Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Monday Musings

It was a weekend of doing a few things to satisfy my Spring clean/fix/polish/shine/sweep'ing instincts.   Despite their best efforts to duck, both C2 and J got roped into my mania.

We don't have a yard at our little house in Melbourne but we do have two courtyards that are rather pleasant when swept clean of piles of possum poop, and smelling sweetly of blooming jasmine.  Our trees were trimmed this week ridding us, in the process, of three possum nests so J and I swept, washed, and scrubbed the courtyards, planted flowers, fresh herbs, tomatos and pepper plants, and J's requisite pumpkin plant.

We weeded, we put down mulch, we sprayed our beautiful roses, and we swept away bags of hayfever-inducing fluff blowing down from our Plaine tree.  We reswept mulch after Murphy kicked it all directions making a nest to lie in.  After 14 years, she still hasn't realized that she is an indulged Labrador and not a wolf in the wild.

 We fixed hoses, we trained ivy and jasmine, we clipped creepers, we watered, and we hung outdoor candles.  We decorated (rather tastefully for once) for Hallowe'en.   We buried our faces in the intoxicating smell of fresh laundry blowing on the line.

We shoehorned the 20-somethings out of their 20-somethings cave, hustled them to our courtyard table, lit the candles, popped  a bottle of Champagne and shared seared tuna with a mango/avocado/cilantro salsa.  It was heavenly.

The next day, my back was so stiff, I could barely move. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sports at 9

C2 and I are both dedicated to fitness and nutrition, we do our best to stay healthy and in shape.  Fitness gives us the energy to get through the myriad challenges of being older parents, and in C2s case, insane work hours and a grueling travel schedule.

We have tried very hard to shape J's view of nutrition in the direction of moderation, and the importance of fueling his body to fuel his brain.  Most of the time he gets it, the rest of the time he craves gummy bears.  He also sees us working out a lot, and carving time out of our every day to devote to exercise.  During the last school holiday, I had him do some circuit training in the park with me.  He occasionally runs with me, and mountain bikes, and skiis with us with an energy most adults would covet. 

A week ago, the charity I work with, Child Wise, held a fundraising 5K run.  J had expressed an interest in running the race some weeks back but I didn't really take him seriously.  Cut to the night before the event and on our way for Lhaksa (a Malaysian dish very popular in Melbourne that deserves its own blog post), whilst discussing the race, he insisted that he run it with me.  Reluctantly I agreed, as I figured I would be sacrificing a real run for a walk/run with J, but he was adamant.

Sunday morning, we were up at 6:30 and out the door shortly after for the race around Albert Lake in South Melbourne.  The speeches were made, the warm-up completed, the starters' pistol sounded and we were off...fast.  About every half-kilometer, I'd ask him if he wanted to walk, but he just shook his head and eyed the next runner in front of us to pass.  He threw back some water at the half-way mark water station and increased his pace.  With the final in his line of sight, we sprinted to the finish.

The gold standard for any adult is to finish a 5K under 30 minutes...J's time?  29.28.  He was puffed but very proud; so was I!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Few Days of Sun on the Sunshine Coast

Take one hard-working husband and put him in Las Vegas for a once-every-four-years conference, add in one two-week school holiday, a pinch of chilly Melbourne weather, two live-in dog/house-sitters and...voila...you have one tired sun and salt-water craving Canadian girl with her ever-ready 9-year old bolting for the sun.

That was J and I last week as we spent 6 days seeking sun and fun north of Brisbane on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, specifically, the beach and surf town of Noosa.  It's one of those upside down concepts in Australia that one heads north for sun and heat, and south for cooler temperatures.  It has been a chilly and wet winter and spring in Melbourne, so we were happy to head to the Sunshine Coast hoping it would live up to its name for a few days in September.

We flew early into Brisbane and caught a shuttle for the nearly 3-hour drive up to Noosa.  Note to self or anyone else wanting to head to the Sunshine Coast: fly into Moorychdore not Brisbane!  Once there, however, we settled into our hotel on Hastings Street across from the main Noosa Beach; both were bustling with the school holiday crowd. The sun was shining, the waves were beckoning and we headed straight for the gorgeous beach slipping towels into beach bags, slapping hats on our heads, and slopping sunscreen on most parts.

Noosa's beach is stunning!  Long expanses of powder-soft sand, warm water that we played in for hours, waves, which on one side of the breakwater were perfect for frolicking with abandon, while on the other were perfect for surfing (not that we did any but others certainly indulged).  Wild bush turkeys amused us as they amboled about the sand looking for dropped bits of food.  One day, winds brought jellyfish into the water and the surf fairly boiled with them.  I was stung once but it was mild and nothing like the significant sting I received in the waters off Western Australia.  We played baseball (or jellyball) with the plethora of dead ones on the beach.

 J ate snowcones in the sand, we took long walks out to the breakwaters, and we absorbed sun and salt, life's greatest pair of health elixirs.  Every night, we worked our way through chapters of  "The Magic Faraway Tree" books.  C2 joined us on our final two days toughing out a long 24-hour trip from Las Vegas to Brisbane and carried on to Noosa to join us.  Truth be told, it was perfect timing as J was suffering terribly from missing his Dad whilst still putting on a brave face.

One of the wild bush Turkeys that so entertained us!

Finding zen on a deserted beach along the Coastal Trail

J and his Queensland Inukshuk

Watching sand crabs on a deserted beach off the Coastal Trail

On our final day, the heat cooled somewhat and we hiked the Noosa National Park Coastal Trail, a 10K beautiful track along the open Coral Sea ending at a place called Hell's Gate.  The trail was lined with Pandanus palms laden with fruit, Tea trees, deserted wild beaches, stunning cliffs, and pods of dolphins swimming close to shore.

Hell's Gate

From Hell's Gate looking toward a deserted beach...we had to get there of course


It was a calming and rejuvenating few days as we readied ourselves for the start of Term 4 next week.  Two and a half more months of school and then Year 3 is done and the summer holidays will be upon us.  Another one of those upside down Australian concepts.