Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Inspirational

There are days and then there are days that inspire, long days of accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. I came home to the clip below shared via Facebook, shared via Explorations Early Learning. Don't you just love social media and the sharing that means many people get to hear this when at other times in our history they never would.

Sir Ken Robinson: Building a Culture of Innovation from AERO - Education Revolution on Vimeo.

Dr Ken has been an inspiration to me for a while now. His was the message I heard when I thought I must be odd to think like I do and wonder why others just don't understand my thinking. It's said that things come to you at the right time, I truly believe that. I trust that sharing this piece of common sense wisdom comes to you at the right time too. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Your Truth

Yesterday I took some time out. I've been very tired and a little unwell since returning from my holiday and launching straight back into work. It seems that saying yes to most things that are asked is tiring. I know people ask me to do things because they know I get things done, usually to a high standard. That's difficult to do when feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks and not quite feeling well.

So yesterday, I stayed at home. I slept in, I pottered around in my lovely home space, I snacked on some yummy chocolate raisins, I lay on the couch reading and dozing, I met Otis (Noah's new furry friend) and chatted to family and friends on Skype. Then I slept for 10 hours more, peacefully only waking once. Just what I needed.

This morning I feel raring to go, and go I will. I'm helping at a regatta out east today so that should be lots of fun. I trust they will forgive me for not coming yesterday. First, I wanted to share a site I've been exploring after seeing it for a while on Di's blog. Diana Baur is inspirational and her blog has wonderful insights into growing and changing.

I enjoyed reading Diana's ebook Your Truth, a book I will revisit often for it's wisdom. The wisdom of understanding the process of change and the profound impact it has on oneself and others. The quote below resonates.


There's honor in stepping into risk that's been well thought out. There's  
honor in trying the unknown. Doors will open that you cannot see right now.  
And you'll decide if you want to step through them. Because you created  
their existence by taking action and accepting the consequences. Step firmly on your path, and let it lead you where you were meant to go.


Your Truth can be purchased on Diana's website, linked above, and I recommend it if you are thinking about change or are in the process of making change. I believe that things come to us when we need them and although I could have done with reading this book a while ago, I suspect I would not have believed what was written without having experienced some of it. Enjoy. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

A nice day

A lovely, restful day spent out enjoying the water, in and on it. Communing with all that is the gentle North Sound. I'm a little sunburnt, a little tired in a good I've been swimming in the sea way. I needed a sea swim, even if it was a bit chillier than I like. I've been a bit run down, buggy with a horrible cold sore since flying back. The swim cured that and chased away the bugs that I managed to collect on the way from my fellow passengers. I may just have passed some buggy bits back to them, I'm generous like that. 

Last week I was really feeling poorly, bugs that are going around the office liking me because I was feeling a bit run down. I'm finding that the long haul back from New Zealand is one that takes some recovering from. So much time in air conditioning with a horde of others, travellers just like me. This week promises to be a good one. There's plenty to do and not as much pressure as there has been lately, the deadlines more gentle and the projects more developed. 

First job for the week is to change my Cayman visa to my new passport. My new, shiny and fantastic passport with the passable photo of me. I'm really pleased with it although I will regret not having my old faithful one full of stamps and visas. I suspect I won't have such an interesting time at immigration, that's okay. I'll soon fill up this one too. Next trip is to New York in March although I think I may go for a Miami weekend before then. 

I have the need to buy a coffee machine, one on which I can make a good espresso. I've not been drinking much coffee and miss a well brewed one that's not from an over stewed pot or a pod machine.  I thought I'd found one here. A flash, red Illy one that I'd be proud to have on my bench. Alas, it was a pod one, the dials and things just for show. Since I made up my mind to get one, I've been plotting how to order one online and get it here. I should have bought the one in Briscoes and carried it as carry on. 

I will work it out, I also need a pair of warm boots and some warm clothes for my New York trip. I checked out my winter lot in the wardrobe, shaking out the moths, and they are a bit worse for wear and not quite fashionable anymore. Time for some new gear, I may just have to take another winter trip to get the wear out of the new threads. There is opera belting out from the dining room and dinner calls, well the cooking of dinner. Salmon salad soon come. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

I almost forgot.....

My passport is winging it's way here. It left New Zealand at 8.50pm on 16 January, less than a week after I sent my application. That must be a record. I cannot believe just how efficient, friendly and helpful the staff at the passport office in the Department of Internal Affairs were. I phoned them twice, once to check on what I needed to do and the other to give them my full address which didn't quite fit on the form. Both times they were fantastic, patient with my questions. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I can't wait to see my new passport.

It was funny, I was talking to Tim on the weekend and he knew all about the online process. He was one of those who got to trial the new system and give feedback the last time he got his passport. He was also impressed. The only problem we both have is that the passport is only for five years, effectively four and a half if you travel. I think my photo is good enough for ten years, funny to think how old I'll be when it runs out. I wonder where in the world I'll be, at least I know I can renew my passport without too many issues. 

