Wednesday, December 7, 2011

bring it, 2012... bring it!

I couldn't really find a good image for this entry so I thought this one would suffice. {via}


Good news, that job I applied for at the school where I did rounds & where I've been volunteering? Totally got it. Shyeah I did.
So it's working with prep/1 kids- that means kids who are 5 & 6, just starting school, or have been in school for a year. A biiiiit younger than I wanted, but we have to start somewhere, and the school is small and nice, and I'll only have 15 kids in my 'home group' (instead of 24-26ish) so, a really nice number for my first year. I'll be working with a teacher with about 4 years experience who is super passionate and should be easy to work with, and two more experienced part-timers. Luckily, because me and the other will be full-timers, we'll sort of... have more say about what happens. Today I suggested putting material in the colours of the rainbow up on the roof of the classroom and the C, the full-timer, was stoked by the idea. SO, I think it will be a fun year... I DID get an interview for a bigger, really innovative school, big on technology, etc... the school I went to last year which turned me from being a secondary teacher to a primary teacher... The interview is meant to be on Friday, but I feel like I should cancel the interview- having been accepted for this job, it'd be a bit douchey to back out now... PLUS, I can bring innovation to this school... Which would be neat.
So... 2012 is shaping up to be a bumper year:

  • New job for me, 1st year as a teacher, & I have a whole host of ideas and initiatives I want to 'test out' and implement.
  • New job for Nic! Working with the Government, so, hopefully he'll move up quickly and start getting his teeth into a proper career!
  • Double income!!!!! Man, that's so exciting.
  • Engagement picnic! (March)
  • Wedding! (November)
  • Honeymoon! (December, probably SE Asia and/or Japan)
  • Looking to buy a house!
  • Combining bank accounts!
  • Seeing live music! (we did a bit of this recently and it was good fun, so we're going to try and start going more often). 

Uh, so... they're a whole lot of BIG LIFE EVENTS crammed into one measly year.
It's gonna be a big one!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

heat addled...

Warning, whiny emo post coming up. {via}

I feel flat, demotivated...

I went to school this morning until 11 when I bailed. I'm sick of telling people that I still don't have a job, still hoping, 50 rejections to my 52 applications, yes, hopefully I'll hear from the school I volunteer at, yes, I'm keeping my phone close at hand, no, they haven't called.
But you'll be right, you'll be right.
And anyway, isn't there a teacher shortage?
Yes, unless you're a graduate.

There's a job I should apply for today but I can't bring myself to do it. I haven't had so much as a look-in, so a general sense of apathy has settled, and I've adopted a 'why should I bother?' mantra. Which is terrible, I know, but that's how I'm feeling.

And I feel worse, still, for digging myself into a kind of hole. I didn't apply for summer jobs when I finished Uni because I had relied on doing emergency relief teaching, which now, thanks to bureaucracy, won't happen... still, I booked a trip to visit Dad in January which, if I hadn't done, I might have been working the last couple of weeks, taken the trip to NZ in December, come home and worked somewhere all throughout January. As it stands,  I have such a mishmash of time before February (when school starts) that certainly nobody will hire me.

I went to lunch with my step-mother & step-grandma and ordered calamari & a pot of green tea. My part of the bill came to $28 and I just about cried in the damn cafe thinking I should have gone with the cheap salad instead.

And it's hot today, muggy. I came home, read a book, and went to sleep for an hour. I only got out of bed because I knew that if I kept napping, I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.

It's seriously getting to a point where I want to write this as my cover letter:
To whom it may concern,

I'll be short and sweet. I love kids. I love teaching kids and watching them learn. It lights up my life. I become friends with all the kids I teach and I help them do well. I want to be the very best teacher that I can be, so that the kids I teach grow into amazing people.
If this doesn't sound like the kind of teacher you want, that's ok. If you want someone passionate and absolutely committed to teaching and learning, give me a call, I'd love to hear from you.
Kind regards,


Think that'd go down well?
Maybe I should do it, just to see what happens...? ha.

(might need a little refinement first, not sure it's getting my message across 100% yet (eg. I'm frustrated because I'm awesome and no one will give me a job and I really just want to hang out with a bunch of kids next year and do some really cool stuff so please give me a job sir, thanks)... but it'll get there)

Sorry for being such a downer, y'all!

Monday, November 28, 2011

how engaging...

On Saturday night, Nic and I drove up to rural Victoria for the engagement party of our two closest friends, Jason (my Man of Awesome) and his fiance Damien. It was a 1850-1919 theme so that they could wear top-hats and tails, and was set in an old town hall built in 1870. The party was fun though there wasn't much dancing (until I took over as resident DJ), just mingling and chatting. It was a family affair, with Jason's sisters cooking most of the food, all of us pitching in to set up and pack up, we did folk dancing and the Dads gave speeches...

Anyway, I was talking to Damien near the end, and said how we hadn't done our engagement party yet, we'd been engaged over a year, and were having the wedding in November- could we still do an engagement party? He didn't seem to think there'd be a problem, and that we might as well... I'm still not so sure! I mean, we're planning an engagement picnic lunch at a local park, in March. So, there'll be 8 months until the wedding... That being said, i don't think we're planning on doing hens/bucks nights, so maybe we're allowed to have another sort of party, especially as we're having such a small number of guests... Thoughts?

I did make up an invite, though... just in case.

Click on it to make it bigger. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ageing, kitten speed...

The other day, the radio played a song by the band 'Hungry Ghosts', local to Melbourne.

It was amazing- instrumental, full of feeling and prettiness and awesome.

Unfortunately I think they disbanded, but anyhoo. I actually bought their album in itunes (I tend to download... er... moving on) and a song is playing at the moment with Eastern European influences, full of guitar and accordian and violin. This song could be the soundtrack to a movie. Possibly a sad, Nazi-era movie, but a movie none-the-less!
Oo! Look. Here's the song they played on the radio:

I do love me some 6/8 time music.

In other news! We decided our colours were too nautical and changed, again. We were tossing up some possibilities, and I was at school today where the kids were colouring in their 'life-cycle of a whale' diagrams... and two girls had used green, blue (the colours I wanted originally) and purple. And it was -pretty-. So. Two more tubs of paint later, books have been painted, and I think we might be getting somewhere.

Also, you guys... Darcy is nearly a fully sized cat now. He's 7 months old. It breaks my heart- they grow up so quickly. :(

Look! (you can click 'em to make 'em bigger, if you want)

I think he's very handsome, though.
More pictures of semi-grown-up-kitten below the cut.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

so the diy bonanza begins...

So, since we now have a location, we decided to start getting things rolling on the wedding side of things.
Contemplating colours, we considered macaw birds, rainforest-type things, and then I found this picture:

And I liked the colours- the dark blue, the turquoise, the yellow. I put them into kuler, it gave me colours. I figure they might be a tiny bit seaside for our rainforest-room wedding, but whatevs. We also want a splash of purple in there. We're not really going traditional, here, we want to brighten up the room.

So then we started thinking about us. About our lounge room full of books. I'd seen books used as centrepieces before, I figured we go down that route.

Cue spending $40 on $2 books (that's a lot of books) from op-shops, and a heap more money on sample pots of house paint in said colours, glue, brushes and sponges....
We now have books drying in the colours. We figure we'll stack them up, maybe 3 or 4 in a pile, then put some tea-lights or flowers on them. 
We also got some tall & skinny cookbooks, which we'll glue most of the pages together (leave some select few non-glued and 'white wash' over the writing and pictures) and in the middle, have a ribbon marker, and the menu. Menus in books! How novel. (get it? That was an UNINTENTIONAL pun, y'all).

The last project I started working on this weekend was a wacky idea based on this image:

And I thought: yes! We were already going to incorperate plastic animals into the setting somehow (the wedding is at the zoo after all). So we bought a pack of 5 wild animals for $1 (so, if we have 50 ppl that's $50 on place-holders + some card stock and better textas than I used below) and I painted them- one test white lion who has taken FOREVER to dry, and one test silver gorilla, who I wanted to come out more chrome than shiny, but oh well, I think he looks more 'classy' this way.
Cos, y'know, having plastic animals feature at your wedding is high class.
All I had were whiteboard markers, so the writing on the cards looks terrible, and I don't know if I'd have coloured or white card, but you get the idea. Test run! Also, the lion needs another coat of paint, so he's a bit splodgy. But you get the idea.

