Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Serendipity is one of my favourite words

This cute pic of Joshua I snapped when his Mum Katie and I happened upon each other in the Botanic Gardens on Friday. Not the first time we have done that!

It was one of those serendipitous moments that you just NEED to have. A kind of happy, accidental occurrence that was meant to be.

I am glad to have some gorgeous pics of Joshua to remember it by.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yay for Cupcakes

The littlest people at our school today got behind Cupcake Day for the SPCA today, donating a colourful array of cupcakes for sale, each lovingly and decorated at home.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

City Pride

The newly developed Wynyard Quarter, which segues the existing Viaduct Harbour to Westhaven Marina, really was quite a-buzz last night. I don't know if we were special and lucky, or if it happens quite regularly, but the new pedestrian bridge had to be vacated and raised just after we passed - hence the photo.

I felt a bit like a tourist in my own city actually. I hope that many New Zealanders (not just foreign visitors) take the opportunity to explore the waterfront area, and also get behind the RWC festivities, whether they are fans of the game or not.

And for the first time since leaving the Bay of Plenty, almost wanted to call myself an Aucklander. Hmmm. No, that would be stretching it a bit. But I must admit to feeling proud to live here.

I did not intend to make a time-lapse out of these pics, 
hence they are not the same dimensions... 
but kinda fun anyway?

Party Central?

The Auckland Viaduct, with its continued development in preparation for the Rugby World Cup, does look lovely.
But there won't be many Kiwis celebrating at Party Central if there's a result like tonight's (AB vs Aust) match on Oct 23 (presuming we make the final), now will there?
The whole thing makes me very nervous...

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Welsh Welcome

Earlier this week I solved the mystery of the 'installation' at my local reserve that is still in place, though slightly worse for wear. It's part of a series of 'Sky Art' developed by local primary schools in conjunction with the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust, (More about the project here) designed to welcome visitors to the Rugby World Cup:
click on me to read clearly :)

Today after work, the boys and I tootled off to the leash off area at the Botanic Gardens, and there we encountered a second larger than life welcome, also in a flight path to Auckland International Airport. The photo is not as 'clear' as the other as the ground is all very flat, and as unless I were to climb a tree, I could not get the perspective right. As it is, the welcome to the welsh, Croeso, is actually upside-down in this photo.

As the Rugby World Cup gets closer, I am starting to get a little nervously excited, especially as I will now be in attendance at a game at Eden Park in October, the actual game to be confirmed, but I am reaaaalllllyyyyy wishing for Oct 8 or 9. Thanks to my lovely big brother, who has been given tickets for volunteering to help (he's being a transport maestro), and who has paid it forward to my other brother and me. Happy families!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Muscle Milk? Really?

Wow, so tired tonight I almost went to bed without posting! A combination of a heavy work day, a hard session (but good) with my PT, a massage then a highly inappropriate takeaway dinner...
Maybe I need some of this, which was in the fridge at the physio's ... For some reason I found the name amusing...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

South Auckland; it's all good in the 'hood

I had not attended a powhiri for some time, and was part of one today for a work occasion. Every time I am involved with one I get kind of emotional - it's the singing that does it. (Not my singing, and especially not today - of the 3 chosen waiata for the manuhiri, I knew one - and they did not use that one... )
It's the singing of any Maori group that does it. There's something about the resonance, tonality and conviction that makes me have to bite really hard on my own jaw and try not to cry!
Double that feeling when today the tangata whenua was a group of high school students, welcoming us to their marae. Powerful stuff. I felt wholly welcomed. And I could have listened to them sing all day.
It was interesting was the array of cultures that had come together for a professional learning experience on the marae. Our small group had representatives  from Samoa, Nuie, Hungary, India, England, South Africa, - all mainly immigrants who have chosen to come and live here - and of course Aotearoa New Zealand. Diversity seemed to be the untitled theme of the day. Gotta love South Auckland. In a good way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Little Round Balls of Goodiness

Always nice to receive a sweet treat for a doing a little bit of good. Even if you don't believe the good was really worth all that goodiness!
That's why I shared them...

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Fan

Or rather, a leaf.
And, to quote Forrest Gump, that's all I've got to say about that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Surely not?

The pohutukawa tree is a New Zealand icon. It ordinarily regales itself in its crimson plumage around December, hence the oft-given title, 'New Zealand's Christmas Tree'.

