Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 31 October 2008

349th: Thank You For Asking Elisa.....

I have been a bit quiet on the Himself front lately after a certain family member expressed irritation with my constant posts on his progress and a preference for more family related news!

However, as the lovely Elisa has been so kind as to express an interest, I do have exciting things to report.

When I last posted, Himself had experienced the vagaries of the mid-Atlantic winds and discovered why everyone else had gone so far south after rounding the mark. He had peaked at 137th position and quickly dropped off back into the high 700s as he headed south.

Over the next few days he kept his eye on the ball and was up at 6am checking his heading and position. He hit the westerlies, albeit behind the leaders, and started to pick up places again although he had missed the best of the gale and was significantly behind. Then, this afternoon, he noticed some new information regarding another low building up off South America and moving east.

This low, due to the clockwise, circular direction of the air currents, means that the boats who are further south [* btw he is now at 337th position] are going to be sailing straight INTO the teeth of a gale within 36 hours. This means they will have to tack, which slows them down, and then as the system moves across them, they will end up in a 'hole'. Bliss. Those boats further north, like Himself, will be able to head south at the same time as all this is happening and pick up a nor'westerly air stream shooting them straight down towards Capetown. He feels he is poised to 'clean up'.

He has been pricing up the watches which are up for grabs to see what he could get for one on ebay :-D

The real boats are now ahead of him by between 400 and 1000 nautical miles although the virtual leaders are ahead of two of the real fleet. In a nice twist, one of the crew off Ericsson 3 (now in real second place) has also joined the virtual race through satellite connection on the boat and Himself is only 28 miles behind him.

Please bear in mind folks that this is only the first leg of a ten leg, round the world race. So far he has been playing solidly for 20 days. Should I be concerned?

The other night the game 'crashed' for half an hour and you should have seen the anxiety and consternation! I think we can safely say that Himself is an addict. I wonder if they have special meetings?

"Hello, my name is Himself and I am a virtual sailor."
(chorus) "Hello Himself"

Theme Thursday: Create

When I saw Stacy's theme this week I knew that I had found the perfect opportunity to post this.
I have been saving this one up for you because, well, because it is just so...you know...special!

Last week the Year12s across the state finished their formal lessons and moved into what we used to call swot-vac. Now, the Baby Angel travels to and from school on the school bus 3-4 days a week and has got to know some of her fellow Y12 travellers, as you do. So when their last day dawned last week, she called me frantically at 6.30am to help her decorate a cake she had thoughtfully made for them.

"Mum, I need to write farewell Year 12 on this cake. Can you help me?"
"Are you kidding????? I can barely get my eyes to converge!!!!!!"

I told her where all the essential items were kept and hoped she would just 'get on with it' but no. We had to have the whole "but there's no X," and "should I put Y into the food processor?"

Eventually I succumbed. I went through the cupboards and dug out whatever we had in the way of icing implements before suggesting the BA 'try these'. Predictably she expressed severe trepidation about her own abilities to decide what would go on the cake and so it was left to me. Yes, I am responsible for that Cake Wreck.

In my defence, we had 15 minutes to do it before we missed the bus. We had limited colours in the cupboard and we mistakenly tried to use the old tube of 'writing icing'. For those unfamiliar, this stuff basically turns to water in the tube. Squeezing it out incurs the wrath of the air bubble god.

When we'd finished we looked at each other and burst out laughing.
"That is seriously bad my love." I think I gasped through tears.
As a result we took a picture.

Now in all fairness, Stacy never said her theme involved Creative TALENT!!!!!! but I'm willing to bet that this is one of the least creative offers you'll see on Theme Thursday today!

> border="0" />

Click over to see what's on offer.

Monday, 27 October 2008

When The Air Becomes Uranious/Uraneous?

As a child, I was introduced to the Periodic Table of Elements by my academic father through the genius of Tom Lehrer.

With this as a taster I was led to the delights of 'The Masochism Tango' and around such joys as 'The Vatican Rag'. By the tender age of 17 I knew the vast majority of the brilliant man's works, off by heart.

This term, my history class have begun to explore The Cold War and it has brought to mind the fact that this part of history and I are intimately connected.

Apart from the delicious comedy of Don Adams in 'Get Smart', I remember as a child the excitement of 'atomic power'; the Thunderbirds with their atomic engines and being transfixed by the beauty of my father's National Geographic magazines, showing sensational shots of the breathtaking mushroom clouds over Bikini Atoll. On TV, Disney showed a model of nuclear fission using ping pong balls and mousetraps and at Disneyland we 'Journeyed To Inner Space', into the spaces between atoms themselves where electrons buzzed past our heads and the sense of wonder overtook me.

