Friday, February 15, 2013

Where Do YOU Read???

Overlooking Coomera River, Hope Island,
Gold Coast, Australia, I've curled up
on the outdoor furniture with my Kindle
It suddenly came to me while I was sitting at my desk at work, reading my Kindle, I could share the odd places I'm lucky enough to curl up and have a good read, in particular the random places I mention in my reviews, just like authors blog about where they write and in the hopes that maybe it'll start a chain reaction and you will all share those odd places YOU love to curl up and have a good read.  

Buzzy Bee, Takapuna Rose Gardens,
didnt notice them while lost in a story

I'm very fortunate and thankful to hail from beautiful New Zealand. I'm a super proud Kiwi and always love to give a digital high-five the New Zealand authors who are doing so well in such huge world.  I live in the beautiful North Shore City and in Summer I am surrounded by beautiful beaches and beauty. I couldn't wish for a better place to raise my family.

I've been known to note that I don't learn by from my #1 rule... DON'T read “just” the first chapter at work… it’s never JUST the first chapter.  If the first chapter captures me then usually EEEK I'm caught between a rock and a hard place desperately wanting to carry on all the while knowing I'm paid to work not read :(  I work in a lovely office and my job is 99% computer based. So here's my work desk.  

My exciting work Desk

Not much to note about my desk. I usually have three coffee cups on my desk at any one time… half finished grrrr. My fave mug is my Starbucks Mug. We all work with two screens because we use many apps.  Various pics of my girls litter my desk and I have a little stack of coloured pens and felts to update my calendar with.  My coaster reads: If it's not fatal, it's no big deal.  It's true people, take the time to smell the roses, you never know what's around the corner.I have an old rock in the shape of a T which Miss 13 found many many years ago on the beach while she was away visiting my parents. It makes me smile.  What also makes me smile is the random notes Miss 11 leaves when she visits me at work.  The latest “To Mum. Pineapples are Rad, Luv Jim Jam” ...don’t ask,
I don’t…  

Rose Gardens, Takapuna
Straight across the road from work in the hustle and bustle of Takapuna is a beautiful rose garden park.  We've been experiencing the most beautiful summer here in NZ so at lunchtime I go there with my lunch and devour as many chapters as I can.  I cant begin to explain how perfect a setting it is to get lost in a story.  In my pic if you look closely you'll see the main road with buses and cars whizzing around the streets yet the park is so peaceful.  This isn't my seat, i prefer the park benches the park has, that way I can lean back and share my pasty white legs with the sun. Students lay on the grass and tan while toddlers are across the way swinging high in the playground with their Mums and Grandparents.

Coomera River, Gold Coast,
at Mt Tamborine, a storm's brewing

I've  recently mentioned I had the luxury of reading a few books in Hope Island, Gold Coast,(Riverleigh Gardens) overlooking Coomera River with the backdrop of Mt Tamborine.  How blessed was I.  I wish you could see the Kindle on my lap while I was taking pics of the sudden storm brewing.  The kindle also made a trip to Wet and Wild.

Miss 13, Albany Lakes,
Spot the Kindle...
Last Saturday after Miss 11 finished her swimming lessons we went and had an icecream and went for a walk along stunning Orewa Beach.  Four hours later… I had finished my latest novel and the kids had had a ball on the beach. 

This Summer I have also read my Kindle on the bus, at home, in the car, twice at our local curry restaurant Bollywood in Takapuna at lunch time and at Albany Lakes while the Kids rollerbladed... 

So that's it from me... if you've made it this far, high five LOL... Where are the random places your Kindle has been with you... or better yet share your blog and pics below :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Is My Trash Really Your Treasure?!?

With two days notice my neighbourhood was advised it was Inorganic Collection time!

Photo credit:
For those unfamiliar with this term it’s where our local Council collect our items that are too big for the weekly rubbish pick-up… you know, things like TVs and Dryers that just wont fit into a rubbish bag!  Each household puts all their inorganic rubbish on the kerbside in the weekend for the council to pick up during the following week.  I’ll upload pics soon but if you can imagine, by the end the weekend outside everyone’s house is a varying sized pile of trash.

