Wednesday, February 28

Lucky Me!

Look what I got in the mail yesterday! A lovely Fiber Art Postcard, from Quilt Pixie in Canada! And it was posted on 20th of February, & arrived 27th, so that was quite good.

It is the first time I have ever seen one of these cards, & it is lovely. I was so intrigued to see one in 'real life'. I have been reading about them on lots of blog sites, but this is my first!

It has been very damp here the last few days, & in fact was raining early yesterday, but the card seems in perfect condition to me, so your experiment with the podge worked. I think it has travelled amazingly well.

A BIG Thank You, Donna, for such a lovely gift, & lovely thought.

I treated myself to a bit of fabric yesterday, but have still not got the one I want, so I might have to go back to the fabric shop today.. sigh, sob...oh boo hoo what a pity, haha.

I am planning on making a quilt that Joyce has been featuring on her site, & need to get a good black fabric. I cant believe that I came home yesterday without one! I got a bit carried away with the specials that I found.

It was SB's birthday yesterday, & it brought back the memory of when he was born, as I am sure every mother remembers on her child's birthday, no matter how old the 'child' is!

He was born on Tuesday, and on the Monday evening I could feel the contractions slowly & painlessly beginning, & they were so regular, I had no doubt that he would be born next day.

I had a visit from the MIL during the evening, but didnt say anything to her, not wishing her to 'get in on the act' as it were. I did tell GOM, who was HYH, (Happy Young Husband) & he didnt seem overly impressed. I am sure he thought I was imagining it.

So off I went to bed, labouring away all night, with the contractions increasing in intensity, as the night wore on. About 5am I woke HYH & told him I was definitely in labour. "Oh yes?" he muttered & rolled over & went back to sleep. So caring!!

So I walked about a bit, sat a little, walked some more, then finally went out & got down on my hands & knees & scrubbed the kitchen floor! To this day, I dont really know why I did that, but I think it somehow eased the increasing pain in my back.

Finally about 6.30 am, I woke the sleeping HYH, not feeling very kindly disposed to him by then! I really felt like slapping him awake, to share some of my pain, but I restrained myself. I might have sounded a little shrill, by then.

So off we went to the Hospital, where they pronounced that yes, indeed I was in labour & proceeded to perform all the indignities upon my person, that were routinely done in those days.

HYH had scarpered the minute he heard discussions & plans for the indignities. Perish the thought that he might have to witness any of said indignities, or, have more than a vague knowledge of any details. Off he went to work, to await the call telling him he had a son- although in those days, we didnt have a clue as to the sex of the child, & just had to 'wait-&-see'.

I had wonderful staff attending me, & they were very kind, sitting with me, rubbing my back, & generally trying to make me feel comfortable. Finally at 3.04pm, our son was born, & he was perfect. He had really long eyelashes, & all the nurses oohed & ahed over his lovely eyelashes bemoaning the fact that the girl babies rarely seemed to be blessed with those eyelashes.

I had once read that when little Pisces babies are born, the little bumps where their wings were attached, are still visible. It could have been true of our son, he was extremely fair of face, & everyone remarked on what a beautiful baby he was.

While I had been giving birth to him, I could hear another poor soul giving birth, & she was very vocal, & there seemed to be a lot of drama involved, with nurses rushing about, & Doctors flying along the corridor. I later saw the baby who was born to that poor woman. It was a Girl, & she weighed 14 pounds!! No one could quite believe that the woman had given birth naturally, & the baby looked about 3 months old, compared to our, smaller, 'normal' sized babies. SB was 7lb 3oz, which seemed quite big enough to me!

Of course, then began the wrestling with the breast feeding, the colic he developed, the interference & confidance-robbing 'advice' from the MIL.


The ghastly, ancient, Plunket Nurse, who came to visit & told me horror stories of babies dying in overseas countries, of the mother who drowned her baby. What she was trying to achieve, who knew! I used to take SB for long walks in the park which was close to where we lived, just to try to avoid the MIL. But she would just wait until I had to return. I had to endure her every Saturday afternoon. How I missed having my own mother close in those days.

I am glad my daughter has more 'guts' than I did, & she wont stand to be dictated to, or critcised by inlaws. She stands up for herself, & I feel very proud of her.
And our children were & are worth all the heartaches, for all the joy they give us!

Monday, February 26

Brain has a 'holiday'.

I got this from Blue Moon Girl, & my brain is out of gear today, so I thought I would 'take a holiday' & do this.

*Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read.
*Italicize the ones you want to read.
*leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
*If you are reading this, tag your it.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)- seen the movie, a powerful story.
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)- I watched the movie more than once!
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible -most of it.
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)- I dont think I finished it..
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)-movie
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) ? does the movie count?
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)- one of my alltime favourite books
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) -
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)- again -the movie
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)- I feel I might have read this, but not sure.
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)



I cheated a little here, as I have seen movies, & not always read the books. I usually find I prefer the book, as opposed to the movie, where I have read & watched. Exceptions to this were The Great Gatsby, which I enjoyed both the book & the movie. And The World According to Garp, as I did enjoy the movie almost as much as the book, though they were different.

Sunday, February 25

Morning Glory

I dont know if that is the true name of this vine, but we call it Morning Glory.It is one of the few things I have flowering in my garden at present. There are some flowers in the front garden, but I dont see that from inside the house, or from the back yard.

Our son came up to stay the weekend as it is his birthday on Tuesday, & we usually have a family get together for both his & my birthday. He is still having a lie in, so I hope he slept well. He has nerve trouble with his neck & shoulder, due to disc problems in his neck. Perhaps our vet could be of help!

We had family together last evening for tea. Unfortunately our Granddaughter was working, so couldnt be here for the get-together.

Oscar the 'granddog', came up, & he ran Leo ragged. I fear Leo has damaged his neck again, as he is limping, so we will have to take him back to the Chiropractor Vet, who does magic with his hands. He must have been born to be a vet, as he is so good with the pets, & he is so gentle, & seems to sooth the most troubled of animals.

SG had us all fooled, he decided he was going to stay the night, & got all ready for bed, then zipped out, just as his parents were leaving! His father said he didnt think he would stay!

We went to a few garage sales yesterday, & I got a nice assortment of books for 10 cents each!! In really good condition, & excellent, interesting looking titles. I have read half of one already, & that makes 5 books I am currently reading all at once! A bad habit of mine, but I find I keep track of them all the same, & enjoy them just as much. Occasionally I find a book will be so gripping I have to just finish it all at once. I am reading a book by Nicholas Evans called 'The Loop', & I am enjoying it but I find it very harrowing to read of slaughter of animals, & I have to take a break from it now & then.

It seems the older I get, the more distressed I get when I read or hear of mistreatment or cruelty to any animals, wild or domestic.

It has been so 'heavy' with humidity here the last few days, it is very enervating, & it makes everyday tasks seem onerous. All I want to do is sit about with the airconditioner on full blast. And last night we had a thunder storm, which was accompanied by a downpour. It all seemed to last a long time. Leo does not like storms & gets very nervous about them.

I hope you have all had nice weekends. Hope Bec enjoyed her Terrigal getaway- including the thunder storms!

Friday, February 23

Eccentricities.

When we lived in the Southern City, I spent a lot of time in the actual city.

When BFJ & I first 'met' the city, we had hitchhiked down for Easter Weekend.
We were then Apple Picking up in the Nelson region, (which I have previously blogged about) & it was quite a long way down the South Island to Christchurch.

BFJ & I set off confidantly, quite sure we would travel safely to & from our destinations. As it happened we didnt have too much trouble getting down to the city.
A lot of our friends we had met Apple Picking had done the same, & the weekend was a beautiful one, with perfect weather which doesnt always happen at Easter time in Christchurch. We had a wonderful weekend, & though the journey back was somewhat fraught, that is another story, for another blog.

We had decided we liked this Southern City, so after we came to the end of the Apple Picking season, we moved on down to the City. And duly found jobs, some of which have been previously blogged about.

Time passed, a lot of water flowed under the bridges of the city, a lot of 'life' happened to us, & we were both married with children, & still living in that Southern city.

The City had great 'Characters'. There is a huge Cathedral in the Centre of the city, & a huge Square, where many of the Eccentric Characters would congregate. All buses led to the Square, so when BFJ & I would arrange to meet up for a day shopping, we would always get the bus to the Square. And all the buses in those days were red. I believe they have changed now.

