Monday, 31 December 2007
Here is the rest of my family! Guess which one is my sibling? hahahahahahah
We were really lucky back in 2003 to have this arm of my family visit in its entirety. Nephew was only 8months old at the time, Niece was maybe 4? She had been struck with a nasty cough which plagued her all the way on the plane and kept her awake for nights after she arrived. The kids did not cope well with the jetlag and overall the visit was hard work for the poor parents.
To top it off it was the wettest winter on record in SA that year, something we haven't seen since, and I was working which meant they were constantly looking for things to do with the kids....indoors. Now the UK and perhaps the US are geared for this but Aus is not. I fear it was an ill remembered holiday and, unfortunately, now that my Nephew has to have his own seat, the cost of transporting everyone out here would be astronomical. It will be up to us to get back and see them in the future, or at least until my BIL becomes a Headmaster of a well to do independent school :-D!!
But my point is, we are missing them. Although we have most of us here together, the absence of our youngest sibling and her treasured family is keenly felt. I think sometimes we exclaim so much about the fun we're having that they may feel we have forgotten them.
WELL WE HAVEN'T!!!!!!!!!! :-D
We love you guys and if we could wave a magic wand and disapperate (yes, I am reading Harry Potter) you all here tomorrow, without jetlag....*sigh*
Let's hope we can make inroads into some savings for a Xmas trip to the UK in 2008!! Although if the airconditioner keeps requiring work and the patio keeps sliding away from the pool at its current rate....................anyone know a good landscape engineer???????
Sunday, 30 December 2007
We have had a lovely few days so far. It has been STINKING hot and of course my air conditioning is out (did I mention that? :-D) They have been to the beach and the city centre. They have had a swim in our pool. Tonight we went to Glenelg for dinner.
The Baby Angel wore one of her new dresses from Christmas although this was not without angst.
"Mum. I don't think it suits me, I look fat in it."
Mum *thinks*: If by 'fat' you mean gorgeous or jailbait then ....
" Sorry darling? Fat? I think not."
"Well, I don't know (thinks)...maybe its too...too....plain! That's it! I feel like I want to write a slogan on the front!"
Having established that T-shirt transfers were not going to appear magically at 7pm before we went out I suggested another outfit. Ever the sensitive one she was determined to wear her new dress so as not to disappoint the giver. (ie Father Christmas) We decided to 'break it up' with a belt and lots of necklaces.
I am having so much trouble with the appropriateness of her dress of late. The thing is she is such a baby really. She skips up the street dressed like this and jumps on Grandad's back. She hangs off my arm and pseudo disco dances to unheard music. She wants to look lovely and Lord knows she does and I think if she were walking along with a pouty face and fluttering her eyelashes left right and centre, perhaps I would object more strongly. As it is she is blissfully unaware of how gorgeous she is.
Should I be wrapping her in a neck to knee and protecting her from prying eyes? Perhaps as I see her awareness growing I will caution her as to the 'effect' her dress choices may have. Certainly, recently I have put my foot down over the appropriateness of outfits such as skimpy stretch sports shorts and bare midriffs when on our way out to netball. School events, occurring as they do in a fairly fundamental community, always demand a more discreet code of dress....
It is a tough one. Tonight it was stinking hot and no one wanted clothes on their shoulders or legs particularly. We are talking the kind of heat where there is sweat running down the back of your legs in a restaurant. I think she is beautiful and she was out with her family so all was well. I may have to rethink what is acceptable when she starts going out with her friends on her own but hopefully we are looking at another 18 months before we have to deal with that. Fortunately, as a rule, she is happy to go anywhere in shorts or jeans and a T shirt.
Meanwhile, it is SO great having SmokyJo and Big J here. I wish they lived here. They are such good company. The BA has been appreciating having her family here enormously. She sees differences in the way we do things as opposed to the way Himself and his family approach things. These differences are exacerbated by Himself's absence.
"Mum, it is really nice for it just to be 'us' again for a while," she says.
And while I am missing my lovely husband, I am also relishing the ability to make family decisions from a position of mutual understanding. There is no having to pussyfoot around politeness or make allowances for different ways of doing things. There's no having to explain the behaviour of teenage boys to those unused to the phenomenon or assure people they are not intruding on us as we ask them to share a meal. *sigh*
We are in an unusual position in that we are recently married (2 years) and my family lives 12 000 miles away. They do not get to experience us on a daily basis and they did not know Himself before we married. Himself's family are less cohesive and his parents are both gone now. This is my parent's third trip if you include the one where we got married so everything is a little 'new' still.
I am thoroughly enjoying this 'holiday time' with my family. Small Boy will not be back with us for a few days so I do not have the usual crowd of local 'lads' in and out of my back door. BA is self sufficient enough to entertain herself with her new things and I have some serious reading to do!! I am three quarters of the way through the final Harry Potter and I have at least 3 more Christmas novels to attack after that!!! It is such luxury as I never get to read during term time.
My non-crafty BA surprised me yesterday by cutting out a huge no of pix from magazines and creating a collage on the back of her bedroom door.! Who would have thought? She is full of surprises!
Have a great week everybody.
Me and Mam on the Glenelg foreshore after dinner. Captions invited!
Saturday, 29 December 2007
Uh-huh. There are a few gaping holes in this plan and I, being the loving wife I am was quick to point them out to Himself.
a) You will not necessarily get the best price by this method, nor even the best quality item.
b) What if the shop doesn't have it.
c) (and this is a bit of a girly one I have to admit) what if what you THINK you want isn't what
you want when you get in there and see the fabulous array of choices available???
But even this is insufficient explanation. You see darling husband, shopping is an interaction.
Today my mother and I went on the shopping trip I have been wanting to go on since she arrived. I had toyed briefly with the idea of doing this with her on my birthday until I realised I'd told her it was ok to go out to lunch with some of her old friends. Today we caught up on the missed experience.
There are many things which made this trip different from the frenzied buying sprees of the week before Christmas where she certainly accompanied me, and I her. For instance, there were just the two of us. We didn't really have a time limit. We had one or two small jobs to do but no grand mission.
