Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New school

Last Tuesday, while I was in Sydney, Jossie had her orientation day at the high school she will be attending next year. Jossie is so good at trying new things (except food - she's the fussiest eater) and had such a good time and made new friends. She came home abuzz with excitement for the new adventure. Andrew and I also got to see the school and feel the excitement on Sunday afternoon when we had an information session and tour of the school.

It's a very nice school with plenty of space, one of the many advantages to living in the country.

Sunday afternoon was just one part of our busy weekend. On Saturday night (with much preparation during the week and on Saturday afternoon) our church held its annual Café by Candlelight. Delicilous desserts (the banoffee pie! My last sugar hit for a while), a gospel talk, Christmas tag making and lots of talking. I was the MC and Liz and I ran the tag making so it was lots of work but a really great evening. I didn't even think of taking a photo.

Toby and Bethany had been with friends while Jossie, Andrew and I were at the school and by the time we had picked them up, it was time for the Estella Christmas party!

The kids were so excited about it! We shared the excitement with Nelly whose hair looked fabulous when striped.

There were lots of games for kids.

Lovely, old-fashioned games that require moving and don't have a screen.

Bethany's age group was very well represented and while she came second in her heat for the sack race, she didn't place in the final and was distraught. She had to go home for a little bit she was so upset! Sometimes it isn't that encouraging to tell your children that you came last in pretty much every race you ever ran/swam/jumped in.

Even the big kids had a turn.

It is very sad that this is the last Christmas party that the Ks will have in Estella. They move to Melbourne in January and we'll miss them a lot.

Santa came and handed out bags filled with lollies. Andrew found these two behind a tree. They hid so that we wouldn't tell them when to stop eating lollies. Smart kids.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Loving the Eighties

It appears Promised you a miracle won't work out of Youtube. This one does though. Ahh, the Breakfast Club, classic movie.


Before I tell you about my trip to Sydney, I forgot I had these photos of the little concert Toby played in a couple of weekends ago. A girl in his class decided to raise money for clean water in the developing world, so she asked her friends and school mates to play in a concert.

These are all the kids who performed. The iPhone belongs to Shep who appears to be taking a photo of Toby, probably to send to Andrew who got out of was unable to attend. Nelly (the littlest Shephard) recited some poems.

After church on Sunday, Claire, Michael and I flew up to Sydney for the Public Libraries New South Wales SWITCH Conference. I have no idea what SWITCH stands for. We arrived too late for a South West Zone AGM but with a few hours to spare before the  welcome reception, we gave the Art Gallery of NSW a call and were terribly pleased to hear that they weren't busy. We saw the Picasso exhibition! It was pretty fabulous. I really enjoyed seeing his work right up close. He had such a strange way of seeing things!

The welcome reception was held at Kinokuniya, the biggest book shop in the Southern Hemisphere (long may they live!).

What a fabulous spot to sit and read! They offered us 20% off for our libraries and also for ourselves so Michael and I bought pressies for the kids. I bought Toby Troubletwisters by the lovely Garth Nix and Sean Williams, Bethany, Milly-Molly-Mandy and I did look briefly at the teenage shelves but the volume was overwhelming so I bought Jossie her own copy of Little Woman. It warmed my heart to see all three children reading their books the next morning. Toby insists on reading in the car until he feels sick - it is so hard to discourage reading!

We stayed at Rydges World Square which is in such a handy spot. This $4 bottle is placed next to the beds! I wonder how many people think not getting up and walking to the bathroom where there are glasses and a tap is worth $4.

The conference itself was very good. The ceiling decorations are a bit distracting but we learnt a lot and got some great ideas. It was very exciting for me to hear a speaker from Orange County Library System in Florida - she brought Tricia, Jessica and Megan much closer for 20 minutes.

We didn't go to the conference dinner but went to Kushiyaki Azuma instead. So, so, so good. As it turns out, we probably should have gone to the dinner as we were given a highly commended for our Quick Picks service - here's a little video of Jeannie showing us how it works.

The Readit2011 twitter reading group I am involved with also won in the social media section.

There is a new T2 shop in World Square!

Super fabulous tea.

Really beautiful tea things.

A little man tea infuser. Favourite shop in the world.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Over for another year

Yesterday Andrew played in the last two shows of My Fair Lady. It has been great, especially as he had friends to do it with, but we will probably all enjoy the freedom that comes when it finishes.

