Wednesday, September 30, 2015

9 Swims, Hataitai Beach - made it!

 Hi there

1 October, New Zealand time.

Well - big breath out, whooosh! - we made it...    My swimming friend, J, and I completed our minimum 6 swims for September.  In the end, I managed to get in 9.

It was a race though to do them, what with the weather being as bad as it has been.

One time, the tide was so low at Hataitai Beach that it took a full minute to plod out into the sea where the water was still only up to my knees.  It's cold, too.  But, sigh, needs must - we had to get those swims in.  When there are a lot of fine days we can pick and choose our tide times, but last month we didn't have the luxury of time, nor good weather.

Higher tides bring the sea almost up to the deck height and we can plunge straight from the steps down into the water:

Below : nearby boathouse

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September Showers

Hi there

My swimming friend, J, and I have had the most terrible time trying to get our minimum six beach swims in for September.  And it's so silly because in the coldest month, August, we got in ten swims and i was away for half that month.

But the September spring weather has not been cooperating. Rain, rain, and more rain.  Oh, and lots of wind.  I'm mindful of that old song about the spring season, "April Showers".  Reverse the seasons for the southern hemisphere - September - and the song could totally be about the whole of New Zealand this month.

Cross fingers we can get the allotted swims in, or else all this year's winter swims have been for nothing.  Hey, J, why did we start this year-round sea-swimming, anyway?

(for late-comers, here is the back-story:  we decided to be absolutely daring six years ago by sea swimming at least once a month.  The next year it rose to twice a month, then three times, followed by four and five times a month.  This year, our sixth - it is a minimum of six times a month.  I guess by the time we reach the age of about 100 we will be reporting to Hataitai Beach several times a day!)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Waste Water in Miramar

Hi there

I was walking over the Awa Street hill to Worser Bay the other day, and I found an interesting drain.

An interesting drain??   I really do need to (in the immortal words of William Shatner/Captain Kirk) ... get a life.

Now, the drain is in the road halfway up the hill.  So ... does the waste water snake up the hill, then down the hill, and into Worser Bay?   Or does it, indeed, gurgle down the hill, across the Miramar flatland straight into the sea at Miramar Wharf ... and  cross the waters to Hatiatai Beach where I swim?

Porirua folk, up the line, have been ordered by their council not to wash their cars in their driveways.  It has to be on lawn so as waste water from the cleaning products gets absorbed by grass.

This all makes me wonder, what exactly is travelling down the Awa Street drain?

I was so scared that I would be run over by a car when I stepped into the street to quickly snap the photo, I didn't realise my shadow was overlapping the drain.  Whoops ...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jackie Collins' books - loved them!

Hi there

When I was much younger, I absolutely positively adored books by Jackie Collins.  They were full of empowered women, celebrities being extremely naughty, and family feuds.

Sadly, Jackie Collins passed away this week, age 77.  Part of my youth went with her.  Ah, nostalgia...

When I was in Las Vegas last month, Jackie's older sister, Joan Collins was on a promotional visit.  Up close, she was beautiful. Here's a photo I took of Joan-

above: Joan Collins, August 2015, Las Vegas

Friday, September 18, 2015

The 100 Day Kiwi Bach - repeat upon repeat

Hi there

You know how it's said that "you can't go back",  or "life is an endless loop", or "not another darn repeat on tv?"   Well, I had my back to the television as I was washing the dishes -

There was a commerical break on Choice TV, and I was sure I'd heard the same promo twice on the trot.  I sighed.  Did Choice truly think they could win hearts with this ploy?

Apparently, yes, because the same commercial came up a third time.  Now, how many times that particular ad was aired before I consciously recognised the repetitiveness of it, I have no idea.

I sat down on the sofa and started counting.  One .... two ...  three ..

It was a a station commercial, advertising an upcoming renovation programme called "The 100 Day Kiwi Bach".   A New Zealand holiday bach is usually, by tradition, a one-roomed home-made holiday hut, crammed with bunks, sleeping bags, kids and dogs, often with an outside loo.

Four times ... five times ...  six times ... seven times ... eight times ... nine times that same teaser trailer played out ...

The show was apparently to be about building a bach in Taupo over a certain number of weeks.  The host guy showed us a gorgeous green paddock, and then showed the paddock to us again after it had been  turned into a bulldozed muddy acreage that looked like a gaggle of badly disorganised Orcs had run rampage.  The host was devastated. 

I wasn't devastated in the least.  A bach?  Goodness, I don't have any bach-building skills, but give me an Orc ravaged field, some planks of wood, a couple of hundred nails, a flat lump of corrugated roofing iron, and I was sure I could handle the job in way under 100 hours, forget your 100 days!

Maybe the bach was going to have crystal chandeliers, a wet room (I've never quite worked out what a wet room actually is and I won't look it up because I love to visualise all sorts of things), a grand staircase straight out of "Gone With the Wind" and, maybe, an annex for a butler and maid?

Ten times ... eleven times ... Twelve times ...thirteen times ... would this trailer never stop looping.  Talk about Groundhog Day.  The starting time of  "The 100 Day Kiwi Bach" programme would probably be etched in my mind forever:  9pm Friday.

Fourteen times ... fifteen times ... SIXTEEN TIMES!

.... and Choice TV was back to it's home renovation programme.

.... and I was back to washing the dishes, so glad I didn't have to do that chore sixteen times.

above is info on "The 100 day kiwi bach".

