Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Here's To Halloween Past

The first time we dressed up for Halloween, the baby Angel was about 4. There was a party at a friend's house (the Brits don't really do public trick or treating..or if they do they preface it with a flyer to all the intended houses warning them that the ghoulies are coming. If you don't want to participate you put the flyer up in your window!! Very organised) and we had to throw together a costume. Being fairly broke at the time, I opted for recycled and home made costumes.The robe was a velour maternity smock from the second hand shop, gathered at the neck with elastic and shortened appropriately. The cape was an old black half slip of mine (probably inherited from mum!!), cut up the middle with a silver tie added. I think we also decorated it with glo in the dark and puffa paints! The hat. Well, it was a good idea but we ran out of time. Lovingly constructed out of cardboard, I had intended to paint it black but left it to the BA to colour instead. You can see her efforts. But she was very happy with the hat and I figured...why knock myself out? Perhaps she is a white witch!! It would be fun to photoshop it now and mske it black!! The face painting was the 'piece de resistance' I think :-D No matter how homemade we looked, we had a great time at the party and the dress ups were used again and again in many different guises over the years.
This is two years later and involved ME going to a Halloween party!!! Similar makeup you may notice. I had managed to pick up a cheap black plastic hat so I looked a good deal more glamorous than BA had in her white cardboard hat heheheh. Somehow I don't think she minded and I think she inherited the hat in her dress ups anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In a way I miss the old 'opportunity to dress up'. On the other hand it simplifies life a lot not having to come up with something different year after year!

Have a great Halloween all my American Blog Buddies!!! We're thinking of you!!!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

In Which Year 8 Fail To Grasp the Concept of a Test.

I am so OVER Year 8!

Today we had our usual nightmarish last two lessons of the day Maths class. (no one should ever timetable Maths for the last two lessons of ANY day). We like to play cards on Tuesday afternoons because really, we're not up to too much else! Today we had a topic test before playing cards. The deal was simple, finish the test and then we play cards.

Now, with this group I make a practice of explaining the questions as they are the bottom 10% or the year group and several have learning difficulties. Thus if a question says;
Plot and label these coordinates on the same set of axes.....
I will usually be asked, "What does that mean?"
(and yes, of course we've done it before in class......)

So I will say;
"What are axes?"
"Those graphy, liney things with numbers"
"Good. Draw them first. Now, show me the coordinates."
(vague pointing at the sets of points eg (4,-5)...)
"Well done, how do we read those sets of coordinates?"
"Along the corridor and up the stairs."
"Fantastic, so you know which axis you read first. Now what does it mean to plot the coordinates?..."
And so it goes on........

My reasoning behind this labour intensive strategy is that at least I get to see what the kids actually DO know. Often, they are so stumped by the wording of a question ("What does evaluate mean??? I don't know what evaluate 6+4 means!!!") they will not attempt something I believe they can do. If I take away the language barrier to the problem, I hope that they will demonstrate their mathematical knowledge for me.

Today this got past a joke.

Sometimes with these kids I feel I am dealing with leeches or some kind of parasite which sucks and sucks until it kills the host. As you extend a helping hand, they pull on it so hard the arm comes out of its socket. They fail to see the assistance they receive as a blessing and look on it instead as a right which they all demand in ever increasing quantities. At least one girl had the grace to say laughingly, "Why can't you just do the test for us Miss?" which just about summed the situation up.

After a reasonable start they began putting their hands up and as I was helping one, the others started chatting amongst themselves!
Me: Hang on, this is a test, what is all this chatting about?
Them: We're waiting for you to help us!
Me: But you don't talk in a test. What could you do if you don't understand a question?
Them: Wait for you?
Me: NO, move on to the next question. Ask yourself, what does this question want me to do? Try and think of questions we've done like this in class.
Them: (blank looks) But we need help!!!!

At one point, one of the more obnoxious girls, who had received help and then immediately put her hand up again, said when challenged:
"But I'm waiting for you! I really want to pass this test and you won't tell me what to do!!!!"

At that point I 'spat the dummy' and told them there would be no more 'help' and they could work on for the last 5 minutes alone and in silence!!! I was met with calls of 'unfair' and at least one child who kept coming up to my desk for directions even after I had repeated that I was not giving any more HELP. (*pant, pant, pant*)

Need I remind you folks that this is a TEST!!!!!!???????????

Suffice to say the results of said test would be about as reliable 'evidence of learning', as a 2 year old's estimate of the amount of money in a jar full of 10c pieces!!!!!! (Do you have that kind of competition where you are?)

I am now off to further my journey towards slashing my wrists, by marking the accursed things.

Wish me luck.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Best Shot Monday: School Fete

Here's my Baby Angel with her two best mates on their stall at the School Fete. As you can see the braids are out and apart from needing a jolly good trim, her hair seems back to normal (whew).
This is the whole stall in all its glory. Basically the blue tray was full of paddlepop sticks (ice lollies? icy poles? what do you call them???) stuck into some sand. You pick one and pull it out and if it has a coloured spot on the other end, you get a prize from the three colour coded prize trays. Ingenious :-DAnd here she is on the camel which was giving people rides around the school ground.All three on the camel!!

Apart from the pretty wild weather which set in later in the afternoon, the fete appears to have been a success! The Baby Angel certainly had a good time.

As always, click this button to share in a multitude of great photos over at Tracey's.

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Sunday, 28 October 2007


Good grief! It is blowing a gale here!! I can see white caps on the ocean and that is 3 suburbs away!!!! They are seriously big waves!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Colour Saturation Issues

I must read the manual for this camera. Apparently there is a saturation setting I need to adjust.

These are fund raising ribbons I was making with the Bestie and her parents this weekend.

We made one thousand of them! My fingers are quite calloused from the effort.

One of the topics of conversation was the school fete. The three of us had trooped off that morning to support Baby Angel's school. The BA was on her class stall from 11-12pm and the Bestie and I dutifully did the rounds spending the odd dollar here and there for a good cause. Now I may have mentioned this before but the Bestie and I do not share religious beliefs and it is with raised eyebrows, rolled eyes and pursed lips that she dutifully attends all events, functions and celebrations which contain any whiff of Christian fervour.

So this morning when she announced via phone call to a mutual friend from Melbourne, our fete plans, she was greeted with hoots of derision and the suggestion that she may be able to purchase a nice crucifix made of play doh (I think she refers to the lovely baked salt dough which is oft favoured for items on craft stalls). A rather unkind jibe to my mind.