We don't have any good photos from the show, these two come from the theatre's facebook page. There are people we know in the photo above, it is of the cast and crew, but I can't find them!

We have had a good weekend. Two extras slept at our house on Friday night. Not as much sleeping as usual, and a ridiculously early start for a Saturday, but I do like it when the kids have friends over. I spent much of the day washing, ironing and cooking (much is probably an exaggeration) as I am off to Sydney this afternoon for a library conference! There are three of us going and I have charged my camera so will share the experience.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Fair Lady

The show was fabulous! It was fun, funny, elegant and sweet. The kids enjoyed it very much, particularly because they knew Mr Shephard and he was brilliant as Alfred P Doolittle.

Toby had a birthday party until 6.30 and we didn't get home from picking him up until 7 so we had a very quick dinner before getting dressed and leaving for the theatre. Sadly, this meant that I didn't take proper photos of everyone dressed up. Toby wouldn't sit still for a photo in the velvetty red light of the theatre.

Toby and Bethany nearly died (the melodrama was their own, not mine for once) of thirst before the interval. A bottle of water and a small cylinder of Pringles got them through to the end - around 11.15pm.

Bethany did need constant reminders to leave Jossie alone and that the people behind can't see through flailing arms and legs but she did have fun. This morning she carried on the fun by having a bleeding nose and fainting, really fainting, at the sight of the blood! I take it she's going to be hideously squeamish like I am - I really don't think it suits our personalities to be so delicate in this way but it can't be helped. She wants to be a vet.......

Friday, November 11, 2011

Better late than never

The weather turned a little wild on Sunday afternoon so, rather than going to the river, we went to the Shephards' instead. They have loads of space for the kids in their garden.

The garden looks lovely and I wasn't bitten by even one mosquito!

A few of the kids swam and Bethany asked me to take a photo of her trick. She sat on a noodle and blew water out the back like a fountain. We had pizza for dinner, the kids played cricket and I embarrassed Jossie by playing Just Dance 3 in front of other people.

My Christmas cake fruit is finally sitting on the bench soaking up rum and brandy. I did mean to do that in October.

We're going to dress up this evening and go to the theatre. Shep suggested that the worst that could happen is that Bethany will fall asleep in her chair. What? No, what we fear is that we won't be able to keep her in her chair and her voice out of the whole theatre's ears!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Loving the Eighties

Another great song from Time Bandits. I didn't even fancy any of them. I already had this one scheduled Janice!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To market to market

It has been all go here for the last few weeks. As well as the marking I have been making cards to sell at three days worth of markets. Megan very kindly went down to Corowa and did that market alone so, on Friday, I took the day off work to go to the CMRI (Children's Medical Research Institute) markets.

It is a Christmas market held over two days each year at the racecourse. The weather has been mild up until now but it was getting very warm on Friday so we appreciated the cover.

I was with Liz to set up from just after 8 and apart from an hour when she had her children and took them around the stalls, we worked together. We saw lots of people we know and many people recognised me from the library.

While Liz was away with the children I served a lady with a Scottish accent. Of course I told her that she has my very favourite accent ever and she told me that she lectures and has come to accept that her accent is part of her appeal as a lecturer. It started to dawn on me that she might be my biology teacher from Year 11 so I asked her if she used to teach at Barker and when I told her my maiden name, she remembered me and told me all the people from my year that she still sees! It was a delightful meeting and it is so extraordinary that she could remember a girl she taught for one year, in 1989! For those who knew me at school, I quite enjoyed biology and liked Mrs Philps so was very well behaved in her class. If I were to run into my English, Maths or French teachers........

Two people told us that we had the prettiest stall. I said thank-you even though it is all thanks to Liz and Megan! I provide the Wedgewood boxes which act as our money tin and refill box, and a three tiered Willow pattern cake plate. On Saturday morning I went in alone as Megan and Liz have much smaller children and had no babysitters for the morning. I didn't have a coffee because I couldn't leave the stall to go to the loo!

Now we don't have any more markets till next year so I have free evenings without compulsory marking or making! I celebrated yesterday afternoon by finishing off Mary S Lovell's The Churchills. It was brilliant and I wish I could talk about Winston with my Granny. Now I'll concentrate on The Hare with Amber Eyes and I need to read my book club book again (How Proust Can Change your Life). Our final book for the year is The Paris Wife which I have been very keen to read. 