I was surprised to find one still flowering back in late February, but this is ridiculous...

Has my botanic knowledge failed me here? I could swear that this emerging red is in fact blooming forth from a Pohutukawa in August. Please, correct me if I am wrong. I couldn't be any less surprised.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A simple pleasure...

Is is strange to be excited by a toilet? Rhetorical question, that.
I post today a picture of a humble toilet, nothing flashy, nothing special - except that the cistern and seat are NEW and there are TWO if these new ones in my house! Visitors, no more holding down the flush! Me? No more having to jiggle the flush to stop it sticking either. No more cisterns running at odd times of the night. No more looking at the hash job the last cowboy installer did to get the cistern to fit.
Ahhhhh! The simple pleasures of life...
PS Got a new kitchen tap too, so no more over zealous pressure and no more LEAKING!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Will he still be Smiley Reilly?

Reilly before - so trusting!
Reilly went to the dentist today. Tell-tale bad breath was confirmed by a diagnosis last month that he needed 4 teeth extracted.
When I picked him up however, I was told he had needed TEN taken out! Poor little bugger. No wonder he looks miserable. (see video) And I am not going to venture near his sore little mouth to see if he can live up to his nickname any longer - Smiley Reilly.
So for shock factor and a party trick I chose to keep his little bloodied rotten teeth... gross I know. But also strangely fascinating.

Apparently he was a very brave boy, and did not even cry when he was left by himself. Must've been the happy drugs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kids are so creative

Second day with my budding Y7/8 digital photographers today. One of their 'assignments' was to utilise my new favourite frames in portraiture. They came up with some amazing new ideas. Like overlaying multiple frames, which I have not even seen on Pinterest. They also shot from some amazing perspectives and some tried some clever ways of capturing hands/feet to represent their partner.
Trying to preserve anonymity in these shots of them in action...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Walk in the Park. Again.


No surprises here, it's been a slow day for photo opportunity....

Watching the Big Dogs play ball...
Just a quick walk/run/fossick in the park for the boys today. What with the inclement and chillsome weather we have been suffering thorugh this week, I was reluctant to go for a 'proper' walk, so transport by car was the go. The boys seem to enjoy it just as much. I wish H and R would stop bringing home gorse in their underbellies as souvenirs, though!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Framed #3

Interesting day today, sharing my own developing knowledge of Digital Photography with a wonderful group of Year 7/8 students. I loved how responsive, genuinely inquisitive and independent they were. In the two years since I last took a group like this, I can also see how much more confident and intuitive they are in general, in learning new digital processes and skills. (Of course it also helped that I had only 12 of them :D)

The main photo today I took when they were outside 'On Assignment'.  I will use it to illustrate part of our learning about focus control and framing when we next meet on Thursday. We're going to explore portraits - my favorite... Am also going to get them off the point-and-shoots and on to my DSLR to take some self-timer self-portraits. That got them strangely excited!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Winter Weather Watch

The late winter polar blast sweeping up the country has been the topic of conversation throughout NZ today, especially considering that 'snow' (or was that graupel?) was purported to have fallen in central Auckland today for the first time in 80 odd years.
Well we did not get snow at work today, but we did get one helluva hailstorm at 3:15.

It was pretty spectacular. I was a bit worried for the shade sail for a bit there...  After 10 mins the melted hail began to pour out from the sails - it was almost as loud as the hailstorm itself was.

So we may not have had snow, but if you squint your eyes a bit this hail could almost pass?
Unless you click on the pics to make them bigger...

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As I have done over the past two years, I sent several entries into the Universal Cavalier photo contest this year. Another example of photography being somewhat subjective in terms of who likes what, as those of my entries that made it through to the finals were generally not the ones that I considered my best. Similarly there were entries by others that I thought were stunning that did not make it.

I was fortunate to be placed second in the 'companions' category, with a photo sent off at the last minute, of my nephew Daniel brushing Hugo, and Hugo loving every minute of it. It is a tender moment, and looking at the other winners, it would appear that the 'moment' was more highly rated than technical or compositional elements. I will remember that for next year.

