Word play in Boomer Life Today

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Seen recently on a passing wholesale food truck in Auckland “Could crop circles be the job of a cereal killer?”  Clever plays on words have always amused me so I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favourites.

Take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition:

THE EYES:
When you rearrange the letters:
THEY SEE

SLOT MACHINES:
When you rearrange the letters:
CASH LOST IN ME

ELEVEN PLUS TWO:
When you rearrange the letters:
TWELVE PLUS ONE

A boiled egg is hard to beat

You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it

A will is a dead giveaway

An auction: a place where you get something for nodding

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger.
Then it hit me.

Oxymorons

sweet tart
old news
now then
jumbo shrimp

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

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Moving on in Boomer Life Today

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Tunisian carpets

My father-in-law has moved into a nursing home and his 2 bedroom bungalow, which was home for the last 5 years, has been sold.  This past weekend, we emptied it in preparation for its next occupants.

While this clear-out wasn’t on the scale of his move from the family home, it was somehow more significant because all his possessions were dispersed except for a few photos, a television, dvd player, some personal effects and a small selection of clothing.  Favourite decorative pieces, furniture, tools, china – all passed to family, charities or set aside to sell.  I know it’s just “stuff” and we aren’t supposed to become attached to things, but it must be difficult to part with loved objects, some of which have been part of daily life for, in his case, almost 93 years.

It made me sad to think that this is what will become of all the wonderful things we have accumulated in our travels.  Will the next owner appreciate the hours spent drinking tea and haggling in a shop in Tunisia before “closing the deal” on our stunning handmade carpets?  Or, realize the delight in finding an outlet for that beautiful blue and white mosaic tableware in Fez?

I came away with a renewed appreciation of the resilience of older family members.  I’m not sure I could see my belongings disappear so abruptly, my neighbours become just “people that I used to know” and my independence vanish within a day of entering a nursing home.  Surely there is a better option for these last years of our lives……..

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

High tea in Boomer Life Today

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Palm Court

High tea at Auckland’s Langham Hotel

Mr. Boomerlifetoday and I celebrated our wedding anniversary late last year and instead of the traditional lunch or dinner out, we opted for high tea at Auckland’s Langham Hotel.  The idea first presented itself after watching Hotel Secrets with Richard E. Grant. If you haven’t watched this television series, we recommend it – it gives you an insider’s look at some of the most expensive hotels in the world. In one episode, Richard visited the Langham Hotel in London where he sampled their high tea and since Auckland’s Langham is part of the same hotel group, we thought we’d give it a try.

And, we were so glad we did! High tea was held in the hotel’s Palm Court – a central bar and restaurant just off the hotel’s lobby. Our celebration began with flutes of champagne and amuse bouches.  This was followed by three tiers of savoury and sweet deliciousness and pots of specialty teas (of our choice).  Among the savouries were tiny open-faced sandwiches of rare, finely shaved roast beef with horseradish cream, ham with dijon mustard, egg salad with chive, cream cheese with watercress, a double-decker of fish/seafood and a mini cube of fritatta. For the sweets, truffles, macaroons, mince tarts, creme brulees, chocolate dipped strawberries, spice muffins and raspberry friands. The third tier – mini scones, clotted cream and a choice of jams.

The Langham has a large selection of teas, including their very own blend. Since we have both toured Sri Lanka’s tea plantations, we started with:

Dombagastalawa Estate A medium bodied tea with a noble personality enhanced by its brightness and rich character complemented by a light malt note. Broken Orange Pekoe Special.
and finished with Rilhena Estate Ceylon Souchong

This low elevation tea has been produced by being smoked gently over the embers of cinnamon wood leaving a hint of spicy sweetness. A
rare tea that ranks as an equivalent to a fine Islay Malt Whisky.

After two hours of relaxed indulgence, our waiter, who had asked if we were celebrating anything, brought us a small box of handmade chocolates.  A perfect ending to a perfect afternoon!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of hotels in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by corporations or persons in New Zealand or abroad.