It was fun to stand & listen to the Wizard rant & rave, dressed in his full Wizard gear, with long black robes, & tall black Wizard hat. Tourists would stand in awe, & he would pose for photographs. He claimed to be a REAL Wizard, & was very witty, & always fun to listen to. People loved to heckle him, & soon he had a strange little 'companion Character'. And he LOATHED her!

She was called Reenee(sp?) & she brought along a ladder, as she was a very short small woman, with curious orange, wispy, short hair, & she claimed to represent the 'Christians'. I think she felt the Wizard was a 'dark' side.

Unfortunately, Reenee felt she could sing. She had a very non musical voice, & an old violin, which she could not play! So she would get up onto her ladder, & screech & wheeze out noises, which she claimed were Christian songs, to drown out the evils of the Wizard! What a cacophony!

And the Wizard would rant even louder, & call her dreadfully disrespectful names, & watchers on the sidelines would howl with laughter.

Once though, the Wizard leapt upon Reenee, & snatched her terrible old tuneless violin & smashed it! He yelled out that he could no longer stand the noise of the DEVIL, coming from that 'Wicked Woman'!! He told her she was 'an abomination' and to leave his domain NOW.

I cant remember but I think that was considered one step too far, & he got reprimanded over that incident, & had to replace her violin. Much to his disgust & horror.

So, the Square was always good for free entertainment & laughs aplenty.

And quite close to the main Square, there was another park, with a huge statue of Queen Victoria in the centre, & the birds used to use if for perching rights, & consequently old 'Vicky' would be constantly covered in bird droppings.

And once the students from the University cemented a toilet on her pedestal "to give her ease". They also cemented another on the steps of the Cathedral, but I think that was before the Wizard came to dwell in the Southern City.

And there was another old eccentric who used to sit in that park, on a wooden bench with his head covered in a knotted hankerchief, and wearing an old raincoat.

He would feed the birds, a lot of which were seagulls, & pigeons. They sat all over him, & he would sit there streaming with bird poo, & laughing insanely at the birds. And tourists would photograph him. I always wondered who washed his clothes, & I wondered why he didnt fall ill from some terrible disease.

I dont know what happened to him, but perhaps the men in white coats came.
Or perhaps he did fall ill.

I am not sure what became of Reenee, but she was there for many years, & she used to speak on radio in the evenings, & our young son, SB used to listen to her, & become enraged at what she said.

We were not very fond of Reenee, because she used to accost us & preach at us, & was generally a pest, if you couldnt 'shake her off.'

As to the Wizard, I dont know what became of him, either. He flouted all the laws, & said he could, because he was a Wizard. He never voted, & used to refuse to fill in the census form. He would get in a boat & go outside the legal waters, so claimed he didnt have to fill the forms.

From memory, he had skirmishes in court from time to time, over things he did & said, but of course it all made him so much more colourful, & mostly he was enjoyed as part of the city, and part of it's personality & character.

I was trying to find a picture to post of the Cathedral in the Square. It has seen many changes over the years, & many odd happenings. If only buildings could tell their stories!

You could climb the stairs inside, & go right up into the top, & stand & view the city. Once, our employer's son, C, who sang in the chior for the Christs College, who used to sing in the Cathedral, was standing in a group, singing, on the lawn under the spire.

A poor woman threw herself to her death, over the railing, up on the Spire & almost landed on C. It traumatised him for years, he was only about 10 at the time.

A higher fence was erected but still suicides happened & in the end they stopped people from climbing so high. I never felt tempted to climb- being frightened of heights & all.

The most beautiful gardens, & the lovely river, made the city very beautiful in Spring & Autumn. It has all changed now, but the Botanic Gardens are still very beautiful, and the river is still an attraction.

Thursday, February 22

This miserable excuse for a pic, is of sunup this morning. I seem to get much better results in the evenings, facing the West. I do dislike the spoiler effect of the ugly power poles, but I suppose my lifetime wont see then banished, though I have lived in suburbs with underground wiring.

I once worked for a company who made those porcelain insulators, for the power poles, so I guess they keep people employed.

It is a very humid day here today, the sky has become weighted looking with clouds, but I am sure they wont yield any rain, just more humidity.

I went shopping with DJ this morning, & we had a very pleasant time. SIL had SG, so we could take our time, & have a good few laughs. Quite a bit of time was spent at the pet shop windows, feeling very sorry for the little puppies being kept captive behind the glass. And we cant help wondering what happens to the little things if no one buys them, & they get past the 'sweet puppy' stage. Most of them were the little 'designer dogs' & though I suppose ours are also in that range, we didnt get ours from Pet stores.

I also got some ink for my printer, & have now printed out, & posted, a letter of complaint. I wont go into the details of the complaint, but it was over some really rude behaviour, in customer service, which really upset me, so I decided to do something positive instead of just seething quietly, or bemoaning the fact to others.

When we first both became retirees, we had endless hassles with the CES, which over here is the Commonwealth Employment Service. The CES handles people's pensions, sickness benefits, child allowances, age pensions or what ever the current PC term is for payments. We had endless rounds of phonecalls, letters telling us one thing, only to be contradicted next time around! Then we got letters demanding we 'repay' monies we owed them!

That really was the final straw, after months of trying to get things straightened out, & many many hours spent on the telephone, to no avail. And each time they would give you a call receipt number, which more or less meant nothing! In the end we managed to get an appointment to see 'someone'. Who was a small girl, with a little twitchy rear, that flicked around like a bullwhip, every time she walked. And "O Grandpa what big eyes you have!" when she greeted the men.

After we had patiently explained all our woes, & the fact we felt we were in fact owed more than we had been paid, & re-producing all items in triplicate, such as birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, not to mention other demanded mails & documents, we were told she would have to re photocopy all these documents.

So we waited patiently, only to be told on her return that we would not, in fact, be getting paid the monies we were still owed.

Upon enquiring why, we got told we hadnt 'complained about it in time'. So we asked how could we complain when we didnt know we had been underpaid. We got no statements telling us what our entitlements were, & we had no knowledge of how our payments were in fact calculated.


So, off twitched the little whip again, only to twitch back & declare we would not be getting paid. On further request for a reason we were told- & this took our breath away- "Because".

So I demanded a complaint sheet, which took a long time to be unearthed, & handed over to us. We were told we couldnt be allocated any further time today, for further consultation, so off we went. Seething. Inwardly.

And I filled it all in, & accompanied it with a very detailed letter, containing all our queries, & complaints. And I listed all the call number receipts & other data I had been fed over the phone.

This all took about six months. One day I burst into tears on the phone, I was just so fed up. It was like some horror movie, from which there was no return.

Eventually we did get our money, & we did get an apology.

Some months later I received a phone call asking if I would be interested in taking part in a forum to discuss the shortcomings of the way we were dealt with. I laughed hysterically, & told them I was the last person to consult! No, no, they assured me, they wanted people who had been disgruntled, they welcomed criticism to determine how they could improve. They would pay me for my time, & I would be given lunch, & transport monies. And no it would not be docked from my allowance.

I went to the forum, I took part, I voiced my concerns & told my story. But I felt quite ashamed, as my story paled into nothing with some of the other stories. A man whose wife was diagnosed with cancer, who could not even be given a carers pension, as she lay dying, so he could take care of her, & look after their children. A woman who was paid $5,000 & told it was hers to go & spend it, & enjoy it. She repeatedly asked if it was really hers. Finally after 4 months, of assurances it was absolutely hers, she spent a little of it. Then she got the bill for it. It had been wrongfully paid out to her.

There were so many stories that just took my breath away. I was in tears with one man as he told his tearful story. How could a cold 'department' do this to ordinary decent people? Why is there no allowance for 'circumstances'. And, seemingly no allowance made for 'humanity'. Bureaucracy gone mad.

I dont suppose much has changed. We havent had cause to have any further direct dealings with CES. Our payments go into our account, & we just take note of the payments. And keep our fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 21

Phone Rage

Or, How To Waste An Hour of Your Life!

I have just spent approximately an hour on the phone, listening to idiots tell me the virtues & wonders of the very product which has broken down, & been sent off to be repaired or replaced!!

First you get lectured about having all the necessary information to hand, so you make sure it is all lined up, within your sight, on paper.