On Thursday I had to attach silver ribbon tape to 65 Christmas tags so did it in front of a movie. We read Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) for book club a few months ago and it had mixed reactions. Sonya had seen the film and enjoyed it so when I found it at the library I grabbed it to take home. Andrew was less than excited by the cover and even the fact that it is science fiction didn't make it appealing (actually, he didn't believe me) so I watched it alone. I think they did a brilliant job of interpreting the book. A few things were done differently, as is to be expected, but on the whole I really enjoyed it. I think the book's story about the song was far more poignant. In the film a young girl is given a tape by a boy she likes and is seen listening to "Darling never let me go", swaying and holding a pillow. Her friend sees her and we later see that she knew the young girl was in love and took the young man for herself. In the book, the song has the word 'baby' rather than darling, and she cradles a pillow as though it were a real baby. The person who sees her is Madame and she is moved to tears. The film obviously chose to focus on the romance at the expense of some depth but it was a lovely adaptation. I'm not a great fan of Keira Knightley and so it helps that her character isn't completely sympathetic.

My Fair Lady opened last night and was, by all accounts, brilliant. We are going to see it on Friday night and I can't wait, though I am a little apprehensive about Bethany staying up until after 11pm. Tonight we are heading down to the river for dinner with a large part of the cast and orchestra for the show. Actually, it's just the Shephards but four of them are in the show! I'm not looking forward to going outside because we are in that fabulous part of the year when one can be too hot and sneezing and scratching one's eyes out. I'm hoping it will rain so we can go to the Shephards' and play Just Dance 3.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Last year, you may recall, Andrew played in the band for the local production of The Boy from Oz. This year he is in the orchestra for My Fair Lady. Rehearsals every few minutes are going to be worthwhile when Joss, Toby, Bethany and I go to see the production next Friday night. Andrew has watched the movie with the kids. I haven't seen the film for a long time but remember that the romance is pretty disappointing. She comes back and instead of a kissing her, he sits down for a nap in his armchair and asks for his slippers!?

Last night, as I was at work until 7 and rehearsal started at 6.30, Andrew left the big kids at home and brought Bethany in to the library. On our way home we saw two gangs of children, well, one was of teenagers, roaming the streets of our suburb trick or treating. When I pulled in to the drive, Joss and Tobes poked their head through the curtains. The trick or treaters had knocked on the door but as we had no lollies, Joss and Tobes just hid! The kids ought to be thankful that they were spared my lecture on the Americanisation of our society. I have no problem with with the American tradition of celebrating Halloween, though I don't really understand it, but it isn't our tradition.

Melbourne Cup festivities on the other hand.... I'm not remotely interested in the race itself. I like the food.

I like dressing up.

I enjoyed crimping Jeannie's hair.

I will continue enjoying the food tomorrow as we rather over-catered.

Yay for Australia, and yay for New South Wales as I wouldn't have had this fun if we'd been on holiday like Victoria. I'd have had other fun, but I'm putting a positive spin on the lack of public holiday. I think the celebration is really a work avoidance thing. Very few customers watched it with us but the whole council came downstairs to watch it on the big screen in the council meeting room. Work avoidance, what could be more Australian?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It begins....

I had my first Stampin' Up class at my house on Saturday night. My work friends came over and we made Christmas tags.

Making Christmas tags in October is not at all the same thing as having Christmas decorations in the shops. It's about being prepared and saving yourself from madness in December.

Andrew was pleasantly surprised by the level of noise and amused by the level of chaos on the table.

These are some of Kristy's tags. She had lemon tart (from Bernard our French baker) and custard in that bowl.

We have been kept enthralled by Jossie's tales of the new madness amongst her classmates. The boys have commenced asking the girls to go out with them. Not that they go anywhere or do anything at all, from what I can gather. Jossie thinks that she and another girl are the only sane ones left. We think it's all beginning to get very interesting. Bethany is way ahead, of course, as she kissed a boy behind the library last year when she was in Kindy! Toby isn't being left out either as a girl rang him up and asked him to go to the bushdance. She's a family friend and also asked the rest of us, so we certainly aren't teasing him or mentioning the 'like' word, you know, like like. Somehow, I can see this all becoming less funny in the future.