Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Charlie Bit Me and SITS Contest !!!!

This has me giggling every time I watch it.

After already having been bitten once, young Henry puts his finger back in Charlie's mouth. I mean, what did he think was going to happen?? :-)

Young Charlie appears to know exactly what he's done and thinks the whole thing is hilarious. I suspect I would too, if someone was silly enough to put their finger in my mouth !!!

Love the cute English accent as well. 'Charlie, that really hurt!'



Those wonderful ladies at SITS are having the last of their SUMMER GIVEAWAYS . It's for a 4GB Apple Nano iPod !!

Is that cool or what !!! I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I win it !!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Interviewing Kids...

A week or so ago, KAT did this really amusing post where she interviewed her kids.

Kat said it would be okay to use her questions. So this morning, I thought it might be interesting to interview my daughter and granddaughter, who are in NZ. Well, it was morning their time ... 7 am to be exact and 12 noon my time.
Christina is in aqua and Sacha is in pink . Questions and my comments are in black.

Okay, so I phone home. Son-in-law, Chris, answers phone. Yes, my daughter Christina is married to a Christopher and they both go by Chris, which can make it interesting at times.

He fetches Christina and I tell her I want to interview her and Sacha for my blog. There's a slight pause, the sound of coffee being slurped and then something that sounded like 'OK, anything for a laugh' . I think that was the sound of my 29 yr old daughter humouring her Mum.

She calls Sacha over, telling her that her Nana wants to interview her for her blog. From what I could hear, over the phone line, of the ensuring conversation, it sounded like 11 yr old Sacha was suspecting that both her Mum and her Nana had partially lost some of their marbles. Get used to it kiddo, it's just a taste of what will happen when I get back home. :-)

1.. What's your favourite movie?

(Another slurp of coffee in my ear) Labyrinth. (Not what I expected!)
Ummmm (she giggles) Ummmm (Me, helpfully suggests that she must have a favourite movie) I don't know yet!!! Ummmm, probably the Harry Potter movies still. (Wow, a pre-teen that IS NOT going ape over Hannah Montana or High School Musical. I'm in awe!)

2.. What's your favourite outfit or item of clothing in your closet?

My jean skirt.
Probably my shirt I just got with a picture of a Chinese garden on it. (Seriously?? No Hannah Montana.??No High School Musical?? Yayyyy .. a chip off the old block. This girl marches to her own tune!! :-) )

3.. If you could dye your hair any colour, what would you choose?

It's already dyed. (yes, but what colour?) Anything to hide the grey! (Ok, I get that you've inherited the part of my genes that give you premature grey hairs, BUT WHAT COLOUR?) My natural colour, obviously, anything to hide the gray! (Sighhh .. no adventure there, just whatever it takes to hide the grey)
Red (Well, that was easy. But I was kind of expecting something like I'd put pink or purple stripes through it, which was what Taylor said she was going to do with hers)

4.. What's your favourite thing to do with your Mum?

That's a bit hard to do! (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm not THERE, but what would you like to do with me if I was?) Drink wine. (At this point she was polite enough not to bring up the time that I ended up on all fours on the coffee table, howling like a dog after drinking a little too much wine and I was polite enough not to mention the time that she called me at 2am , to tell me that she was really tiddly and sitting under her plum tree, drinking wine with her best friends.)
Ummmm, giggles, probably play Sing Star (What?) Sing Star, it's a singing game. (I gather it's like Karaoke)

5.. What's the favourite thing to do with your Dad?

Drink coffee (Okay, so I gather I'm the parent to party with!)
Probably, ummmm,. talking to him. (There's a pattern developing here!)

6.. What's the favourite thing to do with your Grandma?

Ummm .. she's got dementia!! So it's a bit hard. (If she didn't have dementia?) Ummm ... Gossip (Really?? Though thinking back, my ex-mum-in-law, who is the sweetest thing ever and I love her to pieces, was always a mine of information about family goings on.)
Giggles (the Nana you're losin' it type of giggles. Yeah, again, I know I'm not here, but humour the elderly one, ok! What did you used to like when you were living here?) Going to stay at your house. (She did to and she used to organise me!)

7.. If a boy you liked gave you a gift , which gift would you like to receive from him?
a - A stuffed animal
b - A beaded bracelet
c - A mix CD he made, himself, for you.

None of the above. (Oh?) Well I'm really not into stuffed animals. (Hmmm, wonder why she singled out stuffed animals. You know I like stuffed animals) Fine!!! A stuffed amimal then. (It wasn't me who mentioned stuffed animals in the answer!)
Giggle. CD. Giggle (Hmmmm, has someone got a slight crush on a boy?)

8.. If you saw an alien swimming in the pool tomorrow morning, when you wake up, what would you do or say to it?

Would you like a towel? (My ever practical daughter. If you are going to come inside, please don't drip on the carpets)
We come in peace (No screams? No fainting? No running? Hasn't she seen 'The Pods' or 'MIB' ? When I asked Taylor the same question, she told me that she would 'Hurt it. Use karate on it. Kick it back to where it came from' . Perhaps it would be better if Aliens landed in NZ first. Their welcome might be a little more genteel.)

9.. If I handed you a $100 bill and told you to spend it however you wanted, what would you spend it on?

Bills. Ummmm (Oohh, she's thinking, she's going to say something exotic!) Ummmm ... definitely bills. (boring) and wine (okay, she saved herself with that last one)
Giggle ... clothes ..yeah (her mother was surprised she hadn't said a cellphone or a MP3 player)

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Chocolate Fudge Slice

My kids used to love this. It was also something my mother used to make when I was a kid.

Griffins, which is a NZ biscuit (cookie) manufacture, used to sell big bags of broken biscuits, that you could use for making this and other goodies.


These are the biscuits that I would normally use for this recipe. Unfortunately, they aren't available here in the US, so you will need to substitute a local product. A plain, sweet, hard/crisp biscuit is best. I've used shortbread, oatmeal, macaroon and sugar biscuits. Don't use a soft biscuit.

The slice in the photos was made with a combination of macaroon and oatmeal biscuits. Great Value Brand from Walmart. It gave the slices a chocolaty coconut flavour.

I've converted the grams to oz. I had to round up the oz, but it all works out in the end!!

I've also put index, of the recipes on my blog, on the right hand column.

Chocolate Fudge Slice

250 gram biscuits (cookies) (9 oz)
1 stick of butter, cubed (4 oz)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa
1 egg, beaten

Crush the biscuits. Don't smash them completely. You want to be left with something resembling breadcrumbs.



Put the beaten egg, cubed butter, sugar, vanilla essence and cocoa in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer, but don't let the mixture come to a boil.



Pour the crushed biscuits into the chocolate syrup mixture and stir until biscuit crumbs are coated. If the mixture looks too wet, add a couple more crushed biscuits. I added another three. As I mentioned previously, I rounded all the grams up to the nearest oz, so depending on the type of biscuit you use, you may have to add more to make the mixture a little stiffer.



Press mixture into a container. You are not going to have to bake it, so the type of container will not matter. If you want a thick slice, use a smaller container. A larger container will give you a thinner product. I think I used an 8" x 8" square cake pan. Put in fridge to set.



When set, you can leave it plain or ice it. I made a simple chocolate icing by sifting 1 cup icing sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa together into a bowl. Mix 1 & 1/2 tbsp of butter and 3 tbsp of boiling hot water together until butter is all melted. Pour butter mixture into icing sugar mixture and mix till smooth. At this point, you can mix in a little more icing sugar, until your icing is the thickness that you want it. I like a stiffer icing, so I mixed just over a 1/3 of a cup more icing sugar.



When icing has set, cut slice into small squares. This is quite a sweet, rich slice, so you don't want the squares too big. You will also need to keep it chilled in the fridge.



You can vary the sweetness, by using a little less sugar. I've made the slice using 3/4 cup or 1/2 a cup and it's turned out fine. The sweetness is also going to be affected by the type of biscuit that you use. I often add in raisins. You can also add in nuts and chopped marshmallows.

Enjoy!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Yayyyyy, It's Friday !!!

First week back at school and I've been feeling the love, however, I'm also a tad tired.

Spending the day in Taylor's 2nd Grade class today, so should be interesting.

Got to fly, but will leave you with two favourite photos of my Granddaughter Sacha, when she was about 20 months old. I was going to enter it in Candid Carries Friday Photo thingummy, but was a little too late for this week's one.

Sacha had been having so much fun with the garden hose ...





Thanks to those that have given me awards!! I'm not ignoring it!! Will be passing them along later today/early tomorrow. *Smooches & Hugs*

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Lemon Delicious Pudding

If you like lemon desserts, this is yummy. It's a pudding from my childhood in NZ and one that I've made many times.

The batter separates during cooking, leaving a light, sponge cake topping and a creamy, lemony custard sauce underneath.

Serve warm, with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of real whipped cream. Cool whip or that cream in a can, will do in a pinch, but c'mon peoples, the real thing is sooo much better! I know that Paula Deen would agree with me. :-)

My photos didn't turn out that great, but you'll get the general idea. I've also put the gram to oz and temperature conversions in parenthesis.

It's also important to use a light hand when mixing and to not over mix or the topping will be tough.


Lemon Delicious Pudding

1 cup sugar
1/4cup of self-raising flour
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
1/2 cup lemon juice
50 g butter (3 1/2 tbsp)
3 eggs (separated)
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 160 deg C (350 deg F).

Beat the egg yolks, sugar, butter and lemon rind together until light and fluffy.



Sift the flour and then fold into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and lemon juice. Remember to use a light hand and don't over mix. The mixture will look curdled, but that's okay. That's the way it's supposed to look.



In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Make sure that your bowl and beaters are clean and free of grease, otherwise the egg whites won't beat up well. Also make sure that there is no egg yolk in the whites. Even a smidgen may mean that you don't get a good volume of beaten whites. A pinch of salt can help the beating process.



Gently fold the beaten egg white into the batter. It's okay to leave lumps of egg white. Again, you don't want to over mix the mixture.





Pour into a 6 cup, oven proof dish. Put the dish into a bigger oven proof container. I used a large Pyrex lasagna dish, but you could also use a roasting dish. You want one that is deep enough to hold water.

Pour water into large dish, so that it comes about 1/3 of the way up the dish that contains your pudding.



Bake for about 45 mins or until the top is golden and well set. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Any left over pudding will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Just rewarm slightly in the microwave.



Wednesday's Video Hodge Podge

One of my favourite songs from the NZ group, 'When The Cat's Away'.

'Asian Paradise'


Monday, 21 July 2008

Messy Kids...



Granddaughter Sacha enjoying cake. Can't believe she is almost a teenager, now...



Her Uncle Kyle, enjoying a chocolate biscuit, about 34 years ago. How time flys. It seems only yesterday..



'I'se making you a pie, Nana !'

Sacha, of course, was dressed like that because we were about to go out. How can you get mad at a face like that, though? :-)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Need a file in a cake, urgently !!

My Mum always said I'd end up like this...



The reason I need the file urgently, is that the Saucy Sheila's over at Saucy Eats are having a contest. The prize is a $50 Williams Sonoma gift card !!!

I gotta be out to win, 'cos they don't have any Internet in this 'ere stinkin' jail. As it is, to post this message, I had to bribe the guard with that bottle of Jack Daniels. He's gettin' a little pie-eyed and I don't like the look of that whip he's holding or the glint in his eye !!!

Plus, he tells me they hold the hangings on the 1st of the month!!!

I'm also a little concerned about the Spice Encrusted Salmon , I was cooking when they nabbed me . It's so good. I don't want it drying out..

So, if you happen to be in a baking mood and have a spare file hangin' around .. I'd be ever so grateful.

Kiwibyrd
c/o Virginia City Jail,
Virginia City
Nevada.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Mamma Mia !!!!

Meet my co-blogger for today, Taylor. I've been looking after Taylor, since she was around 3 months old. She is now almost 8. Her Mum is one of my best friends. Taylor is now going to tell you what she thought of 'Mamma Mia'.

*****************************
Hi everybody, Taylor here. i liked the part when they sang dancing queen. i also liked the end. i also liked when they sang Mamma Mia. On the end they sang and danced to Waterloo and the men came out dressed in Disco clothes and it was funny. Bye.
******************************

I'm back ...

I really liked 'Mamma Mia'. I would see it again and I will buy the DVD.

Meryl Streep really shows what a versatile actress she is. She also has a pretty good set of pipes on her. Boy, is she also athletic. She has given me something to aspire too. Namely doing the splits while jumping on the bed, doing a pretty impressive cannonball off a dock and clambering up and down walls and dancing.. Not bad for a 59 yr old. A role model for middle-aged women, everywhere!! :-)

Julie Walters has been a favourite, of mine, from way back. I loved her in 'Educating Rita' and 'Calender Girls', plus numerous other films and TV shows. The scene at the end, where she dances on the table, while singing 'Take A Chance On Me' is hilarious.

Piers Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, etc all do a great job as well.

And it has Abba's music in it and it's filmed in Greece. :-) What more could you want??

Mamma Mia pulls you in right at the beginning and keeps you toe tapping most of the way through the movie. The urge to get up and dance in the aisles is quite strong.

There are moments in the movie where the pace slows down and you feel your attention start to wander, but then WHAM, it's off at a breakneck pace again.

I possibly would not have taken Taylor with me, if I'd been warned about a couple of things in the movie. There are three or four rather raunchy bits, mostly involving Christine Baranski's character. Fortunately, they only lasted a second and went completely over the top of Taylor's head.

Having said that, there was nothing offensive in the movie. No gratuitous sex scenes, no nudity, except for one brief moment when you see the bare butt cheeks of one of the male leads. Not Pier's unfortunately. :-)

It's just the sort of raunch that you'd expect when a group of middle aged women get together. Believe me, we can be pretty raunchy lot. ;-) Yeah and I know I'm mentioning raunchy a lot!

I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't post what the raunchy bits were. If you're thinking of taking your kids, your elderly aunt or the local priest, and you want to assess whether it would be suitable, then you're more than welcome to email me and I'll give you a rundown..

Taylor really enjoyed it. She quietly sang along to some of the songs, to the amusement of the patrons sitting close to us. She danced out of the theatre and sang 'Dancing Queen' for the next 40 minutes or so.

Me, I walked out with a smile on my face. It's definitely a feel good movie.

Lastly, the actors obviously had heaps of fun making this movie and it just shows!

Below is Taylor giving me and passing motorists, her rendition of 'Dancing Queen' while we were waiting for the bus. I really like the leap at the end. :-)

video

Taylor and I are off to see



Will post review later today, complete with my little guest reviewer. :-)

Thursday, 17 July 2008

It's 'Over There' !!!

Visited the place I most love to hate, yesterday. Yep .... Walmart.

While there, I decide to do something about attacking this pile, as the hubby keeps muttering that he knows he has more denim shirts than that. Yes dear, you do, they're in that pile ...



So, I bought this. My last one sort of collapsed on me recently. I think it might have taken a peek at 'The Pile' and decide to commit hari kari. Yes, I know that is not ironing on the board. It's currently carrying the overflow .....



from my first attempt at making this. It's my BFF Lori's birthday today. Happy Birthday, girl!! She reads my blog, you know, so y'all can wish her a Happy One. :-)



Up at Walmart, they have these really friendly greeters.

There is one lovely group, that have wide, beaming smiles. Unfortunately, their grasp of English is a little limited. Actually, A LOT limited. Though they have got 'Hello' , 'Goodbye' , 'Return?' and my absolute favourite 'Over There' down pat.

'Over there' is usually delivered, with one of the aforementioned smiles and an arm flung out in the direction of the far, right hand corner of the store.

Anyway, yesterday, on my quest to replace my ironing board, I entered the store right behind a young man, who was obviously on a quest of his own. He had his phone to his ear and was engaged in soothing someone on the other end, 'Honey, I'm at Walmart now, I'll be home soon, okay'.

He then asked the greeter, where the diapers were. Aha, I thought, 'Honey' is obviously having a diaper crisis at home.

The greeter, flung her arm out in the familiar gesture, beamed her smile and said 'Over There.'

Now, I knew that diapers were definitely not 'Over There', so I gently nudged the young man in the right direction. He gratefully rushed off, still muttering reassurances to 'Honey'.

Out of curiosity, I decided to see what he would of found, if he had continued on to 'Over There'.

Brother, would he have been surprised to find himself looking at fishing nets and marine oil!

Ahhhh ... those greeters ... God Bless their lovely souls... :-)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Wednesday's Video Hodge Podge ...

Okay, so I changed the name of what I was going to post on Wednesdays. Mainly because I found the video below and decided that there were all sorts of videos that interested me and not just commercials. So every Wednesday, I'm going to share one with you. Aren't I just toooooo kind? :-)

Feel free to join in, if you want. Send me the link to your post and I'll add it to my Wednesday post.

This is a blast from the past and a song that I loved when it was released around 1963. Listening to it now, I'm still in love with it!!

Kyu Sakamoto (1941-1985)

'Sukiyaki'



Pasted from the description of the video.

*****************************************
Kyu Sakamoto sings Sukiyaki at the TV show "shall we meet at seven?" in 1963.

From the Newspaper:
KYU SAKAMOTO (Capitol)
HOME TOWN: Kawasaki, Japan. AGE: 22 BACKGROUND: Kyu (pronounced "Q") has been a big star in Japan for almost four years, racking up eight best selling albums and 15 hit singles in that time, as well as acting in movies and television appearances. When Washington state disk jockey Rich Osborne (KORD) played a track from a Toshiba LP for his audience recently, entitled "Ue O Mui Te Aruko" the response was so favourable that the disk was soon one of the most popular in Washington State. Capitol Records, the U.S. associate of Toshiba decided to release it in this country, but changed the name to "Sukiyaki."


The Lyrics:
Looking up while walking
Ue wo muite arukou

So the tears won't fall
Namida ga koborenai youni

Remebering those spring days
Omoidasu haru no hi

All alone at night
Hitoribocchi no yoru

Looking up while walking
Ue wo muite arukou

And counting the scattered stars
Nijinda hoshi wo kazoete

Remembering those summer days
Omoidasu natsu no hi

All alone at night
Hitoribocchi no yoru

Happiness lies above the clouds
Shiawase wa kumo no ue ni

Happiness lies above the sky
Shiawase wa sora no ue ni

Looking up while walking
Ue wo muite arukou

So the tears won't fall
Namida ga koborenai youni

Keep walking on, while crying
Naki nagara aruku

It's a lonely night
Hitoribocchi no yoru

Omoidasu aki no hi
Remembering those autumn days

Sadness is in the shadow of the stars
Kanashimi wa hoshi no kage ni

Sadness is in the shadow of the moon
Kanashimi wa tsuki no kage ni

Looking up while walking
Ue wo muite arukou

So the tears won't fall
Namida ga koborenai youni

Keep walking on, while crying
Naki nagara aruku

It's a lonely night
Hitoribocchi no yoru

It's a lonely night
Hitoribocchi no yoru

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

SITS contest

YAAAYYYY .. another chance at a Target card, thanks to those two bonza sheilas* at SITS .

They're offering three, that's right, THREE, Sistsa's a chance at a $50 target card. Read all about it here .

One of them definitely has my name on it! The rest of you can fight over the other two...

* 'Sheila', is downunder speak for a female . 'Bonza' = terrific, great, wonderful, etc.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

I Got An Award !!!!!

Insane Mama gave me an award. Thankyou, IM !!!



It's such a cute award and is called the
Arte Y Pico .

I'm so excited, It's the first award I've received and it makes me feel like a *real* blogger now :-)

I now need to pass it on to five more people and I agree with what Insane Mama said. It's hard to choose, you want to give it to everyone!!!

Anyway, I'm awarding it to these five....

Apple Joos - Apple has such a wonderful, offbeat sense of humour.She's also very concerned about the environment and has an awesome paint scheme in her home. Plus her dog broke her laptop and she still loves him.That makes her okay in my book! :-) I also just found out that her husband got bitten by a spider, in an unmentionable place. She soooo deserves this award !!!!!

The Farmer's Wife - Suzanne could give Martha Stewart a run for her money. I thank her for her post about making cake plates. Taylor and I had so much fun making our 4th July ones. I also thank her for her tutorial on how to make an apron out of a shirt. She's the sort of neighbour and friend that you really wish you had and if you did you'd cherish her forever.

This Is The Life - Debbie has so many interesting posts on her blog. I love her style of writing and her outlook on life. I always get a sense of peace and being at home, when I read her blog. She also like Diet Coke with lemon and has the cutest kids! :-)

Diet Coke Rocks - Chris is a fellow New Zealander. She has a big heart and an 'In Your Face' attitude towards life (and I mean that in the nicest and most positive way.) She can be counted on to tell it to you the way it is. These qualities got her through a really serious health scare recently. Chris, you rock as well :-)

Stretch Marks - Melissa Lee is a hoot. She has such a humorous, down to earth, refreshingly honest outlook on life. She's another one that obviously has the gift for making people feel at ease and at home. She also has the cutest daughter!! I hope this angel will watch over and get her safely through her current journey.

Enjoy, Ladies :-)

Arghhhhhh ...Puzzles!!!

The label on the front says it all.

'SCRAMBLE SQUARES. Perhaps the World's Most Challenging Puzzle.'

No kidding!!



You start off with nine squares. The aim is to perfectly match the pictures on the square's edges, so that you form a large square. Sounds easy? After all, the front of the package says that it's 'FOR AGES 4 To 104'.

Yeah ... well ... I reckon I'll be 104 by the time I solve the blasted thing!!



Looks good, except that the Hammerhead shark in the top left corner has a Great White's tail. On the right hand side, middle square, a Sand Tiger has a Great White's tail and a Great White has a Hammerhead's tail. The good news is, the Leopard sharks have all their correct appendages.



Try # 1001, or so it seemed. Thought I had it this time. Then I noticed that the Hammerhead in the bottom right square, was sporting a Great White's tail. Little hard to see, because of the camera's flash, but trust me, it definitely has a mismatched tail.

Anybody got a four year old that's solved it ????

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Entertainment Weekly's New Movie Classics

This is a movie meme from Kats site. It's Entertainment Weekly's list of New Movie Classics.

I'm surprised at some of the movies that are on the list and even more surprised at those that are left off. 'The Killing Fields', 'Indian Jones' movies, 'Harry Potter', 'Finding Nemo', 'Hotel Rwanda', 'The Mummy & The Mummy Returns (with Brendon Fraser), 'The Last Of The Mohicans', 'The Pirates Of The Caribbean', 'Dances With Wolves' to name just a few.

I wonder what their criteria was in choosing this list?

To play, you need to copy the list. Then put the movies that you have watched in bold. Put an asterisk next to the movie if you liked it. Comments are optional.