Shopping is interaction dear husband. For example, today my mother and I learned what size we both now take. As a result of this we discussed exercise. We also discussed her experiences with a masseur and the benefits thereof!
We remembered that we had different tastes in things and that was ok! We agreed that the majority of current , disposable fashion looks like it is made out of dishcloths! We talked about her new cleaner (as a result of dishcloths) and I learned how she had found her and how Mum's back gives her so much trouble now that her cleaner comes mainly to push the vacuum cleaner which is too heavy for Mum.
During lunch we laughed over the poor quality of the 'wrap' she ordered and discussed our relative weight gains and need for healthy eating. As a result of that we started to talk about Himself's weight and health. As a result of that we started to talk about wills, estates and how our respective children would fare 'when the time comes'. What arrangements had we both made? What is the best way to make them? Who will be OK? Who will struggle? What would happen if Baby Angel was left on her own.....all tricky questions, essential for discussion and all difficult to 'bring up' artificially. They just come up naturally over lunch in the Mall.
In watching the interactions of parents and children we compared notes on parenting. She told me where she thought she went wrong. I told her how wonderful the years were I spent with her when I was a new mother. From there we discussed friends and their children and how they were all doing.
We went searching for a pair of earrings for me and got earrings and a necklace for her. We switched the subject of the search to a new silver cross for me and touched on matters of theology and faith as a result.
I drove her home although she insisted she could catch a bus (41C.....I think NOT) thus reinforcing her worth to me. I would not let her pay for petrol, establishing again my independence, adult status and desire to bless her by simply taking her home. We discussed the statement 'allow me to bless you' afterwards. More faith and theology.
We both agreed we had had a wonderful expedition. We had found out more about each other. We had underlined and reinforced important aspects of our relationship and got a couple of nice purchases as a a reminder of our trip.
Are there men who see shopping in this light? Is it a gender thing or a personality thing? Are we foolish in suggesting our men are missing out on something when they do not embrace the 'shopping trip'? Are there other ways men do this or is it simply that my beloved is one of a group who do not desire the underlining, reinforcing and even defining of relationships?
*sigh* I would appreciate any enlightenment you blokes can extend.
NB: Picture above shows Mum and I on Christmas Day (just before I collapsed into bed AGAIN) with her new shears.
"How the &$#@ am I supposed to get THESE in a suitcase to go home????"
(I patiently showed her the removable handles. Just don't put em in your hand luggage Ma)
Sports Update: Bad day on the waves but it was a strategic move. This will improve their handicap! Also a delightful friend (who is winning) will give them some rigging tips tomorrow!!
Friday, 28 December 2007
That was the weather report.
In other News: The arrival of SmokyJo and her husband Big J has caused excitement and emotion in the Flaming Sword household today. Elder sister Arizaphale was seen sobbing before anyone even emerged from the Arrivals gate. Rumour has it she was thinking of the opening credits of 'Love Actually'. Niece, Baby Angel, was heard to say "I never realised how much you looked like your sister Mum."
And now for the Sports.
Joker IV skippered by Himself and crewed by No2 Son came 11th in their first race today!!!
This out of a field of 27 'hotshots'. The best they did in the 2006 Nationals was 27th!!!! That was in a field of 45 boats.
And there was much celebration.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
There are all the piles of lovely loot to be considered; and smiling faces; and sizzling turkey; and damage to our paving stones as my DIY hating husband attempts to construct the freestanding basketball backboard which comes flat packed and with the exhortation that you will need two capable adults to erect said implement of parental torture. (Do you know how loud a basketball bouncing on pavers just outside your kitchen window can be??)
So are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Let's start with Christmas Eve.
First, the traditional 'write a letter to Santa and put it with your stocking before going to bed' ritual. Here we have the BA, (casual teenage pose), and Small Boy (with the haircut from hell...what was his mother thinking???) posing with their respective letters and stockings. The letters are worth a closer look. Or not. Should have used a macro setting.
Anyway, Small Boy virtually put himself to bed with eagerness. Prayers were specifically requested for the ability to get to sleep quickly. As usual, he was out within minutes of us leaving the room. How does he do that??? The BA lies awake for ages!!
Next, Himself stayed home whilst Grandma, BA and I went to Midnight Service (very pretty, all done in half light and candles so snoozing was totally possible) and then home to bed around
1 am. Some of you may know I foolishly stayed up blogging and fuming over my husband's Bah Humbug nature but also chatting with No2 son who is always up at 3 in the morning as he does not work (spoken through gritted teeth). The net result was that I did not get to bed until after 4am and with a sizeable helping of champagne under my belt.
Fast forward 3 hours. We are awakened by a gentle knocking on the door. Small Boy greets us with "It's after 7 on the clock, just like you said!!!" And we were up and running.
First job is the reading of letters from Santa. Father Christmas as you know, reads each child's letter and replies individually with references to the child's growth, increased helping round the house powers, achievements through the year and other messages of pride. These letters are kept, along with the child's original letter, in a special Santa file for bringing out on important occasions such as weddings and 21st birthdays. (My dad actually did this to my sister!!)
Last year, the BA's first 'reality' Christmas, she resisted writing the letter. It was quite sad actually. There was a real resentment of the years of belief and the let-down, I guess. Anyway, I can't remember what I said to her, maybe that I wrote Santa letters until I was 18, but she wrote the most remarkable and heartfelt letter of all time and included a CD with instructions to read the letter whilst listening to a particular track. It was 'Hallelujah'.
This year she was full of 'nudge nudge wink wink' and wrote a happy if brief letter. I think she quite enjoyed Small Boy's excitement. He had written that he hoped Santa had had a 'flabbergasting year'. Santa replied by saying 'thank you for the wonderful letter...I am flabbergasted!!!!' Small Boy was delighted.
Next, the orgy of present discovery. And unwrapping.Followed by the ritual of father attempting to put together new presents. (BA's dad laughed when he heard about this over the phone! He sympathised with Himself but assured him that all over Australia, fathers were doing exactly the same thing and using similar expletives!!)
