Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I love Unexpected Surprises

Once in a while I have a day full of surprises, and today was one of them.

Before going to the clinic to have my blood drawn for my cholesterol checkup, I stopped by the grocery store, to buy a cup of coffee and a sweet roll to eat after my appointment with MS. Dracula.

While there at the grocery store, I remembered I had four coupons in my purse for free, That’s right FREE lotto tickets. I could get one Lotto, one Mega millions, one $1 scratch off, and one $2 scratch off.

I had a cup in my hand ready to pour my coffee, when I remembered I did not have any change in my purse, so decided to go back out to my car and grab some change from the ashtray. Before leaving the store, I decided to see what my two scratch tickets had to offer, if anything.

Imagine my surprise, when the first ticket yielded $3 and the second $10, WHOO HOO ! I had enough cash for my coffee, sweet roll and some left over, maybe for another couple of lotto tickets.

Next on to have my blood drawn, this time by a nurse who had done more than practice on an orange, I hardly felt a thing, also my mind was preoccupied with thoughts of hot coffee and a sweet roll waiting for me in my car.

After my appointment at the clinic, I drove to our senior thrift store, not one of those untidy, dark, fusty smelling stores, but a nice new, brightly lit building, with everything organized and sweet smelling.

As I wandered around, not looking for anything in particular, there it was, hanging on a rack in the kid’s department, a navy and red, pure wool, hooded jacket, and it was not a kid’s jacket, obviously it had been put there by mistake, or left there by one of those customers who do not put things back where they found them. I had been looking for a nice, semi dress jacket for quite a while, but could not find one I liked, until today.

I made a thorough inspection of the jacket noticing that it appeared as though it was practically brand new, and knew I held in my hands, the jacket I had been looking for, now if only it fit.

I made my way to the dressing room and tried the jacket on, IT FIT, another WHOO HOO ! (said, quietly to myself, I didn't want folks to think I had lost my marbles ) and the price of my treasure, $7:95

Oh how I love bargains and surprises, I had a most delightful day.

Disappointed once again

This picture brings back a memory from the time I worked in a retail store.

Just after the store opened one morning, I happened to be walking down the aisle through the men’s department, and noticed an elderly woman looking at one of the displays of men’s underwear. To me, she was just another customer looking at a display, perhaps trying to decide what style of underwear to buy for her husband.

The display had those, what looked like anatomically correct, male manikins clothed in the latest briefs and boxers for that season.
As I walked toward the woman, she had not noticed me yet, I was taken back when she reached up and lifted the leg of the boxers on one of the manikins and did a thorough inspection.

You can imagine my reaction, I stopped in my tracks, did an about turn and ducked behind a rack of clothes, then made my way back to my department. Thank goodness my department was just about fifteen feet away, any more and I would have exploded as I was holding in my laughter.

When I reached my department and let out my laughter my co-workers wanted to know what was so funny.

I related what I had observed and of course they all cracked up as well, I think a couple of the women thought I had made the whole story up, I told them to check with security if they did not believe my story, as all would have been caught on a security camera.

Sure enough, the whole episode had been recorded, and a friend of mine, who worked in security, later on that day, told me my reaction was one of those “priceless moments “

Monday, February 27, 2006

Maori Poi

"Poi" is the Maori word for "ball" on a cord

The Poi was used, many years ago, by the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand to increase their flexibility and strength in their hands and arms as well as improving coordination.

Wahine (female) dancers perform the Maori Poi, a dance performed with balls attached to flax strings, swung rhythmically. Those pictured to the left are using short Poi.