This is very necessary, because after sitting listening to a long series of 'Your call is very important to us, please hold'. And, 'There are two callers on hold before you'. And, 'You are in a queue, & your call will be attended to'. And endless exhortations to buy said product because of it's most marvellous properties, & features and new technology!

You sit & ponder the ludicrousness of these bleatings about the 'Super Features' of this product, because your personal one has crapped out in the worst way, & would not perform any of the wondrous & fabulous features, about which it claims to be so 'Top of the Range' & expert.

You start muttering in colours, & then screeching in very bright colours, about the 'idiots' who taped such maddening crap, to be played repeatedly in your weary earhole. And you imagine yourself getting hold of said idiots, & strapping phones to both ears, & replaying their tapes to them for a couple of hours, to see how THEY like it!

And as they assure you that you will shortly be attended to by a 'technician', you remember that little Damian, or whoever you last managed to raise from the dead, to speak to, told you it is only a call centre, & they dont actually have the units there. This remembrance calls for more colourful noises from you, & more shouted things, like LIES!! WHY ARE YOU LYING TO ME??!!! YOU #$%%^&!!!! %$##!!!

So... by the time a real live one comes to your ear, you are reduced to some gibbering wreck who cannot for the life of them remember any thing about the product or it's model number, or your 'Service receipt number'. Or really, why the hell you are holding onto the phone in the first place! Luckily you had the foresight to write all this down, & you suddenly remember this fact, rather truiumphantly, & you reel off the relevant information.

Then you enquire of Damian if the wheels have fallen off the call centre for the day? He takes this quite literally, & becomes confused. Haha, you say, I was only joking. He sounds relieved & then repeats & repeats all the information you have just given him, as if this will awaken his brain to the task at hand.

Finally, he comes to an understanding of your query, & your assurnaces that the courier took the said item away some 14 days ago. So then he tells you he has to go away to the 'back' to check on this information.

And you are again left dangling on the end of a dead phone.... wondering if he has gone for a smoke, or perhaps even a 3 course lunch somewhere on the banks of the river which runs through the city he is working in. And you mutter more colourful threats this time.

And just when you decide he has probably done this to 'get rid of you'- because, let's face it, surely noone is going to sit around THIS long on the end of a dead phone!- he arrives back- in time to catch muttered thoughts about his whereabouts & heritage, & he apologises for taking so long. He assures you he had to go Way Way out Back, to discover the status of the unit. Which it turns out has been repaired- F! I was hoping it would be replaced, as I work on the theory of once a lemon always a lemon!

So after a heated hour, with the fan on full blast to try to 'keep my cool' I am finally told I should have the unit back by Friday ....or Monday.

No wonder GOM leaves me to do most of the telephone dealings.

We had a prearranged visitor, a stranger, to the house this morning. Leo did his best to bite the poor man on his leg!
I was appalled, so I will have to see about getting some training for the mut. We cant have him doing that.

Tuesday, February 20

Grooves or Smooves..

I read a post this morning on smilnsigh, (& I am sorry I dont know how to add the link in my text, but she is in my Fav Blogs list) about wanting to change your image.

It made me laugh because GOM & I had watched a programme on TV about women wanting to get rid of the "batwings" they had developed under their upper arms.

One very plump looking woman had her arm 'flaps' filmed in slow motion, to demonstrate just what they looked like! It surely made us laugh, & we wondered how many times she walks about flinging her arms in the air like so!

The 'treatments' on offer seemed totally ludicrous to us, & highly over priced- especially in view of the fact that they wouldnt last very long! The surgery option was totally hideous, - much more ugly than the slight puffed look.

It made me think of some of the dreadful plastic proceedures women -& increasingly, men- have done to their faces. And the awful tight faces which can barely move, let alone smile or -perish the thought- laugh uproariously!

And those awful injections, that 'bloat' the lips or forehead... how can anyone admire them? It seems sad that people of 'advancing years' shall we say, feel so insecure in themselves.

I could not be bothered, even could I afford such a waste of money. I am too much of a coward, plus I have 'earned my stripes' on my face. My grandchildren rather like my warm soft arms, my Granddaughter christened them 'Nanna's Puffies" when she was quite young.

I can still remember the lovely soft sensation of being enfolded in my grandmother's soft puffy arms, & bossom. How comforting!

What ever happened to encouraging people to be comfortable with who & how they are? I despise the media attention to appearance as being the measure of a man/woman. I know the 'beautiful people' will always be attractive to the majority, but what about character, & warmth & kindness?

The inner being is so much more important than the outer shell we were given. I am not critisizing people who have glaring defects, or oddities if they 'blight' their life, but I object to the 'idle rich' just having vanity proceedures to make themselves look 'younger' or more 'beautiful' ... which can be very debatable, in a lot of cases. The character & personality lines are what helps to soften a face, imho. But I suppose it takes all kinds, & beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I find I am drawn to the 'characters' of this world, I love eccentric people who boldly 'be themselves' no matter what. I am not quite so brave, & suppose I am fairly conventional in the way I dress & look, but it is not nearly as important as it used to be when I was young, & it is so liberating to just let age happen.


We had a lovely day with our Grandson. We took him, & the dogs to the beach, in the morning, & spent a wonderful couple of hours walking, looking at the little shells, seaweed, paddling, & the dogs had several swims. It was lovely & shady in the area we went to, & so quiet & peaceful. SG had a great time, & he found a large painter's brush, so he used to it scrub shells, & was just so happy pottering about in the water. He stood on clumps of shells & rocks, & told me he was on his private Island, & I couldn't come onto it, because he had locked it. He used the paintbrush as a cutlass when he was a 'pirate'. He is full of ideas about role playing, which I suppose is part of his age.

On the way home he told me he thought there was a monster under our car, and was I going to 'Fuckem up the monster?" I said "Pardon?" So he said it again, & I finally realised he was asking me if I was going to "VACCUUM up the monster" Whew, luckily I didnt lecture him!

When we came home, he made the whole lounge a cubby house with all the quilts, & he used all the pegs to hold the quilts down- "For when the wind blows, Nan".

When his tired Mum came to collect him, late this afternoon, he was reluctant to go, he had had such a fun day. There are days when he can be 'difficult' but today was just a lovely day.

The dogs enjoyed their day too, & were all tired out from all their beach side adventures too. Oh the thrill of sniffing a thousand other doggy smells, & the thrill of widdling as many times as possible to leave their little messages behind, for others to 'read'.

My biggest regret of the day is, that I forgot to take my camera! Next time!

Monday, February 19

Passing Time.

Isnt this a beautiful Sunflower.
My Best Friend J sent me some lovely birhtday greetings, along with this photo.




And this photo followed the first. Taken a month apart, she likened the progress of our lives, to the progress of the Sunflower.



When we were young together, we were like the full, fresh young flower, seeingly filled with endless energy for the sun & life.
And now, as we age, we are losing our 'petals'.
But I like to think of the rich bank of seeds in the centre of the bloom, carrying so much hope for the future.

It could represent the bonus of our knowledge & wisdom we have gained throughout our lives, & hope to pass on to our children, & their children.

I am being very spoilt today, by GOM. Get to do just as I please, & he bought me a delicious Black Forest Cake for my birthday! Sinful, but bliss!

And I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all who left me wonderful birthday wishes on my blog. How lovely of you all.
And Molly, fancy your OC having the same birthday!

And I dont know what the hell Blogger is up to now, but it has taken away all the nice colours it gave me to use for print, & so I have to stick to black!grrrr.

Sunday, February 18

Shimmer in the sky

This was the mornng sky, sunrise at 6.30am



And this was the same sky 15 minutes later.





And here are BFJ's (Best Friend J) two gorgeous Granddaughters, with a Giant Teddy, outside a Thames shop. Arent they lovely girls, & what a nice big Teddy.



And here are the girls again, in the Redwood Forest, in Rotorua. It makes me homesick to see those lovely fern trees, & the gorgeous green of it all.





Friends coming over today for a bit of a get together for my 64th Birthday! Eeek!
Always think of Paul McCartney's song, 'When I'm 64'. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64. Will you still be sending me a Valentine, Birthday greetings, bottle of wine"

There was no Valentine, but we never did observe that day. And my official birthday is not until tomorrow, so no gifties today! That is, if there will be any, haha.

It is SB's birthday next on 27th, & we usually have a get together for both of us, but he wont be up till next weekend. I always look forward to seeing him, as mothers do.