Later of course I was one of the many children/young adults who had nightmares about nuclear war. I used to dream that I was in a car trying to outdrive the cloud of fallout. These 'stress' dreams continued into university and the early 80s before petering out in favour of being onstage and not knowing my lines.

While at Uni I took part in, what we thought at the time ,was a very clever and witty stage show/cabaret called 'The 1980 Floorshow'. It was around the time of the election which brought Ronald Rayguns to the Presidential podium and we mocked the Americans for their choice, sporting 'Youth for Regan' armbands and singing 'Tomorrow Belongs to Me'. A good deal of the show was written around the songs of Tom Lehrer, notably 'So Long Mom, I'm off To Drop The Bomb', billed by its author as 'pre-war nostalgia' because there wasn't going to be anyone left after the next war to be nostalgic.

Now, as I lead my class through the history of the post-nuclear age I am toying with the idea of introducing them to some of these songs. I have downloaded them and printed out lyrics but in the back of my mind lurks a small troll of doubt. What if they don't find them funny?

I mean, they were old when we heard them but they were still relevant to the political landscape. We were all Python nerds and academics who loved the plays on words, the wild rhymes ("you can do anything you want if, you have cleard it with the pontiff") and the whimsical music hall tunes. What will the children of today's cynical, 'in your face', generation think of them? I mean, no one writes clever songs anymore. There's no 'suggestion' or innuendo in today's music; today the singer tells us exactly what he will do with that ho' when he gets various parts of his anatomy on her. Why would kids appreciate the ironic slant of "We will all go together when we go"?

So I am torn. Today, they watched a video which showed an incredible US 'educational film' called 'Duck and Cover'. It was so bizarre with families sheltering under a picnic tablecloth as the 'bomb' went off; the kids were in hysterics.; but they were laughing 'at' the film. Can I risk my beloved and deliberately funny Tom Lehrer being held up to the merciless scrutiny of Year 10?

As a delicious addendum to this, I discovered a website which quotes the original inspiration for the song 'So Long Mom'. It is, apparently, a popular World WarTwo song entitled:

by J. Fred Coots

Goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
For the red, white, and blue
My country and you.
Goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
Just to teach all those Japs
The Yanks are no saps
A million fightin' sons-of-Uncle Sam, if you please
Will soon have all those Japs right down on their Japa-knees
So goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
For my country, my flag, and you.

Say Goodbye to mama.
You're off to Yokohama.
So be brave and be strong,
You won't be gone long.
Say bye-bye mama,
The land of Yama-Yama,
Until April, I guess,
Will be your address.
On Christmas Eve when dad and I are trimming the tree,
You'll do your share of trimming out on land and on sea.
Say goodbye to mama,
You're off to Yokohama,
For your country, your flag and me.

Goodbye mama,
I'm off to Yokohama
For the red, white, and blue,
My country and you.
Goodbye mama,
I'm off to Yokohama
Just to teach all those Japs
The Yanks are no saps.
A million fightin' sons-of-Uncle Sam, if you please
Will soon have all those Japs right down on their Japa-knees.
Goodbye mama,
I'm off to Yokohama,
For my country, my flag, and you.
I thought you'd like that one dad.

Wind, Wind and More Hot Air

The 12 hour map change has just kicked in. Will he have enough breeze to keep going south? He has sacrificed many places (517th) but thinks he is on target to catch the express train of wind which is The Roaring 40s. The key is whether he gets there before the other guys....

The stress is too much!

Not Necessarily Smooth Sailing

It happened.

Late last night as I was falling asleep on the sofa and failing to write the questions to the video on The Nuclear Age which my History class will be viewing today, Himself came storming through. Disgruntled is a word which springs to mind.

"They've changed the maps," he announced, "I'm going to run out of wind going east, I'm going to have to change plan and go south instead."

He is now sacrificing places in order to get down to a huge low pressure system which is building up off the south coast of South America but he wanted me to let you all know that he had reached 137th place. He thinks it might be the best he will manage.

Still, the race is not over yet and if he gets down to the air stream he's looking for with no mishaps (ie windshifts leaving you in a 'hole') he may still be in with a chance. He is banking on the fact that the others are a good 800 miles west of him and that he can still slip into the airstream ahead of them.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Update and a Dilemma

174th position! Closing on the leaders and pulling ahead of the real boats.

Now here is the dilemma.

