Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

I Wonder If Being On The Roof In The Rain Has Any Connection With My Current Flu?


Sick as a dog.

Full of gunk, can't breathe, feverish, coughing, having tomorrow off.

Just thought I'd share that with you all.

Got Lily on my lap though so that's all good.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Somebody Build Me An Ark!!!!

It was raining cats and dogs and hailstones here today....and where was I? On the roof of course, trying to figure out where the water was coming in >:-(
Whilst up there I cleaned the gutters and established that we need a gutter repairer guy in tout de suite but failed completely to find the leak. Fortunately it is dripping onto our wood fired heater with a reassuring hiss. So at least it is evaporating rather than causing water damage anywhere.
By the crikeys it rained today. The roads were awash, the spoon drains failing to cope and my car creating a bow wave on the way in to work.
Meanwhile, I have to write two exams so the BA and LaJF are making the dinner. Could be interesting.

Here is her effort at a Gingerbread House.
Remember I told you she wasn't very crafty.......
Oh and here is a KI teaser:Don't even ask!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

KI Teaser

Oh my have I got some photos to share when we get back!

Today I held a snake, a possum, a baby kangaroo, a hopping sand mouse and a bearded dragon! AND whilst at Remarkable Rocks we saw a whale in the neighbouring bay!!!!! I think the JF is finally appreciating Australia!!!!!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Team Up Thursday (on Saturday): After Dark

JoLyn's photo of people playing volleyball after dark and mine of Himself hard at work as usual in the wee small hours make our belated contribution to this week's Theme Thursday.

We're off to KI now (running late) so I can't even link!!!
See you on Tuesday!!!!

So, here I am on KI on Sunday night, accessing the internet through Himself's phone. I just had to come on and add a bit more detail about these two photos.

JoLyn had been on camp all week and this photo was taken on the volleyball courts where the girls were playing with neon 'glow in the dark' sticks. Very cool! I wanted to try and encapsulate what goes on at our place 'after dark' which is basically, Himself earning us a living. Sometimes, if we come home late (ie after dark) we find the whole house in darkness and Himself riveted to his computer screen. He seems almost surprised to realise the sun has gone down!

There are many more interesting pair-ups to be seen on 'Team Up Thursday' over at Megan and Melody's. Enjoy!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Ankle Update

Well, due to the insistence of her father and the good advice from Prof J (an old netballer and ankle injurer from way back), we have been to the physio, got exercises and a compression bandage and been told to get gradually back onto the court starting next week!!! This is a big improvement on the GP's '6 weeks' out!!!!! The BA is delighted.

In FrogNews: it has been a bumpy ride of late but things have settled a bit and this weekend we are off to Kangaroo Island! (oh boy oh boy....my first trip since my sister was here 18 months ago!)
We have had to trade off our departure date against a party on Friday night but at least we have a less than sulky teenager to deal with . Now to pray for good weather. I don't mind cold, just no rain please!!

Monday, 21 June 2010

In Which I Lose My Usual Good Humour and Become A Protective and Pissed Off Mother.

A few weeks ago the Baby Angel took a fall in her netball match. This is not unusual; she plays hard and sometimes bounces off the bitumen, but this time it was different. The rain was coming down and her line of sight wasn't good. She slipped, tripped over her opponent's leg and 'rolled' her ankle. I knew it was bad when she asked to come off. She never comes off.

We iced it and she sat out the last 10 minutes of the game. By the time we were ready to go she could weight bear and was able to hobble along. She missed training and rested during the week and by the following weekend she felt ready to play again. She did her normal two matches with a strapped ankle (just in case) and all was well.

The following week was a bye.

This week she had mentioned that occasionally, if she twisted the wrong way, or sat on her foot, her ankle still hurt so we strapped her up again for Saturday's game.

When we got to the courts I was appalled to see the amount of water lying on the surface. Some matches had already started and it appeared that no-one was making any effort to clear the courts. A large 'squeegee' on wheels stood unattended in the far corner.

Now this may not look like much water to you but have a look at this closer shot. Do you see the reddish sheen through the puddle? That's algae. The water had obviously been lying there long enough for a growth to develop.
Sensing the possibility of disaster, I fetched the squeegee and started to try and sweep some of the thick of the water off the playing area on the BA's court. When I attacked the deeper, reddish puddle, I nearly ended up on my butt. The stuff was like oil on the court!!!!!

I alerted the umpires, who were standing around itching to start the game. Their response was to call out to the players " Look out for this slippery spot here on the court!"

I was stunned. Surely they were not going to let the match start with the court in that condition?

Well, you can hear this coming can't you. Around 3 minutes into the first quarter, The BA went down like a ton of bricks.
She has now got to spend 6 weeks resting the ankle, which basically wipes out her season. She is devastated and I am one pissed off mama. I continued my court sweeping as she watched her team and noticed that once the water had been swept away, the algae very quickly turned to a powdery, non-slip dust. grrrrrr

I intend to pen a strongly warded letter to the PE staff.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Team Up Thursday: Speed

In stark contrast to our theme, JoLyn and I have been anything but speedy getting this diptych to you! We had planned to do it last week but life caught up with both of us.

JoLyn took this sensational picture of the wheels of a 4WD as it speeds down the highway. I personally LOVE this shot. When I first thought about 'speed' I saw, in my mindseye, the blur of motion but wondered how to balance that with clarity of subject? Well, JoLyn has absolutely nailed it as far as I am concerned. That soft focus that gives you the sense of motion suspended in time, coupled with the diagonal lines of the road, suggest speed perfectly in my humble opinion.

My shot, on the right, is an ancient one; pre-digital in fact. It actually came straight to mind when we chose 'Speed' but I had wanted to try and capture something different. I took my camera to work last week to try and shoot some of the action on the indoor soccer courts but in typical fashion, I had left the memory card in the computer at home:-( It was a darn shame too as I had a phalanx of willing 'models' :-D

So it was back to the ancient pre-digi shot.

Taken in 1989, it's a shot of one of my pupils at the local Sports Day. She was a complete natural. Notice how she's running in bare feet? I think she went on to run at a State level once she'd gone to boarding school in the city. I'm not sure if you can tell but she's in mid-stride, about 6" off the ground!


Report Mountain is retreating in the rear view mirror and Exam Canyon is fast approaching. I always query the value of end of semester exams for the lower ability pupils. I know it is supposed to prepare them for exams in the future but really, it just takes 3 weeks out of my teaching time. There is the pressure to 'revise' and so lessons are spent doing 'revision booklets' which most of my kids don't bother doing properly or do hastily with no attempt to retain anything. If I try and do it differently the kids are resistant, accusing me of 'not preparing them properly', and yes, I do mean accuse! It's a real bugbear of mine.

Still, no point complaining, no one listens. :-)

For your weekly diet of diptychs, click over to Team Up Thursday and perhaps contribute something yourself?

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Brief Coo-ee In The Midst Of Reports

Gee I hate reports. What teacher doesn't I guess? But I really hate secondary reports that have a number attached; a number which is supposed to summarise ability, motivation, application and achievement and which,of course, really tells you not very much at all. Oh and I really hate Care Group reports (which we are obliged to produce every term) which detail whether a student is punctual, wears the uniform correctly and is positively involved in the life of the school. Four times a year?? I mean, how many ways can you say 'neat, punctual, does his best', especially when you only ever see them for 10 minutes in the morning at roll call!??

But I gotta suck it up so I 'll probably be pulling an all-nighter to finish everything by tomorrow morning. :-(

Meanwhile, La Jeune Fille is relaxing into our madhouse and seems to be enjoying herself.

She finally emerged from the bedroom on Sunday at around 2.30pm. As a result she was bright eyed and bushy tailed well into the night so we made her play cards (our favourite...Racing Demons) and then made her teach us a French card game (Batteile). Himself even played, which was predictably hilarious. It's amazing how multi-cultural laughter is!

On Sunday she was up by 10am and after a Gorge walk with Himself and the BA, they accompanied A Free Family to the football to see my beloved Roosters being thrashed by A Free Man's carelessly chosen Tigers. According to Himself La JF is quite a good kick and picked up handballing technique with ease.

Again she was up bright and early this morning to accompany the BA to school and catch up with the rest of the French students as they too came in for classes. This afternoon as I picked the two of them up they were shrieking with laughter and LJF was actually using English in sentences! So. Progress.

I'll see you on the other side of Report Mountain!!!!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

La Jeune Fille Est Atterri!! (May I recommend Reverso free online translator?)

Currently, she's still in bed. (It's 1.15pm) I'm not sure if she's sleeping or hiding. . I think she was pretty overwhelmed yesterday, in this picture the BA looks ready to eat her, so we're just leaving her alone for now. The BA is at work in the McDonald's sweatshop and I am procrasticnating as usual but yeah.
I gotta show you this.

What do all of these jars have in common? Not sure?
Take another look.

Give up?

They all came out of my pantry this morning when I was looking for something
to spread on my toast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is it with my family? Are they scared of making the call?
Helloooooo folks, the jars are EMPTY! PUT THEM IN THE RECYCLING!!!!

Ah, now you see? I 've just answered my own question. Recycling means washing them out.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Keepin' Busy

Life's usual frantic pace is hotting up into ye old raging inferno.