Regardless, we made the sojourn and; observed Baby Angel on her 'Golddiggers Stall' (pick a pop stick out of the sand and see if you have won a prize); picked up a pot of coriander for me to attempt to grow in this drought; found a book of
Pam Ayres poems for 50c; bought this outrageous (but practical...after all it is reversible) hat for $1.00 and finally made our way into the craft stall. And what do you think we found there?
YES!!! It was the ubiquitous baked saltdough cross, cunningly decorated with cloves and topped with an attractive ribbon for easy display purposes!! The Bestie was thrilled.
She immediately purchased said cross, and could not leave behind these other delightful works of art although I feel her derisive laughter at the checkout was a trifle unnecessary. Still at a total outlay of 60 cents they gave her great pleasure and therefore value for money. We are still trying to work out exactly what the other two works of art represent but, after all isn't that the purpose of art: to make you think?
Interestingly, the fete also raised something of a Flaming Sword issue for me. Baby Angel was on her stall with her friends for an hour but after The Bestie and I had finished shopping she was keen to try everything there and wanted to 'stay on' with her friends. Now one friend lives within a few blocks of the school and walks to and from each day without supervision. She was at the fete on her own and the other part of the 'Best Friends Forever' Trio also seemed to be without a parent presence. The school is on an enclosed site and there were plenty of staff, pupils and parents around all of whom know both the Baby Angel and I and so I felt reasonably comfortable in leaving the three of them together to enjoy the fruits of the fair: listen to the school bands play; pat the Police Horses and other fete type activities. My Bestie lives a little over 5 minutes away from the school so it seemed sensible that we retired to do the ribbon thing while BA enjoyed herself with her friends. Without me. (*insert deep calming breathing, the type you do when you're in labour*) I would pick her up at 4pm when the fete had finished.

Now I have held off on the mobile phone thing for BA as I feel they are actually tools of the devil designed to lead children away from real relationships and into the swamp of cyber bullying (I am only slightly kidding here). They also cost a fortune and I don't think they are necessary. After all, there is a phone at the school office, she is at school with her friends anyway and they do NOT need to be texting each other during the school day and she has MSN and My Space at home so she has plenty of technology with which to send ludicrous, superficial messages in appalling 'textspeak' to her friends when they are cruelly separated by the torment of evening and family. She can also use the landline (what a concept).

So it was with an ironic spasm that I realised at about 1.30pm that I was feeling twitchy about what was happening over there without me and that I would rather have liked her to have had a phone on her so I could give her a quick ring. The weather was deteriorating with 30C heat under nasty, threateningly overcast skies and gathering gusts of hot north winds. What on earth had made me agree to 4pm? What if she was bored? Had run out of money? Needed something? She had strict instructions not to leave the school grounds and there was a phone in the school office after all (have I mentioned that before?) so she was sure to be alright. Wasn't she?

The ribbon making gang reassured me. I turned my thoughts back to the greater good and continued folding and pinning.

More time went by. 2.30pm. What was she doing over there for all that time? Perhaps I should just go and get her early. Again the gang assured me that if there was any problem she would get in touch...unless it was that I didn't trust her! Hmmmm. Was that it? Did I think she was up to 'no good'? No! And anyway, what kind of 'no good' are we talking about here? No! I thought, she would be fine. She's got a good heart and loves all her friends. There's people that know her all around her.

In hindsight, I think my feelings were more to do with guilt at having left her without informing any other adult. If something had happened, there was no adult there to whom she could turn who knew the full story, that I was only minutes away and easily reachable. No, I had simply left her on her own. By 3.30pm when a huge gust of wind carrying nasty, red dust tore through the Bestie's back garden, I downed ribbons and announced I was going to get her.

In truth I was glad to have the excuse of the weather. When I reached the school, nearly everything had been packed away and the place was looking pretty deserted indeed. After a quick search I found the Baby Angel up in the 'fort' at the top of the slide on the playground with about 4 of her friends. All boys. To be fair, they were all boys I knew and they have been in the same friendship group now for three years so I was not too worried but I also realised that with the exception of one, all their parents were there helping pack up. They had not been left 'on their own'. Also disturbing was the absence of her two friends who had 'left' ages ago.

Somewhat unreasonably I think, I gave her a hard time for not calling me when her girlfriends had left. She was understandably miffed and told me I worried too much, I was too overprotective and that nothing was going to happen. She then informed me that she had been very good when her girlfriend had run out of money and decided to go home and get more. She had told the friend that 'Mum had told her to stay on the school premises' and she could therefore not go with her. Good grief. Something else that could have gone wrong.

At the end of the day she was fine but I am left with a quagmire of emotion. What am I concerned about here? Is it her safety or is it what other parents will think? Is it the nagging sense that I am being a neglectful, lazy parent (hard on the heels of last nights events) or a reluctance to 'let go' of my girl and embrace the teenager? Hang on! She's only 12. She's not a teenager yet!!!!!!!!!! Was I neglectful? Was I just taking the easy route? I am unsure.

Perhaps it would all have been ok if I had simply spoken to one other person there and let them know I was leaving her. I am having to face my own convictions, which were so clear cut when she was young, and query whether I am being true to them or whether I am simply being a controlling, over bearing mother who is not giving her sufficient room to develop her independence and autonomy. I dunno. What do you think?

Bad Mother!!!

Oh dear, I am officially a bad mother. Tonight Himself and I were required at the presentation dinner of the MIGHTY ROOSTERS, aka North Adelaide Football Club. Unfortunately it is also Baby Angel's netball night.

Last night saw me making a flurry of phone calls to drop her off at her coach's house who would then take her to the Bestie's place for a sleepover whilst also finding another parent to give child C a lift home as we had promised to do for the season!! Having arranged all this I fell into a comatose stupor and slept until 2.30am when I was awoken by Himself coming to bed and consequently lay awake for an hour before giving in and going to take pictures of the moon until 5am!!!!

Today at school I accompanied 100 Year 8 pupils into the city on a Geography excursion. It wasn't too taxing really except that we were walking non stop for 2 hours, this on top of the morning fitness training (7am-8am) where the sadistic Nick made us do four out of 5 circuit activities on abdominals!!!

The net result of all this is that I was exhausted by the time I got home from school and fell into bed for a snooze before getting ready to go out.

Admittedly, the BA did ask me on a number of occasions if I was going to make her any dinner or provide her with any kind of nourishment before her netball match. After a few of these interruptions and me asking her (without opening my eyes) what she wanted me to cook, and her not knowing, I went for the soft option and said I'd pick her up McDonalds on the way to netball. (It doesn't hurt once in a while).

She was predictably pleased with this result and left me alone to sleep. I woke up at quarter to six! We were due to leave at 6. I had yet to shower, wash my hair, decide what to wear etc etc etc. Panic.

We screeched out of the driveway at 6.20pm having said we would be at the coach's house by 6.30. With a good run of green lights we were at the turn off 20 to 7. At which point I drove straight past McDonalds. (corner of Cross Roads and Goodwood for those of you with Adelaide UBD knowledge).

"Er Mum."
"What?" (in somewhat exasperated and rushed tones)
"I thought you were getting me McDonalds."
"Oh...damn......well...er....well, we're past the turn off now and we're running late so I can't go back.....I'll give Ken some money and you can get some chips at the netball courts."
"I'm sorry but..."
"No, no Mum, it's OK. You're rejecting me once more for the North Adelaide Football Club and now I'm not getting any dinner either..."

