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A New Address, But The Same Blog :)

Hi All,

I have decided it’s time to update my blog.  It’s still under construction….  turns out I’m not nearly computer savvy as I hoped to be. Hopefully,   soon enough I’ll get a better grasp.  Anywho, from now on go here for the new & improved!

www.theadventuresofkristine.com

Thanks 🙂

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On The Road With Jason & Kyle

This upcoming Saturday, my brother & his friend Kyle (and some other friend of theirs I do not know) are going on a cross country trip for two weeks to visit every random place you could possibly imagine in the U.S.  Ultimately the end result is Colorado, but will be  stopping in  Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, & South Dakota along the way. BUT on a trip like this, you could really end up anywhere.  So it’ll be interesting to see what kind of Midwest characters they meet and the places they get to explore.

For accommodations, the boys  have been in touch with people from http://www.couchsurfing.org/.  This website helps get you connected with like-minded  people who are basically offering up their couches to make the world a friendlier place and to encourage travel. As a girl, I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable. Immediately I would assume the person was using this site to be sneaky and turn me into their personal sex slave. But the couch surfing idea is perfect for Jason, Kyle & mystery friend. They get to save money on lodging and use it for gas, food, and gifts for Jason’s wonderful and loving sister (me).  🙂

Want to follow their adventures?  http://www.whoaretheofayou.com/

My brother Jason

Kyle

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While Swimming Through A Sea Of Suits..

When you swim in a sea of suits on almost a daily basis, it’s nice for some thing random to occur to shake things up a bit. Otherwise all the usual forgettable occurrences win – people rushing this way and that obviously late for something, others waiting on line at their favorite street cart for a morning cup of coffee, construction workers hanging around their site eating bagels and whistling at girls who pass by, and of course the usual group of tourists standing right smack in the middle of the sidewalk looking up in awe at a shiny new sky scraper.   Life is beautiful and easily taken for granted when it happens without incident day after day.

What I love are the moments when something makes you stop dead in your tracks and take notice.  Take for instant yesterday morning. As I crossed Broadway towards Sixth Avenue, I notice a suit walking briskly across as well, sipping his Starbucks coffee, while his other arm clung to a Wall Street Journal.  As he stepped onto the curb, somehow tripped and plunged to the ground. And I’m not talking a trip, stumble, look behind you, and take off.  It was the type of fall that could easily make a city stand still. The man did almost a roll and landed on his side, spilling the coffee, and casting the newspaper into the air. He quickly bolted up and galloped off, but OH man, was that a great morning pick me up. I feel kinda bad that it was at someone else’s misery, but oh well…what can you do?

By far the best thing I have seen in a while though took place last week.

Behold the glory of creative advertising:

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Picture 045These guys literally came out of nowhere to my left, where I immediately pulled my camera out to capture the moment.  Allegedly, toy dogs riding around in power wheels that are covered in advertisement is a solid way to get your product’s message across. Actually, I believe it.  It was amazing how many of us slowed down to figure out what was going on.

If you go out into the world expecting color and interesting sights,  day to day life will be more exciting and you’ll begin to notice the little quirky things vs. the big picture.  This is the way I always hope to observe life.  Give me a side show or something that usually would go unnoticed and immediately the day has more meaning than, “wah wah just a normal blah blah Wednesday”.

Try it. Go outside and see what you rarely see.  It could end up making your day.

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Everything Is Going To Be Ok, Right?

After reading my sad depressing blog from yesterday, I feel the need to make up for it. Yes, I was sad yesterday; all day in fact. Not only was it devastating to think that my past actions could potentially have the power to end my trip, but the emotions of the actual DUI came back up to the surface. It was a dark time in my life and up until recently have finally cleared it away. Circumstances like this feel the same as the monthly surcharge I paid for three long years – to remember how serious the situation was and how easy it is to completely disrupt a life.

Today is a new day with a new outlook. My initial response was grim, but after I got through all the emotional stuff, realized that what I need to do is get all the paper work in correctly, making it clear that I am a great addition to their country.  The past is out of my hands.  There is nothing anyone can do anything to change it. 

