Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Best Shot Monday: Cavorting on the Beach

The Baby Angel enjoying the last beautiful days of our Indian Summer on Good Friday. This is Brighton Beach where we walked on New Years Eve. And that is the extraordinary structure on the end which looks like a UFO from underneath!

My Mum once painted a sky like this when she was a girl in the UK. Her art teacher told her off. 'The sky is NEVER that blue," she chided.

Many years later when my mum arrived in Australia as a young bride with a one year old baby, she observed the sky and wished fervently that she could rub her old art teacher's face in it.

Tracey is looking at 'truthiness' over at Mother May I. Pop over and see some of the week's Best Shots.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Inside A Saturday Morning Head

Roll over. One eye open, check clock....9.30am. Other eye open, looking out the window. Hmm (mild surprise). Grey skies and a mist over the Gorge. Washing might not dry today. That'd be a first in months.
Roll over and out to great sloshing sounds. Must replace this water bed mattress...it has really had it.
Cold feet. Mild surprise. That'd be a first in months too. Woolly socks on and stumble down the hall.
Ahhhhhhh. Hot coffee and Easter eggs for breakfast. Now, what do I have to get done today? Euch. That's right, marking and reports. And washing. Oh well, at least I get out of that rash promise to crew for Himself today in the State Heat. No2 Son is not working (again) and thankfully available to sail after all. Must remember not to discuss sailing whilst drinking and in company. The tendency to show off can have consequences which come back to bite you. Anyway...lalala...dodged that bullet. Just as well, it will be freezing out there today. *sigh* (snuggle into cashmere socks, wrap hands around hot mug and suck a last piece of melted chocolate out from between teeth.)
OK. So. Where to start? Hmmm. A blog post I think. About last night. Yes, last night was lovely. They'll get thrashed next week of course but nice to be in the finals. She was so excited. Glad she cleaned up her game. Only 2 gratuitous fouls and I personally thought the second one was hers. Heh heh heh. Very funny the way the other girl tried to get the ball off her and BA wrestled her to the ground. heh heh heh. She picked the wrong kid to try and intimidate there. heh heh heh. And I think she had control of the ball so it should have been her foul really. Oh well. Was very entertaining.
heh heh heh.....
Oh look. I think it's been raining again. Must wash these windows. (slurp coffee)
Nice coffee dad bought us last night. Nice to go out with mum and dad. Gonna miss them when they go back. Can't think about that now. Live in the moment. Have another egg. Eurgh. Too many eggs. Better have some carbohydrate or I'll be having a blood sugar attack. What's this? MMm. Apricot fruit bread. Toasted. Sweet.
So now, where was I? Last night. Yes. Lights were nice.
Oh, better replace light bulbs in here too.
I think that's what happened last night. I think a light bulb blew. Bet it was an expensive one. Well, that's what happens clever Belgians or French people or whatever you are. When you extend your season and leave it to the South Australians to run. Bloody hell. Blown lightbulbs. Someone's speeded up the fade in and outs too. I'm sure the change on each building was more subtle last week. And there were definitely dead bug shadows on the slides this week. Very unprofessional. Still, you get what you pay for. I bet the Dutch guys just handed over the slides to the Festival staff and said 'don't touch anything....just turn it on and off each night' and then the Aussies said 'don't you reckon it takes too long for each slide to change?' 'yea, let's speed up the cycle...and bugger off the fade in and out too...let's just make it like, you know, on and off.'
'Sweet. And what about this having to sit around checking everything is working?!' 'I know. What is that about? Well, the London Tavern is just across the road, can't hurt to pop in there for a couple of bevvies. If anything goes wrong someone will let us know.'
And that's how the light globe blew I reckon. Leaving it in the hands of amateurs. Still, the BA liked it. Even if she was freezing her kneecaps off in her netball skirt. Well, I told her to take something warm for after the game. Can I help it if she never does what she's told????
She was ok. Just snuggled up to Grandma. Course, waiting for the slide changes must have been chilly for her. Just as well the Aussie 'touring' crew speeded everything up.
Heh heh heh. Just thought of that strange lady last night. Near Bonython Hall. Telling me she was an Adelaide Uni alumni. Well, like, so am I. I think. Do you have to actually graduate to be an alumni? I was enrolled for two years. Surely I spent enough money in the bar to qualify? Anyway. I knew the letters on the ground were the Uni motto. Once I'd worked out what they said. It's tricky to read two foot high letters when there are people standing on them. And it's dark. Come to think of it, it wasn't dark enough. All the decorative street lights were still on. Made it hard to see the buildings lit up. Bloody Aussies again. Didn't follow the German instructions to the letter. Must google Northern Lights and find out where the company actually came from. Might have been France. No, pretty sure it was Holland. Anyway. Silly woman. Translating the Uni motto for me. I know what the motto is. Sub Cruce Lumen. And I'm pretty sure its not 'Learning Under the Stars.' What kind of motto would that be for a university eh?
(quieter and with contempt) 'learning under the stars', huh.
After all, sub is under and cruce is cross. Its obviously got something to do with the Southern Cross. Under the Southern Cross perhaps? Dad seemed to think that was right except he thought lumen was 'light' so perhaps it is 'under the cross of light'. Well, that's a pretty stupid motto for a university too. No wonder I didn't bother graduating. I might google it.
Ah. See, here we are, "The light (of learning) under the (Southern) Cross". Now that makes sense. Even though there aren't actually enough words in 'sub cruce lunem' to say all that. Bloody wanky academics.

Anyway, surely being the only first year on the Law School Pub Crawl makes you an alumni?

Hohum. Getting a headache from my glasses now. Must have lunch and get out those Year 8 tests. They at least may have passed. Can't say as much for the Year 9s.

Learning under the stars. Huh. Bloody silly alumni woman.

(Turns out Electric Canvas are from Sydney, not Europe but I still stand by my belief that they left it to the South Aussies for the two week extension ;-D)

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Just Another ******** Wednesday

You know, I am sick of teenagers.

I am sick of "I don't want to talk about it!" And when they do want to talk I am sick of angst and difficult questions. Nobody told me about the re-occurrence of terrible twos. The stamping of tiny feet. "But I don't want to DO maths." (Yea? Welcome to my life buddy)

I am sick of hauling out 'state of the art' activities to be told this is too easy. Right before they completely fail to understand the activity.

I am sick of "I don't care", a sure fire alarm signal that they DO care, and 'You can't make me!' followed quickly by "Can I have an extension?" and "Will you spend your entire lunchtime helping me so that you don't get to pick up your hamburger from the canteen and they will have thrown it out by the time you get there?"

Of social issues that outweigh an attempt to complete assignments. Of pupils who think they've 'put themselves out' when they rule up the page and that there should therefore be no further requirement of the lesson. Of bickering and defiance and vandalism.

And that's just the Baby Angel.

Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Just kidding. Though she has had her moments recently. It upsets me that she may be doing to other teachers what my pupils are doing to me.

Twelve was a crap age wasn't it? I hated it when I was twelve and it doesn't seem to have got any better. Wish I was physically equipped to deal with it. Mind you, I did get to the gym Tuesday!!!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

In Celebration

  A Song Of Rain: C J Dennis

Patter, patter ... Boolcoomatta*,
Adelaide and Oodnadatta,
Pepegoona, parched and dry
Laugh beneath a dripping sky.
Riverina's thirsting plain
Knows the benison of rain.
Ararat and Arkaroola
Render thanks with Tantanoola
For the blessings they are gaining,
And it's raining -- raining -- raining!

It didn't just rain. It fell out of the sky as if we had walked through the door with the bucket
balanced over it.

Dust washed off cars.

Torrents swirling down the gutters.

Piles of leaves, foam and rubbish near the storm water grates.

It is raining - raining - raining.

*btw: some of my very good friends used to own the station (ranch) at Boolcoomatta.
Three years ago they gave up on hoping that the rains would ever come back and moved
to the city.

A Few More Easter Shots

Here's a few more shots from the Great Easter Egg Hunt. The Baby Angel thanked the Easter Bunny again at dinner tonight.
(see Easter Bunny looking dishevelled in the background in his dressing gown :-D)

Clue Number One in the front room.

Clue Number Two, some eggs and a new local phone directory.

Clue Number Three and we now know what the 'bow' of the boat is!!

Clue Number 4: I didn't even know we HAD a compost bin. (unquote)

Look at those totally engrossed faces!Confusion: But....it's not here....oh......we have ANOTHER BBQ?

This one's under the umbrella by the pool. Just as well one of us can reach.Look at the loot building up!!And here we are back in the kitchen again. Paydirt!And finally, The Baby Angel in her Easter finery fresh from being forced to go to church with Mum. The shadowy face shows you what strong sunlight we still had over the weekend.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Best Shot Monday: Happy Easter

The hard won final treasure trove of eggs after the Great Easter Egg Treasure Hunt of 2008. Himself was up 'til 2am writing and setting the clues and the treasure! The hunters were very appreciative and a little disappointed when the clues ran out at number 12!! They worked together very well solving the harder clues with only a little help from yours truly.

I love their expressions here. They were so pleased with themselves.

For more Best Shots and an Easter Round-up, click over to Mother May I.

I Have Some Amazing Readers

For those of you who don't always read comments, may I encourage you to go here and see what these fine ladies had to say about their approaches to technology in their kids' lives (also Elisa but she doesn't have a blog....maybe she should!!!!????).

I am encouraged by the quality of response to this discussion! :-) but it would still be great to hear from a few dads. Fathers in the family are often great fans of the interactive simulation game; I guess it has replaced shooting cans off the fence or fishing as a father/son activity. What are the merits fathers?? Speak up!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

A Letter From My Baby Sister: Also a Flaming Angel

On the back of my rant about letting children grow up too quickly, my youngest sister in the UK wrote me this email. I was v interested in what she had to say and she has graciously allowed me to quote it here.

Hi sis - just writing to say that I have been reading your blog recently and enjoying it. I Enjoyed and wholeheartedly agree with the article you talked about. We are battling against the mobile phone nagging already with G (aged nearly 9), as well as the Nintendo DS which they are both desperate for and which D and I refuse to get them (even with saved up money).

I get so annoyed that I am made to feel guilty because I don't want my child glued to a small, moving box even if it is for half an hour a day as my friends reassure me they limit theirs to. The kids don't need one and I don't see any benefit to one at all; it is yet another thing to numb the brain and encourage anti social behaviour.

A few cases in point: I went to pick up S (aged 5) from a friend's place the other day, to find them both poring over (separate) Nintendo DS games! Neither acknowledged me when I came in and, more importantly, neither was communicating with the other! The scary thing was the mother seemed genuinely pleased that they were having such a nice time and "had been playing with the DS-s almost the whole time!!! I forced a smile and said "how nice" but I was really thinking "NO!!" - I want him to be playing!

