Friday, December 17, 2010

Treasures and blessings

Was thinking of Sister Felicitas today. She taught me in Std 6 (Year 8) and when we met over 20 years later, she asked me (as you do) what I was doing with my life.
Laughing, she reminded me that when we were talking about careers, I'd said I wanted to get married and have lots of children! I guess I must have, don't remember saying it though. But she was visibly taken aback to be told I'd achieved my goal - I was married with five children. She thought that a tad excessive!!

It wasn't my only goal, but it was the one that has defined me, made me happy and given me a sense of fulfillment like nothing else. I've never become immune to the awe of new life. To the amazement of pregnancy. To the wonder of watching little children work things out, make discoveries and practice their skills (socially acceptable and otherwise!!) To the scariness of letting them go, to work out for themselves about personal responsibility in the big world.

It's a curious thing to achieve a life goal. Time doesn't stop at that point - it's the living the goal that makes it worthwhile.

But looking back, I can see that as with anything in life, we become who we are, not in the good times so much as by the mucking things up, getting it wrong, despairing of knowing what to do, having another try, asking for help, and eventually getting through the dark times. I have learnt that nothing - no experience - was ever wasted.

And now I have an unlooked-for gift that certainly wasn't any part of my plan back when I was 12 and in Sister Felicitas's class, or even when meeting her when I had a young family.

Now, I have the most amazing grandchildren!

They are SO gorgeous! SO clever! SO pleased to see me! SO cute! SO hard to understand on the phone! (except I can always understand when they say "I love you Nana!"

Indeed I can say with Mary, "Of all women, I am most blessed!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Art Installation

This is my fabulous new bird bath, my Object d'Art entitled "Bird Bath". Love it!

Terracotta top on a piece of recycled demolition stormwater pipe (PVC?) painted with a test pot of Resene "Tuscany" and dug about a metre into the ground.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poetry in Hell

On 1 September 1939, near the start of World War II, the German Army invaded Poland, and a month later Poland had capitulated and the country was in German hands.
The immediate task of the occupiers was to gather the Jews together - to "concentrate" them. They were brought in from the countryside and concentrated in ghettos, which, by November 1940, were sealed.

In the summer of 1943, in the Maidanek concentration camp Isaac Schiper told a fellow inmate that

Everything depends on who transmits our testament to future generations, on who writes the history of this period.

And in that camp, a group of 60 Jews organised themselves to write the history of the time, and also to attempt to preserve the poetry of their people.

Much of their work was lost. But much of it was also dug up years later - some was able to be preserved and is held as the Warsaw Ghetto Ringelblum Archives. From this has emerged "Poetry in Hell" - work that was sealed in milk cans and withstood being buried, lost and found many years later. At least one can is still missing, probably now under the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw.

This is an awesome testament to the human spirit, a testament to a people who saw plainly that the occupying nation intended to wipe them out, and who no doubt kept their hearts alight with the task of writing and saving their lore. More than 25,000 documents were found, probably at least as many more were hidden but lost.

Check out this site, and pay tribute for a moment to a people who were nearly annihilated but did everything in their power to save their culture.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dating in the dark

Tonight another episode in "Dating in the Dark" plays. It's a curious and strangely sad programme, said to be a "social experiment" and which doesn't bear as much similarity to bizarre shows like "The Batchelor" as I thought it might. Three men and three women, aged between 20 and 40, are brought together in a house for a weekend, but the women only see each other, as do the men. They all meet in pitch blackness where they chat, and back in the daylight they decide which of the three they haven't seen they would like to have a "date" with - in the dark.

The dates take place, and then a forensic personality-typer comes into the mix and gets each of the six to complete a detailed questionnaire, after which he lets them know which of the others they are most likely to have a successful relationship with. In the two episodes I've watched, all then chose to go on another date in the dark with this most-likely person, and all of them decided there was indeed "chemistry" between them.

They then decide which of the three they would like to see. In the light. Nothing is said as the two go into the blackness, and the light comes on to them one at a time. Back to darkness, and then back to the lounge where they agonise - do they actually want to go on a real date with this person?

And of the two programmes - 6 couples in total - 50%, after having been wowed by the personality of the person chose to walk away instead of meeting the person face to face, so disappointed were they by their looks.
I am staggered - as much as one can be by a reality TV programme masquerading as a "social experiment" - by the superficiality of these people. None of them is ugly, (or even strange looking) but obviously they appear so to these participants who can't even bring themselves to meet with them in the daylight and see how things progress.

