Writers Prompt

From Mama’s Losin’ It:

 List ten things that make you HAPPY, I skipped last weeks prompt which was 10 things that you are sick of, too bad I’m sure I could have rattled that list off in about 12 seconds.  Doesn’t that suck?  I wonder what that means when you have to think a little bit harder to come up with 10 things that make you happy?  Anywho…

  1. Sunny, warm-ish winter days (I don’t actually know if it is offically winter yet but god help you all if this is still AUTUMN, say it’s not so?).  The last two days have been so nice, my washing has dried on the clothesline!
  2. Hammering and fixing stuff – my vege garden at the new house had this crapola fence around it which served it’s purpose well in keeping the dogs out, however it blocked all of the afternoon sun from reaching half of the garden.  So I went and got The Tool Kit out of the hot water cupboard (that’s where you keep tools right?) found the hammer and some fence-ish looking nails and got to work.

Old Fence

  This is the only pic I have of the fence that is no more – not a lot of afternoon light was getting through that baby.





New fence

New fence!  SO much better.

     3.   Drop-in visits make me happy.  I was yelling for the dog this afternoon, wandering around in my gumboots with my hammer in hand when I realised I couldn’t find the dog because he was greeting surprise visitors at the gate.  Kris, Billy and Leon were actually too scared to come through the gate because Scooby was enthusiastically lunging at the gate with nothing but love in his eyes of course!

    4.  Kindergarten makes me happy.  We had a visit at Ethan’s new kindy this moring and it is nothing short of amazing.  The teachers and kids were so friendly, it felt like we had been there for years already.  Kids were baking muffins, making craft spiders, making paper mache finger drums, writing stories, making music and playing in the amazing playground; Ethan didn’t know what to do first so he pretty much did everything!  He was all about that nice little drill you see there, and yes he knew just how to use it, didn’t need Mama to show him ANYTHING.

Woodwork Bench

    5.  Pedro’s Roasts makes me happy!  6 x HUGE roast potatoes today for lunch cost $3.60 and he actually gave us seven.  Imagine roasted, soft potatoes with the KFC’s secret spice recipe on them that taste like you made them yourself?  I think I might become a potatotarian, easy.

    6.  Hermoine the Pig makes me very happy, and I’m pretty sure it’s reciprocal.  Her approx. 60kg of pigness comes cantering over at medium/slow speed which is like a sprint for her. as soon as she see’s us with her pig bucket of scraps.  It’s nice to know that our table scraps are going to a good home.  She is so pretty!


    7.  Warm, dry homes make me happy.  About the only good news that came from the depressing 2009 budget announcement was the non-means tested home insulation subsidy. 

    8.  Dave makes me happy, especially when he does his 4km run in 12mins in the morning!  More daddy-time for us.

    9.  Quick, minimum questions-asked refunds make me super happy.  The arrival of my much-anticipated Robomop proved a disappointment as it refused to charge, but 1-day deals have refunded me and told me to keep it.  I’m sure Dave can get it to work…..right Dave?

    10.  Blogging makes me happy.  I don’t know why, it just does.  Writing about silly shit that no-one reads  is fun.  I hope Ethan will one day get a kick out of his mama’s ramblings and comprehensive photo-annal of his life.  It passes the time on the nights when Dave is working and provides me an excellent distraction from boring housework and even more boring studying.  Hallelujah.

First Soccer Game

Saturday morning was dry and sunny thank god, but very crisp with so much frost the fields looked like they had had a light dusting of snow.  It melted as the little guys began to warm-up and they began their 15 minutes of training before the game began.


Things were looking good as this point, Ethan was doing great, getting some shots in the goal and listening well to Coach Ken.  He was assigned his shirt and the game against the Lions began!

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and that’s where the tears began.  Ethan was totally shocked that the parents on the sideline were yelling and screaming at their kids, it gave him a terrible scare.  So Mum to the rescue, I joined the team and dragged him around the field because WE CAME TO PLAY SOCCER ::::damnit:::: and we all had to get up very early in the cold so lets just smile and get on with it?  Alright?  and yes darling I will buy you a Ben 10 toy if you at least try OK?

