Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a few unrelated things

1. I went into a wedding dress store yesterday (whoops) while trying to waste time. It's on a high-end street with lots and lots of other wedding dress stores where the cheapest are usually about $3k. Ouch. This looked like the lower-end-of-the-high-end range, and I didn't want to buy anything, just try some not-floor-length dresses on if they had any. So I walked in, around, and started to head out- not having found anything. As I go to leave, the incredibly unhelpful (up to that point) sales girl (who probably didn't want to know me because I didn't have an appointment. Or something) asked me if she could help. I was literally one foot out the door by that point. I turn around.
"Probably not," I say, forcing a smile, "You don't have any non floor-length dresses, do you?" It was more a statement than a question.
She winced.
"Well, we might be getting one in, in a few months. That's the rumor, anyway!" As if this dress was some secret. "So, yeah, maybe you should check back in a few months, and we might have one. They're pretty hard to come by, but people keep asking about them..."
One dress. One fricken dress that they might have in a few months. Really? If people keep asking about them, isn't that a sign???
"Sure thing." I said, then left to go check out a non-wedding-dress-designer's store.

2. The other day I was in the University library. Our library is 3-storeys big. There's the ground floor, the underground floor, and the above ground floor. Understandably, the underground floor is quite dark and kind of library-like, but it needs a facelift. Old shelves, old books, books everywhere, on their sides, missing when you go to find them... brown shelves, brown dividers, drab, uninspiring. I'm saying that my library isn't so awesome. But all the teaching stuff is downstairs so that's where I end up. Being downstairs means very very slow mobile internet on my phone. I need to find some books, right? I'm in there 30 mins before class starts so I can find my books. The library has a few computer consoles scattered about where you can use the internet or log into the library site to search their catalog. It used to be restricted to just the library site.
At this point it's about 2.30pm, so most people should have gone home. But, no, every single computer was taken. And I'm ok with you taking the computer in the library, but don't be on Facebook. There's people hovering around so when someone leaves the computer, they can go on.
Don't be on Facebook. Go on the library website, find your damn book, and leave. If you want Facebook, go upstairs, take out your iphone (because everybody who's a Uni student has one. Or they have a phone with those capabilities, right?) and go on Facebook. This is an Academic Institution, people, with people trying to do real work and better themselves. I'm trying to learn to teach children how to read. If you don't let me get to a computer I won't be able to teach your children how to log onto Facebook and read status updates.

3. What's with drivers lately? Honestly. I'm driving the speed limit, right? I don't tend to speed, I like my license, and I like not being fined for something stupid like going 5km over the limit (3 miles. Yes, they will fine you for this). So I'm driving the speed limit somewhere, a road I know often has speed cameras, and some douche-bagging-douche-head is sitting on my tail. Um... dude, I'm not going to speed up just because you're trying to use some kind of twisted car-peer-pressure. Sorry. It's more hilarious when they get all antsy and you're on a 3 lane road, so they tailgate you for a while, then they VEER into the other lane (note for North Americans: In Australia, lane changes are slow and smooth. We were shocked, in the US, at how quickly people changed lanes. Here... you kind of drift across. We're a laid-back country, ok?), fly past.... and then get stopped next to you at the next set of lights. For all their swerving and tailgating, they never get much further ahead than you. Unfortunately I don't think they realize it.
Then there's the kids who have been driving with their parents from 16-18 and have just gotten onto a license by themselves. So now they're all hardcore, and they're doing this same stuff because they have friends in the car, and they're pretty cool. Is this not problematic? They might have been solo for like, a year, and now they're like a rally driver. Right.

This video just makes me want to die a little on the inside. This girl is what, like 13? And she's signing about having designer jeans. There's. More. Important. Things. In. Life. Than. Your. Jeans. Get. Over. Yourself.
And don't get me started on that Friday song.
I grew up listening to Pink Floyd (thanks, parents!), Genesis, Phil Collins, the Beatles (I am not this old, my parents just loved it), and ok, when I was a tween, I liked Hanson. But even they weren't singing about jeans.

*muttergrumbledamnkidsthesedays* I feel like I should be shaking a cane and grumbling in a croaky old lady voice.

And that, everyone, is my rant. And really, it's a lot more ranty than I intended, and I'm really not that peeved off, but, y'know.  Off to Uni for that literacy class, so I can continue to learn how to teach kids to read Facebook.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Tofu Pad Thai

I'm really excited about our cooking at the moment. We've been trying a few new things (new to us, anyway) and deviating away from 'old favourites' to expand our dinner repertoire.  So, I want to share some of our love of food and cooking with you.
We try and eat pretty healthily, and we're borderline vegetarians- getting done in by chicken, bacon, and fish occasionally. I'm a notoriously bad recipe follower in that I read the ingredients list and start putting those things into a bowl in that order before I realize that there's actually a method to be followed (whoops), and when I do actually follow the method, I tend to add and remove things as I see fit. This meal doesn't have carrot?! I add carrot. I figure I have a fairly good idea of what flavours taste good with other ones, so adding or subtracting things makes them tasty for us.
That being said, my mother laments the fact that my brother won't eat vegetables, and I don't blame him, living with her. She enjoys her vegetables, done the way she likes them, and I don't. I couldn't stand them. It took me a long time to learn to love certain types of veggies and 'untrain' myself that not everything is gross. We're still working on it. To that end, if you do happen to try something we make (yay!) you, of course, should experiment with things you like. Example: Most Asian foods call for coriander. We hate the stuff, it's poison, so we never add it. If you like it, add it. Maybe it's tasty for you.

So, today's Tasty Tuesday is a recipe I tried last week in order to use up some tofu that had been sitting in my fridge for too long. That being said, I don't/didn't like tofu. We'd tried it before, marinating it for 15 mins or so. Trust me on the part where I say that the secret to making this meal unbelievably tasty is to marinate your tofu, all day. Otherwise yes, tofu is gross. All measurements are approximate- I don't measure. Psh. This is for two, there are two of us. Also, although it looks really long and involved, it's because I'm a Postgrad student who writes 6,000 word essays, and I've forgotten how to be succinct. It's basically just making sauce, then chucking everything in a pot and cooking it for a short time at high heat.

this hermit life is tiring me out.

You know... I'm tired.

I realize that he looks huge, and kind of fat, with a small head, but it's cos he's all fluffed out and the photo was taken from an unflattering angle (what the hell am I talking about, he's a dog.).

Sort of.
Not like a physical tiredness because I didn't get enough sleep- because I did, Nic let me sleep in till 7.30, bless him.

This is a hard thing to explain- I'm having trouble with it. It's back to something I wrote a while ago, about how I don't feel like I have friends. It doesn't sound any less lame now than it did then, but anyhoo...
But here's the thing: that picture of a group of girls laughing and drinking wine on a couch, all hanging out? Doesn't happen. I tried to organize a catch-up with two friends from Uni for last week, before dinner... one girl was tired from her first week of teaching, the other was 'sniffly'. So that's fine, I said, we'll reschedule, maybe next (this) week?
And I can bet you anything I won't hear from them.
Ok, so I'm not the best keeping-in-touch person, I'm not, but I'll try. Even if it's a long time apart, I'll try. And I can think of a dozen occurrences where I was the last one to make the effort- to set a date, to organize a thing, to send an email, whatever... and that gets tiring. I feel like I know people, I'm 'friends' with people, but I'm/we're not high enough on people's priority lists that they'd like to spend time with just us. You know, like, take time out of their schedule to do something different. If they have a party, we'll be invited, but I wouldn't expect to hear from them for a catch-up, or whatever.
And I promise I'm not this self-depreciating in real life, and I'm usually quite content in my little bubble with me and Nic and our pets and that suits us fine, it does.. But sometimes it'd be nice to have someone else. Nic is completely my best friend... I have a really hard time trusting people, for some reason. Example: the friend from Uni, who was sniffly and didn't want to come out... we get along great. Sometimes we have lunch together on wednesdays because we have a 2 hour break between classes. We have different ideas about teaching and we share those. When we're together, we're almost that picture of two girlfriends chatting and laughing. I love spending time with her...
But I, in myself, can never shake the feeling that... I dunno, that I'm not high on her priority list. I'm just the girl from Uni. That she has better, and closer friends that she'd rather spend time with. And maybe she does, I'm not sure. I don't hear her mention people, except her boyfriend, but then do your friends from outside circles usually come up in conversation? I'm not sure.
Do you know what I mean though? Like I hold myself back from being 'too much' her friend, because I don't feel like I'm that close for her.
Anyway, I'm just a bit sad about this. I wish there'd been an APW bookclub here, but nobody replied to my Facebook thing so I guess there ain't anybody from Melbourne around.

