Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ready to Fly

Here are some of the miniature planes that were whizzing around Kauri Point Reserve this morning (obviously not at the precise moment I took this).

I was very glad my boys decided not to 'mark' them!

And I still want to go back with my 'real' camera when they are up in the air - just have to remember to get up early on a sunny Sunday and hope they're there!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reilly and Me

I have recently decided, now that I have three furkids, that taking one at a time when I am out and about would be fun. Far more manageable, and no guilt factor at leaving just one behind.
Today it was Reilly's turn because he was the reason I was going out anyway - he needed his annual vaccinations. So off the the vets we went - more about that later - then on to Hudsons Petfood for our chicken necks, tripe and beef blocks, and finally a visit to the new Animates store in Takanini. (Funny - the pic on the link to this store features a cav!)
There we met the subject of today's photo - Ali the cavalier. Ali was there with her Mum and Dad, and their other cavalier Bella.
Now cavalier folk are always super pleased to see another cav and start a conversation, and this was no exception. Especially as it transpires, that this is Reilly's litter sister! She was the sweetest little thing, doing good work for the SPCA. Tried to get a photo of her and her brother, but Reilly was more interested in the big goat who was also sitting outside the entrance....

It's not the first time we have met one of his sisters - this photo (right) is from another chance meeting - at the Botanic Gardens - where we came across Chloe (aka Bonnie, who lived with us for a time as a puppy).

But back to my Reilly, who cried when he got his injection, whined all the way through getting his nails clipped, and yelped enough to bring tears to my eyes when the vet took him out the back to get his anal glands cleared (yuk) while I talked to the assistant about his next treatment...

I had suspected he needed his teeth cleaned and scaled as his breath was a bit iffy, but I had not anticipated that he would require two teeth to be extracted. My dear little problem dog, it will break my heart to leave you there... but we will both try and be brave! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Mini Conference to round out the 'Holidays'

Over the years as a teacher, I have often received flak for the amount of holidays teachers receive. Like they are just for us. Nothing about the kids needing a break. And like teachers actually take the whole time as a holiday. A lot of preparation and Professional Learning occurs in this time too, and in other non contact times during the term - more than the average punter would know.
Not that I am saying that as teachers we don't get more holidays than most. But it is swings and roundabouts; if you're not actually in a job, any job, you don't actually know what it entails, and therefore cannot judge. If the holidays were a clincher, teaching would be a career of choice for many more than it is. In a way the holidays could be considered our company car, annual bonus, or 'work lunches' on the business. 

Today the holidays ended for our staff, and the staff of 4 other schools in our ICT cluster, with a one day Mini Conference. Whilst we had a keynote speaker and some guest consultants, most of the workshops were delivered by our own teachers from the cluster, sharing the great things they are doing in their own classrooms in their own schools. Why? Because they are passionate about it. If great learning is occurring in their classrooms, they want to let others in on their ideas, journeys and successes. And you can bet they spent a significant amount of their holidays and non contact time preparing for it. I am sure that conference delegates and presenters alike saw the values of spending the last day of the 'holidays' in this way. I know I did.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Food Show Fun

Despite living here for 6 years now, I had not been to the Auckland Food Show before today, and was very happy to be invited to accompany my foodaholic friend Viki today.
So much to sample, and almost every morsel delicious. Fabulous cheeses, oils, sauces, chocolates... I had to get over feeling guilty for taking my tooth-picked tidbit, Mmmmming and Ooohhhhing in tandem with Viki - and then walking away without buying anything.

The two things I did buy, you can't eat, and one actually had no place being at a Food Show really... An 'everlasting lint remover' - attractive to a chick with 3 dogs. I bought into my second rehearsed sales pitch for the day (even if I did make her skip to the dog hair part of the demo) and got my 2-for-one offer. She did have to pose for this photo first though. Have already tried my 'Sticky King' tonight and it does work.

Viki's bag of goodies was much more exciting than mine, and I know she will turn her purchases into gastronomic delights. Watch out for them in her most excellent food blog.

You'd think it'd be an easy 10/10

First Quiz Night I have participated in for ages, thanks to the invite from my friend Kate. Linda and I gatecrashed her normal Wednesday team, the 'Cheeky Darkies' (I called the two of us the 'Politely Whiteys'), and you'd have thought they knew I was coming. One of the picture rounds was 'Doggy Style' in the non smutty sense of the phrase. However we did miss 3... the English Pointer, Albino German Shepherd and the 'Huntaway". 
I question the huntaway's inclusion on 2 counts:
1. It looks nothing like Luke or Rogue or Beau - huntaways from my childhood. 
2. It is not a recognised breed with the kennel club.
But of course I did not dispute it (I know what it's like on the Quizmaster side!) - in quizzes you win some, you lose some, you knew it but you didn't say it, you said it but it wasn't written down... none of that matters really, it's all just darn good fun. Especially when you get 10/10 on your bonus round. 
The slightly muted Cheeky Darkies came third overall. I hope I get invited again if they are ever short of numbers!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Slow day in the creativity department today. It is getting increasingly difficult to 'find' photos in and around my immediate environment. It's days like this when I doubt that I will continue this daily blog lark past the end of the year...
Today's offering - another Wattle Downs rainbow. I am actually amazed by how many we see out here; I'm sure there's some scientific explanation, to do with the ocean or something.
As forboding as the sky looks, it did not actually rain. It's just been pretty jolly darn cold! Maybe that's what's stifling the creative juices?

Monday, July 25, 2011

One for the girls...

I was amused last night to watch my 24 year old nephew squirm as the women of our family discussed breasts in a matter-of-fact way. Can't remember the actual line of conversation, but I think it was initiated by a connection made between silicon cupcake cups, and breasts au naturale (as opposed to silicon...)

With his discomfort in mind, I have suggested via the title that this post may not be one boys will find particularly interesting...

Today's photo I snatched on my phone whilst at Breast-screen Aotearoa. It's a dried harakeke (flax) artwork created by Marama Pirihi, designed to 'express the nurturing and beauty of the wahine'.

You know you are of 'an age' when a mammogram becomes a free service... It's not the most pleasant of procedures to endure - not that it is painful, more a matter of - discomfort. Discomfort with the squeezing of the machine, coupled with another person moving your bits here and there, and finished off with standing around half naked. Mind you, as I said to the mammographer, she has surely seen it all before...

Still it's a necessary evil I guess, being proactive about one's health. If you are also of 'an age' and have not had your boobs checked, this is your little reminder to do so :D

Boys, if you did suffer through this - how about a prostate check?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Family Talents

Following on from yesterday's post about the developing stardom of my young niece, it is obvious by the nature of my photo, that she, my eldest niece Lisa, and my nephew Daniel, have a talent for cupcakery. Well, potential maybe? The cupcakes (made by Lisa) were delicious, so that part is nailed; it's the decorative skills of the younger relations that await refinement; simply waiting for the frosting to be spread before adding the adornments would help.
Our whole family was together tonight, minus the canine children and with the addition of Bianca, an 'adopted' Fothergill of some years. Second awesome family dinner in a row - definitely some talent there. But when together, we also have a talent for being... gregarious. The ruder interpretation would be ... 'loud', especially when accompanied by a few bevvies...
I guess each family has its own dynamic and ours tends to be one of much talking at a high volume, often with many conversations going on at the same time and, as I observed tonight, sometimes with no one actually listening much. But that's the way we are; sometimes a bit hard to take for the average outsider, but for those who know us well, it's all part of the fun.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Bit of Drama

It was a slice of old style traditional small theatre goodness tonight, watching the Mairangi Players interpretation of the Wind in the Willows.
Of course my motivation for being there was to support and celebrate the performance of my nine year old niece Megan as the 'portly otter'; somewhat of an oxymoron considering there's not much to her.
Some would say that there's a trend within some of the Fothergills which draws them to seek the limelight, or to portray an alter-ego. There have certainly been a few of us who have taken the opportunity to tread the boards over time.
While it's been quite a wee while since I have taken to the stage, it was somewhat reminiscent for me to watch this play. I do recall putting it on at Teacher's College, though it was titled "Toad of Toad Hall". I had a small, and I thought pivotal role; that of the Washerwoman who gives up her clothes to help Toad escape from prison.
Turns out the role was not so pivotal... whilst Toad did escape masquerading as a washerwoman, (see picture two) the Washerwoman herself was not portrayed in this version...
Still it as great to relive the memories, and to see Megan making new ones for herself and us. May there be many Fothergill performances to come.

Friday, July 22, 2011

You'll be glad it's not a smellograph...

Crikey it was a windy old walk with the boys today.  A bit like kids and horses, they went a little crazy in the wind. And Hugo decided it was time to have a roll in the most unsavoury smelling spot he could find. He had a lovely time rubbing it in, down his neck and through his ear.
But as I told him as we walked back home, actions have consequences, and for him - it meant a bath. Well, a bit of a top and tail.
Here's the before and after...

Well, the thought was there...#2

Actually, contrary to the title, not much thought at all really. It has not been the most inspiring of days on any level, least of all creatively.
The photo I ran outside to take between showers and before the afternoon light disappeared completely, was a vague attempt to look at something from a different perspective. Like flowers are nearly always photographed from the front, and I have seen a couple of neat examples of them taken back on; of course they were brilliantly back lit and brightly coloured and textured. Unlike my specimen here, pretty much the lone bloom from my garden, a sad looking white Iceland poppy...
Maybe the raindrops are interesting? Nevertheless, posting it here will remind me to be on the lookout for the less than obvious perspective to shoot from in the future, when there's more inspiration around.

PS I'll bet the default date on this post will say it's after midnight and I have missed my daily post. It's not. Should change that setting....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Well, the thought was there...

... just that the shot was not. In that there was nothing of interest behind the spot I had placed my frame. Unless you can make out the trig station on the hill in the very background...
But I am going to continue to play with frames over the next little while, especially in portraiture. Hopefully I can do something without it being too cheesy...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wanted: Technical Mentor

Made the most of another awesome morning by getting out into it nice and early with my colleague and friend Kate, on a photographic mission out to Maraetai Beach.
We both have more or less the same camera, and both are learning to get the best from it. I do believe Kate is under the misguided notion that I actually know stuff, but to be honest, it's mostly luck if something turns out OK.
I think I can see a picture, but I really want to a) how to capture it best (still perfecting settings)  and b) how to post process to get the effect I want.
I am not a purist photoshopper; I have the Apple 'equivalent', and I do not know anyone else who operates the same programme. (Aperture 3).
Basically I want to shadow someone on a shoot, and then watch what they do when they get back to their (Mac) computer.
Put the word out....
Meanwhile, here's today's offering in sepia. See pier. Boom, boom, ching!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pretty City

While I often mourn living in the Bay of Plenty, today there was plenty to be happy about living here in Auckland.

My picture today is a very familiar vista for Aucklanders, nay, for New Zealanders. But we don't always get to see it in its full glory. What a perfect winter's day it was, and not just because of the weather.

1. I was not at work on a Monday
2. There was a surprise element to my planned day (That was seeing these people at our lunch spot, the Botanic Gardens)
3. I got to spend time with my family
4. Lemon sorbet, mmmmm
5. Being a tourist in your own city
6. Taking lots of photos
7. Coming home to lamb shanks in the slow cooker

Seven's my favourite number, so will stop there even though I am sure I could find ten. Tomorrow I hope to explore more of our region... watch this space.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Long Time, No See, J.P!

So often we get caught up in the busyness of our own little worlds and forget those things that ultimately define what our life is about.
Earlier in the year, I was reveling in the fact that I had a friend close by, and for a time we did really well at frequent face-to-face contact. But that had slipped of late, so it was time to revive Sunday Funday, but not at the Botanic Gardens today.
It was wonderful to play surrogate aunty to this most amenable of little boys. Not to mention spending time with his Mum and Dad. I have now offered myself up for babysitting duties! Wouldn't you?

P.S Westies - even if I no see you long time, you know I luff you long time!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Winter Warmers

I had planned to actually MAKE a photo today, with and idea stolen from Pintrest, but the fickle Auckland weather put those plans to rest. It blighted the first walk the boys and I had had for a week too, freezing my buns off because I had not worn enough clothes, and starting to rain on our return home. This despite leaving in glorious sunshine...
Needless to say, after giving all three a half-bath (low lying dogs post rain always return muddy), the heater was a magnet for them all. I love the doggy sandwich they made.
And I love it on these cold winter nights when I have three eternal hot water bottles spaced out along my body... natural winter warmers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kate's Cake

I have stolen someone else's 'special moment' for my blog post today. I was asked to take the photo, so technically I guess it's OK to use!
My colleague Kate has only 7 more weeks till she meets her baby girl, and it was the last day with her class today. One of her pupils brought along this amazing cake which, I can attest, tasted as good as it looked.
Aren't people creative?
Speaking of creative, and of Kate - one of the most organised people I know - my new 'creative' internet obsession has been initiated by her. Pinterest. I don't know whether to hug her or strangle her.
So what is Pinterest? It's a handy social networking/bookmarking site that allows you to 'pin' things on virtual cloud boards. Those of us that are attracted by pictures of anything find it hard to resist.
I imagine it's very much a girlie thing...
Anyway I think that this cake has 'Pinterest Interest' so I have pinned it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guilty Much?

