Saturday, 20 December 2008

Adulthood PLUS two

Ricki Lee is 20 today. I sent him a text at 5.30 this morning - he was starting work at 6am, and Cleo had woken me up, so I thought I'd get the happy birthday wish in ultra early. This is the first birthday he hasn't been home with us . . . that's what 'adulthood plus two' does to some, I guess, but I don't like it!

Ricki was born 3 1/2 weeks early - he was due in January, but as they all have done before and since, couldn't wait till full term. My poor doctor got called away from a Christmas BBQ to come and tend to me. I ended up having a C-Section, went into shock and had to have a blood transfusion. It was all a bit traumatic, but we got there in the end. He was a wee dot, quite different looking from Karl.

He is currently studying Computer Science at Canterbury University, and working a part time job to help pay the bills.

I haven't got a current photo of him - this one is from earlier this year - Ricki on the right, Karl on the left . . .


Friday, 19 December 2008


Third born son is 18 years old today. Where have all those years gone? He finished school a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately has no plans for his future. He knows he must get a full time job because we certainly can't afford to 'keep' him.

We have been so very lucky to have 'good' kids. They honestly don't give us too much grief, although their father does blame them for his grey hair. I just think it's that age thing again LOL.

So eighteen years ago I was spending the day saying "No, this can't be happening, it's too soon (yet again)" And most of all I was thinking that this baby cannot come today because it's his brothers birthday tomorrow!!! Oh my goodness, two birthdays in the week before Christmas.

So this was my second baby to spend his very first Christmas in the hospital, but he was born a healthy 6lb even though he was a few weeks early. He made his way into the world via a C-Section as, like his brothers before him, he was breach and also like his brothers, had been the entire pregnancy!

Liam Samuel - Sam to his father and his Pop - Liam to everyone else . . .

Happy, happy birthday, son!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

On being organised

Over on Karens blog Karen's Choice she has a photo of her favourite organising tool:

So nice, neat, tidy and - well - organised!

Mine doesn't quite cut it, does it?


Sunday, 23 November 2008


I remember when I was little, dad did the veggie garden and mum did the flower garden. My dad had a huge veggie garden. I have no idea if all the vegetables were used, I know that I certainly didn't eat many back then. Our front paddock in suburbia was full of potatoes for the first couple of years, then corn, then became a wonderful field of grass to play on. We also had some fruit trees - pear, plum and two greengage. Mum would get peaches and pears and bottle them. They would last us all year. She also made jam. My favourite was a crab apple jelly that she used to make from my nanas crab apples. I looked at making some once - and once only LOL. Too fiddly for me!! She also bottled beetroot. I've never had any to match hers. It was delicious.

Now my attempt at gardening. We've always grown tomatoes, and usually potatoes. Up until about 6 or so years ago, I guess. We just ran out of time and energy. Still don't have the time or energy, but are keen to try again.

Here are some starting pics::

Tomatos staked along the fence line with some lettuce in between

Two dwarf cherry trees and the area inbetween that needs tidying . . .


Lettuce, cucumber and watermelon - they patiently waited all week before getting put in the ground today

Four lettuce and one cucumber safely planted, and there is room for more

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Happy 80th Birthday


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

I know - I suck at blogging.

I've had a few things I've been focusing on lately. The main one being saving money. Cutting costs. Living more cheaply. I have joined a website called Simple Savings. It is an Oz/NZ web site that has a wonderful forum, many, many tips on how to save money, live more frugally, repay debts more quickly. Simple Savings also helps with challenges and motivation.

I have joined a couple of challenges. The babysteps, mortgage, cc savings challenge - my challenge is mainly to save for a holiday next year with all the boys before they don't want to come with us any more. Not very SS, I know, but it's family, ya know?

Have also joined the Weightwatchers and Organised Chaos threads.

Consequently I have a new dream. To become more self sufficient. To buy a little patch of land, either relocate an old house on to it or build a garage and live in that for a while. Get some chickens. And a few grass grazing quadrupeds. Have a veggie garden.

To do this we would need to reduce our mortgage. It's currently fixed, so can't make too many extra payments towards it. But next year when we are due to renew it, that is the first thing I will be looking for - the chance to make more extra payments.

In the meantime - we have tomatoes against the back fence; plenty of cherries on our two trees, strawberries in pots and a few sickly looking lettuces. Over the next winter we will make raised veggie gardens and be all set for NEXT summer.

We will get extra tomatoes when they are cheap and make relish and spaghetti. Cheap stone fruit will be bought to freeze to keep us going through the winter.

