Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Perfect day

As I melted into bed on Saturday night I felt as though I had had the perfect day. No singular element was responsible but a combo which turned out to be a winner. The sum of the parts turned out to be the magic potion1. Sunshine
(Brighton Beach Dunedin)

2. Beach

3. Family

4. Friends

Dinner with Simon and Nicky at Filadelphios...nice

5. No decision making, work talk, pressure or housework of any description. In all a very very simple recipe for a perfect day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No open home this weekend!

Southern greetings from sunny Dunedin this Labour Weekend. We are totally chilling out at the Adrian Motel. Taking it easy. We had a perfect run down the island yesterday with an enjoyable one hour cuppa in Timaru with Marie-Anne and friends. Nice. Quick bite in Oamaru and then off to Dunedin where we unloaded the car at the Adrian and then headed off to see Jasmine and Dave. We were greeted by a lovely sunny and sheltered backyard and smiling happiness. Nic and Dave discovered a mutual love of computer games and the 23 year old and 6 year old bonded big time over the Dave's baby, 'Arena for men'. No not a porn site for saddos but a labour of love none the less. Dave has spent months writing this game and it is stylish and stunning. Nic was a great audience as he asked very useful questions and totally got the whole thing. I was geekery in the flesh.

We spent the rest of the evening at a yummy Japanese restaurant before edging our way through the middle aged crowd of Otagoan Topp Twin fans before landing a plate of desserts that would rival any every eaten. Pannacotta and creme brulee to die for. Lemongrass, ginger, vanilla and white chocolate amongst the deliciousness. Had to get that boy Nic off to bed as he was getting a little hysterical. Fantastic to see Jasmine again after 18 months gap.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Funky shoe day

A new diversion - Tuesday is Funky Shoes Day at work

My contribution. I adore these shoes - pale green and silver leather shoes (upper and sole)made in Spain....mmm and they make my feet look skinny, loving that . Not sure if you know this about me but I LOVE shoes, really

Check out the others

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just finished reading #23

Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Mmmmm, not sure where to start. I was recommended this to read by an online 'friend' and knew that it was a highly popular book with the bookgroup and Oprah crowd. As with all titles I commenced reading with an open mind. I like Liz's style of writing and being a writer you would expect a good range of tools in her writing tool kit.

As a book of self discovery I was a little bored with Liz's inner monologue, however, as a travel book I did enjoy it. I read some comments by some less charitable people that were mean about the self obsessed nature of the book. Hello, what do you think self discovery is about? It is about being selfish and self focused. Meditation, spirituality etc are all about that. However, the outcome of this is, effectively, better world citizens who, through their own self knowledge, are nicer kinder and more understanding people. In this world you can't have too much of that. So, I tolerated all of that and picked up a few bits and bobs along the way that might be useful.

I didn't LOVE the book and I didn't HATE it and am pleased I read it. I enjoyed being in Bali again and those passages brought back good memories of a trip Alex and I took there a loooong time ago. I also enjoyed re-visiting Rome. So, good on you Liz, on your journey and judging from the uptake of the book, lots of others enjoyed the journey too. It might be that some of us thought, how fantastic that you had an outlet to share your 'terrible experiences' and being able to escape the world to sort you shit out was a great luxury. So, in closing I would say this text had a bit of a polarising effect on me and many others it would seem. mmmmm. Thanks Jus, for the recommendation.
p.s. they are making a film of it staring Julia Roberts. I think I would go and see that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This and that

What do this

...and one of these have in common?

both are items I won at the LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) conference in two separate spot prize draws. YAY!!

A $90 bottle of bubbles should come in handy if we ever sell our house. And the two drawer filing cabinet (white with dark blue drawers) is now in the pool of office furniture which my team manages at work. Couldn't bring myself to scarf off with that in these times. Will come in handy for someone one day.

The funnest thing is that I only attended the conference for one day and was only involved in chairing one session and allowed to only spend time in the exhibition hall. All of which was great, and winning stuff is a total bonus. I also caught up with heaps of people from around the library world, had some great conversations, saw some kick arse RFID technology, AquaBrowser (discovery software), LibraryThing for Libraries (check that out), saw my carpet friend Richard who is just adorable, my mate Phil from Aussie AND I got to host Jessica Dorr from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a few hours (hooning around in my car looking at libraries and laughing a lot.) And on that journey was also Claudia Lux from Germany, the outgoing President of the International Federation of Library Associations. Another stunningly interesting and wise person. Oh joy. The library geek in me is revived and a tiny bit overstimulated.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just finished reading #22

House of Special Purpose - John Boyne

Due to a couple of lengthy plane rides (prop plane to Rotorua and back) this week and a stint or two in bed with a total 'man cold' I was able to read this book in double quick time. I would have to say that if I were reading it at normal speed I might not have made it to the end. Having read 'The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas' I had very high expectations of this one but it fell a bit short for me.

It was easy to read and engage with the characters but I found it a little slow and not compelling. However, one day I re-read the blurb and spotted the word 'saga' and had an aha moment. So, it was supposed to be long and detailed and with some superfluous passages of blah blah. What I did get out of it was a yearning to get out the history books and learn about the Romanovs and the last hoorah of the Russian Royal family. By the end of the book I was totally enveloped in the story and did end up having a long and involved discussion with Jonty about recent Russian history which I guess is what reading really should be about. I enjoyed the main character and the fact that he spent years working in the British library in the olden days was interesting. I also warmed to the other characters and really want to get to grips with that bastard Rasputin. So, I wouldn't say you MUST read this book but I wouldn't walk past in on the library shelf and not take it home for a ride.

