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I’m going to cheat on this one. I don’t have a favourite superhero, but I do I believe we all have the power to be superheroes. In fact, one of my favourite quotes is this one from Jodi Picoult’s book, Second Glance:

Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.

Which brings me to a friend of mine, WingedMan – see, even the name is appropriate! A few years ago, I was going through a real tough patch, my Sister had attempted suicide, I had just finished university, and was applying for teaching job after teaching job, getting more and more depressed as I got nothing. Every new rejection letter made me feel even more worthless. I knew I needed help, but I had no idea how to ask for it – I didn’t want to to talk with my parents, cos I knew they were still dealing with Alex, and I didn’t want to add to their worries. Yes, I knew and know that was silly, but it’s how I was feeling at the time. Didn’t want to tell my friends, I’m generally known for being a smiley sort of person, and I thought if I wasn’t happy then they wouldn’t want to know me. After all, I didn’t like myself, why should they.

Anyway, one day, I was sitting on the waterfront outside my work, and I thought…I could just lean forward and breathe in, and I might actually get some help.

The thought scared the living hell out of me, and I immediately jumped up and got away from the water. But I knew I had to talk to someone.

I don’t actually remember what made me choose WingedMan, but I’m glad I did. He was wonderful. He listened, and even seemed to care about what I was saying. He made me feel like I was ok, even though I felt like a failure as a human being.

That’s why he’s one of my heroes, because he made me feel that way, made me feel like it was ok for me to feel that way, and made me feel like I wasn’t a failure.

This is a pic of Ocean City Beach, Maryland. I actually visited this beach twice, but the second time I didn’t take any photographs (it was a bit dark), so I’m choosing this picture.

The first time I visited this beach was with a family a friend and I were staying with before we went to work at camp. We did all the touristy things, ate thrashers fries with vinegar, paddled in the ocean (first time in living memory of being in the Atlantic Ocean!), and went on the ferris wheel. It was a bit misty/foggy to see anything from the ferris wheel but it was still fun 🙂 The pic was taken just after paddling. It was pretty cold, so didn’t get in very far, just enough to get splashed a little and to say I’d been in!

The second time was with another friend, one I had met for the first time a few days earlier. We both felt the need for solitude, stars, and ocean sounds (and if I’m being honest, the smell of the ocean, which always gets to me), so after a full day of sightseeing (from memory I think we went to my first iMax movie about sea creatures at the Smithsonian Musuem of Natural History, wandered around DC, and then visited the Holocaust Museum, finishing with dinner at this amazing vegetarian kebab place) we decided to do this miniroad trip. Leaving about midnight of course :p

So we drove to the beach, and lay on the sand, looking at the stars, listening to the ocean sounds until I drifted off wrapped in a slightly sandy sleeping bag. I woke up just as the sun was rising, and it was beautiful. One of my favourite nights of my whole trip.

Day 4: A habit I wish I didn’t have

I wish I procrastinated less! I’m hopeless about leaving things to the last minute, and it’s only paid off a few times….well maybe it didn’t pay off, but it didn’t seem to have an impact on the essay I wrote the day it was due (somehow managed to get an A+ and a sheet of paper asking if they could take a copy to show next years students’ as an example of a really good essay. Gotta love TColl :p)

Even things that I want to do I seem to procrastinate about. For example, I’m knitting my Mum a hat, and she’s going to a conference in Europe on Friday, so I said I’ll try and get it finished before she leaves so she can take it with me, but I haven’t done anything on it for AGES! I’m sure I’ll get it done, but you can be sure I’ll be knitting non-stop for the last day!

Silly really!

Day 03- A picture of you and your friends

This is a picture of all the Livejournallers that were at the Christchurch BookCrossing Convention in 2009. There always seem to be a few of us there, so at all the conventions I’ve been to we’ve had a photograph of us all together, so that friends who aren’t there can see what we look like.

Starting on the left, at the back, in bright yellow is Rubberchicken. He’s from the Netherlands, and I met him for the first time there, although I had chatted to him a few times online. He’s really into motorcycling, and had just finished a motorcycle trip around the South Island.

