Monday, December 20, 2010

up, up and away in my beautiful balloon.

Last week it was Chloe's last day.  She went home to Carterton and wont be back till February when her course starts. Between us we made a special dinner - got out the good china, a tablecloth  and had a mini celebration. So many things to be pleased about!!  

  • Chloe got into her early childhood course, 
  • Tom successfully completed the semester at Polytech and as soon as we're back from holiday moves into his flat. 
  • And me- well I got through a year of the surprises, challenges and changes all in one piece and surprisingly in good spirits.

Chloe has become quite the baker since she has been here. Ta da - look at the Christmas cake. What a beauty. It's the Allison Holst no fail  Christmas cake.

  When Chloe arrived here I assured her that she was coming to a house where she would have to fend for herself and where she could be certain to be neglected. There would be few domestic pleasures such as a cleaning, washing or cooking service coming her way and as you can see the strategy has worked.  Baking has become a hobby, she can now successfully work the washing machine and I'm pleased to say prepare a meal that is more than tuna on toast.  I am confident that Tom has been similarly prepared and so will excel in flatting life.

Tomorrow we fly to the states to see Rosie and hopefully Doug if he can get out of the UK. Destination L.A - itinerary beyond that is anyone's guess but we are hoping to get to San Francisco, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park among other places.  I am not packed but have our tickets , some US dollars, and our passports ready. 

The neighbor will feed the cat and the oven has had it's once in a lifetime clean.  I cleaned the oven to take my mind off the thought of flying. I think that's why Im procrastinating on the packing.

So here's to hellos and goodbyes and irrational fears!! Have a great Christmas.


Friday, December 3, 2010

For you Rosie ........

It's hot today.  We're not used to this so much in Dunedin but it's true. This is the first quiet weekend I've had for ages and I'm lolling about inside the house - all manner of activity clamours for my attention but as a colleague said to me recently " I'm concentrating on being a human being not a human doing."  So it's shaping up to be a delightfully idle day. These photos are for you Rosie.  Even though we're going to see you in a couple of weeks it will be a long time till you come home so here's some shots of the garden in all it's unkempt glory.  The first photo is the only one I managed to take while I was away in Tekapo the other weekend.

 We've had the nativity set out for a few weeks already. 

So in the true spirit of doing not much I'll leave it here before I turn it into work. 

Have a lazy week everyone if you possibly can. 

Cheers Marg  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Parenting Crimes .......

The week has given me cause for reflection - in the photo above you can see my lovely Tom.( He is going flatting in January). This week he reminded me again how one of the hardest things to do as a parent  is to stand back and let your kid sort it out.  This week he had to find a work placement as part of his Polytech course. The work placement was due to start Monday and by Monday he still had not had any luck in finding someone to take him on. Getting into fix it mode I started thinking of favours I could call in. When none of them turned up trumps I got mad. Haven't I done so many favours for so many kids in the course of my work?? Look - I have Chloe here as proof of that. I was indignant that the universe had not complied with my request.  Fool that I am - the necessary learning was for Tom to persevere and find his own placement. At the 11th hour he did! And is now having a great time and a well earned sense of satisfaction that he made this happen without the help of his mother!!

A parcel a week has morphed into a phone call a week in  my house. Postage to the USA is horrendous and to send Rosies birthday presents cost an outrageous $52!!  What was even worse was the entire contents of the parcel were only worth about $20. The star attraction - a new bottle of perfume had been sniffed out as a prohibited item by the shrewd post office attendant. The box was cut open the offending item removed and the rest sent off. Still by all accounts the birthday passed very well and marked a new milestone in our house - that is not being home for the birthday. The first ever!!  Instead of making a birthday cake I made instead some homemade bread. It is the no knead recipe from Anabel Langbein.  Delicious.

Here's to a week of  trusting that our kids have all the qualities they need to figure it out. The trick is to to  know when.

Cheers Marg

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chloe and her Cake .....

Meet Chloe - here she is. Chloe as it turns out has been boarding with us for coming into the fourth month now. When Chloe first came my way I thought she was going to stay four days. But when she got off the plane with 2 enormous suitcases I knew that my ideas were mistaken. It is typical of the attention I pay at times to detail - which as you can see is very little- however somehow it opens up for a more interesting life. '

It has been a real treat having Chloe here. Among other things she loves to think about baking. Recently she bought a book with 500 cake recipes. At the rate of one a week that would take nearly 10 years to make all of those. As luck would have it a friends daughter had a birthdy recently so Cloe pulled out all the stops and tried her hand at one of the recipes.
The little girl was really happy with the cake and Chloe got such a buzz out of making it. It reminded me of all the little things in life that make a person happy - like making a cake for example and being really pleased with your efforts.

