Monday, November 30, 2009

Bye, bye November

It's been fun, I've written 12 times as many posts as I did last month making it through my third NaBloPoMo with relative ease and, I think, only minor irritation to my family.

We have 2 and a half weeks of school left for the kids, that's only 12 days of primary school to go for David. I got his high school orientation info pack today, so many pieces of paper, so many forms to fill in, fees to pay (I'm interested to see that these include a voluntary $100 per student donation to the P&C - wonder how many people pay that?), new systems to learn, it's all a bit overwhelming.

There's a nice vague handout about the Religious Education program at the school with references to "inter-denominational" "non-threatening" and "significance of religion" which as far as I can see equates religion with Christianity and completely disappears any other faith, or lack thereof. I'll be interested to see an outline of the lesson program (the handout offers one on request). It's a program that was introduced when I was at the school, I remember it as being monumentally tedious, and that was when I was heavily involved with one of the churches that developed and still financially supports the program. There's a notable lack of references to the optional nature of Special Religious Education and no indication of what kids who opt out would be doing during that time - I'm not surprised by this and I don't believe there are any regulations that require that information to be offered, but it's interesting.

I'm tired. My head is full of little, and not so little, things I have to do, or remember, or talk to people about, or go to, or shop for. I have speeches and reports to write for the P&C. Work is relatively busy. November was a fairly hectic month for us and I really just want to stop for a while, but December promises to be just as full-on. I'm so looking forward to the holidays, I plan on sleeping and reading and playing games and not being in a hurry to do anything.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas is invading my loungeroom

Not that we're putting up much resistance or anything. However, I'm a little concerned that it's not just Christmas that has a foothold in our house...

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas party time!

Just a quick note to extend an invitation to the lovely Hoydenizens About Town and also to anyone else I should have contacted already but have by some hideous oversight missed.

We're hosting our usual Christmas party again this year

When: Sat 12th Dec from 4pm till late
Where: At our place
What: Open house - come early, come late, stay a little or a long while, whatever you can manage we'd love to see you!

Santa will arrive a 5:30pm for the kids (don't forget to tell me if your kids will be there at that time).

If you need my address/have any questions email me!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm sure Adam will be disappointed

He does after all, have quite a thing for Lizzy Bennet. Oh well.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Friday Fragments and Linkfest No. 12

Friday Fragments?
Hosted by Mrs4444.

A tossed salad of bits and bobs from the week just gone with a touch of things to come for extra flavour. Be sure to pop over to Mrs4444's place for other fragmentary offerings for today!

1. On Wednesday afternoon my 12 year old walked into the loungeroom , smiled at me and said "Hi Mum, you're awesome." I can live with that.

2. The second dwarf gourami is dead and we're down to one rummy nose tetra in Tom's tank. I'm not buying anymore fish till after Christmas, that should give all the tanks plenty of time to stabilise and I'll have more time to pay proper attention to them after that too.

3. On Wednesday night I had forgotten that Adam's mum was coming for dinner and I had done nothing by way of so much as deciding what we would eat. I think I was leaning towards toasted sandwiches but that wasn't really and option with a guest to feed. Emergency pasta sauce time! One diced onion, 2 heaped teaspoons of minced garlic, a bit butter and a splash olive oil - fry till onion is soft. Add 800g tin of chopped tomatoes, plenty of dried basil and oregano, and a small sprinkle of dried chili flakes and simmer. Slice 2 chorizo and cook in another pan, drain fat and add chorizo to sauce. Serve over spaghetti. YUM.

4. Tonight we went to the school's Band and Choir Christmas concert. Caitlin is in the choir, which sang beautifully and was clearly having lots of fun. They have a wonderful director, she's done such great work with them over the year. The Training and Concert Bands played a few pieces each, I usually manage to hear the bands play early in the year and am always most impressed by how far they've come by the end of the year. I particularly liked the Concert Band's rendition of "Born to be Wild" - I count it a win if I come away from one of these things with an earworm I can actually enjoy!

5. This Saturday we will be attending a rally in the city in support of same sex marriage

6. Linkfest time - a collection of stuff I think is worth sharing.

Does Twilight deserve any "feminist defense"?
from tigtog at Hoyden About Town.

Hoydenizens About Town
- a skills showcase and marketplace for the Hoyden About Town community.

Greta Christina on Atheism and Friendship.

Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy on Giving Thanks.

