Grateful for…

I’m very late for Deb’s Listmania this week – but on the basis that it’s better to be late than not to do it at all, here’s my gratitude list:

Life – it may seem trite to say how grateful I am to be alive, but it is true nonetheless. I’ve had at least three close brushes with death and I’ve learned the lesson:  life is good and it’s to be grasped with both hands. I am so grateful to be alive.

just around the cornerMy immediate environment – I get to live on an olive grove, near a pretty town in a beautiful part of one of the loveliest countries on earth. How lucky am I? I am thankful for this every day.

in the groveMy family – my immediate family of DH and DS, DS’s lovely girlfriend, my sister and her family, our Dad,  DH’s family – and they’re all no further than a 2-hour drive away. Your family have to put up with you because you’re related to them – thank goodness for that!

usDH – we’ve been together for nearly 29 years (I think we should do something special next year, for our 30th anniversary). I am grateful to be in a long-standing partnership (although it did freak me out when I realised we have been together for more than half my life!).

on  my bikeHealth – although I have a chronic health condition, I’m managing it OK. I am grateful to live in this century, with on-going advances in medical knowledge. I am grateful to be as well as I am.

There are many, many other things I am grateful for, but those are the ‘big 5’. What tops your list?


Currently I am …

book coverReading: short stories from the multi-author collection Scottish Girls About Town, which my friend Pam gave me a couple of years ago. I’ve only read the first two stories; both were enjoyable for different reasons, which is one of the bonuses of short stories.

Listening to: the hum of the computer, bird song, the occasional vehicle zooming past on the road

Laughing at: Simon’s Cat – DS was home over the weekend and he’s learned to draw this character; I’ve found one lurking on my shopping list (I wonder if there are more?).

bellbirdSwooning over: bellbird song – we have a flowering banksia and both bellbirds and tuis are visiting to drink the nectar.

Planning: training sessions in our new library management system for my colleagues; this is the product of my trip to Christchurch back in February, where I was trained as a trainer in Kotui (the NZ version of SirsiDynex’s Symphony LMS). The first session is on Wednesday, when the three library managers will be my students. Trying not to freak out.

Eating lots of: dukkah – most of our current hazelnut production goes to a local producer of this middle-eastern condiment, and recently we started stocking their product to on-sell to our own customers. Minor flaw in the plan though – it’s so delicious that I’m eating a good proportion of the stock!

Feeling: good about keeping up with yoga; nervous about the training; satisfied when I look at my April productivity

Discovering: different yoga philosophies and approaches, and the resources of Yoga Journal – awesome!

grapes-no-netsLooking at: the house and garden; the grape rows are flush with autumnal colour and look so pretty since we took down the bird-netting yesterday

Wearing: 3/4 pants, yoga pants, leggings – the cooler days have brought these back into my wardrobe after a summer of skirt-wearing.

Cooking: in a bit of a rut at the moment; need to try new recipes with vegetables currently in season

Wondering: what do the cats get up to during the day (and night) and where do they go? Ninja was missing Friday/Saturday – no sign of her all night, not there for breakfast – but she trotted up to me in the garden late on Saturday afternoon, absolutely her usual self. Mysterious!

Trying out: scrapbooking regularly on Monday nights; so far it’s working well and I’m carrying on finishing pages started then – and creating more – during the rest of the week.

What’s on my…

DRESSING TABLE | Two jewellery boxes for ear-rings, books from the library, cheque and deposit books, hair ties, a dish for my rings when I remove them at night

PERENNIAL TO DO LIST | File papers, data input for the accounts, take surplus clothes/kitchen tools/books/craft supplies to the Sallies

REFRIGERATOR SHELVES | Cheeses, fruit yoghurt, coffee, mushrooms, bread, filo pastry, wholegrain mustard, pesto, chocolate spread, hazelnuts

ITINERARY | Trip to Melbourne with my sister (not til August though)

FANTASY ITINERARY | India, Nepal, Uganda, Marche in Italy (where cousin Kirsty has a villa), anywhere in Spain, the South of France, Utah and Florida in the USA. 

