Posts Tagged ‘photos’
As national mascots go, the kiwi ain’t all that impressive. It’s slow, flightless, practically blind. If Darwin had his way, this rare bird would probably be well and truly a footnote in history by now.
Yet its otherworldliness, I think, evokes the protector in all of us. When I first laid eyes on the first of two kiwi released on Motutapu Island last week, I felt something stir in me.
Surprisingly animated – ducking, squirming, flexing – it was larger than I expected. Cuddlier looking, somehow. By the time it made its way to the end of the receiving line, where I was, the kiwi was getting slightly agitated. I refrained from touching it, not wanting to exacerbate the stress, but others said its feathers were firm, even hard, despite how soft and glossy they looked.
I’m not an animal person at all, but the passion of the conservation staff was infectious. There was a quaver in this man’s voice when he later spoke of the path that led him here, starting with seeing the remains of a moa at the museum, and today, when his 6-year-old son touched the feathers of the kiwi before its release. “Come back in 20 years – it’ll be real noisy,” he promised. I’m thankful we care enough to preserve the kiwi (and our other unique birdlife, which Lord knows need our help).
Here’s another kick ass bird being cultivated on Motutapu, the takahe. It’s a bird we spent many hours learning about and drawing pictures of in primary school, and which (to my best memory) we saw on a school trip to Motutapu back then. Sadly, my only memory of that first visit is of being teased by classmates about my hat. It was a baby bonnet, apparently, one my frugal mother would have picked up at one garage sale or another.
Motutapu has been pest free since late 2011 and thanks to replanting over the past decades, is stunningly lush and green, surrounded by some of the clearest, warmest seawater I can ever remember dipping into in New Zealand.
As I was discussing with one of the others at the event, it would be a pretty idyllic place to live – as long as you had a boat, of course.
Tags: photos, travel
Last weekend T and I went for a morning jaunt to a local beach. Not the white sandy variety; not even the black sand, pounding surf variety. The kind that’s rocky and kind of barren; where joggers frantically chase their dog around in an attempt to get it back on its leash, yelling “Hunter! Hunter!” fruitlessly and smiling at onlookers with a mix of frazzlement, humour and that ‘what can you do?’ expression; where it smells salty and bits of broken bottles lie amongst the mossy pebbles and there are faint whiffs of sewage – in other words, the kind of beach we both grew up close to.
He found a sole coconut and cracked it open.
I snapped a million shots of the greened-over rocks, enthralled by the texture.
It’s the little things, I tell ya.
Alrighty, to the links!
So, Michelle Obama, huh? Among my daily reads are Slate, Salon and The Atlantic, and Slate killed it with this piece analysing her stupendous speech and just why it was so powerful. And apparently it was written at a 12th grade level, which is much higher than speechwriters generally aim for. The Obamas give me chills. That is all.
I also enjoyed this Freshly Pressed post from Bea Magazine about Patricia Heaton (Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond, and also The Middle) and its take on the meaning of feminism (something I also struggle with, although it sounds like Diane and I share identical personal views on the subject).
This brought me to tears. Here is a beautiful ode to love and taking chances from Hannah Katy.
I am not sure I would have survived in the pre-internet days, to be honest. Kelly Abroad explains how her iPhone makes life as a traveller easier.
Some of us quite like working for a company. Julie Clow is one, and at Life After College, explains how to make the most of it.
Finally, Jonathan Fields argues that success, if guaranteed, is hollow. (How does that saying go – what would you do if you knew you could not fail? But is certain success truly success?) He writes: “The only way for success to be guaranteed in advance is to do something that’s so devoid of meaning and so stripped of creativity and innovation that even though you may be 100% capable of success, it’s not really success any more. It becomes an empty victory. Nobody will care, including you.”
Tags: blogging, photos
It’s been a hectic month or so at work for the two of us lately – T worked seven days in a row last week – so this long weekend was, in a word, savoured. We holed up at home for its entirety, venturing out only when necessary; I fell asleep at 8pm on Friday (bliss), and the rest of it was spent napping, watching movies, eating and lounging in bed. I’m no royalist, but the Commonwealth does have its advantages from time to time.
We also carved out a mini break last weekend: an overnight getaway in the city, just the two of us.
Saturday for me involved a leisurely photography walk, in which I snapped some autumnal scenes (the only blight being the point at which I was accosted by missionaries while trying to get a good angle on some tree branches)
followed by a quick run and some peanut butter chocolate
and some reading.
Dinner at Caravanserai,
then we checked into our room at the Stamford (a mystery deal booked on Wotif), which was about the size of our old studio flat. Even the fridge was hidden away behind wooden doors, and the bathroom lights turned on automatically whenever one of us walked in there.
