Thursday, June 30, 2011

A blessing upon the hearth

On 22 February our chimney was damaged.  It was assessed as "Urgent repairs".  That was four months ago.

Whenever we'd asked all we could find out was that we're somewhere in the waiting list for repairs.  We'd given up on being able to use the fire this winter.

Until 2pm today when the tradespeople knocked on the door.

It felt very exciting and significant.  We made a little ceremony as we lit the first fire.

A blessing upon your new hearth,
A blessing upon your new dwelling, 

Upon your newly-kindled fire. 

Lord, God, Almighty Father, eternal Light and Creator of all lights, bless this new fire. Grant that after the darkness of this world, we may come with pure hearts to Thee, the never-falling Light. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hora, Hoedown, Hula, Hip hop and Hokey Pokey at Hornby Library

It took a long time for the public libraries to open after February.  Our closest library is "accommodating CCC staff and not available for library use."  I had found my way to the nearest open library at Hornby only once in May, and before I could get myself organised to take the family June 13th happened, and all the libraries were closed again.

I discovered with delight over the weekend that Hornby had reopened again.  I even tweeted about dancing with joy at the prospect.  So I promised my children an outing after school on Wednesday to check it out.

I picked the girls up from school and headed for the bus stop.  The girls were jumping and giggling while waiting for the bus.  All the children were wriggling excitedly while on the bus.  They didn't walk from the bus stop to the library, they bounced.

Once there I pointed out the children's section.  

Hornby Library Postquake
The children's section at Hornby Library
Mister Two ran straight to the DVD section, and pulled out a Wiggles disk.  He ran a lap around the children's section, then came back to the DVD shelf and pulled a Chuggington DVD.  Then ran another lap...

Meanwhile, the girls had found another child playing on the computer, so were crowded around watching.
"Come and choose some books, girls."
Miss Five happily ran over, chose a DVD, then spent several minutes browsing the picture books before choosing a handful. 
I caught Mister Two on his lap around the mat, and steered him towards the toddler books.  He grabbed a couple.  "Look at this one," I tried to entice him, "The picture on the cover moves."  Miss Five came over for a look, and I read the story to her.  Mister Two trotted back to the DVD shelf.

Miss Seven was poking at the catalogue computer next to the children's games computer. She was trying to get it to do something interesting, like connect to the internet so she could find an online game.  "The chapter books are over here" I was trying to distract her, "you might find something you want to read there".  Miss Seven ran to the DVD's, grabbed one, then picked out 4 books almost at random from the shelf.  Then went straight back to watching the computer game. 

Mister Two came over with another 3 DVD's.  "No darling, you have enough DVD's.  Lets leave those and we can borrow them another time."  I herded him back to the shelf to put them away.  Then he took off in an anti-clockwise lap.  
"Do you want to come with me while Mummy finds a book?"  
"No," He finished his lap at the computer.  I delegated Miss Seven to keep an eye on him while I headed over to the Grown-Up Fiction section.  As I glanced back around the corner, I spotted Mister Two heading back to the DVD shelf.  
I glanced at the clock.  "Five more minutes then time to go home"
"Awww, but Mum, I've only just started my turn."
" I want a turn too"
"Okay, five minutes turn each then"

I scooped up Mister Two and took the surplus DVD's back to the shelf.  I juggled him on my hip while I went back to the Grown-Up books.  He wriggled back to the floor as I selected a book, and started to aim for the main door.  I dropped the book I'd chosen onto a nearby chair and ran as the automatic door slid open for Mister Two's approach.  I grabbed the boy into a football hold, picked up my book, then went back to the stroller to collect the bag with the children's selections.  On the way past the computer I got the girls to swap turns for the second five minutes.  At the issues desk, Mister Two was happily distracted playing with the stamps. He then got firmly strapped into the stroller for the escape.

When we got home there was only one thing anyone wanted to do.

I think we've all been a bit library deprived.  I don't really know why - it's not like we have any shortage of our own books.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Matariki - Winter Solstice

In previous year's we've had a solstice celebration involving a cosy fire, takeaways and watching videos.  With the log burner out of action this year, I was struggling to find a way to make this year's solstice special.  After reading Liturgy's post I got inspired.

