Monday, 31 August 2015

August 29th to 30th From a Gender Reveal to Granny Duties

Saturday involved a Gender Reveal party for friends Alvin, Alicia and their little girl Ella. Even they had no idea whether Ella was to have a little sister or brother. Only the Sonographer and the Cake Decorator were aware.

Drum Roll everybody for the result.....

Congratulations to Alvin, Alicia and Ella.  It was then time to leave the festivities and to put on my Nana hat. Not before admiring some street art work on the way to the car

On to Nana Patrol  Sunday dawned and I am so glad I have a granddaughter who appreciates bling as much as I do. We had to bling her nails before we hit the town for a girly lunch out

 Finishing off my Nana duties by taking her to swimming lessons and being the proudest Nana at the pools.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

August 28th A Damned Good Buy

All the way from China. I purchased this little sheet of temporary butterfly tattoos for $NZ130

and also received 2 large LED exterior Curtain lights for our Xmas display (thanks Ali Express).  Christmas is around the corner folks and expect to hear more from us as we gear up for our annual (barring sickness) Xmas light display

Friday, 28 August 2015

August 27th The Nosey Neighbour

There is a very nosey neighbour in our 'hood,  ie myself!  I was working away yesterday when I head the noise of a truck reversing signal. Which I thought unusual as we are up a fairly steep driveway as most know, with one house behind us (here's looking at you Bryan).

So to hear a truck reversing signal and quite loud was unusual. So I just had to investigate this unusual circumstance and looked out our lounge window to see this (note to self, windows need cleaning).

That is actually a large container on the back of this truck and he reversed from the bottom! I was slightly peeved as it would have been advantageous if he had taken out that damned power pole.  We have had a quote to move it back to make it easier for vehicle access and it is close to $5,000!  Yet no matter who or what uses the driveway, it has never ever been knocked down. Maybe one day? This particular nosey neighbour lives in hope.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

August 26th Wednesday Whimsies

The sun decided to make an appearance and cast all sorts of interesting shadows and reflections through the house.

I loved the reflection of the chandelier next to the Papua New Guinea story board. From Crystal to Carving

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

August 25th Burnt Offerings

Just as well this was my lunch and not dinner!

I knew I should have bought something to eat when I was getting a coffee.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

August 24th More Same Old...

Something exciting better happen soon, because it is more same old in this neighbourhood.. I think I may have to drop a note to the 'Ministry of Excitement' and put some oomphy poomphy into my days.  However I have to keep in mind that even though Spring is around the corner (yep, I see you lurking there just waiting to explode and brighten our days), it is still Winter and the days can still be bleak.

On the bleak theme, we decided to indulge in a spot of movie viewing, that involved a very old Japanese movie, filmed in Black and White and with subtitles. It was called 'Yojimbo' and was made in 1961. George was quite disappointed that I had never heard of the star Toshiro Mifune.  Apparently he made lots of Samurai movies in the 1960s. Where was I???  Irene to George "Little girls in the 1960s did not watch Samurai movies!"  Actually I don't think Samurai movies made it to NZ shores until possibly the 70s?

Monday, 24 August 2015

August 21st to 23rd Same Old Same Old

Friday and actually earlier in the week was just a tad stressful. The week culminated in a total of 5 1/2 hours being spent on hold with my phone provider - Spark, if you are feeling a knife in the back Spark, that's me by the way. That issue wasn't all I had to contend with during the week. I also had issues to sort with a Courier company. See the three callback stickers  - I won't go into the full story, but for two of those callbacks I was sitting inside the house and he couldn't gain entry due to a large dog that came up to his waist being on the loose. Needless to say there were complaints lodged and eventually the local Manager himself delivered the package and also came to offer an apology

 Moving on to the weekend, and my office has started to receive a well overdue tidy up and clean. That was the focus for both Saturday and Sunday, and it's still not finished!!  Guess what I will be focusing on the rest of this week.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Irene a dull girl. So Sunday evening, it was yay. Time to catch up with the wonderful Cristina and Crae,, who came to visit. You can guarantee everyone has good belly laughs every time. And I am too busy laughing my head off, that I forget either a photo or group selfie of the evening. Fortunately I did take a photo of part of our dinner. The famed 'Coca Cola Chicken' nibbles was part of the menu. To steal a phrase - they are finger lick'n good. I say it everytime when I make them (which is rarely), I must make them more often!

