The Big D

Big D is in the hospital. It is very serious, although not immediately life threatening. Little d is doing the best she can to make herself feel like she is not a terrible daughter for being 10,000 miles away. She’s not doing a very good job of it. She may be on an east-bound plane next week.

Big D and little d 1982


Just before I left the States my brother-in-law linked our blog to Google Analytics. Now, not only can I spend hours writing blogs and reading comments, but I can also spend hours analyzing the intricacies of my audience. A most productive way to spend my days. So, what have I learned?

You enjoy posts about babies and playgrounds more than posts about cereal.

I average about 15 readers a day.

We have a very international audience.New Zealand and East Costers I understand. I even understand Korea and Salamanca. But Brazil? San Diego? Hot beds of Dani and Ned supporters. Who knew?

It’s No Oh’s

Sure plenty of exciting things have happened since I arrived home to Raglan. I started working at Solscape again. Nelson and I performed a karaoke duet called “Permaculture Lovin'” to the tune of “Summer Nights” from Grease (it was a runaway success… I love my man). We helped build an earth pizza oven. But none of those events compare to the discovery of Double Crunch! cereal.

Some of you may know about me and my siblings’ obsession with Oh’s Ceral. We love it so much, that we bought the Piggly Wiggly’s entire supply when we were on vacation this summer. Do you think the store manager was confused? Did he think Oh’s were the next big trend? Now that we’ve moved on is he left with 100 cases wondering what happened? Ride it out buddy, we’ll be back in 11 months.

If you haven’t tried Oh’s, and live below the Mason Dixon, you need to find an all-night supermarket and go grab a box. If you’re feeling generous you can grab one for me and send in a little care package. Just kidding. Kind of. Its really the only reason to ever shop at a Walmart, which was the only place I could find it when I lived in Baltimore. Just be careful because they really cut the crap out of the roof of your mouth.

But anyhow, I digress. Oh’s are obviously not available here in the land of Kiwis. Mildly disappointing. But, even more disappointing was the lack of good cereal in general, and the complete lack of granola. Sure they have mueslix, but why would you want untoasted granola? That’s just gross. So, needless to say with no Oh’s and no granola, my cereal consumption was at an all-time low when I headed back home this summer.

But, having been reminded of the joys of cereal as I downed bowl after sweet bowl this summer, I was envigorated to begin my creal quest anew. And then I saw it. Glowing like a beacon among the many mueslix(es) at the Pak ‘n Save:

Double Crunch! ?
Ummm… yes please.

Imagine Honey Bunches of Oats (my second favorite cereal) with dried apricots added in.

The best darned thing on this side of the Tasman.

J. & K. Crew

I’m going through some serious baby withdrawl. Going from spending almost every minute of every day with Tilda and Annie to none has been a bigger blow to my system than the jet lag I’m fighting. To make it worse, they’ve been away at a wedding all weekend and have been un-Skype-able. I’m sure Annie has forgotten who I am already. And Tilda? She picked the day after I left to start walking. Dagger to the heart T, dagger to the heart.

I’ve been easing my heartache by retouching some of the portraits I took on my last weekend in D.C. My half-day photographer stint made me appreciate just how hard it is to take family portraits. And the kids are only half the problem. I would finally get Annie and Tilda to smile and Joe and Kristen would be looking down at them, I can only imagine thinking “Wow, I made some good looking kids”. Snap out of it and look at the camera already! Jen, I don’t know how you do it.

We shot at Glen Echo Park. Funny how a run-down amusement park could be the perfect setting for both horror movies and family portraits. Out of well over 200 shots I think I came away with a dozen that I like. Oh well, those will have to hold me over until next summer I suppose. Here are some of my favorites from that day. Some are retouched slightly. Most are not.

23 Horse-ridden Days

Air travel is truly amazing. I woke up on September 9th in Washington D.C. at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. I woke up on September 11th at 32,000 feet above the Pacific to an incredible sunrise. And here I am at 4 a.m (International Date Line East or New Zealand Standard Time) on September 12th lying in bed in our house truck wishing the rooster next door the most painful of deaths.

The body does not adjust to time changes as easily as my trusty travel alarm clock. So here I lay suffering the pangs of pre-dawn jet lag.

I heard once that this new-fangeled ailment exists because the human mind can only adapt to new surroundings as quickly as the human body could propel itself into them. Jet lag wouldn’t exist if we limited our pace of travel to man-speed, not machine-speed. How far could someone possibly walk in a day? 100 miles? Is that the evolutionary limit to the amount we should travel per day?

I’m willing to stretch that to a horse-ridden day. I remember learning in elementary school that the conspicuous symmetry of the midwestern territories is due to the limits of one man riding one horse as far as he could in a day. (Mr. Oklahoma should have gotten a better horse). If that’s true we can up our speed to about 300 miles per day.

It’s about 7,000 miles from D.C. to New Zealand. So my mind should be arriving in another 22 days. Wish me luck until then.

Home Again Home Again

At 6:0o P.M. on September 9th, I leave from Washington D.C. to head home. With any luck after passing over Appalachia, vast expanses of corn and wheat, and the Rockies, I will arrive in L.A. with plenty of time to make my 11:45 connection to Auckland. Then, and this is the crazy part, after a 14 hour flight I will arrive in Auckland around 9 A.M. on September 11th.
Wait! What happened to September 10th?
I’m still not quite sure about that one. Somehow I just miss an entire day of existence. And not just any day. September 10th just happens to be the birthday of two significant people in my life. Becky, a childhood friend, and Kristen, my amazingly talented, slightly older, much more grown-up sister. Does this mean they both get to skip #29 this year? I don’t think they’d mind.
I am so excited to get back to Raglan. There is a lot waiting there for me… good surf, veggie growing, the start of summer. But most of all I cannot wait to see Nelson. I can’t explain how much I miss him. Three months is a long time. Most of it went by quickly, but these last few hours are torturous.
Thankfully I have lots to do to keep me busy. Finishing packing is the number one priority. OK, maybe cuddling the babies is number one. What are we thinking leaving these beautiful faces for another year?



Scotty and Brady



I know, I know. I haven’t posted in a long time. You eight followers must be on the edge of your collective seats (Well, besides the fact that I’ve been living with several of you over the past few weeks). But there is a valid reason for the lack of posts. I have been busy.
What have I been busy with?
Becoming a master. It’s hard work, you know.
But let me be the first to introduce Dani Lejnieks, Master in the Arts of International Education. Or Danielle Lejnieks, M.A. Or Master Dani. Yes, Master Dani. Sounds good.