Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretty hard to miss - you'd think

I took my Big Swiss Ball to work today as it's flatness was making some of my exercises difficult, and we have a pump at school - and a teacher who is handy with the pump. So handy he emailed me this afternoon to say he'd taken the ball and pumped it up for me while I was in one of my many meetings today. Very grateful I was.
At the end of the day do you think I could find it? I mean where does a big ball like this hide? I had nearly given up hope when I took a last chance look in the Principal's office and found it there nestled beside her own. (Just deleted an inappropriate comment about the duo of large spheres)
I squeezed it into my car and unloaded it back home, where it sat on the couch (as in the photo) making it's presence known, reminding me of my Thursday Exercise Obligations.
Somehow though, my tired brain talked me out of doing my circuit after the dog walk, so my punishment is that I need to be up early to do it in the morning. Oh balls.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gross Factor Alert #2

I am trying to stave off my fourth bout of Iritis, or Iridocyclitis, which can, and has twice for me, develop into Acute Anterior Uveitis. It's basically the inflammation of the eyeball. Can get very bad. Quite a sight for sore eyes (hehehe). And has previously appeared when I have felt stressed, which is why it's all a bit of a mystery as I am actually in quite a good state of mind!

Fortunately the last time I contracted it, the ophthalmologist had vision enough (badoom, CHING!) to give me a script for extra treatment, so I have been dropping the drops in - possibly over-zealously - and will hope for the best overnight.
Don't know what hurts more when it blows up, the eye or the specialist bills. Actually, maybe the treatment. The first time I had it, I had steroids deposited in my eye... via injection. Bleuck.
But staying in the positive frame of mind and telling myself I have caught it early... so it should be looking better in the morning (Oh STOP!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Think Positive!

After staying up too late on a school night last night, my aging body was not in the mood for a training session tonight.
However I am trying to keep my mind in a pretty positive state this year, and so I decided before I got to Leanne's that it would be GOOD.
It wasn't.
It was GREAT.

The photo? I know I posted a similar one to FB in the weekend. It's a phone shot of the newly erected flag pole at Fothergills on Mimiha. Not particularly related to this post, but I like it! And I choose it. Like I chose my attitude tonight.
Because I can.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ahhhh, Nostalgia...

So on the way back from The Family Celebration today, I took the opportunity to kill two more nostalgic birds with one stone, and stopped in Tauranga to visit my first place of full-time employ, Otumoetai Primary, where my sidekick of many years and super-duper friend Zara is now DP.
Now although we love each other dearly, Zara and I really are quite different, and we both find it amusing that some people find us so similar. We had one parent at our previous school who could never figure out which one of us was which ("Are you Ms McIndoe or Ms Fothergill?"). And she wasn't even blonde - I think it was just that we were!
We were doubly amused when Zara regaled a tale on Sherwood Street crossing last week - a parent stopped and told Zara she reminded her so much of a teacher she used to have years ago here at Otumoetai Primary. Yes you guessed it, it was me. (How to make one feel ancient...)
It was fun and strange at the same time walking around the school. I mean it was eons ago that I was there and so much has changed, but no matter how long you are away from a place of significance (I was there 8 years), it still conjures up all sorts if weird feelings and memories.

The Bay of Plenty as a whole does that to me. I can't fully explain the feeling I have when I am there. I can only describe it as knowing it truly is my Turangawaewae. My body tells me that is ultimately where I belong. Maybe it's because it is steeped in memory, whereas Auckland is still very much my present; the 'place' is not yet under my skin.
But you never know, given time the memories I am making here may become eternal tattoos at some stage as well. After all, what REALLY maketh the memories? ...
He aha te mea nui 
O tenei ao? 
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata 
What is the most important thing in this world? 
People, people, people.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reflecting on a Great Day

Well at 8 am this morning it looked as though Mum and Dad's 50th anniversary celebration would be completely washed out. Heaviest rain I have seen in the longest time. Couldn't even see to the end of the once-was 'tennis court'. Mum even contemplated moving proceedings to the local hall.
But fortunately by late morning the skies had brightened and whilst the sun did not show itself, the rain stayed away and is only now reappearing as I write this. 
It was really good to see all of Mum and Dad's friends from the local area come along to celebrate with and support them, But best of all for me was seeing family that we don't often get to spend time with. Really there wasn't enough time today though. So we have made promises to maintain the contact, and to plan some get-togethers. I really hope we honour those commitments.
The above photo was actually taken by my uncle on my brother's camera so I cannot lay claim to it. I have made sure that I have 'stolen' all of his photos as well so I can have the full complement of memories to reflect on. 
This one is taken on the jetty of the lake at the bottom of the house. I think it's choice.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bloody Bewdy Boy

