Monday, January 24, 2011

In which I burble about what I did on my holidays

*note this isn't too exciting. Just updating.

We set out for Waikawau Bay a day earlier than planned since we had all the stuff ready to be pack and it seemed silly to hang around.  It's a long drive there so we left after lunch on Sunday and got there just after 5pm.  The camp was chokka with people which was a bit of a disappointment and it took us a while to find a place to pitch the tent.  (In fact, we waited until some folks had packed up and took their spot).  Anyway, we settled in.  Monday dawned a beautiful day.  The morning highlight for DS was the tanker that came to suck out the long drop toilets!

We walked to the top of the hill and looked down onto the beach, then walked down to the beach and looked in rock pools (saw a black sea slug).

#dailyimage2011 Jan 17 View from the hill

The children were agitating to get onto their boogie boards so we did that after lunch. The new togs got christened by the Pacific Ocean! Even DH got into the water which is worthy of mentioning! Unfortunately DD got dumped on her first attempt to board in so that ruined any hope of her having another go - she went and grizzled on the sand. DS however, he had a whale of a time and had a grin from ear to ear the whole time. He could have stayed in much longer but it had clouded over and the drizzle had started.

The weather went downhill after that. The ranger had posted a severe weather warning by Tuesday so after some agonising we decided to pack up and go home. (Queueing for the long drop toilets in the rain contributed some to this decision). By the time we got home we were regretting that decision as it was starting to clear again.  So we executed Holiday Plan B and headed down to Rotorua to stay in our favoured camp ground in a cabin. It turned out to be a better holiday for photographic opportunities anyway. We did some walks, went on the gondalas, sat in some hot pools... the usual.

After dropping DS at a friends house for a week long sleep over we headed back home.  I then went into town to meet (finally) Mim and her family.  It's always neat to meet people you have got to know online.  Actually I can't remember exactly how we "met" but in any case here we are with our other mutual friend Em!

#dailyimage2011 Jan 22 Meeting "imaginary" friends

So now it's back to work, back to normal.. well, as normal as one can be until school goes back anyway. And I have a four year old birthday party to organise!  The birthday itself has long gone, but we promised the party for when she was back to daycare with her friends.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New togs!!

I ordered some togs from Modcloth - yes, a bit of an extravagance but given the difficulty I have in finding some that look nice and a suitably modest, supportive and a colour I like... I think it was worth it.

#dailyimage2011 sunbathing in my bedroom

Sunbathing in my bedroom! Hee hee - nah, just posing for the #dailyimage2011 project I'm doing.  You can see the other photos on my Flickr stream.
So happy they fit and I feel great in them.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Day 12 #blog12daysxmas In which I photograph SCKC layouts

The past few years, Trina has made a call for these small 6"x6" layouts to send to the Southern Cross Kids Camp organisers. They are used to make small memory albums for the children who attend the camps.

Layouts for SCKO

These camps are for children who've had it tough. So it's nice to be able to contribute in a small way to a bit of positivity in their experience.

Layouts for SCKC

This year I made 46. They are super easy to do and they are great for using up stash and scraps.

Today was the first day back at work after the festive break.  I was horrified surprised to see we had students coming back in!  But most of them were on the computers checking Facebook and Youtube so one does have to wonder at the virtue of opening this week.  Oh well.

Nothing much else is open on campus - the copy centre, bookshop and convenience store but no food apart from a minimal selection in the staff room (pies and sarnies) and no coffee cart.  The library staff plunger coffee thingy is broken so I had to make do with the excuse for coffee from the coffee machine in the staff room.

