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Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

I will

I will write about my trip eventually.  At the moment I just can’t be bothered.  I can only put it down to depression – I just don’t want to do anything.  I have no energy, nothing seems to interest me, nothing seems to make me laugh, I just get annoyed at things (especially on Facebook).

I’ve only just recovered from bronchitis which I picked up thanks to sleeping in a mouldy hotel room in Yangon.  (Do not stay at the “East” hotel.)  So the constant coughing and wheezing hasn’t helped.  I was on antibiotics for a week (had to visit a doctor in Singapore) and antihistamines.  They seem to have worked.

Now I have a colonoscopy to prepare for this week.  I only found out last week that it was all on – very quick, but I can’t think of anything else.  I dread the preparation – drinking lots of revolting “preps” to empty the bowels and then the procedure itself.  It’s just hanging over me, so it feels like the whole of this week is a write-off.

So much for getting into any “Christmas spirit”.  It’s just a day of enforced “happiness”, eating, drinking, and maybe a gift or two.  It was easy to spend Xmas at my brother’s – he didn’t celebrate other than to have good food and alcohol – that’s all you need.  It helped being in the middle of nowhere too so you weren’t bothered by noisy neighbours or kids with toys.  I shall spend Xmas at C’s and it will be nice in their spacious house, but it’s still just an artificial day of meaninglessness.  The period between Xmas and New Year is also one of loneliness and heartache.  My parents died during this period so I just think of them and feel sad every year, especially if I’m on my own.

Meh, sounds like a dose of self-pity.  I need something to look forward to…

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As you can tell from the previous post, I’ve been feeling rather tired and stressed lately.  Also, being alone all day every day is very isolating – with no-one to bounce ideas, problems, worries, thoughts off.

Waiting for items to sell, or not, waiting for items to be picked up, waiting for relevant businesses to get back to me… while everyone continues their usual lives in the lead-up to Christmas.  Weird to think of that.  If I was at work as usual, I’d be counting the days until work finished, organising Christmas at bro’s, going to Christmas lunches and drinks, thinking about putting a tree up or decorating.  Instead the house is in chaos.  Stuff that’s not in boxes, strewn here and there, waiting….

Hard to believe that in 10 days I won’t be here and everything around me will be gone.  And for others it probably feels like I already have.  Out of sight, out of mind.  When I do retire, I’ll have to make sure I get involved in clubs/groups so I don’t feel so isolated.  A friend whose sisters are in Melbourne said they reckon the men there are more easy-going and friendly.   Hey, I might even meet someone.  I certainly haven’t done in 25 years.  Any men I’ve met were married/partnered or gay, and the rest were just not appealing.  But I won’t count on it.  I resigned myself to living alone for the rest of my life about 10 years ago, when I gave up looking.

This is not supposed to be (another?) self-pitying post.  Just stating feelings.  I need somewhere to offload, and this is it, as always intended.

Hopefully, a person will arrive shortly to pick up an item, after which I can go to the vet’s to do the paperwork.  What to do with other items that no-one wants – I have no idea.  They’re too big to put in the rubbish or recycling.  Dump them at a charity?  It’s not as if they’re broken or useless, just that people these days seem to want everything new.  Sigh.  Onward.

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Well, I suppose I ought to update my blog.  It’s the final day of 2014 and I’m back at work in too few days.  The last week-and-a-half have gone so quickly.

It took me a bit of thought to remember what I did every day since we got back from our trip north.  I struggled to remember on about three of those days when I was home just doing the usual: weeding, mowing the lawn, washing, etc.  One day is much like the rest.

We’ve been lucky with the weather since the rain of mid-December.  The original forecast of a wet Christmas was, thankfully, wrong.  We’ve had hot, sunny days.

H, L, and I returned from Tauranga on the Thursday of whatever date it was.  H spent a couple of nights at L’s place.  C and W had continued north, exploring the Coromandel and Waitomo.  They returned on the following Monday.

I did some grocery shopping for food and drinks for Christmas, and also joined W on his shopping trip to town to buy something for C.  He drives a hard bargain, asking in two shops if they could give him a cheaper price or include something for free.  He got something for free with his final purchase.  Incredible.  I have to say that there didn’t appear to be enough staff on at both shops.  We had to wait a while to attract the attention of someone.  You expect much more staff at this time of year, just before Christmas, for those last-minute shoppers.

Anyway, that over, we could relax.  We wandered up to Mt Lees Reserve for a bush walk on a hot afternoon.  Always pleasant to be under the trees.

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H used my car to spend a night with L and Xmas morning with his family.  C, W and I headed over to the Wairarapa in their car on Christmas eve.  Bro was still working but arrived soon after we did.  We had a lovely meal of salmon on a bed of spinach with some delicious sauce.  The obligatory game of Settlers of Catan was played in the evening.

On Xmas morning we went for a walk through the neighbouring fields.

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We entered one paddock that had three dead sheep in it.  Three or four others were in the same paddock and didn’t appear to have access to water.  The majority of sheep were in the neighbouring paddock.  We did a rescue mission and herded the waterless sheep through the gate to join their mates, who had water.  They must have got through a fence to get the longer grass, or something.  It’s such a shame that farmers don’t give their animals shelter.  Just one tree would offer shade for several.  The sheep were crowded round the water tank under a sweltering sun.

H and L arrived in my car in the afternoon.  We sat outside with drinks and nibbles, played boules and threw a frisbee around.  It was very pleasant in the late afternoon sun.

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We’d had ham at lunchtime, and had turkey for the evening meal.  A couple more games of Settlers of Catan.  I was on a losing streak, while everyone else won at least one game.

Boxing Day was similar to Xmas day – eating, drinking, and a walk.  We went over to the neighbouring farm to feed ducklings in a cage.  We felt the cage was inadequate – just a frame with chicken wire over them.  No shelter or much room for the mother and her 10 or so ducklings.  There were two dead ones in the cage, one in the water and another as if strangled trying to get out (halfway under the frame).  It was very sad.  I do wish people would give their animals better conditions.

In the evening the “kids” played Settlers of Catan while us oldies watched “The Killing III”.  More drinking, games and in the evening we brought out an old packet of sparklers and danced around the garden acting like lunatics in the dark, “wheeeee”s and “la la la la la”s, skipping madly with sparklers in hand.  Yes, I think we were all a bit tipsy.

On the following morning, us olds checked on the ducklings and were shocked to see four dead and the rest missing.  Obviously a stoat or something had got into the inadequate cage.  It was shocking.  There were holes in the wire and ducklings under the frame with heads bitten off.  It was a gruesome start to the day and we were stunned into silence.  W commented on the look on our faces as we returned “as if someone had died”, he said.

In the afternoon, after a wonderful barbecue of steak and salad, C and W drove off to Wellington and H, L and I headed back home.

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Once back at home, H borrowed my car again and took L back to his place and stayed the night.  I was on my own again.

The following day I did loads and loads of washing and mowed the lawn.  I finally finished the gigantic tome that was Diana Gabaldon’s  “Breath of snow and ashes”.  All the action was in the final little section of the whole book.  I’d waded through a whole lot of nothing happening just to get to it.  I won’t bother with any further books in the series.

H returned unexpectedly that night.  She had planned on arriving the following morning but realised she still  had a lot of stuff to sort through in her room.  She brought back takeaways, then we went for a walk at the domain.

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Swan family in the wetlands

 

I was lucky enough to capture a bellbird with my point-and-shoot.

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And so to the last day of H being home.   She finished sorting through her stuff, leaving some to give away and some to recycle.  We headed off to Wellington, where she’d join C and W for the final day before flying out.

It was another lovely day.  We all walked through the Botanic gardens and had a beer at the Sprig & Fern pub in Thorndon on the way back.  We visited the nearby supermarket briefly, returned to the apartment and said our goodbyes.

Back to an empty house.  I’ll have to get used to the emptiness all over again.

Yesterday they were visiting cousins in Wellington.  I went into town for grocery shopping and dropping off bags to charity bins.  I got the DVD set of “The Killing III” from the library so I could continue to watch it.  I was just watching an episode when bro turned up unexpectedly.  He said he wanted to get out of the house and came over for a trip.  He’d visited a friend and some old haunts in town, including our first family home (now a community centre) and primary school.  It was good to see him.  We shared a beer and chat before he headed off back.

