Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Houseful of Redheads,


Spot the difference......
It's about 30 years.

Top one is my niece, bottom is my sister circa 1979. And here they all are arriving yesterday!!!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

How To Create A Delinquent

A list of rules for parents wishing to turn their children into juvenile delinquents,
handed out in leaflet form by the Police Department of Houston Texas (allegedly).

1. Begin in infancy to give your child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad language, laugh at him. This will make him think he's cute.

3. Never give him any spiritual guidance. Wait until he's 18 and then let him decide for himself.

4. Avoid the use of the word 'wrong'. It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for trespass/nuisance/vandalism/stealing etc, that the world is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around: books, shoes, clothes, toys, puzzles, empty booze bottles etc. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing responsibility onto others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on, watch any subject on television, dvd or internet, ensure he cleans his teeth and develops hygiene habits but let his mind feed on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in front of your child; this way he will not be too shocked when later on his own social groups break up.

8. Give your child all the pocket money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual and carnal desire is granted. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

10. Take his part against neighbours, teachers, policemen and his pals. After all, they are prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into REAL trouble, make excuses for yourself saying,
"I could never do anything with him."

12. Prepare for a life of upset and sadness; you will probably have it.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas In Pictures

the Tree on Christmas Eve.


The Christmas table. Just the four of us this year. No kids. Except that the Small Boy and his Mum arrived at 2.40pm, twenty minutes early, about 10 minutes after we'd sat down to eat! He naturally wanted to immediately share his present list with us, complete with demonstrations of his new nerf gun. Great for the digestion.


Remains of the day.

Mum and Dad after about ten attempts to get them both smiling, with their eyes open and exposed correctly (ooo-er). Worse than kids!

Waiting to open presents. It was a pleasant 30C.

Is that a photo of my husband smiling????????? Mum and I were the only ones to wear our Santa hats. Boys are no fun at all!Opening presents. Ignore the date. The camera was still on English time :-)

Dazed by the excess....

One of my favourite presents. My lovely dad, obviously tired of the old monitor from 2000 (yup, it's that old) on my computer which he uses to check his emails when he comes around, gave a me a 19" flat screen monitor! Now to clear off my desk sufficiently to get it all hooked up.

My other favourite present. This one came from Himself and made me well up. I am going to enjoy using these coupons. :-D

The day finished up with a visit to The Bestie and Mumford's place where we sat around a brazier drinking champagne and chatting until the wee small hours. A couple of my lovely presents there included the dvd of 'Sweet Charity' from the Bestie's Mum and Dad and the first season of 'Stargate:sg1' on dvd from the Bestie and Mumf. I am a sucker for a sci-fi series!

Today, Boxing Day, has been hot, hot, hot and we spent the morning down at the yacht club setting up for Registration tomorrow when all the interstate boats arrive and have to be measured, weighed and approved for racing, which starts on Sunday. On Monday the Baby Angel returns and on Tuesday my Baby Sister and her kids arrive! All this in between manning the desk each morning before the races and getting the preparations for the Presentation Dinner finalised.

Never a dull moment!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with families and friends.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Their Children's Hell Will Slowly Go By

Although this blog has degenerated into a litany of my inability to inspire budding mathematicians, the woes of step parenting and the occasional limerick, its original purpose was as a forum to discuss the issue of assertive parenting: The Flaming Sword.

To reiterate: parenting is work; it is the most important work you will ever do. It is only vaguely different to basic army training where you, the parent are the sergeant major and the children are the unruly troops. Remember 'An Officer and A Gentleman'? 'Private Benjamin'? 'Top Gun'? Remember the hideous, unfeeling drill sergeants? Remember how the recruits/troops resented them until the graduation ceremony where they grudgingly admitted they wouldn't have made it without them?

Kind of like parenting.

Children come to us with no life experience. They come to us trusting that we will care for them, provide for them and protect them and all too often parents let them down. With the best intentions in the world of course.

"But I want bed time to be a calm and pleasant experience for us all (key words). I'd rather not fight with him about brushing his teeth. He can always do them in the morning."
Well, explain to your 10 year old why they are having to sit through injections and drilling and even extractions because you didn't protect them from their own inexperience in the area of dental hygiene. That was your job. You were the parent.

But that's not my issue today.

"Oh, don't worry about them jumping on the sofa, it's only an old one, we don't mind," this from another friend as we came upon our respective two year old children trashing her lounge room. Sure. Let's not say a word. Let's not inform them that many, if not MOST people would be very unhappy about them using their best sofa as a trampoline, cause after all, at two, how do you discriminate between a sofa you can jump on and one you can't? They don't have that life experience. We do. We do not do them a service by withholding information about social norms
which could result in embarrassment, guilt and humiliation.

That's not what I want to talk about today either.

'Why do you buy your daughter a toy or a chocolate bar every time we leave the supermarket?' I asked my friend once (I wasn't being interfering, the problem was she also bought MY daughter one each time......)
"Well, " she looked around helplessly, searching for the words, "well, 'cause I love her so much and I want her to be ... happy."

Happy? Let me finish the sentence for you (because now I am being interfering), because you want her to love you back and you are unsure whether that would ever happen without the provision of bribes.

But even that's not my issue today.

Today I want to tell you a story about a lovely, lovely girl. Her age is indeterminate (late twenties, early thirties? who knows) but her kids are 4 and 6 and her mother must be slightly older than me. Her problem is that her two sweet children will not go to sleep.

She was tired, very tired. She works part time but long hours and she was on her own with the kids this night. They would NOT go down to sleep. She had tried everything. She had removed things, cuddled them, given 'drinks', read stories, put them back to bed and still they came out of their rooms and raced around the place in fair impersonations of whirling dervishes. Finally she admitted to me, she had the youngest one by the shoulders and was shouting into her face
Why.Won't.You.Go.To.Sleep? She was at the end of her tether.

I remember this feeling. I'm sure most of us do. It's perfectly normal. Your own exhaustion, the pressure of being everything to everybody, the seemingly malicious intent of our children to tip us over the sheer drop of sanity into the abyss of the demented shrieking harriden. The first thing any of us would do is reach for the phone.
"Mum, she's driving me crazy, she simply WON'T go to sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And so this lovely girl's mother jumped into the car and came around to her house. What a treasure. What a fantastically supportive mother to drop everything and help out her child as she struggled with the boot camp that is parenting.

Except that she took the children away to her house and put them to sleep there and the sweet and lovely girl smiled with relief in the knowledge that her children would go to sleep like angels for her mother.

What has gone wrong here?

The children have received a message. The message is this: Mummy is not really capable of putting us to bed, we have a lot of power over mummy. Grandma is another story. Grandma is strong and stern and safe and when she says bed she means bed. Which is a pretty good thing really cause come to think of it I'm pretty tired with all this running around after my bedtime...yawn.....

What could have happened.