     After the darkest night comes morning
     After the coldest winter comes spring
     After hurting comes healing
     After brokenness comes restoration

I've written the details of our evening on the "family" blog here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Home is where the heart is

The T-shirt says it all.
I've been seeing lots of comments on Facebook and Twitter from Out-of-Towners about why stay in Christchurch, and how could you stand watching your kids go all through that stress?  And how on earth can you cope with all of this?  A few days ago I wrote about how I'm coping, and this post will attempt to answer why I'm staying.  (I can only write about my own experiences, and I'm aware that there are many many people a lot worse off than we are, and will feel differently in different circumstances.)

This is my home.  I was born in Christchurch, and spent my childhood here.  This time-lapse video made me feel homesick the first time I saw it, so many of my favourite places in this video are now broken.

These photos are just a handful of what I took over Spring and Summer, between the September and February quakes.  

Spring 2010
Anita from Dreaming Beneath the Spires inspired me when she wrote:
"I have a longing now for rootedness. To stay in a place for a long time. To know its seasons. Its plants and trees and flowers and wildlife. Its history. The same people over a period of years. To settle down."

This city is where I experience rootedness, stabilty, belonging. This is my community.  

At this time my community, my city needs me.  And I need it.  In any other city or town I would feel displaced, a refugee, and not quite belonging.

Botanic Gardens, Feb 2011 Before Quake

Kowhai - Spring 2010. 

Christchurch has some huge challenges ahead as it rebuilds, and it needs people committed to being part of that rebuild.  I've been participating in the community consultation run by the council to put together a plan for the City Centre.  Mayor Bob Parker said at the Memorial Service that we find meaning in what has happened by finding inspiration for moving forward and rebuilding.  It helps to feel that I'm part of something positive, something that brings hope.  

Botanic Gardens, Feb 2011 Before Quake
Peacock Fountain, Botanic Gardens

Hope.  I want to be part of creating a stronger, better city.  I want to be part of a city that keeps its focus on community.  We've learned about how community makes us strong.  Everyone knows their neighbours, and actually does look out for each other.  Strangers look after each other.  The shared experiences of everyone in this city has created a bond between us.  We've just had the Winter Solstice.  In the darkest night of the year is the hope that sunlight and warmth will eventually return.  In the middle of the coldest winter, is the hope of spring.

Faith.  When I felt completely broken it was faith that sustained me.  Not just faith in God, but also faith in this city.  Faith in its people, its communities.  We have a strong spirit, and will work together. We can do this.

Love.    Prince William told us that grief is the price we pay for love.  I love and I grieve, and because I love I will be part of rebuilding and restoring.  Not only my love for this city.  My love for its people.  My love for this community.  Love is what ties everything together.  Love is what makes this my home.

There are some people I know that aren't coping, and have left the city.  Some plan to return once the aftershocks start to settle down, others won't be back.  Each family has different circumstances, and different coping resources.  

But as for me, and my family, this is our home.  This is where we will stay.  We will come through this.  And we will restore and rebuild a better, more beautiful city than before.  And I will be a part of that.

Having a go at a linky thing with Tartankiwi.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Poo flinging monkeys

I've been seeing lots of comments on Facebook and Twitter from Out-of-Towners about why stay in Christchurch, and how could you stand watching your kids go all through that stress? And how on earth can you cope with all of this? This post will attempt to answer how I'm coping, and in a few day's I'll write about why I'm staying. I can only write about my own experiences, and I'm aware that there are many many people a lot worse off than we are.

And the poo flinging monkeys? You can thank Nigel Latta for that one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The picture the earth drew

I found this page for a basic home-made seismograph:
Muck Monsters: Science Sunday:Homemade seismograph

Here's how ours turned out:

I installed it on a bookshelf near the floor in my room.  This morning I looked at the paper, and started to get excited when there were patterns on the page.  Then Hubby told me Mister Two had been playing with it.  I put a fresh sheet of paper down.

Then tonight when I was working on my housekeeping accounts I suddenly found myself diving under the desk (again) as the house shook around me.  When my hands stopped shaking and my heart stopped pounding and I finished posting expletives on facebook, I went to check the trace.

