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Monday, November 30, 2009

ADD Moments

I'm supposedly writing report cards right now, but I always develop attention deficit disorder when I'm meant to be reporting on my students.
Instead, I'll share with you a brief update on the season in Canada.
I'm listening to jazz versions of Christmas music as I type; it seems to start earlier each year. Normally, we get a Christmas tree and put it up in the second or third week of December. For the past couple of years, though, Big Bear has been making noises about buying an artificial tree - sacrilege! The best thing about Christmas, in my opinion, is sitting alone in the living room at night with just the tree lights on (and candles, of course!), quiet music playing, and breathing in the rich scent of pine.
But after our amazingly leaky tree stand last year, which left irreparable stains on the carpet, I was just a tiny bit more receptive.
Banished from the house on Dec. 26. Very sad.
So we did it.
Last week, we actually bought a realistic looking, pre-lit tree for an astounding amount of money. Little Joe calculated that it will pay for itself in just 23 years, based on the price of cheap Ikea trees And then he made his Great Pronouncement: "Dad, you have sold your soul."


This post is kind of a continuation from the previous post. Kind of. Well….it relates to that ‘end of year-ness’ / end of another season kind of thought.

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss

20091128_Redlands Bay_049a

Last week, several beautiful photos arrived via email from some of our good friends. The photos were of their darling daughter, one of the most gorgeous “Shirley Temple” lookalikes on planet Earth. Actually, miles cuter and way more cherubic, than the original Shirley ever was. It got me thinking about what a TREASURE this wee one is to her parents, in so many ways. And I love the way proud parents (K & I are especially notorious for this….please forgive us world!) send zillions of photos zapping all around the world – a great way of sharing our TREASURE with loved ones.


Anyway, being a woman and all that, one thought lead to another. I got musing about how quickly time flies, and how important it is to treasure the precious years with your children. They grow so quickly! It only feels like yesterday that my boys were helpless wee babes…and then chubby toddlers…and then starting school. And now, I have one foot dangling vicariously in the High School years…just where have those years gone???!

The end of the school year, always reminds me of the passing of another year for my boys. They are another year older, another school year wiser. And with each year, I see their maturity increasing. The other day as I passed their bedrooms, I paused to treasure the realisation of how their personalities are reflected in the way they keep their rooms. One of my sons has developed into a very tidy young man. His room can be guaranteed to be always, like ALWAYS, immaculate (though this was definitely NOT the way he began!).


Next door, the story is less predictable. Usually, the room has a distinctly “Major Work In Progress!” look to it. However, more often in recent days, the room has become a squidgen tidier and the bed making has definitely improved! It has improved so much that I had to take a second look one day, at the transformation… it made me smile and brought that ‘Awwww” to my heart. The impeccably made bed had an important addition to it!

Cuddly is, as cuddly does!


And that’s the wonderful thing I guess -

as our kids change, they leave us a treasure trove of memories...

I appreciated the timely reminder to TREASURE the moments, and TREASURE the memories!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Let the good times roll!



Did you see the teachers with their hands over their ears, as the students watch the clock and count down?

Did you see the huge FLOOD OF KIDS streaming out of every entrance, exit, doorway….

Running, skipping, jumping, like they’re on a sugar high (which is quite likely the case, after the endless parties today)…

The hot, hot Australian afternoon sun beating down on pink, red, caramello, bald, ‘hatted’, or hairy…


Did you see the girls holding hands and hugging each other like they’re NEVER EVER gonna see each other again?

Did you see the boys racing across the fields, arms outstretched, yelling “FREEDOM!”?

Did you see the kids saying their tearful goodbyes to those who are moving on?


Did you see the camels…oops, I mean, moms – laden down with empty baking tins and hats and bags and beautiful pieces of ‘art’ ?

Did you see the dads with kids hanging off them, like human monkeybars?

Did you see the parents making out like sheepdogs – trying to guide their kids towards the car and home?


Did you see the teachers smile – amusement, satisfaction, anticipation?

Did you see the teachers sigh – a touch of sadness, relief, sheer exhaustion?



Cos TODAY was THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL for 2009 !!!!




We have been waiting for this day for a LONGGGGGGG time.

Bring on the SUMMER HOLIDAYS! Roll on the GOOD TIMES!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weather to Consider it

I must admit, Southern Ange, exercise is not even on my horizon.
It should be.
However, there are two factors. The weather being one. A pretty major one.
It always seems to be dark and wet. Although it's light enough when I drive to school in the morning (not for too much longer!), it's dark when I step out the door to go home.
And did I mention the rain? Ugh. Perpetual wetness.
The other factor is part of what I was pondering this morning.
Do you ever tell yourself that you will do something when things get "back to normal" or "settle down again"? Don't bother. I have concluded, once again, that there is no such thing. In fact, my scientifically proven theory of time says that seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. get shorter as time goes by. Have you noticed? And the theory also supports the notion that weekends are shorter than weekdays.
Here's some proof: Last year, I used to come home, make dinner, then upload photos and blog in the evening. I can't do it anymore; the hours are shorter and I can only do my running around, eat, and fall into bed.
It's true!
Therefore, there is no time for exercise beyond pumping the steering wheel. At least not in this girl's day!
Maybe the minutes Down Under are longer; a very attractive benefit to living in the south. You should talk to the tourism people; they could launch a very successful campaign to attract northerners like me!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Whether / Weather to exercise…

Exercise (or the lack of) is a perennial issue….especially as I slip into the ‘nether years’. You know it’s a concerning issue when you stand at the top of a flight of stairs and you get the distinct impression that if you fall down them, you’re gonna BOUNCE!


Someone wise once said, “Horses sweat, men perspire, and women glow!”


