Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week 3 – w/c Saturday 15th January, 2011

Saturday (15/01/11) ~ it was my first catch up with my friend Chev for the year at Sylvia Park and we went to see Burlesque. I absolutely loved Burlesque and when we went shopping afterwards I ended up buying the soundtrack. Later on we had some lunch and people watched. Watching the children on the vertical bungee was awesome as they just laugh without restraint; so cool!
Sunday (16/01/11) ~ spent the day with Mark’s best friend, his wife Mel and her daughter. It was an amazing day! We went all the way out to Clevedon to see his family’s church and graves and then we drove to Maraetai and had fish and chips under a tree. It was amazing to see all the families there having fun in the water. I do not want to say too much as I think I will probably write a blog about our day out.

Monday (17/01/11) ~ I had the most amazing lunch with the Delish gals “trough salad”. Amazing! I went to see Carla for a catch-up and birthday bubbles a week on from her birthday.

Tuesday (18/01/11) ~ I did a one-day customised training for one of our customers. It was pretty good and a busy day. (NO PHOTO)

Wednesday (19/01/11) ~ Mark and I had to get our car serviced today so we caught the bus which was actually quite stressfree once we finally found the bus that went the way we needed it to go. Also, saw this cute window as I walked from the bottom of Newmarket to work.

Thursday (20/01/11) ~ I “harvested” a whole lot of vegetables from Mark’s garden. I would say “our” garden, but it’s really his baby and it is flourishing.

Friday (21/01/11) ~ We woke up early and Ollie (Ginger Ninja) really did not want me to go to the gym. I raced home from work at lunchtime to try and feed Limpy some freshly cooked chicken. Unfortunately, he seemed disinterested. After work I ended up sitting downstairs for a wee while having cuddles with kittens including little Misty (Grey Torti).

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Festive Season as told by Ness

This blog is a bit overdue….or very early for Christmas 2011!

I always want to be really prepared for Christmas and do my shopping throughout the year. Suffice to say it never happens! This year we decided to only buy for our parents, our nieces and nephews and each other. I make these rules and manage to break them. We set budgets for each present and pretty much stuck to these.

On a side note I do think that Christmas has become extremely commercialised rather than just being a nice time to spend with loved ones. Some people overcommit themselves with spending and then January/February end up being horribly hard months. Children/teenagers seem to want all the latest gadgets (think iPod, Xbox, PlayStation etc.) and these are not cheap. Mark explained that when he was growing up his mum scrimped, saved and budgeted if she wanted to buy Mark and his sibling’s bigger presents i.e. a bike. These presents were often paid off over quite a big period of the year so that as a family they could still afford the necessities in life such as food, clothing etc.

I have always been a spender and I often purchased things on HP or store cards when I had no money. I am ashamed to say that I have never really saved to buy something. I am sure that I am not alone in this. I would like to teach myself (at 35 years old) to save for things that I want. I am proud to say that while I have yet to save up for something I really want, I am no longer putting things on “tic”.

Anyway, this blog is not really about spending.

Beautiful, festive table and yummy pineapple chicken

Christmas really started for me on Wednesday 24th November when I had an amazing lunch with the #SecretSquirrel girls from Twitter. We had an absolutely stunning lunch at Lea’s house. We had bubbles, beautiful food and then we got to exchange presents. I absolutely adore these girls and have enjoyed getting to know them during 2010. I hope that 2011 brings more lunches with them as we get to know each other even better. PS. How amazing are the decorations at Lea’s? I had a brief moment of wistfulness about her beautiful decorations and the fact that Mark and I could have these if we did not have 6 cats. Beautiful decorations + MaxtheCat = disaster!

Mark and I took the week off before Christmas which was amazing. I spent quite a bit of time going to the gym and then going to help the lovely gals at Delish Cupcakes. There is something incredibly festive about helping out people I love and admire, and being caught up in the craziness of retail the week before Christmas. I also purchased a "fake" Christmas tree at an amazing price. I really struggle with buying a real tree and then discarding it. So having this cool tree really helped me find my Christmas "spirit/happyNess". By the way...I was pleasantly surprised that the cats did not maul the tree!

Backyard carnage and poor tree!
The only downside to this week was having the contractors next door to us completely bulldoze the back section, cut down a beautiful old tree and then burn a hell of a lot of scrub and rubbish. They started flipping early on Monday 20th December by demolishing the garages. I just about had a meltdown and Mark told me to stay at Delish until they had finished. After I had a meltdown on the Wednesday and acted like a complete Bitch I decided to choose my attitude to ensure a happy home and marriage. By Thursday I had adjusted to them being there and even managed to talk to the main guy and find out the “gossip”.