Hachiko




This movie needs to come with a warning, do not watch if you don't want to shed a tear or two. I bought the DVD in Walmart in Miami and have just had the chance to watch it. I should check out the story more carefully before buying, it had me sobbing on the couch. Be warned.

Dogs are such a very special part of our lives. Memories of all the ones I've cried for, ones who are gone, made this an emotional watch. Noah is about to become a dog owner, he's really excited. He got to meet his new friend last weekend and he was buzzing when I spoke to him. It was so lovely talking to him, after my recent visit he really gets who I am and was very happy to have a chat.

The photos of the little ones have been a hit with my friends and colleagues, I'm not too boring with them I hope. For now it's an early night. The big weekend of sailing and some tough work days have left me feeling a bit jaded. More on the sailing later, I'm in the process of writing something for the paper so will include that here too. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A deserving OSCAR nomination

Kate posted about this documentary, Di provided the trailer. Worthy of a watch, a watch that shows real people involved in a real struggle for their freedom to live their lives as they always have until recently. I trust that stories like this are told, stories that reveal the truths of lives that are so severely impacted on by others. During my short visit I saw the wall, saw the settlements. Humbling.

Friday, 11 January 2013

A bit of a shock

Further to the passport comments a few entries ago. Feeling all misty eyed and New Zealandish after watching the Hobbit and in possession of a half way decent passport photo, I decided to tackle the last of my online form. After many frustrating attempts at restarting and after being told my passport didn't exist, I found that user error was the issue. It said expiry date not passport date, I was getting quite grumpy and swearing just a bit by the time I realised.

Onwards and sheepishly apologising to those I cursed, I completed the form, paid my money and viola one accepted passport application. Then there was the small print, the print that's not actually shown during the application process but came via the confirmation email.

"You can no longer use your current passport"

A cold hand clutched at my heart. What do you mean, no longer use my passport? I'm living on a small island in the Caribbean, okay I'm showing off a little, with no passport there is no getting off the island is needs must. Not for at least 10 working days plus delivery. Delivery may be interesting with no real street address. As Jane pointed out, we did manage in the UAE when the deliverers spoke little English so it should be okay here.

It's actually a bit scary being without a passport, especially my beloved, full of interesting stamps and visas passport. I'm going to call the passport people to set my mind a little at rest. To make sure things are okay and underway and that I will get my passport before the New York trip in March.

And that too is interesting. I asked why I needed 6 months on my passport. It seems that if I'm in the US with less than 6 months to expiry, and I decide to stay until it runs out, there is an issue. Can they not just deport me? Don't they take into account that I live somewhere else and am on a short vacation for which I have a valid return ticket? It seems not, common sense is after all not that common. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

An Unexpected Journey

What a total pleasure it was to see the Hobbit this evening, an unexpectedly emotional journey as I revisited home through the eyes of Bilbo Baggins from Bagend. The sweeping mountain vistas, the highlands of the McKenzie country, the soft greenness of Matamata, the depth and breadth that is the small country I hail from. I got a little emotional as I watched, tears came to my eyes behind those fashion statement 3D glasses. 

The movie was fantastic, I didn't notice the length as I was engrossed in the story that took me back to my early teen years. A favourite book of mine, later a favourite book of my sons. We read the Hobbit to them as a bed time story, several bed time stories, and found an amazing illustrated copy for them to enjoy. I'm not sure how many times Nick read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I know he out did my multiple readings. 

When I was home I had the good fortune to fly Air New Zealand on the Aussie NZ leg of my journey. While I was flying I enjoyed the Blog Peter Jackson had made of the making of the Hobbit. The story of the movie and the movie family enhanced my viewing, made the movie somehow more enjoyable when I saw the locations they had scouted with the characters in place. Air NZ must have the only safety briefings in the world of flying that are enjoyable. Here is the latest one, An Unexpected Briefing.



Wednesday, 9 January 2013

I owe, I owe...

It's off to work I go. Back into the full swing of work after being back a week, only 4 of those work days. Bang went my resolutions, may need to pull back my hours and get some more sunshine once I've caught up. It was lovely seeing everyone, lovely catching up on all the holiday news, lovely sharing my pics of the two special ones and some of the next generation up. I have two in frames on my desk for all to admire and grandma's brag book close to hand.

The weekend was fun, back out on the boat for a lively sail and then some of those other boat things like cleaning and repairs. It was a nice and quietly social weekend with plenty of down time to rest. Next weekend is the Commodore's Cup. Two days of racing in what promises to be high winds. I hope they settle a little by the weekend. The jet lag has settled, I've managed to get my sleeping cycle back to almost normal and my brain is finally in this time zone.

