Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ugh, My Aching Back

We made some of our summer camping reservations today! Summer is on the horizon.... eventually...

Our snow guy didn't come until after 4pm... we needed out earlier than that so Carm got behind the wheel of our 6,000 lb truck and compacted what snow he could, while I manned to shovel to get the rest. Of course I couldn't do all the work myself so Carm shovelled as well. It had to be the heaviest snow ever. Whew, my aching body...

It was beautiful though, with a thick coating of snow on the tree branches.

Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless.
~Terri Guillemets

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Snowy Day, Another Poodle Hair Cut

I was watching the news tonight (yes the news - I made it the whole NZ trip without seeing ANY news, but sadly as soon as I got home the bombardment started again). Anyway, back to tonights news - it was all about the snowstorm. Traffic snarled & accidents galore. I'm happy to say that we didn't have to go anywhere today so just "enjoyed" the blizzard. It was nice and cozy inside, but a trip outside soaked my hair and froze the dogs. Spike even asked to wear a coat, which he normally hates.

The other thing on the news was about a fatal shark attack in NZ. Gulp.

This morning I got the clippers out and did both of the poodles. They were very fluffy but are now un-puffed. Hummm... I wonder if that's why he wanted a jacket! We did some calculations and figured out that by doing the grooming myself, we've saved over $7000. Yes, seven thousand dollars! I guess the 2 hours are worth the effort.

And speaking of Spike - his sore foot is back. I looked all over the toe but can't see anything. I don't know what it could be.

Yesterday we dashed into town for my monthly doctor appointment (isn't health care wonderful). I'm lucky in that I've had a good relationship with each of the three psych doctors that I've had. She gave me some good ideas for getting my system back in line. Having regular doctors appointments is one of the things that has helped me stay as healthy as I have over the last several years. That, and compliance with medications.

I dragged Carm off to Fabricland after my appointment. We combed though piles and piles of fabrics but I didn't see anything even close to what I want, so I'll order the fabric that I posted the other day. Isn't the internet wonderful :-) We did find a few placemats to decorate the table. Carm figures we already have some, so why do we need more? Well honey, the green doesn't match anymore, and it is an easy way to make the table look different, while using the same dishes. After all, I can't have several different sets of plates on board, can I?

Grace has still been enjoying her morning smoothie, but since I started using frozen blueberries I've had to seperate out some to warm up for her. The first day I wasn't thinking - after a few spoons she was shivering. Dooh. Leaving it on the counter for 10 minutes does the trick and she can easily eat TWO tablespoons worth of smoothie. I figure it is a good way to get some food that she might not normally eat (spinach, blueberries, flax, etc.)

We are sitting here wondering if our power is going to go off - the wind is howling and tossing the snow encrusted power lines...

Brew me a cup for a winter's night. For the wind howls loud and the furies fight; Spice it with love and stir it with care, And I'll toast our bright eyes, my sweetheart fair.
~Minna Thomas Antrim

Monday, February 25, 2013

You'll Never Get Up if You Don't Get Up

Spike and I played find it again today. First with just a toy - of course he did it well, but it was too easy... so... I thought why not teach him to find my keys? I hid them in an easy spot then sent him on his job. He searched and finally found them, I was watching and could see that he had trouble picking them up. Dooh - I didn't do a practice just picking them up a few times first. So backtrack a bit and practice the pickup. Then I hid them again. This time he showed up with keys in his mouth looking pretty proud of himself. A few more tries inside... then... outside. That's a pretty big jump in difficulty, but he had no trouble with the transition. We did a simple find, and then I hid them behind the truck. After just a bit of sniffing around (maybe a minute), he found them and brought them to me. What a good boy :-) We did another try later in the afternoon when the other dogs were out and we were just puttering around the yard. Success again. We'll work on more difficult finds over the next while. Then I need to pair the find with a name, like the socks, otherwise, when I lose my keys how will he know what I'm asking him to find - what is IT?

Yesterday I didn't practice the calendar pickup first, which again was an oversight. On further thought I remembered that when he used to come to work with me I'd have him carry reports to Jo Ellen, just to give him something to do. He's got a good memory (perhaps better than mine!).

The snow has melted enough (after a few days of +8C) for us to get down to what is left of the weeping willow. Oh so sad - it has cracked in half and looks like what remains of the tree will die as well. Carm, with a bit of my help, will have a big job this spring bucking it up into firewood. It is lying on the electrobraid fence, but I know the fence will just bounce back after we remove the tree.

