Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good news or bad news?

"Ambrosia" apple. Highly recommended for flavour and crunch. This looks a wee bit more yellow than it looked in its last moments before consumption. Delicious.
Birthday present from Cam, Mandy and Lucy- thanks so much- yay!!!! Also highly recommended- Ghana Peppermint chocolate- no headache - probably because it is so rich that even I pace myself when enjoying it.
Gorgeous yak's wool wrap in the birthday parcel - so warm and snuggly, which has been good because of the bad news. I'm wearing it as I type.
Now for the bad news - I've got another sodding cold. This one is a hellish head cold with neck and shoulder stiffness and general grim feelings. Plus my students have been little b____s so I couldn't take time off and leave them to a reliever to mess them up after getting them back in line.

And this critter has been worrying me hugely because his bowel is clogged again and it is not long since the last big clean out. He has had two Microlax enema's today, with no results. Alarming stuff because without a bowel that works, a cat cannot survive. He is looking fine, as you can see, but despite our best efforts, I cannot get him to poo. To put this in perspective- the Microlax are human ones and are pretty much guaranteed to have your average homo sapien running for the loo within 15 minutes.
Back to the good news. I stirred myself from the couch to make a batch of my favourite minestrone soup. My personal tonic for all ills. I've got gardening plans for tomorrow, or at least sewing ones, so I need to get better fast.

Please poo Mr.Cat.

By the way, Johnny spent some time spraying the fence new denim blue today and the parts he has done look amazing. Photos tomorrow if the weather and germs allow. XXX

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting organised

Look what Johnny made for me. We are working on getting the walk in wardrobe organised as we had an amazing mess in there. We got some plastic boxes to go on the open shelves - not pretty, but keeps things in order much better than jamming everything in a big tangle and hoping things won't fall off. I wanted gorgeous wicker baskets, but custom made ones would have worked best, and the plastic boxes cost a fraction of the price of those. I had fun putting my necklaces on the hooks. Meg, can you see the birthday big beads at the far left. Our wee neighbour brought her beads and some fishing line over yesterday, so I whipped up a big necklace for myself. I just threaded randomly as I didn't think I would keep it as is, but it looks fabulous with my new jersey and jeans.

Today I wish I had stopped to take photos, but I was very busy in the garden because we had sun. Yes sun! A miracle. I tidied up my potting table and planted tomato, various peppers, delphiniums, cottage pinks and basil (all seeds). I've got lots more seeds to plant next weekend. My little hothouse that I keep on the deck is full already. Johnny is talking about making me a tomato house along the fence. It will be ages before it is warm enough for tomatoes and peppers outside. I'll be pleased if I manage to grow some intentionally from seed. I've had plenty come up in the garden independently, frequently in completely the wrong spot and at the wrong time, but this time I've got King's Seeds Rainbow Mix and Cocktail Mix in trays. The pepper are sweet bell peppers, hot mix assorted peppers and jalapenos. I passed some shasta daisy pieces on to the crafty neighbour, and she passed some day lilies on to me. We also had a wee crafting session. Another bonus was a delivery of some big box plants from Mrs CT.

Roll on spring. I wore my daffodil skirt for the first time this year on Friday. I need some lovely warm days this week to get my seeds off to a good start.

Must go a fold some of the mountain of washing that we did today. Then I can put my clothes in my neat, orderly boxes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Birthday Ice cream

I'm having fond memories of my birthday and wish it wasn't over, so I'm eating the last ice-cream from the box of Magnum Rocky Roads we got for my birthday pudding because we couldn't be bothered making our traditional birthday fare. They are slightly odd because of the marshmallow coating under the chocolate coating. It is not like ice-cream and doesn't seem as cold. Under that is chocolate ice-cream with ripples of jelly through it. Yum. Johnny isn't mad on the nutty outside, but it's all good to me. Johnny wanted the whole thing to be marshmallow.

Life's little questions:
  • Why is there nothing worth watching on TV on Tuesday night?
  • How did we manage to spend over $100 on groceries today when we only needed cat litter?
  • Why do I have to be allergic to hair dye when I want hair that is as gloriously red as Paloma Faith's?
  • What the H-ll did I have to cut out of my hair this morning?
  • Should I cut my hair or keep growing it? (If food keeps flying at lunchtime in my classroom I might not have a choice- see question above)
  • Why is chocolate bad for me in the vast quantities I want to eat it in?
  • Why do I love America's Next Top Model but can't bring myself to watch the NZ version (to the point where the ads make me cringe)?

