[Barossa in the fall] [Fun in the park] [Cradle Mountain National Park] [Clara and Lucy Acting Up]

Australian Journal - August 2002

August 7-15, 2002 - More Quilts and Robots: Lucy has settled into Reception pretty well, although she appears to be getting a cold.

Sandy's quilting projects have taken a turn for - shall we say - different? Back during the school holidays when Clara's friend Katarina came to visit, she and Clara began sewing together squares to make a quilt for Katarina's cat, Tinky. When the girls saw Sandy after school on Tuesday, they rushed up to tell her that Tinky's birthday party would be on Saturday. Then they wanted to know if they would be able to finish the quilt by then. Sandy advised them that hand sewing is fairly slow, but perhaps she might be able to whip up the rest on her machine. So Sandy was enlisted to finish sewing the squares, quilt them, bind them, etc. She has used this as an excuse to try out the "printing" feature of her Bernina, and used it to embroider a birthday message to Tinky onto an oversized square. Here is the finished product.

Thursday, Sandy made Mum T.'s Cranberry Swirl Coffeecake for a coffee get-together hosted by our neighbor Katrina on Friday for the neighborhood ladies.

Friday, Tim worked at home so he could take Clara to/from school, and free up Sandy to take Lucy to the doctor. She's been coughing an increasing amount, and apparently has a viral infection. After Clara went to school, Tim also found time to help Lucy assemble much of her robot (here). She made a tracked robot, unlike Clara's wheeled robot, and can't wait until we tackle a drawing robot.

Saturday, Tim hosted another scotch tasting. This time, the featured distillery was Springbank (and Longrow, which is a more heavily-peated whisky made in the Springbank facilities). The usual tasters came, along with Tony, husband of Donna from Nebraska. This was also the day Clara (and Katarina and Allanah) had been waiting for - Tinky the Cat's birthday. They had made presents and cards for him, and played games with him, and generally had a good time. Even Tinky seemed to survive without any traumatic after effects!

Sunday was cleanup and errand day. Tim has been on a mission to try and find some good juvenile science fiction novels for Clara, since she is so keen on both reading and topics such as space, exploring other planets, or what life will be like in the future. However, it has been hard to find appropriate ones - so many of the books available fall into fantasy (Harry Potter and the like) or essentially the same animal story told over and over with slightly different animals and names! So, we went on an expedition to Borders, to try and find some. We had a little luck, but will probably be placing an order with Amazon soon for some more. One of the things we miss is the fantastic King County library system back in Washington. They have over 40 regional branches, and a customer base of close to 2 million people; this gives them a depth of selection and availability that is hard to beat - plus there are other good libraries in the area such as the Seattle and University of Washington libraries from which loans are available, and all the items can be requested over the Internet and are then delivered to our local branch. Here, our local Burnside library is a good library - but its customer base is closer to 40,000 people, and it just doesn't have the resources.

Monday, both girls stayed home with Sandy, as it had become apparent over the weekend that Clara was coming down with the same viral infection that Lucy was suffering from. They had a good day at home, and made good use of the myriad of craft supplies in their collections.

Tuesday, Lucy was feeling good enough to go to school, but Clara was coughing enough in the night that we kept her home again, much to her disappointment. However, Sandy and Clara had a good day together. Tuesday evening, Tim stopped at the local Baily and Baily store for another scotch tasting, this one hosted by the Chivas group, distillers of Aberlour, Glenlivet, Strathisla, etc.

Wednesday and Thursday were good days for the girls, and they seem to be getting better, so Sandy went to her quilt club on Thursday for a few hours.

August 16-September 1, 2002 - This and That: Friday, Sandy had a visitor. One of Sandy's college roommates at KU had visited Adelaide several years ago and stayed with a retired school teacher, Dawn, who lives about twenty minutes from our house. So Dawn came for tea Friday morning, and Sandy dug out an old favorite recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Oatmeal muffins. The muffins translated successfully using Australian ingredients, and the visit was enjoyable for both, so next month Sandy will be going to Dawn's for a coffee morning.

We were glad to have a weekend without social obligations, and with everyone healthy. We managed to finish hanging pictures, which makes quite a change. We still need to get a large bulletin board, so the girls can have a place to display their art projects. All of our remaining pictures and wall-hangings are now safely stored in a closet, and out of the way. Plus, Sandy and Clara sorted and organized her bedroom today, going through all the creations and collected items that a busy pair of girls seem to accumulate.

