30 June 2008

I'm Just a Nargle from Invercargill

Eric's grandpa sings lots of songs and knows lots of poems. Every morning Grandma L. asks Grandpa, "What's the song today?" and then he proceeds to sing to her yet another song he knows. One of my personal favorites is this one:

'Twas an evening in October, I'll confess I wasn't sober,
I was carrying home a load with manly pride,
When my feet began to stutter and I fell into the gutter,
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
Then I lay there in the gutter and my heart was all a-flutter,
Till a lady, passing by, did chance to say:
"You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses."
Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.
We are also big fans of "I'm Just a Jerkey from Albuquerque." In fact, that one will get into our heads for long periods of time. Sometimes we like to change the words to match the city we are in. Like Invercargill. And nothing really rhymes with that, but thank heavens for J.K. Rowling.

I was asked to go down with the other family history consultant from our branch to teach the Invercargill branch about the New Family Search. (Aren't you jealous that I have access to it? Oh, you don't even know what the old one is? Never mind.) So, we went down with Andrew and Mary, plus their baby Samuel.

We took the scenic route back, which was really nice. We stopped at McLean Falls, located in the Southern Rainforest for a quick walk.

Eric took the first photo. Be impressed. It's a great photo. Check out all those crazy trees and plants. This is a good photo for you to see my beautiful face. Also the foliage and how non-American it is. The second is of the falls. They were quite full as it has been rather rainy lately.

26 June 2008

My Dunedin

Got this from Janssen, who got it from somebody named Janet.

Dunedin, New Zealand

Age: 23

Occupation: Genealogist

I've lived here for: Four months and 12 days, so I'm certainly no expert.

I live here because: Eric got into a one-year grad program, and why not move to New Zealand for a year?

My neighborhood: Roslyn.

My favorite restaurant: Anything Asian, really.

If you go to this restaurant, be sure to order: Something spicy and flavorful. It's all yummy.

My favorite museum: Sadly, I haven't been to any museums yet. But I hear the Otago Museum is pretty awesome, and they have a raranga exhibit going on that I want to go check out.

My favorite tourist destination: Beaches, I think. Not for swimming, just for walking on.

Best insider spot: I really don't know. I'm not what you would call an "insider."

My favorite area: Downtown.

Best place to go shopping: There are no good places for shopping in New Zealand. You do not come here to shop. But, downtown I guess. Actually, no trademe is the best. It's New Zealand's eBay.

When you visit, don’t forget to pack: Fleece. It's cold, even in summer.

But leave room in your suitcase for: Paua shells and Maori art.

The one local cuisine you should try when you’re in town is: Fish and Chips.

The best way to get around: On your feet. Everything is close, and petrol is about $6 (US) per gallon. (So quite your belly-aching, folks that are paying a mere $4.50!)

If I had to describe this city in one word, it would be: Ideal. Nothing is too far away.

I tell my friends to stay at: On my cozy couch-bed. Actually, maybe it isn't cozy. I've never slept on it as I have an actual bed.

The one thing most outsiders don’t know about this city is: that it exists. And, despite it being in New Zealand, it's quite cold. New Zealand is a temperate climate (like England), not tropical (like Fiji).

They say “Virginia is for lovers.” So fill in the blank: Dunedin is for drunk rugby fans. Or anyone else.

Janssen's addition: What do you want to do that you haven't done in your city yet? Go climb Baldwin Street (the steepest street in the world), go to the Olveston Museum, go to the Cadbury Factory, and climb Mount Cargill.

For the best guide to Dunedin check out this site.

24 June 2008

Not so bad after all

It is a really, really cold day today. I left the house this morning, started the car and was waiting for it to warm up and melt the ice on the windshield when it just kind of fizzled and stopped working. I tried to restart it a couple of times, but it just wouldn't restart. So I came back inside and called the students to cancel seminary for this morning.

I thought about going back to bed but decided just to work on things instead. A good decision because check out this sunrise I would have slept right through.

Definitely worth an early start.

21 June 2008

Winter Solstice

It's June 21, which means today was the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. Eric and I went on a nice walk up Fraser's Gully and then back down again. We went to the center of town to check out Dunedin's Mid-Winter Celebration. There was a Scottish folk band playing, and they were great. There were lots of vendors selling various foods that we wanted to buy. But we restrained ourselves with promises of dinner at home.

