Sunday, June 27, 2010

27th June - the power of a puzzle

"Ross you are my best friend"
Yes, after a weekend where our mantra has become "They're just tired, they need holidays" this was how today ended.

Now don't get me wrong - this was not what we expected at ANY time today. We even tried "divide and conquer" - you know, you take Ross and I'll take Kate. Ross went to the footy, Kate went shopping and cooking. Still, when they came back together the 'friction' continued.

We had only executed "divide and survive".

So after showers, and upon being gently directed to their own rooms for a while... the above quote is what we heard.

And what were they doing?

26th June - the comfort of a fire

Tonight, after tea, we stood around our outdoor fire to chat.


25th June - it's nice to have "dad" home

Sometimes a picture paints 1000 words

24th June - I can do it .... but there is carnage

Well, tonight Wayne returned from his conference in Brisbane.

While he's been away, in addition to the normal hectic routine that is our week, the following occurred:

  • I wrote an application for a short-term position
  • Grey's Anatomy - goes without saying this week really, doesn't it!!!
  • PM challenged
  • PM toppled.

So, after the kids had gone to bed each night, there really wasn't that "potter" time I'd been hoping for.

BUT, we did survive.

Although, looking around the house tonight... there was some additional carnage.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23rd June - watch your back!

"Hi folks"

It could be a residual result of the Winter Solstice.

It could be a leading indicator of the Full Moon.

To paraphrase a 'commentator' tonight - 7:30 Reportland is looking like a very comfortable place.

I had plans .... tidy the house.
...... pack lunches.
........ sort resource folders.
..... go to bed early.

Well, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

22nd June - I don't care how you judge me... well not about everything

I am often quite worried about my need to please. My need to always appear involved, interested, competent, capable... and though I sometimes play up to the opposite - I would be truly crushed if people really had a negative perception of me.

I know, as I enter these last few years of my 30s I really should have come to terms with WHO I am, irrespective of the perceptions of others. But, I haven't.

I find it hard to say "No". (Unless saying NO will help others perceive me as a sensible, level-headed individual)

I find it hard to shirk responsibility.

I find it hard to quit (hence I am still completing a blog entry for each day - which has now been going since April in some form or fashion)

I am molded by what others think - of course, this does depend on the "standing" that I 'give' that person - if you are a true nutter I couldn't give a rat's.

But mostly I try to please. Make sensible choices.

So today, with 4 hours sleep under my belt (I'll fill you in later - maybe) and doing the single-mum, 2 kids routine, I made a choice which rather surprised me.

Kate has a very tight breakfast routine on week days. It is usually a 'breakfast bar' followed by yoghurt. Once this is done, she will generally eat anything which is not moving. But the start, the fragile start, to each morning cannot vary.

Unless you have NO breakfast bars.

What about toast? NO
Toast with jam? NO
Toast with vegemite? NO
Weet-bix? NO
Porridge? NO
Croissants? NO
Baked Beans? NO
Spaghetti? NO

I walked away. I couldn't have my girl going to Childcare without breakfast, hungry... what would they think?

What about chilli biscuits and cheese? A cheeky, broad smile - as this is something which is often requested, but always denied.

And so, she ate Chilli Rice crackers with processed cheese on top.
In front of the TV,
in the lounge,
on the couch for that matter!

She had food in her tummy.
She was happy.
We got in the car on time.

I don't care what you think!

"Never judge a man's actions until you know his motives"

21st June - life is full of double-edged swords

Well, today I finally got to that item on my list which usually gets missed:
  • Ring piano teacher for Kate
So I rang and the lesson is in place. Next Tuesday. The day before our Girl-Wonder turns 5.
After getting off the phone I went into her room to tell her the good news.

"Kate, you can start piano lessons next Tuesday."

The look on her face was sheer joy (although the delay with my camera didn't quite catch it).

Kate: "When will be next Tuesday?"

Me: "The day before your birthday" (thinking this would be a good point - how wrong I was)

Kate: "When I turn 5?"

Me: "Yes"

Kate: "Where will I be on my birthday?"