Lazy Ways perfectly describes my day today (and all the days since I got home) : this song from 10cc (one of my favorite bands) was playing this afternoon and described my day perfectly- I couldn't find a youtube version that would play on my tablet, so here are the lyrics instead:

Hazy Days
With Lazy Ways
You get less done but more
Out of your days
How can you work yet avoid
Getting out of your lazy ways
You'll never get up if you don't get up
You'll always stay down if you sit around
You'll never get up if you don't get up
You'll always stay down if you sit around
Hazy Days
Lazy Ways
We got less done but more
Out of our days
How can we ever recapture the feeling
Of lazy ways
You'll never get up if you don't get up
You'll always stay down if you sit around
Where nobody cares and nobody tries
'Cos a daydreams resting on the back of your eyes
On the back of your eyes
Taking five
Bring love to me
With your body
Let me hold you
Endless, endlessly
You'll never get up if you don't get up
You'll always stay down if you sit around
Where nobody cares and nobody tries
'Cos a daydreams resting on the back of your eyes
On the back of your eyes

Hazy days
Lazy ways
You get less done but more
Out of your days
Crazy days
Lazy ways

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When The Great Sun Has Turned His Face Away

Carm went to his mom's for lunch today so I had the house all to myself. I didn't have anything much planned, nor any projects that I wanted to start, but I was in a putter around sort of mood. Lucky for me it warmed up to almost 8C, so I was able to put one of the slides out on the camper and play house there.

First thing I did was lay out the new carpet. I love it. This camper is not decorated to my style (which is more of an English country, floral roses sort of thing, but maybe now that I'm 50 ...), but it is nice so I'm going to keep it as is (with a few additions such as the carpet and the new pillows, etc that I'll talk about later), at least for a year. I put in the new dish soap dispenser that we bought yesterday (it fits perfectly), played around with a few containers for the end of the counter to corral things as we come in the door, and other useless types of puttering.

I did spend some time on Ebay looking at fabric again and maybe found a few that might do the trick. With the slide open I was able to take my tablet out and "trial" the patterns right in place. Nifty. I think I found one, but will make Carm take me to the fabric store next time we are in town in case there is something there. I'm being a bit specific though as I'm going with a bird theme again, so want something with birds on it. Tricky. (what do you think of the one below?)

Spending bits of time in it is helping to make it seem more like "home", or ours. Although I have to say that I miss our old one, it was so perfectly home... but enough of that. Oh, someone has contacted us with questions about it - maybe it will soon have a new home - I hope they love it as much as we did.

We still haven't settled on a name. Carm still likes the Tardis, I'm not so sure about it (and I did see a camper with a "Tardis" name tag on it while driving in NZ). It is a Titanium Mystique, so I looked up Mystique and there is a comic character named Mystique whose alias name is Raven Darkholme. Hum - Raven. I like it and it goes with the bird theme. So I looked up "the Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe... ummm... not such a good connotation. Not to mention that Raven the comic character wasn't exactly a good "guy". Still, it has a nice ring. I'll just have to comb the internet for a nice, bright, cheery poem or saying with ravens in it!

I also played with Spike the (spoiled rotten) Wonder Dog. I hadn't done any "find it"s for a while, probably since before Christmas, so thought we would give it a try. First I took a toy that he never plays with, showed it to him and let him sniff it. Then I walked around the house and hid it while Spike was on a down stay in the living room. Find it! And off he ran. First he just followed the path that I had taken, but when that didn't work for him his nose got into gear. You can hear him sniff and then snort out as if to clear his nose. First he picked up my socks - he came out to the hall where I could see him, but I just told him find it again, so he put the socks back in the bathroom (seriously), and continued on his search. It wasn't long till he made the find and came trotting over to me with it in his mouth. GOOD BOY (and a tiny hotdog treat).

Next I thought we try something totally different. I picked up a calendar that was sitting on my desk, showed it to him and let him sniff it. Same down stay, same walking around till I hid it. I didn't hide it well as I did want him to find it easily, since it was so unusual. It took him less than a minute and there he was with the calendar in his mouth, trotting towards me. GOOD BOY! (more hotdog treats and a kiss for good measure). It boggles my mind how he knows what to look for with so little training in this regard. I really should take a proper tracking course with him - we'd both have a blast.

I sat down with last years blog book for a while. It was fun reading (not so fun reading the bits with bad grammar though - Carm you are supposed to be catching some of them!). I've been blogging now for 2 years and 4 months. At the end of each year I've sent my blog off to BlogtoPrint and gotten a hard copy done - I'm really going to treasure these years from now. I suppose that's why I talk so much about what I'm feeling, I do want to capture that here.

The tulips are hanging on by a thread, but they haven't given up quite yet. That's over a week - good value for 10 bucks.

