Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Fond Farewell

The end of an era...all good things must come to an end...the time has come. It is with sadness that I must announce that this will be the last post to The Lankfords Down Under blog. Why, you ask? Or maybe you're saying, "It's about time. You haven't posted in forever." At any rate, the reason is valid...our time in Australia has come to an end. I've been back in the states for awhile now and Phil is finishing things up there and will be leaving for good at the end of next week. Looking back on this year I've come up with my last list. I call it...

If You Ever Told Me I'd Be Doing This One Day, I'd Call You Crazy...Seriously

1. Moving to Sydney, Australia and living there for a year. (gotta start with the obvious)
2. Flying Business Class.'s never going to be the same again.
3. Driving on the left side of the road while from the right side of the car. (It's a miracle that nobody was hurt)
4. Living in an apartment building in the center of a major world city. (And one that looked like an Ikea exploded in it)
5. Sitting at a show in the Opera House in Sydney.
6.Watching a cricket match and kind of understanding it.
7. Eating Vietnamese food, Turkish bread and Thai.
8. Flying by myself to Tokyo, Japan to meet Phil at Tokyo Disney for my birthday.
9. Sitting on an open double-decker tour bus while driving through Little India, Little Arabia, and Chinatown while staying in Singapore.
10. Riding the Katoomba Scenic Railway at a 52 degree incline down the side of a mountain while spending the day in the Blue Mountains.
11. Taking pictures of a live kangaroo sitting by the side of the road.
12. Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.
13. Going to a Japanese Fish Spa and having the fish eat the dead skin off of my feet and legs. Truly.
14. Watching the New Year's Eve fireworks over the Harbour Bridge from our balcony.
15. Sitting in a hot springs in New Zealand after a tasty dinner of lamb.

What a year. And while our adventures in Australia have come to an end, our adventures have not. Just stay in Philadelphia and work regular 9 to 5 jobs like everyone else? No, not the Lankfords.

We begin our next adventure this month. Good bye, Australia. Hello, England. Yes...that's right. It's going to look a little different this time. Phil will be in London with weekly little trips to Paris while I'll, for the most part, stay here in good ol' Philly. He'll come home here a week a month and I'll go over there a week a month. I know what you're thinking. That's a lot of time in a plane. But really, after close to 30 hour flights (including layovers) to Sydney, what's a measly 7 and 1/2 hour plane ride to London? I laugh in the face of a little 7 and 1/2 hour flight.

Once in Europe we'll try to get around to as many places as we can. And will this next year and a half be documented as well?? You bet. So head on over to (thanks, Claire for the ingenious name) and read along as I faithfully leave no stone unturned in our European travels.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ride the Walrus Rocks!

I have a confession to make. One that includes me saying, " I was wrong and Phil, you were right." I hate those kind of confessions. And the confession...I love Guitar Hero. (I was wrong, by the way, because I insisted that if we bought Guitar Hero, it would get used one time and then never again.)
Nothing says fun like all of us eating dinner together, the wives chatting and then wondering where did all the guys go, putting all of the kids to bed, and heading downstairs to the theatre room (because it needs to have big sound, according to Phil) and finding all the guys...Phil on drums, Rob and Gregg each with a guitar, and Jared on vocals in the middle of a rousing rendition of Livin' On a Prayer. Truly.
It all began two days prior when Phil and I were in a Best Buy. He challenged me to just try it and see if I liked it. Well...after delivering a sound defeat to Phil on Walk This Way, I was hooked. And then had to try it again. Compare it to Rock Band. And then try Guitar Hero again. Long story, short...we bought the whole band-2 guitars, drums, and microphone. Oh, and of course the extra Wii remote needed. Fast forward to last Friday night and Ride the Walrus was born. (The name of our band, of course.)
Sometimes it was just all the guys. Sometimes it was an all chick band. (Rock star talk, you know. And here's where I insert that our rendition of Beat It was spot on. Kudos to Kristi for some sweet drum action.) Sometimes it was a mix. All the much fun!! So much fun that we realized that we'd been playing for 5 hours. So much fun that it found us running home after a movie on Sunday night to get in another hour or so before the Haus' sitter needed to leave. I just knew listening to Hotel California so much that I memorized the lyrics would come in handy some day.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

There is Something I Agree On With the Obama Administration...

Well...what do you know...I can now say that I fully agree with the latest news out of the Obama administration. The words hope, optimism, a common purpose and the like are now words we can share and rejoice in. Oh, yes we can.
The news? It has now been reported that Coke products and specifically, my beloved Diet Coke are the choice of drink at the White House over Pepsi products especially in regards to President Obama's senior staff. I'm wiping away the tears as I type.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I've Been Everywhere, Man!

Look dad...I'm in Tapei!
Look's my best side!
Look dad...I've got street-cred now!

Look dad...the pieces are all coming together!
Look life is an open book!

Look dad...New York City is just not the same without you!
Look fans don't know if they're coming or going!

Look dad...I don't know...just look!

Look dad...even Putin loves me!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hey Dad...It's Me, Sox

Hey Dad!
Thought I'd hack in to the website and let you know what I've been doing since Mom's come home. Mostly eating and sleeping, but you probably already knew that. Played some with my ball, too. Wanted you to see me in the snow when we had a storm a few weeks back.

I was in my glory. Making tracks...rolling around in the snow...marking my territory. Here's the backyard, too.

The snow came down so slowly it just layed on all the tree branches. Cool, huh? Now of course after yesterday where it was 68 degrees, all traces of the snow have melted, but I enjoyed it outside then as well. Now because you can never have too many pictures of me...

