Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

IMG_9829 by lemondingo
IMG_9829, a photo by lemondingo on Flickr.

....from our nerdy family to yours.

Friday, December 20, 2013



Some white stuff.

Hoping for a white Christmas

Friday, October 25, 2013


.......just because these photos of our foster pups make me happy. (Photography by Max)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I am a triangle


For any expats or repats, my friend Mysti made me aware of this great blog post. Her family are ex Air Force and spent lots of time living in Germany before returning to the U.S with their 4 kids. It is interesting to me to hear that regardless of where your ancestral home is, repatriation seems like a pretty similar experience for everyone I think anyone who has ever lived in another country can relate....neither a circle nor a square. Sometimes we triangles and stars feel like misfits in the square and circle worlds. Once you become a triangle you will never be a square or circle again. Being a part of both but not really belonging to either. It can be challenging. But maybe instead of seeing ourselves as misfits we should view ourselves as multi fits. Lets face it, the world is getting smaller, globalization makes us more a part of a global community than ever before. So maybe being a triangle or a star is a not such a bad thing.

Feeling Zen

Apologies to any Buddhists out there if I have misused their ox herding diagram. I stumbled across it yesterday and was fascinated by it. It signifies a Zen Buddhists journey towards enlightenment and wisdom. Deep, I know. But it struck me how similar it is to our own search for something. When we are young we work hard in pursuit of career, money or things, but as we get older that seems less and less fulfilling. It seems with every passing year I am more and more dissatisfied with our consumerist society, and the way I allow myself to get sucked into it. Yes...I am responsible for my own part in it. My annual feeling of dissatisfaction usually lines up pretty well with the end of summer. We have had some lovely Fall weather but that does not distract me from the inevitable march of winter. So as I envision the next few months hunkered down in my house I start looking around and realizing we have way more than we need. Time to start my annual purge of ....stuff. Maybe this time I will be able to resist giving in to the reverse pressure in Spring of nesting and gathering more junk in my house. Maybe.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Fun Bus

The title was for my sister in law who has a car she calls the Fun Bus. ( Her kids don't like her calling it that because they think it makes her sound like a pedophile.)  She has a minivan that always seems to be full of kids....hers and other people's.  So when I was looking around for something to do for Matt's birthday I was inspired by her fun bus.

I told Matt that we were going to something fun for his birthday.  I'm sure he was visualizing a meal at a nice restaurant but instead he got......an afternoon spin on Spokane's Party Trolley.

It involved lots of beer drinking, ( not the kids...they were eating snow cones)  pedalling, yelling and  squirting each other with water pistols.  And loads of laughing.  Apparently beer drinking and bicycle riding in 90F heat makes a bunch of funny people even funnier.

Let me tell you pedalling that thing was hard work.  I had assumed it had a little motor that would kick in on the up hills...but...um...no. It's all people powered.  Now that was fine and dandy at the start but by the end of the ride when we were faced with a mile of uphill pedalling all the guys became a bunch of slackers.  The down hills were fun though.  The driver ( yes they provide a driver thank goodness.  I can't imagine letting one of our bunch drive the thing) , did apply the brakes on the downhills which was a little disappointing to the kids who were hoping we could break the speed limit.

All our hard work was rewarded by 3 twenty minute stops at various watering holes all over town.  At the last one apparently there were tequila shots being consumed but that is just an unconfirmed rumor.  Although given the boys riding performance after that stop I think there may be some truth in it.

Now after we made it off the Trolley is a whole other story.  I can't tell it because reputations may be ruined.  I'll just leave you with a final photo and say nothing more about it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Since Ironman

Since Ironman we have;

 Spent a lot of time in these( you can tell from our expressions that we were getting sick of airport lounges)


Fought some tea towel wars


Been schooled by my chef SIL


Made and launched boomerangs


And various exploding things


Over eaten


Wrestled snakes


Kissed kangaroos


Nearly plunged to our death at Seaworld

IMG_8081 IMG_8072

Felt homesick for the wonderful country we miss so much

IMG_8821 IMG_8840

Made butter


Made a people sandwich ( no butter required)


Drank wine


Rode motorcycles


Got stuck in the river


Hung out with old friends


Ate vegemite crumpets


Dunked our feet in paradise


Did a little bit of running

Fostered puppies

Celebrated birthdays

Slept in and got out of shape, (no photos of that one!)

Maybe this explains why it took me so long to post my IMCDA race report :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ironman Coeur d'Alene - Final thoughts

So now that it is all over and I have had plenty of time to think about my race, here are my final thoughts on IMCDA.

1 - Staying out of the hype and laying low in the days leading up to, and even on the morning of the race was the ideal way to keep the nerves at bay.  I can truly say that the only time I got nervous was the 5  mins before the race started when I was lining up on the beach.

2 - The IM perform drink that they were using on the course was hideous.  It was some tropical flavour but it reminded my of over ripe peaches.  I think the high sugar content and the general acidity of it screwed up my stomach at the end of the bike leg leading to my stomach cramps on the run.  For the 3-4 days after the race I couldn't eat anything solid because my mouth and throat were ulcerated from the stuff.  In the past using the on course nutrition has worked out fine for me but not this time.  I will have to go back to my trusty carbo pro I think.

3 - The course itself is an honest one.  The swim has traditionally been the most challenging at CDA.  The water is usually cold...around mid 50's and the wind can pick up and cause a decent chop out there. Luckily for me that didn't happen on race day but the conditions we had this year were unusually good.  The bike
course is not as challenging or technical as the old IMCDA course but it has a couple of decent hills and you have to do them twice. Taking it easy on the first loop is the best way to make sure that you have plenty in the tank for the second.  Once you get over the hills the back end of the bike course is a little boring, especially the second time around.  But the blandness of the highway is more than made up for on the run.  I think the run course at CDA is awesome.  Every inch is covered with spectators who make you feel like a rockstar.  If you are thinking of doing an ironman I would say put IMCDA at the top of your list.

4 - I've heard nutrition being called the 4th discipline in Ironman and that proved to be true for me but I think one thing that I underestimated was how much mental toughness you need when things don't quite go to plan. Sitting in the change tent in T2 with those awful stomach cramps I really didn't think I would make it through 26.2 miles to the finish.  During training when I had a particularly tough workout my coach would tell me to file it away and draw on that experience when I hit a tough spot in the race.  I really had to dig deep to make it to the end.

5 - Having my family, friends and my coach there to encourage me when the going got tough was priceless.

6 - If you are pouring water over yourself during the run make sure you have some holes in the bottom of your shoes to let the water run out...otherwise you will be squelching along for 26 miles and it will be blister city in your shoes

In the days after the race I will be honest and tell you I was a little disappointed with parts of my race.  Things didn't turn out the way I was hoping and I didn't race as well as I would have liked.  But that is Ironman for you.  Sometimes just making it to the finish is the achievement.  Certainly for me on this day that was true. It was also a good idea getting out of town and going on vacation immediately after the race.  I spent 3 weeks away in Australia with family and friends who didn't know what ironman was and didn't care. Such a nice change of pace from living and breathing triathlon for months on end.

Now I'm back I am taking my time to figure out what's next.  Is there another Ironman in my future?   Yes. I haven't finished with Ironman racing yet.  I told my coach that I'll quit once I have the perfect race.  If IMCDA is anything to go by that could take a really long time.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene - The Run


So coming in off the bike I knew I was in trouble.  I handed my bike off to some friends Greg and Chris Purviance who were working the T2 transition and headed over to pick up my run bag.  Back into the tent and another great volunteer helped me get everything off and then on again.  I was out in no time and made a pit stop in the port-o-potties to try and buy me some time.  I knew my family would be waiting in the run out and I wanted to get myself together so I wouldn't burst into tears in front of them.  By this stage my stomach problems had worsened.  I was getting horrific cramps that kept me doubles over.  How ever was I going to run a marathon.  I doubted that I could even run a mile.  Out of the port-o-potties and I bumped into a number of team blaze peeps volunteering in transition.  They encouraged me to get going so I sucked it up and off I went.
IMG_7734 Straight out o the chute I saw my friend and PT Trish.  So good to get some encouragement from her, and then a little farther up some more hugs from friends and then the faces of my family in the crowd.  Lots of hugs and I said to my husband something like " I feel like crap.  This is going to be ugly" And he just smiled and said "You're fine now get going".  I think that's exactly what I needed to hear.  No time for sympathy.  Get moving.  So off I ran.

The first part of the run you head up through the main street of CDA.  People everywhere.  My insides were on fire but I kept running.  My mind was in panic mode.  I was trying to trouble shoot and problem solve and not think about all the miles in front of me.  I thought I'll just take it aid station to aid station. I ran until the first aid station and then I had to walk. I tried taking one of my gels but my stomach rebelled. I ended up ditching all the nutrition I was carrying because I knew it would be useless.  The only thing I kept were the salt tabs. After the aid station I tried to start running again. People were encouraging me to keep going but I had to keep stopping and bending over.  A medic on a bike came up to me and asked if I was alright.  A spectator yelled to the medic that I was fine. and said to me " Don't let him pull you off the course or that will be the end of your race".   IMG_7811 That was a defining moment in the run for me.  I just had to put my head down and gut it out. Aid station to aid station.  Run between them and then walk through them.  Take water and ice.  Keep going. And that was my strategy for the entire marathon.  At about mile 8 I started feeling a little better.  I saw my coach and he urged me to keep going.  Run while you can then walk when you have to.

IMG_7809 By mile 13 my lack of nutrition was taking its toll.  I tried to take in some salt tabs and a pretzel or 2 and then my stomach cramped up again.  Back through town it was great to be uplifted by all the crowds and the cheering.  But I knew the second half of the run was going to be killer.  Heading out again on the second loop it was getting pretty hot.  I started dousing myself with ice and water. My shoes soon filled up with water so I knew I had the makings of some decent blisters on my feet from that. By mile 16 I was having trouble walking in a straight line.  At one of the aid stations another medic asked me if I was OK.  Before I could answer an aid station volunteer thrust a cup of coke into my hand and that turned out to be magic.  I told her that it made me feel a lot better and she said just to make sure I kept drinking it at every aid station until the end of the race.  And that my friends is what got me across the line.

IMG_7895 Coming down the main street on the way to the finish line was amazing.  I stopped and hugged all my friends and family all the way down.  I grabbed the Australia flag from my son and proudly ran with it to the finish.   I don't remember Mike Reilly calling my name.  I just remember being so grateful that I made it across the line.

Once I crossed I was "caught" by 2 friends who were volunteering at the finish.  That was so nice to have a friendly face to take care of me once it was all over.  Once I was done having my finisher photo they asked me if I needed to go to medical.  But this point I just wanted to go home and put my feet up. I told them about the problems I had during the race but that I felt ok and they told me to drink water and wait 30 mins before I try and eat anything.


After that I met up with my family and friends.  Grabbed my bike and headed home for a shower and bed.  IMCDA was officially in the books.