Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Best Shot Monday: Off The Balcony

There was a burst of stunning sunlight this evening after a rather overcast day.
The pictures don't do it justice as they are SOOC but the light was all lime and lemon.
The last shot was taken directly into the sun with dramatic effect as the iris shut down to reveal the cloud bank and the last of the afternoon's sun streaming through.
All in all a welcome break from exam writing, washing and supervising the neighbourhood 'lads' as they joined Small Boy in the trail from X Box to football to bike riding to lego to 'Starwars' DVDs..... leaving everything in their wake, of course.

This is the last week of term before a two week break. Tension has been running high as exam revision and report writing takes its toll on staff and students alike. Tensions have erupted in the playground, unusual for our place, and I for one, was reduced to tears of desperation after a class as I explained to my friend "I just don't know how to motivate them. They don't care at all about exams; they aren't taking them seriously and all my efforts at teaching revision strategies fall on passively resistant ears."

The experience has motivated me to speak to the Principal and ask the question, why are we making these kids, the real strugglers , do exams? What is the point? He was incredibly supportive and eventually said he would be open to a different model for these kids, in consultation, as I suggested, with the parents. I wondered about a two week 'project' for them which would form some of their semester grade; something practical and relevant. So maybe something good will come out of my sense of despondency.

Once the holidays are here I will be back to my blog reading with relish. I apologise for my lack of visits to some of my favourite places. I'm not even going to link to you here (as I had intended) because it would mean a quick peek at things which would lead to a longer look which would lead to...... I have no internal monitoring mechanisms. Ask my liver and my waistline......

So happy Best Shot Monday to everyone. Enjoy browsing the wonderful photography at
Mother May I, even if I can't!!!!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Of Viruses and The Best Medicine

So thanks a LOT faithful readers! Where were you with your sage advice when I wanted to know how to get rid of Antispycheck??? Hey??? Hey???? Nowhere to be seen was the answer!!!!!!!!!!
So tonight I have spent 3 hours and $50.00 trying to get rid of the accursed thing, only to run a perfectly free system restore for NOTHING which fixed the problem. Sheesh, How naive can you get? Himself was telling me that the people who wrote the $50.00 software (available by download from a pctools site near you) which totally failed to remove the malaware, were probably the same people who wrote the nasty trojan!!!!! As he said; if even 1% of a million virus recipients bought the software they'd be laughing!!

I like to think more kindly of people. OK so the $50.00 software didn't remove my trojan but it did pick up 256 other spyware programs ;-D. Thanks Software Doctor, wherever you are because of course since I did a system restore I have lost the newly installed program!! Don't panic Mum, I have a plan. I will email them and tell them the situation then reload the program for free. I mean, people are basically decent, right????????

So what else has been happening. Oh yes, that's right. Tonight at the Bestie's place we watched the (taped) final episode of Australia's Got Talent with the 'best of the best' that Australia has to offer. Bwahahah. These included (don't ask me why) a spoon player, a 6 year old saccharine sweet baby dancer called Mietta, a 16 year old 'opera' singer who squeaked out the high notes and, most importantly, a taekwondo 'ensemble'.

When 'Hall's Taekwondo' first won their heat, in traditional garb, in what amounted to line dancing with attitude, many were bemused. When they won their semi final heat, there had been some significant reassessing of the possibilities and a much more showy, dare I say egocentric, form had emerged. Put simply, I think Mr Hall was the guy in the middle.

As the Bestie and I watched this particular semi-final I remember remarking that it seemed to be a case of 'Mr Hall and His Bitches', with said egomaniac kicking, punching and wood chopping his way into a stupor. The rest of the gang were reduced to 'sidekicks', circling on the sidelines and presenting blocks of balsa wood (sorry, I'm such a cynic) to various parts of the 'Jackie Chan wannabe's' anatomy, for breaking purposes.
But to everyone's amazement, they somehow made it into the finals!

Last night as the hip hop style music built breathlessly to the opening and we steeled ourselves for another bout of wood smashing and so on....I said to the Bestie, oh yes, this is 'Mr Look At Me' and his minions.
"Ah" she replied, "Just wait and see..."

