Sunday, May 28, 2017

a new nook

See that big white-framed window in the front of the Centenarian? The one with the sweet view out over the neighborhood and garden? The one that looks like a perfect perch from which to watch the world go by? Yeah, that one!

Its actually an enclosed portion of the porch, which at one time spanned the entire front of the house as is common with old Craftsmans. Someone years ago enclosed it. Our house is rife with examples of poor decisions made by previous owners, but this was one of the good ones. In a house that is just shy of 1000 sq feet, having an additional 35 matters.

When we moved in, we thought this was a perfect place for a small office. A place for my cool old Mission style desk and chair, a bookshelf that didn't have another home, and our dour putty-grey filing cabinet. But we never sat there, and the whole thing looked like a mish-mash of stuff.

So we deliberated for almost 2 years about what to do, and a reading nook is what we came up with! Storage, bookshelves, and a comfy-cozy window seat seemed just right. Below is the final product!

A crowded and unused office.

Everything out!

Bare bones construction...

The finished bare bones.

The finished product!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

totally taken with the land down under

Adrienne went to India this year, I went to Australia. I chose it because I have an old friend that lives in Sydney, plus I figured Australia was pretty easy to travel around in alone. I chose it for convenience as much as anything else.

Let me tell you, Australia was incredible. I now envision a lifetime of going there and exploring its vast open spaces. And the cities were just fantastic -- modern, arty, laid back. I can't get enough of it.

I'll tell the story of my travels with the pictures below. If you want to see more pics, you can always check out my Flickr page.

This is Apollo Bay, day 1. My travels were crazy - Seattle to LA, 7 hour layover there and a visit with my folks, then LA to Sydney (15 hrs), then Sydney to Melbourne (2 hrs), then I rented a car and drove 3 hrs to Apollo Bay -- in a car where the steering wheel was on the right and I drove on the left side of the road. Never done that before! No room for error (I did go the wrong way in the first round-a-bout I came to -- oops!).  I went to Apollo Bay because it was where I began my 42-mile overnight hike along the coast.

Jetlag meant I was up at 5am -- and when I saw the colors materializing in the sky, I grabbed my camera and ran to the estuary near the place I was staying. Amazing color -- I was stoked.

A little water duck in the pink water's glow.

My cool little bush motel in Apollo Bay.

Apollo Bay.

Cockatoos in the branches.

White parrot in flight.

Big Sur or Southern Australia? Hard to tell.

Yours truly above Apollo Bay.

In search of wildlife.

Look close - its exactly what you think it is! I saw about a dozen of these fellas driving waaaaay down a dirt road into the national park. So incredible! 

The reason I came to this part of the world was to hike the Great Ocean Walk. It started deep in the eucalyptus rainforest before it popped out on the coast.

On the trail.

Popped out of the forest and this was my first view of the ocean!

On the trail, in my happy place.

 Tree ferns in the understory.

Had to cross the delta where the river meets the sea. That forest that you see is allllll eucalytpus!

This is a freshwater river, full of brown tannins from the eucalyptus. 

My path along the coast.

Tent dinner along the trail.

My walk in many places looked like Torrey Pines in San Diego.

Amazing surf along the entire stretch.

That, my friends, is an Aussie echidna! An egg-laying mammal!

The lighthouse at Australia's southern most point.

Up the coast I continue...

My walk finished at the 12 Apostles, one of coastal Australia's most visited sites.

Celebrated the end of my walk in Port Fairy, an old whaling town that just oozed with charm.

Hit the road early the next morning to go check out Australia's Napa, the Yarra Valley!

And saw some 'roos along the way!

Yarra Valley.

On to Melbourne!

Cool alleys, cafes, bars, bakeries, restaurants, street food. Very European.

Sights around Melbourne.

After some time in Melbourne, it was off to Sydney!

I met my old friend from Friday Harbor - Sam - in Sydney. He lives there with his family and is a brewer. He knows I like hiking AND beer, so we went on a walk through the city beer hopping.

Sights through Sydney.

Approaching Sydney on the ferry. You can see the opera house between downtown and the bridge.

Sydney's most iconic structures - the bridge and the opera house.

Some scenes around old Sydney.

Some closeups of the great Sydney Opera House.

And last but not least, I got to see an endangered flying fox enclave right in the middle of the city. Totally incredible!