Francesca's Hen's Party

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Francesca before...

Francesca after...

I went to a hen's party last night. Good times! Abby did a fantastic job of dressing Fran up I thought. Hideous yes, but then embarrassing the poor girl before the wedding is what a hen's party is all about right?

Check out the great pics below for a bit of a laugh...

World's fastest eating mammal - Star nosed mole

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Check out here for a clip of how fast this thing can eat!

For more weird and wonderful looking animals click here.

Blindfold Motorcycle Speed Record

Billy Baxter
265.33 km/h (164.87 mph)
RAF Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, UK
August 2, 2003

Billy Baxter (UK) reached a speed of 265.33 km/h (164.87 mph) while riding a 1,200cc Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle blindfolded at RAF Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, UK, on August 2, 2003.


I haven't been that fast in a motorbike with my eyes open, let alone blindfolded. Now that's impressive

Mysterious sea creature found

Ever thought the Loch Ness Monster was just a hoax? Check out this pic of a rotting "sea serpent" carcass captured by the Japanese fishing boat, the Zuiyo-Maru just off the coast of New Zealand.

Loving it!

The mysteries of the creations of God never cease to amaze me.

Oh by the way Symon, here's an interesting thing you should research... Chupacabra. Puts bigfoot to shame I reckon

What's with cats?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm not much of a cat person, although they seem to love me!

I must admit they're great when you're curled up on the couch watching a movie, but apart from that I really don't have much time for them.

Here's some reasons why...

Cats are incredibly selfish
They bring you unwanted gifts (Ie, decapitated rabbits, mice, rats, cute little birds, endangered moreporks; the list goes on...)
I'm sure it's impossible to train them
They jump onto tables and steal food
They won't go for walks with you
They demand attention and retaliate if they don't get it immediately

Dogs on the other hand are the complete opposite.

They are loyal
You can play rugby & soccer with them (if they're real dogs that is - not chihuahuas, poodles, etc)
They're good for exercise and taking on walks
You can train them to do tricks and stuff
They can find and save people in dangerous situations
They help police find drugs and catch criminals

In fact, they're so cool they have even have a dog art museum in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) where they keep all the famous paintings that have been made by various artists throughout the years. And just in case you want to have your pooch's portrait painted, they maintain a registry of dog artists.

Reminds me of our Christian walk. There are days when it's easy to be loyal & obedient to God. When we want to walk closely beside Him. When we can't wait to help people, tell them about Jesus and so effectively save them from dangerous situations. But then human nature kicks in and our selfishness shows through. We get tired, demanding and claw at people. We don't want to obey but go off and do our own thing. We bring what we think is a great offering before the Lord, but in His eyes it looks like a decapitated rabbit! Maybe this Christmas, we'll remember the real reason for season and show a little of his love and compassion to others. Thanks for the reminder God!

Only in America....

Friday, December 12, 2008

These are actual names of towns in the US. I am dead serious! Check out the site for more details on the reasoning behind their names. My personal favourite is this one:

Why, Arizona, USA

Why would they name this town Why? Why is the ocean blue? Why is the Earth round?

So many questions…

… so little time.

This town was named for a Y-shaped intersection of state Highways 85 and 86.

The spelling was changed from “Y” to “Why” after the residents had petitioned for a post office. The state required that the name be spelled differently.

Here are some of the other ones...

Bigfoot, Texas

Time for a chop

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Symon asked me why I hadn't blogged in awhile, and I mentioned it was because A, I'm super busy at the moment, and B, I don't have anything exciting to talk about. So I decided it was time to do go on google and find something! Here goes...

When I was tidying up my Onerahi house a few weeks ago so I could get some tenants in, I discovered some bamboo in the front garden that I thought I'd got rid of 6 months ago. Now I know bamboo is a pain in the neck and it takes a lot to get rid of but here's some really cool boring facts I found out:

There are some 2,000 species of bamboo which can be virtually indistinguishable from each other, but which do grow in a wide range of climates. Depending on your location, there are species that will grow in temperatures that drop as low as -20F. If you start out with the right type of bamboo for your temperatures, soil composition and moisture, you can soon be enjoying a lush, "exotic" greenery that will grow and spread faster than you could ever have imagined. Bamboo plants grow on rhizomes, a network of roots that run along under the ground, and put up new shoots to start other clumps of culms, or stalks. The clump will grow to its maximum height, usually within the first season, and then will sprout additional branches. That first season can be quite a surprise though, when you see an eight inch diameter stalk reaching 60 ft. In scientifically controlled conditions, stalks have been known to grow as much as 47 inches in one day. However in the average garden or the wild, 12 inches a day would be closer to the norm.