It is a nice day herer, so hope it doesnt get toooo hot!

Saturday, February 17


You are The Star


Hope, expectation, Bright promises.


The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised


The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.



This seemed like a bit of a novelty.

I didnt manage to get any pics yesterday, on my travels out.
It is another hot day, feels very humid, so I dont suppose I will get much sewing- or re-sewing done today.

I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Friday, February 16

A visit to the Doctor.

I wish I had pretty pics to post, but I just dont seem to have anything. I am hoping to get off somewhere today, to see some different sights.



I spent a good deal of yesterday afternoon 'frogging'. Yes, I had stitched up patches the wrong way, so had to sit & unpick them. GRRRR.


But, in the morning, I had a Doctor's appointment. Nothing dramatic, just 'routine maintenance' as I call it. I told my Dr I am one of 'D's SOB's'.
My Doctor's name is D & she told me she had never heard of that, what is it. I said it stands for "D's Sad Old Biddies" or 'Bags'. D burst out laughing, said she never thought of it like that, & she kindly told me I am not one of them!

I think I have mentioned before, the Doctor's we consult, are a husband & wife team, & they have 5 children, so are well aware of what family is all about!

GOM usually consults P & I see D, & accompany GOM when he sees P, so we 'know' them both.

Yesterday was quite a nice day, not too hot, & the airconditioner in the waiting room keeps it all nice & even. There seemed to be quite a long wait, but people tend to be friendly & chat to each other, while waiting.

So we are all sitting like birds on a wire- it must have been 'Biddies' day, as there were no men. Anyway, in comes a harried looking mother, with her son. Son has bright red hair, in a huge woolly curly mass in his head. Son is not well, but he whinged & whined & performed & carried on & on. At first there were smiles firmly plastered on the faces of all of us. Quite prepared to be indulgent, amidst assurances from the mother to her son, that they would only be a 'minute' & P would see him directly.


Well the minute dragged on, & on, & slowly the smiles faded & were replaced by blank stares, then those were replaced by sneaky frowns at the child, when the mother wasnt looking. Eventually open scowls were being directed at Sonny. The mother is quite well known in the village, & she tried a conversation with another patient she knew.


But Sonny was having none of that. He wanted full whingeing rights with his mother. He did look pale, but seemed to have plenty of energy to throw his body about squirming, & whining. And ignoring her pleas for him to sit still, & be quiet.


There used to be a box of toys for the children to entertain themselves, but because of cross infection worries they are now not allowed. Nor are waiting room books for children, although I see the magazines are still there.



I had taken a book to read, & was really enjoying it, but I couldnt concentrate with Sonny performing like a spoilt brat.


Eventually P came out & off they went into the inner sanctum. There ensued bloodcurdling screams of gigantic proportions. And they went on ...& on ...& on. Raised voices could be heard coming from the surgery. P's voice thundered, the mother shouted, but Sonny relentlessly screamed! I swear I saw a girl smile "Karma". But I could be mistaken of course.


Finally Sonny comes bounding out the door of the surgery, & his mother leaps to grab him. The wailing carries on, louder if possible. Then P comes out of his surgery & says to the mother, "Get him out of here!!"


The mother grins, & makes another appointment, then tells Sonny he must apologise to all of us, he has given us headaches. "Tell them all 'Sorry'!" she says. Momentarily, Sonny is shocked into silence. He gapes at us, then proceeds to bellow some more.


Finally they are gone. A collective sigh of relief goes up! P comes bounding out of his surgery & into D's. She told me later he was getting a headache pill!


When D checked my blood pressure, I her told it could well be up after listening to the little Sonny roar, bellow, & shriek! It was ok though.


I hasten to add here that P is a very popular Dr, & that is just his manner. He once told GOM that he was an 'arsehole' for not taking his medication. GOM really enjoys a plainspeaking Dr! It worked too, because GOM seems to be taking his medication properly now.


And P came out to tell the Receptionist that if Sonny was not ok, to get him back in, & he would see about further treatment.


I once saw P come out into the waiting room, glance at a very thin pale man, & say "Hello So& So, still alive I see" So & So laughed, & I was stunned. It was before I really knew P, & knew about his humour & his 'gruffness', which is just a mask. He is a great Dr, & all his patients like him- perhaps with the exception of Sonny.

Thursday, February 15

The Sum of "You".

This is a pic of a quilt I made for my daughter, J. She is very fond of orange, & loved the border on the quilt- well, she loves the whole quilt. I used some blocks using patterns from books, but I made some of them myself. I drew the animals, & the fish, & the scarecrow blocks. This quilt is a larger one I made for my Granddaughter. She loves purple, so that featured in it quite a lot. I made it using a pattern from Patchwork Pumpkin.

I am still resting on my laurels a bit here, as I have not proceeded with much further sewing over the last few days. We have had other things to occupy our time, & it seems quite nice today- not too hot, so I might get some sewing done.
It is something to ponder, the thought that we are all of the people we have ever been, and all of the ages we have ever been. And we carry all of those people inside us forever.
And 'they' make us the person we are today.
And 'they' must surface every now & then, I suppose.
I can still vividly remember being 3 years old, & terrified when my finger got shut in a car door, & the tip of it was almost severed. I relived that feeling & horror when my son got his finger shut in the front door & the tip was only hanging by a thread of skin. And I looked at it, & wished I hadnt. I could see the bone. I just panicked, & stood in the doorway screaming, clutching my son's hand.
I suppose, inside, I was a terrified 3 year old again, with no control. I saw the neighbour at her kitchen window, but she never came to help. I found out later, she had seen the blood, & went to hide under a bed! That was her terrified reaction.
Luckily another neighbour heard my screams, & she came to the rescue, said her daughter had done exactly the same thing, & she calmly got a towel, & just wrapped the whole hand & arm up. Then got her husband to take us to the Hospital. Where GOM came & took over. They had told us it would have to be amputated. I went home to get his things, a favourite toy. When I returned a wonderful Doctor had saved it, & sewn it all back on.
Usually I seem to be good in a crisis, & just go all calm, & deal with things. It is later that I fall apart, & have my cry. After the crisis is all over.
When that same son came off his bike, & badly broke his arm, front teeth, & nearly lost an eye, I coped until the crisis was 'over.' I rode in the ambulance with him, & spoke calmly to him, to try to keep him calm. Later, at home, I fell apart totally.
There were childhood accidents for my daughter also, & I always managed to keep calm. But there are still moments in my life when I seem to be a worried little girl again. Moments when I feel I would like a hand to hold, & a 'Mummy' to guide me along. And moments of teenage pain, relived.
Of course all the good times, when happiness dominated, are part of my being too. And helpless, enraged parts, & helpless giggling parts, or roaring with laughter. My daughter made me laugh in a shopping mall, & I laughed so hard, I couldnt stop. I was doubled up laughing, but now, I cant even remember what it was about. But I still remember the laughter! And people staring, then grinning at my helpless laughter.
And times in school, when a group of us would get the 'giggle bug', & we would be unable to stop. It would seem contagious, & sweep the class. I can still remember a singing teacher we had, who demanded to know what was so funny. None of us could tell her, which made it somehow seem funnier.
(As some comic relief- I read a post on Breed em & Weep yesterday, that reduced me to helpless tears of laughter. I couldnt read for the tears. It is a post called "Return of The Squalor, Redux". Dont read it, if you have an aversion to doggy doo!)
But back to the totalling of me. haha. What I want to know now, is, if all the people I was, are still there, where did the 'shell' go? I looked at my wrist & it seems to have become my Grandmothers. It has had a perpetual bruise on it for about 4 weeks, & just when it appears to be gone, I rebruise it, somehow, & there it is again- grandmother's skin!
I can still feel a little girl, ....but I can never appear a little girl. Or even a young woman. Age sneaks up on you, while you are imagining you are still only 'so&so'.
I dont feel my age, but parts of my body feel plus! Very much plus!
The offending wrist, this morning.
I think it looks worse than it really is. I am left handed, so I guess it gets more use.
It really does feel like a nice day, so I will be off to enjoy it, one way or another.


Wednesday, February 14

Maximum Peevery!!

