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Monday, 19 September 2016

First of the Month Fiction - October

Apologies to everyone - I was totally useless over the weekend - and too busy having fun. Clearly I should have shut up shop on Friday. So I'm off in the real world for the school holidays until the 10th October. Have a great time and I'll see you all on the flipside. I'll still be on Insta and Twitter, because I'm a little addicted.

Write a 100 word story exactly or one less than 30 words in the comment below, then link your blog below.

Mine is actually more than 100 words. It was my rejected story from Grieve this year. It's not very good - I knew that when I entered, but I also don't think I like it enough to improve it so in laziness, it's going here. (Newbies look at last month's for excellent offerings and examples that fit the word count)

                                    *********************************************

Mizpah
(n, Hebrew) the deep emotional bond between people, especially those separated by death.

It used to smell of his aftershave, but no more. I sit, close my eyes and try to pick up a faint scent. I know it’s not there anymore. Still each day I can’t help but try.
Not a night went by when he didn’t sit with a beer after work in that chair, talking aimlessly while I made dinner. He would be angry at a client or laughing at the stupidity of colleague. Words would pour out, unimportant yet the silence now highlights their absence. Each audible tick of the clock announces the void.
I’d never sat in his chair until the day I came home from the funeral. It was his chair, for him, and I’d always preferred to stretch out on the couch when we watched television. I was so drained that day, the formalities weighing down on me. The finality of it all hitting home as I opened my door.  The chair beckoned, offering an unknown consolation.
Now I prefer his chair. Every evening as I sink back into the leather, if I close my eyes, for a brief instant, I feel the comfort of an embrace. Enveloped in a love of all I had and all that’s lost, for a split second. A fleeting comfort stretching across time, straddling the past and the present. Then it is gone and I’m just alone in the house, sitting in a chair.
It’s small, but it’s all I have left. The moment each day that I treasure, yet can’t explain. A moment that gives me the will to get through another lonely night, and face yet another day.

              
                                                           ********************

I'll be back next month, with strict word counting...so any regulars that want to squeeze some extra words in - feel free.
Have great hols everyone!




The Pramshed

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Fitzroy Falls






We'd gone for a weekend with friends in Bundanoon, and on the way home I detoured past the spectacular Fitzroy Falls. As the weather was changing, I only did the walk to the second look out (Jersey?), which is an easy walk and worth the view.







The highlight, however, was seeing an echidna in the wild, not a metre away from me!













With magic moments like that, it's hard not to love life!

What are you loving this week?




Linking with #WordlessWednesday and #AussieWordlessWednesday





Our favourite family meal

We are very busy during the school term and there is often two or three sittings for dinner at our house. The family meal is a rare occasion, usually managed only once a week, and now seems to be lunch out on the weekend when the 5 of us are together - though even that is hard to manage as the teen is often out with their crew.

It is something I'm mindful of, and something I try to lock in at least once a week. I think it's one reason I love travelling - we get huge blocks of time together, without other friends or extended family stealing our attention away from each other. Even breakfast is a shared and lingered event. These moments are important to sibling dynamics as well as parent-child conversation.

So the current family favourite meal is not something I've made at home, which with a vegetarian and a particularly fussy eater would be hard to find a common dish marked as favourite. A meal at Din Tai Fung is the current fav, as all 5 of us like it, and there's something for everyone beyond chips...For those that don't know, it's a lauded Michelin starred (in Hong Kong, not here) Taiwanese dumpling and noodle joint, famous for it's super tasty Xiao Long Bao.

Meals are a very social event for us, and if we have a blank space in the diary, we'll organise lunch or dinner with friends. There's something so easy and satisfying about relaxing over food. However, I need to try and make sure the five of us get a few more times a tavola each week.

“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.” – Epicurus

Linking with Denyse for #LifeThisWeek

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson





I had to race into the city to pick up my new sunnies (I know, it's all action and adventure here). I walked past David Jones to see their Spring Flower Show had begun. I was lured inside by the massive display of pink orchids. The towers of flowers are delightfully overwhelming and as I explored the floor, taking photos to the tinkling tunes from the Grand Piano, smiles were exchanged with fellow admirers. It was like we were in a secret club. There was a sense of community that is normally lacking from the busy mercantile frenzy.

