Click to enlarge and read critique

Framed #2

Tonight was Rachel and Scott's engagement party at our (I say 'our' because we are soon to be neighbours, remember?) local golf club. It's always a good things when a celebration to which you are invited is within walking distance of your house. That said I did get chauffeured there and back...
Scott's lovely sister had this wonderful idea of taking everyone's photo with the couple of the moment as they arrived - framed by a frame. Now I wonder who else has had this idea recently? So very Pinterest!

Friday, August 12, 2011

'Good Pain' is not an oxymoron

Is there a physio place that does NOT have this on the wall?
One of the repercussions of too much online study (and Facebook and Pinterest and other essential Internet surfing) is having your bad posture come back to haunt you by way of muscular pain and discomfort.
That is not the 'good pain' I am referring to in my title. The good pain is what comes from having a massage from a physiotherapist. Crikey, my girl Sam sure knows how to deal to the crunchy bits. She always knows when it really hurts - I tend to laugh to mask it. Good pain brings on spontaneous laughter.
I am not being a softie, I assure you dear blog readers. I would almost guarantee that besides the tres tender muscles tomorrow, there will be bruising.
But I wil be back next week for more of the same. No pain, no gain. Plus it is always good to have a 'body technician' who actually holds an entertaining conversation with you. Beats that new age pan flute music played in the woosy massage places who purport 'deep tissue' massage and don't deliver. Give me the good pain any day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The view from Centre Stage

Today I spent the day slightly down country and slightly rural, at Waiuku Primary. Though it is considerably bigger and considerably more urban than the school in which I spent my primary school days, there was something about it that evoked memories of my childhood.
It was the ability to see beyond. Most city schools look out on more buildings, but if you stand 'Centre Stage' at Waiuku Primary, you look out across the land to the hills beyond. I wonder if the pupils appreciate this expansive outlook.

I for one spent my all my primary school years at a small four teacher school, Otamarakau School. It wasn't until I returned for a reunion as an adult that I realised that I had been educated in a slice of paradise; the two main classrooms and front field looked out over grassland to where the Pacific Ocean meets the shores of the Bay of Plenty. The view was stunning, and these days the pupils are obviously made to be cognizant of that as their 'motto' is 'A country school with a view to the future'.
Just a general reminder to myself and others not to take for granted the amazing things that are often seen on a daily basis.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Budding Beauties

If you want to eliminate the last traces of a headache that drugs don't quite get to, a walk in a burgeoning spring environment might just do it.

Spring is my favourite season. Yes, I know I am being a bit premature in heralding it, but when the Magnolias at the Botanic Gardens start to bud and bloom, I always feel it is just around the corner. The specimens at this venue truly are magnificent. Magnificent Magnolias. A plethora of varieties, most with their blooms currently prominently parading themselves on otherwise  naked branches. Just gorgeous.

P.S .Photographing them while trying to contain 3 excited dogs on extendible leads - a challenge :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RIP Fizz

It was with shock tonight that I heard a young cavalier I admired hugely had died. I don't know how, but any dog dying at less that 18 months does not deserve to.
Fizz aka NZ Ch Redcrest Royal Bequest (yes, she was a champion, gaining her title at just over a year) was younger than my Stirling.
As morbid as it sounds, I often have real sad moments when I think about the fact that having furkids means that you must expect to lose them. So extra big hugs for my three tonight, and big virtual hugs for Fizzy's owners. I know they have bred and owned many cavaliers over the years, but I sensed there was something special about this little girl.
The photo I took almost a year ago, when she took out Reserve Best in Show at our Tiki Championship show whilst she was still a puppy.

RIP Fizz :(

NZ Ch Redcrest Royal Bequest

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gidday (Cobber?)

There was a large 'installation' to greet us when we arrived at Kauri Point Reserve this afternoon. Wattle Downs is beneath the flight path to Auckland International Airport so I can only guess that someone is being warmly welcomed.
Upon close inspection I deduced that the visitors are coming from across the Tasman, as each of the letters are adorned with green kangaroos and yellow lettering representing each of the Australian states.
Someone had gone to a lot of trouble, as the grass surrounding the message had been mown and and effort had been made to cordon the area off.
Another dog walker commented to me that he wondered how long they would last, citing vandals as a possible problem. Not to mention inquisitive little dogs looking for a place to pee.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why we need to print and proof (or why DO we?)

