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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

(The 17th in a continuing series)

  • It’s good to be enthusiastic about things we love, whether we win or not.
  • Good manners and gratitude take us a long way.
  • When we love our pets, we get the love back.
  • Stand up to bullies, because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Cocktails (or mocktails) can make us happy, and should be savoured.
  • It’s worth taking pride in our appearance, especially on special occasions.
  • Writing to your penpals is important.
  • I’m more like my sister than I realise.
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One of the joys of hosting visitors from overseas is showing them about my city. Yesterday, instead of staying at home and writing my Microblog Monday posts, I was walking through our town with my sister-in-law from Perth, Australia. She lived here briefly in 1989 and has visited periodically, and now as her children are growing up, it is easier for her to leave them for a few hours, and we recall the pre-children days when we used to explore the Wellington designer shops on each visit. Yesterday, we poked through a few NZ designer clothing stores (she tried on and rejected, I drooled and resisted), poked through some favourite gift shops (she purchased, I didn’t, though I did find a display cabinet that I want to buy if it is for sale, but that’s another story), and had a long chat over udon noodle soup for lunch.

But first, we visited the Gallipoli (a battle in World War I that is iconic for Australians and NZers) exhibition at Te Papa, the National Museum, which her children had visited a few days earlier when the adults had retired to a nearby restaurant (a good excuse for me to try a place I’ve been wanting to visit for ages) for a more sophisticated lunch. Amidst the exhibits of clothing and provisions and the simulated trenches and periscopes and the animated battle scenes, Weta Workshop (the brains behind the special effects and models of The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/King Kong movies, as well as a myriad others, have created huge life-like models of particular personalities at Gallipoli, some soldiers, a doctor and a nurse. We see their eyes, their sweat, their injuries, feel their fear and pain and exhaustion and caring, and hear their stories, thanks to letters shared by their families. It’s a reminder of how lucky we are in little old Wellington, to have such world-class artists here to bring these people and their stories to life so poignantly.

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Late last year I brought home some of the items I’d chosen from my mother’s house after her death, and since then I’ve been getting particular pleasure out of using a few simple, small items no-one else wanted.

  • A particular teaspoon that always used to sit in our sugar bowl when I was growing up, as we used it daily to sweeten our tea, or the porridge or weet-bix for breakfast, now lives in my own sugar bowl.
  • Whenever we had colds, a lemon and honey drink was prescribed, made with a glass lemon squeezer that was perfectly proportioned for the job at hand, unlike any others I’ve found in the 30 years since. Now though, my search is over.
  • One of the first things I learned to cook was a stew that needed to be thickened once the meat and vegetables were ready, and I would vigorously shake up a flour and water mixture in a small aluminium* canister with a thankfully tight lid, ensuring all lumps were gone, and use it to thicken the sauce smoothly. It lives in a kitchen cupboard now, and although I don’t use it very often (preferring these days to thicken by reduction, or use arrowroot or cornflour), I smile whenever I see it.
  • The glass measuring cup I used when I learned how to cook, and most importantly how to bake, now sits in the same cupboard, and I use it whenever I can, although as it predates metric measurements, I am less confident in using it for anything requiring precise amounts.

These valued inherited items don’t make me rich, but they do make me happy.

*yes, that’s how it is spelt.**
**yes, spelt is spelt spelt.

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(The 16th in a continuing series)

I am currently visiting Charlie and her parents and Jeff and Cloud (the dog and cat respectively) and have been exposed to her unique 8-year-old thought processes.

  • “Donald Trump is an idiot, because he is.”
  • Answering questions from your aunt AMA mother is not nearly as interesting as dancing like a cat to “I’m sexy and you know it.”
  • Pets are to be loved, played with, and ignored at your pleasure.
  • Art galleries are worth visiting
  • Virtual reality is awesome because “you don’t have to use controls you just use your head.”
  • A good library is a great discovery.
  • Delayed gratification is a terrible idea.

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It was a birthday with a zero, and though initially reluctant, my eldest sister decided to have a party. “Oh good!” I said as I suggested to my husband that we arrange our loop around the South Island to get to her place on the day in question. Our plan was doomed to fail, though, as work plans changed for him, and these days when work is scarce, it has to take priority, and so we found ourselves driving around the South Island in November rather than December, and calling into my sister’s house about three weeks early. Still, my younger sister who lives further north and I decided we should be there, and wanted to be there, and so on Saturday morning we met at Christchurch airport, sans Charlie (much to Charlie’s disgust, but not to her mother’s) and husbands, and drove south.

We weren’t the only ones who travelled, though, and we didn’t travel the longest distances either – our two nieces who live in Australia easily outstripped our domestic efforts. It was the first time since middle niece’s wedding early in 2015 that we were all together, and the first time there had been a family gathering in the area since our mother’s funeral in February this year, and so we marked it (though we almost forgot) with a photo of two generations of three sisters; a bit of familial symmetry is always nice.

We celebrated on Saturday night, but started early before the official event with whitebait (yum!) and a barbecue and lots of summery salad outside in the sun, then later at the party venue even as the rain came down outside, with a few drinks and lots of good (old) music and dancing and laughter and some good food and a birthday cake about midnight, and then more chatting back at the house before collapsing into bed around 3 am.

The next day was relaxed and happy, filled with much-needed cups of tea and restorative ham and eggs and catching up, and distribution of recently harvested avocados and birthday cards and Christmas presents and personalised cards and well wishes for the coming Australian baby, and even some cross-generational middle-child bonding, before youngest sister and I had to depart, giving hugs even though we’re not really a very huggy family, and fond farewells, with invitations for the southern families to visit us in the north, promises to get together again soon, and some emerging pressure on me to have the next party – though I have to emphasise  it will be a few years yet before my birthday with a zero comes around.

 

Microblog_Mondays

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(The 15th in a continuing series)

Charlie visited again a week ago, but this time, for the first time, without her parents (though they were only across the city attending meetings and staying in a hotel), and so it was an adventure for all of us, but a successful one we all hope to repeat again, when I can learn new things, such as:

  • Biscuits taste better when we’ve iced them together, but …
  • That meat really was “in serious need of gravy!”
  • Quiet time is just as important as adventures.
  • It’s better to do things in the morning when you’re awake and enthusiastic, than later in the day when you’re tired.
  • Sometimes, if you have bad news, it is best to ease into it.
  • Te Papa is always awesome, no matter how many times we go, but it’s even better when we have no time limit.
  • Exercise is good, no matter what the temperature.

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(The 14th in a continuing series)

  • It doesn’t matter if you do something that’s unusual or a bit weird, because that’s you and that’s good.
  • Quirky clothing (eg. hoodies with cats ears) is fun.
  • I should trust her judgement. “It’s going to be awesome,” she whispered, as Pete’s Dragon started, and she was right.
  • Practising your hand-eye coordination will give you skills.
  • Strawberry ice-cream and a very very good chocolate cake is a good combination.
  • Best friends are to be cherished.
  • So are aunts.

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