It Feels Like Home

A Boston girl goes Hollywood then chucks it away for a life in OZ… these are my adventures and general musings.

The Art of Penmanship May 30, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 12:08 am
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For the longest time, I have wanted to learn the timeless art of calligraphy. Unfortunately, work, lack of time and daily responsibilities always prevented me from giving it a go. Although I don’t think I have the greatest penmanship to start with, I’ve always been intrigued by hand-crafted lettering. The elegance, balance and dedication it takes to perfect the antiquated art is outstanding. Since I have some free time on my hands, I finally decided to seize the moment and enrolled in a local calligraphy class.

What I’ve learned so far is that calligraphy, like any type of art, takes practice and patience. It is hard work and it will be a long time before I’ll be able to master it. Let’s just say I have a better understanding of why hiring a calligrapher can cost a small fortune. After learning the very basics, I can appreciate the amount of effort and consistency it takes to create a beautiful piece of work. Once you get a hang of the form, you’re able to use your own creativity and fashion a style that suits your own taste. Unfortunately, it will be a long time until I reach that point. Until then, I’ll keep plugging away… slowly.

Photo from here.


Red Sox Birthday May 29, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 9:01 am
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Dad received Red Sox tickets for his birthday. It just so happened the BoSox were going to be in town playing against the Angels just a few days after his birthday. It was a no-brainer to get tickets! All four of us made the ride to Anaheim and had a great time at the ball park. Although the Red Sox lost (boo!) it was fun and Dad had a great day. I think there might have been just as many Red Sox fans present as Angel fans. Red Sox nation is everywhere!

May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 185 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 189 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 187 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 201 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 211


Dad’s Birthday Hoopla May 28, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 8:15 am
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As I mentioned before, we celebrated Dad’s 75th birthday. It was a rather small celebration as we’re hoping to have a big party for him back in Boston some time soon. We went out for dinner at one of Dad’s favorite restaurants and we returned home to enjoy some cake and open presents. Dad got some nice gifts including tickets to a Red Sox game (against the Angels), a customized Red Sox shirt, clothes and tickets to see the magician, David Copperfield. Here are some much overdue photos of Dad’s big day.

May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 042 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 044

May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 070 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 063 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 066

May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 152 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 155 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 164

May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 166 May 2009- Dad 75th, Mel 30th & Mother's Day 168

We bought these musical birthday cards that when you open them up, they play a memorable song. I think Dad really enjoyed them… here are two videos of him singing along with the cards.


Christchurch May 27, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 11:48 am
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We eventually finished our trip in Christchurch. Known as the ‘Garden City’ due to the well-established expansive parks and public gardens, Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and the largest city on the South Island. Since it was the end of our trip, we didn’t spend that much time in Christchurch as we had previously been there before and we had to re-arrange our schedule due to the weather. So, there aren’t nearly as many photos but we had a lovely stay at the stylish boutique hotel, Hotel Off the Square. The hotel is located behind Christchurch Cathedral, which is part of Cathedral Square, and above the old historic tram tracks. We enjoyed our last few days just wandering the city and taking in the sights. Then, the time came to bid farewell to beautiful New Zealand. We had a fantastic trip, if I do say so myself.

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End of the Road: Dunedin May 26, 2009

We finished the Southern Scenic Route in the charming city of Dunedin. As New Zealand’s oldest city, Dunedin is steeped in Scottish heritage and has more recently become known as a hub for architecture, culture and universities. Founded by the Presbyterian Free Church of Scotland in 1848, Dunedin (whose name is derived from the ancient celtic title for Edinburgh) has retained much of its Scots heritage- much of which can be seen in the architecture around town.

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After a wander around the city, we got right into the edible attractions of Dunedin- the Speight’s Brewery and Cadbury Factory tours. The brewery tour was interesting but let’s be real… we came for the beer! At the end of the tour, we were led to an employee pub room where we were left to pour our own samples from their taps. Yes, you read that correctly- we helped ourselves to as much beer as possible. Seriously, you’ve got to love New Zealand- the land that encourages you to drink up as much as you can for a half hour and they’ll even teach you how to perfect the perfect pour.

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Next, it was on to the chocolate. The Cadbury tour doesn’t allow any pictures on the tour but I got a few early shots before we had to put away the cameras. We learned some history, were given chocolate to munch on along the way and ended the tour with a view of the chocolate waterfall.

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The following day, we decided to check out the Otago Peninsula but we first made a pit stop to the Otago Farmer’s Market at the old railway station. We love farmer’s markets and this one was so lovely! Just about everything you would want was available- flowers, plants, honey, jams, herbs, organic fruits, nuts and vegs, freshly baked breads and pastries, interesting hot food, organic meats like venison and lamb and of course, organic beer. After indulging in a delicious chocolate croissant, we hit the road towards the Otago Peninsula.

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The Otago Peninsula stretches along the southern edge of the Otago Harbour and is one of New Zealand’s most renowned eco-tourism areas. The peninsula is home to heaps of wildlife including the endangered Royal Albatross, varieties of seals, penguins and other water and sea birds. Not only does the peninsula have outstanding wildlife but the natural scenery is quite breath-taking as well. The scenic drives boasts views of stunning coastlines, beautiful secluded beaches, rolling hills and charming, old farms.

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From Dunedin it was on to Christchurch… almost done- stay tuned for the finale!


The Southern Scenic Route May 20, 2009

After Milford Sound, we decided to take some time and travel along the Southern Scenic Route. We didn’t do this on our last trip due to time constraints but, we heard many good things about it from people we met along our travels in New Zealand. The route is 440km and takes you through some of the most spectacular coastal scenery and country settings.

We started in Te Anau and headed south along the coast to Invercargill, continuing along the coast through the beautiful Catlins and finished up in New Zealand’s oldest city, Dunedin. We took many detours off the main road to do some bush walks, relax at the beach, find some waterfalls, ‘baaa’ at the grazing sheep, check out the petrified forests, take some pictures of wild seals and yellow-eyed penguins and most of all, simply enjoy some of the best natural scenery in the world. We encountered nothing but the nicest people, beautiful landscapes and delicious local Kiwi cooking.

Our Southern Scenic Route through pictures:

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Milford Sound May 17, 2009

After some re-arranging of our trip due to the rapidly changing weather conditions, we made our way from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Nestled in the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is one of the top tourist destinations in New Zealand.

The two hour drive to Milford Sound itself passes through unspoiled mountain landscapes. We allowed plenty of time to stop and drink in the magnificent scenery. Towards the end of of journey, we entered the 1.2 km Homer Tunnel which brought us into the rainforest canyons that descend to the sound.

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Once we arrived at Milford Sound, we were immediately taken with the Sound’s grandeur. Milford Sound’s natural beauty is simply spectacular. It offers some of the world’s most staggering coastal scenery, and better still, there is no development – just a modest boat dock, otherwise known as a quay. After a little coastal walk, we boarded our boat for a three hour cruise and enjoyed every minute of the splendid beauty.

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