Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Well Run

Our  school's first off-site full on Athletics event today. Well run on all counts; organisationally, and in the manner in which the children competed.

While all of us had our parts to play, the children featured here are daughters of staff members who were key in making the day the success it was. Lucky they let me blog them! (I played around with shutter speed today and was pleased with the amount of photos that were well focussed).

Perfect weather too - not too hot, not too cold, no wind and the right amount of cloud cover.



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tick, tick, tick...

The end of year at a school is always super frantic, and with an eight week fourth term, it seems even busier than usual. I really have had very little time to think that, in a couple of weeks, my daily routine will change considerably. Small reminders are creeping in, as plans for 2012 are made that I am not a 'real' part of, and reminders to pay course fees come through my inbox.
Add to that a lovely, funny, thoughtful surprise delivered to me at work today by a special person, which leaves little doubt that things are about to change for me...
Recently I had jokingly said that when other staff go on leave, it's always been to have a baby, and they get a Baby Shower, but there was nothing called a Study Shower if you go on study leave. So a certain someone made me a Study Shower Basket, full of all sorts of goodies, each with their own personal message and reason for inclusion, to get me through the year. There are lots of nibbly niceties, and a number of stationery items, the latter of which strangely excite me more than the food!
I almost had a little cry when I received it - a bit of a combo of the gesture and the reality!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Obsessed?

I think I might be a tad obsessed with two things; the pohutukawa tree (this about my fourth pohutukawa post) and lately, iPhone's Camera+ HD preset.
Nice to see the first of our native Christmas tree opening up anyway!



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Farewell afternoon walks...

... until next autumn, I suspect.
There comes a time each summer cusp, when the huffs and puffs of my dogs tell me that walks need to move till the after dinner slot.
Today, even though I held off till after 4, it was my Hugo (aka Mr Huffy Puffy) who by sound illustration, announced it was too hot. This in spite of his recent summer clip.
All three sought the cool solace of the tiles in front of the door, where they lay for 20 minutes to cool off.
Me? I just downed an icy cider and waited till they recovered :)


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Vote of Thanks

I had planned my blog post earlier in the day as I reflected on the election campaign.
 I've done a lot of thinking about the campaign over the past few weeks, most of it with a grumpy face, as I have found the whole process quite annoying and even condescending in parts.

I know politicians have roles to play during this time - which in my view should be predominately to promote policy, however it inevitably will involve bagging the policy (and people, sadly) of the other parties. I get that. I accept that. The role that has riled me the most though, is that of the media. Yes, yes, they have a job to do too, but it all just p@%$ed me off this year. So much so that I watched no leaders' debates and changed channels when tired stories turned up on the news bulletin after bulletin.

So much time is given to highlighting the flaws and faux pas of the people and parties. As a glass-half-full person, it just grates on me. And so much of what we are fed is irrelevant in the big picture.

But to the point of this post...
We must remember absolutely lucky we are...
a) to be living in this day and age
and
b) in this democratic country of ours,
and therefore have the opportunity to actually have a say in how our country is run.

For that, I for one, am thankful

And the photo ... I had planned that also, and it did not look like this! Once inside the polling area, I decided that my big DSLR, which I had nestled in my handbag, would be difficult to use surreptitiously... so I settle for snapping the sign...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Graduation

Three of our staff celebrated their graduation as fully-fledged teachers tonight - the 4th in the photo having achieved her full registration earlier on this year. It's a proud moment not only for them, but also for those of us who have had a hand in their journeys, as tutor teachers.



Many moons have passed since I achieved what was then called my 'certification'. The bouquet here in the photo I recall being roses from my Mum's garden - before she had a gazillion roses even. I have never had the heart to throw out that lilac jumper, which still lurks in the back of a drawer somewhere...


And in this photo below is my first ever beginning teacher for whom I was tutor teacher. She'll probably want to kill me a little bit. These days she is my boss. :)


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Going bananas

From the look of these bananas it will be smoothies for breakfast for a couple of days. These bananas are a tad too over-ripe for peel-and-eat consumption for me... But they look pretty cool in this photo!




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunkiss'd Self Portrait

Quite a stern look in this self portrait, but tried to warm it up... Took it with my phone when out with the boys late this afternoon, the sun setting behind me. Applied a 'Sunkiss'd' fx effect in Camera+. So sunkissed x2! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'Maxxed' Out!



