Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fun at the Winter Beach - Sherry & David Part Deux

My great neighbour Mark agreed to take David out for a surfing lesson (his first) and they had a great time. They must've been out for nearly two hours in the cold surf. Fortunately Mark had an extra wet suit that fit David perfectly. When they finally came out, David's grinning mouth was dripping blood from the board coming up and hitting him the face, but that couldn't keep him from smiling the rest of the day. Of course, afterward we all went to our first Rugby League game where the local Dragons beat the Manly Eels.

These pictures of are of proud mother hen Sherry watching over and taking pictures of David plus some crazy young girls romping in the surf in their bikinis while those of us on the shore were bundled up. The picture of Mark and David out in the surf has about a dozen or more sailboats that came out from the local harbour while we were there, gathered up and begun racing. One day, I'll be out there with them!

Read, comment and maybe see you the second week of August! I can hardly wait to get back home for a couple weeks after 9 month in the Illawara. It's great down here, but its also good to visit home once in a while. The Illawara was described as the undiscovered jewel and I can't agree more. This is a wonderful place. And like Sherry and David you, too could have a great time here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wake Up Seattle

Seattle – Wake up and Take a Look!

For years, the City of Seattle has been going on about ‘urban villages’ and ‘densifying the population’ (and how will the roads handle that?) however, there are good ways and bad ways to achieve the goal of densification. Australia has some examples in the photos above.

Basically, they’ve taken large suburban lots and have put up to 6 units where a single family house used to be. These are large lots, but this area, The Illawarra, is a long sliver of land between the Escarpment and the ocean. In fact, that’s one of the translations for this Aboriginal name.

These units, often not more than two stories, are usually very tastefully done. Lots of architectural details and set up in such a way as to make them interesting to look at, often creating a central plaza feeling to the complex. I really like some of the ways these are laid out.

Naturally there are some resemble a square box with no imagination and bizarre parking situations for the unlucky tenants who occupy them. A prime example of how NOT to design a nice space is the first picture of the red brick building next to the train station. (I'll enter these examples later). It could’ve been done so much better like others in the neighbourhood.

I’ve always been interested in architecture that works. It must be a genetic thing as my great Uncle Nelson was an architect with plenty of buildings in Tacoma he designed. Now you know another of my secrets, love of good architecture.

Read and comment please…and visit!

Trip to Cronulla

I thought I'd start off with a spider I noticed while waiting for the Ferry from Bundeena to Cronulla. Mark and Kath invited me (again) to go with them on a day trip with another couple. We drove through the national park south of Sydney to one of the few small towns located on the edge of the park. There in Bundeena we caught the ferry to cross a good sized bay to Cronulla. Cronulla used to be a sleepy little place with pretty much nothing except a fish shack and great surf. When Mark's family moved in from the country, it was near there and I believe where he did most of his surfing when he was a teen. Now of course, it's built up with fancy hotels, lots of small shops with more so-called improvements on the way.

Naturally we (men) waited outside several of the shops while the other half browsed and shopped. It really wasn't bad, as we did stop for coffee then later to eat and have a few drinks at the local RSL (Returning Soldiers Legion) club. I laughed at them as every once in a while it would drizzle and they'd scamper to side of a building or under an awning as the rain was something horrible. At least, I think it wasn't acid rain.

It was a very nice day and riding the 70 year old passenger ferry was fun. On the way back I talked to a guy who is a producer for one of the TV networks. I should've asked him if my son could contact him about possible work as it would be in his line of studies and we have to get him started paying back some of that college expense.

As I've mentioned before, I am so lucky to have such a great neighbor Mark and his friend Kath to invite me out of my flat to do things and explore around the area.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Visits and Complaints

G'day my many friends! The two points in the title are not related (I hope). The complaint is that I haven't posted anything lately. That is true. I guess I've slipped into a routine where not much new is happening. I'll make an effort to create some new adventures (that I can share).

Good news is I have visitors! Sister-in-Law Sherry and her middle son David are here for 2 weeks! The arrived on Friday and managed to negotiate the trains (4 total), find my flat, the key to get in and David was able to hack my computer to get on line to tell me they'd arrived!

I took Sherry up on her offer to buy me a pint at my favorite Pub. So, off we went to the Charles. It was lingerie night and I introduced her to my pub buddies including some new guys who happen to not only run the lingerie models, but are high ranking members of a notorious motorcycle gang. One of the guys is simply known as Sarge as in Sargent of Arms as most gangs are set up in a military style. Fortunately, all are well behaved on Lingerie Night.

Sherry and David got an eye full as half way through the evening, the model who serves drinks, changes into only half her outfit. The picture is of Bek from Portland of all places. She's studying fashion design at the local college after spending 7 or 8 years in Japan doing the same thing. David was grinning but trying not to grin too much when he looked at his mother. Sherry adjusted ok until she saw that night's waitress was wearing braces making her look even younger. It was all good fun.

But the rest of the weekend was more usual, taking them on a tour of the office and the City of Wollongong. Sunday, we went to the Town of Berry (of course I'd take them there) which is full of botiques and so crowded, we had to drive around a couple times to find a place to park. Sherry immediately got sucked into a quilting store while David and I waited for her a local Pub. We were going to drive through Kangaroo Valley but it was getting late so I turned in the opposite direction towards a winery Holly and I visited during her last visit. This is the link to the area where we stopped at Mountain Ridge, Coolangatta and Two Figs wineries. Sherry and I bought several bottles from each along with some for David to give to a couple of friends who are getting married soon.

Later I took them to an Italian Seafood restaurant in Kiama where again, Holly and I stopped at and really enjoyed ourselves. We ordered a bottle of wine and Sherry was about gone as we headed home. So much wine in so little time. I'm sure she was less than impressed with me when I poured the last bit out of a bottle when we got home.

They flew up to Cairns Monday and will return Friday to spend the rest of their stay with me! It is winter here with temperatures barely reaching into the 60's during the day. They wanted to go where it was hot an snorkle the Great Barrier Reef. Someday, I'll do that too...I hope.

More fun later.