Wednesday, March 02, 2011


There were many who have died in Christchurch who came from other homes and all I keep thinking about is this, that we in New Zealand quote at ANZAC ceremonies. In 1934 Atatürk wrote a tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli and I believe it is relevant to us now. If your children died with us, we will care for them as if they were our own. Kia Kaha. Be Strong And the print? Jonno Meech is a very clever boy and I love his tribute which is linked to the Mimic Design facebook page:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Makem and Clancy, Get Drunk, Ar Fol La Lo

I fell in love with this poem (and this rendition) many, many years ago. Ok, so the song doesn't do it for me but ... "Get Drunk!"

Monday, July 05, 2010

Things That Make Your Day.

Or should I say things that make my day!

I've started reading "The Happiness Project" following a recommendation from Joanne (and now, with the idea that a group of us will use this as our "starter" for a project next year). I'm only a little way into it but already I'm finding it thought provoking.

What does make me happy? I've never thought about it before. I just am happy. Oh, of course, I haven't always been. Quite the opposite. I could write a thesis on "not happy" and god knows there are enough little quizzes around wanting you to determine how unhappy / depressed you are to niggle at your psyche.

Still I wonder if I would be so happy now if I hadn't been in the past? It's a bit like what nana would say - "you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die". I suppose that could have been the nana version of "the three second rule". You know, when you drop food on the floor and scoop it up really quickly and state "three second rule, it's still safe!" Well it could be. It could also be you have to eat a bit of shit in your life to know how good you've got it now. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?? Whatever the version I think you need to know and have lived some crap in your life to build up that immunity.

So happy. What brings a smile to your day?

My nine-to-five smile is the Dominion Post Trivia Quiz. Around morning tea time each weekday morning Sweetie-Darling-Lawyer rings me and says "Are you ready?". Of course being the saint that I am I would never use the internet during work hours for such frivolous matters but he being self employed can. What follows is a five minute break in the day as himself reads out the questions and we try for the perfect score (never going to happen!). Of course the "photo" questions are a challenge - more so for himself as he has to describe the visuals! But there you are, five minutes in a day where we laugh, forget the file we have just read and end every phone call with "I love you!". Ok, sometimes it's "I love you you useless bastard" or "I love you you skanky old bitch" but still ...

Another smile is Wotif. An international site I believe but at the moment I use the NZ version and this weekend I get to look forward to a "Weekend in Auckland" courtesy of a very cheap room rate in the central city. I love to travel. Really love! Just work commitments & finances decree that I cannot become the perpetual tourist that I would like to be. This way though I get to take a break from the mundane day to day and get to be a tourist in my adopted home town. We have dinner reservations. We have things to see, places to be. For two nights I get to pretend that I have never been in this city before and that makes me happy. To see the place I live in from a different perspective and to recapture some of that wonderful feeling of travelling /being a traveller. Bliss. (And taking notes perhaps for some tourists who might just like to come visit me??? Just saying.)

What else? Friends of course. That family that we choose rather than are born into. Some are near and call in for coffee and to vent/gossip/just be. Some are at a distance and phone, email or message and text and for exactly the same reasons. Webcam is of course the delight of my life. Saturday mornings / Friday evenings with Jules - who could wish for more. Well we could wish that our clocks were rather more evenly balanced. If one is sipping wine the other is sipping coffee. Still we can put up with that because the joy in being able to have each other in our lounge / study is worth it. And getting to do the same with Maria and admire Miss Maggie's artwork ... bliss. To the rest of you my message is clear ... invest in a camera! Maria will tell you it's worth it if for nothing else than inspecting the contents of my fridge! LOL

Family that you like. Yes, there are some of those! The family that you don't have to explain the back stories to, who have known you all your life and still want to be around you, the ones you want to know for the rest of your life.

Cooking on Sundays. Believe me, I am no cook but still I enjoy that whole thing of finding recipes & planning, the smell of garlic cooking, those little pots in the freezer ready for each work day morning ... and every day enjoying a "real" meal at work at lunchtime.

OCD Wardrobe Organisation. Oh you laugh now but it's true. Opening those wardrobe doors and revealing lines of clothes .... shirts short sleeved, long sleeved, in colour groups, skirts, dresses, knitwear, trousers ..... ok, so it's nearly all black and not so hard to organise into "colour" groups but still .. in the morning it makes my heart sing! One less decision to make and sometimes, but only sometimes, shoes that match.

Babysitting. It really does make me happy. The children in my life are absolute treasures. Naughty, obnoxious, fearless treasures but treasures nonetheless. And I get to play such good games like Junior Scrabble, Strip Jack Naked, Snap. We get to make toast & peanut butter for supper (even though we've eaten all our dinner five minutes ago). We get to play with paper & stickers and glue and make a mess. I get to feel relieved when they have all gone to bed or go home. Children are just good for the heart.

Then there is wine, watching the AB's do the haka (yeah Jules, the funny dance), Sunday papers, a bus stop outside my gate, listening to the birds singing in the trees in the reserve next door, finding the exact change for the bus home, seeing your child happy & loved, a new season of your favourite show starting on tv, spotting my passport in my purse all valid & ready for adventure.

They are not the things I expected to make me happy when I was 25. That wish list was a very different thing. They are however some of things that make me happy now. And I wouldn't swap them. Funny how the older you get the simpler it gets!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Like Winter

There I've said it. I know I should love summer given I live in a little tropical paradise but it just doesn't do it for me. Who needs heat when you can generate your own menopausal hot stuff? Sunbathing with a hole in the ozone layer as big as a country ... I don't think so. Flies, sandflies (why do they always fall in my wine glass??), mosquitoes. Yeah right, bliss.

Give me winter anytime. It has all my favourite things.

Boots. I love boots and in winter nobody cares I wear them every day. Not such a good look in the summer I'm thinking. This year has been a bonus boots year with some gorgeous Clark's ones and then the little slutty ankle boots ...
Flannelette Sheets. Now who doesn't just love them? Cosy, cosy, cosy! Especially when you can hear the rain on the roof and you're snuggled in your bed with flannelette sheets wearing your flannelette jamies.
Big Fluffy Socks. Especially good when worn with boots. (see above). Or with flannelette jamies in your flannelette sheets (see above).
Wet Wild Sundays. Nobody minds if you stay home in the warm when it's raining outside. In fact it's almost compulsory. Nobody insists "it's a lovely day for the beach" or "shall we spend the day in the garden?". No, the only expected activity is the dash out to the mailbox to get the Sunday paper and then it's a fast track to the couch with a crap movie on tv, coffee in hand and a cosy throw rug ... and Big Fluffy Socks. (see above).
Rugby. Considering I know absolutely nothing about the rules (apart from head high tackles are a no-no) I still love this game especially internationals. Dinner with Leonie & Les, wine, Big Fluffy Socks (see above), big screen tv, the haka, 30 men running around a field with small shorts on and if you're lucky the occasional fight .... bliss. And you get to yell and swear at the tv as much as you want to and nobody minds one little bit.
Vegetables. Winter vegetables yum! I know, I know, with the world the way it is you can pretty much get anything any time of the year but silverbeet, pumpkin, potatoes, leeks, broccoli etc, well they're winter food! So there.
Soup. Ok so on a Wet Wild Sunday (see above), wearing your Big Fluffy Socks (see above) what could be better than a big bowl of Vegetable (see above) soup with some Vogels toast?

Speaking of which, off to the kitchen I go to put a pot of soup on and perhaps a Hunza Pie? A winter Sunday ... I'm in heaven. Wish you were here!

PS. Hunza Pie Recipe - Barb, Katie might like this especially with all the gorgeous veges at PrairiErth Farm


3 sheets shortcrust pastry

1 cup long grain rice

½ tsp salt

2 bunches silverbeet

1kg pumpkin, roughly chopped

Pinch nutmeg

Salt & pepper

3 cups grated tasty cheese

1tsp mixed herbs

3 tomatoes, sliced

1/. Preheat oven 160C. Line dish & bake pastry blind for 10 minutes.

2/. Cook rice in boiled salted water. Drain well.

3/. Discard tough stems from silverbeet. Chop & lightly steam over a medium heat in covered


4/. Cook pumpkin in saucepan with a little water until tender. Drain & then puree with nutmeg, salt

and pepper.

5/. Sprinkle one third of cheese & ½ tsp herbs over pastry. Cover with half the rice.

6/. Place all silverbeet on the rice & then another 1/3 of the cheese.

7/. Cover with pureed pumpkin & then the remaining rice.

8/. Top with sliced tomatoes & remaining chees & herbs.

9/. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Happy Birthday Queenie!

Today is the day I ignore all my Republican leanings (no, not what you are thinking my little USA friends) and swear allegiance to the Queen. Who wouldn't when she gives you the day off work!

A friend pointed out that it's not going to have such a ring to it when old Chucky-Big-Ears gets the throne. "Kings Birthday" just doesn't have the same ring. All things considered though, even if he does get the throne ("My arse he will" says Queenie) it will probably still be called Queen's Birthday Weekend given his proclivity to wearing big frocks & tiaras ... ok so they are really robes & crowns but they are all frocks when you get down to it...

Whatever the reason it is a great weekend. It's not that I don't like working or my job - I feel fortunate to both have employment and at a job that makes me think every day - but I do value the time to be with friends, family, myself and not have to rush. If I want to share a glass of wine with a darling friend on webcam then I can. If I want to cook for my oldest friend and watch crap tv together, I can. If I want to have a late night phone call with my cousin-who-should-be-my-sister, I can do that too and all the while not worry that the alarm clock will be ringing in just a few hours ...

Yesterday Joolz was telling me how someone told her that "50" is the new "teens" and the more we talked about it the more it made sense. It's like being 18 again but with a back story and a bit more information. We are still asking the questions we asked at 18 - "who am I?", "where am I going", "what shall I do with the rest of my life" - but now we are confident that the risks we take won't hurt us. We've been hurt. We have been broken. We survived and we know that no matter how bad it gets we will keep on surviving. In spirit at least.

Yes, we face mortality now but with a real handle on it. Our friends have died or faced life threatening illness or injury. We know with certainty now that we will too one day. It's no longer that we think of life having a "Best By Date" rather it is now an "Expiry Date".

The difference is at 18 I could push it to the back of my mind and ramble through my life waiting to see what happens next. Now I want more and I refuse to wait for "one day." Yes the priorities differ. At 18 the most important thing was where we were going on Friday night, what would I wear & who would I go with. At 51 I am suddenly preoccupied with losing weight, eating well, exercising more. Anything to make my life right now the experience I want it to be. Life is just far too much fun to be in the passenger seat, or sitting at home waiting for the big idea to arrive in the mailbox.

I'm sure there is much more to say on the subject but for now there are things to do, places to be, things to see. Go have some fun too!

PS. See Sheila, you are world famous in NZ!!