October 28, 2008


I love this trip to a local stud with our classes each year...

Any excuse to check out the new foals... these are a day old.

This one is a little older, but had a bandage on his leg and was being cared for with the younger foals.

Just wanted to share the pictures

October 27, 2008

Lazy long weekend

Hard to beat a long weekend... and now that the weather has cleared, the extra day is so special :)

Phoebe is adorable. Settling in to life on earth very nicely.... and the girls are adjusting to her place in the family.

Who are you???

After last weeks trampolining session, yesterday we practiced some bike riding skills. No trainer wheels...

And I explored the new library book with the girls and teddy. There are benefits associated with being a step nana....

Anyway - the sun is shining... time to do something productive in the outside world.

October 26, 2008

Warm fuzzies and hangover

I went to a hen's night last night.

Not just any old hen's night, but one where I got to celebrate the impending nuptials of two of my past vet nursing students. They met when we went to Kaikoura in 2004. As one was studying past time over two years and one was full time, they did not cross paths until we took the combined classes away together. Now they have got their first house and have set the date for next month. I guess what made this so special for me was that it was a reunion of so many other students, spanning mixed classes over three years; in fact much longer if you consider that my colleague and friend who also came, was a student as well in 2000. So much news to catch up on.

The angelic bride had dog biscuits carefully sewn into her veil.... and a long list of tasks and prizes and forfeits.

No vet nurse hen's night would be complete without Blue Juice.... and I blame the final consumption of these for the seedy feeling today... or it might have been the bourbon or the baileys.... but it was a great night and despite the 3 degrees C and heavy rain, wouldn't have missed it for the world. Ended far too soon.... these young 'uns have got no staying power.

But wishing you both every happiness...

and thanks for the great memories.

The final highlight that came out of the evening.... the heartfelt thank you from one of the students to myself and my friend and fellow tutor. She wanted us to know how much we had changed the lives of so many of them, and to thank us for our support, fun, and inspiration. Four years later they were all doing so well.

As we battle bureaucracy, technology and budget cuts in tertiary education, it was another reminder to us both of why we love the job.

October 25, 2008

Love these dogs

If you get a chance, watch Dooce's video to celebrate Coco's first birthday.

In celebration of That Awful Dog from dooce on Vimeo.

I have often used her pictures to change my desktop. Her dogs remind me of my own....
and the pics of Coco playing with sheep were taken at a special training centre to help troubled sheepdogs explore their herding instincts...not Coco loose in a random flock.
Only in America?

Check out her daily dog photos here:

Wants and needs

We all have wants...
Working out what is a "want" versus what is a "need" is going to become even more important now that the s**t has hit the fan in the economic world. Slapping it on the credit card and the "never never" might not be so easy when belts are tightened. There are too many struggling to pay the interest on their debt, let alone the principal.

Some of my wants would have to include the things I had fun thinking about when there was 30 million up for the Lotto draw last week. Like the rest of New Zealand I pondered the concept of financial security, round the world travel, stopping work, upgrading the house, the car,

the phone,

the computers and all the other household appliances. Dreams are so free.

The reality is that my work in the last 10 years has moved me out of one lifestyle and into a world where I know many people struggling to manage despite low wages, benefits, high mortgages, big student loans. Bringing up four children has probably given me a greater appreciation of the value of an hours wages too. Thrifty parents...well, I often stop to think what their thoughts would be and how I can justify a purchase. So I pay my insurances and plan for retirement and try to keep the cars and house maintained. I manage. I am better off than many but take nothing for granted. I still have fun... go out.... buy designer clothes at op shops, and manage a coffee with friends. I have been poor - I know the feeling of change in your pocket to indulge yourself in things is often the difference in coping or not!

So where's the problem? I am surrounded by people who want to indulge in wants and ultimately I seem to be the one who has to pay for them. I try to avoid wants. The ones I have I am paying off... but somehow I still have the credit so I land up having to buffer their excesses. I must have SUCKER stamped on my forehead. And right now it means that I can't have any of my wants while they get the toys. Can you see the smoke pouring from my ears?
Sorry to be cryptic - this is a blog after all - just thought a vent might work! I hear blogging is empowering. If I do it enough, then one day I will rediscover life as something other than a doormat and scream "ENOUGH".

October 24, 2008

Long Weekend in Spring

Yay, it's Labour Weekend so three days off. Slightly get the feeling I am living for the holidays these days!! But work has been much better since the last holidays..um two weeks ago.

It has been a busy two weeks for us of course...finishing two classes with practical assessments and inbetween writing all the exams and marking piles of assignments - so time off will involve some homework on my part, as well as study for the students. Sure this is a small comfort for them to compensate for the hours they spend writing them!

