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Saturday, September 8, 2012

NorthWrite2012 panel discussion on the Business of Writing was entertaining. The table of women (all women at my table) included 3 North Americans, one of whom I thought I'd seen before, which is pretty good for my visually challenged self, since it turned out I met her a decade ago at my 50th in Wellington where we were both part of the NorthTec Applied Writing course and Pam came along to my birthday dinner.  That was the year I had 3 birthday parties... one at home with a jazz band and my local friends, one in Auckland with whanau and one in Wellington with writers and other Welly buddies.  It was a good year. I thought 50 was much less traumatic than I feared and I was dancing fit - still teaching 5 belly dance classes a week and having a great time.  Then came a brief marriage and menopause. I'm not sure I've recovered yet.

Never mind, I enjoyed the panel discussion and tried to encourage the woman sitting next to me to get over the fact her airline pilot husband of 30 years had left her for a hostess.  How trite is that? Might as well move on and enjoy yourself, I said.... life is short.  Try internet dating, mWy boarder did it when her husband and she broke up after a lifetime together, and she's had some fun.  I've written a song about her and am having fun playing it on my ukulele.  Soon I'll get my social media series of songs on You Tube. I'm looking forward to it.

Others at my table included Dale Spanhake from Mangonui, my favourite roommate ever, as she removes her hearing aids at bedtime and doesn't know whether you snore or make other rude sounds. We roomed together at David Hill's workshop held at Di Menefy's some years ago.  Ah yes, and  David still remembers my belly dance with bright eyes and a smile.  I am not attending his workshops this time around and I am sorry for that.

This week I have Mauricio from Venezuela staying with me as  Helper (from He will be 27 tomorrow. He's gone to University di Verona in Italy, lived in Malta and is a developer. This morning I had a lesson on WordPress and we're figuring out how to use my ancient Epson scanner to scan my lifetime's slides (which he calls sliders and I'm not correcting him because I think that's cute). Over the last few days, with Bob my ukulele teacher's help, they have sawed and chopped fire wood and stacked it. Mauricio has also used my home mulcher to grind up some of the smaller branches.  Lots of electricity and mindless effort for a little bit of mulch...good to return the wood to the earth though.

At Joe Bennett's workshop this afternoon I was reminded not to use phrases others cliches... and to use active verbs. Joe is entertaining and acerbic...says what he means and doubts everything.  I enjoyed that, he is refreshing and even though Americans don't get irony, I kind of got his workshop. Boy is Joe prolific, I had no idea. check

Must away to bed as I have a work appointment at 8am and then go back to Whangarei for Catherine Arrow's social media workshop. I suggested she speak and enjoy her presentations but think I might want to stay in bed.  Never mind, (oops, cliche) I will go and then return to take Mauricio to Aissam's Moroccan restaurant in Waipu (now there's an oxymoron for Joe) for his birthday.  Must attempt to recall where I was for my 27th.... perhaps scanning my slides will help.

Ciao for now...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My how time flies when one is living life to the full! 

The ukudemic is spreading throughout New Zealand and indeed, even bringing folks to Waipu for a jam session recently at the Clansman Motel. 

We had a blast and here are a few photos: Below are the Flaming Ukes of Waipu who hosted the event.

Above the Grant family, also of Waipu now, and to the left are the Hibiscus Ukes and Shorecooleles under Avon Beadle's tutelage.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Visiting family, friends and old haunts

Wow, a historical tour of places I've been and people I've loved and places I've loved and people I've been!  Today I'm in Corona del Mar where I lived while married to Knox. I'm visiting my friend Kathy and we walked through the lovely Sherman Library and Gardens where we worked when we met.It is a gorgeous, perfectly manicured 2 city-block big botanical display garden with a superb succulent section, colour area, tropical plastic houses and a herb garden. It was a pleasure to do my horticulture internship there so many years ago when I studied at Orange Coast College.
It is 5.30pm here, wine o'clock, and one hour from skyping into my ukulele class with Bob and the Flaming Ukes of Waipu.Gotta go.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Time flies when you're having tsunami warnings!

