Puzzling but cool

Street art in Mairangi Bay. Some might question placing this outside the loading dock of the grocery store, but probably that kind of question would show a lack of artistic sensibility.

A glass act

We returned to the glass studio for a half-day jewelry making workshop. The class was pretty disorganized but we got to play with fusible glass which was fun.

Ours are the two bottom left and the green teardrops on the right.

Bay 2 Bay Ocean Swimming Club

I’ve been three times now so I guess I’m a member. It’s still cold but I can say that I felt much more confident by the third swim. If you look carefully you’ll see a few hardy souls not wearing wetsuits. Yikes.

Elementally, my dear

A couple of weeks ago we headed down the road to the Parnell appearance of some lighted sculptures we first saw down by the Harbour a few months back.

But wait, there’s more. The exhibit is themed around the four elements: earth water fire and air. The first week was earth, and so – obviously – there were four dancers in white thrift store ensembles with lighted accessories doing a slow-motion dance in complete silence. We lasted about five minutes because we felt like maybe there would be more. But no.

Owl Aboard

This bookish owl appeared recently on a utility box we walk by every day. Lee figured out that it’s right across from the library.

The reading list includes a few punny titles, some of them are a real hoot!

Good day sunshine

We saw the movie Yesterday last week. (When? Last week. I thought it was yesterday…)

It reminded us just how tuneful all those Beatles songs really are. And surprisingly hard to play on the clarinet, but that’s another post.

But it wasn’t only the Beatles who knew how to write a catchy tune: Here’s Misty, grooving on a Sunday afternoon.

Just swimmingly

I finally worked up the courage to join a group of open water swimmers today for their regular Sunday swim. I’d been following them on MeetUp for a while, but hadn’t quite motivated to actually go.

It was a beautiful morning at Mairangi Bay. Water was about 14-15 degrees C. Most of me was covered in wetsuit, and that was fine after the initial OMG. But my hands and especially my toes were chilly for sure… more gear needed.

It was a big group for this bunch and for the time of year, 18 people in the water. We swam maybe 45 minutes. Swimming straight without lane lines is hard! And the presence of waves, even little ones, adds a new dimension, as does the added buoyancy from salt water and wetsuit. And then there’s the part about not stopping every few minutes to rest.

But even with all that, I enjoyed the challenge, and the camaraderie. Best part might have been the date scone after…

Te Whare Ngeru

This fine cat lair appeared at work the other day free to a new home. Grabbed it!

I was hoping the Maōri word for cat would be Katto or something… since they didn’t have cats on the island I thought it could be a Maōri-ized English word. Then Te Whare Katto would have blended nicely with Te Whare Ka in the last post. Oh well, Ngeru it is, according to Google Translate.

Misty still hasn’t appreciated the new house much, other than as a scratcher.

Te Whare Ka

This garage sits in front of a house on the slopes of Mt Eden, where I went for a jog the other day.

The Maōri details around the top, while probably not authentic in any meaningful way, are still cool. The inscription at the top ‘Te Whare Ka’ means ‘The Car House’.

You say potato, I say couch

We bought this couch used about two months ago. The proximal reason for needing a new couch was that our landlord warned us that if Misty damaged his leather furniture we would be liable. Fair enough… our cats have ruined multiple sofas over the years.

Since there was an element of sacrificial lamb in play, and since being renters makes us wary of investing too much in house stuff, and since things are just insultingly expensive, the decision to buy a used one was easy enough. And anyway, we like the hunt. The one we found has good bones, but the upholstery was in bad shape, sun faded and starting to shred in a few places.

We were encouraged by YouTube to believe we could re-cover it. Lee has done quite a bit of sewing back in the day, and has time these days, so why not?

So, then, what fabric to use? We went to a bunch of stores, and looked at zillions of fabrics, but there were really only a few that we liked. The grey nubby fabric we picked got instant cat approval.

Of course, we also needed a sewing machine, but that’s the subject of another post…

Lee started with the cushions. She was able to re-use the zippers, and soon all six cushions were done.

For the main body of the couch we had to decide between a slip cover or a true reupholstery job. Slip cover won out. Easier, and due to the couch’s relatively square shape we felt it would look good without a lot of tucking and gathering.

It turned out great! We sat on it for a few weeks and then Lee made a few adjustments and put the bottom hem in place last week. If you look carefully of course you can tell it’s a slip cover, but basically it looks great. And it’s long enough to take naps on, something the old sofa lacked.

When we add up the cost of the couch, the delivery service, the cost of buying more upholstery fabric than was actually needed, and even the sewing machine, we’re still comfortably under the cost of a new sofa from the store ours came from. And so far, Misty hasn’t felt the need to abuse it (much), so we should get to enjoy Lee’s handiwork for a long time.

Pot of Gold

The new Westfield Newmarket mall is scheduled to open ‘soon’. It will be the largest mall in AU or NZ, supposedly.

Death and Taxes

death and taxes

Another awesome thing about NZ… annual taxes. My taxes are automatically taken out of my paycheck. My savings account, which by the way earns about 3.5%, also automatically deducts taxes.

Then, without any intervention from me, the government reconciles everything at the end of the year and either sends a bill or a credit. No tax return, no adding extra deductions to account for multiple wage earners, no TurboTax.

Now, all I have to do is figure out how to spend my huge windfall!

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