September 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Poppy

Three years old today.
Guess that makes her 21...a Saturday and the first day of the holidays to celebrate :) 

Extra cuddles today :)

September 27, 2013

"Quake Dogs" book released at last.

After months sharing stories with Canterbury dog owners, Laura Sessions and photographer Craig Bullock have released Quake Dogs. The book tells the story of more than 80 dogs affected in some way by the earthquakes.

Some stories will break your heart and some are uplifting, but all demonstrate why dogs remain man's best friend. Abbie Napier shares three standout stories.  You can read them at the link above - or better still, buy the book :)

Symbol of Strength to remain in Christchurch

The bull is back for good.

A large bronze sculpture of a bull on top of a grand piano will be purchased for the city after a $200,000 public fundraising target was met last night.

The Michael Parekowhai sculpture Chapman's Homer became a Christchurch fixture when it was displayed on an empty site last year.

The Christchurch Art Gallery Trust raised $200,000 towards the purchase on PledgeMe, the most ever raised on the crowd funding website.

The bull will find a permanent home on the new forecourt of the Christchurch Art Gallery when it is completed in 2015.

September 19, 2013

Suffrage Week and Pink Camellias

This morning, while I was enthralled by the spectacle of NZ heading for a win in the 11th race in the America's Cup, some nice girls came round and gave me a Pink Camellia to celebrate it at work. They took a photo ( wonder where that will show up!)  and headed off -  it has been a splash of colour on my desk all day.

I see someone else from work also blogged about it

Today around campus you might see people wearing a pink camelia, one of which has just been handed out to me.
It is signifying that today in history 120 years ago on 19 September 1893,  women in New Zealand were given the right to vote. New Zealand History Net  also provides a summary of this significant event.
Go and have a look at the interesting info on it on her post :)

120 years of the vote. Times have changed....

I was fascinated to be asked to do make up for a play, Female Transport, to celebrate Suffrage week when we lived in Whangarei. I had to make it look as if one of the convicts had been lashed in the interval and had a lot of fun getting the fake blood to just the right consistency to drip down her back.... to be honest after the last six months and the revelations it has brought to our lives, thinking about that image has lost its appeal, but, it was an interesting challenge, a real play and an interesting cast!  I see it is still being performed!
FOUL-MOUTHED women convicts being deported to Australia on a prison ship will turn the air blue at Whitstable's Playhouse Theatre.
Producers have warned that the stark, hard-hitting drama Female Transport will be the most controversial play yet to be staged in the converted church.

Read more:
This stark, hard hitting drama is an account of the political education of six women convicted of petty crimes in 19th century London and sentence to be transported to a life of hard labor in Britain's overseas penal colony (present day Australia). During the six month voyage they are kept in a cramped cell below deck where they learn certain truths about society. Foremost among these is they have been condemned due to the bias of a male dominated class system, represented in the play by the crew of the prison ship. Their consciousness raising is powerfully and sympathetically portrayed; at the end of their journey they have grown into a unified bunch of hardened fighters.

Happy Suffrage Week :)

Thankful Thursday - for Mothers and Music

Since finding my first parents, whether it is nature or nurture, I have learned more about the source of my love for music.  Like many people, I had a childish fantasy for years that I was a performer with an amazing voice ...... so when I found out that my birth mother really was one, who worked all her life as a cabaret singer and travelled extensively with her keyboard playing husband so she could always sing, it somehow was not a surprise.  In many ways she lived a life I had fantasised about for years! She told me she knew that I might inherit the passion and specifically asked for me to be placed with a musical family.

While I grew up, my second mother was and still is, a wonderful singer and pianist, who also plays the organ. I had piano lessons and many opportunities to explore musicals, choirs and learn to sing harmony. I was remembering recently with some old school friends from Bedales how we sang in a whole school production of Carmina Burana when we were 12. Later, at high school and after university I trod the boards in shows like Oliver, Grease, Joseph, Noyes Fludde, My Fair Lady and sang madrigals and church choirs. When the arrival of the children made it hard to perform on stage, I turned to helping with the make up and backstage setups for many more wonderful shows.  Magical :)

What I want to say on this Thankful Thursday, is that I am not a great soloist, but today I sing in a community choir. It is my musical family and we leave rehearsals energised and cheerful.  A return to what makes me happy after the turbulence of the earthquakes. I want to say thank you to both my mothers for their part in making music such a source of pleasure in my life. For the genes and opportunity to be part of it, enjoy and explore it.  I am sure you are both pleased that your grand children have inherited musical skills and appreciation too, that I did my bit to encourage them to learn music. Their singing and performing has made me very proud too.

I think of my first mother whenever I hear this song.... I am sorry I never got to see you perform Lynn - I bet you looked like this too!
Thank you for the Music :)

I'm nothing special, in fact I'm a bit of a bore 
If I tell a joke, you've probably heard it before 
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing 
'cause everyone listens when I start to sing 
I'm so grateful and proud 
All I want is to sing it out loud 

So I say 
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing 
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing 
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty 
What would life be? 
Without a song or a dance what are we? 
So I say thank you for the music 
For giving it to me 

Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk 
She says I began to sing long before I could talk 
And I've often wondered, how did it all start? 
Who found out that nothing can capture a heart 
Like a melody can? 
Well, whoever it was, I'm a fan 

So I say 
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing 
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing 
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty 
What would life be? 
Without a song or a dance what are we? 
So I say thank you for the music 
For giving it to me 

I've been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair 
I wanna sing it out to everybody 
What a joy, what a life, what a chance! 

