Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 in Review

As fast as 2009 went - and I think it went faster than any year I can remember - it was truly an amazing year PACKED with amazing experiences that we will never forget. And since we failed to share these experiences with you on here as they happened - I (Timmy) thought I'd try to sum up the highlights with a few pictures as well.

I would say the first really exciting experience of 2009 came in March with our very first century bike ride (100 miles) in Solvang, CA. We spent the first two months of the year training for this. Since we moved to California (over two years ago already) - cycling has become a real passion for us. So to bike 100 miles at one time was really something.

April brought one of the highlights of my entire year in the booking of my very first commercial. It was a commercial for a new roller coaster at Universal Orlando called the Hollywood Rip Ride and Rocket. I played the part of rock 'n roller Syd Vinyl - a washed up 80's has-been who Orlando called up to promote the new ride. It really was an amazing experience and a huge encouragement for me that I #1 actually booked something and #2 - that it wasn't just an ordinary commercial - but an opportunity to put a lot of my comedy and other gifts to use! While that was the only onscreen commercial I booked last year, 2009 also brought a ton of direction for me as far as my voiceover pursuits go. I was able to book some smaller jobs and begin working with some agents. I have high hopes that 2010 will bring even more exciting year and bring more clarity and direction in the comedy/acting front.

May brought Debbie's sister Katie's wedding. It was so wonderful to fly home for a week and be part of such a wonderful celebration. Debbie was Katie's maid of honor and she did a great job being...honorable??

We had an amazing summer filled with bike riding, hiking and a trip to Cape Hatteras with my family. In August we took a hugely anticipated trip to the Grand Canyon - where we hiked down and camped on the Havasupai indian Reservation with our good friends the Widemans and Whites. There we hiked, played, relaxed, and swam in the amazing Havasupai river and it's waterfalls. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

The highlight of our Autumn came in October when we flew home for Messiah College's 100 year anniversary homecoming - where I performed a standup comedy set in front 800 people. I was well received (phewww) and it was so great, once again, to be home and see family.

And probably the highlight of 2009 - was our amazing and epic 3 week adventure through Australia in December (see earlier postings).

Debbie had a great year in nursing. She's still working hard on the Oncology unit at Huntington Hospital and she's already completed a year and a half of her online grad program at Cal State! Half way done! This year will bring more studying for her and next fall, she will begin the final leg of her degree with clinical rotations. It will be challenging - but she will continue to thrive!

2009 was a wonderful year indeed filled with wonderful experiences and deepening relationships. In fact - this blog would have become a blook if I had filled it with every highlight of this year. We truly look back with hearts running over with thanksgiving and we look forward to 2010 with anticipation and hope. There still remains many question marks and much uncertainty as far as where our path is going. But we continue to trust God through it all. We wish you all a Happy New year. And we'll do our best to keep you in the loop as we move forward!

Tim and Deb

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Well, we sadly boarded our plane for Los Angeles this morning, thus bringing an end to a trip we will never forget. We are safe and sound now, back in our Pasadena apartment. We don't finish this trip crossing it off of our list of places to go and things to do, but hope to return again in the future.

Looking back, we can't say that this trip went too fast ~ it actually went by at a perfect pace. And there wasn't one dud of a day; each and every day was great and memorable. We enjoyed perfect weather, good health, safe travels, and delicious food. And we can honestly say that the people of Australia are among the most warm, hospitable and friendly people we've ever met. If you have not gone to Australia, you must!

Our brains are too tired and jet-lagged to think straight, so this will be all for tonight. But hope to keep up the blog (right, heard that before)...