So those were my pleasures today - pretty simple stuff, but aren't all the good things in life simple pleasures. (looking back I can't believe how much I blathered on!).

I couldn't choose between these two quotes - they each have a different feel, and the first one speaks more to how I feel today. But I loved the imagery of the second one so that's why I included it.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

Every winter, When the great sun has turned his face away, The earth goes down into a vale of grief, And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables, Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay -Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.
~Charles Kingsley

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lovely Service

Today I got to find out just how good my "new" mascara is. We went to my friend Chris' mothers funeral (whom I have never met). Chris played several pieces on the piano, and for some reason they made me feel emotional. I guess everyone here already knows that I cry or tear at the drop of the hat, but now I'm finally admitting it. There are some things that touch me and seem to stir such a deep sadness that I can't help but cry. I wonder what there is in me that is that sad? I generally think of myself as a happy person (except when I'm not) so moments like these surprise me. They are not the same feelings as depression - that is more of a despair - this is more of a feeling of loss. Which I suppose is pretty normal at a funeral. Or not?

All that tearing aside, it was a lovely service. After which some of us went out for lunch. It was good to catch up with Jo Ellen and Don - they are always fun to spend time with.

A quick stop at Costco, and then Home Outfitters and we were home in time to watch some golf (I don't know which characters to use to make a face about that!).

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

Albert Pike

Friday, February 22, 2013

Slipping and Sliding Out

It warmed up enough to get a slide on the camper out today! Yesterday I took advantage of the forecast, and a 25% off coupon to buy a little rug for in front of the camper's fireplace. I had seen it before I left and thought that it would be perfect, and it was :-) I'm getting excited to get out there on our first camp - April can't come soon enough for me.

I didn't forget about my grateful journal yesterday, I just kept it in my head. I wondered if I would find the landscape here boring, but it seems that wide open spaces really are more my thing. The drive into town takes us through some farmland that is wide open and free of trees - it felt ... hummm... I can't think of the right word, I know there is one. But it felt good, almost calm. My eye scanned the horizon and didn't feel constrained. The thing about NZ is that there were spaces high up where you could see forever and I loved that, but then there were the valleys where everything is cramped in and the sun leaves early in the day.

We took Carm's mom to the Heart Institute to be fitted with a Holter Monitor. It is just a checkup sort of thing, but our health care system took care of it. We don't have to worry about the giant bill that might follow (did you see CNN's report on health care expenses - OMG). (this is one of my grateful things for yesterday - to live somewhere that has decent health care available to everyone, sure it's not perfect, but I'd bet those Americans going bankrupt would think it is pretty darn good).

The tulips are getting close to done. They are all fully open and looking a bit bedraggled. But they are still beautiful and a lovely burst of colour. A book I read last year (Spontaneous Happiness) suggested bringing flowers into the house every week to bring a little brightness and beauty. I like the idea but haven't implemented it. Maybe I'll turn over a new leaf (or would that be petal). Har har.

With the warm day today the dogs were happy to spend a bit of time outside. Spike and Bella (the poodles) first run down to the barn to look for varmints... to kill. They have turned into hunters. They were well on their way last summer with the killing of 3 groundhogs, but now they've added a rabbit to their kill list. Who knows what they'd get if we just left them outside to their own devices (we don't). After checking out the barn they ran back up to the house to join Kabira in her mad run up and down the laneway. She's an incredibly agile dog - she can go full speed one direction and then reverse by just planting a leg and spinning around. I've never seen a dog turn like her. She would have been great fun to take lure coursing.

Tonight we had our neighbors Vashek and Marie over for a glass of wine. They were kind enough to humour me by looking at my pictures. I transferred a subset over to a usb stick which stuck into the blueray player. They looked great on the tv! Better even than on my laptop. Perhaps I don't need a new camera after all? It was fun to look at the photos again and remember all the great times I didn't cry. (note to self, purge some of the eel photos)

All in all things here are pretty quiet (which is what I like for right now), and even though I'm not 100% converted over to this time zone, I'm adjusting well. And staving off any depression that might have been flitting around.

Do you wish me a good morning or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it to be or not or that you feel good this morning or that it is a morning to be good on?
Gandalf in The Hobbit

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Week Till Bubbles

It took a whole week, but finally we celebrated with bubbles! And they were delish!

When I started this blog over 2 years ago, one of my aims was to have a sort of grateful journal, one which captures pleasures in everyday things. Many sources suggest that this is a simple step to happiness and contentment, and a way to avoid depression. I have been letting that aspect of my blog slide - not when I was in NZ as everything there was a pleasure - but here at home, before I left.

