Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I moved to Hawaii. One year ago right now I was on a plane over the Pacific, not quite ready to come, not quite sure what Hawaii had in store. 

New Year's is always a time to reflect on the past year, so it's interesting it falls on exactly the day my life changed significantly from what it has been for the previous 4 years. I still miss my Woods Hole friends enormously, I still miss my Woods Hole life to be honest, that really was somewhere I could have stayed forever. The difference between now and a year ago is that Hawaii and I have come to an understanding, though trying to work through the Hawaii time all the time still frustrates, I now know what i'm up for, I "expect" that I will not get paid on time, to be reimbursed for a trip will take a month and the secretary will get it wrong at least 3 times first, to order a scalpel will take 2 months, to go camping I will have to trek downtown and wait for at least an hour. Expectation makes it all bearable, rather than tearing my hair out all the time. Not that I still don't tear my hair out now and then when it all converges to everything that I'm trying to do, but I now also enjoy the things Hawaii has to offer more, and Manoa is now "home". 

So what will the New Year bring? I'm not sure, a time of flux for me again, time to find that ever elusive permanent job, maybe even time for yet another move. This next year scares me, in a different way from this last year (this last year was an excited scary) as there are just so many unknowns. Where will I be a year from now? I do not know. All I know is there are going to be many big changes next year. 

I hope you all have a great New Years eve. We are one of the last places on earth to celebrate the New Year, so we'll catch up with you all eventually......

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There aren't many places....

..where you can open your grill and have a poison dart frog jump out just as you start to light it........luckily no froggies on the menu tonight......but I wonder how long he's been living under there.......

Monday, December 29, 2008


I'm feeling sorry for myself, and have been for most of the day. I had a dentist appointment this morning. No, before you even think it, it went really well and no issues. In fact they have a clever distraction system. While waiting in the waiting room one of the assistants came out and handed me a piece of paper and asked me what movie I wanted to watch. They have these movie glasses and headphones you wear while they're doing the work, after the initial weirdness it was actually a pretty neat way to make dental work fly by. I watched "The Notebook", sweet movie. 

The "ow" didn't come until later, when all the novocaine ran out. The appointment was to make a crown that has been waiting a year to be done (on my root canal tooth, I've been waiting for my dental insurance to cover a pitiful, but not insignificant, amount of it). He also replaced an old filing with a new invisible white one that happened to be in the same area, so could be done with the same injections. Less injections = a happier me. But I now have a sore jaw from 90 minutes of work, i'm all headachy and my little nub of a tooth and gum is really sore from the prep. But in 2 weeks, i'll have a good as new fake tooth in it's place. 

Add to that the fact that I used a new face pack last night as a pamper me thing, and ended up having a reaction and now having some pretty ugly looking burns on my chin, nose and forehead, and i'm feeling sorry for myself. 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Procrastination - What's your method?

Procrastination = a type of behaviour characterised by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. 

And boy, can I be the queen of it from time to time. 

From the poll on this blog, the top rated procrastination method was "Googling", coming in a close second was "Arts and Crafts" and then "Cleaning & Watching TV", and finally "Laundry and Shopping". 

Though I fully admit to googling an awful lot, combined with internet shopping, my favourite procrastination method is "Arts and Crafts", followed a close second by "Laundry" and often I combine these two. When I have a review to do, paper to write, samples to run and my brain doesn't quite want to do it just yet, I throw in a load of laundry, pick up the crochet hooks, break out the soap making supplies, open up my bead stash and sometimes even make pins and beads from modelling clay - anything but sit at my desk! 

But, in my defense, at least this way I still feel like i'm doing something useful, something that would need to be done at some point (hey....that new baby really does need one more hat or bar of soap right?) and once finished with the project, I can often concentrate with bliss on what I should have been doing all along, and knuckle down far harder than I would have should I have forced it earlier. 

Some of my recent Arts and Crafts (I'll pass on showing you my laundry, you can just trust me there is always a lot to be done...) - 

Tired of mugs of coffee and tea going cold too quickly, but don't want to resort to metal thermal mugs - try a mug cozy! These are truly quick and easy and use up those yarn ends, if anyone wants a pattern let me know, or i'm happy to take orders as long as you don't mind it being out of scrap wool and waiting for my next brain fade for me to do it! 

