Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Scorchio!

It's been a bit of a scorcher here today folks. Temperatures were soaring up around the late twenties (celsius) but man the sun is SO intense here it feels much hotter. My feet burned within 10 minutes in the sun, while I was wearing Factor 30.

Lynley gave me the top tip that you have to buy Sunscreen made in Australasia...otherwise it just doesn't protect you against the intense UV! Furniture and furnishings here all come with warnings that they will fade if they ever see sunlight!

So today, we dashed off to town first thing to courier off another document to the UK as we are selling a flat there to fund our wild lifestyle here...we checked the ministry P.O boxes, took the post to Jan & Sandra and sat in their garden for a cup of tea and some crysallised ginger (yum). Back to town for a linen basket, a hose and some more furniture.


Perk up your ears all you intending to visit....the town furniture store has a big sale on, so we swooped in and bought a king size bed for the spare room...and 2 singles for the other 2 bedrooms. You won't have to sleep under a bush in the garden any more!

Then Dave put the BBQ together on the deck, while I wrote a radio commercial this time for a furniture store in Yeovil, England. Haven't heard back from the local radio people here yet so I will have to be extra charming tomorrow and try and find out what the scoop is.

I cooked (yes, please don't faint) again. This time a Thai Green Curry....was good, but needed more chili.

Now it's time for my new favourite show, The 4400 Club, so I must dash.

Meanwhile with all the sunshine and time in the garden, Dave's tan is really coming along.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TV & Serenity

I know you may find this hard to believe given our lifestyle of constant thrills and spills....but really not all that much has happened in the last 2 days.

Monday:
Dropped in my CV to local radio gurus RadioWorks in the hopes of drumming up some trade in the old commercial writing scene.

Went for solo drive down to lake at Wharewaka (pron. Far-e-wac-ka) then back home via Huka Falls.

Rubbed shoulders with the tourists admiring the thundering turquoise (really) Huka waterfalls that are about a 3 minute drive from our house. Made up little song on the way back in the car that went something like this, "I live here, I live here, wow really can't believe I live here"

Ate something incredibly chi chi for lunch, boiled quails eggs or something. (aka cheese sandwich)
Spoke to sleepy Alyn & AJ on Skype & iChat.
Spoke to lively Sarah D by Skyping her landline.
Dave had a meeting in town about the development he is going to be project managing.

Went to gym.
Didn't see a possum.
Ate dinner - fabulous curry with an entire bushel of garlic, lashings of ginger and handfuls of coriander.
(shock news, I have started to cook...)
Bed.
Dreamed I ate 4 sausages.
And that was Monday.

Are you still awake? Hey this post could be serving a useful function for the increasing numbers of you who seem to be awake in the small hours. I could singlehandedly be putting an end to insomnia. Read on.....are your eyelids getting heavy?

Tuesday.
My mum called and I caught up with news from Bmth.
Wrote a radio commercial for Bridge FM - a Welsh radio station.
Wrote a questionnaire for James to send to churches inviting him to speak there.
Dined on caviar. (beans on toast)
Sat on lawn in sunshine and looked at the fresh snow on the mountain.
Went to cinema with Sandra and saw Serenity. Absolutely BRILLIANT. Loved it. (There were 2 other people in the cinema)

(Dave was having a meeting about the development again)
Came back, went to gym.
(Can I just point out Dave ran 4km to the Huka Falls and over the river and up and down the winding path beside the river on the other side, through the Spa Falls park, up the hill and to the sports centre. Thereupon he did an hour's workout. It's even more impressive when you see how steep the paths are...)
Ate a mars bar, thus negating all good work at gym
Made fab rice with chilli ginger sauce.
And here we are.

Now as to the title.
I cannot laud the merits of Serenity enough. I mean I'm pretty keen on sci fi at the best of times but sci fi with a witty and brilliant script? Oh yes.

If you want to know why I didn't go with Dave, it's because Dave has very specific requirements about films:
1) It cannot under any circumstances be sci fi
2) It cannot be dark (as in hard to see)
3) It cannot be in a foreign language.
4) It must not be a period piece
5) Something must happen (character development does not count as action)
6) On pain of death there must be NO singing or breaking into spontaneous dancing. Musicals are OUT.

If you can work within those parameters, he will gladly go and see it.

Unfortunately for me I like sci fi films where nothing much happens, there's loads of dark scenes, and character development, preferably in a foreign language. And I don't mind a few aliens singing and dancing.

Our relationship was sorely tested when I brought back the film 'Amelie' from the video store. After Dave tried to turn the subtitles off and then change the language track off French for about 10 minutes. I pointed out that it was a French film and therefore you could only listen to it in French, and therefore he might like the subtitles.

It wasn't the best start. And of course it being a French film it was a) odd and b) nothing happened.

I loved it.
Dave....
Dave, did not.

On other exciting developments in our viewing time, I am very sad to report that we have a channel on Sky which has British TV from the annals of time. Sorry that only the UK readers will be able to fully appreciate this.

We have been watching: Birds of a Feather, Blankety Blank and Are you being served?

Worse. We have been laughing.

I can only apologise.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

You blog way too much when....

