Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Flickr Account

Auckland at Night
Originally uploaded by tkw954
I have a new flickr account (thanks Mom and Dad), which has hundreds of new photos and old favourites. Some aren't tagged yet, but if you leave a comment I'll prioritize that photo.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Travis and Amy - Christmas Morning

We got up late-ish this morning, ate some wifesaver and opened some gifts. Travis's parents gave us money to buy things we wouldn't normally buy - they recommended canvas printing a photo or something. Thank you so much!!! I think I know what picture I want enlarged... the nice beach one that I sent in a Christmas email. Anyway, there was that, and a book that won the Giller prize this year, and a gorgeous quilted bag that Sharon made. She made Travis a quilted wall hanging that is the scene looking out their bay window at the farm! It's really cute.

Steph got me the "Souvenir of Canada" book by Douglas Coupland, that I asked for. I'll spend a lot of time sifting through that one, that's for sure.

Travis got me a beautiful shirt (that I picked out) - it's very beachy. He also got me a popcorn popper and the Dexter Omnibus (all 3 Dexter books in one), by Jeff Lindsay. (the TV show is based on the books). I've read the first one already.

Paul and Caoilinn got us a carved wooden bowl with an elephant-shaped handle. It is so lovely - already has its spot on the kitchen table. We needed a proper table bowl.

We had a lovely meal on the beach - Regan and Kim went all out bringing their BBQ out - mussels as an appetizer, baked salmon and tandoori chicken as a main, Caoilinn made parsnips and I brought 4 different salads. The strawberry spinach salad was a hit. We have a bunch left over, so we'll take that sailing tomorrow. Trifle and pavlova for dessert. Then we played a game of football on the beach until the tide came in and took away part of our field. It wasn't so much that our field was being encroached upon, but that the beach shrunk in size, so people were walking on our field and making it more and more difficult to play. Then it was swimming time - none of the Kiwis went in the water. It was only the Crazy Canucks and the Northern Atlanticians who braved the water. It wasn't cold at all. It was only 20 degrees outside, though, and not very sunny. but we had fun. I displayed my synchronized swimming ability, and everyone had a good laugh. I still have sea water in my sinuses.

So, Travis and I are home now. I think we've planned to do something with Regan and Kim for New Year's Eve, since we didn't have any previous plans. We're going to eat popcorn and watch Corner Gas. (Travis got season 5 sent to him from his parents, and fortunately, just finished downloading season 4 last night.) Both of us are really sleepy. It's only 7:15pm. :( haha. Another busy day tomorrow with Sailing...

More Stop-Motion

Here's some more stop-motion video. This time it is of Amy's flowers opening.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stop Motion

Here are some stop motion videos I shot this week. The first is the opening of a Pōhutukawa flower. This is from a flowering tree endemic to New Zealand. Their bright red flowers are everywhere this time of year, so Kiwis associate them with Christmas. You'll have to excuse the choppiness, this was filmed over a number of days and my camera's batteries needed to be charged periodically.

The next is a video of a sunset from our front balcony.

I didn't sign up for fleas!

I don't know where it came from, but it ate Travis last night. Both Travis and I were up in the night scratching various body parts. I was up at 5am soaking my ankles in vinegar and water and, while I was up, I asked Travis if he wanted some itch relief, too. So, I vinegared him up, then we went back to sleep.

This morning I put more vinegar on my ankles (I have something called SOOV Bite, but it hadn't worked well lately and my friend said vinegar works well for bites, and it does). I asked Travis again if he wanted some vinegar on his arm. He lifted his arm and I yelled, "OH MY GOD TRAVIS!!!" Then I proceeded to count. I stopped counting at 21... I think there were a few more... but he had more than 21 bites between his elbow and shoulder of his left arm. Then we started to panic.

Where did he get these bites from?

It had to be something in the bed. So, right then and there we stripped the bed, tipped it, vacuumed the room and the bed, washed the sheets and everything else that was on the floor in that room. Actually, we have two more loads of laundry (after 4 loads already today). Ya, there were a lot of clothes on the floor. ;)

After doing some research we came to the conclusion that, even though there weren't tell-tale small red dots in the middle of Travis's bites (characteristic with flea bites), it wasn't bedbugs. We didn't find any traces of bedbugs - and bedbugs are WAY big. But I did find one thing that looked like a flea, and it jumped out of my fingers. Little bugger...

Hopefully we got rid of it. I'd like to keep my ankles itch-free for a little while. We've got bug spray for the beach. I don't want to use it when we go to bed, though.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Guests Have Come and Gone

I had a great time visiting with Janci and Jared. It was much too short of a visit, though. They had a wonderful time touring the south island, however that took up most of their 20 day visit. Travis and I only got to see them for 8 days, and that includes 2 partial traveling days.

