Thursday, October 10, 2013


After whining about the cold in my last post, we had a miraculous weekend of blue skies and warmth. I'm talking proper T-shirt weather here, and it was beautiful to see the amazing autumn colours against a cloudless sky for a change.

Naturally, with weather like this we decided we'd better spend those two days outside. I think we ended up at about three different parks alone on Saturday. It was also a great opportunity - and the last chance before our trip to Australia - to visit a pumpkin patch, and on a whim we decided to go and check out Snoqualmie for a small day trip. It was mostly an excuse for a bit of a scenic drive and historical train ride for the girls, but took a turn for excitement when we realised we'd landed in Twin Peaks country. J and I were both fans back in the day, and visiting the diner which was used for many scenes has me itching to bust out Season One on Netflix.

I'm glad I got to experience a beautiful "fall" weekend here before our trip back home. It truly is different here - Sydney and L.A. are very much a case of leaves going from green to brown, and not a whole lot else in between. The Northwest is so much more colourful; I can't even begin to imagine the show that must happen in the Northeast.

We leave tomorrow and I still have to finish packing, so this is it for word part of this post. I'll leave you with a bunch of snaps from the weekend (I cracked out the DSLR again, which felt good), and I'll check back in once our crazy trip is over.


Plus a couple more from this week:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sorry Orlando, some other time

About a week ago, we gave in to the cold and got the gas fireplace cranking. J and I felt somewhat pathetic, as though we were being 'soft' and wimpy about the colder temperatures, but damn - that heat felt so good. A few days later, in the space of only 24 hours, at least three people - all locals who are used to the Northwest - told me that this weather was not normal for this time of year. There I was, thinking the endless heavy rain (not drizzle), storms, and icy winds were just par for the course after summer, but apparently not. Good to know.

It seems that autumn decided to do a runner. She raced past us, ensured that the trees would all turn spectacular colours... but as for a gradual transition with the temperatures, nope. In the space of less than three weeks, I've gone from wearing singlet tops and T-shirts to multiple layers, boots and rain jackets. Miss Pie even wore her new puffy down jacket today, which I hoped wouldn't be needed until around Thanksgiving at the earliest.

A screenshot of my Instagram feed, from this week.
I really am sinking into new lazily low territory.

Fortunately, we'll soon be getting a respite from this cold. It snuck up on us, but our little trip back to Australia is almost here - as in, we leave in eight days.

Last year, our visit home was preceded by counting the months, weeks, and days until we went. It had been two and a half years since we'd last seen everyone, so our excitement was at an all time high.

This year, it really was a case of J and I looking at each other last week, and exclaiming Oh fuck! We're going to Australia in a few weeks. Fuuuuck!

It's not that we felt no joy at the idea, but that we've had a tonne of things to organise lately, thrown in with small kids settling in to new routines of a new school and preschool. J is swamped under at work, and getting our visa renewal paperwork sorted for the trip has been fraught with stress and complications that has put us in fowl moods. On top of that, this trip is only two weeks long - with a family wedding in Canberra in the middle - so fielding queries about our itinerary from well-meaning family and friends has been tricky (partly to do with the visa renewal process making it uncertain if or when I'd need to go to the US Consulate in Sydney, and the only time slots available were two days before the wedding... in Canberra).

In terms of personal relationships, I've also been more than a little anxious about having to see someone who - the last time I spent days on end with, a few years ago - did not end on a good note. I won't lie, my stomach is in knots at the thought of the potential drama she'll create. We just never know with her. When she's happy in life, she's a wonderful person to be around and in the past, I've held tremendous respect for her but in recent years, things have disintegrated and it can be like walking on eggshells. Seeing her is unavoidable though, and I just need to put on my big girl pants.

But then last night, the cloud lifted. The visa renewal process turned a corner and we also discovered I don't need to front up in person at the US Consulate (assuming there are no problems with our paperwork), so I guess I'm not likely to meet Orlando Bloom there this time. Yay about the US Consulate, but bummer about Orlando, dude.

Other things began to fall into place, and despite our concerns about how on earth we'll find the time to catch up properly with everyone we want to, we began to feel the first tingles of excitement about the trip. Our first twenty-four hours in Sydney will be a blank canvas, so we are keeping it that way, to just hang out as our own little family of four. A night in a nice hotel in the heart of the city, a ferry ride to Manly (a place which is special to me, and I was unable to get to last year), and deep breaths to prepare for the following two weeks of madness.

I'm trying not to think about the fact that we can't fly directly from Seattle, so what is already a long flight now has another three hours plus layover time at LAX added. Calming me is the knowledge that Miss Pie is now the age that the Faery was when we very first flew from Sydney to Los Angeles. Three and a half is a much more manageable age for long-haul flights. With any luck, we won't have half the dramas we had last time - either with Customs or the luggage mix up. Big learning curves there. BIG.

And there you have it. Things will be even quieter on this blog front - for a while, I suspect - but it's all good. I will be in sunshine, making the most of a brief top-up of sweet spring air, and time with our most-loved ones south of the Equator.