Oh my Goodness. What's a mother to do? I still had a 40 minute drive to get up to Windsor Gardens (Main North East Rd) to meet Himself at the venue where he was running the AV presentation for Awards night....! I poured out profuse apologies, told her I wasn't rejecting her, only abandoning her and gave her $10.00 as I handed her over to her coach's husband, explaining that I had failed to feed her. Did her have time to drop in at McDonalds on the way to netball? (sheepish grin)

What must he think? Well, he'd be right!

Aaaaaanyway. I made it up to the venue with 10 minutes to spare before everything started. Himself was frantically trying to contact me thinking I may be lost but I'd left my phone at home in the rush. Got inside and realised it was a cash bar.....and I'd just given my last $10.00 to the Baby Angel. Himself had no money either.

Frantic discussion with barman about location of nearest ATM.

I then sallied forth, on foot, (again...I have walked further today than I have in the whole month) around the back of the venue, down a dark lane and into the carpark of a nearby supermarket to get some cash. Alone. With my handbag.

Somewhere between standing in front of the ATM and walking again back through the dark lane, I plotted my response to the mugger who was going to drive past and grab at my bag, or leap out at me from behind the rollaway garbage skip. Suffice to say it involved karate and breaking his nose or a sharp rear elbow to the ribs followed by a drop down into sumo position (to escape the bear hug) a sudden turn and short punch to the solar plexus. Then kick off my platform sandals and, never losing my grip on my bag for ONE SECOND....running like the clappers back to the foyer of the venue.

Fortunately, even though I am a really bad mother who doesn't feed her child, the Lord saw fit to spare me the practical experience of karate implementation and I was able to make my way, in a dignified fashion, back to our table in time for the entree.

So after a whole lot of football nonsense, including masses of inarticulate young men looking reeeeeally uncomfortable in suits thanking the physio and the masseuse and the waterboy, we made it home by 1am. Himself is sailing to day and No 2 Son had only managed to half finish sanding and polishing the keel and the hull for the final time. So guess what Himself did till 2.30am?

I however, must now go and make up for my bad motherhood by taking my girl to her school fair and being very interested and attentive for the day.......and....feeding her.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Theme Thursday: Glow

It's about 4 in the morning and I had been asleep since 8.30pm so I got up to think, belatedly, about Theme Thursday. Glow. This week has been full of marking and planning and meetings and housework; there's been little time for photography. Perhaps I had something in the files...?

As I rummaged through my digital collection I heard rustlings in the kitchen. Mice?
No, Number 2 Son helping himself to a pre-dawn snack.
"Have you looked outside?" he queried. "I was wondering why I couldn't get to sleep."

All thoughts of previous glowing shots vanished. I was looking out onto the most amazing moonscape over the sea. From our balcony the sky was dawn bright and the moon glazed a sliver white mirror sea. Worth being awake for. I am frustrated by lack of large lens and a very unsteady hand but here's what I came up with.
Of course none of them really do it justice. It's just as well I have other talents! Oh, and just for good measure (and because I had already uploaded it) here's the other shot I was considering for Glow. Tokyo Disney, January 1st 2003.
For more Glowing efforts, visit Tracey and the gang at Picture This.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Kidzone Revisited

Phew. Just had a meeting here (good excuse to vacuum and clear away the washing and ironing) for Kidzone, our Church's version of Sunday School. An eclectic group with some real talent and some real characters. I've somehow managed to be labelled 'Co-ordinator' which is fine with me...at least I'll know what's going on :-) It was a productive meeting and we ironed out a few issues like the 'Family Service' and what that means, whether we will have a Nativity or not (yes), whether we need a curriculum or just follow what's going on in the service (the former) and a bit of who's doing what, when. I have also been invited to become a 'member' of the Church of Christ ooer. It's funny changing denominations; at the end of the day it doesn't really mean anything at all but I've written down C of E or Anglican on forms now for so long it feels odd to write anything else. And yet, I so do not feel a part of the Anglican church with all the carry on that they're dealing with at the moment.
Must away to prepare for tomorrow. Have to do better than the 4 hours of sleep I got last night.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

He's 21 Today!! (er well...yesterday...)

Twenty One Today
Twenty One Today
He's got the Key of the Door
Never been 21 before
His father says he can do as he likes
Shout hip hip hooray
For he's a jolly good feeeeellllooooww!!!!!
He's.....twentyone today!!

I've always loved this rather old fashioned song and celebration. I remarked to Number 1 Son last night that the Twenty First Birthday doesn't seem to be the big deal it used to be any more. I remember a string of Twenty Firsts which involved printed invitations to Church Halls, RSL Clubs or back yards with marquees and hired spit roasts. Fathers would give speeches, cakes in the shape of keys were cut and there was usually some form of a disco. Times seem to have changed.

"Money," was the comment made in answer to my question. It seems some families still do the big 21st Thing.....we evidently are not in the price bracket.....well not according to No1 Son anyway. Or maybe the thought of getting his mother's side of the family together with his father's side was just too much to bear.

Fair enough.

Anyway, he seemed to enjoy his steak, and our company, so that was a nice thing. He was relatively polite about his brother's L plate driving on the way home and appears to be thriving in his new job as a mechanic. He even offered to service my car for me. For the same price as the dealership....but he'll do a better job apparently :-D I'm thinking about that one although the Baby Angel says I should trust him. She has such a good heart.

PS: Thanks to Melody A for the tip on www.picnik.com!!! At least he doesn't have red eye anymore!!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Best Shot Monday: Mmmmmmm

Second Son and the Baby Angel sharing one of the things they have in common......passion for ice cream. This Rocky Road Sundae came in the huge glass you see but Baby Angel opted to serve her portion out into a plate. I mean, you wouldn't want to share with your brother would you?...eeew...boy germs!!!!!

This was taken at the local 'Hogs Breath Cafe' on the occasion of Number 1 son's 21st birthday. I didn't get a picture of him that doesn't need some retouching however, and as I still don't have Photoshop I will save the picture until I can figure out a way to get rid of his red eye in Paint or something. (Good grief...its like the Digital Jurassic Period here)... Suffice to say he had a nice steak, enjoyed his time out with us but was saving the real celebrations for a night out with his mates.

As you can see the Baby Angel has taken her braids out. This occurred during a sleepover at a friend's house on Sat night. She was horrified on washing her hair to find that it was coming out in handfuls after having been braided for 3 weeks so we did a 'makeover' girlie afternoon on Sunday where I put a 'hair masque' on for her, then gave her a manicure. It's looking better now after a bit of TLC. I don't know where all this curly hair comes from. She certainly didn't have it as a kid and no one in my family has the suggestion of a curl, although mine has a tendency to 'move' (a la Bette Midler in Beaches).

Himself's family on the other hand, are blessed with thick, wiry, curly reddish hair. Very Viking. In fact I feel moved to post this long ago picture of Himself looking like Erik the Red.
Not hard to see where his heritage lies eh? Genes are certainly amazing things. Oh well, best be off to school. Only 8 weeks in this term and one has gone already. There's more assessment, reports and end of year exams to go yet. Yikes. Might not be as blog active as usual in an effort to get things done with less stress than at the end of term 2 and 3. Maybe.

As always, click here for some much better shots!

