Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Garden Makeover!

8 months and 2 days ago Tahu and I started on a bit of a major revamp of our gardens. Every few weekends we'd work on it a bit more, including rebuilding the fence and painting it, clearing all the ground, building the gardens and filling them with soil, planting, maintaining and weeding and then we had a guy come and lay the bark for us cos we ran out of time before Christmas. Next year we will lay grass there but for now it's Christmas, we're about to get married and we have gorgeous gardens.

Here's the before and after photos:





This is our front yard which for some reason I didn't take a before photo of.

Click on the images to see them bigger.

Neither of us had any experience in the gardening thing but I knew what I wanted and with a bit of help from our Dads and my mum we have finished! I've had a lot of fun finding the plants we wanted including mini calli lillies, asiatic lillies, normal and mini gladioli, ferns, manuka flowers and then our vege garden that has carrots, brocolli, leaks, spinach, lettuce, tomatos and potatos.

Was a big job but I am so glad we did it!

Monday, December 05, 2011

There’s a story in the bible that I remember from when I was little. It’s about a widow and her son who were down to the last of their food. All they had left was enough oil and flour to make one more meal and after that they didn’t know what they would do. Then a prophet came along and asked her to feed him. She knew it meant that they wouldn’t be able to eat but she did it anyway. The prophet knew what she had done for him and so made it so that the jars that held her oil and flour never got empty. I always think of them as really big clay jars that you dip your bowl or cup into and you can’t see the contents of the jar but there’s always more in there.

I often think of this story when I’m folding my washing. It doesn’t matter how much I pull out of the basket and fold, there’s always more in there.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Not long to go!!

We're off to Rarotonga this weekend for a wedding. So exciting! Neither of us have been to a tropical island before.

Last week we got our invites out! 8 weeks to go tomorrow. Just realised we can go and get our marriage license when we get back. Now that will be exciting!!

56 days to go!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cashel Mall is re-opening

But I'm really not ready to go back there yet. It's over 8 months but sometimes I remember like it was just today. I remember so much and then at the same time there's blank spots too. I remember the unrealness of it. Of trying to make my way through Cashel Mall and the buildings were all down and the alarms and sirens were going and everyone was yelling and covered in dust and blood and scanning every face looking for Chrissy and James. I so clearly remember getting to the CTV building and standing there for what felt like ages going "what am I looking at". I remember thinking that there couldn't have been a building there. I thought there must have been a carpark or something. There was such a big fire. There were people standing on the rubble and I just didn't understand what I was looking at. It felt like ages that I stood there looking at it trying to work out what I was looking at. I took a photo on my phone (even though I'd felt angry seeing others taking photos in Cashel Mall) because I wanted to show Tahu and Mum and Dad what I'd seen cos I didn't think they'd see it. I will be forever grateful that I didn't know I was looking at literally over 100 people dying. Being crushed and burnt and dying.

I remember searching and asking and looking and praying for Chrissy and James. And so clearly that moment of turning around and there was Chrissy. It was a moment like in the movies when there's that light shining down on the person and the place goes silent or something. There was Chrissy. I think about that moment often. That day was just pain. Pain and Blur except for that moment.

I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to protect her from everything we were seeing and feeling. The smoke was terrible. I talked to her about what we were doing to keep safe, I tried to make her not look at anything. I wanted to be the grown up and stop her seeing and feeling everything we were going through but I couldn't. I think back and wonder why I picked that route to get to James. I took the longer route. I just had no idea.

I know I've written about all this before. And you're probably sick of reading this but it's my way of dealing with it. Writing it down. Hoping someone will read it and might understand what I felt. Or what I feel.

Sometimes it feels like everyone is healing and I am still just remembering everything.

I saw footage of the Turkey quake and I recognised and felt just what was on those people's faces. I know I talk about it a lot. I know I think about it a lot, but how can I not? Everywhere you go there are more and more buildings coming down. Over 1000 buildings. Drive around your neighbourhood and think about what it woud look like if that many buildings came down? Look at your skyline and think about what it would look like if most of it was gone? Tonight I'm exhausted by it. I'm so tired of waiting for, wondering about, knowing there will be another one.

