Sunday, 29 March 2009

Home Sweet Home

On Thursday we said goodbye to Oakland...fortunately before our departure we made a point of visiting Bakesale Betty's twice to order her fried chicken sandwich - these guys are epic.. so yum yum.

Goodbye California, hello Boo Boo...

LIL: Hey Boo!

BOO: Hi! Welcome back, how was your trip?

LIL: Great, but I ate too much, didn't exercise enough and spent too much money - how was your stay in the Luxury Pet Resort?

BOO: Oh, ok, but yeah, I ate too much and didn't exercise enough. Didn't spend much money though.

LIL: It's good to be home...

BOO: You betcha, check out this weather - so good for washing! The sun is so shiny I have to squint my eyes!

LIL: I missed you Boo.

BOO: Yeah, I missed you too.

LIL: Hey Clarence - wassup? What did you get up to on the farm while we were gone?

CLARENCE: Not much. Just getting older. I went missing for a couple of days so they thought I'd died. But I came back. I always do.

LIL: Did you miss us?


LIL: Hey Pot - how was your stay in the cattery?

POT: Take that camera away from me. You suck. I hate it when you go away. I'm never talking to you again.

There's no place like home.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The best place in Berkeley

Yesterday after a strenuous trip to SFMOMA we went to Ici in Berkeley - this is the best icecream parlour I have ever seen - the flavours were crazy and made it so hard to chose.

I ended up choosing a double cone with honey-sage-candied walnut flavour and brown sugar-clove flavour.

Unbelievably good.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Ah, exactly what year is it?

So we've been in Oakland, CA for a few days now and it is pretty awesome, we're not technically in San Francisco but we're real close. We're staying with Stephanie and Matt and they have a pretty cool pad. On the first night we were here, Stephanie and I played My Little Ponies with her immense collection.

But then on the following day the most amazing thing happened - I got to see the Labyrinth on the big screen. Nutso. My fave movie ever happened to be playing in El Cerrito:

Are we actually back in 1987 or what?

Friday, 20 March 2009

Snippets of Austin

Well, well well. What a busy few days we've had in this small town. After having thoroughly explored the central area, I can say that Austin, TX is a pretty cool place. Lots of hip young folks (especially now the music part of SXSW has begun) - lots of skinny jeans, tattoos, sunglasses and cowboy shirts.

We had out first famous Texan BBQ the other night and it was pretty good, but not amazing, but it was a free one put on by the event, so they were catering for like 3000 people, so that might explain it. Something I found far more appetising was the meal we had in a little place called Woodland in SoCo (that's South Congress) was so cool, with these cool green panels on the wall, and the food was recognisable (we even managed to get ourselves a fresh green salad - something we have struggled with thus far).

In other news from Texas, I decided to join the legions and get myself some second hand cowboy boots:

They're not as decorative as some, but I tried some full-on embroidered ones on and the girl in the shop was like - you have to own those boots and if you don't own them you won't be able to make it work. What can I say? I just didn't think I could own them - but these boots here, I totally own those boots (I owned them so much last night I now have deep sore blisters on the pads of my little toes).

Which brings me to the first night of the music stuff which began last night - it is mental. There are 2685 official SXSW music events and 2427 unofficial ones - that's over 5000 gigs in 5 days!!!

It's pretty hard just knowing where to start. Last night's highlights were Ladyhawke (go NZ!), and Camera Obscura who played in a huge church which made a nice change from the Texan bars...awesome.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Austin, TX

Well, here we are - we've been here a day or so and it is pretty nuts. Can I just say that I wish I had discovered the joy of anxiety medication ages ago - they made flying a whole new experience - I didn't sweat, or cry, or gasp when the plane got bumpy and I actually slept - SLEPT - while on board which is a first for me (yes, last year when we went to Paris I stayed awake the entire time so that I could be really ready for when the plane plummeted from the sky). So I arrived in Austin, TX feeling vaguely normal, which was a plus.

We are staying in a really cute little house South of downtown with a pretty sweet set up - the woman renting it to us was so excited about have some New Zealanders staying there she went and bought us some "Wallaby Yoghurt" to make us feel at home. Nice.

The conference started yesterday - at the moment it's mainly just the film and interactive arms and Matt and Tim are here for the interactive part - can i just say that I didn't realise just how geeky they are. Actually, I didn't realise how geeky the whole world has become - i thought I had my finger on the geek-pulse what with my maths degree etc, but man, technology is advancing the geek network at the speed of light (well, not quite that fast but pretty darn fast).

Here are the geeks:

I tagged along to a coupld of seminars (and sat there knitting) and man I didn't have a clue what they were talking about - the only word I understood was 'blog', but there were tumblrs, flickrs, twitters, microblogs, interfaces blah blah blah blah. I thought I was a huge nerd, but I've got nothing on these guys.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

An omission

I meant to include this photo as well - because Matt looks so dapper. He's talking to one of the designers of the Project Lyttelton "Digg This" garden. This was a pretty modest garden, but it had the most bees (which must be a good sign) and I liked the way they had cut the corrugated iron backing to replicate the Port Hills.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Let the flower show begin...

So last night was the VIP opening night for the Ellerslie Flower Show for fancy pants like Matt and I. We drank champagne (no luck on the Pimms front alas) and ate as many canapes as we could (money's a bit tight so we had to make it do for dinner).

I wore an awesome frock (if I do say so myself) and Matt donned his Crane Brothers suit. I actually had at least three people stop me to tell me my dress was awesome (and no, it hasn't gone to my head at all), but I forgot to get a photo of it.

I've never been to a flower show before, so I don't know how this one compares with others, but it was pretty good. I've got lots of photos of the gardens which stood out for me...

The carnivorous garden (if I were a decent reporter I would know who put these gardens together - I'll blame it on the bubbles):

A garden with tiny crocuses nestled around giant acorns (you can't actually see the crocuses in the photo but they were there):

A gorgeous kitchen garden complete with preserves (hmm, why would that one appeal to me?):

This one was my personal favourite - designed by Blue Gecko - a pod containing suspended chairs hanging over a pond - doesn't sound like much, but there were two features which took my fancy - the first was that the pond was apparently lined with coffee beans to make it look completely black, and the second was that the mulch on the garden contained cocoa husks which meant that the entire display gave off the smell of.......CHOCOLATE! A chocolate smelling garden - nuts. What will they think of next eh?

The Supreme Winner for the event was a display that I hardy looked at prior to the awards ceremony and when it was announced the winner I kind of went .. huh? The one with the taxidermied animals? Basically, the display by Bush Telly involved an actual tiny production studio from which a number of live items will be filmed (and uploaded onto the world wide web) during the event. there was the little studio then 3 other areas which to my untrained eye looked just like bits of New Zealand bush and farmland. I was lucky enough to be able to chat directly with one of the judges (who were all flown in from international locations and have acted as judge of flower shows the world over) regarding the decision and why they chose this exhibit. Turns out it was partly due to their attention to detail and the realism of what they produced.

So I went back for a second look and decided it was pretty realistic..

...and even included a real live cow pat snuggled in amongst some very real pasture (see below). If I'd noticed that first time round I think I would have been far more into this display!

I also thought the possum trap was a nice touch:

So there you have it - the Ellerslie Flower Show review, by me.

Tune in soon for the SXSW review by me - we're off to Austin, Texas tomorrow! Yeee-har (I'm assuming everyone will talk like that and put a yee-har or a y'all at the end of every sentence but I'll let you know)!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Happy 100th post!

Yes that's right, this is post number 100 for The Good Life, a milestone which I am understandably proud of. I can't think of anything special to blog about in honor of this grand event, so I thought I'd just share some of our adventures of late.

This weekend surprised us with what was possibly the last hot summery day for several we took Boo to the Ashley Gorge for a picnic - it is a truly lovely spot which I will definitely miss having such easy access to when we eventually make our move to Christchurch (more of that later)...

After a picnic in the grass, Boo went for a dip in the water:

On Friday night we were cunning enough to get into the opening of the Christchurch Art Gallery's exhibition on Sir Miles Warren (actually cunning had nothing to do with it, it was more about being with the right person).... in our search for our perfect house we have looked at a couple designed by Sir Miles, and would be pretty smug if we could find someone who would sell us theirs. In fact, we visited one on Sunday (not for sale of course) which is potentially the loveliest we've seen yet, and I am quietly optimistic that it could be The One. I took the owner some warm home made gingernuts which I'm sure will have helped. We'll see.

In other goings on around town, the Ellerslie Flower Show goes ahead this week for the first time in Christchurch - it's a pretty big deal, the city is getting quite excited. There has been a window display competition to celebrate the event - I didn't actually see too many entrants, but of the ones I saw, the window of Dusk in Poplar Lane was definitely my fave:

Matt and I are lucky enough to be going to the VIP Garden Party (again, luck actually had nothing to do with it....) which is on the night before the show is open to the public... I am having difficulty choosing a frock, Matt will be wearing a suit, and I've got my fingers crossed that there will be some Pimms available on the night. Will let you know.

Saturday, 7 March 2009


For those who haven't met him, this is Clarence. An old old man. He lives outside on the farm and is the last in a long line of ginger farm cats.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I have a baby pumpkin! Only one, but that's better than nothing.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Autumn already?

I can't believe how quickly summer has disappeared. We are using the heater, Boo is miserable and wet, and the mornings are increasingly dark. Brrrr. Thankfully we're off to Texas and San Francisco next week for some springtime fine in the US of A - I'm not sure it will actually be warmer, but it will be nice to leave this place behind for a couple of weeks. Plus, I can pick up some more gin duty free on the way back. Heck, I may as well get some on the way there too!

The photo above is the asparagus outside our kitchen window which now has berries on it - so pretty covered in morning rain.

Small parts of the garden still have little peeks of flowers - most of which are actually on the lettuces which went to seed.

Ah, flowers.