Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions? Not this year…

It’s December 31 and I’ve been thinking about a resolution for the new year. I read this quote somewhere earlier this year and it’s stuck with me so I’ve decided that my one and only new commitment to myself for the coming year is to try and live by the following mantra.


Life is not a journey to the grave with the goal of arriving safely in a prettily preserved body, but rather, to skid in sideways in a shower of gravel - thoroughly used, utterly exhausted and loudly proclaiming 'Fuck me, that was BRILLIANT!'

Author unknownmargarita

Saturday, December 26, 2009

‘twas the day after Christmas

What are you up to on Boxing Day?

I can’t help but wonder how many of you are passing the day today in the same way that am; nursing a hangover of yesterday’s excess of extended family or food or alcohol or, as in my case, all of the above.

Boxing Day in New Zealand is a public holiday so excepting those poor souls in the business of retail, the rest of us get to lay about and try to shelter from the heat. We can eat leftovers all day and maybe venture out late afternoon for a walk or a dip in the ocean.

Does everyone even call today Boxing Day? I understand it’s called that because historically in England today was the day the ‘poor boxes’ were opened and the proceeds distributed to the needy, but, as per my usual disclaimer, I could of course have this wrong.

Anyway my point is that I reckon that Boxing Day is the poor cousin of Christmas Day. It’s the recovery day. It’s sad really; it’s the plain younger sister; it’s the day that’s doomed forever to be the day after the day before.

Today I’ve decided that this must change.

I for one am standing up and declaring my newly recognised regard for Boxing Day. It’s a day that doesn’t expect too much from us; it costs nothing to celebrate; there’s no fuss, no god bothering; no stupid hats; no over-rich food; no decorating requirements and it has way better movies on TV than Christmas Day does. Boxing Day is absolutely everything I want in a holiday and I regret taking it for granted in past years. Who’s with me?

Boxing Day

Enjoy your Boxing Day everyone, relax and catch your breath after the madness that is Christmas. 

I’m off now to take the dog for a walk at the beach; I may even have a swim.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas eve and all is well

I’m sitting on my little patio sipping a delicious pomegranate cocktail and munching on fresh cherries while waiting for some friends to arrive for Christmas eve drinks (and a barbecue later). 

It’s a clear blue sky day and it’s getting a bit warmer as the afternoon progresses. Even though it doesn’t get horribly hot in NZ, we do have very thin ozone which equals a killer sun. This reminds me I better go slap on some sunscreen and get the sun umbrella out before I start to grow a melanoma glow.

Have a merry Christmas all.  Stay safe and enjoy your loved ones if you’re lucky enough to be spending time with them this season. Stay warm if it’s cold where you are and stay cool if it’s warm.

I’ll catch all of my lovely bloggy friends after Christmas and remember; you can’t make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.


Westhaven_Marina_Auckland_New_ZealandI dropped Rory off here to Westhaven Marina earlier today where his dad’s boat is moored so they can go sailing for the day.  The sea breeze was lovely and I almost wished I could tag along.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mellow sounds

Dub? Reggae? Soul? I have no idea what to call it but I like it. To me Fat Freddy is the sound of the kiwi summer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

As It Is in Heaven

No spoilers.

I just finished watching the brilliant 2004 Swedish (subtitled) film As It Is in Heaven. It’s directed by Kay Pollak and stars Michael Nyqvist and Frida Hallgren. I first saw the film not long after it was released in 2004 – it was a huge hit here in NZ and ran for 52 weeks.


The story centres around Daniel Daréus (played by Nyqvist) who is a renowned international conductor whose life aspiration is to create music that will open people's hearts. Ill health forces him to retire to the home of his early childhood in the far north of Sweden, to the village where he endured a terrible childhood of bullying. There he reluctantly agrees to help with the church choir.

This is a beautiful film and I highly recommend it. Sometimes, inspiration is where you least expect to find it…

Don’t panic

This situation has to be close to one of my most worst nightmares; trapped inside a train, inside a tunnel, all night, UNDER the freezing English channel. See for the full story.