Island time in Boomer Life Today

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Waiheke view

Waiheke view

Although New Zealand is an island, its larger centres don’t offer that “island time” experience.  Our remedy? Spend the weekend just off the coast of Auckland on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

This past weekend, Mr. Boomerlifetoday and I headed there – a return visit for him, a first for me.  As soon as we left the ferry, I knew we were in for a great time because the first sign said “Slow down, you’re here” and how right they were.  Waiheke is magical – you can do a lot or a little and never feel rushed.

Since it was my first visit, I wanted to see as much of the island as possible, so our first stop was the Saturday market in Ostend.  It’s wasn’t what I expected – less farm produce and more flea market.  However, among the stalls selling secondhand goods were some selling splendid artisan products (the best French pastries I’ve tasted since my arrival in New Zealand), beautiful chunky costume jewellery, aromatic essential oils, and much more.

Gun emplacements

Gun emplacements

Next on our itinerary, a drive through stunning countryside to visit the WWII gun emplacements.  New Zealand feared being invaded by the Japanese in WWII, so they had these built as well as tunnels for equipment and munitions. History not your thing? Go anyway – the views are amazing!

002

Time for lunch and where better than one of Waiheke Island’s many wineries.  We chose Poderi Crisci, famous for it’s pinot grigio, olive oil and lemon digestif. Lunch in their restaurant was a relaxed al fresco affair  and the food was absolutely delicious.

Restaurant terrace- Poderi Crisci

Restaurant terrace- Poderi Crisci

Alas, it was time to return to Oneroa (the main centre) and check into our accommodation. We stayed in one of Waiheke’s dog friendly places, so our wheaton terrier could come too. After check in, we headed to a nearby beach for an evening stroll (dog friendly after 6:00 pm).

Track through native bush

Track through native bush

Day 2 we explored more of the countryside by car and then headed out on one of Waiheke’s many walking tracks.  We chose the track which follows the coast between Rocky Bay and Te Whau – absolutely stunning! The track wound its way through native bush and fields, down to secluded beaches and up along the cliff tops.  It didn’t require a high level of fitness and took just 2 hours round trip.  Even dogs were allowed, which isn’t the case with some of the other tracks on the island. To end the day we explored the Church Bay area of the island with its magnificent estates and wineries. Our day ended at Dragon Fired Artisan Wood Fired Food – delicious!

Church Bay area with one of the beautiful homes there in the distance

Church Bay area with one of the beautiful homes there in the distance

Day 3 and the weather began to deteriorate, but in the morning we took ourselves on an artisan food tour to Waiheke Fruit & Veg for Putiki Cheese from the Waiheke Island Cheese Company, Waiheke Island Herb Spread, and some oil from award winning Rangihoua Estate. From there we, headed to Ringawera bakery for their famous ciabatta and lavash.  When we arrived, a photographer from Cuisine magazine was doing a photo shoot for their next issue – Ringawera’s herb lavash has been nominated for an award. We stayed for coffee and a chat before heading back into Oneroa. Once back in town, we stopped at Humble Pie Butchery for their sausages and pork pies (sadly the latter were sold out).

Since Waiheke is a haven for artists and craftsmen, it seemed only fitting to spend the afternoon visiting some of Waiheke’s galleries and artists’ studios.  There are so many talented people on the island, but my favourite artist has to be Zoe Leeb-du Toit.  She has a very unique style, best described as quilting with paints. I urge you to visit her Barrel Room Gallery at 52A Korora Rd, Oneroa. You won’t regret it!

Zoe Leeb-du Toit

Zoe with one of her paintings

Having spent a very enjoyable long weekend it was time to make our way to the ferry for our return trip to the mainland.  But, we hope to return some day – I’ve definitely been bitten with Waiheke fever!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of places, products or people in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by companies/persons in New Zealand or abroad.