We got home at 6, giving us 25 minutes to get dinner on the table so we could watch the city's fireworks while we ate. It was great! The fireworks show was nice. Being able to watch it in the warmth of the living room was even nicer.

I love that the days will be getting longer now. So far the winter hasn't been too bad. We've hardly used our heater at all in the last two weeks. Of course, we wear a lot of layers, and we spend a lot of time at Makereta and Matthew's place. I am no longer dreading the rest of winter! It can only get better from here on out!

20 June 2008


Eric was able to successfully mask the butchering job I did to his hair, with my help, of course.

I'm still not going to help him cut his hair any more.

I love hot chocolate. Thanks for sending it, Mum!

19 June 2008

Hot Chocolate

We go through this every six weeks. Eric needs a haircut. I tell him to go spend $12 because I am not doing it. Instead he borrows Matthew's hair cutting kit. And then he proceeds to whine until I cut his hair. Today I flatly refused to help him. And he did it by himself. Except he needed me to finish up the edges in the back. Which I was okay with, because I can do that.

I did a little fixing up here and there. And then sent him on his merry way to the shower. But he came back to me saying that something was wrong. "This is too long right here and here. Use this shortest one and fix it," he said. "I don't know what you're talking about," I said. "Just use this one here and here." So, I did. But only on the first "here." Because as soon as I did it, I realized it was way not the one I should be using, and now he has a nearly-balled spot on his neck.

The thing is, it is very nerve-wracking for me to cut his hair. It never looks good when I cut it. And I hate doing it. And YET! He has gotten me to cut his hair countless times. But, no more. I will not do it anymore. He looks like an nerd, and I have to be married to the guy who very clearly cuts his own hair.

It's so worth the $12 it would cost for him to get a trained person to do it.

And this is where my title comes into play. Eric's mum sent us a care package with lots and lots and lots of hot chocolate. And frankly, the hot chocolate is the only remedy for the stress I feel right now!

17 June 2008

Correspondence de mi Cuerpo

Dear Skin,


Kindest regards,


In Response:

Dear Ego,

Because I hate you. Here, have another. May I suggest investing in some concealer?

Ambivalently yours,


12 June 2008

More Raranga

I said before that when I wove new things I would take photos and share them. On Wednesday night I made a Kono. It is a four-courner basket. It was surprisingling easy for me to do this one. I only needed Makereta to show me one thing, and that was how to bring the sides up because it is quite different than making a kete. Other than that, I figured out myself how to split the top to cast off (which I had tried to do rather unsuccessfully just a week prior). You may not be able to tell, but splitting strips at the top makes for a much more delicate cast off.

I'm excited to try to make one shallow and broad so we can have a fruit basket.

The Finished Product

We have finished making our own version of Suvive! Here are a few photos of the final product:

Here is a photo of the board. Check out that sea serpent! Pretty cool, huh?

This next photo was taken in the middle of a game. As you can see most of the sand has been removed, and there are a lot of swimmers!

And this is the photo that we will need to put on the box. See how much fun we're having? Don't you need your own version of the game?

11 June 2008


Remember yesterday when I mentioned that people ask us if we know how to play Dice? And we tell them that we brought dice to them? Well, here is a conversation I had today in seminary:

Me: Remember, tomorrow is Scripture Mastery game day! So prepare! For the games and the candy!
Zak: We should play the dice game.
Isaac: No, stupid, we can't play that. It's Haki's game. She doesn't have it.
Me: Do you mean Liar's Dice? Because you know how to play that game because of me! We brought it here and taught it to Haki. Haki taught it to you because of us.
Zak: So you have it?
Me: Yes, of course I do.

I'm so glad this game has spread like wildfire.

10 June 2008

Family Project

Remember last November when it was Blog Every Day Month (or something) and I blogged about some of our favorite family games? Do you remember? Or did you skim over those because you do not care about our games? Well, hmph. Anyway, we brought a lot of our favorite games with us to New Zealand, and some of them have become quite popular. For instance, a few people have asked us, "Do you guys know how to play Liar's Dice?" To which we have responded, "Are you kidding? You know how to play the dice game BECAUSE of us!"