Thought I'd better do my post now before I get caught up in the meet and greet of uncles and aunts long not seen etc etc...
Came down to Matata in the rain accompanied by my 9 year old niece Megan today. She informs me her school is doing a "...'s Got Talent" show and that she is going to do a comedy routine. She's got her introductory joke off pat, to be delivered in a Scottish accent, and is formulating what the rest of the content may comprise.
One idea we spoke about was incorporating the 'Fothergill Vernacular".  Megan nominates 'goob' as one of 'our' words.  It's a derivation of '''good' and is generally followed by 'boy' as in 'gooboy', and was probably created by my Dad. As was 'Bloody bewdy boy'.

I am sure there will be more laughs to be had as the weekend evolves. And maybe even some tears - of the 'goob' kind...

Fothergills, out .

Friday, March 25, 2011

Things we look forward to

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while now - and this isn't the last time it'll be the subject of a blog post.
Big family shindig in my Turangawaewae, Matata, this weekend. Double celebration. Lots of friends and whanau we won't have seen for a while, and probably won't see again for another long while.
So I've wrapped the presents. For the recipients, I hope they are something to look forward to for you, too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A weighty issue

Took this pic of a paper weight at the end of the day today, navigating through a few apps I have on my iPhone with Viki, as she just has a new iPhone4 herself :) In this forum would prefer it without the instagram filter, but never mind. 

The issue of the day, or past 2 days, for me was around my own weight. Now I am intelligent enough to know that by density, muscle will weigh more than fat, and to expect weight loss to falter when you begin weight training. But to put on and retain 1 kg after 1 weight training session - come on! (I know, I know one should not stand on the scales every day blah blah blah, but - I do.) My common sense told me it was not 'real weight, but it does play tricks with your mind.

Thanks to google I now put it down to my poor muscles (esp quads) retaining fluid to repair themselves. Must be true because I was 600g lighter this afternoon than this morning, and that never happens. (hmmm a 45 min dog walk and my own circuit at home could have something to do with that?)
Scales and weight are funny things. It always fascinates me that you can 'lose' a kilo over an 8 hour sleep, and I can even be up to 1/2 kg less after a shower than before. Must melt it away lol.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How obvious?

You know how white bales stick out like the proverbial on a farm-scape?
That's what it feels like when you have a cold sore.
Am hoping all my remedies work to ensure it has disappeared before the weekend's family celebrations (and inevitable photos).
It's only wee at the moment, so here's hoping!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back in the Saddle #2

In Saturday's post I recounted how thrilling it was to have the opportunity to go horse riding again. Had a few twinges to remind me how long it had been since I had exposed my body to such an activity the next day, but nothing too serious. (Mostly caused by the shape of this saddle!)
Well I had my first proper workout with Leanne tonight. It's been a few years since I've pushed a few weights around too, and the body is definitely older as well. (Apparently my technique is still good though!)
I imagine that come the morning, there will be more than a few twinges to contend with...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Occupational Dialects

I have had two lessons today on jargon - one receiving and the other giving.
It's not until you are placed in the occupational world of another that you realise how much topic specific vocab is used, and how much you don't understand about what others do and say.

Our Leadership Team attended a course this morning - "Accounting for Non-Accountants" (I think this is a polite way of saying "Accounting for Dummies"). Very important knowledge to have in this day and age of self governing schools, but I must say, was a bit like chewing chalk for me. Funny though, that Lisa and I fell into wanna-get-it-right-teacher-pleaser roles. And I do feel like we came away with some new learning; some working knowledge of terms we may have heard but never fully understood before.

Tonight I had to deliver my 2010 Literacy Student Achievement report to our Board of Trustees. In order to make the message clear for Board members - all very intelligent folk - the jargon that I use in my everyday education life has to be demystified and explained. Stanines, summative and diagnostic testing, OTJs - oops no sorry, now OBJs...

