Archive for December, 2006

Introducing, Harold


Don’t worry about him. He is okay, just a little stern sometimes, but inside he is a real softy.


It has snowed all afternoon and I am very happy, especially because it stuck around and buried everything under an inch of it’s white iciness. It also froze up all the premature blossoms and told them what winter was all about. Try being all pink and springy and frilly in that, huh. I felt a bit sorry for the squirrels. They didn’t like getting the snow on their feet and hopped about.



Harvard Yard



Frozen red, fire red, berries.

I’ve had a pretty great week actually, including a visit to the best museum ever, and a new obsession; but I’ll write about it later.




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An eventual & warm christmas

So that was that. Christmas is over for another year, and it came and went more eventfully (in a domestic sense) than usual. On christmas Eve we had dessert with our neighbours and their family and got an invite to Vermont! The next day it was just me and Mark in our little flat, doing Christmas things to the sounds of Beirut and The Crane Wife by The Decemberists, which were our new CD’s to each other and are already much loved, Trinity Roots, and intermittent tunes from Christmas FM.

The pavlova explosion was caused by inserting the dessert into the boiler drawer, which looks exactly as a warmer drawer might but is where the pilot light and the wall of flames are for heating the oven. After that the oven didn’t work, and the guy we called said we’d need a new one because there had obviously been a “shut-down”, and being in the land of the sue I was imagining we’d be liable or something and have to pay. Anyway I was all ready to argue my case, and was going to ask Bridie if she would defend me, via skype of something.

But that didn’t eventuate ’cause after three hours of thinking and waiting and wondering and deciding to have nasty pasta for dinner I got on the phone to my Dad and we fixed the oven and eventually ate Christmas dinner and it tasted so amazing because we were so glad to be finally eating at 8.oo at night, and not having pasta. So here it is, the first roast we ever cooked, complete with Cranberry Sauce. Actually, it doesn’t look that great in the picture. We were glad to be eating.


Today we went walkabout and saw some interesting things;

1. A tree covered in pink blossoms. The response to global warming at the Federal government level has been shameful here. As in non-existent, as in “ha ha ha Al Gore”. Which I guess makes sense for GW because he would hate to have to concede that his opposition in that infamous election might be right about something. At a state level there is more action… arg. Anyway that was weird, and freaky and made me feel like I was living in the bad future. Maybe it was the type of tree that blossoms in winter… (not sure who that doofus in the photo is…)


2. A hawk sitting on a branch ripping into a rat. I really enjoyed that sight. The hawk had such a nice round feathery head, and well I just liked it. I liked that we were in the middle of the city but I could still see a hawk.


There is still no sign of snow. Ironically I am reading a book called Snow, which I don’t have to say is good because it was the New York Times book of the Year, and the author won a Nobel Prize. I wish the snow would come. The bare trees and the grey sky would look so much better with snow falling.

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burninating all the puddings

I can hardly write about what just happened. I am still in grief. I made a beautiful pavlova. It was tall and just crunchy on the outside and really marshmallowy looking. Bloody perfect. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

So with that cooked and left to get crunchy in the warming drawer we got our chicken which has been thawing for twenty four hours and is some how still frozen. What the? How could it still be frozen? They said five hours a pound and this baby is little. So I pulled out the gruesome parts from his innards and then I smelt fire. I ran to the lounge to see if the candle we had lit was burninating the table cloth. It wasn’t. Looked at the onions cooking on the element for the stuffing, fine. Open the oven and huge flames erupt out. Out of our gas oven.

Holy crap the oven is on fire! the oven is on fire! Open the windows (just to fan it a bit more), keep the door shut. What the hell is on fire? There is nothing in there?! Where is the extinguisher, do we need to get it? Maybe it is burning through the floor? Visions of watching the apartment burn down while everyone is away. Or witnessing a gas explosion.

Check the warmer drawer, flames flames. The pavlova is on fire! Evidently the warmer drawer is not a warmer drawer. Crappy, crappy oven.

So here it is. Beautiful charcoal pudding. I guess we weren’t burned. The flames went out by themselves. Better get back to sorting out this freaking chicken.


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Tis the season…

Here we are at almost Christmas. We have a whole lot of food in the fridge, and even a small chicken that evidently lived its life in a castle, ate only organic food and generally had a Wonderful Life, and will grace our non-vegetarian table if we can work out how to cook it without drying it out in fear of food poisoning. Your supposed to wiggle the legs and see if they are kind of loose. I will not think of wiggling little babies legs when I do this. We have ginger wine (I gasped and grabbed when I saw Stone’s Ginger Wine in the alchomohol shop), we also have spicy apple cider, and whiskey to make ‘hot toddies’ which Mark thinks I have made up, but are of course a traditional apres ski, or a get rid of colds and go to sleep. We have another pavlova which we’ll share with our neighbours when we go to theirs for dessert.
It is warm here, fifteen degrees last time I checked. No snowy Christmas, for us!
But there are pretty lights, and buskers with Merry Christmas Songs, wreaths and bustling crowds. Our tree is decorated and we have candles and pine cones. We’ll go to Carols by Candlelight tomorrow because that gets you in the mood, and we also need a miracle so we can have our white christmas. I would settle for some icicles hanging from the trees even.

We had a christmas party in my english class, and I even got some little presents from some of the students. I had an almost job at the skate rink, but alas that has disappeared on account of not having enough time to process my details. That is okay though, I wasn’t so keen on the possibility of peeing in a cup to secure the position.

I’ve just finished eating a giant Fejoa that was like heaven and came (for a high price) from the Harvest Co-op Supermarket, which I almost like better than Trader Joe’s. It is a nice little one with a big bulk food section and the like. Ahh fejoa, green food of the gods. The skin got ate up as well, mmmmm.

We have our trip to New York almost sorted. Oh la la! I found a cheapish hotel near Time Square, and have plans to go see WICKED, the life and times of the wicked witch, which is based on a book I love. Wonderful! And then the skiing, which I am afraid might be hampered by the tropical weather. I haven’t go the tickets yet so I’ll have to take a check on that.

But before that, we have Christmas, and we are all decked out and ready for festivity. Happy holidays to you and yours – hope it is full of warmth, and people, and mountains of good food.

xox Sarah

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salt dough stars

I’ve been making stuff this weekend, happy holiday/Christmas/Hanukkah salt dough stars to give to people in my English class, and people at the craft group. Here are a few of them cooked and painted and dripping with varnish that makes your head spin, and your spelling worse.



I also made this snowman for us, that in real life isn’t so blurry. He is pretty cute! Still haven’t got around to that real Christmas tree… I am thinking I might just get a wreath that smells the same from Trader Joe’s. I got a whole lot more twiggy branches and I kind of like them, especially as the decorations increase.


On Saturday I ate my first proper USA waffle, dinner plate size with cream and fruit. It was good yup. I also noted that, as someone told me, it is not common to use both knife and fork while eating – instead you cut up all your food into bits with the knife and fork and then just use the fork to shovel. I wasn’t sure if I was being un-mannered, or posh mannered with my knife and fork use.

ANYWAY, The brunch was a pre-bazaar bizarre thing, with a group of woman who knew each other from university. The one woman I knew, who invited me along, didn’t show for an hour so it took me a while to figure out they were the people I was supposed to be eating with. They were really funny and it was a nice time complete with Martini’s. It did sort of make me miss that familiarity you can have with people you have known for a long time that you can’t replicate after a little bit of knowing someone. I really wanted to have gone to university with them all too, and to be able to talk about how good it was that Pippa’s mum was better, and “did you hear how big Stephanie’s babies head was” and exclaim “was the start of university really fifteen years ago!” and then laugh really, really, sincerely instead of with a twinge of conformity. It was great to hang out with some ladies though and it was easy to feel a part of them helped by little explanations on the side on who Pippa was.

So after our lovely lunch we went to the Bazaar Bizarre where lotsa people had made nice things, including a pretty pair of earrings that are like coral coloured roses, which are in my ears at the moment.
Yes it was a fun day.

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Ten days ’till christmas

It was donut day today here at the office of Mark and Sarah. I’ve decided to forgive dunkin’ Donuts for the nasty ‘french toast’ roll I had that was a rolled up bit of stale pastry with some sugar and cinnamon, because today my pink donut was pretty good. PRETTY, PRETTY, PRETTY, GOOD. Ahh Larry David, I didn’t like you to start with, but now I miss you since we watched your whole series. You will live on in our quotations.

I guess we should have a work party, seen as it is the season and just because we happen to be a work place of two people working on unrelated stuff shouldn’t stop us. Ice-skating sort of was the christmas party, but one of the workers (half of them) weren’t so keen on sliding around. It might have been the other worker’s nasty glee at the thought of them clinging to tthe sides and tyring to skate.

Anyway. I am not homesick, even though yesterday my post sounded pooh pooh. Which it didn’t sound when I wrote it, only when I read back, and after I got emails from my lovely Mum, and lovely Mum-in-law. Which will teach me for writing and day-dreaming when I should be working, not procrastinating, or reading websites about people making christmas decorations, or decking their halls, or listening to Lily Allen because I like her accent, even if her music would send you up the wall after a few listens.

Here is a cutie photo to make you go awww, or spew spew. Mark did it when we was just twenty years old, and not so hideously aged. Not that we are. That was said with flippance and drama. We have been hitched for nine-months. In the very old days I would be about to give birth. Yipee for the new days.


Of course, that is not what I was thinking.

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In the middle

New favourite music; tuwhare, “Poems by Hone Tuwhare set to music by recording artists from NZ/Aotearoa” extra special Te Kupu, Dallas Tamaira, and also Goldenhorse. A parting gift from Jeremy and Hannah, that I probably didn’t thank them enough for because I was a little strange the night before we left to fly here. How long ago was that? Four years, I mean months. How Freudian Mark would say, that I wrote years… Sometimes I day dream about New Zealand, it is romantic and always February. I imagine blackberries, and the hot smell of honeysuckle, and being all salty from swimming. Or I imagine being in the Ohinemuri river up to my neck in water, so it feels like you are right in the scene, just a head.

One night Mum and Dad took us on a walk at about 11 o’clock at night, through the gorge, down by the river. We had torches. We walked across the swing bridge in the dark and through the bush a bit and came to a big concrete wall, a part of an old mine machine. It was about five meters tall and really long and covered with green glow-worms, like a crowd of people holding glo-sticks. I am lucky. I have lists and lists of good things to remember, I could sit here for hours and remember the summer I visited Anakiwa and Nelson, or our trip in the South Island, or the millions of rides home from the coast, fishing, swimming, covered in sunscreen and salt. Hot and sleepy in the back of the car. I wonder what it is I will remember from this year?

Have you all forgotten me? I am still the same. I think. I have decided to quit teaching english, even though today was quite fun. Running out of thoughts on what to do, and I only have six months left here, I want to do something new. That rhymes. I think I might wait until I have my Phd properly drafted which I am trying really hard to do at the moment, but am caught up in Chapter eight which is gigantic and horrible. I read this in a book yesterday; “Now I saw, though too late, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it?” Then I’d like to get a job, one day a week, while I finish and write papers and things. Some place with friendly people. I still have a long list of things to do here as well. New York, the Blue Hills, skiing, the Isabella Stewart Museum, build a snowman…

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