Saturday, November 30, 2013

More exploring in Sydney

Jan and I shopped in an area called "The Rocks" which is where the oldest part of Sydney was established.  Artists, jewelry makers, glass blowers, dress makers, and lots of other folks set up an open air market under tents in this area once a week, and we were able to browse the market.  It was so fun.  I bought a nicely carved boomerang for my nephew.  I think we went to every single booth and  nearly missed lunch...but stopped in a little tea house called The Tea Cozy for scones and iced tea.  We sat outside in a very small patio area and enjoyed the tasty treat and good conversation. 

We finished up shopping by late afternoon and then decided to sit on some benches at Circular Quay and watch the boats, the people, and the hungry (begging) seagulls. 
I don't remember the name of this tree, but the purple blooms were so unusual and beautiful.

On the dock, a young aboriginal man was playing the didgeridoo and selling his paintings.  We was very talented, industrious, and friendly.  Just by playing on the waterfront, he had picked up some gigs to play elsewhere, and he was headed to New Zealand in a couple days to play there.  He was happy to have tourists sit on the block next to him for a I did. By the way, the more I saw of aboriginal art, the more it grew on me.  We saw some beautiful pieces.  His were selling for $150, which we soon discovered was a good bargain.

More to come...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sydney Opera House

Across the street on our walk down to Circular Quay, this tree is growing out of the rock wall.
After a few minutes of relaxation, Jan and I got dressed for the evening and walked down the street, which led to Circular Quay (pronounced "key") where one could catch all the ferry excursions and also walk out to the Sydney Opera House grounds.  Along the walkway, there was an area where one could sit and have appetizers and a drink while listening to live music.  And of course, it was kind of exciting to watch all the boat traffic in the bay.
This is the bridge they shoot fireworks from on New Year's Eve.

While Jan and I took some pictures,  we were approached by a young French couple on their honeymoon, and they asked if I'd take their picture in front of the Opera House.  Then they took our picture too.  As a crazy coincidence, we discovered we were seated right next to each other when we got in the theatre a couple hours later.

Here's a close-up of all the tile work that makes up the outside of the building.

I also was enchanted by a young bride and groom who were getting some wedding pictures taken in this picturesque location.  Here the young couple was looking out over the bay, talking with their photographer (on the right).  It was just a sweet human-interest moment, and I felt like capturing it.

Jan and I found a nice little cafe at the Opera House for dinner, and then we attended the production of "South Pacific."  It was so well done...and the  Spectacular.  Memorable. 
The the crowd begins to file in.

More to come...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Down Under and Back...

 The last I posted, Wyoming leaves were barely still on the trees, the colors nearly faded, and we had yet another early snow storm. 

Here's a picture of the beautiful fall leaves in Denver, CO at the end of October.  I'm rather jealous of the beautiful shades of red they have in their fall foliage.  It's spectacular.  I was in Denver overnight, on route to other destinations.

Quite frankly, I do not have a bucket list.  Not a formal one, anyway...that I am mentally or physically checking off.  I like to let things happen for good as they are inspired to do so.  Nevertheless, for several years I've heard friends and family talk about cruises and how much they enjoyed them.  So, I've wondered if I wouldn't like to try it out for myself...sometime.  Then, about a year and half ago, opportunity knocked...very unexpectedly.  It was a trip Down Australia and New Zealand.  A 12 night cruise.  Well, I have to admit I'm not keen on traveling to countries where Americans are not particularly welcomed, if you know what I mean, and there seem to be so many of them!  But going to Australia and New Zealand...what could be more perfect!  My parents had traveled to Australia many, many years ago and had loved it.  This was not a destination I dreamed about or planned to visit...but it sure seemed like a fantastic opportunity, and I would be silly not to go now that I had the time!  It would be late spring in Australia...and I could leave early winter behind for a few weeks!

Jan had invited me on this trip, so I flew to San Francisco, where we met in the airport.  Then, we found our way to the international terminal and visited while we waited for the 11:30 p.m. flight from San Francisco to Sydney Australia, a non-stop 14.5 hour flight.  Oh my goodness, I'll never complain again about a 3.5 hour flight across portions of our own country.  That was one LONG flight.  Because we crossed the International Time Line, and Australia is about 18 hours ahead of where I live, something happened that I could hardly wrap my mind around: I left SFO on October 31st, and when I arrived in Sydney, it was already Nov. 2nd!!!  What?  Is that crazy?

We arrived in Sydney at 7:30 a.m., so there was no opportunity to sleep...just hit the ground running. After going through immigration and customs, we finally got out of the airport.  We were met by Jan's dear friend, Sager, and he picked us up and took us to our hotel, the InterContinental Hotel, just a few blocks from bay, where one could see the Sydney Opera House and Bay Bridge.  We had a great view. 

We met Sager's family, and later had time for a nap before getting dressed for dinner...and a show.  Yes, we had tickets that night for the last performance of "South Pacific" in the Sydney Opera House.

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Brickless Scarf

Now that the scarf is off the needles and has been blocked, I love it!  Blocking it took out all the puckers and twists, and it lays out beautifully.  I believe I'll make another one out of some of my stash this coming winter. I'm curious what it would look like in lace-weight yarn and #2 needles.

Next, I'm putting another "Hitchhiker Scarf" on the needles, and I plan to have it finished for a Christmas gift. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Football from the announcer's booth

I have enjoyed Football in the Fall for many, many seasons.  The first team I started to follow (besides our high school team) was the Denver Broncos; that began sometime in the late 1970's as far as I recall.  Eventually, I was fortunate enough to see three games in the old Mile High Stadium when John Elway was quarterbacking.  Sitting in a big stadium with thousands of fans...well, I found it exciting!!  Chanting with a big's so cool.  Anyway, back at work, we Bronco fans would show up on Monday and salute each other over the big wins, just like the players did in the end zone after a touchdown.  And the replay we shared of the highlights was as much fun as watching it! 

I worked as a teacher in a small high school, so we typically wore "lots of hats." We seemed to always be on duty for some extra-curricular activity.  Early one fall, our Athletic Director announced that all staff would be put on a list and chosen randomly to fill all activity-based positions, like working the clock, being on the chain gang, announcing, crowd control, line judges, time-keepers, etc.  Our home-ec teacher and (female) biology teacher got the memo that they would be announcing a football game.  They were not they didn't know the game, didn't care to, and sure didn't want to be on a mic!!  That made me cranky that these positions were being appointed in this manner.  So, over a heated lunch conversation, I told those gals that I would switch with them, take their announcing assignments, if they'd take my crowd control.  Deal.  I followed up with, "I'll be so bad, that they'll figure it out, and get some guy on the mic that knows what to say!  This won't last long."

Next thing I knew, I was all bundled up in the crow's nest (literally about that big), holding a mic.  LeRoy S. was on my right, to help me spot and  announce, and Chuck G. was on my left, running the clock and scoreboard.  I found it pretty difficult to follow the ball and know who was running it.  But the guys would feed me the info, and (being an English teacher) I announced who had carried the ball and how far, all in complete sentences!  When there was a flag on the field, I had no idea what the ref was signaling, so I was fed that info too.  I sure "sounded" like I knew what was happening!

During one of those first games I announced, LeRoy said, "That's 2nd down and holding."  I started to repeat that into the mic.  But I hesitated, . . .  turned to LeRoy and asked, "Holding what?"  LeRoy started laughing so hard, he nearly fell off his wooden stool. Eventually, I let go of the need to put every bit of info into complete sentences, learned the lingo, could follow the ball, and started to really enjoy the job. I made some mistakes, like saying the ball was on the 51 yd. line, and of course that became a big joke for years. Hanging out in the crow's nest was a blast. I have to say, in bad weather, I had one of the best seats at the game. 

So, I held the announcer's position for 20+ years.  In addition, LeRoy and Chuck asked me to announce the track meets too, which I did for about as many years.  Totally unexpected, I was asked to announce a few regional track meets as well, which was a good experience. 

Who would have guessed!  I love listening to the announcers of the professional football games...and I'll be following the Broncos...all the way to the Super Bowl???