Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunday Stills: Rust

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Rust!
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills on April 24, 2011 by Ed

I figure this will be an easy one for most of ya, the challenge is to look outside the box and find something other folks may not have thought of. Pay close attention to lighting too, the angle of light in the sun can have some pretty cool effects..:-))

These rust bucket farm equipment were outside a public area in a small town in the north island of New Zealand. They were proud of their farming heritage.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday shootout: Texture

Member Voice for April 29 - Textures
Think fabrics, exteriors of buildings, tree bark, there are many possibilities.
Look at a close-up photo of a weathered old barn board and you almost wince at the imagined pain of catching a sharp splinter. Our memories of how things feel are so ingrained in our consciousness that the mere sight of them brings a vivid sensation of touch. By exploiting textures you can bring a tactile dimension to your photographs.

Surface textures become most apparent when they are illuminated from an oblique light source. Angled light catches the shape and imperfections of an object's surface and creates a pattern of highlight and shadow to produce visual texture. The quality of the light is also important. Bold and large textures, such as the bark of a tree or the rough surface of the door detail, are best revealed by strong, direct sidelight. Smooth, more finely detailed textures, such as that of satin, would be erased by powerful light and are revealed best by gentler, oblique light.

Framing is important, too, especially when you want to give texture a leading role. By moving in close to an old, weathered face, either physically or with a long lens, you focus the viewer's attention on the wrinkles and crevices. When the texture is part of a broader scene, as in the surfaces of a coarse and barren desert, it's often better to back off and show its expanse. Sometimes you can dramatize texture by comparing different surfaces within a scene: an elderly potter's gnarled hands turning a vessel of wet, silken clay. In revealing such contrasts, it's important to move in close and exclude everything that doesn't enhance the tactile qualities of your image.

(info from

Do we need our hands to touch the texture?
When I was young, I was taught the story of how some blind people went to touch an elephant and each had a different concept of how an elephant looked like.

I went close-up to a herd of elephants in the Singapore zoo. Not close enough to touch it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Outdoor Wednesday: Auckland Hospital

I spend a lot of time online, and had experienced joy when I get connected to the unexpected person via another person. In February, whilst writing and researching for my book, I went to the cure kids site, and came to Stephen Robertson
Professor of Paediatric Genetics
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
Dunedin School of Medicine
University of Otago

I wrote to him because his research was on skeletal disorders like CD, the syndrome my late son Andrew had. I was pleasantly surprised he replied: I think it is very important
that your experience and the diagnosis is reassessed and re-evaluated by one of my colleagues in Auckland,

If the diagnosis is re-confirmed as CD then the risk to your grandchildren will be very low.
have taken the liberty of copying in to this email my colleague in Auckland, Dr Salim Aftimos.

Presently I am in the UK on research and study leave but I hope my Auckland colleagues will be able to help answer your questions.
Best wishes

Dr. Salim not only replied, best of all, he was the very doctor back in 1989 who confirmed that Andrew had CD.
On March 2nd, I went to see him and it was lovely to see someone who 21 years was so good to me.

We remain connected and yesterday Dr Aftimos took me to a tour of the ICU. I had not been back for 21 years, and I garnered a lot of mental energy. They had relocated the hospital and up graded it, and that has made a lot of difference..

I asked a nurse Janny who was nursing when I was there. She told me that Daphne , Andrew's favourite nurse had retired and I was so happy to hear that she got married. I had a tinged of sadness his night nurse Betty had died.

God had arranged for Janny to be there. if I went 10 minutes later, she would have gone home. She read my book and she knew y friend, Gwen Bettridge. I gave my book to her to pass on to Gwen.

This week, as I revisit my friends who were with me during those days, we could laugh and there were incidences which I had omitted and I would edit for my first edition.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Save the world: Save the Aspiring writer

To the wannabe or aspiring writer, finishing the book is a hugest step. Getting it published is another gigantic step. Finally getting a bookshop to stock your book in monumental.

