Monday, September 5, 2011

Christchurch Arts Still Wearable...

Flight NZ486 from Christchurch to Wellington last Saturday was crammed full of giddy middle aged woman drunk on freedom and the thought of firm terra firma in the nation’s capital.

The reason; WOW! World of Wearable Arts, inaugurated about the same time as the Rugby World Cup, originating in Nelson then being shipped off to Wellington in 2005. The show draws entries and wins from all around the globe and runs for three weeks concluding September 10.

As a first timer for this event, curious as to its allure, an invitation in February (one needs to book early) was accepted. Seven months later we embarked on our big day out. Hotels were booked for an overnighter and bank accounts cleaned out in anticipation of excellent shopping opportunities.

Arrival with hand luggage only, assisted in a smooth transition to the city streets after dumping the aforementioned bags unceremoniously at the hotel. An economic shuttle did a great job in shuttling us at a low cost deep into the heart of the CBD with bone rattling speed.

With precision timing and the instinct of well honed consumers we moved gracefully throughout the web of streets systematically emptying large amounts of cash from our bank accounts and wallets on material items from the array of shops primed and ready for the onslaught of out of towners. The streets groaned under the pressure of groups of well heeled woman babbling and celebrating their shopping successes. Like drug addicts after a well anticipated fix, the Christchurch contingent easily distinguishable by their sated glazed over gaze.

Budgets blown we headed back to the hotel to regroup before the big night out. Again spoilt by choice of restaurants we didn’t miss the opportunity to partake at one of the many on offer. A quick and cheap taxi ride later and we were deposited in our high heels that were for looks only, at the conveniently located Queens Wharf Arena to attend the extravaganza known as the WOW!

The show began the minute you entered. Filing into the arena the buzz was immediate. Actors dressed in costumes performed about you as you collected your STAR package ($175/seat) which entitled you to great viewing seats, a picnic bag of well appointed food and beverages that could easily have constituted a full meal had you not already eaten. The fold down seat was initially comfortable but after two hours played havoc with my vertebrae which thankfully was mildly anaesthetised by the complimentary champers.

The show kicked off at 8pm. A central stage area was used to manoeuvre the variety of acts up, down and aerially with up to five mini catwalks extending from the centre for the competitors to showcase their entries. Elaborate sub shows battled for your attention with the entries systematically visiting every catwalk so you eventually saw each one up close.

The seven categories were themed accordingly with appearances and references to the Christchurch plight highlighted with the aid of David McPhail and Ginette McDonald in their farm based slot which included live roosting chickens, a flock of subdued sheep and a farm dog who looked like they had all just sauntered straight out of a local petting zoo, well behaved after two weeks of performance.

The largely over forty five female crowd were well stereotyped with an unexpected but gratefully received appearance by John Rowles who almost crooned the knickers straight off their middle aged bottoms.

Ballet dancers, opera singers and a gaggle of brides pirouetted, postulated and pranced about the stage at varying intervals thrilling the crowd repeatedly with their professional displays of talent.

The entries weren’t all too bad either. Intricacy and simplicity shared the stage with ornate structures including large steel tubes intersecting at meticulous angles over the female form, fully hand knitted pieces swathing another and seemingly ordinary pieces that could have easily have been camouflaged on any suburban street. A scantily clad youth in an Adam from the Garden of Eden inspired piece stole the show in the men’s section with a particularly fetching stomach undulating routine that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Overall a spectacular event worth taking your mother, daughter, friends or workmates to once in your and their lifetimes.

The returning flight NZ479 was visibly subdued. Only a handful of revellers with the stamina of university students remained. They could just be heard yahooing above the gentle hum of snoring from the majority of weekenders.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Winter warmer

Mary’s Fried Rice

I used to hate this as a kid but tastes and times have changed and I quite like it now....
*Makes a good crowd pleaser for pot luck dinners or a great way to use up cooked rice

• 4 chicken breasts sliced (marinate in 1 T sesame oil/2 T Kikkoman soy)
• 1 C king prawns or shrimps or squid pieces (or all)
• 1 C frozen peas
• 1 chopped sliced red pepper into little squares the size of a pea
• 3 T canola oil
• 1 Onion finely chopped
• 4 T shrimp paste (crushed garlic/ginger/chilli/dried shrimps)
• 2-3 C cooked rice

Mix in a jug
• 1T fish sauce
• 1 T brown sugar
• 1 T oyster sauce
• 2 T Kikkoman soy
• 1 T dark soy
• 1 T sesame oil

GARNISH: with a sprig of coriander and 2 whole red chillis , ½ C roasted peanuts and finely sliced 2 egg omelette

Brown onion and shrimp paste in oil until soft. Add chicken and toss until almost cooked. Add seafood and fry for a minute.
Add rice then sauces from jug and mix continually to evenly coated. Take off heat if sticking and add more canola oil.
Put lid on and take off heat, using steam to continuing cooking and stop it sticking to the pot.
Add a splash of fish sauce to 2 beaten eggs then fry in a little oil in a hot mini frypan. Flip and remove onto board and slice thinly.
Garnish with sliced omelette, peanuts, chopped coriander and whole red chillis.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

excerpt from my old company newsletter written 2 yrs ago...still love it!

