Monday, August 22, 2016


Yesterday I wrote a blue post and decided not to publish it before I'd had a second look at it. I felt really down. Probably because it was the nearest to a clean food day I've had in ages. Maybe I had low blood sugar. Beside that our situation is not always easy. I wonder if I will ever have my own home. The months slide by and we are no closer to making plans than when we came south nearly a year ago. When you are 77 and your husband is close to 81 every month's delay is hard to bear.

But ..... I have been catching up with blogs I normally read. I was at least 6 months behind on most of them. Sometimes I wonder why I must read them all. I have such an eclectic mix. Weight Loss began this addiction and I have moved on into LCHF (Low Carb High Fat), Paleo, Wheat Belly, Fat Head and so much more, not to mention RV travel blogs and quilting which has overflowed into craft and art.

This morning I opened up a blog by Jane LaFazio, an artist and what a treat! Jane is in London visiting the Tate Gallery for an exhibition of Georgia O'Keeffe's work. She had a link to a BBC documentary. All I can say is Wow! I want more. What an amazing and interesting woman.

We first heard of Georgia O'Keeffe when we visited Santa Fe in 2006. This was our first, and at the time we thought it would be our one and only, trip overseas from New Zealand. We spent 7 weeks zigzagging from Miami Fl. to Mobile Al. to Indianapolis then west and on to California where we flew home from Los Angeles. One of the highlights was our day in Santa Fe. Unfortunately I didn't feel well which made it difficult to enjoy our walk around the city. Later I realised I showed signs of altitude sickness. I was so impressed by the architecture. I love the adobe style buildings. We visited a few shops including a tiny art gallery off the square where I saw Georgia O'Keeffe's work for the first time. We don't have money for famous art works and we didn't have space for anything much. I bought a couple of post cards and touristy stuff. From then on her work has fascinated me. I may not always like it but it grips my heart. After watching this video I now understand why. She painted with her heart and soul.
If you want a treat watch this 65 minute video.

It's good to feel like writing up a blog post. Hopefully more to come soon. We are moving toward spring weather. I love the hopefulness and joy that comes with spring. Here in the south we will experience more of a change in the season than we would on the Coromandel Peninsula.

I'll be back soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


My face is symmetrical .... well I hope so as there's some swelling. After 4 years and 5 months it will be nice to look in  mirror and not cringe. Honestly, I'm not vain. But my face looked so ugly with the twist and hollow left side as the muscle wasted away. For me the saddest part was losing my smile. What had once been a nice bright smile became a lopsided, twisted grimace. I felt as though I had lost any semblance of pleasantness and always looked cross or angry even when happy. I had to learn to smile a Mona Lisa type smile and always engage my eyes. Not a bad thing to do since eyes are a window to the soul.

Our wee grand-daughter was very concerned to see so many ouchies on Grandma's face. It took her all of 24 hours to be willing to come close enough to cuddle.

I was very relieved when the anaesthetist said I was well enough for a full anaesthetic. He listened to me carefully when I said I'd had some serious vomiting after other anaesthetics and he chose to not use gas but only intravenous. I woke up a couple of hours or so later, bright eyed and bushy tailed. That was a dramatic change from past experience when I could remember nothing for many hours after going into recovery. In fact, in the past. I have no memory of anything prior to waking in the normal ward bed with John telling me it went well. Then I would be sick for days, so much so I needed a drip for dehydration as well as the anti-nausea drug.

Long ago I came to the conclusion that doctors and surgery for me were not going to happen unless I had a broken leg or similar. I guess a broken face fitted that bill. I was so nervous. I wanted to run away except that I knew I would be very unhappy with self if I did so.

All's well and now I can heal up. I look forward to seeing the result sans bandage, stitches and swelling.

Three major things left for me are sorting out my teeth, Mum's house selling and getting our own home. Other than completing the List I can get on with living a normal life.

It's mid-winter here and very little snow on the mountains. I think it's cool this morning, 3'C/37.5F  and we should have a daytime temperature around 11'C/51'F with some rain. It is unusually warm with some parts of NZ going up into the 20'-23'C/68'-73'F I'm not complaining as it makes it easier for us if it doesn't get too cold. Snow in Christchurch is fairly common although it doesn't lie about for more than a few hours. The winter still has the coldest months to come so there's still time for snow in the city. I hope not.

