Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Photo Heavy Royal Show 2013 Post

My sister commented recently that my posts and answers to her various messages seemed very brief. There's no one like a sister to hit the nail on the head.

Life has been challenging of late. My foundations have been shaken and I have had to re-evaluate a whole lot of 'stuff'. In the wake of this I made a concerted decision to visit this year's  Royal Adelaide Show.

Errrrrr....I hear you say....re-evaluating 'stuff', like life stuff? How is the Show any part of that?? Well, it's kind of symbolic really. Symbolic of parts of my life which have been on hold over the last few years......

The Royal Adelaide Show is a cultural icon in South Australia. Radio stations decamp to its environs and broadcast willy nilly for a week; schools have a free 'Show Day'; speed limits are reduced, traffic is stopped in every direction and parking is anathema. I have posted about The Show before (and in fact, that post is rather indicative of some of the 'stuff' I have been having to re-evaluate of late) and continue to hold it dear to my heart as yearly tradition. Last year I didn't go. Back to that 'stuff' I was referring to.

Well THIS year I decided I was going by hook or by crook. I love The Show! If I didn't have anyone to go with, I figured I would go on my own!! As it turned out, I ended up going three times with three different people!! My first trip was with a new work colleague who has proved to be an enormous boon as a worker and a friend. She was also a keen Show fan and had purchased a family ticket for the week which meant she could go as many times as she liked and even take a guest :-D (pick me, pick me!!). We went with an oestrogen fuelled desire to see all the Arts and Crafts, unhindered and unhurried by impatient testosterone. Which we did.

These are from the Junior section:
Made entirely of nuts, bolts, hinges and O-rings etc.

This one is a teapot.

This last one is hard to see as I took it through glass and the ceiling lights reflected but it's a dragon made entirely from tissue paper. Like a pinata I suppose.

Having made our way through Arts and Crafts we checked out the flower arranging:

Yeah..I know......but hey, clever!


More traditional. This one is entitled, "Forest Fruits" or something....

This next one had something to do with Shamrocks, or Leprechauns, or something......

Yes, that is a pot of gold hanging from a branch there.....

 This one was beach themed.....

This amazing Christmas Tree like arrangement of lilies was going to develop during the week.

We started to wander through the handicrafts area looking at knitted, crocheted and hand sewn articles.

But we were totally arrested by the quilt display.

No prize for this one but I rather liked it.

 Maybe too garish for my taste. What do you think?

This appealed

more so close up

The handwork on this was impressive...

 Well, I assume it was handwork

 This one was a bit kitsch

And this was over the top and possibly doesn't qualify as quilting, but it was fascinating to look at and included a list of objects to 'find'....

This was the Grand Champion.

I really need to get into quilting........

So that was the first visit to The Show. I had plans to attend with the Bestie on the following Friday but the BA surprised me by requesting that we go together. Since her mid teens she has tended to go with friends, as it should be, but with her extended o/s trip coming up scarily fast she was feeling a bit nostalgic.

We went after school on Thursday night as a light rain was starting to fall.

We made it in time to see the baby animals (no photos! amazing)

and possibly the most ridiculous looking chicken I have ever seen.
I noticed the Lily Tree had opened.

Now this is what an agricultural show is all about: Scarecrow competitions.

After our obligatory ride on the Crazy Coaster, now inexplicably renamed the Spinning Coaster, The BA and I had a lovely time wandering the aisles of the pavilion where new gadgets and products are showcased. We bought Stubby Strips for Christmas presents, sampled hand creams and experienced an eye massage complete with warming eye pads and ambient birdsong soundtrack. We heard the rain start.

This ruled out any more rides (thank you God) and so we looked at the cake decorating section.

How do you cut that then????

Finally, as things drew to a close for that evening, we bemoaned the rainsoaked cancellation of the ubiquitous 9pm fireworks. We saw a break in the skies so we made our way through the fine drizzle towards the car. As we passed the main arena, we could hear the sounds of revving engines and smell the burning rubber that heralds the motorcycle stunt team. Apparently the rain had not put them off. Once more my aging head could only think of those three words: 'Health and Safety'. And I used to be such a rebel. 

We were nearly to the gates when we heard the countdown. The fireworks were on after all! A quick glance at each other and we bolted back towards the stadium in time to see the start.

With the mist, smoke and drizzle, it was actually quite atmospheric.

And the rain stopped in time for us to walk back to the car.

