Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Together again

Buried Dad's ashes last weekend. Was a lovely wee ceremony with all close family (except for Ben who is in Vietnam) attending. Followed by a scrumptious afternoon tea at my house.

The stone is from Jedburgh, Scotland. Nigel brought it back a few years ago and thought Mum would like it on her grave, as she never quite made there (Jedburgh was her Dad's hometown, while Hawick was her Mum's).

It's ten years this year since Mum died and we buried Dad there on what would have been their 52nd wedding anniversary. We toasted them with Bailey's, ate chocolate ginger (Dad's favourite snack) and licorice allsorts (Mum's favourite lollie).

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Another birthday down. My baby is now a teenager and I think he has a lovely birthday week. An excellence award and also runner-up top scholar at prize-giving on Thursday. Movies with a great bunch of friends on Friday (his birthday). Followed by promotion to 3rd kyu (advanced green) at his grading this morning.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Perfect day - from dawn to dawn. Lovely daughter, superb party. Well done me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Girls can do.....

I soon will know more about roofing, flashings, spouting, hip joints, windows, more flashings, painting, water systems, septic tanks, etc, etc... Been down to Jedforest this past weekend and there is a bit or work required. The roof seems to have about six different sections, several of which have not been flashed well, or at all, and the spouting seems to have directional issues.

The baby birds (possibly starlings?) seem very comfortable in the verandah ceiling space with the parents staying busy providing worms every 20 -30 minutes the entire weekend

Yaaas, can't wait. Wish I was slightly more proficient in handy skills.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sparring, huh!

Tonight I got: spat on, sweated on and bled on. I don't mind being kicked, punched, swept, etc - but really - some people need to learn to keep their bodily fluids to themselves. One wee tip would be to shut your damn mouth and a second would be, oh gosh, don't bleed in the dojo - it's not rocket science!

Also, I think my scales are buggered. In three days the scales went 69.7, 69.4 , 67.9 - yeah - I lied last post. 69.7 is sooo close to 70 and that's a round number. And while that is a downward trend, I would be happier if it had happened over three weeks than three days. It's all just bollocks since in three days I have done nothing to deserve those numbers. Sigh. The the jump up will dispirit me - I am such a lame duck at times. AND YES I DO KNOW IT"S NOT ABOUT THE NUMBERS!

And, I love my car. I have just realised that after three months of thinking, "I'm driving a white, Toyota, automatic, blah." I am now thinking, " I like my wee car". I like walking up to it, I like driving it, I like parking it.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Twelve weeks

It is indeed twelve weeks until a family wedding up in Nelson and so what better reason than to embark on a wee fitness and heath spree? I have no karate related goals to chase at the moment. I’m in that lovely 1st kyu space where; I know my entire syllabus, there is no chance of a grading for ohhhhh probably two years, so, while the focus is ofcourse constant improvement and fitness there are no ‘set in concrete’ dates to work to.

So, Nelson, beaches and bikinis seem like good things to focus on. Actually, I think I may be visiting the Bay of Islands the week before the wedding – so even more beaches and bikinis!

Twelve week plan: ramp up cardio, curtail crap food, and be happy. I’ve managed to curb my addiction to mochas and go back to a long black with little trouble (and a dollar saving each time). I’ve almost stopped ‘having’ to eat with my coffee, reduced it to an occasional piece of nougat (umm yum – at Deisoline and Mojo’s – just devine!).

Gym, karate, intend to throw in a swim – just not sure where…maybe after Sunday kata class, or Tuesday general class. Skipping! I’ve made a bet with Jack that I will be able to skip for thirty minutes by Christmas day, yeah – wee bit of work required there too.

I’ll just throw out the number here – much as I dislike sharing this sensitive info – I feel it might (but probably not) encourage me to be vigilant. 69.4 ewwek…

Gym Mon, Tues, Fri morn. Karate Tues, Wed (x2), Thurs (x2), Sunday. Swim – somewhere, Skip, somewhere…Walk a little, eat well, snack well, yada, yada, yada.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Just a quickee...I visited my crib today - It's down at Pounawea at the top end of the Catlins. It's been in my family for 58 years, originating from three railway huts that were joined together. Then a rather ugly extension to the front and back in 1976 gave us an indoor bathroom and a bigger living area.

