The NZ Temple

Last week Mike and I flew up to Hamiliton (south of Auckland) to spend some time with Mack and the family as he is leaving on his mission (to Singapore) in a week. We stayed with Pete's brother's family...the other Cammocks.This is the LDS NZ temple. Rob and Viv live 5 minutes away from it. It was a great trip. I finally met Viv (Mike's Auntie) and the rest of the cousins. We took a big family picture but I'll have to get one off of someone so I can post it. Posted by Picasa

Me and Mack and the temple. We were just so glowing afterwards. Posted by Picasa

Take 2. Blurrier but i like it. Posted by Picasa

Mike's cousin, Pita, is married to an American, Tasi, and this their baby, Robbie. He is one of the mellowest babes I have been around. He makes no noise. I want one of those. Posted by Picasa

Easter Weekend

Over Easter weekend Liz, Pete, and Alice came down to Queenstown. We drove up into one of the canyons to take a look at the changing leaves. Liz and Pete said they weren't as amazing as last year but it was beautiful all the same. Rather than the striking reds and oranges of Vermont, it was the electric lime and yellow that made it lovely. Posted by Picasa

Skippers Canyon

Very different from the Autumn turnings that I am accustomed to but beautiful all the same. I think it's the smell of autumn that I've missed the most. Posted by Picasa


Brigham Anders Larson

I had to include this picture because I love it. This is Anders, again, holding a little motorcycle toy that my dad gave him. I love it because most little ones take a teddy or stuffed animal to bed but not our Anders. He knows where it's at. I also love this picture because he looks so much like Brig AND Chelle when they are sleeping. I have spent lots of time with them both (as Brig is my brother and Chelle was my roomate) and seen them sleeping and he is an incredible amalgamation of them both. Oh, and I love his hair as well. Is that enough? Yeah, I think so. Posted by Picasa

The Adventures of Wonder Wa

On Sunday afternoon we planned a little pre-birthday adventure for our friend/flatmate, Benoit. That name is pronounced, Ben-Wa for all those wondering and he, on some occassions, has been known as "the Wa". We thought, for his birthday, we'd make him "Wonder Wa" and he really fit the part I think. So the day before we passed him this shirt (without the signatures) wrapped up and a clue that said that his adventure would begin the next day at 2:59PM. The Wa is a planner and due to the fact he was flying out to Bali in a few days we knew we needed to give him time so he could make time for this. At 2:59PM the next day (although he says we were tad too early) his next clue arrived, he put on his wonder cloak and the adventure began. The keys to Sasha's bright orange scooter were in his pocket and he was to complete the journey on this, his trusty steed. We got him on his way to the first clue and the rest follows....it was pretty fun. Posted by Picasa

It was so funny to see him on the orange scooter with the pink scarf, helmet, and shirt. He zipped on up to Andrea's house and she drew a Koru on his cheek. Both her and Rachel signed his cloak and handed him the next clue which said, "What makes you reverberate 4 times every Sunday?" And away he went. Posted by Picasa

Elder Carr has an amazing Bass voice and it can make one reverberate. We had asked the Carrs to come up with a challenge and clue and they did very well. First Ben has to list 18 countries in Europe which was no problem because he's from Belgium. Then he had to list 15 Books of the Book of Mormon, and then books from the Old and New Testament. I can't remember the numbers but we had to all chip in a bit. That was a hard challenge but Wonder Wa pulled through and was awarded this gigantic tie! He was then given 6 sneaky clues heading him towards his next destination. Posted by Picasa

Now soaked, the next clue led Wonder Wa to "Pasta Pasta which is where we all work. First, he had everyone sign his cloak and then Mike announced his first challenge to make a coffee blindfolded. He did quite well considering he only had a few moments to get his bearings. He tipped just a bit too much milk in it...but he wasnt quite satisfied...Perfectionist Wa. Posted by Picasa

After the coffee, our Pizza Chef, Chris, made some super pasta that Ben had to guess 10 of the ingredients. It was hot man, but Ben acted as if it was icecream....anchovies, jalapenos, tabasco sauce...need I say more. Well it got it and was handed his last clue. "Head to Queenstown's #1 Bed and Breakfast. Out of town and always offering breakfast" This is, of course, "Ben's Bed and Breakfast"...his house! He's always got so many people coming in and out...it is the best place in town. Go Wonder Wa! Posted by Picasa

The Grand Finale

And when he arrived back to his house, we had some friends from Church there to celebrate with goodies. We also watched the video of his scavenger hunt which was quite entertaining because Wonder Wa is quite the clown. Happy Birthday Ben! Posted by Picasa


HAPPY 5th Birthday!