Since they got back from Christchurch last Saturday we went to the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, to Herne Bay Beach Reserve so Jared could swim in salt water for the first time (and I taught him how to snorkel, even though there wasn't a lot to see in Herne Bay), to Karekare Beach for Jared to swim in the real ocean for the first time.

I'm going to stop there.

Karekare is beautiful. It is a very dangerous beach. Four or five lifeguards were on duty the day we went out there (Monday) and there were a total of 8 people in the water in the 3 hours we were there. We made up 4 of the 8 people. The undercurrent is very strong, so the lifeguard told us to keep our feet on the ground or else we'd get washed away. The waves were awesome for a first-timer to play in. I consider myself a beginner when it comes to waves because I have never really played in huge waves - just body boarding waves in Tofino, and pissy little waves in Surfer's Paradise. These were definitely waves to write home about. We probably played out there for 30-40 minutes, jumping and twisting and spitting out salt water. The drive to Karekare (from the main Piha Rd) is one lane. It's not a popular beach because of the bad road and the treacherous beach, but I would take going there over going to Piha any time. It is much more secluded and quiet, but retains the beauty of the rest of the more popular west coast beaches.

Janci and Jared got to fit in visits with a bunch of Janci's old friends. They also got a chance to meet a few of our friends and play some sports with us. Tuesday was football in Auckland Domain, and Thursday was netball with our netball team, the Nomads. Janci and Jared were natural netball players, even though Janci found the game really difficult to play (because of the lack of contact with the other players, and the fact that she forgot she wasn't playing basketball).

I'll miss them.

Our house doesn't fit 4 people that well, so we will enjoy having the space again.

Today is the last day of spring - and after a week of gorgeous weather, the rain is back. I've been told it's time to go for dinner. Mmmmm dinner on Ponsonby Road. I feel so posh. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Google Street View

The unveiling of Street View this week is pretty cool. Travis and I even saw one of the street view vans last week just down the street from our place. It wasn't taking pictures - just parked.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

3 Weeks

So much to talk about, so little time.

Goat Island Marine Reserve

It's the summertime now. The weather is beautiful and I want to be outside. Travis and I taught a few of our friends how to play "American Football" yesterday. All we heard today was "THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! WE HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN!!" It WAS a lot of fun, and I can't wait to do it again. We will because the weather is so damn awesome right now.

We're playing netball again - we still suck, but at least we look a bit better. We lost tonight 35 - 17. But we got 17!!! WOW! Travis and Sarah were on fire! I even got a goal/basket/scorie thingy. The other teams hate playing us because we suck so bad. Oh well...

What else is new? Trav and I went on an awesome hike a few weeks ago in the Waitakere Ranges. I bought Travis a 3/4 length wetsuit for a graduation present (and one for myself) so we could extend our swimming season here. We went snorkeling at Goat Island again 2 weekends ago. It was really weird - it was like snorkeling through jelly. We're not sure if they were jellyfish or fish eggs, but either way it was kind of gross swimming through millions of little clear floaty things. They almost obstructed the view of the rays we saw close to shore. I had only seen sting rays and eagle rays behind glass in aquariums. I was within 10 feet of 3 different rays, snorkeling right over top. (who knows - they might have been the same one ;)) I was completely freaked out for about a second. It was pretty close to the coolest thing I've ever seen underwater. We still don't know whether they are eagle rays or stingrays. I read that eagle rays live in open water. These were definitely bottom dwelling close to shore.

I lost two pairs of sunglasses in 2 weeks. :( Sarah bought me a new pair for Christmas/Birthday. Thanks Sarah!

Travis and I went to the Santa Parade last Sunday. Trav has a few photos, but the battery in his camera died before the good floats came by. Crap.

Janci and Jared arrived on Monday! Then they left again on Tuesday. Off they went to tour the islands, and I've heard that Jared already bungee jumped *somewhere*. When they come back up to Auckland we're going to take them boogie boarding and have parties and play football and just do stuff. I don't know if we can fit it all into 7 days, but we'll try. Thanks mom for the chapstick, Cheezies, maple syrup, and Christmas presents. The Cheezies are almost gone. I'm hiding the rest for Christmas time.

Corner of K'Road and Ponsonby Road. Anti-nuclear murals.

Nothing else is really new or interesting here - I'm trying to keep up with the political happenings back home. I'm all in favour of shaking up politics in Canada, and it makes for interesting (and infuriating) reading. I have found that I can't read comments on news websites anymore because too many ignorant people comment on those sites and it makes me angry.

It's past my bedtime. I just figured I should write because I just saw Arianna Huffington on The Daily Show, and she told me to blog. ;)