Citizens of my homeland, I being this post discussing politics. I know you all are insanely immersed in political B.S., satire, nightmares and confusion. So, I want to brighten your day by informing you that the US of A is not the only country drowning in political scandals and election rhetoric. In this country I now reside, New Zealand which I envisioned as a utopia of sorts nine months ago, has both scandal and election in its midst. With the national election on the horizon (in November, coincidentally enough) it seems a fellow named Winston Peters, who has been in parliament here for 20+ years, has supposedly been taking money meant for his party funds and putting it in his own bank account (or something like that). Well, the media is all over it and parliament hearings have been held and revisited, yet he continues to deny the allegations profusely despite the mounting evidence. Still, Peters remains in office. Sound familiar? So, it seems New Zealand has political scandal of its own, and if it were calculated out per capita, New Zealand may even have MORE scandal than the USA! Well, maybe not (I am not about to do that math) but the point is that the USA is not alone, which was somewhat heartening for me, a proud-but-lately-ashamed-American-Patriot, to realize.
Onto more personal matters. Spring is showing its head here with lovely, LOVELY, days. As I’ve heard many Wellingtonians say, ‘You just can’t beat Wellington on a nice day’. I have to agree. It can be a cracker! (they use this phrase here on the weather reports to describe good weather ahead). As with spring anywhere, any glimpse of summer brings a vision of winter. But Spring is coming and I can feel it! Day light savings even past already! It’s light til 8pm. Sweet as! Todd and I escaped Wellington on a beautiful weekend a couple of weeks ago to Taupo, a town on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake, formed when a volcano exploded years ago. About a 5 hour drive north from here, it’s in the middle of the North Island. Todd was in a 12 hour mountain bike race with others from GNS (his work place). In a team of 5, they rotated laps around an 8km loop. Started at 10:30am, went to 10:30pm. Pretty fun for him. For me? I drank vodka and grapefruit juice all day, walked mango through some amazing bush, and took photos. Not bad. The next day, Todd, Mango and I tramped a beautiful 12km path around the lake with crisp views of the volcanoes. We all loved it, especially our exhausted puppy dog! More cool volcano and weekend photos here: http://flickr.com/photos/23078002@N04/sets/72157607662444397/
(ADEMDOM: Todd now has a broken rib, inflicted while mountain biking. Not in this race but last week while on a night ride through some rugged bush. Apparently he fell off a 2 meter drop and jammed his handle bars into his ribs. The bruise/cuts look terrible. His wincing is awful. But, he’s heeling up ok. I my mind, it was only a matter of time before he came limping home with a mountain bike injury… let’s hope nothing worse is ahead.)
Ok, I’ll close with something practical (for lack of a better word, but I am going with the ‘P’ theme here). I have started gardening. Me, who has never had, but always wanted, a garden, am now gardening! We have a small plot – a good thing – which I am dabbling in. I like to call it ‘testing the coloration of my thumb’. I began weeding the nightmare plot. Although painful on my back, this was the mindless, easy part. Then, after tilling, composting, and bedding the soil, I planted veggies: lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and snow peas. I also started some seeds inside our house (which are just starting to sprout!) because its too early to plant there outside: tomatoes, capsicums (kiwi for peppers), zucchini, basil, and coriander (kiwi for cilantro). I have to say my garden looks much better now , but we’ll see if anything actually grows to produce edible food! I’m so anxious I check it everyday. Already something is munching on my spinach! The only thing that is really doing well (besides the rampant peas). We think its snails/slugs. So, I set a trap for them tonight based on a tip from fellow Wellington gardeners: I buried cups in the soil up to the rim and filled them with beer. Yes, beer! Apparently, snails/slugs are attracted to beer, climb in and drown. I cannot bear to poison them, but somehow drowning in beer seems ok to me. Maybe they’ll be too drunk to notice? I’ll let you know if this NZ folklore works…