23 May 2008

Kete Konai

Here is the first kete konai that I made. It is a two-corner kete, which means it is more like an envelope than a flat-bottomed purse. It was lots of fun to make, and I learned a lot about what to do next time to make it better. Once it's dried I can dye it. I am supposed to give my first of anything I make away as a gift, so I already have some folks in mind.

Also, my walls aren't actually that pink. They are more of a salmon color, and while that may sound really atrocious, it actually isn't that bad.

20 May 2008


A few weeks ago Makereta texted me to ask if I wanted to take the weaving class that she teaches at the local community college. For an eight week course, it is only $45. She had taught me to weave a flower from New Zealand flax when we went together to Waikouaiti a few months ago, and then her mother made me a terrific woven handbag while we were on the north island. I had been thinking that it would be cool to take a weaving class, so I was eager to tell her that I would definitely take the class and definitely give her a ride!

So far I have only made flowers. Tonight we will be making a little purse. Soon I will learn to make other basic things including baskets and vases. Eventually I would love to be able to make a purse like Vilia made for me. Here are some photos:I've been putting the flowers on the window sill. What are those brown things, you ask? Well, Eric brings home buckeyes for me sometimes, and I never quite know what to do with them. So, there they are. When babies come over, they try to eat the buckeyes. When grownups come over, they say, "You know, those aren't the kind you can roast and eat." And then we have to explain that we had no intention of eating them, it's just that Eric was a Buckeye Baby. But this post is about weaving, not about buckeyes, so stop distracting me with your incessant questions about the buckeyes.

Those are some close-ups of the flowers so you can see them a bit better. Once they are dried, I will dye them.

This is the WAY awesome bag that Vilia made me. As you can see, it is very intricate. The flax strips are quite narrow, which made it possible to do such a detailed pattern. Of course, it also means that a lot more work was involved in making it. New Zealand flax is a very sturdy plant, which is why the Maoris used it to make so many day-to-day necessities like baskets and roofs. I am crazy about this bag because it is the perfect size to be my seminary bag. The handles are woven into the top, so I don't have to worry about them popping out, and it's just such a funky and beautiful bag! Plus, I assured Vilia that I would use the bag and not just let it be a decoration for my home.

New Zealand flax is different than other types of flax. There are a variety of types of plants, but essentially they look like the picture below. It grows abundantly here, which is the reason the Maoris began using it in their weaving. Historically, weaving, or raranga (pronounced with rolled Rs and with each A sounding like the A in father) was only done by older people within the tribes who had spent ages learning the different patterns. There was even a sort of initiation for people to become the tribal weavers. But, within the last several years the Maoris recognized that the skill was dying in the culture because it had been so long reserved for only a few people. Because of that, the skill has been revitalised (Do you like the British spelling? It's because I live in New Zealand!) among the younger generations. As I make more cool things, I'll be sure to take and post photos.

18 May 2008

Earliest Memories

My friend, Allison, told me last week that her niece has a staph infection in her leg. That triggered quite a few memories for me because when I was almost three I had a staph infection in my knee, and I was in the hospital for 25 days! I recently posted about how I ought to write more about memories, so here are a few things I remember very well from my nearly-month-long stay in the hospital and a few other related events.

I recall very distinctly waking up for several mornings and telling my mom that my knee hurt. She would give me a Baby Tylenol, and I thought that was really great. Those things tasted quite good to me, but I want to make it noted that I didn't say my knee hurt just so I could have a tasty chewable drug. My knee actually did hurt.

I don't remember going to the doctor or arriving at the hospital, but I do have quite a few memories of being in the hospital. You might not expect it, but most of those memories are rather positive.

Since my parents couldn't be with me all the time, people from the ward came to stay with me. They pretty much always brought toys for me. Somebody brought me a plush mallard duck. It had a stick in the bottom that controlled the head so you could turn the head side to side, and you could tuck its head into its back like a really mallard duck! Then, all the kids in the hospital received white versions of the same duck I had, and of course, I thought it was great that I'd now have TWO cool ducks. But you know what? They (whoever "they" were) decided since I already had one, I didn't need a second! And I felt really gypped that I didn't get a white one.

I also got a plush panda bear, which I named "Michelle." I still hold a special place in my heart for that bear. I also have a vague recollection of getting some bath toys.

I pretty much always had IVs in me, and I got really accustomed to hearing the beeps of the machines, particularly when I was in a room with lots of other kids. Once we were taken to another room to watch Ghostbusters, and some kid started pressing all his buttons on his IV machine. I thought to myself that he was not supposed to do that (I must have learned early in my stay that touching the buttons was NOT allowed, and if I touched them nurses would have to come and fix what I had messed up and they might have to stick me again!). My dad says that when a machine would go off, I would look up and proclaim proudly, "It's not mine!"

I was quite a small child, so sometimes the nurses had a hard time getting the IVs in my veins properly. And sometimes they would fall out when I moved. I remember not ever wanting to get shots but also getting used to it. My mom told me that I could scream as loud as I wanted, but I wasn't allowed to move. I wonder if, by the end of my stay, I had toned down my screaming at all.

I was in the hospital during Halloween that year. Instead of going trick-or-treating, people came dressed up to us. Somebody came in an alligator costume, I recall. Like, a full-out mascot-style alligator costume. I happened to be holding a box of raisins when he (she?) walked in the room, and I jumped off my bed, spilling all the raisins, to go give that alligator a hug and a kiss. I think my siblings came to visit me that night, too.

I remember my mom giving me baths in the sink.

I remember getting new roommates. And I remember that my favorite one and I would toss nerf balls back and forth into each other's beds. It was great fun! And one day he or she had to leave.