1. Pulp Fiction 1994
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy 2001-03 *** I loved the films and of course it was filmed in NZ, so that made it extra likeable. It was interesting to recognise places that I'd been.
3. Titanic 1997 Loved this one. *
4. Blue Velvet 1986
5. Toy Story 1995 *
6. Saving Private Ryan 1998 *
7. Hannah and Her Sisters 1986
8. The Silence of the Lambs 1991*
9. Die Hard 1988*
10. Moulin Rouge 2001 Really was not able to get into this one
11. This Is Spinal Tap 1984
12. The Matrix 1999*
13. GoodFellas 1990
14. Crumb 1995
15. Edward Scissorhands 1990*
16. Boogie Nights 1997
17. Jerry Maguire 1996 * This is one of the few Tom Cruise movies that I've liked. His acting is often rather wooden and I went off him big time over his couch jumping antics and his outburst over Brooke Shields.
18. Do the Right Thing 1989
19. Casino Royale 2006 *
20. The Lion King 1994** Love this series of movies
21. Schindler’s List 1993* This movie reduced me to tears, I have it on DVD and am building up to watching it again. There are so many lessons to be learnt from this movie
22. Rushmore 1998
23. Memento 2001
24. A Room With a View 1986*
25. Shrek 2001* Love me some Shrek!!
26. Hoop Dreams 1994
27. Aliens 1986*
28. Wings of Desire 1988
29. The Bourne Supremacy 2004*
30. When Harry Met Sally… 1989** There are so many classic lines in this movie. 'I'll have what she's having'
31. Brokeback Mountain 2005
32. Fight Club 1999*
33. The Breakfast Club 1985*
34. Fargo 1996*
35. The Incredibles 2004
36. Spider-Man 2 2004*
37. Pretty Woman 1990 ** Another movie that I have on DVD and watch over and over again!
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004
39. The Sixth Sense 1999 *
40. Speed 1994*
41. Dazed and Confused 1993
42. Clueless 1995
43. Gladiator 2000 ** I liked this movie, even though I don't do knife and sword gore that well. Spent some time hiding under my jacket, asking if it the sword cutting/stabbing stuff was over yet.
44. The Player 1992
45. Rain Man 1988 *
46. Children of Men 2006 *
47. Men in Black 1997 *
48. Scarface 1983* There is a shower scene in this involving a chain saw. I have had a phobia about chain saws ever since!
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2000* Lovely movie
50. The Piano 1993** Anna Panquin was so good in this.My daughter was also dating the Director's (Jane Campion) nephew. I met her briefly, amazing woman.
51. There Will Be Blood 2007
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad 1988*
53. The Truman Show 1998
54. Fatal Attraction 1987*
55. Risky Business 1983*
56. The Lives of Others 2006
57. There’s Something About Mary 1998 *
58. Ghostbusters 1984 *
59. L.A. Confidential 1997 *
60. Scream 1996*
61. Beverly Hills Cop 1984*
62. sex, lies and videotape 1989
63. Big 1988*
64. No Country For Old Men 2007this is one I want to see
65. Dirty Dancing 1987** 'Nobody puts baby in the corner.' Can I say cheesy. But I love the movie. One that I got watch over and over again and I do!
66. Natural Born Killers 1994*
67. Donnie Brasco 1997
68. Witness 1985*
69. All About My Mother 1999
70. Broadcast News 1987
71. Unforgiven 1992 *
72. Thelma & Louise 1991*
73. Office Space 1999*
74. Drugstore Cowboy 1989
75. Out of Africa 1985*
76. The Departed 2006 *
77. Sid and Nancy 1986
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 *
79. Waiting for Guffman 1996
80. Michael Clayton 2007 Another one that I want to see
81. Moonstruck 1987*
82. Lost in Translation 2003*
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn 1987 *
84. Sideways 2004
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin 2005*
86. Y Tu Mamá También 2002
87. Swingers 1996
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery 1997*
89. Breaking the Waves 1996
90. Napoleon Dynamite 2004
91. Back to the Future 1985*
92. Menace II Society 1993
93. Ed Wood 1994
94. Full Metal Jacket 1987 *This was another movie that I saw, where the audience filed out in total silence. Powerful.
95. In the Mood for Love 2001
96. Far From Heaven 2002
97. Glory 1989*Good movie
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley 1999
99. The Blair Witch Project 1999 Weird. Not sure why it's on the list
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut 1999

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Jumping Out Of A Perfectly Good Airplane (Part 2)

PART 1


So here I was, climbing into this tiny little plane, that looked as though it was held together with No 8 fencing wire and a couple of sticks of chewing gum. The instructor had also just informed me that I was wearing the cargo chute.

That was the one with the flare point down around your knees.

This flaring thing is pretty important. It's how you slow down your chute while you're landing. It sort of makes the difference between landing softly like a piece of thistledown and strolling away or coming down with a big thump and breaking half the bones in your body!!

Oh and did I mention that this instructor was about 6' tall and I'm only 5' 1" ? Slight difference in length to knees there....

I climbed into the plane and was directed to sit on the floor by the pilot. The other people that were jumping with me were in the seats behind the pilot. I don't actually remember them, I was back in my dissociated, robot like trance by then.





The above folks, other than being a horrible photo, is what I look like when I'm really, really scared !!

I'm also not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or trying to stop my heart jumping out of my chest. I'd been told to guard my ripcord handle, just in case someone stumbled over me as they were exiting the plane. Apparently they don't like your chute deploying while you're still in the plane! And yes, according to the instructor, that has been known to happen. So as you can see, I'm really concentrating hard on guarding that sucker. No chute was going to deploy on my watch. No Siree!!!

We got to 3500 ft. I was the last one to go. I have no conscious memory of the others exiting the plane. I also have no conscious memory of leaving the plane myself.



I did leave the plane. The photo above is proof that not only do I have short legs and a wide bum, but I am also capable of insane, 'I've lost my marbles','I don't believe I just did that' and 'What was I thinking' moments.

Yes. that's me. Standing OUTSIDE the plane, at 3500 ft, clutching on to the wing strut with one foot on the plane's wheel and the other leg hanging out there. That strap leading back to the plane, is the static line. The instructor is holding the other end of it. Once I'm away from the plane, he'll pull it and hopefully, my chute will open.

I'm at the point of no return. I can't clamber back into the plane and if I don't jump off the wheel after the instructor has told me twice to 'Go', the pilot will simply drop the wheel and I'll fall off.

The next few seconds are totally blank. I'm told that they did NOT have to drop the wheel as I fell forward into a good arch position. I do not remember that.

