Friday, February 24, 2006

one more sleep

...until our summer holiday. Ironic to be going on holiday for the last 4 days of summer. I think we have left our run a bit late this year, we are so tired and desperate for a holiday that I think one week may not be enough. It is still exciting though.

We are spending one week at Totaranui camping in our brand new gorgeous tent and then on the way back we are spending a weekend at the Antique and Classic Boat Show at Lake Rotoiti. Should be a water packed fun holiday as long as the rain stays away and Nicholas takes to camping.

We will be lucky to leave the drive with all our things loaded in to the car and the boat. With clothes, food, boats and all that junk, books, toys, tent, and so on we will be dragging the bum of the car all the way.

So, no blog for a week, no computer, phone, electricty, music, electricity...can't wait. Have a safe week, talk soon

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It was hot yesterday and seemed like the perfect night to pop over to the bach to get the linen for washing and make the most of a lovely evening. Jonty and Nicholas went about digging holes and playing. We played a bit of frisbee which we have rediscovered recently. I really enjoy it and it could be a good way to keep a bit fit if you put some effort in.

My friend Damian popped over to check out the place as he is intending to move in for a month before travelling overseas.

Over all it was a lovely evening. Late night for Nic though so not sure how he will be today. Up early as usual so nothing too different yet. We have a busy day for all of us today.

Monday, February 20, 2006

virtually there

Kim Rutter writes a column for the NZ house and garden magazine. She always comes up with interesting websites which I often check out. This month she featured two, perkysam and sweetlouise. These two woman have died of cancer and their friends and family have set up trust in their names to raise money for cancer research.

The reason this is intersting to me is that we have yet another woman in out library whanau recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is young and her mother also works with us. As with the others of my colleagues who have had breast cancer, Kate is being totally amazing about the whole thing and is at work with her wig on serving the public for hours a day without batting an eyelid - she is smiling and caring and lovely. How does she find the energy for that?

I ask myself about why is takes such illness for the wonderfulness of people to be highlighted? Lots of lessons about judging and making assumptions for me in this. Even at my age I have been to too many funerals and a lot of them are not about old age but cancer. Not a happy note to start a new day and a new week but that's life.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

party time

This is Frances and it is her 4th birthday party we went to today. She is a gorgeous little girl and was a total star. Dressed in a lovely sun dress she was a gracious host as she enjoyed party food, fun games and the present frenzy, taking it all in her stride.

It was Nicholas' first real party and he was a bit bewildered and actually cried when he lost his seat in musical chairs. He reclaimed it and sat solid while the game carried on around him.

All of the children enjoyed the party and I was happy to see that Nic wasn't the only one to have a wee meltdown. He loved finding the tiny bottle of bubbles in the treasure hunt and spent the last hour of the party sitting on the verandah blowing bubbles. The hat remained firmly on his head through all activities and he still wearing this evening while eating his dinner.

Thanks for a great party Frances and we hope you had a wonderful time.

Friday, February 17, 2006

out & about

It has been two very ordinary days with work and home making the biggest impact on the days. I went out tonight with friends from work to celebrate an upcoming wedding. We went to JDV in Merivale. Don't find myself over that way often. It was a lovely evening weather wise and I shared some yummy food with some lovely women. We tired valiantly not to talk about work but a few bits slipped in. It was nice for me because I spent the evening with people I know but seldom spend time with.

I am looking forward to the weekend with lots of activities and social events.

I am of the opinion that I need a photo with my entries because they are pretty dull without them so I will go and rummage about to see what I have to add to todays entry.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Just another day at work with a couple of meetings and discussions. Stayed a bit later than I meant to but got some things done which is always a good feeling. At home Jonty showed me some great video footage of Nicholas cleaning the car. He seemed to spend most of his time 'removing the suds' in the bucket by straddling then sitting in the bucket. He folded up like a pocket knife to fit. Very funny. I wondered why there was a pile of wet clothes on the backdoor step when I got home. I am guessing he liked the feel of the warm water.

Karen and I met for a walk between work and dinner. We charged around Travis Wetland in about 35 minutes. It is a gorgeous place to be when the sun is low in the sky and wind has dropped. Luckily there was wind as we were walking pretty fast and needed a breeze to keep cool.

My colleague Crispin Schurr designed an award winning bird hide that sits on the water there. He also designed the Parklands Library which was also a project of mine for all of last year. He was fun to work with and I learnt heaps from him. Passion for public spaces was our connection and I think we worked well together.

Now I am spending the evening watching the Winter Olympics which I love. I know I need to get some sleep but I can't drag myself away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

st vals day

aaah, you know what it is like? The collective intake of breath as a busy courier staggers into the office, a pair of legs poking out under the weight of red roses - who are they for? Is it me? No, bugger it. Too embaressing for words. The smugness of the people walking to their car after work witha huge bunch of flowers - adored, publically outed as a loved person worthy of spending a weeks worth of grocery money on a pension scheme for a florist. Don't I sound like a bitter old thing? Believe it or not, I love any day that celebrates good and happy things. Really. I had years of yearning to be admired and adored but oddly enough now that I am in a relationship, it seems to matter less. Perhaps it is the public aspect that appeals more when you are single. Now it is the inner warmth of a loving gesture, smile or tender moment that matter more.

