Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's times like this


Sorry about the radio silence.

Life has been a bit full-on.  About three different stressful events, plus a couple of awesomely happy ones like a friend's wedding, have all dovetailed into one another and there has been much juggling of life's responsibilities and much burning of the candle at both ends.  Can't tell you about most of it because there is much that is not my story to tell.

However, I can tell you that on the weekend, one of my children was bitten on the face by a dog and needed to go to hospital.  No, not our dog.  Yes, we have warned our children many times to be careful about dogs and not to put their face too near a dog in case it feels threatened.  It just happened that they did and the dog bit.  We are sad and we are thankful that they are going to be okay and that it wasn't worse.

And it wasn't that bad.  And it was awful.

Even when you know things will be okay, seeing your child hurt is like a sudden downpour of emotion. As it worked out, my husband was the best person to drive our child to hospital and then to stay with them.  I had the other children to look after and supervise until they came home.  But then it was decided that the bite needed an overnight stay and a proper clean-out under a general anaesthetic.  My valiant husband stayed bedside all night.  But I was far away and it was terrible to not be there.

Everything is healing and improving steadily. The hospital visit was declared quite okay (mainly because white bread, butter and cordial were allowed in abundance, unlike home).  Much love and fussing and phone calls have helped.  The marks will be slight and the scar unlikely to be prominent. 

But it's been a big event for both the little one and the parents.  Now that it is all over, we all feel rather spent.

So that's the news around here, or at least part of it.  For those of you who already knew and were praying for us, thank you.  We appreciated it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

God doesn't need you

I found this article - The Key to Radical Generosity - a great encouragement last week.
I didn’t have “more” I needed to give; I actually had nothing God needed to begin with.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Time travel and the gift of perspective

A beautiful bit of Dr Who...

Thanks to the Concert Pianist for sending me the clip.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blogger and embedding videos

Well, Alison, I didn't totally solve it.  Let's say, I improved the situation.  Videos still won't show up in emails.  However, they now appear and play in Bloglovin on my ipad.  And they now show up as an image in other feeds (but won't play) and then you can click through and play.  So at least it's not just a big blank space anymore.

I have to admit I'm not entirely sure how I did it.  A friend was helping me with a whole host of suggestions.  Something worked.  I think the most likely candidate was this:

Inside the blog design screen, click into Settings and then click into Other.

Scroll down till you get to the heading "Site Feed".  Check that the final option 'Enable Title Links and Enclosure Links' is set to "yes".  I think that's what worked for me.  Then you need to find some good videos to post so we can all check for you. :)

Site feed

Drawdle - an app review

iPhone Screenshot 1

iPhone Screenshot 3

iPhone Screenshot 2
Drawdle is a fun app that creates a series of simple challenges based on physics.  Don't let the word physics put you off - it's very entertaining.

The basic script is that you draw a shape and flick it towards a balloon filled with paint.  The idea balloon should then bang into, and burst on, a picture that is then filled with colour.  As you go through the levels, you are faced with obstacles that require some creative problem solving in order to keep pushing the balloon on to the target.

My 6-year old loves it but it is even amusing for an adult.  So if you are looking for a game you are happy for the kids to fiddle around with that also involves problem-solving and creative thinking, this just might be the ticket.

Available for both iOS and android, it's currently free with the option to buy the full game for around $1.29.

The last week

Ugh.  We have had a nasty virus going through the family one-by-one over the last week.  It started with one child last Saturday.  Every two days or so, someone else in the family would come down with it despite our frantic cleaning and germ-prevention-techniques.  On Thursday, it culminated in my husband aborting his commute to work in preference to coming home and taking to his sick bed, followed by my surrender in the late afternoon.  We kept everyone - even the now seemingly-well children - home the next day in the hope of quarantining ourselves for the greater good of the community.  I'll spare you the nasty details, but it was a truly revolting bug.

Today, we are on the mend.  The children are bright and bouncy.  My husband is okay.  I am still feeling tired but improving.  I am thankful for so many things - good healthcare, jobs that allow for leave, a nice bed to feel sorry for myself in and that everyone is well again.  But I haven't felt that ill in a long time - since I was last in hospital, I think.  So it was a humbling reminder of how fragile we can be so easily and what a blessing it is when we are well.  While I was awake in the middle of the night, I was praying for those I know who at the moment feel ill all the time.  May God grant them grace, endurance and a speedy recovery.

I did have a bit of fun when I went to the GP for my medical certificate.  My appointment was with one of the new (very young - I must be getting old) doctors that I hadn't seen before.  Whoever had entered my occupation on the practice's database had been rather specific.  When he checked my file he looked up and said, "Oh, a Year 12 Philosophy teacher!"  What followed was a rather amusing conversation that leapt through philosophy, altruism, youtube, Crash Course History, John Green, The Fault in Our Stars and Grey's Anatomy. He's not an introvert, this new GP.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Put your foot down

The Drowned Vault: Ashtown Burials #2
'Cyrus looked around.  "Yeah, but what do we do now?"
Rupert smiled. "A philosopher stood on one leg in the middle of a road, unsure of what to do. 'What is the best and wisest step? Where shall I put my foot?' he asked.  A farmer passing with an ox gave him his answer. 'Put it down,' he said. And so the philosopher did, but his other leg rose up. 'Terrible advice!' he yelled. 'My predicament hasn't improved. Where shall I put this foot?' And again, the farmer told him, 'Put it down'."