(Dave thoughtfully sent me these this morning....I wonder what he is trying to tell me....)

You blog way too much when...
… you post the wrong article on the wrong blog.
… your family prefers to interact with you through your blogs.
… you met your girlfriend/boyfriend through a blog.
… your “blog community” is much, much larger than the number of people you know in real life.
… you consider yourself an “alternative journalist”.
… you start your day by checking your blog stats.
… a day without blogging seems like a month without food.
… your feedreader is open all day.
… you get more “approve this comment” email messages than spam.
… you know what RSS stands for and you know how weak the medium is.
… people worry about you when you do not post anything for a day.
… work is the little time you spend in between writing on your blog and IRC.
… my pagerank is bigger than yours!
… invalid XHTML is a bad word to you.
… you check your blogshares weekly, more than you check your savings account.
… you’ve gotten your parents to blog.
… your dog has her own page on Dogster and it gets updated!
… Kubrick is no longer just the legendary filmmaker
… you have to switch hosts to keep up with your bandwidth needs.
… you make more money from blogging than you do at your day job.


According to this list I don't blog enough as I don't even understand half of them.
Still, I think it is a nice irony that I have in fact blogged Dave's email about blogging too much.
Very Jane Austen of me, don't you think?
xx

What's your favourite colour?

Let's go back in time....da na na nahhh...da na na naahhh..to yesterday.

Oh, only yesterday? Didn't need that second da na na naaahhh. I just hate to waste sound effects.

Yesterday at the seminar thingymabob at the House of Prayer, Andy Hickman who spent 2 years at IHOP Kansas (International House of Prayer aka International House of Pancakes) was telling us a story about a girl on one of the prayer teams there. And now I'm going to tell the story to you. So grab your cocoa/latte/gin and sit back...

One day this girl Andy knows is driving along in her car in Kansas city. Suddenly Jesus appears in her car. In the flesh, wham bam, he's sitting there beside her. As you can imagine she was mildly shocked and excited by this turn of events.

Now have you ever wondered what question you would ask Jesus if you had the same experience? Not that we have to wait to ask him a question of course. Though perhaps you are storing up some good ones for heaven...you know, deep theological questions. I am just sitting here speculating on which questions each of you would ask...Gordon...ahhh now Gordon will definitely have some theological posers ready and waiting...but ANYWAY, I am really digressing now.

So back to this girl in Kansas. Well while she was thinking about what she should say, a question just popped right out of her mouth.

She said, "Jesus, what's your favourite colour?"

And he said, "Sunset"

"But Jesus," she said, "A sunset isn't one colour, it's lots of colours."

"Ahh, but in heaven sunset is one colour, because there are so many colours there that you can't imagine right now."

"Would you like to ask me another question?" he asked her kindly. Knowing that she felt like she'd blown it with her first question.

A second question leapt out of her before she had a chance to formulate it in her mind.

"Jesus, what's your favourite sound?" she asked.

And he replied

"The human voice".

Isn't he fab?

Well lo and behold if I didn't just look out of our window a few moments ago and leap up exclaiming (in a very reverent way)

"HOLY COW!"

We've just had the most spectacular sunset here - the sky was rose pink and then blazing orange. So I leaped up with my teeny tiny digital camera to try and capture a little bit of it for you. In the first pic you can see the river to the left hand side - in real life it turned pink.







Oh and if you click THIS you'll be able to hear my dulcet tones, just to add to the experience.

What do you mean it's not working?

Oh ok, you'll just have to phone/skype me then....

Mammal mia!

It's non-stop excitement here. We've just seen a possum at the gym!

I mean it wasn't actually IN the gym doing press ups or anything. It was outside the window. An insomniac possum wandering around outside and nibbling on the greenery.

This is very exciting as previously the only possums I have seen have been squished ones on the side of the road.

They are also nocturnal so this one looked very sleepy and was moving in slow motion. Those of you who've had trouble sleeping lately (and hence have been calling/emailing me in the wee hours of your morning :-) for me :-( for you) - you will be able to relate to the feeling.

He was impossumly cute and hence less time was spent with me leaping about on gym machines and more with my nose pressed up against the glass watching the little critter.

He kind of looks like a mixture of a large mouse, small cat, tiny kangaroo with a racoon's bottom...oh and a fluffy tail.

Perhaps it was in fact a sighting of Reepicheek from Narnia...


Interesting fact about possums:
"Playing Possum" is one of the most effective ways the possum defends itself. When unable to flee, extreme fear places the possum into an involuntary coma. They become stiff and their mouths will gape open. This condition will last 40 minutes to 4 hours. Most predators will abandon their attack, once the possum is thought to be dead.

We have so much in common....

Friday, November 25, 2005

One for the girls...

Hey I know there's only about 3 people out there who will be interested in this post (and one of them is me)...but seeing as we haven't changed countries in 3 weeks now I'm running a little short on things to write about.

I've just tried a new hair salon called 'Chocolate Blonde' and yes I did pick it because of the name. Who says marketing doesn't pay? Well it may not have had a hairdresser with the temperamental flair or artistic licence of Ernesto....but they did give me a chocolate with my cappuccino.

