Thursday, May 29, 2008
Watching the movie made me think about Christmas, because it takes place during the Christmas season. What does Christmas make you think of? Decorated trees... snow - or rain... the smell of pine... candles... gifts... shopping... good food... coziness... family... the Christmas story... the census... Yes! The census! Remember? Caesar Augustus declared a census all over Judea, which is why Mary and Joseph ended up in the Bethlehem Maternity Ward!
In honour of Christmas, which was just over 6 months ago (exactly half a year!!), I am declaring a census, too! Although it probaby won't bring me any tax money (unlike Caesar), I want to know how many ange2ange friends we have, and where in the world they hail from.
So, Dear Reader, I am requesting that you leave an official comment below - I already know that most of you have the same name (Anonymous!!), but where are you?
Please click on the comment button and leave us a message!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Looking over the gate at the wildlife...
It was the monkey bars that made the penny drop.
I was watching my students play outside; for some reason, they all wanted to swing on the monkey bars. They went around and around, laughing, climbing, and turning upside down.
That's when I came to the horrible realization.
If I were stranded on a cliff and could save my life by crossing a gulf on monkey bars, I don't think I could do it. I might get a few feet across, and then... I shudder to imagine the scene.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I'm not sure what these blue things are, but I really like them (leave me a comment if you know!). The sad thing is that they don't last very long; only a few weeks.
Isn't this pretty? I have no idea what it is, but it's a very invasive ground cover. I just ripped out a whole bunch from one side of the garden. I do, however, love these blossoms that stand up tall and then are gone by June.
Lily of the Valley! Mmmmm, they smell so pretty! Unfortunately, they're already on their way out.Rhododendrons are not my favorite; they don't look very nice through most of the year. However, they put on a nice show in the spring.
This is not only time for the flowers to return. Other, more horrific things, take up residence in my garden and mock my futile attempts to oust them. Here are three of the worst culprits:
The dreaded dandelion. Do they grow Down Under? On the weekend, we did a lot of gardening, but somehow, this one survived the lawnmower! They don't care whether it's lawn or garden; they'll go anywhere. It's too bad the dandelion is a weed. A green field full of bright yellow ones actually looks really happy!
I'm sure this one has a name, but I don't know what it is. It really likes certain areas of my garden and flourishes there. It can get quite tall, too.
This is the big grandaddy of weeds. It invades my whole garden. No, my whole yard! Front, back, side, everywhere. The morning glory is more invasive than anything I've ever met, and it multiplies by sending long roots deep under the ground and then a new vine pops up. The boys are convinced that they come from our neighbours and travel under the fence, but I suspect that it's the other way around. Even though Little Bear carried out a morning glory mission on the weekend, I found plenty of it today already winding its way around other plants.
It is a huge job to keep a garden, and I freely and sadly admit that I don't do a very good job of it. When I manage to have half a day on the weekend, where on earth do I begin? It's overwhelming. I'm always so impressed by my sister-in-law, Christine (yes, you!!), who juggles work and kids, and still manages to keep her garden (and house) looking beautiful. Sigh. Still, I love to see all those sweet little flower faces returning to me every year.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
3. Nutella - Little Joe's favorite food! He comes home from school and eats toast and Nutella every day. I'm sure my mum would never have considered buying Nutella when I was growing up!
4. My Riedel stemless wine glasses - My friend Vikki from Yorkshire bought these for me, and I just love them. Wine definitely tastes better! I advise drinking a good red from these glasses every day, because it will help prevent Alzheimers. Kind of like taking vitamins.
5. Mmmm.... My favorite Poulain dark chocolate! It really is good for you, especially with a high cocoa content like 86%. Because it's so 'healthy', I often have a bit before bed. What a treat!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Where do these particular bears go to have fun?
To the music shop! To play guitars!
Little Bear decided to try out a banjo this time, but he informed us that soon, he will be acquiring a mandolin so that he can sound like Seals and Crofts. His latest instrument is the ukulele, which he adores!