Yesterday nearly 2000 travellers were stranded for up to 15 hours after four Eurostar trains broke down between France and England. Many suffered panic attacks or fainted as they waited for help.

Eurostar management said the problem was caused by the contrast between extremely cold temperatures on the railways and a comparatively warm tunnel. A Eurostar train. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

This situation just couldn’t arise here in New Zealand. For a start there’s nowhere to get to via tunnel; Australia is more than 2,200 kilometres away and secondly; even if there was another country close, all our trains are so old and crappy that no-one in their right mind would actually try and travel that far.Train Writing

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Missing the point

A local progressive Anglican church here in Auckland posts a billboard each Christmas to provoke debate about modern Christianity.

This years billboard, as below, was designed to make the point that many Christians and church leaders do not believe in the literal virgin birth, and didn't believe that was the true meaning of Christmas. They’re critiquing the outmoded idea of a male god impregnating Mary and the literalism of the virgin birth.Since the billboard went up a few days back, the more traditionalist god squad around the city have repeatedly painted over it and now an ‘elderly lady’ has apparently been so incensed that she’s slashed it with a carving knife. Archdeacon Cardy of ‘St Matthews in the City’ has now accepted defeat and has removed the billboard as he was worried someone was going to get hurt.

It’s distressing that increasingly some things can’t be openly debated with clear heads.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday flowers


Bougainvillea climbers are in full bloom right now and fences and walls around my town are beautifully adorned with a stunning shock of scarlet. Bougainvillea is a native of South America and the brightly coloured ‘flowers’ are actually papery bracts which surround the tiny white flowers of the plant. This one is climbing up the side of my neighbours house but this photo doesn’t do it justice – it’s the most fantastic colour you can imagine.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another decade down

I know that purists will say that the decade isn’t over until the end of 2010 but it’s my blog and I say now’s the right time for a review of the first decade of the 21st century.

Here are some of the highlights according to Louise.


2000: I started the year in between jobs but with definite prospects so no real concerns. I had a 7 year old son, no man (some things never change) and I had my eye on a house that I coveted for my very first ownership experience.  At one stage that year Rory got airlifted off his dad’s yacht after getting hit in the head by the boom – scary stuff, he didn’t know anyone for hours afterwards. The year ended with me and Rory settled into the new house, a promotion at work, a boyfriend of sorts and a brand new nephew. A perplexing choice (in my opinion) was made made by the American electorate but it was a very good year all in all.

2001: My best friend moved to Australia and the boyfriend became an ex. Horrible happenings in the US. The only bright side was that a lovely puppy, later named Bonnie, was born and adopted by yours truly. I quit smoking that year and lasted 8 months before falling off the wagon. Rory racked up over 40,000 kilometres in flights between Auckland and his dad’s place in Perth, Western Australia. I went nowhere.

2002: Met another cheating jerk. Swore off men forever.

2003: Menopause. At 37 years old. Rory turned 10 and to celebrate his dad took him to Africa to explore for 3 months. I cried myself to sleep every night from missing him though the grief did great things for my career as I worked 15 hours a day and earned another promotion. The US declared war on Iraq – I remember something about WMD? My older sister was very ill but thankfully recovered fully. I got away briefly at the end of the year to spend time (and money) with my friend in Victoria, Australia.

2004: Got to Thailand again this year – one of my very fave places to escape the kiwi winter. Also got in another visit to Victoria. Another nephew born – that made four but still no nieces. Everything else was bad that year - horrible happenings, this time in Spain and atrocities continued in Darfur. And then that catastrophic tsunami on Boxing Day to finish the year.

2005: Finally quit chewing my nails to mark my 40th birthday. Katrina struck. It was 10 years since we lost my sister so we had a party to remember her by. Rory spent Christmas snowboarding in Japan with his dad – it was my first Christmas without him and it was hard.

2006: Rory started high school. Saddam Hussein was hanged and Steve Irwin got stabbed by a stingray. Crikey.

2007: Sinn Fein and the DUP hammered out an agreement for a power-sharing government in northern Ireland. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Rory’s dad moved back to NZ and for the first time ever we did the every second weekend part time dad thing – I started to remember what a real social life was like. I drank too much.

2008: Quit smoking again (18 months now and still going strong). Got addicted to Facebook. The Kiwis won the Rugby League World Cup and the hottest tennis player ever, Rafael Nadal, is ranked #1. Somali entrepreneurs found their niche in the piracy business. I met a man with real potential until the day he slammed Rory against a wall for looking at him sideways. Got a couple of long weekends away in Australia. Started new role managing projects at work and commuting to Wellington city twice a week.  Rory had a tumour removed from inside his jaw – it was benign. I spent most of the year exhausted. Bought new house and moved in just before Christmas. Whew, what  a year!

2009: Started the year with a new pastime – blogging. Met lots of wonderful new friends. There were terrible bushfires in Victoria so I went to console my friend. Witnessed a terrible car accident. Started reading about Tao Buddhism. Centre-right government elected in NZ for the first time in many years. I bought a lovely new car. A never ending cycle of study. Rory turned 16 and attended his first school ball, my mum and dad both turned 70, dad retired finally and my youngest nephew started school – still no nieces, have given up on that ever happening now. 

Rory and Sean






…and here we are nearly at the very end of 2009. That was my decade in brief; how about sharing yours?



Happy Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I just can’t seem to summon any enthusiasm at all about Christmas this year. It’s the 12th today and not one decoration is up; no tree, no window dressings, no wreath on the door. Thankfully I have at least done my Christmas shopping.

My health problems are getting me down and to add to the general misery work is so freakin’ busy and I now need to be away on Monday and Tuesday  again but I have this huge presentation to deliver on Thursday as part of my study and I haven’t even finished it yet – eeeeeeeeeeeek!!

I’m barely keeping panic at bay.

I wasted a whole day off work yesterday when I should have been working on my presentation. We had our Christmas work function on Thursday night and I drank far too many margaritas and consequently had a very sore head. I didn’t do anything except sleep and feel sorry for myself all day yesterday. The work do was great though; dinner and drag cabaret – heaps of fun.


It’s my sister-in-laws 40th birthday party tonight but there’ll be no drinking for me so I’m dedicating Sunday (tomorrow) to be a study day. A good productive day should help me feel a bit more in control.

Sorry for being a whiney Grinch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quick check in

Been zipping around the country for work in the last couple of days (Palmerston North, Christchurch) so have barely had a minute to call my own. Once or twice I managed to log on with hotel internet for a few minutes but then I’m so tired I practically fall asleep on the keyboard.  Heading home to Auckland tomorrow. 

Until then here’s another great Venn diagram by Jessica Hagy. Check out more at


Monday, December 7, 2009

Aww shucks Kyle

It’s award time again folks and I’m delighted and flattered to accept this award bestowed on me by Kyle from Out Left.


Kyle is a creative type who lives and works in stunning New Hampshire with his partner Stan. He and Stan are passionate about their 19th century home and beautiful gardens of which we occasionally get to see photos. Kyle is also a movie buff and provides great reviews for those of us who need a bit of guidance. 



Apparently I am supposed to share 5 things that I enjoy before passing this award on to more worthy recipients.

Friends: There’s nothing I like more than settling down in comfy chairs for a good catch up with a friend. It’s even better when we can relax over a chilled and fruity Sauvignon Blanc. 

Food: Be it Middle Eastern or Italian or Thai or Greek or Indian – you name it I love it. The more flavoursome the better.

Learning: I undertake some formal learning every year and right now I should be working on a presentation that I’ll deliver on the 17th as part of  my current objective which is a diploma in Public Sector Leadership.  I’m nearly half way through this now after working on it part time for the last 6 months.

Coffee: Love it, can’t live without it.

Books: I’m afraid to say I’m not intelligentsia; for me it’s about a great story that’s not a chore to read. My favourite authors are Margaret Attwood, Sebastian Faulks and Wally Lamb.