So here I go again: Today the tulips we bought are in full bloom, their bright yellow and orange petals are a cheerful sight on this grey February day ; it snowed again this morning/afternoon - looking out at the white, snowy sky made me feel cosy and content - what better weather to have a relaxing day? ; the dogs cuddled up with me on the futon - more cosiness ; the gingernuts that I had with my coffee this morning were so good (too bad I couldn't have brought more home - next time no wine, more gingernuts!) ; bubbles, lovely citrusy bubbles ; chocolate paired with bubbles, how could anything get any better?

I started looking at maps and campgrounds for our trip this summer. I know where I want us to stay in Medicine Hat, but Calgary is more tricky. From what I hear there are no nice campgrounds close to the city so we will have to settle for not so nice, but cheap. It will only be for a few days while we go to a wedding. I'll make reservations for those two locations, but I'm not sure about the rest - more investigation is needed.

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spike is Five!

Today was another step to return to right-side up. I did sleep in (past 10!), and had a quiet day of reading, walking outside (brrrrr), and watching tv. Breakfast was a healthy green smoothie, lunch a mixed green salad, and supper roasted green beans with sweet potato, roasted mushrooms and black beans. Notice all the greens! The only thing that would have made the day healthier would have been a trip on the treadmill - I'll try tomorrow. I did include a few gingernuts and pieces of chocolate - just to ease the transition ;-)

I also started the day with a bit of depression flitting through my mood - so I followed my own advice and took some omega 3s, vitamin ds and vitamin b12. It seemed to help as the feelings abated somewhat. I really need to watch as the time shift as well as the down shift of activity are triggers for a mood shift.

Today is Spike's 5th birthday! I can't believe that much time has passed - he surely is grown up now. His feelings seem to be fully recovered and/or his foot feels better as he has been stuck like glue the last day or so and has put up with 100s of birthday kisses.

Mom and I were going to go to Les Miserables today, but with freezing rain in the forecast we decided to put it off till later in the week. I still have the music swirling in my head! Must see the movie again! It is an awesome soundtrack!!!

It did snow this afternoon - why do we live in a climate like this?

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar

It has been a slow last few days - I started out trying to just whoosh start doing things according to this time and keep myself busy through the day. Well... that wasn't exactly working as I was tired beyond words. I was (am) also still feeling nauseous, almost like a perpetual car sickness. I figure I'm just exhausted and need to take it a bit easier. I forget that I'm not 100% to start off with and try to do things like a well person does... eventually it comes back to bite me!

Today I started feeling a whiffle of depression, so instead of spending the day lounging around I got Carm to take me for a drive. We went into town for some shopping, forgetting that it was family day. Drat. Quick change of plans sent us for lunch - Vietnamese noodles :-) On our way home we stopped for a little walk at the Mer Blue Conservation area. It was just a bit too cold for what we were wearing, but it will be a good destination on another day. The walk is just under 2km with a elevation change of 6m - ha ha ha ha!

I never talked about getting home and the reception I got, and didn't get from the dogs. Bella was beside herself and jumped her feet up onto my shoulders and wouldn't let go - a giant poodle hug. Kabira circled around crying and leaping and crying. Spike stayed on the front porch and wouldn't come over. I'm not sure if he was mad or his feelings hurt? Carm mentioned that he had cut his foot and when I looked, his foot was swollen and seemed painful. He wouldn't put that foot on the ground. A quick trip to the vet the next day got him set up with pain killers and antibiotics. He's better now and even jumped on the bed this morning. Grace was happy to see me and didn't even give me a disciplinary bite.

It was good to get home.

On a side note - we still haven't had our bottle of Valentines bubbles! I guess I'll know that I'm all caught up when that is cracked open.

Roads go ever ever on Under cloud and under star, Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Travelling Home to Yesterday

The plane is between Honolulu and San Francisco so there is still a ways to go before we even get to Vancouver, after which there is a 4 hour layover and then a 5 1/2 hour flight. It is seeming really long. I slept some, but not enough, I suppose I should try to get a few more minutes while the plane is dark. But it is hard to settle down enough to do that.

I've listened to the entire soundtrack of Les Mis once, and might just do so again. Right now I'm listening to Katie Melua, I can listen to her over and over.

Home can't be gotten to fast enough at this point. I'm tired, and emotionally drained - it was a great and wonderful trip, but it took a lot out of me. I sometimes forget that I have extra "obstacles" to overcome and don't properly take them into consideration. But I suspect everyone does the same thing while on vacation! Cram in as much as possible - every molecule that you can!

