Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A Bone to Let Go of

Yahoo and Yippity-Yop Yop!!! Ben  and Kristen arrived home accompanied by Nina and Gabriel, a delightful couple from Germany and France respectively, who wished to be with a real kiwi family for their first 'Down-Under' Christmas.

Cossack, in his preparation of a kiwi feast, was unwise enough to toss a huge ham-bone to Pinnie and then attempt to remove it from her two minutes later as there was way too much meat left on it and over-indulgence was a distinct possibility.

Pinnie was understandably enraged when Coss suddenly snatched the bone and pulled it up and away, the only problem being that our dog was still attached to it. Fueled by fury, her teeth had clenched around that bone something frightening to behold.

Cossack found himself twirling our rotund dog round and round through the sky like an insane fang-baring ferris-wheel until the law of gravity dictated that either my spouse wreck his arm or Pinnie's weight fail to keep her air-borne. The latter happened, Pinnie plonked to earth and Coss fled into the kitchen, grateful to be alive.

On Christmas Eve Ben and I went shopping for enough food to fill the bellies of whanau and friends next day. When we both craved caffeine my son insisted we go get our fix at the very cafe from which I had walked out as a disgruntled employee ten months ago.

I said, "No way" and Ben said, "Yes" and I said, "No way" and Ben said, "Yes" and I said, "No, Ben" and he said, "Yes, Mum, you and I will be two customers drinking coffee, simple as that".

So we did because he was right. I took a deep breath, let go of my bone of contention and pleasantly ordered two coffees with the casual banter of a customer who might have been in just yesterday. My ex-boss was polite and nice enough if perhaps a bit mystified as to whether or not I was an optical delusion.

Now, while I feel no need to repeat the exercise, a warm fuzzy goodbye-to-awkward sensation percolated inside me, a brew even better than any double-shot trim Flat White, thank you very much.

Our European guests made us smile with their version of sight-seeing. Cossack and I had suggested some things to do in nearby Rotorua which of course included the mandatory geysers, mudpools, a Maori Concert, strolling through the redwood grove and driving out to the surrounding lakes if time allowed.

But what did our unorthodox tourists do instead?  They found a natural very-hot-pool somewhere out of town and relaxed in it for hours while contemplating life in general and an insect in particular. Apparently they had never before encountered Monsieur Stick-Insect and they captured this intriguing master of camouflage in photo after photo after photo and even a video.

Gabriel and Nina, you are welcome back in our home anytime because we like your sense of fun and enthusiasm.

OK, the only New Year resolutions I made for 2012 were:

1) Just like Pinnie and her ham-bone, let go of your bone of contention, however reluctantly, lest it make you sick.

2) Walk more. Talk less. Think hard.

3) Find interesting things in the ho-hum of your daily life to wonder at - a piece of driftwood that resembles a coat-hanger maybe or a news item about a Swedish woman who finds her lost wedding ring after 16 years when she pulls a carrot from her vegetable garden and there was the ring encircling it, how amazing is that? Or it could even be a stick insect.
Aroha from Bern-the-Bone

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Rabbit and a Scamper

Several days ago I found an old dead apple-tree. It was laying on its side, its limbs as sprawled and contorted as those of a drunk in a gutter. I sawed off a big branch and lugged it home for our Christmas tree. Once decorated with numerous shiny silver balls I thought it looked intensely fabulous.

To complete the Christmas feel I lit lots of candles and put a CD on. "Silent Night" wafted sweetly through our living-room.

I noticed a fat rabbit nibbling in a grassy corner of our front-yard and knew that Cossack would blast the silent out of night if he spotted it too.

Normally I approve of pest eradication, but because Cossack had unkindly declared my decorated apple-tree "a bit crappy", I ran to the window and banged wildly on it.

"Run Rabbit Run! "

The rabbit scampered at the noise and that is how I saved its life from Cossack's bullet.

Just as I was debating back and forth in my own head as to whether I had done the right thing, because wouldn't a rabbit-casserole have been delicious, the phone rang.

A foreign voice with a very poor command of the English language informed me that there may be a problem with my computer but he, an expert from a local computer company, would help me out if I would just go sit in front of my screen and do as he asked.

