Katherine Hayton | BLOG

Ticketmaster gave me a delightful surprise the other day. Almost 35 years after Ian Curtis’s death (if the Ian Curtis Memorial Wall in Wellington has its dates right once again) I get the chance to listen to Joy Division music performed live. Almost the way it was meant to be.

I was overjoyed. I missed out on Peter Hook’s last tour when he and his band performed Joy Division music for the first time in far too long. It’s hard to be on the lookout for things that you don’t ever believe will happen.

This time, at least, I was ready. If lightning strikes once…

I probably should mention about now that my darling is not so enamoured with the dear departed. He can easily recognise Never Tear Us Apart or Atmosphere, but through sheer force of repetition not love. I don’t think he’d know an Atrocity Exhibition even if I showed him the way to step inside.

Keeping this in mind I debated the best way to handle the conversation that would necessarily ensue. I’m not going alone to a pub I’ve never been in before even if it is to listen to an echo of my best memories. And not just because I still can’t drive…

So lets start with the standard.

Would you like to…?

Okay. Not my best work. Perhaps best not to ask such an obviously closed question.

If I was dying what band do you think I would most like to see perform live?

Mmmmmmm. Better. But sure to elicit a swathe of questions that would take us completely off topic.

Whilst debating how to ask my darling to a concert he most certainly doesn’t want to go to, I purchased the tickets. You know. Just in case they sold out. It’s not like I’m making the decision for him.

But this led me to believe that a question may be the wrong path.

‘Congratulations!’ I said. ‘We’re going to an awesome concert in February, and I’ve already shouted you the tickets!’

And then I left the room.

I may go back in someday.

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I do appreciate it when phishing emails make themselves known in the first line. Saves so much time.

I also appreciate how much my banking services don’t contact me. This also saves time. It’s from a bank that I have investments with? Not for me then. From the bank which holds all my worldly goods? Must be Nigeria calling.

If these phishers truly wanted to bait the hook they should just set up a website that’s slightly harder to navigate than it first appears, and doesn’t quite offer the number of services you anticipated it would, but also has just enough so you don’t ever need to step foot in a banking branch ever again.

They should do that, and then just sit and wait. Wait for you to come to them.

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28 Oct / Frail

This evening I’ve somehow managed to aspirate some spit.

Oh yeah, warning. Don’t read this if you’re eating tea. Or breakfast. Or a meal not particularly associated with any time of the day.

It’s been a good two hours now, and I’m still having bouts of coughing. And a stabbing pain in my left lung. At least I think it’s my left lung. There’s a possibility it’s my heart, but that’s okay. At least then I could take down the detractors who insist I don’t have a heart. More reassuringly I’ve researched heart attack symptoms, almost as much as I’ve researched hypochondria, and I’m certain that it would more resemble a heavy weight in the middle of my chest than a slim stab to the left. Fairly certain. A bit sure.

Anyone know a good doctor?

Anywhoo, I was looking up to see who was in danger from aspiration pneumonia. Because if you can’t have Ebola you make other stuff up. And guess who is most likely to suffer from aspiration pneumonia? Frail people. Old people who can’t sit up. People who are hospitalised and forced to lie flat for weeks on end. People who don’t have enough muscle tone in their throats to swallow.

Mmmmhmmm – you read that right. I’m being compared with people who are so wasted (not in the good way) that they don’t even have the strength to swallow anymore. That’s tube feeding stage. No use pulling out the blender and a spoon, oh no – I’m too far gone for that.

Of course what I’m most concerned about isn’t me. It’s the wellbeing of the people of Canterbury who rip themselves open on something and bleed a copious amount of B+ blood that needs replenishment. It’s all about the giving, you know. Not the taking. I give away 500g of blood. I hardly care at all that it results in an immediate loss of – oh I don’t know – about half a kilo or so in weight.

I’m scheduled in to donate tomorrow morning. If I really am in the process of contracting aspiration pneumonia (just rolls of the tongue by now doesn’t it?) I won’t be allowed to do that. I won’t get my half kilo of weight loss. I won’t get my free biscuit and cup of tea! I won’t get my hour off work!!!