Here I'm picturing the treat I'll get when I come inside. Can't wait to see you again...hope it's soon. Love ya', dad!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Have I Ever Told You That I Now Hate to Fly?

Well...the short story is I'm back home. But this is a blog, so I'm going to tell you the long story. In the words of Sophia of Golden Girls fame...picture it...Sydney...last Monday...
Phil and I head to the airport to be there by 10:00 am for my 12:00 pm flight. Now for those not in the know, apparently January 26th is a holiday in Australia. It's Australia Day. Kind of like our 4th of July without the independence thing. Everyone carries or wears Australian flags (some literally, as in capes around their shoulders), has the day off of work, and many barbecue. It also means (for us in the city) road closures because of the classic car show that lined our street. Hence...the leaving extra early for the airport because we had to go an alternate route.

Anyways, we get to the airport and find out that my flight has a 5 hour maintenance delay. My first thought? Do I really want to get on an airplane that is going to cross the Pacific that just needed a 5 hour maintenance delay? My second thought? Well, shoot...I have a 5 hour delay before my 30 hour trip.

So Phil and I checked in my luggage and then left to go back to the festivities for a few hours. Well, from my previous post you've learned that it is hot in Sydney at the moment so I took off my sneakers and put on my flip flops to walk around. We got back to the apartment around 1:30 and Phil decided to go online to check the status of the flight.

Lo and behold...we learned the flight was now cancelled. I raced around the apartment grabbing my purse and my carry-on (that always has my ipod and at the very minimum 4 books, my crossword puzzle book, and my soduku book...remember, a 30 hour trip?). We get back to the airport and I have to go with an agent down through customs to baggage to retrieve my luggage. For a moment I thought I'd just made an episode of Border Security (one of my favorite Aussie tv shows) when the customs agents came towards us yelling that we couldn't come in this way. But made it through, got my bags, and wheeled them (all 3...yes, we are trying not to have to ship anything back, so everytime I come back to the states it looks like I've got everything but the kitchen sink in my bags) back to the ticket counter.

I was put on the United flight to Los Angeles that left at 3:15 and was on my way. After discovering that yes...I was still wearing my flip flops. No problem in LA, but a bit of a problem at my next connection. Which would be Toronto. Why? Because I was told that because it's an Air Canada flight, I have to have a connection in a Canadian city. Blame Canada, I say. And Toronto in late January is cold when you're wearing a light sweater and flip flops. The looks I was receiving as I was walking down the aisle were interesting. I could tell people wanted to ask me if I knew I was going to Toronto. Whatever.

Well...this is getting longer than I thought and American Idol is on in 10 minutes (I know...but I can't. stop. watching. it.), I got to Toronto, thought I'd have to leave my bags there so I could get into the US customs hall before it closed, but 10 minutes before they closed, got my bags, made the mad dash to US customs, got on the flight and made it back to Philly at 10:45 pm on the same date that I took off . The longest Australia Day ever. So I toasted the holiday once I got back to the house with a nice glass of cold Diet Coke filled to the top with ice while petting Sox. Australia is nice, but oh...I love America.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yeah...It's Hot Out.

No, I'm not bragging about how warm it is here when everyone back home has been freezing. I'm's really hot outside. We've been in the 90's for a bit now. It had been predicted that today was supposed to be in the mid 90's with it feeling like 110 (really...who likes to be outside when it feels like 110 degrees out?) but they're now saying it should feel like the mid 90's out. Ah, well...that's so much better.

I was on my daily walk, didn't see my running buddy...perhaps it was too warm for him? Anyways, I was on my daily walk and thought, "What the heck am I doing outside?" It was 9:00 am and the sun was already beating down on me. I'm sweating like a pig, I'm sure my face was bright red...just not worth it. And today is much of the same. Although I need to go out and get something for lunch. We are hitting the back of the empty food cabinet here at the Lankfords. On a totally different note...

Last Saturday, Phil and I had a fun day. We walked next door into the Botanical Gardens to take a tour of Government House in the morning. After our usual walk over to the Renaissance Cafe for coffee, tea, and warm ham & cheese croissants. Mmmm...

This used to be where the governor of New South Wales lived (until 1996) but now is just where the governor works. They also have receptions and dinners there for visiting heads of states. It was interesting (and free...what are the odds of that?) and had some really nice views of the harbour from the back gardens.

We then drove out to the suburbs because Phil needed his hair cut at the mall. We were going out there (the suburbs, not the mall) anyway to meet a couple from church for dinner but had some hours to kill before the dinner. And let me say before I go on...what is with the Australian practice of everything closing up at 5:00 pm? Even on Friday and Saturday nights? The only night of the week that anything is open past then is Thursday when things are open until 9:00. It's Saturday night...the stores are pulling their gates down to lock up...the food court is clearing out...and it's 5:00 pm. And our dinner wasn't until 7:00pm.

So...we hopped into the Jeep and drove over to the Sydney Olympic Park (just a few miles down the road) to see if anything was going on there. And we stumbled upon the Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2009! Going on from Jan, 14-18 was a group of 1,800 athletes from 25 countries competing in 19 sports. We walked into the Aquatic Center and were able to sit in the stands and watch some swimming competitions. Complete with medal presentations and singing of various countries' national anthems. I felt like I was at the Olympics. Sort of...the stands weren't that full and the athletes were just teens, but still...

All of this was to promote the...drum roll please...the first every Youth Olympic Games of 2010 to be held in Singapore! Truly! It's going to take place August 14-26 in 2010 for athletes between the ages of 14 and 18. The brochure we were handed (as well as the bracelet that Karen, I will give you for your Olympic collection) says that "Singapore 2010 will see some 3,600 young athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees competing in 26 sports comprising 201 events." Cool! For more info check out