I was jerked back into reality, by my chute opening. I looked up and saw that I had a perfect canopy. My lines were slightly twisted, which I'd been told might happen. I kicked out a couple of times, and my lines untwisted, much like a swing's ropes do, when you've twisted them around.

How to find the words to describe how I felt and what I was experiencing ?

I was no longer scared. It was a very peaceful, floating sensation. There was also no noise, which rather surprised me. I was completely alone, with nothing for company but God's beautiful, wide open, blue sky.

Nowadays, when I look up and see a bird, soaring and gliding on the air currents, I understand what it is like to be that bird. To soar, to be free, to be pillowed by the air, to fly. It's a feeling, an experience like no other....

Unfortunately, reality soon intruded and I realised that the earth was considerably closer than it had been a few minutes ago. Time to start flying myself toward the landing zone (LZ).

The LZ was a small field that was bounded on one side by a tall barbed wire fence, on the other by power lines and on the third by everyone's vehicles. The fourth side was open to the desert.

In the center of the field there was a large target. This was what we were supposed to aim for and land on. Beside the target was a big arrow that could be turned to guide us in. At the side of the field was a tall pole. Once we got to the height of this pole, 10 ft IIRC, we were then to flare in preparation for landing gently on our feet.

It quickly became apparent to me, that the guy running the arrow, was not taking into account how slow my chute was to turn. He'd have the arrow pointed in one direction, I'd slowly turn and while that was happening, I'd notice that he'd swung the arrow around in at least two other directions.

At that point, I was really concerned about the possibility of flying into the power lines, fence or vehicles, given how hard my chute was to control. So I decided to take the other option and land out in the desert.

While this eliminated the obstacles, it also left me with no flare point reference. As a result, I flared to high and also did a low level turn. All that pretty much guarantees a hard landing, injury and the possibility of death.

Back at the LZ, a group were already in a truck and on their way out to me, before I'd even landed. They told me later, that it was one of the scariest landing they'd ever witnessed and they were fully expecting to find me injured or worse.

I remember thinking that the earth was getting pretty close, so perhaps it was time to flare. I was a little surprised that I didn't appear to be slowing down as much as they described I would and I remember clearly thinking 'S**t this is going to hurt' and 'Please God, please don't let there be any rattle snakes down there'.

Then I hit the ground, hard and rolled. The fact that I went into a roll as I hit, was probably what saved me from nothing more than a few aches and pains and a couple of rather spectacular bruises.

Would I ever skydive again? You gotta be kidding me !! Absolutely NOT !! You think I have a death wish or something???

Do I regret sky diving? No, I don't. It was an incredible experience and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Even if I do get sweaty palms just thinking about it. :-)

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Commercially Yours Wednesday

I love surfing Utube for funny/sad/sweet/whatever commercials.

So I've decided to post one of my favourites, every Wednesday.

If you want to join in and share your favourites, on Wednesday, let me know and I'll post a link to your post from mine. You'll need to email me the link by 6am PST, Wednesday morning, so I can put it in my post.

This ad is from Australia. It's a bit saucy and the video quality is not the best, but it makes me giggle, amongst other things, every time I watch it!



'Nice .... luggage' indeed :-)

Monday, 7 July 2008

Celebrating Heroes

My Dearest Americans,

This post has been on my mind for awhile. I haven't been so sure about how to write it, though. Or how to find the right words to express how I feel. I'm not even sure if I have found them below. Hopefully, there will be those that understand what I'm trying to say.

During my time here in the US, I've received many questions, comments and misconceptions about New Zealand. The majority of those have been rather humorous, however there have also been some darker ones as well.

Among those have been ... "Why do you foreigners hate us Americans so much?" .... " We saved your butts in WW1/WW2/Korea/Vietnam/etc" and "Nobody appreciates what America does."

Sadly, the above seems to be a fairly widespread belief, so I'd like to attempt to dispel those myths, at least from my perspective.




The above is a photo of my Great Uncle Stanley. He died on the 24th December, 1944, in atrocious weather on a muddy battlefield somewhere between Rimini and Ravenna, Italy.

He left NZ, on a troopship, sometime in 1940. If I remember family history correctly, he fought in Egypt, Crete and finally Italy.

He never returned home. Instead, he lies in Forli War Cemetery , along with 737 other Commonwealth war dead. He was 31 years old. He died just 6 short years before I was born.

My Uncle Arthur also fought in WW2. He was captured by the Germans and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp in Germany. He returned to NZ a very different man from the one that had left. He refused to talk about those experiences and spent a lot of his time alone, usually on a deserted beach, fishing. I can only begin to imagine what he must have gone through in those years.

At the start of WW2, NZ had a population of approximately 1,640,000 . Our Military dead, during that war came to 11,625 which amounted to the highest ratio of all the Commonwealth countries and the US. There were over 20,000 wounded.

The cost of financing the war effort was also high. NZ took part in all but 3 days of the 2179 days of WW2 and our overall contribution was 30% of our national income. That rose to 50% between 1942 - 1944.

