Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A friend of mine gave birth to a new little daughter last night, her third child. She was booked to have a Caesarean today (eleven days past her due date, nothing's been happening) because the doctors were worried that the baby was too big, but she was very keen to deliver naturally.

So I texted her this morning to wish her luck for the delivery today.

She responded to say she'd gotten her natural delivery....and the baby weighed....

......drum roll...

......5.3 kg (11 pounds, 11 oz in old scale).

Around two and a half times what Rosie weighed at birth.

Impressive work.

Now that I am starting to pick my jaw up off the floor, I might see if I can find out what they have named her so I can write the congratulations card.

Christmas Northern Ireland style

This is what the weather was like in Newry, Northern Ireland, yesterday. A little chilly, it would seem.

These photos were taken by Chris' uncle. Amazing. I'll bet they're looking forward to the hot roast Christmas dinner this year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas carol overload

And it's not even December yet.

Getting ready for our markets performance this Saturday. There will be no songs about Santa, even if audience members make requests. I think "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Deck the Halls" could be OK though. I also enjoy "Ding Dong Merrily on High" but playing the "Glo.....oo.....oo...oo...ria" bit is tricky. The rest are at least passable, I'm hoping that the bass and bongos will cover any minor errors.

I hope our next door neighbours are enjoying the entertainment. They usually give me positive feedback about my playing/practising Christmas carols in the lead up to Christmas. But this year they may be over it all by the time Christmas day actually arrives.

Monday Muppets

A classic....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some days are just about survival really

Today I woke up feeling much better...except that I had developed an interesting post viral lower back ache. At least that's what I think it was. I couldn't remember moving awkwardly or anything, it just suddenly seemed to be quite painful when I tried to move around. Maybe I slept in the same position for too long or something.

This made for an interesting day as Chris was working and I was taking the kids to check out the markets where we are playing next weekend, followed by lugging a heavy bag of library books back to the library. All of that took place with Rosie being worn in the sling on my front. Somehow I survived and when I made it back home I called Chris at work (he is a physio) to see if he could bring a TENS machine home with him.

So all afternoon I lay on the couch reading library books (fortunately this activity was also keeping the kids occupied) and watching the cricket on TV, in agonising pain every time I tried to change positions, waiting in anticipation of the pain relief that was on its way.

Such enormous relief when I heard him pull into the driveway...only to discover he couldn't find any TENS machines at work. What kind of physio department has no TENS machines?? He gave it a little rub and told me the best thing to do was keep moving so it didn't stiffen up any further.

So I went grocery shopping (!). At least that could happen minus the three kids. And it wasn't too bad walking around the shops, even with the lifting and carrying I had to do. It's still painful, but I had help with unloading when I came home. And I can still manage to sit at the piano to play all the songs for tomorrow morning's service.

I'll be thankful that I survived and that it hasn't gotten any worse. And that now I do have the 24 hour physio available to fix it up. Usually when my back is painful he does a massage thing that hurts like crazy at the time, but then eases the pain heaps.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I don't like to grumble

But I do it a lot so maybe I really do?

Anyhow, I will try to keep this short. I really really don't like being sick and having a toddler to run around after. While I was dozing off on the bed before, she managed to shut herself into the toilet.

On the being grateful side of things, at least she hadn't managed to pull the toilet brush out of its holder and touch it, or to drop her blankie into the toilet bowl.

So it could have been worse.

I hope I feel better soon. Too much music practice still to be done. And the timing is bad. Chris has his work Christmas function tonight so he was planning to go straight from work to ten pin bowling and then dinner without coming home. And he is also working tomorrow.

Pray for patience here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What to make for morning tea tomorrow...

....when you're not in the mood for cooking at all?

Tomorrow I am going to a morning tea with some ladies from our church. The "bring a plate" kind of event. Where you're expected to home bake something because that's what good Christian women/homemakers do.

But I just don't feel like cooking anything tonight. I halfheartedly got out some butter earlier this evening to soften up in the hope that I might become enthusiastic enough to make some gingerbread Christmas biscuits. But I really can't be bothered.

Maybe this mood will wear off by tomorrow but if not I am stuck.