Country drives in Boomer Life Today

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Trilliums – harbingers of spring in Ontario, Canada

When I was young, drives in the countryside were a frequent occurrence.  My Dad knew great places to go and fantastic places to stop. In spring, he’d take us to see the first trilliums of the year (trilliums grow wild and are Ontario, Canada’s provincial flower) in summer, the best and most accessible elderberry bushes (the berries make delicious pies and wine!) in early autumn, the woods where we might find puffball (an edible fungi which can grow to football size) and mid-fall the best autumn colours. He also knew where the most picturesque villages and small towns were and inevitably, where you could buy the largest ice cream cones!

This past weekend, Mr. Boomerlifetoday and I revived the tradition and headed out into the countryside here in New Zealand. The scenery was beautiful as we made our way along country roads where cows, horses and sheep grazed on pastures of green grass and buttercups. Along the roadside, Queen Anne’s Lace was in full bloom. It always amazes me that the same wild flowers which populate the landscape in Canada, also grow here in New Zealand!

Cambridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria St in Cambridge, New Zealand

We even ended up in the quaint, small town of Cambridge (Cambridge, Canada is next to my hometown of Guelph in Ontario).  We had passed through Cambridge before, but this time we stopped and walked around.  It’s lovely!  I especially liked the fact that it still has a large, independent bookstore (Wright’s), a beautiful looking kitchen store (Simply Divine, although sadly it had closed just minutes before we found it), a lovely boutique featuring New Zealand-designer, Bettie Monroe‘s collection of vintage-inspired clothing, MyStyle NZ stockist of Cath Kidston products, and of course, some very cute cafes like Panache French Bakery (pictured here).

Photo: A little bit of French in Cambridge!

Cambridge has maintained and restored many of its downtown buildings instead of replacing them with more modern architecture and in some places they have laid brick sidewalks, which really adds to the atmosphere. This is horse country and where else to have an Equine Stars Walk of Fame than the sidewalks of this pretty town – mosaics of champion horses bred in the area, decorate main street sidewalks.

On our way home, we even stopped for ice cream cones in Pokeno, home of the largest cones we have found so far in New Zealand.  There are two shops side by side (Johnson’s and Pokeno Takeaways).  They both serve up huge scoops of delicious flavours like boysenberry, apricot, and passion fruit (just some of our favourites).

What a beautiful way to while away a lazy summer afternoon!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of businesses in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by persons/companies in New Zealand or abroad.

Happy New Year 2014 in Boomer Life Today!

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Happy New Year for those whose new year starts today! Mr. Boomerlifetoday and I spent a very pleasant evening with friends this year.  It was warm last evening, so we were able to sit outside on their terrace which sits high above the sea.  As midnight approached, one community after another along the coast celebrated with beautiful fireworks’ displays – magical!

Now that the new year is upon us, I was thinking about what I’d like to achieve this year and found this on Senior Planet, one of the blogs I follow.  It’s a list of regrets  compiled by older people, which just might spark some new year’s resolutions for you:

Senior-couple-hula-hoops-Senior-Planet

12 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old(er)

  1. Being scared to do things.  “Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of?”
  2. Failing to make physical fitness a priority. In fact, it’s never too late to start – but the sooner the better.
  3. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.  “Few things are as sad as an old person saying, ‘Well, it just wasn’t done back then.’”
  4.  Caring too much about what other people think. ”In 20 years you won’t give a damn about any of those people you once worried so much about.”
  5. Not moving on fast enough.  ”Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.”
  6. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.
  7. Not standing up for yourself.  Get the respect you deserve – not because you’re “wiser,” but because you are aging with attitude.
  8. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations. Like the expectation that we’ll fade into the background as we get older.
  9. Not spending enough time with loved ones. Their time is finite.
  10. Not being grateful sooner. Don’t be a grouch!
  11. Not taking that risk, especially in love. Say yes to leaps of faith!
  12. Letting yourself live with regret. Because it’s never too late to change your future.

Do any of these speak to you?  How do you plan to change the way you live in 2014?

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

To read the full article on Senior Planet, click or touch here.

