Archive for June, 2011

Dad’s Weekend

What does one do when your lovely wife has gone off on a very well deserved weekend break with all her mates?  Well this is what we did…

Friday night kicked it all off with a rather nice macaroni cheese.  I’m a firm believer that Macaroni Cheese should have bacon in it.  Unless you’re a vegesaurus of course.  The kids also subscribe to this bacon theory and wolfed the lot in double quick time.

Saturday was spent getting ready to go out (an activity which is worthy of mention in it’s own right because it takes so long) going swimming at a nearby pool and then going cycling and scooting at Onepoto Reserve which is just before the Onewa Road motorway on-ramp.  The swimming was great fun and Emily showed me what she’d learned at her classes whilst Lucy just decided to lay on a big frog shaped float and be towed around for an hour.

 Onepoto Reserve is amazing.  The paths are all laid out like mini-roads with road markings and roundabouts and other exciting embellishments.  It’s all on a reasonably small circuit in a safe location so kids can go whizzing around the place, practicing their road skills – or at least that’s the idea.  What the designers fail to have realised is that you aren’t just born with an understanding of how to drive on a road.  You have to go through a series of lessons and then it is enforced.  In reality what happens is, kids go all directions and the accepted method of avoiding a crash is to bellow at the top of your voice “Out of my way I’m coming through!”  Still a nice idea and lots of fun!

Saturday night I cleaned the oven door.  This has to be one of my favourite household chores.  Highly infrequent, low expenditure of energy and massively satisfying results…

Sunday we headed up north of Auckland to the Whangapaoroa Peninsula (pronounced something like fong-uh-par-o-uh… I think)  to a regional park called Shakespear Park.  On the way I tried to explain to Emily about when Shakespeare was alive and the lack of electricity and therefore cinemas, so people had to go and watch plays instead.  This resulted in a ten minute conversation whilst Emily listed off the things she couldn’t believe you could live without i.e. tv, computers, email, telephones etc.  She seemed quite disturbed that if you wanted to talk to someone far away you had to write a letter and wait days for it to arrive.

Finally it was time to pick up Mummy from the ferry terminal.  Luckily we arrived just early enough to have a sneaky ice cream before the boat arrived.

A few photo’s of the weekend

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Cast your Minds Back

wibble wobble wibble wobble… Earlier in the year we had our visitors.  The next part of the story is a video of some of the things we saw and did down in Rotorua.  This is the second version of this video I uploaded.  The first had copyrighted music on it (taken from an original I have paid for I might add) so You Tube blocked it.  This one has free music on it – as long as you give attributions to the creators in your work.  I much preferred the original, but you won’t get to see that one unless you’d like me to email you a 400+MB file…

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Oh my goodness what a rush everything is at the moment.  I’m doing two distinct jobs at the moment.  I’m doing my title role of  Team Leader and looking after my group of developers.  I’m also temporarily wearing a project managers hat.  There was a small isolated project that need a PM, so I volunteered.  There are lots of good things about it.  Good people, good experience, good customers.  It’s also based on the North Shore a bit closer to home.  So I’m busy rushing around.

Josie is also doing to jobs at the moment.  She’s of course got that most brilliant job she does looking after our girls (and me and the house etc.) and she has now picked up some work and is doing quite a few hours per week.  So she is equally (if not more so) busy than I am.

All this means she needs a break and is off on another girls weekend to the island of Waiheke.  I haven’t even cashed in the last one yet.

So I’m in charge this weekend and have the girls to myself!  Now what to do?

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Piha in Sunny June

This Sunday’s activities.  Unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon on a wild and rugged beach.

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No great events planned today. So far it’s been a real basic ‘recharge’ morning.  I managed to sleep solidly until nearly 8am.  Josie had been up since 5:30am because she couldn’t sleep.  So she watched some online presentations about building your own website to help with setting up her business.  She’s out running now – something she’s only just able to get back into following the lurgy she was suffering from.

I’ve just made a really nice coffee using my new coffee grinder and coffee machine.  It makes an amazing difference to use freshly ground beans every time.  I love the ritual of the whole thing.  Warming the machine, warming the cup, grinding the beans straight into the handle, watching the coffee extract for the right point to turn the machine off.  Then the process of texturing the milk.  Folding air in using the steam nozzle and then heating it once the texture is right.  Get it right and it is easily as good as a middle of the road cafe and better than a large proportion.

The girls have just finished watching ‘My Neighbor Totoro’.  This is an amazing family film from a Japanese director called  Hayao Miyazaki.  It has a characteristic Japanese style that is commonly referred to as Anime, but I’ve just been reading that actually within Japan this is simply a blanket term to refer to all animation and doesn’t refer to a particular style.  The style, in common with Manga comics, usually has very realistic body proportions with large eyes.  The film is just so far from anything that Disney would turn out.  I asked Emily why she likes it.  After a bit of probing she shared that she likes the drawings and the way it looks and she loves the main character, Totoro.

A big shouty creature with claws that you would think would be scary to kids, actually it’s not.  During the film Totoro is a source of adventure, compassion and an amazing ‘other’ world – so much so that the kids love the character and even when it roars with huge teeth inches from the main characters faces, it’s somehow in no way scary.  We’ve had the film in the house since Aunty Helen sent it too us when the kids were much younger.  The first couple of times I tried to get Emily started on it she wasn’t quite ready. Then just a few weeks ago she spotted it on the shelf and was intrigued that she couldn’t remember seeing it.  So she kind of discovered it herself which I’m really pleased about.  They must have watched it nearly 20 times in the last couple of weeks and it’s THE film of choice at the moment.  Thank you Aunty Helen!  It’s taken a while for them to appreciate it, but it was worth the wait.

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Or maybe that should be Stand Up and Be Filmed… That’s right another video to look at.  This time I cashed in my chips and finally went on my Stand Up Paddle Board lesson that I got for Christmas.  Due to a lack of preparedness on my part the video camera wasn’t fully charged, so ran out of juice just as I got going.  Thankfully master videographer (aka wifey) managed to get a few shots of me doing the biz.  I forgot to mention to her that the zoom is pointless on the camera so some of the footage is very grainy and low quality, which reminds me of the old 8mm cine film look.  Which I actually quite liked in the end.

So what can I say about SUP?  It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think to get up and start paddling.  Fascinatingly you have to look up all the time.  If you look down at the board your eyes try to help you balance but they are a bit rubbish at it.  If you just don;t look and let your legs do the hard work, you are much steadier.

It’s also an amazing all body workout.  Your legs are slightly bent and taking all the weight and absorbing all the wave movements,  core is engaged in balance and transfer of power and your upper body is doing the do with the paddle.

In short I did really enjoy it.  But at over $2k for a board and paddle I won’t be taking it up soon.

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Hobsonville Market

There is an indoor market near us at a place called Hobsonville.  It’s a reall foody market and we’d heard there was a good playground as well.  I’ve made a little video of the morning…

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