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Monday, March 31, 2008

No greater proof!

For the person
who asked for photographic proof on our blog,
that I am utilising my study time wisely...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Role reversal

I know I wouldn't have survived back in the 'olden days'...In this family, it is K who knits (the closest thing I get to knitting needles, are chopsticks!), K who sews (buttons, hems, rips, waistcoats, basically anything he puts his mind to), K who cooks, cleans, irons, and puts bandaids on the kids. And I'm glad my boys are following suit - today, E & L both enjoyed the thrill of using a sewing machine (courtesy of the Grandies, since we definitely have never owned one). I was happy to see them being so domesticated and upskilling for their future spouses....and I think I like being a kept woman!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The eyes have it

Don't you love eyes?
I'm such a sucker for eyes, especially smiley eyes. And I love kids' eyes. They are so expressive, innocent, open, and unguarded. If only we could keep the windows to our souls, clear and transparent all our lives.

The Boys are Back in Town!

Remember that Thin Lizzy song from the seventies?? Well, the boys are both truly back in town.
Little Bear rolled in from Costa Rica late last night, and after sleeping in 'till almost noon today, was ready to eat. I watched him open the fridge and rub his hands with glee. He carefully selected all his favorite ingredients, found most of a baguette, and proceeded to make The Sandwich. I was asked to photograph the masterpiece before he tucked in ("Not me, Mum, the sandwich!") and ate the whole thing. He didn't even offer me a piece!
Its' a good thing I went grocery shopping this morning, now that we have two boys in the house again!
** As a follow up to my moaning and groaning about the weather yesterday, it snowed all morning today!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Vicarious liability!

Mt Maunganui @ the weekend
I love the colours and 'texture' of the ocean

Rush Hour at the Beach!

Ange of the NORTH…..your sunny days are coming! I am sure even the Land of the Great White cannot languish in winter forever…then the onus will be on you to post lots of summery photos so that I can vicariously enjoy your world, as I mosey through our share of grey, wet, and cold! Meanwhile, I’m making hay whilst the sun shines….. translated = posting summer photos whilst I legitimately still can!

I loved the beautiful colour and shape of the grape hyacinths and the cool perspective of the hail photos this morning. Isn’t the contrast and variation from opposite ends of the world, such a wonderful thing? Anyway, I felt like I needed to send you some 'warm' photos to uphold my vicarious responsibility (and to encourage you of "things to come"…..soooon)!

So This is Spring...

I spotted these grape hyacinths in the school garden this morning when I came in to do some work.

Hail on the deck. There was much more still to come!

The first week of Spring. Sounds nice, and there really have been some pleasant moments. However, let me complain for a moment. I want some sun! Warm sun! I'm getting a little tired of hearing about all the great weather Down Under, while here in the Great White North it still feels suspiciously like winter. Some parts of the country are still snowed under, complete with collapsing roofs!

Grrr. This morning I could see slight traces of blue through the grey clouds, but it was short-lived. For most of the morning, the hail pelted down like pouring rain. I had to shut the bedroom window (in its freshly painted frame!) because of the cold! Yet, in the gardens, there are those little moments of happiness (like the grape hyacinths), and some bushes are sporting fresh, tender, green leaves.

I guess that at this point, I'll have to experience the sun vicariously through Southern Ange. And Little Bear will arrive home from Costa Rica tonight, full of tales of heat and humidity, I'm sure. Maybe I'll cozy up to him and feel the warmth!

Those chipped window frames

Ange of the North...after hearing about your expertise with fixing window frames, I wonder if you could just zip over to NZ to help us with our window frames? One night last week, we happened to notice that someone had tried to jemmy open our bedroom windows, possibly with a screwdriver. I was at the other end of the house at about 9pm the night before, when I heard a series of sharp sounding noises. I got up to check my boys to see if they were having some wild, rabbit-chasing dreams in their sleep...but no, they were sleeping peacefully. So I wandered down to our bedroom and turned the light on. This probably gave the person/people on the other side of the window a bit of a fright, I imagine. After I had returned to the lounge, I heard only one other noise (presumably someone disappearing in a hurry!)....the crime investigator who dusted our windows for fingerprints was great to talk with. He looked at the holes and could tell us exactly how many attempts had been made with each gouge mark! Unfortunately, the only fingerprints were the ones we had left ourselves. Still, he did say, that usually fingerprints were left, only once a burglar had managed to lever open the window - needing their hands to climb in! I'm OK with an unlevered window and no fingerprints...

