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Saturday, May 16th, 2009
New Photos: Samoa

I’ve updated my photo album with fifteen photos from my recent trip to Samoa. Just click on the photos tab above and start exploring my album.

Friday, May 15th, 2009
Comfort Foods

I’ve been thinking about food a lot this week, mainly because I’m having a bit of cut back and watching what I eat. I like food. One of my favorite meals is pasta. I love pasta and can eat it for several meals in a row. It’s a real comfort food for me. I’m also a big soup fan. There’s nothing better than a big bowl of soup with a couple of pieces of Vogel’s toast when the weather gets cooler. When it comes to dessert, I’d have to say ice cream, although I’m savvy enough not to buy ice cream these days. It doesn’t stay in my freezer for long!

What are your favorite comfort foods? Does your preference change with the seasons?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Big Feet and Socks

My name is Shelley Munro and I have big feet. Over the years I’ve become used to my big feet–after all, I’m atached to them. I’ve found a great shoe shop that caters for women with big feet. It’s all good, or so you’d think. My problem comes with socks.

My husband keeps stealing my socks. Last year I had lots of socks, but suddenly I have none. My husband has stolen them to wear to work. Once he gets his hands on them, I don’t want them back. If you saw the state of his socks and overalls you’d agree with me!

If I had smaller feet, I could buy pretty pink or lemon socks, ones in lovely pastel colors. I bet hubby wouldn’t steal those. Instead I have to buy socks from the men’s department where I end up with navy blue, white or black socks. These my husband steals. Today I purchased three pairs of socks in shades of green and brown. At least those will stand out in the wash, and I have a hope of getting them back. At the moment hubby grabs every blue and black sock he sees, they land up in his sock drawer and that’s it! I never see them again.

If this new strategy doesn’t work, I’m going to break out my embroidery cottons and sew decorative bands on the top of my socks. We’ll see how hubby likes black socks with hot pink embroidery!

What color socks do you have? Does anyone else have a sock-stealing husband? Does anyone know what happens to the lone socks that go off adventuring in the washing machine or drier, never to be seen again?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
Clever Fingers

A complimentary fifteen-minute massage came as part of the package on our recent holiday in Samoa. Massage isn’t something I’ve had a lot of experience with in the past. I get a head massage whenever I have my hair done, and when I injured my shoulder in a fall, the physio treatment included massage.

On the first day of our holiday, one of our friends and I went off to check out the spa while the others attacked the golf course. (I say attacked because it was a brutal course and the sand bunkers were so deep, the players had to use the ladders provided to climb down inside to play their golf balls out of the bunker.)

My first real massage was great. I stripped off and wrapped in a towel before being escorted to the open-sided huts where they did the massages. They used coconut scented oil and below the table they had sweetly scented flowers and oils. The entire experience was wonderful. I thought about having another massage, but I have to admit the cost put me off a little. Feeling good is not a cheap business. Maybe when I win lotto I can have a massage every week.

Have you had a massage before? Did you like it?

Thursday, April 30th, 2009
A Wellington Trip

Thursday Thirteen

I mentioned last week that I was off to Wellington. I’m posting photos this week.

1. We left from Auckland Airport.

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2. It was raining in Auckland, but we had wonderful weather in Wellington. There were quite a few unaccompanied children on the flight, flying home after school holidays. They cracked me up with their shrieks of joy each time we hit turbulence.

3. We caught the cable car from the inner city to the Botanic Gardens.

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4. There were great views out over the harbor.

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5. It’s autumn here in New Zealand and the trees are changing color.

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6. It was ANZAC day and there were wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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7. We had dinner at the Backbencher pub, which is opposite our Parliament. Very yummy food.

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8. The pub is known for its caricatures of our politicians. This is Helen Clark (a recent Prime Minister) and Winston Peters (very colorful is the kindest way to describe him)

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9. And this is Jenny Shipley who was the Prime Minister prior to Helen Clark. She looks remarkably like the fairy godmother from the second Shrek movie.

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10. This is the Buzzy Bee. Buzzy Bee is a well known childrens’ toy and is considered a NZ icon.

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11. This is me at the rugby stadium, also known as the CakeTin.

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12. The next day we went to Te Papa to see the Monet exhibition. I also wanted to see the colossal squid. The squid didn’t photograph very well, but it was very interesting.

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13. This is me outside Te Papa. The Monet exhibition was crowded, but very good. My favorite was the painting of Monet’s wife Camille and their child. My hubby loved the one of the Haystacks.

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And that’s me for this week. I’m off to Samoa tomorrow. I hope you’ll pop back during the next few days to check out my Samoan photos.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
Packing

Hubby and I fly out to Western Samoa on Friday. Hubby is packed. Even his golf clubs are packed and ready to travel. I haven’t started. Whenever my husband makes a comment, I tell him I can’t pack until Scotty goes to the kennels. She doesn’t like a change in her routine. Where hubby is concerned, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

The truth is I don’t like packing. I always put it off until the last minute.

Which camp do you belong in—the organized packer or the last minute panic packer?

Sunday, April 26th, 2009
Enjoyable or Horrid?

A lot of people love visiting museums and art galleries. They can spend hours wandering through the various displays and visit a different museum each weekend.

Not me.

I visited Te Papa this weekend, New Zealand’s big museum in Wellington. I checked out the colossal squid exhibition (very cool) and the Monet art exhibition in one of the private galleries of the museum. I also enjoyed this very much, but that was enough for me. I was ready to leave.

I’ve always been like this with museums. An hour or two is my limit. Knowing my limitations, I tend to pick the galleries that interest me most and head straight there. I loved the historical costumes in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The bog man in the British Museum and the dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum in London all attracted my attention.

