Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dentists ...... Oh, my.

As I type this, here in New Zealand,  it is 9.30 a.m. on Monday 31 March.  I have to see the dentist today at High Noon ("do not forsake me, oh my darling....." ). 

Oh boy, I would give anything to be forsaken by the dentist.  I've brushed my teeth faithfully all my life, I believe in fluoride in our drinking water, I have semi-regular dentist visits, I try not to eat too many nuts and grains - a dentist told me once that so-called health foods were the main causes of broken and cracked teeth.

But for the last fourteen days, after the dentist put in that temporary crown,  I have eaten nothing but mush, mainly in the form of mashed potato, creamed corn, and flaked tarakihi fish.  I have drunk soup and water out of a straw.    My mouth has been very sore.

So, what do I have to look forward to after my appointment today?  Will the famous crown that I'll be forced to wear solve all problems?  It didn't for poor old King Charles I.

Stand by ... same bat blog, same batty writer ....

2.30 pm, 31 March:    Oh dear....  I've just come back from dentist.  I don't know whether I built up this torture chamber in my mind and made-it-so or whether today was truly as horrific as I thought it would be.

I (only) got three injections this time.  And I cried.  How embarrassing.  Then I wriggled, then I sort of kicked out with my heels on the chair.  Then I hyperventilated......

I hope there was no video. Otherwise, the staff at the dental surgery will no doubt elect me as the champion coward of the year when they show all 2014's hilarious videos at their Christmas function!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sleeping on international flights

Hi there

Let's take international travel.... Ooooh, yes please, I'll take it anyday.  

I've flown to America a few times.  Brisbane is a 4 hr flight from Wellington, and then to get to the States, it's a 14 hour 'Virgin Australia' journey.  The dilemma is always.... will I have a window seat, or an aisle seat on the plane?  With a window seat I can perhaps-maybe sleep with my head resting against the wall.  The downside is that when I want to do my promenade around the plane every hour or so, I have to push past two people to do so.

With an aisle seat, there's no wall to cuddle up against, but I can zip up at any time without waking people, stumbling over their bags, shoes, magazines, blankets, feet, or legs.  I don't block their tv screens right at a plot's crucial moment as I try to exit the row, or end up sitting on some guy's lap when the plane lurches.  

With an aisle seat in the middle block, the betting is that there's a "pair" sitting beside me who know each other, and they'll both exit the row at the other end.  Or, if I'm truly lucky, there'll only be someone at the other end of the row and nobody in the middle.

The true downside with an aisle seat, is that it's pretty hard to sleep in.  I blame it all on there being no footrest.  I have this truly deep feeling  that if I only had a footrest on a plane, I would sleep as sound as a bug in a rug.

I toss, turn, sit up, slouch down, lean to the side, put my chair up, put it back, try self-hynosis and will-power, count sheep, sing songs, watch tv, drink endless free colas, prowl around the aisles, want to throw something at all those folk who are actually sleeping ....  Well, you get the idea?

But last time when I flew, and in total desperation - wait for it! - I bought a neck pillow!  Now, I've always looked snootily down my nose at neck pillows.  How sissy, I figured.  Neck pillows were for wusses.  No red-blooded kiwi should be caught dead with a neck pillow.

Last year, with my neck pillow in place, I slept for five hours.  Repeat, five hours!  On the return journey I slept for seven. 

I was so thrilled that I even bought a souvenir top-of-the-line neck pillow in Las Vegas. .  I think I'll start a collection.  Maybe a church in their honour.  How about I should get a neck pillow tattoo?


Oh, Helen, will you please forgive me for intimating that Cliff Richard is, eh ....old?  It's just that in my head he's still that 21 year old rock'n'roller I ran screaming after at Wellington Airport in November 1961.  Then I suddenly see a picture of him taken recently, and I'm shocked that he's not that kid anymore.  I tend to forget that our idols grow old, just like us.  (Hey, do you think he does wear a wig nowadays?)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hataitai Beach kayaks

Hi there

J and I have been swimming practically every day this month at Hataitai Beach.  Over the last week, the water has been really nice.  We struck one little patch the other day that we called 'our spa pool', it was so warm.  I always worry when I swim into a warmer patch of water because I think it might attract sharks and sting-ray.  So I'm in two minds whether to bask away, or high-tail it back to colder waters.

Many of our beach friends are saying farewells to each other, expecting any day now to suddenly stop coming to the beach.  All it takes is one storm, a bout of coldness and... that's it!  We won't see each other again until next summer.   With J and myself, it is different because we try to get in a certain number of swims per month all year round and, boy, do we get stressed out trying to reach that number when we only have a few days left for the month.  We chew our nails praying that the weather will be fine, the tide will be high, and we won't feel Alaskan-cold in just our normal bathing suits with, perhaps, a light t-shirt for warmth.  No wetsuits for us..

