Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Back to school

There has been an ad playing, on Instagram, where a woman does a happy dance because school is going back. I still have two at school, but I am far from doing a happy dance. Not only are school supplies, shoes in particular, frighteningly expensive, but our lives get so much busier during term time. There will be two lots of tennis lessons, piano lessons, maths tutoring, Saturday sport, Bible study and youth group. I have to make school lunches, iron white cotton shirts and pester encourage people to do their homework. It all definitely makes you appreciate the holidays! At least I am not having to get up five hours earlier than I am used to, tomorrow!

Andrew's parents came to stay for a week, which was lovely. It was especially relaxing for them as it was so hot; they pretty much couldn't leave the house! They had the house to themselves in the morning, too, as the kids didn't get up until lunchtime.

Facebook told me that a friend from school drove to Tasmania with her family, so we took the opportunity on their way back to have breakfast together as they drove through Wagga. Daphne hasn't changed a bit, despite the fact that our next school reunion will signify 30 years since we left. That feels at once astounding and perfectly reasonable. It was so lovely to see her, and her husband and two daughters. I think we should organise a much smaller reunion, just for old friends....

Pierre belongs to my hairdresser, and he is a tireless ball chaser. Really, tireless. I love it when his ears go inside-out, and I think sausage dog legs are just the funniest.

Our visitors left as the heavens opened. It rained for hours, slow and steady. We opened up the whole back door to enjoy it.

The rain was so heavy, the countryside disappeared.
The clouds lifted.

The colours popped.
This afternoon I rode home from work in the rain. It's so much nicer than the burning sunshine, though I can't wear my glasses!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Growing up, not out

Toby turned sixteen yesterday. He's significantly taller than I am, skinny as ever, and not at all keen on having his photo taken.

His chosen birthday dinner was enchiladas and malteser cake, which we shared with Mum and Dad and the Melbourne cousins. I didn't get any photos of him on his actual birthday; having us all sing to him was trial enough for the poor boy, but I did sneak a couple today.

See what I did here? It's a photo of his drone, he just happens to be in it. It sounds like a huge mosquito, and looks a little scary with those green eyes.

I find this next photo represents him pretty well. If he isn't moving (tennis, soccer, basketball, running), then he'd like to be gaming.

Now, he just has to sit the test for his Learner's permit, and we can start getting the 120 hours of driving required for his licence! Four drivers in the family!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

InCoWriMo 2018

I like to write lists. Even more than writing the lists, I like to tick things off. I regularly write things that I have already done, just so I can tick them off. It's so satisfying. It also means that I get to write with my fountain pens, every day.

There isn't much opportunity for handwriting in my work day, so I like to write letters and cards. As well as getting to use my fountain pens, there's nice stationery, sealing wax and stamps. Such fun!

We all like different things, of course, and this is one of my hobbies that isn't that popular. I don't mind. It doesn't bother me if I write a letter to someone and they either don't reply, or reply on Facebook, via email or text. I enjoy the process, and I would hate my letters to feel like a burden, to the person who receives it. That said, I do so love to receive a letter......

Tim, the source of my fountain pen fascination, told me about InCoWriMo, last year. The name is short for International Correspondence Writing Month, and was inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Every day in February, participants write and send a letter, card or note.

I decided to participate, and made my address available on the InCoWriMo address book so that other keen letter writers could write to me, and they did! I have kept writing to a couple of them, too.

I am going to do it again, and already have one new pen friend, from Mexico. It does mean less time to read, but it's only one month, and the shortest one at that. If you'd like me to write to you, let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Silly indeed

How very boring to be one of those adults who complains about the "silly season". I would have liked to feel the magic, but somehow, this year, it was all rather hectic.

In my last, long ago now, post, I talked about my library conference. It was very busy (I gave a 45 minute presentation and two, one and a half hour workshops at the outreach services symposium on the Tuesday, and did the wrap-up at the end of each day of the conference proper), but brilliant. I love gathering with librarians from across the state, hearing great talks and having fun with colleagues. Our conference dinner was on the final night, so all of my responsibilities were over, and the disco theme was right up my alley.

I kid you not, that Fitbit recorded 189 minutes of exercise, and I danced over 25,000 steps. Librarians know how to party, and my dancing always gets an A plus for enthusiasm.

I parked under a tree at the conference, and the white, council owned car, was no longer white when I returned to it. Not being much of a car person, Joss accompanied me to the coin-operated car wash to try and sort it out. It was surprisingly fun, and I enjoyed the sight of her turquoise hair with the pink foam.

For me, decorating, and relaxing, come to think of it, means candles. I love these little, twiggy, birds.

Toby had work experience at a law firm, as his final Year 10 school week. Of the five days, he only really enjoyed one, when he went to court. Is law the boy for him? I don't know, and maybe it shouldn't be; have you read/seen Bleak House?! Still, he has plenty of time yet.

Christmas 2017 was the first with Mum and Dad living in Wagga. It has been almost inexpressibly wonderful, having them in town. Being able to drop in unannounced, drinking coffee, tea, wine and gin and tonics. Sharing celebratory, as well as no reason at all, dinners. So good.

So, for the first time, all of my side of the family was in Wagga for Christmas. Count them; that's 18 people around my table! Technically, there are two tables there, but it was so great to fit in one space.

Whole family photos on the wooden steps at Tahlee are no longer possible, but we have gained someone to take the photo for us, thanks Ryan! Complete with sunbursts.

It wasn't as hot as it had been, and has been since, but there was still a massive water fight with every child (even the older ones) armed with a super soaker, and a laundry basket full to the brim with water balloons for the adults. Thankfully, we took this photo beforehand, as everyone was bedraggled in the aftermath!

I had two weeks off all together. It wasn't all reading time, though, with Christmas, and then our other regular cousin visit for January, but I did get through this modest pile.

I especially enjoyed The Hate U Give, The Choke, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Essex Serpent. Now, I am back at work.......... at least the air-conditioning in my office is perfect.

Friday, November 17, 2017

One down, two to go

Honestly, I didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging. The truth is, if I have time to spare, I'd rather be reading.

There have been a few momentous occurrences in our lives since last I dropped in. Joss is not only an adult, but one who has finished school completely. Her exams are over, she has been accepted into the course she wants to do at uni, and her uniform is folded away in Bethany's cupboard for when she begins Year 11.

The last day of school was a graduation extravaganza with no fewer than four events for students and family. Actually, the teachers put on a breakfast for the students, so they had five events that day!

The first for the rest of us, was the final assembly, which takes the place of speech night. We still have to go to speech night, of course, as we have two more children, but we don't need to worry about that just yet.

Anyway, it was really enjoyable. There were inspirational speeches, funny speeches, musical items and the prizes were handed out (Joss got an Honest Endeavour for Drama). Afterwards, all the students, their families and the teachers milled about taking photos. Lots of the students were crying, mostly the boys, strangely. Mum and Dad had to go away that day, so it was lovely that they could come to the assembly before they left.

Next stop was a quick lunch in town, before Joss went to have her hair done for the formal. Our school is the only one that does the formal before the exams. The good thing about that, is that is isn't hard to get into the hairdresser, and Joss made the front page of the newspaper the next day!

At four, students and families, all dressed up, met at the Victory Memorial Gardens for photos.

Joss and her boyfriend, Ryan

All in blue
My work friend, Cynthia, also has a daughter in the same year; it was so nice to do this day with her, too!

After the photos we went to St John's for a church service. The students walked in to the church in pairs, while we all watched. There were more speeches (lots of in jokes) a great sermon from our friend, Gareth, the chaplain, and Toby played the piano.

Finally, we dropped Toby and Bethany home and went to the formal. There was dinner, lots of laughter, more speeches, videos and dancing.

I hadn't really thought about what the day would be like for us. There was lots of preparation in terms of Joss' dress and buying tickets, but I had not considered the rest of it, so I was surprised by the wonder of it all. The teachers showed such genuine care for the students, the students showed such love for each other, and it was a beautiful celebration. I came away very thankful for our school, and full of hope for the kids.

I love that it was all done before the exams. It meant that they could all just knuckle down and study.

And now, it's all over. Joss was granted early entry to her course, before she even started the exams, so the pressure was off, and it was all reasonably stress free.

Somehow, I think we have done the easy one first......

Bethany and her friend, whose dog was in a uniform costume, went trick or treating. We had a few visitors here, but a recent development is that people decorate the front of their houses so that people know they will get sweets there. If you don't decorate, people largely pass you by. I like it.

I also like Joss' post HSC hair!

Next week, I'm off to Sydney for a conference. The conference dinner has a disco theme. I am going to dance for hours!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Toby is so clever!

He had a year off from taking piano exams, but this got back into it with his sixth grade exam. He was completely relaxed about it, until just beforehand, and then he played his pieces so well.

We celebrated with a trip to the Fitzmaurice Cafe and he got this cookie dough milkshake. Now, he has a decent appetite, but he didn't even manage half of this chocolate mousse, chocolate chip bikkie, bikkie dough and milkshake bonanza!

Mum and Dad went travelling, so Sunny came to visit. Bethany enjoys wrapping him up on the couch.

Friends from church invited us to a Christmas in July celebration in their woolshed. It was a bright, clear, day, not bitter at all. We ate, talked and wandered the farm. Toby, Andrew and Beth all considered living on a farm. I love visiting, but I'll pass on living on one....

The glorious sky
My workmate, Cynthia, and I heading down to Albury in the pouring rain on Monday, to attend Keeping It Real. It was a great conference, and we had a lovely dinner down town with another librarian, followed by a wander in the sparkly streets of Albury.

I made it home in time to head up to school with Mum, Dad, Andrew and Beth to watch the school musical, Disco Inferno. Joss and Cate were stage managers, and Toby played the drums through 29 disco tunes. It really was the most fun, and Toby was super fabulous on the drums!

I backed that up with another evening at school, this time for parent/teacher interviews. This is the life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Big Birthdays

The school holidays were very eventful for our family.

Firstly, le Tour de France. Oh, how we love it. The great thing about it being on during the holidays, is that we can set up beds in front of the television for those wishing to watch the whole stage! I got up and left the house for work before anyone else stirred.

I took this as I left for work.
Bethany turned thirteen right in the middle of the holidays. When I was a child, my special birthday meal was wiener schnitzel, something I have never once made as an adult. Bethany, when asked what she would like to do for her birthday dinner, asked to go to the RSL with the Listers! We have done that twice before, over the years, but clearly those evenings were memorable!

Mum and Dad weren't free to come to the RSL, so later in the week we went to their house, full of Melbourne cousins on holidays, for another birthday dinner.

Mum and the girls made Bethany's chosen birthday dessert, chocolate ripple cake. They also dipped strawberries in chocolate!

Only one week of three children all being teenagers, when one of them became an adult.

Joss' best friend, Georgie, came down from Sydney for the party.

Joss' aunt bought her a glass of sparkles. Later I bought her a glass of moscato, judging, correctly as it turned out, that she would take to the sweet stuff most readily.

We went to Beer DeLuxe, a hip sort of bar in town. There were church friends, family and school friends. I didn't really think much about enjoying it myself, but I certainly did. Joss has a lovely group of friends.

It is almost impossible to have a photo that is good of everyone!

Three generations

Beautiful girl woman