Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I think I'm now officially old - not that I feel or look old, but there's no room on a cake for that many candles. This photo was taken in the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour, Sydney November 2009. Me, blissed, looking at the beautiful garden, which is pretty much how I've felt today.

Had a fantastic day! Doctor said my weight and blood pressure and glucose levels are excellent. Becca and I went and got her school uniform and stationary pack for school starting Tuesday (it's Auckland Anniversary weekend coming up), Spotlight .... oooh, so much choice, so little money. Buttons and thread. Sigh. The Mall for lunch - frozen coke and Chinese buffet - yummy! Home to sew for me and play for Becca. Flowers from David - blue stattis(?), and crimson daisy-things (doh, can't think what they're called! Met the parents for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Fantastic meal - more flowers (blue hydrangea and yellow roses, just opening), card and lottery tickets!

The food was great, and just kept coming. As dad and Tom got drunker, the conversation turned very strange, till David could be seen sitting at the table, his hand across his face, biting a finger to prevent himself from either laughing, or saying something completely inappropriate. Me? Well, dad was sitting on my left side, also called my "deaf" side, so, if I wasn't paying attention, I'd miss what he was burbling. Just let it all pass me by, and enjoyed the evening.

Dad is still having probs coming to terms with the whole Christian thing, and when told that his grandson Alex was attending the Parachute Music Festival (as in Christian!), he first declared he was Muslim, then Jewish, and didn't undertand that sort of thing.

Went downhill as we went to leave tho - Dad's car had been towed. None of us had noticed the "Clearway" signs, or realised that not only was the road being dug up, but the road crew were working on it tonight. David took B&B and Tom back to their place, then came and got me. Then he tracked down the towing company, so we went and picked up the car. I drove mine, while David drove dad's - he was totally tanked, but had planned to drive home from the restaurant!

Finally home just on 2200, and suddenly it's nearly 2330. Work tomorrow. Time for bed.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Photo's on Fotki

I've started creating some albums on Fotki, so I can share them with anybody that's interested. This one is for the trip we took to Sydney last year, for the KCI Christmas party, held on a floating glass gin palace.

Here's the link:

link to fotki

If you're patient, or have high speed broadband, run the slideshow. Of course, once I'd renamed them, I realised that it would load them in alphabetical order, so you lose the sequence - darn!

It started out at 245 photos, cut down to 170 (after removal of dead possums - more on them later), and dud shots, and drunken colleagues revelling in the 35deg+ temps.

Did your mother dress you?

The words on the t-shirts are different .... couldn't resist getting a photo!

A Song is born ...

Monday 18 January:
After a long and restless night with my hip hurting like crazy, I woke up when my husband's alarm went off at 0640. As I lay there dozing, the words of a song started forming in my brain. It got to the point where I knew I had to start writing it down, before I lost it, so I got up, got my notebook and a pen, and started writing. The words were dropped into my brain a few phrases at a time, then I'd doze for a couple of minutes, then a few more, until I finally asked if I could please go to sleep as I had to go to work in a couple of hours.

It still needs some fine-tuning (lol, pun intended), and more words, and a tune, but here it is:

Thin Places/Sacred Spaces
I find you in the sacred spaces
I find you in the thin places
Where my heart has opened wide.
When I sing Your praises
My spirit soars on high.
I stretch my arms to fly with you,
My thoughts so high with you.
Voices ring, I will sing
Blessed be your name, Oh Lord
Blessed be your name.
You hold me as our praises ring
My love for you I will sing.
Your names are great, in the sacred spaces
In the thin places
Yahweh, Elohim, Adonai, Messiah
One God, one voice, one song

Finally got back to sleep around 0700, to be woken at 0800 by the phone. Do I want a couple of 5 litre jerry cans back, that we'd used for getting fresh milk from the dairy farm? Um - no. Not a bit. Thanks. Bye.

Made a visit to Spotlight, and bought 3 metres each of Grape and Violet poly-cotton fabric. If my craftroom wasn't imitating a sauna, I'd be in there now working on a summer dress - pictures to follow.

