Giving Thanks

Before setting up for our amazing Thanksgiving / housewarming / election celebration party.

And after…

One of the two turkeys we made for the day.

The artsy idea was to get the turkey / palm tree juxtaposition to contrast with pictures of autumn leaves and frosty pumpkins but it wasn’t so great… if I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have noticed.

This bird was done on a beer can chicken holder gadget in the smoker and came out superbly. Turkeys here aren’t as big as in the 🇺🇸. Of course a good cook can make do with any old setup, just like Chris Froome could beat me on any old bike. But my new BBQ gadget (the Char-Broil Big Easy if you’re in the market) really has made me into a star despite my lack of innate talent or formal training in the grilling arts.

Almost unbelievably, that’s the last picture. We had 60-70 people from several unrelated contexts (other than knowing one or both of us). I went into full mingle mode and didn’t pick up my phone till it was over.

It was a great party though!

And so this is Christmas

For so many reasons, it’s gonna be a weird Christmas this year. There are plenty of reasons to be happy of course, and hopeful, and plenty of ways to make merry in our bubbles. But still. Weird.

Putting up the tree on Lumsden Green in Newmarket.

Our full size tree because we now have a full size living room.

Getting used to the idea of summertime Christmas.

Waitangi Day 2020

Waitangi Day

Chuffed! NZ has its own Google Doodle celebrating Waitangi Day today, yay! The Prime Minister would have made this announcement herself, but she was busy cooking breakfast for the people gathered at the Treaty Grounds for the annual celebration. Because she’s awesome like that.

jacinda

I can see clearly now

We rang in the New Year with sparklers and actually stayed awake long enough to see the fireworks from the Sky Tower. Here’s hoping for literal and metaphorical 20/20 vision in the coming year.

Franklin Road 2019

Auckland’s Christmas decoration capital did not disappoint on Christmas Eve…

From minimalist modern…

to full-on Griswold…

Fine art…

to a really eerily lifelike Rowan Atkinson…

And some residents who only do the minimum required to stay on the street…

And finally there were the houses that tried to remind us we’re not in the northern hemisphere any more…

Merry Christmas 2019!!!

Santa’s last stand

This giant Santa has been threatened with retirement for over 20 years, but they say this is really positively his last season.

It has been voted “creepiest Christmas decoration ” in numerous polls.

All fawked up

New Zealanders love their fireworks, and there are lots of big civic displays. But private fireworks is a different story. You can only buy them one week a year, leading up to Guy Fawkes Day on the 5th of November. You can set them off anytime, but most people go big on Bonfire Night, as it’s often called.

While Australia and California and the Amazon burn, Auckland’s wet climate means that this is about as bad as it gets… reason #423 to live here.

Diwali lunch

It was a treat to join a bunch of my team for Diwali celebration the other day. Lots of people dressed up, as you can see. We ate at the same restaurant I ate at my very first day of work here.

On top of Mt. Eden

We got out on the tandem on Anzac Day and rode up to the top of Mt. Eden. Actually we had to walk up the last part.

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for Prince William’s appearance at the big ceremony later. We rode by the venue, which was heavily guarded, at least by NZ standards, in the wake of the Christchurch attacks. Weird to see the relatively scruffy and usually friendly NZ police with rifles in a ready position. Probably even weirder for the cops.

Happy New Year

Happy Year of the Earth-Pig!

(In an early recognition of the impending Chinese global takeover, I’m just calling it “New Year” instead of “Chinese New Year”)

Happy New Year

We set an alarm so we wouldn’t miss fireworks from the Sky Tower. Luckily all we had to do was go across the street!

Looked way better in person, especially through the binoculars.

From one of the first places to arrive in 2019 comes one of the last greetings you’re likely to receive: Happy New Year 🎊🎆!!!

Christmas dinner

We had a sumptuous Christmas buffet dinner with Alicia and Nat at the Stamford Plaza hotel. It cost a ton, but not actually compared to cooking. These cute gingerbread houses were out in the lobby.

Among several helpings of everything else, I did a thing I’ve only done once or twice before: truly ate all the oysters I wanted to.

The true meaning of the season

Boxing Day sales means no more huddling over the laptop.

The last TV we bought ourselves was in 2007. It cost three times as much, used more electricity, had a much lower resolution, no internet connection, etc. Moore’s Law is still in full effect, I’d say.

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