Blogger seems determined to drive me insane this morning. Plus the camera wont cooperate! GRRRR! This is a pic of one of my favourite dolls, who happens to be called Meg. She was sculpted by a lady who lives/lived in Newcastle, NSW Australia. I put a skeleton in her so she could be posed, but at the moment she has 2 broken arms! Which I must mend. The photo is very blurry, but I had made my mind up I would upload it, & so the quality is very poor.

This is a pic of little Cookie, who was scuplted by another Australian sculptor called Karen Blandford- I think she has since married, & may have a different name now. I also put a skeleton in Cookie, & she can be posed. Luckily her skeleton has not broken. The pic is very bad, seems blurry, but after taking about 110 pics, couldnt get the camera to do better- or it must be me!

This is a picture taken this morning in the garden, of a Tibouchina flower, & even those turned out blurry. I love the colour of these flowers, & this little tree just grew by itself, so I didnt have the heart to kill it, I just transplanted it, to a more suitable location. It must have been determined to live, as even I didnt kill it. Haha.
I dont know why I am such a bad gardener these days. I used to have a nice garden, & could get things to grow quite well. Now I just have a brown thumb.
My Grandmother had a great fondness for her garden, & she would leave the dishes in the sink to get out into the garden before it got too hot for her. She love little Lilly of the Valley, they were her favourite flowers. Never seem to see them these days. She also had plenty of bulbs & I have always loved spring flowers. I saw a pic of some yellow primroses & was reminded of my Grandmother's garden, & how she loved primroses too.
There was a huge pink Cabbage Rose grew in the centre of the lawn, & I loved that big, full blown rose. It had the most heavenly perfume, & if I stop to think about it, I can smell it now. The flowers would be so heavy they would weigh the branches down, & the bees loved the blooms. I suppose she treated it to some of the cow dung mix she used to make. She would get my brother to collect the cow pats from the paddock, & then she would mix them with water to make a potent mix, which seemed to do wonders for the garden- vegetables as well as the flowers.
She used to have a friend who visited her once a week. The friend was a Welsh lady- how I loved to listen to her lilting accent! She would arrive on the bus in the afternoon, & stay until a later bus took her off home again. I could never understand the friendship. It was so formal. They never called each other by their first names- it was always Mrs W, & Mrs D.
My Grandmother used to make cucumber sandwiches, & fruit cake & they would usually be having afternoon tea, when I arrived home from school. If I was lucky I got to have some sandwiches or cake. And Mrs W seemed to just chat away non stop, sitting in my Grandmother's dining room. And my Grandmother would just go out to the garden, while Mrs W chatted on, & my mother always laughed about this. My Grandmother would pick her parsely or whatever for tea, & just come back inside to hear Mrs W still chatting away, & she would just murmur & carry on with getting things underway for tea.
Mrs W was a widow, who lived alone. She never stayed for tea, & I suppose there were no late buses, she would like to get home before it grew dark. She had a huge orchard, & used to boast about all the fruit she had, but she never brought so much as an apple for my Grandmother. We kids used to have a giggle about it all behind the tankstand, well out of earshot of our Grandmother.
Sometimes, when my Grandmother was on one of her garden missions for vegies or parsley, I would stay & listen to Mrs W, but I cant remember any of the things she used to talk about. I find that quite extraordinary really. I wonder if my brother can remember topics of conversation. I just remember the wonderful accent. And how she wore her hat all afternoon!
I can only remember my Grandmother going to visit Mrs W once in all that time. It was when my mother took her home in her car, & Mrs W invited us in to see her orchard. I dont think we came away with any fruit either! How funny.
Remembering that has brought a smile back to my sour old face!! haha.



Tuesday, February 13

Would you change, -any, -all??

Just before I get onto todays thoughts. This was the sunrise story this morning, looking out to the east. We had been hoping for further rain, but it hasnt arrived, in spite of some heavy duty looking clouds. The huge tree in the centre of the pic is a huge old Gum tree. I am glad it is not close to our house!

It seems the post yesterday about the old Button tins/jars/etc, stirred lots of memories in everyone..

My Grandmother had an amazing memory for things & she could tell a story about almost any button I chose to ask about. I loved the old leather buttons, off men's coats. And I still have a beautiful carved old mother-of-pearl button, that I treasure. And now I have my mother's button tin also, so have a lot of memories in there, too.


Something I think about often these days, is being a teenager.
Oh those angst ridden years! I wouldn't want to relive those years for any thing in the world.

The terrible anxiety when you were about 11- or in some girls cases, only 9 or 10. Will I grow breasts? What if mine dont grow? How will I know when they are growing? How will I be able to tell if they wont grow?

Then the awful embarrassment when they did start to 'sprout.' Oh how can I hide them. Dont they look silly, poking out through my cotton dress. "I need to wear a cardigan, NO I am not hot! "

Then there were the hours spent in front of the mirror, looking at your hair. Why isnt my hair straight/curly/wavy/blonde/dark/red, like my best friend. All the boys love her -why cant I look like she does.

Trying out different hairstyles, deciding in my case, to grow my hair long, so I could tie it up, or do it in the 'French Roll' that was the fashion in the day.

And then there was all the anxiety about boys. How to know when they were not just pulling your leg? How to talk to them without blushing -a terrible deep red that just wouldnt go away.

Oh no, I wouldnt wish to relive those years, I definitely would not!

I dont know whether I feel the young ones these days have it easier, or harder. I sometimes think they are grown too soon these days. But there are some things I think they are luckier about. There are not so many 'secrets', they can talk about just about anything, if their parents are approachable. I think young mothers have it harder in some respects.

For teenage girls, the passage is not easy. I suffered from terrible menstrual cramps, & would bleed so heavily, my uniform would be soaked on arrival home. I was a pretty 'mean' character at times when I was about 16, & I suppose I suffered from PMT. But of course in those days it was never talked about, nor dealt with, the way it can be today.

I am sure it was just as painful for teenage boys too. Suffering from all sorts of insecurities, & sometimes terrible acne. Which must have been really painful & was often disfiguring, & yet I found myself quite often attracted to boys who had scars, or 'interestingly ugly' faces.

The absolutely most handsome boys, were the big Maori lads, whose beautiful satiny brown skin & good looks were irresistable to most of the girls in our classes. And they seemed not become victims of acne the same way the Pakeha lads did. Or perhaps we didnt notice.

I was rather lucky with my teenagers growing up. I had a few 'steaming love dances' as we used to call them, now & then. But on the whole they were not badly behaved kids, & we feel we got through very well. They used to bring their friends home to our place, to spend time, & stay often, & they would all gather on a Saturday evening or afternoon at our place. We had a large house, & a lovely pool then, so we were fortunate to be able to welcome those kids.

My brother & I couldnt really have friends home like that. Our Grandmother's house was very small, & she was past wanting noisy loud kids, rip roaring about. But I think it made both my brother & I determined to let our kids have all the friends they wanted, home to visit. And my brother's boys have friends who regard their parents as almost second parents.

And in GOM's case his mother made all comers welcome, so he always had friends to play & stay also.

I have had a very nice day. I got taken, unexpectedly, out to lunch! It was lovely & now I need to have a little siesta, perhaps. Too many nice things to eat!

Monday, February 12

Remember??

I read Finn's post about molasses with amusement.
She asks us to blog about things past- things that have now, perhaps, gone out of use, & perhaps even out of most people's memories.

I have been trying to think of things from when I was very young. One of the things that stands out in my mind, is Buggy Lamps.
Though I dont remember them actually being used, our Grandmother had some, which she had kept from her days of driving a buggy. They used to live in the shed next to the old Chook House. We have no idea what ever became of them.

There were boxes of old magazines my mother had kept, & all sorts of wonderful old & intersting things. I used to love to go through the old magazines, & read the stories, & look at the fashions, & patterns for clothes. There were some old Soup Tureens, complete with lids, & huge ladles. All wrapped in newpapers, which could be interesting to read too. I loved the old smell of it all, & it didnt seem musty, so I guess the shed was well dry. I think my uncle & Grandfather built it soon after my grandparents moved into their house.

And my Grandmother's lovely old Button Tin, which was covered in string, made by one of my uncles as a school project. I suppose it was macrame. There were old shoe buttons & a button hook, which always fascinated me. It used to be a rainy day treat, to be allowed to empty the Button tin, & look at all the old & interesting buttons.

