Monday, November 26, 2007

Home-grown

When Tommy arrived back from the Barrier the other week he brought back a wee surprise....




... Potatoes!! The garden had been trampled as work started on building the deck so unless it recovers from the beating (and it may yet) there won't be any vege ready for the holiday at New Year. Luckily Tommy decided to see if there was actually anything under the soil and found some lovely tatties under the ruins... Our first Barrier crop!!


And they were delicious!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Random acts of …

Driving to work this morning, feeling very pleased with myself achieving so much over the weekend, I spotted something… er... unusual.
I was in a queue of traffic waiting for the lights. A few spots ahead of me there was a bus and someone standing on the pavement beside it. I thought perhaps she was waiting to cross the road and wondered why she didn’t cross while the traffic was at a stand still. Then as the bus started moving of she started waving madly at the bus… ah… she’s waving someone off… a friend or perhaps a child on their way to school. But then as the next car moved forward she turned and waved at it too. I could see the driver stiffen up with shock.
As I passed she looked me in the eye, her face was beaming a happy smile,eyes twinkling merrily, and as she waved at me I couldn’t help but smile and wave back. I looked in the rear view mirror as the traffic moved slowly forward and could see her waving at every single car that passed.
I wonder how many people waved back?
Was she a bit loopy? Had she “escaped” the hospital? Or was she just spreading the luuurrrve?
Whatever the motivation it gave me the warm fuzzies and I can’t help but quietly smile each time I think of it... I hope that my smile and wave does the same for her!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Home alone...

Early Thursday morning Tom left to catch the ferry over to Great Barrier for four days. I heard from him in the evening with very exciting news… the deck is under way and will be finished in the next week or so!! Very cool, I can’t wait to see it! Tommy suggested I fly over for the weekend… damn… that was a tough one. I tossed it up, live for the moment and go over to hell with the housework. The problem was I had planned to do stuff around the house and I knew if I went away then I’d be thinking about what wasn’t getting done. I decided not to go…
When Friday dawned grey and bleak so my decision was sealed… the housework would get done after all. I had hoped to get away from work a bit earlier so I could get a head start on the tasks I’d set for myself. Unfortunately a couple of key people were away so I stayed on in case anything came up that I could help with. After that I didn’t much feel like doing anything but I cleared the dining table and tidied the lounge before I sat down to upload the duck video in the last entry…. Bloody thing kept falling over and I got interested in a late movie so it was 2:00am before I finally went to bed.
The sun streaming in the window woke me … or rather pierced my eyelids around 8am… Gaaah!! Lots to do… gimme coffee!
I rearranged the closet in Libby’s room, cleared the laundry, put a couple of loads of washing through the machine and hung them out… Did the dishes, scrubbed out the kitchen sink and laundry tub… screwed the seat back onto one of the dining chairs, re-attached the drawer handle in the bathroom and Libby’s dressing table, and a few other small chores. I’ve been wanting to make another batch of apricot and chilli jam for ages so that was next on the list. This time I pureed a can of mango and added that to. When I added the sugar it looked like a lot more than normal but it was already mixed in… turned out okay though so I guess I’ve “improved” the recipe again… happy accident!
With all that out of the way I decided I should tackle the digital photos. This is a job I sort of started quite a while ago after we had a bit of scare with the computer but had lost momentum on. My plan was to format the external drive we already have and move all the photos over to there as well as having CD/DVD backups. With Tommy away it was the perfect opportunity but first I had to try and create a logical way to file everything. Everything that was taken since I went digital was pretty much in chronological order but Tom’s photos taken prior to that weren’t really in any sort of system. It took a while to knock them into shape but I got there in the end. Everything got copied over to the external drive and then deleted from the PC as I also made DVD copies of everything. After that I found some random CDs with photos on from various sources so they also got copied to the external drive… Yeehaaa!! All done now so I’m very happy about that!!
I headed off to bed earlier than the previous night but hard a hard time getting to sleep and then dreamt crazy dreams all night…
I was up and on my way to the markets by 7am. I did both Takapuna and Browns bay and stopped in at a temporary clothing sale and scored some bargains… Xmas party dress for $15!! Score!!
Back from the markets, I made a quick coffee while I sprayed the oven then went next door to see Eunice and drop her washing basket back to her (she saved my washing from the rain earlier in the week – what a love!). I also took her over a small jar of my apricot/chilli jam. I spent about an hour chatting with her and by the time I got back the oven was ready for wiping out and rinsing. Then I put the new cushion covers I picked up from the dollar shop on my old cushions … instant makeover! I had “discovered” the curtains for the dining area when I clearing Lib’s room on Saturday so the next thing to tackle was putting them back up! They came down a year ago when we were having the house painted so it was well over-due getting them back up.
It’s been a busy weekend and I’m really pleased with what I’ve achieved. It’s also been quite weird having the house to myself for a whole weekend… It seems like a very long time since it last happened! I’ve really enjoyed being able to do things in my own time without having to think about anyone else. I really has been very productive and yet very relaxing. I’ve been able to get stuck into my list early in the day which has left time for more relaxing pursuits in the afternoons. At the same time it’s been very odd going to bed knowing Tommy won’t be there when I wake up. I have to say that I’m looking forward to him getting home in a couple of hours…. He’s on the ferry back right now. It feels that he’s been away much longer three nights!! We have so much to catch up on!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mid-week Oasis

