Monday, 30 June 2008

My Most Mortifying Moment

American In Norway has a humorous post on her blog, about mortifying moments.

You know, those moments that many of us have experienced. It seems that once you have kids and grand kids, the opportunities for mortification become ... numerous.

She invites us to recount the best of those moments, then leave a comment on her blog and she will link back to us. This could really be fun. :-)

Mine came, a number of years ago, at the hands of my, at the time, 2 yr old Middle Son. The twins, then 9 months old, were taking a rare morning nap, so I decided to have a quick shower.

Settle Middle Son down with his favourite toys. Made sure windows and doors were all locked. Told him where I'd be and gave the usual admonitions about not answering the phone and if anyone knocked on the door he was to come and tell Mummy.

Left bathroom door ajar, so I could hear twins screaming,smell smoke and so on. What I obviously didn't hear, however, was the knock on the door or the sound of Middle Son dragging stool to front door.

Hopped out of shower. Realised that I'd left the towels and my clean clothes in my bedroom.

Sauntered out of the bathroom in all my naked glory and suddenly became aware of a cool breeze on my nether regions. At the same moment Middle Son yelled with glee "Me clever, Mummy! I open door" and I looked up into the wide open, slack jawed gaze of two, clean-cut, very young, male, Mormon Missionaries.

At that point I did the only thing that was open to me, I gathered my tattered dignity around me, smiled and said "Hi, I'll be right back." and sprinted for the bedroom.

When I came out again, wrapped in my dressing gown, the door was still open. Middle Son was still looking proud of himself and my visitors were beating a hasty retreat up my front path.

My mind kind of boggles as to what the discussion was like at the local MM training school. All I know, is that from then on, whenever any came up our street, they would pause at the top of our front path, look down, murmur to each other and then walk quickly by.


Saturday, 28 June 2008

This is hysterical....

A commercial for Vicks First Defence from New Zealand. This one really cracks me up..

How many of you have felt the urge to do this, or actually done it?

One of mine used to throw the most hellacious tantrums. There were couple of times when I threw myself on the floor, at home, and screamed along with him. It usually stopped his tantrum in mid flight. Never had the courage to do it in public though...

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Jumping Out Of A Perfectly Good Airplane (Part 1)

So why would a sane person do something like that, I hear you ask. Believe me, that's a question, 12 years after the event, that I'm still asking myself.

A mid-life crisis? My kids drove me to it? Peri-menopause ? Temporary insanity? Forgot that if I was meant to fly then God would have given me wings?

Don't get the wrong idea about me. I'm not some sort of adrenaline junkie. Honest!!

' You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.'

That is a pretty good description of me. However, occasionally, Laura Croft swims up from my 'deep, emotional side' and I find myself doing something .... ummmmmm .... different.

So, in late June, 1994, I found myself out at Stead airfield, about to start a short training session on how to fall to an early death skydive.

Have I mentioned that I have a very pronounced fear of heights? I mean, I get sweaty palms and feel dizzy, just standing on a kitchen chair!

Have I also mentioned that this was not doing to be a tandem jump? Or an AFF (accelerated free fall)? Noooooooo ... me being temporarily Laura Croft, this was going to be a static line jump. That's where you exit the plane, on your own, and an instructor holds a cord that is attached to the ripcord on your parachute. After a couple of seconds, he pulls the cord and, hopefully, your chute opens. Other than that, you're on your own.

We spent the morning practicing jumping off a low platform and practicing our landings. Not a good thing to be doing, when your bladder is weakened by having kids! Fortunately, I came prepared. That is something for you all to keep in mind, if you ever have the urge to jump out of a plane or go bungee jumping or something equally as stupid...

We hung from the rafters of the hanger, in a harness and practiced how to cutaway our main chute, in the event of a major malfunction, and deploy our reserve. I got that move down pat!

