BIRTHDAY TIME

WINTERY DUNEDIN

I write this blog post with a bit of guilt as I haven’t had the time to get on here for so so long.  I don’t know where the days, nights and weekends go.

So much as happened over the last couple of months, good and bad.

It certainly is not from a lack of not wanting to write on my blog, I just have not had a spare moment to do so. 

First things first, it is our Daughter’s Birthday today, she has just scooted off to her work for the night, she also worked this morning. It is a shame that she couldn’t have at least got the night off her job, but her work said ‘no more leave in May’ available when she thought about putting in for it. 😦   

I volunteered at The Hospice this morning, my regular Sunday shift for the month, I thought I might as well work as the young 23 year old was working too.  Colin and I gave her her pressies at 1pm today.  Lots of bits and pieces, new and second hand vintage pieces.  And some nice warm sheets and PJ’s as the days are so cold now, coming in to winter.  Snow has hit the South Island over the weekend.  It hasn’t settled here yet but you can feel it in the air.  It was  only 5 degrees yesterday.  

Back to the birthday girl, the main pressie was a vintage Cake Mixer, a Kenwood one.  I managed to buy one on an auction a few weeks ago and had it freighted to my work in Dunedin so we could hide it.  The young lass still lives at home 🙂 and uses my Kenwood mixer all the time and has always wanted one.  It also has an extra piece on it – a blender, and also the original handbook.  Her one has baby blue on it, being one of her favourite pastel vintagey colours.   Is vintagey actually a word?

Anyway, she was chuffed and so surprised.   I am so pleased as it arrived very dirty, with years of cake crumbs and gunk everywhere. It took me around 3 hours to clean up.  The old Kenwood brand heavy mixers are so much better than the new type.  They still go for a good price, we paid $200 for it which was a great deal.   I am sure she will put it away back in the cardboard box and keep it for when she gets her own place one day.

When she arrives home from work today, we have one last surprise for her, a nice Gluten Free Chocolate Gateaux for her that we had made by a local bakery.    

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The flowers below are a small bunch that I managed to find in our garden to take to the cemetary for Mum for Mothers Day last weekend.  I am sure she liked them.  I got a nice green vintage glass bud vase and a cute pink rose for my Mother’s Day present off our young girl. She also took me out to a cafe for a coffee in between her split shift.   I was spoilt.  Incase you are wondering I am not allowed to give her name on my blog as it is a unique name that we made up when she was born.  I understand that and promised to respect her privacy.  

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Colin has been doing well in remission.  He now gets checked and has an appointment by his Oncologist every 6 months (rather than 3 monthly). He still has blood tests every 3 months.  He does often feel tired, but manages to hold down a busy job working in the cold.  He never moans, but I know he gets sore legs and back.. it is suspected his sore legs are nerve damage from all of the chemotherapy.  He likes working and takes things in his stride.  

My health has been semi-ok lately, I have been having problems again with my iron and also low white blood cells.  The Doctors don’t seem to know why they are low all of the time now and don’t seem to want to do much about it, just to monitor me.   I know the low iron and vitamins are from having Coeliac Disease, but it does worry me about the low white cells.  I can’t afford to get sick or an infection or anything as I have been classed as neutopenic.  That is what Colin was like when he was fighting the luekiemia.  That will explain why even small cuts don’t heal.   I also have been having a few bowel issues.  I hate it and it does get me down a bit, I lose a bit of confidence, but then try to remember that we have both been given another chance at life, and that there are way worse people off than us.  

Apart from that I am in a happy place with my running and walking. I have been seeing a lot more of my Brother.  🙂   He has joined my Harriers Athletics Club.  We have done lots of running together in and out of club when time allows.  He is a way better runner than me, I am a slow plodder.  A photo of Steven is below in one of our Club races, he was on a roll and over taking the girls. 🙂

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 My bowel problems are always a worry, not so much with Walking but when I run. I will NOT let it stop me from trying to do things.  I am slowly getting a little faster, beating my own time on the same distance.  I am still a walker in my club but also like running too and have only picked it up a year or so ago. I try to go running on a Monday night after work, it is always fun going with others, they are mostly from my Club but a few extras.  We normally do around 10kms, I am always at the back of the pack, but it doesn’t matter.  They are a great crowd and it pushes me more. 

Below is an event my friend Vanessa (in yellow) and I run in.  It was such an awful day, cold and wet, but we did it, we completed 10kms 🙂 

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Oh well, I better sign off, I think I have written a book. ha ha.

Hi to my Sister Brenda in Australia and also to my Niece Gina in the North Island.  xxx 

One of our dogs, Chevy and Turbo looking from inside out.  The dogs do not like the winter either.