Due to Question 1, I think I'll be off to bed very soon. XXX

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cat Kisses

I can't stop kissing Monty. He is utterly divine. I love him so much.

We've had a quiet day today. The weather has been overcast and cold. The lads got out and about, and B came around bringing cakes and a lovely pink Asiatic lily bulb plus an Odering's voucher. Mmm, plant shopping. I made leek and potato soup and brown bread. This was my second batch of bread made with wholemeal flour. It is tasty and great for raspberry jam sandwiches. It keeps really well, probably because I put a slosh of olive oil into the dough. I haven't felt very motivated today. Dad, Miss Dog and I went for a walk that took us through the domain (flouting the bylaw again) and through Stonebridge. Depressed about school tomorrow. Plus my birthday weekend being over and Dad going home.

More kisses for Monty xxx

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Birthday Boxing Day

We've had a great day around here. The men have shared their opinions on everything from rugby to what tool I should get Johnny for Christmas (a table saw apparently). Here they are conversing with the lovely Scottish neighbour. After plenty of bonding they unloaded a whole lot of wood from Dad's ute and we now have a lovely big pile again.
Of course Monty made the most of the sun coming through the living room window. He has his head snuggled on the pillow I like to snuggle on too.
Not to be left out, Miss Dog, Dad and I took a prowl around the neighbourhood. We visiting the cemetery, the nature reserve and took a look at a house that Mum and Dad coveted when it was for sale on the internet.

I got a wonderful parcel from Meg, Ryan and Henry today. Look at the fabric on this gorgeous skirt they gave me. Clever Meg made it. Under it is the jersey Meg sent (second hand but perfect). Looks great on.
Here is my new book. It is just lovely. I've been wearing these beads together- coral chips (a gift from travellers to Hawaii) and reddy/orange glazed pottery vintage beads.
Of course, my birthday wouldn't be the same without a treat from Kersten's in Nelson. Yum, mint and cherry/strawberry.
I wonder how Meg managed to get in and out of the bead shop without Henry grabbing everything in sight. Two gorgeous boxes of beads.

Here is the very fancy plant frame that my darling chose for me.
And here is the functional one. I've popped this one over a big clump of self-sown sweetpeas.
This is the daphne I got with my birthday money last year. It is smothered in deliciously fragrant creamy-white flowers. Gorgeous! The two pink ones I have got a just showing colour now.
These are the first daffodils out in my garden this year. Dear wee seedlings bred by my Mumsy. They are delightful little poppets.
Bad photo (it was very cloudy) but this is the front border showing a lot more colour. There are some sweet pansies and polyanthus making me smile. The first yellow is showing on the plump double daffodil buds I showed you last week.

Today we went to Animates, where I chatted with the lovely fish expert about an extraordinary long fish that he said grew huge and requires a 600 litre tank. Its body rippled in waves as it propelled itself along. He gave us a demo of feeding. I wouldn't put my finger in the tank if it was any bigger. The lads had a good look around Bunnings. I was slightly hampered because a muscle in my leg decided to act like it had suffered a cruel injury. Weird, because it doesn't even hurt now. I had a slow look around the plant department. They've got lots of standard apples but they are only a 90cm standard, and I need two taller ones. They are miniature growing ones. Very suitable for next to my potager, but I need more drama. We went to Terra Viva after that. I wanted to see if they had the newer varieties of English Roses to spend my birthday money on, but sadly, no. Serves me right to be a Country Living fan, where they are advertised in all their glorious colour. I'll have to wait years probably.

We were going to go up the hill for a birthday tea with our friends, but poor Mrs CT is sick. So we're having a traditional chicken roast for tea. No pavlova though- we're trying out the new Memphis Meltdown Rocky Road ice creams for pudding. Then watching two suitably violent movies to please the men. Should be fun.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday. I've had a wonderful day, most especially because my best present was the arrival of Dad to stay for the weekend. Of course we had a fun time at school making the most of the opportunity to celebrate. It was the first time I've ever handed out party food while missiles were flying around me. I think the problem was that the missile thrower was jealous that it wasn't his birthday. Anyway, he soon realised that throwing stuff was preventing him accessing the cheerio sausages and tomato sauce that he coveted, so he helped to clean up the mess he had made and proceeded to enjoy the party. No more said about the tantrum, and he enjoyed dipping chocolate birthday cake into Heinz Ketchup. Despite the dramas, I'm very fond of all of my students, so it was lovely to have them all enjoying my wee party.