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Saturday, 20 October 2007

Decimals and Fractions and Ratios, Oh My!!! Part 1

I have spent the last two days on a course for teaching the tricky subjects of Decimals and Fractions (which are really one in the same as we learned because decimals are of course another way of writing fractions). It was FANTASTIC!!!!! I came home on Thursday night and said to the Baby Angel, "I am lovin this course," to which she replied that I needed to get a life but, seriously, it was fantastic.

She may be right of course; after all I do have a slight streak of Asperger'siness about me. This is evidenced by, for example, my preference for reading every plaque at the museum or historic site. I LOVE those interpretive plaques which show you the same view of a site taken 100 years ago and the like. I spend ages standing and comparing the two versions, noting the differences, wondering when this new building was built or when an extra story had been added to that other one. I love to see the difference in the trees and think about the fact that they have witnessed so much go by.

As I dropped the BA off for her sleepover at her best friend's last night, I noticed a table full of bakelite telephones. On enquiring of her Dad what they were, I was treated to a 30 minute tour of his collection of antique phones, many in working order. I learned all about the 400 series and the differences between the 400 and the 401 which I think involved numbers around the dial as opposed to under the finger holes. But I could be mistaken. I learned about the phones with ringers in a wooden box on the wall and the first models to include the bells in the phone. I learned about pyramid phones, wall phones and French parlour phones and I observed the instructions on the dial of a 1930s phone.
"Place finger in the hole. Pull around until it stops. Let go."

Most exciting was the upright style candlestick phone; the earliest kind, as seen in silent movies. I had to lift the small but incredibly heavy brass receiver and put it to my ear.

We ended up out in his shed as he showed me army field telephones, 'pilot to bombardier' microphones and an assortment of other collected communication devices, neatly stored in shelves or lining the workbenches in what appeared to be breeding pairs.

But I was fascinated!!! I also love Trivial Pursuits and line up my coffee cups in the cupboard according to styles. Aspergers! ( Or I suppose you could argue Obsessive Compulsive...but if you've seen my desk you'd probably rethink that one.)

However, I digress. My point is, to really love a two day intensive workshop on Fractions and Decimals you have got to have something a bit screwy going on in the social and emotional development department. Something loopy in your 'priorities perspective'. Some sort of strange code in your 'sense of enjoyment' program.

Or maybe, just maybe Baby Angel, I just love learning!

Whatever the motivation, I had a thoroughly engrossing, enlightening and yes, slightly challenging two days. Now this harks back to my youth and my own experiences with mathematics.

When I was 6 and a half we spent 6 months in the north of England, where I was born, and 6 months in Connecticut where Dad was doing research at Yale. Before we left Australia I had just started tens and units at school, having spent (according to my father) an inordinate amount of time on Venn Diagrams and the idea of intersections of sets. In the UK at the time, the money system was still based on 12s: pounds, shillings and pence and, thinking it may confuse me since I had only just got tens and units, my mother suggested to the school that I skip it. And so it seems I missed a chunk of maths for that 6 months. When we got to the US, I was suddenly faced with 60 second mentals challenges and 'borrowing and paying back'. My mother recalls me flouncing in after the first day of school and announcing in suitably dramatic style,"Well, I have no idea what they are on about!!"

As a pretty bright kid who had been sailing through school up to that point, I was not used to 'not being able to do what everyone else could'. I reacted predictably. I decided I could not do maths and was not going to try. (thus avoiding further failure...there was logic to it I assure you). My father, a scientist, a lover of learning, 'valuer of education above all things' and high achiever to boot, was horrified. We commenced what was to become about an 8 year battle over maths. He tried to teach me, I refused to cooperate, he became frustrated, I totally refused to cooperate and burst into tears. He bribed me with chocolate and (later) money, I refused to cooperate, became frustrated and burst into tears. He met with the teachers. They all agreed I was a very bright girl who ought to be able to do maths and they tried to help. I refused to cooperate and burst into tears.

It must be said that most of this angst centred around number related maths. I arrived back in Australia at the age of 7 and a half and the class had already started learning their tables. I had no idea what tables were! (and, I must say, no one enlightened me) Number bonds confused me. They did not stay in my head. Mental arithmetic was a mystery to me. Now, if it came to graphs, geometry or measurement, no problem! Later I was to find negative numbers a breeze, the circumference of a circle and pi a marvellous revelation and algebra elegant in its logic and simplicity. But mental arithmetic, number bonds and tables remained elusive and emotive (remember the cycle...me ending in tears).

The introduction of calculators was a Godsend as it completely removed the stress of calculation for me. As a Special Ed teacher we refer to this strategy as 'providing assistive technology'. From that point on, even though maths often challenged me and I ended up with a tutor through Year12, I still achieved an A and a B in the advanced maths class known as Maths I and MathsII in my Matriculation. Not bad for a kid who 'couldn't do maths'.

To Be Continued.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Theme Thursday: Star

I was floundering about for Theme Thursday this week when the Baby Angel came home from Sports day with these.

Section: Girls Born 1995
Hurdles: First
100m: First
200m: First
Discus: First
Long Jump: First
Shotput: Second

Relay race for girls born in 1994 (racing a year above her age)

Now that's what I call a STAR!!!!!!!!

What a pity there was absolutely none of us there to see her in her moment of glory. That's the price you pay for nearly full time work. Even worse when she tells you she 'doesn't really mind'.
What a knife in a mother's heart.

For more starry eyed moments, check out Theme Thursday at Picture This.

Common Sense

The wonderful Radio National had a morning show the other day all about 'Common Sense'. What is it? Do we still have it? Are our kids being taught it????

One of the things which came up and horrified me was the story of the new City of Sydney Library.
It had apparently moved in 2005 into the magnificent heritage building, 'Customs House', on Circular Quay. It became apparent however that upon the move, only the best books were going. They were reducing the number of books in the library because of the available space in the new building. The Library was moving to smaller premises.

This in itself may not seem too bad, after all, many books date and need to be replaced and we have books on dvd and file now.....although it's somehow not the same. The real jaw dropper however was the fact that when you visited the new Library, the ground floor was laid out with a coffee shop and waist high book cases. Its called a Salon, but the author on the program explained that the beams in the floor of the new Library had been found to be structurally inadequate to carry the weight of full sized library shelves with their precious load of books.
Ergo: a new Library, with fewer books..........but a great barrista apparently.


On the subject of common sense, my wealth of experience with my own body and other fitness classes should have lead me to be better prepared for the rigours of yesterday's training session! And I mean prepared. All the circuit work is fine, situps, push ups, lunges, squats etc...it was the 'beep test' that did for me. All that running and quickly changing direction....

Suffice to say that of the 6 women there, I won the beep test! I got to Level 5.3 I think and might have gone further if I had not had to give in to the ravaged state of my pelvic floor and keep running straight to the *beep *beep ladies loo to 'sort myself out'!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"It wasn't the beep that beat her," hooted all the similarly indisposed middle aged ladies and mothers of many as the delightful young male fitness instructor regarded my retreating back with bemusement. Oh well, if he is going to take 'ladies groups' he's going to have to learn about these things :-D

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

But MIss, I Didn't Know......