Also the chair in which you sit to have your hair washed is a massage chair. Coo-ee. And they even switched in on for me. It was quite nice although when the girl washing my hair asked me a question, I sounded like a dalek cos of the vibrations.

And the result of the haircut? Mmm...not exactly Ernesto-ised but better than a tussle with a lawnmower.

Of course there are photos (I have to get Dave to take photos of my new haircuts so after the first wash when my hair reverts to a fluff helmet I can remember which way to wrestle it to get it looking vaguely the same)...




Anyway must dash, we are off tonight to a seminar at the House of Prayer - Taupo or HOP-T as it is known.
It's by a young couple from IHOP Kansas.

I'm really looking forward to it.
I Iove pancakes.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Always furnishing you...

with further pictures of furnishings.

Due to popular demand (ok, Cathy asked me twice) I have the photos of our freshly decorated bedroom.

Remember, this time last week the room looked like the inside of a Swedish sauna......complete with glazed pine finish. It is now, as the observant will note, painted ivory.

I have taken photos from every possible angle so that you can get a sense of the whole room, not because I am obsessed with close ups on couches.

And before you ask, Alyn, yes they are the same cushions as have appeared in every other photo.

Also for your delight and rapturous applause. I present to you my delectable husband brandishing his muscles while staining the deck.

Not only that but for dessert a wee peek at our rather messy office area.

Now don't say I don't spoil you.












Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Have broadband, will blog

Dear all, it is an exciting day indeed. (Wednesday - nice day, you'll like it. Sunny, productive...)

Yes at long last our house has become a home...we have broadband!

And we even have a phone too. By the way if you want our new address, phone, banking and pin numbers please email me and I'll send them to you. Just because I'm not paranoid doesn't mean they're not after me.

So what have we been up to...

Sunday...Further adventures in the country.
We (Jan, Sandra, Vince, Rose and us) were invited out to dinner with Sue and Don some people from the church we have just started going to (must be a NZ denomination. Mormons, lovely lot).

Turns out they live on a farm. Well, excellent. Here are some more opportunities for me to prove I am a country girl at heart.

We started off with a tour of the farm.

First I was introduced to their 4 horses. Nice black horse (apparently has hands) inadvertently pulled Sue's thumb off when her rein got caught around it. Sue fell, horse went one direction, thumb the other. Horse is called Thumbelina. Nice.

Next, to the chicken coop. Sorry, supposed to call them chooks. The Chook Coop. Good name for a nightclub. I was nominated (by Jan) to place my hands under aforementioned chooks to extract any eggs. Was secretly quite excited at idea of me becoming country genius, at one with wild life. Petted the chooks a little tentatively. Do they bite? Found 2 eggs (ok, Sue found them, but I was standing next to her). Rather enjoyed my small flirtation with Avian Flu.

Then we set off across the fields (Sue in green wellies, me in slip-ons from Payless) to visit with the darling little sheeps. One of whom we were eating for dinner. They have a very unusual breed which are called...er..I forget....well, they're brown anyway. Let's call them the Brown Sheep.

Sue's daughters were very keen that I get up, close and personal with the sheep and so they called their favourites over. Billy and Latte. Although I expected an instant rapport with Latte (well I've drunk enough of them) she was a little shy...but Billy and I got along just swell. I even petted him. Sue and her girls pointed out with gay laughter one of the little lambs... which was blind. Turns out it was born without eyeballs.

I tried not to faint.

Then we climbed a big hill full of cowpats (but wasn't tempted to warm my feet up in them) to meet the flipping huge cows which kept running towards me with very mean expressions on their faces. Was frankly a little bit scared, but managed to strike up a conversation with a small calf along the following lines:

Me: "hello little calf, I've never eaten any of you. I've eaten the big cows, but they're not cute like you."
Calf: "Prrrumph "
Me: "Ooh, actually I have eaten calves liver. Ah. Sorry about that."
Calf: "Prrumph"
Me: But I'd never eat veal. No. No. No. I wouldn't eat you like that. That's just cruel."
Calf: "Prrumph"

At this point I realised that my cover as "mother nature, raised on a farm, no-nonsense outdoors type" was blown. The girls had overheard my conversation with the calf. (The coordinated powder blue top, ear rings and spotty socks may have previously given it away)

By the way I'm so sorry I don't have any photos....and I really wanted one of the blind lamb to go with the earless cats from a previous post. (Actually the blind lamb made me want to cry...)

Well after all that fresh air we headed back to the house (where they have 2 cats, 3 dogs and 2 squawking budgies that I did consider strangling when no-one was looking....gack..birds in cages...gack). Can I just mention that one of their dogs is a Labradoodle? A cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. It has the best fur EVER. Would make really great cushions. But only if removed in very humane way. Perhaps waxing?

Dinner was a very tasty sheep with lashings of parsnips, pumpkin, sweet potato, roast potatoes and a few peas lest we forget there are food groups that aren't entirely brown. Speaking of which we ate Brown Sheep and it was delicious. A good time was had by all. Well, apart from the sheep, presumably.

And in case you think Don, Sue et al are totally without conscience, I must tell you that they only name the animals they are not going to eat. The others are all called "Freezer Meat".

And that's a good name for a band.