Bandaging Assessment :)

Still, a change is as good as a holiday and at least I can mark them in comfort.
Pet peeve... students who expect exam marks back on the day they sat them... well yeah if you don't mind us marking them by seeing which ones land at the bottom of the stairs etc. This could work with assignments - the inadequate ones would flutter down and the long ones would reach the bottom. No doubt students would soon cotton on to this method and add lots of blank pages and diagrams, or lead. Something else to watch for instead of the usual copying...

Other pet peeve... students who think that lack of preparation and attendance on their part means they should still pass when they can't do or answer anything correctly. Hmmm. Sorry, this is a qualification, not an "I was there" record..or more accurately, "I was not there"!

Anyway, despite the forecast of a wintery blast for the weekend ( think I heard snow being mentioned on facebook!), some recent warm weather seems to have resulted in making the garden look amazing.... hard to know where to start, but here are some of my favourite shots.

Camellias and Rhododendrons are in full bloom.....

and at last, the roses are appearing too.

Other things are appearing too - all signs of spring heading for summer.
Irises, Jasmine and the first of our white wisteria over the deck.

My daughter has been training for a half marathon lately and taking the dogs running. As I write, Saff is drying herself in front of the fire after a run at the beach.

Jessie loves exploring the local forest and the beaches, but her age is catching up with her. When she gets home, this is the most likely sight of her we will see :)

As the world news continues to be full of recession and elections it was good news that petrol prices have dropped again. ... now, just got to pay the panelbeaters and survive Xmas and save for the tax in January. Always something!

My partner and I took the chance to have dinner together while he was on a break from work earlier this week. We sat by the River Avon and watched the punters... very peaceful.

October 19, 2008

Kids and babies and pets

Despite not winning the $30 million last night, or even being one of those who won six million, I had a great day today. It was a real family occasion as I got most of them together for lunch at home - and what beautiful sunny weather. Managed to sit and enjoy the sun until three o'clock, eating and enjoying a glass of red vino.... or two.

Then headed out to visit Pheobe's family. Check how they have survived week one of her life... and I am pleased for them that she is sleeping well, often for five hours at night, and all was going well.

Finally managed to get all the girls all in the same shot:

Her other big sister..
And I know it is blurred but I love this shot - she is just adorable, and so alert.

Behind her is Tyson..he has the most enormous purr and has spent the evenings all through the pregnancy pressed against Phoebe, apparently often waking her up and making her kick and stretch. Well nothing has changed and he was determined to sit on the pillow next to her and Mum.

This is Tyson"s sister Lucy - another lovely and affectionate cat.

And last but not least, is the black horse, Sam. He is an amazing dog. People who know me are aware of my love for Black Labs... so here is my current favourite one.

Apart from Lab I am not sure what he is crossed with. He was from the SPCA originally and is a big gentle giant.

Hard to believe the weekend is over already - but soon be Labour Weekend :)
Just glad to have had some sunny weather to make it a great break.
Work tomorrow :)

October 18, 2008

Only a mother could love.....

World's Ugliest Mutt

Certainly be hard to love this one....

Meanwhile, across Christchurch, a friend has just announced the impending adoption of a Bichon Frise puppy... Scarlet. They have been caring for the Mum during her pregnancy, while their neighbors were away. It was only a matter of time before the children broke down any resistance, but the look on their son's face says it all.... and Scarlet will be a welcome addition to a fantastic home.

October 17, 2008

Dusky Dolphins up close and personal, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Every autumn I get to take my new students to Kaikoura....where we go out to get up close and personal with the dusky dolphins.

The trip out from South Bay...

The dolphins greet us... usually hundreds of them.

Getting ready to swim....

Swimmers getting among them....

SInging and squeaking to the dolphins

What are they seeing down there?

What do they see?

Probably one of the most amazing experiences I have had - and I feel so privileged to get to do it every year!

Want to know more? Click on the title link and it will take you to see the Dolphin Encounter Web site.

October 14, 2008

Living and dying

In the week we gained Phoebe, Neo-Conduit has found out that she has lost her dad. She tracked him down in America 4 years ago and they have been talking and writing ever since. Tonight she found out he had died though an email from her aunt who had never met her but found her details in his belongings.
Neo-Conduit: R.I.p Dad/

I can't help much, but I did go to see her - company when grieving is sometimes the only thing we can do. Reading Antler's posts on death also helps me put things in perspective.

While the economic world crashes around us, it does help to remind ourselves of what we do have, and how lucky we are if we have the basic necessities of life and good health. I have so many friends who are facing major and life changing health issues. Their future and quality of life is uncertain and fear is close to the surface. They are taking it one day at a time.

I found this picture of Faith as a puppy recently...

Faith, the two legged dog

See her on Oprah's show

Her story is worth looking at :)


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