And now to the fun part. I’ve made lots of new friends blogging but here are some of my favourite gals. Always great for a laugh are…

At the next two sites I do more lurking than commenting due to the intimidation factor, but whether they know it or not I always read and greatly enjoy their wit and intelligence.

Thanks to you all for brightening my days. I’ll pop a comment on your latest post to let you know about this. Sorry to those of you who don’t want such awards – do with it what you will.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday feature

I watched a movie with a friend earlier today and I’m left with the effects. I feel slightly stunned.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2008 film directed by Mark Herman and based on the novel by John Boyne.

The movie is set in Germany during World War Two. Eight year old Bruno, his sister Gretel and their parents move for their father’s new job as a commandant of a Jewish concentration camp.  Bruno doesn’t understand the situation and with tragic consequences he befriends a Jewish boy of his own age who’s living inside the camp.

It’s a breathtaking film about innocence and awakening, about trust, about realisation and about humanity. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Speed demon

Just came across this video on YouTube of my younger brother indulging his reckless pursuit of adrenaline. He bought this toy a year or so back and though it’s not a top fueler, it apparently provides plenty of excitement. I’m told it’s a 560 cubic inch big block that runs on methanol with an 871 supercharger. I think he’s gotten it as quick as 350 kph (just over 200 mph) which sounds pretty damn quick to me.

Two for Tuesday

I) New Zealand joins the space race

On 30 November New Zealand's first space rocket was successfully launched.  See the NZ Herald story of the same day. The 6-metre-long craft reached speeds of up to Mach 5, flying 120km into the air, before splashing down in the sea.

CaptureCompany Director Mark Rocket, technical director Peter Beck and senior engineer Nikhil Raghu from Rocket Lab.

I just love that the guy has obviously changed his name to ‘Rocket’. That’s dedication for you. The white coats sure make it all look more momentous too – good thinking guys. It feels great to be at cutting edge of science like this – watch out NASA, here we come.

Photo by Rachel Glucina.


II) Cottage envy

A beautiful cottage by the sea in Maine, US.  Photo by Tom O'Donnell

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Does it matter?

More and more bullshit news every day about the questionable climate change science is getting to me. As Moko said from his virtual sandbox the other day;

“These clowns can't see the ocean for the waves.”

Are we polluting our planet? Is this a good thing? What are the chances we can go on doing this forever? Are we creating a healthier environment for our grandchildren and their grandchildren?

I don’t give a shit that some say the science looks dodgy, all I know is that you don’t wait until you figure out how the fire started before you put it out.



Wake up world.

Our livelihood right now is far less important than the next generations being able to breathe and drink fresh clean water.

It’s irresponsible that we’re not doing something significant to limit our impact on this planet – whether the science shows it yet or not. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What a night

It was a beautiful late spring evening with a clear blue sky and just a touch of chill in the air after sunset. No matter though as we were rocking and we’d have been warm even if it was snowing.

From the opening Daughter at 8pm through to a rocking cover of Neil Young's Rockin' In the Free World at 10.35pm, it was a fantastic Pearl Jam experience. Photo taken last night by Dean Purcell.

Over two and half hours of sublime performance and it sure didn’t hurt that Eddie Vedder is still hot hot hot!!


EDIT: Yet another belated Friday flowers

Iris Lamp


Something a little different today.

I came across this lamp online at Barbara Gail Lamps. I love it. Iris are my favourite flower and I’m seriously considering placing an order. This would look so cute in my little sun room where I sit and read.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


An Australian tourist accidentally smuggled a poisonous cane toad into Queenstown inside the hiking boots in her bag last week.

New Zealand Herald article here.

The disgusting critter was discovered after hopping out of the Cairns woman's bag when she stopped by Ultimate Hikes shop ahead of the walk on the Milford Track.

Somehow our Ministry of Ag & Fish officers at Auckland airport missed it. WTF? Please TRY HARDER people. Yuck!


