Friday, November 30, 2007

Grateful for - Life

What are you thankful for that we haven’t mentioned this month?

I guess as I haven't done all the blog prompts for the month I don't really know what has been missed.

Here's a wrap up of the things I'm grateful for.

I'm grateful that I live in a country with plenty of opportunities & natural resources. I am grateful for the seasons & being in a place where I can experience them all, even if it is all 4 seasons in one day. I am grateful for my home with running water, internal plumbing & sound roof & walls. I am grateful for the inhabitants of my home & of my heart. I am grateful for my friends, both in real life & online. I am grateful for my family. Most of all I am grateful to be alive & healthy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thankful for - Home

What places (in your home, or state, or country, or world) are you most thankful for?

The one place I am most thankful for is my own home. It stands on a nice 1/4 acre section so big enough to have a place for the boys to run around on, as well for me to have a vege garden & a flower garden. It is a lovely safe & secure house that gets all day sun. As I am a SAHM it is just as well that I love my home, there are things to be done on it but I still wake up each morning & think, I am glad that I get to spend the majority of the day here. I can't say that I really thought that about our previous house in Wellington.

Inside my home I am most thankful for my bathroom. This might sound bizarre but I love having the ensuite bathroom, it's the best money we ever spent on this place. That bathroom is known as "mum's bathroom." The best thing about it is that it has a door that locks! I can lock my bathroom door & hey presto at least there is privacy from little eyes. The room however is not soundproof, so I can still hear little voices whining at the door "muuuummm" but in a house full of males, a nice clean smelling, clean looking bathroom is my little peace of paradise.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful for - Nature

What things in nature are you most thankful for and why?

I love plants. I love the sight of their range of colours & their scents & what could possibly be better than actually growing some of them just for food.

Of course I can't really grow anything without water. Luckily where I live we don't have water restrictions but if there was one thing that I absolutely am thankful for, it is pure clean water & rainfall. I remember we used to have to livve on rain water collected off the roof of our bach in the summer time when we lived at the bach for a good couple of months. Living like that really made you appreciate the scarcity of water & how precious each drop really is.

Is sunlight part of nature? I have decided that I need to see the sun on a regular basis. I get very down & moody if I don't see the sun at least twice a week. Now I don't mean I go out & bask in it, I don't do that anymore, but if the sun is shining I will be jogging outside, not in & I will be gardening, not cleaning up the house. I love the warmth of the sun so on a cold but sunny day nothing is better than curling up inside in the sunny spot, that's if I can lay claim to it before Mo.

That brings me to animals. They definitely are nature & I love animals. I am not vegetarian so I appreciate the animals bred for meat but the ones bred for fibre, wool, milk etc also make up a large part of my thankful list. The one animal that is highest on the thankful list must be Mo, our cat. She's a wonderful companion, we can carry on conversations with each other, she helps warm up my side of the bed, she's the grand old girl of the house & we all love her immensely.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Grateful for - sight

Which one of your 5 senses are you most thankful for and why?

I often wonder to myself which of my senses I would miss the most if I had to loose one & I have never worked out which sense would be worst to loose.

My first thought is always thank goodness I have my sense of sight. I love being able to see my boys grow, reading, cooking, scrapping, watching my favourite TV programs. I know you can get books on cd now, but it wouldn't be the same as reading them & mentally inserting my own voice to the voices of the characters. I wouldn't be able to scrap or take photographs. I think it is my sight that I really am most thankful for.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grateful for - Entertainment

What sources of entertainment are you thankful for?

1. The first thing on my list would have to be books, I just love reading books. I have just started reading Lord John & the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon.

2. I love my computer. I use it most of the day for keeping in touch with friends all around the world. I also use it for my digi scrapping & the occasional game of solataire.

3. The TV. I have some favourite shows that I watch, there is nearly one a night although at the moment my Monday nights are for scrapping as there is nothing on the box.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankful for - comfort

What things that comfort you are you thankful for?

I suppose one of my greatest things that comfort me is my husband. He has been there through thick & thin & he provides me with a lot of comfort.

When I am feeling down nothing is more comforting to me than curling up, reading a book with a mug of chicken soup. There really is something comforting in the chicken soup, maybe it harks back to when I was younger & having chicken soup when I got sick. I am very thankful for the ability to read & the love of reading. There is just nothing better than to loose myself in a book, however I have to say that because I loose myself in a book I can never read the same book twice, it looses its magic the second time through.

Another thing that comforts me is the fact that my family is healthy. Yes we all get the colds & flu that does the circut but essentially my family is healthy & vibrant & for that I am very thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New music, new look

I thought it was about time to give the blog a bit of a fresh look. It's not much at the moment but I hope to come back with a nicer looking header soon.

I have also put on a new video clip. Brooke Fraser is from Wellington, New Zealand & she is currently touring the US. Her latest album, Albertine is available on iTunes. This is the title track of her album.

Here is a link to her website

Grateful for - Traits

What things or traits you have inherited are you thankful for?

With both my parents being alive still I have not inherited many "things" yet, so we will have to talk about traits.

I have got determination & a strong work ethic, but is that really inherited or is it taught to a person? Whether inherited or created by me I am thankful that I have those traits.

I have inherited my father's eyebrows that join on my nose. On a girl it is not a good look but for some odd reason I am made thankful for it, because I see that James has that too. In fact I did a layout a few years ago about his eyebrows. I see James & can see the link that links him, me & my father together. I am also thankful for it because really Brent looks nothing like me, his personality is more like mine, but to any stranger Brent would not look like my child. It is nice to know that at least one child has something physical that has a bit of a resemblance to me.

The journalling reads:

Your eyes are a link to the past.

Those bushy eyebrows that join on the bridge of you nose are a legacy from your grandfather & me.

You may get teased.

You may get told that eyebrows joining together are a sign of evil.

Don't believe a word of it.

They are a sign of your heritage, a link to the past.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Grateful for - pets

What pets or animals are you thankful for?
We have a gorgeous old tabby cat called Mo. We picked her up from the SPCA in Wellington in 1996 so in effect she was Scott's & my first baby. She was about 3 or 4 years old when we picked her up. In fact she actually picked us because when we went to see the cats at the SPCA she came up & brushed up & said hello to me. The SPCA people wanted us to take a very wild & mean looking cat but how can you say no to a cat that seems to choose you. She had been at the SPCA for a while & she was on their list to be put down so there was no way I was going to let that happen to her. When we brought her home (to Fitzpatrick St in Newlands) she spent a good part of the day just hiding under the furniture. A couple of days later she came out of hiding & we got to love her. She was young & playful & would catch birds, lizards & mice & bring them into the house.

Until Brent was born she was most definitely MY cat & rarely deigned to sit with Scott. When Brent was born her allegiances changed or maybe hers & mine both changed. She switched to being Scott's cat & I became Brent's mum. She seemed curious about Brent at first & while he was immobile she was happy to be around him. Then Brent became mobile & she was under fire from Brent. She taught Brent early on not to pull her tail & then she decided once he was a toddler that it really was better to stay away from him. His unpredictable actions seemed to worry her so she then became very much a less social cat.

In 2001 we brought her with us down to Christchurch, she never travels well so we had to drug her so she could be quiet on her flight down. She was very wobbly on her pins after she arrived at my mothers house & it was frightening to see. She moved to our current house with us & became very much an outdoor cat. There were now 2 young children so she kept her distance from them & really only came inside when she knew they were in bed for the night.

In the last couple of years she's been showing her age. She spends most of her time inside now where it is warm. She has stopped hunting although she will sit in the window & give a funny meow at birds that she can see. She is still Scott's cat but she is a much more sociable cat. She will come & say hello to the boys now & is actually quite affectionate to Brent. James still has that impulsive ability to unnerve her & send her running for the catflap.

She's been a wonderful companion to both Scott & I & it has been nice for both boys to grow up with her. I know that when her time comes she will be sorely missed by all of us.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Grateful for - Friends

What friends are you thankful for and why?

My life is filled with a lot of what I would call "transient friends." They were friends at different times of my life but now we have gone our separate ways & have lost contact. Despite them being transient they were all important to me at that particular time in my life, so I am very thankful for them.

I won't name them all but there are some from school days, that helped me through maths with calculus & feeling outside of the cliques at the school.

