Auckland City Walk

I did the Auckland City Walk today, with my mum, my daughter and my daughter’s friend.  It’s on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges, and is part of a bird sanctuary called Ark in the Park.  You don’t see many birds on the walk, as they’re spread out and tend to stay away from the public paths, but there is an abundance of native plants and trees.

It’s not a difficult walk.  The path is well maintained and it takes about an hour to walk the loop (if you don’t keep stopping to take photographs).  We took a detour and went uphill (and upstairs) for a better view, so we took a bit longer.  There are a few tracks that branch off the Auckland City Walk, and I’ve done some of them previously.  The Montana Heritage Trail takes about four hours, and I’ve done that before.  The detour we took was a small portion of that track.

It was so good to be out and about with my camera.  I’ve missed taking photos.  Been too long.

 

 

It was really too hot to be bush walking today (it’s New Zealand’s hottest January on record), but it was nice to be out and about, and good to be taking photographs.  It’s Auckland Anniversary Day tomorrow (yay, no work!) so we’re hoping to head into town to capture some of the festivities.

A book review of Match Day by Mercy Celeste

Match Day (Adventures INK, #1)

I’m not sure what compelled me to read this book, but whatever it was, I wish I’d ignored the urge.  *Rolleyes*  I’ve read other books by this author and some have been great.  I rated Let It Go five stars, and I’ve re-read Crazy From The Heat a number of times.  So don’t let me put you off the author.  But skip this book.

There are two things that let this book down.  Okay, so bear with me here.  The two main characters, Brian and Zack, have been comfortable getting each other off in the shower from when they’re in their early teens.  Their entire relationship builds on this foundation.  Despite this, Brian is 100% sure that Zack is straight.  And when we meet Zack, he’s just about to marry Brian’s sister.  Um, what?  Straight guys don’t jack off or get jacked off by their male friends in the showers.  That’s not a thing that happens in real life.  Straight guys don’t touch each other’s genitals, mkay?

I’d suggest that the author just take out any references to these prior shower sessions, but truly, you can’t.  Their whole relationship builds on that beginning.  *Headbang*

Eventually both Brian and Zack realise that Zack isn’t straight.  Like, no shit Sherlock.  *Rolleyes*  The truth is that he probably isn’t gay either.  The author doesn’t label him, but I’m guessing he’s probably demisexual.  He doesn’t seem interested in men or women, just Brian, with whom he has a strong emotional connection.  Anyway, Brian eventually admits that he’s never had shower scenes with any other friends and they realise that the shower scenes are not a normal part of male friendship.  Like, duh.

The other issue with the book is that it needs editing for correct punctuation.  But I could have overlooked that.  It’s not a major hindrance to enjoying the book.  I guess if you can get past the idea that they think it’s normal for two friends to ‘help each other out’, you can enjoy the book.  I kept rolling my eyes all the way through it.

 

The Kingmaker

“Good Gods!” the ax-wielder booms. “She has bigger balls than I do.”
Humor flashes in the warlord’s silver-hued eyes. “Balls don’t necessarily come with brains.”
“Mine do.” If my smile were any more syrupy, my teeth would rot.

I’m currently on book two of the Kingmaker trilogy by Amanda Bouchet. The first book was called ‘A Promise of Fire’, and the second one is ‘Breath of Fire’ The third one will be ‘Heart on Fire’, and I’ll definitely be reading it. Probably this week. *Laugh*

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1) Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #2) Heart on Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #3)

The books are set in a land called Thalyria. It seems to be based largely on Ancient Greece, with Greek language, Greek Gods (who are real in this world), etc. Half the world is ice and half is desert, or so it seems. Magic is stronger in the regions with ice, and weaker in the regions without. Magic is might in this world…

Our two primary characters are Cat and Griffin. Cat is hiding from her evil family, and has made a home with the circus. She is kidnapped by Griffin, who is a warlord who has recently taken control of one of the three Kingdoms in Thalyria. He wants Cat because she has the magic his family lacks.

Cat takes a long time to warm up to Griffin and his team, but I felt that was understandable considering that he literally kidnapped her, put her in danger and made her leave the only people she loved. Yup, fair enough. They are good guys though, and she can’t help but warm to them. Sometimes she resents liking them, which feels like it fits the situation pretty well! I’ve read other reviews that say Cat is a bit whiny, but frankly, I would be too if I was treated the way she was!

I figured out who Cat was about 40% through the first book. We officially find out at the start of book two. I know there are more reveals ahead, it’s that kind of story, but Cat’s identity was most obvious.

I’m currently 70% through the second book and I’ve never felt like the story has dragged. It’s an epic adventure and story, and so it feels okay that it takes three books to tell it.

There is an enormous amount of world building that has gone on behind the scenes, and the creatures (some are mythical creatures I’ve heard of, some aren’t), the Gods, the secondary human characters, etc., are all well described and feel like integral parts of the story. You get enough scenery to picture the scene, but not so much that you feel the need to skip pages of description.

There is plenty of action, and if you’re squeamish, it might squick you out a bit. Even the healing scenes can be pretty gory or squicky in their own right.

The general plot of the story is obvious, but the story doesn’t feel predictable. So many things happen that I don’t expect, and things don’t go how I thought they were going to, and it all adds up to keep me interested and keep me turning the page.

The romance between Cat and Griffin is secondary to what is an epic fantasy adventure story. But it’s there.

The secondary characters are fantastic additions to the story, and Kato is a clear favourite. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s Cat’s favourite or mine. *Laugh*

All in all, it’s been a fascinating read, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story. I rated book one five stars, and I expect to rate book two the same. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or epic adventure stories.

For the love of lists…

I know it’s the 21st of January now and the buzz of New Year’s resolutions has passed.  This has been playing on my mind for a couple of weeks now though, so I’m going to post it, and hopefully my brain will allow me to move on and actually get some stuff done.

One of the guys at work shared his New Year’s resolutions with me when we started back at work on the 3rd.  He had resolutions for every aspect of his life, and he was really serious about them.  He had resolutions for his relationship, for his family, for his work, his hobbies, sports, fitness and diet, money…  He had it all.  He’d covered pretty much every aspect of his life.

We did have a giggle over the fact that one of his goals was to read two books this year.  He about fell over when I told him my goal was to read 120.  *Laugh*

He had handwritten out all his goals, grouped according to the area of his life they related to, with headings and what-not.  He said he was going to frame it, to symbolise its importance.  Then, he was going to make to do lists, with each resolution broken down into a series of tasks required to accomplish it, so that he could tick them off.

