Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lovely Rita

The absolute joy of having a holiday at home is being able to stay up past 9.30 and enjoy the fantastic programmes hidden in the very dark hours by the myopic programmers at TVNZ. Last night I was spellbound by Gaylene Preston's 'Lovely Rita'. What a treat, a beautifully crafted look at the life of a fantastic NZ artist. I was mesmerised by the images on the screen and looked at the very familiar paintings with fresh eyes. I realised how many of Rita's images, I see everyday in prints hanging at work and various other places. Paintings that I return to regularly without really taking in who painted them.
Gaylene Preston makes everything she touches magic. This programme was another step in my soul feeding holiday venture.
Here are some images I uploaded to share.
Boats, Island Bay
Fog, Hawkes Bay



(voted NZ's favourite painting-I never go through this part of the country without thinking about this painting)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Home Alone

The unimaginable has happened. I am at home alone. No one here but me and the radio...and might I say a house load of junk and disorderly to attend to. Instead of house work and washing hanging out, I am playing on Flickr. Nic is at the bach with Ruth and Simon for the night and Jonty is at work. I fully intend to get on with the chores but thought I would read a magazine and then do some work but got side tracked by the computer, as you do and here I am, blogging. I could chat about Christmas and say how good it was (because it was) but instead I am going to post a little mosaic of pics from the day. Obviously the trampoline took centre stage and much of our time was spent in the garden and outside at various peoples places.

From the top left

Nic and Jasmine on the trampoline. Dad, Liz and Mother at Ruth's..everyone looked very lovely in their Christmas clothes, Nic's Christmas decoration on the table at breakfast

Nic and Jasmine on the trampoline, Nic and Eva (cousin of a cousin) on Christmas Eve, dinner outside on the 23rd

Jonty and Nic on the trampoline, Marie-Anne on the trampoline, Olivia and Nic at the specially decorated children's table at Ruth's on Christmas day.

(I did and do spend time on the trampoline but am camera shy at the moment)

If this mosaic works out I might use it again. Hope you all had a lovely family Christmas as we did.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Still on the Christmas Countdown

The list to do is definitely shrinking as we tick off a range of social events. Yesterday was the big one for us. We hosted 30 people (15 children) for a pot luck lunch for Karen and Justy who are in town. A nice mixture of friends enjoyed a very sunny, if not a little windy, afternoon in our back yard.
It was a bit of a mission for us and we fell into bed shattered but great fun. We love having parties and with all our work in the garden recently it was great to see people relaxing and enjoying themselves. Poor Nic struggled a bit with the day as he is beyond tired but overall it was great. Best bit was Jasmine arriving for Christmas. I cooked a delicious meal of fried ciabatta, Greek sausages in a fragrant tomato sauce and a Greek salad, accompanied by a fruity Riverstone Riesling and settled into the familiar family pattern. Starting to feel really Christmassy now.

The list

  • Go to work - alas - there are no street noises outside so I am guessing there are very few people going to work today. I am going to bike as it has been too hard to manage that this week and I NEED the exercise.

  • Get a chicken for family xmas dinner tonight - making Cinnamon Chicken with Lemon Jam - mmmm

That's all -
We had party popper as well as jelly and ice cream cups and candy canes yesterday. Nic and Olivia loved playing with the streamers...alas Nic thought making streamer volcanoes int he lounge would be fun, and I am sure it was. Bit of a mess though.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Countdown #3

Well, this is really working. Not. I have managed to achieve most of the tasks on my list but the whole list thing has gone out the door as I have just managed to collapse on to the sofa Wednesday and Thursday after two very long and stressful days at work. So, nothing to report just a total lack of attention to my pre-Christmas duties. I still have a few presents to buy also.

The list for today

  • Finish the Christmas shopping
  • Start in on the ironing mountain
  • Start cleaning the house....
  • Watch 'Americas next top model'....I feel like I have just 'come out' admitting that I love watching this programme.
As this list can't really be tackled until the end of the working day, it is unlikely I will achieve the whole list. Doesn't look like much but it is really.

While watching telly last night all the standard Christmas movie fare was being advertised. Will it be the Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special this year?

