Australian Journal - September 2002
September 2-12, 2002 - Clara's Stage Debut: It has been another busy week, with Tim working late while the Seattle team is still here, and the calendar full for Sandy and the girls. Thursday, Sandy went to quilt group, where she worked on some little Christmas projects (using Christmas fabric she got from a new quilting store that just opened up a couple kilometers away - run by a lady who lived in Kansas City for a few years!) Friday morning, it was off to morning tea with Dawn.
Saturday, Sandy and Clara went to Wilderness first thing in the morning for the first full dress rehearsal (make up and all!) of two plays Clara will be in. One play is called Belling the Cat; Clara's part is that of a not-too-smart mouse (which didn't set well with her at first!) The cast of this play were all girls in years 3 and 4. The other play is The Pied Piper in which Clara and the other girls turn into rats and finally into village children. Both plays included several really fun musical and dance numbers. Sandy volunteered to help out with the rehearsals, so in addition to helping Saturday, she'll be helping on Monday, and then on Tuesday for the actual performances. Meanwhile, Tim and Lucy went to the library, and then back home to work on robots and art - Here is the artist at work in "mixed media" - crayons, colored pencils, and markers.
Sunday, we all went to Brighton Beach to look for sea shells and quilting fabrics. We found both. Sandy had been wanting to visit Patchworks by the Sea for a while (especially as they are the only quilt shop in the area open on Sunday), and the girls felt the need for some more sea shells to support their art projects. They ended up with a big bag of multi-colored scallop shells. It was quite windy, cloudy, and generally blustery - too much wind for reasonable fly fishing, so Tim was out of luck. They recently (approx 1996) rebuilt the jetty at Brighton, and added various features, including an Aeolian Harp played by the wind designed by artists Margaret Worth and Gavin Malone. Today was certainly the day for it!
Monday, Sandy and Clara again spent much of the day in rehearsals. Then, Tuesday was the big day! Clara performed in her two plays for the school during the day, then back again at night for another round for the parents and general public. Here's Clara waiting for stage time. When Sandy helped out at the first rehearsal, she came home certain that the productions would be complete disasters and wondered what that drama teacher could have been thinking. But after a couple of days of hard work by everyone, the girls did a beautiful job! We got home about 9:30 with two very tired girls. So, they both stayed home Wednesday to rest up.
Wednesday was September 11 down here, and the news was full of what happened a year ago. There were many events in Australia to commemorate that awful day; we clearly remember where we were when it happened - in the hotel, only three days from leaving for Australia. While the girls were at home, they noticed some Eastern Rosellas playing in the big Jacaranda tree in front of our house and got some pictures (here and here). Wednesday evening, Sandy went off with neighbors Katrina and Kelly along with another Kiwi (i.e., New Zealander) friend of their's to a movie and late dinner at a cafe. It brought back memories of Ladies Night Out in White Horse Crossing - and may, in fact, have triggered the formation of another such group in our neighborhood here!
Thursday, it was clear that both girls were sick - however, Clara was desperate to go to school, since it was assembly day (and the Year 3 girls were performing), and also violin and tennis lesson day. Sandy and the girls compromised on them going for the morning (so Clara could do assembly and violin) then coming home for lunch and off to the doctor in the afternoon. Sure enough, both have infections and came home with antibiotics. Hopefully they will be well by Monday, when Clara is off for a two day "camp" with her class at Warrawong Sanctuary.
September 13-20, 2002 - Warrawong and Art: Friday, we went into the city to do some errands, and then home for a quiet weekend. Much of the time was spent sorting out the long list of things Clara needed for her Warrawong trip (sleeping bag, pillow, pencils, drawing pad, lunch, "scroggin" = trail mix, etc.) and then labeling and packing them all. This trip is part of an "Adventures into Language" program that Wilderness runs for the Year 3 - Year 7 girls. The program involves the class reading a book with their teacher at school, and then the real-life adventure begins soon after at Warrawong Sanctuary. The book they are reading is 'A Matter of Cats' by Elizabeth Hutchins, and the girls may get to meet the author at Warrawong.
Sunday night was rainy, but Monday dawned overcast but not actively raining. Clara went off to school, and Sandy saw her off on the bus to Warrawong, then went off to morning tea with some other Year 3 moms. In the evening, it began to rain, and we started to wonder how the girls were doing. They were planning to doing an evening hike at twilight, to see the nocturnal animals start to move around, then an early morning (5:30am!) hike again in the morning.
In the meantime, Tim caught whatever bug the girls had last week (and which Lucy still has; Clara appears to be over it, much to her relief, so she could go to camp). So, he stayed home on Monday and Tuesday. Monday, Lucy stayed home as well, and beat him at Uno, and at Connect 4 (he did win one round of Uno and one game of Connect 4!). They also took turns reading to each other, while Sandy did errands and meals, and worked on her quilted Christmas ornaments.