In front of him, in black, is K-J-H. We used to date, but are just friends now. He’s extremely smart, but drives me crazy sometimes cos he doesn’t realise how intelligent he is, and how much better he could do for himself.

Next to him is Moem, who is just plain awesome. Also from the Netherlands. We worked together on a project called BookCrossing Exchange, and had a great time. Almost shaved our heads for it to raise money, but luckily there was a slight difference in favour of not shaving, so we both got to keep our hair 😀 I’ve still got a box of purple dye she gave me somewhere 😀

After Moem we’ve got Sherlockfan, who was the one who got me into BookCrossing by leaving a book in the bus stop just down the road from my house (we used to live just around the corner from each other!), so she’s officially my first BC friend, and also the first BCer I met in person. She started our local meetups, and was the main person in charge of organising the Wellington Convention, so I have a lot of addictions/obsessions to thank her for!

Behind her is Mahinaarangi, who was another new person I hadn’t met before Christchurch. She’s a teacher, and I wish I’d had a teacher like her at school! Extremely funny, and with a slightly dodgy mind 😉 Which I love her for!

Behind her is Miketroll, from the UK. What I like about Mike is that he is extremely intelligent, but also really good at explaining things. Plus he tried to teach me dvorak, which I’m hopeless at practising, cos I’m SO slow at it, compared to qwerty.

Directly in front of Mike is Otakuu, who is wonderful. There aren’t enough words in the world to describe how wonderful she is. She inspires me, and also gives good advice 🙂

Then, in the green, we have FutureCat, who is a prolific BookCrosser. She’s released something like 4000 books into the wild. She’s also into crafting and cats, both of which I love 😀

Behind FC is Rarsberry, who’s cool 😀 I met Rars in Wellington at our convention here, and showed her around on the Friday afternoon, where she took a megaton of pictures. In fact I think the first picture I have of the Wellington Con is of Rars taking a photograph!

Next to Rars is Newk, who’s semi hiding. Newk also has a dodgy mind. I met him in Melbourne at a convention there. Friends with Skyring, and when they get together they always look like they’re plotting something. Which they probably are.

In front of Newk is Gizmopuddy, from Ireland. Irish accent, need I say more! Also has a heck of a sense of humour, and is happy with alcohol in front of her :p

Next is moi!

And then Alkaline-kiwi, who is my BBFF (BookCrossing Best Friend Forever). You’re probably sick of hearing about her, but she’s awesome. Dodgy mind and all. Met her in Wellington at my first BC convention. We’re about the same age (she’s about a month older than me), which is fairly young in BC terms, or it was when we joined anyway!

Next to her is Earok, A-K’s partner. He’s sweet, and cares about Kirsty a lot. He also makes her happy, which makes me happy cos she deserves someone awesome like that 🙂

Crouching in front in black is Libertine101. Cat obsessed, and is a librarian. Met her in Melbourne as well. Apparently I remind her of herself at my age, so I’m her Protojay. And yes, we both know that isn’t how you spell it.

To the left of her is Lytteltonwitch, who used to live in Christchurch. Also a prolific releaser! Extremely sensible, but also a laugh to be around. Just watch out for the fake breast that gets thrown around a bit!

Don’t really know Awaywithfairies that well, even though she’s been at a couple of conventions I’ve been to. She’s kinda organising the Sydney Convention this October that I’m really looking forward to attending.

Right in the front on the left is Wombles, who’s another sweetheart. I’d do pretty much anything for her. I can’t wait to see her again in Sydney, even though I’ll probably cry (again) when I have to leave.

And finally, Skyring! Crazy traveller, Convention junkie, drives a cab for a living, and I think he genuinely likes to drive, cos we’ve been on a few road trips together. And had a fantastic time on all of them! Planning the mother of all road trips for next year, which I am insanely excited about 🙂 We also co-write a blog together over at Hello It’s Me which I love 😀

And that’s it!

A while back I posted a poem for a friends daughter, Becky because I wanted to post something for her, but was having trouble putting anything into words.