It is so exciting for me when I sold my book to The Women's bookshop They were the first shop I went to, and it was important that I didn't classify my book as a Christian book.

Thank you Carole for believing in me. Without proprietors like Carole, aspiring writer will find it very hard to sell their books and their zeal will be stifled.

Thank you. Gillian Tewsley, my editor.

My next book, here I come,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Scenic Sunday/Save the world:Are we too dependent on the computer?

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When I took this photo, I wanted to do a post on how green this supermarket is when they don't give out free plastic bags. You either pay for their yellow bags or use the paper boxes.

I don't like it when they introduced the self-service checkout. I don't use it because I am always worried I might make a mistake.

One day, a middle aged woman sternly told the check out operator when the latter asked if she would use the self check," Watch out, soon, it will take over your jobs."

I didn't think of that, I better stick to the human operator and have the occasional banter, " It is nice a warm here." I don't want the machine to replace my fellow union member.

So I didn't post my photos.

The story is at the Pak'nSave store, in Hamilton. My photo is the Mt Albert Branch.

Good Friday is a day when all the shops are closed for Easter. Here is one example of when we are forced to be dependent on the computer, and when there is a glitch? Who can blame the opportunists?

Honest shoppers and opportunists took advantage of the accidental opening of Hamilton's biggest supermarket over the Easter break.

There wasn't a checkout operator in sight when Mill St Pak'nSave opened at 8am on Good Friday because of a computer setting error.

The store was supposed to be closed for the public holiday, but the doors opened and the lights came on as usual because the security system was set incorrectly.

About 50 shoppers walked through the doors and took advantage of the unexpected opening - 12 of those showed their honesty by paying for their groceries using the self-service tills, said owner Glenn Miller.

"They were just happy to be able to buy something.

"One lady was here by herself for about 20 minutes and paid. She didn't seem to notice no one was here," he said after reviewing the security footage.

A further 12 shoppers stocked up their pantries without paying and the remainder abandoned their trolleys when they realised the store was unmanned, said Miller.

A regular customer called police from the store to alert them that people were leaving with groceries.

There were several people with trolleys and cars full of groceries when officers arrived at 9.20am, said Sergeant Guy Callahan.

Another shopper called the store yesterday "to say they were innocent and didn't take anything", he said.

Callahan praised those who paid. "Good on them. It just goes to show there are some honest people out there. Those who didn't pay should do the honest thing and come forward and pay for their groceries."

Police are working with supermarket staff to review the security footage and identify offenders.

Miller suspected the fault was linked to a command cancelling the normal opening time for the day. "It wasn't set up properly and we hardly tested it because we're always open."

The issue with the computer system has since been sorted out and the store would be closed today as planned. He wanted those who hadn't paid to cough up and he would donate the money to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

Sunday Stills: Wild Flowers

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Wildflowers and Flowers
April 17, 2011 by Ed

I know things are not blooming up north but I’m sure ya’ll can find a crokus or two. And don’t worry we will do another flower post this summer when round two of the flowers gets better. Till then lets see whats up in your neck of the woods..:-))

Dear Ed,

If you are here in Down Under, You will see flowers all year round. We have winter and summer flowers. May be that is why I am happy. Thanks for this theme. I love it. I like this so much that I also did another post with two songs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friday Shoot out: Earth Day: Plants

New ZEaland flowering cherry tree. The flowers are very beautiful, but the fruits are very small and not edible.

This is a flax, unlike most bottle brushes which are small trees or shrubs. Another name is Knights Lily. Four million years ago, a volcano created some small islands off the coast of New Zealand. Captain Cook discovered the islands in 1760 and named them the Poor Knights Islands. Separated from the mainland for millions of years, the islands developed unique plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. A beautiful example of this is the Poor Knights Lily - Xeronema callistemon.

