Thursday, June 30, 2005

Is this the magic moment? Posted by Hello
Do we hear the gentle tip-tappy footsteps of a new addition to the family?

"Daddy, why is he sniffing the other bears butt? Did she make a parp?" Posted by Hello

Monday, June 27, 2005

Dead Guy

I have a twisted sense of humour but I am not alone.

I religiously go back to this site as he is right on the mark.

His drawings are of US characters/politics but dang he's funny. He is Dead Guy and he is dead funny. Check out his "Bad" strip of Jackson and his lawyer and the New Pope Part One and any of the very many Bush ones. I guarantee chuckles at the very least.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A big welcome to Wellington to all Lions fans as they come into land. This fella is nearly as big as Jerry Collins... Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

TGI Friday.

Man, what a week. I very rarely get disturbed by work but, shit, what a week.

Work, to me, is a means to an end and I enjoy the people around me and everything else usually falls into place. This week was a bit tough though, so I am now going to finish a bottle of wine, and do nothing all weekend except enjoy my kids company, watch the rugby, spend some time with Mrs R and plan a little break to Ohakune. Ms R would like to see snow and build a snowman and little Miss R will just giggle at it all. I would like to explore the tracks and stuff so we are going to find a nice motel and take a few days to chill. End of July sounds about right so that is only about 20 working days or so. I shall begin crossing off days on my calendar on Monday.

Any recommendations gratefully received. Never been up there but hear it is magic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Twinkle twinkle litte star. All quiet at the port Posted by Hello

The Bluebridge leaving port and heading around the land of Mike of Miramar Posted by Hello

Wellington Airport at Dusk Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

How to cut a house in half...

My in-laws just spent a few days with us. It was the first time that they had seen our new house although we had described it to them in detail and they had seen external photos.

What they weren't prepared for was the breathtaking view from every room upstairs (the kitchen and family rooms). It is real hard to describe but the kitchen is 5 steps lower down creating a split level effect. You can sit in the family room and look out the enormous windows (around 4 meters, floor to ceiling) to the city and the airport, down the length of the runway, and out to the open sea. At the same time if you look to the kitchen you see over towards Eastbourne and the rest of the harbour.

We often see the InterIslander cruising in the Cook Straight on its way into Wellington. It then comes around Point Halswell and into the harbour and seems to dock in our garden. At night we can see the lights of the planes in a graceful arc coming in to the airport. Ms R thinks that the lights are Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and gets most excited. Little Miss R thinks every light is a star and gets very worried as they seem to disappear into the sea; lots of "on no, on no, plop".

When we bought this house, the previous owners very kindly left us the plans which we have just read. Oddly enough, there are two full sets, some dated 1964 and some dated 1971. In the early set, the house is one story and is a lovely cottage with a big open family room and kitchenette, native wooden floors and a little sewing room and study. The access to the house was up a long winding path down to Onslow Road and must have been 60 or so steps.

In late 1971, someone had the great idea of making the most of the view and chopping off the roof and raising the whole thing by a few meters. The shape of the land had dictated a split level with two bedrooms on the bottom level with the kitchen, and two at the top. When they designed the upstairs, this was continued to give the unique view and strange design. The sewing room was converted into a neat walk-in wardrobe and the study a cool bathroom. Some of the bedrooms were then moved about and the old family room and kitchenette turned into one great big playroom.

The plans below show the house from the rear and the red line is where the roof was chopped off and raised. There is now no roof space but the feeling of light and space upstairs is like a cathedral, although it means changing light bulbs is a bitch. Haven't figured out how I'm gonna deal with that problem. As you can see, it all worked pretty well and you would have no idea (we didn't) that this was ever anything but a two story house. The exterior gives nothing away and everything was done in keeping with the original little 60's cottage.

The downside is that there is a huge area to heat but that has been
sorted with the aid of Daikin. Whoever had the idea of doing this was a genius and I thank them every day when I enjoy my breakfast as the first sailing heads out.

Before and After Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hot Air...

I hate being cold.
I have thin blood and I'm used to central heating and double glazing. I have been carrying in piles of wood for the last three months and we have just about finished our second large delivery. We have a woodburner upstairs in the front room/dining room thingy, and a Jetmaster type affair in the play room which is supposed to heat the bedrooms. It doesn't really and we've had oil heaters in each bedroom to keep the temperature up. I can hear the electric meter spinning from 100yds away under the strain.

Well enough is enough. We now have two shiney new
Heat Pumps and they are simply amazing. The whole house is cosy, not just the two rooms like before. I can even walk down the hallway naked. I used to have to run from one warm room to the other to avoid frostbite. Mrs R would bid me farewell and hope that I would make it to the bathroom and back before pneumonia set in. The cold would do strange things to my extremities and now I feel whole again. "See I told you it was the cold" is my new proud line.

They have a wizzy little remote and are whisper quiet. This is day three and even the cats are happy to navigate the hall now (their poor little paws on that wooden floor used to bring a tear to my eye, that would then freeze). We can see out our windows - they used to mist up at about 7pm and we'd get puddles of water overnight. Handy if you got thirsty and were too cold to make it to the bathroom....just wring out the cloth for a delightful mountain fresh taste.