G'day mates.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dolphins and BBQ

Even thought today was sadly our last day in Western Australia it was nonetheless BRILLIANT. This morning we got up and got ready to go out to see wild dolphins! Lisa’s mum’s boyfriend Rusty happens to own a very nice boat and graciously offered to take us out to a place nearby where wild dolphins hang out. We weren’t sure what to expect – but it turned out to be un-be-lieveable. When we got to the spot, all the sudden Dolphins popped up all over the place and actually came over to our boat to check us out on several occasions. But that wasn’t enough for us. We got our snorkel gear and fins on and hopped in. When we got in the water there weren’t actually many dolphins nearby – so we just swam around and looked at some of the other fish in the water. All the sudden we heard a ‘clicking’ sound under water and I looked down and a dolphin was swimming right under me (tim) – just 3 feet below me. This dolphin ended up swimming with us for about 2 MINUTES. It really was unreal. We didn’t touch it or ride it or anything like that. It was actually kind of intense because this was a wild animal and we weren’t sure what it would do. But it just checked us out and then went on its way. Pretty incredible. We sadly didn’t get any pics of that – but hopefully the story will suffice. Rusty took us around a bit longer and then we headed back in.

The rest of the day was spent swimming, chilling, taking Harley rides, and eating amazing food with Bree and Lisa and their family. We are just so blessed by how welcome we’ve felt here and the time Bree and Lisa have given us. In many ways this short visit has been a highlight of our whole trip. We’re sad to have to leave them tomorrow morning.

So tomorrow we head back to Sydney, spend the night (Sunday), enjoy our last remaining hours in this amazing place on Monday morning, and then head back to America on Monday evening and return to America on…Monday evening. We may pop another blog off before we head out. We’ll see. Enjoy some pics from today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pastries and Candy and Wineries ~ Oh my!

We just thought it would be nice to “introduce” you to the Dudek’s - for those of you who don’t know them. This is a picture of Bree and Lisa, with their 15-month-old daughter, Abbie, and Johnson, their golden retriever. Bree will be starting a new job as an assistant principal in February (when summer is over here and the kids return to school), and Lisa is a full-time mom, and she sure is good at it! Their hospitality has been phenomenal!!! They have taken the time to show us all over Western Australia to see all sorts of really neat sights and to good places to eat. The fridge was stocked full with Carmel Koalas when we arrived ☺ and they have really gone out of their way to give us a really wonderful visit.

Today, we are going over to Lisa’s mom’s house to relax around the pool and have a BBQ together with the rest of the family. Yesterday, Bree took us around town to show us some more beautiful beaches, the southern tip of Western Australia, some really neat karri trees (they grow really tall and really straight), to a winery, a candy shop that makes their own candy fresh there, a local bakery with all sorts of meat pies, pasties (sort of like a potpie filling in a fluffier pastry that you eat with your hands), and pastries, and we enjoyed a rather peaceful ride in the car out through the bush. We went for a walk in the evening as the sun was setting and spotted some more kangaroos in the field by their house. Bree had a basketball game that he played in, so we went and watched his team dominate the court and beat the other team. It was rather brutal… Here are a few pictures from our day yesterday. More to come from our adventures today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our day with the wonderful Aussies!

We are rather sore this morning after our day of waterskiing and tubing yesterday. What fun it was though! Lisa’s sister, Kim and her husband Sean took us out on their boat (that can go really fast!!) to play at a local freshwater dam. The sun was shining and the flies were buzzing ~ the flies are pretty nasty here. Thankfully, they do not bite, but at any given time you can easily have 20 flies on you. We were quite thankful when the wind kicked up and blew them away. We went skiing – both of us at the same time – and we both managed to get up! Everyone there went for a few laps around the lake either on the wakeboard, knee board, slalom ski, or water ski’s. Our favorite was the big “biscuit” – sort of like a big tube with no hole in the middle that can hold 2 people at once. Tim and I were out on it together, while Sean and his mate Paul were driving the boat, trying to throw us off of the biscuit around turns and such. We were laughing so hard and having so much fun trying to hold on for dear life and being thrown around back there. It was great! But, again, all of us woke up this morning feeling the after effects in our sore muscles…

We went to a party in a friend of Bree’s back shed. (Everyone has a back shed here that the men sit around in, drink, eat, and talk. It’s like a local pub in someone’s back yard). It was a neat experience to be the Americans invited in to shoot the breeze with these men. But we sat around for the evening and enjoyed some genuine Australian company. We also had a taste of rabbit (tastes a lot like chicken), maron (kind of like a freshwater lobster/huge crayfish) ~ it was Delicious!! You eat it cold with a little bit of salt, we’d have to say it’s better than lobster in our opinion. We also ate some homemade meat pies prepared by Bree’s dad ~ best meat pies ever! ☺ Tim entertained the gang by playing some songs on the guitar and singing for everyone. Not everyone recognized all of the American songs, but they still seemed to enjoy it and sang along to the ones they could. Bree’s dad also sang for everyone – 7 songs, each in a different language! Very impressive.