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I won’t leave the next post so long next time.  If you have winter at the moment as well as us Kiwi’s in New Zealand, then keep warm. 

Donna x

TUESDAY HOLIDAY

EASTER LONG WEEKEND

I hope you all had a nice Easter, I didn’t pig out too much on chocolate.   I have been running (jogging) a bit lately so have run off what I did eat. 🙂

I’ve had a bit of a holiday this Easter weekend, yawwwn.

Just as well, as I think I needed the two days extra that I had away from work. It is the first time in almost 8 months since I started my new office job that I have had any time off.  We have been short staffed for four weeks as one of the girls was away sick.  I was also at the same time trying to teach a new girl the job, it has been tiring.

I asked for Thursday and today, Tuesday off work.  It has given me six days off in a row.  🙂

The Easter weekend has been a bit of a cold, wet one.  We didn’t go away out of town or really far from home, but it was still great to know that I didn’t have to go to work for a few days. 

Today I made a basket from flax (harakeke).  Flax weaving is very therapeutic.  I have only made small bags (keke) and some flowers (puti- puti)  and a small four-sided basket in the past.  I have never made one this big.  It was fun, I wove a different top on this basket, a straight one.

Many years ago the Maori in New Zealand used Flax to make a variety of items, they use to cultivate the plants for many uses.  These included ropes, fishing lines and nets, bags, baskets, plates, mats and clothing amongst many other things.   

I am pleased with the way it turned out, it will open up a bit when it drys and also will lose it’s lovely green colour.  It should still look good and will be quite strong.  I think I might put an indoor plant in a pot inside it? or maybe use it to hold toilet rolls, ha ha.

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Flax basket

These two photos below were taken tonight of our old cat Sasha.  He was actually my Sister Brenda’s cat, but has been living on our little farm for many years now.  He is a nice natured old boy. Sasha is becoming a little muddled lately and is getting skinny/boney in his old age, but he still eats a lot.  Over the last 6 months he has become addicted to Cat Milk.  Every time we open the fridge he finds the energy to run fast and meow for some.  I often give in to him as he is a senior puddy cat now so he is spoilt. 

Sasha is getting a bit of dementia, he often just stands there staring into mid air or looks at himself in the reflection of our stainless steel oven and thinks it is another cat.  He gets very muddled.  He is a cute cat.  

I’m finishing this post with a photo of some earings made out of the handles of old fashioned cutlery.  

Geez, I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, I would be quite happy staying home with the animals and doing my knitting. 😛

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Sasha 18-4-17 (3)

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MOUNTAIN RUN AND WALK

SUNDAY FUN

This morning at 8 30am my Brother Steven and I did a Mountain Walking Race.  It is called The Three Peaks and is bascially 11kms of straight up a mountain on an off road track.

The day was great, no wind, no rain, sunny, but not too hot. The views are beautiful over Dunedin City.

Steven is a runner and has just joined my Harriers Club. I talked him in to walking this event with me this year.  It is my third time doing it and Steven’s first time.  It is a tough event.   Steven was quicker than me on the hills, I was dragging the chain a bit, but I was faster on the flat and downhill.  I think his years of being in the Army and doing their training for hours running and walking with full  uniforms on, boots and heavy back packs helped him on the hills. He was stronger than me.

We complemented each other well, I normally do most races by myself, so it was nice to have company, to yap and have a laugh along the way..

We started off at the front and stayed there.  We are not sure of our times yet as they haven’t been posted, but I was the 1st Female to finish, same as last year.  Steven was 2nd Male, there was only one Walker in front of us.   We couldn’t see any other Walkers for miles when looking back, so we are both chuffed with our results.  

We also ran part the way down to the start line, so possibly did around 16 kms today.

It was great to see the impressive runners and other competitors.

Steven and I have another big event coming up in two weeks time, an off-road Running event,  lately I have been doing a little bit of jogging, I’m slow but always determined not to let things beat me and all I want is to cross the finish line.  I am a little scared though, as there are more hills and it is 18.5kms long…eeek what have I done. 😛

At least today was good practice for this upcoming event.  I also did a 10 km walk with my Club yesterday.  

I think Steven now appreciates what the Walkers do and that it is still tough for us and not just a ‘walk in the park’ and we are out there longer than the Runners doing it hard.

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Along the way Steven said Mum (up there in heaven) would be proud of us….and I think she would.  So would our Sissy in Aussie.. Love you Brenda xx

Steven and I took a selfie after the event when we had a coffee in a cafe, it was funny, we looked terrible and I spilt my coffee all over his leg and mine when laughing.   I will still post it below though. 

