Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wine tasting

Hi Knittah.

Todd, Robyn, Eliza and I did a little overnight road trip up to the Hunter Valley for wine tasting.



After visiting a few wineries, we shopped for dinner. We stayed in a little cottage with a nice patio and grill and such. And wildlife.


Todd grilled lamb chops and Robyn did a lovely spread of salad and cheese and fruit.



Todd's "g'day mate" flip flops (purchased to spare his zjuji prada loafers abuse):


We stayed up playing manipulation, snap (Todd is wicked), and go fish.


And Robyn impressed us with her fancy karate kid moves:


The next morning, we had company for breaky:


And then we enjoyed a scenic drive on the back road to Wollombai and back to Sydney. The bridges are rustic:


and vibrate a lot when you stand on them while a car goes past:


Friday, February 05, 2010


Hi Knittah.

Todd took Eliza and me to the cricket!


Aus was playing three tests (what they call the serious, old-fashioned, multi-day international country-to-country cricket matches) with Pakistan and the second test was being played at SCG--the Sydney Cricket Ground. Apparently Australia has been the best team in the world for, like forever, and beat Pakistan handily in the first test. There was a lot of rain overnight and it drizzled on the morning of the first day and the Australian captain made the unorthodox and soon-to-be very controversial call to bat first (when the pitch is damp, the bowls get wonky and it makes it that much harder for the batting team. So batting first was a...curious...choice).


We got to the match a little after play had started and Todd was shocked at the start--already 6 wickets and only something like 10 runs. Cricket has two innings. One innings (always with the "s") is 10 outs. Outs are when the bowling (pitching) team catches the ball on the fly or hits the wicket on the bowl. And Aus was doing poorly:

Aus doing badly

Our seats turned out to be in the Pakistan supporters section.


Pakistan funs

They were very polite (always sat down before a play) and oddly cheerful, regardless who was doing well: when Pakistan got an out, they cheered like mad and waved the Pakistan flags; when Australia got a four or a six (sort of like home runs in baseball--automatically four or six runs), they cheered like mad and waved the Pakistan flags. And whenever Asif, one of the Pak bowlers, took his outfield position hear where we were seated, they went absolutely nuts. Almost disturbingly so.

the cricket

You can't make it out in the photo, but the blue sign being held by the guy in the lower right reads, "you are one sexy bowler."

So the pitch is now completely encircled by stands. The two original, old stands are the Members' stands--very chi-chi (or "zjuji" as Todd and Robyn would say--although I'm not sure how they would spell it).

the members' stands

(that's the ladies stands on the left--although apparently the members' stands are now fully integrated. not sure how recently.)

So some of the fans in the "normal" stands would try to get the wave going (bizarrely, they call it the "mexican wave" there--and the authorities don't like), it would go all the way around the stadium to the Members' stands. Most of the Members don't do it so as soon as the wave reaches those stands everybody else automatically boos until the wave reaches the normal stands again and then everyone cheers even more. And then it goes around a couple more times until people get tired of it for the time being. It's hysterical.

Cricket is very very big in Australia--an everyman's game. And everyone just knows it--there's almost no announcing/calling of the game. So Todd just knew (and explained to me), when the umpires started talking at about 6:45, that they were gauging the light. Aus had gotten out a little after 6 pm and clearly wanted to keep playing to force Pakistan to bat under the same difficult conditions, with the pitch still damp from the rain. Pakistan faked an injury to kill time, hoping to just resume the next day when the pitch presumably would be dryer and they'd have an easier time batting. So the umps called it for the day, the fans all booed, and everyone went home. But everyone was walking off the field before the announcer came on and said, as an after thought, that the game had been called for light and play would resume at 10am.
Anyway, after the cricket, we met up with a friend from school, Brett, at a pub near the SCG. He and Todd have both served in senior levels of the New South Wales government and are active in the Labor Party. So for them apparently it's not unusual to have a beer with the premier (governor) (well, former premier--he got ousted in December). So Eliza had a nice chat with Nathan Rees before he got cornered by a couple of drunk yobs who apparently are very big fans.