BUT, as of Monday it is all mine. Was my Grandad's, then my Mum's, then my Dad's and now it's mine...Lot's of work to do, it's been a little neglected over the past ten years.

But it's mine - I actually own a holiday house ;-)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Books on a sunny day

The book club I attend meets monthly on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm. Inevitably these are the most beautiful Sunday afternoons of the month, and I often feel a vague tinge of regret at ‘having’ to go and spend the last two hours of my weekend day talking about books when I could be at home reading one of my own.

It’s odd because once there I rather enjoy it. But since working fulltime I feel the need to hoard every spare second of free time and squeeze out all its goodness – or I don’t quite stay sane.

I usually waste my spring and summer Saturday mornings catching up on sleep (autumn and winter is for watching schoolboy rugby). I feel perpetually sleep deprived – too many early morning gym sessions during the week. By the time I drag myself up and read the newspaper the day is well on its way and it can be 2 or 3pm before I feel inclined to do anything useful – very happy to lounge and read however.

Sunday mornings are gym, kata class and Mass. Home for a latish lunch and then, again, it’s 2pm before I’m ready to go. Go for me being a rather inadequate term for what I actually do – more reading anyone? Housework doesn’t get a look in. I am a sloth and a sloth by nature – luckily my man is my exact opposite. He seems to thrive on maintaining the house in a livable state and attempting to create order out of absolute chaos.

That all said, this weekend I have actually done some real work – haven’t finished it, or have any idea what is going where, but… My dad’s house has finally been cleared out and I have now acquired more armchairs, sofas, wall units, towels and bedding, than a person knows what to do with. I live in hope that with kids going flatting next year they might need some of it. But I’ll probably store it for a year and then dump it…. meanwhile my lounge looks like a 70s junkyard.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Family times

Coffee and catch up with three of my guys. Gosh they are a laugh. Jack spent 5 minutes trying to get from one side of the table to another by sliding under it - he didn't fit - and had us in hysterics moments before this rather solemn shot.

I'm attempting to be arty here - not a previously known quality in my life skill set. I'm attempting to mix up buttons and old earrings, of mums, with dad's valves and things that I don't even know the names of - garage stuff - to create a memory thingee! I'm trying to find a circuit board to mount them all on. I will post when finished. Oh, the house sold in the first week! Meaning that I may now own a crib in Pounawea - to be confirmed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Outstanding Forward!

Yes! Jack won the "U 13 Outstanding Forward" trophy today at his club prizegiving! Great finish to the 2009 season and his Junior Rugby career. He's a happy chap and I get to sleep in Saturday mornings from now on. That's a win - win if ever I heard of one.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Open day

Today was the first 'Open day' for my Dad's old house today. I lived in this house for 7 or 8 years and while I have a few fond memories I think it stopped being 'my' house when Mum died ten years ago. Dad died earlier this year and by then the house was unrecognisable from the place I grew up in. Lets just say my dad wasn't into house maintenance or tidiness and was a obsessional hoarder.

In the ten years since Mum died it was turned into a place I didn't really want to visit. So, to see it stripped out (tonnes and tonnes of acquired crap removed), with minimal furniture and everything in sight painted white is just odd. I hadn't realised how 70s it really is. It's like I'm seeing its bones. AND! It is the cleanest house in Dunedin. My sibs and I spent last weekend, along with many other weeks and months of removing Dad's treasures, cleaning every surface.

Last game of the season - fabulous try

Jack - mouthguard in and no sign of a bleeding nose!

Jack's last rugby game of the season and his last as in the Primary School division. The next five years he will play for his college and then move on, hopefully, to club rugby. His team had a great turn out this week, and even had a couple of reserves, so the coach moved Jack to play as a back - to see if he was as fast as he shows he is at practices.