PLAYLIST | Neil Young and Deep Purple – having heard them live recently I’ve been enjoying their music here at home too

NIGHTSTAND | Nicky Pelegrino, Josephine Tey

WORKOUT PLAN | Yoga at home twice a week; yoga class on Fridays; bike around the block once (or, if it’s too windy or wet, on the stationary bike which is HARD work because it’s permanently jammed on the highest setting) 

SMARTPHONE | Solitaire, Jewels, Crossword Solver

TOP 5 RIGHT NOW| Getting lots of scrapbook layouts made (15 so far this month), nice new recipe for dinner (Mushroom & Potato Enchiladas), DS home for the weekend, great photo printing deal at Harvey Norman, time with my dad tomorrow

BUCKET LIST | Travel, recording my memories, enjoying being with people I love and who love me

MIND | Getting ready for training my colleagues in our new library management system, organising my time so I don’t get too tired, olive harvesting and when it will be, trying to find balance in my life, supporting DH through a stressful time   

BLOGROLL | Melissa Stinson, Elise Blaha, WCS, SCT

WALLS OF YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE | Abstract art that was a gift from my sister for my 50th

LIQUOR SHELF | DH has a good collection of interesting liqueurs; I can’t imbibe but I love to smell them!

LAST CREDIT CARD STATEMENT | Petrol for the business; groceries for dinner; parking for DH


SCREENSAVER | This photo I took a few years ago in Palmerston North

TV EVERY NIGHT | A recording of Bones or NCIS

Thanks to Ali Edwards for this meme – you can see her take on it here.

Monday… in a few chosen words

One word: Wet

Two words: Writing group

Three words: Came straight home

Four words: Wrapped up hazelnut order

Five words: Made two layouts this evening

Six words: Cats round my ankles wanting food

Seven words: Talked to my Dad on the phone

Eight words: Sent out my first ever newsletter using MailChimp

Nine words: Hope that people reading it enjoy what I included

Ten words: Off to bed now, anticipating enjoying Neil Young concert tomorrow

Thanks to Brenda for the inspiration (her version is much more poetic – and intriguing – than mine!

Reporting in

It is high time that I reported on on how I did with my goals for February, and told you what I hope to achieve through March.

It’s a bit of mixed report for February:

  • I did manage to continue with being active, riding my bike, walking,  and doing yoga but I managed only 14 of the 28 days, not my goal of 20 (but I’m happy that I haven’t slid back into slothfulness)
  • I found a yoga class! I went to my first one on 1 March, and have been every Friday since
  • I sent only three cards (all birthday cards); I hand made all three, so I count that as a good effort
  • I made four scrapbook layouts and here they are:

4 layouts made in Feb

  • I didn’t get to the movies – but I did travel to Auckland and went to the Deep Purple concert, and caught up with some very old friends, so I’m not calling this a failure at all!
  • I managed the one week without sugar thing – but cheated a couple of times with dried fruit on my cereal.

For March I set the following goals

  • keep up with being active, especially working on incorporating regular yoga into my routine
  • send some ‘just because’ or ‘thank you’ cards – it’s nice to surprise people
  • increase productivity in the scrap room – I’m aiming for 8 layouts this month
  • try for another week without sugar
  • try for another lunch with my bestie before the end of the month (I did see her briefly at the Martinborough Fair, but that doesn’t count).

I’ll let you know how I get on (hopefully before the middle of April!)



A tale of Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall

Once upon a time there was a generally well-behaved sheep named Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall. He lived on an olive grove in the country, and had a long rope tether to one of the trees. He could wander around the trees, out into the surrounding grass, drink from his water dish and generally have a good time – to the end of the rope but no further.

At the end of my ropeOne day Hugh discovered his rope had got a whole lot longer. At first he stayed close to his trees and ate the long grass near the water race, but when that stopped being interesting he started to venture further afield. He had a look at this, sampled a taste of that, and was wandering past the house when he heard a surprised voice say “Well hello Hugh! What are you doing here?”. Hugh was pleased to see one of the people as he was beginning to wonder just how long this rope was. It was nice to walk beside the woman, but he decided she wasn’t that nice after all when she put him in a pen. She took his collar off and Hugh felt decidedly uncomfortable without its familiar weight. When the woman came back with a bucket of water for him he played it cool and drank lots to lull her into a false sense of security. Then he charged at her!