The Poi dance was originally used by the Maori women for keeping their hands flexible for weaving and by the men for strength and coordination required during battle. Poi are also used as a training aid for other ancient weapons like the Mere or Patu (Short club)

Tena koe to you, (welcome)

I am a Maori lady who lives in Wellington NZ. I am of Ngati Whatua descsent (primarily). Although I am in my early 60s this is considered not too old by our standards. However we have passed on our tribal knowledge of poi from our traditional sources based from Auckland and further northland.
We pass on through oure korero (or talk) of the poi genealogy as having started with our gods creation, then through the use of flax made bags to carry a moa egg. ( Moa- a very large extinct bird)

We call these bags kii. These carrying bags called kii were later used by our fighting warriors in training. The method was to put a large stone in the kii bag and swing this around to make the arms and wrists supple and strong and to test reactions. The kii bags made of flax had short ropes but when the warriors and boys trained with them they would put on extra lengths of rope.

We have a Maori game which is not much known today which uses just the kii bag so it is like a ball. This ball is called a kii. We use light stuffing inside of it, feathers or wool or clothing even. Long ago the stuffing would have been dog fur or feathers or plant fibres. When the moa birds died out the original kii bags were not needed because no other bird in our country has such a big egg. The kii were just used in our game and in training and the trainer kii became known as kiitoa or today as poitoa.

Later on the poitoa was used in action songs and this has become simply poi. So in order came the flax kii bag which had flax rope attachment for carrying moa eggs and a bit later this rope was removed so that the kii was used like a ball in a game and for trainers some extra long rope would be added and a stone within the bag.

Much later the kiitoa became poi that are seen much today.

I needed to let you know how we view the poi history. As Maori people We are not the same across the whole country, we have our own unique genealogies in not only our lives but also our implements and poi. Thankyou for this way of letting me tell you.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Carnival Of Recipes # 80

Taleena, at Sun Comprehending Glass is hosting The carnival of recipes this week.

There are some wonderful recipes to read, copy and try for yourself.

I am interested in making the dried apricot pie, found at Geezer's Corner.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Still Undecided

I am still reserving judgement on Steel Challenge hand gun matches. I did put in my time on the practice but am still unsure if I will take to it as I have done in shooting pin tops.

First time round, I had difficulty getting all the moves, stance, position, timing etc. to fall in the correct order in my mind. When I am pin shooting everything is now automatic, or what is known as muscle memory, so I was feeling frustrated at being so uncoordinated.

The way I have to hold the gun in one hand, with the other raised until the buzzer goes off feels strange, ( this is the way we start out in rim fire class). As you see in the photo, Al has both his hands raised, that is because center fire classes draw from a holster.

I will have to get in plenty of practice so I can quickly bring my Beretta U22Neos up and my raised hand down in one a smooth motion, at the same time aiming and hitting the first steel plate, WHEEEEW ! ! I have a feeling I will have to get my weights out and do some lifting to strengthen my arms.

My second time round, I was a little less frustrated and shot well, mainly due to the fact that I did not take advise from anyone this time which would change the way I usually go about shooting, I have decided that, sometimes changing something midstream throws you off, in other words 'If it aint broke, then don't fix it!"

To find out more detailed information on how Steel challenge works, go HERE to Mr. Completely's site.

Tomorrow we are off to our first pin top shoot of the season, I know this will be a whole lot more fun.

I sure hope the weather is a little warmer, though I am now prepared and have new, nice warm insulated underwear.

Yaaaay The Weekend Is Here

You may be asking "why is she so excited about the weekend?" well, I no longer have to work Saturdays which gives me ALL weekend to pursue my hobbies.

Originally the other Desk Diva and I shared working half days on Saturday and Fridays, meaning we were at the spa four or five days respectivly, we had a discussion and have decided that I will now work just Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

Today Mr. Completely and I are heading out to the range to practice for the first upcoming "steel challenge". I am not sure if I am going to like shooting steel challenge as it does involve, at times, moving from target to target. I will defer my decision until I have been to a few challenges.
It will be easier to describe what a steel challenge match is all about, with a few pictues, so I will take my camera along this afternoon.

I am off to the kitchen to cook us a good warming breakfast to get us through the cold morning. I am also, going to buy some warm insulated underwear, I have never worn long underwear before, but last year I was so cold at the shoots and swore I will not be that cold this time around.

