Tsunami warning!

This morning, after the big quake in Samoa, NZ woke up to tsunami warnings.

On TVNZ’s Breakfast, the Civil Defence spokesperson was asked what we should do.

“Er, I guess you need to turn on your radios and be ready to evacuate," the poor guy stammered. If you are going to be a spokesperson, please have a way with words.

I live a block away from the beach. A tsunami is possible in my area. My phone book even has a helpful section about what to do if one lives “in a zone at risk":

Is that a tsunami? Quick, run for higher ground!

Some people in the village have told me they are worried about what to do in a tsunami. Ironically, these same people are not prepared for an earthquake.

An earthquake is extremely likely in the village. Since, you know, we live on a FAULT LINE. A tsunami is just a little more likely than, say, a snowstorm in Miami.

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I made the mistake of posting a status update about the tsunami on Facebook:

The tsunami is unlikely to affect my area. I'm still ready to evacuate. Because I'm neurotic.
Most of the comments that I received were variations of “Thinking of you” and “Keep safe”. I am concerned that my friends on Facebook don’t “get” my sense of humour.

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As usual, the tsunami in NZ turned out to be Much Ado About Nothing. The first wave to hit NZ was measured at about 40 cm (15 inches).

Bracing for the tsunami on the front deck at Wellington Road.

Edited to add: You can help the victims of the earthquake/tsunami in Samoa by making a donation to the NZ Red Cross.


The child refuses to nap. At least it means an early bed time.

I was born in the 70s. For those of you too young to remember, just imagine Women’s Lib and Dr. Spock.

When I was growing up, my mother often said I wasn't getting enough sleep:
  1. You're grumpy! You haven’t been getting enough sleep.

  2. You're sick! Not enough sleep.

  3. You and your friend painted my bedroom dresser? With nail polish? Definitely not enough sleep.

Not getting enough sleep caused all of my problems.

When my brother and I were little, naps were mandatory. I was never tired. I didn’t want to stop playing with my Barbies. But my mother forced us to go to our rooms and have a lie down. She was so mean!

If we didn’t lie down quietly in our own beds, my mother made us lie down WITH HER in her bed. If this happened, I absolutely refused to go to sleep. I was very STUBBORN (or so I have been told). I lay in my parents’ bed until my mother finally got up, and then I got up too.

My brother was not so lucky. He tried very hard not to fall asleep, but he always failed. And the poor kid didn’t wake up for HOURS.

Now I am a parent, and I am determined to Do Things Differently. I don’t force the child, age 4, to lie down for Quiet Time. He is allowed to play quietly in his room.

But sometimes I feel a nap would be beneficial. And if I lie down with the child, sometimes he will go to sleep.

Most of the time, however, the child refuses to go to sleep. He is so mean! He wiggles and fidgets and wanders off to go get something, or go for a poop, or get a drink of water, until I finally give up, and QUIET TIME IS OVER.

Then I am cross, and I feel out of sorts for the rest of the afternoon.

So I finally get it. When I was little, those naps were not (necessarily) for me. And now that I can't stay up past 9:30, I understand why my parents put me to bed so early.

Parenting is such karmic payback. It’s a beyotch.


NZ PM John Key on Letterman. Awesome.

You have got to check out this video of PM John Key's performance on Letterman. Key is such a tool. Behold.

As much as I'd like to punch Key in the mouth, this time I have to pat him on the back. Well done.


I’m not getting any alone time.

At Playcentre, the child is all about playing with his friends. Playcentre is where play dates get arranged. And I can drop him off and get some alone time.

It is horrible when illness prevents us from going to Playcentre.

This week, due to a very minor illness, we stayed home alone for two days. I was going out of my mind.

Lately, when I am playing with the child (and his Transformers), I get bored distracted so easily.

I want to tidy up, or have a cup of coffee, or play on the computer work on my assessments.

If I try to do something else, the child orders me to PLAY!

I feel like a TV. The child wants me to entertain him. ALL DAY.

A friend said I just need to give the child five minutes. Then I will get an hour of alone time.

But if I give the child five minutes, he wants another hour.

I must be doing it wrong.


My assessments are due. I'd rather be working on my novel.

To get government funding for our Playcentre, the parents running the sessions need to take early education courses. The courses are not difficult, but you need to attend some workshops, and for the higher levels, do quite a lot of written assessments.

This is (one reason) why parents send their kids to kindy (Kiwi for preschool). No one wants to get a degree in early education to be a volunteer.

I was supposed to finish my coursework (*ahem*) two school terms ago. But I was worried that people would think I was a tall poppy.

And with just one child, I began to feel I had made enough of a contribution to Playcentre. No other parents have finished their coursework either.

But with a parent leaving our Playcentre earlier than we planned, we need another parent with a higher course level. Right now.

And it seems that I’m the only one who has a chance in hell of finishing. I attended all the workshops a long time ago, but I have stalled on the written assessments.

So now it’s on. A big rush to finish my next course level before the next school term. Instead of the fine writing you have come to expect here at Wellington Road, I am writing on topics like:

Consider the “Possible Indicators” from the Pathways to Bicultural Assessment Practice diagram (reproduced in your manual from p7 of Kei Tua o te Pae Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars. Book Three Bicultural assessment he aromatawai ahurea rua). Use these to comment briefly on how well your own centre practices bicultural assessment.

The pressure of the deadline is so motivating. He haw.


My husband hates eating out. At least he's a good cook.

We live in the boonies (American for rural area). There aren’t many options for eating out, or for takeaways (Kiwi for take-out).