Hanging with the Premier

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


On New Year's Day, Eliza and I rode with friends of Todd's (lovely Johanna, Angela, and Jason, of whom Eliza stupidly failed to get a photograph) up to Sydney while Todd guided Diana and her parents. We met up with them in Sydney and had a bit of a driving tour of the Sydney before Ken and Judy had to go to the airport. Here we are in Watson's Bay (I'm pretty sure that was the name of the neighborhood) enjoying the sunshine and some very large prawns:

with the Rosenthals (and large prawns)

And the view back across the water to the city:

the view from watson's bay (?)

The next day after brunch with friends...

todd di eliza and me

...Todd, Robyn, and I walked around Sydney, across the Harbor Bridge and around the Rocks and Circular Quay.

view from the Bridge

opera house from the harbor bridge

In the 1970s (?), Sydney built a public housing tower in the Rocks, right next to the Harbor Bridge and with amazing views of the harbor and the Opera House:

public housing building by the Harbor Bridge

public housing with a view

By the time we got around to the Opera House, a storm was moving through:

the storm passes through

the Bridge walk in a storm

after the storm

Here are Todd and Robyn as the rain eases:

Todd and Robyn in the rain

Here's the view back towards the city:

View back from the Opera House

Up close at the Opera House:

The tiles on the Opera House

As Robyn leaves her mark (she wears bold lipstick):

Robyn leaves her mark

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Botswana Project 2010

What beautiful things you have sent me for the Botswana Project!! Since my last post, there has been a knit avalanche coming in!

Sweaters donated by Anne Marie, Shaz, Beverly, Patricia, Jill, Sally, Angie and me:

botswanaswtr0210d.JPG botswanaswtr0210c.JPG botswanaswtr0210b.JPG botswanaswtr0210a.JPG

Scarves/shawlettes from Patricia, Shaz and Anne Marie:


Legwarmers and slippers from Anne Marie and Sally:


Two dozen hats (!!) from Vickie, Bev, Beverly, Debbie, Maria, and Patricia:


And a blanket from Regina:


My photos don't do justice to your beautiful work.

Our grand total for this collection is:

28 hats
18 sweaters
5 scarves/shawlettes
4 blankets
2 slippers/leg warmers

You are all so incredibly awesome! Thank you!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Out and about in Canberra

Hi Knittah.

We had such a nice stay in Canberra with Eliza's friends. One day, Eliza and Cath and I went shopping briefly and Eliza found the meat counter fascinating:

kangaroo mince?

swatchy c in the meat department

Fishy fishy fishy fish

Rissoles? Meatballs anyone?

Rissoles?  Meatballs anyone?

Cath's parents and sister Justine live in the area, and sisters Trish and Jane were in from the Brisbane area and Melbourne for the holidays. For Mr. Riordan's birthday, the family had a picnic at the park on the lake in Canberra. Aussies it turns out take their picnicking very seriously. Eliza had been impressed when Cath pulled out an honest-to-god picnic basket (at which point she looked at us as if, well, doesn't everyone?). Then we got to the park and she was right, EVERYONE has honest-to-god picnic baskets.

The whole famdamily (most of them)

I met a black swan, found only in the southern hemisphere:

swatchy c meets a black swan

Here's me with Cath's sister Trish and Issie, with Canberra in the background (the brightly colored building on the left is the art museum):

Trish, Izzie, and Swatchy C in the park in Canberra

Issie and I are resting with full bellies:

Izzie relaxes at the picnic

Here I am with Charlotte, who's making a face at Kilian, then there's Cath, Issie, and Eliza:


On New Year's Eve we made our way to Goulburn (pronounced "goal-bin") for Todd and Diana's engagement party. A visit to Goulburn would not be complete without calling on The Big Merino. Here's Cath and me and a big sheep:


And another view:


Just checking. Although I was later reminded that the horns are a clue...

And here's a view the next morning before we began the trek up to Sydney: