Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 30 July 2007

The Infamous Paint Incident: or How to make yourself REALLY unpopular in one easy lesson.

I haven't got enough to do.

This must be obvious to anyone. Why then, if I did, would I have volunteered for Sunday School?

My church, of which I am a relatively new member having given the old Anglican Church the boot recently, has not had a functioning Sunday School for two terms now. There has not been a leader. Many of us have volunteered for a 'Kids Alive' program which was basically a babysitting service keeping the 'noisy ones' occupied and 'out of the service' but this was always just a stop gap measure.

Recently, the pastor phoned a number of us up and invited us to attend a meeting to 'brainstorm' ideas for Children's Ministry. I was delighted, as a relative outsider, to be included. I had also made it known that I would be more than happy to be involved in any Sunday School activities or even planning as I had been involved in my last church. I wondered what the meeting would entail.

Well, it was very exciting. We established a format and made a start at rosters and resource ideas. The pastor also told us that he intended us to 'brighten up' the room used by 'Kidzone' (aka Sunday School) by the 5th Aug for a 'launch'!

Sorry, that was me laughing hysterically.

Brighten up, it transpires, meant repaint the entire 18mx10m double room in bright, child friendly colours. By the 5th Aug. With volunteers.

OK. We swallowed our panic and turned our minds to colour schemes. One of the ladies had a copy of the IKEA catalogue. We spied a page layout which appealed to us and selected the marine 'blue and green' theme. We then left the job of getting test pots etc to, the pastor and another volunteer from the church who is a signwriter.

The following week we reconvened and were asked to come and look at the test pots the signwriter had used on the walls.

They were yellow and blue.

There was general confusion. Many of the older committee members renegged swiftly and proclaimed the colours 'delightful'. Others, like me, simmered slowly on the backburner. The yellow was industrial, it did nothing for the blue, there was nothing fun or funky about it.

What to do, what to do? A new committee member, no-one knows me from Adam, I should just shut up, after all, what did it really matter?

"Errrrrrrrrrrrr....," (was that voice mine)?
"Yes?" the pastor inquired.
"Errrrrrrrrrrr............well....................errrrr.....why did we not go with the green?"

A flurry of conversation. Too sickly, too strong, too loud, ceilings too low, room too big etc etc etc

"Uuuuum..........I think it could work. I think it would be fun and funky if we got the right combination." (Good grief, will I never shut up?)
"Could I please get my husband to look at the room, and our IKEA picture inspiration? I know he would just be able to point at the colours we need." (Oh great, now I've involved Himself as a third party without even asking).

There was grudging and muttered conversation. The sign writer was really put out.
"Well," he snipped (not quite as bad as snapped) " I have limited time to get this done you know. I have some volunteers available Fri night but I'd need to know the colours by Fri morning so I can buy them at trade prices." Glare.

******************************* Fri morning**************************************
Having completely failed to get down to the church to look at the room or get any paint charts Himself was facing divorce or at least a Non Co-operation Policy. It didn't help that our last conversation about it occurred as I was rushing out the door to work and he was asleep.
"Its not the end of the world"' he grunted as he rolled over.

Huh, he hadn't seen the look on the face of the signwriter!!!

So on the Friday morning I had to ring the signwriter and tell him I didn't have any colours for him ....yet. I flew out in my my double free lesson and, clutching my IKEA catalogue, made for the local Super hardware store.

After 30 min I had a selection of possible colours but no firm idea of which ones would be just right. Left to me I would have bought 6 tester pots and made a patch work quilt of the wall before deciding none were quite right, but I did not have the luxury this time.

A quick prayer and I flew down to Himself's office clutching my swatch of colour samples.
"Lord, this is to be a place for inspiring children with your message. If you want it to work, let Himself be NOT in a meeting when I get there!!!!!!" ( I am not above bargaining with God at times).

Himself was out on the pavement having a cigar. (he doesn't actually smoke hahahahahahaha)

In a flurry of colours and phrases such as 'that will pop', 'those two are really sexy', 'that's a sit on the fence colour', 'that's too dirty', we settled on three colours. Water Raceway, Sharp Green and Modal (a greeny sky blue).

I then had to ring the sign writer. I was 5 mins inside his 'latest convenient time'. I was not popular. He didn't have a pen and was not able to discuss which wall each colour would go on. After all "I am a sign writer, I do know what I'm doing!"


That was Friday. I peeked through the window on Sat to see the first coat looking very 'in your face' indeed. Imagine the trepidation I experienced as I got ready for church on Sunday morning. How badly would they hate it? Would I have to eat major humble pie and volunteer to pay for all replacement paint and do the cover up job myself???????????? (noises of hyperventilation)

I should have had more faith.

By Sunday they had done a second coat. The colours are stunning. Loud, but stunning.

Of course I had to endure the inevitable "Which Italian restaurateur chose these colours?" and
"I wouldn't want to be in here with a hangover" but as we said, it wasn't chosen for them. Its for the kids.

So, how are the sign writer and I getting along? Well, the Lord moves in mysterious ways.