In other news, I don't think we're going to Canberra or the Blue Mountains over easter any more because it's just going to cost too much money, and we seem to keep spending money - a bike, a car insurance excess, a futon, some random crap from an outdoor shop (ok, so everything was about 60% off and we'll use it all, it's still money) - that we don't really have, so the prospect of crappy motel-style accommodation for $100 a night in Canberra (sadly, the cheapest we could find that's not booked out), plus like, $200+ worth of fuel, plus another lot on food while we're there = a lot of money that we don't have. Canberra isn't going anywhere, the blue Mountains aren't going anywhere... I think it's probably wise if we just go somewhere a little closer to home, hike overnight, camp...

Tonight we're having the most amazing Tofu stir-fry for dinner. I'm thinking of making maybe a "Tasty Tuesday" thing. Cos y'know what? We do some awesome food. The other night we made chickpea burgers. Maybe people would like to partake in our food. Maybe I'd just like to document stuff incase we forget and go: What was in that amazing stir-fry!?! Then we'll know.
So, I didn't like tofu. This meal converted me. If you don't like tofu but you do like tasty stir-fry and noodles, tune in later, I'll put up the recipe and some pictures and stuff. It's sort of pad-thai style, with lime and sauce.
And stuff.
Just trust me on this one, ok?

Monday, March 28, 2011

skip counting.

I decided to skip class this morning.
As Nic so helpfully points out: I'm a Uni student, that's what I'm supposed to do when I don't really want to go.
8am is way too early for maths, anyway, particularly when the teacher reads off powerpoint slides. Occasionally she asks us a maths problem, or shows us an activity we can do in our classroom, but if you get the answer wrong, she's terribly condescending and if you get the answer right before she's 'ready' for you to get it right (ie: be the first person answering a riddle/puzzle/whatever and get it right? She'll accuse you of having read the powerpoint already, or having seen the problem before. Or something stupid. And I mean accuse, as well).
So, I figure, I can read the powerpoints from home, and the other articles she prescribes, and not worry about never answering questions anyway because I don't want her to think I'm stupid (like when she asked if anyone uses their fingers to count, and I said I do, and she asked when, and I said pretty much for anything, even simple addition (which is true. Something like 8 + 7? That'd be on my fingers. Yup. The more I read, the more I think I wasn't taught maths very well. People who look at that and just know what the answer is? Yeah, can't do that. Kids who would look at that and go, I dunno, 7 + 7 + 1? I don't do that. Sucks.), and she looked at me like I was a complete moron)...
Ironically, I'm staying home (with kitten on my lap and dog next to me on the couch) researching progressive education/alternative education schools in Australia, and BC, Canada. Then I'll finish my assignment, then I'll probably start a different one.
So it's not like I've slept in- I still dragged myself out of bed, not having decided at that point that I wasn't going... No, I'm still actually going to be productive. That makes things better, right?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

if a story were a tree.. pt2

So I haven't quite finished the story about how me and the lover boy ended up getting together.

Cast your mind back... this is how we officially 'met'... But not when we fell in love.
There's a few different versions of the story I'm about to tell, depending on who we're talking to... But there always are, aren't there? No matter which story you're telling, it changes from person to person. 
So, let's call this Em's-blog-version, knowing I don't know my readers well enough maybe to go into the particularly juicy details.
Not that there are that many. But anyway. Dig up, Em.

Our last story left off with Nic jetsetting to Europe to study. We heard from each other, usually on birthdays, though we were both notoriously bad at remembering when each others' birthday was (mine should have been easy - 3 days after his Mum's. Just sayin'.) He sent me a Welsh dictionary one year, cos he was studying in Wales. He accuses me often of not sending anything at all. Meh.
So I did my Undergrad in Arts, and finished that by the end of 2007. I knew I wanted to do my teaching degree, but not right away. I was sick of school, sick of studying, and I knew that if I didn't travel before I did my teaching degree, then it wouldn't ever happen because I'd end up in a real job and I wouldn't be able to be carefree like that any more.

Warsaw- Not quite Krakow. This was their national library, I think, and there were 5 or 7 of these colored pegasus outside, all different colors. 
So I got a job at a call-centre and worked for a year and a half, saving up money. In Feb of 2009, I wandered into the travel agent and asked them about the cost of flights to Krakow. Bit random, but I wanted to go to Auchwitz, then a whole lot of other places. I'll add in at this point that for the 5 years since leaving highschool at this point, I'd thought often of Nic and wondered what could have been, and if I'd let something worthwhile get away, but since it hadn't been anything, I couldn't dwell on it. I went home that afternoon with a tentatively booked ticket, the salesperson using the old "I can only hold this price/seats till Wednesday!!!" trick, to panic me into wanting to buy the tickets. I'm older and wiser now and know I could have kicked his arse in the price of the tickets by doing it myself online, but since it was the first time just going on a trip, by myself, to another country- to Poland, I think it was probably safer that I did it through an agent. I went home, as I said, to my now-ex boyfriend who I was living with at the time, and told him I was probably going to Europe in October, and he could come, if he wanted, but knew he wouldn't want to. Surprise, surprise, he didn't want to. On Wednesday I bought the tickets. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

sneezing all over our love...

Ok, sorry for the lame title. I was trying to think of something appropriate, like a song lyric, but it didn't happen.

I've been really snuffly and sneezy lately, and I can't really blame it on the weather because it's autumn (no seeds, no flowers, just one big shaggy shedding dog getting his fur ready for winter), and I can't blame the kids for giving me a cold because I'm doing these cartoon-style astronomical sneezes... I figure I shouldn't do things in halves, here. If I'm going to sneeze, might as well make it a good one, get it over and done with quickly, y'know? I'm not one of those people who makes a little noise and squeezes their eyes closed.

Are you the cause of all my problems, Mia Miss Meow!?

Anyway, I'm thinking of what on earth could be making it so bad... and I look down at my little purring lap-warmer, who looks back up at me, and winks. I mean, she often winks, this isn't unusual (though it is weird)... but I thought: Oh lord, what if she's losing her kitten fur, and getting adult fur, and I'm allergic to her?
Because I am allergic to cats, and dogs, and horses.
My Mum, growing us up on a hobby farm, decided that the best way to deal with her two asthmatic children with allergies was just to have cats, and dogs, and horses, and figure we'd get over it. And I did, to a degree. I fell asleep on the futon with the fur of Mallei's ears up my nose (we were cuddling). I kiss the kitten all over because she's soft and smells interesting (unless Mallei has been licking her. Mmmhm, slobberfur). I don't have problems with my own animals. Other people's animals? Yeah, usually. Especially if they're not clean, or if they're really furry. But not mine.
But maybe I'm allergic to our kitten!!!
And she's dropping her kitten fur to grow real-cat fur, and she's making me sneeze!!

