Sunday, December 22, 2013


I used to be so diligent with Christmas cards.  I'd send them all in the first two weeks of December.  About 40.  And this year?  I've managed 3.  Written just now.  And so some will arrive late at that.  Oh dear.  I think it's time to give up and admit defeat.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Desk roundup

This should have been posted yesterday but here we are.  Amongst the clutter on my desk today you can find:

1. A bag of rubber bands confiscated from the children.
2. Several Christmas cards that need acknowledgement by the sending of a card in return.  When will that get done?
3. A kids' CD that should be safely stored somewhere but that is wandering loose on my desk
4. Next year's work diary
5. This year's work diary

So what's your desk randomly holding today?

I trust you have nothing better to do with your time

Make your own Christmas tune with the Festive Funk Machine.  Go on.  You know you want to waste two minutes or you wouldn't have opened to my blog page in the first place.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Interview between a mother and son

This clip comes from StoryCorps - an American oral history project.  Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome, interviewed his mother, Sarah and then it was animated.  And it's lovely.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Magical piano

A piano in Chicago that's been rigged up to respond in real time to passers-by.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday desk patrol

Friday desk patrol: where we list our top five why-is-it-there items on our desk at the end of another week.  Join in down in the comments section.

My desk today includes:
1. Christmas present sticky name labels.  All the good ones from the sheet are gone and I'm left with the tacky Santa ones.
2. Woolworth animal card folder.
3. Headphones for calling my mum on Skype.
4. A slightly-cut-up paper doily which someone brought home from a school craft.
5. A 2014 laminated A3 calendar with a lovely kinder picture on it drawn by one of our resident artists.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On candy canes

Dear Parents of other children,

Look, I don't want to appear ungrateful on behalf of my kids.  They love the candy canes, really, they do.  But you do realise if we all give each other candy canes, they will amass a hoard that will drive us all insane?  Please, for the love of sanity, stop with the candy canes already!

Yours in Christmas madness,


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Onions make you cry when you chop them.  For that reason, my daughter won't eat them in anything at all (even cooked) in case they make her cry.  I can't get beyond that logic with her at this stage.

But what I really wanted to say was that, thanks to Gary posting the video below on his blog a while back, I've found a solution to the whole onion-crying thing.

It's chewing gum.

Yes, chewing gum while you chop prevents the pain and the crying (unless you chop your finger, of course, or you are just having a really bad day - it only works on the onion part of the sadness).  I have been holding off on telling you while I road-tested it myself.  After a number of onions chopped over the last couple of weeks, and then one big one grated yesterday evening, I can now say for sure that a packet of gum should be on your next shopping list for onion-crying prevention.

I know.  That's a pretty big life hack!  Here's the rest.  And thanks, Gary!

Monday, December 9, 2013

This Christmas

I don’t like what God is doing in my heart this Christmas. I have never really liked Christmas. I like to keep it at a distance. Easter, I get. But Christmas seems all babyish with the manger and shepherds and angels. And overdone. How many times do we have to sing and hear those same old songs? Over and over again.

But this December is wrecking me. I’ve sat with the suffering. I’ve listened to friends in pain because of life’s sorrows and disappointments. I’ve been told off for helping. I’ve watched people head off to hospital yet again for things they don’t want to do. I’ve cried as someone else’s child faces a life of treatments and therapies.

And the fact that this world is not right – not right at all – has slapped me in the face. And I’m part of it. I’m part of the sin and the selfishness and the muck of it all. I can’t point the finger at the rape and the greed and the destruction and then hide in my corner taking my little fix of selfishness and pretending that I’m not an addict as well.

I feel like I’m hearing each Christmas carol for the first time. The mess of the stable. The scent of scandal as a teenage girl gives birth beside a man who is not the child’s father. The danger of the night and the soldiers’ swords that would soon come for this little helpless king who must rush across the border into Egypt or be slain. Born into this wreck of a world to save the world.

As I’ve cried with nearly every carol I’ve heard this in the past week, I’ve thought of this king who did not send help to our world. Instead, he came. He came himself. To see more of the wonder of that, I’ve had to see more of the mess. And now every carol seems to be shouting - no, singing - that fact out for joy, pure joy, in my head.

I don’t like what God’s doing in my heart this Christmas. But it’s good.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Get off the phone

My phone is not cool enough to even half the stuff in this video, but I loved it anyway!

HT Take Your Vitamin Z

Friday desk patrol

So what' on your desk at the end of another week?  Along with our laptop, printer and supposedly-neat paper filling system, there is always strangely random stuff that ends up in this corner of the house.  Here's a tribute to 5 random items I see on my desk this morning.

1. Slow-cooker recipe book from the library
2. Four teacher end-of-year presents neatly wrapped but without cards.
3. A large-print Revised Church Hymnal held together with tape.
4. Honey's packet of flea & worm medicine
5. This year's Fathers' Day present from the school stall (a sand picture thingy)

What's your top five random desk items today?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On being told off

To use a very Australian expression, I copped a serve today at work. I mentioned I was helping out some refugees who had arrived by boat. My colleague then gave me an animated explanation of why boat people are illegal queue jumpers who are burdening the Australian tax payer and preventing the resettlement of genuine refugees. They are all, apparently, economic migrants rather than genuine refugees, because they must very rich to afford to come here in the manner in which they did.

Sadly, I did not say something smooth and impressive on the spot but stood there much like a stunned mullet and thought of my replies about 20 minutes later. There are lots of statistics I could quote and elements of the UN Refugee Convention that I could point out. But this is all I really wanted to say:

Their immigration status is not up to me. It’s going to be decided by the government according to whatever rules and tests they are applying on that day. However, regardless of how they got here, these people are my ‘neighbour’. There are two little girls who need school books and shoes and uniforms. That is my business and I’m just going to go about it as best I can.

Thank you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The year's political highlights

Each year, the Insiders award the "Matt Price moment" to the political moment that would have given their late colleague, Matt Price, the most fodder for his column.  This year's is a beauty, but you'll enjoy last year's winning moment too.  You just couldn't make this stuff up!