is what we have learned so far;

1) Toronto was Starbuckian (i.e, a frothy treat with extra chai factor)
2) I saw Prince at the airport (have YOU been glared at by a popstar lately?)
3) My bro's wedding was very, very rice (some of which was in his ear)

BUT I haven't made tell of my birthday - a momentous occasion I'm sure you'll agree (or else you'll have to stay behind and write lines on the blackboard "I will not disagree with Mrs - rod of iron - Richards...I will not disagree with Mrs - rod of iron Richards).

Yes April 15th was the date alloted in a divine way for the celebration of my 33rd birthday. I was in the Uk, in Bournemouth, and sadly not in too great a state of repair by this stage. (The non-stop socialising and time changes were catching up with me).

So I awoke (eventually) and headed with some alacrity (as Sarah would say) to the bathroom to shout Europe down the large white telephone (as Andy would say). Delightful.

Still, I've never been pregnant on my birthday before so the novelty factor was high...and still enjoyable...despite my whey-like appearance.

Then James & Christa popped in to wish me HB and drop off a pressie (fab necklace with huge turquoise disc pendant)....shortly after which Lorraine called me to wish me HB.

Dave leaped onto the scene like a gazelle with an armload of presents that he had cunningly bought in TO and smuggled to UK without me seeing. Hurrah for THREE more series of Alias...and the first 2 series of 24. (Or if you accidentally press your shift key the first 2 series of @%). You can call me square-eyes! (Or sponge bob square pants...which ever you feel applies).

So YEY since coming back to NZ we have watched the second series of Alias, and ohmyflippingNora is it good or what???

Anyway after all this excitement, I absconded with the lovely Laura who took me out to brunch at the clifftop cafe and then into town for some obligatory birthday spending. OF COURSE we headed straight to Accessorize and I purchased some spangly earrings and a fab belt (inspired by Lynley's under pregbelly belt).

I'd just missed my godson Cameron's birthday and so we went to the Early Learning Centre to pick out a pressie for him. Laura and I were mildly terrified for the first 10 minutes by our own ignorance of a) children b) children's toys and c) age-appropriate children's toys that your godson will love and won't drive his parents crazy.

After that we just settled in to playing with the toys ourselves...and selected a huge rescue helicopter with flashlight and stretcher...plus this really cool winch thing.

Then Laura drove me over to Polly's house for a surprise visit to Polly & Annily where I shamelessly cajoled Annily into playing with my hair for an hour (just about my favourite thing in the world....drool).

And so back home to get ready to go out for Chinese....or so I thought.

En route to the restaurant it turned out that Dave had 'forgotten' his wallet and so we had to go back to my parents' house to pick it up.

As I walked into the kitchen I was greeted with a bunch of smiling faces and "SURPRISE!".

My first thought - "Why are my friends here hanging out with my parents without me?"
My second thought - "Huh. Shame I can't talk to them, but I have to get to the restaurant"
My third thought -" Hang on, this is a surprise party - isn't it?"
My fourth thought "But now I have to leave to go to the restaurant..."
My fifth thought, "Oh. I'm not going out for Chinese food"
My sixth thought "Where's the food?"

Turns out my mum had cunningly masterminded the whole thing and indeed it was a surprise party and the restaurant thing was just a ruse. I've never had a surprise party before and so things I learned from the experience include:

1) It really was a surprise.
2) I'm a bit slow on the uptake (huh? wha? but? huh? but? why? huh? Ohhhhhhhhh)
3) I believe I can be in 2 places at once - having a party AND going out for Chinese food
4) My mum is very clever and sneaky (I already knew this, apart from the quite-so-sneaky part)
5) Laura feels very guilty for lying to me
6) Dave & Lorraine don't feel so guilty
7) Feel secure that Laura doesn't lie to me
8) Keep closer eye on Dave & Lorraine

Yep so that was super nice of my parents to organise and super nice of everyone to come....and it was great cos I got to see people who I wouldn't have seen otherwise (3 day visits have their limitations).

So there you go, that was my 33rd birthday.

It was really amazing to be back in the UK on that date (as I haven't been for the previous 4/5 years) but I have to confess to missing the Toronto element too. It was weird to be having a birthday without you guys.

So thanks to all who celebrated with me or for me, emailed me...or remembered 5 days later and slapped their heads 'DOH'...

Sooooo nice of you.