After an Election

Voting by Cle0patra
“Voting” by Cle0patra (Flickr)

Saturday was our General Election in New Zealand, and I personally found it quite exciting that so many people got out to vote — a record number of us voted early! — and that the results are quite close.

Under an MMP system (Mixed-Member Proportional for those of you not in the know) in New Zealand, several parties are elected, ranging in number from 1 member to the maximum of 120 members, and this election delivered a doozy.

Our two major parties — National (conservative) and Labour (liberal) — ended up with no clear majority. In Labour’s case, they would have to do a deal with the Greens (also liberal) to be close to National’s numbers at this point in time.

Neither group — National by itself, or a Labour-Greens coalition — can probably govern alone because they have too few seats to have a majority. In our Parliament, a party usually needs 61 out of the 120 seats to have a majority to govern.

So there are options, interestingly enough, and one party — New Zealand First, led by Winston Peters — holds the king- or queen-maker position. They can go with National, or they can go with Labour-Greens, to form our next Government.

I personally find that really exciting because there are options out there.
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Spring Has Sprung, 2017 Style

It’s been raining a bit this week, so it was nice today to get out and about in the sunshine. Usually on the weekend, I take a walk down to the supermarket and back to get some outside fitness time in.

One of the features along the walk is Northwood Park. It’s a large, 1 block wide by 1 block long park where the Northwood Fair and Aussie Rules Football matches take place. (Woo hoo.) Along Northwood Boulevard — one of the main thoroughfares through our neighborhood, also named Northwood — runs a drainage ditch with a bus stop and pull-over area in the middle.

That drainage ditch is the local hangout for a bird couple. The type of bird is known as a spur-winged plover, and I think they are adorable. (Thank you New Zealand Birds Online for putting a name to the bird.) I’m not sure if it’s the long legs or the cool color scheme or what, but these two birds strike me as, well, neighbors of the feathery kind.
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Aftershocks

I’ve said in previous blogs about the earthquakes we went through in Christchurch and Canterbury and New Zealand that, on the last anniversary (or maybe the one before) that I was “over it”. And it did feel that way until a few days ago.

The earthquake near Mexico City on 19 September 2017, and the images coming out of Mexico, have seemingly triggered anxiety about earthquakes. The last few days haven’t been horrible but they haven’t been pleasant either anxiety-wise.
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Voting

The New Zealand 2017 General Election officially falls on Saturday, 23 September 2017, but early voting is already taking place. Noel and I decided to vote early this election cycle as the polling station in Northwood is no longer around — it was really nice to be able to walk down and vote — and it was one less thing to do on a precious Saturday.

When I was a senior in high school, there was a big movement to register younger voters and encourage them to vote. MTV even had “Rock the Vote” going during that time. I vividly remember Jamie Royal coming to my classroom (Sociology, I think), and she registered me to vote in the hallway across from my locker. I was so nervous and scared and excited at the same time.
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“Hello Darkness, My Old Friend”

It’s pretty amazing, the song “The Sound of Silence”. I’ve always really liked it for various reasons, especially the visuals the lyrics provide. Even the “alternate lyrics” versions we came up with in Mixed Company at Prospect High School (I’m looking at you, Anne.).

I’m not going to lie and tell you that the last few days for me have been easy, because they haven’t. They haven’t exactly been the worst days of my life, though, either. At work, my colleague Paula is away on vacation — and we had agreed to this when we hired her, so there are no surprises there — and it has thrown me back into doing both her job and my job. It’s only a week, yes, but sometimes taking it all on feels so very overwhelming for me, especially since there seems to be no end in sight to training up someone while trying to do my own job.
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“Look for the Helpers…”

Being 11 September here in New Zealand — even though the infamous 9/11 happened on 12 September 2001 here — some of my news feeds are showing images and sharing articles about the anniversary of 9/11.

Every year, I feel something different. Having been through our own set of natural disasters — the initial quake occurring a week before the 9th anniversary of 9/11 — something struck me quite strongly today as I saw this image:
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Being Passionate About Something

There was a period in my professional career where I heard almost every other applicant bounce into my office and tell me she was “passionate” about beauty therapy. It drove me absolutely stark-raving bonkers because how could so many people be so “passionate” about the same thing?

(As an aside, as I type this blog, I figured out that, yes, working in a beauty therapy school will tend to bring a higher ratio of people “passionate” about beauty therapy through the front door to study, well, beauty therapy, so “duh” to me being oblivious to that humdinger of a fact. As another aside, the cynic in me wants to share that some of these applicants became students to only find that they were not, in fact, “passionate” about beauty therapy, and maybe this is why that word has become tarnished in my book.)

Yesterday, my new colleague Paula and I were discussing several different things in an informal and impromptu meeting in my office. (Paula is off on vacation in Rarotonga for a week, lucky woman. So, with yesterday being her last day in the office before vacation, I thought I would try and give her a pretty cruisy day, especially since she has been working very hard since she started with us a few months ago.) Paula is really into songwriting, and I, obviously, am into writing, so we started discussing this.
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