We did a bit of interim kitchen work at this stage as we waited for the older boys to a) arrive and b) wake up which they eventually did. In the next phase of present opening (these are now all the under the tree presents) the BA discovered her present from her Dad. A new Canon A550 PAS. Curses. She was over the moon. The big boys were pleased with their customary presents of socks and boxers (thank you step mother... father never thinks of these things) and No2 was over the moon as he received new sailing items for the upcoming trip to the National Competition (they left the next day).
When Mum and Dad arrived, we were into the unwrapping AGAIN!!!!!!! Small Boy was, as is often the case, obsessed with the $2.00 present Grandma had bought as a stocking stuffer (as if these kids didn't have bulimic stockings as it was!). The BA shot this footage on her new camera.
So, all in all, our family did exceptionally well for Christmas. The big boys were particularly pleased by Grandma's clever choice of T Shirts with slogans. (The one on the left was taken by the BA and says 'ask me how I tolerate stupid questions.' It is just about the most perfect T Shirt for No2 Son...ever!!!)
But as the preparations for lunch moved into full swing, my late night began to catch up with me. Actually, it reeeeeaally began to catch up. At one point I felt like I was going to keel over. I dashed off for a 'power nap' which I was sure would sort me out. After a 20 min snooze I dragged myself to the table and toyed with my food, feeling quite ill. After lunch we farewelled the big boys over to their other Grandma's and I went back to bed. I was beginning to ache in every joint and feel hot and cold in rapid succession.
Three hours later I emerged, mainly because I knew Mum and Dad were still there and because it was Christmas after all and I was missing it. I was still aching and had that nasty buzzy feeling all over like there are ants crawling just under your skin. After farewelling Mum and Dad and suggesting no one came near me, I collapsed on the sofa and took my temperature. It was 39C
Now there are many theories as to why I contracted a nasty, fevery virus on Christmas Day. I think it was just bad luck and after all , No 2 Son had had it during the week. Popular opinion however is that all my 'burning the candle at both ends' had finally caught up with me and the opportunistic virus had attacked my exhausted immune system with glee.
'That will teach you', seemed to be the message from all and sundry. *sigh*
Just to be safe however, I slept on the sofa to ensure that Himself would not contract the bug as he was leaving the next morning for an 8 hour drive to Melbourne and sailing glory (hem hem).
I think I woke up at around 3am with a sense that the fever had broken but feeling like I had been run over by a truck.
Boxing Day saw me farewelling Himself and No2 Son (crew) at 7am for their 9 day trip. The last time they went to the Nationals, I went with them but as my sister and Brother-in-Law arrive on Friday from the UK, I elected to stay home this time. The rest of Boxing day was spent in and out of bed. Mostly in. I got to read a lot of my new Harry Potter book and the BA brought me a peanut butter sandwich surrounded by strawberries when my appetite started to return mid afternoon.
Mum and Dad came up at 4.30pm and played scrabble with BA until I woke up at 7pm when Mum made us all dinner. (Thank you Mum you are an angel) By this time I was ravenous and well on the way to full recovery. The BA and I hit the sack at 10pm and I slept through until 8am. Today I feel pretty much fully recovered but mother is exhorting (there's that word again) me to 'take it easy'. I am inclined to oblige.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
Melody left a comment about tracking Santa on Norad and I just had to check it out.
Well, I got completely confused. Why has Santa passed us by already???? Then I realised Du-oh...it is after 2am here, Santa 'visited' 2 hours ago! Silly me was thinking he had yet to visit cos there were no presents in stockings yet!!!!!
So why am I up stuffing stockings at 2am? Well, we always go to Midnight service at Church and don't go in the morning. By the time I'd taken Mum home and got the BA yawning into bed...it was already 1am and we still had to eat the mince pie and carrot!The good news is that the boys ARE coming for lunch. There was a mis-understanding between brothers and a lack of communication. I feel quite sheepish about my earlier rant.
On the other hand, Himself I have a LONG way to go in terms of nutting out this whole Christmas business. Part of the problem lies in the different traditions inherent in a blended family, the rest lies in his gut wrenching hatred of shopping. I suggested that he tell me what he wants and I will get it. He can't even bear talking about it! I suspect also that he doesn't 'trust' me to buy for 'da boyz'. I don't think I am cool enough. After all I've mostly bought for girls.
Nevertheless it is really irritating when he tells you he's bought a dvd for the BA and then won't tell me which one he's bought. "It's a surprise." Well, it will be a bloody silly surprise if I've ALSO bought her the dvd!!!!!!!!!!! He does not get it.
Anyhoo, I had better finish. As you can see we had a baking day today. The BA did Christmas cookies for gifts (yet to be iced) and I did a fruitcake which I cut into quarters to make into 4 mini cakes as presents. Also still to be iced. Oh....there's always tomorrow!!! :-D Here's the BA with her finished cookies.
She's wearing the warpaint of a baker...self raising flour!!!
Now this is ridiculous. I must get the last presents finished and get off to bed. I'm afraid my writing does not match up with my pictures but it is too late to be worrying about that now!!!
".....but I heard him exclaim
'ere he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all and
To all a goodnight!!!"
Monday, 24 December 2007
It is 4.30pm on Christmas Eve and out two older sons have just informed me that they won't be having Christmas lunch here with us after all. They're going to Nan's. (Mother's mother).
Himself has just arrived back from Christmas shopping which he hates and which he refuses to discuss with me before hand because he doesn't want to think about it so he does it on the most hectic day of the Season when he KNOWS he hates the Mall and the crowds even on the best of days and THEN he comes home and storms around like a T-Rex with a sore head (bear doesn't do it justice) and is unpleasant and shouts out about hating Christmas and not doing it next year.
FINE> Next year, the BA and I will go and spend Christmas with MY family who LOVE Christmas and not have our day spoiled by these heathen, self centred lot!!!!!
(I am just as cross with the boys NAN for not letting us know or telling the boys earlier or or or.....I am JUST cross!!!!!!!)
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? It depends on the amount of time I have for organization. Gift bags can be real quick :-) On Christmas Morning the BA’s presents from Santa are in a stocking and arranged around the stocking on a chair (for the bigger items). No paper. This tradition was handed down from Mum and Dad who got sick of wrapping presents for 3 kids.