I have a jumbo sized packet of Maltesers in the cupboard. Would it be acceptable to take those, I wonder? I guess I could also go out tomorrow morning and buy some fruit as a healthier option.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Muppets

One of Chris' favourites (not sure why, perhaps he would care to explain?). Watch for the Beaker cameos....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas carols 2010

This year, a group of musicians and singers from our church is going to perform Christmas carols at the markets at our local high school. We are doing two Saturday sessions in the lead-up to our Christmas carol service at church. This is a new thing for us to do, and we are doing it as a way of inviting people along to the carols service.

Each session goes for five hours. It will include some a cappella singing, some instrumental songs, and some items with both instruments and singers. It's a lot of time to fill up.

I am the pianist. Obviously most of the songs are familiar but because of the length of time we need to be there I am also practising some others that I don't know so well, which is time consuming (and hard work). But fun too, since I'm discovering some old carols I haven't heard for years. And even one or two that I haven't ever heard before. I'm thinking of using some of the less familiar ones as part of an Advent calendar type thing at home so we can play and sing them together as a family.

Please pray for us as we do this outreach into our local community. And that our hands and voices don't get too tired! Piano's not so bad, but I think our bongo drum player might struggle a bit...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I have never moved house with a dog

So I can't relate to this.

But it is very funny nonetheless. I don't know Allie, but she has a gift for drawing cartoons, telling an amusing story...and attracting many many followers to her blog.

We've only ever moved with cats. We lost one of our cats when we moved down here. He freaked out and ran off. Although we had sightings we never could catch him again. I hope he found a new family to be friends with.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another royal wedding

Unless you've been hiding under a rock today (in Australia anyway) you couldn't miss the news about the impending royal nuptials.

And speaking of rocks, I'm not entirely sure about the choice of engagement ring. I get that Prince William wants to remember his Mum, and it's a beautiful thing to recycle the ring, but there's just something about it that doesn't seem quite right to me. Maybe because it is also in a way a reminder of his parents' marriage that went so far off track. But I guess that time will tell and perhaps it will come to symbolise true love and faithfulness. Kind of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

I'm already looking forward to the television coverage. I still remember watching Prince Charles and Lady Di get married on television back in 1981, when I was nine years old. I know I had a book all about it that I pored over non-stop. And I think I may have even had a commemorative T-shirt of their engagement. The type of thing you wear when you're nine.

We should pray that they will be preparing for the marriage as well as for the wedding. At least they've given their courtship a decent amount of time. You'd hope they would know each other pretty well by now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kerbside clean-up

It's that time of year again. Our council is kind enough to collect large items of rubbish every six months.

I can't believe what some people throw away. Driving to school yesterday morning I saw a perfectly good outdoor setting (table and four chairs, still looked immaculate) out the front of an equally immaculate duplex. This is the place where I see a guy polishing his car at least every second day. A bit further on, I saw another house with a futon frame and perfectly clean looking mattress out the front. They also had an air hockey table, which didn't look quite as good, but still okay.

I said to the kids, "All those things will be gone by the end of today." And I was right. The outdoor setting was gone by 12 noon when I came home from the shops. The futon took a bit longer, but I suppose whoever took that needed to organise some transport for it. And the air hockey table was gone by nightfall.

On the other hand, I also can't believe what some people will take. This time we put out a white plastic outdoor table top and its four legs. We haven't set it up since we moved here and we now have a new table so we never bothered putting the old one together again. Someone has taken the legs but left the table top behind. Admittedly the top did look a bit tired, but still. What do you do with four table legs? I guess you keep trawling the streets till you find a nicer looking white top to match them.

We have had a couple of good furniture finds thanks to kerbside clean-up. Last time I found two perfectly nice looking bar stools with nice wooden backs and seats and a metal frame. One of the seats is a bit wobbly but that doesn't matter, they still work. That was courtesy of some neighbours across the road that we've never seen since we've lived here. Rubbish just appears mysteriously from their house every six months. And another time we collected a child's desk. All that needed was a sand back (still to be done) and a couple of knobs to make the drawers open again. All good.

I love the thought that we're recycling stuff rather than sending it to landfill.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Muppets

Thought I might make the Muppets a regular feature. You might see a lot of Beaker to start with, since he's my favourite.

And, since we didn't eat honeydew melons when I was growing up (were they even available?), the link between the green head and the name Bunsen Honeydew has only just dawned on me. Clever.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


For my Bible reading this month, I'm working through the readings in Revelation from this month's Briefing.