This was a huge change from his normal position as lock in the forwards! It was really weird to see him hanging out in the line waiting for the forwards to get the ball out to him and at times you could see him itching to get in and play as a forward. A bit of a worry too as as a forward he doesn't get a lot of time practicing the running passing the backs need to be so good at.

Anyway, in the second half - right in front of us - he gets a great pass from Hamoa(?), fends off a boy or two and sprints for the line to dot down a fantastic try! Wahooo...what a way to end his rugby year and primary season. Oh, his team won as well! He got 4th in his school cross country on Friday as well, so he's feeling pretty chuffed about it all.

Big brother Ben came to watch - with his ever present football (not the smartest thing to bring to a rugby game!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009


It's getting lighter and lighter in the mornings these past weeks. I am so ready for spring this year.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mud and blood

Jack's victorious Dunedin U 65kg Metropolitan Blue team after their comprehensive win in Milton. They also won their tournament in Millars Flat a month ago. Jack's nose was a bit bloody - even after having it well cauterised.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Babies and boots

Cheesy grin from Phebes.. Latest cute utterance (I'm her godmother so I'm allowed to think it's cute). She's not three yet and leaning out the window wondered... "Daddy, who paints all the houses". "House painters" was the helpful reply.

And I have just sold my first ever item on Trade Me!I'm officially never wearing heels again.

I'm also attempting, not very successfully, to not to go mad as my son attempts to finish his science fair project tonight.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

White is the new...?

Haven’t heard from the insurance company yet – but since I was looking for a replacement car anyway I got cracking with searching for a new car…

The want list was:
• Late model (as late as the budget could afford)
• ABS brakes
• Manual
• Not white
• Sedan

I ended up with a WHITE, AUTOMATIC, 2006 Toyota Corolla GL 1.8 sedan - three out of five. Every car out there seems to be a white automatic. Grrrr. Yes, it’s easy to drive and yes, autos are better than they used to be – but it’s not really driving is it? I feel like I’m on a bumper car track. All I have to do is steer and push the accelerator. I think I’ll fall asleep while driving this thing. Lovely as it is.

Also, it’s harder to take a decent car photo than it looks, especially in winter when the sun is in limited supply. I won’t be pursuing this as an alternative career option!

I went and cleared out the mitsy yeaterday. Four bags full of absolute junk: ropes, books, towels, tennis balls, bike pumps, a hammer(!), a bible(!), hockey pucks, maps, sun cream, etc, etc. I will try mightily not to put it in the new car. What a sad sight the car is. I had a good look at the impact spot and am grateful it wasn't a wee bit further back towards me. As it was I had a stiff arm and neck for a day or two.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


This might be the end of my Mitsy Chariot! Dude crossed the centerline this morning and wiped me out. Not a great start to the day. It was towed away, I'll hear tomorrow if it's a fixer or a write-off.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I want to be two

I have just changed gyms and as I removed my programmes, from my expensive ex-gym's folder, to take to my new, cheap, gym I noticed the rough, intermittently kept, listing I have kept of my weight during the two years there. A huge swing of 2.5kg, up, down and around. Unbelievable!

All the effort, all the energy and all the time that my poor brain spends thinking about weight and fat. All those kms run, weights pushed, stairs run, karate classes attended and so on. And GOLLY GEE WHIZ, I pretty much weigh the same all the time.

I suppose I should be grateful that my weight doesn't swing by 10kg or even just go up. It’s actually pretty much stable month after month after month, with little peaks and troughs. Think positively! This is exactly where my body should be; good eating, bad eating, exercise, little exercise. It just stays here.

I love my gym, and karate, and I love feeling strong and fit - so obviously the exercise I do is not about losing weight (Hmmm, bit of a failure if it is!) and a stupid number on a scale - so I say. But it sorta is! That's how my mind sees it every single day, when I dressing, or walking, or exercising, or whatever; it's always saying "too fat".

