mathpoetry

If you know anything about me at all, you will know these two things:
I love my job.
I really like math.

My students would know that I am passionate about maths and teaching when I jump up and down in front of them being wholeheartedly excited about statistics. My colleagues would know the same when I am absolutely ecstatic about the fact that I felt like I finally was able to get one of my students to be excited about algebra or achieve higher in maths than they ever thought possible.

An opportunity came up recently where the Head of Mathematics position at my school became vacant. I figured I would apply even though positions like these usually go to people with a bit more experience than me.

There were other applications. There was a formal interview process. It was all rather serious. But I prepared for my interview and made a new CV for the occasion. You’ve got to be in it to win it and if you’re going for it, you should give it all you’ve got.

So worth it.
It’s always worth it.

Say hello to the new Head of Mathematics, starting in 2015!

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I have been super stressed out lately. Term 3 is always a really stressful one and this is my third Term 3. I can’t believe this is my third year teaching in New Zealand already. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I have two weeks’ holiday now. I am going on a conference in Wellington the first week. While I’m up there I will be seeing some friends who have moved away and hopefully Josh’s family, as well. There is a chance I could be an auntie during these holidays, too. I’m super excited. I will have to make more trips to Wellington as I will have a little baby to spoil. I have already started sending presents. I went up for the baby shower a few weeks ago.

Thanks for all the support on the poem in my last post. Perhaps I will write some more soon.

My dad is 60 today.

Dad's Birthday

I think that sometimes since I live on the other side of the world, I don’t really realize that my parents are still getting older. I don’t see them every day and see them growing older. It doesn’t happen right before my eyes.

The Fish

I know that every girl says that her father is her hero. The multitude of hero songs and poems that we see during Father’s Day every year get a bit cliche`. I have always looked up to my father and he really is my hero if I had to have one in this life. There has never been a time where he said that he was going to do something and then didn’t do it. I can always count on him and depend on him and there has never been a person ever that I could say the same about with such a strong passion.

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My dad is the reason I played softball for so long and has such a strong love for the sport. He was at every game I’ve ever had besides one where my little sister was in the hospital and he apologized for missing my game and sent my grandmother in his place so someone was there to watch me and cheer me on. He was there to pick me up when I was down, and knew when to rally me, when to squelch my ego, and exactly when not to say anything at all.

My dad also encouraged my arts. He took me to acting classes and voice lessons when my mom wasn’t available. He told me I was amazing. He never told me to stop singing even when the notes I was hitting weren’t that pleasant when I was practicing. Even when I sang the same song over and over again for months.

My father is my biggest fan. He is my biggest supporter.

Beach Dad

He taught me how to ride a bike.
He taught me how to fly a kite.
He taught me how to play softball.
He taught me how to swim in the ocean.
He taught me how to fish.
He taught me how to drive a boat.
He taught me how to drive a car.
He taught me how to be the good, honest person that I am.

Wedding!

I love you, Dad.
Happy 60th Birthday.
I miss you.

Bayport vs Islip, Nov. 13th, 1971

#11 <3

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and melancholy thinking lately (I guess that’s what January does to you). I’ve been looking at old blog posts and thinking about years past.

It got me thinking about the fact that I’ve been on Facebook for nearly 9 years. Wow, that’s quite sad. I looked back on some of the statuses I have written and it gave me quite a laugh. I thought I would share this with you by looking at the same day in all the years I have been on Facebook. (If I didn’t update on that day, I just picked the nearest day.)

I present to you: January 21st Facebook posts through the years.

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There are less than two weeks until the madness of the new school year starts here in New Zealand. I really like how the new school year starts with the new year here. It’s just a fresh start in all aspects of life.

I have been doing some lesson planning for next year since I plan to be trying out some different things in my curriculum this year such as interactive notebooks in my junior classes. I have also been working on decorating my classroom. It is not really something that a lot of high school teachers do a lot of but I enjoy it and I always feel happier in my environment after I have decorated it and made it look nicer. If I feel happier then I like to think that my students feel happier too.

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Last year, I started to organize my side board into little boxes with categories. I had quote of the day and a box for each class’s homework which is pretty standard. I also tried something new last year which was having a section called Mathemagicians for each class. I would put up names of students who had gone the extra mile and asked thought provoking questions or completed their homework to a high standard. I liked having sections for my board last year since the previous year I didn’t use the middle part of my board at all and it just ended up being unused.

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I know there is still a bit of a stigma behind “meeting people off the big bad internets.” Me? I’ve done it more times than I probably should have and I have always been glad that I did. It has resulted in many incredible friendships, the two most important being my husband and my great friend Ashleigh who was the maid of honour at our wedding.

I’m always careful. I’m sure they are, too. My own husband told me that when he travelled across from NZ the first time to meet me face to face he was prepared for the fact that there was always that chance he’d have to book a hotel in New York until his flight back to NZ because I’d either show up and be insane or not show up at all. I like to think that most people are generally good when it comes down to it. I mean, if I’m on the internet and I’m not a big fat liar, why are they any different?

A friend who I have known online for a few years now through blogging and DailyFratze was travelling through New Zealand with her boyfriend. She contacted me on Twitter to ask me what some of the must see places were in New Zealand. I told her some places that I knew but that she was also welcome to stop by and say hello if she was passing through our town.

Adastra and her boyfriend did come and see us and they even ended up staying with us for a night. I enjoyed catching up with her and showing them a bit of our surrounding area. I like to think that only a local could give such a grand tour! Perhaps not, but I think that in the nearly 2 years that I have lived here I’ve come to know quite a bit about this place.

When they came, we went out and showed them a beautiful sunset at the dock in our town.

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Josh and I had a wonderful Christmas. We had a quiet Christmas this year at our place with just Josh, Josh’s Dad, and me. We opened presents in the morning. My parents and family sent me lots of treats.

My favourite present was an iPod nano from my Uncle Mike. I have already cleaned out my entire music library and asked all my friends for new song suggestions. Have you got any others?

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The site has a new look thanks to Georgie who designed me a new layout! It even works on mobile phones. Try it out. :)

I had a pretty rough week. I guess it’s just that time of year where everything gets stressful. We have less than a week until the end of the school year here in New Zealand and then we are on summer vacation until February. I think I really need the break even though I do have school related plans for over the break such as an exam writing camp in Auckland for a week and some preparation for next year to be done.

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I found this present in my pigeonhole this afternoon. A BLUEberry muffin because I was feeling blue. Someone must have noticed that I was having a bad day. Little things like this just make such a difference and it just made my whole afternoon a whole lot brighter. I work with some amazing people. I still haven’t even figured out who put it there.

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My husband also always makes me feel better. His ridiculous sense of humour is, many times, just what I need.

Right now, what I need is sleep. Wake me up next Friday.

I have been a bit down in the dumps lately. The holidays are a rough time for me since I haven’t fully adjusted to living in another country at this time of the year. The holidays for me have always been very much grounded in traditions and family. It’s hard to suddenly be on the other side of the world from everyone I’ve always celebrated the holidays with and completely new traditions. Josh has been really supportive since we moved to New Zealand. He understands that the holidays are a bit rough for me and he tries his best to make the holidays a nice time.

I woke up last Thursday and realized that probably about 2 people that I’d see during the day would even know it was Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful spring day. Summer is just around the corner (another thing I’ll probably never get used to). I walked across to school deflated and missing everyone. I had no Thanksgiving plans. I felt pretty alone.

There was a card on my desk.

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It was from my friend Aly. She’s from Canada and she has been teaching at our school for most of this year. She has become a really good friend and that card meant the whole world to me.

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Averaging about 1 blog post per month is definitely not ideal. It’s not what I wanted. It’s not me. Have I really become so busy that I don’t have time to sit down and blog or has it just become lower on my list of priorities?

Life has been pretty crazy recently. When I don’t blog for this long, I never know where to begin. I’ll just start talking.

Halloween is as good a place as any.

Halloween isn’t a very big thing here in New Zealand. I had zero trick or treaters this year compared to the TWO that I had last year (one of which was a family of Canadians and another was a student who lived across the street). I had some people tell me this year that they “don’t believe in Halloween.” I guess it’s just a culture thing, but it doesn’t make sense to me to say you don’t believe in Halloween. If I asked further as to why or what they didn’t believe in, there was no other answer.

So I had a Halloween party with my friends. You can take the American out of America but you can’t take the America out of the American. Or something…

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We currently have two weeks off before the last term of the year and I have got an insane amount of work to do. However, despite having a list a million kilometres long, I spent my entire first week of the holidays at a Math Conference. The New Zealand Association of Maths Teachers (NZAMT) held their 13th biennial conference and my school was generous enough to send our entire department (minus one since he was unavailable).

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Whenever I don’t blog for months, it becomes harder and harder to blog. Where should I start? What should I talk about? I’ve lost my rhythm. One of the biggest irritations has been my complete inability to take pictures. I took my DSLR camera around the world without taking one picture.

Here’s a short recap, mostly in iPhone photos. Because I’m so freaking hipster.

I went back to New York over the school holidays with my kiwi friend Claire to visit my family and friends.
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Earlier this year, I joined the local Bridge Club. Yes, my town is so cool that it has its own Bridge Club.

At this point, you are probably doing one of two things:
1. Trying to figure out what Bridge is and why it has a club.
2. Wondering why I am playing Bridge since I’m not a little old lady.

Well let me answer these questions for you. First of all, Bridge is a card game. If played correctly, it takes a great deal of wit, skill, probability, and other mathematical competence which sounds right up my alley, doesn’t it? Good, that probably answers your second question.

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A colleague of mine from the English department is a seasoned member of our Bridge Club and apparently tries to recruit new members each year. This year, I jumped on the bandwagon with a few other friends and we have been taking lessons from him for the past few weeks. I was the first from our little group to play my first night of competitive Bridge last week. I told all my competitors that I was a spy and that I was really a Grand Master. (Can you believe that there are really rankings in Bridge and that the highest rank is seriously called Grand Master?) They all thought I was so charming even though that’s really the only joke I had all night.

I wasn’t too shabby either. I managed to win a couple hands and although a couple hands were played quite poorly I ended the night with a fairly decent beginner’s score according to the club members. I also wasn’t last which was shocking considering I was the only new player there. I am eager to play again and work up to Grand Master rank, although at this pace would probably take until I’m an old lady. Maybe that’s why you see so many old ladies playing Bridge.

What’s your favourite card game? Why?

I am loving my job. I love the classes I teach. My students are great and keep me entertained. I love the people I work with. I am passionate about the subject I teach. I love my school. I love my town. I love education itself.

I love it so much that I have had to start putting it on my schedule to “leave work.” Otherwise I’d happily stay there all night. Or come home and work more and not do anything else and that’s just weird. So I’ve started leaving everything at work too so I’m not tempted.

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That doesn’t stop me. I just have too many ideas. I can’t stop working. I’ll just browse math sites or grab tiny pieces of paper that are meant to be for the shopping list and make up more math problems for tomorrow. I can’t just let good ideas go to waste, can I? No. I can’t.

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I’m pretty busy. This week got a bit crazy, can you tell? I am still getting the hang of things and sometimes I plan poorly and have to move everything around. I have learned to leave it there instead of printing a new sheet out so or writing in pencil so that I learn from my mistakes. And sure, I have got a lot of free spaces there but being I’m still in my first few years teaching, I’ve got heaps to do. I think it’s great that New Zealand give teachers in their first two years of teaching one less class. Thanks, New Zealand. I still get a House Class though which I love. (That’s homeroom plus I get to have them after assemblies on Monday.)

Most teachers I know, including my own mother, have uttered the following phrase at some point in their career:

I could write a book.

The things we see and hear on a daily basis can induce bouts of hilarity. Plus, teachers love to talk and share stories. If we didn’t love to talk, then we would certainly be in trouble because the majority of our job entails standing up in front of a room of people and talking. Some subjects require more talking than others and some teaching styles require more talking than others but there is still a lot of talking required.

I recently taught the Statistical Inquiry Cycle to my Level 3 Statistics class. I don’t normally have to check their books like I do my other classes. By their last year in high school they don’t have to be told things like “take notes and stop drawing penises in your books” because these are the students who have actually elected to take math but once in a while I’ll peek just to see what they are up to.

Here are the notes that I gave:
The Statistical Inquiry Cycle
Problem
Plan
Data
Analysis
Conclusion

and here is what we see:
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Maybe there was just no conclusion since that step 4 seems to have been a bit rough.

I think I’ll follow suit with this blog. I have a lot of work to do.

I had another birthday. It was simple but very lovely indeed. I’ve never had a bad birthday. My birthdays are always amazing.

My friends spoiled me first. I invited everyone out celebrate with me for dinner on Friday night since I wouldn’t be around on Saturday. A whole heap of people came out and we had a huge table full of people making me feel super special for the evening.

That would have been enough – celebrating an epic meal with friends – but some of my friends decided to get me super epic presents as well!

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My Canadian friends Hugh and Peggy (and Jasmine and Rowan) gave me a beautiful songbook. I couldn’t believe they were giving me such a treasure and my mouth hung open as they gave me their own songbook. I leafed through the pages as I found songs that I knew and loved and looked at songs I have never heard before. I was mesmerized. I completely ignored everyone else. (PS – you should check out Peggy’s awesome blog, floraandwhanau.com)

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My friend, and boss although I don’t treat her like it, also made me this completely incredible shawl. No matter how many times I photograph it, I can’t take a picture that does it justice. Perhaps I will get a better picture of it soon but I needed to put one here this weekend. She used the most beautiful, soft, wool and the intricacy of the pattern just intrigues me so much. I wore it all day on Friday and I received so many compliments. Probably because it was the nicest piece of clothing I was wearing.

Josh and I went away to Maruia Springs for my actual birthday – both the NZ day and the America day. I decided that since I live here now, I deserve two birthdays – the one here and my actual USA birthday since I was born in America. One day a year, I should have two days all to myself. So Josh gave in this year and gave me my birthday weekend at the Japanese hot springs and treated me like a princess.

I came down with a pretty horrific head cold once we got there. Perhaps it was my punishment for being too greedy or maybe it was just the world’s way of testing me for being too optimistic on every single birthday ever but I still had such an incredible day. At one point I started to feel a little bit sad because it was the first birthday that nobody actually sung Happy Birthday to me on my birthday but then my parents sent me a video of them singing Happy Birthday to me without me even saying anything and Josh ended up singing Happy Birthday as we were going to bed at night and all was right with the world. My family is incredible and I am just the luckiest girl in the universe.

I don’t know how I really feel about turning 30 next year. My younger sister Corinne keeps calling me an old fart which I think is quite ironic being that she’s only a year and a half younger than I am. My students found out that it was going to be my birthday and guessed that I was turning 24. I was flattered, of course. They are high schoolers so I decided that they should know better especially if they are guessing so close to my age. Next year my dad and I turn 30 and 60 exactly 1 month from each other. I am thinking that we will need to plan something big. Events like this don’t just go under the radar, don’t they?

I will miss being 28 only because it was my lucky number. It was a lucky year and I will always remember it fondly. I am optimistic about what is to come.

Mother's Day

Dear Mom,

For all my blood-curdling years of my adolescence that you had to endure, I promise to always keep your electronics functional even though I live on the other side of the world. And I promise I will let you know when my plane lands even though we both know that information is readily available to everyone. Thanks for being a wonderful mother and always supporting every decision that you ever made for me. You’re one of my favourite parents! Thanks for providing me with love that is as never ending as your voicemails!! Also, thank you so much for bringing me into a world where love can be expressed electronically! I love you!

Your favourite daughter, (I love how neither of us have to even say that I’m your favourite. We both just totally know it!)
Caitlin Ann

PS: I hope my mediocre attempts of gratitude that I express at your birthday, Christmas, and Mothers Day make up for the 362 other days of my smug ingratitude! Thanks for not putting me back up for adoption!

PPS: I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be. <3

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you were supposed to call someone but you’ve left it just a little bit longer than you should have and now it is a bit awkward? Now you feel that you can’t call them so you decide to wait another day instead. Then tomorrow comes and it feels even more awkward. Maybe you’ll just run into them and this whole situation will be resolved for you. It doesn’t happen. Then you forget. An entire month goes by and you remember one day and now it’s even worse.

Blogging is my friend and I forgot to call it.
And now it’s totally awkward.

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I’m getting really sick of my summer break. I am one of those people who doesn’t do very well without something to do. I miss work. I love my job. I miss my coworkers and my students. Josh had a few weeks off and we got to actually go a few places but now he’s back at work too. I’ll give you an example of how I cope with being cooped up.

    Things I planned to do on my summer break:

  • Read 10 books! Or more! There are so many books I want to read!
  • Make lots of hemp jewelry.
  • Take lots of pictures and work on my (nonexistant) photography skills.
  • Get lots of schoolwork done. What else do teachers do on summer break?
  • Spring cleaning! Clean my whole house!
  • Do lots of exercise and eat healthy.
  • Go on some nature walks and take pictures.
  • Bike rides.
  • Probably heaps of other productive things that I’ve forgotten about.

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This year, I am going to try to be more positive and less sarcastic.
Yeah, right. Like that will ever happen…

Or maybe I should just be happy with writing 2013 instead of 2012.

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Resolutions. I always feel like they are so cliche` but at the same time, January 1 is a good starting point.

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Lately, I have decided that it’s time to get in shape again. Well, a shape that isn’t this round shape that I currently seem to have formed into would be nice. This past year has been incredible but one thing that has really not been so incredible is that every time I walk past the mirror I seem to be a little bit bigger.

It’s not like I’m gigantic. I still fit into the same pants that I did when I moved here a year ago. I’m the same size. It’s just that it’s obvious that I should probably be wearing a size bigger than that to be comfortable. I’m sure that some of us have been there or can at least relate in some way.

It’s okay, though. If you know me at all, you know that I lost nearly 60 pounds last year. It’s rookie stuff. I can do this again. The hard part is the mindset and getting started. Time is always something that gets in the way and I never have enough of it to get all of my thoughts in order. I’ve got plenty of it now, though! School has finally ended for the year and we have just moved to summer holidays as of this week.

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My parents wanted to sell my car because now I’m in New Zealand. That’s a whole different story in itself. However, my parents asked me to help them list the car on Craigslist because they tried for an entire evening and couldn’t manage to get it figured out between them. I agreed to help because that it what daughters do but a whole heap of hilarity ensued in the process. I figured I just had to share our correspondence with you.

Mom & Dad

As a disclaimer, I would just like to say that I think my parents are amazing and I’m not trying to poke fun – just show how adorable my parents are. I’d like to commend them for how far they have come in their internet endeavours and I bet that soon they will be doing heaps more. Hey, my mom even got her own Facebook account last month!

The correspondence begins with some emails from my Dad:

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“I don’t enter things because I’ll never win.”

A lot of people I speak to have this motto. They never win anything so there is no point entering a big competition. Well, the way that I see it, you have to be in it to win it… and someone has to win. So why not? I can only remember winning two contests in my life. One was when I was two years old and one was today.

When I was two, I loved Bert and Ernie. Bert and Ernie were (okay, they totally still are) my favourite Sesame Street characters. I had everything Bert and Ernie when I was a kid. So when there was a Sesame street colouring book contest on the television and the prize was seeing Sesame Street on ice at Nassau Colleseum, I knew right then that my two little hands had to get to work. I coloured like I had never coloured before and I coloured my very best picture of Bert and Ernie.

I won. I guess I was the two year old that could stay in the lines the best. I got to go see Sesame Street on ice. My grandma and grandpa baked me a big chocolate chip cookie cake with Bert and Ernie and a big CONGRATULATIONS CAITLIN on the cake. It’s funny how what I remember most about winning is my grandpa’s epic Bert and Ernie chocolate chip cookie cake.

Last week, there was a big competition on Facebook for a local lady who is famous in our little community for making cakes. She was promoting her Facebook page and the winner of her competition won a custom cake made by her. I WON!! She messaged me today to tell me that I was the winner out of hundreds of people. Now I have to save this cake for a special event and come up with an amazing idea for a cake.

Maybe I should just have her make me a Bert and Ernie cake to celebrate winning and my love of cake. What better reason is there than that to have cake? Am I right?

Plus, I just love cake. Do you really need a reason to eat cake? DO YOU?

This will still always be one of my favourite cakes ever, though. Cakes made with love by your friends are always the best.
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I have been putting off getting a New Zealand drivers licence since I moved here. My New York licence was still valid here and I was allowed to use it legally for a year after moving here so there really was no rush. However, when I was filling out a form for my residency a few weeks ago, I noticed that I actually had been here a year. I couldn’t put it off any longer.

This was more of an annoyance than anything else, I thought. Now I would have to take a test – probably just a written test but a test nonetheless. Although the only real major difference is the fact that we’re driving on different sides of the road, New Zealand road tests have other questions that I’m not used to at all. For example, New York written tests never have the need for questions about what to do when there is livestock on the road. What would you do if you come to a random cow crossing, for instance? Now I’d have to read the manual. I’d actually have to study for something. That’s what my students have to do – not me! I haven’t had to study for a test in 10 years!

Would you pass a New Zealand road code test?
Take a practice test!

I went to town to get the manual and see what I actually had to do to achieve the goal of obtaining a valid licence. The results were hilarious. Since I’m from an exempt overseas country, this was the process:

1. Present your valid and non expired drivers licence.
2. Present us your valid passport.
3. Present proof of residence in New Zealand.
4. Pay the fee.

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I went back the next day with my New York drivers licence, my passport, a random bank statement, and paid them and they took my picture and mailed me a licence. It came yesterday, almost exactly a week later. I can’t believe I put THAT off for a year.

One of the many things that I like about New Zealand is how it seems to be just second nature to not waste as much. Right when I moved here, I noticed little things like switches on the power sockets and how stores don’t automatically give you a bag for your purchases (some even charge you for a bag as more incentive to not get one or to bring a reusable one). New Zealand also gets over 15% of its power through renewable sources like wind and solar energy. I’m all for it. I hopped right on the bandwagon. I use reusable shopping bags (I did back in New York anyway so that wasn’t a big switch) and I started a recycling program in my house. Let me tell you about it!

Recycling

In my town, you’re almost forced to recycle. It costs money for your garbage to be collected but it doesn’t cost anything if you are recycling. It is a few dollars for a town council garbage bag (they won’t collect the garbage in anything else) or you can pay for a hire-a-bin company to give you a big garbage bin and once it’s full there is a set fee to have them come empty it. Either way, it adds up fast. However, most things these days can be recycled. Paper, plastic, aluminium, glass, and cardboard – just sort it and put it out and it costs nothing to collect. This makes the trash you do have far more condensed and therefore it doesn’t have to be collected as frequently. Save your money!

Josh and I have a hire-a-bin and we choose to sort our recycling into our own bins and bring them to the local dump and recycling centre when they are full.

Recycling

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A few weeks ago, the Department of Conservation (DOC) had a special event at one of its beautiful trails here. It was the 100th anniversary of the Charming Creek Coal Mine and Logging District and what remains of this place is now known as the Charming Creek Walkway which is a beautiful 3 hour trail up in the hills. Usually it’s a 6 hour hike since you can’t really hike 3 hours and magically appear back at your car so you have to hike there and back. On this particular day, DOC advertised a deal that would give us a bus ride to the far end of the trail, a tour guide that would take us on the hike and tell us all about the trail, a helicopter ride halfway there so that we could see the beautiful mountains, and then a sausage sizzle when we got to the bottom. All of this ended up happening besides the helicopter ride since they didn’t get enough people interested to run the helicopter. They couldn’t take small kids on the helicopter and as you’ll see there were a lot of kids that hiked. (I mean rode in their parent’s backpacks.)

I really enjoyed myself. I went with a group of my friends. Altogether I think they had around about 25-30 people including all the kids. Josh was supposed to come but had a really rough week at work and was so dead tired. A 3 hour hike on his first day off just wasn’t his idea of a good time and I didn’t blame him. Plus, he was a bit bummed out that there wasn’t going to be a helicopter. Everything all added up? He deserved the sleep.