And something you never seem to see now, were hot water cupboards. These would house the hot water cylinder, & were wonderful for airing the clothes, & making sure they were not damp. My Grandmother used to store all her linen in the Hot Water Cupboard, which was sometimes known as the Cylinder Cupboard. And if she was making bread or something with yeast in it, into the cupboard it went, to rise in the warm air.

When we moved over here to Australia to live, we were surprised to find most houses didnt have Cylinder Cupboards- the hot water cylinders stood outside or under the house. Our old Cylinder had sacking lagging on all the pipes, so the heat would not escape while the water was being run.

And we had a big Water tank, & I suppose our water was rainwater, because the big tank stood on a huge Tank Stand, & we were forbidden to climb onto the tank stand. I remember once my brother climbed up to retrieve a ball or kite, & his hair all stood on end, as he was just about touching the electricity wires, which ran from the house to our Uncle's bach.

Another thing I always disliked, but they were commonplace in those days, was the copper. I remember my mother lighting the fire under it, to boil the clothes, & make the whites white! And there were two concrete tubs, to rinse the clothes in, after they had been boiled. A lot of things got hand washed, because with the coming of the 'modern' synthetic fabrics, coppers & boiling water did them no favours! They could easily end up cooked, shrivelled little things..ruined forever.


When BFJ & I went apple picking it fell to her to light the copper fire. I could never manage to get it going. But it ruined a few of our clothes, & some items never recovered! We soon learnt that black jeans are not good with pillowslips.


But then my mother got a washing machine, & what a difference it made to her life. And the old hand wringer was consigned to the shed, along with the washing board, which had been made of corrugated glass.

Then the old copper was used to store bottles of beer, kept for when my Uncles came to stay. And my brother & I occasionally sneaked one, & drank it behind the chook shed. And pretended it was delicious, .... but really? not nice at all!

We are having rain here today, & had showers last night. I hope it is going where it is really needed! Which is a bit silly, - it is needed everywhere.

And Congratulations B & A for your new Grandson!!

Sunday, February 11

Soft Hearts

'Roast Pussy', checking Fern out, after her speying operation.



Katie, who came later.Aslan, who was a handsome, welladjusted, & wellbehaved cat.

My daughter has a very soft heart. She has always had one, it seems.




When I used to take her to our small local Supermarket, shopping for groceries, when she was about 3, she used to love to 'help' with the shopping. And occasionally she would 'get lost' in another aisle. Her little voice could be heard calling "Mummy, I do love you!" The staff would smile. They had got to know her.


I dont remember her having tantrums- perhaps time has made me absent minded. I can still remember SB's tantrums! He once put his head through a glass door, in a rage. Luckily he didnt damage anything but the glass as it broke.


DJ was one to love her family above others. And she loved animals. We had a cat called Taffy, & he went missing for 3 days, & when he came home he was wounded beyond healing, & had to be put to sleep. DJ was very upset, as we all were.




When we moved into the inner city Hotel, we couldnt have pets. It wouldnt have been fair to keep them inside with no outdoor area at all for them.


But once we bought our Country Hotel, we had 2 dogs, & a kitten, which was a 'rescue' kitten. She had been badly abused by a little girl, & she was rather a vicious animal. She wouldnt allow cuddles of any sort. Even our dogs were very wary of her. Her name was Missy, but we couldnt seem to train her to stop piddling indoors. And we started calling her Roast Pussy. As I kept threatening her, that if she didnt behave, I would roast her in the coal range!
We eventually had to accept she would never be 'sane'. The vet recommended she be put to sleep. So we reluctantly had her put down, & we quickly got a replacement, who was a lovely natured cat, the kids called Aslan. They were reading the Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe at the time.
Of course when we came over here to live, we found new homes for our cat, & the dogs. Though we wanted to keep Katie, & did intend bringing her over, after we bought a house, but our friend who had 'adopted' her in the meantime, didnt want to part with her, so we let her stay.
DJ, with her soft heart, would walk home with dogs tagging along.
"They just followed me home, Mum"
They got returned to the point they had started following!
Then she came home with a kitten. 'Perhaps you can keep him.' we said. So she took him for a walk, & some boys scared him, & he shot off & she never found him.
Various animals & people would come to our place, often 'lost' in some way.
One Friday night DJ brought a boy home. He had been sleeping in the railway stations.
"Come home with me," she said, "My Mum will give you a bed."
And so I did.
And we had Brett for almost a fortnight before he returned to his 'foster home'. He was a nice boy, & we offered to keep him, if he would'nt return to his latest foster home. (But we didnt tell him, just told his 'case worker', who came out to visit us, & told us the story of Brett's life.
He was 14 when DJ met him. He had lived in 15 different homes. He had lived with his mother briefly. His father briefly. He had been with grandparents, with defacto grandparents. It didnt seem possible the number of relationships the poor boy had tried to form, only to have them ripped apart- I wondered how he had survived.
His mother would come in & out of his life, promising him everything- then she would vanish, & just leave him bereft again, with lies & broken promises for memories. But he told me he loved his mother best of all, & was happiest when he was with her. He had suffered some physical abuse from his father- he put a razor blade through the boy's nose, to 'teach him not to smoke'. I cried over some of the stories he told me, but never in front of him.
We met his foster parents- they seemed rather an odd couple to us. The 'mother' told me she was an 'undemonstrative person', who 'cant give physical affection'. She had a 3 year old daughter of her own. We couldnt imagine why they had wanted a foster child. She couldnt hug Brett, which I found really sad. He loved a nice warm cuddle.
Eventually he went 'home' with them. But he regularly came to stay with us. He would turn up at my shop, asking 'Can I stay the night/weekend, at your place?". We always made him welcome.


Brett with Meggie at the Shop.

Even after we moved into another Hotel to live, he still came to visit us now & then. I often think of him, & wonder how his life went, & where he is today. I would love to think he had his own family now, & is settled. His case worker explained to us, that children like Brett, get to be nomads, of sorts, & they find it increasingly difficult to settle down, or make lasting relationships.
Which is not surprising, if we think of how many times he had been let down, so badly.
DJ still has a soft heart, & works with people who really need her soft heart. I think she has finally found her vocation in life. She has her own children, & a dog, who is loved dearly.



Saturday, February 10

Secrets & Lies.

"They" say, 'When all around you looks dark- look up!' One Teddy praying? One Puppy begging?

This was the grim scene lower down. And it might look cold, but it definitely was not!
Which has nothing to do with what I intended blogging about! Haha.
When I first found out I would be able to actually make my own Porcelain Dolls, I was so excited, & made my 'date' for my first lesson.
I wondered why my family seemed to be lukewarm about the idea- they are usually so supportive of me in my endeavours.
The 'secret' there was, GOM had booked me a surprise trip to Auckland to visit my mother, & family, & so didnt want to spoil the surprise by telling me. And it clashed with the date for my first lesson.
So I had to postpone my Doll classes until I returned from another lovely holiday.
I met so many lovely people doing the doll classes, & the lessons were always fun filled affairs, with a lot of laughter. And there were students of all ages, ranging from 80-something to girls of 15.
Making dolls could be a very costly business, with wigs to buy, eyes to buy, the greenware, the firing fees, the paints, & the actual classes to be paid for. Then of course, there were clothes to be made or purchased for the dolls, to say nothing of very expensive leather shoes & handmade socks. I know a lot of the students told 'lies' to cover their expenditure on the dolls.
And new & inventive stories would be discussed, about ways to hide the fact it was somewhat costly. And justify the expenditure for said items. Much as we quilters do, with our fabric stashes!
I was lucky, I had some skills in assembling the dolls bodies, & a lot of the students loathed that particular task, so I earned enough from my 'bodybuilding' for the studio's other students, to continue making my dolls. Without having to resort to too much dececption!
One of the elderly ladies who attended the lessons on Saturday afternoons, was a joy & a 'scream'. She was a small lady, called Bonnie. She drove a huge Jaguar car, & she always had very expensive jewellry, & clothes- even though some of the processes of making dolls can be quite messy!
Bonnie just loved dolls, & she loved to go to the Shows, & at one Show she purchased a very large German Antique Doll. She was terrified to tell her husband about this purchase, she told us, so she kept the doll with her at all times she could. The doll had cost a small fortune, & being so very large, it was no easy feat to 'hide' it.
Bonnie would arrive at class, with the doll strapped into the seat next to her. How we laughed to see them arrive. She told us that when she got to within a few 100 meters of home, she took the doll out of the seat, & laid her in a box in the boot of her car. Then once home, she would sneak the box into the house, & under her bed. She said she couldnt bear to leave the doll at home in case her husband found her, so she would always sneak the box out & into the boot. Then would stop to get her out, & place her in the car, with seatbelt securely fastened of course!
This all went on for some months, & was the cause of much hilarity among other students. Bonnie knew we all laughed about it, & she joined in. She had a wonderful sense of humour, & always had us laughing with remarks about her dolls she made.
One Saturday, we all turned up, but no Bonnie. Which was most unlike her. Next Saturday, still no Bonnie. Our teacher decided she had better ring to find out if Bonnie was alright.
Imagine her shock when she was told that Bonnie had died. She had died suddenly in her sleep, the Friday before her first missed Saturday. We all felt sad to think that Bonnie had suddenly gone.
But we couldnt help laughing when we imagined her husband's surprise when he found her 'Secret Doll'! We wondered if the doll had been in the car, or under the bed. And we were sure her husband probably wouldnt have really minded her having it, after all.
I havent got any such secrets stored away. I figure after almost 41 years of marriage there are not many 'secrets' left between us. GOM knows all about my fabric stash- & though he shudders with horror if he sees it being added to, it is more a mock shudder, than anything real.
And my dolls are no secrets. Some of them are hidden away, but only because their 'mother' has still to get around to dressing them!

I have just tried to edit this to RE SET the paragraphs. I had them all there, but once it published they vanished. Hope they stay there this time!!
Blogger! are you listening!!

Friday, February 9

Losing it!

One disadvantage of living with chaos, & being a hoarder, is that you can easily mislay or even lose, items. Or the 'others' come & borrow them for a time. Then sneak them back, where you have already looked 10 times.

This morning I 'lost' my passport. We needed ID for something, & both had to produce our passports. Panic ensued, as I ripped apart all sorts of things, searching for it. I always keep it in a certain place, so that I dont have to go through the panic mode.

I am usually very good about things like that, & dont often mislay items of any importance. I menatally retrace my 'steps', to the last time I saw/used the item.

This time it was for my trip to NZ, all the way back in December last year.

We have some drawers in the lounge, & I tore through those, thinking I might have put the passport there, absent mindedly. No joy.

GOM came along behind me, re- searching things. He came across a bill which was overdue, & had inadvertantly been shoved in one of the drawers. I paid that over the phone, then continued on the rip-roaring search.

I decided I must have left the passport in my granddaughter's backpack, which she had lent me for the trip. So I rang her, & asked her to check it out. She phoned back, no joy there either. She also told me it must be here, because I am not the sort of person to lose such things!

So that left me almost desperate with worry. And it is a very humid day here today. The more I worried, the wetter I got. And the wetter I got, the more insane I felt. Mutterings of many colours could be heard coming from various locations about the house. Even the dogs made themselves scarce.

Finally, I decided it must be in this room, which is computer/sewing room combined. So the Hug of teddy bears came down off their perch, & a basket of scrap fabrics got moved & some magazines stacked up. And Lo & Behold! there was the passport! Thank goodness!

I rang my granddaughter to let her know I had found it. I know she is like me, & would have been worried for me.

So I suppose there were some good sides to the frenzied attack of searching. We located a bill which needed paying. And some things got tidied in this room!

We had a surprise visit from SG this morning. He had been a little sleepyhead, & woke too late for his mother to get him off to school, so he had happily told her, "Dont worry Mum. Take me up to see Nanna, she will take me to school!"
So I did. I think he might have pulled a swifty over brekky. I think he had already had one at home, but anyway he had another, & seemed very happy at the thought of school. He has moved up a class this year, so he is in another room, & they have a little more structured time than the smaller children.

He got a little clingy when we got to school, but his favourite teacher from last year took him, & off he went.

I am sitting here sweltering, the actual temerature is not high, but the humidity is very high. What a shame I am not young & thin any more, or I could become a 'home nudist'. Ha haha.

Thursday, February 8

Storm

This was the sky last night! Spectacular.
The threats & promises for a storm were made good.
The bright spots you see are rain drops.
There was thunder & lightning, & some good heavy rain.
I suspect the rain would not have been nearly enough, & probably none of it went into our dams.
As you can see by the clouds, the rain was not very far West.

Leo does not like thunderstorms, & is a big wooss when it comes to the thunder rolling about. He seeks out one of us to cuddle him. Honey seems totally unperturbed, & just ignores it all.


And to cap it all off, I went & lost all my links to all the blogs I love to visit, & have not a clue how to get them back, on this template. I might have to change to an easier one.

I somehow missed the bit that said to save the original template, so it would seem I have lost everything. My counter is gone, & my copyright badge.

That is what happens when you get carried away in a thunderstorm!


Any advice to help will be very welcome!

Wednesday, February 7

What a worry!

I received an email from one of my blogger friends, telling me she has not been able to access my blog for some time.
So I decided to take the plunge to update my template.
I have lost all my links, & other bits & peices so I will have to try to reset all those tomorrow some time. I will get you all back somehow!

I am really lost, so will have to call upon some help here.
Cheers everyone!
Perhaps I will disappear forever!

Empty Threats

I never seem to tire of the evening's display as the sun sets.
The forecast for today was showers. It would seem these clouds were empty threats, as there has been no sign of rain.

There are some clouds, but they dont look remotely threatening.
And, they say "When Life hands you scraps- Make Quilts"
I dont know about that, but yesterday I played about with small scraps.
My Scottish ancestors speak to me, in that they disapprove of all wastage. I hear them "oching' & 'tching' as they see the off cuts mounting up. These little triangles were off cuts from another project, using the flip & snip method, & they did seem a waste, so I stitched them into this very small - & very rough- little patch. I might use it to make my lovely generous cousin a doll quilt.

I read Molly'shttp://themollybawnchronicles.blogspot.com wonderful post this morning, & was reminded of a cousin of mine, who is a school teacher.
She said her choices were Accountant, Nurse, or Teacher. As she was not good at Maths, she couldnt see herself in the Accountancy game, & as she fainted at the sight of blood, Nurse was not an option, so Teacher she became. And a very good one.
But she was/is very bright, & it seems a shame that her talents were limited in those days. (Which in no way, is intended to put down teachers! I have great admiration for them, it is something I could never do!)
Her husband has always said she would have made an excellent lawyer, she is very quick, & has a phenomenal memory. She serves on Trust Bank boards & Education Boards, & I suppose she has lived a rich & full life to use her intelligence to her best ability.
In those far off days, we were not encouraged to 'think outside the square'. A career option of electrician or plumber, for instance, was not a choice for a girl.
I have a friend who is an excellent cabinet maker- but only in her latter years has she had the chance to go to night school, to achieve her wonderful skills.
Another long time pal would have made an excellent mechanic. She always had an absolute passion for all things motorised. She became a nurse, & and an exceptional one too, but her first love would have been mechanic, I am sure, had she been given the option.
I guess some of us had to become the mothers. It is fashionable -or has been- to put 'mothers' down, as being of no consequence.
I abhor the idea of societies who denigrate mothers, or women in general. Dont they stop to realise that their society is only enabled by females, who bear the children for their future.
I am reminded of my grandmother saying, "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world."
Time to be lighter. I love the way children see things so differently from adults.
When my Granddaughter was little, she was always drawn to the darker children in her classes. Little Indian, & Asian children. And a little girl from Bolivia.
And she came running out to meet us, so excited, with her little friend, to introduce us. And on the way home, she said "I love G, I love her cross eyes!"
And little SG, when he came & saw my hair all wet, & plastered down, said, "O your hair is beautiful!" which it most definitely was NOT. Sweat plastered hair is never a good look- unless you are only 4 years old, & perhaps blinded by love?


Tuesday, February 6

Promises

This seemed such a soft promise, on Sunday evening.


Monday was in fact, cloudy to begin with, & still very humid- to the point we had some light rain in the early morning.


The evening sky made me think of promises held out, & never fulfilled.

Promises of false hope. Promises of 'potential', never achieved.

Promises given to children, promises never kept.

Promises we make to ourselves.

And become disappointed when we dont 'make the grade.'

Promises that are Seeds. Buds. Babies. Sunrises. Sunsets.

Each new day is a promise.