Will I watch it again tonight?
MMmmmmm no probably not.
But it is sort of fascinating, in a watching a shark bite a swimmer's leg off way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Worst headline of the week

This week's award goes to Lane Nichols (do reporters write their own headlines?) of the Dominion Post for "Capital Goes Green and Cuddly" over a report on the mayoralty of Wellington being won by Celia Wade-Brown. Celia is a member of the Greens (yay!) but there's not a thing in the article that could refer even obliquely to cuddly. Stupid headline.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sewing - How to mitre a corner

I've finally worked out a relatively easy way to mitre a corner, so am posting it here, not only in the hope it might help someone else, but so I can find it again after I've forgotten how I did it.

First mark out the size of your cloth and press up the hem. I'll refer to this as the "hem fold" in future.

Next measure the depth of your hem, and press in the raw edge. If your fabric is "springy", you'll need to baste this (stitch with large stitches to hold it - basting can easily be pulled out later), as it must remain folded.

Turn your fabric over to the right side, and put a pin at the corner. It's really important you don't lose the corner.

Now bring the hem folds each side of the corner pin together. Don't worry, you're not really going to join them, this is just to work out the angle of the mitre. Making sure they're exactly aligned, pin them on the inside of the hem fold. It should look something like this.

Now, turn along that pin line, and pin the hem allowance at the same angle. This is your sewing line.

Sew from the corner pin to the edge, over the folded or basted raw edge fold. Backstitch or lockstitch.

Finally, remove any remaining pins, trim the seam, turn inside out (which is actually right side out) and you're ready to hem with a very tidy mitred corner!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Australian elections - my personal smile......

While Julia and Tony elbow each other away from the phones, each more determined than the other to offer the best deal to the Independent and Green MPs, two things give me cause for hope and reason to punch air with a YES!

Firstly, it's the Greens who are being courted. Fantastic. There was an overall 3.6% swing towards the Greens, more power to their policies!

But the most delicious irony (for me) is the likely election of Ken Wyatt in the Western Australian seat of Hasluck.

Some years ago, we spent a couple of weeks in Western Australia, and were shocked by the open racism. Not whispered comments, not said behind the hand, not with any sense that others mustn't hear me say this, but blatantly anti-Asian, and proudly dismissive of Aboriginal people as "animals". I was gutted. Totally.

Ken Wyatt is Aboriginal. He's likely to be the member for a Western Australian seat. God I hope he wins!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Outrageous Fortune - who dies?

So what do you think happened?
We'll know in a few days, but there we were, with the last episode of last series, and Cheryl has whacked Gerard on the head with a bottle, and followed it up with the broken bottle in the neck move, and as he slowly fell down the side of the house leaving blood on the paintwork and clutching his neck, out he pulls his gun and shoots..... who?

Word on the street is that one of the major players dies.
Who do you think it is?

Cheryl was in frame, and appeared obvious, and so therefore I don't think it's her. She's also the kingpin of the series, and the characters' relationships really need Cheryl as the cog in the centre.

Eric arrived on the scene and is quite expendable, but that's a bit clumsy for OF - it's a much smoother show than that.

Van or Jethro?

There are quite a few possibilities, but my pick is Hayden Peters.
Killing him off on his wedding day is OF style, and he's far too happy. And for that matter so is Loretta. Killing off Hayden would give Loretta a new reason to sow a bit of havoc.....

Your scenario?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rights: Voting and Smoking in Prison

A comment by Simon Bridges (Nat MP, Tauranga) during a debate on smoking in prisons, that the Electoral Act relating to prisoners was being "tweaked" made me nervous - we have to be very careful that we don't get carried away with our power to deny civil rights to any member or section of the community. Currently our law in this regard (voting) meets even my high standards of inclusiveness, and I see no need for extra exclusions as suggested by the bill currently being debated.

The difference between Human Rights and Civil Rights is especially important for those in these exclusion groups (those sentenced to prison for more than three years, or compulsory patients in hospitals or secure facilities for more than three years) some civil rights of whom may have been suspended, and constant vigilance is required to ensure their human rights are protected.

Which is a nice segue to the issue of smoking in prisons.

On a tangent, Judith Collins was completely unbelievable in her role as caring mother of the prisons, desiring to protect the health of all who live and work there. (I more readily see her with boots and whip, men in shackles cowering at her ankles....) The actual reason she wants to ban cigs from prisons could quite well be an edict from her leader Lovable John, who has a talent for coming up with positive new ways to be noticed by his peers internationally. But, for whatever reason, should smoking in prisons be banned?

Well of course it should. Absolutely. Smoking should be banned fullstop. Everywhere.
However, to single out prisons smacks of punitivity.
If smoking is to be banned in prisons, it should be banned in the community as well.
Allowing tobacco to continue to be sold in the community is crazy beyond words. An article in the British Medical Journal gives a 13:1 cost/benefit ratio for smoking. That means that for every $1 gained in tobacco tax, $13 has to be spent on associated health issues. Of course the addiction has to be addressed. Of course stopping is more than just not smoking. Smoking kills. No longer do even the tobacco companies deny this. And still tobacco products are openly sold. It's bizarre beyond words.

Before this turns into a full-throated rant about our right not to be exploited for commercial gain, best I go find something else to do.......

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pete Bethune on trial in Tokyo for boarding a vessel that had rammed and sunk his......

During Sea Shepherd’s 2009-2010 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign: Operation Waltzing Matilda, Captain Pete Bethune was volunteering his services as skipper of the Ady Gil. On January 6, 2010, the much larger and more maneuverable Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 deliberately rammed and split the Ady Gil in two, then hosed its crew members down with water cannons as they scrambled for safety amongst the wreckage. As the Ady Gil began to take on water, the Shonan Maru No. 2 ignored Sea Shepherd’s multiple requests for assistance. As a New Zealand citizen, Captain Bethune was empowered under New Zealand law to serve a citizen’s arrest warrant on the captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 for the sinking of his vessel and the attempted murder of himself and his crew. On January 15, 2010, Captain Bethune made his first attempt to serve the Shonan Maru No. 2 with a citizen’s arrest, but he was unable to complete the service. On February 15, 2010, Captain Bethune made a second attempt, and this time, he was able to successfully board the Shonan Maru No. 2 to deliver his citizen’s arrest warrant, along with an invoice for the loss of the Ady Gil. However while on board the Japanese ship, he was arrested and taken back to Japan where he's been held for 100 days, and is now currently on trial on five charges.

The charges are:
trespass, possession of a weapon, injury to persons, damage to property and obstructing commercial activity.
He is pleading not-guilty to all charges, as he contends he was stopping an illegal operation and was in fact serving a Citizen's Arrest. Interesting to note that although Japan is killing whales for "scientific purposes", Bethune and Sea Shepherd got in their way and now Bethune is charged with "obstructing COMMERCIAL activity".

And so it's easy to understand that the whaling interests of Japan would like him handled punitively, and I see this case as a test of how honourable the Japanese courts are in administering international law. Which they themselves are flouting by whaling.

Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, said this morning on Breakfast, that he didn't know of a case in maritime law where a captain had deliberately rammed another vessel at sea, or where a ship had been sunk - intentionally or accidentally - by a ship of another country, and the country of the damaged ship has done nothing. The Ady Gil was a NZ registered vessel with a NZ crew, skippered by a New Zealander and NZ has done nothing to question the captain of the Japanese vessel at fault.

I'm not so presumptive that I think I know everything that's going on in the halls of power. I hope there ARE diplomatic discussions taking place behind closed doors, and that NZ is in fact allowing Japan to save face and "come to their own decision" to give a suspended or other appropriate sentence and release Bethune.

It was a bloody heroic thing he did.
And then maybe we could look at what charges the Captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 might face?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Enjoying the signs...

My doctor's waiting room and consulting rooms are wonderfully entertaining. Just by looking around I can get an idea of some of the things that have happened since I was last there. It's pretty obvious he has a bit of an obsession with signs, and it seems that any one person behaving in a way he doesn't want a repeat of, will initiate a Sign to Warn Others.

For years we've had the usual "IF YOU DON'T TURN UP TO YOUR APPOINTMENT YOU WILL BE CHARGED" and "PLEASE TREAT THIS TOILET WITH RESPECT" (that one's in the toilet, not the waiting room, and saw me bowing three times before I used the loo). Then there was the addition of a whole series about the scales - these were two to each consulting room and I could only surmise that there'd been a bit of an outbreak of hyperactive children in need of a trampoline.... "NO ONE IS TO STAND ON THESE SCALES WITHOUT A NURSE PRESENT" and 'DO NOT TOUCH THESE SCALES UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO'. There are plenty of others, the walls are a bit of a boring patchwork of these white A4 laminated works.

Life in the waiting room got a bit boring until the "WE WILL NOT TOLERATE ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR, SPEECH OR GESTURES TO THE NURSE, THE RECEPTIONIST OR THE DOCTOR". Hmmm. Someone hadn't liked their diagnosis? More likely they got sick of the waiting time....
The "CHEWING GUM IS FORBIDDEN ON THESE PREMISES" spoke of efforts involved in scraping the stuff off the floor, and I could see their point. Likewise the 'DO NOT USE OUR RUBBISH BINS FOR NAPPIES'.

Today's one was a touch different, and replaced some of the others, so important it was.

So that must have been an interesting moment, but does it necessitate signs for the whole world, almost all of whom don't cut their nails in this doctor's waiting room? Could a simple word in the ear of the offender not have done the trick?
But on the other hand, then I would never had had that delicious moment of reading it and visualising the disgusting event!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting satisfaction..

In the last two hours, I have

1. collected a load of bricks ($20 on TradeMe), seen here next to the load of stones I got a month or so ago. Both required for the same project, which will make my berry patch (blueberries and at the moment one singular cranberry/guava bush which I hope soon to be part of a group of the same. So yummy!) more efficient when the bird netting goes up in summer.
2. Sprayed the lemon tree, the mandarin and the lime with Conqueror Oil to protect them over the winter.
(Mandarin in front, lime to the far left - these are just baby trees, but both have already produced fruit - and gnarled aged lemon tree to the right.)
3. Dug up the last of the bricks which had formed a garden edging but which I realised I hadn't seen for over five years.... yep they were there, about half a spade head deep in the ground! They too will be part of my berry patch edging. Hopefully not to sink..
4. Chopped down a 7 year old lime tree which has never flowered or fruited. I was about to give it one more year, mindful of the Biblical parable where Jesus told the man with the nonproductive fig tree to prune it and give it one more year, but when I asked my colleague who has great experience in orcharding about it, she said "it's not the root stock that's growing is it? Are you sure it's the graft?" Which when translated proved to be the case. The flowering fruiting lime had been grafted on to some citrus rootstock, but a close inspection of the lower part of the truck showed the scar where the graft had been, and the rootstock which had been split for the graft had grown together at the top of it, and had formed a tree that was never going to fruit. We have transplanted that tree, hoping it just needed a "better position", it has been pruned, fed.... Well now it is in the wheelie bin!

So all in all, a very satisfying couple of hours!
This food production isn't all about seedlings, there is some munty work to be done with the pruning saw, which I have to admit I find immensely satisfying!, and some good water-ish play to be done with the sprayer on the trees. All good fun.
But on the subject of seedlings, look at my very healthy Brussels Sprouts! Mmmmm looking forward to a feast in a few months' time!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rising prices

And so Telecom have joined Tower Insurance and almost every other company that bills me regularly, to tell me that because of inflation and rising costs, my wiring contract with them will have the monthly charge increased.

I would so love to write them a letter in similar vein.

This is to let you know that as from 1 June, I will be paying 95% of your account each month, which you should consider as full payment. You will understand this situation has been brought about by rising costs and inflation.
Yours faithfully,

Monday, April 12, 2010

An alternative weekend

Just back from two days away with a car-load of friends, living with a couple who "walk lightly on the earth". They live in a very peaceful part of the country, and from their gate they can see Mt Ngauruhoe, and on a clear day (with which we were blessed) also Mt Taranaki, looking like a pyramid in the distance. We were shown our tea cooking in a "hot box" - it had been started on the stove for 5 minutes in a pressure cooker, and then the whole cooker placed in a beautifully made wooden box, lined with polystyrene and insulated around and over the top with a thick wad of wool insulation, finished off with a sheepskin on top. The meat cooks with only that first bit of power, and after a day in the box came out very tender and well cooked. We did use the hob for the vegetables, and a wonderful log fire heated the house as the sun went down. There is a pine forest around the house which is providing firewood and being replaced with native trees. The sight of Ernst's logs piled so beautifully between the trees made me regret - and not for the last time - that I didn't take my camera.

