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.

Hot enough for ya?

These Korean wings were advertised as “dangerously hot.” But here in NZ, I’ve learned not to worry too much so I told them to bring it on.

The cook came out to say “are you sure?”

Game on.

Sweating, flushed, coughing, snot running from my nose, I finished the whole plate. They brought me more (un-spicy) chicken to honor my courage and fortitude.

We exchanged a ceremonial bow and went back to our respective days.

Cream of the crop -or- Tooting my own horn

The band is having a concert in a couple of weeks. I’d suggest you all fly in, but you wouldn’t be out of quarantine!

I don’t play a big role in this band… I’m one of the worst musicians in the group, so I mostly try not to goof too much or too loudly. My status is reflected in the poster… I’m cropped out except for a knee on the far right!

Around North Head 2020

For the second year running (no, swimming) I completed the Devonport Swim Club’s Round North Head swim.

Keen readers will see that I’m not wearing a wetsuit this year. This swim is known for its Freedom Division, which lets you enter the water in just your swim costume, chuck said costume into a boat which goes off toward the finish line, and then you retrieve your togs just before exiting the water.

Titillating but chilly! And losing the sleek floaty wetsuit meant I was about 8 minutes slower this time.

Surely the sight of all those beautiful nude swimmer bodies was worth the blue lips and shivers? Sadly no… (despite looking carefully) I didn’t see a darn thing I wouldn’t have seen on the beach due to the roiled-up cloudy water. As they would say if they were as clever as me: turbidity prevented turgidity!

The hula tree

I saw this tree on Halloween, so I don’t actually know if it was dressed up just for the day, or if it’s like this all the time. Either way it’s awesome.

The Beekeeper’s Butt

I came across this unlikely pair as I was walking to work a few weeks ago. The beekeeper, with proper personal protective equipment, was probably on call via her local apiarists club… that’s a thing here in NZ. When a swarm happens, someone comes along and scoops them all up and puts them in a hive.

But the local worker was unfazed by all of the buzzing bees, and wanted to record the whole thing, so she did.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day

Although it won’t be official for a few weeks, Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party has won enough votes to govern NZ alone for the next three years. The opposition National party didn’t have a credible alternative policy, and its leadership was beset by internal and personal problems. Jacinda’s coalition partner NZ First (finally) self-destructed. The Greens, the Māori party and Libertarian ACT all did ok, but not enough to have a guaranteed role in shaping policy.

The most interesting parts of the election are the least certain till all the votes are counted: referendums on legalizing recreational marijuana and euthanasia. In my circles, sentiment seems to be leaning in favor of both, but let’s see.

Even with a pandemic delay, the campaign was blissfully short and substantive. NZ faces a lot of problems, as does the whole world. It’s not clear how this or any government will solve them… but by a lot of measures this government has in fact outperformed the entire world recently.

So congrats Jacinda and Let’s Keep Moving!!

Seven More Days

For the second time we got to be in the audience for the taping of Seven Days, a great NZ comedy panel show focused loosely on the week’s news.

This turned out to be the Election Special edition so we were treated to appearances by several MPs including Judith “Crusher” Collins, who is the Leader of the Opposition. If her party wins, she would be Prime Minister. Not bloody likely according to all the polls.

We disagree on most everything politically, but by all accounts her reputation as a person who eats babies for breakfast is undeserved.

Night Night

Our new neighborhood boasts the North Shore instance of Auckland’s traveling night market. Each Sunday evening part of the shopping center parking lot is crammed up with food and trinket vendors, and people like us wander around and buy stuff. People like teenagers wander around and try to get noticed by other teenagers. There was a pretty good guitarist, face painting, etc.

We had a perfectly good Japanese fried chicken burger. We probably won’t go back every week, but it was fun enough. More things to do and explore.

More Rainbow

There’s the homestead in the afternoon, rainbow and all.

I hoped to get the right angle so that the house was the pot o’ gold, but that would have required a drone. Next time…

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