I wish I were two again. I wish I could have a day when I didn’t think I was fat.

Phoebe (2) and Ben (21) decorating the wall of Ben's flat.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mid winter

Must be time for Timaru Beach Training Weekend! Hurrah! Mostly a good weekend. Awkward mix of family doings, relationship issues and lovely, lovely karate time including a shodan and nidan promotion with candidates from our dojo.

I had a good time but will do things differently next year. Much as I adore my in-laws a karate weekend really needs to be a karate weekend and doesn’t mix well with ‘family time’.

The dojo session had its usual unique ‘Timaruvian flavour’, a little bit of this and that kept those from Dunedin smiling. With the gradings taking up a lot of time very little syllabus was done and it became more of a social weekend – a chance to catch up with others of the same grade from other dojo and also friends who now train elsewhere.

The beach session on Sunday morning was at the more respectable hour of 10.00am due to the nidan promotion starting at 7:00am. It was certainly warmer – but I missed seeing the sun rise over Caroline Bay – although I’m sure many of the karateka, who were out late the night before, appreciated the couple of extra hours in bed.

The water was chilly, as usual, and all from Dunedin got their hair wet – not always voluntarily (Sensei!). No photos as I was participating, but here is one of some of our Dunedin black belts the day before.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


It's been a tough couple of weeks. The start of the dreaded winter blues I guess. All I want to do is eat and sleep. Work is full on; sick people, people on leave, maintenance problems, no time to get ahead. Karate is fineoh, small classes as it gets colder, regulars not so regular. Home is a mess, literally, figuratively and all the bits in between. My car had broken down days before I want to sell it...and I have to work at the weekend! So not me!

The only good thing about winter is flannelette sheets. I love that moment when you slide into a hot bed and lie there soaking up the warm. Next best is waking up and realising that you are as snug as a bug and wouldn't wish to be anywhere else but right there. I always have to get up - but for a moment or two it is perfect.

Off to Terminator tonight, brrrr...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mystery visitors

I don't have a very big readership - possibly because I don't have much to say, and I don't say it very often. It's just a little bit of me (the nice tidy version) on the few occasions I can get close to the computer.

So, when I weed out all the random visitors who stumble on this blog I find that I have two reasonably loyal viewers. One in Christchurch and one in Auckland. A big cheery hello to you both! I'm no technical whiz - so I don't know who you are. I do know one of you uses a Mac :-) and one doesn't :-(

If you're ever feeling chatty feel free to send me a comment one day. Otherwise I'll just continue on with my self indulgent bits and pieces.

Osu (if you're a karate dude)

Cheers (if you're not)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Still standing

30 down...

The very end

Grading pix

Awful photos - tiny camera with no flash.

Senpai Zoë, Senpai Diane and Sensei Seán all having a wee go at me. Last few fights. I'm learning quite a bit from looking at the photos - firstly that even though Senpai Zoë is taller then me she is lower in every picture and it's really obvious in the video. I need to lower my stances considerably. It gives her heaps more power and stability. It's quite ghastly watching the videos, makes me feel very inept. My kicks are pitiful. But there we go, I did the grading, I have the tab and I was still standing after thirty one-minute controlled sparring bouts.

Just back to training properly last week. It's great to just do classes. I love my new kata - Saiha. Haven't had a crack at Tensho yet.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

1st kyu

Grading is all over. I will probably not have any more gradings in that dojo. I have fair few bruises to show for it, but I was still standing at the end of the sparring.

Fantastic club turnout on a chilly night; Jun Shihan, 2 x Kyoshi, 2 x Sensei, 2 x Sandan Senpai, 2 x Nidan Senpai, 4 x Shodan Senpai and lots of kyu grades. Missed my (now) fellow 1st kyu buddy Karl though :-(

My two girlie Senpai role models gave me a drubbing and my Sensei husband contributed to a bruise or two. Glad it's over.
I think my training was pretty good, but I'll be writing down a few tips for next time. Gotta move more in the sparring and stop just running into kicks and punches. Gotta get a few more moves - use some combinations and try things out.