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I hope we aren’t going to be too sore tomorrow.  🙂

I’m finishing this post off with a nice photo of a Staffy I found on Mr Google, it is very cute.

Have a good week coming everyone.  Not long until Easter….  = chocolate. 🙂

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VOLUNTEERING

HOSPICE VOLUNTEERING

Today has been a nice day, yay, the sun did come back.  We have had some dreary old days and not much of a Summer.  I am not looking forward to Winter at all.  The mornings and nights are certainly getting darker. 😦  The sun does makes everyone feel better.  I did the Park Run at 8am this morning at the Dunedin Botanical Gardens,  it is only 5kms, but very hard with some hills on the 2nd half.  To me, they feel like Mount Everest, especially when running.   Today I walked the Park Run, it seemed harder than actually running the Event. Yesterday after work I was a good girl, I actually went for a jog/walk when I finished at 5pm.  I tripped over some toi tois (NZ native plants I think) and rolled down a small grassy bank.  Unfortunately the toi tois are like cuttey grass, they have cut all of my arms and legs.  They still sting like anything.  I hurt my dodgy knee again too. 

I sucked up the soreness and blood and soldiered on jogging back to my car.  🙂 I thought today I had better take it easy. I enjoyed the walk this morning though and felt good for doing something physical.

Yesterday at work a few of my work mates and I dressed up in Green for St Patrick’s Day.  It was nice to have a fun day at work as we have been so busy, one of the girls is away on Annual Leave seeing Adele in Australia so we have been under the pump with all of the work load.  I also have been teaching a new lady in the office the basics of the job all week…that is tiring.  I didn’t even get much training myself in the job when I started 7 months ago, it was around3 days overall I think.  It was so busy then I was thrown in the deep end.  I guess it is a bit of a complement really that the Management think that I can teach her rather than one of the other girls that has been there a long time.   I don’t really like teaching people though , not for this long, especially when we are a staff member day as well. It has been pretty stressful.  

This weekend is a long one as Monday is ‘Otago Anniversary Day’.  That makes me happy, an extra day off work and maybe it will even be a little lie in, until 9am ish.  That would be nice.

After the Park Run this morning I had a coffee and chat with my Walking friend at a local healthy Cafe.  It was a good catch up with him.  

Tomorrow I am up early again, but this time to help out at the Hospice, I am on cleaning duties.  I like doing this even more than being in the Kitchen working as it means I spend even more time with the patients in their rooms cleaning and chatting to those that can talk.  They seem to like having a little bit of company after their Breakfast.

Two weekends ago I had a Birthday, my big 50!!   I didn’t do anything special really(my choice).  I decided to not even go out for tea/dinner.  I had had a few busy weekends and the day before my Birthday on the Sunday I competed in an out of town event down South.  It was a 2 hour drive to get there.  

My Brother Steven went and a girl from Harriers.  We went in Steven’s car.  He has never done an off road/race event like this before.  He ran it and did really well.  It was 15.5 kms, with a BIG hill to run up, we ran/walked on the beach for 5 kms, that was hard. Then up through tracks, in through Farmer’s paddocks with long grass with big ruts, then on to gravel roads, straight up.  Then down, down, down.  This was my third time doing it, walking.   I did a PB, knocking 4 mins off my time.  I came over the finish line 4th Female Walker and 12th overall out of heaps of Walkers.  I was pretty happy.  It was nice to have a laugh with Steven and Julie too, feeding our faces messily in the car with birthday cake.  It was Gluten Free so was falling to bits due to the lack of gluten.  Steven’s Daughter, my Niece, Isabella made it.  She is only 10.   We had cream cheese icing everywhere too.  🙂  It was so tasty.

The photo below is of the Walkers at the start, I was rearing to go, the weather was nasty, rain, wind, awful, but the event was awesome. Superb views.

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Me at the finish, I look like I am going to whip a horse or something…I wonder what I was doing??

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Photo of my Brother below, he was almost at the finish line. I am not so sure what the guy behind him is laughing out.  Maybe something written on his back? ha ha

Julie ran the event for the first time as she normally walks it but has started running last season. She ran really well, she has guts and determination and was 2nd female Runner to cross the line.  She even surprised herself.  She is amazing.

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The next day on my birthday, I was just happy to stay home. 🙂  I got a nice piece of pink depression glass from my Daughter.  It is a huge plate, beautiful.  She even gave me chocolate and made me a yummy Gluten Free chocolate cake. Colin gave me a new cell phone.  My one was a bit old fashioned, I wanted one with a decent camera on it.  I have one now :), I just have to work out how to use it.  

