Thursday, October 29, 2009

Camping Trip to Tawharanui

Over Labour weekend we stayed at Tawharanui Regional Park.  It's a lovely spot.  We had great weather for the Sat/Sun, though Monday was a wet pack up and we've had to dry out the tent in the garage over the last few days.

Missy Moo got some bug that has been going round so she spent a lot of the time being out of sorts and dosed up on Pamol.  Mr 6 had a blast though.  I blobbed around reading books, doing some sketching and enjoying doing nothing in particular.  I could have easily spent a week of it but would have needed a few more books to read.  In my efforts to pack minimalistically I didn't take enough "entertainment" things for me or the kids.  So the Hairy McLary book got a beating!

This is the second time we've used the tent and we're pleased with the way it works for us. In fact, we were pitched a bit further along on a bit of a slope the first night and a flatter site became available the next morning.  So we undid the pegs and dragged the tent down a few metres to the flat. The first night wasn't that great actually because it felt like we were sleeping on a mountain side and there were a bunch of idiots pickling their brains until 3.30am and making lots of noise. A couple of us complained to the ranger and they got sent packing - yay!

Missy Moo discovered my ear plugs in my hand bag.

DH got up every morning to do some sunrise photos and spent every evening doing sunset photos.  He came home with a full memory card and is feeling quite pleased with himself.  You can see some of his efforts on his blog.  We also did a few family rambles.  Missy Moo was happy when we stopped for DH to take photos but wasn't if we were walking and moaned for me to carry her everywhere.

The beach is lovely.  Bikini clad wenches were out in force!  But I wasn't one of them ;-)

Mr 6 made some stone constructions.  This one has 2 chimnies, a hot water cylinder and pipes apparently.

Missy Moo kept showing me rocks - "Look Mummy!  I found a rock!"  Perhaps my enthusiasm wasn't quite up to her requirements but given their prevalence I wasn't too surprised about her discoveries...

Looking forward to going back with more books, less sickies and for a longer time!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 6: Gok Inspired Fashion Competition

The last layout I managed to do for the Scrapbook Outlet's competition.  The challenges included silhouetting and a journalling spot (not pre-made).  Stamping was also a challenge but I didn't manage to get it on this layout and ran out of time for another one I'd planned.  Never mind!  The odds aren't in my favour for the draw but I'm glad I've got a few more layouts in the album which is all that really matters.

The journalling is about my first job.  I actually had 2 first jobs since I worked 2 part time jobs for a year.  This one was at Hebron Christian College.  The principal used to be my Form 2 teacher and I met him by chance just when I was looking for part time work and he was looking for a part time librarian.  Actually, I don't think that one happened by chance! ;-)

Anyway, fortunately for me, the head librarian B was happy to take me on his recommendation and we turned out to be a good team.  We did a lot in the library that year and I was able to use the stuff I learnt during my studies to good effect.  We wrote a new collection development policy which replaced an older set of guidelines.  We started to automate the library - this was 1996 and that project was finally finished a few years later.  I think we had one computer when we started!  I know poor B really wondered if it would ever be finished!  We gave the library a good weed and started the process of updating the non-fiction which was badly in need of renewal. 

Sadly, one of the library helpers in that top group died the following year from a brain tumour she had had since childhood.  She was in her early 20s.

They were good times, good people and it really felt like we were making a difference.  It was the kind of job that gave me a good grounding in grass roots librarianship.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Gok Inspired Fashion Competition Catwalk#5

Sadly I didn't manage to do #3 and #4 of this challenge - other stuff had priority but I did manage to squeeze this one out just before the deadline closed Wendesday night!!


Mr 6 is spending the last week of the holidays with his Gran and Grandad in Whangarei.  We rang last night to see how he was getting on and all seems well.  He'd been to the library with Gran and had got out a Richard Scarry book, one of his favourite authors.  He devours the pages for machines and then goes and constructs them with his Mobilo.  My conversation with him consisted of him telling me in excruciating detail how the wheat is grown, harvested, taken to the mill..... and finally made into flour.

Miss 2.5 is missing her brother.  She had to speak with him twice on the phone and asked me, "Daddy getting Tim?"  So sweet.  Pity their interactions aren't always so tranquil.  I feel like I need a blue beret at times, the amount of peace keeping that has to go on.

Monday, October 05, 2009

September Reading Round Up | Blogosphere Book Circle BotM

Smallpox, syphilis and salvation : medical breakthroughs that changed the world / Sheryl Persson.
Since ancient times the search for cures for the great scourges that have afflicted humankind has been an ongoing quest, but it is only within the last 200 years that major breakthroughs have occurred and the development of modern medicine has accelerated. The stories behind these miraculous cures are those of intense rivalries and jealousies, bitter public humiliation, unswerving dedication, subterfuge, and great personal struggles. Often these medical advances have truly changed the world.~from the blurb
I've always been interested in disease and health so I enjoyed this book. It's easy to read and follows a similar format for all the different diseases covered. Very informative. The dedication and resolve of some of the researchers to finding and developing vaccines to diseases that were once real scourges is impressive.

The taint of Midas / Anne Zouroudi.
For over half a century the beautiful, ruined Temple of Apollo has been in the care of the old beekeeper Gabrilis. But when the value of the land soars, he is persuaded through unscrupulous means to sign away his interests - and hours later he meets a violent, lonely death. When Hermes Diaktoros finds his friend's battered body by a dusty roadside, the police quickly make him the prime suspect. But with rapacious developers threatening Arcadia's most ancient sites, there are many who stand to gain from Gabrilis's death. Hermes resolves to avenge his old friend and find the true culprit, but his methods are, as ever, unorthodox.~from the blurb
Think I've discovered a new crime series that I'll enjoy perusing! Yay - love it when that happens. And I am tickled that I'm reading an author who's last name starts with Z. Yes, I'm weird that way.

