Monday, December 28, 2009

For A Laugh

More from Neru & Gary's. This one New Zealanders will understand .... Gary calls this "The Basin Reserve"! LOL
And this photo of Hunter may explain why there are never any birds in Neru's birdbath!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some Christmas Photos

If I was a good girl and if I was clever, I would work out a fancy schmancy way of putting up these photos ... but today I am neither good nor clever. Just a woman that has to go back to work tomorrow and with still a weeks worth of chores to do in 24 hours!!

Despite the work thing hanging over me it has been a really good Christmas. As usual I forgot to take any photos on Christmas Day although He Who Shall Not Be Named might say that is a good thing. With not a bit of tinsel in sight and a cooked breakfast instead of Christmas Dinner it was hardly glamorous but it was nice. We made a concerted effort to make sure that not one chocolate had the chance to go stale and the couch got a lot of attention. I know I said I wanted to watch crap tv all day but I didn't think SKY TV would take me so seriously. Either the dish or the little boxy thing are giving out and the only channels we could get all day were showing stuff like the Chelsea Flower Show or ... oh that's right, that's all we could get!

The highlights of course were time spent with friends. The Christmas Eve Cocktail Party at Gina & Ambrose's

the Boxing Day BBQ at Leonie & Les's
and the Happy the Day After Dinner at Neru & Gary's. Who could wish for more?

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I went with Kath & the kids the other night to look at the Christmas lights around here - three little munchkins sitting in the back seat of the car in their jamies with blankies & pillows. We couldn't leave until about 9.30pm though - with daylight saving it takes forever to get dark enough to enjoy them all. They really are such good kids and as we drove around Ben, Xanthe & Siobhan sang me their favourite carol from school. (Let me know if you need a translation!! LOL)

A Kiwi Jingle Bells

Dashing to the bay, in a Kombi campervan
Christmas at the beach, the family's master plan,
Dad is at the wheel, and mum is by his side
We kids are squabbling in the back as we go for a ride.

Oh, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, jingle all the way
Christmas in New Zealand on a sunny summer day
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to have a kiwi holiday!

We stop off at the shop, to load the chilly bin
Hokey-pokey ice cream, soon dribbles down my chin
We jump into the van, heading for the shore
Dad fiddles with the radio, to hear the cricket score.


Soon we're at the beach, our rellies shout "G'day"
We swap our Christmas pressies, a boogie board - hooray
We change into our togs, and to the sea we run
What a joy to splash & swim, summer's so much fun!


The grown-ups call us in, they've laid us out a spread
Lunch is fish'n'chips, and cheerios in bread
L & P to drink, pavlova, pud & pie
Anzac bikkies, choccy fish, it's cracker kiwi kai!


The kids are keen to play, but the dads all want a nap
The sunscreen starts to fly, as mums go slip-slop-slap
We race out to the sand, to play a game of touch
But all the cuzzies are too slow, because they ate too much.


The barbeque heats up, the sun begins to sink
Our tea's as good as gold, we've scoffed it in a wink
It's nearly time for bed, we've had an awesome day
Celebrating Christmas time, the real New Zealand way!


Monday, December 21, 2009


"Long black
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A long black is a style of coffee, most commonly found in New Zealand and Australia, but now becoming available in the UK, predominantly in London. It is made by pulling a double-shot of espresso over hot water (usually the water is also heated by the espresso machine). A long black is similar to an Americano, which is made by adding hot water to espresso shots, but it retains the crema and is less voluminous, therefore more strongly flavoured.
A long black is considered by the emerging palettes to be a true espresso experience rather than what the major coffee chains have produced up to date, specifically the Americano. The order in which a long black is made (water first, espresso second) is important; reversing the steps will destroy the crema from the espresso shots."

Coffee. How can a cup of coffee be different? It comes from beans. There's water involved. It comes in a cup. Try asking for a Long Black in Canada & the US and you find out (if you don't get your face slapped first).