We lay on the floor and practiced the position we needed to be in when we stepped off the plane's wheel. Ummmm, run that one past me again. You did say 'step off the plane's wheel????

Our instructor explained that when we left the plane, we would be balancing on the strut and the wheel. Did I mention that we would be at about 3500 ft while all this was going on? The instructor would then shout 'Go' and we would fall forward in an arched position. He would only shout 'Go' twice and if we didn't jump, then the pilot would drop the wheel and we would fall off. Now I did mention that this would be all taking place at 3500 ft, didn't I ???

Lastly he explained all about a chute, how it worked, how to identify that we had a good canopy above us, how to untangle the lines, how to steer it and how to flare as we landed.

At the end of all this, he counted heads and then said that one of us would be getting a cargo chute and that there were a few things about this chute that we would need to know, including that the flare point would be down around our knees and not at hip point, like with the other chutes. He said that it might also be a little harder to steer, so we'd have to make allowances for that. Shortening the steering lines by wrapping it around our hands, was his suggestion. He said that he would let the person, who was wearing the cargo chute, know as they boarded the plane.

Finally, lessons were over and the big moment arrived. We were about to climb in the van to go out to the execution field airfield, when we were told that it was now to windy to jump today, so we were to come back tomorrow morning.

Next morning, bright and early, chutes in hand, we boarded the van that was going too
take us out to the plane. A this point it was like I was on autopilot. I'd stopped questioning my sanity. I'd stopped asking myself what I was doing here. I'd simply stopped thinking ...

We put on our chutes. The instructors came around and made sure our harnesses were tight and fastened securely. Their cheery 'Well, we haven't had anybody fall out of one of these yet' didn't even phase me. I really was in robot mode...

That was, until as I was climbing on the plane and the instructor whispered in my ear, 'By the way, you have the cargo chute.' ......

Part 2

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The state of my brain cells...

A couple of days ago, I started writing a post about why I once jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

Then I got sidetracked by Reno's current air quality, which by the way has worsened overnight. We are now at a stage 2 air quality alert, which means the air is 'very unhealthful' and 'it is now recommended that all individuals stay inside with the windows closed.' I tell ya, it's like pea soup out there!

I got sidetracked again this morning, by Debbie's really hysterically funny post about her shrinking brain cells. That got me thinking about the state of my own.

On Monday, Taylor and I went to the movies. Not much you can mess up about that, right? HAH !

It started with a major brain stall as soon as I stepped up to the ticket window..

Me ... " Could I have one adult and one child to .... ummmmmm ... the movie that ends with Crystal Skull "

Teenage, Male, Ticket Person .... " The what ?? "

Me (frantically trying to access my memory cache)... " You know, the one with that guy that has a whip and a hat and is searching for a crystal skull. "

TMTP .... " Wot ?? "

Me, wondering to myself, doesn't this kid know what movies he's selling tickets for ?

Taylor, from beside me ... " Doesn't it start with Indiana Jones, Nana ? "

Grandmotherly Lady behind us, who is reading the marquee ... " Is, it 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ? "

Me , with relief ... " Yes, that's it, thank you. "

TMTP ... " That'll be $12.50. "

I hand him the money.

TMTP, while looking at money ... " Ma'am, that's only $3.50. "

Oops, I'd just seen the number 1 and thought I was handing him a ten and two ones.

Turned to GL, thanked her for her help and said ... " Menopause brain, I think. "

She shook her head sympathetically and patted my shoulder. I felt a moment of shared understanding.

Which lasted until I handed my tickets to the ticket checker lady. She'd obviously been listening to the conversation and perhaps felt that I needed some extra help in locating the right theatre. Because she gave me very, very detailed instructions on how to get to it and ending by looking at Taylor and saying ... " Remember, it's theatre 3, OK, sweetheart. "

That, I guess, was in case I got lost, while walking past the snack concession, turning left, then left again after theatre 7, which I couldn't miss, because it was clearly marked.

