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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays from The Drury's

Home for the Holidays

Dearest Readers:

Happy Holidays and thank you for following our adventures this year. After writing so copiously on our blog during our trip, we thought you would like an update.

We returned to the States from our global wanderings in mid-July, arriving home on Bainbridge Island on August 1st by way of the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe, the California and Oregon Coasts and a visit to Redwoods. (Phew!) We hit the ground running.

Starting in late August, Ben embarked on a challenging two-year MBA degree in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Camped out at his grandfather's desk in our basement, he participates in virtual classes and team meetings via the Web at least three nights per week. Just about once a month, he and his classmates also attend an "Intensive" weekend at Islandwood, an environmental learning center located next door to Tica and Ian's old elementary school. The work has been challenging to say the least. (Imagine hitting the books again after nearly a 25 year hiatus!) Our newest student did spectacularly well though, and he is already gearing up for the start of winter quarter on January 3rd.

1/3 of Ben's Class at Channel Rock, British Columbia (August 2010)

Surprisingly soon after our return, Brooke found a job working for The Traveler, a travel shop and bookstore on the main drag in downtown Winslow. Having begun much of research for our big trip in the store's well-stocked library, it seemed fitting. In addition to working retail for the first time ever, Brooke has taken on the challenge of being the store's face on the web. Current projects include a revamp of The Traveler’s website and ongoing updates to a new store blog and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Tica turned 12 this past August. She was delighted to pick up with her neighborhood pals, and loved returning to play soccer. Her team, The Mighty Blue Wave, had a very successful season, holding their own against players a grade ahead of them. School was a bit of a shock at first. Going from homeschool to six periods and five teachers per day at Woodward Middle School was a big adjustment, but Tica managed to figure out the system within a few weeks. She has joined the skinny jeans and Uggs set, fashion wise, but always seems to manage to put together outfits as uniquely individual and beautiful as we know her to be inside.

1st Day of School (September 2010)

Ian (10) had a rather quiet autumn. Like his sister, he started a new school, Sakai, which houses the Island's (public school) fifth and sixth graders. He has reported that being back with his friends is fun, but he sometimes misses the flexibility of homeschool. Back in Sydney, Ian decided not to pursue fall soccer, something he grew to regret. Instead he spent the fall attending his sister's games. What a trooper! Needless to say, he is all the more excited to resume Little League in early spring.

"Hippies from France" (Halloween 2010)

Ian has also enjoyed catching up with his friends, attending his first dance and taking a stab at paint ball. He and Brooke signed up for a Spanish class two mornings a week before school so our household has been filled of late with a whole slew of new, mostly un-contextual phrases like, "Ian lleva pantalones pequenos." We are making progress though.

Nala the dog is still with us after spending the year in the capable and indulging hands of Brooke’s parents in California. It took a while for her to forgive us for being gone, but she is happy to be home. At nearly 14 years old, our little queen is slowing down, but she still revels in chasing the neighborhood wildlife when she can. She still sneezes for treats.

We have spent the holidays at home this year. We are having an excellent snow year, which will translate into as many trips to Crystal Mountain Ski Area as we can muster. We will likely continue our adventures in the mountains this summer and, if we can pull it off, spend part of the vacation honing our Family Scuba skills on Hawaii’s Kona Coast. Other than that, we’ll be home working, awaiting visitors and planning our 4th of July BBQ.

Being back in the States has had its upsides and downsides. I will pontificate on that in a later post though. Long story short, 2010, like its predecessor, will go down as a wildly successful year in the history of the Bainbridge Island Drury’s. 2011 will be a little more ho hum, but a great chance to continue broadening our skills sets and reintegrating back into our wonderful community.

Happy New Year to All. Come and visit. We’d love to see you!

Peace.

Brooke, Ben, Tica and Ian


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lost in the Woods. Chapter 6.

One year later….

“Come here, Haley!!” cried Lilly, “Oh that’s a good dog ! Now sit. Okay, search!”

Lilly commanded the search and rescue dog to look for the missing skier while Ellie, Angela and the rest of the ski patrol looked on. All three girls had trained the dog and today was her first real rescue.

“You three girls follow that dog. Patrick, you come with me bring the other dog over there. Bob and Aaron, you wait here. We'll all meet at the bottom in a half an hour." Angela’s dad Dave continued barking orders to the ski patrol. "Girls I want you to stick together, okay?"

“Okay Dad, we’ll be careful and stick together,” Angela said and sped off to follow the dog.

A few minutes of searching in the snow and….“Ruffffffffffffffffffffff!” barked Haley.

“She’s found something!” cried Angela.

...

As the sled with the injured skier sped down the hill, the junior ski patrollers showered the dog with praise. “This is so awesome!!!!” Ellie said to her cousin and friend, “I never thought that Haley would ever be good enough to go on a real search and rescue!”

