Sunday, December 09, 2007

All done

My grading is all over – for another six months, phew!

It was a funny grading. Just nine karateka lining up to be tested. We have had low numbers attending the dojo over the last few months and many that should have been grading this time just didn’t have the class numbers. Great attendance by the higher grades – who must be bored silly watching the lowly kyu grades go agonizingly slowly though the basics. I can almost feel them wince at times, but good on them for being there, on a sunny Saturday morning, and supporting the club – and coming along to fight the two needing sparring partners – Jerome and me.

Lots and lots of basic techniques for the three beginners, a fair few push ups and so on, then through the self-defenses, kata and yakusoku etc and etc – until the big finale for me – and the big worry – sparring! I was pleased and surprised to see only ten wee men up on the board for me, and fifteen for Jerome. I had thought it was fifteen and twenty. But I’m always happy to do what I’m told at a grading! So I had bouts with a kyoshi, a sensei, a sandan, two nidan and so on down to the brown belts and one green belt. Last fight with my husband – a sensei.

I was pretty knackered by the end. Fit as I – and I am very fit – it was just so hard to breath, just no time at all between fights.

Today I have a few bruises – mainly shins and arms – and my entire chest and shoulder area is tight as tight, don’t like to sneeze or take deep breaths. I assume it’s from the push-ups and a bit from the sparring. They weren’t as terribly hard on me as they could have been but my body feels very used today.

So, I am now a 3rd kyu – advanced green belt - and I have a new kata to learn and six new self defenses and six months - August ‘08 - until I grade to brown belt. Bring it on!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Santa parade

We had two buses and a crowd of book-related characters in the Santa Parade yesterday. Lovely day and good fun waving to all the children.


Six days until my grading and I'm starting to get butterflies. Yeap, I know, I know, just gotta teach them to fly in formation or some such blather... I have a rib that is poking out where it oughtn’t. I have two bruises on my elbows that are actually on top of other bruises and my shins look like - I actually don't know what they look like, but it isn't pretty. Which is a shame as it's been lovely weather here and I’ve been wearing my three new dresses to work off and on lately.

We had a great sparring session last Thursday - in preparation for another karateka’s shodan grading - lots of blackbelts and other sparring grades turned up and gave her a special session. She was on for all the fights - 25 I think. The rest of us simulated, well it was real actually, a grading going on around her. We each had turns with her and two at a time had five fights out beside her. Doesn't make sense and it’s too late at night for me to bother thinking about it. But it was hard and heavy and I was knackered after five serious bouts.

I was dumped on the floor several times, once landing on the rib I had just paid $100 to have rubbed out. I am obviously a little heavy on my feet. I ache from it. I do so worry about making a fool of myself on the day. But there we are, that is part of it, I suppose. Humility and perseverance.

Friday, November 16, 2007


There is one question that a Librarian dreads more than most - especially when asked by another Librarian..."So, what do you like to read?" My mind goes instantly blank – I have no idea what I am reading, have read or want to read. I do read widely in all genres but would hesitate (for hours) over who is my favourite author or what is my favourite book.

Anyway, awaiting a recent job interview that was the question I wasn't looking forward to, and so I took a picture of my bedside cabinet, just as it is most of the year - no embellishments, not even a dusting. This is what it is always like - full of library books waiting to be read. Many gaining overdue fines while just sitting there waiting to be picked up. Many more are on the floor. See the list below of books that are on loan to me at the moment

I don't read them in order of getting them, just as they take my fancy. I hate the choosing of the next book to be read and frequently start one or two before I settle on one. Most of these babies are from our stack - older fiction that no longer graces the public shelves. I like old series - Patrick O’Brian, James Lee Burke, Lindsey Davis, C S Forester - oh they are all mystery thrillers, but I like fantasy Sci-Fi too, Paul F Wilson, Chick Lit vampire bites. I don't even mind an occasion Scottish bodice ripper - Karen Moning indeed...Oh, and I adore historical sea novels – Forester and O’Brian – swoon, swoon.

So, instead of asking what is your favourite author or what do you read? Ask what are you reading now? You'll get a more truthful and less pretentious answer.
Tonight I am reading Peter Dexter’s Train, and loving it.

Items checked out to me....

Bloodline : a Repairman Jack novel /
by Wilson, F. Paul (Francis Paul)

Cadfael. Series two

Devil may cry /
by Kenyon, Sherrilyn,

Emotionally weird : a comic novel /
by Atkinson, Kate.

