Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


OK, Sinead has made me feel guilty with her talk of outdoor Shakespeare being ruined by rain in Oxford.

I have to confess that the first time I saw 'Twelfth Night' was at an outdoor performance at the ruins of an abbey somewhere near Wimbourne in Dorset. It was a glorious UK summer evening!

I guess Australia's not the only place that enjoys good weather! I expect there is quite a bit of outdoor theatre in the Northern Hemisphere too :-D

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

We will Draw the Curtain and Show You the Picture......

On Friday night I had one of the delightful experiences associated with living in Adelaide. I was invited by my dear high school friend, Blondie, to see a production of "Shakespeare in the Vines" which is a tour of regional vineyards with, this season, a presentation of Twelfth Night.

We arrived at the sublime Coriole Vineyard (above) at around 6.00pm while there was still enough sting in the sun to cause us to drape cardigans over our shoulders and regret our decision to leave hats at home. The blank sky above is a result of that very hard evening light one gets with bright sun. Trust me...we were hot.

The venue was the sunken gardens of the homestead and these were crammed with relaxed spectators draped over rugs with glasses of Coriole wine in hand and hampers of delicious picnic fare in tooth. Watermelon and feta salad. Gourmet meatloaf wraps. A delicious confection which may have been orange and almond cake and a selection of grapes and nectarines. Corrrrrr

The performance was excellent. Modern dress and with a female Feste (much to my father's disgust... he played Feste aged 11 because he was the only one whose voice hadn't broken), it was a raucous performance which proved once again how Shakespeare's comedy transcends the barriers of time and social culture (and I realise that for Australians social culture is something of an oxymoron). We lounged on the lawn and laughed out loud as the actors moved in and out of the crowd and sweated under the unforgiving evening sun, unfolding their tale of the twins, Viola and Sebastian, shipwrecked in the land of Illyria.

By the end of the performance, dusk was falling.I was delighted to grab this shot with my PAS! As Blondie and I gathered up our picnic blankets and headed for the car, I got THIS shot.
We drove back to her beautiful property with a sense of delight and satisfaction. Open air Shakepeare, a crisp chenin blanc and a glorious sunset. This is why I came back to Adelaide.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Best Shot Monday: Why wear an apron?

There was actually one of these handprints on each cheek! :-D Still, at least she's cooking.

Pop over to Mother May I and check out the many Best Shots of the past week.

An Excellent Award!

I can't believe this award! Excellent? My blog? Oh the pressure! The expectation! The swelled head!
Thank you so much to Harlekwin over at Boho Rap for bestowing this honour upon me.

She is an intelligent, creative blogger whose writing can be emotional and insightful, technical and useful, challenging and thought provoking or just plain amusing. Her incredible page designs are an inspiration although sometimes I miss a good one when she replaces it. Currently she is celebrating having moved into her 51st year with cupcakes, frogs and a challenge to the universe to give her a 'prince'!!!!!!!! An Excellent blog indeed.

Passing this award on is tough.

I mean, you could give it to everyone at some time for posts that have moved you, made you laugh or informed you. There is a certain pressure to give it to your 'fave' reads because you've grown to know and love them, there are others who deserve it but hey...they already get heaps of awards....so.....what constitutes an Excellent blog?

One of the criteria I think is variety, another is regularity of posting and a third is the ability to make you think, question and consider. Honest, quality writing is essential and clever use of photography to illustrate points and bring intimacy and immediacy to a post is also desirable. Weekly regular features give you something to look forward to and the quality of comments add to your blog reading experience.

It's rare to find all of these features in one blog. Mine certainly does not qualify.

A couple spring to mind. One is Chris in Oxford, but he already has the award so without further ado I award an E for Excellence to two very different blogs.

The first is Susie J; an inspiring read by a gifted Mom writer with many excellent photos, recipes, regular features and tabs to constant posts (look up the top).

The second is a very different kettle of fish.

Deutschland Uber Elvis is the blog of my very dear friend from the 'old' days, Headbang8. He is the least Headbangy person I know and this moniker is a clue to his well developed sense of irony! D.U.E. fulfills all my criteria but I must warn some of my more conservative readers that Headbang is a happily partnered 'late out' gay guy and with his razor sharp wit and shining intellect (you can pay me later H8) he does examine some of the issues of the gay world so if humourous and intelligent discussions of culture and sexuality offend best not click here. Being both an ex-pat American and Australian he also has a colourful vocabulary although this is rarely ever gratuitous and to top it all off dear friends, he is an athiest.

Here's a quote from his sidebar

In his blog, he discusses matters of importance to him; the interplay of cultures in the
modern world, recovery from family dysfunction, management of his harem of fag hags, his
belief in secularism, and of course, all things gay.

So, for those of you who don't mind a bit of a challenge, love good photography and appreciate clever observation of culture, language and people, Deutschland Uber Elvis is an Excellent blog.

I stand, as ever, humbled by this award myself. Thank you so much Harlekwin.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Theme Thursday: Books

Life Skills. Books. Perhaps No2 Son should read these. Wonder if there's a chapter on applying for jobs?
And here's a return to the old notion of receiving Books as prizes. This is my Dad in 1955 receiving one of his 6 book prizes for topping all his subjects at Grammar School. A few years ago he gave each of his daughters two of the books. I don't have this one. I wonder which of you sisters does??