I’m not really interested in setting New Year’s resolutions.  But if you know anything about me by now, it should be that I love lists.  Lists are my thing.

So I thought that the new year would be a good time to review my lists, cross off things I’d accomplished and remind myself of things I still wanted to achieve.  Maybe make some plans to cross them off.  Because a goal without a plan is just a dream, or some shit like that, right?

So I gathered up all my lists and sorted them into groups that made sense to me.  Then I reviewed them and updated them.  Then I made mini ‘2018’ lists for each grouping.  Some of the items are from various challenges I’m doing or would like to do.  So here’s what I have…

Family 2018

*Box* Make a photo book for my sister (wedding gift)
*Box* Write a speech for my sister’s wedding
*Box* Meet my niece
*Box* Teach my daughter how to edit her own Youtube videos
*Box* Teach my son how to drive

Family bucket list

*Box* Take my kids to the theme parks on Australia’s Gold Coast
*Box* Do these things with my kids (which means participating, not watching them do them!):

*Boxcheck* Go camping (in a tent, with sleeping bags!)
*Boxcheck* Draw
*Boxcheck* Go on a picnic
*Box* Go possum hunting (note to non-NZers, possums are an environmental pest in NZ)
*Boxcheck* Go ice skating
*Box* Snorkel
*Boxcheck* Go to a music concert
*Boxcheck* Cook
*Boxcheck* Watch a sunrise
*Boxcheck* Watch a sunset
*Boxcheck* Show them where I grew up
*Boxcheck* Point out constellations in the night sky
*Box* Roast marshmallows over a campfire
*Boxcheck* Volunteer for a charity or help someone in need
*Boxcheck* Take a road trip
*Box* Ride in a hot air balloon
*Box* Have a no-reason, not-because-they’re-sick, Bueller-caliber free day off school
*Boxcheck* Take them trick-or-treating
*Boxcheck* Write, post and receive handwritten letters in the mail
*Boxcheck* Care for a pet
*Boxcheck* Swim
*Box* Sew
*Box* Play hopscotch and elastics
*Boxcheck* Watch a big fireworks display
*Boxcheck* Write and send a letter to Santa
*Boxcheck* Make a video
*Boxcheck* Watch a movie
*Boxcheck* Go ten pin bowling
*Boxcheck* Play miniature golf
*Box* Host a dinner party
*Box* Plan a surprise party
*Boxcheck* Go hiking
*Box* Climb a tree
*Boxcheck* Jump on a trampoline
*Box* Roll down a really big hill
*Boxcheck* Skim a stone
*Boxcheck* Dance
*Box* Dance in the rain
*Boxcheck* Sing really loudly along to the car stereo
*Boxcheck* Fly a kite
*Boxcheck* Catch a fish
*Boxcheck* Eat fruit straight from the tree
*Boxcheck* Pick berries
*Boxcheck* Hunt for bugs
*Boxcheck* Play a board game
*Boxcheck* Have a snowball fight
*Boxcheck* Build a sandcastle
*Box* Make a mud pie
*Box* Pick watercress
*Boxcheck* Bury someone in the sand
*Box* Race snails
*Boxcheck* Slide down a waterslide
*Box* Feed a bird from your hand
*Boxcheck* Call an owl/morepork
*Boxcheck* Investigate what’s living in a rock pool
*Box* See glowworms
*Boxcheck* Plant it, grow it, eat it
*Box* Find your way with a map and a compass
*Boxcheck* Finish a puzzle
*Box* Have a food fight
*Boxcheck* Write a poem
*Boxcheck* Write a story
*Boxcheck* Explore a cave
*Box* Do the World Vision 40 Hour Famine
*Boxcheck* Ride a bike
*Boxcheck* Travel on a train
*Boxcheck* Visit a farm
*Boxcheck* Have a treasure hunt
*Box* Learn how to tie a tie
*Boxcheck* Ride a roller coaster
*Boxcheck* Dine in a restaurant
*Boxcheck* Accept – and execute – a dare, double-dare or, best of all, triple-dog dare.
*Boxcheck* Experience one unplugged weekend without cell phones, computers or TV
*Boxcheck* Sell something at a stall
*Boxcheck* Conduct a science experiment
*Boxcheck* Take photos
*Box* Ride a horse

Work 2018

(I haven’t posted these publicly since this is public and I’m not stupid!)

Work bucket list

*Box* Wear makeup to work every day for a month
*Boxcheck* Have my own business cards
*Boxcheck* Travel for work

Adulting 2018

*Box* Save $1,000 each month until July

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June

*Box* Set up individual bank accounts for:

*Box* Rates and water
*Box* Car expenses
*Box* Petrol
*Box* Software
*Box* Insurance
*Boxcheck* Savings
*Box* TV
*Box* World Vision
*Box* Power & LPG
*Box* Gymnastics
*Box* School stuff
*Box* Groceries
*Box* Haircuts
*Box* Ancestry & Writing.com
*Box* Lawnmowing

*Box* Refix mortgage rates for 1 year when they expire in November

Adulting bucket list

*Box* Regularly deposit savings and make no withdrawals for one year
*Box* Create an emergency survival kit, including at least three days’ worth of water, food and pet supplies
*Box* Establish Enduring Powers of Attorney (a living will)
*Boxcheck* Write a will
*Box* Set up a family trust
*Box* Be debt free

*Box* Pay off our mortgage
*Box* Pay off our credit card
*Box* Pay off our travel card

*Boxcheck* Own a bottle of alcohol worth more than $100
*Box* Own a bottle of alcohol worth more than $500
*Box* Own a bottle of alcohol worth more than $1,000
*Boxcheck* Own a bottle of Royal Dragon Imperial vodka
*Box* Own a bottle of Samurai vodka
*Boxcheck* Sponsor a child in a third world country
*Box* Own a holiday home
*Boxcheck* Pay for a stranger’s petrol
*Box* Pay for a stranger’s meal
*Box* Do jury duty

Writing 2018

*Box* Write at least one poem a month

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

*Box* Write at least one short story a month

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

Writing bucket list

*Box* Handwrite all my poems into journals
*Boxcheck* Finish, edit and print Grand & Epic Adventures
*Box* Write a short story based on one of my ancestors
*Box* Write a short story based on my own life
*Boxcheck* Write a poem about Boxing Days
*Box* Write a poem about each of my family members