Revelation has generally been a book I've avoided. I thought it was all a bit too hard. All those references to beasts and visions. If I'm completely honest, I'm still finding it hard going this time. But the introduction to the series of readings had two very insightful reflections that are helping me to stick with the program:

1. There are lots of Old Testament allusions in Revelation.
2. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus and his Gospel in a more colourful way.

Funnily enough, when Aidan is reading his Bible we often find him looking at Revelation. I think it's because he's obsessed with Beast Quest and similar types of books, so he enjoys reading about dragons and beasts. Perhaps that's my issue...I would prefer to poke my eyeballs with a stick rather than read about that kind of stuff so possibly my difficulties are because I'm struggling to relate to the subject matter?

But I think we need to be challenged to read parts of the Bible that we find difficult. It's in the Bible for a reason so it's important that we understand it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unusual shopping list

I've been out shopping this afternoon for the following:

1. Wahu football (Christmas present for my nephew)
2. Brandy (to soak the fruit for my Christmas cake)
3. New swimmers. From clearance sale at local community hall. Nothing too fancy. When a sale is advertised as "nothing over $20" you can be fairly sure that the nicer swimwear items you see on the supplier's Facebook page are not going to be on offer. But I did find something. Wearing new togs now while I think about whether it is still warm enough to get into the pool.

Small boxes fail to deter the box loving cat

My sister in law just emailed me this. I'm a cat lover but not always a fan of cat related paraphernalia. Maru, however, may just be the funniest cat on the internet.

Farewell Powderfinger...

Powderfinger are playing their final ever show in Brisbane tonight.

This is one of my favourite Powderfinger songs, sadly underrated in my opinion. This is the first time I have seen the clip of it, though. Very cool, especially the space whale thing.

Edited to add...apparently they don't like sharing their clips with people's blogs. But you can see it all on YouTube if you click on the link.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Would you do this?

Yesterday I was reading a discussion on one of the parenting websites I visit. The topic was "if you recognise someone you haven't seen in decades (even if they don't seem to recognise you), do you go up and say hi to them?" The person who asked said she has a good memory for names and faces so she always says hello when she sees someone she knows from her past. The example she gave was of seeing her ex-boyfriend from Year 7 and saying hello to him after not seeing him in 36 years!?

I'm not so sure about this.

I also remember faces and names well and had this dilemma when we were on holidays recently. I saw a Speech Pathologist I worked with in my first job as an OT, seventeen years ago. I saw her at the supermarket last time we went to Yamba as well. This time I saw her at the beach with her kids. She was having coffee with a friend at the kiosk. I haven't seen her since I left the job where we worked together.

After spending much of the morning wondering what to do, in the end I didn't say hello. What if she hadn't remembered me? Then I would have felt embarrassed in front of her friend and all of their combined kids. Maybe if she had been on her own I would have done it. She was actually lovely to work with, so it wasn't like it was someone from my past that I didn't like (in which case I wouldn't have the dilemma, I'd just run and hide).

But maybe she saw me and recognised me too and both of us were waiting for the other person to make the first move.

Perhaps on our next Yamba holiday I will finally be brave enough to go up and say hi. But knowing my luck, I probably won't see her next time we go there.

It's interesting that I find this far less of an issue in the online world, although I did follow Simone's blog for quite some time before I was brave enough to comment to see if she remembered who I was. But then it's far less humiliating to say hello to someone online that you know from years ago and not get a response, as opposed to saying hello face to face and having the other person say "Sorry, do I actually know you?"

But when I have stepped out and been brave to contact people I know from years ago on Facebook or through blogging (hi Sheryl if you're reading!), it has been very rewarding. I suppose the face to face thing could be the same.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Karen's cooking adventures

Today I made little carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing on them. From a recipe called "reindeer carrot cakes" in the free Woolworths magazine.

The kids enjoyed them so obviously they are appetising even if you're not a reindeer. I think I might get them to make some for the reindeer this Christmas since I didn't mind them either. Cream cheese icing is always very good.

This is a photo of what they should look like when they are food styled with bright colours in the background.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And the votes are in...

...for the Classic FM Top 100 Classics of All Time (Ten Years On). I wasn't a Classic FM listener when they did this ten years ago. I meant to vote this time but didn't get around to it.

Pleased to see so many other people voted for my favourites though.

If I had gotten around to voting, I would have voted for the Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto (which came in at No 2), Handel's Messiah, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony (this one is familiar if you have seen the movie "Babe").

So here is the top 20:
  • No.1 Beethoven Symphony No 9 in D minor, Op 125, “Choral” – Philharmonia Orch/Sir Charles Mackerras
  • No.2 Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat, Op 73, “Emperor” – Claudio Arrau, p; Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis
  • No.3 Beethoven - Symphony No 6 in F, Op 68, “Pastoral” – London Classical Players/Sir Roger Norrington
  • No.4 Mozart Concerto in A for Clarinet, K622 – Wolfgang Meyer, basset cl; Concentus Musicus Vienna/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • No.5 Messiah - Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood
  • No.6 Dvorák - Symphony No 9 in E minor, Op 95, “From the New World” – Czech Phil Orch/Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • No.7 Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18 – Sviatoslav Richter, p; Warsaw Phil Orch/Stanislaw Wislocki
  • No.8 Mozart - Requiem, K626 – La Chapelle Royale; Collegium Vocale; Orch des Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe
  • No.9 Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D, Op 61 – Arthur Grumiaux, v; Royal Concertgebouw Orch, Amsterdam/Sir Colin Davis
  • No.10 Elgar - Cello Concerto in E minor, Op 85 – Jacqueline du Pré, vc; London Sym Orch/Sir John Barbirolli
  • No.11 Bruch - Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor, Op 26 – Robert McDuffie, v; Scottish Chamber Orch/Joseph Swensen
  • No.12 Vivaldi - The Four Seasons, Op 8 – Nils-Erik Sparf, v; Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble
  • No.13 Saint-Saëns - Symphony No 3 in C minor, Op 78, “Organ”: – Anita Priest, o; Los Angeles Phil Orch/Zubin Mehta
  • No.14 Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending, Romance for Violin & Orch – Dimity Hall, v; Sinfonia Australis/Antony Walker
  • No.15 Bach - St Matthew Passion: excerpts – Choir & Orch of Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe
  • No.16 Beethoven - Symphony No 7 in A, Op 92 – Berlin Phil Orch/Daniel Barenboim
  • No.17 Schubert - Piano Quintet in A, D667, “The Trout” – András Schiff, p; members of the Hagen Quartet; Alois Posch, db;
  • No.18 Beethoven - Sonata No 14 in C sharp, Op 27 No 2, “Moonlight” – Claudio Arrau, p;
  • No.19 Holst - The Planets, Op 32 – Berlin Phil Orch/Sir Simon Rattle
  • No.20 Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis – Vienna State Opera Orch/Sir Adrian Boult

Here's something good for a singalong....

The magic that is Beaker....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I won something!

I didn't win the Venn diagram competition, but the letter I wrote to the newspaper won the Courier Mail's "letter of the month" competition for October.

I still haven't actually seen it in print but my parents have cut it out of the paper, as I thought they would do, so they might send it to me. There was a little spiel saying I had won in the letters to the editor column of yesterday's paper. I missed that too, because I didn't bother buying the paper (even though I usually do get the Saturday one). I thought yesterday's headline looked a bit dull.

So I have won a "leather compendium" valued at $80. Not sure exactly what that is. I might go and google it.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The above images are actually mini-Bilibos. They are like little plastic shells that are easy for toddlers to hold onto. They also come in a larger size that a kid aged 2-7 years old could sit inside. They are marketed as an "open-ended toy that stimulates the imagination."

Today we used them at Rosie's music class. Banging two of them together makes a sound like a horse clop-clopping along. They also look good for putting things into (today it was the little egg shakers), hiding things under, peeking or poking fingers through the holes, floating in the bath and a myriad of other options. They also claim to be 100% recyclable.

Occupational therapists love these kinds of toys. Of course I am hooked. I will be buying some for work and will be suggesting to family members that they might wish to buy some for Rosie for Christmas as well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How exactly does death transform...

...people's undesirable personalities/opinions/behaviour or whatever into saintly characteristics?

Last night on the news I was listening to two former professional surfers talking about what a great guy Andy Irons was. (Just as an aside, Wikipedia are amazing...they have already updated their entry with information about his death early yesterday).

