Monday, May 17, 2010


Here in the southern hemisphere there is some seasonal delusion about when Halloween should take place. Here, just like the rest of the world, it is celebrated on October 31st. This is all sorts of backwards. Thank you colonialism.

While in the north it makes sense to be carving up your excess pumpkins and celebrating the transition from light to dark at the end of October, here October is spring. We should be glorifying baby bunnies and chicks and wearing pastel colors (someone should invent a holiday for that). Our transition from light to dark is May. And so we've decided that that's when we should celebrate Halloween.

Since we happen to have a few spare pumpkins lying around, and also happen to have a ridiculously fabulous recycling center just down the road, this party wasn't too hard to throw together.

There was pumpkin carving, pumpkins admiring, and pumpkin soup.

I dressed as Wonder Woman. Here I am showing some of my super moves.
Nelson said that he was dressed as "An obliging fiancé". But really he was... (make your guesses below).

Some famous movie stars decided to show up. Starsky and Hutch (Only Starsky pictured) and The Mad Hatter.
The party provided yet another opportunity to learn about cultural differences between America and NZ. Apparently some costumes that would be really offensive in the US, are ok here.... Like terrorists.

And black face. (He was a medicine man).
Happy Halloween from your neighbors to the South!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm Sorry

I'm lame. I know. No posts since March? How did that happen?

I'll tell you how. Click Here.

Here is some eye candy to catch you up with the last few months. I'll fill in the details in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

For the past three days we have had our first overnight house guest. Her name is Piri and she's 2 1/2. Piri stayed with us while her mom went to Taupo to load the moving truck and bring all of their belongings back to Raglan. We're exhausted.

Honestly I don't know how single moms do it. There were two of us. And she had us beat. Easily.

We climbed up into our "up high" bed (all three of us) and slept hard, both nights. And at 9:30 I'm just barely hanging on tonight.

Before I go to bed, top three moments of the weekend:

#3: Bath in a bucket. (Piri, not me)

#2: The scientific experiment of testing the diameter of a dried pea vs. the diameter of a toddler nostril. No harm done. After a few tears and a bit of firm pressure above the pea, all is well.

#1: Me coming out of the house and seeing Piri running over. "Dani, Uncle Melsom needs help. He's stuck." Turns out that the latch on the outside of the door of our outdoor shower is not childproof. It is in fact child friendly. And a good way to trap an unexpecting adult.

She was clever and beautiful and funny and fun, but I think we'll hold off for a while.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm a bee!

First off, apologies. I know I haven't been posting much lately. But we've had a lot going on, least of which was a parasite that decided to take up residence in my gastrointestinal system. There also been a timber fram workshop that Nelson ran a few weeks back, and an exciting recycled raft race that I took part in this morning.

But really, the most blog-distracting of all events has been my acceptance as a bee. From now on, in addition to posting here, I'll also be posting on Wedding Bee as Ms. Veggie. I know, who would've thought that there would be a Ms. Veggie icon ready for me to snatch up? I'll be writing about our wedding planning process as we attempt to throw together an eco-fun-budget extravanagza.

Posts about the timber frame workshop and recycled raft race coming soon. Cross my heart!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sweets for my Sweet? - Not Exactly.

The man doesn't really like candy. He certainly wouldn't like to get a little box of sugar hearts that say things like "Tweet me." and "LOL". He wouldn't want me to buy a greeting card. Ever.

So what did I do for my very own Captain Planet on the most Hallmark-y of days? Well, the way I figure it, the best part of Valentine's Day is knowing that someone has taken the time to do something special for you. So, I took a minute to make him some home-made valentines out of things we had lying around. Some were out in the open and some were hidden.

The first one was on his computer. I've been playing around with graphic design projects lately, and this was one I came up with a few months ago. I secretly put it on the desktop of his computer and so began the scavenger hunt.

Summer is in full swing and the tomatoes are practically jumping out of our garden. What better way to say I love you than with some juicy goodness?

A beany heart. This was my favorite poem because I worked his morning farting habit into it.

A garlic braid heart. Tough to find.

Scrabble heart. Need to use our favorite 2-letter word. What rhymes with Qi?

And the final heart was made out of something black and lacy. I think I'll save that picture for our archives and not send it out there onto the world wide web.

The scavenger hunt reminded me of when we were first dating and used to leave each other little notes in secret places. More than once I went into full blush mode when I discovered one tucked in my pocket or in my laptop case while I was in front of a room full of students. The joys of new love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Whanau

whanau: (n -maori) Family

This past weekend our we had our first visit from family members to New Zealand. Nelson's dad's sister and her husband and his brother (did you get all that?) came to visit from California.

Even though I had never met them before it was still fun to show off our garden, our little home, and our town. They stayed here at Solscape for two nights to get over their jetlag before heading out to conquer the Milford Track.

We loaded them up with home-grown food and thought we could give them a little warm up for their trek on our own mountain, Mt. Karioi. (Note to self: test out hiking tracks before attempting them with family.)

Our little adventure begun at Te Toto gorge. We then climbed up through a meadow and walked along a ridgeline towards the summit.

We thought we had hit the most adventurous spot when we came to a 5 meter ladder.