#dailyimage2011 Coffee time

Tomorrow the kidlets will be coming with me so that will be interesting but at least I'll have company in the office! 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Day 11 #blog12daysxmas Reading Log for 2010

The ghost map : a street, an epidemic and the two men who battled to save Victorian London / Steven Johnson.
The bread with seven crusts / Susan Temby. 
The captive wife / Fiona Kidman.
People of the book : a novel / Geraldine Brooks.  
The boy who harnessed the wind : creating currents of electricity and hope / William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.
Weeping waters : a novel based on a true story / Anne Maria Nicholson.
My enemy's cradle / Sara Young.
Cross the river to home / Kaye Kelly.
Those who save us / Jenna Blum.
Diary of a girl in Changi : 1941-1945 / Sheila Allan.
The trespass / Barbara Ewing.
The heretic's daughter : a novel / Kathleen Kent.
When people matter most : vision driven leadership / Colin Prentice with Ian Hunter.
The kommandant's girl / Pam Jenoff.
Love in the time of cholera / Gabriel García Márquez ; translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman.      
The birthday present / Barbara Vine. 
The other queen / Philippa Gregory.
The girl of his dreams / Donna Leon. 
Song yet sung / James McBride.
Alice Hartley's happiness / Philippa Gregory.
The sand castle / Rita Mae Brown.
Mister Pip / Lloyd Jones.
The darkness looking back / by Andrea Jutson.    

The girl who played with fire/ Steig Larsson
The king's mistress / Emma Campion.
The girl on the landing / Paul Torday.
Access road / Maurice Gee.  
The story of Danny Dunn/ Bryce Corteney
The book thief / Markus Zusak.
Eat, pray, love : one woman's search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia / Elizabeth Gilbert.
Unseen academicals / Terry Pratchett
Growing great marriages / Ian and Mary Grant.
Replenishing the Earth : the settler revolution and the rise of the Anglo-world, 1783-1939 / James Belich.    
A taint in the blood / Dana Stabenow.
Delicious / Nicky Pellegrino.
The Italian wedding / Nicky Pellegrino.
I'm perfect, you're doomed : tales from a Jehovah's witness upbringing / Kyria Abrahams.
Julie and Julia : 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen : how one girl risked her marriage, her job, and her sanity to master the art of living / Julie Powell.
We two : Victoria and Albert: rulers, partners, rivals / Gillian Gill.
Bad science / Ben Goldacre. 
Half broke horses : a true-life novel / Jeannette Walls.
Tu / Patricia Grace.
Sand in my shoes : war-time diaries of a WAAF / Joan Rice.
Colditz : the definitive history / Henry Chancellor.
The white queen / Philippa Gregory.
Educating boys : helping Kiwi boys to succeed at school / Michael Irwin.    
The diary of a nobody / George and Weedon Grossmith 
The graveyard book / Neil Gaiman  
Silent in the grave / Deanna Raybourn.
Silent in the sanctuary : a Lady Julia Grey mystery / Deanna Raybourn.
Eat cake : a novel / Jeanne Ray.
The girl who kicked the hornet's nest / Stieg Larsson ; translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.
Wolf Hall / Hilary Mantel  
Hobson's chance / Jenny Haworth.
Rifling through my drawers / Clarissa Dickson-Wright.  
Ashes to dust / Yrsa Sigurdardottir ; translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton.
Six feet down under : memoirs of a New Zealand funeral director / Chris Mann.  
Novel about my wife / Emily Perkins 

The Einstein girl / Philip Sington.
Sweetwater Creek : a novel / Anne Rivers Siddons.
Last rituals : an Icelandic novel of secret symbols, medieval witchcraft, and modern murder / Yrsa Sigurdardottir ; translated from the Icelandic by Bernard Scudder.
Martyr / Rory Clements.
Empress Orchid / Anchee Min.
Day after night : a novel / Anita Diamant.
My stroke of insight : a brain scientist's personal journey / Jill Bolte Taylor.
The lacuna : a novel / Barbara Kingsolver.       
Pride and prejudice and zombies : the classic Regency romance - now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem / by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
The good plain cook / Bethan Roberts.
Lands beyond the sea / Tamara McKinley.
Falling & laughing : the restoration of Edwyn Collins / Grace Maxwell. 
Animal's people / Indra Sinha.
 Lone Creek : a novel / Neil McMahon.
The English patient : a novel / Michael Ondaatje.      
The redbreast / Jo Nesbo ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
The optimists / Andrew Miller
The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks / Rebecca Skloot.
The road / Cormac McCarthy  
The swan thieves / by Elizabeth Kostova
Someone knows my name : a novel / Lawrence Hill
Allons enfants: a New Zealand family in France / Linda Burgess 

Total: 80
Best month = January with 15
Worst month = December with 3
Average books per month = 6.6 

Last year I read a few more but 80ish seems to be standard for me.

New reads= 80
Non-fiction = 19
Fiction = 61

Can't be bothered categorising them into genre but a quick glance tells me my choices are a bit wider this year than in the past.

December reading round up | December Book

I didn't read much in December.

The swan thieves / by Elizabeth Kostova.
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. Renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey.~ from the blurb
Some one recommended this one to me and I did enjoy it.  There are several stories woven into the book and much about the strengths, weaknesses and variety of the human condition.

Someone knows my name : a novel / Lawrence Hill.
Dreaming daily of escaping her life of slavery in South Carolina and returning to her African home, slave Aminata Diallo is torn from her family when she is sold and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War, during which she helps create a list of black people who have been honoured for their service to the king. ~ from the blurb
Horrors of the slave experience aside, I liked this book for the historical fiction and for the character development of the protagonist.

Allons enfants: a New Zealand family in France / Linda Burgess.
A biographical account of this family and their experiences living in France during the eighties. I found a lot that resonated with my experience as a young teen living in a small town in Germany. 

March / Geraldine Brooks
New York : Viking, 2004.
ISBN: 9780143036661
Set on the front lines of the American Civil War. The main character, March, has been taken from Louisa May Alcott's " Little Women". He is the father who is away at war and who returns and needs to reassemble his shattered mind and reconnect with his family. ~ from the blurb

I think this book was probably my favourite of all the books we've read for the Book Circle this year.  It gives a gritty, realistic treatment of a reluctant soldier and his relationships with his men, wife and contemporaries.  I am fond of Little Women but it is a child's story and somewhat saccharine alongside this book about the Dad.  I definitely recommend it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Day 10 #blog12daysxmas Making iced coffee

Making iced coffee
Originally uploaded by pdugmore2001.

We spent most of the day at the Botanic Gardens, sweltering in the heat so we needed something to cool off with.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Day 9 #blog12daysxmas Lazy sunday

After church meeting and lunch at Mum's I came home to attack the vast crop of cucumbers we're accumulating. I'm making Bread & Butter Pickles.

Cucumbers for bread & butter pickle

We have quite a nursery of monarch's on our fence. They all seem to like this bit of real estate. We have 4 on this part (one outside the photo) and one actually travelled about 4 metres up the fence line to it's own little patch.

Monarch butterfly chrysalis

I hope we'll be quick enough to see them emerge.

Day 8 #blog12daysxmas In which we visit water gardens

It was a lovely day and we decided to visit Wright's Water Gardens in Patumahoe.  DH has a new macro lens he is playing with so he hoped to get some action in the photography department.  We took a picnic since the cafe was closed for New Year's Day.

Wright's Water Gardens

The lotus flowers are out (they have pink and white ones), plus many other water lilies. I do love their luminous quality. One of these days I want to paint a triptych with them as a subject.

Wright's Water Gardens

We also saw frogs in the pools near the entrance. Funnily enough I didn't notice them at first but as we waited for DH to try and capture some damselflies I suddenly noticed them! Just goes to show it is worth stopping, being quiet and still in such places instead of rushing about.

Wright's Water Gardens

I'm participating in a Daily portrait challenge so I made DS take this one at 1.11pm on 1/1/2011 just for the record.

Wright's Water Gardens

DD (and DS) got a bit fed up with it all eventually and claimed to be "totally bored". However, I managed to persuade DD to pose under this lotus leaf umbrella.

From a photographic point of view it was a successful day - DH has posted some results on his photostream if you'd like to see.