Hatch and match

Another busy week, with a mix of disappointments, sorrows, and joys. My major
disappointment was with the election results – not entirely with who won (seems there was not much to choose between), but more that the major issue seems to have been our attitude to refugees. If we as a nation are so unable or unwilling to help those desperate people, then we need to be pressing our government to make sure that our foreign policy is directed towards making Afghanistan a fit place for the Afghans to live, says she, stepping down from her soap box.

The sorrow was the news of another tragedy in New York. I feel very deeply for those people whose trauma is happening all over again.

Some of the joys were talking on the phone to various family and friends – even the raucous crew that rolled in from the club to wake us from our Saturday morning sleep-in with their late night celebrations. And of course all the wonderful emails we got. They help me so much, thank you.

During this week, I have shared in celebrations of a birth and a marriage. Each Sunday, a delightful young family sit in front of us in church, and the mother has been very heavy with child since we arrived (and obviously before). I thought she might have been due about two months ago. They have three energetic sons, Charlie, Jack, and Pete (we knew their names from the first morning, as they were being regularly scolded during Mass), and two older daughters whose impeccable behaviour means their names remain unknown to me. The boys are a delightful distraction to us during Mass and the youngest, Pete, has taken quite a shine to us, particularly Peter. He greets us enthusiastically (and often), and gives Peter all the hymn books from their part of the seat. Well, mother Denise has finally given birth to another son (9lb+), so now we will have an additional delightful source of entertainment to enliven our Sundays.

The wedding was much more amazing news. Another woman, Ajay, started doing voluntary work at Hanna at about the same time I did. She was also offered and accepted Spanish classes for six weeks in September and October. Whereas I learnt the days of the week and how to say “Da nada” (you’re welcome), Ajay managed to meet and fall in love with another member of the class. Now, admittedly, her goals in taking the class may have been different from mine, and I don’t know if she can say the days of the week in Spanish, but last Friday morning, she and Joe were married. So I braved the ice at 8am to head on down to the court house to share in their happy occasion. I wrote out those bits of advice about marriage you sent to me, Jim, and we all signed it, had it laminated and gave it to them as a gift in an album. They read them as they waited for the judge and laughed uproariously. After the wedding, they came back to Hanna where sparkling grape juice flowed like water and helium balloons filled the air.

We enjoyed a couple of nights out at Purdue. On Tuesday night we saw a production of Orson Welles’ radio play “The War of the Worlds”. It created panic when it was first broadcast in 1938, and people really thought that New York was being invaded by Martians. I was keen to see the play for two reasons – firstly, to see how a radio play would be presented on stage, and secondly, because that play had immediately come to my mind when I heard the radio reports of the New York attacks on September 11. I thought I must have been listening to a fiction. The production was very interesting and cleverly done. The actors and actions were highly stylised to recreate the feeling of a 1930s radio studio.

We returned to Purdue on Friday night to see a video presentation and hear a talk by an astronaut who has taken part in a number of Space Shuttle missions. The video showed us the results of a number of trips to the International Space Station documenting its gradual construction as various Russian and US modules were added to it. It was interesting to hear his personal descriptions of the forces experienced at lift off and the 8 or so minutes while the shuttle is attached to the thruster rockets. He also talked about weightlessness and showed lots of fun footage of various astronauts doing interesting stunts. He answered questions from a packed and interested audience. My quiz question for this week is: What was his name? I’ll give you clues. His first name is the surname of a movie star, and his surname is the same as a famous tennis player (not Australian).

The answer to last week’s question was Amelia Earhart. I feel a somewhat kindred spirit with this adventurous career counsellor, and plan to find out a bit more of her story. Philip was the first one to send the correct answer, but as all he has to do is sit by the pool all day waiting for the TV to come on, that’s not surprising. Nevertheless, congratulations Philip. Robert is still ahead on points.

On Thursday night I attended my first training session for another project I have signed up for – The Harbor. This is a program designed to provide support for children who are mourning the death of a sibling or parent/carer. The young people will be referred from schools and agencies, and must be accompanied by at least one parent. It is hoped that the whole family will be involved, as the aim is to help the family deal with their grief. I will be one of the group facilitators, and we will start running sessions in January. During November and December we will undergo training on Thursday nights. I am very enthusiastic about being part of what should a most beneficial program. Again, my involvement has meant meeting new people and there is another lady, Sue, just a bit younger than me (most are young students) who ended up coming around the following day for quilting advice and a cuppa. She is wanting to make a quilt for her daughter for Christmas. What do you reckon, Mrs Dingle? Does she have a chance? I have agreed to help if she needs me to, and I’m sure she’ll have great fun trying.

On Saturday we drove down to Indianapolis to visit the Museum of Art. They have a very fine collection, including works by American artists, as well as some beautiful pieces by most of the renowned masters from Britain and Europe. My favourite painting was a self portrait by Rembrant. It was an exquisite piece completed when he was about 22. His eyes and more than half his face are in shade but the part that is lit seems to reveal the whole face and expression.

We spent about three hours wandering through the various sections of the gallery (and there was still plenty we didn’t see), and then spent some time in the acres of gardens. Even at their winter worst, the gardens were still very interesting.

After we had our fill of culture we headed off to one of the malls to take advantage of yet another bargain spree – the Veterans’ Day sales. We bought some shoes and clothes, and found some interesting things for Christmas pressies.

Sunday saw us rambling in the grounds of a private estate which has been developed with trails and a natural revegetation area. We’ll return there in Spring to see it at its best. The advantage of seeing it now while the trees are bare is that it makes bird spotting much easier. I was particularly delighted to see a woodpecker with his little pneumatic drill-like beak working away on the tree limbs.

Next weekend will be our big Thanksgiving Dinner at the Hanna Centre. A free meal is served to anyone from the local neighbourhood, and they usually feed about 300 people. Peter and I are going along as volunteer helpers.

Kay Galton from USQ sent Peter this series of puzzle questions, so I thought for those of you who are having difficulties with my usual quiz items, here are some that you might find a bit easier:

Worlds’ Easiest Quiz??????

(Passing requires 7 correct answers)

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI’s first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) How long did the Thirty Years War last?

All done? Before you dash off with a big smile on your face, better check your answers below!


1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
3) From which animal do we get catgut? Sheep or Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate their October Revolution? November
5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal? Dogs
7) What was King George VI’s first name? Albert
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
10) How long did the Thirty Years War last? Thirty years.

* What do you mean you flunked???