Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Crafty Tuesday errrr....Thursday.....errrrrrrrrr Friday?

Having been laid low by a very nasty cold type flu virus thing for the last week, I have been pretty light-on the posting front I'm afraid. I had half a day off last Tuesday, then went back to work to share my germs around (I'm thoughtful like that), and predictably collapsed in a heap on Thursday and had Friday and Monday off with a miserable weekend in between. Yesterday back at school I actually felt semi-normal in the morning but by lunchtime was wilting and by 3pm was reduced to a sleep on the staff room sofa. With groaning. I hate it when you can't breathe with your mouth closed.

But I digress.

As a result of all this, and my general busy-ness, I missed Crafty Tuesday and I did have something I wanted to share so here it is. The Baby Angel's partly completed bridesmaidy wedding dress thingy. As you can tell I am having difficulty deciding what to call it as the BA is not a bridesmaid 'as such'. She is actually the dog wrangler.

Have I explained this before? I think I have. When The Bestie hooked up with Mumford, his only true love was a little chihuahuaxJackRussellxfox terrier called (to Blogland) Q. Of course he has had to make room in his heart for my Bestie and so little Q has been somewhat sidelined but not enough to be omitted from the wedding ceremony this Sunday. She will be the ring bearer.
Now as any good thespian knows, when you have animals peforming on set you must have a 'wrangler' on hand to ensure their safety and that they get enough schooling and are sent home to bed before 10pm and so forth (or is that children? ...meh, same difference). Q's main task is to walk down the 'aisle' (it's an outdoor wedding) and stand with the wedding party until the rings are called for, at which time she must sit up like a meerkat whilst The BA disengages the rings from her collar. There is even a special velcro device for the purpose!

Himself is disgusted by the whole idea. Even the BA is mildly embarrassed by the notion but she wanted a role in the wedding and this is what was on offer. It must be said she is not too proud to stoop to dog wrangling in order to get to wear a pretty dress! Which brings me to the dress.

You see it above, semi finished, hanging in the doorway. I still have to add cap sleeves in lace, motifs around the bodice/skirt seam, finishing the lining at the back and hand sew the full circle hem. Plenty of time. The wedding's on Sunday.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

In Which I Deliberately Thwart My Husband

Himself: My trackies have been in the laundry abyss for four weeks now! I have been completely
unable to find them.

Me: There is no way they have been missing for four weeks...two maybe...have you checked the..?

Himself: I've checked EVERYWHERE!!! I've even been through the laundry basket. They have
completely DISAPPEARED!!

Me: Alright, I will look for them but I can guarantee you they have NOT disappeared and they haven't been 'missing' for four weeks. Now, let's have a look here (opens a drawer) no? ok well how about here? (no luck) They're bound to be here somewhere.

Himself: Ah HAH! Ah HAH! You SEE? I TOLD you they were nowhere to be found!!! I've looked in all those places.

Me: (giving up on all the drawers/shelves etc and starting on the laundry hamper) Well, I haven't been deliberately hiding them, they're bound to be here...

Himself: (triumphantly) FOUR weeks! That's how long they've been missing! I haven't seen them in FOUR weeks.

Me: (starting to lose my good humour) Well, I washed last weekend so they couldn't have been missing all that long, unless they are hanging out in the family room....

(I start to march off down the hall to check the usual location for drying things indoors in the wet weather)

Himself: (hot on my heels) I've actually LOOKED down here and I couldn't find anything.*

Me: (gets to room; looks briefly around;takes trackies off the back of a chair. The first chair in the room. Not hidden by anything. Says nothing)

Himself: (momentarily stunned) Well they must have been there for four weeks....

Me: One. At the most.


*Note: this in itself is something of a miracle. Piles of Himself's neatly folded laundry have been known to sit down in the family room for weeks while he squeals for clean underwear.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Theme Thursday: At Play

To continue in a nostalgic vein, here are my Baby Angel and her cousin 'At Play' at Grandma's house in 2002. I think the BA was 7 and her cousin Ginger was 3.

I can hear them shrieking with giggles as I look at this.

Thinking back, play often involved getting under blankets and into make believe' beds'.

Sometimes the bed was a trampoline.

( Augh! I cannot believe I could not find any pictures of her in her trampoline bed.)

Sometimes the bed was a boxAnd sometimes it was a suitcase.
Megan at A Mental Inventory is hosting Theme Thursday for the time being while AmyJo does that new baby thing. Pop over and see what other Play-ful shots people are sharing.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Clouded By The Mists of Time...and mood enhancing substances.

My husband isn't talking to me.

I didn't believe him you see. I scoffed at his memory; a cardinal crime.

He claimed that when he was at school, they had dances, formal dances, which went until 2am. Apparently there were two bands and the younger students were sent home after the first band.....but really! 2 am???? What teacher would stay at a school dance til 2am????
His retort was that they had 'very good bands'.

So, my anally retentive antenna is out (ooo-eer). All you Adelaideloodians, does anyone remember the boys' school on South Terrace having formals that went until 2 in the morning????????? Puh-lease. Does anyone remember ANY of the private schools having formals that went beyond mid-night? Granted, his era was slightly before mine, but surely things were not 'free-er' in his day than mine????? We are talking 1973-4 bythe way.

At my old school (soon to be the Baby Angel's school) we had very strict policies about our few dances. I have posted about it before: letters to leave early, stay inside the building, no patent leather shoes*...that sort of thing.

Now when we got to uni; that was a different matter! The infamous O Ball where many a fresher saw their first sunrise, was renowned. Prosh Week, the Law School Pub Crawl, all these were debauched affaires with no boundaries as by that time we were all technically 'adults'; but school dances? Til 2am????????????

I think not.

However, I am happy to be proven wrong. Do some research guys and gals; Prof J?
Cash Mc Buck? Headbang? Kindergarten Friend? Middle Sis? (she always knew where the good parties were)...........



* Apparently patent leather shoes enabled boys to see your underwear reflected on their highly polished surface.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Because I Still Really Miss It

School is back and Lord knows I am right up to my neck in it but.....I can't help a bit of nostalgia having received a whole disk of photos from our official 'photographer'. And yes I know I shouldn't be showing faces but I am so over that anonymity thing. First off, let's start with me.
I call this one 'No Sleep'.

And this one 'Dressing Room Sweatshop'.

Here I am getting 'notes' from the Director onstage after the show.

And wrestling with that bl**** red dress...

I love the literate message left on the mirror from the make-up girls.
But now I must tell you about my inspired 'prop'.

There were a number of large props called for in the script which could have proved quite overwhelming and expensive: staircases. beds for the orphans, different rooms in the mansion; some of these were built, some summarily 'deleted' and others, as they were not 'on' for very long and arguably did not add much to the story but gave flavour to the production, teetered on the brink. Three such items included: a dog cart, a laundry hamper and a hot dog stand. One afternoon in the school basement I spied an old TV trolley which sparked a 'brilliant' idea! The trolley would become the frame for all three props.

The laundry hamper could hang inside the frame. This had to be big enough for Annie to hide inside and be wheeled offstage in. The hotdog stand would need sides which we hooked on: the dog cart could be the reverse sides of the hotdog stand. There were actually four sides to the thing but as you can see here at the dress rehearsal getting them all flipped over and reattached in time could be a problem.

Here's all our servants wearing those problematic uniforms which I seemed to be cutting out for EVER. The worst part was cutting them out at night. The black knit fabric was slippery and hard to see with my aging eyes. The blue kitchen staff dresses I borrowed from another school (yay).

Finally, here's the tech crew.

Two of the little blonde lads on the left were the ones who were 'sharing the headset' in the lighting box :-D....awwwwww....they are such babies....

And now, we return you to normal transmission.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Die Walkure: A Word From My Father

My dad doesn't usually read my blog but I tipped him off to my previous post and he sent me this email the other morning.

"This business of the Flying Valkyries has always perplexed me and although we believed that the labels were on the wrong sides, I really couldn't believe it. So I took your advice and u-tubed the Valk. Then I had to re-assemble my hi-fi turntable which was sitting in the cupboard and find the original record (downstairs next to the ironing).

30 minutes later I was ready for the Utube-record comparison and guess what? You are right!

Can I sue Decca after 45 years?"

Really Dad! Trust me!! Some of these episodes from my childhood are burned indelibly on my memory :-D


The first week back at school has been full-on.

As well as getting my head back around teaching classes I have
  • taken the BA and her friend to see 3oh!3
  • met with my House officials to organise the last House event of the year on the heels of last year's successful event
  • put forward the idea of student voting for next year's House officials and started the
    consultation process
  • negotiated with one of my year 11's mums to get him OUT of his mainstream Y 11 maths
    class and into an off-line individualised program. Committed myself to preparing an
    individualised teaching and assessment program for him (about time!)
  • met with a Y8 pupil with acute school phobia and negotiated his re-engagement in the
    education process
  • been on an excursion with Y10. Quite well mannered!!!!!
  • been co-opted into the Chairman's position for a committee which I thought was about discussing general procedures within the school and which turns out to be the Industrial Relations Committee!!!!!! :-( . You could not get anyone less interested in Industrial relations than I am. Hell, I don't even know what I earn per annum!!!! I am either on a steep learning curve or about to hand the job over to someone with much more of a 'worker' mentality than I have. Oh my coal mining grandfather would be ashamed of me ....*blush*
  • fallen asleep in front of the computer on more than one evening
That last point would be why I haven't posted much :-)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

What Do The Flying Dutchman And A Hammer Drill Have in Common?