12 inches a day! Crikey! No wonder it's a menace in the garden. While on my google travels I also found this site here that is actually dedicated to promoting and growing bamboo. Why anyone in their right mind would actually want to promote it I don't know but each to their own I guess.

So to conclude this riveting post, here are some top tips from the Yates website to keeping your bamboo under control or getting rid of it altogether. Wish I'd read this before I did my garden! Enjoy.

- To stop bamboo spreading uncontrollably, plant bamboo pieces for your screen or hedge in a trench lined on either side with sheet metal or hardboard. The barrier need not go deeper than about 45cm as bamboos are shallow rooted but may spread naturally by underground stems or rhizomes.
- To eradicate bamboo that has got out of hand, cut the canes down to ground level, and spray them with a strong solution of glyphosate herbicide, such as Roundup or Zero. Any suckers which emerge later should be similarly treated, but be careful not to let the spray drift onto other plants.

The one with the old school music...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I came across these two old clips on You Tube the other day and thought I'd share some of my favourite childhood music with Renewal Youth. Good times! Enjoy...

Buddy Green

Helen Baylor

Suzy gets a makeover

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I decided that Renewal Youth was looking decidedly boring lately so I'm hoping this will spark things up again! They did say you could become a mo-gal too so here's my attempt at the competition.

Sorry forgot to shave on October 31st though....

The one with the crash...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So I park my car as usual in the Hatea Drive carpark at about 8:30am, come back at about quarter to 5 to pick it up and lo and behold what do I find? Eddie the electrician has been up to his tricks again. Just kidding......
Some random guy (I haven't quite found out yet who) had managed to drive off the road and into my parked car and take it out. It's completely written off so am now on the search for a new car! Thankfully my reaction was better than expected. I managed to laugh my way through it and wonder how on earth a parked car can get into a crash as good as this one :)

So now I say goodbye to my baby which has served me very nicely for the last 3 years and hello Mr. Noob....

The one with the tanks and explosions....

On tanks and explosions...
I was thinking the other day how it would seem that I've turned soft. Girly movies, sleepovers, the colour pink, CRIKEY CROWBARS, I'm losing my staunch reputation big time! But not to worry, this post will redeem myself I think.

I love movies and books that are about war and action. I don't like horrors at all but good solid thrillers that get the adrenaline pumping. My favourite books as a teenager had to be anything by Alistair Maclean (Guns of Navarone/Where Eagles Dare/When Eight Bells Toll/HMS Ulysses/The Golden Rendezvous) and Tom Clancy (Rainbow Six/Patriot Games/Hunt for Red October/Sum of all Fears/Without Remorse/Clear & Present Danger), although I don't read Tom's stuff anymore due to the amount of swearing in it! And as a kid I enjoyed all the Hardy boys books plus of course the legendary Secret Seven & Famous Five books! My favourite movie series of all time would have to be the Bourne series. Heaps of action, car chases, fight scenes, etc. All the good stuff that makes up a classic action/thriller movie.
I was a bit of a geek in high school. I studied Electronics and Physics and actually got chosen out of about 5 males to do a Small Goods appliance apprenticeship. I turned it down to go into a retail job as I figured I would better off there. So yeah I was really into pulling things apart and putting them back together again. I get it from my dad I guess.

An explosion is a sudden increase in volume and release of energy in an extreme manner, usually with the generation of high temperatures and the release of gases. An explosion creates a shock wave.

So below are a few pics I found that are all about explosions and I just think that God is absolutely amazing for giving humans the creativity to be able to pull these off and also the ones in space just show off His greatness and majesty...

Lake Explosion

Explosion in space

Atomic Bomb

Really cool explosion

Gas Explosion

And my personal favourites...
Explosion in Art

Wow God!

You make everything glorious

Friday, October 10, 2008

I love things that are beautiful. Flowers, trees, nature, artwork, animals, interesting people, etc. I see evidence of God everywhere I look. Anyway, I spent the afternoon a while back helping a bunch of people paint mum and dad's new house. As my dad would say, it's such a good feeling taking a plain boring wall and making it into a masterpiece. Or at least making it look better than what it was!

