March 31, 2009

Extreme Sheep Herding

Had to share this with you all. I am sure I saw this somewhere else and tried to open it and got distracted and now I can't find it again... but Antler sent it to me on Facebook and it is worth spreading.

And quick update from last night's post: The patient is resting comfortably... thank you all for your comments :)

March 30, 2009

When teeth go bad

It;s been a day I would rather forget really - and I am sure my partner would agree... it started with me having a flu shot, and progressed a couple of hours later to his having two impacted wisdom teeth removed. I got the best end of the deal.

Although it only took an hour, he has lost a chunk of his day from the drugs... although we were having a conversation while he was in recovery! It was a little one sided and his answers were not easy to follow, but he was awake.... bleeding, nauseous, tired, but gradually improving. The recovery took a while; from their hovering, I suspect it took longer than they expected. I was dispatched to collect the prescriptions. We finally got home and tucked him in for a sleep. Since then I can see I am going to have to start a diary of what he has to take, and when, as it is quite complicated with four different drugs, plus, tomorrow, the mouth washes...

Playing nurse is not easy... I have, I think, been compassionate and empathetic; he has been a great patient. I even made soup... which I enjoyed very much, but the dogs got most of his .. and the special bowl by the bed got the rest, along with the last lot of antibiotics and anti inflammatory tablets. Might be a long night.....  but hopefully he will be well enough to manage while I race into work to teach a class tomorrow. Bailey is curled up with him now, but she is not a lot of help.

It will all be worth it in the end, but I know it is an unpleasant experience. So far, I have had three out myself, when I was about 20... the fourth deciding to finally appear when I was 45!! I have to say it is not bothering me so it can damn well stay there. My older two children have also had theirs removed.... and three of them have had other teeth removed for orthodontic work (double ouch - their pain and a lot of money!!).

I wonder if the loss of these teeth will affect his wisdom!!!

So, short post today... catch you all soon. I am off to make a banana smoothie to tempt the patient...

March 29, 2009

Graduation of Vet Nursing - Classes of 2008

We had a perfect day for it... another bunch who have flown the nest and are making their mark on the world. I worked out it is the 14th time I have attended a polytech graduation; 12 times for the classes I teach, once for my own teaching qualification and on one special day, when my son and daughter both graduated. I have also been able to go to three university ones, originally when I received my own veterinary degree, and more recently for my son who has now graduated twice. It has been interesting to compare events, although barring some minor technical variations, to be honest, there is little difference. Graduations everywhere in the world, whether in America leaving high school, or completing a degree or post grad studies elsewhere, are all about recognition of achievement after a spell of hard work. The students can all take pride in reaching the milestone; their parents can revel in the pleasure of their offspring wearing strange robes and hats and colourful regalia and being applauded for their achievements... and in my case, it was great to be watching without the disproportionate fear associated with watching them perform. You know, just in case they forget their lines or fall over....wait - no that fear was still there!

Anyway - I do enjoy watching their smiles, the gathering and laughter as the class meets up again, the colourful procession through the city, along the river to the Town Hall, led by the piper.

The historic Arts Centre, where we meet before the procession

The academic procession enters the Town Hall first, with the Mace, and then, when they are safely on stage, the Karanaga (Maori caller) , and the Kapa haka group welcome the graduands as they process in.  Quite hair raising it is too!

The formal awarding of the qualifications to the graduates and capping of the degree holders is interrupted at half time for a stirring talk from a visiting notary. We have had quite a mixture over the years.. including Dick Hubbard, Joe Bennett and this year, John Campbell.

Finally, we gather for photos, usually out by the fountains...

Just so you don't think we let the formality of the occasion blind us completely to the fact that our friends and students return to see us, in fact this year, one came back from Mexico... we had a wonderful night at The Mexican Cafe ( where else considering) the night before, and enjoyed a convivial brew with the students back at The Arts Centre's local Dux de Lux after...... always a great day.

(Check out other pix of Christchurch at David wall photos)

I am so proud of you all.... Congratulations and Bon Voyage.

March 25, 2009

Can only a mother love a Naked Mole Rat?

I heard about these on the radio today - during a contest of what people thought was the ugliest pet.
After a run of reptiles, axolotyls and regular stuff, someone suggested these. Brought the radio show to a standstill of groans when they googled it.. so I had to have a look. And I have to agree with them, I think these are worse than axolotyls! Mind you - I am not sure these qualify as pets... but they are closely linked to guinea pigs... so i guess it is possible!
May I present the African Naked Mole Rat.

The National Geographic site gives us this first image - and best of all, you can enlarge it and make it a wallpaper on your computer... I am sure you can't wait to do this!!!

Check out this site and here if you want to know more :) I doubt your local pet store has them...

And to help you recover from that, here are some more pink, but far more beautiful, photos.
The lovely Phoebe turned five months old a fortnight ago, so she is more mobile, in fact almost crawling, and using her door bouncer...

Check out the action - Left to right on each row ...

She is also sitting in her high chair and eating solids....but you will have to wait for me to get the pictures of that off my phone... yes - I forgot to take the camera this weekend :(

On Friday, it is graduation for last years vet nursing classes... time to haul out the trencher with tassels, the Imperial Purple veterinary degree hood and flowing black gown again. I have never quite figured out why the Veterinary hood has white fur trim; real fur too! Seems wrong somehow...
But looking forward to the day :)

March 21, 2009

Les Miserables Tribute

One of the highlights of my busy, tiring week of meetings, was listening and singing along to Les Mis on You Tube... it is now a whole year since my partner ran the sound desk for the show, which I sat through 17 times in the end, loving every one, seeing something different and, strangely enough, learning the words. I surprised myself how it all came back to me. For us, it was an amazing few weeks of final rehearsals and performances, joining a cast that had already worked together for months.
Because of the strict copyright rules regarding films of the show, most of the videos on You Tube are from the 10th reunion performance, in which they sing but didn't act it. This means there is less feeling, but the power of the show can still come through in the music. If you have never seen it, do yourself a favour - go one day!

One of the things that surprised me was how much I came to love some of the, perhaps, lesser known songs. I have added a picture from the promtional pictures of the local show where I can :)

Marius sings a moving tribute to his fallen comrades in Empty Chairs at Empty Tables...

Eponine and Marius....

Policeman Javert has a confrontation with escaped convict Valjean

Policeman Javert reveals a soft side in a beautiful song - my favourite: Stars

So, to North Canterbury Musical Society, Rangiora, New Zealand, to all the amazing cast, crew, directors and musicians, well done and Happy Anniversary!

ps - gotta love this spoof version for Barack Obama


March 15, 2009

High seas in Kaikoura

Was a great trip... One bus, two cars and 44 of us set off on Friday for our annual Kaikoura trip. The weather has been cold for our summer, down to 10C at night, and raining and windy as well; it was still grey when we set off.. but the forecast was great!

To give you an impression, I have made collages - to see them larger, click on them ( preferably ask for them to open in a new tab or window.)

We had a fun evening...pre-dinner drinkies

Dinner.... games, singing, spa and a toga party.... and a beautiful dawn to wake up the revellers....

The next day obliged us with good weather... the sun shone, the water was clear, and the dolphins were amazing, but the seas were running at a moderate swell... and a fair number were seasick. I had a sore throat and headache all last week, so for the first time in 10 trips, I did not book myself to go on the boat...was strange to see them leave without me, but two other staff and three students also did not go, so we hit the shops...
The pictures they have brought back were great; dolphins in their hundreds and they got some great close ups, including their buckets..... 
Hoping everyone else had a great time... it is the largest group of us that has gone to date, and I have to say a big thank you for their patience and support to Dusky Lodge Backpackers, Why Not Cafe, Aromas, great shops, Ritchies Bus Services, and Dolphin Encounter which are all important parts of making it all go smoothly. 
We were all tired at the end....
Thanks to the great staff and students  

and to Kaikoura for the beautiful scenery - do add it to your plans when you visit New Zealand :)

March 10, 2009

Happy 21st Birthday

It was a lovely weekend. My brother and his wife arrived safely from their travels though the North Island. (They return to Vancouver next weekend). We  met up with them on Friday evening and chattered into the small hours. .
Saturday - a very hot day, we spent the afternoon moving furniture... which was an amusing exercise.
I quote from Kirst's page!!:
The moving day was a bit of a mission. We did it kiwi style which is basically, anything will do, and we will make it happen regardless. Fi and her partner helped thank god!

So we used her four wheel drive vehicle and her partners sports car. Fi and I believed it would take a couple of it was a lot of furniture.
Her partner had other ideas though.
It was a bit of a mission getting the furniture down the rather steep staircase, I got a great workout.
At the end we all stood around and watched Fi's partner cram all of the furniture into the two vehicles.
Amazed and stunned we were down to the last two items and strongly believed we would have to return. Nope he didn't give up until all was in the cars.
I joked about giving some people a lift on the roof of her 4wd also as it contained the king single bed in its entirety.

In the cars were ( I wished I took photos). King single bed, a dresser with mirror, medium bookshelf, 2 storage units, desk, 2 side tables. They were not small items.
My ex was surprised we didn't bring a trailer. Aside from none of us having tow bars on our cars, who needs a trailer when Fi's partner loves puzzles, and fitting all the pieces in.

and of course, we had my son's 21st!!!