Besides, making our own food (from scratch) is almost as easy as buying packaged, processed foods. Especially if my husband is doing the cooking. It is definitely cheaper.

And since I’m a control freak, I like to know what exactly is in my food. If I don’t know what an ingredient on the label is (more or less), then I probably won’t buy it. I like whole foods.

It helps to have a few time-saving kitchen appliances. Obviously, the microwave and the toaster. Here are my other must-haves:
  1. The jug (Kiwi for electric kettle)
    The electric kettle is CRITICAL to our daily operations at Wellington Road (eg, for the coffee plunger). I might have mentioned it before. Can't. Live. Without. It.

  2. The slow cooker
    And I love my slow cooker. You can throw dinner in it and forget about it. It's a good thing.

  3. The sandwich maker
    For toasties (Kiwi for grilled cheese sandwiches). A cast-iron skillet is nice, but the sandwich maker doesn’t require such close monitoring.

  4. The blender
    To puree soups. Or make hummus or pesto or smoothies. I really like the food processor too.

  5. The juicer
    I could probably live without the juicer. But with an organic fruit and veggie shop in the village, why would I want to?


Twitter-bleeping and my Facebook friends.

Yesterday, I got all excited. I thought Danny DeVito was following me on Twitter.

But (of course) he wasn't. It was a fake. So I sent the fake this tweet. Because that’s, like, so mean.

Both accounts might be fakes. But one is COPYING from the other. And (as you know) copying is Wrong.

I tried to let other people know about the fake. But the fake had gone viral. People were following the fake like sheep. So I gave up.

I didn’t want to be THAT GIRL, sending a million tweets about the fake. But I felt sad. Because people create fake Twitter accounts. And because people are as dumb as sheep.

The other day, a (sort of) famous blogger asked me to be his friend on Facebook. He has over 600 friends. I'm a fan, but I only have made one or two comments on his blog. I don’t think he knows me from a bar of soap.

I have nothing against promoting yourself on Facebook. But I have this rule:
I have to know my friends on Facebook IRL (in real life).
Of course, I don't really know my friends on Facebook (people from high school and people from work). Does anyone else have this dumb Facebook rule?


Today is Father's Day in NZ.

Crap. I'm late for the international mail (again).

Hmmm, perhaps, finding cards in the shops isn't the problem.

Oh, well. Happy Father's Day.

Me: Isn't Opa a handsome bloke (Kiwi for guy)? Child: Opa looks kind of funny.


Inglorious bastards.

Last night on Rove, Quentin Tarantino was promoting his new film, Inglourious Basterds (or however he spells it).

For those of you not in NZ or Australia, Rove is a hot, young, Australian talk show host. And lately, when Rove has American guests on the programme (Kiwi for program), I just cringe.

For example, 15 years ago, I thought Quentin Tarantino was cool. He was eccentric, but (of course) I was still a fan.

On Rove, Tarantino came off like a prat (Kiwi for self-righteous asshat).

To start with, I was annoyed when Rove asked if there had been trouble (in the media) about using the word bastards.

It’s the TV presenters that love saying bastards, Tarantino said, pointing at Rove. He went on:
On a morning programme in England, they told me I couldn’t say the title of the movie. And then they asked me, why did you spell it that way? And I said, it just takes the piss out of them. And they said, you can’t say that either!
I guess it’s a funny story. But to me, Tarantino seemed gleefully childish. He wasn't sufficiently humble. It’s like he has a sense of entitlement.

They talked about saying bastards in an American accent, compared to an English accent. Tarantino agreed that it sounds better in an English accent.

But he was using some Aussie words, like mucking about, taking the piss and no worries, and of course, Rove called him on it.

Do you want to be an Australian? Rove said.

No, I just have a lot of Ozzie friends, Tarantino said defensively.

Even though Tarantino was being a prick, Rove was still charming. What’s wrong with being Australian? he joked.

I said Ozzie, not Aussie. Tarantino said, emphasizing his American accent.

Then Tarantino said, I try not to use Ozzie words, but I say mate all the time, and when I’m in Australia, people make fun of me because they think I’m trying to kiss their ass.

Kees their oss? Rove asked.

No, kiss their ass! Tarantino said in his broadest American accent.

And I'm sorry, he has an ugly accent.

Husband: So you’re becoming a Kiwi. Now you see what the rest of the world has been putting up with.

Me: But I use Kiwi words sometimes. Does that make me an asshat?

Husband: (silence)

Me: At least I’m a self-aware asshat.

Note: I have paraphrased what Tarantino said. You can see it for yourself on Rove.

Edited to add. Maybe a genius like Quentin Tarantino is allowed a bit of bluster. Check out this great post, with links to other interviews with Mr Tarantino.


Suede loafers.

The child still didn't want these suede loafers from Pumpkin Patch. But I made him get them anyway.

Excuse me, do you have these in my size?


A very happy birthday to my dad, who likes trains just as much as I do.

Husband: I looked in here, and you were playing with the train set, ALL BY YOURSELF.

Me: Er, the engines really needed a Fat Controller.


Curtains flashback.

Rob brings up an interesting point in the comments of my last post:

What is it with Kiwis and neutral colours? Our house was all cream and beige when we bought it. Apart from the 1970s cream, yellow, green and brown curtains!

It's true. All over Wellington, there are these exact same curtains from the 70s. I know, because I have looked at A LOT of rentals. And a lot of homes up for sale. I am nosy picky.

At our last flat, I almost convinced myself these curtains said South Pacific. Behold.

Groovy! Cream, yellow, green, and brown. Can you dig it?

But I was distracted. With a baby this cute, I soon forgot all about the curtains.