The house is constructed in such a way that it will take advantage of "passive heating" - the beautiful pebbled-concrete floor absorbs heat during the day from the floor to ceiling double-glazed windows, and gradually gives it off in the cooler hours. Water is collected from the rain, and heated by solar panels. With power bills of $20-30 a month, and a lovely warm feeling in the house, it obviously works! I think I would miss the microwave and tv, and the odd roast in the oven, but the next night the outdoor pizza oven was fired up, and after the wood burnt down to charcoal, that was removed (to go in the compost) and we made our own pizzas on Ernst's handmade dough bases. After they were cooked, his five loaves of handmade bread went in for an hour, and then four date and walnut loaves. A casserole could easily have gone in overnight to take advantage of the remaining heat, and often they do that.

Companion planting and copious composting helps Ann's vegetables grow well without pesticides, and the use of comfrey and other herbs keeps everything healthy. Two chooks provide eggs and early morning wake up calls!

It was a wonderful weekend, so peaceful away from traffic and other noise, and we were welcomed warmly and made very much at home. I hope they were serious about their "please do come again!"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Waihopai Act III

I tend to agree with Peter Murnane that the people of NZ would support the Waihopai 3 if the Crown sued them for damages. It would be interesting to see, in these straitened times, how much the people would contribute to the "$1m" of damage. I think it would be well covered. I think there would be some large donations in there too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A cappella

  • Captivated by the music of the terms "sostenuto" and "molto legato" and "quasi pizzicato" at choir last night. Such gorgeously sounding words!
  • Loving a pot plant that can go without water for months, droops suddenly (or maybe I suddenly noticed!) and is revived by standing in a roasting dish of water overnight, to look as if it's been well tended all its life!
  • Riding several km on the bike track after work before coming home. Probably the only perq of the job, but it's a good one!

Big Ups to Obama

  • I can hardly believe USA has done it! Voted in health care insurance for everyone regardless of existing conditions. The devil will be in the fine print, and the fact that it will provide health care for "95%" of Americans..... what about the other 5%? But wow, fantastic! Maybe the world isn't as dented in the head as I'd feared!
  • Michael Bolton on the stereo first thing in the morning. In fact music at any time!
  • Hearing the advocate for beneficiaries say this morning that it's a full time job being a mum on the DPB. Sure must be - no money to pay for all the extras, so to do it well there must be an awful lot of making do and doing it yourself. Would like to think they're growing their own veg and making their own clothes (or remaking - you can pick up stuff at Op Shops that needs a bit of a make-over). Now I'd like to hear of someone coming up with the 64,000 jobs required to make Paula Bennett's plan work.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What was that? Wahoo Waihopai!

The Waihopai Three were acquited of all charges - almost unbelievable, but there you go.
Judged by a jury of their peers obviously!
We who stopped nuclear subs coming into our waters haven't been overcome by the seriously money-focused instant-everything generation. (A gross generalisation. You know if this doesn't mean you! [Especially my very own children!]) We are still the country who can protest efficiently and peacefully. And successfully.
Bravo all involved!

Isn't the telephone the most wonderful invention! Have just had a lovely chat with a darling daughter, it was as if I was present in her home. Such a gift!

Snuggly duvets on suddenly cold nights. Mmmmm! And electric blankets!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Action Bins Day

Every second Wednesday is bin day, the day I feel in control of this monstrous piece of land and its encroaching flora as all the results of the weeding, mowing, cutting and living of the last fortnight disappear into the bowels of a big red white and black truck, unambiguously labelled "THE BIN MAN". I'm at the beginning of the run, and have been asked to have my bin out by 7.30 a.m. which is no problem.
Except this morning, I overslept. Must have been all the work I did at Choir last night. Woke about 7.30, watched the news, had breakfast, was about to hit the shower when I remembered the bin. Botheration! thought I, tossing on a robe and racing outside to push it out to the footpath.
No bin.
There it was, already on the footpath.
Done it in my sleep?
Left it out last night?
No indeed.
The lovely bin man had seen it up the drive, opened the decidedly noisy gate, wheeled it out, and emptied it for me. Maybe it was the squeak of the gate that had woken me!
You can't beat Action Bins, Locally Owned and Operated!
Love 'em!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

After the storm is over...

Wow what a scary ten minutes last night! A freak storm went through, sounding like a train up the drive. I looked out of the window and the amount of unidentifiable stuff that was flying through the air as high as the tops of the bent trees was mindboggling. And captivating - I couldn't take my eyes off it!

I had no idea of the devastation facing my neighbours as I sat up in bed this morning with a bowl of home made muesli and home made yoghurt, with some home grown apple and home grown blueberries and guava/cranberries! I've been wondering whether it's worth the effort to grow my own vege, and maybe for some things it isn't. But apples and berries - oh yes it is!

