Thursday, December 30, 2010

The friendliness of Kiwis.... and our insane adventure on Waiheke.

Ok, so yesterday we did the most insane / epic / stupid / beautiful thing yesterday.

We want to Waiheke to spend the day.  Took the ferry over, and decided instead of taking a wine tour (since they were expensive and we wanted to see more of the island), that we would tour the island ourselves by Mountain Bike.  We had been warned by the guy at te ferry terminal, who when Kyle asked him where to rent bikes, turned with a funny look and said "you know Waiheke is really hilly, right?"  We didn't think much of it, because people had suggested we rent bikes.  Haha, unfortunately it cost us more to rent two mountain bikes than it would have to rent a car (only about $10), but more on that later.

 On the ferry on the way over.  Wow, apparently I am getting tan!  (dont worry, I wear sunblock every day, especially with that whole "hole in the ozone layer" thing...)

 Our trusty bikes...this is right after our first climb.  Getting our bearings.

So we head out with our maps and the vineyards selected that we wanted to stop at eventually, and Kyle was determined to get all the way to the far reaches of the island, where the most beautiful areas were.  This place was called Man 'O War.  Im thinking "awesome, we'll bike out and see it, and then have a leisurely time back.  We had been told that the trail out there was the most difficult, but we didn't think much of it since we're both relatively experienced riders.  We got this, right?  And, we didnt believe the lady when she said "oh, it'll take around 8 hours to get out and back."  Hah, no it won't.  Maybe for amateurs!

On that note, off we go.  Experiencing some serious climbs early on in the heat of the sun, we weren't worried cause we were covered in our SPF70, and had our backpacks stuffed with lunches, as well as waterbottles.  Stopped off at a place called Palm Beach for lunch, which was pretty crowded, but beautiful.  And let me tell you:  That guy at the Ferry Terminal was NOT JOKING when he said Waiheke was hilly.  Reminded me of biking in the Shenandoah MOUNTAINS.  haha.  I mean seriously.

Anyway, we were having a great time, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and happy to be out on such a beautiful day.  We have some amazing photographs.  Bright green grass sprawling out everywhere, and clear Sapphire blue water in between.  Breathtaking to be sure.

 on View Road.  Appropriate name, don't you think?
 Sprawling green pastures as we continued along.  Yea, we left civilization...

 SHEEEEEEP!  (Kyle has the rest of the photos from the trip on his camera)

We continued on, realizing we still had quite a long ways to go.  Im starting to think, this is going to end up as a bit less of a wine / beach tour, and more of a "lets see how extreme we can be" tour.  It sure did.  But thats ok too!  We found our first vineyard as well, Obsideon.  That was quite nice!  We had 5 wines for $5 each, and the woman was really friendly.  It was great to have a breather too. 

We hopped back on, and quickly ended up in the middle of nowhere, sprawling green grassy hills everywhere, tons of sheep (yes, lots of sheep, and the babies were so cute!), and miles left to go to the end of the track.  Just past the sheep, we end up on some dirt / gravel roads.  Well, now this is a tad more challenging!  But let me tell you, mountain bikes are AWESOME, and this is the first time I've been on one as an adult.

Onward, and we're getting pretty tired... and running out of food and water... but we're ALMOST THERE!  2.8 miles to go... and then we finally make it.  Free wine tasting there too!  And omg the most beautiful scenery.  Absolutely gorgeous.  So we stopped and enjoyed the wine at Man 'O War vineyard, and were searching for food, since we thought there was BBQ there.  Nope, no food unfortunately.  So by now its around 4:45pm or so, and we have 4 hours before sunset... well crap, we gotta get back!  

We continue along the track, heading around the end of the loop and back toward town.  OMG we were so shot.  SOOOO shot.  Our legs were just done...we had been biking since 11:30am.  But we had to keep going!  We get up to the top of this ridge which was just absolutely gorgeous, but we stopped to take a break at the top of the hill.  We're realizing we're pretty low on water and randomly, a really really nice older man stopped on the road to talk with us, and sure enough had a huge water jug, and offered us water!!!!  What a nice man!  They were staying just down the road, and were from Auckland.  Haha, oh the friendly nature of Kiwis.  Then we kept on, and we ran into a vineyard that we thought was still open (around 6pm), and headed down there to see if they still had anything.  Sadly, they were closed, but a really nice man walked out, I assume either the owner or someone who works / lives there, and talked with us.  Told us that unfortunately their restaurant was closed and all packed up, so we chatted with him for a bit.  Really nice guy.  He said his brother was a cyclist who had done the same trek, only on a road bike, so he knew what we were into.  Nicest guy ever.. he said "wait a minute, let me see if I have any food I can give you guys to head off with, you will probably need it."  So a couple of minutes later, he walks out with some buiscuts (cookies), strawberries, and two apples!  WOW.  He also gave us some insight on what we had coming... and a doozie it was.