Charming Creek Walkway

Our tour guide was a really nice guy. He not only told us interesting information about the area, being the knowledgeable gentleman that he was, but also told us personal stories about the area from when he was a kid and used to play around there. He was a really good storyteller and I enjoyed listening to him speak.

Charming Creek Walkway

The walk itself was beautiful. Even though I’ve been here over a year now, my mouth still drops at the beauty that surrounds me in this place. Random waterfalls. The water is so clear. No trash anywhere. People take this place for granted.

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Everyone has one of those special places. You can be having such an awful day but if you can get to this place and the optimism comes pouring back to you. Everything just seems a bit brighter. Even though you are aware that nothing in a physical sense has really changed, something is different. Your mood has changed. Your outlook has changed. Something changed for the better. And that is all that matters.

There have been certain aspects for me that have been a bit difficult when I moved overseas. First of all, I lived in the same house for 26 years. Then I moved 15 minutes away from there when I got married. I never went far. Even if I didn’t particularly rave about New York all the time, there were definitely special places that I loved. They were close to my heart. Now they are half a world away.

Thankfully I moved to an absolutely beautiful country. It has an abundance of places that could be deemed as those special places. The only thing that had to happen was for me to find one.

I have.

There’s a town called Granity not far from where I live and Josh and I both love it. It’s got a beautiful nature walk nearby called Charming Creek, a little cafe that has good food and a lovely atmosphere, and best of all an amazing beach.

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Last weekend, I took a little mini vacation with 7 of my friends to a place called Maruia Springs. Maruia Springs is known for its hot pools and also its relaxation!

CRABY

We thought we would treat ourself to the indulgence package because we have been working hard and it’s almost the end of Term 3 here in New Zealand. We got unlimited access to the hot pools 24 hours a day, a 3 course dinner, a 45 minute private spa, a massage, a full cooked breakfast, and one night’s accommodation. It was amazing.

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Lately the weather has been getting a bit warmer. Apparently it’s spring now in New Zealand. What makes them so special that they don’t have to wait until the equinox? Who knows?

Reirei is sunning

Reirei has been enjoying the nice weather. She is full-fledged outdoor adventure cat now. Some nights she just stays outside and we just let her because it’s late and we want to go to bed and we just can’t be bothered trying to get her back inside.

Reirei sunning :)

This week has been super rainy and cold, though. It’s not really spring weather even though apparently it rains a lot here in my area during the spring. It’s still a cold rain at the moment, though, and I’m not a fan. It’s dreary and depressing and just chills you to the bone. We still have to light the fire at night and use our electric blankets. I caught a bit of the flu last week and I blame the stupid rain.

My new iphone wallet

My iPhone is looking a lot like spring, though. I got a new iPhone wallet for it and I am just a little bit obsessed with it.

Hopefully the weather clears up soon.

I’ve been yelled at by quite a few people for not blogging enough. I’ve just been having too much fun and it has kept me busy!

This past weekend, I was invited to a local talent show. I decided to go and sing a song or two so I found myself some backing tracks and went along. I didn’t get much time to practice since I have been so busy lately and also because Josh was getting a bit tired of hearing the same songs over and over again. Nobody really wants to hear the same song over and over again even when they’re lovely (and especially not when they’re a bit depressing).

The talent show went really well. It was a great time. It’s good to get out and do something for a change and it was also good to actually get up and sing somewhere which I haven’t really done for a while. It felt good. The crowd liked it too. Even though I only brought two songs with me, they made me sing a third song with no music because they “needed to hear more!”

I was approached by a group of people from the town who said that they thought I was so amazing that they wanted me to do my own concert in the town. They could charge a cover fee and it could go toward a charity and improvements in the town. I told them that I’d accept and they went nuts. I don’t know who would come but I guess the group of them sure would.

I wasn’t really happy with how I did. I messed up lyrics. I didn’t project. I wasn’t confident enough. My breath support was pathetic. This is where everyone just yells at me or gets upset with me and tells me I’m being ridiculous and showers me with compliments. Or instead they’ll get angry with me and think I might even be fishing for compliments. I’m not. I am just a perfectionist. Isn’t that what it’s about, though? Shouldn’t we only be satisfied with our personal best? I certainly think so and if there are ways where I could have done better then I focus on them so that I can perform better next time. By analysing and picking myself apart, I am constantly improving myself. So sure, I might have been good – but it’s not as good as I personally can be.

If you’d like to have a listen and tell me what you think, Josh was kind enough to come along and record the show on my iPhone. (Although he did decide to put his hand over the mic during the end of one song so you won’t be able to hear it. Good job overall, though.)

This week was Māori language week. Māori is one of the official languages of New Zealand – the others being English and Sign Language. Māori is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand.

Since I arrived in New Zealand, and especially since I’ve been teaching, I’ve been trying to learn a lot about Māori culture and incorporate it in my classes. I find it all fascinating and I have always enjoyed learning about different cultures and people. It’s even more awesome when I’m living here and it’s all around me.

Maori language week I decorated part of my classroom’s whiteboard for the week for Māori language week and updated it every day with what our school was doing.

We had some great events during the week like a staff vs students quiz, a student give a speech in Māori for his assessment, a performance by our Kapa Haka group, book displays in the library, daily quizzes in the notices, and Moko paintings.

I believe the top part translates roughly to “This is Māori language week.”

“Arohatia Te Reo” means “Cherish The Language” and was the theme for our Māori language week.

I also started writing the date in Māori. Since I didn’t really know how to do this, I had my students all teach me. They showed me how to write it and say it. It was a learning experience for everyone, I think. One of those times that it’s really a fantastic way for you to have your students teach you something. It’s something that a lot of them probably learned when they were in primary school and got a kick out of showing me.

a89f81bad6bc11e1b9a5123138140995_7 Thursday was one of my favourite days. Not only is Thursday one of my favourite days every week because it’s my least busy day that falls right after my busiest day but this Thursday the students did Moko pantings. A moko is a traditional Maori tattoo. They contain ancestral and tribal significance to the wearer and would tell a story of their tribe, family, and place in social structures. Getting a moko on your face is the ultimate statement of someone’s identity as a Māori. Many Māori people had a facial moko. Women often wore theirs on their chin. My students had me get one but don’t worry – it is not permanent.

I did it again. Got wrapped up in my own little dream world.

School is back in session and I’m back in the madness. It’s all right, though. I’m loving every minute of it. I seriously adore teaching. Even when there are days where my students set out to make my life difficult, there are way more moments in my day that make it all worth while. Times when I can look back and be amused or inspired or intrigued by something. Once in a while I am even caught off guard or surprised myself.

I’ll provide you some examples for your amusement as well as my own.

Me: So everyone! We’re talking about days here so which of these two solutions can we automatically exclude or ignore?
Student A: The negative answer. We can’t have negative days.
Me: Right. Lets put a great big line through it! *crosses it out on the board*
Student B: But, Miss! What if we are using time travel!
Me: I’m pretty sure you don’t know The Doctor. Unless you have a Tardis which I’m pretty sure you don’t, cross out your answer.
Student A (to student B): Yeah, the Tardis is the only acceptable form of time travel.

Me: Guys, this is really important! Pay attention!
The Whole Class: *doesn’t pay attention*
Me: Don’t you want to pass your assessment? It’s important!
The Whole Class: *doesn’t pay attention*
Me: LA INFORMACION ES MUY IMPORTANTE!
The Whole Class: *pays attention*
Here, there happens to be one of these rare moments where it is assumed that there will continue to be noise in the room, but there isn’t. A student speaks softly to his friend but it appears to be the only noise in the entire universe.
Student X: …that’s hot.
The Whole Class (minus student X): Erupts in laughter.
Me: *turns bright red*
Here, I decide it’s best if I just turn around and keep writing notes while they get it out of their system. When it’s done, I turn around and continue.
Me: Okay, so lets try to fill in our table here with the values from our graph.
Student A: Will we do it in Spanish, Miss?
Me: No.

Those were my two best examples of the week.

There are a large amount of us in my little circle of teacher friends at school who are really into knitting. Lately, it has become a bit of a joke between everyone that every time someone walks into the staff room someone is sitting in there knitting or crocheting or has stashed their yarn or patterns there for later. One teacher is so passionate about it that she decided she would start a knitting club during lunch time one day a week for the students. She’s got a little army of knitters following her around now showing her their work and sharing patterns with her. It’s adorable and pretty awesome. They call themselves The Knit Wits.

It was decided this week that as fun as our little Knit Wit meetings are, it would be so fun to have a grown up version of this… a “Stitch and Bitch Knit Wits,” if you will. So all of the sudden we found ourselves in a pub tonight having a knitting club. I decided that this either made us officially old and lame or some new breed of hipsters. I’m going with some strange new breed of hipsters. Sitting in a pub on a school night knitting? Heck yes! (Or maybe I actually am getting old.)

My new hat

Fiona made me a hat, though. Well, that’s not entirely true. She made it for herself but it was too big for her head. I’ve got a pretty big head though plus I have loads of hair all over the place so it looks pretty good on me. It was so awesome of her to give it to me. She’s making the hat again but making it smaller (and in grey) for herself now. It looks amazing. I am constantly enthralled by the patterns that she makes. She makes all these beautiful clothes and wears them to work. Now my other friend Claire is making these awesome patterns too and I am in awe. I’m also just a little bit jealous but only enough to realize that I could actually be making these things too if I wasn’t too lazy to learn and practice better. However that is a problem that I have with the need to want to be instantly good at everything or giving up.

I am working on crocheting because no matter how much I try and knit I just can’t do it. I think that whichever you learn first (knitting or crocheting) is just what comes naturally to most people. My mother taught me how to crochet and I’ve always just found it way easier so I am going to pick that back up again instead. I’m pretty rusty since I haven’t done it in years but it’s coming back to me fast. I am going to try to make a pair of cute slippers and give them to Fiona since she made me my beautiful hat.

It has been almost a month since I blogged. That’s not like me!

I’ve been so busy lately. This term at school has been super hectic and on top of all of that, I have been involved with the school play. We put on Beauty and the Beast and ran three shows and a dress rehearsal. It went really well and I think the school and the community was really happy with how it all turned out. It really meant a lot to be involved in all of it and I was thanked on stage the last night and given a rose (ha, Beauty and the Beast symbols anyone?) and a thank you note from our principal.

That wasn’t the only flower I got that night, though. The last show was on my anniversary. Josh made sure that a big bouquet of flowers were sent to the school for me.

Anniversary Flowers

The best part was the message on the flowers.

Anniversary Flowers

I love him so much. :)
And I think he’s pretty good with these things, don’t you?

Ah, and photos.
It’s probably pretty evident by now that I failed my 365 Photo project. It was probably silly to start it at such a busy time of the year. I just couldn’t keep up and I also found myself taking pictures just to take pictures and not because I enjoyed it. I don’t want the project to make me loathe taking pictures and not look forward to photography. I think if I’m not forcing myself to take pictures then I’ll take a lot more of them. Deadlines never helped anyone. As much as I really wanted to complete a 365 project, I think it’s just not for me. At least not right now. And I’m finally okay with that. I think.

Josh and I decided to go on a beautiful afternoon walk this weekend. It was 2.9km each way along the coast plus we walked a bit more along the beach so we probably walked a total of almost 6km along the beautiful coast, coming back just in time for another gorgeous sunset.

Of course, the camera was with us…

The beach is always gorgeous.

Rocks

There were some beautiful rocks. I tried to take an artsy shot of some moss on a rock but realised later that my finger got in the way of my amazing photo. I was really upset. Josh says I was just being a lazy photographer. He’s probably right.

Rocks

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My first birthday over here in New Zealand has been an absolute blast! I have enjoyed myself from start to finish. Last night, Josh gave me his present – a beautiful lamp for the living room plus a cute lamp for my desk. I’ve been complaining about the lack of light in our house lately. I also got a parcel yesterday from Josh’s mom. She got me a bunch of adorable and useful office supplies for my classroom. I have some awesome new pens and cute pot-it notes now!

Last night I decided that I was going to bake cookies for morning tea for the staff today since it was my birthday. There had to be a celebration! I made Snickerdoodles. They were a big hit. So many people had never even heard of a Snickerdoodle before let alone tried one so I was glad I made them.

Birthday Earrings

I went into school this morning and my students started flowing into my classroom with goodies. I may have accidentally let it slip somewhere that it was my birthday and word spread quite quickly. One girl in my house class (yes, we have a house system like Harry Potter in my school) gave me these earrings that her mother made as well as a huge block of chocolate! I got more chocolate, too! Just when I thought it had stopped, a girl from one of my other classes marched in with not one… but TWO CAKES that she had made. She even decorated them with circles and triangles since we are studying geometry right now. My desk was full of sweets not even 15 minutes after I walked into the door!

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There have been quite a few things that Josh and I have been wanting to get lately but there is always something in the way.

First there was that little problem of not having money which definitely puts a stopper on trying to buy things. As most intelligent people realize, having money and having a credit card are two extremely different things. Being the intelligent folk that we are we wanted to wait until we actually had the real money.

The other factor stopping us from our shopping trip was the fact that we live in such a small town that every time we want to do some actual shopping we have to drive a couple hours. When the heck do we have the time to do that being that we each have a full time job (and sometimes we even work on the weekends). Also, New Zealand seems to not want to keep their stores open very late at all compared to what I’m used to. If I even tried to leave after work I wouldn’t even get there by the time the stores closed.

Even when we do find the time to go, this costs us a great deal in gas which brings us back to problem number one. Petrol (gas) prices in NZ are about $2.20 per litre. That’s the equivalent of about $8.14 per gallon. With the currency conversion that’s $6.62 USD per gallon. You probably don’t feel so bad about paying what you pay for gas anymore, do you? Well, maybe not. I definitely feel bad for complaining about gas prices when I lived in New York.

I am slightly off topic, though. My point is that Josh and I finally did go shopping. We got some money and allotted some time and away we went. Yay for us!

I couldn’t help myself and went a bit crazy in the office supplies aisle. I got a bunch of great things for my classroom – some of which I probably didn’t need but will definitely use and some of which I truly needed.

new cookware!

Josh picked out these great new things for out kitchen. It was what he went there for, really, because there was a sale and this was some great cookware that we got. He also talked me into getting another knife (the man loves his knives) and got that cool metallic knife rack you see mounted above the stove. That little green one that you see there is the knife I have dubbed MY KNIFE. Josh’s mom gave it to us last Christmas and I love it so much. I use it for nearly everything even when I probably should be using a knife that is more appropriate for what I am cutting. I am not very good in the kitchen but at least I know when I feel comfortable using a certain kitchen tool. I’ll let Josh wield his big knives.

new bedding

I picked out this new bedding set. We needed a winter duvet (blanket) and new sheets and pillowcases so I got tan/brown ones to match. I am extremely happy with it but I don’t think Josh likes it very much. He mentioned right away that we will need multiple sets and it is a good start. Oh well. I guess it’s a little girly but at least I didn’t get one with pink and purple flowers or hearts on it – it could have been WAY worse. The middle just has a small design with little blue birds.

What does your bed look like?

Over the weekend, Josh had a plumbing job that was quite a way out of town. We decided that, since it was a nice day, I would take a ride with him to keep him company and then we could take a little ride and find something nice to do outside and go on a little adventure.

The job actually ended up turning into a disaster and took almost the entire day instead of just being a quick job (even though it was a bit out of the way) and not only was the sun going down but Josh was a bit exhausted from spending all day on a job that just decided to go wrong at every turn.

Well, we were already out of town so we took a shorter ride than we originally planned still in search of an adventure. Josh pulled up to a tiny local restaurant near the water and surprised me saying he wanted to take me out to dinner but continuing with the day’s luck it was closed for a private function.

Caity and Josh never give up, though. We were not going to come all this way and go back with nothing! That’s when we saw the sky all lit up with the most gorgeous colours. We wandered down to the water which was only a block away from where we were.

Walk on the Beach

You can never go wrong with a walk along the beach.

Walk on the Beach

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It is my parent’s anniversary today. They have been married for 33 years.

Mom & Dad

Their relationship has taught me about love and given me insight about the more delicate things in life.

Dad in Wellington

Mom in Wellington

Their love for each other and for me and my sister has been something I have never once in my life doubted. I’ve always believed in it and been proud of it – and proud to call them my parents.

WHY

Okay, so maybe that’s a little bit of a lie. COME ON, DAD! Why are you taking this picture here? This has nothing to do with New Zealand! We didn’t even eat here! You look like such tourists! You’re EMBARRASSING ME! GOSH!

Seriously, though. I love them to pieces. They’re great. :)

As you probably know from my ongoing tweets, facebook posts, or general blogging nonsense, nail polish in New Zealand can be ridiculously expensive. I went to purchase a bottle of OPI when I first got here as a little treat and I almost fainted when the little price tag read $26 for the little tiny bottle of nail polish. Back in New York, it would have cost about $8 or less.

I decided that since my parents were coming to visit, I would ask them to bring me over a few bottles of nail polish in their suitcase. Hey, they asked me if I wanted anything and that’s what I wanted (as well as some girl scout cookies, of course).

My parents brought me a TRUCKLOAD of nail polish. They wouldn’t let me pay them back for any of it either and used the cheeky “it’s your birthday present” card (my birthday is in May) as well as claiming that some it was from other friends and relatives, too.

So, my friends, here is my new and amazing nail polish collection. :)

Nail Polish!
China Glaze: Aquadelic, Fuchsia Fanatic

Nail Polish!
Nail Polish!
OPI: I Don’t Give A Rotterdam, No Room For The Blues, Thanks A Windmillion, Alpine Snow, OPI Ink, Mod About You, DS Radiance

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Now it’s just me and Josh in the house.

My parents and sister left New Zealand today and flew back to New York.

They have been visiting for about 10 days and we had nice time while they were here. I was sad to see them go again. It can be really hard sometimes living so far away. If I could move New York and New Zealand closer together, I certainly would.

My original plan when they left was to do a bit of “retail therapy.” You know, get some shoes and maybe a nice dress for myself. I wandered around the mall by the airport before taking the long 4 hour drive home but nothing was catching my eye. I wandered in and out of three different shoe stores and not one single shoe seemed to belong on my foot. I walked through different clothing stores but everything looked ugly. One thing looked nice for a moment but when I looked at the price tag I decided that it was ugly, too.

Haircut

So I decided to get a haircut instead. I am happy with my decision. Plus, I didn’t have to carry back a bunch of bags. If anything, I’m a lot lighter.

Adina

My parents brought me a bunch of nail polish over from America, too. Nail polish in New Zealand can be SO expensive. OPI nail polish is $26 a bottle (you can get it for $8 a bottle in New York) and Zoya is not even really available over here. I couldn’t believe just how much nail polish they brought me. I asked for some nail polish but my parents brought me a truckload of it! I’ll save that for another post because that will be massive!

Even my cat seems a lot more lonely without my family around. :(

My family finally decided that they would suck it up and take the long trip across the world to see me in New Zealand. They got here last Friday, the day after the first term of our school year here ended (we get two week’s vacation between terms) and are still here for another few days.

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We have been having a blast even despite my incredible talent to get sick pretty much right when they got here. I had to end up going to the doctor while they were here and I even had a fever on Easter. At least I’m feeling better now, though. The doctor gave me some sweet drugs.

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Josh was able to do some fun things with us like eat meat pies and take sweet scenic boat rides but unfortunately he had to go back to work. A plumber’s vacation is unfortunately not as long as a teacher’s vacation. Oh well.

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Hopefully now that I’m feeling a bit better I can actually enjoy the last few days a bit better instead of feeling like I want to just want to crawl up in a ball. I’ve got some fun events planned for us to do that I’m pretty excited about.

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I tease my family a lot – especially my mother – but I will miss them all when they have to go back to New York.

Cook Strait

I bet they’ll miss this place, too. Who wouldn’t?
Oh, and I guess they will miss me.

First of all, just a brief mention about the new look! I want to thank Nellie over at Studiobollical for designing this fabulous layout for me. Finally I have something that is a bit more “me” and a bit less “premade layout.” Ha!

This past weekend, Josh and I took a weekend trip to visit Josh’s dad again. He is working on the apple orchards around where we recently moved away from so it was nice to go back and see everyone else, too. I even got to pop back in to my old job at the supermarket dairy and say hello to my friends who were working there.

Our little weekend trip had two main purposes, though. We had to do some shopping and we wanted applejuice.

The shopping for me was clothes. I bought a couple new outfits as well as two nice pairs of shoes which I so badly needed. For Josh, his goal was to purchase a basic set of plumbing tools being that he recently got hired by a plumbing firm here in our new town. I couldn’t believe how much tools cost but then again I suppose Josh was probably thinking the same thing about my shoes.

But this post is mainly about applejuice anyway. I’ll gloat about my pretty shoes another time.

By The Bus

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Found You!

Little Reirei has been getting quite big lately. It seems like every day she doubles in size. However, she has been doing some naughty kitten thing like doing poos and wees in places that are not her litterbox. I won’t bore you or gross you out with the details, but basically little Reirei is still a baby and still has a lot of growing up to do.

Today, she acquired some new toys from someone we met here in town who had a cat who didn’t play with them anymore. Reirei was very pleased to get new toys and loves to play with them. While we were playing with her today, hilarity and giggle fits ensued. It was also a rare occasion where one of us had the brains to grab the video. Who knows – maybe someone else will find Reirei’s commando rolls and silly kitten antics as hilarious as we did. Excuse our ridiculous giggle fits, please.

It actually rains quite a lot around here. Whenever I told people in New Zealand where we were moving, they laughed and told me to make sure I had a good pair of gumboots and a nice umbrella. I just would laugh it off myself and tell them as long as all that rain didn’t turn into snow I didn’t mind. I there’s one thing I didn’t miss about New York it was all of that darn snow. (In case you’re wondering, none of that rain will turn to snow so I’m a pretty happy camper.)

Last weekend, the weather was actually really nice after quite a drizzly week so Josh and I figured we may as well venture out and check out the surrounding area while we had a nice day on a weekend. Who knows when it was ever going to happen again anytime soon, right? We figured after all of the crappy weather that maybe all of these people really did have a point about buying some gumboots.

Cape Foulwind

We headed to a place not too far out of town – it’s only about a 10 minute drive. It was beautiful by the water although Josh reckons it’s not as beautiful as where we were living before we moved and that the visibility isn’t as good as it should be. He really did love that place and I don’t blame him. I loved it too.

Cape Foulwind

I told him that we have become a bit spoiled lately with all of this beautiful New Zealand scenery. I bet most people would give quite a lot to see all the things we see on a regular basis and even though he liked where we moved from a tad bit better, this place isn’t too shabby either.

Cape Foulwind

Josh agrees, of course.

Cape Foulwind

Plus, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us. Who knows what will happen?

Weka!

When we were back at the parking lot, there was this little weka (a flightless bird) who started following us. They are usually quite wary of humans but this one came right up to us and it was the cutest thing ever. I started to worry that he was hurt or something but I think perhaps he was just hungry. We had nothing to feed it, though.

Weka!

Weka!

Wekas are my favourite bird. I get so excited whenever I see them!

Weka!

I wish I wasn’t so excited because then maybe I would have gotten a better photograph! He was just sitting there posing for me and I was just freaking out instead of taking a really good picture. Oh well. There’s always next time.

The first few days of my new teaching job have gone very well. They have been overwhelming since I have had loads of information jammed into my brain but it has been an awesome experience. The students start back this coming week so that is going to be something else to look forward to, as well.

I got here a day before Josh. I brought as much as I could carry in my car and then he and his dad brought the trailer and the rest of our things.

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They were running late that day, but everything had seemed to be going well by the texts that I had been getting from Josh. I was still at work, though, so I couldn’t keep in full contact. Plus, they were driving in and out of cell phone reception on their way here.