On the grocery front I have cut my spending back from around $250 per week to about $220. That is still far too much, but I know that more can be saved. For me it's all about baby steps. I'm back to baking again. Muesli bars, muffins, biscuits. I love the muesli bar recipe I got off SS. It's so, so simple.

Time is usually against me - but it's all about using it wisely. I'm going to attempt to do that. Can't always guarantee that I will keep it up, but I'm going to try.
Rowan Atkinson makes me laugh!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Recapping the last few weeks . . . Dog two got sore leg, visit to the vet costing $$$; Denise got sore knee and ear infection, visit to the Doctors costing $$$, Josh off school with sore throat, Liam off school bad case of Flu, trip to Doctors costing $$$; Dog one got sore leg, trip to Vet costing $$$$, Dallas pulled rib muscle, no more money so no visits anywhere . . .

Seriously folks, that is really what it’s been like. And you wonder why I’m not on here often . . well, now you know – I do actually have a life, and it includes providing the money for the vets and doctors latest new homes and trips abroad.

We have a couple of movie passes to use very soon. I’d really like to go and see the X Files movie, but after reading that David Duchovny is a sex addict, I just don’t know if I’ll be able to concentrateon the movie. I might just spend the time watching him and thinking about him . . . ewwww . . . although he is not bad looking, I guess! And he was in Californication – I only watched the first episode and I nearly had to poke my eyes out with hot pokers!


Monday, 11 August 2008

10 Quick Tips – To update your space

Spring is not far away – here are some cheap tips to freshen up your living spaces.

1. Paint a wall
2. Get a nice sofa throw, or just wash the old one
3. Buy some new cushions or sew some new covers
4. Swap your pictures and/or photos around, or put up some new ones
5. Move your furniture around
6. Pick some fresh flowers and put them in a spot for all to see
7. Rearrange your book case, donate books you don’t LOVE anymore
8. Check out some creative ways to organise your space
9. Add a mirror to open up a space
10. Give your home a thorough spring clean. A clean home always makes things look better.

PS - Throws, cushions, mirrors and frames are all available, often at bargain prices, at Briscoes :-)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

It's wet

and windy and stormy.

There is a Civil Emergency in Picton - some houses are being evacuated. The weather will be getting worse throughout the night.

Some roads are flooded and closed, the river where we walk the dogs is bank to bank water. I'm only hoping we don't lose power - we are an all electric home, and I don't do COLD!

Have been on the phone to Ricki tonight - the rain has just started in Christchurch.

This storm, which is apparently the size of the Tasman Sea, is moving its way down the country. The news is showing pictures of uprooted trees, roofs flying off buildings and telling of loss of life in one area up north.

Keep safe, everyone.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Bed tales

A quick stop to say hi. I really need to be redoing my budget because our waterbed has come to the end of it's much punctured life and we've had to buy a new bed. So now I have to find an extra $20 a week.
Can't wait for the new bed to arrive - hopefully by the end of the week. I bought an electric blanket that was on special at Briscoes yesterday, too. Have never had one before, but after the warmth of the waterbed, I think we’re going to need it. So no more rocking and rolling every time one of us gets in or out of bed (baffles in the bed were knackered, too). The new one has ‘pocket springs for no partner disturbance’!! Oh, the bliss . . .

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The week by bullet point.

  • First Budget client on Monday. I was VERY nervous, but it all went really, really well. I have a Supervisor with me for the first few times.
  • Parent Teacher meetings – both boys have work to catch up on – as per usual.
  • Worked Briscoes Thursday and Friday nights. Had Sunday off.
  • Saturday – I changed our computers over to wireless. Work wasn't getting done because it was too cold in the computer room – it's on the south side of the house. Now the main computer is sitting in my dining room. Not the most aesthetically pleasing . . . but a damn sight warmer! Oh, and I'm rather pleased with myself that I actually managed to achieve it!
  • Watched the rugby on Saturday night. Go All Blacks!
  • Mail run with the Courier on Sunday. Then groceries and some housework.
  • Monday – yesterday – 8 – 5 at the Lab. Haven't been in there for a while – but most of it came back really easily – thank goodness. Ended up picking up a few extra hours next month.
  • Tertiary Evening for the boys last night. Dallas took them along. They came home with a couple of new ideas for the future. Goodness knows Liam needs to sort himself out. He's only got a few months left of school!
  • Today – BOS 8.30-1.00 Second meeting with budget client.
  • Dallas came home tonight – with a truck full of hail!! The cold front has hit full force. Two weeks ago Ricki sent a text home – saying “it's snowing, it's snowing”. Snow in downtown Christchurch! Josh is hoping that it snows here – unlikely, but you just never know. I think the last time it did would have been back in the mid 60s. I have vague recollections of being very little, living at Marshlands and having snow on the ground.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

What I'm reading . . .