Talk about the two largest and longest hills we had seen all day.. AT THE END OF THE RIDE.  We biked as far as we could, and then hopped off and were walking the bikes up the rest of the way, just for a change in muscle usage.  Insanity.  The first one of the two was absolutely ridiculous.  We're getting a bit worried on time and daylight and all that, but we keep going.  Made it through both thankfully, and then it was not nearly as bad the rest of the way.  We stopped to take a break at a bus stop, and this really nice man who lived right behind the bus stop named Tim, came down cause he saw us.  Asked if we needed help, but we said we were just taking a break, explained where we had come from and whatnot.  He was impressed, and we were joking about how next time.. whatever we rent will come with a MOTOR!  He gave us some more water, and then offered us a couple of beers!  Sat and chatted with us for a while.  Haha, what a friendly guy.  So there, that is THREE times we have been helped by random complete strangers throughout the day.  Wow.  So impressed.  Just nice friendly folk, offering to help out some strangers.  Immensely impressed.

From there, we had 11K to go... and my God was that the longest 11k ever!  Kyle's hip was killing him, our butts were sore, our legs were tired... oh man.  But... by the time 8pm came along...WE MADE IT.  We made it ALL the way back!  a total of 32.5 miles roughly is what we biked throughout the day.  Now... that doesn't sound all that far...but with the hills thrown in like they were, omg it was flippin far.  We literally couldnt have biked any farther.  Haha.  OH what a day!

Here's our route!

Like I said, Insanity is our middle name.  haha.

It was definitely an experience though, thats for sure.  And once we get all the photos loaded, trust me, I will post some.  They are spectacular.  Absolutely nuts.  So finally, around 8 / 8:30pm, the bikes were turned in, we said "good riddance," and headed to wait for the ferry.  All sunburnt (just the back of my hands and a little on my back if you can believe it!  Thank YOU SPF 70!), and absolutely spent.  Ready for food and sleep for sure.

 the last of the sunset, waiting for the Ferry. 
 Rangitoto in the background.  Kyle got some better photos with his camera, but I got something at least!

Oh what a day!  Next time, we're renting motor bikes, and spending a little more time at the wineries and beaches, then pedaling up the mountains.  As Kyle said earlier today "the sight of a hill makes me sick!"   Hahahahahahaha.

Good times.  Next time, we'll try to be a bit smarter about it (don't worry).  :-)

SO much happening!!! HOLIDAYS!

So Kyle has been here about 6 days now, and things are great.  Learning to live together (not that we arent used to spending long periods of time together or anything), and exploring the city.  Getting things set up for him over here too.  Hes applied to A LOT of jobs, and I am REALLY hoping he finds one.  Theres one company, Blue Barn, that sounds amazing, and I think he would be perfect to work there.  Heres hoping! 

Sorry I havent been on top of this by the way, work got really busy before the holidays, and then I got two days off before holidays, and spent that time running around getting ready for Kyle to come.  Organizing, etc.  Now we're planning some trips!  Well, starting anyway.

Just a breif update.  I'll start at Christmas: 

We had a nice Christmas.  Kyle got in on Christmas Day around 6am.  I got myself to the airport bus that morning to go and meet him.  I was SO anxious!  His flight wasn't stellar, Delta were total asses and charged him a ton of money for stupid things, but at least he got here safe.  We hopped a shuttle home, which took us to our doorstep (awesome!), and got Kyle settled a bit.  Then, off we went!  Walked down into town, stopped by my office to see some people and show him my office (since I had the day off and some people were working just til lunch).  Then headed downtown for a little bit to give him an idea of the city.  It was a nice day!  Went to the grocery store with Nia and Terry to get some food and whatnot as well.  He was able to stay up too until around 9pm that night.  I was pretty impressed! 

Christmas turned out nicely.  WAY different than home, and I got a bit emotional because we weren't home... I missed my family a lot.  But we got to web cam chat with them on their Christmas! 

Kyle and I woke up on our Christmas Day, and had the house to ourselves for a couple hours while everyone else was sleeping.  Sat around the tree and opened presents from one another (yes, I got a 5ft tree and decorated it before he came :-D), and that was really nice.  Kyle...I swear... he ordered me ALL the McDonald's toys from the Penguins of Madagascar SHOW!!!  They dont sell merchandise for the show yet because it hasnt been on all that long yet, but I swear, he got me two of each penguin!!!!!  Omg.  Who would have thought of that!  Made me so happy!  Im the first person in the office to have any official stuff from the show!  SO COOL!  He also got me the Vibram 5fingers shoes, so I can start walking around town in those, and hopefully start running with them.  We took them on a quick jog the other day in the rain (which was awesome) and they feel great to be honest.  Walked around town in them too and I really like them.  Take some getting used to, but excited to use them. 

I got Kyle tickets to Nitro Circus for the two of us in February, Track side seats, and some other knicknacks from New Zealand.  Candy and whatnot too.  :-D  We had a really nice morning.  His family gave me some great gifts too!