I learnt something today, one has to have 6 months of valid passport before one can enter the US of A. Well, I do have that. It runs out during my time in New York. Apparently that's not okay and enough for me to be stopped at the airport. Fancy that, just as well I checked. So it's a new passport for me. Luckily the process is online and the lady I spoke to today was very helpful. I'll get a photo tomorrow to upload then my application will be ready to go, no drama. The lady told me I'd have it by the end of January, I'm good with getting in February. As long as I get to New York, I can't wait.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Jet lag

The interesting things you find on the Internet, on Stuff to be precise. This article about jet lag fitted with my experiences of travelling west and travelling east. I'm usually good flying to New Zealand and toast coming home to Cayman. Today I feel fine, I know from past experience that it may hit tomorrow.  I used to take Melatonin and find that sunlight does help. The best jet lag reducing thing I've found is an hour of Swedish massage. I had that today, late in the afternoon. I also ate well today, a nice pumpkin and spinach risotto for dinner. That was one of my resolutions, taking better care of myself and eating better is a good start.

It will be an early night for me tonight, work tomorrow. Although I can't wait to see everyone and catch up on the gossip, I'm missing the small people in my other world already. I got a pile of photos printed in NZ and today I put them into the albums I bought in Peru. Some lovely pics of the small ones and some ones from my travels. I must print more of my pics for display, I think that's another resolution. Best I get some more of the special ones sorted out from the thousands. Here's two very special ones.


Bubble fun!
A budding musician performing Twinkle Twinkle

The journey

I'm home, feeling a little refreshed after an exhausted sleep. Landing later in the evening has advantages, I was well ready for a lie down by the time I got home. The unpacking is waiting until later today. A massage is booked, I've eaten and the sun is shining outside.

What a trip! I spent some time, and I had plenty to do this, toting up the actual journey. The short version is that I left my son's place in Christchurch New Zealand at 5.45am on 1 January, 2013 and arrived in Grand Cayman at my place at 9.00pm on January 1, 2013. The longest new years day I've ever had.

The longer version is that I left Tim, Sarah and Noah's place at 5.45am NZ time on January 1, 2013, flew three and a half hours to Brisbane, arriving at 8.50am. There is a 3 hour time difference between Christchurch and Brisbane at this time of year. After two and a half hours at Brisbane airport, I was on my way again at 11.30am The trip to LA is a little over 14 hours heading to Brisbane and a little over 13 heading the other way. Maybe there's a short cut on the return journey, more likely there's a tail wind. I arrived at LAX at 6.35am, the dawning of new years day in the USA.

A quick trip through immigration, I knew I had to be one of the first through to make my Miami connection, picked up my bag, through customs, dropped my bag, head to Terminal 4, go through security, find the loo for an urgent stop, find the gate, find food, sigh, it's enough to make anyone a little tried and stressed. Finding food, LAX is not the place for that if you are even remotely in a hurry. M&Ms and a water had to do. Oh dear, the Qantas food.

While the Qantas food is much better than most airline food, this vege decided a while ago to opt out of airline vege meals as they are generally hideous. There is usually a choice that doesn't have meat, not this trip unfortunately. No thanks, I don't think I'd like to pick the chicken out of the salad. Oh, there is no other food, sigh. A GnT will do for dinner thanks. Oh and a red. May have to go back to the drawing board on that decision or travel business class next trip. Another sigh,  I really, really, really miss flying Emirates. Not just for the upgrades, they really are the best airline in the world for so many reasons.

So munching my way through a small bag of M&Ms, I waited for the next leg, the dreaded American Airlines leg. The trip to LA on AA was a pleasant one, although there was no food, I did have a nice seat in premium economy. Not so on the return trip of 5 hours. I was starving, regretting my decision to not queue for Starbucks in LAX, and really uncomfortably squished up against the window. All was not lost, I found a good old fashioned kiwi muesli (granola) bar in the bottom of my travel handbag and imagined it was one of those yummy gourmet burgers they serve in Miami Airport.

I arrived in Miami a little worse for wear, caught the Skytrain to gate and there was the sainted burger shop. The lovely ladies seated me, I knew I looked a mess and didn't dare have a Margarita in case I collapsed. My vege burger arrived, I inhaled this much to the ladies amusement. A nice man produced a Blackberry charger and offered to charge mine that chose that moment to die, I gratefully accepted. All was beginning to be well in my world, a two hour wait and I'd be on my way home to Cayman.

Of course there were folks I knew on the flight. I had a catch up with one of my favourite colleagues and his family. He did look surprised when he saw me and asked if I was okay, he smiled sympathetically when I told him a little of my journey. After a silent trip, it was nice to chat to someone who wasn't airline or airport connected.

So a quick tote up of my new years day. Two continents, four countries, five airports, 23 hours of flying plus eight hours in airports, a 41 hour new years day of which I was up and about for a little over 33 hours. I was wondering why I'm a bit tired today. I think I might just go and have a lie down by the pool, in the sun, with my book. I may even doze for a while.