The 'mark' was off the coast of Brazil, near the eastern most point of that part of the continent. Once round the mark the boats can go any which way in order to get to Cape Town at the tip of Africa. Himself and a few of his duelling mates went south and then east getting down into a nice line of wind running back across the Atlantic. A HUGE number of other boats however, including the leaders, have headed west, down the coast of South America. Himself's natural question of course is, 'what do THEY know that I don't?'

After all they are going about 500 miles in the opposite direction to the one in which they are meant to be headed. Something's going on.

Well, this morning he discovered the reason. Down south near the bottom of South America there is a savage air stream running at about 30 knots which will sling the boats directly around west to Cape Town. They are sacrificing places now but the question is, will himself be far enough ahead on his 14-9 knot breeze to still pip them on the line?

He's looked at the 48 hour forecasts, he's judged the distances and done the maths and he has decided to commit to his early westerly course. One of the leaders is doing the same thing and, more importantly, the real boats (behind him) are starting to follow suit.

Hmmm, this is going to be an interesting finish!!!

Captain Himself Has the Top 100 In His Sights

Today he has worked his way steadily through the fleet and has just cracked 297th position. The leaders are about 90 nautical miles ahead.

He is now 25 miles ahead of the real leader of the race.*

There are now over 40 000 virtual sailors!!!!!!!!!!

My husband is a damn fine sailor as far as I'm concerned.

I wish there was more than a watch at stake.

On the real water today, he and No2 Son came in 4th (again) after rounding the last mark in second spot. They hit a 'hole' just before the finish line and drifted a little ways so that the next two boats who came round, although they also hit the hole, didn't drift as far and when the wind popped back up, they were nearer the line to shoot over. A bit annoying but Himself was pretty happy with their first day back on the water. After a false start and heading for the wrong buoy twice, they still had excellent boat speed to make up the distance again.

Oh and their new sails arrived today. This is the equivalent of having your V8 street car turbo charged in sailor terms. It's the occasion for much celebratory beer drinking and oo-ing and ahhing by your mates.

* Of course the virtual sailors have not had to take into account
a) other boats
b) things like containers floating on the ocean
c) damage to equipment

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Not Only Beautiful But Talented Too.

And no, I'm not talking about me.

The Baby Angel took this herself and edited it! On Picnik.

I am very impressed.

Friday, 24 October 2008

In Which Something Goes To Plan

A quick report on the BBQ. A seemingly rousing success!

The things which stick in my mind are

*The number of kids volunteering to cook, cut up, serve, wash up and generally give their time
to the House.
*Several of the more cynical staff members approaching me after the event and remarking on
what a nice occasion it had been, how it gave a greater sense of Unity, how this year has been
much more cohesive (yessssss)
* The Groundsman (VERY important person) in charge of the BBQs remarking that they were
returned in a lot better condition than they usually are.
* The number of kids from other Houses remarking on how they never have House BBQs.

The food quantities were pretty well perfect with exception of the onions which I was up til midnight the night before, running through the food processor. Only two bags next time.
The presentations were a bit limp but I think the younger kids will be considering ways they could make it better when their turn comes and anyway, the Year 12s were happy with their loot so it was a generally positive thing all round.
We had a few interlopers at the end which was nice because it makes them 'aware' of our House as more than the losers who never win Sports Day.

All in all a success. The loveliest thing for me was that the Deputy Principal (also in the House) had organised for some of the kids to present me with a box of tulips (my fave!) to say thank you for organising it all. It would have been fine without, but it is lovely to get feedback.

Of course, today was the Year12 slast day, the kids were off the air and it was an all around crap day in the classroom but WHO CARES!??????? It's Friday and I have two blissful days without any irate miscreant saying to me, "I never done nothing Miss!!!!! That's SO unfair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Around The Mark They Go

Yes avid race watchers, Himself and the fleet have rounded the mark off the coast of South America and are on their way to Capetown as we speak! He is in 447th position out of 39 000 virtual boats and is as happy as the proverbial pig.

And tomorrow, the REAL sailing starts!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

It's All About the People Guys

I don't know about your school but at many independent schools here we have 'Houses' in true Hogwarts tradition, complete with House Cups and all that that entails.

Some of the more well to do establishments put a lot of emphasis on Houses, being the pastoral care reference point for parental concerns. At others, they are simply a place of allegiance where the annual Sports day, Swimming Carnival and Choir Competition culminate in a House Cup Award ceremony and the position of House Official offers an opportunity for pupils to make a mark on the school (and yes, the latter was my old school).