Xeronema callistemon - Poor Knights Lily

Member Voice for April 22 - Earth Day - dirt, branches, leaves, trees, new plantings
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment.

The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

In honor of Earth Day show your fresh new plantings, leaves, dirt, trees and branches. Plants and trees help us and the environment in many ways.
plants make food
plants make oxygen
plants provide habitat for animals
plants help make and preserve soil
plants provide useful products for people
plants beautify

Posted by Doreen

Dear Doreen,
This is one of my favorite themes.

I am lucky to live in New Zealand where the weather is neither too hot or too cold.
Our vegetation is great. So are some of the people. We go out and plant native plants.

This this day coincides with the anniversary of BP oil spill.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Save the world: Happy Birthday BP Oil Spill

Happy Birthday BP Oil spill,
The authorities may have forgotten,
The birds have not,
Neither has the sea animals, and the fish.

Save the world,
Don't let there be another spill.
Before it is too late.
You may not have a drop of coffee to spill.

Today is the one year anniversary of the deep sea oil disaster in the US Gulf of Mexico. The flotilla opposing deep sea oil drilling has taken on supplies - and is heading back out to the Raukūmara Basin off East Cape to make sure that a similar catastrophe does not happen in New Zealand waters.

Deep sea oil drilling risks both our economy and environment and the burning of fossil fuels drives climate change. For these reasons oil is a dead-end industry. As a powerhouse of renewable energy, New Zealand shouldn’t be risking everything we value to chase the last drops of oil, we should be weaning ourselves off the bad oil and getting on board for the clean energy revolution the whole world so urgently needs.~GreenPeace~

Outdoor Wednesday: Playgrounds

Two months ago, my 8 year old student fell of the Monkey bars in our school playground and broke her leg. She said she was being targeted as the TAG and she tried to avoid being tagged, and as a result fell off the monkey bar. It should be a safe place as there were tree barks. I was asked by the office to call her mum because I could speak their language. She has to wear a cast for a long time..

I spent all my life in playgrounds, as a kid, then as a mum and now as a teacher. I had my share of falls and accidents. Now I see kids with cast. Kids are kids, there will always be accidents. But the playground equipment makers can make the playground safer.

I have a phobia about playground because I was injured some where I was too embarrassed to tell my parents when I was a teenager. Now I am past 1/2 a century, I tell you I wear a badge on my cheeks, (no , not one my face) but on my bum. I had a 2 inch splinter stuck in it from the slide. I hobbled home and my sister Margaret became my doctor. It was rather silly as I think back. If I had told my parents, they probably would demand the authorities to have a safety check.

That is why when I was a mum at the university in Singapore, I was the self appointed guardian of the playground. LOL

photo courtesy Sarawakaina
Fellow Blogger Sarawakiana made me very happy today. She posted a photo of this merry-g-round which I had been looking for when I did the post below last year. You can believe it, when I started secondary school, she was a senior. I admired her, and she was everything I wasn't. Can you imagine the delight when I found her on cyberspace 40 years later. She used a nom de plume, and I had to scour through her blog to confirm it was her, and when I asked her, initially she didn't say. My curiosity almost killed my cat. So Sarawakiana, thank you for being a friend.

The wheel where the kid was flung off and hit a metal pole.

Courtesy yahoo news. My girls used to play twenty years ago,

This is a big one, that I am weary of. There is no photo of the one when I was young in Borneo.

I could never understand why the makers of playground equipment made these things that go round and round. When I was little, we lived near a playground provided by the Government. The playground was very big as it was catering for the children of civil servants. That was what Dad was. There were two sets of everything.

I never liked the "Merry Go Round" aka roundabout, it was like a bird cage of 8 feet diameter. Otherwise, it was like a giant rattle, with the handle stuck in the ground. We could sit on wooden planks or stand. It was two feet from ground. The braver ones hold with one hand and stand on one leg with the body outside the cage. A person or two stand on the ground and spin the cage. Usually the bigger boys did that. I was prong to dizziness but it didn't deter me from joining the rest to be spun round and round.