Me: "It's Wednesday, so at Kindy."

Kate: "But when I'm 5 I don't go to Kindy anymore!"

Me: "Yes sweetie, that's right. It will be your last day."

Kate (face with tears)

double edged sword: from the notion that even as one edge of a two-edged sword can be directed at an enemy or otherwise do your bidding, the opposite edge, pointing back as it does towards you, is at risk of doing you harm

Sunday, June 20, 2010

20th June - you don't have to leave home to have a work-out

The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down."
Rita Rudner

By lunch time today.....

my shoulders ached,
my lower back felt a bit stiff,
my bicep twinged,
my hands had a few blisters.

No, I hadn't made any more use of that gym membership.
I hadn't even left our block.

I had shovelled grey metal.

Maybe I should get around to cancelling that membership.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

19th June - always read the label

"Always read the label, and if pain persists
please see a Doctor"

Last night we had fish and chips for tea. I was feeling rather uninspired to cook, and let's face it - it's cold and dark now. So off I went to our local to pick up said food.

I plated it up - in my best Master Chef technique - and decided that I would add a little extra to my plate.


I looked in the condiments cupboard.
No joy.
Then I remembered that there was a large container in the pantry. I quicky found it. Took the cap off. Carefully poured the vinegar into the cap, and poured the capful over my meal. I basked in my genius; not pouring too much over my meal.

I sat down to eat my tea. I thought that the vinegar didn't pack much of a punch.
Maybe it is a bit old. Does vinegar lose some of its punch with age?
I finished my tea. Tidied. Read stories. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

This morning, Wayne pointed out one little point that I may have missed.

No, it hadn't lost its punch. There was no punch to begin with.

Always read the label.

18th June - you CAN get to bed early

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to.

Bob Dylan

Tonight I wanted to try something. Something new. Something which is rarely accomplished in my house.

I wanted to get to be early. This was the best I could do. While it might not be defined as early in everyone's books - for me it is amazing!


17th June - comfort = fashion

Fashion fades, only style remains the same.
Coco Chanel

Today, after Kate's school visit she went to "hit the shops". She had one thing on her list - pyjamas!

And she found some beauties.

After footy training we were afforded a fashion parade.

Is there anything better than flanny jammies?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

15th - 16th June - sometimes it takes more than a day to achieve your potential

There is no man living who isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.

Henry Ford

Yes, technically this is not one thing that I learned today... but sometimes it can take a bit longer..

Last night, while on the phone to my sister, we joked about how we live "with potential".
I could, potentially... exercise more, eat healthier (especially after the Report Writing weekend - what is it with writing reports and having to eat chocolate?), have a tidier house, be more organised.... I could go on, but I won't. Mainly, because it can get quite depressing to realise everything you DON'T do.

So, I decided to take just one... exercise more. Now, first confession: I have a gym membership which I haven't used for many months. It seems that each night gets filled with the stuff of life. Be it work related, family related, community related.... or just the everyday stuff.

So I have the potential to go to the gym - but I don't.

I also have one of these great laundry accessories. This is what it looked like yesterday.

So this is where I started.

This evening it looked like this.

Seems I can find the time, but it just isn't in "business hours".

Monday, June 14, 2010

14th June - the World looks better when THOSE big jobs are complete


My reports are finished. Well almost.... more than not.... enough that I felt quite relaxed 'having a day off'.

After the initial disappointment of discovering that, once again, I had been overlooked on the Queen's Birthday Honour List .... (another year without Dame Kellie, OBE / AO ... any letters really), I decided to make the most of today.

It was Wayne's turn to be chained to the computer, so I bundled the kids into the car and we headed off to do some school scoping for Nigsie. They are moving over soon, so the hunt is on for schools.

We stopped for lunch.
The obligatory Adelaide Hills apple.
Listened to the Footy ... and shared Melbourne's disappointment (so close).
Stopped at ovals.
Stopped at playgrounds.

Just stopped.

And everything looked better.
You notice small things when you are relaxed.
Your mind is free to appreciate them, to wonder in them.

Like Autumn Leaves.