I got an impressive collection of chocolate today. I was thrilled that someone was kind enough to bring me some dairy milk peppermint chocolate from Australia. Why don't Cadbury sell that here??? We've got mint bubbly chocolate, but it doesn't interest me at all.

Hopefully I've got some exciting stuff to report tomorrow. Plus some photos of my lovely presents. Johnny got me two plant supports (one very stylish and the other very practical), plus my laptop. I absolutely love the book Mum and Dad gave me - Fay Bolt's The Bird Garden. I'll show you tomorrow. It is gorgeous, and especially precious because Mrs Bolt was my high school music teacher. I must write to her to tell her how much I like her lovely book, and to tell her I'm still making music. I'm sure she'd be pleased.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh to be basking!

This is my idea of heaven. Snuggled up between Mr Cat and Miss Dog with a crackling fire and rain on the roof. I ended up taking the day off school yesterday because I was basically exhausted after fighting a cold for a week without taking a break- let that be a lesson to you all! Poor Mr Cat needed his bowels flushed out again under general anaesthetic (thank goodness, he says). I was worried because he hadn't resumed normal activities in the lavatory department, and the vet was very concerned too. I am pleased to say the log count is steadily increasing, so all of the medicine I'm syringing in the top end seems to be working.

I was extremely pleased with Miss Dog when we visited the vet clinic. She has lost about 8kg and is looking like a Labrador supermodel. Her elbows are so much better, although she does have sore hips at full extension. She had another shot of Pentosan, which has made a huge difference. Her behaviour is so much more publicly acceptable too, and she looked like a quiet, orderly dog at the vet clinic. It was fun to take her for a walk today (please see Prebbleton Diaries for details of a major village doggy injustice).

I was a bit anxious going to school today as I had teacher's doubt- that awful feeling that you won't be able to teach any more. The class was ridiculously unruly after 2 days without me, plus a weekend. It didn't take me long to get them back into (sort of) shape. We visited an aquarium shop today. They had some gorgeous, interesting fish. The lady behind the counter was mean and scary, but we managed to enjoy our look around. I'd love a fishpond. I would have one if it wasn't for the large, hairy black crocodile that lives in the backyard- Miss Dog would love her own fishy swimming pool. The tropical fish are so pretty and the tanks look gorgeous all done up. I've never even imagined having tropical fish. We had two goldfish a long time ago, but they were not exactly joyous creatures and it was disgusting cleaning their tank out. Hmm, I think I'll just admire the pretty fish in the shop.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sick Sunday

I'm sick and the sky is crying. In fact it has wept all day. I hoped to take photos of my garden as there is more colour and a lot more poo (more on that shortly), but the camera is not the type Jacques Cousteou (sp?) would use to study the ocean. I remember being fascinated by his programmes when I was little. He had such a wonderful hooked nose and thick French accent. I wonder if he lay around feeling sorry for himself when he got sick. I've had this particular cold for a week and I feel like round two is starting, along with a hacking dry cough that is making Johnny call me a seal. I think I should have taken a day off last week to fight it, but I kept plugging on. The course on Friday was very inspiring. Sensory Stories is a learning approach which presents stories and information in sensory ways. The padding is taken out of the content and just the key ideas are covered using drama, props, fun and creativity. This allows people with special needs who have difficulty accessing regular books to enjoy learning. The presenters were a pair of delightful, funny, warm ladies who call themselves The Dipsy Kings (Julie King and Hilz King). I got a big hug from both of them at the end of the day. Loved it!

Yesterday was one of those really amazing days that comes along every now and again. I got to visit the Butcher's estate where world class equestrian, Emily Butcher is based. She and her mum have quite a collection of eventing horses, both top level, and in training. We were there to collect a trailer load of poo for my new raised beds, but I got the grand tour, met Shadow, the foxy dog who helped an autistic girl speak, and helped to feed out. I got to meet and pat heaps of horses- even super special international horses. The smell of horses and horse leather is thrilling. I can't wait to go out again. I was ridiculously excited about the horse muzzles - I think horse's noses are one of the most beautiful things in the whole world. I tried hard to act like a normal, sane human so no one would realise I've never really grown up. You can't beat Emily's mum's marshmallow slice either- she bakes like my wonderful mummy. After all that excitement I was so pooped I had to stay at home when Johnny went out to watch the rugby. Monty and I curled up on the couch and accidentally started watching "The Notebook." When John got home I was bawling and my hanky was soaked. If you haven't read the book you are in for a treat. Go and find it. Now. I knew the movie would make me cry, and cry, and cry. Today I've still got a puffy face. Never mind. I stayed in bed as late as possible and didn't get showered until after 11.00am. I haven't been outside today. My new horse poo will be nice and moist after an entire day of steady rain. When the crafty neighbour and family came over they had to wear full rain gear.