I'm just really thankful that none of them saw me trip UP theatre 3's stairs...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Smoky skies....

About thirteen years ago, I was on ANZ plane, descending through a beautiful, clear blue sky, heading towards the American coast and Los Angeles.

All of a sudden, we were flying through this horrible, yellow, yucky gunk. I asked a fellow passenger what it was. He told me it was smog.

Getting off the plane, I remember looking skywards and thinking, there is a beautiful clear blue sky up there, somewhere.

What was even more bizarre, was hearing someone say, 'It's a beautiful, sunny, Californian day.' They called THAT sunny??? Didn't they know what was up there, above that layer of smog???

Normally, here, in the NV High Sierra Desert, we have plenty of clear, sunny, blue skies. However, currently there are well over
700 fires burning in Northern CA and brother, is it effecting us!!!.

Looking at the map, there is a huge swathe of fires, just over the Sierras from us. As a result, the wind is blowing smoke and ash over the mountains and into our area. Reno is set in a basin, ringed by mountains. It's part of the Western Great Basin area. So the smoke has filtered in and settled. LA fog has nothing on what we're experiencing right now.

Taken at the bottom of my street, looking towards the Atlantis casino. Normally you can see other structures and part of the mountains behind it.

There are hills and mountains in there, somewhere!! Oh, and this and the previous photo were taken at 10.30 in the morning, when it should have been sunny.

Hawken fire Day 5

This is what the previous photo should really look like. Taken in 2007 after the Hawken fire, which you can see still smouldering.

My heart and prayers go out to those people in CA, that are affected by these fires. Combined with the floods and tornadoes that have been hitting elsewhere in the US, all I can say is that Mother Nature must either be PMSing or going through Menopause, because she's sure being a right b***h this year!

Was just listening to the local forecast. We have the possibility of thunderstorms over the next few days. Sighhhhhhh.....


Monday, 23 June 2008

Torturing your siblings

Mrs4444 wrote a post this morning about the torture her older brother put her and his younger siblings through, in what appeared to be a quest to eventually be a highly paid pro wrestler.

I was the eldest of five, so my two younger brothers weren't able to torture me by more physical means. Instead they became the masters of psychological torture, usually involving the use of eels.

To this day, thanks to one of my brothers, I have this fear that something is going to come out of the toilet and get me.

At the tender and impressionable age of 10, I'd just sat down on the toilet and had started to pee, when I heard this frantic splashing coming from under my nether regions. Peering down into the toilet, from between my legs, I saw this ginormous eel trying to frantically slither up the sides of the toilet bowl !

I exited the bathroom, screaming fit to wake the dead, to be confronted by the sight of my brother and a couple of his friends, rolling around the floor, laughing their stupid heads off.

We lived across from a river and at spawning time, the eels would migrate from the river, across the end of our yard and to a culvert where they'd produce their young.

As a result, my brothers and their friends would spend many a happy hour collecting eels, which would then get dropped from trees on our heads, down our backs, put in our beds and so on.

Don't you just love brothers!!


Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Ladies Do Lunch

On Friday, two of my favourite teachers, took Taylor and I to lunch. It was a thank you for the time I spent , this year, volunteering in their classroom.

Before I continue, I'm sure that Cyndia, on the left, would want me to point out that she does not have a bald spot on her head! That is Cheryl's thumb. Cheryl was making a rabbit ears sign, behind Cyndia's head, as I snapped this photo.

In many ways, this photo says a lot about the deep friendship that these two have for each other. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them this year.

Cyndia has, sadly, retired. A casualty of the new health insurance that the State has moved to. We have lost a lot of good teachers because of this stupid move. The local paper did a lovely article about Cyndia's 38 years of teaching. Cyndia, you are a true gem. I'm working hard at trying to convince her, that what she really needs now, is a working holiday, teaching, in New Zealand. ;-)

Cheryl, even though she would probably disagree, is one of the most unflappable people that I have ever met. She is really going to miss Cyndia, as they have team taught ever since Cheryl started teaching.

These two finished the year, with 33 kids in their class. There were 26 boys and 7 girls. To say that a fair few of these kids were *challenging* would probably be a bit of an understatement, especially in regards to some of the boys. Despite this, and other challenges/obstacles, their pupils made great strides forward, which is all credit to the teaching abilities of these two special educators.

So, Cheryl and Cyndia, the party may be over, but I raise my glass to both of you. Thank you for a wonderful year. :-)


Saturday, 21 June 2008

Those SITS girls are at it again !!!

Those Saucy Broads at SITS have this really cool contest going for a Bounce House . I really want one!!

So, if you haven't got your SITS button yet, get over there and get one and mention that I told you to!!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Penguins Walking

What's with this current fashion of saggy pants and 5 inches of underwear showing? Seriously from the back, they really do look like penguins walking. It's even funnier, watching one of these fashion plates, trying to walk up the steps of a city bus.

Every generation has a style or styles that they think is really cool. In the early 60's, I had my tongue hanging out for a pair of Beatle Boots.

I wanted a pair of those babies that bad that it ached. I thought I was so hot when I finally got a pair for Christmas. When I look back, damn, those things were ugly. As were the Dinah Lee haircuts, Mod clothing and the Makeup .

The later part of the early 60's got even more interesting. In those days I was doing the Rocker / Surfer thing. I was learning to drum and was a part-time drummer in a part-time rock band. I was also a surfer. Not a bikini clad surfie chick, I was out there riding the waves with the boys :-) Depending on my mood, I wore rocker gear or dressed like a surfie. My parents tried to pretend that I didn't belong to them, when we went out ....

One of my sons, when he was going through the skateboard phrase, was really impressed when he found out about that part of my past. He used to bring his friends home to meet his Mum, who was once a Rocker/Surfer. I'd turn around from washing the dishes, to find a bunch of spotty faced, preteen boys gawking at me in awe. I was never sure, though, about what actually went back to their parents about me, but I used to get some funny looks at PTA meetings and church socials!

Okay, back from the little stroll down memory lane and into present day. Maybe this is a sign that I'm getting old or something, but I just don't get the aforementioned, current *fashion*.

I have to fight this urge to yank their pants up for them and tighten their belts. In the case of those that are not wearing a belt, I have safety pins in my purse that will do the trick!!

That's the other weird thing about these baggy pants wearers ... some of them don't even bother with a belt. Their 3 sizes too big jeans are forever threatening to slide to the ground. They have to keep hitching them up every few seconds, or as in the case of a couple I've seen, they just walk along holding them up to the desired level.

I guess there is one good thing about this though. My Grandmother used to say "The Devil finds mischief for idle hands to do". Not much that these kids can get up to, when they're holding onto their pants for dear life!!!


Thursday, 19 June 2008

My Odyssey ...

I had been plucking up the courage, for about a week, to give my blog a face lift. A new template, a couple of widgets and so on. Found some templates, that were blogger friendly, here , so yesterday, I decided to give it a go.

First up was a three column, cafe template. I followed the directions, saved my blog to a file on my computer, took a deep breath, deleted the old code, and pasted the new. It didn't work. Further investigation revealed that I have 'new blogger' and not 'old blogger', which meant I needed the XML coded templates.

Okay, no problem, I have my old code saved on my computer. Delete new code and paste old code. View my blog and get a blank, blue screen. Arghhhhhhhh!!!! Apparently in copying the old code, I'd missed something.

Fortunately, and I'm not sure when, a copy of my original blog had been saved on blogger and when that popped up, I was able to restore the blog. I still can't work out where that happened, but believe me I was grateful. :-)

You'd think that at that point, I'd learn my lesson and give up. Not this girl! After taking an hour or so to recover, I girded my loins and once more jumped back in the fray.