Anyway, we went out for breakfast as a family this morning. Jonty suggested it which in itself was enough for me. We went to our perennial favourite Caffe Roma and as per usual had a lovely time. Jonty and I had the hot smoked salmon on a chunky hash and a very lemony hollandaise sauce. Nic had a boiled egg with white bread soldiers. The whole event was pleasent and relaxing. Lots of the usual people were there including the owner Duncan's family having their morning time together. I love it there, the food, the ambience and total lack of pretention make it a timeless favourite. One thing I really love about the website is the 'events' tag. Duncan has links to other local website with all events and happenings around Christchurch. Even my beloved library is on there.

Jonty and Nic walked me to my meeting and then went off adventuring round town. The happened upon the Christchurch Provincial Chambers where they discovered the hand pump actually pumped water. I think they went to music for the first time for the year. I see there are grocery bags littering the kitchen, piles of fresh fruit in the bowl and some wine in the fridge so I am guessing the supermarket featured in the day.

I also bought some wine and some tasty treats of a platter tonight so I better go and start enjoying that. Enjoy your evening too.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Phew, it was super hot yesterday which was just fine because we went to the bach for the day. Our friends Steph and Andy and children came over for the day so it was social as well as hot. Our children played together for hours and had a great time. We took Shrek the budgie with us and I think he had a fab time tweeting away in the sun. Nic caught his finger in the car door and I got tumbled by a speeding dog (not the one in this photo) so the day was not without incident.

On Saturday night it was warm and balmy, we headed round to Julian and Lesley's. The food, as always, was delicious. Bacon wrapped steak fillet done on a wood fuelled bar b que, washed down with a gorgeous Stonleigh Reisling, was pretty delicious. No photos allowed because Julian doesn't want to be 'blogged'. Would love to show you what he looked like 'frying' flies with a gas torch though.

Stayed up late last night to make birthday cakes for my friend Alex who turned 40 today. Nicholas and I delivered the cakes and a pressie this morning.

Heading off to bookgroup in a few minutes but thought I should do an entry as it has been such a fab weekend. You get the feeling at this time of the summer that the days are numbered and you just have to be outside!

Saturday, February 11, 2006


We had Puttanesca spaghetti for lunch. My favourite pasta sauce. There are lots of different recipes but my fave it Julie Biuso's. Eating it outside under the brolly with fresh bread is pretty perfect.
This is what Nicholas thought of it

Friday, February 10, 2006

day off - part two

Well it did rain after all. Nicholas and I got caught in the rain when we were feeding the ducks scones on our walk. Nic was funny cos he kept wanting to eat the stale scones himself. He has his parents eating genes.

I spent the afternoon wandering along High Street checking out all the little shops there and chatting to my friend Alex. Had a lovely coffee at Savoy Brown and fondled the gorgeous things in Cosi Fan Tutte.

Picked the boy up from pre-school along with Shrek the budgie and headed down to the library for a read and chill out time. Got some lovely books but my favourite was Horrible Hair by Gerald Rose which is about a lion having a bad hair day and a party to go to. We all know what that feels like.

Yummy homemade hamburgers for dinner - a good Friday night meal.

day off

It is sunny today! Nothing like having the day off and the weather coming to the party. Everyone is sick of the rain, it has been raining for days and it supposed to be summer. In saying that it has been great for the garden. My baby tomatoes are in love with the rain.

As this is not a work blog I wont be talking about work but I have to say it is nice to not be there today. Among the many good things about where I work is the webcam on the roof. Take a look at the view

Spending the morning with the guys. Nic is obsessed with his CD's at the moment so spends hours standing in front of the stereo stopping and starting them. I am not sure if it is the music he loves or the stereo of which he seems to have a good working knowledge.

I love trying to capture photos of the boy at play but due to the delay on the digi cam and his constant movement it is very tricky and I have 100's of snaps with bits of him disappearing out of the frame. Here are a couple I took in the weekend. Playgrounds, like for most children, are a great passion of his and he seems to be able to punctuate all his stories with the location and decsription of everyone he uses. He knows which have the best slides, climbing frames and swings.
Who knows which playgrounds lie in wait for us today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


It was one of those days - couldn't settle at work so moved from one location to another, tried to finish a report, attempted a walk on the beach at lunch time but it started raining as I stepped outside and I don't have a coat. You know how those days are?

Got home from work and Nicholas was carefully studying each circle of banana on his spoon before eating it. He didn't see me and it was heavenly watching him. Jonty had made a great play house out of a huge box and some cardboard. It has a perfectly pitched roof and a door with a string handle. I thought it needed windows but Nic likes it dark. Let's hope that isn't a life long theme.

So, to cap off an average day, here is a photo that I love. We are slowly replacing old plants with new and the agapanthus are great for erosion prevention. I love them because they look ordinary and become wallpaper around the city gardens but if you look really close there is so much more to see.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

best smoothie ever

Oops, didnt make it to work this morning. I took a very rare mental health morning. Jonty went off and did the groceries on his own so it was a mental health morning for both of us. Nicholas and I did house work and then made the 'best smoothie ever'...I think sitting on the back door step drinking it together and talking about bees and flowers made it even better. As a full time working mother, moments such as these are rare and very treasured.

The recipe for our best smoothie ever
  • 1 banana - quite ripe
  • low fat milk
  • lite vanilla cream yoghurt
  • a handful of frozen berries
  • blue plastic cups with silver flowers on them and a back door step in the shade on a hot morning.

Spicy Lamb Pie

Following on from the Waitangi Day ethos of having fun, we went round to Karen and Justin's for a family dinner last night. It was a heaps of fun and I think my tummy muscles are a bit sore from laughing so hard. I am sure the vino played a part in that. One of the highlights of the evening for me was when Nicholas sought out the toilet on his own without being prompted - another excellent step on his toilet training journey. Lovely boy. While our children played we dined on delicious lamb pie, red cabbage coleslaw and crispy potatos...mmm. Karen is a good cook who tries lots of recipes and has a pantry to die for. I often joke that all that food is going to kill her in the big 'quake which negates its value as an emergency store. Anyway, I thought I would put the recipe on this page to share its deliciousness. Thanks Karen

Spicy Lamb Pie

1 tablesp. oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g lamb mince
1 teasp. ground cinnamon
2 teasp. ground cumin
1 teasp. curry powder
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup currants
500g spinach, shredded
2 tablesp. marmalade
1/4 cup beef stock
12 sheets filo pastry
80g melted butter/non stick spray

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush a round pie dish with melted butter/non stick spray. Heat the oil in a pan, add onion and garlic and stir for 2 mins. Add the lamb mince and stir for 5 mins, breaking up any lumps with a fork.
2. Add the spices, wine, tomato paste, currants, spinach, marmalade and stock. Simmer uncovered for 20 mins, or until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool.
3. Remove 1 sheet of pastry, cover rest with damp towel. Brush/spray filo with butter/spray and cover with another 2 sheets, brushing each. Cut in half, crossways, and line the pie dish with the 2 halves of pastry, leaving any overhanging edges. Spoon the lamb mixture into the dish. Brush the remaining sheets and scrunch each into a ball and place on top of pie.

Bake for 45 mins or until golden on top.

Off to work on this sunny day

Ka kete ano

Monday, February 06, 2006

Waitangi Day

On significant public holidays I like to do something memorable and outdoorsy to mark the day. Not go shopping or do housework like any other weekend day. It was a good day to launch a boat or two.

Jonty and Ruth with the family in the background

We met at South Brighton domain to launch my dad's two new boats. He is a retired builder who loves making boats in his spare time. We launched 'Innovate' and '4 x 2' (4ft x 2ft) this morning on the incoming tide. All the family gathered for the occasion and most of us had a go in the boats. Simon and Jonty were especially keen to get their hands on the 'seagull' and puttered about for a bit. You could tell dad was a bit nervous inititially but very pleased with the result.

Jonty and Dad + boats

Apparently 'Innovate' has a long line in the water and is great for rowing. He is going to enter her in to some races at the 'Antique and Classic Boat Show' at Lake Rotoiti in March. Another full on family event.

In the In the background you can see the hills of Banks Peninsula. Balmoral hill in the centre

You can see in this photo all the work that has gone in to the shaping of the wood for this boat. To make it dad made the hull first and then shaped the ribs to fit in the shell. It has two sets of rowlicks and a few holes that need plugging. Nicholas is in the boat with Jonty and sister.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

it has only taken one evening for me to become addicted to this

Well not the whole evening but much of the spare time I have had, I have been thinking about how to do this and what would make it interesting. I am still trying to work out how to make it look interesting and how to edit things. Makes me realise how much effort some people put in to their blogs and how much fun that can be. Doesnt feel 100% comfortable yet but fun none the less. Need to get some sleep.

Waitangi Day tomorrow so I want to enjoy my day off seeing as I had to work today. It rained a lot so I didnt feel so bad being away from home. Jonty and Nicholas went to 'the roxx' and played on the stuff there. Sounds like fun and I hope to get there one day.

do you have to be a computer geek to start a blog?

Well you might think the answer is no but I feel like a total dick trying to work out how this all comes together. I might have to get a book from the library or just take my time to work it all out. Jonty has gone to the supermarket to get wine and Nicholas is eating orange segments in the lounge so I have a good 5 minutes to myself to work it all out. Yeah right! So, in a week or two when I have got my head around it, I will get back and make this thing happen