Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've Stumbled On The Side Of Twelve Misty Mountains

Until this week, all we knew about Sir Edmund Hillary was that he was a New Zealander who was the first to climb Mt. Everest. His Sherpa was named Tenzing Norgay. This all happened in 1953 when I was only 6.

Hillary passed away on January 11 and yesterday was his funeral in Auckland.

The whole thing was on television and since the country was experiencing a tremendous wind and rainstorm, we sat down with coffee and watched the services for hours.

The speakers, among whom were Helen Clark, our female Prime Minister, Norgay's son, Hillary's family and friends, all drummed home the same point. Sir Edmund thought himself to be an ordinary man, nothing special. He is known as a typical Kiwi bloke who did extraordinary things. Here is his story:

Even though it was pouring, thousand and thousands of people lined the streets to get a glimpse of the hearse as it drove from the church. Children threw flowers and everyone applauded. Hillary was the most famous and loved New Zealander ever.

By the time it was over, we gained new respect for the man and pride in this amazing country.

This has been a very testing week. The whole country is in mourning and we certainly feel it. But it is also the 1 year anniversary on the death of our father. To many he was also a ordinary man who did extraordinary things. In addition, our granddaughter, Chloe, turns 1 year old on the same week. Lastly, I will be turning 61 in a few days. There is more stuff that I don't even want to get into.

I am having a difficult time processing all the information without getting a headache. My brain feels like it is at 10,000 feet without oxygen.

February can't come soon enough.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Present Now Will Later Be Past

Kimberly has a sister, Cindy. Her life at one time was full of drama, so I sometimes call her... Cindy!

Either way, she lives in the wonderful state of Texas in Houston with hubby, Larry and son, Lance. Those guys don't deserve the ! now, but back in the day Larry might have been called Larry!!$@&* and then some.

Since I have a rule never to set foot into Texas, we will probably not be visiting them in the future. Houston is famous for lots of things, but recently they are known for being the fattest city in America and also being neighborly enough to take in 100,000 refugees from Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, the crime rate in the friendly city has tripled.

Next time, they will think twice.

Anyhow, every year on birthdays and Xmas, Cindy! sends gifts. This year was no exception.
Since I am a golfer, I received a golfer's kit that included 3 tees, 3 balls, and a coffee cup. Sadly, the cup arrived broken. The tees have been used up, and the balls have yet to see the light of day.

Then there was a DVD that still puzzles me. It is a continual view of a fireplace burning wood. We already have a fireplace that does the same thing, the difference between the two is that ours has the additional feature of warming the surrounding air.

But the real treasure came in a tiny box... a potato peeler.

I have always had a pet peeve. I hate simple machines that are meant to do only one thing, and then fail to perform. In school, I had a lovely stapler. The trouble was that it didn't work. The staples got stuck or bent.

Like all of us, I have several tubes of Crazy Glue that only can affix the cap to the nozzle at the top of the tube.
I have had pencil sharpeners that are attractive on the wall, but grind pencils to nubs without making them pointy.

Wine openers that push the cork into the bottle...we've got 3 of 'em. By the way, NZ is on the forefront of curing this problem. They are putting fine wine in twist off capped bottles. No snob factor and the wine tastes the same. Most important, no cork in the bottle.

We all have many examples of these tools that can't perform the only job they were born to do. It is a rare pleasure the find some simple utensil that does its work right every time. Sort of like people.

Of course, we already have potato peelers, 2 of them. One works pretty good. The second is attractive, but of course, can't peel a thing. I don't know why we even keep it in the utensil drawer.

In some circles, I am famous for my mashed potatoes. Everyone should be known for something. Edmond Hillary conquered Everest. I make tasty, smooth mashed potatoes. Cindy! thinks I am so great, she sent me a new peeler.

