Tuesday, 29 October 2013

New Zealand ::North Island::

I finally uploaded my photos from our New Zealand holiday to the computer last night (mainly because I needed to show a friend the shots today) so now I can do my holiday wrap up post.

Our trip started off well, we were upgraded to business class because the plane was an older one and didn't have premium economy seats (the ones we did book).  This meant we got to hang in the lounge while waiting for our flight!  MR is well and truly immune to the excitement of lounges as he used to be a regular attendee when flying up to work.  Mine workers are more prevalent than business men in gold class lounges here in Western Australia.  I however was not at all immune.  It was my first lounge visit (and business class flight) and I was like a little girl in a lolly shop.  Trying all the free things, checking out what was available.  Trying more of the food.  And some more.  There was free alcohol as well but I didn't try any of that.

Coming in to land was amazing.  The landscape looking like a blanket of lush green carpet.  No brown or red to be seen.  If you haven't been before, think florist foam dark green.  It looked like every hill had been sprayed with that.

We were also really lucky that the only day of rain we had was on the last day.  All other days were sunny and while we were in the North Island it was short sleeves, hats and sunscreen sort of weather.

We started off our holiday visiting MR's family.  They took us to see glow worms on our first night on what they called "about a half an hour walk" to the local waterfall.  Of course, that walk involved 20 minutes of walking down steps by torch light into the gully where the waterfall was and then about 30 minutes back up again.  On three hours sleep.  As you can imagine I was the last back to the top.  I kept stopping to look at glow worms on the way back up (or so I told myself).  The next day I was pretty stoked to see some bumble bees and spent a good twenty minutes alternating between galloping around the garden chasing them with the camera and squatting down trying to get a good photo, much to the amusement of the rellies.

However, the holiday was about more than just minibeasts (although they do feature again later).  We learnt about growing kiwi fruit on the family farm and the troubles they have had with disease in the past few years.  We went for a visit to the Tamaki Maori Village and learnt about Maori culture and had a tradition hangi meal for dinner.  It was really interesting to hear about the Maori history.  I'd never thought about how little I knew about it.  We also went to the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland and walked through the stinky rotten egg sulpher steam clouds, (which we dubbed 'poo clouds') looking at all the different geothermal pools and boiling mud pools.  These were not ones you could get in to, there were many signs warning of the temperature being 100`C and no touching.*

After visiting with family we spent a couple of days driving down to Wellington to visit one of MR's cousins before flying over to the South Island.  We stayed in this restored old home which is now a bed and breakfast while in Wellington.

Unfortunately we were only in New Zealand for ten days and we wanted to see Everything so it was quite rushed.  We only spent one night in Wellington and flew out early the next morning.  This was probably a good thing for MR because as soon as we were somewhere for longer than just a night I wanted to go shopping!  We are lucky enough to be heading back to the North Island at Christmas time to spend Christmas with the family over there.  MR's parents are paying for us, his two brothers, their partners and one grandchild to come over which is just so generous.  So we are very much looking forward to heading over there for another ten days in a bit under eight weeks.

I'll fly us down to South Island and fill you in on our adventures there (hopefully tomorrow) but for now, unfortunately school work is calling me.


*Can you guess who was the five year old who read the sign and then spent the rest of the walk wanting to stick her finger into all of the pools 'just to see'?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Conquered... hopefully

It's Week 2 of Term 4 and I haven't (yet) gotten sick.  It's a miracle!  The last 3 terms have seen me sick every Week 2. Twice in hospital and once just at home.  I'm so pleased.  Now to just hold out and not get sick at all for the rest of this week and then for the rest of the term.

Because of my terrible past history I've only just signed up to go to this Light the Night walk in Bruce Rock.  I was away in New Zealand for the Perth event and MR's Mum has kindly organised this one in MR's home town.  Isn't she a champion?

For those not in the know, I have Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.  This type of leukaemia is the one that is closest to having a cure found for it.  Currently, there are these 'wonder drugs' that mean we (usually) don't need chemo or a bone marrow transplant.  I am lucky enough that I can take these tablets and have a good quality of life.  I work three days a week due to fatigue issues but apart from a few aches now and again and a reduced immune level I am all good.  Many people suffering from blood cancers are not so lucky however and every dollar you can spare goes towards finding cures for Leukaemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma and other types of blood cancers.

So, you have exactly two days to generously dig deep for some loose change (or your credit card) and donate to my cause right here.  You could donate just $5 - like I said, every dollar really does help (and is tax deductible).

Thanks so much in advance!

Monday, 21 October 2013

First Crop

Way back two and a bit years ago, when we first moved into our home we planted some fruit trees.  One of them was a cutting of a loquat tree from my Mum.  I must admit, I was entirely dubious as to how it was going to grow let alone fruit when it was just a stick from her own tree.  But grow it did and fruit it has.  In fact, it has beaten all the other fruit trees to producing edible fruit.  I've been enjoying these since I got back from New Zealand.  MR had one the first day we got back when they were ripe enough for tart-taste-loving-me but not for him.  Unfortunately he hasn't been home since then so I am trying hard to limit myself to two loquats a day so that there are still some left for him to enjoy when he gets back home on Saturday.

It's a very exciting moment to have my own fruit growing in the garden.  Our other trees are going okay, with out apricot having one single green apricot on it and our nectarine having quite a few.  Our nectarine had some fruit appear last year but we pulled them off so it could concentrate on growing.  It is still quite small but we decided to leave the fruit on and see what happens this year.


Is there anything exciting happening in your garden at the moment?

Monday, 14 October 2013


Today my liver turns two. 

Two years since that precious gift from an unknown young man. 

I think about him and his family as I make my traditional anniversary cupcakes. Raspberry, Apple and Cinnamon this time. Do they do something each year in remembrance of him? Or does it pass quietly, individually, retrospectively?  I feel he should be celebrated. But I understand if they are not ready yet.  

I've just gotten back from my first overseas holiday post transplant.  New Zealand.  A place I would never have had a chance to experience if not for the generosity of an anonymous family.  So many experiences I've had in the last two years and so many moments to come that I owe to them.

How do you say thank you for something like that?

Unfortunately, my leukaemia disallows me from donating organs or blood.  But if you are allowed to, you should consider becoming an organ donor or a blood donor.  There are so many people in need and it is such a amazing gift to be able to give.

Last week I wore a bikini for the first time since surgery.  My scar is still there but it is now just a part of me, I often forget it is there. Parts of it have faded a lot, parts are still pink. I don't mind. Oddly, I am less self conscious of my stomach now than I have ever been.  I'll have to take another photo soon for the records and compare.