Firstly I have to apologise for not getting around to everyone's BSM this week, I'll try and catch up gradually over the week. Last night I fell asleep on the couch at 9.30pm and was woken up and sent to bed at midnight by Himself. Nothing got done last night. As a result I will be flying by the seat of my pants today at school. Still, after the first two doubles yesterday I am of the opinion that it doesn't matter how much you prepare or what you do....it makes little difference in the world of teenagers. I spent 2 hours listening to kids say
"I didn't know we had to hand it up today"
"You never told me...."
"I was away...."
"I lost the assessment criteria sheet"
The Year 8s started it and the Year 11s sounded exactly the same. Either nothing changes between these Years OR we need to start at Year 8 making the kids MUCH more responsible for getting things in on time and following up when they have been away. Basically the chorus went "Miss it is YOUR fault that I haven't completed my work."

Classic. Wish I could have blamed the teacher when I was at school. Of course, the parents will back them up as well. This is where we are doing the kids NO FAVOURS. When my daughter gets a detention for not doing her homework (rare but it has happened) I don't ring the school complaining. I know that she is unlikely to do it again as she wants to avoid the consequence!!

Similarly, when someone is away for a lesson and doesn't ask me or the rest of the class what they missed......they should suffer the consequence so that next time they remember to follow up missed work. There is only one of me and I can not be chasing around the school after the 20 out of 21 kids yesterday who failed to hand up their work on time. Yes, that's right, only ONE person handed up the assignment on its due date.


And don't even start me on the Year 11s who have 4 SACE assignments due in the 5 weeks we have remaining for them.

"Why didn't you give them to us last term?" they pleaded....

I did. They just didn't do them.

Anyway, they were very subdued and worked pretty hard yesterday so.......we shall see.

Right I'm off to fitness. Its 6.20am! Have nice day everyone.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


This one is totally for you Brittany.

Last night I snuck off to bed a little later than Himself and had to feel my way around in the dark looking for the alarm clock which needed resetting. (no, it didn't go off this morning...why does that always happen when you set the alarm in the dark?)

Anyway, after stumbling about a bit, getting the clock sorted (supposedly) I snuggled down and gave that big sigh you give when you finally make it to bed and its where you would rather spend the next day than getting up and going to work. After a few seconds I felt a tickle on my arm, under the covers. Scratching and brushing at it I encountered more substance than I would normally feel from a piece of hair, thread or fluff. Panic sets in, I snatch and claw at the offending tickle, waking Himself up in the process.

"What on earth is the matter?"
"There's something in the bed...I think it was crawly."
"Was it on your side?"
"Can I please turn on the light and check what's happened to it?" (actually this was not so much a question as a warning that I was about to blind him)

Initial investigations seemed clear and then I threw back the covers and, crumpled in between the sideboard (we have a waterbed) and the mattress, was the crushed body of a daddy long legs spider!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And quite a big one!!! I felt no pity. I felt no remorse. I felt only REVULSION and the sickening knowledge that moments ago it had been crawling on my ARM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am still shivering with the thought. Himself helpfully suggested that I had probably brought it to bed with me as they do not normally head under the covers. A comforting thought.... NOT. I managed to flick it out of the bed and then performed a thorough search for any of its mates.
It could have been worse I suppose. It could have been a house spider. (big, black and ugly...nassssty bite)

Himself went back to sleep to the steady rhythm of my convulsions of disgust. (shudder of horror)

Best (?) Shot Monday: Boys Ate Here

Well, it's hardly a 'best' shot but I didn't take many this week what with Baby Angel coming home and all......in a way it just summarises my life at the moment. Attempts to make things 'nice'; to be the poised, centred adult in the face of children and the lack of poise they bring to most situations.

Contrast, for example, our tasteful salt and pepper grinders with the plastic IKEA cup; the folky table cloth and contrasting weave mats with the faded, cheerful kidstyle cork mats in the middle; the vase of flowers from the garden (ok you can only just see them) with the plastic sauce bottle. And don't even ask me what they were doing with the torch.....who knows.....

I am trying to train Mr 9 to take his table mat to the sink and shake off the crumbs at the same time as he puts his plate in the dishwasher. *sigh* I suspect that would not have been enough in this case.

I made it to school by 7am today all kitted out and ready to exercise. There were only 2 of us there. :-( I suppose it was only the first day back.

Undeterred, we went for a walk around the block and then I did a few sit ups and other floor based exercises in my office. At least waking up at dawn and lying awake until 5.45am so I didn't miss the alarm, wasn't completely wasted.

For a glimpse at other people's photo of the week.....

little bsm button

Sunday, 14 October 2007

UGH: Back To School

Tomorrow is BTS Day. :-(

Today The BA decided she had some homework to be completed. She was doing it in front of the DVD when I got home from church.

Me: Turn off the DVD and you will finish it more quickly and then you can watch 'Earl' at your
Small Boy: But I want to watch the DVD.
Me: OK, then you (BA) will have to go and work in your room. At your capacious desk. Which
you cleared for the first time before you left and which you have never done homework at
in 3 years.
BA: (outraged) WHAT??? I don't WANT to work in my room. I was here first!!!!
Me: Unfortunately, this is a public area and your room is perfectly designed for you to work
quietly and privately. (spoken whilst forcibly removing all her books,bags and ipod dock)
BA: (flounce flounce flounce SLAM) It's NOT FAIR.
To impact on my BTS despair I have decided to try and do a personal fitness session three mornings a week from 7-8am. This means leaving home at 6.30am. This means getting up at...you get the picture.
There is a minor difficulty, which is how to get the BA to school as well, but I have a cunning plan. I think I can use Assembly time to run her to school and be back in time for Lesson 2. Stay tuned for news and snickering at my attempts at a) getting up in the morning and b) physical fitness.

Back to sorting the 4000 000 worksheets on castles and the Black Death that are currently heaped in piles all over the study floor. (Mum, you know this is a public area flounce flounce SLAM)
Actually, she did her work and I went down to help her when I thought she'd been there too long, then Auntie Bestie arrived so we all went back to the dining room table cos Small Boy had gone bike riding by then and collectively we all got her homework done together and we all lived happily ever after Amen. Tonight during prayers she apologised for losing her temper and said that she should know that I am usually right (hahahahahaha) and she should listen to my wisdom. You see...they DO respect the Flaming Sword.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Sub Marine Baby

Here's the Baby Angel and her stepmum Susie getting suited up.
Baby Angel solo.
Father and daughter.
A family of scuba divers!!!!!

I am so impressed.

Friday, 12 October 2007

My Baby Is Back

.........and she's braided her hair!!!!!!!! At $1.00 Fj per braid!!! there are 56 of them!!!! I reeeeally hope the Fijian dollar is worth 10c. >:-(

She thinks she looks fantastic. I think its awful. I guess it's a generational thing. But where's my baby blonde?

She's picked up a bit of sun.....but not too much thank goodness. She's so fair.