The other hideous Nintendo story took place a few weeks ago when we went out for a curry with a number of other families. You can imagine my horror when 4 out of the 6 children were handed their Nintendo DS-s and promptly became engrossed in them, stifling all conversation and experience of "eating out". The worst thing was that our two suddenly became ostracised because they didn't have them!! Fortunately our friends E and M turned up at this point and were Nintendo free too. Apparently my other friend tells me this is a common occurence with this group of friends - it makes me shiver!!

Now I know my refusal to let them have these awful things might seem over the top but my main resentment is that I am made to feel so old fashioned and unreasonable by other parents. A lot of them claim to hate the things but don't have the backbone not to get them!! They are just perpetuating the problem as far as I can see.

Now that rant is over I will point you in the direction of an article I read recently (sorry to show off but I did manage to find the link!) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/main.jhtml?xml=/education/2008/02/16/faidle116.xml

I enjoyed this article and wholeheartedly agreed with it even if it is written by someone whose lifestyle obviously supports letting his kids have the freedom he suggests. It is a bit more difficult with a postage stamp sized garden on the outskirts of Leeds ! Yes, I know G does a ridiculous number of extra curricular activities (contrary to what he is advocating) but I have long suspected it is all a bit OTT. Still a lot has to do with what I said before about our environment; it would be lovely to let her have a bit more freedom but with traffic as it is and a number of attempted abductions of children recently, a 10 and 12 year old in Birmingham not to mention the 9 year old who has recently gone missing whilst walking home from school, I just don't feel comfortable with it (yet)

There we go, after saying I didn't have time to respond to your blog I've got on a roll (this subject is very close to my heart and makes me sound about 80)


So there you are. What do others think of these Nintendo DSs? I was particularly horrified by their use as glorified babysitters at a restaurant. How do children learn to be social if they cannot observe role models due to the virtual puppies and worm cities in their faces? (Yes, I know this because the Small Boy has a DS! Fortunately he is too disorganised to keep the battery charged properly and I for one am not encouraging the pastime by monitoring this behaviour!).

I think the DS has some use as a car toy but as it also encourages motion sickness, perhaps not. There is an interactive aspect to them. Small Boy and Neighbour Down The Road have DSs that talk to each other but as their literacy skills are not equivalent, one gets fed up with the game pretty quickly and out they rush to ride their bikes again (hooray).

Particularly I am interested in the aspect of other parents pressuring you into a purchase, perhaps to justify their own capitulation?

Do others out there find other parents putting the pressure on for you to conform? How do you deal with it if they do? Is there anyone who will speak in defence of the DS? (We like a balanced viewpoint here at The Flaming Sword! :-D)

Also, how do you feel about the idea of 'over organising' your child's play? I for one like the idea of balance. I favour about a 50/50 split of freeplay and organised activities but what proportion of the freeplay should be solo and how much in the form of organised 'playdates'??

Thanks Sis for getting the thought processes operating again after a depressing week! :-D

Image credit

Friday, 21 March 2008

Random Thoughts From the End of the Week

1) Weather

This from the Official Meteorology website.

Persistent high pressure system triggers southern heat wave

Much of southern Australia has just experienced an exceptional and prolonged heat wave, the result of a persistent high-pressure system in the southern Tasman Sea, according to a Special Climate Statement issued by the Bureau’s National Climate Centre.

Many centres, particularly in South Australia, set records for the most consecutive days with high temperatures.

Adelaide had 15 consecutive days above 35 °C and 13 consecutive days above 37.8 °C (100°F), breaking the previous records of 8 and 7 days respectively. These represent new records for any Australian capital city. Also breaking consecutive day records were Ceduna which had 12 days over 35°C, Mildura which had 14 days over 35 °C, and Kyancutta which had 13 days over 40°C.

Now for Chris and Sinead who are moving here soon (ohboyohboy) here are the winter rainfall statistics for the last few years.



(and scroll down past the pastoral stuff to Adelaide rainfall....)

so......not sure the raincover for the stroller was the most essential purchase Sinead but reaaaalllly hoping I am wrong and you are bringing some Irish luck, and weather, with you.

Today, Good Friday, is the most glorious day you could imagine but as you can see from our withered landscape, we could use a little rain.
Dotted around Adelaide are green spots of gardens with pointed signs on the gates and fences;


Who knew there were so many bores in Adelaide (yuk yuk yuk).

Our garden is not one of these little green spots. It is more of a brown, spiky, dusty, patchy spot, with sticks. Here is our cat with one of the sticks.
I think it has fewer green leaves since this photo was taken two Thursdays ago. (Rats: missed another Theme Thursday)

2) School.

It has not been a good week in Special Ed. One of our Asperger's students was expelled after enormous amounts of input and heartache on the part of my lovely colleague. My very best friend E lost the plot completely and had a go at me (literally). I am still talking to mental health professionals about her. And finally, the test I left for my Year 9 Maths class to do while I was on a Conference was a complete disaster with only two of them passing >:-(.
This, I think, was my biggest disappointment.