Friday, 21 August 2015

August 20th Reflections on Raglan

We headed out to the coastal town of Raglan after work today. George is getting some more tattoo work done by Vince, and his studio is conveniently located in the same town as where the family are. So a great opportunity to have dinner and cuddle and huggle with the absolute best grandies in the world

Dinner wise? If you are going to be in Raglan you have to get the best fish n chips in town. And the fish n chip shop on the wharf gives you some of the best dusk views in the town

I also have to include this wonderful street art spotted by Vince's studio. How fitting!!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

August 19th By George!

I am showing my age here by referring to the Audrey Hepburn classic movie 'My Fair Lady' and a line from one of the songs "By George, I think she's got it!" That is one reference to George, who most know as my wonderful husband.

A local Brewing Company have opened shop here in Hamilton for a couple of years now, with not only a good range of brews, but also some wonderful food to go with it. Today was time for our catch up with Alvin and Alicia and beautiful little Ella.  Where more fitting to dine, than at 'Good George'.  I often chuckle and say the brew and restaurant was named after my one and only George, but alas there was a greater George before him. St George - and the building we dined in was originally a church named St George. Hence the Brewery name

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

August 18th A Bah Humbug Day

A day where my head stayed down, my butt planted on the office chair and I didn't move much. I actually had a very valid thought yesterday! With all the typing and movement my fingers do, why don't I have skinny fingers? Surely using a keyboard at an elevated speed, with elevated heart pressure would make a good work out?  But looking at my fingers, it appears not so.

So you get the drift for my day, and the only photo was in the evening when I went to draw the curtains and was treated to a lovely pink and orange sky

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

August 17th The Tease

Spring is just around the corner. Yes have a look, can you see it in the distance? It is getting closer, and closer and closer. Some trees have blossoms on them Every night George hears the comment "Oh My God George. Look!  It is nearly 6 o'clock and it is still daylight"  And then there's the garden. The Gardenia has one bud on it. Tulips are at attention (but no buds as yet. mmm Irene to Tulips, get your act together). The Ice Flower has one teeny orange bud popping through. And finally the true sign of Spring - the Freesias are ready to burst into bloom. We are just about there

Monday, 17 August 2015

August 14th - 16th LOVE

This past weekend was a weekend filled with love. We were attending a wedding of two very special friends. It was lovely to celebrate their love for each other which has spanned 20 plus years now and to culminate in an official but definitely not boring and formal celebration of that love. To celebrate a 40th birthday for one half of that special couple on their wedding day. And finally to celebrate a friendship we have with the wonderful Jim and Myrddin. Love truly encompasses a wide variety of relationships. To have Jim and Myrddin in our lives is very special to each of us. We do not see them all the time, we are not in touch all the time, but when we meet again our friendship bonds are as strong as they ever were.

Let's get to my photos taken each day. I haven't forgotten Friday. George was having a cleaning out of his wardrobe. It was time to make some space. He came upon the suit he wore for our own wedding day, and decided to check his pockets and found this

How fitting that on the eve of attending a wedding, George found his speech for our wedding. I have to confess there were a few tears in the room from both of us.

Also because we were attending a wedding, I thought it nice that I arrange my own little display of heartfelt love

To the Wedding Day The Wedding was wonderful. The celebrant awesome, one of the grooms astounded me with his singing voice (and I mean that in a good way) as he serenaded his darling during the ceremony  Lots of cheering and tears of happiness ensued. I am still teary eyed at the emotion of it all, and the love that encompassed everyone there.

On to Sunday, and some wonderful scenic delights to finish off a wonderful weekend. A beautiful view of the Waitakere Ranges as we enjoyed brunch with the boys  and the lovely Clare who flew all the way from the UK for the wedding.

Time to say goodbyes. Myrddin and Jim, we are pleased we could share this special celebration of love with you both along with your friends. It may be a cliche, but in the end it all comes down to love. The love of our significant other, the love for our family, the love for our friends, and don't forget the love for the fur babies that inhabit our homes and hearts as well.

Friday, 14 August 2015

August 13th Ghost Train

With a thick blanket of fog this morning, this train certainly did appear to be a ghost train from a distance

Thursday, 13 August 2015

August 12th World Elephant Day

If today is 'World Elephant Day' and the name of this Blog is 'Irene Loves Elephants'. There could hardly be any other subject matter more fitting than an elephant for today's blog.

However, I am sitting in New Zealand and the closest elephants (two of them actually) are in the zoo at least 1 1/2 hours drive from home. Or I could hop on a plane and head to the closest continent, ie Asia to find one. Like that is going to happen!

So I started thinking about elephants Do I post older photos that I have taken when I have encountered elephants, both in Africa and Thailand? But my blog is centred on taking one photo a day, so that would be cheating just a tad. Then I started thinking of all the elephants I have in my collection, and which is the nearest and dearest to me. Which is hard to contemplate as they all have their little story. They may relate to a purchase overseas and remind me of a particular holiday, or be a special gift and remind me of a special person and family. So my mind was wandering (which it does tend to do a lot some days -  advancing years?). Then I thought well who is my absolute nearest and dearest. My hubby George of course. I remembered his very first gift to me. Well 2nd actually, if you count the flowers he bought for me on the day we first met.

Let's step back in time to our very first weekend away together. We spent the weekend at Whitianga township on NZ's East Coast. Actually that weekend started a tradition whenever we are over at that coast line. We drive up one way through Tairua township and home the other, via the Thames Coast. Except that very first time I suggested we stop at Coromandel township for a shop as George had never been there.  And that is where he bought my first gift for me. This beautiful, beautiful glass elephant that is as special and close to my heart as he is (insert violin virtuoso at this point).

ps no matter where I stood to take a photo, my reflection was in it and in the tv above,  Just as well it is a head shot only!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

August 11th Breaking News!

I have finally proven there is a mysterious parallel universe for socks! I often thought this world existed, but had no definitive proof. I was sure there would be 2 socks in the wash, only to find when putting clean laundry away, that I had one single sock left over. This is by no means a rare occurrence.In this household, the parallel universe for missing socks appears to majorly consist of white ones and then very rarely the odd work sock, ie big heavy duty woolen varieties. Finally I had evidence of this over the last couple of days.

Rewind back a couple of days and I was sorting dirty laundry, and took George to task as hah! There was only one white sock in this particular load. So he was the culprit and the one to blame all this time. I went into nagging housewife mode, ie where was its twin? George was berated and returned with the errant sock (which he found hiding under the bed). Maybe he wasn't too blame and the sock was trying to escape to the parallel universe back then, but was foiled in its escape plans?

So in amongst the dirty laundry we had two white socks. A fact that both of us could confirm. Yesterday I went to hang said laundry outside (it is wintertime, but it was a lovely breezy day and the sun was out but only a top of around 12 degrees celsius - just an aside weather report for you). I am a tad pedantic and even when wet, as I peg the laundry, I match the socks. Just so they can hang out with their little buddy, even if they feel a little drippy and wet behind the ears..

Guess What? You guessed it!  There was only ONE single, solitary white sock! I retraced my steps - no sign of it. I have a front loader machine so twirled the barrel in case it was stuck to the top - no sign of it. That damned single white sock was gone. I could hardly call the Police and put an APB out for a missing single white sock, but it was gone, disappeared into sock oblivion!

So there you have it. There is a mysterious parallel universe where single socks beam themselves and escape to. It has finally been proven!! I expect to have a published thesis regarding this very important scientific fact produced by 2016.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

August 10th If You Don't Eat Your Greens...

We have always been told we must eat our greens
but I used to wish that didn't include beans
I tried and tried for many a year
but for a green bean I never did care
Then one day a new recipe I did hear about
with lots of onions, garlic and chicken stock, it actually made me shout
Still not my favourite green, but they now do adorn my plate
But as for Brussel Sprouts, until the end of time they can wait!

Monday, 10 August 2015

August 8th and 9th A Wet Weekend

Not only was it a wet weekend, but it was also stormy. No venturing out on Saturday. Sunday was an improvement but bitterly cold. The joys of wintertime!

With weather like this, there was not much to do on Saturday except snuggle down, watch movies and say cheese. Time to prep last week's cheese making effort for some bagging. With offcuts destined for consumption over the coming week.

Forward to Sunday, and definitely too cold for any outdoor activities. And what happens on these sort of days? Apart from the obvious feet up and movies of course. Time to think of housekeeping duties. It was time for 'The Cleaning Of The Oven'.   This actually is a job I do NOT mind doing. You may find this unusual - but let me share with you the benefits of a pyrolitic oven. Forget ashes to ashes, this is grease to ashes.  When deciding on our new kitchen 5 years ago and appliances, I am so, so glad we opted for this oven

Here is the Before:

Allow me to present the After:

Oh the joys of modern technology!  And the woes of another weekend gone.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

August 7th A Burst of Inner City Colour

The Hamilton Library looked spectacular today against a stormy sky. It is wonderful to see an inner city building in a bright colour and standing out against the other bland buildings.

Friday, 7 August 2015

August 6th A WOW Day!!

Today was what I refer to as the 'Day Of The Pinking', ie time to get what minimal tresses I have coloured and in the pink. So off to my hairdressers I went (which is situated in a busy mall).  All fairly bog standard and usually a bog standard routine, park the car, walk through the mall to the hairdressers, get the good part done, get the painful part done (ie paying for it) and walk back to the car.

