Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A quick trip to the capital

Last month we went to Wellington for a quick weekend getaway. A colleague/friend was taking her kids there via train, and since Kien is good friends with those kids I thought it would be great to meet them there. I was not however going to spend an entire day on a train - been there, done that in Vietnam, got well and truly impatient, so no thanks, I'll fly! Plus, breakfast (and lunch combined) in the Koru lounge, yes please!

We stayed at the Copthorne on Oriental Bay. We've never stayed down this side before - we've always been more centrally located, so it made for a nice change.

We happened to have been there through a cold snap, and oh boy was it cold and windy. We did a fair bit of walking which kind of helped a bit.

Satnam and the kids finally arrived on Saturday evening, and we walked across town for some dinner at a little Vietnamese restaurant. There was a light festival happening that weekend (which we were not aware of) but it was good to be able to catch some of it on our walk home from dinner.

Sunday morning we visited Te Papa. Gallipoli: The scale of our war exhibition is still running. The last time we were here it was so crowded that we didn't want to queue for hours to see it, but this time, since we got there so early we were able to go through. If there is an exhibition that is worth coming to Wellington for then this one is it. It is truly spectacular with the giant models that look so realistic (and huge).

We all loved it.

We then took the cable car to the top of the hill - how novel.

A run around the playground for the kids to burn off some steam and then we took the cable car back to the bottom again (because we purchased return tickets).

Then a walk back around the waterfront for beers and ice-creams before heading back to the airport.

That's it. Another weekend over. They go so very fast, don't they?!?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Somewhere wild with my wildling

That's about the size of it...the boy that made me a mother is a wild child and is giving me a run for my money. He's dirty and smelly with his bare foot ways and unkempt hair, a face always marked with berry juice and clothes I'd be embarrassed to donate even without the holes. Yes. That boy. He calls for me every morning. "Mummy" is the first word he utters. The next are usually "I love you, can I have the iPad?". Yes, this is my life with the Kien. So when Jef asked me what I wanted to do on Sunday for Mother's Day all I knew was that I wanted to be somewhere wild with my wildling.

We decided to go to Mangawhai to see how the driveway was getting on at the property. After that we went to Te Arai Point. What a fabulous beach! Especially if you walk around the rocks for a while and discover a secluded bay that no one has ventured to on that day. Our footsteps were the first to mark the shelly sand on that beach.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The good and the ugly

We've been home for a couple of weeks now and everything feels like it's in disarray. We're in the midst of kitchen renovations which, as exciting as it is to be cooking outside in the carport with the tail of Debbie lashing us, I'm quite over "camping". Of course I get back to work and it's not exactly a walk in the park either, and I normally try to escape my desk in the middle of the day for a lunchtime run, but my body is still spent from the marathon and I certainly feel it my knees when I'm jogging. So it's pretty frustrating to have to wait for recovery. But anyway, enough of my complaining. I can't wait to get our house back; no more builders, painters, plumbers, electricians, tilers. They are a great crew though - the same ones we had to renovate our bathroom, so it feels all too familiar. We're almost there; tiler and plumber in today, electrician again at some point to wire up the remaining lighting and switches, painters to come through again, and I think that's about it. This is what our kitchen looks like this morning.

But this is what it looked like last week...

Big difference, huh? When we got back from LA we will had bare concrete walls! So we've come a very long way. Only a couple more days to go and *hopefully* I'll be cooking on the induction stove by Thursday night. I can't wait!

Over the weekend I took Kien to Extreme Edge Indoor Climbing. He went there for a birthday party once and he's been asking to go all last week. This particular place in Panmure is great. It's very big and has many walls.

On Sunday Kien rode his new bike to the park. He's still growing into the bike but it fits him better than his little one now.

If you saw Kien's blog you would have read that we saw the bees. They are back! We've missed them. The hives were taken away in 2015 but now it looks like there is a campaign to make AKL the most liveable place for bees.

I'm so looking forward to an extra long weekend!

My weekend



Monday, April 3, 2017

In the weekend...



Kien wrote his story with his dad in bed last night and texted it to me.

