vilakins: (oamaru 1)
I finally figured out how to get my phone to take decent photos of sunsets without overexposing them. The sunset tonight was spectacular.

Sunset )
vilakins: (spring (kowhai))
... well and truly. (For those northerners who are puzzled that it's spring here, check out the effect of axial tilt on a planet's seasons.) Most of the blossom has gone from our garden by now because I am slack at doing the photo thing (and Flickr has changed how to embed photos, thanks very much, Flickr), but the garden still smells amazing. All photos taken 2-3 weeks ago, but there you go. Oh, and we do have kowhai in our garden, as shown in the icon. :-)

Blossom downhill )

Uphill garden and cats )
vilakins: (jasmin)
It's Jasmin's 6th birthday today; it really doesn't seem that long since we got her. It was also Ashley's 6th in May but I never got round to posting, so here are photos of them both, taken over the last few months.

There was tuna for all three. :-)

Photos )
vilakins: (sebastian)
Sebastian turned 3 last week (going by a guessed birth date) so here are some pics of him taken over the last year. Like most black cats I've known, he's very sweet-natured and loving.

Photos )
vilakins: (ashley)
I am so encouraged by the response to my last post; there are a lot more of you still here than I'd feared.

In the latest cat news, Jasmin now has a small notch out of one ear, the result of a fight (though with one of the other two or an invading cat, I don't know). It gives her a certain toughness so we decided that her Mafia name was Jasmin "Notchy" Zampetta (her surname meaning "little paw"). It then struck me that "Notchy" sounds just like "noci", the Italian for "walnuts"--fans of The Sopranos will enjoy that one--so Jasmin's now Jazzy Walnuts.

On to Ashley.

Ashley started having difficulty peeing so I took her to the vet and they found her bladder was like a hard little, yes, walnut due to the pain making her think she had to pee all the time, which of course only made it worse. They put her on painkillers which made a huge difference, then did a test on her urine which had crystals in it. So she's now meant to eat a special dry food which will dissolve them, then go onto a maintenance diet.

Actually she should be eating a lot more wet food than she does, but she's always been a kibble-grazer which has probably caused the problem. Jasmin and Sebastian get almost all their nutrition and water from wet food, but finding one Ashley will eat is a major source of stress and frustration: what she'll like one day she won't touch the next--you'd think she was the pedigree, not a rescue cat. But she's already vastly improved, so much happier and more playful and even cuddlier than before. She's almost like a kitten again, full of joie de vivre (if not wet food).

Some photos )
vilakins: (jasmin)
Jasmin turned 5 last month. Yes, I've been slack about posting for a while now, but it occurs to me that failing to do so because there's hardly anyone around any more just adds to the problem.

So here are a few photos of Jasmin from her last year. )
vilakins: (ashley)
We don't know when Ashley was born, but we figured that 1 May is close enough, so yesterday was her fifth birthday. All three shared in the feast of tuna. :-)

Two almost black-and-white photos of the birthday girl )
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))

On Saturday we went to the annual Pasifika festival. We missed it two years ago because we were out of town, and last year because it rained. This time it was grey (like most of our summer) and humid but the rain held off till Sunday. Maxx (public transport) wasn't running buses from Newmarket as in other years so we had to drive to a train station, wait ages for a train (most were cancelled last weekend; great planning, guys) and then a crowded bus, then all that in reverse going home. I think we spent more time in transit than actually there. :-P

Pasifika is held at Western Springs, a lovely big park with a lake. Various Pacific islands set up "villages" all round it so people can do a circuit visiting them all. They have dancers, demos, and lots of yummy food to try, the highlights for me being "te baan", Kiribati pancakes filled with fresh grated coconut and te kamamai (coconut syrup). We took coconut buns and Cook Islands poke (paw-kay) home with us. Poke is usually made from cooked bananas and coconut cream; we also got pumpkin for its rarity value.

Three photos of weaving and dancing )

vilakins: (sebastian)

They had another Newmarket viaduct segment signing today (see here for the first one featuring Ceiling Cat) so we went in and signed the insides of two. As it's also Sebastian's estimated first birthday, one of them got signed as "Sebastian's Birthday Seggie".

Photos of cats, viaduct, Big Blue Thing, and a Scotsman )

vilakins: (sebastian)

Yesterday Greg called me into the kitchen with my camera because he could see Sebastian outside on the deck sitting by the sundial and the Roman and Best[et] statues as if posed. So I got a good photo of him through the window, and sure enough, when I went out the back door, he rushed straight over to me.

And because I took one of Ashley actually on the sundial a while back, here's that one too. :-)

Cats with sundial and statues )

I am horribly behind with photos, not just of cats but also some gorgeous ones taken on holiday (mosaic garden, art deco etc) and I must get round to resizing and posting them.

vilakins: (sebastian)

I meant to post this yesterday but LJ was down.

Allow me to introduce... Sebastian.

Yep, that's the source of the icon. :-)

He's seven months old and came from a local Lonely Miaow foster home on Sunday. He was rescued at four weeks from a Mangere (South Auckland) street, and was the only non-tabby in the litter. He's very sweet and affectionate and playful so I have no idea why he wasn't adopted till now. (But damn, I could have taken two other younger kittens with him who were swarming all over me at the home and I feel sort of guilty about that but three cats are expensive enough to board when we go away).

Sebastian is black except for a white spot on his front, another bigger one on his underneath, and a couple of white hairs in each ear. He has lovely green eyes, more gold at the edges. Why Sebastian? I suggested a lot of names to Greg and I expected him to laugh and say no, but he thinks Sebastian will grow into the magnificence of his name.

And in fact he's already about the size of Jasmin and Ashley, but they're little cats. I hope he doesn't get too big because he's a really smoocher. I'll have to train him not to knead though.

Ashley likes him and has even played with him, but Jasmin's very uncertain. She's better each day, but he hasn't helped by running after her to make friends and play, and, what's worse, sleeping in all her favourite places. She sniffs each one and looks outraged as she stalks off. :-) I'm sure it will work out fine: she didn't like Ashley at first and Sebastian is a very friendly, gentle little boy.

Two more photos )

There will be more of all three cats. :-)

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (vic tux)

I haven't posted any cat photos for a while, so it's time for some picspam. These have been taken over the last three months.

Photos of all three )

vilakins: (spring (kowhai))

I posted this in [ profile] show_me_a_world, and thought others might like to see as well.

It's spring here which might not be as obvious as on the other side of the planet because most of our trees are evergreen and don't lose their leaves. However I do have a couple of trees from Europe which have new leaves, and some very pretty spring flowers.

Six photos )

vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))

Remember the Newmarket Viaduct that has our names in it (and Vila's for that matter)? They've completed the new southbound lanes so they opened them up yesterday (Sunday) for the public to walk over. Greg's been looking forward to it for weeks, and I was keen too, depending on the weather. I said if it was raining I'd stay home. It wasn't when we left, but if course it poured down while we were walking up the on-ramp and along to the Big Blue Thing (the self-launching crane also affectionately called Big Blue). I thought it was a complete wash-out since all I could see was the inside of my large green umbrella and the wet concrete under my feet. I hate winter. I really hate winter. But then the sun came out and yay, I could see! And even take photos!

When we went back down (it was a walk of about 1.5kms) we went over to 277, stopping on the way to let a sudden downpour pass, and ate at my favourite place in the food hall there, the Thai-Vietnamese-Malay fusion place. We had kung-po chicken, tamarind fish, and beef rendang, and very yummy it was too.

Photos )

vilakins: (cat on a rug (Vic))

I took a photo of Vic at the window yesterday (pity he wasn't doing that elongated sphinx thing along the sill) and also realised that I hadn't posted the one of him in a box.