It transpired that Mr "Look At Me" must have been in need of another 'trick' since he had used all the others up the first time around, and so he graciously allowed one of his bitches to carry a massive flaming dumbell into the centre of the stage....and juggle it...................................almost.

Unfortunately 30secs into this blazing spectacle the hapless pupil dropped his dumbell.
"That's it!" shrieked the Bestie, "That's the last time I'm letting one of you bitches in the middle! There can be no failure here at Hall's Taekwondo!!!!!! Go and spend an hour on the punishment stool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The fit of hysterics which ensued at this concept had the Baby Angel and I crying, snorting and literally rolling on the floor with.....no.....laughter would be the wrong word........I don't even know if there IS a word for the kind of laughter which renders you unable to breath, make a sound or prevent other normally automatic bodily functions from, well, functioning. The sort of laughter which, sitting here typing this, is still lurking just below the surface of my Thursday morning. Excuse me while I go and compose myself.

Watch the whole thing while you're waiting.

Actually, don't wait...I've got to go to school....what am I thinking?????

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The Annual Middle and Senior School Music Night

Howdy All.

I am still alive and kicking or maybe just shuffling slightly but still alive anyway!! The Report/Exam nightmare has yet to finish me off!!!!!!

Firstly: all my reports are done hooooorrrrrrraaaaaaaaay.

Secondly: I have yet to organise revision for this week and four exams for next week :-(

Tonight we went to a Music Night put on by the Baby Angels' school. She was in the Year 8 class band playing a repetitive three chords for 'I'm A Believer' on the grand piano as well as *gasp* the opening riff!!!!! What a responsibility.

I must say as I sat watching the first half of the concert, which was mostly classes of compulsory music students fumbling their way through excruciating numbers like 'The Baby Elephant Walk', I wondered why schools do this to their parent body? I mean, I pay my fees on time. What have I done to deserve this???????

The thing is, it's a small school, barely 640 kids from Reception to Year12 and as such, I guess the talent pool is limited. But really! If they can't play an instrument (and what is wrong with the triangle eh? It's what we all played!!!) then WHY make them SING????????????????????

Songs I heard murdered tonight.

1) Yellow Submarine.
What in God's name possesses music teachers to think this is a song which is easy to perform? Well, ok, maybe it is easy but it is neither melodic or aesthetic. Especially played on the xylophone. Several xylophones. And please put it in a key which means they are not singing in their boots!

2) Rave On
and they did. Boots again.

3) Saltwater.
An old fave of mine by Julian Lennon.

"And when the singer hit
The high note that died...
Salt water welled in my eyes..."

4) Did I mention 'Baby Elephant Walk'???
Henry Mancini may have won more personal Oscars than anyone else in the history of life the universe and everything.....but he had not envisaged the road accident a Year 8 class can make of this piece. At least there were no singers.

Cleverly, the staff held a 3 minute intermission at this point, ensuring that the main doors were locked so that those of us Middle School parents who had had just about enough of the torture could not shoot out the door with our respective talentless progeny before the second half!
*sigh* Trapped.

But hark! By Year 10 the pupils are electing to play music and many have some modicum of skill! The second half commenced with a creditable performance of the complex Ben Folds number "Steven's Last Night In Town"! The drummer was ace!!!

This was followed in quick succession by a vocal ensemble and a flute ensemble with each performance outstripping the last. Mind you, the bar was pretty low to start with. BUT....
the five part harmony of the vocal group was pretty and accurate if not powerful (do any of these children have diaphragms nowadays?) and the flutes nailed 'The Entertainer'!

So now we were coming to the Year 12 part of the evening. The interesting thing for me was that this was the year group I had taught three years ago when they were hideous year nines at my previous school. Suddenly I was seeing these obnoxious, argumentative youths as nearly fledged adults. Awkwardness gone. Muscles filled out. Voices steady...no squeaks. Most exciting was seeing one of my reprobate boys as School Captain!!!!!!!!!!!! MC-ing the show! I'm tellin' ya'...my heart was about to bust through my ribs with pride. :-D These guys are specialising in Music for their final year and some hope to go on and study at Uni so I suppose we could have expected that the standard would continue to lift but, let's face it, it's a small college and there were only 5 Year 12 students performing......it was a bit nerve wracking!! This performance was part of their year's assessment and moderators from the examinations board were there. How would they go?

