Achievement Unlocked: New Visa!

So last night, I checked my email before going to bed, and there was a nice email from Immigration New Zealand, saying that my status had changed.  So i logged into their website and sure enough, it said “Work Visa January 2013”

WOOT!

It’s only a year long visa, but it’s still a visa.  I can go get permanent work now instead of temp jobs. I can be a contributor to the household instead of a drag on finances.  I get to say in new zealand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I am overjoyed, overexcited, and quite simply thrilled to no end.  I got very little sleep last night, and I’ve got a full day today. I’m going to crash tonight, but right now, I am on top of the world and singing songs.

And doing laundry, dishes, and straightening the lounge.  While guzzling caffeinated tea because I am dragging.

New tomorrow, here I come!

SOPA

Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to giants like WordPress and Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed.

 

So how do you take action?

 

The best way to do this is to call your Senator, or your Congressman, To call them and to let them know that the Internet should be free.

 

Also, if you can’t do this, go to google’s homepage, there will be a link there to sign a petition.  Sign it, and then call your Senator.

 

Information should be free and easy to access.  SOPA, and it’s Senatorial counterpart PIPA, will not ensure or enshrine either of those truths into our country.  Do your part.

Curly Wurly

Welcome to my world!

 

I’m going to divert a bit here and move on to being a complete and total corporate shill for the moment.

 

I love Lush.  If you have not had the joy of going into a Lush store, you should.  All of their products come from natural sources, and a good deal of them are Vegan as well.  And they smell heavenly and do exactly what they say they will do.

 

My journey into the world of Lushness started a few months ago, when I picked up a container of Herbalism, their face wash/scrub with tea tree oil and other things that are good for reducing redness and blemishes.  My skin has never been quite so pretty as it is now.  Then, I discovered the solid shampoo.  The solid shampoos are round discs of, well, shampoo.  you run them over your wet hair in three swipes, Right, center, left, and then lather and rinse.  There are many different scents and they all do different things.  For example, Karma Komba is a generic shampoo that smells of the most amazing perfume that they have in the store, Karma.  Seanik is blue and has chunks of kelp visible in it, which helps for the softening of your hair.  Godiva is yellow and smells of sweet jasmine, and has chunks of conditioner right in the bar!  So it really is insanely convenient!  Soak & Float is their anti-dandruff solid shampoo, I just bought this one the other day and I haven’t tried it out yet.

 

Then, we moved into the soaps and the body washes and the perfumes and everything is just fantastic.  The face mask that I have in the fridge for helping to combat blemishes, the body lotion that smells like heaven. The foot lotion that smells like chocolate and has a hint of capsaicin in it to help your feet get warm.   The Buffy body bar.

 

Oh the body bar.  It is a solid block of shea butter and cocoa butter and oh my god heaven with little bits of ground rice and almonds and aduki beans for exfoliation.  You get your skin wet and ready, then stand out of the water and rub this all over your body, you can feel your skin exfoliating under the touch, but also the butters are just soaking their way into your body.  Rinse of the exfoliants and then step out of the shower, pat yourself dry and be prepared for skin so soft and smooth that you won’t want to stop touching yourself.  I am serious.  Luxuriant in the most classic sense.

 

But, above and beyond all of these things, above and beyond even the most astounding body butter that I have ever felt, is this shampoo Curly Wurly.  It comes in one of Lush’s black pots, and it looks a bit like a strawberry margarita with small flakes of coconut inside.  It smells like coconut definitely, with a hint of vanilla.  But it is seriously the best thing in the world.  I have never been happier with my curly hair than I was when I first washed my hair with this shampoo.  I don’t even need conditioner with it, the coconut takes care of that.  My hair is soft, smooth, shiny, and nearly tangle free.  My curls are beautiful and easy to manage. I have been leaving my hair down more and more since I discovered this shampoo, and I have not regretted it once.  Only five minutes to brush my hair before bedtime.  Five minutes!  That is insanity itself!

 

I have never, in my life, been more head over heels in love with cosmetics and body stuff like I am with Lush.  If you haven’t been to a store near you, then you should go!  Or, you can order online!  Self-confidence is at the root of all beginnings for a better life.  And their products have made my self-confidence all that much easier to enjoy!

 

Ok, I’m going to go back to playing with my hair now.

