Archive for December, 2006

Safely back

Well we got to my brother’s and back, but not in my car.

Had the car all packed and ready to go.  Daughter dressed, packed – all set to go.  Turn the key – nothing happened.  The (new) battery had gone dead.  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.  Luckily I belong to the Automobile Association and called them to come and start it.  I could have done without the added annoyance and stress.  He started it, tested it.  The car didn’t seem to be draining the battery and his testing kit showed that the battery was a dud.  Brilliant.  Needs replacing.  So, we transferred everything into my daughter’s car (thank GOD we have a second car to use) and drove to my brother’s in that, leaving my poor undriveable car at home.  Refused to let it get to me once on the road.

Spent a relaxing three days at my brother’s and elder daughter and her boyfriend joined us.  It was very pleasant.  Forgot all stresses.  Trouble is, one has to come back to them.

Got back late last night.  We have no food in the house (since all the food I bought was for my brother).  My car still undriveable and the place I bought the battery from is closed until the new year.  I shall have to use my daughter’s car again to drive to my friend’s place in Tauranga in the new year.  My car will have to remain just a box of metal on the front lawn until such time as I can get the damned thing sorted!  Grrrrrr!

I hope everyone else had a relaxing and pleasant Christmas.  I must now go out shopping for a wedding gift for a wedding on 31st….


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I thought I had updated since the last entry, and then remembered.  I had tried and my entry had included a picture which I tried to insert.  I’d uploaded it and tried to figure out how to insert it and followed the instructions but the picture wasn’t listed, so I couldn’t choose it to insert.  Then I lost the whole entry and couldn’t be bothered trying again.

This came on the same day as trying to access a Blogger account.  I have been unable to log in, forgetting even if it was created under the old Blogger or the “new” Google Blogger.  Didn’t matter either way because neither of them worked and I do not have the time and patience AGAIN to find out how to get it working.  So another Blogger blog falls by the wayside.  I really should learn, since Google obviously doesn’t.

I am due to drive to my brother’s place this morning, but two things either worry me or prevent me.  I hate relying on others – am always pleased when I choose when to go and go when I’m ready.  Now I have to wait for a tired daughter still in bed (even though we had the departure time all arranged) and she hasn’t finished her painting yet (her gift to her sister).  She’s had all the time in the world while I’ve been at work.  She even visited a friend last night and stayed too long.  I’m rather annoyed.   It’s unfair to everyone that we have to wait for her.  Grrrrr.

The other issue is the car.  I’ve spent so much on it in the past two months as one thing after another has gone wrong with it.  Started with a normal tune-up when they advised me I should have the cam belt replaced.  So second visit was the cam belt at some bloody awful cost.  Then a warning light came on and didn’t go off so they said that was a blocked catalytic converter and it went in for visit number three to have that replaced, oh and a new battery as it died the morning I was due to drop it off.  Then the transmission started playing up so visit number 4 was to have the transmission filter replaced.  While there, the brakes seized up!  The car seemed ok until yesterday when I visited a friend and the gears didn’t seem right.  I’m just hoping, frantically, that the car doesn’t break down on the way to my brother’s, or worse, on the way to Wellington on Wednesday night when I cross the dreaded Rimutakas (a range of mountains with a very windy road up and down it).  It’s a worry I can do without.  Not only for the risk of breaking down, but the very expensive cost of replacing the whole transmission.  I can’t afford any more!!!  I’d go out and look for another car if I hadn’t already spent so much on this one.

So, rather than feel all cheery and looking forward to the journey, I now have to wait for daughter to get her act together (she hasn’t even packed) while I twiddle my thumbs and worry.

I hope others are having a far more relaxing build up to Christmas tomorrow. 

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Update when I can!

Now I’m not feeling so stressed, I am able to update more often.  Not that there’s anything to write about really.

Many at work are feeling very ready for a break.  Just about everyone at work doesn’t want to be there, is bored stiff and just wants to chat and wind down.

We’re having our section Christmas lunch tomorrow but plans have changed.  Now we don’t even know where we’re having it.  We were going to pick up some food from a caterer and go to one of the boss’s place.  But she is now sick and hasn’t been at work for a week, so we cancelled the caterer and will now find a cafe or restaurant to eat at.  There aren’t many of us now that one left and another went on parental leave and one sick.  Shouldn’t be a problem getting a table at the last minute, but where?

So looking forward to time off work.  Will spend about three days at brother’s then return for a wedding on 31st.  Off to Tauranga on the north-east coast in the second week of January.  I took extra time off work to do so.  Really really need a break and I just hope the weather improves!

Hope to update tomorrow or the next day…

All for now.

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I have now finished that godawful report, bring my head up and see that Xmas is just a week away.  I’d better get onto it then.

Actually, somehow, I’ve managed to buy 90% of the gifts without any effort whatsoever.  It’s been wonderful.  The only time I’ve actually gone into town and searched for something was about 2 weeks ago when casually browsing.  I bought one thing, ticked off a half-present and dreaded the rest of the time.  Since then I’ve received DVDs through the post, then went along to a book sale at the university bookshop and bought just about everything else, even for people I hadn’t intended to.  You can’t go wrong when things are 50-70% off.  It was effortless.  I also bought an item of jewellery from a woman who makes jewellery at work, which was also very easy.  No fighting with crowds and kids and trying to tolerate horribly decorated shops with ghastly Xmas music playing.

So now I am left with one thing to buy, aside from a massive shop for food and booze.  It’s been a relatively hassle-free Xmas period so far.  Even the girls went and bought a tree and decorated it.  I didn’t have to do anything.  Brilliant.  Can’t say it feels any more Christmasy though.  Looking out at the greyness, wearing clothes that are normally worn during winter.  Appropriate maybe, but it’s not winter, there’s no snow, and it doesn’t get dark early.

