Bashing the Blues in the Beautiful NZ Bush

The Sunday before last, we got kidnapped.  It was perfection.  Emily, or Aunty Emily as she is known to the four Hobbit children is here in Auckland for work from Christchurch.  It’s been months since we have seen her, and she called me a few days ago and suggested the abduction without actually telling me anything about what would be involved, just that: “we are going for a walk.”

 

Yes, it was a walk.  According to my Apple step counter, it was about 7km worth of walking through pristine New Zealand bush.  Our tour guide was a calm, cheeky, kind millennial named… wait for it… Zuess.  Not even kidding.  He kept a close eye on us without ever giving away shortcuts and allowing us to function as a team and figure our own path through the forest. He’d done this Tawharanui scavenger hunt in summer and winter and several times before.  He was the actual best.

 

I feel it prudent to mention that Emily had a severe case of sunstroke and was crispy after her shoulders were exposed while on the water the day before.  Did she complain?  No. Did I worry?  Absolutely.  The next day she was in at our local doctor and a few weeks later her burn and herself are healing.  But what a trooper.  Silly trooper, but trooper none the less.

 

Back to the walk!

 

We had our eldest and youngest kids with us.  Daniel is nearly 14 and is, at times, an emo archetype of this harrowing stage in human development.  He deals with his angst through humour, and suffers no fools as he bashes through puberty, trying to find his place, and heavily ensconced in memes, VR, and self-discovery.  He amused, and perhaps slightly scared us with his razor sharp and often dark humor.

 

The other Hobbit child to join the convoy is James West. James is so full of joy and enthusiasm it is nearly impossible not to be in a great mood in his tiny but formidable presence.  James was given the role of leader, which he relished and, despite only being four years old and unable to read, actually took on with staggering success.  His diplomacy and enthusiasm throughout the day made his parents and the rest of the group very proud and kept us entertained.

 

Without going into too much detail, let me explain the premise of the day:

 

We stopped at the DOC station at the park entrance and collected pamphlets to guide us on a scavenger hunt through the Tawharanui bush reserve.  The object was to find checkpoints of native bird pictures along the walk.  Clear and easy to understand directions were given for each checkpoint, and Zuess let the team take total control of the process, and, despite knowing where everything was, and completing the walk several times in various conditions, did not rescue or steer the team at any point through the day. He did, however, offer encouragement and some fairly impressive jokes along the journey.

 

It is well known that my soulmate (ex partner and still best friend) Phteven and I adore Aotearoa.  This is a paradise beyond measure in our eyes, and the opportunity to walk through pristine bush with dappled light and beautiful birdsong to sooth our busy minds was medicine for our souls and our friendship.  Seeing our kids and our friends work together, bond, laugh and successfully find all the suggested checkpoints remains a highlight of the summer for our family.  Good, wholesome Kiwi communing with nature.  There’s nothing quite like it in the world, and I would suggest to anyone to get out amongst it when they have the time.

 

I might leave today’s post there for now, and share some of the pictures from the day and a few links.  Living in the country is a blessing I treasure and ponder multiple times every day. Our summer is in full swing, and we are a week away from the children returning to school.  This weekend I am nipping across the ditch to Melbourne for a quiet and rejuvenating weekend, while most of the Kiwis (especially in Auckland) will be preparing for some record high temperatures this Auckland anniversary weekend. So, consider packing a lot of cold water and heading into the bush where it is a little cooler and less crowded than the beach.  I know I had a perfect day in dappled light with some of my favourite people on the planet.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Office Arrangement Awesomeness Makes Today a MAGIC Monday!

I’ve been moping around a little bit lately with that “why do so many people mistake my kindness for weakness and take me for a fool?” kind of storm cloud raging over my head.

Dramatic selfie of Dee moping.  Poor poor pitiful me. Boohoo.

Dramatic selfie of Dee moping. Poor poor pitiful me. Boohoo.

Total waste of time, because the moping kept me from seeing all the amazing people around me!

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Almost exactly a year ago, we had a last minute pot luck before I have birth to our fourth and final child. Just about everyone we asked came along, the kids played, the parents laughed, and I am still absolutely chuffed to know each and every person in this picture (although I wish I saw them all more and we weren’t all so busy!)

My very outgoing personality, and Grumpy’s huge heart combine to make us a very accessible, very open, generous and trusting team. We had a hitchhiker couch surf at our house for two years on and off at the beginning of our relationship, and we’ve had dozens of people and families stay with us or use any one of our holiday homes for various reasons. We like giving back, and we like showing strangers and friends the kindness that was shown to us as we maneuvered through life and sometimes needed a helping hand.  Most of these experiences have been GREAT.

Sometimes, unsavory characters creep in and leave me feeling depleted and actually pretty pissed off.

truth

truth

Well, the dark clouds have lifted.

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With a workweek full of adventures and interesting campaigns and clients, four healthy, happy, and (despite being watched by their father for a good chunk of the weekend while I slept) currently uninjured children to go home to later today for laughs and cuddles, and so much to look forward to and be excited about this year, I am feeling absolutely reborn!

Our home is currently bursting at the seams with good people who are enriching our lives and CLEANING and ORGANISING everything!

I want to share with you, just how rejuvenated that help cleaning and organising has made me.

A friend from high school in Canada got me in touch with a woman who was planning on coming to NZ for a bit. We met and chatted over social media, she came for a visit with her travel companion and very dear friend Danielle, and they were only mildly scared of me and my incessant chatter and ADD-licious ways. They didn’t have any solid plans, so we agreed that they’d stay in our apartment and we’d cover room and board if they’d help us out with some things (like cleaning and kids).

A few weeks later, I arrived home from an overseas trip to San Diego for a conference (and to visit some very good friends) to a clean garage. A clean house. Clean cars. Happy kids.

A few weeks in now, the girls came in and completely renovated and finished my somewhat sad little office over the weekend. They spent all of Sunday sourcing picture frames, buying second hand furniture, moving things around, hanging curtains, and being proper angels on earth to me.

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My beloved Nerd/Dork retro cups. Too small to drink out of as I have a bucket of tea, not a cup, but definitely one of my favourite things in the world. Maria gave them to me on my 34th Birthday. She is also great. Most people are I believe.

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Retro desks, that it turns out I paid waaaayyy too much for but I love them anyway. My friends cleaned up the whole training room and put away all the bits and bobs.

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Clean desk! Wonder how long it will stay this way?

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Training room at the ready!

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Clean desk sans Dee selfie 🙂

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Come over and have a chat with me at the office anytime! It looks great!

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Fffffffoooooosebook.

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Nerd Dork in pride of place (as it ought to be!)

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Tidy little kitchen with plenty of geekiness.

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Training room ready for some lucky guests to come and feel all cosy and LEARN some cool stuff!

Fave pic!  Great spot for it Thanks ladies!

Fave pic! Great spot for it Thanks ladies!

So, if you are having a tough run and dealing with not-so-great people, hang in there. And, as far as I can tell, there are FAR more good people out there than bad ones, and even the ones who leave us feeling a little tired and scarred have something to teach us, so please keep your heart and mind open, and keep letting good people in. I know I will!