Friday, May 31, 2013

Thank God it's Friday

I know that “Thank God it’s Friday’ is usually said in absence of any kind of thankfulness towards the Almighty, but I’d like to do my bit to remedy that. 

Today is my dad's 70th birthday.  Happy birthday, Dad!

I'm thankful:
* my dad loves the Lord Jesus
* that Dad never gave up on family or faith even when some days it must have been hard to even want to get out of bed
* for the ways Dad taught me to think and be critical about the world (all those mornings of talkback radio on the drive to school instead of music)
* to Dad for giving me my teaching genes
* that Dad kept calling me "Ducky" even when I was fully grown
* for Dad's wonderful movie impressions (if you've seen him do Apollo 13 you know what I'm talking about)
* for Dad when he laughs so hard he can't talk
* that Dad never let me get away with saying "I feel" instead of "I think"
* that Dad expected the best from me and forgave the worst

Love you heaps, Dad.  Thanking God for you today.

You got anything you’re thankful for today? Join in! Let’s count our blessings for a bit.

A totally new high school assessment strategy

It happens to most teachers around reporting-writing time sooner or later.  And as I sat the other night working my way through a pile of marking, an epiphany came upon me.  Suddenly I began to see the education system and it's faults clearly for the first time.  It's like the scales were falling from my eyes.  In this moment of absolute clarity, I conceived the framework for a whole new approach for senior education.  I look forward to it being named after me and a possible Noble Prize.  Delusions of grandeur are a common side-effect of report-writing time (coupled with despair and bad eating habits).

Here's what I thought: here is a pile of work which I will diligently mark it on its merits but I suspect if I just looked at the name on the top of each paper and guessed the mark, the outcomes wouldn't be very different.  In fact, I thought, I bet their Year 10 teachers could probably have a good guess and be pretty close to the mark.  Maybe even their Year 8 teachers.  Or Year 6!  Does all this assessment and grading really change any outcomes at all?

Hence, I would like to apply for funding to conduct a longitudinal study into this observation and its consequences.  It would have to be a lot of funding and the study would need to involve some travel and overseas conferences.  In my ground-breaking study, a large sample of students would be tracked from fourth grade until the end of high school.  At the end of Years 4, 6, 8 and 10, their teachers would be asked to guess their final university entrance rank.  We would then compare the students' final results with these estimates and be able to tell which year level was the best predictor of the final outcomes.

Now assuming it turns out to be Year 6 - which I am sure it would be because Year 6 teachers are fabulous and terribly intuitive (I know because I used to be one) - then Year 6 would become the year at which university rankings were finalised.  So up until Year 6, students would be taught and assessed in the usual manner.  Then at the end of Year 6, a final score would be decided and the student sent happily off to high school.  High school would proceed in the usual manner because there would still be much to learn and much to be gained from the high school curriculum.  However, it would be entirely free from the time-wasting activities of setting, sitting and grading assessment.  Instead, students and teachers would be free to pursue learning without the interruption of exams.  Assignments would be done in order to learn rather than to be assessed.  Teachers would be relieved of the burden of marking things that didn't matter and could put all that extra effort into amazing lessons that truly engaged the children.

Now don't spoil my Utopian vision with petty things like the value of assessment for informing teaching, the fact that primary kids would then be pushed to the absolute limits of stress as everything would come down to their performance in Year 6 or the possibility that students could actually change, grow and improve in their adolescent years.  Logic doesn't matter all that much in educational theory.  I learnt that in university.

Just let me bask for a moment in the lovely dream of no more marking ever.  Of course it would mean I could never go back and teach in Year 6 again.  Bother.  There's always a catch.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Unexpected beauty

Garbage turning into something beautiful sings the song of my own ransomed heart.  And a shout out to the Concert Pianist who I know is going to love this.

HT Making it Lovely.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's not about the nail

I've been trying not to re-post this after seeing it on Gary's blogTrying.  But it cracked me up and I know some of you don't read Gary's blog so those that do will forgive me I'm sure.  Here it is.  If you want my response to the video, you can check the comments section of Gary's original post.

I had no idea they did this

Did you know, in some parts of the world (the Other Hemisphere), they disguise their mobile phone towers as trees?  I don't mean they put them up in trees.  I mean they make fake trees.  Think your plastic Christmas tree on steroids.  I had no idea.  Here's one.

More pictures here.  And here.

If you've been lucky enough to see one of these rare species in real life, do tell!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy Blog-day to me!

It's my bloggiversary today.  One year ago today I finally managed to come up with a blog name that wasn't already taken.  Ahhhh, happy memories.

