Saturday, December 13, 2008

Muriwai Beach first day of summer

 


Thanksgiving bbq at the beach in Muriwai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Moving to New Zealand Plug

You may have missed it but some folks in Wellington posted a comment requesting to plug a new dvd about moving to New Zealand. They are from the east coast US and are now living in Wellington. Anything that helps skilled labour move to NZ is OK by me. Granted I've never seen this video so can't vouch for it. But if they wanted to send me a free dvd, and I'll check weather its good, and later post a nice review I would.

send to:
21A Cathedral Pl
Parnell, Auckland

Yes it's a shameless ploy for something free, but hey, I'm already in NZ and don't really need to watch it.

My first duo sport swim/run

I did a Stroke and Stride event at St. Heliers. 750m swim, 3 k run and I am pooped. I was really nervous about it, mostly about the transition and not having the flash gear, and having my blabs hanging out everywhere.

When I arrived at the race there were some real pros (totally buff hot people) walking around. Crap-oh-crap I thought. Well I walked around and eyed some ladies that looked more my style sat down and set out my stuff. Turned out they were talking about doing other runs/thons/tris etc or about how they got home drunk the other night. Whew! My kind of people.

I pushed it really hard for the 750m swim because I knew swimming was my better suite. What sucked is that I got out of the swim early in the pack and then just had everybody pass me on the run. I only passed two people running a - girl walking and an old man doing a half gnome like kiwi-shuffle (the guys start 20 minutes before the girls).

And I won a cool hat at the prize give away. I'm definitely going to do another event soon. I'll drag Adam along next time so I won't have to ride my bike home. That was the grilling bit. That added another 25km to my day on top of 8 hours at work. Work is definitely going to get in the way here soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Parenting Beyond Belief

For all the parents out there, I came across a really cool seminar for parents:

Participants learn effective ways to encourage religious literacy without indoctrination; help kids interact productively with a religious world; help kids develop active moral reasoning; weigh church-state issues in the public sphere; address sensitive issues with religious relatives using the principles of nonviolent communication; help children develop a healthy understanding of death and a joyful love of life; build a family atmosphere of fearless questioning and boundless wonder; and much more.

Here's the link:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I did the Auckland Harbour Crossing!

Yay, I swam across the Auckland Harbour today in the organized sea swim. I could have swam a lot farther. I think I'll try to do another ocean swim for a farther distance. They do a swim around Rangitoto that is about 4.8kms. I think the only thing holding me back is the chafing around my neck from my wetsuit. I used some anti-chafing stuff (comes in a deodorant type dispenser), which helped, but I still have a sensitive raw ring around my neck that burned like hell when I took a bath. I'll post my time result when they come in.

I was going to go for a jog today too, to start preparing for a triathlon, but I fell fast asleep after my bath. I'm making up for the last two sleepless nights. I think I was a little nervous, glad I finished and had fun.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Auckland Harbour Crossing Swim

It's time for me to do something crazy. I've been training for the Auckland Harbour Swim. I think I'm prepared. Yesterday I swam 3000 metres at the Parnell baths (cold saltwater pool), and I have been doing some open water swims with a local group at Kohimarama so feel fairly prepared, but it will still be a challenge. I'm looking forward to it. Wish me luck!

I hope my teeth don't get too cold and fall out.

Dental Implants in New Zealand


As some of you may know, I've had some dental problems stemming from an accident as a little girl. My two front teeth, literally, where knocked dead and I have been very careful with a second set of crowns on them. They finally both came loose at the same time, and I had both of the entire tooth pulled and two titanium implant posts as replacements. Titanium apparently does a really good job of 'melding' to the jaw bone. I have some really gross photos to go with the event. Dr. Collins at Newmarket Dental and Dr. Myers at the Institute of Dental Implantology. This website explains what happened.

This is a not-so-gross photo, but there are plenty more really gross ones here. These are my actual 'not' teeth. Oddly enough these new teeth (with temporary crowns until I get porcelain replacements in a couple of months) feel tons stronger than my natural teeth. Now I have a bionic mouth! And, yes, it was really expensive.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Still on the bicycle challenge

I've been riding to work everyday rain or shine. Yay, it's been fun and I've lost a little weight, fortunately no close encounters with cars since day 1.

Yesterday I opted not to ride my bike because of a dentist appointment, then I was going to take a taxi to work. For various reasons I ended up riding the bus to work during rush hour and it was soooo painfully slow. Urgh, I'd rather ride my bike in the pouring rain than ride the bus in rush hour. People were walking faster than the bus and I still had to walk a kilometer or so to work so what is normally a 8-10 minute bike ride turned into an hour long bus commute.