When the books are dry, I'll stack 'em up and see how they look, too. It's all happening! How exctiting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

jobs, dresses, spiky-things.

That's an ECHIDNA. He was at the zoo. I like them- they're one of my favourite Australian animals.

Things are coming together around here, despite the fact that I still don't post as much as I'd like to. I suppose I feel a bit like I don't know what I'm writing for, and have a bit of the 'who cares what I write?' hat on at the moment. Blogs, like lessons, need purpose (gag). So. Riddle me this: Should I write more about teaching and kids, about wedding planning (which is finally starting to kick off), or a combination of the both with some gardening and cooking thrown in? I think I still prefer the latter. This feels like some kind of ongoing conversation with myself. The blog, that is. Maybe that's ok.
But it feels rather self-absorbed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

730 days and counting...

On Saturday, we'll be meeting with the functions woman at the Zoo. Unfortunately between the time I emailed her, and the time she checked it, the 10th of November had been taken. BOOOOO. So, we're going with the 3rd of November because in Melbourne, we get a public holiday on the first Tuesday of November (for a horse race can you believe it???), so that will coincide nicely with any anniversaries while we're still in M-Town. (I just made that up. It's kind of lame).

Speaking of, it's Nic and my (not sure if that's grammatically correct) 2 year anniversary (of being together) today! Go us! We made it through moving straight in together without dating, putting up with my mother, worrying about whether we were both rebounds, having housemates move out on us with a week's notice, and having very little money while I've been studying... and of course all the good stuff... But it's been an action-packed 2 years. We've done a serious trip together (6 weeks in North America), added two furballs to our little family, moved house twice, gotten engaged, I finished my degree, changed jobs, quitted jobs...
So. Yay for us!

In other news...
I find out in 7.5 hours if I'm qualified to be a teacher or not.... eeeeeeek.
The good news is that a job has come up where I did my rounds/where I volunteer. Although there's a lot of stuff I'd like to change about the school and how they do things, they seem to be pretty switched on, flexible, and they don't teach from worksheets or text-books which is awesome. The teachers there are already talking like I've got the job. Unfortunately since it's a government (technically) position, I have to go through the whole thing with the application and everything so... I'm hoping my app doesn't stink so bad that although everybody else has rejected me, they won't reject me as well. If they do, I'll know I'm really doing something wrong!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

photoshop mad...

So you know how last time I said we'd decided we were getting married at the zoo? Well, turns out our ORIGINAL date, 10/11/12 was still free. Me being me, however, I needed to make sure there was nothing better. Nothing against the zoo, I just have to exhaust all my options to be completely comfortable in the choices I've made so I don't spend ages second guessing myself.
So we went to some really adorable venues today- like, super rustic, very Australian and probably what we'd originally be looking for... BUT... they didn't do anything for us, we kept saying: the zoo is better. We love the zoo.

Zoo it is!!!

Which means I've been spending the last 3 hours or so photoshopping like crazy (because I can), since we have overseas people we'll want to get save the dates to earlier rather than later... I want to keep hush hush about the zoo till the invites go out cos it's cool, so our random STD mightn't make sense but hey, it's fun and I think it's pretty. I think we'll get it printed on post-cards and then glue magnets to the back so people can put it on their fridge.
Infact, that could mean that the superfluous stuff (eg, everything except "Save the date!" and the date) could possibly go on the back...

Anyhow, if you'd like to see what I've done, click below... If you have any suggestions, if you think I've gone overboard with the fonts/borders/glowy stuff, tell me.... I'd appreciate it!

Arg! This thing is becoming real, FAST!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

random picture sunday

...because who doesn't like a new feature? Ha, not that it'll be lasting, but I feel like saying something, and don't have much to say,

That being said, though, Nic and I went to the Melbourne Zoo yesterday to check out their wedding bonanza, and it's awesome. The room which would fit our guests is small and intimate and has a beautiful 'rainforest' outlook and MONKEYS. Yes. We will dine with monkeys. The room felt a little dark, but it was done up for a cocktail wedding at the time and not decorated or anything so might be 'brighter' when there's tables and candles and flowers and stuff....
Also, the ceremony would be in a pretty little grassy area with a tree and bushes all around, and they're apparently going to make it much much prettier between now and our wedding date, so YAY. And they fence it off to the public while you have your ceremony. PLUS, then you get to waltz around the zoo with your photographer and get photos with animals in the background, and trees, and Japanese gardens, and climbing a massively old fig tree and pretending to ride elephant statues and all sorts of things, PLUS imagine the puns!!! Oh, the puns. PLUS, you can pay more for an 'animal experience' so rather than standing around drinking and eating canapes, you can stand around drinking and eating canapes with SUMATRAN TIGERS IN THE BACKGROUND GETTING FED. Yes. And if all that hasn't EXPLODED your brain by now (and my use of caps, italics and bold is surely about to), if we book before the end of the year I GET TO FEED AN EDIBLE BOUQUET TO A GIRAFFE. Yes. A giraffe. "Don't stick your neck our for us- we'd love you have you at the wedding" (This chick doesn't look so thrilled about the giraffe, but I will be.)
So... the challenge for Nic and I will be balancing the right amount of cheese and hilarity, with the right amount of not-going-over-board. So far I want everything to be animal/zoo themed, which, having had a look around the internet last night, people seemed to think would be 'tacky'. I know I'm not meant to take the advice of the internet so, friends- is there such a thing as over embracing the zoo theme?
Also, the cost of the zoo is a bit more than we had wanted....

I bring your attention back to the giraffe, and the sumatran tigers.

Finally, here is the random picture for today, because it always makes me laugh, and I don't understand who, in this tiny little fishing town on the north cost of Washington state, thought this was a reasonable idea.
There is also a female version in a bikini. That might be next time's photo. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

what about me??

This is kind of how I feel.

So the first one of my cohort just got offered a job. In the interview.
I'm more that a bit frustrated, to tell truth...
I volunteered/am still volunteering at a primary school, which she did not...
I actually taught numeracy and other subjects, when her last placement was in a French immersion school meaning she only taught literacy...
I've sent in 33 damn job applications (don't know how many she applied for) and haven't been shortlisted or given an interview.
And look, she's lovely, and great, but I'd at least like to get a stupid interview somewhere.
And if my application is no good, I'd appreciate it if the 2 experienced teachers/teaching coaches I showed it to would tell me so I could fix it, because according to them, it's fine.
That's my whinge. I know I should ask her if I can read her application, but it seems too personal of a request. Maybe I'll ask anyway.

(Also I might be a little peeved because I'm really competitive and kind of wanted to be the first one to post *GOT A JOB!!!* on Facebook and show everyone how superior I am at life,  but now I won't be the first because she beat me to it.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

every day i'm shufflin'

Last night was the wedding of my cousin - I mentioned it in an earlier post. Here's my thoughts:
The ceremony, conducted by a rabbi in a synagogue was funny. Like, best rabbi ever. A sweet ceremony, where they didn't dwell on the formalities, but cracked jokes. I also am weirdly attracted to blessings/things being sung rather than said. I missed the couple sharing vows (particularly since my cousin, the bride, didn't say anything during 'their' speech either) as I reckon it's probably really sweet when they're written by each other, but it was still lovely.
The reception was full, and it was a bit out of order from what normally happens (opening with drinks on the patio, then the traditional Jewish dance, which was omg so much fun and went on forever... but my mother and I circled, stood on people's feet, spun, got trampled by the guys, got hot and sweaty and sore feet, and kept going and going. I told Nic I want it. If I want anything that harks back to whatever Jewishness I can claim, I want that dance.
Then entree, then speeches, then dinner by 9 (finally!), then dancing. Oh, lord, the dancing. I got Nic up and we danced. Then Mum came up and she dances like Elaine from Seinfeld (bit uncoordinated), but I shook my booty, shuffled to that LMFAO song, had Nic in hysterics, and well, felt like I looked pretty damn fine.
I also spoke with my brother (he's 3 years younger than me) more than I think I have in the last, I dunno, 20 years. I may have convinced him to come meet Darcy and then for us to all go and get pancakes but I'm not sure if he's ready to accept that being friends/close with your sister isn't that uncool, and that I might actually be fun to hang out with sometimes.
But oh, the dancing. I quickly switched from wedges (ladies, I don't wear heels. Like, ever. Not even small ones. I rarely wear ballet flats. So, the fact that I stayed in wedges for a good few solid hours including dancing is a feat (ha. ha. get it? because i'm talking about shoes) to comfortable shoes.