Anyway, we were pretty tired when we got home and had no trouble falling asleep. Waking up this morning was a bit more difficult… but we are ready for another day filled with adventures here in Perth.

Hope the holiday season is treating everyone well!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And we've made it to Perth!

After a 3 hour flight to Sydney, camping out in Sydney's International Airport last night (because the domestic terminal closes...), getting up at 4am to catch a taxi back to the Domestic Airport, and hopping on yet another plane for 4 more hours - we are finally here on the west side of Australia in Perth under the wonderful hospitality of Bree and Lisa Dudek. In case you are wondering who Bree and Lisa are, Tim and I met them in the United Kingdom on a 3-day tour of Scotland and have kept in touch ever since.

After our long 16 hours of travel, Bree was our knight in shining armor as he rescued us from the utter exhaustion of travel. He showed us around Perth, which felt like we were home in LA because the air is smokey from the bush fires. We enjoyed some more delicious Aussie breakfast, saw some BEAUTIFUL beaches, and then went to the Marapana wildlife world to see some Australian wildlife. Here, at this off-the-beaten-path zoo, we got to see dingo's, Tim got to drape a python around his neck, we got to feed (tame) kangaroos, ostriches, goats, deer, sheep, etc., and Deb got to fulfill her dream of holding a real-live koala! It was actually quite heavy, but surprisingly softer than imagined, and smelled of fresh eucalyptus.

We ended the day with a refreshing, much needed shower and then headed out to spot some wild kangaroos with Bree, Lisa and their 14-month-old daughter Abbie. Kangaroos are quite the pest and supposedly out number humans here. They knock down fences, eat plants, and cause car accidents. Sound familiar Pennsylvania...? Anyway, they were still neat to see them hopping and carrying a joey in their pouch. Bree and Lisa even made us feel more at home by frying up some food and cooking macaroni and cheese for dinner. Yum!

Tomorrow we're off to water-ski in the morning and to a genuine Australian BBQ tomorrow night. :)

P.S. ~ I (Deb) passed my final and am officially on winter break from school! Yippee!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Into the Rainforest

Today was yet another wonderful day exploring another corner of this great continent (Australia, in case you’re just now joining us on this blog). Today we explored the tropical rainforests of north eastern Australia – just southwest of Cairns – through a tour company called “On the Wallaby Tours.” Our guide, Bart – a man of the world who has been in over 40 different countries, knows a ton about everything, doesn’t care much for shoes or cell phones, and can speak several languages – showed us around a specific part of the jungle called Atherton Tablelands. We got to see some fantastic vegetation – including a HUGE fig tree, which has a majority of its roots growing above ground. Apparently, 500 years ago, a bird pooped on a random (non-fig) tree and in that poop was fig seeds. After some time, those seeds began to grow on that tree and sent it’s roots down into the ground. Eventually, it grew so much that it choked out and killed the host tree and became it’s own, slightly freaky, fig tree. Check it out!

We also got to see some crater lakes and some beautiful water falls – all the while learning tons of random facts and jokes from Bart. We’re so glad we did this tour, despite the fact that we’re still recovering from 10 dives and 3 days on a rocky boat. No joke, I (timmy) am literally still swaying back and forth. Kinda hoping it goes away soon. I’d rather not get seasick while on land. Enjoy some of the photos from today.

Tomorrow is our last day in Cairns and tomorrow night we head back to Sydney and then to Perth on the other side of the continent. And if you think of it, say a prayer for Deb. She has to take a final online tomorrow for her grad course.

And the journey continues!

Tim and Deb