A new low

This post will probably not be of interest to you and for that I apologize up front. I am simply posting this sad commentary on NZ culture for posterity. And mostly, just to get my frustrations out about it.

I really am a nice person. I try to see the good in people and situations.

I also am anal and very literal. If you tell me something is blue, I expect it to be blue. Period. And, when our Scout Committee was told that everything we do or write has to be sent through the Pompous One (see this post for explanation), I took that literally.

As I told you a while back, Hubby is building a playhouse to be raffled off to raise money for the Scouts. It is sitting in our driveway with only decorations remaining to be added.We are very proud of his work and I know whoever gets it will be pleased.

The Committee has been working on having tickets printed. Pompous One informed us that Uber Pompous One (PO's superior in the Scout food chain, and UPO for short) does printing and will see what she can so for us to help us out. Now, what comes to mind when you hear the words 'raffle tickets'? Isn't it the little stapled booklet where you fill out the stub and you get to keep the torn-off part with your number on it? That's what I think of.

OK. The following are the emails we received.

First one from PO:

"Hi All
email from UPO.
Hi there PO, do you guys wanted in colour. I can do it if its black and white with no cost to you guys, but if you wanted in colour I can do it, but it will cost you guys a colour cartridge for a 1000 copy

let me know

Let me know asap so I can respond.  Thanks PO" 
We, of course, thought it was a waste of money to do color, so at least 2 of us, answering to PO, voted for b & w. She sends us a 'sample' of Hubby's mock-up as three 'tickets' on a sheet of printer paper (It's called 'A4' in NZ). I thought it was weird, but because we didn't plan to be part of the next Committee who would be responsible, Hubby and I didn't comment.

Four days later, we get this email from UPO:
"Hi guys i need urgently for you guys to let me know,where your tickets are in black and white or colour. PO only have one respond apparently. Black and white I can print them either tomorrow or wednesday likely tomorrow if I get the go ahead if its black and white.
Do you get where the anal part kicks in? We told PO what we thought, but UPO, apparently,wanted to hear from all of us. So, silly, enabler that I am, I responded with:

 "I was expecting booklet-size tickets that would be easier to carry."
I swear that is all that I said. I can show you the email if you want.

And, now for the immediate, freaking rude Kiwi of the year response.
"Better tickets comes in booklet,but im not a mind reader to know what you guys after.I was asked if I knew of any one who could print it or suggest to you guys.I knew I could print in black and white without any cost to you guys.I can see,I am going to have an exchange email with an individual committee member and Im not going to have that.You guys should have had this kind of discus before looking for printing firm.I have printed booklets of ticket before for other scout group,I was after colour wise,because the colour of the ticket given was green.I want to make sure that,Im doing the right thing asking for confirmations.
PO sorry you guys have to find someone else to print your raffle ticket.Im too busy for this kind of communication.I have a commercial printer if any of you guys want to come and print it your self.


This is from the 'authority figure' our kids are suppose to look up to, to learn compassion and other adult things. She is speaking to volunteers that give time to the group--apparently, unlike PO and UPO who have Scouting as a hobby because they like the 'power'.  Is it just me that thinks she's being freaking stupid to tick off the person who is technically in possession of said castle? Sheesh!

And now you know why there will be no secretary present at any committee meetings until they appoint another sucker volunteer.

I truly do want to think that Kiwis are really much more courteous and caring than I do now, but it's not easy with unprovoked stuff like this.

There is still the hope that it's just Taranaki folk who give the whole country a bad image. I will keep you posted.



I was over at Stoneweaver reading her blog about the Kea and Moa that she encountered when I was reminded of another Moa (read more about Moas here). This one was pointed out by Chaddy, the captain of the boat, minutes before he married us out on the waters off New Plymouth.

If you look really closely, you can see him grazing on the cliff (not Chaddy, the moa). Or having a lie down.  Or maybe doing both.


3-D is not dead!!

We got a really cool blast from the past this week with the delivery of the Taranaki newspaper. It contained two pairs of 3-D glasses!

After trying to explain to the kiddos that 'way back when' some movies used to be in 3-D and you needed the 'special' glasses to see it properly, and after all the eye rolling and sideways glances, they dove into the paper and found it to be quite novel.

