Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Playground this afternoon

I took Wren to the playground this afternoon (before the sausage incident) and we had a fun and quintessentially aussie experience.

The kids from local schools were out for the afternoon and I mingled with grannies and kids in their school uniforms (even public schools have uniforms) climbing and feeding the birds. Wren was overwhelmed with excitement about ducks and pigeon feeding. So much so that he tried to catch the birds. When our bread ran out he tried to catch the corellas - a gallah-like bird that looks a bit like a cockatoo from a distance.

I got him! Wren caught a pigeon by the wing and had to be persauded to let go

"I chase 'im?" - Corella in the distance

Wren was very happy to have me to himself. He said "No Frost, no granny, just Wren and Mummy." When he saw this little bouncy car (one of two) he said "which one shall I ride? This one? This one?" I suggest he ride the yellow one so he road the red one. He said, "I do it myself. I pretend driving this car."

Earlier he had been pretending to drive a ship. He very much enjoys steering wheels.

Other anecdotes
This morning at breakfast, Granny surprised us in a conversation to Josh by shouting "a kangaroo is crossing the lawn!"

This was particularly surprising since there are no kangaroo in the Adelaide hills.

What Mum meantto say was that it was a koala bounding across the lawn heading for its favorite tree. Within minutes the kids were outside looking for it but it had 'disappeared'. After changing from his jammies Frost went to hunt the koala and found it hiding in a cluster of leaves in the usual tree. Its pale fur of its bottom is so similar in color to the gum bark that it is hard to spot if you don't know its there.

Frost has not left the property today. He is obsessively reading although he refuses to write much and has to be nagged to keep his journal. He is reading Mistmantle 3, Secret Seven stories my Mum and I used to read, Dumb Bunnies picture books, books on puppy training and the owl series - G'hool (now book 2).

This morning I had a talk with him because Mum was upset that he had refused to listen to her explaining to him about the map of Australia. She was trying to show him the states, explain wher were had flown by plane and where we were going on our road trip this week. Frost started to walk backwards out of the room while she was talking.

He explained that he didn't mean to be rude but he doesn't like people giving him too much information like that. He likes to sit and look at the map and have QUESTIONS and have a CONVERSATION and look for CLUES and think about it HIMSELF. So, we returned to the map and he noticed the box showing scale and legend and we had some conversations about how long the railroads are, how to see State borders and where people lived. Now that he could be the expert and repeat what Granny had said he quite enjoyed it. Argh. These non-passive learning styles can drive a parent crazy.

Bung fritz

I was at the butcher this afternoon buying lamb shanks for a ragu. Wren was very hungry and excited about the sausages so I bought a few for dinner.

"Eat them now!" he said

The butcher noticed and asked if we "want some fritz?"

I said "yes" because it was something free and in the context I felt it was likely to be edible. Indeed it was. He handed Wren a thick slice of something like polony which turned out to be bung fritz an Adelaide speciality, variously described as "processed sandwich sausage" and "devon" (a Sydney word for it). An online forum ominously listed fritz ingredients as "about 50% soy meat extender and some spices. The rest is emulsified pig bits, the bits the couldn't otherwise sell." I choose to believe that bung fritz from the speciality butcher is better bits. They do say that South Australian bung fritz is the best fritz around.

It looks like this:

Wren loved the fritz. He is not a big eater but ate the whole thick slice within 5 minutes. I went back for another three slices. The fritz eating attracted attention. When Wren mentioned to the lady in the chemist (aka drugstore) that he didn't like the skin, she said "he should have taken that off for you." Apparently I didn't tell the butcher we were going to eat it now or he would have skinned it. Wren learned to remove the yellow wrapping.

While walking back to the car an elderly man sitting in the sun outside the bakery commented "he likes his fritz" when he saw Wren eating the second slice. I laughed like I knew what all the fuss was about.

I tasted it in the car. It tastes like polony too.

Josh has made it onto the Qantas International connection from LAX. He says he had no time to sit down between flights - it was straight through security and then onto boarding. I am glad I didn't have a tight connection with the kids. We pick up Josh at the airport tomorrow on the way to Port Julia on the York Penninsula.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Adelaide Market

There will be no blog posts after Thursday because we're going down the York Penninsula for Easter weekend.

Easter is a big deal around here - a big deal for chocolate eggs and for going away. The traffic jams are legendary. Tomorrow morning we are going to the Adelaide food market to stock up for the weekend. We went last week and Frost really enjoyed the abundance of lollies.

There are many speciality stores which sell everything from asian greens to kangaroo meat. The next photo is mum at the Kangaroo meat butcher. Frost is covering his eyes from the horror of meat.

