New Zealand

Summer's End - Part 2

April 22, 2016

Here are the photos from our beautiful post-summer day at Long Bay Park and Granny's Bay. 

We started out on this little trail through the forest (aka: bush walk).

Then we exited onto this gravel road that goes up the hill. 
I love the nostalgic childhood feel of this clip.

Sorry for the low quality photos and video, I've only got my iPhone to work with at the moment. 

The view here was amazing, and what a beautiful day!

Panorama shot

On down to Granny's Bay. 

Climbing and exploring.

Time for a snack ... but first lemme take a selfie!

Time to head back around to Long Bay.

Splashing in the rock pools.

I may be keeping some of my Americanisms, but I feel so lucky to live in New Zealand. 

How beautiful is this!

New Zealand

Summer's End - Part 1

April 19, 2016

It’s officially autumn here in New Zealand much to my dismay. Those who know me know that I am a summer person through and through. Having grown up in Arizona I am used to being warmed up all the way to the bone, and nowhere else quite measures up ... the thermometer. sorry

I lived in Hawaii for seven years after leaving Arizona and I would literally get seasonal affective disorder from not getting enough sun. Now, I have to admit it’s not entirely Hawaii’s fault. Being a tropical island without the traditional four seasons there was an expectation that Hawaii would be sunny and warm all year round. Don’t get me wrong, a Hawaii winter is warm and sunny compared to a mainland winter, but Hawaii isn’t necessarily inviting you into the ocean for a swim 365 days of the year either.

The reality is Hawaii summers are beautiful, warm (read: hellishly sticky and humid unlike Arizona with it's "dry" heat), with pristine waters that could grace magazines and computer desktops, while the rest of the year it is either too windy, too rainy, too polluted from overflowed sewers from the too much rain, or with too many Portuguese man o' wars (for those of you from down under: bluebottles – for those of you who are still lost: little blue jellyfish-like creatures with invisible and impossibly long tendrils that feel like they electrocute you and sting like hell and can only be cured by peeing on yourself, or so they say) … with some beautiful, sunny, pristine days sprinkled in there as well.

[Did I really just put all of that into one sentence?? I need a grammar editor, but I’m not even going to bother fixing that in case it’s like a run on sentence world record or something.]

Anyway, what I was getting at is that I had this expectation of 365 days of sunny heaven in Hawaii but 75% of the time I would be disappointed. What happened was I just pretty much gave up going to the beach at all … or going outside for that matter and became somewhat of a hermit who hated Hawaii for not being warm and sunny enough (God, I had some serious lessons on thankfulness that had to be learned, but that’s a story for another time).

It’s very different here in New Zealand. Everyone is acutely aware that summer is temporary, so as soon as you rip the November page off the calendar, the beach is teeming with sunbathers, swimmers, surfers, boaters, and so on. And yes, summer officially starts December 1st and ends March 1st, there’s none of this equinox nonsense here; the government dictates when the seasons start and end!

Maybe it’s an age thing as well. I was young and unappreciative. But even though I love summer so much that I’d rather shut myself in a room and have no summer at all than be disappointed because what was supposed to be summery wasn’t summery enough, I think four seasons suits me a lot better than an endless* summer, and makes me value summer a lot more.

*conditions apply

Nowww …. back to the whole point of this post..

It is officially autumn, but there was this one gloriously sunny day. Now that I live in New Zealand and no longer stupidly think summer is forever, I decided to think like a kiwi and get outside with the kids. Make hay when the sun shines.

I decided to go to one of my favorite places on the North Shore of Auckland:  Long Bay Beach, the top of Long Bay Beach to be specific (which happens to be just 10 minutes away from where we live). There are a couple of short bushwalks (hiking trails for you normal readers …  I mean Americans) and there’s a path up to rolling hills of beautiful green paddocks with gorgeous sea-cliff views and a secluded beach called Granny’s Bay down the hill. If the tide isn’t high you can walk around from Granny’s Bay back to Long Bay where the parking is instead of hiking back up and down the hill.

The kids had so much fun running in the paddock, climbing the driftwood trees and splashing in the ocean which they weren’t quite brave enough to be submerged in for a proper swim anymore.  

And, at the end of our gloriously sunny excursion, my daughter exclaimed “This is the worst day ever!" (the grass was a little bit prickly).

*sigh* ... I guess it’s time for some more lessons on gratitude!


Since this turned into a huge essay when it was meant to be just a short intro to the photos of our outing I’ll put the rest of the photos in a separate blog post.


7 Signs You Should Invest In Food ... In Case You Haven't Been

April 11, 2016

Since I am new to blogging, I thought it might be a good idea to search the web for cool or fun blog topic ideas to keep my readers entertained. It isn’t quite what I had in mind, but I did find this useful blog topic generator. All you do is enter three topics (nouns) that you would like to write about and it will generate blog post titles to get you inspired. I tried it out. It came up with a handful of titles, but this one really caught my attention as an important PSA-style topic. So, without further ado, here are seven signs you should invest in food:

1. You find yourself wanting to live. Food is a necessity for life, without food our bodies would quickly run out of energy and DIE, and then all the savings that you will have accumulated will be useless because you can’t take money with you when you die.

2. You like to taste yummy things. Food tastes good. Well, a lot of it does anyway. Money tastes like salty fingerprints with a dash of flu and a sprinkle of cocaine – in other words, not yummy. Yummy is better than not yummy.

3. You want to be prepared for the apocalypse/natural disasters. If there is ever a serious emergency situation or disaster event, cash will only be useful for when you run out of toilet paper. Food on the other hand is excellent for bartering with.

4. You want to reduce your doctor and hospital bills. Many foods are good for your health. Often the good foods come with a heftier price tag, but the return is better health and less visits to the doctor, equaling bigger savings over the long run.

5. You want to have more quality time with your loved ones. Don’t get me wrong, family-members love hanging around someone with money, but that’s mostly just when they are old or terminally ill. If you have good food in the house every day family will be here to stay! 

6. Your ribs poke out and you have low energy. You could pad your clothing with wads of cash to bulk up your appearance, but I prefer padding with food. It's less itchy.

7. You have a family. It is probably a good time to think about investing in food. Children often get hungry and sometimes need to eat up to five times a day*. Feeding kids makes them last longer, although the downside is they have more energy to drive you crazy.

*rough estimate


Artistic Dreams

April 02, 2016

Creating this blog has unleashed a bit of creative energy in me, and I actually *gasp* put down the facebook to do this doodle instead!

I used to draw when I was younger. I was the most artistic out of my siblings and my parents saw great potential in me. I took a few drawing and painting courses at the community college in the small Arizona town I grew up in and my teachers echoed that sentiment. I always saw art in my future... but then I moved out of state and made a lot of new friends.

E V E R Y O N E was an artist.

I have to admit it was a huge blow to my confidence. So many of them were extremely skillful and lightyears ahead of me in the talent department. I wouldn't say I gave up entirely, but my zest for art definitely got knocked down a notch.

After getting married and having kids I no longer found the time to draw.

A decade has passed now. I see other artists honing their skills and getting better and better over the years and I wonder how good I could be right now if I had practiced every day.

Well, I didn't! 

Instead, I spent my 20's running after kids and I can't change that even if I wanted to, but ... I'M NOT DEAD YET!

For those of you who are older than me, that is probably a totally obvious statement, but if you are a young 'un like I was you might occasionally think that life ends at thirty.

Now that I have reached that big old number, I look ahead and see my kids growing up and becoming more independent over time... and maybe, possibly, I might actually be able to fit things like drawing in where all that butt-wiping currently is.

I can only hope.