Australian Journal - March 2003
March 3-8, 2003 - Quiet Times and NEW WEB SERVER: Monday, Sandy stayed at Wilderness and helped out in Clara's classroom. Clara's teacher remarked afterwards at just how much Sandy's roving around the room helped to "focus" the girls! Both girls have been very busy with schoolwork this week, in the classroom and out. However, it appears that Sandy, Clara and Lucy all have sinus infections. Clara and Lucy's seemed to be cleared up by the end of the week, but Sandy's was hanging on.
Saturday was swimming once again for the girls, plus a celebration of Tim's birthday. Much of our energy was directed towards moving our website from a system in Seattle to a system in Adelaide. The new host is smaller and with a smaller "pipe" to the Internet at large, so those of you in North America might find the response a little slower.
One important difference is that our domain (uisgebeatha.org) is now hosted on the new system, rather than just redirected. You shouldn't notice a difference if you have been using some variation on http://www.uisgebeatha.org/ to get to our site. If you've been using the http://www.halcyon.com/tibbetts, then you need to change, since that location will no longer be updated, and will go away soon.
To get to our main site, click here -> http://www.uisgebeatha.org/.
To get to our journal, click here -> http://www.uisgebeatha.org/journal.html.
You can then bookmark either page or add a shortcut to make access quicker in the future.
March 9-16, 2003 - Busy, busy: Sunday, we relaxed in the morning (other than some more work related to moving the website). Tim also did a bit of work on another website for a group he helped found, the Malt Whisky Society of Australia. He has been spending a lot of time on the MWSoA over the past year - especially since their first goal is to put on the first ever National Malt Whisky Convention in Australia - quite an undertaking for a group of six guys with full time jobs already! Sunday afternoon, we went down to the mouth of the Torrens, where a group of horse owners / lovers were holding a fund raiser for the Red Cross. One of the owners, Marty, is a friend of Tim's, which is why we ended up there. Both girls got extended rides on Marty's horse, Bart (actually, his daughter Alyce's horse), and had a good time. The other reason for this event was to draw attention to the use of the paddocks adjacent to the Torrens River as horse pastures, and collect signatures on a petition to maintain the area as horse-friendly in the midst of the all the redevelopment plans. We felt having the horses there added to the uniqueness that is central to Adelaide - another use for green parklands within the city limits, which helps make Adelaide special.
The school week passed quickly. Clara is now playing violin in a string ensemble and with the Year 3-4 choir, as well as in her private lessons, and Lucy is working hard at piano - this, along with the weekly swimming, tennis, and homework, seems to fill much of the week as well as the weekend. Tuesday was also the "Come Out" parade at Wilderness, where the Junior School girls dressed up in "casual clothes" (i.e. not their uniforms) in their house colors, which, for Clara and Lucy are yellow or orange, and then parade all around the campus. This event tied in with a big youth art/theater festival occurring all around Adelaide this week. Later in the week both girls attended plays at local theaters as part of the festival.
Saturday, Sandy and Lucy went to a birthday party at a play center in Glenelg, while Tim and Clara went to Clara's swimming lesson. Sunday, it was off to the Investigator Science Center (the same people who came to our house for Clara's birthday last year) for another birthday party for another of Lucy's classmates. The Science Center is pretty small compared to others we've been to in the States, but provided plenty to interest the girls. While Lucy was doing things with the other party girls, Tim, Sandy, Clara and Allanah (one of Clara's friends from school) also found plenty to do.
The number one story in the news here continues to be the upcoming possibility of war in Iraq. While John Howard (the Australian Prime Minister) has been giving speeches to drum up support for the war, there have been widespread protest rallies and marches, and the main opposition parties (Labor, Social Democrats and Greens) have all been protesting mightily. Even a number of Howard's own Liberal party, as well as Liberal leaders of the past have come out in opposition to war.
March 17-30, 2003 - Scotch Tasting and Camping: One thing we forgot from last week is that Lucy lost another tooth. It has been loose a long time, and Tim asked Lucy if he could just give it a yank, she said yes, and out it came! (Clara was quite offended, as she and Sandy had been trying to get Lucy to let someone pull the tooth for days!) However, the tooth came out easily, and went into the tooth box, and then under Lucy's pillow - and in the morning, she found 4 new US state quarters and was quite pleased.
A major highlight of Lucy's week has been the daily swimming lessons at the Adelaide Aquatic Center. Each year Wilderness takes the Reception through Year 2 girls for a week of lessons. In fact this is standard part of the curriculum in Australian schools. Either the school takes the students to a community pool for lessons or some schools have a pool of their own.