Monday, February 5

Past Blog Pics.

This is the dark & grainy pic of inside the Restaurant. You can see the two large Chandaliers, & tables down the centre. The lights at the sides were at the ends of the booths, which could seat 4 to 6. The old fireplace was on the right, but is invisible in this pic, which was taken looking towards the carpark, & the grill & kitchen was behind the photographer- who was probably me, & I was not a very good one!.

This is a pic of AFG McG & GOM, aka, HYPH at the front door of the newly renovated Restaurant. The window on the right was in the Lounge Bar.


And this photo is the result of face paints we bought the kids from a trip to Aussie. SB loved to do the Dracula look, & would sneak downstairs in the evening, & tap of the Lounge Bar windows. Upon peering out the curtains, the patrons would be met with his ghoulish face, & then he usually got roundly coloured language directed at him. Of course, this was done while Mum was busy being a Restaurant proprietress, & so she didnt always know he had done it. I think his hat was from his Zorro outfit. He always loved to dress up!

And this next pic, is of Bad Jelly The Witch, & Little Miss Muffet. These outfits were done for Book Character day at their school. SB designed his old outfit, & drew all the animals, which I then made in felt. It was made from an old grey woollen dress, that had been my mother's. We made the hat out of cardboard, & he wore a face mask, which we had also brought home from Aussie. Miss Muffet had a large black spider on her apron, & it had pipe cleaner legs.
They are standing on the terrace at the front of the old Hotel, & the Lounge Bar windows are behind them.
It looks to me as if Zorro's cape came in handy for Bad Jelly's cape too.
I was reminded of fashions, & how they come & go, when I saw the old grey dress.
My mother was a very small neat, petite person, & she always dressed fashionably. The first time she ever came down to the South Island to stay with us, she was very nervous about flying, having never done so before. And she was sure she wouldnt like it.
The day she flew down happened to be one of the special, glorious clear cloudless, crisp days the South Island can do so well. My mother fell in love with the Alps & the pristine gleaming brilliant white snow, as the plane flew over them. And the wonderful Canterbury Plains looking for all the world like a wonderful patchwork quilt, were a sight to behold.
My mother fell in love with flying from that moment & always enjoyed her flights to stay with us over the years. And often came to stay, & we always loved to have her, & enjoyed her visits. She had a daredevil streak in her, & loved our kids, & their little devilish tricks.
(Although she was known to have declared them the 'worst kids she has ever known'- however, my brother's sons took over that role, & by then our kids had attained Saint hood!!)
SB used to set traps in his bedroom door, & almost killed her one night as a shoe came flying out of the doorway, whacking her on the head, as she went to say goodnight.
We called our mother Little Mary, & she once went flying on a rope over a stream that the kids used for that purpose. I was horrified, expected her to land in the water, but no, she got back & declared that had been fun!
Then she tried out our daughter's roller skates all round the kitchen. GOM left hastily, saying he couldnt bear to watch accidents. Of course our kids thought she was great.
Once when she came to stay, it was the fashion to wear those false polo necked jumpers, under suit coats. They gave the illusion you were wearing a woollen jumper, but it was just the collar, & some flaps at the front & back. She had a very nice woollen suit, & a lovely polo collar to go under it. So she got all dressed up for the flight home, looking as neat as ever.
It so happened my brother, who didnt like fish as a rule, loved the South Island Blue Cod. (I still think Sth Is fish is the best in the world, but I have never tried fish from the cold northern seas, so I could be wrong). So we used to buy fish & freeze it the night before my mother's flight home, & we would wrap it well, & she would take it with her in a bag onto the cabin for the flight home.
This particular time, she had her large parcel of fish, & was well wrapped against the cold. The plane took off & it seemed very warm in the cabin. My mother became very hot, & the Hostess noticed my mothers somewhat pink face. So she kindly offered to take my mother's jacket & place it in the overhead locker.
And of course my mother hastily declined, as she could hardly sit there in nothing but her fake polo collar & her slip.
As the flight proceeded it seemed to get even warmer, & slowly to my mother's horror she started to smell a distinct fishy smell coming from the bag under her seat.
She inwardly groaned, knowing it must be the fish, which had thawed out, but she still couldnt believe it was smelling.
And just at that moment a charming voice said in her ear, "Hello Mrs M, I thought it was you. How are you?"
As he bent down to speak a strange look flashed accross his face, & he withdrew sharply, but still managed to keep his smile in place, as they exchanged pleasantries, & he went quickly back to his seat.
Little Mary was acutely embarrassed, -it was none other than AFG McG, & he was flying to Auckland on business.
That was one of her less successful flights, & she never found out why the cabin was so hot, or why the fish thawed & smelt so badly. Nor did she EVER wear a false Polo collar again!


Sunday, February 4

A Tartan Tart-up.

When we were living in the inner city Hotel, in the Southern City, there was a Restaurant below our flat.

It had been leased prior to our employer buying the business, so it still had time on the lease.

Our employer was of Scottish ancestry, & he was very proud of his heritage, & his Scottish name.
As soon as the lease was up on the past Restaurant, our employer took over, with grand plans for redecorating & completely changing the nature of the premises.

The Restaurant had been completely seperate from the Tavern side of the business, but our Employer, AFG McG, as I shall call him, wanted it to open up from the lounge bar, with an open door archway.

Soon the wreckers were in the premises, knocking down a large solid wall, which ran just under our upstairs bedroom. The noise & dust during the day were considerable, but it all stopped at night, so we could still get decent sleep.

However, then came the fitting of the new archway, & this involved concrete being poured into the site, as reinforcement for the new arch. After several truck loads of cement had been poured, with no eividence of where the concrete had disappeared, it was discovered there was an underground stream right under the placement for the arch, & the wall they had demolished had actually been quite an important support for the two upper stories.

While we laughed heartily at this discovery, on second thought, we were somewhat disconcerted to realise we were likely to suddenly wake up on the ground floor, unless they could sort the problem out!

It was duly solved, & renovations proceeded. Since AFG McG was the Boss, he could choose whatever he wanted. And his love of Tartan came to the fore, & he decided to have the walls of the new Restaurant covered in his clan Tartan. Pure Woollen Tartan. So up went the Tartan & there were large crystal chandaliers left over from the previous fittings, & they looked beautiful in the new red decor. Red upholstered booth seats, & a beautiful red & gold carpet, completed the new look.

Booths were fitted on the side walls, with tables & chairs in the centre. There was an old fireplace, which had long been sealed off, but AFG McG had it opened to house a rather convincing 'fake fire', which gave it all a cosy glow.

When we first opened the new Restaurant, we had a huge 'cauldron' of hot complimentary Soup of the Day, with a huge basket of fresh bread rolls beside it. It looked very inviting, especially on the cold winter nights that Southern City could produce. But sadly, the customers abused the priveledge, as they are wont to do, & we had to stop presenting the soup freely.

On opening the Restaurant was a big success, as it was relatively new to have Bistro style food available in the city, & it was guaranteed to be very crowded for lunch & the evening meals.

I had been given the management of the Restaurant, so I was very busy, & could fall asleep on sitting anywhere!

As our flat was directly above the Restaurant, imagine my consternation one evening when I noticed water dripping down a Tartan wall! I rushed upstairs to find our son had decided to run himself a bath & in his dreamy manner, had gone off & forgotten all about it!

So after dealing with the upstairs mess, I rushed downstairs to deal with that. I watched in horror, as the woollen Tartan shrank before our very eyes! And the red dye dripped onto the lavish red & gold carpet. And I had to inform AFG McG what had happened.

Not a man given to swear, in front of ladies, he was heard to cuss quite loudly! And who could blame him. However, he was a very nice man who never held grudges, & he forgave us & our son. And as luck would have it, we were covered by Insurance! (to the Insurance company's horror)

So all was restored, & the Tartan got replaced, & SB was never allowed to have another bath without an adult being present.

I hope everyone is enjoying a pleasant weekend.

*An Edit* I looked for the old photos of the Restaurant, but they are so faded & dark now you cant really see any colours.

Also my red 'phobia' - I was mostly at the Cash Register, taking orders, &/or out in the kitchen, which was cream & stainless steel. We had a series of chefs, & cooks... they were almost all insane, therein lies another tale!
GOM who was Happy Young Publican Husband, in those days, took over & made a very creditable steak grill cook, in times of need.