For more takes on 'Books' check out Theme Thursday.

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In The 'Anything But Pink' Corner We Have........

Come on you lot.......put up your dukes....surely there's SOMETHING you disagree with????
I almost thought KT was going to take me on re: mobile phones but I re-read her comment

"The mobile phone thing? a phone doesn't have to have service for it to be able to dial 911. Why do the kids need to be able to call you? That's not safety - that's convenience. for the parents. "

and realised she was on my side.

For those of you who may be lurking and secretly thinking, "Yes, but I need to know where Johnny is and at least with a phone I can find out." or "At least he or she can call me if they are stranded somewhere." or "but I don't like Susie being alone on the bus with all those strangers..." or "if I'm running late I can let Betty know.." or "if Sammy is worried he can call me for reassurance...........>:-("

Come on!!! Get out of the shadows! I'll take you!!! I've got an answer for ALL of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My first point of reference was the shocking murder of two little girls in the UK in 2002. What was it that lead the police to their killer? A mobile phone. Did it prevent those girls from being murdered? No.

I am quite interested actually in what the statistics are for 'near misses' and actual murders that involve mobile phones. Maybe we just don't hear of the near misses? Certainly in many highly publicised cases there have been mobile phones which did nothing to assist the victims in getting out of the situation. A mobile phone in itself will NOT keep your child safe.

As for finding out where your kids are......well I'm sorry, but at the ages I am considering (7-14), you should KNOW where they are and there should be a responsible adult in charge of supervision and that adult should be someone you know and trust. (ie go and MEET the parents of the kids your child socialises with). If they are older than 14....and you want to 'check up' on them...you can guarantee they will tell you anything you want to hear on the phone. Or better still, screen their calls and refuse to answer. "Oh, my battery must have been flat....I was out of range....there was no network......" puhlease! Look, either you trust them or you don't. Don't rely on the phone.

"Susie alone on the bus with strangers"? "If Sammy is worried."? Who is need of reassurance here? At some point (and I trust the parents will have made a decision about this based on their child's life skills, confidence and general common sense), with preparation, your children must go out INTO THE WORLD. You did. You don't need to ring them every five minutes to check if they're breathing.

"If I'm running late": where is your child waiting? At school? They have phones. At sport? The coach has a phone. At another child's house? Hello.....landlines. At the Mall.......if they are of an appropriate age to be at the Mall on their own they are old enough to wait the extra ten minutes.

The bottom line for me is that giving a child a mobile phone for safety is an 'adult' justification for giving in to the pressure from children to have what everyone else has. What do they really want a phone for at that age? Let me share a few, if not 'horror' then at least 'grimace' stories.

My friends gave their 9 and a half year old an old phone with credit. During a visit, we adults went out and the kids had a sleep over at a mutual friends' house. At about 10pm, at the dinner party, Dad received a call from daughter who couldn't get to sleep as she was used to dad laying down with her as she drifted off. To our complete astonishment dad left the party and trooped off to oblige. His wife was furious.

Aside from the issues of attachment of both father and daughter, my greatest concern was for the friends who were babysitting. On checking later, it appeared that dad had appeared on the doorstep saying Kitty was upset and needed help to go to sleep. The friends were mortified! She had not mentioned to them that she was upset. As far as they knew the two kids were upstairs chatting and 'going to sleep' as girls do at a sleepover. Had they known she was unsettled they would have attended to her and if all else failed...phoned dad. They felt their credibility and reliability had been undermined.

Another example occurred at a birthday party the BabyAngel had in 2006. Her 6 best friends were altogether for a sleepover when we discovered them using their mobile friends to send text messages. When challenged as to the need for sending messages at a party they assured us that they were texting friends. "But all your best friends are here ," I argued. No response. I ended up insisting that they turn their phones off. I met calls of "But what if we want to call our parents?" with "Tell me and I will phone them on the landline."

My belief is that they were texting their second best friends to taunt them over not being at the party. Not in so many words perhaps.....but making it clear that they were altogether and the other girls were not. The Baby Angel was sheepish when I suggested this after the event. I think she got the message.

Our neighbour's daughter regularly used her phone on the way to school in my car. She was texting her friend at school to tell her how far away she was. They often exchanged 3 texts (ie 5-6 in total) in a 20 minute trip. I am glad I was not paying the bill. Even the Baby Angel rolled her eyes.

These examples illustrate the two main reasons kids want phones. The first is to have the immediate on-call reassurance of mum and dad about a range of events in every day life. The second is to impress friends. This is the much more sinister of the two. Unchecked it can lead to cyber bullying and real on-going unhappiness for many kids.

The poor Baby Angel does not have a mobile phone and will not for at least another 18 months. I will not subsidise technological one-upmanship and I will continue to a) supervise my daughter and her contacts and b) encourage independence in generally safe, everyday situations. (the bus...a sleepover....netball training). I do not see why I should pay good money for her to have what is at best a luxury and at worst an instrument of gossip, maliciousness and bullying.

You may ask why I put the 18 month time frame on things? Well by then, at 14, I expect she will be going to the pictures or ice skating etc with friends. There may then be a convenience aspect re transport etc. By then I hope she will have got over the need to use the thing for the sake of it. She will also be able to work and therefore pay her own bills.