Since Sunday we've mostly been cleaning, buying exciting stuff like coasters and bin bags....woooooh...and today Dave was in a festive mood so he decided to:

'Deck the Halls with Bows of Holly'

Sorry, I meant, Sand the Decks.

Sand the decks, so he can re-stain them.

If I put a sprig of holly in his hair would that help?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tips from the country folk

Just to counterbalance the technogeekery of my last posting, I thought I would keep you all up to date with the wonderful things I am learning about life in the country.

Jan & Sandra and Vince & Rose (the rest of the FatherHeart crew) popped round for drinkies yesterday and a most intriguing conversation ensued.

Jan (male, pron 'Yan') started by asking me a serious question.

"Adele, didn't you ever warm your feet up in a nice warm cowpat, when you were a girl?"

Follow up question.

"So you didn't grow up in the country then?"

Er, no.

From that wonderful launching pat, I learned the following tips for country living.

1) If you tickle a pig's underbelly it will fall over. (cos it loves it so much it just swoons with delight)

2) If you're ever caught short in the fields somewhere without a handy loo roll, a dock leaf makes a pleasant alternative.
(don't get nettles by mistake)

3)It's quite easy to push a cow over. If you line then up you can push the first one over and then create a sort of domino effect.

Homework: dash out to the nearest countryside and try at least two out of the three.

Ok, Torontonians are exempt seeing as if you go outside at the moment it will take more than a steaming cowpat to revive you.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Technobabes

OK, to quote Peter Lazar, I am SO excited. Why? Because my friends are total technobabes.

Cathy and Sarah have not only got on skype...but also on Yahoo Messenger...and have fitted a webcam. What does this mean?

This means I just talked live to them on skype while watching them on the webcam function on Yahoo Messenger and while they watched me broadcasting from my iSight webcam. And THEN while we were chatting about our new house, Cathy went to my blog so she could see the photos while we discussed how many sofas we need.

Blogs, Skype, Webcams...are there no limits to what these technobabes can do?

Dave also got in on the action, and squidged in next to me so that Cathy & Sarah could see our two faces at the same time. But because of the extreme electromagnetic field between us, it disrupted the antimatter and we lost the Skype connection. It's dangerous for both Dave & I to be in the same room normally...but near electronic goods...it can be deadly. For the sake of the other 3.8 million skype users on line at the time, we had to keep some distance between us.

So the rest of you lovely readers, please feel under extreme duress to keep up with the Jones's and also with the Harrises and Dalleys. I order you to instantly rush out of the house, buy a webcam (they're dead cheap...unless they're an iSight...but the iSight is so much cooler...and intuitive...and see Alyn's site for more detail)...rush back, get yourself set up on Skype (www.skype.com) and Yahoo Messenger if you're a PC person...or iChat if you've seen the light....and get on line.

Ok, only problem is I might have to go to bed wearing clothes and make-up so I can be ready at all times for a webcam debut...but I can live with that.

The other slight problem I have with Skypeing and Webcamming at the same time is that one of the technical side effects is that it reaches out, grabs your heart, squeezes it, wrings it, bashes it with a mallet and puts it back in your chest. Helpdesks everywhere are working on remedying this problem, but I don't think they will be able to do anything about it.

Having just seen Cathy and Sarah for the first time in months ... the chronic 'I miss you' factor increased massively. And the dire need to go out for a latte and a laugh with them, increased exponentially.

I love you technobabes. Thanks for calling. xx

Moving In Day

The long awaited day finally arrived today.

Well, not that long awaited when you consider we only saw the house for the first time 12 days ago.

All went smoothly...I sat in the house from 9am just in case any of the 6 deliveries and 3 services we'd arranged to all turn up...did actually turn up before lunch-time. Me and my G4 had a merry old time writing a few bonkers radio commercials while we waited.

Then I rolled up my sleeves to combat the grime in the kitchen.

I think our previous occupants may have been Scottish. They seem to have eaten nothing but fried food. Deep fried mars bars would be a light snack for these hearty fryers.

There was so much thick yellow grease in every drawer, cupboard and crevice I started to wonder if in fact they hadn't moved out, but had suffered massive coronaries....and were buried somewhere in the undergrowth...or behind all the many wooden panels in the bedrooms.

But I had to put all ghoulish thoughts away as our wonderful delivery men started to arrive. Disappointingly I think the maximum number of vans we had in the drive at any one time was a meagre 3. Quite calm really. Oh and the 3 painters were here as well.

Yes, not only were we having one company deliver bedroom furniture to our bedroom...but another company was building a bed in the same room...and the painters were prepping the same room at the same time. (We are painting the strange orange pine walls an ivory colour).

Well seeing as I am typing as fast as a turtle due to a tragic injury incurred to my thumb (while trying to extract a knife from a plastic packet....ouch!) I will stop there and let the pictures tell the story.










Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In search of a loo brush

Dear patient friends (and no, Mr Pants, I don't mean mental patients) when moving to a new country it seems that it is the little things that capture my attention....in a way that borders on obsession.

