29 June 2006

The winter school holidays are almost over.

During this time we have:

• been to the Collingwood Children's Farm winter solstice festival, which was pleasant enough but didn't quite live up to the memory of that wild and pagan celebration of five years ago. The vegie burgers were fab though. So were the eel lanterns;
• seen Cars and Over the Hedge which both had their moments but really? I am tired of the moralising and patronising tone of children's films these days. It's all 'the olden days were the golden days' and 'small town folk are decent and immoral city folk should learn the meaning of life from them' and 'nature = good, development = bad'. Some of which I agree with but ramming it down the throats of overweight people wearing parachute silk tracksuits and eating oddly hued popcorn is not going to change the world. Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical. Or tired; it is 11.30pm after all;
• Not seen Oliver Twist because it's not on at the local cinemas around here, bah humbug. I miss my inner city cinemas with their vastly superior film selections;
• been to Reverse Art Truck and paid $20 for an enormous garbage bag of craft materials which the children then turned into various ingenious contraptions, weaponry, billycarts etc and then spent three solid days outside playing with/on/etc, leaving me in peace to lose myself in the lyrical The Namesake;
• discovered that when you have an acre and a couple of hundred trees and your children are playing espionage games, you can actually lose them. For quite some time. Particularly when they are being called to come and wash the dishes;
• spent time with friends;
• hung out at home and played scrabble in our pyjamas.

sock

My very first sock.
Modelled on the littlest leg in the house.

26 June 2006

Convoluted blogging comprising TWO (2) internet browsers, THREE (3) swear words and FOUR (4) glasses of merlot

This is a test.

er fortune cookie

And so was that.

My felted fortune cookie tells me I will be making pancakes shortly.*

If only it said You Will Be Receiving a New Computer Shortly.

I cannot comment on blogs at the moment and my internet access is fragile. Blogging may be sporadic until someone sends me $2000 for a new computer.


* Thanks Elizabeth!

22 June 2006

bookish plans EDITED BECAUSE I CLEARLY HADN'T HAD MY CAFFEINE EARLIER

I am so enjoying being on semester break, reading what I want to read.

Before it all fires up again at the end of July and I will once again be immersed in texts from six hundred years ago, I intend to read the following:

The Secret River by Kate Grenville. Almost finished this and loving it. I had only read two Grenvilles before; hated Lilian's Story and appreciated the prose and imagery of The Idea of Perfection but it just didn't grip me. But this one? Wow. Wow is all I can say. [That was an erudite book review eh? Wow.] Ok I'll try to elaborate. The prose is elegant and evocative, the subject matter fascinating and the characters draw you in ... wow. Nup sorry, all I can really say is wow.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I know nothing about this except it's meant to be good and it's for book group so I will be reading it next if I can get it from the library. Which I have not been able to so far.

Eucalyptus by Murray Bail because I must be the only person on the planet who hasn't read it and it nearly starred Our Nic and Our Russ (who becomes NZ's Russ when he throws telephones about, have you noticed?) and it will feed my eucalyptus tree obsession. Hopefully. And Mr Soup read it some time ago and did that annoying thing of You really must read this! and You are going to LOVE this book, and so on every five paragraphs.

And The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I read her book of short stories Interpreter of Maladies last year and was blown away. She is an Indian expat [Desi?? Is that correct?] writer whose writing is so fluid and delicious it makes me squirm. Go read her, she's brilliant. What is it about Indian writers for me? I adore anything and everything by Rohinton Mistry and Arundhati Roy is my heroine. The visual of the girls 'sashaying' in The God of Small Things has stuck with me forever. And Mr Soup has just read About a Boy but it will have to be my summer reading owing to its sheer size.

EDITED: A Suitable Boy, not About a Boy. Duh.



Finally, three things which I am coveting and firmly believe will change my life.

• A pair of these, first spotted here and then another version here. My mouse hand gets so cold.

This.

• And finally, one of these would be good right now. To assist me in overcoming the desire to shoot someone.