Also, unrelated... I'm having weird thoughts lately, and I'm going to blame being around some adorable kids at the School. Like, kids with big sad eyes who tell me twice about how their chickens got eaten by foxes, and who get called "Hugamachine", and who have shy little grins, and who make winches out of cardboard rolls for their emergency-service truck, and who can read the Australian vet website at 6 years old, and who still believe in the tooth-fairy... And I think that, for the first time in my life, I'm feeling a little clucky. And it's terrifying. I don't want kids. I don't get babies. I don't understand the whole going 'ga-ga' (ha, ha. Funny stuff) over babies. They look weird and they slobber. I think this is very bad, people. We don't want kids. We want animals, and we want to travel, and we want to have money to blow on said travel, and yes, maybe you can do that with a kid, or two, or whatever, but this isn't the dream we have. So me, thinking: Well, maybe young kids are fun, and wouldn't it be nice to read to a kid at night? Is terrifying. Absolutely. Terrifying.

I'm gonna cuddle my kitten now and hope it goes away.

I love this. Mallei looks so guilty, like he's just been caught in the act. Classic!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

i should have stayed home... or just hidden in a bin.

Today was School day!

And before I say that, let me make an observation. I realize, as I watched the doe-eyed kitten stare blankly around her at imaginary things, that she is much like a Prep child. So, 4-5 years old, just started school, learning about the big wide world. She falls over, makes up games, runs, plays, and is terribly, terribly distracted. Try and talk to her for too long and she'll be gazing off over your shoulders for something more interesting to watch.
And Mal? He's grade 4 or 5. He's got his head screwed on, can hold a good conversation, and is insanely proud of everything he does, and wants to tell you ALL about it (whenever either of us come home he gets his toy, usually one that squeaks, and wiggles himself into little balls of joy, showing you how well he can make it squeak.). He still plays, but in a more reserved way, and gets bored of the silly kittens antics pretty quick. He knows stuff, he takes commands.
She is currently chasing her tail. Point proven.
Maybe this is why I like younger kids. I can compare them to animals. HA!

This is how my animals help. I'm trying to put that foam underneath the fridge to stop Mia losing her toys under there... This picture could be typical of the little School though- Prep girl all up in your grill like: "Excuse me, Emily, um, what are you doing?? Um, can I help? What can I do?... Um, excuse me Emily, why are you putting all that under there???" And on and on... and meanwhile, goofy doofus-face is standing in the background telling you some story about some unrelated thing while peering over your shoulder to make sure whatever you're doing isn't interesting enough for him to want to be too involved, and also occasionally tapping you on the shoulder to get your attention again so he can continue his story.

That being said, I am really glad because I am really enjoying my days at the School. I'm still a socially awkward mess if it comes to meeting actual grownup people, but kids? Kids I can do. Which I still find bizzare. But I can see teaching- Primary Teaching - as something I'll enjoy. And it's exhausting. Ridiculously exhausting. But... I enjoy it. I love reading stories. I can't wait to have my own classroom and meetings and meditation and learning about maths.

That being said, today wasn't particularly fun... I did some interviews with two Prep kids for my maths assignment, which took a half our each... The girl I interviewed now keeps telling me how well she helped me learn to be a teacher. Then I ran errands because an integration aid was turning 50, and they needed tabbouleh. So I got the ingredients. Then I stapled balloons to the roof of the staff room, which took an hour.
At lunch, we were all in there, and some of the year 1/2 kids came in. I was nearest the door, and knowing them, I asked what the matter was.
"E. HAS HER LEG STUCK IN A CHAIR!" They cried. We ran to the classroom. Well... I sort of ran, then walked. After all, running causes more panic, which causes more commotion, which for kids convinced their friend is about to have her leg amputated cos it's stuck in a chair? Hm, not so hot.
A few of them entered the room before me, yelling:
And I'm thinking:
Uh... Sorry to disappoint, but not really. If this situation is beyond my capabilities, we're going to go get an ACTUAL teacher.
Anyway, by the time I got there she was free, but crying, cos, y'know, it hurts to have your leg stuck in a chair. But she was fine, and everyone was quite relieved.
I read a story to the Preps (love it. They're an awesome audience. Laughing at the appropriate places, exclaiming when something exciting happens, they're quiet, and interested, and sometimes, if it's especially interested, their mouths are open and they're leaning forward so they can see that much better.)... One of the grade 1/2 kids had gone missing, so E, the teacher, was looking for him. I felt a bit bad as I'd sort of ditched her after lunch, but they were going to have their school photos done, and I wanted to learn stuff, not do photos.
So there was a search party for this kid on while I read the story. It's not unusual for him to disappear, but this time they couldn't find him. A half hour later, and they did. He had hidden in a bin.
A bin of all places.
(Do you all say bin? Trash-can? But it was plastic...not a can.. with like.. a lid.)

Do you think I'm cut out for this? For finding kids who have hidden in bins? For kids who throw tantrums? Who cry because someone "took their seat"? I don't know. Probably not. But I suppose that's why I'm here, learning. So when this stuff comes up, in my classroom- when a kid disappears... I'll know to check the bins if I can't find him anywhere else. Don't know if any of the others from my course can say the same.

In the end it was a bit of a waste of a day. Apart from reading the story and helping some girls find 'A' words in magazines, I didn't really have 'class time' today... Plus I have crappy crappy period pain, but then, I did get homemade carrot cake, so maybe it all balances out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

excuse me, how about do your job?

I went to get petrol on the way to School this morning. At the moment it's sitting a tad under $1.50 a litre, lucky us ($5.70 a gallon). I filled up the tank, then went inside to pay (that's how we roll, here. No pre-paying or weirdness for us). The lady on the register was chatting with her co-worker, as I'm standing there. I'm impatient. I wait. There's nobody else in the store, just me.
I wait.
I'm fairly certain I waited about 30 seconds and it wasn't like they were talking about important things like how to put out a fire in the back room, or what to do if there was a crocodile in the store, or how to deal with a wasp nest on the fuel pumps.
Eventually she comes back to her position, no "Sorry" or even a hello, or a smile, which I'm fairly sure is part of her job.
She growls:
I put the discount card out for her (supermarket scheme, non-Australian people. We get 4c off our petrol if you shop at one of the two big supermarkets then go to the appropriate petrol station.), which she scans.
"$55." She mutters. I'm a little peeved at this point because I was running late and she hadn't acknowledged my presence. I hold out my card, and she basically rolls her eyes and, turning as she speaks, vaguely says:
"Swipe your card"
And is back to talking to her coworker.
So I wait for the machine to say 'swipe'... and it doesn't.
I wait a bit more- sometimes they're slow.
And now I'm annoyed because not only is she one of the worst petrol sales-people I've seen, but she hasn't been bothered to do her job well enough to hit the 'enter' button on her screen to activate the card machine.
So, I say:
"Um, I would swipe it, if it worked." And yeah, I sound like a bitch when I'm saying this (Ok, picture a bratty 16 year old, rolling her eyes and jutting out her chin... now scale back the image a liiiiittle bit, and that was probably the tone of voice I used.
The lady looked stunned. Like, why was I suddenly being rude to her!? When she'd been nothing but polite, and helpful!! She literally looked at me like I'd just called her a f---tard, for no reason.
"Sorry doll!" She says, mashing the screen. "Sometimes it just goes to sleep."
I think I rolled my eyes, mutter "no worries.".
"Sorry about that."
And I'm thinking: No, you're really not. You're only sorry because I snapped at you and you suddenly came round to the fact that I'm actually here, trying to get some damn service, and I interrupted your chat. 

And then she told me to have a fantastic day.
Laced with sarcasm.
You know sometimes when someone's been rude to you and you're super extra nice just to 'be the better person', or make them more angry, or just rub it in that you're nice and they're a bitch? Yeah, she tried to pull that on me. And I am not a bitch, people. I am not confrontational. I hate confrontations. HATE. So for me to actually say what I said speaks volumes for how freaking peeved off I was.
But then I went to school, and the girls gave me hugs, and I got to go gardening with some of them, and then the grade 5/6 kids went horse-riding. But I didn't get to ride. But it's ok... it just made me miss horses and riding like crazy.

Now I'm off to the gym. I'm going to try and change my running style. Or, start to change. Fairly certain it won't happen overnight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

study + kittens = procrastination.

I'm taking on a very audacious project this week. I'm not sure if audacious is the right word, but when I tried to find synonyms for 'gutsy', not much came up, so I'm wondering if that's Aussie slang or something.
So I'm trying to finish an assignment by this weekend, when it's not due for about 3 weeks. It's a straightforward assignment that involves me researching vegetable gardening programs that go to schools, and the benefits of being educated while outdoors. Totally up my alley. Which is making it easy. Which is always nice.
So, this is how I study:
Fairly terribly picture quality taken indoors with light on & blinds closed. Well done, Em.

Yes. The kitten is the most distracting factor in this whole equation, and yes, I still have a blank picture frame. I stupidly got it from Ikea expecting to be able to get photos printed out to fit, but apparently nobody in shops prints photos that size. And I haven't been bothered finding somewhere online to do it.

But really... what would you prefer? Reading stinky academic papers, or head bumps and tummy-scratching a kitten? She's even looking after my glasses.
Also... we've started calling her Mia. (Though secretly I like the spelling Miya, I think people would be inclined to say My-a instead of Mee-a).

Also, I designed our potluck/engagement party/games night invites yesterday. We'll send them tonight, since it's in just under 2 weeks time. It'd be nice to push it out another week but that Sunday is m... wait, the reason we had isn't a reason any more! It'll be my brother's birthday but even if he has a party he won't invite me, and since we've decided not to invite family to our shindig, it doesn't matter if I have a party on his birthday weekend. Sa-weet!

Anyway, here it is. A bit wacky, but that's us.

Yeah, click on it to see the bigger version with the actual words and stuff.

I think I've procrastinated enough now. Back to the thing I was doing.

(Edit: Ambitious is the word I was looking for. You know when it's not even that unusual of a word but it just alludes you? I knew it started with an A, at least. Also, it was too ambitious... I sort of changed the second half of my whole assignment in a way that meant I had to do a heap more research and reading... which may just be my super creatively lame way of procrastinating from actually writing the damn thing, but that's ok. Also I think I'm going to ride to Nic's work in about an hour and meet him when he finishes, then go to the gym. Procrastinating by exercise? Well, you can't tell me not to keep fit. So there.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

favourite things pt 5.

Gooooooood evening everyone.

It's Monday here, so time for another round of my favourite thigns.
This week is a little bizzaro-world because although I've only had 2 weeks of a 'normal' schedule with classes and School Day etc, this week I have half as many classes and as a direct result, twice as many School Days.
But, as it's Monday I won't do the "post School Meltdown Wrapup", but the favourite things might have a distinctly school-like flavour.

  • When kids ask me, specifically for help. And then I watch them get something. When it clicks. Awesome. 
  • Rolling around on the floor in our Student Wellbeing class, pretending to be a starfish, then a fish, then a caterpillar. Then skipping. And trying to skip with a frown. Because those classes are hilarious. Ever want to be cheered up? Watch a group of 25 PostGrad students writhing on the floor like leeches, trying to replicate the stage in development post-utero. Yes. We did this today.
  • Mallei spooning with me (him being the littlest spoon) on cold nights, curling up against my stomach. Puppy love.
  • Cranking the music of some crappy crappy pop song in the car, singing along, swinging my hair, nodding my head. People in the car next to me be damned. I'm rocking out and there's nothing you can do about it. Unless you play this song.
  • My fricken small, sickly raspberry plant has about 20 raspberries ripening. WtF?! I'd given up hope on it, and now it's bearing fruit. Plants coming back from the dead = awesome.
Hurrah! Life is great.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the start to the week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

f-- you, australia.

So when I was in Paris, I bought some Converse lights. I wore them to death. I wore them until the heel had a hole in it and water got in. I wore them everywhere. They traipsed through the streets of Paris, came to Townsville and Tasmania with me. They explored the city of Melbourne when Nic first arrived. I loved these shoes, right?
Then I had to stop wearing them, because they had holes. And when we got to the US, I was determined to get some more. So I dove on the first pair I found and thought I was going crazy thinking they were heavier and chunkier than my old ones, but I couldn't find any that were different, so I got them.
The other day, at Mum's, she told me she had some clothes we'd left before we went to North America. Lo and Behold, there were my beloved shoes, and, surprise! I wasn't crazy- they WERE thinner, and smaller, and better than the ones I'd bought.
So I look online today trying to track down a pair of these shoes for not-so-much money, get them sent here. I saw them in a store for $90 the other day- we got my other ones for $45 in the US. Right, so they're double the price here. I find them on 2 Australian websites for $90 each.
Amazon won't ship them here, nor will I find a website that will ship here, and I even get 10% off... and the shoes are $44...
And then comes shipping.
Can't be that much, right?
Maybe $10?
$20 at a stretch?
The shipping costs

I could buy them and get them shipped to Nic's Mum in the UK and pay for her to ship them here, but we're waiting on some things we sent to her back at Christmas and still haven't been sent. So, y'know, maybe if I want to buy them and never see them, I could do that.
Think I need to employ a friend of mine in the US to be my re-posting person, but, who knows, maybe that'll end up costing an extra $40 anyway, and I won't know it until they have to pay and I have to pay them back.

I hate this island.

(and yes, this is whingey, and whiney, and there's bigger things going on than me shoe-shopping, but this happens all. the. time. With everything. Want something cool? Well, it'll cost you twice as much because you live in Australia. Awesome. One of the many reasons I don't want to stay in this country long-term.)
(Edit: And in the end I found them on Ebay for $55, but they might be dodgy rip-offs so y'know... Still, being able to walk into a shop and buy them for a good price would be really nice, too.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

fights, competitions and being a teacher...

Yesterday was school day.
I've already unloaded a bit to Nic which is really nice, but I like sharing what I'm learning here as well.
But since this turned out to be super-long verrryyyy education based, I'll understand if you don't want to read on!
But if you want to hear about a fishing game almost turned to violence, or how competition and incentives produces bad results, or how worksheets are taking the place of actual teaching and what I feel about that particular scenario, then please, do read on.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

reya -> mia?

So, last night I was watching the kitten play, and quite often she'll prop herself up on her back legs with her fat little buddha belly sticking out, and wave her paws around in the air. The pose reminds me of a meerkat.
And I said:
"Awwww. We should have called her Mia and then she could have been Mia-cat". Now, remember I'm Australian. My number one tip for imitating an Australian accent is to drop the 'unnecessary' r's out of words (unless followed by a vowel. Sort of like the French and when their words end in 's'). Here are some examples: Sweater -> sweata. Words -> weuds (wow, this is haada (harder) than I would have thought)
Hea's (here's) another (keep the r here) example:
Meerkat -> Meea-cat.
See where I'm going with this?
Meea-cat -> MIA CAT.