When we moved to Toronto it wasn't so much driving on the wrong side of the road that freaked me out, nor the size of the malls, nor the change in lingo. It wasn't even the fact that nobody could understand me when I said 'water' or 'banana'. It wasn't even being on a new continent, in a new culture where I didn't know how anything worked. It wasn't the lack of a home. None of these things pushed me to the brink of insanity. But two things did.

1) Not having Ribena
2) Swimsuits with linings.

I can't tell you the level of distress that I entered into when I discovered on a first trip to Loblaws supermarket that in Canada you don't have squash. Not the pumpkin kind of squash. But what the Brits would call Orange Squash, or Lemon Squash. Or for the truly discerning, Ribena.

When I realised that Ribena (a nectar of blackcurrants that you add to water ...I said 'water'.....ok, 'wad-r') was not freely available in the nation of Canada, the ground swayed, the aisles closed in on me and I went hot and cold all over.

It was to get worse.

I needed a new swimming costume (and no, not a clown's costume or a large furry dog...but a swimsuit....or swimmers as the Aussies would say).

Now in the UK only the old grannyish swimsuits have the bulky, flesh coloured lining. You know the swimsuits I mean...the ones with not so much a 'bikini' leg as a 'pair of big knickers' leg...and the huge plastic flowers attached to the straps?

So imagine my dismay when I find that in the first shop in TO all the swimsuits have the rolls of flesh sown in! And then the second shop does too. I start to feel a mild panic rising, a deep cry welling up from within me...'where do normal people go to find a skimpy swimsuit without the granny factor??'

Eventually I break down and ask an assistant in desperate tones "where are they? where are the swimsuits for people under 80...the ones with no lining?"

She looks at me like I am some kind of hussy and breaks the news. "They ALL have lining here, you tart!" She didn't actually say the tart bit out loud...but I heard it loud and clear.

Of course since those heady days of cross-cultural confusion I have:
a) found shops in Canada that sell Ribena and
b) discovered that lining in swimsuits is totally fab and much better for your modesty. In fact a cossie without a lining now seems to me a little scandalous.

But this is all old news. Because now I am in New Zealand.

So far buying a car, house, furniture, getting a mortgage, finding new mobile phones, new internet service providers et al has not freaked me out. BUT I have found my new achilles heel, my sword of damocles, my torment of Ribena-ish proportions.

Loo brushes.

I mean, what is the deal with loo brushes in New Zealand?

Of all the many items that we need to live in the lap of luxury in our new pad...a plate, a saucepan, some bedding...the one thing that has been playing on my mind has been my lack of a loobrush. There are 3 toilets (cross cultural translation: bathrooms, washrooms, loos or bogs)...I repeat, there are 3 toilets in our new house. And is there a loobrush in sight? There is not.

Warning. Warning. Distress levels entering Code Level RED.

After all as Jane Austen put it so nicely; "It is a fact commonly known that a woman in possession of a new house is in need of a loobrush.."

You see, this loobrush has become in my mind the symbol of all things safe, all things familiar. If I have a loobrush, all will be right with my upside down world.

Not to worry, I think to myself, I will just pop into Woolworths (equiv. Tescos, Loblaws) and pick myself up a little loobrush just to keep me going.

I scour the aisles....until, ahhh. The deep joy of espying the cheap plasticky whiteness of the common or garden loobrush. It was a moment of deep comfort. They even look the same as the cheapest, nastiest loobrush in Canada. I am home! I reach out my hand to grab it's shiny tackiness and then...(dramatic music please) dah...dah...dah...I see the price.

TEN DOLLARS. TEN flipping DOLLARS for this cretinous plastic excuse for the noble loobrush. I ask you!
The walls are closing in on me....but I have another option...breathe, just breathe Adele....I can go to the Taupo Plastics Shop. (Come to Taupo Plastics...we have stuff made of plastic...and we're in Taupo)

So this morning I can hardly contain my excitement as I skip merrily over the road to Taupo Plastics and comb the aisles for the trusty loobrush. After all as they say, "loobrushes are a girl's best friend". I find them...deep joy, o rapture...my bowls will be sparkling after all! But then....dah...dah...dah the prices! $30 for the tall one ('it's plastic not gold!' I cry)....$10 for the nastiest one. There's even one for $47. I ask you $47 for a loobrush. Has the world gone mad?

It seems that the facts have to be faced. In NZ both the noble and the ignoble loobrush are going to set you back. Dave and I pause, and consider expanding the mortgage so we can buy 3 loobrushes.

(By the way the bins are $200....I am not lying to you...a tall metallic bin is $200, we even saw one for $274 in Taupo Plastics.) And yes, they seem to have a loose grip on the concept of plastic.

Anyway, you can all be at peace. We bit the bullet and purchased one solitary loobrush for $37.

But it's a beauty.

Woman and loobrush in perfect harmony. (Practise makes perfect in James & Denise's bathroom.)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy Birthday AJ!


Seeing as I am already enjoying AJ's birthday while she sleeps, I thought I'd better give you all the heads up on Sunday.

So far, it's been great - slightly cloudy with sunny bursts (I just wrote sunny buts...an interesting idea...). Went to church, out to lunch, idled over a huge bowl of latte, blogged then jogged (at the gym) and now we're considering going to see Serenity at the hip n happening cinema. So all in all I have enjoyed AJ's birthday very much. I hope that you do too, when you finally get around to celebrating it. (You are SO Saturday right now).