Soaps by the Lye method. Boy this is a learning curve that i'm still bent over. But I think I got my first batch of nice hard bars yesterday....I will blog on this method in detail sometime, when I'm happier with the results i'm getting.....

I love crocheting hats. They are so easy and instant gratification! Top are a bunch of kids hats made for Mollie and Lucy, Dahlia and Finn. These would work wonderfully knitted too (with some stretch in there!), basically a straight rectangle closed at one end (fancy stitches optional, they look great even with basics) with bobbles and ties for little ones. This bunch were made out of wool from recycled plastic bottles too, making them even more fun for me to make. 

The bottom hat i'm whipping out today. I'm off to Fairbanks Alaska in just over a week and decided I wanted a new hat for the occasion. 

Christmas come-down

Well, the power came back on just after midday yesterday, having flickered on and off a few times in the morning. Stian caught his flight out with no delays and an upgrade to first class, and i'm sure right now is being jumped on by his niece and nephew. The cause of the black-out has still not been released, so it'll be interesting to hear exactly what happened, this is apparently the first time the whole island has lost power since an earthquake in 2006. 

So i'm feeling the christmas come down now, not that to be honest I was all that built up this year. The trip to NZ really stopped me prepping for xmas in any serious way here, and the short visit by Stian was really nice, but now my house feels empty and i'm not totally sure what to do with myself. So it goes when visitors leave. I have a long laundry list of things I need to do, so I guess i'll start picking them off one by one. The first one being actually get out of bed. It's finally stopped pouring it down here, so maybe i'll check that first one off. 

Stian's last day here. We did two of my favorite hikes and went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, which I (amazingly) hadn't been to before, it was beautiful! The two hikes we did were Makapuu Lighthouse and Koko Crater Railway. Here is the Koko Crater Railway, it's a grueling 1300 steps all the way to a stunning view at the top. Stian went ahead as I had to do a few things in the mall, and then I followed him up. The arrow is where he is in this photo! 

3/4 of the way up where we met, me on the way up and him on the way down. That was enough exercise for me (and boy do my thighs and calves feel it today!) and so I went on down with him.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In the dark.....

All power to Oahu went out at 7pm last night in a thunder storm and is still not back up this morning - amazing! The phone service is still up though, so my iPhone is coming into it's own for checking news! Stian is supposed to fly out today and as far as I can tell flights are back up and running, but well give them a call later.

We spent last night listening to a book on tape on the iPod and an early bed. It's weird looking down the valley and seeing no lights, it'll be interesting to hear what caused 800,000 people to be plunged into the dark on boxing day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

No time for a tree? Try a Christmas Penguin instead! Here is my and (part of - his majority being in CA) Stian's Santa drop for this year! 

Last night we went to a Kido family party (aka my friend from the Cape Melissa's parents party). It was a lot of fun. We had great food, played games (stick the beard on the santa was particularly fun) and even sang karaoke. AND Santa Adam decided to drop by. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

North Shore Expedition

Having worked monday all day, yesterday I took the day off and Stian and I did a very mellow tour around the North Shore. The weather was cool, but we did have some sun, and was great for walking down the beaches and watching the waves. I did take a brief dip in the ocean. 

First stop, turtle beach (Haleiwa), and the turtles did not disappoint....

Stian exfoliating his Antarctic worn hands at Haleiwa. Not a bad place for it. 

Stian tucking into a giant shave ice at Haleiwa......

And yes, I had one too. They were great, except we both felt a little sugar sick after.....:0)

Coming home to....

When I got home I was met with a large pile of boxes, cards and letters, and for once they were not all from the bank. In fact they contained a fair few of my favourite and photos! My favourite picture was drawn by Callie - a purple dino-reino-moose  (as Stian dubbed it). I love it and it has pride of place on the fridge! 

Another thing I came home to was some of my pottery fired and finished! These are a few of my initial pieces, I have much more to be glazed and fired, exciting! 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Anybody need a calendar?