I need to rest again. Catch up in a day or two.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I didn't mean to abandon blogging. A couple of people have given me a nudge during my absence. Lately Lyn, whose blog is Escape from Obesity has emailed me, Thank-you Lyn, it's nice to be missed, and I did promise I would post something. The days have slipped by and still no post till now.

So what's my excuse?

Nothing really. Maybe I've been a little depressed at times. Certainly internet problems and sharing a computer with John have contributed to my absence. Sometimes our internet is quite flaky and I can't be bothered with it. I prefer to write first thing in the day and that means getting up before John.

Also I do like to blog with photos but somehow in the muddle with computers and changes to my favourite programmes things are not working out the way I want. Next week I'm planning to take my laptop into an 'expert.' I hope they can get it running right again and then teach me how to use windows 10 and get my photos sorted.

So to catch up..... We stayed in Bev's Unit at the retirement village until she was able to return home at the end of January. It was a pleasant experience but convinced me that I never want to live in that kind of situation even if we could afford a place in one of the more expensive resort style villages. It felt claustrophobic and as though we were living in a gold-fish bowl at the same time. The lifestyle was generally not to my taste.

In March we were back in the Granny Cave at our son and daughter in law's home. This is more or less a glorified sleep-out in what was once the show-room for Amanda's business. We are comfortable, and have adequate space, although there's no running water so we go into the house for the bathroom and main meals. It doesn't seem to be a problem and we see our wee grand-daughter everyday. After nearly 6 months here I'm missing my stuff and this is not our home. Amanda is lovely and likes us being here but while the 'Cave' is attractive it's not quite my style so I continue to live in a situation I have little control over. I know that gets to me sometimes and I can feel very down if I let myself dwell on not having my own home. If you live in Christchurch no-one raises an eyebrow if you tell them you live in the garage. Five years after the earthquakes the city is beginning to rebuild but many people are still in limbo for one reason or another.

In March our eldest son, who had been in prison for over 4 years, was released on Parole. Until then every Saturday was completely taken up with visiting him 2 hours in the morning, a 2 hour lunch break and another 2 hours in the afternoon. They were long and exhausting days for us. We left home about 8.30 am and didn't returned between 4 - 5 pm. It has amazed me how much more I have been able to relax since David was released. I am pleased to say he has been able to comply with all the conditions and has a good job so is able to get on with rebuilding his life. He has to deal with a nasty separation from his ex-partner who continues to live on his property. The property settlement is likely to be expensive, drawn out and messy as it's being done through their respective lawyers. David's ex-partner will not speak to any family member and is not very good at communicating through her lawyer either. I guess there will be a few tears before it's over. I could have done more to keep the line of communication open between us in earlier days but she is a difficult person with a history of shutting people out to her own detriment. David wants to be generous and courteous toward her but at present he cannot even collect his clothes and other personal items without going to a lot of trouble to get her permission. We all understand how she has come to react this way but it is an over reaction and way out of line. For us it's just a niggling problem but for our son it's very hard. He tries to be philosophical about it because he knows how much he hurt her.

Suddenly in April we had 2 buyers for our Matarangi house. The first one was waiting for their own place to sell while the second made a cash offer of $5000 above the first, to secure their purchase. I was glad we had a clause that allowed us to accept the better offer. It was a relief to have that sorted and a settlement date in May.

We spent all of May at Mum's House at Simpsons Beach as it still had no offers in spite of the redecorating. There is interest but people with 1.5M dollars are looking for something more modern. We've spent enough on it and look forward to the day when someone comes along who loves the situation as much as we do. Once the Matarangi house was finally packed up and everything moved into storage we were able to unwind and recover. Our daughter has bought a section and will build on it when she can get an affordable mortgage. In the meantime her life continues and she has the use of our old bus as a spare room. During May we caught up with family and some friends. I hope to get up there again before the end of the year.

