Thursday, January 31, 2008

Musical Meltdowns

I've been waiting on our choir information coming through so I can organize the rest of my life. Well it's finally arrived & I've gone into meltdown. Dearest has remained calm & in control. I knew it would be bad, just not how bad.

There are the tutoring fees. OK, those I knew about & I knew how bad they would be. It was the hidden costs I was worried about & there are plenty of those. There are the little costs for a folder & pencils. There are the minimal costs for a make~up case ~ hairspray, deoderant, comb, brush, bobby pins, elastics, foundation, lipstick & then there are the uniforms; uniforms, plural ~ 3 uniforms to be exact, all expensive, all requiring tailoring at our expense. Why is music so jolly expensive? We haven't even got onto the flute part of this exercise yet.

Why bother? Well firstly that little gem about training up a child in the way he should go has wider applications in my view than the usual one about teaching them about God. I think God wants us to know our children well enough that we know how God has designed them & train them accordingly so that they might fulfill His purposes. Then there is the purely practical. The child who can't concentrate long enough to write a sentence without digressing before she gets to the end of it is always singing, humming, whistling & has supurb concentration for music. She has a phenominal musical memory.

Several years ago I bought Amadeus to show Ditz something of Mozart's life & the times he lived in . We have suffered ever since from Ditz's rendition of the aria from the Magic Flute ~ on pitch.
She could & can sing the theme from LOTR all the way through; actually any of a number of movie themes. She has an extensive range & can hit notes at either end of the scale her teachers can't. Sadly we began music because I am a mathamatical moron & figured music would help Ditz's math (the jury's still out on that one!) We perservered because music seemed to be helping with the attention deficiet (now we know why!) & the self discipline was good for Ditz.

I feel like the tiny honeyeater mummy who found herself trying to raise a cuckoo chick. I thought I was starting to get a handle on this child raising circuis. I've done 3 kinesthetic learners (the 'we don't come to school to learn; we come to socilize & play sport' trio); I've done 3 dyslexics (all my boys have various degrees of dyslexia), the 'Rose amongst the Thorns' dilemma (go play soccer on the oval with your brothers dear because if I find you making googly eyes at the boys in play time there will be BIG trouble.) And then I got Ditz, the sparkly lilac nail polish, canary singing, hair draping, emotional bomb & it's like I'm clueless.

Which is why I am clutching a dozen foolscap pages that begin...Attendence at rehearsals is compulsory. A doctors certificate is required... wondering how I got here & what on earth I think I'm doing.

Now badly as Ditz wants to do all this she is a sensitive soul & acutely aware of our financial situation so she has been buzzing in my ear, softly so as not to worry her father, 'Are you sure we can do this, mummy? It's an awful lot of money.' No I'm not sure, but Dearest is the money man & he says it's all under control. But I can tell you this, girl. You owe me. Big time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On ADD...

Ditz is ADD. She has the attention span of a gnat ~ & that's on a good day. Lessons go like this:

Me: The yo scale is a pentatonic scale of ascending intervals...

Ditz: Did you know I've got a wobbly tooth?

Me: The yo scale is a pentatonic scale of ascending intervals...

Ditz: You want to see it wobble? Look... (wobbles tooth ~ gross)

Me: The yo scale is a pentantonic scale of ascending intervals...write...

Ditz: You know you can shatter crystal with this note? (proceeds to sing. I don't know about shattering crystal but she can bend minds)

Me: What are you up to? Pentatonic scale...Pentatonic ...p-e-nt

Ditz: I can spell pentatonic.

Me: So write...

And so on. The good news? Ditz actually understood all about the pentatonic scale & proceeded to explain when I handed her the piece of Sakura to illustrate her paper on Japanese music.

This is why Ditz is not in a regular classroom. Distractability is the name of the game & one of us needs to stay focused. And yesterday was a good day. Ditz did her writing test. She wrote most of a foolscap page ~ excellent for Ditz. She remembered to paragraph. Her spelling was correct. Her piece (on why being a cat would be a great life) was witty & well thought out. She had a punch line. Why, I wanted to know, were there no capitals? Because spell check does it automatically for her on the computer. Duh!

So writing test, bible, history & despite the complaints Ditz was working well so I hand her over her text book & her science paper. I tell her it's an open book exam as one thing I know about Ditz for sure, she is a visual learner & she skim reads fast because that gives her the visuals, which means unless she's specifically asked to do it she doesn't read for information. Twenty questions; match the question to the answer. An hour later she's managed just 3 questions. *sigh* I am practicing patience. Lots & lots of patience.

This is the same child who will patiently sing the same passage over & over, totally focused. I am counting my blessings. Despite her energy levels she's not got the hyper aspect of ADD.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Teachable Moments.

Last night's dinner was late; very late. I haven't made this recipe in a while & had forgotten I needed pastry ~ not as silly as it sounds. I do have a recipe for crustless quiche, just not for this recipe! So I was frantically cutting corners (like not cooling my pastry dough for the required length of time) when Ditz arrived.

