Fun Fit 5K Plus

Having fun, getting fit, loving life

Looking Up, Down Under

My sis, Melissa, and my friend, Yolanda and I attend the Madonna concert the night before my I fly to Australia.

“Madonna is coming to St. Louis!”

I got the call from my sister early in March.

We needed to get tickets ASAP.

We were ecstatic!

Little did I know that I would plan a trip to Australia for the next day.

Honestly, we had last seen “Black Eyed Peas” together and were right up next to the stage.

We were yelling for days, as we couldn’t hear a thing,

but it was such an entertaining concert!

We were envisioning the same excitement and thrills.

Can I just say the three of us were a bit disappointed.

I wrote about this earlier, but I couldn’t mention highlights from the trip without mentioning this event.

I mean getting back at after 1 in the morning helped me to sleep a few winks on the long flight from LA to Sydney.

This was a great experience that we share now and it sent me off with a holiday feeling,

if that makes sense at all.

So the next morning off to the airport to begin the long flight.

I was blessed with meeting people who were kind and not at all scary!

The girl sitting next to me on the flight from LA to Sydney felt like a little sister as we shared in laughter and talked about the movies we were watching and what our plans were in Sydney.

Once making it through the Sydney customs department, (after 17 – 18 hours of total flying plus layover time)

and accomplishing the tasks of carting two large wheeled bags and a backpack and purse through the airport

(thanks to the guy who helped me lug them up the steps and no thanks to the security guards who sat and watched me approach the stairs with trepidation while they laughed…),

I did it!

I made it to the family and was greeted so warmly!

The sun shining on my face rejuvinated my sleep deprived mind.

The hugs reminding me of the love that God shines down on us.

We had just enough time for the beach and a beef pie before my sis and I flew out to Melbourne.

Coogee Beach

In Melbourne,

my friend greeted us by running (yes running) to give big hugs and welcome us warmly,

and we spent the next 3 1/2 days laughing and loving the company of soul sisters.

Could we be loved any more?!

Melbourne was several days of fun and action, as we busily went from one event to another.

The Melbourne Cup was so delightful!

People were happy and engaging and did I mention I met Kevin Rudd (former PM)?!

We had a blast be-friending some girls who were there by themselves and enjoyed front row view as Prince Charles rode by on the track.

We spent time in Melbourne shopping, of course.

This city was meant for girls and guys on a mission.

Looking for that perfect dress or shirt or shoes or well….anything!

While shopping, you can’t help but become amused or amazed or dazzled by the curious and intriguing architecture!

The Great Ocean Road Tour was another highlight with some of the must stunning ocean and cliff scenery.

We were constantly in awe.

If I had more time at each stop,

I could have written a book or my life story or painted a beautiful landscape.

It is that inspiring!

Just looking back at my photos,

I realize why people may spend days on this drive along the coast.

You can spend a lot of time just absorbing the imense amount of power layed out before you.

It was hard to leave Elisa and Momma (her mom who makes fantastic Italian for us and is my Italian mother by default).

The love felt there is and was so incredible!

God brought us together from a world apart.

Back to Sydney for the remainder of my trip.

My favorite part of all was spending time with my twin and her family.

The kids, what can I say?

They show such love!

Oh my gosh how they are some of my most favorite people in the world!

Early morning wake ups were fine with me, I mean could you possibly be anything but in awe of such cuteness!

(Not my best photo, but they are adorable!)

I was able to share in everyday life. Dishes and homework and lovely giggles.

Moments that just bond you, like story time before bed or saying prayers with our Godson or playing catch or jumping into a freezing cold pool!

My twin and I had a blast just laughing and talking!

We had so much fun trying to win a contest on a local radio station!

We just knew we had the answer! We got on to several d.j.’s and once was recorded because how cool does two voices chiming in unison sound?! We had the enthusiasm they were looking for times two. Each time we got through they loved us! One d.j. recorded us saying what we would do with the money- to be played the next morning.

Yet, we never did get our big break. Oh well, come to find out that we were wrong and someone won today.

Can’t say we didn’t give it our all.

This is Double Bay Beach.

There are so many wonderful beaches and coves and Bushwalks.

I can never get enough of the sand beneath my toes and the sight of sea meets sky.

Dee Why Beach.

I think the most beautiful, surf friendly beach.

Gorgeous waves!

Plus next to my favorite fish and chips place in Sydney- “Sea Change Cafe.”

Playful tiger at Tarongo Zoo. The best zoo in the world.

Complete with close encounters with the wild life, views of the city that astound, and a sky tram to show it all off.

Meeting with Mel, my fellow blogging friend and Sydney-sider.

How often do we take the chances and opportunity that God lays out before us?

For some reason, we are pulled together (if we say “yes”) and maybe later we will know why

but I am so happy to take some time to encourage you to do the same.

Reach out and get to know these people God has placed in your life.

Mel is this fantastic person who is technologically much more advanced than I and I was happy to really see how “real” she was.

What a great experience!

Check out her blog: www.mellywilliams.com

Christmas tree in the QVB (Queen Victoria Building)- great shopping!

There are so many areas that have weekend markets and shops galore.

The QVB is a fun and large area to spend the day shopping for your list of items or nothing at all.

Also the Rocks is not only good for wasting away some time and money,

but is an eclectic mix of art,souveniers, clothes, cafes and old and new architecture.

I ended the trip the way I began, thanks to Dan!

Bek and I went to see Coldplay. Awsome concert!

Fantastic l.e.d. wrist bands interacted at certain programmed times in the show.

It snowed tissue paper shapes in every color and God held off the big rain for just a few sprinkles.

Wonderful sound and great songs, we had a blast!

I can’t say enough good things about it.

The opposite of Madonna, Bek and I ended on the perfect note!

Thanks again, Dan!

This trip was full of love! Love of family and friends, love of food, love of nature…

(Love of food will be a separate post coming soon!)

Each moment I had my husband in my heart,

as poor Brian was back at home working away.

I thought of what he would say or what he would think.

I couldn’t wait to share with him as we facetimed most nights.

How blessed to have a husband who said, “Yes. Go and I will be waiting for your return.”

Before I knew it, I was saying “good-bye.”

I left this family that we don’t get to see often enough.

Tears streaming down my cheeks as I walked through the airport.

How long to hold them again and hear them giggle and share in those little moments that we often don’t think are special til we are no longer near them?

Then again,

as I fly across mostly ocean, next to strangers thinking of returning to the comfort of home, I am at peace.

I am coming home to the warmth of my husband’s embrace. A renewed love that can only happen when you spend weeks apart.

The realization that you will always feel at home most with your soul mate.

I feel blessed to know that feeling. Brian is mine and I know God brought us together because we make each other whole.

Next trip we will share in the memories and love, together.

Thanks for sharing in my journey down under,

where I was always looking up,

thanking God for each and every moment and gift.

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Thanks For Giving

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Cheers to you,
All My dearest family and friends!

For the love you have shown me
For the year close to end.

For the hugs and kisses,
For Coog and for Coop.
For the countless best wishes
Even when they poo on the floor.

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For the friendship and shoulders,
For the Kleenex at hand.
For the dancing and singing ,
Even though I am bad.

Key lime pie martinis,
Rotel dip and chips.
We have shared plenty of parties,
Board games and shared laughs.

Thanks for giving me reason to love back and to share
All that God has given
And for the gifts He bestowed.

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Happy Thanksgiving
To new friends and old,
Fellow bloggers and tweeters,
To all I barely know.

I send out sincerest wishes for your upcoming year.

Thank God for each person
Don’t forget to show love.

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Meeting A Modern Day Pen Pal

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How often do we run into fellow bloggers and not know it ?
Probably every day.

An instant connection joins us together.
The sharing of sometimes our deepest thoughts,
Often personal stories.

I found an immediate joy when reading
Mel’s blog!
So when I found out she was an Aussie,
I was hooked completely.

With my twin in Sydney,
I feel I need to find as many ways as possible to make connections there.
Once you feel at home elsewhere,
It doesn’t feel so far away.

I knew I would have some time while visiting my sis to possibly meet up.

We emailed over the weeks before my trip and during,
making sure we had some time to chat.
My sis said,
“Bloggers. You know they have a lot to say.”

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Mel suggested a great cafe in “The Rocks” (a Sydney shopping district).
Fantastic chocolates line the shelves inside,
While the outdoor area is quickly filled with people catching up on their daily fix.

(Sydney has the best cafes!)

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We have similar interests and so it was easy to fill time with chatter.

Mel is this warm hearted gem.
She gives the best hugs and takes a genuine interest in, I am sure,
Whomever sits in front of her.

It was great to hear about her life stories and see that it doesn’t matter how old you are,
You can still make new friends.

The only sad part was not getting to meet Harley, (her adorable dog!)
But I completely understood as she was in mid work day.

We sat for an hour and a half,
Comfortably like old friends
Yet learning about each others family and husbands and interests.
(We both married our high school sweet heart.)

