Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Well today is the last day of my first ever 365 challenge. While it started as an incentive to take more photographs, for me it's morphed into far more than that. It's been great to enforce regular picture taking, but it's also been a great reflective tool for me, and has allowed me to re-invgorate another love; that of writing. Through exploiting my posts via FB, I have received a lot of feedback from friends who have, for the most part, enjoyed my daily blahs. I thank everyone who has commented on my blog or FB page, for that!
So the plan was to re-model the blog for the future, but unfortunately the Blogger interface will not allow me to do as I had intended.
Firstly, when I established the blog, I expected it to be active for a year. Momentsmemoriemusings@blogspot was disallowed so I named it msf2011 - which I now regret, seeing as I wish to continue. Changing the name is not a simple as it would seem, so if I want to maintain last year's entries as part of my blog as opposed to a link, I'm stuck with it.
Secondly, I thought that by adding new pages, I could make a dated entry on a page, re the topic of that page. Wrong. They can be edited but it appears that there is only one page that can be used as a blog
I have contemplated starting over, or switching to a wiki or weebly even, but have made the decision to continue with my current blog - incorporating some of the new features I hoped to chronicle on separate pages.
The 365 photo challenge will no longer be the focus for the blog, though it may appear from time to time. Latterly I found myself taking more and more photos for this forum with my iPhone. I have since installed a 365 app and Blogger on my phone, so will be using this exclusively for the 365 - with less personal requirements than this year. The 365 2012 page has more details about what I have challenged myself to. I may instead upload to Flickr or similar - yet to decide.
Another 'challenge' I have set myself is completing or initiating many of the things on my 50 List.
Other pages I had hoped to have were a 'Dog Blog' and a page to reflect on books read and movies seen - but that will now just be part of my blog itself.

So for the last entry of the year I am going to leave you all with some highlights of the 2011 year for me.

The first highlight is a repeat of what I have written about above - establishing and maintaining this blog. 16600 hits; who would have thought? Still only 9 regular followers however; perhaps I can increase this in 2012...

Other memorable moments, in no particular order least of all chronological, include the following, which link back to the post about them...

  • Spending a great day celebrating family milestones at my parents' place
  • The All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup - watching this with Katie and attending the parade the next day
  • Attending a RWC match, with some of the choicest people I know
  • Having Stirling come and live with me full time
  • Doing well with both Hugo and Stirling at Ribbon Parade level
  • Stirling getting his first (and second) CC - only 6 to go lol
  • Becoming brave enough to enter photos into MPS club nights, and being recognised for some of them
  • Having one of my photos be on the cover of a 'real' magazine, and the same photo being used to promote how to take pet pics on a dog blog 
  • Going to my first live gig for years and LOVING IT
  • Having my family help me to give my house and section a face-lift
  • Gaining a study award, which will see 2012 travel a completely different path than I am used to
To round off the 365 challenge, I am sad to say the shitty weather we have had lately has sucked the inspiration out of me, so I leave you with a shot taken at my home beach, Mimiha, last week. A manmade structure that rose out of the sand.

Friday, December 30, 2011

How to make the most (?) of a rainy day

In my little patch of the world right now, the weather is pretty darn rank.
For the holiday season, this is not the best thing. But being of Pollyanna leanings, it's not the worst either. A day like today gives one the perfect license to do sweet Fanny Adams all day, and that is just what I did.
Actually, on my lazy, languid road today,  I did achieve something. Bear with me as I meander towards its reveal.
I am almost at the end of my very first 365 challenge - completing an entry/photo a day on this blog. That, coupled with the fact that next year I will have the opportunity through not working full-time to manage my time creatively, new challenges for 2012 are in order. I'm not talking big change-your-life and heal-the-world challenges, or a bucket list, more like things I have been meaning to do, achieve or get back in to.
One of those things is reading. An addiction to the internet and far too much time in front of the TV, coupled with compulsory academic reading for my studies, has curbed my reading habit considerably. Once a voracious reader I have not completed a novel for two years!
Rediscovering the joy of reading is on my 'list', which will soon appear on a re-modelled blog. But rather than wait till the new year, I decided to start today, when the rain has kept us all indoors.
For the first time in eons, I made my coffee this morning, and went back to bed to read... this resulted in falling asleep again and not waking till 10am! (That's way late for a girl for whom being up by 7:30 is late, even in the weekends).
I then took my book downstairs and read intermittently throughout the day. This was not made easy by my furry friends however, as the pics below show... However as with other tasks I have set myself, I am determined to push through the 'barriers' to read at least a novel a month; my new-look blog has a page on which to record my reactions to them!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a Difference a Few Days Makes!