We returned to Christchurch at the end of May so I could have the cataract in my right eye removed on June 2nd. That's gone well except that the eye drops prescribed make me a little nauseous. I have to continue them for another 2 weeks. That's a small price to pay to give the eye the best care possible during the healing time. It's made a huge difference to my sight although the other eye, affected by Bells Palsy continues to be bothersome but again I have a gel ointment that does wonders for comfort but makes my sight blurry.

One evening, two days after the eye surgery, a got a call from the plastic surgeon to ask if I would be available on June 23rd for the facial reconstruction to correct as much as possible the damage done by Bells Palsy. YES!!!!! Then I got a cold. It's a nasty one so I am now taking an antibiotic in the hope it will kill the bugs in time. Certainly today I feel a lot better and I've still got 48 hours to go. I just hope the cough completely disappears as I would think it's important not to be coughing with stitches in my face.

Our grand-daughter is now 18 months and very girly. She's extremely active and beginning to assert herself. She doesn't have many words yet but is pretty smart at communicating. She is an utter delight and greets us with a brilliant smile each time we see her. Nothing like a little girl's smile to brighten up the day. We still babysit on a casual basis plus every Friday. That's about to change as Amanda increases her hours at work. The next door neighbour wants to be the regular babysitter while Amanda works. I must say that we are often pretty exhausted after 5 or so hours with a very fast moving toddler. We usually put her to bed around 1 pm and Peace reigns. Remember that feeling when the baby is safe in bed. We'll continue to be the casual baby-sitter and also back-up the neighbour.

We've been going to Open Homes and viewing houses within our price range and above it too. I've come to the conclusion we'll have to build to get the most important features. We've not seen any houses that are truly wheelchair friendly with wide doors, room to manoeuvre and suitable bathrooms. At this stage it's all research and sometimes feels quite futile when we cannot even purchase a section until Mum's House sells. At least we no longer have a mortgage and only have a small credit card debt. There are a couple of things that have cropped up in the last month that slowed down the process of being completely debt free. I'm a bit edgy about it as I want to save for a trip away too.

Quilting has not been happening lately. I blamed my eyesight. Once I get over the next lot of surgery I'm looking forward to getting stuck in again. In fact I am on promise to make Ava-Jane a quilt for her 2nd birthday. I'll have to work hard to get it made on time. Especially as it's difficult to sew if Ava is around

Healthy living is so-so. I gained weight and lost my fitness. Hopefully after surgery and once this cold is behind me I will be back into being more mindful about eating well and walking again.

As for Growing Older Gracefully ..... it's been more like a survival course. Most days one foot in front of the other trying to make the best of what is. I think the waiting to do something about getting our own home is horrible. I can't wait for the waiting to be over.

And that's about it for now. I will try to come back regularly again but it might take me a few days to feel bright and bushy tailed after tomorrow as I'll no doubt be sore and will be having a full anaesthetic.

Life is getting better all the time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016



We are 'camping' in luxury at the Linrose Retirement Village. It's wrong to call it camping but we are living out of our suitcases in someone else's home. We're in separate bedrooms in our D-I-L's parent's unit. Bev, Amanda's mother, needed space to use her wheelchair and that meant only room for a single bed in her bedroom. The second bedroom is tiny. We have a large wheelchair friendly bathroom with a wet floor, The kitchen and living area are open plan and fully acceptable unless you want to host more than 2 - 3 people. The unit is comparatively private with tinted windows and a trellis covered in a pretty green vine in the pocket handkerchief front garden. I loved the weeping cherry which sort of finished off the garden a gave the final bit of privacy from the street. Sadly people who think gardens should be manicured to death trimmed it a few days ago and the lovely weeping branches are no more. There's just a tuft of branches at the top of the stem about 4 feet above ground. Yesterday we had two people, friends of Bev's, pop in. I should be thankful but right now I'm still in hiding mode. I just do not want to socialise outside of family. I've some summer cold symptoms, not getting good sleep most nights and just plain struggling with our situation. It doesn't help that my speech which was affected by the Bells Palsy is made worse without my partial plate, broken and thrown away.