Well today was different. On my way to the salon, I saw my lovely nail lady, Nancy. She has been away on holiday and then returned and was unwell, so it was good to see her up and about. But it doesn't stop there. While in the salon, the Thursday late night shift came on. Lo and behold one of my very first colourists walked in. She had left this particular salon at least 4 ago, and I lost contact with her. So it was great to reconnect and catch up. Nearing the end of my session, a lady had walked in and sat down in the waiting area, and then I hear "Oh my god Irene, it is you" Another buzz, as this was a lady I hadn't seen for over 10 years and we used to socialise at the Rugby Club together. More hugs

So I came away feeling particularly good about bumping into all these lovely people. You would think my WOW day would end there but oh no. I had to attend a Tourism Fiji event in the evening. After canapes, the evening was podium style with various resorts and tour operators giving presentations. Then the Business Card draw, for various accommodation prizes. My eyes usually glaze over during this point, as I never win anything (although George reminded me where my lovely hard case Thai Airways labelled cabin bag came from recently). Polite clapping ensued, even hilarity when two agents with very similar names from the same agency, jumped up to claim the same prize. Then it got to the big draw. Four nights accommodation for 2 people, with two being at The Naviti Resort (a 4 star resort) and two nights at the sister property, The Warwick Resort (a 5 star resort). Well blow me down with a duster feather! Blow the trumpets! Roll the drums! Guess whose business card was drawn. ME, ME and ME!!  Fortunately I remembered where I was and whilst I did do a jig, I did not yell out at the top of my voice 'HOLY MOTHER FORKLIFT'

Then to top the evening off... the Sales Rep (lovely lovely lady) said she had been admiring my hair all night and just loved the colour and the brightness, and actually thought to herself  "I would like that lady to win our prize". Well her telepathic kindness paid off, and we will be heading to Fiji.

There is still one NZ wide draw, which is for return airfares for 2 people. Forget Holy Mother Forklift if I pull that one off. I am going for the real McCoy!!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

August 5th Guilt!

I felt guilty nearing completion of the current Wasgij puzzle, so decided I should do the right thing and let George finish it off. After all it is supposed to be a combined effort. I hope he can figure it out?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

August 4th Cafe Lunch

I am sure I have said this before. I have some absolutely fantastic customers. I love being able to help with the weird and wonderful, but also as time goes on you develop a relationship. It is great answering the phone and being absolutely delighted to hear from them.  Not because of the work aspect only however, it is just great to hear from someone you look upon as a friend.

I have to tell you about one recent phone call though!  I answered the phone in my usual manner, ie "Welcome to Fine Travel, you're speaking with Irene" and the response I got was the following:
"Do  you know how f*** hard you are to find"?  
"Thank God for f*** Google, that I f**** found you"!!

I managed to maintain my business poise. If I hadn't been in in professional mode, my response may well have been "Who the f** is this"!    But I replied, that yes they were speaking with Irene and how could I help.  I discovered this was a customer from my days in retail in Travel (that is over 10 years ago now), and they decided they were going to travel and they wanted to book with me, by hook or by crook. How fortuitous that when I married George, I didn't change my name. If I had, there is no way in hell they could find me. George's family name is extremely hard to spell let alone pronounce (note to self: remember to use my married name in certain circumstances, it may well be useful)

Back to the present, and a lovely lunch. I love the table accoutrements for the coffee. But I am not too sure what the mini watering can was originally for?  

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

August 3rd Yikes!!

You can be pretty sure that if my photo of the day is of Minnie, and she is asleep - that means I totally forgot to take a photo. It was close to bedtime and I realised what I had forgotten to do. My choice was an empty glass of wine, George asleep on the sofa (he would kill me), a selfie (I would kill me) or the final subject and possibly most photogenic in the house - Minnie.

Monday, 3 August 2015

July 31st, August 1st - 2nd The Family

I am actually going to write this past weekend's blog backwards. Sunday was such a fantastic day as it was a chance to get together with my two sisters and family. With one sister residing overseas, another living a good 2 hours drive away, our paths don't get to cross that often. It was really nice to be able to share a day together

 Go back a day, and Saturday saw the Cheese Maker in me released. Time for another batch of Feta to be made, and a batch packaged

For dinner, it was home made Pizza. I don't make them very often, which I have no reason not to? With a busy day with errands and the making of the Cheese, a very fast dinner was required. Home made Pizza beats hands down anything that comes in a cardboard box

Back one day further to Friday, and the 'Blue Moon'.  Not called a Blue Moon because of it's colour, but apparently it is a full moon that occurs for the second time in a month. Full Moons apparently can lead rise to weird behaviour, I wonder how some people cope with two in a month?