Once you finish all your painting of your window frames, I reckon you should relax.....a nice soak in the tub with a glass of merlot, some Swiss chocolate, a candle or two, and a good book. In fact, why wait till then? The window frames will keep!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Endless summer

Yesterday, the media was full of articles about the endless summer NZ has been having...After a great Spring, it seems as though we have had non-stop spectacular weather since about October 2007! And the experts tell us that even though the sun is rising later, summer hasn't officially ended...No, it would appear that El Nino is going to give us at least one more large patch of warm, sunny, 'summery' weather before we might be allowed to claim that Autumn is on its way. Hurray - over 4 months of summer and perhaps more to come! The meteorologists also tell us, that the onset of winter is likely to be a very quick one this year, given the prolonged summer. I think the farmers are ready!
I love these photos (taken by E!) - particularly the photo of the one luscious, ripe tomato hanging off the vine and bathed in the setting sun - it speaks to me of the lingering summer, the last days of a memorable season.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Today was a typical March day: cold, grey, and rainy. Yuck. No gorgeous outdoor photos for me, unlike my Friend in the South! This was a day to create. I began by painting the chipped and sad-looking window frame in our bedroom. I like to start a project that can be finished quickly. However, after the first coat, I realized that this will be a long and drawn-out job. Oil paint cannot be recoated after a couple of hours, and I'll have to resand it, too. That will have to be tomorrow. Oh well. We'll be sharing our room with drop cloths and paint paraphernalia for a few days.

On to happier things! I did complete my January photo-a-day book today. Yay! Now I have seven, with almost two more to make (as of March 31). My year of taking a picture every day began on July 1, and it's now 3/4 through. What will I do? I can't imagine not continuing, but we'll see. I'm sure that I can think of other wonderful projects to occupy my time!

Tomorrow I'm having a couple of friends over and I'll teach them how to make my little books. I love Spring Break!

The Daily Grind!

I thought I should dedicate this blog to The Gals....who look after my daily needs! More particularly, these "Gals" keep me accountable to daily (weekly?) morning exercise up and down 'the mountain'; ensure that I am well fed and well watered (decafe cappucino (double chocolate on top), with chewy fruit slice!); bring me up to date with 'happenings'; and keep me on the straight-and-narrow with much encouragement, support, and substantial irreverent disregard for my various pontifications. Everybody needs friends like these!

And though the speed or number of times we encircle the mountain may vary, or the make up of the group may change, there is one thing that remains certain - these Gals are really good at making sure I have my priorities right! Coffee first......all else follows!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dawn's cloak of colours

Although I can't profess to be up and about sufficiently often at dawn to be classed as a 'morning person', I do love those occasions when I am forced to be awake as the sun itself is struggling to unwrap it's night time blanket. This morning was no exception. With the onset of autumn, our mornings are just beginning to get lighter at a later hour. At 7am, the coolness of the dark meant that my boys were (uncharacteristically) still asleep! In fact, L proved so difficult to rouse that we only just stopped short of putting ice cubes down his pyjamas! Once awake however, lil L commented wistfully that one day he'd like to get up early enough to see the sun rise.....! Yeah right!!! By 8.15am'ish, my boys and I and our guest had walked 3.5kms into the heart of the city and were enjoying the morning bustle of the harbour. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the early morning hum of the city as it cranks into gear, ready for another new day. Maybe I should try another early morning start tomorrow......then again, my bed IS rather comfy!!!!!

Clean Windows!

After three days spent mostly in bed or lounging somewhere, I am officially up and about! Even though my throat is still quite sore, it is Time.
Today, I had lofty ambitions that involved cleaning all manner of things that never seem to get cleaned during the school year. Windows were at the top of the list. Do you ever get condensation running down the kitchen windows when you forget that something is on the stove and it boils unchecked for an inordinate amount of time? After a winter of that and other yukky stuff, I decided that today was the day. I managed to find a squeegee and went to work. How satisfying it was! I even took down the curtains from the patio doors and washed out all the grime from male fingers !
I had to admire the view of the Big Bear studiously working on his current paper with a clean window in front of him (hopefully we'll regain our kitchen/dining room table when he finishes it next week...)!
After the kitchen and dining room windows, it was time for the living room. Isn't it exciting! After removing all the wasp and fly carcasses from the window ledge (how on earth did we get so many??) and dusting the blinds, I washed the large window. And as I finished the last section, I stepped back, right into the tub of dirty water, and dumped it all over the carpet!
I think I'm finished my Spring cleaning now. Where did I put my book?