2. Real or fake tree? Fake but have had real occasionally over the years. Enjoy both.
3. When do you put up the tree? First Sat in December although we didn’t make it this year due to schoolwork.
4. When do you take the tree down? On the twelfth night of course. 6th Jan
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes! But its silly drinking it here in summer.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Loved ‘em all!!!! Ones I remember distinctly however include my bike and an LP of the soundtrack of The Sound Of Music. (I wonder where that is!!!!??????????) I also remember getting a bottle of Drambuie in the bottom of my stocking when I was 18 :-)
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. I have the old family plastic one amongst all the decorations but I don’t use it anymore. I think baby Jesus is a bit unsafe in his manger. Now we have a wild one my sister brought back from some South American country. It’s inside a gourd!!!! (see above)
8. Hardest person to buy for? My Bestie’s Mum. Sometimes I get inspired when she has a new interest but this year I am stumped.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Himself and the BA. I see stuff for them all the time!
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I must have blotted it out :-)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?’ Love Actually’: a recent addition. Also ‘White Christmas’.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Often stick little things aside for BA and Himself through the year but earnest shopping starts after school gets out and finishes…today!!!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not the same year! I may have wrapped up one or two of the BA’s untouched craft gifts for more appreciative little girls on their birthdays from time to time.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mince pies and Tipsy Rascals (don’t ask).
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Definitely clear.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Mariah Carey’s Xmas album is GREAT and my fave carol is probably ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.”. Love the third verse descant.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. But have done both. A couple of times we have flown out to the UK on Xmas day and arrived on Boxing Day morning after 24 hours flying!!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes. I don’t include Rudolph as he wasn’t in the original poem.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Trying to shop without kids.
23. What I love most about Christmas? Christmas lights and Christmas carols, warm homes and warm hearts. And now, seeing the joy and awe and excitement in my daughter's eyes! (what she said!!!)
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Bah Humbug and the like :-D
NB: (You will have to copy and paste the link into your address bar as it doesn't work from here for some reason.)
Friday, 21 December 2007
I was woken by the sound of rain on the roof. A sound I had almost forgotten.
The gutters were overflowing.
You have to wonder sometimes whether the Lord has a great sense of humour!
Still, I got my prawn skewers done, the pavlova assembled, the potato and pasta salads made and the mushrooms stuffed. The beautiful BA did some ironing for me, dusted, vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom. Number 1 daughter!!!!!
No 2 son on the other hand, snapped at me through his hangover and made himself scarce >:-(
By the time Himself arrived back with Small Boy all was practically done with the exception of the chicken kebabs. There ensued a window of stress and panic as we threw together the chicken kebabs, washed the dishes and put nibbles out on platters all at the same time. When our first guests arrived I was still in my little black cooking dress and apron. Quite a sight!!! I finished the last kebab and disappeared quickly to make my self presentable leaving Himself to be sociable (he he he).
From there it was mostly downhill as the others arrived and we were able to sit down for a few minutes as we waited for the last couple to arrive. It was quite the 'United Nations' really. Working for Himself's small business we have a Korean and a Finn as well as an interstater and two homegrown South Aussies. I claimed to represent the transnational contingent having feet in both the Aus and UK camps. At times the converstion was quite challenging!!! :-)
At some point we ventured onto the subject of vegetarian meals and I confirmed with both my veggie visitors that they ate seafood. (prawn kebabs remember) Oooops. One of them didn't.
Quick as a flash I was on my feet and into the kitchen. In record time I whipped out some lasagne, goats cheese and cherry tomatoes and threw together the dish I hadn't had time to make. I didn't bother to let Himself know. He was stressed enough already.
I also threw together the pavlova while the guests were there and am pleased to report that it was polished off completely.
So, good result all round!! The kids played Hide n' Seek for hours and I didn't see the X Box go on once!!!
Here's hoping you are ready when your visitors cross the threshold this Christmas.
OK, that was Thursday. Phew it has been HOT again today! I really must find a more accurate weather widget. I sat down at the computer wiping the sweat from my brow and glad I was in out of the searing sun and the weather widget said 24C!!!! HAH
The BA and I cleaned up around the pool today as we have a staff BBQ here tomorrow (make that today it is very late/early in the morning). Whoever landscaped our pool thought planting two palm trees in conjunction with the existing gum tree would make the whole thing look more exotic. Huh. Mostly it just generates leaves and nasty little seedy things which hurt your feet when you step on them. Oh, and gum leaves do. not. break. down. They just build up in crusty little eucalyptus scented piles.
So I've vacuumed the top patio area (seen here on left of photo) and the BA has diligently removed all the leaves from the pool. No 2 Son has raked the front yard again (the gum tree is shedding its bark and the place is a mess) under sufferance and promises of money (not from me :-(....). Tonight I have made a cheesecake, pre boiled potatoes for the potato salad, soaked the fruit for the pavlova, looked up a recipe for stuffed mushrooms (2 vegetarians coming) and marinated the prawns. Phew, not bad for a non cooker.
In the morning, Himself is off to work so the BA and I will need to make the place look respectable and finish the prep before the troops arrive at 2-3pm!! There are about 11 people coming as well as us so it should be a fun time.
The air conditioner looks like it will not be repaired until at least the 27th Dec....assuming they can get a part from the factory. >:-( Why do these things break down over Christmas? I guess to remind us that if that is all we have to worry about we are damned lucky!!
Have a great Friday everyone!!
Thursday, 20 December 2007
I tried lots of ways of cropping this one but the BA said she liked the original best. I really need to get Photo Shop. Himself keeps promising to get me a copy.........
And yes, I know it's really a door.........
This is a weird one. There's something about the bars in the background and the grille in the foreground...
Any suggestions gratefully accepted by the way.
Now to open a few more creative windows, check out Theme Thursday by clicking on the button.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Tonight it is sooooooooo still and humid and hot. I had a meeting for the key personnel of Kidzone (our version of Sunday Schoool) and the passionate, vociferous group talked long and loud as the temperature rose. Baby Angel miserable complained of the heat in her room and, after the crowd left, I transferred the freestanding floor fan down to her room.