A hefty dollop of whirled peas wouldn't go astray either.

21 June 2006

Longest night

solstice lanterns

This year the schools celebrated the winter solstice a week early, due to the timing of the school holidays.

This was the first such festival we have celebrated at the boys' new school, and it's interesting to see how differently all the schools interpret the winter festival, the solstice, the celebration of the return of the light, and the coming together of a community.

As one of the Class 6 children, Son #1 was one of the torch bearers, but it wasn't until on the night that I realised he was the leader, and the one who brought the light to the whole school.

Wrapped in coats and scarves, we assembled in the dark playground under a black bowl of a sky liberally strewn with stars. A lone drum sounded and the six torch bearers filed solemnly in to the central space, with Son#1 in the lead. Tears filled my eyes as I saw he was the only one whose torch was lit. My boy, and the new kid to boot. To the sound of the drumming, he led the other children in a solemn spiral, moving gradually and rhythmically inward until they were shoulder to shoulder in a loose circle. Again, to the beat of the drumming, Son #1 gently dipped his huge torch to light that of the child next to him, who lit the one next to her and so on until all six torches were blazing in the darkness.

They then walked the spiral in reverse and each child took their torch to where the teachers and other children were gathered, and lit the teachers' lanterns. From there, each child's lantern that they had made during the week was lit, while one of the Class 3 children led the school in a song. The parents were invited to light any lanterns they had brought [I took ours from last year], and hushed and solemn, the entire school community then walked through the night to where the bonfire was ready.

solstice lantern

More songs, and then the moment everyone had been waiting for. The torch bearers lit the bonfire from the bottom, planted their torches around the circle and stepped back.

solstice fire1

Flushed faces shone in the glow of the lanterns, voices joined together in song, and gradually the fire took off. First a thick column of smoke spiralled upward, then came the leaping licking flames and finally, thousands of sparks spun through the nightsky.

Look at all the fire fairies! shouted a small child in wonder. Indeed.

Soup flasks were shared around and smiles were exchanged as the children leapt about, hyped by the leaping fire and the deliciousness of staying-up-late, while babies slept in slings and mothers' arms.




The next night we were invited to attend the solstice festival of the school Son #1 will be attending next year. It was a very different, quiet and dignified affair. Very beautiful, full of reverence and silence, and a steadily growing light as each child lit a candle, then lit candles held by the audience until the hall was positively glowing. At this school it is also the tradition that the Class 6 children bring the light to the school, as they are the transitioning class, the ones moving away from the primary rooms and into the secondary section of the school, joined by the newcomers such as Son #1 from other Steiner primary schools who swell their ranks to form a double Class 7.



On Saturday we are going to round off our wintry week by attending the Collingwood Children's Farm winter solstice festival. We've been once before and it is a joyous, primal, pagan-like celebration filled with music and fire twirling and the biggest lantern parade and bonfire you've ever seen.

After that I think we should be more than ready to welcome the return of the light to our part of the world.




Postscript: A commenter asked me some time ago to share my thoughts on Steiner schooling and how it is perceived in Australia. I haven't forgotten, and as it's one of my passions I would like to comment. However I'm not sure I'm qualified to make such pronouncements, particularly as I would be commenting from within the Steiner community here, but I have been turning it over in my head and will see if I can put something together soon.

20 June 2006

Tuesday :: brown

brown

I know, I know, Colour Week was last week.

I'm always a week behind with the latest trends. And I like it that way.

19 June 2006

If Blogger did categories ...

... I'd file this under Finding the Art in Everyday Life.

flannels

Sometimes you need a little something to lift you above the everyday mundaneness [mundanity?] of life. When I was dyeing the playcloths recently, I looked frantically around the house for more bits n bobs just begging for a new colour, as is my wont when confronted with big dye pots full of gloriously hued liquids, and decided our white flannels were looking a tad shabby.

Now I get a little thrill every time I open the linen cupboard door.