I hope I can drum up some energy to do something wonderful this week. In case I can't, I challenge all of my loyal readers to do something wonderful, interesting or just different this week. XXX

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Midweek update

I loathe being sick and I've got the cold Johnny had last week. It is one of those annoying drippy, clogged up nose colds, so not as bad as it could be. Still, my temper is a bit short, and I have had to resist the urge to have a good cry. Particularly yesterday when things were very hairy at school and I felt exhausted with it all. Today I managed to give one of my staff a telling off without feeling a bit guilty about it. Plus our wonderful psychologist told me I am one of the best teachers she has ever worked with. Now that was amazing because she is a hugely experienced and respected psychologist who has helped me with many things, both school and personal. Apart from one of my students wanting to use a glue stick as a lipstick all day and someone refusing to get out of the pool (infuriating), the day was very successful.

It was terribly sad about the NZ soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. He was there to help people, not to make war. It was good to hear that he loved being a soldier, but what a shame. I hope the other soldiers will recover fully. John Key looked tired and stressed on the news tonight. It is such a responsibility making decisions about sending people into such dangerous situations.

I hope the parcels have arrived by now. Only two days to go this week. I've got a course on Friday. Something about sensory stories(????).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fling open the doors and windows...

What a warm day today. We have had the big doors onto the deck open all afternoon. My pots are starting to look pretty, and under the layer of pansies and primulas are tulips and daffodils. Poeticus to be precise. They are just peeking through. This pot turned out to to be very pleasing with the blend of gorgeous blues. I got a mixed pack of polyanthus (well, several, because for some reason the primula family are some of my favourite plants), and pretty blue pansies. So it was luck of the draw what turned up. My pots are mostly blue or terracotta. I love that ultramarine blue that is often used to glaze plant pots. Now there are more brown and red shades, plus a few green, in the shops, but I'll always be loyal to blue.
We spent some time working on filling my fabulous addition to The Vegetable Empire today. Hopefully we are going visiting to get some lovely rotted horse poo next weekend, to give the veges a real boost. I might get to meet some lovely horses too. John's boss is a horsey lady of very high calibre, who apparently has an extensive collection of eventing horses, and a world class event riding daughter. We have lined the planter boxes with plastic as the timber is treated. The plastic will probably leach hideous toxins as well, but I won't think about that. The original Vegetable Empire is looking a bit rough at the moment but the garlic is up today, which sent my backside skyward and my head down towards the earth for a good look. We're having carrots, spinach and cauliflower from the garden for tea tonight.

The front garden is starting to have some pretty colour, but it does look dull from a distance. You can see the new house next door underway. Sigh... I really wanted to have that piece of land as an extended garden. The back garden will be more sheltered now, so I'm trying to look on the bright side.
Here are the first daffodil buds looking all plump and enthusiastic. I realised today that there is a whole collection of buds. They seem to have appeared from nowhere. I think they'll be doubles. The label washed off in the horrible rain we had over winter.

I've made it to the bottom of this entry. Last night I fiddled with the template, but today it wants to give me some text in blue with underlining. I think it thinks I want to label the photos. When I try to resist it disagrees. Anyway I like the pretty leafy pattern down the sides of this template and it might stay for a while.

Monty is very grizzly today. We had a wee baby to visit after lunch today and she grizzled too. She is 4 months old. At least Monty settles down when I cuddle him, but unless I get one of those baby slings and adapt it for a cat, he can't have cuddles all day long. He'd be delighted if I managed to get one, I'm sure.

I'm sad that The Edible Garden with Alys Fowler is finished, but we've got an hour of River Cottage instead, and Hugh always makes me smile. I called my first proper vege patch at the old house River Cottage.

Have a lovely week. I may, or may not blog before next Saturday. Depends on the effort required to tame my rowdy lot at school.

Ps. My runaway teacher assistant never came back. I've got a new one now. He lives just down the road from school, so he can't hide if he runs away.