Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday beautiful Sunday

A perfect weekend.  I started in the garden about 6.30am, which is quite the best time to start if I fancy a serene experience.  I weeded, pruned laterals and re-tied the tomatoes to their stakes, and planted spring onions.

I made cheese and pesto scones for morning tea.

I made 11 litres of laundry liquid. 

I tightened up my facebook settings.  Mine are quite tight anyway, but I'm often amazed at how many people blithely include their full date of birth on their public display settings, as the most obvious example of sharing more with the entire world than seems entirely wise.

I attempted to clean Brighid's bedroom.  Some progress, and many bags removed already, but it is probably still the equivalent of the warm up at the base of Mt Everest.  I'm planning the full scale of the mountain while she is at school.

It's possible that I won't win a prize for the fastest and most complete conversion to a life of sobriety and lower calorie intake.  Perhaps the tortoise will win the race.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Theatre Royal Hotel, Kumara

We had a great time at the community fun day to celebrate the refurbishment and re-opening of the Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara today.  I forgot to take the camera, but there is a youtube video of the opening here.  The weather was great, the stalls were good, the kids loved the sack races and the tug of war and then we retired to the playground (I retired to sitting with the newspaper; the children were rather more vigorous) for a while. 

Back home, we had our first barbecue of the year where it was warm enough to eat outside.  The kids got out the hose, the water gun and the little paddling pool.  Since Favourite Handyman had kindly mowed the lawn while we were out gallivanting in Kumara, the kids got to fill the pool with water AND grass clippings and other ingredients for a magic witch's potion.

A great day, all the better for sharing it with our lovely friends.  And the total joy at attending an opening of a business in our part of New Zealand, in such contrast to most of our local news, is hard for me to put into words.  Go well, Theatre Royal.  We will be out to sample your beers and wares soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Of all the things which I have considered boring for others to read (but gone ahead and posted about anyway), weight loss ranks as the most boring in my book.

But I'm not going to post about work.
But there's not much point dwelling on my sadness about so many of my friends leaving our small wet town.
But I'm not getting much done in the garden.
But there is no crafting going on currently.
But genealogy is at a minor standstill and isn't easy to write about in a discreet way.
But I have no new and coherent thoughts of a political nature to share right now.
But kitchen creativity is a concept which is practically sepia toned, it was so long ago.

Last weekend a good friend rang me from afar.  In a world of facebook updates, likes and the occasional message, an actual phone call has become a rare treat, something I usually forget is at my disposal.

I'd heard my friend had lost weight and she was kind enough to answer my questions.  Truthfully, I grilled her with a ferocity not quite polite.  My friend, it turns out, weighed the same as I do now, and lost 18 kilos after a significant health scare.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm.  I was hmmmming and thinking and squinting for ages afterwards, possibly ever since our phone conversation.  Like me, my friend hadn't bought into the idea that skinny was the only way to be.  But she wasn't keen on a life on medicines when she was only 39.  She lost the weight, she's feeling great, and she has lost the health problem which prompted her to change her lifestyle.

Day two of no alcohol.  Day two of eating with more care.  Now work has eased off in its intensity, it is much easier for me to take time to make protein and vegetable rich salads for breakfast and lunch.

I often read the articles about health at every size.  They are sound articles and there is only one glitch for me: they advocate health through exercise and I'm still not doing much if any of that.  Somehow, I need to make the change.

How long, how effective, how boring?  I've no idea.  I'm off to bed to read the final sections of Zadie Smith's NW.  Just as in my childhood, the escapism of a novel is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For the love of Mawhera

Was yesterday special?  Kind of.  We observed a minute's silence for the second anniversary of the 29 men dead at Pike River.  But I think of those men most days. 

I never knew any of them personally, but I know members of their families, and no narrative of West Coast early 21st century struggle makes sense without acknowledging these men.

That is why when I mourn the loss of the last butchery on the West Coast (closing this Christmas), of the Smelting House Cafe in Greymouth (great coffee I'm told, superb lunch food I know from experience), buildings evacuated overnight due to earthquake risk and the latest is AMI moving out of our small wet town, it is sad but people are all alive.

The old timers on the Coast give me the greatest sense of looking forward.  'It's happened before', they tell me. 
'The Coast will recover.' 
'That's the nature of a mining town, boom and bust,' another tells me.

So we stay.  We farewell our friends and wish them luck.  We cross our fingers and toes for our friends looking for work and we remind ourselves to be grateful for good health, our family and our own blessing of secure work.

The sun is still beautiful setting over the western horizon and the beach has its own pebbly charm.  Our local kids are fabulous and the adults not bad either.  I keep planting plants.  Tomatoes, flowers, herbs, onions.  Byuing local feels responsible rather than extravagant.  Everyone deserves somewhere to love.  I'm grateful that I have what everyone deserves and not everyone gets.  Kia kaha Mawhera.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

wine swilling genealogist

 On Thursday just gone, it was the West Coast Schools' kapa haka festival.  I rearranged my work hours, took my girl out of school, and we headed south for the day to watch Fionn perform.  It was totally fantastic.  Fionn's school group put on a top notch performance which we were all very proud of.

Afterwards, while the students had their hangi lunch and played special games and the judges deliberated, Brighid and I had lunch together in the metropolis and walked along the beach, pictured above and below.
Beautiful huh?

Today was the Anglican Church Fair.  It's an important event on our calendar.  Six years ago, when we'd just moved into our first home and there was no lounge furniture and no money to buy anything flash, we went to our this fair.  We still have the couch and chairs from that fair, at a combined cost of less than $50.  These days, we buy some sausages, a couple of bowls, sometimes some books or clothes.  Today I bought my first whitebait sandwich of the season.  Likely my last given the dismal catch this year.  I paid $5 to fill a supermarket plastic bag with clothes and I've done very well out of that.  I also bought a black wrap dress with a yellow print on it from the Sallies this morning for only $5.  What's not to like about bargain Saturday?

Mostly, outside of work and parenting, I've been drinking red wine and doing genealogy.  I've been gifted with some wonderful resources by another family member genealogist enthusiast.  If I can just get written up what I've learnt and not let on my project before Christmas, I will be thrilled and, hopefully on Christmas morning, so will my parents.

I bought more chatham island forget me nots today, plus cosmos, coriander, basil, marigolds and thyme.  My last thyme, which I deliberately planted in a hole in the wood edging a raised bed, has died through malnutrition.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Zebra gardening

This weekend we helped a friend move, Fionn went on his first ever cub camp for two nights, I made a skirt for a third birthday party present and I got to garden.

I'm quite pleased with the gingham circle skirt.  I didn't make it to save money.  Frankly, in recent times I've pulled my wallet out for convenience far more often than I've taken the longer but cheaper route, especially in the kitchen.  I made it because I wanted a personally handmade gift for a special little girl, whose family is very dear to me.  Brighid had a lovely time at the party, and so did we for the part we attended.

Fionn the cub camp graduate.  After the asthma incident which followed a one night indoors camp last week, I was nervous about Fionn sleeping in the tent for two nights.

He had a FABULOUS time.  Fell asleep before 4pm this afternoon, but he is breathing properly, so we are all happy.

This afternoon after partying and camp collection, I buried bokashi, weeded the old chook run garden and transplanted celery, tomatoes and spinach into various parts of the garden.  It felt great, and is hopefully the beginning of many hours spent gardening this summer.

I bought a new dress, at Postie Plus.  It was in a 30% off all dresses sale and it fitted!  It is called a cross over zebra print dress.  It is very poorly made, but I like it and it will diversify my wardrobe until I can get some dress sewing for myself done.  I have favourite dresses which I wear with leggings, a long sleeved black t shirt and a slip in winter, and alone in summer.  So although I do like my dresses, I have been wearing them every week for 18-22 months.  I'm open to some change.

Last week I went to a very interesting talk on children and cyber safety by John Parsons.  More on that another time.

I've bitten the bullet and visited the local library.  Singlehandedly propping up the weak point in local government finances, I paid my library fines, and now I get to get books out again.  I've started Zadie Smith's NW.  Not ready to give a verdict just yet.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Economic collapse and school fundraising

In a devastating turn of events, The Spring Fling 80s night fundraiser has been cancelled because not enough people bought tickets.  Lots of people claimed to be planning to go, but they didn't front up with cold hard cash in time to give the incredibly hard working volunteers faith that it was worth their blood, sweat and sausage rolls.

There are a few things against me offering my home so we can all desperately seek Susan, get into the groove and implore our papas not to preach this Saturday night.  One is a desire to stay married to Favourite Handyman.  He isn't sharing my enthusiasm at all.  The second is that Fionn comes home from another camp, this time cubs, that day.  I'm pretty nerdy about my kids getting sufficient sleep after they stay up all night yakking in tents (they do yak endlessly; it's in their genes.).  The third is the state of the house.  It's currently marginal to get inside a room without standing on something.  The state of the surfaces is well, pause, immune-boosting.