So now we're seriously considering changing her name to Mia. It's not like she knows Reya- we always call her 'Miss' anyway.
But think of the possibilities. Not only can she bee Mia-cat (Meerkat, remember), she can also be Miss Mia Meow (gotta love alliteration) and she can also be M.I.A, for when she disappears in the house somewhere. Right? Right?! Nobody remembers we've called her Reya anyway so people we know aren't going to be confused or think we're (more) weird...

What do you think?

Reya, or Mia? Or Miya!?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

this is boring and everything sucks.

So I'm (clearly) a little less active about this whole blogging thing now that I'm back at school. That whole free all day to write and exercise and nap thing? Doesn't work so well when you cycle the 10km to Uni and back, read a million articles and  on your two spare days, either volunteer at a school, or spend the day doing crazy housework and cooking and stuff.
Didn't see this lack of writing time a few months ago, apparently.
But so it goes. I'm doing my best here.
Also I just bought a 20in computer screen cos it was 'cheap' and I'm waiting for the connector to connect my macbook to it so then I can use it and do Uni with it and actually see my screen. Joy.

Anyway, I'm about to make a tofu pad thai, which has been marinating all day, so it should be yum. Also the other day we had Vientamese Vegetarian rice-paper rolls and they were quite tasty though better, I think, as a non vegetarian option. I took photos as we made them cos they're pretty awesome and it's even more fun because we use the rampant mint from our garden, but they're super healthy and easy and fresh and if you're into that kind of thing you'll like these. But I'll post that up later.

We're trying, at the moment, to branch out into cooking more things - hence the tofu pad thai. I have a list of food on our white-board-fridge that I want to make in the future, and none of it is super exciting, just like, dahl and chickpea burgers and stuff.

I was going to write about a guy at Uni who's super negative about everything and just makes me want to poke his eyes out with a blunt fork, but I think I need to go chop some things, so here's me jotting that down for another time.

Also, despite being engaged since early October 2010, I think Nic and I are going to have our engagement picnic/board-games night/pot-luck/thing in the next two weeks or so. This time for realz. I had 'engagement picnic?' in my iCal for about the last 2 months, slowly being pushed back and back, but we might do it this time. But it aint gonna be a traditional party. I want casual. I want games (card and board.), I want wine, I want people to contribute. We would also like presents but I worry that if we label this thing an 'engagement party' then we're obligated to invite cousins, and my cousins have money which would mean they bring the best presents and at the same time I just want to have friends over to my house for a night of board games which isn't an engagement party at all.
What to do?

Monday, March 14, 2011

favourite things pt 4.

Favourite things: Sleeping on the couch.

Ok I'm actually remembering to do this on a Monday this week. I'm taking a break from looking for (academic) journal articles about how to make maths creative, and fun, and hands-on to write this. I find it fascinating, though, much more than I thought I would. Because here's something we never think about, right:
In real life, on a day-to-day basis, which do you think we dedicate the most time to:
-Written computation (ie: addition/subtraction/multiplication written with pen and paper)
-Mental computation (sums done in your head) or
-Calculator computation.

Most people would probably say mental computation. I don't know about you but if I'm adding something up, I'll try and do it in my head (or on my fingers), or with my iphone before I bother writing it down... And yet...
Which of those would you say is taught most heavily at schools?
And I think you'd find the answer would be written computation.
Isn't that strange?? And almost no time is taken to doing mental problem-solving. And I'm mad about that now because I think a lot of my maths problems comes from feeling 'locked into' the written algorithm we're taught in school. Example, here's a problem: 25 + 27.
And in my head I work it out how you would if you wrote it nice and properly, like this:

And today in class we discussed how other people worked out the answer in their head. And some people say 25 + 25 + 2. That's MUCH easier than trying to work out stupid-looking 7 + 5, which by the way, I would probably do on my fingers as well. Or even if I could think to do 5 + 5 + 2 + 40... But I don't. I add the ones, carry the one over, then add the twos, and put on the extra one. And it's not the easiest way to do it.
But what I find especially interesting is that kids will develop their own methods and their own tricks, all the time. And sometimes they'll feel embarrassed by their methods and won't say how they got the answer because they've been taught that there's a 'right way' to do it, and that wasn't the way they used. There's been research done which says kids use their own algorithms, as long as their method doesn't fail, which is when they will revert back to the written version. Anyway, enough maths education talk..

  • Waking up with sore muscles after smashing it out at the gym. It's like, confirmation that you worked hard.
  • Getting home after a run with a very tired pup whose tail is down, and who flops on the floor the minute you get inside. Poor dude.
  • Nic making Sunday morning pancakes with raspberries. I might have already listed these as a favorite thing but I love them.
  • Falling asleep on the couch. This could be while watching a crappy action movie (they put me to sleep.), or watching something else with my head on Nic's lap, or just on a lazy non-Uni afternoon- not worrying about how long I sleep or that I'm going to be late for anything. Bliss!
  • Erasing a task on our to-do-list-fridge-whiteboard. Especially something that's been there for 2 weeks that you've been putting off doing for so long. And rewarding yourself, possibly with a chocolate biscuit. Yum.

Hope everybody had a great weekend, and happy Monday. :)
Also, I'm putting together a compilation of kitten-on-bags, as a follow-up to a post the other day because I realize now just how much Reya is obsessed with bags, and it's cute.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    moments of memories

     Vancouver skyline, taken, I think, from Stanley Park

    I was thinking and worrying a little while ago that I hadn't invested enough in our trip to North America- that we'd spent too much time driving and shopping (my bad, I desperately wanted some brown boots that didn't cost a fortune like they would back here), and not enough time 'doing stuff'. Which, I suppose, is 'tourist stuff', which we didn't want to do. But I think back on Europe and I did the 'tourist stuff'... but it was a different trip. It was old, beautiful European cities. It was reading a book in a park that the tourists in Prague didn't know about, and watching actual Czech families (so rare in that city) walking their prams, or teenagers skateboarding - calling out (what I assume were) profanities in another language. It was going rafting by myself, and having my Slovenian rafting guide turn the boat lengthways, slide down into it, and put his feet up on the edge, exclaiming in near-perfect English that
    "It's like being at the movies!" As the beautiful Soca river wound its way into the Slovenian hills- a perfect panorama.
    Let me give a little bit of an explanation, for those of you just joining us. In late October-early December, Nic and I traveled to North America. Nic was born over there, and we have the intention of one day leaving Australia and living... somewhere else. We needed to see some parts of the continent before we could make a decision. So the trip came, and went. We flew into LA but didn't stay, going straight to Seattle, which we explored, and then over to Port Angeles, so we could bathe in the beautiful Olympic mountains. We took the ferry to Victoria, BC, and drove up Vancouver island to Nic's childhood home, before we took another ferry to Vancouver, BC where we stayed only one night, which was enough time for us to fall ridiculously in love with the city. After this, we flew to Boston where, again, we didn't stay, but hired a car to drive through New Hampshire, Vermont, and upper New York State, where we stayed a couple of days at Nic's junior highschool, before crashing with a friend in Montreal, driving up to Mont Tremblant, down to Quebec City, through Maine, and back to Boston where, once again, we didn't stay, but instead took a bus to NYC. Cue epic hunt for boots and many shenanigans, of which I'll write later. We stayed a week, and ate too many bagels. Thanksgiving was had with Nic's brother and sister in law in Madison, WI, and by this point we had decided that we would rather go back to Vancouver, and had subsequently rerouted our flights from WI-CA back to Seattle, so we could hire another car, and go up to Whistler, Vancouver etc. Then we went home. Phew. It was 6 weeks long, and we did a lot of driving, and a lot of walking.
    And then I thought about some of the things we did do, and the moments we had, and I felt a bit better. It was a different trip entirely, the North American visit. And I thought maybe I would turn some of the happiest times out here, to remind myself, and Nic, about some of the more awesome times we had.
    This one came to me the other day as I was having a bath- trying to soothe my muscles after a boot-camp style fitness class - and reading Maths articles for school. Today was drizzly, too, and kind of chilly, but not cold. What I would consider perfect Vancouver weather.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    liken me to einstein.

