Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No Prizes for Guessing "Who Did This?"

Opened the garage door to find this great mess tonight...

Didn't know whether to be furious or concerned. I know what would have attracted the culprit/s. The chicken carcass remains - cooked - from the most excellent chicken stock I made in the weekend. Cooked chicken bones + dogs = trouble. I hope they come out the other end OK without splintering their insides. So it will be a worrying night.
My fault for leaving the rubbish in the garage. I stashed it there last night when my visitors arrived and meant to re-locate it this morning but forgot...
So who would have been the instigator? If I had closed circuit footage I am sure it would reveal Hugo as the main perpetrator with Reilly-Boy as his easily convinced accomplice.

Bon Voyage!

Tonight I farewelled my parents off at the airport, as they fly via Singapore to France. A 'Farm to Farm' tour there, then on to Italy. Then a cruise up the Rhine.
Jealous much? I know I am!
Here are the 'intrepid travellers' with some of their friends also on the tour. And one of my Dad. Already knows his place as the bag carrier lol.

And Mum, please remember 
...not to use your shiny new cellphone unless necessary; global roaming charges can BITE
...remind Marie that her lock combination is not 225
...yours is the heavier of the two bags, despite the colour
...you promised me a  fancy French scarf :)

But most of all, have a wonderful time!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Queen St Entertainment

Love, love, loved the North Shore Musical Theatre's production of 'Miss Saigon' which I saw today at my favourite theatre the Civic, pictured here. I had forgotten how much the music from this show moved me, and I found myself wiping away tears several times from the sheer emotion of not just the lyrics/story, but the awesome vocal performances of the cast. I would have to say that personally, it was the best 'amateur' production I have seen, and I have seen a few - remember?
And that's not just because I have personal links to the cast. Was proud to see James do so well in the role of 'John' and enjoyed a well overdue catch up afterwards.

On a total aside to the show, I witnessed my first live 'planking' today. Well it really wasn't planking in the true sense, I don't believe, because all these 3 try-hards did was lie down in the middle of the very Queen St crossing pictured above, 5 mins after I took this shot. Not really balancing on anything = plank fail.
If they'd turned up the other way and wiggled their limbs, it would have been akin to the original do-something-physically-silly-to-attract-attention from my uni days - dead ants. That would have been a little more entertaining. But nowhere near as impressive as Miss Saigon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Personal Passions

I joined four other photographers at MOTAT today for my first MPS field trip. Kind people, easy to be with, and all very interested in the photographic possibilities that this 'transport and technology museum' had to offer. All except me as it turned out - I'm afraid as a destination, it just confirmed for me that I ain't a museum kinda girl. Well not of the traditional dusty exhibit old type anyway.
However that did not stop me appreciating the passion of an older man who voluntarily runs the print room, and who, as it happens, also belongs to the club. What a gentleman. As it transpires, the print room (which was very popular with the punters) is not usually open for business on a Saturday. But this lovely man came and opened it especially for us.
As I have alluded to, I did not get particularly inspired by the exhibits photographically or in terms of personal interest, though I happily listened to this chap because he cared so much. And just for him, my blog photos are from 'his' room today.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Everyone Makes Mistakes...

....but there are some mistakes that just shouldn't be made in certain settings.

Like this faux pas.

I passed and stopped to snap this board at about 4:00 p.m. today, well after the advertised time, which leads me to believe it's been like this for a while.

Nevertheless I have chosen not to name and shame the school, on the premise of the title of this post. Kind of me to blur out the name, wasn't it? Though I am sure some of my local readers still will guess the offender...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pint Sized Power

Some of the mean mini machines that were racing around the purpose built pond here at the entry to Wattle Downs on Sunday.
Later that  morning when I was walking the dogs at our usual haunt - Kauri Point Reserve - there was quite a crown gathered to watch another mini powered activity going on there - remote controlled planes this time. They were awesome! I wanted to go back and get my camera to capture them in flight but the 'pilots' said they'd been there since 8 and packed up to leave as I approached them to ask how much longer they'd be. BUT they did say they'd be back on other weekend, so watch this space.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ugly? Me?