On the dentist, my front tooth cracked off from a weak crown and now I have to get a dental implant. It's going to be soo fun! I can't wait, plus I have nothing better to spend my money on. Dental insurance doesn't cover 'cosmetic' - since when does replacing a tooth equate to cosmetics? Insurance companies suck.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Month One on My Bike

So it's been about four weeks since I've been commuting to work by bike. I'm much more savvy in traffic than my first day when I got hit by a car. Except now I completely take over a lane when I need to and don't give a fuck sake whether they start honking their horn. At least they see me. The days are getting longer so I'm mostly riding during the day. Still having fun on it, got all the traffic lights dialed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some US vs NZ musings

We've been out of the country for just over 3 years, having lived in Costa Rica and now New Zealand for the last two years. I certainly do miss the conveniences of living in the states. There's a lot of things that are just faster (internet), cheaper and easier in the US vs. living in NZ. I won't go into those details. However, the one thing that disturbed me the most was the high level of homelessness in the US. We stayed at a friend's in San Francisco and for the three days. We watched homeless people either shoot up crack or taking shits on porches. Once you've numbed yourself to the spectacle its easier to ignore.

If you live in the US you just stop seeing homelessness after a while. Its just another disturbance in everyday life that you don't notice any more. It was very disturbing to be reminded of the absolute thing I had had always tried to forget, living in Portland.

In New Zealand, yes are there homeless people who obviously need help. But, not anywhere near the level as in the US. Yes, we pay a lot of taxes here but at least we know where it's going - you know - minor things like health care and housing.

Right now the sub-prime housing crisis has drawn plans from Washington to save Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae, but how is the new legislation going to actually trickle down to actual home owners (and when is trickle down doing to leave the english language)? The Secretary of HUD is saying it's going to do more harm than good for actual homeowners. I bet it's all about the details of the implementation plan, that favor the shareholders of the corporate entities.We've got respected Slate.com saying it's a good thing and we have PBS saying it's a bad thing. I'm inclined to agree with PBS, let the markets run it's course and stop bailing out these quasi-private-public agencies.

Also why isn't there more journalistic in depth analysis of this? It took me forever to find even a small amount of information on this subject. Oh yeah, that's right homelessness is ignored...it's all about the corporate bailout.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Got Hit by a Car on My First Day Commuting by Bike

Yes, sadly, Auckland drivers are totally dildos. It was a pathetic wet rainy morning and some douchenozzlette on her way to work drove by me and clipped me with her mirror. The best part was she didn't stop.

I bitched her out at the next intersection, scaring the living shit out of her. I forgot to get her plate numbers. Here's what Cycle Action Auckland say to do about reporting incidences. It looks like I'll be filing a report.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bicycle Challenge #1 Complete

They were so sure of the Bianchi Volpe as a steel tough commuting bike at the shop they humourously challenged me to test it. The smirky smile on Adam's face acknowledged that if there was something to break I would find it.

I fully admit I'm the asshat twit who doesn't know how to shift gears. It's an honest mistake, I haven't been on a bike in years. You just have to pedal when your shifting, but I forgot about the 'lifting up' as you shift part. Doh! I snapped my bike chain going up the steep bumpy hill. AND, I couldn't get my foot out of my pedals and I careened over and landed my side-ass on my seat post.

I've been on vacation for the last month and my first Monday back to work didn't go to well.

Adam saved the day and my bike is working so I'm going to give it another try tomorrow. Gotta go ice my ass now...

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Bianchi Volpe

Yay, I'm so excited about my new bike, a Bianchi Volpe! We are like one now that I have the clipless peddles. I can power up our steep bumpy driveway. I was really hesitant to get a new bike for fear I wouldn't ride it. That is definitely not going to be the case with this bike. It's such a pleasure to ride. I just went out and rode about 40ks and this is the first time I've been on a bike in over 3 years, dam! It's been too long.

Here's a cute little pin-up at the local wetland park - Roberta Reserve - that's on the round the bay bike loop.



Somehow Adam and I stumbled into American Cyclery, what must be one of the best bicycle shops I've been in for a while. After experiencing some asshats down the street, the guys at American cyclery were like talking to some old friends who had some great bikes to share. I spent practically the entire day testing out all of the bikes before landing on the steel frame Volpe. I think it reminded me of my old Bridgestone in college. Anyway big thanks to the mechanic and the guys adding the commuting paraphanelia (racks, fenders etc). They didn't try to sell me the most expensive gear, just what was practical.