But the peeler Cindy! sent me has become the best tool in the drawer. First, it is small and handy. It slips over the index finger like a piece of jewelry. This is truly white man kitchen BLING. One size fits all. Then, it quietly glides over the tuber with a smooth swipe removing a large swatch of peel. A potato can be denuded in a matter of seconds.

I can almost hear shitty peeler #3 quaking in the top drawer.

Though it is summer here, tonight we will enjoy smached spuds by the electronic glow of the roaring fire on the TV screen.

Even though it is 80 degrees, we will sit in the glow of our TV fire, gobbling mashed potatoes.
Next year, If we are really good, maybe Cindy! will send us a family of refugees.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead

What's all this I hear about Hillary Clinton passing away?

We were on the road last week and must have missed the news. Last I heard she was in Iowa, or was it Kansas? All the fine Journalists on the FOX news were saying how she was dead, but I guess it took a while for the impact of it to reach New Zealand.

Apparently it was a heart attack, but everyone knows she had no heart. I suspect some child threw water on her or something like that and she melted.

Who cares? She is now finally out of the hair of the good people of the US and A and the world for that matter.

The papers here are revealing some new information about Hillary that will come as a shock. She was quite the liar as you will see.

First, she must have had some kind of facelift or Botox treatments because there were photos in the paper that made her look a lot like golfer Colin Montgomerie.

Many of them show her in snow gear, which I suppose she wore in New Hampshire before the little girl soaked her.

In addition, they say she was 88 years old, not 60 as she claimed... another Clinton lie!

No wonder Bill kept screwing around with those younger babes.

And get this, you know how Algore claimed to have invented the Internets? Well, that brag pales compared to how Hillary expects us to believe she was the first to climb Mount Everest, which I am told is some sort of famous hill around China.

She probably flew up there on her broom.

At least she finally admitted to being high, which is more than can be said for her young husband.

Well, good riddance is all I have to say.

Now maybe that African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, Barrack Hussain Osama, will be the candidate that our beloved GOP nominee, Mitt "9-11" Huckabee McCain can crush come November.

Or maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

I swear I don't know what day it is anymore.

I have spent the last 10 days stuffed in a car with relatives while attempting a road trip through the South Island. We were in 8 locations which required 8 different hotels, B&Bs, or farm stays.

After teaching Jeff to drive, it was hard to pull him away from the wheel and I must admit, he drove quite well apart from the habit of tooting his own horn when he thought he pulled off a great driving successfully through a roundabout.

He also overdid the driver wave. We have a lot of one way bridges and you give the guy waiting a little acknowledgement after you cross. Jeff practically wanted to stop and chat about the experience.

The Millers are also amazing consumers and have helped boost the NZ economy. Especially the hat department. If a little coffee kiosk sold head wear with a logo, he bought it. Ditto on T-shirts. In fact, you know how hotels in Vegas will comp a high roller, knowing he will gamble lots in their casino...? Well, The New Zealand tourism council should send Lauren and Jeff a free first class ticket at least twice a year. Those two alone could keep over twenty people employed for a year. I'm not a shopper at all and neither is Kimberly (wink, wink), and we spent at least a grand just being in their wake.

We hiked in Abel Tasman, milked a cow in Greymouth, climbed glaciers, saw sheep, seals, castles, waterfalls, and gardens. Kimberly and Lauren drank Absolute Vodka in a high cover charge bar called Minus 5, where everything, including the bar and glasses are made of ice.

We were the first earthlings to see the entrance of the 2008 in Queenstown, where the police and security were treated like rock stars.

The worse part was probably the
potato wedges that seemed to appear in a giant bowl at every meal. We all need to do a cleanse and extreme diet and exercise to cure the potato poisoning.

Lauren and Jeff are going to Saturday Market for a bit more shopping. I'm sure there will be chips and sweets in addition to the hats and shirts. I will be running 10 km on the treadmill 5 minutes after I drop them off at the airport. I gotta get into driving shape.

Chloe is coming in 5 weeks.