Archive for the ‘Just life’ Category

Where* do you want to go?

Over a decade ago, I began a travel planning business. But just as it was kicking off, other (much better-paying) work dominated my life, and I sadly neglected this little business. It has been inactive since then. But I’d like to reboot it.

The theory is the same. Travel planning (itineraries etc) is extremely time-consuming and the choices these days can be overwhelming, so why not let me do it for you?

Check out Travel Unpackaged’s website. It needs work, but is operating now. Regard this as a soft launch. And I’d love feedback on the idea.


* Yes, I reposted this from my daily blog over on x365TakeTwo.


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Maori have a wonderful, ritual way of introducing themselves, called pepeha. Aside from always noting their iwi (or tribe), they will say where they were born, and what was their mountain, and their river and/or coastline. If they know it, they will also mention their waka (waka means canoe, and it is said that nine major waka made the journey to New Zealand from Polynesia).

I was born in Waimate, South Canterbury, of Irish, Scottish and Welsh (to pick a few) descent. My mountain is Aoraki Mt Cook, the tallest mountain in NZ and visible from the other side of the island where I lived. My river is the tiny Hook River that ran past our farm, or perhaps the cold, fast, and much larger Waitaki, where my father and his brothers (and I think my mother’s brother too) went fishing all their lives. I don’t know my waka, but somewhere there are records detailing the ships that brought my ancestors.

How would you introduce yourself in this manner?

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(The 18th in a continuing series)

  • A heart full of love and enthusiasm is vulnerable, but the love is worth it
  • Life isn’t fair*
  • Never complain about being normal. Some people aspire to it.
  • Having bacon every day is not so bad either.
  • We have to be brave (and prepared) when technology lets us down
  • The best Aunts and Uncles spoil you
  • There is fun to be had when devices are absent (voluntarily or involuntarily).

* I knew that one, but it’s worth remembering

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A Monday catch-up

The orange cake recipe I referred to in my last post can be found here. It’s easy, tasty, and perfect with some greek yoghurt or whipped cream.

We’ve finally – it was delayed due to coordinating overseas travel of three of the brothers and their families –  had the farewell function for my mother-in-law, and just a few hours ago interred her ashes in the family plot. We had delayed it a few days, as the date originally chosen was wet and wild, and today it was warm, sunny, with a moderate (for Wellington) breeze, and we were able to have a fitting farewell, with rosemary for remembrance, and flowers from her garden. It was all personal and private, which is what she wanted, and went perfectly.

A week or so ago, we had a short interlude driving north to my sister’s, to child-sit Charlie for the weekend (hence missing Microblog Mondays last week), and I’ll write a new “What Charlie Taught Me” post soon. It was avocado-picking season on their small orchard, and we came back laden with delicious, perfect, creamy avocados, which we have been gifting to as many friends and relatives as we can.  I wrote a little about where they live in my x365 Take Two blog here.



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My last four weeks or so have been very much focused on end-of-life issues and death, and even my x365 blog project has Horror and Suspense as its October theme, so today, I want to focus on some things that make me happy:

  • Pasta and Chardonnay nights have started again for the summer
  • I’ve lost a bit of weight, though I have a long way to go, at least the scale is going in the right direction
  • I’ve been saving for a new lens on my camera, and have got enough for one of two lenses I like the look of, but I can’t decide.
  • My husband seems to have decided on where he wants to go for his big birthday-with-a-zero next year, and so finally I get to look forward to it and have fun planning.
  • I found a new recipe for an orange cake, and have made it twice in recent times, and it is delicious.
  • Every year about this time we have two visiting geese that pass through our valley, and I heard them the other morning again.
  • I’ve had a really slow reading year this year, but currently I’m reading two books which I am enjoying, and it is a pleasure!

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After my post last week, I heard today that this week it is Niue Language Week. If anyone knows where Niue is (who isn’t a Kiwi, and without googling) I will be seriously impressed.

I was pleased to demonstrate today that original thinking and clever use of technology beat men who think they can read and draw maps. The fact that the men are often-pedantic engineers, and my in-laws as well, made the victory so much sweeter. My husband admitted I’ll never let him forget it, just like I haven’t forgotten that back in 1991, he wanted to drive to Vienna, but was turning towards Italy until I pointed it out!

My Gmail on my android phone will not sync, and it is driving me crazy. I’ve tried all the fixes I can find online, and my calendar and contacts are syncing, and my mail is fine and syncing on my iPad, but it’s been like this for four or five days now. Help!


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I’ve spent a week in the land of strange vowels and high-pitched voices, the land of our cousins, friendly and yet rivals, where so much is the same but different. We drove through farmland and vineyards over rolling hills, so green it could have been New Zealand. But the stark, sometimes beautiful, ubiquitous eucalyptus trees reminded me that this wasn’t home. The farms and houses look so similar, but they’re not either, because although the shape and style are familiar, here they are made out of stone, not wood. We are reminded why this is, when we see burnt out patches of forest, or we drive through towns surrounded in trees where there are signs directing us to a “last resort bush fire refuge,” and we hear that the old stone hotel we stayed in, one of the oldest in the state, was destroyed in a fire in 1993, only the original stone left standing. Yet when I sleep in an old stone cottage, and look up at all the cracks in the ceiling, I am not afraid an earthquake will bring it down on top of me – not here.

When I open my mouth, I can almost get away as a local, unless I say a vowel with an “i” or maybe an “e,” so I am very careful not to order a coffee with “skinny” milk. And when it is 24 degrees, the weather man on TV is at pains to say it doesn’t yet feel like summer.

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