In those days, our cousins always came in the holidays and they would go crazy in the playground as they didn't live near one.

My fondest memory or one that impacted all of us was we were all on it, and the boys were spinning us. There were two little cousins M and C. Cousin H who was my age was eating a preserved plum and carrying one of our other cousins.

I was screaming because I always getting dizzy. H dropped her sour plum and was bending down to pick it. She didn't know that when you are on it, you must hold on to the rails very tightly. The little cousin's head was almost touching to the ground as we spun round and round. H tried to grab hold of cousin M. M was spun like rag doll or a head banger when an ice skater spins his partner holding her legs.

Initially the boys just spun faster and faster. It was terrifying, all the girls were screaming and M was crying. Realizing what was happening, the boys pulled the Merry Go Round to make it go the reversed direction before it finally stopped.

Luckily M was not hurt, and only shaken. In fact, we were all shaken. It was our secret. We never told anyone. M, H and I belonged to different sets of family. We bribed M and her sister C to keep quiet.

When I met up with H in 1980, we laughed recalling that incident. M was recently bereaved, her husband died, and all of us remembered that incident.

Last December, my sister Margaret came to visit Auckland with her kids. I took them to Western Springs. While the kids played on another "Round and Round" equipment, Margaret and I reminisced that incident. Before we could finish our story, a little kids was spun out and hit the steel pole. My sister and I saw the kid flying out. We went to help. The mum went and said," Sorry Bub, Sorry Bub," and she herself was crying. She had three little kids spinning on the tire. The kid was screaming. I asked the mum if she had some water to give it to the kid.

I went to the park and took the photo. Now that my kids are grown, the youngest being 13, I am relax in the playground. I had been a self appointed supervisor of playground safety.

Below is another case which was just reported in New Zealand which prompted this post.

Girl scalped by roundabout
July 6, 2010, 8:12 am

Invercargill City Council will today decide what action to take after a six-year-old girl suffered a fractured skull and was partially scalped after getting her hair caught in a city park roundabout.

The girl, who has not been named, was sitting on the platform of the roundabout at Otepuni playground while other children whirled it around on June 24.

Her hair got caught in the machinery, pulling her head so tightly that large chunks of her hair ripped out at the roots and her skull fractured, The Southland Times reported.

She was rushed to hospital with blood coming out of an ear and still suffered from hearing loss. It was not known whether her hair will grow back.
The council had removed the at least 25-year-old roundabout plus similar amusements around the city's playgrounds and were meeting today to review the situation.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My World Tuesday: 3A COPY & DESIGN

Red is an auspicious color to the Chinese. It was a pleasure working with the lovely people in this company. I chose blue for my book, blue in remembrance of my baby boy Andrew who died in 1989. Without him, there would be no book.

Elaine Xu my graphic designer

Jeff or Jeffery the Boss

If you recall my last week's post of this photo, and wonder why I wrote that it has a special place in my heart. A similar pram featured in my book. The head nurse specially sourced this pram for Andrew so we could go for outings. Sadly, Andrew never used it for go out of the hospital.
Writing a book is like having a baby. You don't do it alone. I am very grateful to have many people helping me from it's conception,Robyn Dove encouraging me to write, friends from as far as America like Ginny, Betsy and George, Ladyfi from Sweden, Reader Wil from Holland, Diane from Australia, and many others.

I have a prayer team from my church and my life group. I had help from the technical side. Gillian Tewsley my editor, Jeanette Grimmer who proof-read, Jonathan and Robyn Dove for their forward, My husband and my son doing the formating.

Finally I was introduced by my friend Frank to 3A copy & Design who printed my book. Jeff and Elaine Xu my graphic Designer were like my obstetricians. I have my two sample copies and am really excited when I get the real McCoy.

Thank you all.