Being the cool kids they are, Missy and Otterboy agreed to pose for me in as 50's fashion as they could muster. (Hay, my mom told me about them! That's the only reason I know that! Yeah, right)


Quaint courthouse

This is the courthouse in Hawera. On 'court day' the doorway and open area are filled with people milling around and smoking.

The cage on the left is big enough for a van to drive into and lock for those transported from the jail.


Hubby's at it again...

This is a castle/playhouse that Hubby is building for the Scouts to raffle for Christmas. Don't you know any kid would be glad to have it to play in!! He does great work and we are very proud of him!
I will post another picture when the details are finished.


Manaia Bakery displays unmentionables

for breast cancer awareness

The window display at Yarrows' shop in Manaia looks more like a lingerie shop than a bakery.
It's Breast Cancer Action month and staff at the shop are hooking people in with their collection of bras, and it's growing by the day.
Three bras hanging in the window for the Think Pink display was how it all started at the beginning of the week but workers and customers alike seem to be flinging their feminine smalls at the shop.
"We even had one gentleman bring in his wife's bra. She had died of breast cancer," worker Shirley Smith said.
The number stands at 20 and the ladies are hoping to collect about 100.
They've decided that any not claimed back will be shipped to Samoa in a show of support for the tsunami victims.
And because so many have been donated by staff members the women might use them for a "guess whose" competition.
Even the lone male in the shop, Stuart Arbuckle, has been asked for his but it has not been forthcoming as yet, Shirley says, laughing.
They reckoned they even had a couple large enough to hold a cobb (large) loaf.
While they are having a laugh, breast cancer is an issue that has affected every one of the workers in some way.
Kaye Bird is one of the survivors working at the shop.
"She's part of the reason we're doing this," Michelle Koubaridis said.
"We all know someone who it has affected," Shirley added.
The brassiere collection has got everyone talking about the issue, which is what the staff wanted.
And it's not all about bras – there's pink icing galore and there are even biscuits (cookies) topped with marshmallow icing and a jaffa (orange and chocolate candy).
"You can use your imagination to work out what they are," said Michelle.
Money raised goes straight into the collection bucket, which is filling up nicely, Shirley says.
"We wanted to raise $1000 and we're more than halfway there."


Our N-scale world

I married a family that has a great interest in trains. Any kind of trains. All kinds of trains.

Hubby had built Otterboy an HO scale track a few years back that they both enjoyed. Earlier this year, we decided to build an N-scale track as a family project. Hubby and Otterboy did the basic designs and construction.

Missy and I worked on the scenery details.

It's almost finished. There is some electrical work to be done and a few more cars and engines to be purchased, but we are pretty pleased with it so far.


I have a confession...

When the kids are at their mom's....

and Hubby is at work....

I cook American food.

Just for me.

Because they don't 'appreciate' Southern cooking as much as I do.

Remember my excitement over finding Bin Inn? Well, with the pinto beans and the corn meal I got there, I make me a Southern feast of beans and cornbread. I top that with a big ol' fresh, raw onion (don't knock it, I take after my mom!) and, sometimes a side of spinach--which is the closest I can get to collards or mustard greens--and I am in hog heaven. Yum!

Now, I don't want to give you the impression that my new southern-hemisphere family doesn't like my American delacicies. To the contrary, they have been well trained and will eat anything that I serve them. They just don't have that 'relish' for my favorites.

Of course, their do have their favorites that I make for them American style--my meatloaf (if you can believe that!) is one. They adore home-made mac and cheese. And they love fried pork chops.

Pie is one of the few things they actually request me to make--no, not the sweet ones for dessert after dinner pudding. They love meat pies for dinner  tea. I guess the fact that I take the time to put hamburger  mince in a dish and add stuff--especially cheese (got to have cheeeeeeese)-- and bake it makes all the difference in the world to them!

But, alas, no matter how I try, I cannot reproduce the wonderful taste of American food made in the good ol' USA. Since the meat is grown more healthily here, it just doesn't have any real grease when you fry it. It's just water that is left in the pan. And that makes me sad because you know that means no 'real' fried eggs and bacon. But don't get me started on THAT!