Exile's return /
by Feist, Raymond E.

The four agreements : a practical guide to personal freedom /
by Ruiz, Miguel, 1952-

The Four agreements companion book : using the four agreements to master the dream of your life /

Great books to read aloud /

The harlequin /
by Hamilton, Laurell K.

How to win friends & influence people /
by Carnegie, Dale

King of foxes /
by Feist, Raymond E.

The lazy boys : a novel /
by Shuker, R. Carl, 1974-

Love in the time of cholera /
by Garcia Marquez, Gabriel,

Now is the time to open your heart : a novel /
by Walker, Alice, 1944-

Pocketful of names /
by Coomer, Joe.

The spider's web : a Sister Fidelma mystery /
by Tremayne, Peter.

Stone of farewell /
by Williams, Tad.

Strangerland : a family at war /
by Drysdale, Helena.

Train : a novel /
by Dexter, Pete

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Phoebe worships at my feet

Phoebe has discovered the joy of ascending and descending stairs. It's still a fraught process for those older and wiser.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Got it :-)

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I am brilliant. I have the job. I am now the blankety blank blank for the blankety blank blank. I got the job! I am wonderful and slightly sozzled as well!

Work then karate, a quick trip to super mart to get something for tea and the most delicious tea in the world. Sitting with my daughter reading and eating salmon and cream cheese on French bread, with a gin and tonic and then strawberries and Turkish delight – oh and some grapes. Weird, but it works for me and I am indeed brilliant and I have a new job and staff and buses and I’m the boss! Yaah me!

The book you ask? I am reading the most hilarious book, about the Queen discovering a mobile library and then starting to read. Called ‘The uncommon reader’ by Alan Bennett and very, very funny.

Oh and did I mention that I am brilliant and ever so slightly sozzled, on one miserly(or not so) G&T), I am no drinker, but I am brilliant!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A glimpse of what life might be like…

Youngest child at school camp, oldest child lives with father, two middle children visiting father for tea, stepchildren out of sight…Just the two of us!! Phhooo eeeeh, life could indeed be good!

Off to work bright and early – picked up car from the panel beaters and to work on time. All day out on the buses, so no time to mull over the coming job interview. Meet husband outside work at 5.30 and walked two blocks to the movies had a coffee and lollies. Good enough movie – Atonement. Liked the book better but no mind. Then outside by 7.45 and it’s still light. The plan was a quick tea and then a wee training session to make up for the class I missed by going to the movies, but I wasn’t hungry yet and so up to the dojo, two blocks away.

A lovely hour of training - just the two of us. Kihons with push-ups, yakusoku, kata and kata with weights. No teaching, just doing, doing, doing. I need lots of repetition to bed in the patterns.

We then decided to go home for a bite rather than dawdle in town. What a luxury; 3-4 hours of time to do anything we wanted in the middle of a week. This will be what it is like when the kids are all grown up and it’s just the two of us! Time, space, and energy to do whatever strikes us whenever we feel like it. I can’t wait.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A beginner again

Tonight it was club night at the dojo. It’s a concept that is brilliant in design but severely flawed in that no one much comes. Monday night is traditionally a black and brown belt class. But recently it was decided to open up the first Monday of each month to the whole club, so that we can mix, see some black belts training and see our head guy, Jun Shihan, as that is the only class he attends.

Well, it started off OK, about five or six extras the first month, the next month two or three turned up. And then tonight there was just me – a lowly green belt - with a jun shihan, a kyoshi, a sensei, three senpai – (sandan, nidan, shodan) and two first kyu brown belts - nine in total. It made for an interesting bow in and out – kinda like this:

jun shihan






brown and green belts

It was interesting – a bit like being a white belt again. I could understand what they are saying, but my body wouldn’t do the moves. It’s a very bunkai (practical application) class. No syllabus (which is what I am silently screaming out for 4 weeks out from my grading!)

But never mind, it was an experience in humility and I don’t even mind that I got not one of the combinations or applications off perfectly (or even close). It was great to train with these guys many of whom have been training for over twenty years.

Cool – scary – totally recommended.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Random pix

You can take the girl out of the library - but you can't get the book out of her hand! A weekend trip to Hanmer Springs with Sean.
The men fixing the aerial after big winds last week.

Jed has another accident that will cost his mother at least $1500! Grrrrrr....