It came out smaller than I expected.  It's been quite tricky to get enough pressure on the pencil so the pendulum will swing freely but still leave a line on the paper.  But still, here's a work of art by the earth.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Meet The Muntstones

A sense of humour is essential around here these days. This made me laugh.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another shaky day

I was woken up the first time by Mister Two.  The clock said 5:55am, so I let him have a cuddle until the radio came on.
He was starting to squirm.  "Elmo?"
"Okay, you can go and watch Elmo."  I turned on Sesame Street, tucked him on the sofa with a blanket, then trundled back to bed.
I was woken the second time by my cellphone alarm. 6:30am.  I reached over and turned it off, then snuggled back under the duvet.
I was woken the third time by the windows rattling in their frames.  I didn't stop to look at the clock.  The sofa where I had left Mister Two is beneath a bookcase.  The bookcase itself is secured, but the books might shake off it.  I ran quickly into the lounge - Boy was running towards me. "Wobble!"  We had a cuddle back on the sofa after the shaking stopped, then I tucked the blanket back around him.  I glanced at the clock on the way to the shower.  6:37am.

I was at my desk at work.  For some reason the internet was running very slowly.  The page I was trying to log onto was still loading ... the desk started wobbling, then the house started rocking.  My workmate shrieked and scrambled under her desk.  I probably should duck under cover too then.  My heart was pounding in my chest as I crouched under my desk.  I checked the time on my cellphone: 2:40pm.  I found it hard to concentrate.  A quick text to let Hubby know I was okay.  His reply - he hadn't felt it.  I appreciated the afternoon coffee an hour later.

I was shuffling my way through some files.  The boss was on the phone to a client, chatting about the earlier shake.  The house started rocking again.  "Hang on" the Boss said, "Here's another one coming through".  I stayed in my seat, bracing my hands against the desk.  I glanced at the computer clock: 4:20pm  This time Hubby text me to let me know he definitely felt that one.  "There's some monkey poo flying around here".  It took more than a minute to stop shaking.  It took even longer for me to stop feeling shaky.

Just another day in the "new normal".

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Aftershocks

GeoNet – Jun 13 2011 - Large earthquakes strike south-east of Christchurch

You'd think we'd be getting used to this, but we're not.

Powerful earthquakes rock Christchurch

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Too much to ask?

The tall, dark stranger with the smouldering gaze, locks eyes across the crowded room…

DSC00369-1 “’Ummy.” A two year old boy starts climbing into the bed next to me.

I open one eyelid. 12:57am. Sigh. “Okay darling, just 10 minutes cuddle then back to your own bed.” I shuffle across and wrap my arms around the small body. He quickly snuggles in and lies still. I shut my eyes. I look around the room, trying to catch a glimpse of the stranger…

Small knees wriggle, digging into me. I open my eyes again. 1:33am.”Come on, Sweetheart, time to go back into your own bed.”

I gather up the warm heavy child, and stumble my way down the hallway, then tuck him back into his bed. During my absence the blankets on my bed have shifted towards the other side of the bed. I tug them part of the way back, and roll over towards the unmoving, deeply breathing husband. I shut my eyes, but the mansion and the ballroom have vanished completely. It’s a moonlit night…

A weight climbs onto the bed next to my back, and starts wriggling under the covers. I turn to check the clock. 1:55am.

“No, it’s time to sleep in your own bed.” I’m trying desperately to be firm. I scoop up the child, tuck him back into his bed, and then head back to my room. Before my eyes are closed I hear the pit pat pit pat at the door. 2:12am. I groan, and drag myself back out of bed before he has a chance to climb into it. “Back to your own bed.”

I tuck him in, then head back to my room. Before I even reach my bed the boy is standing in the doorway. “’Ummy bed.”

My eyelids are aching to be closed. “Tell you what, you sleep in my bed, I’ll go and sleep in your bed”. Maybe if he does follow me back to his room, I can cuddle him to sleep in his own bed then sneak back to my own once he’s asleep. Boy nods, then climbs into my bed next to his Daddy.

In Boy’s bedroom, I snuggle under his covers. The mattress has a different feel, the pillow is softer and thinner. I’m not used to having a wall next to me. Within minutes of my eyes closing, I can feel the heaviness of sleep drift over body.

The handsome prince gazes deep within my eyes, and draws me into his embrace… the radio alarm intrudes into my consciousness, heralding the start of the day.