10/23/2017

audience

 I couldn't stand it any more so I went out to plant the seeds that I have
been collecting all winter. As I was sitting there, minding my own business
and enjoying the sunshine, I heard a cow snort.
I looked up to see this!

I went into the house to get my camera and noticed that there were more
cows watching me than I thought! To be fair, Mickey came out at one point and rolled 
around in the dirt--and, they always come over when the cats are out--but
he didn't stay long.

Life is interesting when you live rural!

10/13/2017

cats are weird

I  will never understand cats. 

I feed ours wet food from pouches.

If I leave it in a hunk, they just lick it dry. 
If I cut it into smaller pieces, they will eat it all. 

But if I buy wet food already cut into pieces with gravy, the just lick the gravy.

*sigh*

10/05/2017

The things I learn

I saw this article on a New Zealand website about Mark Twain visiting here in 1895.  I can't imagine how hard the travelling would have been.

He even visited the town of Hawera, not far from my house.

"Charles Major, mayor of Hawera, and his wife, Julia, entertained Twain during an afternoon and evening at their home and in his memoirs, Seventy Years of life in New Zealand, said of Twain 'that he was supreme among all lecturers for his congenital modesty and love of his fellows, quiet and almost retiring, nothing monstrative.'
Next day Twain left for Whanganui where he rejoined his wife, daughter, agent and his wife to take a train to Wellington and on December, 13, 1895 they boarded a ship for Sydney."

Here's the link:  https://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/97588258/arthur-fryer-when-mark-twain-spent-a-night-in-hawera

9/21/2017

A giggle and a thought

I was out in the yard garden yesterday and saw a plane flying overhead,
I assume from Wellington to Auckland. And I had a strange urge to giggle
wondering if the people on the plane had a clue (probably not!) that
I had just taken a photo of the plane they are on.


With everyone carrying around a camera these days, I guess it bears
repeating that you never know when you are being photographed.

9/01/2017

mandarins and me

Now that I have lived outside the US, I understand that the States protect their domestic products by limiting imports that compete and that is how it should be. Of course, that makes it hard to find the equivalent of US things--like Muenster Cheese--because I could not compare NZ and US products side by side.

When I was growing up in Indiana, I think my most favorite fruit was Naval Oranges. I loved the taste and remember the juice running down my arms in the summertime. For special occasions, I loved it when Mom would make Ambrosia Salad with Mandarin oranges putting my favorite flavor in a sweet side dish from a can. To me, a girl who has always had trouble thinking outside to box, being from a can made them exotic and, by extension, special since they came all the way from China!

So, imagine my surprise when I found them at every grocery store in New Zealand, sold in bins just like any other fruit! That may not sound anything but ordinary to others, but I was absolutely shocked!

Imagine that.

I have since gotten used to buying them and they are a preferred fruit in our house since they peel so easily but, I really wish my mind would think more laterally.

Oh, well.

8/22/2017

oops!

Apparently, I hit the wrong button and deleted some comments on this blog. It was NOT intentional and I am heart-broken about it. 

I treasure your words and look forward to reading them.

I am so sorry--please don't take it personally.

8/01/2017

nothing added

Hubby noticed this message on the side of the KFC
container and we both had a good laugh.

No added hormones or steroids
 Like all chicken in New Zealand

7/29/2017

An old post....

For some reason, I was reading an old post that I wrote back in 2011 and thought I would share it with those that read my blog today.

It was entitled, 'Who has the Power?'

I'm the type of person who finds logic very comforting. I need to know all the 'why's before I can truly understand the whole picture. For example, back in the dark ages when I went to college, my biology teacher couldn't tell me 'why' a cell decides to divide--I was just suppose to accept that it does. Well, that wasn't happening and I didn't do well in the class. [Of course, later on, when they invented microscopes that could look inside a cell, they found that there was, indeed, rhyme and reason for what a cell does. *insert 'I was right' dance here*]

Of course, sometimes, the logic thing can take my brain on tangents that are better left untaken. One example is our juvenile next-door-neighbor. I wondered how my calling the noise control people on him affects his wife. Does he take it out on her by yelling at her? Does he make the house walk on eggshells because nobody knows what to say? But then, I realized that I shouldn't have that much power over his life and he's a fool if he gave it to me!


And I think about the silly person with the 30-year grudge I posted about earlier. Why is she letting me affect her after all this time? I k now I'm good, but didn't know I was THAT good!!


I think about someone I know that wants me to tip-toe around and never get loud because, in their far, far away past, somebody yelled at them and made them feel bad. Sorry, kiddo, being loud sometimes is who I am. Our family gets loud. That's who we are. You need to deal with it. Why are you letting someone who is probably dead (or, at the very least, not even aware of their impact) have power over you a half a world away and several decades later? I don't want to be able to make you feel bad by reminding you of someone in your past. Nobody should have that much power.

So for all those people whose lives are governed by the words and deed of others, I say, Life is about choices. 

Choose to believe that God loves you exactly the way He made you.
Accept that you are worthy of respect and love simply because you're breathing.
Choose to overlook other folk's imperfections if you want them to overlook yours.
Quit letting other people decide if you are going to be happy. No one should be able to make that decision but you.
Decide to be happy every morning!

