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26 Jan / Hot Air

When I looked towards today I thought that it might suck because everything I packed up so labouriously on Friday had to be unpacked.

That was still true, and as expected it did indeed suck.

There was another added gem tossed into the ring, however. Air conditioning. Or lack thereof.

Annoyingly enough, if the entire floor’s worth of air conditioning had gone down then men in overalls would’ve been dispatched into the ceiling nooks and crannies to tinker away until it restarted. Because only half of the floor’s air conditioning went down we instead had to live with it.

We looked through the heat shimmers towards the middle of the building where an oasis of cool air breathed regularly down on the chosen ones while they went about their daily tasks without sweat stains spreading in ever-widening circles on their work uniforms.

I myself went and talked to people (talked! To people!) just to have a chance to sit in the cool and refreshing air. Air that wasn’t laden with the sweat of the downtrodden. Air that wasn’t hanging heavy and stagnant and refusing to impart oxygen in the lungs that heaved long and hard to breathe it in.

If the air-conditioning doesn’t get its A back into G tomorrow then instead of going and having long talks with people our hot and sweaty group may take knives.

Just sayin’.

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25 Jan / Food surprises!

Tomorrow is Monday, and we all know what that means. I’m going on a diet!

I’m trying to be all enthusiastic about it today, because by the time morning tea rolls around tomorrow it will be well gone.

The fun part about dieting seems to be heavily weighted towards before the diet starts, and there’s precious little entertainment to be gotten from it until the petering out later on (in the day, the week, or the month if I’m lucky.)

INSERT: I just realised there was a pun in there. I love puns.

Today I got to weigh some food into little parcels; work out portions of fat, carb and protein restriction for the rest of the week; type in the exact – exact – nutritional information from the food labels; balance it all out into a diet I’m fairly unlikely to follow on my phone using the lovely free app from Fat Secret; and then I ate because I started to feel some food insecurity.

Today’s the day I also got to eat up all of the food in the cupboard that won’t be allowed on the diet. Most of it admittedly I’d bought from the supermarket yesterday, but it still had to go.

I gave up on the three-quarters of a loaf of bread and had to stick it into the freezer. I can hear it mocking me now. By tomorrow it’ll be teasing me. It’ll be saying how much it would love for me to pull it from its frozen confines and stick it into a machine and then light up the element wires on either side until it’s flesh it a lovely golden brown, with the leading edge just tipping over slightly into dark brown.

And just because I haven’t managed to resist in years months past doesn’t mean I have to give into it this week.

Sure, it’s a good indicator, but it’s not set in stone. I might get ill. I might go off food. I might fly across the sky oinking all the way.

Oh, and the reason the blog was called food surprises is SURPRISE! There’s no food.

To go off on a completely different tangent, tonight my book has launched at an rather stupid and ungodly hour on Amazon. If it really has. They’ve told me it has, but in my country at least it’s still showing pre-order even though the pre-orders previously pre-ordered have now shown up as sales. I don’t know, it’s the first time for me too.

Just thought I also ought to mention:

Yeah, I know it’s on the side there too, but this is a just-in-case. You should believe the hype and check it out yourself right now on Amazon. Go on, Mummy needs a new pair of (flat) shoes.

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24 Jan / High, high heels

A few weeks ago, in a fit of female-ness, I bought some shoes online that I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever be able to wear comfortably.

I understand that there are many women in the world who would find the idea of comfort in a shoe an irrelevant criteria, but I’ve got used to flat, wide shoes.

Shoes that happily allow my toes to retain some semblance of their usual shape and size. Shoes that are so comfortable to wear that I take my bra off first when I get home because my feet don’t need the same release as my mammories.

The initial reason for the comfort was a combination of walking long distances, and arthritis.

When I was younger I had a small operation to cut the nail bed of my big toes so that they stopped growing so far into the side of my toe. Where the flesh was trying to be.

I don’t know for certain that this is related to me developing arthritis in my big toe a few years later, but they reside in the same pigeonhole in my brain so it tends to think of them as conjoined. Anecdotal evidence is always stronger when it’s your own.

Anyway, my heels declined in height equal and opposite to the pain increasing in my toe, and then knee.

But pain can only increase to a certain level (please god let that be true) and so I’m once again entering the lofty heights of the well-heeled.

My first adventure back onto this stage occurred with a pair of burgandy patent leather pumps with a one inch heel. They went swimmingly. After the obligatory wearing-in phase where my feet explained to the leather that they were the boss and the leather had better shape up or ship out. It shaped up perfectly.

So there I was happily browsing online and I discovered another pair of high-heels. They were also patent leather. Black patent leather.

If this had been the only attraction I would probably have moved on; I already have flat black patent leather shoes so I don’t really require matching heels.

Except for the fact that the heels themselves were made from metal. Metal bolts, metal cogs and wheels, metal rivets. Mmmmmmm. Steampunk. I couldn’t look away.

When they arrived I realised that my imagination of what the shoes would be like on was a vastly different thing to the reality of them being applied to my feet.

As a little girl I’d dreamed of being a ballerina, something that ballet classes killed dead before the age of six. Far too early to ever go en-pointe.

Which is a pity because that’s exactly what my shoes now demand of me.

For some reason when I was looking at them online the height of the heels and the height of the wedge seemed to me to reduce the total heel height down to a mere two and a half inches. This is not only incorrect – it’s more like three and a half – but two and a half inches would also be a major increase on what I’ve been used to.

Sigh.

I should’ve known better than to order shoes from Hades. The problem now is that they still look so nice I’m tempted to learn how to walk in them. Maybe just the length of the office. They could be my power shoes. When you just need that extra three inches of height.

Yeah. I’m sure I could learn.

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Today our office packed up every last scrap of officeness into teeny tiny orange crates so that we can move.

That is, the crates were coloured orange, not that they were originally purposed for the carrying of oranges.

BTW a fascinating fact is that orange, the colour, was named after the fruit. Not the fruit after the colour. Well, it was fascinating to me. If it doesn’t rock your world you can skip ahead to the next part.

We’ve been getting ready for this for a while. The person who would usually be responsible for the transition of our entire department chose these two weeks to go away on leave. This left the task firmly in the hands of someone who was ill-equipped to add the transitioning to her never-ending task list of minion nonsense.

No! Not me. I just sat back and watched with glee.

I did have to organise and oversee the packing up of my own team. I fulfilled this task by going to Auckland yesterday and leaving them to it. Then, today, I walked around and ticked off things on a list. Not to ensure they’d done them, although that was the ostensible purpose, but to see what I’d forgotten to do for myself.

So now, every last little piece of my office life is in a crate somewhere. It makes me feel a combination of tired and carefree. Like I could pick up and run to a new country, and a new life, except I can’t be bothered to get out of bed.

There was a lot of grumbling taking place in the office today. Some tasks which were obviously assigned to some people, ended up being done by others. Then further tasks were delegated. Then all. Then those funny little groups started to form in the parts of the office which weren’t already full of orange-ness. Water cooler talks, sans water coolers. Lots of fun. Must get me some more of those.

So a high level of aggravation fueled the last few hours, while staff discovered that they’d packed away the things they should be working on next, and unpacked, only to have to pack again because that used up all of the time they had left in the day.

The funniest thing is knowing that I get a ringside seat at the reverse of this particular attraction on Monday. Unpacking orange crates. Then six weeks on a strange floor (did I not mention our office move was up one floor?) and then we’ll get to repack and reunpack all over again.

By the end of that it will all be old hat. Some people may perish. I hope if it’s me it’s from laughter.

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22 Jan / Track n Trace

I love tracking packages until they arrive. Not as much as receiving them, and then growing bored of them within a day, but pretty close.

At the moment I’m tracking a package of paperbacks as they wend their way across the world to reach me in my little office in Christchurch.

They certainly seem to be having more adventures than I’ve been having.

I went to Auckland today, they’ve been to Hawaii. I flew back to Christchurch, they stopped in Botany, Australia.

Here’s what they’ve been getting up to so far:

I’ve never even been to South Carolina, and in my package’s short life it’s already stopped there twice.

Still, shortly we’ll be in the same place together. And then we shall see who’s more adventurous, shan’t we?

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21 Jan / Flying

Tomorrow I’m winging my way overseas. Well over a sea. Or, to be more precise, a strait. Yeah, I’m going to Auckland. Big deal.

This means getting up an hour earlier than way-too-friggin’-early so that my darling can drop me at the airport.

I then get to try to fly on Jetstar if they’ll have me. I’d usually book Air New Zealand so that while the scum were waiting in the hard plastic seats downstairs, I could be enjoying a nice freshly barista made coffee and helping myself to far-too-many-hokey-pokey-biscuits for one person.

Tomorrow I’m the scum.

My manager keeps complaining every time she prises open the wallet and the moths fly out, and unfortunately Air New Zealand is very popular for early morning flights so Jetstar is way cheaper.

Air New Zealand is more popular in the early morning because people usually want to get where they’re going and Jetstar… well they’re cheaper.

So an hour and twenty minutes of flight (hopefully) and then a further hour-ish travelling through morning traffic in Auckland to arrive at my destination. Allowing a half hour for check-in on the return, and the hour-ish travelling back to the airport, and I’m left with a whole four hours in Auckland.

That seems like more than enough for any good Cantabrian to face on a week-day.