Photo from and courtesy of FrogWatch, an Australian environmental group that wants to kill all cane toads. Click on the picture for the full July 2008 story.

Giving thanks


Happy Thanksgiving day to all the ‘merican folks  who might happen across this here blog.

Have a great day, eat drink and be merry (and thankful of course).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Up in smoke

From the NZ Herald this morning.

New Plymouth mother of three Zarah Murphy has an unusual methodology when it comes to growing her houseplant of choice.

It court yesterday where she’s facing charges of cultivating cannabis, she talked of how she’d put up posters of big healthy heading plants around the walls of her growing room as ‘role models’ for her own 20 plants. She also carefully chose a varied selection of classical music for the plants enjoyment.

Even Judge Allan Roberts said the converted room was a "pretty good effort" in which to grow the plants. He then sentenced her to 250 hours of community service.


II) Cottage envy

stone-cottage-lake-lg--gt_full_width_landscapeI found this adorable stone cottage on the UK Channel 4 website in a story by Kevin McCloud about restoring old properties. I love the duck pond and can just imagine how peaceful it is there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I mentioned in a post the other day about young Australian Jessica Watson and the website and blog chronicling her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the globe. She’s 16 and the voyage is 38,000 kilometres (23,000 nautical miles) in some of the most ferocious seas on the globe.

JW1 Blog Photo by Jessica Watson

It’s a hugely popular blog and she gets around 250 – 300 comments each day as people wish her the best. Well, Jessica crossed the equator the other day and she posted an update on her blog to let everyone know – she got 625 comments on the post. That’s right, 625 comments. That is mind blowing, apparently it’s the most read blog in Australia right now, and for good reason. She’s seems like a lovely kid who’s doing something incredibly brave and plus she’s a great writer. Her updates are a pleasure to read.

The website is

Her blog

Her course and current location is recorded here

I understand she’s now passed Kiribati and will soon be turning around and heading back under the equator to round Cape Horn (southern tip of South America). Although she’s circumnavigating the globe in the southern oceans, in order to break the record she must cross the equator at least once so that’s what she has been doing since she left Sydney in October.

Jess 4 Check it out. It’s a fascinating read.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday flowers

Sorry for the belated Friday flowers publication.

Our Pohutukawa tree (aka the New Zealand Christmas tree) is just starting to bloom so I’ve been on the look out for a nice one to show you. The Pohutukawa grows along the west coast so when I took Bonnie for a walk at the beach today I looked out for a tree in good bloom to show you. Unfortunately I didn’t end up with a good shot so I’m sharing a professional pic by photographer David Wall. PohutukawaThe Pohutukawa tree grows up to a about 25 metres high and 15 meters wide. It’s a gnarly tree with twisting branches that often reach out rather than up and their low boughs can provide an excellent place to lie in the shade for a nap after a summer swim and barbecue.

I’ll repost a of photo of Pohutukawa that I took earlier this year in winter before they were blooming so you can see the shape I’m talking about. I took this shot on Great Barrier island in August. They’d be looking awesome right now covered in red blooms. 112

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A few weeks back Bob from I Should Be Laughing mentioned that Carlos was addicted to spider solitaire. I think Bob said that Carlos called it spidey. I thought I would check it out as I’m always on the look out for another time waster. 

Big mistake.

Fast forward to today and I must face the sad and awful truth that I am now fully addicted to spidey just like Carlos.

I recently graduated to intermediate level (with two suits) and am barely managing to maintain a 40% success rate. It’s completely infuriating and I plainly don’t have the patience for the game but I just can’t stop. 

As if I don’t have quite enough addiction in my life *sigh*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Topiary tendril


Photo lifted from









II) Cottage envy

Rock cottage is in a hill outside Wolverley, Worcestershire, England. It is one of 50 'built' in the area in the late 18th century. The place was apparently for sale in 2007 and a article states the vendor was hoping to get £25,000 at the time even factoring in the lack of plumbing and electricity.