Finally, they got here. I was so excited to see them. Josh stepped out of the truck and I gave him a big hug.

“I have some bad news,” he said.

I backed away from him. I probably shouldn’t have but I guess it’s just instinct to go in the opposite direction of bad news. Also, I suppose it didn’t feel right to be hugging the bearer of bad news even if it wasn’t his fault.

That’s when I started looking for Reirei.

“Reirei ran away when we were packing up. It was in the last five minutes. She ran out the door. There was nothing we could do. We looked for her for a half hour and we just had to leave.”

He looked really upset and I knew he was probably just as upset as I was but I didn’t care. I ran away and hid behind the curtains in my house since that’s all there existed so far to hide behind – there was no furniture in the house yet – and I cried.

I cried all night.

Josh told me that he had all of our old neighbors looking for Reirei and that they would send him a text if they found her and he’d drive right back to get her.

We didn’t get a text that night. I was really upset because I knew that her chances of surviving would get lower and lower as time went on since she was so small. I was hoping that one of the neighbors who didn’t know us had found her and taken her in not knowing and that when Josh’s dad went back the next day he could somehow sort everything out and find her. Our chances seemed slimmer and slimmer, though.

The next day I went back to my second day at work, downtrodden and heartbroken. All my new coworkers were so nice and supportive about it and hoped that she would turn up. Some offered me cat carriers for when Josh would go back to get Reirei because they were confident he would have to because she’d be found.

Later that day, Josh texted me to let me know that Reirei was indeed safe and sound. I couldn’t believe it! Apparently she had NEVER left our little cottage. She was hidden behind the stove – the only thing left there. Josh didn’t think she was small enough to hide behind it but apparently she had wedged herself behind it and our other neighbor found her in there when he looked for her. Josh was true to his word and drove right back and got her. Over three hours each way. He opened up the cottage door and Reirei was sitting there on some blankets that our next door neighbor had brought over from their cat. She looked at him calmly as if nothing had happened and came up to him and started purring.

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There’s never a dull moment. I’m glad she’s safe now. Well, she was actually always safe but I’m glad that we have her here with us now where she belongs. I don’t think my heart could have handled losing Reirei after moving and starting a new job this week as well as having to leave Moko in New York too. Maybe one day I’ll finally be able to get Moko over here too and the four of us can be one happy family!

Josh and I are almost done packing for our move this week. The big shift happens over the next two days. I have to start work on Thursday but Josh’s dad who is helping us move couldn’t get time off his work until Thursday! So, technically our moving day is my first official day of the job. I’m headed there a day earlier myself with as much of our belongings as I can carry so that I’m in the area for my first day of work. I’m going to stay with one of the other teachers on the day before work since I’ll have no furniture in our house yet and then once I’m done with my first day I can help move in and unpack everything! It’s going to be one heck of a day! Then I get to go back to work the next day! At least I’ll have the weekend to recover, right?

Moving day is tomorrow.

We are almost all packed. At least we don’t have as many things as we did when we lived over in America in our apartment. We didn’t bring much with us when we moved over here to New Zealand so we only have what we have accumulated since living over here.

Reirei helps us pack.

Packing made me think a lot about how, when we were packing last time, Moko was freaking out and climbing all over everything because she could really sense what was going on. It made me feel really bad again about leaving her back in New York especially now that we have Reirei. I don’t want to feel like we’re just replacing Moko because that’s not what we’re doing. I still can’t wait to have Moko back again so we can be one big happy family.

24/366

As much as I can’t wait for this whole move to be over with since I’m super stressed out and anxious about this entire week, another part of me wants to slow down and enjoy my time left here because I’ll really miss this place. It’s beautiful and I have really enjoyed it here more than anyplace I’ve ever lived since I’ve been out on my own in my short adult life so far. I know this time I’m not moving too far away – only 4 hours instead of across the world like last time – but I am pretty melancholy about leaving.

cottage

I’ll miss you, little cottage. You were good to us.

IMG_3136

The view wasn’t bad either.

I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead, though. I bet it has the potential to be even better and that makes me so excited.

A girl I worked with at the supermarket was telling me how she had a bunch of kittens she was trying to find homes for all last week. It really tugged at my heartstrings being that I have a huge cat void at the moment with my cat Moko still being overseas in New York. Josh and I had to leave her there for the time being until we had the money as well as the paperwork sorted out to get her sent over here to New Zealand. Naturally I told Josh about the available (and free) kittens and of course it tugged on his heartstrings and kitty void too.

Long story short, at the end of last week, we decided that we had to have one of those kittens.

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We just couldn’t help ourselves. Plus, when we are able to get Moko over to New Zealand (which we hope to do as soon as we can, still – this hasn’t changed anything in that respect) then she’ll have a new playmate!

Reirei

So, we’d like you to meet Reirei. Rhymes with “Whee! Whee!” Which is probably appropriate because of how much energy this little kitten has.

Reirei's tongue

Seriously. She’s CRAZY!
Ahem. Anyway.

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We just love her to bits and we are so happy that we chose to get little Reirei.

Josh and I have a big week ahead of us. We are moving this week and I start my brand new teaching job. I’m all kinds of excited, anxious, and stressed. Not all stress is bad, though. Basically, it’s another big adventure and I just can’t wait for it to start! Now little Reirei can come, too! What a big adventure for a tiny little kitty!

My Facebook is going to explode this week:
GOT A NEW CAT NAMED REIREI
MOVED TO A NEW TOWN
MOVED INTO A NEW HOUSE
ENDED JOB AT SUPERMARKET DAIRY
STARTED A NEW JOB AS HIGH SCHOOL MATH TEACHER
CAITY IS FRIENDS WITH ALL HER NEW COWORKERS AND PEOPLE SHE JUST MET AHHHHHHH

Last year, I was around when there was a blood drive here in New Zealand and Josh and I were able to give blood. It was a fun and positive experience despite not being able to find a vein very easily in my arm and all the paperwork that I had to do being that I was from overseas and didn’t have a blood donor card.

Well, this time I was already off to a better start. I now had my own blood donor card which skips half the paperwork and the fuss and I also decided that I was going to drink loads of water before I went. I drank 2 and a half liters of water (that’s about 10 8oz glasses of water). Unfortunately, I didn’t think through the fact that I’d probably have to use the toilet quite frequently which I did. I’d rather have to run to the toilet a bunch of times instead of have someone play with the needle in my arm, though. Just because I’m giving blood doesn’t mean I enjoy having needles in my arm.

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Being that it was my second donation, I earned a keychain that says my blood type on it and that I was a donor. Josh earned a t-shirt since he has donated over 10 times. Josh was upset because he is sure that he has donated way more times than 10 – he thinks he’s up to nearly 20 times. The lady said that this was quite possible since they had a problem with their databases a couple years ago and a bunch of people lost all their donation counts. I still think it’s nice that he donated 10 times and got a t-shirt, though!

When I finally got stuck with the needle, my blood actually squirted all over my arm and even onto my clothes. The nurse apologized but I was almost happy because I told her how much water I drank since I had so many problems last time so I was excited that my blood pressure was so high even if I did get a drop or two of blood on my clothes.

My excitement was short lived, though. The machine started beeping a couple minutes in to say that the pressure wasn’t good enough. Every couple minutes the lady was coming over trying to adjust the needle in my arm (which started to HURT – just leave the needle alone please, lady). In the end I was almost done so she just let the machine beep all the way until the end which meant my blood was draining slowly and the whole process was taking WAY longer than it should. It was very frustrating. Josh was done way before me and we started at the same time! He just got to eat more mints and cookies than me!

I donated blood!

I guess it’s a small price to pay to be able to give some blood and help someone. They told me that this blood is going to be headed to Christchurch and will be there by tomorrow.

Josh and I went to get meat pies afterward (when there’s an excuse for meat pies, Josh always finds it) and we “argued” with each other about whose blood was better. Josh was joking that his blood is better since it’s more rare and only 2% of the population have B- blood. Mine is A+ which is the second most common blood type after O+. My little retort was that since more people have my blood type, it is more in need and more people need it so mine is the better blood! In the end we know that it it all important because even though 2% of the population may need his type of blood, only 2% of the donations will probably be that type and the same thing with mine so that it all evens out and works so long as a good portion of the population donates. So as long as we all always donate blood, we’re good. We have the weirdest conversations, don’t we?

When was the last time you donated blood? I’m going to try and do it more frequently now that I am able to do so here! I need to get up to 10 donations to get my t-shirt too!

I was at work at the supermarket dairy the other morning and to be quite honest I was having a pretty sub par day so far. I didn’t have any real right to complain but my back was feeling a bit sore and a few things hadn’t gone my way. I wasn’t exactly in a bad mood but I just wasn’t in a particularly good mood either.

Behind me, I heard a small child exclaim loudly yet politely, “Excuse me! Excuse me!”

As I usually do upon when hearing these words being that I work in a customer service environment, I turn around. Who knows, maybe the kid needed help finding a yogurt and her mother sent her over to ask me.

“Yes?”

The most adorable little girl in a frilly little sundress beamed back up at me. It looked like she dressed herself and did her own hair and she had sparkly stickers on her face.

She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I love your headband!”

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I didn’t know what to say. This little girl who couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old had decided to compliment me all on her own. It was one of the nicest, sweetest things I had seen or heard in the longest time.

“Thank you SO much for telling me that. That was so nice of you!” I said kindly back to her.

She smiled at me again and skipped back to her mother who was halfway down the aisle.

What this little girl did made me realize how the small things that we do for people or say to people that only take mere seconds out of our day can mean so much. The next time I like someone’s headband, or hairstyle, or shoes, or skirt, or smile, I’m definitely going to tell them. I hope it brightens their day as much as this random little stranger brightened mine.

A few weeks ago, I was at work at the supermarket dairy when I got called to the desk because I had a visitor. My immediate reaction was that there must have been some sort of mistake. The only person that I really know in the area is my husband, Josh, and he was 20 minutes away at work. I was sure of it! Even if Josh wasn’t at work, I know he wouldn’t have gone to the front to request me because he knows exactly where I work in the store. I remained baffled. Who was my mystery visitor if this was indeed not a mistake?

I wandered up and to my surprise it was the boss of my upcoming job at the school (which is 3 hours away), the head of the math department. I remembered then that she said she was planning on vacationing around here at some point and I had told her where I was working until the school year started so if she was in the are she should stop in and say hello. I had totally forgotten about it, though, and it was a pleasant surprise to actually see her! Well, it was pleasant until I noticed the panicked look on her face. Apparently she didn’t have anywhere for her dog to stay while she was on her vacation and it was about to ruin her entire holiday.

She explained how the kennel they had booked couldn’t take their dog because the dog’s immunizations had JUST run out and now their entire trip would be ruined if they didn’t have a place to put their dog since the hotel wouldn’t take pets or give back their money. I was the only person they knew around here so they thought they would take a long shot and ask me.

Duh! Of course I wanted to help!

I should probably at this point also mention that my boss is also awesome and is taking me in the night before school starts because my house won’t be ready and I’ll have nowhere to live. Did I also mention that she’s awesome?

Dylan

Dylan is a great dog, too. He is old and half deaf but also house trained and a good old dog. He had his bed and they gave us a chain post to tie up in our yard for when he wanted to be outside. We put it in a place so he could sit inside the little shed we had in our backyard in case the weather was bad or he wanted to be out in the sun. Most of the time we just let him sit inside on his bed by us because he seemed to like being by people and it made him happy.

Dylan

I think Josh was happy most of all to have a dog around for a while. Josh is a real dog person and I think it really was a good thing for both of them.

Dylan

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it too. I fed Dylan in the mornings before I left for work and let him outside and he was always waiting for me when I got home which made me really happy. I wasn’t home when Dylan got picked up because I had to work and when I got home and Dylan wasn’t there it made me a little bit sad not to see him there, I have to admit.

We were given a huge bottle of wine as well as an extremely generous gift card to Bunnings Warehouse (which is like the Home Depot). I was shocked because I didn’t expect anything for doing something I enjoyed. They even gave us the food and everything else. I think they were so happy that their holiday wasn’t ruined (and also I guess that they didn’t have to pay the kennel either) that they went a bit nuts with thanking us. I feel a bit bad but at the same time I guess I won’t feel so bad for needing to stay with them for a night now.

Now I also want a dog! Ahh!

Josh and I were planning to have a boring, quiet evening in for New Years. I had to work from 6-4 on New Years Eve and figured that I wouldn’t be up to much (and to be quite frank we still don’t really know many people around here so we didn’t really have anywhere to go).

So we thought.

I got home from work and Josh told me that he got a text earlier that day from Matt who he worked with on the orchards for a while inviting us to a BBQ and asked me if I was up to going. Of course I was! I was so happy to be able to actually have something to do on New Years even though a quiet night in would have been lovely, as well. Josh and I each made a token dish – I made a cous cous salad and Josh made his epic tossed salad and we bought some beers and ice cream and we were on our way!

When we pulled up, the first thing I saw was this tiny kitten! I knew that the night was going to be epic when I saw her.

New Years Eve 2011

She was the cutest, most playful little kitten that I have seen in a long time and she reminded me of Moko, my cat back in New York, so much. She filled my kitty void that I didn’t even know was so deep and hurting!

New Years Eve 2011

She had so much life in her and was such a friendly little cat. She went from climbing a cactus to jumping up in your lap and going to sleep. I was dying of the cuteness ALL NIGHT LONG.

New Years Eve 2011

Here is an example!

New Years Eve 2011

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It is that time again to sum up my year in thoughts and photos.
You can also check out last year’s post: 2010: What a long, strange trip it’s been.

January
365 [Day 13]365 [Day 3]365 [Day 19]Relaxation
- I ate my first crayfish.
- Donated blood in NZ for the first time.
- My greenstone pendant was found. Josh gave it to me the first day we met.
- I moved back to New York.
- I was happy to see Moko again.

February
My new waterbottle.More progress pics.I hate Zumba!Rose
- Got my camelback watter bottle and became addicted.
- Joined my gym.
- Went to my first spin class.
- Hit 30 pounds lost.
- Tried zumba and hated it.

March
NYC March 2, 2011Mom's 55thnailBaylee and Me
- Finally went to the Museum of Natural History after living in NY all my life.
- Actually spent some time in NYC and didn’t hate it for the first time ever.
- Mom’s 55th birthday!
- Got my first manicure and pedicure ever, haha.
- Started taking Baylee for walks.

April
New Haircut!!Visiting KaylaEaster!Erika and Rocco's Wedding
- Got my hair cut.
- Hit 40 pounds lost.
- Easter.
- Erika and Rocco’s wedding! <3

May
Holtsville Ecology CenterScreech OwlMother's DayNorth Shore Bike Tour
- Had an awesome trip to the Holtsville Ecology Center with Kierstin.
- Got addicted to Doctor Who.
- Helped my dad run a booth at a green energy convention.
- Mother’s Day
- My 27th Birthday!
- I reached 50 pounds lost on my birthday!
- The North Shore Bike Tour!

June
A man and his dog.3 PoundsNew PhoneBFF
- Hung out a lot with my family.
- Did the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, haha!
- Got my new phone. DROID!
- Had my going away party with my friends.
- Moved back to NZ.
- I missed our anniversary because I got stuck in Sydney. :(

July
uscottagelittle fiatFrench Pass
- Josh and I are finally back together again, yay!
- We moved into our little cottage.
- We went on adventures in our little Fiat.
- Went fishing at French Pass for the first time.

August
- I still didn’t have the internet.
- I borrowed a bicycle from Josh’s boss and biked into town.
- It was still winter so I was cold and still adjusting to the cold weather.
- Lack of internet = no pictures.

September
Josh's haircut!Josh's QuestTrying to SteepReflections
- Josh cut his hair.
- I got my job at the supermarket dairy.

October
Stuffed MushroomsWatching the RWCTrip To HokitikaMapua
- I got my teaching job which starts in January.
- The Rugby World Cup! New Zealand is victorious!
- Went to Hokitika to visit Josh’s dad who was working on a dairy farm.
- We got a hand blender.
- We cooked a lot.

November
burgerPotted Plants!math books:)
- Josh’s Kick Arse burgers are perfected.
- We keep trying to grow our garden with little success.
- I took a trip to my new school for a week and loved it.
- Finally reached 60 pounds lost.

December
Our BBQChristmas 2011SunriseMy Christmas Presents!
- The first BBQ of the year.
- Josh’s Birthday!
- My second NZ Christmas.

No Wordless Wednesday for you this week – you got plenty of beautiful pictures in my Christmas post to last a whole year’s worth of Wordless Wednesdays.

I got a lot of great gifts this year. It made me feel really bad because Josh and I couldn’t really reciprocate any of the gifts given our current financial situation. I can’t wait until my new job starts because then I can actually afford to do be a little bit more financially stable if something comes up and I want to be a bit more generous. Next Christmas, I’ll be able to actually buy people presents and I am already looking forward to it.

My family back in the states decided to pool all their money together and Western Union me the money to get myself a bicycle. My uncle, my grandparents, my grammy, and my parents all send me a nice chunk of cash that will get me a really nice bike. I am really excited to get a bicycle. It is something that I have been wanting for a long time ever since I got addicted to spin classes at my gym in New York all those months ago. I decided I am going to wait until we move next month to buy my bike since it’s one less thing to bring with us.

My Christmas Presents!

My mother in law got us an awesome BBQ! We love it so much and have already used it multiple times. It can even be used as a smoker and Josh even smoked some bacon and chicken in it for his work mates on his last day of work on the orchards before the Christmas holidays. We love it!

My Christmas Presents!

She also sent me a beautiful planner and a matching pen for 2012 which will really come in handy with teaching and keeping track of everything being that I plan on being a busy little bee once we move!

My Christmas Presents!

My mom saw on my blog last month when I was talking about cool things I saw on Pinterest and mentioned this clock. Well, she wanted to get it for me so she asked me how to order it online so I told her and she got it for me. :)

My Christmas Presents!

My sister sent me this nice bag since I’ll need something fairly nice looking to carry all my teaching books. She also sent me some nice shirts which she hid inside the bag.

Presents!

My brother in law and his girlfriend got us these awesome hand towels and also a beautiful bowl and serving spoons. However, I used the bowl and spoons and haven’t done my dishes and I’m not taking a picture of my dirty dishes for you. It shows you that I love the bowl though! They also sent us the most amazing fudge (also not able to be photographed because it mysteriously disappeared into our stomachs) and some jeans for Josh.

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My amazing internet friend Saskia who I’ve known through myfitnesspal and blogging (and now dailyfratze) asked for my address a while back so she could send me something for Christmas. I figured that she wanted to send me a Christmas card since some of my online friends had also done the same thing. However, she sent me these beautiful hand made ornaments! I remember her talking about them on her blog and she sent me some of my own!

My Christmas Presents!

I love them so much! :D

I also got a year’s Flickr pro account from Shannon. I have the best online friends ever! Now I can have space for all my pictures for another entire year.

My Christmas Presents!

Josh and I decided we weren’t going to exchange gifts this year because we couldn’t afford it but when I got home the other day, I saw that I had this new gaming mouse at my computer. Josh had been planning to get it for me anyway. I felt so bad because I actually didn’t get him anything but I decided that I would give him the mall vouchers that I got as a gift from my work for Christmas so that he could go buy some new shirts for himself because he needs and wants them. I was going to buy them for him myself but he likes to buy his own clothes so I figured that giving him the mall vouchers would mean more to him than me buying shirts for him.

He told me that all he needed for Christmas was to spend it with me and for me to always love him. Even if that is true, I still feel bad that I couldn’t give him the world on top of that, too. Maybe after my first paycheck I can get him a “I wanted to get this for you just because I love you” present. He deserves one of those.

What was your favourite gift from the holidays?

Things have been quite busy in our neck of the woods lately which is probably evident by my lack of blogging recently. Josh and I had a very exciting Christmas though and I finally have a moment to talk all about it!

The plan was to go spend Christmas with Josh’s dad who is working as a DOC (Department of Conservation) worker at the moment at the Abel Tasman National Park but we were nearly heartbroken to hear that the road in there was washed away in the recent storm and flooding.

Christmas 2011

Where there is a will there is a way especially for these kiwis. Josh’s dad decided he would just come pick us up for Christmas on his boat and so that’s what he did instead. Some silly washed out roads weren’t going to wreck our Christmas!

Christmas 2011

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Down the road from us, a new gallery just opened. Josh and I have watched this family clean out and fix up this place for the past couple months and so we finally went to check it out now that they have opened everything up and are ready and raring to go.

Kereru Gallery

This building used to be an old apple packhouse and I love it so much. It is such a beautiful building. Josh reckons it’s almost 100 years old but who knows, really. I wish I had a picture at a different time of day because when the tide comes up the seawater comes up right to the house which is why it’s up on stilts like that. I love living by the estuary.

Kereru Gallery

We were even greeted by Stella but that’s okay because we love Stella. We know her because we’ve watched her when she came with her owners to the orchard toilets which are right behind our house while they were fixing up their gallery.

Kereru Gallery

They did such a nice job with the place. They have so many amazing pieces on display and for sale.

Kereru Gallery

Unfortunately we can’t afford any of them at the moment but Josh and I would love to have something like these in our home one day.

Kereru Gallery

This one was my favourite.

Kereru Gallery

I also like this one a lot.

Kereru Gallery

This was Josh’s favourite.

Kereru Gallery

They also had this really neat wicker basket chair. I want to have something like that one day too. I used to want a hammock but I think I like this better now. How cool would it be to have something like that on a porch to curl up with a good book?


What kinds of things would you like to have in your home someday?
Or what kinds of things do you have in your home that you love?

Since it is finally summer here in the southern hemisphere, Josh and I decided that we needed to do something for the occasion. What better way to celebrate the start of summer than by having a BBQ?

Our BBQ

The problem was, we didn’t have a BBQ. So, we decided to just buy a cheap one time use BBQ since there was no point investing in one right now. We can’t really afford one right now and also we’ll be moving in January and that’s one more thing to have to worry about moving.

Our BBQ

Josh cooked us some sausages, cheap steaks, and lamb chops. He also got this tasty marinade sauce to go with it. Some lady was giving out free samples of it at the store and Josh was swayed by them. I guess those free sample stands really do work. They work on my husband. Haha. I’m glad, though. The sauce was really good.

Our BBQ

Everything took a pretty long time to cook being a cheap little grill and all but we had a great time hanging out in the backyard enjoying each other’s company, the beautiful weather, and the good food.

Our BBQ

Our BBQ

Our BBQ

I must admit that I will miss this little place once we move. It’s really pretty and I love the area. However, I’m looking forward to my new job, our new house, and all the adventures awaiting us in our new town (which really isn’t too far away from here anyway).

What do you do to celebrate the start of summer?

So you already know how I felt about the driving part of my trip

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Now to tell you about the fishing which was actually quite fun. :)

We didn’t catch many fish but does that ever really matter when you’re fishing? Well, sure it does but we tell ourselves that it doesn’t even though we always want to catch something don’t we? We caught 3 fish (I caught 1 and my father in law caught 2) but only 1 was a keeper.

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Pete’s was the keeper. Thankfully he had caught one earlier in the day before we got there so we had enough for dinner.

French Pass

We did have a really nice time, though. My favourite part was actually when we saw a little penguin swim by. I was so busy shouting “OMG LOOK A PENGUIN” that unfortunately there is not a photo to accompany my claims. I promise there was a penguin, though. Later in the night when we were up in the bus we saw dolphins too but they swam by so fast that I only saw them out of the corner of my eye and by the time we ran out to the shore they were gone already. :(

French Pass

The other quite amazing thing that I saw while we were out fishing were these whirlpools. Yes, they are really little whirlpools. They started when the tides were changing and when our little boat got caught in them we just would spin around in circles. Thankfully Pete actually knows how to drive the boat so we didn’t really get caught in any of them (just one or two really tiny ones while we were drifting) but I saw a couple really massive ones. It was really strange to see that right in front of me. That craziness is only supposed to be conjured up by the magic of Mickey in Fantasia… or it belongs in the Bermuda Triangle… or something equally bizarre…

French Pass

The rest of our trip was spent watching the Wekas. The wekas are these amazing little birds that apparently a lot of tourists mistake for kiwis because they’re cute little flightless birds with long beaks.

