Monday, March 31, 2014

My eldest daughter has been very non-interested in my career thus far. Apparently, if something doesn't involve talking trains, talking cars, or singing penguins, it just doesn't rate on the Jancie scale. Naturally, I have thought of changing careers, perhaps becoming an engineer or an Antarctic ornithologist...I am getting on in years, and may have already missed my race car driving window.

Then I started thinking: Maybe I should return to my roots. We're headed back to Southern California in a few weeks. Jancie has never heard of Disneyland, but I am certain she wants to go. What could be more impressive than the guy who runs Captain EO?
Also, Disneyland has gotten unaffordable for all but richest Americans (and perhaps the world's richest foreign tourists); getting into Disneyland free is easily the best perk of working at Disneyland (followed closely by meeting your future spouse).

But then I started thinking: I quit that job because it paid so little. Will my daughter still respect me if I can't afford a set of souvenir mouse ears? And probably Nicole will want a matching set for Zooey. The math just does not work out.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Reopen the Upjohn Company Pharmacy. Yes, a pharmacy. Right there on Main Street, USA. Where could anyone find a better location for a pharmacy?
And so we are off on a new/old adventure. Goodbye to my Kiwi friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances. It has been a mostly pleasant 4+ years. Hello Disneyland, California.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Weekend in Hawke's Bay

Napier has so many public gardens, I often think my taxes should be higher. Here are Nicole, Jancie, and Zooey at the Bluff Hill Lookout, which might not quite qualify as a garden...

Above are Zooey learning to do something (back at home) and Jancie trying to catch a butterfly at the Centennial Gardens.

And in case you were wondering how to best spend two dollars:
Kiwi Wedding
Taking a self portrait requires a lot of skill when you do not
have a phone with a self facing camera.
Interesting thing about New Zealand dining: restaurants make no attempt to turn over tables. If you are a very slow eater, this feature is a good thing. If you like showing up places without reservations, you may be in for trouble. Even a restaurant that looks empty probably has at least one party for each table that night, so you will not be seated before anyone with a booking; and there are not very many places that keep wait lists, as it is likely the restaurant will close before anyone leaves.

My instructions were to photograph the bride before she
took her hair down. Mrs. Wakefield, you really messed
up the depth of field in this photo.

And so it goes with weddings. Hawke's Bay is blessed with many wineries offering beautiful places to get married. Apparently, when planning your special day, you get the entire day to work with. We arrived a little early (around 3PM) for what we thought was an afternoon wedding. We were pretty close to the first guests to leave (at around 10PM) because we started worrying about Zooey and Jancie, who were at home with their grandparents.

Other than the length, the only things I found unusual (as an American) about the wedding were: 1) Signing the marriage certificate in the middle of the ceremony and 2) A cheese cake; no, not a cheesecake, a cake made of cheese...tiered like a wedding cake. Blue cheese, brie...maybe cheddar for the base? Nicole was in cheese heaven.