This time, I noticed the button that said 'Download full template'. Template duly downloaded and sitting snugly in my hard drive. Now I could go play.

Installed the right version of the cafe template. Added photos and assorted widgets. Hmmmmmm. Phoned daughter in New Zealand and asked her to take a look. She agreed with me that it didn't look quite right. The photos and widgets didn't fit neatly for some reason. So we started going through the various templates on the aforementioned site. Fortunately my phone company gives me good rates to NZ and an hour on the phone is only $3.60..... :-)

We made a list of possibles. I hung up and then spent an hour happily swapping templates. Finally found one that I thought I could live with and went to reinstall it. At that point, I think Blogger might of got a little fed up with this female that obviously could not make up her mind, because it threw a wobbly and refused to cooperate any longer. Tried another couple of times, kept getting the same error message. Okay, I'm not stupid, I know when to give it a rest. Not throw in the towel, mind you, just take a break.

Reinstalled the old blog, though it was now missing it's SITS button and other stuff, and went to bed.

So, today is a new morning. If anybody happens to visit my blog today and it either isn't there or is acting oddly, it will just be me doing a renovation and embarking on another learning curve :-)


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

I Have A New BFF !!!

And I absolutely adore her!! Her name is 'Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover' pen and she now accompanies me everywhere.

Forget being a Stud magnet, I'm a Stain Magnet. I have this aura about me that seems to beckon any stain, within my vicinity, to come settle on me.

I'll be at a restaurant and the guy about four tables away from me will be eating spaghetti. A stain on his plate will be eying his tie with glee, look up, see me, nudge his mates and say " C'mon boys, she's wearing a white shirt !" Before I can say " Pass the bread sticks, please. " the left boob region of my shirt is sporting three blotches of marinara sauce. It never fails !

So, if you see a harried looking woman, clothing festooned with stains, furiously rubbing away with her orange BFF, come over and introduce yourself. Chances are it probably will be me :-)

Friday, 13 June 2008

I'm awake .. I think

Dear fellow bloggers,

I am so, freakin' tired. Honestly. I need another cup of coffee and a couple of matchsticks for my eyelids, type of tired.

This is the first time, in a couple of months, that I've done a full week at the school I volunteer at.

I'm now in awe of teachers. I don't know how they do it. If I was wearing a hat, and if I wasn't so damn tired (yeah, I know I'm over using that word), I'd raise it to them. Give your kid's teacher a hug ... honestly, he or she really, really deserves it! And if I wasn't so TIRED, I'd write a loooong post about why I think they deserve it, like dealing with 'No Child Left behind' , spending 1000's of dollars of their OWN money on students, dealing with parents who think their little brats are total angels and so on .... but I'm just too bloomin' TIRED !!

Okay ... now I'm off to deal with 33 1st graders, 102 paper butterflies, 34 large paper flowers and 68 small paper flowers, that I somehow volunteered to turn into table decorations for the retiring staff's luncheon. The butterflies and the flowers, that is ... though the temptation is there to turn some of those 1st graders into something as well....

And one of the damn dogs is standing there yipping at me, can't he see I'm TIRED!!

Incoherently, yours.....

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

T's morning jaw dropper...

It was my day for volunteering, in T's 1st grade class, this morning. As normal, I biked over to her place and picked her up.

As we were walking to school, this conversation took place...

T ... 'Nana, did you know that D wrote in his notebook that he wanted to have the s word with C ?' D is T's 7yr old cousin and C is his classmate.

Me, going where angels fear to tread .. 'Ummm, what s word'?

T ... 'You know, the one that starts with s and ends with x.'

Me .. 'Oh, that word. Hmmm. So, are you looking forward to the class field trip tomorrow and do you want to help me push my bike?'


Monday, 9 June 2008

Mother duck and her ducklings....

Which is a fairly good description of how I felt this morning, as I ushered my designated group of 1st Graders around the Field Day course at school.