*Boxcheck* My dad
*Box* My mum
*Box* My older sister
*Boxcheck* My younger sister
*Boxcheck* My husband
*Boxcheck* My son
*Boxcheck* My daughter
*Box* My father-in-law
*Box* My mother-in-law

*Box* Complete National Poetry Writing Month
*Box* Complete National Novel Writing Month
*Box* Fill a journal with writing
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my younger sister in the UK
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my godson in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my goddaughter in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my grandmother in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my great uncle in the UK
*Box* Send a snail mail letter to my uncle in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my friend Beth in the US
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my old next door neighbour
*Box* Take a poetry writing or appreciation class

Reading 2018

*Box* Read 120 books in 2018
*Boxcheck* Read a book with the first letter of the title being “A”
*Boxcheck* Read a book written in first person POV
*Boxcheck* Read an author’s debut book
*Box* Read a book set in a country I’d like to visit, but never have
*Box* Read a book published in 2017
*Box* Read a book by my favourite author
*Box* Read a non-fiction book
*Box* Read a book with punctuation in the title
*Box* Read a book with a number in the title
*Box* Read a book from Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list
*Box* Read a book with a colour in the title
*Box* Read a book with the first letter of the title being “N”
*Box* Read a book that’s been made into a movie
*Box* Read a book I chose because I liked the cover
*Box* Read a book written before 1950
*Box* Read a book written by an author whose name starts with E
*Box* Read a book that is also a play/musical
*Box* Read a book that has been adapted into a TV show
*Box* Read a book with more than one author
*Box* Read a book with a weather element in the title
*Box* Read a book with a title that doesn’t contain the letters “E” or “A”
*Box* Read a book with a long title (5+ words)
*Box* Read a book with a one word title
*Box* Read a book set in a fictional location
*Box* Read a book set in New Zealand
*Box* Read a book with an animal on the cover
*Box* Read a book set in the future
*Box* Read a New York Times bestseller
*Box* Read a book originally written in a different language
*Box* Read a book with one of the five W’s or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How)
*Box* Read a book guaranteed to make me happy
*Box* Read a book with a person’s name in the title
*Box* Read a romance book
*Box* Read the first book in a series I’ve never heard of
*Box* Read a book not set in the US or UK
*Box* Read a book with food or drink in the title
*Box* Read a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it
*Box* Read a book with a date in the title (day, month, year etc.)
*Box* Read a book with a title that starts “The”
*Box* Read a book with horror elements
*Box* Read a book with an element in the title (earth, air, fire, water)
*Box* Read a book with a cover that puts me off
*Box* Read a book published in 1980
*Box* Read a book with the first letter of the title being “H”
*Box* Reread one of my favourite books
*Box* Read a book published in 2018
*Box* Read a short book, less than 200 pages
*Box* Write at least one book review a month

*Boxcheck* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

Reading bucket list

*Box* Read every book in my Kindle library

Blogging 2018

*Box* Post at least once a week

*Boxcheck* Week commencing 1st January
*Boxcheck* Week commencing 8th January
*Boxcheck* Week commencing 15th January
*Box* Week commencing 22nd January
*Box* Week commencing 29th January
*Box* Week commencing 5th February
*Box* Week commencing 12th February
*Box* Week commencing 19th February
*Box* Week commencing 26th February
*Box* Week commencing 5th March
*Box* Week commencing 12th March
*Box* Week commencing 19th March
*Box* Week commencing 26th March
*Box* Week commencing 2nd April
*Box* Week commencing 9th April
*Box* Week commencing 16th April
*Box* Week commencing 23rd April
*Box* Week commencing 30th April
*Box* Week commencing 7th May
*Box* Week commencing 14th May
*Box* Week commencing 21st May
*Box* Week commencing 28th May
*Box* Week commencing 4th June
*Box* Week commencing 11th June
*Box* Week commencing 18th June
*Box* Week commencing 25th June
*Box* Week commencing 2nd July
*Box* Week commencing 9th July
*Box* Week commencing 16th July
*Box* Week commencing 23rd July
*Box* Week commencing 30th July
*Box* Week commencing 6th August
*Box* Week commencing 13th August
*Box* Week commencing 20th August
*Box* Week commencing 27th August
*Box* Week commencing 3rd September
*Box* Week commencing 10th September
*Box* Week commencing 17th September
*Box* Week commencing 24th September
*Box* Week commencing 1st October
*Box* Week commencing 8th October
*Box* Week commencing 15th October
*Box* Week commencing 22nd October
*Box* Week commencing 29th October
*Box* Week commencing 5th November
*Box* Week commencing 12th November
*Box* Week commencing 19th November
*Box* Week commencing 26th November
*Box* Week commencing 3rd December
*Box* Week commencing 10th December
*Box* Week commencing 17th December
*Box* Week commencing 24th December
*Box* Week commencing 31st December

*Boxcheck* Post the interview with Norb Aikin
*Box* Post the Versatile Blogger Award
*Box* Approach at least one author/blogger/publisher re interview once a month

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

*Box* Read and comment on other blogs at least once a week

*Boxcheck* Week commencing 1st January
*Boxcheck* Week commencing 8th January
*Boxcheck* Week commencing 15th January
*Box* Week commencing 22nd January
*Box* Week commencing 29th January
*Box* Week commencing 5th February
*Box* Week commencing 12th February
*Box* Week commencing 19th February
*Box* Week commencing 26th February
*Box* Week commencing 5th March
*Box* Week commencing 12th March
*Box* Week commencing 19th March
*Box* Week commencing 26th March
*Box* Week commencing 2nd April
*Box* Week commencing 9th April
*Box* Week commencing 16th April
*Box* Week commencing 23rd April
*Box* Week commencing 30th April
*Box* Week commencing 7th May
*Box* Week commencing 14th May
*Box* Week commencing 21st May
*Box* Week commencing 28th May
*Box* Week commencing 4th June
*Box* Week commencing 11th June
*Box* Week commencing 18th June
*Box* Week commencing 25th June
*Box* Week commencing 2nd July
*Box* Week commencing 9th July
*Box* Week commencing 16th July
*Box* Week commencing 23rd July
*Box* Week commencing 30th July
*Box* Week commencing 6th August
*Box* Week commencing 13th August
*Box* Week commencing 20th August
*Box* Week commencing 27th August
*Box* Week commencing 3rd September
*Box* Week commencing 10th September
*Box* Week commencing 17th September
*Box* Week commencing 24th September
*Box* Week commencing 1st October
*Box* Week commencing 8th October
*Box* Week commencing 15th October
*Box* Week commencing 22nd October
*Box* Week commencing 29th October
*Box* Week commencing 5th November
*Box* Week commencing 12th November
*Box* Week commencing 19th November
*Box* Week commencing 26th November
*Box* Week commencing 3rd December
*Box* Week commencing 10th December
*Box* Week commencing 17th December
*Box* Week commencing 24th December
*Box* Week commencing 31st December