This year, however, I admit I am beginning to feel a bit ....wimpy about winter swimming.

Yesterday there was a bunch of beginning kayakers at the beach.  Both them, and J and myself worried about getting into each other's territory.  We didn't really have a successful swim because we were a bit wary about being mowed down by the seafaring newbies.  We skittered away any time a kayak came close.  Many of the kayakers seemed to go backwards when they were trying for forwards.

Several newbies  couldn't get back into their kayaks after going for a 'roll'.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Feeling Sorry for myself

Hi there

Back to dentists again, sorry.  The past seven days have seen me feeling all sorry for myself.  I blame the dentist.  All dentists.  Every dentist who has ever existed ...   In my mind, dentists are one step above medieval torturers ....

A week ago the dentist went ahead and seemingly emptied the contents of an entire drawer into my mouth.  Since then I have been having to put up with bruising and tearing and pain (oh, my).  I haven't been able to open my mouth very wide at all to eat.   I've been living on creamed corn, mashed potato, scrambled eggs and Weight Watchers chicken casserole for days .... and days.  My friends have suggested tins of baby food, but I nixed that.

Yesterday, I bought a blueberry muffin from New World.  I had to break it up into a thousand crumbs.  The muffin took about an hour to eat.

And to think that the tortune goes on next Monday with another hour and a half scheduled session. 

Still ... I pulled myself away from my lethargy and forced myself to go for a walk during the weekend.  I traversed the zig-zag path down to Scorching Bay.   The first photo is of the bay from about halfway down the path.  In the second picture (click on it) you might be able to see the outdoor tables and chairs that belong to the cafe "Scorch-a-Rama".  This cafe used to be called  "The Chocolate Fish" and when "The Lord of the Rings" was being filmed, the actors and crew used to love going there for a bite to eat.  I believe, under it's new name, the cafe has been popular, too, with "Hobbit" and Weta Workshop workers    The cafe building is separated from the beachside tables and chairs by a road.  Waiters have to face maybe-death-by-traffic to deliver meals.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Oh, how I hate dentists...

Hi there

I don't intend to denigrate dentists... well, yes, actually,I guess I do.  The whole dentist thing as we know it is barbaric.  There should be finely-tuned lasers that dentists can do the job with, instead of the medieval torture equipment that is currently in use?

Today I went to the dentist to have a crown put on a tooth.  I was three and a half hours on the premises - 3 hours in the dentist's chair and half an hour, between tortures, trying out a massage chair in the waiting area.    There is another one and a half hours to go at some future date.

When I was nine,  dental nurses at the Dental Clinic in the old Willis street dental clinic building threatened to put me in The blue Room if I didn't stop squirming.  I had nightmares about The Blue Room until I was well into my teens.  I realise now The Blue Room was just talk to keep a kid under a strict disciplinarian's thumb.  Oh, NZ dental system, you have a lot to answer for.

Today was horrendous for me.  The torture just kept on going... and going .... and going...  I had so many injections that I lost count.  Proper numbness didn't hit my mouth until an hour into the session, and it was supposed to take, like, five minutes.  This happened to me once before with another dentist.  Something about my being so tense, maybe?

Oh, below is the famous Steve Martin "Be a Dentist" song from the musical movie "Little Shop of Horrors".

I'm typing this about five hours after the event, all sorry for myself, and I can still hardly talk (wow, what a relief, some people might say).  This evening, I could only splutter down the receiver when a friend rang me.   When I tried to swirl a glass of water around in my mouth in front of the dentist, the whole lot spurted out of the corner of my mouth and down my new jacket.  I guess dentists are used to this.

Anyway, here's a funny dentist skit from the old Carol Burnett television show.

Oh, and for the guy from down the road and around the corner who wants to see more of the models I photographed at Hataitai Beach last weekend.  Sorry, Bob (an alias), I don't have any close-up pictures.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

... and what decade was our favourite for music?

Hi there

As my english blog reader has pointed out in the comments.... what about our favourite decades for music?

Of course I was in to rock'n'roll.  Even today, I can't hear "Rock Around the Clock" or "See You Later, Alligator" without wanting to get up and dance.

Then there was The Beatles.  I waited 7 hours at Wellington Airport to holler and scream at them  (I went to two of their concerts, front row seats).  Years later, I even wrote an account about my airport-waiting for the New Zealand School Journal, entitled "The Day I Saw The Beatles".

In the late fifties-early sixties, Britain's King of Rock'n'Roll was Cliff Richard.  In my adoration stakes, Cliff was second after Elvis.

What?  You're all laughing?   Cliff's an old guy, a pensioner, he sings grandma songs, Christmas songs, he's a fogey? 

Sigh.  We all grow old.....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

And which decades do you remember?

