Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas???

Yes, it's still August but the Christmas decorations are already in DJ's if you're wanting to put the tree up a bit early. Only 118 days to go.

Heard at the swimming pool yesterday...

An interesting conversation between the two teachers in Liam's learn to swim class. One was telling the other that one of the hardest things he ever has to do as a swim teacher is to tell a parent that their child might have something wrong with them. Obviously he's not a diagnostic expert on anything but I guess often swimming classes can be a first point where it becomes clear if a kid can't follow instructions, move their bodies well or is overly sensitive to noise/water/whatever.

I could empathise. I still find it hard as a professional who works with kids with these kinds of issues to suggest to parents who don't think anything much is wrong that they might need to go and get a referral for a medical check-up. Swimming teachers get no training in this kind of stuff, so I was impressed that they even attempt to tackle the task. In their case, the risk is losing the customer (and by extension, the money they pay) if the parent doesn't want to know about it, not something that I have to worry about in my comfortable government funded job.

After Aidan's junior squad session, the other swimming teacher approached me to say that he was doing well in the group, despite the fact that most of the kids in it are quite distractible. He has had a few issues with not listening over the past few months, so that was good. She said she could see he was (mostly) trying harder and that it was probably the fact that we were quite firm with his behaviour that was helping. She said she'd mentioned to another parent that their kid wasn't paying much attention and received the response "Oh, I don't really mind. I just want him to have fun." That did make me feel momentarily like I was a bit of a killjoy (something I often worry that I am with my kids) but it's not that I don't want them to have fun in the water. It's just that when I am paying every week for them to learn and develop some self discipline through their swimming, I expect them to do what the teachers ask them. But maybe that's a bit of an old-fashioned expectation these days??

Monday, August 30, 2010


...was a busy day.

First up, an hour of reading with kids in Aidan's class wasn't as easy as usual. Their teacher was off-class (she is the junior school deputy principal so she's often off-class but that's a topic for another post) so the kids with behaviour issues were busy testing out the unfamiliar casual teacher. Usually there's three of them who test the limits with anyone new, today one of them was away but the other two had me wishing I could bang their heads together by the end of my morning with them (all of one hour). The poor casual had another four hours to get through.

But I then got to go and sit in a lovely coffee shop that I hadn't previously discovered. Rosie-friendly with high chair that she happily sat in for over an hour. Lunch with a lovely work friend who was really encouraging about me coming back to work next year, after I'd heard all kinds of negative reports about what's been going on there since I went on leave. Pleasant food, pleasant atmosphere, good company. An invite to her new exhibition (when she's not a paediatric physiotherapist she's an artist, which I think is a very cool combination).

I spent the afternoon doing the Mum taxi thing, kids to swimming, dropping off sponsorship money to a girl at church who did the 40 hour famine, picking up a walking toy for Rosie from another friend. Home for a yummy dinner that Chris cooked.

Chris is out at a committee meeting tonight but he did most of the kitchen clean up before he left so I am taking advantage of his absence to watch a bit of the X-factor (something he would generally not be keen on...). The usual mix of out of tune singing combined with an occasional spark of genius. Nice to see a range of age groups participating.

And now I am off to get out music for this month's songs at church so I can start practising tomorrow. And to continue my slog through Twilight Breaking Dawn...it's not grabbing me but I'm persisting anyway.

Thank you God for days like this. Nothing big happened but there's enjoyment sometimes in the ordinary.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reflections on Australians and their pets

Hot on the heels of this story from the Sydney Morning Herald about the opening of a restaurant for pets on Sydney's lower north shore (where else?) comes survey data that shows 80% of pet owners believe that their pet is more affectionate than their partner. Other findings from the survey by the Australian Companion Animal Council, reported in today's Sun-Herald, include the statistic that 70% of those surveyed believe their pet is more dependable than their partner. The story also claimed that pet ownership contributed more than $6 billion to the Australian economy last year, which I guess explains the rise of dog-washing franchises, pet clothing companies and of course, the restaurant on the north shore.

I'm all for pet ownership. We've had cats in the past, we currently have some very low maintenance hermit crabs (by the way, I don't believe they are more affectionate or dependable than my husband) and one day in the future, I think we'll probably go to the pound and find ourselves a dog.

But these survey findings are a bit scary. Do I think pets are affectionate? Of course, if we love them and take care of them. But it sounds from this survey as if people are looking to their pets to meet needs that can really only be met by human relationships, or, better still, by trusting in God.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On sharers and secret squirrels

I think these are just alternative titles for extroverts and introverts, but I was reading an interesting column in one of the newspapers last weekend on this topic, in relation to social networking sites.

Most of the people I keep in touch with on these sites fit into one or other of these categories. Sharing is good. Over-sharing, particularly if it's done in a "look at me" way, can be a little annoying. I'm not sure that I need to know everything that people are eating, but on the upside there are times when that information can inspire me to go and cook something I might not have tried before. When it's done in a good way, sharing can open your eyes and your mind to new things that are enlightening and stimulating.