Girls flew out this morning and are about to land in Melbourne.  I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

Tonight will be a non-event.  I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party in Tauranga but I wasn’t about to drive up their again – six hours to reach their house.  Nope.  An early night, and contemplation on the year ahead.

 

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Wow.  I can’t believe my two weeks off is nearly over.

I spent the first couple of days off washing and gardening.  I headed over to my brother’s place on Xmas eve.  Bro was working and got back about 4.30 pm.

The next day turned out sunny and warm, with not a cloud in the sky.  We had a pleasant walk in the countryside.

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In the afternoon bro and I had a nap, something I never normally do, but I hadn’t slept well the night before.  I got up after a while and wandered around the garden.  We played Settlers of Catan.  Evening fell and the clouds gathered.

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We had Xmas dinner of salmon on a bed of pasta, followed by my sherry trifle.  The wine was a nice Riesling from Rangitikei.

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On Boxing day we went for another walk and fed the neighbours’ dogs and ducks.  More Settlers of Catan (I won as many as bro, which is unusual).  I headed home about 4.30 pm.

Back home C’s budgie looked sick and when H returned we discussed talking him to the vet the following day.  He didn’t make it, sadly.  He was at least 6 years old, older than many budgies we had had previously.  I dug yet another hole by the pet cemetery and we buried him there.

I’ve done more gardening and washing and started cleaning up the garage.  I didn’t get far – it takes forever.  I found 2 more boxes of old books which my bro had had.  He didn’t want any more junk, so I biffed some and put the rest aside to give to charity shops.

The weather has been changeable – never staying sunny the whole day.  I finally managed to paint the new bits of the carport and an hour after a second coat the rain poured.  It looks okay though.

There’s plenty to do inside when it’s raining.  I started, once again, to go through the junk in my room.  I did another sweep through my filing cabinet and got rid of more papers.  I looked through stuff on my desk and sighed as I found more stuff which needs to be organised to join other (already organised) stuff.  I was looking for something and looked at a large ringbinder, wondering what it was – lecture notes from my masters!  I got rid of that huge pile of paper pronto.  I sorted through 2 bags of family archives and looked at a photo album which was in one of them.  I had obviously forgotten about it.  It was an account of my parents’ cycling tour through North Wales.  My father had taken old photos from an old black-sheeted album, and stuck them in the sticky-paged album along with typewritten notes.  Whoever invented those albums has a lot to answer for.  I immediately decided to rescue the photos as some were getting spotted with pink from the adhesive.  I nearly tore my hair out trying to ease the old photos from the evil sticky bastard pages.  I managed with just a small tear to two small photos – no mean feat.  I now have to figure out what to do with them.  I chucked the crappy album in the recycling bin.

Yet to do in the short time remaining off work:  finally finish stripping the wallpaper in the spare room; finish painting the ceiling in the laundry; continue clearing the garage; continue trying to organise stuff in my room.

And so to yesterday – New Year’s Eve.  I was not in the mood for partying and didn’t want to go anywhere or stay over anywhere.  H was home – allowed two whole days off work.  She wasn’t sure what to do for the day and I half expected her to go to a friend’s for the evening.  However, she ended up inviting two friends and her boyfriend over to help us eat chicken and drink our wine and beer.  So, the party came to me!  We played three games after a wonderful dinner of roast chicken, salad, bread, more sherry trifle, etc.  We first played a drinking game, which I had printed off years ago and had never tried.  We soon got bored with it and moved on to my home-made version of Cluedo called “Who killed Santa?”  I made this years ago when I was at home with the kids.

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Oops... drunken hilarity after dice mishap.

Oops… drunken hilarity after dice mishap.

We then moved on to Settlers of Catan.  H skyped C and we celebrated the passing of two midnights – ours and hers.  It was 3.30 am by the time I noticed the clock and headed to bed.