Sunday, March 23, 2008


"We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope!"
- Martin Luther King Jnr
I love Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

For me

Advice for Teen Travelers

My Little Joe arrived home safely from Costa Rica last night. Yay! It sure is great to hear all about his trip and to see his face again. He got some sun on his pale skin, and we're pretty sure he got even taller in just 9 days!
I've gleaned some wise advice from Joe's travel experience - thought I'd share it with you, just in case.
1. Take care of your stuff. Most of the time, anyway. Oops, Mum's camera got stolen. And where did that bank card disappear to?
2. Choose your souvenirs very carefully - they will be lasting reminders of your trip. After much thought, Joe picked a wooden snake and a machete. Probably to clear away the jungle in the back yard. By the way, a machete is just a tool, so you don't have to declare it as a weapon!
3. You can get those cigars for your dad, despite being under age. There will always be some nice American around to buy them for you. And make sure you don't declare them, either, when you come through customs. Especially since you're under 19!
4. Somehow, get your flight delayed. Your mum will remember to check before she goes to the airport, won't she?
5. When you get home, unpack immediately. Or at least, open your bag up and air things out. The hallway, right at the top of the stairs, is a good place to do this so your mum doesn't forget to clean it up.
6. You'll be tired, so get a good sleep. When you get up in the morning, decide what's most important to do first. Maybe sharpen that machete.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Good Food!

I had an amazing dinner out last night with my friend Joanne, who lives right downtown and across the street from the ocean. She knows all the greatest places to eat!
We went to a hip seafood restaurant and had our chef prepare a five-course dinner right beside us. The food just kept on coming, in a lingering kind of way, and each dish was accompanied by a different wine. My favorite dish was the grilled halibut on a bed of tomato sauce and black olives, with a crispy fennel chip. Wow! Whatever am I going to do for dinner tonight?
I'm going to the airport tonight to pick up Little Joe, who is traveling at this very moment from Costa Rica. Unfortunately, his teacher emailed me to say that his - my - camera (Canon A520)was stolen by a young man who was hanging around the church where they were working. I'm so very sad that I won't be able to see his pictures and help him make a photo show. Besides (although at the end of the day, it's just stuff), you know how I feel about cameras!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another day is done...

"If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And counting find one self-denying deed,
One word that eased the heart of him who heard;
One glance most kind that fell like sunshine where it went-
Then you may count that day well spent."
- George Eliot

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holiday Weekend!

It's still Monday here in the Great White North, and it's the first official day of my Spring Break! We spent the weekend without kids, as both the boys are in Costa Rica on two different mission trips. What a feeling it was to have two whole days without (almost) any obligations! Remember what it was like before kids? Hmmm, that's over 18 years ago for us!
After sleeping in, we went to bottle our batch of merlot at the wine store, renewed the car insurance, visited the scrapbook store for my copy of Ali Edwards' latest book (wonderful!), went to the Big Bear's favorite auto parts store to smell the tires (I humoured him), then Home Depot to gaze longingly at the power tools (I was along to manage the madness), checked out the boat launch at the gloomy looking river, then hung out at home napping and reading. On Sunday we had lunch with friends after church then loaded up on movies and treats. We had wine, cheese (Cambozola is my current fave), and olives and watched "The Jane Austen Book Club". More relaxing while the Big Bear toyed with the idea of working on his latest university paper.
It's not exactly an all-inclusive in Mexico, but I could get used to this life.

Sunrise at the beach

Reach up for the sunrise
Put your hands into the big sky
You can touch the sunrise
Feel the new day enter your life
- Duran Duran ("Reach up for the Sunrise")

Monday, March 17, 2008

Une Soiree Magnifique

After school on Friday, the last day of the term, we met my parents for dinner at a wonderful French restaurant to celebrate Mum's birthday. As you know, I love all things French, and food is no exception! I especially enjoyed hearing the kitchen staff speaking French to each other behind the counter.
It seems that some occasions are simply magical, and this was one of them. Maybe it was the place - this is the special restaurant where I last had dinner with Southern Ange last November, and said goodbye until who-knows-when. It could be that the four of us were simply happy to be together, and the fabulous food and wine made it even happier. Or, it might be that Spring Break had officially begun!!! Que les vacances commencent!
*It really irks me to leave out accents, but I can't seem to add them...
**You may have noticed that although we ate French food, the wine was from BC. It was great!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Here today, away tomorrow....