Nope, just too cute.
There were two swan families for me to oooh and aaah over on Sunday. These babies from the family in the back pond were so close I could have touched them. I did stand back following a warning stance from one of the adults at one stage! The other family were sharing the front pond with the mini racing boats!
All in all they were perfect photographic subjects - inquisitive and slow moving...
What pleases me about the different images is the impact of the water, dependent on where I stood to catch the light. The subtle, soft slightly blurred shady water in today's first photo  and the still moody blue of the second. This versus the contrasty background of yesterday's. Just sayin' what I like!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I prefer my kind of shooting!

I watched the news with a heavy heart tonight. Having lived in Tauranga for 20 years prior to moving to Auckland, I had no idea that swans were legally shot there for sport once a year.
You can view the TV story here, but be warned, swans fall heavily from the sky...
I am sure the hunters have their reasons, but after 'shooting' these serene and elegant creatures myself yesterday, I must admit I got a little teary eyed...
To prove my point, here are another couple of 'shots' of the non fatal kind that I took yesterday...

I know, I know, somewhat two-faced in light of my disparaging comments about the ducks in my neighbourhood. But swans are so much more appealing! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Make time for the things that make you happy...

The title is another reminder to myself, not a necessarily a suggestion for those who read this blog-post. Seems that this daily blah to potentially 'the world' is actually extremely introspective for this author. Someone whose overactive internal dialogue is often the only thing that holds her back from doing stuff.
Apologies if it take some time to get to the point of this post. The roundabout journey still has a way to go.
It has been some time since I have taken a new photo that actually pleased me on a visual level, mainly because I have not made time to actually go and find or make a photo. That's OK in terms of my blog, because it was never meant to be just about the photo anyway. But in terms of improving a skill I would like to be good at, kinda important to get in the practice.
The weekend weather forecast for clear skies had encouraged me make plans to revisit the car trip I took when I went horse-riding with the girls from work. I commented at the time that there were many shoot-worthy stops along the way that I would like to see in the early morning light, and I had meant to get up early one day in the holidays to have a play. I did not.
Last night however,  the forecast was for cloudy in Auckland, so I let myself sleep past the time I would have needed to get up to enable be to be there for said morning light. But as fate would have it, the morning was as clear as a bell.
So instead I visited a location I pass several times a week - and one I have never stopped at before. It's literally a minute down the road. The artificial ponds here in Wattle Downs, the home of recreational mini boat racers of both the speed and sail kind. Home also to a few if those pesky ducks, some geese and some swans.
I have always made an excuse why I cannot stop when I see them (the boat racers)  there, but today I actually made it a destination, intending to see what the water looked like at 8am.
I did not anticipate that there would actually be racing going on, or that the residents of the feathered kind would also put on a wonderful display for me.
I intend to share some of the shots I took over the next week, as opposed to forcing myself to post a photo taken on the actual day.
So here's the first one. A pair of serene swans. They were so lovely to shoot. Click to make it bigger - it is lovelier, I think, in full view. Look out for some 'ugly duckling' photos (and some boat racing ones) in the future.
Happy girl, out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Something New

I have been meaning for some time now to indulge myself in a Yum Char lunch, so today went with one of my rent-a-families, the Holleys, to do exactly that @ Pearl Garden in Newmarket.

