Moata's Blog Idle

Moata Tamaira is a librarian with a black-belt in sarcasm who's been meaning to get one in procrastination too but always ends up watching TV instead. Her blog is an unholy mash-up of whimsy, cynicism and wry observation.

House with no name

03:45pm 04 Nov 2014

Ho-meow-ners have a great many additional considerations that renters don't need to concern themselves. Paying the rates bill, for instance, things to do with the guttering, and general curiosity and angst about the state of the roof. Not to mention the ongoing question of just when one should acquire an "investment property" for the purposes of keeping homeownership out of the grasp of anyone under 35 and with a student loan. So many things to worry about.

Of course there are many benefits such as indulgence in and unhealthy home design magazine habit, a sense of "settled-ness", and the freedom to make tweaks and changes. Your home is your castle and with a bit of judicious budgeting you might one day walk barefoot upon the carpet of your dreams. You can make your living space your own even as it is technically only on loan to you from the bank via your mortgage.

One thing that I have always liked is when a house has a name. It's as if the house has transcended its humble status as a building and gained a personality. I like the cursive paintwork of the signs that carry romantic nomenclature like "Rosewood" or "Riverlea". My absolute favourite named house in Christchurch is a yellow Art Deco treasure in St Albans called "Pensacola". It makes me smile every time we drive past it (and not just because the Silver Fox has a tendency to yell "PENIS COLA!" as we go by (though obviously, that's part of it).

Having said that, I'd never really considered giving our current abode a name. Maybe it's because of the beige weatherboard and a layout and architecture that's hardly unique. Our house is a lot like many other houses of its era. There are five more of them the next street over. It does not seem singular enough to me to need a name. 

But probably the main reason is that... maybe naming your house is a wee bit pretentious?

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No need for amber beads

10:55am 30 Oct 2014

When you have a kid with someone you very quickly come to learn a lot about their values. If you've chosen wisely you and your partner should have more or less matching attitudes on the important aspects of child-rearing.

Although the Silver Fox and I have differing takes on quite a few things, one thing we are in a agreement on is that ours is a house of science. This means that we only take medicines for which there is a body of scientific evidence to support their use. We don't use Rescue Remedy or other homeopathic products because of how they don't actually do anything.

So when it comes to our offspring we have the same policy. We do for him as we would do for ourselves.

Our son is currently teething which is something he's been doing for a number of months. In fact, we've just hit "peak hillbilly" in that he has just 3 teeth in the front and that's all, y'all. He often has blazing red cheeks that seem to glow with an infernal fire, and is constantly chewing on his fingers, toys, furniture. As there are numerous photos of me at his age sporting a similarly fiery complexion this may well be my otherwise unimpeachable DNA at work. Hurrah!

Of course, the danger of complaining about baby teething woes is that people will then offer you advice such as "you could get him one of those necklaces". By which they mean an amber bead necklace. The last person who did this simply got a "no" in response. Just the one word but uttered in a tone of voice that said "you seem nice but you do not want to get into a conversation with me about this - BACK AWAY". The topic was dropped immediately and we moved on to less controversial conversational fare.

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14 things cats & babies have in common

02:24pm 28 Oct 2014


Cute, cuddly, HELLACIOUSGrowing up the only pets we ever had, bar a rather shortlived goldfish, were cats. We were a household that played host to a series of deeply idiosyncratic, capricious feline boarders. It may be for this reason that I often find myself comparing my offspring to these pets.

Cats are the only other creatures I've shared a home with that approach the same level of confusion-making inconsistency mixed with pure narcissism that babies are so gifted at. At least that's what I tell myself when I occasionally slip and refer to my son's hands as "paws".

But I've given it a little more thought and there are actually quite a few things babies and cats have in common. So much so that if they ever bridged the interspecies communication barrier their resultant plotting to overthrow us would lead to our downfall. It would be as quick as it would be adorable.

Things cats and babies have in common

1. Fit nicely in your lap like a living hotwater bottle

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Feel the fear and buy some lippy anyway

11:08am 21 Oct 2014

In daily life, I do try not to be a coward. But I'm going to be honest with you, I don't always succeed. For instance this is me when I think about bungy jumping.

Oh hell, no

So, you know, sometimes I err on the side of not strapping myself to a giant rubber band and jumping off a bridge. At other times I look straight into the face of fear and blow it a big fat raspberry. Maybe I don't go out of my way to confront my fears but if an opportunity presents itself I'll try really hard not to let that sensation in my tummy that feels like a bout of gastro be the decision maker. So even though it twists my stomach in knots, I have had several cracks at public speaking. And I didn't actually vomit and everything was fine. Phew.

But there are other things to be scared of. And some of them aren't as cliched as public speaking. So let me finally confess to you the longheld fear I have been attempting to combat for the last year or so, my jittery nervousness in the presence of cosmetics counter retail staff.

Yes, I'm talking about the women of the high end cosmetics brand counters - Chanel, Lancome, Clarins, MAC and so on. The perfectly made up, not hair out of place, black clad ladies of your local department store. In Christchurch that store is Ballantynes, but it could as easily be Kirkcaldie & Stains or Smith & Caughey's. I am moderately embarrassed to admit that I was 39 years of age before I allowed myself to have any real interaction with a cosmetics counter ladyand this was out of sheer intimidation on my part.

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Small mannequin syndrome

09:00am 16 Oct 2014

My nightmares look like thisMannequins. I've always felt a little bit ambivalent towards them, truth be told. Their blank faces and stiff limbs are, to a person with an overactive imagination, the stuff of nightmares. Any episode of Dr Who where the mannequins/Autons come to life still gives me the jeepers, and the less said about this installment of The Twilight Zone, the better. Also Mannequin was the title of a movie in the eighties starring Kim Catrall, and it was beyond AWFUL.

So when it comes to the topic of mannequins I'm not exactly what you'd call "impartial". Mannequins and I have "history". For instance, several years ago I became semi-obsessed with the fact that a good number of female mannequins had nipples. Does a mannequin really need those? And if so, why did the male mannequins seem not to be similarly embellished? This enquiring mind wanted to know.

And now it's a question of ribs, specifically is it really appropriate for mannequins to have clearly protruding rib cages? And what does that say about what our culture regards as an ideal body shape for women?

The purpose of a mannequin is, of course, as a person stand-in so that we can see what the clothes available for sale actually look like draped across a human form. That being the case they should of course be human shaped. Though now that I think about it, how cool would werewolf mannequins be? Or mannequins with weird tentacles coming out of their backs, or robot mannequins (I'm thinking robot Maria from Metropolis would be ideal).

Just how realistically human do we need a mannequin to look? I mean, I'm pretty sure I know where the ribs are supposed to be so I'd be happy enough just imagining roughly where they are. I'm not sure I need to actually see them in all their bony glory.

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