Saturday, 31 January 2009

Camera Critters ... The Past Remembered

Camera Critters

This was my best mate Mike.

His NZKC papers, had his official name as 'Manhatten Fleetwood Mac', however we just called him Mike.

He was a beautiful boy. Playful, inquisitive and fiercely loyal and protective of his family.

I was out walking with him one night and a couple of guys pulled up in a car and started hassling me. Mike wasn't going to have anything of that. He pushed between me and the car, jumped up and planted those big feet on the edge of the window, bared his teeth and stuck his nose right in the face of the bloke in the front seat. His growl clearly said 'Back off and leave my Mum alone, or you'll have to deal with me, mate!'

Sadly, we lost Mike in a house fire about 24 years ago.

R.I.P. old friend .. you will never be forgotten.

Now go to CAMERA CRITTERS and join in the fun.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - Aquaman !!!

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

When my kids were growing up, back home in Wellington, New Zealand, we were very fortunate to live about a 10 - 20 minute walk from at least three beaches.

There were more to choose from, about a 15 minute car drive away, which meant that many summer days were spent lazing on the sand.

Found this photo of my youngest son, Stephen (one of my twins) trying out one of his Christmas presents. He'd wanted goggles, flippers and a snorkel...

He was rather obsessed about that set. I'd often find him flip flopping around the house, a towel acting as a cape, brandishing a light saber ( Star Wars was a favourite too ) and wearing his water gear .... ready to defend home and hearth, the World and the Universe from any baddies that could be skulking around ...

Do/did your kiddies have any obsessions ??

Do you ?? :-)

Monday, 26 January 2009

Monday Weighty Matters And Wishes For Sunshine And Lemonade

Some good news this week....

First week of the change in my eating habits and the scales, this morning, showed that I had lost 3 pounds. I was very happy :-)

As a visual ... here is 3 pounds of butter out of my fridge.

Just imagine those babies melted in a pool round your feet. Not a pretty image !!

This past week, of being on my 'I'm Not On A Diet', went pretty well.

I made sure I had my daily fix of 7 servings of fruit and veges.

I ate things like shrimp in a cream sauce. However, I just had a SMALL portion and loaded up the rest of my plate with salad.

I kept myself hydrated, which tends to be a bit of a struggle with me.

I think it also helped, that I ate food that had a decent amount of fibre in it....cereals, whole wheat bread, etc.

My husband does not like whole wheat pasta, so I snuck the fibre in by using this range of pasta.

It has 6 grams of dietary fibre, calcium and it tastes just like ordinary pasta. :-)A great idea if you want to increase the amount of fibre in your family's diet and you have a hubby and kids that turn their noses up at whole wheat products. Sometimes it's good to be sneaky!!

I also found these, at the supermarket, this weekend. They taste really good and are going to be ideal for a snack at school.

Dark Chocolate Almond is my favourite !!

I'm still rather limited to what I can do, exercise wise, because of my knee. However, I have managed some walks, wearing my knee brace. I'm going to increase my distance, as my knee allows. At the moment it's sort of a speed limp. :-)

The other good news is that we got some much needed rain and snow this weekend.

The trees and bushes looked really pretty with a light dusting of snow. Unfortunately it had melted by later in the afternoon...


I just found out that a blogging friend of mine, Kat at Sunshine and Lemonade is in need of prayers and many good thoughts. Her husband Michael had an aneurysm this weekend. He has had surgery and he is now stable.

Please keep Kat, Michael and their two girls, Katie and Madalyn in your prayers and thoughts.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Camera Critters - Fun In The Snow

Camera Critters

Haven't had much in the way of a snowfall this year. However, a couple of years ago we had quite a bonanza.

Both Meesha and Sparky were in doggy heaven. They discovered it was fun to dive off the deck into the snow.

Meesha popping to the surface ....

Heading back to the deck for another go...

Sparky, dog paddling in the snow ...

His tail was wagging happily as he paddled through the snow. :-)

Go to CAMERA CRITTERS and join in the fun.

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - Kids Do The Strangest Things..

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

I walked into the living room at Taylor's house, a while back and found this ...

Even Ziggy, the dog, found it a little odd. He got down and observed this peculiar sight a little closer ..

Yep ... those were Taylor's legs and she was sound asleep ...

'I was asleep until you started flashing that thing at me!!'

I asked her why she'd spread a blanket on the floor, pulled the laundry basket over her head and gone to sleep ...

The answer to that will have to remain one of life's small mysteries as I got the usual kiddy answer .... those shrugged shoulders and 'I dunno' .. :-)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!

Straight after President Bush's last 'State Of The Union' speech, Nevada's Governor Gibbon, gave his 'State Of The State' report.

