Monday, January 29, 2007

Christmas in Portland OR 2006

Well, better late than sorry....I went to Portland this last Christmas to take care of the house AND to see my family. I really had a good time and it was nice seeing my family and friends. Big thanks to Shar for putting me up and thanks to everybody else who helped me take care of the house.

Here's some pictures.

Monday, January 22, 2007


We did it. This weekend we acquired two cute kittens from the pound.

This is Tica:

Initially we thought that it might be interesting to get a pure bred cat of some exotic breed. We went to a couple cat breeders and were thoroughly disgusted by the treatment of the cats. I just don't think that you can humanely raise a large number of cats. And as soon as they are bred for money it looks like they stop being treated as pets.

Our first trip to the SPCA(pound) was a shocker. We got there at 2:00 on a Saturday and they were completely out of kittens and there were only a couple other older cats there which were by no means ugly or mean. We talked to an attendant and she said that there is stiff competition for the kittens and that we would have to get there at 10:00AM to get a good kitten.

We went back at 10:00AM the following weekend and there were already about 15 people pointing and talking about which ones they wanted. We pushed our way into one of the cat rooms and surveyed the cuteness. There were two kittens that were constantly playing and that liked to be held. They also had interesting markings like some of the pure bred cats we were looking at. Roberta and I quickly agreed and I raced off to make sure no one else got them.

This is Haka:

They have been nothing but cuteness since, well aside from this morning when one of them unleashed a flood of pee onto our comforter. They just jump around and run and play all the time. We got them these little catnip mice that they just love. We have take them aways at bed time or else they will be bouncing off the walls all night.

Here are some pics:


Sunday, January 14, 2007

First Glider Solo Flight

For the past 7 months I have been flying at the Auckland Aviation Sports Club which flies out of Whenuapai (Pronounced Fen-ew-uh-pie). Today I took my first solo flight which is a major achievement in my gliding career. Prior to 7 months ago I had no real concept of how to fly an airplane.

Today the instructor took me up for a check flight to make sure that I was ready to go up on my own. He didn't say a word on the flight which was a little strange. Usually the instructor is back there chatting away about one thing or another and I am constantly vocalizing my intentions of what I am doing. On this flight I was talking but getting no responses which was an odd feeling. I had to do everything right on my own without the typical confirmations.

I came in for a perfect textbook landing and we hopped out of the plane and he said that it was time to go solo. I strapped in and did all my pre-takeoff checks talking to myself. The takeoff went great and I released at 2000 feet. I flew around looking for some lift and found enough to keep me at 1700 feet for a few minutes but not enough to keep me up for an hour long first solo flight. I came in for the landing and stuck another perfect landing to much amazement of the people on the ground.

After that flight I couldn't stop smiling for an hour. What a great feeling to be completely in control of something so amazing and to see the months of work paying off.

The club is completely volunteer and people seem genuinely happy to be out there helping out. The aviation sector has a lot of die hard members, of which I am officially one now.

For any glider pilots out there, my first solo was in our Grob 103 Twin Astir since our Blanik is out of commission.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Earthquakes and Volcanos - Oh My!

I have yet to experience any earthquakes or volcanos in New Zealand, I can't wait. In Portland we had Mt. St. Helens, which blew big time when I was in the first grade. I can remember ashes everywhere. We had some small tremors in Southern Oregon.

And of course, there were lots of tremors in Costa Rica, not to mention the lava flowing at Arenal. You could watch it flow sitting in hotsprings below.

Check out this link, it looks like Mt. Ruapehu crater lake is going to burst.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Urrghhh Credit Cards and Bills

When we were living in Costa Rica we had all of our mail sent to a private post office box in Texas. The mail system in CR was sketchy regardless, and we weren't full citizens anyway.

Now that we are in New Zealand we are trying to have all of our bills in the US be permanently changed to NZ. Well, rarely any of the billing systems have the capacity for foreign addresses. Urgh!

When we try to buy things online, one of the security things they verify is the mailing address. Well, the way we would write the address is different than the way the customer service rep. figured out how to get it into their system, so they never match. Voila, can't buy anything online when they cross match security stuff. Arghh!

And lastly since I was in the US for two weeks over Christmas break this appeared to be dodgy activity so they suspended my card. I was carrying about a dozen cards at any one point, and maybe one would work at any one time. I'd call them, they would turn it on, then it wouldn't work....GIVE ME MY MONEY!!

OK I'll stop bitching, I found a way to buy some new shoes. NZ has poor quality or overpriced shoes, so naturally, I had to stock up :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Best Cough Drops Ever

So I went away for a while Portland and got really sick. Fever, coughs, shivers, achy bones. I was in a rough state. I came back and Adam got me THE BEST COUGH DROPS EVER. They were anti-inflammatory, cough suppressants, antibacterial AND it had codeine in it.

Best invention ever. It didn't knock me out or anything, just made my tongue and throat numb, just enough to let me sleep. They were way better than taking those oral anti-whatever that just dries out your whole body. Woohoo for a better health system that lets adults choose their own remedies.

I'm not a big pill taker, but if I'm really sick I will take whatever pills it takes to get better.

There ARE Comments!!

Well I thought I was just talking to myself, keeping a little diary for later in life, because nobody was saying anything. Nobody was posting comments. I thought I was talking to a wall. The stat counter was showing lots of hits. It did seem strange to me that nobody was leaving comments.

Well, I guess there was a glitch and just the other day about 50 or so comments got posted. I'm going to go back and read through them and make some responses. If you left a comment in the last couple of months, sorry about that....I'll get on it soon.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

More South Island Pictures from June

Adam's sister, June, just posted some more pictures on her flicker account . They hit some different spots than Adam and I did.