Friday, February 24, 2006

OH ! NO !

Dang, I thought we were done with this cold white stuff !

I could not believe my eyes when I opened the drapes a few minutes ago, and saw this white stuff coming down.
Yeah, I know it is pretty, but I have to drive to work in a little while.

I know how to drive on snowy slick roads, it is all the other drivers out there who don't, who care the **** out of me.

OK I have done whining, time to go out on my adventure.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Country Share For Today

Isn't it interesting to see where people are coming from to read your blog?


Corker: very good

Waiting for the Sunshine

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.

The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.

Henry Van Dyke

blooming daffodils and crocus tell me it is spring, but todays dreary, rainy day makes me feel as though it is still winter.
Patience, Keewee, Patience.

Danish Dumplings - Æbleskiver

Makes 24 to 28

* 1 cup sour cream
* 2/3 cup milk
* 3 egg yolks -- beaten
* 2 tablespoons melted butter
* 2 cups flour -- sifted
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
* ¾ teaspoon salt
* 3 egg whites
* 1/8 pound butter
* Powdered sugar

Combine and mix well the sour cream, milk, egg yolks and melted butter.

Sift the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center. Pour liquid mixture all at once into the well, stirring until thoroughly blended.

Beat the egg whites until rounded peaks are formed. Spread the batter over the beated egg whites and fold together gently.

Set the æbleskiver or muffin pan over low heat on top of the stove and test the pan by dropping a few drops of cold water into one of the wells. If the drops dance around in small beads, the pan is ready to use. Grease the little wells in the pan thoroughly with melted butter. Pour the batter into the wells, filling about ½ full.

With a fork, turn the æbleskiver frequently to brown evenly, but do not pierce. After they have browned, insert a toothpick in the center of one or two of the æbleskiver. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are ready. Sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately after removing from the wells.

Delicious accompanied by tart jam and a good cup of coffee.

NOTES : Æbleskiver are the famous Danish dessert dumplings that are a cross between a dumpling, a doughnut and a fritter. They should be cooked in special pans, but well-buttered popover or muffin tins will do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Number 8 wire -

It is said of New Zealanders, give them some number 8 wire and some baling twine, and they can fix anything!

The conversion of New Zealand bush into farms created the need for a lot of fences. The preferred wire was known as No 8 gauge, but it was also put to other uses such as a replacement handle of a bucket.

No 8 wire represents "Kiwi ingenuity." a quality that was born out of isolation and lack of infrastructure in New Zealand's early history. It was simply a matter of "making do" or going without. Kiwis came up with some absolute ingenious creations.

A very good example in recent times for Kiwi ingenuity came from a person by the name of John Britten. He decided to build a motor bike in his backyard shed from scratch. Britten not only developed an entirely new fabrication system using space age kevlar and carbon fibre, but designed the complete engine, making the patterns for casting himself.

In the Daytona Battle of the Twins, the Britten team completely blitzed the opposition. Rider Andrew Stroud's kilometre long wheel stands left the crowd awestruck as he passed the cream of Italian and Japanese factory machines. Britten has become an icon for kiwi ingenuity

More interesting articles HERE

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This says it all

A Maori Pa

A Maori Pa is a fortified place built by the maoris.


The Maori, New Zealand's native people, were originally Polynesian Islanders who discovered New Zealand around the tenth century and migrated there about four hundred years later. Their lives were made significantly more difficult by Captain Cook's arrival in 1769 (they had successfully fended off Abel Tasman previously) and the consequent British colonisation. Disputes between the Maori and the Pakeha (Europeans) raged continuously until the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed by the Maoris in the hope of gaining peace, giving sovereignty to Britain in exchange for protection and guaranteed ownership of their lands - this was later much abused by the British. Fighting between the British and Maoris ensued for many years, it eventually died down but the issues have never been settled, and debates continue to arise today concerning land rights.
The maori people were fierce warriors, many living in fortified villages called a pa