Two photos )

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (yin-yang cats (Jasmin and Ashley))

I meant to post these photos a lot earlier than this earlier, but today was a bit fraught: I had to study, take Jasmin to the vet with a slight ear infection, and found that some bastard in a 4WD, going by the position of the dent, bashed his door into my passenger one. Greg thinks it was when he took my car to get Indian takeaways last week because a 4WD was parked by the car when he came out; we always avoid parking by those things. I only found out now because I put the cat carrier in that side. Sigh.

Yesterday was a beautiful cloudless winter day and I decided to take photos of the winter flowers in our garden because I noticed some new pink ones I hadn't seen before. As usual, the girls followed me everywhere I went. :-)

Flowers and cats )

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (yin-yang cats (Jasmin and Ashley))

Jasmin and Ashley have some strange little quirks. Jasmin likes to sleep on her back or all twisted, and Ashley stands on her own tail. It's very cute: she wraps her tail neatly around her, then deliberately lifts one paw then the other and places them on her tail. Her paws are cute in themselves, with dark fur between her toes as if she's been drawn, and the undersides are completely black.

Three photos )

I took some great photos today--one of those lovely cloudless winter days we don't get enough of--but I'll post those tomorrow. I need to draw a cat now.

vilakins: (flower)

Today is horrible: grey, wet, and with the rain clouds extending to the ground, the horizon is all strangely blurred like London in Sherlock. However it's been fine enough for me to get photos of my camellias which brighten up winter for me, with a bonus Ashley who does the same (along with Jasmin and Vic)

Three photos of camellias and one striped cat )

vilakins: (jasmin)

It's Jasmin's birthday today, and she's two years old. It really doesn't seem that long since we got her at three months.

There's only a half-hour to go here so I suppose I should post the photos of her and Ashley which I took today while it's still actually her birthday.

Jasmin's day )

Good night!

vilakins: (joy)

YAY! Viva Espana! I'm very glad they won though I doubted they would for most of the game, they muffed so many attempts at goal. [dances] They're a lovely team who play a nice clean game, though this one wasn't. We will be having some of our chocolate World Cup tonight in celebration, though it seems a pity to break it.

Most of the game was very lack-lustre so I took pictures of the cats.

Two photos of unimpressed cats and a feline goalie )

[Edit] Iker Casillas got Golden Gloves as best goalie, David Villa got Silver Boot and Bronze Ball as striker and player, and the whole team got the Fair Play award. I'm very pleased with "my" team whom I've supported since they did so well in 2008.

vilakins: (winter)

Yesterday as part of the Maori midwinter festival Matariki, there was a Kite Day held on Bastion Point which belongs to the local iwi (tribe), Ngāti Whātua. As it was a stunningly beautiful winter's day, we decided to go. There were some amazing and huge kites, all based on sea creatures.

15 photos of gorgeous big kites, Maori marae, and area--all fairly small )

It was a gorgeous day and not that cold in the sun, but wow, it was cold last night. It got down to 4C.

vilakins: (winter)

I posted these photos to [ profile] show_me_a_world for this week's topic on the season, and thought I'd put them on my journal too as people may be interested.

It's winter here, ho hum. It's often dark, grey, wet, and unrelieved by any bright spots unlike northern winters. It's not helped by all our native trees being evergreen, but at least there are some flowers out in our garden.

Southern winter )

vilakins: (leopard)

Some links. I suppose I should make a hairy great Terminal link icon, but this one is of a beautiful Amur leopard which does match the first link and shows you what an adult looks like.

Adorable Amur leopard cub. She looks so astonished at the world in the second photo. :-)

And now for some from the How to be a Retronaut site which [ profile] zoefruitcake told me about.

Smiling Victorians - candid shots of happy Victorians.
Colour film of 1920s London - fascinating stuff. It's amazing how much more real and immediate the past looks in colour.
Coloured stereo views of Japan from about 1895 to 1910. They're meant to be used in a viewer, but they've animated the two views to give an idea of the 3D effect.
USB Typewriters for a steampunk keyboard! And speaking of that, Steampunk stormtrooper!
Classic photos redone in Lego. My favourites are the moon walk and Maradona's 'hand of God'.

For more of the past in glorious colour, feast your eyes on these amazing photos of the Tsarist Russian empire which I posted about a few years ago; click on the links in the Exhibition Sections. One of my favourites for its stunning colour is The Emir of Bukhara in the Ethnic Diversity section.

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (vic tux)

Vic is at the vet having his teeth scaled and the lesion on his nose frozen off. They rang me to say that he was so stressed (as he always is there) his heart was racing, so I'm going to bring him home as soon as I can. We were going to leave him there because we thought it was be easier for him to have an Elizabethan collar and be locked in somewhere else, but I'm now sure he'd be a lot happier at home even if he can't go out.

Anyway, here are some photos I took of him recently.

Vic pics )

vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))

I have a soft spot for heavy engineering (which my father used to indulge with visits to dams and bridges). The motorway viaduct over Newmarket is being replaced while still in use, and on Sunday they had an open day. The process is pretty cool: the huge self-launching gantry (fondly known as The Big Blue Thing) is being used to build the new southbound lanes, then the old ones will be deconstructed (as opposed to demolished willy-nilly) and replaced with new northbound lanes, then the old northbound lanes will be taken down. The new structure's meant to withstand a 1-in-2500-years earthquake (probably while the whole city falls down around it).

A street was closed off on Sunday and visitors had the chance to sign their names in one of the segments before it goes up.

Photos, and an unexpected appearance by Ceiling Cat )

vilakins: (ashley)

Ashley turned two in the weekend; at least 1st May is the day we chose for her official birthday.

Three photos taken on her birthday )

Seven assorted others taken in the last few weeks )

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (me jayne)

Scrapbook seems to be working again now, so I'll have another go.

There's been a big ad campaign here for the Steven Spielberg series The Pacific about the war there, probably because it all happened fairly near us and a lot of our people were involved. It started with a very good facsimile of a real letter written home during WW2 by a US marine being mailed out (with permission). I scanned the letter and envelope in because I found it interesting and moving.
Page 1
Page 2
The site's worth a look too (see link above). I voted for being in the Air Force and got 7/10 in the quiz. :-P

Then on Sunday (I'd have posted yesterday if LJ's Scrapbook had worked) they held a mock-up of a dogfight between two Kittyhawks and a Japanese fighter complete with anti-aircraft fire. We went down to Mission Bay to watch. There were so many people doing the same thing that we had to park about about a km away and walk. I have photos of this plus bonus traditional Fijian boats and an Art Deco house.

13 photos )

vilakins: (jasmin)

I have not yet got around to sorting out my holiday photos, but in the meantime, have some cats.

Pathos, cuteness, and a very louche cat )

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (vic tux)

We went to Whitcoulls bookshop last week so that I could spend some vouchers. I rarely buy books unless I know I'll reread them, so I looked at DVDs. There again, unless I want to watch them more than once, I'd rather rent them. I did fancy Doctor Who: War Games, and would have bought it too, but it was twice the price of the other old Who serials there--and two thirds the price of a whole season of new Who. So I wandered around disconsolately, wondering what I could use my vouchers on. I was sniggering at a book of Barack and Michelle Obama paper dolls when I saw it.

The Book Seat.

I've got a lot of use out of it already. It's a great design which holds a book firmly and still lets you turn the page easily, and I use it on the table when eating and on my lap. It stops my hands getting sore when holding up a large book for hours and I can drink tea and read. :-)

Let Vic show you how it works )

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (knitting)

I found Jasmin burrowed into my knitting last night, and called out to Greg to come and see something utterly adorable.

Jasmin in a scarf )

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