I love my daughter, truely I do, & unlike her mama she loves to cook but what I do not need when I am frazzled & behind time is the Ditzy one. However she offered to roll out the dough for me while I finished the preparations so I accepted. Sad, sad, sad idea. Ditz treated it like play dough. First she tasted it to see if it was a sweet dough she could nibble on. Then she pushed & pulled, pummled & thumped till I cringed. When she rolled it up into a ball & began all over again. I pointed out she was well on the way to turning the dough into leather. Oh! She didn't know that. No, I know she didn't know, which is why I pointed it out. Just as I had to point out I needed the rolled dough quite a bit larger than the pie dish to accommodate the sides. Oh! Ditz's eyes widened as I lined the pie crust with a sheet of baking paper. I mean, she knows mum's a tad loopy but cooking the paper? I explained 'baking blind'. Meanwhile the workers were starving. Teachable moments always arrive at the most inappropiate times.

I am not the world's greatest pastry cook so why did this particular crust turn out so well?

The Old Order Changeth...

My boys are moving out...again.

Theo is moving into a share house on the mainland with mates for work reasons.
Dino is moving interstate (again!) for study purposes.

The old order changeth to make way for the new. It is a much quieter household when it is just Dearest & his girls. Saner. Better for Ditz's schooling. Far fewer distractions. Less running around for me. Yes we miss them but they'll be back. We have their car... their boat...their surfboards... the crabpots & fishing rods...& the cat! They never move out with all their belongings. They come & get what they need when they want it; they just don't bring it home again. Come to think of it, when Theo ran out of clothing & I began enquiries I found everything he owned was in the back of his ute...wet, mouldy, & dirty. Enough said.

Which brings me to today's meltdown moment. I remember I was sick at the end of the last school year; very sick; fluey; dying by inches sort of sick. I distinctly remember saying to Ditz we would just finish up her science & call it quits, which Ditz did, beautifully, all on her own, including the experiment that makes no sense to either of us, but whatever. And we packed everything neatly away; promptly forgot all about it.

So I cleaned of the very large desk that sits in our living room because we can't find another spot for it at present & I am tired of Ditz wasting hours each & every term on the excuse she needs to clean her desk before she can begin work because inevitabley her desk is snowed under & overflowing with whatever craft project is flavour of the month. Then I hunted up all her shool books that have worked their way to the bottom of the pile & stacked everything neatly on her desk, sorting through as I went. Oh no! What's this one? Have I even seen this before? Yikes! Apologia science has tests at the end of each unit? The tests we obviously didn't do & it's been 8 weeks since Ditz opened a science book! I can assure you Ditz is going to have a major meltdown when I suggest some revision might be in order. The science wasn't popular the first time around. Second helpings will not improve its flavour. Frankly I can do without the drama, drama, drama but I will get it anyway. I could do without the tests as well. Like mother like daughter. Ditz never remembers the things to be tested on, only the obscure, arcane & so much more interesting things that nobody ever asks about. *sigh* Off I go to bite the bullet.


Time flies when you don't know what you're doing.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

We were going to shop...but I woke up this morning migrainy; mainland shopping not the best option, especially as Ditz had her violin lesson first. After such a long break that went overtime as well so I decided we might as well finish the morning by schooling. Ditz sooo not happy.

We have placement tests. ''This is boooring,'' was the Ditzy refrain as she galloped through the spelling test. What could I say? It was boring & Ditz only got one word wrong so I do take her point.

Onwards & upwards. I decided one test a day to the end of the week was enough & there was no need to leap straight into her full on academics so I gave her the craft project ~ one Japanese lady in a kimono bookmark. She was happily occupied until I could decently call it quits for the day, swallow a 'happy pill' & sleep of the flashing lights & nausea. So much fun & not an auspicious start to our school year.

I am going to try something a little different for spelling this year as rote anything tends to drive both Ditz & I rather wild eyed. Long lists (even short lists) have us swooning with boredom & frankly it's not conducive to actual thinking & thinking it what I want Ditz to do more of. Someone pointed me in the direction of a free downloadable with 29 spelling rules for English ~ which strikes me as actually being rather sensible. Teach the rules & when to apply them & you don't actually need to teach spelling? If anyone has tried this & failed miserably please let me know so I can reconsider before Ditz decides spelling is out the door.

However after much prayer our church Chair has reconsidered & when we hold our AGM next month will stand again & I have happily withdrawn my application. It's a God thing. When I went to withdraw it the Chair grinned at me & said it wasn't actually even legal as I hadn't actually signed it. I was suppossed to sign it? Sometimes I wonder about me. The practicalities of life so often escape my attention.

Well, I'm off to make quiche because real men eat quiche. In this case they're going to have to wether they like it or not because that's all that's on offer tonight.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blessings from on high.