Saturday was Tim's first Scotch tasting of the year. He invited the usual gang, and a couple of spouses came, along with Alyce, owner of Bart, the horse Clara and Lucy got to ride recently. The three girls got along swimmingly, and appeared to have a fun evening together.
Thursday was the day Clara had been waiting for - this was her overnight camping trip with the Year 4 girls to the Para Wirra Recreation Park northeast of Adelaide. We've been planning, sorting and helping her pack for a couple of weeks. This year the weather cooperated for the school camp--no hail or rain or high winds, so the girls were quite toasty in their sleeping bags sleeping under the stars. They did a lot of walking and climbing, and Clara & Allanah found a piece of gold. Not as many animals as last year, mostly kangaroos and birds and several emus. Clara came home with several blisters and lots of dirt, but happy nonetheless. Although the girls were all having a blast, the camp is actually designed as a "language camp" with numerous educational objectives. Prior to the camp the class had been reading a novel, Tennant's Gold, about the gold rush days in South Australia's history, and the location of the camp was near the gold fields. And the adventures and experiences from the trip will then be stimulation for writing projects when the girls return to the classroom.
Sandy has been making steady progress on her quilting. She has finally made it to the last step of hand sewing the binding around the edge of her quilted Christmas tree skirt, and it will only take a few evenings of sewing while Tim is watching "the tellie" to finish the quilt! The ladies in her quilting group have been quite intrigued by the skirt, as they are very uncommon in general down here, never mind a quilted one. She has also already signed up for this year's "Quilt Camp" in Roseworthy in July. Thursday night was also the latest installment of Ladies Night Out Australia Style. This has been quite a hit with the local ladies, one of whom remarked "This is such a fantastic idea. I just walked out and left the dishes!" and seemed quite excited about that.
Saturday was the last day of swimming lessons for the season. The outdoor pool shuts down for "winter" in about another week. Both girls enjoyed it as usual, and have been making good progress. The pools are located in Hazelwood Park, a beautiful, spacious park filled with old gum trees and lots of birds. Even after a year and a half (getting close to two!) down here, we can't get over all the birds. Parrots, cockatoos, rosellas, magpies, kookaburras - such a variety of color and sound! Another sign that winter is on its way is the increase in viruses, etc. Some of Tim's colleagues have been sick; Lucy's piano teacher had tonsillitis and missed Lucy's lesson last week; Sandy struggled with a sinus infection for a couple of weeks; and last night Lucy had a bout of croup - first time for her. She and Sandy sat in the bathroom with the steam going, and that seemed to help substantially. Sunday morning, she seemed mostly fine, with an infrequent cough.
Sunday morning we were all up early, thanks to the extra hour we acquired with the end of daylight savings time, so we went downtown to the Art Gallery of South Australia to see the special exhibition on the art of Albert Namatjira. He was an Aboriginal artist who became one of Australia's most famous artists. He was one of the Arrente people of Central Australia and his work tended to feature scenes of the central outback - particularly the McDonnell Ranges and the various gum trees - Ghost Gums, Red River Gums, etc. He worked primarily in pencil overpainted with water colors, and occasionally pastels. He effectively spawned an industry, as many of his relatives and fellow tribespeople now paint in his (or a similar) style as a means of supporting themselves. The gallery also had some of their work on display, but they clearly did not have his talent. Sandy, Clara and Lucy also took Tim up to one exhibit of "modern" art - particularly to show him one piece which looked exactly like the empty frame we had hanging on our wall for years before Sandy quilted a Mariner's Compass wall hanging to fill it. We couldn't help but wonder what Namatjira (or Hans Heysen, or any of the other artists of note on display) would think of some of these works of "modern art" these days. We also went to Rundle Mall for shopping - such a strange thing to be able to go shopping on Sunday, which has only happened in the last year--but only in the city!
Now that war in Iraq has started, it dominates the news even more, especially as Australia is one of only three committed members of the coalition. We just had Foxtel installed, so that we could get more news from non-Australian sources. It has been very interesting to watch the commentary from say FoxNews, then from the BBC, then CNN, and then the local Australian news. The country-to-country emphasis is clear - the Australians focus on what their soldiers are doing, as do the BBC, and the American channels as well. Even the difference between the International version of CNN (CNN-i - which is what we actually get) and the occasional section from CNN in the US is also quite noticeable. As is common throughout the world, support for the war in Australia is not unanimous, and demonstrations, marches, and protests continue to regularly occur, even in relatively sleepy Adelaide.
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