It is customary at this point to tell you how many posts and how many views and comments one has gotten in that time.

Well, I shan't.

Because those of you with substantial blogs will only giggle and those of you (my heart goes out to you) with readerships even smaller than mine may feel so dejected you are unable to publish ever again.

Anyway, we all know I only have three readers and a cat and, since the cat has died, it's even less. 

But it's quality not quantity I say.  And you guys are the very best kind of cyberspace readers and lurkers one could ever hope for.

So to those of you who kindly stop by now and then, I thank you dearly and offer a large piece of virtual cake.

Don't worry it's gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free and packed with antioxidants and helpful macrobiotics.  No, really.  Tea or coffee?

Monday, May 27, 2013

16 ways I judge you

It had to be a cat for this picture.  Very judgmental animals

1. When I hear something about you second-hand and assume I am getting the whole picture

2. When I think I know all the facts about your life

3. When I assume that if I did know all of the facts then that would qualify me to judge you

4. When I assume that what you are doing right now is what you have consciously decided would be the best thing to do

5. When I assume that your choice implies that you think everyone should do the same as you

6. When I fail to recognize that it might have taken much, much more effort for you to do X than it would take me

7. When I don’t stop to reflect on how our circumstances are different

8. When I choose to defend my own choices by finding faults in yours

9. When I assume there is a “right” way for everything to be done and allow for no variations

10. When I don’t allow for your good intentions or small steps of progress towards a better place

11. When I see something different that I don’t understand and assume I won’t like it

12. When I rejoice in seeing you fail in small ways today, forgetting that I have done the same on other days

13. When I assume because you are struggling in one area, you have nothing valuable to give in any other area

14. When I hear of a hard circumstance in your life and immediately begin to question what you might have done to contribute towards it

15. When I resent something good happening to you because you haven’t “earned” it

16. When I keep score

A pretty ugly list. I do think there is one who is qualified to judge. And I know I fall short. Grace grows from a recognition of my total need and God’s overwhelming kindness. I write this list as a reminder to myself that my pride often lies to me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

This is how I feel I'm doing today

A basset hound running

From here.

This post is permeate free

If you are wondering why your milk is suddenly "permeate free", The Checkout will explain it to you.

So glad my milk is now free of harmful added-milk.  Phew.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Running too hard and too fast


I burnt the porridge this morning.  I yelled LOUDLY at my seven-year old before school.  I have a head cold.  I have marking that is piling up.  My children have been home sick one or two days of the week for the last three weeks.  My husband is away for most of the weekend again (three weekends out of four this month).  Don't talk to me about the washing, the ironing, the dishes or the bathrooms.
I have been playing at being Super-Mum.  And now it's all catching up with me.
Still.  Could be worse.  The cold will pass.  And no one will die if the washing isn't folded and put away.  And there's always ABC 4 Kids.
And a cup of tea.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thank God tomorrow's Friday

I'm a day early!  But the news is too good to wait.

Today, I'm thankful for good news from my mother-in-law's latest doctor's appointment.  Her cancer has been significantly reduced by the bone marrow transplant.  We were bracing ourselves for bad news today and so this is a fantastic surprise!
You got anything you’re thankful for today? Join in! Let’s count our blessings for a bit.


Been a lot of things. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hair goes it?

Another superficial hair update.

It's been over seven weeks now since I washed my hair with proper shampoo.  And I'm still loving it.  My hair feels very normal - just the same as when I was using commercial shampoo and conditioner.  My scalp issues have cleared up wonderfully, although I have to watch that I'm not too overzealous with the bi-carb soda right on the top of my head or that patch gets a bit dry.  But it's great.  Can't see myself going back any time soon.

One thing that has not worked out, however, is switching to washing every third day instead of every second.  It was really stringy and horrible by the middle of the third day.  I might try that again in the summer holidays when I'd have longer to get used to it before the pressure of needing to be neat and tidy for work.

I have fiddled around with the formulas to suit my own hair.  Currently I'm mixing 1 tablespoon of bi carb soda with one and a quarter cups of water for the wash.  Then I use 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for the rinse.  I put each mix into an old kids' drink bottles and it usually lasts about a week.  I give them a quick shake before I use them and then squirt straight on to my scalp after I've wet my hair thoroughly.  First I use the bi carb mix and work my way around my scalp with little squirts so that it all gets covered.  It's easy to tell what you are doing because the "wash" mix is colder than the shower water so you can feel it going on.  Then I rinse thoroughly and follow the same procedure with the apple cider mix.  I usually leave that mix on for a couple of minutes before rinsing out.

This is definitely one of the weirdest things I've ever done.  I'm a pretty conservative lass and it goes against my instincts to use something home-made and natural.  But it's worked well for me.  Give it a go if your current shampoo is annoying you - you might just be an unlikely convert like me!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thank God it's Friday

I know that “Thank God it’s Friday’ is usually said in absence of any kind of thankfulness towards the Almighty, but I’d like to do my bit to remedy that.

Today, I'm thankful for the two good ole buddies who have encouraged me on my way today.  I am weary this week.  Praise the Lord for friends who pick you up and point you back in the right direction!
You got anything you’re thankful for today? Join in! Let’s count our blessings for a bit.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Ran my first excursion in about 10 years today.  All day with Year 11 and 12 students to an ethics conference.  The big worry was the traffic and whether we'd get there on time and back home again in time for the bus travellers to catch the school bus at the end of the day.  The time allowed was generous but it only takes one accident on the freeway to turn generous into skimpy.

But it was good.  Timing was excellent.  No accidents or traffic jams.  Didn't lose any students.  Had a great day.

Soooooo thankful.  I can stop worrying now.  None of the things I had listed on my excellent and extensive risk assessment form came to be.  Although, it was disappointing that there were no unrestrained exotic animals on the loose.  But at least I had assessed that risk and planned for it!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thank God it's Saturday night

I know that “Thank God it’s Friday Saturday' is usually said in absence of any kind of thankfulness towards the Almighty, but I’d like to do my bit to remedy that.

This week, I’m thankful for my parents arriving from overseas for a visit.  Hence, I've not been blogging much.  It's really lovely to see how excited the kids are about having their grandparents in town.

You got anything you’re thankful for today? Join in! Let’s count our blessings for a bit.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life with Honey

So Honey has been with us now for four days.  We're all still getting to know each other but these are the things we've worked out so far:

What Honey does not do:

1. Jump up on children.
2. Eat beans, cooked pasta, or banana.
3. Bark.
4. Dig (so far, so good, but I'm not going to hold my breath on this one).
5. Scratch on doors.
6. Beg for scraps from the table.

What Honey does do:

1. Lick your hand when she's very nervous.
2. Sleep at your feet.  A lot.
3. Run.  Not jog.  Run.
4. Fetch.
5. Sit.
6. Drop.
7. Wait politely for her food bowl to be put down before she gobbles it.
8. Go on her mat when asked.
9. Keep up anti-cat patrols in the backyard with serious vigilance.

Things Honey likes:

1. Chasing cats.  That's a big like.
2. Pats.
3. Kind words.
4. Getting up on the bed.  No, Honey.
5. Running with her master.
6. People being home.
7. Car rides.
8. Cuddles.
9. Beanbags.

Things Honey does not like:

1. People speaking with angry voices.
2. Showers.  Suddenly finds somewhere else she urgently needs to be.

Things Honey is not sure about yet:

1. People singing hymns loudly while they do the dishes.  She finds this very odd.  Could be my singing.
2. Whether we will come back when we go out.  That's a worry.
3. Visitors.
4. Her kennel.  Inside is so much better.

She is so very lovable though.

Liar, liar, pants on fire

This clip was kind of funny but oh so very awkward.  Most people have a pretty strong inclination to lie when they want to impress another person.  Why is that?


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thank God it's Friday

I know that “Thank God it’s Friday’ is usually said in absence of any kind of thankfulness towards the Almighty, but I’d like to do my bit to remedy that.

Today, I feel rather rattled actually.  The dog is coming tomorrow.  My parents are flying in from overseas next Thursday.  We have interstate visitors later in the month whom I've never met before.  It's all happening.  And I have a sore throat and didn't sleep well last night.

But thankfulness shouldn't be only for those times when everything is sunny and full of roses.  All the time God is good and all the time he's watching over me.

So today I'm thankful that my eldest is well again and whatever was causing some extreme behaviour last week seems to have settled for now.  I'm also thankful that I haven't been sick on any of my work days yet this year - it's so much easier to be well enough to teach than it is to leave work when you're sick and try to catch up later.
You got anything you’re thankful for today? Join in! Let’s count our blessings for a bit.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The dog

So the dog is coming on Saturday for a two-week trial.  Today we had a yard inspection to see if we had a suitable home for her.  We've already filled in a long form that asked details such as our vet's number, previous pet experience, plans for the dog's sleeping arrangements and our fencing height and type.  Our mother's maiden names were not required (but only just).  You can't just roll up and pick a dog off the internet these days!

Tonight I bought a collar and lead.  Tomorrow I'm buying a dog kennel and food.  It's all getting a bit exciting.


HT Take Your Vitamin Z