Anyway, we somehow got it into our heads that it would be fun to introduce Survive! Of course, the problem was that we don't have it, and Parker Brothers hasn't made it for years. The only family members that own it are Eric's parents and that is because Bry and Bri found it on eBay (I think) and gave it to them. "No problem," Eric thought. "We'll just make it."

Yes, we will make the board, 16 sand hexes, 16 jungle hexes, 8 rock hexes, 14 boats, 40 men with points underneath, 5 whales, 5 sea monsters and 6 sharks.

And then we set to work. We are now almost finished, and we are really absurdly pleased with ourselves and how everything is turning out.

Eric worked really hard to create the board. He traced the hexes that he printed and had laminated, first with pencil, then with a Sharpie.
Then he painted it blue and created the islands in the corners.

I used Make'n'Bake clay and a steak knife to create the shark fins, whale tales and sea serpent heads. I'm ridiculously proud of those sea serpents. Look at them! They are scary and green.

The cheapest part of the game were the metal washers and and garage sale stickers that will be considered men.

Eric has made some boats, and soon we will cut the excess off the board so we can have the hexes on cardboard rather than just laminated paper. I'll post a picture when it's all complete.

Of course, it is worth noting that it is actually costing us more to put the game together than it would to have just bought a version off eBay. But, think of the quality time! And the fun we've had!

09 June 2008

Thoughts Preoccupied with High School and Frozen Chicken

Since we've moved here, I've been having quite a few dreams where I have to go back to high school. I've already finished my degree at BYU, but for whatever reason (really, it's a dream, so does it need a reason?) I have to go back to high school.

Just for a little background, I hated high school. I was just not happy in high school. And when teachers would say, "You'll miss high school when you start college," I would always think to myself how certain I was they were wrong. One teacher told me, "Sherry, the other kids will miss high school. You will not miss high school." And that's how it was. I loved college. I didn't like high school.

So, in my dreams, a few things have happened. One time Eric and I were engaged, and we'd been engaged for about three years. I kept him hanging on because, well, I couldn't get married before I had graduated from high school! And then we were in high school and all the girls hated me because I was taking Eric to prom, and I was trying to show them how silly they were because he was my fiance, and they didn't even know him.

In another recent dream my high school contacted me to tell me that they made a mistake and I hadn't taken all the classes I needed to, which meant I technically hadn't graduated. This was very stressing to me, and I tried to convince them that the classes I hadn't taken should be waived because I took similar classes in college that I did rather well in. But the high school counselor would have none of it. In my dream, I distinctly recall thinking, "Well, I know two people who are very intelligent but did not graduate from high school. Both graduated from college, but because they didn't want to take pointless classes in high school, they forewent the diploma." But, I just couldn't bear for people to know that I hadn't graduated from high school But at the same time, it was dawning on me that some of the people who I attended high school with were now teaching at the school, and I might have to take a class from one of those dumb kids that I could hardly stand. See the dilemma? It was quite a problem.

Last night, in my dream, I needed to do my math homework. In this case the math homework actually involved me writing down definitions in addition to solving problems. But there was a problem- my mom was reading my math book. And she wouldn't let me have it because she said I could just use my other math book. And the problem with that was that my math book was a package of frozen chicken.

Okay, the real problem with these dreams is that they wake me up. And I am generally rather stressed out by them. Not only the dreams about high school, but pretty much all my dreams. The thing is, I like my life to make sense, and dreams generally don't make sense. I don't want to dream about high school. I don't want to dream about the apocalypse. And I'm sick of dreaming that I have to go back to work at the grocery store where I worked in high school but I keep forgetting to go in and pick up my schedule and consequently never show up to work at all.

Then I wake up. And I'm so stressed out! And the cycle begins. "Oh, good. Just a dream. That was dumb. I wonder if it's almost time to wake up? Hm. Nope, it's not; it's still quite dark outside. That means you should be asleep! Aaaaah! Go to sleep! See, you are awake instead of asleep and now you are going to sleep through seminary! AND you are going to hate life and the world tomorrow. This is bad. So calm down and go to sleep. But I can't calm down because I'm awake and I'm supposed to be asleep and that is stressing me out!"