I urge all like minded people to encourage friends etc who are considering the early purchase of phones to really analyse WHY they are providing them. When my father and I had this conversation a few months ago...it boiled down to the fact that 'she wanted one'. That is not good enough. I want world peace and a million dollars.....but I don't think dad is likely to get it for me.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The 'No More Fairy Floss' Meme

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Tonight the Bestie confirmed something I have been feeling for a while.
"Your blog has lost some of its edge....it's a bit like Fairy Floss .......seems to be just 'more of the same'....."

With this in mind........

The delightful Jenny from "A Slice of My Life" tagged me for a meme.

I have recently learned about the origins of the term 'meme' from the very erudite and knowledgeable ( for a bloke) Chris over at "Ravings of An American Expatriate....".

In this post he draws on the work of a fellow academic to define the term in a genetic context as

" cultural phenomena that represent self-replicating means of transmission".............

Well, obviously! That explains everything :-D A meme is a cultural phenomonen and transmits in a self replicating manner. Makes perfect sense to me .

Interestingly, if you read the rest of his post he also describes a meme which has a built in mutating feature (I think I understood that bit....). Well I have been interested to observe the mutating nature of memes with or without the 'built in' factor.

For example, a while ago I did a meme entitled 'Seven Random Things About Me'. I have since seen this in a '100 Random Facts' version and in this most recent tag... as 6 Random Facts. I gotta say I'm going with the latter!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not sure why this is such a prevalent meme? Perhaps because it is easy? Has few rules? Is open to interpretation? Allows us to indulge in that egocentric human desire to talk about oneself? Yea...I'm going with the last one. But why the mutation? From 7 to 100 I can almost understand....too much of a good thing but why from 7 to 6?

Anyway, without further ado......a dark take on 6 Random Facts ......

the 'Six Dark Secrets and What I Really Think' meme

1. I have been feeling very resentful of late. Why am I bringing up other people's children??

2. I have no tolerance for idiotic parents who leave their 16 year old alone for the weekend
and wonder why he ends up on the front page of the paper looking cocky and having
alienated not only the neighbours and the local police force but most of the Australian
media watching public.

3. People who buy their kids mobile phones for 'safety' are having themselves on.

4. I envy the simplicity of a testosterone driven mind. And other organs.

5. I always bite off more than I can chew but I have a bloody good go at chewing it.
I do not necessarily see this as a flaw. (sorry Mum)
NB: This has nothing to do with #4.

6. There should be compulsory visits to the Third World for every teenager in affluent
Western society. Perhaps then they'd appreciate how lucky they are to have that sub
standard, non plasma, 60cm TV with DVD and video and ancient dinosaur of an X-Box.

I'm not tagging anyone today but I welcome disagreement on any of the above issues. In the 'dark' spirit of this post I insist all comments find at least one thing in this list to disagree with.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Best Shot Monday: Setting the Timer

Late this week. Better than last week when I totally missed BSM in the frenzy of my sister's departure.

Haven't taken too many photos this week. Have been a bit sluggish and de-motivated with their leaving and the depressing approach of the new school year. This was one of the last I took as we waited to farewell them at the airport.And this is the the resulting 'family portrait'. I am saying out of the corner of my mouth 'Small Boy, put your thumb down...put it down for goodness sake.' You can sort of tell once you know can't you? :-)


Oh and in camera news....my Dad has bought himself a DSLR! After consultation with Himself, he completely ignored all advice and bought an Olympus which scored 90% in a CHOICE magazine comparison of DSLRs! I'm waiting to see what he produces with it :-)

Get excited by the talent over at Best Shot Monday.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Saturday 19th January 2008

Had a lovely day yesterday. Slept in. A bit of blogging. A visit from a great old friend who, as yet, does not have a moniker. Now I know this friend does have an occasional peek into this site so I am going to leave it to him to come up with a name for himself. For today we shall call him 'Kindergarten Friend' cos that's how long I have known him!!!

Our fathers were both geologists and had met at social functions when my mother took me down for my first day at a local kindergarten (preschool....3-4 years old). Bear in mind that at this point in her 28 year old life my mother had been in Adelaide a mere 2 and a half years. She spied a familiar Geology Wife and they immediately renewed an acquaintance commenced perhaps at a cocktail party or dinner dance for University/Geology types. She discovered the family were living in very close proximity to us and that the other mother had a boy the same age as her own daughter.

The families became very close. Kindergarten Friend and I had a sibling style relationship from an early age. We rode bikes together. Built model aeroplanes. Shared some musical tastes (I still have the Chuck Berry tape he made me in the 70s) Later, his older sister and brother would babysit me and my siblings. When I was 19 Kindergarten Friend taught me to drive (Himself: Oh, so you are responsible!!!!).

Kindergarten Friend went on to become a highly successful industrial scientist and eventually Project Manager for a major car firm. After 20 years with the same company, and seeing how the general trends in the motor industry (and particularly THIS company) were going, he took redundancy just over a year ago and has been living it up ever since.

