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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


Making sloths seem speedy

What happens when the you exceed your monthly bandwidth cap?

Your interweb speed slows. Really, really slows. Sloooooooooooooooooooows.

Makes it hard to sneak a quick interweb break in between packing boxes. I'm just saying...

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Our trip to Gosford, or how the salmon rissole won the day

We're just back from Gosford (about an hour out of Sydney on the NSW central coast - that's Australia) and our Australian post-wedding party.

As usual, we had a fantastic time staying with Grandma and Auntie Mavis (technically David's grandmother and great-aunt, but we tend to refer to them as "the grandmas"). We hung out, ate, hung out some more, ate, ate some more... You get the picture.

The ostensible purpose of the trip was a lovely post-wedding luncheon, but I'm fairly convinced that it was all part of a nefarious plot to convert me to eating salmon rissoles. More on that later...

The luncheon was really lovely. I got the chance to wear my wedding dress again (sadly, not the veil, though I tried hard to justify it!), and we all got the chance to spend some time with some of David's many relatives. It was much lower-key than the wedding: all we had to do was get dressed and turn up!

George, David's uncle, was the photographer for the day, and did such a fantastic job that we had trouble choosing which photos to put in the grandmas' album. As soon as we're packed and ready to move, we'll add some photos to my Flickr account.

After the luncheon - and the cake at afternoon tea time - some of the relatives came back to the grandmas'. For more food. Because in Gosford, you need to eat every few hours. Don't ask me why, it's just how it works (and it's lovely).

It was at this time that I was converted to the love of the salmon rissole. After numerous visits when I've declined the pickled herring, gefilte fish, and the rissoles, and any other fish-related dishes, I cracked.

Just as well, too - because the rissoles are amazing! They don't taste like salmon, which suits a non-fish-lover like me, and they are very moreish. I like them hot or cold, plain, or with horseradish cream and/ or spinach dip. I like them for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just as a snack in between.

It's only taken just over 5 years, and I'm converted. So converted, I have the recipe.

Considering how long it took me to eat any fish not covered in batter and deep-fried, I'd call this a huge success on the grandmas' part. Well done Auntie Mavis - they really are delicious!

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The cost of living (as measured in second hand Japanese cars)

How much does one month of short term accommodation in a fully-furnished apartment in the Dublin city centre cost? More or less exactly one fairly tidy 1990 Toyota Starlet GT Turbo as it turns out. So it was lucky for us that our 17-year old car is lusted after by many a young boy racer.

I decided to sell it on Trade Me using an auction. In the ad, I put my cell phone number in case anyone wanted to contact me to drop buy and check out the goods. Unbeknownst to me, I had attracted the attentions of large community of Toyota Startlet GT Turbo lovers, and they all clamored to call and text me at once. "How much do I want?", they would ask. "It's an auction - you're supposed to bid on it" I would say shortly followed by "No, I will not accept that cash offer unless you forgot a zero on the end."

Early in the afternoon, one Gerhard* (not real name) phoned to ask if he could look at the vehicle. He asked after my address which I gave him. He then asked if I could meet him half-way up Dominion Rd. No I told him, I can't. So he made plans to come and see me. A few hours later he phoned me to say he was directly outside my apartment to which I said, "Great, press button #18," to which he replied "are you on the corner of [insert random street names here]" to which I gave an emphatic "No." A short while late he called again to say he was now actually outside my apartment building, so I went down to see him. As I went outside I could see he was in the process of convincing some poor young lady he'd met on the street, my street, to give him her telephone number. Things did not look promising.

"Where is the car?" he asked. "In the carpark" I replied. Such was the character of the banter between us. I had decided that I would take Gerhard for an initial test drive to show him the capabilities of the car; specifically 1st and 2nd gear so that, duly appeased, he would then not feel the need to race around and put my life at risk. So I did that, and then we swapped, and he was fairly subdued except that he decided to turn left off a busy street without indicating when he was being tailed by a fast-moving bus. I closed my eyes.

After some protracted negotiations, Gerhard on behalf of his boy-cousin, and I, came to an agreement. I would withdraw the auction from Trade Me and Gerhard's cousin would pick up the car in a couple of Saturdays, just before we leave. He gave me a deposit. I gave him a detailed receipt. He asked for more detail, I provided it. This happened a few times. Soon the receipt read more like a novella. I was quite pleased with the plot - it had a strong narrative - Laura would have approved.

Unfortunately there was a problem withdrawing the auction from Trade Me and although no one could bid on it, and it said -"This auction has been withdrawn" - my phone number was still visible. So into the evening and the next day it went - *beep* *beep* "hi giv u 1500 cash for starlet", etc, etc.

I was originally going to talk about how expensive Dublin was, but I think the moral of the story is: always buy a sporty car because it's easy to sell it again. And fun to drive. I will miss you fairly tidy 1990 Toyota Starlet GT Turbo.

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The calm amidst the storm

Today we had a tidy apartment.

Correction: today, we had a tidy apartment between 11am and 4pm.

"How does that happen?" you might ask. And well you might.