Here's a special shout out to my niece, Shannon, for her 5th Birthday. You are one cute kid!


The Initiation of 'The Cinnamon Roll"

I have finally made my mom's cinnamon roll. The cinnamon roll I grew up inhaling and also the cinnamon roll that she made by the hundreds to sell after school when we were fundraising for our theatre troupe to go to Scotland. So I did my best and considering the altered country with slighty different ingredients and yeast...which could be "anywhere up to 5 years old" Sash said as I poured it in...hmmm (hey, I was desperate for them) I think they turned out okay. I would have liked the dough to rise a bit more because they are pretty intense but luckily Ben likes them that way and again next time I will steer away from the ancient yeast. We are seriously trying to budget since we have our huge trip coming up and have very little excess but hey, I'm cool with that for what we have ahead of us. Mike is up in Christchurch so he missed the initiation of Chaz's cinnamon rolls to New Zealand but now that I've seen the potential, I'll keep trying. Posted by Picasa

Gabriel, Ben, and Sash

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Autumn with Audrie and Louis

This week has been hideoulsy slow in the restaurant. Although, I don't think "hideous" was quite the right word because, in some ways, it's fun to be able to spend more time with the tables and chat to people and there is nothing hideous about that unless, of course, they are one of those rare evil people who are unhappy with life and want to hide in under the argument that their pizza was too crispy or they waited 5 minutes too long. If we had been busy, I wouldn't have been able to meet Audrie and Louis. Okay, so those aren't their names but after all the time I spent with them, I didn't get their names but I believe these are appropriate names for my friends.

We have a long galley-like restuarant and I escorted Audrie and Louis to the back . She had a lovely gold kreugerand around her neck that complimented her boat-necked black sweater and he took off his overcoat to uncover a rich blue sweater over a white collar shirt. I'm picking they were in their 70's. They looked lovely and immediately wanted to know about my accent and why I was here. When I told them I was from Vermont they seemed to think that was wonderful and began talking about the turning autumn leaves here in Queenstown and how it was nothing like Vermont.

I recalled a memory I have of a Sunday morning in Vermont and the leaves of the hills being so vibrantly orange that there was an evident reflection into the blue sky. Yes, I love being here in Queenstown with that autumn feel, which I haven't had for nearly 7 years, but it is nothing like the autumns of Vermont. As I told them my life story and mentioned my marriage to a kiwi that brought me to New Zealand, I began to be quite fond of Audrie and Louis. They were on a holiday from the Gold Coast in Austrailia to attend their friend's 100th birthday party. Luckily, I wasn't busy (at all) and was able to listen to all of the details of how their friend organized the entire event. In the meantime, I had poured them each a glass of Deakin Estate Shiraz (a Aussie wine), which I dribbled a little of on the table as I am still fine tuning my wine handling techniques, and taken their order.

I did eventually move on to some other tables and let them eat their pizza and pasta which they were anticipating. Everytime I left the table, Louise put his hands together in a prayer position, bent his head, and said "Ta" which, for all those who don't know, is way to say thanks. I would glance over every so often, and they would be methodically drinking their wine, almost elegantly, as they had no doubt been doing for many many years. Sometime throughout the evening they had met Mike and he had chatted to them. The next time I went to their table I mentioned my husband (which is always odd to say for some reason) and motioned over to him. Audrie said, "Oh is he your husband? I thought so. He's fine young man." Mike was wearing this cool pink polo shirt because he thought he'd be in the bar but found himself on the floor. Audrie made mention of this and said, "Doesn't he look handsome in that colour?" Yes, he does Audrie. Yes, he does.

Once knowing that we were married, Audrie and Louis seemed comforted that this girl from Vermont had such a fine young Kiwi husband. After we cleared their dishes, I told them to relax and they stayed to finish their bottle of wine. I was at another table when they were slowly making their way out of the long line of tables. Louis stopped, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, "I told your husband to give that tip to you because you are such a lovely young woman. " The table I was serving jittered a little at the old man but I thought it was wonderful. Then Audrie and Louis were gone.