Becca's lost two molars in the last fortnight - and she's only about 4" shorter than me! 11 in April - she's growing up so fast.

Tuesday 19 - No lyrics or music overnight :( But woke feeling semi-blissed, and then the added bonus of a cuddle in bed with Becca. Visit from a mortgage broker - we fulfill the banks' requirements for repayments, but don't have enough equity to borrow extra money - oh dear, how ironic. Don't know whether to laugh or cry!

Wednesday 20 - Got my morning soy cappa with vanilla, went and sat in the shade and the wind on the kerbside in the carpark at work. Listened to some of my favourite Christian music from Matt Redman - a 'thin place' moment.

Oh Lord, blessed be your name. You give and take away.

Thursday 21 - Went to the acupunturist again - not nearly as good a result - I was much more sensitive this time, which she says is a good thing.

The wild weather in the States seems to be getting crazier, with typhoons, mudslides and super-high tides in Southern California.

Friday 22 - Something really stinks on my side of the bed - found that the sheepskin smelled of urine (probably yellow-dog), and that the carpet underneath it was damp and stinky. Scrubbed it, and sprayed some odor-remover stuff. As of today, the floor is pretty much dry and crunchy - can't smell urine - yet. Had a sleeping/anxiety pill - slept 11 hours straight! Of course, I knew that meant I probably wouldn't sleep well on Saturday night, but what the heck.

Saturday 23 - Slept till 1000. Trip to the osteo, who clicked and clacked my back/hip - that was good. Grocery shopping - ugh. Waxed my legs - oooh - WHY am I doing this? Nice result tho, lol. Stick to the professionals for bikini line methinks (yes, it did hurt too much!)

"Live" rpg - Spinward Traveller. Was going ok till the server we use crashed, and kicked all the players off-line. An early finish.

Because the shopping was under-budget, David said it was ok to buy a bikerack for my wagon - it straps on somehow, so you don't need a towbar. It will be so much easier not having to shove 2 bikes and 2 dogs into the car.

My new friend Marcia (from Church) came round to borrow some more books - unfortunately, I'm missing the second Gabaldon book (Dragonfly in Amber), and Becca's reading the first book of Katherine Kerr's Daggerspell books.

As I expected, a broken nights' sleep, mostly because I'd set the alarm to get up early for church, and kept waking to check if it was time to get up. Sigh.

Sunday 24 - At church by 0930, for the Prayer Meeting at 0945. Got sidetracked helping in the kitchen, laying out cups, communion trays and stuff. Sang along with the band as they practiced. I'm officially on the "hospitality team" roster as from next weekend, once a month. Missed the Prayer Meeting.

One of the guys spent an over-nighter in hospital with heart palpitations, but all the tests came back negative - looked seriously unwell tho, and left early.

I prayed for him; a little girl who's had long-term heart problems, and went into the children's hospital to get her heart flutter cauterised; the son of one of the ladies, who looks like he's broken his arm; also prayed for a lady who's having her depression bite deep, and is isolating herself. Damn, I know that feeling. Went over to talk to her after the service.

Worship was great, Aaron the Pastor was on fire - talking about Praying Women; Hannah and Mary. All the women stood up, and the men prayed for us. Very nice.

Becca went home with Marca and her kids, so we went and had coffee and wedges, then home to get dogs and bikes. Took them for a gallop from one end of the park to the other, till they were pooped.

Went to get Becca about 1530, and stayed and talked and talked and talked and talked. So, I have 4 new books to read. It was so much fun to sit and talking with interesting people, while the kids raced around like lunatics, having fun. Dog tired by the time I got to bed.

Thank you Lord for a fantastic day.

new books to read:
Jesus Freaks - DC Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs - not sure about this one.
Intercessory Prayer + DVD, Dutch Sheets - this looks interesting, still working on the prayer thing.
The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian - looks interesting, and read a couple of quotes from her other books during the day (of course - syncronicity rules!)
Captivating, Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul, John & Stasi Eldredge - again, looks interesting.

