Thursday, May 30, 2013

Andy Warhol exhibit at Te Papa Tongarewa - and our 10th swim!

Hi there

The Museum of New Zealand is called Te Papa Tongarewa (Our Place) and it is in Wellington.  I am a Friend of Te Papa and therefore privy to special exhibitions before the common peasants get in to see them.  And for free.    Oh, we privileged people are so rare on this earth, sigh .... 

There would have been well over a hundred exhibits, all to do with Warhol's friends, colleagues, celebrities and hangers-on.  Most of the exhibits came from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh  (I knew there was a Pawnshop on the Corner in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (look it up, youngsters), but I didn't figure on an Andy Warhol museum.   The Pittsburgh museum  have obviously had to shut up shop while the exhibits are in Wellington because we've no doubt cleaned them out..... no, we haven't, I'm only joking  - I spoke to the Pittsburgh curator and he assured me they still had loads of paintings, prints, etc at home.

I must say that the Queen looked quite attractive in the print Warhol did of her.  It was interesting to see his pics of himself, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Sylvester Stallone, etc, and to read about Studio 54.  I was a wee bit surprised to see that more often than not Warhol took other artists' pictures and turned them into screen prints. He even took a pic of a cow off a milk cartoon and screen printed that.  When the world thought portraiture was dead, he revitalised it, but in a way that some critics definitely did not like.

10th Swim today for May!:

I was shopping in Kilbirnie today and banged in to my friend, J,  in a charity shop.  How fortunate.  We decided to go for our 10th swim for May at Hataitai Beach.   Both of us had our old ratty swim costumes in our car boots and we were a bit embarrassed.   Still, it was quite nice in the water which was very flat.  When we got out we slapped each other a High-Ten.  Later in the afternoon, J sent me the below pic to commemorate the occasion

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"The Key is Love" - Marie Osmond's book

Hi there

Yesterday, I went to the Miramar Library.  Yes, I'm forcing myself to go back there and not rely on my Kindle so much (very, very hard to do). 

I got out a book that was written by Marie Osmond (and her pal Marcia Wilkie).  Pub April 2013. 

When I saw the book on the shelf, when I took it down, when I got it checked out, I had no idea what the title was.  Both the library ISBN number sticker and the Wellington City Council Libraries' sticker were plastered on the spine of the book ... and the front cover. 

Because of the front cover sticker, the title now read "The Key ........ove".   It must be 'The Key of Love", I figured.   Oh, wait, perhaps, it was "The Key is a Dove".    Or "The Key is Above"?   Something about a glove?  

I looked at the spine.  The title read "The Key............", with the sticker blocking the last few words, so I wasn't any the wiser there.  This sort of thing happens often.  When my friends ask if  I've read a certain book, I sometimes have no idea because I've chosen a library book for it's cover and author only.  Titles are obscured a lot.

When I got home, I discovered from the frontpiece that the title was "The Key is Love".  I had been pretty close, but - as my one American reader would  no doubt tell me - ..... 'close but no cigar'.

It was a nice comforting book to read.  One part truly resounded with me.  Marie's mother was sick in hospital, struggling to talk and very weak (p.66).  Marie was upset for her.

Olive, Marie's mother, managed to write on a notepad:  "I love every breath I take."

Wow.   I have decided to try to live by this creed.  I am going to so enjoy the life that is ahead of me.  My full determination may only last a month, or a week, perhaps even an hour, but from here on in, I have decided that there will always be, at a minimum,  a little bit of enjoyment for life inside me.  Because I'm a retiree I probably haven't got that many years ahead, but, goodness, right now I truly am hell-bent on loving every damn breath I take.  Thanks, Olive.

Front Cover

Monday, May 27, 2013

9th Swim - but never in today's cold weather

Hi there

It's Tues morn 28 May as I type this.  And the Wellington temp today is said to go no higher than 8c.  Brrrrhhhh...  It's New Zealand's first real dose of winter.   The Desert Road  is with snow, as is the Rimutaka hill (thereby sort of cutting me off from my favourite holiday haunts 'cause I won't drive if there's the slightest hint of snow .... or hail .... or pounding rain .....   okay, okay, even if the forecast is heavy drizzle I chicken out).  I guess we can't complain because we had such a brilliant summer and Autumn  - sorry farmers, I know you were annoyed by the drought but, oh dear, I loved the weather.