They say you live and learn. OH I’ve learned alright. Hopefully part of the learning process doesn’t include losing the adventure of a lifetime….Wish me luck 🙂

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And Now, A Public Service Announcement

Last night I began to fill out my work visa for New Zealand. Each page completed filled me with joy, thinking about how quickly time has been moving along and that really, we’ll be there in no time.

Then I got to questions D1 – D2.

“Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

In most cases, people automatically answer no. I did as well. But then, earlier today I got to thinking about a certain DUI that I had four years ago. Which is on my record. Which the New Zealand Embassy will see when they are determining whether or not I am a good quality character to allow in their land of peace. In a frantic mess, I called the program Kyle & I are going through to New Zealand to see what this all means.

The woman on the phone replied, “answer honestly, you need to get all paperwork regarding your case, stating you owe no money, and show any classes you may have taken”. “I have spoken to people with the same situation as you and in most cases it’s ok”.

Most cases. As in not all, but most.

Four years ago, I was a completely different person.  Well I was me, but a me with a completely different way of thinking and seeing the world.  I wasn’t considering my future self who may have wanted to do exciting fun things like travel and experience the world. My younger alter-ego must have assumed I’d be in the same place, content in doing the same thing.

My DUI has been a prison and the destroyer of any faith my family ever had in me.  Still to this day, they can’t help but feel frightened when I drive at night.  The fees were astronomical. And only up until this past DecemberI have been paying $87.24 each month for co-pays. When that final payment was made, I thought Mr. DUI could finally be put behind me. But it always sneaks up.

I have no plan b. I don’t want a plan b. I want to own my life, but sadly the DUI always will. My mom tried to reassure me with thoughts that many people in my age group have them & that it’s not so un-common. And that if I am meant to be in New Zealand, I will.

 But what if they don’t want me? What will Kyle do? I’d want him to go still, but I don’t think he’d want to take our dream adventure alone. Once again I’ll be hurting the people closest to me.  It’s a cycle it seems, never failing to take one more crack at breaking my heart and ruining everything.

And the worst t part of all is that it is ALL my fault. I turned the key. I drank and drive. And now I am possibly screwed. And then I’ll be starting from square one again.

Great. Just Great.

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Car Trouble

Having a car at this point of my life feels it would be an equivalent to having a child; an expensive burden that constantly demands money & attention.  Luckily for the past two years, I lived in Hoboken and was spared the worries of keeping a car happy & healthy. 

If you have known me for a while, you would know that I have bad luck when it comes to cars. Or maybe it was just my younger self being reckless & inconsiderent. Somewhere down the road when it comes time to enter back into the world of car ownership,  I’ll be more careful. But man….looking back, if my cars were in fact children, it wouldn’t have taken long before child protection services were on my case for being abusive, neglectful, and obviously an unfit mother.

Example 1: My very first car – Name: Cassidy. Make –  1997 Chevy Cavalier. Ohhh how I loved Cassidy. And not only because she was my first, but because I bought her all on my own.

After I got the Cavalier, the next few days were spent driving around town basking in the glow of new independence. Sigh, it didn’t take too long before the accidents began. While leaving my friend Paul’s house after a visit, oops! I backed right into his sister’s car. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage –  about $300 out of pocket – but to a 17 year old working at a coffee house, it felt like a million.

Over the next 2 years with the Cavalier, I had managed to run into my friend Chiarina’s car while following her up to Ramapo College, which resulted in my entire front of the car falling off and one of her lights dangling for dear life. And you can’t forget the times the trunk would stop working for no reason and happily flap in the breeze.

 The Cavalier came with somewhat high mileage.  So after 2 years of torturing the poor girl, it was time to go and get a new victim. Entered the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, Donovan.

I have to say, nothing too severe happened. Well….one day while leaving my friend Steve’s, the entire front bumper fell off. Honestly, I don’t know how it happened. There was no prior evidence to prepare for the random fall….just good luck I guess.  The Jeep was in my life for only about a year or so til I got stressed out by car payments.  Feeling bad, my parents agreed to trade cars & would take on the car payments.

Car #3 and my last car was the Ford Escort.  The Escort was by far the most abused car in the lot. I had this guy for three years and he literally traveled to hell and back.  It’s a miracle that the Escort stands in one piece today.

Where to begin the gauntlet the Escort had to face. Perhaps we can talk about the time people broke into it, shattered the back window, and ripped the cd player out one extra chilly day in New Brunswick  (I was in college at the time).  I was coming out one morning for a super early class and had the joy to discover my poor Escort broken in and robbed of everything in the car, including a bag of socks. Realy? Was that necessary? A few months later, right before I moved out of that very same apartment (aka the first crime scene), discovered that yet another very nice neighbor  severely side swiped the car & obviously felt no need to leave a note. But they did present me with a huge deep gash across the left side. Thanks guys, I’ll miss you too…

The obvious indicator that I should never be responsible for the life of a car occurred on a trip home after looking at Halloween costumes on day.  It was a windy night, the shopping center was being blown back and forth with leaves and anything else that happened to roll around in the wind…as in shopping carts…All of a sudden, one sad little shopping cart decided to end it all and hurled itself in front of my car.  With my non-cat like reflexes, I hit the shopping cart, causing it to fly through the air and propel into the car passing at that very same moment. Luckily, no real damages were done to the Escort, just emotional trauma. But the poor guy passing by got some significant damage.  According to the law (though I was hoping we could sue the shopping center) it was my fault.  I can’t tell you how it felt having to explain to my parents, yet again, about the freak accident that I was involved in with my car.  Months later when I made the move to Hoboken, they probably did a victory lap around the Escort, celebrating that it’s life was spared.  My sister has it now and keeps him safe & sound. But every so often when we are all together for a holiday, I can still see the Escort shudder and silently gasp as it reminisced all the pain it once endured by it’s past caretaker, little old me.

Once we move to New Zealand, having a car will be a necessity. Maybe my parenting skills will improve overseas or god help whatever car is doomed to a life with me. To get motivate, maybe we can find something I’d really love, hence treating it like the puppy I have been daydreaming about. Which by the way will be one of these: An Aussie Shepard.

And driving around in this guy:

Add these two elements to my life, and sold! I’ll be back in the driving circuit in no time. Carefully, I might add.

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Sweet Competition

No matter what type of industry you work in, once a good original idea emerges,  it’s not going to last long. Soon enough the once unique niche turns into an everyday occurrence.

Exhibit A: Once upon a time I marveled in the fact that you can get any type of cuisine from a truck in Midtown. But treats – cookies, cupcakes, and so on – was ingenious. Ah the Treats Truck . Always a wonderful go-to on a grouchy Wednesday.

WELL, look who I saw lurking around Midtown this week.

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The Street Sweets Truck? WHO is this? 

Being the loyal person that I am, gave the truck an evil glare and said, “I am a Treats Trucker! Not a Street Sweeter!”  After shouting that, I threw eggs at the truck and rallied a crowd. Together we chanted, “you’re not welcome here!!”, while tipping it over. Pretty amazing right? And it worked out perfectly during my lunch break.

Orrrrrr instead, I got creepy, lurked in the shadows, and took a picture of the truck for a future blog.   

A little while later, I took a look at their website, and it kinda changed my mind. Sadly, it looks pretty amazing…

Highlighting the menu are European-inspired create-your-own croissants—filled with a choice of luscious pastry creams such as mocha, praline, vanilla and chocolate, all natural preserves, honey, and nut butters. Other delectables include muffins, scones, quiches, savory croissants, cookies, brownies and more baked before your eyes. Since any pastry worth its calories must be accompanied by an outstanding cup of coffee, this eye-catching, magnificently equipped café on wheels definitely has it, along with espressos and cappuccinos.

To help keep things green, Street Sweets uses all natural ingredients, organic milk, raw sugar, and fair-trade coffee beans from a sustainable rain forest that are precision-roasted locally. The truck itself uses bio-diesel fuel to reduce emissions.

Yum. And they are green! And have create your own croissants! Amazing 🙂  Maybe I’ll open my heart to them after all.  The city is big enough for two. And really, anyone who wants to feed me tasty treats is ALWAYS welcome.

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