There are friends from university days when I had to transform myself from a shy introverted soul to a less shy person. They helped fix up any home sickness, helped with relationship problems & were there when I needed help on any of my subjects I was studying.

Then there was my time at Wellington Newspapers (my first job) where I made a lot of friends. Those were the party days, single but with a partner, with money to burn. They were friends to hang out & have fun with.

Then there are those new breed of friends the "online friends." These are those wonderful women in America, New Zealand, Canada & England who I converse with everyday but not in person or by phone. These women are incredible & supportive & although I have met a few of them face to face there are even more that I have yet to meet. I can't wait to meet them all at some stage in my life. They are wonderful friends who just happen to reside somewhere on the other side of my computer screen (or that's how it seems to me). It's amazing that in my short life we can even have friends that are only a few keystrokes away but that we have never met.

Through most of that there has been one friend who stood out above all the rest. He is my best friend & I love him dearly. I met him at university & we have been together since our first year at university in 1988. He knows me very well & loves me despite my failings. He has been there through the tough times & the happy times, he knows my dreams, he knows my anger, he knows how to push my buttons & when to back off. He is my husband! He's my best friend & after all these years I don't think he's a transient one either.

Credits: Envelope - Melany Violette Designer and owner of

Red paper & playing card - Royal Hearts Created by Lauren Bavin

Fonts: ALS Script, Croobie & Frutiger

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grateful for - abilities

What things are you able to do are you thankful for?

I am grateful that I am able to be a SAHM. It means that I can help out at school & go on school trips & picnics whenever required. It also means that I can be the person to pick up the boys at the end of the day. It's me that James now, & Brent used to, runs up to with a huge grin on his face. That is priceless & I can tell you that when James stops doing that I will miss it. I already miss Brent doing this but he still has a smile when he comes to the car.

I am eternally grateful that I still have the full operation of all my senses. I rely on all of them everyday. I love the hugs, the smiles, the laughter & some of the smells of the boys. I love the taste of food & can't imagine what it must be like to not be able to taste what you eat.

I am grateful that I am still physically active. I imagine that this will not always be the case but I love being able to go for a swim, a walk along the beach or just to play kick about with the boys.

There are really a lot of things that I am able to do that I should be more grateful for. Next time I feel down on myself I think I will look back at this entry & think about what I have got & not what I haven't.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Altered photo layout

The dare at for this fortnight is to alter a photo digitally & to scrap it. I altered this photo a while ago in preparation for a long overdue layout about "pom pom".
I have retained the colour of the hat while making the rest of the photo black & white. I realise that there are cameras that can do this now days, but mine can't so I did this in PSE5.

Credit: Template provided by Eva Kipler of

Flower by Jodie Patterson

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thankful for Transport

What modes of transportation are you thankful for?

The first mode of transport I am thankful for is the motorcar. I seem to spend a long time in my car each day, dropping off & picking up children, getting to sporting & fitness activities, going shopping. Christchurch City Council would like me to bike or catch a bus, but in this city with the terrible drivers, biking is just putting your life in danger. Buses are never quite at the convenient times & it would take too much time out of my day to be catching them with the boys & then catching them back home again, just to repeat the process in the afternoon. I have thought about it, because only this morning I found out that where I go to do my gym, the carpark parking price has gone up from 60cents an hour to $2.50 an hour in the space of 2 days. I am still spitting tacks about that.

I have to say I love the airplane. In a country like NZ, which is split by a peice of water that takes a good 3 hours to cross by ferry, a plane is a god send. A flight to Wellington only takes 45 minutes, whereas driving would be 6 hours in the car followed by 3 on a ferry. You can't beat a plane for getting you across water fast. It has opened up a lot of places in the world that would normally be too difficult to get to.

The last mode of transport that I am thankful for is shipping. Without shipping there would not be the petrol to fuel my car that I love to drive. All the cars that come into our country come on ships, plus a lot of other imports, as well as a lot of exports. Without shipping NZ would become a 3rd world country & I am very grateful that we aren't living in a third world country.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cleaning & housework

Think of all the new things on the market since our parents were young and what they had to work with. What cleaning supplies are you thankful for?

The number one thing I am thankful for is the dishwasher. Now I am not sure when these were first put on the market but I know growing up that we didn't have a dishwasher until I was a teenager. I really love my dishwasher & it gets a good workout at least twice a day by me.

I hate cleaning the toilets & having young boys just makes the whole thing seem a lot worse. I love that each day I can just wipe the cistern, seat, bowl & floor around it with a flushable wipe. I try & do that everyday. I know mum would wash it properly with a rag but I do it properly with a rag once a month, that's about all I can stomach. It still looks clean my way anyway.

I love the Chlorox Bleach pen for all the white school shirts. Mum would probably have used Janola from a big bottle, but just being able to precisely put the bleach just where I need it along the edge of a cuff or on the collar is just fantastic.

Other than that I really do think that I use the same products as my mum, probably not as often as I seem to remember her doing it. Then again she did all her housecleaning in one day, Thursday, where as I do a little every day. Our systems are different but I think we get just about the same result.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2 Colours Dare

The latest dare on the is to create a layout using just two colours. The two colours I have used are shades of blue & yellow.

This is Brent experiencing his first spring, sitting in the daffodils in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. It has almost become a yearly event to take photos of my boys in those daffodils.

Bora Bora - Saturday 20 October

It took hardly any time at all to get to Bora Bora, in fact it can be seen from Raiatea.

Raiatea - Friday 19 October

My birthday! Happy birthday to me. The crew knew it was my birthday & when we out our cabin door there was a happy birthday sign stuck to the door as well as some balloons. What was a wonderful coincidence is that the ship had decided to put on a gourmet breakfast room service for that day. Every other breakfast we had gone up to the grill & had an omlette but when given the chance of having champagne, fresh fruit, croissants & a cooked portion of breakfast in bed for you birthday, well it would have been silly to pass up that offer. We were quite surprised when our breakfast arrived to find out that we would have to make room for 3 full sized trays of food. It was a huge breakfast, so big that we left the criossants & pastries to have as morning tea. There was champagne & coffee, fresh melon, strawberries & pineapple & blueberries served inside a rock melon. Then a cold main of smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese & a bun. The hot main was a crab quiche, a stuffed tomato & roasted potatoes. The pastries were croissants, muffins & danishes. What a way to start a day!

It took about 18 hours of cruising to get to Raiatea. This island is in the Society Islands & like a lot of islands in this group it is an island protected by a reef with a lagoon inside the reef & then the actual island.

As we were coming in to port the ships master sculpter showed us how he carved the beautiful ice sculptures that had been gracing the buffet daily. We sat out on the poolside & watched the sculpter take a 150lb block of ice & transform it in to 2 angel fish, within 30 minutes. He was Filipino & fruit & ice sculpturing are highly prized accomplishments in the Phillipines. He was the only food sculptor on board.

We had a busy day lined up for once we were ashore. Only a couple of days earlier we found out that the sunset cruise that we were waitlisted for was available for us. Because we were waitlisted when we booked the outings we decided we would do a all afternoon black pearl farm tour followed by snorkelling. That tour was due back at 4pm & the sunset cruise was due to leave at 5pm, so theoretically there should have been no problems.

Rangiroa- Thursday

Rangiroa is an atoll in the Tuamotu Islands. An atoll is a collection of low lying islands with a lagoon in the midlle. Rangiroa is the second biggest atoll in the world. As we cruised in the first thing I thought of was the fact that if there was a tsunami that hit this atoll it would disappear under the sea forever. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to live through cyclones on this island. The island we landed on is only 300 meters wide at its widest point, the tallest things on it were the coconut palms & it was the biggest of the islands that make up the atoll. The water is beautifully clear & has the most lovely blue to it, but it is quite shallow. We cruised up the Tiputa Pass (the locals know it as the Dolphin Pass) & then anchored inside the lagoon not far off the island of Reporepo, from there we had to catch the ships tender service to the island.

Our first trip of the day was a glass bottom boat. The owner talked in both English & French so it was nice to hear about her life on the island. She was originally from France but moved to this atoll quite a few years ago. She said that there were only 3,000 inhabitants of this atoll & only 300 of them had a job. Nearly all the jobs centre around tourism, as there are a couple of resorts on the atoll (a Japanese one & an American one) & then there are all the water based activities that also cater for tourists. The children of the island grow up with a very large extended family & a lot of cases grandparents, aunts, uncles as well as mothers & fathers all live together in the one house. There is only a primary school on the island so after primary school the children have to leave to Papeete (only a 1 hour flight away) to go to secondary school. She was asked what they do in storms & apparently they basically surround themselves in coconuts & pray because there really isn't much to save them. No vegetables grow on the island so the main diet is fish & coconuts although marijuana grows really well on the island & the young people indulge in it.

