Getting ready to farewell SF

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Cruising along last week prepared me for my weekend full of fun, starting with Trunk or Treat at our school. It was the first time we had signed up and it was such a good time with kids walking up and down the carpark filling their treat bags with tonnes of candy. I gave away two baskets full starting with around 800 Hersheys chocolate kisses.

The evening was a good time and I started the night off with some delicious tacos from the food truck, which really helped get through the Friday night. My outfit was a 1980s dance outfit – channelling my youth with the bubble skirt, sequins and big hair. The trunks were so creative and ours was a crafty dancy party as I have given away a lot of stuff and I do not have a lot of Halloween decorations. We shone our disco lights through the crochet blanket but the sound of the food truck drowned out our little speaker of tunes!

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My favourite trunk was our friends who designed their trunk with the theme of The Book of Life – it is such a beautiful film.

A couple of standout costumes of the evening was My friend’s costume with the lights on her hat from the character La Muerte from the Book of Life and another fave was the LED jellyfish and her sibling was a stingray – their mum told me that she was the ocean and wrapped in a blue ocean themed throw.

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After all the fun and excitement of trunk or treat my friends and I planned a hop on hop off tour of San Francisco months ago.

It was a bit strange to get the hang of as you waited around at a random bus stop and then when the bus came we had to get the ticket authorised for the Sausalito leg by the office at Pier 39. After we worked all that out half the day had gone but we packed it in and had a late lunch at this lovely traditional Italian restaurant San Drino in Sausalito (see the gnocchi and ravioli before we ate the thin crust pizza, amazing!) and had some ice cream from Lapperts as we were waiting for the bus. My ice cream was the right amount of sweetness the Ube Macapuno – Philippine Ube root with coconut puree, yummo!

Just travelling beneath the arches of the golden gate bridge atop the open bus was so cold but worth it for the incredible views of the bridge and the bay. I highly recommend these tours as you get a great overview of the city the view from the top of the bus allow for some magical photo opportunities. I plan on doing one in Melbourne when I get home to see what is new in the city 😀

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This is one of my fave shots of the day from the top of the bus while it was moving! Still, it was lucky to get this in focus with Karl the fog floating atop the water.

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After our trip to Sausalito, we went to see the rest of the loop and to check out one final destination – Lombard Street, AKA “the crookedest street in the world”. The views were spectacular and the sun was about to set so the sky was just gorgeous! As we were heading down the steep hill to go and get a quick snack for the way home we stumbled across this amazing sunset with the Golden Gate bridge in the foreground – so special and what a magnificent end to the day. That will most likely be my farewell to this beautiful city as I have two months left until we go home for good.

Sunday I had another early start with volunteering for the annual FabMo Textile Art Boutique. I wore my dress made from FabMo squares which received many comments of “cute skirt”, it is always so fun to wear it as it is the special souvenir of my time spent volunteering with FabMo – their ethos and approach to saving fabric from the landfill is something that I aspire to and maybe if I make the connections in Melbourne where I can create a FabMo there too!

This week is my last before I get into my next subject of Teaching Science and Technology – it should be a lot of fun juggling the study with moving home!

New Year, New Beginnings

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This is the year 2017 and time for all those resolutions and all that jazz that never manifest. Last year I was supposed to play my ukelele but did I even pick it up and learn one song – no! I love my ukelele and it is so good to own one and I do need to make time to play if only there were more hours in the day, then maybe?

Now it is back to reality and to regular routine… I have my two subjects a week for this teaching period plus 3 assignments to complete in the next 2 weeks so my time is very limited to socialising and the like. I still need to get out and exercise for my mind, so time on my yoga mat and dancing are priorities. I am really enjoying studying and it gives me a sense of purpose and a goal (at the end of a very long tunnel!) My first group assignment is going along well and it was not as hard as I perceived it to be in fact communicating across the world online with different timezones is so do-able, every day it is done in business which makes me wonder why do business folks still have to have face to face contact and jet around the world constantly? Anyway, that is not my worry, I have to get this blog post written and get on with my reading and weekly tasks for this week for my Education degree…

Our new years eve this year was just the four of us enjoying a lovely dinner of DIY pizza, cocktails using Sonoma organic ginger vodka, loganberry liqueur from Whidbey Island distillers and lemon shrub I made over the summer and tonic water – they went down a treat. A collaboration with my hubby where he made the meringue and I decorated the pavlova sans the cream (as I forgot) turned out to be quite the success. It went down a treat and we shared it with our neighbour who also is a fan of Australia – my good friend in Australia said to me the pavlova was super easy to make and she is a Kiwi and it turned out to be so, though he did spend a lot of time with the hand mixer (I hear the Kitchen Aid is the biz!!).

For New Years Day we mixed it up a bit this year and we abandoned the idea of brunching with friends and decided to start the year off with something we have not done in the 10 years we have lived in the Bay Area. Why we have not done this is a complete mystery but as it turned out the 1st day of the year was a perfectly, clear, sunny day to walk the Golden Gate Bridge! Every time we drive over it seems so surreal that we are living here – well we live in the suburbs of San Francisco so it is not like living in a city! Anyway, I will not complain, I do love the sunshine 🙂 To start the year off on something new was a bold move for us and we plan to do many more adventures like this in the time we have left in the United States. That is if my plan works to escape and head on back home!

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The views from the bridge are absolutely spectacular and on a day with zero fog and sunshine, it was just amazing to see what this city has to offer. I loved the views of the bridge walking under it and I loved to admire the incredible engineering. The cables viewed from the walking paths with their curves were to behold and the view of the city just wonderful – it is such a beautiful bridge and a glorious bay it is no wonder that people love living here!

Here is a rare image of my hubby and myself finally in front of the Golden Gate Bridge – we had some time to talk about our future while we were away on vacay. Time alone without children screaming the background or media to distract us – now we know where we both stand it is up to us to take life where we want to go. The future can always be scary so a bit of investigation in the job market and where we are both going in life has to be examined before any big decisions are made! The love locks we found on the Golden Gate are from lovers who have used a lock as a symbol of their love and then thrown away the key – what a sweet gesture, I thought it was for suicide victims whew thank goodness they were not as that would be a lot of unnecessary deaths of couples!

I really enjoyed the light of the day the other day with the bridge and wandering along being together as a family. This holiday has really brought us together and it is so good to see the kids in a relaxed mode and enjoying each others company which is why I captured this pic of the two of them chatting away, they are both growing up so fast! Oh and check out the tunnel we had to travel through to get to the bridge, it is quite the adventure going into a little Hobbit tunnel.

So to new beginnings and how to move along 2017 in such a positive light! I plan to do more photography, ride my bike often (see this ride across the bridge for a bit of a long day of riding!) and bake more – this is a clafoutis that I made from apple and berries and it was divine. It is such a simple recipe I found in Sunset magazine using my Vitamix and oh yes I need to use my blender to make smoothies and all that goodness. Really it is so important to stay positive and full of light in the coming year and be there to support each other – I don’t want to mention here why but I think most people know the doom that exists on the horizon.

A piece a week – Another cross back top with fabric from Sri Lanka and Indonesia

As I really liked the pattern from last week I wanted to try out another top as I find that I am happiest when making clothes! Maybe it is because that was what I first learned to do when I started sewing. I have such a stash of fabric that is calling to be used and I need tops for the summer, so why not! The fabric that came out of my stash this time is fabric my uncle bought me back from Sri Lanka – which I love and another fabric I found on free cycle – some batik fabric from Indonesia. When I pieced them together I thought what a wonderful idea of putting these islands together – one day I might feel like Sri Lanka and another day could be Indonesia. Both hot and tropical so that is something else I really enjoy – come to think of it I don’t know if I could handle the humid tropic heat anymore! Living in California has spoilt me big time with it’s wonderful weather 😀

Back to the fun of making this top again – I decided to redo the neckline and make it higher so it sits better on the shoulder and it sits very much like a trapeze top now which I like as it will be cool for the hotter weather. The fabrics go together very well and even though there is a lot of black that is fine as it will go with many different colored pants or skirts. Anyway enough of my wardrobe and updating – it is fun to do and maybe this well I will work on something new.

The back of the top with the Sri Lankan elephants

The front of the top with the Indonesian batik – the pattern is gorgeous

The side view with a bit of the Sri Lankan fabric peeking though

The Sri Lankan fabric in full view from the front. 

Last week flew by and I had a full weekend of camping and taking a walk about Sutro Baths in San Francisco starting at Lands End. It was just beautiful as you could hike up in between the Monterey Cypress and get the perfect shot of the Golden Gate bridge. The camping was pretty awesome at China Camp with a near full moon and being out in front of the fire. The smell of the campfire just takes me back to summer and the knowing that there is more to come makes me so happy. I love being outside and it is a small price to pay to be sleeping on the ground in a tiny tent with my whole family – it is such an amazing thing to do for your soul. We had a whirl wind journey as we had planned to go Friday but the traffic was a nightmare so we went first thing Saturday morning and the day was absolutely perfect with sunshine a a teeny bit of fog when we were walking around.

The afternoon at the campground we set up camp and had a couple of glasses of wine prepping a chili for dinner – super easy to throw a vegetarian chili on the open fire but be careful of the beans. The evening dessert was the hit of last summer – Campfire Cones. This time we threw in some Girl Scout Thin Mints and marshmallows and that was enjoyed by all even without the melty chocolate minty marshmallow combo. On the way back home Sunday, we stopped at China Camp – an old shrimp fishing village from the 1800s. There will be a next time – as the camping was super and I have a couple of good spots we would like to stay at next time we go there and definitely check out the hiking around the camp sites. One thing I remember was that I heard frogs singing away in the evening – what a perfect sound to sleep by!

Through a tunnel at Sutro Baths to see the rough surf
A stunning grove of Monterey Cypress tress
Action by the kiddos on the hike
A perfect day with the Golden Gate bridge
Our camp site and tent – fly less, what’s going on it isn’t even Summer!
The kids on the beach at China Camp
Sunday and the bridge is shrouded in fog – and we hear the fog horn

NaBloPoMo – Day 18 – A day with errands – Marin piccies from 2012

Today was exciting as it is Monday and my usual is exercise class, Whole Foods and pick up the kiddos. The excitement at Whole Foods was that the lights went out when I was there – they lost the power and the music went out, it was very strange shopping in the dark without the fluorescent lighting! Soon the music came on and I was back to shopping in the dark 🙂 After check out, just to be safe I sent my cart in the lift and walked down the stairs just in case I got stuck – yikes! Anyway after all of those thrills I came home only to go and hang at school for the rest of the day, yawn I need to get to my yarn and start knitting and being productive! 

So with the lack of thrills in my day I have been clearing out the pics in my phone to make room to update to the new OS & I found some super cool pics from a Marin weekend away last year.

Wild mustard with a blue sky – the day before was freezing!

A huge gum tree on the trail to the beach from the YMCA Hostel

Missy moo and the huge tree!
Where are the hobbits? At the Sausalito Childrens Museum 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

The Golden Gate Bridge – with some filter from my phone

A cairn by the waves on the beach in Marin

Let us hike to the beach!