In which I finally announce the winner!

I was anxious. What if nobody entered my giveaway? I even felt uncomfortable trying to promote it on Facebook and Twitter. It was like having a party and wondering if anyone will show up.

“What giveaway?" Adam asked.

"Uh, the giveaway on my blog." I said sheepishly.

"I’m going to enter your giveaway. If I win, we can keep the money.” said Adam.

“OK,” I said.

I decided to worry about ethics and fine print if Adam actually won. But Adam missed the deadline, so he wasn't able to enter the giveaway. (Because I have rules and ethics.)

I was supposed to do the drawing for the giveaway on Sept. 12. In America, it was still Sept. 11. This was poor planning.

I read 9/11 memorial posts, and also stories about the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, cultural scapegoating, and the man-made and natural disasters of the last few years, and I was sad. I was consumed with a kind of cultural malaise. I needed to unplug from the Internet for a while. (Am I alone?)

So I postponed the drawing.

I am grateful for what I have. But on the anniversary of Sept. 11, I couldn’t help becoming depressed about the pointlessness of our human existence. Does this mean that the terrorists have won? Or that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have won? I just didn’t feel like doing a drawing for a giveaway. How could I celebrate anything? I am a bleeding heart liberal delicate flower.

(Yawn.) OK, eventually I finished wallowing. I found the will to stop procrastinating. And I needed to bury my 9/11 post.

Let’s get to the drawing! But, before we do. Uh, Anonymous commenter? (You know who you are.) I had to eliminate you as an entrant to the giveaway. I realize that my rules were a bit vague, but I also reserve the right to change and modify the rules if I want. And anonymous entries to the giveaway are not allowed. My apologies.

Whilst on the subject of rules and ethics, I am a bit concerned that my mother, my cousin, or my sister-in-law might win the giveaway. If one of them wins, will it look like nepotism?

(Spoiler: None of them win.)

And now the winner.

(Drum roll.)

Congratulations to Millie, one of the writers at the excellent Gusty Gourmet blog.*

Winner of the Wellington Road $40 Whitcoulls gift card.

I was so pleased a while ago to discover the Gusty Gourmet blog. Like me, Millie is a transplant to Wellington via Chicago. The Gusty Gourmet is a guide to Wellington’s food scene, with absolutely stunning photos and recounts of culinary adventures. Millie is a lovely person and gifted writer. I count myself lucky to be on her blogroll. Be advised that reading her blog on an empty stomach or when on a diet can be dangerous indeed.

And to everyone else who left congratulations and kind wishes, thank you. I really appreciate your support.

*Hopefully, I have counted properly, and Millie was commenter number 21. Don't tell me if I managed to mess this up somehow. Also, if I mention having another giveaway, just shoot me. (By this, I mean that I don't think I am cut out for marketing and promotions. Unless you want to pay me, or you want to sponsor a giveaway on my blog, and then I am awesome at it. Ahem.)


Spring has sprung. And a giveaway!


Flowers are beginning to bloom in my garden, and my blog is in blossom too. I am so excited to have 100 followers here on Wellington Road. You are clever, talented, amazing people, and I am grateful that you keep coming back for more of my neurotic whining and navel-gazing.

I started my journey on Wellington Road without a map. I just wanted to ramble on about whatever was on my mind. So my blog was about where I happened to be in my life. (Basically, I wanted a place to complain and whinge.)

Since I have been writing publicly on this blog, I have been reminded that a writer really wants to charm or entertain an audience—to try to make a difference in some small way.

You all have made a difference in my life. You have encouraged me, laughed with me, and inspired me. I really appreciate it.

I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway to say "thank you" and so I’m having a drawing for a NZ$40 Amazon gift card. (Or, if you live in New Zealand, and you prefer it—a $40 Whitcoulls gift card.)

"I wish I could give something to everyone," I said to Adam.

“Are you crazy?” Adam asked.

You need only to be a follower and leave a comment. One entry per person, please. Entries close Saturday at 6pm (NZST). I’ll put your comments in a random number generator and name the winner in a post that I will try very hard to write on Sunday.

Edited to add. There are no hoops to jump through. You don't need to suck up to me in the comments (but you can if you want to). The giveaway is open to all, local and international.


My love letter to trains.

My father has celebrated a birthday, and in New Zealand, it was Father’s Day. Guess who did not organize cards, gifts, or an outing? (Ahem.)

My plan was to write a post about my enduring love for trains. Instead, here is my silly love letter to trains:

My love letter to trains
How I love you, trains,
And the click clack of your wheels on the tracks.
I listen for your whistle at a crossing.

The hiss and puff of smoke from a steam engine,
From the fire in your belly.
Or the long, low whine of a diesel train.

How my heart races
When you cross a bridge.

How my ears go pop
When you enter
A tunnel through a mountain.

Whether your carriages are filled
With freight, or passengers,
You are going places,
Near and far, night and day.
Fast or slow.

Your carriages are all connected,
And when the engine pulls you,
You make a train.

You do the work of a thousand horses.

Only the switch of points
Sends you, or holds you back.

The little steam engine.

Cargo train heads south.

Parliamentary Express

Steam engine

Happy Birthday, Dad. And Happy Father’s Day, too. Thank you for sharing your love for trains with me.


Earthquake in New Zealand.

Early this morning, a 7.4 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand. I've received e-mails from people checking on us, so I thought I’d write a quick post to let you know that we are OK. Thank you so much for your concern.

We live in a small coastal village up the coast from Wellington (in the North Island). Wellington is over 200 miles from Christchurch. I slept through the earthquake, but Adam said he felt it at about 4:30 a.m.

Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand. So far, no fatalities and only a couple of major injuries have been reported. There was quite a bit of damage to some buildings. Some people are still without power or water. But all in all, our nation was very lucky.

Edited to add. Reports are now indicating that the Christchurch earthquake was a 7.0 or a 7.1. It was still a huge quake! It is nothing short of miraculous that there were so few major injuries. Adam also wants me to tell you that there are lots and lots of earthquakes in New Zealand. There are four or five fault lines in Wellington. Every year we feel a few earthquakes. One day it will be the Big One. We're double-checking our disaster supplies. More than a little relieved that it wasn't us--this time.