NZ has taken part in most wars that have taken place since it became a nation. We currently have troops in Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world.

The above, may go somewhat towards explaining why my jaw clenches a bit, when I'm told that 'America saved my butt' and that 'I show no gratitude' and it may also explain similar reactions in other foreigners.

America could not have won WW2 all by herself. Neither could she have fought other battles alone. I think, that sometimes, in the glow of national pride, that simple fact gets forgotten. I don't even think that it's said with any intention to give offence, but still, it's like a slap in the face to those that have fought alongside the US.

I am so grateful to America for being there to help defend the freedoms that I enjoy. I am so grateful that there were Marines in the South Pacific region, to help defend NZ while our boys were overseas defending other countries. On ANZAC day (when NZ and Australia remember their war dead) I also remember the fallen from other countries, including the US.

Is it that Americans are not really aware of the role that other countries have played?

Does the rest of the World hate America ? In my experience, no. There are factions out there that do hate America, but those factions also hate anybody that is different from them, which often includes their own countrymen and 99.9% of the rest of the world.

Do we show gratitude to America? I can only answer that in terms of what I know about NZ. In Frank Kitts Park, Wellington, there is a plaque, that is dedicated to the Marines that were in NZ during WW2.


At Queen Elizabeth Park, just out of Wellington, there is this memorial to the US Marines. During WW2, this was one of the sites of a camp that housed 1000's of US Marines. They were there for R&R and also training. NZ was the last friendly country many of them ever saw.

There are also other memorials, to the US Marines, in other parts of New Zealand.



In Christchurch, NZ, there is also this memorial. It's made from beams from the World Trade Centre. They were gifted to Christchurch, by the City of New York One of only 5 places, outside of the US, that have received pieces of the WTC. It's known as The Firefighter's Memorial and is dedicated to all firefighters throughout the world. However, it is also known, locally, as the 9/11 memorial.

During fire season, here in the US, there are firefighting contingents from NZ and Australia helping fight the wildfires, which, incidentally, lays waste to the other claim I sometimes hear ... 'The US helps out other countries, but nobody helps the US out.'

On that note, I will bow out with something that my Grandmother used to say to me, when I complained that people didn't thank me for things I'd done.

"My dear child, to receive thanks, you must first give thanks."

Yours,

A thankful Kiwi. :-)

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Exciting giveaways!!!

Tip Junkie is celebrating the 1st year birthday of her blog, with 20 days of incredible giveaways.

Go here to get the details...

Be there or be square !!!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Lost in the translation.....



I do enjoy a nice cuppa tea. Brewed in my little cast iron teapot, using proper tea leaves and not those wannabe tea bags.

This morning, I wandered down to the little Asian market, that's just around the corner from me, and bought a new canister of loose tea leaves. It's fortunate that I know how to brew a pot of tea, because I'd have been all at sea if I'd tried to follow the directions on the package.

To quote as written....


' Put the tea-Things in boiling water. After bearing flushing with the heating water, put in the proper amount of tea leaves. '

Clear as .... mud!

You Think?????

Hubby is currently sitting on the couch, perusing his Barbecuing Bible, looking for rubs.

Him ... " This looks interesting, but it might be a bit hot. "

Me ... " Oh? "

Him ... " It's got 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper in it. "

Oh, Those Saucy Sits Girls....

They have another competition going .... for a... wait for it ... $100 GIFT CARD TO TARGET !!!

Oh, be still my beating heart. I so want to win that, especially since I missed out on the bag! Mainly because I plain spaced entering, due to being on Flexeril for a couple of days, due to a spasamy back. That stuff makes me loopy!

But, I'm now, mostly, back in control of all my senses, so I'm definitely entering this one!!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Of Cupcakes and Cake Plates

I recently found this post on At Home With The Farmer's Wife about how to make pedestal cake plates. I tell ya, this woman could give Martha Stewart a run for her money!

So today, Taylor and I decided to make some 4Th July cake plates and of course, something to put on them, cupcakes!

We decided that we wanted to fill the pedestal base with tiny foil stars and paint the plate with red, white and blue stars. So we set off to find something suitable.

We found what we wanted at Big Lots. Three large, clear glass plates and three small, glass candlesticks for the grand total $8.64 plus tax.

Followed Suzanne's precise instructions on how to assemble the plates. First time I'd ever worked with the epoxy glue that comes in the two syringes. I discovered that you need to make sure that you have the base exactly where you want it, because after a few seconds it's there for good, especially if you press down hard on it. As a result, one plate has it's base slightly off center, but that just adds to the uniqueness. :-)



Taylor had fun painting stars on the plates, with the help of a glowing eyed Meesha ! It's the most intent that I've seen Taylor, on a task, for awhile.



The base of the plate.



The finished plates.



Taylor very proud of the plates and the cupcakes that she'd made

Mind you, that plate of cupcakes almost came to a rather sticky end. As when she got in the car to go home with her Mum, she almost sat on them!

Happy 4Th July, everyone !!!