The year in retrospect – Pegasus resident reflects on 2011

Guest post by Alison Dormaar, Pegasus resident and author

There is something manic in the air at the moment. No, I do not mean the looming General Election. Most of us regard that as a passing duty, an obligatory chore that must be performed every three years as we endure once again the merry go around of “VOTE FOR ME” antics by those mad or idealistic enough who fancy themselves as our leaders for the next three years. No, I am referring to the Silly Season, known fondly to one and all as Christmas.

Christmas has taken on a somewhat poignant if not desperate feel this year. After mine cave-ins, quakes, economic turmoil, snowstorms, volcanic ash clouds and all manner of other nasties, there is a real mood that we all just want to run away and enjoy ourselves. We are now faced with the most fattening time of the year – you could easily replace the words from the title of the well known Christmas song ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year’ with these! But excess pounds and calories aside, many of us feel like a further outbreak of self indulgence – and let’s face it, after the last twelve months, why not? Compared to chocolate liqueurs, baked ham and roast turkey, carrot sticks and lettuce leaves somehow don’t have that feel good factor, do they?

2011 has been one of those remarkable landmark years in my books. We have certainly had our fair share of assorted disasters, but overseas we have seen massive change as well, and not all of it bad. We have seen the long awaited downfall of the likes of Bin Laden and Gaddafi, and the global rise of a sense of outrage against this style of tyranny that should have died out in the Dark Ages. We have also seen voices raised in anger against a world economic system run mad, and although it will be a long and painful process, the winds of change are here to stay. I for one do not fully believe the doomsayer reports about 2012 (the Mayan Calendar, Nostradamus etc), but I do believe that 2012 will certainly be another landmark year of significant economic and social challenge as well as change, and that this is what the ancients may well have meant by their predictions instead of the Hollywood style fire and brimstone scenarios we have been led to believe in.

So, to all my many readers out there and to all the many other potential readers out there – go ahead! Love your families, pet your pooches, cuddle your cats and fraternize with your friends – years such as 2011 serve to remind us all of the positives as well as negatives in our lives. Break open the wine and a big box of your favourite chocs and lose yourself in the happy, tinseled world of frantic Christmastime shopping malls, because you certainly deserve it, and 2012 is not shaping up to be any easier.

The views, opinions or positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or position of Pegasus Town Ltd.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, Opinion

The times are a-changing

Guest post by Alison Dormaar, Pegasus resident and author

Let’s face it, for many of us 2010-2011 has been, to cite Queen Elizabeth’s famous words, an “annus horribilis”. We have had a glut of worldwide disasters both man made and natural, that have included mine explosions, oil slicks, tsunamis, earthquakes here at home and abroad, volcanic ash clouds, snowstorms etc etc – and to top it all off, a global economic recession that only seems to get worse.

If you are anything like me, you would have seen this latter evil coming years ago. We had the system all wrong of course – even back in my darkest, dimmest days in school as the teacher droned on about economics, I had a sense that somewhere, somehow, society had its values twisted. I was a teen of the 80’s when, to cite the infamous Gordon Gecko from “Wall Street”, “greed was good”, the width of one’s shoulder pads warned one and all that you were a force to be reckoned with, and the prominent display of your brick-sized cellphone indicated to the world that yes, you were going somewhere. Money replaced God, and as long as they were classified as “good business”, it seemed that even the most appalling travesties were legally and socially acceptable, even to be admired.

Unfortunately, even though the outward show of “gimme gimme gimme” has become less vulgar over the successive decades, capitalism has taken on an even more insidious form of its own. Studying economic history at school all those years ago, I remember reading about the rise of the unions at the turn of the last century, realizing even then that there is so much inequality and injustice people will take. In recent times it has become fashionable to laugh at the efforts of our forefathers of yesteryear who fought to build a fairer, more just world – but now, with the Occupy Wall Street movement gaining momentum and with the increasing numbers of ordinary people suffering from economic injustice around the globe, I hope people realize now just what their grandparents and great grandparents had to fight for so bitterly over eighty years ago.

Freedom and equality may be a fundamental right, but it never comes easily. From the dawn of human history, we have always had those who have managed to make good through the misfortunes of others, convincing themselves in the process that they somehow deserve it more than anyone else. Since the dissolution of the unions around the world, many major employers have become increasingly ruthless once more, working their existing staff into the ground rather than, God forbid, hire extras to take up the overload. And over recent days I have been incensed by persons in authority sneering at the protesters on the TV, saying inane comments such as “they’re just jealous” or “if they didn’t make it, it’s their fault”. This is the typical smug mantra of the self assured wealthy who managed to cream the system for all it was worth before it crashed. If they can do it, they reason, hey, so can everyone else. But come on, the vast majority of people in this world have absolutely no opportunity or ability to claw their way up the corporate ladder. And what about the millions of prudent investors who indeed did do all the right things, only to have the investment carpet pulled out from under their feet, their mortgaged homes come crashing down (in Christchurch this was literally!) around their ears and their jobs disappear into the bottomless maw that is the cheap Asian labour market? People can only help themselves for so long.

The time has come to look at another social way. If you examine history, economic downturns are no stranger to us all, but unfortunately each new generation seems to think it will not happen to them. I am not through on this topic. There is too much to say to be encompassed in this one epistle. But for now, let’s just say that the time has come for society to live and learn rather than just live and earn.

The views, opinions or positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or position of Pegasus Town Ltd.

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinion

A huge turn out for the first Northern Outlook Pegasus Fun Run

Guest post by Jenny Lake, Pegasus Events and Business Development Manager

We held our first fun run at Pegasus last Sunday – and wow, it was a huge success! The Northern Outlook Pegasus Fun Run was an excellent event to be involved with and it looks as though it is set to become an annual fixture on the North Canterbury sporting calendar. There was a wonderful buzz around the town and I’ve had so much positive feedback from both visitors and residents at Pegasus.

Northern Outlook Pegasus Fun Run

 

It was an amazing hot day after the heavy rain earlier in the weekend, so we were very fortunate with the weather and people turned out in their droves. The sunny weather saw 800 additional people enter on the day for the 2.5km, 5km and 10km events, bringing the total number of entrants to 2300. We had an array of entertainment for those not taking part in the races, as you’ll see in these fantastic photos. We estimate that there were around 4000 people out at Pegasus on the day.

 

The music was great, the bungy was a success as was the face painting, the bouncy castle and the skate skool. The DJ did an outstanding job and the photos and video we have captured from throughout the day are sensational. The food and beverage stands were kept busy most of the day and the corporate groups I spoke with were very happy with their sites.

 

The children loved the dance competition and having two players from the Tactix on stage dancing with a wee girl that had won a prize was a highlight.

 

The event raised at least $12,000 to go towards the post-quake recovery of sport in Canterbury. Event organiser and Sport Canterbury business manager Jonny Kirkpatrick is thrilled with the funds raised, which will be used broadly, for anything from repairs and equipment to helping with booking facilities and financial assistance.

 

To view more photos of this event, visit our Flickr page, or view the fantastic video footage on Youtube here.

This was the perfect event to kick off our summer season here at Pegasus, and I look forward to sharing more post-event reports with you in the coming months!

Jenny

Leave a comment

Filed under Community updates, Life at Pegasus, Pegasus events

Indicators of a successful school – thoughts from the Principal of Waikuku/Pegasus School

Guest post by Roger Hornblow, Principal of Waikuku/Pegasus School

I have been at Waikuku School for three years now and getting this job was like winning Lotto. I love rural schools, turning schools around and building community, the challenges of a growing roll, and designing and building a new school. Being principal of Waikuku School and then Pegasus School is all this… and more.

The Ministry of Education approached the Board of Trustees back in 2006 about the new school at Pegasus. Since then we have had recessions, a change in government and the odd earthquake or two. Please check the Waikuku School website for timeline updates for Pegasus School, or I am more than happy to answer any questions about this.

When moving into Pegasus you are zoned for Waikuku School. The school bus leaves the Harcourts’ Pegasus office at 8.45am and drops children back there after school. We currently have 31 Pegasus children on the school bus.

Parents often ask me about the decile rating of the School. We are a 7 and increasing. But the decile rating says nothing at all about the quality of any school. The decile rating is just a socio-economic indicator for the area based on the latest Census using abstract data such as household crowding, occupations and income.

ERO reviews are another indicator parents can use and our review is on the Waikuku School website. ERO reviews are useful and give an independent view. But for me the best indicator is not a review or a number or even a flash website. The best indicator is the people who are living and breathing school life every day. The best indicator is the happy children and the happy parents. Ask our parents about our community feel, our programme for four year olds, our Funday Friday, our welcoming parents into our classrooms, our focus on learning but also on fun, but most of all ask our children if they like our school and their teacher. Happy engaged children, happy inspired staff and happy parents who are always welcome and valued – they are the indicators of a successful school. Visit us and be impressed. www.waikuku.school.nz

Leave a comment

Filed under Community updates, Life at Pegasus

Weighty Matters

Guest post by Paul Dunn, Personal Fitness Trainer at Pegasus

“I’ve been exercising for a long time, but I’m still the same weight. Why haven’t I seen any results?”

It’s a question I get asked fairly often and my response is almost always the same. “A scale doesn’t tell the whole story”, In fact your body is no doubt making small changes every day and you don’t even notice it. The bathroom scales can’t always be a reliable measure of these small changes. So if that’s the case, how do you know if you’re making progress?

Track Your Body Fat

Scale weight can be a useful number to know but, even better is knowing what your body fat percentage is. It is important because scale weight doesn’t always tell the whole story. An individual can be “over-weight” and not “over-fat.” An All Black rugby player, for example may be 8% body fat and yet at 120kg may be considered “over-weight” by a typical height-weight chart (BMI).

Knowing your body fat percentage can give you a better idea of how much fat you really need to lose and, even better, whether you’re making progress in your program things your scale can’t tell you. It’s possible for your scale weight to remain the same, even as you slim down, especially if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.

A healthy body fat range is 25 – 31% for women and 18 – 25% for men. Keep in mind that most health clubs offer some type of body fat testing.

Use the Scale

As I mentioned above, scales don’t always give you the whole story about your body or your weight loss progress. For that reason, scales (when used alone) are my least favorite method of tracking weight loss. Another reason to dislike scales is what I like to call ‘Weight Loss Fixation’ or the tendency for otherwise rational people to abandon all reason, lock themselves in closets and/or ditch any and all healthy behaviors because why bother if the scale doesn’t change?

The problem with body weight scales is that they measure everything, fat, muscle, bones, organs and even that sip of water you just had. The scale can’t tell you what you’ve lost or gained, which is important information if you’re trying to lose weight and what we really mean by that is fat loss.

Here are just a few things that can increase your weight, causing it to fluctuate as much as 2 kg in one day:

  • Water. Because the body is about 60% water, fluctuations in your hydration levels can change the number on a scale. If you’re dehydrated or have eaten too much salt, your body may actually retain water, which can cause scale weight to creep up. Similarly, many women retain water during menstrual cycles, which is another thing that can make that number change.
  • Food. Weighing yourself after a meal isn’t the best idea simply because food adds weight. When you eat it, your body will add that weight as well. It doesn’t mean you’ve gained weight, it simply means that you’ve added something to your body (something that will be eliminated through digestion over the next several hours).
  • Muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat and it takes up less space, so adding muscle could increase your scale weight, even though you’re slimming down.

That doesn’t mean the scale is useless. In fact, it’s a wonderful tool when you combine it with your body fat percentage. Knowing both of these numbers will tell you whether you’re losing the right kind of weight…fat. Simply multiply your weight by your body fat percentage. For example, a person who weighs 70kg with 21% body fat has 14.7kg of fat and 55.3kg of lean tissue (70 x .21 = 14.7kg of fat, 70 – 14.7 = 55.3kg lean tissue). Keeping track of these numbers on a weekly or monthly basis will help you see what you’re losing and/or what you’re gaining.

Try these tricks to make weighing yourself a useful and more positive experience:

  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
  • Weigh yourself once a month instead of daily or weekly to give your body time to respond to your weight loss program. The scale won’t reflect small changes happening in your body composition.
  • Remember, the scale weighs everything! Just because your scale weight hasn’t changed doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.
  • Use scale weight along with body fat percentage for a more accurate view of your progress
  • Make changes with nutrition and increase exercise for better results (you cant expect anything to change if you don’t change your habits.

If the scale freaks you out and body fat testing isn’t an option, your next best choice is taking your measurements.

Take Your Measurements

Anyone can do it and its my favorite way of tracking progress because it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Taking your measurements at certain areas can give you an idea of where you’re losing fat, which is important since we all lose fat in different areas and in a different order. Taking your measurements can help reassure you that things are happening even if you’re not losing fat exactly where you want just yet.

Start by wearing tight fitting clothing (or no clothing) and make a note of what you’re wearing so you know to wear the same clothes the next time you measure. Here’s how to do it:

  • Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
  • Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist
  • Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips
  • Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh
  • Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow

Picture It

It may seem obvious, but don’t overlook one of the simplest ways to track progress–how you look and how your clothes fit. You may want to take a picture of yourself wearing swimming togs and keep it in your weight loss diary. Each month, take a new picture…you’ll be surprised at how many changes you notice in a picture as opposed to just seeing yourself in the mirror. You can also use your clothes to keep track of your progress. Choose pants, shorts and a shirt and try them on every week or month to see how they fit.

The bottom line

  • Use one or all of the methods above to keep track of how you’re doing
  • Set realistic goals (essential for your success)
  • It takes time to lose weight (don’t panic if you don’t drop 1kg in a week)
  • If you’re losing weight the right way, your progress will be slow and steady.
  • Make positive changes to the way you eat and exercise. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness and exercise

Where has all the fun gone?

Guest post by Alison Dormaar, Pegasus resident and author

Hmmm, reality TV. Survivor, Wife Swap, Top Model, the Next Pop Idol, not to mention the next Master Chef. And then of course you have all the shows lambasting obese people, insecure people, disadvantaged people, people being stupid and clumsy, people behaving badly on camera.

Notice a trend anyone? I know I certainly have. Instead of seeking a happier escape into the realm of make believe, it would seem that the powers that be have decided that we can forget our own woes by finding fault with everyone else around us. Oh yes, what a smug lot we are sitting back in our armchairs, taking a perverted pleasure from ogling the misfortunes of others while basking in a measure of self congratulation that for the main part it does not apply to YOU. If you are a TV producer, I suppose it is much cheaper to stick a live camera into some poor sod’s living room to broadcast their frailties around the globe to a slavering audience of millions than, Heaven forbid, pay some decent scriptwriters to come up with quality entertainment that does not come at the spiteful expense of someone else. The media needs the Extreme Makeover, not our houses.

I have often wanted to ask these dupes on reality TV where their pride has gone. I daresay most of them will have been offered money for their very public crucifixion, but at what personal cost? I want to know how they can face their friends and neighbours each time they poke their nose around the door at the local shopping mall without being aware of the silent finger pointing and sniggering. It goes to show what some people will do for those thirty pieces of media silver.

Apart from the deplorable standards that now rules our screens, I have often wondered about the many great unemployed writers and TV directors roaming aimlessly about without a studio to call home. Then of course you have all the wardrobe staff, the dressers, makeup artists, set builders, technicians etc etc. Gods, what a waste of creative talent in a time of global recession.

It all comes down to money of course. After all, why pay decent people to produce decent shows when you can get ratings and advertising dollars at a much cheaper expense? But what they cannot or will not realize is that the cost to society is huge.

I am sick of children aping hideously drawn, freakish creations from cheap and nasty Asian-made cartoons (whatever happened to Disney, Hanna Barbara, Warner Bros?) who all seem to have big mouths and bigger attitudes. Is it any wonder so many of our kids now have behaviour and depression problems that will persist well into adulthood? Don’t we all have enough to worry about these days without being forcibly educated, informed and lectured all day and every day? A massive blow has been dealt to the sheer healing power of imagination.

Imagination is what has made humanity stand out from every other creature on the planet. The power of creative, positive thought has driven our greatest scientists, artists and leaders, and it is that great force that is now under attack. Especially in light of recent times, people need to have light relief and fun, and lots of it. Okay, maybe I’m old fashioned, but whatever happened to those laugh out loud English comedies that used to grace our screens? Whatever happened to the mini series, the fabulous period dramas, the family variety shows like the Generation Game whose sole purpose was to give everyone a good time? Whatever happened to such wonderful children’s shows like the Muppets and the Smurfs? Where has the laughter gone?

It is no small coincidence that mankind’s myths and legends endure long after their buildings and monuments fall. It goes to show that what we wish to remember is what truly endures, not what is foisted upon us by the politically correct dogma of the day.

I am a writer. I create, and I like to think I create to a good purpose. The powers that be ignore such recent phenomena as Harry Potter and the Lord Of The Rings at their peril. These are indicators that there is a real desperate social hunger out there that is not being filled. In my own small way, I am hoping to help fill that void.

Facebook.com/Author, A J Dormaar – Fan Page

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, Opinion

It’s a dog’s life!

Guest post by Alison Dormaar, Pegasus resident and author

Ever since moving away from the main hustle and bustle of the city, I’ve been noticing the local dogs more. It’s funny how much we take them for granted in our busy city lives, but the other week with several centimetres of snow piled up on the lawn outside, to watch them ecstatically lolloping around in the white stuff with apparent ease was a real pleasure, and it made me sit back and think.

Dogs make me happy. I like to think I could make them happy. There are many life lessons we can learn from dogs, not least of which is the gift of sheer enjoyment of the simple things such as a snowfall while we of the gens humana live in a constant state of self-dissatisfaction. It is said that we have made dogs honorary humans, and I strongly suspect it is because we see many aspects of dogs that we wish were more apparent in our own somewhat flawed character.

Who among us would not want the life of a dog? Seriously? Most pet dogs in our society live in warm, comfortable homes without worrying about footing the mortgage or the power bill. Unlike the forever starved masses in the Third World (sorry folks, Africa is a bottomless pit of often misappropriated aid), dogs are guaranteed at least one square meal a day and they have learned that if you give the right wistful look at their owners at the right time they can capitalize with tasty snacks in between. You have willing servants on hand to plump up your pillows, buff up your beanbags, walk you, bathe you, brush you and rush about the house fulfilling your every whim without you having to raise a paw. Balls, frisbees, sticks and squeaky toys are laid on for your entertainment while your personal chauffeur whisks you away on numerous trips in the country, windows preferably rolled down. No-one is nagging you to tidy the house, mow the lawns, cook the dinner or go to work, and what’s more everyone you know likes you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone if you’re a dog. You just have to be…well, a dog!

We humans tend to age not very gracefully. After a certain age we become victims of gravity. Everything on our body starts to sag south and we start to shrivel up and stoop, unsightly blotches appear where we never had them before and the key subject of conversation at social functions is the latest round of medical procedures. We slather ourselves with potions and lotions to restore some semblance of health and youthful looks and ingest other substances to improve our memory and keep ourselves regular.

Compare that with your dog. Okay, Blondie may be getting fat with age, but somehow it just makes her all the more lovable. She may have a few gray hairs around the muzzle, but that thick furry coat remains the same and those liver spots are marks of distinction rather than blemishes. When she trots out for her daily walk she is still the subject of smiles and admiration (how many aging people yearn for a return to that kind of attention!) Yup, in old age your dog remains respected and loved. No old age home for Blondie, no being shut up in a pastel painted dormitory with drooling open mouthed zombies staring mindlessly at television sets while their life savings trickle into someone else’s bank account. Unlike many elderly humans, your dog is guaranteed constant support and does not have to wait until weekends for a possible family visit. And at the end of your life, unlike humans who are often forcibly kept alive by all manner of nauseating drugs and machines in the supposed name of humanity (or is it medical research? No, maybe the retirement home is still owed the balance of the remaining quarter), your dog if need be is allowed to slip away peacefully and painlessly to avoid unnecessary suffering.

If only we treated each other the same way that we treat our family dogs…

Facebook.com/Author, A J Dormaar – Fan Page

1 Comment

Filed under Inspiration, Life at Pegasus