28 February 2008

Next Week...

Did you know that I'm going to Australia next week? Because I am.

I'm going to Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. It's with work, and I'll be giving presentations and meeting with potential partners and such. I will be gone for nine days, essentially. It will be the longest Eric and I have been away from each other.

On the up-side. I'm going to Aus! And, Eric and I are thinking of going up to Cairns to do some snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef during his mid-winter break (in June, when it is freezing here), and this will give me a chance to see some other things in Australia and decide if we should add them to our potential trip in Cairns. I've heard Sydney is amazing.

I won't have a lot of sight-seeing time, but I will have some. Any suggestions for those four cities?

Because I have nothing clever to say...

And because Alli tagged me:

Where were you born? in the Great State of Texas
Middle name: Lynn
How old will you be this year? 24
Nicknames: My dad used to call me C.L. My grandpa called me Trixie.
Are you taller than your mother or father? I'm taller than my mom, barely. My dad's got nearly a foot on me.
Do you cry often during movies? Almost never.
What is your biggest pet peeve? Mispronunciation of words and poor grammar.
Favorite color: Yellow and green.
Favorite foods: Salad. Ice Cream. Not together.
Favorite restaurants: Cafe Rio, Thai Ruby, Mimi's Cafe, a gazillion more
Favorite beverage: water or milk. AND in New Zealand, milk is the same price, no matter the fat content, so it's back to whole milk for us!
Favorite cold cereal: Marshmallow Maties, Honey Nut Cheerios, granola.
Favorite smells: Gardenia, leather, baked goods.
Favorite time of day: Mid-afternoon when the sun is shining into our flat.
What brand of shampoo/conditioner do you use? Cheapest brand.
Favorite make-up products? Mascara.
How many pillows do you sleep with? Two.
Do you play an instrument? Not really, a little piano.
Have you ever been skinny dipping? Nope.
Did you do any sports in High School? Ha!
What was the last movie you saw in the theater? The Golden Compass (awful)
What is your favorite article of clothing? Probably a turtleneck. Also my BYU hoodie which I love and adore. And my brown flip-flops.
What is your dream vacation? Europe. Europe. Europe. All over. Especially to see the Sistine Chapel and the David. But also everywhere.
What was your first impression of your spouse? I thought he was good-looking, but a little disappointed that he was a Utah-boy.
If you were an animal what would you be? I am an animal. I am a person. I breathe and eat food. Also, I have five senses. Yes, I am an animal.
What is your favorite “me- time” activity? Reading.
Favorite TV shows: The Office
What is your dream car? Toyota or Honda hybrid. Petrol prices, anyone?
What is one of your weaknesses? I get frustrated very easily.
What do you fix for dinner when there’s nothing to fix? Plain bread. Not toast. Just bread.
If you could live in a different decade/era which one would it be? 1880s, I think.
Do you consider yourself outgoing? Almost always.
What is something you are constantly working on? Not talking too much. I'm not very good at this.
Any hidden talents? In high school I used to say my one true talent was my ability to sleep anywhere. ANYWHERE! I can't do that any more though. I can read really fast.
What is a word or phrase you overuse? Ridiculous.
What is the worst thing that happened to you this past year? I did really poorly on my Southern States family history final. I don't know of anything too tragic, though.
What is the best thing that happened to you this past year? Three new nieces, Eric got into grad school, we graduated. Too many good things to name just one! See my 2007 highlights post.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year? Bring my total of indexed names to 10,000. I meant to do this by 1 Jan 2008, but that didn't happen. Only about 4,000 names to go!
The best piece of advice you learned this past year? Michelle gave me some good clothes-buying advice. Like, when we were shopping together, she helped me pick out cute things.
Who are the 7 people you are going to tag to do this survey? nobody
At the end of the survey post a picture of you that was taken within the last week!

26 February 2008

Memories, and how sometimes they are better forgotten than remembered

As I sat on the couch the other night, a memory popped into my head inexplicably. A rather embarrassing and hilarious memory, in fact. And as I thought about it, I began smiling. Eric happened to notice my smirk and asked me what I was thinking about. I told him the story, and he also agreed that it was one of my funnier stories.

I decided I ought to blog about it. Which got me thinking even more. Nathan once asked if blogging could be considered family history, and I answered in the affirmative without even thinking. Mostly, blogging is genealogy because it's like keeping a journal. But I think you could write about memories as well, and I've decided that I'm going to start doing that. Especially when I can't think of much to blog about.

Memory the First:

Before going to BYU oodles of people told me how hip and happening the dating scene would be. Oodles. But when I got there, I was a little let down. I happened to get a boyfriend quite early in my freshman year, but even before that I didn't go on any dates (besides with the guy that became my boyfriend). And my friends weren't going on a whole lot of dates either. That summer I went home and talked about this curiosity to the members of my singles' ward, and they assured me that the dating scene would pick up the following year, when I wasn't living in the dorms any more. In fact, several people made it seem as though I wouldn't have time to do homework because I'd be going on dates every night.

And of course, I was excited about this. Boys! Dates! Free meals! Boys!

But then my sophomore year started, and not a lot was happening. And it wasn't just me. My roommates also weren't doing a ton of dating.

About six weeks into the semester I was sitting in a large (300-400 people) lecture hall for a business class, and the professor was discussing buyer expectations and how sometimes products don't meet those expectations. The professor asked for examples specifically related to BYU. In what ways had BYU let us down?

I muttered audibly to my two friends, "I thought I'd go on more dates." And they laughed. They insisted that I raise my hand and share with the class. "No way," I said. But they insisted that it was too funny to let it pass.

I raised my hand. The professor called on me, and I said, "I thought I'd be asked on more dates."


Silence like you've never heard.

And then the teacher called on somebody else who said something about how the football team had let him down. And that was that.

I'm not sure why people didn't laugh. I guess people didn't know it was a snide comment and allowed to be laughed at. They probably just thought I was one of the many bitter girls at BYU.

I'm pretty sure I didn't make any comments for the rest of the year.

Also, that semester I started dating Eric, so everything is fine, and I'm not bitter. :) But I do want to make it known that I really didn't go on many dates at all during my time of being single at BYU.

25 February 2008

A Little Reckless

When we were planning on moving to Dunedin, we did not think we would want to buy a car. We changed our minds, though, and decided to look into getting a cheap car that would get us around town and out on a couple of trips including one to Queenstown, Milford Sound and Te Anau.

So, we bid on a 1989 Mazda Familia on TradeMe, the New Zealand eBay. The Kiwis are CRAZY about it!

And, I think it's a little crazy that we have now purchased a car we've never seen from somebody we've never met.

Sandy's delivering it on Thursday morning, before her family moves out of the country.

20 February 2008

Sandfly Bay and Tunnel Beach

On Monday evening we went on a drive up the Peninsula. Then, on Tuesday we went to Tunnel Beach. Here are some photos:

We saw tons (literally) of sea lions on the beach at Sandfly Bay. They didn't do much. Occasionally one would move. I pointed out several of the sea lions, as you can tell. There is at least one more that I missed when I edited that photo. Plus, we saw about 10 more that were too far away to photograph. I like it better when sea lions do tricks.

We waited and waited to see the Yellow Eyed Penguins (the RAREST penguins in the whole world that happen to live right here in Dunedin), but we only saw these two chicks up on the hill waiting for their mum and dad to bring them food. We also saw a full-grown penguin mid-way up the hill just sitting there. He stayed there, not going up or down, the whole time we stayed in the hides (about an hour). We didn't get a very good look at any of them, so that part of the trip was a little bit disappointing. We'll have to go back some time.
When we were climbing up the sandhill of death after observing the penguins and sea lions for a while (and waiting for more penguins to come) we noticed a cruise ship. Eric loves ships, so I took a picture with him and the ship.

This is Eric going down into the Tunnel to get to Tunnel Beach. From what I know, there were some people who wanted a private beach, so they built this tunnel that goes down from the cliffs to a little beach below. Now it is a touristy spot, and quite, quite beautiful. And free, which is kind of a big deal for us.

The day before, at Sandfly Bay, we really didn't get a good view of the penguins. But then on Tuesday we found this little guy hiding out in a cave at Tunnel Beach. I zoomed in, so I wasn't that close to him. There are signs everywhere telling us not to go too close to the little birds because they are just petrified of people. (Imagine that.)

It was really too cold to play in the water, but neither of us could resist. In this part, the waves would bring the water in really fast, and really high. So we started playing a sort of "get chased by the waves" game where we would try to predict which waves would bring the really high water and then run away from those waves and jump on the big rocks before we got completely soaked. It was cold and fun. Also wet.

Eric LOVED (loves) just watching the waves roll in and out.

First two days in New Zealand

When we arrived in Christchurch after travelling for more than 24 hours, we were surprisingling alert, so we decided to spend a little while at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens before heading down to Timaru where we stayed the night. The gardens were free, and quite beautiful. We really enjoyed walking around and noticing all the different types of trees, bushes and flowers that we just don't have in the states. Eric was especially impressed with the trees because they are so tall.

On Wednesday, after staying the night in Timaru, we headed down to Dunedin. We made a quick stop at the Moraki Boulders, as seen below. These boulders are really cool! They are just as round as can be, and they formed completely naturally. Eric says it looks like God made them with a giant ice cream scoop! It was great to spend a little bit of time on the beach even though it was rather cloudy and cold.

As you can tell, some of the boulders are breaking. They were really cool to see in person. The pictures don't do them justice!

19 February 2008

Our Flat

Here are some photos of our lovely flat here in Dunedin! Everyone* is invited to come visit us!

This is the living room/dining room. We have a kitchen table with four chairs, a couch-bed, and a tv, which we don't intend to watch.This is our living room window. Pretty nice, huh? That large house directly in front is a fancy-pants bed and breakfast. You could come out and stay there, or you could come out and stay with us. You'd have a better view. (But I'm pretty sure our couch-bed isn't quite as comfortable, and my food probably isn't as good.)

This is a zoomed-in view from our living room window. You can see a bit of the neighborhood, parts of downtown, the harbor, the peninsula and the ocean.

Here is another view out our front window. It's just amazing, and it's a major reason we chose this flat.
This is our tiny, tiny kitchen. Tiny. To the left is our stove and oven. It is about 1/4 the size of a normal oven, and has two burners on top. It will really limit the things I can make.

The microwave and fridge are actually in the living room. And the fridge is TINY! The freezer? Even smaller. It's just a little box within the fridge. It's large enough to hold a half-gallon of ice cream, but here ice cream is sold in two-liter containers which are too big for our little freezer. Also, since we are not in America (and our fridge is so small) the eggs stay out. And, they are brown because brown eggs are cheaper here! (Everything is backwards!)
Even though the kitchen is very small, there is lots of room for storage. And, as you Mums can see, we have more than enough food for the two of us!

Our wee bathroom. It's small but sufficient.

Here is half of our bedroom. As you can see, we have quite a large window in here as well. It faces the same way as the living room window. It makes for lots of sunlight and impressive views any time of day.

This is the view out our bedroom window. You can see lots of downtown Dunedin, the Harbor, a bit of the peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. Pretty amazing.

This is another view out our bedroom window. All those trees make up the Green Belt, which is just a strip of woods right through the city. We walk through them to get to university. Then, of course, is the harbor and the peninsula.

This is the other half of our bedroom. It has a full chest of drawers which aren't visible in the picture. Plus those two little end-tables, the wardrobe there on the right, and the bookshelf on the right.

Here is our building from the street.

Here is the yard in front of our building.

*By "everyone" clearly we mean those of you who read our blog whom we actually know. No strangers, please.

09 February 2008

The Move... Really? New Zealand?

In 48 hours I'll be at the airport.

I'm pretty well packed.

I feel like I'm forgetting something. Hopefully it's cheap.

08 February 2008

How to Make Me Love Your Book

I finished Gone With the Wind two nights ago, and I adored it. As I've already mentioned, I loved Rhett. Scarlett drove me nuts, and yet there were times when I thought she was wonderful. But mostly I just thought she was confused and a bit twisted.

It really got me thinking about what makes a good book for me.

First and foremost is plot. The author needs to get me where we are going, and fast. It's not that the plot needs to be necessarily exciting, but something needs to be happening. I think part of the reason I could not stand The Scarlet Letter was the lack of a really stimulating plot. In my mind, the book was not really about a series of events, and that drove me nuts.

Characters. Give me characters that are so well-written I can understand them. Even if I don't like them. I just want to be able to get why they do what they do. I want to know what drives them. If you can make me love the characters, like Marian in The Woman in White, more power to you. But if you can just make me understand what makes the characters tick, you will have my wonder and awe! One thing I didn't love about Twilight and New Moon was how I just didn't get what Bella saw in Edward. It never made any sense to me whatsoever. So, I wasn't really blown away by those books because I never fully understood the characters, and I thought they were both extraordinarily flat.

And really, that's about it. If you give me a good plot with good characters, I will pretty much be able to read your book no matter the style of the book.


You are too descriptive. Which is why I hated The Scarlet Letter and The Hobbit. For Pete's sake, I just don't care about how intricate the "A" was on Hester's dress, and I don't care one lick about Bilbo's freaking door! I guess this goes back to the plot- that I want to get there, and I want to get there fast. But really, you can have a book with only a slow-moving plot as long as I feel like we are moving. If you spend 15 pages describing Bilbo's door, you are going to lose me, and lose me fast.

Now, with that said, I can understand why some people like verbose descriptions. I guess because those readers can actually see what's being described. But I cannot see it, and that's fine with me. What I really want is PLOT! And CHARACTERS!

So, that's what flips my switch (on or off) when it comes to books. Pray, do tell about what you like when you read.

07 February 2008

A Post for the Sake of Posting

Wow! I can't believe I'm moving across the planet so soon. We fly out on Monday, and we've been really busy visiting people, buying things and just getting things done before we take off.

A few things I'm looking forward to that have very little to do with the fact that we are moving to New Zealand, and have almost everything to do with the fact that we are just plain moving:
  • Having my very own kitchen and whatnot
  • Making new friends
  • Eric FINALLY quitting his job, and not having to work anymore grave shifts ever again! (not that he's need to quit any time before, but he has been working at the same place doing the same thing for the last five years, or maybe six. I don't know because I haven't known him that long.)
  • Simplifying and getting rid of some of the junk we own that we just don't need.
And a gazillion other things that have to do with New Zealand. LOTS of pictures to come, I promise.

I'm sorry I just don't have much to blog about.

04 February 2008


I've been having an ongoing conversation in my head for about 7 weeks now. Today it sounds like this:

Me: Hey, you're moving across the planet in seven days.
Other me: No, I'm not.
Me: Yes, you are. In seven days.
OM: Oh, really? Hmmmm.... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!


Yesterday church was canceled because there was so much snow. I didn't think it was that bad, but the church is on a hill, and the roads in the neighborhood hadn't been plowed. I've never even heard of church being canceled until yesterday.


I think Orem is confused about what city it is. It's acting like Jackson Hole with all its snow. I've really never seen so much snow in Utah. Of course, I've only been here five years. But even Eric says it's more snow than he's ever seen. The other day at work I was whining and I said, "Why does it keep snowing?" My boss responded, "Because we've been praying for it for five years." Okay. Fair enough.


Andrew gave Eric a Lord of the Rings trivia game (film version) for Christmas, and Eric has been quizzing me. We are such nerds. Actually, Eric is the nerd because I don't know most of the answers. This is mostly because all the names of the characters and the places are so strange and I can't ever remember which place is which. Really, I'm pretty bad about mixing up all the names. I've never read the series, and frankly I don't intend to because I had to read The Hobbit when I was in seventh grade and I loathed it. I tried to read it again later on, and I just couldn't get into it. I really detest books that go on and on describing settings. As I recall, the first 45 pages of The Hobbit are devoted to describing the door of Bilbo's home.* I am driven by plot and characters. Do not bother me with descriptions of places. I just don't see it, so I just don't care. And that's why I have no plans to read the series.


I should finish Gone With the Wind tonight. I still love Rhett. I don't care for Scarlett, but I also adore Scarlett. And the book? Amazing. I love the way it is written; the chapter about Frank and Scarlett really helped me understand both of them and feel sympathy for both of them in a way that I really didn't anticipate. That's one of the best qualities of the book, I think, that it is written in such a way that I feel like I can identify with all the characters, even if they are terrible people. Margaret Mitchell really makes the characters round, and not just a few of them, but most of them.

*I may be exaggerating.

01 February 2008

Americans are worried...

I've been following the presidential elections since the summer. I've been following them even more closely lately. We hear a lot about the middle class, the state of Social Security, qualms of Americans fearing huge lay-offs and the like. Most of it I feel like I can identify with. I feel like they are pertinent issues that need to be addressed.

But I'm sick of this one: Parents are worried about how they are going to pay for their kids to go to college.

And here's the solution: The kids can pay for it themselves.

No, if they want to go to a fancy-pants private school, they probably cannot. But they can pay for their own educations if they do the following things:
  • Work in high school and save money.
  • Choose a school that charges a reasonable amount of tuition. There are plenty of great educational institutions that do not cost an arm and a leg.
  • Earn a scholarship or many scholarships.
  • Work while attending college.
  • Take out a loan. Assuming the student will graduate from college with a credible degree, paying the loan back will be relatively simple. Interest rates are quite low.
  • Work during the summers full-time (or more) to save money.
  • Be frugal.
It just isn't that hard, folks. And you know what? If you make your kid be responsible for paying for his own education, you can almost guarantee that he will attend his classes, work his tail off to spend the least amount of time in school as possible and make good grades because by-golly, he's not paying to play!

I just don't buy the idea that fewer kids won't be able to go to college because their parents can't pay for it. If you want it badly enough, you will be able to afford it. That's all there is to it.