As the last taillight disappeared off into the distance, Himself and I could be seen hightailing it out to the back garden in the direction of.......the pool.
No matter how much hard work a pool is and how you curse it as you; skim leaves off the top, add chlorine, algaecide or acid, vacuum it, empty the filter basket, fix the creepy crawley which has become clogged yet again, chase out the local ducks, back flush the filter or top up the water to keep it above the intake for the filter, it is all worth it as you plunge naked into the cool water at midnight when it is still 30C!
Sorry, was that too much information :-D?
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
This is my favourite. She's trying to pull me over and as we were crouched down, squatting at the time it was relatively easy. :-)
As of this birthday I am officially in my 'late forties' *sigh* although the Bestie claims she will not be until she is 49 and will continue to be 'in her late 40s' until she is 54. Still, as a very good friend of mine who lost her Mum to cancer at 43 says; it's better than the alternative.
It was a pretty laid back birthday with Baby Angel presenting me with her present and card over a home cooked breakfast by Himself in the morning. She gave me a set of very lovely bowls in gorgeous sky blue and lime green colours. Ever practical, Himself bought me a large case of good New Zealand Sav Blanc and a DVD of 'The DaVinci Code'. Mind you he had set the bar way too high last year when I received an ipod (out of the blue...I hadn't even asked for one!) and a wedding band/eternity ring for our anniversary on the 17th. (My original wedding ring was a gold and diamond combo to save buying an engagement ring...now I have a pair).
The Bestie has bought me a ticket to 'Miss Saigon' in January as a birthday present and her Mum and Dad gave me a beautiful and very posh handbag; just the right size, right length straps and lots of pockets inside :-).
In the evening I had some friends over with Mum and Dad and we played 'Cranium'. Himself and I won again!!!! He claimed he was only playing because it was my birthday however :-D
So that was my lovely birthday. In the old days, Mum wouldn't let us put up the tree until after my birthday, to try and keep it separate from Christmas. That went out the window when my youngest sister was about 5 or 6 and I was a teenager and no longer so worried about birthdays. We then started putting the tree up on the nearest Saturday to my birthday, or ON my birthday. When I moved out of home I designated the first weekend in December as tree weekend and felt very daring in doing so!! Birthdays lose impact over the years but I don't think Christmas ever has for me.
Have a wonderful Best Shot Monday everyone!
*From the musical 'Winnie-the-Pooh'.
Monday, 17 December 2007
Mum bought it for me when the Baby Angel was quite young and we established the daily ritual of taking each little book, reading it and hanging it on the wrought iron candelabra which used to stand on our hearth in the UK. Each book contains a little 'Mouse Tale' about Christmas preparations. In my fertile fantasy life I dream of assigning tasks to each day in December in order to have everything prepared and perfect for Christmas Day. This will never happen while I work. Or while one of the tasks includes snowball fights.
My birthday (15th...bottom left) is apparently the day for wrapping presents. There is a small flaw in this plan. I don't think I read the book on the day I was supposed to BUY said presents.
But never fear, we are on track now. Apart from a little trip into school today to move my office and pick up the curriculum for next year, we are FREE to prepare for Christmas.
The tree is done; seen here, before the lights went on, the night we put it up. The tree is also a relic of our time in the UK and used to stand in my front bay window, twinkling at the street on the long dark Winter nights. One year I also placed jam jars with tea lights around the tiny garden and their magical points of light peeked out from behind the stark, bare shrubs and bushes. Lights at Christmas is such a Northern Hemisphere thing.
This year we'd like to try and keep the orgy of presents to a manageable and ethical level. I intend to bake fruitcakes for both my dad and the Bestie's dad. I am trying to turn my mind now to other 'made with love' presents which I can whip up in 8 days. Once I made the BA a Princess Jasmine costume which was still being sewn by Elves on Christmas Eve. I remember that Christmas Day as being the most exhausting ever. I still don't do well on 4 hours sleep.
I still love handmade things though. This is the door wreath my Mum made the first year we were back in Aus. I had always made one out of fresh foliage in the UK (I had a beautiful hedge of some exquisitely scented conifer in my back garden; Leylandii possibly?) but here in the Eucalyptus capital if the world it didn't seem right. (I also didn't have a hedge). This one is made from scraps of Christmas fabric tied around a coat hangar and I LOVE it!!
Another part of Christmas preparation for us is the Sunday School Nativity play. Ours was on Sunday just gone and was the first time anything had been done with the kids at Christmas for ages. There had previously been a wonderful woman in charge of Sunday School but after years and years she decided to step aside and from then on things have been a bit chaotic.
This year, as pseudo leader (no-one else wanted the responsibility) I suggested we reinstate the children's Nativity service and the idea was favourably received. I left the selection of play and organisation of children to another couple who have been at the Church for years (I am a relative newcomer) and who were rostered on for the week prior to the service. We discussed the need for simplicity and mentioned a tableau of figures in costume. I didn't think to explain what a tableau entailed. I didn't check to see if they had a child friendly script, indeed....any sort of script and I did not think it necessary to outline that actions should follow the words of the script before the children froze in their tableau. And so it was that we had a line-up of angels, shepherds, wisemen, virgins and camels similar to a police identification parade at the front of our church on Sunday.
"Yes, Guvnor, it were that feathery one there what led the shepherds in my employ to abandon quite a bit of expensive mutton to go orf lookin for babies! What's the world comin' to I ask you?"
May all your Christmas preparation be filled with the joy, hope, love and peace of Christ.
Friday, 14 December 2007
We finished off the term in a very civilised fashion indeed after Presentation Night on Thursday. This morning at 9 am we attended a Staff Breakfast at the Stamford Grand in Glenelg. It is one of my 'before I die' dreams to walk down the magnificent staircase in the foyer, wearing a ball gown, as a crowd of people wait for me at the foot of the stairs. Applauding. (That's the 'childish' bit....)
But I digress. We had a sumptuous buffet breakfast followed by 'bonding' games. The first saw each table being given a topic and 15 minutes to write a song about it. Extra points would be awarded for performance including innovative use of tableware, and anything else lying around, as props. Our topic was The Leadership Team. It should have been a great deal of fun. (Here comes the 'churlish' part....)