So, yesterday we ended up at the Sailing Club after the boys' club race (they came third over the line and first on handicap) having a quiet beer with the NS14 gang. The Sailing Club is one of the only ones left in the State...perhaps the country......which has a 'wet' bar ie you can come straight in after sailing, still in bathers and sailing gear and have a beer at the bar! Very civilised. During this after-race chat the subject of next year's National Championships came up.

In 2009, the Nationals will be held at our Club. Last week Himself went to a coordinator's meeting and came back to inform me that I was in charge of 'social things'. I thought he was joking but apparently not. It seems I will be organising the 'Welcome' and 'Presentation' Events!!
What do I know of these things??????????????? Well, yesterday afternoon I started to learn pretty darn quick :-)....

Anyway, after our relaxing sojourn in the wet bar, made even more charming by the presence of a bridal party who had been married on the beach and were having the reception upstairs in the restaurant, we adjourned home to play some games. I managed to get Himself involved in a game of Pictionary with KF and two other friends who called around after tea.

The classic moment of the night occurred as Himself was drawing what appeared to be a person with a whole lot of 'x's floating around him. We were completely blank but the couple across the table suddenly called out 'X-ray' and two things happened at once. Himself threw down his pen in disgust and all the lights went out.
"Oh!" I exclaimed, "A black-out!!!!"
"No," came the exasperated voice through the darkness next to me, "It's X-ray!!!!"

He doesn't miss a beat when he has a game to play.

The light did come back on again and we had a lovely night. Lots of laughs and fellowship and of course, Himself was happy as we won the game :-D

Something has occurred to me though with the reality of The Nationals organisation sinking in. My half formed dream of going to the UK for Xmas/January has evaporated. The sailors start arriving on Boxing Day and the series runs until the 3rd of January. That leaves barely 3 weeks of January before I have to be back for Staff Meetings. I don't think we'll be going this year.


Friday, 18 January 2008

Theme Thursday: Now is the WINTER of our discontent.....

Did I mention I was the only one in the house who changed the toilet roll??????? What I want to know is.....if they can take em OFF the holder........why can't they put one ON????????????????
And is the 15 sec walk to the recycling too far to manage? AND..........how are they WASHING THEIR HANDS if the sink is full of toilet rolls?????????????????????????????????????????

I'm feeling pretty WINTERY towards the males in my household at present.

Taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5000. I think I pressed a button that changed an ISO setting. Don't ask me what it changed it to..........

For some real Winter, go see

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Thursday, 17 January 2008

What I Did in (the last week of ) My Holidays

1. Said goodbye to the Baby Angel as she flew off to Brisbane to meet up with her Dad and Super Step Mum

2. Shop shop shopped with Mum and SmokyJo...2 x new trousers, a size bigger than usual :-( and a shirt which was designed with me in mind..happy happy happy

3.Farewell dinner with family (why are my boys such philistines?????????)

4. Waved goodbye to SmokyJo and Big J *waaaaaaaaaaaah*

5. Bike ride and a SPANKING!!!! (Small Boy, not me teehee)

6. Sorted the piles of work/paper/crap that were taking up a quarter of the study floor. They now take up one eighth of the study floor and some of the lounge.

7. Got locked in my bedroom when the door catch broke. Rescued by No 2 Son who shouldered the door in for me. (took three goes!!) Bought all new door catches as this is the second time someone has been locked in somewhere and the third catch which has broken. No 2 Son replaces 2 and gets tired. Dad is coming to do the rest today >:-( (further mental note...buy two new doors to replace the ones cracked by forcible entry)

8. Bike ride. No spanking. Charming acquiescence on all counts by Small Boy. Tired thighs....must be a good sign?

9. Rewrite a script for a website launch DVD in consultation with Himself and Tyre Man who is very concerned about whether we mention the 4WD feature on page 20 349 of the website...... bottom left.

10. Refrain from strangling Tyre Man.

11. Pour more alcohol and finish script when he isn't looking but is instead pre-occupied with looking at 4WD feature on page 20348 (bottom right) of Himself's screen and comparing it to Light Truck feature.

12. Kick out Tyre Man (happy boy) and complete voice over recording by 12.30am. Retire to bed and leave Himself to work until 2.30am assembling a rough cut of the DVD.

And For Today..........................

Shopping with my MUM (hooray!!!! we're going to the outlet centre. I've never been there before because I know I will become addicted) Evening Revels with the Bestie.


Lunch with an old friend and a MASSAGE followed by SCRAPBOOKING !!!! (a rare treat as it usually clashes with netball and another opportunity to drink champagne with friends)


At some point I need to try and decide what I will teach my eager little sponges this year. Wednesday next week is my first day back for staff meetings etc. Kids return on the 29th.
"I'll think about it tomorrow." (Scarlett O'Hara: Gone With The Wind)

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Goodbye Sis!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Boy are we going to miss them.

I had my first nightmare about school last night.

Monday, 14 January 2008

All Of Us

No Chris, a day on the beach isn't really all THAT bad! :-)
Star of Greece Kiosk, Port Willunga SA. Timer shot. Came out pretty well I thought. Both the BA and I are exhibiting the characteristic red knees of sandcastle builders. We all had them!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

What IS That?

