23. Send out at least five books on BookCrossing (3/5)

I had a bit of a genius idea with my bookcrossing books (even if I do say so myself haha).. when I first started my 101/1001 project I sent out two book crossing books relatively quickly but when neither of them were “found” I started feeling a little discouraged and so I hadn’t send any more out into the world since. Then, when my couch surfer asked if he could borrow one of our books, and mail it back wen he was done, I decided to turn it into a bookcrossing book instead and gave it to him, as long as he promised to pass it onto another traveller with their promise to do the same.. fingers crossed that someone joins in the fun and “finds” it on the website!

Have you had any luck with bookcrossing? Was your book found? Did you find one?

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I’m having a giveaway on my foodie blog. Head on over to Vegan Chickie to check it out and go in the running.

Well it’s been 41 hours since the start of NaNoWrimo this year and so far so good. I’ve managed to stay super motivated and have churned out a lovely 6590 words so far. I credit my super successful start to Freedom, which has severely curtailed my procrastination impulses.. thank goodness for that! And, while writing 6590 words I’ve also managed to make a vegan soup, bake a walnut loaf, update my “other” blog with said recipes, watch 2 movies and get more than 16 hours sleep! All in all, things are coming along very nicely! Perhaps it’s the view that’s contributing to my super creative vibe at the moment..

IMG_0286(I know, I know, I keep putting up photos of the same thing, but I just love looking at this view so much that I figure you will too!)

Lets hope I can keep the momentum going with the word count and that my story continues to inspire me, instead of making me want to bang my head repeatedly on my desk, which is what happened when I got to about 8000 words in last years story.

In other news, I had my first ever trick-or-treater on halloween which was very exciting. I was so shocked when someone knocked on my door that I almost fell off my chair! It’s only the second time someone has knocked on our door in 3 months so you can understand my confusion! I answered the door to find this little guy:


I was so happy to have a trick-or-treater that I asked him if I could take a photo. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything to give him which I felt pretty bad about, I would have offered him an orange but I figure that is probably worse than getting nothing at all! He took it pretty well though, and I promised him that I would have lollies for him next year.

In rodent related news, I finally worked up the courage to come out of the bedroom for a whole half a day until my Mum sent me a nasty email about how mice can chew through walls and are probably climbing up the legs of my bed and crawling on me while I sleep and then I had a mini nervous breakdown and went back in to the bedroom (though, even the bedroom didn’t feel very safe thanks to her!). I’ve managed to coax myself out today, and so far so good, although I’m really hoping that my super electromagnetic mouse scarer-awayer arrives tomorrow.. I just don’t know if I can take much more of this!

Anyway, it’s 5:30 which means, it’s time to re-activate Freedom for the next 2 hours and see if I can churn out another 2000 words before the end of the day. Wish me luck!

A couple of days ago I bought some books from betterworldbooks.. I had heard of them through bookcrossing and after I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for at my usual book addict haunt I thought I would give them a go. Books from the bargain bin are $3 each (assuming you buy five) and shipping is $3 something per item (or free if you live in the states).. Funds go to raising money for world literacy which is pretty excellent.. anyway.. this morning I woke up and found this is my email inbox and it made me giggle so I thought I would share:

Hello Nikki,

(Your book asked to write you a personal note – it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)

Holy canasta! It’s me… it’s me! I can’t believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I’ve got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can’t believe I’m leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already – the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge – so many memories. I don’t have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it’s time to see the world!

I can’t wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol’ brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?

I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I’ve had, I’m ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn’t take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I’ve found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.

But hey, enough about me.

Eagerly awaiting our meeting,

Luke is always picking on me about my ability to give a personality to just about anything we own (this is one of the reasons I am a vegetarian!) from our car (Bilbo) to our giant beanbag (Freddie) to lamp post in our front yard (Maude) so the idea of my new book being excited to meet me tickled my fancy.

Well I am into my second day of retirement and so far I’m having a blast, even though I’m not sure it can technically be called retirement yet since it kind of feels just like any other weekend. My last day at work was Friday, all the work gang came into the office to say goodbye, we had a vegetarian pot luck in the office – even though I am the only vegetarian in the team – so lovely. They bought bubbly (and sparkling water for me since I don’t really drink) and showered me with gifts of world music and fair trade chocolate and cash to help us on our way. It was really nice and I felt very loved, especially after reading my farewell card which was filled with so many beautiful messages.

Since my last post we have managed to sell all the things we were worrying about getting a buyer for, our fridge is with it’s new owners and our washing machine is due to be picked up this morning, we finally got a buyer for our car yesterday which was our biggest concern over the last few weeks since we need the funds from that sale to buy a new car once we get to New Zealand. We had contacted a few dealers all of whom laughed in our faces at the price we were asking, and offered us less than half – car salesmen suck, you just know they are going to sell it for double what we were asking! – but in the end we got our asking price so we are really happy about that.

I’m pretty stoked that I only have one more night on this miserable inflatable mattress. Tomorrow night we are heading out to a hotel near the airport where we are going to sleep in a king size bed and eat room service. It will be our last night in Australia. On Tuesday we officially become expats.

Our stuff has officially left Australia which is good news, unfortunately we were expecting it to arrive at our house on the 6th and it looks like it won’t even be arriving in New Zealand until the 7th and then we have to wait up to 14 days from there. It’s a bit frustrating and I was pretty stressed about having to pull out the inflatable mattress again at the other end, especially since it is 10 degrees colder in New Zealand at the moment, but I contacted the owners of the Caravan Park in Kingston and they were nice enough to set us up in a cabin there for a really good price so now we will be sleeping in style while we wait out customs.. what a relief!