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Every night
The horizon lights up
Swirls of pink and orange
Fading to blue and purple

Few bother to look anymore
At a blessing
That only comes once a day

Each sunset is different
No two exactly alike
Difference flows throughout
While it is the only similarity

Over the ocean
Or through the sky scrapers
Out on the prairie
Or in an apartment

You can still see a piece
A piece of something
Something never to return
A sunset

For the colors are shimmering
For a moment they stay
Only to disappear into change
Change just as beautiful as the last

This is why
No matter where you go
One thing remains the same,
A difference in sunsets

In your very own sunset

by Jessica Millsaps

Pavement Art

By Kurt Wenner

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Kiwi School Lunch in the 1950’s

Hokowhitu Primary School

Once in a while I hunger for a ‘ fresh from the bakery ’ meat pie and doughnut like the ones I used to have for lunch at school back in New Zealand.

There was no school cafeteria at Hokowhitu School back in the 50’s, but right outside the school grounds there was a dairy. A dairy was a small neighborhood store which sold staples, such as eggs, butter, milk, snacks, newspapers etc. There are very few dairys in existance now, as supermarkets have replaced most of them.

Once a week, I was allowed to buy my lunch instead of taking a bagged lunch from home, so I stopped off at the dairy before school and put in an order for my lunch, a meat pie and a doughnut.

Around the noon hour when the lunch bell would ring, those of us who had ordered our lunch would (scramble, push and shove) politely line up and walk in an orderly fashion, ( well some of us were orderly) to the dairy to pick up our bagged lunches.

My mouth still waters, remembering the first bite of the warm flaky pastry crust of a mince pie, the taste of the filling, drool, slobber !

A selection of various meat pies

The New Zealand pie is a single-serve meat and gravy filled pastry of varying ratios and proportions, traditionally served with liberal amounts of tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is similar to tomato ketchup but doesn't contain any of the spices.

Make an oval with the thumb and forefingers of both hands - this is the approximate size and shape of a Kiwi pie, and they are about an inch and a half in thickness.

Common meat fillings are mince, (hamburger) or steak. Less common fillings are steak and kidney, ( horrible) steak and mushroom ( nasty ) and bacon and egg, ( OK ) One of my favorite pies was mince with a mashed potato top.

These pies are consumed by people from all walks of life for lunch, or as half-time fare during a rugby match. Rugby, as the bumper sticker goes, is a game played by men with odd-shaped balls.

To cater to the overwhelming demand for this foodstuff, mobile vendors called piecarts, came into existence and to cash in on the overwhelming demand for Kiwi pies. Entrepreneurs in the late 1980s tried to create a franchise, called Georgie Pie, in the style of McDonalds or Taco Bell - but with pies.
The enterprise folded in the mid 1990s.

The best tasting doughnuts in the world

Once I had eaten the pie, the doughnut was next. Not once since living in USA have I had a doughnut which tasted quite like the 50’s doughnuts.

I am fairly certain they were deep fried in lard, sounds gross, but lard was used to deep fry most foods back then, the doughnuts were then rolled in powdered sugar, split and filled with real whipped cream and a little jam, Yummmm!!

I suppose if I had the chance of tasting the same pies and doughnuts now, I would not care for them.

Funny how our tastes change over the years, what we would not eat as kids, we often like now.


I came across this wonderful blog a couple of weeks ago, and make it a point of checking in every day.
Farmgirl Fare is a treat for your eyes. You will find, farm photos, food, writing, recipes and more.
It is well worth a visit.

Nearly everyone dreams of moving to the country, but few are crazy enough to actually do it. I am one of those few. In 1994, at 26, I sold my bakery cafe, packed 200 boxes of books & antiques, & waved goodbye to California. Armed with a basic knowledge of gardening, an overenthusiastic sense of adventure, & lots of naivete, I dragged 4 cats, a huge dog, & my equally greenhorn husband to a 280-acre, 140-year-old farm in the middle of nowhere.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

RECIPE: Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake


1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3oz.) jello instant pudding (light chocolate)
4 eggs
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup mazola oil
¾ c. Irish cream
½ tsp. Coconut favoring

Beat 4 minutes at medium speed. Pour into well-greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350F 50-55 minutes.
Cool about 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto cooling rack.