I have been enjoying fresh passionfruit and tropical fruit. On our last visit the passionfruit were 5 for AU$2 and I bought a dragonfruit for $4.

Here is Frost showing the interior of the dragon fruit which he found quite impressive. It takes mildly sweet like rosewater and is reminiscent of a prickly pear fruit.
We bought some pastries and bagels as well although Frost and Wren found the bagels 'different' and not quite right.

Here are Mum and Wren admiring a baker's stand.

While at the market I got into an altercation with a man while drawing cash at an ATM. He pushed in before we were done and stood alarmingly close to me. When I told him that he was rude (this was at some point into our 'discussion') he said I had no right to use the ATM because my card wasn't from that bank and that I was stealing the supermarket cart! Obviously things are different in Australia.

"You woke too early." "No no no, don't SAY THAT!"

Wren was up at 4.30am again interrupting a lovely dream I was having about falling in love with an enigmatic Chinese immigrant who ran a factory in China with a waterfall in it. He was a bit like Willy Wonker and I was quite captivated. I think I may have been a customs agent since the only TV I have been watching is Border Security. I tried to return to China but Wren was insistently awake. We argued about it and by 5am he had won.

I am sulking.

Tonight we are going to put him to bed a bit after 8pm instead of 7.30am. I am going to sleep in Frost's room and ignore any waking before 5am.

Lets see how that goes shall we?

Monday, April 6, 2009


The coffee shops in Adelaide offer the typical US fare as well as kiddichinos - small cups of thick milk foam sprinkled with chocolate powder and with a side marshmallow.

The kids love their kiddichinos and even though Wren spills his fairly frequently it gives Mum and I time to down our lattes and share a moment.

Wren is now fetching an apple to add to his making "an airport" game. When I ask him what happens at the airport he tells me all the things "are going airport, " where they will "go vroom at the airplane."

Mum took the kids to the playground this afternoon and I washed my hair, lay in the hammock and generally recovered from vacation. Many of you may recognize the problem that when you take your kids on holiday you still need a holiday from your holiday (aka a break from the kids). Until we are rich or old enough to solve this problem vacation is both wonderful and an exhausting break from the kids routines. Everything from bedtime to dinner has to be reinvented.

Fauxhawk Koalaville

Frost had a haircut today. He told the hairdresser he wanted his hair dyed black and in a mohawk. He explained he wanted it black because you never see guys with blonde mohawks. The hairdresser suggested a partial mohawk "like that soccer player Beckham" thus it was that Frost the dude was transformed into Frost with the Fauxhawk.

No pictures now!! Speak to my agent.


This morning Wren saw the koala in the tree, it was curled up against the sky. "It is like a moon" he said.

He has been told many times not to throw things at puppy Roy. He threw a plastic action figure at him this evening. "Wren, granny is upset. Do_not_throw_things_at_Roy!" I said.

"I win!" said Wren.

It feels like Koalaville around here. I have seen 4 koala in the trees today - 2 on Mum's property and 2 while driving along a neighborhood road. They are big fat lumps. This picture is unusual in that the koala is awake and you can see his tufty ears.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The many uses of an iPod

Yesterday Mervyn bought us an iPod dock / bedside clock combo. The idea was that I would be able to tell the time when Wren wakes in the night rather than waving the flashlight around the room looking for the time on my analog wristwatch. We are also going to take the dock to Port Julia to make sure the kids can dance to Michael Jackson at the beach. Its a lovely little thing with a bright blue light display and doubles as a night light for Wren. "BLUE" he said, in the dark.

This morning when Wren woke up the blue time said 4.35am . I can't believe that I have crossed the international date line, adjusted from NSW to SA time and now we have another hour of 'daylight saving' adjustment to contend with. With 'old' time this was 5.35am yesterday. Argh.

Thankfully I have been able to keep us occupied in the bedroom for almost an hour while we explore the features of the iPod touch, via Mum's wireless connection. In Seattle, I don't bother much with the internet via iPod but I have been enjoying it and checked my email in bed (not much of it since everyone except Reiko has stopped emailing me while I am away). Wren likes to look at the photos of himself as a baby and I showed him how we could check on the weather in Durban, Seattle and Adelaide. It looks as if Seattle will be warming up this week (finally), we are going to have mid 70s sunny weather here in Australia while Durban (South Africa - where Dad lives) is the place to be for heat and humidity.

Also, did you know that an iPod with a white message screen makes a great flashlight? We crept through the dark house by the light of the iPod and didn't wake anyone. In a few minutes I will be able to turn on the tea kettle which roars like a jet engine and make myself some instant coffee. Then the day will have begun.

Wren is watching Dora the Explorer reruns. Since the Dora marathon he watched on the airbus he is now a great fan and choses Dora / Diego over Bananas in Pajamas.