Finished reading - Marcus Borg, Heart of Christianity. Writing a summary of it. Love the idea of panentheism - God is above us, around us, beneath us, inside us. That's how it's felt for me so far. He has some interesting ideas.

Started reading - What's So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey - 10 pages in, and already enjoying it.

Dear Lord - please be with all my friends, and the people I love in the week ahead.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sunday Happy Sunday. Do I have to go to work tomorrow?

And another weekend has raced past... the pain in my hip has been phenomenal. So bad, that when I left my book at work on Thursday, I didn't have the energy to walk back across the carpark.

I visited an acupuncturist on Friday - first time in about 25+ years. Great massage, needles, and cupping. I have a lovely set of bruises/marks from the cups, but had my first pain-free night in over 2 weeks. The feeling of relief was huge.

Went to see The Lovely Bones on Friday night, with a friend. Lovely imagery, cgi, and ... plot... uh, yeah, well. Went away with a feeling of dissatisfaction. So many opportunities to take the story deeper or further, and all passed by. The movie end was very frustrating, with no feeling of resolution. Dinner at Nando's was good, and then a long talk. Late night, but no pain! Invited her, husband and children round for Sunday lunch.

Osteo on Saturday morning, with quality gossip time with the receptionist - great to catch up. Home to clean bathrooms and toilets.

Saturday afternoon was 4+ hours of fantasy roleplaying, set in an alternative Ireland called "Eremon", 300 BCE. Lots of fun, playing with people from as far afield as Canberra, Illinois, Utah, Milwaukee and NZ. My character is a Sidhe - one of the fairy folk, who can't work majick without permission, after setting fire to the privy of a caravan of travellers (bat guano and sulphur!)

Sunday: Church - lots of lovely singing - I do love the singing. Sunday lunch grew to include more friends from Church, and their kids - 8 adults, 6 kids. Collapsed on the hammock about 5.00 pm and fell asleep for 15 odd minutes. Suddenly it's 10.00pm, and I'm typing this up, watching a doco called Battle 360, with a dreadful beat-up narration, about the Battleship Enterprise in WWII. Cool graphics tho!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Welcome to Twenty Ten - or is it Two Thousand and Ten?

2010 2010 2010!!!!!

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? It's already half-way thru January, and I keep meaning to update my blog. Well, I'm finally getting round to it.

Christmas: Went to Church for the first time EVER on a Christmas morning - nice, loved the singing (as I always do!), got home to find David's parents had arrived early - oops! 11 for Christmas lunch - both sets of parents, brother and his wife (almost need subtitles for the strong Californian accents of both of them), me, hubby and 3 kids. Lots and lots of yummy food, and lots of talking. Nice to have all the family together. I even managed to find presents for both Mothers - sets of bathsheets and flannels in salmon and aubergine - and they liked them!

Spent Boxing Day gardening - it's always so much more fun gardening in company. Grapevine and climbers got tidied, front garden bed got turned over, and a general tidy-up. Back to Church on the Sunday, with David's parents. Comment from FiL - grumble "not used to going to a church without a suit and tie" ... hmmm - how often do you go to church? Except for funerals? Retail therapy at Mitre 10 - got a couple of big terracotta planter pots, and plants - a climber for the patio, and flowers for the front. All but one flowering plant survived.

David rigged the hammock just before New Year - really nice lying in it out the back, in the breeze, swaying gently. He was working New Year's Eve, I was tired, and in bed and asleep by 2200. Slept thru till 1100, with the help of a sleeping pill. Then of course, couldn't sleep properly for the next couple of nights, sigh :(.

Avatar 3D - Awesome! Wanna see it again, and buy the DVD. Loved the animation, and the live action, and the scenery and .... and KFC for dinner! nom. Happy happy happy.