Weka

They are SO FUNNY and I just love to watch them run around and interact with each other and just… be wekas. I saw one weka fight with another one and it was the craziest thing I ever saw. We were laughing so hard and I really wished I had my video camera.

Smoked Fish

We smoked the fish and ate it and it was amazing.

French Pass

I love French Pass. It’s so beautiful.

French Pass

French Pass

:)

IMG_2348

Josh and I went back to French Pass to go fishing again this weekend. We also went to help Josh’s dad transport his other vehicle and his boat back out here to “civilization.” He has been staying out at French Pass in between his jobs to do a bit of fishing and relaxing and so we went out there for a bit of that too.

But first… the drive…
That’s not relaxing.

The trip to French Pass.

Well, okay, so it’s relaxing when you’re not driving. Hell, it’s gorgeous. However, when you have never driven on anything like this before then AHH it’s DAMN SCARY. I am not used to changing my cars into different gears to go up winding hills on the side of a mountain and driving on those same kinds of rods except they are made of scary gravel. Oh, and now they are on the side of a mountain. Don’t look down because OH HI THERE IS THE OCEAN.

The trip to French Pass.

OMG AND THERE IS A TRUCK COMING AROUND THE CORNER AND ONLY ONE AND A HALF CARS FIT ON THIS ROAD!

Yeah. Can we say panic attack?

French Pass

Well, once we got in the boat and started fishing I felt better but looking back up at the mountain seeing the road I just drove on and knowing I’d have to do it again on the way back made me nearly have a panic attack again. I knew I would be alright, though. I had a really good teacher. I was glad that Josh had me drive out there with him in the car so he could give me tips and talk me through everything so that on the way back when he had to drive his dad’s truck and I was on my own, I’d feel a lot better.

Boy, I couldn’t have been more right.

Lets skip the entire day of fishing and save that nice story for another time. Perhaps tomorrow I will be in a better mood. Here is a brief preview for you of when I was fishing and happy to tide you over.

IMG_2405

Now picture the exact opposite when I woke up the next morning and looked up at that mountain and saw the weather. Dark clouds coming out of the mountains. I couldn’t even see the top of the mountain. Well, we had to drive back so we started back and hoped for the best. I started driving and not even 5 minutes in, I couldn’t even see a few feet in front of me. Half my tricks were gone right there of predicting my turns by looking a few turns ahead of me and being prepared for what was coming, seeing which corners I could turn wider because I knew if nobody was coming. Oh, and not only that but there is that fear of… well… driving off a cliff?

Lets not even talk about it.

My parents are probably having a thousand heart attacks right now. Oops.

Well, the main thing is that I conquered my fear. If I can do that scary drive IN SCARY CLOUDS and rain and when my windshield gets covered in mud and evil bits then I can do it when it’s normal, too. I am proud of myself and so was Josh and Pete (my father in law).

Well, I had an amazing week. I absolutely love the town, the people, and all the people I met at the school. The people I stayed with were amazing and really exciting – they even helped to run a cycling club one night which I know I will be joining at some point once I’m settled in (and once I have my own bicycle again).

math books

I’m feeling way more relieved about teaching here now. I even had the opportunity to teach a couple classes while I was there and it was great to be in the classroom again. I did heaps of math problems, got my head around New Zealand’s curriculum a bit more finally, and even took a stab at writing a unit plan for next year.

I’m going to be best friends with my math books from now until January. If this week taught me anything, it’s that I’m a bit rusty. That’s fine with me, though. I do enjoy math. I don’t think too many other people would be excited about doing math problems in their spare time but when the head of the maths department handed me this stack of math books with matching workbooks and let me know exactly what I would be teaching next year, she could have been handing me gold! I think I got way too excited about math this week… but did I really? Is there such a thing about being too excited about math?

Nah. There isn’t.
(Spoken like a true math teacher, I suppose. We’re on the right track.)

I am going on a trip this week down to the school where I’ll be teaching in January. I am going to be sitting in on classes and just generally seeing how the school is run all week (plus probably doing something useful around there too, I’m sure). I am going to be staying with one of the teachers for the week and I am very excited. I think it will be great to finally meet some of the people I’ll be working with.

I’ll be taking my camera with me and I’ve scheduled some blog posts for your enjoyment along the way while I’m gone because I don’t think I’ll have much access to the internet while I’m away. You won’t hear much from me around the internet other than my already scheduled blog posts until I return at the end of the week. Then I have to work on Saturday AND Sunday. Bummer.

In the meantime while I’m packing, here are some random things I’ve liked on YouTube lately to entertain you. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I know that I will!

First, a funny video, because everyone likes humour.

Some well made videos that make you think and tell great stories.

And you’ve got to have some videos of cats, am I right?

I have lost 60 pounds as of today. Actually, if you want to be technical I’ve lost exactly 61.6 pounds as of my weigh in this week. But who is keeping track, right? I’m really excited about this big milestone. My goal is still set to lose a total of 80 pounds but I still might readjust it as I get closer depending on how I feel once I am around that weight. We’ll see how I feel after another 10. I know I want to get at least to there.

new clothes

Yesterday after work I went and bought myself some “teacher clothes.” I am going to be needing them sooner than I think. Although I do not start my new job until the school year starts here in January, I am going to be visiting the school in another week. I will be sitting in on classes, seeing how the school is run, and sitting in on one of their faculty days at the end of the week (which is why that week was picked for me to go down there). I will be staying with another teacher for the week since it is too far for me to travel there each day. I’m not sure who I will be staying with yet but I’m sure it will be an adventure in itself.

Don’t worry. I don’t plan to fail NaBloPoMo either. I am going to plan lots of blog posts before I go just in case I am not able to blog while I’m there. You’ve got to love WordPress and scheduled posts. If I am able to blog, I will do so but if I’m not able to, I’ll have a backup plan. Of course when I get back I’ll have lots to talk about! I am definitely going to take my camera with me. I will also be shown the house that Josh and I will be renting starting in January which I am excited about. I have only seen the outside of it so far.

I am very lucky that I was able to get the week off work at the supermarket dairy. I even was able to get some paid time that I had accrued. Not only that, but the school is paying me for the week to go down there! Everyone is paying me! It’s going to be an amazing week. Now I just have to get through this week first. Why does time always drag when you’ve got something you’re really looking forward to?

It has been nearly a month since we started our vegetable garden and we thought we would see a bit more progress by now. There have been little bits of green poking through the dirt and at first Josh and I were really excited but after a while we realized we didn’t know exactly which of these green leafy things were our vegetable plants and which ones were the evil weeds. Josh knows way more than me about gardening so I leave it to him for the most part. He does all of the weeding so the garden looks very nice but there are still one or two things in our garden that he is just watching to see if they stay evil weed-like plants or if they morph into yummy vegetables!

Potted Plants!

Josh also had an idea. He decided that since a lot of his plants weren’t growing fast enough (or were they growing at all? is that a weed?) that he would replant some of them and help them along. So, he has recycled some of our food containers into plant pots and he is going to grow our little seeds in them first and then replant them. Josh labeled the containers and poked holes in the bottoms for the water to flow out when he waters them. He was very proud of his craftyness.

Josh's watering can

Oh, but his craftyness continues! What was he going to water his new plants with? He needed a watering can! He made this watering can himself! He poked holes in the bottom of it so you can fill it up in the sink and then put the cap back on to tip it upside down, carry it back outside, and tip it back up to water the plants! Isn’t he clever? You can’t really read what he wrote because it has rubbed off a little bit, but it says, “Watering can: do not recycle further!” Get it? Because he has already recycled it into a watering can!

Hopefully our plants start growing soon. Even though we are moving in a few months, this will be good practice and hopefully we’ll get at least some good vegetables by the time we leave.

I will be participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) again this year! I was successful in 2009 (and even won a prize)! Last year was a crazy time and I was taking a blogging break during November but now that I’m back in full force, it’s time to give NaBloPoMo another go! I will be blogging every day for the month of November! :)

Yesterday Josh and I decided to go and do something nice outside since the weather was so beautiful. We took a trip to Mapua which is the next village over on the coast here.

Mapua

We had a walk around the docks and watched all the native birds which I kept scaring away trying to get too close to take awesome pictures of them. Josh told me I was a bad nature photographer.

Mapua

At least I got a decent picture of this bird before he flew away. That’s probably because he thought I was going to give him some fish & chips.

Mapua

My mom asked for some pictures WITH PEOPLE IN THEM. So here you go, Mom.

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It is Halloween here in New Zealand. I almost forgot. Apparently Halloween isn’t really a big thing here yet. Whenever I try to talk about it to someone here, the general response is “oh yeah, Halloween really seems to be catching on here – isn’t that cool?” Well, yeah… except I’m already used to it and I sort of want my candy and awesome Halloween costumes, you silly New Zealanders.

*pouty face*

That’s okay. I decided that I am going to buy myself some candy and eat it all by myself. I guess it’s kind of cool that I won’t have to worry about trick or treaters coming and knocking on my door after all because now that I think about it I can’t really afford to buy them candy too.

I hope that all of you are having a great time eating your candy and dressing up in your fun costumes. I will be dressing up as a New Zealander and pretending to be one this Halloween in case you’re curious. I think I have done some pretty good research and I will be believable. Chur.

Here are some Halloween videos for you of some Halloween lights in California. I thought it was awesome. I sent it to my mom already thinking I would absolutely WOW her with it since she’s the least tech savvy person that I know and never sees anything before I do but she had already seen it on some strange foreign thing called the five o’clock news. Imagine that. Well, perhaps some of you haven’t seen it yet.

…and last year’s show because it was pretty awesome

Happy Halloween!

I recently sent my Grammy something in the mail for her 80th birthday since I was so far away and could not attend. She sent me a thank-you card like grandmothers tend to do and I think she was quite excited to send me something through international mail. She decided to include a “just because” present in her thank-you card since it was travelling so far and because she is such a wonderful lady. (Aren’t all grandmothers wonderful ladies, though? It’s kind of their job to be wonderful and spoil their grandchildren.)

Now, as wonderful as my Grammy is, she sometimes can be a little bit silly sometimes, too. I suppose that is also the job of grandmothers though, isn’t it? She sent me a 50 dollar bill in the card. This was super generous and I absolutely adore her and her generosity but it’s a little hard to spend $50 USD in New Zealand! Oops!

That’s alright, though. My wonderful husband Josh took my U.S. Dollars to our bank and deposited it into our account, in New Zealand Dollars, for a small fee while I was at work. Then, he decided to go one step further and follow my Grammy’s instructions in the card: “get something nice for yourself!” Josh knew that I had been wanting to get myself a pedometer so he got one for me!

My new pedometer!

So I have both my Grammy and my wonderful husband to thank for my new pedometer! If it wasn’t for my grandmother’s money and my Josh’s incentive to go get it for me while I was at work, I wouldn’t have it. It has been super helpful. I wear it all day at work and I can see how many steps I take and how many calories I have burned. I even made it sort of like a contest for myself trying to beat my own steps from the previous day. One day I even did over 17,000 steps just during my 9 working hours. I had better cherish this while I can because I bet I won’t be walking around this much when I’m a teacher.

My new pedometer!

Have you ever worn a pedometer? What has been the most steps you’ve ever taken in a day?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll just let you know that New Zealand has been hosting the Rugby World Cup this time around. It has been super exciting for New Zealand and it has been huge over here for the past couple months. To me, it is like the Olympics but it’s just all Rugby. Maybe that’s just silly sounding but for a silly American that’s just how I see it (though I like to think I’m more of a kiwi every day). I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know that the USA had a rugby team until I saw their rugby team’s banners hanging up all over the place (USA All The Way!). I don’t know if I should really go around telling everyone that the USA does have a team, though. They lost to Australia 67 to 5. Alright – I’ll give them some credit – they didn’t lose every game and those Aussies are a top team. They did beat Russia and had fairly close games with Italy and Ireland.

Watching the RWC

Josh and I stayed up late last night watching the Rugby World Cup Final. We streamed it over the internet because we are pros like that. Oh, and also because we still have no television. We actually like having no television but that’s a story for a different day. The final was New Zealand vs. France and it was such a close game (the end score was only 8 to 7). I was at the edge of my seat for the entire game and I was constantly reminded how much I absolutely love rugby. My love for rugby grows every time I watch another game. Not only is it much more fast paced that American Football but there are WAY less commercials (there was one commercial break in the entire game – at halftime – and it wasn’t even streamed through the computer as you can see in my photo) and it is just a more interesting game to watch for me. (I don’t mean to upset any football fans, including my dear old dad – that’s why everyone has a sport that is dear to them, right?)

I can’t even tell you how excited I was when the All Blacks won. If you haven’t heard then once again you’re living under a rock. I can’t wait until I can watch more rugby! Next I will have to try and get to a game and see how that experience is. Josh reckons that watching it on the TV is much better since it would be annoying when all the plays are happening down one end of the field and you can’t see. I suppose that’s true but I bet the atmosphere is something that would be exciting to experience at least once in a lifetime. I would have loved to have been in that stadium last night. I can only imagine how incredible the emotion was.

I got the job! I am now a New Zealand high school math teacher! I start in the beginning of the school year which is January here.

Trip To Hokitika

On Monday, Josh and I drove down the west coast for my teaching interview. It was a long trip but it turned out to be well worth it. I absolutely loved the school and the town. The drive was beautiful and we both loved the area. We knew that if I ended up getting the job we would have to move to the area since it was too far to travel every day. At first since the town was so small we were scared that it was going to be quite hard to find somewhere to live but there is school housing available. There is a house across the street from the school that the school owns that will become available in the new school year and they offered it to us. It’s a 3 bedroom house and it is cheaper rent than we are paying right now for where we are living. Yes, please!

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I have still been working hard to lose weight and I’m nearing the 60 pounds lost mark. My weight loss is not as rapid as when I was in New York – I no longer go to the gym every single day and I have increased my calorie intake a bit more – but I am still slowly shredding the pounds. Actually, I should say I’m shredding the kilos. Things are a bit different now that I’m in New Zealand. I have had to get used to measuring my weight in kilograms as well as the speed limit in kilometers. The metric system does make a lot more sense sometimes and I’m very familiar with it being the stupendous math teacher that I am but it’s a lot different understanding something and using it in your daily life. You may understand the conversions quite adeptly but you may not be able to visualize how much someone might weigh in kilograms as opposed to pounds if that’s what you used all your life. Don’t even get my started on the weather. The TV says it’s 30 degrees? Let me get my winter coat. Oh wait… I need my jandals?

IMG_2011

I realized that I really didn’t have anything that was appropriate to wear to a teaching interview. I had brought the skirt from a suit set that I bought in New York but I forgot the blazer. I figured that I would buy a nice top to go with my nice black skirt and that just might do. I wandered off into town this bright Sunday morning only to realize that everything was closed. My tiny town was a ghost town. (It’s one of the joys of living in the middle of nowhere – along with the serenity, you also have times where you must go a bit further in certain instances.) If I was going to get anything today I was going to have to drive a half hour to the mall. So off I went.

I realized that I didn’t really know any of the stores in New Zealand. It’s one thing to not really know what you want or where to shop when you actually KNOW the stores, but here I am in this brand new country, not really knowing what I’m looking for, and I don’t know what the stores even have to offer me. I walked into one of the stores and realized that I don’t even know what the heck size I am over here. Even better. I really started to miss my friends today. I think it was the first time in my life that I actually was looking around at all the employees hoping that they would swamp me and ask me questions. It figures the one time I want this to happen, it doesn’t.

I walked into one of those small clothes stores in the mall. Those stores where it looks like they have too many people working there for the size of the store and they’re just waiting for the customers to come in so they can ask you if you need help with something. I made eye contact with the first girl I saw and smiled a crooked smile at her. I must have looked like easy bait. Well, I sort of was. She sold me 2 shirts. Everyone was happy.

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Well, I was happy to an extent. I learned that NZ sizes are bigger than American sizes. Even though I’m a size 10 or 12 in American sizes now, I’m a size 14 NZ. I know that technically I am the same size and only the number has changed but in my head, it’s like I gained sizes again! I know it’s completely superficial but I can’t help thinking it. I have worked really hard to lose all this weight and going down in clothes sizes has been like a reward system for me along the way, raiding the clearance racks for $5-$10 items so I’m not wasting money on items I will grow out of again. At least in shoe sizes, I’ve gone from a size 8 (American) to a size 6 (NZ). Is that supposed to make me feel better about the whole thing? Haha!

I know I’ve only recently started my job at the supermarket dairy and although I’m thankful to have a job, it hasn’t stopped me from continuing to look for a teaching job. I am a math teacher, after all, and I would like to still teach. It has been a slow process but I suppose now that we are nearing the end of the school year here in New Zealand schools are looking to replace teachers who are leaving and more schools are posting jobs. I finally heard from a school today and they want an interview!

Me

The school where I’ll be interviewing has a house system like Harry Potter (except I doubt the students are witches and wizards). I don’t know if the fact that I’m so excited about this is a justifiable sort of feeling or if I am being super unprofessional and silly. It’s definitely one of the things I’m most excited about though!

My interview is next Monday since that is my next day off – that was alright with them since the schools are on holiday for the next 2 weeks anyway.

It’s a 3 hour drive from where I currently am so Josh and I are planning to take a fun little road trip and maybe even visit his dad where he is currently doing some dairy farming! I’m super excited!

When we first moved in to our little cottage, there were the remains of a vegetable garden in a cute little sun lit corner in the front. Unfortunately, it was overgrown with weeds and most of it was completely unsalvageable except for a bit of silverbeet (swiss chard) and chives which we did use whenever the opportunity arose. The chives became an almost daily occurrence for a while there. They go amazingly with eggs.

happi hens eggs

Speaking of eggs, we get eggs from our neighbor who has free range chickens. We trade her our table scraps for eggs. Pretty fair trade, if I do say so myself.

Josh decided that the other day while I was at work he was going to dig up the vegetable garden. Now that we are headed into Spring and the weather is getting nicer it’s the perfect time to start a vegetable garden. (That’s right, down here in the southern hemisphere it’s finally our turn for nice weather! Bwahaha!)

Our Veggie Garden

Our Veggie Garden

The garden was pretty overgrown, but that was no match for Josh and his hoe! (Har, har.)

Our Veggie Garden

Our Veggie Garden

Josh transplanted the silverbeet and got a bunch of seeds. Hopefully in a while we will see:
- tomatoes
- capsicum (peppers)
- cos lettuce (romaine lettuce)
- basil
- beetroot
- zucchini

We still have some chives on the side of the house, too, so we can still have our awesome eggs!

Vegetable gardens are awesome ways to save money. Especially because Josh and I do eat a lot of salad and vegetables, it will save us a great deal of money once we have it up and running! Plus, fresh vegetables taste better and they are a lot healthier than getting them from somewhere that may have had to use sprays or different kinds of fertilizers.

Do you have a vegetable garden? What did you plant in it?
If you don’t have one, what would you want to plant in your garden?

Ever since I started my new job, Josh has been trying to make things easier for me around here. He knows that I have been trying really hard to adjust to working again (especially working in a new country) and he knows that I have been absolutely exhausted while my mind and body are in the shock of suddenly having to do something besides revel in the beauty of NZ and pretend I’m on vacation. I keep having to remind myself that I actually live and work here now instead of just pretending to be a tourist and going around taking pictures and going on adventures… although I still plan to do those things as much as possible.

Meatballs!

Josh has dinner ready for me every night when I get home. Before my schedule changed (which is only starting this coming week) I actually got home quite late so it was really nice to have a nice meal waiting for me. So far he has made me a pasta bake, a green curry, lamb chops, and yummy chicken with a big salad! One night he even had meat pies warming up in the oven for me. If there’s one thing I love about NZ it’s meat pies. I wonder how I ever lived without them before!

Pizza!

Even on my day off tonight, Josh insisted on cooking. He made us some awesome pizzas because that is what I had a hankering for. I brought home some pizza crusts that were on sale at work a few days ago saying that I wanted to make a pizza and so Josh got some other things that go great on a pizza and made an awesome pizza tonight.

Not only does my husband cook for me but he’s a fantastic cook!
Oh, and he even did the laundry, too! I didn’t even have to ask!
Am I spoiled or what?

I have been trying to find a job since I got back to New Zealand. It has been very frustrating and daunting as I’m sure it is for most people who try to find a job and I’m sure I don’t have to tell most people how hard it can be at times especially in today’s economy. It’s hard everywhere.

For those who don’t know, I’m a math teacher. I’m certified to teach secondary math in two countries – obviously America (New York State) and in New Zealand. However, even though teachers are said to be in need in New Zealand right now, math jobs are hard to come by in the area that Josh and I have settled. We’re in a small little town and quite often small little towns don’t really cycle through jobs like that as fast as places with larger populations.

I really needed a job though so I didn’t give up. I decided that I didn’t really need a teaching job right now to be happy even if that’s what I had technically chosen for a profession. Besides, there are things more important in life than jobs that pay a lot of money like having a job at all and waking up every day feeling happy and healthy and loved. Now I have all of these things.

I finally found a job at a local supermarket in the dairy department. I actually really, really love it. I have enjoyed being out and about and it has given me the opportunity to meet some other people here in New Zealand besides just Josh and his family which is always refreshing and interesting (not that I don’t love all of them but it’s good to expand the circle).

Trying to Steep
All I do is drink peppermint tea lately, it seems…

The only downside so far is that it has left me extremely tired while I am getting used to the job. I came home feeling sore and wanting nothing more than to eat a gigantic dinner and go to bed which I can assure you is what I did. My schedule is better now. After only a week they offered me better hours. They gave me more hours and the hours themselves are more manageable for me. I like them so much better.

At first I thought I would be upset that I was not teaching. I even got some comments of condescension from a few different people because they think that this job is below me. I think that is ridiculous. I think that my happiness shouldn’t be dependent on what job that I do but rather on how I do whatever job that I do and I should always do that job to the best of my ability. Too many people focus on what they want instead of what they need. If I kept trying to get a teaching job then maybe I wouldn’t even have a job at all and that wouldn’t be productive either – isn’t it even more counterproductive to be unemployed? You can never make any connections or get yourself out there by sitting at home. I never know who I will meet at my new job. The choices we make in life make us who we are and bring us where we are headed. I want to be headed somewhere – I don’t want to sit still… do you?

I am happy. That’s enough for me. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life it’s that if something feels wrong in your life then you have to do something about it. Sometimes that something might be something a little different than what you originally had planned. For me, the further I differ from my original plans, the more amazing my life becomes.

There is fruit growing all around where Josh and I live. In fact, there happens to be a vineyard right in our backyard. There are even some pear trees back there. When the weather gets nicer I am told that we are welcome to take some pears even though it’s technically on our landlord’s property and not ours.

The next loop over (these crazy country roads are loops and not streets) has a huge apple orchard. Josh actually worked on it for a while last year. Josh took me for a walk around it and showed me where he worked when we went to visit our friend who was still living on the property at the time pruning the trees.

The Orchard

It is absolutely gorgeous over there!

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I finally got myself a job here in New Zealand. For now, I’m working in a local supermarket stacking shelves in the dairy department. I’m happy. I’m out here meeting people in a new country and I have a full time job in an economy that isn’t the best. That’s a success if you ask me. I love it so far even if it has interfered with my blogging time and tired me out quite a bit! Ha!

A couple weeks ago, Josh’s dad came to visit us. We took a day trip to a place called Kaiteriteri. It is a beautiful beach.

