Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gunning Fireworks 2014

Adam watches booms:

Last Saturday was the annual Gunning Fireworks Festival. We couldn't leave Canberra until we could pick the up from a paintball activity that afternoon, eventually leaving about 4:30PM. We'd arranged to meet up with Andrew & Kerrilee. They got there ahead of us and rang to tell us bad news. The organizers had allowed cars all around our usual seating spots and we were reduced to getting a viewing spot that was less than our usual ideal placement.

We met up, went and grabbed dinner (must make mention of my dinner a half metre long cheese kransky hot dog) and then sat chatting as the individual fireworks displays commenced. Unfortunately, the best spot we could get had our view obscured by a tree to the left, people standing up in front of us, a vehicle and advertising to the left, and powerlines across the middle. The end result was that it was a good show - but not quite the same impact as previous years due to the more obscured view. Still, it was fun - Minori said it was the best fireworks she'd ever seen. Kerrilee and I both spent time trying to capture the fireworks on camera. I don't think my images were as good this year due to the limited view, but still, some aren't too bad ... even if they do have people's heads in some shots.

We couldn't here the PA system, so wasn't sure about the finale - a lot of people seemed to leave between the end of the normal show and when the finale would have normally started. Eventually the finale did occur, and it get very, very hectic. I caught the last 5 or 6 minutes on video.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Elissa's Sewing - Dark Silver suit

Elissa sews......

When I bought this silver/gray/black material in Cabramatta I knew I wanted a jacket. I found a pattern I had bought years ago and then extended the jacket to 3/4 length. I only just had enough material for the suit. It is designed to be worn open, I was going to put more buttons on ( I love buttons) but Jayde felt this was enough.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heart Attacking

Elissa serves.....

We wanted the YW to do something nice for Rachel after the baby was born and thought making a "Nappy Cake" would be fun. Then there was the car accident with Sister Levine - we wanted to help her as well, and Sister Ilallio (whip lash and emotionally sad). So we decided to heart attack them. This is a form of service we have had done on us before (and done to others) - you put hearts on sticks and put them all over some ones front lawn at night and they wake up in the morning to a surprise.

We wanted to do Sister Levine's hospital room but she was still too sick. So we decided to do Sister Illalio and Sister Allison Clarke. She is in Stake YW's and does a lot to help our ward at YW's. But none of them had big lawns so we made the hearts on sticks and put them nicely in a florist box, and added chocolates on sticks. This was then placed on the front door step and we knocked and then hid to watch their response.

First was Allisons place - she had a bit of lawn so we put some of the sticks on her lawn and stuck others on her door and windows. Then knocked and ran and hid. It was funny - her husband saw it first and then went and got the kids to see. After they went back inside we drove away. The next day Allison put some photos on facebook about it. She apparently got back about an hour later to a pleasant surprise.

Then we did Sister Illalio - we couldn't do knock and run with her as she lives on the 4th floor of a security building. So we rang the other sister missionaries and they passed it on for us. We also got her a Neck Massager to help with her whiplash.

Finally we went to Rachel's. We put her nappy cake and Heart attack in a box on her doorstop, knocked and hid under the stairs. She wouldn't answer the door. After 6 knocks I texted her and told her to answer the door. It appears their neighbor has an abusive ex boyfriend and they thought it was him. It was a fun night.

Excuse the quality of the last photos - it was late and dark, it was my mobile and we were trying to be quiet.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rallying Around Sister Kendal Levine and Her Parents

Adam notes:

A quick update about Sister Levine. It's now 10 days since the accident and she is still in a coma in Canberra Hospital. The Doctors have performed an operation to remove part of her skull to relieve the chances of brain damage from swelling. Although in a coma,  it is no longer medically induced and the doctors are waiting for her to regain consciousness to be able to do additional diagnostic work on her. She has had assisted breathing for some time, however she is now apparently breathing by herself, although she is still being given oxygen. She is also battling a fever due to an infection somewhere as well.

Her parents flew out from Hawaii and arrived in Sydney on the Sunday night after the accident, and have been staying in the hospital  by her bedside since then. Their first trip outside was to our Chapel for Church last Sunday, which is only two streets away from the hospital.

