images (1)To seperate business and personal life a bit I have switched my personal blog to this wordpress account. Hope you will follow me to the new site. Thanks.

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As I sit here in Tampa International airport  and listened to passengers conversations as they walk by I am reminded of a video clip shared to us this week by one of the NASA Educators.

The video entitiled "Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy".  In it Amercian comedian Louis C.K. talks about how spoiled we all are by the current technology and how our generation has started taking those improvements for granted to the point that we can't appreciate them anymore. His interview tells us that we have basically become a generation of complainers. He reminds us that "Everything is amazing and nobody is happy".

His section on flying is particularly apt "Flying is the worst one because people come back from flights and they tell you their story and it's like a horror story. It's, they act like their flight was like a cattle car in the 40's in Germany. (yeah) That's how bad they make it sound (right). They're like it was the worst day of my life. First of all we didn't board for 20 minutes (right) and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for 40 minutes. We had to sit there. Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through the air incredibly like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, you non-contributing zero? Wow, you're flying! It's amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going, oh my God, wow (yes) you're flying, you're, you're sitting in a chair in the sky (yes, yeah, yeah) but it doesn't go back a lot. And it smells really. You know, here's the thing. People like they say there's delays on flights (yeah) delays really New York to California in 5 hours. That used to take 30 years to do that and a bunch of you would die on the way there and have a baby. You'd be with a whole different group of people by the time you got there. Now you watch a movie you take a dump and you're home."
 
I for one still marvel at the science and mircale of flight- must remember that if the flight is delayed!

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We were taken to the Cosmophere in Hutchinson, and could not believe such an amazing resource is hidden away in deepest Kansas. If you are ever in that area it is defintiely worth a visit. 

This space museum features the largest collection of US space artifacts outside of the US  National Air and Space Museum and the largest collection of Russian space artifacts in the Western world. It also has an IMAX Dome Theater and Planetarium which we did not have time to visit (we were there so long they were waiting for us so they could close up). 

The Cosmosphere is home to the actual Apollo 13 command module Odyssey, and SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. They were all well laid out, and the rocket outside was particularly effective with sound effects which mad eyou think twice about standing beside them!

It also offers innovative astronaut training camps for the young and the young-at-heart, and I knwo several people young and old who would lve to try that out!.   

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While we were in Wichita our lovely colleagues at ESSDACK arranged for us to stay in this beautiful hotel in the Old Town part of Wichita. Built in 1906 the hotel was once a busy warehouse facility for the Keen Kutter brand of tools, silverware, dishes nd sporting goods. You can still see the Keen Kutter name on the outside bricks.

Designed by the firm of Mauran, Russell, and Garden, the warehouse employed state-of-the-art construction and was known as not only the strongest building in Wichita, but also the largest warehouse in the world. The building was also identical in design to the famous Cupples Building located in St. Louis.

The Keen Kutter warehouse was considered to be virtually fireproof, with watertight floors and corbled walls that slowed air currents. Additionally, a cupola on the roof housed 20,000 gallons of water, ready to douse any fire on the premises.

Nearly a century later, local hotelier Jack DeBoer, founder of the Residence Inn and other suite hotels, purchased the Keen Kutter warehouse with the idea of creating a truly unique hospitality experience. What others saw as a timeworn structure, DeBoer saw as a blank canvas for something wonderful, and so he closely managed a major renovation and restoration of the warehouse. Thanks to DeBoer’s vision, the Hotel at Old Town opened for business in 1999, giving the Keen Kutter building a second life.

In celebration of its illustrious history, the Hotel at Old Town conducted a major search for Keen Kutter brand items, which resulted in the largest authentic collection ever assembled. These items are displayed on each floor in museum-quality cases adjacent to magnificent photos of early Wichita. The collection serves as a lasting tribute to the hotel’s history.

The rooms were lovely and the service great, so we will definitely be back.

 

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Press reporter Will Harvie informs us that sometime in coming months, Canterbury will pass an important milestone. Canterbury will soon experience its 475th significant earthquake since September 4, 2010.

Since that time Canterbury had been shaken over 10,000 times, in fact 10,962 (as at 9.44pm according to Quake Live), but as Harvie notes t it doesn't mean anybody in Christchurch has experienced anything like that number of shakes.

Over 7,500 of those shakes measured magnitude 2.9 and less, and unless the epicentre is very close magnitude 3.0 is about the lowest level that humans can detect.

So the shakes we might have felt total closer to 3,500, but even then, it is unlikley anyone has actually felt that many. Where the quake was centred, where you were located and what you were doing would have all impacted on what was felt or not.

So Harvie argues that to get a more accurate picture of what was felt, we should concentrate on those quakes that are disruptive and frightening, meaning we count those of magnitude 4.0 and greater. That number is currently 472, and I would be happy if that never increased!.