I’m not positive that ‘envy’ is quite the right term for today’s pic but it’s certainly an interesting pad.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Football fever

Rory Fallon (in white) headers the winning goal

For the first time since Spain in 1982 the New Zealand football team has qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals by beating BaFIFAhrain last night in Wellington. The final score was 1-0.

Football doesn’t have a high profile here in NZ where it’s all about rugby, so it’s great that the sport will benefit from the increased exposure. Lots more kiwi kids play football over the last few years but when they reach a certain age the boys tend to swap to rugby  so comparatively few players reach the top levels unfortunately.

26 countries have qualified in 6 zones for the 2010 finals so far, while another 5 places are still to be finalised.

  • Europe: England, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, Serbia and Spain
  • Africa: South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria
  • North America, Central America and Caribbean: United States, Honduras and Mexico
  • South America: Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay
  • Asia: Australia, Japan, Korea (North), Korea (South)
  • Oceania: New Zealand

The first games kick off in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2010. Realistically we understand we’re minnows especially against the Euro teams and the big South American teams so we’ll no doubt be out after the first round but it’s just fun even getting there for us - who knows though what could happen?

Photographs by Getty Images

*EDIT* I just had a browse though a BBC forum regarding the New Zealand qualification. Some commenters there don’t share our joy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday flowers and movie review

I don’t have much of a garden here at my new little place. The house was brand new when I moved in at the end of last year and the grounds were pure dirt. I still haven’t done a lot with the grounds though I do finally have good grass coverage.

My last home had a huge yard and a well established garden that I’d put a lot of work into over the years so it’s been hard starting from scratch. I have planted a few rhododendrons and other things but they have a way to go before they mature properly. About all that is really starting to look good are my patio pots so I thought I’d share a couple of pictures from my own ‘garden’ this week.


131109_4Rory is a fuchsia fan so he’s responsible for caring for those – he has a few different varieties in pots, all of which are doing beautifully. I love roses especially old fashioned ones; this one here is white though I can’t remember the name. There are lots of buds this year after a particularly successful pruning in late August. I look forward to the multitude of blooms over the next few weeks.


*Added later at 10:05pm Friday 13 Nov.

Lori’s writing challenge

Lori over at Family Trees May Contain Nuts has issued a challenge for us to write about our favourite movie. Here goes Lori, I apologise in advance that I’m not much of a writer. 

shawshank_lThe Shawshank Redemption

Directed by Frank Darabont and from the short story by Stephen King, the 1994 film stars Morgan Freeman as Red and Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne.

**SPOILER ALERT** If you’re one of the few remaining people on the planet who haven’t seen this movie and you intend watching it one day, read no further. Do watch the movie though; it’s great.

Andy is a successful banker in the 1940s when he is convicted of the vicious murder of his wife and her lover. Andy maintains his innocence but is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. On arrival he meets Red who is a long term prisoner. Red befriends Andy and teaches him the tricks to survival.

Andy’s financial nous is noticed by the prison’s warden who needs help to launder his ill-gotten earnings off the backs of the prison inmates. Andy creates a false identity to protect the warden and proceeds to act as the warden’s accountant for the next two decades. In return he gets to properly stock the prison library and help inmates achieve high school equivalency.

When a new prisoner comes to Shawshank, It comes to light that Andy really is innocent of the murder of his wife and her lover but the warden won’t risk losing his highly effective money man and so he buries the information and brutally disposes of the new inmate.

Over this twenty year period, we later learn that Andy has been painstakingly tunnelling from his cell using a tiny rock hammer and hiding the resulting hole behind a Rita Hayworth poster on the wall. One dark and stormy night Andy successfully makes a break for it. shawshank_2He quickly accesses the wardens illicit fortune with the false identity he created for the purpose and he heads to a small town in Mexico which he’s told Red about earlier.

It’s a few years later that Red is finally granted parole after more that 40 years inside Shawshank. He makes his way to meet Andy in Mexico and an emotional reunion follows.

