Thursday, June 26, 2014

Winter has arrived

Winter has arrived in Tassie, yet the locals have said it has been very mild so far.  We are grateful for that.  It's not that it's more cold than Utah, but that the buildings are not insulated.  So, 5 minutes after you turn off the heater, it's cold.  It is surprising that as energy concious as the Australians are that they do not insulate their buildings.  Looking at the picture, Marvin said, tell them this is how they build their houses.  Let the breezes blow through!  He is joking!

We are at the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) (more new than old!)  As with most everything in Tasmania, it is either old or very contemporary.  We found the museum to be very contemporary.

This was the coolest art.  Water is released from the track and it comes down as words.
Hopefully you can see it as a video.

This one is called the fat car.  We really liked it as well.  Even everything inside the car was created fat.

What do you do with an old train that doesn't run anywhere anymore?  You just park it and turn it into shops.  We are at the Margate Train in Margate.  During the summer, there was an advertisement about an international foods shop here, so we decided to see if they carry American food.  We didn't find the shop, but we did find a lollie shop (candy store) that had really good black licorice.  They also carried Red Vines from America. (Maybe that was the "international" part).

 Each car had a different shop.  Quite unique.  Maybe if the Heber Creeper goes out of business, they can turn the trains and the station into a shopping district! (hehe)

On one of our noon time walks we passed this tree which was full of persimmons.  There were no leaves, just bare branches and lots of fruit.

We were on our way to our friend's home, the Ross's, to bring Catherine some flowers.  She had fallen and broken her hip.  We were greeted by their herd of cows on the driveway.  They must have enjoyed that spot because as we left, they were back there again.

These next pictures are of Russel Falls National Park.  We had visited there last November and decided to see what it looked like in the winter.  There was less water, which we expected, but were delighted to see that there was any water at all.  It is still just as beautiful.

We have our Nov. pictures of the these two falls on our lounge (living room) wall in our flat.

We thought these were very colorful fungi.  We didn't get a picture of the ones that grow out from the side of a tree like a plate.  Very different and beautiful.

In our mission, the missionaries are doing a fast in June with the goal that there will be 80 baptisms this month.  In our ward, the total will be 4 baptisms.  They are all young adults who have found the gospel and are very strong individuals.  It will be interesting to see how the rest of the mission has done.  On the mainland there are many, many more missionaries (more than 200 more than Tasmania) so the numbers should reflect that.  Can't wait to find out.  It has been so fun to be in a ward where there are active investigators and growth in the Church.  One of our recent converts, Bronte, has moved to Melbourne, hoping to find a better job.  We will miss her.

As for us, we are into our second project.  It is not very big.  We are going to be doing some imaging for the justice department, but we understand that it is not a very big project either.  So, the prospects of moving to Melbourne seem greater than before.  I keep telling Marvin to slow down and not work so fast, but he doesn't slow down much.  We are both feeling a desire for a change, but if we leave Tassie, we will really miss it and the beautiful sunrises we enjoy each morning.  We will see what transpires.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Last of Autumn

As the days have gotten shorter and colder, we have been out less and less.  We often wake up to very foggy mornings which hopefully burn off by noon.  It is very much like San Francisco.  Most of the homes have wood burning heaters, so the mornings and evenings smell as if we are in the mountains.  The smoke creates a white haze but because of the winds and ocean breezes, the haze does not turn into smog.  It blows out to sea leaving clear skies and beautiful views. 

This past month we have been working on the district registers which are huge and tiny but thick butts of cash books.  It has taxed our abilities to learn how to get good images, but so far, we have passed the Salt Lake audits.  There has been only one book that needed rework which had a focus problem.
Here is a picture of the district registers.

We were grateful that we were in a big enough room to be able to house all these huge books.  We do not return them to the archives until we know they have passed the audit, so by the time we receive the books, image the books, then wait for the audit results, it may be 3 weeks.  Meanwhile, we receive more books and keep imaging.  Several weeks ago we had a group of library staff from different parts of Tasmania come for a tour.  One lady who works in Launceston told us how much she appreciated the work we have done.  Evidently many people have researched the images we have taken.  "Good on us." 

