Thursday, March 31, 2011

Auckland Horn Day

I guess it's Musical Thursday here on my blog. Just going through the NZ photos and I see that next up is a bit more music that I'd like to show you. :o) In December, the inaugural Auckland Horn Day was held at the practice hall of the Auckland Philharmonia. Thanks to Laurel's fun and enthusiastic horn teacher, Jillian (and her friend Emma), the French horn players of New Zealand had their first (of many, I have no doubt!) day all to themselves, celebrating their lovely instruments.

Players of all ages and skill level came from all over New Zealand and even as far away as Australia to partake in a no holds barred, all-out French horn love fest. Most had prepared a solo or small group performance (even Laurel, whose horn was decorated with tinsel for Christmas) and then they broke into groups to work on some pieces to perform together.

It was really cool to see the pros working with the beginners and also to see that at least one beginner was well past the usual beginning age. Music has no boundaries of age or hair colour!!

Laurel had a blast. Such a fun gathering definitely helped to cement her interest and we both felt lucky to have been part of something so unique and heartfelt. Thanks Jill! :o) And thanks, too, for the history of the Kiwi asparagus roll, without which our time in New Zealand would most certainly have been a complete waste.

♫ ♫ K.

The music

Just heard one of my favourite songs from NZ on the iPad's shuffle. Wherever I am, in the house working or driving in the car, if a New Zealand band comes on, I am instantly twice as happy as I was two seconds before. Thought I'd put together a little playlist of bands that I discovered there. Last week I even heard one of them on XM's Alt Nation in the car! Yay Kiwis!!!!

OK, so these are from the time spanning last July through February and so they aren't brand new, hot off the presses, but chances are they're new to you! :o)

I'm going to start you off with Tokyo Keys, the first band I noticed a few days into our stay on one of the Auckland radio stations. I tried typing some lyrics into Google to find out who they were, but to no avail. Finally I heard the song again and the DJ actually said who they were, but I couldn't understand what the hell he said! After a few tries on Google again, I finally came up with Tokyo Keys. The first song was Coming Home and they didn't even have anything available for purchase at that point. Now there's an EP on iTunes and I love all of it.

Tokyo Keys

Brooke Fraser. Something in the Water. OMG. FANTASTIC song. I have to buy the whole album.

I've got halos made of summer, rhythms made of spring
What she wears, what she wears, what she wears
I've got crowns of words a-woven, each one a song to sing
Oh I sing, oh I sing, oh I sing

Something In the Water - Single - Brooke Fraser

The Phoenix Foundation did the music for a wonderful Kiwi film called Boy. But that's not even where I first heard them.

The Phoenix Foundation

Young Blood by The Naked and Famous is such a fun song. Play it really, really loud on a nice day with your windows down.

Passive Me Aggressive You - The Naked and Famous

I only know one song by Opshop, but it's cool enough to buy more. And so I'm completing my album at this very moment. Take a listen to Pins and Needles to start with.


Let me know if any of you find anything you like here. I'd love to hear what you think!

And now I am off to pick up my doggies at the kennel and get some groceries back into the empty kitchen. Our 25 year old (not kidding) refrigerator conked out over a week ago and it was finally fixed this morning. Huge hooray.

Without music, life would be a mistake ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, March 25, 2011

The accent just kills me

Our pallet of boxes arrived today from New Zealand and everything we pull out makes us want to be there again, so Laurel and I are looking through some of our videos and I'm trying not to cry. I loved the school song at Churchill Park. So innocent and sweet and how could anyone not fall for that accent?? I apologize for the lousy quality of this. I should have taken Dennis's video camera.

Ponsonby, some beachy-ness, and dairy treat ingenuity

Kia Ora!! How's everyone? We're about to embark on our 2011 Spring Break, which consists so far of 35 degrees (Fahrenheit!) and a few cookies from Panera. We'll work on improving this scenario though. I was just looking through a few photos in the next folder and those would be Ponsonby's Christmas in the park and then some miscellaneous shots from a low tide walk on the beach from Clouston St. up to Karaka Bay. Ready? Here we go, here we go.

Ponsonby is a very hip suburb close to downtown Auckland. Fun restaurants and shops, cool houses, lots of trees. Sprinkled with tolerance. All good.

These next shots weren't in Ponsonby, but they were taken that same day. I hope I don't get any points taken off.

Weird sea thingies, anyone?

How about a couple extra shots that couldn't be much more random. The "milkshakes" in New Zealand are probably never going to make it to any of our highlights lists. You know by now that there's almost nothing I'm going to say to dis the Kiwis, but damn people, visit a Dairy Queen before you start selling something called a milkshake! They are supposed to be thick and made with ice cream! We finally made our own with a $10 mixer in a big bowl.

And I'm sorry, but if any of you think you can try to out-class me and my family -- good luck! We are stunning examples of etiquette.

Stay warm everybody. Happy spring break!
xo, K.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve, Garrettsville, Ohio

An Ohio post for a small diversion this Thursday morning. Last weekend we had to spend part of a beautiful day finding some new shoes for Trey (size 10??) at the outlets down in Aurora, so to make up for that I found this gorgeous state park down that way. It was probably 1/2 hour from Solon, out 422 and down Rt. 700. Two beautiful and interesting hiking trails with bogs, lakes, wildlife, remains of very old buildings, and soon wildflowers everywhere.

Now that we've had our eyes opened to the outdoors in New Zealand, we have found a whole new world right here at home, just waiting to be explored and we are happy to do so!

All the crazy colours in this mess of thorns were so cool!

NZ friends, this is an Amish buggy, being pulled by a horse.

Have a great day y'all!
xo, K.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Otorohanga to Te Anga to Kawhia to Raglan

Thank you for your patience as we return from a small break to present: The Rest of the Photos from our loop around the middle of the North Island.

We wanted to see three things along that road from Waitomo to Te Anga. There are caves, a waterfall, and an enormous prehistoric looking natural bridge created by an entire cave system's collapse. This is what you see from above as you wander through some farmer's land:

Gorgeous, gorgeous. Love that all of this amazing natural beauty seems to always be in the middle of nowhere on someone's farm.

Marokopa Falls and some bee boxes. Love those bee boxes!!

As we made our way up a ways toward Kawhia (pronounced with that wh=F sound of the Maori language, so it's Ka' - fi-a) we were greeted by some stunning harbors and bays. Not a soul around, no other cars, just this pure amazing beauty. Oh my gosh, do I love that place!!!

What do you all think the dog's name might be? I like to think possibly his name is Burl or Frank. Maybe he is a girl... Anyway, this is the Kawhia library.

From Kawhia, we were treated to more Kiwi driving. Thirty-some curvy miles of unsealed roads through mountains and along the water. We passed one car the whole way. No one threw up.

And then, there was Raglan. Known for its Beach Boys surfing vibe, we were anxious to check out the waves and the cute little town. Definitely wish we could've spent a couple of days there. Had their own cool radio station, too.

Lotsa photos today, eh cuzzies? Hope I didn't slow your computers down. Check back soon for more of beautiful Aotearoa!

xo, K.