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He came right by the end of the game and assures us that there will be no repeat performance-anxiety at the next game.  He was so good and fast when he really got the swing of things, he made a couple of good breaks and smoked the others when he was following the play so hopefully we will have a better game on Saturday.  The good news is Ethan is really positive about it and looking forward to having another go.


Full List of Stuff White People Like « Stuff White People Like

Full List of Stuff White People Like

How classic is this!  The stereotype is so perfectly broken down by this list that it MUST have been written by a white person – though I doubt that they would be able to call themselves a redneck.

I love this so much I am going to comment on the Top 50, and add my own whitey / kiwi spin on it for ya; 

  • #50 Irony – yes, and?
  • #49 Vintage – yes.  I have a vintage set of dresser drawers in our bedroom, our TV sits on a vintage table, and I love retro styling.
  • #48 Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops – Yes, don’t eat torture – pork!!!
  • #47 Arts Degrees – Snap.  Got one, major Sociology, minor Ancient History.  I know, WTF was I thinking?
  • #46 The Sunday New York Times – They don’t deliver to NZ and my interweb time is already busy enough as it is with, twitter, FB and blogging
  • #45 Asian Fusion Food – meh, ‘sokay
  • #44 Public Radio – LOVE IT.  Ethan and I were glued to the lappy on election day listening to Obama slay the republicans on NPR 
  • #43 Plays – ho hum, haven’t seen one in a while, but I was Frenchy in our High School production of Grease
  • #42 Sushi – oh yeah, watch me roll up
  • #41 Indie Music – pretty much all we listen to in this house, though I had a kick-ass dream last night that I saw a live acoustic set performed by Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love!!
  • #40 Apple Products – still pluckin on pc’s but we have a 4 ipods of varying descriptions
  • #39 Netflix – loved it whilst stateside
  • #38 Arrested Development – ROFLMAO
  • #37 Renovations – yes, minor because we rent but watch out future mortgaged house
  • #36 Breakfast Places – not so much now we are in NZ, but in SD and Jax used to eat out for brekkie all the time
  • #35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report – Still watch it here, love it
  • #34 Architecture – is cool
  • #33 Marijuana – never been a fan, smells soapy to me
  • #32 Vegan/Vegetarianism – been there, done that
  • #31 Snowboarding – hell yeah, this season is looking good
  • #30 Wrigley Field – hmmm, I’m guessing this is a baseball reference, so,  negatory
  • #29 80s Night – oh yeah, every night from 19-21 was 80’s night with the girls
  • #28 Not having a TV – sorry, no
  • #27 Marathons – I’m sure Dave will get around to this one of these days, I’ll be cheering him on eating ice cream and drinking bourbons
  • #26 Manhattan (now Brooklyn too!) – sadly never been
  • #25 David Sedaris – ?
  • #24 Wine – You got some?
  • #23 Microbreweries – Oh yeah, pretty much the only time I drink beer is when visiting a microbrewery
  • #22 Having Two Last Names – We were considering bestowing this upon our son, but I do like my short and snappy new name so figured he would too
  • #21 Writers Workshops – online ones
  • #20 Being an expert on YOUR culture – not so much
  • #19 Traveling – YES
  • #18 Awareness – like……how we all live in a global community?
  • #17 Hating their Parents – no way, my parents rule
  • #16 Gifted Children – yeah, I picked up one of those about 4.5 years ago
  • #15 Yoga – downward dog, my friends!
  • #14 Having Black Friends – can’t even articulate a response to this one sorry
  • #13 Tea – it’s growing on me, I like fruit tea
  • #12 Non-Profit Organizations – What?  They do good work!
  • #11 Asian Girls – Pretty much every boy in my form class in 3rd & 4th form married asian chicks
  • #10 Wes Anderson Movies – def
  • #9 Making you feel bad about not going outside – Get some vitamin D yall!
  • #8 Barack Obama – is my homeboy, Ethan wonders why he can’t live here and be the boss instead of John Key?  I also wonder this ‘CAUSE I DIDN’T VOTE FOR YOU JK!
  • #7 Diversity – is good
  • #6 Organic Food – is better
  • #5 Farmer’s Markets – are the bomb
  • #4 Assists – I don’t know what this is but I think a football reference maybe?  In that case, SO not interested
  • #3 Film Festivals – in my student days for sure, oh wait I’m still a student, in my YOUNG student days
  • #2 Religions their parents don’t belong to – well that pretty much opens it up to ANY RELIGION IN THE WORLD
  • #1 Coffee – No, don’t partake
  • So I guess I’m pretty white, though not as pale as some of you I bet!