Full on

Just a quickee! I am working full-time for the next few weeks. First time since 1987 when I left work to have my darling Ben who is now 19. I had about 12 years as a full-time mum and then the last 8 years part-time here and there. But my boss has left and I have been appointed as 'acting' for a month while they decide who to appoint to the position. I have my application in and an interview time is set for next week.

It's quite scary - full-time! When do I get to go to the gym and read books and lounge around? It's OK at the moment with longer days and sunny weather, but I imagine in the middle of winter, when I will be leaving for work and getting hme in the dark, it will pall a little.

Scary, because my youngest is still only 10 years old and that's a lot of day to be away from him. No more school trips (hurruh!), but added guilt and worry of who is home when, who is looking after whom and with karate three nights a week, most importantly, who is cooking tea?

Scary because I think I might enjoy it - all that time away from home.
More later...have to swot up on interview questions and answers :-)

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Just home from my regular Thursday night sparring class and I have a few sore bits. One of our club members is preparing for her shodun grading in December so sparring class is just that for 45 minutes, one and a half minute fights, swap partners and fight again...that's about 20-25 fights - allowing for swap times. Everyone is pretty knackered by the end.

Usually we’ll do some kihons as a warm up then some foot work techniques, or pad work, or maybe sparring techniques – just hands, or just feet. But for the next couple of months it’s going to be sparring, sparring, and more sparring. Which is great for me as my next grading is my first sparring one and is 15 fights at the end of the grading – so this is the best preparation I could hope for.

I do however have a bag of frozen peas on my lap as I type this (one-handed) and am icing my thumbs one at a time. They are a definite weakness with me. Not keeping my fists tight and catching the thumb when blocking kicks. Ouch! My big toe isn’t feeling too good either. I tried to sweep someone, but somehow just buggered my toe instead.

I’m the lowest graded person there most nights and am not that great at it – yet! The guys could just wipe the floor with me any time they choose to – fortunately they are not like that and teach me as I spar. That said, they do like to sweep me and it’s not many fights that I don’t have to get up of the floor once or twice, or thank them for not taking my head of with a kick that I didn’t see fast enough to block or move from.

It’s the girls (women) that whack you the hardest though, as they don’t hold back anything. Di’s punches are ooahffy (the noise I make when they connect with my stomach) and Zoë’s kicks are just plain ghastly. I’m hobbling around with a dead thigh thinking ‘No, no, not another one in the same place – move yourself woman!’. I’m not very light on my feet yet! Always that yet! I will improve. I am improving!

Instructions tonight included: “keep side on’, ‘hands up’, ‘move in and out’, ‘duck’, ‘punch straight – don’t whack’, ‘kick higher’, ‘retract your leg faster’, ‘close your fists’, etc, etc.

All good fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


So, I’m 44. How short is too short? I know I’ve seen women down town and thought “Whoa! Too short!” And I know that knee length is about the limit for work, but what about non-work days? I have a top that I wear as an overdress (over jeans), but I want to wear it as a dress, over tights. But do I look daft? My husband doesn’t think so, but he’s not very impartial and he would compliment me on wearing a potato sack. Grr, it’s so hard to see yourself as others do. I don’t want to wear it and look silly, but I don’t want to not wear it either. Hmmm…I'll try to post a picture.

My boss is about to get another job and I have to start thinking about whether or not I want to ‘step up’ and take on a job with more responsibility. I am so bored at the moment. I can do my job in a daydream and frequently do. Not good. But it would be full-time work, something I haven’t done for 20 years!! Shockers. I was an at home mum for 12 years and then part time since then. Jack my youngest heads to secondary school next year, so I could manage with no after school care requirements, but do I want to do it????? The extra money would be handy, but it would mean I would have no time to myself and I might just go mad. Then again, it could be what I need to stir myself out of my usual lethargy. It might even leave less time for eating? But when would I get to the gym? Oh, well something to think of. We’ll find out tomorrow if she is leaving.

School holidays start next weekend, ugh. Have to encourage Jed and Zoë to study for their end of year exams, and find entertainment for Jack while I work and they sleep. No plans for actual holidays, although I’m going to take Wednesday next week off – my birthday :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Go time...

I've just begun my second program at my 'new' gym. Still loving it, the trainers, the programme, etc. My sore arm had a massage last week - hard enough to leave bruises, but I think it is working. He is confident I only need one more 'rub down' and it will be better. It hasn’t ached since he did it, although it still feels tender with certain movements - that could be the bone spur that the x-ray found, I suppose.