As opposed to the madness of 5 days ago, at the supermarket today...

Parked almost outside the door
Trolleys galore lined up and waiting
Empty aisles
Cherries literally half the price
No checkout queue...

Almost a pleasant experience!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Long Road Home...

Travel day today, returning from family festivities and celebrations. The route I choose to take allows a Paeroa pit stop for the boys - we have a little wander along this path before completing the second half of the journey.

A safe journey it was, but not helped by some idiots on the road. One group of collective idiots I endured over both recent journeys were the ones that travel ridiculously slowly... A significant section of SH2 on my route has been reduced to 90 kmph  - a 'safer speed' zone, and I don't have an issue with that. What does annoy me is the driver at the front of an ever increasing line who is choosing to travel at speeds fluctuating between 70 and 80ks. There is a constant message from the police for slow drivers to be considerate and pull over, but I have never seen or heard of a slow driver themeslves being pulled over and ticketed.

The other idiot was one who joined me travelling behind a slow car today. At the first safe opportunity I indicated to pass, with Mr Blue Integra on my arse. Not content with just passing the slow offender, he had to pass me as well, nearly causing an accident, and shortly after that he passed a tanker in an equally rash fashion. I contemplated calling *555, but instead hope karma would catch up with him. And when I saw flashing lights at the side of the road 5 minutes later, I prayed it would be the blue Integra. It was. I laughed out loud.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Wise Man

It's been a day of family portraits, and those who have entered my blog via my FB page may have indeed seen some of the many permutations of family groupings that I photographed, and some I was photographed in, today.
My big brother turned 50 today, and the first occasion to celebrate this was an extended family one. It was great to see as many as who could make it including aunts and uncles, cousins, cousins' kids and one special family of childhood friends who were pretty much family when we were growing up anyway.
But the photo I am choosing to feature today is of just one person; the man of the day, my brother John. Solid as a rock, funny, intelligent, generous and great company. A brother I have always admired, looked up to and listened to.  And not badly maintained for a man of his vintage.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Some things I love...
I love Tauranga.
I love sushi.
I love my friend Zara.

Zara introduced me to sushi several years back, around 2000, when a little sushi shop opened up in the main street or Tauranga. Zara had lived a year on Japan, and I was unfamiliar with this cuisine and how/what to order, so I made her pick pieces for me. From then I was hooked, and to this day sushi remains my take-out of choice, and whenever I return to Tauranga I try to stop at the same little sushi shop.
Today I had the pleasure of seeing Zara, albeit briefly. Had our plans been more in synch maybe we could have gone out for sushi lunch? However as it was, a shopping excursion to Tauranga with my niece saw lunchtime coincide with our arrival outside my sushi shop. Or so I thought. I commented when I entered that things looked different, but it was not until we sat down outside that I realised the 'my' sushi shop was about 3 doors up! Seems Tauranga has also developed quite an appetite for sushi if two can co-exist in such close proximity...
The sushi was yum anyway, but I did feel I had let my original little shop down. Still my fave...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Anyone else eat too much?

Christmas ... a laid back day with simple but simply delicious food, including ...
Turkish delight
Peber Nodder
and fresh summer berries... prepared and modeled by the girl clad in cherries, Lisa. Who would not add pineapple because it was the wrong colour. I approve!
All consumed in typical Kiwi style outdoors, in the summer sun. It was great to have Esther spend Christmas with us - honorary 'daughter' and ex rotary exchange student of John and Frances. She brought the Pebernodder, which are very more-ish! Little crunchy biscuity delights which you can still squeeeeze in even when you have no room. I will still be full in the morning, that's for sure!
But with two family birthdays tomorrow and the next day, the eating fest is set to continue for a wee while yet...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Barking Mad #2

I say this often... 'People who know me well..."
And again I start with this phrase...
People that know me well know that I do NOT camp. A holiday for me includes all the creature comforts of home - and more if I am honest.
So, it may come as a bit of a surprise to some that here I am at 'home', sleeping in a tent - by choice.
This is a concession I chose to make, for the love of my dogs, and out of respect for my Mum.
I have visited many times with Hugo and Reilly. They started off sleeping in the garage or laundry, but of late had eked their way into my bedroom, with my mother's blessing, even though I know she is not in favour of 'inside dogs '. Now I have three dogs, I felt that it was unfair to try and wangle them all into my inside bedroom. Yet I was reluctant to have them spend their Christmas in the laundry... so when it was mentioned that we may need the tent to accommodate all the family at Christmas time, I bravely put my hand up to sleep there, with my boys.
It's actually quite a cool little set up, as the photos show. And across from the tent, is my 'day room' - the old shade house which is now a place I can sit and read or edit photos...
So just at this moment it seems like a holiday adventure, though this time tomorrow, my opinions may have changed...

PS Photos courtesy of Camera+, iPhone

Friday, December 23, 2011

Barking Mad #1

The lengths we dog people go to...
Chose a chew toy each for the boys for Christmas.
However I know they are not that fond of 'plain rawhide', so these particular ones were carefully selected so I could (again - did similar last year) untie the 'stitching', insert cooked chicken and re-tie...
They will sit in the fridge till wrapped, and if last year is anything to go by, the unwrapping process will be cuuuuuuuute!

Here's Stirling opening his on Christmas Day...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Say "Cheese"

I quite like supermarket shopping, though am decidedly predictable in what I buy. Today, with a sizable gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket, I moseyed around New World in Botany Downs selecting things I rarely buy  - well not all at once - and depositing them with gay abandon into my trolley. My contributions for the Christmas table and ensuing days at with the family at home in Matata. A few cheeses here, smoked salmon and smoked chicken there, other nibbly bits that I love but am always either too tight or diet conscious to purchase... and quite a few bottles of wine. Needless to say, the voucher amount was easily exceeded. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nek Minnit...

Am I a bad Aunty? Today my charges and I started the day watching YouTube clips - the original Nek Minnit clip, and others, such as Food in a Nek Minnit.
My nephew loves a new catchphrase, and as a 6 year old of good comedic bloodlines, he tried with varying degrees of success to deliver an authentic Nek Minnit moment throughout the day.
He actually did create one that roused quite a laugh when I gave my niece's hair the GHD treatment...

My sister had knotty, curly hair;... Nek Minnit...

As for my niece, she enjoyed being New Zealand's Next Top Model today.  Here are her 'Best Shots'.

(Who knows... Nek Minnit...)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Happy Little Helper

Those who know me well know that lawn mowing is almost at the top of the 'Household Tasks Most Hated' in my book.
Today the job was almost made pleasurable, through the enthusiasm, genuine enjoyment and help of my almost seven year old nephew Daniel. I did the edges and tricky bits and then let him do some runs up and down. OK, so he missed a few bits and was higgelty-piggelty in places, but man he was into it, and wanted to do a good job.
Bad aunty - I do not have ear muffs, but I did insist on covered in shoes.
When we'd finished he announced that he needed a big drink of juice. I asked what his Dad had after he mowed the lawns. You guessed it - thought I doubt it was DB Export Gold! I had a random bottle in my fridge which I enjoyed and Dan had a sip from. He then had orange juice!

Monday, December 19, 2011

THE Gingerbread House.

I am sure my friend Viki will be blogging about this too, and I will attach the link to her blog when she does.
(Here 'tis)
I am picking she will let her readers know of the challenges and anguish that went in to building this creation - an amazing Gingerbread House for her daughter Isabella's 4th birthday party.
We, and all the children, saw only what she had ultimately intended - an intricate, child-appealing house of delight.

My only regret is that I did not stay to taste it! Knowing Viki it would have tasted equally as good as it looked.
The cake pops (aka trees) in themselves were pretty amazing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Raining cats and... frogs?

Any of my Auckland readers will identify with this post; it has been raining pretty much for a week here, and the persistence is becoming wearisome.
But even amidst it all, I was gleefully surprised to spot this green friend sidling his way up the outside of my ranch-slider door last night. I cannot recall when last I saw a frog!
As a child I would spend hour upon hour in the swampy marsh behind our house, stalking and catching frogs. This was not an easy thing to do, and there was quite an art to it. Frogs are very good at spotting you coming, and seeing as I did my catching by hand as opposed to net, I had to be crafty and quick.
I don't remember exactly what I did with them after  had caught them, bit I do recall getting about 4 in a day was a good result.
We wold also often find them (actually, usually tadpoles not frogs) in the water troughs around the farm. Tadpoles were commonplace in classrooms, (for me as a student and as a teacher) as we watched the metamorphosis then tried to catch and transfer the frogs back to a safe environment once they became 'frogs'.
I have no idea where this dude would have come from, as in where his natural habitat is here in Wattle Downs - no freshwater swamps or water troughs here. Maybe someone has a pond he escaped from. But as far as getting into my fully fenced property, maybe instead of raining cats and dogs it has been raining pretty green frogs. He was nowhere to be seen this morning though.

PS My dogs were interested, though not perhaps as transfixed as I would have imagined.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Drama

Whilst the silly season creates, as a matter of course, plenty of drama along the way, this Christmas Drama is of the literal kind... my niece Megan featuring in a wee play "Santa in Space". Good old fashioned humour, quality ad-libbing and enthusiastic audience participation. Well done, Mairangi Players.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Clearing Out.

Well the day has finally come. After a final trip back in to work today, my desk is finally clear. (I have made a mental vow to keep it 'ala Pelu' - a descriptor a very few readers may appreciate - upon my return.)

And now I have left the building... cleared out, so to speak. Actually shed a few tears as I closed the Tumuaki Tuarua door to the room that has been 'my place' at work for 6 years.

And once I clear my head, I can start to imagine what my life will be like for the next 10 months.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Turning Japanese

To celebrate the end of the school year, our staff dined at Taiko in Kingsland tonight. I opted for the set banquet menu, and was so glad I did. I adore Japanese cuisine and this allowed me to sample a range of menu items, some familiar, some not. All delicious!
Taiko is a 'local' to the Holley family, and has been blogged about by my friend Viki, if you would like to read about her experiences, click here.
The photo is of the three original members of our Leadership Team, myself, Lisa and Viki. We will miss being together when I am away on study leave next year, but have survived the other two having parental leave. quickly swinging back into equilibrium after the absentee's return. I hope the same will be for me.
PS I say one photo - but have included 2 out of fairness to Lisa. Although the second pic is not well focussed, at least Lisa's lovely eyes are open :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

(There Goes) My Hero...

Well he is today. I kinda dig Dave Grohl (and the rest of the Foo Fighters) muchly at the moment, for the following reasons:

  • Being such a brilliant frontman/showman
  • Playing from 8:20 - 11pm. Talk about getting your money's worth
  • Making the rain evaporate as he played the first strains of guitar
  • Knowing and showing what true rock and roll really is
  • Playing Foo songs old and new, including my absolute favourite (see post title)
  • Leaving me in no doubt that my recent decision to make the most of more opportunities is a good one

A real shame that I was not allowed to take in my proper camera; apparently a basic DSLR is considered 'professional recording equipment'. This snapshots here are really only a memory prickers for the future.
Thanks Dave, for a great night, and also to my friend Kate for feeling the Foo with me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Times Like These

Written last night.. forgot to publish before leaving for gig... oops!

As a woman of 'increasing age',  I have some likes those who know me may not suspect ... one being an eclectic and varied taste in music, sometimes characterised by a penchant for loud and aggressive rock guitar. Which is why I LOVE the Foo Fighters.

They have visited here before more than once, up to 8 times I believe, but I have never gotten my arse into gear and actually gone to see them. Put it in the too hard basket.  Made excuses why I could not go. Told myself I was too old for live gigs.

Apathy is sadly a theme that has become too common with me of late, and one that I intend to address head on next year when I am on study leave. Make the most of opportunites that present themselves. Seek new opportunities. Complete things that have been on the To Do list for too long,,,

To quote the Foos, it's times like these you learn to live again. Starting tonight.

I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again

Portrait of a Pet

My intention today was to blog about our end of year picnic at school... but postponement due to rain put paid to that.
Instead I bring you a very honest portrait of my Reilly that I captured yesterday. I love it when 'people portraits' reflect the subject, and truly believe pet portraits can do same. 
The is Reilly is, as Reilly does. Gotta love him!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Conflicting Emotions