A few branches on the lawn made me take a good look and I found part of my fence hanging drunkenly, and when I looked through and along, I realised why. All my next door neighbour's back fence is completely on the ground! Several trees are down, one massive ancient walnut that has shaded four or five properties is under the chainsaw so the homeowners can actually see what lies under it (apart from their clothes line)! I've fared better than any of my immediate neighbours - the ones at the back are likewise missing their fence, also two and half trees and part of their roof. One of their trees that hung over my place has been pruned beautifully in my favour with the prunings on their own lawn! I looked out my front windows at the time of the storm and my plants sitting directly in front of the house were still. So the wind was coming from a south-easterly direction. Directly from Wellington.

A good day today though for the cleanup. A sunny Saturday. Am SO pleased I have missed the worst of it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

All over, Rover

Sub of the Day for the last couple of nights has been great, tea cooking after a long day of concentration wasn't on the cards. Tonight.... who knows! It's all over, and finished satisfactorily, so it's back to work tomorrow.

The ridiculous idea of erecting a copycat sign on Wellington's hills was pointed out to me by The Morgue and at first I thought it was some sort of misunderstanding or joke. Truly it isn't ....
How soon are the next Wellington Council elections?

It was so nice to start the last few days a bit later than usual! And the concentration required was on something so totally different from my usual matters requiring concentration that in fact it was quite refreshing. Some of the subject matter certainly wasn't, but overall, I'll accept my civic duty to be part of the jury pool next time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

#2 Court Day

Wonderful roiling waves along the Marine Parade! Perfect spot to blow away cobwebs and get some walking in during the lunch break at court.

Car parked miles away from the court, so more walking. Tomorrow should be the last day, but I've enjoyed the break from everyday life.

A $10 voucher from Spottylight. Trying to woo me back?! I'll use it anyway!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Court Day

On a jury for the first time, and it not being as dreadful as I'd feared. No idea if he's guilty! Maybe I'll come to some conclusion tomorrow?! Wonder how long it'll go on for.... can't be long....

And my car parked on a 120 min spot all afternoon because there is NO parking within miles of the courthouse, and no ticket attached when I came out. I live in hope that it won't follow me by post...

The later start (at court) each day gives me time to go and have a look around the fabric shops. Or, of course, look for a parking spot and walk the several miles to where I'm meant to be. Tough choice (not!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Marching on...

Saturdays when it rains are just perfect for recovering from an exhausting fortnight. Nothing screaming out to be done, not while it's raining!, and a good book and lots of cups of green tea. Nice.

That good book "The Book Thief" by Markus Zuzak. Something very wonderful about the style of the writing.

Checking out sewing patterns on line. Beats trying to get a seat at the pattern counter of a shop I've decided I REALLY don't like - Spottylight staff do their best but there are fewer of them than is sensible, and fewer counters to dump the bolts of fabric one has to heft about the place, and a quick turn with said bolts on one's shoulder is a natty way of whipping buttons or trims onto the floor or knocking another thread-searcher unconscious. I may be forced to shop for fabric in another town, Spotty is so dire here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Day Thursday

Thursday already! Thank heavens! Tiredness from travelling makes me long for a weekend with little to do.
Wonderful few days away - many kilometres away! - at a family wedding. Lots of happy get-together times, lots of laughs, fabulous weather. The West Coast is well known for its high rainfall, but it's never looked so good. The towns are looking very prosperous, don't appear to be suffering from the recession, and I'm told this is because the main industries of gold and coal mining are still working well and big employers. Certainly the hospitality was big and sincere.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bike Day

On Friday the new bike track was officially opened by the Prime Minister (Freudian I guess, but every time I type that I have to correct it from Primate Minister).
(Picture shows John Key, PM in the blue helmet, riding with Paul McArdle who donated the three tracks (a .5km one, a skills track and a pump track), the bikes, helmets and professional cyclists to train the kids for 6 months.) Today, for the first time in mumblemany years, after being fitted for my very own helmet, I wheeled out a bike, and would you know, I rode it! First corner was sharper than I'd anticipated, but the wind felt so good and I could have kept riding for the rest of the day. Two circuits of the track is a kilometre, and then... well how to stop? No back pedal brakes.... ooooh slow down, slow down, hand brakes. And I did it! Fantastic! I can ride any time I like now!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sun Day

Blueberries and cranberries from my own little bushes in a bowl with my home made muesli and milk. Mmmmm!

Knowing that God has me in His hands, that He loves me, and all will be well.