Today was a slow starter, but Jasmine woke me by scratching on my door.  She looked up at me as if to say “What are you doing?  Why aren’t you up?  Feed me!”  I washed last night’s dishes and we all walked down to the local cafe for “brunch” even though it was, by now, 2.15 pm.  I was surprised it was open.  We enjoyed our Eggs Benedict, omelette, and other cooked ‘breakfasts’.

Now it’s clouding over, threatening rain again.

As to the parcels that we’d sent to C, she only just received one of them yesterday.  The other is yet to be delivered, even though I gave the correct address 10 days ago.  So much for the Christmas hamper!  It didn’t even come in time to celebrate the new year.  😐

Anyway, happy new year, all, and thanks for reading!

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A muck-up

H and I are spending Xmas apart.  She’s working and so can’t join me at my bro’s place.  So, we thought we’d have an early Xmas, but it was dependent on her receiving a parcel which included a gift for me.  To make matters worse, H had agreed to house-sit for a friend from 21st-26th December so she won’t be home before Xmas eve when I leave.  The parcel didn’t arrive in time.  It’s here now but too late.  So it looks like we’ll be having our Xmas after Boxing Day.

I had sent a hamper to C, but she hadn’t received it.  I enquired and the courier note was that  it was the wrong address.  It was the address given to me by H.  I rang C to ask and she said the number was wrong.  That pissed me off.  I shouldn’t have relied on getting the (new) address off H.  At this late stage I hope they can redeliver to the correct address before Xmas.  The other problem is that H sent a separate parcel to that same (wrong) address so I don’t know what will become of it.

Xmas has become a bit of a dog’s breakfast.

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I have got some way in my Xmas shopping.  I only buy gifts for my daughters and some food and drink for bro and his wife.  H told me what she wanted and I’ve bought one of the items.  The other could be tricky to find – natural or organic perfume.  H made up a parcel to send to C and asked me to contribute (naturally).

C is difficult to buy for but I wanted to get some jewellery.  I found some lovely blue freshwater pearls.  Of all the jewellery I looked at this seemed the most suitable.  C isn’t into bling and there’s a lot of bling around these days.  I’ve subsequently discovered that freshwater pearls are made in China using mussels.  Anyway, H will send the parcel off today.  I also decided to send C a hamper after finding a nice Australian hamper company online.  I just ordered one which should be delivered within a week.  It includes wine, chocolate, and other nibbles.

I ordered some wine online from a vineyard in the Rangitikei, and will give one of the bottles to bro.  I’ll also visit the local vineyard and get another four bottles of their yummy brew, and give one of them to bro as well.  Interestingly, it’s bro who lives in a wine region and never gives me any!  However, we decided long ago not to give each other gifts.  I give food and drink because I go to his place for Xmas every year – it’s only fair.

So, just about done.

I have two weeks off over Christmas/New Year.  It will go very quickly, so I’m thinking I’ll have to create list of things that I absolutely must do.  Hopefully the weather will be fine.

I bought H and I a couple of video games for Xmas.  I was talking to one of the guys at work and we were looking at an advertising leaflet.  He pointed out two that were good – Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire.  I had heard of RDR and had been meaning to buy it, but had not heard of the other.  I bought both, and have secretly been playing RDR while H is working or out.  It makes sense to use the crappy weather pre-Xmas to play it instead of while I’m on holiday when I need the time to do those jobs I never have time for.  That’s my excuse anyway.  What can I say – I never grew up.  I’m the only woman my age I know of that plays video games.

Time to go to work!  Just seven working days left.

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Time is flying!

Far too quickly!  I’ve already had a week off work and have hardly begun to do what I wanted.  Ok, so yeah, I was away for four nights so I can’t blame myself for not doing anything (silly).

The weather (up until yesterday afternoon) has been fantastic – hot and sunny and (more importantly) no wind!  H and I headed to Wellington on Xmas eve and it was a pleasant drive.  My right arm felt the heat of the sun on the way down (and that arm is now browner than the left).  Jasmine was deposited in the cattery – her first time away from home.  I hadn’t been to this cattery before but heard it was much nicer than the place I used to take Ziggy (they took dogs as well).  Jasmine had her own large cage with an outdoor area.  She growled at the cute fluffy cat in the next cage, so we exited so she wouldn’t get all territorial around us.