So I say 
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing 
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing 
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty 
What would life be? 
Without a song or a dance what are we? 
So I say thank you for the music 
For giving it to me

September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th

Black Friday again.
and thanks to Thankful Thursday posts from Jaz yesterday and GB's post from Scotland that I saw today,  I paused to think about what am I thankful for today.

I was born on the 13th of November. It was a Wednesday apparently. Technically the 13th is a lucky day if you were born on it - and to be fair, I have no fear of the date.  I was 13, and 30, on Friday 13th.

I did wonder if 2013 would be a particularly good year and looked forward to it with some hope.  The slight derailment in January did make me think it wasn't to be after all, but when you face the reality of the situation that happened and how lucky I feel to have been released safely from the cage, I can only consider this to be a turning point and a year to review with future pleasure.

This is the year I finally found the truth about where I came from and with heaps of questions answered and the support of so many people, from all my family and friends, I can enjoy more things and look forward to the future. I told GB for the first time that I felt like a butterfly.

After I wrote that, I admitted to myself that for many years I hoped that one day I would change from an ugly duckling into a swan.  It never happened as far as I could see.  Finally, I now realise that inside at least, I always was a swan. I am the one who had to see it.

Happy Friday the 13th :)

September 11, 2013

Spring storm

Wild night here with high winds.  Noisy!
Quite scary and relieved again the tree next door was hacked back recently! 
We secured everything late in the evening 
but many rubbish bins were already spilled out on the street. 

Drove to work early today but apart from a steady range of broken branches and things tipped over it looked washed and blown clean.  

The storm-force northwest winds - a record 251.9 kilometres per hour was recorded on the Mt Hutt summit - sparked countless scrub fires, uprooted trees, snapped power poles, tore roofs off buildings and overturned a truck, while a lightning strike set a West Coast house alight.
Read more and see pictures

September 8, 2013

Regenerating a zest for life

I feel almost energetic today after taking a bit of time out yesterday. We are all feeling a bit stretched at work, which makes us all a little "crispy"; a classic sign of impending burnout.  So, I put aside all the things I "should" do and just pottered through the lovely sunny day. In the end I managed to sit outside and really enjoy the sun, hang out some washing, read the whole of the latest Lee Child novel, without guilt ( another great book), skyped my brother, enjoyed a fun pizza dinner at Spagalimi's with some of my students, had a relaxed late evening coffee with my parents and finished with a really good night's sleep. Woke up today feeling much more relaxed and made it to the mall for some early shopping and even enjoyed it.  And it is still only lunchtime.
So grateful for the chance to catch up on some "me" time this way.

Meanwhile I am totally loving all the daffodils - they are just beautiful in Hagley Park, and our driveway, and in the house. They make me feel a sense of ridiculously happy anticipation of the summer ahead. Long may it last!

Jess (the dog)  has a new giant outdoor weatherproof bean bag, a present from our James and Jess ( yes we have to clarify this name double up regularly) . It's not meant to be hers - more of a spare seat when we have a crowd here, but she has of course adopted it.

Hoping to see the new boardwalk at the Avon River Precinct next week.
There are some good pictures of it here

and this video -

Christchurch Daily Photo has some lovely spring pictures... they are copyright so I won't post them here - but I love them as screen savers...

Wishing you all a relaxing weekend

September 4, 2013

Christchurch developments... Three years on

So it has been three years. I should at least acknowledge the journey.

It hasn't been easy, it is still ongoing and the side effects make some aspects of life here challenging at times.

But in a glass half full view, the city has to change and while we mourn the loss of the heritage buildings, we can look forward to the new faces appearing.

It is ok to miss the old buildings... And the suburbs vanishing to the diggers and trucks.

It is ok to like the new buildings, or maybe just accept them. Please don't let them all be boring tilt slab.

The city is filling with new people from all over the world. It is good to get out there and meet them.

It is great to be alive, to be free to look forward to the new future.

It is liberating to have shed the baggage that was blocking the light and happiness from my life three years ago. I just didn't realise I was sharing my life with a black hole. That their sociopathic depravity and filth and evil did far more damage to my life, and many other peoples, than any earthquakes.
Never going back there!

There are plenty of sad memories that we will never forget, but to see the progress happening in the city, check out the new interactive map at this link..

September 1, 2013

Anniversary Celebrations with Champagne in the Sun

What a beautiful weekend. A flying visit home from Liam from Nelson and today, a chance to get together and celebrate the first day of Spring, Fathers Day with Dad, and their 62nd Wedding Anniversary all at the same time. Great excuse to crack the bubbly to toast the happy couple. Managed to get a few shots off before the feast started. Kirsty is away in Sydney this week enjoying some even warmer temperatures. 

Poppy soaking up the sun
Beatrice made the most of the late afternoon sun too - almost completely camouflaged in her fur nest.

Pure bliss :)

Happy Father's Day - to all the Dad's out there, including my first Dad over in England and my brothers.


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