Then we Skyped with my Family on their Christmas Eve, and it was sooo great.  Made me happy to see everyone, and sad of course that I wasn't there.  But definitely made the day better!  We opened the gifts from Mom and Gary that they had sent too, and let me tell you, we got some good stuff!  I got some DVDs, a new ipod touch that I can SKYPE ON, some cute shirts, and my Animation Mentor Timbuk2 bag that I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN about!!  Omg the thing is great, and I got signed thank you cards (3 of them) for each friend of mine that I recommended to the school, and that had finished class 1!  So neat :-D  So that was nice.  It was so great to open presents with everyone together, and just SO cool that you can DO that over the internet from so far away!

After all the excitement, and some tears, we made breakfast and just kind of hung around.  We had gotten a big ham and some veggies / potatoes to make the day before, so we went on a search for some brown sugar to make a glaze.  EVERYTHING is closed here on Christmas though, and the place was like a ghost town.  But we were able to find a little mini mart that had some things we needed.  So we came home, Christmas DVDs in hand as well, and started cooking.  Kyle and I made a glaze for the ham and I made the mashed potatoes just like mom does (sour cream and milk... yum!).  Nia made the veggies, and Terry made dessert.  Got some wine too.  And then once food was ready, Everyone sat down to eat!  Nia, Terry, Ernesto, Alvaro, me, and Kyle.  It was nice.  The food was great, and it was a pretty nice alternative to Christmas at home.  Better than nothing!  The Christmas tree was on in the background and all that.

After dinner and dessert, we watched A Christmas Carol.  Awesome looking movie, but unfortunately Kyle and I just CRASHED during it.  So we headed to bed before everone else.  Probably still late though.  Next day we were hanging around the house and then Skyped with Kyle's Family.   It was harder to talk to them because of our internet connection failures,  but still nice that we could see them.  Saw Zoey too, and it sounds like she is doing ok.  I feel bad, we miss having pets over here. 

So, that was Christmas! 

Over the past couple days its been wandering the city, running some errands, and trying to figure out what to do for the New Year.  I want SO BADLY not to be here for the New Year (in our house).  SO luckily after much debate and research, we have rented a room in a Bed and Breakfast at Piha Beach to spend the night and celebrate the New Year.  We rented a car, so we will be learning to drive on the other side of the road as of tomorrow morning *eek!*, and hopefully having a nice dinner and enjoying the beach. 

So far so good in New Zealand!  We can't WAIT to move though!  SO looking forward to that new place!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dec 20th

Ok...So this is just a quick post....  I know I've been slacking.

So today I bought a Christmas tree downtown.  And ornaments and all that.  Its gorgeous!  Set it up in the living room, and it made me really happy just to have that.  But... I set it up by myself.  Which is fine, I just wanted to have it... but Ive always set up a Christmas tree with someone else....Nia and Josie were there, but it was me doing the setting up.  It was weird not doing it with family... and without there being... I duno... a bigger deal made out of it.  I was SO excited just to have a tree!  its pretty big too! 

And then, later tonight, Nia and I rented the movie "Fred Claus."  I thought it was going to just be a cute, funny movie about Christmas, and it was.  But what I didn't realize......... was just how homesick it would make me.  It actually made me cry at the end.. and I just couldn't hold it back.  Seeing all the scenes of families on Christmas Day spending time together and all so happy... made me really miss home on Christmas.  I know its just one year, and that everything is fine, and that Kyle will be here soon.  And I'm sure I'll get to talk to my family.  But... it really does make me sad that I wont be there.  I love Christmas.  Even when theres drama on Christmas... I still love it.  I love seeing everyone happy.  And enjoying their company.  Getting the house all clean and decorated for Christmas and family to come over.  I will always love that.  It made me a little sad today... telling Nia and Josie (who was hanging out with us too, shes from Germany, and heading back there tomorrow) about how Mom and I used to set up the Santa House every Christmas together.  Spending the afternoon bringing things up from the basement and spending the time to fix up the house... put everything where it should be.  Listening to Chrismas music... and just spending time TOGETHER.  I love that.  ANd I always look forward to it.  it's a lot of work..... but man do I love it. 

So yes, I am sad that I don't get to do any of that this year.  I know that in the past I havent celebrated Christmas at home the whole time... but I still got to be part of it every year.  Its different being so far away, and knowing that I can't be home this time.  And that I wont be for a while. 

Sorry to be a bit of a sap... but it made me kind of sad tonight when I realized just how much it meant to me every year to be with my family during the holidays.  Even just Mom and Gary and Evan.. spending the time shopping, setting up...

Yea, I miss home right now.  :-(

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Woops, its been a while...

Well then, sorry its been a while!  Ive gotten quite behind.  Been trying to keep up at work, and I have just been exhausted lately.  Keeping myself WAY busy too, which is fantastic.

Kyle comes in just a few days (just over a week!!!!!!!), so I have been trying to get things around here organized for him to come.  Cleaning out the closet and whatnot.  This past Friday was the Christmas in the Park performance as well, and that was a blast.  I went to that initially with Matt and Carla, and had planned to meet up with Ngaire and Chris and Ngaire's Aunt and Uncle when they got there.  So I hung out with the two of them, and then right around when the show was starting, met up with Ngaire.  That was a blast!  had a great time with them, her Aunt and Uncle are awesome too.  Lots of fun.  Musical performances galore, fireworks at the end and all!  Even Santa!  haha.  Not to mention TONS AND TONS of people!  It was in the Auckland Domain, which is a huge park, and the park was absolutely full.  Insane.  Really fun.  Then after the show was over, I headed back to Meadowbank actually with everyone to play some cards.  They let me crash there for the night too, which was really nice.  Meadowbank is beautiful, and quiet.  Not to mention their house is AMAZING.  Love it.  Really modern, clean, beautiful.  Nice backyard / deck area for entertaining as well.  It was great.  They made me breakfast, and then dropped me home.  They even invited Kyle and I to come by for Christmas!  What a nice family.  Seriously, I feel very lucky to have met them. 

That day as well, once I got home, Amnon picked up me, Matt and Carla and took us out to Miruai beach.  Very cool beach.  Amnon, Deb, and their friend went surfing, while Matt, Carla and I went exploring a bit and laid on the beach.  LOVE the beach.  So nice to have somewhat of a tan too!  Dont worry, Ive been COVERING myself in sunscreen every time I go out, and so far so good on not getting burned!  Awesome.  So we had a nice little afternoon, and then Amnon dropped us home.  I love Amnon and Deb, they are great.  Looking forward to spending more time with them.  (Amnon is a co worker of mine if I didnt mention that before). 

Then I came home, went and got a pizza with Nia and Terry, and chilled out at the house the rest of the night.  Good times. 

Got all my Christmas shopping this weekend too, and was able to mail everything home on Monday morning.  Yay!  Can't wait for everyone to get their gifts.  Looking forward to that.  I love Christmas :-). 

So this week is going to be a doozey I think.  Busy busy.  Trying to catch up from last week, but man, I feel like some of my shots just get harder and harder.  I guess thats a good thing really, they trust me with a lot more, but still... it takes a lot of time!  Im re-animating someone else's Primary shot too right now.  Savio..oooh Savio the snake.  How difficult he can be when you dont know how to use him.  Whoever did the Primary pass on the snake, didn't quite use the right controllers, so I was forced to re-do the whole thing, and then throw it into Primary.  So it took me ALL day.  Literally.  I was able to work a bit on another one of my Julien shots toward the end of the day since I stayed late, so i think I will be able to submit that tomorrow.  Who knows.  Its been a hard week, getting a lot of crits back.  Not to say that Im not doing as well as I was, I am, but the shots I have are more challenging, and every once in a while Myke changes his mind from what was set out originally.  Totally allowed to do that, it just makes it a bit frustrating for me when I can't get a shot approved the first or even third try.  haha.  Still, its ok.  Always small changes, thank goodness. 

And GOOD NEWS:  I now have a new place to live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OMG Im so excited!

This place is GORGEOUS.  And now...Kyle and I initially didn't want to live with other room mates.. but Kate and I found this absolutely to-die-for townhouse that is none other than epic.  Seriously.  The nicest thing I have seen since I have been here, hands down. 

I think I wrote about it before, but in case I didn't......  3 stories, balcony on every floor, FULLY furnished, leather couches, wood floors, big screen plasma tv, dvd player, 3 bedrooms, comes with a grill and every possible kitchen appliance we could ever need / want.  Beautifully decorated, two car parking spaces... and not to mention...the Master Suite, the room Kyle and I will be in.. is awesome.  private bathroom, large room, King bed, our own tv, a desk built in, closet, our own balcony... I mean its just great.  Its about the top of what we can afford (with utilities included), but man is it worth it.  And its closer to work than I am now.  And outside of the downtown area.  SO quiet back there!  My goodness.  The view from the balconies is amazing too!  And the woman who is renting it to us is sooooooooo nice.  She is going to have us over for some drinks after Christmas to solidify everything, sign papers, get instructions and keys and whatnot.  its amazing.  I cant wait for Kyle to see it.  We can't move in until January 15th, but thats perfect really because thats just the right amount of time to give notice, for the holidays to be wrapped up, and to get things settled.  YAY!!!  Stoked.  And we're going to put a hammock on the balcony!  I CANT WAIT!  So yes, that made my day.  The other person moving in with us as well is Juan from work.  he's really nice.  He is a compositor over at Oktobor, and seems really sweet / chill.  We talked quite a bit on the bus, and I think this is going to be a fantastic scenario.  Great people too.  So yea.  YAY!!!

