• Go Places,  Ho, Earthling!,  My Brain On Crack

    Skydiving

    Yeah, so I jumped out of an airplane the other day. It’s well known than New Zealand is famous for bungy-jumping. When we got here there were countless airport brochures covered with alluring photos of smiling people about to hurl themselves to their doom. I thought about skydiving and it seemed sane by comparison—only a little daring like a walk on the foot-high barrier next to the path instead of on the path itself, rather than bungy-jumping daring of hurling yourself right off the cliff next to the path. I could do that. “Karen’s going to go skydiving,” Matthew remarked to his mom right after we got here. (He had…

  • Go Places,  Ho, Earthling!

    Spider dance

    The room where we’re staying here in New Zealand is teeming with life. That sounds so positive and lovely stated like that, “teeming with life,” doesn’t it?  Like we’re in some fabulous wildlife sanctuary filled with tiny playful monkeys and exotic butterflies and mysterious yet-to-be-discovered species.  Or that maybe we’re in a magical underwater world where each teaspoonful of this watery bedroom contains an entire ecosystem. Nope. We’re talking flies and spiders and tiny worms. Ew. One night I counted twelve spiders hanging from the ceiling corners.  And why wouldn’t they be?  There are at least 20 flies in the house at any one time; surely one must stumble into…

  • Go Places,  Ho, Earthling!

    Notes from down under

    So, we’re in New Zealand. Once what I imagined as a rather exotic faraway place, one not all that high up on the List of Places I Might (Hopefully) Go One Day, now it’s mundane. Almost. Here are some things I have noticed: Pies. Every small shop/bakery/grocery stocks pies. Savory pies. With meat in them. Delicious, actually. Coffee. Kiwis are almost as serious about coffee as Portlanders are about theirs, though I am still not quite clear as to what either a “flat white” or “long black” is. I settled for a mochaccino because a) I always order a mocha when I order coffee out (about once every 3 months,…

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