At our table however, were an eclectic assortment of persons. One, the wife-to-be of a quietly spoken gentleman employee of the school, was an ex-pupil and had some experience in music and a singing background. Now as anyone will tell you, this is the last thing you need for a staff bonding session where you are going to be asked to perform silly songs. Rather you would need an intimate knowledge of the day to day working life of the employees of the school, a good knowledge of all 'running jokes' and some small degree of wit. Unfortunately no-one had told her this and she very quickly hijacked the proceedings.
After floundering on the idea of a tune we could rewrite, some bright spark suggested 'Yesterday' by the Beatles and our intrepid leader was off! She virtually single handedly rewrote this dirge into the most lame excuse for a humorous song that you could imagine and even when helpfully given salient bits of information and advice from table participants she blithely ignored them and continued to cavalierly write out multiple copies of this abomination for us all to perform.
I would rather have stuck pins in my eyes.
As expected, the other tables came up with hilarious and relevant items such as
(to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas)
On the first day of Ter-erm,
My Principal said to me
"You're late for devotions again."
On the second day of ter-erm,
My Principal said to me
"Ten minutes for recess and you're late for devotions again."
On the third day of Ter-erm
My Principal said to me
"Twice weekly staff meetings, ten minutes for recess and you're late for devotions again."
(To the tune of My Favourite Things)
Queues at the canteen and Year 9 for PE
Jams in the copier and a double lunch du-ty
MP3 players in Christian Living ( note:a subject area)
These are a few of my least favourite things.....
(To the Tune of The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy)
(on the subject of our new underground carpark)
The wisemen built de carpark and de cars go down (there were actions to this one too)
The wisemen built de carpark and de cars go down
The wisemen built de carpark and de cars go down
And de fumes go up in de morning ( a small design flaw...utterly hilarious in context however...really!!...)
etc etc etc you get the picture.
Ours wittily went
"yesterday, all their troubles seemed so far away
Now they need a place to hide away
Oh we believe in *insert name of Principal*
Predictably we did not get very far on the clap-o-meter and did not make the final cut :-)
Do not ask me why this has stuck in my craw the way it has! I am aware of how petty it is! Of course I must let go and get over it. It is only a song for goodness sakes!!! It was only a team building exercise. A bit of fun! A laugh! hahahaha.
Gggrrrrr. It would have been ok but she wasn't even on our staff!! Any one of us there could have come up with something mildly relevant and a little bit funny, given half a chance, but there was no stopping this juggernaut and we were all too polite to say anything.
So, now I've got that off my chest :-) I can go back to being professional, genial, grown up and Christlike in my tolerance and acceptance of others. Please forgive me dear readers. I am only human.
Since it is now my birthday I suppose I am grown up and must let such trifles wash over me.
Chizz chizz chizz >:-(
I was lying in bed composing the song I would have written given a chance when Himself came in, gave me a cuddle and said "Let it go dear, let it go."
Thursday, 13 December 2007
And for the theme "Change", I give you the Baby Angel Before and After her haircut!!!
There's nothing like a new 'look' to change the whole way you view the world.
She skipped out of the hairdressers at one with the Universe :-)
To see what other Changes are afoot, skip over to Picture This one last time.
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Dear Mrs A
I really wanted to thank you for how much you have helped me in the past year. I have learnt so much from you not only in Science and Maths but I have also learnt that teachers do care! other teachers may care but you are the only teacher I have ever felt cares about me and my future! I appreciate that more than you know, it has really helped me get through school a lot easier! Even though I was sometimes naughty and disruptive you always stuck by me and reminded me that you truly do care for my future so I should too! I appreciate that more than anything!
God bless and keep safe
And THAT ladies and gentlemen...is why we continue to go to work each day.
*For the Starfish reference
Monday, 10 December 2007
Oh wait, I still have another 13 papers to go......let me just take a quick sample.
ah domestic violence...how refreshing
desert island and ship wreck...not bad: oh dear...another one..perhaps they were sitting next to each other?
racing cars 1 (with a death thrown in)
death by parachute
ahhhh fame and fortune in the music business...there's something a bit more positive
Lost At The Zoo...I feel a valium experience coming on
Here is my best shot!! Turns out the table we were at was appropriate to No2's age!! The beer bottle is a metaphor (or perhaps just a fact of life) and the shirt is actually covered with his father's artwork! Many years ago Himself designed the labels for a certain iconic South Australian brand of beer. The company has since produced a shirt. (there is a tie to match but I thought that might be taking things a little too far).........
So, how was your weekend? Share your Best Shots by clicking the link below.
Question: Review this poem remembering to include reference to rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, simile and metaphor, the type of poem it is and a reference to your feelings about it. (4 marks)
segment of poem
His body was tubular
And smoke blue,
And he passed the wharf
And snapped at a flat-fish that was dead and floating
(there's three more verses in this vein)
Sample answers (these are complete answers...not excerpts)
The poem is a metaphore (sic) that tells you about a shark killing a fish. My feelings when I read this poem were freaked out. (as were mine on marking this)
The poem is about a shark that lives in the harbour. The rhyme pattern goes ABAB (WHAT???) it has lots of similes in it (*sigh*). The poet repeats the word tubular which give the impression that the shark is long and round. (deep, very deep)
Lots if letters that are at the start of each line are the same. But the poem doesn't rhyme (hooray!!!) . I didn't think it flowed and I didn't feel any emotion while I was reading it. (try at least making some up for a mark...)
The rhythm was fast going tap,tap, tap (I'm sorry...I'm becoming hysterical). Rhyme it didend (sic) have any rhyme at all. It was alliteration. It had a bit of metaphor and simile. I like the ocean but not fish. (now I am crying.....)
And my personal favourite
The rhyme pattern to this poem AABAAABAA. (AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!)
line 4 like pieces of sheet metal is a metaphor (no, its a simile) for his fins were flat and they looked like metal. This poem is a limerick. My feelings on this poem is I like the way it rhymes and its relaxing because it talks about relaxing things.
I am now going to sign up for truck driving school. There's something I'm sure I could do well.