Can’t recall what we did that evening!  We did play Settlers of Catan.  It has now become a family tradition to play at least one game over the Xmas period.

The following day, Xmas itself, was also amazingly hot, sunny and windless.  After opening gifts and having Xmas lunch (lovely free range roast chicken and potatoes and a pasta salad, followed by pumpkin pie, all accompanied by bubbles, of course), we went for a wander down to the water’s edge in the harbour.  The normally busy streets were empty which was just wonderful.  Quite a few people were also enjoying the sunshine, including kayakers, one dressed in a Santa suit (and cooking, I imagine).

A statue dressed for the occasion

The sea was like a millpond, which the ducks and other birds enjoyed too.

Daughter's cat and bird enjoying the sunshine in the apartment

On Boxing Day we braved the now very crowded streets (Boxing Day Sales) for another walk.  We didn’t buy anything, but I did get myself a new cellphone (not a smartphone), which, naturally, was not on sale (these things never are when I want something).  I can now take pictures and, apparently, access Facebook, etc.  In the afternoon H and I left Wellington to head to my brother’s place in the Wairarapa.  It was another amazing, sunny day.  Incredible!

Bro had a couple of friends from Germany visiting and when we arrived they were playing a card game.  My brother almost exclusively plays Settlers of Catan so to see him playing a different game was unusual.

H and I had a pleasant stay there, playing both the new card game (Phase 10) and Settlers of Catan, as well as going for walks and helping bro cut down plum-laden branches so the postie could access the letter box.

Sis-in-law’s garden was looking a picture as usual.

H and I were staying in the ‘granny flat’ and one night I woke early in the morning, thirsty, so went to get my bottle of water from the car.  I stepped out to be awed by billions of stars in the night sky.  Even where I live, we never see so many stars, and we see a great deal more than those living in the nearest town.  I just stood there, amazed, and then, to my delight, I saw the tail of the comet (Lovejoy, which had passed close to the sun and survived) to the south.  I was tempted to wake H to see it but she was dead to the world.

We headed home on 28th and got home in time to pick up Jasmine.  She was wide-eyed when the cage door was opened and was uncertain when we unceremoniously pushed her into our cat cage.  Apparently she hadn’t eaten much but had just started coming round and starting to miaow.  She hates car rides so it wasn’t until we let her out at home, that she could realise what was going on.  She miaowed a bit and was unsettled but soon realised she was back home to stay and asked for cuddles and laps.  It won’t be so bad for her next time, I think (I hope).

So, finally to today.  I cleaned up the mossy deck yesterday while it was still sunny, then H and I started tidying up the sun room (aka junk room) and identified which items we could chuck, give away, or sell.   I then deposited a few bags of old clothes (including baby and toddler clothes which, unbelievably I had still kept) and toys in the nearest recycling bin and headed to a friend’s place down the valley who had invited me to dinner, as long as I brought along my game of Settlers of Catan.  I had previously got her and her partner addicted to the game as well!  H also has to take the game along when she visits her boyfriend and his flatmates.  We’ve managed to get more people addicted to the game and pretty soon they’ll want to buy their own version.

Today hasn’t been so productive.  Thanks to the rain I haven’t been able to do heaps of washing or to clean up the items to give away and sell.  I’ve listed 5 other items (which weren’t in the sun room) on TradeMe and hope to get rid of more stuff soon.  If they don’t sell, I’ll take them to recycling or put them up on the Facebook page to give away free.  I can’t be bothered with garage sales – they’re not worth the effort for the vultures who turn up way too early and want to pay 50c for a box of items.  Bugger that.

The laundry needs a good tidy up and I need to paint the walls.  I headed into town earlier to buy some interior paint and brushes and look for the Phase 10 game.  Naturally I didn’t find it but it can be played with 2 packs of regular playing cards.  I bought a couple of packs at a cheap shop after discovering one of our two packs at home was missing 4 cards.  To my delight, the pack included numbered cards up to 13.  I needed up to 12 for Phase 10, so pretty rapt about that.

The afternoon is rapidly disappearing, so I need to identify other stuff to help ‘declutter’.  I’m in the mood for chucking, so better make use of it.

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