Saturday, March 27, 2010

When will you be happy?.....

When will you be happy and what will it take to make you happy? asked Saga from Christchurch last weekend while we were on our breathing course.  We were asked to ponder those questions overnight. It wasn't hard.  Now and not much were my two answers.  

Today for me was a good example of these answers. This morning I walked with a group of friends and others up through Bethunes Gully over to the organ pipes and down through the Grahams Bush walk to Sawyers Bay. 

It was a lovely climb up through the bushes then over to the Organ Pipes.  Apparently if you go to Ireland you will find very similar rocky outcrops. Local legend there has it they they are sticks thrown by giants. Stick, or stones who knows  - they are certainly spectacular.

This afternoon I managed to massage $30 from our grocery budget and took myself off to an afternoon concert. In the lead up to easter the southern symphonia performed St Johns Passion by Bach. I don't cry in movies or over books but give me amazing music or poetry and Im done for. I was really happy to be there by myself so I didnt have to explain myself to anyone. This really is such a great little city. There's so much going on here. A lifetimes worth of stuff actually ...
You may or may not recall a couple of posts back, that I mentioned that I had managed to get some curtains for $7 from the hospice shop.  With autumn upon us I knew that I had to have curtains in my new room but of course there was nothing in the budget to make that happen ,so I was really happy to find these. There were a little bit too short but I managed to find some green fabric almost the same colour as the walls in a remnant bin for $15 and so for $22 and  a whole day of stitching, pressing, and reshaping I have these warm, very pretty, fully thermal backed curtains for the room. Just in time!! Now that satisfies all my happiness criteria - a problem solved, a bargain, creativity, lovely to look at,  and finally useful. What more could a person want?    

Rosie is coming home for Easter so a parcel won't get there in time. NZ post now takes a minimum of 4 days to deliver to Wellington so she will be back before then. Just as well - it was probably her parcel money that paid for my concert today. 

Here's to a happy week all round. 


Sunday, March 21, 2010

The art of living ..... ( some people call it heavy breathing)

Have you ever read any books by Alexander McCall Smith?  I have enjoyed much of his writing and in particular the kindly view he has of people despite all their foibles and weaknesses.  I always want to think nicer thoughts after reading one of his books.

Anyway, this weekend I found myself in a situation along with 5 others where each one of us could have been one of the characters out of one of Smiths books. ( read - slightly odd)  There we were in the OUCA clubs and societies building for the whole weekend. We had given up one night and 2 days  to "master the art of breathing".  For those of you who are right now thinking we had come to learn to breathe heavily into a telephone let me put you straight .  This is serious self- improvement style breathing!!

  Saga from Christchurch had come to teach us.  The first thing she made us do, was promise to attend for the whole weekend. I think she could see each of us furiously planning unexpected deaths in the family or some other tragedy about to overtake us. Nodding in agreement wasn't enough.  The words had to pass through my lips. " I'll try to come tomorrow." A pen is thrown towards me. "Will you try to pick it up please?"  OK point taken " I will come back tomorrow".  And you know what?  I did come back for the next two days and all in all I can say  I'm really glad I did.
         taking time out of one's own life generally has good results, but learning to be conscious of your breath, your thoughts, your emotions also has positive spin offs. Gaining some distance and perspective allows you to see things a little more clearly or maybe to worry less about the concerns that are ever present. When you focus on breathing you certainly get to be present in the moment and that is much harder than it would seem.

 I also liked the way the course did not expect you to sign up for anything else, or necessarily to rush off and follow a particular  religion or adopt a dogmatic rigid lifestyle.  I could not bear to do that ever again. So yes - it was good. And where before I might have called the group slightly odd I would now say a group of really interesting people who I wouldn't mind saying hello to in the street if I ever met them again.

I can't show you Rosie's parcel this week. I decided you simply would not be interested in seeing packets of gluten free pasta, falafel mix, marshmallow easter eggs and a jar of homemade pickle. No that would be tedious. Instead take a look at some of the photos of the children's garden at our centre. Aren't these lovely? My philosophy has always been that if children are here all day then this is their world. Our job is to make it the best world we possibly can for them to  live and learn in.  

Here's to a week of many breaths.




Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jam packed with deliciousness ....

This week to amuse myself  I pretend I am a star of the Food in a Minute Show.  By the time you have finsihed reading this I will have whipped up this superb batch of  Meusli. First the finished product all good to go.

Now you see a selection of my ingredients left thoughtfully on hand by my kitchen assistant

- sunflower seeds
 -pumpkin seeds
- dried apricots
- almonds

other ingredients

- rolled oats ( main ingredient )
- coconut
- oil/water and 1 T honey melted together
- rice bran flakes or other wheat free alternative - oat bran , cornflakes , millet etc

Now mix all that lot together , bake in the oven till it's as crisp as you like it and serve with your favorite kind of milk, yoghurt and stewed fruit. Good for breakfast or for pudding.  The whole thing is fast and above all thrifty.  ( a perfect addition to Rosie's parcel this week)

Speaking of thrifty. Did you notice the flowery fabric under those cups? They are my $7 hospice shop curtains - thermal backed - which are soon to adorn my dining room windows. Now that the nights are drawing in the curtains need hung.  These are perfect - it was as  if someone had left them there just for me to find for my house.

Wishing everyone an equally thrifty week.

Cheers Marg

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Project Lovely .....


If you recall, last week I set myself the challenge of finding lovely things in dull places over the next week. 
I had been so precoccupied with life I forgot about all the great sights. So this week here are some of my top lovely things. 
- Above - my garden vegetables in my very dull old kitchen sink.  Below - a handful of sweet peas on the window sill. Also Doug and Caths kitchen sink which I think is very lovely and if I were an envious person I would be suffering from sink envy. ( actually  there is no denying it I am)


Last week we also got an invitation to attend a hospice memorial service for Dad but instead we decided to have a get together of all who live close enough to attend. So these pictures are for you MaryAnna, Jen , Mama, George and Rosie.  Miri's tomatoes and cheese from the farmers market set the scene for what we do best - Eat  and talk - Ken and Mary brought the juice, coffee and chocolate, Doug the customary bacon and egg pie, Cath's brownie, Miri's homemade foccaccia and well I pretty much just provided the venue. Somehow the day meandered towards late afternoon and we all went to see the gravestone

Here they go - our grandmother, sister and father. I think the stonemason has made a great job of the headstone,   with plenty of room for one last inscription.

Did you know that in 2010 Rosie has taken up collecting souvenir teaspoons? She doesn't know it yet but is about to find out when her parcel arrives to her new address in Wellington this week. I think she will love both of these. One is a Port Chlamers teaspoon - so that will be very sentimental for her and the other is a shilling or something like it beaten into a spoon shape. A bargain at a dollar each at Weirs. 

Lastly here is a strange tale of curious connections.  At our work we have a teacher who comes from Zambia.
There is a masters student at the university who is about to go to zambia for a reasearch project that is set in the same town our teacher comes from. Coincidentally I have some freinds in the geography department at the university who mentioned to me that they had  this student and who needed accomodation and contacts in this same town.

 I was able to put the student in touch with our teacher who has organised the student to stay with her family. 

Now for the curious bit. Today Rosie sent me a text saying that one of her friends and a friend of his had helped her shift into her new flat recently. The friend was a masters student at Otago about to go to Zambia for a research project. She mentioned she had accomodation sorted out with the family of a zambian woman who happens to be a teacher in Dunedin. It is the same person and the teacher is the teacher from our centre. I know it's a small world but I find it strange that Rosie just happended to meet this very same person.

 Bye for now