I am having trouble with this camera. I need to read the instructions again. Sometimes the flash goes off and it doesn't seem to reach far enough. Then if I use natural light the shutter speed is too slow and I wobble all over the place. My PAS was much more reliable...if lower resolution...but really, this photo is AWFUL ; I had to fiddle with it in my pitiful excuse for software because it was basically taken in the dark. I wouldn't even dare show it to Himself. *sigh* Sometimes I find this whole photography thing really frustrating.

I'm looking forward to seeing all her photos tomorrow. Hopefully there'll be some good ones. I'm especially interested in the underwater stuff! Apparently she was doing The Macarena and The Chicken Dance whilst on the ocean floor, and in so doing, scratched her arm on some coral. It is really peculiar looking and we have antibiotic cream to put on it but I think whatever the irritants are, they are trapped beneath the graze. It is raised and looks a bit like excema.

Tonight she wanted me to lie down with her at bedtime like I used to do when she was little. Every time I tried to sneak away she hung onto me and murmured "No, Mum....don't go yet," in that sleep soaked voice kids have. I snuggled up to her and thought about all the nights we had done this when she was small enough to fit in the crook of my arm or the hollow of my shoulder and waist. I thought about how she used to smell and how soft she was and then I thought about how uncomfortable the beads from the braids were trapped under my cheek on the pillow. How do they sleep with them in????? It is worse than the Princess and the Pea!

So our family is all back together again. I guess her Dad and Stepmum must be feeling a bit lost without her now after nearly two whole weeks. On the other hand.........maybe not :-D

I had better get on now and try and get back into school mode. Only two days until we're back in the Salt Mines... :-(

By the way, does anyone know what happens to your hair when you take these braid things out? Himself says it stays all crinkly and won't wash out and you have to use the Number 4 clippers!!! Please tell me he's just scaring me. I've said she can wear them to school for one day and then they're coming OUT!! They are definitely not part of the school uniform.

I Love and Miss My Mum!!!

It was great talking to you this morning Mum and I can't wait for you to get here in December!!! You're the Best!
Tell Dad I love him too but I know he doesn't read blogs so he shouldn't feel too bad :-D

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Theme Thursday: Walk

The soundtrack for this picture goes like this:

I LEFT my wife in New Orleans (step on left foot)
With 45 kids and a can of beans
Cause I thought it was
RIGHT (step on right foot)
RIGHT ( " " " " )
RIGHT for my country (etc)
Whoop-si-do (leap up in a skipping motion to change feet)

How to keep a 9 year old entertained during a hike!
Notice Baby Angel is nowhere in sight? Never had ANY trouble with her walking!!

Note to self: Never let anyone take a picture of my butt in those shorts EVER again!!

Click over to Picture This and see where The Walk takes everyone else.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Wednesday Round-up

Phew! What a day.
Wasn't that how yesterday started? Well...in a moment of deja vu....
Phew! What a day!

8.30am saw the property valuer arrive with his little measuring wheel. Why was that intimidating? I have had whole classes of sixth graders out on the Oval with their measuring wheels and never felt quite as intimidated as I did at the door this morning.

Scene: The front door, lower level of the house consisting of entrance hall, garage and Den and Second Son's double bedroom with ensuite ($20 000).

Me: Good morning haha, come in, hahaha, what do you want to look at first? Oh THIS room?hahahahaha Well that's Sleeping Beauty.......we'll give him a chance to make himself decent and then....
(quick detour through double garage: re-emerge into hall and offending doorway to find Sleeping Beauty looking like a train wreck half way up the stairs)
Me: hahaha, oh you're up! great so we can look in your...
Valuer: Oh I only need a quic....
Me: YOU WANT A LOOK?????? of course you do...
V: well really, I only need to
V: yes, yes, very nice
Me: (for G*ds sake please look interested...do you know how long it took him to clean this room?????)

So that was first thing this morning.

After he left I think we all wanted to collapse in a pile of relief and exhaustion. In the model of the 'perfect wife and mother' I was presenting to the bank however, I felt the need to finish the liquidising and freezing of my pumpkin soup (mmmmmmmm) as well as feeding the five thousand with a variety of egg and bacon breakfasts. (none of our family simply has bacon and eggs.....there are a number of peccadilloes and this restaurant caters for all of them :-(....)

In truth, I was so relieved and yet 'powerless' (they'll let us know tomorrow) I had to do something I had control over...ie cook. An interesting paradox as Himself does most of the cooking because cooking generally throws me into a quandry of indecision.

OK. So now I am cooking....cleaning the kitchen (getting the fat out of every little crevice in the routing in the cupboards...a carry over from yesterday and more in the control freak department) and helping Small Boy enlarge/laminate and attach an original 'logo' to his scooter........when the window man arrives to look at the kitchen window winders which are essentially knackered. (like everything else in the house)

In the middle of this I get a call from another tradesman.....glazier this time. Windowman goes (back Fri)...cook Small Boy something...quick sit down to look at blogs before out to friends for afternoon tea...another phone call...........it is SISTER IN LAW...who lives in Western Australia....here for a few days and wanting to come to dinner tonight!!!!!!!!! With kids!!!!!!!

Now I have to say that I view the visits of my sister in law with delight. She is a gorgeous person; gentle, talented, self effacing, a wonderful mother and she allows me an insight into my husband's psyche. As a late in life couple, Himself's parent were already dead when I met him; he has one brother who lives in Adelaide (but whom I strongly suspect is Asperger's and fails to turn up for dinner whenever he is invited) and a sister in Perth (opposite coast...3 hours by plane) so I never see him in his 'native environment' as it were.

We were all tickled pink. Small Boy was doubly excited when he heard his cousins would be coming with his Aunt!! Playmates have been thin on the ground this week. What shall we eat??? I had already decided (boy I am brave) to defrost a chicken that night so I simply took out another. Problem Solvered (copyright) I was due at a friend's house for afternoon tea at 2.30pm, back around 5pm with veggies, Himself could put the chickens on...all seemed rosy.

Until I checked the oven. (I was in such a control freak baking frenzy, I had this MAD idea that I could get a slow cooking banana cake into the oven and be back in time to take it out of the oven!)

The oven was cactus.
Turn knob. No light, no heat, no nothing!!!!!!
We tried the usual trick which involves taking the fuse out (everyone log out of your computers; we're switching off the power!!!!!) to no avail. Quick change of plan. The chickens will be cooked in the Webber BBQ and I will take the fuse up to the local electrical store on the way to my afternoon tea date, after which I will pick up BBQ fuel as well as veggies and be back in sufficient time to get the BBQ up and running for their arrival at 6pm and dinner by 7pm. Maybe.

In typical chaotic fashion, we staggered through this process. Auntie M and cousins duly arrived, there was much rejoicing and photography, BBQs smoked, I went to do baked potatoes for the Webber only to find we had run out of alfoil (good grief), try the fuse thing again, still nothing, experimentally twiddle a manual/timer knob....oven bursts into life........great, now to bake the potatoes in the oven .......oh no, that's right, still no alfoil....OK I'll do the 'roll them in olive oil, salt and rosemary' thing........except that they're massive baking potatoes.......ok I'll parboil them and then cut them in half and do the 'roll them in olive oil etc' thing.......great....I think.....no wait, now should I put them on a baking sheet or in a baking dish?........euch all the baking dishes have rusted, ravaged bottoms........that's OK I'll line it with alfoil.......wait, that's right........still no alfoil.