I read the stories of survivors 2, 3, 4 days later being found in Turkey and I'm jealous. We didn't have that. I really thought we would and I watched the news waiting for those miracles but there weren't any. Nothing after 24 hours or something. There are many stories of miracles of people who should have been somewhere and they were. I have my own miracle in finding Chrissy. But there were no miracle survivor stories for us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rokocoko loves me I think

This morning I was too asleep to give Roko his usual morning cuddle and then had to rush to get ready. He did however come hang out with me in the bathroom while I was in the shower (a little creepy) and then cleaning my teeth. I picked him up and he purred so hard and cuddled into me and put his head on my shoulder and I'm pretty sure I could hear him singing Snow Patrols Chasing Cars:
"If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lay with me
And just forget the world"
He was so cute I decided I didn't care if I was late to work!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

If I were to win lotto...

There is one thing that was important about my childhood that I think has shaped a big part of who I am. And I'd say all my siblings would agree with me on this one. We didn't have a TV. Because of this my parents didn't have the luxury of being able to send us off to watch a movie or whatever if they'd had enough. They had to find things for us to do and then teach us how to find things ourselves as we got older. And so we did. We baked, gardened, played games, were read to and then read when we learnt how to, sewed, played cricket as a family, you name it we did it. And I only remember it being great. There was always something to do. And because of this, now that I'm an adult, I don't get bored. If I say I'm bored what it actually means is there's something I'd rather be doing.

And so it actually makes me really annoyed when people say they wouldn't quit their jobs if they won lotto. Or if they have a couple of days off they start moaning about how they've got cabin fever and they're so bored rah rah rah. Seriously? You can't think of millions of things you'd rather be doing than working? You can't think of better ways to fill your time? I can promise you, if I won lotto and quit my job, I would not get bored! There are so many places to visit, things to see and do, people to see, books to read, movies to watch, food to be baked, places to volunteer, sleep to be slept and I'm not even halfway through the list here! I could build a house, I could travel to everywhere I want to go, I could shop till my hearts content, read all the books on my shelf (plus a few more that I'd probably buy during my shopping sprees), watch all those movies I have on my harddrive, bake for everyone and anyone (and me), cook dinners that are more exciting, have babies, do a photography course, run, bike, walk, visit my friends and family that I never have time to see, stitch all the cross stitch I could want to, learn to sew. And if I really did use up all my ideas then I'd start a cafe that wasn't really for profit, just a cool place where I could make the food I love and bake amazing cakes and make people happy that way. Ok I'm getting depressed here cos I just can't do all that stuff! There's not enough hours in my day!

My mum was right when she said "only boring people get bored". Because we never had the option of just sitting and watching whatever was on, we developed this important skill of being able to entertain ourselves! Of always being able to find things to do. And when people get all amazed that I never watched Sesame Street or Care Bears or all those movies like ET that came out when we were little, it doesn't bother me because I know that I have something way more important then a love of hand puppets!! And that's just one of the many things I have to thank my parents for.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Sleeping rough

Rokocoko has decided that sleeping on the folded washing in the washing basket is the best.


Well second best actually. Cos sleeping underneath the unfolded washing seems to be pretty great too.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

One year ago today

It amazes me that it's a year. And I know I've said thatloads of time but it just does. Sometimes it feels like this is all new. Othertimes I struggle to remember what life is like without earthquakes. Was allthat just a dream? And so this moment seems like a special moment. It's thelast few moments before our lives changed. And so it seems a good moment tothink about what exactly has changed and I think the best way to list thatwould be in the things I've learnt this year.

In no particular order, I have learnt:

- That earthquakes sometimes have a sound, a low rumble, ora loud roar
- Sometimes earthquakes don’t have a rumble; sometimes theyjust hit your house (and make you have to go change your knickers!)
- That the sound earthquakes have can sound just like manyother sounds we never noticed, like trucks, wind, trains, sliding doors, catdoors swinging...you name it, I can mistake it for an earthquake
- The word liquefaction and what it means
- What the Mercallli scale is
- That telling me the Richter scale measurement of anearthquake is not enough; I need to know depth and proximity to civilisationbefore I make a judgement.
- The pure panic you can feel when you realise you don’thave your cellphone with you
- The generosity that humans have the capacity for in timesof disaster
- The complete lack of empathy and sympathy andunderstanding that disasters can highlight in some people!
- That the feeling of the moments sometimes simply can’t beexplained: trying to find my niece and nephew after Feb 22ndearthquake is one but also the moment at the memorial service when the usar andother volunteers arrived and everyone spontaneously stood applauding them. Orthe moment I realised our September earthquake had be stronger than the Haitiearthquake.
- The pure panic when you realise you don’t have any bottledwater left
- That even a 7.1 earthquake and a state of civil emergencycan’t get you a day off work sometimes!
- That some people are idiots. There’s no other explanation.You can’t predict earthquakes. The earthquakes are not caused by some randomexperiment in Australia. The earthquakes are not caused by drilling for oilsand minerals. Oh that list could go on.
- That Earthquake Brain is real and valid
- That the ability for the human brain to shut down and notlet you understand or comprehend is actually an absolute blessing sometimes. Ithink about that Tuesday as I stood in front of the CTV building trying to workout what I was looking at and seeing that massive fire etc and I am so relievedI didn’t understand. That I didn’t know over 100 people were dying right infront of me in varied and cruel ways. And that I can’t remember some thingsfrom that day.
- That miracles happen. I have no other words for my findingChrissy among the thousands of people that day. No other explanation. And thenthat the first time I tried to call James when he wasn’t replying to my textsthat I got through to him. It wasn’t me,it wasn’t fate, it wasn’t luck, it was a miracle.
- That we adapt. Well our sleeping does. I thought sleepingthrough a 4 was impressive, this week we almost slept through a 5! Well we wokeup but only enough to go wow that was big and go back to sleep!
- That how far you are from the epicentre greatly affectshow strong it feels to you
- That you can get really good at guessing location andmagnitude of earthquakes. For example, if there’s no rumble then chances are it’sreally close to you. Or if there is swaying afterwards then it’s probably quitea way from you.
- That the Rumble to Earthquake and Epicentre relationshipis like the Lightning to Thunder and Storm relationship. The bigger the gap betweenlightning and thunder the further away the storm is. The more of the rumble youhear before you feel the quake, the further away the epicentre is.

Ok I really could keep going with this one but I think it’stime to stop! I think I’ve got my point across: this year has been truly eventfuland we have learnt so much. Some of it funny, some of it painful, some of ituseful, some of it downright useless.

This is not a year we will ever forget. I hope it is also ayear that we never repeat!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Who are these people???

Who reads my blog?? Sometimes I go to the stats section and it shows all these countries where people have been viewing my blog from. I would LOVE to know some of my readers. Write me a comment! Tell me your name, location and how you found me. (Oh God please let someone read this and comment)

To give you an idea, here are my stats for countries for this last week only:

 If I could add a background song you'd be hearing "Whooooo are you...who who who who" (think CSI).

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I feel like maybe I'm getting there. Like the months after the earthquake were in the dark and that maybe I can see the stairs now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My beautiful niece has put her experience down and I think it is well worth a read.

Chrissys Earthquake Story

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rokocoko decides he LOVES the snow!

Understandably Impossible to Understand

It is very rare that you know exactly what everyone in your family is doing at a given moment when you are all in different places. Like right now, I have an idea but I couldn’t tell you exactly what they were all doing. But I can tell you for the moment of 12.51pm on Feb 22nd 2011.

Dad – had just gone inside for some lunch

Mum – about to open the door at Coffee Culture Beckenham

Deb and Annie Rose – driving on Opawa Road, coming up to St Marks church

James – sitting by the Bridge of Remembrance

Chrissy – walking up Cashel Street from Cashel Mall, coming up to the Hotel Grand Chancellor

David – by Pak n Save Moorhouse

Me – Standing in Dee’s office

Reuben – at Opawa School

Tahu – working at a house in Opawa with another guy

And we know that moment and we will never forget that moment and the moments (minutes, hours, days, weeks, months…) afterwards. And we actually all know what we were doing at 4.36am on Sept 4th 2010 as well. Although that one is pretty easy to work out! We were all in bed! (Different ones in most cases!).

It is coming up a year. I’m dreading it to be honest. I can’t even get my head around that first one but that we have had over 8300 (and counting) since just blows my mind. And as it should. Life in New Zealand is amazing, we are so lucky, if not the luckiest! We have an amazing mix of Island life as well as being a leader in the world in many areas. And now we are almost a year into it and life is continuing as normal! There is still life, death, happiness, sadness, successes, failures, exciting stuff, boring stuff. I feel like it should all stop! Like it’s disrespectful to the huge change in our lives!

I wrote a post a while ago about all the questions I had and some of those are answered but there’s many more in their place. Like will I ever not flinch when a truck goes past? Will I ever be able to look at a building and not judge it on its earthquake safety and what would happen if it fell? Will I ever see a construction or building site and not think “Earthquake Damage” and the same with cracks in the pavement?