I drove all the way out to Mum & Dad's only to discover I couldn't find my painting overalls anywhere and hadn't brought old clothes with me so had to put up with wearing these... Yikes!

Fashion awards here I come...

You take this...

And turn it into this!

OSH safe scaffolding...

Texting on the job...

The one with Patrick's favourite colour...

Monday, October 6, 2008

As you probably already know, most people will say that I'm not a very "normal" person (whatever that means). I grew up with two brothers, was a bit of a tom-boy, lived in Maunu/Maungatapere (which was considered the whop whops back then), our family didn't have very much money & the Gartons and the Randersons (Mum's family) were (and still are) a little bit, or probably even a whole heap crazy (according to some). I don't think my dad will ever grow up no matter how old he gets!

We got almost all of our clothes from the Sallys (this explains my love of op-shopping), my cousins or even the dump on some occasions. Those were the days: when you didn't have to pay for the dump and you could take whatever you wanted! We found tyres, old bikes, and all sorts of goodies there.

Most of my childhood was lived outdoors or playing computer games. I was climbing almost before I could walk and when I was in trouble or things were just too much, my haven became my favourite trees. I love adventure and the adrenaline of doing things that are just a little bit crazy. You can hear about our antics HERE.

Now I am not your typical girly girl (yes Jacksta, I know what you're thinking tehehe). For example, until about 4 years ago, I probably only owned about 10 (if that) soft toys all up. Now my collection is rather large due to a friend of mine who was really good at those claw machines. My only times playing with dolls was when my mates came over (which was hardly ever as we lived so far out of town back then) or when I could convince Stephen (who was not very old at the time, so go on easy on the bloke) to rearrange the doll's house (that I built myself) with me. Pretty much most of the time I just did whatever my brothers were into at the time & hated sleepovers because they meant a bunch of screaming hyperactive girls gossiping about who liked who! You can read about the best sleepover I've ever had HERE.

After about the age of 10 I began to despise the colour pink, hated wearing dresses & would grab any opportunity for a fight (just ask Kevin for more info on this; I'm sure he'd be dying to tell you). This continued right up till the age of about 16 or 17 probably, when I started to be asked to perform at weddings (which meant I had to wear a dress). Then, the unthinkable happened, I went to buy a pair of jandals and the only colour they had in my size was PINK! So I took the plunge, and to this day, everytime I wear something pink I get comments on it. So maybe it will grow on me, maybe not, I don't know. But I do know this: wearing pink IS NOT the ultimate crime, it doesn't mean I have to suddenly turn into one of those "ooh let's paint our toenails and talk about boys" type of girls... And that's my spiel for the day :)

Patrick and the great Sleepover

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Arna & I had a sleepover for our POD on Monday night. Well, I've had sleepovers before, but not really being the girly type, had never really enjoyed them that much. But I've decided that since all I ever seem to think about now is paying the bills, cleaning my house, mortgage stuff, trying to get better at being a manager at work (all boring adult stuff), etc, that I would let myself go and act like a hyperactive teenage girl for once. Man was it fun!

Our mascot - 'Patrick'

We started off playing some games (which I made up on the spot while we were waiting for people to turn up). I wish now that I had a video camera as photos just don't do them justice! Balloons, shaving cream, razors, newspaper, toilet paper, toilet rolls; well I'm sure you get the message.

Then we had dessert which consisted of chocolate chips, chocolate wafers, chocolate sauce, peppermint chocolate, marshmallows and some bananas chucked in so I could attempt to call it healthy (Yeah right).

So the girls now being hyped up on copious amounts of sugar, we sat down to watch a great movie.

I'm not sure what they were thinking, but 3 of the girls decided to sneak off and give each other "makeovers". The end result sure wasn't too pretty! Maybe they thought they were going to a rugby game or something. I'm not quite sure, but it took ages for them to wipe it off anyway.

By this stage it's about 11:30 and as girls do, we managed to talk for 4 hours straight before we all finally fell asleep exhausted at 3:30am then got up at 8:30 for a bacon and egg breakfast. Mmmm so good!