Again thanks to Adam for putting it together and teaching me to tune, and June for getting it to the airport. I'm a happy bike rider again! Let's hope car drivers don't ruin it for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back in the States Part 4 of 4 : San Francisco and Beyond

After High Sierra we spent 3 days recovering in San Francisco at Adam's sister's and her b.f. Kevin's place. We were pretty burnt and spent practically the entire time taking naps on the floor in their tiny apartment. Kevin took the time to explain the strategy of the Tour de France, or just road bicycle racing in general. And we basically tried to stay out of June's way cuz she works (a lot) from home and we were probably a little annoying with all of our floor snoring.

However, I must say, June performed a rockin' sisterly-like finale when, after the large size cab failed to show up, she drove us to the airport. This is after reserving a Zip car truck over her phone-gadget. Whoa! Sweet Jesus we are in the land of car sharing bliss. June got us to the airport in record timing, using her long-forgotten farm truck driving ways. Yee-ha! We had to have the truck to carry my new bicycle in along with all our stateside bootie.

Also a big hello again to everybody we saw: Kristen, Darren, Art, Josh, Josh's look alike cousin, Art, Tianna, Monty, Jim Bean, Monica, Isabella, Patrick, Jerry, Jarren, Simone, Brian V., Mom, Andrea, water gun fights with Andre, Tio, Larry, Rachel & Kurt, Tanna, Marya and family, Jeanette and all of those kool kids at the baby shower, Pete, Kevin's family, Trisha and Ted & co, Megan and Dave atari, Nancy and J, and of course Gene and Charlotte and the goats (cheese!), Chuck and his family, Pam and Mark, Erin, Dawn, Angie, Natalie, Jen and daughter, Angie's mom, Dad, Sheila, Tommy, Roger, Shanna and Brian, Dan, Ian, Dr Dan, Jamie, Kevin and Christy, Nancy and Kevin, Kearstin. There's a number of people I may have forgotten and there are a number of people we didn't get to see that we really wanted to.

Fortunately it's a small world and there will be more time to visit soon enough, though it does seem like time has been flying by. It seems like just a couple of months ago since we left Portland for Costa Rica. I'll refrain from digging back further into the pre-blog memories such as living in Ashland, Florence, The Dalles, Ithaca NY, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and even Klamath Falls. Yikes I'm either getting old or have I always been a sort of vagabond? Probably a little of both.



Now it's just nice sleeping in my own bed.

Back in the States Part 3 of 4 : High Sierra

By far the highlight of our trip to the states was High Sierra Music Festival. We've been to High Sierra about 4 or 5 times now and we both always have an incredibly good time.

We usually camp in the same spot with generally the same people - friends from Klamath Falls and Portland. Here's some photo albums:

Dr Dan's Photo Album

Dan the Man's Photos

Adam's and my photos including other vacation pictures.

Some musical highlights of the Festival for us include:

Ryan Montbleu

The Everybody Fields

The Weather Underground

and the James Hunter Band

By the end of the festival Adam was so inspired he proposed to me, so now we are engaged, and no I'm not pregnant. More on this marriage topic later...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back in the States Part 2 of 4 :On the goat farm



Originally uploaded by Kingnerd
We have been on our stateside vacation for a number of days now. When we left NZ it was cold and rainy and the fireplace was in operation whenever we were at home. Now we are in Marion Oregon where it is about 100 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

Roberta is out at a camp with her sister and kids but will be coming to the goat farm party tomorrow. It should be a big one, probably upwards of 50 people. Good times. We have all the food prepared already so we aren't rushing around today.

In a couple days we are off to Klamath Falls to visit some friends and then it is 4 days at a music festival. I can't wait to be overstimulated with music.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back in the State Part 1 of 4: Portland

As most of you know we spent the last three weeks in the States. Here's were we went and did.

Darren and Kristen graciously hosted us, again, in their large beautiful home in northwest. I really connect with Kristen, and Darren is always so sweet (even though he looks like a bad-ass). That night their band The Chapman Swift played, where Kristen turned into a rock-n-roll diva, Darren a killer drummer, Dan on bass, and Josh and Art on guitar. Art's girl Tianna (sp?) and I got the crowd shaking their booties and we had a really good time. I need to spend more time with Tianna, she's cool.