Recently the plan for Christchurch was released and it looks amazing. There are high hopes and great plans in place. It will be an amazing place but it is a long way away. 15-20 years in some cases. Christchurch will be great but it’s going to take a while. It was a nice moment when I realised that reading that proposal made me feel good about being in Christchurch for the first time in months.

September was bad, I’ll never forget that. But when I think about that first morning as I lay on the couch in the lounge with Nat, Madi, Odette and Tahu and listened to them all sleeping I’m amazed at how na├»ve I was of what was to come. That is the beauty of not knowing the future though isn’t it. If I had known what was to come I don’t know if I could have handled it. I remember thinking how if this wasn’t over soon I’d get in the car and go and drive and find a big empty paddock or park and sleep in the middle of it without fear of something falling on me. I had no idea!!

I remember that day when we finally got power back and going straight online to see how ours compared to Haiti and that sick and shocked feeling when we realised ours was worse. Slightly stronger, slightly shallower, a million times less destructive.

And watching youtube videos of Chile and again feeling sick and in shock as this time I could feel what they felt. You can’t understand a massive earthquake until you’ve actually felt one. The Te Papa Earthquake House has nothing on a real one!

Recently I became aware that there are people reading this blog looking for bad things, either that I say or that have happened to me and it put me off writing about how there’s earthquakes are affecting me because I hated the thought of someone being pleased with it. But I realise now that it’s their issue not mine and that it is better for me to get this written down and that it may help others. I find that as soon as I say “I’m not handling it well” that almost always people will agree and start sharing how they are feeling and their experiences. There’s not a single person here who isn’t changed by what has happened. I definitely am. But somehow, sometime, I have to make that change a positive. But you’d have thought a year on it would be all done and over!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Inflatable Boy

There's this inflatable boy and he goes to this inflatable school and, while there, finds himself having a really bad day. Bored with the lesson, he gets up and walks out of the inflatable classroom but, while walking down the corridor he sees the inflatable headmaster approaching him.

The inflatable boy pulls out a pin and punctures the inflatable headmaster before running out of the inflatable school gates. Just as he gets past the gates, he thinks again, "I hate school", and once more pulls out his pin and pokes it into the inflatable school. He then runs as fast as his inflatable legs allow, all the way home and races into his inflatable bedroom.

A couple of hours later, his inflatable mother is knocking at his bedroom door and with her are the inflatable Police. Panicking, our inflatable boy yet again pulls out the pin and jabs it into himself. Later on that evening, he wakes up in an inflatable hospital and, in the bed next to him, he sees the inflatable headmaster.

Shaking his deflated head - more in sorrow than in anger - the Headmaster gravely intones:

"You've let me down; you've let the school down, but worst of all, you've let yourself down."

And that ladies and gentleman...is one of my all time favourite jokes!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
Martin Luther King Jr

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I bought a bunch of grapes on the weekend...

...and it got me thinking:

There's nothing like a great bunch of green seedless grapes. When you go to get them you have a look and you can spot rotten ones so you pull them off before you take them home. So you get this bunch of fantastic looking grapes. And after a bit it may become obvious that one of the grapes is rotten. You'll need to get rid of that one or it will spoil the whole lot. Sometimes you don't catch it in time and it spoils a few around it but you get rid of those too and then you're back to your great bunch of grapes. It's a shame cos you have less than what you started with but it's still better than no grapes right? And it makes you really appreciate the grapes you've got.

Grapes can be eaten on their own or with other things or they can be turned into wine or they might even go wrinkly and shriveled (raisins) but they're still great. You just have to make sure you get rid of the rotten ones or you'll lose them all. Those rotten ones might continue to smell for a bit when they're in the bin but that just reminds you why you didn't keep them in the first place. Whether they fell off the bunch or you pulled them off, it's still your choice to put them in the bin.

A lot like friends really. There's nothing like a great bunch of friends...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time for a photo blog...

So as you know Tahu and I now have our very own little home and I thought I'd take some pictures of some of my favourites things (excluding Tahu and Roko of course).


My new spice rack



Our beautiful quilt rack with quilts made with love by Deb



Old school milk bottles (for decoration, serving no real purpose!)



The mother chicken to hold our eggs that has been in my family for several decades



A duck that should hold eggs but (as I already have mother hen and I didn't have the heart to throw the duck out it) now holds our plastic bags

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dignity...he doesn't have any!


That's how I found him sleeping this afternoon. It's cold and rainy out and I have the house all nice and warm to try and get our washing dry. And he obviously likes it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Well I feel sick seeing this...