Suze Orman has many devout followers of her approach to handling finances, including talk show host Oprah Winfrey. In this book, Orman covers the basics, such as the importance of paying off all credit card debt as soon as possible. Different retirement funds are also discussed. Orman even addresses the psychological aspects of money and spending. She asks readers to try and recall their earliest experiences with money, believing that many childhood experiences can negatively affect how people handle money as adults. She says that many people still associate shame and guilt with money without realizing it. Those seeking specific advice on a widely diverse set of personal finance topics may need to look elsewhere for supplemental information.

Another week

Has just flown by. I've had a list of things to get done, and most of them have been achieved.

I spent Thursday cleaning out the computer room. I can actually work on both desks now. Just hope it stays that way.

Josh played soccer on Saturday. The team got a licking - again. But he is still enthusiastic - he has been out running with Sam the past two nights.

Friday, 6 June 2008

May - a month of family - new and old

May was a busy month – and not just for me!

The biggest news in May was a new baby in the family. Jaykob Rex was born to Nicola on May 14th weighing in at a healthy 9lb 12oz! And a wee sweetie he is, too. There is absolutely nothing to beat the sweet smell of a baby :)

I got some interesting emails from Linda, too. She found some information online regarding our ancesters. In particular the two that were shipped out from England to Australia as convicts, George and Martha. Now we knew they were both convicts, and we knew that what George had been tried for – stealing:

George BEST aged 33, convicted at Kent Sent Assizes 30th Geo 3d 1790 at Maidstone of Stealing goods value £5-0-3 of William Cheesman the Elder in his dwelling house ......

Martha Chamberlain was tried Middlesex Gaol Delivery of Newgate 01 Jul 1795 Found guilty of stealing goods value 39 shillings, but not guilty of breaking and entering. Sentence 7 years , age 21 occ: singlewoman ,Native Place: Parish St Giles, Middlesex. Arr NSW "Indispensible" 30 Apr 1796.

What we didn't know was that Martha was previously a prostitute! When she arrived in Australia she was employed by George to be his servant woman. Eleven months later their first baby was born.

Linda and Pamela went to a Cemetary in Parramatta and found their graves.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

I have man flu. You know how it goes . . I'm sick; I have a cold; I don't feel well; my nose is runny, blocked, runny, blocked, I ache, etc, etc, etc.

Yep, my eyes and nose are streaming. The coughing has started. I don't imagine I'll get much sleep tonight.

I'm hoping I've got some of these in the cupboard, and that Liam didn't use them all last week:

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

One month ago

I said that the new computer system at the Lab was about to go 'live'. It still hasn't. That means I get some unexpected days off. Which is good in one way . . . I get to catch up around the house and try and match all those Flyladies on MSE. My list today is long, but I have started already. Dinner is in a pot on the stove, and I haven't yet cleaned up from breakfast!

I really, really need to get end of year accounts to the accountant. That must be my main focus today . . after taking the dogs for a walk. This is what the riverbank looked like last week:

I waiting for the sun to get a bit more warmth in it before I venture out today.

Other things to do: generally have a good tidy up. I don't think I'll focus on anything in particular - but will do a couple of flings and may be a HHI (half hour ironing). Oh the joy . . .

Thursday, 29 May 2008

My memory isn't what it used to be

I blame depression. I really, really do blame depression.

I've found a really simple answer to a lot of problems that a poor memory brings about.

A notebook.

That's it. A notebook.

I have one here at my computer desk. I have one at work.

The one at home I write down things I need to do - usually to do with transferring money, paying bills, anything mowing related.

The one at the Lab I record all phone calls I take in. All messages I have to pass on. Things that I need to remember to do. If I don't, I forget. I have forgotten before. At work that's not a good thing.

Try it - you might like it!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Back to the cold of Saturday mornings in winter!

And the reason?

Josh has decided to play soccer again! We worked it out tonight that he last played organised sport back in Year 8 - 2005. Then he played soccer, volleyball and basketball. From 2006 to this year he has played nothing . . . except computer games, that is.

Computer games take such a hold. All four boys play them. I would guess that a couple are addicted, or very close to it. We have tried all sorts to steer them away from the screen. I guess we aren't constant enough, though, and end up letting things slip backwards.

Josh also had his beep test during PE at school today. His fitness levels have dropped alot since 2006, too. He has now decided to work on his fitness, both for soccer, and for the next beep test at the end of the term. He's not keen to get up at 6am to run the dogs, though - so there goes my suggestion.

Yesterday Liam was up at 6am - he was off on a kayaking trip down the Sounds with his PE class. They paddled out to Blumine Island (our newest wildlife sanctuary), looked at the historic gun emplacements, camped at the DOC camp, then paddled back again today. He is really feeling the soreness in his arms and legs now. Wonder if he'll want to go to school tomorrow . . .

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Happy Mothers Day

my mum and me; and my nana - my mums mum.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Monday, Tuesday I was at BOS Print.

Yesterday, today & tomorrow at the Lab.

One Department went live today on the new computer system. Today was crazy. Stressful. Tiring.

The other Departments go live next Monday week. I cannot imagine what it will be like then.

Monday, 5 May 2008


Sunday was spent trying to catch up with the week that had been. All I really wanted to do was sleep, but that wasn’t going to happen.

Spent half the morning disinfecting the kitchen. Everything. Bench top, cupboards, cupboard fronts, fridge, window sills. Just giving it a good clean.

Then we sprinkled stuff on the carpet (don’t ask me what it was called, we used the whole tin and I can’t remember the name) then vacuumed it all up again. Two weeks of mostly rain with kids and dogs inside adds up to a smelly, smelly house. Smells pretty now :-)

Then hard floors were swept and mopped.

Four loads of washing got most of it up to date.

Remind me never to get that behind again.
Remind me to make sure the kids help us to do some sort of housework every night.
Remind me not to turn on the TV or the computer and forget about everything else.

Also remind me that dinner is cooking - argh . . . . . . . gotta go.

Defragmentation Complete

Ah, what wonderful words. I have dreamed of them for so long. And now it’s done.

But of course it really should be done weekly ***sigh***

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I've been told off.

Because I haven't put our newest addition to the family on here yet.

Meet Murphy:

The weekend

We had a great few days with Karl and Ricki home. It culminated in a dinner out on Saturday night - late celebrations for Karls 21st. We went to the Workingmens Club with family and had a lovely evening.

On Sunday we took both boys back to Christchurch. Karl is shifting flats this week, so we had to find him at least a bed. Picked one up at the Smiths City Outlet store - second hand but in good condition. Had a look at his new place - it's a bit further for him to go to work, so that means he has to get his car back on the road. That will not be a cheap exercise. Apart from the body work required, it also needs four new tyres and re-registering.

Guess that means he won't be starting to pay off his student loan any time in the near future!

First day

New job. My head is so full of 'stuff'. The Laboratory is quite a different place now to what it was 20 years ago. So many people work there - I think I remember about three names! More patients, more tests. They are currently working with two different computer systems. New one officially comes into play on Monday - they think! It's a bit daunting, to say the least. Give me a week, and we'll see how I feel then.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Lest we forget....

Poem by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is a music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncountered:
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn*.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.

They shall grow not we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them

ANZAC Australia New Zealand Army Corps

Thursday, 24 April 2008

What I'm listening to . . .

Rumours are about that Def Leppard might be touring New Zealand - ROCK ON!!!

I have good news . . and good news!

Firstly, Pudding went missing last Friday. Came in for breakfast and then just disappeared. Calls went out to the local radio stations and an advert went in the paper. We all went around the neighbourhood looking for him (dare I say mostly looking in the gutters). We truly thought he was gone for good.

Until - Tuesday morning - he just walked in the door as if he'd never been away! Animals and kids alike ran up to him and checked him over. He's quiet, but seems well. We have all let him know how much we missed him.

Secondly, both my older boys are home. Arrived home on the bus on Wednesday, and we'll take them back to Christchurch on Sunday. Saturday night will see us out having a late birthday dinner for Karl. He was 21 back in February, but wasn't home at the time, so we didn't organise anything for it.

And thirdly - I got a new job! I'm going back to where I was once before. Data entry in the Lab up at the Hospital. I previously worked there 20 years ago. The computer system had just been put in - there was one computer, one data entry operator. Karl was about 14 months old, and within my first few weeks there I discovered I was pregnant with Ricki.

Now there are computers everywhere and three DEO. My position is casual, but with my large foot in the door, I will be first in line for any more 'part time' jobs that come up. I'm so excited!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Baring my soul - or at least my computer desk at a BAD moment!

OK – so it’s not just the internals of the computer that I want to declutter, simplify, etc, etc.