    The Feminine Mystique: Chapter 1

    I have been meaning to read this book since my Uni days as a sociology major, in fact hindsight wonders how I managed to past my feminist papers without reading this?  Anyway, I googled ‘Housewife syndrome’ today just for kicks and lo and behold it is (or was at least) a real condition, treated with a delightful mix of drugs, group counseling and probably a healthy smattering of shock therapy.  Some days I feel like shock therapy sounds like a great idea. 

    Any-who, for all of the housewives out there,  here is a link to the first chapter of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, 1963  Wiki

    The Feminine Mystique: Chapter 1.

    Reply from John Key's Office

    Thank you for your correspondence concerning the treatment of intensively farmed pigs and the footage screened on the ‘Sunday’ programme.

    The conditions depicted in the footage were highly disturbing and unacceptable. The Minister of Agriculture has made it clear to his officials that animal welfare is an absolute priority of this Government and that we would not accept cruelty to animals under any circumstances. 

    The pig farm at the centre of the ‘Sunday’ story has been identified by MAF, and animal welfare investigators have carried out a full inspection of the farm. 

    If the farm is found to be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act then MAF has the power to prosecute the responsible parties. 

    Individual housing systems were created to help manage the health and welfare of the animals, in addition to increasing productivity. The purpose of individually housing pregnant sows in stalls is to prevent aggression between them, which can lead to the loss of their piglets. Farrowing crates are used to protect the piglets, once they are born. 

    The impact of these systems (principally in restricting animals’ ability to perform their natural behaviours) is now also widely recognised. 

    The Animal Welfare Act 1999 (the Act) is the principal legislation on the care and welfare of animals in New Zealand. There is also an Animal Welfare (Pigs) Code of Welfare 2005 (the code), developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and issued by the previous Government under the Act in December 2004. NAWAC is an independent expert advisory panel whose membership includes SPCA and Maori representatives, veterinarians, and animal welfare experts. 

    The code expands on the Act’s general requirements by setting minimum standards and recommending best practices in relation for the care and management of pigs. 

    When developing the code NAWAC considered all of the then available evidence for and against various production methods and housing systems, as well as the public submissions received. NAWAC agreed that the long term use of sow stalls and the use of farrowing crates can restrict the animals’ ability to perform natural behaviours and was far from ideal. 

    However, it considered that the alternatives available at the time did not guarantee a better overall outcome for their welfare. For this reason, NAWAC did not recommend a prohibition on these systems in the 2005 code. It did however recommend that a number of measures be included to improve the welfare of pigs under existing management systems. 

    NAWAC will review the code of welfare for pigs this year and preliminary work as part of this review has begun. The Minister has instructed NAWAC to treat this review as an absolute priority due to the high level of public concern about this issue. 

    As such he would expect to issue a new code of welfare for pigs by the end of the year. 

    NAWAC will ensure that it is fully aware of the latest research and developments from New Zealand and overseas, especially in the area of animal housing. There will be an opportunity for the public to make submissions on any proposed changes to the code. I urge all concerned New Zealanders to take this opportunity and make their views known to NAWAC. 

    If you wish to be notified when the draft revised code is released for public consultation, please send an email to MAF at animalwelfare@maf.govt.nz with your request. 

    It is important that animal welfare policy is developed reflecting good practice, scientific knowledge, public expectations and ethical treatment of animals. The NAWAC process takes these factors into account, and I am confident will deliver a revised code that meets the high expectations of the Government and the New Zealand public. 

