Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spring Card

I haven't been posting much stamping lately, not even on my Stampin' Up! blog, but this is one I taught at a class the other night.  I love the way the colours turned out. 

The week has been busy, preparing for the stamping class, piano students, Little People sleeping over and so on.  And then in the back of my mind the fact that Christmas is not so far away and there's so much to do ... but for now I'm thinking "Spring" not "almost Christmas" (so I won't show you the Christmas card we made the other night LOL) and staying in a semi-denial of the approach of Christmas.  At least until November begins .... tomorrow ...

Little People

Last night my niece and nephew came to stay.  It's been a long time since we had Little People in the house.  We all had lots of fun and last night the four children crowded into the girls room, the Little People on the floor on inflatable mattresses.

The girls loved being "big cousins" and helped their little cousins on the trampoline, read them stories and played with them.  It only took the Littlest Person about 5 hours to stop calling Uncle Steve "Grandad" but eventually he managed "Teve" which was pretty close.  At the table we were a "family" of 6, instead of the usual 4.

Out came all the kiddy toys again, you forget how colourful they are when they have been packed away for a while, and how the plastic corncob comes apart when you pick it up, and just how many pieces of duplo can hide under a sofa ...

... and then, we never had a little boy living here to say "toot toot, off to Thai _____ Restaurant chuggachugga la la la" 
Their visit was over all too soon and Grandma and Grandad came to collect them for tonight, then tomorrow they will be reunited with the rest of their family.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saxophone Success!

Emily took her first saxophone exam on Saturday, 3rd Grade AMEB.  I accompanied her.  We had a nice trip together into the city and she burnt off some nervous energy running a bit in the Botanical Gardens.  Then she did the exam.  She sounded great while I was accompanying her, and the examiner looked impressed!  Then I went out while she completed the exam.  When she came out she had a big smile on her face "He gave me an A!!!!"  She was so excited.  She bounced all the way to the station (except when we stopped for a thickshake at McDonalds).
Emily, we're so proud of you!

Off to Wonderland

Laura dressed as Alice for a costume party on Saturday.

She looked so sweet.

This was a costume I made 3 years ago for Emily to wear at Laura's birthday party, sewn late at night during a real crisis in our lives.  It hasn't been worn since, and now it fits Laura.  It was pleased to come out of the wardrobe again at last for a happy occasion and look sweet on another Alice.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spyday Friday

 ... and Other Frugal Fun

Dealt Laura,
Hysteria hoover Yorker ardour haunting fumigate b/d a detain.
Hysteria haunting leeward someone footwork Yorker impure thatch peewee basis.
Hysteria lout Yorker.
Frogmouth Mummy

Today we organised a fun afternoon for the girls, being the last day of the holidays (not counting the weekend).  We have been trying to keep costs down these holidays, as we have no money coming in at the moment.

It was Spyday Friday!

Our Activities:
Photo Scavenger Hunt (I got this idea from Creating Keepsakes and we wrote our own) They had to photograph:

Your favourite thing
A musical instrument
An action photo
A self-portrait using timer
Something green
Something round
Something you don't like to eat
A flower
A photo of our house
Your favourite part of the house

Decode a letter
I wrote a letter (shown above) then substituted each word for a new one by looking up the word in a dictionary and instead writing the word that comes 2 entries before my word.  So Dear became DealtFrom became Frogmouth, etc.

What the letter really said was ...

Dear Laura
I hope you are having fun being a detective.
I have left something for you in the peg basket.
I love you.
From Mummy

(sounded better in code, huh?)  The "something" was a Freddo Frog and a "I'm so proud of you" pencil (from

Then we had an outdoor photo scavenger hunt where we walked to our local shops and they had to take more photos, this time

A building of public interest
A blue car
A beautiful leaf
Something red
A member of the family while they are not looking
Something tall
Something small
Something to eat
A view or landscape
The first letter of your name

While we were there we hired videos for tonight (one free for the girls, and one on a voucher for us, just $1.95).

Then we came home an had a chocolate iceblock from the freezer, and afternoon tea (raspberry swirl cupcakes - regular cupcakes with a little spoonful of jam swirled into to each little cake).  Afterwards the girls had a Treasure Hunt with lots of fun clues around the house, just tricky enough for them and their treasure turned out to be chocolate coins, found eventually in the vegetable crisper of the fridge.

Their last mission was to hide in the front yard and draw a picture of the first person who walked by.  They drew some very cute people!

So it was a fun day for all of us, Steve and I had fun designing  the missions, we all had some exercise and some treats and it only cost us $1.95!

Other (frugal and fun )activities these holidays have included:
Free saxophone concert at the Conservatorium of Music (only paid for train tickets and McDonald's shakes)
Going to the park with bike and scooter and basketball
Visiting Grandma and Grandad
Board games
Seeing the movie Up the other day, on Tuesday when the cinema prices are cheap, and we all loved it.  We bought chips and chocolates at the supermarket instead of the cinema.
Library - books, magazines, CDs and DVDs for us all - yey!

Since the weather hasn't been great until the last few days we've been happy to stay home and do not much.
Lots of trampolining for the girls, lots of reading, some internet surfing, some cooking.
All good.

Quietly Thinking Out Loud

I've been thinking a lot lately about quiet and loud.  Piano and forte.  Sounds - pleasant or disturbing.

You see I am fairly deaf in my right ear.  Audiologists describe it as a "moderately severe" hearing loss.  But my left ear works perfectly, so I cope well.  I hear music, I hear the TV, I communicate with others.  But sometimes I need to turn my head, or swap places so I can hear every part of the conversation.  If someone speaks quietly on my right side then forget it.  So, at some times it's awkward.  It's difficult in the car if I'm on the left of Steve.  It's hard to hear the girls chattering after school under their school hats.  It's hard to pray in small groups at bible study when another group is nearby.  Sometimes I struggle.  On the other hand, it is bliss when I want to sleep in on a Saturday morning - I just roll over so my good ear is on the pillow and enjoy the silence!

