Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I keep meaning to get back to the blog and time keeps getting away from me.
I look at the history of his adventure blog and can't help but notice the declining number if times I post as each year here in New Zealand passes. I guess it is the natural evolution of transitioning from a exciting "new" adventure to what over time becomes more routine.

The truth is we are enjoying ourselves and busy living life. The down time we have is filled with the day to day things we all do - laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills, and some quite time on the sofa watching TV. Otherwise we are at work or enjoying ourselves out with friends. All of this seems to fill our time and we continually find ourselves with those never ending to do lists of things we want to squeeze in between everything else - Emails to friends and family, writing the blog, …

This was our friend Matt's 30th B-day party. We all raced Go-carts.
That is Eric in #13. We (drk green team) came in 5th of 7 
and had the most penalties -LOL.

Since the last blog, I have been back to China twice, once in Sept. and once in Oct. for two weeks each time. Still working on lots of Hobbit stuff and a little Lord of the Rings stuff. Eric has been back to the States to work Salt Lake Cities first ComicCon and has been working full time again at Weta. He has been made the Supervisor of V-stage. This is a large warehouse overflowing with all sorts of stuff from years of Weta work. Including lots of Lord of the Rings molds, props and costuming. He is tasked with cleaning, organizing and cataloguing it all. And to do so, he has earned his certifications for working at heights and driving a forklift - too cool! Most recently he has been temporarily pulled away from V-stage to work on a project for another movie that we can't name yet. 

Now, it is that time of year again...
One of our most favorite times. It starts with our Anniversary and Halloween and goes through Thanksgiving and then Xmas and New Years. 
It is still our favorite time of year, but now it is more complicated.
We spent our Anniversary, our 17th, enjoying the day together. We slept in and then had bacon and eggs for breakfast. Later we went out to our favorite steak house - CrazyHorse, for a delicious dinner followed by our favorite dessert place Strawberry Fare. This year the big Weta Digital Halloween Party was the same night as our Anniversary and we chose to skip it. So there were no costumes for Eric and I. Although on Halloween we both wore our fangs in to work, and as always they were well received. Halloween also happens to be the birthday of our close friend Henri so we took her out to dinner. While good fun was had, it definitely was not a traditional Halloween. And certainly not by US standards. Here in NZ this is still a holiday that is minimally recognized. And this year it was a rainy night so that also hampered the affair.

Then starts November and this year, and likely every year going forward, this month will be more difficult for our family. As we look toward Thanksgiving which is not an actual holiday here in NZ. We approach the birthdays of Casey and Tanner. Tanner would have been 12 years old. At this time last year on Thanksgiving we celebrated in a hospital room, and so we reflect back on the year and reminded of our loss. We are thankful for the years we had with Tanner and love and laughter he shared with us.

Here in Wellington a group of us will celebrate Thanksgiving together with the traditional feast except we will substitute the turkey with chicken. (see earlier blog posts regarding the availability and costs of a turkey) LOL.

On toward the Hobbit release… 
Earlier this month I got to attend the Worldwide Fan Event hosted in Wellington by Peter Jackson and Jed Brophy(Nori the Dwarf),  it was great fun. We got to see over 20 minutes of footage. It is looking to be an action packed middle film (no spoilers) and I was really impressed with the song written by Ed Sheenan for the end of the film... And yes, Peter was barefoot!

We will be attending the Cast and Crew screening of the film on Dec. 10th and then a Hobbit party on Dec. 11th at the Roxy theater followed by a midnight screening of the film.

It is also the beginning of our summer here and the weather is beginning to turn. Summer is the best time of year here and we hope to squeeze in a few day or weekend trips. That said, I am currently typing this blog while it is raining with 26 mile an hour winds rattling the windows.

Myztyc staying warm in an electric blanket. 
She continues to be a love.

Next up is the much anticipated vacation. We have been trying to take this trip since we first got to NZ in 2010. But had been unable to until now. We are off to Cairns, Australia for Xmas to dive the Great Barrier Reef. We will be there for a week. Can't wait!

You'll notice I have not mentioned another trip to China. As it stands now I am not scheduled to go back again til March! And that makes me happy. 

So the year end will be here in what feels like the blink of an eye.
2014 will be an interesting year with lots of unknown ahead. But it is all part of the adventure and we are healthy and look forward to discovering what is ahead of us. 

We wish all of our friends and family a wonderful Thanksgiving
Remember all that you have to be thankful for. 

Happy Turkey,
Stacy & Eric

Monday, August 19, 2013

Life is what happens while you are making plans

I keep meaning to update the blog and life keeps getting in the way. 

I cannot believe it has been 5 months since the last post. It has been a crazy last 5 months. 

So where to start... 

Life has been incredibly busy, but what really happened was, what we were all bracing ourselves for, and dreading, and praying against, and that was the loss of a truly magical spirit that was my 11 year old nephew Tanner. Nothing can prepare you for such a loss, and being on the other side of the globe did not help. 

Tanner passed on May 18th and Eric and I hopped on the first flights we could and arrived the following day. We spent 10 days back in the States with family. 