There is nothing wrong with calling mum. There is not even anything wrong with mum coming around to give you moral support given daddy was not there but moral support goes like this.

Grandma could have:
  • watched the other child whilst mummy dealt with the more problematic one.
  • kept watch over a door while mummy put the second child to bed
  • told mummy she was doing fine, that she was a great mother and that she could get this done.
  • made cups of tea
  • made hot milk or read to the 'no longer sleep ready' children while mummy napped
  • offered another perspective
  • listened and reflected
  • hugged
Sometimes all it needs it for another face to appear around the door jamb to break you out of that desperate cycle of inability to cope.

Himself has been the devil's advocate in this story.
"You don't know what the circumstances were. You can't generalise. There may have been other things contributing...."

Perhaps. But I honestly can't think of anything other than a major health crisis which would have prevented those children going to sleep in their own beds that night. Please call me out here if you think I am being too harsh.

Our job as parents does not stop when our children have grown. It changes subtly but the tenets are still the same: don't be soft, force them to do the hard yards when they need to, encourage them (perhaps not exactly as a drill sergeant does : GET OVER THAT WALL YOU HORRIBLE LITTLE MAN :-) ......) , assure them that your love is unconditional and give them the benefit of your advice, but for the dear Lord's sake,
do NOT do it for them.

This will only lead to your child believing that they are not capable and how dare we do that to our children?

In my deepest, darkest hours when the Baby Angel was at her most difficult, and believe me she could be difficult,
my parents and my dear friends saved my sanity on many occasions, not by taking her away but by bringing us together.



"Teach your children well."
Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Let It Roll


From December 27th -January 3rd, our local sailing club will be hosting the National Championship series for NS14s.
(That's one of them in the left foreground.)
On Boxing Day we will be heading down to the beach to help 'set up' for the event.

Himself and No2 son have sailed in the Nationals twice in recent years, the first time doubling as our 'honeymoon' after we were married on December 17th. We set off on Boxing Day and drove to Lake Macquarie in NSW where we had a wonderful restful week (well, I did; they sailed everyday sometimes twice in a day!) in a gorgeous converted boathouse right on the water.


With the possible exception of having a teenage boy in the house with us, it was a perfect honeymoon. Himself got to sail to his heart's desire and I got to potter, read and socialise with other sailing spouses. A good time was had by all.

This year however, Himself is on 'The Committee'. He has worked hard all year gaining sponsorship for the event, using his many contacts to drum up raffle prizes and donations of cash and equipment. He has been involved in monthly meetings. He has artworked and produced all the print materials for the event including the race handbook which I had the misfortune of having to print on my little inkjet printer! At 20+ full colour pages per book and 50 books to be made, I went through several reams of paper and 4 colour ink cartridges not to mention having to take them into school in the holidays to use the electric heavy duty stapler! Fun.

Earlier this year when the first meeting was convened, I was unable to attend due to the Baby Angel's netball ( a pattern repeated for the rest of the year) and so I said blithely that if he wanted to put my name down for anything I was happy to help. He came home that night and announced that I was in charge of the Social Events.

What?

I had envisaged helping on the registration desk or stuffing envelopes but the whole SOCIAL CALENDAR??????

After my initial panic it became clear that this was not the massive task it had initially appeared to be, not least because the Adelaide chapter of the Association is ridiculously laid back. Their idea of a 'good time' is a beer and a packet of crisps, a $1.00 raffle and a reasonably good handicap place after the race on a Saturday afternoon. They were lukewarm about suggestions of wine and cheese tasting after the races, fun quizzes or gourmet BBQs for the opening event. Basically it was up to me to book the club caterer for the dates required and to keep my head, and the prices, down.

Scratch the gourmet BBQ.

Of course in the burgeoning tsunami that was school this year, I have done very little more towards the organisation. I attended one meeting and it was intimated to me that everything was 'under control' and perhaps all I need do was find a few seashells to decorate tables on the night. My supposed 'helper' didn't contact me and I have let things slide.

So this week, with the onset of holidays and child free time, I approached people to see what had been organised.

Not a lot apparently. But that's OK. It's all fine. Everythings under control. See Mrs X, she's got it all sorted.

Table cloths? Oh I think the club are supplying them. Ask Mrs Y.

Nope. Club's not supplying them.

Uh-huh.

Music?

Yea, I think K is bringing her laptop and we'll feed it through the plasma TV usually reserved for showing sport. No picture. Just the music through the speakers.

Part of me feels really guilty about this. The other part thinks, why should I knock myself out when noone else seems bothered? But we had such a good time at the NSW Nationals and I know how hard the committee worked and what a good show they put on; I would hate South Australia to end up looking like hicks because the committee were more interested in whether the course had two sausages and a triangle or 2 loops and a sausage than whether the sailors and their families had a great overall experience.

Fortunately, the other day I had a brainwave. The Bestie and her Beloved, The Amazing Mumford are involved with a really good band who do R&B in Blues Brothers style. I have heard them twice at a pub and on both occasions they filled the dance floor. I felt they were just what we needed to give a bit of life to an otherwise flat and starchy event. There were only two problems.
1) Were they available?
2) How much did they charge, as it was pretty evident the committee was not freely putting its hand in its pocket for any aspect of the event.

Well, the Lord is smiling because:
a) they ARE available at short notice
b) the National Association, with whom Himself has links has volunteered to foot the bill
and
c) they are only charging us half price (mate's rates) for the gig

I am soooooooo excited!

Now to organise tablecloths.

Let It Roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Some Of My Favourite People

Just because I love them.

And because my baby is away and won't be spending Christmas with me.



And because we haven't seen much of him around The Sword lately, and because I am so proud that he went sailing with his dad for the first time yesterday even though he was really scared...and did GREAT! He was a natural apparently!

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far....

I wrote this post the other night and didn't finish it. I also forgot about it! So here is a retrospective.....

It's 2am and I should be in bed but I've got things on my mind.

Tonight was our school's Presentation Night and it was kind of underwhelming. Funny, I mean, it had all the ingredients to be a great night; but instead I came out demoralised and with a greater understanding of what we're 'up against'.

To whit: Presentation nights are meant to be 'formal affairs', right? So what possessed an entire phalanx of parents and siblings to arrive with party hooters and tonsils worthy of the trombone section of the Sydney Symphony?????

As each unfortunate relative made the long walk across the stage for their obligatory handshake, a chorus of hooting and hollering broke out to rival the Grog Squad at a North Adelaide FC
Grand Final. Unfortunately for the next poor, lost soul, the deafening silence was humiliation personified.
Even after the Deputy Principal asked everyone to hold applause until the last of the group had been announced, these parents carried blithely onwards, their orgy of exhibitionism culminating in the words "CONGRATS CLASS OF 2008" being held up on cards like something from an Olympic Opening Ceremony or a Kindergarten class.

At the end of the day, if the parents won't do what the teaching staff ask, why are we surprised when the kids won't?