Isabella sure knows what to do in front of a camera (and what to do with the actual iPhone itself), though this pose is not perhaps presenting herself in her best light. I do love the pinky though! And she is chowing down on what was my favourite dish of the day - the squid. Nom, nom, nom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2020 Visions

Memo to self:
Stop taking photos of computer screens.
However the other photo options I have from today had recognisable student faces in them and I do not have permissions to publish them.
Our senior team lead the weekly Celebration at Reremoana today, explaining their learning from Term 1's Inquiry  - 2020 Visions - looking to the future of schooling. If I reflect on my 20++ years in education it is mind-blowing to imagine the possibilities the next 20 will present, given that technology will continue to exponentially facilitate constant change. (Constant change -  now there's an oxymoron)
I could wax lyrical about that for sometime, but it's Friday night and I want my Glee fix.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good Time, Bad Time

I went for an X-Ray this afternoon. Nothing serious, just trying to rule out reasons for a certain health issue. Trying to remember if I had ever had  X-Ray before, and I think no!
Anyhow, I had to go to Middlemore Hospital. I have only been there once before as a visitor, and it seemed to be a bloody menagerie to me.
So I gave myself plenty of time to get there, park and find radiology. And I made it into the waiting room 15 mins before my appointment time, as requested.
Shock horror, I then found myself on the  X-Ray table 5 mins before my actual appointment time was booked for! I don't think that has ever happened to me for a medical appointment.
As I drove out of the hospital (after taking this shot on my phone) I thought of all the things I would have time to do seeing as my appointment had gone so smoothly.
Then I waited at a set of traffic light for not 1 phase, not 2 phases, but 7 red light phases. It was not even peak traffic. All the time I had gained evaporated. Back to real time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here's Trouble

"Awwww how cute!" the uninitiated might think.
But as I have alluded to in an earlier post, ducks at our school are cute only for about a week. Then they become menaces. Lunch pinching, classroom invading, s#!% leaving menaces.
And these are here out of season; we usually only have to put up with them in spring.
I hope none run into my foot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Choose Your Attitude

It's been a busy, busy couple of weeks at work - a lot of balls up in the air and I actually dropped one today  - missed securing a reliever for a class - oops.

However despite the juggling and busyness, I am so grateful that I have a job that I actually like going to, as opposed to one I have to go to. Part of that is because I work with a terrific group of fun professionals.

We had an excellent staff meeting tonight, which included a bit of ball play, literally, and other activities designed to continue to facilitate a climate of effective communication. The photos are of some of the fun and hilarious activities we participated in. Might look a little silly, but they were really enjoyable and relevant.

We also revisited the Fish Philosophy, the components of which we actively try to live by in our work lives.

A shame I could not follow through on 'Choose Your Attitude" at training tonight. Didn't wanna go. Tried but could have tried harder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

No room for visitors!

I have a new official role.
'Trophy Custodian' for our Cavalier Club. Yes, I know - THAT sounds fun doesn't it?
With our Winter Champ show coming up in June, the trophies have been called in, and they now are all (hopefully!) at my house.
So no overnight visitors allowed until the spare room is emancipated of its cargo!
My next job is to double check against my newly created database that I do indeed have them all!
Then I am going to photograph each trophy so I have a visual record of what they look like.
I am HOPING that last year's recipients have cleaned them, because I do not fancy evenings up to my elbows in Silvo.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer's Last Sigh(n)

I was given these pretty roses today by Judy, pictured below  with her boy Blake, winner of our Tiki Open Show earlier this year. I had taken the photos of the winners, and had gotten some printed some for her. Photos are so cheap these days I told her I did not want any money. As it transpires I am far happier with flowers than I would have been with cash - it's not often this girl gets them these days.
This small selection of roses Judy said, were the last from her garden. With the bad weather forecast it would seem this everlasting summer will disappear straight into winter this week.

OH and PS
So proud of my Stirling today, who showed brilliantly to win Best on Parade at the Ribbon Parade today. Having taken Best on Parade twice this year (last time with Hugo) I wonder if everyone will start cursing me!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Know Your Place

I feel obliged to make a second post today. If my copybook is spoilt by missing May 13, at least I will try and maintain 365 entries!
My photos today are so original (not) - the boys at the reserve. I want to get some good shots for the Universal Cavalier Photo Contest which I have done well in for the past couple of years, but don't have any really good doggie ones on file at the moment. Still don't after today, but chance to chronicle what the boys love doing best nonetheless. Maybe there'll be better photo opportunities in the morning light (before the rain) as they have all had a bath and a blow dry since then lol.