It's all made me sort of question (as weddings are wont to do) what we want from ours. Dancing was such a blast- my cousin barely left the dance floor. So maybe there is a re-evaluation in needing to spend money on setting that up- either with a DJ or a band... instead of an ipod... That being said, the atmosphere with 300 people is going to be remarkably different to the atmosphere with 50 people.
Then I think about running away and getting married, but I think I'd like to have the party. I think... when we have a location set, it'll be easier. I'll know what kinds of invites to look for, dresses, etc...
I was talking to Nic about the ZOO the other day again (shouldn't the word zoo be all in capitals. Anyone?) and coming up with some great animal puns that could go on our invites if we got married there. [warning: puns ahead]

How about these:
We couldn't bear for you to miss it!
You'll have a roaringly good time.
Come and see us seal the deal!
We ain't lion, it's going to be great!
It'll be wild!
Don't monkey around, come to our wedding!
Don't be a cow, come to our wedding (ah ha. Ok so there aren't cows in the zoo, whatever.)
We'll have a whale of a time (no whales either, whatever, don't care).
Come join Nic & Em for a beary special event.
Come and see the mane event at our wedding.

And so on.
And so forth.
On that note, it's certainly time for bed now. I've exhausted my brains trying to remember/think of those puns. Definitely need to organise a trip to the zoo sometime soon to see if I can put any of them into action.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

water spray: 6, Darcy: 0

Darcy just turned 6 months old.
I think he's going through that super-annoying teenage phase.
I vaguely recall it happening to Mia, but for her it was more about trying to escape out the back door than much else that was too annoying. Maybe I've blocked it out of my mind, I'm not sure.
This morning I was woken up at 6.30 (it's Sunday, by the way) by a rattly mouse being played with. On the bed.
Then he was trying to destroy our poor fern, so I had to get out of bed so I could stop him (the fern is already missing half its leaves because they've been bitten off).
So I'm sitting here in clear view of this plant, and an electrical wire that runs along the floor nearby... and Darcy INSISTS on going back and trying to either- play with the fern, eat the fern, play in the dirt of the fern's pot, or playing with the electrical wire.
We have a water-bottle spray system that worked quite well for Mia, where if she did something naughty, she'd get sprayed. She doesn't tend to be too naughty now, at least while we're around.
Unfortunately, although Darcy runs off, he's been sprayed 6 times for fern-related offences this morning, and keeps going back for more. I don't think the spray has the same effect on him as it does on Mia.
So, I'm hoping he goes through this period quickly and becomes a lovely and friendly and cuddly cat. Stupid teenage phase! There's a reason I don't want to teach high-school kids!

In other news, Mallei ate cat poo last night.
What is wrong with our animals?????

(also, sorry this blog has become all about the animals, but my life is animals, and applying for jobs. I have 12 government/public primary school teaching jobs to apply for next week, and the same again the week after. SO much fun.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

weight off my shoulders...

Funny story, actually. I was in the grade 4/5/6 classroom this afternoon and they were doing maths. I kind of felt like every answer I gave was like this one. I am so no good at maths. I did however manage to work out that 3km=300,000cm. But damn that took a lot of brain power. I kind of wanted to ask the rain-man autistic kid for help, but I think that would have been inappropriate and maybe not sent the right message about my competency to become a teacher....

I went back to school today, where I did my 5 weeks of rounds during term 3.

I had decided that in order to get more experience teaching, while I wait to be a registered, qualified teacher, I might as well head back and volunteer. Since they know me there, and I know the kids, I figured I'd be able to pretty much jump back in.

And I'll tell you what, it was fantastic to be able to just hang out, help out, check work, give help... without stressing about assignments in the back of my mind. Without worrying if I needed to collect work samples, or if I was doing enough, or the right thing, or what I needed to put in my reflective journal when I got home.
I just did what I wanted. Then, when the teachers ran out of stuff to do and the classroom was too hot and they were just going to go read in the shade.... I went home. Because there were no rules to say I couldn't. My mentor teacher was super grateful for all my help, and said I was welcome to drop in whenever I want. So, the more I go, the better it looks on my resume, and the more exposure to different things I get. I suppose, as a teacher, it would be SO good to have helpers- particularly people who know what they're doing. The kids who really needed help and one on one attention got it, my mentor didn't have to worry about checking to make sure kids were working cos I could do that... I figure when I get my own class, I might go back to my University and raid a class of 4th year Bachelor of ed students, see if they want to volunteer to help me (looks good on their resume and they learn a lot, too), and then I can have helpers while I learn how to teach properly.

I think with all the finishing assignments, stressing about jobs and money, applying for job after job after job, seeing the same BS written on almost every school website... I was starting to feel a bit disillusioned. Like: is this what I want to do? And maybe it's not what I want to do forever... I don't think it will be enough for me to do forever... but for now...
And going in today, I feel better. I hadn't wanted to ask anybody from my cohort if they ever question whether this is what they want. I'm not sure why. Maybe I don't want the: "Why not!? You'll be a great teacher!" talk... or maybe I don't want them to think I wasted the last 2 years... Or maybe because asking was like admitting something that was too scary to admit.
But I think it will be ok. I hope I get a good school where they look after me, where I can do interesting things and have fun with my kids. Well, maybe I shouldn't worry about that so much just yet, and focus on actually getting a job in the first place.

Monday, October 17, 2011

the kittens... my god, the kittens.

I don't know what I did wrong in life to end up with two kittens, or who decided it was a good idea, but I could do without the 7am zoomies on and over the bed, the consistent digging around under furniture to get to a lost toy mouse, the having to stickytape carboard to the bottom of each whitegood we own (otherwise too many toys go under), the continual tripping over Darcy as he inevitably positions himself directly behind you when you're in the kitchen, AGAIN....

I AM glad, however, that neither of them seems to need brushing (not sure what that's about,  but it's a win for lazy people), they don't seem to cough up hairballs, and 6am (touch wood) is the earliest we get woken up by their antics (I've read horror stories of people being woken up at 4am).

On Sunday, Nic and I are going to my cousin's wedding, from the 'rich side' of my family. The ceremony is in a synagogue. I think the only synagogue I've been in was in Krakow- a tiny little affair in the old 'jewish part' of the city before the holocaust. I ate a tasty bagel around there though... anyhoo. So, it's apparently going to be quite orthodox, her dress apparently costs a fortune, the reception is being held at the yacht club (and the ceremony is at 2, reception at 6.30.... I didn't think it was normal to have such a huge gap between events...?) and Mum suspects she's invited 500 people. That being said, looking on the yacht club's website, you really can't trust my mother and her judgey-judgementalism, because the club can only seat 300 people, so unless my cousin is leaving 200 people at the ceremony/standing outside/waiting on the beach, I don't think she's having 500 people. So I'm trying not to get all judgey-judgementalism ala my mother, because my cousin is going to be having this outrageously expensive wedding that's going to be so traditional, because that's what she wants, so good for her... but it's still... difficult. Like, if she's spent $10k on her dress (again, my mother making these claims, so let's take them with a grain of salt), that's the most I want to spend on my wedding.

It's funny though, because every time I bring up the wedding, Mum goes on and on about how fantastic her backyard BBQ spit roast was. Which is fine, because it probably was fantastic, but it's like she's trying to push me to do the same thing. Imagine if I wanted the big dress with 300 people, and the whole shebang! It's only just good enough that I want a small wedding without all the hooplah, informal... I don't even have a backyard, but she keeps going on and on, like eventually I'll wake up and go: "Actually, that's a great idea, Mum! Let me set up a marquee over my veggie patch, have a few people around for beers, and make sure I keep the car races on the TV in the background shall I?"

So hey, this post ended up being less about kittens, and more ranting about weddings & my mother.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

holy bananas....


Long time no see y'all.
I'm writing this as a tentative 'I might be back a bit more' thing because, I might. I'm about to graduate from my Masters, but theoretically won't have a 'real job' till term 1 next year (school starts in Feb down under) so will have plenty of time to kill between now and then AND, since I won't have assignments due any more (cue cheers), I won't have to worry about writing them, and having them sap my energy.


I suppose the best place to start is a bit of a recap of the last, oh, 3 and a half months.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my feet do my learning....



Long time no see. I don't really know where to pick up so I'm going to put in some random snippets of things and see if that gets the ball rolling again. Truth is, what I think happened was that I started this blog (just wrote job, whoops) in October, when Uni was finished for the year. I had nice looooong summer holidays to write merrily, and when school started, assignments weren't due for a while and things were pretty easy so I kept writing. Then assignments were due. Like... Massively. I think I had about 6 to do in 2 weeks, which was about the time I really stopped writing here. Winter holidays are nearly over though so I can't promise I'll be writing a lot mor, BUT, in the middle of august, I'm on rounds for 5 weeks straight at one random school (not the one I'd been volunteering at) so I'm sure I'll have some interesting things to say then.
In the meantime though, since this blog was originally meant to be about wedding-y stuff, that all seems so far away that it really really has been put on the back burner. People say: so how's the wedding planning coming?! And it takes me a minute to figure out what they're talking about. But we're toying with ideas, of going overseas, or whatever, but we also don't know where we'll be living by then so even the date is sort of up in the air.
I said to Nic the other day that we need to stop worrying about where we live (as we'd been restricting future living places to our ideal places- Vancouver or BC, Tasmania, Washington state, etc) and worry about getting Nic a good job, in something he wants to do, and wants to progress with. I figure once we have that, we can move in the future, but there's no point moving anywhere just so as he can get another office admin job again that has no career progression. So! Now we're sort of going to be looking everywhere (English speaking anyway).

But anyway, that wasn't even the point of the post, though I realize I have missed writing out my thoughts and getting them straight here... All I really was wanting to say was: I was looking on a Canadian jibs site today just randomly, and stumbled on their 'resume tips for teachers' section. It suggested that in your resume you should include key words, such as 'creative lesson plans', 'curriculum development', 'ESL students' and 'brain-based learning'... I'm sorry, brain based learning??..... I wasn't aware there was another type of learning.
How else do people learn if not with their brains, or not at all?

Anyway. Need to head to my little school- it's probably my last day, so I'm saying bye to all the kids :(:(:(:(:(:(
Sorry for any pos in this post, writing it on my iPad means unreliable touch-screen typing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

oh, that's right, i'm meant to write in this thing...


Accidental blogging break for a week there. I have about 5 assignments due in the next 2 weeks so I think I'll probably still be a bit quiet, and then I'll be in QLD where I probably won't have regular internet, so, hey! I mightn't be around for a while. But I'm still here. And I'm still reading people's blogs, etc.

Stick around!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

if i could them again, maybe it'll be different...

I'm doing my maths assignment, sort of.
As in, I'm getting distracted, but I'm getting distracted by a book on teaching maths. It's just that it doesn't relate directly to what I need to be doing.


But I was reading this passage and it made me laugh. Anyone who's worked with kids should be able to appreciate it. Background: It's a book on teaching kids to become good problem solvers. They're given a problem, and can use any materials in the room to solve it. Then they share their solutions and have to back it up.
So this was the problem provided to a year 1 & 2 class:
"There are 14 legs in a barn. What animals might be in the barn?"
One girl's solution says: 7 Cknz (7 Chickens)
This is what the book says about how she got there:
"Maris took 2 toy cows from the sorting tub and counted their legs. Then she took one more cow from the sub and counted all the legs. She took a fourth cow from the tub and counted the legs. She put the fourth cow back in the tub, then recounted the legs on the remaining three cows. She paused, then returned the remaining cows to the tub.
Next, she took out two sheep and counted their legs. Then, she took out a third sheep and counted all the legs. As before, she took out a fourth and counted all the legs. She put the fourth sheep back into the tub, then counted the legs on the remaining three sheep. She paused, took out the fourth sheep again, recounted the legs, and with a big sigh put all four sheep back into the tub. She repeated this same process using pigs and horses" (This is where I laughed. Poor girl).
"Finally, she took out two chickens and counted their egs. She added chickens one by one, recounting the legs each time. When she had seven chickens on her desk, she counted the legs and said, "OK, that's fourteen".
At this point Marisa looked at me (the author) as if she had finished the problem. I read the problem to her again. After looking carefully at the plastic chickens, she said nothing.
"What does the problem want you to find?" I asked.
"An animal with fourteen legs" she replied.
"What animal did you find?"
"How many legs does one chicken have?" I asked.
She answered, "Two"
"So if there are fourteen legs," I continued, "How many chickens are there?" Marisa thought for a while, then counted the chickens. "It's seven chickens in the field," she said. From Share & Compare, Larry Buschman.

Anyway. I can imagine this poor girl counting counting counting the legs, one two three animals- excellent, 12 legs! Maybe if I add one more... DANG!

Nic is coming to School with me tomorrow!?
Did I say this already??
Now I just want to challenge my kids with animal-based numeracy problems.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

future living arrangements...

School day today!
And tomorrow!
And Thursday!
Nic is coming with me on Thursday to see if he wants to go back to school (again) and be a teacher. If nothing else he gets to meet the kids I keep talking about.
Today was a good day though, I actually kind of did some teaching. Oooo, aaahh. The kids were quite good, since they know me and like me- I think they were excited cos me teaching was a bit of a novelty, haha.

But in less related news, we got a letter in the mail today telling us that our 12 month lease was up in August (yep, it's only May) and could we let them know within the next 14 days if we want to go on another 6 month, 12 month, or month-to-month lease. I'm not sure how it works elsewhere but here, if you sign a lease agreement, you sign something saying you won't sub-let, and anyway if you do, and they ruin the house... well... that's trouble... or, if you go month-to-month, they can basically boot you out at any point with a month's notice... so, you have 0 stability, and the landlord has 0 stability, so that's not so hot...
Problem is, in 6 months from August, it's Feb. The school year in Aus starts in Feb. If we want to move to somewhere rural, we'll need to have done so before Feb. This is, as you can see, problematic.
However, if we don't move, OR if my School offers me a job... we'd want to be on a 12 month lease so they can't get rid of us till August next year. Is it assumptive to ask the Principal of the School if she'll be likely to have a job for me 9 months from now? Haha.
ASSUMING the landlord (who is lovely) doesn't want to move in here now. She's 20-something and lives with her parents while renting out this house to us. She works full-time. I can only imagine it'd be a matter of time before she actually wanted to live here.
So.... that's a little problematic.

Anyhoo. I'm sure i had more important things to write about but we all know how School fries my brain. And this week I have 3 days of it! Yay!

Friday, May 6, 2011

feeling tough...

You guys...

I got my ears pierced today.

I had them done when I was like, 8, or whatever. Like (almost) every little girl.
Then somewhere along the line (ie: probably about 4 years ago) I couldn't be bothered picking earrings to wear all the time... so I didn't.
Subsequently the holes closed up, and no amount of forceful prodding would get an earring in.
Then the other day, I can't remember exactly what spurred it on- possibly opening my jewelry box for the first time in a year (yep, I clearly accessorise all the time.) and seeing all my Mum's pretty dangly earrings she gave me- a thought began to grow in my head.
And that thought said: "Lady, you are not too much of a wimp to get this done. If you can do it at 8 (or whatever) you can do it at not-quite-25!"
So I researched a bit.
I read that cos I was getting them re-pierced, it'd be a smart idea to go to a 'professional' place.
I rang a tattoo/body-piercing joint near Uni and told them what I wanted.
"Uh... yeah... see... the thing is... we do body piercing. We don't have the stud gun. And like, if we put in a ring on both, it's like.. $70 each... so... you should just go to a chemist. Or something."
So, no 'professional' for me. I rang the local dodgy hairdresser/piercing place in the mall and they told me to come in.
I sat on the little bed chair thing.
"I'm nervous!" I joked. Mostly. Not really- I meant it. I was nervous.
The girl smiled, snapping on latex gloves and disinfecting my ears.
"I always get nervous too, when I pierce myself. You've got really tiny earlobes!!!"
She gets the gun thingie.
And the other side.
I wince, scrunch up my face.
She looks at me, concerned.
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah, yeah..." I try and shrug off the dwelling pain, and the feeling that my abnormally tiny earlobe had just puffed up to twice its size.