At my current school, Houses are given lip service in that the 'Care Groups' (roll groups/home groups...you know the thing) are House based and we have an annual sports and swimming carnival but after that there seemed little focus on house spirit and the sense of belonging which has spawned the entire fraternity/sorority system in the US.

Now I'm not saying for a moment that I condone the ridiculous excesses of the frat/sorority system. You would never have seen ME on a pub crawl back in my Uni days...no SIRREE!!!
(shut up Bestie...that will be enough out of you) but I do admire the support networks built up by these groups and, after reading a recent post by A Free Man on bullying, I think they can supply that essential sense of belonging that we all need in a setting often far from family and home.

To some small degree, that is what I see the House system offering in a High schools.

When I arrived at my current school, I had left the powerful experience of being part of a house in another school. For some reason I decided to join the House with the same colour and, as I was later to discover, a similar sense of failure and disillusionment. Sheesh

After my first year at my current school it was evident that our House was in the Doldrums. Some of you may remember that at a warm, late afternoon, end of year staff House meeting last year, I fell asleep and awoke to find myself House Leader. This has been an interesting journey.

Firstly I petitioned the Principal to instigate the House Cup, which I am thrilled to report he duly did. At the moment we are in the process of deciding how to allocate points from a year full of activities in order to award the Cup; but the excitement has been a spate of inter-house basketball matches, quizzes and charity project competitions. The range of activities is, I feel, a reflection of the broader range of talents exhibited by pupils across the school. In other words, sport is not everything.

My battle this year has been against the apathy within the House. I have heard kids say,
"I wish I wasn't in this House. We're rubbish*."

What they are failing to understand is that Houses are only as good as the people who make them up.

With this in mind I have been trying to instigate house activities which are fun and a 'reward' without requiring a first place. For example, after the swimming carnival where we DIDN'T COME LAST, I organised an ice cream sundae lunchtime for the participants. Later when we WON the Inter House Quiz and all our teams got into the Grand Final in the basketball (we lost all of them but hey!) we held a popcorn and movie lunch.

Tomorrow we are holding the inaugural 'farewell' to Year 12 House BBQ.

You have no idea how many gripes this idea elicited from staff members.

"But we do our Year 12 farewells in Care groups. This isn't traditional! We won't have enough time/money/music to make it successful."
" You'll never get it all done in Long Care Group time. There will be kids from every House trying to muscle in...."
"Not everyone likes sausages you know."

Sheesh again.

My vision is that even if our House is not incredibly successful at athletics or swimming, at least we will have nice social events which will make kids feel pleased to be part of the House. We will celebrate the people who make up our House and we will enjoy the belonging.

That's my vision.

So send up some prayers to your respective deities or to the universe, if that's your thing, that the House BBQ tomorrow is successful. We need a fine, windless day, cheerful staff prepared to speak on the Yr 12s in their care group; student helpers who are competent and prepared to serve and finally, enough food!!!!!!

As many of you may know, I am a crap cook. Catering causes me to hyper-ventilate. What on earth inspired me to co ordinate a 'dry' BBQ!!!!!!!!!!

wish me very good luck, everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The spirit of the House is at stake.

PS: Update on Himself; still in the low 500s but poised for a big 'run' soon.

* paraphrased of course
cheerleader pin

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Himself hit 360th today but has now dropped back to 496th :-(
He's in a hole again.....grrrr
But still.....top 500 now!!!!!!
AND he's ahead of 4 of the REAL boats!!!!!!

And the other good news is that The Bestie's back is on the mend so we can be assured it was a ligament rather than a slipped disc. Praise the Lord for THAT!!!!!

Am now off to mark the World War 2 History tests from today. I sat up until 3am writing a modified version for the Special Ed kids so I really hope they did well!!


861st position!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this rate, a position in the top 100 is gettable!!!!!!!

He made some tough tactical decisions the other night (encouraged by moi) and had to 'suck it up' as he watched the others steam ahead. But now he is reaping the rewards! Many of the leaders are stranded in the Doldrums but he has skirted around and is in a reasonable wind stream on a perfect angle for the 'mark'.

As he puts it, he can 'see the sail numbers' on the boat in 11th position.....

He is one happy bunny.

Soon though they are going to hit the two converging pressure systems in the middle of the Atlantic and then the fun will begin. Up until now they have been reaching downwind but soon they will need to start working into the wind. It should be interesting.

Himself believes that anyone in the first 2000 could still win the race. They've completed about one third of the race so far.