But Greymouth ladies and gentlemen, let's find a venue and make like the 80s soon! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Desperately Seeking Susan

I have a new project.  All in the name of supporting local education (Hekia Parata sure ain't, so someone has to), I'm off to an 80s night next weekend.  I wasn't so sure on reliving memories I had of dropwaist dresses and cerise and jade tube skirts.  But tonight inspiration hit.  It's 1985.  I'm 13.  Madonna has a hotter body than me, a theme which will never change.  She is the perfect teen pinup, with her crucifixes, lace hair ties and beads, fairly accessible garb for a cash-strapped young girl.  I never dared wear my rosary out though.  God may not have smote me down, but my mother would have.

I've just ordered some lace gloves.  I'm about to have a rifle through my drawers, wardrobe and sewing box to see what lace concoctions and other accesories I have.  And find my rosary.  Even now, don't tell Mum.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

breaking the hiatus

Time to get back in the blogging saddle.

I had the three chalazia (plural of chalazion = chalazia?) removed surgically on Tuesday.  My eyes are healing well and I've gotten over the strange frightening feeling of having my eyelid clamped back and pieces of it pulled out.

Both the nurse and the ophthalmologist were wonderful.  As she did the initial examination with the aid of a slit lamp, I admired Rebecca the ophthalmologist's knowledge and skill in such a specialist area.  I think I found it most interesting because she was a young woman.  There is a part of me which staunchly values the work of running a home and a family and another part of me wants to see so much more of highly skilled professional women.  Living in a small town, the range of specialised skills is not so high as for cities. 

When I was 17, I longed to leave my small town (not the one I currently live in) and seek knowledge and adventure.  I was most unimpressed with my aunts who were always talking about being tired on Christmas Day.  I'm quite a lot more clear now on how you might get tired organising Christmas for young children and feasts for extended family, but I haven't lost the feeling that there has to be more to life than domestic stuff.  On the tiniest of levels, I blog because it is non-essential, a text which is not a shopping list and not work-related, and it is mine.

As I write, it is 4.15am, and the rain is loud and fast against the roof and down the chimney beside me.  During the week, it was relatively dry (read: only patches of rain), but now we are in weekend time, the deluge returns.  I transplanted two tomato plants from the kitchen window into big pots under the lean-to.  No other garden activity.

Fionn went on his first school camp.  He loved it.  In keeping with his usual distaste for the boring things I recommend, he declined to remove his shoes and socks when they became wet at the beginning of the day.  Which may have had some bearing on why when we picked him Friday night, he was wheezing, looked utterly exhausted and had stinky, wrinkled feet.  There is no drug or mind-altering substance which assists children in listening to their parents and actually responding to their advice.  There can't be, or it would have been a world-wide best seller.  Really, who wouldn't mind giving up buying a new yacht, or owning your own home, or even eating breakfast on Tuesdays, if your young children actually followed instructions.  Still, I do love him more than anything else, in tandem with his sister and daddy, and hopefully we can avert the asthma from lasting more than the weekend.

I'm still reading Robert Long's A Life on Gorge River.  It's an interesting read of a fascinating life living in New Zealand's remotest spot (two days' walk through bush to the nearest road).  It's starting to get a bit same-y though, and I might be ready for a novel with some depth very soon.  I see Anne Else has reviewed J K Rowling's The Casual Vacancy very postively.  I'm in denial about my library fines.  Could a new book be cheaper than paying the fines?  Could my management of something as simple as not losing books and actually returning them on time be worse?

Knitting continues, perforce.  Actually, I just wanted to use that word, but it's also true that I'm making steady progress on the sleeve of the pink miette.  Steph C of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World and Cake Patterns has had a delay in the printing of her tiramisu pattern, which is a mercy, because I want to have finished the miette and adjusted my floral curtain colette crepe dress to make it wearable before my tiramisu pattern arrives.  I got a wedding invite this week (mark of advancing years: catching up with an old school friend in the hospital waiting room instead of the pub) and I'd like to have the option of wearing my very own tiramisu dress to said wedding just before Christmas.

I did make good progress on the sleep front two nights this week, though not so much this evening.  As with previous experiments, if I supplement with kelp, magnesium and vitamin C (plus a non-iron multivitamin), then I sleep better and also I eat better and hunger to eat outside regular meals diminishes.  Last night, the variables were of the Friday night variety: work drinks, fish and chips for tea and the absence of any magnesium supplementation.  I guess it's not so hard to see where Fionn gets his ignoring-of-very-good-advice gene from.