Spring is finally here and I’m getting in a lot more walking with the lighter mornings and generally nicer weather. It is about 12 weeks to my grading and I need to be super fit and strong. Starting to do daily press-ups now and just thinking all the time about karate, fitness and food.

Not stressing, just thinking – a lot. I may be the only one grading at my level, which means I’ll be out on that dojo floor all alone and all eyes will be on my failures and weaknesses – that is the hardest thing for me. Because I really don’t like being in the limelight and I do make mistakes. It’s a mind thing and I need to know that I can do it all well – even if it doesn’t happen on the day.

Enough, but it will all be training, training, training, from here on…

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Jack grades

This morning there was a general grading on at the dojo. It’s the first one that I haven’t been able to participate in since I joined Seido – and it was no fun standing on the sideline. I wanted to be on that floor – sweating and earning a new tab or colour belt. But, I have to wait for a six-month period as well as do a certain number of classes before I can grade again (I’ve done the classes, just need a little more time under my belt :-)). So, that means waiting until the December grading.

However, Jack was doing his second grading to 9th kyu (white belt with a black tab). He was on the floor for about an hour and then they worked through all the other colour belts. There were no green belts or above for a change which meant no sparring and a shorter grading time.

Jack did well and knew his stuff. We went and had lunch in town afterwards. It’s the first day of spring here and a glorious sunny day with blossom petals drifting down on the breeze. Very appropriate as the Seido emblem is a plum blossom flower.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


My darling Zoë had her 16th birthday a few months early. Her real birthday is early December and usually exams are on, school is finishing, or people are heading away on holiday and she misses out on any real occasion of celebration. So, she decided to have her birthday 6 months early…Well that slipped a little but come last Wednesday she thrust The Plan into my hands (having compiled it in a Maths class) and told me that some girls were coming over for a party on Saturday afternoon from 1pm until 6 pm. I was a little taken back as this was Wednesday! And I work Thursday, Friday and have rugby to watch Saturday morning.

Anyway having a plan was great and I just went and bought all the food we needed and gave Zoë a list of things to do Saturday morning while I was out – wash the kitchen floor, tidy the lounge etc...And it went off like magic.

Twelve girls just relived a child’s party. We had fairy bread and cheerios, pin the tail on the donkey and pink balloons, treasure hunts and pass the parcel. All that was missing were tears and tantrums, and the greedy or sick children that often accompany children’s parties.

It was a lovely sunny day, which led to an impromptu water game. All the girls dressed up in clothing from Zoë’s reject wardrobe and they stood out in the street answering Cranium questions. If they got one wrong they were dowsed with a cup of water. Hilarious!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jack in his kilt

Had a fabulous weekend in Wellington. The Te Papa opening was special with Jack and I treated as VIPs from go to whoa. We never once felt like hanger-oners(?)

We also hit: the zoo, the cable car, a Parliament building tour, Te Papa we did to death, a couple of classes at the Wellington Seido dojo, shopping, Mass and plenty of walking to work off all the coffee and cake that fueled us.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Scots wha hae!

Well, hello there to my two regular readers! Gosh it was easy not to bother writing anything. It’s not like I haven’t been busy. Just that the business of life, and life, and life, which consumes all of my time down here at the arse end of New Zealand has been non-existent. Nought exciting, nought funny, nought, nought, nought pretty much covers it.

But it’s August now – heading for spring and I’m heading up to Wellington with Seán and Jack for a long weekend of fun and a tad of culture thrown in, I imagine. It’s the opening of Te Papa’s Scottish exhibition that Seán helped with and we have been invited to the opening.

Jack is coming because he looks good in a kilt. He and I have Friday to dawdle around the capital – duck into parliament buildings for a gawp, stroll along the water front, have a coffee or cake, maybe take in a gallery or two… Then we have some family time with the three of us, the opening itself on Saturday night and more free time Sunday. Should be fun.

I have nothing to wear (as usual) and am going to beg to borrow some clothes off a friend tonight. Wellington and Te Papa and VIPs galore mean serious clothes and I don’t do that so well – men have it so easy by being able to throw on a suit.

Got to dash and borrow a sporran for wee Jack :-) Pix to follow…

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The boys are back

We have our two boys home from their travels. Hugh returns after a year of gadding about London and Stuttgart and Ben after his whiz bang four-week trip to smooch with his girlfriend in London, Paris and Rome etc...