Just had a look in my sent items of my work emails cos I can't use them at the moment and I was trying to find something I'd sent a client. All the emails were from Tuesday 22nd Feb, including the last one I sent:


Click on the image to see it enlarged

I felt physically sick seeing that. I don't know why. I guess it's the closest record I have of life before. I had no idea. I sent that email and went to make some lunch. One of the things that I really struggle with is getting my head around how we just had no warning. We had no idea. How do I feel safe again after that?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rokocoko is home!

Tahu and I are now living in our own place and one of the highlights of this is that we could have Rokocoko back to live with us. For the last 3 or so years he has been living with Mum and Dad. First with me and then when I moved overseas and came back to Christchurch and lived at petless flats, he's stayed on. So now he's back here and he's loving it. He is around a lot, sleeps on our bed, lots of purring. He follows us around and hangs out with us until we go to bed when he goes too. And so I've taken a few pics on my phone, at first to show mum and dad but then just cos he was cute. I have finally charged the batteries on my camera so hopefully the quality will improve!

Watching TV with Mummy


Hanging out with Daddy


Out to it on the bed in the office/spare room while Mummy works


While we watch TV I like to have my paw touching Mummy


Sometimes Mummy brings my bed into the office/spare room

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Earthquake pictures

Today I went for a drive across town to visit my uncle and aunty and to take them some cakes and biscuits. It took me 3 times longer than it usually would as everywhere you have to drive at no more than 30 because of the damage. On the way home I took some pictures of a bridge and a road that I saw. The bridge was actually damaged in the Sept earthquake but the road damage happened on Tues 22nd.








Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oops!

Not sure why my last post was in Webdings but now it should be readable. I wondered what Mum was on about!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Some of my questions have been answered!

Phew! It feels a lot better at least knowing some things. Firstly, Tahu didn't lose his job!! Fantastic news, all of their clients still want double glazing. Well except 3. He starts back on Monday.

Secondly, Deb is property manager for her husbands aunty and their tenant just gave notice so Tahu and I will be moving in at the end of the month. We're so excited. Will be our own wee place and we can have a garden and there's a sunroom and a bath and we can have Rokocoko. We're not looking forward to the moving part though! Guess who is paying for removalists again! We have way too much stuff to do it ourselves!

Tahu was planning on studying instead of working so we will get him into the night course instead so he gets to do both! That helps with the money but also just helps get him closer to starting his apprenticeship.

Also my ipad has been rescued. I get it back next week.

We still don't know how to get past the earthquake and the experience and all that but these 2 weeks up north have helped heaps and having jobs and a new place is also going to help. And Rokocoko! My parents have been loving and caring for him for me for the last couple of years.

Ok got to go do more work. But it's a start at least.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

This made me smile

This is a picture from the Stuff website of a dog that was involved in searching for survivors in Christchurch last week. Love his wee shoes!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

30 Questions...just to name a few!

Do we stay in Christchurch or do we go somewhere else?

If we stay, do we keep living where we are or do we get our own place? Where will Tahu work? Will I be able to work from home or will I have to go back to an office? Will the aftershocks stop? Will there be no more big ones? Will we be safe? Will we ever feel safe? Will I ever stop worrying about what could happen whenever I’m not with my family or friends?

If we go, where do we go? Do we stay in New Zealand or go overseas? Melbourne? Sydney? Auckland? Brisbane or Gold Coast? Perth? Not Timaru or Wellington that’s for sure! Wellington is nice but I’m not leaving one lot of earthquakes for a city which has them regularly! Will Tahu be able to get work? Where would we live? Would we go there permanently or just for a few months? Would we flat with other people? Move in with family? Get our own place? And what do we do with all our stuff? We have 2 cars and a house load of furniture, almost 30 years of memories each and 6 months of fear to deal with.

And what about our plans, will we still be able to save for the wedding in Rarotonga that Tahu is a best man for? Our wedding? Our honeymoon? We will have so many more costs if we move. Will we be able to travel and be able to not worry about everyone back in Christchurch?

What about each of our experiences of that day? For those of us in Christchurch that felt it and saw it first hand or for those out of town who have to comfort us from afar? When do we start processing all of this? It feels too soon, too raw to start just yet.

And while all of this goes through our minds over and over and over again there is still that thought in the back of my mind that says “what are you complaining about! You survived! Your family survived! Your friends survived! Your house is still in one piece!”

30 Questions…just to name a few!