Senpai daughter gave me her old belt - with the tab already on, so I will train with that around my waist for the next year or so - and hand back my husbands old one that I have been wearing as a 2nd kyu. Senpai Zoë is an inspiration to me - I want to learn her kick, it's so awful to be on the end of it. My hips are the colour of battered red roses. Not a pretty at all.


Friday, April 24, 2009


My dad died suddenly on Monday - it's been a long week with the funeral today.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Are you sore yet?

"Do you have any sore muscles?" Asks my 17 yr old daughter casually, as she whisks up a chocolate mousse for dessert.

"Nope" I answer blithely while puttering away on the Internet.

"Well you need to work harder next time then!" She GROWLS at me!!!

We trained together yesterday - bit of bag work, bit of pad work, and a medicine ball applied, from height, frequently to the stomach region.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I love my stairs

I was 'doing' my stairs yesterday and was amazed at the love hate relationship I have manufactured for each repeat of the stairs.

First time up is pretty much always my least favourite. The ipod isn't always on the right tune. It's harder that it should be and there are a whole heap still to do. 2 and 3 are much the same. I start to wonder how I ever make 10, my quads ache.

By number 4 I'm realise that my breathing is actually OK and that was almost fun.

Five and I'm cruising - Piece of cake, halfway already - ah hah! It is working...

6 - yeah another one down.

7 - Not a good one. 3 more to do, breathing a little more heavily at the top.

Maybe that will do - I know I can do ten - do I need to ten again? Maybe 7 is a good number today?

At the bottom, look up the stairs - find a better song - My sharona - the perfect beat (I never said I was fast!) and I make number 8 without too much bother - keeping in pace with the beat.

9 - replay that song - Phew, a bit harder to get all the way to the top on beat - but do-able.

10 and it's over again for the week. Feeling GOOD.

But should I do another? - Just because I can? Nah. Head home on wobbly legs and think about how bad I'd look doing any syllabus right this minute.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tip of the day - kata

Tsuki no kata:

Keep all stances tight and low. Look in direction of first two punches - 45 degrees... Rotate hips for gedan, then gedan/chudan punch. Keep sanchin stance tight on turn...explode into two jodan punches. Keep fist chambered for mae geri. Keep in same 'plane' for junzuki punches/nukite strikes. Kiai on first junzuki. Swing around hard for first nukite. Swivel into next nukite - but set stance first and then strike hard. etc, etc.

Great to have an hour kata classe now, and to just concentrate on one kata for the whole class. I'm getting the feel or this kata finally - so tricky with all the stance changes at first.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More classes please!

Loving my karate at the moment. I feel like I done the right training at the right pace this time around. I may never be a fabulous brown belt, but I am being the best brown belt I can be. I'm really looking forward to this grading being over though so that I can concentrate on refining my techniques. I don't want to change too much at the moment, just do the stuff I need to do as I know how now. But, I can't wait to then spend the next year (or so) polishing, polishing, polishing. Relaxing into the moves and really making them work, rather than just remembering what the moves are.

I seem to be sweating heaps more this time. Poor Senpai Zoë was apparently sprayed with sweat each time I kicked her tonight. I had put my shin guards on for the whole class (have a few bruises from yokusoku) and they are coated in a shiny vinyl stuff. Obviously the sweat was pooling and then swishing out each time I contacted her. Yuck! That is so disgusting...It's usually the guys dripping on us girlies. Maybe 'more fit - more sweat'?

It's just so much fun!

Monday, March 16, 2009

6 weeks

Phew! Six weeks. Panicking a wee bit. Time to choose between fitness and technique...ahhh no, no, no.

"Technique before Strength, Spirit before Technique" This will be my mantra for the next 6 weeks.

I should be good with the spirit, I'm doing my best with technique. Strength? - yeah, well going hard there too, but will always be pushed to the limit I guess and then technique gets sloppy and then there's only spirt left (that and a good jab - punch, keep the hands up!).

