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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beauty

Experience beauty.

Every day.

I sometimes forget to follow my own advice, but every so often, something catches my eye. Like the evening light coming through the window and reminding me how much I like to have flowers in the house. Little moments of beauty.
Somehow, I have failed to drill this into the boys. There they sit, watching agents hunt down terrorists. They glory in it, the same way I glory in a quiet moment of beauty.
Boys. Sigh.....
Southern Ange, I hope you're having fun in Oz!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Funny Boys


These two make me smile.

Little Bear is now home from his first year at school. Is he educated? Don't know... He sure played a lot of music, though.

Oral surgery tomorrow for that boy. This will be the first, very expensive step toward his implant (after that fateful tobaggan ride in December). It costs almost as much as two years of braces.

Little Joe is happy to have his brother back.

My car is much more in demand. Hmmm....

I'm very pleased with myself for scoring U2 tickets for their October concert in Vancouver. The three of us will go. Big Bear is feeling a little left out. But really, would you have bought tickets for someone who says, "Turn off that noise!" every time he hears U2?
Good to be a family together again. But the grocery bills...!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Catching Up

It's been an eventful week!

The best part was the principals' conference I went to in northern Washington state. I like crossing the border; although we're so close to home, it's actually another country, and really feels different. The area around the retreat centre is all farmland and we enjoyed all the barns and animals in the fields. I especially liked this crop...
The retreat centre is amazing; though manicured gardens are not really my style (which is evident if you see my own), all the tulips are beautiful.
We had a whole afternoon to roam; some went shopping at the outlet malls, but after Tony Campolo spoke to us about poverty, consumerism, and other guilt-inducing topics, a group of us went and drank beer instead. Well, actually, we did a scenic tour and stopped at a couple of eclectic places in the middle of nowhere to buy cheese and to taste the local beer. Interesting, but I don't think I would choose to drink it very often.
At the end of the conference, I was left with many thoughts. They all seem to boil down to one personal question: What does it really look like to be a Christian? I think that I've missed it in so many ways, and have been swept along with the cultural version. Much soul-searching to do...

Last night, we had dinner at La Regalade with Brian and Ellen. So good. I had beef short ribs and Big Bear and I shared ratatouille with our dinners. Too bad it's so expensive, or we would be there much more often! Of course, I thought so much of you and the time we were there together....
You must be in Sydney now, Southern Ange. It must be lots of fun. Enjoy yourself with the girls!!
Wish I were there.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh where, oh where…..?

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Oh where, oh where have the holidays gone?

Oh where, oh where can they be?

With the school bags packed and the lunches made

Oh where, oh where can they be.

~*~

How short, how short did the 2 weeks fly by

How short, how short did they seem

With an Easter break and some fun in between

How short, how short did they seem.

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How long, how long have my boys’ feet grown

Their hooves are growing like weeds!

With each term they seem to need more new shoes

Their toes are pricey to feed.

~*~

I should be pressing the uniforms

Locating the winter woollies

But I’m pooped from all of the rest that we’ve had

I need a holiday please.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shades of black and white

Have you read “The Cay” by Theodore Taylor? If you haven’t, I’d recommend it. I read it many years ago as a student and now E is studying it as a novel study for English Lit. The story is told of a Jamaican man and a white boy who are both marooned on an island. It is a simple story of friendship borne by the common need for survival. It speaks of friendship transcending race, colour, or class. It tells about how people can be friends despite not having very much in common. It tells about respect and how everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Quite simply put, it points to how we are all the same under the skin.

The book is a treasure trove of symbolism. The young white boy is blinded physically by an accident, and becomes totally dependent on Timothy the black man. His blindness is also symbolic of the entrenched racial views which the boy knows his mother had, though he himself, has never had any dealings with black people.


Timothy breathed softly beside me. I had now been with him every moment of the day and night for two months, but I had not seen him. I remembered that ugly welted face. But now, in my memory, it did not seem ugly at all. It seemed only kind and strong.

I asked, 'Timothy, are you still black?'

His laughter filled the hut.

These holidays, E has had to design a 'static image' for this book.In designing his image, E used the colours of black and white to depict the racial theme. He also depicted some of the key elements of the story such as the fishing rod, the cane, and the rope. The boy baulks at making a rope at one stage, not realising that Timothy is giving him a means to follow the rope down to the sea, a means to survival. E felt that the rope represents the turning point of the relationship, where the boy eventually realises that the black man is actually trying to help him. Because of this, E plaited 3 pieces of string – white, black, and red. The red, in the rope and the heart, is the only other colour on the static picture. It represents the bond that all humankind shares – the same lifeblood we all have.

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“Why be fish different colours, or flowers? I do not know but I true think beneath the skin is all the same….”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Season for change

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As you move into Spring with its pretty blossoms and new buds, we are slowly easing ourselves into Autumn. The leaves are (somewhat reluctantly) blessing the countryside with their multi-coloured hues. The mornings have a certain briskness in the air, but the days are still warm and sunny. For who knows how long!

Thank you for all your wonderful comments and emails re the boys’ piano playing. You are all very kind indeed! We're glad you enjoyed them. No promises, but we might be able to put more clips on later, once the IT Manager of the House has played around with his new video-editing software…..

Only a few more days of holiday before the second term begins….more change!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Piano clips of boys at play!

The boys have had another successful time at their recent music competitions.
K & I are very grateful.
Watching the crowd at these things, makes me wonder if such competitions are more stressful for the parents than for the kids competing.
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People have differing views about whether children should take part in competitions such as these. I confess to having mixed feelings depending on the situation and the child.
However, having observed my two boys and their fellow competitors, I must say, that there are certainly some very desirable benefits to be gained. Competition is not always a bad thing if handled well. But don't get me started on this!
~*~
The first clip is of E performing a piece by Bartok, a Hungarian composer who wrote folk music which explored using the piano as a percussive instrument. I particularly enjoyed the driving rhythm and the irregular meter of this piece.

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And since we haven't included a video clip of L's playing before on this blog, here is one of him winning the Under 10 year old class. L played a beautiful piece called "Butterflies" by a NZ composer, Sandra Lynch. I love her compositions which are all so diverse and interesting. Lil L did very well in his rendition of butterflies riding the breeze, but unfortunately, the audio quality of this clip doesn't do it justice here. You get the idea anyway.
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ENJOY!

I'm Liking It!

I'm liking a lot of things right now.
Such as the photo on your last post, Southern Ange!

The little boys on the playground;

flowers in my house;

and on the streets;

and the prospect of a cool new laptop in the not-too-distant future!
Spring has sprung, and I'm liking it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hmmm…

I think you were meant to write that Easter muse, Ange of the North.

Much appreciated. Thanks too for keeping the ‘home fires burning’! It has been quite the Easter. Lots to think about.

We are now home.

I have to get my beauty’s sleep tonight, but will try and post some clips from the boys’ comps in the next wee while.

Watch this space….the Home IT Dept is on to it.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Resurrection

It was another busy weekend, and I'm so grateful for one more day to breathe before going back to school again tomorrow.
There were a couple of highlights that I can tell you about.
First, Big Bear and I got to sing together in a small a capella group. It was fun! I also sang in the larger Easter choir; we performed (Does one actually perform in church? I'd rather not make it a performance. Maybe it was more like leading people into worship. After practicing a lot. Anyway...) once on Saturday night and three more times on Sunday morning. I liked it, but it meant lots of exhausting rehearsal and songs that just won't quit being played in my head!
We had dinner last night with my family at Tim & Lea's house. It was good to be together, and the sun actually made an appearance after having left us completely to the mercy of the pouring rain!
In the busyness of the weekend, it was difficult to focus on the significance of Easter. And then a remark was made that made me want to shrivel up and hide in a hole. Sometimes I feel that the gaffes and blunders that I make are too much to bear, and I can't stand up under scrutiny. I'm just not enough. Or maybe, I'm too much. Anyway, I was feeling my heart fold itself up and dive for cover, when I remembered this morning that there's something more for me. The resurrection. If I was truly created and planned to be who I am, then there must be grace for me to live in, as I continue to grow. And although other people's opinions may be scathing, I must listen for God's truth despite all the voices around me. Life, new life, is there for me and for all of us.
This gives me courage to lift up my head and go on.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It Was a Good Friday!

Aaaaahhhh....
A day off. Truly off.
I was completely decadent today and lounged around - in pyjamas - until 2:30pm!! A reflection of the pace I've lived at for the past couple of weeks...

Big Bear and I headed to the "big city" this evening and had a lovely time. We began with dinner on Denman Street at a Mongolian BBQ restaurant where you put your raw meat, veggies, and sauce in a bowl, and then it gets cooked on top of a special grill. Cool!


We went down to the waterfront after dinner and checked out the brand new convention centre. It was a beautiful evening along the water, and we also enjoyed watching some work being done on an airplane. The rain began just as we left.

What a great city - it's a shame that we see so little of it, living in the suburbs.

I did keep in my mind all day that it was Good Friday. A day to reflect, remember, and respond.

Friday, April 10, 2009

EASTER

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Pure LOVE,

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Undeserved GRACE,

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Eternal HOPE…

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For YOU.

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For ME.

 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Risque Business

This weekend, my dearest was dealing to the jungle that is our front garden. As he hacked his way through the foliage towards our garden bin, he noticed a heavily egg-laden mama PRAYING MANTIS.

~*~

The Orthodera novaezealandiae is only found in NZ, although there are similar species found in places such as South Africa and Australia.The New Zealand Praying Mantis is a large bright green insect with a small triangular head, large compound eyes, and also a smaller pair of less obvious eyes. They have a flexible neck and thorax. Forelegs are long and powerful and lined with sharp spines for catching prey. The female is noticeably larger than the males. The Praying Mantis is named for its common stance of holding up its forelegs as if in prayer.

~*~

Now this posting is not for the squeamish! Don’t read on if you are this way inclined.

~*~

This time of the year is apparently kinda like ‘Spring for Praying Mantises’. The Mama Praying Mantis (“Big Mama”) that K spotted, had a male PM (PM1) attached to her back as she continued with her daily routine. Pretty inconvenient, if you ask me!

~*~

Anyway, another male PM (#2) decided that he might like to cash in on the good times. Male PM 2 therefore started to approach Big Mama. I guess Big Mama must’ve been a bit hormonal, and instantly took objection to having any more freeloaders…

~*~

Unfortunately for PM 2, Big Mama was quite a bit bigger than him, and a bit hungrier too (since she was eating for about 25). And since Praying Mantises are carnivorous and totally unselective about their cuts of meat, PM2 suddenly found out (the hard way) that busy Big Mamas should never be messed with. Within the space of a few minutes, PM2 became Big Mama fodder (PMT(ea) !)

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Yes, those are eyeballs hanging on the cobweb to the bottom left! Gross.

Naturally, Male PM1 continued to do what he was doing…probably with a certain amount of satisfaction (and relief that he was stuck at the other end)! In true PM fashion, he was still enjoying his job a few hours later as Big Mama finished off her fast food snack.

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In NZ, we are a little more sophisticated and are spared some of the more gruesome habits of the other species of Praying Mantises. The female doesn’t always eat the male after his few hours of fun. Instead, because of sheer exhaustion, the male will die. Helpful. And to prove that she is the fairer sex, the female will also do likewise. Her exhaustion probably due to having to cart around a large belly full of eggs, plus entertain a male on her back, whilst fighting for her rights, as well as having to hunt for her own dinner.

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Hmmm. I’m sure there is a moral in here somewhere.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Together

It's the absent blogger, back once again!

It's been a very hectic time, but today included some pockets of peace. This morning, after spending my entire Saturday at school for Kindergarten "Screaming", I stayed home from church with Big Bear. Whew! It was so lovely to breathe the same air together for a while... We made and ate brunch, and actually had a conversation! So Southern Ange, you can rest assured that we have spent time together.
Then it was off the the church for a music/choir practice for Easter. I get to be part of a smallish group singing the Take Six song, "Mary". Fun to sing in parts! When we got back home, my parents were here and we ordered Chinese food for dinner. Lovely to be together.
I think that today had a "together" theme.
So nice.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Warming the cockles of my heart

We have had a full and busy week this week. Again, but more so than usual. I’m not complaining though - the busyness was punctuated with many wonderful moments which made me smile, and filled the cockles of my heart with warm fuzzy bits. Whilst I didn’t have my camera on hand for many of these moments, here are a few I can share with you.

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L working hard on his excellent project

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Getting my hair cut after years of neglect

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Seeing the menfolk deal to the dishes!

Music Notes

Flooding the soul with music – concerts, practices, happy whistling, new CD’s,singing, workshops, music everywhere.

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Smiles, laughter, cute kids (Isn't my newest niece gorgeous?!)

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Taking my parents to see an outstanding production of

“My Fair Lady”, and celebrating their 40-something years of

being married to each other. What a legacy!

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Friendship!

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