7/14/2017

A wild night

No, it wasn't a partying night, it was a winter storm with horrendous rain and winds that blew rain three feet through the cat flap even with the back door not lined up with the porch doorway!

Yesterday from early afternoon, our house had no lights and only had power in the one lounge outlet and all the kitchen outlets--for which I was wonderfully grateful with so many in the area having no power at all, as you can see by the map below. (We live slightly below 'New Plymouth').


Cooking by night-light, was a new experience :) but I was glad that I could do that because I didn't want us going out for take-outs in the awful weather.

The lounge outlet was a blessing to have. It kept the TV going and could be used for charging phones and laptops, if needed. When it was bedtime, Hubby ran a power cord from the lounge to our bedroom for heat and clocks.

When I woke up about 5AM, I tried some light switches and some of the lights came on a bit dimly, so it seemed that things were getting back to normal although it wasn't all fixed at that time. Later when I did get up things were a lot better, although not quite totally to normal, yet.

Through it all, I was very grateful for a fireplace with plenty of wood to burn along with the layers of clothes and socks!

I want to say a big 'Thank you!' to all those that worked so hard overnight and are still working in the wind and rain to get power back on across the country. Be safe out there.

7/01/2017

After 10 years....

After 10 years in New Zealand, I thought I had experienced all the things that would just throw me for a loop. As it turns out, I was wrong.

Yesterday, I found another one of those 'English' words that don't mean the same thing everywhere that English is spoken.  When I first got here, I saw these little square cakes called 'Lamingtons' in the bakery display cases at grocery stores with the little signs that explained that they are 'sponge' cake covered in coconut flakes.

Well, my idea of 'sponge' cake is 'sponge cake', aka Angel Food Cake.  It's fluffy and great with fruit but there's not a lot of texture to it. So, I imagined Lamingtons being Angel Food Cake covered with coconut and I really didn't think Lamingtons would impress me.


When Hubby came home from work, he had stopped for milk. Very rarely does he actually only come home with milk... because 'it was on special'!! And one of the things he bought was a pack of Lemony Lamingtons that were, of course, on special!

I tried one just out of curiosity and, lo and behold, they are not Angel Food cake but regular 'cake'. Tasty cake! I'm not a huge fan of coconut but I think I might have to try different flavors now, just to satisfy my curiosity.

5/15/2017

Where did it go????

Over the years, I've had a few 'favorite' things disappear from the store shelves. Most were just a favorite flavor or scent here and there, but I always took it personally :) even though there wasn't much I could do about it.

A few weeks ago, I sent Hubby to the store for my favorite spot remover that I use for his work clothes and the occasional coffee drip or food spot. He went to our favorite store, Countdown.
bring back vanish direct

I love using this stuff because it got every little stain out of every kind of fabric. And the best part is that I can rub the stuff all over the stains and not have to wash it for up to seven days. That works great for me since there are only the two of us and laundry is two loads a week, at the most.

Well, he came home with something different because my 'usual' wasn't on the shelf. Same company, but different product. I was wary, but I used it.  It didn't work. At all. Not on the pen marks where hubby put his pen back in pocket a hundred times a day. Not on the coffee stain on my shirt. NOTHING! UGH!

So, the next weekend, we went looking at New World, the other major chain that usually carries it. Again, nothing. Just the replacement stuff that didn't work.

I decided to write an email to both stores to tell them to put it back but before I got started, I thought I'd send them a photo of what I was talking about so there would be no question about the subject.

Well, lo and behold, all I could find was this:
bring back vanish direct

Unavailable in your area. Noooooo!!!! 
OK, now it's personal.

What to do? What to do? Hubby to the rescue! There's a chain of small grocery stores that have a store in most of the small towns in Taranaki that would never support one of the larger stores. According to their website, there are sixteen of them in Taranaki and Hubby started stopping at the ones he encountered in the northern part of the district on his truck-driving job and brought home one, three, one...five! I was ecstatic!

So, we spent Mother's Day driving to the stores in the south of Taranaki and scored six at one store and one or two at some others! The cashiers looked at us funny and we explained it to a couple of them but I now have a collection that will last me quite a while. I do hope I can eventually find a suitable replacement before it runs out!

Just for the record, the company that makes Vanish products has been advertising quite aggressively with their 'stain removing' technique of using their power to make a paste and rub gently. I'm sure that works just fine for those that have one grass stain a week. I have 5 sets of work clothes to get clean every week and can't imagine how much 'paste' I'd have to make to cover man-size shirts and pants. And with a product that is easy to use, why would I want to make more work for myself?

I did email the company but haven't heard back. But I did find this review from last year: Click here to read how it earned a Shonky Award!

4/27/2017

Mickey

I have been remiss in introducing our new cat.
This is Mickey (originally called Mickey Mouse, but what do cats care?!).