My focus this week will be to keep my inbox (virtual AND real) empty (and if not empty, at least kind of empty) and to keep my computer desk clear. This last one will not be helped by kids being off school for a fortnight! But they are both such small spaces that it can’t be too hard – right?!?

I know - it really, really, really needs doing! But thankfully it doesn't always look this bad.

I have also started sorting out photos that I have downloaded onto the computer. As a part of trying to find the extra room to defrag, I have been deleting unwanted pics, putting others on to disk and getting others ready to go to disk.

Through Liam & Josh buying an HP computer, we got a deal online through Snapfish - – and got our first 50 photos printed for free. A great deal, so I got a whole heap printed off last week (they arrived within three days) and last night finished the photo album of the building of this house. Only a year and a half late, but it’s now done.

I’m thinking I need to get an external hard drive. I worry that I don’t do back ups often enough (I know that I should, but I don’t) and we have so many photos, and all the business software on this computer, that it would be a complete mess if it crashed. I’m sure it would be simpler with another hard drive to be able just to put everything like that on to.

And just as a side note . . don't know if you managed to see this on the pin board in one of the first photos . .

The lovely lady on the left is my sister in law, Jackie. She works in the Dementia wing of a local Old Peoples Home (probably not the PC name for them these days). The article tells of how some of the carers there got "forget me knot" tattooed on their ankles!!

Jackie has gone on to get a few more, too! Her newer ones represent her son, daughter and grandchildren, and her extended family who mostly live in England.

She's an amazing lady!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Problem solved . . nearly ~

I’ve solved that extra 10% problem. Karl and Ricki are coming home this week – they can sort it!! I’ll pay them of course. Free accommodation, meals and laundry while they are here. Maybe even give them a ride back to Christchurch. I think that’s very fair – don’t you?

So Karl - make sure you bring any tools you might need, because I need you to fix my lack of sound problem too 

Love you guys!

So long, farewell . . .

Said our goodbyes yesterday. Friends of ours – Murray, Ros, Emma & Jack, are moving north. Back up to Hamilton.
Originally from Blenheim & Picton they moved back to Blenheim a couple of years ago. Now an offer to good to refuse sees them heading north again.
We have known them for ages. Murray was groomsman at our wedding lots of years ago. Then we were guests at their wedding.
I have to say that we haven’t been the best friends, though. Didn’t get around to see them often enough. Only really on ‘occasions’, and it’s times like this, when people are leaving, that you realise what you have missed out on. We have said before that we must do better – we must visit our friends (and family, for that matter) more often.
Life, though, seems to get in the way.
But, you see, the thing is you never know what is around the next corner. You often never realise who is going to be here tomorrow and who isn’t.
Make that time. Take that hour you find you have spare and contact a friend.

Murray, Ros, Emma & Jack – best wishes for your future, have fun, be safe and maybe we’ll see you for the big 50th!!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

So how did this happen?

So how did this happen.

I had put on my to do list . . “defrag computer”. Sounds simple enough.

But when I tried it this is what happened . . .

It said I only had 5% free space, and that I needed 15% usable free space for the programme to run effectively. Did I want to carry on?

So after swearing under my breath at the kids for all their darn games that they have downloaded, I decided to do a bit of an internet search and find the best way to declutter the hard drive.

What I found was not only about decluttering and streamlining the hard drive, but also the desktop, the desk, the laundry , my finances . . . indeed my entire life!

So the mission has begun.

And I still haven’t found that extra 10% so I can defrag the computer . . .

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

It started out as . . .

It started out as the need to defrag the computer. It has, in turn, become something much, much greater.


1. the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something; "he claims that the present administration is corrupt"; "the governance of an association is responsible to its members"; "he quickly became recognized as a member of the establishment" [syn: administration]
2. a group of people who work together [syn: organization]
3. an organized structure for arranging or classifying; "he changed the arrangement of the topics"; "the facts were familiar but it was in the organization of them that he was original"; "he tried to understand their system of classification" [syn: arrangement]
4. an ordered manner; orderliness by virtue of being methodical and well organized; "his compulsive organization was not an endearing quality"; "we can't do it unless we establish some system around here" [syn: organization]
5. the act of organizing a business or an activity related to a business; "he was brought in to supervise the organization of a new department" [syn: organization]
6. the activity or result of distributing or disposing persons or things properly or methodically; "his organization of the work force was very efficient" [syn: organization]

There you have it. Specifically numbers 4 & 6.

I have an instrinsic need to ORGANISE. To DECLUTTER. To SIMPLIFY.

And I really, really need to defrag the damn computer!!