(And no comments about my driving record for those who've read my Seven Random Facts)
The plan was to walk the 100+ pupils down to the nearest park where a series of games would be laid out. At each 'station', a large wheelie bin, containing water bombs stood next to a variety of cone markers, upended tables, flags in bins and long benches. There were 6 different activities ranging through 'Capture The Flag' and 'Saving Private Ryan' to 'Barricades' and 'Obstacles'. The premise for all of them was simple. Complete the task without getting wet.
With military precision the enthusiastic Year Level Co-ordinator had calculated the exact number of waterbombs required for each game, two per team member, and bagged them up in black garbage bags inside the large wheelie bins. Each teacher had a detailed plan explaining the nature/rules of the games, the order of rotation round the stations and lists of the 10 kids on their team etc. There was no reason for it not to go like clockwork.
Except that there was Year 9 involved.
I cannot do justice in diary form to the level of chaos that followed. To be fair, 70% of the pupils entered into the spirit of the event with a sense of fair play and an intuitive knowledge of the boundaries, the other 30% however took testosterone, teenage egocentricity and the fact that they have no boundaries, right to the edge of health, safety and vandalism.
Thing is, I knew it was going to happen! I mean I know I am now officially one of the 'oldies' in the staffroom (funny...I was one of the 'young ones' for such a long time) and we as a group had discussed the foolishness and inappropriateness of the venture for some days beforehand. I know I am no longer as physically able to engage in the 'hijinks' of end of term, much as I might like to, for one thing the kids would think I was ridiculous! It is one thing for a young (in his twenties), fit, athletic sports teacher to belt around all over the shop pelting water bombs at people, it is quite another matter when the middle-aged wrinkly lady with glasses tries it. BUT surely the younger staff members could SEE where this was going??
Apparently not. I was assured that it was all 'good fun'. I announced myself 'party pooper' and 'old fogey' before anyone else could do it and acknowledged that this type of student/teacher bonding was probably out of my skill set now. I gritted my teeth and made a joke out of the fact that this was going to be a torturous afternoon for me. The young staff went smiling, off over the horizon.
To be continued...
image credit: waterbombs: wikipedia
Friday, 7 December 2007
A young man called me over. "I don't know how to do this one."
Now what you have to understand is that as a supervisor for kids with Learning Difficulties you have a fine line to walk. Sometimes you are there to ensure that kids show us exactly what they know. They may have lots of skills and knowledge locked up inside their heads and simply be unable to demonstrate that knowledge because they cannot access the questions. In this case, I reread the question, explain words which have slipped out of their often challenged memories, or sometimes simply read the question to them to take the reading load away so they can think about the actual question they are being asked.
Other times you are left to salvage a kid's self respect as they sit an exam which is blatantly out of their skill range. In this instance you mark the paper with 'assistance given' and they receive a modified mark which reflects their skill as marked against a different set of criteria.
This case was the latter.
I rephrased the question. "Think about it like this, what can you take two from and still be left with nine." I drew the familiar primary level empty box that the kids write the 'missing number' in. He remained blank and sputtered out a few unrelated numbers.
"OK," I tried again,"Let's draw the 9." I drew nine 'counters'."Now let's put back the two that we took away." I drew two more....different shapes so as to differentiate them from the nine. "So, if I ended up with 9 (I covered the two), what did I start with(uncovering the two)?"
There was 10-15 seconds of confusion. "Maybe ten?" was his reply.
He is 14 going on 15. In 6 short, summer laden weeks he will commence Year 10 and will be in Maths Applications with a syllabus of buying stocks and shares and doing your own tax. He can't add 9 and 2....with dots to count.
And guess who will be teaching him?
Another student, my nemesis, found herself in floods of hysterical tears. She started flippantly, ignoring all rules and cracking jokes with her next door neighbour, demanding help and whining that the teacher had not listened to her when she didn't understand during the year. (in truth, she was probably in the Focus Room when the lessons were taught). After struggling along for the first 45 minutes, she suddenly dissolved and exposed all the underlying fear and insecurity. She was terrified that if she failed her parents would make her quit her job at 'Hungry Jacks' (Burger King). Would I phone them? Would I tell them that she needed to go down a class? Would I tell them that she had really tried?
As I sat patting her back and feeling her pain (I had huge mental blocks with maths as a kid) I marvelled that this was the same child who had been so openly defiant, rude, indeed personally abusive (you really need a nose job Mrs A...you have a very big nose) and yet had it been appropriate to open my arms I am sure she would have crawled onto my lap. Also aged 14.
I calmed her and she tried a few more questions before the end of the 'road accident' that was this exam. She left saying she wanted to be in my class next year and would I please call her parents and explain?
As I said. This was a heart breaking exam.
Science wasn't quite so bad because when they don't know, they just write any old rubbish and lets face it, they're mostly no wiser! But Maths is the one where you sometimes don't even know where to start. Your inadequacies are laid bare for all to see. You can't cover with lost homework or distraction and attention seeking behaviour.
Better go finish the exam for my babies with this is mind.l
Thursday, 6 December 2007
They are also very literal, so when graphing three sets of results on the same axes the other day, after the teacher had demonstrated using a dotted line for one and a dashed line for another, to discriminate between the samples, many of my babies only plotted two graphs, cos that's all he'd drawn on the board.
Anyway, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I drafted most of the English exam for tomorrow last night so all that's left is maths. Now there's a whole other story. :-(
I also have a post on the waterbomb afternoon half done but it is too easy for me to get distracted (like now) so I am trying to leave that til the weekend. BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, 3 December 2007
This is my 'Corn Boy'!!! I asked him to rake the lawn (I don't think he'd ever been asked to do anything like that in his life before!!!) and cajoled him with one of my hats. On seeing the hat he announced he was like a scarecrow and needed 'one of those corn things' to put in his mouth. Blow me down if he didn't find one!!!
He then insisted I take photos and posed beautifully but I suspect I have changed a focus thing on my camera (borrowed off Himself) and nothing is clear. :-(
Regardless. He worked his butt off.