Sadly, Sox disappeared last October, I assume with the same ending as his predecessor, Grace. Since we got Sox and Garfield at the same time, Garfield was a bit off kilter after that. Hubby says he was acting like a spoiled child more than a cat, whining and expecting lots of attention. So, after out holiday in February we found Mickey and Garfield started acting like a cat again!


When he was first let outside, he would go out when Hubby went to work and come home at 8PM every night, almost on the dot! Eventually, he spent more and more time inside and now he acts like a normal house cat.



Garfield is a little senile and hard of hearing so sometimes Mickey's attempt to play and be affectionate startles him and he's not quite as appreciative as he could be.


4/11/2017

Grad student needs help

I don't usually post items like this but I got a request on my FB page Incidental Imagery yesterday from a grad student who needs some help with her dissertation:

Please help! Participants 18 years of age or older needed for a dissertation research study looking at whether serenity is important to people’s well-being. 
Participation will involve completing some questionnaires of serenity and well-being online and it will take about 20 minutes of your time. Taking part in the study is voluntarily and the information you provide will be treated with confidentiality.
 If you are interested in taking part, please visit the study webpage for more information: https://tinyurl.com/mj8evgy. Many thanks, Maria Garozi (mag00091@students.stir.ac.uk)


I have filled out the questionnaire, which relates to serenity and how you feel about yourself, and you don't have to enter any personal details (unless you want to fill out a second one, then you just enter an email).

If you have a few extra minutes, I know that Maria will appreciate your help.


3/24/2017

Late flowers

Of the many seeds that I planted in my garden last spring, I planted several kinds of hibiscus seeds for the first time. I didn't know much about them but, since they grow in gardens in my area, I thought I'd give them a shot. After waiting and waiting during the spring and summer, they didn't come up--and, neither did any of the other seeds :(

Our weather is a bit strange this year (I guess I should say, 'again'). Summer was late coming and it only got really 'summery' for a couple of weeks before autumn arrived, In the midst of it all, one hibiscus finally came up and gave me some awesome white blooms,

but not before I bought two different types of hibiscus plants that bloomed often for me.


Now that autumn is here, I look around my garden and find that the livingston daisies are coming up as are two or three different hibiscus plants. I had planted pincushion flowers in three different places but only one place grew--again, late in the summer.

And I noticed today that an azalea bush is blooming again. What is up with that??!

I admit that I like to be in control, but the weather is one thing that definitely does not succumb to my desires and I am learning to let things happen as they will. It's a good thing that I trust God to get it right :)

2/28/2017

How warm is it?

We live in what is called a 'micro climate' that is usually very pleasant, although the rainfall 
doesn't quite keep our water tank full in the summer. Other than that, it's a very
pleasant place to live.
I got very warm outside trying to weed today--which is unusual for me. So. I checked
the temperature and...


Yep, it's warm!

2/19/2017

changes

I guess 60+ years of watching tv the same way was a good run. I admit that having the television on as background noise is a habit.

Daytime tv has very little that I care to watch, so housework gets done before or after Dr Phil comes on (when he's being carried by the stations). Then a couple of game shows a little later in the day are company as I chill out after some gardening. Evenings have a few shows during the week that I like to watch but a lot of these were on 'premium' channels (not the free-to-air channels).

Alas, our 'Igloo' box that had free plus premium stations is becoming obsolete as of the first of March. *sigh* We don't think the major cable network is worth the money (we've used it before), and living on a small island gives very few other options.
 
So, I am being dragged into the world of Chromecast as our (well, my, since Hubby doesn't watch much tv) newest change. It was easy to set up and use, so that helped a lot with the changeover. We haven't decided on any movie packages from the internet but I have found TV on Demand very interesting!

Even with all the internet options, I still feel like I'm cheating on my old way of entertaining myself somehow. But, I'm pretty sure I will get over it soon!

1/27/2017

Mystery definitely solved

In April 2015, I posted this photo and asked for help with identifying these bulbs/pods.

I had some guesses but nobody knew for sure what they were.
I was advised to plant them to see what came up and that seemed quite
reasonable, so I planted several of them and marked them with sticks.
None of them came up. But, when I found another one last spring, I
planted it, too and, this time, there was success.

You can see the little stick I stuck in the ground where I planted it.


Come to find out, it is a gladiola bulb.

Now that I see what came up, I'm not really surprised because each year I
find more and more of these beauties in different parts of the garden. I gather
them in one place as I find them, and this one will join them.


1/22/2017

flowers from Hubby

Hubby brought me this awesome bunch of roses for no particular reason.


I thought I'd try some fun edits and really liked the results.

1/02/2017

Meeting a fellow blogger at Pukekura Park

I am contacted now and then by Americans wanting to know about New Zealand but I was surprised when a fellow New Zealand blogger let me know she was coming up my way and wanted to meet. Marja from the blog Dutchcorner, along with her hubby and brother, met Hubby and me at Pukekura Park. It was fun to meet in person someone whose blog I have been reading for a long time!
 Of course, we had to take a picture. Marja on the left, me on the right.

When the lights came on, we walked around a little until Hubby's allergies kicked in big time!
I was very impressed with the lights on Poet's Bridge.




Here's to another year of blogging! Cheers!