In other news around here:
• it's the first day of the winter school holidays
• the solar hot water service is being tended to by a man in blue overalls
• the sun is shining
• Son #3 needs a haircut but is not cooperating
• I found the rose catalogue and gift voucher
• I was happily reading blogs earlier and ignoring the children when I heard a noise like a circular saw emanating from the kitchen. On further investigation I found three children, still in their pyjamas, huddled around a contraption they had constructed out of batteries, a Lego motor and a few bits of Blu-Tak, whooping with delight as they touched a wire to the batteries and the contraption sliced a sheet of paper into strips
• I now have six knitting projects on the needles [I need help]
• We are making nori rolls for lunch.





Riveting, isn't it?



Word for the day: prandial

17 June 2006

more beaches

wistful

After the silvery serenity of the Front Beach, we decided to brave ... the Back Beach. [Insert da na na na music here].

wild and woolly

[This is a magical place in summer, complete with a cave full of octopus money (periwinkle doors) that the children collect for trading. In winter it's equally entrancing, but it does make your ears ache and your extremities numb. In addition, the noise of the surf and wind is deafening.]

backbeach menfolk

The menfolk strode purposefully, blissfully unaware they were being photodocumented. Our friend here with Mr Soup is a professional photographer so I always feel a little intimidated when I take my humble camera out, particularly as it's a little wonky looking since I dropped it on our brick floor. (It lay on the floor beeping helplessly and continuously for some time as I gaped in frozen horror, then after a half hour of rest, while I went into strenuous denial, it valiantly recovered and is as good as new. Avec dents.)


Oh yes, the beach.
The children did that thing that children do. Tried to defeat nature.

wave chasing

Threatening waves with sticks doesn't work.

sticks wont help

Neither does bowing.

neither does bowing

There was nothing for it ... but surrender.

boots

Did I mention it was about 2 degrees?

it is cold

Remembering the northern Europeans who plunge naked into the snow clutching only a birch twig for protection, I tried to ignore the ramifications of letting my children frolick in the icy surf. And concentrated on the wonders of nature around me.

grass

rocks

After dutifully photographing my surroundings for my sweet Internets, I decided enough was enough.
Luckily, Hansel and Gretel-like, Son #3 had laid a feather trail so we could find our way ...

feather trail2

... back home. Just in time for a nice cup of tea and a little light reading.

serious literature

See those 1960s curtains? I want to steal them and turn them into a skirt.

16 June 2006

When I was one I had just begun

I missed my own blog birthday.

Just looked at the calendar and realised it was three days ago. Typical. And I don't have a single deepandmeaningful musing on a year of blogging to regale you with.

I hate reading my first few posts, but it's probably not de rigeur to delete them, so there they remain to make me blush. There is a pea soup recipe on the third post if anyone is interested. I do get a lot of google visitors who are probably quite bemused to find random outpourings from my brain and camera instead of a pea and ham soup recipe.

Anyway instead of spilling my guts on What Blogging Means to Me, or announcing It's been a wonderful year-long experiment and now I'm pulling the plug, and as it's Colour Week, and today is red, I bring you a crimson rosella. From outside my study window. These exquisite creatures visit as regularly as they can when the territorial bellbirds let them.

rosella2

15 June 2006

Stand by for a few beachy posts

It's been a whirlwind week or so here; the papers are written and I now know more about Elizabeth I and her courtships, and the witchcraze in baroque Germany than I ever thought I'd know. Ask me anything, I can tell you. (Unless you're here via Google because you're writing an essay, in which case that's plagiarism dear, go away and do your own research.)

Then my brother announced he was in town, then my cousin, and in the meantime we were invited away for the long weekend.

To the beach. In winter. Four adults, six boy children, three dogs.

It was cold. But fun!

We started off at the Front Beach. This is the bayside beach; calm, gentle, silvery and relaxing. But cold.

We took the dogs. Theirs and ours. (That's ours with Mr Soup. See his hat? It took Son #1 two years, but he knitted it).
mad dogs and englishmen

The dogs headed along the pier.
race to the pier end

All was going well. Ours was innocently enjoying this new experience.
trot

Their dogs leapt off! Into the glacially cold water!