Every. Single. Night. It's making me crazy.

Any suggestions?

Any crazy dreams?

04 June 2008

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

It's a classic combo. But, everyone knows that canned tomato soup is awful stuff. Rubbish, really. Even if you do make it with milk, it is still barely palatable. It reminds me quite a bit of diluted ketchup. So don't eat it. Just stop eating it from here on out, okay?

Instead, make the soup like this:

Tomato Soup
2 small onions
2 garlic cloves
Bacon (you can decide the quantity based on your own budget and cravings for bacon)
3 cans of diced tomatoes
3 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup grated cheese (Mozzarella is best, but most anything will do, really.)
1/3 cup of cream (Milk is a fair substitute. Cream cheese can work, but it tends to be a bit clumpy.)

Saute the onions, garlic and chopped bacon in butter until the onions are clear. It will smell so good that you will want to sit down and eat it. Refrain from doing that. Add the cans of tomato and the tomato puree. Then add the chicken broth. Add about a teaspoon of sugar to cut the acidity of the canned tomatoes. Heat through to a low boil. Add the cheese gradually and stir it in. If you add it all at once, it will be clumpy and will not melt properly. Then add the cream. If you are using cream cheese, you will need to try to smash the clumps so that it will become a little bit creamy. Even if it remains a bit clumpy, it still tastes great. Season with oregano, basil, salt and pepper according to your own tastes.

It is so yummy you will want to die. You can also put barley in the soup to make it a bit heartier. Of course, you are free to omit the bacon, but it really enhance the overall flavor of the soup.

And maybe you will want to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich to go with this delectable tomato soup. Fortunately for you I can tell you how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Ingredients: (Yes, I am telling you the ingredients for a sandwich!)
Sliced cheese (I am a personal fan of the processed individual slices. I know they are not real cheese, but they just melt better than slices of regular cheese.)
Sliced tomato
Sliced red onion
Sliced banana peppers(Sliced dill pickle can also work, but banana peppers are the best.)

First butter the bread, not the pan. This is best accomplished with soft butter or some other type of spread. Unfortunately, even if we leave our butter out in our kitchen here, it is too cold in the kitchen for the butter to ever get soft. It's an unfortunate fact. Place the bread in the pan (on medium-low heat) butter side UP! This way you warm up the bread and melt the butter. Then flip the bread over, and place the slices of cheese on the bread. It is best if you have some way to cover the bread as it will help the cheese to melt better. Once the cheese starts to melt, place the sliced tomatoes, onions and banana peppers on, and put the sandwich together. Leave the sandwich on the heat for a while longer, flipping it occasionally. The cheese will get even meltier, the veggies will warm up, and your sandwich will become delightful.

Do not try to do this on high heat. You will burn your bread, and then you will be sad. And I will not take responsibility for your tears.

Really, best way to eat a grilled cheese sandwich. I find sandwiches without tomatoes and onions utterly boring and rather un-tasty. I can't wait to have kids and raise them on proper grilled cheese sandwiches!

03 June 2008

Indiana Jones and a few other things

You know, while it takes forty years to load the photos onto my other post that will probably post after this one, I may as well write a genuine post. With words. And thoughts. The question is, what shall the topic be? I have many things I've been meaning to blog about as well as some recent things that have come to mind:
  • Indiana Jones and the something or Other, which we saw this weekend.
  • Labyrinth, which, let's be honest. I don't know if I can bring myself to think back on the horrors of this film enough to create a coherent post about how terrible it is and how I don't care if it is a cult classic, it never should have been, and no, you should never watch it, and you should not let your children watch it, and ohmygoshitwasjustthatbad!
  • My recently discovered/created tomato soup recipe.
  • The perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Seminary and my teaching tactics.
  • My theories on where babies should be born (hospitals) and why. And why when that time comes there will be drugs. And needles. Large needles in my spine, thank you.
  • What I've been personally gaining from studying the Old Testament.
Anyone with a preference for my next topic may feel free to comment.

