This is what Dane's bruised and battered legs looked like recently.  Normally, this was an occurance limited to the 3-4 months of Minnesota summer.  But with what seems like endless summer to our kids Down Under, this "look" will be in style for Dane year around.

Dane's legs       Dane

We started moving into our new rental house today (Saturday).  We've got a whole week until next Sunday to get out of the old house, so today's goal was to get some cleaning done (not much to do) and start moving some non-essentials.  The final move of big furniture and applicances will probably be next Saturday.

Below are some panorama photos I took.

Back to Front


Front to back


Kitchen


View from beach

Today was Father's Day in Australia (1st September). We had a video sermon about fathers given by a pastor from Willow Creek Church in Illinois. Tim led the rest of the service because our pastor is on holiday for a week.

We went out to eat at KFC and sat outside. It is the beginning of spring here, and it is getting warmer. Our temperatures are in the 60's (17-19 deg C) and on a few days have been in the 70's (24 deg C). We can really feel the warmth of the sun. I believe the sun feels hotter here.

The rest of our day was spent taking 3 loads in our van to our new house in Warnbro.

(Karl’s not too keen on writing in his blog, so Dad is posting this item for him.)

Karl’s Year 5 class held their “Dancesport Concert” on the 10th of September.  Their performance was the culmination of dancing lessons that began during Term 1.  Since Karl wasn’t in school at Living Waters then, he had some catching up to do – but did great!

It was a big evening.  Kids came all dressed up.  Parents bought tickets for the limited seating.  The middle of the chapel was cleared for large dance floor and seats for the audience were placed on the perimeter.  A special lighting system was setup.

The evening’s program consisted of an amazing variety of dance styles that the kids mastered – all done to music Americans would easily recognise (nothing uniquely Australian)…

  • Line Dances (Electric Slide, Hip Hop Dance)
  • Couple Dances (Cha Cha Cha, Salsa)
  • Progressive Dances (Heel-Toe Polka, Game, Progressive Jive)
  • Slow Rhythm
  • Square Rumba
  • Boot Scooting

After the finale, the kids invited parents to join them on the floor to do the finale one more time with them.  Lanette jumped for the opportunity while Tim preferred to just take the pictures.

Thanks to a great moving crew, we had an efficient final surge on Saturday to move our furniture and appliances to our new rental house.  We had 9 friends from the college and church show up with 2 trailers and 2 "utes".  Along with our van emptied of seats and also a station wagon, we fit just about everything in in one trip.  The rain stayed away when needed.  Now we just need to spend part of our Sunday afternoon at the former house to do a final cleanup.

Moving dayThe crew even helped put beds and bunks together, and were in no hurry to leave until there was nothing for them to do.  The bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and back family room look rather settled.  Meanwhile, the front family room and the office have become a temporary depot for unpacked boxes, though there really aren't that many since we moved a lot of small stuff over during the week.

We do have Internet working in the house now, so last night I was watching live coverage from Houston of Hurricane Ike.

One of my highlights of the day was my chance to drive a real Aussie "ute" for the first time.  Ute is short for "utility" (read and see more about utes here).  Utes are Australian icons going back over 50 years to their early very functional use in the bush.  They are a mix between an El Camino and small pickup, with the latest models being very sleek and flashy (not like the one pictured here).  If I look down the typical neighbourhood street, it seems like 1/4 of the households have one in the yard, and I mean "in the yard" as it's common practice to just park on the lawn.  This ute had a manual transmission (shifting with the left hand wasn't too hard) and duel fuel (you switch between LP Gas at $0.65 per litre, or petrol at $1.42 per litre).

Not sure where Peter's going to sleep tonight.

While Peter was preparing to bed down for the night, a huntsman spider was just beginning his evening prowl perched upon the wall.

huntsman spider


Before prematurely ending it's "hunt for man", I wanted him to pose beside a tennis ball for comparison.  This would be considered a medium sized huntsman.  After taking the photo, I later read that huntsman are extremely fast when moving sideways!

Apparently, they are relatively harmless.  They have big fangs and will give a painful bite but not highly toxic like some of the other Australian spiders.  They're considered shy and prefer to run away if given a chance.  I didn't give this one a chance.

From http://www.australianfauna.com/huntsmanspider.php:

"These large spiders move very quickly, they are hairy with long legs. They often shock people who are not from Australia, as Australia has a reputation for dangerous creatures. Due to their size and speed, they do manage to intimidate a lot of people. I once heard an Australian comedian mention his fear of spiders, he mentioned that he knows the Huntsman spiders are not dangerous, but how could we not be scared of them when they have been given the name Hunts... Man....!"

People have told us that some Aussies will just pick these guys up by the hand and carry them outside.  They will eat other more venoumous spiders like the "red back" we found in our last house. (see old blog post: This little bitie now dead as a dodo)

I'll be heading to Melbourne for the first week of our two week holiday next week, flying the red-eye flight at midnight on my birthday (actually leaving 5 minutes into the day after my birthday).  Perth to Melbourne would be like Los Angeles to New Orleans - about 1,700 miles.

ACLE 3 Conference themeAbout 10 from our staff at Living Waters are heading to the Australian Conference on Lutheran Education (ACLE 3).  I'll arrive on Tuesday morning for the one-day international gathering of Lutheran educators including a few from the US that I know well and am looking forward to seeing.  Then ACLE 3 runs from Wednesday to Friday at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).  This is the most famous Aussie sports stadium - kind of like Yankees Stadium in the US.  Besides cricket, it also hosts the Grand Final (think, Super Bowl) of Australian Rules Football - which is actually being played there on the Saturday before I arrive.  I hope to visit the National Sports Museum which is on the site there.  The MCG is across the road from the stadiums where they play the Australian Open tennis tournament in January.

I'll presenting on the topic of "Weaving a Faith-Reflecting Digital Footprint" on Thursday afternoon.  I'll have Saturday free to sightsee a little before flying out in the evening and arriving home late.  Here's an interactive map of the places I'll be in Melbourne (click here to see it in a new window).

On our first day of the two-week holiday following the end of Term 3, we went to the annual Perth Royal Show. 

We rode the trains to the showgrounds in the west Perth suburb of Claremont.  With one change of trains in downtown Perth, we were dropped right at the gate to the showgrounds for a round trip fare of only $8.40 for the whole family.

Perth Royal ShowThis was very much like our experiences at the state fairs back in the US.  We saw lots of horses and farm animals, cats and dogs, baby animals, lumberjack competitions, big trucks performing, chinese acrobatics, amusement rides, etc.  New to us were the sheep shearing competitions (which we really enjoyed) and "showbags" among a few other things.

We still don't quite understand the Australian showbag craze.  There were booths all over the showgrounds selling dozens of different showbags for $6 to $20.  I think the best term from the US to name them would be "sample bags".  Our kids bought a "Skittles" showbag for $12 which included 3 Mars bars, 2 large Skittles packs, 4 snack-size Skittles packs, and a few other things.  We say many, many families carrying several bags for each of their kids.  Apparently kids save up all year to buy showbags and ride the rides.

The boys rode one amusement ride called the Gee Whiz (like a Tilt-a-Whirl).  Rides cost $8 to $10 each!

All in all, we really had a great time at our first Royal Show.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). 2 October 2008

I've described the significance of this stadium in Australian sports history in this way:  Take Yankees Stadium with all of its great moments in baseball history.  Imagine if nearly every NFL Super Bowl had been played there also.  Toss in the hosting of the Olympics.  The MCG has hosted the biggest Aussie sporting events in cricket, Aussie rules football, several British Commonwealth Games and the Olympics in 1956.

 

Click on the image to view full size

I'm back in Perth after my week in Melbourne for the Australian Conference on Lutheran Education.  I had a wonderful time both at the conference and wandering the streets of Melbourne, hanging out with old friends, recent ones, and new ones.  When I get a chance, I'll post more photos and tell more stories.

Flinders Street Station - Melbourne   Tim in the stands at the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Grounds    


The MCGAs one of our Living Waters staff members told me at the Australian Conference on Lutheran Education, which was being held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), for 800 of the 815 attendees, holding the conference at the MCG was like dying and going to heaven.  I'm thinking I was one of those 15, but as a sports nut, I clearly was sensing the importance of roaming this significant venue for 3 days.

The MCG is often referred to as the "Spiritual Home of Australian Sport".  It seats about 100,000 people and is listed as the 8th largest stadium in the world.  It has hosted some of the most important cricket matches in history.  It is on the grounds where the first ever Australian rules football match was played, and the Grand Final (like Super Bowl) is played there each year.  It has hosted the 1956 Olympics, major concerts, Billy Graham, significant rugby and soccer matches, etc.

Our conference met in rooms that nearly all overlooked the field from the club level - even the very large hall that hosted plenary events had a full glass wall looking out over the stadium.  As I gave my presentation in another room, I looked out over my audience through the glass and down to the field.  For lunch and tea times, we filled our plates and then sat in the stands overlooking the field talked about the history of sport at the "G".

MCG panorama

Melbourne central business districtMelbourne was terrific.  I had five full days of walking the CBD from my hotel apartment to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds for the conference events and then to restaurants and bars usually along the Yarra River in the evenings.  We did ride the streetcars several times.  I was able to go for a jog two of the mornings past historic buildings and through beautiful garden parks.

I spent Saturday walking the city with my friends from the US who were here for the conference - Jon Laabs and Bernard Bull.  We walked nearly 7 kilometers over the course of 6 1/2 hours as we zig-zagged all over the city... from the Queen Victoria Markets to the old Flinders Street Rail Station; to the Federation Square where we watched a street performer; to an arts festival along the Yarra River; to the Parliament of Victoria and St. Patrick's Cathedral; and on to Fitzroy Gardens.

I found Melbourne to be a great walking city with clean and safe streets and a great mix of old Victorian buildings and modern skyscrapers.

We're still on school holidays here in WA, so Lanette and I went golfing this afternoon.  She hadn't golfed in the last 11 years, but had bought a round of golf for me as a birthday gift.  I hadn't golfed for over a year.  It was a beautiful spring day with a top of 27°C (80°F) and blue skies.

We went to the Rockingham Golf Club just 10 minutes from our house and played among the kangaroos.  On the first hole, Lanette counted 22 kangaroos watching her from 20-30 yards away (see photo below).  She found out that the kangaroos don't flinch if you hit a golf ball within a foot of their head.  Clearly, they're used to golfers as they just hung out and watched.

No need to report our scores as both of us were out of practise and just playing for fun.  I'll blame some of my difficulties on the fact that the courses here are measured out in meters making it difficult to know the exact distance to hit (which doesn't explain the poor putts!).

 
Lanette golfing
 
Tim golfing