We were the 'Blue Maple Leaves'. Each child was supposed to have a 4th Grade 'Buddy'. The 'Sunflowers' and the 'Black Bears' all had their buddies, but ours appeared to have decamped for places unknown. Despite enquiries, they remained MIA for the rest of the morning. Either some other group had extra buddies, or they'd seen sense and were lurking in their classrooms and out of the heat.

It wasn't terribly well organised, but the kids had fun. I got to be the anchor on a tug-of-war team. Us girls against the boys. Despite being out-numbered and out-weighed, we still managed to pull the boys across the line, 3 times out of 5. GIRL POWER!!!

One of the boys came up to me later and said that they hadn't pulled too hard because they didn't want to hurt me! Yeah, right kid, pull the other leg, it's got bells on ! :-)

On the weight loss front, my weight remained the same. I seem to be losing every alternate week. Oh well, as long as the scales keep going down, I'll take whatever I can get.


Sunday, 8 June 2008

Cool Contest

That Saucy Twosome at SITS have done it again. They're featuring a contest where you can win a blog makeover from Shannon at EIGHTCRAZY DESIGNS .

Her designs are awesome. She has a number of them, featured on her site. Shannon also did the design for SITS. Don't you just love the leopard print theme? :-)

Why would I like to win?

I'm currently making myself over. I'm droppin' the pounds, sculpturing the body, sweating away on the elliptical trainer and walking and biking miles and miles a day. I've cut my hair, my hairdresser called it young and sexy, sort of a bed-head look and I'm actually thinking of wearing makeup a bit more often. This ol' granny is on the way to be smokin' hot !!

So, in a nutshell, I think my blog deserves the same. :-)


Friday, 6 June 2008

The questions kids ask....

I was just talking to my daughter in NZ. She related a conversation that she had just had with my middle grandson....

Alex.. 'Mum was I born in the US?'

DD ... 'Yes, dear.'

Alex.. 'But you've never been to America, right Mum ?'

Fair cracked me up. The innocence of children :-)

Then there was young Sacha, the 11yr old.

Sacha.. 'Mum, will I get dizzy if I walk backwards?'

Within seconds of starting to walk backwards and before Christina (DD) could answer her, Sacha walked straight into a light pole.

DD (after she'd nearly finished peeing her pants with laughter) 'Yes dear, you will get dizzy walking backwards, especially when you hit a pole!'



MY2BOYZ really funny post about her obsession with Ben and Jerry reminded me of another one of my 'Americans eat the weirdest things' moments.

American friend .... 'Here, try this chunky monkey, it's really good.'

Me, with eyebrows disappearing into my hairline ... 'No thanks, I don't eat monkey.'

I was rather relieved to then find that she was offering me a bowl of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream and not steaming chunks of monkey stew! She was right too, it was very good :-)

Then again, Americans have been just as confused when I've mentioned eating Bangers and Mash and Toad in the Hole .

Someone else said, when I suggested he go and eat at a Hangi on an upcoming trip to NZ, 'Why would I want to go to a hanging and why would I eat food when I was there?' :-)

Back on the subject of ice cream, I can really recommend 'Breyers Fat Free, Double Churned, Chocolate Fudge Brownie' ice cream. It doesn't taste like a FF product and it is so smooth and creamy. Fortunately it's also only 1 WW point per 1/2 cup, which makes it 12 points for the whole container. 'Nuff said !!


Thursday, 5 June 2008

Overheard in class today...

1st Kindergarten girl... ' I'm going to tell on you !!'

2nd Kindergarten girl... ' Nooooo, Mrs H will go crazy !!'

Wow, sometimes they do hear what I'm telling them. Even if it did take a minor meltdown on my part in the form of me standing up and saying very loudly...

'OK, that's enough. I don't want to hear anymore tittle tattling. I'm done, you're all driving me crazy !! '

Not only did they seem to be having some type of competition, all morning, in trying to tell tales on each other. But they also insisted on poking us, or tapping us or pulling on our clothes to get our attention so they could tell those tales.