The recurring themes in the movie are forgiveness, salvation and hope. Andy never loses hope in himself or in others; he does good where possible and manages to maintain his integrity throughput his imprisonment. Conversely another character in the film is a man named Brooks, who still lacks liberty even after being released as a very old man. Sadly Brooks only finds his release in suicide.

I highly recommend this thought provoking and intelligent movie. Great story, great casting, great cinematography.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Twenty eight years ago today

Rosehill College It was 10 November 1981 and it was my first school ball. My friends and I weren’t officially old enough to be there  (we were in year 11 and the ball was really for seniors - year 12 and 13 students) but we’d all cunningly started dating seniors in the weeks leading up to the ball so we’d get to go. We felt so grown up.

Don’t you just love the fashions and the hair styles?

I’m in both these photos with my friends - the one in black with the delightful perm in case you couldn’t work it out. Rosehill College 1 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II) Cottage envy

A quaint and beautiful Derbyshire cottage with a shingle roof and a limestone garden wall.  I love the cottage garden.

Photo by UG Gardner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday fun

I had a great Sunday afternoon with my nephew Dillon yesterday; we visited a friend of mine who has horses and got to spend a couple of hours on horseback.  Here’s Dillon on a beautiful chestnut hunter named Ralph, being lead around until he got comfortable enough to give it a go on his own.                                 035My friend also has the cutest wee miniature horse named Napoleon Dynamite.  Very fitting name as he’s quite a handful. 045Am getting in to the shower shortly to get ready for work and am walking like a bow legged cowboy. Am way out of practice with this horse riding lark. Was great fun though.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nature not good enough?

I was at a florist first thing this morning getting a bouquet put together to drop in to a friend who needed cheering up.

I chose coloured Callas lilies as they are in season here and there was the most beautiful selection available of plums and vibrant pinks. Anyway the florist did her thing and THE most gorgeous bunch of flowers was the result. It looked like sculpture if that makes any sense, with the perfectly smooth elegant funnels in their pastel shades of pale pink through to the deepest purple. They were enough to lift anyone's day.

And then she did something that blew my mind; she started shaking gold glitter all over the bouquet. She stopped quickly when she heard my gasp and asked did I not want glitter “….to make them look extra pretty?”

An interesting discussion ensued with particular reference to the phrase ‘gilding the lily’ which I felt was particularly fitting seeing as we were actually discussing a bunch of lilies. The end result of the conversation was that she started again.

I didn’t have my camera with me unfortunately to record the proceedings but suffice it to say that the elegant lilies I delivered to my friend were delightfully au natural and most certainly beautiful enough sans glitter.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday flowers

Photographer unknown

These are not my photos though I sincerely hope that one day in my life I might get to witness first hand a scene like this. I am an avid rhododendron fan and I imagine this place is breathtaking.

The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. There are over 1000 species which include the varieties known as azaleas. haven6Photographer unknown

These incredible photos are from a Danish garden website called Kelleriisgården but I couldn’t find the photographers name to give credit. Beautiful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bon Voyage

I’m enjoying watching the progress and reading the daily posts of young Australian adventurer Jessica Watson who is attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world. She’s 16.

Check out her website here and her blog here

There was considerable controversy about whether the voyage was a good idea but that’s now moot so I just hope she stays safe and doesn’t encounter anything she can’t cope with. She’s gotten as far as Tonga to date and is making reasonable time.

I wish her the very best of luck. She’s very brave.

29_Oct Self Portrait Self Portrait taken 29 October at sea.

Even more about me

I nicked this from Daniels blog over at The Pursuit of What Matters to Me. Thanks Daniel. Feel free to join in anyone who wants to.


1. Do you have any tertiary qualification?
Yes I have. I also continue to struggle along with study – it’s a never ending process.

2. What was the amount of your last electric bill?
NZ$63 for a months worth of power. Not sure how this compares but this is considered a very modest bill here especially as I don’t have gas as well – I’m tight as all hell with regards power usage.

