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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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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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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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.

Granity

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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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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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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!

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.

16/366

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!

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.

IMG_2863

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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Also coined by Josh as the One Percent Burger – because only One Percent of the people who read this will probably bother to actually make it.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Just about anyone can make a burger but it takes a pro like Josh to make a Fancy Arse burger – a burger that just exceeds your expectations. I’m not just talking about throwing a topping or two on top of your mince meat either. Josh makes one of these very special kinds of burgers and we decided to share the recipe with you in case you’re feeling like making something special. It may take a bit of extra work but it’s not too hard and the payoff is well worth the effort, I promise.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Ingredients
500g minced beef
4 strips of bacon
3 mushrooms
2 tomatoes
2 cups lettuce or spinach
1 medium onion
1 beef stock cube
1/2 cup grated gruyere (swiss) cheese
4 slices edam cheddar cheese
1 egg
4 tablespoons bread crumbs
italian seasoning
pepper
salt
tomato sauce/ketchup
mustard (optional)
4 epic hamburger buns

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Step 1: Combine mince with diced onion, diced mushrooms, chopped bacon, seasoning, salt, pepper, crushed beef stock cube, and egg.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Step 2: Mix it all up with your hands! Get in there! Have fun! The reason we add egg is to hold everything together and the reason we do not add breadcrumbs yet is because we don’t want it to all clump together.

Step 3: Add the breadcrumbs and mix it all together.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Step 4: Make some patties out of that mixture. Using baking paper makes it a lot easier especially with the egg but you do what works for you.

Step 5: Start grilling the burgers. Just a side note, even though you may like your burgers on the rare side, you won’t want them rarer than medium well here because of the egg.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Step 6: While they are cooking, you can start preparing where the burgers go by preparing the buns and the rest of the things that will go on the buns. Chop the lettuce/spinach (chop it finely so it covers the burger more evenly), tomatoes, and prepare the cheese because that cheese will soon need to go on the burger so it melts on nicely. Don’t forget the tomato sauce and the mustard if you’re Josh and you like yucky mustard on your burger.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Step 7: When they’re ready, put the cheese on the burgers so they melt nicely. Layering the gruyere (swiss) and then the edam cheddar is our favourite but if you don’t like one or the other then you can use that.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Step 8: Finally, you can put the burgers where they go. It’s pretty self explanatory from here.

Josh's Kick Ass Burgers

Josh took this last dramatic shot of his meal with his favourite beer on his own domain right before he ate it.
I hope you enjoy! Let us know if you try Josh’s burgers and what you think of them.

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?

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).

It’s Thanksgiving.
I miss my family.

All day, I tried to think of things I was thankful for. I made a huge list inside my head and every time I got sidetracked feeling sorry for myself being so far away from my family on Thanksgiving, I went back to my list. I didn’t even know I could think of so many things that I was grateful for. It really helped me get through the day. Josh was really good to me too. At first I got all emotional and upset at him because I thought he forgot about Thanksgiving but he went behind my back trying to plan all these big surprises for me. Then I felt pretty awful for just assuming he was ignoring me or being forgetful about Thanksgiving. I guess we’re all human sometimes, aren’t we?

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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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?

I know you have all been begging me for the recipe for the stuffed mushrooms that I posted but I have to confess that they were Josh’s handy work too and he won’t give me his secret recipe (which I believe actually means he made it up as he went along and doesn’t actually have a recipe to share with you – sorry).

However, in place of the stuffed mushrooms I will offer you something else. I was sitting at work on my break the other day and was flipping through a magazine and something caught my eye. It was this huge meatball sub topped with cheese and jalapenos and other sorts of epic goodies. It was on a rustic wooden table on a thick cloth napkin next to a basket of fries and a tall glass of beer. I looked up at the title: Boys’ Kitchen! “Josh would love this,” I thought. What I actually meant was, “Josh would love to cook this for us!”

So I brought it home in case the mood struck my amazing cook of a husband who did seem to like the idea of cooking these amazing meatball subs for us one night. I’m sure you already can guess that Josh decided to make these epic meatball subs. I am also sure you can already guess that I will share the recipe with you because I love you all so much and want you to have some epic meatball subs.

meatball subs

EPIC MEATBALL SUBS
makes 4 subs

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
100ml milk
500g mince
1 onion, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tomato passata (or tomato paste)
2 fresh jalapeno chillies
pinch cinnamon
1 avocado, thickly sliced
cheese of your choice to melt on top (we used mild cheddar)
4 sub rolls

1. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 5 minutes then combine it with the mince and the onion. Season and use damp hands to roll the mixture into 24 meatballs. Place on a tray, cover, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frypan over medium high heat. Cook the meatballs in a frypan for 6-8 minutes, turning until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.

4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the frypan and cook the garlic for 30 seconds, stirring until fragrant. Add the tomato passata, one whole jalapeno, cinnamon, and meatballs to the pan and stir to combine. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and thickened.

5. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Make a slit in the bread rolls lengthwise then toast under the grill for 1 minute or until golden brown.