    I am a genius.
    No doubt about it.

     Dr. Mallei in one of his less flattering moments. And this isn't a Dr. Mallei column.

    Please read the above with sarcasm.
    You know sometimes you do or say something so dumb that you wonder how you've gotten as far in life as you have?
    And ok, my story could be worse, but I was pretty bummed out by the whole thing.
    So today, I had class from 1-3pm. I planned it out- I was going to cycle in, and cycle home. I researched where the showers on campus are, I packed my bag. I postponed eating lunch because I was leaving at like, 11.50 and so had HEAPS of time to make the 30-40 minute ride in, shower, and eat.
    As I was having a quick shower in the morning, I chuckled to myself as I played an imaginary scenario in my head: Imagine if I rode all the way to Uni, only to realise I'd left my bike lock at home! Dun dun dunnnn... and then, what would I do? Maybe I'd ask some random at the bike lock area if I could lock my bike to theirs and they could tell me the code because they already have one bike- why would they need to steal mine?
    Or maybe, I thought, I'd just turn around and go home. Depends how far I'd come.
    So as I said, my bag was packed- my helmet had already been attached to it, gloves and sunnies were inside the bag, all set to go.
    I pushed off.
    No major mishaps on the way in, feeling pretty spiffy in some new running shorts I'd bought, went a little faster on the gravel section of the bike trail than I usually do... Got to about, I dunno, 700 meters to a km away from Uni, and started prepping my mind for the task ahead- pull in, lock up bike, sho---.... wait...

    I left my lock at home.
    I'd friggen thought about it not an hour before I'd left and how utterly stupid you'd have to be to forget it...
    And here I was, having just sailed down a hill (which I ended up cycling back up, thanks), suddenly realising that I was all of 5 minutes away from Uni, without a lock. With no way of securing my nice, shiny new bike, at a University full of poor students from the Eastern suburbs. I thought about going to Property & services, and seeing if I could get a temporary swipe card to their bike cage thingie, but decided that they'd be mean and wouldn't give me one, and anyway, once it was in the bike cage, anyone could steal it from there anyway!! So, at the 8.something kilometer mark, I turned around, peddled back up the damn hill, and went home.

    Which, of course, took me 40 minutes (and gave me a new RunKeeper record, schweet), but meant that I was about 40 minutes late to class.
    Which would have been ok, (maybe?) because I thought it was a 3 hour class- it's an Arts class, it has to be 3 hours long right?
    No dice.
    So I get to the class 40 minutes late, and an hour and 10 later, we're packing up and going home.
    Now I have a very depressive dog who is desperate to go for a walk. He keeps poking his head, very slowly, and very sadly, around the corner of the door.
    I'm like, the worst dog parent ever.
    Also I think my kitten's back legs are too long for the rest of her/longer than her front legs.
    It's weird.
    Now she's rolling in the sun. LUXURIOUSLY.
    Oh well, no matter how much of an un-genius I feel, she can always make me feel better by becoming completely enraptured (nice word, hey?) with a spot on the wall, absolutely convinced that it's alive.
    (and now, incase you're enjoying the running commentary, she's pulling herself along the carpet with her front feet, while laying on her side. Like she's laid down, and it's just way too much effort to get her kitteny body up on all 4 feet again.)

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    here miss, we baked these brownies for you...

    Which means, School day!


    I'm finding that I'm learning so much, and I'm so grateful that this school is totally accommodating in having me visit them, letting me join whichever classes I want. The teachers are always glad of an extra pair of hands and eyes.
    During the day, or when I finish, I find there is so much swirling around in my head- the things I've seen and done, the things I've noticed about students, about myself, and I can never get to a computer or a piece of paper fast enough to write it all down.
    Today I joined the year 1/2 class (so that's a mixed class of grade 1 and 2 kids, not grade half). I had been looking forward to Thursday all week after how much fun Prep had been (they call it 'transition' at this school.. I like it.), I wanted the fun, but I also wanted the next step up.
    As I sat on the big red couches that dominate the centre of their classroom, all 15 kids with their feet just hanging off the cushions, a girl with pale blonde hair came and sat next to me shyly. I gave her a grin.
    As they all peeled off to do their tasks, I went to check on this girl, and she says to me:
    "You helped me the other day when I dropped my hotdog."
    I hadn't realized it, but the first wednesday when I was just having a look around, a young girl had, infact, dropped her hotdog - it rolled off her plate as she was en route to her classroom. She had looked at me with such shock, as if to say: "What just happened?" And I took her hand, and together we went and got her a new hotdog. She remembered, even if I didn't remember it was her.
    More educational ramblings to follow.  It's quite wordy. You have been warned.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    favourite things pt 3.

    I forgot to do my favourite things on monday!
    I also forgot to do Dr. Mallei on Saturday even though I do have an email in my inbox for him (btw, I want more. MORE! em.mallei [at] gmail [dot] com.), so clearly I'm forgetting everything.
    So, I thought I'd try and make up some favourite things now, even though it's Wednesday afternoon, and who needs a pick-me-up on Wednesday arvo- we're more than halfway through the week, yo! But regardless, it'll count as happening on Monday.
    Even though it didn't.
    Usually I have some of these pre-prepared and I just add a couple more on as I go. I don't really have any ready so I'm flying by the seat of my pants.
    Here goes.
      • Plants in my house. I think we all know this one now.
      • Reya, sitting on bags. Seriously, if there's a bag, she'll sit on it. Big hiking backpack? Best place to nap. 'Green' reusable shopping bag? Both sleeping place and toy. If she's ever lost, we'll find her, on a bag. 
      • Getting to the top of a hill on my bike. ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!!
      • Being a 2nd year Masters student in a class full of 1st years. Knowing the names of theorists and theories, knowing what their assignments are going to be, and what their first round of practicum is going to look like. Knowing what VELS and Social-constructivism and Student-centered learning all mean, and believing or criticizing those things appropriately. In other words, feeling superior to the newbies, hahaha.
      • Giggling, every time, when Nic says: "My wife". Not that I am his wife (yet), and not because I'm going to be his wife, but because he says it in a stupid accent- "My wufe." That's probably the closest I can think of phonetically. "My wufe." It makes me laugh every time.
    There we go. 5 is a good number.
    Back at the School tomorrow, I think I'll aim to spend some time with the year 1/2 class- small enough to still have fun, big enough to (maybe) not cry when somebody annoys somebody else. I think the kitten is perplexed and confused by the iron.... sidetracked. Is it bad though, I want to ditch whichever class I end up in and tack on with the year 5/6s again when they go to their sign language class, cos I want free sign language lessons?
    It's probably bad, and I probably shouldn't.

      Tuesday, March 8, 2011

      centenial post... part 2!

      So, I worked my butt off you guys.
      I stopped at 1pm for a lunch of eggs and toast. Yum.
      Then I was back to it.
      Then Nic came home and we went to Bunnings because I had to buy plants (of course).
      And he has decided that we need a futon in there so he can come in and hang out because it wasn't the Middle-Eastern-Shisha-Smoking-Hangout-Den that he had envisaged from my original post (go figure) but that it was just an Office. Em's office where Nic could iron clothes but nothing else.
      So, futon, cushions and maybe something on the big red wall of empty and I think it'll be awesome.
      At the moment, the picture frame is empty but it's there for effect.
      So, I present, the finished product of a day's labor:
      My God, you can actually see the floor.

      So, it may or may not work, but at least it's a space with plants, and photos, and it doesn't have my back to the door (yuck) and I can look out the window and there is a spare, empty wall with an ironing board against it there, for a futon, you just can't actually see it at the moment.
      My prediction for how long the clean will last? Not very. But you have to start somewhere, right?

      centenial post...!

      You guys, this is my 100th post!

      I was standing in the shower racking my brains over something cool to do. Do I start some kind of feature? No ideas there. Then I remembered I'd forgotten about Favourite-Things-Monday (which, by the way, I think needs a better title) so I might do that after I do this.
      Then I began thinking of the fact that later I have to do some study for Uni (in the first week?! Yes, I am that much of an awesome student. A colleague from Uni already feels deep, deep shame because I've read an article and she has not.) and my heart sank.
      I thought aboot going in to the so-called 'Office' (or, more fondly: the pile-of-shit room) and it depressed me.
      And I thought: Well hell, how am I going to do study when I can't bring myself to a) clean the room of my own accord, or b) go in there. I certainly can't do an entire year's worth of work with the laptop on my lap (especially with macs and their sharp edges which after a while make your wrists look like that of an emo teenager. Anyone with a mac knows what I'm talking about.)
      And then I thought; I need to clean that damned room!
      And then....! I thought, what better motivation than a before-and-after picture. And what if I do it properly, like, not just clean up, but actually make that space part of our house. Like, put a plant in there (I love having plants. My house would be a jungle, given half the chance. No kidding. Nic has to drag me away from the indoor fern section at Bunnings (uh, I guess same as Home Depot...? Maybe?) and Ikea every time we go), and photos, and not just cram the bookshelf full of the random nick-nacks that I don't really like, but put some of the things I do like in there as well.
      So, I present to you....
      The before shot.

      Monday, March 7, 2011

      99 bottles of beer

      My next post will be my 100th on this blog!
      I feel like making this one a write-off so that I can get to 100, but I'll try not to.
      Consequently, it probably will end up being a write-off, but not intentionally.
      This is not my cat. This cat is too smart to be my cat. This cat could take on Dr. Mallei*. {via}

      Have you ever seen a completely blissed-out kitten? (Or cat?). I mean, a kitten (or cat) that is in so much luxury that it doesn't know what to do with itself?
      I think it's hilarious.
      Since the nights recently started getting a little chilly, now that it's officially autumn here, it was cool enough to pull out a blanket Dad gave me when I was much younger. We called it a "mink blanket", because it feels like faux-mink fur, I guess. Super soft on one side, a bit longer but less velvety on the other side. It's blue, and has dolphins on it. It's crazy warm and great for couch cuddles. Anyway, we pulled this out the other night, and I put Reya on it.
      I think her brain exploded a little.
      Instantly, her eyes glazed over, half-closing in ecstasy as she starts working her little feet in that kitteny-kneading motion. Pad pad pad. The same one that she does to my throat every single morning at 5.30am (not kidding.) The purr starts - nobody's patting her, this is self induced pleasure. Sometimes it gets too much for her and she wants her whole self to be enveloped by this soft luxury and so tries to find a fold in the blanket, into which she rams her head. She can't make herself comfortable lying on it though, because she wants every part of her to be one with the blankety goodness, and so kind of lounges back and forth, unsettled, still kneading away with her paws, face being mushed into the blanket, eyes closing. Sometimes she springs onto it accidentially, on the way to somewhere else, and it stops her dead in her tracks, like:
      "HOLY CRAP, THE SOFTNESS!!!" And her brain explodes a little again, and she starts the purr, and can't bring herself to continue on to where ever she was going before she was trapped by the blanket.

      I realize I'm about to make this post all about the two furkids, but there's one other funny thing.

      Mr. Sensitive-Sooky-Trouble-Face is so... well, sensitive. He'll be lying, sleeping, next to me on the couch. Reya will be doing something naughty, I dunno, chewing a plant, or playing with the computer cords, or finding another one of my hair-ties somewhere ("Didn't I put this away 5 minutes ago!? In a closed cupbpard!?!"), and I'll give her a bit of a hiss, to get her to stop. Or go: "Oi!"
      And Mallei, thinking he's, for some reason, in trouble for sleeping, gets up all of a sudden and runs off. Ok, so he can't differentiate between when I'm telling her off, or him off, though I never hissed at him, he still seems affected by it, but still, seriously? You're sleeping here, I'm not that bad at yelling at you.
      But then we get to kiss (figuratively), and make up. And have happy couch cuddle times.

      And now the two of them are having mutual lick sessions, whereby the kitten grooms Mallei's face, cos it has short fur, and he just licks her everywhere until she's slobbery. It's very cute, and kind of funny.

      Not quite as dramatic as this. {via}

      Also, in other news, I had a maths class this morning.
      Maths, you guys.
      Not that we did any actual maths.
      Then I cycled home.
      It took me 10 minutes more to get home via bike than it does to drive in and park (have I said this already? If so, sorry). I think if I don't take the dirt trail through the nice park but instead stick to a small sort of side road, it'll be quicker still since my bike + roads = awesome, bike + dirt bikepaths = not so hot. (See, maths.)
      And, FYI, in Australia, maths is plural (mathematics anyone?), so I will be writing maths, not 'math', cos that's what makes sense to me.

      Possibly not the right attitude to bring into the classroom. Mantra this semester: Maths is good. Maths is good. Maths is good. {via}

      And now I'm going to sit around in my underwear for 3 hours (did you need to know this? Possibly not), and then I'm going to cycle the 9km back to Uni for my 3pm class. Joy! It'll be super good for me though. I figure, people say interval training is the best cardio way of losing fat. What's cycling, but extended, random intervals? You cycle up-hill, get puffed, cruise down the other side while you have a rest, maybe go on flat, resting, go fast to beat traffic, get puffed, rest... etc. It is, I suppose, a much more 'natural' form of interval training than sprinting for 30 seconds, jogging for 2 mins, sprinting for 30 secs, jogging for 2 mins.  Plus it'll be less evil on my knees. Bonus.
      And that's all.

      What should I do for my 100th post!? I feel like it should be something interesting or special or awesome or different, or all 3. Ideas?

      *Which, yes, he was meant to write on Saturday (thanks Nic), and I/he will get to soon.

      Saturday, March 5, 2011

      where have my ideas gone?

       They're little monsters, I tell you. {via}

      So yes, I've missed a couple of days of posting this week, and I don't really have an excuse apart from the one I already used post-school-visit, and also that Nic was home 'sick' yesterday as he had errands to run that couldn't be run on weekends.
      I was meaning to write about my first actual proper volunteer day at the school. I think they're pretty happy to have me there, after all, I'm not some random parent who just wants to spy on the teacher to make sure they're doing their job properly, I'm a trained/training University student who has done her own study on democratic education, which they tout themselves to be all about. Here was my first introduction to the school.
      As a bit more of a background than I provided there, the school is tiny- there are 40 students, from age 4 or 5 to I guess 12, would be the max. There are 2 class buildings, with 2 rooms each- 4 classrooms. The classes aren't known as "Year 4" or "Grade 3", but by the first name of the teacher looking after that class. If I had one, it'd be "Emily's group". The year 5/6 class have given themselves a name: The outback dingoes. This is because they're studying animals, but gets confusing with the year 3/4 class, which are the Desert Dingoes. Go figure.
      There is a tiny library, where they do Auslan (Australian sign language) lessons once or twice a week for about 30 minutes.
      There is no bell, instead the teacher wandering the grounds on duty usually checks her watch, finds a student nearby, and asks them to help her tell everybody it's time to come in. They then start walking around together yelling and singing:
      "Time to come in, everyone." And, as the call goes up, more and more kids run around singing this at the top of their lungs.
      Slowly, they trickle toward their classrooms, but there's no penalty for being late, no overseer to yell at them to hurry up. Not surprisingly, they all make it back to class, and they all do it within about 10 minutes of each other. Meanwhile, those arriving first have already started working, or if they're younger, they're playing with each other or petting the class animals.
      So, in all this, it's an 'alternative school'.