Kaiteriteri

Soon I will run out of pictures but definitely not yet…

Kaiteriteri

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As I told you in my last post, we went out to visit Josh’s dad at French Pass. The drive out there was beautiful so it only follows that French Pass itself is absolutely breathtaking.

French Pass

Josh’s dad was staying out there in his house bus for a while in between some work that he was doing and he told us to come and see him and he’d show us around and take us fishing. I was so excited to see some more of New Zealand and also to see Josh’s dad again who I get along with very well. I also love fishing. I grew up near the water and my family owned a boat while I was growing up so it was not a few thing to me yet it was something that I do enjoy very much. I think it’s always fun to do the things you enjoy in a different way and in a different setting.

Oh, and it was very different but I had an absolute blast!
(And just a warning: picture overload once again!)

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I have been without the internet for so long that I am so behind in my blogging. It almost seems silly to blog about something that happened such a long time ago but it seems even more silly to me to not blog about it at all. I also want to give all of the adventures that I have had in that time the proper attention instead of plopping them all into one post and being done with it so I’m going to continue to blog like this until I’m all caught up. I just felt the need to clarify this fact even if it was just to myself.

So… back in the start of July… *giggles*

Josh and I took a trip out to French Pass which is at the second most northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand to visit Josh’s Dad who was staying there. He lives in a bus and travels around the South Island, moving around where he works. The drive out to French Pass was one of the most beautiful things that I had ever seen.

The trip to French Pass.

Warning: photo overload!

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One of the first adventures that I had was going to Rabbit Island. It is a small place that is closeby and it is very beautiful. Well, that isn’t fair to say because this whole place is absolutely breathtaking. I walk outside my house and it’s amazing.

Josh took me to Rabbit Island just after sunrise one weekend just for a little while on the way to somewhere else. We didn’t even explore the entire thing – we just walked along the beach for a while.

Rabbit Island

It wasn’t even that nice of a day and it was still more wintery weather so it was quite cold but it doesn’t change how breathtaking it was.

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For the past few years, Josh has grown his hair quite long. I liked it a lot – I’ve always liked long hair (and it’s not only because of my secret love for Hanson that started in my tween years and I will never ever grow out of). This is not about my love for three talented brothers or even about the fact that lately I seem to be making horrible run-on sentences and then ending them with prepositions.

No, this entry is about another guy named Josh. Sure, he is also one of 3 brothers but they’re not famous and here I go off on a tangent again. The point is that my husband cut his hair!

Dramatic Look Chipmunk?

Josh's haircut!

He also lost a considerable amount of weight. I think he looks quite handsome but then again I’m also quite biased.

Chur.

We had just left our hero when she found out that she was stranded in Sydney, kicked out of her hotel room and no flight for a few more days. What was she to do?

Well, she still has her two friends. One of them was smart enough to have travel insurance! Everyone cheer for this other friend! Hooray! Caity and the other travel-insuranceless friend cling to friend number three and plan to sleep on her floor while she stays. They are still scared out of their wits. Why?

Well there’s always a catch. This girl is also trying to book a flight on another airline that is still flying with her travel insurance, too. So there’s a chance that this girl will be able to leave before Caity and her other friend. But maybe not!

We all slept in our own rooms for the last night and planned to meet up and discuss what was happening for the next three days in the morning.

We woke up and our travel insurance friend was gone.

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I was so excited for my trip back to New Zealand. I thought I had exhausted all my bad luck by catching food poisoning at my little going away party a few nights before my departure. Still a bit queasy but feeling mostly full of good things, I boarded my array of planes – New York to Los Angeles to Sydney to Wellington, New Zealand.

Well, that was how it was supposed to go, at least…

Sydney Airport

This was the view from my hotel room in Sydney.

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Yes, I’m pretty much back. I should have my own internet in about one more week. I’m very excited. It’s been too long but it has been nice to have a bit of a break from the internet, too. (Yes, I’m going to keep telling myself that.)

Today is my little sister’s golden birthday (well, it is in America). She is 25 years old on the 25th of the month. I didn’t even realize it until my mother told me on the phone. Well, I guess I knew it because she is two years younger than I am but it’s one of those things that you sort of lose track of because, hey, it’s your “little sister” and they sort of stay the same age in your eyes sometimes… does that make any sense? Logically she was 25 but it wasn’t clicking.

Sis

Happy Birthday, Corinne. I love you heaps and I miss you very much. You’ll always be my little dugger.

Finally, I found some internet.

First, I’d like to say that I wish I never made that joke about the ash cloud. I ended up getting stuck in Sydney for quite some time and although I tried to turn it into an adventure like I always do, there were times that it definitely wasn’t fun at all. That’s a story for another time, I think. For now, I have more exciting (and recent) things to speak of!

us

First of all, Josh and I are reunited and I couldn’t be happier. Our time apart has done us both a world of good. Although it was a really rough time it has brought us closer together and our relationship has never been stronger. We are both very happy.

In my opinion, we have already had more fun times and adventures in the past two months than we have in the past four years. That also could be the fact that our attitudes have changed toward the world, too. Well, I guess it could be a bit of both… the fact that there are some more adventures and the fact that our attitudes have changed.

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I leave for New Zealand tomorrow! Tomorrow!!!

I probably won’t be able to be in touch for a while and understandably once I reunite with Josh I probably won’t want to talk to all of you for a while. No offense. :P

In all seriousness, though, we won’t have internet for a bit while we get situated in our new place. Things will probably be a bit crazy for a while. I expect it to be crazy in a very good way, though.

So, I wanted to leave you with one more goodbye blog post and give you one more treat! I will share with you what I will be doing on my plane ride. Aren’t you excited? I know you are. My trip will be over 30 hours long not counting travel time to the first airport or customs at the end of the last airport. Crazy, right? Oh, and that could turn into an even longer journey now that a stupid volcano decided to erupt in Chile and blow some ash my way. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. I think 30+ hours is long enough for me.

So, here is what I’m doing on my trip.

  • Sleeping. Oh, I really, really hope I can sleep. If you have ANY tips for sleeping on planes that you’ve been hiding… NOW is your time to share them with me.
  • Finally reading the Harry Potter books on my Kindle. Yeah, I know. What kind of person am I for never reading the Harry Potter series? You probably are disowning me as a blog friend right now. Hit that unsubscribe button right now. I will probably understand. I might even unsubscribe from my own blog. I’m that embarrassed that I haven’t read them yet.
  • Worrying about the ash cloud. Hey, it’s the truth. Not necessarily worrying about danger but worrying about it delaying my damn flight. No offense to Sydney but I don’t really want to be stuck there, only 3 hours away from glorious Wellington.
  • Listening to my super fabulous playlist that I made until my crappy little 4G mp3 player dies. Oh, but it will be epic while it lasts. I’ll even share my music playlist with you.

Caity’s Epic Playlist of Awesome:
Africa – Andy McKee
All Around Me – Savage Garden
Australia – Manic Street Preachers
Billionaire – Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars
Carnies – Martina Topley Bird
Eggplant – Gui Boratto
Firework – Katy Perry
Fix You – Coldplay
Four Seasons In One Day – Crowded House
Girl – Beck
Give A Little – Hanson
Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
I Can’t Decide – Scissor Sisters
In The Bath – Lemon Jelly
Intolerance – Tool
I See Red – Split Enz
Jessica – Allman Brothers Band
Judas – Lady GaGa
King’s Lead Hat – Brian Eno
Life On Mars – David Bowie
Like A Boss – The Lonely Island
Love Story meets Viva La Vida – John Schmidt
Mer Du Japon – Air
Mutha’uckas – Flight of the Conchords
Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups
Peacock Tail – Boards Of Canada
Penguin – Avicii
Pokarekare Ana – Hayley Westenra
Supermassive Black Hole – Muse
Voodoo Child – Rogue Traders
Watch It Die – Eisley

I hope you enjoyed.

Don’t worry. Some songs have special or silly meanings. Try to guess some of them if you can. Maybe you remember one I might have sung at my wedding or you can guess which ones I might listen to in a certain airport or even which one I might listen to on my New Zealand touch down? I just might not get back to you for a while.

See you on the other side!

I leave for New Zealand in less than 3 days now.

Yesterday night I had a get together with most of my friends at Dave and Busters. We had a great time. I was glad that I got to see all of my friends and have a nice time before leaving and I think they had a nice night, too.

BFF

Two of my friends even got me some gifts to remember them by, including these best friends forever necklaces which I have one of and they each have the other 2 pieces. Super dorky and awesome if you ask me. I love it.

Matching as much fun as I had last night was how horribly ill I got last night after I got home and for the entirety of last night. I was so violently ill that I spent more of the night in the bathroom than in my bed and I do not like to remember the times that I was that miserable. They are probably counted on one hand at this point.

I think the only good thing about food poisoning is the amazing relief that you feel once your system gets rid of whatever it is that has toxified you. In my case, I’m almost 100% sure it was chicken quesadillas. (Though it could have been the sour cream that accompanied them.)

All I could think for the entire night was, “Please be food poisoning and not a virus. I can’t be sick for New Zealand! I leave in 3 days!” I don’t think I’ve ever wanted something to actually be food poisoning so badly in my life. Thankfully it was and now that it is gone, I feel a lot better. Today I only felt dehydrated but at least my body was not trying to expel poison anymore. Don’t worry, I won’t be any more graphic than that. I’m sure you can use your imagination.

New Phone

I won’t have internet for a while when I arrive in New Zealand most likely however thanks to my amazing new toy, the HTC Inspire, my phone has basically become a computer. I am confident that although I am not fully connected, I will be able to keep in touch. I have a Facebook app, Twitter (which I’ve become a bit more addicted to since my phone is attached to my hip), email, and plenty more so that I can still keep in touch. What are some of your favourite Andriod apps?

I have my ticket back to New Zealand.
I even got a cute little case for my passport. Yes, I was a little bit excited.

IMG_1318

I guess now my lack of blogs make sense. Things have been just a little bit crazy around here lately since, you know, I’m moving back ACROSS THE WORLD again.

Oh, you’re still waiting for the date, aren’t you?

June 22. That’s right. Just a little over a week until I depart again.

Mokie

Don’t worry, guys. Moko isn’t worried. If she’s not worried then you don’t have anything to worry about either. Oh, by the way, you can start getting super excited now!!!

(Also, if you hadn’t already noticed, new layout and new about page, too. Lots of things are changing! *flails arms around in the air*)

Yesterday I participated in the North Shore Bike Tour. It was loads of fun. With all the spinning classes I have been taking and loving, I was super excited to actually bike outdoors.

North Shore Bike Tour

We had a great time. You could either do 17.5 miles and take the bus back or you could turn around and ride back to do the entire 35 miles. I ended up doing 17.5 miles. I was disappointed in myself at first but then I realized that it was still amazing what I did and I know I couldn’t have done it just a few months ago.

North Shore Bike Tour

I am eager to go back to NZ and do lots of things like this. I want to get a bike and ride it often and I really want to go on some beautiful hiking trails with Josh.

North Shore Bike Tour

I spent my birthday on Wednesday going in to New York City with my family to celebrate my cousin Christine’s graduation. She graduated from Columbia University with her Masters in Social Work and I am so super proud of her.

Congrats Christine!

I was super excited to eat at Patsy’s. For some reason, dining in New York City never fails to excite me. I decided that I was going to eat whatever the heck I wanted since it was my birthday and also since I don’t have the opportunity to dine somewhere that cool very often.

Family

The food was amazing and I enjoyed seeing some of my extended family who I don’t normally see since they live so far away in Virginia. Did I mention that the food was really, really good?

Yay for Christine! :D

My birthday isn’t until Wednesday May 18th but I decided to celebrate early with my friends.

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings and basked in the deliciousness that is wings and fried pickles. We also ate cake. Oh yeah, one great thing about the night was the fact that I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. I have been working really hard lately and I deserved it. I was only .4 pounds away from losing a total of 50 pounds. Sure, I’ll probably have to work a bit harder now after eating all the wings and cake but it was worth it. I’ll still get there.

cake

Kierstin got me an awesome cake. Yes it says Happy Birthday Baman! The smiley face is short for Happy because “happy” didn’t fit. I am BAMAN! No, that’s not a typo. It comes from the Baman Piderman cartoon on YouTube. Yeah it’s pretty ridiculous but we both find it absolutely hilarious and have been parading around calling eachother Baman and Piderman. I’m Baman because I go over here house. We’re best fwends!

ha

I had a really great time with my friends and I am really just thankful. This year will be a year of new beginnings, new opportunities, health, happiness, and love. You just wait and see.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother's Day

I have a pretty great Mom. :)

Mother's Day

Here’s my mom with both of her lovely children.

Mother's Day

My Grammy even came over so we had even more moms in the house!

Sephora

I got my mother a bunch of nail polishes from Sephora. She is always getting her nails done and sometimes she brings her own colours. Also, she’s got an entire bucket of nail polishes because she does her own toes in the summer time. I thought it would be a great gift now that summer is coming.

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day! What did you do for your mothers? What did your children do for you?

I can’t believe April is here already. Last month I decided that I would start making monthly goals for myself. Time for a recap and a new list of goals!

    March Goals

  • Get to 190lb, my halfway point in my weight loss journey! (Less than 7 pounds to go!)
    If I do, reward myself with a new haircut!

    I didn’t quite get there, but I was very close! If you read my last post, you will know my reasons for getting my haircut anyway, and I will probably reach my goal this coming week! I’m happy with that. I’ve worked hard and lost lots of inches too!
  • Go to the gym at least 26 days in March! That gives me 5 days off.
    Mission accomplished! I got to the gym 27 days in March and exercised 30 out of 31 days. I call that my biggest success. Here’s a recap of the last 30 days.
  • Track my calories every day in March!
    Success! I tracked my calories at MyFitnessPal every single day in March!
  • Finish 2 books. (I have one already started.)
    Fail. I didn’t even finish one book.
  • Cook more, including at least 2 new recipes I never tried before.
    I did cook more than I did in February but I didn’t try two new recipes. I only tried one new recipe – the others were ones that I had made before.
  • Expand my blogosphere – find some new blogs to read, especially some fitness, nutrition, and weight loss ones that can be friends with my caityfit blog!
    I did not do this as much as I wanted to although I did keep up more with the blog friends I did already have which I hadn’t done in more recent months.
    April Goals

  • Get some sort of exercise every day in April!
  • Track my calories every day in April!
  • Don’t go over my calories on Easter.
  • Be between 180 and 184 pounds.
  • Finish the book I’m reading.
  • Comment on more blogs and try to expand my blogosphere.
  • Update caityfit.com more!

Do you have any suggestions on what else I could add this month?
What are your goals for April?

New Haircut!!

My hair has gotten quite long lately. It definitely wasn’t as long as the last time I cut my hair, but it was definitely getting there.

I had planned to cut my hair as a reward for reaching my halfway point on my weight loss journey. My overall goal is to lose 80 pounds so that means I was planning to get my haircut at 40 pounds lost. Now, if you have been following my progress over at caityfit.com, you’ll know that I’m still about a pound away from this milestone. However, I do have a reason for jumping to get my haircut early!

A family friend of ours is currently trying to get a job at a local beauty salon and needed to do a demo haircut for the manager of the salon. She needed someone to do this haircut on! I volunteered. I figured I was going to get a haircut anyway and what better opportunity than to help out a friend? Plus, she does a fantastic job cutting hair. It was a win win situation for everyone!

New Haircut!!

New Haircut!!

New Haircut!!

New Haircut!!

I hope to reach my goal this week or next week, anyway!

Today, I went out east to visit my friend Laura’s horse Kayla!

Visiting Kayla

I had a really great time. Kayla seemed to remember me from the last time I was there which wasn’t since January of 2010! She came right over to me and nuzzled me as if to say, “hey, friend! Thanks for coming back!”

Visiting Kayla

It was adorable, really. :)

Visiting Kayla

I helped to brush and groom her with Laura and Laura’s Mom who arrived later with Laura’s brother. I had a lot of fun doing this! (Plus, it didn’t hurt that it was probably some pretty great exercise grooming a big horse!) Kayla really seemed to enjoy herself too!

Visiting Kayla

Here’s the whole crew! :)

I got to watch Laura’s mom ride the horse today too! It was too busy at the barn for anyone else to ride today but I might even go back and try to ride Kayla another time. I think it would be so fun to try. The only other time I have been on a horse I had a horrible experience. Perhaps I’ll save that story for a later date since this is a happy post.

Visiting Kayla

:D

Once again, it was a beautiful day outside so I decided that I needed to do something outdoors today. Sure, it’s not the same as my gorgeous New Zealand walks but it was nice to get outdoors. I decided that I was going to go for a nice long walk. I took Baylee with me! If you don’t remember me talking about Baylee, she’s my parent’s golden retriever.

Baylee and Me

Baylee is quite out of shape. I guess it’s good to know that there’s someone around that is more out of shape than me now. If you haven’t been keeping up with my fitness and weight loss journey over at caityfit.com, let me take this opportunity to tell you that I’ve been doing quite well, especially lately.

Baylee

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Today is the first nice day we’ve had in a while. I actually can feel Spring coming. This is a good thing because I hate winter. I am a warm weather type of person. I wish I could live in Spring, Summer, and even Autumn all year round. Winter just isn’t for me.

I have my windows open and some natural breezes and light flowing through and it is amazing what it does for my mood. I just feel so much better. Moko agrees with me. I think she is a Spring cat. I opened the window and it was as if she said, “Well finally, human! Thank you!” She went and sat on the windowsill and purred with contentment while having staring contests with the birds.

Window Cat

I hope everyone has a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day. I won’t be doing anything special – just going to the gym and tutoring later. I was invited to go out with some friends to go see someone they know play in a band but unfortunately it is far away and since I am tutoring I won’t make it in time.

I have to admit, I always think St. Patrick’s Day is on the 18th of March. I don’t know why but every year I mix it up. My friend Kierstin laughed when I told her this the other day and said, “Caitlin, just because your birthday falls on the 18th of a month doesn’t mean every other holiday does!” I replied that it is just hard being that last holiday, Valentine’s Day was just February 18th. I kept a straight face for a few seconds but then I started laughing!

Are there any holidays you always mix up?

Today is my Mom’s birthday. I can’t believe she’s 55. It is a bit surreal to me. I don’t view my mom as being old and I don’t think of her as being 55. She doesn’t look 55, does she? Not to me.

Mom's 55th

We celebrated her birthday on Saturday. My Great Uncle took us all out to eat at The Beachtree which is a really nice restaurant that we only get to visit a couple times a year. It was a really nice time. We all came back for cake with my Grammy and Joe (my grandmother’s best friend – they met at a bereavement group).

Beads

We all got her beads for her pandora charm bracelet. My grandmother got her two beads and my dad and I each got her a bead. My friend Kierstin’s family owns an awesome Irish store around here called Irish Crossroads so we went there to get our beads. My dad got her the beautiful birthstone bead and I got her the Irish bead. My mom loved them. My sister got her perfume that she wanted and drew her a really nice picture. It was really sweet.

My mom was really happy with her birthday this year and was even happier that my Great Uncle kept telling her that it was the 16th anniversary of her 39th birthday. It’s true and it just sounds a little better than saying “55th birthday.” Isn’t it funny what playing with words can do? My grandmother wasn’t having any of that, though. She kept saying HAPPY 55TH BIRTHDAY. My sister rubbed it in her face all day, too. My sister likes to tease my mom about her age. I didn’t say anything, though. I’ve been being reminded myself lately of how age is creeping up on me, too. I better not tease anyone because before I know it, they’ll all be teasing me. It’s not too long before I’m 30. That’s a bit crazy.

I was mentioning to my friend Nicole after my trip to New York City last week that I had my first real manicure while I was there. She thought this was hilarious and couldn’t believe that I hadn’t had a manicure at a real place before the age of 26 years old. She asked me if I ever had a pedicure.

Obviously not.

Nicole decided that this had to be remedied. I agreed. I figured I had to try anything once and if I can try Zumba then why couldn’t I try a pedicure?

First of all, I wore sneakers. Nobody told me to bring sandals. Lesson one learned. I had to spend an excessive amount of time underneath the nail dryer after my pedicure. But hey, we weren’t in a rush and it was a whole new experience for me so I had a ball. Plus, now I’ll never forget sandals if I ever decide to do it again.

I don’t like feet. I never liked feet. I didn’t expect to like a pedicure going into it because, well, I don’t like feet. Also, my feet are really ticklish and I hate the feeling of my feet being touched.

It was quite nice having my feet soak. It was also quite nice having my feet massaged. It was also really quite nice when they took that really rough thing and rubbed it on my foot. I liked those parts. However, when they started trying to take the little clippers and pick little pieces delicately and clip my toenails? Sorry, that tickles and I don’t like it. I felt like saying I was done right there. You don’t have to clip my toenails and make them pretty and paint them! You made my feet feel good and now they are soft and nice. I’m done!

My First Pedicure

However, now this is what my feet look like.
Maybe it’s not a standard colour but my favourite colour is blue so I picked blue. I like it.

When I woke up the next morning, it scared the hell out of me when I saw my feet. I thought I was hurt. Or bleeding. Or had some sort of horrible abscess under my toenail. I guess it’s semi appropriate since the name of this colour is blue blood.

Another experience to check off Caity’s bucket list.

Last night, I went to an art show! My friend Emily had her painting featured in a jurored portrait show through the Huntington Arts Council! She is an amazing artist and I was so proud of her so I went to the show to support her.

Emily's Painting

This is my friend Emily and her beautiful portrait, “For My Dad.”

After the reception, I went with Emily and a group of what Emily started calling her entourage (a group of about 10 of her friends) to a local spot to get some food and drinks. It was a really fun night and we had a great time celebrating my friend’s success.

Do you have any really talented friends?

NYC March 2, 2011

I had an amazing day in New York City yesterday with my friend Leah. I have never really liked New York City even though I have only lived a short train ride away from it for my entire life. I realized yesterday that it was because I never really knew the city or had someone to really show me the city in a way that I could really enjoy it. I saw the city yesterday in a way that I never have before.

It was amazing.

First of all, I have to admit a few things. I don’t know how I have even called myself a New Yorker all of these years. I’ve never ridden the subway. I have never visited the Museum of National History. Heck, even though I could find my way around the city, I never really knew the city.

This post is going to have about a bazillion pictures, by the way.

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A lot of my blog friends have been making monthly goals for themselves and it has really inspired me to do the same thing. They don’t have to be big goals but just some little things I would like to do or accomplish in the next month’s time! Every month, I will look back and see how I did, reassess and make some new goals. Here goes!

  • Get to 190lb, my halfway point in my weight loss journey! (Less than 7 pounds to go!)
    If I do, reward myself with a new haircut!
  • Go to the gym at least 26 days in March! That gives me 5 days off.
  • Track my calories every day in March!
  • Finish 2 books. (I have one already started.)
  • Cook more, including at least 2 new recipes I never tried before.
  • Expand my blogosphere – find some new blogs to read, especially some fitness, nutrition, and weight loss ones that can be friends with my caityfit blog!

What do you want to accomplish in March?

If you didn’t hear already over at my weigh-in at caityfit, I finally got past my dreaded weight loss plateau that has been following me around for the past 2+ weeks. I am so relieved.

I decided that I am going to get a haircut when I am halfway to my weight loss goal. It’s actually not that far away! I have less than 7 pounds left to go until I get my haircut. A few more weeks and I will be getting my haircut, I think. Now that my body has caught up with my gym routine, I could start losing weight quicker again for the next few weeks.

New Haircut!

I decided I am going to get it cut like this again. This is a photo from when I got my hair cut the last time in October 2009, maybe? I think it will look even better now that my face is even thinner.

Durr

This is how I look right now. I don’t know why I am making such a weird expression in this photo. Yes, my hair is naturally curly. It’s a few inches longer than you can see in this photo.

I have been doing really well with my gym routine. I realized today that I am really becoming one of those people who just love the gym. I used to think those people were lying but now I know they aren’t. When I leave the gym, I already am planning when I am going to go back. Tomorrow I am planning to go to a yoga class which I am really excited about. I found that I really enjoy yoga and I am really looking forward to getting better at it and more flexible, relaxed, and more in tune with my body. I think me and yoga are really going to get along.

Moko

Who knew that something this adorable could produce something so foul smelling? Moko has always been an indoor cat and that’s okay. She’s a timid and shy little thing (although more recently she has been quite the curious little adventure cat, but that’s a story for another day). I’ve been living in the den that my parents often use for a guest room since I gave up my room to my younger sister when I moved out and her room is basically a storage closet now. The little room I live in for the time being is quite small and right now it has a large fouton, a piano, and a computer desk in it. Oh, and my cat’s litter box. There’s not much room for anything else. The door doesn’t even open the entire way and I have to turn sideways every time I want to leave the room.

Now, I’m not complaining. I don’t need anything more than what I have and I’m absolutely fortunate to have what I do have. However, I will complain about the stench when my cat has to use her litterbox. It’s already stifling out here in this tiny room. Since when did anything silly like this stop me, though? For every problem in life, there is always a solution – some more obvious than others.

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I do not know if I have ever mentioned it before, but I absolutely love my Sirius satellite radio. I guess technically it’s Sirius/XM now but I don’t care. I had it when it was Sirius and I had it before it was cool. Also, I’m writing about this because I feel like it and not because anybody told me to. I hate how I always feel the need to clarify whenever I talk about something now because I sound like I’m making a sponsored post. Does anyone else feel like that? I was giggling at Rose the other day when she was talking about her new shoes and how the company should pay her because she was doing such a great job talking about how much she loved her new shoes. I agree with her because I’m actually thinking about getting a pair.

But that’s besides the point. I’m talking about my radio. Well, actually… I’m not even really talking about my radio. I want to tell you a story about the other day when I did one of the most spontaneous and awesome things I’ve probably ever done. It is indirectly related to my radio, though.

Day In The Life: 7/10/2009

I was driving in my car singing like I do about 99% of the time I’m in my car alone. I’m a singer and I love music and even if you’re not a singer I bet you like to sing in your car, too. Well, I was singing my heart out to a particular song I happen to REALLY love. I was stopped at a traffic light which everyone hates because it’s one of those traffic lights that are really long and you’re often stuck at it multiple times while the other 6 ways take their turns going.

I’m singing my heart out rather dramatically and I look to my side to see an older guy in a really nice car dressed up in a suit just staring at me. My gut instinct was to just stop, immediately stop eye contact, look straight ahead and remain like a statue until the light was green.

I grabbed my cell phone, which became my microphone, and this man became my audience. I looked right at him and continued singing my song even more dramatically than before. His jaw dropped and he smiled at me. I think I made his whole week.

The light eventually turned and we eventually went and I kept singing my song. I told myself that I had made this guy’s whole day. I made up a story that he probably was on his lunch break and he came from a horrible meeting all morning which was why he was wearing a suit and driving such a nice car and that he was going to go back to his meetings and WIN (or whatever business men do in meetings) and that his day would be significantly better because of my epic performance.

What probably happened was he went back to his job and told everyone about the nutcase in the crappy old silver Impala at the horrible intersection on Vets highway and they all made fun of me and made up stories about me for the rest of the day.

But you never know.
It made me really happy and I loved being spontaneous.

What is the last spontaneous thing you did?

I have gone to the gym for an entire week! I am so proud of myself! I have done so many things this week that I wouldn’t have believed I would be doing even a few months ago. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I would be waking up early to be going to pilates in the morning and that I would be looking forward to it – that’s for sure.

More progress pics.

Amanda asked me if I would share how I get so motivated to go to the gym. Well, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert yet by any means but I will share my thoughts so far. I think that all of this is working for me so far right now because it’s something that I truly want for myself. I’m not doing it for a specific occasion. I’m not doing it to look good for anyone else. I’m not doing it out of spite or even out of some kind of hope for acceptance. As incredibly cheesy as it sounds, I am so motivated because I am doing it for myself. It makes me feel great. More on this later, I think… because it is important. I would also like to add that lately I have been motivated by my amazing friend Leah. I would not have gotten through this first week of the gym without her.

A new outfit?

Speaking of my amazing friend Leah, we went shopping today instead of going to the gym. I think I deserved a day off (and so did my body) after seven straight days of the gym. My uncle gave me some gift cards and money to get some new clothes and so we were off to search for some. I found this dress which Leah says fits me very well. I also got a really nice sweater and this great wristlet/purse.

I think it was well deserved after such a great first week at the gym. I’m excited to keep it up. Only more good can come. This week I have an appointment with a trainer which is complimentary with my new gym membership. Hopefully I can get even more tips to make my workouts and gym experience even better than it already is!

So, my friend Awesome from my last post told me that I was allowed to tell you that her name is Leah. I don’t take back the fact that she is awesome, though… because she is.

Spinning was great. It has the potential to be my favourite thing ever. Why do I say it has the potential to be my favourite thing ever instead of saying that it is my favourite thing ever? I will tell you why. My butt hurts and I am out of shape. There is no flaw with spinning. There is flaw with Caity. However, I am fixing that! If I keep going to spin class my butt will get used to the seat and not hurt and I will get in shape therefore spin class will be my favourite thing ever.

On Saturday, Leah and I did not stop. Even though my butt hurt and we were sore (okay, so I was sore – Leah is in way better shape than I am) we got up early and went to Pilates class. Pilates is all about core strength and flexibility which are things that I do not possess much of, if any at all. Leah and I decided that we will continue to go to Pilates even though we both don’t like it very much because it is good for us. I also joined Leah’s gym on Saturday after Pilates while she did another spin class. I told you she was in better shape than I was. I did go on the treadmill for a little bit while I waited, though! I’ll get there!

Today, we didn’t give up! Can you believe it? We did “freestyle treadmill” and I walked at my usual pace, 3.0, but I did it at a 3.5 incline and I walked for an hour! I was so proud of myself! Especially since it was the morning and my legs were SO SORE from the past 2 days. This also meant that Leah was doing some running but I think it’s great to have someone like Leah to work out with. We keep each other motivated and we believe in each other and that is so important. Plus, we have our own goals but we are excited for each other and find ways to accommodate both sets of goals.

See what happens when I don’t blog for a couple days? There is too much to say and not enough fun pictures. Eww.

BITE

We went to Target today and I got this awesome water bottle. It took me over 20 minutes to pick it out and I was so indecisive but I am glad I was because I am in love with this water bottle. It’s so perfect in every way. See how much it makes me smile? There are pictures of me smiling more but it looked kind of creepy so I posted this one instead.

My new waterbottle.

I even decorated my new water bottle with STICKERS!! The sticker on the left is supposed to be Leah because she has dreams of France and she had pigtails when I met her and the one on the right is me because I wear glasses sometimes and I want to wear cute sundresses eventually and I have brown hair. The coffee cup is because we have gotten Starbucks after every workout, haha.

Also, I would like it to be known that I am going to fill it up a million times and drink enough to fill the ocean every day because I am so thirsty ahhhhh! I am so energized and happy and optimistic right now!

I have been spending a lot of time recently with a good friend of mine who has been my friend since before the third grade. We met in a fun summer program where we both took the same creative acting class and put on a little play that hopefully resembled something like Snow White (because that’s what the play was, but you never know with 8 year olds). Instantly the best of friends after I told her that her pigtails were the coolest thing I had ever seen, we have always enjoyed each other’s company and have been the type of friends who always create a positive air all around us (as well as super cool adventures). Although college, states, and even countries separated us through the years, whenever we’re together it’s like we have never been apart. Well, we’re both back in town for an unforeseen length of time, for different reasons, so we’re making the best of it. Lets just call my friend Awesome since I know she especially values her online privacy.

So, Awesome and I were driving around the other night and I was talking about how I am doing well with my weight loss. Awesome mentioned how I should come to her gym with her on a guest pass and try out a class that she really enjoyed. I have never been to a class at a gym before and since I’m trying to be adventurous and spontaneous lately I agreed. Tonight, I’m going to a spin class with Awesome and I’m super excited! Part of me wants to be really spontaneous and join Awesome’s gym today! I might end up joining it anyway because how amazing would it be to have someone to go to the gym with? We could even carpool! Another friend of mine has said that she can already smell a rat… a gym rat! That would be great! I would love to become a gym rat!

As I mentioned yesterday, I went shopping for a while with my good friend Kierstin as one of our fun things to do besides participate in the Super Bowl.

I don’t have very much money right now (and I’m also trying to save the money that does come my way) but I think that once in a while it’s good to get yourself a treat or two. It can cheer you up and it’s fun to go shopping sometimes if you go to the right places.

Our first stop was The Sports Authority yesterday. Since I’ve been losing weight, I’ve also been keeping up with some ways to keep myself active. Yesterday, I had the bright idea that I should buy a jump rope! So that’s what I did! I went to the store and bought myself a grown up jump rope!

Jump!

Jumping rope makes me feel like a kid again. If I can work out and it makes me feel all giddy like a little kid then I must be doing something right!

Our next stop was Borders.

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I’m not a football fan. I planned an entire day of “boycotting the Super Bowl” where I would do lots of fun things with a good friends of mine nowhere in the vicinity of a television. Unfortunately, I caught two bits of the Super Bowl. I saw Christina Aguilera get the words wrong to our National Anthem and I saw about 5 seconds while there was some celebrations saying Green Bay won.

I don’t care, and I’d rather go watch the Great South Bay! That’s exactly what I did today. I headed on over to the beach! Sure, there was snow on the ground but my friend Kierstin and I decided that we were going to the beach anyway.

The Beach

We actually didn’t end up staying there very long because surprisingly it’s pretty cold at the beach in winter. Plus, part of the beach was fenced off for some reason and we didn’t really want to stick around long enough to find out why just in case there was some sort of valid reason for there being a fence where there once was not.

We also went to a Kosher deli and had matzo ball soup. It was really, really tasty. I pretended it was Christmas. That’s what I felt like because I felt like everyone was celebrating the “Super Bowl Sunday” and I didn’t. (I’m not trying to insult anyone’s religion here. I promise. I was just being silly.)

We also went shopping. I’ll keep you in suspense for now. Not that it’s anything super exciting being that my money is pretty much nonexistent right now, but I’ll probably blog about my new acquisitions!

Did you watch the Super Bowl or did you do something random and fun like me?

It’s about time I said something.

I’m back in New York.
Without Josh.

No, I’m not happy about it. I’m devastated. I’m heartbroken.

All that I’m going to say is that we need some time apart right now. It’s not what I want, but it’s what needs to happen. We just need to play it out right now and be patient and see what develops. Live our own lives and hope that they come back together one day. Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds.

Now, before you go getting angry at Josh, let me stop you right there. Please remember that there are two sides to every story and that you probably only hardly know mine. I don’t want to hear how Josh is a big meanie head for making me hurt. I love him very much and I don’t want to hear you insult him in any way.

I think that sometimes life just creates situations that are painful. If we choose to come out of them as stronger people and learn from our experiences, then sometimes we can get exactly what we were searching for in the first place. We just couldn’t get there before because there just wasn’t a short cut. We had to take the long way. So here I go along on my long path to what and who I want to be. Hopefully I find Josh again along the way.

Please don't leave again!

At least someone is happy that I’m back. Moko has situated herself in my suitcase (which I still haven’t had the heart to unpack) just in case I decide to try and leave again.

Hopefully I’ll have some interesting things to share with you in the near future.

Two girls who live in our flat with us came home yesterday afternoon with some cool stickers saying that they gave blood! Josh and I perked up at this and were quick to ask where we could go to donate, too. Josh has been giving blood for years and even holds a NZ blood donor card. I have given blood a few times in my life but would have liked to have the opportunity to do it more. I love the idea that I might be saving someone’s life.

365 [Day 19]

So Josh and I walked down to town hall where we realized that his Nan would probably be, knowing that she has been a lifetime member of the Red Cross and an active member in the community. Sure enough, we walked in the door and there was Josh’s Nan in charge of the cookies and juice! We were introduced to all her friends and given our favourite cookies – Squiggles!

Josh didn’t have to register since he had a NZ blood donor card. I went through the registration process which I passed. The only question I couldn’t answer were ones about my blood relatives since I’m adopted but they didn’t seem to mind about that since everything else was perfectly fine. Everyone was so nice there and made me feel really welcome. That’s what I love about this community – they are all so welcoming and nice to me.

My efforts to donate blood almost turned into a disaster which I had feared. It’s always hard to find a vein in my arms. Once I had to have a lot of blood drawn for medical tests and it took them such a long time to get my veins to pump out enough blood for the tests I needed. At first, the Red Cross nurse wasn’t going to even try to stick a needle in my arm since she was having trouble finding my veins. In the end, she did find a usable vein and I pumped my little fists for the 6 minutes and 30 seconds that it took to get all my blood.

Josh and I got more cookies, some juice, and some lollies and went on our merry way. We were in such a good mood for the rest of the day. We both love to do things for others and giving blood is such a wonderful way to do that.

I was informed the other day by my mother that I haven’t blogged in a while. We can’t have an upset mother due to my lack of blogging, can we?

My life is a bit boring at the moment being that I don’t really know anyone here and I don’t have a job yet (but I’m working on that). My days have been filled with going for walks, cleaning up around here, and playing video games. I do a few other things but that’s what takes up the most time. Basically, I live a pretty boring existence at the moment. I keep myself busy but I am really just at the point where I can’t wait to have a job. Lately I’ve even been craving some schoolwork. I’ve been done with college for over 3 years now and I have this incredibly urge to do math problems. I guess that’s a nerd for you.

That being said, I have had some pretty neat things going on.

Our dinner. Crayfish!
Josh got some crayfish from his friend at work. This is probably almost $100 worth of crayfish and he got it for free. We certainly are lucky. Josh and I and another guy who lives here with us thoroughly enjoyed our yummy seafood. I was surprised at how much meat was in a crayfish compared to a lobster. I showed my dad, who is a fisherman and a lover of seafood, and then I felt bad because he has been craving some lobster.

365 [Day 15]
Speaking of my family, I got a New Year’s package from them this past weekend. There were 2 photo frames: one from my sister and one from my parents. The sisters frame meant a lot to me because I do miss my little sister. It was the perfect frame for us because since we are both adopted, we are not related by birth but we are sisters at heart. The other frame contained photos of my parents and sister from their last vacation to Disney. They also sent a Long Island calendar (which is hanging next to my computer) and two more pairs of jeans for me.

I am quite surprised at how much fuller (corrected by my mother from my adjective, fatter) my face is in the photo with my sister. It shows how far I have come already in my weight loss at almost 25 pounds lost. I have been tracking my calories and going for my walks for a few months now and it has, for the most part, paid off. I have been having a bit of a rough time lately keeping up with it and in the past few days after realizing I had just maintained my weight for the past few weeks I decided I needed to refocus and get more serious again. It has worked so far. I love how determined I am to lose weight right now. I hope this feeling and determination doesn’t go away. I have the friends I have made at MFP to thank for most of this.

Off to eat the 60 calorie fruit pop Josh brought home for me and enjoy the afternoon. :)

I thought I would sum up my year in thoughts and in photos.

January
365 Days | 5Our Boots365 Days | 11365 Days: 9
- Mark & Greg came to visit us in New York.
- I started singing some opera with my voice teacher.
- Josh and I got addicted to Bawls from ThinkGeek.com.
- We had an awesome party at my friend Laura’s.
- We had the Snowpocalypse 2010. Haha.

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Christmas was so different this year. After 25 consecutive Christmases in the same house, it is strange to celebrate Christmas in a whole new country, without my family, and in the summer. It was a melancholy sort of thing, especially because I missed my family so much, but all in all I had a wonderful first New Zealand Christmas.

Pavlova

Josh and I went to his Nan’s house. Josh’s brother, his uncle, and his dad were there too. We had a wonderful dinner together and shared some present opening and good times. Josh’s mom gave us a beautiful mirror which I was super excited about since the place where we live currently doesn’t have one except for a small one on the bathroom door. She also gave us nice soap, shampoo and conditioner, and a pairing knife for our super cooking endeavors. Josh’s Nan gave us some much needed cash.

I even got some wonderful presents from overseas. My awesome friend Marissa who is currently teaching over in Korea sent me a cute card, socks for me and Josh, and an adorable horoscope keychain. My parents also sent us some gifts: some pants, a new purse, a new backpack, belts for Josh, and some more much needed cash via Western Union from my parents, grandparents, grammy, and great uncle.

I am so thankful that I got to experience Christmas in a new setting with people that I love. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Unless you live under a rock, you must have heard about the total lunar eclipse last night. What made this eclipse really special was the fact that it happened on the winter solstice. It figures that when I move to the other side of the world, something like this happens. However, there were a lot of clouds in New York so I probably wouldn’t have seen it anyway if I was there.

I heard that there was a chance of seeing it here, and I ventured outside a little after 9pm when I was told it would be optimal viewing. Well, I should have known I wouldn’t get to see it. It was way too light, still. That’s what you get when it’s the day after the longest day of the year.

I did, however, see an amazing sunset.
(Photos by Josh!) :)

Another Amazing Sunset

Another Amazing Sunset

When one door closes, another always opens.

I mentioned in my last entry that I was disappointed that the pāua shells were not pretty. The truth is, they are… just not when they come out of the ocean. Pāua shells are often used in jewelry and lots of other cool things since they are so naturally beautiful. My parents have coasters made out of pāua shells and I know other people who have pretty jewelry made from pāua shells.

We cleaned out some of the shells a little bit so I thought I would share how pretty they are! Plus, a lot of you asked to see.

Paua Shell

Paua Shell

See? I knew they were pretty!
I was going to take a picture of the paua fritters, too… but they accidentally got eaten! :P

If you want to check out some stuff made from paua, you should check out Paua World! This place is only a town or so away from me and I plan to visit it when I can because I seriously can’t get enough paua shell beauty! :)

It is Josh’s birthday tomorrow and we are having a little BBQ. One of the things Josh really wanted to have at his birthday shindig was pāua fritters. That meant we needed to get some pāua! So, this afternoon Josh and I and one of our flatmates took a ride to the beach to get some!

Ngawi
Josh and his friend went in to get the pāua. The water was still a bit too cold for me. We really should have had wet suits but oh well! They’re hardcore, that’s all!

Ngawi
Still searching for some! It took a while to find them!

Ngawi
It was so beautiful out there.

Ngawi
The mountains.

Ngawi
It was a really beautiful sunset.

Ngawi
Purple mountains magesty?

Ngawi
My attempt at a dramatic rearview mirror sunset shot failed miserably. I had good intentions, though!

Ngawi
The haul! We got 28 pāua. The legal limit is 10 per person but it got cold and was getting dark so they called it. I think it’s cool because 28 is my lucky number.

I was a bit disappointed because I thought that the pāua would be pretty! The pāua actually do have beautiful shells that are used in jewelry and other things but I guess when you first take them out of the ocean they are gross. I am hoping to wash off a pretty shell or two to keep for myself because they are so pretty.

Now Josh and our flatmate are going to work on gutting those things and grinding them up in a meat grinder so we can make some fritters tomorrow!

Joey

Today you get to meet Joey! Joey is one of the animals that lives with us in our flat. He belongs to one of the other girls who lives here but he comes to visit me and Josh quite often. Joey is probably the friendliest cat I have ever met. He jumps up into my lap while I’m at the computer and just curls up and starts purring. Maybe Joey knows that I miss my cat and he’s trying to help me fill my cat void.

Joey

Joey also likes to sit on my windowsill, which is right next to my computer, and look out the window. Sometimes he even jumps out of the window if he sees something exciting! He is such a good cat.

Suitcase Cat

Moko would be really jealous, I think. Maybe it’s better if I don’t tell Moko about Joey. Moko wanted to come with us but she didn’t fit in my suitcase, see? She sat on top of it for a few days before we left and it made me really sad because I really wish I could have taken her with us. Josh and I are hoping that Moko will come join us in New Zealand soon, though. My parents are planning a trip here and so is one of my good friends so I’m sure one of those times Moko can come along. I miss my Mokie.

For a while I have been debating trying to start running. Obviously, I was going to be an instant champion at it, right? It’s an admirable but sometimes defeatist quality of mine that I must be an instant pro at everything that I set out to do, surpassing all steps in between and exceeding perfection. So many times in my life I have given up many things that I have set out to do because I have become frustrated with my inability to live up to my own expectations.

Well, I am going to run a 5k even if it takes me 5 years.

I read through the Couch to 5k website about 5k times, downloaded a c25k podcast, and have been going for some 5k walks to show myself that, hey, it’s not really that far. I have gotten myself in a lot better shape in the process – a shape that is a lot less round.

Today I was really excited. I was going to start my little program. I was going to move faster and I was going to run. There were no time limits and nobody was watching me and I felt absolutely amazing. I got up at 5am for my first running endeavor. I put on clothes that I could actually run in, I got all psyched, and turned on the podcast. I was feeling awesome. I walked to warm up for 5 minutes and then I went for it. I was going somewhere!

My shorts also went somewhere.
Straight to the ground.

At first I was absolutely mortified, but then I realized there was nobody around to be mortified for. Well, except for the sheep who seemed to be bleating in laughter along with me. I laughed too as I pulled them back up. I pulled the drawstring as tight as they could go and made a new knot. I smiled, with renewed dignity and looked around me at the farms and the mountains and the clear skies of New Zealand.

It’s amazing what losing 25 pounds and gaining a new attitude can do for you.

“Runners run for the finish line even if someone else got there first.” -Author Unknown

Today I was invited to go on a Garden Ramble! It was a fundraiser for a local Church here in town and with your ticket you went around viewing homeowner’s gardens. The gardens that were selected to be part of the Garden Ramble were absolutely gorgeous. There were seven gardens in total located all over town. They were all very different and had so many different kinds of flowers, trees, and plants. I had a very good time wandering around town and seeing such beautiful yards and gardens.

Secret Garden

This was one of my favourite gardens. It reminded me of something from a storybook like The Secret Garden. I just felt like it was so magical and if I weren’t allergic to flowers I would have probably gotten a lot closer and rolled around in a lot of these magical flowers… or something!

Random Cat

And perhaps my favourite thing I found growing in all of the gardens… a rare catbush growing in the far corner of one of the gardens.

Do you know anyone who loves to garden?

And, a month later, I am back.

I think I have been wanting to do and think and say a lot of things for a long time but really had no reason or motivation to do so. Well, the universe removed a lot of obstacles for me quite recently and dropped me on my bum and said, “Alright, Caity… lets see what you’ve got.”

Long story short, I sure showed the universe and came out on top. I’m still working on it, but I feel better and more optimistic about a lot of things and about life in general than I have for a very long time.

To make up for being so very vague and general, I will sing you all a song. Sorry I kind of overdid it but oh well.

From now on, I am only going to post when I have something to say and I’m not going to try so hard to come up with something to blog about anymore. That being said, life is still an adventure and I’m sure you’ll still hear from me. I hope you’ve all been well.

I don’t think I’ve cracked up laughing this hard in a long time.

There’s just nothing that beats watching home movies of your husband when he was a kid.

Josh

  • Having a bath.
  • Walking around with no pants.
  • Telling everyone that he is Robin Hood.
  • Trying to do push-ups but looking like he’s violating the ground.
  • Getting scared when climbing up onto a chair that was not even a foot off the ground.
  • Being spun around by his older brothers and then falling over.

Something that has really been stressing us out ever since we got back to New Zealand is the fact that neither one of us had a job. Well, half of that problem has been resolved! Josh got a job today.

He signed up for a job recruitment place around here this week. They gave him a nice blue jumpsuit and made him take an aptitude test. They called today and told Josh that a business had called up looking for their smartest recruit. They called Josh first. I was really proud that my husband was the smartest guy there. Apparently the job recruitment places get a lot of applicants.