To put it mildly, Nevada's state is rather rocky. Not quite as bad as our neighbour, California, but the budget is facing a big shortfall.

One of the *bright* ideas our Gov had, to address this, was a 6% pay cut to all State employees, including teachers.

Not sure what cereal box he discovered that brainwave in or even what he was smoking when he conceived it, but it has been received with the same sort of enthusiasm that one feels when discovering that you just stepped in a pile of dog poo !!

As I have mentioned before, I volunteer, in the classroom, at one of my local schools. In fact, I spend a good part of my week there, so I have got to know the teachers and what they do, very well.

Many of them arrive at school around 7am and leave after 5pm on an average working day. When they have Parent/Teacher conferences,etc, the hours can be even longer.

They work through their lunch hours and take work home with them to grade,etc.

They spend their own money on classroom and teaching supplies. The average, when I inquired recently, seems to be around $1000 a year. Some, spend much more, especially if they teach at one of the poorer schools.

They volunteer their time after school and at weekends, for extracurricular activities, such as sports, bands and so on.

They deal, on a daily basis, with problem kids and parents who can be less than pleasant.

In the school that I work at, there is a high percentage of kids who are ESL. So the teachers have the added stress, of trying to balance educating their pupils while trying to teach them how to speak, read and write English.

They also are expected to continue their own education at their own expense.

There are numerous other things, that I have left off my list ... stuff that they do, while installing in our kids, the knowledge they need to face the future.

And for all this, they are expected to take a 6% wage cut ????

Governor Gibbons, I think not !!!

What is the State of your State??

Is the budget calling for pay cuts and other measures??

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A New Beginning...

This last week has been tiring. I'm back, at school, after an extended Christmas break.

Unfortunately, I slipped on some black ice, just before Christmas, and have a suspected tear to the lateral meniscus on the outside of my left knee.

I need a MRI to confirm it, however that will have to wait until J is back in permanant employment and we have health insurance. On that front, he has an interview on the 29th which looks very promising. Prayers, good thoughts and crossed fingers needed !! In the meantime, I'm sporting this really fashionable(NOT !!) knee brace. At least it is making being on my feet a lot more comfortable..

I have a new weightloss ticker on the left hand side of my blog. It's going to be a lot better for my poor, abused knees, and the rest of me, if I lose some ... umm ... lets get real here ... A LOT ... of this excess baggage I'm lugging around.

I've decided that I am not going to DIET, as I really hate that word. Instead I'm going to focus on eating smaller portions. Eating healthier, with more fruits, vegeatables, chicken and fish.

I'm also going to include more exercise, which will be a little limited, at first, due to my knee problem. The good news about the brace, is that I can get out and walk for awhile. Not quite as many miles or as fast as I could before, but I'll take what my knee will give me !

I'm going to weigh myself once a week, on Monday, and update my ticker then. I figure that going Nationwide/International with my endeavour, will hopefully keep me on the straight and narrow.

Another new beginning, hopefully, also starts today. I say 'hopeful' in that I really do not want to see this great country, thrown into the type of turmoil, that is my worst fear...

In all honesty, if I had been able to vote, he would not have been my choice, mainly because of his inexperience, amongst other things.

However, despite that, President Obama gets my support, prayers and best of wishes. He has a very difficult road ahead of him on many fronts. Because, again, offering any else, would be wishing for less than the best. However, that does not mean that I will realax my guard !!

I think that he needs all of our prayers and good wishes, whether we were for or against him, citizens or not, Democrats or Republicans, black or white.

The media has whipped up much of the frenzy and hype surrounding him. My prayers are that he will be able to live up to most of this, as the ramifications of failure are to horrible to consider...

God Bless America !

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Camera Critters - Ducks, Geese and Gulls

Camera Critters

We have a very small lake, just a few blocks from where I live.

I spend many a happy hour at it, being entertained by the wildlife that lives there.

In New Zealand, most of the main cities are on the coast. So seagulls were just a normal part of the scenery.

Last thing I expected, when I moved to a inland city in the United States, was to see, gulls everywhere. Especially since I was now living in the High Sierra Desert.

However, here in Reno, gulls are plentiful...

This one is playing 'King Of The Rock' and he defended it from any would be claimant, very vigorously....

Captured this one as it snatched a piece of bread, that had just been thrown...

Waiting , hopefully, to see if I had any food for them...

These two let me get quite close..

Very curious about what I was doing. I like how the camera captured the drops of water still clinging to his feathers...

Duck fight !!!

These two little fellas, were having rather a battle royal. The one being pinned down kept getting too close to the top drake's mate.

The interloper just did not get the 'Hand's off, Mate, she's mine' message and kept swimming in. I must have sat and watched them have at it, for a good 30 minutes or more.