Anyway that is not the intended focus of my ramble today. When we were coming home from our walk, I spotted the five-year-old twins who have just started at our school playing beside the path. "Hello S and C" I called. Stunned looks as they wondered who knew their names, trying to place a vaguely familiar face out of her normal habitat... then the wee boy said "Hey, I know you! You go to my school!" 
"Yes" I replied "and you go to MY school".
"Hey Dad! Dad! She's at my school. She watches me eat lunch. She does duty!"
Ahhh the power of the yellow duty jacket. Instantly recognisable. As the duty teacher. Maybe my DP badge needs to be bigger...

Celestial Intervention?

Through not fault of my own, I will not have a blog post dated May 13. Friday May 13. Also the day that 4 planets aligned. Could this be why Blogger had a worldwide fit? Celestial and superstitious intervention?

Facebook followers will have seen however, that I did take a photo with good intent, and posted it on my page instead. I am reposting here where it was meant to be.

A lovely mother/daughter moment between Viki and Isabella. In my opinion, just gorgeous.

PS also happy to see that the previous post "Clear as Mud" has reappeared. It was M.I.A for a while there!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Clear as Mud

More classroom time today, and this time a visitor from Watercare lead the children through an experimental process that involved them trialling materials to filter gunk out of water. It was a brilliantly fine and hot autumn day, so perfect to be outside playing with water.

Personally I was amazed at the end results. If I remember correctly the best 'filters' were sand and cotton wool - the water was amazingly clear, considering it started like what was in the bucket here. Not that I would be drinking it any time soon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Painting a Picture with Words

My picture today is of words painting a picture; the words of a young author I taught today. I just love the sincerity of voice in this piece, and the scene it recreates; the finish of last week's school Cross Country.
Part of the motivation for my lesson today was looking at action photos I had taken on the day. Can't post them here due to privacy reasons, and in the same vein, I have blurred out the child's name as well.

So two things I treasure in one package - writing and a photo.

And now, off to respond to all these burgeoning authors. No more computer till it's done!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An oldie, but apparently a goodie

MPS club night, and as mentioned in an earlier post, I was brave and entered 3 pics this month; one into the Open category, and two in the set subject which was 'Song Titles' this month.
I put forward this pic - a very familiar one to my friends, and a favourite of mine for some time. Not technically, but because of what it conveys.
I have always titled "The Secret", but called it "Do you want to Know a Secret?" to fit the set subject. I also threw in this one and called it "Baby Love" (Are you singing in your head?)
The judge tonight liked the human element in photos it would seem.  I like this shot of Dan and Hugo for both the connection between the two, and the fact that you cannot read/see Dan's face. I also like its simplicity. All of these things he seemed to like too.  I quite like Baby Love,  but am bothered by the size of the hand - it is out of proportion with the head because of the angle I was at.  Interestingly when the "Baby Love" pic rolled over, the judge made comparisons to this dog-and-boy one, not knowing of course it was by the same 'Author', as photographers are referred to.
Pictures are awarded acceptance, merit, highly commended and honours. Thrill of thrills, The Secret got honours and Baby Love highly commended.
I also entered Lily in the Open category. There was an audible 'Ohhh' from the audience when it flashed up. I was amazed with the feedback and superlatives this photo got, and when I spoke to the judge afterwards, he asked if I took it on a 'job' - as if I was a pro lol. Lily also received honours, and was even in the final 3 for Open shot of the evening.
Memo to self - learn to give self more credit. Learn to accept and believe in positive feedback. Try harder not to undersell yourself. But stay humble and true.
Well done, Lynn.