So now I have to keep the little silver star-shaped ones that I chose in for 6 weeks. I tried to pick ones that didn't remind me too much of being an 8 year old child again. They're very demure. I think. Now I'll just pray I don't get some kind of graphically horrible ear infection, maybe try and find some nice sleeper-hoops I can sleep in so that I don't have to have studs jutting into the side of my skull for the rest of my life (this may have been another reason I stopped bothering, come to think of it), and we'll be good to go.

Sorry if I made anyone squeamish. Should have maybe put a warning at the top, hey?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

just dance: it's gonna be ok...

This song has been on repeat at School the last couple of days.

I had an absolutely perfect moment at School today.
It was lunchtime. I'd been wandering around talking to the kids, as I often do.
There'd been a slight patch of drizzly rain and we'd retreated indoors, before a ringletted girl excitedly told me we could all go outside again. I did. The sun broke through.
On the front porch/decking of one of the two school classrooms (and for North American people, our schools are set up and look VERY different to what you'd be used to.) were kids, and music playing.
On the front lawn bit, the grass has only just grown back over the Easter holidays, and kids have been playing soccer out there all week...
I walk over to this building and watch, enraptured.
3 Prep girls dancing.
2 prep boys dancing.
2 year 1 girls dancing.
3 year 5/6 boys dancing.
All of them, alone and together, with great big smiles on their faces.
The older boys, often stoic and 'too cool' to laugh much or make jokes, grabbed each other's hands and jumped up and down, squeezing their eyes closed.
The year 1 girls tried to show off moves they'd learnt in dance classes.
The younger boys' interpretations mostly involved breakdancing-like moves as they rolled and somersaulted and contorted themselves on the floor.
Sometimes they just threw themselves around with the beat.
And it was adorable- they loved having music on, and when it was on, they just had to move.
It was hilarious to watch this angelic prep girl- 5 years old- mouthing the words to some terrible R&B/Pop song, or trying anyway.

And it was just.... kids having fun. Kids dancing. Kids rocking it out as the sun shone and a tune came on.

Later we did a sport class with an outside contractor guy, and a kid with autism ended up yelling and crying and sitting on the floor, and the teacher left him to it. I asked her later what was happening in his mind to make him need to act like this- I don't know much about Aspbergers or Autism, so I'm constantly trying to learn... She explained that he's autistic, which I had guessed, and that the stress of having a different teacher, of being in the echoey room in the gym, of everything just getting a bit much, he just had to yell. But looking at him- he was ok, it was just how he had to get through his stress. And the other kids? They went about everything like it wasn't happening.
I asked the teacher- she has two young autism kids in her class of 5 year olds- if she knew a lot about AS or Autism before she joined the school. Because it's a small, specialised private school, they get more kids like this than regular public schools. She told me:
"Well, I figure they're just like every kid. Every kid is different. Every kid has different needs, and a different way of learning, and different ways of reacting to things."
I thought this was really smart. Often we get caught up in a diagnosis: this kid has xyz, so that means they'll behave in xyz manner. She has 2 autism kids in the class and they're completely different. I think probably knowing about these conditions can maybe help us, but I think people too often rely on that diagnosis as a crutch. "Well, he has xyz, so we shouldn't expect him to be able to do...". Which is bad.

Gee, Em. Way to have a strong ending.
"Having low expectations of kids is bad."
Maybe I should use that in an essay sometime.

On a different note, I so need to go for a run. I get home from School and I'm so tired. I get on the couch and can't move. I know, I should get home and go straight away, but I'm so hungry by that point that I think I'd pass out. I'm hungrier on School Days than any other time. I think my body is fairly good at self-regulating hunger at least, which is nice.
Or, I should, y'know... use that gym membership.
Or I could turn on the heater, curl up under a blanket, and force Nic to make me dinner again cos I'm too tired to live.
You guys... this is going to be my life. Teachers tell me you don't go home any less tired, even when it's your job.



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

but if i don't go to the disco with a boy, i won't have fun (duh).

Today, I gave relationship advice to a 9 year old.


Two girls were sitting on the couch in their classroom, one of them looking kind of down in the dumps. I came over and asked if I could help at all. One girl (call her T) explained that her friend (K) had 'gotten together' with a boy that had asked her out, and who had subsequently dumped her. Now I'm hoping these kids just 'go out', and don't 'do stuff' together, but we didn't get into that.
The dumped girl thought she had been dumped because the boy actually had a crush on T, but T was with another boy. At least, that was how I understood it. It all seemed a little convoluted, and I think they'd been going out for all of a day, but, whatever.
Now she was sad because of the dumping, but also because she had nobody to go to the disco with.
The disco is a school party (remember, there's all of 50 kids in this school) where they have music and dance and then they all have a giant sleepover party. The kids don't have to go 'with' someone, take a date, whatever- it's probably encouraged that they don't... But here was this 9 year old girl upset because she was friends with all of the boys but thought that the ones who would 'say yes' to going to the disco (I'm fairly certain they're all going regardless) were the ones she didn't like.
As she was telling me about this boy and that, and going out with this guy or that, I felt myself puffing up, ready to get all 'grown-up responsible adult' on them, full of self-righteousness.
After all, they're 9! They shouldn't be 'going out' with boys! They're too young! They should worry about that later! In like, 10 years! They need to stop worrying about boys! In fact, just be friends with them! Just because you like him, it doesn't mean anything! You're too young to know what love is! What you're feeling isn't real! You're just silly children!
And I thought back on me at that age.
I thought of our little club where you had to have a 'boyfriend' to get in.
I thought of secretly holding hands, and quick pecks on the lips that meant you'd 'really kissed'.
I thought of the politics we were involved with- him liking her, but her with him, and they just broke up so now she wants to go out with him....
I thought of how it all felt so real...
And I thought how how I had done what they're doing: they're not worse than we were, assuming they're not like, making out or having sex, or getting naked. So, I couldn't give that talk. I wouldn't be that lame adult.
"First of all, K, you don't need to take someone to this disco. So go with a friend. Or 3."
"Yeah, but... like... it might not be as much fun, if I don't go with a boy".
I looked at her, hard.
"Pick a friend who you know you'll have fun with. Pick a boy friend, or a girl and go there, and rock it. And when that boy who dumped you sees you having awesome fun, then he'll wish he hadn't dumped you. I think, as girls, we need to not worry about not going with a boy! We're ok on our own, or with our friends. And if you get there, and boys are dancing, and you want to dance with one, then great! You can dance with them! And if not- dance with your awesome, fun friend. Then you don't have to worry about going with a boy, and that boy not talking to you all night!"


I don't think she found my speech very inspirational. She couldn't let go of the idea that she needed to go with a boy to this disco.

And I find that a bit sad. This kid is 9. I get it, in highschool, when there's hormones, and you actually have a formal/prom or whatever, and it's a bit more lame to go on your own, but there's not this kind of culture at this school. I wonder if the boys feel like they need to 'take a girl' to this disco. I bet they don't.

Also, holy crap. As a teacher, we don't have classes on this. We have classes on treating kids equally, on what to do if they're being abused, about disabilities and gifted kids, but if kids are getting into 'relationships' in your class? If one kid dumps another kid and that affects their attitude while at school? How can you give a 9 year old girl relationship advice because she got dumped a day after being asked out? I told her boys are all idiots and she shouldn't waste her time, but I think this nearly made her cry. Maybe you're not meant to get 'close enough' to the kids for them to want to tell you this stuff? But that's not how I want to work.

Today was my first day with these older kids, and one by one I started to win their 'trust'. That is, getting them to look to me for advice, as well as their normal teacher. For two, it was just helping with their computers. Easy. For another- spelling, for one: spelling, but showing that nobody is perfect, so her not knowing how to spell something was ok because I wasn't 100% sure until I wrote it down myself. Breaking away the layers of suspicion that I'm a newcomer, to the point where I'm a friendly, knowledgable and helpful person...

I miss my little kids, though. These guys are hard work on that front. Here's how it went with (most) of the younger kids:
"Everybody, this is Emily, she's going to help out in our classroom!"
"Hi everyone!"
Instant acceptance. Three girls come up and hug me. Boys as me for help on their models.
To a degree it's the same- there were some in that group who took work, or it took a few times of me helping them... but once I had it- they stopped asking their teacher, and asked me. Buahahaha. Should I stage a coup?!

Monday, May 2, 2011

how to kill motivation in 4 easy steps....

1. Join gym. Work out there 4 nights a week, cycle 17km to work & home, run 3 days a week, and rest on weekends. Watch what you eat, don't snack unnecessarily, and eat lots of vegetables and whole grains. Limit meat. Repeat for 3-4 months.
2. Watch weight drop by only 1kg, with no huge differences in body size/clothes fit.
3. Slack off for a week. Eat chocolate over easter (small amounts). Go camping. Drink wine. Eat macaroni for dinner. Run twice. Don't cycle. Don't go to the gym. Do this for a week only.
4. Lose a kilo in that week.

So, Nic and I have been trying to lose weight since we got back from North Am. in December. We joined a gym, continued to eat right & healthy, ran, cycled, walked, pumped weight...
We did this for nearly 4 months. We weighed ourselves, and week after week after week were disappointed in the nonexistent weight-loss. It took a month to lose 500g, 2 months to lose a kilo. As we thrashed ourselves and got hooked on the exercise, we didn't see the results we wanted, or felt we deserved.
Then we went to Bright for Easter. Sure, we did 2 x 3 hour hikes in the last couple of days, but we also did a lot of driving and ate a lot of bad food, or food that we didn't cook- so, oily, salty, fatty. The rest of that week we ran once or twice, and otherwise lazed around on the couch.
In that week, we lost a kilo.

Now, can you imagine, at this point in time, my motivation to exercise? Or Nic's? Yeah... it's not happening. Because it feels like; Why bother? We try really hard and get nowhere. We stop trying so hard, and both of us lose weight.
So I'm trying to work myself up into taking Mallei for a run before class today- probably an intervals-type run (half as much time spent exercising for apparently twice as much goodness)(so they say), but it's really, really hard. The weather is gloomy, the house is warm, the couch is comfortable, and I'm already dressed (ie: not in PJs), and assignments need to be done.

I do need to get back to the gym though- both of us do. We're paying for a membership we're not using, and maybe we lost a kg in muscle (hahaha. Yeah, right.)... I don't know, people. I've been doing most of my 'workouts' at home using dumbells, or pilates videos... Or running. The gym lets you pause the membership for 3 months or so. Maybe we should do that.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

efficiency, or lack thereof.


Today was a cleaning day, mostly.
We often spend a saturday vacuuming, washing clothes, hanging clothes, dumping said clothes on the ground in the hallway when they're dry, putting on loads of dishes to be washed, picking up random things that have accumulated on the coffee table, gathering my various uni books from the lounge, the floor, the 'bag bucket' by the front door and trying to stack them coherently, somewhere. Picking up clothes from the bedroom floor and putting them back on the bed. Dumping them back on the floor when it's bed-time...

Not ours. Outs is worse. Imagine a blast-zone of a half a meter, where socks are the shrapnel, detonated by one pesky kitten. {via}

So I have a question for you, readers, lurkers, people-who-may-be-more-tidy-than-us.... I would like your input on ways to be more efficient with these things.
Nic and I acknowledge, we are not tidy people.
We have clothes on the floor.
Clothes get washed, no problems. They get hung out- we don't want them to go mouldy. They get taken off the line and brought in in a basket. The basket sits on the floor in the hall. The kitten explores the basket, steals socks, tips the basket over, spreads socks far and wide. We rummage through the basket every morning for clean clothes. The next weekend, the basket is still there. We do another load of washing. The washing needs to get hung out, but the basket is in use! We tip last-weeks washing on the bed. The newly washed clothes get hung up, brought in, and dumped on the bed, also. Then, the day goes by, and 10.30 hits. It's bed time!! We're too tired to do more chores!! But wait!! The bed is covered in clothes!!! The clothes get dumped on the floor at the foot of the bed, and remain there for another week, or until I get sick of them being there and getting covered in Mallei's fur that I put them away.
So, my question: Anybody have any tips or tricks to make this a better process? Please don't say: "Just put them away when you bring them in!" If it was that simple, we'd be doing that. But we don't. We need a solution that lets us be lazy, but have things done.
Example: We used to have a little sort of hall-table, by the front door. Where we're meant to put bags, and keys, and dog-leads, and it kind of doubled as a shoe-stand, but only, it was hard to put shoes in, and it was quite narrow, so shoes ended up on the floor, bags began to creep away from their intended areas and get further and further away, and it just became a mess. But we needed somewhere to dump this stuff when we came in the door or it would all go on couches, then the floor, and would look horrible.
So, we put a little bed-side table type thing from ikea by the door, and put a flexi-plastic bucket on it. Basically, bags get dumped in the bucket- and contained. You can't see them really, but they're there. There's a little tray for keys, one for change, one for exercise stuff, and one for dog stuff. Shoes go underneath the table on a little shelf it has. Perfect. Works for us. Mess contained.
It took us some thinking to come up with this solution that we knew would suit us, so I'm just wanting to know, this most simple of issues, how do you streamline your laundry process? (Is this not the most lame post, or what?)


We also tend to get piles of 'semi-dirty-but-not-dirty-enough-to-wash-only-worn-once' clothes by the bed as well, but that could just require a clothes horse. Or something.
Maybe another bucket!!?

Friday, April 29, 2011

ch-ch-ch-changes.... / in sickness....

Good morning!

So, after little to no prompting, I changed my layout around. I'm a bit obsessive like this. I love changing layouts. Right from when I taught myself HTML back in the day, when it was still relevant, and then taught myself photoshop. I love layouts. So, I've been very restrained this time. I've tried to not go overboard on the colours, here. Usually I'm like PINK AND BLUE AND ORANGE AND GREEN AND PURPLE ALL GO TOGETHER IN A MAGICAL WEBSITE RAINBOW!!!! And it ends up looking like something a kindergarten child vomited up.
So, I was aiming for 'adult' this time. 
I think it worked.
For all of you in readers, come, visit. It's blue, and subdued, and kind of wintery, but not. Do tell me if anything looks weird or if the characters show up in Chinese or anything.
Unless you are Chinese, and translating this. Or something.
In which case, 欢迎.


I've been ordered by Nic that I'm not to go to School today, even though it's the first week of term and I want to be there, it's ok. 
This is because yesterday I had a headache all day, which at about 4pm turned in to me feeling terrible and wanting to go to sleep. Nic came home, and I was quite chilly, so we turned on the heat and wrapped me in a blanket. When he got back from his run at about 6.30 I was trying to have a nap on the futon. I realise that this is a completely inappropriate time to be having a nap, because if you nap at 6.30 there's no way you can get to sleep at 10, even if you're LTU Postgrads in the Art of Going to Bed Early. Nic came in and I huddled, wrapped in the huge blanket of luxury in front of the heater. Burning on the outside, shivering on the inside. Liken when you cook a sausage on too-high heat and the outside is charcoal and the inside is goo. Right. That was me. 
Clearly, not doing so well.
Nic says:
"Um... are you still cold? It's really hot in here..."
And I'm shivering away.
He does his looking-after-me thing which I think he secretly loves. We have a running in-joke that he's meant to look after me, but he's the one who gets sick all the time. I get random injuries/muscle/joint pains, and he gets catastrophically sick. Well, maybe not that bad. But he does get sick more than me. So he makes me soup from a packet which I eat, even though I'm not hungry, and them some chamomile tea, and then sets me up on the couch with Private Practice. Mallei is at my feet, Mia is passed out on the blanket of luxury, on my lap. I'm cocooned in it. I can feel my face burning, but the rest of me feels cold. On the inside. I watch the show, back and legs aching, then at 8.30, drag myself to bed. I shiver, and cuddle Mallei, who lays in the crook of my stomach- my little spoon. 
I wake up several times drenched in sweat. (Tell me when this gets to be TMI for y'all). 
Feeling much better today, at least.
Part of my problem, I think, is that I work myself into a frenzy.
And then, like Dr. House, try and diagnose myself based on what knowledge I have from medical shows on TV. Which I think makes things worse.
I run through lists of symptoms in my head, studying my internal feelings and body messages with microscopic attention.
Fever, aches, headache (oh god, what if I have a brain tumour? They run in the family), sudden tiredness, loss of appetite, occasional nausea, been drinking water all day and lips still dry.... heart beating really fast! Breath shallow! (as I work myself in a panic)... Oh, maybe that's just me. Scrap the last two. And then I run through the list again... looking for anything else to add. After all, the more symptoms, the more serious, right? 

