We are pretty much settled into the new house and it's feeling like home. The mornings and weekends are wonderfully quiet and we have gotten into our routines.

One of the great things about this house is that it's within walking distance to the only grocery store and the main shopping street. That means I can walk to my SeniorNet tutoring sessions, too. And since I have been walking, I feel better about myself and my abilities to get around. I had some thyroid problems a few years back and I still have some deteriorated muscle use in my legs that is gone forever, I think, even with some adjustments of my meds, and so I felt a bit trepiditious about walking too far. But, I am glad to say that it's working for me.

Interestingly enough, in my walking I have encountered Mrs. Numnuts--twice. She manages the local chain of the 'two and five dollar' stores and each time, she seems to be shocked as I walk past for some reason. Personally, I think it's karma (God) that she recognizes. For the record, I blame her by association for the atrocious treatment we got from her house. I don't know if she contributed to the abuse, but I certainly never saw her try to stop any of it.

Numnuts did give us another phrase to mean 'trailer park'. He would wear his hi-vis work vest in the yard garden when he worked or washed is car. And when two vests were on the clothes line, we would joke that he's probably naked and make appropriate noises. So, now, when we see someone acting crazy, Hubby will say, 'I bet he wears hi-vis in the garden!' and we get a good giggle.

I feel so much free-er here. I don't have the need to stay inside like I did at the other house. Hubby and Otterboy have been working quite hard in the garden to prepare it for flowers and veggies. If the rain stops this weekend, we can get some plants in the ground. I'm really excited! But just walking around looking at the empty flowerbeds feels really good.

Since tv here sucks sooooo very badly, Hubby very cleverly set up one of our computers so we can wheel it into the lounge to watch free movies on the internet when nothing is on. (That is a sentence I never thought I'd write!) I'm very impressed!

Things are looking up at work, too. Hubby put in an application for a job in another part of the country that he is very qualified for. I sure hope he gets it, as I am ready to move. I'm hopeful that any other school system would be better than Stratford for Otterboy and he's willing to move, too. Please say a little prayer for our success if you get a chance.

Otterboy asked if we could have a chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese icing (you can find my recipes by clicking the 'my recipes' tab at the top) as a celebration for our new house, and, of course, I had to comply!

So, we are moving on and enjoying our new place. I will definitely keep you posted when the garden gets growing.


Bet this wouldn't happen in the US

It's a holiday weekend so everybody has Monday off. Sunday was also the day that the All Blacks won the Rugby World Championship for the first time since 1987. And these people take their Rugby seriously.

So with all the celebrating and the weather being well into nice springy weather, there are more traffic cops around and, of course, more tickets being issued.

I can't imagine anybody ever being stopped for flashing their headlights as a warning of a police car waiting by the side of the road. I mean, it's an unspoken courtesy to those that might not be as vigilant as they should be with their speed. I've done it and seen it done for as long as I can remember--and that's a long time. Maybe the police don't like it, but illegal? Can't be, can it?

Well I'm here to tell you that it is. At least, in NZ, it is. Some snot-nosed kid that we figure has been out of the Police Academy for about three weeks stopped us for exactly that today. We only got a warning, but he wrote down Hubby's name and our license number in a little notebook.

According to this newspaper article in Otago from September, we aren't the only ones and the guy in the article wasn't so lucky.

It's a great Kiwi tradition, but a Taupo man who flashed his headlights to warn another driver of a speed camera was pulled over by police.

As police yesterday announced a big increase in speeding tickets last year, Paul Gamble was driving to work on State Highway 1 between Taupo and Tokoroa when he passed a mobile speed-camera van.

"It was hidden behind a bush on a downhill stretch of road so they're clearly after someone who is just going down the hill and speeding up a bit.''

Mr Gamble, 39, said he carried on for half a kilometre and saw a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.

"I thought, `He's travelling a little bit', and did the friendly thing and gave him a flash.''

A police vehicle was behind the car and its driver pulled Mr Gamble over.
"I can't remember the exact words; it was either inappropriate or excessive use of headlights,'' he said.

It is against the law - with a penalty of $150 - to flash dazzling, confusing or distracting vehicle lights, although police say the law is used sparingly.
Mr Gamble wasn't given a ticket for that but for having only one working headlight. But he says he was still stopped on the "premise of excessive headlight use''.

He said he flashed his lights only once and did so to slow people down _ which in theory was what the speed camera was set up to do.

 I know I've encountered many cultural differences that shouldn't be so different, but this is one that I can't ever see being repeated in the US. And I hope he dropped his little book in a mud puddle before he got home tonight.


Home, sweet home!

Hubby makes moving easy. He and Otterboy got all the furniture and big stuff done in record time and I am so happy and proud of them.

Apparently, this house hasn't been occupied in at least a month but somebody tried to grow a veggie garden somewhere along the way. After a long mowing session and quite a while with the weed-eater, Hubby brought in a huge handful of carrots! They were quite tasty and I thank the mysterious planter of carrots. There are also broccoli and cabbage plants that have gone to seed among other things that I don't recognize. Hay, I'm from Chicago. Give me a break. I'm learning about plants as I go.

The back of the property borders a small cemetery that I haven't visited yet. There are many years of grown of an ivy and a jasmine vine climbing the 30-foot trees that separate the properties. At our 'garden' house (almost 2 years ago) there was a brick planter on the back porch with some of the same jasmine. I loved seeing it and smelling it and was impressed that it was so hardy but seeing a whole wall of it is a bit intimidating.

Otterboy bought another TV for his playstation this weekend It's older but huge! Since our flatscreen needs an aerial and his older TV doesn't, we have traded him until we can get an aerial up. So he's playing playstation on our flatscreen  and we have rabbit ears on his in the living room lounge. It works for me since Hubby and Otterboy don't watch much tv and I usually have it on for noise. 

With the cable company spending lots of money on promoting the Rugby World Cup--did you even know that NZ is hosting it even now as I type?!--and not much else, we had decided months ago to forgo cable for a while. The movies that they bill as 'premier movies' are many that I watched for $1 before I moved 5 years ago! Occasionally, we get  a movie or series that is less than 5 years old but the series usually gets cut off without notice. Knight Rider and Charles in Charge are making the rounds again. Go on. Laugh. I'll wait ;). Sometimes I miss US tv, but it's a small price to pay for NZ and my new family.

So we are officially settled into our new house. I am so loving the peaceful weekends here. Apparently, our house is the only concern on the block for noisy neighbors. OK, it's a very small block with only 4 of the 7 houses actually facing our street,  but, still, I think we will be good for the neighborhood.



I just wanted to let you know that we are in the midst of moving. We are so excited as we will have a quiet neighborhood (so the future neighbors say) and we will be gardening again. That's something we really missed doing at this house.

It seems that the police told both Numnuts and us that we were both 'sorta right and sorta wrong'. I guess they don't take sides and leave things to work out--too much paperwork, otherwise.  The good news is that Mr Numnuts has been behaving quite well since the confrontation with the cops. His Jr Numnuts sons have been acting like 12-year-olds, leaving their cars running longer than necessary (with the stereos blasting, of course) and making silly noises at night on occasion. *roll eyes*

The other good news is that I'm sure they are not typical representation of the country. We just happened to find one of the few rednecks in town.

Hubby and Otterboy moved the outdoors stuff today. We have lots of flower pots and a few flowerbed boxes that Hubby made for me. They should have the rest of the furniture moved tomorrow (Friday) and the power should be on and we should be spending Friday night in our new digs! Yay!

More later.