6. Tuck avocado slices and 6 meatballs into each bread roll. Spoon over a little sauce then top with cheese and jalapeno slices. Grill for another 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

7. Enjoy!

an awesome dinner

The Mousse Master

Josh has been doing all sorts of nice things for me lately to show me how much he appreciates how hard I’ve been working. After I made some banana ice cream, he got an idea to make it even better. He was going to invent a brand new dessert for me that was a real treat after a hard day.

BANANA CHOCOLATE MOUSSE!

Josh's Banana Chocolate Mousse

Do you want to make some too? Well today is your lucky day. Josh is letting me share his super awesome dessert with you.

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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?

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.

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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[box type="shadow"]Question 30 of the BlissMB 30 Day Meme: Share something about yourself that you’ve been wanting to tell all the blog readers out there. Share pictures. [/box]

Whoa! The last day of the meme! I made it! :)

I suppose that one thing I should share that some people still seem to be confused over is the fact that I will be going back to New Zealand soon. Earlier this year, I came back from New Zealand without my husband Josh and it was the hardest thing I have done in my life. It has been a long, hard journey for me but that journey is almost over. Soon, and with some conviction from my family and friends, I will be headed back to my husband and back to New Zealand. I can’t wait.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me in the past few months, both online and offline. I really appreciate your friendship, support, and love.

I searched for a photo but nothing seems appropriate so you’ll just have to wait for me to go over there and take one. ;)

[box type="shadow"]Question 3 of the BlissMB 30 Day Meme: Who has changed your life the most? And why? [/box]

The one person who has changed my life the most is my husband Josh.

Us

Josh has helped me to become the person that I want to be. He has made me see what a wonderful person that I am and that I can be anything and everything that I want to be in life. He saw in me the great qualities I possessed that I had not seen for so long and he helped me to find them and nurture them again. He helps me to believe in myself and be strong even when life seems like it isn’t worth living. Most importantly, he helped me to see the world through much different and more mature eyes. I love the way that I look at the world now. I think we are both better people in many ways for having known each other.

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!

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!

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!”

Josh says the most random things. He always keeps me amused.

You know… Star Wars is a horrible name for that movie. It’s not like we’re talking about fighting celebrities or large balls of hydrogen and helium burning in space attacking each other.

This gem was said to me today while he was doing the dishes. Our tiny studio apartment that had been silent except for the ambiance of music a few moments prior was now full of Josh’s thought of the day. Well, one of them. I’m sure I’ll be graced with more before the day is done. He certainly keeps me entertained.

We’re both home sick today. I have spent most of it commenting on random blogs and debating whether or not I should change my layout yet again. I really should just spend the money and get an absolutely amazing custom layout made for me and finally not change it every other week.

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 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.

Josh loves squash. He decided that he was going to cook dinner tonight since I was sick with a fever and was home from work today recovering and resting. Not only was he going to cook, but he was going to make up his own recipe and invent something to make me feel better! How awesome is that? Well, it turned out to be really awesome so I wanted to share it with you!

I asked Josh to write the recipe down exactly as he did it. Some of it made me giggle, like his ingredient called “fake chicken” which of course us vegans of course would call something like textured soy protein or a meat substitute. Anyway, I am going to write the recipe exactly as Josh did! If you try it, let us know if you like it!

SQUASH AND MUSHROOM THINGIE

Squash and Mushroom Thingie! (by caitysparkles)

Ingredients:
1 green squash (zucchini)
1 yellow squash
half onion
punnet mushrooms (chopped)
half cup soymilk
fake chicken
cup chopped stringbeans
2 tsp margarine
vegetable stock cube

Directions:
Heat large saucepan, melt margarine into saucepan, add mushrooms and 1/4 cup soymilk. Whilst mushrooms are cooking, cube squash, chicken. Add all at once to saucepan. Dice beans, add to saucepan with remainder of soymilk, add veg cube. Dice onion, add to saucepan, cover, simmer for 25-30 min over low heat.

I worked all day on a new layout and getting all my content back up! I would love some opinions and also I’d love if you poked around to check for errors and spelling mistakes. It would help me out a ton. I typed up most of it from scratch, even a lot of my blogroll links… so make sure your link works! Also, if you’re not on the blogroll and you’d like to be just speak up! I am just overwhelmed and I’m not trying to intentionally leave anyone out!

Josh and I were talking about last night’s sushi adventures today and we were talking about how my friend Emily is allergic to crab. We started talking about allergies and how they are strange and random sometimes. I said how I’m not allergic to anything that I know of and Josh’s response was:

The only allergy I’ve ever had is to not being awesome, so obviously I’ve never had a reaction.

I burst out laughing. It dawned on me today that Josh says the most hilarious, random things all the time and they really keep me going. Josh sends me random text messages all the time, some relevant to the conversation we are having but still hilarious and some just out of the blue that just really give me those much needed pick-me-ups to get me through the day. I really am lucky to have that.

What was the last random funny thing that someone said to you?