Chris has work colleagues who are involved with the world of professional surfing and while there is now much grief at Andy's unexpected death and in many ways he may have been a great guy, he is also guilty (as we all are) of making some dubious lifestyle choices.

A few years ago, the Chaser guys wrote a song called The Eulogy Song, famous for the chorus line "everyone's a top bloke after death." I won't link to the song because it contains large amounts of bad language but at the time it generated much controversy because it was said to be offensive to the families of the people mentioned in it. Definitely it was, and it's not really a good song for Christians to listen to, but like a lot of the Chaser's work, there was a ring of truth in it also.

Why can't we just be honest and say that these people were like all of us, not at all perfect and saintly, just sinful?

I am not in any way "alternative" in my parenting style...

....but I do love wearing my baby (now almost a toddler!) in her baby carrier (an Ergo). When she was tiny, we used a pouch style sling to carry her. I used these partly because she was born prematurely and I wanted to be able to hold her close and curled up to compensate a bit for the last few weeks of being in utero that she missed out on. Other reasons for using it were purely practical, for example, I found it quicker and easier for ducking in and out of the shops and we live at the top of a hill so walking to school and back was easier without a pram.

My boys were carried around in the sling a little bit when they were babies, but we mostly used the pram for them as they got older and larger.

Rosie, however, has only been in the pram once since she was born, when I took her to an all day seminar at work and I thought she would be more comfortable sleeping in the pram. As it turned out, she wasn't, probably because she had never been in it before.

So we continued to use the carriers, since they seemed to be working so well (and my big old 4wd pram was looking a bit worse for wear so I was a little bit embarrassed to take it out among all the new compact and trendy looking prams). I thought I might buy a folding stroller if we needed it when she was bigger. But we haven't had to. Rosie still occasionally sleeps in the Ergo, not as often as when she was tiny, but sometimes if we are at school doing reading and she is getting a bit tired, she will go off to sleep if I put her into it. She will also sleep in our arms sometimes if she's very tired, but the Ergo is preferable because then we can be hands-free while she sleeps.

I have been blessed with having children who like sleeping. This is something I am very thankful for since I know that not everyone is similarly blessed. Yesterday, Chris was talking to a couple that he works with who have two non-sleeping children. Their theory was that you could tell parents of sleepers from parents of non-sleepers by whether they had a third child or not. I'm of the opinion that children's sleeping has more to do with temperament than anything their parents may or may not do to encourage it. Rosie has been the best sleeper of all of our children. She does have a placid and laid back kind of personality, but I do think that carrying her a lot may also have helped.

Now that she is bigger, I keep getting comments like "she must be getting heavy in that now." She is, but it is still really comfortable to wear her in the Ergo. It has great lower back support and I haven't had any back pain wearing it at all. I will confess that I don't walk to school with my kids every day, but when I do and I carry her back up the hill in the carrier, it feels like I get a great work-out.

Wearing her on my front (like the above photo) still works quite well but my next challenge is that I want to work out how to put her in it in the position where she is carried on my back. Supposedly you can use these things until the child is 3 or 4 years old. I'm pretty sure I'll be making Rosie walk by herself much earlier than that but we have definitely got our money's worth out of it already. It has been used almost every day since we bought it. The only change since we got it is that it's faded a little on the front from too much sun.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Starting at a new Bible Study group tonight

I'm going by myself and I feel a little bit nervous about it even though I know everyone in it and they are not scary people.

We are going to be studying The Prodigal God by Tim Keller.


On Monday I posted a YouTube clip featuring a message by Keith Green, a Christian singer-songwriter. I really should have checked out some facts before posting it and commenting on it. The way I spoke about it was disrespectful.

I have now deleted the post. Thanks Caroline for drawing my attention to the full story, I do appreciate it. And thank you for reminding me of the need to be humble in the way I speak about others. And for reminding me of my own rule (that, embarrassingly, I reminded myself about in the post before) that it is sometimes better to wait before hitting the submit/publish button.

And having now discovered more about Keith's life and untimely and tragic death, I will put up a quote I found of his that was very challenging to me....

"If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!!" — Keith Green

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fantastic funny read

I am reading this one again because I enjoyed it so much. Would highly recommend it to a book club that needs something funny after a run of far too many serious books. I have just placed a reserve at the local library on the follow up book, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. It sounds just as good.