Skeletons at the feast : a novel / Chris Bohjalian.
As Hitler's Third Reich crumbles, an aristocratic Prussian woman and her child flee west away from the approaching Russian army. Eventually they form an unlikely alliance with a Jewish man escaping from the concentration camps.~from the blurb
Oooo - really liked this one. Especially since I read a non-fiction book about the time that this book is set in. Engrossing. Some sad bits though.

The next thing on my list : a novel / Jill Smolinski.
June Parker's life is meandering along until a freak car accident leaves Marissa, her 24-year-old passenger, dead and June wracked with guilt. June discovers a list Marissa had been keeping of 25 things she wanted to do by the time she turned 25. After a run-in with Marissa's brother, June resolves to complete the list. Kissing a total stranger and throwing away her scale prove far easier than pitching an idea at work or changing someone's life. But June approaches the list with aplomb, daring to speak up about being passed over for a manager position, and becoming a Big Sister to a quiet, studious Latina teen named DeeDee. But when June uncovers a secret of DeeDee's, she realizes changing someone else's life might involve changing her own as well.!from the blurb
Heh - chick lit, what can I say. I put it down half way through to read another book and then picked it up again. A bit of froth.

Portrait of an unknown woman / Vanora Bennett.
Passion, painting and politics in sixteenth-century England. The year is 1526. Hans Holbein the Younger is at the beginning of his remarkable career when he travels to England under the patronage of Sir Thomas More. His arrival brings the Renaissance in painting from Europe to Britain. As a guest in the splendid More household in Chelsea, Holbein begins to paint their first family portrait. The great household of the courtier and scholar, Sir Thomas More, was famous for its liveliness and learning. Two people visiting the great house find themselves irresistibly drawn to Meg Giggs, one of More's foster daughters. One of them is John Clements - dark, tall, elegant - an erstwhile tutor, now practising to become a medical doctor; a man of compelling presence and mysterious background. The other is Holbein himself - warm, ebullient, radical and foreign - sent by the great Erasmus to paint the More family portraits. Meg will find herself powerfully drawn to these two wildly contrasting men. She will love one, and marry the other.The two Holbein family portraits frame this remarkable story with its background of love, family, and of religious and political turmoil.~from the blurb
This is a great book. I've said it before, but if you like Phillipa Gregory, then Vanora Bennett writes similarly. I liked the picture she paints of what is behind some of Holbein's famous painting.

How many planes to get me? / Jonquil Graham.
Heartwarming tale of a family in Golden Bay who adopted nine children, five from Eastern Europe, and fostered many others. This tells the story of adoption, shows the tragedy of children without families and the difference that true parenting makes to both the children and parents.~from the blurb
You can't help but admire these folks and the way they've opened their house and hearts to children who needed a family. (Almost makes me want to adopt, but we don't really fit the criteria for most countries that do inter-country adoption - DH sighs in relief).

Behind closed doors : a startling story of an Exclusive Brethren life / Ngaire Thomas.
A biography of a woman and her family and their expulsion from the EB church, their struggles and subsequent recovery. Very interesting read for me - I had several EB friends at school during some of the era this book is set in and I remember stuff happening that puzzled me at the time.

Echo in the bone / Diana Gabaldon
As battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and his twentieth-century time-travelling wife Claire Randall flee from North Carolina to the high seas during the American Revolution, they encounter privateers and ocean battles. Meanwhile in the relative safety of the 20th century Brianna (Claire and Jamie's daughter) and Roger MacKenzie, Brianna's husband, search for clues not only to Claire's fate--but to their own fate in the Highlands.
I have been waiting for this book to come out so was peeved with Whitcoulls at Westcity who had sold out of their stock by the time I got there. (They had a whole stand full of unsold Dan Brown's book though - maybe they need better market researchers for that store?) The Warehouse had a sign up saying they'd sold out too, but when I asked they remembered a new box of them had arrived that morning so I got my copy. Yay me! Anyway, as always I found myself absorbed by the story and found it hard to let go to do other more "important" things. There is quite a lot "stuff" happening in this story and you need to concentrate to keep things in your mind. Some things get cleared up, and the story moves along at a rapid pace. But... if you're a Jamie/Claire fan be Warned! There are some major cliff hangers in the last few pages. DH watched in puzzlement as his crazy wife had a tanty at 11.00pm Thrusday night when I finished the book and realised they weren't going to be resolved until the next book. If you don't deal well with waiting I'd say you'd better put off reading Echo until Gabaldon has made a substantial start on book 8. Because my fingernails are already suffering.

September's Book Circle Book of the Month

Beautiful boy : a father's journey through his son's addiction / David Sheff.
Before meth, Sheff's son Nic was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candour, Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs, the denial (by both child and parents), the 3 a.m. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the attempts at rehab, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for each other too, lest they become addicted to addiction. Meth is the fastest-growing drug in the United States, as well as the most addictive and the most dangerous - wreaking permanent brain damage faster than any other readily available drug. It has invaded every region and demographic in America. This book is the first that treats meth and its impact in depth. But it is not just about meth. Nic's addiction has wrought the same damage that any addiction will wreak. His story, and his father's, are those of any family that contains an addict - and one in three American families does.~from the blurb

Meth (or P, as it's called here) is something I've kind of heard of, but from the media rather than in this form - an autobiography of a family dealing with it. Like Mel, I identified with the Dad and found it hard to understand the choices that the son makes. It makes for gruelling reading in one sense but what kept me going was the perserverance of the rest of the family to support each other and the addict.