Monthly Archives: January 2006

happy birthday mum

My MumWoo-hoo! My mum’s 89 today. She still drives her own car. She still runs her own business.

And what exactly is your excuse?

At 81 I took her to China because – well – because. They love each other – Mum and China had a great time.

Mum’s mantra: ‘If we work together we can do it.’

Love it. How gung ho is that?

Mum’s ultimate response to some bad deed doer: ‘He/She’s just a negative piece of crap.’

You go, Mum, you’re such an inspiration. Love you heaps.

chip off the old block

Back on the 9th I mentioned the flash card for my new camera. It did arrive a day or so later which was great. The downside was I found that my new laptop (Toshiba) can’t read the Fuji 1Gb chip. *ARGH!* I have to use the cables and crap. How annoying. Apparently there’s a clip-in-usb-card-do-dad available so a solution of sorts is available, but it’s annoying never the less. The good thing is I can get hundreds – over fifteen hundred shots on the chip – more than adequate. Would’ve been cool to just be able to shove the chip up the laptop, but I guess nothing technological is perfect.

Why miss another sale? Make stuff not quite work, but offer a solution in exchange for money… the computer/technology way.


the long way home

Over the weekend I started the long night’s journey into day as I convert the weed patches into garden. It’s not as bad as it was last year and in just two days I managed to get most of the weeds very frightened. Some branches accidentally fell off the trees that lean across our fence, and generally things are taking shape.

I’m always surprised at how much vegetation our small backyard produces – I’ve got a huge heap lurking on the lawn. I’m feeling sufficiently confident that a couple of other trees – well, big shrubs, to be fair, are going to go – I never liked them and that part of the garden is about to get converted into a very New Zealand section with more ferns, more water worn stones and generally attempt to capture the look of the Hutt River in our back yard.

Meanwhile, my body is complaining as these muscles that aren’t used all that much are called on to deliver some action. I would never have made it as a caveman – takes me all my time to wander around the supermarket let alone run down an ibex and slay it.


four crying out loud

Four crying out loud, Mike the Accoustic Dad has slipped this meme into my mind. Thanks Mike.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
Adult teacher guy, wholesale/retail houseplant guy, desktop publishing and web guy, video production guy.

Four movies you could [and do] watch over and over:
The 5th Element, Blazing Saddles, Being There, Amélie, Chocolat (I know it’s five, get over it).

Four places you’ve lived:
Stoke-on-Trent, England; Melbourne, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; Wanganui, New Zealand

Four fiction books you can’t live without:
J.R.R. Tolkein – Lord of the Rings; Alexander McCall Smith – The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; H G Wells – War of the Worlds;

Four non-fiction books you consider essential:
Kama Sutra; Kathryn Bold – True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals; John Brookes – The Complete Practical Guide to Planning, Styling and Planting Any Garden

Four TV shows you love to watch:
Off is my favourite, the number of channels is infinite; I used to like Daily Keno (it only lasted a minute and had interesting facts, but now it’s just reruns of numbers); Babylon 5, Northern Exposure.

Four places you’ve been on vacation:
Køge, Danmark; Townsville, Australia; Guangzhou, Peoples’ Republic of China; and Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand

Four web sites you visit daily:
Trevor Romain; Mark Bernstein; Marica’s Meanderings (but only if I know she’s updated);

Four of your favorite foods:
Gado gado, Mum’s frikadeller, Marica’s gnocchi, beetroot on peanut butter on wholemeal toast with lashings of freshly ground black pepper; soft boiled eggs (yes, I know, five – harden up).

Four places you’d rather be:
Wellington, New Zealand; Green Island (off Cairns) used to be wonderful; Tokomaru Bay;

Four albums you can’t live without:
What? Only four? You have got to be kidding. Here’s some…Van Morrison – Magic Time; Penguin Cafe – When In Rome; Yo Yo Ma + Bobby McFerrin – Hush; Ottmar Liebert – The Hours Between Night and Day

leaves of grass

Well, you come into the world like a blade of grass,
    you flourish through the summer,
then the winter comes and you blow away.

You’re gone and you never come back, so just enjoy life now.

Burt Monroe in ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’.


for wifes with one husband

Truely, the things that get asked here…

I have no answers for wives with two husbands – I’ve been lead to believe one husband was quite enough, in fact more than enough in some cases…

It appears there’s a crisis looming for baby boomers – as daddy retires, he figures he’s going to become CEO of the kitchen. How brave is that? That’d be something akin to a death wish, and in some cases divorces are happening. ABC News have an interesting article on Retired Husband Syndrome. Good grief – it’s always a syndrome. If it’s a syndrome, you can bet a support group isn’t too far away. And yes:

In fact, around Japan, more than 3,000 groups have sprung up to retrain retired husbands to be more independent and communicative with their wives.

One group, called “Men in the Kitchen,” teaches male retirees how to cook, clean and shop for themselves.

The article comments that ‘McCartney said that her husband retired without knowing how to run a home. It can be frustrating, but she said that she tried to see her husband’s retirement as a great adventure.’

Oh good grief, people, get it together. We’ve never had so many labour saving devices and instant food lines. The rudiments of cleaning can be learned surprisingly quickly – often by people who don’t speak a word of the prevailing language. Decadence at its most ‘Rome before the fall’-ness.

Wives: build a life before your husband retires.
Husbands: why wait? Retire now. Clearly there’s very little to by waiting. I believe – was quoted this by someone in the trade – the average male secondary school teacher in New Zealand does not live more than 18 months into their retirement. Get a clue, guys, get out while you can. There’s a world of despotism awaiting you at home. Unfortunately it’s going to be just you and the cat, because your missus read this blog first; and she’s out there building her own reality.

my husband’s a slob – what should I do?

I get asked strange things here – this is one of the latest and at first I thought it was a joke. And then it gradually became clear this was a serious question.

The first question on my part is – what does slob mean? Does it mean he dresses badly? Eat badly? Smell badly? He’s untidy? He’s a klutz? What? What kind of slob is your man?

The second question is – has he always been like this? If so, if it annoys you so much, why did you marry him? Did you thing you were going to change him? Reality check – has he changed you? If so, how and why, and if not, you and your bizarre change people fantasies…word to the wise – don’t buy in to those psychobabble things.

So, let’s have a look:
My husband’s a slob [subtitles: My husband dresses badly]
Okey dokey, face up to it. Most men aren’t into buying clothes. Trust me, it’s a pretty uninspiring activity for a guy. You go into these pokey cupboards, and get your gear off. There’s nowhere to hang your clothes, rarely a chair to put clothes on. There’s nowhere to sit to take your shoes off. Actually, note to self – there’s a market gap for a menswear where the experience is more positive. Oh yeah, the other thing is, you get your gear off, get the new stuff on – it doesn’t work so now what – call the squidgy bint who’s 17 and knows you’re a old fart for more gear? Worse, the squidy guy who’s 17 and wants to measure your inside leg when you’re there to buy a tie? Um, yeah.

Speaking of ties. The people who select the fabric for the ties should be forced to wear them in public.

So, your husband doesn’t dress well? Go for the pincer movement – no, not THERE, that’s not going to get the result you want. Quietly dispose of the clothing you don’t like and replace it with what you do like. Hide it in the back corner of the drawer. It’ll gradually surface, and in the absence of anything else to wear, he’ll wear it. In general men will wear something subdued. When they divert from that they’ll hate it. So, even if flares and paisley comes back, just don’t. Hint, if Sean Connery wouldn’t wear it neither should your man.

The next thing is he looks more like threadbear than teddybear. Ok – sure – grooming is a battle for guys too. Go nuts and get out a darning needle. Buy 15 – 20 pairs of identical (black) socks. Stich a dot of colour into the toes of each sock. Now, quietly go through the sock drawer and dump the evil unmatched socks. In a year’s time repeat. Throw out the odd and socks with holes. Replace with this year’s colour. Wash, rinse, repeat.

There’s a pattern here – you buy it, dump the scungy stuff, you mould him into the fashion god you desire. Easy.

My husband’s a slob [Subtitle: he eats badly].
Well, partly get over it. Serve food that’s not sloppy. Go to eating houses where piggy activity is ok. Tell him, ‘Cedric, when you eat noisily I feel ill, please eat quietly’. He’ll wonder who the hell Cedric is and you’re on the way to success.

My husband’s a slob [Subtitle: he smells bad].
Why did you marry a man who smells bad? Ok, go check out some new aftershaves. They do go off. After about a year they start to go rancid. I used to have one that improved – some of the essential oils get better with age – frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, and cedarwood get better. Others don’t. If your man is using an aftershave the kids gave him last century, it’s time it was used as a toilet refresher.

If he smells bad because he hasn’t bathed in the last 20 days, well, it’s not the aftershave thing, it’s the dead and dying bacteria thing. Get tongs, pick him up, and drop him in a solution of water and soap. Wash, rinse, repeat. Bad breath? Dental expertise. Important – bad teeth can lead to infections, dangerous because the brain is usually quite nearby. If you’re thinking he does all his thinking in an area somewhat distant from his teeth then all the more reason…

My husband’s a slob [Subtitle: he’s untidy].
If this means he’s untidy with his own stuff, simply give him space – like a garage, den, office – call it what you will, and let him get on with it. Close the door and get over it. The worst thing you can do is tidy it up for him. If he needs his mother to tidy it call her. If he’s untidy right through the place, get in a house keeper. You can always sell of some of the junk to pay for the cleaner… which means there’s less for you both to get concerned about…

Finally, if you husband’s a slob, you need to reassure yourself you’re probably contributing in some way. Don’t tidy up after him, you’re not his mother. Get some sensible filing/storage services, declutter the place, sell what you can, use the profits for home help, get a job, get a career, get a life, get over it or get a new husband.

Whatever you do, don’t wait for him to change, make the changes yourself. He’ll follow. Or not. It’s ok.

roast snipe

It’s been one of those days where you just want to roast snipe. Here’s a couple of recipes purloined from the Old Louisville Recipe Book:

After cleaning the snipe, remove skin and eyes from the head, draw it down to the legs and skewer the bill through the lower part of the legs; pin a thin slice of larding pork around each bird and string them on a skewer. Season with salt, cayenne and black pepper. Roll the ends in melted butter or salad oil. Broil on either side 5 minutes. Serve on hot toast moisten with Maitre de Hotel butter. Garnish with watercress.

Roasted Snipe
Prepare same as for broiling snipe. Roast 10 minutes in hot oven. Mince hearts and livers fine, adding 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon chives, salt and pepper. Spread slices of stale bread with this paste, a few fresh crumbs on top; set in hot oven 3 minutes. Place birds on this toast. Garnish with watercress. Serve gravy in bowl. Plover, reed or woodcock, prepare same way.

Oh, if only…


no oil painting

Snapshot moments today spending time getting images made with Mark from the Dom. Very interested to hear that they (the Dom) have a strong policy that images cannot be retouched. What you see is what they made, in the camera. I was keen to grab this into photoshop, five minutes later out to there. But no. There’s this ethical thing that the images are the real mccoy.

I just KNEW there’d be one part of the media that didn’t fiddle with the content – had no idea it’d be the area you’d most want to get in amongst. Thanks Mark, it was a very interesting experience, and I’m sorry the subject matter wasn’t more interesting and/or photogenic.