Spelunking

At George’s request, I took the boys to a cavern today so we could go underground. (The man was a mole in a former life, I have no doubt.) So we met up with my friend Emily and her three adorable children at Inner Space Cavern north of Austin.

The boys were enthralled (every day I realize how much they take after George and how little they take after me) and had a great time. I had a nice time, but they really loved it. I told them Daddy will take them on a more adventurous cave tour when they’re older. A boys trip. Sounds great to me!

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Tubing on the river

(It’s a much better post title if you sing it to the tune of Proud Mary.)

Today, on the advice of a pal, we took the kids tubing in New Braunfels, on the Comal River. (We being Deborah, her husband Tom, and our coworker Elizabeth; kids being my three and Deborah and Tom’s two.) I bought a Texas-themed Igloo cooler just for the occasion. (And I mean, what other states do this? Where else can you buy coolers with the state flag, and in what other states do all hotels have state-shaped waffle irons? Are there any other states like Texas?)

We started from a place called Landa Falls, basically a river outfitter where we got inner tubes for us and the cooler, life jackets for the kids, and a locker to keep all of our stuff.

It didn’t start off promisingly. We went down to the river to get in, and it was basically impossible to stay together. The current wasn’t super strong, but the river was deep, and it was just fast enough to make it hard to go where you wanted.

Linus in particular was not happy if we weren’t all together (they always had an adult with them, I’m not a monster) but they all wanted to be together. Eventually with much swimming and grabbing on to the side and leg cramps (all on my part) the boys and Elizabeth and I all managed to get in a group, each holding on to another tube’s handle in a group so no one could float away.

Boy, I wish we’d brought ropes.

The problem is, the other group had the cooler! And we were thirsty! And my camera was in the other cooler! After about an hour or so, we got to a point where we could get out. (I make that sound so easy, but it was not. There was swimming and pulling tubes and slippery rocks and more leg cramps.)

Everyone else except for Deborah’s kids were ready to call it a day. I was not. (Turns out tubing isn’t cheap.) So in the end, Oliver and Linus went with Tom to get pizza, and the rest of us decided to keep on tubing.

Now, I love pizza, but I’m really glad we kept floating. It got more fun – there were chutes! Like tiny waterslides! The current got a bit faster! And if I’m completely honest, it was a lot easier to keep track of one kid instead of three. (Especially when the other two weren’t really into it.) The river was beautiful, clean and blue, and with not a lot of creatures in it. (I’m not really into natural bodies of water, for the most part.)

Eventually, we got to the end, hauled ourselves out of the river, and made it back to meet the other three.

Would I do it again? Sure. With a few grown up friends and a bunch of rope to tie us together. I really would have loved to swim more in the river, but the only time I did was to haul a kid out or swim against the current. At one point, I was trying desperately to get Miles out before we got sucked down a chute, and I was against a strong current and he was panicking (he was perfectly safe, he just didn’t want to go down the chute) and so I was swimming with all my might to the side towing him and my tube and there was nowhere to hold on to and….anyway. Yeah. Next time, no kids and a rope to tie myself to my tube so I can swim sometimes and not worry about my tube.

9.5 years old

I swear I took this yesterday, just didn’t have a chance to post it. (Deborah and I were too busy watching disaster movies.)

Yeah, we’re in Austin now, housesitting with Deborah’s family for another coworker. So far we haven’t done a whole lot, just relaxing, going swimming, working, that kind of thing. Yesterday we attempted an urban adventure quest downtown, but it kind of went to pot when it started to sprinkle, then everyone was hungry, and Miles’s ear started hurting. So after lunch at a pizza place and of course a Voodoo doughnut, I took Miles to urgent care where he was diagnosed with a double ear infection. Poor bunny.

15 years ago today I ran really far

April 2002 was a pretty big month.

On the 14th, my friend Chris and I ran the London Marathon. It was my first marathon (of two, I did the Marine Corps Marathon in 2003) and wow, it was a long way. I’m really slow, so also it took forever (just a few minutes shy of 6 hours.) I mean, when you think about it, it’s basically way more impressive than someone completing a marathon in 3 hours. OH SURE FAST PERSON I’D LIKE TO SEE YOU RUN NONSTOP FOR 6 HOURS.

My second marathon was a huge improvement. I think I shaved a whopping six minutes off. You can see why I stopped running marathons. I just didn’t have time for it.

Anyway, it was pretty cool. It’s why I started blogging, after all. I wrote about training and so you probably don’t want to go back to my earliest entries, they’re pretty darn dull. Gems like this:

Anyway, we decided that we’d go twice around the park (a total of 3.54 miles) to try to figure out how long it’d take us to do the 5K (which is in 3.5 weeks now). So I started my watch after we had walked a bit, so I figure I timed about 3.25 miles. Which took us 45 minutes. So I guess it’ll take us around, oh, 43 minutes to do the actual 5K.

Zzzz. Somehow I made some friends online via my blog, which seems unbelievable since blogs weren’t really a thing yet. But Chris and I had dinner in London with a bunch of British people who were also running the marathon.

Proof:

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(Well, if you take my word for it that the guy on the left is someone I met online while training for the marathon.)

Anyway, I won’t go into great detail about the race itself (I did that here already) but just a few pics because I’m nostalgic like that?

And YES that is a bright orange fanny pack, thankyouverymuch.

Later that month, when Kristina and I went to a British pub in New Orleans to celebrate my finish, I met a guy, so yeah, that ended up being kind of a big month.

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Vintage skinny us.

 

Melbourne (before I forget)

Dealing with constant sickness since I got back from Australia means I haven’t been able to finish blogging about it. So without further ado, a recap of our short time in Melbourne.