Any exhibitions that have things I can touch make me want to linger. I went around the colossal squid exhibit touching everything we were allowed to study at close quarters. A little girl followed me and we touched squid beaks and tentacles, grinning at each other the whole time. It was great fun. I didn’t touch any Monet paintings—all the guards put me off, but those “do not touch” signs really made me want to touch.

Do you like visiting museums? Do you have any favorite museums or things you love to see?

Friday, April 24th, 2009
Upside Down Tomato

Today I have a gardening post about how to plant an upside down tomato, courtesy of Mr. Munro.

UPSIDE-DOWN PLANTER by Mr. Munro

What to do with that old paint pot or unwanted container.

It may seem strange to plant a tomato in an UPSIDE-DOWN container, but there are benefits. Very little soil related disease as the plant and its leaves have minimal contact with the soil. Roots easily absorb the nutrients as gravity provides a constant flow. Regular watering is crucial as gravity not only feeds but drains – there are larger than normal holes at the bottom of the container.

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To make an UPSIDE-DOWN PLANTER procure a suitable vessel. A 10 liter (2.5 gallon) pail is ideal. Whether it is a new or old paint container, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that it has a lid and a handle. The lid can be adapted from anything but it must be able to retain the soil / potting mix once the container has been inverted. You are now wondering why we are turning the container upside-down. Think about it, it is an UPSIDE-DOWN PLANTER!

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We are getting ahead of ourselves. Before inverting the container we have to fill it with suitable material, potting mix would be preferable with a slow release fertilizer. Put the lid on and turn the container upside-down. Cut 3 x 30mm (1&1/4inch) holes in the bottom, which is now the top!! A 10 liter container should be able to cope with 3 plants, smaller containers perhaps only one plant. Now plant your seedlings in the small holes.

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After a week or two the plants should be established and able to cope with the next procedure. This entails the container to be raised up, turned over and held by the handle, discard the lid and hang by the handle. The plants are now hanging from the bottom of the container but will soon head outward and upward.

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DON’T FORGET TO FEED & WATER!!!!!

Enjoy your UPSIDE-DOWN PLANTER suitable for any sized garden or apartment.

I know some of you are gardeners. Do you grow your own vegetables? Do you prefer to grow flowers? What do you enjoy most about gardening?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
A Weekend in Wellington

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Wellington and my upcoming weekend.

1. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is about an hour flight from Auckland.

2. It’s always very windy in Wellington. I’m hoping we have reasonable weather for our weekend since we’re intending to do a lot of walking and outdoor things.

3. We’re going to visit the Botanic Gardens and ride the red cable car to the top of the hill, walking back down through the gardens.

4. There’s also a teahouse. I’ll probably need a cup of tea to warm up since we’re heading into winter down here in NZ.

5. We might wander past our parliament buildings, also known as the Beehive because of the round shape.

6. There’s a pub near the Beehive called the Backbencher where they have 3-D puppet heads of NZ politicians on the walls as decorations. We’ll probably stop by for a drink.

7. We’re going down to see an exhibition of Monet paintings at the Te Papa Museum.

8. According to the Te Papa site we’ll see twenty-seven stunning paintings by Claude Monet – including works from his Water Lily, Haystacks, and Rouen Cathedral series – plus works by Impressionist masterpieces by Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro and others.

9. While I’m at Te Papa I’m looking forward to seeing the giant squid that they dissected last year. They broadcast the proceedings on the Internet and people watched around the world.

10. We might fit in some shopping and definitely some eating.

11. On Saturday night we’re off to the rugby at the stadium on the waterfront. It’s affectionately called the Cake tin because of its shape. Wellingtonians are big on nicknames!

12. It’s ANZAC day, the day where Australians and New Zealanders remember the battle at Gallipoli and our fallen soldiers. The curtain raiser match is NZ Army v Australia Army.

13. The main match is a Super 14 game (the tournament where NZ, Australian and South African teams battle it out) and the ACT Brumbies are playing the Hurricanes. (Australia team v New Zealand team) It should be a great match. I just hope it doesn’t rain!

What are you doing this weekend?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Horse Pills

I had to go to the doctor this week, and I arrived home with a bottle of large pills. I know the pills will make me feel better, but I want to know why they have to make them in a size that’s more suitable for large animals. I choke and gag and stress out every time I have to take pills of any description. I’ve always been like this and remember having an ear infection when I was a kid, and my father becoming exasperated with me. In fact, he told me I’d go deaf if I didn’t take my pills. I’d frustrated him that much.

I’ve passed my dislike on to some of my characters. This is Kate from Playing to Win.

The nurse returned, handing her a glass of water and two white tablets of a size suitable for horses and other large animals.

Kate eyed the water with welcome but not the medication. “Don’t you have injections?”

The nurse shook her head and stood her ground.

Kate looked at the pills again and decided to do without.

“Katherine Giovanna Sophia Merryweather Alexander,” the nurse warned, her voice tart as a Meyer lemon, but a smile lurked in her brown eyes. She turned to Lane and Jamie. “Children are much better patients.”
After rolling her eyes at Kate’s muffled protest, she turned back to her patient. “I’ll help you sit.”

Kate clenched her jaw and allowed the nurse to assist her. When she pushed a button on the control unit, the bed rose so Kate could sit. She accepted the glass of water and took a sip, ignoring the pills. The nurse coughed and Kate held out her hand to accept the horse tablets.

A snigger escaped Lane. Kate noticed even Jamie smiled. She took a big breath and choked the pills down one at the time.

“Ugh.” For one awful moment, she thought the second pill would make a return visit. Her eyes watered as she swallowed in panic.

The nurse chortled. “There now. That wasn’t so bad was it, dear?”

“Thank you,” Kate said, with just a trace of sarcasm.

I’m with Kate all the way. Pills are not made for human consumption or at least our consumption!

How are you with taking pills?