Seems that English is full of occupational dialects.
My head is tired now so I can't think of a witty way to finish this off.
So... goodbye

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I always take home the best dog anyway

My FB friends will already know I had a really great day at the Tiki CKCS Club Ribbon Parade today. As mentioned in a previous post, these days are the least 'prestigious' competition days in the show world, but for my mind, they are always the most fun, even when you don't come away with a hoard of ribbons as I was so fortunate to do so today.

It is great to see people there with their beloved pets, to see kids competing, and to see ordinary dogs who are not yet, or are never destined to be, champions, having their turn in the limelight. Like my darling Hugo today. My shaggy little neuter boy with the coolest personality in the world took out Best on Parade.

But what I think I like most about Ribbon Parades compared to higher stakes All Breed and other Championship shows, is that attendees are generally nicer to each other. After 3 years on the dog show scene, albeit still very much a learner still, I am yet to get used to one exhibitor running down another's dog, or commenting on the judges decision. It's just not cricket to me.

For me, I am happy that in the knowledge that I always take the best dog home anyway, regardless of their adherence to the 'breed standard'. To have them acknowledged by someone in the know is a fantastic bonus. We are all equal in our love for our dogs. Judging should be left to the judges.

Obviously I did not take today's photo, as I am reluctantly in it. Coerced by the club President to step in front of the camera for a change!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Different Perspective

After so many years - bar one most excellent beach ride with Julie last year, and a short stint on a Speights promo horse - it felt good to be back in the saddle.
I had forgotten the different view of life and surroundings you get from being on horseback, which is a place I spent so much time growing up.
My mount Jack was an earnest young fellow; well behaved and keen to follow the pack mentality he had been taught. A far cry from the jiggedy (but cute) half shetland and the temperamental (but beautiful) half arab whom I enjoyed so many happy years riding.
That said Jack's gait threw me off a bit (no, not literally) when cantering, and actually made me realise I would need a few more rides to have the gung-ho confidence of old on horseback back again.
We could not have wished for a better day weather wise; a shame the tide spoiled our beach riding opportunity, but all in all an excellent day out.
Yes it felt good to be back in the saddle - also felt good to be out of it after three hours, and I am wondering what my own gait will be like tomorrow...

Friday, March 18, 2011


This little icon made me very happy today.
And that's all I have to say about that for now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The true meaning of Glee.

Big Doggie play-date at the Botanic Gardens today. I loved it. Hugo, Reilly and I (oh, and Amanda)  met Olley and Jake (and Mel, Cam and Kate) there after work. We also met some characters at the leash off area!

Leo the "retradoodle', (or goldendoodle - both bloody silly names if you ask me) a loopy puppy who looked bigger than his 5 1/2 months, was all legs and playfulness, with no sense of anyone else's personal space. Actually that went for the 2 Golden Retrievers Otto and Mitch too, who showered several if us with their post stinky-swim water shakes. Even Jake has the puppy wobbles still, doofing in to things and people.
We were also visited poolside by a small black poodle, another small bitzer and two enormous rottie/mastiff crosses.
It was a fun and amusing time for all. If you don't have a dog, or the pleasure of watching a dog at play, I do believe you are missing out. Dogs in their element define glee. And they all have a different way of expressing it. I think today the most gleeful pair were Olley and his new friend Leo. Olley, who had almost given up on the walk after 5 minutes, surely found his second wind as he and the young Leo careered around for ages. He also wins the most tenacious award; a little dog with a real big dog attitude.
Loved watching Jake - all burly on the outside, but still needing reassurance from his Mum, and being a kind of 'third wheel' engaging in parallel play with the other two mad runners.
As for Hugo and Reilly - not much dog interaction for them,. Their glee is sniffing on things and then peeing on them, and maybe eating some grass. Oh, and protecting me from the big dogs.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's the Alternative?

As a responsible dog owner, picking up dog poo and depositing it appropriately is a regular occurence on our regular walks. I have my 'bags on board' - the little blue plastic ones that are synonymous with many dog owners.

I have long been amused, and a wee bit perplexed, by the stickers that adorn out local bins, kindly advising pictorially how to collect dog poop, but mostly by the written proviso, as shown in this phone pic.

I mean, if the poo doesn't get from the ground to the bin by way of bag, how's it gonna happen? The mind boggles...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No sweat!

Lol it's an easy workout when the focus for the session is 'data gathering' and 6 mins on the treadmill!