*oh my Lord. I've just realised how much longer this could go on for.......................................*

Ah well. There's worse things I guess :-D

859th at the end of this post......and gaining.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Poised on The Brink

Having re-cracked the top 1000, he's dropped back again to 1058 but is ready to attack big time :-)
He has another boat 'watching' him and following his every move. It's called 'Bare Knuckles' but he refers to him as 'Knucklehead'. They're having quite a duel! No idea who it is. It's a very cool program really! They are only 120 nautical miles behind the virtual leaders and only 60 miles behind the real leaders who are now stuck in a 'hole'.

It is quite engrossing.

Ocean Update 3

After peaking in the top 1000 on Saturday night, Himself has been battling with wind shifts, 'holes' and sleep. The problem with being an Australian in a Round the World race when everyone else is in the northern hemisphere is that as you sleep they out manouevre you! This morning a very grumpy Himself had dropped back to the 1300s. :-(

Sunday, 19 October 2008

In Which The Bestie 'Does' Her Back and My Inadequacies Are Exposed

Several weeks ago The Bestie asked me if my face painting skills were still alive and kickin'. She had a fund raising event to run and she needed a free face painter to add to the carnival atmosphere of the occasion.

"Er....well, it's been awhile. When is it?"
"Sunday the 19th. You'll have to miss church."

Hmm. This was tricky, after all I am the Kidzone Co-ordinator; I'm rostered on 3-4 times a term and there are just not that many volunteers to swap with.

This was not done by me....

Add to this that its been a long time since I did any face painting and you will start to sense my nervousness over the whole request. But, it was for a great cause and I love to help The Bestie out. Perhaps someone would swap Kidzone with me and perhaps I could get a bit of practice in before the big day? You never know.

Initially it didn't look good. There were no replies to my 'can anyone swap?' email and I regretfully informed The Bestie that I may not be available. She was understandably disappointed but assured me that 'if necessary' she would simply hire a face painter, although they would prefer not to have to eat into the charity proceeds in this manner.

Well, blessing of blessings, one of my lovely friends from church was able to swap weeks with me and, lo and behold, I was suddenly available.
"Ah....," said The Bestie, "The sponsors have actually already found a face painter."
"Oh, um...never mind....perhaps you'll need two?" Having got myself off the roster I was determined to offer what assistance I could.
"Sure!" she enthusiastically agreed. And so the date was set.

In the week or so leading up to the event, I checked my face paint supplies and realised with a sinking stomach that, as I had used a school's make-up kit the last time I had done this, my own supplies were woefully inadequate. Never mind, I reasoned, I could buy a selection of paints and then I would have them for other occasions.

Saturday was to be my shopping day; I also had plans to buy a quilt for the guest room and possibly to scope out some bedside tables at IKEA. A late night text message from The Bestie put all plans on hold.

Might need to ask a favour tomorrow. Have put back out and can't walk.

I don't think I really understood the extent of 'put back out' in that first text message. When I phoned her the following morning, reality bit. Not only could she not walk, she could not drive. She could not lie comfortably in any way and, after lying uncomfortably, she could not get up....
She was in need of some major help.

So our Saturday went like this.
* Visit Bestie and take over Voltarin to ease inflammation. Also rub Voltarin gel into back. Wash dishes for her, refreeze her ice pack and ensure she was sitting quietly with a book in a semi upright position.
* Go to her office and retrieve items for the 'event' in the morning. This involved a gate lock,
a door lock, an alarm and no idea of where to look for said box of items. With the capable
help of the Baby Angel all was achieved.
* Stop by local big name hardware store to buy tubs for holding drinks and ice at Sunday's
* Buy the face paints (a couple extra for Her beloved)
* Pick up her iced coffees and >:-( ...fags [I do not approve].
* Return to pick up prescription left by locum (it's either a torn ligament or a slipped disc.
Fingers crossed for the first option) and get this filled at the chemist.
* Keep Bestie plied with food, drink and painkillers. Wash dishes. Watch 'Spooks'.

And so our Saturday was filled. It was actually very pleasant, being in the mid 30s and having no immediate pressure to be anywhere at a particular time. It was also pleasant just hanging out with the Bestie, even if she was kind of immobile :-)

Whilst there I practiced a bit on The BA and just as well I did! I had forgotten all the designs which used to flow off the brush with such ease back in the UK where my career as a facepainter began. Nevertheless I managed to execute a butterfly, a snake and a tiger before the light and fast diminishing bottles of wine rendered my efforts unrecognisable.

Fast forward 10 hours and we arrived back at the Bestie's house to take her to the event. My first job was to put on her shoes and socks for her! She couldn't bend down y'see. We loaded up the car with face paints, tubs, cash boxes and the like; she manoeuvered herself v-e-e-r-y slowly in through the passenger's side door and we were away. ( You might ask why she was even going out in her condition but that would be a pointless question. The Bestie is The Boss and these things do not run without her :-(

By the time we arrived at the scene of the event, things were beginning to get underway. We propped The Bestie upright and pointed her in the direction of proceedings. Marquees were being erected; T Shirts and hats distributed and donations taken.
Oh, and the face painter had arrived.

Across her eyes was a confection of black and gold deftly painted curlicues with a scattering of glitter and opalescent sheen. She had a double sided sandwich board with examples of her wares emblazoned upon it in full colour. She had a high chair, stool, folding table and the most glorious array of rainbow coloured facepaints imaginable.

I decided right then and there that I would not be face painting today.

Rather at a loss for what to do instead, the BA and I took drinks down to the halfway point of the event and stamped people's hands. We then had a jog up the beach and made it back in time to cart the woe begotten Bestie off home to sit quietly and recover with her drugs.

But I could not leave it at that. To add insult to injury, on our return, the Bestie sported a deft and glittering pink confection across her eyes. Yes, in our absence, through her agony, she had had her face painted!

Back at her place I set up my gear again and, observing her flowery visage, attempted to recreate the delicate and multi coloured petals of the other face painter's design. >:-( I was at it for about an hour. The BA was once more my guinea pig. After about 30 minutes she expressed an impatience with being my model and we left with my own forearm bearing the tattoos of my shame in the form of petals and tiger stripes.

So what do I take from this experience? You tell me. But if anyone needs any free, second rate face painting done, I'm available. >:-D

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Captain Himself Is IN Da House

Current posting 972nd position and gaining!!! But we are approaching the dreaded 'Doldrums'.

Ocean Update 2: In Which The Dream Is Tempered



He's telling me that his aim is to finish in the top one thousand. There are over 30 000 virtual boats now competing!!!!!

Apparently this is only the first leg of the race and it finishes in Cape Town although they have to round a mark off South America first. This single leg could take up to 30 days!!! There are 5 legs in the whole race. We are a long way off winning that car I 'm afraid. :-D The winner of each leg gets an expensive Sailmaster watch but I am less than excited by this prospect as I bought him one for his last birthday.* No watch is going to pay off our mortgage you know Himself!!!!!

Still, with the length of the time of the game, others could get bored and drop out. Perhaps? And Himself is nothing if not dogged! :-) Gotta love him.

* His previous sailing watch lies at the bottom of Port Phillip Bay after the near fatal race last Christmas.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Ocean Update

Holding steady at 1691st position.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Theme Thursday: Fall 2002

I grew up in Australia, about as far away from extended family as we could possibly get. Over balmy Christmases we looked forward to the string and brown paper wrapped parcel that was our one contact with grandparents and aunts; or the birthday card with strange, grey-blue money which meant a trip to the bank to receive Australian dollars, usually more than double the amount sent.

Who was Grandma? Was she the cassette player where we recorded our voices and our childish, self centred versions of ourselves for her listening pleasure? Was she the disembodied voice on the end of a phone call, booked through the operator at Christmas time; Midas minutes as we searched for something to say to each other, strangers on the end of a steadily ticking call charge.

And Grandads: an even more ethereal concept as they hung quietly in the background of the pragmatic and voluble northern women who made up our family. Grandads we knew, could not even sign their own names on cards. I think we believed it was beneath them. It was definitely the woman's job.

What has this got to do with Fall, Autumn that is; the end of something?

This photo spoke to me of Fall. In the last year that the BA and I lived in the UK we went north to visit my great-aunt, my grandmother's last surviving sister, before we moved back to Australia. She was in her 80s and frail but still handsome and gentle as she had always been since I first met her, briefly, at the age of seven.

Over the years I had met my grandmothers and grandfathers. Once in 1967 we had stayed with them for 6 months while my father was on sabbatical. In 1972 we had spent about 3 months with them before moving on to Canada for the remainder of yet another sabbatical and finally in 1979 I had spent 9 months with them as I worked and saved money to go on my great adventure, back packing around Europe. It helped to know the faces that went with the handwriting. The roots from which we had sprung.

But by 2002, Auntie Pauline was just about the last one left. The last one that we were speaking to anyhow :-). Northern families are like that. Unca Dick drove up with us to see her, on a crystal clear October afternoon when the trees were orange and yellow and the clouds were so many balls of cotton wool in a cobalt sky. We knew it would probably be the last time we would see her. She was slowing down and we were going a long, long way away. Again.

