Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Review

Twelve months ago I was jumpy and scared.  My thyroid bulged, I was tired despite being on holiday and being very well cared for.  I snapped at the children and sometimes consequently burst into tears.

It wasn't nice.

Today, I'm not jumpy and I'm not scared.  The medical peoples were useless but thankfully I did find some other things which helped.  I did three months without any alcohol and then was mostly alcohol free for another three months.  After that I had maybe one, occasionally two glasses of alcohol per week.  It helped.  I took increasing care about what I ate at night before bed and that helped with insomnia.  I cut my sugar intake back.  I set out to cut my bread intake back but that is always my health-kick nemesis.  I'm not sure if the alcohol elimination  is specifically a "cure" for the thryoid difficulties - I suspect that my liver is challenged because of haemachromatosis and this is linked to the arthritis (so 2012 for me!!) and the thyroid (2013).  Whatever the reason, less alcohol has turned out not to make my life miserable.  Less insomnia has improved my life massively!!!

My latest challenge (there's always one...) is a kind of carpal tunnel like pain in my right wrist.  Should be good for a few blog posts in 2014.

I've taken on a lot more at work in the latter part of 2013 (after jumping up in the earlier part compared to 2012) and although the multitasking at home is challenging, I am enjoying my new paid role.  In 2014, Favourite Handyman and I switch roles and he will work part time and I will work full time.  We're all feeling positive about this.

This has been a great year for sewing.  I hadn't thought so until I realised that I made four dresses, two skirts and five tops, and handbag and - tonight, on the last day of the year, my first pair of leggings.  This list only counts those items which were successful enough for me to wear them and it excludes the many circle skirts I made for little girl birthdays.  That averages one per month, but most items were made in the school holidays.

Although I've rarely blogged this year, it has been a great year for writing.  I've got the final draft awaiting feedback from a friend for my chapter on goldfields women hotelkeepers and sly grog sellers for a book to be published by Otago University Press in 2014.  There have been times when the volume of things I'd committed to was too much, but with support from many quarters, including an extension of time for the chapter, I made it through the year in better health than the beginning and with many goals realised.

Last week we had the most wonderful holiday at Akaroa.  On the way home I bought a lovely recipe book as a keepsake: The Edible Journey, a fundraiser for Tai Tapu School.  I'm keen to try a number of the recipes.  Lots of family friendly recipes, many gluten free, and many suitable for lunches.  I've got breakfasts and dinners sorted for the most part, but lunches which are not centred around bread are still a challenge for me and too many days I end up eating filled rolls from the work canteen which in no way meet the kind of vegetable intake I prefer.

Over the next fortnight, I plan to blog a little more, sharing photographs of the garden, sewing endeavours, maybe some book reviews.  Sometimes I've questioned the purpose of this blog, but rather than ponder its role in term time right now, I'm going to carry on charting our summer days.  I know I'm not producing in the volume and style required for a regular
audience, but reading back over past posts, and charting our family days in the sun (and rain) is worth it for me.

Brighid at the Giant's House in Akaroa.  Seriously fabulous art and garden.  So much to fall in love with.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Manui and Lesili

Today we wept.  We wept for Lesili Langi, 15 years old, and his mother Lavinia Manui Langi, 43 years old, who died in a car accident earlier this week.  In a beautiful service at the local high school hall, hundreds of people from our small wet town honoured two short and beautiful lives.

I wept for the challenges of their lives.  I wept to hear of Lesili selling his fish so he could buy a loaf of bread so his little siblings could have lunches for school.  I wept at the honouring of Manui's efforts to have the seven children looking beautiful for church.  Her dear friend Atu spoke with grace and power of Manui's secret - she went to the Salvation Army and then she took home the clothes and washed and ironed them so the children had nice clothes for church.

Frankly, I felt profligate with my takeways and fancy foods and the material wealth of my children's lives.  Afterwards, Brighid and I went home and chose some pretty dresses and also black clothes for the mourning period, and some other pretty skirts and tops, and we delivered them to Atu for passing onto Brighid's school friend Meleane, who this week lost her mother and her biggest brother. 

Our small town has rallied to help a lot this week.  This death has brought out the better side of us as we think outside of our needless present shopping to help those in solemn need.  Atu asked us all to step up as a community to support the Langi family, and to learn from this experience.  We will do our best Atu, and I hope my best will be of real help.  No one should ever die without someone else learning something from that life, and the deaths of Manui and Lesili offer our whole town a lesson to live more generous and understanding lives.

When Brighid and I took food and a card around to the house earlier in the week, I was unsure what to expect and hadn't anticipated the bodies being in the house.  I was so proud of Brighid who handled the beautiful Tongan singing and prayers so well and cuddled her friend's Dad and gave him the card.  I was so pleased that my daughter who has never lived outside of an English speaking community could learn that her school friend has a whole rich and wonderful world which we are not knowledgeable of and confident in. 

Our local newspaper, the Grey Star, has opened a relief fund for the Langi family, and through the generosity of local people, it already totals $4500.  I put money in yesterday and will put some more in next week.  The ANZ account number for people wishing to make a donation directly to the relief fund is: 01 0841 004153600 ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11174635 )