It was evident he had not forgiven me entirely on Sunday although I did apologise profusely for being a pushy, bossy, passionate type. I offered to come and help paint whenever I was required now my busy weekend was over and I gave him my 'business card'. Now I put this in inverted commas because I have never had a business card in my life until my husband decided I needed one to help make contacts for the business. On our company's business card my title is 'Production'. Whatever that means!!

Aaaaaaaanyway. As I handed the signwriter my card the most remarkable expression passed over his face. He began to laugh.

"I can't believe who you are," he shook his head,"I work with your husband. I did the signs on his window and the name for his boat!"

The Lord works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

Post Script: The colours look sensational (although you can be sure at least 50% of the congregation will hate them), the sign writer thinks I'm OK and the kids are going to have a great space to be in next Sunday for the launch of Kidzone.

Now to plan what I'm going to do with them.

Best Shot Monday: Nostalgia

Well, I have to admit, what with looking at all the shots of edible young kids on Best Shot Mondays, I do hanker for the days when Baby Angel was, well, more of a baby! So as this week has been yet another round of plan lessons, teach, mark, plan lessons, upload exam scores, mark etc etc etc oh and the 'Infamous paint colour incident', I haven't taken many photos and I decided instead to take a nostalgic trip into my oldest digital files to savour her fast disappearing childhood once again.

This photo, one of my faves, was taken at her 6th birthday party which was pirate themed. For Christmas we'd all seen 'Treasure Island' the pantomime (an interesting concept) with a resulting fascination for the story, purchase and repeated watching of the movie and a great deal of imaginative play centred around pirate themes. So in May, for her birthday, the pirate theme was still relatively current.

The kids came in various forms of pirate attire, although the one who came in full medieval armour was probably stretching the theme a bit, and we played pirate versions of party games. I think there was 'Pass the Black Spot' (it's a pirate thing) which was a version of Hot Potato, then a walking the plank game which involved jumping onto the mini tramp (surpising what keeps them entertained) and of course the predicatable 'treasure hunt'.

As is tradition, I made the completely inedible cake, this time in the guise of 'Treasure Island'.
Yes, they are meant to be palm trees.

Of course there was a great deal of play fighting with pirate swords and the like. At one point I observed the medieval knight and his friend attacking my forget-me-nots with their swords.
"Hold it!!!" declared Captain Bligh (or Long John Silver, or me...take your pick)...."There will be no destroying flowers in my garden." A moment later I looked around to see them slicing the tops off the soon to be flowering montbretias.
"But they didn't have any flowers on them!" protested Sir Slice up the Gardenalot.

"OK guys," (Bligh again, in a slow and measured manner through clenched teeth),"There will be no slicing of any item in this garden, flowering or otherwise. There will be no slicing of trees, shrubs, grass or bush. There will be no slicing of anything growing out of the ground and or displaying the colour green. There will be no slicing of each other!!"

"aaaawwwwwww!!?" (chorus of chastised pirates)

Now I suspect all this nostalgia may be breaking the Best Shot Monday rules, but I will try and have something recent and relevant for next week Tracey, promise! :-D

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Fair: Theme Thursday

A double whammy this week. The ubiquitous 'merry go round' as we call them here. These pictures were taken four years and 12,000 miles apart. I am a little concerned as to what the Baby Angel is doing with the horse's posterior in the first shot:-D. I really hope she is just stroking the horsehair tail. (as you do!)

For more Fair Dealings, check out Picture This!

And if anyone can tell me why my text is underlining itself...

Starfish Moments

Sometimes in teaching you have 'starfish' moments.

Many years ago I attended a course on 'Protective Behaviours' which is about teaching children to recognise 'unsafe' behaviour in adults and thus prevent abuse, particularly sexual abuse. It was a weekend residential and probably one of the most profound and confronting courses I have undertaken.

During the last day, there was much discussion about the statistics and how effective education is etc etc etc. The lecturer told a story.

Once a man was walking along the beach at low tide, picking up the stranded starfish on the beach and throwing them back into the waves. A small boy approached him and began mocking him.
"What are you doing old man? You know the sea will continue to retreat and those starfish will be stranded again in no time. You're wasting your time!!"
"Ah", said the old man," But if I save one starfish."

This story has stayed with me.

When I worked exclusively with Special Needs students I was constantly asked why I 'bothered' by other teachers. They had seen these kids, they knew what we were up against and they also knew with the Govt funding and levels of support, we only scratched at the iceberg. I always told them about the starfish.

The thing about Special Ed is that you often don't get to see the full grown starfish. They move on and leave your care and enter new systems ........
Once, years later, in the UK a lad I had spent a LOT of time on came to a school function and loked at me with an air of recognition.
"I remember you", he said,"You taught me to read."

For him it had been a lifetime ago. For me it was a mere three years.

Now that I am struggling with mainstream teaching and teenagers to boot (OK Lord, you've made your point) I get less and less of the 'starfish' moments. Rather than 1 to 1 I have 26 kids to deal with- and they are mostly out to get me :-D

Last term I took over a Year 9 English class from a teacher they loved who had given up her time due to family pressures. Naturally this was my fault and the class punished me accordingly.