Some random thoughts:

What I saw of New Zealand, and especially Wellington really impressed me. It is beautiful! Nearly everywhere you look there is something to treat the eyes. If you can get over the feelings of carsickness driving around there is much to appreciate. The curve of the roads made it impossible for me to have a sense of direction - I never knew which direction I was facing - when I look on a map I can see why!

I never really figured out which side of the car to get into, no doubt I will be going to the wrong side of the car when I get home! I'm all mixed up. I didn't cross the road by myself very often, and it's a good thing as I was easily confused.

Many NZers walk around in bare feet! Even in stores and yes, the airport too!

I love the Maori tattoos - they are beautiful works of art.

Groceries are sometimes way more expensive than at home (limes $29/kg), while other things are the same or cheaper.

The wine is good :-)

Family is fun!

I don't know if the weather I got was typical (actually I think it was particularly good) - we had so many beautiful days.

Some clothes to bring: light windbreaker that can pack in my purse ; light sweater - layers are good as the weather can change from minute to minute. Bring good walking shoes - everything seems to be up a giant hill! And even when you get to the top you have to get back down which can be challenging as well.

Not all places take credit cards, especially take-away places.


I think I'll try to shut my eyes for a bit - there is still over 3 hours to go till we reach Vancouver.


In Vancouver - got through customs and security so now it is just a matter of waiting for my flight (in just under 4 hours).

Speaking of travelling back in time - it is 12pm wed the 13th. I left Wellington at 5:30pm wed the 13th!

Happy Tails!

Well Photos

You can't really see it in this photo, but the well is way up the hill in the little crook in the middle of the photo.

Kirsten and Nissa cleaning out the spring. (fyi - we don't drink the water!)

Looking down the hill from the well to the house, garage and barn. I'm glad we got back down before it turned dark!

Happy Tails!

Makara Beach Photos

Starting out on our walk. We weren't exactly sure where we were going to end up but talked to some ladies on the beach for ideas.

It was a bit of a climb but well worth the effort. The view was spectacular. I took a ton of photos, none of which give it justice. We had a great view of the South Island.


Looking back at where we had come from - see the village way in the distance, the car is parked there. I would say we earned our two gingernuts!

Speaking of gingernuts, we don't get them at home but they are a lovely treat to have with tea. Straight out of the bag they are as hard as rock, but dip them in your tea and you have a soft, gingery mouthful. Yum :-)

It is very pretty along the road to Makara, with homes tucked in the valley (and flat spots for arenas, etc), but they all seem to need a bridge to get over the little stream that winds along the valley. Some are rather rickety looking!

No bridge in this photo, but I loved the huge trees.

Happy Tails!

Family Day Photos

Shawn, Freya and Olaf with Gucci

Olaf and Freya

All 8 of us having brunch.

Family photo. I wish I would have also gotten a photo of Kirsten, Olaf and I.

Happy Tails!

Not a Good Day to Wear Mascara

It was a day with tears at every turn of the road. I knew it would be sad to take my leave and I was right. I won't write much about it now as I could burst into tears again :-(

It was an uneventful flight from Wellington to Auckland. I'm sitting in the departure lounge in Auck right now, it is about an hour till my flight (the long, long flight). It was neat taking off in Wellington - the plane taxied right along the road, and I noticed the flight tower in the hills surrounded by houses! I think I got a photo of that.

I feel exhausted, so I won't write much now, I'll save that for the long, boring flight.

Happy Tails!

I'm Going Home

On the day I went away... goodbye...
Was all I had to say... now I... I want to come again and stay...
Oh my my...
Smile, and that will mean that I may

Cause I've seen blue skies,
through the tears In my eyes
And I realise.. I'm going home.

Everywhere it's been the same... feeling...
Like I'm outside in the rain... wheeling...
Free, to try and find a game... dealing...
Cards for sorrow, cards for pain

Cause I've seen blue skies through the tears
In my eyes And I realise.. I'm going home.

I'm going home, I'm going home.

(from Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Happy Tails!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shopping for Helium

It is the tail end of my last full day.

Kirsten and I spent a quiet day at home until it was time to go pick up the girls from school and take them from dance. We did get out for a short walk - the same walk that I took with them the first day I was at Kirsten's - fitting I guess. The weather was warm but cloudy and windy.

At 3pm we picked up Nissa from her school, then headed into Karori to pick up Shenna and her friend. We drove through the city (which way I'm not sure as I'm never sure which direction we are travelling - it usually seems like we are driving in circles!), and finally made it to the McDonalds just down the street from their dance studio. Tammy met up with us so we got a quick little visit and afternoon tea with her and Freya (who was wearing red sparkly shoes), before we had to dash away to get the girls to dance on time.

Kirsten and I drove off to do a bit of shopping at the Warehouse (which is a bit like Zellers/Giant Tiger) - I was hoping to find some helium balloons that I could pack into my suitcase! They are a little heavy! No luck so we headed back to dance so I could watch.

Kirsten had picked up some lamb and steak the other day so we had a bbq supper with that and some mushrooms, green beans, and cheese of which I can't remember its name. And a bottle of wine. When the time came to say a toast, all I could say was "cheers"... I thought of saying something more, like thanking them for such a lovely visit, but realized quickly that anything more than just "cheers" would have me in tears.

After supper we watched a video of the girls dance performance from before Christmas - it was a well done video that did justice to the dancing. Both girls have a natural grace (I don't think they got it from our side of the family!). Then it was time for Shenna to work on a little art project ;-)

Kirsten, Shawn and I babbled on into the night - it is now past 11pm and time for bed. Last sleep (on land) till I'm on my way home. It seems like so long ago that I came here, but at the same time like it was just the other day.

Happy Tails!

Monday, February 11, 2013

One Day More

Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

I actually have two days more, or at least two dawns more before I leave for home...

Kirsten and I went to the movies today - Les Miserables. It was FANTASTIC! The music is awesome of course, but what they've done to convert the stage production to a movie is really great. I feel like I could watch it again (and again), and will most likely drag Carm there next week for another fix. Meanwhile, Kirsten and I have decided that we should sing everything tomorrow instead of just talking - more fun (but since I'm such an awful singer it might just be too much for her to bear).

Or at the very least we'll find the lyrics online and just sing the songs all day long. I already have the music on my mp3 player.

One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road to Calvary;
These men who seem to know my crime
Will surely come a second time.
One day more!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It Was the Wind That Made My Eyes Water

Seriously - it must have been the wind (and who has seen it?), that made my eyes water so much this afternoon when Olaf and Tammy left...

To backtrack just a bit, yesterday (our Saturday) was spent mostly by myself while everyone was in town for a brunch. I could have gone along, but took my opportunity for a quiet morning/afternoon. Aside from an hour last weekend at Olaf and Tammy's it was my first time spent alone since I came here 4 weeks ago. I needed it! My head was starting to spin from all the activity and location changes... I needed some downtime to get my head back in order. I've done better than I thought I would though.

Shawn and the girls arrived in the afternoon - it was fun to catch up with Shawn as he'd been away for 9 days, and before we knew it the time had slipped to almost 6pm and Kirsten rolled in from all her errands (I don't know how she manages to keep her energy up - she just goes, goes, goes).

After supper Kirsten and I slipped out to the garage/sleep out for a movie... on their PROJECTION SCREEN!!!! WANT WANT WANT! It was awesome to watch a movie at home but feel like we were in the theatre. Did I mention that it was awesome? The screen is probably 8 feet across, or maybe even 10 feet, and almost from floor to ceiling. It was really cool.

This morning (Sunday) we rushed around getting ready for Olaf, Tammy and Freya to come for a visit. I had thought to take everyone out for Dim Sum but Kirsten thought it would be nice for us all to be at home - that we would have a better visit. And she was right. We had a wonderful time - starting with Shenna's feast of crepes, with a side of Shawn's bucket of bacon, and other fillings. Ummmmm..... bacon..... and crepes..... crepes with nutella, banana and bacon..... ummmmm!

Later we all (except Tammy & Freya) played a name guessing game - Olaf's charade of Shawn had us rolling on the floor. It was the siblings against the young siblings and Shawn and was a pretty close game.

Too soon, it was time for Olaf, Tammy and Freya to leave :-( That's when the wind got into my eyes. It had nothing to do with the fact that this was our last time all together for this visit. That couldn't have had anything to do with it at all. But we do have a lunch planned on Wednesday (that dim sum meal that I talked about earlier), but that will just be us adults as the girls will be in school. And it will be a rushed, weekday lunch. On the day that I leave. We are also meeting Tammy for afternoon tea on Tuesday. That will be lovely. And the last afternoon tea with all the "girls".

How will I manage at the airport? I am anxious to get home, but I find the thought of leaving pricks my eyes. If only I could transport home and all loved ones to the lot next door to here. Or all of the kiwi family back to home.

Happy Tails - only 3 more sleeps left...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
and Jill came tumbling after.

I always thought it strange that they went up the hill to get the water - surely the water would be at the lowest point - but it seems they were here in NZ, perhaps even at my sister's place.

They ran out of water this evening so Kirsten, Nissa and I headed up the hill (why so steep?), stopping first near the reservoir. Nissa scrambled across the hill to check - sure enough it was empty. So we continued up the hill, following a steep sheep track, till we got to the little fenced area that holds the spring. It seems like some silt had blocked the pipe that drains down to the reservoir. Nissa did a good job of cleaning it up and it wasn't long before we heard the burbling of water down the pipes. Crisis averted.

We were lucky that it was discovered when it was - as it was by the time we got up there I had enough light for only a couple of minutes before the pictures were too dark. I'll do a separate post with photos when I'm somewhere more internet capable! I had a pretty good view of the farmstead. Some of the photos give a good idea of where my "sleep out" is compared to the house, etc.

We had brought flashlights to light our way down if necessary, but made the trip with a bit of daylight. Good thing too as it was a steep track with rocks to trip us up. Part of it I went down backwards as it was that steep. Of course Nissa clambered/scrambled around the hill like a mountain goat! Oh to be so young and agile.

I'll sleep well after all this exercise!

Happy Tails!

A Cup of Tea and a Biscuit

We started the day thinking of going into Wellington to run errands and do some shopping, however I wasn't feeling well (I haven't been for a few days? Something that I'm eating? Being upside down for too long?), so decided to stick closer to home. After a lazy morning and a light lunch of eggs with toast, Kirsten brewed up some tea and packed away a few gingernuts for a little picnic.

We drove over to Makara Beach, which isn't really a beach but more of a rocky shore. Pretty none the less! From the parking lot we struck out along the coast, thinking to stop somewhere for our tea. There were a few ladies out looking for shells so we asked them about the path going up the hill. They knew the path well and suggested a hard right at the ridge up there and a struggle up a steep hill as a good picnic spot. We followed their directions and after a mighty steep path (steeper than the ones at Kirsten's place), we stepped out onto a little plateau with a view to knock our socks off. It was more than worth the climb.

We perched on the side of the hill in a handy little step of earth and enjoyed our treats. The sun was warm, the wind was soft and the views were spectacular. I think we were both glad that we skipped the city in exchange for this. Imagine having such beauty just 15 minutes from home. I am going to miss that about NZ.

After our little forey into paradise we drove back to Makara to pick up Nissa from school. We had time to spare so took a little drive around the cemetery. It was a beautiful spot with sections for every religion that you can imagine. There was even a natural nature section with no grass mowing, just ponies and sheep to keep the grass down. Beautiful.

With Nissa back home we relaxed for a bit and then got her geared up for a ride. She rode ahead while Kirsten and I enjoyed the walk - not a very far one, just enough to stretch our legs and make us feel we earned our supper :-)

Happy Tails!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Windy and Blustery and then Another Nice Day!

We had a few quiet days with the girls at school. I slept late and watched Downton Abbey. We did go into town to pick up the girls from school and take them to their dance classes - they each had one on Tuesday. After class we dropped Shenna's friend off - her house has an elevator up the hill!

Wednesday was a school holiday- Waitangi Day (google it) so we stuck around home. My main activity of the day was getting up the hill and down again! I posted about it yesterday. The girls played on their ponies the rest of the day, while I lay around on the sofa - I wasn't feeling very well so took it easy.

Thursday the girls were back at school so Kirsten and I got ourselves organized and into town. We went over to their Breaker Bay house and did some deck washing and weeding - it is up for sale so Kirsten wanted to get it looking ship shape. The views from that house are spectacular - anyone wanting a seaside home in Wellington?

We finished off with a quick Dim Sum lunch - I'm trying to get my fill while I have a captive audience! After that we picked up the girls from school and came home for some pony time.

After a few days of typical Wellington weather, today it turned beautiful again. The budgies are outside enjoying the fine evening - I bet Grace would like some outside time - 76 days till the first camp though so she'll have to be patient.

Time to run outside to get a bit more sun.

Happy Tails!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Up, Up, Up the Hill!

Oh my gosh I am exhausted! The girls have a school holiday today so I wanted to go up the hill again, this time with technology ;-) I brought my tablet so that I could save the track, and Shenna brought her phone which has a great app for tracking distance, etc. Her phone showed that our average gradient was 22%!!!!! That's taking into account the downhill and flat bits :-0 I'm pretty sure some of the hills were between 30 and 45 degrees. I took a little video (all you can hear is huffing and puffing, and the wind whooshing - all I could hear was my heart pounding!). Anyway, it was a fun walk - I'll post all the photos when I'm back at Olaf's - the views are spectacular.

Happy Tails!

Monday, February 4, 2013


After a record number of beautiful hot days, the rain has come. It is cooler (but not cold) and it rained and sometimes poured today. And still there were bare feet about!

Our day started early to get the girls off to school - Shenna to her first day back and Nissa to her second day after a week of hookey! I promptly went back to bed for a nap, while Kirsten made lovely almond cookies. When I finally dragged myself up out of bed again Kirsten did a bad thing. She put on the first episode of Downton Abbey and I became almost immediately addicted. The acting is really good, and the settings are lovely.

The rain eventually let up for long enough for Kirsten and I to go out to do some horse things. I played with pony Scout while Kirsten did all the hard stuff. It was fun to get horse hair on myself again :-)

By 3 pm it was time to start the long evening, starting with picking Nissa up from school, then Shenna, a little trip to McDonalds for tea, the grocery store for fruit and bread and stuff to make supper tomorrow night, and then to the dance studio. Monday nights Shenna dances from 6:15 till 8:30 - 1/2 jazz and 1/2 ballet. I really don't know how she managed to keep up on her feet (my legs went to jello just watching her)!

Kirsten dashed out to pick up pizza's and then finally we were on our way back home. In the dark. And the rain. With some fog. On the windy roads. Now I know why all the roads have reflectors built right into them!

And wouldn't you know it - when we got home the power was out! Lucky thing Kirsten picked up those pizzas! As it was it was almost 10:30 before the power was back on and the girls were ready for bed. What a grueling schedule.

Happy Tails!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Long and Not So Winding Road

It has been a few days since I last wrote - I guess I've been a bit burnt out and tired, but I have still been having a good time.

Friday we got up late and then lingered around the house for a while. We finally got ourselves organized and drove into Wellington for a bit of shopping, stopping for Dim Sum on our way. We were headed for downtown so Kirsten took the route through the Aro Valley which is guaranteed to make me car sick! I'm surprised that cars here don't come with airsick bags (and next time I come I might grab a few from the airplane just in case!).

We stopped for Dim Sum at their favorite place and we all gorged ourselves (it was really good!). After a bit of shopping downtown we made our way across town or maybe it was just over the hill - I never really know where I am in relation to anything else - to Olaf and Tammy's. Kirsten and the girls stayed for a bit of a visit and then had to dash off as they had ponies to wash for Saturday's horse show.

Olaf & Tammy and I had a tasty pizza supper from Hell's Pizza and an early night. I find I'm just a bit more tired every day! Tammy was a sweetheart on Saturday morning - when Olaf left for work she took Freya and Lola out for a walk so I could sleep in and then have some time to myself. It was much appreciated :-)

Once she got home Tammy and I had a nice visit out on the deck overlooking the city and had fun playing with little Freya (I don't think I've heard her cry the whole time I've been here!), Olaf joined us out on the deck when he got home from work in the early afternoon. After Freya had her nap we went for a drive over the hill and around the coast back to the road we normally take to get to their place. I had a map so was able to figure out where we went - that was very helpful. At one point we parked the car and walked down to the beach :-)

The funny thing about the drive is it was the reverse of the route that Olaf brought me from the airport. Remember I wrote about how winding the roads were! I had a pretty good laugh as that particular drive is NOTHING compared to some of the other roads I've been on. It is all relative I guess!

Wellington has so much coast line, and with the rugged hills it is truly a beautiful city. When you are up in the hills the views are spectacular, and when you are on the little coast roads the views are equally impressive. It makes Ottawa look blah. Imagine being able to drive for 10 minutes and being at an ocean beach, or 10 minutes the other way for faraway vistas. I would really love to live in a city like this (but one a little closer to home...).

After getting Freya all set for bed, Olaf and I left Tammy at home and headed off to Kirsten's - stopping at McDonalds on the way for a LAMB burger! I couldn't come home without trying one :-) (thanks Olaf). The only problem with McDonalds, and then driving out to Kirstens... more of those barf bags might be needed! I had to get Olaf to slow right down at one point as I was pretty sure I was going to lose it (it being my supper).

Olaf stayed for a visit and we had a really good time - the only thing that would have made it better is if Graham had been there. Oh my gosh there were times we laughed so hard we were crying (at times I don't think the girls knew what to make of us). I wonder when we will all four be together again?

On to Sunday - I slept in late again and it has been a quiet day. Shenna made us crepes for breakfast (yum), the girls did some horsey stuff, Kirsten did some laundry (I helped pin it on the line - there is something therapeutic about that - note to self, put up a clothes line at home), we fed the eel (yes - the eel who is about 3 feet long and lives in their creek), and now I'm writing this while Nissa finishes her homework and Shenna is getting her stuff ready for her first day of school. Kirsten is making margs and quinoa burgers :-)

Happy Tails!