Ours did not. He took the easy way back, rather fast. He is a greyhound after all.
not jumping in

He was persuaded in eventually. But decided dry land was best.
race to the shore

Stay tuned tomorrow for Back Beach Blogging. (The back beaches are the wild surf beaches. The wind comes straight off Antarctica, pausing only to sneer briefly at Tasmania before unleashing its full onslaught on US.)



Word for the day: blusterous




Some answers to questions from commenters ... the dyes for the playcloths sold at the market were Procion dyes. Cleckheaton Tapestry is 8ply. The market is the once a term Twilight Market my children's school holds. I am happy to knit anyone mittens. Leave a comment with your colour preference and I will send them in a week. $20 a pair.

8 June 2006

And now for something completely different, a film review

I was going to write a post all about the latest screen incarnation of Pride and Prejudice and how my first reaction was why, why would one bother to even make it after the magnificent BBC production which set the standard to which all others can merely aspire. However the other day I relented and watched it on DVD and was, for the most part, thrilled.

But in spooky universe coincidences someone posted first. I had actually written the below before SHE posted, but it was in Draft. You know, still awaiting release upon an unsuspecting world.

So. MY review, which I now cannot post, went like this.

I was not thrilled with Keira Knightley, which is a tad unfortunate as she plays the lead role. I could have done without her aren't-I-just-delicious nose wrinkling boisterousness, which to me just is NOT Elizabeth. There was quite a bit of nose wrinkling in Love Actually and Bend it Like Beckham too so clearly it is her forte. To me however, it just looks schoolgirlish. She tends to act with clenched teeth also, which gives me a headache as I clench along in sympatico. But she is delightful to gaze at. As was Jane who after all is meant to be pleasant to look at although just a tad wet. She is a great match for Bingley who is down right sodden.

But I LOVED Mrs Bennett and thought she was a vast improvement on the BBC Mrs Bennett who shrieked like a fishwife and irritated the bejesus out of me (what does that mean exactly I wonder). But this Mrs Bennett was just that teeny bit more understandable and less fishwifey and one really got the whole having FIVE daughters to marry off shebang. Which made for easier viewing. And more empathy.

I also much prefered the new Mr Collins who was pathetic and froglike but again, in a more understandable way than the BBC Mr Collins who was just lizardlike without the pathos. And he should be a pathos-inducing kind of fellow methinks. I absolutely adore Judi Dench in anything, particularly when she dons a glam wig so her apperance was a delightful bonus. Although would Lady C have visited the Bennetts or anyone for that matter at night in such a flagrant breach of etiquette? I think not, no matter how outraged she was.

Darcy? Was fine but I have a total crush on Colin Firth so that's that I'm afraid. I believe he and Jennifer Ehle had an affair during the making of the BBC version, or did I just make that up? How could you not fall in love with each other if you were playing those characters? I imagine it's just another occupational hazard when one appears in these kinds of bonnet dramas. All that lace and heaving bosoms hoiked up under chins. And the men in those boots! (I'm having a BBC flashback of Darcy and the lake scene). Terribly fetching.

I very much liked Donald Sutherland doing his soft breathy thing as Mr Bennett. He has a stillness that is mesmerising on screen, but I also loved the old Mr Bennett so no competition there. The BBC Wickham wins over the new one. The younger girls ... blah blah blah, just background noise and bad piano playing although there was a lovely moment when Mary falls sobbing into the arms of her father after she is requested to please please stop playing.

But what I loved most, and was quite unprepared for, was the down to earth shabbiness of it all. I enjoyed the fact that hems were muddy, paint was peeling, roosters were chased out of the kitchen, spuds were peeled by the ladies of the house, hair wasn't primped and frizzed and aprons were slightly grubby. Indeed, that aprons were actually worn.

