A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Friday, September 4, 2015

In Bloom

More shots from our morning walks. Flowers.

Pink blossoms - these have already fallen off the tree.
It was only a small window of opportunity to behold their beauty.

Banana Flower - looks like a lady's hat

The Cane Fields in Bloom

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Birds make me smile.

Finally got around to uploading the contents of my camera memory card. I realise that I've been snapping photos a lot more lately. The boys and I have taken to walking most weekday mornings, and when I remember, I sling my camera over my shoulder on the way out the door.

I love taking photos of birds. Birds make me smile, and things that make me smile are always welcome.


Friar Bird



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trading Family Chaos for Delightful Distractions

We're moving house in September. The one thing that I'm looking forward to most is that in the new place, I'm determined that I'll have a room dedicated as my office. I spend the majority of my day at my desk, and my current set-up depresses me.

It's in the darkest part of the house, and because it is in the living area off the kitchen, it means I have a big sign on my forehead that says "Please disturb me, I live to serve you." My desk has become a dumping ground for school notes and all those things that nobody knows what to do with. There's an inch-thick layer of dust on everything, because I hate pulling everything out to get in the nooks and crannies of that space - and because let's face it, I am not a white glove kind of person in the housecleaning department.

A few months ago, I bought a smaller desk and set it up in front of the window in the master bedroom. It was intended as a place to go when I needed to work without interruption. I didn't use it as much as I thought I would, because my monitor and keyboard etc, were still in the other room. It was more conducive to work to stay where I was in the high-traffic area.

Yesterday, in anticipation of a manic month of client work, I bit the bullet and moved almost all of the peripheral equipment into the master bedroom. Now I can play soft music on my computer speakers, I have a proper keyboard and mouse and my huge monitor is a welcome relief to my eyes.

So as I sat there at my new desk, wondering why I didn't make this change ages ago, I ignored my children banging on the door ("Mu-um, he looked at me the wrong way!!") and sat down to some focussed work. 

From my new vantage point, I could see into our back yard. A flash of blue caught my attention. Thinking it was perhaps a Forest Kingfisher, or something equally exciting, I ran outside with my camera and snapped this little Rainbow Bee Eater. It's the first time I've seen them in our backyard, so I was chuffed at the capture, but I realise now that despite my efforts to reduce distractions, I've just traded one distraction for another. At least the birds are pretty to look at, and far less stress-inducing than the family's chaos in the other room.

Rainbow Bee Eater
If you work from home, do you have a dedicated office space? Do you suffer from being distracted by your surroundings?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Saturday Games Night - Take 2

On a Saturday night we try to do a family games night. We're kind of hit and miss with it, depending on whether we can muster up the energy after a day of soccer parenting.

We were fully prepared to play a few games with the kids on Saturday night, but a mishap involving some drops of water on the kitchen floor and an 11 yo running in the house when he shouldn't have been, resulted in a grand accident. Mr11 slipped on the water and landed on his head. With the possibility of a concussion necessitating an 8-hour wait in the emergency room, we were relieved not to find any symptoms of it. He ended up with a goose egg and a very sore head, and we, as his parents, instantly aged 10 years. 

Games Night was a non-starter on Saturday, so we took up the ping pong paddle on Sunday afternoon instead. Not really, somebody lost the only ping pong ball we had, but we did play:
  • Wally (our kid-friendly name for the popular back-packers' card game, S***head), 
  • dice (aka Farkle), 
  • Angry Birds Board Game, 
  • Agitation, 
  • basketball, 
  • tennis, 
  • a bazillion games of Connect Four (because Mr11 found that he could beat me so he was stuck on "Repeat")
  • and we finished off with a drawing competition (which I won, because I couldn't bring myself to throw the comp for the sake of my children - luckily Will had no such competitive streak so he lost in grand style, so the boys were second and third)

Anyway, loads of fun was had by all, including our nephew, who was dropped 'round to visit his big cousins.

I was saying to Will this morning that I slept well last night. Looking back on the list of activities from yesterday, I can see why. I think I was just plain worn out. 

Do you do Games Night with your loved ones? What's your favourite game to play?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Photo - Aboriginal Dancers

Aboriginal Dancers waiting to perform at NAIDOC closing ceremony - Tjapukai
Yesterday, we attended the Open Day at Tjapukai. I'd never been before, and despite the throngs of people, we all enjoyed learning about bush medicine, Aboriginal weaponry and mastery of the didgeridoo. One of the highlights of the day was watching the Aboriginal Dancers. I took a number of shots, but forgot to adjust for low-lighting when we were in the dance theatre, so the best photo was one of the ones taken out in the open. This is one of my favourite photos of all that I have ever taken.

What do you think? Isn't she beautiful with the make-up around her eyes and the feathers in her hair?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

FYLP - Mad for Mad Men's Soundtrack

A few months ago, we got Netflix in Australia. Finally, the antipodeans could enjoy the shows that have been gracing screens of devices across the US and Canada for years.

I jumped right in, and I've already watched every available episode of Weeds, Orange is the New Black and Mad Men. I love my Netflix and consider it the best $11 I could spend each month.

When I first started watching Mad Men, I was gobsmacked by the sexism, and it never ceased to amaze me that people blatantly littered and had quite different ideas about child rearing than is common nowadays. I felt like I was developing lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver just from watching Don Draper smoke cigarette after cigarette and suck back whiskey like it was water. But I was equally amazed at how quickly the series drew me in and before I knew it, I was as hooked on Mad Men as Don was on his smoke, drink and womanising.

The music in the series was also a welcome trip down memory lane. Of course a lot of it was before my time, but that's never stopped me from enjoying the golden oldies before. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong decade.

Anyway, one of the songs that stood out for me the most was Brenda Lee's Break It To Me Gently.

It immediately seemed familiar to me, but just couldn't place where I'd heard it before. Then Google reminded me that Juice Newton recorded it in 1982.

I can't really decide which version is my favourite, but oh well, who says I have to choose! 

Have you watched the Mad Men series? What do you think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Getting Back Into the Pool

Getting Back Into the Pool

Mr9 has taken swim lessons since he was a baby. Eventually he grew to hate it. He couldn't stand the shouty swim instructors always telling him he should go faster. When he got to Year 2, I'd had enough of the whingeing every time swimming lessons were on, so I said that he could take a year off, but that he'd have to go back after a year. That was two years ago.

Earlier this year, while he was swimming in a friend's pool, I noticed that his first instinct, if he wanted to get anywhere, was to just go underwater and push off from the side. He could get by, but he'd need a refresher course if he was going to have freestyle as his go-to swimming stroke.

When I was his age, I could barely lift my feet off the bottom of the pool, but then again, I lived in Canada and apart from a few short weeks of summer, there wasn't great opportunity for swimming. That changed when I moved to Sri Lanka and we were in the rec centre pool daily. We had a six-week course of swim lessons in PE class and before long, I was a fish. We even learned synchronised swimming - can you picture me in a flowery swimming cap? Nah, we didn't have to wear one of those, but it would have been funny, though I wouldn't have thought so at the time. 

It's amazing to me that I could learn to swim in such a short period of time, but my son who has been taking swimming lessons for years, is still learning. I suppose it's a timing issue. I've heard that kids can't master all the actions, required for swimming proper strokes, until they are at least six. Seeing as I let him stop shortly after that age, it explains a lot.

Anyway, I'm pleased to report that his freestyle is coming along nicely, and he just needs to work on his breastroke. I kind of lied to him in that I said he'd only have to swim for the first term, but as I sign him up for another term, he's not complaining. I think he likes his instructor, because she says he's very strong and she doesn't nag him to go fast.

When did you learn how to swim? How long did it take to learn? Ever tried sychronised swimming?
Did you enjoy reading this? If you're new here, may I suggest you subscribe via email to make sure you don't miss out on the next blog post?

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner