Sunday, July 24, 2011

Breakfast, SkyTower, Flesh n' Fruity

The morning of our last full day in Auckland, we had breakfast at what had become legend in my kids' minds: The Hyatt Regency Auckland's breakfast buffet. We stayed there our first few nights in town until we got the house settled, and each morning we'd wake up at whatever insane jet-lagged time -- maybe 4am?  -- and wait till the restaurant downstairs opened at 6. They had a delicious array of familiar and slightly odd. And they would cook to order pancakes, eggs, omelets, bacon (real American-ish bacon!!), sausage... The stuff dreams are made of for the 10 and 13 year old crowd.

And after this magnificence we walked over to the SkyTower. The one semi-recognizable symbol of Auckland. We'd seen it 1000 times and had to go up to the top before we left. I wish we'd done the jump. If you watch The Biggest Loser (which we became fans of after they aired two weeks in a row from NZ), you might remember the contestants doing this.

Inside the SkyTower and going up:

Panoramic view all around Auckland and beyond. We could see where we lived and the streets that we drove every day. Cool!

Flesh N' FruitY!!
Nice n' flesh... oh yeah.

I'm such a sucker for painted brick walls.

And, that night, our last dinner at Kahvé down in St Heliers. One of our favorite spots. Sure do miss it.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Birthday girl

My lovely friend, Pam, has suggested that I should post more photos of myself, which is such a kind request, but I'm afraid it's impossible as almost no photos of me exist. I do have this one from the Monday before we moved back to the States. It was my 41st birthday and Dennis took me to a restaurant that I'd read about: Peter Gordon's Dine, in downtown Auckland. I tried like hell to straighten my frizzy NZ 'do and actually wore a fun little dress that Laurel and I found in Queenstown. Of this I do indeed have a photo.

And I highly recommend Dine.

As you can see from the looks of the weather (typical Auckland!) my hair did not remain straight for long. 

But we stopped in the SkyCity Casino on our way back to the car and won a quick bit of cash. Not a bad take for 15 minutes! 

Happy birthday to me! 

xo, K.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Karin Japanese Restaurant!

I have spent 41 and 1/2 years spelling my very common, but strangely spelled, 60s and 70s name. I don't even particularly like the name (sorry mum), and yet I still have to give it extra attention by pointing out the "i" instead of the "e" on a regular basis. So I was quite excited to see a Japanese restaurant in Parnell called Karin. The owners and chef didn't speak much English and so I really didn't get a good explanation, but the kids and I had a wonderful lunch there during our last week in Auckland. I can only assume that if I were Japanese, my name would be not only revered but spelled more conveniently. 

We each were given soup with our bento boxes (which I love, by the way!) but no spoons. We looked around and saw that all of the Japanese people there were drinking out of their bowls. Cool!

I had the Karin bento box of course. Those bento boxes are the coolest! I don't like a whole lot of one thing to eat. I'm a bit of a grazer. So a fancy wooden box with tiny compartments filled with a variety of mysterious foods was very fun!

It's 8am on Thursday morning in New Zealand right now. I bet the Karin chef has already been to the Auckland Fish Market and is preparing his fish for sushi right now. We hope he has a good day filled with slurping friendly customers.


Sand collectors

Kia Ora from the infirmary ward of our household as we fight off our family plague of 2011. Thank God this didn't happen exactly one year ago as we prepared to leave for New Zealand, but as it is, Laurel and I are missing a family vacation. We weren't up for the trip to northern Michigan, so the boys took the boat and some kayaks and golf clubs and left yesterday morning without us. That would be a total bummer, except that I know people in much worse situations right now and so we're thankful to be able to rest and watch movies (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Tangled, Harry Potter 1-6). And I am very thankful that we found out this morning that it's NOT mono, which I've already had way too much experience with.

So I will re-live some more lovely Kiwi memories while Rapunzel and Flynn Rider spar in the background. I think that's a pretty good afternoon. Come along now, as my kids and I collect spice jars full of sand from each of our favorite local beaches: St Heliers, Ladies Bay, Clouston Street, and the sand spit at the Tahuna Torea nature preserve. We braved swooping seagulls, partially hidden beach perverts, and angry mobs of hungry ducks and, in the end, had four illegal jars of bits of real New Zealand that we'd walked on for six months and fallen in love with. I figured they'd never make it through Customs and back to me in Ohio, but they did. And I treasure them.

Here's a map of all of these spots. Clouston Street is between Karaka Bay and the sand spit. And, of course (apologies for the repetition, might have new readers!), we lived on the little point near the top of the map directly in the center.

We could walk to each and every one of these beaches. I so miss that.

We picked up some lunch before the sand spit and the ducks and Pukekos thought it might be for them.

Another random shot -- mailed this postcard that same day to Trey's friend, DJ, to let him know that we were coming home soon. Love how Trey wrote "I live here" on it. Yes, we did! We lived there.

Back to Rapunzel and her evil mother. And some hot tea, maybe? I've probably already had today's allotment of Swiss Cake Rolls. I will try to get motivated for some healthy fruit.

XO to all! K.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Viaduct Harbor, one last dinner

Oops, I made a little mistake in the last post. It was Dennis's birthday at Muriwai, not our anniversary. That's what happens when you bunch everything up togther in such a traffic jam like that. Our last dinner at Viaduct Harbor, in downtown Auckland was our anniversary dinner.

The kids went with us to this really nice restaurant, Kermadec, that Dennis liked a lot from business dinners. We got all dressed up (haha, sadly, for us that means no yoga pants) and I unwisely wore white pants. White pants that would soon enough be doused in red wine in spectacular style by Laurel who tends to do that sort of thing.

But we looked pretty good to start off the evening, even if I ended up resembling a horror movie victim, I swear we did. And by the time we finished and walked back to the car, the harbor was all lit up and it was a beautiful night to celebrate 18 years together and two gorgeous, smart (somewhat klutzy) kids.

Time for the USA girls soccer team to whoop up on Japan now. Gotta go. xoxo to all! K.