And to finish off, some light entertainment. No doubt everyone has seen these already but I'm sticking them here anyway 'cause that way I can find them again later!

Muppets Bohemain Rhapsody

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Five Star Wars status updates - Star Wars comes to Facebook on

More thoughts on Scripture in schools

I started to respond to comments on my previous post on the subject but it was getting kind of epic, so I thought I'd better chuck it all in a post of its own. This may be a little disjointed! (BTW, Scripture = Special Religious Education, or SRE, but no-one calls it that.)

A couple of people made reference to the thumb-twiddling in the library being not such a bad thing, I must admit I very nearly included a disclaimer in the original post to the effect that I was quite sure the kids were perfectly happy with the thumb-twiddling :-) Actually I believe my kids' school encourages reading which is something I'd have been very keen on as a kid had I been at all aware that Scripture class was optional.

My memories of Scripture are of some poor sodding volunteer coming into a classroom full of kids who saw the lesson as something they were not required to take seriously, like being a substitute teacher, only worse because you have no hope of convincing the kids that anyone cares if they don't do the work. As for the subject matter, it was pretty much exactly the same as we were getting at church in Sunday School, very much of the indoctrination of impressionable minds variety.

From what I see of the stuff my kids do in Scripture now it's also very definitely of the teaching dogma variety and not at all of the comparative religious studies style, and really why would it be anything else? These classes are largely being taught by volunteers who are doing it because they believe it's important to bring the kids into the fold not because they want to equip them to understand the various world religions. When your kindergartner comes home on a Thursday afternoon and tells you very seriously that all the houses in your street were made by God, or that Adam and Eve were the first people, or that the whole world was flooded and wasn't it a good thing that Noah was around it becomes very clear that myth is being taught as fact and that I have a problem with.

It's quite true, as Toni mentioned, that some schools positively encourage kids to visit all the different Scripture classes, my nieces have done a bit of swapping around between Protestant, Catholic and Buddhist classes at their school. Perhaps the nature of the classes is different in other schools, perhaps there are whole cohorts of enlightened Scripture teachers out there delivering lessons that invite a critical analysis of the subject matter, which incidentally is perfectly possible even with 5 year olds. Hey, my Mum has done a bit of Scripture teaching in the past, but the last time she did so (filling in for a friend) she was so disgusted with the curriculum materials and the lesson plans that she was expected to follow that she swore never to do it again.

From St James Ethics Centre on Facebook:
Those schools that have completed an expression of interest in being a pilot school are confirmed as participants in the pilot. They are Darlinghurst, Crown Street, Ferncourt, Rozelle, Hurstville, Bungendore, Neutral Bay and Baulkham Hills North Public Schools. Another school is 80% through the process. There is room for just one more.
Don't suppose there's much hope of grabbing the last spot for our school.

Ariane mentioned one of my big doubts about this whole exercise - where are the volunteers to teach ethics classes going to come from? I know the churches often have a fair bit of trouble filling the volunteer roles to teach scripture and they have a presumably highly motivated pool of people to draw on. I, of course, find myself answering the question in my own head with "perhaps I should..." at which point the other half of me jumps up with a cartoon sledgehammer yelling "don't you DARE think about volunteering for anything else" and squishes the idea flat. It's all very well saying "What a wonderful idea, we should definitely have ethics classes offered in all schools" but that's not going to be much use if there's no-one to teach them.

Mind you, even if there aren't enough teachers to go around, there'll be some no small victory in breaking the anachronistic hold of the churches on that half hour of SRE a week should the trial be deemed successful and the NSW Dept of Education and Training' policy on the matter changed to allow the classes to be offered across the board.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I like lizards

I had just sat down with a cup of tea and a pistachio and cranberry shortbread biscuit (which, incidentally, is rather yummy) when I spotted this intruder perched on the top of my backpack beside the lounge. I love those long toes, so cute!

Teeny little skink

I like lizards

I caught it and took it outside where it promptly ran up my arm, jumped onto my shirt, scurried down my front, slunk around behind me and tried to hide up the leg of my shorts. Fortunately Adam was able to head it off at the pass without hurting it and it's now back in the garden where it belongs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ethics classes to be trialed as an alternative to "Scripture"

This is fantastic news. It's about time there was something better for the non-scripture kids to do than go to the library and twiddle their thumbs.