Aptly timed with Spring, my family and I had a spring clean.  Miss 13 convinced me to throw out the coffee table that has followed us around thru the years and was literally on its last legs… $40 from Kmart many moons ago.  So out it went. My lounge looks bigger and the girls can sprawl out on their bean bags.  Out with toys, old dolls which once you couldn’t tear away from Miss 10 (eeek she’s growing up). Magazines, Prams, outdoor furniture, rusty bbq, suitcases, newspapers, a bike and the piece de rĂ©sistance a Dryer.  Even as I sit here writing this I can still picture stuff at home that can go.

Here’s a pic of my BBQ, you can see why it needed to go. We have a grand opening down the road by the local gardening centre and they have a competition where you email them a picture of your old crusty BBQ and you go into the draw for a new one… I’m hoping I get lucky.  If I did I’d give the Rolls Royce BBQ they are giving away to my girls Granddad and I will have his… can you see the visualisation?  We have people at work big on it so I even asked the girls to visualise us arriving for the draw and our name getting called out…. Anyway off topic…

I HATE about inorganic time.  With it comes the scavengers.  For the entire weekend the neighbourhood is inundated with trucks and vans and trailers being driven by people from out of town and they stop by each pile of trash and methodically go thru it with a fine tooth comb and load up their trucks, vans and trailers and then move onto the next pile.  This is fine if it’s one or two but it’s not, it’s like a whole other neighbourhood comes in and raids your trash.  You can’t drive up or down the street because it’s all blocked by these visitors.

Why do I dislike them so much?  First and most important reason is if they see you dumping your rubbish they send their little kids down your driveway asking if you have more trash.  The youngest child I’d estimate last year was maybe 5 or 6.  This year I had kids who looked like 10 or 12.  This makes me madder than the people who come knocking on your door wanting to discuss the merits of *said religious leader*.  Or they just send their kids door-knocking for the hell of it.

The second reason is that they don’t leave your trash in the tidy piles they find them.  They start at one end of the pile and ferret thru it much like a cartoon puppy digging the dirt and the dirt goes flying out behind them Your trash pile becomes a rubbish dump.

The third reason is that you also get the clowns who think it’s clever to break the screen of TVs etc.  A lot of TVs are being thrown out at the moment because we’re going digital soon and our analogue TVs won’t work without a digital receiver and it’s cheaper to just buy a new tv.  It’s not funny to go along each pile and smash tv screens. Kids walk the streets all the time and here in NZ it’s more barefoot than not.

The fourth reason is because I think it’s gross that a stranger is ferreting thru my trash.  If I throw something out it’s broken, rusty or mouldy. It’s not worth anything to the average person but I guess anything metal they strip back and sell and maybe that’s how that family will eat for the week. Last year I had a truck drive past me with their back piled so so high there’s no way it could be legal or safe in form but the policeman he drove past in the round-a-bout ignored him?!? 

I cant think of many good points except sometimes there’s kind groups who will be more than happy to take your heavy items up your driveway for you.  I started to drag my old dryer up the driveway and the wife of the current ferreting couple came bustling and waving at me down my driveway and said her husband would come pick it up. Sure enough he did.  Two days later almost everything metal is gone.  My coffee table remains so I guess Miss 13 knew what she was talking about.  Old towels and clothes are still there.  Oddly enough the Videos (yes as in VHS Videos) are gone but the books remain. 

The other surprise is that I’m ranting and raving about the scavengers and the mess they leave and Miss 10 pipes up that she LOVES Inorganic Collection because she can go hunting for new toys and baby gear.  OH.MY.GOSH! What? Turns out my selective memory has totally forgotten last inorganic she collected from a neighbour a PERFECT condition baby capsule and a Childs pooh bear armchair.  The armchair went out this inorganic because I refused to let it come inside and now it’s growing grass.  Miss 10 went back to the house that threw out the baby capsule and there was a rocker.  Where is the rocker now?  Pulled apart at home waiting to be washed.  It’s amazing what she can do when she wants to?!?  Needless to say the skateboard with missing wheels she found has gone back along with the Skip-It and the broken Nerf Gun.  I went out to find the kids last night and there they were all perched on someone’s fancy couch chatting?!?   Oh one other good thing… the kids did their paper run really quickly so they could walk past other peoples trash.