Well. I was blown.a.way.

Firstly came a young man who had always been in trouble for his dyed blonde, gel spiked hair in the days when I was at the school. His still blonde hair was now carefully slicked down into place (obscuring most of his eyes of course) and he was in correct uniform as he picked up his electric bass and treated us to 'U Can't Hold No Groove' by Victor Wooten. Bloody Hell! There were a few of us parents there picking our collective jaws up off the floor I can tell you!!! And there at the back supporting him, having heard the piece for the first time that day, was my old friend the School Captain drumming his heart out! ....wow.......

Barely time to collect ourelves and the next offering was before us. A very tall lanky lad with carrot red hair and a flute. He performed 'Passage' by Jim Snidero and again we were floored!

(note: while trying to download an mp3 of this piece I picked up the delightful trojan/spyware thingy called Antispycheck. Has anyone had any experience with this and if so how do I get rid of it???????)

The final event of the evening was the 'Big Band' which has been a pet dream of the Head of Music for some years now. As the College is a Christian one (big C Christian) most of the kids play rock music. Mr V has foe sometime been dreaming of a brass section and it seems he has achieved it! OK so there were only 4 saxes and 2 trumpets...and one of them was sick.....but hey...the sound was BIG!!!!!! It was so exciting hearing these guys play, many of whom I knew or had taught. The little trumpeter was in Y7 and as his colleague was sick he carried the whole trumpet line himself which of course was most of the melodies! Sensational. And he has only been playing for a year! His little 'chops' were quivering with the exertation by the end of three numbers, especially as the last one was called 'Trumpets With Attitude'!! The whole audience was holding its collective breath, willing him to get through it. And he did! Creditably! The applause was enormous.

So all in all, not a bad night after all, even if I did get behind in school work through getting in late, writing this blog and spending 2 hours trying to get rid of Antispycheck!!!!!!
Curses.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Bare Bavarians

Oh MAN!!! You gotta see this. Scroll down to the video if you are in a hurry. My dear friend Headbang8 always manages to find the most amazing stuff, but this one takes the cake!!!! It could only happen in Germany. Break out the sunscreen I say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hilarious.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

In Which I Once More Demonstrate My OCD Side

Perhaps I am panicking here but...I don't know....should I be worried about what they are teaching the Small Boy in English????????????

I mean, when I was a girl (and I know this equates with dinosaurs as far as the BA is concerned), one of the biggest lessons you got each year in English was the correct format for the writing of greetings in cards and, naturally, how to address an envelope.
Two years ago when my eldest stepson asked me to type up and print out a resume for him, I observed with horror as he addressed the envelope in the top left hand corner! I knew he hadn't been particularly successful in the school setting so I wrote that off, but I now find that the BA cannot address envelopes either! She at least chooses middle top for her starting point (I meant to keep one and show you that too but I just slapped the stamp over half the address and posted it. I figure the postcode should get it to the right place in the UK).

So perhaps I should have known better when the Small Boy had a birthday party to attend last weekend. I bought the card for him and presented it to him to 'sign' foolishly expecting that at nearly 10 this should not prove too much of an issue.

Hah.

The first problem was that he chose one of Dad's special 'roller ball' pens to write with: the ones that leave wet ink on the page just long enough for the left handed author to drag his hand over the freshly minted words. Seeing this he added a 'sorry' comment but, to his credit, he wasn't sure that this would suffice so he got another pen. He continued underneath, adding the little girl's name. Now in my day we were taught to put the name of the recipient at the top and our own name underneath the printed, commercial greeting however, I am willingly to accede this convention in the interests of individuality and creativity BUT- I am pretty sure it is still accepted practice to include one's own name on the card. No sign of that here.
(You thought I'd erased it for anonymity purposes didn't you? Hah! Actually I have insufficient skill or software for this exercise!)

I am also pretty sure that spelling your friend's name with a capital letter is still de rigueur (he altered this when I mentioned it) and I dunno, possibly knowing how to spell her name would also be helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mind you with some of the names they come up with lately, maybe that is how she spells Isabel!

And then there's the textspeak. Have good 1. Happy B-day. I suppose I should think myself lucky he didn't write 'hav a gud 1' or 'hv a gr8 day m8'. Ugh, I find the whole 'writing things in Messengerese' offensive.

Anyway, after we had examined the results of his efforts we found another card to give her and he started again. He completed this one successfully and shot off up the hall to his next adventure as I called him back to write her name on the envelope. Clearly fed up with the whole thing and obviously wondering whether this party was worth all this angst and effort on his part, he proceeded to write her name. On the back of the envelope.

I suppose the $5.00 (AU) x2 I spent on the cards is a small price to pay for literacy. What do you think? Am I being too harsh?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Big Cat Meets Little Cat

As you can see from the laid back nature of Pippin's ears.......the relationship is not going so well.
You should hear the soundtrack to this photo.

meoooowwwwwwwaaaaaawwwwwwrrrrrrrrr
ccccccckkkkkkkkkssss

I am very impressed at Morticia's choice of the high ground though. Unquestionably intelligent.
And female.

Theme Thursday: Childhood

Childhood

cuddle me friend
now
while we are still unashamed and open

cuddle me while it is
the most natural thing
to do

cuddle me now
for in five minutes
I will
hit you
with my ice cream

Well.
you started it


This is a scanned image taken before the age of digital. Even scanned at 1200 dpi it hasn't come out as clearly as the original. I ran it through Noiseware too. *sigh* You guys are so lucky to have digital images of your kids when they're young, in such high resolution!

Check out some other images of Childhood over at The Land of KA.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

What Are Those 'W' Words?

I meant to put this up the other day.

For my US friends Jessie and Melody: this is Wagga(right) and this is Woy Woy (below).

Answers To The Quiz Question

There are 3 movies who have tied for the greatest number of Academy Awards, namely 11.
They are: Titanic, Lord of the Rings :The Return of the King, and Ben Hur!

Ben Hur was the one which stumped us too!!

Best Shot Monday : Sprung!

Behold the cat hater.

She had been on my lap for sometime as I blogged and I was suddenly aware that she had gone. I looked around anxiously and found.....she had switched allegiances! Perhaps his lap is more comfortable than mine? Perhaps she was interested in the movie? She certainly looks interested. And look how much she's grown!!!!!!

For more Best Shots of the week visit Mother May I?

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Friday Night Frolics



You learn a whole lot at a Quiz Night you know? For instance, last night I learned that there are 3 movies which tie for the record of 11 Academy Awards apiece. Do you know what they are? Don't go googling now....just think about it and have a guess. Answers tomorrow.

Also, I learned that Santiago is the capital of Chile, Frodo Baggins was the son of Drogo Baggins (not Bilbo you sillies, that was his uncle), Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman starred together in 'Notorious' (not 'To Catch a Thief', that was Grace Kelly), there have been 16 Popes named Benedict (not 14...sorry Kindergarten Friend...I should have listened to the Catholic on the table), the Federal Minister for Health is Nicola Roxson, the largest country in the world with a single time zone is China and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has a child with Cystic Fibrosis.

I share all this with you in case you are similarly inclined to trivia and need to stock up.

I am pleased to report that our table came a very creditable 4th (out of 17?) by about 3 points.
(If only I'd listened to you Kindergarten Friend! Of COURSE you would know how many Benedicts there've been!!!)













"Now count with me people, there were ten by 1058
(but we don't mention him as he was an anti-pope)
and I am
what number again?...."



We had a lovely lively table, made up of friends from current and past work as well as Kindergarten Friend and the Bestie's lovely Mum and Dad. Poor Bestie's Mum was under the weather in a big way, suffering from the same cold we have all had over the past three weeks (I blame the BA, she had it first). She was not, however, too ill to recognise the well toned torso with the blacked out face in the 'Who Am I' section of our Table Quiz Sheet. "Oh, that's Hugh," she
chirruped,"I have a copy of that picture in my scrapbook." We were the only table to get that question right. I think we were also one of the only tables to get 'Frodo son of Drogo' too as Bestie's Dad reads the LOTR on an annual basis.