Today we went over to Raewyn’s house to celebrate and she made the best macaroni and cheese that I have ever tasted. Not only does the cheese taste way better here in New Zealand but she also put tomatoes and ham in it. It was amazing! Maybe that’s normal but for me, it’s the fanciest mac n’ cheese I ever had.

I decided to sign up for DailyBooth again and take a photo of myself every day. I used to think it was narcissistic but after reflecting on it further, I decided that it would be fun to see how I change over time. Living a much healthier lifestyle in New Zealand than I was in New York, I think it will be fun to see the change over time in myself and DailyBooth is a fun way to document it being that it’s a fun little community. Plus, I can make the lame excuse that I want to work on my self portrait photography. Okay… so in reality it is just narcissistic of me… but we can pretend otherwise. Also, if you have a DailyBooth then you should add me so we can be narcissistic buddies!

I will also be posting my photos of DailyFratze which is a similar community that I have been a part of previously. I actually like it better than DailyBooth but most of my friends use DailyBooth so I will be keeping up with both! I love DailyFratze because it organizes photos better and you can view them all sorts of ways such as monthly. The only thing that is hard for me about DailyFratze is the fact that most people there don’t speak English.

Today I actually got a lot accomplished. I completely redid my resume, which I apparently need to start calling a CV (curriculum vitae). I also was able to get in touch with most of my references and even get some new ones. I realized that I really need to have some kind of purpose here in New Zealand. It has been fun to be on a long vacation in a new country however it is finally time to get back to reality. I am here for a while which means that a job is a necessity. Plus, it would be nice to socialize a little bit and make some new friends.

I sent my applications off to about 5 or 6 schools now and I am really hoping to hear from them at the start of next week. There are two particular schools that I really love so I’m extra hoping to hear from them. I also plan to go around on Monday with Josh to some local schools and go in and introduce myself and give out some of my CVs.

It is quite a boring Friday. We went around to see Raewyn for a while and today is takeout night. We got Noodle Canteen which has become my new favourite takeout food. The place is all about noodles (but all different kinds of noodles) and adding healthy ingredients to them. I call it Noodle Bucket because I couldn’t remember the name of it the first time we decided to go there. It is henceforth known as Noodle Bucket. Mmm.

I was going to take a picture of Noodle Bucket to show you but somehow all the food got eaten before I could. Whoops! Maybe next time.

What is your favourite takeout food?

Josh has been telling me about one of his favourite places in New Zealand for years now. Castle Point. We finally took a trip there yesterday and it was absolutely amazing! We did a lot of walking and climbing and my feet are quite sore, but it was all worth it in the end.

Castle Point :)

I took a lot of photos, so if you’d like to see the rest of them, please visit my Castle Point Flickr Set. :)

I picked out some of my favourite photos for you.

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How about this 10/10/10 business, eh? It would have been awesome to get married or be born on a day like today. Or do something else where you get to remember this date forever! It only happens once every hundred years, you know. This reminds me, one thing I’ve had to get used to over here in New Zealand is the way they write the date. For example, my birthday is May 18th and I’m used to writing it like this: 5/18/1984. However, in New Zealand, they write is as 18/5/1984. The first time I saw that I was all confused because WHAT THE HECK?? THERE IS NO EIGHTEENTH MONTH! I have decided it makes more sense because the numbers go in order from the smallest thing, day, to the biggest thing, year. It’s all mathematically sound and therefore I am happy again.

Haven’t you missed my silly rambling? No? Okay, on we go then…

The grand finale of our trip to see Josh’s Grandmother. We went to the Napier Centennial Gardens and it was so beautiful. I love to take photos of flowers. It was a lovely reminder that Spring has sprung here. I really am lucky to have gone from Summer right back into Spring again. I love the nice weather.

Napier Centennial Gardens

The Napier Centennial Gardens!
Enjoy the flowers! :)

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We did a lot of driving on the trip to visit Josh’s Grandma and now I am sort of sad that I didn’t stick my head out of the window for the entire way to take one, enormous, panoramic photos. It’s really what I would have loved to show you. Unfortunately, I can’t take a two hour panoramic photo so I’ll keep having to show you some snippets.

For part of the trip, while we were in Hawkes Bay, I did start sticking my head out of the window and taking pictures. Eventually, Viv stopped at a few random points so I could actually take photos, though. Photos are never that great out of a moving car, anyway.

Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay

These pictures were out of a moving car, though. Not too bad, huh?
Warning. This post has a LOT of photos…

Hawkes Bay
Slow down and enjoy Hawkes Bay. :)

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First thing’s first. I need to shout loads of congratulations to my awesome friend and maid of honour Ashleigh. She had her baby, Lucinda today! I can’t wait until she blogs with lots of photos of pretty little Lu! So congratulations Ashleigh, her dear husband, and the big brother!

I have had so many adventures that I could probably blog for an entire year! Well, okay… maybe not THAT long, but I do have so many photos of amazing places I’ve been. I feel like I’m overflowing my blog with photos lately and that my blog has become mundane and boring with my short little picture captions. However, the few people I’ve talked to about it say that they are glad I’m posting all my pretty pictures and that it’s exciting to see my adventures!

I guess I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing for now.
Today you get to hear about our trip to Bluff Hill Lookout!

Bluff Hill Lookout

Bluff Hill Lookout wasn’t as high as Te Mata Peak but it was still pretty steep and the car ride up there made me a bit queasy again. I think I’m going to have to start carrying some carsick medications since it’s so hilly around here and it gets to me a lot. Just like with Te Mata Peak, I’m glad that we ventured up there because it was absolutely breathtaking. It was a gorgeous day, as well. I just kept looking at the sky and how blue the water was and couldn’t close my jaw.

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Another installment of my trip to see Josh’s Grandmother!

Walk to the Park

After dinner at Josh’s Grandma’s house, Josh, Viv (my MIL), and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. Grandma told us that there was a park nearby so we set out to find it. I took my camera in tow, of course. We started down the street and immediately I had to take a picture. How beautiful is this street all lined with pretty trees? I love how quaint and adorable most towns are here in New Zealand. I also noticed that a lot of people keep really great gardens or landscape their places in some way which makes it even nicer to look at. I enjoyed looking at all the houses. My favourite was looking at all the lemon trees. It seems that you’re not a New Zealander unless you have a lemon tree. Josh’s mom even has her own lemon trees.

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We had a wonderful time on our trip. Not only did I meet Josh’s Grandma and Pop, we saw some amazing sights and I saw a whole area of New Zealand that I hadn’t seen before! The only disadvantage to the trip was being stuffed in the back seat (besides when I got a bit carsick and needed the front) as well as sleeping on a pull out couch. Anyone who has slept on one of those knows that evil metal bar that interrupts your sleep all night.

My trip was quite long and I have a lot of photos so I decided to break down my trip into a few parts! Today, I will tell you all about our trip to Te Mata Peak.

Te Mata Peak
We stopped at the first little parking space. The view of the mountains was really pretty, but I had no idea what was really in store for me.

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We are still traveling and my blog is magically posting without me! How cool, right? :P

Today I will share with you about when we went to go visit Josh’s brother, Adam. He lives and works on a dairy farm not too far away. We’ve been over there a few times already and it’s really pretty (when it doesn’t smell like cow poo).

Adam's Place & The Dairy Farm
The mountains look amazing on that farm. It’s just gorgeous. I wish the cows appreciated it but they are just concerned about the grass. Silly animals.

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We are traveling today! Isn’t it magic how my blog still posts even when I’m not here! Josh, Viv (MIL), and I are traveling to Hastings and Napier to visit family. We are going to see Viv’s mother… Josh’s grandmother. I am excited! We are staying up there for a day or two and they’re going to show me around more of this beautiful country.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you what I did last weekend. It was a family friend Raewyn’s birthday! We all went to a friend’s farm to a homemade movie theater and saw Boy. It is an independent film based in New Zealand. I really enjoyed it, especially in an awesome little movie theater on a farm! How cool is that?

So, I present it to you a story in photos. That’s how I seem to be blogging lately.

Raewyn's Birthday
All of us in the movies waiting for the start.

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One thing that has been very useful since I got to New Zealand is Skype. Being able to talk to someone over the computer and actually see their face makes a world away seem a lot closer. My parents like it, too. I think it makes them really happy to be able to see me smile and talk to them on their computer screen. It makes you forget how far apart you really are.

Video call snapshot 2

I was talking with my parents and sister this morning and they brought my cat Moko on screen! It made me so happy to see her and she even perked up when she heard my voice. It was really adorable. I miss my cat so much. I can’t wait until she is able to come over and live with us. Her vaccines weren’t ready for our trip over so we’re hoping that whenever my parents come to visit, they’ll be bringing Moko too.

Video call snapshot 3

My friend Laura also got Skype. It was nice to talk to a friend, too. I miss my friends in New York.

Have you ever used Skype or video chat? What do you think of it?

I’ve been getting a lot more comments since I started blogging in full force again. I guess New Zealand is more exciting than when I blogged in New York. Or maybe everyone just likes the NZ pictures? The world may never know why.

New Zealand definitely is beautiful. One thing I’ve especially noticed is the amount of absolute beauty I see when I look up. I’ve seen more amazing things in the sky than I’ve seen in a long time.

Maui's Ropes
Maui’s Ropes. This penomenon comes from a Maori folktale about how Maui tamed the sun. Maybe I’ll try to tell it one day. Josh told it to me and I loved it.

Rainbow!
I have seen more rainbows since I got here than I’ve seen in my entire life. It’s absolutely beautiful and it makes me wish it would rain more (and I hate rain)!

Beautiful Sunset
There is a pretty sunset every night, it seems.

Sunbeams
I took this photo as we were driving home last night. I made Josh pull over. I wanted to capture the sun all the way behind the clouds but we didn’t pull over in time. I think it still came out alright.

Just pretend there is a beautiful photo of the night sky here with millions and billions of stars visible. I’ve seen a lot of that too and I love it.

Do you look up at the sky a lot?
What is your favorite thing to see in the sky?

I can’t believe it’s October already.

Today was my mother-in-law’s birthday! It was a nice day of celebration and fun and a lot of friends came over for a little party. Josh and I got her some compost for her garden because that’s what she wanted. It may sound silly but it made her really happy so that’s all that matters. We got her the really good compost, too. Josh and I decided to also get her a new set of seat covers for her car since hers were a bit old and tattered. I think she liked them. I think she would have liked the ones I picked out better but Josh won that argument and we got the ones he wanted. I picked out the card, though!

Banana Chocolate Muffins
I made chocolate banana cupcakes and they were very tasty. It was the first time I cooked with adorable little paper things on the cupcakes. Usually when I make them I just grease the muffin tin! I think it made them look even tastier being all cute like that. Don’t you think?

Viv's Cake
The cake was really good, too. Viv’s best friend Raewyn brought it over.

The best part of the day was when Josh took me outside of town tonight and we watched the sun set and I got to see all the stars. Living in New York, stars are somewhat of a rarity – at least to this degree. I really enjoyed looking at the stars. I also saw the Milky Way which is definitely not visible where I’m from.

I even saw a shooting star!

Do you wish on candles and shooting stars?
I always do.

One thing that I have had to adjust to after moving to New Zealand is hanging up my laundry. Most people only have a washing machine and then hang their clothes up to dry.

hang them up to dry

When we first got to New Zealand, it was pretty cold. We had to hang our clothes up inside so they would actually dry. We made a fire and hung them closeby. Oh, having a fireplace instead of central heating is something I’m going to have to get used to, too… especially since my father owned a central heating oil company!

But I digress. This post is about laundry not lack of central heating systems.

hang them up to dry

Now it is much nicer out and we hang our laundry outside. I love hanging up the laundry. It’s fun! I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon and I’ll consider it a chore but right now it’s one of those super cool things that is still fascinating to me. I also noticed my clothes smell better when you hang them outside.

Do you hang your clothes up, or do you have a dryer?

One of my first long drives in New Zealand was when we drove from my brother-in-law Luke’s flat to my mother-in-law’s house. It wasn’t actually that far, but it felt like it. Why? I’m not used to driving in the mountains. The roads that we took, and the speed at which Luke took some turns, definitely made me a bit queasy.

It was really beautiful, though.

IMG_9111

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I have been in New Zealand for over a week now and I’m starting to settle in quite nicely. I had a bit of an issue computerwise because first we had no internet, then we got internet but I couldn’t login to my blog! I had to contact my host and get new passwords and everything. That’s what I get for saving passwords on my computer and not remembering to write them down. Everything is resolved now, though!

I won’t bombard you with everything all at once but I have so many adventures already to tell you about!

Today I went on a nature walk at Mount Holdsworth with Josh and my mother-in-law (who we’re currently staying with).

Nature Hike!

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Goodbye Cake

We had our goodbye party yesterday.
Tomorrow we leave for New Zealand.
It’s surreal that it’s finally here.
See you on the other side.

I did a lot of packing over the past couple days. Finally our suitcases are pretty much packed. It was hard trying to decide which clothes to take and which clothes to leave here. It has proven to be cheaper to not take most of our things because it’s so expensive to ship it and we’d be better off buying new things once we get there.

Suitcase Cat

Moko sat in my suitcase all night staring at me while I was working. I think she’s trying to tell me something.

I want everything to be done by tomorrow since that’s really the last day we have to mess around. On Saturday, a friend of ours is coming to visit from out of state, on Sunday we have our big going away party, and Monday we are going to go say goodbye to some last close family and friends. We leave Tuesday. This is starting to become a reality and it’s both exciting and scary.

Packing for our move to New Zealand has been both melancholy and exciting. Most of our things are now in suitcases and boxes. We leave this coming Tuesday but I wanted everything to be done before the weekend so I could enjoy myself a little bit before we leave.

My life in boxes.

My mom came over to help me with packing for the last two days. I really appreciated her help more than I thought. Just having her here put me a little more at ease. I couldn’t imagine doing it all by myself. Josh is still working with my dad at the moment. We’re hoping that he can get the next few days off to help me with the rest of the packing and so that we can enjoy ourselves a little bit.

My life in boxes.

I realized in the last few days how much I’ll miss Moko. We can’t take her with us now. I’m hoping she can come over later. She knows something is going on and she doesn’t like it at all. Poor kitty.

Yesterday I went with a group of people to the vineyards out east to celebrate my friend Laura’s birthday! We had a fantastic time and, most importantly, Laura had a wonderful day!

Vineyards Birthday Bash

I was the designated driver / photographer!
Here are some of my favorite photographs!

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On September 14th, less than 3 weeks from today, Josh and I will be on a plane to New Zealand. We have one way tickets. I am absolutely ecstatic. Oh, I’m also scared as hell.

Josh bought me flowers yesterday when we found out to tell me he loved me and to calm me down a little bit.

Flowers

We have started to make a list of things to do before we leave, including a big going away party on the 12th of September. Can you think of some random things we might not have thought about that you really think we should do or need to do before we depart?

Friday was the last day of camp. I was absolutely exhausted and had a really long, rough day. I came home and there was a piece of mail waiting for me. It completely made my day! What was it? MY NEW ZEALAND VISA!! Josh and I went to Olive Garden to celebrate and were so ecstatic for the entire evening!

If you don’t already know, whenever something really great happens there is always something else to come and rain on your parade. On Saturday, we received a piece of mail saying that Josh hadn’t filed paperwork for his United States residency card and, since it had expired, he was being deported.

It’s as if America saw he was leaving and said… “You can’t quit! You’re fired!”

Sure, it doesn’t sound bad because we were planning on leaving anyway… however now this means that we need to wait for a court date so he can straighten all of this out before we leave. We don’t want to leave and then never be able to come back!

The waiting game starts again.

My ear finally popped yesterday and I can hear out of it again. I was so excited although the people around me at camp didn’t really understand why all of the sudden I was ecstatic. If you couldn’t hear out of your ear for over 2 weeks wouldn’t you be excited when you could? It has been really difficult trying to decipher what the 3 and 4 year olds are trying to say when I only have one working ear. Even when both of my ears work it’s a difficult task.

Friday is the last day of camp and I’m pretty melancholy about the fact that it’s going to be over. I have had so much fun this summer working at camp.

In other, exciting news… I finally submitted everything that I needed for my New Zealand visa. Once it comes back in the mail (hopefully saying that my visa is all set to go) then Josh and I are going to get ready and move over there! I’m so excited! Things are finally looking like they are going to work out for us after all this time! Cross your fingers!

Not being able to hear out of my ear has proven to be quite EARitating. In all seriousness, though, when is this ear infection going to go away? I have only 2 days left of my antibiotic. Unfortunately I think I’m going to have to go back to the doctor before this is all over.

In happier news, I really like my job. Working with little kids, although trying at times, is really rewarding. Plus, I get lots of adorable stories.

I had one little boy come up to me with an acorn the other day. He was so excited and had a huge smile on his face. Then, if you didn’t think it could get any cuter, he screamed “I found a coconut!!”

Today, our group was at gymnastics. We were all stretching on a mat, sitting down and stretching our legs, and the gymnastics leader told them to point their toes. “I CAN’T!” screamed one boy. We all stopped and looked at him and told him that we were sure he could do it and to just try his best. “You don’t understand,” he says. “My Daddy told me that it’s rude to point! We shouldn’t be rude!” Hahaha. Not this kind of pointing, kid. Good manners, though.

My sister got a new puppy today. She and my parents brought him over to say hello and cheer me up since I’m still feeling quite under the weather.

Casey

His name is Casey. He is a toy shitzu and he’s adorable! He definitely cheered me up.

I have been really sick over the last week and a half. All last week I had a really nasty cold but I went to work anyway because, well, I love my job and who lets a cold stop them? Unfortunately, Friday afternoon when I got home, I had a fever, chills, and things started going downhill.

I won’t bore you with the details but in a nutshell I wound up in the hospital on Sunday. I had loads of tests done because they didn’t know what was wrong and I had really severe muscle and joint pain along with what was seemingly a horrible virus. I even had to get a spinal tap.

I’m going back to my doctor today to check in and see when I can go back to work. I don’t know if I’ll make it back this week being that I still don’t feel much better and now I’ve developed a horrible ear infection that had me nearly screaming yesterday and has me all off balance and nauseous.

I hope you’ve all been better than I have!

Yesterday our family dog died. Even though I wasn’t as close with Scruffy as my sister was and even though I don’t live at home anymore, he was my dog for over 10 years and I’m sad that he is gone.

Scruffy

Moko lost a friend too. Before we moved out of my parent’s house, they were pals.

Pals

I have been so busy! Why? I got a job! For the summer, I now work at a really awesome day camp! I love it so much. I am with 3 and 4 year olds all day and they are absolutely adorable. I even drive 3 kids who live by me to the camp each day. It has really worn me out walking around the 15 acre camp every day but I am having so much fun!!

Marisa and Tony

Last weekend was my friend Marisa’s wedding. I sang at the wedding and had a great time at the reception. I am so happy for her and Tony. Here is a bonus picture of me and Josh from the wedding! Surprise kiss! :)

Surprise Kiss!

What have you been up to?

I had a fantastic day today. My parents were kind enough to let me use their house for the afternoon since I wanted to have a party and my little studio apartment really limits what I can do. I hosted a BBQ and pool party with my friends in “that house I grew up in” and we had a fantastic time! We all went to go see fireworks at the beach at the end of the night.

Sunset Beach

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Josh and I had my parents, grandparents, and grammy over this evening to see our apartment since only my parents had seen it before. We watched our wedding video on our big projector screen, too. Yes, we finally got our wedding video. It only took a year to get it. Part of that was my fault because I couldn’t decide what songs I wanted in it. I finally decided and then it took however long it took to get done.

We made BLTs for dinner and had some fruit and cake for dessert. My grammy brought us some homemade cupcakes. I indulged myself in one of those but I was so good all day that I actually could fit it in to my day.

grammy's cupcakes

In fact, I’ve been doing TOO well on my new diet the past two days. I am shooting for eating about 1200-1350 calories per day because any less than that is not healthy either. Yesterday I only ate 840 calories and today, even with the cupcake and the BLT, I ate 700 calories. It has actually made me quite frustrated. It seems I’m either eating 4000 calories in a day or I can’t eat enough for the day. I’m going to keep at it, though. I’m sure that as I go along I will learn to keep better track and be right around the goal.

Today, I decided that I am going to finally do something about my weight. I’m going to come right out and say it – I have gained 70 pounds over the past few years after I stopped playing softball after college and it’s time to take it back off and feel healthy again. The halfway mark will be losing 35 pounds and that is how much I weighed when I met Josh in 2006. I’ll be pretty happy when I even get halfway.

I joined myfitnesspal.com to help me stay organized and track my progress. Anna was the one who I found the site from because I saw her using it on Facebook. I’m so glad I did. I’ve only been using it for a day and I can already see that it will an integral tool in my success.

Wish me luck!

Also, here are a few more photos of Josh’s fishing trip yesterday from my father’s point and shoot camera. Enjoy!

Fishing Trip

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Today I upgraded to WordPress 3.0. Thankfully it didn’t cause me to lose anything but it did cause me to be a bit frustrated. First of all, I had to upgrade it manually. I know, because clicking five buttons or something is harder than clicking one button. It also broke my horribly coded theme! You’re probably rejoicing on that one too because now I am using something more aesthetically pleasing. However, it was still annoying to set that up. All in all, upgrading to WordPress 3.0 just annoyed me but nothing horrible actually came from it.

I probably should have waited until tomorrow to say I had upgraded. I probably would have just said something like, “oh I upgraded to WordPress 3.0 and I put up a new theme because it broke my old one!” Now that I’ve whined and ranted…

My grandparents are here from North Carolina this week so I’ve been quite busy over the past few days. Today, Josh went fishing with my Dad, my Dad’s friend, and my grandpa. He took some pictures with his camera phone so I thought I would share them with you!

Josh's Fishing Adventure

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One year ago, this is what I looked like.

Wedding!

I married my true love and my best friend.
It was awesome.

One day ago, this is what I looked like.

I went to the beach with my friends.
It was awesome. Not as awesome as my wedding, but still awesome.

I didn’t take the job at Petco since it was only for a month while the store was being remodeled and when I went for my interview I realized it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I’m going to look elsewhere. Keep sending those positive vibes!

First of all, I just had to let you know that Hanna figured out that the clouds from my last post were Undulatus Asperatus. I got really excited about it and I wanted to share in case anyone else was interested! Thanks so much, Hanna!

Today was my last day of school. We had already had the last day of classes but I’ve been going in and proctoring finals all week. Today was really melancholy for me even though it was nothing special or out of the ordinary. This permanent substitute job has been my job for two years and I’ve loved it so much. I met so many great people and got such great experience. It was also my first job using my degree after college so it was really special to me. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of other great adventures, but that place will always be really special to me.

A bit of “oh crap real life” hit me last night when I realized the paychecks would stop coming. Even though I could still tutor and do some side jobs for my father, I decided to get myself a retail job for the meantime while Josh and I wait things out. I applied online at Petco, a pet store chain here. Twenty minutes after I submitted my application, the store called me to schedule an interview. I have an interview tomorrow morning. I feel like I shouldn’t jinx it yet, but wow… that was easy. Still, wish me luck for tomorrow just in case.

Aww. (by caitysparkles)

I know Moko will be an even more spoiled cat if I work at Petco! That’s for sure.

There are only two days left of school. I have been proctoring finals since last Tuesday. It is pretty tiresome just watching students take tests all day long. I’d rather be taking exams myself.

I’m looking forward to summer break. I want to clean up this apartment and start going to the gym some more. I want to work really hard and drop a lot of weight before my grand travels overseas. Everyone wants to look their best before a new grand adventure, right?

My life is pretty boring at the moment.

Crazy Clouds (by caitysparkles)

I did see some pretty amazing clouds the other day, though. I never saw anything like them before. Josh and I went for a drive specifically to look at them. I wish more people took some time to stop and look at the sky. The sky is so amazing sometimes.

Today was the last day of classes! The kids were beyond excited which really translates into “bouncing off the walls” but it was still a really great day. At the end of the day, the teachers all went out with the kids and waved to them as they departed on their buses even though we will be seeing them at different times over the next week for their finals. They only come in when they take their specific tests and don’t stay for the full day.

It was a crazy sight with the entire faculty standing out there on the bus platform. It’s a huge middle school and I feel like there has to be at least 200 faculty and staff. Maybe I’m bonkers but that seems about right. We stood there and waved as all the buses honked their horns (and made us deaf) and the students waved goodbye to us. I saw one or two kids give the finger which I thought was not too smart considering their teachers are all right there and we will be seeing them for their finals! Sometimes they don’t think and get caught up in the moment, I guess.

The first final was today. The Social Studies final. During the Social Studies Final today, I had a student ask me if how a certain present “changed the status of slavery” was like changing their Facebook status. I was baffled. You just can’t make this stuff up.

I have been really out of the loop this week. Yesterday, I got home from work at 3:30 and went to sleep. I didn’t wake up again until 6am for work again. I was just so out of it and, to be honest, so down in the dumps that I just let all that time pass while I stayed in dreamland.

I am feeling a bit better today. I am a bit frustrated because I realized today that I don’t know when my last day of work will be. I am not sure if I am needed until the last day of classes next Tuesday or the last day of final exams the following Friday, the 25th. I would really like to know so I inquired both yesterday and today but I bet I won’t find out for the next couple days. It usually takes a lot of asking around to figure out something like that.

My parents are going away this weekend and they are entrusting me with watching their things! I’m going to be housesitting while they are away. I am going to take this opportunity to use their pool a lot and take Baylee (their adorable golden retriever) on lots of fun walks. Oh, and I am also going to take a lot of pictures hopefully. I have gotten back into the swing of blogging. Now I need to get back into the swing of taking pictures, too!

Today I went to my friend Elaine’s college graduation party. I had a pretty nice time despite the DJ being way too loud. I felt like an old lady but the bass was shaking the entire room. The cups at the tables the furthest away from the DJ had the liquid actually moving in them. That’s a bit too much, in my opinion. It was still a very nice party, though, and I was really proud of my friend.

One thing I was upset about was that I brought my camera and took not one photo. The place was on a beautiful location that overlooked the water and even as we were leaving the sun was setting over the water and my camera was right there in my bag being idle. In the party, I had plenty of opportunities to snap a picture of people but I just didn’t. I really need to try and sort out what my problem is. I think I have been a bit discouraged with my photographs lately and it has made me not want to take any at all. I expected to be better than I am at taking photos now, I think. Practice makes perfect, though, and I need to keep reminding myself of this fact and keep trying.

It feels good to be blogging again… even if it’s just a little tidbit each day. I really missed it. I caught up on a lot of other people’s blogs over the past few days, too. I didn’t leave as many comments as I usually do but I read almost every post I read through google reader and left some spare comments here and there. I had over 1,000 blog posts that I had missed due to my falling off the face of the internet for a while there but I think I’m getting back into the swing of things now.

I lead the song at Mass at my Church. Recently, I have been asked to sing at other events such as weddings and funerals since so many people have complimented my voice. Today I sung at a wedding at my Church. It was really nice and I had a nice time.

After Mass, I went over to my parent’s house to help my sister learn how to use her new zune mp3 player. It is always a little bit frustrating because my family is so low tech (even my sister) but I am always willing to try and help them with their many little computer emergencies.

The problem today was that my sister decided to use some random cable to plug her zune into the computer. Being that it was jammed into the device and didn’t actually fit, the computer obviously didn’t recognize it. I tried not to laugh and told her (and my parents) that she needed the correct cable and that you can’t just plug anything that you can make fit into the device.

I tried to find a replacement cable since my sister lost the actual cable that went with her zune. I hope it is able to be shipped by the time they leave for their trip. They are driving down to Virginia at the end of this week.

Today is my birthday! So far I have had an amazing day. I’m one of those people who always have amazing birthdays. Nothing goes wrong on my birthday! I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad birthday. When it’s my birthday, everything is sunshine and sparkles (even though it rained today) and my smile starts to hurt my face by the end of the day.

Amazon Kindle (by caitysparkles)

First of all, I got an amazing birthday present from my family. My parents, grandmother, other grandparents, and Josh all chipped in and got me an Amazon Kindle DX. My sister also bought me a beautiful leather case to go with it! After nearly drooling on it, squealing a little bit, and staring at it all mesmerized, I have been thoroughly enjoying it! I downloaded a bunch of free e-books already and I have been playing with a lot of the Kindle’s features.

Birthday Card (by caitysparkles)

Work was even awesome today. My friend Emily, who is an amazing artist, made me this awesome card and had most of my friends at work sign it for me! It meant so much to me! Also, the kids in my classes today were great and even drew me happy birthday pictures on the board. It was the cutest thing ever.

I even got a discount on my lunch! The owner at the deli we always frequent heard it was my birthday and barely charged me for my lunch. He gave it to me for practically nothing! It was so nice of him!

Josh’s mom sent me Season 1 of Flight of the Conchords on DVD. That was a pretty epic present, too. If you don’t know who Flight of the Conchords are, they are a New Zealand comedy duo who had an HBO series over here, too. They are absolutely hysterical and I love them so much.

Josh and I are going to go out for dinner tonight. I also found out that my friends are throwing me a birthday party this Saturday! How awesome is that? My friends and family really know how to make me feel loved.

My mom ended up actually making a comment on my last entry. It was pretty adorable, if that’s the correct word for it. I don’t know if anyone caught my mom’s comment amidst all the other ones but it was definitely there. Haha.

My life has been very busy lately but not all that interesting. The only humorous thing lately was that I got to tell the class I was subbing for yesterday “May the Fourth be with you!” It was, indeed, May 4th. I got a kick out of my silly Star Wars pun. The kids did, too. I love when I can relate so well to them and I think they love it, too. One kid made up a sign that told everyone it was Star Wars Day as decreed by the coolest sub in the school and she wanted me to let her hang it up. I told her she had to finish her work first. Unfortunately she never did finish her work but I think she forgot about it anyway.

I also supervised the track meet yesterday. My duties included wearing a bright yellow security jacket, walking the visiting team to and from their bus, and patrolling the field during the meet. The meet went very well and the kids all had a lot of fun. There had to be at least 75 boys on our track team and the visiting track team, although not AS huge, was still very large. The crowd, as you can imagine, was larger than both teams. Our school is a great community, though, and that includes the parents. It was a great experience. I had a lovely time and it was exciting when the kids were happy to see me turn up there, too.

I bought Josh a card today to thank him for being so awesome lately. I’ve been going through a lot and he has been nothing but supportive and helpful through all of it. I just wanted to say thank you.

Kitty Card (by caitysparkles)

The inside of this card said, “Damn, we’re cute.”
I added a whole bunch more, of course.

Do you ever just get people cards for no real reason in particular?
I’m sure sometimes you just want to say “thanks for being awesome” or “I think you’re pretty swell!”

Fouton cat. (by caitysparkles)

Every morning when I wake up, my cat Moko follows me wherever I go, meowing obnoxiously until I feed her. It has become pretty annoying and I have been trying to teach her that she doesn’t get what she wants when she meows like that. Some mornings are better than others but yesterday morning was especially horrible. She ended up being incredibly scolded and not being fed until I came back from running my errands that morning. She behaved for the rest of the day.

This morning when I got up, Moko was sitting at the top of the couch outside our bedroom. She just looked at me as if to say, “Good morning!” I was shocked! Never before has she done that. Usually it’s a loud and obnoxious meow and trying to lead me to the food bowl.

I was pleased. I thought perhaps she had learned her lesson from yesterday morning when I got mad at her! I pet her nicely and gave her words of encouragement. You have to reward the good. You can’t just punish the bad, right?

I walked into the kitchen to feed her, all proud of my cat. That’s when I saw the KFC bags from Josh’s unfinished dinner last night all ripped open. The cat wasn’t being her usual self because she had already had a feast.

I should have known better.

I’ve been going to the doctor a lot lately. I may have hinted this a few posts ago, but I found out recently that something actually quite wrong with me. My doctor ordered some blood tests because I was experiencing some symptoms that he didn’t like. One of those tests was an ANA Test or Antineuclear Antibody Test. Basically, the test screens for autoimmune disorders. My blood test results came back and my doctors were not very pleased. In fact, they sent me to a rheumatologist pretty much right away.

I was convinced that I just had a low immune system. You know, the most basic thing that could be wrong with me. I’d just walk around with a weak immune system getting sick sometimes. Plenty of people walk around like that and never know they have weak immune systems (besides the fact that they get sick a lot) because they never get a silly blood test like this and they live perfectly fine lives.

Then I heard the one sentence I didn’t want to hear.
“You have Lupus.”

Yankee Game (by caitysparkles)

I went to the Yankee game today with my family. It was a lot of fun and the Yankees won! My Uncle has been up from North Carolina this week and one of the things he wanted to do was go see the Yankees play. He lived in New York for most of his life and moved down there only recently.

Yankee Game (by caitysparkles)

I took so many photos today. It was pretty fun. I did learn something about myself today, though. In order to be a better photographer, I need to get over this petty fear I have and just take pictures of whatever I want whenever I want and not care what other people are thinking of me. Too many times I pass up amazing photo opportunities because I’m too scared of what other people think.

I need to learn from this guy.

Yankee Game (by caitysparkles)

That’s my uncle on the left. I was taking a picture of him and this random New Yorker just decided, “HEY! I want to be in a picture, too!” So he jumped right in! I need to be like that. Just do what I want! I could learn a lot from being like that.

While I was sitting on hall duty a few afternoons ago, along came two seventh grade girls with a large piece of construction paper each. On top of the construction paper were cut out paper letters a few inches high. They were on a mission down the long hallway to hang up the letters for their art teacher.

As they wandered along, they had one small problem: the paper letters kept flying out of their arms onto the floor as they walked down the hallway. They bent over to pick them up, giggling at me as they passed. “Silly papers keep dropping!” they said.

“I have an idea girls,” I offered. “Instead of trying to balance the letters on top of that paper, why don’t you put one hand on the bottom of your paper as you walk and the other hand on the top of your letters so they don’t fly off?”

They gasped. They told me that I was smart and that was probably why I was a teacher.

Yes. Yes, it is.

365days: 008 (by caitysparkles)

Tonight I’m baking banana chocolate cupcakes for my friend’s birthday tomorrow! I’m going to surprise her at work with them. Okay, well I lied… it’s not much of a surprise because I definitely blabbed about it today. I can’t contain my excitement about cupcakes! Could you?

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365: 004 (by caitysparkles)

If you celebrate it, I hope you had a nice Easter. I did! Josh and I went to my parent’s house and had a really nice time. It consisted of playing some fun games with Easter eggs, getting some nice gifts (including candy – yay for my mom reading my latest blog post – and a reed infuser from my grandmother), and me winning the “guess how many jelly beans are in the jar” contest. Apparently I could have somehow cheated being a math major by doing some crazy math formulas with circumference and jelly beans in my head and winning. Ha!

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Well, once again I changed my layout. I got very frustrated with the layout that I made for myself and then this one came along that I fell in love with so that’s that. Just a tiny explanation. I’m going to be adding a few things here and there like a photo gallery and a few other minor adjustments but long story short: I’m in love with it. Suggestions are welcome – especially as far as what to add to my sidebar.

My friends and I had a girl’s night last night. We had a lot of fun. I think this picture is proof that I had a lot of fun.

LOL WHAT (by caitysparkles)

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I decided to sign up for DailyBooth again. I thought it would be fun since I got myself a little webcam to document how I look every day over the course of a year or so. It might be fun to see how I look as I am losing weight.


You should add me if you have a Daily Booth too! :)

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I went to two bridal showers this weekend! Apparently all my friends are copying me and getting married. Haha. Both of the parties were for friends who I’ve been friends with since high school. I had a very nice time at each of them.

Kathryn's Bridal Shower (by caitysparkles)

Marisa's Bridal Shower (by caitysparkles)

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First of all, new layout. I made it myself.

It’s finally Spring Break. I’m so excited and a little more relaxed. This week is full of things to do and I’ll still be extremely busy but at least I don’t have to go to work, right?

This weekend, for example, I have two bridal showers to attend – one on each day. It should be fun. Me, being the last minute indecisive person I am, found myself wandering around Bed Bath and Beyond this afternoon for gifts. I found some nice things for each of my friends off their registries and was quite proud of myself. I even got them gift wrapped and they look beautiful!

Are you going to participate in Earth Hour tomorrow? All you have to do is turn your lights off. All of them. Join hundreds of millions of people around the globe in switching off to show you care about the planet! Earth Hour 2010 is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up, to take responsibility and to get involved in working towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to The Americas will stand in darkness and so can you! I am definitely going to! Are you?

Tomorrow is finally the last day before Spring Break. I am really excited. It is a casual dress day which I’m almost more excited about than the break itself.

We are doing a fun fundraiser at my school for the past few weeks for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society called Pennies for Patients. We used a fun activity for it, too. We have three assistant principals at our school and each had a large coin jar. All of the students could donate their spare change at lunch to one of the three jars. The assistant principal whose jar is the most full tomorrow will have a student throw a pie in their face each lunch period. That should be really fun to watch! I wonder who will get a pie in the face for my lunch period!

I still have this wicked, horrible sinus infection. I wish it would go away and leave me alone. At least it’s getting better. Work was pretty normal. I think the kids could tell that I wasn’t feeling well by my random coughing fits. I got to teach math today and it was one of my favorite topics – graphing! It was fun and the day flew by even though I wasn’t feeling well.

A drawing for Josh. (by caitysparkles)

I drew a picture for Josh today because I am a huge dork. Do you like it? I’m not the best artist in the world but I had to stick with it… get it (haha)? I wanted to put a quote on it but I couldn’t think of a good enough quote. What quote would you put on my picture?

Josh just came over to me with a hair-tie in his hand and a pout on his face and handed it to me.

“What to you want me to do with this?” I asked. My hair was already tied up.

He kept pouting. I realized he wanted me to tie up his hair. I laughed as he knelt down in front of me and I giggled as I tied up his hair.

Tied up! (by caitysparkles)
He even let me take a picture!

His hair is so long now and it gets in the way when he does things like do the dishes.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair in a partner?

I ruined my solid blogging fest since I reopened this place. I blogged every day since I reopened until I stopped for a couple days. I will have to try again next month to reach my goal of blogging each day for an entire month.

I do have reasons, though, aside from laziness. My grandfather has been in the hospital and is not doing well. He has an infection in his blood and I have been quite worried about him. I have been on and off the phone with my mother who has been in contact with the North Carolina crew who have kept us all posted on his situation. He is doing a bit better now that they know what is wrong.

I also had my hives come back. They are worse than ever. This time they were all over my body, even my neck and face. I felt like a hideous monster. I ended up finally caving to the idea that they are not stress related and going to see an allergist yesterday. Something is up with this. They’re not there all the time and something must be causing it. I had to figure out what. I didn’t want to have hives all over my body if there was something I could do to stop them.

The allergist told me that it was not something that I was doing and it was not an allergic reaction on the outside of any type given the circumstances. It was definitely something on the inside – something with my immune system having to do with my system. Not what I wanted to hear… that I’m somehow sick and have some sort of disease maybe? He told me I had to get bloodwork and we would go from there but not to worry too much because he sees it a lot and it could be nothing serous. (To me, all I heard was “It could be something serious.”)

This morning, a pattern finally dawned on me as far as my hives are concerned. I am not keeping my hopes up but I am definitely going to talk to my doctor about it. I had my monthly visitor and realized the hives appear every time alongside of it. Oh… there’s a thing for that and I fit the bill. Could it be? Could I have finally figured it out? I’m going to get my bloodwork done but I’m also going to call my doctor and see what he thinks about my thoughts. I just want to stamp a diagnosis on this damn thing so I can finally feel better and maybe start treating it.

I love how Josh left 2 comments on my last blog as “J-Boone Pickens” and “Surly J” to add to his recipe. It really made me giggle to see those. Hahaha. I just felt the need to point that out.

I’m feeling better today but my grandfather was in the hospital today. He is home now but he gave everyone quite a scare and is still very weak and not doing well. They ran a bunch of tests and such. I hope he keep feeling better. I hate being so far away. Most of my mom’s side of the family, including my grandfather, live in North Carolina.

IOGraphica - 2.1 hours (from 15-37 to 17-46) (by caitysparkles)

I found a really neat website that monitors mouse movements while you’re on the computer. This is what my movements look like when I browse the internet for 2 hours. I found it very interesting. What does yours look like? You can download the neat little program at IOGraphica.com. That’s my little find of the day.

One of my good blog friends, Alexandra, wrote a recent blog post about picture postcards that she made herself! She made them from stamps and added her own quotes to them and they were absolutely gorgeous. She is so creative and crafty!

She asked in the entry if anyone would like a postcard. I commented and said that I would love a postcard if she wanted to send me one! Today, a postcard came in the mail from France! It was a handmade postcard, hand stamped and made especially for me and I love it!

A postcard from France! (by caitysparkles)

The quote on the front around the stamps says, “The three essentials of happiness are something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for…”

The quote is special to her and she told me why in the message on the back. It was so lovely and it means so much that she sent me such a lovely post card! I love getting gifts from my blog friends in the mail because it makes you realize how special the friends you have made really are.

My postcard from France! (by caitysparkles)

Moko also liked the post card but after a while she tried to lick and bite it. I think she started to get bored after she read it all. Silly cat. :P

Thanks Alexandra!

Today I had to substitute for a reading class and the kids had to read their independent reading books for the majority of the period. Towards the end of the period, a kid came up to me and asked if he could borrow a stapler.

I asked him what he needed a stapler for. Theoretically the only thing he should have been doing (and the only thing I saw him doing) was reading his book and you don’t need a stapler for that, right?

I looked again and the only thing he had in his hands was his book. Again, I thought this to be very odd.

He told me that he wanted to staple the book so he didn’t lose his page. He was going to put a staple through the first 35 or so pages and the front cover because he was sick of losing his page. He said he tried folding down the corner of his page but it kept coming back up!

I said I didn’t think this was a very wise idea. I suggested that he take a piece of loose leaf paper and fold it up a few times and make his own bookmark. I told him that on his free time he could even color it and customize it.

He told me that I was a genius.
Just when you thought you had seen it all, right?

I was the substitute for the librarian today. I got to put books away according to the Dewey Decimal System and it made me happy. I also got to tell people “Shhhhhhh, this is a library.” It was awesome. Hey, wouldn’t you do that if you were given the chance? I was also happy that I wore my glasses instead of my contacts today because I even got to look up from what I was doing at people from over my glasses, too! All of the librarian stereotypes complete!

Shhh! This is a library! (by caitysparkles)

I also had to tell one kid that he had an overdue book from October so he couldn’t stay in the library during his lunch period (which is a privilege). I felt bad because he is a nice boy and I know he was just going to do his work but… October is a long time to have an overdue book.

Now isn’t a good time to mention that I have two overdue books from my public library that were due in November, is it? Maybe that is why I felt so guilty for sending him away. Yup… the truth always comes out.

I really didn’t expect a snow day today. To be honest, the snow really wasn’t that bad. I guess the snow just had the worst timing ever. The roads during the morning commute were horrible enough to close the schools. I got a call around 5:15 this morning with that good old recorded message telling us that the schools were closed. I nearly thought I was dreaming, though. I was so half asleep that all I remember was telling Josh that it was my birthday because the clock said 5:18 and my birthday is May 18th. Yeah, I am not really good at waking up. It’s okay to laugh at me.

I went grocery shopping and I decided to make the soup again that I made yesterday. I decided to make it my own this time and it turned out rather good. I added new ingredients and adapted it to be my own recipe. Josh helped too. I think I might make it one more time over the weekend and then share the recipe here. I am excited.

Josh made me a banana smoothie! What is your favorite drink to enjoy by itself?

I feel like my blog is nothing without pictures.

Today was awful. I had an allergic reaction of some sort and broke out in hives all over. I had hives all over my body (thankfully not my face and neck, though). Of course it’s a day I chose to wear a short sleeve shirt. Always my luck.

As far as I know, I’m not allergic to anything. I guess that doesn’t hold true anymore. This has happened a number of times in the past year so I guess I’ve developed an allergy to something. My friends were kinds enough to drive me around looking for Benadryl, the lovely little allergy pill, on their lunch break today. I was very appreciative.

The Benadryl helped a little bit and got me through the workday, but it made me extremely tired and I ended up taking a 2-hour nap when I got home from work. I’m still exhausted, though, and I’m sure I’ll sleep through the night. I’m just absolutely beat. I’ve had the worst luck health-wise over the past year and a half.

I think I’ll call the allergist tomorrow. I think the reason I’ve been putting it off is because I am scared he’s going to tell me I’m allergic to something I love. Like bananas. Or chick peas. Or my cat. Nobody wants to hear that. However, I’m done with this. Allergic reactions are scary and when I had trouble breathing today before I got my double dose of Benadryl, I realized I was done fooling around.

The beast sleeps. (by caitysparkles)

Just cross your fingers I’m not allergic to my cat.
I mean… come on… who can resist those cuddles?

The first day back to work after the break wasn’t bad at all. Most people were very mellow and relaxed and well rested after the break and so were the kids. They were just busy getting back into the routine and didn’t give anyone too much trouble from what I saw.

We did have a faculty meeting after school today. We don’t have many of them anymore because the teachers have small team meetings during the day instead to discuss things that are going on within their own small groups and there were a few faculty meetings foiled by snow days. It is good to come together every once in a while, however, and figure out what is going on. They even made a montage of photos from September until now of all the faculty participating in various events. I was surprised to see myself in the pictures. It made me happy. Even though I’m a permanent substitute, I still feel like part of the faculty.


That’s me on the left, next to one of the math teachers, and then her husband who is a gym teacher! One of the assistant principals is behind us! This was on the day where we were all showing our Yankees pride and had a dress down day to show our support for the World Series (or for the Mets in some people’s cases – hehe)! Behind us you can also see some of the guidance counselors coming out of their office – don’t you love the window painting that the art department did? I love it.

I had voice lessons tonight. It was great, as always. This whole day has made me absolutely exhausted, though. I am wearing my favorite slippers and I can’t wait to get some rest. As soon as my head hits that pillow, I’m going to be in dreamland!

Thanks for all the kind wishes on my fresh start here at my blog. I’m glad that you all support me and will keep reading. I am definitely going to be blogging without skipping a beat so I hope you’ll all keep reading. Just give me a bit of time to get things looking decent again. For now you’ll have to deal with a default wordpress layout and no subpages. I’m working on getting everything back to how it was. Thanks for being patient.

Tonight, I went out with my friends Laura and Emily (and Emily’s friend Debra) and we had a girl’s night out! We started the night off by having sushi. I had never eaten sushi before so it was a real experience for me.

sushi (by caitysparkles)

We went to a really nice place and I ordered a salad, cucumber rolls, and fried sweet potato rolls. Being vegan, I guess you could argue that “oh it wasn’t really sushi” but to me hey I ate seaweed and had the whole sushi experience so I am happy.

sushi (by caitysparkles)

Here is me about to take my first bite of sushi. If you’re looking at my forehead, let me just remind you that it is Ash Wednesday. I sung at the 4:00 service today and received my ashes.

The First Bite (by caitysparkles)

My friend Laura posed with me after my first bite. I am laughing at her, really. I did enjoy it a lot.

Debra and Emily (by caitysparkles)

This is Emily and her friend Debra. They were enjoying their sushi too although we didn’t get photos of them actually eating it. They posed nicely instead like sane people.

Karaoke (by caitysparkles)

Then we rocked out to Journey at a little place down the road that we wandered into. Karaoke is the best way to end the evening, right?

Karaoke (by caitysparkles)

Don’t stop believin’…