Lost and found

Yesterday we took the Playcentre kids for a ride on the train. We went south two stops to a little track by a gully. It was delightful.

On the return, I was watching the child and his mate play-scuffle with his backpack. Then in the scurry of getting off the train, we forgot the child’s backpack.

Another mum suggested that the backpack would be with lost items up the line. We couldn’t find a number in the phone book, so we drove up the line to enquire. The clerk said, no, they don’t keep lost items, they go back down the line to Wellington. And she said that we needed to call Toll NZ, but she couldn’t give us the phone number. It’s in the book, she said.

We returned the library books, bought petrol, and then we returned home to ring Toll NZ. Toll NZ said, you need to talk to metlink. But she gave us the wrong phone number.

We went to the internet, and behold, the exact number that we needed.

We rang and we spoke with a lovely Scottish gentleman. He told us, through a thick brogue, that he had heard about the backpack, and even though it isn’t the usual policy, the backpack should be waiting for us at our home station.

And it was. With all of its contents.

New Zealand. Often layers of bureaucracy to wade through. But many happy endings.


200 posts from my mother

I usually don't like it when blogs blog about other blogs.

I reckon, if the blog is in your blogroll, then it's a blog you like.

But I must give a shout out to my mother, who has written over two hundred posts. She started her blog while she was here in New Zealand, continued to blog in Texas, and now she blogs from Florida.

Check out her amazing photos and funny quips at From AA to NZ.

My mother


Vaccinating is a good idea.

I read this story about immunisation in New Zealand. We aren't very good at immunising our children.

When the child was six weeks old, New Zealand rolled out its Menigococcal B vaccinations. We felt like guinea pigs, but we did the four rounds of the vaccine. We felt the risks in the vaccine were outweighed by the risks of contracting the disease, which is epidemic in New Zealand.

Whooping cough (pertussis) is also epidemic in New Zealand. One case of whooping cough was confirmed at our playcentre, and it resulted in hospitalization.

When I was pregnant, I found out my MMR vaccine had worn off. After the child had his vaccinations, I got the MMR vaccine, just in case. It wasn’t very much fun, and I have even more sympathy than I did back when the child got his vaccines. (We were VERY liberal with the Pamol.)

Anyway, my point is vaccinations are recommended because meningitus, whooping cough, and the measles are serious diseases. Please make sure your child is immunised.


Mexican burgers.

New Zealand's grass-fed beef is among the world’s best. And safest. As a lapsed vegetarian, I say, yum.

Lately I love this “Mexican” twist on my old favourite.

Mexican burgers400g premium lean mince
½ onion, finely diced
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chilli sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
Colby, cheddar or edam cheese slices (optional)
1 tbsp oil

Combine mince with all other ingredients, except oil. Divide into 4 equal portions. Flatten into burger patties.

Prepare selection of salad ingredients, eg lettuce, tomato, pickles.

Toast or grill hamburger buns.

Lightly oil and heat a barbeque plate. Cook burgers until cooked through (these days I don’t like mine as rare as I used to), about 4-5 minutes on each side. In the last minute, if using, melt Colby cheese on top of patties.

Assemble buns and salad ingredients. A quality mayonnaise hits the spot.

Serve with homemade oven fries and fresh fruit salad for dessert.

Much better than it looks in this photo


That 25 things list

If you’re on Facebook, no doubt you’ve seen that 25 things list that’s going around. You’re supposed to write a note with 25 random things about you. I’ve been tagged, so here’s my go:

  1. I met my husband, Adam, at my roommate’s wedding. She married his brother, who was also living with us. So my roommate is my sister-in-law. And our kids are cousins.
  2. After I met Adam, I didn’t want him to visit me in San Francisco. I was happy with my life and I had a feeling that everything would change if he came to visit. Everything did change (but for the better).
  3. When I was five, my kindergarten teacher told me not to write with my left hand. She was mean. I was probably meant to be left-handed. She also told me to take the scissors out of my mouth. That was probably good advice.
  4. When I was a kid, I didn’t like carbonated fizzy drinks like Coke or Sprite. I still don’t really like them.
  5. I don’t like lollies either. Adam and my son love them. I'm a chocolate girl.
  6. My son’s curls remind me of my brother’s when he was little.
  7. I don’t have any tattoos. I like them on other people, but I’m too chicken to get one myself.
  8. When I was five, I wanted to grow up and be a cashier at Kroger (the local supermarket). At the time, it seemed like a powerful position. When I was ten, I wanted to be an international lawyer. I had lots of penpals and I dreamed of going travelling and making the world a better place.
  9. In the 90s, after the usual waitress-temp training wheels, I made good money working in marketing communications and multimedia. It was a golden age. The pay was high and the expectations were low.
  10. And I paid off all the credit card debt that I had accrued during college (thanks, Citibank). Now I don’t believe in using credit cards. We save up to buy things, the old-fashioned way.
  11. I want to publish a novel. I have two first drafts, and I’ve started working on a third.
  12. I love going to the library and the book store. I feel at loose ends if I’m not reading a book. Usually I’m reading a few at once.
  13. I love the toy house that my parents bought for my son. It’s a Pintoy one. I’m always asking him if we can play with it. And sometimes I play with it by myself.
  14. When I was a little girl, I loved my Barbies. I had the Dream House and the swimming pool and so many clothes. I loved to create elaborate plots and I would control their lives play with them for hours.
  15. I still sometimes wear my nose-ring. I don’t wear all black any more though. These days I like to dress like a hippie chick bohemian.
  16. If I could, I would wear pajamas all the time. My husband calls me Pajama Girl.
  17. I don’t like the same music that I liked when I was younger. Now I like mainstream divas like Brit Brit and Beyonce. I've always liked Madonna though.
  18. I hardly ever play the piano or the violin. But when I do, it makes me very happy.
  19. I was afraid to drive in New Zealand. For the first two or three years I lived here, I walked or I took the train. I couldn’t remember which side of the road I was supposed to be on, and the roundabouts and the give way rule? So confusing.
  20. I love walking and hiking and tramping. I don’t like biking. My son is a keen biker. So I think I will have to learn to like it.
  21. I love popcorn. One of my earliest memories is hearing my parents making popcorn (after I was supposed to be asleep). Oh, and I love pizza. And burritos and tacos. And chips (French fries). And curries and laksa. OK, I live to eat. My husband is an amazing cook.
  22. Since my son is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and sesame seeds (yes, we’re one of those families), we make a lot of our own food. We can’t buy pre-packaged convenience stuff or get many take-aways. At first it was really difficult, but reading all those labels when I was a vegetarian has served me well. And my son can have soya, almonds and potatoes now, which makes life MUCH easier.
  23. I never learned how to put on make-up. So I don’t wear it. But I love having it done professionally.
  24. I don’t like crowds or large groups. I want to listen to what everyone is saying, and I get frustrated if everyone is talking at once. But I love to talk and have everyone listen to me.
  25. The first time I got drunk was with Peach Schnapps. Just the thought of a fuzzy navel sickens me to this day.