Table set for Christmas dinner
Christmas day was absolutely amazing. I woke up extremely early and started baking for Raewyn. I had to wait for about 2 ½ hours for Mark to get out of bed. Christmas Day is the one day of the year where I always feel that children would seriously enrich our lives even more. I always get excited about Christmas morning and not having little people to enjoy it with is sometimes sad. Raewyn came over to pick up her fresh banana cupcakes and to also have a festive drink (bubbles again). We had my parents over and it was an absolutely amazing day. We had beautiful food and I was happy, relaxed and organized. We had loads of bubbles which was fabulous.

On Boxing Day we left our cats in Raewyn’s care and went to spend some time up north with my birth family in Waipu. The traffic was an absolute breeze and we got there in no time at all. Bubbles were the drink of the day for me and I felt happy. I love my nephew and nieces so much; they are just a delight. I love my family and my life is so much richer with them in it.

We slept in a tent with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, the wind and then one night we had a sprinkle of rain. I love swimming in the crystal clear water with my eyes open; this brings me joy. The flufflies on the sand dunes always remind me of our wedding. There were hot days and hot nights and we just had an amazing time and came back relaxed and refreshed. My sister and I spent some time making her wedding invites so that they could be sent. I love that I could help her with that. I spent time catching up with taped True Blood with another sister; much screaming and laughing ensued.

Left to right: Me, Anna, Sarah and Bec
The only downside about going up north is that we are altogether for such a short time and then it’s over. The way around this is always having something else to look forward to in the near future. So there is my twin sisters’ 30th birthdays, my mum’s birthday on Waitangi Day and then my other sister’s wedding in March. I also want to plan a fabulous 40th birthday for Mark.

So we had a pretty short break from work but it was enough to recharge our batteries for 2011

Limpy, Life and Cleansing Tears

This is Limpy. I love him so much. He is such a fighter. He was dropped off to Raewyn by a family who apparently “found” him and he seemed to have a sore leg. He was pretty quiet for the first few days and did a lot of sleeping, but he would talk to me when I came to feed and cuddle him. When Raewyn got back from a wee break she let him out of his cage and he had a great time with some of the other foster cats. I had already decided that since Mark and I really could not have another cat that I would pay for an x-ray for him. This week he had that x-ray and it turns out that his leg was healing from a break. The recommendation was that we wait for a few more weeks and see how he is doing. Prior to the x-ray he was already starting to put more and more weight on his sore leg.

Today is Friday and he had the x-ray on Tuesday. He did not really cope very well with the anaesthetic and Wednesday Raewyn took him back to the vet and he stayed with them overnight and was on fluids and medication. Turns out he was constipated. Yesterday morning (Thursday) Raewyn peeked in and he looked pretty bright and cheery. Last night when she picked him up he was very quiet and not really eating/drinking. She fed him pet milk and a bit of food. This morning he seems to have gone downhill a bit more. I am gutted and wept openly in the car in front of Mark. (I often cry cleansing tears before I come up with ways to change the things that make me sad). I kept asking myself “what if”. What if I had gone to the supermarket for Raewyn last night before it closed to get her more supplies like cooked chicken. What if we had waited another week for the x-ray? What if I had spent more time helping Raewyn and less time doing meaningless stuff like watching TV etc? What if I had just pushed through tiredness and just done more.

I know some people will see Limpy as “only a cat” but to me he represents so much more. He reminds me of our cat Bob who we basically hand-reared and brought back from near death. He reminds me of all the cats/kittens out there that need to be rescued rather than having to scavenge for food or die alone. He reminds me that all cats/kittens should be desexed before they are re-homed. He reminds me that people should not just give cats away for free without thinking through all the implications i.e. can the new owners pay for medical care if their cat requires it. He reminds me that as people we should be kinder other people and to all living creatures.

What I realised this morning is that sometimes the world we live in makes me sad and I wish I could do more. There are people in New Zealand and overseas that are struggling with the basics like food, water and shelter. There are far too many children dying in New Zealand as the result of abuse. There are far too many animals being tortured and killed by people that just do not seem to give a damn about life.

So one day at a time I am going to try and do more for other people and animals. I am going to try and be a better person, a better partner, a better daughter, a better sister, a better aunty, a better friend. I want to decrease my/our carbon footprint and try and make “green” choices, whether it is making my own cleaning products, using less plastic, growing more food or simply not using takeaway coffee/juice cups.