Friday, 19 December 2008

Sheepish Thanks

Many thanks to all of you who voted for my limerick. At last look we had it stitched up folks :-D

A Free Man was a bit put out by my methods but I have seen many people do this kind of thing before so it must be OK.

I will leave you to decide which Level of Kohlberg's Theories of Moral Development fits that reasoning :-)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Unashamed Begging

A Free Man has nominated me in his Christmas Limerick contest!
How exciting! I never win anything!

Now the idea was to write an Anti-Christmas limerick which I initially refused to do, writing instead this little ditty:

When planning your Christmas affaire
If you offer the Free Man a chair
Know, his tedious whinge
On our annual binge
Will dispel all goodwill, so beware!

Pretty good I thought. Clever use of rhyme. Good message.

But he will go on and on and eventually I had to admit that there are things about Christmas in Australia that I do not particularly enjoy so I submitted an entry which adhered to the rules.

There are 5 finalists to choose from and a stack of music to win so please, please, please dear and loyal readers, click on over to his post and VOTE for ME!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Birthday, Birthday Oh What Fun

Yesterday was my birthday. I have the dubious pleasure of being born exactly 10 days before Christmas. It is a crap time to have a birthday.

But..

This year my birthday started a little early as Mum and Dad arrived from the UK last week for their annual summer down south. As if their presence wasn't present enough, Dad and I played out a scene first performed when I was 12 and oft repeated throughout my life.

Dad: I've got a new camera so, do you want this one?
Me: Yes. Please. Thank you.
Dad: Don't leave this one in a Wimpy Bar. (That's what happened to the first one he gave me)

In fact, I can think of only one camera I have owned which I bought myself and that is the one which took this slightly out of focus shot.

Yes folks, my Dad has given me a digital SLR! It only has one lens and is greatly inferior to the new one he has purchased but let's face it, it walks all over my Sony Cybershot 3.2 megapixel point and shoot. It walks all over it and then it sits down and rotates. Unfortunately, he has lost the cord which connects it to the computer for downloads. "That's OK," he says" You can just put the card in your card reader."

I don't have a card reader.

Consequently you will all have to wait for photos of quality to appear, right here at 'The Flaming Sword'. Knowing my photographic abilities, you will have to wait some time.

Next in the pre-birthday gift line-up came this present from the Baby Angel. She went off to Sydney on Sunday to spend Christmas with her Dad for the first time ever (more on that later) and as she was going to miss my birthday she gave me this before she left.

There is so much I want to say about this.

Here are the things I love about my daughter.

Everything.

Here are the things she is good at.

People.
Netball.
Running.
Swimming.
Baking.
Drawing.
Operating electronic devices.
Encouragement.
Writing stories.
Taking responsibility.
Being independent.
(and this is just the tip of the iceberg)

Here are the areas where she is challenged.

Handwriting.
Craft.

I think when you have your children, especially same sex children, you expect them to inherit many of your character traits as well as your physical appearance. Thus it comes as a shock when they do not share your love of something. This is how it is with the BA and I.

I love craft; I sew, I knit, I embroider, I cross stitch, I hand paint things, I scrap book, I love craft (I rarely have time for it anymore but I love it nonetheless).
The BA does not like craft. We have many beautiful craft kits in the cupboard, given to her as a young girl when all girls received crafty presents for birthdays. We have T Shirt making kits, bead kits, flower fairy making kits, fimo, jewellery kits, foil art, collage kits. Who uses them?

Me. Usually for Sunday School (Kidzone) nowadays.

Then there's handwriting. Now this one I can kind of relate to. At school, when we did projects back in the seventies, girls always did the best titles and decoration. Remember bubble writing? Remember those fancy borders made of individually drawn flowers or butterflies or even, if the girl was particularly bright, related objects to the project so that a poster on indigenous people would have a carefully drawn border of boomerangs? Well, I was crap at those. I think my Mum introduced me to Letraset for this reason. Still, I was artistic and I had a sense of layout and placement on a page. Not so the BA.

It just isn't her thing. I mean, it's not that she isn't trying. She will spend hours on projects and her hand drawings are quite good.......but titles and lettering? Jaw droppingly bad. But look at the effort she has gone to! She has made me a card (craft remember), cut it all on the guillotine, stuck it together and written the most lovely message inside.

Dearest Mum! (I think the use of exclamation marks is also hereditary)

I think it must be hard having your
birthday so close to Christmas because

you might be afraid that people are too
busy or forget it! But I will never forget

my favourite person's birthday! I love you thiiiiiiis much *stretches arms as far as possible!* Luuuurve Baby Angel

In reasonably legible handwriting :-)

And here is my gift.

Is that not amazing? She made it in tech. It has a sliding lid and everything!
(there's that exclamation mark again)

It even has a message burned into the bottom.

To Mum, you're unbelievable! Happy Birthday! Love ****
So much writing on one box.
A present to be treasured for ever.

But wait. That's not all!
Because she is in Sydney and missing my birthday for the first time ever, her dad organised to send me these flowers from her.



And today I caught up with an old friend whom I've only seen twice in the last 30 years and she gave me these lovely flowers. There was also afternoon tea with another good friend I don't get to see often enough.


Finally, Mum and Dad took Himself and Myself out for dinner.

But wait.

There's more!

This morning, Himself reached down beside the bed and dropped a small, wrapped box onto my chest.
"Happy birthday," he said.Happy birthday indeed.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Boys and Sticks


As A Free Man has made reference to my theory on 'boys and sticks', I have pasted in an old entry from my bebo blog of yore.

You may remember my comments on the testosterone laden issue of young boys and sticks? To recap briefly, I am constantly amazed by the predisposition of young boys to absent mindedly pick up sticks and hit things with them, almost without seeming to know they are doing it!!! Objects for 'hitting' include trees, bushes, flowers, balls, walls, other sticks, other boys.........oh and any residue of campfire ashes within a 1km radius. It is uncanny how they find them! But I digress.

Here is evidence which confronted Himself and I as we mooned over the lovely ghost gum in our front yard recently.

Initially we thought the multiple lacerations to the trunk were caused by koalas as we had just been observing one in a neighbouring tree. Then we decided the shape of the indentation was too square to be made by something natural.

After a little close questioning it transpired that the two boys (Small Boy and his friend Two Doors Up) had taken rasps out of Dad's tool box to carve some knives (of course) and proceeded to 'hit the tree' with them, again!!!!!!! You know, sticks, rasps, whatever....

When queried they were unable to give any explanation as to why they had damaged the tree. Simple answer I believe...testosterone!!! They don't even know they're doing these things!

And also in reference to A Free Man's post, we had friends who withheld any weapon like toys from their little toddling lads. They never allowed them to watch videos with violence or fighting in them (only Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank Engine...you know the kind of thing) and yet, when at the age of two the boys were taken for a walk in the New Forest, they instinctively picked up sticks and began 'sword fighting' with them.