Stamper

When I was little, maybe nine or ten or so, the US Postal Service started a program all about having pen-pals.  They even had a mascot!  It was a bald eagle, of course, and this bald eagle’s name was Stamper. I think the idea was to get young kids more involved in the wider world around them.  And hopefully help them build long lasting relationships with people from foreign nations.  Yes, this was before the Internet was a big deal, or even a little deal.  Follow along here.

 

So my father got me all signed up and involved in this Stamper program.  And while I’ve spent some time today looking for it online, it must have been called something else because I can’t seem to find it.  Anyway, I got hooked up with another little girl my age in France.  Which was fantastic, because I knew a little French at that time.  I think we wrote about four letters all told back and forth on this really neat stationary, and then they got put into the air mail envelopes with stamps and away they went!

 

Of course about four letters is the most that could hold my interest, and apparently the same for my pen pal.  After four letters we just stopped writing and that was that.  Which brings me to my larger point.

 

I am a horrible pen pal.  Just horrible.  And I’m not just talking about letters to foreign lands or anything, I’m talking about emails and birthday cards, christmas greetings and thank you notes.  Oh, my grandmother tried to pound the importance of thank you notes into my head but I just could not do it.  Which of course always got me into trouble with her, but I figured if I had seen the person and said thank you to their face, why did I need to send them a card?

 

Little girl logic.

 

But now that I’m getting into being a proper adult, or so they tell me, I am finding it necessary to write such things. Christmas cards and Thank you notes.  And I’m finding it so very difficult.  Especially the timing! Trying to get pieces of mail out into the system in enough time so that a New Years card will arrive at least in the first part of January and not March (I failed on that one this year)!  Sending an email is just so much easier, but a lot less personal.  So now, I’m having to teach myself politeness all over again.

 

Of course, for me, I’m going to type up the thank you note and slide it into a card.  Because what’s the point of writing a thank you note when the receiving person won’t be able to read it?  Yes, my handwriting really is that bad.  Also, if the note is going to be more than just “thanks for the thing”, but it’s going to have more information in it, there is only so much room on a card, and I just can’t see the point in sending two cards, that’s just wasteful!

 

So I’m trying to become a better communicator, and there are lots of problems that I have with that.  But those particular neuroses will have to wait for another day.  It’s absolutely gorgeous outside and I think I might go enjoy the weather and read on the porch.

 

After putting on sunscreen, of course.  Can’t afford to turn into a lobster now!

I Can Almost Reach….

The sky.

 

One of the first things that I fell in love with down here in New Zealand, other than E, was the sky.  It’s one of those visceral feelings that you get when you first get off the plane and look up, especially on a mostly clear but still fluffy cloudy day.  There is just so much sky up there.  And the color of the sky is so amazingly crisp.  And the clouds are so very close.  So very close.  At times it really does feel like you can reach up and touch them.

 

Now true, there are trees everywhere, and the land itself is so very green it could probably give Ireland a run for the money.  There are mountains and valleys, and parklands as far as you can see, with old stately trees reaching to the sun, their trunks thin and twisty.  But you look at them, even with the moss growing on the branches, and the multitude of wildlife and birds that you’re not used to and once again your eyes are drawn up and up and up to the sky.

 

It goes on for seemingly ever.  particularly if you’re standing at the top of a hill.  You can see everything on a clear day.  Sure, there are trees and hills and houses all around you, and the occasional tall office building, but all around that, there is sky.  And on some days, the color of the sky is unreal, unimaginable. You sit and you look at it and somewhere in the back of your internet filled mind you think to yourself, “This has to be photoshopped”.  But it’s not!  The sky really is that brilliant azure blue that you only usually see in children’s drawings and tourism guides.  And the clouds.

 

The white fluffy cumulus clouds that we learned about in high school.  The ones that mean fair weather, but could turn to storm clouds as well.  They are huge.  Fluffy and white and they go on forever.  They feel so very low, but they are still the same clouds that you know are not the lowest point (nimbus clouds hover lower if I remember correctly.  And of course Fog).  But they are just so very close.  And so very dramatic.

 

That’s right, fluffy bunny clouds are dramatic.  The way the light hits them, the way the curvature of the moisture has formed.  There is always a new way for the light to play against the clouds, and it does.  The air is cleaner down here, and the sky brighter, and the clouds more impressive.

 

I was driving over the Harbor Bridge the other day, well ok I was riding on the bus, and I looked out my window over the harbor and towards the city.  The skyline for downtown Auckland still causes me to catch my breath at times.  Something about it is just so very breathtakingly beautiful.  I don’t know if it’s just the SkyTower, or if it’s because the city practically rises up straight from the water, or because of the magnificent vast stretches of sky behind it.  Or if it’s some combination of the above.  But there it is again, the sky.  Any direction you look, it goes on forever.  I’ve heard people make these comments about Montana or Wyoming, but having never been there, I can’t make my own judgements there.

 

I can tell you that on a sunny spring or early summer day, when the weather is just right and the clouds oh so perfectly fluffy white and the sky is that cerulean blue that is considered to be almost perfect, on those days, it really does feel like nothing else in the world could compare to this place at that time.

 

Of course then the storm clouds move in and it begins raining buckets on your head, but that is going to happen anyway because we live on an island.

 

But rain! What about the rain?  Yes, we should talk about the rainclouds, the way they sweep in across the land and how if you know what direction you are facing, you can watch the storm systems moving towards you.  You can see the clouds forming and building and racing across the atmosphere, and even on a cloudy day where everything is overcast, there is still drama in the sky. The clouds build in layers upon themselves, and there are still shapes and forms amongst them.  And every now and then you get a spot in the clouds where the sun has broken through and there is glorious light cast upon everything.  And you can see the storm above your head and to your east, but to the west, there is sunny skies, and that beautiful blue sky.  Even as the clouds are racing overhead and you can feel the rain seeping into your skin, you know, there are sunny days still to come.

 

So while I love this county, and I do love this country, and I love the trees and the wildlife and the  people.  But the one thing that never fails to amaze me is the sky.  Photos don’t do it the true justice, since they only capture that moment.  To truly appreciate the New Zealand sky, you have to live it, watch it, be drenched by it, and then be dried by it.

 

One more thing that I love about New Zealand.

Flying Time

Goodness Gracious where does it go!

 

Just a quick note from me today to inform you all that I am indeed still alive.

 

E had this last two weeks off, so we’ve been spending some serious quality time together, and that has left me less time for the writing!

 

But alas, the real world has called and he is back at work.  I’m still fighting with getting my immigration stuff sorted.

 

Upnotes!  I signed up to do a 10k walk next month! Because I am a complete and total nutjob.

 

So i’ve decided to start going to the gym more often.  We’re talking like every weekday more often.  To do at least 30 minutes on the treadmill (I still haven’t fallen off! yay!) during the day and then go back at night with E on his gym nights to do weights.

 

Although, note to self, after last night’s first attempt at doing this program, I really need to eat/drink more sugar/carbs if I’m going to do this kind of training.  Last night resulted in a bit of an insulin crash and I had to stop about 1/3 of the way through my weights routine.

 

Bummer.

 

So that’s what’s been going on.  I’ll post up about the Botanical Gardens in a bit, but first, I gotta get to the gym!

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Treads on the Mill Go Round and Round

One time, a long time ago, I had a terrifyingly traumatic experience with a treadmill.  That is to say that I got onto the treadmill and since I had improper posture/walking/gait/whatever and did not pick up my feet while walking, instead I shuffled everywhere, the treadmill and I were very close in a short period of time.

 

Like face to treads close.

 

Suffice it to say that I have not since gotten on a treadmill.  The memory of that incident, the abject terror of repeating it again, only this time with other people around to witness my humiliation. I simply could not do it.  I would look at the treadmill and think that it would be easier to do, that I could do it and it might end up being better for me than the elliptical/crosstrainer.  I could walk for longer and not get quite as tired.  But I could not quite get the memory of that tragic faceplant out of my mind.  And now that I’m at this gym where I like the people around me? And have actually gained some of their respect?  To lose it all in a moment of utter ridiculousness that would be my flying off the back of the treadmill in a glorious  ball of not yet lost fat?  Yeah, not ideal.

 

So I stuck with the elliptical.  Even though I was feeling that it wasn’t quite doing it for me anymore.  For some reason I felt as though I was not achieving my goals anymore by doing just the elliptical.  Granted, the gym has bikes available, and I know that I can do that, but I’ve found that sitting on the exercise bikes usually ends up being ten minutes worth of trying to not feel like I’ve got the worlds biggest wedgie.  And that is not conducive to getting into the ‘zone’ for a good cardio workout. It’s just not.  So the next step, logically would be the treadmill.  But how do I get over my paralyzing fear?

 

This is where E steps in.  He has more ability to encourage and support me than I think even he is aware of.  His faith in me and his strength of support have been huge.  Also, there is no way I would have gotten onto a treadmill if he were not right next to me.  If I’m going to look like a fool, I want my scrawny-legged man right next to me to make me feel better.

 

Huge props also to the guys at the gym, especially Tom.  He has been huge for my confidence, and him telling me that he knows I can do it while not being overly pushy or insistent has been huge.  He makes me want to push myself to the next level just to be able to prove to him that I can.  If those are not great qualities in a personal trainer, then I don’t know what makes a great personal trainer, obviously.

 

Another big thing was something that I picked up somewhere, but I don’t remember where.  It sounds silly at first, but visualizing myself doing pretty much anything has been a huge help.  Whether it’s been making a dinner that I’ve been thinking about lately, or writing a post that’s been on my mind, or conquering a treadmill, I’ve thought about it for at least a few days.  I know, my posts still sometimes come out very disjointed, but those are usually the ones that were spur of the moment.

 

So after a few weeks of thinking myself through the process of getting onto the treadmill and staying on it I finally did it.

 

I climbed onto the treadmill and started off slowly, but i did it. I managed to do not one, but now two workouts on the thing.  I’m still working my way up to doing the ‘preset’ workouts like the ‘glute busters’ and ‘leg trainer’ but i’m just proud that I haven’t quite fallen off of the machine yet and caused a scene of epic non-awesome proportions.

 

A fitter me, here I come!

150

Well, I had hoped to make my 150th post a BIG CELEBRATORY DEAL!

 

With lots of thoughts and maybe some food, and talk about life down here in New Zealand.  Instead, I’m going to end up making this, a monumental post indeed, short and sweet and happy.

 

This is where I take a bit of time out of my life and wish my friends, my family, my readers, and my soon to be readers who will flock to my brilliance very soon, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Yule, And every other holiday you can think of.  Including Festivus.  And if you’re feeling particularly grumpy, a Happy Sunday!

 

I hope you are all having a fantastic time with your loved ones wherever you are in the world, and I hope you are all as happy and content as I am.

 

This year has been full of ups and downs, more Ups than downs, and I think next week I’ll have a more comprehensive wrap up post in honor of the New Year, but at the moment, I am simply going to wish you all a Happy New Year, and then go and enjoy some time with my closest and best friend.

 

Happy New Year, Love you all!

Liebster

 

So the other day I got a rather nice comment on my blog from Sarah, over at Comfy Sweaters, Writing, and Fish.  Apparently, she nominated/awarded my blog with a Liebster award.  Now, While I have been online for quite sometime and this is technically at least my 4th overall blog, I had no idea what this was.  So I did some research (it involved going over to Sarah’s blog and reading her post) and found out that this is a chain letter of sorts that goes around to other bloggers.

 

 

Now, I’m not a big fan of chain letters, really.  I usually just ignore them, but this one didn’t seem to have any sort of bad things to go along with it, just more promotional of people you read.    So, actually, good things, especially during this time of year.  So, I set myself about thinking just who and what to do with this award chain?  So i went back to Sarah’s blog and found the rules there, they are as follows:

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link Back to the blogger that present said award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present this award to 3 to 5 blogs under 200 followers that are beautiful, funny, good, and or sparkly.
  5. Let them know they have won by commenting on their blogs.

 

Fairly simple, right?  But the question is, how do I find out how many followers a person has?  No matter! I shall do this the old fashioned way!

So Here Are Blogs That I Like:

 

Run, Eat, Date, Sleep

Englishman Eating Food in California

Photobotos

Cell Relics

Challa-peño

 

A wide variety of reading choices! There’s the life of a 30-something and her new adorably puppy Molly Grace.  There’s professional photographers, an englishman trying to become a food critic, An Astrobiologist going to school in Japan, and a Mexican Jew and her daughter!

 

Really, you should go check these out! They are fantastic!