Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Hawkes Bay Soldiers condition deteriorates.

I have to plug this one because we grew up with Teira. His 3 older sisters are in my ward. His brother in law is our Bishop, who has been a HUGE help with Larrys medical journey up till he received residency. His brother is good friends with my younger siblings and his sister Rosina is my sister-in-law.

Hoping Teira is comforted right now.
Big loves to the Cowan whanau.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"He-Who-Must- Not-Be-Named"

No, not Lord Voldemort. It's worse.

Found him on my door arriving home after dialysis tonight.
My sister saw one at my parents place a week ago.

In our family, seeing a praying mantis means a baby is coming. They visit to let us know the scoop and we wait patiently for the culprit to reveal themselves ... so reveal yourself!


I use a panini press to make my quesadillas. The griddle method is by far the better technique, then you don't get the cheese and insides spilling out the sides.

We've gone through one Hatches green chili pack. Larry doesn't know I've opened a couple of cans and ate right from the can as if it were a can of tuna.
It's that good.

We're decided that Egmont cheese by Mainland is the best melting cheese in New Zealand, but Colby is better taste for Mexican food.

Despite my first critique regarding the use of a panini press vs a griddle, when the insides ooze out like so .. simply take the quesadilla off the griddle and let the cheese and chili burn into a cracker.

It really is the best part.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Red Velvets

My baby brother doesn't believe I know how to cook/bake and that's quite true of pre-USA me.
Post-USA me has been educated! Even if I show him my certificate he wouldn't believe it unless he's standing in the kitchen watching me.

Today was a Red Velvets day.

I used shortening in the batter instead of butter.

I followed a different recipe that didn't have my secret ingredient in or butter just to see how this recipe came out.

Mix the red with the cocoa. Make it into a paste.

Always a messy process making Reds.

See the grit?
I could go on about Butter vs Shortening and the science of it. Long story short - I didn't get emulsified shortening (high ratio), which is meant for cakes. I just got the one that wasn't $6 on the shelf.

The creamy smooth velvetty batter just wasn't happening.
Never ever EVER use shortening in cake batter.

Marshmallow frosting on high.
I really need to learn how to pasteurize eggs.
The frosting calls for raw egg whites.

Fortunately, everything worked out.
The cake was surprisingly moist and fluffy.
If anything, less cocoa to bring out the power of the Red.

Chili for dinner.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Last Friday

Our two nieces spent the night last night and it was my bright idea to do an all nighter the night before 7.30am dialysis. Everyone was on board until 1am. The girls were the first to break, then Larry.

I'm still up and it's 6:15. In 30 minutes I need to wake Larry, feed him and get him to dialysis by 7.30am. If I go to bed now I'll wake up tomorrow afternoon.

Awake alone to see this mornings sunrise from the kitchen window.
It's the last Friday for January and it's going to rain.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Leven is cooking.
She'll be ripe in 2.5 weeks.
She's great-grand-baby 69 of 70 for our family.

Above is her big brother Darrel, now 18 months.
Below is Darrel when he was cooking back in July 2010.


Monday, January 23, 2012

There is no end to light

Hanging the washing on the line tonight I looked up to see a familiar sight from rural-ville. I took for granted the sight after nearly 3 years of being back and I appreciated the visual. On the verge of calling Larry out to observe, it hit me that unless I hit him across the head with a baseball bat, he'll never see stars again.

I spent sometime outside tonight with my camera playing around with settings to get a decent shot of The Iron Pot, which is the upside down version of Orions Belt. With an ISO of 1600 the image was too grainy. It gets that way after about 400. Settled with 200 ISO. Opened the aperture right up and set it to a Bulb.

A 3 minute exposure got me the photo above using a 105mm wide angle lens with the focus ring set at infinity. He was able to identify Orions Belt when enlarged on our TV screen.

Perhaps this is why I got the itch to take up photography as a profession ... I really wanted to be a Princess.

End of the school holidays

The Strongarm kids.

Carlos in the bucket.


She learned how to say cheese.

For the last 18 months I could never see my brother in his son Jaamin. I thought he looked like someone totally different, until I took this photo. I don't know how I missed it before.

4 of 15 grandkids.

The Min Craigs.

The Min Craig boys.

Daycare starts on Tuesday and school starts next week.
Very excited that the holidays will meet it's demise in less than 10 days.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Re: Larry

Ophthalmologist appointment yesterday showed slight bleeding in the right eye, but no swelling. Good news. The left eye remains as it is - AWOL. Sight in the right eye may improve with glasses (glass since we'll only need one lens). We will take care of that next monthly possibly. Should his eye deteriorate, the next surgery on it would be a vitrectomy, which is the surgery that ruined his left eye. Plans now are to keep the eye maintained by way of drops to keep the pressure down.

Renal appointment today with a new nephrologist. We discussed our next move as far as dialysis is concerned and our nurse Natasha was happy to know that we were still keen on Peritoneal Dialysis (PD). I can't say it enough, it's a much better choice. Not as effective as Haemo, but it's flexible which adds to his quality of life. With haemo, we're stuck here because they need at least 2 months in advance to schedule you in at a clinic out of town. I'm fine with dialysis running my life, but we have the option to not let it run our lives completely and that is PD.

Tenckhoff Surgery requested today at a date sometime in the next 3 months. We requested another surgeon. The BEST news today was that Larry will be placed on the transplant list. For some reason, the last nephrologist we met with wasn't too keen on this and I'm pretty sure it had something to do with diabetes and Larry's attitude towards it's relationship to kidney failure. I haven't blogged about that before. The short version is: Kidney Failure, in a way, cures diabetes. Larrys blood sugar levels show no diabetes, but diabetes has been the purpose for the kidney failure. She wanted to give him time to accept the truth, which was: Diabetes caused his kidney failure. He needs to shed 10lbs, maintain that weight and his BMI and all will be well.

Both appointments were good appointments. Next stop, glasses shop!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fire in Hastizzle.

Surfing around on Twitter tonight, I happened upon a retweet that mentioned something about a fire in Hastings, followed by an iMessage asking if I knew about the fire.

I walked outside to pan the night sky and see what I could see. We live near a prison and those lights usually light up the sky. We also live near an aerodrome and, when night flight school is in session, the run way lights light up the sky too.

Town is 8kms away. I could see the fire, which was near 12kms away. Told Larry there was a fire somewhere, listen out for the baby incase she woke up, got in the car and drove towards the light.

2kms from the spot I was pulled up by a policeman who was stopping cars from going any further. Refusing to be bummed out, I told him I forgot my badge, but I was a photographer from The Dominion and told him I'd appreciate him letting me as far as I could go safely. He pointed me in a direction 1km closer and off I drove to get my shot.

I didn't drive 12kms for nothing man!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Re: Larry

Haemo dialysis continues. He's been doing evening sessions 5pm - 10pm. This is better than 7am - 1pm, but our biological clocks are all out of whack because he sleeps at dialysis only to come home and stay awake until 2am - 3am.

He had an episode of "going flat" yesterday and his blood pressure, as of late, has dropped to as low as 70/65. Not sure exactly why, but we'll need a Doctors appointment this week to figure that one out.

This next week he has an Ophthalmologist appointment and a Renal appointment. Hawkes Bay does not have a Nephrologist locally. Twice a month the specialists or registrars come up from Wellington to see renal patients here. They'll decide what happens with Larry next. It's very possible he's on haemo for the rest of his life, but we are hoping his peritoneal cavity has not been damaged from the last 6 months of issues.

For those who have been skyping, private messaging, facebooking - many thanks for your continued support and concern. Larry very rarely sits at his computer. Now and again I read him skype messages. I try encourage him to 'try' look at LightWave, but I think he's embraced his blindness and is running with that.

Really, even though he's had years experience, what can a blind lightwaver do?
It's kinda sad.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Australians

The Australian kids (from two of my three brothers) go back to Australia next week. It's been fantastical having them here, but it had to come to an end sometime.
Coral Kaa.

Jeston (not an Australian kid) and Waimea.

Kiara Lee

Baby Jay


Novah Rose

Kiara & Novah

I will not miss the fighting.
I will not miss the teasing.
But I will miss them.
My sister comes next week .. yyyyeeeessssss! That means Larellyphant.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taite - BBQ

Rome & Spencer - In case you were confused, Spencer is the K9 and Rome is the other animal.

Swim at the creek earlier in the day.

Carlos & Rome

BBQ at the Parentals for dinner with the family.

(and 2 pots of boil up)

Boil up.

Steam pudding. It's basically the sous vide technique with a burnt sugar cake recipe.



Monday, January 9, 2012

Crazy Kids.

I don't know why, but these hats are all the craze right now.

Ngawi on the trampoline. He's pretty amazing.

There's our hubba in the front with no pants on.

A big fat Happy Birthday to Michelle who is 33 today. (Don't deny it, you're 33)

Summer part 2

Nessa envisioned this shoot with my nephew Ellis. They pulled it all together very well. Hubs was supposed to be in it, but got stage fright...