Back in time for dinner

Monday, September 29, 2008

I noticed Kristy's latest post and couldn't resist.... This goes out to Fifi who has secretly harboured a desire to be black.

Now you too can bring out the Israel in you:

And just for kicks...

The best year ever! (1984)

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some people quote the Sound of Music as being their ultimate movie, others are into Pollyanna, and still others frequent the channels of Discovery & read Geographic Magazines as their favourite past-times... So I thought, that it was time I let the geek in me come out and share my love of Jane Austen films with the world of Renewal Youth. A few of us girls have started this movie club of sorts where we pick out a different movie each week to watch while the men go off and do their thing; although secretly we know they are dying to watch it with us.

So far on our list we've seen:
- Pride and Prejudice (Old school BBC version)
- P & P (Modern version with Keira Knightly)
- Bride and Prejudice (Bollywood version)
- Emma (Modern version with Gwyneth Paltrow)

Still to come we've got planned:
- Emma (old version)
- Clueless (based on modern day Emma)
- Sense and Sensibility (BBC version)
- S & S (Modern version with Hugh Grant)

Jane lived a really bizarre life...

She was born in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was a reverend at the local parish and was the second daughter and seventh child in a family of eight. The Austens did not lose a single one of their children, which was very unusual in those days. Cassandra Leigh, Jane's mother, sent them all to a wet nurse in a nearby village a few months after birth to be looked after for another year or longer.

Her mother was a hypochondriac (or had a 'health phobia'): basically a person who tends to exaggerate their symptoms no matter how insignificant or excessively worries that they have a serious illness . Many people suffering from this disorder focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as gastro-intestinal problems, palpitations, or muscle fatigue, rapid heart beat, sweating, muscle tension, stomach discomfort, and numbness or tingling in certain parts of the body (hands, forehead, etc.). This explains why in Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennett is always complaining about her 'poor nerves' and her 'palpitations & flutterings'. Jane obviously based this particular character on her own mother.

She published her works anonymously and only really became famous after she was dead.

She first started to write for family amusement as a child and was very shy about her writing; she wrote on small pieces of paper that she slipped under the desk plotter if anyone came into the room.

The theme that prevails in most of her works is that the young heroines must marry in order to secure social standing and economic security; yet Austen herself never married and was considered by society to be an old maid at the young age of 25!

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (from Pride and Prejudice, 1813)
As she grew into adulthood, she still lived with her parents (I told you she live a bizarre life) carrying out those activities normal for women of her age and social standing: she practiced the pianoforte, assisted her sister and mother with supervising servants, and attended female relatives during childbirth and older relatives on their deathbeds. Austen was particularly proud of her accomplishments as a seamstress. She also attended church regularly, socialized frequently with friends and neighbours, and read novels - often of her own composition - aloud with her family in the evenings. Socializing with the neighbours often meant dancing, either impromptu in someone's home after supper or at the balls held regularly at the assembly rooms in the town hall. Her brother Henry later said that "Jane was fond of dancing, and excelled in it".

Virginia Woolf called Austen "the most perfect artist among women."and still others considered her to be right up there with Shakespeare, among "the fine painters of life".

Now although I am not too keen on the idea that you have to get married in order to be accepted properly into society and to have a stable income, (that's just how it was back then I guess) I just love how most of her stories have such good morals. If just one person in the whole family was to go out and sleep with someone outside of marriage, then it would bring shame to the whole entire family! They would be disgraced unless a marriage was quickly arranged. They led such simple lives and everything was uncomplicated. Yes, we have definitely moved on from then, I mean, what female wants to wear a dress every single day of their lives? But morally oh how far this world has fallen! Makes you think...

Family IB Revenge

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Haha that is a freaky weird title!
So we got this indoor bowling set for Christmas 07 (don't ask why, just accept it ok) and hadn't really used it. Mum had told us she wanted to do something super exciting for her birthday and thought it would be great to go out bowling. That didn't happen however, so we ended up setting up the indoor bowling set in Jeni's lounge and having a game with the five of us.

Now having not played the game that much & not really paying that much attention either, I'm not too familiar with the scoring, but decided to just make it up as I went along. Well, after 10 frames, I ended up with a grand score of 105! For those who know me, would know I don't generally get that type of score when bowling :) usually no more than 80 haha. So yup I think the scoring was a bit out. But we had fun anyway and I'm keen to do it again sometime! Check out the shibby pics below for inspiration on having a good time...

A different Spirit...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You know, this past year for our family has been one of the hardest years in the whole of all of our Christian walks. We've been through so many changes and hard times, it's just been nuts! But anyway, at family night last night, we were talking about the whole depression thing and how it's sweeping, not just over our family, but over the whole church. Pretty much everyone I know has been battling with the spirit of oppression, heaviness or something similar. And that's just what it is. A spirit. We have so much, yet we still get down. And not just a little bit like happens to most people, but it becomes really dark and heavy. It's a sure sign that we're living in the last days. God is teaching his church to be strong now so that we can have the strength to fight in the hard times that are to come. He is calling us to be warriors; to fight the good fight of faith and learn how to war against the principalities and powers that rule the earth. We must put on the garment of praise for heaviness. The oil of joy for mourning. Learn how to rebuke the evil one off our lives and the people we love. So we had this upbeat song playing in the background while we were all sitting there feeling a bit gloomy. Anyway, I made dad get up and dance for me (now you can understand why I'm a little bit mad - it's in my genes). The following is a little taste of the Garton dance routine...

Hope it makes your day! Sure made mine...

Where there's a will, there's Jon Dylan...

Friday, September 12, 2008

6 o'clock. He was late. I had waited for Stephen for about 45 minutes, to finish packing for his snowboarding trip which should have happened the night before, so we could leave to set up mum's surprise birthday dinner. Needless to say, I left without him and Jeni & I proceeded to set stuff up by ourselves. We arranged the barn perfectly with everything that was needed for a bbq at the beach. It was a great night for it: Wet, dark & on a farm with no waves! But Jeni came up with an absolute brainwave - she simply painted a mural of some sand and water & hung it on the back of the barn! Added to this a few hay bales, bucket and spade, jandals, sunblock and you're all set.

By this time it's now about half six and so I ring Dad who says yup they're leaving in 5 and to start the barbeque...

Ever tried cooking homekill sausages (which don't cook very well) on a barbeque outside, in the dark, in the rain with tools that don't work, after vowing that you will never ever cook on a bbq coz it's a man's job? No, neither had I until now.

I am not normally sexist by the way, there are just some things I reckon that women shouldn't be allowed to do due to the general health and safety of all living creatures great and small! Speak in church, absolutely; Operate a bbq, no way. Don't get me wrong now, I love to cook and have been doing so since I was 11 years old, but I believe I can say without any hesitation, that I was right about my theory all along and this is one job I will definitely be leaving to the men.

So anyway, I figured, well how hard can it be, and proceeded to cook the meat. It went a little something like this:

1. Light the bbq. Ok, this part's pretty easy.

2. Throw the meat on the bbq. Yup still doing ok.

3. Watch out for oil and water off pre-cooked sausages throwing flames into the air and almost taking out eyeballs. (Note to self, buy shop pre-cooked sausages next time instead of doing it yourself)

4. Attempt to turn chops and sausages with a useless pair of tongs that don't grip.

5. Flag utensils and use fingers (Gary Adams, I hope you're not watching).

6. Burn fingers.

7. Try to turn meat again with useless tongs.

8. Can't see whether meat needs turning or not coz it's pitch black and can't find torch so have to figure out how to get old-school kerosene lantern working which hadn't been used for 10 years.

9. Wipe 10 years of dust off and fill with kerosene.

10. Throw away 6 matches which won't light coz they're budget.

11. Hold top of lantern up with one hand, hold matchbox between legs and strike match with free hand.

12. Hastily remove lantern away from eyes as wick was too far out and kerosene creates a lot of smoke.

13. Remember to turn meat.

14. Step away from bbq as flames jump 2 feet high from reacting to the water again (I took physics in high school, not chemistry - what else can I say).

15. Repeat process three or four times while muttering annoyances at Stephen under breath.

16. Hastily repent before the flames actually reach their target and do some damage.

17. Remove hopefully cooked meat from barbeque and put in oven while waiting....

So when the others finally arrive and we get to eat (it's now about 7:30) I find surprisingly, it actually tasted ok. It wasn't burnt, under-cooked or too well-done! So thanks Stephen, for allowing me to have this experience of a lifetime, just please don't do it again anytime soon!

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