When my oldest first started school I hadn't quite given up on the church, I'd long since moved away from any belief in god but I still saw value in the ethical teaching and the community that a church fosters. So off he went to Scripture classes, as did most of his classmates. It wasn't long before I was rather regretting that decision as I found myself dealing with the some of the less-nuanced ideas that came home from the classes. I console myself with the thought that at least he'll be well equipped to understand any biblical allusions if he ever ends up reading various classic novels and poetry. My other 2 have also gone to Scripture classes and I freely admit it's because it was easier to go with the flow and let them be with their friends. Especially as the alternative was so unsatisfactory.

Every so often I offer my kids the option of not going to Scripture class, none of them have taken me up on it, they'd rather stay with their friends and sit through lessons about things they do not believe than be bored. If something like these proposed ethics classes were available at all schools, not only would I jump at it now, I'd have been thrilled to enroll the kids in them way back in Kindergarten.

From the SMH:
ETHICS classes will be introduced in NSW schools, offering an alternative to religious studies for the first time in 100 years, the Premier, Nathan Rees, will announce today.
The St James Ethics Centre has been working very hard for some time to get this project up and running. "Towards an ethics-based complement to scripture in NSW primary schools" gives an overview of the issues involved and of the proposals being considered.

I am so very pleased to see this trial getting the go-ahead and I will be presenting information about it to our next P&C meeting at school. I only wish there were to be more than 10 schools involved in the trial. Ah well, teaspoons. Hopefully it will be a huge success and we'll see further progress in the near future.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One word meme

I've seen this one floating around in various forms a bit lately and I had it tucked away in the back of my mind for a day like today. It's day 24 of NaBloPoMo and the muse was not visiting. So a meme it is - one word answers to a bunch of questions which may or may not mean something, you decide :P

1. Where is your cell phone? Table

2. Your significant other? Hubby :-)

3. Your hair? Dishevelled

4. Your mother? Awesome

5. Your father? Generous

6. Your favourite thing? Peace

7. Your dream last night? Forgotten

8. Your favourite drink? Water

9. Your dream/goal? Reached

10. The room you are in? Lounge

11. Your hobby? Numerous

12. Your fear? Failure

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Happy

14. Who did you hang out with last night? Adam

15. What you're not? "Normal"

16. The last thing you did? Therapy

17. What are you wearing? Blue

18. Your favourite book? Many!

19. The last thing you ate? Tacos

20. Your life? Contented

21. Your mood? Drained

22. Your friends? Diverse

23. What are you thinking about right now? Sleep

24. Your car? Battered

25. Favourite gadget? Laptop

26. Your summer? Hot

27. What is on your TV? Nothing

28. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight

29. Last time you cried? Tonight

30. School? Frustrating

Monday, November 23, 2009

Better late than never?

Many moons ago, back in March to be precise, I participated in a blogging meme titled Want a gift from me? I was supposed to deliver those gifts within a month of posting the offer. Here we are almost 8 months later and it hasn't been done - man am I ever slack!

Time to remedy the situation I think. Alix, Mel and Marjorie, I know the gift was supposed to be a surprise but I have these super cute Christmas earrings so I'm kind of hoping that you all have pierced ears and a fondness for Christmas sparkliness, can I interest you in a pair of green or crystal Christmas tree earrings?

Christmas tree earringsChristmas tree earrings

If the Chrissy trees aren't your thing please have a look at the various earrings I've posted on Flickr and pick something that does appeal - and if your ears aren't pierced feel free to browse the bracelets too!

Finally, I'll need you to email me with your mailing address so I can actually get these things sent off to you :-)

Mondays aren't usually this bad

Today I have dealt with more than my fair share of angst.

I got up this morning with some no small effort and went to check on Tom's fish tank. I hadn't done this for nearly a week, Tom had been very responsible with feeding his fish and I've been kind of busy. In Tom's tank I discovered one very ill looking siamese fighting fish lying upside down on the gravel. Tom had to be bundled off to school hoping that his Simo would be ok, I warned him that it didn't look good. After the kids had gone to school I checked on the fish again and Simo was dead. Then I realised I couldn't see one of the rummy nose tetras either (found the corpse tonight when I did a water change).

Then I went to feed my fish and one of the dwarf gouramis was dead with the other looking decidedly unwell.

I did find baby platies in Tom's tank though, just 2 of them, but yeah, baby fish! I think one of Tom's platies was looking kind of plump!

I had a meeting with David's teacher just after lunch all about how worried he is about how David will cope at high school and how he's likely to be a target of bullying and it all so different and how he feels like he's let David down because he hasn't "fixed" him or something. Told me he didn't think David was having a very happy childhood, by which he meant David wasn't happy at school, wasn't enjoying it. Yeah, the only way David could suddenly start loving school would be if he stopped being David. I'm aiming to have him survive it myself. Anyway, he was offering to get in touch with the high school and talk to them about David so that they know what to expect. That part I'm very pleased with, I wasn't expecting it because David doesn't fit into any categories that are eligible for special consideration or help or anything.

Then I was picking the kids up from school and Caitlin came out of class with tears streaming down her cheeks because she'd missed out on being nominated to run in the prefects elections. Followed by Tom who was crying because there'd been a dead baby bird on the oval earlier in the day and as a bonus some other kid had mocked him for caring about the dead bird. And then I had to tell him his fish was dead. Almost ended up in tears in the school playground myself.

As a crowning glory Adam's car got a flat tire on the way home and because he has a silly little car that doesn't have room for a spare he had to wait for a tow truck which he was told could take two hours.

At which point I gave up and went to get fish and chips for dinner, because deep fried potato makes everything better. (Adam was home within the hour, which was nice.)

Know what else makes things better? Kids and puppy dogs having fun.

Clara on the trampoline

Click here if you can't see the embedded video

P.S. I've updated my NaBloPoMo prize offer post with the actual prize options.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Market day

We held Christmas markets at the school today.

In 40 degree heat.

(That's 104F for you non-metric types.)

I shared a stall with a friend, it was our first markets for both of us so we had no idea how it would go. Thank FSM that Simone had organised a table cloth and clever deployment of a box for our display, 'cause I completely dropped the bundle on that aspect of things.

Our stall

My first market stall

It was a bit breezy and the earring displays were exhibiting slight nautical tendencies, sailing across the table every so often. Eventually we managed to arrange and wedge them into place such that they stayed more or less put.

My end of the table

My end of the table

I'd been rather dreading being outside for 6 hours in that hideous heat and I guess I wasn't the only one who felt that way because it was really quiet.

It did get a bit busier than this...but not by much.

It was a little on the quiet side

If I was assessing the day on the basis of financial return I'd have to admit it was a bit of a write-off. But, as I got to spend my time sitting in a comfy chair, in the shade, with just enough breeze to make the heat bearable, in the company of a good friend and chatting to people we knew as they came by and admired our cool stuff, I'm willing to call it a Good Day. Of course I now have a whole heap of stuff made, photographed, priced and ready to put up for sale on-line. Watch this space!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

But wait! There's more...

I'm having that "it's never-ending!" feeling about life just at present. I rather suspect that when I stop I'm going to crash, Monday may be a bit of a write-off.

Yesterday at 7am, after going to bed at 4am (I was working, laptop disaster & database problems legacy), I kicked Adam out of bed to get the kids off to school and went back to sleep. Adam woke me at ten to nine and I hauled myself out of bed, my beading kit out to the car and me, car and kit down to Ariane's for a craft day. I made some more Christmas tree earrings, including some green ones, and a sodalite necklace (photos are a bit ordinary, there's no sunlight at 11pm :P I took some new ones, much better!).

Swarovski crystal and sterling silver Christmas tree earrings

Christmas tree earrings

Sodalite and riverstone necklace
Length ~52cm
Sodalite and riverstone necklace

Then it was back home to meet the kids - I arrived 30 seconds before their bus dropped them off across the road. I did a quick blog post and then abandoned the boys while I popped up the road to the shops to pick up salad supplies for dinner and a few odds and ends for the market stall on Sunday. Then came home and cooked date scones as a present for my Grandma while the boys made the salad.

99 years old and looking good!

Happy 99th birthday Grandma

Dinner last night was a buffet affair at my Grandma's nursing home with pretty much the whole extended family - my Mum, Dad, sister & family and brother & family, my Aunty Liz and Uncle Rob, cousins Warwick, Cameron and Rebecca and her family. Twenty four of us all up. It's not every day the matriarch turns 99 years old!


Nom nom nom

Today was Caitlin's dance concert - matinee and evening performances - which has taken up pretty much the whole day.

Ballet costume

Ballet costume 2009

Song and Dance costume

Song and dance costume 2009

I did manage to grab an hour to finish pricing all my stuff for tomorrow. I'm now tossing up between sleep and making a few more earrings. The markets start at 9am so I'll need to get going pretty early, sleep is sounding pretty good...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Busy day

I'll tell you all about it later, meanwhile have some more Tim Minchin, because he is awesome and it saves Ariane from having to go looking for it.

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jupiter jasper

Another riveting edition of stuff wot I made.

Jupiter jasper, tiger jasper and sterling silver necklace

Jupiter jasper necklace

a couple of bracelets of the same

Jupiter jasper bracelet

Jupiter jasper bracelet

and a bunch of earrings - Jupiter jasper and sterling silver.

Jupiter jasper and sterling silver earrings

Grey skies are making this photography business a bit tricky, wish I'd got around to doing number 3 in my 12 things to do this year list. (Wish I'd got around to doing any of them really...)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless-ish Wednesday

I took Caitlin to her dance concert rehearsal at the UTS Kuring-gai campus this afternoon. On the way there I asked if it would be ok with her if I just dropped her outside the building and didn't come in, instead of parking miles off and walking her to the theatre. She wanted me to come in with her, despite this being the 7th time we've done this. So, because I am a complete push-over I parked off to billy-oh and walked with her to the rehearsal. I was wearing the wrong shoes and my feet and knee hurt and by the time I was heading back to the car my tummy was hurting too (yes, it's all slightly pathetic I know, I hope I'm not coming down with something). But then I saw this, and somehow it wasn't so bad after all.

Gum blossom

Plus, there was the added bonus of Tom being embarrassed by his mum taking photos in the garden with all the university students walking by - he walked off ahead and pretended he didn't know me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The kids have begun singing Christmas songs

Which would be nice if they ever sang more than the one chorus of the one song over and over again. I need to put together a playlist of my favourite Christmas songs so I can switch it on whenever they start and attempt to expand their repertoire.

This one will be on there for starters:

White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin

Click here if you can't see the embedded video

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moukaite jasper

This morning's efforts, Moukaite jasper and gold plate:


Moukaite jasper necklace


Moukaite jasper bracelet

and earrings

Moukaite jasper earrings

(I've also done 2 loads of washing - productivity is my middle name :P)

Now, off to a meeting with David's teacher...

500th post, dedicated to TWOMF

Just by chance I happened to notice that my next post was going to be my 500th post. I tweeted the revelation, as one does, and pondered upon just what subject matter could be worthy of such a meaningless milestone.

Then PZ Meyers pointed me in the direction of a missive from the future. I watched, was highly amused (and most disconcerted at about the 3 minute mark) and simply had to share it right now.

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

And there you have it, the reason my 500th post is dedicated to TWOMF.

P.S. Here it is in situ on Stephen Fry's website.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All blogged up and nothing to say

I'm sitting in my lounge room surrounded by the remnants of a day-long sorting out of all my beading supplies. It's going to be very nice to be able to find what I need without having to rummage through a confetti of small plastic bags (instead I will be shuffling piles of plastic boxes) but having spent most of the day sitting in the one spot has left me with a sore back, swollen feet and nothing much to say. (Also, no jewellery made, but I'm trying not to think about that.)

The week ahead promises to be fairly full-on. I have heaps of work to do and to re-do - thank you database disaster - and not nearly enough in the office hours in which to do it all. I have a meeting with David's teacher tomorrow at 1:30pm which steals half my afternoon from me and is providing a nice little edge of anticipatory tension in the back of my mind (he hasn't said what it's about). Tuesday night is a P&C meeting at which there is much to discuss and some possibility of strong feelings about some issues. Caitlin has a dance rehearsal at Lindfield on Wednesday afternoon so I'll be taxiing back and forth between that and Tom's drama class all afternoon. Thursday is so far unencumbered apart from the usual stuff of work, getting Caitlin to dance class and feeding the family. Friday I plan on spending at Ariane's place frantically doing last minute preparations for the school Christmas markets on Sunday, because on Saturday I won't have a chance as Caitlin has dance performances, a matinee and in the evening. And somewhere in amongst all that I need to make at least 20 pairs of earrings and half a dozen necklaces.

I reckon that, if I'm going to keep up the NaBloPoMo-ing through all that, I'm going to need some help. Ask me questions, hit me with memes, whatever! Give me something to work with here...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's a lovely day for a battle.