 "And...," said Cyrus.
"And this time when the philosopher put his foot down, he put it squarely in a pile of the ox's dung.  Concluding that the farmer was either a trickster or a fool, he left his foot there and never moved again.  As for the farmer, he walked on to Rome."
Rupert met Cyrus's eyes and laughed. "Your father loved that one."
Cyrus groaned. "So the joke is that philosophers are stupid and farmers aren't?"  He blinked and shook his head, looking around at the rooftop. "Why are we even talking about this right now?"
Rupert grinned.  "Two reason, Cyrus Smith.  First, the next step is always right in front of you.  Pick your feet up and put your feet down.  Second, we are most definitely standing in the dung right now.  Your first trek starts now, and it's madness.  Are you ready?"
Wilson, N.D. (2012) The Drowned Vault, Random House, New York.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Okay. I can live with it.

So, it's not solved.  However, even though the embedded video didn't show in my last post, at least the link to the video worked if I clicked through.  So that's what I'll have to do for now: embed my video and then also link directly to youtube so that rss viewers can at least click through to the video.

Surely, surely there is a fix out there somewhere for this.  It's hard to believe Google has failed me in this regard.  In the meantime, I'll have to be content with the link method.  To help me cope, I'm going to listen to rainforest sounds.... for 11 hours.

Okay.  11 seconds is enough, if truth be told.  I tried searching for truly relaxing sounds - "sounds of students working hard on research assignment", "sounds of children cleaning up after they have made a mess" or "sound of bin being emptied before it became over-full due to procrastination" - but youtube didn't seem to have those.  Strange.

Well, here's another try

I'm beginning to lose all hope.  Seems serious bloggers don't use templates like Blogger but do proper grown-up blogging with their own name and site and so their stuff shows up.  And mine doesn't.  I feel very uncool and left out.

Here's another random video to test another change to my settings.  Wilde Legal law firm kindly supplied some entertaining videos on the Australian legal studies.  The first one is an overview of the Australian legal system explained while mountain biking.  As you do.

The waterfall post

If you can see this video in your RSS feed, then my settings changes have worked.  Enjoy three hours of relaxing waterfall sounds. Otherwise....SIGH.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blogger question

Does anyone (anyone? anyone?) know how to make embedded youtube clips show up in my RSS feeds?  As in, when you read my blog on the interwebs (ha), the video shows up fine, but if you received it via email or feed or a blog reader like Bloglovin there is always just a blank space where my wildly amusing clip should be.  Anyone solved this before?

A post related to the Bachelor - look away now

My husband opened up news.com.au (because we've reached our limit of "free articles" for the month with the other only-slightly-less-dodgy online paper) and found these two pictures had been neatly stack on top of one another.

Could that have possibly been an accidental juxtapositioning?  I'm guessing not.  Amused.

Friday, October 3, 2014

And here we are

So the last few weeks have zoomed past.  Here we are.  I have no energy for deep and meaningfuls so here's a summary of life in our house.

1. We bought the house for my parents that we were looking at.  The building inspection came back positive and we were good to go.  Now there's just messy paperwork and settlement stuff to do.

2. I went into these school holidays without a clear plan.  I didn't have anything lined up.  I knew we had my father-in-law visiting at some point so I left everything rather fluid.  It's been okay but I think we all would have benefitted from a bit more structure.  Next time.

3. I'm in a short-term Bible study on Saturday mornings with some new ladies at church.  We are using the "Just For Starters" study.  It's been really encouraging to go over the basics of our faith again and it's fun to be in such a diverse group.  There are four of us, all with a different first language, three different childhood religious backgrounds, and we use a mix of Bibles in several languages.

4. I still haven't started my marking for work.  Busy days and tired nights haven't been conducive to getting on with it.  I'm going to have to face it on the weekend.  Blah.

5. I'm teaching four weeks on medieval Japanese history when I get back.  I'm trying to read up on it...but (oh the shame) I find remembering the names really, really hard.  They just seem to flow through my brain like water and out the other side.  And not in a Zen kind of way.  In a not-sticking-in-there-who-was-that-guy-again kind of way.  Aghgh.

6. We had a really encouraging letter this week from our sponsored child in Thailand.  This particular family often like to write a separate note in addition to the child's own letter and it's been really great to feel we are getting to know them as parents too.

7. One thing we did get done this holidays was reading aloud the second book in the Ashtown burials series.  "The Drowned Vault" is great but I think older primary and young adult would be the best audience.  There are some pretty tense and scary moments which younger readers would be best to avoid.  That said, our six-year old was listening in and was okay with it.  Wouldn't have read it to him on his own though.  It was also pretty complicated because new characters were being introduced at a rate of knots and he had trouble keeping track of who was who after a while.  We are going through the three books that are out so far at a rate of one per school holidays.  Lots of guns but a great read.

Well, that's all I have to say about that.  Once we are out of school holidays and back to routine my brain might come back into gear and I might have something reasonable to say.  Cheerio!

Random bear from a stock photo site because post must have a photo to be appealing etc, etc.  Sigh.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I was fascinated to learn of Alfred Stafford today.  He was an Aboriginal gentleman who was the personal driver for 11 Australian Prime Ministers.  His personal papers have just been donated by his family to Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.  His close proximity to some of the most interesting moments in Australian political history - Menzies, Holt, Whitlam - is tantalizing in the possibilities it would have offered for a unique perspective on those events.  I would love to see a well-produced mini-series that covered his life. Imagine the big moments in Australian history intersecting with his own private life and story - it would be very compelling viewing.