Funny enough both of them ended up with the new Harry Potter book as reading material for the long haul around the globe and both had finished it on arrival in Auckland. We really do live of the other side of the world down here! So, anyway, their respective sisters have now purloined the books for the next reading. I don’t buy books and would have been happy to wait for my hold to come up in the library in a month or two. To tell the truth I haven’t actually read the 6th one yet – so no rush.

Ben now has to settle in to another semester at varsity, while Hugh decides what to do next. At least Ben came home with his luggage. Hugh lost his on the way over to Germany a year ago and this time he lost one bag on the domestic flight between Stuttgart and Berlin and then lost his guitar on the fight to Auckland. There have been a few phones calls made and hopefully they will turn up soon. Funny enough Ben also bought a guitar home, a baby travel guitar -VTG100N – his 6th! It’s rather cute, but I don’t really see the need for so many.

Ben did rather well with his present buying – although he did mention that having three siblings made it a bit of an onerous chore. I got a lovely black silk scarf from Rome. Zoë, a scarf and a multi coloured sweatshirt from Camden markets. Jed a t-shirt that looks like it says Coco cola but actually says cool fucker(!). Jack got a t- shirt, a shirt, and a wooden sword from the Tower of London. And a bottle of whisky for his dad. A lot of effort for a wee holiday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's a girl to do?

Sighhhhhh….Not a sigh, not a sigh! Life is just so.………..tiring at times.

All is well! I am well, kids are well, husband is well.

It is winter, however, and a cracker winter it is, with frost almost every morning for weeks. But oh gosh, I feel quite discombobulated. There is definitely something missing and I’m not sure what it is. Do I need a career change, a new hobby? I seem to be just drifting along - crankily – not enjoying very much about a pretty relaxed and peaceful existence. I’m very grateful to be here and Dunedin, New Zealand is a lovely place and all that – but what is the point exactly?

Hopefully it is just winter blues time and there will be a ‘point’ around the corner.

Pointless moan out of the way…My new gym is turning out to be very successful. I’m liking the attention I get each time I’m there (3 x weekly for 5 weeks so far!) – ‘everyone knows my name’. And find that I push that little bit harder when someone is watching me. I had a set of measurements done today and all is going nicely – no weight loss (which is NOT the point of it all, says Jo vehemently!) but cm loss in all the pertinent areas, so I’m toning up baby!

I was really pleased that I managed to keep my gym visits regular over the school holidays – either I was a BAD mother or I was super organised and dedicated :-) I’m liking fitting visits into my normal day hours too, rather than the 6am sessions at my last gym – why did I do that? I just didn’t think I had the time elsewhere. But it’s pretty regular now. Mondays 5pm, Wednesdays 9am and Fridays 1.45pm. Plus cardio sessions in between, if I need a little time out from home. Of course I also have karate: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. So I’m keeping the body at it’s maximum tiredness rating most of the time.

Maybe it’s time for my favourite winter (and so aptly named) pick-me-up?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A boy and his girl

I have been so busy lately - no time to blog - school holidays, children, work, new gym - just go, go, go. Nothing much to say anyway.

Here are some more shots of my boy and his girl in various spots around Europe. He is tripping around the English country side at the mo and then has another week in London before he comes home.

Can you pick the spots visited so far?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My first-born baby has flown to England to see his girlfriend. He is literally on the other side of the world from me now! He rang last night and all is well – if expensive. He only has four weeks to explore London, Paris and Rome. Then it will be straight back into his varsity work.

Ben’s girlie, Imogen, is working in England for a year between finishing school and going to university. Ben has missed her immensely and so gathered his dosh and flew over in his mid-year break. Madness for only four weeks – but young love is so impetuous.

Oh, by the way, we are now two up in the America’s Cup Race! Go team New Zealand!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


The Mid Winter Ball has been cancelled. I’m pleased! I have a shitty head cold and feel miserable. Snow has hit the South and the road out to the Castle is windy and steep. They have postponed it until next month, so that’s all good.

I couldn’t drive all the way home last night from my night shift on the Bookbus. There was a late freeze and the hill down to my house was covered with black ice and four vehicles that had skidded into weird positions. I ended up abandoning the car, standing and doing road-stopping duties for 30 minutes to stop other cars, and then trudging home through the snow.