We were very fortunate in that we had just been in Los Angeles for 3 days at the end of A April (just 3 weeks early) because we had gone to Calgary Expo to run the Weta booth. 

Calgary was a fun convention. And while it is now completely overshadowed by the events that followed, at the time it was a lot of fun. Great people and great atmosphere. Both Eric and I were working this show together. The highlights were definitely getting to meet the lead cast of Torchwood- John Barrownan, Eve Myles and Gareth David-Lloyd. They were incredibly funny and truly friendly. And yes, John is really good looking in person. :0)  I have since been fortunate to meet up with them again - Eve in Australia, and John in San Diego. I also got to meet Nathan Fillion! Who was also very funny and sincere. I am not usually one who gets exited by celebrities, however I will admit there are a few out there that truly entertain me and I do enjoy the opportunities to meet them if just to say thank you.

This is John Barrowman and Casper Van Dien surprising Nathan Fillion with a giant snake.

John Rhys-Davies was there and came by our booth to catch up with Richard Taylor. We all ended up going out for dinner. He is the most marvelous story teller. And Sylvester McCoy (Radagast the Brown and Dr. Who) was one of the friendlies, and great fun tohang out with. I had previously met him at Supanova. The extra added bonus to Calagry was that our good friend Nyssa from Seattle came up to see us and it was wonderful catching up with her. She brought a friend, Chris, as well and we owe them both huge thanks for staying after the show until 2:00 am helping break our booth down. Other fun tidbits: riding in the elevator with Lena Headey,  getting to see another good friend Phil LaMarr, and flying on the plane back to LA with Mitch Pileggi, Robert Patrick, and Richard Dean Anderson.

Eric worked very hard setting up the booth.

Prior to Calgary, I did two shows in Australia - Supanova Melbourne and Gold Coast. This was my first visit over to Australia. And the truth is, I still have not seen much of Australia. The shows were great fun, but the timing was such that I flew in, set up, did the show, broke down and flew back. Worked for a few days before flying back again to do Gold Coast. So I've seen two different airports, hotel rooms, convention centers and a very small slice of town. SupaNova is a great show due to its smaller scale. It is nicely paced and low stress. (compared to the mother of all conventions San Diego comic con. ) We have a much smaller booth and there are only between only about 30 - 60k people depending on the location. 

At the VIP evening events I was able to meet and converse with some great folks. Alex Kingston (River Song of Dr. Who) and Adam Baldwin (Firefly and Chuck). We also had a Hobbit presence. So we had several cast members, Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Dean O'Gorman (Fili) and Mark Ferguson (Gil-galad from LOTR)
In the Gold Coast I got a few moments to walk the beach. It was a nice little resort town. 

It was three incredible weekends in a row, three shows, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Calgary. It was work, but great fun. Calgary Expo came together kinda late so there was not a lot of planning ahead, but we managed to take 3 days off in LA on the way back to see family. And now looking back we are so very grateful that we did. We got to spend some great time with Tanner. We had dinner together and spent some quality time watching Sponge Bob and other favorite shows, and playing on the iPad. We did not know that it would be the last time we would see him. He was heavy due to the meds, but other than that he was funny and playful and himself. I will always remember and cherish that visit. 

Three weeks later we were back for the funeral. It was a a beautiful service. Over 500 people came to share the morning. Many tears were shed, and many laughs were heard as the family shared amazing tales of the "magic that was Tanner". In the end as he was laid to rest, there appearing in the sky, was a full 360 degree rainbow around the sun. This is not a common occurrence. It was remarkable, it was beautiful, and many took it as a sign and found great comfort in it.

I think it has taken me this long to finally get around to the blog again, because in have not yet been ready to try  and put this all into words. It is a difficult thing, it's a bit like living it all over again in my head. And it still hurts. It will likely hurt for a very long time. To know that I have a nephew that I will never see again except in my memories and photos. And he will forever be in my heart. Thank you to all who sent their love and support. We truly appreciated it. 

So there went April, May and into June...

And we now had barely 4 weeks back at work, before we were planning and packing for our originally planned visit back to the States to see family and friends, head up to Seattle for a quick visit and then down to San Diego to run San Diego Comic Con. 

Eric got called in to help build a giant helicopter out of Lego. He does get some pretty fun stuff to work on. 

And I was busy getting all the last minute stuff together for the San Diego show.Oh and I had one more trip back to Australia for Supanova Sydney. Another fun show that had a great turn out. The Hobbit represented again.This time with Adam Brown (Ori), Aidan Turner (Kili), and Jed Brophy (Nori). I got to meet up again with Eve Myles, Kai Owen (Torchwood), and fantasy author Raymond E. Feist. Another UCSD Alumni and San Diegan. I even met Carrie Fisher (shame on you if you don't know).

Los Angeles was a great visit. It was nice to be back there under better circumstances and it was a much anticipated change in the weather. It is winter in Wellington - cold and wet. Even Myztyc tries to stay warm under an electric blanket.