I've just finished my 4 week stint of travelling for work. I've had a week in Alexandra, a week in Cromwell, a week based in Wanaka and finally a week in Queenstown.  I bet you're feeling really sorry for me having to be in such a beautiful part of the country. You know I was worried about being away, worried about being alone in a motel room, worried about being worried but it was fine. even this last week when my lack of organisation got the better of me and I had no battery charger for by ipod or my cellphone so both went flat and my computer froze so I couldn't work on it and I hadn't packed enough of the right clothes and then permanently stained my one respectable top with ink from my pen and still had to look as if I knew what I was doing and you know what I was fine. Fine but tired so last night I did the unthinkable. I went to bed at 9.00PM. This morning when I was talking to Rosie on the phone and I told her that I felt like a real old lady going to bed so early she laughed and said - you are an old lady!! OF course how could I forget myself. IN the eyes of a nearly 22 year old I am ancient indeed.

So things to look forward to this week are
- staying home for the whole week
- going to book club and not talking about books
- cooking in my own kitchen
- sleeping in my own bed
- going to bed early if I feel like it.

Heres to a week of all the small things that make a person happy- no matter how old they are.

Cheers Marg ( 48 years old)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Knock, knock.....

Knock knock
who's there?
Walter Who?
Walt to wall carpet!!!

Remember those silly knock knock jokes?
You know the ones you used to find hilarious and maybe still do a tiny bit? 

Well I thought I'd put this one up today as an entre to the guided tour of my house which is now complete with wall to wall carpet.  Murray the carpet layer who is saving for his daughters wedding was more than happy to do this cash job over the long weekend. He was fast , efficient and friendly. What 's more he took all the old carpet off to the dump for me and for that I'm most grateful. 

So have a look and see what he did 

So hows that for the ultimate in recycling?  A whole house of carpet that came from a bank and was off to the tip had it not been for my friend who sent it my way. 

So to go the full circle I also took a load of rubbish to to the dump today and the dump shop came up trumps yet again. Look at my finds all for the outrageous price of $3.

 So to leave you with a wise saying ... waste not want not.

Here's to week of excellent bargains.

cheers Marg

Saturday, October 16, 2010

5 weeks already!!

In my fifth week already of my new work I spent the week in Alexandra. Sometime over this week I turned the corner mentally. That is to say I suddenly no longer felt like I was kind of having a holiday from my old job but actually working doing what you do in a job - that is work. And work we did. We had 2 assignments to carry out by Thursday evening. So evenings were spent working as well.  (There are some strange aspects to my new work. One which I find the most difficult to balance is how we have to simultaneously suspend and make judgments. That part is really tricky along with the nagging question when we leave of "Have we got it right?")
However one lovely night I decided to walk up to the Alexandra clock. Can you see it up there on the hill? It's not very far to walk there but from a distance it looks like a long way.

Before you know there you are up on the hill. I really enjoyed this walk and especailly loved getting right up to the clock face. There every teenage couple that ever lived in Alexandra  and maybe a few older ones as well have scratched their initials and other declarations of love on the face of the clock. I kind of like the sentiment expressed but also the views which were well worth the effort.

Next week I'm away to Wanaka. Its been a very long time since I spent anytime there so maybe there will be time for some more good walks.

Have a good week wherever you are. 


Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Friday Again......

I can't believe both how fast and slowly a week disappears. Here it is Friday again and I'm just getting around to thinking about what I did last weekend before I turn my mind to this.  Last weekend I went with a few friends to stay at Kakanui - that lovely seaside community not far from Oamaru. There's not a lot to do there except relax, walk the beach and generally solve all of life's problems as you do when you have a glass of wine or two with friends.

 we stayed in this cute little crib.  Really cheap at only $45 per night.

I was inspired by Mary Nanas post where she wrote about 10 things that her readers might not know about her. Given that my readership is mainly my family I have been trying to think of 10 things that they may not know about me - Lets see

1. Among other things my favourite foods are currently avocados, olives and feta cheese.
2. While I am happy to drink red wine my first preference is for white.
3.  I really really don't like country music.  Currently I am enjoying a wide range of many genres - especially jazz.
4. Every year I declare I will take a week off work when the film festival comes to town. So far I have not succeeded in that ambition.
5. I nearly always overestimate how much I can fit into one day and my capacity to succeed at tasks I set myself.
6. I never ever cry in movies (but can weep to music or poetry).  This has often given me a reputation of being hard -hearted.
7. I am very good at knowing the meaning of dreams.
8. If I wasn't doing what I am doing now I would like to design beautiful shoes for awkward and ugly feet. 
9. I do not like flying.
10.  I am speed reader.