I guess I will start out with the first bullet and write about Indiana Jones and the Kindgom of the Crystal Skull. While I was at the conference on Saturday, Eric went out and bought tickets for us to see the new Indy movie. I have seen the others. We owned the third one when I was a kid, so I've seen that one lots of times. I've seen the first and second a couple of times, but I have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to movies, so seeing a movie a couple of times is like never having seen it at all.

And I feel like now is a good time for a tangent:The last time I saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was with a large group of people, most of whom were strangers. Of course, there were some people I knew- Janssen and Bart. Anyway, we went over to Bart's apartment with all these folks to watch it on a projector screen, and when it got to the scene in Nepal (or is it Tibet?) a girl said, "Are they speaking Jewish?" At which point I wanted to scream! Are you kidding me? Seriously? FIRST of all, they are in Nepal, so nobody is Jewish, at least not a bunch of average Joes in a bar. Second, the language is Hebrew. Wow. End tangent.

Anyway, the point is that although I enjoy the films, I am in no way a die-hard fan.

Second tangent: When I was a kid, I taught myself to swing by closing my eyes, pumping my legs, and singing the Indiana Jones themesong. I was quite certain that the song was the reason for my ability to swing higher. I didn't realize that I could achieve the same height without singing the song. Even now when I get on swings I feel the need to hum the tune. End tangent.

Overall, we liked the movie. It was entertaining. The scripting was good. The acting was good. The map was good. The plot- eh. Extraordinarily far-fetched, which is a given to some extent. But this one was so far-fetched that at the end I found myself wondering exactly why it was they were going to get the artifact and what the artifact had to do with the communists. Also, the communists aren't nearly as frightening as the Nazis. If you want a better review, check out an actual movie critic or Ange.

The BEST part about seeing the movie is that when we went to go take our seats and we handed the employee our tickets she said, "Oh. Cinema 5. There was a problem with that cinema, and we've had to cancel all the shows there until it gets fixed. Let me call my manager for you." And the manager came and asked us if we wanted to see the next showing, which was about 40 minutes later, but wasn't a big deal since we really wanted to see the movie and Eric had gone to the trouble of buying the tickets earlier that day. As we were walking to get our new tickets, Eric muttered to me, "Should I see if we can get some concessions comped?" To which I replied in the affirmative. And then, when the manager handed us our new tickets, he also gave us two free movie tickets for ANY movie, no limits! Which means we can see any new movie during any time for free. We are psyched about that.

Sorry for the rambling nature of that entire post. I hope you found it mildly entertaining if not interesting.

A Weekend in Christchurch

There are approximately 1.5 gazillion things that I need to post about, but for now I will stick to where I went this weekend- Christchurch. I went there for a work conference, and The Eric came with. We drove up Friday night. I spent Saturday at the conference, then Saturday evening we spent time together. Sunday was all ours to go to church then go on a scenic drive. Monday involved more conference and then a drive home.

Let's be honest. You only want the photos, so here they are:
We took a scenic route to get to Christchurch, and it was well worth the bit of extra time and distance. We had some lovely views of the mountains and other landscape. We stopped to take a few photos along the way. Yes, Eric does want to canoe that river. Just like every river he ever sees.
And here is another view from where we stopped at the same place.

Eric loves boats. We rented a two-person kayak and paddled up the river that flows through the botanic gardens.

Eric spent our time in the double kayak paddling. I spent my time taking pictures of us and of ducks. Mostly ducks. Lots and lots of ducks.
We used our camera's timer to take this photo of ourselves in front of the World War I Memorial in downtown Christchurch.
This is the World War I Memorial at night-ish time.
A harbour. With boats. And a peninsula. Also us. Aren't we dashing?
Pretty me. Pretty place. Also, you can see that my hair is darker here. It really is darker!
Pretty cool, huh? I think this will be our Christmas card photo. I love that cameras have timers. And I love it when I find a place to set up the camera so we can take a decent photo of ourselves and don't have to worry about a stranger taking a picture of our feet.

At the end of the scenic route is an abandoned World War II fortification. Much to Eric's dismay, there were no big guns. Only big cement holes where big guns used to be.

Also, I arrived home to check my reader and email and learned that THREE of my friends had babies this weekend. So, congratulations to you three (as if you actually have time to read my blog now that you have babies, suckers!)