My Sister Brenda sent me a lovely orchid plant and also a helium balloon.  I was so so chuffed, it would have cost her a fortune arranging it from Australia.  And I have never ever had one of those balloons.  And it is still inflated and only going down a little bit.  Spoilt rotten. 

I am not one to make a commotion or have a big party, me being me, I was happy to hang around home and just do my knitting or something. …I guess I must be getting old. ha ha.  Have a good Sunday …Donna

A special hello to Bren in Brisbane.  I miss you Sissy. xxx

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WHAT DID I DO THIS WEEKEND?

MAKING THE MOST OF THE SUN SHINING

Yay, finally we have a weekend of nice weather.  🙂

It was a very busy working week, therefore by Friday I didn’t have much energy left.  The Night Noodle Market was in Dunedin for a week selling lots of Asian inspired foods and drinks.  

The three of us decided to go down town on Friday night and have a look, we ended up sitting on the grass eating satay and rice and watching a few artists dancing with fire.

Saturday morning I went for an hour and a halves walk by myself and then got groceries.  Home at 1pm after attending a huge garage sale I spotted in town as I was driving home.  I also went across the road and viewed an Auction House that is holding the auction their Wednesday.  Because I am working, I put a absentee bid on two different items. A tea set I would like to buy for our Daughter’s Birthday in May, she collects this particular style, for myself I did a bid on a Crown Lynn (made in NZ) vintage swan. I think I may have bidded too low, but you never know.

Today I was up early and met 3 other friends (from my Harriers Club) at 9 am to go on a big walk/hike.  It was off road, going up thru native bush and ferns etc to a height of around 800 metres above sea level. There was a beautiful view of Dunedin City at the top.  We were away for 3 3/4 hours doing a hard hilly 17 kms. 

This photo below is from a week night when I was playing around with our camera.  Taking black and white photos and sepia ones of plants and flowers in my front garden and also some of the dogs.

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I met Colin and our Daughter in town to go on a tour of the Sea Shepherd ship that saves marine wildlife.  It is named after Steve Irwin. The ship was at the Harbour/wharf for the weekend and showing people on board, it was fascinating.  A very popular event, we lined up for over an hour in the hot sun. The ‘Sea Shepherd’ ships are run by volunteers and the crew are the same.  They are a non profit marine wildlife conservation organisation. They are active on the high seas protecting endangered whales, dolphins, seals and all marine wildlife.

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It was nice to see all of the families there with their children, teaching them that we need to care and help prevent poachers and the killing of our wildlife.

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Then it was home to pick some vegetables out of our vegetable garden to cook for tea.  I made nice vegetarian potato and vegetable patties tonight to go with some smoked fish that Colin smoked.  It was very tasty.

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Another busy week ahead, especially at work.

I have picked some pretty roses to take to work tomorrow for our front Reception Desk.

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 I have another walking event I am entering next Saturday, this one is 15.5 kms and is a race. I am going down there with my Brother and another girl from Harriers.  They are running the event, I am walking it.  This one, is hard & hilly, especially hard when racing and trying to go as fast as you can.  I have done it twice before.  It is a neat event. It is at Papatowai, around 3 hours out of Dunedin.  Todays walk was a good practice for the event.   After my ‘Stump the Hump’ 62 kms event a couple of weeks ago, I feel like this one will be alright.   It should be good.

The photo below is of an alleyway that I saw walking back to our car.  It was neat, it got narrower and narrower, with a little bit of light at the end. I had to take a photo.