This week I have the annual Special Needs Audit with the Independent Schools Association and the House BBQ; next Saturday the exchange student arrives; the followingWednesday reports are due and two weeks after that we have exams. In the midst of all that I have a couple of inservice days and the pressure of writing units for next year's Year 12.

My Bestie is moving house; my daughter's netball teams keep losing and my stepson needs a haircut. Apart from that everything is normal.

In an amazing moment this morning we managed to get three members of our family down to the Police Station for a 'police check' prior to the arrival of JF next weekend. All members of the family over 18 have to prove they're above board you see.

Himself: So...er what exactly does this police check show up?

Me: Don't worry, I don't think your 1985 brush with financial ruin is going to be a problem.

Himself: It's not me I'm worried about, it's No2 Son.

Me: Again, I don't think trespassing on school property is going to be an issue.

So it was a united Arizaphale family that fronted at the Cop Shop at 10:30am Saturday morning. Despite the 'early hour' there was lively discussion as we waited for them to photocopy the proof of our existence. No2 Son inevitably expressed the opinion that he wanted this 30 minutes of his life back and I immediately bit. The Policeman, in a stage whisper, mouthed the words 'Gen Y' to me.

This only served to rile me up further.

Me: You see officer, they are only Gen Y because we have made them that way.
Friend of No2 Son: So it's the parents fault?
Me: MOST definitely!
Friend: Wow. Harsh call.
Me: Maybe. But at the end of the day, it is parents who bend over backwards for their children, cosset them, cocoon them from discomfort, rescue them and lead them to believe that life will be easy, that are to blame for the selfish behavior of Gen Y. If you guys thought about the amount of time your parents had spent, picking you up, dropping you off and waiting for you in uncomfortable situations, you would not dream about complaining about having to do something as simple as this.


No2: Well I'm here aren't I?

Sometimes I just have to shut up and acknowledge.

The BA has been going through that ubiquitous 'we can't win a game' phase with her two netball teams. Himself calls it, 'Premiership Hangover'. There is a slight change in her schedule this year in that she plays two games a day, one with the school (8am) and the other with her club.
I think , due to their age, a lot of the girls are in this situation for the first time. It seems to be taking a toll on them.

The 8am game is a school game and the BA plays for the Year 10 A team. Unfortunately the rest of the team are 'boarders' which makes them very 'tight' and the BA has been a little bit on the outer. Also, she has been switched around in terms of positions as the coach finds out what the girls' strengths and weaknesses are although I am proud to say she has dealt with this very well and gives 110% whereever she is on the court. She has actually done a really effective job in Wing Attack which is quite a different role to her normal defending position. The problem with this team is that they're all too quick to shift the responsibility of loss onto each other. Rather than 'I'm sorry, I'm not doing very well in x,y,z position' as the BA's other team has always done, these girls are all about blaming each other. The BA has found this quite difficult. As a mum I am usually pretty quick to criticise her and her game, especially if she's having an off day; but even Blind Freddy could tell you that she is one of the key players on the team and it does make me rile up a bit when I hear one of them (in particular) call out to her 'watch your passing' when she misses one out of 200 passes that otherwise went to the right place.

I am encouraging her to grin and bear it and to be positive in the hopes that some of it will rub off on the rest of them. It has happened once before so I have faith that good example can spread and influence for the positive. Why does peer pressure have to be a negative thing eh?

Her other, usual team is experiencing a slump too and many of the girls just seem tired on the court. Perhaps they're all experiencing a growth spurt? Don't know if the boyfriends that now come out to watch have anything to do with it :-)

But now, I must away and get on with preparing for the Audit.
In the words of Titus Oates: I may be some time.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Team Up Thursday: Lunch

After a little bit of a hiatus last week, JoLyn has worked her magic yet again to create something lovely out of my very ordinary offering.

It was 'Lunch' this week and, having come to terms with the unsuitability of my camera for macro shots, I decided against trying to capture food and went searching for a different kind of 'lunch' instead.

I had intended to take a photo at school as lunch time is full of opportunities. There is the litter, the mass of heads in the Shed area or on the lawn, the frenzy of the indoor football courts and of course the squashed food of all varieties, ground into the bitumen. I am still tempted to try and take some of these shots, just for my own satisfaction. But yesterday was another one of 'those' days and it had flown past before I realised that I'd forgotten to take any photos. Oh, and I was on duty on the indoor sport area and that kind of ties you down....

So I found this shot instead. It's taken at a friend's magnificent property, in between Kangarilla and McLaren Vale, here, in the rural edges of Adelaide. You can't quite see it here, but their view goes out to the coast. Not bad ey? Although it did take some fairly hairy trekking over hills and ridges in a 4WD to get to this spot.

