Welcome 2013

Happy New Year! I hope you had a loving Christmas and a celebratory New Year's Eve. Welcome to 2013 - a brand new year is stretching out in front of us.

And with that expanse of days, here I am wondering why the heck I said I'd go back to work on the third of January. I've been staying at The Farm in Taranaki and right this minute, have absolutely no desire to drive back to Auckland and go to work on Thursday - or ever, actually.

It's so lovely to be in a place that always feels like home. The fact that my Aunt cooks me breakfast every morning doesn't hurt either! Right now I'm sitting inside, with the windows and doors thrown open to the sparkling summer day outside. The air in here is cooled by a soft breeze and shade. The birds are chirping in the luscious country garden bathed in golden sunshine. The silvery-painted branches of Christmas decorations still hang from the verandah beams, making things feel a little witchy with their silver baubles glinting reflection of the noon-day sun.

This place is so peaceful, and full of time - there's so much *time* here. Time enough for everything.

New Year's Day

Except that time is tricksy like that, and soon enough it is all gone and I will climb into my car tomorrow, and drive back up the highway to Auckland. It's always a melancholy road away from this place and look, here I am starting that process early. One day I'll move back to this province to live permanently, but for now and the next few years, Auckland is my home.

This year I'm not even attempting to espouse resolutions. Instead I am adopting a word: refine.

What that means to me is that for this year, no new skills to add and honing what I have. Reading deeper, knowing more, sharpening, consolidating, finishing. For instance I was considering piano lessons, learning Italian, introducing programming - but now I shall save those for after this year. This year is about finishing things, closing loops, getting a grip, making a home, finding a syle.

How about you? Do you have any grand plans or ideas for what you'd like to achieve through the next 12 months?

Christmas 2012: short recap

We had a lovely Christmas Day in Auckland. Quiet, warm, with all the kids gathered for an evening meal. First time I've ever cooked turkey - and the last I think. You just don't get as much bang for your buck with that bird. Thanks to Jamie Oliver, we had a good meal though, and especially the gravy and smashed potatoes. Very pleased with how those turned out and will be repeating those recipes again and again. I also had a particular triumph with the trifle. Layers of sponge and custard, peaches and jam, topping off with halved strawberries and jelly, it's all the boys asked for and they loved the result.

Best trifle ever