Yesterday I went to the Ellerslie Flower Show with Mum and some of her friends. It was a bit of a treat to have a day off work in the middle of the week!

Mum and co had left Dargaville early and arrived to pick me up - or rather get me to drive - around 9:30. It had beed raining so the traffic was pretty congested and we copped a few showers of rain on the way over. Still, we had a really good time. I don't know whether the weather had put people off going or if perhaps being midweek not as many people could go on that day but whatever the cause there weren't any great crowds there. This meant that we didn't have to queue for any of the exhibitions which was a blessing. I reckon going on the first day was a great idea... thanks Mum!

It was a real feast of colour, shapes and ideas. I tucked a few ideas away and managed to restrain my plant buying to three small pots of Bower Beauty... I couldn't resist the lushness of it!! I also treated myself to some smoked garlic and smoked/spiced salt... mmmm!

We were pretty lucky with the weather... well mostly... it rained a few times while we in the exhibition marquees but when we all meet up for lunch it faired hosed down!! We raced to get shelter under a tent near the entrance. It eased (but didn't stop) after a while and we all had coats or umbrellas so we decided to carry on and meet up in another hour. By this stage we'd seen most of the show and what was left was essentially just stalls... still... you never know what you might have missed....


video

Ha!! Those little fellas sure were having a blast!!

It cleared up not long after this so we went back and revisited some stalls to buy goodies ... I try to leave the actual buying part until just before leaving so that there's less to lug around the show and it also means I've got time to decide if I really do want those things and avoid impulse purchases!

All in all a good day... will have to do it again next year!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crackers!

We were invited to a BBQ dinner and fireworks on Monday (Guy Fawkes) with friends. They have two young children that were very excited about the prospect of seeing their crackers going off. We had a nice meal and as it got dark we started making preparations, filling a large bin with compost as a base to sit the fireworks in and taking everything down to the back of the section.
I had taken my camera so that I could play about with the settings and try to get some photos. I'm trying to learn a bit more about the multitude of features on the camera each time I use it so it was an interesting experiment. A lot of the photos I took were duds... blurry, over exposed, under exposed, or just plain missed the action. There were a few that have escaped the delete key... the sparkler photos turned out kind of cool.

It seems to me that the crackers aren't as spectactular, don't last as long and the sparklers burn too quickly now. Everything seemed so much more magical when I was a kid. They can't have changed too much though because the kids still obviously enjoyed themselves as much as I used to.
I feel quite sad at the prospect that fireworks may be banned in the future because of accidents that occur or the down-right stupidity of some of the people that use them or the poor (dangerous) quality of some brands. Why does the majority have to miss out because of the actions of a few? Every year it seems we get closer to losing this. There are reports of burns and fires caused by fireworks. I find it a bit strange how around Guy Fawkes the media reports on fires more (even though many of these aren't necessarily firework related) but they are really more interested in ratings so fuelling the fire with sensational reporting is the name of the game. Grrrr!
There are so many things out there in far more use and causing far more damage on a more regular basis than fireworks... cars.... alcohol... just for starters. Both individually and in conjunction with one another cause more havoc on a daily basis than fireworks do but I don't think they'll be getting banned anytime soon!
Like I said ... crackers!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Addition...

Meet Lululoo... my new laptop!! We haven't really gotten to know much about each other yet although I suspect she already knows more about me than I do her!!

Do you think you'll hear from me a bit more often now?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nana's china cabinet

In the corner of my grandparents’ living room was an oak, lead glass china cabinet. It had been there as long as I could remember. It was always a fascination and held all sorts of treasures. There was the obligatory china – cups, saucer and cake plate sets, little knickknacks, vases and figurines collected over the years. Pretty much everything in there had a story attached to it – sadly I don’t remember them all.