For more animal antics,head over to CAMERA CRITTERS and play. :-)

Friday, 16 January 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - Blood Orange Sun

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

I was hunting through my Foto Files, this morning, for the picture I was thinking of using for this post, and as usual, I couldn't find it.

However, I did come across these.

Almost two years ago, we had a big fire in the foothills directly in front of us.

Over the week or so that it took to fight the blaze, we had a front row seat.

Some of the most spectacular sights, were those that took place as the sun was setting behind the plumes of smoke that were blanketing the sky.

Hopefully this will not be a preview of what we can expect this summer. It's very dry here, with above normal temperatures.

So far, this January, we have had no storms. If this continues, it will be the first time in something like 150 years, that this has happened.

So, if those of you, that are currently experiencing all that snow and below normal temps, we'd be very grateful if you could send a little bit our way !!!

The trees, that are currently trying to bud, would thank you as well.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Life's Little Contrasts...

While I was out getting some exercise, this morning, I walked past a sad little scene.

The bailiff's were removing a young Mum and her two kids from their house.

Both kids were clinging to their Mum and screaming and she was tearfully asking if she could please go back inside and get some of their things.

One bailiff was telling her no, that she would have to talk to the judge to arrange a time. The other bailiff was standing by while somebody hammered an 'Owned By Bank' sign into the front lawn.

Sadly, this is a situation that is being enacted, all over the country, to good, honest, hard working people.

People who, often through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times.

I see this at the school I volunteer at. More and more of the kids, that I work with , are living in shelters or motels. Listed in the ranks of 'homeless'.

Most of them eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at school. Because the school has a high percentage of children who qualify, all the meals are free. Without those meals, many of the kids would not get three meals a day. I'm not going to start on the quality of those meals. I'll save that for another post. Suffice to say, that if that is the only food those kids are getting, it needs to be nutritious!!

The school has a store of clothing, school supplies, etc, that is donated to help these kids. Some of them get their first pair of socks, when they start school..

It's heartbreaking..

Then I came home and read, online, all about how Josh & Fergie had tied the knot.

Apparently their wedding cost a rumored $1.5 million.

I wish those two all the happiness in the world.

I also realise that it's their money. They earned it. It's theirs to spend whichever way they want to...

However, there is also this little voice inside me that is asking 'How much food and clothing, would that $1.5 million have bought for these kids?'

Monday, 12 January 2009

Good Grief ... However Did I Make It To This Ripe Old Age Without One ???

I was informed, by Miss Taylor, when I picked her up from school one day last week, that 'Teenagers couldn't live without a cellphone'!

Well !! I must be a dying breed then, because I managed to survive my teenage years, my 20's, 30's , 40's and part of my 50's without a cellphone attached to my hip, ear or any other of my appendages. I finally gave in and bought my first cellphone two or three years ago.

I'm currently on my third phone.

I managed to drown one. That cellphone somehow landed in an empty coffee cup. That coffee cup then ended up in a stockpot, that I'd filled full of water and baking soda and set to soak due to the beans I'd burnt. I found the phone about two days later, when I poured the water out..

I suspect the second one is in a local landfill. I vaguely remember dropping it in a plastic shopping bag as the pants I was wearing at the time, did not have pockets.

This latest one is a small flip top phone and fits in my pocket, or, as I discovered recently, comfortably inside my bra.

Taylor's comment rather cracked me up, which, I suspect, was not the reaction she was looking for, as she then stomped off ahead of me.

Apparently she had already suggested to her mother, that she really needed a cellphone and Lori had reacted pretty much the same way that I did. I think she was hoping that I'd tell her Mum that a phone would be a great idea!

Even though I was sort of dragged kicking and screaming into the mobile world, I will admit there are some advantages ...

* As long as I remember to keep the thing charged, I now no longer have to go searching for a payphone, if I have to call in a fire/robbery/car crash/heart attack/whatever. Not that I have to do that every time I leave the house, but it has happened..

* Saves a second trip back to the store, because my menopausal brain has forgotten what the heck it was that I'd gone up there to get. Now, like ET, I can phone home and be reminded..

* Lets me call up J or a friend and tell them all about the funny thing that just happened to me or, as on one occasion, have mild hysterics re the gun that just got pointed in my direction while I was waiting outside Walmart !

There are cons as well ....

* Can't count the times I've almost been mown down in a crosswalk, by some driver to busy yakking on their phone, to pay attention to what's in front of them...

* It can be a little weird, when you walk by an otherwise sane looking person, who apparently appears to be having a conversation with an imaginary friend. Then you see the Bluetooth tucked in their ear. Bit of a relief, that...

* People who have loud conversations about inappropriate subjects, on public transport. Lady, I really am not interested in knowing how many orgasms your latest squeeze gave you!!! I'm not kidding, that actually happened last week.