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Have a nice week. 
Donna

TICK OFF THE BUCKET LIST

YAY, I FINISHED THE ‘STUMP THE HUMP’ WALKING/TRAMPING EVENT

As you know I did an event last Friday and Sat.  It was a real hard nut walk/tramp.  Called ‘Stump the Hump’.   It started at midnight  in Tuatapere, about a 4 hour drive from Dunedin. I had to work at work for 6 hours instead of my normal 8 hours in the morning.  It would have been great to work less and get some sleep prior, but my Boss was unable to let me go earlier.  Colin and I left home around 3:30pm.  We found Colin’s accommodation when arriving to pick up my registration pack.
It was a great little cottage, I was jealous I wouldn’t be sleeping there the night, it was lovely.  I felt nervous, and waited and waited until midnight for it to event to start. 😦
We walked thru the night, non stop firstly up a huge Mountain, some of it being vertical to one of the top huts.  We had gale force winds at the top, then a little rain. That took me 5 hours to reach the top of the mountain, stopping for ten minutes to change my socks, and eat something… then I carried on walking to the next hut at Port Craig.  Lots of downhill, steps, boardwalk and slippery mud.  It was a grueling walk, especially the first big hill. 
I walked under a huge old viaduct.
Taking in beautiful scenery, fauna and flora, lots of swing bridges, viaducts , old railway tracks, beach etc.  Simply stunning. 🙂
The finish was 62 kms from the start line.  It wasn’t an actual race, just an endurance event, I did it in 15 hours and 1 min lol.  🙂
They tell me that I was roughly 31st out of 113 people.  About 4 got helicoptered out and a few didn’t finish as it is so hard or they felt unwell. 
I chatted with a couple of ladies along the way, but mostly walked by myself. I met a lovely girl called Amy, from Christchurch, we walked for around 2 hours and had lots of laughs.  I then walked over the beach and another fair distance  (around 20 kms)to the end. It was around 25 degrees by then.  I finished it at 3pm (actually 3:01pm) on Colin’s Birthday. 🙂
After a shower we went out for tea/dinner in Invercargill to celebrate both events. We stayed in a basic ‘Bed and Breakfast’ the night then drove home on Saturday after picking up some new hens in Gore and admiring the farmer’s piggie. 
 I was ok the next day except for 3 extremely bruised & sore /black toes and nails.  I think the nails may fall off, yuck, I hope not.  
I am still smiling and on a high from this event.  
I was determined to do this walk, I was worried before I started.  I never thought of giving up.   I loved it, but never again ha ha 🙂
It is hard on the knees and calves doing the downhill and walking on the boardwalk. It is probably the hardest and toughest event I have done yet.  🙂 I am a stubborn buggar.
I took around 120 photos along the way, I will add a few below to show you. You have to excuse me for doing all of the selfies, I asked a couple of people to take a shot of me in front of the splendid views.  So many photos of me looking tired, goofy but in my element & I want to show you the view.  
Awesome !!!!
I will leave you with a quote I like:
‘To get the body in tone, get the mind in tune’.

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STUMP THE HUMP

BIG WALKING OFF ROAD EVENT

I am getting very nervous.  I have entered a huge walking event on Friday.  I am also excited too.

Haven’t had much time to train, due to working full time and lots of things on.

The walk is near Invercargill, around 3 hours driving from Dunedin.  I have seen photos of the terrain and been told that this is a beautiful part of scenery.  I have to work for 6 hours on Friday, 😦 as we are too busy for me to get the whole day off.  I suppose leaving at 1pm instead of 5pm is better than nothing.  Colin and I will drive down there to the event, in the late afternoon when he finishes work.  I was hoping to get a bit of sleep in prior to leaving.  Not sure if that will happen.

The event is off road, (a new thing to me really as I am a road/street walker, but I have done a few longer bush walks these last few weeks).  The event, called Stump the Hump leaves at midnight (yes in the dark), we walk up a mountain with very steep terrain, getting to 900 metres.  I have been told a lot of people pull out of the event, due to the extreme hardness of it.  😛  I am scared. They have to pay to get helicoptered out.    I realllllly want to not only do it but I want to complete it.  21kms to the top of the hill, then a lot of board walks, steps, bridges, along railway tracks, beach walking and bush again.  62kms of non stop walking.  A chap told me that I will probably take about 16 hours, he has done it once and took 14, he does a lot of long distance walking and running.

I think the hill for be the most difficult and staying awake, if I get to the top, I am hoping I will manage the rest alright.  I have just had blood test results this week too, I am anemic again and also have low white blood cells.  There is no way that I am not going to do the walk though, I am not giving up now because of that.  With Coeliac Disease, we lack in taking in the nutrients, I am always on Iron pills, but now have to double them.  No wonder I am always feeling low in energy and tired.  …I will push myself though, as I normally do.

I also have to take a back pack with my own food in it (extra weight) as the organizers won’t cater for Gluten Free 😦   A bit of a shame, as food is offered to everyone else, porridge and toast at the first hut, soup and sandwiches at the 2nd and a bbq at the finish.  The event cost $150, I think they should at least have one option of something GFree, but nevermind.

I will make sure I have enough food to get thru this in my bag.  I have most of my gear ready.  We start at midnight Friday, finishing some time late Saturday.   I hope I can take my camera.  Rain is due both days, hope it doesn’t happen as it may wreck the view, and also will be slippery.

The event is not a race, so that is good, and also I just want to push myself and cross it off my bucket list.  Fingers crossed for me, I will report in hopefully with photos next week.  🙂

Did I tell you I’m nervous hee hee 😛

Donna

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