Breakfast at a random cafe, Cima, on High St (which was excellent), then T dropped me off home before heading back to work.
And it all ended that night with a surprise visit from two of my best friends, one who’d just gotten back from the States and brought me these:
What’s happening in your life lately? When did you last manage a little break?
Until this week, I had never been to a wedding. And let me say how blessed I am that my first was an Indian one – bursting with colour, life and culture. Not one, but three days of festivities.
We kicked things off a week earlier with her hens’ night. Here are girls I’ve known for 10 years – one of them, for even longer. We live in the same city and see each other only a few times a year, but we always have a good time when we assemble in one place. And every single time, I’m freshly grounded by their presence. No smartphones. No constant need to be “on”. They’re practical, rather than creative.
What I’ve always known, and really came through here, is the enormity of the weight of cultural expectations they’re under.
Regular readers probably know I’m not much one for tradition, but watching our bridesmaids feed her as she had her hands hennaed was a pretty emotional thing to watch.
Following the mehndi night was the actual ceremony (a daytime one, which I missed as it was a work day), and a fairly conservative dinner with the best biryani rice and smoked chicken curry to pass my lips in so, so very long.
We all stood to welcome the couple.
She presided over the women’s room (Muslim custom dictated gender separation) with her groom, chaperoned by her sisters, regal in gem-studded veil and sari.
There were songs and prayers.
And to round it off, a couple of light-hearted games that had us all shrieking and placing our bets. (Pardon the iPhone photos.)
Then the reception.
I even got decked out in a sari.
Prettiest thing I’ve donned in ages – an astoundingly beautiful pink and green encrusted with all manner of shiny things. Up close they looked a little tacky but from a distance the full effect is stunning. I managed to get away without her adorning me with too much bling…but didn’t get away entirely unscathed, as you can see.
But we had nothing on the bridal party in white, or the bride herself looking all queenly and composed.
Then there was dancing. There’ll be video of that, and hopefully I’ll never have to see it. But gosh darn if I didn’t have the most stupid fun prancing around in my skirts.
Friendships change with age and life stages. I feel like this, the first marriage, marks a turning point in the evolving of our collective bond, but only time will tell.
Tags: life, photos, relationships
A collection of photos from the last few months:
Ice cream at Ollies in Royal Oak:
Spotted by Grafton Bridge:
The stylin’ new Auckland Art Gallery:
Lunch at the “VIP Restaurant” above the Seafood Market. Ostensibly Korean. But really sushi, seafood, salads, and token fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and the like.
As part of Blog4NZ, today I’m talking about some of my favourite Kiwi destinations. I’ll admit my knowledge is limited so far, still having never set foot in the South Island, but there’s plenty to be seen in the north as well. Blog4NZ is set to be a social media first, a grassroots blogging effort to support New Zealand travel in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake. New Zealand is still open for business!
There’s something to be said for living on an island nation. You’re never too far from the water.
Be it the shimmering black sand and rugged beauty of the West Coast beaches…
Or the pristine waters in the Coromandel…
But we’re not just all about beaches and surf. Keen for a hike through the bush? We’ve got some of that, too.
And powder for snowbunnies!
I can’t think of any kind of landscape – mountain, sea, lake, forest – that we don’t have. Or outdoor activities (apparently our skydives and/or bungy jumps are some of the best value in the world). There’s hot water beaches, stinky geothermal springs if you’re into that kind of thing, and tons of places to watch, or swim with, marine life.
But you know what? My absolute favourite landscape anywhere, hands down, is the Desert Rd. Desolate, unspoiled, breathtaking. No pictures can do it justice. It’s a harsh, dry, barren landscape: the clay-coloured cliffs, the sandy grounds, the wild grasses. And yet, there is something almost lush about the reds, the purples and the yellows of the earth and the flowers.I greedily soak up the juxtaposition, trying to imprint it permanently and vividly in my memory, but I am always amazed when I set eyes on it.
The first time I encountered this scenery was when visiting T at the army training camp in Waiouru; they do drills and practices and marches through the desert, which is why you can’t really stop and go wandering through the area. And it’s why this is one photo I’m bringing to you not from my camera, but courtesy of DeeKnow on Flickr.
Tags: photos, travel
December has meant loooooong hours for T, and he had to make special arrangements to leave on time so we could celebrate our anniversary this week…
His boss asked what he bought me as a present, and when he said “Nothing”, Mr Bossman was a bit nonplussed.
“When there’s an anniversary or a birthday, you HAVE to get her a gift!”