As we were leaving, Unca Dick took our pictures. This one I love. As we got in the car to leave I had to sit for a moment, stop my eyes and take some deep breaths as the enormity of our move and the reality of goodbye set in. Unca Dick sat quietly next to me and neither of us had to say anything.

For a brief moment in 2004 I thought we would see her again. In June we booked our tickets to visit that Christmas. In the Fall, after a routine operation from which she seemed to be recovering well, she suddenly failed and in a matter of days she was gone. So this picture is the last we have of her. Ten years beforehand she had made the mammoth trip to the other side of the world to see me married, the last of her generation, who stand in the background of my life, their resonance loud even as they were simply names on Christmas cards.

Fall: the end of something.

For more Fall beauty, check out the stunning shots over at Stacey's Theme Thursday.

> border="0" />

Volvo: Around The World!

Update: update: update:
Himself is now in 1,681 st position out of
27 000 virtual boats!
I am very impressed.

Heave Ho! Ahoy Canary Islands

Himself, who was up at 7.30am!!!!!!! this morning people, is steaming towards the Canary Islands and is in 2179th place (at last check) out of a fleet of 24000 virtual sailors. Very exciting! He's got to do a lot better than that though if he's going to win me that car.
(yeah, its not a boat....oh well).

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Sorry To Disappoint

I know, I know, I promised you pictures of the new Guest Room today but seriously, it's just not ready for unveiling yet.

I need to get a new quilt. I mean, I have the cover, but without a nice, fluffy quilt to go inside it just looks like a pair of sheets! We need furniture. Apart from a bed I mean. A pair of bedside tables and a lamp or two are required. We need new lighting. The faux colonial open glass shade with oversized energy saving bulb hanging down from it just doesn't create the ambiance I had in mind.

A rug would be nice. Some prints would take the starkness away from the walls. *sigh* It just isn't finished yet! I took some photos of the BA in situ but even with her beautiful presence it still looks like a closing down sale at a bed shop. On the last day. With one bed left.
So, sorry folks, maybe next week?

But to whet your appetite or at least give you something to look at, here's the Small Boy and the Baby Angel on their way to see The Mighty Bays * play in the SANFL Grand Final last weekend. And yes, their colours are gold and black! Unfortunately, the game went so badly that they left before the final siren :-(. Poor old Himself hasn't had any luck in the footballs stakes this year.

* Compare Glenelg's paltry website to the sensational job Himself and his team do on the
Mighty Roosters' site!

The Great Volvo Ocean Race Update

Well it took him hours to get out of the Straits of Gibraltar. He was up into the first 2000 last night. There are 22 000 virtual sailors now!! Interestingly, the race leaders are ahead of the actual boats.

I don't think you have to take other boats into account in the virtual race, which is just as well. Imagine if you were one of 20 000 boats making your way through the Mediterranean!!!

Monday, 13 October 2008


I think I mentioned that No 2 Son came back to 'clean out' his room?
Exhibit a).

Might I add that I risked life and health to get down on the floor close enough to this filth to take pictures.
And, to be honest, this really doesn't do the extent of the squalor, justice. I was unable to take photos of the bathroom as I was gagging too much to hold the camera still.

Why are teenagers so feral? Why do they not have a 'dirt' radar? I mean, we're not just talking a layer of dust here people!!!!!!

Tomorrow is Crafty Tuesday and I will save the 'after' shots for then. There is still a lot to be done but at least it is now clean. Ugh.

Lessons in Life: Cooking

Dearest Baby Angel

This is your mother speaking.

Have I told you recently what a wonderful kid you are?How blessed I am to have you? How much joy you bring to your family and friends?

Good, because tonight I have to put on my other mother hat and give you some of that sage advice for which mothers/fathers are well known. You know the kind of thing:

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Never eat yellow snow.

Don't cross your eyes in case the wind changes.

and the ubiquitous

Always wear clean knickers in case you are hit by a bus.

Yes, tonight I am going to give you some advice regarding cooking (a rare gem indeed).

Are you ready?
You will thank me for this in later life.

When making a marbled chocolate cake for your friend's birthday, if the recipe calls for vegetable oil, avoid using this.

Unless you are after that herbal, hippie flavour.

Never mind, I am sure she will love it anyway.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A Morning Miracle

What is this vision? My husband in his dressing gown? Awake? At 8.30am on a Sunday morning? How can this be?

Don't worry. It is a temporary aberration.

Himself is currently sailing in the Volvo Round the World Ocean Challenge. I think he's presently in the Mediterranean. Every 10 minutes or so he checks the website to see what wind conditions are doing and adjusts his course and sail settings; although he did put it onto autopilot through the night :-) Hence his early morning foray into the waking world; he was just adjusting his course and checking his race position. I think he's in the first 5000 so far.

I wanted to take a picture of him sitting at the computer, wearing a life jacket but he was completely uncooperative!

Apparently there is a big prize if you are the online winner. I think its a car. Guess we could sell it to pay off some of the mortgage.....

(shouts)"Hoi, dear, check what position you're in now!!!"

Have a look.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Theme Thursday: Sunshine

Woah. It's a long time since I managed to get a Theme Thursday up. This one was taken on Kangaroo Island in 2006 but I think it qualifies as sunshine. I love the idea of finding (or taking) a photo to fit a theme but life during term time means I hardly ever pick up the camera :-(

For other sunny interpretations, go see Stacy!

> border="0" />

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Hope you can read this. This is my first Wordless Wednesday. For more: click here.

Checking In

Just a quicky tonight. I've been catching up on blog reading and generally sludging in holiday mode. We have started gutting the No 2 Son's room in order to create a guest room for some of my family when they visit (woo hoo!!!). There was wallpaper to be stripped and walls to be washed with sugar soap.

I am now in the process of trying to choose a quilt cover/set which will inspire us in the paint department. Unfortunately I am hog tied by a hideous carpet and curtains neither of which we can afford to replace at present. Wish me luck.

The Baby Angel has returned from Sydney with a plethora of converse sneakers. I mean; how many pairs of sneakers does a girl need? *self righteous sniff*
She also did an amazing 'walk' with her dad into the Snowy Mountains at Guthega and stayed in a genuine alpine 'hut' complete with marsupial rats! (although they did not join her in her sleeping bag as they had done with her dad on a previous trip *phew*)

The Small Boy is with us for the week and consequently all his entourage. I will be cooking pies, cutting up apples and cheese and generally supplying the neighbourhood boys for the rest of the week. Why oh why can't they play at someone else's house???

Monday, 6 October 2008

Best Shot Monday: The Sydney Trip

Was this my Best Shot from the Sydney trip?

I loved the textures of these whale skeletons enclosed in perspex bodies. They hang over the escalator at Cockle Wharf: Darling Harbour.

The whole Darling Harbour area is a kaleidescope of curves and lines, textures and angles. I went over with my camera for an hour but as usual was not able to capture what I saw in my mind's eye.

Here's a shot which I, strangely, love. I like all the diagonal lines and lines at right angles. I also like the warning against over priced fashion labels which accost you as you get onto the train.

And what about these?

A selection of the fine materials available to the most aggressive shopper at the Picton Library Book Sale ( $5.00 to fill a bag). I acquired a book on ocean racing for Himself, several audio books for the car and a manual on Self Defence for Women for the Baby Angel. Well you never know...
I did not purchase Tropical Tempest or Winter at Whitecliff.

Back in Sydney:

A shot taken standing below the monorail station on the bridge at Darling Harbour with Centrepoint on the skyline.

Further out into the suburbs and the sub-tropical climate gives rise to these fantastic rain forest style plants, growing wild by the path where we walked the dog. I think they're called 'Elephant Ears'.
I don't know why this caught my eye; apparently it happens frequently, according to Himself. The wide variety of brands of 'liquid amber' cooling wildly on their way to your glass cause the whole tap and line system to freeze up with condensation. I must have seen it in pubs before but perhaps I was too busy to notice. Maybe I noticed this because I was on holiday and because it was a delightful 30C+ outside?

Or perhaps the best shot is this one.
Or this one, if we could lose the 'tuckshop' arms....

Good friends. Great holiday.

It's Best Shot Monday! Pop over to Tracey's and see some photos to cheer and inspire you!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Who Let Her On The Microphone?

I have finally finished downloading my holiday photos and will shortly begin the inevitable recount of events but firstly, I feel I must regale you with an account of Wednesday night's frolics.

I am afraid when I am 'let off the leash,' ie children and husband both away and no school tomorrow (yeeeeehaw), I seem to have no self control whatsoever.
I was going to give you my 'version' of events but The Bestie has beaten me to it and tells the tale as well if not better than I could.

Duck over and see what slander she is spreading!

Then come back and tell me how you don't believe a WORD of it!!!!!

image credit