When we arrived, LA was experiencing a heat wave and the temperatures got up to the high 90's (36 C). We spent a lot of quality time with good friends and family, ate lots of our favorite foods, including In N Out Burgers and Mexican. We spent the 4th of July at our traditional family BBQ. And got to meet the newest member of our family Sienna, who was just 10 days old.

We took a quick visit up to Seattle to spend more time with family and friends up there.

Birthday dinner with family at Benihana -my favorite!

And then it was down to San Diego for ComicCon.

Comic Con was a blur. It was another success, lots of fun, and lots of work. There was certainly not enough time to roam, to explore and to visit with friends and colleagues.
I was at the booth for almost the entire show. So apologies to all those I missed. If I did not get a chance to see you and catch-up, I am sorry. I hope you had a great show and hope we can connect again soon.

To see more great photos check out Eric's website

We took the 4 days after the show to collapse, sleep, and recharge a bit before returning to NZ and back to work. We spent more quality time with family, ate and saw a few movies.

Now back in NZ...Myztyc is happy to see us as we are her. We are still keeping busy. I will have a trip to China ahead of me, maybe two. And things are in full swing with the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (film two).

Eric is working again back at Weta and heads off to Salt Lake City for another convention the beginning of Sept.

Eric and I plan to take some much needed and well deserved time off around Xmas and are heading over to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reef. 

I am hopping to be back on a more regular schedule and will update the blog again soon.

We hope all of you are doing well.

Stacy & Eric

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, Passover, Spring and Autumn...

Nelson continues to be one of my favorite places here in New Zealand. I love walking around the town checking out all of the great shops filled with beautifully crafted items - glass, pottery, jewellery, art and more.

Unfortunately, Eric caught that nasty flu and was quite under the weather. He still made the trip, but was planning to take it easy. This was the last stop on Mom/Sue and Mary's trip before heading back to the states. And after 3 weeks, Mom/Sue's knee was also in need of a rest. So Eric and Sue got to enjoy some extra relaxing time together while Mary and I did a little more adventuring.

The highlight was going over to the Able Tasman National Park.
The last time we were there we drove the hour plus. This time, aunt Mary and I took the water taxi over. It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect. I was in heavan - in the sun, in a boat on the water -wind in my hair. Reminded me of so many other times years ago....
We spent the entire day outside, on the water and walking the trails along the beaches of the park. In places the Cicadas were almost deafening.

It was a great visit and a great little summer get away.

And summer continued. This was the warmest and longest of the summers since we have been here. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. As Autumn now approaches(here)- the cicadas have gone quiet, mornings are dark and the rain is overdue. We are actually having a drought here. And the lack of water is costing the country significant money. They are saying 2 billion.

This is the calm before the storm so to speak. The first three month of the year have been relatively calm and easy. We have had relaxing weekends and some great evenings and meals with good friends. And I only had one 10 day trip back to China.

Now we will blink and the next three - four months will be a blur.

In some ways it will be lots of great fun but it will also be quite a bit of work.
I am scheduled to run our Weta booth at two shows in Australia. This will be my first time to Australia, and unfortunately I won't have any spare time to explore. But I am very much looking forward to it. I will be at SupaNova - a pop culture/ComicCon type convention in Melbourne and then the Gold Coast. Then both Eric and I are scheduled to go to Calgary Expo in Canada. And hopefully a few days visit with family in LA on our way back. If we do get there, we apologize to those we will not have the time to see, but look forward to catching up in July when we return for a longer visit.
Still working out the details, but will likely have another trip to China too.
Still working on new products to launch for Weta and The Hobbit as well as plans for San Diego ComicCon in July. Eric is hoping to get some more work as The Hobbit gears back up for movie pick-ups for films 2 and 3.

Tanner is continuing to hang in there, and Casey is doing amazing. She competed in a dance competition and Wow! She won a 1st place Platinum award. Look at those legs!

Really looking forward to seeing them both again soon.

Myztyc is doing great. She has managed to grow into a healthy full size kitty from the tiny malnourished kitten that we rescued a year ago. Her favorite activity is chasing down any bug that gets into the house.

Warm wishes to all.

Eric and Stacy

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy 2013

2013 has begun and it has been a very nice first month.

We spent New Year's Eve with some good friends and enjoyed some more quality relaxing time. We celebrate Eric's Birthday with a nice sushi dinner.

Eric's Mom Sue and Aunt Mary came to NZ for a visit and we met up with them in Napier for a long 4 day weekend. We saw The Hobbit (in 3D 24 frames). Movie is still fun after many viewings however we do not recommend this version. 3D 48 is better and we are still hoping to try seeing it in 2D 48 frames.

At the Botanical Gardens

The Trolls at Te Papa

They departed for the South Island and now we are we are currently hosting an artist friend from the States, for a few days.

The Summer weather has arrived and it has been beautiful.  Complete with some great sunsets. These are the days that make living here in Wellington, NZ amazing.

We are catching back up with Eric's family next weekend on the South Island and look forward to more good weather and fun in Nelson.

Our nephew Tanner seems to be doing okay right now and we continue to hope for miracles.

We wish you all a great 2013.

Eric & Stacy
and Myztyc