When you are watching what you eat, a small sweet treat that doesn't rack up too many calories is hard to find. Strangely I go for raisins.
Reilly LOVES them, but raisins are a no-no for dogs. If I leave an empty packet out, I often find the shredded remains scattered about...
Tonight I intercepted him before he managed to do the damage...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fabulous Realities

"S For Spaghetti!"

So I did really dumb grocery shopping in the weekend and I have 'no food' in the house.
I had to resort to opening a can of spaghetti tonight.
A little worm of spaghetti slithered over the side of the can and slid downwards, forming a perfect 'S'. Camera was also on the bench, so right place, right time to catch a cute, uncontrived moment!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I am so predictable...

See baby, must take head shot.

So again today we have Miss Karissa Mae Majurey on her regular visit to the staff room. We all oooh and aaaah about how beautiful she is and snatch cuddles from each other; thank goodness she and her mother are so obliging!

As to the title of my post today, Rebecca even asked me - was I going to get my camera?
That said, I was mightily chuffed today to be shown the selection of photos below of Rebecca's Alex taken earlier this year when THEY visited the staff room. How cool that some casual shots will now be featured on a family wall.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Take Note

I do not have anything particularly riveting to write about today, and the photos I took - not for my blog, but for our school newsletter - are far from exciting (visually).
The prospect of the nature of the photos is a bit exciting though - our Student Leader group is investigating putting in some raised garden beds and today they met with an 'expert' from Mitre 10, to find out about types of timber and nails, building costs etc. I thought these 'meeting notes' were quite cute. A minute taker in the making!
I hope they (the garden beds) materialise quickly; I am sure the Education Review Office would be impressed. Their scheduled visit has jumped forward to Week 6 next term. Oh well, at least it won't be on my birthday any more :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Bright Spot in an otherwise bland weekend

It has not been a bad weekend at all but it was nice to be invited to breakfast with the Holley family this morning.
I am only now getting hungry after my big feed of mushrooms and bacon.
This little lady didn't make much of a dent in her pancakes, despite buying in to the idea that a little round fitting on the ceiling was watching her...
But she is eternally entertaining!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bad Hair Day

I have relished spending a 24/7 day with my canine family today, and so have they. They are ever present with me when I am at home, even as I go about my weekend chores - waiting by the gate when I hang the washing out, one following me with the lawnmower, sitting at my feet as I study... soaking up having me home for the day. Nice to be so loved!
I did have to venture out though - to get food for them - so decided to take them too. The woman at Hudson's Quality Petfood always asks after them, and today they were suitably ogled over.
From there we visited our old but recently infrequently visited haunt, the Botanic Gardens..
Despite it raining when we left, it was precipitation free by the time we got there. Still plenty of wind though, and I can assure you my hair was worse than Hugo's appears in this pic. Who would have thought they all has a thorough grooming this morning too!

Friday, July 8, 2011

All in a Day's Work

One thing about my job - firstly as a teacher and now as a Deputy Principal - there are never two days the same.
Today, for instance, I did very little of my 'real job' - except maybe to begin the beast that is the staff release calendar for T3.
And not because I was filing my nails.
I was slightly late and am inwardly grateful to the staff member who called in sick this morning, as I had somehow forgotten to set my alarm AND sleep past my normal wake up time. A very rare occurence for me. Could have been even later.
Once at school I was a slightly ineffectual if not cheerful office assistant for the first hour to plug a gap.
I then managed some time with kids, having been asked to adjudicate our senior speeches today. Awesome.
It was not the most pleasant of days to be on lunchtime duty, with the wintery wind whipping any semblance of style from my hair... but it did provide the moment of the day for me to giggle about.... A 5 year old who was walking with my on duty turned to me and asked "Do you sleep in your office?" Classic.
Later played Health Nurse as I gave tips on how to recognise and manage head lice...
To finish the day I watched some budding musicians perform at our weekly Celebration Afternoon... (hence the photo) though I am sure I was not the only one who inwardly rolled my eyes when the guitar tutor had his group play the same two songs they have played for the last 4 performances...
So the 'real work' will get added to next week's pile, cos right now - well, my job is to pour a long glass of Church Rd Pinot Gris and lie on the couch... not in my office!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Little Things