Just in the past two weeks, we have noticed the weather changing, so spring is almost here. Saturday the girls were playing with the neighbors across the street in short sleeves. Many of the imported fruit and nut trees are in bloom (a couple weeks ago was the Almond Blossom Festival in Mt. Compass just 45 minutes south of us.)

The girls have had a busy week at school, with all the usual during-and-after activities, plus an Asian lunch for Clara's class (which Sandy found out the night before, necessitating a last-minute cooking effort) and a "Dress up as your favorite book character day." Lucy chose to be Jessie, the older sister from The Boxcar Children, a book unfamiliar to her teachers here, so she had to bring it in to show them. Clara was Professor McGonnigal from Harry Potter (she dressed up as a cat wearing a witch's hat).

Thursday, Sandy went to her all-day quilt club again, and had a good time, and made good progress on her basket of flowers applique.

The weekend went even more quickly with all the usual errands, since Tim has been working long hours getting ready for the team from Seattle to arrive. However, the state government is currently considering legislation to change the shopping hours regulations - there is rumour that they might allow shops to be open two more evenings a week--Mondays and Wednesdays! We also got the large bulletin board hung up, so we have a place to display the girl's art. Trying to get the bulletin board home was a rude awakening to Tim, who, prior to Australia, always drove a full-size pickup truck and never had to worry about getting anything into it. Here, the 4' x 6' foot bulletin board was too big to fit in the rear of the Tribute, so he had to scrounge some twine, and tie it on top to get it home. When the girls came down the hall the next morning, they were so delighted and proud to see all of their recent creations displayed. And they eagerly show them to everyone who visits!

As expected, Tim has been spending long days at work, and not getting home until after the girls are in bed. Sandy, Clara and Lucy have been having a good week. Wednesday, Lucy's class went to a children's play and then to a cafe for "afternoon tea", and had a good time. Thursday, Sandy went back to her quilting group again. She has been making good progress on her quilts now that she is regularly carving out a few hours each week to work on them.

Saturday was a day Clara and Lucy have been looking forward to - the Royal Adelaide Show. The Show is basically a large country fair held at the Royal Fairgrounds just off the southern parklands (only a few minutes from our house). The girls had Friday off from school because of the show, but didn't go then as Tim wanted to go as well. We went with one of Clara's classmates, Kimba, her dad Jude, and her little brother Jasper, who is Lucy's age. A friend of Jude's runs a shop immediately adjacent to the main gates into the Royal Adelaide Fairgrounds, so that took care of the major problem of parking quite nicely. He had also grown up working at the fair, as well as attending with his kids each year, so he proved to be an excellent tour guide. We started in the floral exhibits, which were full of beautiful orchids, as well as displays of native Australian flora. Then on to the animal sheds, the wood-chopping (surprisingly, a big deal down here - many contestants traveled interstate or even internationally - such as from Canada - to be here), the midway for games, carnival rides, lunch, and then, the grand finale - the Show Bag pavilion. This was something quite new to us, but apparently is the major highlight of the fair for many people. Showbags started out as bags of free advertising samples that various vendors at the fair gave out. Since then, they have become quite commercialized, and the show program is overflowing with the list of showbags available. Typically, the showbags have candy, toys, notepads, etc., all with a common theme. But now they cost money. Clara ended up with a Harry Potter bag containing a Hedwig keychain, Harry Potter stationary, stickers, and a couple bags of Berty Botts every-flavor jelly beans. Lucy chose a Pooh bag, with a stuffed Tigger, blowing bubbles, a magnet, stationary, and candy. We saw many people with armloads of bags.

Sunday was Father's Day in Australia. The girls did their best to play quietly so that Tim could have a couple of extra hours of sleep. Sandy cooked a fancy breakfast for all, and the girls presented Tim with presents they had made. Both girls had made cards with pictures of them in their previously-mentioned "favorite book character" costumes, which was great, as Tim had not had a chance to see them dressed up. Lucy also made another card plus a badge for Tim, and Clara "cooked" a confection, which she packaged in "Spanish boxes" (boxes made of folded colored paper).

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