The Lord has so blessed us in the past few days! Here we are, on the brink of a new school year, & it's not only Ditz who is unmotivated. I was feeling very ho~hum; barely a spark to get the old engine thrumming so what has the Lord done? Sent a huge blessing our way in the shape of another homeschooling family.

Now if you are one of the blessed families with homeschoolers all over the district & a large, supportive homeschool group, pity those of us less fortunate who go from year to year never speaking to a really truly live homeschooler! Most of the homeschoolers I know are *virtual*. Worse, of the *real* ones I know the kids are so academic I can barely bring myself to admit we homeschool too & my bright little Ditz is all about music & art. *blush*

So when this new family rocks up to church the entire church rose up & practically threw her my way saying, 'Oh, jeannie homeschools too!' I tentatively enquire about curriculum...She does her own. I consider our large empty hall with no stone for me to crawl under & hide. She tentatively offers they throw maths books at walls & have crying sessions over math. My ears prick. Could they possibly be....? Yep ~ music & art!!! Her girl is the same age as my Ditz & the girls have hit it off. She plays French horn. Mum teaches brass; has already offered to do theory with the girls together. Yay! I offer to put them in touch with the community band & offer a loan of our Sonlight readers.

They have just arrived from Britain; struggling with the culture shock, so today I rounded up Ditz, took chips & dip & we went visiting. Double blessing. She was so thrilled to show me what they are doing & I was so thrilled to be shown. Here's someone else gearing history to music & art! I came home really excited about our homeschooling again. Sometimes we need others to sharpen us, blow away the cobwebs, give us back our vision.

Blessings for my social, extroverted little butterfly who's constant refrain has been, 'but I don't like being all on my own! No~one else has to homeschool.' Well, guess what, Ditz? She's really missed having Liddy round for schooling company. I have a head full of new ideas, new angles I haven't thought of & I can't wait to start up again...which won't be tomorrow. Tomorrow we shop. The freezer is quite, quite empty & while the Ditz & I might be prepared to go vegetatian the men in out life certainly aren't!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You asked for it. :)

It is always dangerous to ask for my thoughts; you are likely to get them!

I came to Quakerism early ~ along with the hippie movement of the 60's & women's lib. I read the Female Eunuch alongside of Thee, Hannah (bizarre, I know), owned a button that read we are the people our parents warned us about & rejected the Anglican church about the same time. Actually I threw God out with the church & it took a while of me throwing tantrums & God standing firm before I found my way back into His presence. I know where Ditz gets her tendencies from & it is no fun on the other side of the fence!

Into this heady mix add a dash of Amish/Mennonite, Elfrida Vipont, & the Friendly Persuasion; even now, while a quiet person, I tend to be strongly individualistic & highly opinionated! Personal relationship, personal accountability & the conviction that the Holy Spirit is no respecter of gender & you start to see where I am going to part company with most mainline churches. Given a strong sense of social Justice & that the Society of Friends has been foremost in areas of social reform (I do have a problem with many meetings' stance on homosexuality), foremost in grasping the Holy Spirit speaks to us personally, leads us personally, teaches us (personally) & that right from its inception the Society of Friends allowed women to speak in meeting (oh oh!) & you start to see it's attraction for someone who struggles to fit into the usual molds.

I am not a theologian. My degree is in drama & English literature ~ so I can tell a good story from a bad one, lol! I can write a reasonably coherent essay if I put my mind to it. Theoretically I don't have a problem with women ministers. Theoretically. The first time I ended up behind the pulpit I had a major meltdown ~ & I'm talking major major here. We got less than 24 hours notification that our preacher for Christmas was too sick to make it. My Dearest, who was responsible at the time for filling the pulpit, turned to me & said, 'Well, it's either you or me.' We both knew it would be me. Dearest is so dyslexically abstract it takes his family, who are used to him, time to untangle his meanings. The congregation has no chance!

My present church family is small & non~denom. No denomination wants to actually give us a permanent minister. Consequentially those of us in the congregation with any sort of gift of the gab exercise it in the gift of preaching. That includes me, as some of you already know. This is not up for debate. I have heard the arguments against women preachers ad nauseam. I have done my research, done my praying, but when the Lord sits down beside me & says, 'Like this, dear heart,' I am not about to disobey. I am not that brave.

Which brings me to Isiah 49. verses 1 ~ 3, verses 5 & 6 because for 20 years the lovely ladies of the Anglican church here (all 6 of them) have been praying for revival on the islands & the prophets are starting to prophesy that it is about to happen. The watchers on the watch tower are crying out.

Now I have never felt the call to evangalization. (isn't that a terrible thing for a Christian to say!). I have always felt called to the equiping of the saints that they are enabled to perform all the good works that the Lord in his lovingkindness has prepared beforehand for them to do. I have always been really sure about that! Besides it's reasonally safe. The average age of the majority of our congregation is over 70!