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
Sydney J Harris

13th June - that laughter is contagious

Today was day two of the Great Report Writing Marathon.

Right about now, muscle melt-down and a pair of sneakers is looking better than this experience has been, but as I keep telling Ross "This is what lets me have school holidays with you. If I didn't write reports then we wouldn't be able to go on holidays together."

And while he accepts that, there are times when I wonder if having each evening and weekend free would more than compensate for the holidays... but I digress.

As I entered hour (insert ridiculously high number here) I had a noise seep in through the bottom of the door.

It got louder, and began to soak through the walls.

It got louder still, and engulfed my entire being... so I went to investigate...

Oh the joy that can be had with a frozen lunch cooler..... and your dad's trackies!

And yes, I did join in.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

e.e. cummings

Saturday, June 12, 2010

12th June - stones can turn to diamonds

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.


We have a little saying in our house... "it's a bit of a stone day."

Ross has no idea that this phrase, which came from a rather extended 'lecture' which I gave him one afternoon comes from some twangy country song.

He just knows that some days are stone days, while others are diamonds. Today was stone.

One of those days where every choice was poor.
Every word hindered.
Every reaction was explosive.
Today, the best thing to do was to have 'enforced exhile' - sit and chill. Get life into perspective.

And so it was that after a time (according to Ross it felt so long - "like 1 hour and 15 minutes") the stone, while not turning to a rare diamond, at least took on a bit of a sparkle.

Friday, June 11, 2010

11th June - clothes don't always maketh the man

Following on from Kate's illness - today was 'Dr day'.

Now it seems that my cherubs at school did not follow the game plan too closely yesterday. In fact, by all accounts it was a god-damn schamozzle yesterday. So, you can imagine the joy that met my request for another day off! Actually, it wasn't really that bad - the reaction - my class, unfortunately, really WERE that bad.

So, I planned the crap out of the day! I had tasks, worksheets, activities that would keep every single second - and more - occupied. There was no way anyone was going to have even a nano second to hatch plans of reckless behaviour.

This morning I quickly popped into work to drop everything in. Now, to be fair, I had planned to wear this:

and if Kate had been able to jag an appointment with a certain doctor, I still would have!

But she didn't, so I didn't.

Instead, I wore:

I had someone comment that I was rather casual; so therefore "off duty".

I pulled up short of explaining to this person that we are never truly "off duty".
I have been "on duty" in pyjamas, stale clothes without a shower for two days, bathers, evening gowns, and yes, even trackies.

Clothes may well maketh the man when we are at work, but they are not even a remote consideration in our real lives.

10th June - that one day's plan becomes a lifetime of unpredictable events

birth plan: The birth plan is a written list of your preferences to be used as a guide for how you would like your labour and delivery to go. As labour can be unpredictable, you may need to deviate from this plan at times during labour.

Many days our life runs to routine. Get up, shower, do hair, make up, get dressed, breakfast, pack bags....out the door.

Once we arrive at school or work our days follow a predictable routine - allowing us to pick up the manouvres at the other end of the day.....
pick up at childcare, pick up at OSHC, shops, home, homework, cook tea, shower, (newly added "watch Deadly 60"), eat tea, random events, clean teeth, bed, start work, FB :), bed.

Today, was not such a day. Firstly, Kate had her second visit to school. I had some time in lieu, so had banked it to do the visit thing with her, planning to 'start' my Reports during her visit, and then (good mother that I am) pop her in front of the tv with her colouring books for a while to let me do some more work when she got home.

Coughs, splutters, rasping growls..... no, today was not going to plan!

As I measured out the third dose of her medicinal cocktail the radio was on. Some 'princess' was talking about how important it is to have a birth plan - to make sure that your labour experience is as peaceful and as tranquil as you desire it to be. That the thought of intervention is heinous.

Now, as one who has NEVER had a delivery that has gone to "plan" I fail to see the reason for lamenting this. My only stipulation has been "healthy". Get it out - keep us alive.

So it was that as I asked Kate to have another dose I realised "what is the point?" No other day with a child will run to plan!