Word Builder ameliorate: To make or become better; improve.

Quote of the Month.."Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone." The Dhammapada

Good Game ..learn to snowboard

...fancy a bit of self chiropractic work? Snowboarding is just the thing. 'They' say it takes three days to master. That is all the bashing your body can handle; bruised buttocks, whiplashed neck, jarred vertebrae, forearms and shoulders and general malaise is the threshold you must break through to pass to the hallowed easy riding side. It is worth it. Gliding, teen-like down the pristine white mountain in oversized clothing is a high worth reaching.

Good idea .. retire at age 43.

Want to find yourself, or work out what you want to be when you grow up? Then retire and give yourself that much needed head space to work it out. Don't be put off by the harsh economic times and recessive economy, Lean on your partner for a bit. This is the first day of the beginning of your life. Tried and recommended!

Good Watch ..Bruno (2009)

If Borat was too much for you, then do not go see his alter Austrian ego, Bruno. Even more outrageous...He is gayer, more in your face, (literally) and unearthing further everyday atrocities that middle America call normal. If you think he is tasteless and crass, he is nothing compared to the everyday Americans he 'outs' in his risqué vinyl trunks. More nudity and gaiety than is necessarily politically correct it is still chuckle worthy whilst shockingly repugnant.

Tips on ...........customising your mid life crisis

Top Ten Options:

Change jobs/partners/sexual preference
Get a boob job.
Buy a Harley and a matching fringed leather jacket
Build or buy a 'muscle' car.
Go on an O.E.
Grow your hair (if you can) (if you can't buy extensions)
Get a toy boy or girl.
Go on a diet.
Run a marathon.
Get a tattoo or several.

*I have tried and tested a few but thankfully have some left to play with.....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Liberation has a price. $44 on Tuesdays. For this not so princely sum you can escape the worries of post earthquake Christchurch as long as you don’t mind large internal buildings sans windows.

I managed to execute a pocket of fun for four in the form of a mid afternoon session at the movies.

Going to the pictures at 3.40pm on a Tuesday afternoon was apparently “weird” according to the 19 year old; convenient to the school sharing 17 year old who was free in the afternoons and anathema to the hard working Dutch business owner.

Having managed to assuage their combined angst I ordered the tickets. Although restricted to those over 16, I decided we all needed a good laugh and booked “ Bridemaids” for the first time on line.

Getting the group to the theatre on time proved testing. A 3.30pm ETD from home coincided with school closing for the local Girl’s High School. Piled into our Suzuki Swift, vehicle pointed frontwards in our getaway car we waited patiently for the patriarch’s return laden with contraband snacks at the ready.

Running late due to an armed offenders road closure we soon bundled him into the moving car and sped off the 1.5km drive to the theatre. Parking could have been an issue if not for the expertly executed u-turn performed on Rotheram Street to snabble up the sole park available.

Clamouring up the escalators well into previews time we still had to pick up our tickets from the reception desk where they conveniently had one staff member on for the snakelike queues beginning to form. I spotted a fellow tardy fun lover in the queue for the same movie also in a state of extreme agitation. She took my bull by the horns and jumped the queue while I looked on open mouthed. Silenced by my fury and wary of self control issues, I sent in the self assured 19 year old to complete the transaction fortunately for the inept usher.

As the queue threatened to morph into an angry mob the lone teller proceeded to fill the popcorn machine. My ever so polite daughter reminded her back that the movie had started and could we possibly collect our conveniently purchased on line tickets, now.

Aforementioned aggrieved teller then casually swung back to her till, printed the tickets and left them languishing on the counter within snatching distance while she insisted on hand writing ”check ID” on all of them, suddenly suspicious of our motives.
Victorious, we ran at breakneck speed towards the viewing area right past the vacant check ID station into the theatre to the opening scenes of the movie and sat at the closest unoccupied seats available.

Having been removed from a theatre in Nelson previously for bringing in contraband, I was a little reluctant to brazenly empty the entire contents of my large bag immediately to my demanding 17 year old. I gingerly edged out the audible shrimp snacks packet for my impatient offspring, followed by homemade snack bars and bananas for the breadwinner and settled down to do some serious movie watching.

A lone male movie goer sat directly behind us rendering me slightly uncomfortable. I soon relaxed with the first round of laughs. Periodically I glanced over at the family’s reaction. They were entranced; giggling and chortling in group fashion to the outrageous antics being performed on the large screen before them.

As I had eaten before attendance; a two egg omelette in the car, I wasn’t all that hungry. But the sound of snacks being snacked on got to me. I put out my hand, confident as the food mule in my cut and was handsomely rewarded with three of the around two hundred snack sticks. Generous to a fault!

The movie waxed and waned as did our attention span over the next two hours culminating in a mad dash for another appointment where two of our family were required.

E.F.F (Enforced Family Fun) does take a little lateral thinking, cajoling and numerous texts, but it is worthwhile and the sort of thing you remember fondly in later years.

The afternoon was an unquantified success. I congratulated myself at bringing humour to my family on an otherwise humourless day in post earthquake Christchurch.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why I go to work…

The reason I go to work is to save money. Whilst at work I can Google household problems like, “why does my washing machine flash F18 error” and find the correct answer describing it as a drainage problem and how to fix it. As well as saving time and money, I didn’t have to: A. hunt out the warranty and instruction book which has probably be tossed out long ago or B. get back the infuriating repairman who’s inane chatter threatened to render me in need of psychiatric treatment (not a cheap option I imagine).

This option also leaves me free to roam the city as opposed to stapled to the address laying in wait for the promised arrival of the aforementioned tradesman.

I am euphoric at the thought of DIY tradesmanning which teamed with the school of Girls Can Do Anything thought has my chest at full expansion with pride.

Also, in another bid to strengthen the family coffers, I have unselfishly replaced the broken salt and pepper grinders that seem to last as long as the corns and rocks inside them, on the Flybuys site redeeming points willy nilly.

Finally, a well instructed email on how to cook “Chinese Style Veges” was sent to ‘second in line to the throne’ by email and text in order to have a meal at the ready on my return from a hard days work.

A few job sheets, deliveries and the odd answering of a phone call took place too.

Production is at an all time high….

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I have been flogging this recipe a lot lately so have decided to share.....

Baked Asian Fish
1 kg Groper fillet
¼ C T julienned fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 red chilli finely chopped
3T Kikkoman soy sauce
1T sesame oil
4T canola oil
2 T Chopped finely coriander or spring onions

Lay clean and dried fish flat in baking dish.

Brown garlic/ginger/chilli in canola oil slowly till golden then take off heat and add sesame oil/Kikkoman and coriander or spring onion.

Pour sauce evenly over fish then cover dish with tin foil and bake at 200 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes. Check after 20 mins that fish flakes when prodded with a fork.

Serve on cooked rice with stir fried bok choy or any leafy vege.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I am willing to pay my children to read this book. $50 should do the trick.

As with most motivational books, this one gives you ideas and intention but is not to be used as an instruction guide. I like his quote “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” He suggests writing this on your mirror or hang it up somewhere. I for one need visual reminders.

The crux is you can have anything you want if you have the right attitude and don’t deviate from your ultimate goal if you want it enough.

Having returned from the big cruise around the Med, my attitude took a deep post trip dive and needed ‘tweaking.’ After spending a good week licking my anti-climatic wounds, I then perked up again with the help of this book.

Be anything you want to be…..

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thoughts are Things....

.....this is a 100 word flash fiction by Quade Anderson a 68yr old man in my informal writers group I am attending.....Amazing! Design found a partner and her name is Creativity. The place they called home was a dimension that was infinitely small and consisted only of unlimited potential. They didn’t know of each others existence until, at one point before the beginning; they accidentally bumped into each other. It was love at first sight. Their union produced the “Big Bang” and gave birth to Time, Energy, Matter and …you. Design and creativity are your birthright. Unlimited potential is your inheritance. With each breath you take and every thought you think, you are designing and creating your life. How is it going?

Sunday, April 3, 2011


N.O.W. I love this guy….he excites the bejesus out of me with his lust for life. Am very keen to watch his latest doco movie called The Ride as is right up my alley. I have read his book and was fascinated by it. Very inspiring. After recent Christchurch events, there is no better time to “suck the marrow” out of your life. Get amped!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Book has Begun...

My quest for super stardom, mega wealthiness and fame has begun…. I have commenced my life as a whimsical authoress, having committed pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. Research and development has been completed although training has been thwarted by numerous rogue viruses and earth shattering quakes. Unable to wait the six months for my community course to restart I have decided to make like Nike and “Just Do It”.

So on Friday last week I sat down and began writing……..about Toby the Dog’s Adventures; Book one in a series of ten, Toby Goes Cycling.

As I require full concentration and an empty house, I have to grab whatever window of opportunity I can get. Having gone for a bike ride in the morning I returned, removed sweaty lycra and replaced it with the nearest garment to ‘cover my shame.’ It happened to be a nighty.

Unwilling to waste quietude by showering and dressing so accordingly attired in a black slip, I sat down to begin.

What now? I felt like Rod Stewart; ‘the first cut is the deepest’…. The first line came to me, after squirreling about in previous notes from previous writing courses.

Two hours later and about 65% completed on my first cut of the first child’s story I quit while I was ahead until my next window of opportunity presented itself…..

Such is the life of the creative!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nostalgia....A Star is Born (1976)

I was eleven years old when this movie came out....obviously mature for my age, I remember it fondly, or was it just the movie's song ''Evergreen'' that captured and held my attention all these years?

A quiet Saturday night gave me an excellent excuse to re watch this little pearler and my husband dutifully endured the full 139 minutes. Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson filled up the space with their on screen passion that I am positive continued after the cameras stopped rolling. Their chemistry was palpable.

Most of the song clips were reminiscent of the seventies and a little 'gay' but she shines like the uber star she is singing the movie's soundtrack, "Evergreen". I was completely lost in this song almost driven to tears with its intensity, then looked over at the aforementioned dutiful husband and was told "It did nothing for him". Mental note to self; watch alone or with girlfriends next time because there will be a next time.

Even after that five word monosyllabic reply and almost twenty two years of marriage, I am still hopelessly romantic and hung off every lingering stare and the plethora of true and tried romance scenes including, horse riding together, bathing together, singing together and of course inter locking together.

Back to the song.....make sure you do watch it on the link won't be sorry. This is the most excited I have been in 35 years about a song. Actually I have been on repeated occasions but this is the most recent in the last 2 years then.

Love, soft as an easy chair....(that just says it all!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New worries...

Cruising the Med seemed like a great idea pre Xmas 2010….

Since then we have experienced and are running from a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that has levelled our garden city, witnessed tsunami devastation unheard of in 140yrs in Japan with unspeakable loss of life and to top it off America has decided to forcibly stop Gadaffi in his tracks with air strikes and submarine attacks across the Mediterranean Sea floor.

Libya is perilously close (1300kms) as in directly across the sea floor from the Greek Islands cruise my mother, her friend and me are about to embark on in three weeks to celebrate my mum’s 70 years. A specialist in current events, paranoia and a first timer to Europe, none of the above facts will have escaped her attention.

I have taken her directly out of the fry pan and delivered her into the fire; gunfire. At the mercy of marauding pirates, fanatical Middle Eastern fascists, Yankee do-gooders and more than likely global warming, I am unsure what to pack. Full camo gear, personal weaponry and fake passports sound like a good idea.

The Love Boat could soon morph into the Hate boat if any of the above materialise.

Pre holiday jitters have well and truly set in with a vengeance….

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Feb 22 A dark day

Twenty days on and I am kind of struck dumb at the enormity of writing about this second quake….

12.51pm and I was at the front door texting about to mount my cruising cycle to get to my university class scheduled for 1pm. The earth shook as it had done for the past five months but this time its epicentre was five km below Lyttelton; way too close for comfort.

6.3 on the Richter for just under a minute and things at 35 Matai St West got a good shake up. A bust got busted, the heavy tool box and tools got perilously close to the classic car in the garage and doors and cupboards swung open. The precious pet’s ears went down and his tail became clamped between his legs.

Annoyed with this unscheduled delay and unaware of the aftermath of this recent shake, I ushered the dog back inside and carried on swiftly to my 1pm class. As I neared the campus I could see the throngs of students flowing out onto the nearby streets. Still dazed, I stopped on the side of the road and asked the ridiculously obvious question to one of the displaced students; “is the university closed?”

Another aftershock shook me, my bike, the already growing traffic jam and the multitude of evacuated students roadside. Still unbelieving, I rode all the way to my classroom against the tide of humans to see firsthand what had become of my scheduled class. Two creative writing students remained in the car park outside and advised me of what had happened to those on time in the class. No one was hurt but they had all dispersed.

Now fully conversant with our new reality, I headed back towards home, fretting and cycling in unison. Anxious to return to work to check on them as they were closer to the shake but aware of the rule to stay at home and for all family members to strive to get there, I stayed put. The dog had escaped the shaking house and was trembling together with the neighbour outside her house as I approached. She was talking to her mother in Wellington on the phone to assuage her terror.

I went inside and began to right things and then decided against it. I checked on the other neighbour and slowly they began to pour into our home which had been mercilessly left unaffected by power and water outages. Word got around slowly and our home began to fill with neighbours, their kin, strangers, their dogs and I did what I do best….cook.

We had 18 for dinner as we crowded around the television watching the events unfold. The children made it home without too much bother being on the right side of town at the time and the husband finally made it about four hours later riding a BMX bike he found in the workshop as opposed to being trapped in the growing gridlock. He had also brought home our heavily pregnant niece who had been caught in her car for hours. Water was boiled (for drinking) and for whatever else might occur that day!

We wearily got to bed around 10.30pm that night, drained and dazed but otherwise unaffected.

The day after we ventured into town on URGENT official business….retrieving a truck spring from the factory for a Crane company. As the area had been cordoned we had to don a yellow flashing light in the Crane company’s Ute and make our way through town through a chink in the cordon off Bealey Ave. The army personnel were already doing their job fending off intruders. What we saw was incredible…we passed what used to be the shops on High Street corner to see it and many other buildings flattened, the roads bumpy and silt covered. Our crane company executive swore and cursed his way through the mayhem as we finally made it to our factory.

Our car park resembled a beach and what little bitumen we saw rose angrily up out of the sand. Inside looked pretty much the same. Liquefaction covered the entire 16,000 square feet with trickling water flowing between the two factories. We gave the crane man his springs and sent him on his way. Upon further surveillance, the toilets and most drains had been blocked, racks had been tipped up and the floor was strewn with stock from above. The steel rack remained in place as did most of the spring stock and machinery.

It took us three days and the help of about twenty mates to dig out the factory. Friends and family crawled out of the aftermath bearing spades and shovels and dug for all they were worth. At times the job seemed overwhelming but there was nothing else you could do but dig.

The day we finally struck vinyl was fantastic. The team had reduced to the nuclear family plus boyfriend who worked harder and longer than most of the immediate blood relations. Already in celebration about welcoming staff back and opening the doors for business 5 days post earthquake, we threw our shovels in the back of the Ute and headed for the nearest fish and chip shop.

Monday, and the eight returning staff entered reluctantly into the workshop on high alert for further shakes. Their eyes gleamed and flickered as they regaled their tales.

Meanwhile back at the home front, children were once again banned from school much to their horror/entertainment. The hard yards had been achieved (inheritance had been potentially sidelined) and the family spring making shop was open for business. After a cursory attempt at assisting the community with baking and offers of help they then made teenage plans to comfort each other in peer groups off site. Dunedin and Twizel were chosen destinations.
My attempt at saving the community/world involved cooking fifty lunches with a fellow world saver at her home and delivering them and emergency kits across town to quake ravaged New Brighton and Sumner as well as assisting a neighbour who had been red stickered, with food and rubbish removal.

This earthquake although indiscriminate in its devastation hit predominantly in the east of the city. The west although scattered with red stickers escaped relatively unscathed. Three weeks on and it is hard to comprehend the level of need across town on a summers day as you move around this side of town. People are mowing their lawns again, running around the park, drinking coffee and visiting cafes.

Meanwhile in the central city, eastern suburbs, seaside and portside they are still without water and adequate sewer facilities. Chemical toilets have just been delivered in the last few days and a small pocket of homes are still without power. More than twenty percent of our city have fled and over 7000 of our children are enrolled off site.

To top that off northern Japan has just experienced the largest recorded earthquake in 140 years of monitoring with the ensuing tsunami killing an estimated 10,000 people and leaving millions without power and water.

Recovery of our fair city and the world is taking a toll on our local and global economy already injured with a recession. Our monarchy in the shape of Prince William is due to arrive to join us in our memorial service for the dead this Friday, March 18 as our benevolent PM John Key has gifted another day of productivity from our region.

Trying to move forward under the new normal is interesting and fascinating. The meek have fled and those remaining are excited about the rebuild, however arduous, frustrating and time consuming it may be. Opportunity abounds as new city plans are mooted, new careers considered and new homes are found or built.

March 20 predictions by Ken Ring the “Moon Man” aggravates our resident anxiety with predictions of another quake. Fingers and toes crossed…..

Monday, February 21, 2011

Time Saving Tip #3

Don't bother getting out of bed! It will save you having to get back into it!

Yes, you got it. Another mood swing. Energy levels swing wildly this week as my uterus groans and heaves under the weight of egg expulsion and all the extra food required to facilitate this wondrous natural bodily function.

That coupled with full time work due to doubling up of staff annual leave applications has left me with only the vivre from my previous joi de vivre mentality.

Down but not out I pulled my leaden ass from between the blessed sheets at some ungodly hour this morning to jog/run/crawl in a circular motion around Hagley Park in the pouring rain. It was then I decided I needed a companion and 'voila'one appeared. I did a u-turn and accompanied jogger 'x' around one circle then plodded happily off home.

Exercised and exorcised I painted on my happy face, put on my business attire and drove gaily to work ready to recept at the springshop.

Friday, February 18, 2011

We Love Wendyl

This woman espouses words of wisdom....

Anyone who suggests we rush off to our personal "bolthole" albeit a scanky old caravan for a personal retreat deserves our respect and patronage.

It must have been a sign....her name...her parents had big dreams for this girl adding a trendy extra consonant onto the end of her name. No ordinary everyday Wendy, right hand woman of the man who never ages, but Wendyl. What is that all about? The pressure of having to live up to that 'l'.