Gosh, there's a whole lotta shaking going on down under, but this sunrise was still.  We've had huge winds and big storms and hail and...not that we feel any shaking up here in Northland, we are the least shaky part of the country, but there are constant shakes in Christchurch and there have also been a couple in the North Island recently and then the Kermadec Trench.  THATput Civil Defence on alert, but we made it though with minor tidal surges.  Whew!


Omapere Volunteer Fire Brigade

I've been up to Hokianga to visit the Omapere Volunteer Fire Brigade where we have a new, and female, chief Fire Officer, Mere Morunga.

And further south, about half an hour's drive from Waipu, there was a momentous opening of a new tourist and cultural project.

Paa site at Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Village
Te Hana Kapa Haka Group is fab!
Friends and I attended the opening of Te Hana Te Ao Marama, a new Maori cultural village, built as a replica of a 17th century village.  It will be a fabulous place to visit.  The building of it has been a major task with minimal funding and the project is being run by CEO Linda Clapham who I used to work for in Auckland. She is an architect and we worked together with landscaping as our commonality.  There is more to that story, but another time.
17th Century Maori Village, crafted by hand.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Madrid meets Hokianga

 My Godson Kahu from Rawene in the Hokianga up even farther north in the Far North of New Zealand,  is GORGEOUS, even when grimacing.  He is very clever and verbal and not yet even 2!  He met some of my friends from Madrid when he and his mum and Auntie Hebe visited on!

Madrid has featured overwhelmingly in my now - ending summer. My last guests from Madrid called in again and met my Hokianga whanau (extended family) and we had a terrific evening.  Chico and Jose slept in their van - their home away from home  in which they are living/travelling over the next 7 months while they tour NZ.  The house was full up with Karen in her bedroom (she's renting in the house now), Hebe (Jessie's sister who managed to avoid the camera) on the window seat and my comadre Jessie and her son (my Godson) Kahu downstairs.

We sang and danced and enjoyed the beautiful evening. Chico and Jose have a band (are a band) in Madrid... not as famous as 2 Sexy Chico's sister, Bebe, but hey, maybe more fun?  I haven't met Bebe, but Chico and Jose would be hard to beat for fun and I'm hoping to spend my birthday NEXT year with them in Madrid!

Meanwhile I love this time of year when these Aloes bloom and attract silver eyes, tui and fantails.

Ciao for now... it's a work day!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sweet Sunday Ukulele Jam was awesome!

We had a great time at Y-Not Restaurant in Waipu last weekend when 17 plus ukulele players got together for a jam!  I organised the event, the Flaming Ukes of Waipu started it off. young Alex Gordon did a couple of solos and then we had the jamming fun and sweet desserts!

We also had friends Andre Labonte on clarinet, Janeen Soederling on keyboard, Bob McNeely on bass guitar and a mystery man on harmonica... he said he was only learning, and he joined us for a singsong on La Bamba!

That's our teacher Bob McNeely, an extremely talented musician... sitting between two of his young students...9 year old Alex Gordon on his left and 11 year-old Ruben Grant on his right. (That's Peter & Alice Grant's son. Peter is Knox's brother for those of you in the know). Alice is above and to the left of this text, and I don't know some of the others in the pictures. 

I've already had a phone call from someone who found out too late and wants to know when the next one is.  HOORAY!  It was just so much fun standing and playing and rocking out like a real muso in a band!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Priscilla Queen of the Desert in Waipu

What a fun ladies' night we had and our own Queen of the Desert, Robyn Dobbs was visiting us from Karratha in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia where she is working as a nurse and her husband, Pete, as a mechanic. Boy, the stories she can tell of stabbings in the wild west of Aussie!

Marilyn Henneker, (far left) my long standing belly dancing chum from 20 years or so ago - when I lived in Auckland - was here too and with some of the Flaming Ukuleles of Waipu (Maggie's at the back), we dressed up for the ladies' night. To my left, I'm in purple, is Karen Cullen soon to be my flatmate.

There were others there, not dressed up, but we all joined in the fun for the modest but tasty three course meal and Abba!