It's definitely in the genes.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Need Some Help?

Look at her one white whisker. I keep wanting to pluck it for symmetry.

Of late Morticia has developed dog like habits, one of which is following Himself around. Her favourite sleeping place of choice is either his office chair or his side of the bed. We think she's a nicotine addict getting a vicarious 'hit'.

She has also taken to giving herself a dirt bath in a bare patch of ground in the lawn. Must work though. Her coat is beautifully soft. :-D

Monday, 8 December 2008

Some Early Favourites From the History Exam

Q: What was The Iron Curtain?

A big metal curtain which blocks the sunlight, made of iron. Because this is a foolish idea, there was only ever one made thus dubbing it 'The' Iron Curtain.
Honestly: no idea.

(part of an essay on the Vietnam War))
Back at home, the public was getting anxious(? not sure..difficult to read). They wanted the soldiers back and were willing to fight for it. Ironic. They want peace so they'll fight for it. LOL

The Perils of Gardening

Off into the garden. It's a beautiful day; hat, sunscreen on arms, face, neck. Mustn't forget the neck! Now, have I forgotten anything? Yes, it appears I have.




And given that exactly the same thing happened last year (on a smaller scale...bad choice of T shirt yesterday) you would think I would learn!

But it wasn't even that hot yesterday! It was the length of time that was the culprit.

In my discomfort I was thinking about my childhood and my poor mother (remember sunscreen hadn't been invented yet) trying to keep me from this fate every day of every summer. It's no wonder she failed. I remember one vicious burn down in Victor Harbour in my teens, where lying on my sheets that night felt like lying on sandpaper.

So far I have only had one skin cancer removed, from the back of my index finger. I believe that one to be the result of a nasty burn when I was a year old. Mum, newly arrived from the UK, took me out for a nice walk after lunch on a mid-January day. She assiduously covered me in clothes from head to toe, not forgetting a hat [oh wicked parents of today who would send their children out without a hat, I frown on you!!! >:-( ] and popped me into a pusher complete with sunshade. But oh, the little hands clutching the front bar of the pusher....oh, oh, oh. They were fully exposed. Later that day they blistered.

So, doing a few sums, I can expect the skin cancers from my teens to start emerging within
the next ten years. Something to look forward to.

Mum and I with my sister in the offending pushchair













But something we ARE looking forward to is the arrival of Mum and Dad.......TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!


* NB: I find the formatting in blogger impossible to manipulate. It looks one way in the 'create' window, another in the preview and invariably it is completely different on the screen. gggrrrrr
Any suggestions?

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Weather Report

"What's the forecast for today," I enquired idly as I rifled through my drawers attempting to select an appropriate garment for the day.
Himself rolled over in bed and murmured something.
"Oh, you're awake, do you know what the forecast was for today?"
He didn't even open an eye.

"Mm. 13 knots."

Not quite what I had in mind.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Merry Christmas Year 10


My babies left me today.

My little band of lovable, incompetent, trying teens completed their last assignment and are on their way to year 11 and five different mainstream teachers. But that is another story. Tonight I want to talk about today.

At the end of last semester, I accosted our Principal on the futility of making these kids sit exams. Being the wise man he is, he agreed to let me organise something else for them and so it was that I found myself meeting the gang at the appointed time today, to head off for our 'practical maths' assignment/exam.

The idea was this. Visit the local Foodland with a 'task' to replace the exam, have a coffee together at the local cafe and head back to school in time for the final assembly. They were all delighted with the idea of forgoing a formal exam, but of course during the lead up to the week they all informed me that they just wouldn't bother coming in for the final excursion! I worked really hard to convince them to come and finish the term off in a positive way. I was delighted today when 7 out of 8 met me at the office after recess (the 8th was on her way to Tasmania and so could be forgiven :-)

Of course, only two had organised themselves well enough to have their signed permission notes with them!

After 20 minutes of phoning parents to get oral permission for the excursion (made all the more entertaining by the non-english speaking nature of most of the parents!) and another 5 minutes of bickering because, well...because they do that, we were off. We missed the bus of course so we hoofed it 15 minutes down the road to the local supermarket and gathered out the front to announce the task.

In pairs, they were required to 'purchase' a list of 5 items and have the total come out as close to $50.00 as possible. The items were generic and sometimes specified a size/amount and sometimes didn't, which gave a bit of flexibility. Each pair had a different list, which meant they couldn't simply copy and of course I supplied calculators.

We entered the store.

I wish I could have taken photos and put them up here today folks. Not in the least because they're all pretty good lookin' kids! But seriously, they were so funny. And so serious. And so wonderful. They took to the task with gusto. Two worked alone, there was one pair and a particularly dysfunctional trio but they all hooked into it. They were in the meat department counting sausages, in the milk cabinet comparing the cost of 2 x 2 litres or one 4 litre container, incompetently of course but they were doing it!

But you're wondering about the beans. Up the top there. Had you forgotten them?
Let me tell you about the beans.

The dysfunctional trio had to 'buy' 3 kg of green beans. Now the idea was that they might compare the price of frozen versus fresh, prepacked versus loose etc and of course the magic '3 kg' meant there would have to be some multiplication. You would think.

I came upon the 'gang' as they were hefting an overly stuffed plastic bag full of green beans onto the fruit and veg dept scales.

Me: What are you doing?
Them: We're finding 3kg of beans.
Me; Uh-huh, why don't you just look at the price and...
Them: no hush, hush Mrs A, we are in control. We know what we're doing...

Therein followed much umming and ahhing (in the text books they call this 'discussion' and claim it to be a valid teaching tool. I hope they're right) as they discovered that they had 6kg of beans and had to start tipping them back onto the display. :-) *sigh* At least they had a valid lesson in 'weights and measures'!

Finally they had 3kg of beans in the scale.
Me: So, well done for measuring out 3kg of beans how much will these beans cost?

silence.....as they realise the scales do not give them a price........

Them : (suddenly cheerful again.) Don't worry Mrs A, it's ok. We can just multiply! How much
for one kilo?

If it wasn't me in stitches it was the rest of the bemused customers in the f&v section!

All in all though they did really well. One got within 4c of the $50.00 and the worst result was 99c over...so not too bad really! But it was fascinating to realise what they didn't know. They didn't know what 'margarine' was. They didn't know how to find the 'size' of an object ie they didn't recognise the significance of kg and gs on packaging. As usual they had trouble filling in the worksheet and keeping a running total.

We followed it all up with lunch at the cafe across the road ( we'd taken longer than I'd thought to do the task of course). It cost me a fortune but it was worth it. After initial bickering they all sat begrudgingly at the same table, they all had a soft drink and some chips or wedges and they all chatted amicably for about half an hour. Remarkable.

