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Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Tribute

It is the last day of school. For the students, that is... I will be held prisoner for some time yet.
I thought I'd share with you some treasured memories from my class this year.

1. The conversation:
Me: Is there anything you need to tell me about?
J: Ummm.... I told someone to be quiet.
Me: Anything else?
J: I kicked J's foot.
Me. Anything else?
J: Ummm... I threw rocks.
I think I will use this strategy more often; it seems to be quite illuminating!

2. The illustration
3. The apology
4. The confession - what I heard from Little C was: "I was practicing my pitching by throwing rocks and one of them accidentally hit B when he walked in front of it."

5. The scene: I walk in the room in the middle of recess. Shocked, guilty faces stare at me. These boys should be outside, but they've been in the classroom throwing scissors!
Poor old J had to spend the rest of recess holding my hand outside.
This was just a taste of the lovely souvenir letters I have from this year. I will treasure them forever.
I think that I will even miss these boys!

Friday, June 25, 2010

PS. to Joshua Bell - Violin Virtuoso Extraordinaire

To those who picked up on it, yes, this is THE Joshua Bell who performed at the underground station in NY. Having just played a few nights earlier to a sellout ticket paying audience, JB swops venues and attire, to play as an unknown entity in the Metro. It is a fascinating experiment and comment, on the contextual recognition of beauty (amongst other things) - and well worth a read. Here's the link. Thanks for the reminder, Karen!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Joshua Bell - Violin Virtuoso Extraordinaire!

I mentioned Joshua Bell in my last post. My son LOVES Joshua Bell’s violin playing. He loves the way JB FEELS the music. If you go to Joshua Bell’s website you can read all about the phenomenal accolades this amazing violinist has received. All for good reason. NOBODY plays that violin like he does. Absolutely gorgeous music!

So it was incredible to discover that Joshua Bell was going to be in town around E’s birthday. Naturally, we bought tickets - a special surprise 13th birthday present for E. In the weeks preceding E’s actual birthday, he would try to guess what presents he was going to get…..ipod?... technological gizmos?....ipod?.... and more technological gizmos? But never once did he even come close to expecting that he’d be able to see Joshua Bell live in concert! And get to shake his hand AND have a photo with Joshua Bell AND have Joshua scrawl all over E’s programme and CD! Unbelievable!

Despite arriving home only hours after a 3 day gruelling boot camp (where he and his group hauled a 4.5ton truck about 800m, crawled through thick black freezing chest-high mud, and didn’t get much sleep at all), E still had the energy to see Joshua Bell in concert later that night. I wondered if he’d fall asleep like the snorer a few seats down from us, but he sat absolutely mesmerised throughout Joshua’s amazingly beautiful, clear renditions of Mozart and Beethoven. It really was the most beautiful violin playing I have ever come across. You can read all about it here from someone else who thought the same!

And the next day, inspired by hearing and meeting Joshua Bell, E produced his own wonderful violin playing for a soiree he performed at. We tried to put an audiolink here, but the system aint playing ball for us tonight....will try again another day, sorry!

It made me think about all those who excel in their field of enterprise (sport, arts, music, whatever) and the hugely important role they play in inspiring the young people of today. It only takes a moment to smile, chat a bit, and shake someone’s hand, and to do what you do well, but it can inspire a young ‘un to rise above the ordinary and to reach for the stars.

Way to go, Joshua Bell!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sweet Teens

Ange Of The North, that was a GREAT idea to procure a set of those banners! Well done. And I guess you’ve hit on a lucrative fundraising puller too (for future fundraising ventures!)….BTW I still couldn’t open those music links, though I did find them via other channels. They were great. Poignant words.

We are winding down to the last week of school before the 2nd term holidays. E has just taken part in a Business venture for school. The various business groups quickly realized that FOOD was just about the only realistic income-producing item of sale at a Secondary School Business Market Day, with candy being very high up the list of saleable items !! So true.


Sherbet for sale at the Business Market, packaging designed by E

Speaking of candy, we were amazed the other day to discover a HUGE package of chocolate had been posted to us from a very generous and kind friend. All nut free for my nut –allergic lads! We have trouble getting nut free choc Down Under, so my boys don’t usually get to eat a lot of this essential food group! Do you remember that box of about 40 Mars bars we purchased the last time we were in Canada? Well, we only just finished the last bar a few months ago. It had lasted us nearly 3 years with careful management. So the boys’ eyes boggled as they surveyed the ‘almost lifetime supply’ of chocolate, that they could imagine sitting very nicely down in their welcoming tummies.

However, not a single bar has been eaten yet, because the males of this household have been more intrigued by working out such things as how much surface area the chocolate would cover, and how much it all weighed, and what towering configurations they could build with so many chocolate bars! What a thoughtful and generous friend to remember the boys. And my wonderful mother-in-law (who just happened to have been attending a scrapbooking and craft conference here that day) whipped up a plate with the appropriate stenciling! I had to take a photo for you….


And I should alert you to the fact that I am now a mother of a teenager. Yep. Growing those white hairs so that I can look the part. My teen, E, is presently at camp, but will return in time to attend a concert of his violin hero – Joshua Bell! The concert tickets were a present for turning the big 13! E also has a jazz soiree to perform at on Monday so I’m hoping that the former event will inspire and rub off on the latter….though Joshua Bell is more classical than jazz. Beautiful violinist though if you’re into that sort of thing.