The ward has arranged to try and look after them - taking meals and other needs. Rachel Grgeory - our Ward's Relief Society President has taken on being the "personal assistant" for the Levine's in trying to coordinate visits, meals, etc. We had the privilege of taking dinner to the Levines at the hospital on Saturday afternoon, and got the chance to talk with them for about 15 minutes. They happened to sit behind us at church on Sunday as well, so we got to chat a few more times then as well. They seem to be doing well - they always have a positive happy countenance, even despite the hardships they are going through.

There is a Facebook group that has started up in support of Sister Levine - there have been people fasting and praying for her around the world. The Facebook group has several thousand members from around the world, many people who knew her before or during her mission, and many who have just been touched by her story and want to assist. There are regular updates on there by family members who relay information from her parents at the hospital, combined with inspirational messages, photos of her from before and on her mission and other positive items.

Some interesting news pieces to have been posted on the group include:
Herald Extra - LDS Sister Missionary Critical After Accident
Brisbane Times - Monash Hero's Quick Thinking Praised

The group asked people to contribute two words to the statement I Am ... about Sister Levine. I responded "Vegemite Disliker" knowing that she had tried it in the US before coming to Australia and disliked it, and that the last time she was at our house we'd tried to convert her to it with Elissa's vegemite scrolls. It turns out that they made a poster up of the various responses. Vegemite Dis-liker made it onto the final poster :)

One of the next things the group has organised was for people to send in photos of themselves with messages for Sister Levine. It appears that they are going to make a photobook of all of the messages of support for her. We added a photo of ourselves that we took on Sunday after Church.

It seems that even Nephi wanted to get into the photo.

We had Sister Ilalio and the two sister missionaries that she's staying with from Woden over for dinner last night. She' s dealing with her own injuries from the accident, and was a bit more reserved early on in the evening. It was obviously a very traumatic event for her. Having said that, the Woden sisters - Sister Finau and Suister M ..[I can't remember how to spell her name] are both very vivacious and outgoing. They had a fun evening at our house and spent a lot of time looking at our photobooks as we talked over events in our family like our trip to General Conference, Jewel's accident, and more. It looks like they'll definitely be back next Sunday with Sister Ilalio. Next weekend is transfers - we don't know what will be happening with Sister Ilalio, but hopefully she'll be staying in our area, and getting a new companion.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Adam gets spoilt:

It was Father's Day last Sunday, and I was treated to breakfast in bed. Yum. (We're fortunate in that normally the first Sunday of the month we fast - go without food and drink - however noting that Fast Sunday and Father's Day fall on the same day, the Stake Presidency had asked us to have Fast Sunday on the last Sunday in August instead, presumably so that dad's could get treated like this on Father's Day.)

I got an array of nice cards and presents from the kids. Jayde gave me a bunch of Lego Minifigures that we'd picked up from BrickExpo that I needed.

From Jewel I got my favourite aftershave - Drakkar Noir - and a tech tool for use with my computer.

From Seth I received an expansion to the Seven Wonders game that we regularly play as a family.

And from Elissa I got two nights accommodation for the family up in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains for us to take advantage of later in the year :) It's in a cottage only 400m from the Three Sisters - should be a fun experience.

For Father's Day dinner we had an assortment of home made pizzas to enjoy, followed by a game of Seven Wonders, using the enw expansion I received as a present.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lion Dances, Paddy's Markets and Dr Who Pop Up Store

Adam watches Lion dances:

It was the quarterly youth temple trip up to the baptistery last weekend, and we drove up on the Friday night and stayed overnight at the Temple accommodation. Unfortunately, the news about the sister missionaries kept things a bit subdued. We had very little info about what had happened at that stage, and only found out bits and pieces through the following 24 hours.

On Saturday morning we went to the early session at the temple with Seth, before finishing up at the accommodation and heading into the Sydney CBD. We had planned to check out the Nepalese Festival at Darling Harbour, but we didn't make it that far. First up we spent some time in Paddy's Markets. Jayde bought herself some leggings whilst Minori bought a bunch of tourist souvenirs. Seth was eyeing off all the sword shops and shops with men's jewellery (mainly metallic mood rings).