Been back less than a day and the reps are doing the rounds.....just today I have 2 calendars dropped on my desk........if you don't mind them being exciting things like 'Mouse anti-Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor" and have nice adverts for things like "Milli-Q water systems" in there, they're yours! 

Also going, one Fisher Scientific desk planner.......tis the season I guess......shame I only use my calendar on my iPhone now......

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Air New Zealand Rocks

I'm back! Arrived late this evening and have been in a flurry of activity trying to unpack, pull food out the freezer and clean and tidy before Stian gets here tomorrow morning. So now i'm trying to unwind my brain so I can get some sleep, it's nearly midnight here. 

I wanted to post on Air New Zealand before I forget though. Now this is a company that has it's priorities right. And not just on the things we remember from air travel five/ten years ago - like blankets, pillows, (pretty good for plane) meals, free wine and great inflight entertainment systems with more movies and TV series than you can shake a stick at - but also by thinking into the ecological future too. Unlike every other airline i've travelled with recently, Air New Zealand hasn't gone to all disposable plastics - their meals come in reusable dishes and cups, their plastic cutlery (unfortunately required for safety these days) is strong, sturdy and reusable, they ask at the beginning of the flight if you can keep your plastic cup for refilling the next time the drinks cart comes around rather than getting a new one each time, and are actually happy to fill up a water bottle instead. 

Little things, but they all impressed me. Way to go Air New Zealand

Friday, December 19, 2008

Time Flies....

Time flies way too fast. I'm now sat in the airport at Auckland waiting for my flight back to Honolulu (via We gave back the van this morning, tootled around the galleries and museum of Christchurch and then I wandered in the early afternoon. We were even brave enough to have another curry lunch, I hope Stian is doing okay this afternoon. He's cut his time in NZ short to look at properties in CA, but i'm lucky enough that he's coming via Hawaii and will spend a week around xmas with me starting on sunday. Yay. 

The trip has been good, to be honest it has not been great, but it has been good and has been punctuated by great moments. We've been mired with a host a little annoyances, like food poisoning, low energy days, excess rain and excess sand flies amongst the few, and to be honest just a lot of driving in a van that didn't want to go more than 30KPH uphills, so made the going somewhat slower than it should have been on an already tight schedule. But overall, it's been great to see NZ. Here are a dump of South Island photo highlights......

A curious Kea in our first campsite. These are native parrots that are so cute, though Stian was not impressed. This little fellow kept coming up to the van and looked for a while like he would jump right on in......

Not a highlight, but a sicky Stian in the van all tucked up shortly before transferring to a motel for the day/night....

One of the stops on the way to the motel, Arthurs Pass, just beautiful. And the picture of Robbie Williams on our van.....

The view from the motel room, a good view to recouperate with....

Feeling somewhat better we did a low key rainy day and went to the Shantytown tourist area on the other side of Arthurs pass (I'll update with the town name once I have a map in front of me!). We did a train ride, went through old miners villages, museums and panned for gold. Here is Stian panning away. 

Me and Stian with our gold a lot didn't we.....:0)

On the coast road just down from the Fox Glacier. We ended up spending a second night in a motel just in case (which luckily was not needed), but it was a cute town and I got to see the glacier in the rain....:0)

Pancake rocks in the these were neat. All my geologist friends.....just how were these formed?? The signs at the park were not conclusive, basically saying no-one knows.....

Buller Gorge in the rain (guessing a theme here?). Our first night back in the van and a free campsite overlooking the gorge. Lots of sand flies, so we stayed locked in the van as much as possible, got a few crosswords done.......:0)

They're not all that we saw a Giant Kiwi....

The top of a TeePee made from washed up wood in the Abel Tasmin National Park. Just beautiful there, and it was dry enough for a walk on the 'Great Walk", all be it a short one. Yay! 

Stian on Dale the Clydesdale on the Abel Tasmin National Park, with our weird guide. As much as I loved my horse, I was totally jealous of Stian getting to ride a Clydesdale, so beautiful. 