Happy Birthday :)
My brother watching the presents... one happy son gets an I pod touch !

It was a lovely day - warm and sunny with good food and great company. We managed to Skype with Jess and James in Bangladesh, and later, with our cousin in Pennsylvania! So good to see them, even if it sucks up the bandwidth! We often just talk with the video turned off - but still great as a catch up.

All good things must end. I said goodbye to my brother and wife yesterday, as they are off traveling again today. My family has been separated for years, all living in different countries; all doing our own thing - so was good to have us all back together for a weekend!

We had it confirmed last night that Phoebe and family are being transferred to Auckland shortly.. so more farewells ahead for us too. I know we will both miss them all!  But it happens to all families. Yesterday, my friend watched her newly married daughter and her grandson return to the UK... as she said, "couldn't they at least leave the baby behind!" I know what she means,. They change so fast and she knows she will miss out on most of his childhood, forever, irreplaceable time. I can tell her that so did my parents... and the grandchildren were all young adults when they returned; that she will eventually forge her own, adult relationship with them  - but hard when you like to know them as children and be part of their development. I was actually quite lucky because, in  the early years, I did have my parents-in-law living near us, who fostered a close relationship with their crawling, toddling, younger grandchildren. I know the children loved their special chance of staying the night with them, always one at a time, always with their favourite treats. Grandma was a Polish matriarch...and not the easiest of people, but her presence gave me the backup and support I needed to care for four children, work part time and stay sane! ( although the jury is probably still out on my sanity)....  Sadly, they both died in the mid 90's, before my own parents returned here from England.

Overall, I am feeling quite raw, but sort of detached. Been so much going on lately - always something to cope with. Deaths, goodbyes, disappointments; but let's face it, you just have to carry on. British upper lip stuff? Work goes on, day to day life goes on; it doesn't pay to feel too much. Emotion is draining, tiring, and crying just makes you feel worse!  Technology helps soften the blow, but life is just not the same when you no longer share your lives with people. They become virtual friendships and the people you spend your days, hours with matter more than those far away. The internet is great; I love it, but it is another form of virtual detachment. Much as I enjoy Facebook, blogging, chatting, it is true that it can never replace the real friendship of sharing food, laughter and working alongside the people you care about. So thank you for the chance to do the furniture moving and the movies Kirst - was a great laugh and we both enjoyed it. Thank you to all my friends at work who see the changing landscape of my life and still offer support and company.  Thank you to my brother and his wife for traveling so far - was great to see you. Thank you to the kids for their company at the 21st - was really  lovely to spend time with you; to see you as adults, not just my children. Thank you to my parents for having us all there; was greatly appreciated and a lovely day to remember. Thank you to my partner for just being there and loving me, because at the end of the day that is the most important part of our lives together and the support for each other makes all the other stuff more enjoyable, or easier to handle. xx

My ultimate coping strategy is humour, so for some to cheer your day, do go and read:

and this is what we usually do when we are on the boat in Kaikoura (annual dolphin swim trip next weekend)
Wonder if this will happen???

Hoping the weather settles down before this- from sunny days to a forecast of snow on the hills tonight - we want a clear, sunny day with still water!!!!

March 4, 2009

Highs and lows....

It was a great weekend in Akaroa, despite the storm that passed through on Saturday night. The wind was strong, and the heavy rain caused a few minor slips, but we enjoyed the break. As we finally drove home, the sun was out and the sea sparkled...

It has been fairly depressing to see how dark it is getting in the mornings again, and on Sunday I saw a definite sign of the start of autumn... well it was March 1st, so what else can you expect!! In England, they are waiting for the lambing season.

Just as well we did take a break as this week has been hectic with a new class starting, and a pile of paper work. Yesterday, the funeral of my friend's mother was very emotional and I was feeling drained and tired when we headed out to have dinner with Phoebe and family.. but it was good to see them, even if there are plans for them to move to Auckland soon, the purpose of their trip up there last weekend...

Meanwhile, in between feeling tired, stressed and emotional, I am reminding myself to count my blessings, and there are things to be grateful for and look forward to. We have some lovely students, in full classes; I heard that James, who was ill, is now recovering in Bangladesh; my older brother from Vancouver arrives here on Friday and I will get to see him for the weekend; my third child, second son, is 21 on Sunday, and we will celebrate at my parents with my  brother and his wife, ....and at the end of next week we are off to Kaikoura for our annual class dolphin swim :)

I found this video today. it is a slideshow of pictures taken of the bushfires in Victoria, February 2009.They are still burning.... just unimaginable. There appears to be some fundraising associated with it - so if you watch it in You Tube, it might help them.


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