The only time Wellington-proper has ever seen snow  was when I was in Las Vegas a while back.  An American who  knew I was from New Zealand told me at the time that he saw it on US news that a city in New Zealand was covered in snow and the people in that city had no idea how to drive in snow, most of them had never touched snow and they were at a loss of what to do.  He laughed heartily.   I poo-poohed the very thought that the city was mine.   What a shock I had when I got home to be shown photos by my friends of a snow-bound Wellington.

Anyway, J and I have now completed our 9th swim for May - day before yesterday.  It was nice and because we cut our swimming time down a fraction, I didn't freeze so much in the changing sheds.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Never Eat Marshmallows in Bed!

Hi there
I'm not truly on a diet.  I'm on more of a 'cut-down'.  I'm trying to stop eating potatoes and cheese sandwiches:  my two eating downfalls.  I'm not succeeding very well.  Yes, I've cut down on the potatoes, but in their place I seem to be eating more cheese sandwiches.  In the old days - two months ago - I would have one cheese sandwich a day.   Now, I'm eating three cheese sandwiches a day.  Obviously, my body's way of telling me I have to make up for the potatoe famine.

I also allow myself to eat a few marshmallows a couple of times a week.  I figure that marshmallows are puffy and lightweight so they can't have many fat grams, or calories, or heaviness .  Right?

I happily took half a dozen marshmallows to bed with me last night and commenced to watch the new tv series, 'Arrow'  (yeah, yeah, I'm a fantasy and SF freak, get over it).  When I woke up this morning,, I thought "Funnnny ... I'm sort of glued to the bottom sheet."

One marshmallow had escaped.  (Aside:  always count every single marshmallow before hopping into bed).

I peeled myself off the sheet to find sticky sugary pink everywhere!  Who knew one lone marshmallow could explode into so much of a mess.   Never buy jumbo-sized marshmallows, even if, in truth, you can get away with pretending that you're only eating six whereas - and I hate admitting this and don't you, my four readers, tell anyone - I'm really eating twelve!

I had to thoroughly wash two sheets, one nightie and my sticky messy pinky sugary body, all at four o'clock in the morning.

Marshmallows are off the menu for the foreseeable future.

I thought you might like to see the main crossroads in my suburb of Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand.   You can buy packets of marshmallows at the New World Supermarket just down the road - I advise you not to.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

8th swim, Hataitai Beach

Hi there

J and I completed our eight swim for May at Hataitai Beach yesterday.  The trouble is we enjoy our swims so much that we egg each other on with "just another up-and-down, eh?"   Every time before stepping into the water, I say "I might only do one up-and-down today".....  It never works out that way.

The water in winter feels really great once we get over the initial plopping down into the sea but when we get out and we're in the changing shed, we start shaking and shivering, and our fingers and toes don't function very well, and we can't do up things, or pull things down over our shoulders.  For the next couple of hours we are so cold that we have to drink umpteen bowls of soup and cups of tea and with our hands wound tightly around the cup, bowl, or mug to get some sort of warmth into our fingers. 

More often than not, I go to Countdown supermarket straight after a swim, dressed up like an eskimo when other shoppers are in more lighter attire and I always seem to be hunting for something in  the cold food aisle - it suddenly feels like I'm in Alaska.  Poor (cold) me.

It's my fingers that feel the worst after a swim and, also, actually when I'm swimming.    I must see if I can get (don't laugh) some sort of waterproof (warm) gloves.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

1) 'Wizard's Guide to Wellington' 2) Roxy Theatre exhibit

Hi there
My friend, A.J. (Ponder) who has just had published the children's book "The Wizard's Guide to Wellington" arrived at my house yesterday wearing a couple of badges advertising the book.  The book is about a couple of wizarding kids who go on an adventure around Wellington, New Zealand.  The book can be bought at Rona Bookshop and Art Gallery in Eastbourne or The children's Bookshop in Kilbirnie.  It can be ordered at the library.  A.J. intends to put out a "Wizard's Guide to London" in a couple of years.

A couple of days' ago A.J. and I trotted down to the Roxy Theatre in Miramar to have a nosy at what current exhibitions they had going.  Weta workers often exhibit items from their own personal collections that they have made themselves.  At the moment upstairs in the theatre there are a bunch of dwarf-ishy characters, as well as a companion book.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fun at Hataitai Beach

Hi there

J and I got in our 7th - seventh! - swim at Hataitai Beach for May yesterday.   25 minutes.  It was truly lovely in the water.  The sea was as flat as a pancake.  There wasn't a breath of wind.  'Thong Man' was there - when will this geriatric guy ever wake up to the fact that a thong is not the right attire to wear at the beach in front of two female retirees (me and J)?  It just doesn't do anything for us!    Now, if Tom Cruise and Simon Baker were to turn up in just thongs and smiles, I would certainly perk up.

As my four readers know by now, when J and I swim in the winter we just sort of do baby strokes, swimming leisurely side-by-side talking about anything that takes our fancy.  We call it our 'committee meeting'. 

Yesterday, a Wellington City Council painter was working on the outside of the changing shed.  There is no window,  instead there's a window-size group of wooden slats high up on the wall to let air in.  As J and I were comfortably swimming away conducting our committee meeting I got to ruminating about the painting.

"Hey, I wonder if those slats on the shed are like venetian blinds?" I said to J.  "You know, if you slat them a certain way, you can see perfectly through them?  Oh, do you think the painter can see through them down into the women's changing room?"

"NO!" came a loud voice from way across the water.  The painter waved at us.

Oh dear.....  When did painter guys get perfect hearing?   And it wasn't as if we were even close to him.  We were swimming out as far as the third tree.(Usually I swim in line with the fourth tree).

We returned giggling hysterically to the changing sheds to get dressed, pretty cold, and with numb fingers and toes.    I said to J:  "Gosh, my fingers are so cold, I can't do up my bra."

A voice came wafting down through the slats.  "It's a good thing I can't see you...."

Haha.  The painter was such a cad!

The far bank at Hataitai Beach.  The tallest tree is the one I usually swim across the bay to and, then,  back again to the changing sheds.  Then repeat again, and again, etc.  It's lane-swimming without the lanes.

What a pity this starfish, yesterday, was all scrunched up by the time I got to my camera.  He was so beautiful too look at in true starfish form.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Movie Stars and Grins

Hi there

What is it about some film and television stars that make us go weak at the knees?   Not all the time, not even in every movie or series.  Just every now and then.   I have two actors that I don't particularly care all that much for - Tom Cruise and Simon 'The Mentalist' Baker - and under normal circumstances I can take them or leave them.   But then, oh dear, these men grin ..... 

It's not fair.  I go to a Tom Cruise movie because I like action.  Cruise doesn't stir me one iota until I see that grin of his.  And I turn into a puddle.  Thank heavens he didn't show so much as even a smile in "Jack Reacher"; I came out of that theatre without one heart flutter.

I've told my friends over the years that I don't go for blonde men.  And then Simon Baker came along.  And grinned out to me from the tv screen.  Puddle-time. 

Baker is in a series of tv commercials here in New Zealand (and I presume also in Australia) for the ANZ Bank (Australia New Zealand).  He grins in them.  Damn.

SIXTH SWIM TODAY FOR MAY! - We went yesterday,too.  Hataitai Beach rules.....

Friday, May 10, 2013

Street walking! - Mary Potter Hospice collection Day

Hi there

I was collecting money yesterday for the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.  It couldn't have been a colder day.  As the hours progressed, it seemed to get more and more cold.  That morning, when I'd asked my friend A.J's opinion over what to wear for the day, she assured me the weather would get better.  Ha!

I ended up with so many clothes on that I felt, and walked, like a Womble - you know sort of a side-to-side waddle?   I put my fingers up to touch my nose and thought frantically, "Oh, my goodness, it's so cold  I can't feel my nose!"   Or was it that I couldn't feel my fingers? 

 At one stage, I tried to pop a sticker on a woman's lapel and my fingers reached across to her coat without a sticker in them,.  I honestly thought I had picked up the sticker but because my fingers had turned into blocks of ice, I couldn't judge if I was holding anything.

I did have fingerless gloves, and a beret.  I kept scratching the beret down lower and lower over my cold ears, with the consequence that when I got home, I found I'd lost a really nice (expensive) good gold ear-ring.,  Oh, yes, and it did drizzle off and on.

I stood outside Cafe L'Affare which is a little bit off the beaten town track, but gets a veritable wad of  folk visiting it.  And the right sort of moneyed people, too.    Arty, yummy mummys, yuppies, ballerinas, actors, advertising execs, NZ tv stars, and the year before last I pasted stickers on the Governor-General of New Zealand, his wife, his aide-de-camp, his bodyguard, and a couple of naval officers.

This time, my bucket was so heavy, I could hardly hold it upright.  Good on you, Cafe L'Affare customers.  And also a big thank you to the customers and staff who offered me cups of coffee.  I turned them down with a polite "What a lovely thought, but no thank you."  I couldn't possibly say that I hadn't had a cup of coffee since I was about thirteen and I hated the stuff.  I mean, Cafe L'Affare have their own branded coffee that sells throughout the country.  It's won awards.

Years back, I used to sit in the bus next to people who smelt as if they hadn't washed,.  They stank.  The smell coming from them was terrible.  It wasn't till one woman said to me, "Ah, doesn't the freshly ground coffee in my bag have a wonderful aroma?" that I realised that over all these years when I'd figured people were just dirty, it was their coffee I was getting whiffs of.  Ooops..


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Busy Day - shopping,swimming, star trekking, more shopping!

Hi there

Goodness, a 'working' day for a retiree is truly hard...   Farmers' Department Store opened at 8 am today with a 50% off women's clothing sale.  I was on the doorstep in their Lambton Quay town shop by 9 a.m.   I took my car and, naughty me, I parked in the disability carpark across the road from Farmers.  My sore heel and my torn ligament ankle really only hurt after I've been sitting down for a time or when I wake up in the morning.  I haven't parked in a mobility park for about 6 weeks - even though I have the precious card for my window -  because I don't think I truly need it any more,  This time, I had to show limp as I left my car (go on, slap my hand for this deliberate transgression).

I was paid back though, because returning to my car, I tripped up some stairs at Farmers and stubbed my big toe.,  I limped genuinely all the way back to my vehicle.  Sigh.

I raced to the beach and J and I had our fourth swim for May.  Phewwww - made it, our minimum per month for 2013 is four swims.

Then I hared to the movies to see "Star Trek: Into Darkness"   I believe we're getting the movie a week before America.  Na-na-na-na-na!!!   I enjoyed it, but then as many people know, I'm probably the biggest Star Trek fan in New Zealand - no, wait! -  I don't mean I'm  a big fan in relation to weight.  I mean -   Aw, go on, you know what I mean, yes?   The movie had many sly winks and nods to classic Trek.

After the movie, I hopped in the car and shot over to Farmers in Kilbirnie (well, I couldn't resist).  This time I visited the changing rooms three times,   It was after five in the afternoon when I exited the shop.  But I did meet another swimmer from Hataitai Beach and she said she reads this blog.  I'm very excited - I now have, perhaps, four readers!

Here are a couple of views from the Maupuia hill looking down over a part of Miramar.   The complex in the front is Weta Workshop in Camperdown Road,

Below is Park Road Post Production

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Garage Remote controls - They're not all that remote

Hi there

Last weekend, I went for a walk on the Maupuia Walkway.  On my return, I stopped at my front gate, pulled my earphones from my ears, and pressed the knob to turn off my MP3 player.

My garage door immediately rose up.

I pressed my MP3 player again, and the garage door gently closed down.

Knob pressed .... Up!    Knob pressed .... Down!   Hey, wasn't my electronic garage door  only supposed to be activated by its own personal remote control?  No mention of an MP3 player in the instructions.

The previous evening, before going outside, I'd turned on my porch light switch,.  The garage door had gone ....  up.    I turned off the light switch and the door went .... down.


As I was staring at the door, MP3 player in hand, my neighbour approached me.  We both watched as, of  its own volition - I hadn't even pressed my MP3 player - the garage door went up again.

"Maybe someone in the street has the same garage door co-ordinate thingee,," I said.  I don't know technical talk, a pity.

"Or someone's turned on their television remote control?" suggested my neighbour.  We both looked up , down, and across to the 15 or so houses.  There was no-one standing full-blown, in a window waving a remote control.

I decided to worry about the problem in the morning.

I didn't last till the morning.  At 11 pm, I got a phone call from my neighbour.  "Your garage door is open," she said.

"Oh."  What had I done over the last few hours in the electrical switching-on area?  Well, I'd turned on my toaster, my microwave,  my electric blanket, my television, my DVD recorder.  Had my garage door been rising and falling all evening?

The following day I got a new battery for my remote control.   Everything seems okay, now.  Like everyone, I keep the most useless junk in my garage.    But, hey, look, it's my junk.  And I have good memories associated with every broken chair, school report, photos from my world trip in 1965, a dried flower from my first beau, three suitcases of hippy clothes that I can't bear to part with,  my old bicycle with the withered tyres, a faux Christmas tree that I haven't unwrapped for 5 years, etc, etc.   Yet, still, I wouldn't want a burglar to just saunter in through an open garage door and pilfer a tad of it.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

3rd Swim for May

Hi there

Well, J and I completed our second swim for May yesterday and our third one was this morning.  Goodness, being in the water today was like being in a traffic jam.  We figured that once May came around, we'd have our little part of the ocean to ourselves but because so far this Autumn, it's been quite good weather it's felt like the world and its dog (literally)has decided to enjoy the outdoors.

We swam for 25 minutes today.  While we were happily conducting our 'committee meeting' in the water, we suddenly found ourselves sharing the sea with two paddle boarders, two-in-a-yacht, one dog and it's stick-throwing 'mummy', two swimmers (one in a bikini - brrrrrhhh) and 'Thong Man' - a geriatric 'regular' who's as hardy as J and myself and has been turning up at the beach for years.

J says as well as rambling on in my last blog about poetry and reading affictions, I should have mentioned my  'swimming affliction'.   Our 'committee meetings' are open to all addicts, she adds

I went for a walk along the Maupuia walkway and took some photos.  The walkway is off Maupuia Rd (the first road after driving through the Miramar Cutting) and runs parallel with the sea (only a long way above it).  There is a track at the left-hand end of the walkway that you can take down to the water, therefore doing a loop to bring you back again to Miramar.  Be aware that in the winter months the track (not the walkway) can get very slushy and slippery. If you don't want to take the track, just keep turning right at the end of the walkway and loop back along Akaroa Drive.

Below is the Maupuia Walkway, a lovely open safe space.  Maybe a half hour walk return (extra if you do a loop)

Below is taken from the Maupuia Walkway looking across Wellington Harbour toward Mt Kaukau.

Taken from Maupuia Walkway.  Hataitai Beach is across the water.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

An affliction for Reading

Hi there

My writer friend, A J Ponder, has a website called "An Affliction of Poetry".   If I had a website like hers, I guess I would call it "An Affliction for Reading".   I got really into reading heavily at age 9 when I was living in New Plymouth.  I was in complete ecstasy because the NP Library had Enid Blyton books whereas most other NZ library areas refused to buy Enid Blyton;  she was considered a bad influence.   Three times a week I went to the New Plymouth Library.  I was only allowed to take out three books at a time, and this rule almost killed me because I couldn't get enough.

Up until last December, I visited Miramar Library two or three times a week. Often more.  Last year, I knew all my librarians by name, their hobbies, their holiday plans, family info etc    My main reads were non-fiction. 

A year ago, I bought a Kindle.  There were dozens and dozens of Free Books.  I was in heaven,  After six months, I got into the .99c books.,  Then, $1.99.  Then 2.99.  Then .... I was hooked!   Curse you, Kindle!!!!

When I broke my Kindle (see earlier writings for January 2013), I developed cravings so terrible that it was like I had suddenly stopped eating chocolate.

This week, I visited Miramar Library for only about the second time this year to discover the library now has a host of new librarians.  I know nothing about them..   Oh my goodness, I am such a turncoat!  Kindle, I hold you totally responsible.

But, honestly, what's a woman to do, when the Wellington Library system has like one hundred vampire romances in their system, and Kindle has, like, 5000.  And then there's all those werewolf romances, zombie romances, comedy romances, time travel romances...   I put my foot down, however, on romance romances; I won't read them.

And, come to think of it, when did I turn into a romance reader?  Kindle is to blame, naturally.

 I also love anything to do with hiking the Appalacian Trail.  The Wellington Library system might have half a dozen such books.  Kindle has dozens.

Now, I'm reading all through the nights.  I finish one book in a series, and straight away buy the next and read that then and there, then I buy and read the third book.  I suddenly look at the clock, and it's 5 a.m., and I've bought and read three books since 9 p.m!  I have to re-charge my Kindle every day.

Oh dear, I'm a hopeless case.  I figure I need a Kindle Addicts sponsor.

Above:  Miramar Library

The cat sculpture outside the Miramar Library.  Vandals have broken the cat's ears.

p.s:     1st MAY :  HATAITAI BEACH SWIM :  27 MINUTES!!!!