Very wet!She obviously wasn’t thinking clearly because she held the bucket in front of her as a buffer. Ha, ha, she forgot it was half full, and the force of the charge meant the water ended up all over her!

However she had the last laugh, as the bucket was rather old and it broke – ending up jammed over Hugh’s head. The woman wasn’t any use at first, because she was almost helpless with laughter – but when she finally stopped laughing she took it off him. Hugh shook and shook to get all the water off his face, and then sulked in the corner of the pen, pretending that none of this had happened.

Ex-bucketHugh would like it known that he didn’t mean any harm, and asks that you join the “Free Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall” campaign by leaving a comment.

I'm innocent, I tell you!

January review – and goals for February

On 14 January I posted some goals for the rest of the month. I am pleased to report the following:

  • I have finished my Photo-A-Day/Project Life album for 2012 – as reported here
  • I rode my bike on six days, varying my route. I’ve ridden into Greytown, around the block, and out to Woodside on the rail trail
  • I have restarted my yoga practice – and rediscovered some muscles; I managed six sessions (and bought a yoga mat)
  • Blog-4-2-Bestie-&-meI met up with my bestie last week, enjoying a lovely lunch with her and afterwards joining her in the air-conditioned coolness of Harvey Norman to print off some photos
  • I sent two thank you cards
  • Blog-4-2-QuartetI went to see Quartet and really enjoyed it – I love the gentle British sense of humour. Did you know this movie was directed by Dustin Hoffman (perhaps he yearns to be a Brit himself)?

With those goals achieved, it’s time to think about some goals for February:

  • continue with being active, riding my bike, walking briskly, doing aerobics or yoga on two days out of three
  • investigate a yoga class (I think there is one in Greytown, and there is a new fitness centre beginning operations in Carterton that might have a session as well)
  • send out four cards – to say hello, thank you, or ‘just because’
  • make four scrapbook layouts
  • go to the movies again – perhaps to see The Hobbit, if I haven’t missed it already
  • attempt to go for one week without sugar in my diet (I think this is going to be a big challenge, not least because sugar lurks in so many foods where it has no business – have you read your cornflakes packet recently?)

I know there are others out there setting goals on a monthly basis (it’s a manageable amount of time to tackle). If you decide to join in, please link to this post.


5 things about Summer

Here I go with Listmania # 2 – five things I love about the current season, and 5 things I’m not so keen on. Big summer skyIt’s SUMMER here in New Zealand – my favourite season. I like most things about summer, but especially:

  • higher temperatures (I hate being cold)
  • longer days – I can get so much more done, and I’m more likely to exercise
  • people are generally more relaxed, and casual clothes are OK at work
  • lots of my favourite special events seem to be in summer – Christmas and New Year, summer holidays (aka vacations to those from the American continent), summer reading programme at the library where I work, celebrations and parties just because it’s summer
  • summer fruit and vegetables that make it easy to eat well

Summer fruit bowlThe things I’m not so keen about are:

  • flies – especially the clustering variety (hopefully it will be so dry this year they won’t be able to get out of the ground and I’ll only be annoyed by the usual kind)
  • hot nights – I like being hot in the daytime, but I find it easier to sleep when the nights are on the cooler side
  • sweating – ugh
  • sunburn – and having to avoid it
  • having to have all the windows open in the car to make it bearable to be in, but then getting blown away at open road speed

I admit, I had to stretch a bit to find five things I don’t like. I’m a summer girl!


January Goals

I’ve just read this post, and thus motivated I’m going to try something similar. It is quite intimidating to set goals for an entire year; goals for the days between now and 31 January I can manage. Here they are:

  • finish my Photo-A-Day/Project Life album for 2012
  • ride my bike on at least five more days (I’ve done one big ride and two round-the-block rides so far in January)
  • start again with my yoga DVD – exercise along with it on at least five days
  • make a date to have lunch with my BFF
  • send thank you cards to two people who have recently been especially kind to my Dad
  • see Quartet

Thanks for the inspiration, Amy!