That's all for now. Have a great week. 


Sunday, September 19, 2010

One of the Wombles goes to America .....

Look who is going to America. Why it's one of the Wombles?  Can you remember who this one is?  Is it Orinoko? I'm not sure myself - all I know he is very cute and he is one of the treasures I was sent home with on my last day of work.  Originally he and 2 others were lovingly knitted for the Children's ward but got rejected because knitted toys cant be kept germ free so the poor husband of the wife who knitted them brought them into us. He did not dare appear back home with those treasures so soundly refused.  Anyway the idea was our children at work would play with and adore these creatures but somehow they never got out of my office. So after all these years of imprisonment this one gets to exploring. He is taking a healthy food guide with him. ( as a good NZ ambassador should). I hope Rosie can find something delicious to make and eat in there.

Hey what's this he's sneaking along with him? A bag of pineapple lumps! I must have had my back turned when that happened. Oh well just this once I will allow it.

Have fun in America little womble. 

As for me - Im off to Te Anau for a week. What fun. 

Cheers Marg

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A brisk walk does wonders ......

Here we are quite the happy couple. That's me on the second last day of work with the new manager Nikki beside me. ( sorry Nikki if you didn't want to appear in a public place- but like I said - your private life is over- especially if you want to do something you shouldn't in Dunedin.  From now on you will always see someone you know) . I am wearing my practice clothes for being a civil servant. Black is the theme but in truth I can't do that well. So I have my second hand coat ( $20) my second hand boots($10) my second hand and most favourite second hand  turquoise jersey ($1) with my own not second hand navy blue tights - and the underwear is also newish. - no not new at all.  So I thought tomorrow when I turn up at the  new work place - I will give this outfit a whirl and see if it passes muster.  If not - I'm not that bothered.

Actaully the staff put together a CD of about 150 photos of the farewell and last weeks moments. That's the only showable photo. I look a bit too wrecked in the others.  I decided this weekend that since I'd had such an emotional workout over the week I would bring all things into balance by having a physical work out as well.
So today saw me entering and completing the half marathon from town to Port Chalmers.

It was a brisk 21 km walk.  The number below shows you not my placing but almost certainly the as usual lateness of my entry into the race.

I can still walk so that's a good sign. The day was lovely , the company cheerful and the sense of satisfaction enormous. It kind of felt like a good way to end a hard week and a perfect way to start a new one.   I might even do it again next year - just because I can!!

So here's to a week of doing whatever you please just because you can.

Cheers  Marg

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Onwards and Upwards .. moving right along please .....

Last week the form to terminate me from payroll was prepared,  I can no longer authorise payments, sign cheques or handle any financial transactions,  My email address has  been signed over to the new manager . On Friday she sat in my chair for the day while I faded into the background. Several visitors arrived unanounced and it was my job to introduce them to the person who has become me.  Today I polished my travelling spoons with some rarely used silvo  and wrote my farewell notes.   I felt very sad and of course have had many moments of questioning my decision and only time will /can answer that.  I was also determined not spend anymore time writing or thinking about leaving my great job of 10 years so this is literally the last word on it. 

To cheer myself up , this afternoon I took myself off for a walk - signs of spring everywhere and also ominous clouds which have now resulted in gale force winds . The house is shaking - but safely.  A real contrast from Saturday morning when I woke up feeling the Christchurch earthquake.  It  was scary feeling that here. I can only imagine how scary it must have been for the people in Christchurch.  What must be hard will be  for a few days the earthquake will be front page news but in a week or so we will have forgotten it , but Christchurch has many long hard months of recovery ahead.  

Feels like this should be a week where everyone takes good care of each other or at least of themselves.  

Cheers Marg

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A parcel a week goes international...

Last week I kept thinking I would write a blog-post about our trip to Auckland but some how there just weren't the right words to capture all the fun of the birthday weekend and spending time with family.  I never had a lot of children myself but am very grateful to our parents for giving me so many siblings. 

So this week you get to see a parcel a week going international. Yep this little lot is going off to the USA. Apparently marmite is unknown there as are pineapple lumps and New Zealand themed greeting cards. The whole package has to weigh under 1 kilo or else the postage will be terrible. So sadly I have had to limit the junk I'm sending off. However I couldn't resist these two Snoopy's - from weirs ( where else) . One in american and the other in mexican costume. She will need these to brighten up her room I'm sure and to keep connected to her familial wierdness genes .

