Posted by: nativeiowan | December 27, 2009

2009 draws to a close

2009 draws to a close. Where are we? What have we accomplished over the past 12 months? What can we brag about or be real, real proud about?

Sustained and measurable progress is important. All people need to know they/ we, are moving forward. A year’s end should not just be another turning of the calendar’s pages. It should be an inventory of goals achieved, tasks left undone and new directions or paths we wish or need to pursue.

Such is apparently primordial of nature: Hibernation, rebirth, rebuilding, procreation, preparation, and hibernation… Is it just a repetitive cycle of glorious improbables and repetitive variables?

For me the year-end means another year of growth and maturity for my family, my businesses and myself.  It’s all about “the fiscal year”. I close my books. Measure my performance. Deal with the audit. With the Auditors.

When you are doing better than well you welcome the annual audit.

From a personal point of view each year means one less I have in the overall scheme of things. My sense of mortality is apparent, it must be an age thing… where it all moves too fast? Where you notice the time passing more, as you grow older.

From a family point of view it’s all about the kids. The kids rooooolllz… I’m into enjoying the kids… watching them grow. Welcoming them to life.

Got a new one this year… born under the sign of the Lion, I predict a stubborn and arrogant achiever here. Augustus…  a definite keeper.

From a business point of view it’s a mixed bag… Survived another year, made a profit, had fun. But what about the future?

I watch the Solomon Islands continue to fail to “get the point”. It is heart breaking. The country is failing. The leaders are preaching anti corruption and filling their pockets. The aid agencies dump more money into the place and the leaders steal more. Basic services continue to get worse. (how much more can we see the services fail before we have absolutely nothing?) It is not a pretty scene.

From the Chinatown riots of 2006:

Mind you, this is still a glorious land. But it is a time bomb. A population problem with no visible solution. A lack of leadership so keen a soccer match results in riots.

But I smile, change my posture to a relaxed slouch and think about the “bad times”…

The shootout at the Gizo hotel.

The guns on the street.

The weird and wonderful days of “revolution” in the air.  The days of knives on the belt. Being armed in public.

I still dig the idea that the kid with the SLR holds the old dawg with the neat throwing knife in awe…

Yea, romantic fantasies of a violent nature.  No amount of romance or fantasy can make us wish for those days, again.

Cmas, for me… it’ s a house cleaning. A soul sweeping. A habit kicking. A wallowing, desperate endeavor. Take stock. Inventory. Assess. The physical act of rearranging your surroundings directly correlates to the mental and emotional dusting taking place at the same time.

The kicking of the nicotine addiction. A reevaluation of priorities. A 5-year plan with a well thought-out exit strategy.

Both concrete and abstract.

It all comes together with a dirty rag in one hand and a bottle of bleach in the other… our old Honiara house has served us well. But its concrete fastness is prone to mould, mildew, ants, cockroaches, rats and other uninvited nuisances. So I scrub and bleach the corners. Lay down deadly layers of long lasting poisons. Drop baits in the hard to get-to places. Tighten a plumbing fitting.

It is all very therapeutic.

The clan is all elsewhere…

Connie had midterm exams on the 25th. She reckons it’s the worse Cmas ever. I remind her though that she gets a real Chinese New Year.  She tells me she is getting an apartment so I am assuming she is settling into life in Taipei. She is talking of a weekend shopping trip to Hong Kong, soon. Hard working gal, eh?

Don and Paul are up bumping around North New Georgia. They are doing some work organizing the fuel biz on Rovana. Lucky sods… they get my new 50hp 4-stroke Yamaha. They get Rovana to themselves. Man. Lucky kids.

Don is preparing for another year in Uni at Hamilton, NZ. He’s got a few more years to get his accounting qualification.

Paul has just finished his schooling to be a chef. We’re discussing his options, now, and are scheming to open an up-market eatery/ pub. I’ve taken an option on the top floor of a new building in town. May have something in place and functioning by the end of 20-10.

Grace has chose to sit in Gizo. Terry, Val and baby Augustus are there. I am sure Gracie has the baby with her right now.

Grace is also hanging around waiting for Mendozza. He flew up to the Shortlands with his mother for Cmas. They’ll be back in Gizo soon so I am sure Grace won’t budge, either back here or to Rovana, until she has her kid with her.

Did not see Annie and Tony this weekend. Half expected them to come by and dump the kids on me/ in the pool. Next weekend I should get Angelopoulos to come stay with me. He’s big enough (7 now) to be useful.

Qalo, Viola and their boys, with Ozzie and Bridget and their boys are all up on Choiseul.

If you recall… we had a big family Cmas last year. I got it in my head (after Terry and Val’s wedding) that everyone would come have a long Cmas/ nyear with me here in town.

It was a fun filled mess that required more time to cleanup after, than to prepare…

It was fun but it will be a while before I do that again. I kinda like my quiet. Being alone is good for me. People often get in the way when you’re dusting and cleaning in the hard to reach places…

I have a lot to do. Too much to even list. But I do it slowly. Cmas day I puttered all day. I sorted all those old photos from the Gizo earthquake. I sorted all the new photos we’ve taken but never managed. These were all piled up above the closet. Collecting dust. Falling apart. I have a bunch of remedial work to do. Save the old photos from the mould. Keep the new ones protected and sealed.

It’s a sad story, these pictures… For those who knew Gizo before the 07 earth quake you will recall the lifetime of pictures we had hung on the wall there.  Friends and family. In-laws and outlaws.

Still a ways to go. The “important” photos are up…  My granny with four great granddaughters. My parent’s wedding photo. Connie with Gracie’s father. The four generation shot we traveled to the states for. A ways to go but the new “rogues gallery” looks pretty good.

Don’t have my big camera here… One of my other projects is to properly catalogue my collection of old artifacts. Over the years the collection has grown impressively. There are a number of museum quality pieces that need some TLC and a proper measuring and recording.

Below is a very unusual “skull house” with one of the bone fide, old “ngusu ngusus”. And the prow from an old tomoko.

All are the real thing. Old, half rotten and quite fragile. All require a lot of work to ensure they don’t continue deteriorating.

The aim is to create another page on this blog with the pictures and info on the pieces. I have about 200 pieces all packed up and ready to come up to the house but the elevator in our building is not working. I don’t want to damage anything by manhandling it all down 4 stories of steps so, once the elevator is working again I’ll kick this project off.

I woke today not sure what day it was. All this time off is hard on me. I loose track of time. After another short work week and another long weekend I will be well and truly discombobulated.

#1 Housekeeper, Nancy, has come to work everyday. Grace must have said to ensure I was fed and watered… Nancy comes in, tidies up and leaves a loaf of fresh bread baking. A jug of fresh juice and a bowl of fresh fruit in the refrig. She left a nice salad yesterday. Wonder what she concocted today. I may go have a look. I can smell the bread coming close to done.

So, to one and all, to the friends and the family, to the in-laws and the outlaws… It’s been a great ride, both up and down hill, all the same.

Wishing you all following seas and fair winds…

All the best in 20-10.


More later


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