These beauties are not designed as landing gear, when swept. I went down like a tonne of bricks - still don't know where the foot came from.

Meanwhile Senpai Zoe is not back training after gaining a mild concussion (foot applied briskly to the forehead). Three weeks and still experiencing; headaches, nausea, noise intolerance and difficulty concentrating at school. It's a laugh a minute in our house.

I'm still dreaming kata and kihon, etc...Sad as the dreaming is not helping the reality. Just need time in the dojo now. Scared I'm not doing enough. Scared to do more in case I get too tired or injured. Tricky, tricky, tricky...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Light week

9 weeks out and this is my 'light' week. Not sure how I will cope with that? Probably feel like I'm slacking off.

Today I arrive a work with great plans for the day, but having 'forgotten' to plan my food. Someone calls in sick and I end up out on the buses morning and evening and working the afternoon as well. I finally get home at 9.30 pm after doing the grocery shopping and picking up boy from his bass how did the food go on a 'relaxed' day?

Carb, carbs, bloody carbs. Breakfast was fine same same old...eggs soft boiled, yum. Then darling husband turns up at my first bus port of call with a date scone and a mocha! He thought he was doing me a favour - chilly day and he knew I was under-prepared both in clothing and food for the day. Lovely, lovely, lovely thought. But a bad start - and he didn't know I had already grabbed a bag of pineapple lumps from one of those damn boxes in the staff room, double bad.

Lunch fine-e-oh. Grabbed some sushi - just the cost ($7.50) was irritating as I usually bring my own - not sure where my head was this morning...Oh yeah I do! I didn't hit the gym at 6 am as usual - I 'rested' until 7.15, so out of routine already.

Any hoo, saved the date scone until 3.30 and afternoon tea. Then ducked out at 5.30 for a quick mocha and a toasted sandwich (bread,bread bread!) then arrive back for the evening shift to find Mr Man (why is he so nice?) has left a wee helping of nuts, a plum and a chocolate bar for my supper! Fortunately I had presence of mind enough to get out on the bus and save them for tomorrow.

Home late and a plate of casserole from the slow cooker and a slice of brownie that Jack made after school.

Not so bad in quantity, but choices not great. Carb city - no fruit or vegies to speak of...and NO EXERCISE AT ALL.

Tomorrow calls - back to gym for light work out then plan breakfast, lunch, tea and snacks. Drop first karate class and just go to brown belt class. That is the plan :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday tuesday

Tuesday brown belt classes ROCK! Great syllabus, great teacher, great fun and you get sweaty too! Excellent way to finish a long day on the buses. I LOVE being a brown belt!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Twelve weeks

All is going well. Date for grading has changed to a Wednesday night - very strange after years of Saturday morning gradings. Should be OK as night is when we normally train. The going to work the morning after could be a little tiring - no nice lazy weekend to relax over.

Training and eating are going to plan. Worry not enough of one and too much of the other - but that's par for the course.

It really is twelve weeks this time.

I'm going to invite all my 'lady' friends and workmates etc to this one. Not sure if they will be impressed - probably just see me cry. But it will be a long wait (2 years?) until the next (Shodan) grading.

I saw a 6 on the scales for a day last week! First time for a while, it's gone again just now. But obviously hovering around the corner.

Babble babble, been a hot day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The crossing

Tongariro and Ngauruhoe
Emerald lakes
Red crater on Tongariro
Jo, Jack and Sean with Ngauruhoe behind

All went really well. Took about seven hours, with an early start of 6 am. Jack walked well.

The craters looked amazing the lakes and ground steamed around our feet. The army was apparently practicing off in a far valley, but at the time we were convinced the craters were booming! Very scary.

The weather was perfect, still and mild for the ascent, bright sun with a breeze on the tops and then overcast for the trek down and out through the forest.

All over and back to our car by 2.30pm and zoomed off to Taupo for a lovely relaxing spa or two.