The next day we hung out with Monty and had a game night which also included Jim Bean - an American who spent some time in NZ learning how to hunt wild pig . We had lots to talk about, haha. I hope some day we'll live in the same town as Monty so we can have regular game nights.

I also had a chance to hang out with Monica and family which was fun. More on family later.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trip to Melbourne

Adam had a conference in Australia so we decided to spend some time in Melbourne. We've been hearing a lot of good things about Melbourne. Everything we had heard was true. Melbourne is a spectacularly cool city. I don' really know how it ranked lower than Auckland. Melbourne was much nicer than Auckland, except maybe because it was a lot colder than expected.
Here's some pictures of the trip.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Advanced Rider Training at Puekohe


Two weekends ago I went to the Pukekohe racetrack for the Advanced Rider Training. I've been meaning to get to the race track. I've always figured that it would be good to test my bike in a safe(r) environment. What I didn't think/realize was that I would have a farkin blast! It was so fun. And so dangerous at the same time.

Here's a video of me passing on the inside, bout three people. Though I was in the novice slow group, I was passing a lot. Though, I probably could have ridden in the next group up, I opted not to as I didn't need to push it. It was a learning, not racing day.


I don't think I'm going to go to the race track again for a while. It's dangerous and I should probably stick to hobbies that don't burn a bunch of fossil fuels or can get me killed instantly.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

ANZAC Trip around the East Cape

Adam had a couple of gigs in his band so I took off for a motorcycle ride around the East Cape of New Zealand. I didn't know anybody who was into distance riding.


View Larger Map

ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps, and ANZAC day is a public holiday (yay!). It's the last three day weekend at the end of summer. Adam and I were going to go to the Great Barrier Island but the music thing was something Adam is really into at the moment (somebody ask him to post his song, it's very 'poppy polynesian').

So, about the East Cape, very very similar to the Oregon Coast except they have some bad ass natives (as compared to oregon coastal crusties).

From the New Zealand website encyclopedia, the area is pre-eminently a farming district, with very little industry and few alternative avenues of economic development. It has, however, a large and rapidly growing Maori population requiring in the immediate future increased opportunities for employment. The East Cape offers the social scientist a remarkable field of research; for its Maori community, having experienced the shock of a new culture, is in the process of adjusting itself to modern civilisation in a largely agricultural economy where population growth is rapid.

However what they don't tell you is sometimes the Maoris shut down the roads in protest. Anyhoo, I pulled into a gas station that was hidden behind a dairy (gas pumps are few and far between). I was hopping on my bike and turned and saw this heavily face tattood Maori guy pull in and it totally scared the crap out of me, as its intended. I was told that face tattoos are supposed to scare you, but this article gives the history of the Maori face tattoo, basically it's the person's life history on their face.


Photo from eyeteeth on flicker Read more about this Maori activist Tame Iti

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Crapstix blog hacked on holiday

Margaret you've won this round but revenge is imminent.


Click for more fail dog pictures

Sunday, April 27, 2008

blog hijacking


Adam must have logged in to blogger when he was over last night, and he's still signed in. Hey the door was open, I just walked in. By using the word "hijacking", you will be monitored by a secret government agency, but I suspect they are already watching.
Roberta is on a motorcycle trip to the East Cape, and I'm not envying her today because rain is pissing down. It's not too cold though, so she should be good with her heated vest.
Adam recorded and mixed a song for his fab new band. He was here last night with his favorite board game, Tigris and Euphrates. He won the first game, but once the rest of us caught on, there were battles everywhere and Darin came from behind to win the second game. I made a totally kickass chili and strawberry lemonade (with tequila for some of us/me).
NewKiwi

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pukekohe Park Raceway on my SV650

My first ever day on a race track on my motorbike. I was scared shitless the whole time! It was an open track day, which means that anybody can show up and ride some loops for $90 bucks, everybody together.

I was invited by James who gave me a pre lesson on the track and curves. I didn't remember a bit of it. One guy on the track told me to think about gearing but I couldn't remember even that. On the first run I was just concentrating on holding a steady line on the track so that people could predict my movement and race around me.

On the second run I did a little bit better. During the break I took a mini nap and decided that the only thing I wanted to work on was counter steering and counterbalancing my weight on the foot pegs.

By the third run I knew all of the corners and how they should feel in the curves. I was confident to push my speed limit and went up to 170km on the flat straight stretch. This means I broke my own personal boundary of going over 100mph.

Later I was sitting on the guard rail and another biker came up to me and told me I was really brave for getting out there. I was thinking either that or really stupid in my head.