3. Do you have life insurance?
Yes (single mother and all that).

4. How many hours per week do you work?
Around 45-50.

5. Have you ever attended a Toastmasters event?

6. Favourite place to attend Happy Hour?
Nowhere these days. Occasionally I meet a girlfriend after work for a wine but that is few and far between these days. 

7. How far is your commute to work each day?
When I am working in Auckland my travel is only 15 minutes each way but on the once or twice weekly days working in our capital city, Wellington, the commute is about 2 hours each way – yuck!!!

8. What time do you get up every morning for work?
We’re up at around 6am to get to Rory’s school bus at 7.10am. I then head straight to work so am there by 7.30am most days.

9. What is your definition of sleeping in late?
On a Saturday I can sleep and then doze until almost midday if there’s nothing I have to get up for. 

10. Do you check your cholesterol on a yearly basis?
Yes along with all the other checks that are deemed necessary.

11. How large was your first cell phone?
Not that big as I was fairly late to the cell phone game. Only flash businessmen or ‘out and about’ types like trades or sales people, had the bricks here in NZ. My first cell phone was in the 2G era, it was a Nokia that I got in about 1995 or 1996 I think.

12. Does your employer provide good health insurance?
No, that’s not something employers do here as we have a public health service that covers all New Zealanders. It’s not that great but it’s free.

13. Did you use the Internet to write a research paper?
When I was at university there was no such thing as the internet, well as far as I was aware of anyway.

14. Have you attended a High School reunion?
Yes. Had a few laughs but I think I’ll leave it there. Anyone I still like I am in contact with anyway so no further need.

15. How many jobs have you held in your career? 
I have had about 10 jobs over the years.

16. Have you ever been fired or laid off from a job?

17. What is your favourite drink?
Jim Beam and Zero Coke in a tall glass with lots of ice. Yummmmm.

18. What’s the most expensive bottle of wine that you’ve bought?
Not much. I buy inexpensive wine – I don’t have a snobby palate.

19. Have you been divorced?

20. How old were you when you stopped getting ID-ed for alcohol?
In my early 20s if I remember rightly.

21. Favourite casino?
None. Hate the places, they reek of desperation.

22. Are you happier now than you were in high school?
Yes and No. High school was great carefree fun but now is cool too.

23. Did you ever have a Hypercolor shirt?
Yes I had a yellow/green one though I didn’t wear it much. It always seemed a bit weird wearing a shirt that clearly showed that you were hottest under your arms and boobs.

24. Do you remember when Michael Jackson was black and was attracted to older people?
I remember him as black, yes.

25. Do you remember when MTV actually played music videos?
No we didn’t have MTV in NZ until after it had gone to shit.

26. Have you had a will made?
Yes, within a month of Rory being born. Updated twice since then.

27. What music was in your cd/cassette player when you were 16?
It was a cassette player and it was Patti Smith, The Clash, Led Zeppelin and Simon and Garfunkel.

28. Favourite fancy/upscale restaurant?
Don’t have one. My favourite eateries are cheap and cheerful local Thai places.

29. Where were you when you found out about 9-11?
My clock radio went off at around 6.00am as usual on the morning of 12 September but the morning DJ crew I wake to each day were talking about something serious instead of the usual joking around. I got up and turned on the TV and was horrified.

30. Do you have any children yet?
Yes, one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still on the run

You may recall my post of 6 months ago about the young couple who did a runner after the bank inadvertently credited their bank account with too much money. See the original post here called On the RunAccidental MillionairesWell 6 months have passed and they’re still at large.

Leo Gao, Kara Hurring and their young daughter Leena fled to Hong Kong in early May after Westpac, an Australian owned bank, credited Mr Gao's account with a NZ$10 million overdraft when he had asked for just $100,000. The bank immediately recovered most of the money but $3.8m is still outstanding.

The NZ Herald reports;

Two months ago Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Colby, of Rotorua police, said a "mutual-assistance" request to the Chinese government was being worked through. Mr Colby denied the delay was frustrating or embarrassing for NZ police.

Co-operation between China and NZ is obviously a slow process over such matters.