I met Becky, her sister Cindy, and father Andy last year while I was working in the States, and we all visited one of the Civil War Battlefields, Antietam. It was a wonderful day, beautifully sunny, and I had an awesome time.

One of the memories I have of the day is driving back to get some dinner before returning me to camp, and Becky reciting that poem over and over again. Kind of annoying at the time, but I cherish the memory now.

I had been looking for pictures of that day on my flickr account, and was surprised that I could only find one of them, and not a particularly good one at that, but yesterday evening I was looking through iPhoto for some reason and suddenly came across a whole lot more, including some of the girls. Somehow they aren’t in chronological order, and while I knew there were some of camp right at the end, I hadn’t thought to look towards the end. I thought I’d uploaded all the pics to flickr, you know.

This is one of my favourites, it made me cry, made me think about how sometimes things don’t have meaning until later:

Later in the summer, Skyring was in the area, and he picked me up from camp, and we went and had dinner at their place. Earlier in the year he had broken his wrist, tripping over backwards, and so I tried to play a joke on him, by putting a sling on. Unfortunately for me, I left it too late, and he was standing at the health centre watching me do it, without me realising. I did, however, manage to fool Andy’s whole family, which I found surprising, considering he’s an ex EMT! Up until his wife asked if she should cut up my food for me, and Pete told me I couldn’t go on, so I took it off. And gave it to Cindy and Becky.

And so, I would like to celebrate Becky’s life. It was a short one, but she touched a lot of people in her short time, me included.

The meaning behind your Blog name

Just like Alkaline-kiwi, the name of my blog is pretty boring, it’s just my name that I go by on the internet. I chose it way back when I first joined BookCrossing, because I was so excited about discovering something so awesome, but it also refers to my love of learning, and self discovery.

The subtitle, I would like to celebrate… refers to an old family tradition that we used to do when I was a kid with my Dad, and we still do it sometimes at my Grandma’s, where people there hold hands in a ring around the table and share something that they are celebrating before dinner. A lot of my friends like to blog, and I like to write, but couldn’t seem to come up with an appropriate subject to blog about until a friend (hi Krazyblonde!) posted something similar on her blog which inspired me.

My friend Alkaline-kiwi put me onto this, so in an attempt to get back on the blogging wagon I’m gonna have a go at it.

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

1. my favourite colour is blue, as pretty much everyone can tell you cos I’m usually wearing blue…even at work :p

2. I really do have the most amazing friends, who I love to bits.

3. I still have my childhood teddy bear, who has basically no fur anymore.

4. I love to read, and am a slight hoarder, but try to keep my Mt. TBR down to one shelf of my bookshelf.

5. I have the best job in the world.

6. I love coming home, and having a space of my own.

7. I have a semi-dodgy mind, which I blame on other people (but enjoy most of the time :p)

8. I am a history geek.

9. I like nice surprises and also surprising people 🙂

10. I am a chocoholic

11. One of my favourite things are BookCrossing Conventions/UnCons.

12. I speak English, enough Maori to have a basic conversation, and can ask for a table for 2 in Dutch.

13. My favourite places in the world are New Zealand, Charleston (South Carolina), and San Francisco. Or just anywhere with friends 🙂

14. I’ve got a tattoo which has the initials RTS, which stands for Remember To Smile, although it doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to smile all the time, just that sometimes I need to remember that there is something worth smiling about. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

15. I really like learning new things.

Edward Hirsch

I am so small walking on the beach
at night under the widening sky.
The wet sand quickens beneath my feet
and the waves thunder against the shore.

I am moving away from the boardwalk
with its colorful streamers of people
and the hotels with their blinking lights.
The wind sighs for hundreds of miles.

I am disappearing so far into the dark
I have vanished from sight.
I am a tiny seashell
that has secretly drifted ashore

and carries the sound of the ocean
surging through its body.
I am so small now no one can see me.
How can I be filled with such a vast love?

Thanks WingedMan for this one 🙂

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy
Was he?

This one’s for you Becky.

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