Saturday, September 27, 2008

Funny As

The guys at work find this video absolutely hilarious. I have to admit that I've lived here long enough to find it pretty damn funny as well.

It might be hard to understand back home. It might seem weird or even nonsense to someone who hasn't spent some real time here in NZ.

I thought I'd put it up on the blog to offer possible insights into either the Kiwi sense of humor, an example of how far I've integrated into Kiwi culture or both. The origins of the "as" expression is "sweet as" as far as I know. I believe this is from "that's sweet as anything" but shortened to simply "sweet as." I've heard "cool as" as well. It may be from blue collar British slang too, as I heard a tradesman fixing a door on the show "Peep Show" using "sweet as."

WARNING: Contains light profanity. It's the "S" word which is just at the edge between casual slang and profanity here. At school, the teachers might use words like "damn" and "hell" and even "crap" in front of the kids, but probably not the S-word. If one of them dropped something on their foot and said the S-word in front of their class it wouldn't be a big deal past a little tittering, I suspect.

Given a few more years the S-word will probably leap across the gap between casual slang and profanity and join "damn," "hell" and "crap" in the ranks of expletives that are discouraged but not necessarily unacceptable in public schools.

Joanne doesn't and wouldn't speak this way at school though. Our American sensibilities prevent us from being comfortable relaxing our language this way in public.

School Holidays!

Term 3 just ended at school and the girls and I are off for the next two weeks. Nice! Although we have no real plans I'm looking forward to some down time and (crossing fingers, touching wood) some better weather for exploring the out-of-doors. The girls have both been sick with the dreaded lurgy this past week and I'm hoping they'll perk up over the weekend so we can have some fun.

I'm also looking forward to some time to sit on my butt and read a book or two. At the moment I'm 1/3 of the way through 'Absalom, Absalom!' (this is probably my 10th attempt at this book and this is the furthest I've gotten, alas) but I need a second, fluffier book to make me laugh and that when I lose my spot doesn't require me to start two pages back at the beginning of the sentence. Anyone have any suggestions? And if you're about to suggest some great book that Oprah just recommended about a woman overcoming adversity, save it. I'm not a fan of the Oprah picks. I need a good laugh, people!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spring Forward

FYI, Daylight Savings time starts here at 2am, Sunday 28, September. For my friends and family on the West Coast of the U.S. that means we'll only be 4 hours behind you. Well, to be accurate, it's 20 hours ahead. And, come 2, November when you end your Daylight Savings Time, there will only be 3 hours difference, or more accurately we'll be 21 hours ahead. That makes sense, right? Hopefully the time changes should make finding mutually agreeable times to Skype much easier.

p.s. To my friends and family in the Central Standard Time Zone, we'll only be 5 hours difference. Mom, what about you guys in the wacky Mountain Time Zone? You guys don't budge, right?

Friday, September 19, 2008

How to Make Friends

This video was made by Haley as part of a school-wide project. Each child chose a piece of their writing to read and record on their ibooks, then send to their parents via email. I've been watching the children at school practice these over the last couple weeks anticipating what Zoe and Haley would send home. Well done, Haley!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Plantar fasciitis

Last week we had our introduction to the Kiwi health care system. Haley had conjunctivitis and needed some eye drops and Zoe needed to be seen for a pain in her foot that she had been experiencing off and on. Getting appointments was easy and speedy and I really liked our Scot doctor who made a point of talking to each of the girls about their issues and not just talking to me about them, in front of the girls. It was $30NZD per appointment for each girl, and $10 for Haley's eye drops. Nice!

As for Zoe, turns out she has a case of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the fibrous tissue running along the sole of the foot, which has been causing her pain in the heel and top of her foot. Like to venture a guess as to what caused it? Remember awhile ago how we told you about the Kiwis and their inclination towards barefooted-ness? Turns out our little Zoe's soft American feet weren't up to the rigorous demands put upon them by this Kiwi kid habit. So, for now, much to her chagrin, it's ibuprofen and no more going barefoot at school.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flowers for Dad

My Dad is in the hospital at the moment. This is the second family member to have an emergent health episode in the sixth months since we've been here. I don't need to describe what that's like, I'm sure your imaginations can fill in the blanks.

My Dad loves to take pictures of nature. We used to tease him that our family photos were more of the pretty flowers than the pretty daughters. Since I can't be there, I took these pics of the flowers in our garden just for him. Love you, Dad. Get well soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Teef!

I couldn't decide which one of these pics of Haley's new, holier smile was the cutest so enjoy four.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I'm going to look past the fact that the weather completely sucks and has for the last four months and that everything is twice as expensive to buy and the pay is half as much as we're used to and get straight to kebabs.

Kebabs are not the shish-kebabs, the "kebab" is something completely unto itself. And it's pronounced "keh-BAB" which rhymes with "slab" or "stab." To pronounce it correctly, speak like you're from New Jersey and a little annoyed.

It's a little bit gyro, a little bit burrito, made right in front of you and squeezed full of up to six sauces of your choosing. There's a big rotating column of meat (lamb or chicken) and a specially designed meat shaving device that looks like big industrial hair clipper with the head on backwards that they use to shave it.

Strips of meat are put on a pita-like rounds that are thinner than pita bread and burrito-tortilla in size. Then, according to your tastes, one of six squeeze bottles is mobilized and a swirl of sauce the consistency of ketchup is squirted onto the meat. The sauces are most commonly: yogurt, watery hummus, tomato, mild chilli (note spelling of "chili",) hot chilli, and barbeque. Some places offer yogurt or garlic-yogurt. Some don't offer barbeque (which is somewhere between K.C. Masterpiece and hand lotion.)

Then, atop your heavily-sauced meats go shredded lettuce, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, parsley, shredded carrots, or shredded cheese.

The whole thing gets rolled up burrito-style inside aluminium foil (note spelling of "aluminum") and slipped into a paper sleeve. Some of them stick the rolled burrito---paper, foil and all---into a panini grill and give it a little toasting, but many don't.

This is a "kebab" and you can't swing a dead stoat in Wellington CBD without hitting one or two of these shops. I go to Kebab Queen which is down the road and under the bank building at the underground food court. Also down there is a place called Jimbom which also offers kebabs. Up the street is "Abrakebabra" (seriously) which has (in my humble opinion) the best kebabs in the area. Down the cross street is "Cuba Kebab" which offers the only beef meat pole in the area. There's another kebab place the other direction from Abrakebabra that's down Courtenay Place. And another farther up Cuba street called King Kebab.

And it's pretty much the same formula:

  1. Meat pole with meat of your choice.
  2. Meat shaved into strips and put on big round rollable bread.
  3. Up to six bottles of sauce squirted onto meat.
  4. Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions, parsley, cheese.
  5. Rolled up for your pleasure.
This is a "kebab." And DAMN they're tasty.