On the day zero front I’ve been making a little head way – but not much. Today I signed up and released my first book on bookcrossing which is a bit fun, I’m looking forward to seeing where it turns up. I ate another ‘meal’ outside earlier this week when my lovely husband bought crepes and lattes to the park and we had a picnic in the sun. I attempted to give blood, but was turned away when the nurse found out I was trying to conceive (darnit!) so that one might have to wait a while, hopefully there is a blood bank in Queenstown otherwise I might have to make a special trip somewhere to tick that one off. I’m pretty excited about getting to NZ and finally being able to cross Number 1 off the list, it’s taken a lot of work, and a lot of time, so I’m looking forward to being able to mark that one off!

I had the unpleasant experience this week of having an internal ultrasound as part of the TTC dramas we’ve been having, everything seems to be in order which is a bit of a relief. The expected cysts were there in force – 10 on my right ovary and 12 on my left – but I was more concerned about finding something worse during the course of the test so while the cysts are disheartening they aren’t devastating. I’m pretty sure that I can get around them with some focus on my diet in the coming months and if not then we should be able to find a fertility specialist in New Zealand who can prescribe some ovulation stimulation drugs which should help.. At least now I know that I don’t have any bigger hurdles to face just yet and that is a bit of a relief.

Anyway, that is our update this week. Hopefully before long we’ll be settled in our new house and there will be time enough for proper updates and photos and lots more day zero progress.

Challenge 6: Dinner for 8  Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to plan a fabulous dinner party. You’ve been given a healthy budget, so don’t scrimp! Guest list – 8 people, dead or alive, real or ficticious. The menu – will this be your very own masterchef moment, or is outsourcing more your style? Is there a theme? What will be the entertainment for the evening? What will you wear? What will you talk about? Don’t forget the wine! Have fun planning, be as creative as you like. If you’re creative, maybe even design the invitation. Make this an event not to be missed! Link back here with the URL of your blog AND the entry by 7.30pm 1st July – Have fun!

This is my second blog this challenge and I have to say, so far I’ve been pretty happy with the challenge content, by now you will all know of my nomad ways, but if there is one thing I love more than travelling it is eating! So the idea of hosting an imaginary dinner party with the guests of my choice thrilled me, especially when I read that my guests didn’t necessarily need to be real! So, first things first, I took a walk over to my bookshelf and plonked down on my beanbag. I stared at my bookshelf for a long time wondering just how I could possibly choose which of my favourite characters to come dinner, in the end I settled on the list below: (NB: Technically I suppose, since it’s ‘dinner for 8’ I should probably be one of the eight but it was hard enough narrowing it down as it was. Hopefully that is acceptable oh powerful judges!)

1. My husband – because he is the chef and without him we’d be eating frozen pizza (well also because I love him lol)
2. Stephen King – partly because I’m such a huge fan but mainly because I would really love to see the way he interacts with the rest of the guests, in particular one of his own characters
3 + 4. Henry & Clare from The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffeneger because theirs was a love story that has always stayed with me and I love the idea of them having the opportunity to spend time together at my party.
5. Roland from the Dark Tower Series – my favourite of all SK books, and also he and SK have already met and it seems fair that SK should know someone at the party since so far there are two other couples.

That’s it for the adults, then we have the kids table (though, for the record I haven’t quite decided if I would like these characters to come as the kids they were in these books or as the adults they are now in my imagination):
6. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird – what a brave and beautiful girl!
7. Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia – another brave and beautiful girl and I think that she and Scout would have been great friends

Choosing by number 8 was the hardest of them all, I spent a long time agonising over whether to invite Jesse from Bridge to Terabitha so I could reunite him with Leslie just for a night, or to invite Jake from The Dark Tower because I would love to see he and Stephen King interact with one another. In the end I chose Jesse.

8. Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia because his heartbreak was my heartbreak when Leslie died and I want to bring them together for the evening.

Now for the meal. At the moment I have a bit of a yum cha fetish and love serving meals over the space of a whole evening, small plates of dumplings and sushi and noodles, tiny bowls of stir fry or itty bitty pies, all matched up with wines for the adults and smoothies for the kids – a homemade degustation menu. 10 courses in total (with some shameless links to my foodie blog):

Vegetarian Mini Calzone
Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls
Vegan Pad Thai
Pineapple and Quinoa Stirfry
Ginger Scented Vegetable Pot Stickers
Itty Bitty Shepherd’s Pies
Peking Mushrooms with Mandarin Pancakes

And then onto the desserts:

Carrot Cupcakes
Home made double chocolate icecream
Raspberry Brownies

We’ll end up the meal with some coffee and peppermint tea – and of course a hired minibus to come and take our guests home so that they don’t drink and drive after too much wine.

And in the background, playing softly so that our guests aren’t interrupted and are free to talk, an itunes playlist tailor made for the evening including (but not limited to) the following artists:

Ella Fitzgerald
Mat Kearney
Nouvelle Vague
Oren Lavie
Angus & Julie Stone
Tracy Chapman
Joshua Radin
Joni Mitchell
Edith Piaf
Iron and Wine
Ani Di Franco

Dress code for the evening is pretty straight forward, we are a jeans and bare feet type of crew so whatever they’re comfortable in is fine, that was the rule at our wedding so I figure it will work here too, besides I’m not sure that Roland would have any fancy clothes and for all we know Henry could be ‘visiting’ from another time and may have to end up wearing my husbands bathrobe, it doesn’t really feel fair to make them feel uncomfortable by dressing up.

Wow, I had so much fun writing this that I was almost disappointed to get home this afternoon and realise that it would just be hubby and I eating vegetarian frittata for dinner!