We went to Berrima today and completely failed to go to any of the fabulous antique shops, or historic buildings and little museums, or the cafes, or even the pub. Instead we spent the whole day at the village green for a combined groups training session organised by the Ancient Arts Fellowship.

It was a beautiful day, perfect weather for not wearing a long-sleeved Viking dress. So I wussed out and didn't get dressed up :P We took Clara with us and for a little while, just after we got in the car this morning, we thought she was going to make excited puppy squeaks for the whole 1hr 20min trip. But she settled down and contented herself with trying to fit on the one seat with Caitlin so she could see out the window properly.

Just after everyone arrived at the park someone discovered a baby magpie on the ground - it had fallen out of the nest. WIRES was called and the kids got to look after "Fluffy" until the WIRES person arrived to collect the little ball of fuzz.

Fluffy the baby magpie

Fluffy the baby magpie

Clara was in seventh heaven, there were new people to say hello to and other dogs walking by and new smells to smell and new trees to investigate and people giving her massages and and and...

Clara happily ensconced on her picnic rug

Clara watching the world go by

Having a combined training session meant that there was a fairly large contingent of fighters on the field, something most groups can't manage on their own. I've uploaded a whole bunch of photos and videos to flickr so you can head over there if you want to see them all, I'll just pop a couple up here as a teaser.

The battle lines approach each other with caution


Action shot

Action shot

Spears, swords, javelins - it's carnage I tell you

Click here if you can't see the embedded video

While Adam collected a nice assortment of bruises I alternated between a bit of tablet-weaving and a lot of trying to find the right angle to take photos from - bit of a challenge that, on account of the fighters wanting to stay in the shade and it being somewhat dangerous to stand too close to them. Right at the end of the day I got a quick lesson in nålebinding which, if I can remember how it goes, adds another Viking craft to my repertoire.

Then I retrieved Caitlin from the tree she'd spent most of the day in

Caitlin in a tree

and we headed home. Clara flopped on the floor of the car and was sprawled out fast asleep before we'd gone more than a few hundred meters.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments?

This Friday Fragments thing seemed like quite a good idea today seeing as I was rapidly running out of day and hadn't come up with anything of substance to post. Mrs4444 has been fragmenting on a weekly basis for quite some time, in fact this week is her 70th Friday Fragments post and here I am embarking on my very first. Here goes!

1. I spoke too soon on the matter of no dead fish. When I went to kiss Tom goodnight last night I discovered one of the rummy nose tetras had expired, apparently they are quite sensitive to poor water quality. So at 9pm I was doing chemical testing and an emergency water change.

2. We had a database crash at work today and all our updates for the last 2 days were lost. Fortunately there are back-ups of the data I used that can be retrieved from our secure server provider - at first I thought I would have no record at all of the long list of subscriptions I'd half processed during that time.

3. We have milk and bread delivered in the wee small hours on Monday and Thursday mornings. On Thursdays we also get orange juice and eggs which means the second loaf of bread doesn't fit in the cooler bag we leave out. Instead it gets left on top and the resident possum usually helps itself to a slice or two - very neatly mind you and the rest of the loaf is fine. This week the bread was untouched. I hope Poss is ok. (Yeah, I could leave a second bag out but that's be just mean.)

4. When I finished Canteen duty at the school this afternoon there were four absolutely adorable, fuzzy, roly poly five week old Border Collie puppies tumbling about on the lawn beside the school hall. One of the kids had her mum bring them in for news and she had decided to hang around at school rather than go home in the small amount of time left of the school day. I wanted to snorgle them, but contented myself with a few tummy rubs. Snorgles seemed a little risky as only one of the four had a home lined up to go to when ready to wean. I so don't need a puppy. I should have taken a photo, shouldn't I?

5. I need new summer shoes, the ones I have are beginning to disintegrate. I have no idea when I am going to manage to get to the shops to buy some.

6. I have in my wallet a whole bunch of cheques that I need to go to the bank and deposit. One of them is nearly two years old - it's from the government so hopefully they'll still honour it, but I won't hold my breath!

And I'm done.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

School talent quest

This year I had two little performers doing their thing at the school talent quest, both of them practiced hard and both of them were fabulous (I may be a little biased here of course.)

Tom was persuaded to sing without any music, here's his rendition of the first half of "I Will Survive."

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Caitlin had a proper backing track prepared for her by her singing teacher but the volume controls were in the hands of a couple of year 6 students who are used to everyone using ordinary recordings of the songs they are singing and therefore turning the sound right down so that the kids' performances aren't drowned out by the vocals on their CDs. Unfortunately this meant that Caitlin could barely hear her music which didn't help with the tummy churning stage fright that she gets doing this sort of thing. I'm constantly amazed that she wants to get up on stage given the way it clearly makes her feel, and I know just how bad it can be because I get the same thing when I have to give talks at Kindy Orientations, or run a more challenging than usual P&C meeting, or give a speech in front of the entire school and their families at Presentation Night (oh god, have to do that again this year).

Anyway, here she is singing "Money, Money, Money"

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sleep deprivation, I haz it

I procrastinated a little too long last night and ended up still working on P&C stuff after 2am which left me with less than 4 hours of sleeping time. I had to get to the shops before school started to get extra supplies for the Kindy Orientation morning tea this morning then go to work and come home to a full afternoon of kid-wrangling - homework, drama class, singing lesson and preparation for the school talent quest tomorrow. Mum helped again, she is totally my hero. Then there was the conjuring of dinner and having Adam's mum join us for the meal. Sadly, after quite a few weeks of her being sober, tonight she'd been drinking again. After dinner was more homework helping and I'm now sitting here writing a terribly uninspired blog post while David plays Guitar Hero.

Did you know it's incredibly frustrating trying to take photos of fish? The rotten things just won't stay still and they keep hiding behind rocks and plants. Adam was totally laughing at me the whole time I was taking the dozens of photos needed to get just a handful that were even vaguely in focus.

Clown Loach

Clown loach

Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gourami

It's so far so good on the fish-tank front, all the fish we've brought home are still alive, the plants are growing like crazy and the male platy in our small tank is showing lots of interest in his 3 female companions, with any luck we'll have baby fish before too long.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pretty rocks and NaBloPoMo prize


The school Christmas markets are done and as promised here are the options for one lucky NaBloPoMo prize winner to choose from.

A) Moukaite jasper necklace with gold plated beads, bead caps and toggle clasp. Length 49.5cm. With matching earrings.
Moukaite jasper necklaceMoukaite jasper earrings
Click on the photos for bigger images.

B) Snowflake obsidian and riverstone necklace with silver plated bead caps and sterling silver toggle clasp. Length ~49cm. With matching earrings.
Snowflake obsidian and riverstone necklaceSnowflake obsidian and riverstone earrings
Click on the photos for bigger images.

C) Sodalite and riverstone necklace with pewter beads and sterling silver toggle clasp. Length 52 cm. With matching earrings.
Sodalite and riverstone necklaceSodalite and riverstone earrings
Click on the photos for bigger images.

On Saturday I promised there'd be pretty rocks pictures the next day, but stuff happened and I got a bit distracted. Anyway, here's my latest batch of shiny things.

Whatever I have left-over after the school Christmas markets in a couple of weeks (Sunday Nov 22nd, come along if you're in the area!) I will be putting up for sale, either through Esty or just on my blog and I'll also be offering a few pieces for one of the NaBloPoMo winners to pick a prize from. I promised a necklace and earring set so I suppose I'd better start making matching earrings for some of these! I'll update this post with my prize offerings after the markets.

Swarovski crystal and sterling silver Christmas tree earrings.

Christmas tree earrings

Botswana agate and sterling silver necklace.
Length 45cm
Botswana agate necklace

Rhodonite, snowflake obsidian and sterling silver necklace.
Length 45cm with 7cm extension chain and 4cm pendant
Rhodonite and snowflake obsidian necklace

Indian bloodstone necklace with gold plated beads and clasp.
Length 49cm
Indian bloodstone necklace

Indian bloodstone, Swarovski crystal and sterling silver necklace.
Length 49cm
Indian bloodstone and swarovski crytal necklace

Sodalite and riverstone necklace with silver plated bead caps and clasp.
Length 45cm
Sodalite and riverstone necklace

Aventurine and tiger jasper bracelet with pewter beads and clasp.
Length 20cm
Aventurine and tiger jasper bracelet

Monday, November 09, 2009

18th Down Under Feminists Carnival

The 18th Down Under Feminists Carnival this month is hosted by Jo Tamar at Wallaby. Lots of great posts to read so get clicking!

In my not-posting funk last month I failed to link to the 17th DUFC, so I'll stick it in here too, it was hosted by Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure.

Chorizo and smoked chicken risotto

I've been meaning to make a risotto that involved chorizo for quite some time so when Adam announced this morning that he'd really like risotto for dinner I decided tonight would be the night. Not having a recipe that quite hit the mark I decided to experiment and wandered about Woolworths popping anything that seemed like a good idea into my trolley.

As I began cooking tonight, Tom asked my Mum if she was staying for dinner - she'd been helping out with the kids' homework as she often does on a Monday afternoon, because she is made of all kinds of awesome. I warned her that I was inventing and said that of course she was welcome to stay and yes, I was sure there'd be plenty of food (mostly because I was pretty sure the kids wouldn't eat much). I was right about Caitlin not eating and Dave wasn't overly thrilled, but Mum had seconds and Tom asked for thirds!

Chorizo & smoked chicken risotto

1/4 cup dry white wine
1.5L chicken stock - use a low salt stock, I use Massel's salt reduced chicken style stock cubes
2 chorizo sausages sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
25g butter
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
2 heaped teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups arborio rice
1 smoked chicken breast, skinned and sliced
1/4 cup marinated roasted red capsicum, rinsed and diced
a few handfuls of baby spinach
  1. Heat the stock and wine in a saucepan and keep it at a low simmer.

  2. In a large non-stick pan cook the chorizo until it begins to brown, drain the fat then add the mushrooms, once the mushrooms are cooked remove both from pan and set aside.

  3. Add oil, butter, leek and garlic to pan and cook until transparent. Stir in the rice until well coated.

  4. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time stirring constantly over a medium heat, each time waiting until all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. About half-way through drain and reserve any juices from the mushrooms and add the juices to the pan. Once all the stock has been added taste test the rice, if it's still a little on the firm side add hot water in small amounts and continue stirring until the rice is cooked through.

  5. Add the mushroom and chorizo mix, the diced capsicum, sliced smoked chicken breast and spinach. Stir gently until the spinach has wilted. Serves 6 people as long as 2 of them think you are poisoning them.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Oh bugger!

Last night, when I was sitting with my laptop perched on the arm of the lounge beside me, Adam asked me where the iPod sync cable was. Without thinking I twisted round to rummage amongst the detritus on the coffee table beside the lounge. Adam yelped and reached for my plummeting laptop, he made contact and slowed the descent, but it was no good. It must have hit at just the wrong angle, I picked it up and this is what I saw:

Tragedy strikes

Luckily we have Adam's defunct MacBook, that is the same model and has a perfectly good screen, to raid for spare parts. We might even be able to swap out the airports in the hope of fixing my flakey wireless problems as well. Assuming we don't stuff up the whole process entirely.

Today I am grateful for a techy hubby, a house full of half-dead computers and more functioning computers than we really need and, above all, complete and recent back-ups which mean I'm not even slightly concerned about the possibility of everything going horribly wrong when we attempt MacBook surgery.

Step one: Obtain weird-arse screwdriver for undoing funky screws, what's the bet Bunnings won't have it?

Wish us luck!

Update: It turns out we didn't have quite the same model laptops and a couple of cables had different connectors. One was the wireless card - easy fixed by swapping his old one into my machine. The other was the inverter. Adam tried doing a bit of re-wiring to attach the old connector to the new cable but when he plugged it all in and hit the power button there was an ominous ffttzz sound and no illumination for the screen. The screen is working - you can see the display if you shine a bright light on it, it's just not backlit. So I'm using one of the big desktop screens for the moment and Adam's going to have another go at the wiring tonight.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Featuring Jack in all his glorious fuzziness.

I was photographing jewellery in the last of the afternoon sun when along came a great big ball of fuzz in search of a sunny spot.

He plonked himself down right on top of my necklace

Ahhh, this is a nice sunny spot!

and stretched out to snooze.


"Excuse me!" said I, but he would not deign to acknowledge me.

Ho hum, nothing to see here

Except to deliver a withering glare and show off his whiskers.

Will you stop pointing that thing at me

A rustle in the garden - what was that?!

What was that?!

Nothing there - flop!


See what I mean about the whiskers?

You'll have to wait till tomorrow for the pictures of pretty rocks - gotta pace myself with the posting you know!