We had potential tenants view the apartment today, so we needed to tidy. And after the viewing (more of which later) we went out, and didn't come back until 4pm, when we brought home boxes containing some of the remainders of my childhood.

Hence the tidiness window.

Now, a note on the viewing: rental agents, not necessarily so intelligent. Where was the talking up of the fabulous apartment? Where was the thorough - or, hell, halfway decent - knowledge of the great features of the apartment, and the building?

I, on the other hand, would make a superb rental agent. I know how to highlight the good stuff, and spin the bad stuff. I also know how to remember property details - or at least read them off the relevant sheet of paper!

Anyway, the people were interested, apparently, which is good news. Tenants = mortgage payments made. And we looooove mortgage payments being made. L-o-v-e, love.

I've just spent a few minutes semi-restoring the tidiness, in case these prospective tenants fall through, and others are shown through while we're away. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's all for nothing though...

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How I learned to knit

In response to Julie (aka the Samurai Knitter)'s question on where and when you learned to knit, and how, and what you did then.

I learned to knit when I was 8, I think, from Auntie Pat, my aunt and godmother.

Auntie Pat was an impressive knitter: she knit fast, and she knit a lot. Growing up, I don't remember anyone in her family ever wearing a machine-knit garment.

I'm afraid I don't remember why I learned to knit - or how, exactly. However, I do remember that I primarily knit for my mother. As in, I either made her something, or I made myself something that I subsequently hated and Mum wore.

I gave it up for a while at some point, though I did knit myself a spectacularly unflattering blue jersey in 1995.

Fast forward to 2005, when I took it back up again. This time, it was different: I could access attractive patterns and yarns via the Interweb. Our US-Argentina trip further whetted my appetite (and increased my stash), and I've been knitting fairly consistently ever since.

In a nice piece of symmetry, I also managed to get Auntie Pat back into knitting. She'd given up some years ago, but the gorgeous patterns and yarn I'd shown her got her excited again, and she's back in the habit.

I've also infected my friend Emily with the disease, and got my friend Natalie curious again. All I need to do now is get a new knitter on board... Volunteers?

Okay, enough fun stuff, back to more packing. Packing that, incidentally, means I am too busy to knit.

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City livin'

Somehow we both slept through the arrival of the Queen Mary 2 this morning, but I was delighted that we could see it berthed from our apartment. This is because it's too big for the normal cruise ship berth next to the Hilton (which we can't see), so they parked it up at a container terminal.

It is the biggest ocean liner in the world, but not the biggest cruise ship - there's one cruise ship that's bigger, that's the RMS Big Nuts.

We were home in time to see it leave tonight. It reversed out of its berth and swung around so that it was hidden behind the Scene 3 apartments (an important example of neo-communist-council-flat architecture). While there, the fireworks display was unleashed. I had expected the fireworks to come from the ship, but they came from somewhere near the viaduct. I guess that's because it was our fireworks for them, rather than the other way around.

The fireworks were pretty good, then 10 or so minutes later, the QM2 steamed off towards its next destination full to the gunnels of rich Amercians and diesel. As I speak it is out of view somewhere off Kohimarama following the shipping channel. Soon it'll round North Head and that's quite cool as it will in tower above Devonport (on the far side) and that looks surreal. Oh, here it goes now!

I'll miss living right in the city with such a great view. But there are always pros and cons. A con that comes to mind right now is some moron booming bass in a very unncessary way from their car or apartment across the road. It's not that cool and it doesn't pick up chicks but there is a constant stream of young men who haven't worked this out yet.



We did it! #6

A small collection of photos.

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Beginnings and endings

We're in a curious state of flux: looking wistfully back at what we've done - much of which we probably won't do again - and looking forward to new and exciting things in our future.

The beginnings are obvious: new wedded state (new jewellery!) , new life overseas, with (hopefully) great new jobs.

The endings are perhaps less obvious, but everywhere I look, I see "lasts". We had our work-related lasts almost a month ago now, but the personal lasts are coming thick and fast too. For example, we saw and said goodbye to some of my out-of-Auckland relatives after the wedding (hi Aunt Mary, Uncle Pat, Auntie Margaret, Uncle John!), and perhaps some of our families' friends too.

And as we pack - and boy, do we have a LOT of packing - we're constantly having lasts, sharing memories, and saying goodbye to things - and, at times, parts of our pasts.

Packing is hard work: choosing what to keep, throw away, or give to someone else (hey, Auckland City Mission, you know we love you, don't you? Our constant donations of black sacks full of goodies are probably a good hint!). There's a certain an amount of emotion involved.

Packing is even harder when you're already a little emotional (wedding, big move, in desperate need of a holiday!). I've been known to bring out the tissues every now and then.

In the midst of all the turmoil - emotional and physical, because our apartment is a tip - I've implemented an improved packing/ goods management system.

We have:
- A box full of TradeMe goods, labelled with the price if they're sold.
- Boxes of items to be sent ahead to meet us in Dublin.
- Boxes of items to be sent to us in Dublin when we're settled (aka "short term").
- Boxes of items to be sent to us... when we're ready. Long term stuff.

Most of these aren't labelled yet, so you have to just know what goes where. The boxes that are full and taped up are duly numbered, the number entered in our manifest, (go Excel!) and the goods therein noted beside the number, and the designated length of storage.

Boxes full of items such as kitchen goods aren't just labelled "Kitchen goods" - we're keeping a fairly detailed inventory of what's in each box, so when we decide to have things sent, we'll get what we want.

(I would've done this with the books, but apparently that was overkill. I don't think Lili understands the pervasive nature of learned home librarianship.)

As we pack, the clock keeps ticking. This time last week, we were celebrating our marriage. This time next week, we'll be in Gosford, preparing for our post-wedding celebratory luncheon. The week after that, we'll be back here in our apartment, cleaning furiously. And the week after that, I think we'll be in Goa.

Tick, tock... Back to the boxes for me.

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We did it! #5

Another picture we were sent.

Packing sucks BTW.

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We did it! #4

Our table name

Signing the registry (photo Morgan Nichol)

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We did it! #3

The wedding day was just wonderful.

Like many couples, we'd had some stressful and anxious moments, and at times we'd wondered if eloping wouldn't have been a smarter choice. But looking back on it all, I am so pleased we persisted, worked through the toug stuff, and had the wedding that we did.

Thanks to our good doctor's prescriptive abilities, I'd had a great night's sleep, and had managed to shake off the rising fear and panic of the night before.

(Tip to all families of prospective brides and grooms: when you ask how they're feeling, and they look increasingly nauseous as you keep asking, they're not feeling too good!)

David left early to pick up my veil, which had been omitted when he picked my dress up the day before. After a quick drop-off, he set off on his errands, which left me alone at home, ostensibly to relax.

Instead, I tidied up in the kitchen and bedroom (doing dishes = very bridal), and had about 10 minutes' reading time before Eddie the hairdresser arrived. Che and Katie followed shortly thereafter, and the preparations began properly.

The time went really quickly: before I knew it, Brent had arrived for his hair intervention, and then Mark and Reiko arrived to pick Che, Mum and the flowers up.

I'm usually a low-key, no-fuss kind of girl, but I really loved having my hair and makeup done! I'd originally thought I'd have very low-key, natural makeup, but ended up with quite a glamorous look. It reminded me a lot of dress shopping: I thought I'd wanted a plain and simple dress, and ended up with a very elaborate dress with lace and beading, and a train.

We felt like movie stars as we drove to the ceremony. As we arrived, we were snapped by our photographer and videographer, and a number of random bystanders.

Walking to meet David, I couldn't stop smiling. Not a gentle, bridal smile - a HUGE grin! He looked so handsome, and I felt so happy to be marrying him. I'm not sure what surprised him more - how I looked, or that I remembered my vows without prompting!

A lot of the rest of the day is a happy blur of hugs, congratulations and photos. Some of my favourite things about the day are silly, little things - like giggling when our celebrant talked about our love blossoming, and having to keep kissing for the photos (it's a tough job, being the bride!).

One of the hardest things to get used to was being the centre of attention and having everyone compliment me on how "beautiful" - or, if they were boys, "hot" - I looked. (Again, a tough job, but I managed!)

It was such a wonderful day for us that I can really understand why people talk about the wedding day as being the best day of our lives. But I think I agree with Mum's speech: it may be our best day yet, but I hope we will have many more, even better days to come.

I wonder how long we need to wait until we can renew our vows and do it all over again?

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We did it! #2

The last post was maybe a bit oblique (I was lying on the couch in the recovery position with a IV drip of San Pellgerino and left over kitchen tea muffins) - yes we were married! And it was surprisingly fun! After a week or so of stressing, it all happened relatively smoothly. I was seriously worried that it was going to rain - I could see the rain clouds gathering over One Tree Hill from my parents' balcony - but it was all fine. All the various helpers turned up and did their thing. Laura looked beautiful! - the dress was hot. Our attendants were graceful / dashing. We remembered our vows. The limo was cool. The photos were fun - I knew modeling was easy - we were fierce (Tyra-style). Our reception venue looked great (especially when the extreme fairly light blinking was taken care of), our speeches went off and I didn't even worry about our first dance.

That night I still woke up worrying about wedding details and the day after was a huge anti-climax. It was the best party we've thrown and I didn't really want to end - I guess that means it was great.

Mr and Mrs David Lilienthal!

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We did it! #1

... and we need to thank the gods for holding the rain back.

By witnessing David and Laura making their vows to each other, we are all, in a sense, pledging together with them. To bless this connection I invite everyone here to remember those you love. Open your hearts and memories so we can expand this ceremony to include the histories of each of us, the connections that spin invisibly from this gathering.

Bring to this place the many loves that have enriched us and imagine the warmth and light from all these, gathering around these two, bathing them with strength, beauty, love and innumerable enriching qualities.

David and Laura, deep commitment is a practice without end. It can reveal to us our true nature. Through knowing and appreciating each other in myriad ways, through trusting each other in a multitude of circumstances, your relationship will become a great gift to others. This is a wonderful way to live your lives. Your families, your friends, whole societies, a vast web of beings have all brought you here together. This is a blessing.

Love benefits the whole world. May the love you have for each other continue to blossom.

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