So what do we have to chose from so far...
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Bend it Like Beckham
  • Notting Hill
  • Love Actually
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • The Polar Express
  • Meet the Santas
  • Robbie the Reindeer
  • Bad Santa
  • Santa in love
  • Santa Actually
  • Christmas with Santa
  • Bend it like Santa......and so on

I actually love (or is that love actually?) the Christmas movies. They are easy to watch, you know what happens because you have seen them 1,000 times before, the people are all warm and cozy and the decorations are fantastic. So, my picks are 'Love Actually' and 'Notting Hill.' Very predictable. Write your favourite Christmas movie in the comments box. It is ok to reveal your secret to the Internet, know one knows who you are. So share...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Countdown #2

So, the Christmas list for Tuesday comprised very few items but with a bit of thinking and things attached
  • Contact friends who are coming over for lunch on Sunday

  • Make list of children and devise treasure hunt

  • Plan the menu

Contact friends - tick

Ooops, side tracked by the offer of a movie with Alex. Why wouldn't I do that? Just what I needed after a hard day at the office.

We went to see 'Once' - it was just the loveliest film. I don't really want to talk about it but you can see the wiki entry for it by clicking on the name. I don't read reviews until I have been to a movie because I like to discover it for myself. Movies and music feed my soul and I need to do that more often.

My Jonty is a wonderful man. I arrived home after 6 and then was out the door again by 6.30. I feel so grateful to have a partner who is so kind.

Anyway, enough of the sloppy stuff...the Christmas 'to do' list is getting longer with each passing I have to do the ironing and all the things I didn't do yesterday plus my new list today and I have a LOT on at work. Perhaps I will lighten my load. We'll see.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Countdown

With no parties or Christmas festivities planned for the weekdays this week, it is time to start knocking off the pre-Christmas tasks

  • Make the Christmas cake
  • Dead head the roses
  • Wrap the rest of the presents
  • Start in on the ironing mountain

Nic was my trusty kitchen helper and director of photography... here are the shots he chose

Two hours of cooking and it should be delicious.

Forgot to say

Forgot to say the other day that we have a brief but very enjoyable visit from Jasmine and Dave ... the elusive one ... last weekend. We were a pit stop on their flying visit to CHC for a party. Although only a few hours together it was great. Just like if they lived here and were just popping around. As the morning heated up we slowly assembled outdoor furniture on the drive and food appeared and we just hung out. I love days like that - set up for cruising in and out of the house, picking dead heads off the roses, shovelling dirt and receiving other visitors as the pass by. All just perfectly lovely family stuff. Sorry Jasmine, not the best photo of you but considering you hit the bed after 3am, you were doing well

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pimp my tree

I am up super early this morning because my time clock has no respect for my need for sleep. Although it is now 6.30, I have already logged into work email and knocked off a few, been to airnz to check for cheap flights, written an email to Karen and a few other things. I am focusing on the 26th of December as my next opportunity to sleep in and man, I am not getting out of bed until I am dragged out. Might put clean sheets on the bed on Christmas night so I can REALLY enjoy sleeping in.

Anyone who knows me will know that I love Christmas trees. Needless to say we got one last week and had to drive around looking for one and it had to be the RIGHT one. It is one of the very few things Jonty and I might have words over. Often not pleasant. Crazy I know, but we all have our 'thing'. So, we got the tree...gorgeous of course... and it fitted and sits in the lounge. As an aside, it is really worth painting your lounge walls red, just to see how really excellent the tree looks every Christmas, against a red background.

Nick and I set about scattering baubles, tinsel and the insane Chinese lights I bought off Trademe all over it and we had a great time doing so. We decided to theme various sections. Bells at the top...last year I planted them at Nicholas height so I could hear when he was tampering with the tree. The blue/green OTT layer is next and then red and gold baubles. Finally Nicholas' decorations at his height. And as he chose most of them, they are large and gaudy. Red tulle and gold satin were also draped around the pot. Sound bright, out of balance and crazy? Well, yes indeed it is. You just have to laugh at the craziness of it.

The darling, perfectly formed tree looks like a slut! However, it is entertaining.
Nic has pretty much free reign to play with and reorganise his range of decorations and he is using that opportunity to advantage. I often come home to a portion of the decorations lovingly lined up along the coffee table or the floor. The novelty is starting to wear off now and the call of 'Bob the builder computer colour ins' has won over the tree...for a while. Last night I wrapped most of my presents and have placed just one square present temptingly under the tree. I wonder what Nic will have to say. Could be too cruel to do that soooo many days out but it will be fun to see how he reacts.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My roses are just lovely this year

I don't know why but I am loving it...

Pearl D'ore (I think)


Glamis Castle

Bunch of random things

There is so much random stuff roaming around in my head at the moment and a few days ago I composed a really good blog entry in my head as I was biking to work but now it has all disappeared. Such is the nature of my overburdened brain. Anyway, I am going to punctuate my ramblings with some random photos just to make this entry a tiny bit more interesting and to break up the text.
I have been playing around with some of the features available on Blogspot and have managed to add some links to the right of where you are looking. These are some of my favourite places to visit. Mostly Blogs of interest and inspiration and some other work related places that you might find interesting too.

Christmas is looming and presents are starting to arrive from the UK which is fun. We have sent one load off but were not quite finished so others will arrive late. I am finding it really hard to get myself organised for present buying. It is a bit about time but also capacity. However, it might pay to make a last minute dash to the present line because there are more sales appearing before Christmas and you can get great stuff if you are prepared. Nic and granny Rosemary headed to Ballantynes Christmas shop this week to seek out a special decoration for our tree. Nic selected a Santa in a helium balloon...very 'new' Christmas.

I was wandering through Whitcoulls the other day when they announced 'buy one book and get another half price'. Having planned to buy a book for someone anyway, I took the opportunity to get myself Jamie Oliver's 'At home' for $25...a bargain. I have already cooked one of the recipes and unsurprisingly, it was delicious!

If you want to read a really funny, irreverent and smart blog, check out Moata's blog. Cleverly, Moata won NZ Blog Idol on Stuff and every few days posts a very much anticipated entry. I read them and then we chat about them at lunch when our paths cross. That is the really weird thing about 'social networking' on the Internet...reading peoples stuff and then ringing them up or catching them at their desk to talk about their entries. Like texting someone in the room with you.

We are getting another new sofa. Last year we spent a kings ransom on a gorgeous dark coffee colour leather sofa the size of a small African nation. The other day as I was lying on it watching Outrageous Fortune, I noticed some damage to the leather that was natural and not the work of a small boy. We took the cushion back to Hunter Furniture and they are REPLACING THE WHOLE SOFA and the other one to match!!! So shocked am I that I am thinking of writing to FairGo and trumpeting the service. You might think that it should have been perfect to start with...agreed. However, leather is a natural product and is there is always a degree of error in perform ace to be expected. I thought a new cushion would do the trick but no, a new sofa. This could be great, but it might not be because I love the ones we have now and a new one will not be the same.

Later in the day....

Back from Christmas shopping. Did not buy one thing but it was nice to be out and about in a very quiet Christchurch. I guess most people with children were cowering at home waiting to head to the city for the Santa Parade. Alas, our poor son knows nothing of the parade as we didn't tell him about it.

My workmate Simon won 'Best Porn Star Mo' at the Christchurch Movember event the other day. Mild mannered business analyst and accountant by day....

I hate it when I lose people in my life for whatever reason - usually carelessness. Fortunately most of the people I have lost have not disappeared all together, just momentarily out of range. One such person, through no effort on my part, popped up in my life again the other day. I was very excited and continue to be so. Let's hope it is a trend that will continue.

Thought you might like to see the new look bach colour scheme...very Mediterranean

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You can tell a New Zealander a mile away

And it isn't the accent. I am home from work looking after the small person who is unwell. Not unwell enough to lie in bed but too sick to go to pre-school. Anyway, I have time to do some net surfing and on a thread of investigation, I have come across a few blogs that I have been reading. As I read the first one, I thought 'this reads like a kiwi'. Checking out the profile, she was a kiwi...and so it went on. One had a photo that was just the top of some hills and the sky. You could tell instantly that it was NZ. I think that is really weird. What does a kiwi 'voice' sound like? What makes us distinctive in the written word? I am guessing that every country is the same. I can pick the Aussies too. Jasmine would probably be able to answer this question.

I might have to go in search of the answer to that questions, unless you have any thoughts to share.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Show Weekend

Everyone in Canterbury loves Show Weekend. It is always hot. That is what we all remember from those long torturous days at the AMP show...the smell of hot animal poo and sweaty jandals. I digress. We got married 8 years ago at Show weekend and it was bitterly cold. Anyway, we all love it as summer is peaking around the corner and bbq's, camping and swimming are the orders of the day.

We hopped on a Virgin Pacific flight to Auckland to catch up with lovely friends Karen and Justin in Warkworth. Bit of a mission getting there with a late arriving flight and hitting rush hour traffic in Auckland. You have got to ask yourself if it is worth it to live there and sit in traffic for hours every night. I just couldn't imagine it but Justy said that Aucklanders are conditioned to it.

keeping the kids occupied at the pizza place

Up in Warkworth the weather was ok but not fantastic everyday. We did manage a stunning day on the beach at Scott's Landing which was lovely. The men and children went out fishing in 'Orange Roughie' but didn't catch any fish which was confusing for the children but totally normal for us. Karen and I got to lie on the beach reading and chatting. A rare and very relaxing pastime.

Scott's Landing...gorgeous!!

The enjoyment of the weekend doesn't really transfer to words on this page. We had a fab time and loved being with our friends.

My boys by the river in Warkworth

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Busy weekend

Not every single post of the summer is going to be about the beach but I am indulging myself in being able to go every weekend at the moment. Already the summer slump has happened at home due to lack of time to keep everything sorted at home. Already I am suggesting some weekend home time...and it is only November. No worries, December will come and so will the rain.
Anyway, the weekend was very busy but heaps of fun. We had three social events on Saturday...a 70th birthday bbq in Hanmer for lunch, another bbq in Cashmere for dinner, followed by fireworks and then a 'house leaving' party on the way home. I had to stagger off home at 11.30 because my feet were sore. How sad is that? On Sunday we had a date at the bach with all the family to sort through and dispose of some of the tools and equipment that had built up in boxes and cupboards over the years. We amassed a trailer full of rubbish and recyclables. I think it as a bit emotional for the folks but we just had to do it and it was done with respect.
Those mad children plunged in to the surf like it was actually warm. The day was hot but the surf was freezing. Nic seems to have got the hang of boogie boarding first up which was impressive to us and great fun for him. Full on weekend but great. I hit a busy week with my eyes hanging out of my head and am still suffering. Book group didn't go so late but we got stuck in 'post fireworks' traffic so still a late night. With some scary stuff at work too, I am not sleeping well which is just not great. I have a 6am date with the airport on Friday so am expecting the weekend to be quiet...yeah right.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What makes you happy?

If you click on the photos you get some really lovely detail. Nature - can't beat it

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fantastic Weekend

This weekend was like a breath of fresh air. Lovely Jasmine was in town for two short days and it was wonderful having her and her energy in the house. It was wonderful being a full family for a couple of days. the weather was on our side so we were able to do lots of things. Saturday's list

  • Great food and old friends at the Lyttelton Market
  • Family dinner and delicious food
  • Playing on the computer and finding out all kinds of interesting stuff
  • Rhubarb and ginger clafoutis

On Sunday we headed for the beach and lying on the warm sand was such a wonderful release. I thought I was coping with work stress really well with no pains in my chest but lying on the sand and listening to the sounds of people playing and waves gently turning, released something which I am assuming was pent up stress. Good timing for a sign. Other good things on Sunday

  • Mother and dad came over to the beach too, so great for them to see Jasmine

  • First swim of the season - Nic and Jonty, not me

  • Fantastic Cumberland sausage sandwiches

  • Visiting Vanessa at her gorgeous new business, The Complete Garden in Hornby. You must visit this store...stunning

On Monday we headed over to Taylors again knowing that we all needed the chill out time. The Southerly wind that was hammering the city barely touched the bach so we were baking in the sun - well under the brollies. So what was good about this day? Well, everything but here is a list of the highlights

  • Spending time with Kim and the children on the beach

  • Watching Jonty sprint to Black Rock to see the Southern Right Whale in the was really cool

  • Watching that mad child of mine jumping waves for one hour straight...the water was freezing and he thought he could stay in until he turned blue...

  • Stunning dinner with more delicious ingredients from the market

What a great weekend. The only down side was getting up for work this morning and the absolute state of the house. Small problems really

Monday, October 15, 2007

On the road again

After a very ordinary weekend I was thrilled to be on my bike again today. After a week of wetness I was absolutely gagging to haul my bike out. I am no hero so don't bike in the rain. For the first time in ages, the prevailing easterly was a whisper and I enjoyed roaring along keeping up with the lights on the one way system.

Had a fab day in the garden on Saturday and went over to Ruth's for dinner and had a lovely smoked chicken salad and a Villa Maria Chardonnay. Yum. Nic used his new gardening tools sent by Granny Phil which he loved and I must say I found useful as they are teeny and fit in the tricky bits that are hard to get at. Marie-Anne visited from Timaru after visiting her gorgeous new nephew. Sorry MA, I just can't run to a trip to Hawaii before Xmas. I really tried to get the numbers to work for me but it is not a goer. Bummer about that. Sunday was a dullish day at home hanging out and doing crafty things and cleaning out shelves and boxes. Popped out and visited Granny and Grandad and had a brief visit from Alex and the boys but overall a pretty low energy day. It was the rain. I am ready for summer now. Some days are just like that.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Blog therapy

I can't believe I wasted my 100th post on a boo hoo about the rugby. The reason I started this blog was to celebrate the really good things in my life so this entry is me deviating from the bloody rugby and chatting about some good things that have been happening lately.The family assembled at the bach a few weekends ago to farewell our faithful plum tree. Farewell is a romantic term meaning cutting it down, heaving it all down the hill on to trailers and getting very sweaty. I took a quick last minute photo of Nic and Olivia together under it. We have another photo of my mother standing next to the tree when she was a child and with her being 6 months off 70, I am guessing the tree was pretty old. We spent years in the shelter of that tree. Afternoon sun baking the concrete through the leaves. Rainy days sitting out under the tree smoking cigarettes or getting some air. Squishing the plums under foot as you scrambled to get to the outside loo in time. Getting hit on the head by plums when it was really windy. Every Autumn we swept up the hundreds of yellow leaves and early spring we skidded on the rotting ones fallen over winter. Now the bach is open to the elements, especially the afternoon sun, the gusting nor wester and the rare southerly rain storm. It will be interesting to see how we get on without the old plum tree.Today we had our first family bike ride where we all had our own bikes. Nic on his new red machine and us on our old red machines. We had a fab time biking round Hagley Park, both north and south. On the return journey we popped in the to the Arts Centre to get a muffin for lunch and headed back to the car in the gusty nor wester. Although not at all onerous, we did have fun and this bodes very well for future rides. Alas, there was grazing and tears but nothing too dire. We stopped in the Helipad in the park to play with our rocket balloons which was a hoot and then we watched some young girls practising softball. Nic also got sprayed by the Peacock Fountain.

After our ride we headed back to the airport for the second day in a row to watch the planes as it was really windy and we love watching them fly sideways and bump about. Funny aren't we? Saw heaps - AirNZ, JetStar, Pacific Blue, Emirates and a Chatham Is plane. Enought plane spotting.

Ahh that feels better; who cares about the bloody rugby?

This is the very last time...

I invest any emotional energy into the All Blacks World Cup ....I JUST CAN'T STAND the disappointment.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wowed by WOW in Welly

At last, I have made it to the World of Wearable Arts awards and it was worth every cent of getting there. I still wish I had experienced the Nelson WOW but my inaugural show was amazing. Both Liz and I were a bit stunned with the whole thing as were most others I think. There wasn't a lot of clapping because there was so much to see that you had to really concentrate. It was intense and theatrical and REALLY loud and fun and lovely. I loved it.

The winner of three or four sections, and the ultimate winner, this was pretty wonderful. They way the costume moved when the model walked was brilliant.

Liz and I had a great weekend hanging out together shopping and wandering about. I didn't buy much ...only presents for Nicholas...but I loved watching Liz buy gorgeous clothes. Wellington was teeming with well healed middle aged women shopping. The money in that place was palpable.

Winner of the Shades of White section...made from 550 m plastic corded strapping, acrylic, beads and material. The white section was beyond stunning and there were 20 great entries

We fitted in a quick visit to Te Papa after a delicious, value breakfast at Caffe Astoria, a Wellington 'place to be' in the city for Sunday breakfast.

Marie from Sumner library, who has always been very creative and capable in the art department recieved a commended for her first entry in the Pacific section. This is made from cable ties and blue plastic binding. Yay Marie

This is made out of wood veneer by a chap in Alaska. Won an award. Very cool.