Saturday, November 22, 2008

Only because you asked for it ...

Devoted readers Elizabeth and Jen demanded a baby belly photo. So here you go. 17 weeks down, 23 (give or take) to go.

It actually doesn't look like much in this photo, but I'm feeling rather large and in charge. When I wear baggy clothes it just looks like I've been hitting the buffet line a little too hard, but I think it actually looks like there is some bona fide baby belly action in this particular shirt. So that's good.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend and our devoted American readers are looking forward to a happy holiday week. We are supposed to be hosting an American Thanksgiving this weekend and I'm not sure what we've gotten ourselves into as we still have not secured a turkey. (Turkey = rather rare and pricey in NZ.) But have no fear, we will persevere, as we always do.

Addendum: A belated Kia Ora, Y'all! welcome to the world to Noam Kaplan Thrift, who was born on Saturday, and an even more belated welcome to Isham Elliot Koons, who is already well over a month old! Athens, Georgia has suddenly become a whole lot cuter!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Here is a picture of Owen, as we know and love him. As my devoted readers know, he is terrified of cameras so pretty much every picture we have of him is 1) from far away, when he is not paying attention; 2) him looking frightened and miserable; or 3) his butt, as he runs in the other direction. As it turns out, however, he will pose happily for photos on Chris's iPhone.

This is a small victory.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some more stuff you won't see in the U.S. The culinary version.

1) Cheese rolls. I'm told these are more of a regional South Island thing (and more specifically, an Otago/Southland thing) than a NZ thing. White bread, cheese, and french onion soup mix rolled up into little pinwheels and grilled or baked until the bread is toasty and cheese/soup mix combo gets all gooey. What's not to love?

2) Beets. Kiwis LOVE beets. Except they call it beetroot. And then they put it on all of your sandwiches. And it makes your bread turn pink. I was picking it off of a sandwich the other day and a friend commented, "Americans aren't into beetroot, huh?" I confirmed this was correct. She responded, "But you still put it on burgers, right?"

3) Lemonade. Order this in a restaurant and they will bring you Sprite, 7-up, or a similar fizzy lemon-lime beverage. If you want lemon juice with water and sugar, you'd probably better make it yourself.

4) Pavlova. I've mentioned this before, but no list of Kiwi culinary quirks would be complete without it. It's a meringue desert, usually topped with fruit. It's good.

Whenever a Kiwi talks to me about pavlova (which happens more than you would think) they always make a big point to note that it originated in New Zealand, and that Australians have merely stolen the idea and claimed it as their own and are a bunch of damned liars. It appears to be a sensitive issue.

5) Sweet chili sauce. You don't really need to worry about this. Just avoid it at all costs.

6) Marmite. You don't really need to worry about this. Just avoid it at all costs.

7) Vegemite. In fairness, I haven't actually tried this, but after my Marmite experience I am avoiding it at all costs. My more adventurous readers can probably find it in the larger North American grocery stores if anyone wants to give it a go and report back. Go ahead. I dare you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stuff that makes you happy.

For weeks, Chris has been telling me about this funny dog he sees riding around town in a delivery truck, and I thought it was a cute story, but whatever. And then yesterday he said he saw the dog wearing dog goggles ("doggles," I believe they are called) and I was like, hmm, that's funny.

And then today he finally got a picture, and now I get it. Hysterical.

A big Kia Ora, Y'all Happy Birthday to my favorite cutie sister-in-law, Lisa, and my favorite cutie IP lawyer, Elizabeth, who are both celebrating on Friday! Have a good one!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Your Kiwi civics lesson for the day.

With all of the hoopla surrounding a certain U.S. election this week, my devoted North American readers may not realize that New Zealand is having its own major election today. Prime Minister Helen Clark -- in office since 1999 -- is defending her seat against National Party candidate John Key. (By the polls, things aren't looking so hot for Helen. Appears voters everywhere are feeling antsy, these days ...)

Because NZ gives voting rights to permanent residents, Chris and I were out rocking the vote, as demonstrated the blurry photo of my little voting sticker. (The freaky little crash test dummy-looking guy on the sticker is the NZ Election mascot. He's freaky even in sharp focus.)

And so I give you my list of things I've found interesting about the NZ voting process:

1) Everyone must register to vote in NZ. You don't actually have to vote, but you are required to register.

2) In NZ, you can show up to any polling location in your district, so I got to choose between about three or four places all within walking distance. Voting took all of two minutes. No one asked to see ID.

3) There are a bazillion little parties here. Labour and National are the big two -- the Democrats and Republicans, if you will -- and because I am new to all of this they're the only ones I worried about. But should you be inclined to get behind a "Legalise Cannabis Party" or a "New World Order Party," they've got you covered.

4) When voting in NZ, there are no touch-screen machines or levers to pull. They literally handed me a paper ballot and an orange magic marker. I suppose this is possible when you have a population of only four million, but it still brought me back to the days of voting for a student government president in high school.

On another civics note, I am glad to report that it appears The Wee One qualifies for triple citizenship -- U.S. (from me), Canadian (from Chris), and Kiwi (because s/he is going to be born here). Fun, huh?