Thursday, 16 January 2014

Christmas & New Year's 2013

I’ve been back at work for two weeks and it has been the Longest. Two. Weeks. Ever. After an amazing few weeks off, I did not look forward to returning to the office last Monday. This year for Christmas was spent much differently than last (last year we went on a North Island road trip with our good friend Chris from Canada) but definitely no less fun.
I unfortunately had to work until midday Christmas Eve. We were graciously invited to spend Christmas Day with Kevin’s handsome colleague Bunny and his delightful family in Days Bay, Eastbourne. The Mossmans were so welcoming in adopting us as orphans for a delicious Christmas lunch followed by wharf jumps into the ocean (I love Christmas in summertime!). Christmas Day ended up being an absolute stunner amidst the pretty average weather we had been seeing.
Bunny, Kevin, & I on Christmas Day
Kevin and I then whisked back home to Skype both our families, say our Merry Christmases, and then drove over to have traditional North American Christmas dinner with another colleague of Kevin’s and our good friends Jason and Kellie. To sum up our Christmas Day 2013, I can say we had amazing company and way too much food!
On Boxing Day, we loaded up Sophia and drove to Daisy Bank Farm in Martinborough to help set up La De Da, a music festival that Bunny’s brother puts on each year. The crew consisted of about 15-20 friends and friends of friends, most of who have worked at the festival each year. We spent four days building fences, scrimming (a word that was not previously in my vocabulary), building a cafe, setting up signs, driving quads (my first time!), etcetera, etcetera. I discovered that manual labour is hard. And that I would make a terrible construction worker.
View of La De Da from the top of the hill.
Papa Sam working hard behind the scenes.
Looking good boys!

Our entire stay was catered by the head chef at Pravda and we got to experience the whole “backstage” experience during the festival. Kevin and I have been to a ton of festivals but this was our first time behind-the-scenes. We worked in the mornings of the 30th (directing traffic) and 31st (cleaning out A$AP Rocky’s dressing room—yup, you heard that right), but were able to enjoy the afternoons and evenings of the festival. The highlights for me were definitely Flume, Opiuo, and Dead Prez (dream come true!).

Crew camping - home sweet home!
I'm not allowed to say who this is playing on a quad before going on stage. Take a wild guess.

Panoramic view of La De Da from crew camping.
We spent the 1st and 2nd January taking down everything we put up. This process is much quicker. We had a giant bonfire and burned a bunch of old materials, and sorted out all the confiscated liquor that people tried to sneak into the festival (this probably equated to over a tonne of unopened alcohol). We headed home in the evening of the 2nd and I had never been so happy to see my own bed! The weather in Wellington for the last three days of our holidays was awful, so I felt zero guilt about spending most of that time in bed catching up on my guilty-pleasure TV series (I won’t confess which ones).
Tonight, we head off to Taumarunui with 30 friends for a three-day canoe trip down the Wanganui river for Wellington Anniversary long weekend! Crossing my fingers for sunshine!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Final Bits & Bobs

Happy New Year my kittens! I hope everyone had a wonderfully scrumptious Christmas and New Year. We certainly did! 
I've been back at work for all of two days and think I need another holiday already. But once again I'm behind schedule, so I can't tell you about our holidays just yet. I need to finish off 2013 right. And what better what to do that than with a compilation of a number of bits and bobs from October through December to tantalise your eye sockets.
Impromptu BBQ at Red Rocks
We Wellingtonians like to take serious advantage of sunny days, as they come fairly few and fair between. Especially in springtime. So on a particularly beautiful Saturday afternoon in October, a bunch of the crew met up at Red Rocks to enjoy a delicious feed of sausages, chicken wings, potato wedges, and paua (abalone). Delish!
Matt cleaning out the paua.

Now that is a mean feed.
Mount Kaukau
Danielle and I spent another lovely afternoon walking the 500 steps up to Mount Kaukau (also known as Tarikaka), the highest point overseeing Wellington harbour. These little day-hikes are what makes Wellington such a liveable and incredible city.
Halloween, North-American Style
The family decided it would be considerate to show New Zealand how to celebrate Halloween properly. So when word got out that the North American Scum flat was having a party, the Kiwis were excited and everyone went all out with their costumes.
Kevin and I were inspired by the WOW show we saw in early October and decided to go as each other's better halves: half-man, half-woman. We destroyed some poor woman's wedding gown and Kevin took to the sewing machine with ease (he has much more patience with machines than I do). Natalie and I baked to the nines and we hosted the biggest party we've had to date. Unfortunately that was likely the last "biggest party ever" due to someone graciously vomiting in our neighbour's garden and it overall being a bit too late and a bit too loud. So we are laying low til everyone forgets it even happened before we strike again.

So domestic!


Mandatory day-after-Halloween breakfast that Kevin & I slept through...
Aurecon Masquerade Ball
The following weekend was the boys' company (Aurecon) mid-year function. The original party was supposed to be in August (hence "mid-year") but due to some shaky earthquakes at the time, it was postponed to November. This was good news for us, as we were in Canada in August. This year's theme was Quake-Delayed Masquerade. So we dawned our fanciest masks and clothes, and enjoyed a nice dinner, photo booth, and live band.

3 of the many Mexican wrestlers at the party

We couldn't help ourselves!

Mandatory day-after-Masquerade breakfast that we woke up in time for!
Camping in Carterton
A few weeks later Kevin and I ventured out to Carterton for a short weekend getaway. It would have been helpful, however, if we remembered to put gas in the tank at some point, as the car wouldn't start and we were scratching our heads trying to figure out what went wrong. Eventually, the problem was solved and off we went.
I will spare you the gooey romantic details, but it was certainly nice to get away just the two of us. Kevin went fly-fishing while I stayed at the campsite knitting (yes, I'm aware that we are both 80). On our way home, we stopped at our mandatory rest stop, The Big Apple, for a delicious real-fruit ice cream--a Kiwi favourite.

Sophia looking her finest. Now with zippered-access!


Best. Ice cream. Ever. 
A little belated for us Canadian folk, but we were able to celebrate American Thanksgiving in style with our American and Kiwi friends. Way too much food (with ALL the fixings) and SO GOOD!

Sending my love out to everyone for 2014! I am looking forward to the many adventures to come.