As my Facebook friends may have read, my day began today at 4am with a little dog (Stirling) not feeling quite himself.
It was a big little day for us; the Christmas Ribbon Parade for our Tiki Cavalier KCS Club. Being on the committee of the club, it was my intention to arrive early to fulfill my 'obligations', and then enjoy the more fun/less high stakes atmosphere that a Ribbon Parade brings.
But... instead I had to wait till 10 am to see a vet and rule out anything nasty. He suspects a muscle strain or disc pain, though an examination brought no 'flinching', and he was moving freely; pain only apparent when he tried to jump or lift the front part of his body such as when trying to travel up stairs.
With the vet's blessing I collected the other boys and headed off to the venue. I had decided to enter them all, though was fully prepared to pull Stirling if it appeared it was in his best interests not to.
When the time for his class arrived, he was fine so in we went, winning Best Dog, and going on to be Best on Parade. Awesome result. Means we are likely to be "Ribbon Parade Dog of the Year" again, fingers crossed.
However I hope that I did not exploit him today and make him do something that would compromise his quick, full recovery... But we've had big hugs tonight and he tells me it was OK, it didn't hurt in the ring... Still not happy about jumping or reaching up though...

But back to happier thoughts - The picture demonstrates part of the traditional fun of this day; a visit from Santa. He did not arrive via boat today after all, but rather by golf cart. Still throwing lollies though, so all good!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready, regardless.

Christmas Ribbon Pde tomorrow for our Tiki Cavalier KCS club. Weather forecast is a bit iffy but we three here have all had a bath and are ready regardless.
It's a day for the kids really, held at the gorgeous property Mincher at Coatesville. Lots of fun classes (fastest biscuit eater, fancy dress...) and Santa floats by in a boat. so I truly hope the rain stays away...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Henna-ed Hands

I have always been fascinated with this body art. Today I spotted a student with this wonderful artwork on her hands, ready for a family wedding. Love it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the eye of the beholder

For all intents and purposes, this specimen a weed, but the late afternoon sun lit it up like little balls of lace today.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Not a secret anymore...

My First 'Cover'
"Omg! How exciting you're published!"
This was the message that my whistleblower friend Kate sent me via email late this morning. Attached was a picture of a picture I knew well.
A picture that encompasses three current loves of my life; dogs, family and photography.
I had entered my perennial fave pic "The Secret" in to NZ Dog World's cover competition last year. I did not win, but had received an email saying that they loved the pic, and wanted to keep it on file to use at "the earliest opportunity".
Well a year had come and gone, and no photo; I had basically forgotten about it, except to look out for the 2011 competition, which did not eventuate...
I was therefore so surprised, proud and excited to see my picture on the cover of a glossy magazine today.  So, it's not the Rolling Stone or anything, but it does have a healthy distribution of 11 000.
Thanks to all who have already sent congratulations. I must admit it is a real 'moment' for me, and one I will long remember! I will be secretly looking for my 'Secret' on supermarket or bookstore shelves!

The little blurb inside the cover
The star of the show

Website screen shot :)

PS When I bothered to open and flick through the magazine, I found another one of my entries featured!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recognise me?

I have grown up!
I am full of adventurous spirit, and cheeky smiles!
This is me now, and this was me then.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

That's MY Cake!

And a very nice cake, too.
Miss Jaime, although not officially 5 until January, celebrated this upcoming milestone today in a perfect setting - a Gym hall with a kitchen upstairs. There was various equipment for the kids to play on, ranging from a trampoline to a rope swing, plus a badminton court and basketball hoops fort the grown-ups who were so inclined. Chuck a bouncy castle in the corner and everyone was happy. Especially when it was time for cake.

PS A little movie also, of firm friends Jaime and Isabella warming up for a game of Freeze:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rewiring my brain

I currently have Busy Head Syndrome. It is not conducive to sleep. Or to rationality. Maybe not to good decision making. Definitely not to emotional stability.

In an attempt to clear some busyness, I walked the boys to the park and just lay down with music blasting though my ears. None of this relaxing pan flute shite, I needed to make sure nothing else could get in, so I picked an all time favourite song and played at volume several times, staring at the sky.

It sort of helped at the time, but when I got back home I thought of another place to go to help me get real. Pinterest. I needed to read all those little quotes I had pinned on a Board that said "Remember This". Of the 115 pins I have on this Board, these were particularly relevant to my present state of mind. Now I just have to rewire my thinking, and ... Remember.

this would solve a LOT of my problems!
true, dat


Who sung that like Bob Marley?

In my case, 11:50, 1:30, AND 3am. 
Yes, cos it hurts!
I did a LOT of dog hugging this morning!