On the flight from Auckland, Deborah made friends with a Finnish triathlete who lived in San Francisco. She shared our taxi with us to our hotel, the grand old Hotel Windsor. This hotel was cool. It was old and the hallways were hella creepy, but the rooms were updated and very clean. Plus, they had a menu where you could order different types of pillows for your bed. FANCY!

But the long hallways also reminded me uncomfortably of this:

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Right?

More hotel pics:

After we were checked in, I went to go visit Deborah’s room, and from her window I spied a rooftop bar across the street with Pimms umbrellas. SOLD! So we went over there for dinner and a pitcher of Pimms. Continue reading

Auckland time!

Sorry for the delay, have been catching up on work and life and sick kids.

So I left off with us leaving Sydney on Friday. We had breakfast at the airport (Beckett said it was the best eggs benedict she’d ever had) and then got on our flight to Auckland.

You know, when you are flying from Australia to New Zealand, you think “oh, that’ll be an easy jaunt, it’s so close” but then you realize it’s a) not as close as it looks on a globe and b) another country. So the flight was almost four hours but since it was international, we got a meal and wine. Score! (But it also means passport control and customs yet again.)

So anyway, we watched La La Land on the flight, ate some reasonably yummy airline food, drank some New Zealand wine and then landed in Auckland. We got in a cab to get to our airbnb and proceeded to sit in gridlocked traffic for an hour and a half. The traffic was due to torrential rain that was causing…I dunno, flooding? Or just bad driving? In any case, our trip took three times longer than usual so by the time we got to the airbnb, we were tired and missed the speaker dinner.

Welcome to Auckland!

Continue reading

A few days in Sydney

I really need to be better about blogging more during trips and not saving it all for the end when I get overwhelmed. I also need to remember to set my camera clock to the local time so I don’t have to figure out exactly how many time zones to adjust it afterwards. Especially fun when you have DST starting in one country while you’re gone. (Ultimately I decided life is too short to care if my photos’ data is off by that many hours.)

I apologize for any repeated photos from the last post or social media. And now, let’s start the recap…

I left for Sydney on Sunday, March 5. George and the boys dropped me off at the airport after lunch at Chipotle, and everyone was in high spirits. I had a bit of time to wait, so I was still at the gate when Linus called me, sobbing, and begging me to come home. Well, break my heart, why don’t you? Talk about feeling like the World’s Biggest Jerk. Sigh.

Leaving #nola. #travelmattic #timelapse

A post shared by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the next 20+ hours. First I flew to San Francisco, which took 4 hours. Then I waited for Beckett, and we got on the 15 hour flight to Sydney. It was fine. I slept a few hours here and there (which is huge for me, so yay) and I watched a few shitty movies. United can bite me for still having the old movie selection on the plane, so there was nothing I hadn’t seen a zillion times. LAME.

We arrived in Sydney on Tuesday morning, which still doesn’t fail to freak me out a little bit (WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY?!?!?) Getting through security and customs and all that was a piece of cake, though I was pretty upset not to get a single new stamp in my passport during this entire trip. Sad! However, the reason for this appears to be that everything is automated and therefore extremely fast, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

We got a taxi to the hotel, the Metro Hotel on Pitt. It was nice. They held our luggage while we got lunch at a sushi place in a nearby shopping center. I posted a pic on Instagram and it seems as if everyone on earth has been to this exact sushi place. We did a little shopping after, and I got some lipstick that was very appropriately named for my job. (The final interview for everyone applying to work at Automattic is called the Matt Chat. I wrote a little about it here.)

After we were able to check in, we took little naps, then got some dinner from a place down the street. Found a bottle shop for wine, and watched some Australian tv before crashing. (Well, American shows on an Australian tv set.)

The next day we went to find somewhere to get some work done. We ended up (after getting lost and going to the wrong train station) coworking at an adorable cafe on an adorable little side street kind of alley thing in an area called Artarmon with our coworker Kristen. When the cafe closed, Kristen invited us back to her lovely home where we drank her wine, ate her candy, petted her bunnies, and played Ticket to Ride. We are outstanding guests.

That evening, we…ate again? Probably drank a little wine? It was a week ago, now!

The next morning we got up bright and early for a run. Our hotel was not far from a park (Hyde Park?) that connected to another park (?) that led down to the Sydney Opera House and the harbour.

It was such a nice run! It was cool outside and not sunny, and we ended up running 5k (but Beckett only counts running, so including the walking and climbing stairs and stopping to admire the flowers, we actually went a lot further.)

 

It was a great run. After we got back to the hotel, showered, and ate breakfast, we headed to the Zoo. We were determined to see some Australian animals, and since we were sticking to cities, we figured this would be the best way to go about it.

We saw adorable schoolchildren, koalas, kangaroos, lots of snakes that can kill you, and other exotic and deadly and cute creatures.

Later, we made our way across the Harbour Bridge (via train again) and got off in Milsons Point. The view of the Opera House from this vantage point was really spectacular, but we really came across to see Luna Park up close. Kind of nutty. It wasn’t open, sadly.

After lunch, we headed back across the water and did a little shopping and saw a giant fluffy dog and then rested up before our event that evening. We were hosting a little gathering for the local WordPress meetup group, where we chatted about support and hopefully convinced some people there to apply to work at Automattic!

The next morning, we had to pack up our stuff because we were headed to Auckland!

To be continued…

 

A few pics from Sydney

Today we are in Auckland, but Beckett and I were in Sydney from Tuesday to Friday. I will post a lot more photos and words when I have more time, but for now, just a few pics…