All about the giving. Right now I’m giving up and going to bed. Goodnight, I’ll speak to you again.

If I make it.

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27 Oct / All for charity

Today there was a sale at Ezibuy, and a pink clothing donation bag turned up on our doorstep. Co-incidence? Pah. I don’t believe in co-incidence (whilst still being slightly concerned that there’s a very popular word in existence to describe something that everyone agrees doesn’t exist – still, there’s a word for god as well so it can happen.)

I have gone through my wardrobe and been ruthless. The parts of my wardrobe that haven’t managed to fit into my wardrobe, that is. I only have the bare essentials in my actual wardrobe, but I have a variety of other locations which I refer to as my wardrobe whilst being better known as the chair, the floor, the sofa and the other chair.

I also have a whole other wardrobe, but I reserve that for the items of clothing that I began sewing at some stage in the past and plan to finish… sometime…

Thanks to my strict adherence to throwing anything I could swear blind I’d never seen before into a bag to place at the gate tomorrow, I now have room spare on my sofa wardrobe for some new items of clothing.

Unlike all my other clothes, these ones will actually have a shot at fitting me as well because I ordered them in my current size as opposed to the size I would like to be, or the size that I tell other people I am.

That’s going to come in extremely handy right about now because I appear to have outgrown the last item of my work uniform that still fitted me.

I used to grow out of my uniform all the time when I was a girl, but for some reason everyone looks at me funny when mention that I do it now.

Who cares? The empress has new clothes!

(oh dear me, I didn’t think that one through and now everyone on the internet is going to be picturing me naked… oh well, more fool you)

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26 Oct / Back on track

I think there’s something wrong with my body. Not the obvious, easy to view flaws. No. I’m talking about a problem that runs much deeper.

There’s something wrong with my ankles.

I know that until I lose a bit of weight these should more properly be referred to as cankles, but aside from that even. Pain. That’s the problem. Pain.

If I so much as sit down for an hour without moving, my ankles protest vehemently about supporting my body and shifting it’s bulk from one place to another. If I do continue to walk my weight about they grow used to the idea and their cries subside to a deep mutter, but then something else happens.

More pain. In my knees. They get to a point where I can feel the individual pieces of cartilage moving against each other. Or rubbing against each other. It’s usually a deep-seated ache, but there are occasional flashes of white, hot pain where I can easily imagine my knee cap popping in one direction, and my knee folding in the other.

I shouldn’t write things like this down. My face just went white. Other people’s pain, not a problem. I can torture a crime victim to death over hours or days without blinking twice with the best of them, but my own? I feel faint at the thought of a splinter piercing my flesh, let along a total knee collapse.

My solution thus far has been to stop exercising. If I don’t stand and move about I don’t have these problems.

I must say it worked very well in the short-term, but I’m starting to get the feeling that as a long-term solution it may be falling a bit short. Although I don’t have to put up with the painful jointy bits of my legs as often, for the times that I do have to move them it’s getting worse.

With this in mind I took a lovely walk this morning on the Port Hills of Christchurch. Lovely in the scenery and surrounds and soul-tingling bird songs that is. Not so much in the grunting panting-ness of me trying to move my increasingly elderly body up and down paths that would more be suited to a mountain goat.

Yeah, okay. More suited to an old mountain goat with fading eyesight and wobbly legs who could no longer navigate the thin hilly bits of mountainside and therefore needed the practically boulevard-sized paths of an urban dweller, but still. A slow dim-witted mountain creature is still more suited to mountains than I am.

We only got through about two-thirds of the regular walk we were doing early in the year before it started to pour with rain all the time and the paths turned to a muddy slip ‘n’ slide. I gave up early in the hope that my legs wouldn’t punish me the rest of the day (a vain hope as it turned out.)