I have been musing about kids growing up. The transition to ‘mom of teen’ has likely triggered some sort of chemical catalyst in my brain. Anyway, one thing led to another, and the conversation in the car yesterday morning, turned to ‘laziness’ and what one should do about it. In a moment of profound insight, lil L (who is 4 years away from the teen thing) proclaimed, “You can chuck it in the bin or you can put it on the mantelpiece!” E and I observed a moment’s preponderance before making our highly intelligent response…”Eh what???!”. “Well…,” said lil L, “laziness is like a candle. You can either put it out….or you can keep it going!” and then a moment later, “Mum, can you please teach me about time management? I want to learn all about how to do it well early on, so that I don’t have to get stressed about it when I need to know about it!” Blow me away. Now all I need is for my little Philosopher to put all his deep insights into practice…..and those teen years should be fun!.....right?


Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Glorious Vision

Way back in February, back when Vancouver was gripped by Olympic euphoria and happy, anthem-singing crowds roamed the streets, I had a vision. A noble, grand vision which was finally fulfilled today!
I was completely taken by the Olympic graphics that filled the city. On the main routes, each light post had street banners that echoed the cool blue and green design that was everywhere. Oh, how I loved those graphics! And then, the idea came to me: our school needed to get our hands on a pair of those street banners!
But how?
After asking, wondering and searching, I finally found the answer. The city was planning to donate the banners to a charitable organization to raise funds for the Haiti earthquake relief. Cool!
We ordered ours right away.
And time marched on...
Last Thursday, our banners finally arrived. They're exactly like the ones in the picture - hooray! And now that we had them, it was time to actually raise the money.
Today, we had an electronic lunch. For a $3.00 donation, students were allowed to use electronic devices at lunch time only. I have yet to count the money, but we more than reached our goal. And hanging in the foyer were our glorious banners!
I was tempted to pull out my own iPod and catch some Broken Bells at lunch time. But I had forgotten my $3.00.
Oh well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Well, the Prodigal Blogger has returned.
It has been quite a long time since I showed my face around here! (Not that you'll be seeing my face today...)
It's not that my heart wasn't yearning to tap away on the keyboard and share the latest with you. On the contrary, I was burning to be back.
Really, it's been all about school. And photos, of course. What I mean is that I was working on the school yearbook (once I finished Ellen's slide show - which should have been an ominous warning to me about the propensity of certain teachers to not pass on the photos I had repeatedly begged for...).
This is where I lived for weeks. Every waking moment.
Summer has been far, far away. The weather has been disappointingly chilly and damp - until yesterday. Yay! Home on a sunny, warm Saturday, and the yearbook was finished! I weeded my garden for the first time this season and as a result, have been hobbling around today, twinging in places I didn't think could twinge. It was quite interesting being on the worship team at church this morning and suddenly getting these intense nervy spasm things in muscles crucial for standing!
Today, we (figuratively) pulled out the old pool and the old rotten half of the deck. It's all ready to replace, now; I hope we get the new pool installed before summer really kicks in!
If you're anything like me, certain songs and albums are forever linked with times of my life. For example, I always think of you, Southern Ange, in relation to the Eagles. Just because we watched their live DVD together. Coldplay reminds me of the time I took a summer course and listened to nothing but them as I wrote papers. This late spring will always be flavoured by two CDs I bought last month and have greatly enjoyed; I'd like to share with you a song from each one. Or you can listen to all of them on their My Space pages!
Broken Bells just released their album in December and I am so taken with them. They have a slightly edgy sound, not top 40 teenybopper pop material. My favourite song on the disc is "The Ghost Inside". My other current flame is Owl City, a very different band - actually a guy who makes much of the music by himself and who has an upbeat, electronica/dance sound and fun, clever lyrics. I love "Meteor Shower" - so short, but says so much (it's not on the My Space page, but check out "Fireflies").
So, that's it in a nutshell. I have a very short window of time before I have to hibernate again and write report cards. We have just two more weeks with students, then another week of cleaning, reports, meetings, and other wonderful stuff. And then, freedom!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I love SYDNEY.
It holds many wonderful memories of visits from days gone by.

The thing that I love BEST about Sydney, is that there is always a bustle happening.
I wouldn't want to live here permanently, but as a visiting destination, it's TOPS!

Sydney is a veritable mixing pot in so many ways - a hodgepodge conglomeration of all sorts of things!

I really like the mix of old vs new;

traditional vs modern;


vs glam;


vs avant garde.

The people are a fascinating bunch to watch!

The standard of driving has to be experienced to be believed (suggest you don't venture near Sydney if you have neck problems.....or if you do, then fasten your seatbelt securely, close your eyes, block your ears, and hope for the best!).
This method of transportation however, looked much less frenetic and far more pleasant...

Naturally, gourmet experiences abound and the standard is topnotch.

I have now discovered a new 'fave' chocolatier -

My one real regret being, that I didn't make the most of the opportunity to load my suitcases up to the gunnels with this fabulous chocolate!
Instead, I kept outta trouble and busy, visitng some other iconic Sydney venues...

Paddy's Markets

The Sydney Opera House

The Rocks
And of course...the highlight of this trip

A fitting celebration to the preceding years of hard work

And a night to remember!

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