On a good note – just three more days of work.  The only snag in the next few days is taking the car into the mechanics AGAIN and hoping like hell 1)that it actually fixes the problem and 2) that they send the bill after the New Year.  Things are a little tight financially – when are they not?  But southern hemisphere people have Christmas in summer which means you need money for Christmas, summer holidays and those extra things like summer parties and weddings.  It all comes at once.

I seem to end up complaining on this blog.  It’s the time of year, I swear.  I look forward to some relaxation at my brother’s place.

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It all depends

It all depends on what you’re used to.  Our likes, dislikes, expectations all stem from our environment.

I was just contemplating that, after chatting with someone who had never seen snow.  I don’t see snow often – perhaps a sprinkling on the distant hills in winter.  I’ve only ever been out in the snow when it’s falling about three times in my life.  I found them magical experiences – the slow, gentle fall, slowly turning the world white.  Really beautiful.  To the person who had never seen snow, let alone be out in a snowfall it sounded wondrous.  To someone who has to cope with snowdrifts and frozen pipes every winter it may sound mundane or ordinary.

I hate winters here because they’re damp and wet and it rains a lot of the time throughout the year.  So I get sick of rain and damp cold.  (The majority of houses in New Zealand are very cold inside.)  I talk to people online who love winter (their houses are warmer in winter!) and hate the summer because of the heat.  They live in areas where they get long, hot summers.  Here, we’re lucky to get two months of constant sun.  This summer certainly looks to be a non-event.  It’s nearly mid-December and it’s the coldest December in my memory.  I was frozen last night.  We’ve had heaters on and it’s officially summer (although I don’t regard it as such until after the solstice).

Well anyway – so much for the weather.  Everyone is heartily sick of the cold and wet and are feeling quite depressed.  I’m glad to say it’s not only me…

Still not finished the report – I have exactly one week in which to finish it.  Ghastly thing.

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While I’m here

Listening to: Motorhead

I thought I may as well update.

Met the new man and he seems a very amiable chap.  Very forward and joking – the type that puts you at ease (well some people, unless you’re a prude).  He’s very good at puns, which my friend is also into – lovers of the English language as we are.  So he fit right in.  I couldn’t help but notice his sweaty top lip though.  My eyes kept being drawn to it…  My friend hasn’t accepted him as a live-in partner just yet though.  He’s allowed to visit at some weekends and the odd week night.  She’s as independent as me and likes her own space.  That’s the sort of relationship I prefer – being able to kick him out when you need the space so you can do your own thing (they tend to take your life over).

We had a pleasant walk down to the river, noticing a family of half-grown ducks in the long grass, possum tracks, and avoiding the massive, runny cowpats.  The two of them were scouring the riverside for driftwood for firewood and made piles here and there.  The chap had borrowed a four-wheel drive overnight and planned to grab a trailer and get it in the morning.  I was beginning to get an image of him as one of those men who collect all sorts of stuff they find and sure enough, we visited his place to collect his chainsaw, and his garage and house were full of old trinkets of days gone by – clocks, dials, engineering stuff…  Interesting man.

Still desperately trying to find motivation to work on a report.  The deadline is ridiculous, considering what they want included in it.  But, I’ll do my best.  I do hate this time of year.  This added stress I can well do without.

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Listening to: Novembre

Finally, after how many weeks of unending rain and bitterly cold winds, we get a day of sunshine.  I welcomed the warmth and sat in the sun with a cuppa, soaked it all in and listened to the birds and the radio inside playing Mozart.  Heaven.  Oh yes.  Such little moments of joy are what it’s all about.

I had some work to do inside but delayed it as much as possible, clipping back some overgrown branches, dead wood, clearing up some dog poo, and repotting some houseplants.  Then rang up a friend who turns 50 tomorrow and she and her new partner invited me over for afternoon tea.  I hope the weather holds out – the clouds are gathering again.

I’ve been reading about archives recently (as part of my work) and instead of concentrating on what I should be, my mind turns to genealogy and the gardening diaries of my grandmother in Wales.  I would love to reproduce them online – at least the one I can find.  I regret I cannot find the others, which I am sure existed, but seem to have been lost in the journey of time.  She was an avid gardener, as was my mother, but the green fingers seem to have missed me completely – I’m very good at killing houseplants, for example.

Then while browsing, I came across a reference to a blog about someone’s garden and I thought, how wonderful – a gardening diary online – of course.  Why I hadn’t come across any before beats me.

While outside surveying the amazingly tidy garden (thanks to the miraculous help of my teenage daughter) I discovered that my hardenbergia seems to have died.  I’ll have to replace it, I decided.  Then I remembered I haven’t tidied the front garden (which doesn’t get as much sun).  Then my thoughts turned to the untidy garage which desperately needs ransacking….

Anything to delay working on a computer inside…  (sigh)

Saw a library book on the table which the ‘lodger’ had got out – a book on Extreme Metal (death metal, gothic metal – you name it).  I flicked through it briefly while enjoying another drink outside in the sun (more procrastinating) and smiled as I discovered 2 bands listed that I actually enjoy – Novembre and Opeth (Italian and Swedish).  I must be a rarity – a woman of my age enjoying such music.  I’m sure the neighbours are confused when the teens are out of the house.  The music can range from classical, to Middle Eastern to Celtic to ‘extreme metal’ and German rock.  Quite diverse you might say.  I’m probably an enigma (great stuff – I hate being categorised and labelled).

On that note, I’d better, reluctantly, do some more work, before afternoon tea time rescues me.

Hope you are all enjoying your day.

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