But quite frankly, there really is nothing I want. Last Christmas he suggested buying me some guitar-themed ornaments that he saw at the mall. Initially I gushed at the idea…until I thought about it some more. They were actually kinda kitsch, and really, I do not need any more trinkets cluttering up my life! In the end, I asked for a charm bracelet – I don’t wear jewellery but I’ve always loved the concept of charms and having each one mark a milestone or special occasion.
This year, I said I’d be happy if he paid for dinner. As for Christmas, we’d already bought a GPS and I unexpectedly scored a deal on a dSLR from a friend this week…so all I really needed was some solid headphones so I could play guitar silently.
But back to my point – this week was our anniversary, our fifth, in fact. We’ve never really celebrated this date. Neither of us ever actually knew it up til now; it’s fixed in my mind as “the Wednesday before Christmas” (2005). But this year I made it a resolution to mark the occasion, and here’s how we did:
A trip into town, where we saw this going on – some kind of crazy publicity stunt, obvs:
I posed by Sky City’s massive Christmas tree, which unfortunately didn’t fit into the frame:
A massage for him (his first ever, and it’s done wonders for his back pain – why had we not done it before???!! Going to make this a more regular thing) and a facial for me. I’d only ever had one before now, and while that was a somewhat painful experience, I only felt slight heat/tingling at one point during this one. My therapist quickly picked up that I had very “weak”, sensitive skin, and worked with it. Here’s me looking all shiny faced and cleansed of pore…
Then over to the Grove – a swank restaurant near my office. It always gets 4 or 5 stars, and was by miles the nicest place at which either of us has ever dined!
His crayfish with duck, pumpkin puree and cute little veggies:My market fish (and yes, that’s foam you see there like on fancy cooking shows. It tasted damn good, though I had to repress the sensation of consuming nasty seawater-type fizz):
and then from St Patrick’s Square, over to the Domain for a spot of people watching and a short stroll.Normally, I detest planning events, no matter how simple, because they never work out for me. I always put too much stock into birthdays, for example, and am ultimately almost always disappointed. And when things do not go as I had intended, my inner control freak freaks out. But this? This was pretty much as perfect as it could have been.
Tags: photos, relationships
I’ve had some amazing meals lately, not to mention discovered the “cuisine” shooting mode on my little camera, so if you want to see food pictures…then by all means keep scrolling!
Chicken donburi with salad at Haru No Yume.
Coconut cream and lemongrass mussels at De Post.
Chicken satay at KK Malaysian
The spicy KK chicken special. Simply beyond.
Aged Angus sirloin at Eden Cloakroom (weird sauce, good steak)
And my Akaroa salmon with herb gnocchi
Got a smartphone? Check out these free apps to help you manage your money via Young and Thrifty.
Shopaholly recently handed in her notice, and here she explains how she can afford to quit her job.
Aloysa ponders the meaning of frugality and how it may differ across cultures.
Girl with the Red Balloon asks how much you invest in clothing.
Financial Samurai explains how higher taxes ended up saving him boatloads of money.
Funny About Money on why she doesn’t think ‘money talk’ is intrinsically rude.
Marian takes us through a day in the life of a social media consultant.
Carlee Mallard explains how her (own) blog got her sister a job.
One of the Working Girls shares some great, practical tips for networking.
At Stratejoy, Lindsey takes the plunge and commits to an open-ended stint working on a boat.
Jargon Writer blogs about setting pricing tiers as a freelancer.
Guerilla Freelancing shares some marketing tactics for freelancers.
At Dollars and Deadlines, 10 good reasons the editor rejected your pitch.
Nicole and Maggie blogged about that classic dilemma: whether to follow your dreams or to take a more practical approach.
Amy from Just a Titch on finding the balance between eating healthy and indulging.
FruGal shares her favourite frugal superfoods.
Perks of Being a Jap tries out two great recipes, including a Smashed Potato Soup. Win!
I’ve never made risotto from scratch but this post by Iowa Girl Eats makes me want to change that.
Does the sound of apple upside down cake appeal? And you don’t even need a cake tin for this one! I think Not Eating Out in NY could be my new fave blog.
Mashed potatoes. Cheese. Onions. Kevin at Closet Cooking combines some of my favourite foods in this recipe.
Hannah Katy from As Simple as That on what it means to become a New Yorker.
World as a Muse offers insights into life with bipolar disorder.
Finding Serenity wonders if she is just another ‘ignorant American’.
Funny About Money on grad school options for someone with a liberal arts degree.
And at Stratejoy, Renee writes about losing her fun and committing to rediscovering it.
Tags: blogging, food, photos