Saturday, 28 January 2012

Dress Distress

Now, I'm not really a dress person. In fact, I think the last time I wore a dress was for the school ball at work in 2010. Before that, it probably was for Keeley's princess party when she turned 5. She is 12 this year, so you get my drift!

I long ago decided my body had far too many random lumps and bumps for a dress, and not enough bumps in the bust region to fill a dress out properly. But, a new year, some new changes in my life, and a committment to challenging myself, plus the added incentive of my cousin's wedding in Tekapo at Waitangi weekend got me hunting for the perfect dress for my imperfect body.

First, there was Trademe. I fell in love with a beautiful Rockabilly style halterneck black and white polka dot dress.  I took my measurements carefully and ordered it. However, when I got it the lack of boobage let me down once again! I've had the dress altered since then making it fit better, but I really think breast augmentation would be the only thing that would make this dress rock.

The next dress on Trademe was a gorgeous black halterneck, which fits the front fantastically, however even my "back boobs" don't fill it out. Imagine my devastation to find out I have don't have the front or back (!) endowment to fill a dress.

Then, stepping right out of my comfort zone, a beautiful white and pink floral dress, floaty and feminine caught my eye and Trademe buy now finger. This is truly a beautiful dress...and it fits! And I have a hat to match!! I've just had to buy some cute sandals to match it.

However, today Mark and I went second hand shopping. Mostly it was to get him some more t-shirts for work, but in true woman style, I thought I would "just have a look". There it was...almost with the spotlights shining on it and a heavenly host singing. I looked at the tag...naw this won't fit me, but thought I would give it a go...


It fits like a dream - it totally hides all the lumps and actually makes it look like I have boobs! This is the Queen Dress of all dresses! I already have the hat and shoes and handbag from the first attempt rockabilly rockout dress so I am set already! And it is brand spanking new! A bargain of a $159 dress I got for $60.

So here I sit, blogging in my dress. I might even sleep in it, if the tulle petticoat isn't too scratchy! Roll on the weekend!

(Apologies for the lack of blogs lately - as you can see - I've been a bit dress-streessed!)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Small actions can change the world..

Us humans think we are pretty big in the scheme of things. We have a frontal cortex brain which gives us problem solving, invention, reasoning and empathy so we think we are pretty damn awesome. Right?

Mark and I were out on the Brighton Pier the other night, fishing. The night was lovely and warm, the nor-wester had dropped down and the only sound was the surf and the sound of no fish biting. The light was amazing - from the setting sun gilding the clouds with pink and gold, the lights under the pier and from the wedding celebration in the bar at the end reflecting off the water.

Looking skyward, I could see the stars picking out their bright light. These planets and stars so far away - in fact, in some cases these stars have actually died but they are still so far away, the light is still getting to us.

I felt so small. Tiny. Infintesimal. I can't get my head around it - how small our world is compared to the solar system, the galaxy. And yet, in our own wee world we can do so much to impact it.

Yesterday, I went to my great uncle Ron's funeral. There were tears, there was laughter, there was a sense of loss of not only a wonderful man who achieved so much in his humble life, but also a sense of loss that I wish I had known him better. I heard one of the parishioners say to another how suprised how many people turned up. I think it is because we underestimate how our lives touch others in small but significant ways.

I am lucky in my work that I get to touch peoples lives in a positive way - maybe given them some thoughts about what kind of parents they want to be, how important that role is. I don't often get to see the long term effects of this, but sometimes I am lucky to share a glimpse of their post-newborn life. One of the most humbling moments of my life occured last year, when one of the students at school, thanked me in her tribute speech at prize-giving. I met her at an antenatal course, after she had her baby, she approached school to enrol, and is just finishing off her credits to start university. She claims if she hadn't come to my antenatal course, she wouldn't have known what opportunities there were out there, not taken them, and not be where she is today.

That is humbling when you know something you do can impact on someones life, and the life of their children so much. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for that insight.

So, I guess I will try to think hard about my actions and words for the rest of my life, and try to see the bigger picture, rather than my small wee world. I don't know when these words or actions, be them positive or negative may affect someone else. A tough challenge that's for sure!

Someone on my Facebook posted this Youtube link. I think a lot of people will pick up on the joy of dancing, but for me it just showed how ones persons actions can change so many others.

Have a joyous day everyone!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The loving lick of reality before it bites you...

Today, for many, is the end of the summer holidays. Back to the daily work routine, back to the early alarm calls, back to the hunt for the car keys...

For me, I have another week and a half before I start back officially, but the call of the office is starting to become louder (or rather my boss called me and asked when I was going back into the office to de-brief the last two terms of last year while she was away in India). I call this period "the getting ready to get ready to start back at work) time.

I have to be honest - it is a great part of the year - being there with few distractions, packing up all the last years stuff, planning for this year - a new start. And I feel blessed I have this on/off latent phase of easing into the full labour of enrolments and inductions, rather than being thrown into it like a bowling ball down the bowling lane.

This year, more than ever I lost myself in the holidays. It has been years since I haven't known what day of the week it is, and it didn't really matter as long as I knew when the tides were for the better fishing, the days of no classes and no work stretching out into the sunshine.

So this week will be interesting - days are booking up already of the last minute things I want to do before heading back, and classes are starting to gather momentum. I have to say though, Mark and I totally didn't plan our holidays right this year - the week he has off is the week when suddenly there is lots going on. Well, at least HE got a sleep in today!

On a sad note, today will be the funeral of my great uncle Ron - my Dad's mothers brother. He passed over last week and I will always remember him in his garden he was so proud of. He will be remembered well in the New Brighton community for his gentleness and soft good humour, one of life's real gentlemen. RIP Ron

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The saga of the sh*t sucker trucks... Christchurch...Wednesday morning..

All is quiet. A few people heading to work, but no longer the low grumble of commuters heading into the CBD (I guess, one of the blessings of having no CBD anymore is no commuter traffic noise, my city fringes townhouse feels almost surburban) Then, creeping into the pre-caffeine haze is the awareness of trucks going up and down the street, and idling at the intersection three doors down. The clank of manhole covers meeting ashphalt, a brief pause then it begins...loud truck motor revving.

An all too familiar sound for Christchurch people, especially from our area eastwards. These early morning/daytime/late at night happenings are the waste removal trucks (aka the shit sucker trucks or SST's), sucking all the liquefaction sand, backed up sewage and water from our broken and shattered sewer lines. The area I am in (St Albans) with its tree lined streets, it's beautiful wooden villas and small creeks and waterways is one of the hidden suprises of land damage after the earthquakes. Our area is zoned green/blue which basically means the land is ok to build on but the word on the street is that piles will be needed to be driven at least 15metres into the ground for new buildings or foundation repairs.

We have little liquefaction at my house, February and June's series of 6's left us with silt under the kitchen corner of the house, but also an omnious lump right where the driveway meets the footpath. We call it the Liquefaction Lump. When the 5.8 happened on the 23rd December, LL erupted with a lava flow of water and silt - or should that be a lahar? Not a lot, but enough to show there is liquefaction brewing there, waiting for the next big one.

So, after February we were introduced to the SST's. Usually the first warning is the trucks idling. It's when the revving starts things get interesting..

The toilets in the house start to plop. Normally its who is on the toilet who does that, but no, this time its the water in the bowls. Then the tide goes out, and comes back in, and out, and in. This hapens for a few minutes, then the revs get higher. The truck now pumps water and air back into the sewer lines. There is some chemical they put in as well, so an ominous, yet now familiar smell emanates from the toilet - the chemical smell, mixed with fermented toilet smells. Then, if we are unlucky...BLOWBACK!.

Blowback is when the cocktail of water,air and chemicals erupts from the bowl in a geyser, spraying all over the toilet, the floor and the walls. And I have TWO toilets doing this at the same time. Once, before the lateral sewer lines to the flats behind me got cleared I had blowback from two toilets and the upstairs vanity sink! Wrapping glad wrap over the bowl, putting the lid down and weighing the lid down with books or bricks does help somewhat but the worst ones are when you have been out and the SST's have been visiting while you have been out doing your business.

But for now, it is quiet. The trucks have moved off down the street and all I can hear are the birds singing, and the rush of water as Miss K takes a shower...bags not be the first person needing to go to the loo though!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Creating that creative space...

I figured out towards the end of last year there was something missing in my life. It was pretty much all work and no play. Now, I'm not saying I don't love my work(s) - I just didn't have any "me" time.

One of the bonuses of working at a school is the 40 week a year work life (the down side is not getting paid for the 12 weeks I don't work)

So these holidays, I have been doing little creative projects - the first one to go "out there" is my wooden peg fridge magnets. So easy to make, minimal outlay and a little time and there are some cool ones coming out of my craft area (known to my partner as the "can you clear a space so I can eat my dinner on the dining table area".

Here are some of the first off the line. I am thinking about popping them on Trademe to see if anyone would buy them. I think this would help my DP see that there is a tangible meaning to my efforts if someone actually does buy some!

Just done the cutest 50's inspired ones! Check them out below. AND I got a bulk order for 20 sets of my pegs - go me!!

Old cats and children...

I got my kids back yesterday. That sounds like I lost them, and even though that has happened on occasion (mostly Keeley) it just means they came back from their Dad's, or rather from a camping holiday.

I think they are happy to be back - I know I am that they are. As much as sometimes it is nice to have the peace of an empty house, sometimes that quietness echos in your heart until you have them back, and the laughter and noise tops it back up again. For them, coming back home meant checking out how much the kittens have grown, raiding the garden for strawberries and peas off the vine and avoiding cleaning their room as much as possible.

It was funny to watch the cats when Keeley and Tyler arrived back yesterday morning - they were both standing at the door within a foot of each other, watching who was coming through the door (and not a hiss from Az in meowing distance!) Do the cats miss them as much as I do?

Speaking of Az, she's been having a bit of a rough time of it lately..I took her down to the vet for a WOF as she has been struggling to keep on weight and her fur was starting to get all matted. Well, after some energetic, sharp clawed attempts to get blood out of her (and also involving a near miss fainting spell from me of all things!) we have found she has slightly elevated hyper-thyroid markers.

Because of her stately age of 17 years, we are trying some medicines to help with that and her arthritis. I feel blessed that she has been a relatively healthy cat over the years because I almost had to sign over my firstborn child to pay for the checkup and script. Luckily, I had lost her (the firstborn that is) so the vet was happy to empty the post-xmas bank account instead.

I tell you though, that medicine must be magic stuff - I reckon I can see it working already! She is flat out sleeping it off on the back of the couch right now!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The secret family language

Do you have any family sayings that are an inside joke for your family, whether it be with your kids or your siblings, your parents? Like a secret language that only your family speaks?

"Bombs away" is one of the sayings in our family - this is to warn people below that a load of washing is heading their way over the bannister. A heads up so to speak, but not literally as you wouldn't want to get faceful of dirty undies and socks. I think I know where this saying came from - me! I have a disability of not being able to carry stuff down the stairs and not falling over - a la Eddie Murphy's aunt in "Delirious"

Another current favourite comes from a find on a cocktail fueled romp on Youtube (seriously, if you haven't done this with a few under the belt to lubricate the laughter then you really haven't lived!) My daughter, Keeley is mad about Harry Potter - in an almost OCD way. Anyway there is a great parody using hand puppets called "The Mysterious Ticking Noise"...after watching this several thousand times, my kids will now randomly rock it out to the amusement of everyone in our family. I don't think anyone else gets why it's so amusing..but we do.

The mysterious ticking noise

Our cat, KT is known by various in house names that only we would know - village idiot cat, BatCat (dinna dinna dinna) Mama cat, while our elderly cat Azra has always been known as Fluffy Bum Phipps.

Maybe this secret language, which is always evolving, is one of the strings that draws each family closer together creating a mini country known only to the citizens. How bewildering it must be for outsiders to start with, like living in a country where you don't know the predominate language but slowly you pick up the phrases and meanings and as you get more confident with the language, adding your own elements into it!

What a great activity to do - sit with your siblings and see what you can remember from your childhood family language. I might do this with my sister tomorrow night over our family dinner.

(Disclaimer: the children were not part of the cocktails - either as ingredients or par-takers!)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The 30day Challenge yourself uuummm...Challenge

Last year, a very dear colleague challenged herself to do something she normally wouldn't do each day for a month. I thought it was a fantastic idea - it doesn't have to be something big, but it has to be something you wouldn't normally do. It could be getting a book out from the library from a genre you wouldn't normally even browse, it could be ringing a long lost friend you haven't spoken to in years or maybe trying a meditation or yoga class.

So, yesterday (ok, so I start these things on random days - the sensible thing probably would've been to start on the newest day of the year, but...meh) I created a blog - something I have been meaning to do for months but has been something that sat in the "to do" basket.

I can see this getting quite addictive, a form of verbal (or is that writen) out-pouring where it doesn't matter if anyone hears (reads) it, but the carthasis of thoughts is the journey and the relief and the sense of just being heard is therapeutic.

So - you ask me...what is todays challenge? I going to the market and I am going to buy ingredients there to complement my garden pickings to make a wonderful dinner tonight. I am taking my Pamade tote bag with me, and feeling rather bohemian am heading off into this summers day....

Friday, 6 January 2012

Earthquakes and stuff...

They say that animals can sense earthquakes...well, when a massive earthquake struck at 4.35am 4th September 2010 I had to push my cat, Azra off my chest as the house started shaking violently.

Similar to the haze of a newborn baby crying at night, I was standing wedged in Tyler's doorway before I fully woke up. My sleep-drugged brain was processing information rapidly even as I was waking, this is a huge earthquake, thats stuff breaking downstairs I can hear, Keeley is awake and clinging to me and I am having to yell at Tyler to wake him up to call him to the relative safety of the doorway.

When the shaking stopped, that clarity of mind and calmness I have noticed before in moments of great stress kicked in and it was a quick check to see the kids were okay and the urgent need to get to a safer place than upstairs. However, that clarity did not include figuring out that the power was out as it was pitch black and alarms were going off all over the neighbourhood, and I still flicked the light switch several times till Tyler said "the power is out Mum"

I said "OK guys, that was a big earthquake, we are going to go downstairs. There are going to be aftershocks, so lets get there before the next one happens. Get some shoes on and meet me downstairs in the doorway at the bottom of the stairs" While they did that, I grabbed all the bedding and threw it over the bannisters.

After a quick check on the neighbours, and frantically texting my family to make sure they were ok, we curled up on the couch in the bay window, waiting for first light to survey the damage and start the cleanup. The motto was: if the aftershocks made things rattle we got under the doorway, if it was just a wobble we stayed on the couch.

I found that I was woefully unprepared for a major emergency - no torch, no analogue phone, no radio etc. We used my cellphone for light, and I managed to salvage some LED tealights from the kitchen someone from an antenatal class gave me to mark where the doorway was for the children.

Being incommunicado was the worst - my family had managed to get through via text, but I had no idea whether it was just Christchurch or if the big one had happened in Wellington and we just copped the tail end of it.

Something else I never knew was that there are soooo many aftershocks, I knew there would be some, but you never hear on the TV about big earthquakes having aftershocks for months on end...and I never knew that sometimes the first earthquake is not necessarily the worst...