Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Theme Thursday: Timing

I was overdue. The midwife, a wonderful girl who visited me at home, presented my options.

"We don't want you to go much more than 2 weeks over. If you haven't delivered by 14 days past the due date we'll induce labour. That would be Monday the 8th."

I didn't want an induced labour. I'd read about them and they didn't sound pretty. I protested.

"OK." she acquiesced,"If you're prepared to come into the hospital daily for monitoring we'll let you go over. We just need to check that the baby's not in distress."

Relief. Permission. Control.
But on the other hand.......
I was pretty sick of being pregnant.

What was that date again? May the 8th. The 50th anniversary of VE Day? That's a pretty cool day to be born on.....

"OK," I agreed, "book me in for the 8th just in case."

Of course the rest is history. I tried every trick in the book but that baby was simply not coming into this world by choice. She needed coaxing; so on the 7th of May I entered hospital and started the 'drugs' and on the 8th of May I was in labour.

The fiftieth anniversary of VE Day was a big deal in the UK. Street parties were planned up and down the country; there were public ceremonies; TV broadcasts; fireworks and a network of beacons to be lighted in a chain around the country at 8.30pm. I wish I knew the significance of that timing.

That morning, with the aid of oxytocin, we went into labour. I missed all the celebration. It was a long day. A very long day. I don't know how those people who supported me made it through that long, boring day but at 8.06pm my tiny and slightly problematic daughter was born. Pre mobile phones, my mother rushed off to call my father. The first public phone she found was out of order so she rushed about finding staff to help her and finally, the call was made to my father at 8.25pm.

Five minutes later, as if to celebrate the arrival of his first grandchild, of my daughter, of the Baby Angel, they lit the beacons.


Want to see some more takes on 'Timing'? Click over to Cheese Party.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Too Good To Be True

This first week of lessons has been remarkably calm. Many of the kids have just 'got down' to work with minimal fussing; noise levels have been lower and (with the exception of Year 10) most are doing their homework.

Today I have all three classes and I am inadequately prepared.

Today may be the turning point.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Crafty Tuesday: The Promise Of Things To Come

Have I mentioned The Musical? I'm sure I've mentioned The Musical :-)
This year it's 'Annie', an old favourite of mine with many memories attached........

In 1980 the show was playing at The Festival Theatre in Adelaide. I think I saw it at least 3 times as my flatmate was going out with one of the cast members. Of course, this doesn't even begin to cover the socialising we did with the cast throughout the run. I had loved the show from the first and this more personal connection only served to cement its importance as a part of my life story.

And now here it is again. I am delighted.

I don't think, if you'd asked me all those years ago, that I would have imagined my role in a production of 'Annie' as Stage Manager, props and costume mistress. In those days I was a budding starlet about to embark upon a statewide tour with the Arts Council. I was a 'singer/dancer/actress' and I thought that's what I'd be doing for the rest of my life. If you'd asked me about 'Annie' I would have laid money on the role of 'Miss Hannigan'. I still would. Anyone doing a production out there?

But, the Lord moves in mysterious ways. Here I am planning the manufacture of costumes for 6 lead orphans and another 6 extraneous orphans as well as collecting appropriate second hand gear to be used for other principals and chorus.

One of the things I wanted to do was create our own flavour for the orphans. We could have borrowed costumes from another school but we (the production team) wanted the orphans, in particular, to have a unique look. My vision was a palette of fabrics in a fairly monchrome colourway which could be mixed and matched to create a sense of haphazard 'family'.

This is what I've got. The idea is that the garments will be fairly full and individual but over the top of each one, the orphans will be encased in an identical uniform 'pinafore'. Kind of like their personalities being subjected to the strictures of authority and institution.
The stand out material, the green chintz, is for Annie.

The smock on the right is the one I'm going to work off for the orphans. It will be shorter and probably have a pocket on the front; and of course there won't be any pioneer bonnets :-) I'm also thinking that each pinny will be stencilled with the words 'NY City Municipal Orphanage' or some such beaurocratic moniker; perhaps along the back hem like a hospital gown?

The actual dresses I'm planning to base on the centre dress. Some will be long sleeved, some short, some with frills, some without, some with collar, some with V necks etc. I also plan to make one shorter one and put it with knickerbockers for the littlest orphan. Pepper, the aggro tomboy, may end up in trousers and a long shirt.

I know I am too old to get excited like this but whenever I lay the fabrics out to admire them and their pre-faded look; to see them as garments which have been washed 100 times but which still retain the spirit of individuality for each girl, I get goosebumps. I am a little worried that the overall final effect will not quite live up to my far reaching 'vision' :-)

Today I sent out the ubiquitous plea for sewing assistance. If anyone would like to volunteer, please leave a comment! I will supply a cut out garment and instructions for assembly. Mum? Li'l Sis??????? Carrie???????? :-D

For a whimsical wander through all things crafty, check out Crafty Tuesday.