We were wrong. The track got narrower and the trail got bumpier. We stopped to have a little lunch after two hours to consider our options.

Groups of sweaty hikers kept passing us on their way down telling us how close we were to the lookout. We pushed on.

But when we hit the sheer cliff that you had to scale using chains, we decided that we had had enough. Karioi, you win this time, but we'll be back.

Bob and Suzanne were gracious enough to treat us to dinner that night and then they headed off to Taupo and beyond the next morning. Perhaps we scared them off? Don't worry other family members, if you come visit we promise we wont try to make you climb a cliff.

Bob, Suzanne, and John. Thanks for the hours of great conversation, the good kai, and for giving us some whanau love in person.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Double Booked

Sometimes life just isn't fair... like when your computer breaks and then your fiance has to go away to a conference for a week and he leaves the same day that your monthly friend comes along and you have cramps so bad you can't even stand up and then the wedding venue sends an email saying that oops they've double booked your venue.

Wait. What?

Oh yeah, the reason why I haven't posted this week is because I have been having a melt-down. Well, technically several meltdowns. One via Skype with little sister, one via phone with Nelson, and several on my own. These lapses in sanity have been prompted by an email from our wedding venue letting us know that our date was no longer available.

Their timing is impeccable. I had actually sent out the last few Save-The-Dates that morning.

This post was supposed to be about our amazing Save-The-Dates, created by the incredibly talented Shari Amos. It was supposed to be about how I was so excited to send them out that I couldn't sleep the night before. It was supposed to be about doing our first wedding project and having it come out perfectly and just how we (I) imnagined. It was supposed to be about getting emails from people telling us what they were going to grow for our big day. But its not.

It is now about me trying to be a calm and peaceful soul. It is about me trying to roll with the punches. It is about being thankful that Skype is only video and not sensory, because I really would have pummeled that camp director in person.

What will happen? Where will our wedding be? When will our wedding be? Is it all ruined (like I was feeling yesterday)? Or is it just clearing a path for a better thing to come along (how I hope to be feeling tommorrow)? Stay tuned. Only time will tell.

Wrong date, wrong venue, but they were just so very pretty.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Te Maunga Karioi

The rise and fall of sunset in our back yard. Took me a while to get the camera settings right, and just as I got it figured out, it was over. Asi es la vida.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day of All Days

Sunday morning down to town for the Raglan Creative Market. Bought some of Liz and Rick's famous pesto and Nelson bought a surprising amount of french bread (to go with the large amounts of beer and hummus he bought earlier in the week?) Then back home for my first present, a personal reading of two brand new short stories by an up-and-coming author.

Surprise! Sunday afternoon picnic with friends.

Chocolate covered strawberries and solar-cooked veggie chili.

Twister. I may have used my ample toosh to tilt the playing-field. But, hey, it was my day.

Clear out ladies, let the men have a go.

Monday morning bike ride into town to stop at a few of our favorite places.

Whaingaroa Organic Co-op.

Roll-ups Fruit Yoghurt.

On the way back up the hill an impromptu visit with Dominique, Paul, and baby Rafael.

Home just in time for Nelson to cook my favorite dinner. Baked ziti (with homegrown spinach, zuchinni, red peppers, and garlic). I made the garlic bread. All cooked in a very hot earth oven.

Showered with special gifts. Some below and some unpictured.

Feeling so happy, so loved, and so ready for this new year.


The first moment of my 28th year. This one is going to be special.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Out the Mouth Part Deux

Not sure what is going on, but for the second time in two weeks we have found ourselves down for the count for twenty four hours, using the toilet bowl from the wrong end of our bodies.

We were forced to make the housetruck into a makeshift infirmary with a mattress on the ground to give us equal access to the puke bucket.

After a day in bed and a kind delivery of soda water and saltines from Baywatch Kyle, we are feeling nearly 100%.

The culprit? Raw strawberries from our garden (we think).

Out the mouth, I'm tired of you.

You are not welcome in our house(truck). Please go away.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year, Old Friends

Happy 2010! It is still unbelievable to me that it actually is 2010. Wasn't Y2K not that long ago? Oh right, it was a decade ago. Wow.

We rung in the new decade with Jess, Jason, and Sammy who came to visit from Korea (where yes, they do eat dog, but only one variety). Jess and I last spent New Year's together in 2004ish at Big Boulder Lake singing karaoke with the Gallo fam. She's our first home friend to see where we live. It was so fun having her here and meeting her beautiful family, but was also kind of like one of those dreams where all these people you know from all different places are suddenly all together in the same place. Someone from Genesee here in NZ? It messed with my head a little.

Mildly disappointing that there was no karaoke to be had this year (Jess does a mean version of Tina Turner's Proud Mary). But we tried to make up for it with tipis, pizza making, and surfing.

All Native North Americans, except Sammy. She's a Native Korean.

Holy giant fern leaf!

Venturing down jungle paths with a stroller is exhausting.

Happiest baby ever. Talia Hardie may be her best competition for smiliest baby.

Jess is a momma!

Nelson's first surf of the year.

Jess's first surf ever.

Real men wear tights and hold babies.