I look at these pics below and see the future flash before my eyes!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Chuck E Cheese's

Practicing and writing stories about his experiences on this trip is the assignment Kien was set by his teacher, Sally.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stadium to the sea

The 26.2-mile/42.16-km "Stadium to the Sea" route began at Dodger Stadium and ended at Ocean and California avenues in Santa Monica. But before that we had to actually get there. So Lynette and I (and Jef for moral support) got up at 3:30am to get dressed, psyched and coffee'ed. We needed to leave the house by 4:30am to drive to the finish line, park the car, and catch a shuttle to take us all the way back to downtown LA so we could run all the way back to the beach.

We arrived in Santa Monica within half an hour, and then the looooooooooooong wait in the really loooooooooooong queue to get onto the buses which seemed to take forever to move. I was absolutely busting to empty my bladder, and there was one port-a-loo (yes, count them, 1!) close to the buses with a queue that didn't look like it was moving in a hurry. As soon as I got in the loo queue the shuttle line started moving really fast, and Lynette was at the front of the line and waiting for me. I was still lined up waiting for the loo, and then in a blink there were no more people waiting for the shuttle, and we were seriously worried we were going to miss the last bus. But when you've had as much coffee as I had that morning, well, when you gotta go you just gotta go! So Lynette ran off trying to hold a shuttle for me, and after I was finally able to do my business we got on the bus and were on our way to the start line.

The sun had finally decided to wake up, and by now some horrible mangled rendition of Star Spangled Banner was blaring from the load speakers indicating the gun was about to go off. We were lined up for the loos, again, and there was a countdown and then the gun and horns and lots of cheering and music and it all seems like such a blur as the adrenaline kicks into high gear.

At the starting line of the 32nd annual Los Angeles Marathon.

The first half felt pretty good. I paced well and didn't go too hard. I was texting and sending pictures to Jef of the landmarks along the route.

Entering Chinatown.

The mass of people climbing up the hill up ahead.

Taiko drummers at the top of 1st Ave hill. It really helped to hear the cadence.

At mile 6 making our way around Echo Park lake.

Running through Silver Lake for mile 8.

The long strip of Sunset Blvd seeing Griffith Observatory and Hollywood sign in the distance.

The transition from Sunset Blvd to Hollywood Blvd.

Mile 12, home of the Academy Awards.

We were back on Sunset Blvd for mile 13 - yay, half way point. I think I looked at Strava and saw I did the first 21km in 2 hours 18/19 minutes or something like that.

Then it was into West Hollywood and through Beverly Hills. Just after mile 16 checkpoint was where Jef and Kien were waiting. A quick kiss from them both gave me a boost to keep moving.

Mile 19 on Santa Monica Blvd. I think I was still feeling okay at this point. By now I had sucked down 4 GU gels and numerous cups of Gatoraid that was handed out at every mile point.

I'm pretty sure it was after this that I hit the wall. Only 8km left. I kept telling myself how easy 8km was as my legs screamed at me. This was the furthest distance I had ever run, and the cramps were setting in. That smiling selfie was also the last photo I sent to Jef, as from that point on it was so very tough. I could not suck down any more GU gels - the thought of having another one made me want to throw up. I tried to talk myself into having one with caffeine, but I was over it. I just couldn't. The course profile write up had said this was one of the toughest points - a continuous 2 mile hill climb. It seemed never ending. I knew I had dropped my pace quite substantially, and was a tad worried I wouldn't make my goal time. After passing mile 25 mark all I told myself was that the finish line was less than 12 minutes away and to go go go to stop the pain sooner.

The finish line was in sight, but it looked so far away. I remember throwing my head back and pumping my arms harder just to propel my aching body forward along this stretch. It will be over soon, I told myself. And then...

When I crossed that finish line it was totally surreal. I told myself I could stop running now, but I was in disbelief at the same time, so in my state of confusion I was wobbling about not knowing if I was walking, running, or collapsing and dying. Stopping moving hurt so much. A volunteer lady came over and said she could stay with me if I needed help. I walked with her for a few meters and then decided I wasn't going to die after all. I thanked her and told her I was okay. She congratulated me and I went and got my medal.

Jef texted me my result. I made it.


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