Best Shot Monday: Sunshower

There's been a lot of rain around in Adelaide lately, which is a blessing of course. On Sunday in the late afternoon, we watched the squall move in over the sea and hit us with full force. It was amazing standing on the balcony in the glare of the sun as the rain pelted down. Everything always looks so fresh and clean after the rain. I haven't been taking too many photos lately and these are just taken with the PAS which I grabbed in excitement as the shower passed over however they are my Best Shots for this week. As always, check out Mother May I to see what other more serious photographers have to offer :-)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Year 10 Commence Mensuration. Yes You Read That Right.

"And so, to find the area of the sector, we need to use the angle as a fraction of the total number of degrees in the circle, and thus find the fraction of the circumference indicated by the arc L."

The stunned silence which greeted my statement was punctuated only by the hum of the climate control fan.

Alicia suddenly slumped back in her chair and announced loudly and with no hint of sarcasm whatsoever,
"Is it just me, or is this REEEAAAALLY boring?"

I dunno. I think I might be with you Alicia.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Tale of Repulsive and Sir Buttkiss (?)

My brother in law obviously has too much time on his hands. Here is what he crafted recently with help from my niece and nephew. (My nephew is the blonde)

PS: If you have trouble watching this on this page and you have a few minutes to spare to see how Benny Hill is channeled and Sir Buttkiss becomes the next John Microsoft millionaire; try watching directly on Youtube.

Theme Thursday: Chowing Down

Looking for 'food' photos was harder than I thought but when I saw this one I knew I had to share it. I'll have to admit I wasn't the photographer. This one was taken by my dad in 2005. That's my niece, Ginger and the Baby Angel when she really was a baby....9. Don't ask me why Ginger is wearing that hat.........!

For more photos with food, check out Cheese Party for Theme Thursday.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Day One Completed

I have survived the first day back, mainly by spending most lessons talking about the holidays :-)
Now to finish marking the Year 9 exams and I can start to think about this term.

The conference was riveting. So much so that I was able to mark the Year 8 exams whilst listening to the three, count them, three keynote speakers. And the people who introduced them. And the people who thanked them and gave them gifts. I swear some of the introductions were as long as the speeches.

Teachers really make the worst audiences. At one point as the speaker was going on and on and on about the kids of today I texted three of the other teachers in the auditorium...

"Do u kno what is wrong with the kids of 2day? Technology! That's what!"

Lame Arizaphale. Very lame. Shows how bored we were :-)

OK. Exams! Here I come!!!!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Crafty Tuesday: Baby Cardigan

It's Crafty Tuesday again and I have finally finished the cardigan for my friend Oustiti's little baby Rosalie who was born in February. I sincerely hope it will still fit her :-)

I was pretty happy with the way it turned out although it came from the pattern book from Hell, as my Mum will attest. After a while you just have to figure out the pattern and stop looking at the book or your eyes start rolling around in opposite directions!

This particular cotton yarn is wonderful to work with I find. After I'd finished knitting I washed it and it was sooooo soft. I am hoping it will be just right for a European summer.Now to get started on something for A Free Man and Dr O'C's baby, although perhaps I should wait and see if it's a boy or a girl.

Back to the salt mines tomorrow. But before I get stuck into it, I'm clicking over to Carrie's for Crafty Tuesday. Why not join me?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Can You Enjoy The Harry Potter Movie If You've Never Read The Books (or seen the other movies)??

Well, Himself would say a resounding NO!

As with anything involving our family there is a story involved in this.

The day had gone relatively well with a few minor hiccups to my well planned schedule.
The Doctor's surgery was closed due to power cuts (which were over by the time I got there so I was well irritated); the BA flew back in on the first leg of an international rather than a normal domestic flight which meant a few anxious moments in Sydney as she didn't have a passport and was initially not allowed to board! Once she arrived here she had to go through customs and immigration so it was 45 minutes before she came through the doors.
Nevertheless we were on-time for her netball match where she once again performed well; her team victorious: 48-30.

After a nice visit with Kindergarten Friend's mum who is the most remarkable, sprightly 85 year old I know, we arrived back home minutes before Himself and Small Boy returned from the football, all within the prescribed time frame in order to get to the 6.10pm session of Harry. There was only one small fly in the ointment whom I shall call 'Two Doors' (as in; Two Doors Down), Small Boy's bosom buddy from down the road. He'd been to the football with 'the boys' as he frequently does and bounced back in to plonk himself down in front of the X-Box immediately.

"Two Doors," I called from the kitchen,"You have to go home now because we're going out."
His eyes never left the screen. "Ummm, I don't think my mum's home."
"What do you mean your mum's not home?" my head shot around the corner, looking somewhat accusingly at Himself who was all wide eyed and innocent. Hadn't he checked this out before he took the lad with him?????
"Well, the house was all dark when we came past," Two Doors continued, still playing X-Box for all he was worth.
"Well Two Doors," I shrilled,"Hadn't you better go down and check because we're going out in about 10 minutes??!!!"

As ever, he was unperturbed and cheerfully agreed to go and see where she was. Well, she wasn't. There, I mean. Nope. House locked up and in darkness as it was now nearly 6 o'clock.
"Don't worry," he chirruped, "I'll ring her."

No reply on her mobile.

At this point I was starting to steam. Obviously Himself had not communicated to her that we were going out because no-one goes out while their kid is out and doesn't come home and doesn't let him know where she is, right? He called Grandma. Grandma didn't know where Mum was either but she agreed to come over and pick him up.

"I'll just wait outside our house for you Grandma," Two Doors announced to her and hung up. He is nothing if not stoic.

Well of course, there was no way I was leaving the kid waiting outside his house in the dark for his Grandma who might take 15-20minutes to arrive. We all drove down and sat outside his house in the car with the engine running and the clock ticking on the session commencement time. Eventually I said to Himself, "You take the kids down and get popcorn etc and I'll wait with him and catch up in my car when his Grandma gets here."

I thought this was a perfectly reasonable compromise. Had I been driving and Himself in the passenger seat, I may have suggested Himself wait whilst I drove but that was not the situation and so I suggested what I thought to be the best option. For some reason this did not meet with Himself's approval; he was insistent that we should all wait whilst I felt that it was a shame if the kids missed out on the first part of the movie. When I asked why he wasn't keen on my suggestion he rolled his eyes and said that it was 'all too hard'. I'm not very good at seeing the other side of a situation if it hasn't been explained to me so I became quite frustrated by this recalcitrant attitude. As the minutes ticked by and the session time clicked over I announced that they should get going, emphasising the point by getting out of the car with Two Doors. Himself wouldn't take the tickets so I gave them to the BA and proceeded up the darkened drive as Himself, realising that I meant it, took off in a less than pleasant temper.

So here is the scenario: Himself, who had not wanted to attend a Harry Potter movie (he's more of a Jean-Claude Van Damme man) is now alone with the kids, a situation with which he is never comfortable, on his way to Marion, a venue he loathes. Hmmmmm. This was not going well. I had intended, until the mix-up with Two Doors, to 'fill him in' on the Harry Potter plot on the way to the cinema but naturally, this didn't happen. As a result, by the time I had delivered Two Doors to his apologetic grandmother (less than 10 minutes later fortunately) and caught up with the family, Himself was seated in the theatre with Small Boy, a face like thunder and absolutely no idea what the story of Harry Potter was all about. The previews were just about over and there was no time to redress the plot deficit so the BA and I sat back to make the best of it.

Now, let me just say here that I was so proud of my girl. She was duly upset by Himself's bad humour but calmly organised him and took the responsibility for queuing for popcorn while the boys found their seats. She was prepared to miss out herself to ensure Small Boy had his dad with him and saw the beginning of the movie. As it turned out we all saw the beginning of the movie so all was well but I was just really impressed by the mature way she dealt with things. On the other hand I was a little annoyed that she had to deal with them. A little case of 'who's the adult here...?' :-(

Because we arrived later, I was about as far away from Himself as you can be in a group of four seats and so I did not even have the opportunity to fill him in as the film progressed. Consequently, as the lights went up at the end, his first words to all of us were that it was 'the worst movie he'd ever seen, it made no sense at all, had no plot, no recognisable good and bad guys and was basically a lot of pretty pictures!'

Unfortunately he would not let it go at that and was incensed that he'd had to sit for nearly 3 hours trying to make sense of something so ridiculous! I suggested that it was 'just nice for us all to be out together' with the type of eyebrow raising and eye rolling that was meant to communicate: 'keep your opinions to yourself and let the kids enjoy the experience' but it was clear he didn't really 'get' what I was on about.

Back at home I managed to get him alone on the balcony and explain how his reactions impacted on those around him.
"When you get angry like that the kids feel uncomfortable."
"But they know I'm not angry with them!" he protested.
"No, that's the point, they don't! They feel responsible and it spoils their night."
He was taken aback by this and, to his credit, later apologised to them for being 'grumpy' but we did not come to any agreement on the quality of the Harry Potter film.

I thoroughly enjoyed it although I could see why he didn't. I do maintain however that you could make more sense of it than he chose to. I mean, Draco was obviously a bad guy, as were the dudes who kept turning into black smoke and who torched The Warren (that wasn't in the book was it?). But it was full of riddles and I can understand why that would be frustrating if you were just coming into the story.

Himself's point was that in the first films which he had seen, there was a discernible 'plot' which went 'over' the back story. Even if you didn't know all the history, the spider plot, the Azkabhan escapee or the hidden Philosopher's Stone had enough to keep you entertained whereas this did not. To some degree I think he is right but I think that it's the nature of the beast. The closer we get to the all out battle between Voldemort and the powers of good, the more the plot centres on the mystery of Harry himself.

So what did I think of the film? Well I liked Slughorn (Jim Broadbent is always terrific) and the emerging relationships between the main characters. I always love Snape, and knowing what I now know about his motivation adds a whole new dimension to his role. In a way I felt this film condensed things a lot more than some of the previous ones did but I will need to go back and read the book again to confirm that. Obviously the main points were all there.

So what do you think? Do you think the film assumed to much prior knowledge? If so, is it inevitable or should they have been trying to make a 'stand-alone' film? And finally, do you think I should ever bother getting Himself to accompany us to the pictures again?

I am open to all points of view here. Don't be shy! Tell me what you think!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

What Happened Next.

Thank you for all your sympathetic comments regarding the Harry Potter debacle.

Here's the update:

After trying to flog the tickets to you people :-) and on facebook, I offered them to the kids at rehearsals yesterday. I had two 'nibbles' but nothing came of it so as I left school at 5pm I decided to go down to Marion, pick up the tickets and try and sell them on to someone in the queue. I had already bought the replacement tickets for the correct night (tonight: oh boy oh boy) so it was looking like it was going to be a reeeeeeeally expensive birthday present for the Small Boy!!!!

Down at Marion I queued in the 'collect tickets here' line and then, I became that person that you really hate when you are running late for a film and all you have to do is collect two tickets which you've already bought and paid for online and the person in front of you asks for a refund!

Yes, that was me. I figured since I was there I might as well explain about the whole 'thought I was booking Saturday and forgot to check before I pressed the button' thing. I showed them that I had rebooked the tickets for the next night and explained that I had spent sometime on the phone during the day trying to get through to someone to talk about the error but had been unable to get an answer. Surprisingly, incredibly, they made a quick call and agreed to give me a refund!!!!!!!!

Of course, that's where it got messy and everyone behind me was wishing they had joined a different queue. For some reason they couldn't find one of my bookings and then they told me I'd actually booked two tickets for Gold Class (what???? I'm dumb but I'm not that dumb...they don't let kids in to Gold Class) and then I had to wait to one side while they found the manager and then I saw 2 of the BA's friends in the queue and they were with boys........

Talk about stressful. I actually tried to hide from the BA's friends but they spotted me and called out to me across the queue, wondering when she was coming back from Sydney. Then I realised that one of the boys was a lad from their class at school and the other, although I didn't know him, was cheerful, polite, articulate and charming. Hmph. As if that was going to win me over.

Result? I GOT THE REFUND!!!!!!!!!! I had to forgo the $4.00 booking fee but did I look worried about that???? :-D

So all's well that ends well. We're off to see Harry tonight with both kids and Himself!(I had to do some fast talking along the 'guilt guilt, Small Boy's birthday, guilt guilt, nice family outing, guilt guilt etc) but he eventually agreed to leave his work station and come with us :-D

Only two days of holidays left but the good news is that we start the term with a two day conference so NO KIDS and I still have 'til Thursday to mark those pesky exams. Today I pick up the BA from the airport, visit our dear friend Nellie, take BA to netball and then home for a few quick loads of washing before HARRY POTTER!

Life's pretty good really.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Theme Thursday: Silly

You see this?

This is silly.

This is booking a ticket ONLINE to see Harry Potter AND PAYING .......for the wrong night. The BA will not even be back from Sydney tomorrow and The Small Boy (whose birthday it is) will be celebrating with his Mum!!!!!! >:-(

****(insert expletive of your choice)

I hit that 'Purchase Now' button a nano second before my brain suggested I check my booking details.

Too late.

Have you read their exchange and refund policy?????


And of course the booking office is closed now so I can't call til the morning. :-(

Anyone wanna buy 4 tickets to Harry Potter for Friday night in Adelaide? I'll let you have 'em for $15.00 each ;-D

Check out Theme Thursday over at Cheese Party. Hopefully noone has been quite THIS silly!!!

Biting Off more Than I Can Chew: Annie The Musical

This second week of the holidays has seen the real start of rehearsals for the musical. About 40 kids and 5 teachers have been meeting in at school daily and the really hard yakka of blocking scenes, setting choreography and rehearsing the orchestra has started.

For my part, I am officially; Stage Manager, Costumes, Props and Assistant Director. Now you see where the title for this post comes in.

It started sensibly enough, I was Stage Manager and Costumes; that's what I did last time. The role of SM doesn't really start till you get into the theatre so before hand I was concentrating on costumes and just getting a basic idea of the show so I could work out the cues. This time somehow they've discovered my background in theatre and so I have been asked to block scenes and do character workshops as well. How I got landed with props I am not sure.

The thing is, I love it and would cheerfully give it my all. Unfortunately there are other areas of my life which require attention too. Marking exams for one (no I haven't done that yet :-( despite talking about it for the last week), what I'm going to teach next term for another, Kidzone at church, my family........oh and the house.

Which is why I was awake the other morning at 4am having a panic attack. But never fear, I have plans to off load some of this responsibility. If I have learned anything over the years it is how to delegate. And not a WORD out of you mother. This is one of the times I'm glad you DON'T comment very often.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Crafty Tuesday: Set Painting

I was arty/crafty this last week. For the first week of the school holidays, one of my colleagues and I were painting sets for the Year 12 production of 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.

Our brief involved 8 'flats' which needed to be undercoated (to get rid of a previous market scene) on both sides and then turned into two Regency drawing rooms and a neutral scene. The neutral scene was pink (for some reason) and the two drawing rooms were to be blue and yellow. The director had instructed us to paint stripes on the top two thirds and block colour on the bottom third to simulate wall panelling, a dado rail and wallpaper.

This is what we came up with. The yellow one is the city house and the blue one is the country. Now I can see all sorts of problems with them :-) The stripes are not right. They look more like circus tents than Regency wallpaper. The upside down fleurs de lys were a bit of a shortcut to a regency pattern because I had to cut a stencil and this was a lot easier to cut than a fiddly Regency motif. The blue one was an existing stencil which the Director had chosen and I just blew it up on the photocopier and re-cut it out of cardboard. I'm not sure it really works with the stripes. The other issue my colleague and I had was that we felt the stripes should have been on the bottom but the director felt with furniture and so forth standing in the way of the sets, you wouldn't see have seen them.

Anyway, since we took these shots, I have added a red brown stripe to the top and bottom of the yellow border, which helps to define it and add depth. I also want to add some 3D effects to the border pattern by high lighting the fleurs de lys again with the red brown colour. The blue needs something else too but I'm not sure what yet.

I may also add thinner stripes into the stripy part to make it more like a Regency stripe although everyone tells me 'it's just a play' and not to spend too much time over it :-D Anyhow, that my Crafty contribution this week!
Click over to see what others have been up to.

Monday, 13 July 2009

If You Want Something Done....

"Your son needs some new trousers," I informed Himself last week. Small Boy had arrived for his holiday visit with nothing but a few pairs of shorts, one pair made of that thin shiny fabric basketballers wear. It has been about 9C in the mornings here lately.
"Doesn't he have some in his drawer here?"
"Yes, but they're all too short for him now and he's refusing to wear them. Take him down to the shopping centre sometime."

I must admit I was surprised when I didn't get too much argument. Himself notoriously loathes all shopping centres and our nearest major shopping centre in particular. It's one of the larger mall complexes and for some reason it never has enough car parks, sin number one in Himself's eyes. It is also deliberately convoluted in order to make you walk past as many shops as possible and past the thousands of determined women shoppers, who, according to Himself, always have their elbows extended.

So I was naturally quietly delighted when he agreed to take on the task. Normally he would handball this sort of thing to me but the week with Small Boy had been a little fraught due to Himself's constant work and even he could see that Small Boy was in need of some serious dad time. You see, no matter how good your relationship with your step mother is, when you're a boy, there's no-one like dad.

Later that day he phoned me, "We've been shopping," he said.
"Great, what kind of trousers did you get?"
"Well, we didn't actually get any trousers."
"What do you mean you didn't get any trousers???"
"Well, we got some wheels for his scooter instead."

You think I make this stuff up don't you?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

In Praise Of The Humble Card

Cards are having a tough time of it lately.

I mean, what with email and ecards and online flowers etc, I know my investment in the card industry has plummeted. Heck, I haven't even done Christmas cards for the last two years, a fact which I deeply regret as I have lost contact with some people as a result. This of course brings me to my point. There is nothing like a card really.

There is also nothing like a carefully chosen gift, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. A carefully chosen gift can demonstrate your intimate knowledge of someone, or at least that you have enough respect for them to find out what they need/like and search it out. Which is what makes kids' birthday parties tricky; especially when you are a step parent and do not know the birthday boy.

Recently I have been landed witha number of last minute 'he's going to a party's. Dad of course makes no effort to buy gifts in advance because he just doesn't think like that >:-( so when I asked Small Boy what we needed to get for someone's present the other day he announced that we simply needed to put money in a card: 'That's what Mum does and anyway, that's what he was asking for.'

This rankles with me. It smacks of laziness. It stinks of not bothering to find out who the child is and what he likes/is interested in. It reeks of materialism. It's like paying to go to a party.