The disappointment from our house sale falling over and the state of our old bus is still with me. Although I knew our bus needed a lot of work before it would be fit to go on the road that was always my hope. It had been parked up for too long. The battery had been flat for too long and John had not been able to move it for more than a year. The Old Purple Bus was built on a 1968 Austin chassis, The coach was used around a small town, Oamaru, before conversion. Now it has some rust in the frame although the chassis still seems sound. I had hoped we could bring it up to legal road standard and paint it up until it looked like the cute vintage it is. It is now a Project with a capital "P" and goodness knows how much money would be involved, let alone time. We will try to sell it as is since it will cost about $4,000 to get it to Christchurch on a transporter. Our plan was to bring it here and slowly work on it, with help from our sons, until it was up to scratch. We are waiting on some information before listing it for sale, "As is Where Is." There's a good chance it will end up in a wrecker's yard.

Little Miss Ava-Jane was walking everywhere when we got back to Christchurch on Dec. 21st. 


We had a good trip down. Our car was well loaded and hummed along despite it's age. I think it will last us a year or two yet, We had an evening in Rotorua, Dec. 18th, where our son there cooked us a roast chicken dinner. The next day was a long one. We stopped at the military Museum in Waiouru for lunch but had no time to go into the museum on this trip. I had hoped to visit my cousin in Palmerston North but couldn't raise her on the phone because she was in her garden. We are kicking ourselves now as we could have done with stretching our legs before driving on to Carterton. We had a very nice motel style cabin in the Carterton Campground and enjoyed the food we had bought in Masterton before we got there. 

Sunday, 20th we spent with John's brother and his partner. It was fairly warm but we had a nice Cafe lunch and left them late afternoon for the drive to Wellington and the Bluebridge Ferry for our Cook Strait crossing. On board we went straight to our cabin, an extra cost of $40 but so worth while as we felt quite rested when we went to our car for the final leg of this trip to our night's accommodation at Blenhein Top Ten Campground where the cabin was tiny but adequate. Monday we got on the road about 9 am. Later than we intended because of a mix up over payment which was sorted in seconds once the office opened. This was the hottest day ever and our car does not have air-conditioning. Marlborough is so very dry it's not surprising they have already had fires. I was so glad that when we left the hills and came close to the coast there was cool cloud cover along the Kaikoura Coast. We had a lovely lunch at Kaikoura and before long crossed the North Canterbury hills and  into the full blast of the sun. A beautiful clear day and I gasped for some shade which we found in Amberly, just north of Christchurch.

It was a relief to arrive safely at Amanda and Wayne's house before coming around to this Unit.

Thursday, December 17, 2015



I am facing a totally unexpected reaction to moving from our home on the Coromandel Peninsula to Christchurch.

I suppose it's a perfectly normal emotional reaction but it's not very welcome right now. In my head I believe this is the right thing to do but our 63 year connection with the East Coast of the Peninsula is almost over. Oh.... That's not quite true. We will be leaving our daughter behind. Our lives have  been closely aligned with her for most of her 49 years. Although we don't live in each others pockets it's going to be strange to live so far apart.

Our house hasn't sold yet but there is no doubt it will. All it takes is the right buyer. Interest rates have dropped to a new low too so there could be another little flurry of buyers.

We are back from Christchurch, living in our Matarangi house, possibly for the last time. We have filled the third bedroom to the gunwales and are about to lock the door. We have given a property manager the keys and made arrangements for them to run the house as a short term or holiday rental until we have a confirmed sale. We will need to come back to finally close the house and remove our belongings and then it will be finally over.

I did not expect to grieve over leaving this place. a few years ago I made a conscious decision to think of it as my home and acted accordingly. Up to that time I always felt as though we were camping here. Apparently I have done a good a job of adjusting to being at home here. I have become emotionally attached. It was always intended to be a temporary thing but we've been here about 10 years.

I remember when I was young saying that I never wanted to live in the same house for all of my life. OOPS!!!

We have lived in about 11 places/houses/situations if you count the year in a caravan and the time in our Bus motor-home. All that in just over 50 years of marriage. Add the previous years, through childhood to marriage, and add up to another 6 or 7 places. That makes me sound like a gypsy but each situation had a reason and some, like the first house we bought lasted a long time... 17 years there.