Somebody ask James why his bike is so dirty, I thought that enduros were for off-road?





That is my blue SV650 in the back.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Zombie Jesus Day

Easter... when Jesus rose from the dead... and we all know what a person is when he rises from the dead...

Next year we are having a zombie themed party on Easter. Maybe we will make some brain shaped easter eggs and have a "Zombie Jesus Day Brains Hunt".

Good Friday Run in the Auckland Domain

Last Friday as the sun started to fade I had to kick start my lazy, pms bitchin', cranky ass and go for a bloody run in the Auckland Domain. I did a couple of rounds around the domain before it started to get too dark (map). I usually run up and down the grass hills to save my knees from pavement pounding

There were numerous 'unofficial' games of soccer and rugby going on. As I was running up Pukekaroa hill the full moon popped over the hill and a rugby team started to do a haka chant.

The Pukekaroa hill is famous as two warring Maori tribes came to a peace deal so the new European emmigrants set aside the land (very nice of them to do that). Here's a picture of the totara tree commemorating the first Maori king Although the concept of a Maori king is a European construct as the Maoris didn't have one leader until the Europeans came, anyhoo...I've digressed from my run story.

I guess the moral of the story for me is; I guess it's OK to pop pms induced candy-coated ibuprofen if I have my period on a full moon, which has been occurring quite regularly, makes me feel healthy and connected to the stars... And it's OK if I get to see a bunch of cute Maori rugby players doing the haka under a full moon in the Auckland Domain...just for themselves (and me!).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"No photography permitted" sign is missing exclamation points!!!!

At the Kumeu A and P show I noticed one table of crappy handiwork had the silliest sign on it. "No photography permitted.". Hmmm... So I am going to photograph these little New Zealand flax wallets with stones on them and then I am going to go home and spend the time to figure out how to reproduce them and then come back to the Kumeu A and P show next year and sell them and put her out of business. Yup, thats exactly what I am going to do.

Or maybe better yet, I will take pictures of the silly sign and post them on the internet.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shot of Americana

We met Margaret and Darren via the blog, they moved to NZ just after us, and we've been hanging out since. We went to the cheesefest together and they've blogged about it as well.

There's something about hanging out with americans that is comforting. Out and about in Auckland on a day to day basis its a myriad of internationals; south africans, pommies, irish, asians, indians, eastern europeans, and a few token kiwis.

There's a lot of nice people in New Zealand, it's a great place to meet other internationals, but sometimes it's fun to hang with other americans.

We just bought our tickets for a mega trip back to the states from aprox. June 24- July 11th. I suppose we'll get a major americana shot in the arm then.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Crybaby!

 


Adam took this picture at the fair. It was so funny and terrible at the same time. The evil carnie just kept the ride going and going and everybody was watching and laughing. Luckily she caught on stopped crying and the carnie let her off.
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Strummin' the blues with my Ukelele

I'm nursing a hangover this morning. Although I shouldn't talk about drinking too much, cause then my mom sends me a stink eye, yet nicely worded e-mail.

Went to see Iron and Wine last night and it totally sucked, which totally sucks cause I really like all of their albums (except for the opera one). Adam aptly described it - they usually travel with an eight piece band, came to NZ with six piece band and didn't fill the gaps very well.

On that note here's my ukelele! I didn't want to talk about my beautiful $50 ukelele, cause I wasn't sure if I would like or even be good at playing it but I think I have potential??! I've been learning new songs with Adam. I think I'm OK with it, but I need to start learning how to sing. I need a lot of work there. It's kind of fun playing depressing songs on the happy sounding ukelele, though proly not suitable for serious blues tunes.

 

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Auckland Cheese Fest more like Auckland Snooze Fest

I need to say that I really enjoy most kinds of cheese. Soft cheese, hard cheese, mold ripened, flavored cheese, blue cheese, pump cheese for nachos at Circle-K. You name it, I will eat it so when I heard that there was an Auckland Cheese Festival where you pay $35 and eat as much cheese as you want I got fairly excited.

The doors opened at 5:00 and we thought that we would get there early to beat the crowds. At 5:00 the place was already packed as it looked like they oversold the venue. It was so packed that you would have to push your way to the front to get a couple chunks of cheese and then scamper off to a quiet corner to nibble on it like a scared mouse.

Another huge problem that I had with the cheese there was that it was all mid-level supermarket cheese quality. There was one whole table that was just Fontera cheddar. This is the basic utilitarian block cheese for burritos. I taste that every day. The brie was below average quality. There was some decent hard goats cheese but I kept coming back to the fact that the cheese tasting table at the French Market in Parnell was substantially better quality and selection.

The $70 that Roberta and I paid to taste some grocery store cheese was completely overpriced. All 5 of us should have spent that money on cheese from the French Market and had a party instead.

The only good part of the night was that Darin, Roberta and I went to the casino and put $40 down on Roulette and came out $70 ahead which dropped the overall price of the night to a much more acceptable level. Roberta picked the winning number of 21. We are going to be dragging her back to the casino against her will.

Wow, my first real rant post. It feels good. Expect more of these.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Strategy games...

I took an onliine personality test online. I got it from linkfilter but I lost the link (first i've taken since college). Anyway, it said I was a strategist. We've been having thursday night strategy board games, with some competive types. We've been playing all those games that are based on city building: Carcasone, Settlers of Cattan, El Grande (one of Adam's new favorites). Sometimes work is kind of like ok, "a city will go here and we will connect it with this". Just more crap to process in the real world... anyhoo...!

I just couldn't believe all of those games had wiki pages?!? Gamers are nerdy bunches...

Monday, March 03, 2008

3 Year Old Girl - Oldest in Africa

I love the Ted Talks series. Adam and I don't have TV so if I get bored I'll go to Ted Talks for something interesting to watch.

This latest one is about an archealogist in Africa who found one the oldest human species in the Badlands in Africa. What makes it interesting is that he draws parallels with what Africa is going through now. good stuff...though it is twenty minutes..

Saturday, March 01, 2008

American's Cup Sailing Trip

We went on a sail trip and we got to go sailing on the boats that won the America's cup. I had a good time practicing pirate speak when the let me steer!

Of note, the family of Sir Edmond Hillary were spreading his ashes in the Auckland Harbour while we were out on the Spirit of New Zealand training boat. I feel like a local now.

From the AP:
In his book "View From the Summit," Hillary wrote that he did not want his final resting place to be in some crevasse on a mountain, observing that he had "been down too many of them for that to have much appeal."

Instead he wanted his ashes to be "spread on the beautiful waters of Auckland's Hauraki Gulf to be washed gently ashore" on the beaches near his birthplace.

"Then the full circle of my life will be complete," he wrote.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Auckland botanic gardens

Roberta and I left one morning for an exploratory drive south of Auckland. We had a general goal to head out to a beach but nothing more than that. While heading south on the motorway we saw a sign for the Auckland Botanic Garden and decided to stop.

Auckland Botanic Garden

The buildings were very modern and it was a surprise that entry was free. The grounds are huge with many different areas of interest. You can tell that it is a heavily kid oriented area, it was all the screaming that gave it away.

My favorite area in gardens is always the succulent section. They seem like the type of plants most likely to have come directly from outer space.

Aloe Polyphylla

We would highly recommend going to the Auckland Botanic Gardens if you have a spare weekend day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

We need a happy cat picture!

Lot's to say



Back in December that post about my first outlanding in Matamata was picked up by Soaring NZ via an e-mail list. It was pretty cool. On the opposite page there was an article about Richie McCaw (All-Blacks captin NZ rugby team that just lost to France). I was feeling pretty 'world-famous' in that not-so-famous NZ saying kind of way.

Unfortunately a month or so later, the same instructor that I was flying with had a fatal accident. I was pretty torn up about it but I'm OK. Here's a picture at the Lake Taupo relay I participated in. I think I'll stay on the ground for a while.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We are now surrogate Kiwis!

We got a letter today from immigration and they accepted us as residents in NZ. This has been an interesting process that wasn't too difficult at any one point. It was just a lot of small hoops.

Here is what we had to do to get residency here:

  • Fill out the online Expression of Interest form to get scored to be able to apply for residency.
  • Wait
  • Get accepted to apply for residency. They then send you a big packet with information and more forms to fill in. There is also a big list of documents they need to process the application.
  • List of documents:
    • Comprehensive medial check with X-ray(for TB) and blood work
    • Background checks in all countries lived in for more than one year
      • This included getting fingerprints here and sending off the application to the FBI
    • Proof of qualifications which included certified copies of our diplomas.
    • Detailed work history
    • Current contract for work in NZ
    • Our current passports
    • And more.
Now we are returning residents which means that we can come and go as we please but we are not permanent residents yet. If we are in the country for 6 months out of each of the next two years then we will get permanent residency. Once we get that then we can come and go as we please without restriction.