I am reasonably confident about standing before our little congregation of between 20 & 50 worshippers & proclaiming God's word to the people of God (remember all that drama training that everyone was so sure would be useless for all practical considerations?). I do my Homework to the best of my ability & trust God for the rest.

God is in the business of moving us out of our comfort zones. I am joining the cat in having a meltdown.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How the other Half Lives.

The other half in this case is my Ditz. If you've been around for a while you've heard me complain that like many really bright kiddos Ditz's brain works faster than her hand can write & getting it all down, however that happens, is more important to her than dull things like grammar & punctuation.
So why has the child been engrossed in writing a 'best seller' by hand since NaNo finished? Good question. And why has she begged & begged for a blog of her very own? I have no idea. Venture in at your own risk but like many other homeschooling parents before me (& the many more who will come after me) I am just desparate enough to use anything that comes to hand that will strengthen a child's weak area. I am so delighted she is writing anything at all of her own violition I am even managing, more or less (ok, less rather than more) to bite my tongue over her non~existant punctuation.
I have 5 children. They all scribe as though they were chickens scratching through the hen house. Maybe it's genetic. My oldest & my youngest have the worst handwriting of the lot ~ completely illegible. Both write really good stories & they both like the computer. Hey, whatever works! Judging by their handwriting they should both be doctors!
We are still suffering, 7 years later, from the idiotic teacher who told Ditz she couldn't write with coloured pencils, only a grey lead pencil. She's a visual/spatial learner & arty. The look of the thing was at least as important to her as the content. We've done glitter pens, coloured pencils, textas, calligraphy pens with coloured ink (Ditz loved this one but it got real messy real fast) ~ in fact anything at all that Ditz was prepared to write with. I think I'm winning. Maybe. Sort of.
Oh, right. You want to know where this masterpiece is? It started as CJay's Waffle though I think it's metamorphasising into something else & there is a link over there somewhere. Good luck!

And this is what I got...

I don't mind being a little different but I am becoming seriously worried about me. My spiritual background is low Anglican & fairly liberal but I am attracted, have always been attracted, to the other extreme while knowing full well I am far to much of an individual to submerge into group anything. Catching up on my bloggy contacts (not all of whom I've listed) I suddenly realised how many are either Mennonite, or used to be Mennonite, or would be Mennonite if they could or are Quaker, Plain Quaker not this new age liberal Quaker stuff that makes no theological sense to me at all though that strong sense of personal accountability, personal encounterability, & sense of social justice explains why I land on the Quaker side of the fence.

Still it's a strange & scarey journey, this discovering God personally (It is a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of the living God) & learning how to follow his leading ~ the leading that is just for me & no~one else because God values the individual, calls us by name, knows the plans he has for us....a long winded way to say I started looking into Isiah 49, a personal message, & so totally freaked at what I think the Lord is saying to me I may just hibernate under a harrow for the next decade or so! Courage is not my strong suit; brave I am not. In point of fact I haven't finished reading the chapter yet because I got so far & couldn't cope with even that much. And yes, I do know it is speaking firstly & most specifically about Christ. It's just he keeps highlighting bits for me & I think I'm going into meltdown.. Where's the cat? I want company!


Hmmm. Somehow whatever I do my pictures are scatty & my type ends up all over the place. Perhaps someone knows how I fix this little problem...? Anyway here goes. If the type & the photos don't match up I'm sure all you clever ladies can work out what on earth I'm gabbling about.

I did plenty of this while the rain drizzled down...

New Holland honeyeaters at the bird bath; Ma gets quite a colony twice a day.

And what do you give the woman who has everything? Well, if you're me you find something goofy & kinky that she'll absolutely love or absolutely hate...... Ditz complained about the boobs but poor thing; she needs something to rest on...

Here's the water flooding over the boardwalk opposite. Ma's villa is right on the canal with a pleasant view of the little park opposite. Nothing like our views!

And the insane cat, Pixie. I dunno. Something about this family. All our animals are absolute characters with one of a kind personalities. Ma talks to hers too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggerty~trot.

We are home again. Ditz is so pleased! The trip home is always quicker & less fraught ~ apart from leaving my mother. As soon as she thinks she is unobserved she shrinks a little & looks suddenly old. It is horrible & I know she will find any excuse to not go straight home to an empty, silent house. (Ditz is unforgettable & makes her presence known!) Even knowing mum is living exactly where she wants to with many friends & help only a button away if she needs it, even knowing she keeps really busy & has an excellent quality of life, I hate that we're not close enough to drop in for afternoon tea regularly. I hate leaving her & I know the hardest part for her of having visitors is having them leave. I rang as soon as we got home (knowing mum likes to know we've arrived safely & that all is well & as it should be at our end) & left a message. As expected she wasn't home yet!