“Yeah” Angela said, “neither did I. Do you remember what a hard time we had house training her? Wow, sometimes I thought we’d never get her up to the slopes.”

“Me too.” said Lilly, turning to the dog, “Yep, Haley, you’ve come a long way baby.”

Then Lilly turned to look at her cousin and her friend. She remembered their stormy history at school and the curious event last ski season that turned things around. She smiled. “Come to think of it,” she said, “we’ve come a long way too, we three.”

With a few chuckles and some big grins, the girls strapped on their skis and headed down to the lodge for a well-deserved hot chocolate.

“Race you to the bottom!” cried Angela.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lost in the Woods. Chapter 5. A Friend in Need...

“We what?!” Ellie answered angrily. “It’s getting dark and it’s snowing. We have no idea where we are and because of you, we are totally out of bounds where the ski patrol can’t find us. But yeah, everything will be fine, Lilly.”

“You’re such a tool!” Lilly muttered under her breath.

“What did you call me?!!” Ellie half shouted.

“I said that you were a tool,” Lilly muttered between clenched her teeth.

The cousins continued to bicker while the valley steadily darkened around them.

“STOP IT!!!” Ellie screamed at the top of her voice.

“Okay ,okay. Stop yelling before you cause an avalanche,” Lilly said. “I know that I got us lost and I’m sorry but getting mad at each other won’t help at all. If anything it will make things worse.”

“Okay fine. You’re right. I’m sorry that I got mad at you and yelled,” Ellie conceded.

“Well, I forgive you too. So now that you have forgiven me, let’s work on making a plan to get out of here,” Lilly said.

“Let’s look at the map first and try to find out where we are.” Ellie said, standing up and taking the map from Lilly. She pointed out where they had been that day and where she though where they were.

“Uhh, okay then, so what should we do now?” Lilly asked.

“Well what I think that we should try to get back to the cat track that we were on and then skate up the main trail from there and/or get to a place where the ski patrol can find us.” Ellie said

“Well, I hope it works because if it doesn’t we will have to spend a night in the woods.”

“Okay, we had better get going then and try to follow our tracks back.”

“But we already tried that!” Lilly whined.

“I know but we have to try.”

The girls turned around and followed their tracks back into the trees.

“Lilly,” Ellie said concernedly and half an hour later, “I’m really sorry, but I think that by following our tracks we are getting out selves more lost.”

“I really think that the cat track is just up here,” Lilly said, pointing into the gnarled evergreens ahead of them. “ You even said so and remember we were….”

“Shhhhhhh,” Ellie said, cutting her cousin off. “Did you hear that?”

“Don’t you be shooshing me!” Lilly demanded angrily.

Ellie ignored her and headed toward the sound. “Come on, it’s right behind us at the bottom of that hill, I think.”

Bewildered, Lilly followed her cousin. She was still angry at Ellie but she would do anything to get them out of their predicament.

The cousins edged forward as a loud cry of pain echoed through the darkening valley and up through the trees. Around a bend, they came across a face twisted in pain, a blonde-haired, brown-eyed face, the face of Angela Adams. Angela was sitting in a heap on the snow, holding her left knee and writhing in pain. She could not see the girls.

“Oh gosh,” Ellie breathed, pulling her cousin behind a group of trees.

“What should we do?” Lilly asked anxiously “She is obviously hurt.”

Ellie glanced around the trees and said, “She’s holding her knee. Maybe she twisted it?”

“Well obviously,” Lilly answered.

“Listen, Lilly” Ellie said “We’re lost and she is by the look of it hurt.”

“Yeah, so?” Lilly replied

“So we can help each other.”

Lilly opened her mouth as if to protest but Ellie cut her off.

“Okay, I know that you hate her. I do too, but like I said, she is hurt and we are lost. Her dad probably sent her to come look for us or she came anyway for some reason and so she probably knows where we are!” Ellie put an emphasis on the last six words.

“Okay fine,” Lilly said, throwing up her hands. “We can go help Angela but if she calls you a meathead or something its not my fault.”

“Come on then,” Ellie said, and they moved out from behind the trees.

“What are you doing here?”

“’ looking for you guys,” answered Angela. I had a hunch you guys would be here because that’s what I would’ve done. The problem is I didn’t tell anyone where I was going. And now I’ve hurt my knee. I think it’s my ACL.”

“Well, do you expect us to help?” demanded Lilly.

“Shut up, Lilly.” Ellie snarled under her breath. Her cousin was really starting to get on her nerves. “Sure Angela is mean at school,” she thought, “but we are lost, she is in trouble and we can help each other. Why can’t Lilly get that?” She turned to Angela, “Do you know the way back, Angela?”

“Yeah,” Angela said.

“Good,” Ellie said. She had a plan and took charge. “Lilly, can you please go get some branches? I saw a new fallen one over there” she said, pointing into the trees. “And Angela, I’m sorry but I’m going to need to break your ski poles.”