Another school related post today.
As part of our school's Travel Plan, we hold an annual bike/wheels day. This includes a visit from the Travel Wise mascot, Maxx the Pukeko.
I sneaked this shot (above) prior to our parade... It must be hot and tiring work in that suit!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making a List

Anyone else out there a list person?
I am in the process of creating a 'To Do' List for 2012, of 50 things to try/experience/complete alongside my studies next year. I have been inspired by my friend Kate, who is attempting a much more audacious list, hers totaling 101.
I added a challenge today that has been at the back of my mind for several years, and was brought to the forefront by some visitors we had at school today.
A group of 10 teachers from Singapore, as pictured below, came to us to have a look at some literacy programmes in action in a New Zealand school. Their journey to NZ was courtesy of having won a competition by submitting as story for what will become the Singaporean School Journal (A project Learning Media is working on with them).
I have always loved New Zealand's School Journals; I think they are the most amazing resource. Which brings me back to the list. I have always wanted to be a published children's author, and have long thought that the School Journal could be a nice segue into bigger things. So I have added to my list, investigating how to submit a story for consideration, and hopefully getting one published!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rent-A-Kid

At our photography course yesterday, we were asked what kinds of things we liked to photograph. A common theme amongst group members was children.
I do love taking child portraits, preferably candid, and I having no children of my own, am always grateful to friends who let me loose on their kids with my camera.
Today again, it's Isabella. She's such a charming subject, who could resist?




Saturday, November 19, 2011

Interesting.

I am always super keen for an opportunity to spend time in good company, and to learn more about photography. Today was a chance to do both. My friend Kate and I attended a photography workshop purchased via one of those daily deal thingies. We went here to Fort Takapuna, a defense fort established in the late 1800s to defend Auckland from a feared Russian invasion. Interesting.

That was the 'where', but what about the who? Prior to attending I did what anyone does these days and googled the tutor. My search turned up photos of the male nude. Not offensive. But... interesting.

Then the 'what'. The first 'challenge' we were given required us, in groups, to photograph a 'wee man' in a series of photos that told a story. Four of which had to have one of our hands in it. Our story was one of capture, torture and escape! It was ...  interesting. Perhaps the most unusual photo shoot I have ever done.

Oh well, at least he had his undies on.







Friday, November 18, 2011

To Market, To Market.

Our senior team at school today put on a Market Day to raise money for a school affected by the Christchurch earthquake.
They sold goods, and also ran activities that students could spend their money on.
The horizontal bungey proved very popular, and when the students were blindfolded and trying to kick the balls at the end, it was quite amusing to watch - the photos may not convey that so much.


 


Personally I enjoyed whipping two Y7 boys at tug-of-war; don't mess with the Fothergill in that event!
I also found the home-made sherbet addictive, and devoured the whole bag in a short space of time. My tongue is still feeling it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ahhhhh Nostalgia #3

The T Coll Halls of Residence, D Block.




What to I recall about living in the Halls....?
A lot of innocent fun, as the following list describes:

  • The Dining Hall - cockroaches (recurring theme?), daily custard (green custard the St Pats day that someone added food colouring to the breakfast milk...), food fights
  • April Fools' Day  - gladwrap on the toilet bowls and the doorknobs tied together from the outside.
  • April Fools' Day - Jamie Barr's Bambina physically lifted to the middle of the field outside this block, completely wrapped in loo paper
  • Rooms getting 'done-over' - for me this was returning home to find everything upside down.
  • A beer fridge called Alex. Once we hid all of Alex's owner's undies in the little freezer bit... he did not find them for days.
  • A resident called Wayne King. We thought that was hilarious. Actually I think it was Ann King.
  • The first ever 'video game' I ever saw - space invaders - in the TV room. 20c a go.
  • An infamous room. D4. I was D44. I did  not appreciate suggestions that the same antics went on on my room. I was a good girl. 
  • Watching 'Roots' the mini series on Rona's little TV. Mini series were a new phenomenon.
  • Mean girls (not me) wafting incense sticks under the door of a poor girl who suffered from B.O.
  • Being one of the first 'bays' to get an automatic washing machine - as opposed to a wringer! And it was 1982.... we'd had an auto one for eons at home.

