Rerun 12/08

Remember the old, old, old western saloons where they served the young cowpokes "sasparilla"? [I bet that thought takes you back!] Well, I wanted to make the kids rootbeer floats, but there is no such thing as rootbeer in this strange little country that I live in. So we went to the supermarket chain that carries more imported items than the others and that's  where I found 'sarsaparilla'. I had always heard it was the same as rootbeer [even if it was spelled weird] and it worked quite nicely. The kids were impressed with yet another American delicacy. 

Paper dinner napkins are just not a part of the culture here. Some takeaway places have a stack of them on the counter that you can help yourself to but most don't even bother to offer them. I know that the first time I put them on the table, the kids asked 'what's this?' Now, it's a game at each meal to see who will be the last to put your napkin--sorry, it's called a serviette here-- on your lap!

Hubby's driving used to make me hold on for dear life--crossing the middle lines, especially around tight curves in the road--until I realized that there is rarely any traffic in the outlying areas. 

Tuis have the most melodious metallic sound when they sing. 
I love to listen to them and I am so glad they hang out close to the house.

Pukekos, on the other hand, sound like a strangling cat.

You can go anywhere, including restaurants, barefoot in NZ. Many children don't bother wearing shoes to school.

Morning glories are considered a noxious weed here because they spread so quickly. 

Long before I got to the age that I am, I quit thinking about running. I would tell people that I only run if the house is on fire and we would snicker. That was before I became supreme evil stepmom to pre-teens. I really didn't think my legs were capable of running--what with the muscle tone loss from my thyroid problem and being a bit on the 'fluffy' side--but, I do actually run! I don't run a lot, and it's not for long distances, but I actually run after soccer balls and cricket balls and chasing ducks away from the pond. I guess it's true that you should 'never say never'.

I had very little occasion to look at new stoves in Kansas, but I did notice that they were selling 'convection ovens' that had a fan in them. That seemed pretty uptown to me, since it didn't understand why one would want a fan in your oven. In this strange country, it seems those 'cookers' are the norm. It's not as bizarre as I had imagined since the only real difference is that you can cook at about 10 degrees C less if you use the fan. 

Most of the towns that we have visited have huge memorials to the veterans of all the wars that Kiwis fought in. That's pretty cool. Many towns also have a park named 'King Edward's Park.'

I put a poll on a forum I visit about whether or not others thought their fellowmen were polite or rude. From the votes and comments, I have come to the conclusion that Americans are by far friendlier than most Europeans. Thus, it seems that it is my duty to civilized the country of New Zealand--or at least raise the stepkids to be friendlier and more mannerly than the norm seems to be here.

Apparently, the whole 'outgoing' and giving American persona is a totally foreign concept, because the little old ladies who run the 'op shops' [charity shops] are genuinely surprised when we buy a little something and tell them to keep the change. I'm talking shock and stammering. Real shock. How sad that is.

And for those keeping track of the ducklings, we have had 65 babies in 10 broods this year. But it looks like the parade is coming to an end.  And, when it does, it will be for good because we are going to net the pond.  The first spring was cute with one brood, the second spring was also cute with two broods, but this is just a bit overwhelming!!

We will be concentrating on the poor fishies that have put up with the ducks.  There are some that are as long as hubby's size 13 feet! More on them later.

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