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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

I discovered Loribeth in 2010 or 2011, finding at the same time a woman my age who seems to speak my language. Along with some of my other favourite Friends-Not-Yet-Met, she hails from Canada, a country that New Zealanders always feel that we know much better than we actually do. So Loribeth teaches me about life in Canada, the freezing winters and the hot, humid summers, the huge distances they travel (she’s taking me – virtually at least – on a road trip right now), the busy cities. She’s a writer and a reader, and as a result of her reviews, many non-fiction memoirs have now been added to my To-Read list, to be tackled one-day-when-I-have-time.

We may be separated by half the world, but I feel that we have much in common. Like everyone I write about in this series, I hope to meet Loribeth one day. I suspect it will be in Canada or the US, and the fact that she lives in the same city as some other Friends-Not-Yet-Met and near still others just across the border greatly increases the possibility of a meeting. Still, I regularly encourage her to escape the harsh Canadian winter and enjoy a gentle New Zealand summer, including a glass of wine on our deck (wind permitting).

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Today is the last day of a three-day weekend here in New Zealand. We have had magnificent weather – sunny and calm, chilly but not too cool. So yesterday we drove over the hill to Martinborough, participating again in our friend’s annual olive harvest. Their crop this year was abundant, and the 33 workers (okay, some of the kids didn’t do too much) who turned up were unable to complete the job (though some slackers spent some time with their (her)  foot up, and then left earlier than some, but not as early as others), as not only did time run out, but we all proved to be too short to reach the tallest 20% of most of the trees. But the bumper crop still meant that they ended up with 1.5 tonnes of olives, their most bountiful crop yet, and twice what we gathered on the first harvest five years ago. I wrote about the 2011 harvest here – check it out (it’s a much better post!) and see how the trees have grown.

P1190656 olive harvest

This year the sun shone more brightly, we ate Indian food and drank beer or wine for lunch, but the timeless tradition and the camaraderie continued. In a few weeks, we’re looking forward to our free bottle of oil.

P1190653 olives

 

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Susan’s life is almost the complete opposite of mine. As a child, I lived on a farm, and she was in an apartment in New York. I have few childhood photographs (and few adult ones either), and she had an adoring, photographer father. She blogs rarely these days, but her Fb feed is full of old photos of her father’s she has found, documenting the physical changes in New York City, and societal changes too, with photos of parties that look as if they were the inspiration for some scenes in Mad Men.

These days, her own photographs are more likely to be stunning scenes of rural life, winter shots, or of deer or other wildlife venturing into her yard, that always intrigue me. We both share a love of photos of beautiful blooms, though I suspect her camera (and eye) are rather better than mine. She has known tragedy though, as a girl and later as a mother, and I love the way she keeps her daughter Jill alive through her memories.

I would love to meet Susan one day, but to be honest, her stories of tics and lyme disease might keep me away.

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Facebook killed blog comments. I looked back about eight years recently, and it was so lovely to see who was commenting on my blogs. Fortunately, many of this small group of people I first met on my blogs are still around on social media, so I still see what’s going on in their lives. But many are no longer writing or commenting, not even on the blogs of their real-life friends. I blame Fb, as well as mobile devices that make it hard to comment, so I doubly appreciate the comments I do receive when I know it would be so easy to just read and move on.

But on the bright side, there are two young men (okay, boys) in my life who are currently on holiday with their parents. They’re each keeping a blog. I’m getting to see some of my favourite places through their eyes, and it’s wonderful.

 

Microblog_Mondays

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  1. I still live in Wellington, in the same house, and we still haven’t redecorated our bedroom.
  2. I write for pleasure, almost daily.
  3. I write two blogs, and one of them is about infertility and not having children.
  4. I consider a number of people (from all over the world) my friends, yet I have never met them in real life, and I have welcomed people into my home, and people have welcomed me into theirs when we have never met in real life.
  5. I carry a device in my handbag that is simultaneously my book, my diary, my notebook, my camera, my newspaper, and my phone.
  6. I talk to people regularly, face-to-face, through a computer – and it’s free.
  7. I have a colouring book.
  8. I still haven’t been to China.

Notes:  

With thanks to the lovely writer of Euler Not Venn, for this idea.
Eight things, because it is Microblog Monday, and I have an eight sentence limit (though this is not included in my eight sentence limit). 

Microblog_Mondays

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It’s the New Year. Whilst that often brings a feeling of renewal, a chance to change what hasn’t worked, and to wipe the previous year’s troubles away, this year it feels harder to do that for a number of reasons. But I need to shake that off, and take the time to look back  – with the assistance of the WordPress annual report on my blog (thanks, WordPress) – and ahead, too.

2015 was my blogging year of the photo, with 148 photos uploaded. I participated in a photo-blogging project in May and afterwards wanted to keep that up. So I’ve progressively used more photos to brighten my blog, and complement my posts. I’ll try to continue this in 2016.

I posted 99 times last year, which is frustrating to learn on 1 January. If only I’d checked my annual report yesterday, I could have reached 100. Still, it isn’t even twice a week, especially not when you consider the daily posts in May. So a resolution for 2016 is to try to post more often, and not rely just on #Microblog Mondays.

Still, I posted every Monday for #Microblog Mondays, and that was and continues to be a good discipline.

One of my most popular posts in 2015 was written in 2011. It was Ten Bad Smells. Makes you wonder what people google, doesn’t it?

I had visitors from 82 countries! That’s pretty amazing, though USA, Canada, NZ, UK, and India contributed the most readers.

Once again the loyal and insightful Indigo Bunting, my first ever commenter back on 1 December 2006, was my most prolific commenter. I think she deserves a gift. Hmmm, I might be able to arrange that.

This year, I hope to blog more. I’ll keep doing little snippets about life and Wellington and drives I take, but really, how often can I write about the harbour or a favourite café without getting endlessly repetitive? So I want to be a bit more thoughtful this next year. Please, hold me to it!

Finally, I love all of you who bother to read, whether you comment or not. Though commenters (see above), do hold a special place in my heart! Hint. Hint.

Happy New Year!

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Finally, a few days before Christmas, the summer weather set in, giving us a lovely Christmas Day, and now a week of beautiful weather, which meant it was time to get out and about.

Today, we ventured north, through the suburbs (stopping for some last minute sales) to the west coast, where the Tasman Sea sparkles, Kapiti Island dominates the seascape, and the South Island waves at us. Friends have just bought a weekend beach house, and we were heading out to celebrate with them, and check it out.

The cold wind we’d had in Wellington disappeared, and we were welcomed into a sheltered, green, haven of fruit trees, monarch butterflies, ducks and ducklings, and hungry eels in the creek.

I made a half-hearted effort to snap a butterfly, but declared it impossible, as they were alighting on flowers or the feijoa trees for too short a time to focus and snap. Instead, I focused on the water lilies and other flowers,  though the Husband decided to prove me wrong and was soon asking for an apology (see below).

We enjoyed a long lazy lunch under the wisteria, appreciating the breeze, loving the tranquil view, sipping some excellent wine (a rose – compulsory drinking in summer – and a lovely sauvignon blanc), nibbling on good bread, Christmas ham, cheese and chutney, the sweetest home-grown strawberries, and Christmas cherries.

What more could we ask for on a perfect day, nestled between two public holidays, in this, the most relaxed of seasons?

 

P1190265 feijoa flower sm

A feijoa flower

P1190294 eels sm

Time to feed the eels

P1190277 monarch cr tiny

Apologies to my husband – I was wrong!

 

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