However my cat is sooo happy to have me home again, poor thing. Despite the heat he had a good collapse all over me & enjoyed the fussing of a thorough grooming. Silly boy! He won't let anyone else do it. I'd assume he had candy floss for a brain if I didn't know how smart he was but poor Liddy was in a tizz about him. She was in charge of running the house & I left the money with her too & she complained that Iss wasn't eating for her. She was worried until someone thought to tell her the boys had been feeding him fishy tit bits!

Work, once they discovered I was gone ~ Liddy's lunches no longer arriving on cue! ~ gave her a hard time about having to fend for herself but despite the fact I make the child's lunch most days & run it up for her so it's fresh she is perfectly capable of running the house while I'm not here & no~one is looking thin & woebegone. However every time I rang home I managed to miss Lid & as she hadn't spoken to me in 10 days I got my ears talked off! The boys aren't the world's greatest conversationalists.

And it is so nice to be back in my own home again! It may be chaotic & disorderly & unfinished & disorganized but all the people I love most in the world are here.

For the curious...

between the silence is where you can find my thoughts on scripture. Not very origonal; Not very clever, but simple thoughts for a simple mind. If you venture here may these thoughts bless you & lead you into a deeper relationship with the Greatest Lover of all, our Lord & saviour, Jesus Christ. And remember, scripture says to test the spirits. Never accept anyone's say so. Always, always check the scriptures for yourself!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nearly Home.

Today (Wednesday) is our last full day. We head home tomorrow morning. The beaches are closed. Strong wind warnings combined with high tides & the surf patrol tower we regularly walk past has tumbled into the sea. The area between the designated surf flags has been getting smaller & smaller each time we go to the beach so no surprises to find them closed. Yesterday the tide surged over the boardwalk around the canals where Ma lives; same thing about to happen today. When I rang home Dino picked up; he's been home the whole time I've been away although he was suppossed to head out to sea a week ago. With all the teens around full time stores are depleted so I guess my first chore will be replenishing the pantry.

We saw Amazing Grace in the village theatre ~ big leather recliners, coffee on tap, lovely! As I've just read Betsy (about Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer) the history was fairly clear in my mind. One to own I think. The song is Ditz's all time favourite hymn & we did quite a study on it's origons a few years back.

I am starting to fret internally about all the things I know need to be done before school resumes & I'm itching to be back on my own computer so I can catch up with all you lovely ladies properly. However, Olive, we say 'trespasses' as per the King James Version according to Oz; I never can remember to say 'debts', which always makes me fret about unpaid bills & a particularly silly add on T.V. I am surprised you are interested in my 'sermon' thoughts, knowing your views & I'm definitely no theologian. Need my own computer to acced to your request though. Thoughts & insights always welcome. There is always more to learn about everything, especially God.

Persuaded, you are so right about the calender thing though personally I can't imagine doing a message that I hadn't got directly from God, which isn't to say he can't work through the man made channels, just it seems like a lot of extra jumping through hoops to me. I love Isiah & am looking forward to chasing this one.

Chariot Press has recieved my order & everything from Sonlight is on it's way. I do love getting our readers & God is so good. I was interested in the Chinese treasure chest (we don't use Sonlight for history, just all their resources :) ). Someone in the States offered their unused pack ~ only shipping was more than the pack was worth. It's 1/2 price just now so I've ordered one. Thank you God, who knows before we even ask what we need. I also decided this year it was about time we started some more formal bible study. I want Ditz to do some apologetics, hopefully next year; her critical thinking skills need a little more honing but if she insists on moving into the music industry, as she seems determined to do, she'd best be well prepared. She's actually excited about that ~ which surprised me! One of Ditz's good points is how much she loves God. However I do like to skim material I'm teaching for the first time before I have to use it & this time I know we'll be schooling before I've had a chance & I'll be scrabbling to stay one step ahead of everything. I have research to do too as rather than generalised research this year we will be doing more compare & contrast type stuff so I will be modeling to start with. Ditz is about to have a spac attack over that! We will be looking into Japanese art & music & comparing it with Western music. Forget Ditz! I will be learning a lot.

Still waiting on Choir information & am fretting because I need to know how long I've got to buy uniforms & make~up & all the other paraphenalia that is sure to be an 'extra' for that particular program! Get in contact with the flute teacher to find out which days are available for lessons, which I can't do till I have the choir information. Watch me spin! Just as well I'm going home. I may still be treading water but will feel more productive. lol.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We toddled off to church with ma, Sunday morning; Anglican (Episcopilian? if you're American), liturgical, not what Ditz is used to at all. She won't ever take communion at ma's church. After the first hymn ma leant over me & whispered in Ditz's ear, 'You're not singing?' As Ditz has sung non stop since she arrived ma can be forgiven for wondering but neither Ditz nor I knew any of Sunday's hymns so remained noticably silent.

I grew up with the liturgy so know my way round, sort of. They keep changing things, including the Lord's Prayer, which we still say the old way, so gabbling away happily am likely to find myself out of sync with the rest of the congregation who have all learnt the new words ~ or at least use the prayer book!

However as the old testament reading arrived I felt the Lord whisper in my ear,'Pay attention, now ~ There is something here for you.' The reading was Isiah 49 which begins: Listen, o Isles, unto me, ye people from far; the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name... You may giggle. I'm sure the Lord has a splendid sense of humour & I will be investigating this chapter more thoroughly when I am back on my own computer. There is no way the minister could have known there would be people from far islands in that church service!

We walked from Mudjimba to Macoola on Saturday. All I can say is ~
Yuk! The beach has disappeared. There are exposed rocks, nasty pebbly things underfoot, hordes of tiny bluebottles, & filthy foam. It was bad enough to force us to walk back along the boardwalk in our bare feet. Ma was sorry she'd taken us but it is the same all up & down the coast. The beaches are in an awful state. Still fortified by icecream & an excursion I have been decimating Ditz at both scrabble & gin & finished a Kellerman (whom I've never read before & found a little too gory) & a Picoult, whom I have read & like very much.

Meanwhile the beginning of our school year creeps ever closer. Ditz is alreay dragging her feet.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Holiday news.

My mother has taken the Ditzy one to water areobics this morning & a good thing too. The child is not expending enough energy & that is not a good thing. The weather, overcast & rainy for the most part, has not helped although we were out shopping yesterday morning & went to the village ''chick flick'' in the afternoon ~ A Good Woman ~ which is someone's version of Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan, which had me at least giggling. I do like Wilde; strange & funny, just the way I like my entertainment.

We have managed some short walks but the wild weather has ruined the beaches & we are dashing between showers. Today the sun is attempting his thing & we are having dinner in Noosa at a friend's roadside restraunt. Hopefully that will mean a walk along the boardwalk & through the park beforehand. Being so confined with reading, jig~saws & limited computer time is not Ditz's idea of a wildly thrilling holiday & if she keeps serenading her ma day in & day out ma may just remove her tongue ~ permanently. lol. joke, though she does ask me how I live with the constant noise on a permanet basis? I tune Ditz out regularly. It's the only way to survive. At least it is a tuneful & happy noise for whatever her faults Ditz is a happy little camper prepared to enjoy whatever happens to the absolute fullest. She makes me tired.

Monday, January 14, 2008


We left the island about 12.30 pm ~ minus the drink bottles which were Ditz's responsibility. As she pointed out, obviously she's not responsible enough for such a responsibility! ??? Six hours later we arrived at my mother's, rather worn round the edges. Ditz did read on the train~ Lewis' The Magician's Nephew ~ for about 1/2 an hour, then proceeded to ask me questions to which I couldn't possibly provide an answer, such as what we would have for tea & what we were doing tomorrow (which is now today!) She is playing ping pong with someone else's hyper grandchild at present (grandma is supervising) & then going to see the WaterHorse with them at The Maroochydore mall. Rather them than me. That place is enormouse & in the wet packed to the ceiling with tourists. Ma is hyperventilating. Ditz is like a whirling dervish in her quiet, ordered life & much as she loves the Ditzy one is rather pleased she doesn't live with her full time.

I left them too it to sneak on here having checked my e~mails & ordered Ditz's next lot of math & had a meltdown. We are getting closer & closer to the algebra. Algebra is just silly in my book. Why play guessing games? I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason why people do these things but not one I can possibly grasp & while I am quite happy to do geometry, which I actually like & understand, am looking for ways to avoid both algebra & calculus ! And if you think Ditz will weep, think again! She's my girl!

Sorry folks. No pictures until I am back on my own computer.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Iss has gone into meltdown early. I was having my shower this morning when Iss joined me in the bathroom, something he normally avoids like the plague. Not only did he join me in the hot, steamy bathroom he partially climbed into the shower tray with me trying to get to me & then he started squeaking at me. Normally he is a very silent cat so this is very abnormal behaviour.

Ok, I admit I told him Ditz & I were going away for a few days; I thought it would help if he was prepared. Apparrently not; he's just become neurotic. He's hardly let me out of his sight.

Anyway, today was D~Day for the message ~ all beautifully typed out in print large enough for me to read. The entire church has had a traumatic week dealing with a rather messy issue & lots of angst & heartache; I'm really good at angst. I practised a lot through my teen years & I've got it down pat. I wept. I prowled. I couldn't sleep. I fussed at Dearest & read through the message with him for his discernment. I got sick & went to bed. How anyone lived with me I do not know! I must have done a really supurb job on the angst because Ditz said to me as we drove home from Saturday's piano lesson, 'I'm coming to church with you tomorrow, mummy. I don't think you should be there on your own.' Aw! Isn't she a sweetie? I got up this morning & Dearest, Liddy & Ditz all lined up for church as my support team. I felt like I was about to give birth. P.U.S.H! (pray until something happens) I gave birth to a lovely peaceful service ~ well not me actually, but you know what I mean.

Our leader today is a very, 'hallelujah! Praise the Lord!' girl but knowing my preference for a more Quaker style of worship ( I hate people leaping straight into prayer when I'm still trying to wriggle onto the Lord's lap; I always feel like I'm running to catch up with things) she paced things very differently to her usual style & I think the congregation was truely blessed.

Now I'm a 'you need the background before you can grasp the scriptures' girl so I always do my background research, which for Solomon's song of Songs touched on David & Bathsheba, Solomon & all his multitudes of women (can you imagine the PMS in that house?!), traditional Jewish weddings & the Temple before I actually got around to the theme which was about how we practise loving God. I worry that it probably drives the non~history buffs completely nutty but our resident ex~Jew was delighted & we had quite a conversation later about all the places I could have gone & hadn't; For which the people of God can be profoundly grateful or we'd all still be there with me pontificating away! lol. Next time. He's suggested doing something on the temple & I may just (as the Lord leads) because the parallels with Christ (which I just glanced at today) & His people are very interesting ~ to say the least. I do love research. I could happily research forever but we are told to share all good things which I find much, much harder to do.

Where the train goes...

We will travel right under the Glasshouse mountains. These huge outcrops can be seen from miles out at sea; Captain Cook mentioned them in his log when he first sailed our eastern sea board. I will grant they are spectacular enough to be romantic.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friends, Romans, countrymen...

Lend me your ears. I have nothing to say about Caesar. But on Monday the Ditz & I are confined to a train for 3 hours & I can assure you travelling with a hyper, overexcited Ditz is no panacea of roses! So I took us to the library; not that Ditz will read on the train but just knowing she has a book to hand makes me feel better.

This is what we've got. Ditz, like her mother, is a fantasy reader by choice, preferably Celtic based fantasy but we will take whatever we can get in a pinch. I, on the other hand, adore these strange little biographies that come out of Britain & recall some small, forgotten corner with all its weirdness of a life that is fast disappearing off the planet. Plus I will reread Skeet Savage's book on homeschooling. It is always good to remind myself why I began the craziness that has become my life ~ & why I enjoy it so much!


"God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. ''

Thursday, January 10, 2008

This is my life!!!!

As some of you know I do the occasional message at church. So there I was, oh so happily, typing up my message from pages & pages of notes when, CRASH!!!! Noooooo computer! Dead as the proverbial dodo. Meltdown describes my condition pretty well. After all most of my message was locked inside a grey metal box & totally inaccessible.

Sian, God bless her little cotton socks, came rushing to the rescue & put all the pretty pieces back together again so we are up & running again. So why am I here? Because I'm the world's greatest procrastinator, that's why, & I work really well to short deadlines! Obviously I feel my Sunday deadline needs further shortening!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Food, glorious food.

Chocolate crackles.

These are sooo simple to make & one of the first things I teach a kiddie to make because there's almost no cooking involved.

I don't know which ingredients U.S citizens don't get & which go by another name but about 4 cups of Rice Bubbles (this is a breakfast cereal), 1 of shredded coconut, one of icing sugar ( the stuff you use to make cake frostings) another of sultanas if you like them; personally we don't do 'squashed flies'. (joke.) Oops, nearly forgot the cocoa powder! I think that's about a cup too. Add 8oz melted copha (an odourless, tasteless ghee?) Mix it all together & spoon into patty cake wrappers. Put in fridge & leave to harden. These must be stored in the fridge or they 'melt' but they make heaps & the kids love them. Oh, & they're cheap to make too.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Weakness for Murder.

I rarely watch t.v. I just don't have the attention span for it but I do have a weakness for gritty British crime series ~ Morse, Frost, Midsomer Murders, Macbeth ~ most of which anyone in The States probably hasn't seen, you poor things, you.

The Best of them all is Jonathon Creek. (The Brits have a thing for names!). This wonderful little show has the added bonus of totally doing my kids' head spaces in. It is as weird as all get out & I do so like weird. It is spooky. It has the best theme music.

Now in my house we all like murder shows. I know...I know. Surely we can find something better to put in the empty spaces between our ears! This means we are pretty good crime solvers ~ at least as done on t.v ~ & Liddy & I have these running wars on who can solve the crime right & first!

Which is why I like Jonathon Creek sooo much. He is not predictible! The shows are almost impossible to solve & keep you guessing to the very end. Then there is weird. The man invents magic tricks. He lives in a windmill. (I want a windmill too!) He works for a magician & in his spare time (what's that?) solves the unsolvable crimes. They are also child friendly in the sense there is no bad language, rarely any actual gore, & good morals (well the ones I saw were good.)

It usually airs late at night here, so far too often I fall asleep before it's on & I can't use the video (huh?) so it's a rare night I am still bright eyed & bushy tailed when Jonathon Creek comes on. Rarer still, for some reason I have since forgotten, both girls were up with me when the first bars of the theme music came on. 'What are you warching, mum?!' Liddy asked. Leery. She knows I go some very strange places & she had no intention of going there with me. 'Murder mystery.' I flapped my hands to shush her because I have enough trouble without missing vital clues. So she sits with me. After all, she too is partial to a good murder. Ditz takes my other side seeing as we are being very boring & insist on being riveted to the t.v.

'This is sooo spooky.' Liddy edged a little nearer. Ditz was mezmerized. I think it was the one the victim dissapeared from a windowless, locked garage. Impossible, right? The running commentary started up. I just love watching a show that requires attention with the peanut gallery jabbering ~ 'that's not possible! What's he doing? What is that music? How can you watch this?' I suggested they go to bed. This was not recieved well. Weird, spooky, strange ..& did I mention addictive? The next week Liddy videoed it for me (so she could watch it with the sun up & the lights on!) This Christmas she ordered me the first series. It hasn't arrived yet but it is something I am anticipating with pleasure.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

In between the showers.

The rain stopped!!! No cooking for us. I headed for the bathroom & began shovelling clothes in the washing machine. Sad experience has taught me we will probably only have a short break in the weather, so wash fast! Dino wants fishing clobber.

Dino & Theo took advantage of the dry to do a spot of fishing. I remind myself of all the horrible things they could be doing & aren't. Something still alive & gasping its last in the bottom of an esky just makes me sad. I'm such a woos! I supplied the lemons & eggs & abandoned the kitchen for the computer. Loud wails from Ditz. Her horrible brothers told her they were frying up some crumbed chicken. Ditz loooves crumbed chicken (can't stand fish) so turned on the charm. One bite & she realised her mistake but they made her eat every last bite. Don't you just love brothers!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bye, bye Birdie...

Liddy has flown the coop...temporarily. She wangled herself a long weekend & has gone up to spend it with her grandmother, aunt & cousin as she can't get the time off work to come with Ditz & I on our annual treck.

Ditz is beside herself. Firstly Liddy gets to see her cousin & she's not there! Secondly, Liddy is gone!!!! What is a girl to do?

I have bought all the ingredients for Diane's ''fudge'' to occupy the Ditzy one. It seriously looks like Rocky Road to me but we will try it & see. And we've got the ingredients for more chocolate crackles. Liddy eyed us dragging all this stuff out of the shop & set up an immediate wail that we waited till she was gone to cook such goodies! Can't win, whatever I do. If she is very, very, very lucky I will manage to hide some just for her for when she gets home on Monday but both boys are home & they have a nose like you wouldn't believe for homemade goodies!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
- Helen Keller

What the New Year is bringing...

It's summer. The bay should look like this. We can't see any of it. We have torrential, monsoonal downpours obliterating everything but we can't even say the drought is broken yet. The dams are still nowhere near capacity & a lot of the rain seems to have missed the catchments ~ again!

I have slept a lot ~ catch up time after the year we've had ~ spent a lot of time on the computer. I must be feeling better. I've started putting together a study on China for Ditz. I have all these amazing crafts & am starting to look forward to the start of the new school year. Even Ditz has stopped snorting like a rhinoceros when she sees the reams of paper spouting from the copier & has snuck a peek at what I am about to torture her with! She hasn't said a word ~ which is good news for me. I am about to order her next lot of readers from Sonlight & want to see if I can get her interested in the Green Knowe books. My only quibble with Sonlight is the heavy emphasis on American authors (understandable for an American company) but there are so many other great books out there. I need to order the math ~ something I have been deferring for months. I so wish we could ditch that subject. Neither of us finds it in the least interesting & I am so tired of being told how important it is when I know jolly well ( having lived that way for years) that so long as the basics are in place one can manage very nicely for all practical purposes ~ & Ditz is very capable. She has to be; she's my daughter & only one mathematical moron per household is allowed. My rules. Science we will just pick up where we left off & our language tutor is again available so French is on with a vengeance. Better than my mangled attempts. I hope to have everything in place before we go away. That way there should be no hiccups when we come home. It's nice to dream. I bet there's something; there always is.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wet Weather Wednesday.

The beaches are closed. The surf is pounding. We can hear it under the rain drumming on our tin roof although all our surf is on the other side of the big island to the east of us. In all the wet I got migrainy & crotchety (& sooo much fun to be with!)
However cruising from blog to blog I found 2 really great plain Quaker sites. I tease the uninformed by telling them Quakers were the first pentacostalists. Put that beside the vision of 'plain', as in Amish, & people's minds boggle. Only the quakers would actually have come up with a definition for people like me who dress plainly, modestly, cover, yet do not own a single dress. Yes, you read that right.

And to add to my joy now the headache is backing off I'm heading Kimba's way. (Watch out Kimba!) My book on Homeschooling For Eternity has arrived & needs picking up. I had visions of saving it for the long train trip up to my mother's in a few weeks time but in all this wet I can't see me resisting that long.