She did her parents, herself and her name proud, reaching dizzying heights, dining at the corporate table of domestic national magazines achieving on all levels against men, other woman, and ordinary mortals only to supposedly give it up for the good life.

Giving it all up, supposed success, for what is that? Fame, wealth respect of strangers? Perhaps not. Wendyl with a resounding L ''saw the light" and cut up her corporate credit card, bought a caravan, a coop and matching chickens!

Her adult children, 12 yr old daughter baby granddaughter and adoring husband all benefited from her mid life epiphany.

Now she really has it all, at her pace, in her arena at her call.

Destiny, now or never?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another tip from the couch....

If you like me and John Paul Sartre agree that "Hell is other People", then you will love this next tip....

Why risk:
a. your sanity
b. contracting infectious diseases camouflaged on shop doorknobs and counter tops...Ugh!
c. queues longer than the Nile

Re-register your cars on line! Genius, I know.

Simple and effective. Only ever venture out of doors for fun activities that do not involve officious tellers with overactive thyroids and poor personal hygiene.

Back to the couch. All this efficiency is exhausting....

Why bark when you have a dog.....

Calling all shoppers....

Shop at Countdown Online Shopping before midnight Sunday 27th February, spend $100 or more, and you will receive FREE DELIVERY!*
Simply type NODELIVERY in the Coupon Code box at the online checkout - it's that easy.

Be kind to yourself and save yourself and your back one trip to the supermarket....

Stock up on wine (Duetz $19.99), boring difficult to find pantry essentials, fresh meat and vege, specials galore....all from the comfort of your own keyboard.

Apart from the saving on delivery at $11.25, imagine the saving on chiropracture!

Watch aforementioned movie in the time you save from mindless shopping.

You'd be mad not to!

From the desk of the Domestic Time Manager

Movie review...

Due to my recent sojourn from wifely duties IE cooking cleaning and cavorting, I had the time to pursue other activities....back to back movie watching of my choice. The laptop and the earphones got a hammering laying leisurely on the vacant patch of bed alongside the dog in his temporarily upgraded position, the spreadeagled newspaper with lights blazing to all hours of the night. All men should be encouraged to go on fishing weeks!

My pick of the four movies was called My Name is Khan and was a mixture of English subtitles and speaking. A racially/religiously aware feel good movie not unlike an Indian version of Forest Gump. Khan, the protagonist has Aspergers Syndrome and endears all who meet him as he navigates the perilous journey that is his life. Hampered by misunderstanding and quirky OCD's his life is a difficult but happy one. He has the all encompassing love of his mother and then of a wife as well as an intelligent and understanding sister in law. His only brother battles with jealously and embarrassment and takes time to become the brother Khan needs.

Life takes a 240% turn after September 11, 2001. After this incredible random act of insanity, all Muslims get tarred with the same brush. Khan is a Muslim, his wife and child Hindu. Their business fails and they are targeted for persecution. Hideous acts ensue. Khan reacts the only way he knows how.

Spirited and moving, an empathetic view of life and community and where we all fit in to it.

Available at Fendalton library for $1/week. Get a glimpse of the trailer at: and become an informed and interested citizen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heat Wave - ski

Heat Wave – ski….. 7/2/11

On a post punting experience high, I decided to take on the mighty Avon again this weekend when the 35+ degree heat sent me in search of large bodies of water…

Still in the upright position after a 90km bike ride in souring temperatures I moved on thirsty for adventure.

My unsuspecting, ever ready accomplice humoured me with her company and enthusiasm. Dropping everything, (a midday G and T) we raced off to her lock up to make worthy two of her superfluous material items languishing there.

In our haste and bustling of large floating items into her recreational vehicle she unwittingly left the life jacket on. She wondered at the curious attention she was garnering from oncoming motorists at the vision of her overheated, excitable self slumped over the wheel wedged in between wave ski boards.

We made our surreptitious entry at Millbrook Reserve. Packing lightly to match our spontaneous moods, we took only one bottle of water, an already opened bag of Copper Kettle Fries, small amounts of cash, several leaves of *toilet paper, two iphones and a single car key. The phones and key were carefully encased in a plastic sandwich bag.

After witnessing other revellers on the Avon it was decided that we ignore the advice from the all knowing related teen about excessively high bacteria levels and enter the dodgy waters regardless.

Gingerly and gracefully we plopped into the sludgy depths forever staining our stylish boating shoes. Summer smocks ruched to the waist we sat aloft our boards utilising our Pilates cores to the maximum. Off we went verbally high fiving each other at our attainment of quietude.

The river snaked its way around Hagley Park bottoming out in places forcing us to stand on occasion but most of the time we used the paddle to guide more than propel. After about an hour of serenity I began to lose interest in the near inertia and wondered where the end was.

Anticipating a food or beverage stop I reached for my plastic bag only to find to our joint horror it missing. After groping myself all over under my lifejacket like a teen in search of first base, I came to the terrifying conclusion that I had dropped the unsealed bag with both our phones and car key in the drink.

Hot, bothered, and dejected we dumped my vessel as I combed the river from the banks while my accomplice; a study of patience and acceptance, did the same from the river.

Faster on foot but slower of mind, I battled the inner skirmish taking place in my stomach and accompanying highway to my *bowel. This was due to the dodgy yoghurt I had ingested earlier. Cheeks clenched through the intestinal surges I moped my way back through the botanical gardens zigging and zagging where necessary over the river in a futile search for the by now sodden electronics.

Periodically I looked back to see my trusty accomplice leisurely swaying upstream, perfectly composed in the near heat wave conditions unperturbed by the turn of events.
Her calmness gave her clarity and she suggested we go back and look where I had stood up, enabling a slipping through of the precious cargo.

I reluctantly plodded on like a sulky toddler still strapped into my lifejacket, having giving up self comfort and pride in one fell swoop. Back at the low lying area past the Harper Avenue Bridge I spotted the bag easily in the shallows. Euphoric and still hopeful I bounded over Labrador-like and fetched the bag out. On the banks, I emptied out the contents and held the dripping phones up to light fully expecting them to go when I pressed the power button.

Crestfallen, I trudged back to announce my find. After over two hours of paddling my accomplice finally ditched her boat and we walked briskly back to the car still giggling despite our predicament and our ridiculous outfits.

The car miraculously started and transported us back to the comfort, reality and the wonderful teen who promised to clean up our mess of boats left deserted at Hagley Park.

Mustering up the remainder of my failing strength, I ascended the dizzying heights of the inviting couch and succumbed to the languor it promised…..
Punting on the Avon.....

Living like a tourist in your own city is a great pastime....we tried it last Friday.

Four not so desperate housewives donned their Sunday best, smuggled their flutes and a bottle of France's finest champagne and headed to the Mona Vale vantage point to board their floating lounge room for a genteel drift around the inner city sanctuary.

They were greeted by “Tim” the post pubescent Puntsman, complete with his aqueous pole vault. Introductions complete they boarded as gracefully as possible in their high heels onto a greasy slatted wooden surface.

Off they went, corks popped, bubbles flowed and camera shutters shuddered. The sun shone illuminating the picturesque locale. Reclined on the red velvet seats supping bubbles they were transported physically by Tim and mentally to Venetian waters.

They marvelled at the wide variety of ducks swimming about unnervingly at eye level, and at the gardens of the rich and infamous that dotted the river. The punt got perilously close to the nearby weir and its accompanying nine foot drop. Tim, almost blinded by the weeping willow managed to execute a textbook u-turn saving us and our Sunday Best from certain misfortune.

Thirty minutes over and one bottle down, the four disembarked, their wanderlust momentarily sated for the paltry price tag of $26/head.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Chinese new year

Feb 3 2011- the year of the Rabbit

Called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China.
Begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th.

The Chinese people age a year together. Tradition holds that on the seventh day of the new year, all people in China become a year older.
On the fifteenth and final day of the celebrations, the Chinese Lantern Festival is observed where members of Chinese families walk the streets with lanterns, marking the end of festivities and gorge on traditional dishes.

Japanese "tsujiura senbei" is a kind of fortune cookie associated with New Year festivities at Shinto Shrines. The cookies contain tsujiura (a writing that tells one's fortunes) inside a senbei (Japanese crackers).

Gifts - "Ang Pow"s, are red envelopes containing money, given to their kids or relatives by married couples only. Amount must be an even numbered amount and never an odd numbered one because the latter is usually associated with funeral money. Also, the money should never add up to anything with the number 4 in it, because 4 in Chinese sounds like the word death.
Month 1 as the beginning of their year.

Burning of firecrackers signify warding off evil spirits

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Do it till you get caught....ooops!

Do it till you get caught is a great philosophy of which I have tried to live my life by.....the doing it part has been fun, the getting caught, not so.

My admirable adage that has taken me places in the past finally tripped me up in the weekend.

I foolishly believed as promised that there would be plenty of food at the Joe Cocker concert in the picturesque Mudhouse winery and to not bother packing a hamper. I threw in a bag of Copper Kettle Fries for good measure. I did manage to find some wine and consume it and a couple of handfuls of the aforementioned crisps as well as half a steak sandwich.

High on Savignon and the atmosphere I decided to venture closer to the stage to witness first hand the aging rocker. After performing several party tricks of slipping between the railings I forged on towards the stage, lured on by the melodious crooning like a sailor to the Sirens.

Before I knew it, the long arm of Security had me in it's evil grip escorting me out through the in door and depositing me unceremoniously in the car park. "Removed due to intoxication!"

I stood there incredulously, pondering my next move. What do I do now? So I made a drunken phone call. That's what everyone does in the movies, protesting my innocence to my unsuspecting friend who tried to calm me from afar.