So is my trash really your treasure?  My BBQ has gone.  My dryer has gone.  All the suitcases gone. Videos gone. Bike gone. Prams gone.  Only thing left is towels and my trusty coffee table.  And is your trash my treasure? I don’t see anything worthwhile in a skateboard with missing wheels especially when Miss 10 has a perfectly good skateboard.  Did I mentioned it was raining too?

Maybe my trash is your treasure!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 2012

Hmmm.... where has the year gone? No updates and for the life of me I have no idea what's been going on so lets start with August :)

Miss 13's Bday Cake she made herself
Firstly Miss 12 turned into Miss 13! What a neat occasion. She was very lucky and had a lovely dinner with one set of Grandparents and was gifted a beautiful charm bracelet. Another set of Grandparents took her to the outdoor Ice Rink at Aotea Square (a novelty for Aucklanders). Another set of Grandparents gave her voucher which she loves. From her sister and I she was gifted the two things she had on her list. A pair of Converse's and an Ipod Touch. What a very very very lucky girl. She has indeed been spoiled but she very much deserves it.

Celebrating the Birthdays
In July the family got together to celebrate a joint birthday lunch. It involved Miss (now) 13, her cousin who turned 13 in June, another cousin who was turning 12 and Miss 13's Aunty who was turning........... ;P Our gift to everyone was another attempt at a cake. Check out the story of it here.

August also saw the tickets be booked for all the cousins trip to Australia in December/January. We have all been saving madly and the kids cant wait.

Miss 13 has been enrolled into High School for the start of the next school year (Feburay for us in NZ). Miss 10 is going thru the process of being enrolled into Intermediate for the start of the next school year... very exciting times because they both start new schools next year. Miss 13 is lucky enough to have a step sister at Rangitoto College, a very popular school here in Auckland and one of the largest in New Zealand I think. To give you an idea they are capping the Year 9 entrants at 650! There is over 3k students there! We are out of zone for it (the zone starts at the end of our street) so she's lucky because she would be automatically accepted into it because she has a sibling there. So we went on the school tour and she liked it and then that afternoon we headed off to her other choice and chose that one instead. She's really excited and has chosen all her options and I'm really looking forward to it.

We've come to the end of the netball season for Miss 13. Last game tomorrow.

Miss 10 has gone back to swimming lessons and from what I can tell the Northern Arena is just beautiful. Miss 13 has joined the Teen Fit sessions and she's very excited to join and cant wait to start.

At school we have cross country... Miss 10 came 15th out to Year 6 girls. Speeches which Miss 13 loathes.

Apart from that it's work, clean, kids, work, clean, dishes, work, clean... oh my life is SO exciting :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

February 2012

Gift to my girls Nana for having them and their sister over to stay. Hope Island. Gold Coast
Miss 12 returned to Intermediate, final year before High School.  Miss 10 started her final year at Primary.

Miss 12 first A- in Intermediate

Won tickets to Roxette, Auckland hour later cancelled.

HATE costs of school

first day of school - Year 8
Stupid online digital learning

Found out I needed glasses WAAAHHHH

Started planning my girls step sisters birthday cake.

Started my girls Nana's thank you Scrapbook page for their trip to Oz...

BEST DISCOVERY of the Month!  The UK book site The Book Depositry.  WOW talk about Cheap!!!!! Completed Miss 12's series of Hunger Games and The City of Glass etc books.  Miss 10 has a double book of Dork Diaries, ordered Miss 10's Saxaphone book for $10!  $22 here!!! BUT BEST THING EVER the lovely blue covers of the series i adore is for sale...

Sweet Sixteen!

Last week my daughter's step sister turned Sweet Sixteen. Our gift to her was a homemade passionfruit white chocolate mud cake.  It took us about a week and was well worth the effort. I'm going to pin up everything on my pinterest board to share further details.  It was a great family effort and I had loads of fun chosing the design etc with my girls.
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

January 2012 (wow, what a stunning title!)

Just a pic I took in the Koru Club Lounge
The beginning of the year is such a good time to clean out the closet (so to speak) and start new with well meaning plans on how to improve your life in the upcoming year.

One of the crafty type blogs I follow is doing a weekly digital scrapbook about their life this year.  You purchase the folder and each week there's a challenge, so at the end of the year you end up with a digital scrapbook of memories with other "challenges" thrown in.

GREAT concept - if I didnt work full time while raising Miss 12 and Miss 10.  I thought I'd love to do a monthly one, a monthly "normal" scrap layout page rep-ing that month.  I've just had a great idea, I'll write on here my highlights of Jan and then scrap it later.

The View flying out of Auckland
First and foremost highlight!  My girls and their stepsister went to Australia for two weeks to stay with their Nana and Poppa in Hope Island Resort.  Highlight for them because it was my girls first ever trip on a plane... Highlight for me because - well two weeks break really!  Two weeks of quiet, feeding myself, fighting myself for the remote, me me me me!  SUPER DUPER QUADRUPLE TRIPE DELIGHT Highlight tho was I was going over with their Grandad to pick them up and bring them home!  It was a surprise and it was so hard keeping it from them.  This whole story is another blog in itself.
Leaving the Gold Coast

Their Grandad turned 60 and there was a party with all the family.

My brother moved from up North to closer to Huntly.

Annual Picnic with the Russells at Long Bay Beach for Auckland Anniversary Weekend.  We have a Public Holiday for every region.  Ours is usually always at the end of January.

BAD Summer weather... as in it wasnt even Hot.  Maybe 1 day out of 10 the sun came out.  The rest of the time was grey and yuck... In fact the last week the girls were in Oz it was flooding (eeeeekkk... memories of the 2011 Jan floods I was thinking at the time)... we had three attempted landings to get into the Gold Coast Airport.
Rainy Gold Coast Airport

Funny sign at customs in Auckland Int Airport
That should be more than enough to get a page together to remember January 2012.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

RWC 2011 - NZ v FRANCE - 8-7

Bit late for a blot referring to the RWC isn't it!  I was looking back on old posts and saw post #2 was about the Football World Cup and how super super proud I was to be a Kiwi that it suddenly occurred to me I didn't write ONE WORD on how great it was to A Host the RWC and B to win it... just!
Yes, the world was here to play

This little pea's experience was as follows.

I didn't go to any of the games even tho I live two mins away from the North Harbour Stadium which hosted games, 20 mins away from Eden Park, which they did up specially for the world cup but we all got quite patriotic... ie, all work places decorated their offices, cars had flags or two or four in their windows supporting their teams, towns adopted a second team and supported them as well.  I'm very close to Browns Bay (the South African head quarters of NZ) so there were tons of SA flags flying.  Schools did "Black Outs" which means they all dressed in black to support the mighty All Blacks and also "Dress as your fave team" days.  So even tho I didn't physically go to any games the atmosphere was fantastic!

TV coverage was really good - almost all public channels played the games, more so when the finals came about.  My fave coverage tho has to be the Maori channel simply because of their commentators and because they broadcasted every game.

The Cup, Ritchie McCaw & our Coach finally smiling
If you weren't attending the opening ceremony and game everyone made plans on how to watch it. My family and I were very lucky to watch it with our good friends who also happen to have a perfect view of the Harbour and the Sky Tower.  We could watch the fireworks display as well as listen to the music on the TV for it.  Unfortunately Miss 11 decided it would be the first time in five years that she would feel sick and vomit! Oh my gosh!

We watched almost all of the All Black games together.  It was quite frustrating they were so late when you have kids tho.  Apparently that was because they wanted to cater for rest of the world for their timezone.

Misc highlights would be everyone getting behind Tonga... they weren't supposed to get as far as they did.  Oh the passion they displayed!  I really really really enjoyed the kids and their friends saying if the All Blacks didn't win then they support ......... country!  This is  because their schools are so multi-cultural.  My kids have many S.A friends so they were very very supportive of the S.A's.   Oh and WHO can forget Sonny Bill Williams shirt being ripped off! Oh yes! Highlight of the tournament!!!!!  Boy was I glad my opening ceremony hosts had My-Sky... pause... rewind... play... pause... rewind... replay... What else? Ummm... walking past the different teams... France being the main one.. then Oz... in Takapuna where I work.  It was a pain when there were major games at the N.H Stadium becuase the mall across the road from it was PACKED!  But oh!  The colours and flags and facepaint of everyone at the mall and just general happiness was so catching....  I like Jay Jay's top 15 players... that was very good.  I also like the Irish team giving it a bloody good go!

Oh, other best highlight was the Piri Weepu jokes after he played phenominal.  I swear he reached hero status.  Then you see the downside of us Kiwis.  We raise our heroes so high that they have a loooong way to fall when they show they are just human! Oh did I feel for him when his Grandfather died.  But boy were the Piri Weepu jokes brilliant... Keep Calm, Piri's got this!  Or the references to the Chuck Norris jokes - hilarious!!!!

There were also Fan Zones set up around the country and once they got into the second or third round they set up one at Albany Lakes which is right by the stadium and mall. That was really good.  Massive screens to watch the games on.

Things I didnt like much... well there wasn't much to not like.  I didnt like how the Kiwi-Ozzie rivalry seemed to get a bit out of hand.  There has ALWAYS been a friendly rivalry between us, it's just part of who we both are but I think the media sensationalise it. If what they say some of us Kiwi's said really happened then I'm quite ashamed but I dont know anyone who doesnt enjoy having a laff about the Australians losing.  We all know every Kiwi supports the All Blacks and anyone playing the Australian team.  I also got mad reading how hurt the Australians were - why?  Because if we lost they would be the FIRST people to rub it in!!!!  I also didnt approve of Quade Cooper's treatment.  Sure he did some dumb things and spent most of his time dropping the ball but come on... sometimes things are just not funny!  It wasn't just Kiwi's in those stadiums too people so who knows who exactly was booing him.  Not cool anyway!  This is funny tho... new Urban Dictionary entry... to stuff something up is now called "to make a quade of it"... hahahah.  Oh and of course all the All Blacks dropping like flys from their injuries; not cool.  Other dislike would have to be the transport stuff up on the opening night.  Those poor poor people who missed out.

Finally after many many weeks we reached the final game... not before almost dying watching the semi final games... oh my gosh!  Talk about heart in your throat material.  I was happy Oz didnt pull thru because I honestly thought if anyone was going to beat the All Blacks it would be them!  My family and I watched the last game in the BEST place, our local movie theatre.  Tickets went on sale way before this and they were expensive so I ruled that out.  About two nights before the final game they said that the tickets were free. Cha Ching!  Booked in just in time, the theatre was almost booked out.  When it came time to actually attend tho it was only half full.  What a fantastic experience.  On edge since the first whistle.  Wow!

Hero of the day was Stephen Donald.  So hilarious! He was what; fourth in line to kick after the might Dan Carter?  He was whitebait fishing on the banks of the Mighty Waikato River when he got the call the hall his butt up to Auckland.  Yes! If it wasn't for Stephen Donald the score would not have been 8-7 (ironically we last won the cup in '87).  Hearts breaking for Piri Weepu's performance; minds counting what we would have actually scored if we got all our conversions and tries... oh man... talk about SCREAMING at the screen!  Yes, I'll admit it I got teary when we won; when Richie McCaw and Dan Carter hobbled up to touch the cup; when I walked out of the theater and could hear the roar of happiness over at the Fan Zone.

Some of the Crowd at the Parade
Finally there was the Parade in town. Wow! 90 mins in the heat to wait to see our hero's.  I almost didnt go because my two kids decided that would be the day they would play up something chronic but I calmed down and thought hey - this is a part of history.  I didnt want to battle with parking so we went down to the local park n ride to catch a bus into town... oh my gosh... the rest of Auckland had the same idea.  That was one of the best bus rides I have ever had.  Strangers talking to strangers all saying "oh my gosh how close was it" and recalling how we were all screaming at the TV and how we simply could not believe the cup was finally ours and how damn proud we were of the win.

Now... 3 months later... it's almost forgotten; the hype has died down and we Keep Calm and Carry On!