If there is one thing Himself and I have in common, it is our attitude toward those age-old, gender specific arts of cooking and DIY. Deep seated, nay abyss-like, feelings of helplessness, failure and the overwhelming belief that we are somehow less of a man/woman for being unable to provide for our family in these time honoured ways, lead to well developed practices of procrastination and avoidance; me in the kitchen and Himself in any setting involving say, a ladder and a drill.

For example, when the end of the long working day arrives, rather than affectionately considering the heart warming meal I will prepare for my hard working husband and ravenous teenagers, I savagely mutter something like, 'I suppose I'd better think about dinner' and then storm off to fold washing or vacuum or, heaven forbid, do some school work: in short, anything other than cooking. When faced with a DIY task such as....oh I dunno....say putting up some venetian blinds in the BA's room, Himself manages to find something else that needs sanding on the boat or a pressing work related computer task...or, if I am really lucky, a close encounter with the lawn mower: anything which does not involve hand operated power tools.

We both feel similarly that our best, most well meaning efforts are doomed to failure. The other night, when we were asked to 'bring something' to a Sailing Club dinner, to accompany a roast, my paralysing insecurity saw me look up a recipe for Cauliflower Gratin on the web. As I prepared to follow the instructions something in my gut told me that cooking the cauliflower for 10 minutes before baking it was a bad idea, and yet, the recipe came from the web and therefore MUST be more reliable than me. The ridiculously large quantity of cheese called for seemed, in my extremely humble opinion, destined to curdle the white sauce and yet, I unwaveringly followed the instructions to the letter, determined to bring delicious, feel good food to the dinner party as a tribute to the other guests.

Predictably, my yearning for Earth Motherhood was once more dashed upon the soggy rocks of the inedible ship wreck of a gratin. Himself saved the day with a swiftly concocted and artistically arranged salad. I went to the dinner with a countenance like thunder and the reinforced belief that I am not much of a woman. I mean, women have been preparing meals for their loved ones since the dawn of time. How hard can it be??????????

But this post is not about me. Really. I am merely trying to communicate the depth of feeling accompanying Himself's aversion to DIY. We have had the venetian blinds for the BA's room for months now and we had promised ourselves that we would get them up whilst she was away this week. Well, of course THAT didn't happen but Himself did take the bracket down to the local hardware store and get appropriate screws and rawl plugs for the job. And then decided to mow the lawn.

Today, with a little encouragement, we made a start. Within 10 minutes I made the mistake of asking why he had purchased plasterboard screws when we were drilling into brick. I was just wondering! The 'dummy spit' was spectacular. He was off the ladder and out the door shouting that I could 'get a little man in' to do it if I wasn't happy with his work in seconds. And this was before he had even switched on the drill! Some judicious soothing and the assurance that I knew how he felt (see above story) calmed him sufficiently to get back onto the ladder. He lined up the drill and applied power.

Now we have had problems with this wall before. The double brick is phenomenally hard and drilling holes has proved trying in the past. I held my breath. The drill screamed, the dust flew, the bit advanced rapidly through the plaster and hit brick. The pitch increased, Himself applied more power. The bit spun wildly, and ineffectively, for 2 minutes before the air filled with a blue fog of expletives, the like of which had not been heard since last week. The drill hit the floor and Himself hit the road, heading for his garden shed and a calming cigar. I decided to take the drill and the bit down to the hardware store for advice.

At this point let me take you back in time.

When I was 12, my 7th grade teacher played us 'The Ride of the Valkyries', I think it was to inspire our creative writing but whatever the motivation it had a huge impact on me. I loved it! I came home singing 'dah duh dudah daaaaaa da' and excitedly explained to my classically leaning father the wonder of this dramatic piece. He smiled at me indulgently,
"That's not The Ride of the Valkyries," he explained gently, "that's 'The Flying Dutchman'.
This stopped me in my tracks. After all, my father knew everything but my teacher had showed us the cover of the album and told us the story and.. and.. and...

Dad lead me to the hallowed lounge room and the sacred record collection and reverently drew out an LP boasting an atmospheric drawing of the legendary ghost ship on the cover. He placed it on the turntable and as I listened, the familiar strains of 'dah duh dudah daaaaaa da' issued forth. How could this be????????

I don't know how we worked it out but the flip side of this album was 'The Ride of the Valkyries'. Someone at RCA or where ever had pasted the record labels on back to front (link in case you are a child of the CD age and do not remember that once upon a time you had to turn records over). For his entire adult life my father had been under the misapprehension that 'dah duh dudah daaaaaa da' signalled the approach of 'The Flying Dutchman', because of some quality control issues at Decca.

But what is the connection I hear you ask? What does this have to do with
Himself and his drill phobia? Well, when I got to the hardware store the technical advisor tested the drill and showed me that there were two settings, one for hammer drill (essential for drilling hard concrete and metal) and the other for more gentle, standard rotary drilling of wood and such. The drill had been set on 'rotary'. I asked to see which way the switch needed to go and there, before my very eyes, was The Flying Dutchman. The label indicating the setting was on back to front. For the last twenty years Himself has been trying to drill concrete with a screwdriver and put in screws with a hammer drill. No wonder he hates DIY.

We got one of the blinds up. The other one will have to wait until next weekend.

Image credits

Flying Dutchman

DIY Disasters


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Play It Clean*

Well, nothing since Tuesday...what have I been doing with myself? Painting tables in Kidzone (Sunday School) and making up Kids' Kits for use in church when there's no Kidzone if truth be known.

Oh and quilting.

Predictably things did not go to plan; I decided the top of the quilt was too narrow so I rearranged everything again. But I am much happier with it now and I spent Friday sewing it together. Only got about half done though. Phew, it's hard work! Fiddly! Mind you, I was working under stressful conditions; Himself had a deadline and he was waaaaay cutting it fine. He sat through in the other room effing and blinding and calling the computer, the files, the internet and the clients just about every name you can think of. It was not pretty and not conducive to relaxing quilting. I shut the door on him after awhile.

He was pretty stressed and sleep deprived. He spent two allnighters on this animated presentation for the North Adelaide Football Club's presentation night. He came to bed at 4.30am the first night and after a few snatched hours went at it again all day and came to bed at 5.30am the second night! That man lives on caffiene. Still, last night was the 'do' and it all went very well. I was really proud of him and all his hard work although I was mildly surprised and relieved to see that not one 'f@#&' had slipped into the presentation! Miraculous really considering the amount that were flying through the air. Fortunately we are 'kidfree' at the moment :-D

He made a little bit of history too as the club screened the presentation over the internet in real time as the audience were watching it. It was a record of the matches that year and a count down of the votes gained by each player in the 'Best and Fairest' Competition. The AFL (big league) do a similar thing on Brownlow Medal night but as far as we know, in Australia, no other clubs or State Competitions have done it. This meant that ex pat fans of the club (and we know there are many because the site stats tell us we get hits from places as diverse as London, Singapore and Dubai!) could watch a round up of the year's matches and player performances, leading to the announcement of the B&F winner, from the comfort of their own laptops. Next year we want him to do a live webcam of the acceptance speeches! Then again, knowing how riveting the speeches of young footballers are...maybe it's not worth it!
("....And I'd like to thank the coach and the back up team and the massuesse and my parents...")

Oh and if you've got nothing else to do, see if you can find anyone familiar in this gallery of elegant diners......

Off to quilt some more and enjoy my last few days of childfree time and holidays :-(

* The Club Song

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Crafty Tuesday: Top of the Quilt

Sorry I'm late! Here's the top ready to go together. The farthest row has been sewn into 3 blocks of 4 but I will get into the rest of it with a vengeance tonight. I am due to meet the Doyenne of Quilting on Friday when I will purchase wadding and backing (under her supervision) and retire to her place for the next lesson. She is determined that I have at least most of it done before the end of the holidays otherwise as we all know, it won't ever progress any further!

If you like craft, check out Crafty Tuesday at Carrie's.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Get Me To The Church On Time*

"Mum, I had a terrible nightmare last night. I dreamed it was The Bestie's wedding and I didn't have a dress to wear..........."

"What's your point?"

At the tender age of forty something, my Bestie has finally found the man of her dreams and on November 1st they will tie a rather unconventional knot in an outdoor ceremony in Adelaide's East Parklands. You see, at forty something and with one wedding behind you, you can afford to do things your way. There are no more maiden aunts and grandmothers to please; there is no sense of having to do it 'right' in case you regret it later and no fear of 'missing out' on something if you abandon the odd convention. No, at our age, one can indulge one's pecadillos.

Now I am not one to give away too many secrets in advance of the big day (much) but I can tell you that the Bestie has appointed The Diva and I her 'Old Tarts of Honour', Mumford is dry cleaning his 'Matrix' coat and planning a spectacular entrance and my Baby Angel has been given the job of escorting Q, beloved Jack Russell x Fox Terrier and ring bearer, down the 'aisle'. I told you it was unconventional.

The Bestie is opting for a dress to die for; big, bold and very 'Her'. A dress like this
(do not look if you don't want a spoiler). Due to the disparate shape and size of the other Old Tart and I, our dresses are linked by colour only and, since her best and most gorgeous dress is black, that's what I'm wearing too. So we have the boys in black, the OTs in black, the Bride in an 'unspecified colour but not white' and then we have The BA and dog.

So what will she wear?

The problem we face is that my Baby Angel already looks much older than her 14 years and I feel a black dress is too sophisticated and will make her look even older. Whilst this is a thrill for her, I am in no hurry to rush the aging process. I was in the same position at her age and inevitably people expected more of you than you were either capable of or comfortable with! She is a delightfully 14 year old fourteen year old, if that makes sense, and I want her to wear something that will be pretty, flattering, fun and yet dressy. Oh and the colour has to complement the Bestie's 'unspecified colour'. I want her to land somewhere between 'fairy princess' and 'funky teen'. Surely not that much of an 'ask'?

On the very first shopping day it became evident that our choices were more limited than we thought. Most of the dressy, formal dresses were very strappy or indeed strapless and she is not very comfortable with that yet and the price tags were, at times, insurmountable! I suggested making her a dress but she seemed less than thrilled at the prospect. We went out again last Thursday to try and find something in the right vein with a manageable price tag and brought a couple of dresses home on 'approval'.

Here is the first. Retail price tag: $ 90.00 AuI favoured the young, girly style of this one but felt the cotton material left it looking insufficiently 'fancy' for a wedding. She really liked it.

Here is the second. Retail price tag: $ 80.00 Au

This was a good combination of dressy and fun with the obvious problem of length (what length?) and a dubious top half which, as Himself said, left the dress looking like it didn't know what it was meant to be! From the back view you can see that there is a longer 'tube' style skirt poking out underneath the frou frou layer. I wondered about attaching another tulle layer underneath to add length but in the end the top half was not sufficiently inspiring for me to bother.She really liked it.

Naturally she wanted to keep both but as I pointed out, the first one I could make at half the cost, the second...well, where would she wear it? So the mean, Flaming Sword mother took both dresses back.

She hated me for about 20 minutes then she got over it.

So where does that leave us? Well, I want to do something like the first one but in a dressy fabric so I have been to a lovely fabric shop and picked up 3 m of a gorgeous crepe georgette style fabric (reduced from $30.00/m to $10.00/m) and half a metre of black lace for $10.00. I plan to make a full, swing skirt in the cream fabric and overlay the bodice (similar to the first dress) with the black lace. With the addition of a pattern for the bodice ($15.00) I should be able to put the whole thing together for around $55.00. In theory.

I think I'll do the whole thing in calico first just to make sure I cut the pattern correctly but hopefully we'll end up with something that is just right for the occasion and didn't cost an arm and a leg. I'll start when I've finished the top of the quilt :-D

* Stanley Holloway sings 'Get Me To The Church On Time (Lerner and Loewe)

Quilt Update!

Hold the call on suggestions for patterns....Himself and I think we have 'cracked it' tonight! We are feeling v pleased with ourselves. pics to follow.

And now to bed as the government has stolen an hour from us and will not give it back until Autumn!!!!!!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

SOOC Saturday: What I'm Doing In My Holidays

Thought I'd show you how far I have got on my quilt this week. I haven't sewn any of the blocks together yet as I am still fiddling with the arrangement of the darks. I have a lot less of the pale green fabric left so I am leaning towards this idea of a dark green/pink alternate with a random pale green thrown into every row/column. It's a bit like doing a giant suduko. Except not.

I dunno I may change my mind. Himself and I were looking at it yesterday and he was casting his designer's eye over things. We decided that I'll do 6 quares by 10 squares all up and he suggests doing something 'different' or themed at any rate, for the four central squares. Like, maybe four of the pale greens altogether although I'm not all that keen on that idea. I am also toying with one of the background fabrics which is darker than the other three and wondering whether to make it a 'dark' for some of the blocks. Maybe that could be at the centre?

If anyone has any ideas or opinions, do chip in here. I am a complete novice and open to suggestion.

Meanwhile, we have been on a campaign to find a dress for the BA to wear in the Bestie's wedding......but that's a whole other post.