Look at the state of the lawn behind him! He told me that I would get a picture of the lawn behind him and that I needed an 'after' picture. When he had finished he called me down to take the after picture.He told me where to stand on the road so that I would get the whole background in. Look at that lawn!!!! It's still there under all the bark and leaves! Of course dad helped by getting rid of all the things SB raked up....but that's OK!! He was sooooo proud of himself.
There's not a lot of quality in these photos but the relationship building that goes on is priceless. Whilst I am despairing over No2 son at the moment, I am encouraged by my Small Boy. He may not be 'mine' but he kind of is.
Edited to include: Just on looking.....Lord I love this kid.
Click for more Best Shots
I am back at work (after 6pm) finishing the modified History exam for my two special ed boys. (Lots of pictures and not so many extended responses). I stopped briefly to make a phone call and find out how far from home Himself was as Mum and Dad have dropped the Baby Angel home. I don't like to leave her on her own for too long in the afternoon (it's still broad daylight here) and I was checking on her too to see if she was ok.
Aaaaaaaanyway, as I spoke on the phone the screen in front of me went blank. The computer had shut itself down automatically as it's on a network and senses if it has been 'left on'. I thought I had over ridden that at 4pm when the whole lot go down all at once. Apparently not. I have just lost over an hour's work including importing pictures, cutting and pasting and formatting. I feel sick. Whatever happened to the automatic 'save' facility on Word?????????
On that note I might as well go home and finish it there. It is going to be a VERY long night as I also have Devotions to prepare for the morning and the Year 9 English exam to do. I am also exhausted from a day of history revision with the most miserable lot of Year 9s you could imagine. No one would know from their demeanour that they have an exam tomorrow. They just do not seem to CARE!!
Saturday, 1 December 2007
27C??????????? This weather widget is WAAAAAAAAY out!!!!!! It is stinking hot and I am going to have to go for a swim. (not a pretty sight) Himself and the kids are already in. I think he's paying them to pick leaves and hunks of bark off the bottom of the pool. One problem with living near the Gorge is that when there's a gully wind (most of the time), everything blows into our yard.
We're not talking about sailing today as the boys didn't perform very well. They adjusted the rake on their mast and as Himself put it, they sailed as if they were dragging buckets!! Well at least they'll know to adjust it the other way next time!
Gotta go; I'm supposed to be cleaning up the house for M&D coming for dinner tonight! They have a little house a few suburbs away which they stay in when they're here. They're here for four months actually so its great for them to have their own space.
I'm procrastinating! Vacuuming awaits.
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules.
3. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. “Tag” 7 people at the end of the post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that you tagged them.
1. I used to drink chardonnay but now I drink sauvignon blanc.....with ice. Stops me from
getting too 'tired' or dehydrated.
2. I am the only person in my house who refills the toilet roll holders.
3. I have a strawberry birthmark on my back. When I was born it was the size of my mother's
thumb print. Now it's a doozy!! Still, I can't see it so it doesn't bother me. Actually, I quite like
it...not everyone has one!
4. I am a Thursday's child. Apparently I have far to go.
5. I saw 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' when I was fifteen. I wanted to be Frankenfurter.
6.The only medal or prize I ever won for sport was 1991 Ladies Slalom Champion,
Cabramurra Ski Club. There were four people in the competition.
7. I can count the number of car accidents I've had on two hands and one foot. But hey!
I've driven a LOT of kilometres over the years. There's got to be a statistical probability
involved here, right??
Now the rules say I have to 'tag' seven people but so many have done this before..........still, it's quite nice to be tagged by name......and there are people I would like to hear more from..... so....I will tag
Headbang8 at Uber Elvis
Chris at CDV
Strange Scottish Girl at Blogging Me Blogging You
Chin Chin at Ouistiti
Melody A at The Hipmomma's Journal....have you done this one???
Susie at Susie J as I can't see a meme category on her sidebar so I'm hoping she hasn't done it!!!
and YOU! Let me know when you do it!!
Friday, 30 November 2007
Firstly, here she is aged 10. That's right, only 10. Just before our wedding two years ago.
(wow seems longer than that).And a year later aged 11 with her Dad and I at her Year 6 Graduation.
Phew!!!! And then of course you've seen her since then, growing like a weed and becoming more and more beautiful as the days go by.So that's our journey. From Birth to 12 in 30 days. I am so proud of my gorgeous daughter. Not just because she's a stunner, but because of the person she is too. She's loving and thoughtful, vivacious, hilarious, a good friend, a conscientious student and a reluctant piano practiser!!! She is perceptive about people. She instinctively knows how to make someone feel better. She is well mannered (mostly) and after an explosion of temper (yes, she is mercurial too) she is quick to apologise. We have a few years of rocky roads ahead of us to navigate but I know she is a great person and together with her Dad, her step dad and the rest of her extended family, grandparents, aunts and friends, (and a fair measure of Grace) we will hopefully get her through the tough teenage stuff.
I love you Baby Angel.
Thursday, 29 November 2007
Will try and do my Baby Angel post tonight. Mum and Dad are in the country!!!!!!!!! They're in Sydney and will join us here on Saturday. Oh boy oh boy!!!!
Oh and get this. Guess what we are doing this afternoon instead of History? Taknig year 9 to the park to throw water bombs at each other!!!! Is the Year Level Co-ordinator a LUNATIC??? Perhaps simply a masochist. Why does he have to take all of us along for his ride too? There are 12 teachers going. Wish I remembered my camera.
Will report back.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
December 2004 aged 9 and 7 months. At the airport with the hated 'unaccompanied minor' label pinned on her chest. Oh and the haircut from hell according to her! Actually it was a cute hair cut but she would insist upon tucking it behind her ears. Look at the length of those legs!!!!!
7.35am and one class awaiting results from my colleague (grrr) and another just not started yet. Only 10 pupils though.....and ...I fear it will be a late entry.....I gave in at 3.45am this morning.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
This photo is about a year after the last one. I think she's losing her little girl chubby cheeks.
I'm not going to get you up to present day in what's left of NaBloPoMo unless I go yearly so be prepared for some radical changes!
Off to school and more report writing. Just how many ways can you say 'needs to focus in class'?