Wednesday, December 2, 2009


10.) Your Chariot awaits. When Mum & Dad (henceforth referred to as M&D) were here, we put just over 2,500 kilometers on my car driving all over the South Island, and almost every single one of those kilometers was beautiful! I have to tell you, I was awfully proud of the Chariot's performance. I had my doubts a few times along the way, as I heard more than a couple new--and somewhat ominous--sounds coming from under the bonnet (hood), but she came through like a champ and got us everywhere we wanted to go.

9.) Birds. Ulva Island is a wee little piece of land just off the coast of Stewart Island, which is a slightly bigger wee little piece of land just a few kilometers south of The South Island, which is a much bigger, yet still, relatively speaking, wee little piece of land). How's that for sentence construction? Ulva has been set up as a sanctuary for native NZ bird species, and has been completely predator free for many many years. As such, several species--that have been threatened with extinction--are thriving there. We took a guided tour there one day. Our guide? Why it was none other than Ulva--I think she was named after the island, not the other way around. On the tour we saw South Island Robins, Wekas, Keas, Saddlebacks, Tom Tits, and Tuis. And, while we didn't see one, we heard the call of the ever-elusive Kiwi. It was a fun day. Nice and relaxing.

8.) The Office. The one "must do" on M&D's agenda while in Wanaka was seeing where I work. Rippon Vineyard is a very special place, and I was so incredibly excited to share it with my folks. We had a brilliant blue-bird day when I took them out for the tour--couldn't have asked for better weather. We took our time walking all around the property, taking in the breathtaking vistas. I always like bringing people to the vineyard for the first time because I tend to take for granted what an awe-inspiring landscape my place of employment truly is. When newbees are on the scene, and taking it in for the first time, I kind of see the place afresh through their eyes and I'm reminded how incredibly fortunate I am to be surrounded by such beauty everyday.

7.) The Crew. Of course, while at my workplace, I got to introduce M&D to all of my coworkers. We hung out and visited with Shannon, Sione, Max, and Amy during their lunch break; Nick and Jo dropped in for a bit to say hello before heading to a meeting in town; Briar took us through a tasting of the entire range of Rippon wines in the tasting room; and Bret gave us the grand tour of the Winery and Barrel room, complete with a tasting directing from one of the barrels! This was an incredibly special day for me--introducing my folks to my coworkers--because my coworkers are more than just the people I work with, they are my very good friends, and it did my heart good for my parents to meet these wonderful people.

6.) Lunch time. One of my coworkers, Ned, had been recovering from knee-replacement surgery for the last couple of months, and I didn't know if he'd be back to work by the time I brought M&D out to Rippon. But it was very important to me that my parents meet Ned, and that Ned meet my parents. You see, Ned is the same age as my father, and he is the resident father figure at Rippon. He immediately took me under his wing upon my arrival at the vineyard, training me up on all the different aspects of the art of grape-growing. He's patient and kind and just simply a joy to be around. So, I was thrilled when I called him up to ask if we could pop by his house just to say hello and he responded by inviting us all over for lunch. We spent a delightful afternoon over at Ned and Gwenda's (his wife) house eating good food, drinking good wine, chatting, and just enjoying each other's company. That was another very special day for me.

Coming soon: 5-1.

What happened to November?

It sure flew by awful fast didn't it? For me, that's probably because, for the first two weeks of the month, I was tiki touring all over the South Island with my folks who came over to NZ for a visit. Then, as one does when removed from their normal routine for a bit, I spent the next couple weeks just getting back into the swing of things. Oh, and I moved into a new place to boot. So yeah, it was a busy month, and one without a single entry from this here blogger, you might have noticed.


As I said, my Mum (moms are mums down under) and Dad (dads are still dads) came for a visit. It was fantastic in every way, and we saw and did a whole heckuva lot of really cool stuff, but I've been struggling with how to write about it. "Why's that?" you inquire. Well, I'm glad you asked. So here's my dilemma: we saw and did so much I wanted to write about that my pre-blogging brainstorms just got too stormy. You see, I write all my blog entries, more or less, in my head during the work day (much of the work in the vineyard is solitary in nature affording many hours of quiet contemplation) long before I sit down at the keyboard. And for the past couple weeks I've had about five or six different entries vying for thinking time all at once. Basically, I've been suffering not from too little material, as one might assume from the complete lack of entries as of late, but from too much! It's funny how sometimes when one feels completely overwhelmed with too much to do, instead of doing what one can, even if it's just a little bit, one ends up doing absolutely nothing at all. That ever happen to you? Well, that's what happened here on the ol' blogspot.


Even though she doesn't yet know it, my Mum helped me come up with the solution to my 'too much material' problem. By the end of my parents' trip Mum had taken 1,400 some-odd pictures. I don't say that as exaggeration--she literally had over 1,400 pictures stored on her camera's memory card. I remember her wondering aloud how she'd ever be able to share them with people in a meaningful way (whether posting on facebook, publishing a picture book, or just scrolling through them on the computer) without boring them to tears. As gorgeous and interesting as her pictures are (especially the ones of me--totally kidding here), nobody wants to sit and sift through hundreds upon hundreds of someone else's vacation photos. Like me, Mum had the 'too much material' problem. Her solution? I remember her saying something to the effect of "I guess I'll just have to come up with my Top Ten from each subject." She chose her ten favorite pictures from Kaikoura, then her ten favorites from Fanz Josef Glacier, then her top shots from the Milford Track, and so on and so forth until she successfully winnowed down the entire collection into a more condensed and manageable format. Brilliant! I decided I'd take the same tack with my memories. So, coming soon, my ten favorite memories from Mum & Dad's visit. Stay tuned.