However, my hands were tied a little. It was last minute, it was an 'early start' party and things have not been all sunshine and roses with the Small Boy here this week and I didn't feel like another argument. So off to the shopping centre we went to buy a card and drop Small Boy off at the movies.

Once there I insisted Small Boy have a hand in choosing a card. His initial pick, which involved an analysis of different kinds of farts , I rejected as inappropriate. He then claimed he didn't know where to look for another one (give me strength) and also informed me that he wasn't sure how old his friend actually was! That ruled out the age related cards. Like pulling teeth, we finally and excruciatingly found a safe, cheerful, appropriately amusing card. Upon purchase I found a pen for him to write in the card.

"We don't need to," he snapped, keen to be getting to the party,"It's got writing in it already."

Is the counter of a card shop the place to lecture a child on the importance of a hand written message? Of the emotion that can be communicated through a few well thought out words? Ask the Bestie's mum. When I wrote out the card for her 80th birthday I wrote it through tears of love and she, equally, called me the next day to tell me how much it had meant to her.

Is it just women? Do men not get that? I don't believe that because my ex husband wrote the most beautiful cards to his little daughter as she grew (and he continues to do so). Whatever the reason, I felt it was a sad indictment on...what? Some people? I don't think we can tar the whole Gen Y with this particular brush although speed and immediacy of communication do discourage thoughtful reflection. No, I can't tar them because I know my daughter spends time choosing cards (or even making them and she hates craft), I think this one falls squarely on the shoulders of adult role modelling and is yet another example of where Himself and his ex and I differ.

I've been in at school this week in the holidays painting sets for the Year 12 production. Out of the blue, and much to my surprise, on Wednesday the Year12s arrived with cards and chocolate to say thank you. The chocolates are gone but the card is still here on my desk.

Image credit

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Theme Thursday: Reunion

I wanted to be all clever with this theme and post something that referred to my waistline and Size 10 reuniting but I ran out of creativity.

I also wanted to post the last Family Photo we did, just before my sisters left back in January. Himself stood on the balcony and took us all standing in the driveway but I don't think anyone emailed me a copy!

So instead I found this one. This is from 2005 when the BA and I traveled back to the UK for the first time since we moved back to Australia in Jan 03. Here's another that I took although we're still missing one of the husbands......don't know where he was at the time.Aside from my family, these people were the most important people in the world to me in the years after the Baby Angel was born. The kids were all born within 5 months of each other and we met at Baby Massage class and through mutual friends (who are not in this picture since they moved to London). The support we gave each other through the early difficult days of baby and toddlerhood was immeasurable. The outings, playdates and wet Sunday afternoon lunches with red wine were the things that kept us together and kept us all going. The Missing Husband and Tall, Dark and Handsome up the back there, were my Baby Group with brains. Being flexi-workers we were able to meet up once a week for lunch with the kids. We took it in turns to host and to cook and those two fellows proved the best testing ground for my meagre cooking skills. They were always encouraging and generally ate everything I offered. We discussed many topics; politics, history, culture, literature, music and of course, children.

The reunion in the New Year of 2005 was exuberant and joyful. For three weeks or so we were able to fall back into our old patterns; walking in the Country Parks, sleepovers, meals, ice skating, ball games in the park. It was wonderful.

All of us have moved on in our lives since this photo. I am remarried; the bearded gentleman at the back has a new super duper job up in Edinburgh and lives away from the family during the week; Tall, Dark and Handsome became a primary school teacher and at last contact was being fast tracked into Assistant Principal; parents have passed away, kids are in High School and life marches on. Thank God.

We love them all so much and we can't wait for another Reunion although who knows when that will be :-(

Check out AmyJo's Reunion and join in Theme Thursday with us.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

In Which I Totally Fail As A Youngster

A few nights ago the Baby Angel wanted me to book tickets online for a band we are going to see in October. Now I am not familiar with the band and in fact wasn't all that keen to see them but it's the BA's friend's birthdy and it was all she wanted for her birthday and I am such a soft hearted mum.

Aaaaanyway, I went online and typed in the name of the band with other keywords such as concert/gig/Adelaide.......nothing.

I typed it in words. I typed it with digits instead of words for the numbers. I typed a combination of both. Still nothing.

In desperation I called the BA.
"I can't find this b***** band anywhere BA! Is there some weird way to spell it? Come and see what I'm doing wrong."
"Show me what you've tried Mum."


three oh three

three 0 three

3 oh 3

"Oh der Mum" she exclaimed as she typed it in for me


..........................................I have no words.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Ear Piercing or The Mutilation of Children

My beautiful unmutilated child with the ears she was born with.

At about the age of 10 the BA first enquired about having her ears pierced. I said no. Without hesitation. Without a second thought. No child of mine is having her ears pierced at 10.