2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup Irish cream
½ cup cream cheese (soft)
2 Tbsp. Butter (soft)
½ tsp. Coconut flavoring

Mix and beat at high speed until smooth and spreadable.
Glaze while cake is slightly warm.

For a little less cholesterol, I substitute whole eggs with egg beaters, and use low fat cream cheese, margarine, and yogurt.

Unique to New Zealand

Riannan, over at In The Headlights, wrote a very interesting article on mabe pearls, which prompted me to write about paua (abalone in USA) which was part of my life in New Zealand.

Paua ( pronounced Pa Wa ) is a species of abalone (Haliotis Iris).
It is only found in the sea around New Zealand. This marine mollusk eats seaweed and lives clinging to rocks at depths of 1-10 meters, normally along the shoreline. Paua Shell is the most colorful of all the abalone shells. Most other abalone are pale in comparison.

The Most Colorful Shell
There is no other shell in the world that has the colour like Paua Shell colour that varies from greens & pinks to purples & blues and even some shells with gold or crimson tonings.

The iridescent Colour of the paua shell changes when viewed at different angles. This iridescence, similar to that of Mother of Pearl shell, but far more brilliant, is what makes paua shell so amazing as a gem material for use in jewelry.

A Maori bone and paua pendant

It is truly one of nature's marvels. Each shell is different in it's colour tonings, and in the patterns within the shell. The black patterns in the shell come from layers of protein that are laid down between the layers of calcium that make up the shell. The brilliant colours are from light being refracted within the crystal layers. The same effect that the iridescent colour found in Opals.

Picture borrowed from In the Headlights

Paua meat is a traditional delicacy for the Maori, essential for a good wedding feast or celebration. Although it is harder to find than it used to be, most New Zealanders would rate paua up there with oysters as their preferred shellfish.

As a child, I would see the Maori collecting paua from the rocks at low tide, they were plentiful back then.

These days most paua meat is exported to Asia, where abalone has always been regarded as one of the supreme delicacies.

I remember my father bringing paua home for his dinner, he just loved paua fritters. Mum would not have anything to do with the paua until it was ground up, in a bowl, and on the kitchen counter ready to be made into fritters. My Dad, knew the only way he was going to get his favorite fritters, was to grind the paua himself. Armed with a food grinder and large bowl, Dad took himself out to the garage to get the job done.

A Traditional Taonga

A taonga is a treasure. Maori taonga are those things which have always been.

Paua shell was traditionally used by Maori to illuminate the eyes of their carving and artwork. The reddish colored shell were most prized for depicting the flashing red eyes of the warrior. The use of paua shell in all manner of jewelry and sculpture has become a distinctive feature of New Zealand artwork.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wednesday Beauty

Another beautiful morning. Pink painted snow by artist, Mother Nature The Sun.


When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Another of my favorite bloggers

If you like to read stories from someones life's experiences, you would probably like

I have been following Ted's stories about his childhood as well as his adult life for a couple of weeks now, and have enjoyed all the great writing and humor.

Early Morning

The view from our front deck was so beautiful early this morning, too bad my camera does not do it justice.
The cloud blanketed bluff was highlighted by the suns rays, pockets of snow sparkled, and the trees were hung with diamond drops of melting snow.


by Dave Coverly

A wonderful Valentines to all my readers.
I gotta' go, I have 2lb12oz. of chocolates to eat, my Honey knows how much I love chocolate and had my Valentine chocolates hidden outside in his car until this morning. He knew I would have sniffed them out in the house.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Carnival of the Recipes is up at Physics Geek.