As we have come to the end of this project, our supervisor said there was one more book to be imaged, one that the first camera operators, three and a half years ago, could not do because the archive couldn't find the book.  The book was found in conservation, and it was marked number 1 in it's series of volumes.  We found it interesting that the project had come full circle, the last book was the first book.  In the eight months that we have been doing this work, we have imaged almost 200,000 images of burial records, patient admission records, gaol (jail) records, birth, marriage, and death registers, immigration nominations, and mariner's examination papers.

This week we started on a new project, but it is much smaller and will probably only last about three months.

Australia celebrates Mother's Day on the same day as the USA.  Not so with Father's Day.  Marvin will have to wait until September (if we celebrate it Aussie style).  Our thoughtful son, Keith, ordered flowers for me and they were delivered on Friday while we were at work.  Our sweet neighbor, Jan Robins, kept them and enjoyed them throughout the day.  It was a delight for her as well.

Our mission car?  Thankfully no.  This has been the third burned out car which we have seen in the last 8 months.  We presume it is teenagers that steal the car, go joy riding, then burn the car so as to erase all DNA.  This is the second one we have seen on Abbotsfield Road which we walk down to the bus stop.

Months ago, when we took Danny Chin on a short tour of Tassie and came to Richmond, we bought a wooden pepper mill.  We have kept it sitting on the kitchen table with a bowl of fruit, but it looked a bit lonely.  So we asked the artist, Chris, if he would make us a salt grinder using the same Sassafras wood which is only found in Tassie.  Here is a picture of the artist when we went to pick up our salt grinder.  Now our kitchen table looks complete.

Transfers!!  We have enjoyed working with Elder McCleary, from South Jordan, Utah.  He has transferred back to the mainland.  We had eight missionaries transfer from Tasmania this time, many with whom we have gotten to know in the last eight months.  We hate to see them go but we know others need their strength and experience.  Pres. Maxwell sends only the best to Tassie!!!!

 Thank goodness for the USA.  You don't know how much we take for granted the blessings we have until you are in a foreign country and think that things will operate the same.  What a shock we went through.  We bought a house in Mesa, Arizona for our daughter.  When it finally was in the closing process, we were sent the mountain of forms which needed signing and notarizing, and we needed to get them done ASAP.  We talked to several different people about where to find a notary.  Everyone said that here in Australia, the Justice of the Peace can notarize documents.  OK, so where do we find a JP?  Someone said the main post office.  So,off to the post office we go.  Yes, there is a JP, but she says she can sign all documents except those that need identification.  She sends us to the court house and the lady there says the same thing.  We have to go to an attorney.  Ugh!!!$$$$$$$  We call all in town and no one can get us in that day.  So, we picked one and got an appointment the following day.  We think, there are only a few documents that need notarizing, this won't take long.  Au contrare!
We are ushered into a lovely conference room by the attorney's assistant.  He comes in and introduces an intern which as he goes through all the papers, instructs her about different ways the US does things.  Forget a speedy  meeting! After an hour, we finally get finished.  As the assistant starts to prepare the billing, the attorney, thankfully, tells her to rate this meeting in a bulk billing, because if it were priced on individual work, it would be too expensive.  Oh, that's nice.  Still, when we received the bill, it took us by surprise.  $400.  If it had been priced on individual work, it was almost $1,400.
Well, that's one example of why the people here are so poor!  On the bright side, the assistant and the receptionist were very interested in the work that we are doing and we were able to come back and bring them pedigree charts and the new My Family booklet to help them get started on doing their family history.
 Well, today is another holiday, the Queen's birthday, although it is not actually her birthday, this is the day Australia celebrates it.  I wonder if Canada celebrates it today or some other day.  As with all public holidays, everything is closed.  We are going to try to see if any of the museums are open.