The glass bottom boat took us out to an area known as The Aquarium. It is a reef just inside the Tiputa pass & the numbers of fish are amazing. The locals have unwritten law that there is to be no fishing in this area so the fish are plentiful plus they get fed several times a day by the glass bottom boat owners as well as the people who run the snorkeling adventures. We dropped anchor & then one of the crew jumped over the size with what looked to be a spear gun. On the end of it he had a fish & then all the other fish came to take a bite. By holding it under the boat we were able to see, parrot fish, butterfly fish, red snapper, angel fish, surgeon fish & right at the bottom near the end of the trip we saw a black finned shark. The sharks in the lagoon are either white finned or black finned & the locals said they "only bite the white boys" so that gave me all the confidence in the world about our next adventure for the day, snorkelling.

We went back to shore & as we had time to kill before our next excursion we went for a walk to a lovely white beach to have a swim. I thought it would be a lovely sandy beach imagine mynsurprise when we got there & it was all just white coral. White coral is dead coral & the whole beach was made up of it. Once we got out into the water a little way there was a sandy bottom & along with the warm water, sandy bottom there was also stingrays basking. Luckily they kept away from us mainly but once I put my mask & snorkel on I decided to curb any possible attacks by keeping my feet off the bottom & just floating on the top of the water. We quickly found some little reef like outcrops & that was were the fish were. We just floated around them & saw all the brightly coloured fish. It really was amazing. Some funny things happened while we were out swimming. Firstly a woman got in the water & walks over to where there was an outcrop & starts yelling, "there's fish" & went back up on the beach, she didn't want to be in water that had fish in it apparently. A lot of people didn't realize that coral is very harsh to walk on & were in agony just trying to get to the water as they had bare feet. Others were determined to sunbathe & even Scott & I sitting in the shade managed to catch a tan. Those who sunbathed invariably got sunburnt & there were quite a few red bodies around the ship for days after. Mindful of the fact that we could get burnt from the reflection of the water we decided to walk to the other side of the island, the Pacific Ocean side. It was only 300 metres but it really was very hot in the middle of the island with the sun beaming straight down on to the hard earth. The ocean side of the island has rocks & had quite a swell coming up. There was really no safe beach to swim on that side at all. We walked back to the wharf & caught our boat for our snorkeling excursion.

The boat headed back out to The Aquarium where there were still a lot of other boats out there, the glass bottom one & the a couple more boats of snorkelers. I was just about to get into the water when one of the guides said "shark!" That made me stop in my tracks & ask Scott if there was a shark down there. It was a hoax so I jumped in & joined Scott & the guide. The guide had a bucket of food with him & he started by getting us all together & then he fed the fish. Occasionally he threw the food past us so the whole school of fish suddenly turned tail and en masse headed towards. The first time he did it, it scared me to suddenly have these masses of fish heading straight for me. Some of them banged into my mask & some of them swam under my belly & tickled me on the way past. After a while the guide took the better swimmers of us on a tour of The Aquarium. We got to see different corals, including beautiful fire coral as well as a couple of sharks on the bottom of the lagoon. Just to prove that the shark didn't really want a piece of us the guide dived down & went to touch it, the shark immediately swam away. We basically went right around the coral outcrop & then it was time to get back to the boat.

Once we were onboard we were told that when the tide is on the turn the dolphins come & play in the waves of Tiputa pass & if we wanted they would take us up the pass so we could see them. We all thought that was a wonderful idea so we headed up the pass. On the way up we didn't see any dolphins but as we turned around & came down sure enough the dolphins were there, jumping & surfing on the waves. I am so pleased that we did the snorkeling at this time of day because the people who snorkeled in the morning didn't get to see the dolphins. After doing another cruise up & down the pass we went back to shore. By then we had had our fill of water activities & as there was nothing else to do on the atoll we caught the tender back to the ship.

Here's the link for the slideshow