Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 30 May 2008


And her most recent trick is running full pelt into the glass door...........

Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Further Adventures of Morticia

Every time Himself says "That cat nearly died!" I brace myself.

Last night's story involved our balcony. Granted it is only a first story balcony so we are not talking apartment skyscraper here but it is a significant enough drop to reduce a watermelon to a slick, pink puddle, a feat achieved by No 2 Son for his photography course a few years ago.

Now Himself is a cigar smoker (I know, I know but what can you do?) and often retires onto the balcony next to his work station for a thoughtful puff whilst working. It is an ideal spot for him as he can still see his computer screens through the glass door and he can quietly contemplate his designs from a distance as he gets his nicotine 'hit'. [BUT I DON'T INHALE! yes, yes dear but do you not think it odd that you have not craved a cigarette since you 'stopped' smoking?]

Of course, going out onto the balcony involves opening the door and as we have previously discussed, kittens can be very fast movers, especially when they sense escape from their three room prison is imminent. As Himself tells it, she shot through the door without even a pause to sniff her new surroundings and leapt straight through the bars of the railings seemingly into oblivion.

Except that he caught her. By the tail.

Apparently her front legs were dangling over the edge and he had hold of her tail and some portion of her haunches.
"And she scratched me!" he exclaimed. "Even though I SAVED HER LIFE!!!!!"

I didn't like to point out that as a cat, and a small one at that, she would probably have survived the drop. It seemed cruel to detract from his perceived act of heroism and the obvious pride that this engendered. Anyway, he had prevented her from going AWOL which would have been a more serious problem as she has yet to be vaccinated or speyed! Which reminds me, must phone the vet.......

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

News From the Salt Mines

What with all the school related things I have been doing recently, as well as the day to day drudgery of housework and keeping the BA on task with her homework and assignments, I don't seem to have much to blog about. Having said that, I keep thinking of things to offer commentary upon and then find that I have no time to do them justice in between designing the next idiot proof worksheet (there is no such thing.....) and marking the next pile of demoralisingly bad maths tests.

More copious quantities of time are apportioned to petting and training Morticia (NOT on the table M, get off my leg, stop climbing the vertical blinds etc etc etc) so that I have barely picked up a camera of late. The shot on the right was my only decent capture of the week and was going to be my Best Shot Monday except that I totally missed Monday in a flurry of sleeping and searching the internet for more worksheets on negative numbers. *sigh*

Anyway, it's not that great a shot but I did like it because I caught her in natural light so she didn't end up with Devil Cat red-eye. It's quite a nice shot of her ginger 'eyebrow' too.

In fact, she has totally captivated the whole household, with the notable exception of Pippin, the big cat. He spent 45 minutes this morning growling at her in an unhappy, cat like way as she persisted in stalking him, springing vertically up at him and then running away. I expected him to swipe her at any minute but he just kept up this low, monotonous caterwaul and backed off a few more paces every time she leaped. She just did NOT take a hint. In the end, sensing his growing agitation and aware that she may come to a swift and violent end if I pushed my luck very much further, I put him out. I am hoping that continued exposure to each other will break down the barriers but that currently seems a long way off.

Meanwhile, back at school we have had the annual Open Evening which is, according to the staff handout, a Big Deal and required an entire day without lessons to 'set up'. This brought up an interesting observation for me. Who knew being a teacher was actually a popularity contest?

You see, kids are obliged to give an hour or two of their time during the preparation day to help a teacher. This help can involve; pinning up posters, cleaning desktops, constructing displays or making explanatory signs on the computer. Alternately they may be appearing in the performances during the evening or manning stalls and classroom displays throughout the 3 hour extravaganza. For a few weeks prior to the event the teachers, armed with green 'roster' sheets, endeavour to enlist the help of reluctant students. This seems to involve a great deal of begging and cajoling even though the numbers of students far outstrip the numbers of teachers nevertheless, well before the day, many teachers had hordes of willing volunteers signed up to help. Not me though. Maths is not a subject which inspires a great degree of love or loyalty.