Hi there

When I lived through the fifties and sixties, I thought we were in the height of modernity.  It's only now that I watch tv (English) programmes set in the fifties like "Call the Midwife" that I think, "I lived through that?  How did we all stand it?  Everything looks so old-fashioned."

We didn't have fridges, and we had one (corded) telephone per house - and that phone took 3 months for the Post Office people to install.  No tv until the sixties, and only one channel for years and years, and certainly no remote controls on anything.  Not many people had cars, and those that did, well, they bought three-quarter 'car coats' and driving gloves. and the highlight was going out on the Sunday 'run around the bays' - this was always a big dress-up expedition.

In the sixties, we got our fridge.  An Astral that sat on the top of a cupboard, with a tiny freezer box inside.  The freezer box just about took a packet of frozen peas - the only frozen thing  on the market to purchase at that time.   Mum came home with the packet of peas and we oohed and aahed and kept opening the tiny door in the freezer compartment to look at the packet.   Frozen peas?  Oh, my goodness, how modern were we?

I also remember bouncing in my seat at The Brunch Bar, upstairs in James Smith's department store, waiting for a meal of Fish Fingers and coleslaw to arrive.  When they first came in, Fish Fingers couldn't be bought by 'normal' people.  They were only for cafes and restaurants and bought in bulk.  Coleslaw was exotic, too.  As was Weiner Shnitzel, and croissants.  Oh, the list goes on....

Here's a Kindle book for you to have a nosey at:-

Shallow Water Blackout

Hi there

I wonder how many swimmers know about Shallow Water Blackout?   Apparently the medical profession have known about Deep Water Blackout for a long time, but it's only been in recent years that Shallow Water Blackout has been commented upon.

A friend of mine swims a couple of times a week at the pool.  Last month, he got into the water, swam five lengths,  then took a couple of deep breaths before diving under the dividing rope'to get into the next lane.

His mate who was swimming behind him suddenly saw my friend at the bottom of the pool.

Lifeguards gave him CPR, he was rushed to hospital and put in intenssive care for several days.  He's now fit.

The doctors told him that he must have sort of hyperventilated as he was sucking in air prior to ducking his head under the water.  And this is what made him lose consciousness.  It's called Shallow Water Blackout. 

I passed the story on to the gang at the beach and we all sat there demonstrating our techniques for going under water.  One said she didn't even think about her breath, just went under.  Another said she took in one big gasp.  Another took a couple of  fast little intake breaths.  Oops.

Here's a pic I took last weekend at Hataitai Beach.  We've swam practically every day this month.  The water doesn't seem all that much colder for March.  But Hurricane Lucy is on the way ....

We will try to swim through the winter like we did over the last few years.   Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Getting lost

Hi there

As my five readers may remember, I have a friend called Lorraine (no, you're not confused;  my friend has the same name as me).  Lorraine is the 'mother' to Coco, my little Wednesday dog.

Earlier this week, I was invited to Lorraine's new place for lunch.  Lorraine's house is in Seatoun Heights.  It looks down over Worser Bay.

Lorraine and I live no more than 2 kms apart, but it still took me 55 minutes to get from my place to hers.  Goodness, I could have got to Levin, up the line, in the time it took me to drive over the hill.  I got completely lost.

I am so ashamed.  And embarrassed.

I finally arrived at Lorraine's in tears, collapsing on the shoulder of - wait for it! - yet another Lorraine, and this is the trouble when all your friends and yourself are born in the same decade.  Mothers-to-be hear this well -  never give a popular name of the time to your child!

  I was hot, sweaty-wet, emotional, and stressed out.  I'm telling you all, those winding, curvy streets on Seatoun Heights hill, with up to three signs on a single signpost and most of them pointing in the same direction ..... stink!

I'd love to say that it wasn't me, but - and here's a secret - it is me.  Last week, I was supposed to pick up a friend from her house.   I was coming from Porirua and had no idea how to get to her from there, so I put the address into my satellite navigation thingamebob. 

As I was approaching Wellington, I dropped the device on the floor.  It seemed to work again so I followed directions.  I went three times around the suburb of Brooklyn in a big circle, then that annoying lady in the SatNav told me to go through the Hataitai Tunnel.  It was only then that I realised she was sending me home.  In the end, I looked at a paper map, and only got lost twice following that.  I think my friend read "Gone with the Wind" from start to finish, whilst she was waiting for me to arrive.

Here's a pic that I took in Lorraine's house, of Coco, my Wednesday dog. 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Advertising Spread at Hataitai Beach

Hi there

Well, a lot of excitement today at Hataitai Beach.  There were a coujple of models being made up, dressed, and photographed for magazine advertising spreads.  The ad campaign was showcasing made to measure vintage-style bathing suits.  For Swan Swimwear.

