Saturday, August 25, 2007

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
-T.S. Elliot... "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

I know that I am old enough to truly retire.
I suppose I could sleep late, read, recline on the couch and watch TV, putter in the garden, play golf, and travel.

But I think it still makes sense to work a bit and remain a purposeful member of the community.

And as everyone knows, Kimberly is extremely high maintenance, so there may never be enough dollars to satisfy her tremendous needs.
I'm old, she's young. She needs dough, and plenty of it.

All that being said, I have spent quite a bit of time as a reliever at Nelson Boy's College. That has been pretty sweet and easy. Plus, the pay is re-god damn-diculous compared to the States.
In the USA, all substitute teachers will earn the exact same amount, about $90 a day. A pedophile gets the same as a PhD. Actually, the pedophile might get a little more, if you know what I mean.
Here, they compensate relievers based on their experience. Believe it or not, I am near the top of the pay scale.
Now I wish I went for that Master's degree.

However, Boy's College is populated with young lads who can be rowdy, noisy, sloppy, lazy and smelly. Don't get me wrong..still very fun and easy and I am pretty popular over there. In fact, if I wanted, I could work every day.

But there is also a Girl's College here. It is much cleaner, and quieter. They take education more seriously and it is filled with about 1000 high school age girls.

After a year with the boys, I felt like a change, so I went over and signed up with the Girls College.
This must be heaven 'cause here's where the rainbow ends. And at last it's the real thing, or close enough to pretend.
Instantly, I began getting called to work and I suppose the other relief teachers were mean old biddies because I got a positive reputation after 2 days. The students are really great and fun. They behave lots better than boys and actually do the work.
The only problem is that they are a little chatty, but so am I.

Some history of the school is that Courtney Love attended here but did not do well and got tossed out. Here is the info from her biography:

The daughter of Grateful Dead manager and publisher Hank Harrison and therapist Linda Carroll (nee Risi), Love spent her childhood with her mother as she wandered through five husbands and as many hippie communes in Oregon and at boarding school in Nelson New Zealand.
I heard she returned later as a speaker and completely dissed the place.
So the school is 2 minutes from our house, extremely clean and very well administered. The teachers leave excellent plans, the classes are small and I again can work all I want for good pay. Wouldn't you work there if you were me?
We will be completely off the grid for a week. It is Kimberly's birthday today and we are going to the Cook Islands for some holiday time.
Happy Birthday also to Rick, who turns 50 in a few days. I am certain some stripper will be giving him a special birthday lap dance in Las Vegas.
Happy birthday and happy endings.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Two Riders Were Approaching, The Wind Began to Howl

Last week we saw Bob Dylan in Wellington.

New Zealand is a stop on his "Never-Ending Tour". He now dresses up like a riverboat gambler with a pencil thin mustache. Actually, pretty cool. But he's 65 fer Christ's sake.

We try not to ever miss Bob if we are around..... and after each show, we swear we will never go to another concert of his.

This was no different.

We think he performed many of our favorites, but we aren't sure. Lately, he chooses to play keyboards, not guitar. He also has developed a singing style that removes all emotion from the lyrics. We were forced into a game of "Name That Tune".

Here is the setlist for fans who know his work:

August 10, 2007

Cat's In The Well
It Ain't Me, Babe
Watching The River Flow
Lay, Lady, Lay
Rollin' And Tumblin'
When The Deal Goes Down
Honest With Me
Tangled Up In Blue
Spirit On The Water
Highway 61 Revisited
My Back Pages
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
Nettie Moore
Summer Days
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Thunder On The Mountain
Blowin' In The Wind

It is difficult to criticise a hero and genius and New Zealanders appreciate him just for coming here, But airfare, cabs, meals, hotels, and tickets are expensive and in the end, it ain't no Dead show, no matter how much one prepares, and I prepared well.

Wellington was extremely windy, as it often is. There were whitecaps in the toilet water. So it was cold and difficult to walk around downtown without leaning a lot.
Somehow the top button on my coat was AWOL so I needed to wrap a scarf around my neck to keep from having my coffee ice up on the way down.
Unlike me, Kimberly had all buttons on high alert and, of course, also remembered gloves. Guess who was warmer?

We only stayed the night and headed for home the next morning. The cabbie to the airport was Iraqi so we spoke about the war. You know about the's in all the papers. Oddly, we don't hear about it on FOX. Even our driver knew about it, but he could not figure out what's going on over there. For sure, he was happy to be driving a taxi without a gun turret on the roof.

The plane ride back to Nelson only takes 20 minutes, but due to the tremendous wind, we were being heavily jostled while on the tarmac waiting to take off. I'm not sure, but I may have even prayed. When we finally landed, all the passengers applauded and offered to buy drinks for the pilot.