My ear has been this way since I was pregnant with Emily, over 12 years ago now.  It's called otosclerosis.  I am incredibly thankful it has only affected one ear, so far.  As a music teacher I manage just fine with one good ear, although occasionally I have trouble understanding a student who speaks quietly on my "bad" side.  For twelve years I've been coping, probably with a bit of lip-reading and lowered expectations in some scenarios.

But this year my hearing started to really bother me. When I first had my condition diagnosed the possibility of surgery was discussed, and I was told to wait until I had finished my family.  For the last few years I've been meaning to go back to the surgeon and discuss surgery again. After a few months I finally psyched myself up for surgery and visited the doctor.  Only to be told of the many side effects and risks of the surgery, and the possible failure of the procedure.  Try a hearing aid first, he said.

I had an appointment with an audiologist and went home and agonised for a few days.  What to do?  A music teacher can't be seen wearing a hearing aid!  But hearing aids these days are so small and discreet.  But so expensive. I'm too young to have a hearing aid - eek - I turn 40 and I'm wearing a hearing aid already! Back and forth.  I decided to try it, and 3 weeks ago I collected my hearing aid and have been wearing it most of the time since.

And so to where I started.  Quiet and Loud.  Piano and forte.  Actually for the first few days nothing was piano.  As I walked out of the audiologist's rooms I was confronted with conversations happening twenty metres away (complete strangers talking inside my head!), the wind rustling by, the deafening crackle of a plastic bag.  At home I couldn't type on the computer for longer than about ten words, each touch of the keyboard sounding like a car crash.  My children were shouting.  A trickle of water sounded like a gushing waterfall.  But I gradually got used to these things, on the whole.  Conversation at home is easier, the TV volume can stay down rather than being turned up for me.  It's been a windy month, so outside is not silent, but I can hear the girls speak from across the garden, even over the sound of the wind.

I've gotten used to the feel of it in my ear, the nuisance of cleaning it, keeping it dry and remembering to put it on.

But I can't keep it.

When I play the piano I am assaulted with distortion, wavey sounds and just way too much volume.  When Laura plays the flute I hear a metallic scraping sound.  And don't even ask about Emily playing the saxophone, or me playing the fiddle or whistle.  When I go to the shops or church I hear too much noise.  More than I want to hear.  Air-conditioning, music, conversations, trolleys banging, people talking so loudly, it is all too much, and often distorted.  At school I dread the sounds of children running by, calling to their friends. 

Some of this is just my brain being overloaded, getting used to hearing on the right side again.  Something I would have to get used to if I ever had the surgery.  But some of it is just distortion and processing delay by the hearing aid, not my brain.

For the last few days I've been agonising again, weighing up the pros and cons, searching online forums for advice and stories on hearing aids and surgery.

I don't want a noisy life.  I want a quiet life, sometimes filled with music but often with peaceful silence.
I was interested to read Sallie' post  just now.  It sums up my feelings exactly.  And was the reason for this post.

So I think I'll be returning my hearing aid next week, within the 30 days trial.  And forgetting about the surgery, for now, while I have one good ear.

Unless I change my mind ...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vintage Golden Circle Cookbook

The other day I was looking through the gorgeous book "The Long Table" by Mary Moody -where the author looks back over her lifetime of cooking so far, and she talked about her mother's cooking, and showed some  photos of old cookbooks her mother owned, including the Golden Circle Cookbook.  I was inspired to dig out my Gran's old recipes which I have on loan at present.  There, in the bottom of the box, was this!

The very book I had been reading about (and wishing I could see inside!)

It is full of wonderful treasures, such as this lovely spread:

and this um ... salad? .. sandwich?

... something for the children:

(Huh!  Even a boiled egg clown wouldn't convince my girls to eat any of this!)


and a rainbow-effect salad.

How about some rissoles?

checkers, anyone?

 mmmm, yummy,  pineapple on a bed of spinach!

This looks cute and edible, for once

and my personal unfavourite:

- pretty scary stuff!

Thank goodness the days of such creations is long past, but gee it has been fun looking!

For more vintage goodies visit here on Thursday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Ups and Downs of School Holidays

The trampoline has seen more of the girls than we have, I think, these holidays.

They have been dashing out between showers so as not to miss a single moment's jumping.
Good, clean fun.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Baking

Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins for morning tea at church tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More hail

We have had more storms this weekend, a blackout yesterday, and now today more hail.  This hailstorm went on for a while but fortunately all the hail was round 1cm hail.  When it was done the world looked strangely white for an area that never receives snow.  Lots of photos and lots of fun.  We moved the hail away from our precious new vegetable seedlings as much as we could.

... and we played with the rest.  This was straight off the trampoline.

Off to Grandma and Grandad's

Bunny is off to Grandma and Grandad's for the long weekend. 
She has everything she needs in her little backpack.
With one ear left (and that one hanging by a thread) she can't hear so well, but she can still hear all of Emily's secrets.

And actually she's taking her mummy with her...

... and her aunty ...

The girls left on Saturday morning and arrived home today.

They enjoyed: outings with Grandma and Grandad - historic homes, church, McDonalds, library and DVDs, and hanging round with G & G..

We enjoyed: an Irish concert, especially hearing the amazing Aiofe Granville, Steve performing the lead viola part in the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 at a chamber concert near the Harbour Bridge on Sunday, Thai dinner on Monday night, and much peace and quiet in between. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

Training in Tidiness ...

 ... at least she hung up something ... sigh