At Blenz in Vancouver, as I was trying to explain what I wanted for about the third time (Kiwi English apparently doesn't translate well and involves a lot of miming) a young woman came from out the back of the shop and announced:
"You a Kiwi? You wanna Long Black?"
"You're an Aussie? And yes, a Long Black"
"Nah, they don't know how. Try the Americano but it doesn't really do it"

Never a truer word said! I mean it's not awful. It's just not a Long Black. More especially, it's not a Long Black from Cesars made by John, barista extraordinaire.

For literally years I've been heading over the road every work day to Cesars, if not for lunch then at the very least for a Long Black to go. So predictable that often by the time I get to the counter John already has it made and has sometimes even decided where I'll sit and who I'll share a table with. I'd asked John if he would come with me on the trip fearing I would be lost without my morning "fix" and while he appeared amused at the suggestion he felt his wife & children may not be so keen on the idea.

Naturally my first stop on the way to work the first day back was to see John. Here he is and here is a cup of gold.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thank You Pat!!

That bloody squirrel!! I spent two months stalking the little ... critter. By the time I'd grabbed my camera, got close enough & focussed it had run across the road or scurried up the tree into the foliage never to be seen again. Now I have my own and he ain't going nowhere!! He can sit on that log and play with his nuts all day as far as I'm concerned ... yeah, it's a tough life for Mr Squirrel.

He is of course as close as I've got to decorating for Christmas. I'm sure I saw a box of decorations somewhere but of course now the house has been overtaken by car parts and boy mess. Even if I knew where the box was there's no room to put anything unless of course you fancy hanging tinsel on the clutch in the corner ....

Instead I rely on the Pohutukawa blossoming everywhere around us. This one at the cafe in Whitford this morning. Aren't we lucky having our very own Christmas Tree!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aunt Peggy

Isn't she just the most darling woman!! Here with her nieces Lynnie & Jude in their best Christmas hats. Not only is she the aunty that everyone wants in their lives but she also makes the BEST bean salad I have ever eaten! I just love her. Sharp as a tack and funny with it. Nothing gets by her - she could give a few politicians a run for their money - and still taking care of herself quite nicely thank you!

Her doctor suggested now that she was a lady of a certain age she might like some home help. She considered this for a moment and then told him the only thing she had been having difficulty with was leaning over to clean the bath but had solved that by buying an extra toilet brush with a long handle and now she could clean the bath quite well. Go Aunty Peg! I don't think the doctor has mentioned home help to her again.

I am just grateful that Lynnie & Jude are willing to share her with us all so nicely because a visit with her is like coming home again! You know, the home you like to remember ... not always the real one! LOL

That being said home right now is not a bad one. Five thirty in the morning, tucked up under the snuggly blankets and Wifi is my friend. Who could ask for more?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Well it's only been about two years since I last really blogged as some of you have kindly reminded me (I hesitate to use the word "nag" here! LOL). In the great scheme of things a mere "blip" on the radar!! I have bras in the drawer older than that! Still the reminders did make me think about why I paused in my ramblings.

I started to blog to give a small window to those of you far away, into my world down at this side of the planet. Of course I realised before even visiting some of you that our worlds are very much the same ... and very, very different. The big things really are universal - people everywhere are good & kind, flakey & crazy, bitchy & pissy, generous, spiritual, silly & fun and to quote Roger McGough " and a host of other golden etceteras". The little things of course will always remain as the things that denote our differences ... "Potato, po-tah-to, tomato, to-mah-to" blah, blah ...

Good intention and often attained. At least for the most part. Then I found myself attracted, in a perverse kind of way, into a blog world of sniping and bitching, innuendo, and the latest purchase to "show off". Now don't get me wrong. Those of you who know me well know that I'm not in the least big averse to a good "verbal kicking" when the mood takes me. I'm no soft & fluffy Aunty BundleJoy Cosy Sweet (How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen) that endears herself to small children. I love "Things" - I would sleep with my MacBook Pro & IPhone if only they would make them with fluffy soft coverings. But! (And yes, Sister Michelle, I remember you shouldn't ever start a sentence with "But" or "And" ) But! I found myself leaning towards the dark side and that's not a place I particularly wanted to live. So I stopped blogging.

Now however, I have been welcomed into your lives, literally, with no hesitation on your part. I have lived in your homes, met those who are near & dear to you, and partaken in your lives "warts & all". It would be churlish now to shut you out of my life. Mean spirited even. What's more I want to show you this part of the world (in the hope you will actually come here and experience the joy I did in your world!) and again, warts and all. We are friends and friendship involves all those nooks & crannies that need to be there although we are sometimes shy to show them.

So the Madcow lives again! This time though, with a Statement of Intent.

This blog will not deal in (negative) innuendo. If I have something to say to you or a problem with you, I will talk, write or email you directly. I will not make little "in jokes" or bitchy snips aimed at you under the cover of innuendo and publish them publicly here or in the likes of Facebook etc. If you are looking for cowardly and passive agressive bitching about someone you don't like ... go to some other blog.

I will try to be sensitive to the world you are living in right now and the life you are living. I acknowledge that we don't all have the luxury of choice as to if we work. We sometimes have to work at jobs we don't enjoy because that's what pays the bills and keeps our family together. Sometimes we can't just do those "fun" things - we have other responsibilities. Sometimes life is just not a page from a glossy magazine. It's hard. Shitty even. We love our families but would we pick them as friends always? I think not ... sometimes. For those of you who get up every morning and just keep on going ... you have my total respect.

In the past two years there are relationships that I have chosen to end. Some have just reached their "use by" date. Some because of difference of opinion, values, whatever. My choice. I will not keep bringing those relationships "back to the table". Time to, as a wise woman once said to me, "build a bridge and get over it." I made a decision somewhere along the line and I need to take responsibility for it and live with it. You don't need to know about it.

What I do want to do is to pull the blinds on that window to the Small World of the Madcow. Come visit and enjoy. Perhaps we could have some fun? Whatever, welcome back to my world.

To leave you for now I am re-posting a blog post from 2005. Some things just don't change do they!


Musings over the chardonnay

Given all the furore over at CKMB I've spent many hours thinking about the nature of bullying etc. Every time there has been one of these incidents (and lately it seems to be on a weekly basis) there is a whole trail of comments of the "I say what I think and if people don't like it, well tough" ilk.
For some reason that kind of statement just rankles with me and I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. I seem to remember conversations with psychologist friends on this very subject but I suspect it may have been over copious amounts of wine and now my memory lets me down when I try to recall the conclusions we came to! LOL Still I'm sure we enjoyed the wine!
I did recall though some of the courses all us "70's Chicks" did on Assertiveness Training and did some searching. The text on the difference between Assertive and Agressive behaviour struck a chord.
Here are some highlights that I got from of all places

Assertive Behaviour:
Characteristics - Choose for self. Appropriately honest. Direct, self-respecting, self-expressing, straight-forward. Convert win-lose to win-win.
Your Own Feelings on the Exchange - Confident, self-respecting, goal-oriented, valued. Later: Accomplished.
Others' Feelings in the Exchange - Valued, respected.
Others' View of You in the Exchange - Respect, trust. Know where you stand.
Outcome - Outcome determined by above-board negotiation. Your and others' rights respected.
Underlying Belief System - I have a responsibility to protect my own rights: I respect others but not necessarily their behaviour.

Aggressive Behaviour:
Characteristics - Choose for others. Inappropriately honest (tactless). Direct, self- enhancing. Self-expressive, derogatory. Win-lose situation that you win.
Your Own Feelings on the Exchange - Righteous, superior,deprecatory, controlling. Later: possibly guilt.
Others' Feelings in the Exchange - Humiliated, defensive, resentful, hurt.
Others' View of You in the Exchange - Vengeful, angry, distrustful, fearful.
Outcome - You achieve your goal at others' expense. Your rights upheld; others' are violated.
Underlying Belief System - I have to put others down to protect myself.

Interesting isn't it! I could immediately visualise several of the trolls right down to the "guilt" later (how many times have we had to read how "god" told them they had been hasty and should apologise?).

Anyway, time to find where I hid the chardy and pour another glass. I still have a lot more thinking to do on the question of "do I go or do I stay". For now though love & hugs to all.