There was a figurine of a lady that had been broken and carefully glued back together a couple of times. This was something my mother (as a girl) had bought as a present for my grandmother at some point.

There were mementos from Mum's wedding - her bouquet, garter and the wee figures off the cake.

There was a tiny wee elephant in a bean. My grandfather and one of his friends had a thing going where they would try and outdo each other finding the smallest gifts… I have a feeling this might have won. I remember, if we’d been really good, my grandfather showing it to us. He’d take the wee box out of the cabinet, carefully removed the cotton wool wadding and reveal a little wee bean with an ivory cap. We’d sit very still while he would fumble with his big fingers to remove the cap and then very carefully shake out the contents… a tiny carved ivory elephant. We would look at it, dwarfed in his big hands, sitting as still as we could and holding our breath in case we caused it to be dropped. Getting it back into the bean and the lid back on was always a more precarious procedure than removing it. I used to love it when we were allowed to have a look and wonder at such a tiny wee thing.

There was a weekend, before the farm was sold, that I was up for a visit. Nana was getting a new lounge suite and was in the process of moving out the old furniture out, having a spring clean and getting rid of the china cabinet…… WHAT?!?!?!?

She said it had been there for years and she was sick of it, she’d take it to the dump or a second hand shop….. WHAT?!?!?!?
All the memories… all the history… it had been there as long as I could remember!! How could she just biff it out?? I was horrified!
“Nana, I’ll buy it off you! Don’t take just throw it out! We’ll get it valued and find out what it’s worth and I’ll buy it off you.”
Nana wasn’t having any of that…. But she said I could have it. She wasn’t interested in the money… she just wanted to make room for her new couch.

She had taken a few things out that she wanted to keep, including a few tea-cup sets that she was putting aside to give to nieces on their 21st, and then she told me to pick out what I wanted and she’d pack up what was left so my sister could look at it and pick things out. Being the eldest I often had first pick at things and having already been given the cabinet I didn’t feel right about taking first dibs on the contents. I asked Nana if we could pack it up and store it under the spare bed until my sister was visiting and could have first choice on what was there. Nana agreed and so we started wrapping the bit’s and pieces and packing them into boxes.
My grandfather (Tom) came in to see how we were getting on, he sat in his chair while we packed and told me where the china cabinet had come from. Before Tom was balloted the farm my Grandparents and Mum lived between Waima and Taheke (South Hokianga). When they were going to move the locals organised a farewell party for them and had a whip-around which was used to pay for the beer. According to Tom, Nana’s brother (who didn’t drink) reckoned they’d bought too much beer but Tom reckoned it was a pretty good party and they had enough…. Anyways, they were presented with the balance of the money from the whip-around and with it they paid for the china cabinet.
While Tom was telling us this Mum had come into the room. She was about seven when they moved to Omamari and had been given a cup, saucer and cake plate with a kingfisher design by the ladies in the CWI as a farewell gift. She said that it should stay with the china cabinet so she would dig it out of the cupboard for me.
And so… I now have the china-cabinet and some of the original contents. As it turned out when my sister had her pick of the contents she chose things that I had not been so keen on so that worked out well. For a long time it had a place in my lounge or dining area of the various homes I’ve lived in since then. Sadly now we are short of space and it now lives in Libby’s room. I feel a bit mean relegating it to a little place where it is not often seen although I do occasionally go and peer through the glass or pick out something to look at… it acts as a prompt to memories and although it seems lonely I can’t bear to part with it altogether.

One day I will have another home where it can once again have pride of place… but until then I will just have to live with the occasional visits to the spare room.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Hips

Finally it came around… the show! We had been hyping ourselves up for this all term. As well as practising in class we’d had special rehearsals on Saturday afternoons for 3 weeks.

The first group practise was rather daunting trying to get the “formation flying” right. We had all learnt the dance we were going to perform but it was being modified slightly for the group performance to create more movement around the stage and make it more interesting... More interesting alright! For a while there I was a bit worried about whether I’d manage to get it together. In some places instead of doing the moves stepping first to one side then the other (turn stepping right, stepping back to left, turn stepping right) we were meant to turn it into more of an L shape. It doesn’t sound to complex and seemed okay walking through it but once the music was on and we were doing it at speed it all seemed to go pear shaped. After the first rehearsal I vowed to practise it until I got it.
I got up early on the mornings and practised the routine over and over until it was time to leave for work. By the end of that first week I was feeling pretty good about it all. One of my classmates, Santi, however was not! I got a call on the Friday afternoon asking if she could come around and practise with me because she was so worried. We went over the routine at least half a dozen times until she felt better about it and took off home to practise by herself.

As it turned out at the rehearsal the next day the extra practice paid off!