A few years ago, we bought an Eagles DVD. The first song was Hotel California, and featured the band members sitting in a row along the stage playing their guitars. I decided then and there, the first time I watched it, that my sons would learn to play the guitar and become the Eagles. Now, about four years later, they still don't look very much like Don Henley, Glenn Frey, or Timothy B. Schmidt, but they are definitely playing their guitars! I love to listen to them. In fact, at this very moment, Little Bear is sitting behind me and playing.
Start a band.
I think of her and groan
I shouldn’t use this tone
But I just want to moan!
She makes our job so tough
I think I’ve had enough
Her life is just so rough
She’s really up the duff.
She’s spawned so many theories
She has so many worries
Her life, a string of flurries
Could do with some good curries!
I’m finding theorems boring
My books I should be poring
Assignments, I’m ignoring
My dinner, I am thawing.
I’m glad Joan is fictitious
Her life is just so vicious
I’ll write something officious
And make it sound delicious!
My books I can’t postpone
I think I’ve done my drone
My thoughts I have to hone
Back onto poor old Joan.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Vineyard has as its entrance, an architecturally designed building aptly named “The Glasshouse”....because that is exactly what it is. A building made entirely of glass on all of its sides and roof – built to maximise on sunshine and the all round view. The building itself is built over the top of a waterfall (which flows down from a pond). It’s a stunning setting – the glass wall facing the pond and vineyard has large moveable panes of glass which can be lowered so that the view is not obscured, you can hear the birds and ducks, feel the breeze, and feel like you’re able to enjoy the outdoors from indoors! Patrons can sit on comfy settees or at tables arranged for the view, and tuck into a platter of cheese and some of the local wine. Alternatively, you can take your wine and platters outside and sit at rough hewn tables amongst the oaken barrels and the beauty of the landscape. Mmmmmmmm!
One of the things the vineyard is known for, is its Sculpture Trail. The Trail is a 2 km walk through native forest, over farmland, on boardwalks and over tracks etc. K and I meandered through the sunshine at our leisure, admiring the art and the views. We spent nearly 3 hours just moseying about…..and taking photos to our heart's content! We really liked some of the sculptures, whilst others left us wondering what the artist had had for breakfast when he/she was creating their art!!!
Interpretation of the sculptures above -
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. The sculptor's subject of nests and eggs suggest new beginnings, growth, and fertility, while the use of grape prunings gives new life to a discarded material, but also hints a environmental disintegration.
2. Recalling young ears listening to the sea, the text creates a sense of place, listing words relating to the sculptor's experience of the sea coast.
3. Cast leadcrystal water lillies respond to life's organic processes - the changing light, wind movement, and refracted light from the water.
4. A quiet metallic form, the disc may act as a lens to focus the viewer's attention on the surrounding environment and perhaps hint at primeval microscopic life or more expansively, recall the larger themes of life, death, and eternity.
Well, enough said about the weekend past.
I think it is time to move back into the present……well....perhaps, tomorrow!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I hadn't counted on taking afternoon naps because of this wretched cold, so I didn't accomplish all my goals ( Five on Friday) . Alas and alack. The marking and scrapbooking went by the wayside...
However, I did achieve something else: the Rainbow Photo Challenge! I took lots of pictures today when we were out shopping. A word of advice for future rainbow photographers: Home Depot is a really great source of orange stuff!
I think it turned out quite well! I wonder how Jo did on hers...
And now, after some serenading from my lovely son (Ooh, Baby, I Love Your Way by Peter Frampton), I will take myself off to bed.
In fact, we ate non stop, with breaks….for proper meals!
And then Jack and Jill came rolling home…..
No, not quite!
Monday, May 19, 2008
K & I zipped away together this weekend. The Grandies were wonderful and looked after the boys. E was at a Kids’ Leadership Conference and L was very happy to lap up all the ‘dotingness’ lavished upon him by his lovely grandparents!
The Matakana Coast was simply beautiful. And the weather was amazing – perfect! In fact, some of the locals were saying that the weather this weekend was better than it had been all summer (even given that it’s been nothing short of amazing this summer!). There was so much to see, taste, experience, and do…..and yet, we seemed to have all the time in the world. It’s hard to explain. And naturally, the company was superb!