There is no alternative to earth. No alternative reality. So this world is all we have and we should be looking after it and each other more.

I will leave you with this fabulous
blog post by Leah. It has a great image and a cool message. The first couple of sentences really struck a chord for me. “This is your LIFE. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it”.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 2 – w/c Saturday 8th January, 2011

Saturday (08/01/11) ~ Second day of cat sitting and I snapped this beautiful photo of this gorgeous wee boy. His name is Limpy and he was brought to Raewyn because he had been “found” and had an injured leg. He is amazing and wants cuddles constantly. I love him and wish Mark would let us have another cat. Because we cannot have another cat I have decided to pay for an x-ray for his leg to see what is wrong with it.

Sunday (09/01/11) ~ Third day of cat sitting…exhaustion as set in; I do not know how Raewyn does this daily, plus her normal job and trapping. I managed a feed and clean in the morning, then the gym (5th gym work out for the week), then lunch and then a catch up with Shona and John. Then I did a huge clean of all the litter trays etc. as rubbish day is Monday and when you do cat rescue rubbish day is an absolute blessing!

Monday (10/01/11) ~ First Monday at work for the year and it is all about the stress and energy vitamins! Also, it was the first day that Delish Cupcakes were open for the New Year, and I made the most amazing Tarragon Chicken on a bed of freshly steamed vegetables. So amazing…thanks Nigella!

Tuesday (11/01/11) ~ the only plaster I could find at work was a Lisa Simpson one….but it protected my thumb where I had stabbed it with a fork over the week. Co-worker scored a free coffee and gave it to me; so I had it with chocolate Yoyo (my nephew calls chocolate yoghurt, Yoyo…it’s unbearably cute).

Wednesday (12/01/11) ~ so I finally ran out of standard washing powder and I happily swapped to Wendyl’s Green Goddess laundry powder. It is concentrated so you use less. It is better for the environment. I can make my own and save money. It smells like Rose. It is a win-win situation. Carla and I (plus other people who are keen) are going to have a go at making our own environmentally friendly cleaning products; I am so excited!

Thursday (13/01/11) ~ I am still trying to remember to take a few photos each day…obviously on Thursday I did not. Fail!

Friday (14/01/11) ~ Here is Kitty-Kat. I love her so much. Enough said.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 1 – w/c Saturday 1st January, 2011

A week in Photos ~ inspired by the lovely Sarah-Rose who I discovered via her blog and Twitter

Saturday (01/01/11) ~ we had a beautiful New Year’s Day lunch with my Mark, mum and dad in the beautiful, lush green of Titirangi. Note: photo is from Christmas day at our house as it shows some festiveness and I had not decided to do the year in photos at this stage.

Sunday (02/01/11) ~ I cannot really remember…probably a relaxing day at home with the cats. I did finally make the beautiful breakfast that I had been craving; fresh Apricots with Orange Juice, Vanilla Bean, Couscous and Vanilla Bean Yoghurt.

Monday (03/01/11) ~ first day back at the gym and first weigh-in for the New Year and managed to snap a gorgeous photo of Kitty-Kat in the garden

Tuesday (04/01/11) ~ spent most of the day sleeping as we were at A&E for 3 hours with my mum and dad until 2am. Last day of our Christmas/New Year break and we ended up having a lovely BBQ with our friends Raewyn and Roy. Note: no photo

Wednesday (05/01/11) ~ it was Mark and my first day back at work which was pretty good as I had cleared a lot of work emails during my time off. Managed to take a new photo of myself for Twitter.

Thursday (06/01/11) ~ managed to miss the gym but we still made it to work very early thanks in part to the fabulous traffic! Note: no photo

Friday (07/01/11) ~ last day of the week and we managed to make it to the gym which was amazing. This was my first day of cat sitting for my friend Raewyn while she took a well-deserved break up in Opononi, Northland. This is Benji; he is a rescue cat. Also, discovered Instagram and decided to do a year in photos.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A&E Observations

My dad on St Paddy's Day 2010...he is happy honest! :)

Late on Monday (3rd January) night I had just gotten into bed when our phone rang around 10.45pm. You know when your phone rings at that time of the night that it cannot be good news; and it was not. Mark answered the phone and I could tell that it was one of our parents. I then realised that it was my mum and rather than give the phone to me Mark talked to her. He then put his hand over the phone and explained the situation to me. My mum was concerned because my father was dizzy and is balance seemed to be off-kilter. She wondered what the symptoms of a stroke were. I asked for the phone. Mum explained that dad had not been quite right throughout the day and she was wondering whether she should take him to A&E. I did also say that it had been a pretty hot day as well.