I’ll bet that person didn’t originate from around these parts. Maybe from some airconditioned gymnasium in Hollywood….?


I don’t know about you Ange of the North, but I’m struggling to know when is best to get out to do some exercise. Quite apart from the time factor and the motivation (which is necessarily increasing proportionate to my expanding girth), the weather is NOT AT ALL conducive to outdoor exercise. For some reason, I don’t function well early in the mornings….though things are getting so desperate that I’m even considering a 5am start. (Now, I wonder how long THAT would last…!). You see, by the time I take the boys to school, it’s already at least 9am and the sun has been pounding our land for several hours already. It’s HOT, it’s usually HUMID, and I’m really quite averse to being a DRIP. Sorry, I meant AGLOW. So that leaves the other end of the day, after the sun has set and the weather has hopefully cooled down a tad….yeah right! Extracurricular activities, dinner, bedtime.

And my guess, is that you have the opposite problem in the Great White North – cold and wet. Different kinda DRIP.


Hmmm. My one conclusion from all of this, is that is one reason why gyms will always continue to do well. I may yet have to succumb….


All this talk about exercise made me think about more sedentary things. Yesterday, as I worked at my desk, I could see these two birds sitting on our guttering. They sat there for hours, just quietly enjoying being together, letting the wind ruffle their feathers, preening themselves and each other at times, listening to the other birdcalls around them, and just enjoying the view.


I don’t know what kind of birds they are, but they were kinda cute.


Funny how the mind works, but I caught myself thinking, that we humans could learn a bit from them.


I was grateful for moments in my week when I have had a chance to pause and reflect…I’d like more of those moments. I am grateful for friends and family who will do life together with me…whatever it takes. I’m grateful for a perch…a place to call home where I can be myself and lay my head each night. And I love the view….no matter where we are, there is always something we can be grateful for.


I guess I should be grateful that my bod can still exercise, my appetite is still voracious, my pores still work very well, and my desire to exercise vs my fear of early mornings is still hopelessly optimistic!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Father’s job

There are just some things a mother (or at least, THIS mother) just doesn’t do.


Anything involving wires, battery packs, or logical construction…

(eg. showing how electricity in a simple circuit moves from an outside power source and into the home)


Anything involving wildlife (eg. cane toads) in my refrigerator, or bits of animal in recognisable form…

(eg. using a fresh cow tongue to highlight the tongue as the most dangerous weapon in our world)


And anything involving getting my head underwater…

(eg. synchronised swimming of sorts!)


There are just some things that Dads do so much better!

Monday, November 9, 2009

International Travel

I just got back from a weekend in the US. This is the Peace Arch - we spent quite a bit of time looking at it on Friday night as we waited in the border lineup. In the rain.
Ellen and I went to a scrapbooking convention in Seattle (CKC, if you're wondering), where we met up with Joanna. It was very large. We wandered around the vendors' fair with big round eyes, wondering where to start.
We also took classes, where we created cute mini-books and layouts. It was exhausting. In a good way.
It's amazing how Canadians and Americans can live so close and be so very different. Our cultures may look the same, but they're not really. Maybe a bit like Kiwis and Ozzies. I was intrigued as I listened to all those American women with their twangy accents.

We stopped on the way home at the obligatory outlet mall. All the big name shops. I was curious to see a certain bag and purse shop that just screams STATUS. So we went in. It was so crowded. Everyone wanted a purse from C_______, and they were buying them in droves. And then I looked at the prices - they were SO expensive! I left without one. After three hours of wandering around the shops, which were quite a bit cheaper than in our malls, I came home with a pair of boots, a pair of shoes, and a sweater - and I spent much less than the price of one C____ bag.
All this shopping and hedonism left me pretty tired; I'm not used to gallivanting like this!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Simple Pleasures in the Northern Hemisphere

And happiness can also be
as simple as
autumn leaves on a sunny day!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simple pleasures



is as simple

as a swim in the pool after school


Sunday, November 1, 2009


Music is a spiritual thing. It has the power to draw people together and create community.
This is exactly what I experienced - along with about 65 000 others - at the U2 concert the other night.
Wow. What a concert!
I had been anticipating this event since last April or May (whichever month, it was a long time ago!), when I scored tickets for the boys and myself. Big Bear put up a short-lived protest, until he remembered that he doesn't like U2 and really didn't want to go anyway. And then, just two days before the concert, Lea got two tickets online for herself and Andrew. What's amazing is that her tickets ended up being exactly ten rows behind mine! So the two of us sat together, while the three boys got to hang out. This was way more fun!
Way up in the nosebleed section, just four rows from the top, we had a perfect view - although very distant - and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. At the end of the concert, Bono led the entire crowd in Amazing Grace and then moved into Where the Streets Have no Name. It was like a worship experience, though most people didn't realize it!

This was a perfect event for my very busy week; although I didn't get home until 12:45 am, it energized me and boosted my spirits in a way I hadn't expected. The only thing missing was you. And mangoes!

Mango Bliss




I really think that some of the very BEST Mangoes in the world are grown right here in Australia. Bowens, Kensington Prides, R2E2s etc…

They are luscious, juicy, sweet, tangy, and simply perfect. Often, Mangoes sold in other parts of the world can have little or no flavour, have blemishes or bugs, or are so small as to render them wholly unrewarding to eat. The ones we get here are fleshy specimens of a worthy size, dripping with heavenly nectar – beautiful to look at and delectable to eat!

We are a few weeks into the Mango season now and the fruit is becoming richer and tastier. The Mango season is quite short so we are feeding our faces and freezing as much as we can, for when times are lean!

If you’ve never tried a fresh, ripe mango from these parts….you’ve never lived!


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