Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas passed

Well it came and it went. There was a magnificent roast pork dinner with home grown potatoes and local carrots and peas (uncooked). The pudding was just right and boiled to perfection along with its raspberry sauce and whipped cream (unsweetened and home whipped). Then we just sat and talked until tea time.

That consisted of my own lettuce with trimmings and raspberry vinaigrette, a mutton ham from the local butcher and three puddings made by my sister who is a dab hand at them. She did a ginger wine and passionfruit trifle to die for.

Our presents ran true to form. I scored a ghastly china wheelbarrow and watering can which I now have to display for a year (fortunately they are small!) along with a cd I already have (cos he gave me the same one last year and he knew it!) and some chocs. The kids got an amazing kite each in the shape of boats and an aeroplane flight. They've never been on a plane before so this is extra special. One of them got a ballet ticket earlier, the other got to order some books on line and altogether they did pretty well. Even the ungreen side managed to come up with only a few sweets and some board games and a water pistol each which was pretty good.

I think the non plastic message is getting through to quite a few of them now - even my husband is starting to see the light! They did notice the lack of wrapping paper too so you never know...

Hope everyone out there had a good time

viv in nz

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I was going to write something for the apls carnival but I just couldn't get any sort of handle on it. I know children are our future and that we should take care of them but all this has been said so many times before and in so many ways that it just gets depressing. I think doing is much better than talking about it and bringing up the kids has been my mission since they were born. Even there I can only do my best and hope it is enough to set them up for their future whatever that may be.

If they need stuff I do my best but they also have to understand that there is a difference between want and need and that want will get a pretty short shrift until need is met. Even then they will only get what I think is appropriate for their age. This means that when there is a treat it is cherished and remembered as a special thing.

Christmas is a case in point. All of us will only give one serious present for each child. They will get about 7 presents altogether and that will be it. They will get two Christmas dinners because that is how we have done the two families from the beginning. So 3 presents will happen early and the rest on the day.

I find it hard to believe that children receive so much unnecessary junk these days. What is it that we think they should be valued to the max on credit cards? Maybe there is guilt in there that says we don't spend time with them and therefore must pay for their love and all that. Surely there are better things we could be doing with our time and theirs than being absent while earning yet more money to spend on more stuff.

My grandmother had this weird idea that if she gave us lots of things, we would love her more. This did the opposite in actual fact. It just made us feel uncomfortable and obligated to visit. We went from a sense of duty, not from love. And yet we did love her. We just wished she wouldn't be like that and quite a few of us never visited unless they couldn't get out of it.

This attitude seems to have spread out into most corners of society. The results are groups of alienated children with no self respect and an unhealthy desire for things rather than community. We were lucky. Our parents did not do this and we never felt alienated from them (although we might beg to disagree on some points!). We were allowed to grow up and leave freely with our values clear along with our minds. We might make wrong choices or idiotic decisions but they would never be anti social and we never felt we couldn't go home.

I hope I am able to do as good a job with our kids as was done for me.

viv in nz

Monday, December 1, 2008

techy stuff

I have come to the conclusion that I am not tech minded. The only thing I can do ok is type and this is due to the fact that I took typing as an extra at school some 30 plus years ago. The machines we learned on were mechanical with clunky keys that were so heavy I never could use my little finger properly. I figured it would be a useful thing to know even if I never worked in an office.

I was right there.

Unfortunately I never learned computer skills. I found even an electric typewriter to be a bit of a challenge although I have to admit they were an improvement over the non electric chunks of steel I learned on originally. I did like word processors when they came out. I could make mistakes and never have to use white out again. The green screen was interesting....if you stared at it too long, it affected your eyes so that every white surface looked pink. Amber screens were much better.

Then I got a computer. Shortly after that I lost a computer to my new partner. (I had to fall for an IT guy!) He fixes my mess ups and does the stuff I find incomprehensible. He gets confused as to why I can't do stuff he considers child's play. I reply that it might be simple for him but to me it is double dutch and if I try stuff it will crash and burn.

I can appreciate the uses these gizmos have, but don't expect me to use them until they are a lot more user friendly. I am giving my cellphone to the eldest for Christmas. I have tried to use it a few times over the last two years but really can't see the advantage. Every time I do want to use it there's either no credit or no battery power or I can't remember the password and anyhow there's a landline right there which costs nothing!

I am not a techhie person and that's that! When the computer can hold a conversation with me about what I want to do I'll consider trying the fancy stuff but not before!

viv in nz