Now you have to remember that my father is now 81 and while he is fit he has had some major health concerns over the past couple of years. He went from not having had many things wrong to all sorts of things like a bowl bleed, hernia, melanoma etc. So, I said it was best to be safe than sorry and my mum went away to “convince” my father to go. She was successful and I explained that Mark and I would meet them there.

After I got dressed I asked Mark for a few moments on my own before we left. He did this and I was able to have a huge weep. These are my parents and I am NOT ready for anything to happen to them. I am an only child (within my adoptive family) and so really only have Mark to lean on when things are tough. Most of the time I just internalise things and heal myself; perhaps this is the result of being an only child.

We got to the A&E at about 11pm and dad filled out the forms and we sat down. He seemed in pretty good spirits given the fact that this was his second trip to A&E in the past week; the last was for gout. He also started talking to me about the final season of Outrageous Fortune and explained it was quite risqué…I asked whether it was more risqué than Green Wing and perhaps that was what had caused him to feel dizzy. He smiled. I have to say that my parents are pretty flipping amazing and have WICKED senses of humour; even in times of stress.

There were already people waiting to be seen and like any A&E they operate on a Triage system so the most urgent cases are seen to first. My dad was not counted as urgent so we waited about an hour or so for him to be seen and then he was in the cubicle for about 2 hours. Turns out that normal blood pressure is 120/80 and that is fine for younger people but as you get older it is good to keep your BP slightly higher otherwise when you get up you can feel dizzy and lose your balance. He now has to get his BP medication changed to reflect this. Still scary though.

Even though I am not a parent it still breaks my heart to see sick children and hear them crying/screaming. There were a couple of little babies/toddlers with parents in there already. So over the 3 hours that we were in the waiting room…yes 3 HOURS Mark and I saw the following:

- Sick children
- A little girl in a yellow sundress with her parents; they waited about an hour and a half to be seen. She was pretty “lively”…her parents looked exhausted
- Lady on her own needing help; hopefully she was able to drive herself home
- Ambulance staff bringing a guy and his mum (?) who were on holiday from Australia. Advised by the staff that it would cost $158 to see the doctor
- A Westie gal and her man with a wet flannel pressed over her head and eyes. She could barely walk
- A guy with a sore arm which seemed to have popped out of its socket after “sparring” with a mate. Out of everyone he seemed to be the most vocal about needing help/a sling etc. Although, apparently it happens to him regularly; this made me wonder why on earth he would “spar” with a friend?!
- Older Polynesian couple; advised by the staff that he would be waiting at least another half hour to an hour
- Younger couple and she is told to “pee in a cup” : (
- Polynesian mum and her supportive family with a near naked toddler who is itchy (please do not let it be chicken pox) and covered in a lava-lava. She was so hot that her mum was blowing on her to keep her cool. They waited for an hour
- An absolutely stunningly, beautiful African (possibly Kenyan) family of 5 with the older girls in their dressing gown. Dad filled out the forms. He was wearing a refugee services t-shirt. They waited about half an hour or so only to be told by the nurse that they would have to take their son to Starship. I could tell how gutted the father was by this news as he looked exhausted. He explained that they had been driving most of the day and that it was hard for him to keep his eyes open.

I was stunned at how long people had to wait (and yes I know it was a public holiday) and how unbearably hot it was in the waiting room. Even the receptionist had to put her head outside to get some fresh air. The other thing that just blew me away was how expensive it was to get help in an emergency. Had it been Mark or I it would have been $100! We even have health insurance. This made me wonder how the hell other people cope if they or their children are sick. Mum told me that last week she saw a woman leave with her obviously sick child after realising that she just did not have the money to pay for her to be seen.

Disclaimer: Please do not think that I am bagging the A and E or health professionals as my birth mum is a nurse, as is her best friend and a close friend of our family. I also know a few nurses/doctors (waves to Champagne Lulu, Bernadine and my mum's friends). I guess it just makes me sad that people that may need help will not go to A&E because they simply cannot afford it. I can now understand why people go straight to the hospital and take their chances there despite being told to keep hospitals free for absolute emergencies. I hope all the people that were there that night managed to get some help :)