Yet, for all the pain and the discomfort, and the weird itchiness of the backs of my hands for the rest of the day, I have fond memories of my panting ascent and descent of the hill. So much so that as long as it doesn’t rain hard overnight I may be suggesting the same trek again tomorrow morning.

Or I may opt for plan B and loll in front of the telly. We’ll see.

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25 Oct / Sad, sad girl.

Guess what I’ve been doing for the past couple of hours. Go on, guess.

Hah! Not likely. No, I’ve been doing work.

Yup. It’s a Saturday night and I’ve been sitting on my sofa for the last couple of hours working out the complex differences between two very similar wording extensions to Material Damage cover because I received an email during my course yesterday that I am leaving until next week to deal with but which caught my interest so much that instead I had to look it up tonight.

I know. I’m uber cool. And I get invited to all the right parties. If your definition of a party is not one.

But at least now I know. I know the difference between one PP code definition and another PP code definition and what cover they were meant to offer on our office’s computer system. While they may appear the same to the uninitiated I can now give you their entire history as well as when the appropriate changes were not made, or were made in error, which led to the confusion in the first place.

What is the difference, I hear you ask (because I’m prone to auditory hallucinations in the evening) and BTW what’s a PP code while you’re at it?

And the fact that you have to ask the second question leads me directly to the conclusion that you’re not yet ready to hear the answer to the first. Another day perhaps. When you haven’t stopped reading from mind-numbing boredom.

There, I’ll leave you. Perhaps to go out on an exciting adventure where I throw caution to the wind and take the bull by the horns. Perhaps to go to bed early with a smile on my face because I solved a small riddle that concerned no one but me.

Good night.

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One thing that I’ve taken away with me from the three-day course I’ve been on, is that people use their phones a lot. And I mean a lot!

And not for the usual things like Candy Crunch or Farm Heroes. They were reading things on there, and sending messages that were longer than LOL <:-) or the pressing of a retweet.

I think, and I don’t have proof mind, but I think they were doing work.

I did receive the odd work message myself you know. I’m not a complete loser. There was a query about how the course was going, and a… no that was it. A query about how the course was going. Not a lot of back and forth there, once you’ve banked the sarcasm you’re done.

I’m afraid that I started to get a bit of phone envy. I do have a very nice phone. But as the old adage goes, it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it that counts. And I had done sadly little.

I did have a twitter contest going, but since that was only with myself and therefore could only ever have one winner or loser (winner! Yay!) it probably doesn’t count. I’m thinking that other people are using their phones as a method of communication. In some way, shape or form. Not to the point that anyone would actually telephone – now you’re just being retro stupid – but certainly in a this involves at least two or more people sort of way.

So I did what any right-thinking person would do. On the second break I pretended to have urgent business as well. Oh, I frowned at some of those emails from Asos, and I gave a little gasp ‘Oh’ in delight for the wonderful offers exhibited by Air New Zealand. And as for those luscious wee emails from NZSale, well.

In order to make my work look a little bit more genuine I furiously typed a copy of some of these emails and sent them to myself. At home of course. Not work. That would be stupid.

And then I messaged a few tweeps and favourite a few tweets, and put it back in my bag.

By which time everyone else was still fiddling with their phones. I did have a secret weapon though. My work phone. This is a pristine item indeed, kept only for the purpose of providing replacement battery parts to other identical phones within the office phone family, or to whip out in meetings in a kind of ‘me-too’ logic that you can see I easily fall prey to.

I pulled it out, unfastened the metal magnet tab, and pressed the teeny tiny little button that is nested exactly next to the join and fastening for the phone holder so that you have to try two to three times before you can actually depress it enough to turn it on.

I held my breath the first time. It’s a bit of a gamble after all. I only check it once a week to see if it’s still retaining a battery charge and that had been down to a half on Monday.

But to my relief the phone came into full blossom in front of me. It cracked me up how it asked me if I wanted to connect to wifi to download the latest updates. We had a giggle at how I forgot my password the first time and it decided to treat me like a stern schoolmistress. Then I was in, and there was a plethora of phone messages waiting for my assistance.