Monday, May 9, 2011


So it's been a really busy and full on Monday. At the reserve on our dog walk I realised I had not taken my daily photo so decided to try out the new camera app on my phone. Pretty much all the photos I took were crap, so I am blaming the app.
 But here are some long shadows and a falling sun looking out towards the Manukau harbour at about 5pm tonight. All pretty uninspiring if you ask me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Well Intentioned Welcome.

Joshua was a little unsure of himself on his visit to Aunty Lynn's today.

Point the finger at the shrill welcome of an excited tricolour cavalier. Poor wee Joshua got a big fright, and to make matters worse, he was in his Aunty Lynn's arms at the time. So every time he was handed over for a cuddle today, he made it clear where he'd rather be.

Aunty Lynn's not daunted though. She reckons next time he'll be all over her!

And we'd better make that next time sooner rather than later, aye Katie?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Open for Criticism

OK so strictly speaking, posting this photo today is kinda cheating as I definitely did not take it today, but I did bite the bullet this morning and submit three pics, this being my favourite, for critique at MPS club night this coming Tuesday.
I already know that my photos are nowhere near the standard of those who 'win' the competitions, but you've got to start somewhere, right? And feedback and feedforward is always good.
That said I will always love this photo of Lily regardless. I love the way she is looking straight through the lens at me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Job Well Done

The weather was decidedly iffy today for my school's annual Cross Country, but I guess the occasion calls for a degree of inclemency. Fortunately, the actual rain held off until the completion of the final event.
Another great sports day, where all children competed in and completed the challenge. I only saw one lot of tears at the end this year!
The main photo is one of our chief organisers, Erna. Thanks to her and her team the Cross Country ran (no pun intended) like a well oiled machine. I dare say the 'Finish' sign in the background is rather symbolic of how she was feeling at the time the photo was taken - 20 to 3, at the conclusion of the event

Thursday, May 5, 2011

She made it!

OK I promise this will be the last Monarch Butterfly post. I'll admit I childishly obsessed with them. A hard promise to keep too, with 3 more lovely green chrysalis' attached to my brickwork and another fat caterpillar waiting to morph into one.

But tonight this lovely creature was sitting atop my wee swan plant, the remains of her encasement  evidence of her escape.

Truth be known again I cannot be certain this is 'the one', as the chrysalis below was also empty tonight.

But I am just grateful that, after watching it for so long, the tenuous little caterpillar-eaten twig did manage to stay intact and a miracle butterfly did emerge.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Karissa Mae

So here she is, the little bundle of Majurey joy who was still happily ensconced in her Mummy's tum on Friday when I visited.

Thanks for inviting me to meet her Linda - you all look so relaxed, content and happy.

Long may that atmosphere reign!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Show Your Best Side, Mother Nature

Enough of these earthquakes, tsunami, storms and tornadoes.

Make more rainbows Mother Nature, they are far more becoming!

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Big News

How long do you think this story will play out for? 
A long time I would imagine. Or I imagine the media will hope it will be a long time.
There'll probably be sensationalized prospects of further revenge, with the media are adding more blood to the water to feed the frenzy. 
Stir it up and the story'll last longer.
Personally I preferred it when we were over-saturated with the Royal Wedding.
At least that was a 'good' good news story.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Come spring...

Spring is my favourite season of the year. Temperature still a bit astringent, skies lightening, new hope and hopefully, new growth.
Come spring I hope that the new garden will have established itself, and making a better show than it currently can, what with the existing plants being all hacked back and the new plantings still fledgling. Even the annuals I have planted will take a while to grow and show, especially against the colour of the most excellent home made pittosporum mulch.
But I am so much happier living here, if just to be able to look out the doors and see something purposeful and pleasant. Makes me miss my Tauranga house a little less, and dulls the pain of just spending a grand to tidy up bits and pieces there!
Now to save for new outdoor furniture here!