Walking to work this week has been amazing. The blossom is out and if you look at the ground you could be fooled for a minute into thinking it's been snowing - but really it's just all the blossom on the ground.

These window boxes are very inspiring also. These are on the main street and someone who works inside has gardening style. Don't you love the silver beet and daffodils growing together?  I do. Makes me happy every time I walk past.

Here's to a happy first week of spring. 

cheers Marg

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The travelling spoons

Look closely - what can you see there? 
Yes, a bunch of flowers I am still enjoying, but no, take a closer look - peek into that cup. It's full of  travel spoons - those strange little enameled implements that people used to pay a fortune for to prove they had been wherever they had been. Then they would take them  home and who knows how they were used?
What I do know a lot about is their eventual fate.  They end up in the junk shop for sale at $1 or $2 a piece depending on whether they are still in their plastic foam - lined cases.

Then I buy them. Not because I'm after my very own spoon collection but because these are going to be the leaving gifts for my staff.
I considered my budget - about $ 2 per person. ( NO I'm not being a cheapskate - we have a large team.- numerically that is ) And I came up with this marvelous plan of giving each person their very own spoon from me
First because they represent some things I like - they come from my favourite junk shop and the price is perfect.
Second each spoon is symbolic. It represents a journey that someone made to somewhere. Some of those places are familiar, some are not. Some of the spoons speak of times  and significant events. 
That's what teaching is like. It takes you both physically and figuratively to places you never thought you'd go before. Sometimes you end up in a place you never could even have imagined. There are always significant times and events as you teach that change you either for better or worse- inspire you or embitter you depending on how it pans out.  
 I plan to pass these wise thoughts along with some suitably silly ones on to my colleagues as I leave. I am sure if nothing else I will be remembered as being cheap and wierd. What better legacy can I leave ? 

 SO Here's to a week of  being cheap and weird. 


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brussel sprouts and the strange week.

Help -can anyone tell me what's wrong with the brussell sprouts?  They are not the small  dolls cabbages I was expecting but rather they are all loose and floppy. They don't look delicious at all -I'm pretty sure I'm not going to bother eating them-they look so horrible.. I'm wondering if it is a soil problem ? and as Ive found out this winter the lack of sun to the garden has resulted in very indifferent  growth.

And because you are so interested in brussel sprouts here's another picture for you to look at.  No I get it - you are not interested and clearly there's not enough going on in my life at the moment. 
Quite the contrary -too much so- which is why I'm focusing on the minutiae. 
This week has been quite the most bizarre week. 
First there have been emails from Rosie from the grand canyon. I can't even begin to contemplate the size and scale of that place much less think that it was less than a week ago since she left. 

Second I had to show my successor through my work place and introduce her to everyone which I found very unsettling.  Later I had a very vivid dream that could only be explained by that.  But  very annoyingly it hung around in my mind for several days which unsettled me more.

Then thirdly -suddenly and inexplicably.  I have a 19 year old boarder till the end of the year. I can't quite figure out how that happened and  I'm more than  fine with the arrangement. But I have been reminded of one of the secrets to success that I've learned as a manager. Communicate,communicate ,communicate. And don't be afraid to even if it feels awkward. The capacity to misunderstand another's requests or intentions is enormous. 

so there we are. I hope it will be a BORING and PREDICTABLE week.  Lets look forward to that.

 cheers Marg

Monday, August 2, 2010

Up up and away .......

This weekend just gone in the frenzy of packing and getting all those last things done before Rosie took  flight this morning we managed to fit in a trip to Long beach -one of our favourites. 

I took my new  camera and made a startling discovery  - I can't use it unless I'm wearing my glasses otherwise I can't see the picture I've taken. Look at this dreadful shot above.That is supposed to be one seamless panoramic shot made up of 3 photos taken close to each other. Even I am surprised at my lack of skill there and annoyed that my eyes aren't what they used to be.Glasses are so annoying and I can never find mine at the best of times let alone wear them constantly!!!

That aside I'm  really pleased with the general ability of the camera to take a good crisp picture.

Later when we got home I made another bag for the USA.

This one was an old hospital blanket -lined with impossibly slippery  and sure to fray lining. But who could resist those Russian dolls peeking out at them while sitting in a not so interesting class.

I was nervous about this bag. I know that here in Dunedin you would have no trouble wearing it loudly  and proudly -but I'm not so sure it will be understood down in Southern USA.  Never mind I made it as an expression of my affection -not because it needs to be used.

It was  a muted goodbye at the airport this morning. We  sad but happy - she nervous but so excited. Good luck Rosie -missing you already!!!!   What an adventure you are going  to have.

Here's to a week of dreaming of new adventures.