So yea, things are going really well.  Im still trying to lose weight though.  I found out that I am walking just about 5 miles a day!  Its awesome.  And Im trying to eat better.  I need to not eat out so often (which will help), not to mention the fact that Christmas shopping will help to deter me from doing that so often ;-).  Had a nice little chat with Heather today, and that made me feel better.  When Kyle gets here we can train together, and I think that we are going to look into buyin bikes over here used so that we dont pay so much extra to have them shipped.  Just not worth it. 

Ahhhh.  Good things.  Now, I just cant wait for Christmas!!!!!!

OH, get this. Another reason why I love my job:  I am hearing rumors that within the construction going on in the office (theres a ton cause of expanding), they are building a SLIDE to go from the top floor (third floor) to the animation floor!!!!!!  HAHAHA, omg epic.  I love my job and my industry.  And we have our Christmas party Thursday night.  Really excited about that too.  Wish Kyle could be here for it, but thats alright, at least he is coming.  Man, I cant wait.  Good things are happening.

I guess the best of things really are worth waiting for :-D

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dec 6th and 7th

OOOmg, so Kyle officially has his PLANE TICKET!!!!!!!!!!!  OMG!  He lands on Christmas Eve and is planning to stay!  We are searching for work and apartments, and all of that good stuff.  MAN am I excited!  Talk about lucky too, I already scheduled work off on the 24th, and he lands at 6am on the 24th!  Im going to arrange a shuttle to take me to the airport to meet him.  AHHHH I CANT WAIT! 

So, now aside from that AWESOMENESS, the week has started off with a bit of a bang.  I am SLAMMED with work.  I have 10 shots this week.  No idea how many frames in total, but a LOT of work overall.  I hope I can make it through it.  Yesterday I left a little early to check out this absolutely EPIC townhouse with Kate.  OMG the place is gorgeous.  Its a 3 bedroom place, for $750 per week total.  Not counting utilities.  And wow... I mean, wow.  Its in parnell, and is fully furnished.  And by fully furnished I mean: Every kitchen appliance you could imagine, leather couches, a balcony on every floor, all Queen size beds, and a King in the master bedroom which is on the top floor.  The two bedrooms are on the bottom floor, with the kitchen / living room / dining room on the middle floor, and the master room on the top floor.  And let me tell you... the master room?  OMG I WANT IT!  Huge bedm built-in desk, big closet, private bathroom, built-in flat-screen tv, separate leather couch in the bedroom, private balcony with a huge table and chairs overlooking the city.  Quiet... I mean wow.  It was marvelous.  I would take it in a heartbeat.  Now it sounds like an amazing deal because that would be $250 per bedroom per week.  TOTALLY in my price range.  BUT.. because the master room is SO much larger and has so many more things in it.. that it wouldnt be fair to pay the same price for that room as the other two which are much smaller.  So I would have to pay $300 pw for it, which is also fine... until you add in utilities for both me and Kyle.  Granted, if Kyle has a job, he can split utilities, making it much cheaper, but if he doesnt have a job right away, that would be more than half my income per month just on rent alone.  TOO much.  But omg I love the place.  Nicest place I have seen yet. 

The nice part, (in a way) is that since its owned by a woman who is leaving the country for a job as a nurse in the Middle East (working on a military base and whatnot), she kind of gets to pick and choose who lives there.  So she met us, said she liked us, but there are a lot of people interested in the property.  So we may not even be chosen for the place.  We will know in another week and a half or so.  I just wish it was a little cheaper.  If it was $300 pw total, or even $320 pw total, that would be soooo do-able.  And it would be perfect because Kyle and I would have essentially our own separate apartment upstairs, just sharing kitchen and laundry.  EPIC.  But still.  It would be over $440pw for us to rent that, and for me thats over $100 more a week than I can spend.  SO .... who knows.  We'll see. 

Anyway, that was awesome.  After that, we walked part way back together, and then headed off home.  Made dinner at the house, and hung out again with the room mates.  Very chill night again. 

Fortunately and unfortunately, the servers were all messed up yesterday at work, so we had to come in late this morning (9:30am), so I got up and ran around Herne Bay.  MAN is that the nice part of town!  Right along the water, gorgeous houses, big, spacious... I mean wow.  I'd totally live there to, though I think thats impossible price-wise.  But it was a nice run.  The clouds were kind of ominous, but it didnt end up raining.  Perfect weather to run.  Ran a little over 8k which felt awesome.  Stopping a bit along the way to check my map to see where I could go.  Then headed home, rushed to get ready to go, and ran out the door.  Made it just after 9:30, and just in time for our team meeting.  Which went well.  Nickelodeon is SUPER stoked with the work that we are putting out it sounds like.  And they are being very complimentary.  SO HAPPY!  Sounds like we do it better than anyone else they have worked with thus far in the animation sector.  Stoked!  SO that was nice.  Got a couple of comments on things we need to do better, and then headed off to get on with our day. 