The third trip was with the Bestie. Her agenda was very different. We didn't go near the craft hall but instead sought out the animals. The Bestie loves animals, a fact she recently confirmed by taking on the position of Voluntary Secretary of the Zoo Go-ers Anonymous Association (or some such Zoo-y society. Names changed to protect the innocent.) Anyway, as soon as we hit the Showgrounds we hightailed it over to the Farm Barn where we saw piglets, rabbits and baby chicks. Off next to see the alpaca and the goats and then on to the Petting Barn where there was a baby camel, baby emu chicks, Minature Hereford cattle and an albino wombat! Pausing for the ubiquitous cinnamon donuts (my third pack for the week), we watched the woodchoppers compete. I should have taken photos but I was eating my donuts at the time so I had to pinch this photo from another blog, but I must say these guys are impressive.

Image credit (there are a lot of lovely Show images on this blog. Much better than mine!!)

But the key purpose of Bestie's visit to The Show was to purchase a new gadget for grooming the puppy, Q. On our pet purchase travels, we also came across these guys...

And we even managed to find the grooming tools we were after! 

Our purpose fulfilled, her back starting to give out and a showbag full of cheese from the dairy pavilion safely under my arm; we made our way to the exit and said farewell to The Show for 2013.

I think this year was a record; three visits! It is indicative of my need to change my life significantly. I am really hoping this happens in a positive, productive way for our family but I am also resigned to the fact that things cannot continue as they are. At the very least I must proactively fill the holes in my life rather than moaning and waiting for someone else to fill them for me.

Wish me luck with that!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Well it has been another one of 'those' days in the madhouse that is work. I spent a large block of time walking a young pupil around the school while she scribbled a rambling stream of unrelated phrases on the back and front of A4 pieces of paper, tore them off the pad, screwed them up and started another page. All this whilst walking and intermittently talking to me. Given a recent over-enthusiastic 'Step' injury to my foot/ankle, it is the most exercise I have had in a week.

She argued with herself, raged in a contained but very disturbing manner and told me multiple times that I wouldn't understand what was going on in her head. She threatened violence, claimed she didn't know why she was behaving in this manner and made intermittent references to her biological family, the way they'd let her down and how she thought she might be insane but that she was actually quite used to it by now so what did it matter?

In the end, I wasn't able to really get to the bottom of her distress and anxiety and once we returned to the classroom after lunch she became more agitated again. I manoeuvred a hand over to the school counsellor and later heard that she had done a runner and secreted herself on an out of bounds balcony. At least she didn't leave the property.  I wondered if I should have stayed with her but rationalised that she was known to the counsellor and that seriously, I was pretty much out of my depth with that level of mental health disorder. Mind you, so was the counsellor, apparently.

After writing up a hasty and harried recount of events I finished off my teaching day and prepared for the evenings entertainment: parent teacher interviews.

We are an R-12 school which means we have various faculties with their own customs and traditions around parent/teacher interviews. Usually, the Primary (Elementary/Junior school) teachers meet parents in their themed, child centred classrooms with a tray of the pupil's work to pore over for about 10 minutes before chatting in depth about the amazing progress Suzie has made in her reader levels. Parents wait on tiny chairs outside in the corridor and I sit in my lovely colourful Special Ed room and pick up passing trade. So to speak.

When the Secondary (High School) interviews are held, they fill the Performing Arts Centre with rows of tiny desks, a teacher's chair on one side and two subservient parent chairs facing you on the other. An acrylic photo frame containing your title, printed out in a welcoming font such as Colonna MT, faces toward the already uncomfortable Mr and Mrs Brown, who have really just come to see if Johnny has stopped faking that hamstring injury in PE. A timer counts down and you are permanently behind as you attempt to solve the problems of adolescence in 10 minutes flat.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you view it, I have to take part in both these events.
Usually they are on separate nights.

This year someone decided we would kill two birds with one stone. Primary would do their warm, fuzzy thing upstairs in their classrooms and the Secondary team would wait nervously behind tiny islands of desks in the voluminous cavern of the PAC awaiting the inevitable 10 minute tirade on their incompetence before being reminded that God is love....All fine, except for me.

I am one of two teachers who work across the two schools. The other is a language teacher and no-one ever wants to see her (I'm sorry but it's true and it's a damn shame because she works jolly hard and does a jolly good job! But there you have it). I, on the other hand, spent the evening sprinting from one building/setting to the other on my increasingly puffy ankle (ref para 1). I blame the online parental interview booking system!!!!! In the past I could take requests for interviews and with some negotiation, group similar interviews together in short blocks of time. This year, the computers took over and parents determined the time of their interview! Can you imagine?

Chaos :-D

This is not the only chaos in my life, but it's all I can manage for now xxxx.

image credit 2

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Time For A Change Or Two

This is a little chart I prepared this evening upon receiving our gas bill. The gaps are the bills that are in the tax archives (need to retrieve and add to the total picture) but you get the general idea...

Partially this upward movement has been the result of price hikes, particularly the electricity component which has been affected by our soon to be late-lamented carbon tax. The gas bill on the other hand relates to two significant 'improvements' in lifestyle.

At the end of winter 2011 we installed a gas heater. Bliss! Joy!! No longer was one knee roasting and the other ice cold as we huddled against an electric bar heater.

Now let us examine the gargantuan LEAP in gas usage as we hit 2013:
Exhibit A.

When the spa was installed, the technician assured us that it cost around 16c per hour to heat.
I am now of the belief that he is probably delusional.

So that is change number one for Himself. No more gratuitous heating of the spa, for his own hedonistic wallowing, every third night, without the benefit of some form of insulation.
If he does wish to continue this extravagant practice, he can consider doing it on a single income.
I'm actually not kidding here.

The second big change for all of us is the result of last Saturday's General Distraction, I mean Election.  We have a new Prime Minister and a new Government. Most interestingly we have a bunch of total nutcase losers holding the balance of power in the Senate! Three cheers for democracy and the stupidity of the general population.

This could be the reason.....

That's our Senate ballot paper. Trees died for this farcical attempt at proportional representation. In the polling booth it extended up one wall, across the desk area and up the next wall. No, really, it did. There were 73 candidates who hailed from parties as revered as: The Australian Motor Enthusiasts Party, The Shooters and Fishers Party, The Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party (HEMP),  The Climate Sceptics Party, The Smokers Rights Party and the Australian Sex Party. Not only did a kangaroo poo flinging representative from the Australian Motor Enthusiasts Party get himself elected with no less than 11390 votes (0.5% of the primary), but this gentleman was elected because his Party (The Liberal Democrats) was the first Liberal type party on the paper and were thus, seemingly, mistaken for the major mainstream Liberal Party by large numbers of punters in a hurry to get out of the polling booth and into the beautiful spring sunshine.

As one clever pundit quipped, "He was elected on a platform of 'people not looking very closely at their voting papers'!"

The gentleman in question, who is also a card carrying member of the Outdoor Recreation Party (??? having visions of nudists frolicking around a BBQ here!!), managed a massive 283,000 votes which is probably 280,000 more than he deserved - but there you go, he will be one of possibly 8 cross bench representatives controlling the balance of power in the Senate. Not surprisingly, there has been a general frothing at the mouth and gnashing of teeth - along with cries of 'electoral reform!' ringing around the halls of power (ie the bars where all the media types enjoy their communal talkfests). But really, you've got to wonder....I mean....The Brick With Eyes for goodness sakes????

On a cheerful note, those of us who felt that neither of the major parties had anything resembling a compassionate, humanitarian approach to the problem of refugees being exploited by people smugglers, mounted a minor protest by 'folding our votes like a boat'. No mean feat considering the size of that Senate Ballot paper!

Looks Like I Might Live...For Now Anyway :-)

(Taken whilst tidying up the costume storeroom....)

So this is me looking happy, which has been a bit of a rare occurrence in the last three months or so. Today I'm happy because, following the advice of Prof J and my other school friend Sailor Gal, I went and had a thorough medical. The good news is:

My blood pressure is normal ( no impending stroke then....)
My glucose is normal (not diabetes....)
My Liver and Kidney functions were normal....much to the surprise of my doctor when she heard of my Sav Blanc habit!
My Cholesterol is on the upper border (5.5) but still within normal range
My pap smear was normal and in a strange but procedural test pairing,
I do not have any STDs

The bad news is that I am 4kg over weight and Vitamin D deficient. Again. Last time I was Vitamin D deficient I worked in this basement. Those windows at the top opened onto yet another basement room. The school used to be a wine cellar and our classrooms were in the champagne cellars...(so I am reasonably informed by Himself whose first holiday job involved turning the champagne bottles 15 deg every hour....)

But anyway....that doesn't explain why I am Vitamin D deficient now! At the Wine School, all my 'duties' were in under cover areas and in winter I arrived and left in the dark. But now, I have three outdoor duties a week, I try to drink my coffee in the sun at least once a week...and summer is coming. So why am I still deficient? Sunscreen? General avoidance of the sun? Whatever. I'll take the pills and give the sunburn a miss  thanks....

So apart from being 4kg overweight I have a bit to smile about. I've booked my ticket to the UK, leaving December 16th! I'll be there for the entire school holiday, returning around Australia Day (Jan 26th) in time for the new school year. Just :-) ) And the BA has booked her ticket too! She's a little quicker off the mark and will depart October 1st.

This leaves Himself and his collection of Neanderthal sons to maintain a semblence of order whilst we are away.

I am considering Nanny Cam.