Blogging bucket list

*Box* Have the courage to share my blog with family and friends on Facebook
*Box* Get 100 followers on this blog
*Box* Get 500 followers on this blog
*Box* Get 1,000 followers on this blog
*Box* Catch up on missing blog posts on my Livejournal blog

*Box* 2013
*Box* 2014
*Box* 2015
*Box* 2016
*Box* 2017
*Box* 2018

*Box* Convert my Livejournal blog posts (including private posts) into printed books

*Box* 2001
*Box* 2002
*Box* 2003
*Box* 2004
*Box* 2005
*Box* 2006
*Box* 2007
*Box* 2008
*Box* 2009
*Box* 2010
*Box* 2011
*Box* 2012
*Box* 2013
*Box* 2014
*Box* 2015
*Box* 2016
*Box* 2017

Photography 2018

*Box* Edit the photos from my UK trip
*Box* Do a photography daytrip with Mum
*Box* Share a new photo on Instagram
*Box* Share a new photo on Facebook

Photography bucket list

*Boxcheck* Take photography lessons
*Boxcheck* Go to Tiritiri Matangi Island to photograph the birds
*Box* Photograph all New Zealand’s endemic birds

*Box* Antipodes Island parakeet
*Box* Auckland Island shag
*Box* Auckland rail
*Box* Auckland teal
*Box* Banded dotterel
*Box* Black-billed gull
*Box* Black-fronted tern
*Box* Black robin or Chatham robin
*Box* Bounty Island shag
*Box* Buller’s albatross
*Box* Buller’s shearwater
*Box* Campbell Island shag
*Box* Campbell snipe
*Box* Campbell teal
*Box* Chatham albatross
*Box* Chatham gerygone
*Box* Chatham Island oystercatcher
*Box* Chatham Island snipe
*Box* Chatham Island warbler
*Box* Chatham parakeet
*Box* Chatham pigeon
*Box* Cook’s petrel
*Box* Erect-crested penguin
*Box* Foveaux shag
*Box* Great spotted kiwi
*Box* Grey-headed albatross
*Boxcheck* Hihi or stitchbird
*Box* Hoiho or yellow-eyed penguin
*Box* Hutton’s shearwater
*Box* Kaka
*Box* Kakapo
*Boxcheck* Kākāriki or red-fronted parakeet
*Box* Kākāriki or yellow-crowned parakeet
*Box* Kaki or black stilt
*Box* Kea
*Boxcheck* Kererū or New Zealand pigeon
*Box* Kermadec storm petrel
*Box* King shag
*Box* Koekoea or long-tailed cuckoo
*Boxcheck* Korimako or New Zealand bellbird
*Box* Little spotted kiwi
*Box* Malherbe’s parakeet or orange-fronted parakeet
*Box* Matata or fernbird
*Box* Miromiro or tomtit
*Box* Mohua or yellowhead
*Boxcheck* New Zealand dotterel
*Boxcheck* New Zealand falcon
*Box* New Zealand scaup
*Box* Ngutuparore or wrybill
*Box* North Island brown kiwi
*Box* North Island kōkako
*Boxcheck* North Island saddleback
*Box* North Island robin
*Box* Okarito kiwi
*Box* Otago shag
*Boxcheck* Paradise shelduck
*Box* Parekareka or spotted shag
*Box* Parkinson’s petrel
*Box* Pāteke or brown teal
*Box* Pihoihoi or pipit
*Box* Pipipi or brown creeper
*Box* Pitt shag
*Box* Piwauwau or rock wren
*Box* Popokotea or whitehead
*Box* Pycroft’s petrel
*Box* Ranguru or Chatham petrel
*Box* Red-billed gull
*Box* Riroriro or grey warbler
*Box* Rock wren
*Box* Royal albatross
*Box* Shore plover
*Box* Shy albatross
*Box* Snares penguin
*Box* Snares snipe
*Box* Southern brown kiwi
*Box* South Island kōkako
*Box* South Island oystercatcher
*Box* South Island robin
*Box* South Island saddleback
*Box* Subantarctic snipe
*Boxcheck* Takahe
*Box* Tawaki or Fiordland penguin
*Box* Taiko or magenta petrel
*Box* Titipounamu or rifleman
*Boxcheck* Tui or parson bird
*Box* Tuturuatu or shore plover
*Boxcheck* Variable oystercatcher
*Box* Wandering albatross
*Box* Weka
*Box* Westland petrel
*Box* Weweia or New Zealand dabchick
*Box* Whio or blue duck
*Box* Wrybill

*Box* Take a scenic shot of New Zealand’s South Island
*Box* Take a classic shot of cows or sheep blocking the road
*Boxcheck* Photograph a wedding
*Box* Photograph the Northern or Southern Lights
*Box* Do a newborn baby shoot
*Box* Photograph penguins in Antarctica
*Boxcheck* Photograph a professional model
*Box* Take a frame-worthy photo of Auckland’s skyline
*Box* Complete a 365 project
*Box* Get 100 followers on Instagram
*Box* Get 500 followers on Instagram
*Box* Get 1,000 followers on Instagram
*Box* Get 100 followers on Facebook
*Box* Get 500 followers on Facebook
*Box* Get 1,000 followers on Facebook
*Box* Take a photo of a geyser
*Box* Go on an African photo safari
*Box* Do street photography of strangers in a major city
*Box* Take a photo of a thunderstorm or tornado
*Boxcheck* Photograph an ancient stone circle
*Box* Photograph a field of flowers
*Box* Photograph a named waterfall
*Box* Photograph waves crashing around a lighthouse
*Box* Take a frame-worthy photo of fireworks
*Box* Take a frame-worthy photo of a rainbow
*Box* Take a long exposure photo of the stars
*Boxcheck* Photograph an abandoned house or barn
*Box* Effectively use panning to photograph a moving vehicle
*Box* Photograph someone jumping a skateboard or bike
*Box* Take a well-exposed photo of a live band
*Boxcheck* Take a well-timed sports photo
*Boxcheck* Take a macro photograph of a flower
*Box* Take a macro photograph of a snowflake
*Boxcheck* Take a macro photograph of a bug, spider or insect
*Box* Photograph someone crying
*Boxcheck* Photograph someone laughing
*Boxcheck* Photograph a couple kissing
*Boxcheck* Take a frame-worth photo of food
*Box* Own a professional level Canon camera
*Box* Own a macro lens
*Box* Own a super-telephoto lens (over 300mm)
*Box* Take a photo that is so abstract it is impossible (or hard) to tell what the subject is
*Boxcheck* Take a photo that freezes motion and shows a person (or object) in motion
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a building
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of something in space, eg the moon or a star
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a plane
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a bird
*Boxcheck* Take a photo using only black and white
*Boxcheck* Take a photo that shows a person acting naturally, where they are unaware they are being photographed
*Boxcheck* Take a photo that focuses on the clouds in the sky
*Boxcheck* Take a full colour photograph
*Box* Take a photo that focuses on what someone is wearing, rather than the person wearing it
*Box* Take a photo of a fire
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of fireworks going off in the sky
*Box* Take a photo using the flash on my camera
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of food
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a landscape
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of someone that shows an important part of their life, eg their occupation or hobby
*Box* Take a photo using a slow shutter speed
*Boxcheck* Take a close-up photo of something small
*Box* Take a photo that shows motion blur as something in the photo moves
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a plant or animal
*Boxcheck* Take a photo at night
*Boxcheck* Take a panoramic photo
*Boxcheck* Take a photo or series of photos that tells a story – Rugby World Cup #1Rugby World Cup #2Rugby World Cup #3Rugby World Cup #4Rugby World Cup #5Rugby World Cup #6Rugby World Cup #7Rugby World Cup #8Rugby World Cup #9
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a person
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of the rain
*Box* Take a photo of a rainbow
*Box* Take a selfie
*Boxcheck* Take a photo that shows an aspect of modern life that concerns you, eg poverty, littering, etc.
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of someone playing a sport
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of an inanimate object (or objects)
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a stranger on the street
*Box* Take a photo of a sunrise
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of a public place
*Boxcheck* Take a photo of something ordinary or domestic

Family history 2018

*Box* Add a new person to my family tree
*Box* Interview a family member

Family history bucket list

*Box* Complete my wedding scrapbook
*Box* Complete my family recipe book
*Box* Create and print family history books

*Box* for myself
*Box* for my husband
*Box* for my mum
*Box* for my dad
*Box* for my mother-in-law

*Boxcheck* Get my DNA tested
*Box* Get a DNA test done for my mum
*Box* Get a DNA test done for my dad
*Box* Upload all the photos on CDs and store them online in the cloud

Travel 2018

*Box* Renew my passport
*Box* Apply for passports for my kids
*Box* Go to the Orkney Islands in Scotland
*Box* Go to Hyde Park in England

Travel bucket list

*Boxcheck* Fly business class
*Box* Fly first class
*Box* Apply for a UK passport
*Box* Do a motorbike tour of New Zealand’s South Island with my husband
*Box* Go to Larnach Castle in Dunedin, New Zealand
*Box* Go to Ireland
*Box* Go to Wales
*Box* Go to ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli
*Box* Do a fishing trip in Niue with my husband
*Box* See the Northern or Southern Lights
*Boxcheck* Drink wine on Waiheke Island, New Zealand
*Boxcheck* Go to Gretna Green in Scotland
*Boxcheck* Get my photo taken crossing Abbey Road in England
*Boxcheck* Camp in the Australian outback
*Box* Drive the Glossglockner High Alpine Road in Austria
*Boxcheck* Go inside St Matthews in the City, Auckland, New Zealand
*Box* Go to Dunfermline Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland
*Box* Go to the Isle of Skye in Scotland
*Box* Go to Antarctica
*Boxcheck* Drink Lemon & Paeroa in Paeroa, New Zealand
*Box* Eat a Black Forest gateaux in the Black Forest, Germany
*Box* Eat a Chelsea bun in Chelsea, England
*Box* Eat a Cornish pasty in Cornwall, England
*Box* Eat Shrewsbury biscuits in Shrewsbury, England
*Box* Eat Turkish delight in Turkey
*Box* Eat Welsh rarebit in Wales
*Box* Eat Yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire, England
*Box* Eat Baked Alaska in Alaska, America
*Box* Eat bolognese sauce in Bologna, Italy
*Box* Eat Boston baked beans in Boston, America
*Box* Eat Buffalo wings in Buffalo, America
*Box* Eat a frankfurter in Frankfurt, Germany
*Box* Eat a hamburger in Hamburg, Germany
*Box* Drink Mississippi Moonshine in Mississippi, America
*Box* Eat Brussels sprouts in Brussels
*Box* Eat French fries in France
*Box* Eat French onion soup in France
*Box* Eat French toast in France
*Box* Eat Bavarian cream in Bavaria, Germany
*Box* Eat Madeira cake in Madeira, Portugal
*Box* Eat brie cheese in Brie (now Seine-et-Marne), France
*Box* Eat camembert cheese in Camembert, France
*Box* Eat parmesan cheese in Parma, Italy
*Box* Eat Gruyère cheese in Gruyère, Switzerland
*Box* Eat Emmental cheese in Emmental, Switzerland
*Box* Eat cheddar cheese in Cheddar, England
*Box* Eat stilton cheese in Stilton, England
*Box* Eat colby cheese in Colby, America
*Box* Eat edam cheese in Edam, Netherlands
*Box* Eat gouda cheese in Gouda, Netherlands
*Box* Drink a Long Island iced tea on Long Island, America
*Box* Drink a Manhattan in Manhattan, America
*Box* Drink a burgundy wine in Burgundy, France
*Box* Drink a chablis in Chablis, France
*Box* Drink champagne in Champagne, France
*Box* Drink Madeira wine in Madeira, Portugal
*Box* Drink port in Porto, Portugal
*Box* Drink shiraz in Shiraz, Iran
*Box* Drink armagnac in Armagnac, France
*Box* Drink cognac in Cognac, France

Experiences 2018

*Box* Go on at least one really big rollercoaster
*Boxcheck* Try something new
*Box* Eat haggis in Scotland (again)

Experiences bucket list

*Box* Meet my friend Beth (I met her on Livejournal in 2001 and she lives in the USA)
*Box* See the Exponents perform live
*Box* Go to a strip club/show
*Box* Go to the Last Night of the Proms in England
*Box* See Oliver! performed live on stage
*Box* See the Phantom of the Opera performed live on stage
*Box* Try Pernod Anise
*Box* Try Ricard Pastis
*Box* Experience a medieval feast
*Boxcheck* Eat pumpkin pie
*Boxcheck* Buy and wear a pair of knee high boots
*Box* Learn sign language
*Boxcheck* Ride a horse
*Boxcheck* Take dancing lessons
*Boxcheck* Go camping
*Boxcheck* Make cheese
*Box* Make soap
*Box* Make candles
*Boxcheck* Make wine
*Boxcheck* Go canoeing
*Box* Build a house
*Box* Have a psychic reading
*Boxcheck* Volunteer for a charity
*Box* Dance at a ball
*Boxcheck* Do one tramp or walk a month for a year
*Boxcheck* Eat at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants
*Boxcheck* Get my colours done
*Boxcheck* Do Auckland’s Coast to Coast Walk
*Boxcheck* Do the Round The Bays Walk
*Box* Do the Colour Run
*Box* Do all of New Zealand’s Great Walks

*Boxcheck* Lake Waikaremoana
*Box* Tongariro
*Box* Whanganui Journey
*Box* Abel Tasman
*Box* Heaphy Track
*Box* Routeburn Track
*Box* Milford Track
*Box* Kepler Track
*Box* Rakiura Track

Writing.com 2018

*Box* Send a letter to someone in The Snail Mail Group
*Box* Write a blog entry for the 30-Day Blogging Challenge each day in January

*Boxcheck* January 1st
*Boxcheck* January 2nd
*Boxcheck* January 3rd
*Boxcheck* January 4th
*Boxcheck* January 5th
*Boxcheck* January 6th
*Boxcheck* January 7th
*Boxcheck* January 8th
*Boxcheck* January 9th
*Boxcheck* January 10th
*Boxcheck* January 11th
*Boxcheck* January 12th
*Box* January 13th
*Box* January 14th
*Box* January 15th
*Box* January 16th
*Box* January 17th
*Box* January 18th
*Boxcheck* January 19th
*Box* January 20th
*Box* January 21st
*Box* January 22nd
*Box* January 23rd
*Box* January 24th
*Box* January 25th
*Box* January 26th
*Box* January 27th
*Box* January 28th
*Box* January 29th
*Box* January 30th
*Box* January 31st

*Box* Update the 2016 Quill Awards nominations with winners & honourable mentions
*Box* Send out rewards for donations to The Quill Awards
*Box* Set up the 2018 Nomination Form for Quill Awards by end of January
*Box* Organise judges for 2017 Quill Awards
*Box* Collate judging results to find out finalists, winners and honourable mentions for 2017 Quill Awards
*Box* Host live pre-Quills evening to reveal finalists for 2017 Quill Awards
*Box* Host live Quill Awards to reveal all winners
*Box* Update the Quills 2017 Nominations with winners & honourable mentions
*Box* Update Matters of the Heart Forum at least once a month

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

*Box* Update The Snail Mail Forum at least once a month

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

*Box* Send out Snail Mail rewards at the beginning of each month

*Box* January
*Box* February
*Box* March
*Box* April
*Box* May
*Box* June
*Box* July
*Box* August
*Box* September
*Box* October
*Box* November
*Box* December

*Box* Respond to received reviews
*Box* Enter at least one official Writing.com site contest
*Box* Write an editorial for at least one official Writing.com site newsletter

Writing.com bucket list

*Box* Complete the Comma Sense class at the New Horizons Academy 
*Box* Complete The Challenge
*Box* Complete a project at the Merit Badge Projects
*Boxcheck* Complete a challenge at a very Wodehouse challenge
*Box* Complete the October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge
*Boxcheck* Complete an ‘I Write’ challenge
*Boxcheck* Complete a full month of the Construct Cup
*Boxcheck* Write an editorial for each official site newsletter

*Boxcheck* Action/Adventure
*Boxcheck* Comedy
*Boxcheck* Contests/Activities
*Boxcheck* Drama
*Boxcheck* Fantasy
*Boxcheck* For Authors
*Boxcheck* Horror/Scary
*Boxcheck* Mystery
*Boxcheck* Noticing Newbies
*Boxcheck* Poetry
*Boxcheck* Romance/Love
*Boxcheck* Short Stories
*Boxcheck* Spiritual

*Boxcheck* Write an editorial for the unofficial Blogging Bliss newsletter
*Boxcheck* Earn a Product Reviews merit badge at Angel Product Reviews
*Box* Earn a Rockin’ Review Artist merit badge at the Paper Doll Gang
*Boxcheck* Enter every official site contest

*Boxcheck* Dear Me: Official Contest
*Boxcheck* Short Shots: Official WDC Contest
*Boxcheck* What a Character! : Official WDC Contest
*Boxcheck* Rhythms & Writing: Official WDC Contest
*Boxcheck* Journey Through Genres: Official Contest

*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for The Prompt Me Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for Picture a Story
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for Dark Dreamscapes Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* Submit an entry to Shadows and Light Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for the Monthly Poetry Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry for The Weekly Quickie Challenge
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for the WDC Teen Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for The LGBT Writing Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for HONORING OUR VETERANS
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for Precious Gifts Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry for Thrice Prompted
*Box* Write and submit an entry for the Paradise Cove Writing Challenge
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for the Night & Day Poetic Prose Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for the Verdant Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for the We Write for Kids Contest
*Boxcheck* Write and submit an entry for The Writer’s Cramp
*Box* Write and submit an entry for the Magic Words Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry for the Rebel Poetry Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Distorted Minds Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Bite Size Poetry Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to No Dialogue Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to DreamTime Dragon’s Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Supernatural Writing Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Pretty Pesky Prompts
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Folklore Monthly Writing Contest
*Box* Submit an entry to Support a Fellow Poet
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Write From the Heart Story Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Tales of Seduction
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Zodiac Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Fabulous Fantasy Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Elizabeth’s Poetry & Short Story Contest
*Box* Write and submit an entry to A Story-Poem Contest!!!
*Box* Write and submit an entry to Open Expression
*Boxcheck* Write a blog entry for Blog City and submit it promptly
*Boxcheck* Write a blog entry for Blogging Circle of Friends and submit it promptly
*Boxcheck* Complete an official month of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge
*Boxcheck* Participate in a full month of unofficial camping activities with the 30-Day Blogging Challenge
*Box* Complete a full month (20 or more entries using prompts from a single month) for Welcome To My Reality
*Box* Write and send a snail mail letter, card or postcard to every member of The Snail Mail Group