They are supposed to be cheap to run as they work by magic or something. I think there is a little dragon called Bob inside but I didn't get past page 3 of the booklet so don't really know. Page two shows you how to set the temperature and that was all I needed.

I shall be checking the bill when it arrives and hope that this new found warmth is as cheap as promised. I need to change electricity companies anyway following advice from

Monday, June 13, 2005

Are you heteroflexible?

Just when you think you've mastered your mother tongue, they go and add some words to it. I have just read a story from Reuters advising of this years proposed additions to the Collins English Dictionary, one of which is heteroflexible. This is defined as someone who is usually, but not always, heterosexual....

They have also added Ingerland, which arose from a football (soccer) terrace chant to solve the problem of the missing third syllable in England.

Others are "bouncebackability", "go commando" and "supersize".

My favourite is "back, sack and crack". This is defined as a (cosmetic depilation of) the back, scrotum and the area between the buttocks, apparently a beauty parlour waxing procedure made famous by David Beckham. You have got to be kidding me! The isn't anything on this earth that would make me let someone pour hot wax on my nuts and then rip the hair out. It'd be bad enough to shave the little buggers, but yanking out my fur just ain't never gonna happen. Beckham, you are a braver man than I.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Facts of Life

I have just spent two days with some of the most amazing and brave people I have ever met in my life. It is not often you are surrounded by such amazing individuals who have such courage and spirit and are gathered not for themselves but for the benefit of others and, in particular, children.

They were not firefighters and they were not police (although, I guess, some of them might be during the normal working week). No, they were just parents although they all had one thing in common. They were all parents of children who had, or who were in remission from, cancer.

Now, we are lucky in that our two girls are healthy. They get all the usual bugs and nasties going around but we wake up each day knowing that they are fine. Imagine the horror if one day that runny nose and temperature wasn't quite right? What would you do? You would never think of cancer - it just isn't talked about as it scares the crap out of us parents and closing your eyes to it is the best way. Why live your life worrying about something that might not happen - that is what we do and there ain't nothing wrong with that.

But, for some, they don't get that lucky. Their kids get diagnosed and they go into the system and the rollercoaster begins.

A lot was discussed this weekend. Mostly you look at the parents and wonder how the hell they survived. I had dinner with a group of parents who went through that. Some lost children, some kids survived but with serious side effects, some were still in treatment, and some survived to become ordinary little kids. They were the funniest group you could imagine and we had a ball. I chuckled all the way home and woke up in the middle of night giggling. They had learnt something that most of us never discover until it is too late. They have learnt to think like kids and to not apply their rules and anxieties onto their children.

It is simple when you think about it. They only live each day at a time. They don't worry about tomorrow. This is not because of the horrific possibility of death but because tomorrow is too far away for most kids. They live each day and make the most of it. Kids dying with cancer aren't worried about not having their own kids, missing University, never learning to drive, never being grandparents themselves. As parents, these are our worries, not theirs. If we imprint these onto our kids, they get confused and only worry about disappointing us by not being able to do these things for us. An 8 year old doesn't worry about being a grandparent, to him or her, being 9 is a long time.

This was the annual
Child Cancer Foundation conference and the keynote speakers, Dr John Spinetta and his wife, Pat Deasy-Spinetta were truly amazing. They are both Psychologists from the US and had made the trip to bring their views and observations. They did more than that. They gave people some understanding and advice (like that above) and helped people to make some sense out of this most terrible disease.

All of the speakers were good and each brought a unique perspective. The real power of the conference wasn't in what was said though. It was in the coffee sessions and the dinner where people got a chance to talk and share. One woman summed it up so well. She said that this was the first time that she had felt normal. Being able to talk to others who had gone through the same experience and to not have to hide the emotion was very liberating to her

When you meet someone that has lost a child, the usual reaction is to dance around the subject and to not bring it up. You think that is the best way. Well, it might be for you but the parent doesn't forget and doesn't want to. The pain never goes away and they keep the memories alive by sharing the good times and the stories of that persons life. It is us, with our fear of saying the wrong thing, that don't want to talk about it. We don't want to imagine the pain and so shut it out and avoid talking about it. Damn we're selfish. Sometimes, just listening and offering a shoulder to cry on is all the conversation that a person needs.

I learnt a lot this weekend, and I'm living today. I have stopped worrying about the mess in our front room, it might still be here tomorrow but we're having fun right now and that is all that matters. I am not a doctor and I can't offer any advice on this topic. These parents know more about this disease than most doctors. What I can give is my time and a shoulder, should they need it.

Bloggers of the World

Being English, this pains me but Vive la France. A law teacher in France was a bit pissed at the EU Constitution so he wrote an essay and set-up a Blog giving his reasons for voting "Non". He was getting 25,000 hits a day, wow, that'd be about $3.54 from Google!

The BBC story is here.
This is one peachy paragraph that made me chuckle:
"And just as the media and political establishment in the US found during last year's presidential election, European elites have now felt the sting of these online upstarts, the bloggers."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Damage limitation exercise Posted by Hello

....pants on fire!

Really? Good on ya Jenny Ruth.