The good news was we brought back some bagels. The baker explained that we need to freeze them and then "paint" some water on them before toasting...that will make them taste pretty close to normal bagels. Who knew?
A week has gone by and today is Saturday. There was an Eco-Fest in town so we went and Kimberly decided that the time was way overdo for us to start composting. So she purchased some items to get the rotting food rolling. But we still needed a large container in which the decomposing occurs.

On the way to the hardware store, we stopped in at Nelson College to watch a championship high school rugby match. Nelson won in a squeaker. 2 more victories and they can be best in the country. But mind you, it's a small country.

At the store were lots of compost bins. The one I was looking at would have involved going to another guy to buy a few thousand worms. Kimberly read all the material and choose the one a proper butler would. It happened to be on sale. On top of that, the city council gives anyone who buys one of these things a rebate. Cha-ching!

Now all I need to do is assemble it and start eating.

The more I eat, the greener the lawn will be.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We Will Get By, We Will Survive

Most likely, all of us have known somebody who has suffered with cancer. Some succumb to it; some survive.
Cancer is the leading cause of non-accidental death in adolescents and young adults. Survival rates are worse than any other age group.
Being a teen is already challenging enough. They have to deal with Hormones, Hair growth, and Heavy petting. Add Cancer and Chemotherapy to that mix and you have a recipe for Xtreme depression.
As a nurse, I have worked with every stage of human, from premature babies to 100 year old men. Oddly, I have never worked with adolescents.
In order to remove that blemish on my resume, I have recently become involved with an organization called CanTeen who support, develop and empower young people and their siblings living or dying with cancer.
Here is the website:
The application for a volunteer was elaborate. Police reports, many references, and several in- depth interviews. My background as a nurse was a big plus as was my offer to give up to 16 hrs a week of my time.
After the initial interview I was invited to participate in a photo op with our local district rugby team, The Tasman Makos:
At the session were two Makos, Chris Bentley and Kaho Marfell. They were pretty big guys, but not as big as the All Blacks. The Makos chose to support this charity due to several of their members losing family this year to cancer.
The next day the photo made the local paper, The Nelson Mail. You can read the article here:

Our biggest fund raiser during the year is bandana week. It is coming up October 15-21. A bandana costs 5 NZ bucks. If anyone out there has some new found wealth, I am taking orders.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm A "Citizens for Boysenberry Jam" Fan.

The Boysenberry was developed by a failed horticulturist named Rudolph Boysen (1895-1950). He was unsuccessful at marketing the fruit, which is a combination of blackberry, raspberry, and loganberry. He abandoned his farm and it was resurrected by another unsuccessful Anaheim, California farmer named Walter Knott. Knott was able to nurse the vines back to health and the Boysenberry was made into pies and preserves which were sold at Knott's Berry Farm. At that time, (193o) it was not much more than a roadside stand. His wife, Cordelia, soon began serving chicken dinners to the lines of people waiting to get the berries.

The rest, as they say, is laughing all the way to the bank...all thanks to poor old Boysen.

Now all this is simply a backdrop to the story of our neighbor, Kevin, and his generosity with local fruit. Kevin is in his 80's. We can't get a clear number out of him, but let's say 84. He has lived in our neighborhood for 50 years and everyone calls him the Mayor of Cleveland Terrace. In may ways, he is a lot like Dad, except he is a churchgoer and he doesn't change light bulbs.

When we first moved in here, Kevin showed up to welcome us with wonderful apples. He still brings them all the time. But one day he dropped off a huge box of Boysenberries. Apparently, he has a friend with a 30 acre Boysenberry farm and all the fruit is exported. Kevin, however, gets these 10kg boxes that fall off the truck or something. He then gives them to his special friends.

Kimberly has become his special friend and that's how I get Boysenberry cobbler.

Kimberly decided to try her hand at baking with these huge ping pong sized things and looked on the Internets for a recipe. She found a really good one that called for instant tapioca pudding and coconut. I love both of those things so we were off to the store to get them.

But it doesn't work that way here, sir. They never heard of "Jello". They probably don't even know Bill Cosby. Needless to say, a simpler recipe was chosen and a cobbler was created.

This friggin' thing is so good, so syrupy, you really don't need to put ice cream on top, unless you happened to have some in the freezer, which I always do. You also don't need a serving bowl. It's kind of in a bowl when it comes out of the oven.

All you need is a spoon, or a fork...the best would be a spork...a BIG spork. The cobbler was completely devoured in 2 days.
Kevin never saw a piece. Looks like we have to make another one for him. Probably two would be a good idea, in case I get hungry.

Some monkeys out there actually think that a cobbler is a guy who fixes shoes. I don't know about that, but if any of this dessert accidentally dropped onto my muddy boots, I would gladly lick it off.

And remember, last post where I was trying to drop 5kg?

Life sure is full of changes.