As a class we eventually came to some working arrangement but as always there were a few 'hard nuts'. One was a tall, striking girl named G with an irreverent attitude and an inability(?) to complete or at least hand up work. When she wasn't being sent out for talking (or being given a massage by the boy behind her) she actually made rather perceptive contributions to class discussion. But still, no work.

Towards the end of the term I sensed a change. She was still disinterested in class (mainly) but she approached me about getting a 'late' assignment in and true to her word she managed it. She accompanied it with a letter.

I'm really sorry for taking so long to hand this in to you. I keep on forgetting to either bring it to school or sticking the quotes on, but finally, here it is! Thanks for being patient. I hope you can still mark it so I don't completely fail English.
Also, I'm heaps sorry for being such a handfull (sic) so far this year. It's just that you rmind me so much of a woman that I haven't had a great experience with a few years back and it's really hard for me to look at you without being reminded of her which really sucks because I know that you're a really good teacher and I honestly do want to learn so I'm going to try and be better I promise.... I'm not really that bad of a student :-D (I hoped you liked that run-on sentence and my heaps bad grammar!!) haha
Anyway I'll see you next term. Have some great holidays and some really long sleep-ins.
heart Georgia

Today we had our first lesson back. We have to do Shakespeare. We watched a bit of 'Much Ado About Nothing' and afterwards she came up to me and said "Mrs A, can we please do sonnets? I LOVE sonnets. They are so romantic. I don't understand them much but they sound great! I particularly love no 119"

I do not know sonnet 119. (who am I kidding. I don't know sonnets 1-118 either!!)

Some days I really love teaching.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Best Shot Monday

Will you look at this cherub??? Who could know that an hour later he would have metamorphosed into the Demon Child from the Abyss. Ah well, it happens to the best of us. For more heavenly shots check out Best Shot Monday on Picture This.

Bushfire Bullies

Today we received our instructions for bushfire prevention from the Council. All households must
* remove all piles of flammable material (branches, grass, wood piles) from the property or store them in spark and ember proof sheds.

* cut all grass and undergrowth to 10cm over entire property

* trees/ bushes should be well cut back from any buildings

*lower branches on significant trees should be cut off to a height of 2m above the ground

* gutters clear of leaves and branches

There are timelines and consequences for this. Failure to comply results in fines and necessary work being carried out by the council and charged to the householder.

This may have implications for us

Check out the palm on the left of the picture. I think that might qualify as close to the house don't you???
'Darling husband, what is going to happen about the palm???' I ask. 'Not to mention the pile of palm branches and rose prunings behind the shed!!!!!????'

Gruff grunts were the reply.

"We'll be fined"

"Bring it on......" I heard him growl.

"What's all this?" asks Baby Angel. "How can they fine us for choosing to let our house burn? Next thing you know we'll all be wearing dog tags and being monitored 'for our own good'."

I explained to her that it was up to the next generation to ensure that this doesn't happen. While I can see the value in clearing up properties which are bushfire risks, I do think the 'nanny state' mentality has gone too far when kids at school have to put on rubber gloves to pick up autumn leaves for leaf printing.

"Well, what can I do about it?" she protested.

"You are the next generation...it all depends on you!"

"Really?.........Oh crap"

I think we may be in trouble!

Stay tuned to see if the palm tree finally gets the chop. (Yes, yes, mother, I can hear you and I know YOUR opinion!!!!)

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Thank You Wonderful Friends

Today I have no less than three separate people 'putting themselves out' for me and I just want to publicly acknowledge them and say thank you!

Firstly, Kate; nearest and dearest best buddy who is taking the Baby Angel from noon and entertaining her until she drops her off at netball at 2.45pm.

Secondly Sue; fellow netball mother and all round good time gal, who has swapped 'afternoon tea stall' duties with me...at very short notice!

Thirdly, netball coach Briony; who has volunteered to take BA back to her place after the match and keep her until we can get back to pick her up...around 6pm!!!

Thank you sooooooo much guys! If any one of these favours had fallen through I would have been in serious difficulty.

And all for the dubious pleasure of lunching in the President's Box at AAMI Stadium and watching the Adelaide Crows play some other team. (Yes, I am THAT interested). Apparently this sort of thing is good for business. With all the favours that have been pulled for us today, we better make some very lucrative business connections!! :-D

Thursday, 19 July 2007


I had it all figured out this week. I would go out and capture a drip on the tip of a leaf in our garden. It has been raining for weeks, this would be easy!


It hasn't rained since Monday.

I toyed with the idea of putting the hose over a pot plant but it was too cold to go out there and mess about with water. Baby Angel in the shower? "Get real Mum!!!!" (I'll take that as a no then)

OK. The ubiquitous dripping tap. I know everyone will do it but hey, its a challenge anyway. Catching a drip is not easy!!

Himself: What are you doing?
Me: Nothing. Well, I'm trying to photograph a drip, but I think I've got the wrong camera.
Himself: I thought you were meant to be marking exams.
Me: errr..........................
Himself: (sigh) exits and returns with own camera

Sometimes I really hate him.