I found out more about some of the kids and heard a little more of their amazing stories. One lad, from Liberia, was telling me how his parents were 'lost' on the Ivory Coast. Of 4 siblings, he and his sister escaped to Australia and members of the family have been joining them here, as they have been found, ever since. His mother was located this year and has rejoined the family out here (tricky after 5 years...) but dad is still missing.

As I said goodbye to them at the end of the day, they thanked me, genuinely, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

"Be the Best you can be," I urged them, "Don't let anyone take you down the wrong road. I have great faith in you all!"

They laughed and waved cheerfully at me as they went off to assembly.

"Sure thing Mrs A, Merry Christmas"

Merry Christmas indeed Year 10. Thank you for one of the most entertaining and frustrating years of my life.



image credit

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Don't Blink: Everything Changes


Sometimes the world is changing even as you are looking at it and yet, somehow, maybe because you crave the status quo, you don't register the metamorphosis which is taking place under your nose.

Now I know, intellectually, that my Bestie is experiencing great change in her life. After a disappointing marriage, she has spent many years on her own and as she (like me) enters the twilight of her forties, she had all but given up hope of EVER meeting Mr Right.

To be honest, her requirements were tricky to fulfill. He had to be clever. She is VERY clever. He had to be funny. She loves to be entertained. He had to be secure around a strong woman. He had to be educated, cultural.....he had to appreciate her and her work.

Well (I'm sure you can hear this coming) she finally found him in the middle of the year! He is an entertainer, magician, juggler, comedian etc etc. He also works in film and television and cooks a mean lasagne. He has moved in.

All of this is more than fine and I KNOW he has moved in.....but.........I was still taken aback today as I phoned her to see if we were 'on' for the night. A male voice spoke forth from the answering machine. Male. On the answering machine.

The times they are a changing.

Wordless Wednesday: Old School Tie


Sunday, 30 November 2008

A Bit Taken Aback

Wow. I'm a bit blown away because it seems our fantastic night out at The Vines a few weeks back, was the last show they did before lead singer, Craig Nicholls, suffered another Asperger's related breakdown! He was unable to fly out of Adelaide to make the Perth gig the following night, due to flight induced anxiety, and since then all further appearances have been canceled.

Was it something we said?

Saturday, 29 November 2008

....Are Doomed To Repeat It.....

Boy 1: "Yeah, but like why do we have to learn things like Ancient Rome and stuff? When are we ever going to use that? I mean unless you're going to be a museum curator or a historian or something and like, that's not very likely is it?"

Boy 2 (M)"Yeah Mrs A, we should be learning stuff about TODAY. About the issues that are happening now, that will affect us in the future, why can't we learn about THAT??"

Thusly went part of a conversation between students and teacher in a Geography lesson on Friday afternoon.

This one Geography lesson a week has been the bane of my existence this year. It is the 'worst' Year 10 class; straight after lunch on a Friday; they're not really my class, I simply babysit them once a week for their extremely talented and popular male teacher who has another class at that time and we differ in our expectations of what they should actually do in a single Geography lesson on a Friday afternoon. They think they should do nothing. I disagree.

As you can imagine, a significant portion of the boys in the class (and a significant proportion of the class are boys) see this lesson as an opportunity to have a little fun with the teacher. At the beginning of the year, the bell would go at 1.40pm and by 2.00pm I had maybe 2/3 of the class present. The rest (we shall call them 'The Reprobates'*) would straggle in, sans books, pencils and work ethic and proceed to clatter loudly though the room to the back row, prop their chairs up against the back wall and put their feet up. When quizzed on their lateness they would look me straight in the eye and say, "We were looking for our books in our lockers." The fact that they were all wet through from an obvious water fight in the toilets was neither here nor there.

After a few weeks of detentions where they had to write out the importance of coming to class on time, I had cured most of their lateness but rubbed their 'attitude' up into a veritable static storm of resentment. They crackled as they entered the room.

I further endeared myself to them by beginning to escort them to their next lesson as it became evident that they used the 45 sec walk from one classroom to another to visit the toilet, locker, drinking fountain, squabble, water fight or disappear off into the bowels of the school never to return. The end of last term saw an escalation in the resentment as I gave several detentions for reading manga comics in class and talking during 'silent time' (don't ask, it's a school tradition).

The manga comics incident was one of those headshaking moments. I noticed, as the rest of the class were discussing the current Australian water crisis, a young man in the front row, head down, absorbed in his reading. He wasn't even trying to hide it. When asked to hand over the book he was outraged.
"But it's not mine! He (points) lent it to me."

Later, as others were answering written questions I tackled him on the issue.
"What makes you think that it is in any way acceptable to be sitting in class reading a comic?"
"Well, I didn't have my textbook or my exercise book so I couldn't do any work, so I might as well."

Aaaaaanyway, I digress (now there's a surprise). To some degree it was a difficult class for the kids too as I was not their regular teacher and relied upon him to give me the work for them to complete. He usually did this about 30secs before I walked into the classroom so I was left playing catch-up and could not always answer all their questions, not that The Reprobates had any intention of asking any, well not intelligent ones anyway. Their questions usually had ulterior motives like trying to trick me into saying something that would get me into trouble with the ultra conservative Christian School Board.

In the second to last week of term their teacher was on a course and had not left me any work (horror) so I visited the Library and found an animated film about life in space after the Earth had been destroyed; Titan AE or something. Do you think The Reprobates could manage to let me get it up and running without incident? Of course not. Granted they probably didn't know what the film was and may have assumed an old frump like me was going to force them to watch a documentary on endangered marsupials in the Amazon, but their deliberate group singing over the top of my introduction tried my otherwise sunny countenance and I sent one of them outside.

Once the rest had shut up and were watching the film I went out to see my little friend and discuss his behaviour. He was arrogant and rude in the extreme and rather than engage in a fruitless power struggle I suggested he just go straight to the Focus Room. He was irate!

"You can't send me to the Focus Room! You haven't given me a warning yet! School rules say you have to warn me, move me and THEN send me out! You didn't even warn me or move me!"

"I think you've had enough warning already mate," I reasoned," You've had three terms worth of warnings, you know what is expected of you."

"Ah! But every lesson should be a fresh start. We get our warnings all over again every lesson."

"But you don't give me a fresh start every lesson."

This slowed him for a moment.

"Yes, but you're the teacher, you should lead by example."

"M, I have tried time and time again to give you a fresh start. I speak to you civilly in the yard. I ask how you're going and you cut me dead."

"But there's a line between being a teacher and a friend you know."

"I'm not trying to be your friend. I am trying to be pleasant and civil but you boys, when you come into this class carry every detention you've ever received with you. You walk in the door in attack mode and you never give me a fresh start. Why should I give you one?"

There was a momentary silence.

"Well, I'm sorry about that."

Pardon? Did I hear him correctly? Did he just apologise????

"That's alright M. If you can sit out here quietly for a moment I'll see if I can let you back in the classroom."

**********************************************************************
He was indeed able to re-enter the classroom and although I am not saying he is a radically changed young man, he has at least given the whole thing some thought. This was evidenced by this week's lesson and the conversation with which I opened the post.

This week I had given up any hope of getting any work out of them. They had the list of revision questions to attempt and I had made it clear that I was available to help if they needed me but I was b******d if I was going to knock myself out on a Friday afternoon on the week before exams. I sat with a group of kids looking at the questions, trying to decide what a 'scattergraph' was, when M and his two friends called to me across the aisle with their question about History.

To begin with, it was difficult to ascertain whether they were simply being malicious, having a 'go' at a subject they know I teach, but I decided to try the 'fresh start' principle and engage in the discussion rather than attempting to steer them back onto Geography questions they had no intention of completing.

Firstly, I felt it necessary to point out that if they wanted a subject which dealt with current issues, things that would affect their future, then Geography is it. After all, the current topic is Environmental Issues!
They kind of acknowledged this but pushed it aside as they continued on with their rant against History.

"I mean, what's the point of learning about Ancient Egypt?"

"I thought most kids liked learning about ancient Egypt?"

"Well, yeah, that was quite interesting BUT other History topics, what use are they?"

"Hmm, you mentioned Ancient Rome. What happened to it? Why did it collapse? It got too big didn't it? And what is happening to our world economy today? It's got so large and interdependent that if one large economy falters it affects us all. We're seeing that now."
(I know this is a pretty loose interpretation but I was going for impact here)

"Yes, yes, yes, but we should be looking to predict things about the future. I mean, why aren't we talking about Mumbai?"

"Well, do you know the History of Mumbai? Of India? Do you know what the attackers are protesting about?

Back and forward we went. He led himself into it. "The reason you are able to 'make predictions' about things," I suggested, " is because you have seen things happen in the past and you have learned from them. That is History!"

The conversation then ran from 9/11 to North Korea to East Timor to the Middle East. I pointed out to them that if they wanted to talk about these things they had to be in possession of the facts ie history; if only to ensure that they are pleasant and intelligent dinner table companions!!

"So knowing all this stuff is just about social life really?" asked M.

"That, and impressing an employer you are a well educated, well rounded individual."

" I still don't see why we have to learn things that we're not going to use!"

"Well, " I foolishly began," that's a very 15 year old point of view. You really don't have any idea just yet what you will use in life or work in the future. "

M looked at me attentively and was obviously considering this proposition. His mate however couldn't leave it alone.

"Are you saying we're childish???? At least we don't wear bright pink mickey mouse ipods. That's like what an eight year old does!!!!!!!!!!!" The other two looked at him as if he were mad.

I couldn't decide whether I was disappointed that he was still on his previous 'get the teacher agenda' or pleased that the other two weren't. I decided to go for humour.

"Oh! Ow, ow!" I feigned extreme pain," Cuts deep mate! Touche."

This time all three of them were looking at me.
"What the hell is 'touche'?"

*sigh* I guess I've still got a long way to go in the teenage boy/teacher relationship stakes.



*Reprobate: I have just checked the definition of this favoured word and found it to mean, as I intended, an 'unprincipled person'; but more co-incidentally, in Christian Theology(archaic) it apparently means 'predestined for damnation'!!!!!! My, my.

Image Credits

roman coin

globe

tin of paint

Thursday, 27 November 2008

You Just Stand There Looking Cute

I have posted on the awesome Ton Lehrer before and when the erudite Ray at Nitro Vista produced this post, I was catapulted immediately into a Google search for videos of his famous "Hunting Song". Tom's, not Ray's.

Now, You Tube is a wunnerful thang. I have rediscovered many delightful things there which have brought back memories but I have also seen other things for which I wasn't prepared.
(Thanks to Chris at Formerly Fun for the heads up on that little beauty.)

Tom Lehrer's wonderful satire on the deer hunting tradition in the US was a favourite of mine as a child and I remember singing along enthusiastically with my father,
"....and a pure. bred. Guernsey. coooooooooow......."

This was the best version I could find on the tube as there doesn't seem to be one of Tom performing it himself. Have a watch and then take a look at this one.

Now, I could be wrong and maybe I'm being judgemental, but I wonder if this gentleman has missed the point? Maybe not! Maybe his deadpan delivery is comic genius too subtle for my narrow middle class mind?

Having said that, I did laugh. A lot.

What do you think?

Edited to add: OK I've just re watched it and I think maybe he is a genius.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Marking Reports Marking Reports More Marking...

Well now I have officially blown NaBloPoMo. I skipped a day.

To tell the truth it hasn't been going as well as I'd hoped. There seems to be so much else going on and so little time to construct well thought out posts like so many of the bloggers I admire. I guess I will just have to face the fact that I am not a well thought out person anymore, if I ever was.

Yesterday we had the last of the History oral presentations on Vietnam. The marking criteria had pointed out that reading huge slabs of notes off Powerpoint presentation did not constitute an 'oral' so most of them ditched Powerpoint and read huge slabs of notes off cue cards instead. They did not seem to see the problem with this.

"But Miss....they were on CUE cards!!!!!"

One fellow produced a speech suspiciously similar to that of a girl we'd heard the day before. Hello, I thought to my clever self. It sounds like they have downloaded this directly off the same website, but no. He had merely pinched her cue cards out of her locker.

Zero for that then.

At least he was honest when challenged. Well, he could hardly lie. The cue cards were constructed of pale pink paper beautifully mounted onto flowery card.

Right, off to write more perceptive and meaningful report comments which start with

'X is a delightful, enthusiastic pupil.....'

move onto

'however, X would benefit from.....'

and finish with

'I wish X every success for Year 11.'

Last time, my scintillating vocabulary had them all lining up to see me after the holidays.

"Miss, what does flippant mean? You wrote it on my report."
"Penchant.....what did you mean I have a penchant for loud humour...?"

Hell. Look at the time. These things are due at 9am.

Byeeeeeeeeeeeee

Monday, 24 November 2008

reports marking reports marking exams reports marking

reports reports reports reports reports reports reports reports reports reports reports
marking marking marking marking marking marking marking marking marking marking

Himself: Could you do a voice over for me?


It's midnight.

I can't really say no as he sat up until 3.45am with me the other morning doing a slide presentation for church :-(

He's a sweetheart.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

No Woman Is an Island....Although Some Of Us Regularly Experience Shipwrecks.


So don't laugh at my island drawing. It's tricky to get worksheets of this nature and it's sometimes easier just to throw one together.

Now, apart from the obvious lack of style, talent and CAD software, my Year 10s took to this quite well considering they had struggled significantly with the original task.

The questions asked them to summarise a trip around the island keeping a running total of the distance travelled. After a few more factual questions they were presented with the last, somewhat creative exercise.

"If you were planning to build a road on the island, where would you build it"

This sent several of the pupils in the group into a state of near tail spin but it is only my favourite response that we shall examine here.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

M: Mrs A Mrs A, I don't know what to do here.

Me: Have you read the instructions?

M: No

Me: (sighs) well, lets read.

"Where would you build a road on the island?"

M: What do you mean by 'build a' road?

Me: On your map. Draw where you think a road would go.

(panic sets in)

M: (quivering hysterically, voice rising to a shriek) But I don't KNOW where the road would go.

Mrs A: Hush, its not that hard. You could put a shortcut in or you could look and see where there are no roads.

M :(finding and indicating an area on the map.)

Mrs A: Well done.

M: but what do I WRITE???????????

Mrs A: Let's draw the road in first and then it's easier to write about whatever you do.

At this point M picked up her pencil and drew this.

One of the other pupils was walking past at this point and upon seeing the road he burst into hysterical laughter and hooted,
"Girl! What kind of a lame road is THAT?????"


Me: (attempting to stifle more hysterical laughter) M, it is customary for a road to start somewhere and go somewhere else.

She did see the funny side in the end but really, I ask you!? We make a lot of assumptions about our pupil's knowledge don't we?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Where was I?

Ah yes..... I think I fell asleep over that last post. What I was going to say was

....bathroom in the new guest room clean in time for the BA's dad coming to stay.

Well, that didn't quite go to plan. Having fallen asleep at an early hour and slept until 7.30am ( my Sat morning sleep in!!!!) the BA and I flew down to the airport at 8.20am to pick up her dad. Needless to say, very little got done in between 7.30 and 8.20 although I did manage to get the piles of under wear on the kitchen table put away :-). As a result, after greeting him and picking up his hire car, I insisted that the two of them go have coffee or something whilst I dashed home to clean.

Now bear in mind that this bathroom of which I speak is attached to the room which No2 Son inhabited for 2 and a half years. You all saw the state of the room; now imagine if you will the state of the bathroom.

I got back from the airport at around 10.40am and I have just finished the bathroom now at 12.55pm.

All articles used in the cleaning of said bathroom are to be burned.

I have to say though, that there was one pristine item in that bathroom before I commenced my attack, and I mean pristine! It was the toilet brush.

Stands to reason really.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Snnnnoooorrreee

I have to tell you about something that happened in maths today but I am so tired that this is all I will manage.

It is a very funny tale but I'll tell you tomorrow!
Meanwhile I have to get the

Thursday, 20 November 2008

NaBloPoMo 9: Movement at the Station

I am struggling with the diary.

A lot of the first few weeks include irate phone calls with the BA's Dad who was back in Australia at the time dealing with the legalities of our divorce. Other entries note her development in minute detail which is probably not overly exciting reading for anyone other than her Grandmother and I. So I will scoot forward a bit to notable events that can be accompanied by pictures. Hope there's something of interest in this for somebody apart from my family and I!! :-)

Tuesday 25th July 1995

Recall Sunday 16th July

She held her head up properly for the first time whilst lying on her stomach. This was a definite first because she hadn't been able to do it the day before. Much excitement and videoing ensued.










Grandad (my dad) bought a stuffed dog which a little girl at the checkout determined should be named 'Bobby'!










Monday 24th July

Today she grabbed the beads strung across her pram with two hands and very deliberately pulled them towards her mouth. Is this 'reaching for a toy' as noted in baby books?
She is also doing a lot of back arching whilst on the floor- putting both feet flat and lifting her bottom right up! On her stomach she makes crawling movements with her feet and wriggles herself forward on her tummy but she hasn't got her hands co-ordinated yet. She has been dribbling prodigiously for some time now. Blows bubbles and says 'ah boo'. She is now 11 weeks old.

August 3rd 1995

We've just had a 5 day 'break' in Leeds. The weather has been STIFLING. 30c+ everyday with minor relief in the evening. UK houses are just not designed for heat. They RETAIN it!
All in all it was a bit of a nightmare trip with the BA being very hard to settle - back to feeding to settle her again. We went to Manchester on Tuesday night to meet A's family and she was quite put out when his nieces wanted to cuddle and play with her. She showed a definite dislike for all the attention, which was a real first. When we got to the restaurant (The Badde Ladde), she was very awkward, awake but tired, wouldn't settle after a feed- had to be walked by Mum for about 20 mins b4 she went off. She slept all the way back to Leeds but woke up as soon as I took her out of her car seat and was really distressed when I wouldn't feed her again. She went to sleep eventually in the carry cot and it was, when she woke up AGAIN that I watched her roll over and take her arm out from under herself!!!!!! 12 weeks old!!!!!!
Since then she has been perfecting the technique and did it immediately I put her on the floor at Sarah's today. She also definitely reached for ger cow and when she took it from me it went straight to her mouth!! She is less able to let go, tends to drop thing accidentally I think.

Friday 28th we had a lovely night at Wilton House where we saw the Bournemouth Sinfonietta playing out in the open. It was great. Mum and I had KFC and a bottle of champagne. The BA lay in her pram and listened to the music while I shuggied her. Later there were fireworks and it had got quite cool so she had the funny little hat on that Mary Ann had sent. She looked so funny as she gravely observed all the fireworks. She didn't flinch once as they banged (although I did have my hands over her ears).

Now we're home I'll have to work on settling her without feeding. She is becoming very demanding and I can't socialise without dashing off to feed, rock or sing her. (this is so funny to read now) I think this is bad. A rod for my own back.


(There's the beads she was reaching for)

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

This morning I woke up after a terrible nightmare in which the pupils had ganged up on me.

I have been feeling very demoralised with student attitudes of late. There is this constant power struggle going on in the classroom and I for one don't even want to play the game.


Some of the bright lads in my History class wage this constant war of oneupmanship; the 'Get One Over On The Teacher' game. This involves; jumping on me if I accidentally trip over a word, loudly pointing out typos or inconsistencies in worksheet questions; challenging me over pedantic definitions (is a pilot a soldier since he kills people and goes to war? is Scotland a country?) etc etc etc


So it was with a dark heart, still brushing the cobwebs of the dream off my shoulders that I fronted my Year 10 Maths class today. Adding inconvenience to my black mood was the fact that we have classroom changes due to Year 11 exams. This means I have to cart all my equipment, calculators, tables folders, whiteboard markers, OHPs etc across the school to another room where I find I have brought the wrong set of folders or forgotten to bring the rulers and pencils. (after all, why would the kids bring them????)


For some reason, I think because only a few made it to school on time today and the classroom was comfortingly empty, we started having a discussion about life, exams, future study options and the like. The conversation got around to hating school and of course hating teachers. Teachers are stupid/mean/unreasonable etc. Names were named.

One particular colleague came in for a bit of a hammering with descriptions of her inflexibility and hardline manner. This is always difficult and I in no way encourage this kind of discussion of the staff but they were most insistent in this case and in the midst of my protests and attempts to change the subject, one of my most problematic pupils announced..

"No, but Mrs A, she's not like you. We know you care about us. With you, even when we've had a big argument or something, you go home over the weekend and calm down and when we see you again it's like a fresh start. You don't hold it against us. But with her, she doesn't forget and next time you see her she's still mad with you...."

Now, if the Lord could have sent me any gift today, any assurance that something I was doing was getting through to them, it could not have been any more perfect than this statement from this pupil.

I managed to steer the topic off my unfortunate colleague and onto the power of prayer and how much of it is needed to wipe the slate clean every weekend and bring me back to these kids, optimistic and accepting. We went on to do some revision on the Virtual Road Trip which some of them remembered and could almost complete independently. All in all it was a most satisfactory and tranquil lesson. The answer to prayer really.

Of course, the year 9s after lunch were revolting and it was back to reality but for a brief moment there it was all worthwhile.


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

3 Days 0 Hours 20 Minutes

56th position.
Oh yes!
Burning up the briny now!!!!!!!

My Daughter the Fish

Yuh see that little tiny baby back there? There little tiny, tiny one in my arms?

Well...........

Today she won the Year 8 freestyle, the Year 9 backstroke, and was the final swimmer in the successful year 9 and year 10 freestyle relay teams. She is a pan-year group swimmer!!!!! She is also a fish! Not bad for a kid who hasn't done any swimming training in over a year!

I am so proud but I don't have a single photo to show for it because I am a working mother and I NEVER get to see her in sports and swimming carnivals!!!!!!!!! >:-(
But I am still soooooo proud.

Unfortunately her smallish school does not enter any participants in the inter school swimming carnival :-( Damn shame really. She could do well.

And to whom does she owe her training?????
Errrrr.......not me.........I am having enough trouble there treading water :-)

2 Days 9 Hours 20 Minutes

90th position!
And he's about to go to another power move...it's 6.50am. I had to wake him up specially.....

Monday, 17 November 2008

Volvo Great Ocean Race: Leg Two

This second leg started on Saturday night around 9.30pm. We were at a party at the time but Himself had made sure to bring his laptop so that he could start on the gun! Seventeen minutes late (he couldn't establish an internet connection through his phone) he started off from Cape Town en route to Cochin in India via Mauritius. At least it generated some party chat.

He is now in 156th position in a field of 67 000 boats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a pity he doesn't make money from this.

NaBloPoMo 8: Arrival and Outings


Friday May 12th 1995

Just writing quickly to say we're home!!!

The Baby Angel, born Monday 8th May, 8.06pm, 50th Anniversary of VE Day.
Weighing 7lb 8 1/4 oz.

She was a 'water baby' and the 40th baby delivered by the Alpha Midwifery Lead Care Team.
(ed: thank God for the Alpha Team!!!!)

Will write more about the experience later. Tonight: sore, tired, nervous(?), overwhelmed with love and the magnitude of caring for her. Having just established hospital routines we now have to start all over again with new 'home' routines! A challenge.

(ed: note I didn't get home til the Friday! That doesn't happen too much nowadays. They seem to boot you out as soon as possible. I really valued the few days to settle down, rest and recover with expert advice on hand.)

Friday 26th May 1995

Well, just as I arrived in the UK on my birthday last year, so The Bestie has arrived here on hers! She and A got here around 10.45am just as the washing machine and the downstairs toilet packed it in!! Mum and Dad were on their way out to a wedding in France. Mum has been stressing all week over what to wear and the fact that she doesn't want to go, however she seemed in good spirits this morning.

Must go off now for a snooze.

June 5th 1995

The Bestie and A have been and gone. It was nice having them-my intro back into the "real" world. The BA was really good and only had one horrid night/morning, Sunday 4am- Monday 11am. I was exhausted. She also managed to give me a hickey as I tried to settle her on my chest and she latched on....to my neck! I got the giggles and couldn't prise her off so the resultant bite was black! :-D

Went to Leeds with The Bestie and A on Weds 31/5/95. Our first big car trip. She was very good. She was awake for a lot of the trip just looking at me and the teddies over her pram cot. We had been to Stonehenge the day before in the car but she was in her car seat that time. She was VERY good.

Other outings include:
First trip to Alldays (a convenience store) 18/5/95. Learned two things; never go out without a rain cover AND Bassett is not a pram friendly area. No ramps on kerbs and very dangerous road crossings.

21/5/95
Greek BBQ at Middle Sis' (aka Auntie L) place. DELICIOUS food! Had haloumi cheese and retsina. Walked around Shirley (a suburb) with Auntie L and B-I-L(aka Uncle J) who pushed the pram. That was a sight to see!!!! (J is over 6 foot and very lanky).

23/5/95
Shopping to Portswood. She slept in the sling. Very good. Slept all the way through.

28/5/95
Pub lunch at the Bush Inn at Ovington. Did the biggest, messiest nappy yet. Went everywhere. Had to change her in the boot of the car, tights off and all! Even went onto the pram sheet :-(


Today (5th) and last 2 days, she has discovered her hands. Fixes eyes on them over her head and then brings them towards her face, following with her eyes.


(Picture: On the bridge at Ovington with Auntie L and A.)

Grrrrrrrr

I am so sick of breaking up fights. Why do they always have to brawl in front of me????

Sunday, 16 November 2008

NaBloPoMo 7: Still Waiting


May 1st 1995

One week overdue. Eugh. I feel like an eggbound duck. I can't get around much as the pressure is uncomfortable. Tomorrow is the cervical sweep. Roll on. I feel "bunged up".

May 6th

Still no baby.

Tuesday; has the cervical sweep. Anne said the cervis was still right up behind the babies head-not thinned out at all! Depression. :-(
Wednesday; Anne visited and we discussed all possibilities including how to make inductionless traumatic.
Thursday: tried acupuncture. I feel it did some good although I don't know what. No immediate results. Had left over curry for lunch and went for a walk with Mum around the Sports Centre. Lots of Braxton-Hicks but nothing else.

Friday: Active Birth. Everyone said "Oh no!. You're not STILL here!!!!" Went up to the ward to see Anne who had another look and said the cervix had definitely thinned out a bit but there was no dilation yet. :-(
So it's Saturday and I'm still waiting.
Other events this week....
Dad's department underwent TQA and received an 'excellent'.

Middle Sis and B-I-L went to Corfu. I visited the home of one of the girls from Active Birth.

We're going to Exbury Gardens tomorrow with
B & B...then into Princess Anne Hospital for prostin pessaries on Sunday night and "the drip" on Monday!!! Oh dear- I am nervous. Still, I should have her by Tuesday. HOORAY!!

Pictures: (above) Enjoying my last day of life being responsible only for myself. Exbury Gradens were particularly beautiful that year, on that day. Check out the reflections here. I remember we heard a cuckoo too that day. My first.

That is me in the middle of the picture below, looking like I have a pillow down my front!! My smile here belies the nerves I was feeling about the coming 24 hours.