      Thursday, March 3, 2011

      really!? that's fantastic...!


      Today was my first full day volunteering at the Primary School.
      As so often is the case of starting something/somewhere new, particularly, I've found, teaching, my brain is fried.
      We didn't make it to the gym tonight. Too tired.
      But I have many education-things I want to write, which I've managed to scribble on a bit of paper.
      Needless to say, I spent the afternoon with 'prep' kids, which are the 4-5-6 year olds in their very first year of school, who are learning their ABCs and still have velcro shoes because they don't tie shoelaces yet (and STILL ask me for help getting their shoes on), and with whom it doesn't matter if they do their art a different way- it's not wrong, there is no wrong, because it's art, and who still love, and get excited about story time.
      And as exhausted as I am, and as sick of being enthusiastic about every little thing, and as old as the "oh my! is there a spider on my back!?" game, every time they decided to try and 'trick' me by making spiders with their hands, we had fun. And, hello, when was the last time anyone remembers school being fun???
      But more about that tomorrow, it's time for bed.


      Wednesday, March 2, 2011

      i'm not cut out to be a housewife..

      Middle of the week.
      Three-quarters of the way through my Centrelink-imposed-holiday.
      2 weekdays and a weekend to go before I have to start seriously thinking about readings, and study, and buying uni books, and finding my pencil-case and/or getting a new one.
      So far this week I've managed to:
      -Volunteer to vaccuum
      -Volunteer to make a pie (wtf)
      -Volunteer to plant stuff.
      -Volunteer to make granola & granola bars (did this, yesterday)
      -Volunteer to clean the office. It's our "pile-of-shit-room", and I really need to make it nice so I feel inclined to write assignments.
      -Get asked to put washing on (two loads, done)
      -Get asked to clean up after aforementioned granola-making festival.
      I feel like there was a lot more on this list but I don't remember what else there was.
      Progress so far:
      -Granola & bars made.
      -Washing done, 1 load hung out.
      -Dishwasher on.
      -Stuff planted.
      -Nap taken.
      -An hour or so spent staring into space while the kitten slept with her paw on my face.
      -Cycled 14.4 km (8.9 miles) in 47 mins this morning (by the way, anybody on here have RunKeeper??? Want to be on my street team, for awesome motivation and peering at stats and so on? I'm there as Orimallei. Also if you would like to play Words with friends, next time I'm stuck under a kitten, you can also add me, as Orimallei).
      -Fixed Nic's bike (well, the guys at the shop did, but I had to walk there).
      -Made, then ate chicken soup.
      -Watched the animals playing.
      -Learned how to spell exercise (this one's been bugging me for a long time. It wasn't necessary (HA) that I spell exercise (TAKE THAT), but I did.)
      -Read a lot of blogs. Added some new ones to my reader. Peered at my reader hoping one of my favourites updated.

      So, does anybody notice the distinct lack of actual cleaning things, or things that were on my task list? I mean, looking at it written out it doesn't look so bad, and the point of being home is to stare into space and play iphone games mostly, right?
      But my point is, is that once I did get around to cleaning the house (hypothetically), I'd then be so bored our of my brains that I think I'd exercise myself into oblivion.
      Or just write a hundred million blog posts. Though the one I wrote yesterday was too depressing and whiny, hence why it didn't show up here.
      And that, friends, is why I'd be no good at being a housewife, and I hope to get a hundred WWF (not world wide fund, or world wrestling federation... argh!) requests.
      Here is a picture, from yesterday's productive day, when I napped, and then stared into space until my arm felt like it might have been going numb (I am super weird about this. I don't know if it's just me, but I hate it. If I feel like my arm/leg/hand/whatever is going numb, I have to move. Even if it isn't. Even if it's just a slight inkling of numb... I think maybe I picture the circulation being completely stopped to that appendage, and therefore it turning black and falling off. While I'm asleep. Or busy staring into space. Numb=NO!)*
      I wasn't asleep, since I took the picture. But it looked nicer than me zoning off like a zombie.

      *I just realized that this post may have turned into a rambly pile of crap. Well, maybe I'll get some more street team ppl, or WWF people, which can't hurt. Unless y'all stalk me through my maps and stuff. Hmmmmmm....

      you're a blight on my life...!

      My tomatoes are dying.
      Remember the beautiful green mass that was our tomato patch?
      It is no more.
      Melbourne had so much rain in the past couple of months- it was the 5th wettest year on record, and I think most of that came in Jan/Feb. So, it mightn't have been so bad if it was a rainy, rainy winter, but it was a year's worth of rain in a couple of months... and since I've read somewhere that tomatoes aren't great fans of water on their leaves, and to water them from the ground... well, I don't think they're too pleased.

      We weren't this bad, but it was pretty wet. 

      At first it was like; YAY! 
      Now it's like: Booooooo...
      So, between what I assume is blight (I have no idea, I'm making stuff up here), and birds eating my tomatoes when they're a day or two off ripe (despite having rigged up my strawberry-saving AntiBird system) I'm feeling a bit sad about my tomatoes. I know, it's autumn now and they're probably not meant to actually last that much longer, but there were just so many more we could have eaten. Here's some photographic evidence, and a new Anti-Bird system I'm trying out.

      Ok so this looks like a bit of a mess, but basically the whole right side of my tomato patch is sort of dying, and the left is not as bad but still pretty bad and there are foil flags hanging everywhere to scare off blackbirds. Also there is basil. Much basil.

       I had to move my raspberries from on the wall of the veggie garden because I couldn't reach their tops any more. The big one is the one I actually got fruit off in its first year, and the smaller one is the one I thought was diseased and was going to die but actually looks really good now. The big one is probably 30cm off the roof-line now.

      The rest of my garden. Some very sickly capsicums that didn't want to grow, zucchinis gone mad (and with rain spots on their leaves), lots of lettuce, spinach, leeks, a mess of spring onions, rhubarb and the tomatoes in the background. Did I plant too much? Possibly. 

      As promised, a new Anti-Bird system. I wanted a picture with his front paws on the wood wall, but he always takes things too far. Then I armed him with which looks like a really serious knife but is actually a mini spade. But he looks ferocious all the same (or would like to think so, anyway). Can you tell he only holds things in his mouth out of duress/because I ask him to?

      Meanwhile, every time I go into the garden, with or without Mallei, the kitten meows and squeaks and climbs the screen door. It's so pathetic, and she's so mewy and cute. I had my camera with me this time so I took a little clip of her. She didn't climb the door today though, just squeaked. This is pretty much the only time she meows- sometimes she just opens her mouth, and no sound comes out. This is when she wants food, or cuddles, or something I don't understand. It's only a minute long. Also there is Mallei, looking bored with his bird-protection duties, and me saying "Hey dude" and "Stupid tomatoes". Please excuse the sound of building in the background, and also enjoy the sounds of Australian bird life, if you're not from around here. There are crows, and magpies.