For other moist and drippy photos splash over to Tracey's at Picture This.

Too Much Birthday

My daughter had a book about The Berenstain Bears (anyone remember them?) called "Too Much Birthday" and it certainly summed up last night for me.

I spent most of yesterday making 'the birthday cake' a job which I used to do annually (for the Baby Angel) but now do twice a year in my new role as wicked step mother. I hate cooking btw so this will indicate to you the labour of love involved in my cakes. Last year Small Boy had a light sabre cake. This year, to reflect his growing interest and skill in football, a guernsey cake!

Baby Angel was very confused as she looked at the guernsey I was using for a model.
"But his number is 8 Mum."

"Yes, but he's 9."
"But his NUMBER is 8!"
"Yes, but HE's NINE!!!"

Small Boy had received his presents and had Burger King with his Dad the day before, on his actual birthday, so last night was just an opportunity to have some cake together and spend some quality time. His Mum is apparently organising a 'party' for when school goes back.

All went well to begin with. Baby Angel had a friend over and the three of them played with Lego for ages, something Small Boy never does on his own as he lacks the confidence. Now, that may sound weird but this boy is so insecure that if he can't make the picture on the front of the Lego box, he won't attempt it. He inherited a huge box of random Lego from his older brothers but (gasp, horror) there are no pictures to show you what to make!!!!! So he usually doesn't touch it.

Aaanyway, the three of them played beautifully. No TV, interacting, co-operating...it was wonderful.
After dinner we had the cake, the blowing out of candles and the cutting.

And then it all went terribly wrong.

To begin with the two girls went off to have a spa bath together and SB wanted to join them. Amidst shrieks and giggles they assured him that this was most inappropriate as they wouldn't have any clothes on. Also, the spa only holds two! Of their size anyway.

Put out, he then asked if he could play for a while. 'Sure' I replied, 'you can have about 45 minutes and then if you want a shower and everything it'll be just about right for bedtime.'
This was not good enough.
"But its my birthday, I should be allowed to stay up as long as I like!"
A counter offer of an hour plus showering time was made. (This would have put bed time at around 10pm which is an hour later than normal anyway)

The descent into hysterics was spectacular to behold. This was the worst birthday of his life. Why did he have to cry on his birthday. Why do I always wreck everything. Stop shouting at him. (huh? I haven't started yet) His Mum lets him stay up til 11pm on school nights if there is a party or elder brother has a friend over. We are all mean to him. Don't speak to me. I hate you etc etc etc

He went to appeal to Dad who said that the hour of play time was a pretty good offer and he ought to take it. This enraged him further. He came back to abuse me again, this time accompanied by a flying chunk of Lego. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I do NOT deal well with deliberately aimed Lego!!!!!!!!!!

All bets were off. He could go to bed RIGHT NOW as far as I was concerned!! And regardless, he could go to his room until he had calmed down and 'thought about it'. (Isn't that a great cliche??)

All the while I was aware of Himself hovering around in the background making desperate 'Don't antagonise him' signs. Himself wants the 'Kodak Moment'. He likes everything to be Nice. This was SB's birthday after all, he shouldn't be unhappy. This infuriates me. Life is not always 'nice' and sometimes the struggle and conflict bring people closer together. They clear the air, create communication, test relationships, cement bonds. No one LIKES them, but avoiding them is incredibly destructive.

Usually, SB's tantrums (because that is what they are, he becomes irrational and beside himself) have a fairly logical trigger. Often I can see one coming and they come in several types.

The first and most frequent is the 'power struggle'. Bedtimes have been a part of this, and teeth cleaning, and the wearing of appropriate clothes (a T shirt on a 4C day).

Another type involves re-establishment of rules and boundaries when he has not been at our place in a while. This may involves leaving things everywhere, demanding things be 'done' for him and being generally crabby and prone to self pity. (Everyone hates me, you're all mean to me)

The third type involves getting Dad's attention. It can take the form of any of the above but it is usually directly related to and solved by interaction with dad.

Last night was a classic case of No1 although I just didn't see it coming.

After pulling his trump card on dad which is "I want to go back to my Mum's" and packing his bags, he stomped around demanding to be driven home. Dad, who had initially said "OK" to the 'home' request, in the hopes he would change his mind, then lost his cool and stormed out onto the balcony, slamming the door behind him.

What frightens me about these incidents is the intensity of his emotion and his inability to think rationally once he is in the downward spiral. From the initial trigger he often follows a pattern of behaviour which includes relating his 'victim' status to school as well
eg: You think I'm an idiot and everyone at school hates me too and none of friends are nice to me and they all tease me etc etc etc. If we're doing 'caring parents' rather than 'frustrated, furious parents' and we ask him about the school thing, he will wax lyrical on the injustices he has suffered. We never hear of this otherwise. (At school when I've asked the staff about this they seem mystified and assure us that he is v popular.) He also tries to put words in our mouth. We think he's stupid, we said XYZ (we did?). And then there's the inability to back off.

My own daughter had a tendency to the dramatic at times and I knew there was a certain point at which to let her storm off to her room and cool off rather than follow, even if I was offering platitudes. It was like sticking your hand in the irate lion's cage. With SB it is 10x worse.

Last night things escalated just about as far as they could go. I knew he was beyond reason as he sat behind the car in the garage shrieking at me " I know I'm an idiot because why else would I be down here crying?" I chased him back to his room and cornered him........and then............I gave in.

I know, I can't believe it but it was a gut feeling. All my high held ideals of consistency, boundaries etc went out the window. On the one hand I had consistency and on the other two devastated boys (father and son). So, I renegged. I said he could stay up until he wanted to go to bed. With a shower if he so desired. Then I said part of the deal was to sit on my knee and give me a hug.

I wrapped him in his minky (fleece blanket) and rocked him as he calmed. I told him we loved him but that he couldn't go on shouting and screaming to get what he wanted. I told him that we all get ourselves into situations we can't get out of. Even Baby Angel did that! I told him about the time she hid under the table at her 7th birthday and wouldn't even come out to blow out her candles. (I did say she tended to the dramatic) Then I suggested he say sorry to dad who was so upset.

Well, he couldn't quite manage 'sorry' but he did give him a big hug and I left the two of them to play Lego and watch DVDs until after 10.30. I ran away. I was angry at myself for giving in. I wondered how much good work I had undone; I wondered at my own hypocrisy. I went to bed upset and woke up the same way.
But its now evening. The day has gone well. Every now and again he would appear and put his arms around me. When I asked him to do something he did it. He went to bed without protest and we said prayers together. Maybe its OK.


I am so mad with myself! Tonight I let my sword go out. I gave in and I am thoroughly disgusted with myself. I will explain more tomorrow as I am just too cross to think about it anymore. I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


Look what I spotted from our bedroom window this morning!!!! I raced out with the nikon but mostly got a silhouette so I've had to over expose it so you can see his features! Himself went out afterwards with the BIG lens so it will be interesting to see what he gets. He's had to dash off to work so we didn't get to look at them this morning.

Oh dear, I am finding I have once more achieved little through these holidays. Piles of exams beckon me as well as the script for the school musical which I am stage managing and costuming. There are 3 rehearsals this week at school which I was supposed to attend but I have Baby Angel and her friend today and Small Boy tomorrow. It was his birthday yesterday and he's coming for tea tonight so we have to do the annual CAKE sometime today. Sheesh. No rest for the wicked eh?

Best get into it.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Pants On Head

Had to put this up in response to Blueberry and the Bean and her shots of her daughter with her undies on her head! You see, its quite normal!!!! This is the Baby Angel at 3 with her pants on her head................for no particular reason!

Best Shot Monday: Beloved

Here's a shot full of love and pride! My beloved husband doing what he loves. I think he looks a bit like an aging Indiana Jones .......or Crocodile Dundee (does anyone remember that movie?). Kind of like, "That's not a lens......THIS is a lens!!!!!!" :-D

He's shooting down through Admiral's Arch where the seals were thick on the ground. As evidenced by his shot below. Now I have to admit that from here-on in the pictures are his but...I am so proud of him I had to share !!On the Friday we went on a friend's boat and Himself was in his element snapping like mad to get this amazing shot of a seal pup 'checking us out'!!! If you can, open it in a new window, the eyes are unreal!
And these guys were such characters! This one is basking on his back in the gold waters of sunset, mouth open, he's almost going "aaaaah".
So that's my pick of the holiday shots. Actually, there were about a half a dozen more amazing seal shots but............you get the picture. Oh, Himself says I have to post this one which was HIS favourite.
Have a great week and check out more Best Shots at Picture This.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Kangaroo Island

Penneshaw Seafront, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Here's just a few shots of our recent trip to Kangaroo Island. Beloved husband was very pleased to get me away from work and kids for a few days and we had a great time sight seeing and taking photos. We stayed at the Seafront as usual and enjoyed the new menu at the restaurant every night!! Above are some of my pix of the fantastic rock formations on the shoreline outside the hotel. At night you can hear (and see, according to Himself although I've never seen 'em) the penguins across the road, coming in from their daily fishing trips. These weathered rocks make perfect burrows. Aren't the textures fantastic!!???
I insisted on doing the 'tourist' thing and went down the Kelly Hill Caves which I last did when I was 14. Photography in there was a challenge but a nice lady asked if I wanted my picture taken so I did manage to get this.

And I was quite pleased with this shot of a formation called 'The Rasher of Bacon". Himself chose to stay in the car having already done the whole photography in the caves thing with a tripod and much better equipment. He doesn't particularly like being underground!!! :-D
After the caves we moved on to Admirals' Arch. Now I had already forced him to visit Seal Bay which he hates because of its unashamedly touristy set up. For $11.50 each we were able to walk down a zig zagging broad walk and see lumpy great sealions...from a distance. There were about 4 of them. (exhibit a)But down at Admiral's Arch we paid $14.00 for the car to enter the Park with all the various walks, animals and vistas; we rugged up warmly,
and we proceeded past thisto come around a corner and see THIS!Not a great photo I know but WOW! It was like playing one of those visual puzzle games where you have to 'see how many seals you can spot in this picture'!!!!! How many can YOU find?
And this was just SOME of the seals. Everywhere you looked they were lying around on the rocks like great beached sea slugs!!!! We continued on down the pasth, rounded another corner and were confronted by THIS!The Admiral's Arch. Again, look closely and you will notice that every lump, bump and supposed rock on the wave cut platform, is actually a seal! If you don't believe me, look more closely!!! (below)So that capped off our sightseeing day! We were well pleased. That night we caught up with friends in the restaurant, sampled local wines and made plans for the next day.

Our one item of 'work' which was supposed to be done on Friday was actually cancelled so we had another free day. What luxury!! We made arrangements with friends to go out on their 8m half cabin motor boat. This was a great honour as it is usually reserved for fishing! :-D

The view of the cliffs and the shore from the boat was spectacular and at times quite intimidating. To add to the joy we saw dolphins and about 6 baby seals frolicking around near the cliff base. But those shots may have to wait until Best Shot Monday, even if I didn't take them!!!

We got back safely on Saturday and it's 'back into things' straight away. I have to start marking exams sometime soon!!! Sigh :-(

Speak again soon!

Saturday, 14 July 2007


Just because I couldn't bear to come up with nothing, I trawled back through my files for this picture of me on New Year's Eve 2005/6. It was unbelievably hot and humid in Lake Macquarie that night as you can tell from the sheen of sweat on my skin. I caught the sun badly on our first day there as evidenced by my chest and shoulders and I can't bear having hair on my face and neck when I'm hot. So this to me is the Heat we have to look forward to when this arctic winter is over. It's just for my near and dear really as I'm not linking it to Picture This at this late date! Stay tuned for some great shots from Kangaroo Island on Best Shot Monday however!!!


Saw this over at Momology! My husband would argue that I am Waaaaaay more than 74% addicted!!!

74%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Friday, 13 July 2007


I'm sitting at a computer in the Penneshaw Community Hall/Post Office where you can rent internet connection for $5.00 an hour. It's Friday here and we have been on Kangaroo Island (yes, that's a real place) since Wednesday night.

Of course I have known that the Theme Thursday theme was HEAT for some time. I have been thinking about it all week. Currently there is nothing hot over here at all.

I thought about a picture of Baby Angel's hotwater bottle. I thought about the flames in the wood stove. I thought about quilts and blankets and cats curled up near the window in the only scrap of sunshine available. Himself took photos of me in my coat, hat and gloves but this only served to remind us of how cold it is!
"How about a picture of you in a steaming shower, that would be 'hot'," he suggested unhelpfully.
(In what universe would THAT be hot? I wondered.)

Finally I have had to admit defeat. Short of staging a running race (get it? HEAT?) I am out of ideas and the time is up.

No wait, hang on, here is a great shot of seal tracks in the sand. Sand...beach...summer..heat...there is a link...tenuous but there...just imagine it is hot sand...ok, now to upload it using the Island's public dial up internet connection...

Ok, now to upload it using the dial up connection...

Ok, now to upload it.....



Oh dear, I think the computer has frozen.

Oh well, there is always Best Shot Monday to look forward to.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Unconvinced by the DAGs

(NB: for those out of towners.
'dag': the dried bits of excreta around a sheep's tail; an expression used by Australians to refer to someone who is great fun and unconcerned by what others think; a geek who likes Barry Manilow records)

Normally I have a lot of time for ABC Radio but today they came up with this which is the biggest load of 'horsesh*t' I have heard in some time!

Apparently the difference between how much emotion a song expresses and how much emotion is felt by the listener is rateable on a scale (what???) and the bigger the 'Differential Affect Gap'
(DAG) the less likely the person is to like the song.

Well no sh*t Sherlock!!!!!!

The eminent professor goes on to say that the amount you like a song will depend on your age, personality and taste and that some songs have a low DAG factor in one demographic but not in another.


And the Government is funding this research?????

NB: No mention is made of the obvious correlation between the proportion of excess emotion expressed in songs such as 'All By Myself' (Eric Carmen) and the vomit factor.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


What is a Fluffernutter? THAT is the question!!!!
One of the joys of the blogging community is that we are educated in the idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes of other cultures, in this case, that of a certain percentage of States in the USA. In these wild and frontier parts, they partake of a delicacy known as the Fluffernutter. Yes, you read it right. This is apparently a sandwich layering marshmallow "Fluff" with peanut butter and if you follow this link you will even be able to listen to the jingle!!

Now before all you Australians fall about in hysterics at the bizarre nature of American gastronomy, I will just say one word to you.......Vegemite!!!

Ah, see, that shut you up!

For the uninitiated, Vegemite is a savoury yeast extract which is especially delicious spread with butter on fresh white bread. It also makes good stock for stews and soups. Outside of the national boundaries however it is generally deemed repulsive, nauseating and downright inedible.

But it put me in mind of unusual sandwich fillings. My Dad for instance, used to love apricot jam accompanied by a good hunk of cheddar cheese in a sandwich. Many people will empathise with the US love for peanut butter and jam (jelly) and here in Adelaide my daughter and I love peanut butter and Nutella (choc/hazelnut spread).

There is a Fluff style spread available in the stores here I'm pretty sure, although I have never bought it as we weren't allowed to have that kind of thing when I was a girl and Mum's voice is still in my head and over my shoulder. However, once Baby Angel gets her own income I'm sure she will buy bulk quantities of this and any other previously forbidden delicacies.

Oh well, she will be paying her own dental bills by then!! :-D

So what is your particular weird sandwich???

Small Boy with Large Plate of Dinner

Small Boy helped Dad cut up the vegetables for a 'big plate of food' dinner and was justifiably proud of himself. He had a lovely weekend with us this weekend. No tantrums, mostly co-operative, minimal X Box, a big bike ride with dad (who is now in a wheelchair hahaha) and of course, helping with dinner. He commented as we ate, "I know the rules here now."
"What do you mean mate?" I asked, a little confused by this statement, apropos of nothing.
"Well, I know the rules, you haven't shouted at me for weeks now!"

Oh wicked, wicked stepmother shouting at this cherubic child I hear you tutting.

On the contrary! This cheerful, smiling, relaxed boy is the result of my flaming sword!! My rules do not change. When I say bedtime I mean it! With hot water bottles!! I expect him to be able to put things away because he is an intelligent, capable boy. I don't treat him like a baby but I do reassure him when he is afraid even if it's the middle of the night. I will insist he gets himself breakfast because he needs fuel for his boundless energy but I will make him two pies for lunch because the convection microwave is a bit complicated. (and he needs fattening up!!) I will insist he turn off the X Box and go outside to play. I will play Battleships with him and Racing Demons (card game) even when he has a tantrum because he didn't win and I will 'force' him to clean his teeth even when he tells me its 'his choice'.

He knows the rules now. Of course he's known them for some time but I feel encouraged that he can articulate his understanding and acceptance. I also hope he knows that we have the rules because we love him, no matter what. No matter how embarrassing his public tantrums have been or how many times he tells us he hates us and wants to go back to Mum's.

Yes, I think good secure boundaries make for happy kids.

Mind you, he could just be happy because his step sister is in Sydney and he has Dad and I to himself!!!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Best Shot Monday

I have recently taken over my husband's Nikon ex-work camera. Inspired by all the fantastic photography I have been seeing across the 'Picture This' group, I wanted a camera with better resolution and more manual features. My old Sony Cybershot had served me well for a number of years but I wanted to extend my skills.

Now something else you need to, or may already, know. My husband is a multi-media designer, graphic artist and photographer. As a result, he takes NO family photos. When Baby Angel and I were recently watching one of the myriad DVDs of her babydays, Small Boy asked excitedly, "Where are MY baby videos dad?" There was an uncomfortable silence as we all turned to look at Himself. Apparently there aren't any.

With this in mind, I took the 'new' camera along to Small Boy's football match on Saturday.

"It's the wrong camera for this," Himself pointed out," digital cameras are not very good for action shots and the lens isn't big enough. You need something more like the one I'm using now."

I grit my teeth. "Well, why don't YOU take some photos then????" No reply.

Doggedly I click away. I'm not sure if anything's happening. Lights are flashing and there are beeping noises and something called AF keeps flicking on and off. The kids are miles away in the middle of the oval. I run out of memory. I need to manually delete 30 files to make more space.
"You're wasting your time...it's the wrong camera," he intones again.

In a bloody minded, stubborn funk I ignore him and click on. "Get in closer," he instructs, "Use a different setting."
"Leave me alone," I snap back," who is taking these anyway???!!!!!"


Back at the ranch I download 50 files and delete about 40 which are so out of focus they look like the phone book with my glasses off. However!!!!!!! I did manage to capture these.

Our lad is the red head on the left. At this point the ball was nowhere near them so they were playing chasey around each other. Ornithologists note the flock of grey and pink galahs in the back ground. Classic Australian bird!

Ah hah! Some movement, the ball is close by! (so...no good for action pictures eh smarty dad???)

He has the ball! But wait, what on earth is that hanging out of his mouth????? Ah, that would be his mouthguard. Hmmm, looks like that'll be a waste of space in a collision!!! Although it may do the collidee some damage.

Yes, it looks like we really need to do something about that mouthguard!!

Okay, so HE thinks its funny. here he is jamming it in again one more time!!!

And here we have the ubiquitious 'team line up and high five'. This is where they walk down the line high fiving the oppostition and saying "good game, good game" over and over until they run out of articulation juice and all you can hear is "Goo gay, goo gay."

But after all this IS Best Shot Monday and although I thought the action shot with football and mouthguard was ok.....

.....this is my choice. You can tell he's not used to being the center of attention. That's a position usually reserved for the mouthguard, which is now in his hand.
For more Best Shot Monday, head over to Picture This!!

Of Balloons and Holidays

Yesterday in Sunday School (oops...its been re-branded...we have to call it Kidzone now) the kids all had balloons. They were blowing them up repeatedly and letting the air out in that hilarious manner which makes them sound either like creaky doors or f*rts. I watched them all, killing themselves laughing over and over and tried to remember what it was like to find that funny. I wasn't cross or even put out, they were having a lovely time but I just realised how far from childhood I am.

The recent weeks of assessment, marking, revision, reports and exams are finally at an end. I have been judge and jury for a whole bunch of kids, giving marks and making comments that may have life changing or at least pocket money changing implications for some time. I am asking for 'more rigorous application', 'a better attitude', 'continued sound work' and I am asking this of kids who still find balloon noises funny. I'm not sure what this means but I do find it incongruous.

Occasionally, at 'Kidzone', one of the littler people would accidentally let a balloon go and it would fly furiously about the room, farting and sqeaking, dashing itself against walls and ceiling and falling, finally, limp and exhausted to the floor.

Well, I may not be able to relate to the kids anymore but I think I can certainly relate to the balloon.

As the holidays start, I run a real risk of 'balloon behaviour'. The pressure is off, I have been released and my natural tendency is to fly around like a loon achieving very little and wearing myself out. I hereby resolve to behave differently these holidays.

I will plan out my time. I will work a little each morning so that exam marking is not left until Sunday two weeks time when I will, of necessity, commence the 'sleep on the sofa- work til 3am' cycle again. I will get into my garden. I will exercise daily. I will be organised. I will find the appointment card which tells me when I am due at the physio's this morning.............aaaauuugh...here comes the ceiling!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FFFFFFFFWWWWWWWWWWWWTHTTTTTT.

Friday, 6 July 2007

From a Position of Ignorance

Got to get this one in quickly, in between exams.....

A few nights ago our 'door to door charity salesman' came home very pleased with himself having made two sales that day. As he busied himself in the kitchen at 11pm, cooking bacon and eggs, I enquired as to the hours they work. How is it that he doesn't get home until 10.45pm each evening??

"Well, we sell right up until 8pm cause that's how long we're legally allowed to go door to door. Then we don't get back to the Office until about 8.30pm." At this he glanced up and fixed me with a superior and knowing look. "We have to go back and do paperwork and stuff you know. Sales stuff. You wouldn't understand............."

It was all I could do to keep a straight face!

Thursday, 5 July 2007


Well, someone had to do it.
There are no 4th of July fireworks here so this is the only 'spectacle' I could find. Actually, this is the most spectacles I've found for some time. Usually I am screaming for a pair of glasses....often to find them on my head........

Mind you, there's only about one pair of these which are adequate for my rapidly failing eyes; hence the large number. I am outgrowing my glasses faster than the Baby Angel is outgrowing her shoes.

Come to think of it, what's the ocular equivalent to 'outgrowing'?
Outfailing? Outfocusing? Outslackening?????
It's a sad state of affairs anyway. But for a REAL spectacle, check out Theme Thursday at Picture This!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

I Want my Wife Back

These were the plaintive words of my husband tonight as I sent him off to bed before me yet again.

Now I need to put this in context.

My beloved husband is a workaholic, multi media designer and small business owner. Ever since we met he has done a day's work: getting new business, liaising, having meetings etc then come home to the 'night shift' where he does the actual creative stuff. This night shift will regularly go until 2am after which he is able to sleep in until around 8.30am and still get to work between 9 and 9.30am. (he's a boy)

Moi, on the other hand, has to be at work by at least 8.15am and requires at least an hour's preparation time to try on my 3,000 outfits, cake on my 'slap' and get my hair to do something, anything!! Result: I am usually in bed before him. Well before.

This has never posed any problems, for him at least.

At the moment however I am in the throes of marking, writing and modifying exams all on the back of reports. I have developed a pattern of sleeping for several hours after dinner and then getting up near 11.30pm to get stuck in with a fresh mind. Consequently I have been regularly getting to bed at 3am. And yes, still getting up at 6.30am. The effect of this on himself has been quite curious.

He has started going to bed earlier and earlier and moaning bitterly when I do not accompany him! Tonight he retired at 12.30am!! He must be sick! But as he moped off down the hall he was heard to remark that he was going to write to my Boss and tell him that he 'wanted his wife back'. Don't know if anyone else spots the irony in this. Makes me LOL!!!

Must get back to the grindstone, have 2 hours of maths with Year 8 tomorrow arvo and have to think of things to do to occupy them. There is no way they will cope with revision for that whole period. For one thing, last week one of them whinged that they had 'done this before'.
"Yes," I replied," This is revision."
"What's that?" came the puzzled response. Sigh. I do worry.

'Night...or good morning all!

Monday, 2 July 2007


I am sometimes completely mystefied by aspects of blogging. Claiming blogs. Authority. Tags. Subscribe to this feed (what's THAT?) I dunno, it's all technorati to me!!!