Thursday, December 25, 2008

For family and friends back home

Thinking of all of you today, and missing you greatly!

Missing the concept of a snowy Christmas (but not really missing the snow).

Missing gorgeous Arizona Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


B and I ran off to Whatipu beach for the afternoon awhile back.
I don't have much to say about it, but I thought you might like
to see the pictures.

(Gratuitous animal photo.)

This picture was taken at an overlook of the
Manukau harbour and the Tasman Sea.
Whatipu is the beach just beyond the hill on the right.

Note the lack of footprints.

We saw 4 other people on the beach.

Whatipu is a 45 minute drive from Auckland.

Looking back toward the overlook described above.

Suddenly, it rained.
We went against the posted warning
and took shelter under an unstable cliff.
Thankfully no rocks crushed us.
Suddenly, the sun came out.
Typical Auckland weather.

All of the west coast beaches are gorgeous,
but Whatipu is my favorite (so far).

In fact, I think we'll spend Christmas eve
exploring the caves at Whatipu!
Beats last minute shopping!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Summer Holidays 2008

When I say "Summer Holidays 2008" you are expecting to hear about my 4th of July, my 24th of July, and my labor day weekend, perhaps? Well, those were Winter Holidays 2008 for me. No, I'm talking about Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years Day, the Day after New Years day, which is also a holiday here, and P's summer School Break!

I didn't really explain this before, but Kiwi's aren't very enthusiastic about Halloween, and our harvest festivals (like Thanksgiving) all happen in the fall (March/April). With no Halloween or Thanksgiving merchandising to get in the way, retailers feel free to start stocking and hocking Christmas paraphernalia in mid October. Thus, having already survived 2 months of Christmas decorations and music, I'm looking forward to celebrating Christmas and moving on to the lesser known (to me) holidays. Boxing Day - what is this all about? Second day of the new year - just one more day to recover from New Year's Eve? I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, those of you getting snowed in, drink some hot cider by the fire for us! We will think of you while drinking iced tea on the beach. We hope you enjoy your winter holidays and we look forward to your visit in 2009!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Pak-N-Save Adventures

If you want to buy cheap plastic crap in NZ you go to The Warehouse, as Wallmart hasn't made it here yet. If you want to go to Costco you are out of luck. But you can go to Pack-N-Save where they don't bag your groceries, letting you bag them yourself using their leftover cardboard boxes (or bags you bring with you). But even if you bring your own bags, and even if you have a broken hand they will not bag/box your groceries for you and you must go to the designated packing area and do it yourself.

I believe the strategy behind this is that we, the consumers, are saving money because Pack-N-Save is cheaper since it has lower labor costs without baggers. Also, by not having bags, they are saving the sea turtles and maybe the rest of the planet too. In reality Pack-N-Save is not really any cheaper, but I love it for another reason- The Meat Department! All sorts of weird and wonderful here! Imports from Australia:
A small kangaroo steak will cost you $16NZ. Crocodile is more expensive at $59NZ for something that looked like a roast.
Bones. A popular enough item that it gets it's own space next to the sausages, rack of lamb and rump roasts.

But my favorite, favorite, favorite is this:
Need a close up of the sign?
I always thought offal was the stuff that got turned into pet food. But it is clearly on the human side of the meat department:
Pet food here comes in tubes like Jimmy Dean sausage. If the offal is edible I am at a loss as to what goes into the pet food.