* People that have loud conversations about anything. Why do they think that they have to yell into the phone???

* Once upon a time, when out for a walk, you'd actually get to nod, smile and sometimes even exchange pleasantries with people. Now, their heads are down, phones are glues to their ears and the rest of the world is tuned out. It's rather sad ...we are losing the art of communicating, face to face, with each other...

So ... confession time...

Do you talk on your phone and drive ??

Does your 8 yr old have a cellphone ??

What age to you think is appropriate for a phone ??

What's your biggest bug bear about cellphones ??

Friday, 9 January 2009

Camera Critters .... A Cat's Life ..

Camera Critters

A friend of mine has this cat, who is a little shy..

He thinks that nobody can see him...

But he kind of sticks out, don't you think... :-)

She has quite a menagerie at her place, including these magnificent PEACOCKS (click on 'peacocks' to see them.)

For more animal antics,head over to CAMERA CRITTERS and play. :-)

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - A Collection Of Cuties :-)

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

My three Grandsons, from the right Logan, Alexander and Xavier, busily brushing their teeth. Don't they look adorable? :-)

My oldest Granddaughter, looking cool...

Okay, this is one of my grownup twins, Christina. I mentioned in my previous Friday post, that the twins were about to turn 30, this year. She corrected me in the comments, pointing out that she was, in fact, about to turn 31.

She's looking pretty good for 30 and the mother of the four in the above photos, don't you think? :-)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Girly Girl...

Last Friday, Taylor and I took a trip to 'Girly Girl' at the Mall.

She had her 8th Birthday Party there, and she won a Makeover on the prize wheel.

Taylor's Mum dropped her and the prize certificate at my place and off we went to get her made over :-)

First decision is whether she wanted to be a Princess or a Rock Star..

She fancied herself as a Princess. She belongs to this little club, at school, that they named the 'Pretty, Pretty Princesses', so how could she be anything else. Being a Princess, apparently involves having your hair done in an up do.

Then came the decision about what colour eyeshadow to apply ...

She chose a pretty shade of lilac ...

Then there was glitter blush to the cheeks...

And a pretty pink lipstick gloss. I was rather amused at the people who stopped to watch. However, as soon as they saw my camera, they took off running..

Then came the serious business of painting the nails..

Which also involved copious amounts of gold glitter, at which point, I wanted to break into a rendition of 'Goldfinger'..

What was left after the nail glittering, was sprinkled over the hair. Later that evening, I found a whole trail of it down my sleeve, where she'd rested her head..

Showing off the fingernail bling .....

Then they wrapped a pink feather boa around her neck .... put her on stage ... and turned on a Hannah Montana tape. She has this 'YOU WANT ME TO SING!!!' look on her face..

Princess turned Future Rock Star !!! You saw her here first, folks!!

I had to laugh when we leaving. It had started to rain lightly as we left the Mall.

Miss Taylor, looks out the door and announces in a tone of horror 'It's raining, I've just had a makeover!!'

Okay, I roll my eyes and stiffle my laughter. She holds her jacket over her head as we dash over to the Mall bus terminal.

We step inside of the bus shelter and Little Miss Diva eyes the roof and announces 'Good, it's not leaking. Perfect!!'

Another BAER from me and then it's Taylor's turn to do the eye roll thing when I call her Mum to tell her the latest utterings from her offspring. :-)

Don't you just love kids and what they come out with....

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Christmas, that is ...

It's the twelfth day after Christmas. The end of the period known as Christmastide. The day that I take the Christmas decorations down.

I had this whole Gingerbread/Sweet thing going on. A combination Childhood Dreams/Sweet Fantasy/Diet Denial....

One of my favourite decorations. Who can resist a chocolate covered sundae, oozing with cream and topped with a cherry ?

My little Gingerbread cooks, complete with rolling pin and Gingerbread heart.

A wreath of sweets with a little Gingerbread Man. I couldn't resist this when I saw it in the store. It had take me home, written all over it...

I love this Gingerbread Man and his Chocolate decorated Candy Cane...

There were plenty of sweet Santa's hanging around..

Santa has gone back to the North Pole, or more correctly, a box in my spare bedroom..

Rudolph has quit singing 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer' ...though, now that I've written that, I'm not sure how long it will take for the song to leave my head !!

So what was your theme this Christmas??

Do you have a theme?

Do you take your decorations down on Twelfth Night?

Do you have any traditions involved with taking your decorations down?

I've decided, that when I'm back home in New Zealand, I'm going to hold 'Putting The Decorations Up' and 'Taking The Decorations Down, parties ... or BBQ's ...because Christmas is in Summer in that part of the world....