See you in 2019 Australia!

Our last week in Queensland was fun filled with a highlight of our trip a 5-hour whale watch adventure with my Dad and the kids out to the ocean right next to Moreton Island. It was such a beautiful day with the sun shining and the temperature was around 23 degrees – just perfect! I made a video using my new Nikon camera as I couldn’t capture the whale action as it was too slow and I am still a newbie with the settings. The video worked a treat as the lens can zoom in and out effortlessly.

The whale watch high-speed luxury catamaran was a dream on the water and the added bonus is getting a lovely lunch of salad and fresh prawns with fruit for dessert. We paid for coffee at $5 and water for $4 but I had a stash of snacks for the kids which was a good idea as they were hungry within seconds when they got on the boat. The views were just stunning and to see Moreton Island again in all its sandy glory bought back so many memories of camping over there and the big one spending Schoolies over there with my year 12 schoolmates.

I was on a mission to photograph the flying foxes for a friend of mine here in the States, she absolutely loves them on her Instagram feed and shows me the most beautiful pics of the little rescue foxes. This camp of foxes is found at the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens right across the road from my school friends house. I was in awe of how many there were and how active they are during the day – apparently, the males are super frisky all the time and harassing the females when they are trying to rest! I was pretty excited to get some cute pics too of these little fellas who are a keystone protected species in Australia as they are pollinators of the native flora.

Plus the lunar eclipse was happening the morning we were leaving so we did not get up to see it, my camera caught some close-ups of the moon before the cloud came in. The backyard had the grevilleas in bloom and the honeyeaters and lorikeets visited every day. Each week we kept our Taco Tuesday tradition going until we left the country Saturday morning.

And my friend M came to visit, we spent a lot of time together in our 20s and had a blast at all the clubs dancing away. Now we just catch up and drink fancy lattes. I enjoyed a matcha latte and M enjoyed the beet latte. The lunch I had at Soul Harvest Wholefoods was divine with 3 salads and a vegan pumpkin coconut pattie with a mango chutney – such a wholesome feast for lunch.

Soon came time for our last walk along the beach, we cherished our time together taking in the sights and feeling the fresh air and watching the water gently roll onto the sand. I did not realise how lucky I was to grow up with such a beautiful environment close by.

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Then as we flew off on a 27-degree day it was time to go back on the 13-hour journey back to San Francisco. We nearly missed the plane due to logistics with the Sydney airport bus transfer and then security finding some water in my daughter’s backpack so I had to stand there and drink it. Mind you by now I was busting to go to the toilet! Anyway, we finally got through the drama and made it to the flight QF73 and there we were on the plane about to have lunch. The time passed quickly as I caught up on my readings for University and watched a couple of films and my husband’s recommendation Search Party which was fine to pass the time. Secretly I was wanting to miss the plane and stay in Australia, I was not ready to come back to California. Now I am back it is OK as I have a lot of studies to catch up on to keep me busy and out of pining for Melbourne and to be back with my family. Until we move back – know that we love you and miss you. The countdown begins with around 10 months to go!!

An epitaph for my Feline Friend

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My little buddy I will miss you so much you were my light, my love and my rainbow and you will forever be in my heart. We have been through so much together, and you have listened to so many of my stories and shared my thoughts through your cat telekinesis. I feel that sometimes you knew what to do whenever I was sad or lonely. You made me feel so happy with your purrs and your love. I will never forget you. We saved you from a big fat cat called Sumo who was bullying you at a share house in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Then you came to live with us and join Scrap who was the tuxedo friend of yours who after a while you two became best friends (until Scrap passed at a lovely age of 17 years old). I still remember the conversations at Bimbos in Fitzroy with my friend over pizza when he was telling me about you and how exciting it was to adopt you and bring you into our family over 12 years ago. How we came about to call you Mack – a Macintosh was one of my favourite things being a graphic designer, so it was pretty cheesy that name came about (though some will argue another story). We enjoyed our time in Flemo where I bought you a neon pink collar, even though you were a boy and I even bought a cat harness in the hope we could go strolling under the plane trees together. Alas, that plan was foiled as you were an independent kitty and wanted to climb trees and sleep in the rosemary. When I was pregnant with Ash and came home from work and lay down through sheer exhaustion, you were there with me hanging out and purring on the bed. Then came Ash and both you and Scrap were a bit disturbed about this small human in the house and soon you realised they were no threat and accepted him into your cat tribe. The kid who was pulling your tail still you lay there until you could stand it no longer and soon both you and Ash understood how to be friends. Not long, we moved you and Scrap to our next home where you were settled for just a short period of time before we whisked both of you over to California to live a cat’s dream in the sunshine and redwoods. I imagine the groomed grass felt amazing under your paws and the sunshine on the balcony was divine. Soon another little human came into being, and Missy became the cat girl who growing up with you has become a true lover of everything cat. She just used to hang out with you and pat you and you knew after the first time with a tiny human that it was time to hide if things got a bit rough. After living in an apartment complex with way too many dogs it was time, we moved again to our current house with a nice big fence to sit upon and watch the squirrels and birds from up high in your own little garden. The garden was a blessing with its plants to hide in and the afternoon sun where you enjoyed your days. Soon another kitty came to rock your world – a kitten called Bella, she was found abandoned and we adopted her after Christmas and she became your BFF. The way you two lay together grooming each other, she really loved you as her cat brother. I really enjoyed the time when you just lay upon my desk and I studied with you sleeping next to me, and I could pat you whenever I wanted and talk to you, and you would understand – even reading out my essays to you and you sharing your fleas with me. Even when I was sewing you were near my machine catching the fabric on the other side. Your presence is missing in my life, my feline friend. I came out to see you in the garden the other day and you did not respond when I called your name – not even an ear wiggle, then I felt your cat body, and it was so cold. Your body all but an empty shell but your cat spirit will live in our hearts forever. We love everything you gave us as a pet and a best friend and thank you for your beautiful, friendly cat soul and all the love you shared with us – we love you! Now I know what it means to say, Mack forever xo

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Guarding the recycling with Scrap – 3 bells to protect those hummingbirds
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Tortured by a child!
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Hanging with your mama
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These are my claws – do not mess with me!
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Let me sleep I am enjoying some peace
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Your beautiful cat face
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Dirty paws
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Busted! Drinking from the toilet bowl
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Wearing a cat hat
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The move to America – look at those young kids!
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When your people came home after leaving for 2 months – we missed you so much!