Saturday, January 04, 2014
I didn’t blog yesterday because we ended up being busy all day. We met up with some friends from my homeland—folks who, until yesterday, I knew only through the magic of the Internet (podcasting, initially, then through social media). They were in New Zealand for a cruise around New Zealand and on to Sydney.
Yesterday was their last day in Auckland, so we picked them up and took them to Takapuna. We strolled along Takapuna Beach (which is particularly nice), then around around the shops in Takapuna before stopping for lunch.
We took the long way back to drop them off, driving through Herne Bay and stopping in Ponsonby for a coffee. Got them back to their hotel with plenty of time.
I’d been chatting with one of them about their trip for months ahead of time, and he asked me if there was anything that I’d wanted to bring back with me that I’d been unable to, because if it fit in a suitcase, he’d be happy to bring it. There wasn’t, and after some thought I suggest he bring me a Chicago Tribune, because that’s something I rarely see any more—in fact, it’s now only when I go there for a visit.
It wasn’t always that hard: Years ago, when the now-defunct Borders was newly open, they used to carry foreign newspapers and every once in awhile I’d buy a Chicago Tribune. I don’t remember how much they were, except they cost as much as a book, so I didn’t get one very often, so I made the reading of it last as long as I could. This was in my early years in New Zealand, so being able to get the paper was nice. As the chain started to struggle, they stopped carrying foreign newspapers, and then less and less of anything else until the chain was sold to an Australian company who closed them all down, though reopening some locations as their Whitcouls brand, none of which are even half the quality that Borders used to be.
So, getting a Trib was a real treat, but it wasn’t just ANY edition, but the SUNDAY edition! With all those sections! And the funny pages! New Zealand newspapers don’t have funny pages—in fact, they don’t even run comic strips.
But wait—there’s more! They also brought a tin of Marshall Field’s Frango Mints—definitely a treat from home. Although Field’s itself was subsumed into the Macy’s empire, Macy’s kept Frango mints and, possibly to combat falling sales, re-branded the candies as Marshall Field’s Frango Mints, complete with the old Marshall Field’s logo, and using the version of the recipe developed by Field’s in 1929—returning the candy to Field’s roots. I’ve seen nothing about whether this has helped revive sales, but my mints came in a nifty metal tin that I’ll keep, and that sort of thing matters.
And for one last bit of nostalgia, they brought a Chicago flag Christmas tree ornament. I was overwhelmed! The gifts were so thoughtful and spot-on, and certainly made me very happy (the photo above is what they brought me).
And that’s the big fun day we had yesterday, complete with background details, even. This week will be a pretty quiet week, filled with various projects around the house, then more family arrives in about a week, staying through the following weekend when we’ll celebrate my birthday.
Mid-December to mid-January is our busiest time. It’s understandable, I think, that I may have days when I don’t have time to blog. There’s too much new stuff going on, you see.
The reason is that I haven’t mentioned any specific details about our friends is that I don’t usually refer to friends or family by name or provide many details about them unless I have their permission to do so. I’m pretty public on the Internet, but I have no right to make that decision for others. Obviously, none of this applies to public personalities.