Quickly snapped this as I left - sorry, not a particularly riveting post or pic!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Muscle Development

Well tomorrow I have my first Personal Training session. In a strange chain of events, my trainer Leanne is the one who barked this command.

Rather than join her boot camp, I have taken the route of less potential public humiliation, and chosen the one-on-one option. I think we will get on just fine, so long as she does not model her motivational techniques on Jillian from The Biggest Loser.  (This clip shows her in true form!) I hope she's more like my Vanessa was :)

Anyway the pic is of course mussels a different kind! I love mussels but somehow had never cooked them, so inspired by a meal at De Fontein last year and Masterchef Masterclass, I had a go. I think that leaving the butter out was the reason they lacked the flavour I would have liked (funny that), but they were... OK.

Anyway here's hoping the muscles of the other kind are OK this time tomorrow!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Showing the Love

My 3 canine boys had a lovely day today - a ramble at the Botanic Gardens in the morning, and fun in the sun with the Fourie family at Kauri Point Reserve this afternoon.

We met up because little Yandri is seemingly obsessed with my dogs after seeing clips and photos of them.

Here she is showing the love the way a 2 year old knows how!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For me?

Same spot as the photo taken on Sunday, again caught with my phone.

Would you believe that above the dogs' water bowl was a glass of white wine winking at me in the sun? Had they seen me coming?
Was this an extension of neighbourly goodness and thoughtfulness?

I did ask! But no...
(I think the lipstick on the rim was a giveaway anyhooo :D)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Relatively Speaking

Snatched this pic with my phone when I went to pick up my weekend houseguest today (Stirling).

These are my Reilly's sister Regan's pups, so, in family terms, his nieces and nephew, and Stirling's cuzzies.

Want to go and get some 'real' photos when they are a bit bigger.

But for now I thought this was cuuuuute!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Learning to say 'Yes'

Since moving to Auckland 5 1/2 years ago, I have had quite a stunted week-day life outside of school. Having lived in Tauranga for so may happy years, where everything was so accessible, I have found the need to fight traffic and travel long distances a real impediment to doing things after work.

It has therefore become quite habitual to turn down offers to be 'social' during the week.

When I was phoned and offered free tickets/dinner/drinks to the Greyhound races just down the road, I did not have any reason to say 'no' other than the truth - I was very tired. But I found myself saying "Yes, OK, that could be fun".

And it was.

So I didn't make pockets of money - no 'gold bracelet 'to show for my winning as I did at the Boxing Day races a couple of years back - but I did enjoy something different, even on a school night in Auckland.

PS This dog won the feature race. Her name is Little Mother. Cute. Wish I had bet more than $1 each way lol

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parker or Bic?

Lisa and I were fortunate to spend a morning chewing the ear of Dorothy Burt at Pt England School today. All part of the journey to develop a LMS that will work for our school, and we love the Teacher Dashboard interface which tidily organises and utlilises Google Apps.

In a small digression from our main focus, we were shown the netbooks that the senior students at Pt England all have this year.

Those who know me well know that I covet my iMac, love my iPhone and have an iPad on my wishlist. The wishlist also includes a new TV - must be the right one, 100Hz refresh rate, Sony or Samsung; a new car - was gunning for a CX7 but am reconsidering in light of petrol prices; and several items of camera equpiment, including a tripod - not just any tripod, must be a Manfrotto.

A conversation with Dorothy today has me thinking, why am I so hung up on getting what is perceived to be 'the best' when a less complex/costly item may do the job just as well?

Like why would a laptop or iPad be a better classroom tool than a humble netbook for the purpose for which it is to be used? The purpose being a digital pen. A recording device. On the journey home I compared it to using a Parker pen vs a Bic. You can still have your big pencil cases (grunty machines) on the side filled with your felt tips and glitter pens for when you need them for the big jobs. But for the everyday stuff, these are a lot more affordable and therefore accessible.

So can I transfer this model of thinking to my personal life? Does it mean I have to stop shopping at Mi Piaci and hit the No 1 Shoe Warehouse? Now that may be taking things a little too far!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Who has been setting it up to look like I have been eating chocolate?

This is what my office rubbish bin contained at 9:15 this morning!

Wasn't me...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tom, Alison and Al

Haven't taken an actual photo today, but thought I'd post this for a laugh.

Shades of... Tom Selleck, Alison Moyet and Weird Al Yankovich.

If you know those names, you'll know the decade.

(Aka John, Lynn Riki)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On Kindness and Thoughtfulness

Over the past two weeks I have been frequently touched by stories of selflessness and kindness in the event and aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake. Good deeds and good buggers have been exposed not only in Christchurch but throughout our country, and also across parts of the world.
It's a good time to acknowledge that many of us ARE wired this way, because ordinarily as humans?  Kiwis? we are quick to recognise those who are selfish scum-suckers and not those who are mostly like you and me. Good sorts. Those who do good because it is good to do. And I don't mean save-the-world kind of good, just every day good. And not because they want or will get recognition. Just because they can.

I was impressed with Tracey Barnett's recent story in the NZ Herald. If you have not already read via my FB page, I do recommend it. Read it to the end, and if it strikes a chord with you, listen to that music for a bit.

The small bit of kindness represented in this photo from my phone, comes from a household on my regular dog walk. They almost always have a container or two of fresh water out the front of their house for the many passing dogs who use the coastal walkway beside their property. Today it was a new pink bowl, which was overflowing with, I suspect, fresh rainwater this time. My boys tucked right in, They really appreciated it, and so did I. I have thanked them before, but next time I see them, I will be sure to do so again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Damp Weather, but Bright Spirits

Another school-related post - today being our Gala Day. The persistent rain throughout the night did not bode well for a repeat of the brilliant weather we had last year for our first fully fledged gala. However it was on, rain or shine, so we forged ahead.
Fortunately the weather gods decided to look fondly upon us after a while, and for 2 hours we had relatively few showers. We were heartened by the fact that our school and wider community still came out to support us, despite the precipitation.
As this little poppet's face shows, faces were painted... also, raffles were won, bargains were haggled and... teachers were dunked.

When it was my turn to be subjected to the evils of the dunking machine at the end of the day, the rain started again. Still the drops from the sky bore not even the remotest resemblance to the soaking you get when a bucket of hose-cold water is dumped right on top of you, time and time again. It was hideous!
The things we do for our kids!

PS child photo is my friend Maryn's daughter. I am sure she won't mind it being on my blog?!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thank You Christchurch

The second post this week from the courtyard at my school. And for a similar reason, although today the mood was different.

Like so many New Zealanders, Reremoana School students and staff donned red and black today to show our allegiance to the city of Christchurch, and to give the students the opportunity to contribute financially, as best they could, to the earthquake cause.

But in giving to Christchurch I believe we also received. There was a feeling of energy and solidarity in the playground, the classrooms and the staffroom too, that came from wearing the red and black. A strong sense of purpose and a feeling of achievement was evident as we prepared for and laid down our coins. We yelled "Christchurch!" when the photo was taken and it felt powerful and positive.

It has been said a lot since that tragic day - even this morning from the British PM - that the resilience and sense of community spirit Christchurch is demonstrating at this, the most harrowing of times, is incredible. We can all learn from that. So thank you, Christchurch.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apparently Number 3 was Revolting

Baby shower for Linda today - another in a long line we have held for expectant Mums at Reremoana. We are always grateful to our host, Chris, and to Lisa, the Games Master Extraordinaire.

Last year for Rebecca's it was the chocolate made to look like poo that we had to guess (NB she arranged this baby shower when pregnant herself). Today, Guess the Baby Food.

I was not one of the brave to try this - on the auspice of being on a diet lol - but several adventurous souls did. The general consensus was, I think, that 1, 5 and 6 were OK but 3 - bleuckkk!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Dangers of Early Morning Exercise

Was this some kind of justification for my resistance to climbing on my aging Orbitrek before the sun has even begun to get up?
As I clambered on to this god awful machine this morning, I opened the window behind me in an effort to make things a little more bearable. The wind this morning was apparent and I felt the curtain brush against me as I began to amp up the action. Sighing, I stopped and shut the window and resumed my 'work'. That's when the curtain rail came crashing towards me. I had not noticed that the curtain had already wound itself around one of the paddles and so a single further rotation had done the damage.
I am not impressed. I resent having to fix these things.
I need a fix-it fairy.
If you know one, send it over.

PS When I cleared the curtain from the paddle I also discovered two bolts or washers or something on the carpet. Do I risk stepping on to this contraption again tomorrow? What if something else comes crashing?