I didn't think I had given them the impression that I was homesick for Vermont, because I'm not really. I haven't lived there since 1999 but it is the place that holds copious amounts of fond memories, if there was to be one place in America (although Hawaii is in close second). Yet oddly enough, the next night right after I had finished getting the restaurant open, a couple walked in. I met them at the door and the woman (who I came to know as Judy and yes that is her real name) said, "Are you the girl from Vermont?" Now, I immediatley thought that Mike (who was wandering around town) had bumped into them and told them that he had a wife from Vermont when he found out they were from Boston. This is a common happenstance with anyone from the States. I told them that yes, I was indeed from Vermont and Judy was relieved to have found me which I thought was, uh, weird. She began to then tell me that they were in town taking pictures of one of the trees that had turned yellow and a wonderful old couple came up to them and began talking about this girl from Vermont who was very homesick for it and would love to talk them as they were from Boston. I reassured them that I wasn't homesick or in some sort of desperate mental state of need and we began chatting.

They asked which part of Vermont I was from and I told them about Woodstock and they said they go there every year and asked me if I knew about this Italian place called "Pain Salute" which is how Don (the husband) said it. I told them that yes, infact, I worked their when I was a teenager at Pane e Salute (http://www.osteriapaneesalute.com). "Oh, "they said, "we go there all the time." I made sure they understood that Caleb and Deirdre are very good friends of mine and that I had actually traveled to Italy with them, just so they understood how intimately involved I was with this little place they liked to eat. I told them about the new renovations they've made, which look beautiful, and they asked me a little bit about their book and if they really made out in the back of the truck in the apple orchard in Tuscany. I said I hadn't read the book (which I really need to do) but that sounded very much like the Caleb and Deirdre I knew.

I got Mike over to meet them and give them some driving instructions. Judy mentioned that they had gotten a speeding ticketfor 120$. Mike chimed in with some of his ticket stories (I can't because I have never gotten one....hee hee) and then Judy said, "Oh, but you will never believe this!" She began to tell this experience in not so thick Boston accent but very East coast about going to the Snowy Mountains ( Uh...yes, "The man from Snowy River" same snowy) and buying a little jar of creamed honey because her husband loves creamed honey and she buys wherever they go. It was all gift wrapped and she had nearly forgotten she had it until she was escorted into Customs in Wellington, NZ. The officer asked if she had packed the bag and what was in it. At that point, because it seemed to menial, she said, " I think there's some jam from Austrailia." Knowing how paranoid one can be going through customs, especially when you don't think you have anything on you. Granted she said "jam" instead of "honey". The officer found the box and ripped it open only to say, "This is honey. That's a 200$ fine. Give me your credit card." What's going on on? She had no idea that honey was contraband and hadn't even seen the Amnesty boxes to get rid of stuff if she thought she should. So she got into a bit with the officer but found out very very quicklty that you don' get "into it" with NZ customs officers. She told him that this didn't put NZ in a very good place as she was about to traavel 2 weeks here spending all her American money and the officer's response to this..."Well then, we don't want people like you in New Zealand." Honest for true and Don heard it as well. He thought it was somewhat hilarious as his wife received a custom offense and then he received a speeding ticket all in their first 48 hours in NZ. One more strike and they're afraid they won't be able leave the country. Luckily, since then, Judy has has somewhat gotten over it, and loves NZ but still wouldn't let Don take a rock he found on the beach, just in case.

We chatted to them for a while about customs and how it's not the greatest in the States either. Although, the time Mike crossed over to the States from Mexico and they held him for questioning for over an hour because he had visas for Taiwan and they mistook them for Visas from China because it's the R.O.C....that was funny. He was coded as a terrorist. Ha. But Don and Judy mapped out the rest of their itineray, promised they would say hello to Caleb and Deirdre, and gave me their names in case they ended up being incarcerated, I mean at the rate they were going.

Once again, Judy made mention of Louis and Audie and how wonderful they were and how glad they were for popping in to meet the girl from Vermont and her fine Kiwi husband.