Air conditioning! A hot humid day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

A link here by the originator of Three Beautiful Things, Clare, on my post in which I mused about not allowing negativities a mention when pondering on the beautiful moments, has had a few comments. And I agree there's a difference between "in spite of the bad service, I enjoyed the meal..." which gives weight to the negativity, and something which is only beautiful because of the unpleasantness that went before. Clare has a wonderful list of such things, and they are indeed Beautiful Things.
I enjoyed that people commented.

Singing alto against sopranos, tenors and basses - love it!

The lady who approached me as I was loading groceries into my car and told me that she'd seen another vehicle hit mine. A bit more coating off the bumper, not worth doing anything about, but she'd taken the rego. Someone had actually got involved in something when she didn't have to. I hope she has a happy day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Phil the handyman has been and painted my new piece of spouting. All good!

I woke at 6.50 a.m. and knew I wasn't going to make the Catholic Schools' Staff Mass and breakfast at 7 a.m. so didn't try. A colleague woke about the same time and made it and was discombobulated all day. Big tick for the "I don't have to do this!" mentality!

Wore my new jacket to work and got nice comments. And it felt good to wear too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

3BT for a new week

I've just planted seeds for the winter - leek, carrot, swede, spinach and onion. Such potential abundance! And at this stage, so neat and orderly! Pea straw over the top as a mulch, CDs waving in the breeze to deter the birds, it's the start of the next batch of planting.

And ironed a pile of beautiful serviettes used at our gathering on Friday night. I do like nice napery!

I got my new glasses today too, such a joy to see so clearly again! Brings back memories of some decades ago when new clear vision was an annual event. I've done well, thanks to Lasik surgery!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

From the land of Motown...

- the gates open and ten thousand people sprint to find the best spot in the arena to enjoy the gig. Past me runs a young man, maybe 20 years old, about 6ft 4, and on his shoulder is a roll of carpet. No tarpaulin or picnic rug for him! A picture that made me laugh and still makes me smile!
- the guy behind us who complained to security about our sunshade (five hours before the concert starts but he's sure it'll block his view, even tho we reassure him that we'll take it down - as we do every year - in a couple of hours when the sun loses its heat) comes over and offers one of our party a can of beer. Guess he realised he'd been a dick.
- the clothes both gorgeous and wacky, the costumes and some that could have been dressups or might have been just ordinary bad dress sense...!
- the music that had us all dancing and singing as if we were 18 again!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Musings on my involvement in the 3BT movement and what this means for my health and wellbeing!

Pondering on joining the "Three Beautiful Things" phenomema, I realised that I often find it easier to muse on problems that need solving rather than the beautiful moments in my day. And I wonder - am I a negative person? Am I really someone about whom others think "oh no here's that depressing person again!" when they see me coming?
Heaven forfend!

So on I go, meditating on the good things in my life, finding the things that were delightful and stopping and pondering them!
(You won't believe how much trouble I had writing that sentence, words such as "but" and "rather than" and "even tho" were desperate to make an appearance. Indicative maybe of negative tendencies.... Hmm....)

So much good in my life, so much to be thankful for!

Today Isaac came round, and to see him pick up big truck sized sockets, and say "wow, this is awesome!" was such a gift. He's a shy Maori man, mid 20s, and he knew what the hitherto unidentified-by-me tools were and what they were used for. And if they were usable. God bless him, he now has a few more than he did before.

Saturday morning, and because I had guests last night, there's no housework to be done today, did it all before they came! (more or less....) I think I'll sit and read before it's time to go a-wassailing!

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Motime!

So much fun having good friends over for a meal!

And tomorrow we're off to Motown. Oh yeah there ain't no mountain high enough, woohoo ain't no valley low enough... to keep us from getting to where we heard it thru the grapevine (and I'm just about to lose my mind, honey honey yeah!) cos when I was a little girl I had a rag doll, only doll I ever owned.... Okay, yeah, well, should be fun!

And the anticipation of an afternoon and evening spent in the company of the same good friends. All good. Indeed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today's spots....

