Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Time for the hillbillies to head north

I've made acres of shortbread. I've spent lots of afternoons with my elderly cousin, and mornings and evenings emailing her children. I've wrapped the little niece presents. I've stocked up on chook food and arranged the chook feeding roster. I've washed and folded a lot of clothes and written five Christmas cards. Today we celebrated Brighid's final kindy days with a play dough cake and some special kindy rituals. We gave the kindy the three dress up skirts and they loved them. So special they are going in the box with the musical instruments (!). I got another special kindy certificate for my contribution. Apparently they are only rarely handed out. I got one when Fionn left as well. Between the two experiences, I've managed to never ever wield a broom at tidy up time, so really I'm a cheat. A successful one. This time they wanted to thank me for my efforts with the dress-ups for Christchurch kindies after the February earthquake. With Fionn I had done a lot of work with the kindy library.

Despite extensive organisation on my part, we have some magic to perform to be able to leave at 3pm tomorrow. I'd really like an entire day in the garden first.

But now. Now is the time for some wine and cheese and a little chilling out before the next stage in the journey.

What is my favourite thing right now? It is having Favourite Handyman off work as well as me. This morning we talked about what we wanted to do in Auckland. Out of the mish mash of seeing friends, helping my father in law and doing things with the kids, we talked about how we could extend the trip beyond Auckland, squeeze in a trip in the tent. The tents are being packed. It's great to see everyone else, but there is nothing quite so special as a bit of time away just the four of us. The kids clamoured for a certain beach, a certain playground, a certain camping ground, last time we were up north, so that is where we are looking. Before Christmas of course. Boxing Day camping madness is not our thing.

What will I remember about this year?
1. That I cut back my hours at work to spend more time with my Brighid in her last year before school. Totally worth it. Our Thursday "Mummy Days" have been gold.

2. That I got confident enough to sew adult gifts.

3. That through tragedy, I started to feel like my in laws are my family as well as my birth family.

4. I discovered Geraldine Brookes and Andrea Levy. I got back into attending book group.

5. I finally cooked a globe artichoke. More to learn on that.

6. Some paid work things. I don't blog about paid work. But I get to learn a lot about life at paid work.

7. Brighid almost severed an artery and survived. People at Christchurch hospital, back at work just days after losing homes and sleep and grieving and still worrying, are amazing.

8. 29 people dead and trapped in the Paparoa Ranges is 29 people too many.

9. That one day it will be our turn to look after our parents. That my siblings are sane and intelligent and wonderful and I love them and we won't be alone.

10. That I married well. We chose perfectly for each other.

11. That even though I am a useless sideline supporter at rugby league, my boy still loves it and I can more or less remember the right times to shout.

Have a wonderful festive season.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

sangria summer

I've had a brilliant weekend. Barbecues and sleep ins and a 40th birthday party and gardening and sewing. I weeded various spots, dug in bokashi, divided and replanted rhubarb, and planted aquilegia, bergamot, a daisy and another plant which was irresistible at a stall yesterday but I have no recall of its name now. I planted a chilli and there is more to plant out yet.

I finished bag number one for last night's birthday party and T seemed to really like it. I really liked her sangria. I'm possibly inspired to have a 40th birthday party maybe. But I am definitely inspired to make and drink more sangria this summer.

I made a bag for me today, which should put an end to carrying my keys and wallet and not having enough hands for everything. I've considered making a new dress (the floral curtain Colette crepe of course) but as we leave in less than 72 hours, I'm thinking that making about 100 more pieces of Christmas shortbread, packing holiday things and reacquainting myself with the broom and vacuum cleaner might be wiser.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It's a blur currently. I spend my days and nights baking biscuits and sewing presents and looking after small children and old ladies and occasionally I go to work but thankfully not often. Periodically I look up and find no food and no magicians to cook meals and today I ended up buying lunch in town and later on both McDonalds and KFC for various meals which could collectively count as an evening meal. So it does sound rather good that this morning I handed in some beautiful home made shortbread and a card with a photo of my children on the front of it to the staff at Fionn's school to thank them for the entirety of this year plus last night's fabulous school concert. But don't be fooled. Chaos lurks round the side of all this season of craziness activity.
Brighid has only one week left of kindy. I've been turning remaindered curtain samples into dressups for kindy. Above is the gold version modelled as a cape. Below, the same item as a skirt. As you may notice in the background, my children have no regard for the resale value of our home. That was proper wall paper when we bought the house. Bad parenting. Yes I know. See that pile of sewing stuff on top of the red and white bucket? Well that would probably fall off in a big earthquake, leaving access to the bucket, which is our emergency water supply.

Above and below the other two items as wrap skirts.

Above is the bag which I am nearly finished making for a 40th birthday present. Bad photo - plain dark denim doesn't photograph that well. I had to resew everything I did at 3.30pm this afternoon as good decisions are not made while negotiating post school meltdown peace negotiations. Which is why I bribed with McDonalds if they would share and play nicely, which gave me the chance to unpick and properly clip the corners and then re-sew it. The handle is tricky and the sewing machine refuses to cooperate so some firm hand sewing is on the agenda. It needs to be finished and wrapped in exactly 44 hours.

Today I bought some hair dye. It's part of the anti-Hillbillies project before we go to Poshville, aka Auckland.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas carnival


Prize for float having the most fun: the Pasifika float.

Prize for most dour: the Salvation Army float.

Prize for event I beamed at most: the kapa haka group which Fionn performed in.

Prize for children who lost their balloons more than thirty times: Fionn and Brighid.

Prize for the group which made me think of my uncle the most: the Pipe Band. Uncle Ron stopped short of smoking a cigarette at the exact same time he blew his bagpipes, but I was always amazed as a child watching him talk with a cigarette in the side of his mouth, killing a few more lung cells in the breaks at the Pipe Band competitions.

Prize for most interesting side display: the vintage cars. Though the steam powered traction engine from Shantytown and the Wiggles car vied for most popular vehicle in the actual parade.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Perfect Thursday


Today was perfect. As my tired children eventually stumbled out of their beds, I gave Fionn the option of going to school late (once I'd bought, mixed and applied the new eczema strategy ingredients after our health consultation with Laksmi last night) or of having the day off. I've got enough idea of what goes on in schools in December to discount the notion that he was missing utterly crucial learning. In terms of applying creams and lotions and feeding quality food, a day off was the perfect health remedy.

So I had a mummy day with both of my children (and with Brighid's special friend R from lunchtime onwards) and it was fantastic. They played a zillion different games, re-enacted scenes from Dora, dressed up in everything from the dressup box and generally had a blast. I fed them, laughed at and with them and finally (finally finally, rather late) sowed my potatoes. We dropped off some eggs to a friend who had gifted me lots of clothes for Brighid in the weekend and discussed strategies for looking after things (our chooks, her daughter) in the holidays. This is the interconnectedness which I love about our life here in Wetville. We popped in to see Mary, who was thrilled to see us, had a cupboard of biscuits (Brighid proudly explained to her friend that Mary never runs out which is true and a stark contrast to her mother's biscuit supplies) and was confused about bigger stuff. Age is cruel, a blessing for getting to enjoy life that long, but still barbed.