“What?! Why?” Angela asked.

“Lilly is going to make a brace out of them. I would use Lilly’s or mine but we are going to need them, and seeing as you can’t ski, it seems like a good idea to use your’s,” she said picking up Angela’s poles. “I think Lilly has some tape or bandages in her pack that she can use to make a brace. While she does that, I’ll go and find the trail.”

The girls worked on putting Ellie’s plan into action.

While Lilly was getting the branches for the brace, Angela turned to Ellie and quietly said, “Thanks, Ellie. Hey, I’m sorry that I was mean to you the other day at REI.”

“No matter,” Ellie replied, “but you should really apologize to Lilly.”

“I will.” Angela said.

***

After a few minutes, the girls were ready to execute their plan.

“You can just follow my tracks from earlier because your tracks will have been filled in by the snow. My tracks should get you back to the trail,” Angela said.

“Okay. Wish me luck!” Ellie said and skated off. Lilly and Angela watched her black helmet disappear thought the trees. It was fully dark by now and the two girls sat waiting under an old pine tree that would shake snow onto them every once in a while.

“Would you like the rest of the Luna bar?” Lilly asked, holding out the half wrapped snack.

Angela smiled shyly. “I’m sorry that I have been such a jerk to you,” she said quietly. Angela felt that it was time for her to apologize to Lilly. Apologizing to Ellie was easy but to Lilly she knew it would be a challenge.

Lilly looked up for a second and then looked back down at Angela’s leg that she was splinting. “Its okay,” she said, looking up again and smiling. “I admit that I was a pretty big meathead also, getting us into this predicament. My dad is going to KILL me!”

“Mine too,” said Angela, very relieved that Lilly had forgiven her. “He kept telling me to stay right behind him so that I wouldn’t get lost and the Ski patrol wouldn’t have to look for me too. I even got in trouble for petting one of the dogs.”

“Ohh,” Lilly said “What kind of dog was it?” Dogs were her favorite animals aside from elephants.

“It was a black lab puppy,” Angela said smiling, “He is being trained to be a search dog.

***

Ellie had been following Angela’s tracks for ten or so minutes when she edged around a bend and burst out into the open trail. She smiled, removed her skis and started hiking up the cat track. When she reached the top of the hill she leaned over breathing heavily. Then she listened as hard as she could. She heard voices, they were a long way off but there were surely people somewhere nearby. She yelled at the top of the voice for then to come. She was not a big fan of yelling, but she had left her skis at where they had gone off the trail so that the ski patrol would know where Lilly and Angela were. She didn’t want to run down the trail to find the people so she yelled.

After a minute or so a small black shape came gliding towards her over the snow. To her bewilderment, it was a dog. A small black lab puppy ran up to her and pounced licking her all over her face. It had a Search and Rescue coat on. Soon afterward, the ski patrol came trekking up the hill with their skis over their shoulders. Ellie knew that everything would end up okay.

Lilly and Angela’s conversation carried them further along into a new friendship, so when the ski patrol found them an hour later they were merrily chatting like old friends.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Birds of Tasmania by Ian and Tica

Superb Ferry Wren, Tasmania (Photo by Ben)

Here is a list of Tasmania birdlife. We were in Tasmania for a short time in January, where we rented a campervan and drove almost all the way around the island in ten days. -- Ian & Tica

Hooded plover, Freycinet NP (Photo by Ben)

Common Name

Notes

Hooded Plover

rare, spotted at Friendly Beaches, Freycinet NP

Kookaburra

Very common, very distinctive call

Pink Robin

Rare, seen at Platypus Bay, Lake St. Claire NP

Shy Albatross

Seen dead on Hazards beach, Freycinet NP

Superb Fairy Wren

Most common bird we saw there

Tasmanian Native Hen

Seen at Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula

Welcome Swallow

very common

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Seen over the water


Laughing Kookabura, Narawantapu NP, Tasmania (Photo by Ben)

Birds of Fiji by Tica and Ian

Here is a list of the birds we saw or heard in Fiji. Again, the original list contains scientific names and other information about these birds. - Ian & Tica

Fiji Goshawk, Siga Siga, Fiji (photo by Ben)

Common Name

Notes

Barn Owl

heard but not seen

Collared Kingfisher

many spotted at the beach and perched on phone wires by the side of the road

Collared Lory

Fiji's national bird, often seen in flocks

Eastern Reef Egret

seen on the reef all the time, white and grey forms

Fiji Goshawk

common

Fiji Parrotfinch

seen twice near Waivunia village and at Nadi Airport

Great Frigate bird

seen flying over the water all the time

Myna

VERY common, very loud

Orange Dove

rare

Pacific Swallow

common

White Rumped Swift

seen over the water all the time catching bugs

Followers