Category Archives: Summer

Couples Retreat

This year, while Natalie was at her summer camp in Colorado and hiking another 14,000 foot mountain, Kate and I took off to Europe. We tried to mostly stay in Belgium and France, but couldn’t resist a few day trips to the Netherlands and Germany, and a few days in Luxembourg. We were able to celebrate with the Belgium Soccer Team in the Grand Place in Brussels after their 3rd place finish at the World Cup. We then spent a week in Bruges and feasted on plenty of beer, waffles, chocolate, fries and mussels. We road bicycles, took a river cruise, and attended a huge outdoor karaoke sing along concert. We traveled to Paris and switched to wine and cheese. We sampled a bunch of croissants and Kate was on a quest to find the best macaron between Pierre Hermé and Ladurée. Besides visiting museums and the opera house, we were able to watch the conclusion of the Tour de France. We would drink champagne at night while watching the sparkly lights of the Eiffel Tower and not worry about boredom from a tween. We could simply enjoy people-watching and adult conversation.

Grand Place World Cup CelebrationBrussels MuralsA Break In BrugesBruges BeautBeer and WafflesBike Ride GehntGehnt SelfieBiking to the NetherlandsLunch at the StationTower at nightWarm Nights in the CityVersailles at SunsetArtsy Eiffel TowerHall of MirrorsThe ChapelSummer in the Cityfireworks at VersailleParisLuxembourg

Creating In Colorado

This year our annual trip to Colorado and visiting the gallery in Aspen was threatened by local wildfires. The weather was very warm and all of Colorado was  extremely dry. Fortunately, the fire was contained a few miles away from downtown and the air was clear and the skies were blue. This year we were also very lucky to have my parents staying with us. We not only played a lot of cards and odd board games, but also had my Dad sing and play guitar with Natalie, even putting on a Country Roads duet. Elliott Yeary Gallery is always so kind to promote my work and was great in putting together a wonderful showing of my art. While we enjoyed the music festival and the performances at the music tent, we also really loved just sitting back at Paradise Bakery and listening to the musicians relaxing and getting a bit funky while we ate our chocolate-banana muffins and ice cream. This year was also a bit different, since Natalie is now a bike riding pro and doesn’t just sit on the handle bars anymore, and we were able to rent bikes as a family and hit the road. Later, we drove over the pass and deposited Natalie at her summer camp.

Maroon Bells SelfieAt the Gallery in AspenElliott Yeary Gallery PaintingRiding the BuffaloHiking Kite LakeMount DemocratTeaching Natalie the GuitarAt the Music TentNat Nat Ninja

Sydney & Swimming

Sydney, Australia

The reason we decided to travel to Australia this summer was because of the nice invitation from our friend Jo to stay in a cabin at her Mom’s house outside of Sydney. Jo is my friend from the Ojai masters swim program. She then creatively thought about inviting more of the swimmers to a “Pool & Pub” tour. I couldn’t believe that six other people decided to join this crazy adventure. I didn’t really think we were going to be swimming that much, but boy was I wrong. We swam practically every day, from the Swimming Centre in Bowral and the Oasis YMCA in South Windsor, to the Nepean Aquatic Centre and the North Sydney Olympic Pool. We also traveled to some mighty cool pubs, including the oldest pub in Sydney, the Fortune Of War, and the oldest Irish pub, The Mercantile, as well as the historic Boiler House at the iconic Hydro Majestic in the Blue Mountains and the Briars Country Lodge and Historic Inn. We also managed to visit the Two Figs Winerey in Berry and Tertini Wines in Mittagong, as well as the Eden Brewery.  We had a nice little van that we called the “White Wombat” that could fit all 9 of us and our luggage and we hit the road. We traveled not only to Sydney and explored the Blue Mountains, but also took a road trip to the Wombeyan Caves, where I was able to mountain bike alongside a mob of kangaroos, to the beach of Bendalong, where we experienced an epic sausage sizzle. We were amazed with Jo and her families hospitality and the crazy wild parrots,  that were everywhere. While we still managed to hit the main tourist sights that were truly impressive, I think the highlight was having a local show us the ins and outs of where she grew up that was so special.

Bendalong Point Wild rainbow lorikeetsA flying friendDingo PuppyFitzroy FallsFish and Chips in UlladullaOur bathroom guestHeading to my streetKate and Natalie on a hillThe beautiful libraryThe Pool and Pub crew at the Jersey lookoutMountain ViewNear the Wombeyan CavesNatalie at the Hydro MajesticLooking CoolOn our way to the rocksFamily FunLoading the White Wombat at Jo's Mom's housePub Time at the Nepean Rowing ClubFortune of War pubArtsy RoofSurfs up in BendalongThe swim crew at Tony O'Brien's houseSwim TimeThe Sydney Olympic PoolThe 3 SistersHiking in Jo's backyardThe Pool and Pub CrewSydney Olympic Pool The White Wombat at Two Figs WineryWallaby sniffing Natalie's hand.

Beautiful Brisbane

Brisbane, Australia

After Port Douglas, we drove back to Cairns and boarded a flight to Brisbane. In Brisbane we explored the city and the Night Noodle Market. Once again, we were blown away with the public parks and pools. This time they had man made sandy beaches and little walkways through rainforest vegetation and around tiny islands, near the huge childrens playground that had a crazy slide that was 3 stories tall. We also were jealous of their amazing libraries. We took a ferry ride to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and saw a ton of Koalas, Kangaroos, a rather fat wombat and a cute little platypus.

Our Boat CaptainCrazy Cool CassowaryChillin with a kangarooAll SmilesA very sleepy wombat