"So when can I have them pierced?" she wanted to know.
"Later," was not a satisfactory answer.
At first I think I said 16 but somehow, and I'm not sure how this occurred, I was negotiated down to 14. However, even 14 made me squirm. What was it about having her ears pierced that so confronted me? Why do people pierce ears anyway? I decided to do some research. I quickly found this article:

"The ear-lobe was probably man's first attempt at body piercing due to the ease with which it can be pierced. The oldest mummified body in the world was found frozen in an Austrian Glacier in 1991, tests showed the body to be over 5,000 years old. The body had pierced ears and the holes had been enlarged to 7-11mm diameter.

Ears were probably first pierced for magical purposes, very many primitive tribes believe that demons can enter the body through the ear, because demons and spirits are supposed to be repelled by metal, ear-piercing prevents them entering the body. Sailors used to have an ear pierced to improve eyesight, and if the bodies washed up somewhere it would pay for a christian burial. In many societies ear piercing is done as a puberty ritual, in Borneo the Mother and Father each pierce one ear as a symbol of the child's dependance on their parents.

Ear piercing is an almost universal practice for men and women, it's only in western society that it's deemed effeminate. At various times in history men wore elaborate earrings; during the Elizabethan era many famous men such as Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake wore gold rings in their ears.

As the Roman Republic grew more effeminate with wealth and luxury, earrings were more popular among men than women; no less a he-man than Julius Caesar brought back to repute and fashion the use of rings in the ears of men."

"Jewels & Women; The Romance, Magic and Art of Feminine Adornment" Marianne Ostier, Horizon Press, New York, 1958

There was also this:

Did you know that there are several references to pierced ears and earrings in the Bible? In Genesis 24:22 the fashion is mentioned and in Exodus 32, Aaron melts ornate hoops to make the golden calf. History has recovered evidence that members of Ancient Mesoamericans had multiple body piercing, including some on the ear. Some tribes consider the ritual of piercing to be a rite of passage not a fashion statement. In Borneo, young ladies entering adult hood, have their ears pierced by their parents.


and, interestingly, this:

Body piercing disappeared from most western cultures where it was considered the practice of barbarian tribes until the Elizabethan era when sailors came into contact with tribes who believed that ear lobe piercings enhanced long distance vision. This was of obvious benefit to sailors who spent most of their time on the open ocean. Interestingly enough modern acupuncture techniques support this idea.

For me it is the idea of rites of passage that rings true. To me, ear piercing symbolises an entry to womanhood, like a deb ball, a coming out party or a quilting; it is a sign that you are 'on the market'. I think this is why the piercing of very young children's ears seems incongruous and I would be interested to hear, from those who either had their ears pierced at a young age or have had their own children's ears pierced, the rationale behind the custom. Perhaps it is a hark back to the idea of ear jewelery signifying status as it was for the Romans?

So at the time I had agreed to it, 14 seemed such a long way off. Perhaps she would forget about it? Predictably, as her 14th birthday approached, she reminded me of my 'promise'. For her 14th birthday she wanted to get her ears pierced. Being a mother of my word, I had to agree; but that didn't mean I was going to have to assist in the process!

Now, the question that is looming large here of course, is whether I have my ears pierced. The answer is yes; but as I explained to the BA, I was 19 when I had mine done. I was old enough to vote!

Putting all the angst aside, she had decided that she would spend any birthday money she received in getting her ears pierced. I informed her that she would need to do the research, make the appointment and get there herself as I was not going to facilitate the process. Happily for the BA, The Bestie decided that it would be a very good thing for them to do together as a birthday present. (Curses, foiled by my own Bestie)
Here they are off to do the deed.

And here is the result. See how my hand was shaking with emotion as I took the shot, or are they tears blurring the image? Of course many people have told me I am making too big of a deal about this and truthfully, now that it's done, it really isn't that big a deal! I just found my own emotional responses to the whole process quite interesting.

What do you think?

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Things You Learn At A Quiz Night: 2009 version

As I've mentioned before, my Bestie runs a charity. Last year the quiz night was a great success and lots of fun but we only came 4th. THIS year we had Himself, AFM and Dr O'C , Kindergarten Friend and his beautiful partner The Railway Girl, The Bestie's Mum and Dad and The Gay American (yes, he does have a name but several times at the Quiz Night the MC (Mumford) referred to him as The Gay American and so he shall be). The Baby Angel and Small Boy also added their expertise and believe me there were times we needed it! The net result? SECOND!!!!!!

I am so excited about this because part way through the night we were coming a very sorry middle of the pack indeed!.

So what did I learn THIS time? (Get ready trivia buffs...)

The dingo was the first non-native animal introduced to Australia.

Our Deputy Prime-Minister's partner is a hairdresser!

The four faces on Mt Rushmore are: Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Roosevelt (Teddy)
(Thanks AFM and GTA)

The faunal emblem of South Australia is the Hairy Nosed Wombat

There are 5 verses in the Australian National Anthem. (who knew???)
(Thanks TGA)

The first overseas flight of Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service) was to Singapore.

The first drive in bottle shop in Australia opened in 1953!!

The No 1 song of the Hottest 100 Hits for 2009 was...The Kings of Leon: Sex on Fire.
(Thanks BA)

Australia has 115 species of venomous snakes.

Tenzin Gyatso is otherwise known as The Delai Lama. (Thanks again TGA)

Our former Prime Minister Paul Keating once managed a rock band known as The Ram Rods.

So, lots of new information there! There were a couple of disputed questions however. To begin with they asked where the three major Australian railways met up and gave the answer as 'Quorn'. Now our table had specified 'Port Augusta' with a fair degree of confidence and, since some of us had lived in Quorn in the past, we (they) were a little surprised at the result.

Bestie's Dad was adamant that the trains had not run into Quorn since 1985 and Railway Girl, who works for said railways, assured us that the National Office for something or other was being built at Port Augusta precisely because all three railway lines met there!!Well apparently we weren't the only table to be surprised and a little skeptical at the answer. So many people disputed the call that there was some quick wireless googling (I assume) and the answer was revised to Port Augusta or Crystal Brook! Apparently there's more than one place where the railways meet today! Good result anyway. One more point for us.

Not so satisfactory was the outcome on the disputed name of the eldest member of The Jacksons! Having been a really saddo fan of the Jackson Five circa 1973, I very quickly supplied the answer to this question. Of course, Jackie was the eldest member of the Jacksons, the others being Jermain, Tito, Marlon and Michael. Our table seemed a little suspicious of my answer. Perhaps 'Jackie' seemed a little too obvious? Regardless; I knew I was right. I mean, a fan is a fan and I had read plenty of those hideous fan magazines which detailed every known fact about each member of the group from their star sign to their favourite colour and shoe size. Jackie it is!

Imagine my surprise, nay horror, as they announced that the eldest member of the Jacksons was Jerome!!!!!!!!! Jerome?????????? Who the f*** is Jerome?????????????

Now I had to admit here that somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Jackie's real name was not actually Jackie, in the same way that Tito's was actually 'Toriano', but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. Maybe it was Jerome? Regardless, he was well known as Jackie and if it came to choosing the correct member of the group I was certain I had done that! Imagine my outrage then when our answer sheet came back marked incorrect!!

Down to the judging table I marched but to no avail. According to the judges 'he now calls himself Jerome' and that was all that mattered. No points baby!! By now my whole table were in mocking mode. 'Jackie' bwahahahah! As IF!!!!!!

You know that white hot knot of fury and injustice that burns when you KNOW you are right and no-one will listen? It's a feeling I remember distinctly from my childhood and the flavour has not improved with age and 'maturity', hem hem.

Back at home I was immediately onto Google. Was my childhood an illusion? Had Jackie Jackson existed only in my age demented imagination??

By the first hit I was exonerated! But we all know that Wikipedia is anything but reliable so I tried a few other sources.....


Not ONLY was Jackie definitely the oldest member of the Jacksons, but his given name was NOT Jerome...it was Sigmund!!!!!! In fact, Googling Jerome Jackson gave me some little known jazz crooner who had absolutely nothing to do with the famous Jackson Five family!!!!!

Sweet moral high ground.

OK so the extra point would not have made any difference to the final score but at least I was vindicated. You bet I emailed all the links to everyone who was on our table. :-D

By the way: A belated happy Birthday shout out to my Bestie's Beloved, Mr Mumford! Was great to see everybody there on Saturday, celebrating you. :-)

image credits

quiz night

indian pacific

jackie jackson

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Tales From The Exam Room

Yesterday in Year 10 Geography, in answer to the question:

"Name two of our country's worst bushfire disasters."
one of my little friends had written...............

(don't ask...I have NO idea)

Yesterday: in answer to a question in the Year 9 Maths exam

"Is the data symmetrically distributed, positively or negatively skewed?"
one of my testosterone driven lads had written..........

Positively screwed.
(I suspect he did it on purpose. I gave him half a mark for getting the 'positively' bit correct >:-)

Today: in the Year 8's first exam, I announced that they had 10 minutes 'reading time' and sat back. After a few moments one of the boys put his hand up.

"Errrr....what are we supposed to read?" he enquired.

I refrained from the bitingly sarcastic "Shall I get you a magazine?" which sprang to my lips and indicated his test paper but before I could recover from the complete stupidity of this question, I noticed one of the other boys sitting staring into space.

"What are you doing?" I whispered in his ear, "you're meant to be reading."

He smiled vacantly and whispered back apologetically,
"Oh well, I didn't actually bring anything to read."

We assume so much.