But I’m a bit stumped as to where to begin. This may have to be a multi-part posting, spread over a little while! As we drove northwards, our eyes enjoyed the visual feast of some spectacular countryside. K didn’t know where we were going as this was my year to organise things. He was on full sensory alert though, and the antennae never stopped fossicking for clues as to where we were heading!
Our first stop was Goat Island, a marine sanctuary with clear blue waters and a huge amount of sealife within its 800km range. In my snorkelling days, I recall standing on the edge of the beach with just my toes in the water, and blue Maomao (cute fish) were literally swimming around my feet. I was too scared to hop in lest I squashed a fish, there were so many of them! You only have to snorkel into the marine reserve and you can be surrounded by schools of huge fish, many of whom are substantially older than myself! And yet, fishermen will tell you that they can sit right on the boundary of the marine sanctuary, and get not a bite the whole day….clever fish!
Our snorkelling gear still in storage, we opted for the ‘above water’ option this time. The marine reserve has a glass bottomed boat which is perfect for viewing the sealife in the crystal clear waters. Anyway, with it being a working day, K and I and one other couple had the privilege of having the boat to ourselves on a perfectly calm day. The skipper was a mine of information and was obviously enjoying the opportunity to sail out on a perfect day. He knew all the right spots and was so interesting to listen to. We even sailed us into some huge caves in the boat, and patiently gave us much more time than on a normal trip. Although we didn’t see any orcas this time, the skipper told us of a memorable occasion when an orca swam under the glass bottom of the boat and flipped onto its side to view the boat’s occupants through the glass! Apparently, it was a general consensus that the orca was probably thinking, “Hmm...Canned food?!”.
After our trip on the boat, K dreamily confessed, that if he had life all over again, he would probably love to be a Marine Biologist! I wasn’t sure if he was getting his triggers confused….some of those Snappers looked rather delicious!! And as for the crayfish…With it being a Marine reserve, there is no fishing allowed within the boundaries. However, there were many stories about how the well-stocked ‘seafood supermarket’ proved too much of a lure to some…..
We had the better part of our afternoon wandering along the beaches at Goat Island, to our heart’s content. The sun was beautiful and warm, and bar a few snorkellers and picnickers, we had the place to ourselves. It was simply idyllic.
And now, you’ll have to wait for the rest…..
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
If you have a holiday this weekend, I hope it's a good one. If not, make yourself a mini holiday by taking a few moments to breathe and smile at something.
Special greetings to Southern Ange and K on their time away, to Mum and Dad kicking back in Paradise, and to Tim and Lea getting ready to sell their house!
Friday, May 16, 2008
I grew up and amazingly enough, so did my brother! And wonder of all wonders, he managed to overcome his deep suspicion of touching anything that had been close to anyone else's mouth! (At least, I think he did...) He fell head over heels in love with a beautiful blonde from Denmark. And she seemed to like him, too! Enough to leave her amazing family and Danish culture and move to this uncouth country.
Lea is my sister-in-law. She is an incredible woman. I don't know what it is about her, but she is the person that you want to tell all your personal secrets. She somehow oozes compassion and empathy; even tough, unsociable cops end up having heart to heart conversations with Lea. And she always shares her faith.
Everything that Lea does is beautiful. I guess that's why she is an interior designer. She has a knack for making a room look great. Whenever I want to paint, I consult her on the colour. And if you ever want to know about anything, ask Lea. We're not sure how, but she always seems to know.
The other great thing about Lea is that she's fun to be with. We laugh a lot. And there's always so much to talk about! I always knew that I wanted a sister! The funny thing is that many people think that we really are sisters. One man actually thought we were twins. (That might have been because of the drinks he'd downed....)
Today is Lea's birthday. ( She got an addition to her Pandora bracelet.) I wish her a year of happy growth and joyful surprises as she continues to live from her heart. Love and blessings to you, Lea! xox