Today was kind of slower than I wanted it today.  Kyle and I got to chatting, and then Amy and I caught up a bit, Bobby as well.  Got an email from Mom too.  They're sending me Christmas gifts!  YAY!  It was nice, really nice to talk to them.  I just wish the timing was better because I end up talking instead of working!  No good.  I will be stopping this habit.  I did get a lot done today I feel like though.  I think Im going to get more in the habit of switching between shots more often throughout the day.  Touch on more shots than spending the whole day on one.  I think it gives a nice change up, plus then you're not staring at the same thing forever.  So I did get a decent amount done.  Still SO much to do though. 

Left a bit early again too to get to a Kickboxing introductory class.  It was alright.  Unfortunately its pretty pricey to join up, and you have to commit for 6 - 12 months, so I don't think I can do that.  I am considering getting a gym membership, but I think I'll wait til Kyle gets here to see better what our financial standing will be, as to whether or not I can afford it.  Don't want to get too far into commitments, especially if we're searching for another place to live.  Who knows where that will be. 

After our little Kickboxing Demo, Kate and I headed off to get some sushi for dinner and hung out.  Kate is awesome.  We get along really well, and I enjoy her company for sure.  Glad we're getting to know eachother more as time goes on.  Excited about some workouts too.  We got a soccer ball for our office, so I think we're going to try to make that a regular summer habit after work, going to run around.  Some guys in teh studio know martial arts too, so we're going to see if we can get them to take us out and teach us some things once a week too.  Just lots of stuff to keep everyone active.  I LOVE it.  Can't wait to get back into Tris too.  Anxious for Kyle to get here so I have a regular workout partner too.  :-)  And the water is getting warmer, so we'll be able to go out and swim open water soon!  WAHOO!  Good things.  Mom and G are shipping my bike in January (which they are SO awesome for), and we're trying to figure out how Kyle can ship his as well.  I cant wait to join some riding groups in the area, and learn to ride on the L side of the road.  Should be awesome!  *sigh* so many things to look forward to!  I like it :-D

Alright, off to be a bit more social.  Maybe I'll draw something....

Dec 3, 4, 5th

Ahhh Friday.  Friday is great.  Slept in a little bit (by a little bit I mean til 6am), and headed on my way to work.  Nothing too exciting, but I DID manage to power through quite a bit of my work.  Got all of my snake shots approved in Secondary (AWESOME), and really all of my other shots except for 2.  And they were the two that have now become the most challenging, so I knew I wouldnt get those through.  Still one shot not finished thats hanging over my head, but its all good.  Im mostly caught up!  So happy.  And I didnt go in this weekend, which is always nice.

So Friday we did the typical office happy hour...gotta love that time of the day / week.  Then a group of us headed down to Sale Street bar for Mercedes' birthday.  Man that place is pricey!  Note to self: never ever order a cocktail at a bar in Auckland.  $16 for an appletini.  HA!  No thanks.  I'll stick to beer and wine next time.  Ah well, I should have known, but live and learn.  At least it was good!  haha.  So a group of us chilled there for a bit, and then around 9 or so I headed home.  Nia and Terry had gotten some movies, including Karate Kid and Shrek, the 4th one.  I came home in the middle of Karate Kid, and then was so excited to watch Shrek.  But then I started falling asleep!!!!!  Hahah.  Omg so tired.  So I went and passed out around maybe 12 or 1am.  Man, I needed that.

Woke up Saturday and did a P90X Plyometrics workout.  Im not happy with my current state of fitness so I decided to start changing it.  Man, that workout kills!  I did an abs work out as well, so that was a good way to start the day.  I had intended on going out to Mission Bay to lay on the beach and read for the afternoon, but I had to go check out an apartment (no good either) and then Nia and Terry were going to get groceries, so I figured ok, I will tag along, and go to the beach Sunday.  Turned out to be a nice day too, thought it was going to rain in the morning!  Anyway, got some of our produce going, and headed back here.  That took most of the afternoon up.  So, determined to go and spend some more time outside, I headed on down to Grey Lynn park with my blanket and my book.  Spent a couple hours there.  Im still just wiped out from the past two weeks.  Wanted to sleep more than read my book!  Haha.  So I got in a little of both.  Hung out down there for a good 2 hours or so, and then headed back to the house to get prepared for the evenings party.  My coworker Javier was throwing a party at his apartment, and invited everyone from work. 

I ended up going alone, no one else from my immediate friends was really interested.  Turned out to be quite a bit of a walk too!  He's all the way downtown, almost into Parnell.  Yeesh!  So about 45 minutes after I started walking, I finally got there.  And DUDE...the guy has a WICKED apartment!  Omg.  He said it took him months of searching to find it, but he has some NICE digs!  Two floors, quiet off the street, but still downtown.  The rooms are huge, and very modern.  Huge bathroom, etc.  Man, it was amazing.  Jealous!!!!!!  Hopefully Kyle and I find something decent.  Im crossing fingers... Im starting to get discouraged because of the cost of things.  Hopefully we will find something..