All going well I should at least be able to snaffle some biscuits at the Koru lounge on the way back (because I definitely don’t want a delayed flight in that direction) and then I’ll be touching down in glorious Christchurch and making it home nearly on time.

Ah, the life of a jet-setting superstar!

How I wish I had one.

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20 Jan / Tired

With the hot weather we’ve been having lately, I’ve been having trouble sleeping. It wasn’t helped over the weekend when my darling takes a break from his anti-snore device, but sad to say even when he lock-jaws it in I’m still not losing count of any sheep.

Last night I was lying awake over an hour after I’d gone to bed and started to think that it would be a good idea to take an antihistimine to help me fall asleep.

This isn’t as crazy as it may sound; it’s an old-fashioned type which causes full-on drowsiness, and it also dulls down the itchiness from my skin which is currently attempting to shed itself. One thousand flakes at a time.

Of course, given these effects you may wonder why I don’t just take one regularly. Well, the answer is that they make me feel like crap the following day.

I may enjoy an evening gently drifting into sleep with my skin settled nicely into… into… well, my skin. But then I wake up in the morning, and I don’t really wake up.

Full-on grogginess. Blugh is the official word for it I believe. Bluuugghhh.

My thoughts swim in a slow current that flows woozily around the extremities of my brain. Words coalesce in little groups, always just a fingertip out of reach. Mixed metaphors maraud through the middle of my mind.

I almost-woke up more than fourteen hours ago, and I’m still feeling the full effects. I walked home, over an hours journey, and didn’t manage to make even one of my internal cobwebs more than tremour.

I’ve eaten three days worth of food in one, hoping that it would dispel the sickness and nausea, but no luck.

Well, at least I’ve learned my lesson. The hardest ones to learn are the ones that stick the longest. But still, I know there’ll come a night, maybe next month, maybe next year, and I’ll think – if only I could get to sleep I’ll be fine – and I’ll pop another pill and fall asleep. And wake to this. Again.

Bluuuugghhh.

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Only one week until book launch, and you know what that means?

Time to start work on the next one!

I have proofed myself blind. I have organised as much advertising as my limited budget can allow. I have tried to rally interest (and probably lost some along the way) at every point of contact with people in my life.

I’ve even displayed two beautiful teddy-bears with Skeletal cover t-shirts on my desk for the last three months. They were what I was busy ordering when I should have been editing the first draft. I should probably post a picture on my website of them so you can see what I got instead of fixing the typo you’ve just found.

So now there’s nothing left to do. There’s nothing left to say. There’s probably a Kindle update in the future to correct something that I’ve never noticed before and which I’m not a perfectionist enough to fix on the paperback copy, but I won’t be touching anything for a while.

So now I start again. I have an idea. I have two characters. I have a sick imagination. I have a bit of research to do on intentional infliction of distress. And I am about to have some time on my hands now the marketing effort is dying down.

So, 80,000-100,000 words here I come.

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18 Jan / Hot

My darling and I spend a lot of time and a lot of money each year making sure that we spend out holidays in places that have weather in the high twenties to low thirties. We look forward to them for ages, and enjoy every second once they arrive.

Today, and for the past couple of days, it’s reached these sorts of temperatures in our home city of Christchurch. This would be wonderful, except…

Where the hell is the pool?

Every time we book our holiday accommodation we make sure first and foremost that it has a pool. We don’t care what type, kidney shaped, round, plunge, rectangle. The main thing is that it is filled with clean water, and that we can use it naked. Use it naked without someone else seeing, I mean.

We are not equipped for holiday weather at home. I had to do the dishes an hour ago. I’m still sweating monstrously from it. The only benefit from this is that when I fan myself (with a manual old-fashioned fan I should add) it actually feels cool because of the liquid beading on my facial skin.

Today the temperature even went too far for my darling (who has a higher tolerance for heat than I do.) He let me turn on the heat pump. To pump out cool, cool air.

Cool, cool air that instantly heats up to around thirty degrees as soon as it hits the main airflow in our living room.

Last night I tried to sleep on the couch because my darling didn’t have his snore-guard in, and it was too hot to put up with it.

So I came out to the couch and laid down naked. It was too hot. And then I thought, ‘What if I fall asleep on the couch and don’t wake up until morning and the neighbour can see straight in?’

In my half-asleep brain this demanded an immediate remedy. So I pulled a rug over myself that I usually only use in winter.

When I was still awake at four o’clock this morning I chucked my darling out of bed and finally got some sleep in a room with the curtains fully pulled shut. I could have done that in the living room of course, except my tired brain didn’t think of it at the time.

So all of today I’ve been hot, and sleep-deprived grumpy. And tomorrow is Monday, so I’ll be ‘What the hell happened to the weekend?’ grumpy.

It’s gonna be a long, long, hot, hot week.

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