Physics Geek is hosting the carnival of recipes this week.
You will find mouth watering dishes from all round the globe.

Go take a look HERE

Sounds Of Spring

How wonderful to be woken by the sound of a Robin singing his little heart out. I always feel a thrill of, 'spring is on the way' when I hear the first bird song after a dreary winter.
Brighten your day listen to a little music yourself. HERE

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Olympic Hopeful For Gold Has Dropped Out

Michelle Kwan

I am saddened to hear,Michelle Kwan has dropped out of the Olympic Games on Sunday morning because of a groin injury, bringing her decade-long quest for Olympic gold to an end.
I have followed Michelle’s skating career for many years and was hoping this was going to be her year for a Gold at the Olympics.

Emily Hughes, (left, in picture, with sister, Sarah) who has filled the place on the USA team, left vacant by Michelle, will follow in the footsteps of big sister and 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes when she makes her debut at the Torino Winter Games.

Friday, February 10, 2006

RECIPE: Chicken chow bake

2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 10 1/2-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1 tbs. Soy sauce
1 cup sliced celery
2 tbsp. Chopped green onions
2 1/2 cups chow-mein noodles.

Combine chicken, soup, pineapple, soy sauce, celery, and green onions. Mix well. Gently fold in 1 cup of the noodles, and turn into a greased 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Top with remaining noodles.
Bake 350F for 50 minutes or until hot.

Things got you down?

Things Got Ya Down?
Well Then, Consider These

In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died
in the same bed, on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 a.m.,
regardless of their medical condition.

This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had
something to do with the supernatural. No one could solve
the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to
investigate the cause of the incidents.

The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11:00 a.m.,
all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside
the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon
was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer
books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits.

Just when the clock struck 11:00, Pookie Johnson, the part-
time Sunday sweeper, entered the ward and unplugged the life
support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.

Still Having a Bad Day????

The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the
Exxon Valdez Oil spill in Alaska was $80,000.00.

At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively
saved animals were being released back into the wild
amid cheers and applause from onlookers.

A minute later, in full view, a killer whale ate them both.

Still think you are having a Bad Day????

A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen
shaking frantically, almost in a dancing frenzy,
with some kind of wire running from his waist towards
the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from
the deadly current, she whacked him with a handy
plank of wood, breaking his arm in two places.

Up to that moment, he had been happily listening
to his Walkman.

Are Ya O. K. Now? - No??

Two animal rights defenders were protesting
the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse
in Bonn, Germany. Suddenly, all two thousand pigs
broke loose and escaped through a broken fence,
stampeding madly.

The two helpless protesters were trampled to death.

What?? STILL having a bad day???

Iraqi terrorist Khay Rahnajet didn't pay enough postage
on a letter bomb. It came back with "Return to Sender"
stamped on it.

Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it and was
blown to bits.

There now, Feeling Better????


Shorts: clips from upcoming movies

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Learning to work together

From The Manawatu standard

Maori nautical studies prove popular

09 February 2006


When Te Wananga o Aotearoa began its Maori nautical studies course the expectation was that daring young men would predominate, but not so - the strongest interest came from young women.

Three years later, the sexes are balancing out and the course is proving so popular that it has to be capped - about 45 students each intake.

"In the beginning, young Maori men were too busy being cool to pick up a pamphlet or a brochure," says course leader Potaka Taite, so it was women who responded first.

"They tended to be professional women and were often hugely stressed out and looking for a way to relax."

Gradually males started asking their womenfolk to pick up course information for them and finally they began fronting up themselves.

The students include a mix of Maori, Pakeha (white), Cook Islanders, Samoans and other ethnic groups.

Their introductory level three course lasts 36 weeks, but the actual instruction occurs in intensive sessions lasting from Friday afternoons to Sundays at 2pm.

During this time, the students stay together as a group at a marae (meeting area) or some other accommodation centre, learning to trust and rely on each other.

"Everyone is on the waka(boat), so it's about paddling and moving in the same direction," says Mr Taite. "It is team work and you need to know who your crew members are, otherwise you will have difficulty working well together on the water."

The introductory course covers much more than traditional and contemporary navigation methods and the various types of canoe. Attention is also given to such things as nautical studies, first aid, fitness and health, water safety skills and Maori performing arts.

Mr Taite says successful students gain a certificate in nautical studies, which some use as a stepping stone to more advanced courses, while others might segue into such fields as boat building, tourism, fishing, outdoor education, marine industries and sciences.

"To some, learning is an end in itself," he says. "Others gain a sense of well-being and identity from their accomplishments."

Into the latter category he puts the occasional unemployed person who takes the course. They might feel down in spirits when they start, but they end up with a strong sense of purpose.

The basics of celestial navigation are touched on in the course, but Mr Taite says this is an area where knowledge is at a premium. Great modern-day navigators such as Hector Busby in the far north, Jack Thatcher in Tauranga and Nainoa Thompson in Hawaii are in such great demand that any information gleaned from them is treasured.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pavement Art

Blue Dragon Sleeping on Treasure

Ulla Taylor's original pavement artwork, has been enjoyed by thousands of people on city streets from Australia to Lithuania.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Cream Trip

Today was one of those days where I started out, caffein low. This was a huge emergency, we had run out of coffee beans and did not have any instant coffee, not that I like instant, but I will choke it down if I have to. I was also out of ideas for a post for Keewee’s Corner. Mr. Completely suggested something from my childhood , geeez that’s a long time ago! Anyhow, after some thought, I do remember one special holiday in the Bay of Islands.

First, a little about New Zealand, The early Polynesian settlers called the country Aotearoa, meaning Land of the Long White Cloud. It is a name by which New Zealand is quite often known.

New Zealand consists of two large islands, North Island and South Island, plus several smaller ones of which Stewart Island is the largest and often referred to as 'our third island'. North and South Islands are separated by the 32km / 20mile wide Cook Strait. To the north and east lies the Pacific Ocean and between ourselves and Australia lies the Tasman Sea.

New Zealand's Climate
As a general guide, the North of New Zealand is subtropical and the South is temperate. New Zealand's seasons are opposite to the Northern hemisphere - the warmest months being December, January and February, and the coldest months June, July and August.

In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC (68-87ºF) and in winter between 10-15ºC (50º-60ºF

This graphic gives you an idea the size of New Zealand compared to United States of America.

OK the geography lesson is over, now on with my story.

One year, in the 1950’s, for our annual holiday, we went to the Bay of Islands and stayed at a nice campground at Paihia, which is 773km (480 miles) and a 11 hour drive from Palmerston North( my home city). Palmerston North is about 90 miles North of Wellington, New Zealand's Capital city.
During our stay at Paihia the family enjoyed going on a cruise around some of the many islands, this is called the Cream Trip, named because in the early years, the milk, cream, and butter, along with other staples were delivered to the residents of the islands by boat.

In the 1950’s ,the Cream Trip was a leisurely cruise on a fair size motor launch, these days you go on a luxury catamaran.

The Cream Trip meanders in and out of many of the smaller bays, calling on locals and delivering their stores and Royal Mail as it has done for over 100 years. The trip passes many different points of historical interest relating to both early European and Maori settlement. You may also see seals, dolphins and sometimes whales, as well as bird and fish life. I remember seeing a large hammerhead shark swimming alongside the launch, pretty exciting stuff for a youngster.

The trip takes about five hours and I can personally recommend it, especially as this is one of the few official Royal Mail runs by boat left in New Zealand.