J and I bowled into the changing shed to find it crammed full of models, make-up, cases, equipment, electrical gear, and lots of other stuff that, not being in the high fashion industry, we hadn't a clue about.  We felt a tad embarrassed in our practical functioning swimwear.

Below is model Bailey, before ...
Here is model Bailey, after ...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Miramar filmdom.

Hi there

I was looking at some old photos and thought you might like to see the following. I was wandering around the Miramar area several years ago, and, outside a panel-beaters, I chanced upon a host of vintage cars. On second look, the vehicles didn't look quite vintage to me. They looked as if they'd been built and painted in a slapdash way. Turned out they were vehicles from the Peter Jackson movie "King Kong". I went back over several days to check on progress. I guess I can now show the pictures.

And during all the "Lord of the Rings"/King Kong business, there was a boat parked in the Stone Street Studios yard. I think you can probably see the name on the aft if you click on the picture.

Below is a rowboat used in "King Kong". I got told off for taking photo.  I just chanced upon the activity as I was walking along Stone Street where the studios are. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

...but can you do it on your knuckles?

Hi there

First ...    I can do one-arm push-ups.  In fact, I am pretty brilliant on one-arm push-ups.  It's my party piece.  Not bad for an old dog, eh? 

I would say that about 50% of folk who watch me doing my one-arm push-ups say something like:  "But can you do it on your knuckles?"  Or "What about the other arm?"  Or "How about a dozen one-arm push-ups on the back of a pony, juggling ten coffee cups, twirling  hoops around your arms and legs, and balancing a pussy cat on your nose?"

Okay, I admit I have tried the pony thing, and I just can't do it.   The pussy cat keeps falling off.

My friends tell me the same thing about their achievements.  "It's a nice painting, but have you thought about putting  a bird on that tree?" was one comment given to a friend.  She was devastated, the painting had taken a long time to do and she was so proud of it. 

Another friend got this comment:  "I know it was your first attempt and you spent a long time throwing that bowl, and painting it, and firing it, but why didn't you do a saucer, too?" 

What about, "The scones are great.  You never thought of adding cinammon?"

Oh-oh-oh, here's  one:  "You're swimming in just your bathing suits throughout a Wellington winter?  How long do you stay in the water?  An hour? " 

Heck, I'm telling you, not many folk stay in the water, in summer, for an hour.  In the middle of winter, ten minutes is a challenge.

Praise can so build up a person.   If someone takes ages and ages to learn something, please don't dismiss the achievement by asking why they arent doing it at a higher level.  It's so traumatic.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Kilbirnie Park - what are these white blobs?

Hi there

I was walking alongside Kilbirnie Park this morning, on my way to the gym, and I saw little white blobs strategically spaced all over the grass.

Some sort of white blobby alien invasion?  Quick, put the airforce on high alert.  Oh, hang on, didn't we mothball all our jet-fighter planes several years' ago?

Maybe vandals had scattered fluffy sudsy stuff all over the grounds?  I truly was tempted to pick it up and blow it into the air.  How sweet.

Some new sporty activity, perhaps?    One that includes something or someone zooming in and out and around white fluffy disclike ....things?     I better look up Wikipedia..

Wait ....  there's a notice warning about weed killing.....    Oh, it's blobs of weedkiller.

Lock up your dogs, cats, inquisitive teens, and those folk who always like to press their finger against a wall where there's a notice that reads "Wet Paint".


Oh, and I think I will have to take back what I said the other day about just men parking skew-whiff in supermarket carparks.  A woman shot in beside me today and I swear she was in something reminiscent of an army tank.  She parked way over the line and into my personal space. I am so embarrassed for womanhood.  But, hey, maybe it's just drivers of such huge SUVs that are causing the trouble.  Mmmmm, I'll have to think about this.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Swimming at Hataitai beach

Hi there

J and  I have been cruising along with our swimming since about October.  Today everything ,changed.  We got in the water, and there was beautiful blue sky overhead, but by the time we got out, thunder clouds were approaching.  The winds were chilly.,

And my feet in my sandals were freezing.   Freezing toes usually means winter swimming is on the way.

J's chauffeur met us as we were coming out of the water.  He said the forecast for this afternoon was thunder, hail, cold, rain.   As I drove home, it started to rain.  And as I type this, (about an hour out from the beach ) I cannot seem to get warm.

Oh dear, will we be able to complete winter swimming - we go in wearing just our bathing suits, no wet suits for us! - this year.  Or will we chicken out?

The first day of Autumn, here in NZ, was 1 March.......  


(Oh, heck, I better sign off as I can hear thunder coming from over Island Bay way.  I don't want possible lightening to home in on my computer)

Here's a not very good photo of one of the gateposts at Weta Workshop, in Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand, just up the road from where I live.  It depicts a dwarf from The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies.