December 26, 2013

Second Xmas celebrations

It actually feels like my third day of Xmas because I sang on the stage as part of the choir at the 66th YMCA Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve - a beautiful still, warm night with a few thousand people watching, The Salvation Army Band were amazing.

This morning I had a lovely chat with my first mother in England and I promised her some family photos. We made an effort to take a group shot this year.... so here we are - all but Poppy in this one. I will take the chance to wish all the rest of the extended family still in the UK or Canada a Happy Xmas too. 

At lunchtime I took the girls their presents.  

They already had quite a pile still under the tree and others already put away, but they seemed to like mine and they gave Poppy and I some lovely ones back....

Love the sculpture with the trumpet.
Molly in charge of the camera..... 
The rain drizzled on and off all day - but we managed a walk after a late lunch and lazy afternoon...

 Rosie and Poppy ran round like mad things chasing birds...

Then it was time for another meal.... more leftovers with some extra goodies.  "Is it time yet" pleads Phoebe...

Phoebe still waiting patiently...  but I can assure you, it was worth it! Nom nom nom. Caitlin made the trifle and we had meringues and cream with raspberries from Otahuna Berries.

Thank you Jaz and Mark for a lovely day xxxx 

I will leave you with some great pics Alex took of the dogs this week... and dear old Motley, who is pushing 20 years old, lives full time with our neighbours who adore him,  but comes over for visits and sleeps on the dog's beds....

I hope you all had a lovely Xmas too.

December 25, 2013

Poppy does Xmas

Having a great day :)

Hat hair!

Merry Xmas 
And thinking of those affected by the northern storms too.  Hoping the worst is over for you.

December 23, 2013

Birthday Party

Happy Birthday for today to my lovely mother.
We got together for a lovely lunch in the sun and later put her in the hot seat.

Champagne - check
Cake - check
Flowers (Roses from the garden) - check
Poppy at feet - check
Cat at shoulder - check

Nearly forgot -
First present - check
Singing and champagne toasts - definitely.

We celebrated it yesterday so that more of us could get together before Alistair and Janka fly home to Vancouver today...
A rare get together from across the miles.

As Mum said later, because of the distance, they have had very few occasions like this in the last thirty years where Al and I are both there for her birthday, so it is something to remember.

Which reminds me - I must hurry up and get over there before they all head to the airport! Loving being on holiday. Can't believe it is a Monday!  Big week ahead still :)
Carol service tomorrow and a few days of family get togethers to go before the my nephews also arrive on the 27th.
Must. Wrap. Presents......


Street Art in Christchurch

Thanks to Deon Swiggs from Rebuild Christchurch for these great photos. We moan a lot abotu road cones and demolition and changes, but the creativity and new businesses and life rising from the ashes is also exciting...

Not many cities have such a lot of potential canvas to use!

December 21, 2013

Holidays at last!!!

Beatrice has the right idea....
First day off. Bliss.

We are puppy sitting "Frankie" overnight. He seems to have made himself at home...

The floor is too hard despite his special blanket..

Thats more like it

We managed to get to the beach with them before the rain started..

He is 15 weeks old

Loved the little hut on the high tide line....

Wouldn't have minded curling up inside with a good book and a perfect view of the waves

Had a lovely night out last night at my friend Libby's farewell from work. We have been friends and worked together for 13 years and had so much fun.  I shall miss her very much but look forward to some good excuses for a trip to Nelson regularly. The farewell started with lunch in town and later a barbecue high in the hills above Christchurch with spectacular views over the city.

One of Libby's presents was a memento of Christchurch so she won't forget us when they move to Nelson next month. No one who lives here will ever see road cones the same way again!  The earthquakes have affected many people in different ways - through anxiety, stress, depression, financial loss, years of uncertainty, road rage, and even though exciting new developments offer hope for the future, I see more and more of the hidden toll appearing.  Losing friends from the city for life in distant, settled areas is just one of the ways we are all affected.

Stuffed road cone....
Meanwhile, the countdown to Xmas is well underway here. Liam is home from Nelson and the tree is up. Tomorrow we will get together to celebrate my mothers birthday before my brother leaves for Vancouver on Monday.

Which reminds me that is is one year ago this Monday since my first phone call from my first mother. It has been a wonderful year getting to know her :)


December 17, 2013

Unseasonal Weather

We were lucky the hail missed us last night but others were not so lucky.
Hail stones up to 3cm in diameter ripped across Mid-Canterbury last night, smashing windows and damaging crops.

A southerly storm dropped hail on Mayfield, near Ashburton, for about 50 minutes, and MetService received unconfirmed reports of a tornado.

Its grey and miserable here today and the forecast is for a wet Xmas.

They also had another large earthquake down in Tuatapere, Southland. 6.2 with aftershocks about 5.

Guessing my brother and his partner are having an interesting tour of the South Island!
They are back Thursday.

Come back summer!

December 15, 2013

Countdown to Xmas

There have been many things going on this week - and thankfully they are mainly good. They help a little to offset the stress of finishing a long to do list at work.

Molly turned 9 on Thursday and she had a few friends over for a party yesterday.

Nice outfit Caitlin!

yum cakes with little dog paw patterns

Thanks Mum 
And to remind us it is Xmas their lovely tree..

Ours at home is only half decorated so far - a wee job for today. .. but the wreaths are on the doors and the house is strung with fairly lights. It feels lovely.

We had a Xmas work do on Friday .... our HOD not-so-Secret Santa present was all about us. We are just not sure how he summed us up so accurately!

Alex planted some Poppies this year - so I got a picture of Poppy sitting with them.

Really happy to have another fabulous early walk with Jessie now that she is recovered from her anaesthetic and checked out our baby geese.

and for the first time we have a birds nest near our deck - just one baby but a Blackbird comes and feeds it regularly. We are keeping a careful eye on Rupert, who still enjoys a tasty morsel of baby bird when he can. I expect Beatrice would too, but she is a bit old and frail now to climb up there.

Will follow the baby's progress with interest.

Wonderful week planned - choirs and parties and celebrations. If I can get the work all done this week I can enjoy a break for the holidays - :) :) :)
Take care

December 13, 2013

Thankful Thursday


I missed a Thankful Thursday post as I was out enjoying the new Hobbit movie... Hope it's not a whole year until part 3 :(  so posting very early even though it is officially on Friday! So Jessie had her check up yesterday and so far, it seems to be an infection. Thank you for all the kind messages and crossed fingers :)  she had a dental tune up and some good drugs and has spent a peaceful night. 
So I am certainly thankful and looking forward to lots of great things today and over the weekend.
Staff party today.  It will be more fun than last years... Can tell already.  Different vibe, happier days. For me and everyone else.
It was gorgeous Mollies ninth birthday yesterday too so really looking forward to seeing her to give her a present.  

Going to see the new interpretation of The Mikado at the Court Theatre.  Sounds excellent and live theatre is always fun.

Lunch at The Raspberry Cafe with the clinic... And get some berries to bring home too. Love that place..... 

My brother and partner have been here all week but are off again touring the South Island so hope the weather is better than the North Island week. Back later in the week for Mum's birthday celebrations next weekend. Been lovely to see them both.

Liam will be home soon for Xmas.... Still finishing his flying hours but he has his commercial helicopter licence now... Job hunting underway if you know of anything :)

Must get moving and start the day.  
Have a great weekend 


December 9, 2013

Peaceful walk in Horseshoe Lake and some bad news.

Some things linger in your memory . You know at the time they are special but only hindsight can reinforce why.

I took an early morning walk with the dogs to beat the heat and tire them out before the visitors arrived from Vancouver.  It was so early even the ducks were still sleeping in the morning sun.

There were babies galore...

The earthquake damage is everywhere... the path is steadily slipping towards the water

Look at the bridge angle...

The dogs enjoyed a good run in the dog park area...

The path leads down to the view of the red zone where I check out the demolition process of the houses - there is only one house to be seen now, barely visible through the trees :(

The information hut tells you more about the area...

All the houses in the middle are being demolished.

The birds were particularly noisy. I have noticed it at home too and thought it was because we have less cats at home, but the mass removal of homes in the centre of the picture above must have an impact on the wildlife too.

So yes it was particularly beautiful but why was it such a memorable day?
Yesterday afternoon Alex noticed that Jessie had a problem under her tongue.  She is 15 next month and we know she is potentially on borrowed time but she still runs around happily and enjoys life.  However, it looks like a squamous cell carcinoma eroding the area under her tongue and if it is, it is highly malignant and rapidly spreads around the body. She doesn't want us to look closely at it. So I made the decision I had to and she is booked in for a general anaesthetic later in the week.  Yes, maybe the outcome will be ok and it could be just an infection or a foreign body, or worst case, it might be too bad to let her wake up again.  Hope springs eternal and fingers crossed we will get a bit longer with her.

Our little walk together yesterday morning may not be our last walk together, but it will always stay in my mind as a special memory. The peace before the storm.


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