Thursday, December 14, 2017

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree.

Apart from the lack of snow...

Christmas means digging out that long box that houses our Christmas tree and the other box of decorations we've accumulated over the years.

For the last two years we haven't used them because we've spent Christmas in London at Patrick and Randy's house.

Last year we had Christmas dinner at Acoustic, the cafe opposite their house in Stoke Newington. Freezing cold outside. Lovely and warm inside Acoustic. A great meal. Just me and my best girl. 

Great times.

So...the Christmas tree and box of accumulated decorations has been stored in various garages we've owned over the last three years (Otane, Waipukurau, Mangaturoto).

But this year we have family flying in from the U.S.A. (Fanfa), Oztraya (Adamski and Ashleigh), and Palmerston North (DLG and William).

Christmas at home meant I went in search of the Christmas tree in the long box and the other box of accumulated decorations. I remembered where they'd been stored - the tool shed.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. Over the years, various rodents had visited the box it appeared. Tell tale little blue pellets on the top of the long box. Boy did it stink.

When I opened the long box I immediately saw why it stunk. At some point in the past three years, Ratty had made his or her home in the fake branches - mixing scraps of cardboard with string. 

A very dead flat rat lay underneath the fake branches.

2017 version

For some reason SWMBO wouldn't entertain me cleaning off ratty's home and water blasting the branches. 

So, off to the Warehouse we went. The last one in the store became ours.

We constructed the new Christmas tree and unpacked the accumulated decorations (separate box and not penetrated by ratty).

Looks good huh!!

Its now sitting decorously and calmly in the lounge, waiting for the Purdettes and their significant others to visit.

Roll on Christmas.

Love and peace and ho ho ho - Wozza

Sunday, December 10, 2017

If I could save time in a bottle (Jim Croce)

Photo by Corey Blaz on Unsplash
Taking stock.

I gave myself two goals at the start of this year: 

1) Continuously work on a couple of post for each blog in advance, so that my writing improved (more drafting = more thinking = better writing).

2) Read 50 books in 52 weeks so that my reading discipline would improve (I love books but eeking out time to read has been an issue). 

Your focus determines your reality (Qui Gon-Jinn). 

These goals have been in the front of each blogging/reading week and that's lead to a certain impact on my psyche.

Not a bad thing (relentless positivity) but the clock was ticking all year and I did feel the pressure at times.

Time is always the issue. I knew it would be.

'Eeking' was the right word to use up there. Time snatched before school, after dinner, during found moments. Getting a balance has been tough!

Apart from 'me' time (that includes dancing to music time), there's relationship time, school work time (huge chunk of the week), making and drinking tea time, chore time, walking the dog time, project time (horse yards sort of stuff), eating meal time, socialising with colleagues get the idea.

So, how did I do?

Hmmm. Not so well with the first. Although I still managed (for the most part) to maintain the post a day regime, I only managed to keep ahead of the publishing date with three blogs, but Wozza's Place and Baggy Trousers posts were often started the night before and second draft before posting in the morning. Not good enough!

But, there was great success with the second goal.

Week 47 is just getting underway. In the last month I've read two books and started another two. 

Book 46: Submission (Michel Houellebecq) from The Piggery (Whangarei). I really enjoy reading books in translation - they provide a great edginess. Houellebecq can be frightening. If you've never read him try this one for openers.

Book 47: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (L. Frank Baum) $2 from a Hospice shop in Waipu. Yes, the inspiration for the movie - great little book in its own right. 

Book 48: Platform (Michel Houellebecq) also from The Piggery (Whangarei). An exercise in examining a thoroughly unlikeable protagonist.

Book 49: Thank You For Being Late (Thomas L. Friedman) was mentioned at a conference earlier in the year and I noted the title, bought it online from Mighty Ape. Great - up there with Velocity (high praise indeed).

Book 50 (and onwards 51 -52): As I've mentioned previously - I want to finish the year (and this exercise) by re-reading the Gormenghast trilogy (Mervyn Peake).