It was wonderful the way the first 'ball' was more of a village barn dance, complete with flying hair, pink glowing cheeks and raucous laughter. It made the appearance of Darcy and Bingley (and B's sister! Gorgeous!) in their elegant town clothes all the more incongruous, and Darcy's sneer more meaningfully arrogant. Then when Bingley held his own tresh posh ball at Netherfield the contrast between the two events was startling and as a bonus we the audience got to enjoy the frock-up even more.

One thing I could.not.abide, and so this was clearly my karma for being snobbish and not seeing it on the big screen when it came out, was the option on the DVD of the "US Ending." Intrigued and initially jealous at the notion that the yanks got a different ending to the rest of the world [why, pray tell?], of course I had to watch it.

And oh I was so APPALLED. Oh, poor poor yanks, that they have to be fed a Hollywood ending. Did the filmmakers think Americans wouldn't get the subtlety of the real ending that the rest of the planet witnessed? Are Americans that dumb and shallow? I think not but Hollywood evidently disagrees. For those of you (non-yanks) who saw it on the big screen and mercifully missed this travesty, I will TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT so you can suffer too. Picture this. Lizzie and Darcy in their nightclothes, gazing out over Pemberley's Great Park (I just made that up, impressive isn't it? Rather like Windsor Great Park. I digress) indulging in kissy-kissy love talk and nonsense. I shrieked in horror, crossed myself and faced Mecca for good measure, and returned to view once more the [proper] final scene of the film to restore my sensibilities. I sighed in relief as Donald Sutherland once again delivered the bemused and quietly delighted final comment that if any other young gentlemen should come calling for any of his daughters, to send them right in as he was "quite at [his] leisure."




So, as I was saying, I was going to write a post all about that, but decided not to because my evil twin got in first.

So instead, let's talk about the weather.

mitts

It is freezing here. Winter has hit.
I've knitted twelve mittens in the last 21 days (for the market, mostly).
I can practically do them with my eyes shut.

These are Son #1's.
Vital Statistics: Cleckheaton 'Tapestry' knitted in two colourways (two rows alternating) because I only had a ball of each. Pattern from Patons (Australia) Winter Warmers Book 483, circa 1976. Yep, I'm in it.

7 June 2006

More, because I am like that

I am overwhelmed, truly. I realise that 52 comments is a slow day on the internet for some people, but it was awfully exciting for me. Thank you to everybody who took the time to comment. I began answering but can't possibly keep up, so please just know that I loved reading every single contribution, and have answered some things below.

And now for your enjoyment, here are some more that I thought of the instant I hit 'publish' last time.

Strayan words

nappies: diapers
dummy: pacifier
op shop: thrift shop, charity shop
porridge: oatmeal
ring: call (someone on the phone)
spew/chuck/chunder: vomit
bathers: togs/swimmers/cossie [abbrev. swimming costume]/swimsuit. This one varies regionally. We say bathers, my NZ aunt says togs, Bec & Kim may wish to pitch in here with the Sydney version
jumper: sweater
holiday: vacation
boot: trunk (of the car)
brolly: umbrella
trolley: cart
soft drink: soda/pop
chips: crisps
hot chips: chips, french fries
rubber: eraser (the bane of my year as a schoolgirl in the US. "Can I borrow your rubber?")
queue: line
lift: elevator
takeaway: takeout (food)
cot: crib
bum: butt
arse: ass (similarly, arsehole) Ok back to family friendly blogging ...
doona: duvet
bushfire: brushfire/forestfire/wildfire
brackets: parentheses
fullstop: period (a period is something else entirely)
icy pole: iced lolly/popsicle
flannel: facewasher/washcloth
calico: muslin
muslin: cheesecloth (?)
trainers runners sneakers plimsolls all regional variations but my personal favourite is brothel creepers
garbage: rubbish
trash can: rubbish bin. When I lived in ID (see, I can do it too if I concentrate) my two host brothers thought this was hilarious. Their college friends would come over and they'd say "Hey Suse, come and tell Brad/Todd/Chuck where you would put this piece of garbage!" and I would perform and they would laugh and pat me fondly on the head from their great height (everyone in ID is 6'4").

Strayan phrases

Put it in the too-hard basket: to give up (A commenter pointed that out. I didn't realise it wasn't universal. My basket runneth over currently.)
Flat out like a lizard drinking: to be very very busy indeed
Drive the porcelain bus: to vomit (into the toilet)
Technicolour yawn: vomit
No worries/Not a problem: it's fine
Spit the dummy: throw a major tantrum
Chuck a wobbly: again with the tantrums
It's all gone pear shaped: when things go awry. This one is English but it's well used here.
Melt my wax: surfing term, as in a surfer would spot a hot chick [as opposed to hot chips] and say she really melts my wax. Could be out of date by now, I have not been a surfie groupie for some years.

I've also noticed differences in some past tenses. We say knitted and fitted and spat. As in "He rang me up to say that the new jumper I knitted him fitted perfectly but then the cat spewed all over it so he spat the dummy and put the whole thing in the rubbish bin."

There are indeed class-based accents in Straya. Just try saying "noice, roolly roolly noice" in your best Kath & Kim accent on a tram full of eastern suburbs private schoolgirls in their straw boaters and feel the atmosphere freeze.

Regional differences are also developing. People from Adelaide and Perth sound somewhat different to eastern state folk, sort of New Zealandish but not quite as ludicrous. (Kiwis really do say fush and chups, honest). And everyone says we Victorians have an accent. (We don't of course). I can't even begin to describe the accent of a Queenslander. More Strine than Strayan I would say.

Personally I grew up with two very English parents and then married an Englishman so many of my words/pronunciations are English. My friends all think it's hilarious that I sit on a settee instead of a couch or sofa, and I only recently stopped hoovering and took up vacuuming. And I put bandaids on my children's scabby knees rather than plasters these days.

Now, to answer some commenters questions, a jumper is a sweater. What you call a jumper (a sleeveless dress?) we would call ... um, a sleeveless dress. Or a shift dress? Perhaps a pinafore?

A vest in England is a sleeveless undergarment, known as a singlet here. Long sleeve ones are called spencers.

I'm sorry I have no idea what a duchess is, except what you become if you marry a duke I suppose.

We just don't do dried meat so there is no jerky/biltong equivalent. We have refained tastes here y'know.

And a rusk is a baby's teething biscuit, an adult would never have one with her tea unless she was terribly premenstrual and the pantry was bare.

We do say reckon a lot, but I reckon everybody does, eh?

And of course, it is the ENGLISH who say flip flops. The Kiwis say jandals. My apologies.

3 June 2006

cultural confusions

A good many of my readers are americans.

Let me preface this post by saying ...

... I love americans (mostly. Not terribly fond of their leader). I even was one once (an american, not a leader). Sort of. For a year. Well, an adopted one anyway. But they do have a tendency to speak American and assume that the rest of the world understands them. So, in addition to the usual references to graham crackers and granola (savoury biscuits and muesli, I think), we in the Anglosphere (to steal a Jokeism) get comments on our blogs like "I love that show, I just TiVoed it. And then Netflixed it for good measure." And "I live in CT. But I used to live in MT. And FCT." Where?! Stop talking in initials! When we say "touch wood" they leave comments saying "actually the phrase is knock wood." (I saw someone say that to Loobylu. Um, here the saying IS touch wood.)

Now, I am well aware that this works the other way. We ovah heah fill our blogs with references to biscuits, fair dinkum, arvo and Andrew Denton (hopeless crush, I want to have his babies. They'd be small but perfectly formed) and don't care if only three of our readers get it. And most of us aren't terribly fond of our leader either.

Anyway, as a community service, I hereby present a list of all things Australian which I will translate for the benefit of the rest of the world, and below that, a list of Americanisms which many of us poor sods require help with. Aussies, please feel free to add more. Americans, please feel free to explain. (Rest of the World, watch in wonder.)