Despite my requests, nay pleading, for volunteers, my roster was bare. All over the school pupils busily assisted teachers in the Music, PE, Drama and even History areas (as they constructed a trench from World War One). My room was empty. In the classroom next door, the German teacher had about 15 kids lining up to help!! Can you imagine how demoralising that is? But wait! What is that smell? That delicious aroma emanating from Das Deutschzimmer?? Turns out she was offering hot chocolate and cookies! I obviously have a lot to learn about secondary kids.

The bright spot was that a bunch of my lovely year eight girls turned up cos they felt sorry for me and made instructions for games. Even more importantly, two of the African boys also fronted which I was especially delighted about (even if I did have to re-do everything they did)!! I was brought rapidly back to Earth however when they left after an hour announcing,
"Be sure you tell Mr Stupid Principal that we came!"

So, threats or 'bribed by cookies'? Pity or 'cupboard love'? At least my pupils came to help for real, if slightly negative reasons.

Next year I might play hip-hop and supply popcorn.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Adventures of Morticia

Although this little cutie here is not our very own Morticia, I felt I needed an image to prepare you for the second story I have to share with you from my very long week. I do not have an image from the actual incident, although, when you have heard the story, you will realise just how precious a fly-on-the-wall image like that would have been!

As you can see from the picture here, cats have a fascination with running water. Morticia, who has been confined to one end of the house for the past two weeks as she acclimatises, has recently been allowed up the hall and into the bedrooms. Being quite little and very fast, she can make it from one end of the house to the other before you know where she is.

This then is what happened to Himself as he made his way to our ensuite to relieve himself on Friday night. He was unaware of the presence of a kitten in the bedroom. He was unaware as he positioned himself in front of the bowl that a pair of beady eyes observed him from behind. The first he knew of it was the acute alarm triggered by a small furry black object shooting up from between his ankles, launching herself at the 'water feature' and losing her balance on the rim of the toilet seat.

This alarm and the speed of the change in his circumstances is to blame for what happened next.
The cat teetered on the edge of the bowl and fell head first into the 'stream'. Himself, in shock and immediately protective of the 'about to drown' kitten, was unable to stop the flow but lurched forward in order to grab, and thus save, said kitten. In the process, he pee-ed on the cat, his hand, parts of the bathroom and ended up holding a wet and struggling kitten in one hand and sorting himself out with the other all accompanied by loud bellowing and extremely colourful language.

He stormed out of the bedroom holding the kitten at arm's length and thundered at the BA,
"Your cat has just jumped into the toilet!!!!!"
The BA clasped Morticia to her bosom and made soothing noises.
"Awww what have you been doing little kitty cat ...is the big man frightening you.....coochie coochie etc etc"
"And I hadn't FLUSHED!!!!!!!!"
This time it registered in the BA's brain and the poor kitten was now thrust away to arms length at light speed, accompanied by shrieking and 'pth pth pth' sounds!!

Morticia was duly washed and seems none the worse for her adventure although I suspect Himself is traumatised. He may have to sit down to pee for the rest of his life. At least then he can see what's coming!!

Despite all this he seems to be quite fond of her. She went missing for 5 minutes this afternoon and he was seen out on the balcony calling her with definite concern in his voice. She, of course, turned up, sitting neatly in the middle of the floor, from 'who knows where' as kittens often do after they've been asleep. He seemed very relieved to see her and before long she was sitting in pride of place on his office chair while he patted her indulgently.

We may make a cat lover out of him yet.

image credit

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Back From the Salt Mines

It's been a long week but I have a couple of things to share. The first is the excited comment from the Bestie's Mum as we talked about 'who knows what' tonight.

To put this comment in context I have to say that Bestie's Mum (aged 79) is a great, if tremulous fan of the internet. She is head over heels in love with Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and has even discovered how to get a Google Alert with any news of Hugh's 'doings' at 2.30pm each day. She downloads pix and news bulletins and has even worked out how to print out collages of Hugh and his family for her Hugh scrapbook!!!!!! In between times she emails me to ask me advice on things like how to get her favourites bar back into the right place.
(Glad we worked that one out G!!!!!)

However tonight as someone spoke of the videos kids may make of an event on their mobile phones, she exclaimed in a shocked voice,

"Oh, watch out! They could put you on You-Bay!!"