Meanwhile, the group of ten I arrived with were no doubt equally gobsmacked. Two of whom were stone cold sober (a very attractive option about now)but similarly dazed. I was blessed with above average intelligence company this evening; the one I had married 22 yrs ago accompanied by a quick thinking man adept at trivia. They wandered out to the perimeter armed with another ticket (we managed to have spare) and the advice to "lose the jacket, they are looking for a lady in a long black jacket..."

Keen to be reunited with the herd, I tossed the jacket off (whereabouts still unknown) and joined them in a re-entry to the concert post WW2 veterans would be proud of.

Our covert operation a success, I blended back into oblivion.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

deal of the century...

I am still reeling over the deal of the century received by a customer at the spring shop on Tuesday.....

As a consumer, how many places can you go to, if any where you walk in with a problem, speak to one person, wait 90 seconds to have it fixed, then pay $5 for it!

The problem and solution, in depth....

Auto garage door spring breaks, auto garage door doesn't work, manually work garage door till someone has the time to get spring fixed. Find spring fixer. Come into spring shop after Christmas when everyone has jobs to do and get in queue. Speak to competent Dutch owner/engineer who fixes the problem by bending up a new end to the spring in 90 seconds flat. No call out fee, no empty promises of prompt arrival to an agreed appointment, no lag time, no bill that will take you another year to pay off, i.e. NO bullshit...

What a PR exercise. Clayton's Dutch owner ''could'' have taken job sheet out, made customer wait a week to collect, (lots of manual garage door opening), lost job due to busyness and post Xmas workplace blues and to complete the experience, taken 90 seconds to do the job and charge a minimum one hour labour fee costing the customer easily and plausibly $50.

That is what I call service.....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I see a light...

After having completed six days full time, my year of work is over....well back to one day a week so I can fit in all my crafts....

It was great to pull in to 58 Falsgrave Street in a separate car an hour after Ant and witness the wheels of industry grinding back into action. I could almost hear the coins dropping into our business account replenishing the empty jar.

I swept in euphoric in the knowledge that tomorrow I was free again, high fiving the returning foot soldiers whilst simultaneously passing on the baton of responsibility. Having provided support, nutrition and the odd marketing tip for the last week my work was now complete.

Back to my real life.....


This could be the year of craft.....look what my super talented friend Suzy made from driftwood collected off the beach and an idea from Casual and Country in Ferrymead.....they retail for $600+ and she made it...." It was super easy to make, in fact I made it after drinking 2 glasses of wine." That is my type of craft class.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hell Week...

Productivity is at an all time low at this time of year.....with all the winding down for Christmas and the required winding back up again after a relaxing/exhausting holiday break, it is a wonder anything gets achieved at the workplace. Ant and I have been valiantly holding the fort while the 8 strong staff wallow about on annual leave for a further week in a bid to reduce their rising leave allocation.

Customers lay ed in wait for our triumphant return after two weeks of carefree, clock less schedules, ruthlessly stripping us of our previous joi de vivre. My fingertips have infected with dermatitis from the red hot ringing phone.

Day 4 at the coalface has left me shaken but not stirred. I have had one run this week (snail's pace 4km), poor nutrition, less than standard attirement and dodgy bowel motions. In this time I have managed to see three friends and snatch around 4-7 hrs average per night of sleep. Mothering (taxi driving at ungodly hours, cleaning, washing, gardening, walking the dog) continues to sap any residual strength.

The couch beckons, taunting me with is vacancy as I bid it a solemn farewell again and am thrusted head first into the depths of the industrial zone....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Nude Rear 2011...

All Virgos love a clean slate. I am born again ready for embellishment. Please refer to my new improved serene photo - pre Transcendental Meditation. More on that later.

Have decided to 1. change my photo 2. link my blog to Face book for ease of use (just need to work out how to do it) 3. Report regularly on new and wonderful websites.

Having completed 1. and 3. I am going to jump straight in.

The first website being:

This site came to my attention through a very close (no names mentioned here) friend who unfortunately never had the information. If I can save just one other of the humiliation faced on board a pleasure craft (or anywhere) where she was at the mercy of her colon in front of what may or may not have been a future daughter in law, then my work will be done.

If you scroll down to the wondrous invention of the hallowed "Bio Toi" you too will be able to order some. This will enable you to excrete freely, capture unmentionables in tasteful fully biodegradable bag which can float proudly on the sea's glistening surface alongside blissfully ignorant snorkelers. As not to foul the ocean or trap albatrosses, it will eventually break down long after your vessel has departed leaving you relieved, complete with your pride in place.

On a serious note, this is an excellent website that we owe it to ourselves to purchase from if we give an iota about this planet! Support Kiwis, support green.

Another community service completed. I am sure I will get a mention in the new years list for this one next time.