Copies of the bank statements that I don’t need a copy of. Updates on problems that were happening with the computers at the office that I wasn’t attending while I was on the course. An inquiry as to whether I could provide some information, which I found in the email trail I had already provided.

Glorious seconds were filled as I scrolled through this pointless list of pixelation.

And then the break was over and I put my second phone away with a sigh of relief. I’d held up my end.

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I’ve been on a course for the past couple of days, and have the last day of it tomorrow. Just in time for a long weekend to recover. Thank God.

I love learning new things, or even having old things I’ve already learned being re-presented so I can think of them in a new and exciting way. It’s all good. I usually learn by experimenting on my own, which is an incredibly close-minded way to learn, so whenever I get the opportunity it’s great to join in with a class. Much more open-minded, though not so much that my brain will fall out, as Dawkins would say.

There are a few drawbacks to learning with a group of course. They don’t go at your speed. Either you’re sitting there going, get on with it, get on with it. Or sitting there going what. What just happened. Wozzit mean?

Then there are all the different personality types that happen when disparate people are trapped in a conference room specially designed to hold at least four fewer people. (Fewer. See. That’s for you, my darling.)

There are definitely roles that are mandatory in any group of people. I usually audition fairly early on for the role of class-clown, but there have been a few too many medications and a few too many side-effects going on lately to keep the pace up after the first morning. It’s awfully tiring you know. Luckily that’s a popular role so there are plenty of other fillers. Auditions over, sorry Katherine you didn’t get the part this time.

Then there’s the person who knows more than the instructors. Yeah, you bet you know that one. Oh god. Make it stop. Make it stop.

And you remember the person with the annoying anecdotes that don’t quite fit any situation but get trotted out for… I don’t know. I assume there’s some sort of reason. Surely there’s some reason. Surely you’re not putting us through this just because you like the sound of your own voice. Like the heckler who stands up in the middle of the show and shouts out “ME!”

Last of all there’s the one who makes everyone else feel smart by virtue of never getting the theory behind anything, but who is also incredibly annoying because it was bad enough to hear that theorem spouted the first time, by the third it’s into wrist-slitting territory.

I’ve been making up games with myself to get through. I have a “follow people on twitter without anyone seeing you with your phone” game going on that’s been very successful so far. I’ve also taken a few photos of Found, Near Water near various appliances in the room without raising anybody’s eyebrows. That I know about anyway.

I’ve written at least ten pages of notes on how to make the second draft of my novel so much better than the first draft, and also noted down a couple of random thoughts that might turn into my fourth or fifth novel. Maybe.

I’m getting a bit desperate though. I could conceivably try to book my entire holiday for next September on my phone without looking at the screen, but we’re heading into some dangerous waters there. Credit cards are involved. Or I could try to whisper commands into my smart-watch that it can interpret but the rest of the room can’t hear – but that’s just foolishness. I don’t have a smart-watch. Refer Customer Service blog for reasons why.

I suppose the port of last refuge would be to actually pay – I don’t know – like, attention? to the class.

Nah. Only kidding.

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22 Oct / Finished.

Hooray. I have officially finished the first draft of my latest novel. Wholehearted awesomeness all-around.

I already have a list of notes for my second draft, and will undoubtedly spend the next couple of days jotting down all the things that I should’ve written instead of the ones I actually did. But that’s something I can worry about another day. Or, this weekend for starters.

It’s going to be so much easier doing the second draft than the first draft because I’m getting on much better with my characters, and I’m really just going through and filling in all the gaps with putty to make sure everything makes some sort of sense.

And then the third draft will be even easier still because that’s just sorting out the sentence structure, and making sure it all sounds okay when you read it. Yes, that’s me muttering to myself at the back of the bus as I read my own book out loud. So too is normal.

And then it’s just a matter of handing my beautiful baby girl off to complete strangers to read and make fun of. Or, a better reaction, go all gaga over.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For the moment I’m just happy with the thought that today I’m giving myself the night off writing. Apart from this blog obviously.

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