Will I Wake Up And Find Out All Of This Has Been A Dream?

I have had very vivid dreams all of my life.  My dreams are in full colour and they contain elaborate story plots. When I wake up I remember all of the details of a complicated story, the colours, the smells, the emotions. 

When I wake up, I also realize it was all a dream.  

This past week, for a brief second, when I wake up I feel life at the present moment is a dream.  The present events are surreal.

I feel I may step out of the movie sets, “The Truman Show” or “Capricorn One” at any moment. 

Then reality sinks in.

When Did We Begin To Take This Pandemic Seriously?

Is it social distancing, social isolating, quarantining, shelter in place? 

Last Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to completely hunker down. 

Up until then, my husband was still going to the gym daily and I was on Day 16 of a 30 day yoga challenge at my yoga studio.

No more gyms, stores, visiting with family and friends.  This is a serious pandemic and we need to take it seriously.

“You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem,” my husband’s quote.  Sometimes he does have something smart to say.

Many Things Have Not Changed

We are fortunate we live in a home and we are comfortable with basic necessities.

Everyone in our immediate family is healthy.

Spring has arrived. We have access to trails and many walking areas in our immediate neighbourhood.

A Few Things Have Changed

We have been advised the Half Corked Marathon will either be cancelled or postponed. We Won the Lottery! The Golden Ticket!  We are staying positive and still in training mode.

 

We had tickets to a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert in April.  This event is also cancelled or postponed.  Cancellations are common around the globe right now. 

My early evening walk is usually filled with the sound of children laughing and playing at a park nearby.  Yesterday, all of the parks were closed. Yesterday, the park was completely empty and eerily quiet.  

 

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I met with my best friend last Saturday, and for the first time in 50 years we did not hug good bye. We giggled and stepped back.

         Inside, I am choked up.

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We usually have a lot of interaction with our daughters and their families.  The grandchildren are 4 weeks, 23 months, 4 and 6 year old.  They are very huggy, smoochy, drooly, and they touch everything.  They would not understand boundaries.  Our goal is to help keep everyone healthy.  We FaceTime and Video Chat.  This is temporary and this is important.  I put on a brave, happy face and I tell them this will only last for a few weeks.  

         Inside, I am choked up.

The Question:   Do You Recognize The Common Denominator?

  • I have continued my yoga practice and I am doing a 30 Day Challenge with “Adriene’s Yoga” on YouTube.   Thank you to Deb The Widow Badass   for this great recommendation.  I love and miss my yoga family at Found City Yoga.  How Hot Yoga Changed My Life

 

 

  • Thank you to Marty, Snakes in the Grass  for your witty, humorous posts, always.  Your last post reminded me how I should keep a thermometer easily accessible.  I hunted through the house and I found the thermometer we keep for when we watch the children.  I tested it twice.  36.6 C each time.  Whew.

 

  • I am going on longer and more frequent walks.  Thank you to Mark, Swinged Cat  for sharing information about the Voice Recorder app and Voice Memo app.  When a bolt of inspiration hits me or I need a simple reminder, I can just press on the big red button and record my thoughts.
  • Janis’s post Retirementally Challenged  “In this time…” contained many gems that resonated with me.  I copy/pasted her last paragraph into a Gratitude/Positives file. Thank you, Janis, for your wise words “….we don’t have to distance ourselves from much that nourishes us.”
  • Pam’s words Rough Wighting  warmed my heart. “I wish we could all meet in a safe place and hug each other and talk for hours. Well, I suppose that’s what we do right here in the blogosphere!”  Thank you, Pam, for reinforcing the importance of connections.
  • Thank you to Laurie Meditations in Motion  for her words “we’ve got this. One step at a time.” 
  • Thank you to Liesbet Roaming About for always reminding me how little we need to lead a happy, simple life.  We are all living “a life less ordinary right now.”  In your last post you discussed the positives, negatives and reality of the present events.  Your phrase “our solution is our flexibility” has stayed with me.  Thank you.
  • Anabel Glasgow Gallivanter shares a great deal of history and information about Scotland.  The photos on her site are breathtaking.  Thank you, Anabel, for helping us plan our next vacation.  You have helped put Scotland high on our list.
  • Jo Restless Jo shares posts containing stunning photography of exceptionally beautiful, historical buildings.  Thank you, Jo, for reminding me how humankind has weathered many challenges over the past thousands of years.

     This too shall pass.

Ten minute walk from our house

The Answer:  “You” Are The Common Denominator.