 

 

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My family died when I was quite young so unfortunately visitng relatives in Britain has a very different meaning for me. Nevertheless I always like to go back and visit their graves and reconnect with the vilalges I grew up in.

St Lawrence's, Ecchinswell- my home village. Seems many years since I was in the choir here

Thomas George and Clarrie Wright-my parents' grave

The KIngsmill family (original landowners -one of the many family sets in the churchyard

When they replaced the steeple we all bought a wooden tile-somewhere up there are tiles for each of my family members wth our names on

Lovely stone entrance-always so cool

Kingsclere – small cemetery up on a hill overlooking the village. My brother Richard and my Auntie Lil are both buried here

 

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It seems that for the past 18 months we have spent a lot of time saying goodbye-today we watched as our office was demolished. I remember how excited we were when we found the building, and how excited we were when we loved in. We loved the view from the 7th floor, looking over the city, but much of that has gone too.

Anyway thanks 151 Kilmore Street- you were great.

 

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I have just returned from a very short visit to the UK. Next weekend the Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne and everywhere you go there are Union Flags. With the Olmpics due to start in July it will be a big couple of months for London. It was a shame I had to come back before the celebrations, and the good weather, started.

One of Selfridges' windows-celebrating all things British

John Lewis' window-Union flags on a range of goods for sale

And yet more goods for sale

Flags in Oxford Street, and Regents Street and lots more streets

Varying the theme-tea pots in the Team GB colours for the 2012 London Olympics

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185 Hearts is a tribute to the 185 people who lost their lives in the February 22nd Christchurch Earthquake.

185 hand painted stones were placed and photographed around our city. Some stones are brightly painted and sit in wide open spaces while others have a subtle splash of colour and nestle in the cracks of our city.

Check out for them  around the inner city streets, Latimer Square, Cashel Mall and Hagley Park.

If you find one take a moment to reflect and remember.

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 This is so good I have reprinted it in full- it is written by Vicki Anderson, who has written some great pieces since Feb 2012, and was published in The Press and on the stuff.co.nz website

 

After the shock, this is what it means to me to live in Christchurch right now.

It means waking up with uncertainty in my soul each morning.

It means to inwardly wince when my children jump at a car backfiring, mistaking it for an aftershock.

It means watching my 4-year-old son shaking his fist at the ground during an aftershock and cry "stop scaring me" and being powerless to stop his pain.

It means financial hardship and struggle.

It means watching your children lose a layer of innocence.

It means watching those you love battle unemployment.

It means an uncertain future

It means thinking "but I'm not over it" when you hear other people say how over it they are.

It means watching an elderly couple with poor health leave their once proud, now ruined, Avonside home of 40 years, with tears streaming down their faces.

It means getting upset when someone says: "Why don't you just leave?"

It means coming to work and having a colleague show you the photos they took of themselves on their cellphone when they were trapped by fallen concrete. And, when they say: "If things got worse I wanted them to know the body was mine".  It means not knowing how to respond without weeping uncontrollably.

It means being described as "brave and resilient" when you feel scared and traumatised.

It means laughing for the wrong reasons at the Novus "show us your crack" TV commercial.

It means endless goodbyes at the airport, watching lifelong friends leave for a new life in another country.

It means watching people you love crack.

It means taking your car to the garage a lot for its munted suspension

It means telling people you live in Christchurch and feel forced to add "but the house I'm in is OK now".

It means getting used to moving house.

It means wherever you go you're usually outnumbered by people wearing fluoro vests.

It means witnessing on a daily basis people's ability for kindness and understanding.

It means being humbled by fellow Cantabrians' inventiveness and spirit.

It means acknowledging, more than ever before, the need to be more patient and understanding with everyone you meet.

It means always checking that the cupboards are full of dry food and the emergency kit is OK.

It means discovering who really cares about you and who just says they do.

It means trying to keep the car full of petrol in case "something" happens.

It means waking each morning knowing that today could be the day another big one hits.

It means thinking every day: 'Today might be the day we have to flee our house; am I prepared?'

It means never parking your car under or close to a big building.It means watching my 12-year-old daughter mature overnight because of her earthquake experience into a caring, wise, young woman.

It means being frightened of simple things like catching a bus or going to a mall, and gradually conquering those fears.

It means only shopping where you feel safe, constantly aware of what is beside you and above you while you do so.

It means entering a building and immediately scoping out somewhere you could shelter if a quake were to hit.

It means always checking your cellphone is fully charged.

It means showering more quickly than you used to with a cellphone within reach. Who wants to be naked if "it" happens again?

It means truly cherishing each moment you have with those you love.

I want those who live elsewhere to understand that we still have the capacity to be happy.

But, yes, some days we feel as broken as the buildings in the CBD.

I want Kiwis around New Zealand and overseas to truly know how deeply we feel their kindness, how thankful we are of ordinary Kiwis who did their best to fill our brokenness with their heartfelt words, hugs, songs, offers of holiday accommodation and fundraising efforts.

I don't want to remember

But I cannot forget that day

I cannot forget the days the earth roared

I cannot stop imagining the pain and suffering of those who lost their lives or who were trapped or injured on February 22

I cannot forget the fear on the faces of my fellow Cantabrians

In the last year I have learned to make peace with the anxiety that walks beside me

But for now it is always there, just under the surface, like the faultlines.

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Local artist Henry Sunderland's idea of brightening up our city by decorating the road cones with flowers really took off, and it was heartening driving round the city yesterday to see how many road cones had gained flowers overnight. Thanks to everyone for brightening our lives and puttinga  smile on our faces on a very sad day. I hear flowers sprang up in a number of places across the world and wonder what Londoners made of the roadcones and flowers in their city.

These ones were taken on the route to my son's school-it is not an easy route, through the heart of the residential red zone with abandoned houses and empty sections everywhere, with many roads closed and continual diversions and roadworks, yet yesterday we all drove through with a smile as every cone had been decorated.

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One year on we gathered and remembered the events of February 22nd 2011, and the impact it has for all of us in Christchurch.

We are a very different city now- not only physically, but emotionally- that day changed our world for ever- for the worse and for the better. We have seen amazing acts of bravery, untiring acts of service, the support and aroha of our friends & our families and a coming together to communities, especially in the harder hit areas (such as where we live).

We are tired, and sometimes a bit grumpy, but I think on the whole we are better people now. We are nicer to each other, we value our families more, and no longer take things for granted, and we genuinely care about each other and about our city. 

Yesterday we looked back and remembered, we thought of those who did not make it, those who continue to endure the injuries or losses they suffered, for the buildings and landmarks that are no more, and for the sense of complacency that we all had in our lives.

People remembered in different ways- local artist  and CPIT design tutor Henry Sunderland encoraged us to use our ubiquitous road cones to brighten the place up and this display was Windsor Primary School's effort- was great to drive past yesterday morning and see the bright colours. Awesome work by the staff and pupils-there was a lot of thought and care in each of the pieces. 

 

 

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Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative started in response to the September 4, 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and revised and expanded in light of the more destructive February 22, 2011 quake. It is now administered by the Gap Filler Charitable Trust.

Gap Filler aims to temporarily activate vacant sites within Christchurch with creative projects, to make for a more interesting, dynamic and vibrant city.

Gap Filler uses vacant sites – awaiting redevelopment as a result of the many earthquakes or otherwise and utilises them for temporary, creative, people-centred purposes. They work with local community groups, artists, architects, landowners, librarians, designers, engineers, dancers – anyone with an idea and initiative! The Trust assists by handling the legal contracts and liability insurance, to help ideas become a reality.

Gap Filler is temporary in nature, seeking to activate vacant sites for relatively short periods, to demonstrate that the city can grow in important ways without large capital expenditure or major construction. Gap Filler projects can pop up as spaces become available around the city. All projects will be able to occupy or vacate a site quickly. See below for the map of current projects.

 

Photos taken from the Gap Filler project in North New Brighton. The pianos have been donated by the Christchurch School of Music, and painted by University of Canterbury students.

 

 

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I had intended to post this on December 23rd which was the day that we went to the Canterbury Musuem, but the events of that afternoon (a 5.8, followed by a magnitude 6.0)  rather distrated us, and here we are 3 weeks later and I finally get round to finishing the post off.

At the Museum I was thrilled to come across this amazing exhibiton. Not amazing in contrast to many of the exhibits they have had over the years, but amazing in the love and aroha which went into the production of the hearts.

After the earthquake that struck Christchurch on 22 February 2011 and caused so much loss of life and damage to our city, the whole of New Zealand rallied round and supported our city. There was a general sense of sorrow and support for our communities, which was very much appreciated by all of us down here

People talked about their hearts going out to Christchurch and Evie Harris, a member of the stitich-craft community from Napier started to gather hearts made for Christchurch.

"I don’t think there is a minute in the day when the word Christchurch isn’t in my head – sometimes with nothing other than the word. It is what is in the hearts of other that have helped launch this journey and the gathering has begun."

What started, at first, as a gentle trickle soon became a torrent, as hearts started arriving from all over New Zealand and shortly after, from all over the world. Stitching groups from New Zealand, Australia, Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Pacific have amassed over 4000 lovingly crafted hearts.

 

If you would like to contribute to this wonderful memorial, her address is

Hearts for Christchurch 
c/- Evie Harris

523 Main North Road 
Bay View 
Napier 4104 
New Zealand

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It hasn't been a great year for our area, with severe land damage from the earhquakes and with at least 50% of the houses in this area (ours included) needing to be demolished-however this montage shown on the chch earthquake facebook page reminds me once again why we love the area.

 

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