I have been attending lots of courses on maths for themiddle years and all 'best practice' would suggest the use of concrete materials and rich activities as the most effective style of learning for not only
Sp Ed kids but most pupils. If however, I get out the fraction kits for Y9, they greet me with groans and 'this is primary school' and 'you treat us like preschoolers'. They then switch off and end up building houses with the fraction kits, or throwing them across the room at each other. Therefore, I went back to worksheets and explanations which they all worked through happily....and then only 2 passed the test. *sigh* Back to the drawing board.

On a positive note, of the two who passed, one got her highest mark ever with 98% and the other is one of my most disaffected learners who rarely passes anything :-D. So I suppose every cloud has a silver lining.

So Easter is a chance to rest and recuperate and regroup for the next big offensive. (We've been doing WWI in History) Plan, plan, plan is going to be my approach. And blog when I am bored with planning.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Not Mentioning Any Names

Isn't it interesting that when you can't talk about something (school) and you shouldn't talk about something else, because she'll kill you(daughter), you can't think of anything else to say?

Anyone notice the weather widget has returned to normal functioning?? There were clouds in the sky tonight! But no rain. :-(

Errrrr oh and the houseboat over Easter didn't come off either.

Ummmm and I went on a course today. On maths. Lots of good games for the reluctant year 9s tomorrow.


Oh and I went to the gym on Monday. Will try and go again tomorrow as we have a half day.

oh and

WHAT? WHAT? I never said NOTHIN'!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Best Shot Monday: Saturday Night on the Town

This is my best shot of the night!

You have to click on this one and view it large because it is quite remarkable!

This is the facade of the State Library of South Australia, taken on Saturday night. Click this link to see what the building usually looks like! As part of the Festival, a company called Electric Canvas have designed lighting displays for the fronts of the heritage buildings along North Terrace in the centre of the city. Each building has been intricately mapped and slides of coloured and hand drawn facades are projected onto them. Actually, let the Festival Directory tell you about it.....

Celebrating one of the most beautiful cultural boulevards in the world for the duration of the Festival, the city’s historic architectural icons will be painted with light and coloured with life.

The State Library of South Australia, The South Australian Museum, The Art Gallery of South Australia on North Terrace are the sandstone cornerstones of our culture, illuminating and
enlightening each generation. For two weeks, they themselves will take the spotlight every night of the Festival from dusk till 2am, the artists from the internationally acclaimed The Electric Canvas will transform their facades.

Through a constantly changing array of perfect, jaw-dropping architectual projection,
reflecting the heritage and function of these beautiful buildings, Colonel Light’s 19thcentury vision will become a 21st-century vision in light."

(From www.adelaidefestival.com.au/Show/Detail.aspx?p=5&id=1...

There are 4 or 5 buildings illuminated and each one has about 5 projections upon it...I think. Anyway, LOTS. This young man whom I discovered on flickr has taken some gorgeous shots which reeeallly show what its like! Nevertheless, I took that one with my little PAS and I am quite pleased with it :-)

This was our other outing on Saturday night. We went to another Shakespeare; this time in the beautiful Botanic Gardens. The play was 'As You Like It' and like it we did although we were terribly hot. Of course. As you can see, by interval, the heat was getting to Mum!!
We were able to have a few nibbles and cooling quaffs to take the edge off the heat, well, off the stillness more than anything. It was stifling and made worse by the presence of large stage lights.

The only other downer about the performance was that the actors were not miked and were competing with a massive amount of background noise. Way over yonder we could hear the 'doof doof' of some band playing in the Garden of Unearthly Delights; the Festival had drawn out all the local petrol heads who were revving and careering around on a nearby road and the helicopter from the Adelaide Hospital kept flying in nearby to drop off its latest cargo of victims. Maybe that's what Mum's expression is about?

After the play, Himself and I made our way, accompanied by Kindergarten Friend, to the Persian Garden which is the after hours Festival Club. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea and the queues stretched over a footbridge and off into the wide, blue yonder! We rapidly regrouped and went for a walk along North Terrace to look at the Northern Lights which were spectacular.

Here's Kindergarten Friend watching the lights change on the Museum (I think) in front of one of my favourite water features which is lots of little corals or bacteria shaped 'fountains' filled with water so they look like sheets of glass.....

We were sorry to have missed the Persian Garden especially as a friend of Himself's was supposed to have had VIP tickets for us. We had phoned him on approach to find that he only had 2 tickets and that we'd need to queue; this invoked our departure towards the other end of town however we underestimated his fervour.

Whilst I was taking this picture on the left, Himself received a phone call to ask 'where we were' in the queue. For some insane reason at which I cannot even hazard a guess, Himself neglected to tell him that we had left the queue area and focussed instead on the length of the queues.

(one sided phone conversation follows)
Himself: Nah, nah, the queues are massive...we're not going to wait..
Well, we're near the end....over the footbridge...
Er....well....I can't actually see you....
OK....I'm waving...can you see us?
No?....No, I can't see you either.....

(At this point I was looking at Himself with incredulous eyes!!!! He rolled his eyes in return.)

Himself: Yea...near the casino.....well, maybe we're at a different entrance to you...? The top one? Er.... yea that's where we are too....No, I still can't see you....

(I am now mouthing 'TELL HIM THE TRUTH'................)

I have no idea how he got off the phone at the end of that phone call but oh my! What a tangled web we weave!!!!!!! :-D

He then wanted to go back as he had not anticipated VIP friend actually coming out to find us in the queue but as it was evident he didn't really want to go into the 'doof doof' gardens, I volunteered to ring back VIP Friend and tell him a version of the truth. I explained that I was being a pushy wife and we just didn't want to wait in the queue so we'd come around onto North Terrace. VIP Friend said "Fine, go where you want..." very curtly and hung up!

Himself was now convinced that his life was going to be made miserable by said Friend as we had been so ungrateful as to not queue for his VIP tickets! Kindergarten Friend and I were having none of it so we headed off to the Garden of Unearthly Delights at a brisk pace.

The Garden was 'working' as they say, with beautiful youth describing the age old courting rituals.
He: Geeez I'm sooooo drunk
She:( giggle) Yea....me too.....
(snog snog snog pausing only to come up for air and more beer)

We also saw one of the weirdest things (although Mum tells me its all the rage in London). There was a dance floor with about 50 people gyrating frantically upon it. Nothing strange there, except that there was no music playing! All of them were wearing headphones and listening to something being broadcast from a Mac Laptop in the corner!!!! From the outside it looked hilarious!!!!! Given the variety of rhythms and dance styles being performed, one could be forgiven for wondering if they were all listening to the same music, but apparently they were :-D In this picture there weren't so many of them but I don't know, maybe he put on a good track or something because within 10 minutes the floor was packed. I wonder how they knew he'd put on a good track? :-D

We did eventually make our way back to the Persian Garden, where the queue had gone down to one hour. At 1.30am I had to admit I was too old for standing in hour long queues, especially as I was the designated driver and not fuelled to insomnia by copious amounts of alcohol and illicit chemicals as many of the crowd seemed to be. We went home.

It was nice to have a child free night out on the town though, even if Himself is currently on the phone sucking up to VIP Friend and making his excuses all over again :-D

Check out Mother May I to see what other weekend images people have captured.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Our Million Dollar View vs Bushfire Insurance Premiums

Natalie asked if the last photo of the gorge was the view from our house. No, but our view is pretty ok even so. This was taken on one of the hot nights last week. I was hoping that in some way a photo could reflect the relentless heat but as you can see, it doesn't.

This was taken looking North West up the coast. It's very hard to see against the glare of the western sky, but there is ocean there; well, gulf waters anyway, we're not on the southern ocean.

Here's a better one that shows the sea.
This picture in the previous post was taken across the road and over the lip of the Gorge. Our house is up the slope to the right of where I stood to take the photo.

The bushfire risk is real and we live in a constant state of 'denial'. It will never happen. We are in a shocking spot if a fire did start below us in the Gorge as fire travels fastest uphill.

We have a massive gum in front of the house and three on the boundary overhanging the roof. I don't know if you're aware of the flammable nature of eucalyptus (gum) trees? The oil in the leaves tends to explode in fireballs when a fire really gets going. Our gutters are constantly full of leaves and although Himself assures me that palms don't burn very well, the proximity of the large palm to the wall and roof at the front of the house, with all its dead foliage, does not auger well for our chances should worse come to worst.

We don't really keep a packed bag by the door (see the previous statement about denial) although we have a 'fire plan'. Mainly it consists of grabbing the document folder and driving like hell. They actually have fire people who can come out and advise you on your best options regarding a fire plan. Ours probably would be to stay and fight. The house is double brick and two story, built into the hillside so pretty solid, so we would probably need to stay and keep water on the roof and put out spot fires where they caught. Eucalypt fires often move fast which means if you can prevent the flames from catching in the first instance the fire will be over us and gone while we shelter in the lower story. Sounds so simple doesn't it?

But, fire risk aside, the weather is NUTS. Melody reports a record breaking WINTER day in Texas with warmest temps ever. Brittany and Blueberry were under 28" of snow in Ohio the other day and we are entering our 15th day of above 35c temps. With more forecast.

Our new Govt has ratified the Kyoto Protocol and we are being urged to participate in National 'Turn off the Lights Day' or whatever its called.......but our State Govt has decided to extend the amazing display of lights on North Terrace, in celebration of our Bi Annual Festival of Arts, for another 2 weeks.

Wonder what the carbon footprint of that decision looks like? A Yeti perhaps?

It went up again

Weather widget Sunday 12.57pm 36C

Saturday, 15 March 2008

At Last

The weather widget says 25C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At last!

A cool change came through last night and today is perfect, slightly overcast and a civilised temperature. It's forecast to go up again but we'll take what we can get for now!!!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Heat Continues

At 9pm tonight it was 31C. I came out of the hairdressers and it was like walking into a bakery. As I walked past knots of people in outdoor cafes and restaurants I heard the same conversations;

"....up until the weekend..."
"...can't think.....exhausted..."
"...for 70 years I think....back in the thirties was the last time...."
"..more to come...can't bear it...no relief..."

There are fires down south and the North winds are up again tomorrow; there is a total fireban in the State. Sitting here on the lip of the Gorge as we do, we really are sitting ducks for any fire which may sweep down the channel. Makes you wonder whether you should have cleaned out the gutters when it was cooler.

The pool is looking good tonight.

Good Morning

Was just sitting down to do a nice post about yesterday's Sports' Carnival when I get a message to do 2 relief lessons this morning (grrr...hate reliefs).

So truncated news: still hot, we broke the all time heatwave record on Tuesday, but we got all the events completed by 12.10pm so it was just starting to reeeeeeeally heat up. I think it had only been 34c up til then :-D. I think I have sunscreen poisoning from constant reapplication.

Not as successful a day as the swimming carnival. With events happening all over the place it was hard to get any team spirit going. Usually we have novelty events at the end , tug of war etc...but it was too hot so they have been postponed. I spent most of the day manning the water stand. We started off with boxes of spring water and ended up filling the water coolers with bags of ice and water from the tap!!!!! I don't even want to think of the health and safety rules we probably broke there. Oh well, builds up their immunities and anyway, with the way things are going on the water front, they will soon be happy to drink their own distilled sweat!!!!!! (Dune: Frank Herbert)

At midnight last night the cooler was still on 'high' and everyone is feeling the lethargy and mental exhaustion that comes with seemingly endless heat. The forecast takes this weather right into the weekend.....sheesh.

Have a nice day everyone.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Advice to Students and a Weather Update

Last Friday as I took my one lesson of Year 10 Geography at 2pm on a hot afternoon, I sat on the desk at the front of the class reading out instructions from the other teacher to the class
(she teaches them 3 lessons a week and I have the other 1). As I recounted the page number for the questions they had been set, an extremely well made paper areoplane landed purposefully in my lap.

There was a roar of appreciative laughter and the barely contained mob, consisting of some of our more obnoxious students, threatened to lose it completely and slide into the classroom chaos many teachers have nightmares about. I had to think quickly. I decided to ignore it.

Without looking up I took the plane from my lap and placed it on the desk next to me. I continued reading out instructions. Gaining no 'rise' out of me the mob calmed again and I was eventually able to look up and instruct them to 'get started'. As I did I cast my eye around for an evil smirk or smug grin which may indicate my attacker, basking in the success of his ploy. None was evident.

As the class set to work I stood up and calmly unfolded the plane. There at the top of the page were the typed words
"My name is ******* ******** and this is my Geography survey."
I glanced up again and fancied I caught the remnants of a pleased expression on his, by now, relaxed face. I sauntered casually over to his desk and squatted down so that I was at eye level.

" ********, if you are going to throw paper planes at the teacher in future, ensure that your name is not printed at the top." My voice and stance were low enough to take him completely by surprise. His face fell, his mouth dropped open and his stammering was wonderous to behold.

I sent him to the Focus Room.

When he returned at the end of the lesson he was full of apologies and assured me that the plane had been intended for a friend but had curved beautifully and landed exactly in my lap. I was further amused to think of how his stomach must have turned as he watched it describe its path to his doom.

So for those of you who wondered if your teachers enjoyed catching you out and making you squirm, the answer is a quiet but resounding , YES!


Errrrk! The Sports Carnival will NOT be cancelled no matter what the temperature as the stadium is booked solid and we will 'lose our slot'. Everything has been moved forward and hopefully we will finish by 12.20pm. (Half Day yaaaaaaaaay!!!!)

Monday, 10 March 2008

Monday Check-In

Hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hottity HOT!

This is ridiculous, it's meant to be Autumn!!!! I can not begin to describe the heat. It has been relentless. Fortunately the aged cooler is working although, as it hasn't been switched off for the last 4 days, goodness knows whether it will survive the onslaught!

At 3.30pm this afternoon it was, once more, 40C on one of those roadside thermometers. I will tell you how hot that is; when I was hanging out the washing on Saturday, the first articles were dry on the line by the time I was hanging the last ones out! The grass crunches when you walk on it.

So what have we been doing to escape the heat?

Well, work has been taking up significant portions of my time. I have spent this weekend with all my maths resources spread over the family room floor whilst I sorted them into topics. Last week I struggled with fractions and Year 9 as well as the Year 10 'house project' and the lead up to the athletics carnival. (which I sincerely hope will be cancelled due to extreme weather conditions!!!)

Last weekend we had a visit from the Baby Angel's Sydney grandparents who stayed with my Mum and Dad and had a bit of a look around dear old Adelaide. They came to dinner at our place last Sunday (gone) and Himself did one of his magnificent roasts and all agreed that he was a 'jolly d' husband and stepfather and that their granddaughter was in fine hands. Even more notably, my ex father-in-law kissed me goodbye on Thursday night and said, "Congratulations. You're doing a fine job of raising that girl." My throat goes all tight even now thinking of it. High praise indeed. Makes it all worthwhile.

The most recent 'Flaming Sword' battles I have had were with myself. The BA's Old Friend rang a few weekends ago to ask if she could go for a sleepover (fine) and then on to the Shopping Mall the next day. Now I am not altogether enamoured of this teenage habit of congregating at shopping malls so I started to ask questions. Why are you going to the mall? Who's going to be there? How long will you be there? Do you have any money??

Imagine my shock when, in a conversation with the other mother, it transpired that BA's friend now has a BOYRIEND who is 15!!!! and that he would be accompanying them to the Mall. I don't know which bit shocked me more, the fact that the little girl I knew had a 15 year old boyfriend, or that her mother was ok with her going to the Mall with him!!!!! I think the mum sensed my discomfort because she started explaining how the kids were very sensible and she would pick them up and drop them off etc and they were going to the pictures.....

I didn't know what to say or think. I just knew it felt wrong. When we discussed it a bit more we finally realised that the BA's friend, although looking younger than the BA will in fact be 14 in March wheras the BA will not be 13 until May. This kind of age difference has mattered little up til now and will matter little in another 10 years time but right now it is thrown into sharp relief by the differing levels of freedom and responsibility they have.

"What do you think will happen?" asked the Mum as we mulled around the arrangements and I explained how uneasy I was.
"It's not that I think anything will happen," I struggled with the nagging unease,"It's just that...well she's only 12!!!" The nagging doubt started to solidify to concrete concern as I explored my feelings.
"You see, the Mall is a meeting place and I don't know the kids that hang out there. I don't know their parents, I don't know their attitudes and values and I don't know how they are going to treat my daughter. Well, I have a fair idea actually and I am not sure I am ready to expose her to that sort of stuff."

The thing is she looks older than 12....but she isn't! Teenage boys don't see that she's a baby, they see a prospect! And I don't feel that she's equipped yet to deal with that. Also, she was going to be wandering about with Old Friend and a 15 year old boy. There was a certain 'spare wheel' element that I thought may also be unnecessary for her to experience at this stage. Especially if they were going to the pictures!!! (Yes, I AM getting old)

Anyway, I decided to discuss it with her before I made a decision. I wanted to explain my concerns and hear her point of view. Amazingly, she was pretty receptive and expressed a certain reluctance to be a part of the outing herself! She was visibly disturbed by the fact that her long time friend had such an 'old' boyfriend and was also concern at wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre whilst the other two canoodled or held hands or whatever they did!!!!

The compromise was that she could go to the mall and see a movie and that I would meet her in the foyer afterwards to take her home. Himself thought I was being very 'over the top' in my protectiveness.

As it turned out, the other Mum rang me from the drop off to tell me which movie they were seeing and to let me know that two other boys were joining them after the movie.

TWO OTHER BOYS????????? THAT was not mentioned in the original plan!!!
TWO other boys????? All the more reason for me to meet up with them after the movie!!!!

When I turned up, with Small Boy in tow, it was a quite relieved BA who came to meet me. The movie had been ok (Jumper) but the other boys had turned up FOR the movie, not AFTER and had talked all the way through. (at least it was just talk!) They leapt into my line of vision to be 'introduced' and one rolled his little fedora hat down to his elbow and back up onto his head again as he greeted me. Good grief. Exactly the kind of inappropriate boys I would have been attracted to 30 years ago. We were outta there!!!!

Except that we weren't. I kept my cool and when there was discussion of lunch I told the BA that Small Boy and I needed to eat too and we would 'come with them'. Before you snort at my inappropriate over protectiveness may I just point out that I fully intended (and did) sit several tables away and pretend not to know them. Interestingly, the BA wanted to sit with me although as Small Boy was more than happy to discourage her in order to have my full attention, she eventually did go and sit with 'the gang'.

After lunch the girls came over and it seemed that the BA was ready to 'come home'. We actually did a little shopping first and got the Small Boy a haircut before we went home but she seemed happy to be back with us and held my hand as we browsed the DVD racks :-)
"You know mum," she eventually ventured," After (other Mum) left, the boys said...'so are we really going to this movie or are we just going to hang in the Mall?' I told them that my Mum was pretty unhappy about me coming here anyway so we better just see the movie."
I was so proud of her. Later that night as I put her to bed she said "Mum, I felt so young today."
"That my love, is exactly how you should feel and thank God for it!!!!"

Of course if she reads this now, I am dead. Nevertheless, I felt vindicated in my concerns and strengthened in my resolve to maintain the guard and reach of my Flaming Sword for that little while longer.

Another test came this weekend when she wanted to go 'shopping' with two other friends..again to the Mall. This time Grandma and I went with them and met up with them from time to time. They bought sombreros and purple fishnet stockings, giggled like loons and ate huge ice creams. All perfectly age appropriate activities. I think next time I might be able to leave the premises for an hour. Well, maybe the time after that.....

I've got no best shots this week. The heat has sapped me of all creativity.......

image credits

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Theme Thursday: Spirited

Covent Garden 2002. Aged 7 years. She made the top.


In 'dress up' red light district attire. Who gave her that pink and animal print dressing gown mother???


Errrrrrrr Sulky.

What other 'Spirited' captures will we see today?

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Click over and see!!!!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Why Our Kids Grow Up Too Quickly

The Bestie saved an article from our local news for me the other day. I tried to find a link to it but am forced instead to type the bleeding thing out! The marvels of modern technology still require the investment of a certain amount of time to find the 'time saving links' you desire!!

by Nadine Williams
Adelaide Advertiser Tuesday March 4th 2008

She was lanky, lean and beautifully coiffed and made up. Her name is Maddison and she looked stunning indeed when she won the Face of Gold Coast Fashion Week last year. But when it was discovered this beauty was a child of twelve, the judges choice caused an outcry.

Welcome to 'fast track' childhood where the 'tween' years of 10,11,12 have blurred. Survey results published in Britain this week highlighted the disappearance of middle childhood, with claims the magic of being a child is over by 11. Parents, its seems, have succumbed to 'pester pressure' and allow their children an array of grown up privileges thrusting them unprepared into teenagehood.

Increasingly, youngsters can stay out late, drink alcohol and watch inappropriate films, and culture is wrenching childhood away from them.Little girls, in particular are growing up faster than ever. They abandon playing with dolls past the age of six and go on to pierce their ears, dye their hair and wear make-up.
Researchers for Britain's Random House publishers who surveyed 1170 parents with children under 18 found that 55 percent believed children were 'young adults' by age 11.

[section of statistics regarding numbers who allow them to do all the above mentioned things; omitted]

Almost three quarters admitted their children had scant regard for their authority and regularly acted against their will. Young Media Australia president Jane Roberts agrees the 'tween age' has become blurred and the marketers are creeping into childhood.

"We know the teenager is technically from 13, but realistically we know teenage now begins at 11-12," she says. "There is very little difference between the clothing ranges for under 13s and those for 13,14 and 15 year olds."
[section on the demons who corporatise children; omitted]
Television and the internet are key marketing tools in this operation. Add to this a quantum shift in both children's and adult's thinking which has seen parents drop the reins of responsibility and control over their children's lives.

But there is a more insidious threat to children's wellbeing. This is the first generation of children whose brain development is out of synch with their physical development, says Dr Michael Carr-Gregg a renowned Melbourne adolescent psychologist. "Their brains are only fully developed if they are females at age 23," he says.
[No mention here of any full development of male brains. An oversight perhaps?????]

....."We are letting young kids make decisions which would have been unheard of a generation ago....what time they go to bed, what foods they eat, what clothes they wear." ................
Dr Carr-Gregg looks beyond mere child oriented marketing to more fundamental shifts in culture and family values. "I think it is a breakdown of spirituality, tradition and ritual and also the current generation of parents have very little access to the previous generation, who had considerable wisdom to offer on how to be parents," he says.
(Arizaphale: not sure I agree with that)

The real issue is that parents are reluctant to set limits or boundaries for their children. "There is this need for parents to grab the reins," he says. If you cannot assert your authority on something as fundamental as bedtime, you might as well not have children."
(Arizaphale: Oh yes, Uh-huh!!)

He sees solutions in good parenting education and schools which reinforce values of respect and manners. "Increasingly, parents are seeking that from schools," he says.

No one wants a return to the authoritarian parenting of the 50s, but parents today are slipping into permissiveness," Dr Carr-Greg says.


Well, I am pleased to see articles like this in the press rather than the ones which tell us how we have to alter life and society to suit the new generation of mobile phone and internet users. Generation Y needs new accommodations they would have us believe. :-( !!!!!!!

I fear I am preaching to a converted audience here but if even one person takes note of my passion at 'The Flaming Sword' and changes their practices and if they can apply some assertive parenting to their children NOW before they get to the teenage years, I will count my blogging time worthwhile.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, No2 Son has had an official driving lesson! The things 'picked up' by his instructor were many of the things I have been nagging about for the last few months (check your mirrors BEFORE you check your blind spot) and, amazingly, Father has now taken Son out for a driving lesson! I am quite sure that in this one lesson, all the things I have been unable to achieve in the last 6 months will be miraculously solved or cured. Chizz Chizz Chizz....

Am I churlish to resent the fact that my year long input will be brushed aside in favour of Dad's one lesson or the Instructor's paid lessons? I mean, it is important that he bond with dad over these 'male 'things isn't it? * harrumph*
I am but human dear reader :-)

Monday, 3 March 2008

Tax Gripe

OK, now tell me how this is fair.

Businesses in Aus have to estimate their quarterly income and pay a type of provisional tax on the estimated income. Now, if you UNDER estimate by more than 10%...you are FINED!!!!!

So if you have been struggling and you suddenly have a bumper couple of months that you didn't expect....prepare to be FINED for working so hard or being so fortunate!!!!!

And here's another good one. If your bookmaker makes a mistake...ooooh, let's say a $7000.00 mistake.......you still have to pay the extra $7000.00, even when you don't HAVE it, because it's in the system now and anyway it's beholden upon you not to employ bookmakers who make mistakes!!!!!

We are not having a good month.

How do other countries' small business tax laws stack up against Australia Fair's??????

I'm Sorry, WHO Did You Say Was Calling?

At 3am on Sunday morning the phone rang. You know how you feel when that happens; groggy, alarmed, disoriented.

Since the phone is on Himself's side of the bed and he exhibited no immediate signs of rousing or answering it, I fell out of bed and stumbled around to his side to see who had
a) forgotten the time difference or
b) died.

"Hello, this is Josie's Escort Angency," came a very business like voice,"I'd like to speak to someone about your booking."

The sense of disorientation and surreality deepened.
"I beg your pardon?" was all I could muster through my sleep addled haze.
" Someone made a booking this morning, for 3am, for an hour."
" I think you have the wrong number," I stammered.
"Is this the ***** house?"
I was gobsmacked.
"Are you sure there's no one there I can talk to about this?" the voice insisited.
"Yes, I'm sure!" I found my voice rising in indignation,"it's the middle of the night! Now good night!" and I hurriedly replaced the receiver, as if it were dirty.

"Who was that?" croaked Himself as I crawled back into bed.
"That was Josie's Escort Agency," I announced somewhat accusingly.
I will spare you the conversation that followed but suffice to say we decided it must have been a prank set up by one of the 'friends' of No2 Son. I didn't really think Himself would be making bookings for 3am, if he was going to make any at all :-D

But the funniest part was what the human brain does with a sleep interruption like that. I went back to sleep and dreamed that there were teenage boys hiding under our bed who had been partying in our house and 'up to no good' with girls, until we arrived back unexpectedly and they had secreted themselves hurriedly to avoid parental detection! Himself, on the other hand, dreamed that 'Josie' had turned up at the house with a white cat and that our cat Pippin had 'made the call' and the white kitty was for him!!!! Apparently there had been some argument over who was to pay the bill. Himself was all for letting the cat pay for his own entertainment!!!

No2 Son went off to kill his friends in the morning.

image credit:www.geekalerts.com