If you go on the cruise now, you are served a delicious lunch at Otehei Bay Cafe on Urupukapuka Island during your island stopover,the sumptuous menu consists of:

- Fresh seafood mix
- A selection of cold meat cuts
- Hot, tasty chicken nibbles
- A variety of fresh salads
- Home baked bread
- Tea/ coffee/ milo

What I remember, from our trip, is a brown-bagged lunch with a sandwich, a couple of biscuits, (cookies) and a piece of fruit, can’t remember the drink, it was probably milo.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Doggie Wisdom

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
-Ann Landers

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
-Will Rogers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
-Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
-Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare.
And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
-M. Acklam

Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.
- Sigmund Freud

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
-Rita Rudner

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
-Robert Benchley

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.
-Franklin P. Jones

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
-James Thurber

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise.

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.
-Joe Weinstein

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from
a grocery store with the most amazing haul -- chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!
-Anne Tyler

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you;
that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
-Mark Twain

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'
- Dave Barry

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
-Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.
Phil Pastore

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Carnival of Recipes#77

Chocolate is the theme of this weeks carnival, you gotta go over there and check out the recipes at Prochein Amy's

"Scientists reported preliminary evidence recently that cocoa and other chocolates may keep high blood pressure down, your blood flowing and your heart healthy."

I am sure you will gain pounds just reading the recipes.

Power Outage

Whew! the power has finally been restored.
It is 10:54pm the power has been gone since around sometime near midnight last night.

We had experienced a very strong wind storm overnight and most of Saturday.

Early saturday morning, I called the owner of the spa, where I work, and asked if the power was on over there, as I was to work all Saturday, she said yes, so off to work I went.
On the drive in, there were trees down, branches and debris all over the roads, of all three roads I could have chosen to get to work, I was lucky enough to choose one which had been cleared of fallen trees.

We had just got our first guests all settled in at 10am when the power went out again, and
continued to stay off , many guests called in cancelling their appointments.

I decided to shut the spa down at 3pm and come home, as by then it was starting to get too cold in the spa for comfort. Most of the inn's guests had checked out and left the island to go home where they may have had power, unless of course they lived in the Seattle area , and of course, the Seattle and surrounding areas also had power outages.

Mr. C and I decided it was best to go to bed early, pile on extra blankets, and wait for the power company to get electricity back to us, " bless their little wooly socks!" the workers at the power company have spent many hours restoring the power to us, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cat blogging

Hi my name is Chico.

Over the Christmas holiday, Keewee came over to my house every day, for two weeks, while Mum and Dad were away on vacation.

I looked forward to Keewee coming over to give me my kitty food and a treat, but best of all, Keewee played with me.

We played with a string toy, (a piece of string with ribbons tied on the end) I loved to pounce on it when it was pulled by my hiding place under the couch.
When keewee left the house every morning, she would leave a different toy for me to play with. I was never bored.

I nearly forgot to tell you, Keewee brought me turkey on Christmas day, she really is thoughtful, I like her a lot.

How To Speak Kiwi

Amejen - Visualise

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Recipe: Very Fat Fudge Cake

This cake is so rich and moist, hence its name. You can also make mini-muffins from this recipe. See instructions at the end.

1 package (about 18.25 ounces) sour cream fudge cake mix
or devil's food cake mix (NOT Jiffy mix)
1 3-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 6-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, chilled
Confectioner's (powdered) sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat all ingredients except chips together in a large bowl for 5 minutes at medium speed. Fold in chips by hand. Grease and flour a bundt or angel-food cake pan. Bake for 55 minutes.

Let cake cool completely on a rack, then sift powdered sugar over the top, if desired, or make your favorite chocolate frosting for the top.

To make mini-muffins:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare batter as above. Line mini-muffin tins with muffin papers. Fill 2/3 full. Bake 13-14 minutes.

Groundhog Day

Phil Says Six More Weeks of Winter!

Phil's official forecast as read 2/2/06 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:

It occurs to me, when I see on TV, Phil the groundhog, being dragged out of his winter retreat, blinking his eyes, and looking bewildered, he is not thinking 'six more days of winter'.

What I think he is really saying to himself is " What the heck do you think you are doing, are you all nuts, how would you like to be dragged out of bed to make a season prediction? put me back and come check on me in another five weeks, you bunch of idiots."