We retrieved the car late this afternoon, but I think it will freeze again tonight and we will be walking to church in the morning. Yaah for electric blankets is all I can say.
Jack hitting a tree

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mid Winter Beach Training

Had a great weekend in Timaru. Four hours training on Saturday at the dojo and then three hours the next morning on the beach starting at 8am. We saw the sun rise as we ran along Caroline Bay and although the day started with a heavy frost the sunny day that followed meant we didn’t get too cold. Even the obligatory dip in the water wasn’t too bad. They weren’t hard out training sessions, more a social gathering with a little training thrown in. I was hoping to spar with people from a different dojo, but no luck.

I have a Mid Winter Ball this weekend and the dress I always wear is sleeveless. This is not good as I have massive bruises on both arms (I forget to get out of the way). Seán has suggested that I buy some long evening gloves as otherwise people might think that I am a battered wife :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Me, me and I ever know what I want, how to get it or what to do? Nope...

Thx to Karl for the quiz link.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gym gone

It’s goodbye to my gym of five years! My membership has just run out and instead of renewing it I have looked around and am trying a new gym. It’s a little more expensive, but has the advantage of only allowing 12 members to be there at a time and having three personal trainers on the floor all the time.

It specialises in tweaking peoples’ pain problems and promises that if they can’t fix it they will at least make it better. With a guarantee that if after 3 months and no improvement they will refund your fee and pay for you to go to another gym consultation.

The down side is that I will miss the 24-hour access my last gym offered. It was also quite a small gym and at my preferred 6am start time often has only 3-4 people there, but you had to pay heaps extra for personal training.

My justification (to the family budget) is that at this time in my life (old!), and with karate being my main focus, I need to manage my body really well – work out the niggles and get it into tip-top shape.

Apart from that decision, that took far too much energy up in looking at new gyms and trying to compare pricing plans that are all different, I have also signed up for a computing course. I only work three days a week and up until the start of this year I have had library studies (and tennis) to take up my time. I thought I would have this year off after gaining my Library diploma, but instead I found myself wallowing in self pity, eating and generally just wasting all that lovely free time. And so, six months into 2007 I have been re-evaluating what I do and am trying to fill in some of the blanks.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Boot it.

The boots are fantastic and here’s a funny thing. After having to order my right size and waiting a week for them to arrive I raced down before work last night to find that they were too big! Tried on the ones I had tried on last week, a size smaller, and they were perfect!! What are my feet doing to me?

I wore them out of the shop to work for the evening, back on this morning for a spot of shopping/visiting and they are so cozy and comfortable, like slippers, as they should be for $329 (NZ).

They have a nifty green strip on the sole, for what purpose I can’t imagine. All we can come up with is that the wee flash of green will keep people behind diverted from watching my bum?

Next on the shopping list are a couple of winterish skirts to go with my lovely boots :-)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Just no time to do anything!

It’s been one of those months when everyone near me needs things and either: I have no needs, I have forgotten to need them or I am too tired to think about needing them because there is no time or space for them. I don’t want to get pissed about it so I’m subliminally rejecting needy thoughts before they get to the surface…because I am cool, fine, okey-dokey and life (apart from one thing) is pretty damn fine (no, two things…).

Anyway, my dad is finally out of nut ward and back in his own home, looking amazingly normal. Drugs are wonderful things. I am way into the tough love thing with him and have reached the point of saying (not quite to his face, but to anyone else who listens) that if he can’t stand on his own two feet well, I’m not propping him up anymore. No daily call or visit, no grocery run, no endless head nods and murmured sympathies over imaginary ills and woes. Nah! He’s a grown up and he either sorts his shit out or gets himself into a rest home where someone is paid to sort it. NOT MY JOB! Yaah for caring daughters, not.

My daughter has not stopped coughing for six weeks. And this isn’t a wee cough or a tickle or even a bark every now and then. It is a constant every breath cough. To the point the last few days that she has been getting pins and needles up her arms and over her face as a result of a lack of/excess (?) of oxygen. She is currently using a local anesthetic via a nebuliser every 4 hours. This numbs her mouth and throat and gives her 90 minutes relief from coughing. All she has done for the past three weeks is cough and sleep. She is exhausted and nothing else has worked. No cough mix, no inhaler and the chest x-ray is clear. But is just goes on, and on, and on.

She is in the middle of school exams and has to sit in a room alone to do them, as she is too distracting for the other girls. This morning she sat in the sick room numbing her throat (which also means no food or drink for 3 hours as she can’t swallow in case it goes into her lungs!) so that she could deliver her English speech! Madness. The doctor is stumped and I think we will be off to a respiratory specialist early next week.

The only bright spot for me this week is that I am going to buy a pair of boots tonight on my way to work (ugh, yes I work on a Friday night!). I have what is politely called a pair of ‘well developed calves’ (WDC) or just plain fat legs really! Darling husband says they are athlete’s legs and this is true. I have run many a mile to get them in this shape, but that is no consolation when sitting in a shoe shop red-faced with embarrassment and exhaustion from trying on multiple pairs of knee high boots that just will not bloody do up! So I have ordered in some specially made for ladies with ‘WDC’ and hope to pick them up in about 30 minutes. Just black I fear, and flat heeled, but I want to wear them everyday to work. They look vaguely like biker boots as they have buckles on the side where the gusset is that allows me to fit the damn things. I hope they are as comfortable as the ones I tried on before ordering them in…

Friday, May 25, 2007

Intimacy issues

You know you have intimacy problems when you get really, really, really, shitty at your husband for taking music off a new CD and not asking if it was OK.

His response to my curt “Shouldn’t you ask before you take that?” Was, “Take what?” “My music.” “Since when is it yours and not ours?” he asks patiently. “Since always!” was my snappy comeback.

I am totally pathetic – but it IS mine and I DON'T like sharing!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Snip snip

Snippets today…

• Baby-sat Phoebe today, for eight hours. Exhausting! She’s seven months old and perfect in everyway, but such a lot of work – and my back!

• Took my father out of his, seemingly permanent, residence in the psych ward for a quick trip to a barbershop and then to a shoe shop for slippers (his are wearing out, funny enough). This was almost as exhausting as babysitting Phoebe - which I was doing simultaneously. I had to put on his seat belt, and he shuffles so slowly that I think Phoebe would beat him just rolling along (she’s not crawling yet – she would win hands down then).

• Visited my Aunty Val, taking Phoebe to show her off! Was forced to eat a piece of fudge that I didn’t need.

• Had six people home (Phoebe’s home) for lunch, who only came because I was there. This including both husbands! Sausage rolls and pancakes – weird food, but all that was there.

• Missed a karate class because husband was at a lecture, one son was at ice hockey, one son at rugby practice and we just ran out of transport options.

• Gave my daughter a glass of Port today after school in my everlasting efforts to find something to curb her whooping cough. We are into the fifth week of what is expected to be a 12-16 week cough. Poor Zoë is exhausted and I am frustrated that nothing works. We are all so tired of her coughing. I timed her today and she coughs 8-10 time a minute!

• Ate an entire bag of chips while feeding Phoebe.

If this seems to be all about Phoebe – well it is – I am a besotted God Mother :-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marae Visit

We learnt a new song ‘E rere te manu’ and a couple of haka ‘Hau kiwi’ and ‘Tenei te ruru’, went for walks, ate and slept. The fantastic weather meant that we were able to have all of our practices in front of the wharenui (meeting house).
The sleeping arrangements were rows of mattresses lined up in the wharenui and anyone sleeps anywhere. The children looked like a big heap of puppies playing, laughing and reading before they settled down for the night.

There was a compulsory performance at night. I got away lightly with singing a chorus to one of Seán’s Gaelic song ‘An poc ar buile’ while Jack showed off a few of his new karate moves. Others sung, told stories and showed string games.

Seán’s parents had a great time and fitted in well. Kaumatua (elders) are very respected in the Maori world and they were always included and deferred too. They got special beds raised up of the floor and chairs were always brought out for them while we were lounging on the floor. They were not excluded from the performance either and come up with an Irish blessing they had sung at our wedding.
The Otakou Marae is situated at the end of the Otago peninsula and commands a glorious view of the harbour entrance.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dull old week in Dunners

Just so little happening, work is busy but life isn’t. My life is taken up with lots of crappola, but just nothing to get excited about.

My father is back in hospital. He’s been in, out, in and then to a rest home and then back into the psych. ward over the last five months. My brother is over from Australia this week so we are having a family conference this afternoon, with the doctors, to see what can be done with a depressed old man. I am so tired of it/him and there seems to be no light at the end of this particular tunnel.