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Victoria's Secret - WOW!

Hi there

I notice that, without fanfare, confetti, or heralding trumpets, the American lingerie chain "Victoria's Secret" has finally hit New Zealand, opening a shop in the duty-free area at Auckland International Airport. The chain is famous (notorious?) for having fashion parades of size zero angels wearing barely-there panties/bras and not-to-forget ... wings.

Okay, I admit it, I have wandered through the stores when I was in America, buying a black-sequin glitter (wait for it ...) ... backpack!

I was intrigued by their window display at a Las Vegas mall. 'Angel' outfits from a past fashion parade were on display.

The items were so over-the-top that they reminded me a lot of our very own famous WOW, World of Wearable Art shows that we have yearly, headquartered in Wellington.  WOW is open to all designers of the bizarre from around the world.  In and out of all the dancing and lights and spectacular-ness, it is a competition.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of volunteer models/actors.  The show is on every September and October and lasts about a fortnight, with repeats every night.  Tickets are snapped up.

Clothes designers and artists from overseas, please follow the links, and if you make it past the first round of design auditions, I hope to see you here next year - don't forget to walk on the left side of the footpath.

‘Rattle Your Dags’ Paula Coulthard & Ursula Dixon, Auckland

Below: information on WOW (World of Wearable Arts).

Below: window displays, Victoria's Secret, Las Vegas

Friday, September 11, 2015

the wrong side?

Hi there

And here's my tiny grumble for today....  why do tourists who visit NZ barrel along on the right side of the footpaths - epecially in Queen Street, Auckland - when we officially walk on the left side over here?

Because Auckland is a tourist town, tourists sort of run rampant down the main street.  In work hours, of course, there are virtually no Aucklanders in Queen Street and, indeed, there are thousands upon thousands of tourists who are used to walking on the right.... and so they walk on the right!

I forced myself to walk on the right when I was overseas, and I get so annoyed that overseas tourists to Auckland don't treat my country with the same respect..

But then .... I'm thinking, "Wait! what say they honestly don't know they have to walk on the left in New Zealand?"  Just about everyone walking up and down Queen Street in daytime hours  is a tourist from a "let's walk on the right side" country, so they might think it's normal to do so in New Zealand?  The information may not be in guidebooks.

Okay, so for all you Asian, American, and European tourists and students  who go to Auckland, please take note, we walk on the left.  I am tired of crashing into people in Queen Street!

Oh, I feel so much better now.  Sometimes it's soooo good to get something off your chest ....

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Elvis exhibit in Las Vegas

Hi there

There is a new exhibit in Vegas.  Elvis' estate, Graceland, has sent a whole lot of paraphenalia from their archives to  Las Vegas on permanent exhibition.  Elvis had sung at the International Hotel which turned into the Hilton, which turned into LVH, which is now Westgate, which is where the exhibit is.  This hotel is at the end of the monorail track

I was giddy with excitement;  there was so much Elvis-owned stuff.  From the age of, oh, eleven I  have liked Elvis.  I wrote to him while he was in the army.  I remember telling friends that "Oh, I don't expect a reply but someone will tell Elvis that he has 5,000 fan letters this week and it will perk him up.  He'll know that we haven't deserted him."   !!!

below: some of his stage costumes

below: some of Elvis' personal things

below:  Elvis' mother's shoes and her poodle purse

below:  Lisa Marie's baby clothes

Adjacent to the Elvis exhibit in Westgate is a wedding chapel.  Notice how the  entrance resembles the gates at Graceland.  The cake is a replica of Elvis' and Priscilla's real cake

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

MGM Grand Las Vegas

Hi there

One of my fave hotel/casinos in Las Vegas is the MGM Grand..

I went to the MGM buffet a couple of times to purr over the little key lime tarts - Mmmmmmmmmm......  I left my camera by mistake at this buffet, rushed back two hours later, and my camera had been handed in!  Honest people in Las Vegas.

Below:  here's a view of MGM Grand (behind the MGM signature lion on the right) .  New York New York (yes, it's said twice) hotel/casino is on the left, a replica of the skyscrapers in that city.

MGM Grand:
If you go to the television survey desk near the entrance to the pool, you can watch new programmes before they are aired.  Because of what you say, programmes can be tweaked or scrapped.  Stars can even be fired..

You cannot pick and choose programmes.  It's all secret squirrel, and you don't know what you're going to see until you're inside the viewing room.  As you watch the show, you have to continually twirl a dial as to your liking of the programme, on a scale of 1 to 100.  Afterwards, you have to fill out a survey as to the show and the actors, as well as your opinion of other shows currently on tv.

I got to rate two shows.  The best one was tentatively called "Angel from Hell".  It starred Jane Lynch ("Glee") who I absolutely love, so straight away my dial was twirled up to almost 100!

The light-hearted Angel from Hell" was about this young woman who suddenly acquired a mouthy annoying but compassionate woman (Lynch)  who popped up everywhere and knew everything about her.  Her guardian Angel?

The other was a reality show, tentatively called "Mr Congeniality" and was about this small-town lawyer who successfully coached women for beauty pagents.  My dial fluctuated from 15 to about 50.

Buffets:  I know that, before I left, I said I was going to do four buffets in a 24 hour period.  Well, when the time came, I just couldn't bear the thought of it!  On holiday, I am never hungry and with that and with all that heat added into the mix, I only needed one meal a day - usually a buffet.