Oh yes, I love being introduced to historical events through fiction, and I do believe there have been many other books written about the house of special purpose so one day soon I might get them out of the library and see what others have to say about it all.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Asparagus tart and crunchy salad

As I was cleaning out the fridge tonight vainly looking for the source of a really ugly smell I devised a delicious dinner with the fix'ns I came upon. I just had to share. Excuse the photos. I am no food photographer.

Asparagus Tart
Filo pastry and butter

  • Parmesan - grated (about a handful)
  • Feta - leftovers
  • Light cream cheese - a spoonful or two
  • Lemon - some juice and some rind
  • Rocket - some
  • Pepper - fresh ground
  • Mint - a twist

Mix all those ingredients together and line along the filo in a pie dish...I used a very small one. On top, layer asparagus and use the butter from the filo to brush over. Cook and enjoy. I thought it a little salty but this is easily remedied by the choice and volume of cheese. The blend of mint, lemon, cheese and asparagus was stunning.

Crunchy salad
Knowing this was going to be a rich concoction, I threw together a crunchy salad which was better than I could have imagined

Mixed together with some lemon juice, mint and a touch of good quality mayo I assemble

  • Celery - about 4 sticks
  • Granny smith apple chopped
  • Red onion 1/4 - finely chopped
  • Fennel bulb - sliced
  • Lebanese cucumber - de-seeded
  • Feta - a little left over slice or two crumbled...
  • Yum and yum and yum some more.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Week in reverse

It has been a really busy social week around here lately. It has been a very welcome diversion from endless house stuff I must say. In reverse....
500 Days of Summer. Popped out last night with Alex to catch this little gem. As Kate Roger said on 3Film, it is a 'a romance for real people, not just for believers in fairy tales'. It was appealing in its realness, no soft lighting or romantic swells of music. The soundtrack was fab. The characters were flawed and 'whats her name' the lead character was a bit naughty although forgivable when you think back to some of your own romantic misdemeanours. I also really enjoyed the depiction of LA as a real place and not Hollywood Boulevard. Loved my white chocolate and raspberry sorbet ice cream too.
Cricket - we have now entered the world of Saturday sport and much to my enjoyment I got to sit on the grass in the sun watching excited boys and girls learn cricket skills. topped off with a sausage in bread and a very excited child, I was a happy mummy.

Cookai - two nights in a row I got to taste the delights on offer at Cookai Japanese restaurant. John from Greymouth and Rachel texted on the road over to see if an early tea was a goer. Having just spent the day at home with Nic and his cousins I was ripe for an early evening outing. Having spent a very enjoyable evening at Cookai the night before with Karen, I was delighted to be able to suggest a well priced, authentic Japanese restaurant to my friends. Yum.

Kid fun - Taking annual leave to look after your child is one of the delights of full time work and parenthood. Long gone are the days of lying on beaches, shopping trips to Sydney and indulgence of any kind. I am not complaining. I had a great day hanging out with Nic, Olivia and Ben. I especially enjoyed our trip to the park where we played on the half basketball court with Anna and Karen who are in town and came to visit.
Birthday dinner (s) - Jonty turned 49 this week. Two days before the international day of the Older Person. Something I could have got a bit of fun out of but chose not to for some reason. Prior to his actual birthday we went out for another early family meal to the Belgium Beer Cafe and enjoyed and evening of delectable mussels, meat and potatoes in various forms. Great for my ever increasing waist line, NOT! Pudding too-creme brulee. I am a disgrace to all weight conscious women. Friend catch ups - afternoon play and chat with Steph, Frances and George. This included a bike ride on the road. Nic's first. Well done mate, very brave. Also on Sunday was a shared roast lamb dinner with stunning Jamie Oliver heart attack on a plate potato dish with Anne and Tim. Preceding that, on Saturday night, we had a family birthday celebration with Jonty's lot. Again, restraint played no part in the evening. We had spicy lamb and filo pie, pavlova, Paris breast, home made focaccia and wine. Lots. I know I gained a kilo last week. The eating was profound. However, the good cheer and time with friends and family far outweighs the extra tyre around my middle...almost...eek.
Back to reality. House cleaning and open homes.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


I always feel extra sad when our little Pacific Islands experience a devastating event. With so many people with family in the islands and everyone in NZ going there for holidays, to me the islands feel part of our Pacific family. These countries are also so low in funds and resources that you just want to jump on a plane and do something to help. One of the devastated resorts in Samoa is where Jonty and I stayed on our way home from Europe in 2001. Coconuts Beach resort is very small and friendly and there we had the best ever fresh tuna sandwiches every day for our lunch. We spent the whole three days in the gecko shaped pool right by the beach. I spent my 38th birthday there. Now this is what it looks like. I hope no one died there although I suspect they did. To me this picture represents the devastation of the places and the people in Samoa. Can't imagine how terrible this is for people in NZ with families on the islands. Too sad.