But I feel better now. So, lord knows. 24 hour fever? The old adage of "sweating out the fever" might actually be true? (research done: apparently it helps fight off an infection. Go figure.)

Anyway, I got a little off topic here from where I started but that's ok. 
Also tomorrow is Saturday, huzzah!
Also, if anyone wants to write to Dr. Mallei for advice, please do. He's a good advice giver.
Also (again), next Tuesday I'll try and remember to do tasty-tuesday. I have a super easy, super tasty and only slightly healthy cobbler recipe. If you're like me and don't know what a cobbler is, it's certainly yummy. 

Let me know what you think of the redesign!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

just because we're on a big fat island...

Once again, we've been screwed over.
I was super excited to find a kindle app for my macbook. It was free, and meant I could buy & download books and read them from my computer. This is a good thing for those of us who don't want/can't afford an actual kindle or ipad, or, y'know, new books. My fear with buying books- novels, particularly - is that I won't like them. I can buy a used book from amazon for .99c, but shipping it here costs $12.50. For each book. So if I get a book that I don't like... or if I get 3 books I don't like... then I'm stuck with 3 books, and down $36 just on shipping. So, there's no yet. There's an Australian site which professes to do 'cheap books', but they don't do 2nd hand books the way amazon does. There's also a UK site which does free international shipping, but then you're paying in pounds and it seems to work out the same as if I'd just bought it from the Australian one. Or Amazon.
So I saw an education book that I wanted, and then thought; well, if it's no good then I've just paid $25 (12.50 for the book, 2nd hand, $12.50 for shipping) for a book to be flown across the world and I don't like it.
But then I found this app!
And I said to Nic:
"Nic!!! I'm going to go on a spending rampage with this. I can buy like, a billion books. And then I can just read them all, on my computer! A RAMPAGE I TELLS YOU!"
And I started looking at lists. Top 100 lists of the books people have been buying. Free, pre-releases. Popular books. Books made into movies.
And for every one of those popular books, a little green message would appear in the right hand side of the screen:
"This title is not available for customers in
Free books, like the "Metaphysical elements of ethics", or "The Complete English Tradesmen (1898 ed.)" I can download without issue.
So, that's wonderful.
I suppose, on the bright side, it means I won't be able to go on a spending rampage. As Nic so tactfully put it last night when I said:
"I'm going to spend all my money on books, love!!!!"
"What money?"
Well, that shut me up, didn't it now?

Innnnn other news, I was messing around yesterday with wordpress and decided that their layouts aren't changeable enough unless you use CSS which I fail at, so no, I will suffer blogger's annoying lack of reply button a while longer, but in the meantime I kind of made a header. At the moment it has a different blog name on it. The blog name I could change this blog's name too. Once again I'm struck by the fact that we are no longer 'looking to april' as our potential wedding-month, and so the old name doesn't really fit.
Here, tell me what you think, or if you have any better/bigger/more awesome ideas. Particularly name ideas.

Click on 'im to make 'im big, yo.
If you like it, I'll do an overhaul.
Maybe I will anyway. Just cos I like overhauls.
How about:
... wow, this one was going to sound really dirty... "Kittens who lick puppies" (teehee.)
Although I don't want my blog name to be all about the animals, even though they are awesome.

Mission for today: Making team shirts for Nic & I to enter fun-runs and adventure races in. Last night as we packed up to go to bed at 10, I told him we were Undergraduates from Lametown University, or LTU. Then I started thinking about those athletics department shirts from Universities. Then I started thinking about how I could make my own LTU shirt with some highly randomized slogan on the back (We had: "As furious as a honeybadger in heat" as we broke down in overtired giggles last night. Maybe we need something a little more 'us'). So.. That's today.
Oh. And some Uni work in there too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

hey there, Bright eyes...

In Australia, this was a super-long weekend as we had Anzac day, which meant from Friday-Tuesday, Nic was off work. Huzzah.
As I mentioned, I'd discovered the grants awarded to graduate teachers going to rural areas, and remembered these beautiful little towns up in the mountains, which we decided to go visit for the weekend.

Of course, it being a long weekend, in a town known for its beautiful autumn trees (remember, it's autumn/fall here, and we don't generally have trees that drop their leaves), the place was packed out. Still, we walked around Bright and quickly loved its little cafes, tree-covered hills in the background, quaint shops, and slightly-larger-than-hodunk-town feeling. On the last day, Nic stopped in at the police station to chat with them about the transfer process, if he does end up applying and going through training to be a cop. Apparently the Bright police station is the one that everyone wants to go to, and you could wait years to get posted there. Awesome. It seems strange, since they have to lure teachers there with money incentives, but police are lining up to be posted there. I suppose if you're a cop at a country town, you have a kind of quiet life amongst the mountains, booking people for speeding, not really dealing with much of the 'hard stuff'... where as a teacher, all our teaching courses tend to be metropolitan, we tend to do our rounds in the suburbs, and teaching bored country kids in tiny schools seems harder than maybe a middle-class anglo-saxon school in the 'burbs.

Wandilligong Primary School: 28 students.

The first day there we did a lot of driving. Lots of little towns with funny names (Wandilligong, Yakandandah, Tawong, Porepunkah, Stanley). Towns we judged based on the number of pubs they had, or whether they had a large or small supermarket, or none at all. We formulated criteria for prospective future towns we'd like to live in- cafes, mountains, a supermarket, and within a certain distance of the nearest cinema in Wangaratta. We drove away from the mountains to the flat plains just north of the apline area, and although those mountains loomed in the distance (as well as Australian mountains can. Having seen the Pacific Coast range, I refuse to believe anything in Australia can loom quite as well as them), we decided that it was too flat: we wanted to be in amongst it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i'm a mountain man...

Sorry about the silence this last week, but we're back from our trip to Alpine Victoria! Updates and photos to come, once I've made them pretty. 

The photo above was taken looking up at Mt Feathertop- Victoria's 2nd tallest mountain, at dawn.

Hoping you all had a wonderful long weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Naps are best taken with kittens.

I'm tired.
At some time this afternoon, I went and lay on the futon couch in the office with my big blanket of kitten luxury, and fell asleep in about 5 minutes. I say "at some time" because I can't remember when. It was after 2, but before 3.
I woke up, suddenly.
It was like those moments in movies that never actually happen in real life, until they do. Where the main character wakes with a start for some reason and goes: "Where am I!? What day is it!?"
That was me.
It was the phone- Nic was calling.
"Uh... hi..!" I tried to shake the sleep out of my voice.
"Hey... where are you?"
"On the futon..."
"Oh no! Did I wake you up?"
"Um... I think so..."
I couldn't remember first of all where I was, why I was sleeping, or what day it was, and then I couldn't remember if I'd been sleeping at all. The conversation went on. Nic asked what I'd done all day. I looked back in my memory and this is what I saw:
Waking up at 5.30am. Not getting back to sleep. Haze. 5km run (at about midday). Haze. Played a kid's math game for about 30 minutes. Went to futon. It was now 4pm.
"Um... Nothing. I ran."
Seriously. I've been up since 5.30 this morning, and this is what I had to show for my day.
This happens often, people. Days where an hour or two is spent writing an assignment, and an hour is spent doing exercise is reduced into these tiny nuggets, and everything else is like gaps. How can 10 hours pass from Nic going to work to Nic coming home, and I manage to read a chapter in a book, and go for a run?
I find I'm waking up with increasing frequency at 4.30am. Usually the kitten has made a noise somewhere, I guess. I'm that light of a sleeper. Then I realize I'm burning up and I'm covered in sweat (lovely imagery here, you guys) and if I stick my arms, then my legs, then most of my whole self outside of the covers, I freeze in the autumn chill. So I get stuck somewhere between my shoulders and arms being frozen, and everything below that burning up. Ask my forehead though and I'm tepid. That's the scientific test, right? Forehead reveals all. Eventually I manage to fall back asleep. Wake up time proper is 6.30.

