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2012 NO 2 - In for the long haul

With all the hype and emphasis on our recent wedding it is fitting to make the migration to the other end of the continuum. Today we hear a lot about the too-ing and fro-ing of 'relationships' the ebb and flow and perhaps not enough weather those for the long haul or are fortunate enough for a variety of reasons.
 
This weekend we celebrated with our closest friends 35 years of marriage. It seems like such a long time, yet we all feel young, excited about life, and looking forward to another 30 or so. To say the intervening years have been all beer and skittles would be to gloss over what life dishes up to you and under rate the times we have had. Still in the absence of being able to find a date this year to share a weekend during summer we headed off to The White House where we had had a night of laughs, fun, memories and planning for times ahead. We even co celebrated our day with Chinese New Year fireworks on the harbour.
Continuing on the theme of love , Feb being the traditional celebration of Valentines - have a special dinner, pop a love note in the lunch box of your darlings, write a love note in a beautiful card., or just take the time to say you are special to me and I love having out in my life. Valentine's day need not be restricted to the person who shares your life expand it to include all your special people , Mums, Dads, brothers, sisters and most of all your darling children and friends. It's always great to have an excuse to cook a special dinner so whip up some treats and goodies. For me a simple salad, a fresh tomato tart and halo mi, a shrimp or two you can't stray too far from a taste treat. Quoil the jewelery store - a jewel itself have love based treats in its latest exhibitions Aroha.
 
There is a magic about the night sky and if you pardon the pun, love is a universal thing. Not to be left out and offering a special treat for grown-ups on Valentines Day The Carter Observatory if offering a Here comes the Sun night next Thursday as a special way the celebrate. The Film Archive has a week of treats. The Island Bay Festival features on Wednesday and later in the week Thursday is Tying the Knot and on the 24th the fabulous Second Hand Wedding.
 
My new darling daughter in law discovered a new stitch idea and I have had great fun firstly making it for my stitch group secret Santa and latterly for the 35th anniversary prezzies. Cross stitched bus blinds - made with the locations, dates and or descriptors to salute your person or occasion. I love them, to set the ball rolling go the the Stitch Smith.
 
Meanwhile the year marches on here we are well into February and Christmas barely seems over. If good fortune shines on us we will enjoy a late summer. I have always had in my mind to organise a picnic of all our dear friends and families one summer Sunday. I haven't been quite that organised but have managed to kick off just a family version. Going back to simple pleasures and enjoying each others' company is under rated. I am looking forward to our picnic.
The Phoenix is turning into one of the summer success stories and a great way to finish the weekend. The games are conveniently;y timed to give you most of your day but early enough to make it a family event I enjoy a good cheers and a late afternoon yellow treat. For great Today the Phoenix remembered one of their owners Wellington's son Lloyd Morrison.
 
Over the years Wellington's Fringe Festival has almost become mainstream. It runs alongside and as a warm-up act for the 'big' festival. I feel it more than stands on its own feet and plenty of gems are tucked away inside its programme.
 
The main bill is gradually warming up, I have a few tickets for it, but there doesn't seem to be the same hype aroundthe Festival this year. We always have a family trip and this year it's Cicensus I am filling this out with mainly NZ acts Peninsular, The Topp Twins and Tu. I have a couple of Writers and Readers tickets but have yet to commit. Again the NZ options look good, though I do have the key notes Tim Flannery and Thomas Friedman. Also the HIgh Tea treat with Selina Hastings. I will be at the front of the queue forKate Grenville though. Her recent title The Secret River and Searching for the Secret River have been some of my past few years reading highlights. I have just bought Sarah Thornhill following on from these. Take a dip into those pages,
 
I am off up to Auckland in a week or so, sadly I will just miss Love is a Street Fight which look great - on at Basement in Auckland later this week. Big LIttle City has a ton on ideas for those north of the Bombays to celebrate with their darlings.
 
Down South indeed NZ is still wrestling with Christchurch's recovery. People are resilient and life continues through thick and thin. A gem of an idea is the relief concerts the next one is this Wednesday featuring British 'cellist and pianist Léonie Adams and Michael Higgins.
 
Time to start another week, I am going to try and see the movie Like Crazy (well recommended) and keep whizzing through The Street Sweeper and hoping to get my hands soon on the new Bruce Springsteen CD I have my Valentine parcels all wrapped up and shall continue to have a great week.
 
Our celebration brings together the wonderful things that can make up your lives, the test of time is a good test and and always whatever comes your way, who you share it with is important and whatever life does dish up - love may still be your greatest fortune.
 
Chicken, Ginger and Quinoa Salad
 
400g quinoa, 3 skinless chicken breasts. olive oil, S&P, 3 tomatoes, 3 tabspns grated ginger, spinach leaves, 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, juice and zest 2 lemons.
Cook quinoa (about 15 mins) drain and cool. Bake chicken breasts in the oven with a little olive oil. Core and dice the tomatoes, Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season before serving.
 
Snapper Salad
500g skinned snapper, 1 onion, ¾ cup lemon juice, 6 Radishes, 2 stalks celery, 2 -3 spring onions, salt and ground pepper.
Cut the fish into 2 cm cubes. Peel and slice the ion, place fish lemon juice in a china or glass bowl and coat evenly.
Cover and leave for 12 hours. Drain and but reserve the liquid.Washed vege and chop up, mix in with fish and toss in reserved liquid. 







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