Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bits of me....

Two paletts for firewood transported on our wee trolley.
The trolley I now enjoy.
Pickled Walnuts on cheese - lovely! 
Hours of listening pleasure in such a small box!
Employee - employer.
I recall a firefighter who was an ardent and active union member. A very articulate forceful man who stood up for the rights of employees. He left the fire service and ran a business with employees. Once I bumped into him in the street and asked how things were going. He responded, "I know I was a Union rep, but I can tell you its bloody hard on the other side of the fence - as an employer!"  Recently the workplace chaplains had a professional training day. We had people in talking about employee rights and what constitutes workplace bullying. I sat in the back row alongside a man who is also a minister. I am a retired Associated Churches of Christ minister (Christian Church of New Zealand)  and he is an active Baptist minister. We are in a similar place theologically. As the person up front talked about employee rights we often looked at each other and whispered something like, "How does that apply to a Church?" When we got to "Workplace bullying" at one point we laughed together. The "rights" and the "bullying" had in both of our experiences of ministry been contravened by Church leaders at various times. A court decision in NZ once stated that ministers were not in an employer -employee relationship with their church, because they worked for "God".  But being an employee can be tough.
It was an informative seminar and outlined the sorts of things employers cannot say, or cannot do.
As Chairman of the Night Shelter Trust I am an employer now, and I find it tough going. I am having to worry about employee/employer relationships. I am having to do some tough talking. I am having to think about what I can and cannot say and do as an employer. I have to make decisions about what is fair. I am finding that being an employer can be a tough job. Wish me luck.
Beautiful fresh vegetables.
We are enjoying fresh vegetables from our garden. I cooked tonight's meal. We had seven vegetables (six straight out of our garden) and it was delicious. There was no salt, no spices just the very original taste of vegetables. Even plain old potatoes taste great fresh. Nothing beats the taste of fresh carrots. Supermarket veges taste like pale imitations compared to these. I am so thankful for our successful vege garden this year and we will be eating from it perhaps throughout the year. I relish the taste. Even I can make a tasty meal. 
Afternoon snack
For my afternoon tea this afternoon I had a slice of bread, a slice of cheese topped off with two pickled walnuts. Over the last few weeks I have found that I enjoy pickled walnuts, but they are special because my friend Don used to pickle walnuts. One of his friends made a big batch of them for the gathering when we buried his ashes a week or two ago. I have a jar full so I toast Don with each bite.
"You are probably like me - we never asked for help."
I had coffee with a man this morning who had recently experienced and really appreciated his first experience of counselling. He said to me, "You are probably like me, right from childhood you never asked for help."  At first internally I reacted to him assuming that I am like him but on reflection I had to admit he was right. I very seldom ask for help. Apart from monthly supervision sessions I have never been to a counsellor.  I tend to bottle things up and stew on them myself. The result is that I have put up with all sorts of stresses, nightmares and many sleepless nights because of this independent streak in my personality. I guess the leopard will not change his spots much at this time of my life. I do enlist help with practical things from time to time and I am learning to delegate more. Life is a journey and change is possible.  I have been fortunate that I have my wife and one or two friends who support me or at least stand by and cope with me. 
Help with heavy loads
These days I am purposely putting a stop to my tendency to buy tools. I have enough tools now and at my age need to be cutting down on "things" in general. But my wife encouraged me to spend money at the hardware store.  I think she got sick of me saying, "Grab the other end of this." and then both of us struggling with heavy loads. She took me around hardware stores to look for a flat four wheeled trolly which we purchased, even though I was skeptical.  Now, however, I need to admit that already that investment has been worth it. I am used to grabbing heavy things and lugging them around without a worry. As I get older that seems more difficult and my recent sore arm increases that difficulty. The little trolly is a great help and already it has become something I reach for on a regular basis. I find even if I can lift something, it is so much easier with this gadget. I recommend it to others, especially for older people. 
Amazed still at the technology!
Years ago my daughter bought me an ipod. I put music on it but have not used it often. The idea was that I could use it running, but the ear pieces fell out often and somehow I liked the silence. When I walk in the bush I love to hear the "bush" - birdsong, wind etc. But lately I have been walking daily around a suburban route and I find it an amazing distraction from traffic noise. It is old technology, but I am still amazed at how this little box can give me hours of listening pleasure. I grew up with records, 45's and LP's.  Then cassette tapes came in and people could have "Walkmans". But this little gadget amazes me. I am enjoying walking to the beat of my sixties hits or country music. 

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