    Thank you again for expressing your concerns. 

    Hon John Key

    Prime Minister

    MP for Helensville

    Oh yeah…that's why I used to be a vegetarian

    News in New Zealand this week is the much publicized disclosure of video demonstrating the vile state of the pork industry.  Local comedian Mike King, formerly the spokesperson for the NZ pork industry snuck into a pig jailpig farm and filmed the undersized sow cages that farmed pigs live in.  It’s abhorrent and torturous, the pigs can’t move, some can’t even stand and are horribly afflicted.  The “Old Boys Club” that is The New Zealand Pork Industry, only admitted tonight on live TV that the images that were aired may be offensive to ‘consumers’ who were not aware of pig farming practices.  WTF???  obviously those farmers who make a living by lining their pockets from the inhumane  farming of these animals who enjoy no quality life what-so ever, do not find these horrific images offensive.  New Zealanders who are so proud of our world famous lamb and beef exports would never allow cows and sheep to be cage-farmed so why is it accepted practise to farm pigs this way?

    Read more here

    In cynical kiwi style the footnote ending the article notes “The pork industry’s board had postponed the annual Bacon of the Year awards in response to the programme.”  How Sensitive of them.

    Visit http://www.lovepigs.org.nz/ and get involved by refusing to buy NZ torture-pork

    Click here to sign an e-card to lobby your local MP to change the current Pig Farming legislation

    Soccer & Dogs

    Ethan is mad on soccer at the moment and Nana surprised him today with two brand spanking new Nike soccer balls – one for our house and one for hers.  He was so excited to get home and have a game with his Dad.  Lucky for us the new front lawn is huge and flat so just perfect for the New Zealand vs.. America matches that are going to ensue!  The afternoon got even better when I remembered that cousin Jake had given Ethan two pairs of soccer boots that he had grown out of, one of which was a perfect fit!  We are now waiting on an email back from the coach of the local kindergarten soccer team to find out if they room for a new player, can’t wait!

    Lou used to love playing soccer and was awesome on defence, but this new fancy ball has him running scared as he can see his reflection in it and refuses to touch the thing – looks like Dave’s soccer team is falling to pieces as Scooby is not much on the field either!





    The new house has so much more room, Ethan has his own arts and crafts area that he doesn’t have to pack up each day – he loves it




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    This is where Louie spends much of the day, he loves the view!  Even when he is inside he often lays on our bed so he can admire the view and dream of those dastardly chickens that are just over that little wire fence……

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    Gumboots are compulsory footwear at this time of year, it has been raining on and off pretty much every day for 2 weeks now, but as you can see there are long fine breaks and my washing got dry on the line today!

    043Such good form already!  I think Dave is secretly so pleased that Ethan has taken to soccer over rugby as that is what he used to play as a kid in Florida.

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    Mum & Dad Time

    It has been a pretty hectic two weeks since we moved house, Ethan has been on holiday with me as we wait for a place to open up for him at his new kindergarten (hopefully the first week of June) and Dave has been working some long hours at the restaurant. So to mix it up Ethan stayed the night at Mum and Dad’s house, Dave was home early from work and we had a nice sleep in this morning sans our 4yo alarm clock!
    There is a driving range and golf course five minutes from our new house so I am pretty keen to start playing again, Dave remembered me saying that and suggested that we pack up some clubs and go and hit a few balls. It was so much fun! After a few duds I had the old wood cracking some beautys right down the middle – loved it.





    After we finished schwacking all of our balls we went to lunch at The Carriages, an awesome cafe made out of old railway carriages that is right on the river.


    It was the best meal out we have had in so long.  We ordered the Platter for two which served pretty much every one of our favourite savoury treats; two loaves of hot, fresh baked bread, chorizo, salami, pastrami, smoked sausages, two different chutneys, brie, blue cheese, swiss, salad, pickles, kalamata olives and peppers.  OMG, so good paired with a crisp local chardonnay.  Image018It was such a lovely morning made even better when we went to pick Ethan up afterward and saw how happy he was and what a lovely time he had had with his grandparents.