Well seeing as I wasn't efficient enough to get a card in the mail/post in time I thought that I would write a quick tribute to AJ...

Ten things I love about AJ
(In no particular order)

1) Her laugh.
Loud enough to stun small furry animals, it bursts out of her like lava from a volcano or a bullet from a gun and immediately gets the party going. Her joie de vivre is contagious. Also if you were the one to make her laugh, you feel like a comedy genius...

2)Her enthusiasm for sushi.
Not all women can love raw fish, but this one can. She also loves Alyn. Also if you go out for sushi with AJ and you are a) a chopstick idiot and b) wearing most of it on your chin while you talk to her...she will graciously point out that you are allowed to use your fingers and will not make you feel like a) a chopstick idiot. For this I, and others I feel sure, are grateful.

3) She really can do everything.
Photography, gymnastics, singing, signing, sewing, quilting, rally car directing, public speaking, drama-ing, dancing, clever computery things, haircutting, earpiercing, body tattooing, horse whispering, holding her breath for an inordinately long time, cooking, decorating, extreme ironing, laughing really loudly, make-up applying.....and I only made up 3 or 4 of those.

4) Her stories.
Now these are often hard to come by, cos she's not a born bragger. In fact you can know AJ for quite a long time and have no idea that she is a quilter, signer, actor, singer, speaker, former olympic gymnast, horse whisperer etc because she feels no need to brag about it. But just every so often she'll mention something in passing, "oh yeah that was Roger who nominated me for the canadian space agency at age 2 because I was quite good at calculus..." and if you press her (hard) she will eventually spill the beans.

5) The way she loves her family.
She really does. She goes the extra mile and then some.

6) The way she smiles in the background of Alyn's video blogs.
Here's Alyn - on a plane - keeping us all fully informed about some technogeekery..and there is AJ grinning like a chesire cat in the background.
Here's Alyn - on a plane - keeping us up to date about all changes to Air Canada's ticketing policies (for which, I think we are all grateful)...and there is AJ grinning in the background.
Here's Alyn - in a small cubicle on a plane - keeping us totally cognisant of all his inner murmurings and movements....and there is AJ grinning in the background.
Hey, hang on a minute....

7)The way she walked down the aisle.
AJ & Alyn Wedding Day. She appears at the top of the aisle, with a show stopping blood-red cape over her bridal white dress. (also with the biggest and best smile on her face - boy, she's cute).
She glides down the aisle
Hearts stopped. Breath was held. Tears.
I'll never forget it.

8) Her noble bearing.
This woman has presence. Bags of it. So many bags, they've had to buy a new set of suitcases. And then there's still bags left over to give away. In fact you can get yours at www.AJ'spresencepresents.com

9)The way she loves her friends.
Something to be done? She'll do it. Someone who wants some time with her? - she'll find it. Her friendship with Lynley is a joy to behold. What killer women!

10) Her ability to raise up others.
So much gifting, experience and va va voom - and she aint afraid to give it all away. Young women flock to her, look up to her and she takes them under her wing. She has so much integrity and treats others with love and respect - but she'll call your number if you're doing something flakey. (Luckily I never am.)

Ahhhh and there is so much more - but that's a start.

Happy Birthday AJ! May this birthday be the best yet!

Life in Toe-paw

G'day mate owsitgoing? Fancy a pie?

As you can see I am turning into a native...and have even managed to pronounce some of the place names correctly. The proper way to say Taupo is apparently Toe-Paw....which I can only remember by doing the actions. Namely twiddling my toe and then turning my hands into paws....I think it could catch on here.

It's been an absolutely stunning week here with temperatures up around 25-30 degrees celsius...and the views across the lake to the snow capped mountains have been amazing. Meanwhile we've been dashing around trying to sort out all sorts of glamorous things for our big move...like getting the electricity turned on, gas connected, internet hooked up, mortgage approved, and all that good stuff. Yes, having seen the house for the first time last Saturday we are now set to move in this Thursday! I know, I know, it's crazy stuff...but you all know that Dave is a human dynamo and I just tag along for the ride.

It's quite bizarre to be moving into a house when all we currently possess is 2 suitcases. We've been trolling round all the furniture stores in town and making the salemen's eyes light up by mentioning that we need an awful lot of things....
True to form Dave has been negotiating some good deals for us, but things are pretty expensive here...not sure how that happened!

So far we have a very nice sleigh bed (woah there Rudolph)...(Stu and Lynley, it's from the same people as your bed...in Rimu)...some bedside drawers, a couple of chests of drawers, 2 bookcases and some deck furniture. Sounds pretty good till you start to add up that we also need...a fridge, something to sit on, a washing machine, a wardrobe, a TV, kettle, iron, loobrushes, a mirror, cleaning supplies, hairdryer, pans, plates, cutlery....in short just about everything. It's very bizarre starting over with absolutely nothing...not to mention expensive! Maybe I'll just have to pop over to the neighbours to borrow a cup of sugar.... and an ironing board!