Many of my friends had received calls like this so I thought I would just string this technological wizard along and waste as much of his time as possible.

He got me pressing this and putting the mouse on that and finally, when I was confronted by a whole list of system log-file entries, he asked me,

"Lady, you maybe see yellow triangles with exclamation marks?"

"Yes!", I wailed into the phone, "I see lots of them!"

"And, Lady, you see words that say, 'Warning'?"

"I do. Oh no! Is my computer dying?", I groaned.

"Oh, heavens above heaven!" he cried. "Yes, it is, but I am here for ignorant lady like you".

"Don't you 'ignorant lady' me!", I yelled into the phone. "Where are you? In a Nigerian internet cafe, I bet! Want my password do you? Here it is nice and slow and loud. Listen carefully, my password is B. A. S. T. A. R. D!"

Mr Scam-the-Gullible had hung up at some point during my tirade but I was on a roll.

"Did you get that? I'll repeat it. B. A. S. T. A......!"

"Joy to the World" suddenly burst forth out in the living-room. In the twinkle of a star I surrendered my bad thoughts of far-flung Lagos and also hung up.

After all, we have Christ in our Christmas and family and friends without whom life would be a dead tree with no ornaments, pretty wrapping-paper with no gift, a banquet with no taste.

May your Christmas be beautiful too and 2012 bring you closer to what is important to you.

Love from Bern-the-Candles

Monday, 5 December 2011

Marriage In-Capsulated

Once in a blue moon, your spouse can stun you with an idea so beautiful, it brings a tear to the eye. On the other hand, the tear I shed today could have been caused by the irritation of  dust from the dead kiwifruit flowers.

You see, it's time for male-pruning, a hot and strenuous task for a 'wahine' like me, whose biceps resemble thin air, mainly because they ARE thin air.

With huge loppers, I  hack off lots of male bits and tug at them until they fall to the ground in a huge pile which later gets mulched. It is quite a battle, believe me, because the vines are long and tangled. One has to be quite forceful.

Imagine my afternoon. It was horribly humid after rain this morning. My right arm was almost dead from so much loppering and, about spitting distance from me, a little fox-terrier decides to bark continuously in a very high pitch at a bird's nest it sees up in the vines.  It jumps like a crazed pogo-stick in an unsuccessful attempt to reach the nest - up down up down up down - with that high pitch carrying on and on and on until I was ready to pick that animal up and hurl it into the next orchard.

Just then that insane dog's owner appeared out of nowhere and I had the presence of mind to smile and gush, "Oh, Hi there! Isn't your dog just so hilarious?!  She sure can bounce! How old is she?"

 I seem to have digressed considerably. Here is, what I thought was, a perfect example of a spouse with a beautiful idea.

This evening I saw a big colourful advertisement in an open magazine and Cossack's credit-card nearby. I admit it was hard to get excited at first but the more I thought about a "Noah- Capsule", the better it sounded.


My husband was about to order this flotation capsule made of enhanced fibre-glass that you clammer into should a tsunami threaten to sweep you and your loved ones away.  I couldn't believe that such a romantic gesture had occurred to someone like Cossack.

And, even better, when there was no emergency to float off into, I would have my own personal Blog-Office. Coss would have to knock before entering unless delivering coffee or chocolate.

As you can see, the Noah-Capsule is very cute. It is bright yellow and has a window and breathing holes, which I am quite relieved about. Just imagine Coss and me, all snug, blissfully bobbing up and down in a surging sea. ...day after day after day....until we are ready to throttle each other....so please please please tell me that speck I see out there IS a seagull with a kowhai branch in its beak? ...".

"Coss, if there was a big flood, who would you rescue if you had say, a "Noah-Capsule?", I asked him, sidling up to him and fluttering my eyelashes.

"Um, let me think, Bern. If I ever bought anything so daft, my order of rescue would be, my mother-in-law first, then Pinnie and a dog-roll. If there's enough room after them, um....a crate of cider, oh, and my passport..... and ..."

"What about me, Coss?"

"My little Moon-Beam, if you are in grasping reach, of course I'd save you",  and he practised some grasping there and then.