We do love her a lot.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Best Shot Monday: A Boy and His Cat

I know this is technically a terrible photo and I do not have sufficient skill to touch it up in any way but I just love the look on his face and the size of the kitten. Actually it shows how small the Small Boy is!!!!!

He was very excited to arrive on Friday and find Morticia. There was a great deal of dragging ropes around the house and other boy like methods of entertaining a young cat. Morticia seemed happy to oblige.

Scamper over to Mother May I to see other people's favourite shots of the week.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

In Which The Baby Angel Becomes a Registered, Card Carrying Phone Owner

Well, she is a teenager now after all.

Contrary to what some people believe, I have not 'given in to pressure' but rather the Baby Angel has taken control of her own destiny.

For some time now she has exhibited a complete lack of interest or understanding in anything fiscally related. She got pocket money for awhile when she was younger but never asked for it and showed no inclination to save for anything in particular. In truth I guess she had everything she wanted or needed.

When we moved into this house and finances became somewhat tight, the pocket money stopped and she didn't even miss it! Then recently there was a school excursion to the local Subway for lunch (I know, I know, don't start me on the validity of these kind of excursions) and she needed $5.00. I only had $10.00 in my purse and I handed it over reluctantly requesting that she 'bring me the change'. That night after school I asked for the change and was greeted by a sheepish look.

"Well, there's not very much..."
"What do you mean there's not very much? Lunch was supposed to cost $5.00; where's my change?"
"Well, I sort of spent it!"
"You spent it? On what??"
'Well, I bought a sub and a slushy and some cookies for my friends and I to share..."
"COOKIES???? That wasn't part of the deal!" (Mother now starting to steam)
"But I DID share them!!"
"I don't care whether you shared them or not! (Mother now on the boil) How much did they cost?"
"I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" (Mother now evaporating rapidly into the atmosphere)
"I don't know. I just bought them. I'm sorry Mum."
"How could you not KNOW how much they cost? The prices are on the counter right in front of you....."

It was at this point that I realised my 12 year old daughter had no concept of money.

After a great deal of thought and consideration I came up with a plan. Pocket money was reinstated, with a book to keep track of it, and every week the BA would receive $5.00 for her purse and $5.00 for her school bank book. With the purse money she would be expected to buy treats such as popcorn and drinks at the movies or ice creams at the Mall which, up until this point, I had always funded. The amount we had decided upon was insufficient to expect her to buy clothes and toiletries but it was the beginning of learning that every expenditure has a consequence ie an empty purse.

Of course at Christmas she received some money from overseas and I suggested she bank some of this too, which she did. Before too long she had nearly $100.00 in the bank!!

After her recent trip to Sydney to see her Dad she came up with a plan. If she could save enough money to buy a phone she could also save her pocket money to buy credit! Would I be amenable to this idea?

I was. Firstly, she was about to turn 13 and inevitably her life will start to include trips to town with her friends; movies, that sort of thing. This would entail being out of contact with me or any other responsible adult and therefore a phone would be useful. Prior to this she has always been supervised, transported everywhere by myself or another adult or at someone else's house with access to a landline, thus, I reasoned, a phone was unnecessary. Now there will start to emerge a genuine need.

Secondly, the very fact that she had thought through her 'plan' and committed herself to carrying it out showed a growing maturity and sense of fiscal responsibility. We went to town and gathered literature on contracts and pre-paids, costs and features and she googled sites which reviewed different models.

And so, with the final injection of funds that came about through her birthday money from Grandad......we went to Marion to purchase her new Nokia flip top, 1.3 Mg pixel camera, built in FM radio - mobile phone!!!!!

There's a LOT to be said for delayed gratification. You have never seen such an excited and proud child. I'm pretty proud of her too. Now let's see how she handles the credit thing :-)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


Oh my!! I had a GOOD lesson with Year 10 this morning. This is so rare that I feel compelled to blog about it!!!!!

We went through multiplying by two digit numbers

M: But Miss, I KNOW how to do this, I just don't bother putting the zero there......

Finding fractions of a quantity

L: Eh Miss, so fractions is just like dividing eh?

Subtracting with regrouping

M: But what do you do when there's no tens in the tens column either? (200-147)
L: Stupid, you go to the hundreds column ...now don't waste our time girl...
(spoken in 'hiphop'ese)

*aaaaaaah* (rapturous sigh)

Now THAT's job satisfaction.

Oh and you know, I've been thinking about this business of not posting kids faces without parental consent etc etc. Well they all have their faces plastered all over My Space and You Tube......... what's the difference? I only ask because Himself has given me a blog sized version of The Movie which I could potentially put up...........

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

More Cat Stuff

I have decided it is very difficult to photograph small kittens. They rarely look at you when you want them to and using the flash on black fur gives a harsh contrast which does not sufficiently show her fluffiness! Here she is making a nuisance of herself. The BA took this one of her asleep on my lap. She had worn herself out with climbing up our legs and falling off the back of armchairs. She is currently in Himself's arms but he is refusing to be photographed! Actually I don't know who is worse, him or the cat! I can't count the number of pictures I have of that man sticking his tongue out at me.

But back to kittens. I think she has grown already. She has well and truly ticked off our big cat who is mostly sitting in the hallway refusing to come into the kitchen and hissing. A lot. Still, he's generally a miserable bugger anyway. His one sole claim to fame as a kitten is having 'wrapped up the house' in wool one day when we were out. We walked in to a tangle of wool which went around all the tables and chairs and in and out of three rooms. It was quite spectacular. Not sure why I didn't take a photo. Still, he hasn't done much worth speaking of since then although he seems to have taken a shine to no 2 Son. Perhaps he senses a kindred disgruntled spirit. It is similarly difficult to get a pleasant word out of either of them.

Get back to work woman! You have still to mark some woeful Y9 percentage tests.
My life is so full of excitement.

Oh My Lord What Have I Done????

Well, it was Mother's Day and I thought I would give myself a little present.

She's 8 weeks old and her name is Morticia.

She is unbearably sweet.

Even Himself is grudgingly captivated when not bellowing
"Get her out from under my feet before I squash her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Our other cat (Pippin: The Anti-Pet) is traumatised beyond belief but he only has himself to blame as he won't sit on anyone's lap.

Frantically marking really poor attempts at converting decimals to fractions.......must go.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Happy Birthday BA: Thirteen Years Old

It was a very busy week, hence my extreme quiet.

Thursday dawned, the 63rd anniversary of VE Day and the BA's 13th birthday. Of course there is great debate about this as she was born in the UK so all our Australian friends received news of her birth early on the morning of the 9th of May, also an important date as it's the birthday of the Bestie's beloved Mum. As a result we have a celebration on the 8th but we inform her she has not achieved her new 'age' until the next day :-)

Because of the mega birthday party back in April, her real birthday was a bit of a quiet affair highlighted rather by accident ( I forgot the date when I made the arrangement) by the delightful visit of Chris and Sinead of 'Ravings of a Wandering American Expatriate...' (formerly Chris in Oxford!).

It was quite surreal meeting a 'bloggy mate' in person but every bit as entertaining, informative and amusing as his blog with the additional pleasure of being able to talk to Sinead as well! They graciously helped us sing Happy Birthday and even bravely ate a piece of the alarmingly decorated and shaped birthday cake. Yes, I believe those are marshmellows.

Having been given a Gym Membership as an early birthday present around Easter, she didn't scoop too much on the day but did receive some money from friends and family. She has decided to use this, plus her pocket money savings, to buy a (da-da-DAH) mobile phone!

Yes, the time has come. I can delay it no longer and let's face it, we are getting to a stage where it will be useful.
My beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed fairy will soon be catching buses to the city and meeting friends at the Food Court. *sniff*

Mind you, I am really proud that she has taken the initiative to provide for the phone herself. Now when I say 'herself' I am of course using the term loosely. She intends to pay for the credit with her own pocket money. Which of course comes from us. :-) Ah well. At least she's prioritising her use of money, that in itself is quite a skill.

We made our way into the shopping centre in the city to visit a variety of outlets and compare phones, plans and providers. At the first stop I asked the helpful young man to explain the differences between 'plans' and 'prepaid' and to advise us as to which would be more appropriate for our purpose. Half way through his detailed explanation I noticed that the BA had drifted off with her friend to look at the displays.

"Hoi you! You're supposed to be listening to all this and deciding which product would suit you best!" I remonstrated.
"Oh, Mum.....its a all a bit confusing," she sighed.
"Well, if you don't understand the choices perhaps you're not old enough to own a phone!" I snapped, somewhat unreasonably as I was currently struggling to unravel the tangle of call rates, flag falls, free minutes, credit expiry periods, caps and minimum payments. Good grief. I don't even remember what I option I use on my own phone! These companies know what they are doing to prevent you making any direct comparisons!!!!

She did make an effort however and eventually we found we were leaning towards pre-paid as an effective method of controlling expenditure and getting free minutes for calls to named 'friend's' numbers. The phone itself may prove challenging as I am unimpressed with the idea of cameras and bluetooth connectivity for an item which is required mostly to check whether she managed to catch the school bus on time. Unfortunately, even the cheapest of phones
($79.00 AUD) seem to come with all manner of hideous 'extras'. These worry me. For example, the young friends who had stayed over on Friday night and were shopping with us, horrified me by paying through the nose to have their shocking, fuzzy, 1MB phone shots printed out in an automated booth using their phone's connectivity. I think they think a bluetooth download is free!!!!!!

And this doesn't even touch on what the young people are doing with phone shots of each other on 'youtube'!

Anyway, we have all the information to peruse and will make a decision during the week. Suffice to say she is very excited!

My great big thirteen year old girl............

Happy Birthday sweetheart.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

All About My Man Meme

Jessie over at Just Jessie (and all her boys) has tagged me for a meme. This one's called

All About My Man....

1. Who is your man? Himself

2. How long have you been together? 2.5 years

3. How long dated? about 5 minutes....

4. How old is your man? Four years older than me.

5. Who eats more? Where does this question come from??????

Oh. Him. Unquestionably.

6. Who said “I love you” first? Him. He makes up his mind fast.

7. Who is taller? Him of course. Everyone's taller than me.

8. Who sings better? HAHAHAHHAHAHA. Me. Himself doesn't sing. Ever.

9. Who is smarter? I am smart enough not to answer this one.

10. Whose temper is worse? His. Although when I lose it I really lose it.

11. Who does the laundry? Me. Why do you want to know? You got some whites you need doing??

12. Who takes out the garbage? Theoretically Him or No2 Son. But really Me.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Depends which way you're looking at the bed. Anyway. We both sleep on the right sides. If we swapped it would be wrong.

14. Who pays the bills? Me.

15. Who is better with the computer? Depends on the application. Anything to do with photos and graphics? Him. Anything else? (especially filling in online forms) Me.

16. Who mows the lawn? Him.

17. Who cooks dinner? 80% Him. 20% Me. I hate cooking.

18. Who drives when you are together? Him. He loves to drive. Mind you he got me to teach No 2 Son. Hmmm. How does THAT work?????

19. Who pays when you go out? He likes to.

20. Who is most stubborn? I stubbornly refuse to answer this. OK Him. No Me. No...oh who cares?

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Why, do you have to do that?

22. Whose parents do you see the most? No-brainer. His are dead.

23. Who kissed who first? Well, some might say Adam and Eve started the whole business but I like to think here was a nice caveman and cavewoman somewhere who were experimenting with the whole 'how can we make this reproducing thing more entertaining..'.

24. Who asked who out? Oh. Are we still talking about Us? I think it was Him.

25. Who proposed? Him. I was on my way to the shop so I said yes quickly cause it's tough getting a car park on Saturdays.

26. Who is more sensitive? Well....he has a lot of allergies.....

27. Who has more friends? That they still talk to.......? Me.

28. Who has more siblings? Snap. Two apiece.

29. Who wears the pants in the family? We both prefer kilts.


Is that it?

But you missed the most important question!!!!

30. How did you meet? On the internet! Met and married within 6 months.
Best snap decision I ever made.

So now, to tag some poor unsuspecting types................

How about Christina, Maggie, Katie, Melody and Natalie ?? Oh and feel free to join in if you feel the urge. Leave a comment to let us know!!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Mmmm....what's that funny taste? Oh, it's school.
Yawn......and what was that I dreamed about last night? Oh that's right....school.
*inhale* what's that smell????????? Oh yes. School.


Monday, 5 May 2008

Best Shot Monday: Football Hero

Guess who scored the winning goal in his team's one point victory over the opposition???????

For other winning shots, click over to Mother May I for Best Shot Monday.

I have yet to work out how to save my pix after fiddling with them with sufficient resolution to show up ok here. If you click on it you may get a better, larger image. Any ideas?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Footy Fans

My friend Headbang8 was in town this weekend and after a rowdy night with The Bestie and a lovely outing this morning, I came home to this.

Port Power (The Power) were playing. As you can see, Himself and the Baby Angel are great fans. I particularly like the juxtaposition here of fluffy ugg boots and 3/4 length fluro leggings. The scarf and hat are also a nice touch don't you think? Himself is in traditional Bogan garb ie checked, flannelette shirt with Pepsi can in hand. The happy news is that the Power WON for the second week in a row!! Just so's you know all this dagginess was for a good cause!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Choose Your Instrument Children

And then there are days where you could cheerfully bite the head off the nearest family member and spit down their neck.

Wet washing in the washing basket. Been there all day. 19 yearold. Been home all day.

Make a sandwich for yourself even as you watch the exhausted adults, fresh home from a trying day down the salt mines, making a dinner they would rather have ordered in while they slumped on the couch. But no. As they cut and chop fresh vegetables and bake home made chips......make yourself a sandwich. And walk away leaving the jar of jam with the lid off on the kitchen bench.

Sit on the couch (which the exhausted adults would like to be sitting on) right on top of the pile of (now dry) washing. Don't move it, let alone sort or fold it or even take your items and put them away....no....just sit on top of it.

Watch the exhausted (and injured I might add...but that's another story*) adults set the table. Do not offer to help. After all, if they had wanted help, they would have asked. Except they're in zombie mode from a looooooong day at work and the last time they asked you anything (20 minutes ago) you exploded with
"Don't speak to me right now. The last thing I need at the moment is to be asked a lot of probing questions."
And that was in response to "How did the job interview go?"

Meanwhile. Finish the bottle of cordial and leave the empty bottle on the kitchen bench top. Don't even think of rinsing it out or putting it in the recycling or even putting it with the dirty dishes. I mean if you're not going to do the lot why bother doing any of it.

Tell your brother and sister how stupid/incompetent/unpleasant/spoiled/lazy they are, completely failing to notice the irony.

Oh and keep WELL out of my way because I MAY just take your heads off.

* slammed my finger in the door at work and had to be driven to the clinic for a dressing and a tetanus shot :-(.
It was much more dramatic than this and involved me nearly passing out but I am way too crabby to tell you about it.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

On Track So Far

So yesterday was good-ish.

Year 10 and decimals....check-ish. Who knew they don't really understand whole number place value, let alone decimal place value. *sigh* Yet another chasm of learning to attempt to fill.

Relief lessons. Written. Got to mark the results and write today's yet but still, check.

Audit! BIG check!! Seemed to go OK. Got to collect evidence on another couple of kids and see if we can get them 'on'. The system is so stupid. They will not fund kids with Learning Difficulties but will fund Language Disorder (diagnosed 5 years ago, much improved and not requiring v much input at all!). They will fund kids with Intellectual Disabilities (IQs under 70) but some of those kids are less trouble than your severe dyslexics who get NO funding at all!!

Prep for staff meeting tonight....mostly check. Still got some photocopying to do.

Netball check and EVEN......GYM CHECK!!!!! I went while she was at netball.

So today;

finish marking and prepping for Year 9 decimals
finish staff meeting prep
post letters for tutoring scheme
CROSS COUNTRY!!! as long as the rain dries up. Otherwise I've got to pull a Year 8 negative numbers lesson out of the bag.
Church meeting tonight then prep for 3 maths lessons tomorrow.

At least I had a good sleep last night.