Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leaving Oz

Well all good things must come to an end.....or so they say.

I broke the exercise sabbatical yesterday and went for a great ride. After 7 miles on very traffic ridden streets I found the National Park and did the Acuna Bay loop and added on and rode to Cottage Point (steepest 4K I have ever done) Ride was just over 3 hours and it felt so good to be out exercising. The Christmas cookies and egg nog needs to start coming off this body before it settles in. My hip is about 80% so hope to be running very soon and my shoulder is slowly coming along. The deltoid is much better and the pain is definitely concentrated in the shoulder joint. 4 weeks off swimming, it should be better. And surely the water ski attempt was a major set back on the healing process, but hey- it was fun anyway. Time to start thinking about IMSG and Oceanside 70.3 training.....I am accustomed to feeling that getting into race shape is within reasonable reach but now.....going to be a long haul. But they say, losing fitness is a way to get stronger. We will see. But I am need the adrenaline rush from daily exercise!

Our last day was rainy and overcast so any ideas of a huge day on the boat were squelched. But after the 7 hours the day prior we were sunburned and the kids were sore. Sleeping in and noshing on fresh croissants and coffee was not to shabby either. We finally had the family Spoons game, which JD has been vying for since we arrived. It was all we hoped, high energy, aggressive and a lot of screaming and pounding. So much in fact, Taz and Jax were hiding in their tent with pillows over their ears.

We thought about taking the boat to the beach with a picnic dinner for NY Eve but decided on a nice dinner at home. Good idea so we could organize and pack with ease. Scott cooked a wonderful Fillet Mignon and of course we thoroughly enjoyed some Champagne. After the little ones were in bed we saw pictures from their recent trip to India- stunning and great to have the commentary as to what they saw and did.

By 10 were all yawning incessantly and there were no suggestions of ringing in the new year.

JD was up at 6:15 for a last water ski before we head to the airport....not looking forward to the 15 hour flight home, followed by the drive home from LAX. It will be great to get home and see the pups....miss those furry guys.

Happy New Year to all those on this side of the world and Happy New Years Eve to those on the other side!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scotts Birthday

My step- nephew sent this amazing candle to JD on his birthday. The candle is a very cool tulip the opens up and plays Happy Birthday and lights an inferno of candles. We loved it so much we ordered a few more and actually remembered to bring one for S's birthday.
As much as Scott loved the candle, Jackson was most enamored.

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Cousins on the beach

JD making a big sandcastle in the back yard....Tasman found it necessary to wear her goggles while directing.
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Pirate comes to Lunch

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Big Day on the Boat

After 3 days of rain we woke up to a beautiful sunny day! After a picnic breakie on the beach we dropped of the youngin's and headed out with the Biscuit (ie big inflatable to pull behind the boat) 2 years ago when we came to Australia Scott and Nancy bought it for the kids to use behind the boat. So far this trip JD has been 100% obsessed with skiing so the biscuit has been in the boathouse.
Today was beautiful but by the time we headed out on the boat it was very windy so skiing was not a good option. Riley was psyched to get in the water and she wanted the biscuit.
It was great....much like 2 years ago they 2 of them were on the biscuit together having a great time. It made my vacation to have the 2 of them laughing and playing like many times of the past. So the boat starts slowly and they are eagerly asking for more speed and Scott guns the boat and they slingshot out of the wake and hold on for dear life.
As the boat picks up speed the kids are laughing and squealing.
Riley braves the biscuit alone. Screaming and giving us the tiny thumbs up signal to go faster. Uncle Scott guns the boat and she screams but then begs for more.
JD chilling on the boat- patiently waiting his turn on the biscuit.
Mom's shirt served as the rashie (rash guard) How could I miss out on a picture of my kids with
Yeah Aunt Nancy is out on the boat! Kids are down for a nap and she joins us for some fun
6+ hours on the boat, sunscreen applied 1 or maybe 2 times and we have very tired, sunburned kids and adults. Awesome day indeed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day Aventure

We are just finishing Turkey Soup for dinner with JD looks out on the water and floats the much light is left? The day has been rainy and hovering in the high 60's. JD skied in the morning for a short time but soon returned due to the chop and wind. Nancy was putting Taz and Jax to bed and Scott says he will take the boat out if we all go.

So we gather jackets, towels and prepare to head out around 6:30.
Judging by Scott and John's dress you get an idea of how warm it really was, not.
JD, not phased but the cool weather is eager to ski.
The master skipper driving the boat sporting some a new Christmas jacket.
Posted by PicasaJD is cruising on the single ski, in and out the wake, making cuts and looking pretty good. I pose a question to Scott about fuel as we had not filled up for some time and the last time we only had $50 so it was not a full tank then. He notes we may be low and could be at risk. He turns around and we are at least headed toward home and the boat sputters once, sputters twice and then we know. He immediately slows and it is now clear we are out of gas.

We do not really panic as we have just seen a water taxi zipping by so we assume as soon as we are secured we will call a taxi to take us home.

The good news is we are near shore and in shallow water. We begin paddling with the water skis- note, not real effective. So JD jumps over and is not pulling the boat to a mooring.

Riley making herself useful with the Queen wave to the onlookers on the beach.

Boat is secured to the mooring and JD now swims ashore to ask the owners if it is okay to leave the boat overnight. We ring the taxi company only to be told that they have just made their last run and they suggest we call Pink Lady Water Taxi. Well PL Taxi is a ways away and quotes $86..we pass.

Now we must get ashore. Water is shallow and maybe 50 yards. Scott jumps and wades ashore and comes back for Riley who is wearing jeans. I take off my yoga pants, much to Riley's horror, surely all 2 people watching could tell my bottoms were not a true bathing suit, and lastly here comes Braman in true Borat fashion.

The idea of getting soaked was not appealing as mind you were not wading to Scott/Nancy's house. We are 6 miles from home and Nancy is home with 2 sleeping kids. So we head for the bus stop.

Conveniently the bus stop is placed in front of a bar. So we roll in and promptly order 3 adult beverages and 2 hot cocoas and begin to tell our story to the bartender and restaurant manager.

Scott calls a land taxi only to be told the wait is 2 hours. There goes option #2. Looks like option #3 is the bus, which by the way just whizzed by. Oh and the bus in Palm Beach does not take us to the house. We will need to go to Avalon Parade and transfer buses to get to Stokes Point. The next bus does not stop, the next bus is done for the night..... so we send Braman into the kitchen to see who will take us home for $20.

Meanwhile Riley is posted at the stop....with the instructions, do not let another bus go by. Well the cook agrees to take us home but can only fit 3 in the car. Scott, JD and Riley take off and Braman and I order another drink and settle in. The are closing up the door around us but are kind enough to keep our glasses filled and conversation flowing.

While waiting we met and Australia Opossum. A Marsupial, he was much cuter than the American version. He waddled onto the deck looking for food which apparently he does nightly.
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Eventually Scott came back for us and we returned home wet and filled with tales of our adventure.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Down Under

Stocking are hung by the fireplace....ready for Santa. Train is running and ready to go. Cookies are laid out with milk and Beer (an Aussie tradition) Carrots for Reindeer.

Braman double checking to make sure it is all ready!

Christmas morning....Santa left a note for Taz and Jax thanking them for the cookies, milk, beer and the reindeer appreciated the carrots.

Enjoying the gifts of the day

Santa of course left Anchovy paste in the stockings and now is time for tasting.

JD enjoying the new kitchen as much as Taz and Jax.

Tasman working hard to put the hoodie on the bear. The hoodie must be up before the Tea Party.

JD and John checking out the coasters from India...

Nothing like Kama Sutra on Christmas morning

Riley opening her sleeping mask. Sun comes up early in AU and she is missing her beauty sleep. Will see if she is sleeping in tomorrow.

Jackson playing for a long time with the Submarine from G. Jim and Kathi.

JD particularly likes the dragon costume and the superman cape!

Riley sporting the ever so cool Roxy Sweatshirt from Aunt Kathleen.

Christmas with little kids is such fun....eager anticipation of Santa's arrival and the excitement of the morning. We enjoyed stockings and then has the traditional Hancock Christmas breakfast of Mexican Egg Strata. Lots of coffee as many adults were tired....Rest of the morning was the enjoyment of gifts and family. Not many gifts for the Dunkle kids as bringing the family to Australia was how we chose to use Christmas funds.

Relaxing afternoon of reading and relaxing. I became enthralled with Born to Run. A very cool story about a writers adventure to Copper Canyon Mexico in pursuit of the The Tarahumara Indians and to experience and understand their lore for running.

Scott cooked a wonderful Turkey out the rotisserie and we had a very American Christmas dinner! Good day for all. Family and fun!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So much for the Ironman.....

The last week+ has not been much Iroman, but well, not much if any training. Nice to see my life is more than swim/bike/run! More like kids/play/eat! Loving it all....Really hoping for a healthy body when we return so I can get back to training.

The water skiing today was a BAD, can I say REALLY BAD idea for my shoulder/
deltoid. Not only did I not get up on the single ski, the last try my shoulder was pulled hard, really hard, and really painful. Just not fun to be more injured without having any fun. Water felt great and it was nice to be in the beautiful. Well before the jelly's invaded anyway. Swimming back to the boat was not a good feeling. So no skiing or kayaking - bummer!!!

Back to more fun postings...about cookies and fun in Avalon Beach, AU.

S,N and I went for a delicious dinner at The BarrenJoey House in Avalon for Nancy's birthday. Wish my hubby was here so I would have had a date. He arrives tomorrow- yeah!!! He had a wonderful trip in the Great Barrier Reef and more adventures in Brisbane. We are all eager to see him and to hear about his fun and travels.

Granny's Sugar Cookies

So one of our annual Christmas traditions is making my Granny's famous sugar cookies. We made them every year growing up and I have made them yearly with JD and Riley. This year we brought the tradition to AU.

Jax is right in the mix mixing the cookies and helping with the cut outs.
After the cookies cool, time for the frosting. We make the ever to tantalizing butter cream frosting. Once finished I handed Taz and Jax a beater to lick and they looked at me, looked the beater and tentatively grazed their tongues across the metal. Instant smiles and aggressive licking.
We moved the frosting operation outside and JD is giving Jax a lesson in decorating. After 2 cookies, Jax preferred to direct JD which cookie to frost with which color and sprinkles.
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Riley is in the sprit and leading the charge!
And how could I not take the picture of JD in a bathing suit and the water in the background, all while decorating Christmas cookies. That is Christmas down under for you.

JD Takes Fishing Lessons From Ella

So JD has been enamoured with fishing for well over a year. And frankly with little success. He packed his rod and reel and managed to leave the rod in the car in LA. So yesterday we headed to K-Mart, of all places, and picked up a retractable travel rod. Scott decided we should stop at the local marina for some advice from a real fisherman.

We ask the owner and he directs us to Ella....
So Ella is a charismatic 9 year old Aussie whose parents work at the Marina. She is referred to as the local fishing expert. JD very tentatively engaged her. She was not bashful and took a hand on approach. Unpacked the rod, strung the line, asked if he needed help with the sinkers and was classic. With a bit of encouragement JD asked about bait and she retrieved the prawns and confidently demonstrated how to remove and toss the head and how to maneuver the hook thorough the body.
The final lesson was a demonstration in casting.
Posted by PicasaIt was great fun and a good lesson. JD caught 3 fish today....all too small to keep but at least he is catching and not just fishing.

I am sure JD wished Ella was 15....but well taking lessons from a girl can be good for a young man.