  • Watching Sam step up to the plate..... Sam lives in a busy, complex environment and a lot of self-responsibility is required from him in order to get to school on time and have the necessary books or bring back library books. He's 10 and isn't always organised enough to stand equal with other kids whose parents help them get organised. This year Sam was made student librarian and although I did wonder whether this was just creating another problem for Sam and for me, today they had their training session and I watched him and listened to him and realised with very little guidance, this boy could well have leadership qualities! I'm delighted.
  • A batch of chocolate chip cookies and another of gingernuts cooling on the bench ready to be packed up and enjoyed at the Motown Mission Concert. Yay!
  • Finding an apprentice mechanic who would be delighted to have Jim's timing light (and other treasures unusable by me!) Jim would be rapt, he was very good at helping the apprentices with spare tools that he had.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunny Sunday

A cold can of Sprite after a very hot shopping trip with le grandmere.

A bucket of horse poo and bag of mulch waiting till the day cools off to get dug into the garden.

Realising the quirks of said Ancient One don't get under my skin, and are no longer taken personally.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More 3BT

God bless my good neighbour who saw me with the massive and very impressive two-handed Bosch drill trying to make holes in the letterbox for the new numbers and sent her husband over to do it - two hours and I'd used a nail and hammer, different nail and different hammer, powered screw driver (okay, I thought it was a drill ...), The Drill and one bit that sort of wore out and got shorter, the bit (that apparently was for wood) that I was using when rescued..... who would have thought a sheet steel cheapo letterbox would have been so hard to make holes in!

A letterbox with - after vandals removed the previous adhesive numbers - lovely brass screwed on number!

The first two tomatoes on my cherry tomato plant! Very late, but it hasn't been much of a summer so far.

And the Mission Concert to look forward to next Saturday! Motown! Yay!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Well it's Friday!

and there's a weekend just over the brow of a sleep

and there's more American Idol auditions tonight. Best laugh all week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

3BT :)

The smell of my wonderful garlic crop. It dried on the BBQ table during the day and is now perfuming the shed. Absolutely stunning in almost everything!

Onions that grew despite the weeds and being forgotten. Found them by accident yesterday and harvested 2 dozen lovely big bulbs. Grown from seed, almost free! And I'm told that onions and leeks do well planted where peas have grown, so I'll plant the next lot this weekend.

A freezer, so the surplus beans and corn (hopefully! will check it out on Saturday!) can be stored and used in the coming months.

Fresh veges, out of the ground and into the pot. The taste is superb, and the texture like nothing you get elsewhere. God is good.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday's smiles

A holiday booked for January next year! The anticipation is part of the pleasure!

Left-overs for tea - no cooking or thought required!

Egg sandwiches on stunning home-made bread - mmmmm. (Free range eggs from chooks that are so free range I've seen them go in the house - not mine!!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

3BT Saturday

Oh yes! The Telecom man has been and given me back internet connection! The lads putting the insulation under the house had a bit of an entanglement with the wires and I was consigned to the black hole beyond the web.

We're sorry - have the bill sent to us! Magical words (from the insulation people)

Saturday afternoon and no plans! Bliss!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

3BT for today

I woke up this morning about 6.15, opened the windows, made a cup of tea and went back to bed and listened to the stillness and the birds waking and chattering. Loverly!

A phone call at 8 am. to say the insulation installers would be arriving, which they did at 8:00:34! Must have been right outside! Made them muffins, cos I could (and cos the job is already paid for - sometimes I think if I make muffins and tradesmen sit down for half an hour, I get charged for the extra time rather than if they'd gone back to the depot for their cuppa), the guys up in the ceiling said the smell was awesome up there! I shall be warmer in winter and cooler in summer - nice young men, one reminded me of my son, down to the port-hole in the ear.

The sight of my pruned lemon tree - poor sad unproductive tree, which has been SO fruitful. Hopefully this marks the start of a new burst of life!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Beautiful Things

I've been introduced by Strong-Light to the concept of blogging about three beautiful things each day. It seems such a good idea, and so simple... and yet not, of course. But for me to look and find three beautiful things each day is such a healthy, positive thing to do that I'm going to try it. Can't imagine I'll blog each day, but you never know.

Today I finished a jacket I've been working on. And it looks really good.
Simplicity's Project Runway, 2701.
Okay I wouldn't win prizes for photography, but this is it!

The sun is shining (and it's been raining most of January!)

I cleared a whole list of little annoying things that needed to be done. One was ringing to see if there was a reason why I'd heard nothing about my insulation - paid for on 6 Jan. Apparently they can't work when it's really hot in the roof space (and that would have been.... um.... when exactly?) so they're a "bit behind". But I'm on the list and not forgotten. And I dropped back library books and visited an old lady who wants me to type something for me... All of those things.
So yeah! Hey, I'm smiling! This is working for me!