*Boxcheck* SirSchemingSerpent
*Boxcheck* Angel
*Boxcheck* Ann
*Boxcheck* Cobe
*Boxcheck* Fran
*Boxcheck* Jellyfish
*Boxcheck* blue jellybaby
*Boxcheck* Osirantinous
*Boxcheck* Ash
*Boxcheck* LostGhost
*Boxcheck* Roni
*Boxcheck* Jessica
*Boxcheck* sisterofmercy
*Boxcheck* Kittiara
*Boxcheck* WhoMe
*Boxcheck* Gaby
*Box* Elizabeth 
*Boxcheck* Robyn
*Boxcheck* Lyn
*Boxcheck* Elfin Dragon 
*Boxcheck* Fivesixer
*Boxcheck* Sonali
*Boxcheck* Diane
*Boxcheck* Dragon
*Boxcheck* Jyo
*Boxcheck* dragonwoman
*Boxcheck* The Milkman
*Boxcheck* Alexi
*Boxcheck* Prosperous Snow
*Box* Humming Bird
*Boxcheck* MissTique
*Boxcheck* Aqua
*Boxcheck* Katzendragonz
*Boxcheck* Happy Spring 
*Boxcheck* Ally 
*Boxcheck* Lynda Miller
*Boxcheck* Elycia
*Boxcheck* Min
*Boxcheck* Bikerider
*Boxcheck* MM
*Boxcheck* Darleen 
*Box* zoomsqrd
*Boxcheck* SandraLynn
*Boxcheck* A Faith
*Boxcheck* innerlight
*Box* plainsue
*Boxcheck* Kate
*Boxcheck* Roseanne
*Boxcheck* Stephanie Ferguson
*Boxcheck* Jenny
*Boxcheck* Callie
*Box* Magicmama
*Boxcheck* Amanda
*Boxcheck* Endless Scary Girl
*Boxcheck* Fhionnuisce
*Boxcheck* Andy
*Boxcheck* Zoey Rae
*Boxcheck* Sally
*Boxcheck* Patrece
*Box* Regina
*Box* Carol St. Ann
*Box* Fyndorian
*Boxcheck* Jessica M. Chittester
*Box* Lorraine
*Boxcheck* Cadie Laine 
*Box* Mare 
*Box* CJ
*Boxcheck* Aly
*Boxcheck* Hanna Smith
*Box* hruns
*Box* Ladee Caid
*Box* Purple Princess
*Box* everyjones
*Box* Krysha
*Box* Relanka
*Box* Chris Breva

*Box* Review something in each of Writing.com’s genres

*Boxcheck* Action/Adventure
*Boxcheck* Activity
*Boxcheck* Adult
*Boxcheck* Animal
*Boxcheck* Arts
*Boxcheck* Biographical
*Box* Business
*Box* Career
*Boxcheck* Children’s
*Boxcheck* Comedy
*Boxcheck* Community
*Box* Computers
*Boxcheck* Contest
*Boxcheck* Contest Entry
*Box* Crime/Gangster
*Boxcheck* Cultural
*Boxcheck* Dark
*Boxcheck* Death
*Boxcheck* Detective
*Boxcheck* Drama
*Boxcheck* Educational
*Boxcheck* Emotional
*Boxcheck* Entertainment
*Boxcheck* Environment
*Boxcheck* Erotica
*Boxcheck* Experience
*Boxcheck* Family
*Box* Fanfiction
*Boxcheck* Fantasy
*Box* Fashion
*Box* Finance
*Boxcheck* Folklore
*Boxcheck* Food/Cooking
*Box* Foreign
*Boxcheck* Friendship
*Boxcheck* Gay/Lesbian
*Boxcheck* Genealogy
*Boxcheck* Ghost
*Boxcheck* Gothic
*Boxcheck* Health
*Boxcheck* History
*Boxcheck* Hobby/Craft
*Boxcheck* Holiday
*Box* Home/Garden
*Boxcheck* Horror/Scary
*Boxcheck* How-To/Advice
*Boxcheck* Inspirational
*Box* Internet/Web
*Box* Legal
*Boxcheck* Medical
*Boxcheck* Melodrama
*Boxcheck* Men’s
*Boxcheck* Military
*Boxcheck* Music
*Boxcheck* Mystery
*Boxcheck* Mythology
*Boxcheck* Nature
*Box* News
*Boxcheck* Nonsense
*Boxcheck* Occult
*Box* Opinion
*Box* Paranormal
*Boxcheck* Parenting
*Boxcheck* Personal
*Boxcheck* Pets
*Boxcheck* Philosophy
*Boxcheck* Political
*Boxcheck* Psychology
*Boxcheck* Reference
*Boxcheck* Regional
*Boxcheck* Relationship
*Box* Religious
*Boxcheck* Research
*Boxcheck* Reviewing
*Boxcheck* Romance/Love
*Boxcheck* Satire
*Boxcheck* Sci-fi
*Box* Scientific
*Box* Self Help
*Boxcheck* Spiritual
*Box* Sports
*Boxcheck* Supernatural
*Boxcheck* Technology
*Boxcheck* Teen
*Box* Thriller/Suspense
*Boxcheck* Tragedy
*Boxcheck* Transportation
*Box* Travel
*Boxcheck* Tribute
*Boxcheck* War
*Boxcheck* Western
*Boxcheck* Women’s
*Boxcheck* Writing
*Boxcheck* Writing.Com
*Boxcheck* Young Adult

Do you make to do lists?  What kind of things are on your lists?  Do you think I’m missing anything off mine?

 

The best laid plans

Prompt: Tell us about a time you made the most out of a bad situation…and if you’d do anything different should you be put in a similar one again.

Hmm…

In 2002, my then-fiance and I were living in a little town called Thames. Yup, named after the river in London. It’s got a population of about 7,000 people. Very quiet. Our son was very small, less than a year old. We were renting an old house with a huge backyard that had a river running along the back of it. It was peaceful and lovely.

We were planning our wedding. I started attending the local Anglican church which was just gorgeous. Both the people and the building. The people were so lovely. They didn’t judge us for having a baby out of wedlock. They told me to just put him on the ground and let him crawl around during the service. I was terrified he would pull the cloths off the altar or something, and they just laughed and said ‘Don’t worry, someone will stop him. You just relax.’ *Smile* It was a far cry from the judgement I would later face from so-called friends at church in Auckland.