The Baby Angel was again roped into helping sell 'raffle tickets', this time in the form of playing cards. I watched ever so proudly as she stood up to the microphone on the stage and announced confidently,
"And the winning card is, the Ace of Hearts. The
black Ace of Hearts."
Mother's heart flutters. Ohmigod. She means the Ace of Spades. Someone tell her it's the ace of Spades. Ohmigod how embarrassing, she should know the suits, we play cards for
goodnesssakes.....

At this point there was a flurry of conversation and card shuffling but then my lovely, clever and perfectly in control of the situation daughter leaned towards the microphone and showed us the back of the playing card. It had a black pattern. Of course! there were two packs sold, one red and one black so like raffle tickets, you needed to know the colour of the card as well. Oh mother! Have more faith in your offspring.

Oh, and the other thing I was going to tell you about was the reaction we all had to the location for the night. St Privileged School* in Adelaide is a church based boys boarding school. Here is the Memorial Hall where the Quiz Night was held. The school is apparently the oldest in Adelaide and occupies 32 ha of prime, city centre real estate. It is so big that we got lost trying to find the Hall. It is so big there is a nearby suburb which is smaller. You can almost smell the money in the air. It is slightly obscene. Check out a website of a similar school if you would like to see how the other half live. If you are the other half, make a big donation to charity whydon'tcha....

But the thing which stood out for Kindergarten Friend and I was the lawn. Luxuriant, green, freshly mowed. And there's a drought on!!!

KF: (in faux upper class twit accent) Oh but we only use 'bore' water on our grounds.
Me: how appropriate.

And as KF says, bore water is a SHARED resource guys! It comes from the aquifer which should, strictly speaking be available to all! (Just weigh in here KF and explain that better please)

Nah, sorry. I am unimpressed. Schools like this make me vaguely uneasy. I know they produce many brilliant men; national athletes, Nobel Laureates and Rhodes Scholars but they also breed an air of 'elite-ism', of 'other-ness' which takes many young men down a slippery slope. Too many boys from schools such as this have been taught to 'take what they want'. Hell, these places defined 'The Entitlement Generation' before it became a widespread thing. Many of the things they 'took' were taken at the expense of others; jobs, bought for them by other 'old boys'; promotions and positions in the public eye; women.....whether the women wanted to be taken or not. And for those who could not succeed, who did not live up to the expectations set for them, there is shame, despair and the 'cover-up'.

I am assured by people who ought to know that it is changing; that moves are in place to build decent citizens shaped with a notion of service to their communities rather than 'little gods' who look to the community to provide what their wealth and status can purchase for them. I sincerely hope this is the case. If it is, it demonstrates the old Dr Suess 'Sneetches' principle beautifully. Just as the rest of the world was beginning to emulate their 'entitlement' mentality they cast if off in favour of self-less philanthropy. Damn. I want a star on my belly!!!

Anyway, that was our Friday night. How was yours?

image credits:
pope
oscar
school

Friday, 13 June 2008

Theme Thursday: Wildlife

You want wild? Teenage kittens are the definition of wild. Nothing is safe. Everything is prey.
The streamers from last week's failed maths lesson were great prey. They were also a little difficult to manage and often appeared to be moving en masse up the hallway.....with Morticia inside! After a shopping trip on Saturday we returned to find the streamers wound around the legs of most of the furniture in the house. I should've taken a photo but I haven't been feeling like taking photos recently as I am so frustrated by cameras.

So this is the 'wildlife' in our house. For more wild things, join Stacey over at the Land of KA.


And although this isn't strictly a Theme Thursday offering...here's a video for good measure!
video

Thursday, 12 June 2008

What Am I Teaching Them??????

Dateline: Friday 6th June 2008

Do you see this?

Do you SEE this?

This is the end result of my year 10 Maths lesson on fractions.

This is what happens when you ask Year 10 to cut 60cm lengths of streamer, create fractions of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/3, 1/6, 1/12, sort them into graduated lengths and stick them onto A3 paper. One out of 10 managed it and she had only cut the even denominatored fractions!!

I cannot do justice to the chaos which ensued. They lost bits, they randomly chopped bits, they wrote one sixth as 6, they argued, they told me it was a pointless exercise and that they weren't going to use it 'in life'. They dropped bits on the floor. They 'waited for me to help' (aka doing nothing and then letting Mrs A do it all for you).

Part of the problem was the curly nature of streamers or perhaps I am just clutching at straws...or streamers. Part of the problem was that they cannot follow instructions! Even when they are written down on a paper in front of them! Part of the problem was I did not show them 'one I'd completed earlier' first so they didn't have a visual on what they were trying to accomplish. Most of the problem is that they are hugely disorganised, dysfunctional and do not understand fractions.

Me: Watching now, this is the part where I am HELPING you (for those who will protest in 10
minutes that they couldn't do it because I never help them) . First I need to find out what a
third of 60cm is. How can I do that? Anyone? What operation do I use? Anyone? No? OK,
it's division so who can divide 60cm by 3?
(blank looks)
Pupil 1: Why?
Me: So we can find one third. So, 60 divided by 3....anyone?
Pupil 2: 100?
Pupil 3: What are we doing?
Me: We are trying to divide 60 by 3 and no it is not 100.
Pupil 1: Why?
Me: So we can find a third.
Pupil 2: Which streamer are we cutting? (holds up a half)
Me; No, not that one, that is your half. Have you labelled it with 1/2?
Pupil 2: No.
Me: Well do it now. Now, where were we? Oh yes, what is 60 divided by 3?
No-one? Well what is 6 divided by 3?
Pupil 4: 3! Because 3 and 3 is 6.
Me: (giving up) OK well, 6 divided by 3 is 2 so 60 divided by three is 20. So get out your ruler and mark off 20cm. That will be 1/3 of the streamer.
Pupil 1: I don't have a ruler.
Pupil 2: Neither do I.
Pupil 3 : Neither do I...

Need I go on?

Anyway, this tangled mass of lunatics streamers are what was left after the lesson.

Footnote: It is now nearly a week later. I re-did the lesson with stiff cardboard 'streamers'; split up all the kids so that they were working individually; handed out rulers and scissors beforehand; TOLD them what to do step by step (no discovery learning here thanks) and we got most of the fraction construction done. Yesterday I tried to move on to the next stage where they sorted, order and compared the fractions. Once more it was an unmitigtaed disaster. I will not be deterred. Tomorrow we will sort and compare the fractions again and this time it will WORK.

Stay tuned. Oh and for those of you who, with Year 10 say, "what is the point of this activity?", it is to give them hands on experience in proportional thinking. It is also good for practising how to measure 5.6cm using a ruler marked only in mm...or even one marked in cm with no intermediate markings :-(. It is also good for learning how to follow instructions and for getting a sense of having achieved something by finishing it. Eventually I will display their fraction bridges on the wall and then I will take a photo to show you how it all turned out.

Right before having myself committed.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

What I Have Been Doing Instead of Blogging



On Thursday night I did not see the new 'Sex and the City' movie but I did sell a lot of raffle tickets.

The Bestie was involved with a charity showing of the new, hotly anticipated movie last Thursday night, complete with champagne, canapes, goodie bags and shoes, shoes, shoes! Being a fundraiser there was of course the ubiquitous 'raffle' and the BA and I volunteered ourselves to sell tickets before the movie.


I raced over to the theatre after a staff meeting and met the BA and The Bestie who were frantically putting 350 goodie bags out onto seats. I helped pour a few dozen glasses of champagne for the early arrivals and as 5.30pm ticked over we awaited the influx of keen moviegoers. Every seat had been pre-sold!

There were about 7 of us selling raffle tickets altogether and the prizes were lush. A pearl and diamond necklace, expensive shoes and spray tans...all very cosmoplitan and girly. The other sellers were young physios, trainees in the care of people with cystic fibrosis, and lovely young girls they all were. They had obviously however, never sold a raffle ticket in their lives! They proceeded to sell very few that night as well.

The thing with charity raffles is that you go in expecting people to have come with cash. It sounds callous but it's the fact of the matter. You don't ask them if they would like to buy a raffle ticket (surefire answer will be no) you inform them of the fabulous prizes in tonight's raffle and then ask whether they have their tickets?!! My lovely assistant, The BA, and I sold our first 100 tickets in under an hour and started on a new book before the other girls had got a third of the way into theirs. The thing was we had 90 minutes to get to 350 people before the movie started. We finished the evening off by walking up and down the rows inside the theatre calling out 'Any more raffle tickets? Last chance for raffle tickets.'Tickets were $10.00 each and all up that night we made about $2700 on the raffle. (is that right Bestie?) I was well chuffed.

Of course , if the other girls had been more efficient I guess we still would have sold the same amount but this did not detract from my sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. At the other cinema (there were three cinemas sold out for this event!!!) the more timid ticket sellers only managed $1300 of sales and there were twice as many people!

All in all it was a great night. The patrons, dressed to the nines, enjoyed the movie a drink and a chance to pose for the society papers. The charity provided a top class event and made a healthy amount for a very good cause.

At the end of the evening I was chatting to one of the other helpers as we split up the contents of the single left over 'goodie bag'. This young and very attractive girl was not one of the timid physios but obviously a regular supporter of the charity and quite feisty and forthright. We looked at the various free gifts and decided who should have what.
"Here's some super wrinkle cream," I observed,"Well, it's too late for me, you had better have that."
"No,' she replied, matter of factly, "I'm not going to live long enough to get wrinkles."
We all laughed politely. I mean, youth! Huh. Getting older isn't that bad. Why must they all subscribe to the rock n' roll philosophy of 'live fast, die young'. Huh. They'll learn.
Somehow, through the voucher distribution we came to talk about food and weight.
"Well," she announced," I'm under weight, The doctor wants me to start eating meat and three veg. Good grief, it'll kill me!" she announced. Huh, I thought, these rigid vegetarians are so high maintenance.

Later that night as I drove the exhausted BA and I home through the quiet, wet streets of Adelaide, a lightbulb flash went off in my brain. I got home and texted the Bestie.

**I have only just realised. G has cystic fibrosis doesn't she?**

It takes me a while but I get there in the end.

And all my good feelings about the amount of raffle tickets I'd sold, my puffed up ego brought on by my superior selling powers and the good I was doing through my actions deflated like an old balloon at the thought of G and her beautiful face, her feisty persona and her life sentence.

If you'd like to know more about cystic fibrosis or donate to the care of children with the disease, click here.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Further Adventures of Morticia Part II


Himself is nothing if not melodramatic.

Last night as I blogged and he worked, Morticia purred contentedly on my lap. In a flash, she heard the door open and was off my lap. I didn't worry too much, after all, I assumed he had closed the door and the gap between his exit and her departure from my knee seemed lengthy enough....

After a few minutes he came back in and I looked briefly around.
"Did she make it out the door then?" I ventured, seeing that she was nowhere to be seen.
"What?" Himself demanded.
"Morticia. Did she make it out the door? She doesn't seem to be in here."
"Did she go outside?" he stared at me incredulously,"Well, that's it! She's dead then isn't she? She will have gone over the balcony!!!"

At this point he started noisily looking around the house for her. I began to point out that she probably wouldn't be dead but might indeed be heading for The Gorge but he seemed too upset to pay me much attention. Instead, as he thundered about the place opening cupboards and calling for her; I put the light on and went out onto the balcony.

Of course, there she was. It wasn't, however, as simple as that. She had sensed freedom and also that the edge of the balcony was the escape route. She had also sensed that the edge of the balcony held some strange unnerving danger in the pitch dark so she was running about sticking her head under the rails and withdrawing to look for further options. Of course, eventually she would work out that at one end of the balcony there is a tree which is not too much of a leap and would probably hold her weight but I wanted to delay this Epiphany for as long as possible.

There ensued your classic cat and mouse game. I called her and approached, she approached and retreated as soon as I put out my hand. After remaining deliberately calm and talking to her in a soothing fashion for about 2 minutes I managed to grab her as she hung her head over the edge of the balcony nearest to the tree. As I brought her in Himself gaped in disbelief.

"Where did she come from?"

"She was out on the balcony."

"Unbelievable! I was sure she was dead. Bloody cat."

I suspect to Himself she will always be 'Bloody Cat' but I also suspect that there is a deep, visceral connection there. So deep that he, for one, will not admit it!!!

Later last night we had the Big Cat v Small Cat stand off again. We do not seem to be making any inroads here at all. I sat Pippin on my lap (he's HUGE) and brushed him while he kept up a monotonous, low level growl; reminiscent of a jaguar or bobcat. He seemed quite happy to be brushed if body language was anything to go by but his vocal display made it quite clear that he was not letting down his guard for one minute. Eventually I tried to get around to his front with the brush but he promptly bit me and exited. Stage left even.

Tish just does not get that he doesn't want to play! We will persevere.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Crafty Tuesday

EEEK: This is a bit of a fuzzy start but I promised Carrie over at Barely Controlled Chaos that I would definitely post for Crafty Tuesday today and as this is the front page of the Baby Angel's album, you get it in all its blurriness. No I cannot be bothered taking another shot. Besides, it is my least favourite page...

Now let me explain a bit about my scrapbooking.

When I arrived in Aus 5 years ago I was adopted by the most wonderful bunch of people at my local church. They took me (and the BA) under their wings, plied me with champagne at the Rectory on Friday nights and danced the Time Warp with me whilst wearing VERY silly pants. Me, not them. Which reminds me, I must get a copy of that shot. The fact of the matter is, Anglicans are party animals.

Anyway. Time went by and they moved to another church and I moved to another church but we kept in contact and then the lovely Jenpa (not her real name) started running scrap booking evenings. On these evenings she usually teaches us a technique and then you get time to play and scrap at your own pace. So that blurry cover page is my first project from scrapbooking nights. Here's my next couple.

Since then I have continued to love attending scrap booking nights with my bottle of champagne and occasional bag of Dorritos in hand. We do our 'set piece' or variations upon it and then retire to the nearby home of friends to solve the problems of life the universe and everything. Here are some of my more recent projects. Now are we spotting a similarity, nay an anomaly here? Yes! It is the complete lack of photos!!! Which, when last I checked, are an integral part of scrap booking!!!!! Here is one where I let my inner rebel go wild. The exemplar we were emulating was more seemingly attired... And my most recent effort for those with young children will be instantly recognisable...But alas! Still no photos!!!

What does this mean? Could it mean that I am enjoying the champagne and company much more than the scrapping? Perhaps. But I do like to sit and fiddle with the cutters and create something. Could it be that I am too lazy/stingy to get a decent cartridge for my printer and print out all the requisite photos? Perhaps. Maybe I just don't have the time to sit down and finish anything.

Whatever the reason, you can be sure I will be back at scrapbooking whenever I can get a night off ! There is something very therapeutic about creating someone else's design and then fiddling with it. (see puppy in lower RH corner of puppy spread and nude sunbather!!)

So that's my crafty contribution Carrie. I cheated a bit as it is a cumulative but you can giggle away with me on Tuesdays as as I fail to put anything more onto the pages and yet continue to make more pages. Avec champagne. And who knows, maybe one day I will have a completed page to share.

Perhaps I should make greeting cards.

If you pop over to Carrie's you'll usually see some lovely craftiness on a Tuesday.

Best Shot Monday: Last Gasp

There haven't been many photos around here of late. I had resigned myself to, yet again, having nothing to offer for Monday but then I saw this as I went to close the blinds this evening and thought, perhaps I will get a shot for BSM after all!!

Winter is definitely the time for spectacular sunsets from our balcony and yesterday was the first day of Winter so we are 'in the zone'. Just in time for Winter I have scored myself a cold and so was off school today. I figured I could afford a Monday off as it is just history whereas all the other days have Maths classes and I don't like to miss them as we get unsettled.

I spent all day resting and reading blogs which was a relief after the lunatic weekend I spent racing from one thing to another. I need to go to bed now but I will try and post more later in the week although, looking at the diary, it promises to be another intense one. I have a course to attend and a meeting out at our other campus to try and establish some cross-campus protocols. Then BA is away on camp but will be back in time for netball practice on Weds and selling raffle tickets at The Bestie's fundraising event on Thursday night.
Phew.
Roll on Queen's Birthday Long Weekend.

Got to start writing exams and reports soon too.

I feel a relapse coming on.

For some lovely photos, click on Mother May I and check out Best Shot Monday.