Meanwhile, to get some light relief from the purchasing frenzy...we were very excited to find out that the movie Flightplan has finally come out here. In fact we dashed to the cinema on opening night. We were running a little late and I started to worry thinking that we wouldn't be able to get any seats.

Fortunately they were showing the movie in the biggest cinema. Oh, and only 6 other people turned up.

Yep, there were 8 of us in the cinema for the opening night of Jodie Foster's Flightplan. It was the most charming old-fashioned cinema with all the old theatre seats. And the adverts! Nothing moving I assure you. Somebody with an eye for using lots of different fonts had created a sheet with some basic info on the advertising company which was projected on the screen...complete with crackly spots and lines. Then the voiceover, "Come to Taupo Furniture...it's great for Furniture and it's based in Taupo"

Dave and I were trying not to giggle.

Anyway, all that aside I thought Flightplan was totally fab. I sat completely tense throughout the whole thing. Now I need a chiropractor.

Other surprising things about living in Toe Paw (let's see those actions!) are that the shops shut on the dot of 5pm. If you drive through at 5.05pm you start to wonder if you've missed the rapture. And on Saturdays, most of the shops shut at 1pm. On a Saturday! It's country living for sure!

So that's what we've been up to....oh, and missing you lot, OBVIOUSLY. When are you coming again? xx

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Warning - this blog could damage your health

Minors, pregnant women, people with a heart condition and those with a yen for NZ should not view this posting.

Somebody please tie Stuart down and do not let him read this blog under any conditions. AJ, you asked for more pictures and seeing as this is much easier than emailing them to those strong enough to take them....here they are in a public forum. I haven't got any yet of the main room which is lounge/kitchen/diner all in one...but hopefully will add them later today.

I'll start you off gently. Picture Number 1 is Lake Taupo.
Number 2 = This is the house from the front
Number 3 = This is the upstairs lounge which we are going to also use as a bedroom
Number 4 = There is a balcony around the house and the view is pretty hard to take
Number 5 = There's a free hunk that comes with the house:
Number 6 = The upstairs area and entrance way has a lot of pine!
Number 7 = There's quite a lot of lawn!
Number 8 = This is another cool bit of the garden down the side of the house:
Number 9 = The thing that looks like a cloud just above the pine tree on the right hand side is actually a snow capped mountain!





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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Er, and now we, er, seem to have bought a house....

Try to keep up everybody, after all we have been in the country for 5 days now so it was about time we got moving - literally!

Well the news hot off the press is that we've just had an offer on a house accepted! So as long as the solicitors, surveyors, banks etc do their bit, looks like we have a des res for you all to stay in when you get around to visiting.

Sorry we couldn't quite run to the lakeside views or stables but we are overlooking the distinctly turquoise Waikatu River....and we can definitely buy in plenty of chocolate, plus Dave does a mean massage with a pair of wooden spoons. So your visits shouldn't be too dull.

Here's the old shack....
And here's the hideous, carbuncular view from the back of the house:

Try not to hate us too much.
:-)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Just for fun!

Ok this is a brilliant site with really funny animation. I haven't seen a lot of the movies they are spoofing but the Titanic one is fab! It's called angryalien.com

Just click here

Check out Amy's Diary on the right hand side of the page - if you're a girl it'll bring back memories, if you're a guy it may put you off girls for life.

Thanks to Lovely Laura T for showing me this site. She is more fun than can legally be crammed into one human being.

Blast from the Past

Remember ages ago I promised pictures of my mum's 1920's cocktail birthday party at which Dave was the barman?
Well here they are then!

This is Christa, my brother James' gorgeous girlfriend:
Dave does his Tom Cruise impression shaking up the cocktails:


Me and my hunky bro James:

My lovely parents!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Happyland

"On the other side of the world, where the sun shines hotter than here, and where the trees are a hundred feet tall, there is a country called Happyland.

Mr Happy lived in a small cottage beside a lake at the foot of a mountain and close to a wood in Happyland.

As you might well expect everybody who lives in Happyland is as happy as the day is long."


This is an excerpt from the literary classic 'Mr Happy' by Roger Hargreaves. My niece Sarah gave me a copy of the book the day before we left for New Zealand...and I decided that Happyland is really New Zealand. Coincidentally we will be living by a lake at the foot of mountains and close to lots of woods.

But I am getting ahead of myself!

Well since we last spoke Dave and I ran the gauntlet up to Heathrow via DHL to courier our emergency document to the states. It was one of those days where it seems everything is contriving to stop you getting to where you want to go! It started at 9am as we parked in the Bank car park to get some NZ dollars out and just as we were about to leave a huge lorry pulled into the teensy weensy car park and nearly blocked us in....but for some nifty maneouvering by Dave we just squeaked out! Then there were loads of delays on the road up to Heathrow and by the time we were supposed to be checking in for our flight we just about made it to the DHL place! We were a bit frantic!!

Mind you we just made it to check-in and get through customs in time for them to be calling "Last Call" for boarding our flight!! Thankfully I didn't get picked out to be bodysearched at every juncture like I did in Amsterdam. There is now a security lady in Holland who is nearly as familiar with me as Dave is.....I shall say no more! Perhaps they thought that I looked like the kind of person who takes drugs....or who should take them!

Anyway, we had FAB seats on the plane thanks to my genius husband who looked them up on seatguru.com and booked them about 6 years in advance thanks to his strong prophetic gifting. We were on the emergency seat row with more legroom than a prosthetics manufacturer. So the first 10 hours or so to LA was an absolute breeze despite the fact that we couldn't actually see the TV screen from where we were sitting....so we did manage the entire 24 hours without watching any telly!

We all trooped off the plane in LA, lined up down the corridor to go through US customs, get issued with a green card, walk three paces and hand it in again before we could entire a lounge with no access to the actual airport. Bizarre.

Then we hopped back on board for another jolly 14 hours. This time I was sitting next to a HUGE German/American called Claus who turns out to be a songwriter and producer for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Josh Brodan (?) American Idol winners and the like. That was close enough to fame for me to be intrigued so I grilled him for several hours about the music industry, songwriting, making loads of money and such like. The guy he works with is a swede called Andreas who apparently is richer than double fudge chocolate cake having written a ton of songs including "Hit me baby one more time" by your friend and mine, Britney Spears. Coo-ee!

Claus was quite intrigued by our lifestyle and kept wanting to know all about the ministry in NZ and James and Denise etc. One day I'll work out how to explain all of that without looking as confused as a zip on a duffel coat.

After this bumping shoulders (lit) with the quite rich and semi famous I felt very smug as I fell asleep on and off for about 4 hours. The only drawback with being at the emergency exit is that it is right by the loos and so I would wake up every now and again and realise there were 5 people congregating outside the loos and all staring at me while they waited to relieve the pressure on their bladders. Maybe looking at me had the opposite effect of staring at running water....

In fact it got to about 10 hours into the second flight and I was smugly thinking of how I would write my blog about what a breeze this whole trip is......and then....I got a migraine. Hmmm, not sure quite how it happened...but I think my nodding dog impression (maybe that's what the toilet queue-ers were watching!)...may have had something to do with it. Suddenly I had piercing pains leaping through my head and if I moved it I felt like I was going to throw up.

I thought of Alyn and AJ and I prayed "this healing belongs to me..." etc laid hands on my own head....but sadly to no avail. Then I thought of Sarah D and Laura T and got a huge bottle of headache tablets out and downed 3 of them.

The drugs don't work though (although I don't think they make it worse) and so I am feeling like my head is about to fall off for the last 4 hours of the trip. I actually have to get a sick bag out and keep it to hand...that's how imminent things could have been. Anyway, all the dramatic build up aside....I didn't and eventually the pain subsided and I made it off the plane without barfing. Score:

The Plane 1
Adele 0

We skipped through customs as easily as a couple of lambs and the friendly Maori customs lady said to us "Welcome Home" which was rather nice. Also she didn't touch me in any inappropriate places.

Within moments of being in Auckland airport, (Stu and Lynley this is for you) Dave was eating a pie - a traditional Kiwi treat.

Within 1 hour we were at a hotel.

Within 2 hours we had hired a car and driven to the car sales district.

Withing 3 hours we had walked up and down 10 different car dealerships and sussed out the cars.

Within 4 hours we were test driving a car.

Within 5 hours we had bought the car.

So now we are the proud owners of a 1995 BMW 7 series which for the record (Sarah) is definitely silver with no hints of gold at all. All you in Canada will be thrilled to hear that the insurance here is one eighth of what it would have cost us in Toronto. And they even threw in a complimentary pie for good measure. (Ok, I made up the bit about the pie).

I did check out a turquoise Mini with racing stripes and it was a mere $30,000....maybe I'll get that one next weekend.

Well after all that excitement I managed to feel quite perky until 4pm but then my eyelids became magnetically attracted to the rest of my face. Dave banned me from sleeping until 7pm and so I had to start pacing the room to stay awake....it was pretty hard core! Finally it was 7pm and to my great satisfaction Dave (who had been keeping me awake for the previous 3 hours by reminding me every 5 minutes 'open your eyes') suddenly fell asleep while sitting up in bed. He fell asleep so suddenly that he kept nodding and then sliding around on the headboard! It was hilarious and the only thing to actually wake me up!

We slept for about 12 hours and I woke up looking like someone punched me in the eye...I have a black eye developing due to some kind of exciting eye infection...nice! Dave insists it wasn't him.

So today (Thursday) we have driven down to Taupo and spent quite a bit of time trying to work out the time difference between here and the UK and Toronto...it's very bizarre to be on a different day to you guys!

We met up with Jan and Sandra which was fab, and we are staying at James and Denise's house while they are away. As I am writing I have a lovely view of the mountains and the lake from J&D's house. They also have wireless...what more could a girl want?

It is SO odd to be here at last - but it feels really great. The only thing is that you lot feel so far away! I expect you all to be actively working on plans to remedy that situation!

Tomorrow morning we are meeting with the Estate Agents...so if you have any requests about the house we are buying for you lot to come and stay in...please let me know!

xx

p.s. thanks to Stuart Hero Allan's intervention and about a million emails the shipping situation seems to be calming down...they are not taking our stuff off the shipment but they are delaying it another few days and still trying to charge us a fortune....thanks for your love and prayers xx