On the other side of the coin, I'm a secret squirrel through and through. It takes a while for people to get any kind of information out of me and I'm not generally one to volunteer much. I often watch or follow a conversation for quite a while before joining in. I don't get why people feel the need to tell everyone they know on a social networking site what they just bought, what they just ate, what bug they've come down with this week etc. Maybe that just makes me dull and boring to know, but I prefer to think that it's more interesting to be a bit less out there. Hidden depths and all that stuff...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bonding at the school spelling bee

Yesterday was the annual spelling bee at my kids' school. I always find it a bit stressful listening to the kids as they are spelling the words...especially when they have to do that pause to think about which letter comes next. Sometimes those few seconds seem to go on for ages.

It's a great solidarity building exercise for parents though. I stood at the back with a few other mums so we could all be anxious together about our own and eachother's kids. Now I'll probably feel slightly more comfortable saying hello to them when I see them around the school. For an introvert like me, that has to be a good thing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tony's Boatphone

Time for another You Tube diversion.

I must say that I found the concept of the boat phone amusing when I first heard about it a few days ago.

My kids love watching little Lego men in movies. Lego Tony is quite cute. I just wonder who has that much time on their hands to put these things together??

Election wash-up

Last night's election viewing turned out to be more exciting than I thought. We didn't get to bed until nearly midnight.

I think the result reflected disillusionment with both major parties, but that might just be me projecting how I felt about it. In the Saturday newspaper, they quoted one woman saying it was like choosing between two really bad husbands in an arranged marriage. That resonated with me. No one seemed to have a vision for the future of the country, it was all about bagging the other guys and throwing money around for short term satisfaction.

Anyway, I wonder who will end up forming government out of all this.

It's interesting that those who voted "independent" in the seats with independent MHRs are now waiting to see whether that "independent" vote was in effect a vote for the ALP or the Coalition.

Either way, I guess it's good news for their electorates, which, in the case of the Queensland and NSW independents, are all in rural and regional areas of Australia.

We used to live in Port Macquarie, and Rob Oakeshott was our local state MP when we lived there. He's a nice guy with some big decision making ahead of him. We should be praying that he and the other independent MHRs will be wise in the choices they make over the coming days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We don't have Paul the Octopus but Harry the Crocodile says....

That Julia Gillard will win the election. You can read about it here.

Grab the popcorn....

...and settle in for a night of election coverage.

I like Antony Green's commentary on the ABC the best. Here's his blog. I do find his geekiness a bit endearing...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meal planning for the week

Most weeks I like working out what we are going to eat.

Today it's a chore.

Three meals still needed so I'd better get back to it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Annabel Crabb's take on the Abbott-Gillard Brisbane showdown

You can read it here.

I'm no Paul the Octopus in correctly predicting winners, but on Saturday I think the Government will hang on with a reduced majority.

I still don't know who I'll be voting for. The donkey is looking appealing.

Feeling directionless

I need to pray for contentment with where I am at right now and stop trying to control a future I really have no control over.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A vent about Gold Class cinemas

Why don't they show movies that you would like to drink wine and enjoy canapes with??

We have a Gold Class voucher (a gift) that's due to expire in a couple of months so we have been keeping an eye on what is screening there.

The Expendables?? Watching Sylvester Stallone and his friends shooting up everything in sight isn't what I would choose.

The problem is, I'm such a movie snob that I'll probably never find anything to watch there that I think I would enjoy...so we may be forced by time constraints into watching something that I don't like.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I love this

And while I'm on a YouTube roll, here is one of my all-time favourite pieces of music. One day I want to play this (well, the piano bit of it). This version is a bit slow but I don't think I'll be good enough to play it any faster.

Asylum Seekers

This is interesting. I was doing some internet research on boat people last night and then found this posted on Simone's blog.

The people on the boats (as opposed to the people smugglers who illegally put them into the boats) deserve our compassion.

Who to vote for on Saturday remains the question...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The title says it all really

I know it's probably from back in the 70s sometime, but I don't think this could be considered cool in any time or place.

What I found amusing was that they have the grand piano sitting in the middle of all this doing nothing...except providing a resting place for the pastor's sermon notes...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Election 2010

This website looks like it might have some helpful information for Christian voters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rosie turns one...photos from Sunday's party

The cake, with other nice party food in the background.
Rosie checking out her cake... her foot is about to be planted into one of the octopus's legs.

It's so hard to believe a year has gone by. This time last year, I was doing the hard yards pumping six times a day on the expressing machine and Rosie was in the Special Care Nursery growing bigger in an isolette/incubator. We have been so blessed watching her grow and change over the past year.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reducing pollution at the local supermarket

Today I was shopping in my local Woolworths supermarket. They were having some issues with the BBQ chicken machine in the deli, which was spewing large clouds of smoke all over the deli and fruit and vegetable section. It was so smoky I thought the fire alarm would go off, but it didn't so there were crowds of shoppers peering through the smoke as they tried to avoid bumping into other people's trolleys. The deli workers were looking embarrassed, so I suspected they had already fielded some complaints about it.

The irony? That the chicken machine is located right underneath a rather large sign espousing Woolworths' commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a large percentage in the next five years.

I think they have some way to go before they achieve their target.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

He's back!!

Kevin Rudd, that is.

Check it out, here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


...Barbara, take me to Bank World!! Or maybe we are already there...

I think she's very funny, but I do wonder whether she's become bigger than the bank she is advertising.

I saw her in a guest role as someone working in a forensics lab on a daytime TV re-run of City Homicide a few weeks ago. And she was actually helpful in providing the detectives with information...

Has anyone seen her anywhere else??