Sunday, March 27, 2011

I've Moved

Hi Folks!

I have moved my blog over to Wordpress. Please visit me at my new pad & follow me there since I've so far been unsuccessful at easily transferring my "Followers" there.

See you soon……..

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Ray Of Sunshine

Well I'm still alive folks! I've been completely swamped under work and committee deadlines for the past couple of weeks, so all things non-priority have pretty much taken a back-burner in the meantime. Thankfully for my sanity I am emerging slowly from the ashes - the deadlines have all been successfully met, & I am beginning to see the light again. Hopefully I can resume blogging over the weekend.

I just came across this list of "74 Simple Things You Can Do To Brighten Your Spouse's Day" on my RSS list though & thought I'd share it with you all. It never hurts for any of us to even just be reminded to say something positive to our partner.

Those aeroplane pretzels ARE good for something after all!

1. Simply tell her one thing that makes her special to me!
2. I could surprise my husband by taking him to the Irish Festival this afternoon. 
3. Texting him at work and keeping him from getting bored in the minutiae of the day.
4. Declutter the bedroom 
5. Take the kids to the park while they are on Spring Break and let her have a nap.
6. Tell her how much I’m glad I married her (married 20 years).
7. I could have the house clean and dinner ready when he comes home after his long day at work 
8. Give him an encouraging note or email during the day.
9. Compliment her via text every hour on the hour all day!
10. I took the kids because she was sick. That way she could rest.
11. One thing I could do to brighten my spouse’s day is to buy her some flowers.
12. Dinner. Then dishes. She loves that!
13. A simple thing I could do (and actually just did!) to brighten his day is give him a call, unexpectedly, just to tell him I love him & wish him a great day 
14. One simple thing I can do?  Compliment her sincerely on something specific with her appearance.
15. One simple thing I could do to brighten her day is let her sleep in and get the kids ready for school.
16. I could call him and tell him I love and miss him while he’s at work.
17. My husband is easy. Smile at him and say, “I appreciate you, honey!” makes his day. I know I look grumpy much of the time with stress, pain and worries. I don’t smile enough. So when I do, it makes a difference!!
18. A simple thing I can do to brighten my husband’s day is a phone call to simply remind him that I love and appreciate him.
19. One thing I can do to brighten my husband’s day is to watch the BYU basketball game with him!   Go Cougs!
20. Send him a text message telling him what I’m looking forward to about our night tonight (especially if physical!) 
21. A three-minute hug.
22. Give her flowers for no special reason at all – apart, of course, from saying she’s the love of my life.
23. I could send him a text message letting him know I’m thinking of him & offer support as he prepares for his final exam tomorrow!
24. I could bring him coffee in the morning, pack his lunch and make his favorite dish for dinner.
25. Empty the dishwasher before I leave for work.
26. Call him and leave him a special voice mail!
27. Greet him by dropping my work bag and showering him with hugs and kisses…for the rest of the evening!
28. A quick 5-10 minute back rub can turn my wife around if she has had a bad day (or make her day great if she is having a good day already).
29. To brighten my wife’s day, I can clean the bathroom. She hates to do it!
30. Sending him a daily email while he is deployed with thoughts and moments from my day and letting him know I love him and I am proud of him.
31. I will give him a massage tonight, just because, without him having to ask.
32. Tell my wife how much I appreciate all she does for me, the kids and our home and that I pray for her constantly.
33. Send a text message of the kids saying Hi and that we love him!
34. Clean the toilets.  Sexy, huh?  Depends what I’m wearing while I do it – like a smile, for instance.
35. I could draw funny faces on the eggs in the refrigerator.  =)
36. One simple thing I could do to brighten my husband’s day TODAY is locate a copy of Boondock Saints for us to watch!
37. I can have dinner ready and a cheerful disposition when he comes home from work.
38. I could get out of bed on time so we can get the kids ready more quickly and not make him late for work (being late is his pet peeve and I push the limits every day).
39. To brighten my wife’s day I make her coffee in the morning.
40. Practical: Put away the laundry. Fun: Make out session.
41. I can tell him that I appreciate him and everything he does for us.  Sometimes I get in the habit of complaining about what he’s not doing, and I forget that telling him what he is doing is 10 times more important!
42. To brighten my spouse’s day I will wake up cheery, not grumpy and tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me.
43. Have dinner waiting for him when he gets home.
44. Drop by his office with a cupcake from the shop across the street on my lunch break.  Just so he knows I’m thinking of him.
45. Make Rice Krispie treats
46. My husband works night shift, so I buy a Red Bull (his fave pick me up) and put it in the fridge for him when I get in. 
47. Do his laundry while I’m working from home today!
48. I can thank him for his awesome management of our finances and his hard work to pay off our student loans so that we can start a family!  
49. Put a Love note (post it) on his computer screen.
50. When he came out of the bedroom to head to work (we were running late coming back from crew practice) – I had his toast ready, hot water in his tea thermos, and the tea was almost completed….
51. One thing I can do is let her know that I love through notes left around the house, emails, or flowers.
52. Say “I love you”.
53. Thank him for his support as I face challenges.
54. I will look at my wife’s eyes, give her a kiss and say I LOVE YOU.
55. One simple thing I sometimes do is pre-toothpaste his toothbrush.  It saves him just like 4 seconds in his morning routine but when I do it I always hear him say “awww” from the bathroom.  Haha.  It’s silly, but it’s something.  
56. I had to work today at our church office, and he has been away since Monday.  He’ll get home before me – so I have some delicious corned beef and cabbage cooking in the crockpot, so we he walks in the door he’ll be greeted with love cooking in the kitchen!
57. I can make him a cup of coffee. I love it when he does it for me.
58. Make him his favorite brown bread… and have it come out of the oven as he comes in the door.
59. Make him his lunch before he goes to work 
60. Be sure that your eyes light up when you see her.
61. Let him sleep in!
62. I could give my husband a back massage. I think I will. 
63. Today, I will keep my three year old awake in the afternoon, when he would normally want to nap.  This means an earlier, easier bed time for him, and more time in the evening alone for my husband and I.  I know he’ll really appreciate that, especially on a Friday.
64. To brighten my spouse’s day, I could write him a love letter telling him why I married him, and why I love him!
65. All I did was ask him if there was anything I could do for him today.  I have never done this before, but I wanted to let him know that I am here for him and I want to help him if he needs something.
66. I make my husband his favorite dinner and make sure to have warm water in his glass (his prefrence) when he gets home from work.
67. Wash the dishes…Naked!!!
68. Pray with him in the morning.
69. Clean the house
70. I do my best to write a quick love note on a sticky note and hide it somewhere that my wife will find it each day.
71. Write an encouraging sticky note for him to find when he gets in his truck to go to work!
72. Something unexpected that she usually does, like perhaps cleaning a bathroom?
73.Drive her to the training the morning and pick her up at the end of the day.  It’s always exciting to see her get off the train and come home with me.
74. The one thing I can do is set his slippers out by the couch when he comes home from working all night so he doesn’t have to go into the bedroom to get them before he relaxes for a while.