On the short walk around the PuPu Springs.....a total random stop that turned out to be fabulous! 

A Sealion looks on at the Farewell Spit, the most northerly point on the South Island. This was a fun walk over farm land to look at some fossil rocks. Reminded me of hiking in the UK........cow pats all around.....:0)

And some cows on the hill at the Farewell Spit. I liked the clouds...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Kaikora...

Well, the residual of food poisoning is still with Stian, so we didn't Jet Boat or Kayak, instead we went way up to the tippy top of Abel Tasmin and Port Puponga and have had two beautiful days. The one energetic thing we did was a horse ride on the beach at dawn one morning, which while fabulous was undertoned a little by the guide constantly complaining about how toursits are ruining his horses. Ah well, the scenery was stunning!

Now we are in Kaikora for the night, making our way back around to Christchurch for me to fly home on saturday. Time really flies, can't believe it's been 8 days already....just 2 more to go...

Monday, December 15, 2008

On the Buller River...

And just trying to decide whether to do Jetboating, or to head up further to Abel Tasmin National park to go kayaking. I think we're heading in the later direction.

We arrived here on saturday and picked up our little camper van (Robbie - alas because there is a picture of Robbie Williams on the side of it....Take That-a-licious) and headed out to the west coast. Unfortunately some bad curry from Christchurch caught up with us and laid Stian out flat until today, and even left me a little queezy. But today we're back on the road and have just one minute left before my time on the internet runs out, so we're off and will blog later, after we get wet somewhere!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pics Waitomo

Stian and I took off for a day at the Waitomo caves and did a little abseiling, blackwater rafting, caving and climbing....
Me, just squeezing my butt through a hole....

Stian sidling nicely....

The reason to do this.......the cave dwelling Glow Worms.........really cool.......

The mouth of the cave - the ropes show where we climbed back up to the top...

Pics - In New Plymouth

My Aunt Janis and second cousin Lucius watching the monkeys at the zoo....

Stian pointing at the New Plymouth wind that was worth $300,000 wasn't it....

Me and Janis on the black sand beach...

Mount Taranaki in the distance looking over New Plymouth

Janis taking us on a little hike up Paratutu

Cousin Kirsty, me, Aunt Janis and cousin Darroch (2 cousins missing and 8 second cousins missing....)....

Stian and I on the Veronica loop, a short hike on Mount Taranaki

Pics - On the way to Taranaki

In Wellington, at the top of the hill - Stian being part of a sundial. Pretty neat. 

No, not the dollar store....but the "mainly $2 store"......

Kiwi Crossing

Taranaki Falls at Mt Ruapehu

Mt Doom (from Lord of the Rings)......

Monday, December 8, 2008


Limted access to internet this next week or so, so sorry for the few posts. When I get to a wireless I'll upload some photos.

We travelled up from Wellington on sunday and went to Okahune, went for a walk to Taranaki falls in the morning and got a few glimpses of Mount Doom (from Lord of the Rings) before the weather came in. We're now staying with my Auntie Janis and family in New Plymouth. Weather today was rainy and overcast, so we spent the day wandering around the town, went to the museum and then went for a walk around the park and zoo (in the afternoon when the rain had subsided) with Janis, my cousin Kirsty and her toddler Lucius. This evening was topped off with a good old pub quiz (of which we came 5th....of more than 5 teams before you ask) and dinner. Yum!

Tomorrow the weather is still supposed to be a little overcast, so the initial plan is to go to Waitomo caves to see glow worms (so covered over), but if it is nice we want to climb Mt Taranaki. We'll see!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

On our way....

Stian arrived and we're off! The rest of the conference went well, glad it's over, but feel exhausted. Yesterday we wandered around Wellington, went to Te Papa and up to the botanical gardens then went and watched Quantum of Solace at the cinema. A pretty low key day.

Today we rented a car and are now up at Ohakune, on our way to New Plymouth and my aunt tomorrow, but my camera cord is somewhere buried in the depths of the car, so no photos of Mt Ruapehu just now. So I leave you with some photos of the Maori dancers that came to our conference dinner. They were totally awesome, a really fun event.