I awoke from a dream this morning where one of my bloggy mates...I can't remember who now...had painted a mural around a room....kind of like the Bayeux Tapestry.....except it was really cool cos when you turned on an ultra violet light all these faces became visible......anyway, as I resurfaced from this surreal world I was aware of an unusual smell. Still, partially asleep I exclaimed in the context of my dream, "Oh, I can smell tea..." (as in the drink)

Himself, without even rolling over, replied "It's rain dear."

With windows wide open from the hot nights, the smell of moisture on vegetation wafting in on the morning breeze has become so rare for us that I was only able to attribute it to the smell of wet tea leaves in an empty pot.

All traces of moisture had vanished by mid-day.

I Can't Keep Up!!

I just want to apologise to all my regular 'reads' for taking such a long time to 'get around' to everyone this week. I haven't abandoned you, I am just flat out with kids and holidays and my family here from the UK. I need to get back into routine and I don't mean THIS routine which sees me reading blogs at 3.15am!!!!! The Baby Angel goes to Sydney to see her dad on Monday, Sis leaves on Tuesday and the Small Boy goes back to his mum on Thursday so maybe I will get some time to really get on top of things.

Oh who am I trying to kid?

Saturday, 12 January 2008

High Maintenance

What is it about families eh? Are they always high maintenance or is it just mine?

Exhibit a) Small Boy sulking over his sand castle.

We had a wonderful day on Carrickalinga Beach with SmokyJo and Big J, the BA, Small Boy and I. It was not quite as scorching as yesterday so temps on the beach were quite pleasant if a little windy.

We did the whole thing. Totem tennis, beach cricket, swimming and boogie boarding and finally, sandcastles. Don't ask me where it went wrong but somehow the SB decided he sucked at sandcastles and he wasn't helping me anymore but he was building his own and now he had the worst sandcastle on the beach and that just proved how badly he sucks........his powers of logic are convoluted to say the least.

He breaks my heart with his lack of self esteem. Everything is a competition and of course, when he is the youngest on the beach by anything up to 40 years he sets himself up for failure. Once he has failed he is clever enough to recognise empty praise when he hears it and can therefore not be comforted with platitudes. I have taken to saying "you're right...you do suck...happy now?" although I scarcely think this is helpful.

As if his fragile ego isn't enough I have the BA doing the whole "he's muscling in on MY auntie" thing! She has the good sense to know that her irritation is unwarranted and unhelpful but of course she can't help feeling what she feels.

Apart from the 'sandcastle sulk' which was brought to a head as we took pictures of the 'finished' products (left) and relieved by a sand throwing photo session (below), we had another incident involving my least favourite part of the beach experience, strong currents. And I don't mean dried fruit. (that would be an 'a')

The strong 'drawback' current known as a 'rip' here is the most dangerous aspect of swimming at sea....apart from the sharks.

The gang took off for the water with great enthusiasm and as I watched from the shore (I'm not a complete idiot...the temp was under 40C why get in the water?????) they seemed to be going a long way out. I kept calling for Small Boy on his boogie board to 'come back' and eventually Sis towed him onto an incoming wave and then finished up by towing him the best part of the way back into the shore. It was with much relief that I helped him catch a few inshore waves and then went back onto the beach when he'd had enough.

A good 5 minutes later the BA and Sis joined us and informed me that a rip had formed while they were out there and that they had had to swim quite hard to get back in.
"You were all worried about him," accused the BA,"but you didn't even watch to see if I got in safely!"

This was sort of true as I know the BA is a good swimmer and my Sis also swims 5km a week and has arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had been fairly sure they knew what they were doing and was much more concerned about the Small Boy who lacks confidence in the water and especially the sea. I had been surprised that he'd gone so far out in the first place! I guess he just got carried along with the excitement of the group.

As it was I was very glad not to have known about the strong current until the girls got back in. I don't think they were in any immediate danger but it was a good lesson for the BA and gave her a sense of the strength of the sea and its changeability without seriously threatening her. I had a nasty experience on Bondi Beach once which has put me off going anywhere out of my depth in the sea without a life jacket.

Later that night, about 20 min after Small Boy had gone to bed, he appeared tearfully in the corridor and called for me. "I'm having bad thoughts," he whimpered, "I can't get to sleep." I didn't twig to begin with and asked whether the guests were making too much noise (we had people for dinner.....in a white wine sauce, delicious), whether he was worried he was missing out on something...then...in a blinding flash I asked whether he was thinking about having trouble getting back to the shore at the beach today........well the floodgates opened.

I hate the sea, I'm frightened of the sea, what if it happens again, I never want to go in the sea again............all this anxiety poured out. Put this against a background of an adored father who sails and loves the sea and you might get an inkling of why he was initially unwilling to disclose his fear and also, why he called for me. We ended up cuddling in his bed and I told him he didn't have to go back in the sea if he didn't want to. Look at me after all. I never go in above my waist :-) Finally, to help him get to sleep we gave his bad thoughts to Rawson the wonder rabbit, who threw them out the window with a great deal of puffing and panting. Then I listed all the nice things he could think about before, on request, getting daddy.

I suppose I could have been hurt after all my comforting and hard work (after all, I was missing out on the dinner party!) to have been thrown over for daddy but actually it felt pretty right. After all, daddy is real and I am just step and also, it was like he was ready to confide in daddy now without fear of 'letting him down' or seomthing. I don't know. It just felt right.