This list came from a post at If you haven't checked it out yet, it often shares some interesting relationship posts. 

What other things do you guys do to spread the love with your partner? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The NZ Lowdown 6: Fiordland (Part II)

The Spectacular Milford Sound

Our day was off to an early start. Actually, earlier than necessary, because a small pattern had begun to emerge. Like many men, M has a TV addiction. And the remote control serves as an accessory appendage for him. By now, each morning has begun earlier than required, with some cricket on TV. And likewise no bedtime had swung around without cricket highlights from the day. This was all quite bewildering to me due to his acute revelation on Day 1 of our trip!  

But anyway, the real purpose of our early start for the day was a guided day tour - the major focus being a cruise on Milford Sound. Our guide Andrew (oddly, a Welshman!) collected us at our hotel & a small group of us made the drive up from Te Anau to Milford Sound, stopping off occasionally at a few locations en-route for photo opportunities.

Milford Sound forms part of the Fiordland National Park (a World Heritage Site), and is reportedly the most famous tourist destination in NZ, in spite of its remote location on the southwest side of the South Island - literally at least 1-2 hours from anywhere. It is really something else to witness - Rudyard Kipling even described it as "The Eighth Wonder Of The World". It's actually a fiord, although was originally, wrongly named a sound by Captain Cook when he charted the area back in the 1770s.

In spite of the gorgeous weather the day before, our Milford Sound day was characteristically wet - the Fiordland National Park region experiences tremendous annual rainfalls, apparently on about 200 days or more of each year!  Nevertheless though, the scenery was spectacular, & I imagine it wouldn't matter what kind of weather you visited this region in - each would bring its own, special mood to the region. I found the low clouds very mysterious during our cruise - very moody indeed.

Moody Milford Sound

We also saw plenty of wildlife during the trip - especially colonies of NZ fur seals on the rocks at the side of the water. They were thankfully completely unimpressed by the numerous boats cruising up and down the sound.

Basking NZ fur seals 

Mitre Peak is one of the most photographed mountains in the country - typically you'll see photos of it on clear blue sky days when it is reflected brilliantly in the water below. Our weather didn't allow us this privilege, but it still looked formidable, rising almost a mile out of the water into the clouds.

The famous Mitre Peak

M stole my small camera. A few hundred photos later…...

The Lesser-Spotted Brit!

We cruised along the sound for a couple of hours - it's about 16km long & opens out into the Tasman Sea - and on our moody weather day, you can imagine how rocky the sea was when we reached it. Quite a ride, let me tell you! But one of the benefits of the area's terrific rainfalls is that they really accentuate the waterfalls that fall from the sheer cliff faces rising either side of the sound. 

The waterfalls were especially spectacular due to the day's rainfall
After a bit of lunch and some coffee on the boat, we finished our cruise & met up again with our tour guide, & our small group drove south back toward Te Anau, with a few more stops en-route for yet more photo opportunities. 

More moody mountainous terrain on the drive back to Te Anau

Another stunning waterfall captured on the way home, off Milford Sound Highway

More scenes from the journey home.
Still moody, but a little sunshine tried to break through by early afternoon

After we dried off back at the hotel, we decided to take a drive over to the Te Anau Wildlife Centre - a great little place to visit. We were lucky enough to see a rare, flightless takahe - a chunky bird that looks like a big blue chicken with a stout red beak. These fellas were thought to be extinct for the longest time, until a few pairs of them were spotted in the mid 1900s on the Murchison Mountains. They look a bit like bigger versions of the not-so-rare pukeko - and birds like this are thought to have been ancestors of the takahe.  

A pukeko (left) and a takahe (right)

Afterwards we were feeling pretty exhausted to be honest, it had been a long day, although great fun and eventful. I should say that in addition to his cricket habit, M had begun to develop quite a taste for fast food "Commonwealth style" -  pasties, meat pies, and fish & chips had become something he'd beg for each day!  So for dinner I gave in to his addiction & we headed out so he could get his fish & chip fix for the day! 

He was also quite taken by the newspaper wrapping!

In spite of the day's amazing scenery, I think this was the bit of the day that he treasured the most.