Arghhhhhh !!!!!

OK, feel better now :-)


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

In NZ, do you ........ ????

This December will be mark my 13th year of living in America. During those years I've been asked many questions about NZ, that have ranged from odd to really, really bizarre.

My inner child does have a slightly sarcastic side and I have allowed her free reign on occasion, when replying to some of these questions. So my IC is probably responsible for some of the misconceptions that still exist about NZ. Below are some of the questions, my IC response and The Truth (TT).

1 .. Do you have telephones in NZ?

IC.. 'Of course we do. We have one at the bottom of the North Island and one at the top of the South Island. When someone wants to call someone in the other island, they call the phone, someone answers and runs off and gets that person.'

TT.. The first telephone exchange was opened in 1881. Now days they have cell phones, Internet and so on. They're quite tech savvy down there. I was using my phone line to post to Usenet newsgroups way back in 1991. :-)

2 .. 'Do you have paved roads in NZ?'

IC.. 'No, we just have dirt tracks and we drive horses and carts'

TT .. Yes, they have paved roads in NZ .... and cars. :-) The price of petrol (gas) is also going sky high, just like here.

3 .. 'Do you speak English in NZ?'

I've lost count of the times I've been asked this question. I really have to clap my hand over my IC's mouth on this one. The classic was this conversation, that took place, in a store, shortly after I arrived in the US.

Clerk behind counter "I love your accent. Where are you from and how long have you been here?"

Me "Thank you. I'm from NZ and I've been here 6 months"

The clerk's reply then floored me. In a loud voice and speaking very slowly, she said "OH _ YOU _ SPEAK _ SUCH _ GOOD _ ENGLISH _ FOR _ ONLY _ BEING _ HERE _ THAT - LONG !!!!" Arghhhhhhh ...

TT .. NZ has three official languages. English, Maori and sign language. English, however, is the main language.

There have been dozens of others re housing, electricity, food and so on. However, the two most bizarre ones and their reasoning for asking that question, must be ...

2 .. 'Are all houses in NZ built on stilts?'

My IC was curious about this one, so remained silent while I asked why he wanted to know that. Apparently he had been looking at a globe and had seen NZ. He thought it was really tiny and it also looked very flat. So he thought that we probably built our houses on stilts so we would be okay when the tide came in. My IC really, really wanted to tell him that the tide problem was the reason that all Kiwis have webbed feet.

TT ... While you could drop NZ into the State of Texas and lose it, it is not flat, houses are not normally built on stilts and the tide just washes up the beaches ... just like here.

1 .. While on the subject of feet....

"Do New Zealanders have hairy feet and do you?"

Me and my IC .... "PARDON? WHAT?"

Admittedly, the woman who asked me this question, did not appear to be completely sober. Further questioning, on why she wanted to know about the state of Kiwi feet, revealed that she had recently seen 'Lord of The Rings'. She knew that it had been made in NZ and she didn't believe that the Orcs, Wizards, Ents or Elves really existed. However she knew that Dwarfs were real and she really thought Hobbits might be as well. So here she was, talking to a real, live Kiwi and I was short and stout and apparently looking rather Hobbit like, so she asked the question that had obviously been burning holes in her mind....

TT .. The feet of New Zealanders are no more hairy than the feet of people everywhere!


Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Christmas In New Zealand

One of the questions I often get asked, here in the US, is "Do you celebrate Christmas in NZ?"

If that was a burning question in your mind, then the answer is yes we do, however not in quite the same way as we do here in the US, though not too dissimilar.

One of the biggest differences, is of course, the season. December is summer downunder. The photo to the right is very evocative of a NZ Christmas. Sun, the beach and the beautiful Pohutukawa tree, also known as New Zealand's Christmas tree. There was a large Pohutukawa tree in the backyard of my home in Wellington. It looked glorious at Christmas time and one year I used the blooms to decorate the Christmas cake, after I'd forgotten to get the normal Christmas cake decorations.

Christmas dinner can vary. Some Kiwis make the traditional English style celebration meal - Turkey or ham, roast potatoes, roasted veges, peas and gravy, followed by Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Others go to the beach for a picnic or barbecue. It can also be hot, so cold meats, salads, trifle and a pavlova are often on the menu.

First time I ever told my American hubby, that I was making a Christmas Cake
he sort of turned his nose up, ever so slightly. The English style cakes, however, are nothing like their American counterparts, as in they do not resemble hockey pucks (J's description, not mine!).

I usually make mine about July. It's then wrapped up in aluminum foil and kept in the fridge. Once a week, I take it out and pour a small amount of rum or whiskey over it. By Christmas it's moist and well marinated :-) Same procedure is followed for the Christmas Pudding . Fruit Mince Tarts are also popular and use up the last of the Basic Fruit Mixture .

Even though it is Summer, Santa's sweat in full Santa costumes and the stores deck themselves out in snowy Christmas themes. Most Cities and Towns have variations on Carols In The Park and Christmas Parades .

Christmas is very much a family time. Most people get the day off and also the day after, which is called Boxing Day .

The time difference also means that while we, here in the US, are rushing around Xmas Eve doing all the last minute shopping, Santa has already visited NZ, the kids have opened their presents and everyone is tucking into Christmas dinner.

Which reminds me, must start stocking up on dried fruit for the cake!


Monday, 2 June 2008

A cool new site ...

Found a post about this on Applejoos site, so went and visited them.

It appears that they are going to feature a new blog, Monday thru Friday, give their opinion as to why this particular blogger 'ROCKS' and provide links to three of their best posts. They will then add that blogger to their blog roll. Well, I think that's how it works!!

They're also running a rather neat competition which has all sorts of cool prizes.

So get on over there !! :-)

Just hit the cute little 'The Secret is in the Sauce' button that's on my sidebar.

This Is My Country - New Zealand

I'm going to let these three videos speak for themselves. They can probably say it better than I ever could.

The music in the first one is New Zealand's national anthem. This extremely homesick Kiwi, is not ashamed to say that I cried all the way through it. The lyrics can be found here.

The second one is 'May It Be' from 'Lord Of The Rings'.

The third is a Maori love song 'Pokarekare Ana'. The English translation can be found here.


Sunday, 1 June 2008

Awww ... Cute ' Goodnight Kiwi'

New Zealand was a little slow when it came to joining the TV age. We did not see regular TV broadcast until the early part of the 1960's. By Jan 1, 1961 we were seeing approximately 18 hours of programming each week.

We had one of the first televisions in our street and the neighbours used to come over and we'd all sit around staring in wonder at the fact that the world was now being beamed directly into our living room.

Television broadcasting, in NZ, has come a long way since those days of innocence. We now have a number of channels, a list of which can be found here .

Still nothing like that which can be found here in the US. However, how many channels does one really need? :-)

Now, to the subject in the title of this post. For many years, before TV channels in NZ went 24 hrs, the 'Goodnight Kiwi' was played as the channel closed down for the night.

Turn the sound up on your computer and enjoy this little piece of NZ TV history. :-)


It's a moving again ....

The numbers on the scale are moving again and in the correct direction. :-)

Weigh in this morning at WW recorded a 2 lb weight loss. As I have now lost 10% of my starting weight, I was presented with a nifty copper coloured key ring, in the shape of the number 10. Plus I also got a little gold coloured charm, in the shape of a pair of clapping hands. That was a reward for sticking it out for 16 weeks.

I am happy. Now on to my next two mini goals, which are losing the first 25 lbs and dropping below the 200 lb mark. Hopefully that will happen next week.

I've set myself another little goal for the coming week and that is to post something, every day, about my home country, New Zealand. So stay tuned !! :-)