Anyway, so the party turned out alright, hung around for around 2 hours, Warren, Pete, Rob and some more people showed up as well.  Hung out and chatted with them a while.  I thought there would be more people from work there, but only a few, so it was nice that they showed up.  Around midnight, the party was kind of shutting down anyway because of noise level (they agreed I guess with their neighbors to be curteous and quiet after midnight), and Warren offered me a lift with them when Myke came to take he and Pete home.  Of course, I don't want to walk home alone in the middle of the night, so I headed off with them.  Myke and Warren crack me up.  Great guys.  And they've been so friendly to me.  It was great getting a ride and hanging out with them a little.  :-)  So I get home, and expect it to be all rowdy and stuff... and only the two Chilean boys were home!  haha, drinking Pisco and cola!  So funny.  So they offered me some, and we all hung out again drinking and talking.  Headed to bed around 2am.  Haha! 

The next day, I decided I was going to get up and go to the beach early.  I was SOO sore from that workout on Saturday, so it was nice to walk around.  I sunscreened up and headed downtown.  Of course, as Im walking what happens?  It starts to RAIN!  Ugh.  I had checked the weather too before I left.  Fail.  Oh well, so I decided to take care of some Christmas shopping along the way.  Spent some time in the Victoria Park Market, which was actually pretty nice!  More affordable stuff, and some neat trendy things.  Got a few gifts there, and continued on downtown.  I was debating between just sucking it up and hanging out at Albert Park once the rain subsided, or paying for a bus to go all the way to Mission Bay.  So since I couldnt decide, I went into the Look Sharp store and got myself a little Christmas tree for my desk at work.  It even has little lights!  hehe. 

Fortunately, once I was done there, the rain was starting to subside.  YESS.  And the sun TOTALLY came out, so I high-tailed it to a bus and headed to Mission Bay.  Around 1pm or so.  I set out my blanket, and layed in the sun on the beach reading my book for a good 3 or 4 hours.  Man I loved it.  There were some rowdy kids around, but whatever.  LOVED being on the beach.  I think next time I'll go one beach further to get away from some of the crowd.  It was fun to people watch though.  I got a nice tan too!  Man, it doesnt take much over here with the sun being so strong.  No, I did NOT burn, and I am very proud of that :-D.

Headed back around 6 or so, and ended up watching tv and hanging out with everyone at the house.  It was kind of nice :-). 

All in all, a good weekend.  Now to figure out how to send these Christmas gifts!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dec 1 and 2

Well, another good two days.  Except I have been SO tired.  Insanely tired.  Yesterday I was so tired I was laughing at everything.  Seriously.. and laughing heavily.  It was a pretty good day because of that, haha.  
Anyway, I woke up early, around 5:15, and met Ngaire to go for a run.  This time we headed out toward Mt Eden, which was awesome.  We thought about going up the volcano, but instead decided to hold that for another day, and ran toward the main roads, and back in the neighborhoods.  Man, Mt Eden is nice!  Quiet, tree filled streets.  Much more suburban than a couple of the other places I have been looking.  I really kind of liked it.  So I think I'll start searching there for apartments / flats and whatnot.  It was a good run.  Did about 5 or 6 miles.  

Work was good, busy.  Still catching up.  BUT, I got 5 shots (out of like, the 9 I had or so) submitted for review.  Awesome!  3 of them were the snake, which is going really well actually.  Granted, I havent gotten feedback on them yet, but either way, I find them easy actually now.  Ended up having a chat with Myke and Fraser about mid way through the day too.  Went in to just ask a quick question, and he ended up giving me a bunch of feedback at the same time.  So we started chatting, and he was saying how he thought it was funny that he had been told in the past by new animators, how nervous they were starting out on the show.  I was expressing how I was behind and a tad worried about keeping up, but that things were still going fine.  He was saying that everyone usually does just fine in the end.  But I mentioned that students like myself that came from AM, are used to having quite a long time to polish up a shot.  More than a week... or even two weeks... for one shot.  ONE.  Not 9.  haha.  So Myke and Fraser got a little bit of an eye opening there, because they had been wondering why some AM students came into the studio with some fantastic work and Demo Reels, but that they struggled so much to stay on top of their work.  So I feel pretty lucky actually to be on top for the most part, of my work.  But still, glad that they know it now.  Haha, it was funny to since I expressed being a tad behind (it was more of an appology than anything), Myke kind of turned to Fraser and made a side comment about giving me (and some others) a bit of a break since we are still getting used to characters.  I feel pretty confident with the rigs, but it was nice to hear that they cared how overwhelmed some of us might be.  Not just me.  And realy, I feel overwhelmed, but not terribly.  I know that tomorrow (for example) I still have two shots left to finish, plus Feedback to cover, and if I just sit down and focus, I will get it done. 

Anyway, it was a good day overall.  Productive for sure.  Its nice sometimes to tune out for a bit and just focus on what you're doing.  But at the same time, I really enjoy the people in our room, so its hard for me to tear away from the conversation and focus in.  All good though, I can do it when I need to.

The past two days have also been nice because I have been able to chat with Kyle a bit on Gmail while at work.  SO nice.  I think the past couple days is the most we've chatted consecutively in a while.  Probably since I got here.  Its really nice.  I feel like theres a bunch of stuff that I havent heard thats happened in his life, and well, same with me I guess (though he has this to catch up with).  Not bad, just different.  I cant wait til he's here and we can exeperience this place together.  Im not all that good about exploring on my own.  I have this thing where I always want someone to share the moment with.  I duno, Not much of a loner I guess.  Oh well.  :-)  Im pretty proud of myself though because I have been doing a lot on my own.  More than I am used to, thats for sure.  Going to festivals, going grocery shopping, heading to the shopping areas, etc.  Things like that.  I think I will go to the beach on Saturday probably by myself.  I don't think anyone wants to go for the afternoon really, and I would love nothing more than to just go and lay in the sun.  I know the sun is strong, but I'll just be careful.  I have to check out a townhouse around 12:30 first though, then maybe I'll head down to the beach.  Probably Mission Bay cause its easy to get to.  :-)

Anyway, after work yesterday, I headed down for Steak night with the crew.  I always enjoy that.  We have a good time, and definitely get in a few laughs.  It was nice not to be at work til 8pm too.  I have to start forcing myself to just leave, even when things arent done yet.  A lot of others seem to have that attitude.  That work is work, and your time is your time.  I think more people and companies in the US need to be that way.  Its important.  I think I just need to be a bit more productive in the day time.  I will need to be when Kyle gets here, so that I can actually spend time with him.  I am determined not to be spending my evenings at the office all the time.  Every once in a while, fine.  But not like I am now.  Then again, I do love being there, so its a trade off :-).

So, came home, had a good quiet night, and headed to bed around 12.

Got up even EARLIER this morning (5am) to meet Ngaire again.  Today we conquered Mt Eden.  yes, we ran UP it.  Its a volcano (I believe I mentioned that earlier..), and there are 12 or so in Auckland.  Dormant Volcanos though, so no worries of Lava ;-).  But let me tell you... Ngaire is a beast!  She kicked my ass up the mountain of a hill!  Man, I was really impressed.  And it shows I need to run more!  haha.  it was a shorter run than we have been doing, but I am OK with that, considering the huge hills we climbed.  She said One Tree Hill is much worse.  So I'll have to do some Mt Eden repeats before attempting One Tree Hill.  Its great, cause every time I finish running with her lately, I am definitely sore.  She keeps a good pace!  Abs are sore and all.  LOVE IT.  I need to start doing some more workouts. 

Sounds like Carla and Matt are doing some Cross training stuff.  Im going to try to get some of their workouts, cause thats a good way to get more fit without needing a gym membership.  That would be awesome.  I've TOTALLY lost my upper body strength.  No good.  At all.  I was telling Kyle how disappointed I was in myself that I put on some weight coming over here (though Im walking EVERYWHERE... dont quite get it...I think Im just eating more...I guess it comes with stress), and he said "don't worry, when I get there, we'll be ripped!"  haha.  Excited to have someone else to workout with as well.  And for christmas (well, after Christmas) Mom and Gary are going to ship my bike!!!!!  SO excited!!!!!!!  I can't wait to start joining some of the group rides in the area.  Theres a bunch at the bike shop right next to work.  I think it'll be great to learn how to ride on the roads with a group, not to mention getting me used to riding on the opposite side, for when I have to learn to drive. 

Anyway, got the epic run done and headed to work.  Work was alright today, not nearly as productive.  SOOO wiped out.  Just totally knackered (New Zealand for tired... hehe), and wanted to curl up under my desk and go to sleep.  Then I ended up with a MASSIVE headache that I just could not get rid of.  So I left around 6:30pm, just cause I couldnt work anymore.  Sucks cause i wanted to have all those last two shots done today, and just be doing feedback tomorrow.  Looks like I'll just have to get in and crank out.  OH, the best thing ever, was that I friggin got TWO approved today that I started today!  EPIC.  Man I was so happy about that.  AND, I have been assigned a crazy crazy Julien Shot to do in Secondary next week.  Someone else did the Primary on this one.  Should be interesting!!!  I guess Im doin alright with Julien, considering this is SH#2 with him!  AWESOME!  :-D

Alright, on that note, I should get to bed.  Fortunately the headache is gone, and had a totally chill and really nice night at home :-). 

Its definitely bed time.  Lets hope tomorrow is more productive.  And thank goodness its Friday... I was 100% convinced this morning, that it was already Friday!  Just goes to show what working all weekend does to the brain.......