I gave daddy a brief run down of what had happened and the important direction not to force the issue of going back in the sea tonight. It seemed to go well as he was asleep 5 minutes later.

So, I ask again, are ALL families this high maintenance? Or is it just mine :-D Sometimes I'd like to move into a motel and leave them all to it but then again...............

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Theme Thursday: Contrast

What's left of Himself's previously luxurious hair. In the sunlight....I think it qualifies as a contrast!!

For more Contrasts, slip over to Stacy's place.

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Guest Blogger: Baby Angel on Peer preasure:)

Howdy there bloggee mate's of the mother. It is I...Baby Angel. Now today I will be talking about how you should never try something just because every one else says you can. You can end up in a lot of trouble. Or in my case a rather large scab on my lip, nose and face. Yes that is me on the right. Not one of my best looks I admit...

It started when we had friends over yesterday. The mother who we shall call B, the 1st daughter (one of my friends) who we shall call A and the younger daughter who we shall call S. Now when B, S and A came over it was a boiling hot day so we couldn't resist going for a nice little swim in the pool. We had been in there for a while when A started showing me how to do back flips off the edge of the step in the pool. The step is slightly halfway into the shallow end but can cause a rather nasty injury when not used properly. Now I can do back flips, front flips, somersaults handstands all in the pool but am not so good when performing skills out of the pool. Now A is about the same hight as me but is as skinny as a twig and she was doing really good back flips off the step. She said that I should have a go. The first 2 times I did it I almost broke my back and came very close hitting my head on the floor. By the 3rd time I did it I wasn't feeling very confident but everyone was telling me to have a go. So... according to on lookers I did the back flip , then there was a lot of squirming about on the bottom on the pool, and then I came up with blood on my face. Now my version... I just managed the back flip (almost breaking my back), opened my eyes and was greeted by a solid wall smashing my 2 front teeth, nose, shoulder, lip and a bit under my nose. OWWWW!! Pain went searing through my face and I came up trying not to cry. I immediately looked at mum with my hands covering my face, worrying if I still had all my teeth. She came over and saw it was bleeding and being the super mother she is went straight for the ice pack. I sat out on a chair for the rest of the time they were in the pool clutching an ice pack and crying. After that it hurt to smile, eat, drink on the wrong side. After the ice pack there was Savlon and aloe vera which stung like craaaaaaazy!!

Believe me it doesn't look all that bad but it's like I have my face plastered with some incredibly tight bandage pulling my skin back off of my lip...i.e not good!!

The moral of the story is do not think that just because your friend can do back flips does not mean you can.. and you definitely will not be able to master it within 5 minutes. =D

PS. I wrote this by myself with no help from mother... just in case you thought other wise

PPS. sorry for the view up my nose in the pic..... :)
Mother's note:

She took her own pics too with her own camera. My poor little baby!!!! It's amazing how grown up they are but when they hurt themselves it is as if they are tiny kids again......the pain in your heart is just as strong....

Of Sewing, Sisters and Saigon

Here are two of the reasons I have been a bit 'blog quiet' of late! The first is my sister, looking very glamorous here, as we prepare to see 'Miss Saigon' on Tuesday night. The second is the dress the Baby Angel is wearing. Yes, I have been sewing!!

I spent four days on that b***** dress! It turned out to be a LOT fiddlier than I realised when she chose the pattern AND we ended up taking it apart and virtually starting again at one point.

The 'babydoll' dress is all the rage here and I 'd promised to make her one as some of the rubbish they sell in the shops look as if they were made of dishcloths but are priced like silk. She liked the idea of having a dress which was an 'original' and we picked this lovely lawn fabric in a colour which really suits her. I deliberately steered her towards a pattern with thicker shoulder straps (see the image on the left), befitting her tender years and we also decided to line the skirt as the fabric was quite fine and a bit see through.

On the first day I realised there were a number of fiddly bits to contend with
* pleating everywhere, shoulder straps, front
back of skirt
* gathers under the bust
* shoulder straps which were not cut
attached to the bodice but which had to be
fed over the bodice inside out, sewn at the
front, turned the right way, turn the back
bodice inside out, attach to strap, turn the
bodice the right way again *pant pant*
* lining (my own fault)
Nevertheless, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and all the special features later and the dress was assembled.

The next day, BA tried it on and a very 'lukewarm' expression greeted her reflection in the mirror. Was it too plain? Too big? Too long? She wasn't sure. "I just don't think it's me mum," she apologised. I was aghast! "But YOU picked the pattern and the fabric...this has been a bugger to make...what do you MEAN you don't like it??????"

She was suitably apologetic and upset for me. She swore she'd wear it anyway and tried the old 'No, it's OK Mum, I DO like it...I really do....."

Enter Himself. Ah hah, an objective eye!! We asked him what he thought and got a blank face.

Me: You don't like it. Why don't you like it????
Him: Well, I'm not sure....I think the straps are too thick.
Me: What do you MEAN too thick???...she's only 12...they're perfectly age appropriate!!!!!
Him: Well don't ask me then if you don't want my opinion.
Me : (deep breathing) No, no, we do want your opinion...but the straps are exactly as they were in the pattern (gets pattern packet and thrusts it under his nose)
Him: They maybe, but they're too thick. It's top heavy. There's too much dress and not enough girl.
Me: (wailing) but she's only 12 I don't WANT there to be too much girl.
Him: Yes, but she doesn't LOOK 12. She looks like a pretty girl in a frumpy dress.

This was not going well. I had hoped he would tell her how nice she looked in the hope that this would convince her and ensure that she actually WORE the thing. After I'd examined the girl in dress a little bit more, I had to admit that there was something 'clunky' about the straps. Added to this, although the BA needed the width across her back, the front of the bodice was too loose and didn't sit well.

I had to face it. I would need to redo the top of the dress. In the process we drew a new line for the shoulder straps under Himself's designer eye. It took a whole day to unpick the bodice from the skirt, unpick the shoulder straps, reset pleats on a narrower bustline, recut the straps, reattach the straps.......you get the picture. We were determined that she would wear the dress to Miss Saigon but I still had the hem to do as we headed to the Bestie's place for a light pre-theatre supper.

As you can see however, it all turned out in the end and I think she looks gorgeous in it. She has new bright blue sandals to match (thank you Auntie!!) and a blue handbag as well. Note in the picture that she is taller than my sister and sister is wearing platform shoes!!! We have to acknowledge that she is half a head taller than both of us now.

Here's another one of the BA and Grandma, I think its particularly lovely. You can see how thick the straps are here...and that was AFTER I'd cut them down. Himself is not a designer for nothing! He was right as usual.

Miss Saigon was not so much an emotional roller coaster as an emotional Drop of Death. Set during the Vietnam War, it started off with the 17 year old heroine being picked up off the street to work as a prostitute and never got any more cheerful than that! It was stunningly staged and the performances were excellent but it left us all exhausted and a bit shell shocked really.

The Bestie used up at least two tissues and most of the ladies in the party had to resort to face mopping at some point during the proceedings. The songs are not particularly memorable except for The American Dream, sung by the pimp who is known cleverly as The Engineer. The famous scene with the helicopter which prevented the show from touring to smaller theatres in the past, was effective and devastating as the GIs leave and the desperate Vietnamese nationals try to climb the fence of the Embassy waving their immigration papers helplessly at the sky. Gut wrenching.

As a footnote to my sewing escapades, I developed a muscle spasm in my lower back, probably from sitting hunched over the machine for so long! I have had to have some physio on it as I could barely move Wednesday morning but it's definitely on the improve as our ice skating and 10 pin bowling excursion today proved! (pix in a later post)

So now to catch up on a bit of blog reading in between swimming, beaching and dinners with my sister and brother-in-law. Good times!!!!!!

Monday, 7 January 2008

Question: Blogging Help

I would love to put my bunch of flowers and my Nice matters Award onto my sidebar as pictures but they are too wide and get distorted. I have made things smaller on my sidebar before but that's when they were in html. I have tried resizing the picture but even though it seems to fit vertically, the horizontal perspective is all wrong. Any ideas oh clever bloggy lot out there????

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Thank You! I am Overwhelmed!!

Look what I got from Colleen! Her post on receipt of her flowers says it all but if you don't get a chance to look, I will pinch this bit

"People who don't blog don't really understand the connections that are made through blogging. The feelings of true friendship and bonding that are found through reading, commenting, and e-mailing. Through this online world you learn so much about other people... and by learning about them you seem to make realizations about yourself." Colleen: A Madison Mom

from her post.

I am really chuffed, as they say, and I'll pass some flowers on to my dear bloggy friends at

The Hipmomma's Journal: Melody

Mommee and Her Boys: Brittany

Life, The Universe and Everything: At last glance she needed a warm fuzzy.

Cheese Party: AmyJo..also in need of a hug.

Merrily Rolling: Just Rollin' along :-)

Cancio: Kim

Against the Window Pane: a new site for Dawn.

It is wonderful to be acknowledged, even if it is virtual! I value all these ladies as well as many others (but they have already received flowers and I don't want to use up all their vases :-D) for their support and friendship. Often we know more about the lives of our bloggy friends than our real life contacts.This may be a sad indictment of our society or it may just be that people we like live in other cities and countries. Who knows? I know I find myself mentioning the opinions and experiences of my blogmates in everyday conversation with 'real' people. You all seem real enough to me :-D.

So take a bouquet and know you are appreciated.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Theme Thursday: Colour

Shame about the background but I love the contrast of red on yellow here. BA brought me lunch in bed when I was ill.

For more colourful themes visit

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Latest Sports Report

Here is my 'Old Man of the Sea' squeezing up to the mark during one of the races.
This is a better one for seeing both their faces but they're not sailing as well here. The idea is to keep the boat as flat as possible to maximise the power of the sails. No 2 Son needs to get out there on the edge more quickly methinks!

They have had a frustrating series towards the end; as they got everything tuned right.....things started to break. They snapped their tiller losing a race where they had been placing in the top 10. They then had two bad races where they made mistakes and finished around about 23rd and 16th. Yesterday was a disaster with high winds and very dangerous conditions. They capsised early on and No 2 Son, seeing his boot drifting away, swam off to get it. Cardinal Rule #1. NEVER leave the upturned boat!!!!!!!!!!

Within minutes they were separated by 100m of ocean and Himself, in that superhuman strength you get when you think you child is in danger, righted the boat and singlehandedly sailed it back to No2 Son who was bobbing up and down in a 2 metre swell. Son was so exhausted that he tried to climb into the boat from the side immediately capsising it again. This time they got it up more quickly as there were two of them but Himself was so exhausted he had to wait in the water for 5 minutes before he got enough strength to climb back in over the stern. The jib was tangled around the mast and Himself was all for untangling it and continuing the race. So many other boats pulled out that if they had simply finished they would have moveed up a place in the overall rankings. But it wasn't to be. Son was exhausted and had had enough. He's a much more slightly built character than Himself and just didn't have enough energy left. They ended up with a DNF.

So another 11th and then a nearly 4th until the tiller broke again and it was a frustrating end to the series. They came 18th overall but this was a huge improvement on last time and they have learned a lot so they're hoping to come back, fix all the broken bits and do better in the State Championships.

But Why?

Just as an addendum to that last post I suppose you are wondering why anyone would WANT to put patio furniture in the pool? That would be so two 12 year old girls could swim under it as it sat on the bottom. Or have underwater tea parties. Who knows...they have been told before not to put it in but I think this time they'll remember!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Why You Should Never Put Patio Furniture in the Pool

Because spiders live under the furniture. I am now off to google how long redbacks can survive under water.

NB: We fished both chairs out and killed one BIG redback but the other chair was in longer and there was debate as to whether there was another spider on it while it was under water. There wasn't when it was salvaged. Is it in the pool somewhere????????????????????

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Best Shot Monday: Happy New UFO (edited version)

How cool is this???? Click and look at it large! I am stoked by this one!!

So, what IS it I hear you ask????? A fair question which I am at loss to answer. I know WHERE it is (end of Brighton Jetty). I know when I took the shot (about 1 am) but I am as yet unsure of the actual purpose of the structure! :-) Here's a shot of it in the daytime.

So let me fill in a few gaps. It's New Year's Eve 2007. We've been to a lovely party, seen midnight in watching the fireworks from my friend's front steps and now my UK brother in law wants to do what you NEVER do in the UK on NYE.....walk on a beach.

So we headed down to Brighton Beach at around 1am. The temp was still around 36C, the water was heavenly; foam glowing in the moonlight, sand hard and crusty, drunks vocal and damp. The BA, on only her 3rd NYE awake took this shot of the three of us, silly and happy.

In the background of this photo, top left, you can see the structure which is my 'best shot'. It's a sort of 'lit tower' on the end of the pier. I don't know if it has any purpose at all. Perhaps it is a Telecom network tower or something...who knows. Regardless, it is cleverly lit and made a great shot when we reached it at the end of the pier.

The end of the pier was an experience in itself. We met up with party friends on the beach (the joy of mobile phones) and BA insisted on the jetty walk. Half way down the pier we came upon an Asian family training small dogs to stand on their hind legs. Now why didn't I think of doing that for NY?? When we got to the end we discovered the whole NY Testosterone thing.

"Happy New Year love."
"Oh, yes, Happy NY."
"Are you jumping off then?"
(Me)"Hhahahahahahahahha. Not in a million years."
(Him) looks at me as if...well what have you bovvered to walk all this way for??
(Him turns his attention to Big J) "What about you mate??? You jumpin in?
(BigJ has an accent like the Queen)" Err I don't think so, thank you anyway."
"Cuuuuuuuume on mate! It's 2008. It's New Year's Eve. You gotta do it."

Ignoring the confusion in logic contained in the last statement several of us exclaimed over the safety issues involved. None of this seemed to deter Testosterone Man who climbed over the barrier and, clinging Kate Winslett like to the railing, embraced his lady friend in a final exhortation (fantastic word eh??) to join him in his leap into the unknown. She declined but kissed him soundly.

At this point my group urged me to stop taking blog oriented photos of 'the locals' and accompany them back to the relative safety of the shore.Here's a gentleman who made the jump and survived!

Here's a lady who shrieked when I took her picture.
"I can't stand these b***** maggots."
I think she was fishing......or it was a commentary on the locals....

Here's a bunch pleased their mate surfaced after the jump....

Here's the gang suggesting it's time we went home before I got them all into trouble!

We started to walk back to civilisation but my attention was caught again by the partner of Testosterone Man who at this stage seemed to be peering over the edge of the pier into the inky abyss below wherein her love lay, dog paddling. He seemed to be calling up to her that she join him in the water and we began cautioning her as to why it was a bad idea.

"It might be shallow," I suggested,"You could break something."
"Yes, think of all the trouble you went to tonight to make yourself look beautiful," my sister suggested,"You'll ruin your makeup."
"I'd totally go in if it wasn't dark and I had my bathers," called the BA. (not helpful)
"Don't follow the crowd," a friend begged,"It isn't worth it."

"Uh huh," muttered Miss Testosterone Boy..."And I only met him tonight....."

We left the pier, safe in the assurance that she was unlikely to fling herself over the edge for Mr "I Just Met Him Tonight." I've never seen Big J walk so fast. Except for the time we suggested he accompany us into the Supre sale and that was in the opposite direction!!!! :-D

For more Best Shot Monday , click over to Mother May I?

(edited to include more accurate information from the BA)