Australian cultural oddities in need of translation:

• arvo: afternoon. Similarly garbo: garbageman
• dunny: toilet/loo
• blue: an argument. Also the nickname given to any redheaded man. Similarly, Shorty: the nickname given to any man over 6 foot.
• Andrew Denton: pint-sized witty and humorous intellectual who currently has an interview show on tv called Enough Rope.
• fair dinkum: truly really and pinky swear I promise. The real deal.
• dag: you don't want to know. But bizarrely, is also used as a term of affection if said with a winning smile. As in "You're such a dag. I adore you."
• a few roos loose in the top paddock: insane
• "Not happy, Jan." A quote from a hilarious tv ad. Everyone now says it. Has also morphed into "Not happy, John" because as previously mentioned, we are not on the whole terribly fond of our leader.
• "Sic 'em, Rex." Ditto, only not hilarious. Just weird. (Echidna reference).
On the subject of taglines from tv ads moving into the cultural vernacular, are any other Aussie bloggers old enough to remember "Not beans again?" I ask because I auditioned for an ad once as a kid and the audition line was "Not beans again?" I didn't get the job and when it came out on tv and the whole country began whining "not beans again" I got down on my knees and thanked the goddess above that I had failed. (I got another job out of that audition though, and the tagline was "Because life is full of Vesta situations." Anyone remember that series? That was me, playing Noelene Browne's hapless daughter.) Um, where was I?
Oh yeah ...
• lollies: US candy, UK sweets
• lamington: a small square sponge cake, dipped in chocolate then rolled in coconut. Usually with a layer of jam in the middle. When I lived in the US and realised lamingtons were not universal, one of my schoolfriends airmailed me a lamington. In a homemade box. It arrived unrecognisable and very stale, but still edible.
• jam: known as jelly in the US
• jelly: known as jello in the US
• budgie smugglers: Speedos.
• shop: store
• handbag: bag you keep your purse, keys and mobile in
• mobile: mobile phone (US: cell phone)
• thongs: those rubber flappy footwear things you buy at Kmart and wear to the beach. Kiwis know them as flip flops.
• Dame Edna Everage: I don't even know where to begin so will give up and move onto ...

American cultural oddities in need of translation:

• Fix dinner: This one bugs me I must confess. Why do they need to fix their dinner? What's wrong with it? In Australia we cook dinner. Or, at a pinch, prepare dinner. It doesn't generally need fixing unless you've burnt it beyond recognition.
• store: shop
• shop: workshop
• cookie: biscuit
• biscuit: scone
• purse: handbag
• wallet: purse (are you getting how confusing this all is?)
• Netflix: something to do with movies?
• TiVo: something to do with tv?
• smores: something to do with the elusive graham cracker? And campfires? Possibly unbelievably unhealthy.
• graham crackers: I asked Babelbabe and even bribed her with Tim Tams but Australia Post is holding her parcel ransom and so I am still in the dark. I will report back.
• granola: is it muesli, or toasted muesli, or something different altogether? They say it's crunchy!
• graduation ceremoney for preschoolers: gosh is all I can say. Here, kindergarteners get a hug from the teacher if they're lucky, and an end of year party at which they present their teacher with a homemade card and nasty giftwrapped soap purchased from the two dollar shop. No certificate presentation takes place. I am impressed, if bemused, with the American system. Congratulations Primo.
• flavoured coffees: I just.don't.get.this. Coffee should be coffee flavoured. Isn't that the point? It's coffee. Not raspberry/vanilla/caramel/burnt thong. The Italians must be turning in their graves. If they've all suddenly died that is. Which I hope they haven't because the world would not be the same without beautiful dark-haired men managing to pinch your bum as they sail past you in Rome on a red Vespa. Simultaneously yelling Ciao bella. And possibly making off with your handbag.


PS. This post needs a photo but I'm too tired and the possibilities are just frightening. So, no pretty pics.

PPS. The crap I come up with in order to not finish an essay.