The building was gorgeous too. It had these soaring ceilings, with kauri (a native timber) all over the place. It was both impressive and yet had the warm tones to make it feel welcoming. The website describes it as a ’19th century wooden gothic building’. I just liked it.

I found a beautiful wedding dress in a shop in Thames. Literally the only dress shop in Thames. It was perfect for me, which is amazing, considering I was short and curvy. The shop owner said she’d dreamed about the dress and had to make it. It cost $500 which is ridiculously cheap for a wedding dress, let alone a one-of-a-kind wedding dress.

The dress was almost medieval in style, and the church was gothic (not that I would have used that word, but you know) and Thames was a cute little old-fashioned town that was struggling to keep up with the modern world. So we planned a medieval style wedding. We’d have a horse and cart take me to the church, get married in the church, then have the reception on our huge back lawn, sitting on hay bales, eating spit roast. *Smile*

Then one night our neighbours came round (we didn’t really know them) and said “They’re predicting heavy rain and flooding, so you should move your car away from the river at the back of the property and up on to the road.” So we did, and then we went to bed. We were woken up by a thunderous knocking on the front door and found the property flooded. We had to go out the back, and wade through the water, baby in arms. If we hadn’t moved the car earlier, we’d have lost it. We spent that night in a local retirement home, then the following night in a hotel, before we were allowed to return home.

The river had washed away literally half the property. The house was fine, but the shed (full of firewood and our lawnmower) was gone, and the backyard was half the size. It had literally been washed away.  *Shock*

The whole town was suffering from the floods, and shortly after, my fiance was made redundant from his job. I wasn’t working, so that was our only source of income. No one in Thames was hiring, so we packed up and moved to Auckland. We would live with his parents for the next three years, the three of us in one small bedroom, and a total of five adults and a baby in a tiny three bedroom house.

Our wedding plans were totally destroyed. We had the dress….and that was it. So I sat down with my mum and my mother-in-law-to-be and we got creative.

We planned a garden wedding at my in-laws’ house. We stuck with the medieval theme, but used bench seats and trestle tables instead of hay bales. We had a spit roast. We created these cool medieval-style banners with the family coats of arms on for decoration. We were given goblets to use at the head table, and a quill to sign the marriage certificate with. The groom wanted to wear a suit of armour, but it was the middle of summer and too stinking hot. As it was, it was a gloriously sunny day, and he was relieved he didn’t wear a suit of armour! *Laugh*




The day was wonderful. It ended up being…perfect. And it was exactly fifteen years ago yesterday. *Bigsmile*

Three things I love about you

We just watched the movie Bad Moms and it was funny and real, and made me all bloggy and philosophical. But it’s late and I want to read before I have to sleep, and it’s a school night. Well, not literally since the kids are still on summer holidays, but I have work in the morning.

We came upstairs to our bedroom and Steve says “Tell me three things you love about me.”

I figure, I can do this. I’m up to this challenge. So I knee-walk across the bed to him (don’t worry, we’re all still fully clothed at this point!) and tell him three things I love about him.

“I love that you’re romantic and you don’t let anyone see it except me.”

“I love that you’re thoughtful, like buying a bar of chocolate today because you thought I might need some tonight.” I did, by the way.

“I love that you listen to me bitch about all my little problems, and then you help me come up with solutions for them.”

He smiles.

“Okay, your turn.”

His face screws up. I roll my eyes. “Come on, I did it, so can you!”

“I love that you complete my weirdness.”

“I love that you make me laugh.”

“I love that you give me blowjobs.”

I start laughing and can’t stop. Between gasps of hysteria (I’ve literally fallen over on the bed by this point, I’m laughing so hard), I wheeze, “You love that I’m weird and give blowjobs!” I am literally laughing so hard I have tears running down my face.

I laugh until my tummy hurts, and then I decide that I just have to blog this because it was so goddamn funny. And so Steve. I write the first two things I said to him. “Shit, I can’t remember the third thing I said to you. What was it?” “I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.”  *Rolling*

I haven’t laughed so much in so long.

A book review of Protecting Elliot by Sloane Kennedy

Protecting Elliot (The Protectors, #9.5)

So, for week two of my reading challenge on Writing.com, I had to read a book written in first person point of view.  Protecting Elliot is actually book 9.5 (it’s a novella) in Sloane Kennedy’s Protector series. I haven’t read the nine books that come before it, but I have read books #1, #3 and #7 in the series. The great thing about this author is that she writes each book so that it can be read as a standalone book, however characters from other books do make appearances. In this book, rather than featuring characters from earlier in the series (to my knowledge, although I’m sure there are cameos), it features Declan from Saving Ren, which is book #3 in the Barretti Security series. And I know the Barretti Security intersects with with Logan’s Need which is book #3 in the Escort series. *Laugh*

Anyway, this book starts with Declan, who is a police detective, hiring Cruz as a bodyguard for Elliot, without Elliot’s knowledge. Declan was, in a twisted fashion, involved in the death of Elliot’s father, and harbours a lot of guilt over it. Elliot blames Declan, and hates him. So Declan can’t help out in the normal fashion, so he hires Cruz as a sort of undercover bodyguard. When Elliot was attacked in his office, he made a police report, but Declan is sure there is more to the story.

There are immediate sparks between Cruz and Elliot, and an instant connection. I was worried that this was going to be a super obvious ‘You lied to me and therefore everything between us has been a lie’ thing since that seemed obvious and predictable. Whenever you’ve got a guy going undercover or acting without the other person’s knowledge, that seems to be how it works. Cruz does acknowledge that their connection means he’s going to have to tell Elliot the truth, sooner rather than later.

There is a small part of that ‘You lied to me and therefore everything between us has been a lie’ but it was significantly overshadowed by everything else that happened. Which is good. I can’t say the book is predictable. I knew there would be a bad guy, because obviously someone attacked Elliot, but I didn’t predict who it was or why. I couldn’t have predicted quite how that whole scene went down, and I didn’t predict how it would resolve some of the drama between Elliot and Declan.

The relationship between Cruz and Elliot was rock solid within the space of…what, a day? That’s a bit ridiculous. This is a novella though, and we get an epilogue that gives us the impression that they continue to get to know each other and strengthen and deepen their relationship.

I gave it three stars. It was a good read.  Because it was a novella, it lacked a little depth, but I enjoyed it. It made me want to read other books in the series, which is always a good thing. I probably wouldn’t re-read it, because I think it gained something from the unpredictability, which would be lost on a re-read. But yeah, a good read, and I think if you were reading the series, it’d be well worth including.