How great!
A world apart,
Yet here we were.
Only meeting because of words on a page.

Beautiful and bright,
Mel is an inspiration with her sincere compliments and great listening skills.

I hope that one day she can come to the States so we can catch up there.

I know next trip out,
I plan to meet up with her again.

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Mel,
It was a true pleasure.
Now when I comment on your blog,
You can hear me say it.
Best wishes for your husband, Harley and your work.
You are a light and blessing to all you reach.

Don’t ever change those hugs!
Until next time…
Words on a page will connect us a world apart.
Modern day pen pals.

Much love,
Michelle

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On The Path To Macquarie

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The morning wake up was as per usual this week,
Squeaky door opens,
Little toes slapping against the cold wood floor,
Giggling girls snuggling in to
“Aunt Chelle’s” bed.

We enjoy looking at photos of Coogee and Cooper,
An old video of me sledding down our freshly snowed lawn on a special Christmas while “uncle Brian” narrates between laughs,
Old and new photos which Bring questions and smiles and early morning discussion.

I didn’t want to leave the warmth.
Just one more photo.
One more memory to wrap in stone.

Then I remembered,
I wanted to take the path to Macquarie.

I wanted the cooler morning air
And the feel of pavement under foot
And the smell of flowers floating from bright lawns
And the music in my ears.

So I took the 5k path to and from
Macquarie.

And this is what was on that path.

A man on a mission,
I passed him by to later see why his gait was slow.
I found him praying
So beautiful,
A dance.
Face looking up into the sun.
I felt the warmth.

Two women ,
Old friends.
Getting healthy on their walk.
Words escaping faster than their feet moving.

A man kicking an empty jug in a field of green.
Why?
Was he angry, sad or lonely?
Did he see me walking by?

A bridge to walk under.
Tagged by artists late at night.
Full of colour and expression.

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Skate park quiet at this hour.
Yet I could hear the wheels skid by.
Curves and ramps sit idle
Til perhaps after 3:00.

Mother duck and her children
Watch me closely as I pass.
What’s her hurry – seemed their thought.
Slow down and take it in.

20 bikes sporadically whiz by as they race off to work.
Helmets and backpacks
Concentration planted on their face.

A whiff of something sweet.
Beauty in a smell.
Smile comes after
as I breathe in God’s
“Good morning.”

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Next I see an ageing couple,
Perhaps their daily routine.
Holding hands,
Supporting each other.
Hope and love rolled into one.

One last scene on the path from Macquarie,
Two sweet dogs headed my way.
A proud owner,
I can relate.

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This morning,
On the path to Macquarie.
I woke to find this day.
A mystery.
Full of wonder.
What next is on the way?

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My Day In Photos – Sydney

This is a look at my day in photos.

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Reading with my niece’s class.
Realised why I love teaching and the challenges at the same time.

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Dee Why Beach.
First time to this beach.
Beautiful pools,
Lots of surfers,
Huge crashing waves.

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Best playground views ever.

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Lunch

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Sandy toes.
Time to go.

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Paddington Style

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Driving into the city,
I wonder how many Sydney-siders take the Harbour Bridge for granted?

Saturday.
Beautiful sun, peaceful weather.
Lets go to Paddington.

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An Eclectic group of artists of every kind (jewelry to paintings to unique wood creations) and clothing shops and food tents set up in Paddington.

Only open on Saturday,
The crowds swarm to find goods to give as gifts or clothing that goes against the norm or unusual art for the walls.

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People looking for bargains in the market,
Don’t often find them here.
But it is well worth the trip!

This Saturday there were hundreds of maxi dresses and scarves.
Light flowing tops and colourful necklaces.

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We finished our shopping and moved on to some local fish and chips.

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After fish and chips
We took a short trip to Double Bay.

Each part of the day
Topping the last.

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I have found there is never a dull scene in Sydney.

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Scenes From A “Great Ocean Road”

Are you ready to go on a short trip?

It’s a bus ride, but don’t worry.
You can stay comfortably where you are.

(Some photos from “The Great Ocean Road” Tour thanks to Autopia Tours for the great time!)

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Ok so it was an all day adventure.
7:30 a.m. Til 21:00.
We started and ended in the city of Melbourne and took what is called the “Great Ocean Road.”

Great group of 16 international travellers.
The following were represented:
United States, Australia, Vietnam, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, Sweden.

Here we go.

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First stop- colourful toilets.

Next stop- the beach

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Does it ever get old?
I don’t think so.

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Back on the bus,
The sea and heavens unite.
Where do they each meet?

Amazing homes.
Including this one on a platform.

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Prepare yourself for the cuddliest stop.
Wild koalas.

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Finally a few views of the “Twelve Apostles”.

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(You ready to come visit Melbourne yet?)

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Don’t forget to tell us how you liked the trip.

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Racing The Day – Melbourne Cup

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Melbourne Cup -Tuesday, November 6

I have found that everyone we ran into, including the 3 Australians I was with, had never been to the Melbourne Cup before.

It is “THE” event of the year.
The fascinators and dress being the Center of the talk.

They expected 110,000 in attendance.
Grey and with splatters of rain sporadically.

The energy around us was exciting and vibrant.

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We laughed most of the day away.
Sorry to say I don’t have more photos to share as most are on my camera.

It was a great day highlighted by
The Fashion Show and meeting the former Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd.

We made it to “Fashion on the Field” where designers show off the latest and greatest.
We weren’t able to see much,
But thanks to being from the States,
People were happy to take great photos for me!

We then ran into Kevin Rudd,
Where he pleasantly took a few photos with me and then asked if I voted.
(Of course I had- anxiously awaiting results today.)

We placed bets based of course on name.
I chose “Light of Heaven” and “Americain.”
No luck there.

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We were watched over as we weren’t in any downpour and we had fantastic parking.

What a great day!
Definitely a must for any who haven’t been.
Thanks Melbourne for treating me so well!

Off to the Great Ocean Road today.

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Outside The Box – Melbourne

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Melbourne, Australia

You don’t realise how ordinary
And plain some of our cities look
Until you visit Melbourne.

The architecture is an eclectic mix of old traditional and completely outside the box thinking.

Bold colours are just the beginning.

Structures meant to be played with.

An artists dream.

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What designer said,
“No, No, No!
We must add a fluorescent green cloud shape on the top!”
And the owner said,
“Oh. O.k. Just go ahead and be creative.”

It makes finding certain institutes very easy.

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A true feast for the mind,
These structures are a collection in the largest open air museum.

How perfect.

No fee.

Just walk around and take your time
Enjoying creativity at its best.

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Madonna -In A Nut Shell

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Pre-flight celebration started last night with a girls night out to see Madonna.

Yah!
We thought, “this will be great!
Madonna! Fun!
Love a lot of her new songs and old.
Great time!”

What can I say after?!

It did not live up to expectations.

The first 30 minutes to 45 minutes were violent with guns pointed at audience members and “blood” splattering on the large screen and a scene about her killing her whatever (boyfriend …).

She began with what I consider demonic looking and truly felt as if she was trying to out “show” Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga,
Yet she is older and is more pop music than rock…

Just didn’t work for me.

Then came the more light hearted music with drummers suspended in mid-air. Which did look cool.
Definitely more upbeat and fun,
Yet too much auto-tune.

She sang 3 older songs.
Vogue- which was great and had
Everyone on their feet.

But then came “Like A Virgin”.
We had no idea what it was for a long while.
Yah- the most recognizable song.
Very slow, and I guess she was going for lounge singer?

The most awesome song of the night was “Like A Prayer”
Everyone immediately stood and were dancing and singing.
2nd to last song of the night.

People left early in the show
and throughout the concert were walking out.

Leaving.
Mid- Madonna concert.
Weird, right ?!
(Yes, that is what people thought of her first show- EVER- in St. Louis.)

I expected some drama and have heard about some of the theatrics but
Really I thought,
“It’s Madonna!”
Should be great no matter what.

Definitely not what we expected.

In a nut shell-
She appeared as if she was trying too hard to fit in to today’s music scene.

Just stick with what you are-
A Pop star.

A pop princess at that.
You can do all that fun and funky stuff but don’t,
I repeat,
Don’t change your classics.

I mean she is 53 looking like she wants to be 25.

Madonna has done many crazy things in her day.
Is it the fact that she can’t top those antics ?

Oh well.
Glad we went still but we heard a few
Comments of people not happy with the show.

Oh plus she didn’t start singing til 10:45 which felt a little too “diva” for me given the concert was supposed to start at 8:00 and though I know they don’t start on time,
This was pushing it.

I really think an icon of pop,
A queen in her own right,
Should be able to perform like a legend.

Aerosmith is of an earlier generation than she,
And you know what to expect…
Them. Their songs, the way you love them.

I wanted that of her.

Still…it was Madonna and we did experience her show.
We don’t regret going,
But we now are inspired to get to a great concert soon.

Now…off to Sydney!

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