Sometimes it's the small and simple things that catch your eye. As I walked to my car after work today, I disturbed a flock? of sparrows from a their post-shower feast on a humble patch of lawn. They returned and settled back to their task quickly. I was in a rush to get away myself, and wish I had taken time to consider what my camera was set at... Would have gotten a better image...
But at least I am posting a pic that was captured today!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A wet effort

It's raining hard out outside, and I have not taken a photo today, nor am I inspired to to do. So all the precipitation reminded me that I had snapped another water bird that dwells at the man-made ponds - geese - so here is a pic of one I took last weekend...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All is forgiven

Earlier today I snapped a photo of my car for my blog post. However if I had not waited to actually make my daily entry, my commentary for this photo would have sounded quite different. Sometimes falling asleep on the couch is a good thing. Buys you some time in a funny way.
It is always preferable to get on with one's neighbours. Living at the very end of a long, shared driveway as I do can be challenging at the best of times, but I also have to literally drive in front of my neighbour's house to get to mine. They are nice people - a lovely Mum and her two teenage sons, with a car each, but really only parking for 2. That's when issues surface. There have been many times when I have not been able to get out of my driveway, and have had to ask for the main offender's car, or his friend's car, to be moved. It irks me.
Last night I tried to squeeze past his car's butt, and... I didn't make it. Scraped both my car and his. I was not happy. Hence the photo I took of said damage, which I was going to vent my frustration about in this forum.
However 20 minutes ago, a knock at my door woke me from my post work-out slumber. There was this young man, flanked by his Mum, with an ice cream container full of freshly baked muffins as a peace offering. They worked.
Now I am pretty sure that he would not have made them of his own volition. But that does not bother me. I am impressed that his Mum would have encouraged (?) him to do so. Great parenting I think. And he followed through with some grace and what seemed like a genuine apology. Also an offer to pay for the damage - which I declined to accept. I had warm muffins. And an assurance that I will always be able to get out of my driveway.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Memo to Self

Please take more care with your keys.
If you take them away from your desk, be very congnizant of where you put them down.
If perchance you do leave them somewhere you should have not and cannot recall where, when you look for them, look properly.
This will save you from having to retrace your steps when you are already running late.
It will also improve your mood and be less detrimental to the stress looking for them may cause your health.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Three Sons

As I prepared a chicken stuffed chew toy shoe for each of my boys to keep them entertained whilst I was out last night, I had a flash back to the opening sequence for the old classic My Three Sons TV show. I don't remember anything about it other than the Dad was Fred MacMurray and that the opening featured three pairs of shoes.
My three sons only had one shoe each...
Cute though!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mini Boats #2

I rushed these photos - just snapped them off as I returned home today - and you can tell.
Nevertheless it will remind me to go back and take the time to photograph these mini sail boats properly when they return.
The man-made ponds at the entry to Wattle Downs really are worth me stopping at in terms of getting a photo; took this here, and these. How I wish I had had the time again, to stop on my way off the peninsula at 7:45 this morning. The air was crisp, the water vapor rising, and the light amazing.
Wonder if the weather and my body clock will align to get me up to take advantage tomorrow...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Future Roll Growth

Amazing afternoon weather-wise here in Auckland N.Z. today. A cool, crisp morning transformed into a glorious, still, mild winter's day which just evoked a feeling of joyousness (That's a much more joyful feeling that a simple feeling of joy).
Perfect conditions for an outdoor performance of our JRock item, followed by an energetic bout of whole school Jump Jam. I wasn't jumping though - only taking pictures... No photos of the Reremoana school kids here on my blog, but a couple of possible future enrolments, thanks to our staff for ensuring potential roll growth with their offspring.
Jaime attends the Early Learning centre next door, and they all came to watch the performance.
Yandri is cared for by a school parent who also came to see the show.
I'll bet their Mum's can't believe that it will be all too soon until they are big school girls themselves...