I am sharing a quote from Suzanne, Picture Retirement  “I have always been grateful for my connections throughout the blogging community, but now, more than ever.  There is so much sharing, caring and outright humour being delivered to my inbox daily.”

I strongly agree with Suzanne.  I am entertained.  I learn something new.  I laugh.  I cry.  You touch my heart.  

This Is Not A Dream

I realize when I wake up in the morning, all of this is not a dream.  This is our present day reality, changing by the hour. We are also in the early stages of this pandemic.

I have a great deal to be thankful for always and especially right now.

People have been very kind and thoughtful.  Almost everyone in our neck of the woods is respecting the social distancing, social isolating guidelines. 

We are going to get through this together. 

I appreciate the connections in my personal life and in the global community.

Please continue writing, sharing and connecting.  You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.

         Thank you for making a difference in mine.

 

How are you connecting with friends and family?

Has someone recently made a difference in your life?

 

Postscript:

I shared only a few posts from blogger friends.  I could easily include gems from every single post I read.  

I just finished listening to a very good, empowering podcast.  “The Tim Ferriss Show #414:  Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos.”  

A Bonus Gift:  People Be Weird”  

Kate’s witty posts Coffee Kat Blog often bring a unique perspective to daily life and the human condition.  She sometimes adds  a “people be weird” in her post.

I was walking by a house yesterday and a couple, likely husband and wife, were quibbling about whose turn it was to take their dog for a walk.  The husband yells out how “the dog had better not poop.  I am not picking up dog poop.  If the dog poops, I am calling 911!”  No humour in his voice.

Likely cabin fever and too much togetherness already setting in.

Yes, Kate, “people be weird.”

I still can’t stop giggling.

 

Does Every Two-Year-Old Put Something Up Their Nose?

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The Magic of Childhood

 

Road trips with a two-year-old and a four-year-old can be a lot of fun.

Most of the time.

 

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What do you do when the two-year-old starts crying and we decipher through the sobs,

                       “A Tic Tac is in my nose!

The car is in motion on a busy Vancouver highway.

I abruptly swing around in my seat.

“Are you kidding me?!  Are you sure you have a Tic Tac in your nose?!”

I see something up her nose.

I calmly shout blow your nose!”

Flashes of first aid courses run through my mind.  I try to remember all I have learned about head anatomy and the sinus cavity.

I am thankful my daughter, their Mother, sent me a text this morning containing a copy of their Medical Care Cards.  

                        Where is the nearest hospital?

 

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Do not play with knives!

 

Papa Chuck screeches to a halt at the side of the road.  I jump out of the car and attempt

                       Tic Tac Rescue Mission!

I cannot even see the Tic Tac now.  A bulge is visible high up on her nose.  I apply pressure to one nostril amidst the two-year-old’s advanced cries.  I tell her to blow her nose.  No success.

Again, blow your nose!”

A Tic Tac with much mucous flies three feet out of her nose.

The wide-eyed two-year-old stops crying.

I return to my seat and we resume our road trip.

Along with a five minute lecture on

                      “Never put a Tic Tac up your nose!”

 

It could have been worse!  It could have been a Nerd!

 

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Double Trouble!

 

Our friends had to take their daughter to the hospital to remove a  “Nerd” from her nose.

The first thought that may come to mind is the computer coding, highly intelligent, mathematical whiz.

                      Not this child, on this day.

This little girl had somehow managed to put a popular candy of the 1980’s up her nose.

Her parents reluctantly sped to the hospital.  After a few embarrassing looks, they managed to explain the problem to the emergency team.

                      The Nerd was expertly removed.

The hospital staff has likely seen worse.

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She looks soooo Sweet and Innocent

Not every child will put something up their nose. 

Two-year-olds have a reputation for testing our patience and creating anxious moments. 

They can also make us laugh.  Especially when the Tic Tac or the Nerd is safely removed.

An embarrassing story may unexpectedly surface one day.

                        Possibly at their Graduation, their Wedding or even on a Blog.  

            

Have you had any scary moments with a toddler?  

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A Reason to Smile

Postscript:  

Deleting a Blog Post? – One Year Later

 “Tic Tac Rescue Mission”   was the original title of the above story.   It was unedited, written directly on the WordPress site and I immediately hit “publish.”

                   I won’t do that again.

I was tempted to delete my first few blog posts. 

They were practice pages to see whether this WordPress thing works.

             Will the post even show up in cyberspace?

I consider August, 2019 as my official One Year Blogiversary.  

I have found a fun, challenging, creative outlet.  I have met many inspirational people in this supportive community.

The initial practice pages remind me how much I have learned this first year of blogging.

          I am glad I did not delete my first blog posts. 

Have you gone back and deleted any of your Blog Posts? 

  

 

 

Roughing it! Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Why Go Camping?

 

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  • Is it the Forest Bathing?  Do the trees emit oils that replenish my body?
  • Is it the Ions near the ocean?  I feel more in balance when I am near water. 
  • Is it the Silence in the presence of nature.  My breathing slows down.  I have a sense of peace and belonging.

 

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Getting There

 We are all packed and excited to get on our way.  We are heading to Long Beach on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.   

This campground is fully booked almost a year in advance.  The sites are a hot commodity, almost as difficult to obtain as tickets to U2, Pink, and Justin Bieber.

It takes us approximately six hours to drive to the West Coast.  No ferry travel, which is a bonus.  We travel through lush forests and beside beautiful lakes.  10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island

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We Bring The Basics

  • Eight foot camper.  Easier than a tent.
  • Tarps.  Tarps.  And more Tarps.  My husband is the Griswold of camping.
  • Layers of clothing.  It is Fall weather with a combination of sun and rain.
  • Camping food.  Everything tastes better outdoors.
  • Many books downloaded on an ereader plus hard copy books.
  • A good, flexible attitude.  Nature and camping can be unpredictable.

 

We Bring Extras

  • Fondue Pot.  A real treat and a tradition for the two of us.
  • Blueberry tea ingredients.  A classic recipe resurfaced from 1970’s camping.  A combination of amaretto liqueur, orange liqueur, hot Earl Grey tea or Orange Pekoe tea.
  • Propane campfire.  Campfire bans are often in effect.
  • More tarps.

 

8 Reasons I Love To Go Camping

1.  I spend uninterrupted time with my husband.  Our discussions contain topics we don’t delve into at home.  These topics often contain the truly important layers of our life. 

Our discussions often contain silence.

       “When you can sit in perfect silence with someone, you truly know how to

                          communicate.” Richard Wagamese

 

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2.  I go for long hikes. 

3.  I watch the sunset. 

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4.  I see the stars and the planets at night. 

5.  I take many photos giving me new perspectives on my surroundings.

 

 

6.  I can read all day and not feel guilty how I should be getting more accomplished at home. I indulged in many books this past week.  (see bottom of page)

 

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 7.  The Sound of the Ocean.  The Sounds of the Birds.

                             The Sounds of Silence. 

8.  Ocean and lakes as far as the eyes can see. Untouched old growth forests.  Open spaces.  

                It is in these Spaces where I feel most Whole. 

 

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Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Many great books are available on the Blue Zones and the concept of Health, Happiness and Living our Best Life.  One of the books I just finished reading is “The Blue Zones of Happiness” by Dan Buettner.  This book reinforces and  summarizes many of the concepts we have learned about enriching the quality of our life.  

Hundreds of factors affect our happiness. The research shows how 40% is what we can affect through our behaviour.  Most of us are familiar with:  exercise, eating healthy, meditation, declutter, minimalist lifestyle, surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, to name a few.

Buetnner’s book contains research from Sonja Lyubomirsky.  She wrote a popular book a few years ago “The How of Happiness.  She discusses,  

          “the challenge lies in sustaining the new level of happiness.”

Lyubomirsky cautions, 

“If you repeat the same happiness-boosting strategies too often, they begin to feel routine.  They lost their ability to lift your spirits.”

 

 

We need to vary our activities. This concept can apply to our nutrition and diet. It can also apply to exercise, stretching and maintaining a healthy body. 

Marty, from  Snakes in the Grass  shared in  The Core of it All   how his chiropractor advised him,  doing the same sequence of stretches will lose it’s benefit over time.  We need to mix it up.  Our body does not derive the same benefit from doing the same, routine activities over and over again.  

For me, camping falls into this category.  I benefit from a change in my surroundings, a change in my activities and a change of pace.

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My Life

I appreciate my day to day life and the comforts of my home.

 I also feel great when I have a change of scenery, I vary my routine and I go camping.

I gain perspective and I feel the harmony, balance, and beauty in nature. 

I rest, recharge and replenish my spirit in solitude.  I am better able to manage life’s challenges.

I am reminded how I am a part of the bigger picture.  I belong here.  I am timeless. 

                          I become my Authentic Self.

                         

 

What activities make you feel your best?  Do you vary your routine?  Have you gone camping?

 

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Blog sites:  Thought-provoking, informative articles on the vast subject of Happiness.  

Kathy:  Smart Living 365   Shares many great posts helping us Live our Best Life.

Nancy:  Defining Third Age  A series of posts sharing information from courses she has taken on the Science of Happiness.

Leanne:  Cresting the Hill    Many interesting articles on the health benefits of “calm” “peace” “serenity” “balance” in our lives.  This specific post discusses the concept of “Unbusy.”  Choosing to be Unbusy in Retirement

 

Books I read on my Fall Camping Trip: 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.  I recently saw the “Magician’s Nephew” in Chemainus.  I was curious about the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. 

“The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness.  Book three of “Old Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.” I read the first two books last Fall.

Embers” Richard Wagamese.  A book filled with rich, yet simple words containing a wealth of wisdom.  I LOVE this author.  This author was brought into my life by a lovely, smart, wise, intuitive, family member.  You know who you are.  Thank you for sharing your light.

The Blue Zones of Happiness” Dan Buettner 

A Mother for my Twins” by Jill Weatherholt.  I met Jill this past year following her blog site.  I was immediately pulled into this engaging story and I read the entire book in one evening. Suspense, characters you love, the concept of choices and forgiveness.  I did shed some tears at the end.  jillweatherholt.com 

 Better Blogging with Photography” by Terri Webster Schrandt.  An amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site.  Many gems in this book.  Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

“Habits for Success” by Brian G. Benson

 

 

 

 

Grammy’s Grid Interview

I am delighted to be featured in this interesting and fun Blogging Grandmothers Series.  Thank you, Dee!

I am very grateful to be a Mother and a Grandmother.  My family makes me smile every day.   My love for them is endless and immeasurable. 

You can read my featured interview here:   Blogging Grandmothers Series 3 with Erica from behindthesceneryphoto

 

Where Are The Ruby Red Slippers?

A Situation Develops At Our House

A major crisis for 3 1/2 year old, Abby.  Therefore, it becomes a major problem for all of us.

It is 8:00 p.m.  Abby and Sadie are getting ready to go home with their Mother. 

Abby cannot find her slippers.  These are not just average slippers.  These are Abby’s favourite Ruby Red Slippers.

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Abby’s Favourite Ruby Red Slippers

Everyone is tired.  Too tired to check throughout the house looking for slippers.  We turn the house upside down anyways.

We look inside toy ovens, doll beds, lego crates, toy boxes, under pillows and in closets.  We look everywhere!   No luck.  We cannot find Abby’s slippers anywhere.

Lots of crying and then good night hugs.  The girls go home with their Mother.

During The Night

I wake up during the night with my mind racing.  I am replaying yesterday and retracing my steps.

Yesterday morning, I had loaded up the stroller and taken three grandchildren, ages one, three and five to play in a park close to our house. 

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The Usual Suspects

 

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Children of the Corn

 

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Not a drop of rain in sight.

Packing up to return home, I saw the red slippers in the bottom of the stroller.  

Or so I thought. 

Crammed in the bottom of the stroller were water bottles, snack containers, dolls, stuffys and a blanket.

It dawned on me, at first glance I could have mistaken the shiny red water bottle for the red slippers hidden in the chaos.

In The Morning

I tell my husband there is a possibility the slippers were lost somewhere at the park. The children had been playing all over the grassy field.

If by chance the shoes were discovered, they will likely have been discarded or they will have gone home with someone by now. 

My husband sees my disappointed face and he encourages us to at least take a look.  We arrive at the park and notice the newly mowed grass. Darn. The lawn mowers could have easily chewed up the slippers.

I see something red and shiny on a table at the edge of the playground.

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The Ruby Red Slippers!

 The Ruby Red Slippers!

Yay!  Tears of joy and a lump in my throat!

These little red slippers may be a minor thing in the scheme of life.

They also represent a major part of what is good in my life.  

Our 3 year old:  The smile and squeal of delight when I FaceTime with her and show her the slippers.

My husband:  How he reads the disappointment on my face and helps me hunt for little ruby red slippers.  I easily fall in love with him again.

The people in my neighbourhood:   The shoes were picked up and placed in an obvious area. Many children play in that park all day long. They had left the shoes visible for us to find.

Me:  Amidst the chaos I did remember to return home from the park with three grandchildren.

A successful day!

                              Have you ever lost something important in your life?

Postscript:  You may be wondering whether Abby left the park with shoes on.  Yes, Abby had shoes on.  That day it was her Pink Bear wearing the Ruby Red Slippers. 

 

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Grateful for all the Good in my Life!

Please Join Me At SMARTLiving 365 – I look forward to seeing you there!

I was honoured to be invited to contribute a guest post on Kathy Gottberg’s informative and inspirational blog  SMARTLiving365     SMART is an acronym for Sustainable, Meaningful, Aware, Responsible, Thankful. 

Kathy is passionate about positive aging, exploring new ideas, educating and sharing information.  Her articles are thought-provoking, relatable and filled with information encouraging us to be our best selves. If you have not had a chance to visit Kathy’s blog, I highly recommend you check it out.  I know you will appreciate the articles as much as I do.

I wrote the “Sliding Doors” story in November, 2018.  It is a story close to my heart since we celebrated our 40th Anniversary last Fall.  Have you had a “Sliding Door” moment in your life?

via    Sliding Doors – How Would Your Life Be Different If You Had Taken The Other Door?

 

What do you do when you love Mussels as much as I do?

 

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You visit Havelock, New Zealand, the Green-lipped Mussel capital of the world. Definitely one of our favourite days exploring NZ!

This area is in the spectacular Marlborough Sounds region on the South Island of NZ.

 

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We left early on the Pelorus Mail Boat out of the town of Havelock.   This boat delivers mail, supplies and people to remote coastal areas.  There are no roads, ferries or cruise ships.

Living out west on Vancouver Island, we have had the opportunity to spend the day on mail boats.  It is a nice way to let someone else do the navigating and spend a relaxing day enjoying the scenery.  We were looking forward to a break from driving the challenging NZ roads.

 

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It was a gorgeous day, some areas calm, some windy with stunning scenery in every direction.

 

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The captain and guide were very kind, fun and knowledgeable about the history and wildlife in this area. 

The Green-lipped Mussels are endemic to NZ.  The name comes from the distinct emerald green colour of the shell.  They are sometimes called Green Shelled Mussels or NZ Mussels.  They may have anti-inflammatory health benefits for some people. (weblink)

We saw many mussel farms in the inlets of Marlborough Sounds.  Up until now, I have enjoyed eating mussels, although, I had no idea how mussels grow in the coastal waters.

 

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Spat (juvenile mussels) are collected, where they wash up attached to clumps of seaweed.   Spat arrive at a mussel farm and are transferred to ropes in seawater until about 6 months of age.  They are removed and then reseeded onto long stretches of rope, and grown for another 9 to 12 months.  They are then harvested. 

Most aspects of farmed and wild mussels are identical. The mussel farms are located in the same areas where wild mussels thrive.  Mussels require sheltered areas. There are over 600 mussel farms in NZ and they cover thousands of hectares of marine space. (weblink) (link)

We saw some boats go by carrying huge white bags.  Each of these bags contain over a ton of mussels.  These boats were obviously very low in the water.

 

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We stopped at a remote lodge for lunch.  Of course, we ordered the mussels. 

I bit down on a mussel to the sound of a crunch.  Was it a piece of shell or my tooth?  Hiding underneath the mussel was a pea-sized crab.  More on this later in a future story.

 

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We stopped for a hike on a secluded beach.  The only access to this area is by boat or helicopter.

 

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We came across colonies of beautiful, big seabirds called Gannets.

 

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We were introduced to a huge insect endemic to New Zealand called a Giant Weta.  It is described as a relatively harmless insect.  Only a few of them bite.  I didn’t know which side of the fence this Weta belonged, the biting or the nonbiting side.  And using the term “relatively harmless” does not make me feel better. 

 

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A highlight towards the end of the day was to have a large school of Bottlenose dolphins swim around us.  Even, Trish, the guide became very emotional. Although she travels these inlets every day,  she had never seen this many dolphins stay as long to play. 

 

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We have been surrounded by breathtaking scenery and incredible natural beauty in NZ.  Every day has been an adventure.  We have learned about the history of the Islands.  We have been fortunate to witness the diverse marine life and wildlife native to this country.

Exploring the Marlborough Sounds region on the Pelorus mail boat was definitely a highlight for us. It was one of our best days in New Zealand!

 

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And what will I continue to order for my favourite meal?  Mussels, of course!

 

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