My friend (the blonde) whom I've known since school has always been a country girl and until recently lived on an enormous property, of Baz Luhrman-like proportions, near Broken Hill. After nearly 10 years of drought they'd had enough. They sold the place to the wild life heritage people in the government, sold the sheep and bought this beautiful property only 40mins from the heart of Adelaide. They run a few cows but most of their livlihood here comes from water. Ironically, after their long battle with drought, they now sell water from their bores to surrounding farmers and vine growers.

So that was lunch for us on Easter Day 2007. JoLyn teamed it beautifully with the mouthwatering sheen of strawberries and chocolate and we just made it to your screens this week! For more delightful duos, check out Team Up Thursday over at Melody and Megan's.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Bonjour. Je M'appelle Ange de Bébé. J'ai Quinze Ans.

She had such a lame birthday this year. She keeps reminding me. No party, no cake, just a whole bunch of cards and presents and a trip to the movies with mum. Sheesh. Talk about underprivileged.

Mind you she did have a new kitten to cuddle. Not sure Lily thought that was such a great idea though.

And she did get her favourite dinner, Himself's homemade pizzas, on request!

AND she had the privilege of attending work and earning money which is more than some people are able to do.

So. Not much to complain about really. And I have promised a cake for when she organises her friends for a sleepover. Anyway, her best present arrives on the 12th June!

Now we have been finding out a little more about Frog Girl today. Actually, I am not comfortable with 'Frog Girl'. 'Frog Boy' was fine but I am a child of my gender limited generation and I just can't come at 'Frog Girl' so I'm going to have to improvise. How about La Jeune Fille (aka JF)? It basically means 'young girl' but can also mean daughter.

So, we having been finding out about JF and a little of la histoire around why we got her instead of Frog Boy.

Remember my concern over her older years and apparent sophistication? Now where do you think I got these ideas? Hellooooo! Facebook! Yet another salient lesson in checking the privacy settings on photos and generally thinking about what the **** you put up there in the first place!

Well, apparently, the family that had initially been teamed with JF had also seen the facebook photos. They are a delightful Christian family with an only daughter whom they have successfully raised thus far to have no contact with the dubious mores of the secular world. Especially not the 16 year old French secular world. Needless to say (and fair enough given that their daughter was due to exchange with the French family, while the BA is not) they panicked and contacted the French organisers of the exchange program. Long story short and it was deemed preferable that an alternate host family was found for JF. La! We are that family.

Seems the Lord had a plan for us after all.

Bonne Fetes Ange de Bebe!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Frog Girl Is Coming

Errr. This is not the Frog girl. This is a gratuitous picture of my Baby Angel on her way to a 70's fancy dress party. OK I admit it. We didn't put a lot of time and thought into the costume or we would have found much bigger flares. I took the cheats way out and went through my trusty bags of 'costumes' aka clothes I no longer wear and keep for just this purpose. She may not have the flower-power look but I'm pretty sure I wore stuff like this towards the end of the 70s.

But now it's time for the Exchange Student Update!

On Saturday I got an email telling us that, if we were still willing, a young French man would be assigned to us. The BA was beside herself with excitement. We emailed the family and waited.

Monday morning I checked my email to find that everything had changed again and we were now getting a 16 year old girl! We had kind of got used to the idea of having a boy so we had to do a bit of head stretching again to take on board this new concept. The BA immediately found the young lady on facebook and was overcome with self conciousness.
"Mum, eeeeek, she is sooooooo prettttttyyyyyyyy! Do you think she'll like me?"

I must admit she is a lovely looking girl, but I am mildly worried that she seems a lot more sophisticated than the BA. I mean, there's a big difference between 'just' 15, and 16. We're pretty sure she smokes, from her photos, but then we were warned by the school that many of the French students do. Oh well, she can join Himself out on the balcony with his cigars. :-) Perhaps the chilly weather will discourage her?

The plan is that the students accompany their host sisters to school for some of the visit and go on pre arranged trips with their cohort for other days. We have yet to receive the itinerary. They're with us for three weeks and then off on a trip to the Flinders and Uluru I think. We're supposed to take her out on the weekends and show her a bit of Aussie life. She says her passion is surfing so I hope she brings a wetsuit!! I expect I shall have to find somewhere to rent a board??

The Ba is excited and I am nervous. How will she cope with our cold house? No central heating in this neck of the woods. How will she cope with the boys? Especially No2 Son who is slightly eccentric. I hope Himself can keep his colourful language in check for the duration; but then if she doesn't speak English maybe it doesn't matter?

Hmm. I'm pretty sure the first words you remember in any language are the swear words.

Oh well. Vive le France!!!!!!