Christmas windows in Boomer Life Today

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20131216_105635Most cities of any significant size have department stores which lavishly decorate their windows at Christmas time. Auckland is no exception and once again, Smith + Caughey’s does not disappoint. The theme this year is Grandma’s Kiwi Christmas with each window populated by cleverly animated characters, diminutive pohutukawa trees, miniature bbqs for the iconic “sausage sizzle” and much, much more. Delighting adults and children alike, they are a must-see for anyone who finds themselves in central Auckland this holiday season. But don’t stop there – continue inside the store to see more beautiful decorations, visit Santa or choose gifts from the wonderful array of merchandise on offer.

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclaimer:  Smith + Caughey’s did not solicit or pay for inclusion in this Boomer Life Today blog post.

Decking the halls in Boomer Life Today

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Each year on Dec 1, my mother would bring the Christmas decorations up from the basement. The wreath went on the front door, the nativity scene was carefully arranged on the pine shelves, the hurricane lanterns with their holly “skirts” dressed each end of the mantle and the small teasel Christmas tree, which my Mom and Dad made, took pride of place on the antique drop leaf table in the living room. To make the teasel tree, my parents collected teasels from along the side of the road.  My father fashioned the round  base and central pole from wood. A styrofoam cone  was fashioned and ” threaded” on to the central pole.  With gloved hands, my mother then carefully pushed each teasel into the foam, trying not to get any barbs in her fingers – not any easy task!  Once the basic tree was completed, she spray-painted the tree a lovely vintage green, dusted it lightly with artificial snow and decorated it with miniature glass balls. Magical!

This Dec 1, Mr. Boomerlifetoday brought our Christmas ornaments out of storage. The wreath went on the front door and in place of the teasel tree, I decorated our small artificial tree with small  birds. The Christmas sheep adorn one of the tall boys in the bedroom and our large tree is decorated in red and gold this year. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Click here to see a cute teasel Christmas tree.

Ups and downs in Boomer Life Today

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Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil Tickets

I haven’t posted anything for quite a long time and I wish I could say it was because we’ve been away on a fabulous trip, but, unfortunately not.  I’ve had the flu, despite having the flu shot.  Then I got a cold.  As I was recovering from that, one of my colleagues died suddenly – a shock for everyone.  Since then the remaining staff, with the support of our organization have been working very hard to keep our department going.  Those who read my blog regularly will know that my department was under review for 6 months.  After the review was completed, our manager resigned and then our colleague passed away – it has been quite a turbulent year at work.

And it’s not smooth sailing on the home front either. Renovation of our bathrooms has begun, however, there have been quite a few hiccups. The worst one – the under floor heating installers came and laid the wiring and screed for the heating system before the plumbers had completed their work and surprise, surprise, the plumbers drilled into the under floor heating system and cut two of the wires.  Grrrrrh…. The under floor heating company has just repaired the wires, not replaced the floor – they say that replacement is not necessary. But we’re concerned because the parent company in the UK says in their literature that they “cannot warranty the repair or guarantee the proper function of the heating system following a repair”. The company has put nothing in writing and have not tested the system to see if it works. We are seeking legal advice – not exactly what we thought we’d be doing on a project-managed bathroom reno, but we feel we’ve been left with little choice. If anyone has any experience with this, we’d appreciate hearing from you.

However, it’s not been all doom and gloom! A couple of weekend’s ago, Mr. Boomer Life Today and I attended one of Cirque de Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour shows at Vector Arena in Auckland.  It amazes me to see what the human body is capable of – breath-taking!  This outing was the last of my year-long birthday celebrations and what a finale it was.  I’ve also been out to a Dunkley’s Craft show, Auckland’s Festival of Quilts exhibition, the Sustainable Living Festival and Taste of Auckland – all here in Auckland within the last month.  It’s been a busy time and as we approach the “silly season”, as Christmas and New Years is referred to here, it will no doubt get even busier. I’ve already made some new Christmas decorations thanks to a workshop at my quilting club and am working on my Secret Santa gift for one of my fellow quilters. Just 37 days to go…..

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclaimer: Mention of events in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.