Tuesday afternoon, Clara came home happy but exhausted. She and Lucy were both in bed and asleep by 6. The campers did a lot of things in their two days, including "ponding" (scooping water and other stuff out of ponds, and identifying the critters they found using microscopes), nature walks (seeing platypus, bilby, bettongs, quolls, bandicoots, ducks, lots of rainbow lorikeets and black cockatoos, etc.), gathering wood and building a campfire (roasting marshmallows) and then sleeping in platform tents. They also met a black swan named Missy, who lays eggs every year which never hatch since there are no male swans around. It was a cold night, but everyone came home without drama, and the girls all seemed to have a good time!
Wednesday, Tim woke up feeling worse, so he went in to the office for a couple hours, but then went to the doctor, who diagnosed bronchitis and a possible ear infection, so he went home instead of back to work. The weather has continued windy and rainy, and makes us long for a fireplace, since it seems the perfect weather for one!
Thursday, Sandy took Clara and Lucy to school, stayed for assembly (where Lucy had a speaking part in the Reception presentation), then brought Lucy home so Tim could take her back to the doctor, since she didn't seem to be getting better. Then it was off to quilt group for Sandy, with pumpkin bread in hand as a snack for the ladies (made from the Libby's pumpkin Tim brought back from the states in February). She had a good time, as did Tim and Lucy (Tim actually beat Lucy two games running at Scrabble, which disgusted Lucy no end!) Then, it was back to school to pickup Clara after tennis practice.
This also provided a chance for Tim to see the art gallery that had been set up at Wilderness with art from Reception through Year 6. The school did quite a good job setting up the exhibit, which featured a wide variety of media, including papier mache figures, clay masks and figurines, pastel and charcoal sketches, acrylic painting, and various 3D techniques. Lucy did a portrait of Auntie Karla in her wheel chair, while Clara's Year 3 class did two related murals and some near-life-size papier mache figures. The theme behind the Year 3 artwork was "Recess." The girls tend to engage in two major activities at recess - playing basketball or handball (left mural) and making "potions" (right-hand mural).
Here is a rough-and-ready 360 view by a non-too-steady Tim without a tripod (Sandy thinks the loop upwards at the end adds character to the picture; Tim isn't so sure...) Notice Lucy sitting on the floor under her picture (at the far left, wearing a blue shirt); Clara's mural is about 1/3 of the way from the left side; you can see one of the pink and yellow papier mache figures on the floor in front of it.
Friday, Tim went back to work, and Sandy went to the Needlework, Craft and Quilt Fair at the Royal Adelaide Showground, which is being held from Thursday thru Sunday, and helped out in the Quilt Guild exhibit, then toured the rest of the fair.
September 21-30, 2002 - End of Term: It's hard to believe that this is the last week of Term 3 - we've been here a year now, but it still seems as if we've only just arrived in many ways. The differences from America are still fascinating (and some of the similarities with America, such as the newscasters to tend to focus on the same 2 or 3 things ad nauseum, just as irritating!)
Sunday, Clara's violin practice migrated to the piano, in order to show her how she was playing some notes flat or sharp incorrectly, then ended up being a duet with Lucy on piano and Clara on violin. They played happily together for quite a while, trying to sort out Jingle Bells for Christmas. Lucy even went and got out her accordion, and they worked with that a while, trying to figure out which notes were which.
Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), this week has seen Sandy come down with the bug everyone else had. Hopefully, getting to the doctor early will keep it from getting too bad for the school holidays.
Wednesday evening, Tim had to fly to Canberra again for a day of meetings. Unfortunately, Wednesday evening was also Clara's choral concert. The concert went very well, and Sandy was amazed at how well the girls can sing; we've really noticed it in Clara's singing around the house - a year ago she couldn't hold a tune. Wednesday Lucy was also VIP in her classroom, and got to bring home Alisa the bear for a sleepover again. Because of the concert that night, Lucy "pre-wrote" Alisa's diary, predicting how well the concert would go, etc.! Thursday evening, Tim got back from Canberra, but not until after the girls were in bed. He had, however, found time early that morning to run to the Starbucks in Canberra, and come home with some supplies for a while.
Friday was the last day of the term for the girls, so they both came home with armloads of projects that had accumulated. One of Clara's projects which we had failed to mention earlier (and which was quite a large effort) was a "showbag." As with the showbags they sell at the fairs, Clara had to make a showbag (and all it's contents) around a theme. Her theme (not surprisingly) was horses.
Saturday, it was off to a birthday party for Clara's friend Katarina. This party was hosted by Katarina's grandparents, who live in the Adelaide Hills, and have a little property with sheep on it. They also hired some horses for the party, so the girls got plenty of exercise riding horses and chasing sheep. They ended the day with a somewhat soggy bonfire (it had been raining off and on all day) - but they got enough of a fire to roast marshmallows.
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