Typical rolling green hills en route to most places in New Zealand

Sweet Baby

Don't you think babies have the greatest hands?
My friend Jessica, whom I have known since she was her mother's pregnancy, and who was my teaching partner last year, became a mummy just three weeks ago. She brought the tiny boy in to school today (maybe now the grade four girls will leave me alone!) for us to duly admire, and admire, we did! I have to say that my gargantuan sons were never this small. Really.
Most of my grade threes commented in amazement on his tiny fingers and fingernails, and this was what I kept staring at, too. When my Little Bear was born, I thought that his hands were like stars.
Just wait, Jessica. this sweet baby will turn into a teenager, too!

Pond Life

At the pond....actually, a stream.

Cicada skins....crunchy!

Monarch Butterfly and Cicada skins

L and some of the classes from school are learning about water care and pond life. They tested the water quality, temperature, pH level, and had lots of fun trying to identify all sorts of weird and wonderful squiggly, wriggly, waterborne critters. Having seen how abundant the wildlife is with each scoop of water, I am exceedingly grateful for filtration systems and water that has been "dealt with" before it ends up in my cuppa! Sleep last night was punctuated with dreams of bloodworms, waterboatmen, skimmers, water snails, dragonfly nymphs, eels, other interestingly configured things with boggly eyes and thousands of legs, and lots of mud...

Thursday, March 13, 2008


OK - what fruit is shaped like a donut, has the crunch of an apple, tastes like a peach, and fits into kids' lunchboxes with ease?
Why, the Flatto of course!
Call me ignorant....but I'd never heard of these fruit. Apparently, Flattos have been around for donkey's years, but have only recently made it into Kiwifruitland. Time for a flatto.....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Impromptu Party

Whew! My report cards are finished and life can begin again. I took Little Joe to the airport at an ungodly hour yesterday morning, and he is now completing his first full day in Costa Rica with his class. I was planning to come home today and flake out. Maybe I would start making my next photo-a-day book. Or should I clean up my extremely messy house? The greatest thing was that there was a choice, and whatever I chose to do, it would be relaxing!
Little Bear came to me after school and asked if we could drive two of his friends home. To our house. I was mortified to think of them seeing my house in its current condition, but at some point in my reportcard-induced delerium, I had apparently told him that he could have some friends over. Little did I know that four more friends were also on their way! So much for my quiet evening. The kids played Settlers of Catan in the living room and then devoured three huge Costco pizzas. Their laughter and talk filled the whole house and I was smiling! Despite my initial embarrassment, it was so nice to have a houseful of great kids.
It turns out that they had come particularly to say goodbye to Little Bear, as he also leaves for Costa Rica tomorrow evening. Just imagine: two boys away, Big Bear at work, and peace for me next week at home!!
And I promise to clean the house!

School Camp

Exhausted water slider

Er...oooops...whose child was that?!
(one of the many casualties from the overhead Flying Fox !)

Waingaro Hot Springs

Alright guys....who knows how to reverse...?

A marvellous time was had at school camp. And the stories keep flowing....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On picking flowers....

"Teachers who inspire, know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers." ~Author Unknown
Saw this quote and thought I'd share it with a wonderful teacher who has dealt with a few thorny ones! Happy Report Writing!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Snowmobiling Tragedy

My brother, Tim, loves snowmobiling as far off the beaten path as possible. In February, he was near Keystone Mountain, in the area of Revelstoke BC, when an avalanche was triggered right above him. Amazingly, he was able to get out of its path with one second to spare thanks to one little switch he had left turned on. However, one of the men in his group was buried. They were able to locate him with his beacon and dig him out, roughly 8 feet below the snow and his snowmobile. Sadly, after 2 1/2 hours of CPR and mouth to mouth, they know that he was gone. Many tears were shed and the exhausted group had a 2 hour ride ahead of them in the dark in order to get out of the area. I am so thankful that Tim came home to his family that night. If he hadn't been listening to the many little cautions he experienced that day, which I am certain were the voice of God, there would have been two bodies in the snow.

Check out the slideshow on the right (click on it for a better view) for some amazing photos of Tim on some of his trips, and a few taken on the day of the tragedy.

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