Next we went to the adjoining Market City complex - a shopping centre in the heart of Chinatown. Minori has a school dance coming up and needed a dress. Elissa went fabric shopping to see if she could get some materiel to make a dress for her, whilst the girls went looking for a dress in the shops. They eventually found a $10 dress that she liked.

This is what Seth and my faces looked like at the thought of going dress and materiel shopping

In the mean time, Seth and I went exploring. As we went about we could hear and see Chinese Lion Dancers moving about the shopping centre and performing in different stores. The complex was celebrating the Mooncake Festival, and the Lion Dance was a part of it along with mooncake stalls and decorations. We called the girls up to a viewing area on the second floor when we could see that the Lion dancers were going to do a major performance.

We got a good spot to view them as they got ready and practiced (sans lion costume), before the actual performance. Jewel asked what happens if they fall off the poles they jump between during the performance ... "They probably break their neck", I jokingly responded.

Well, it was an reelvant question from Jewel as about a third of the way into the performance, part of the Lion costume broke during a landing from one of the jumps and the performer in the lion's "head" crashed down off the poles onto the ground. He was stunned for a minute, but got up a bit gingerly, looking a bit sore. They pointed out that the costume was damaged to one of the support crew, but then continued on. I don't know if the next bit was part of the dance or not, but back on the high poles, the performers made the lion  look down from the high poles and start to "quiver with fear" as if it was afraid of the height, before then continuing on with the rest of the show.

After the show we took advantage of the large Asian food court and had a selection of pearl drinks and Asian foods for lunch. Jayde and Seth ordered dishes from three different stores, covering three different countries (Japan, India and China).

Afterwards, we went through Chinatown to find Jayde's favourite Asian music store. It appeared to have moved location yet again, and was now collocated with a beauty store. We found it by accident and thee was angst from Jayde when she discovered it was simply her original store relocated and not an additional store she could visit.

We headed on towards the games store that Seth wanted to go to, but were pleasantly surprised to come across a Doctor Who Pop Up Shop along the way. It was similar to the one I found in Melbourne last year. These are specialist stores that are set up to temporarily open for only a couple of weeks at different locations around Australia.

We had fun browsing through and picked up a few things. Seth looked great in the trench  coats, but they were over $300 each. The replica K-9 for $5500 was a tad over priced as well.

We continued along and found ourselves some new street art - a pair of "angel wings" on a black wall. We stopped to take some photos. Jewel found that she was too short for the wings ... at which point her big brother showed an awful amount of love, getting on all fours on the ground  so she could stand on his back for the photos. He was going to let Jayde do it too, but she's a lot bigger and heavier than Jewel.  We saw a newspaper article several days later explaining more about the display. It must have just been displayed not long before we were there.

The final part of the walk was near where we stayed at the 76th floor of the Meriton World Tower many years ago. The courtyard featured giant metallic serpent-like sculptures, animated stairways and coverings of multicoloured umbrellas.

We eventually got to Games Paradise where Seth purchased up a bunch of cheap Dungeons & Dragons books, followed by a visit to King's Comics and Elizabeth's Books. Whilst we were doing this, the girl's had gone to a makeup store. After they left it appeared that the store was now hosting a bunch of entrants for ATV Miss Asia Pageant and featured media and cameras.

It was time to head home, which would involve firstly Seth and I taking all the items that had been bought so far back to the car near Haymarket, whilst the girls had one last wander through Chinatown. Seth and I dashed up into Market City to get some Asian groceries as well, whilst the girls grabbed fruit and veg from Paddy's markets (and some deep fried Oreos ...)

We met up and headed back to the car ... well at least some of us did. We thought Jayde and Minori and Jewel had left us in the markets, so we went looking for them although apparently, they were still back at the fruit and veg. After much angst from Jayde, we were finally reunited, and started the drive back through the tunnels of Sydney out to Liverpool.

I had needed petrol before we started the drive back to Canberra, so we decided we'd combine the petrol break with a stop for fresh Krispy Kreme donuts.

From there, it was the usual drive home, broken up by dinner at Subway at Goulburn. I mention that because the kids weren't overly keen on the idea of Subway at first, but after eating there, both Seth and Jayde have decided that they want to go back - they really liked the sandwiches, so Subway now appears to be an acceptable "teen apporved" place to eat.