It’s called Spautumn

_DSC2058aWhite plumeria1 6

I’m gonna tell you a funny story. That’s not very funny! Actually, ignore that. I’m just going to ramble. And distract you with pretty pictures.

I went to New Zealand a couple of months ago (I actually started writing this only a month after getting back, but now it’s been 3. Oops.) and split my time between two Bens. It was amazing.

I took tons of photos, of course, and spent many hours editing, cropping, lightening… and then I deleted them all. I’m not sure how, though I have a hunch that I managed to select two folders while deleting something else. Woo!

It’s winter here (I got a winter birthday! In name only, because it felt like spring, but still. If I were in school I could bring cupcakes to class like all the school year birthday kids!) and leaves have changed colors, the sweet gum trees are dropping their seeds, and the Galahs are feasting on them at the side of the road.

Taken during a morning run
Galahs and Gumnuts 3

They didn’t like me very much.
Galahs and Gumnuts 4
I’ve started editing NZ pictures again, but… man that’s a daunting task and it’s going slowly. I hate redoing work.

So in the meantime you wanna know about something cool? Pretty flowers are cool! I took these on several different photo walks from late summer to winter.

Sometimes known as frangipani, the plumeria tree is really interesting. It’s produces beautiful flowers frequently used in Hawaiian leis and it looks like an emaciated succulent when bare.

I totally wasn’t exaggerating: strange cactus, perhaps? Plumeria leafless
Shortly after it leafs out, it starts the long process of blooming. Not that it takes a long time for it to flower, but that it just keeps going and going and going.

Early afternoon sun._DSC2072aWhite plumeria1 7

Late afternoon rain storm._DSC2007aPink plumeria1 1

I remember them first flowering in… December, maybe? At this point some of them have lost their leaves, and some still have a few buds developing into flowers.

 The flowers are just so perfect and lovely.

_DSC2176aPink plumeria 3

They feel really good, too. Texturally. They’re thick and meaty with a velvety skin.
_DSC2201aPink plumeria 5

I wonder if they’re edible? I bet they’d taste good, like orchids._DSC2221aPink plumeria 10

So anyway. All at the same time, while the sweet gums are dropping leaves and seeds, some plumeria are bare, others are budding, and the magnolias are starting to flower. wtf winter, Oz?

It’s totally Spautumn. New season. I’ve named it.

*_DSC2189aPink plumeria 1

A post about cereal. Totally not boring!

I’ve discovered a few things about breakfast cereals here in Australia. Here, I’ll list them.

1) Yes, I will discriminate.

Foods branded the same in two different countries can be two very different cereals. Example: Cheerios. In the US, Cheerios are a dense, small circle of crunchy cereal with very little sugar. In Australia, Cheerios are larger and airier and sweeter, making them more like a pale brown fruit loop to my sensitive palate.

Aha. After delving further into this using the wonders of the futuristic filing cabinet called the internet, it appears that Cheerios here are made and branded by a company named Uncle Tobys which in turn is owned by Nestle, made possible because of an international partnership with General Mills, which produces the cereal in the US. Phew. Long sentence.

Damnit, Nestle. You’re ruining my cereal.*

2) You say dried grape, I say you’re saying it wrong.

Did you folks in the US know that we use the word “raisin” to apply to all different types of dried grape and that’s not necessarily how the rest of the world does it? Here in Oz there are supposedly different kinds of dried grapes which are given different names. I say supposedly because I haven’t seen any small dried fruits here that aren’t sultana (Seedless Thompson) raisins. And in the US’ defense, I don’t remember seeing any non-sultana raisins the US that weren’t labelled with the grape they came from.

I liked this bit from the Wikipedia article on sultanas: “Sultana grape juice was fraudulently sold as being of Chardonnay grapes in Australia for wine making, due to the lower cost of Sultana grapes. The fraud was discovered in 2003 by Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation. It was considered the largest case of wine deception in Australian history.” Hah.

Anyway, the point is that what I’m familiar with as Raisin Bran is here named Sultana Bran.

Back when we first got here and I didn’t actually know what sultanas were or how the name came about, I found this very charming in a sort of, “I don’t know why it’s named that, but I’m going to imagine to myself that it is very fancy and the king of cereals and all the other cereals send it tithes because it is the most delicious.”

Sultana bran

It might also be worth noting that the box pictured here was selling for over seven dollars. Don’t worry, I didn’t buy it.

3) The ACTUAL king of cereals.

Did you ever have Fruit Squares cereals? Man, they were my favorite.

Image credit:

I miss them a lot. I remember plenty of times taking baggies of the dry cereal for breakfast or lunch or snacks and being quite happy with my meal experience. This isn’t going to help my “I’m not crazy” cred, but I even remember eating them with apple juice rather than milk and being in heaven… The apple squares were totally the best. Or maybe the raisin. Or the strawberry…

Anyway, every couple of years my longing for this discontinued cereal grows and I search online for a modern alternative. Or, even, a revival?

Well, here in Australia, I finally found it! Sort of!

Fruit Miniwheats

They were *on sale* even, so I bought them!

They’re a lot sweeter than I remember. They don’t so much taste of blackcurrents as they do mildly flavored sugar jelly. That was one of the things I loved about Fruit Squares – that they weren’t too sweet and really tasted like fruit. But I’ll take it, for now. Maybe if they get popular enough, they’ll bring back the old version… I can dream, ok?


*If you’re *really* interested in international cheerio differences, you can click on these thumbnails to see nutritional information. Daily recommended values are similar between US and AU, but you can ignore that and look simply at the grams. I only included this because I was curious and looked it up. The one in kilojoules is Australian.

Cheerios Oz nutritionCheerios US nutrition