31 December 2007

New Year, New Address

Joh Blogs is moving to www.johblogs.com . I hope you visit me there soon.

29 December 2007

I'm Spoilt

I've got some awesome presents this month. I haven't really had time to take it all in before now. Everyone seems to have left town now and I am home and have the house to myself so I have been noticing how spoilt I've been.

My kids gave me a pile of my favourite DVDs as well as aromatherapy treats, new headphones for my much loved and used ipod and a great photo file. My dear brother has delighted me in many ways by giving me a beautifully framed family photo taken at his wedding last year. I treasure it. He has also given me a stack of great music, which is an annual treat from him. I have been enjoying them for the past couple of days. He also got me a grill as my family has a Kris kindle type thing with the grownups. My parents gave me quite a few great gifts, as they always do, it's cause I still believe in Santa and I'm a very good girl, but my favourite is the crisp white sheets. I love white sheets, especially new ones!

This month of December, with my birthday as well I have been literally showered with great presents from all my friends. The kinds of things I really wanted too. The kids at school spoilt me as well on their last days with very generous pressies.

Tonight Andy has surprised me with a belated gift and I am gobsmacked. I love astrology, yet most people in my life don't seem to recognise that. Not sure why that is, anyway he has given me a Jonathon Cainer subscription for the next year and I am over the moon about it.

28 December 2007

Fremantle Reflection

Jane lives near Fremantle. After a long sit at Little Creatures and a few of their lovely Pale Ales and lots of delicious food, we went for a stroll along the water. There we are reflected in the McDonalds window.

My first visit to Fremantle was in 1999 when Jane lived about a street away from this part of the world. My kids and I spent two weeks here. The beachfront here has altered. At that time my kids went to the little building on the beach on the right in this photo below and had some art lessons. They loved it.

I didn't recognise the view at first with the big modern building. I vaguely recall being told it was a Museum.

There is a lot of development going on in that part of the world. It's a shame to see the coastline getting built up with housing. I guess for the people who will live there, it will be great.

We drove past Sam's school and it's a great space. It sounds like there are some good people there too. Sam seems really fond of his integration aide and some of his teachers, which is good. I wish he was at my school, but the grounds at the school he attends are awesome.

I visited the Freo Market, mainly to check out the mosaics I remembered from my last visit. I wanted to take photo's, but the sign said 'No Photos', so I chatted to the nice man and he gave me a few tips, which I know will help a lot and a nice postcard with their website: mosaicart, there are some great photos and links to other artists on the site. Nice story too!

I love my time with Jane. This was my fourth trip to WA. I would be happy to just sit at her kitchen table and drink coffee until it was a respectable time to have red or a beer. She is one of the few people I drink with. She is such a creative soul, her home is always beautiful and interesting and I always enjoy seeing the magic she creates in her space. We have been friends for such a long time and know each others history. It is very comfortable.

27 December 2007

Overview of Holiday, December 07

My recent trip was taken in three parts. I flew to Perth airport the day after school finished and was met by my longest friend Jane and Sam her son. I stayed with them for 4 nights, celebrating Rickie's birthday (Jane's daughter) on the Sunday.

I caught the Indian Pacific train from Perth to Adelaide over the next two days. We stopped at Kalgoorlie for 3 hours the first night, Cook for an hour or so on the second day and then just long enough for a quick ciggie at Port Augusta on the second night before arriving in Adelaide, fairly tired on the Friday morning.

I stayed at the Adelaide YHA until Monday morning when I flew back for Christmas. It was my first taste of Adelaide and I intend to return.

I will post more later with photos some of the things I enjoyed whilst I was away. I felt like I was away for more than 9 days, I think in part because of the variety of surroundings I got to experience. Interestingly it rained in both WA and SA whilst I was there. It's the first holiday I've taken on my own since I met Andy and whilst it was different not having him to share the journey with, I managed ok and was probably a lot more social than I am when travelling with others.

26 December 2007

My Christmas 2007

I had a splendid day. I was tired from my trip. My beautifully cleaned home soon turned into a turbulent chaos of unpacking from the trip, gift wrapping and unwrapping. My kids were in and out all day. Their dad is walking distance from my house so we met up a few times during the day's activities. I have lots of great new possessions and have been showered with the love and generosity of my family and friends.

I enjoyed a great afternoon with my mum's family yesterday. I was the only niece/nephew at the extended family Christmas feast and I felt very special there too! Kind of funny to be the only child at 42. It was a more intimate meal that we are used to due to so many family members being away this year, yet I really enjoyed it more to be honest. Mum is one of eight children, so add spouses and offspring to that number and you can imagine how large it can get. We had real conversations with everyone included. We laughed heaps, shared news and had a scrumptious meal.

I remembered those who aren't with me but still firmly alive in my heart with love and gratitude. I communicated with absent loved ones via email or phone call at some stage of the day and felt peace and goodwill to all as I snuggled into bed last night. A perfect Christmas.

24 December 2007

Home for Christmas

I arrived home this afternoon. My house is beautifully clean and looking good. My son and mum have looked after it well whilst I've been away. My family (most brothers, sister, kids and parents) had their Christmas lunch on the weekend. I missed it! I feel relieved that I don't have to do a big family Christmas tomorrow - I'm so tired.

My kids are at their dads until lunchtime tomorrow. I am going to the parents tomorrow morning for breakfast and to open the pile of remaining presents left under the tree for me. I saw this postcard on Post Secret and felt pretty sad for this lady. I remember when my kids were younger, it was a bit of a struggle to celebrate without them, or even to know my ex had to when I had them. I never had to cry alone though, so I feel very blessed. My family were always there to support me.
I remember when I worked in an Early Adolescent Unit for a couple of years I found Christmas pretty heartbreaking to be with children who had no parent present and felt it deeply. Reading this post on Imaginif: We are not victims we are survivors reminded me about that. I cried a lot those Christmas's about the injustice of a world that could go on oblivious to some. I found advertising and materialism quite painful to tolerate.

My Christmas this year possibly sounds pretty sad doesn't it - NOT! It's bliss to me. I have always wanted to be an only child and as I left mum and dad's tonight after being well fed on the pseudo Christmas day lunch leftovers tonight, I informed them that this was the perfect Christmas for me! I insist on having all their attention and I am glad I will be the only one there. It is very noisy and demanding being the oldest of six kids and this will be the Christmas morning of my dreams. I won't have to wait for anyone to arrive, just me. I won't have to wait my turn to speak, or any of that sharing stuff. I will finally be the centre of the Christmas Day! Dad reminded me that I have had that experience once before, being born first. As I don't clearly remember it (I was 23 days old and my brother was there the year after), it doesn't count!

23 December 2007

Christmas Eve Full Moon

I am flying home tomorrow. I will be home for Christmas Eve and Day with my family. I am looking forward to seeing them and feel like I’ve been away forever.

It’s a Full Moon tomorrow and I haven’t time to write about it, away from home as I am so I will provide you with this link to a good article about tomorrow’s astrology:Lynda Halls Sabian Symbols: Flying High or Escaping Reality - the Cancer Full Moon

22 December 2007

Updates from Out and About

I'm having a wonderful holiday and will describe with photo's when I get home.

I caught up with news about our schools VCE scores and was pleased to hear many students have enjoyed successful results. It is a challenging time for young people to be waiting for their scores.

I was delighted when I checked my emails to find that I had won the Imaginif competition for a tip about child safety. I really love the work Megan is doing on Imaginif. Child safety and well being is something I am quite passionate about.

I'm writing today from Adelaide. I arrived yesterday and experienced lots of rain, which was perfect as I was tired and felt justified having a little nap. I went shopping in the afternoon and enjoyed strolling around the streets dodging rain drops. I'm about to head off to the markets. I am catching up with a friend this afternoon.

15 December 2007

Back Soon...

I probably won't be blogging much over the next 9 days as I will be away from home. I will tell all about my adventure when I return. I'm excited and nervous, hoping I've packed properly and completed all the important chores. I know my home is in safe hands and most things can wait.

Can't talk now...too busy...

13 December 2007

Last Day at Work Tomorrow

My desk is clear and I have moved to my new office. I am excited about next year and the challenges and opportunities I will have in my new role at school as a Year Level Co-ordinator. I have felt very enthusiastic in my preparations. There are lots of changes and shifts at our school next year.

I have finished my mosaic table - really truly this time! I will put up a photo when I get back from my trip.

We have 3 campuses and there has been a lot of movement between them. People are leaving the school for a variety of reasons. It will be quite different next year due to all the movement.

Tomorrow will be filled mostly with celebrations. A breakfast with our campus, complete with Santa and Kris kindle/kringle (whatever!) will begin the day. Then our entire college will join for a mass and then a luncheon and the year will be completed.

I am looking forward to some time off. I need to sleep a bit more and get relaxed. I have an adventure planned and lots of little things around my home I would like to achieve.

This year has been huge. I am ready for a rest.

12 December 2007

What Books Would I Buy for Teens this Christmas?

If I had to buy a teenager a book this Christmas, I would have to select one of the Girlosophy books by Anthea Paul. Give the gift of self-esteem. I would purchase J. C Burke's 'The Story of Tom Brennan', any of James Moloney or Michael Gerard Bauers recent books such as 'Don't Call Me Ishmael' or 'Lost Property' are great novels. Maureen McCarthy and Brigid Lowrys' latest releases were also great this year.

I have reviewed briefly all the books I have mentioned above and if you click on the young adult reading tag, you can browse through to find something that might interest your loved one. If you have a specific child in mind, email me with some info about them and I might be able to suggest something more specific. I would need age, interests, reading habits to make a really good choice. I am heading off on an adventure Saturday so better be quick!

I usually buy my kids a book at Christmas. I have been doing it for so long, they would miss it if I didn't. In fact I buy every kid I buy gifts for, books. One year I thought I'd do something different and get beach towels, I felt I was being a bit selfish, because I love books so much and actually enjoy selecting them for the kids. Several complained that they were relying on my present for their summer reading, so I went back to my original strategy.

A book often doesn't seem much to a kid when they first open it. So don't expect too much instant gratitude. It's often weeks or months later that you get the phone call or email to say what a great present it was and how much they loved it. I've never had that kind of feedback with other toys.

11 December 2007

Girlosophy: The Breakup Survival Kit by Anthea Paul

'The Breakup Survival Kit' gives a well balanced action plan for girls who have split up, whatever the circumstances. It contains some good, common-sense advice for young women and lays a positive path for moving forward into a new future.

As with the other Girlosophy books by Anthea Paul, it has healthy suggestions and gentle messages about keeping your self-esteem in tact and building on it in a situation that can be demanding. It has beautiful images and although a smaller format than the other Girlosophy books remains true to the uplifting philosophy and beauty of the series.
I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for both young women and men to help to gain perspective during one of those trying times in life. Breaking-up is a big life challenge and most people experience it at least once in their life, this little book contains many wisdom's that can ease that passage.

10 December 2007

Asha's Birthday and The Camels Hump

Asha has had a great birthday. I have just got off the phone to her. It's weird not seeing her on the day. I enjoyed the afternoon I spent with her yesterday. I have taught her well about birthdays and hers is being spread over a couple of days. Today, on the day, she has spent with her boyfriend and close mates enjoying a variety of pleasures. Her boyfriend filled a room with ballons to 'wrap' her gift. She had fun with that! Tomorrow night she is having a party with her friends.

She works at a new coffee shop, whilst attending Uni. I called in after we went for dinner last night, with the intention of meeting and thanking her boss and co-worker for the great care they take of her. She often talks about the lovely things they have done for her. They have been very sweet to her whilst she has been working there and it's reassuring for me when she lives away.

She did describe how good it was to me, but to be honest I was expecting some kind of trendy place that wouldn't really appeal to me. I have to share with you all the ambience, coffee and cake of this place! Where do I start?

The atmosphere is warm and very comfortable and cosy. Soft lighting, variety of fabrics and textures and all with a rosy glow and clean. I immediately wanted all my closest dearest friends to be with us and to spend a few hours there kicking back. It has comfy couches with cushions. It feels very much like home with the secluded partitioned spaces to nestle into. A home where someone else would be bringing the coffee and doing the dishes!

On arrival, the water and chocolate covered coffee beans were enough to indicate this was going to be a delicious and well thought out experience. There was a slight hint of lemon and orange juice in the water, it refreshed my mouth in preparation for what was to come. It was the right temperature too, I dislike chilly water.

The cake I had, 'Sultan's Citrus Tart', was great. I wanted to bring some home for Rhonda. It is our favourite so I have many to compere it with, and can be ordered in the slim version, which was abundance for me. It melted in my mouth, the presentation was attractive and it was just yummy.

The coffee I have saved for last because it was just the best coffee. It was perfect coffee. It was pretty and the crockery was cool. My mouth felt at ease after I had finished, apart from the desire for more. I had the Jamacian Blue Mountain, as recommended by my previously non coffee drinking daughter.

So apart from being really good people who work there, which is usually enough for me, everything else rises to the occasion to make it something out of the ordinary and wonderful. I wish it was around the corner, yet the 2 hour drive will probably save me from gaining a lot of weight. I don't think I will ever be able to drive past it again, without stopping for some more of that. I intend to work my way through the menu!

Some others who are not related to the waitress have reviewed it, so I will add the links for those who suspect my alliegances:

IronEaters:The Camels Hump
My Journey: Camel Hump

The Camels Hump Website (has details of menu and how to find it, when it's open etc)

09 December 2007

10 th December New Moon in Sag 2007

The new moon in Sagittarius occurs on 10th December in Australia. This is a good time to make some decisions about the month ahead. It could lay the foundations for your new year planning and goal setting as well. The next fortnight will likely be quite hurried and busy so I am taking some time this morning to tweak my goals, dreams and hopes.

I keep a private journal where I write my plans, checklists, rants, dreams and any learning experiences I hope not to have to repeat.

Most of the astrologers I am reading are speaking of new beginnings, fresh starts and what time is better than a new moon to make a start, especially for all us Sagi's - Megan, Kelly- Marie, Karen and Katie . (Sorry if I have missed someone, let me know!)

There is an interesting article on the Living Now magazine Stellar Stuff that mentions our current astrological lineup as similar to that at the time of Australia's Federation. With the change of government, it's kind of exciting to think we can enter a new phase as a nation.

Tomorrow is also my beautiful daughter's 19th birthday. I am heading to Melbourne to have dinner with her today as I won't be able to spend time with her tomorrow. I couldn't be prouder of her. I still can't believe I have been blessed with her. I remember clearly when she was born, looking into her eyes and feeling such awe and admiration for her clear, strong, vibrant spirit that was so totally present. It is one of the moments of my life that gives me the most power to recall.

08 December 2007

Mosaics Teacher?

Next year I have been given an Integrated Projects class that consists of teaching students Mosaic tiling. I am not an art/technology trained teacher, although media studies was considered in the art stream when I did my course and I did those teaching rounds with an art teacher. The Art/Technology people definitely don't consider me to be 'one of them'. I am more confident teaching English. I have taught Humanities though and had no training at all in that area.

I am excited because this week two of the teachers are going to show me how to grout and what better project to grout than my unfinished mosaic table! So, no matter how this experiment (me teaching an arty subject) goes, I will have finally finished this project! That's got to be good.

I enjoyed making the table and I love mosaics, so it could be fun from that perspective. It will no doubt be a learning curve and hopefully not too steep. I am confident that I will be supported by the teachers, because they are good people.

07 December 2007

Happy and Tired

It's been very busy at school. I have farewelled my much loved year 9 students. They head off to the senior campus next year. I was immensely touched by the warm good-byes I received from the students and their families. They are amazing young people and the future looks bright for all of us if it's in their hands.
Today we had the last school day for the year 7's and 8's and it was typically energetic. After last nights events with the year 9's graduation mass and social, tonight I had a farewell dinner for two wonderful women who are retiring from teaching. If it had been anything less than such an important occasion I would have 'wagged'.
So now I am feeling quite exhausted but immensely satisfied with my working year. I have another week of attending work to get through, yet without students, it tends to be less demanding.

05 December 2007

Massage Reflections

Tonight I had my last massage for 2007. It was lovely. This morning in the staff room, many teachers were complaining of sore backs and shoulders from long hours hunched over the computer, writing reports. I went to the chiropractor last night. Two other teachers had been there before me. I feel great, even though I had a pretty busy and demanding day.

I was chatting to the masseur tonight about the many courses I have done in my life. I love learning new things and she does too. She was commenting on how people sometimes think you are crazy to be learning all the time or doing more courses. I have usually done some kind of study at most times of my life. Even when I am not formally attending a school, I have been focused on learning some new skill or practising something new.

Blogging would be in that category. I don't know everything there is to know about blogging, but I know enough to do it to the level I want to, with ease. I expect to learn more over time, yet at a more gradual pace now. One of my friends commented to me last night, after checking out my blog that I must put a lot of time into it. I have in the past, yet I don't really now. I would spend around half an hour on a post usually. Occasionally I spend a couple of hours when I want to rearrange or shuffle things about, or have something I really want to write properly about.

What's the connection between massaging, blogging and learning? Well I realised today that I do all that learning to make the things I want to do quicker and easier. Short term pain, long term gain. I think you are crazy if you don't try to make your life easier and more effective! Learning is the fastest route I know of.

04 December 2007

Girlosophy: The Love Survival Kit by Anthea Paul

I read "The Love Survival Kit" over 2 nights. It's brilliant. It covers everything I would want to say to my daughter and know for myself. I wish I'd read it when I was 16. I had to learn many of the contents the hands on or rather hearts on way, complete with messy and painful learning experiences. Not that I think a book could have changed it all, yet I feel there are great signposts given in this book. It is reassuring as "The Soul Survival Kit", it builds self esteem. Even for older girls like myself.

I have loaned this book to a few young women, who have totally raved about it. I am really impressed with Anthea Paul. My son said the other day when I was raving about her to his friends, "Move over Al Gore, mum's got a new hero!"

I have a couple of her other books ordered, so I 'll be sharing more in the future.

03 December 2007

December - What a great month!

December is such a huge and wonderful month. Summer starts and my birthday, which continued coming today. I received more gifts and good wishes as I went back to work and caught up with a few people who didn't catch me yesterday. I love it! When I was a kid I used to say my birthday is always good for a weeks worth of joy, and it hasn't changed much really. So many treats....

Tonight's 'Awards Night' at school was a most enjoyable evening. It is always a treat to see the students who work diligently during the year, receive acknowledgement from their school community. We had the author Scot Gardiner speak at the event tonight and he spoke very well. I enjoy the guest speakers I have heard in the two years we have been holding this event. Scot was excellent. He spoke for long enough and was very entertaining. The common factor with both speakers was a message that academics is not everything and it is important to be a good, kind human being. Our school strives for that personhood aspect of education and that is what I love most about it.

This week I have one more evening out for a school event. I also have a massage and chiropractic appointment, so it's a busy week. My daughter is home staying with me which is lovely, yet I will need to enjoy every moment we have, due to the heavy commitments. She's just out with her dad for dinner right now. I'm giving her a massage when she gets home and looking forward to another practise.

02 December 2007

My 42nd Birthday

I'm 42!

I had a great birthday. I've been in contact with the people I love and received visits, phonecalls, emails, gifts and comments from lots of great people wishing me a happy birthday.

I enjoyed my day out for brunch with my friend Rhonda, who is born the same day as me. It was good. I went for a swim in the afternoon and then my parents visiting, bringing dinner this evening.

I feel tired and grateful for my day and my life.

01 December 2007

I'm a rssHugger

I've hugged many a tree, yet now I will find the joys of hugging a rss? This morning I read, Cerebral Mum and thought I'd join her in this new place. The benefits for bloggers are to gather more readers to your blog and for readers it's another way to find quality blogs.

Last night I completed my first draft of my reports so I can now imagine trawling through blogs to find some great reading for the holidays. This is the most exciting time for me. I love the last week of school. So much promise for holidays ahead. Celebrating the year with the kids. Life is good.