My parents-in-law are down for the weekend arriving tomorrow. They are the same age as dad, but fit and healthy. What they don’t know is that they are going to be staying on a marae with us overnight on Saturday! Our waiata (singing) group is going to learn a few new songs and by staying at Otakou Marae we will be infused with Maori culture and hopefully the songs will have more meaning for us.

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's not easy being green...

I'm at the back - 4th from the left - still in yellow :-)

What’s to say? Very, very pleased it is over. I don’t think it was actually harder than my 5th kyu grading but I was far more nervous about it all. Nights spent doing kata, kihon, yakusoku and self defenses in my head (which is really tricky!) It took about 2 1/2 hours. No one was grading above us so we (the four going for 4th kyu) were the last on the floor.

I was pleased to arrive home to a hot bubble bath, but I must remember to stretch next time. Really sore legs for about three days: Odd muscles that got heavily used in the fitness and cardio routines rather than in karate. Made walking for the next few days a bit of a challenge.

That was my last grading with no fighting required. I am now a green belt and from here on in there will always be sparring at the end of each grading. I attended my first official sparring class last night and it’s not so much fun having them hit back at you. I got a couple of kicks to the head that made my ears pop and my jaw still can’t chew hard on one side. I have bruising on my knees, upper arms and chest. My back is sore and I feel quite fragile. This was an easy class (“Don’t hurt the new green belts, we don’t want to frighten them off”). Whew! I worry that I might burst into tears if I get hurt too much :-s

I got told off for; hitting too hard (It’s about technique not strength), not kicking hard enough, for being hit in the head (I wasn’t blocking) and for grabbing a kick (I wouldn’t have been able to if they weren’t being ‘gentle’) I can’t seem to win – not that it’s about winning. Sigh, it’s the first class though. So I’ll have to suck it up, keep my mouth shut, my guard up and try not to cry.
Seido Dunedin - Those that graded and some of those who watched. I'm at the back 4th from the right. My son, Jack, my husband, Seán, my daughter, Zoë, my step-son, Joseph, and my step-daughter, Lorna, are all in the picture as well. Another son, Jed, was at the grading but had to rush off to rugby before the pix was taken.

Mini break

On top of Mount Iron

I’m just back from a four-day mini break up around Central Otago. We stayed two nights in Wanaka at a spa pool complex. There were seven pools (apparently all different temperatures) set in an outdoor area with an additional two swimming pools. It was heaven for my sore legs (karate – another story). We had several sessions in the pools, day, night – even in the rain at one point. I could only stay in the hot pools for about 10 minutes and then I have to cool off in the bigger pools.
Lake Wanaka

It’s between seasons so the town was really relaxed and quiet. The autumn colours were fantastic and the weather mild and sunny. It was just such a luxury to have time to nothing and nothing to do in it. Wanaka is an area that I am very familiar with – lots of family holidays over the years – so now I can just visit with nothing more to do than stroll along the lake front, wander up a hill or two, sit and have a coffee with a book and a roaring fire and feel no pressure to have to explore or see and do anything. It was fabulous.Lake Wanaka

We spent another night over the hills in Queenstown. It was misty and grey most of the time here, but we found warm spots to sit and relax in. It became a necessity for a place to have an open fire before we would go in. On Tuesday night I stopped for a port at a bar and the fire was so huge and so hot we could only sit in front of it for a few minutes before retreating to another chair. By Wednesday we had enlarged our requirements to needing; stone work, an open roaring fire, and a sofa that is well enough lit to read by (Hotel rooms are crap to read in!) We found the perfect spot for lunch in Clyde – an old Post Office that is now a café. It had all we wanted for that last wee luxurious time of eating, reading and coffeeing before heading home to the family.Diamond Lake

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Arriving at work... a little less exciting. A monstrosity built in the seventies (I think). It's pretty crap inside as well.My entrance is in through the Lower basement - where the buses are parked.
It's dark and, as you can see, I walk past trash to enter my office.
The office is overrun with books - not too surprising, I suppose :-) And can you see the pipe running across the top? It drains some slight plumbing problem, further up the building, and when it rains you'd think there was a stream running through the place - or maybe a urinal?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Walking to work

These are a few of the buildings that I walk past every day on my way to work. I have a ten-minute drive and then a ten-minute walk, right through the centre of Dunedin. It was a misty, chilly, autumn morning this morning. Coats required, but not hats and gloves yet.
Law Courts
Railway Station
St Paul's Cathedral
Town Hall