3 January 2010 - 14th Anniversary! Went for brunch at a cafe in Titirangi - big breakfasts and coffee, then to Lopdell House, to look at an exhibition of glassware - amazing what artists make, and how much they charge for them (and that people will pay for them!!!!)

David worked in the afternoon, and I played Space Cadets RPG - 6 gruelling hours. This is fun? Well, in hindsight, it was. At the time, I wasn't enjoying a lot of it. What would you do if someone threw a gas grenade into your room? Or you found yourself in command of a US Naval Destroyer going to the rescue of a Coast Guard cutter boarded by pirates? Short answer - not do it right.

The return to work was a culture shock - I'd got used to (relatively) late nights, and lazy mornings, and pottering during the day - oh, and of course, reading and reading and reading ...

Back to School: Signed up for a paper at Laidlaw College - "Ways of Knowing", essays, assignments and exam: 503.515 Ways of Knowing: This course spans how we know (epistemology), how we interpret (hermeneutics), how we think from the Gospel (theological method), and how ideas shape society (public discourse). The aim is to throw useful light on how people actually make sense of themselves, ideas, events and things – both when we think about thinking and when we don’t – and to suggest how we might engage and influence in the marketplace of ideas.

- adds 15 more credits to my NZQA collection. Starts 1 March - really looking forward to it.

Hello possum! Been catching possums in a trap over on the reserve - 1 mother + joey, 4 males. In trouble with Animal Welfare for cruelty to animals because I've been drowning them in the pond. Why am I trapping and drowing possums? They are noxious introduced pests, omnivorous, to the point of eating not only eggs and baby birds, but adult birds on the nest, and anything else they can catch (sounds a lot like humans!) They destroy trees with their voracious appetites - they eat 2-3 times their bodyweight daily. They also carry TB, which they pass on to livestock and hedgehogs, who then pass it on to humans.

Animal Welfare were talking about prosecuting me for it!!!!! It's cruel to drown them, and when I asked for more humane alternatives, suggested I shoot them - pointed out you can't discharge a firearm in a built-up area; or to chop their heads off with an axe! Get real - take a possum out of a cage, and wave an axe at it? I do not need lacerations thanks!

The Animal Welfare woman left a message on my voice mail tonight: "she may have a solution for me". So, I can keep on trapping? Can't wait till tomorrow to find out!

OUCH! I've managed to strain my left hip. How? lol - don't really know, but possibly from pushing my bike uphill after checking the stoat traps up at Waitakere dam. Hurts like hell - like a corkscrew is being driven into my hip joint. Walking makes it worse, resting better. Been to the osteopath - useless. Voltaren has stripped my stomach lining, so no painkillers. Acupuncturist tomorrow - we'll see how that goes. It was so bad today, when I left to go home, I forgot my book, and didn't have the energy to walk back over the carpark to get it.

Thursday morning - 0300 - Angelina caught a tiny field mouse. Sat on the fence chittering, with it in her mouth. Went out, she came over and released the mouse, while the dogs watched at the door. Caught her mouse, and went off to chitter again. Bark bark bark. Another long long night.

It's only 2120, and I'm thinking of bed.

Books read this month:
Lee Strobel; Case for Christ & Case for Faith - grr - once over lightly, but had its moments, and answered some questions.
Edited by Marcus Borg; Jesus at 2000 - some very interesting lectures, and some very dire ones, but all in all, an interesting read.
Chuck Swindoll; The Grace Awakening (argh - didn't need sleeping pills after this one!)
Robert Heinlein; Space Cadet - I'd forgotten how cool this book is - a rollicking good yarn (Starship Troopers is waiting at the Library)
James Ryle; Hippo in the Garden - quite funny

Books in Progress
Marcus Borg; Heart of Christianity - now this one rocks!
Larry Kreider; Building your Personal House of Prayer - interesting, but having a hard time finding the time to put it into practice. (gee, maybe I'm reading too much?)
David Ebershof; The 19th Wife - only about 20 pages in, it has another 20 pages, and if it doesn't grab me ... bye bye.