Good times. So long ago but feels like not-so-long-ago (not quite yesterday tho!)


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ahhhh, Nostalgia... #2

As we often do when we re-visit places of our past, I did some drive-bys of my old student flats when I was in Hamilton yesterday.
I smiled as I drove past each street sign, the names of each bringing some sort of recognition and frequently, vivid recollections.

First a jaunt down to 6 Coates St. The photo is not much - I did not get our of the car. The 1983 version is much better, and the garden was much tidier back then too...

1983

2011

My memories of this place include...
  • Gatecrashing my brother's stag party. He lived at number 7. I'll bet he was impressed - not. He did move out shortly afterwards. (He got married...)
  • An 'interesting' housewarming present, which disappeared that same night - someone must have needed it more than we did
  • Sharing a bedroom with Johanne
  • The bright red kitchen. BRIGHT. RED. 
  • The house being sold when we had only been in it a couple of months, a muck up with the notice, and us all going to live with the real-estate agent's mother for 3 weeks lol
I then rounded the corner to 41 Cook St, where I had lived for 3 years. And ... egads, it was no longer there! Instead, it had morphed into a ruddy great apartment block!

Once was 41 Cook St
But I will always remember....
  • Frequent calls to the police for prowlers. Easy pickings - the curtains had been cut down in my bedroom!
  • My 19th? 20th? birthday party... live band... stolen amp... going to court (as a witness!)
  • Watching the Young Ones
  • Artwork from teaching sections over all the walls
  • Re-enacting the opening scene from Flashdance in the rain
  • Having the residents from my workplace next door (red roof far left in the photo) -  a rest home for alzheimers patients - over for cups of tea
  • Parties like this one - Lords and Ladies...

Next stop - the first home away from home I ever had... the T Coll Halls of Residence... but will save that one for tomorrow!

I wonder if they still do the Chunder Mile?

This is the first of three posts I will make about the trip back to my old student stomping ground when I returned today to suss out my Masters enrolment and supervision.

Campus.
The trees have grown. They have cafes. The lake looks cleaner.
These were the three most obvious differences I noticed .
It all looked very civilized. But it is November. I wonder, come March, if they'll be doing the Chunder Mile... (eat a cold pie, scull a jug, run a lap of the lake, eat a cold pie, scull a jug, run a lap of the lake... repeat until a 'mile' has been run. Stop to chunder as necessary - the ducks always seemed to like it...)

Photo courtesy of iPhone, Post-processing - Camera+

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good spotting, boys!

It's not much of a photo, and I will have to explain the story as it is not easily revealed in the shot. A great cacophony (see short video below) alerted me to the fact that the dogs had spied something - usually it's a bird, cat or even fly. Today it was a dirty great cockroach - that's it there on the ceiling, in Hugo's gaze. It amazes me that these little dogs will spot something so relatively small several metres above their natural line of sight.
Now I'm a farmers daughter, and am not grossed out by many things. But even after many years working in an old building riddled with the buggers, I just can't stand cockroaches. It's they way they are so still, then so rapid in their movement, and the fact they are damn ugly!
Method of disposal? Lock dogs outside, spray the ugly bugger till it drops, pick up with kitchen towels and flush down the loo. Then shudder.



video

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Feel Good Shopping

Usually it's clothes shopping that makes me feel good. Today replacing my scuzzy old wok with an electric one made me feel good. A bargain at Briscoes, too. Simple, quick fare for dinner, and enough for lunch tomorrow too :)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Resilience Personified

First off today, I did not take this photo - I attribute it to my relative Becky Fothergill who I do not know particularly well on a face-to-face level, but who allows me into her life via social networking.
Becky is the mother of Samual and Leiah. All of them are amazing, inspirational human beings. As the photo suggests, Samual has his struggles, with a rare condition called HLH. There are 667 courage beads on that necklace, all representing a challenge in Samual's path to wellness. He seems to have spent more of his little life in hospital than out, and his wonderful Mum chronicles their journey on her Facebook page, Support for Sammie.  The journey has a fork in its road also, in that HLH may also afflict itself upon Samual's baby sister Leiah.
My message today is about resilience; about strength, hope and faith, all of which this family has in droves. I imagine that there are many followers of their journey who, like me, will Samual and his family on, celebrating the ups and rueing the downs. A brave, brave family who deserve nothing but the only outcome worth contemplating - a healthy, happy life for them all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Luck, Love or Good Behaviour?

Every day as I arrive home from work, I look for three little canine noses squeezing our from beneath the garage door as it opens. Today I got the fright of my life as two furry bodies hurtled towards my car before I had even hit the automatic garage door opener. They had come from the back of the house, outside the fenced section. If the fact that they were out did not freak me out enough, that there were only two sent my heart in to rapid palpitations. It's amazing the scenarios that can run through your mind in a short space of time. Fortunately a sharp bark from behind the garage door allayed the fears that I had lost one... but questions remained, and still do.
I think I have backtracked to figure the escape route. My own fault, coupled by a dodgy gate lock, which I have had fixed many times. I guess that it did not close properly after I had hung out some washing this morning. Because the gate sticks at the bottom, it looks and feels like it has closed, but as these re-enactment pics show and as is often the case when I'm at the washing line, persistent little noses can coax the gate open when it's not fully snibbed. From the inside, that is. The gate had closed again, and I imagine they could not get back in to the section, even if they had wanted to. My forensic examination saw scratch marks at the bottom of the gate from the outside, so I figure they have tried.
So how they got out is probably ascertained. However the questions that remain unanswered include...
How long were they out?
Did they roam and then return?
Who lead who astray?
How come one stayed inside?
Was it love, luck or good behaviour that kept them safe?
and a question I prefer to remain unanswered anyway... What if???

Oh, a couple of questions for any readers who know my canine kids...
Who do your suspect was the initiator of the escape plan?
And which one stayed inside?





Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Got You, Babe!

The soft toy dogs in this picture reside in my office at work. They are there to distract or engage little people as necessary when they come to visit me. Their ability to do so comes by way of the song and dance they perform when activated. The song - "I Got You Babe" -is an apt title in that it certainly 'gets' them. As is the case with my before school visitor Isabella, who requested their 'performance' this morning...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Notebook

In my day we called it the 'Murder House'. The small building at the entrance to the country school I attended usually lay uninhabited, but came to life a couple of times a year. Invitation to the Murder House came via a small notebook, and every time a child entered the classroom clutching said notebook, we all silently prayed that it was not our name at the top of the invite list.
The time in the chair was spent clutching its arms as the austere Dental Nurse investigated our teeth with her hooked metal implement, squirting pink liquid in and blowing air as necessary...  not to mention the drilling...
I am not sure if the same feeling of fear that existed then, still accompanies a visit to see the Dental Therapist today. The environment certainly has changed. All dental checks for our students are done in a mobile van, and the one currently visiting our school is brand new and very flash. Any 'work' to be done occurs back at a central clinic. The chirpy and friendly therapist has students relaxed and laughing before and during their checks. She views previous notes on a monitor directly beside her as she works, and an assistant updates it digitally as the therapist works, from a computer at the front of the van. Lighting, seat adjustments etc are all pre-programmed and can be changed with the press of a button.
But the invite still comes via a small notebook...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The best of a bad lot

Slow day at the photography office ... I decided to go out and immortalise the enormous flax 'flower' that has appeared; first time in five years, and I have two of them.
But all of the shots (and there were many to choose from) were a bit blah. I couldn't get a decent angle which showed the scale of it.

Here's the best of bad lot.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Readers - I need your help!

This week I have to submit two photos for the MPS club 'salon'. I had to ask what that actually was in this context, as my reference to 'salon' ordinarily involves my hair. Consulting wikipedia's article on what a 'salon' is made me smile, and feel a bit stupid that I did not already know this meaning.

What we have to do is submit what we believe are our two best, previously critiqued photos again for pre-judging, as well as take a 6x4 print of a photo for on-the-night critiquing by the group.

So.
I am including as my blog post today, all the photos I got MPS Honours for, a couple that were only highly commended but I quite like, and two being critiqued this week.
Please can you tell me your two favourites, and I will tally them up to help me decide what goes forward.

If you read this via my Facebook link, please comment on my FB page if you prefer.

Thanks!
Enlightened

Lily 
The Secret

Sunday @ Cornwall Park

Synchronicity

Take Off

Calling Jonny Wilkinson

Courtship

Simplicity