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone (Billy Joel)

In the company of strangers - it's a good title for a blog (interesting that, among other things, it's the name of a fashion label in Nu Zild).

For a blog, it sums up my daily ritual of conversation, as I publish a post and send it out for the viewing pleasure of strangers.

As Seth Godin says: More than ever, people, lots of people, hordes of anonymous people, can watch what you do.

They can see your photos, like your posts, friend your digital avatar.

An essentially infinite collection of strangers are in the audience, scoring you, ranking you, deciding whether or not you're succeeding.

If you let them.

The alternative is to focus on the audience you care about, interacting with the person who matters to you. Your audience, your choice. One person, ten people, the people who need you.

Everyone else is merely a bystander.

My audience, my choice.

I'm not sure it's as binary as Seth indicates - either bystanders or those who know me (even then...).

This blog started out as a means of communicating with my immediate family. It's grown, and sometimes that gets in the way. I need to be careful, after all.

Some may get the wrong impression, for some things I need to respect privacy.

My audience, my choice?

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, November 30, 2017

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Shedding a skin is a vital activity for me. from time to time But for others it is uncomfortable and something to be avoided.

The new beginning idea is at the forefront of my thinking right now.

A while ago, SWMBO and I decided to sell up and look for another property with a bit more land. We love where Roch-dene is right now (I take Roch-dene with me where ever we go), but the horses and, therefore, SWMBO need another paddock or two.

Roch-dene is on the move, again.

Not too far away, we found another place to be - loads of land, with native bush and a large lake. An island on the lake really appeals. The romance of that - the idea of being on our own bit of land surrounded by water!

Problem being we're in a buy/sell chain. We need to sell to buy, the people who want to buy our place need to sell and so on.

So, it may work out, we hope it will. Inshallah.

The other skin shedding exercise is happening at work. We are moving out of the old crusty administration/staff area so that a wrecking crew can come through next week. 

Over the holiday break a spanking new space will be created.

Some love the idea (me) and embrace the change, others find it a chore but are doing what they need, others hate the idea of shifting out temporarily.

Meh. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lie to me, say that you need me, that's what I wanna hear (Lene Marlin)

With the end of the school year fast approaching you'd think I'd have more time for reading (High-Rise by J G Ballard) but actually it gets more manic at this time of the year and the reading has slowed down.

Snatches of quiet time are the norm of late. Nothing much sustained. Not good.

For me, reading is meditation time. I can slow my thinking and relax my body. School is the opposite of that - fast thinking, fast movement.

Doesn't help that High-Rise is a rather one-dimensional Lord Of The Flies in a high-rise apartment block dystopian yarn. Although it's written well, I don't have any emotional attachment with any of its characters.

It was made into a film, but I can't find it on Netfix or elsewhere - although, true, I haven't tried especially hard to find it.

Already I'm looking forward to the next book - whatever that may be.

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I wanna be your dog (The Stooges)

I used to be a cat man. Never a dog man.

Then I met Jacky and it's been a story of loyal dogs ever since - Wynton, Bazil and Jerry (with two memorable miss-steps along the way - Tori and Dukie).

But cats? Another story entirely. We can't seem to get it right with cats.

Cats can be evil (Ben) or stoopid (Scraps). They can suddenly disappear on us (Waffles/Rocky) or get bowled by cars (Scraps). They can catch diseases (Kramer/Flower and Scooter) or they can hate dogs with an extraordinary passion (Seven). 

Lewis and, to a lesser extent, Persia were pretty cool for cats but we had to give them away to lives of luxury when we went to live in England.

Latest in the line of cats was (yes, past tense) Sensei/Tom. You remember him. He featured in the previous post.

All was going well until he attacked Jerry for no reason and peed on Jacky's curtains (I thought I was part owner until she yelled out - 'he's peed on my curtains' while we had dinner).

So it's back to the SPCA for Sensei/Tom. No more cats!

Jerry is mightily relieved!

Love and peace - Wozza