Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Dry Eyes, Tight Throat, Hard Heart

I am so angry and grief-stricken right now that I am finding it hard to find words.

Tonight we trooped into the School Hall, the scene of so many of my girlhood triumphs and transgressions; the scene of the Baby Angel's panto and 'Oliver' highlights; the scene of Choir Concerts, Speech Nights, rock concerts and Formals. We trooped in, thin in number and falsely cheerful, each hoping to hear something reassuring, each brushing aside the dark and ominous looming shadow. We sat, as we had so many times before, facing the great arched stage, bedecked with cheerful penguins awaiting the Junior School Musical on Wednesday night. And then the axe fell.

Next year the school will become the Alma Mater 'Learning Community'. It will consist of an R-6 co-ed primary school with an Early Learning Centre and Childcare facilities. In 2013 they will phase in a Year 10-12 Women's Senior College. Next year there will be no secondary school.

They may as well have changed the name to Local Main Road Community School. There will be nothing left of my Alma Mater apart from the grounds and buildings. The traditions and values of the past have been decimated. The dignity, the history and the love, defiled.

The bastards sold us down the river. The families and girls who stuck it out, who worked hard to ensure continuity, who invested time and emotion in re-building; we've been abandoned. That's the bit that hurts most. And it will bite. Bad will hangs about in this town.

So, what will we do? Probably relocate as soon as possible. With nothing to look forward to next year the BA needs to establish herself somewhere else. She has leadership potential and she needs to be 'known' to be able to realise that. It will never be as it could have been but I will make the best choices I can for my kid. And she is made of stern stuff. She will grieve. She will cry. She will wish it had been otherwise but she will be loved wherever she goes.

In these last death throes we will feel the real weight of our school motto: Verae Numerosque Modosque Ediscere Vitae.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Creativi-tea: The Finished Product

Regarding the Baby Angels' Creative Arts Product; the last thing to fill you in on is the display itself.

When the BA first brought her friend's teapots home for perusal, Himself suggested that she needed to name them. The teapots themselves varied greatly in both style and interest; some were wonderfully quirky, others blandly utilitarian. Giving them a name and perhaps a few props, he suggested, would transform them from teapots into works of art. His first suggestion was naming them after cities.

The BA had planned to use flowers with the teapots and so there was the idea that the flowers might reflect the nature or culture of the city. An oriental teapot begged for some bamboo and a more 'Australiana' number called for gumleaves. The BA was interested in the idea but not entirely sure. On the way to school one morning we were talking about options and I had a light bulb moment.
"We could call the whole thing 'Creativi-TEA'!! I suggested.
We then spent the rest of the drive into school brainstorming nouns ending in 'ty'.
We seemed to have a concept.

That night, as the BA finished off an assignment, I sat looking at teapots and coming up with titles. I then created a list of suggested props to supplement our 'names' and the following afternoon we went shopping.

Some of our ideas had to be modified to cater for what we could get in the Reject Shop. For example we had planned to use a dummy (paci) and baby hat for 'Maternity', but on discovering that dummies retail for around $12.00, we decided to look for other options!

On the night before the exhibition I set up mock displays on the dining room table and 'shot' them so I could recreate them the next day in at school. What did people do before digital photography? Oh yes, there was the Polaroid.

Anyway, here is a sample:





And the one no-one 'got': Inscrutabili-tea
(cf: The Inscrutable Oriental)

I had a lot of fun doing this, finding props around the house and matching the teapots to the task. Tomorrow I'll show you the finished product.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Cupcake Episode

Part of the BA's Teapot Exhibition was the idea that the event would be a 'High Tea' with tea, obviously, and cupcakes (on investigation, it would appear that this is actually a low tea whereas high tea refers to a light, early evening meal consisting of meats and pickles). Anyway, while I was up in the freezing cold shed painting louvre doors white, she was back in the house baking 3 dozen cupcakes. I came down at midnight and she had gone to bed leaving behind what can only be described as a cupcake road accident.

She obviously didn't look hard enough for the muffin tin (I found it easily later) because she had laid out the patty pans on cookie trays so that the resulting cupcakes varied in size and shape. Seriously, there was a jellybean shaped one. Then she had iced them with icing which had obviously not been sufficiently pliable because it looked like it had been scraped on with a butter knife.

And then she had failed to put the sprinkles on.

The icing had hardened enough that when I attempted to sprinkle the sprinkles on top, they rolled off like so many plastic balls in a ball pool. I had to resort to upending the cupcakes and smooshing them into a saucer of sprinkles, with the result that the flat icing became flatter and the sprinkles submerged.

But it was way past midnight and I had had enough.

The following morning she thanked me for putting the sprinkles on and went about her business. She didn't seem at all concerned about the look of the cupcakes and seemed blissfully unaware of their dubious status. I turned to my colleagues at work in despair.
"Do I tell her?" I anguished. "She thinks they're ok. Should I just let her put them out on the cupcake stand?"
"Is this a good time to tell you that Woolworths does 24 decorated cupcakes for $10.00?" they offered.
On the way home I picked up a pack. Just in case.

Back at home the preparations went on into the night. We set up teapots, found props to go with them, named the displays, carried the louvre backdrops down from the shed. Everyone was working. Himself devised a way to suspend a teapot in the air. The BA ironed sheets and researched tea 'facts' for a pinboard display. The hours flew by. The cupcakes and boxes of tea were packed and ready to go and the least of my worries.

As time went on we all began to flag. The BA crashed just after midnight. Himself followed at 2am, I was still ripping sheets into the required lengths and cutting up tea facts on the guillotine at 5am. I dropped into bed for a couple of hours and then I was up to take the BA to school at 7.30am. Back to bed for another hour and then Himself and I had to pack everything into his car for the trip down to the school.

There was rushing. There was stress. There was lack of communication.

Then there was a loud crash and swearing.

Himself had fallen down the stairs with the cupcakes.
I had to work really hard to remind myself that his welfare was more important than the resulting appearance of the already marginal cupcakes. In a way, it was almost a blessing. At least we now had a minor excuse for the marginal appearance of the cupcakes.

Inevitably, no-one made the slightest comment and the first round were inhaled by the ravenous boarders (boarders are always hungry)

so that the store bought 'back ups' made it into the photos.

Well, most of the photos.

Love you Baby Angel.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Teapot Project

I have to tell you about the tea pots. All I can hope nowadays is that the BA doesn't bother reading this blog. Actually, I wish I could block particular readers from the blog, like you do on facebook. For so long this place has been a space to vent and rage. Now I have to be aware of the teen egos that call by.

Taking an enormous risk I still want to tell you about the teapots.

My BA undertook Creative Arts this year; I thought it would be a good option for a girl who loves performing and can write a reasonable essay. I figured they would go to a few plays and films, analyse a few texts...you know the kind of thing. Wrong. They had to do a skills assessment, a practitioner study and ......a product.

Need I remind you again of my BA's
talent in the arty/creative domain?

Earlier this year I got a very excited text telling me how pumped she was about her Creative Arts 'product'.

"You probably won't like it Mum," she said, and I determined immediately to like it.

"So what is this project?" I asked nonchalantly one afternoon.
"Well Mum, I'm going to do an art exhibition of my friend's drawings."
(massive exhale of relief as I realise she is not going to try to do the artistic thing herself)
"Well, that's LOVELY darling! Tell me more."
" Well, I'm going to get Vicki to do some sketches cos she's rally awesome at that and then I'm going to arrange them on kind of antique chairs and tables in the Botanic Gardens. In a kind of 'high tea' theme."

Although doubt had already seized my troubled mind, I decided it was best to enthuse and shut up as I had already had aspersions cast upon my ability to be supportive.

Time passed.
"When exactly IS this exhibition mate?" I found myself asking halfway through first term. The far off date; 'Week 6 Term 2' eased my gnawing anxiety and I relaxed.

From time to time I would ask pertinent questions.

Me: Exactly how are you planning to display these drawings? Have you thought about framing?
BA: I'm actually going to arrange them on old fashioned tables and chairs with flowers and
Me: Uh-huh. Where are you getting the tables and chairs from?
BA: Oh! The
Lions Mart. ( a second hand furniture place)
Me: Uh huh. How much are you planning to spend?
BA: Oh Mum! Don't worry about it!


More time passed.

I finally managed to convince the BA that she needed to go into the very public 'Botanical Gardens' and talk to someone 'in charge' about mounting a display in their grounds. This was a significant step. Listening carefully, the gentleman in charge of events quickly determined that the BA really had no clear concept of how she was going to pull the thing off and, to his eternal credit, asked her to 'write a submission' which would be reviewed by the Gardens Board. After a few weeks, it was obvious that there would be no submission forthcoming.

I was starting to panic.
Student /Teacher interviews came up in the last few weeks of term one and I approached the Creative Arts teacher with some concern.
"Unless, you have a better grasp of the situation than I have, " I opined," this child has no idea of what she is doing!"
The teacher smiled indulgently and agreed that it was time to call the BA to task on the reality of her plans.
"I'm about to rein her in," she assured me; and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Shortly afterwards we were introduced to the 'new' idea. She was going to exhibit her friend's collection of teapots and she was going to do it in the school grounds. Many maternal parts of me rejoiced.
Arranging all the teapots......

As the 'event' approached, she started to ask for help.
"Maaam. Can you take me up to the Lion's Mart????"
As we parked I asked her how much she thought she was going to spend on 'old fashioned tables and chairs." The fear in her countenance was now evident to see. "Fifty dollars?" was the timorous response. I suggested to the BA that some old doors may be a cheap option as backdrops for the exhibition. We really had no clear idea of what we were looking for as we made our way over to the door section but at that moment God stepped in and provided us with 7 smallish, mismatched louvre doors from kitchen cupboards. For $15.00!

Pleased with our find we got hold of the teapots and brought them home for perusal.
There were approximately 17 of them although there were some that obviously went together. Casting a practised eye over the teapots, Himself pronounced that the louvre backdrops would need to be painted white so that the teapot colours would 'pop' in front of them. He also suggested that she give each teapot a name and put a few props with each one in order to make the teapots themselves into works of art. It was at this point that the BA announced she had two assignments due and the exhibition was on the following Friday.

Guess who screwed together and painted the louvres, named and created the teapot displays and generally lost sleep for the next three nights. It was Himself
and me. Have you ever painted louvres?

Himself came down from the shed at 1.30am on the Tuesday night saying that the screens would need another coat.
"Surely, they'll be fine," I begged,"They'll just look rustic."
"No," he replied,"They just look badly painted."
The following night saw me up in Himself's shed applying the second coat of paint whilst the BA made cupcakes. More about that later.

I Crashed Blogger!!!!

Huh. After several heavy nights trying to tell the story of the BA and her teapots, I must have put too many photos in and crashed my site!

I will have to try again and tell it in stages.....bear with me please.

I have been pretty quiet of late here because we have been focusing on the Teapot Exhibition, the BA's exams, report writing at my school and a constant whirl of netball, rehearsals and Church. Add to that mix the arrival of a bloggy friend from the UK and you will have some idea of the busy-ness of life.

We are struggling with many things BA related at the moment, for which she will not thank me if I broadcast them here :-(. A shame really as I feel a need to document them and a need to vent! I am sure she would find my missives educational and poignant in years to come. Wouldn't she?

OK. Perhaps not.

It leaves me tongue tied however, as it fills so much of my consciousness.

Nevertheless, we will have a post for Crafty Tuesday tomorrow as I will try once more to load up the teapot pictures and give you a flavour of the family affair that exhibition turned out to be!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Crafty Tuesday: The Inagural Machine Project

Voila! My first Crafty Tuesday post in an embarrassingly long time. This is one of two dresses I made (I forgot to shoot the other one) for the school dance team that were off to the Regional Semi Finals last weekend. The other one was the same style, just in a plain red satin. I liked this one better anyway :-)

This is the first real project I have completed with my new machine. Oh I have reinforced the butts on a few pairs of jeans and started the BA's bright red dress but this is the first start to finish project I have managed. Of course it took me until Wednesday 4.30 am to complete it. But I think it turned out ok?

Over at Carrie's place there is usually some awesome crafting going on, and if not, at least there are links to other creative crafters and photos of really cute kids. Why not click over and check it out?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Keeping Myself Amused

In a constant state of worry over my teen and my inability to write about it lest it be viewed and my penchant for broadcast exposed, I have resorted to funny photos.
This is Pippin, about to take out someone's eye over the complete and utter humiliation involved in being a boy cat in a girl's bedroom. If you look closely at his upper lip you can see the slight scar on the right which is where he keeps getting his lip caught on his lower tooth. I must try and get a picture; it is terrifying to behold (and kind of funny). This next shot is my all time favourite anniversary card. I couldn't actually give it to anybody, but it just cracks me up looking at it!

But the best bit is inside.... bwahahahahahahaha!

Oh well, at least I am still laughing.

I have been sewing for a the school dance troupe too but I will keep that photo until Tuesday so I can finally participate in Crafty Tuesday again. Today I'm off to help Bestie paint a wall as her back does not permit her to do such things anymore.

Yesterday I met a 12 year old autistic boy who may be coming to our school next year. He was hilarious! Active, high maintenance, but such a delight. He greeted me by my first name as he could read it off my badge and then greeted the Principal the same way! It was hysterical. He informed me that many people read names off badges, that's why people wear them. The Principal kindly informed him that 'Mr T' would be more appropriate.

In the end I had to take him on a 'tour' around the school so the principal could get the parents alone to talk. There was no way he wasn't going to be involved in any discussions! As we toured the school he became more and more excited by all the facilities. His hands flapped, he bent over and straightened up again, he jumped up and down with whoops of delight. When I opened the door to the gym he raced across the empty floor like a young calf loosed from the race at a rodeo. He stopped halfway across and turned back to me with an ear to ear grin.
"I really like this school!" he beamed.

He did have a penchant for sticking his face right up against the windows of the classrooms we passed but he jumped back suddenly as he realised the children within were staring at him.
"They're all looking at me," he said with some alarm.
"Well, they're just surprised to see you," I explained.
"They looked very surprised," he said with mild concern, "I could see by their faces they were surprised."
"Well, they don't usually have people looking at them through the windows and they don't know you."
I could see him processing this.
Wait, they could see me too?
For the autistic mind there is only his point of view. It had not occurred to him as he observed the classes that they could observe him right back! I loved watching him take on this new understanding and modify his behaviour accordingly. I don't know if he will come to our school, but I think he would be an amazing blessing to the community. He was so joyful and enthusiastic. There's nothing like an autistic person to teach you about yourself.