One time I got taken to a big room to play with tons of other kids. But I couldn't walk yet. And I remember playing with a ball until it rolled away, then sitting there with nothing to do because I couldn't walk to the other toys.

And best of all, I remember all the people coming in and telling me how cute I was because, well, I was pretty dang cute. I guess it made me less cute, then, that I got really annoyed with all the heaped praise about my cuteness, so I started sticking my tongue out at anybody who told me I was cute.

16 May 2008

Seasonal Changes

I dyed my hair today, just for kicks and giggles. Here are the before and after shots. The after shot is not really great, and that is because Eric is not here to take a photo of me, so I had to do it myself, and I really didn't feel like going outside where it is sunny, so I had to use the flash, so I look a little washed out. (Are you annoyed with the length of that sentence? I am. But I do not intend to fix it.)


AFTER: (Trust me, it's darker in real life.)

15 May 2008


Today the weather is absurdly wonderful, so I am meeting Eric in 45 minutes to go for a walk in the gardens.

I never mentioned that I joined the local pool. Well, I did. And it's great.

Last night we watched Napoleon Dynomite for the first time in a long time. It was great. I forgot how funny that movie is, and how much I love it if only for the fact that it pokes so much fun at Idaho. Eric rented (yes, rented, not checked out) two other movies from the library, so we will have to watch them soon too.

My first week of teaching seminary was good. I will get better at it, and hopefully the kids will be more interactive as we go along. I am hoping to do more game-playing, especially of Scripture Mastery games. If anyone has suggestions for getting the kids to not stare blankly at me (or at the floor) when I ask a question, that'd be great. Or if you have suggestions for fun Scripture Mastery games, feel free to fill me in.

The smell in my apartment is still lingering. It's gradually going away. It doesn't help matters, though, that last night I burned barley very badly. I should make a rule for myself never to close the kitchen door while I'm cooking because I tend to think I've the food has more time to cook than it does, and thus, the burning (more like severe scorching) two dishes in one week.

I am dying to see the new Batman movie. Dying, I tell you. Have you seen the previews? It looks amazing. Also, I'm excited about Ironman, but only because everybody says it's so good, and I'm excited about the new Indiana Jones movie. Unfortunately, New Zealand doesn't have dollar theaters. Fortunately, there is a theater nearby that sells cards that will give you a discounted rate on movie tickets, and we're pretty sure we're going to buy a couple of those.

12 May 2008

Seriously Bad Karma

I found this recipe for butternut squash risotto not too long ago, and we've had it twice. Today made the third time. Only, well, I may have let it burn really badly. Too badly to even bother trying to eat it.

And now our flat reeks. Worse than burnt popcorn. Worse than everything.

Then something came to my mind about boiling vinegar, so I am doing that right now. And yet, the only thing I can smell now is vinegar. Very strongly.

I really don't know which is worse.

11 May 2008

Bad Karma?

I got a new calling yesterday. It was utterly unexpected. What is it? I will give you three hints:

  1. It is a five-day-a-week calling.
  2. It involves the youth.
  3. It is early in the morning.
Oh, you've got it now? Yes, I'll be a seminary teacher. The seminary teacher, in fact. And despite the early mornings (which I dread) I am really excited. We are studying the Old Testament this year, so it will be a great opportunity for me to learn more about it. I studied the Old Testament my freshman year of high school, and my teacher had various health issues that year, so I don't remember much of what I learned.

And besides, seminary here is at 7 a.m. Not 6 like it was where I grew up. Piece of cake. Oh, wait? You're saying I can't just show up in my pajamas like I did in high school? I have lessons to prepare? Oh. Well, in that case we'll just see how it goes, won't we.

07 May 2008

Another trip

I went to Australia again this past weekend. Here is the rundown of my exhausting trip:

On Friday morning I flew from Dunedin to Christchurch. I spent about an hour in the Christchurch airport, then I flew to Melbourne where I was met by Alan (our business partner) and Anthea (his wife). We drove about two hours to Inverloch, where the conference was being held. We spent that evening setting up their booth, which I shared with them and then talking to conference attendees. I was exhausted by the time I got there, so I was extra exhausted by the time I went over to the Lehmann's house. I stayed with the Lehmann's, and they were exceptionally nice! Just a lovely older couple. They were so lovely and friendly that they insisted I have a snack before bed. I did have a snack, but I was so tired, all I could think about was climbing into bed!

On Saturday I was at the conference all day. Alan shared with me about 10 minutes of his speaking time so that I could tell the audience about the company and the Australia/New Zealand product we are launching soon. Then more booth-sitting and talking with folks. That night we went to dinner, and then I went back to the Lehmann's where I watched "footy," or Australian Rules Football with Mr. Lehmann. WHAT A COOL SPORT! Seriously, I really enjoyed it! Thoroughly entertaining. Although, it did make me a little hungry for some BYU football, and it reminded me that I am going to miss a whole season! Oh, the horror!

On Sunday morning Alan and Anthea picked me up and we started the drive to the Melbourne airport. We swung by Phillip Island, which is a beautiful little touristy spot, but we didn't do anything there or spend any time there. I arrived at the airport at about 1 p.m., and then boarded my flight at 5:30. That was a lot of sitting.

I arrived in Christchurch at midnight. This was my second time to go through customs in Christchurch, and I submit that it must be one of the worst airports as far as customs are concerned. Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland have all been substantially faster! It took an hour to clear customs, then I caught a shuttle and arrived at my hotel at 1:30 a.m.. The cab picked me up at 6 a.m., and I arrived in Dunedin at 8.

What's that? I spent more time travelling than I did at the conference? Right you are. Right you are.

"You're so lucky to have been to Australia," you say. Sure. I guess you're right. Just keep in mind I still haven't seen much in my two visits across the creek.