Almost all of the average person's writing is done digitally nowadays. Yet our brains are still to become wired with the ability to pick up errors when reading on the screen. I don't mean just spelling or grammatical errors, what else would the computer checks be for? (and I am very thankful my email is set to auto check - best thing I ever discovered).
With anything important, or anything that will be read by others with discerning eyes, I always default to printing and reading the hard copy. And I always find errors that I do not pick up on the computer. Like the glaring one here on the cover sheet of my first assignment, due tomorrow,  Monday August 8. Not to be confused with Monday August 7 - duh.
Anyway, wish me luck, I have hopefully saved a correctly corrected copy, and am about to wave good-bye to it, and 'post' it to my lecturer. I will not read it again, as I am sure I will pick up other nuances that I will want to alter, But hopefully I have spotted all the mistakes!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taking the Lead

The planets aligned to allow my friend Viki and I to meet for a coffee this morning. I'll admit it was my suggestion, and one made to take a break from assignment writing.
Following my newly formed intention to take one dog with me when I could, I chose Stirling to accompany me. He has the perfect nature to allow independent youngsters like Isabella here, to literally take the lead.
The background of this photo is severely blown out, but I think they it's cute anyway. Two very beautiful subjects :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Framed #1

I felt privileged to be able to take this photo of my friend and colleague Kate today. Well more so the photo is of 'Little Miss' who we will meet in just over a month's time.

Thanks to Kate, I spend time daily trawling through the gems on Pinterest and it was here that we first saw the idea of using frames in portraiture and other things...
Kate and I both saw a similar idea to this so she was my guinea pig and I was the one to capture this moment in time for her. Maybe one day she'll let me loose on her real baby...

Actually this pic should really be Framed #2 - my first attempt was here ...

P.S. I do have Kate's permission to post this!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A teacher for a day

I spent the day today teaching writing - all day. My dream job as a classroom teacher. (As long as I could throw some art in too...)
Thank you to the teaching colleagues who let me borrow their classes today. It does make a difference when they are 'yours', and that's the one regret I am left with as a school leader; when teaching you don't have the rich relationships with kids to enhance your lesson, or the shared learning experiences that build the culture... Still I had fun!
(Well the teaching was fun, not so sure about the videoing or the people watching - I am not a natural show off, though some will disagree)
This photo is one I took yesterday when a class was doing their writing outside. There were some lovely 'kids facing' photos, but unfortunately I cannot publish them on my private blog...
You'd have to have this week's school newsletter...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Schedulus Interruptus

Stirling, your shifty eyes give you away...
I am trying really hard to stick to a pre-planned schedule to ensure that my study, work and other commitments don't all get left to the last minute. I have even scheduled in my exercise, including that which includes the dogs.
Tonight I was scheduled for a decent dog walk and then some study, and left work smartly to fulfill my obligations.
A brief confirmation demo
I did not anticipate that I would arrive home to have to deal with the 'busy work' of two of my canine companions. The photos are not a fair representation of what I was actually greeted with. This was a sizable hole beneath the fence between me and the neighbours. (No, not you, Rachel!) So I had to plug the hole with a plank, refill it and cordon it off to discourage future explorations...
Then there were the culprits to deal with. They were easily identified by the state of their paws and legs, which were clogged with dirt, including 'dags' (for you sheep farming folk) of mud that could not be extracted by hand or comb, between their paws and throughout their feathering. They had obviously been digging for a considerable time. Reilly, with his clean while paws, was the innocent, Hugo and Stirling the perpetrators. It took some thorough washing to remove the clods.
Then of course there was the house to deal with, as I had not spotted the problem till the boys had thundered through the house, leaving a trail of dried mud behind them.
No wonder I needed a wine after all that! Hmmm, not only did the clean up affect the schedule, but even one glass of wine is notorious for stalling the study...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Howdy Neighbour!

This photo is taken from inside my laundry, looking out the window to my back neighbour's house. I am not blogging this because it's a great photo, but because I will have new neighbours soon, with the lovely Rachel and her new fiance Scott having won the auction to buy it. I hope I am invited for a wine on that deck one day :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stirling, I know how you feel!

This little dog was so happy to see me when I got home tonight. It must seem like such a long day without the object of your adoration (me) when she's there basically all day for a two week stretch, then away all day. He totally carked out after our walk...
Personally I carked out after dinner and woke 45 minutes later! My good intentions to stick to my study schedule have been compromised already by this, as I search to find the motivation to hit the books. I guess I won't find it here on blogger...