I was 8 years old when I experienced the first move. My parents left the Family farm to become independent, That must have had a traumatic affect because I never again made strong emotional attachments to where we lived. I have had to will myself to feel settled in most places from that time on. Except for one time.... In 1998 I committed to helping our daughter with her Backpacker Hostel and incidentally made some very special friendships. I would go back to that town in a heartbeat but for the fact it is on the Coromandel Peninsula so geographically speaking we would be only marginally better placed than now.

Right now, as we make our final preparations to move to Christchurch I must admit to second thoughts. I think losing that first 'whirlwind' sale has given me time to truly recognise my feelings.

Christchurch feels right ... But .... it will be some time before we can buy and settle into our new home. First we must sell this property, and my mother's house too, to release the cash we need. In the meantime we are either living in the sleep-out at our son's house or in our daughter-in-law's mother's Unit in a retirement village. I am a little cross that again we are 'camping,' or living in temporary accommodation. Although I must admit living in the Unit has been good for us. We always said retirement villages are not for us. This is a small one with few amenities and is very pleasant but here is the big downside for me.

The unit is tiny and there is almost NO incidental activity. I must discipline myself to go out for walks daily. The rooms are too small. Although there are two bedrooms the main one is hardly big enough for a double bed let alone sharing it with my husband. There is little space for friends to visit, entertaining, hobbies, crafts etc. The social life in such a place makes me cringe. I am not a social being in the sense of 'Happy Hours' and Bingo or organised day trips. There are also financial considerations. In this particular village there is no chance of capital gain.... in fact the unit loses something like 5% pa on the buy back deal and you still pay $100 per week which is possibly more than we would pay for rates, insurance and gardening on an ordinary home. It is not quite the dream home I crave. Perfectly liveable but this time I want what I want.

I need to stop before I get into a rant. It's also time to get ready for what will probably be my last time with the Whitianga Quitling Group.


Details are a little mixed up now but I do remember these things. Monday, Nov. 30th. Doctor's appointment for me. I went back onto Blood Pressure medication. Not Happy as I think there are some negative side affects but will give it a 2 -3 month trial because even I had to admit my BP was considerably higher than was healthy. John and I registered with the Medical Centre so we get subsidised fees. I also have referrals to both the Eye Clinic and Plastic Surgery at Canterbury Hospital.

Tuesday we went on a city adventure. Seniors are able to ride the buses for free except at peak times. I badly needed to get my hair cut and styled and booked into a place almost half the city away. We walked 5 minutes down the road to catch the first bus. After a pleasant drive through suburbs we changed buses for another scenic drive down streets we would never normally visit. After some lunch at a nice Cafe and my hair cut we walked about a km. to the next bus stop on our chosen route. It was fairly warm, being the middle of the day, but I coped. We arrived at the Palms Shopping Mall mid afternoon. I paid for the reading/sewing glasses I had been fitted for. It was very warm and we were getting tired and had no desire to rush to catch the bus home before our free travel period finished.so we sent a text to our D-I-L We had time for coffee while we waited.

That evening we celebrated John's 80th birthday with a nice family meal. Amanda had iced a cake to look like our old purple bus. John was delighted.

The next day I had a dental appointment. I intended just getting my teeth cleaned but my partial plate had broken a few days previous so waited for a consultation with the dentist. Again we caught a bus as the dentist was near the Eastgate Shopping Mall and over a km walk from where we were living. It was a hot, hot day and my appointment was 11.45 am. A warning not to make middle of the day appointments because Christchurch can get very hot from November through to Autumn. The upshot of my dental visit was a recommendation to have all my top teeth out. Not a happy customer. We had coffee in the Mall and John got a free muffin since it was his birthday month. Oh man it was a hot day. John was the time keeper and rushed me through my little bit of shopping so we wouldn't miss our bus home. We sat at the bus stop for nearly 30 minutes with heat rising off the black road, I was so exhausted from the heat it was horrible. I think the official temperature was around 32'C or 90'F which means it was probably way more than 40'C or 100'F on the street.

Medical and dental stuff sorted and I have found a hairdresser I like at the Fendalton Village.A cute little shopping centre.

Thursday was a 'free' day. Friday we went to Ashburton to celebrate Ava-Jane's first birthday with Amanda's mother, the other grandmother, who is called Nana. We had a lovely time and were able to take Bev outside to sit under the beautiful spreading shade trees, where we had a picnic lunch.

This post is getting too long. And no photos..... We are having trouble getting the computer to download the photos from our camera. GRRRR!!!

More later. I will try to catch up the rest of our exciting life before we start on our trek back to Christchurch which begins tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Our mixed up life continues.

We are still living in Christchurch with our youngest son, Wayne, his wife, Amanda, and our lovely grand-daughter, Ava-Jane.

Lloyd, Amanda's father, was remembered in a very appropriate service a few days after his death. He was a bit of a gambler on the Pokies and horses so that was a recurring theme. Also people remembered him for his dry humour and practical jokes. This was not a side of him we were very familiar with because we only got to know him during his declining years. Although I found it strange because there was almost no Christian faith content, it was a very nice service with lots of family and friends to farewell him. His wife and daughters seemed to find some comfort in the number of people who came..

I thought that once Bev got over the immediate shock of losing her husband her own health would slowly pick up as there would be less anxiety over Lloyd. He had vascular dementia and although he appeared to be aware of things his memory was often flawed and he was sometimes quite a worry to her. Some days he could not remember where he lived. Sadly Bev is unlikely to benefit in that way for the short term at least. The evening after the funeral Bev had a fall. Fortunately the night nurse was still with her because she could never have got help fast enough on her own even though she wears a medical alert alarm. Bev had a stroke a few years back which left one side badly affected. Add to that a muscle weakening disease made her quite frail although strong in spirit and mind. Her stroke affected leg was dislocated at the ankle and has both bones broken. First Bev went to the Public Hospital where they realigned her leg and put on a cast. After a few days she was moved to Princess Margaret Hospital, for more continuing care, where further assessment of her needs has been done. Yesterday the family got the news that Bev needs permanent Rest Home Care with associated hospital facilities. You can imagine how difficult this period has been for the two daughters, one married, the other single. Now the search is on for a suitable Rest Home for Bev who is physically disabled but socially and mentally alert.

Edit: This afternoon when Amanda visited her mother she discovered a confused situation. No final decision has been reached and Bev is very upset by the idea of a Rest Home. This is very stressful for the family and particularly Amanda. It was such a relief to know the decision about her mother's future had been made. Having Bev live back in the Retirement Village would mean nothing but worry and running around to meet her mother's  demands.

While all this has been going on we have all tried to keep up with various appointments. Amanda has begun a part-time job and we baby-sit the lovely Ava for a few hours twice a week. John has had all his teeth removed over two sessions. I have had my eyes tested and a referral to the Opthalmological Clinic at Canterbury Hospital, Christchurch. We have also changed to a local Medical Centre and I have seen my new doctor and got a referral to the Plastic Surgery Clinic to deal with the damage from Bells Palsy.

We are very fortunate in NZ to have public funded health care. Of course I can have almost immediate surgery for my cataracts and facial distortion if we had medical insurance or a bucket load of cash. We have neither. Medical insurance is very expensive, increasingly so as you grow older even if you have been paying into the same fund for many years. We decided to forgo that expense as our public system generally works well. It's excellent in an emergency or high need but not so good when the need is lesser as mine appears to be. I am hanging on to the hope that being in a University town where there is a Medical College will help.

My recent Dr's appointment cost me $45, which is slightly lower than normal because we qualify for a Government subsidy for low income earners. I got a free blood test and my prescription for a drug to reduce my blood pressure cost me $5.00.

Dental work is not funded by Government at all but..... we fall into a category where our Superannuation is helpful. We are considered very low income with no great assets thanks to high mortgages.  We have been able to get a small grant towards John's dental bill and the rest we pay off via a small amount from our fortnightly Superannuation pay. Removing John's teeth cost a little over $1000.00. There will be a similar application for funding for his new dentures which are scheduled for the end of January 2016.  If we have sold our house in the meantime we will quite probably not qualify for this financial support.

We receive Government funded Universal Superannuation. For most of our working lives we contributed a small amount out of every pay slip into a Social Security fund. Over the years Governments have fiddled with this lucrative fund until it became part of their general 'Consolidated Fund' from which all government spending is budgeted. Today the Government is supporting a private saving scheme backed by private interest such as employers and banks. It's called Kiwi Saver and everyone under 65, the age qualifying for Superannuation, is expected to belong. It seems like a very sound scheme and should weather inflation and other negative monetary trends. One day the Universal Superannuation will be phased out but it's such a political hot potato it will be a very brave government that does it.

Continuing our lifestyle diary.

Our youngest son had a 40th birthday BBQ with friends.

Our middle son, who is a paraplegic, ended up in hospital in Rotorua. Too far away for us to do anything except wait for results. He is home again and we are waiting for his MRI results.

Our oldest son attended his parole Board hearing with us in his support team. A nice surprise was the attendance of the Salvation Army Officer who will also support him via accommodation and post release rehabilitation into 'normal life.' I cannot say how relieved I am that things have worked out the way they have. Our son now has a tentative release date in March when he will go into a Salvation Army single unit for 3 months. During this time they will support him in finding a permanent accommodation and with job applications. He will continue to receive another 3 months of intentional support. This six month period is funded to some degree by by the New Zealand Corrections Department. At the end of this time The Salvation Army is available for ongoing support as part of their voluntary church activity.

I thanked the officer with tears in my eyes because I knew my prayers had been answered in the best way possible. It is now entirely up to our son to make the most of this opportunity. There is only one more bridge to cross on the way to life on the outside and that is another Parole Board hearing in February. Our son has to present a new safety plan for when he will be living in the Salvation Army accommodation and possibly after that too. His current plan was built around returning to his home with his partner. She is not communicating with any of us and it made sense to consider the relationship irrevocably broken. We are still hopeful that once our son is out of prison some kind of agreement on their property can be sorted out to their mutual benefit. But that is not my problem. We are here to see the best is done for both parties, and that is all.

Our daughter is due to fly down to Christchurch tomorrow. It will be lovely to see her. To accommodate us all John and I are moving a few blocks away to Bev's unit in a nearby Retirement Village. It will give us an idea of whether we would enjoy living in this situation. Currently it's an emphatic no. But who knows... I could change my mind.

Jane is coming for two weeks and of course the main event is John's 80th birthday, December 1st and Ava-Jane's first birthday on December 4th. I am still calling it the 121st birthday celebration because Wayne was 40 a few days ago and it has a nice ring to it. But if I do that then I really should include his two brothers birthdays. The eldest turned 51 and our middle son 45 on the same weekend as Wayne turned 40. That would make it 212 years of birthdays between November 13th and December 4th, 1935 to 2015. Since the two older boys are not going to be around 121st is much better.

To complicate life, I've had a very bad cold. Today I can read and write again but while my head is not so fogged up I am a little chesty so continue to do what I can to recover. I have been just barely surviving the activities of each day while resting as much as possible in between. I am looking forward to getting into my sewing again now that my head feels more normal. I have only 2 weeks to finish the embellishment, embroidered words, and the label for the gift quilt I have been making.

We fly north on Decenber 8th and quilting group meets on the 12th when these quilts will be judged and packed for the Oncology Unit at Auckland Hospital. This will be my last time with the Whitianga Quilters Group. They are a lovely bunch of women. I wonder if I will find a group that works as well for me here in Christchurch.

We have booked our tickets to return south with Bluebridge, one of the Cook Strait Ferry companies, for December 20th and our motel accommodation on the way. We have given ourselves time in Rotorua to visit with our son there and time in the Wairarapa to visit John's brother. We arrive in the South Island early hours of the morning and will go to a motel in Blenheim then continue on the Christchurch. It's a lot of driving, about 17 hours not including coffee and food breaks, and not much rest because of the visiting, so I hope we can recover quickly and be helpful here. It usually takes me about 3 days before feel up to par after such travel.


This is not a recent photo but one taken a few months ago at Hamner Springs during a winter weekend at the hot pools. Ava-Jane loved it and is a typical kiwi kid.... water is a magnet. I'm sure they will be considering early swimming lessons for her. She is extremely active. We are waiting for her to take her first step unsupported. Will it happen before her 1st birthday or will she reach this milestone while we are back up North? 

Monday, November 9, 2015


Best laid plans and all that.

1. Our house sale fell over when the buyers admitted they did not have finance as indicated. Disappointed but not devastated.

2, Arrived at our son's home in Christchurch to find his Father-in-law critically ill. He'd had another stroke and lived until this Saturday, November 7th. 

3. Son's mother-in-law went home from hospital on Friday, 8th with a catheter and home care not fully organised. I think that is sorted out now.

4.John and I caught the tummy bug that was being shared around the household. We were out of action for 2 days and I still feel queasy from time to time.

5. John has begun the process with a new dentist and will have all his teeth removed in about ten days time.

6. My appointment with the optician postponed until later this week. I really need magnifying glasses in addition to the ones I have. I want them for reading and especially sewing.

7. A few night's ago our daughter-in-law had to 'rescue' the son of one of her best friend's. It reads like a soap opera. The Boy had got into bad company while living with his mother in the North Island so came to Christchurch to live with his birth father whom he refers to as his donor parent and our D-I-L as Doofus. Son and father had the inevitable row and Father called the police. The Boy, who is 18 years old and really a nice kid, became homeless at 10 pm one night last week. Our D-I-L is acting mother and sorting out his finances and offering him a permanent home. 

Edit: oops! I meant to edit that sentence.Yes you have the correct family. And it's our D-I-L who calls the boys father a Doofus.

Now there are 6 adults and a baby in this one bathroom house. 

Things are now settling down to normal except for the funeral tomorrow.

It sounds crazy and I guess it was for a few days. Now that our D-I-L's father has died the uncertainty and waiting are over. We were on our way to the airport last Tuesday when we learned the house sale was in jeopardy. 

We are putting off our decision on what to do next for a few days while we get our minds more settled.

It continues.........

8. Today we go out to the prison for what we hope will be our eldest son's final Parole Board hearing. We expect him to be given a release date although it could be as far away as May next year due to accommodation issues. A release date is important as it gives him the opportunity to apply for 'Work to Release,' another step along the road to a normal life.

9. My 'Lost' quilt is not here. Hopefully I had stored it away about 2 months ago when Daughter Jane and I sorted out the shambolic store-room cum spare bedroom before getting our house ready to list with the Real Estate Agent. I hope I can find the quilt when we go home in December. I would be devastated to lose it after working on it off and on for more than 10 years.

Dreams and options are still being explored. It's only a matter of time, and two houses being sold. The waiting to get on with the changes to take us into the next phase of our life will be over in good time.

I feel so much happier, here in Christchurch. It doesn't really make sense to me.... a lover of small towns and rural lifestyle, yet I love being in this city and always have.

So far this week we have dates on nearly every day.

Today, Monday. Parole Board Hearing.
Tuesday: Funeral
Wednesday: Teeth for John, Eyes for me.
Thursday: Nothing yet.
Friday: Eldest and youngest son's birthdays. They will be 51 and 40 years old respectively.
Saturday: Prison visiting and our son's 40 th Birthday BBQ.
Sunday: Our middle son's 45th Birthday.

We have flights booked to return to Auckland and our house at Matarangi on December 8th. Still not sure whether we will return south before or after Christmas. When we do we will drive down. To some extent our timing depends on getting a cheap fare for the Ferry crossing, Wellington to Picton, and being able to afford at least 3 night's motel accommodation. The cheapest Ferry fares are around $250.

We also need to work out how we are going to pay for the maintenance on the Old Purple Bus. We were counting on having the proceeds from the sale of our house.

Right now we are enjoying watching our wee grand-daughter totter around the furniture happy as can be. It's a new experience for us having to keep remotes. cups, books and so many other things that little hands love to clutch. out of reach. 

Thanks for keeping up with me .... because sometimes it's even too hard for me to keep up with me*:) happy