Only one more week until the show!!

We had a very quick rehearsal on the day of the show then headed over to the theatre for a run through on the stage. Wow!! The excitement was building especially with all the other dancers arriving and getting ready. Santi & I went for a wander to the shops and downed a RTD each then despite there being nearly and hour and a half before we had to be ready we decided to get into costume. I’m glad we did because not long after it was almost impossible to move in the dressing rooms. We were the first group on stage and I knew it would all be over in a flash so I was determined to enjoy every moment… that shouldn’t be too hard given I always feel as though my face will split from smiling when we’re dancing!!
Santi & I went out for another RTD to kill a more time and for a wee bit more dutch courage! Then I got a text from Tom saying that he’d forgotten his camera and to meet him outside and to give him mine so he could get some snaps…. Trouble was they were still on their way and the countdown was on for going on stage!

Sadly I had to be on stage before Tom could get to me so I didn’t get any photos of us on stage (although there’s a couple here - #10 & 11) but from all accounts we looked great!

As we were waiting behind the curtain for the audience to seat we were fizzing with excitement. The show had sold out so we'd be dancing for a full house.

At last the audience went quiet and we could hear the MC welcoming everyone. Then the curain opened and..... it was all over so fast!! So much preparation for just a couple of minutes ... But what a buzz! I'd do it all over again!

I caught up with Tom and the others at intermission. Throughout the break there would be drummers on stage and anyone that wanted to dance could get up so I quickly helped Libby into her costume and she hauled me up to the stage! She looked great and had a great time dancing “in the show”.

I watched the second half of the show from an area set aside for the performers, upstairs behind the main seating. It was a bit cramped but I took loads more photos to pass onto others I knew who were performing. It was great to see all the different groups from all over, different levels and styles and so many beautiful costumes! Stunning!


I am busting to see the DVD of the whole show to see what we looked like on stage but I guess I will just have to wait until next term to see that! In the meantime I'll just have to be content watching Libby's time in the spotlight...


video

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast ye!

Ahoy mateys!!! I hope ye all be finding much merriement this fine "talk like a pirate day"
Bless ye and all who sail with ye!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dreaming...

I’ve started thinking about making another bedlah (bra and belt) for my belly dancing. I had started dreaming about a costume in burgundy and gold and had figured I could use some of my off-cuts of silks and brocades to create a patchwork for the base and then add sequins and beads for the trim.

The problem is I have a couple of other projects I really should finish first… a cross-stitch that I am nearing the end of. I’m just about sick of the sight of it but am determined that it will not go into the cupboard unfinished to haunt me later!!

I also have a patchwork quilt that is all hand sewn and pretty time intensive – I am aiming for it to be big enough for a queen sized bed and am probably a quarter of the way there... that will get dragged back out of the cupboard once the cross-stitch is finished.

In the meantime there’s no harm in dreaming about how the bra and belt will be... is there?

Perhaps not as it will keep creating opportunities to find other suitable bits and pieces for the construction... For example, I was in Ikes in Browns Bay, an emporium-style end-of-line-bits-and-pieces shop, where I was looking for some black stretch velvet and I found the most gorgeous sheer burgundy material with gold embroidery. I could barely contain myself as I stroked it and started thinking of my new costume... Loooveelly...

THWACK!!!I gave myself a mental slap to remind myself I was on a mission of other sorts and started searching the aisles for the velvet. Ikes has loads of material but there is really no structure to the way it is arranged, some on lying stacked on shelves, some stacked upright against each other in aisles. You have to be prepared to search quite hard to find what you are after and even then you aren’t guaranteed to find it... sometimes you’ll see something one day and then decide to go back the next to buy it but find it has disappeared altogether. I scoured the place, but each time I walked past the burgundy would pause, reaching out to it….

THWACK! I had to remind myself of the mission... the mission… black velvet. After half an hour of shuffling through the stacks I eventually asked the shop assistants if they had any of what I wanted in stock and alas – no!!

I returned to the burgundy, stroked it, unrolled some to see how it would move through the air, imagined how it would look as a skirt, a veil, a choli... Drooooool...

The entire time I struggled with the knowledge that even if I bought it I could not allow myself to start another project until I had finished my others... also knowing that if I left the shop I may never see the delectable stuff again... I relented and bought some – plenty enough to make a skirt, top and veil… tucked away in the sewing cupboard it waits for me... and I keep dreaming...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Time flies....

.... when you're having fun. God Lord it's been a long time since I've been here! Life has been too busy and I've let the updates slide. Will have to do something about that in the very near future!! Stay tuned for imminent updates!