Aren't you glad you're not inside my head all the time? It's very staccato in there. You can see how the whole cooking thing stresses me right out. As it turned out I lined the baking dish with baking paper and under Auntie M's soothing reassurance the potatoes turned out fine. As did the chickens but of course they always would as they were under Himself's control.

It was a lovely evening catching up on all their news. The most exciting thing for me is that Auntie M is a photographer again! She has recently gone back to work as an interior designer and taken up photography again. She has a bigger lens than Himself!!!!! (scary) She asked him if he would design her a business card or a compliments slip that she could put with the shots she has been doing recently for the school. Himself sat down and in less than 30 min had come up with a logo for her and a range of card options with a variety of colour schemes. He really is VERY clever.
Here they are poring over the task and refusing to look at the camera!

So this morning I am feeling a little low. It could be the rain (should be happy about that) and the overcast skies. It could be that I am babysitting two 9 year old boys. It could be that there are only 4 days until school goes back and I have not finished marking. It could be that the glazier hasn't shown up........or it could be that I don't get to see my lovely sister in law for another 6 months or so. I so wish she lived in Adelaide.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Cleans Like a White Tornado.....

Phew. What a day! Tomorrow we have a property evaluator coming at 8.30am and although you and I know that the cleaniness or untidiness of a property does not reeeeally affect its value in terms of bank valuations....the 18 year old and the 9 year old don't know that!!!!! :-D

Initially Himself got all excited and wanted to mulch the garden and do all sorts of cosmetic things but as I said...that only matters when you're trying to sell it! Nevertheless, Second Son was under strict instructions to clean out his area. He has a bedroom and 'Den' on the lower level of the house, with its own ensuite bathroom. I do NOT clean this. In fact I try never to go into his room unless there is a National Crisis....like when the smell of unwashed sheets and clothes starts to permeate the hallway >:-(

As you can imagine, nothing much gets done down there, so the thought of having to show a valuer around it struck fear into all our hearts. But I must say he has done himself proud. He even came up and asked us to inspect and apart from his complete failure to look up and see all the 'daddy-long-legs' webs around the ceiling, he has done a damn fine job! He also cleaned out and rearranged his Den, liberating several dozen plates, glasses and bowls in the process.

Even Small Boy has been 'on board'. He helped his dad wash all the windows on the balcony and has put everything away today with minimal fuss. Hooray. Hooray.

For my part I have washed several floors, cleaned the kitchen, more interminable loads of laundry, dried and folded, cleaned the shower recess (I HATE that job) and caught up on a bit of paperwork. I am also making a HUGE pot of pumpkin soup to freeze for school lunches next week. Oh, and I finally got around to calling the glazier, the window lock repair man and the irrigation repair man. Phew! We have had masking tape on one of the balcony windows for over six months now. (a little incident with a Small Boy and a stone followed by a door banging in the wind....=cracked glass from top to bottom.)

The place is actually almost looking respectable again.

Meanwhile, I heard from the Baby Angel yesterday and it seems she has been learning to scuba dive!!!! Good grief. I am well impressed. Aparently there are photos so look forward to some of her shots on her return. She'll be home on Friday. It has been lovely and quiet and I have had lots to keep me busy but I must admit to missing her more and more of late. I cleaned her room the other day and felt quite bereft.

Right, off to catch up on a few blogs before an early night. Mmmmmmm is that my pumpkin soup I smell........

Monday, 8 October 2007

Best Shot Monday: To The Beach

How about this for a beach house eh? 2 million Australian Dollars to build! I wonder what they live in during the week?

This weekend saw us down the coast a bit at Carrickalinga with our friends, The Dares. This is not their beach house, although theirs was very pleasant indeed, but we all lusted after it big time.

This one was taken from their balcony and shows how close to the lovely beach they are. I loved the bend in the road here. I was able to go for a walk each morning, which, added to my fantastic walk with the Bestie on Friday, means I have now walked for 4 days in a row!!! I must keep it up.

We headed on down there on Friday night, stopping at the historic Victory Hotel for a fantastic meal including Oysters Kilpatrick (my fave kind) and gourmet dim sims. After some convivial conversation and the promise of BOARD GAMES, we zoomed off for the final 20 min drive to the beach house. Imagine my surprise when we reached the house and the first thing to greet me was a cat! They bring their cat with them to the beach house and she had been patiently waiting in the car as we had relaxed at the hotel!!!!

Now the board games thing was a small victory and here is why. Himself doesn't play board games. Doesn't. Except Scrabble at a reeeeeally big push and Chess with Small Boy although this has dropped off recently. I, on the other hand, come from a family of inveterate board game players. As a child, every Christmas involved the introduction of a new board game to the family's repertoire. There was Cluedo, (Colonel Mustard in the Library with the poison) Battling Tops, Twister of course, Mastermind, Masterpiece....the list goes on. My Dad favoured the games which challenged the mind although he was very quick to commandeer 'Battling Tops' for the adults to play on those wonderful Boxing Day parties when friends came round.

Despite this seemingly endless stream of games, I was always jealous of the Bestie who had Mousetrap! She, being an only child, was always after a playing partner and in our
adult life we discovered many a game together including; Trivial Pursuit, Greed, Risk, Stop Press (one of my faves) and of course Pictionary.

Later, when I lived in the UK, my youngest sister took on the role of gamebringer and part of the Christmas routine involved the latest game she and her husband had purchased. Taboo, Balderdash and Pass the Bomb were some of these. We tend to favour word games nowadays I think. Whatever the game, my family is loud and enthusiastic. There is much shrieking with laughter and, where my father is concerned, cheating!!!! Himself has had no such family tradition.

Now if truth be told, I think it's just that he doesn't like losing. He doesn't get the fact that most of the fun is in the playing. It's all about the time your father draws a rabbit for Pictionary and leaves off the most obvious distinguishing features of a rabbit; ears and tail! Its about creating headlines in Stop Press which reference Bishops and Choirboys for every scenario. Its about making mistakes, being miles behind and good natured gloating. Chiefly it's about family and community. If you win...its a bonus.

So when Rachel announced that she had forgotten to bring her newest game but it was alright because they'd left Pictionary and Articulate up there, from last time....I was ecstatic. I was also sneakily jubilant because I knew He would find it difficult to say 'no' to his hosts :-D

Friday night we played Pictionary. Himself and I won. Saturday night we played Articulate. We won again!!! With a bit of luck, I may be able to get him to play board games in the future. I think we have broken the aversion. Of course, it may all come undone if someone beats us next time.

The other wonderful part about going away for the weekend is food. Saturday morning we didn't quite make breakfast but had a lovely brunch instead at a wild cafe in the neighboring town of Yankalilla. Lilla's Cafe is in an historic cottage with a lovely garden area containing the ivy draped ruins of the original chimney and fireplace, a corrugated iron life sized cow sculpture, many androgynous pottery fairies and a live donkey! The owner is a larger than life red head whose portrait has been painted by not one but two local artists for the Yankalilla Show's 'Yankibald Prize'. (taken from the prestigious Australian Archibald Prize). We feasted on foccacia with chicken and avocado, a steak stack topped with bacon and eggs benedict and other goodies. The display of cakes was superb but we resisted temptation.

On Saturday night we were treated to the southern American version of oysters. Rachel is from North Carolina and she was telling us about their tradition of 'Oyster Roasts' which involve steaming a bushel of oysters on an outdoor BBQ or fire in the freezing cold. In tribute to this we bought 2 dozen fresh Smokey Bay oysters and steamed them, indoors. We then sat in the warm dining room and shucked them, dipped them in garlic butter and ate them on crackers with Tabasco. Fantastic! The flavour and texture of natural oysters is retained without the nasty cold slimy sensation and, let's face it, everything tastes great when dipped in garlic butter in good company. It was a pity there were only 2 dozen!

We also went down to the beach at dusk on Saturday night and played boccie (spelt?) until it got too dim to see the jack. Wonderful.

So that was our lovely weekend. It was all topped off by the Grand Final on Sunday and, at the risk of eliciting more gloating from the Gawlerites, we shall say NO MORE about that!!!!

See what others have been snapping this weekend over at

little bsm button

The Less said about the Football, the Better


Sunday, 7 October 2007


Back from the beach, off to the Grand Final!!! And yes, I DID lay down in the street to get the shot and yes, it IS asphalt. :-)

Got some nice shots at the beach house with our friends yesterday and hope to have more from the football today. See you on Best Shot Monday!!!!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Theme Thursday: Wide

Adelaide is famous for its 'wide' streets.

For WIDE range of interpretations....check out Picture This.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Typical Holidays

Here I am, day 3 of being childfree and all I have achieved is vacuuming the house, interminable loads of washing/ironing and visits to the accountant and tax man. Alright, I lie, I did go and see Stardust (cool website!!! and cool movie if you like mindless fantasy) with the Bestie. But that's it!!!

What happened to holidays being times for meeting friends at fashionable cafes and lunching with sav blanc down at The Bay? What happened to lazing by pools, visiting museums and leaving the country?


To be fair, I don't think I've ever really had holidays like that. Mostly school holidays involve stopping. And catching up. And refereeing children. Don't ever feel jealous of the amount of holidays a school teacher gets. I still have marking to do and I need to start planning next term's work as well.

Meanwhile, The Baby Angel is off with her father and stepmother in.........FIJI!!!!!!!!!! Can't complain though. My dad was a University lecturer and over the years we got to visit some really cool places. Strangely however, I seemed to have to go to school in most of them! :-)
We visited (and were schooled in) the UK, the USA and Canada through my childhood so I guess I've been pretty lucky. And I have been to Disneyland and Tokyo Disney, and Alton Towers in the UK (another theme/adventure park).....and I DID have some wonderful holidays with my sister and brother-in-law in France and Cornwall and more great holidays with friends in Cyprus and Spain...........

OK. Maybe its just these holidays that suck.

Now to think about Theme Thursday hmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


Now the other thing which has been on our minds and on our social calendar lately are
THE MIGHTY ROOSTERS!!! Have a quick look at their site because it is designed and managed by none other than Himself and his band of merry multimedia men. Run your cursor over the rooster emblem on the banner.......cool eh? (and mildly irritating)

Before the National League (AFL), each state had their own Football League with local clubs, traditions, awards etc. In the mid 90s the AFL was created and South Australia put up two teams, The Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power. Although this stripped a number of the local clubs of their best players, the local SA League continues to provide a good standard of football, a great deal of club loyalty and is still reasonably well followed.
The North Adelaide Football Club is one of those teams.

Himself's company sponsors the club as well as running the website and producing other marketing and motivational items. As a result we get to go and see them in the Member's Stand at the Adelaide Oval from time to time. Additionally, we know one of the players, Nick Gill, as his girlfriend used to work for us so that gives us a personal interest in the team and the game. Well, it gives me a personal interest; Himself just loves football!
Me in the Member's Stand two weeks ago.

Nick is quite a character. Known as The Emu for his height and gangly legs, he is a superb mark (that means catching the ball on the full) and covers a huge amount of ground throughout the game. He really is an exceptional player...except for one thing, he can't kick straight. This of course can be an advantage when you are facing away from the goals on an impossible angle, a position from which Gilly has been known to score on a number of occasions. It is a disadvantage however when you are 10metres out from an open goal, dead in front. From this normally certain position, Nick has been known to kick the ball and not only miss the goals to only score a point...but to kick it out of bounds altogether!!! So it is with mixed feelings that we observe him take a spectacular mark knowing that the next move, the free kick, could be a disaster. Despite this he was selected for The Adelaide Crows and has played most of the season with them this year, only returning to Norths when the Crows were eliminated in the final rounds of the national competition.
I think they were trying to teach him to kick. (Himself says he kicks like a girl)

But I digress. You see, Norths have made it to the Grand Finals this year! First time since 1991!
We were there in the Member's Stand two weeks ago when they lost the Preliminary Final so we took Small Boy down this weekend just gone, to see them claw their way back into the Finals by knocking out Woodville/West Torrens. A Boy and his Dad at the ticket booth.

It was a very fraught game. At one point we were 20 points behind. (One goal=6 points) See scoreboard below. The scoreboard itself is an item of interest because as you can see it has not been updated to include electronic nonsense. I actually think it is Heritage Listed...do you know Dad?
If you look at the points total you can see we were behind. (A Behind on the board by the way is another name for a point, scored when the ball passes between the two outer posts rather than the inner ones...confusing but you'll get it) Check the time on the clock too. Of the 7 'Behinds' or 'Points' scored by North Adelaide, Nick Gill was responsible for at least 3!

But the MIGHTY ROOSTERS were not plucked yet! Check out the final scoreboard (new time on the clock).Yes!!! A resounding victory and Nick Gill had a key part to play, snapping in 3 goals from ludicrous angles and generally making himself useful all over the ground! I was extremely excited by the whole thing. Small Boy and Dad took it much more in their stride.

When we got home we got a call from the CEO of the Club asking Himself to get straight on to designing the Grand Final Merchandise. Himself mentioned that we'd been at the game.
"Ah yes," he quipped,"I thought I heard your wife barracking."
(Himself laughs),"Ha ha...no we were on the Hill today, not in the Stands."
"Yes....." says the CEO.

Cheeky bugger!

Oh now, I've just found this on Youtube so if you want to see what a 'mark' looks like and get an idea of why the Aussies are so passionate about their football.....get a load of this.

You don't have to watch it all the way through, although girls...there is some very nice eye candy here...and there is a really cute bit right at the end!

So, Grand Finals here we come. We have been invited to the Magary Box at the AAMI Stadium next Sunday. GO YOU MIGHTY ROOSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!