These goats are nuts

Good morning!

An encounter in town

A jehovah's witness came up to me in town today. He asked if I thought there would ever be a time when there isn't war, or poverty, or illness, or greed.

He then proceeded to tell me how our lives are so busy nowadays that we don't even know who our neighbors are.

"I know who my neighbors are," I interrupted him. "I visit them almost every weekend."

He paused. Then he squinted, smiled knowingly and asked...

"Do you live rurally?"


I grinned.
Decided to keep our internet.


On connections made

I received a letter from a dear friend of mine today.

I read it all in one go, a whole book of a letter, tearing up at some times and grinning at other times. She is such a wonderful spirit, that girl.

At one point she wrote, "You are right, there was something about that summer in Skagway of 2006. What was it exactly none of us will probably ever really be able to put into words. But I'll try a little bit just because I cannot help myself. You, for example, were one of the reasons is was so special. Nutters like you don't come around very often :). Nutters like Elizabeth Jayne, Randy, Jennifer Hausmann, Justyn Moody, Richard, Joe, Liz Landi..."

I still get a little tingling along my spine as I'm typing it up here.

I know many people have said things like what I'm about to say before and that it probably looks a bit too cheesy for many people's liking, and just as well I could say that being born on that certain date changed my life, and dating a certain boy in school changed it, and eating pancakes on a Saturday morning changed my life, but...

That summer in Alaska changed so. Many. Things for me. So many.

I know that if I were forty I would probably be better at putting it into words, and in some ways a book I wrote about Alaska is lacking because I was lacking perspective at the time of writing it - almost everyone does at twenty two - but at the same time I'm not sure if I will ever get better at it, at writing down why that summer was so special for me.

For some reason the connections I made that summer have lasted throughout years and distances. And more importantly, I learned that summer that if I really want to, I can do anything. Anything.

It makes my heart sing and weep all at the same time to think about it and in so many ways I've learned to appreciate this journey I'm on. That crappy little job I was doing at uni which led me to discover a little ad on the internet, sled dog handlers wanted. Or a boy and heartache I cried for months on end about, and then hated - and now I think back on it and appreciate it.

If I saw that boy again I would say, I am sorry, and I would also say, thank you. Thank you so much because of how important you've been to me.

I've been so blessed with people I have around me. So many of them are such crazy nutter characters! Characters with a capital C. And just like a few weeks back I think about them and think, I wish I were sitting with you at that pasta place downtown and chatting away carelessly, or looking at you on that snowy bridge and swearing at you because my feet are numb with cold and I'm wet from that motherf*cking raft, or seeing you arrive back at the flat at 11 pm and ask, are you alright?, or... so many things.

In other ways I simply know that you are all on your special little journeys around the globe, some up in the Arctic, others down in the Tropics, and some of you I will probably never see again, and some of you I will, but in the end it doesn't really matter because what matters is that I've had you around and I've learned from you and you've moved me and every day I think of some of you and smile, inside.

Thank you, guys.

Still snowing

I know, I know, it's that first stuff of the year that's melting as fast as it's falling, but... still.

It's snowing!!!

PS. Got home alright. Yay!


It's snowing! And quite well, too.

I don't think it'll stick around - the ground is too warm for that. But what I'm not so sure about is - whether it'll make our (steep, steep) driveway into an ice rink, or not.

Well, I guess I'll know tomorrow morning when I come round that 5 kph corner and see whether I'll end up in a cattle fence.

Good times, good times.

PS. Getting home from work might be interesting =P

Afternoon walk

And just in case this here does end up as my last post before internet goes down, let's finish on a note of photos from yesterday afternoon.

Here goes.

The beauty and the difficulty of living here.

Still, internet or no internet

When our internet's going down, I don't know. Might be in 2 minutes for all I know. Might be before I finish typing this here. Might be tomorrow. Or mid next week sometime.

But what I do know is that decision to opt out hasn't come lightly. And by the looks of, opt out is what we'll do - or have to do.

Living without internet was NOT part of my plan when moving out here. And, by the way, I did check with Vodafone before signing the lease.

Vodafone reassured us oh-so-nicely that, yes, no problem, you're in our network area, just let us know a few days ahead of time and it wasn't until we were already here that they called us to say, oops, guys, actually, we can't connect you to broadband, your landline's too crappy. (Not really their wording, but that's what they meant, so I'll leave it at that.)

So we moved onto Netspeed that provides rural wireless broadband. Bit pricier - but functional - and we have been very happy with them. Until this past week, that is, when I got an e-mail saying that Port Hills 5Ghz network is being shut down and replaced with 3G RBI, meaning - upgrade and pay more, or lose your internet.

And when I asked, when is it shut down then? the answer was, this week.

To which my initial reaction was, oh s*it.

$120 a month isn't a dealbraker as such, but it is on the upper-upper-upper limits of what I think is reasonable to pay for internet at all. And as we stand, we are saving up for a home, and whilst we're doing that we're still paying all sorts of other bills - rent, cars, childcare, dental care, whatever.

Talking of bills: if we do opt out, $250 connection fee we paid in October to sign up with Netspeed will probably go up in a puff of smoke. Or will get pissed into wind, whatever analogy you're more comfortable with. Love when that happens.

So at this point I haven't made up my mind either way yet. But I do have a feeling that we might go on without internet, somehow, though I'm not sure how that's gonna work given that grandparents do want to see their grandchild on screen occasionally (as they don't get to see him and us live, face to face), and that I can't even look up... Oh, dear, I'm getting all tied into knots over this again, ain't I.

Feminine hormones? Ahem!

I wonder if this is what childbirth does to women.

I got Disney's "The Lion King" out today, cartoon I saw many, many times as a child. And what happens now? When there's that bit with "Can you feel the love tonight" I... tear up. Unintentionally, uncomfortably.

Oh for christ's sake! It's a cartoon! Pull yourself together, woman!


Northern (and southern) lights

Whether southern lights will appear in the sky above New Zealand in the next few days - or not - I don't know. I hope so. I'll look out for it.

But what I do know, is this:

During my time in Svalbard I learned to trust predictions for Aurora Borealis or, in other words, northern lights. Up there, almost everyone did. You see, I was lucky enough to work through the polar night and experience first-hand what it's like when the sky is set alight. It was beautiful.

Luckily for me, NOAA has a map for southern hemisphere, too, at . At the moment it looks like this:

Technically these maps show much more than "where northern/southern lights are", but to put it into simple words: the more color there is above where you are on the map, the better the chance that you'll see northern/southern lights.

So at the moment I'd say... nah, there isn't much happening. But! If you ever see that yellow circle extend above New Zealand (which sits at about nine o'clock on the map) and it's dark outside and there aren't clouds and you want to grab some photos of southern lights: grab your clothes and your camera and go. Really.

These, for example, are straight from my simple little point-and-shoot camera, I haven't even cropped them. And though I know that it's probably a little silly to talk about southern lights in New Zealand and show northern lights I photographed in Svalbard, at 78 degrees north... I haven't seen southern lights in New Zealand yet, so I haven't got local stuff to show off.

In Svalbard they looked like this:

Northern lights are awesome, man.

And, pssst!, I'm hoping to see some New Zealand stuff this winter. Up on this hill there's very little light pollution, so fingers crossed.