They won't always sleep when they are meant to.
They won't always eat what is placed in front of them.
They won't always do as they are told.
They won't always respect your wishes.
They won't always make wise choices.

The day a child is born is the first day that they let you know.....

'and you thought you could control the world? Not anymore!'

photo of Kate: mid-cough.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

9th June - there is something to the adage "Dance Like No-one Is Watching You"

Tonight our Games Room looked like something from "So You Think You Can Dance" - although if the truth were to be told, it was probably really off the cutting room floor.

We had "The Amsterdam Klezmer Band" playing, and were all suddenly 'dancing as if no-one was watching'.

The smiles, the laughs, the squeals of excitement.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

8th June - that everyday is a chance to learn

Have I mentioned that I have a student teacher working in my room at the moment?

It's interesting - watching her practice and hone her craft.

And it is odd - watching her do things: which sometimes is like watching a train wreck in slow motion! But we all do this. Try. Learn. Change. Try again.

So next time I look at the 'room' full of stuff that I have collected, the wrinkles around the eyes, the grey hairs which are beginning to appear... I will know that THIS is how we learn.

Each, and every day.

photo from 2000.

Monday, June 7, 2010

7th June - the life I have is the life I want

Today was one of those days which allows you to truly reflect on the path your life has taken.

Firstly, there is the fact that I have a student teacher now based in my room for her 4 week block, and I find myself wondering "Just what was it like all those years ago?"

Did I make the right choice?

At the end of the day I attended a workshop on 'Aspirations', Laying the Foundation - they called it. It was amazing to find myself sitting with my very first Deputy Principal. She now has a much more administrative role, but she did remember me - mainly because of a wild parent who one afternoon accosted me in the front office about an incident which had occurred in the classroom. While this in itself is not really memorable, the fact that within 3 months of this explosion he had murdered his own mother and killed himself in a bizarre murder / suicide does help it stick in your mind.

My former DP asked me where I had been since "then" and I briefly accounted for the past 16 years.

Tonight I went to the movies. Of course, there is only one movie to see at the moment - SATC. While it was rather slow, almost laborious, it did feature the occassional reflective moment.

And I found myself asking "Do I have the Life I want?" (this last line MUST be read with a Carrie Bradshaw tone)

I came home and gave Wayne a quick run-down of the day... still pondering my reflective Carrie-question, really knowing the answer already.

While some may enter my house and see this:

This is all that I see:

This is all that I want!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

6th June - creating Order is just another form of Procrastination

Today, I had planned to lock myself away and work on my Reports.

When I awoke I was 'confronted' with the reality that the cold I had been valiantly holding at bay had arrived. I rolled over, grabbed a tissue, and returned to the land of slumber in the hope that a degree of rest would be my cure.

When I finally realised that no amount of sleep / rest was going to alleviate my suffering I decided to attack my poor health on another level.

So, systematically, I worked through each room of the house - tidying, straightening (much of which, I must say, 8 hours later looks neither tidy or straight anymore) and hoping to create some order so that my body and mind could relax. And then I saw it.....

our Spare Room.

To give you an idea of what this room has looked like I will just say that when I organised the new cleaning roster with "my angel" I told her that "if this door is every open - simply close it".

So, you get the picture!

But today, I could live with the chaos, the non-existent floor, the topless desk (because I couldn't see it). So with Wayne's help we started. With 'North by North-west' playing in the background we emptied, moved and organised much of the chaos. And while it is still not complete (there is a 'dumping ground' to the left of this photo) it has been a very good start.

But now I realise...... those Reports didn't actually get worked on this weekend, and I have found yet another form of Procrastination!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5th June - your Community isn't necessarily local

Watching today approach in my diary I have wondered how it would all work.
We started with Football at Gawler, then the Kindy Sausage sizzle at Clare, then back home and through to Mawson Lakes to pick up Ross from the Crows game, and then back home and to the Kids Karaoke night at the clubrooms.
And while it was a busy day, with quite a bit of travel, everywhere I went I was surrounded by people I knew. Football - well that's obvious: lots of 7, 8 and 9 year old boys. And while I offer no real match help - I am essential at half time when I bring out the Jumbo packet of Snakes.
The Sausage Sizzle was lovely. Parked out the front or Woolies with so many past students and parents coming in to do their weekly shopping.
Then, on the way home, I stopped at Auburn to visit a gallery run by one of my "old" parents. Twenty minutes or so simply disappeared as we caught up and I had a tour of her gallery and the attached house. (For those who know my political interest, I will mention that it was also at the same time as Michael Atkinson and his wife were cycling through Auburn and they stopped at her gallery for a bit of a look. - note, it must have been a "bye" for soccer this week!).
Tonight, back at the clubrooms for some Kid's Karaoke - which was infected by just a little adult suppport!
So I sit here now, 16 hours later reflecting on how broad my "community" is.
It is a reflection of our travels, our investments, our heart.
I love that my "Community" stretches for miles and miles.

Friday, June 4, 2010

4th June - time is meant to be spent - not saved

We have a little "tradition".

Well, to be completely honest we have many. My absolute favourite occurs at Christmas. We have a family tradition of decorating Christmas trees with a box of Roses chocolates and opening them on Christmas morning, eating them for breakfast, but leaving the wrappers on the tree as a decoration.

Today was our "other" tradition. During footy season, when we don't have a Friday night game, I pick up the kids as soon as I can and we head to our local Hudson's.

And we STOP.
And we TALK.
And we LISTEN. REALLY listen.

Because we are in NO hurry.
There is no deadline.
There is no schedule.

We spend our time on us. With us. Just us.

I love Fridays.

3rd June - anticipation is a raging fire!

Today was the day!

Today was the day when our Kate took her first steps into school life.

More than most people, I have had opportunities to talk, watch, listen and console parents on that first day.

The first day is often much harder for the parent than the child.
I thought that this might be the case for us too, but I can't bring myself to that place -yet.

You see, I LOVED school! Primary school, high school, college (because when I first enrolled that is what it was) and Uni.

I have loved the learning.
I have loved the quirky opportunities.
I have loved the friends.
I have loved the teachers (mostly - and for those that I didn't - it is sad to say, but I enjoyed tormenting them!)
I tried to love every minute - and mostly succeeded!

So today, as Kate walked through the school yard and was greeted by a chorus of "Hi Kate"'s I was happy for her to start this great adventure.

'Education is not fillling a bucket, but lighting a fire'.

Dearest Kate, may your embers never cool; Love Mum xxx

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2nd June - there is nothing better than POO

Yes, it may seem rather strange, but bear with me.

This afternoon, as part of our Science unit my class "made" poo.

Before they could start the recipe our room needed to be packed - and it was.

Before they could start the recipe their bags needed to be packed - and they were.

Before they could start the recipe they had to sit around our mat space, beautifully - and they sat.

When we started the recipe they had to take turns - and they did.

When we started the recipe they had to wait patiently - and they did.

As we dished our "poos" onto the trays we had to be careful - and they were.

As we moulded our "poos" we had to be sensible, and not get it past our finger tips - and they were.

When I said "When you have finished your poo you need to go outside and wash your hands" - they laughed.

When I asked one of my cherubs who was just outside the door "Have you made your poo?" - 'my' parents sniggered.

When I said "If you managed to keep your hands clean while you made your poo, you don't need to wash them, you can just come and sit on the floor" - the parents from up the corridor looked on in horror!

Yes, there is nothing better than POO - except, maybe, being known as that rather unusual, eccentric new teacher!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1st June - sometimes life needs to be SIMPLE

Well, what did I learn today? There is the obvious ... that I don't store new passwords for Blogs in a safe place - this has taken ages to get on, so I am feeling very weary!

So today, for my first entry, I am keeping it simple, mainly so that if this doesn't work I won't have too much to re-do.

So, my posting will be simple, as will the object of today's affection ... my slow cooker.

With busy weeks, busy weekends and busy days it is sometimes lovely to have something that is simple. After coming home from an extremely long day at school, it was lovely to open the door to the smell of tea - all done!

I learned that today I need some things to be simple.