Things I Love

Sometimes it’s nice to just stop and smell the roses in your life. It occurred to me this morning that there are so many things I love:

(1) I love my breakfast. I have the same breakfast almost every day and have done for years. I have an ABE’S bagel, usually a parmesan one. I toast it and cover it with Vegemite and cheese. It used to be Marmite, but the Marmite factory is a victim of the Christchurch earthquake for the moment so I am making do with Vegemite. It’s a yeast extract, a savoury taste that loves cheese. Sometimes I don’t eat lunch until 2pm but I never feel hungry, my bagel keeps me going.

(2) I love listening to Mike Hosking on Newstalkzb in the morning. He’s witty and clever and well informed and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. I am always thoroughly entertained.

(3) I love a hot shower, or less hot in summer, but still a lovely refreshing shower. Then I love crisp towels that have been washed with soap powder that smells of jasmine and dried on the line in the sun.

(4) I love the fact that both my neighbours live somewhere else (one in Hamilton and one in Auckland) so their houses are empty and I am allowed to ‘raid’ their gardens. This means I can take baskets of flowers into Mum at the rest home, roses that smell heavenly and poppies and foxgloves and lavender etc.

(5) I love my 2012 Christmas Craft Project. This year it is boxes, of homemade truffles. I bought boxes at Spotlight, paper mache boxes. I painted them with a non-toxic copper coloured paint and decorated the lids with stencils and stamps and stickers. There are hat boxes for my two great-nieces and two great-nephews for craft things. There are round ones and square ones and rectangular ones for family and friends and they will be filled with truffles, chocolates and chocolate en-robbed dried fruit, all made by me. I made some boxes of truffles for three visiting ministers we had at our church a few weeks ago, a priest from Cuba, an Archbishop from Nigeria and a priest from England. I made apricot, brandy and ginger, Pacific (my own invention, papaya and mango in white chocolate truffle) and rum and raisin and some fruit creams. They were very well received…so I decided that it would be my 2012 Christmas Craft Project.

(6) I love ginger beer cordial. I can take a glass of diet Sprite and add a dash of highly concentrated cordial and I have a glass of ginger beer, without all the sugar!! And I love the companies who have finally realised the market exists here and have released low sugar fruit juice, under 10grms of sugar per 100grms of juice.

(7) I love my current favourite flavour combo. Take a slice of pear and add a thin slice of quality blue cheese, a tiny dollop of maple syrup and half a walnut. Put the whole thing in your mouth at once. Salty, creamy, sweet, smokey, crunchy, nutty…just divine.

(8) I love massaging Mum’s feet with Essential Lavender Massage Wax. It smells like a heady field of lavender and it has arnica in it as well. The smell wafts down the corridor and people come in to say ‘hi’ and have a big deep breath of lavender. And as I massage, we listen to hits of the 1940s on CD and we sing. The other day I took her to a sing-song and she started humming and then singing…to ‘My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean” and then “Daisy, Daisy.” She LOVES singing so we sing war songs and Vera Lynn songs and songs she and my Aunt used to sing together in their teenage years…after six months of silence she is making a noise and it makes us both happy.

So these are the small things that make me smile. No matter how hard the road at times and how tiring the journey, there are always things that lift your spirits. You just have to look for them.



A Bit of a B Week

It’s Friday. Friday is the day when someone else comes in to see Mum in the morning and I have time to do housework, washing, writing, thinking, reading and watching TV. I do find that by about midday I’m missing her and wanting to go in and see her and it can be hard to wait until 5pm, when I go in for the evening shift.

It’s been a busy week. Wednesday was my birthday and I turned 53. I’d done some serious baking the day before so I could take food into the rest home staff, brownies, cupcakes, butterfly cakes, queen cakes, eclairs, shortbread robots (don’t ask) and banana bread. All in all, it went very well and was most appreciated. I picked Mum up that day and took her home and we watched some US Open tennis on SKY and some opera off DVD and listened to some music in the conservatory. I got cash and book tokens for my birthday so I was happy, nothing better for me than book tokens. Cooked myself a dozen scallops for tea and they were exceedingly yummy!

Yesterday I took myself off to the craft show in Hamilton, feeling it was time to take up something crafty – if you know what I mean. I got a rug to hook and have done two rows. It’s quite a complex pattern so I need to concentrate and it’s hard to watch TV at the same time. I got a canvas and some paints so will get round to that. Also bought myself some nice glass jewelery and got a few little presents for birthdays coming up.

I’m also planning the next book in my head. My editors at Harper Collins have explained (very patiently) to me that I need to maintain a similar tone and texture and provide the readers who loved The Secret Keeper with something that will satisfy them and not be a complete surprise. After several false starts I think I have a great idea brewing away.

So what else is happening in the world? Some great speeches at the Democratic Convention in North Carolina. I’ve heard snippets of President Clinton’s nomination speech and have the whole thing ready and waiting on You Tube for later in the day and I will watch President Obama live this afternoon. Love a bit of great oratory!! It makes me think of Toby Zigler and Sam Seabourne and all the work that goes in behind the scenes to create the words.

Oh and I have been coping with a bulging  disc which was pinching my sciatic nerve, didn’t mention it earlier because the doctor gave me some lovely painkillers and when I take them I don’t know my back is sore. When I don’t take them it is a little stiff and twinges a bit but it’s healing quickly and, as long as I stay out of the garden (yeah), should be 100% soon.

I had some ingredients left over from the baking and half a loaf of fig and walnut bread that was going stale quickly. So, not wanting to waste good stuff, yesterday I made a bread and butter pudding, with sultanas and lemon rind and eggs and milk/cream and it is just delicious! I have carved it up into chunks and put it in the deep freeze.

So that was my week, back, baking, birthday, birthing a book and being there for Mum.