And I realize I've just sat here for about 10 minutes staring into space for no reason. I think there's something wrong with me. Maybe I need to go back to the futon.
Any of you out there lose time? I'm sure it's not that uncommon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

it's a group assignment... who wants coffee?!

Tiny bit disappointed to be honest, blog-land.

Our first assignment for our numeracy class is a group thing. We have to look at data we've collected, and put together some sort of poster without a word limit as a guide. Joy.

As always, I was the first one to finish writing up the bulk of the assignment, and so emailed it through to the other 3 members of the group to help them, since they were a bit unsure of what to do. Now, I'm not stuck-up, or proud, or think I'm the best... I did this because I was the only one who had done anything by that point. Which was last week, or the week before, even. So they all said "Yay! That was so helpful!" and this Sunday wrote up their parts. It's due Wednesday, by the way.
So I edit mine and get it all shiny and ready to get stuck on, and go to class at 8am, and then come into a room where we can work on it together. One of the other 3 is with me, we chat for a while.
15 minute late, another girl arrives.
15 minutes later the last of them arrive. She'd slept in because she'd been up till 4.30am 'talking' to a boy.
People... we have an assignment. Be here on time.

Anyway, time passes with me editing everybody's work (literally). Rewording bits, adding quotes, putting bits in bold, deleting bits. Y'know, Nic's job with my assignments. The other girls are talking about boys, and sex, and drinking, and they're SMSing or curling up on the couch.
Then one proposes:
"Who wants coffee?! Let's have a coffee break! Should we have like, a half hour break and then come back and smash it out?"
And I'm thinking: So far, one of you has flicked through a book of readings, one of you has read through the corrections I've made to your part of the work and the other arrived 15 minutes ago. How about we smash it out now, and then relax.
"Great idea!"
"Yeah! Let's have a half hour break!"
I'm clearly making no move to... move. There are books and bags everywhere, my computer is out and plugged in, I'm deeply engrossed in editing.
"Um... well.. maybe if you just get coffee, and then come back.. then we'll keep working?" I put forward.
"Ok!" So off they go, with my coffee order also placed (3 cups a day- SHAME ON ME!).

30 minutes passes and I'm busy writing this entry, going on facebook... waiting for them to come back because, believe it or not, this isn't a one-woman show.
Finally they come back.
Nice to know they too a good break, had a chat, y'know.
"So, how did you go when we were gone?" one asks me, cheerfully. As though it's expected that I was here, trucking away while they fucked around.
"Um.. Yeah." Noncommittal. That's the way forward.

So we get some stuff done. Finally one of the girls gets into action (coffee helped her), while the other comes back from the coffee run cold and weird, and spends the next 2 hours (seriously) texting.
So, I get it, maybe not everybody takes this as seriously as me. I like to get things done. I can't help volunteering to edit, or write this, or do that, because I'm a control freak, and if I don't do it, who knows how/if it will get done! So we I spent 5 hours today (again, literally) working on this group assignment. I think I probably had help for about a cumulative total of an hour. Maybe it's my fault- maybe I don't relinquish control. I don't know.

But really, I just lost a shitload of points on a different assignment because I didn't include page numbers in my references, and I kind of like to do well.
And now I'm worried about the lack of page numbers in the assignment I handed in this morning. No lecturer has ever picked me up on this before.  But apparently this is enough of an offense to 'deduct points'. Well, Mr. Nit-picking 'Health and Wellbeing' teacher, my health and wellbeing is suffering. HAS suffered. Greatly.
Also, you're an ass.

Got to love University, right?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

won't somebody please think of the children...!!!

I read this article this morning in The Age, which is Victoria's 'more respected of the two options' when it comes to Newspapers.
And something welled up in me that compelled me to write an entry here, for all the good it would do... but the ideas were (and hopefully still are) circling around in my brain, begging to get down into words. So here goes.

Incase you can't be bothered reading the article, it basically bemoans the fact that children aren't being taught bible stories any more. *gasp!*.
Before i go on, also, I know religion is a touchy subject. I'm not religious. I went to an Anglican Christian school, I'm technically Jewish (blood line, yada yada yada), and I don't believe in anything. That being said, everything I write here is obviously my opinion and hopefully I won't offend people- it's just the way see things.

Wouldn't this make a great children's story? {via}

Ok, so, children aren't being taught religious stories in school, and the article says that this is a damn shame because children miss out on learning some of the valuable lessons from the stories and go on to become immoral and corrupt citizens. That last part may be my inclusion but it may as well have said that.
Some guy is quoted as saying: "Without what the Greeks called mythos or story, we have no way of orienting ourselves in life, either as a people or as individuals".
Yes. Stories are good. Agreed. Massages are also good, agreed. In the 2001 census, 20% of people identified as Anglican, 20% as Catholic and 20% as 'other Christian', so the majority of the population runs as Christian.  Ok, so of that 60%, 23% of them 'participated in some religious activity' in the 3 months prior to the census. So, we're a lot of us Christian, and not  a lot of us 'practicing' it.
Which brings me, I suppose, to my unease, because I know what can happen with things like this, and it would be suddenly the job of teachers to teach the 'real meaning' of Easter. Because, in my class of impressionable little minds, I would feel a hypocrite teaching about the death and resurrection of Jesus. I learned about it in school myself. One of their selling points in this article is that children take from the Easter story a message of hope. That they can use the lessons learned in the Easter story as a way to find strength in difficult times. They say in the article that kids these days only care about chocolate brought by a bunny.
I learned the Easter story.
I sung Christian songs.
I said the Lords' prayer every Thursday in assembly...
And yet, Easter for me means chocolate and a long weekend.

So I feel that this article is a thinly veiled way to try and bring the 'dominant religion' in to children's lives (or they'll be damned, or something) and make it 'normal'. Make it 'the proper religion', and if you practice anything else, or believe in anything else, then you're abnormal and don't fit in with our culture in this country. They try and disguise this through the importance of 'the message' or the importance of 'the story', but I can tell you there are plenty of beautiful stories with beautiful messages floating around for children that don't involve a diety that they may or may not want to believe in.
I suppose this all links to a different article I read about religious education in government schools. Government schools have to be, by design, secular. Some of them have 'religious education' or RE. These RE classes are usually always run by a Christian group. Should a student's parent forget to 'opt out' (not in) to these classes, they learn the Christian way. They don't learn about a diverse range of religious which I think is really valuable and is something that kids should learn - we did, in year 7, and it was great... bur they learn about Christianity. If a child does opt out, there's a clause in a law somewhere saying that they're not allowed to go on with other work... so... they end up sitting in the back of the class (apparently) or out in the hall, or sharpening pencils.
So, I don't know enough about this to read between the lines and figure out how much of it is glorified or not, but it seems so strange to me that RE would be taught by volunteers from a Christian organization, where kids aren't allowed to go off and do some other learning while this is taking place. Again, doesn't this create such an 'us' and 'them' sort of mantra... as in: if you don't believe this way, you don't exist?

So, people, here's an idea. Let's teach about religions, not religion. Let's teach about tolerance. Let's teach about hope, and respect, and helping one another. Let's model these things, and encourage them within ourselves and within kids and students and others. Let's teach about Aboriginal stories, because they, too, have beautiful stories and myths, and are sort of technically 'the religion of Australia', even if not as many people believe those things. Let's teach about Buddhism and some of the mindfulness and stillness practices it brings. Let's teach about the strength of community, about loving one another and ourselves. Let's just not rely on one religion, Christian or otherwise, to impart the values or morals we wish children to develop.