It was genuinely uplifting, and I left with a joyousness that hadn't been there when I walked in.
















As simple as that, I was loving life.












What are you loving this week?







Linking with #FridayPhoto

Monday, 12 September 2016

In defence of public educators

I foolishly got caught up reading a stupid 'public or private' school debate on Facebook (never read the comments, people). I was offended on behalf of the excellent educators at my child's school when I read someone's comment that because the private schools teachers were paid more, they were more dedicated.

I went to a private school. I opted for public but had some fears, which quickly proved unfounded. Here is what I have found. Once you hit year 9 (some of you may know the homework becomes an issue in year 9 for some kids who grow too big for their teenage boots), I had a number of teachers ringing me every few days so that an issue in April was resolved by parent teacher interviews in June. The marks that had dropped to an all time low in April were back up in 80%+ in that short time and back in the 90's by the end of the year.

Last year I made a passing comment at the parent cocktail party to a teacher who my child had for Science in Year 7 and had again in Year 10, mentioning there'd been a lack of handing in homework the previous year and she should feel free to call me should it appear to happen again. An assignment was due the day my child was off competing in a Regional, and due to a technical error, the teacher hadn't received the assignment. She rang me at 9.40 to ask me about it - a brief discussion later she worked out it had gone into the junk folder, however, I was impressed that 7 months later she'd remembered our brief conversation and acted on it in such a timely fashion.

When the children perform in plays or concerts, there are many teachers there, even though they aren't required to be there as it isn't their subject. They clearly like these children, and have a genuine interest in them and their achievements.

At parent teacher last year, I was ticked off quite sternly by a Maths teacher for trying to push my child into a level of maths that would not suit them. The fact that she felt the need to put my child's best interest ahead of pleasing the parent meant a lot to me. And she was right. She knew my child's ability better than I did.

The teachers knew my child well enough to ask questions on their subject selection like "You know that class is at 7.30 am. Will you be able to make that work?" (even though my child arrives on time, mornings are not their strong suit) and "You know you'll have to give a lot of speeches. Will you be okay doing that?" At one point in the queue for an interview, a teacher came over and chatted to my child then handed them a usb. Curious, I questioned it. The teacher was the careers advisor, the usb was music that he thought my child would like to play in their garage band - it had stemmed from a conversation they had when organising the work experience. These things are all small, but reflect how engaged they are with my child.

After the Year 9 parent teacher, I wrote a letter to the school about how impressed I was at the dedication of the educators. Very few even needed to look up my child's marks to know their progress. They challenged my child to improve. They were open and frank and in the class where the homework had been lacking, the teacher focused solely on the rapidly improved mark and how there was still plenty of room for improvement now that the work was being done.

The school offers amazing sport opportunities, overseas trips and ski camps. It offers all the normal debate, photography, orchestra as extra curricular but so much more. You as a student are encouraged to decide what you want to do and get the clubs in motion. Facilities are made available and teachers, of their own good will, commit themselves to help make it happen.

As we head into the HSC, I'll get a figure that gives my child a score on their education. However, I believe a lot of schooling is up to the child and what they choose to do with the opportunities offered. Regardless of the mark we get, I have no regrets for the choice I struggled with all those years ago, I think it's been a successful education. I can't fault the teachers and for my child, it's been an excellent place for those formative years. I don't believe they would have got a better mark elsewhere and I'll never know if they would have been happier elsewhere with other teachers and students, however, I think school has been a good experience for them, they've always happily attended and they've been stretched and given responsibilities that have helped them grow.

I agree with the comment that public school teachers are underpaid and public schools are underfunded. It is a disgrace what the government has done to the educational system. However I strongly disagree that the teachers at public school aren't dedicated. From what I've seen, and my own personal experience, these teachers are dedicated despite the lack of pay, and perhaps that makes them focus on the child as an individual all the more. I'm not saying public school teachers are better than private school teachers. I'm sure private school teachers go the extra mile too. I'm merely defending the faultless dedication of the educators in the public system, based on my personal experience.

To the public educators that have to put their hand in their own pocket for chalk, that stay longer hours to help at the homework club or study help, who listen and engage with the kid going off the track, who watch the performances, who give up their free time to help with an extra curricular club, who make public school a better place for all, I salute you. You tireless effort does not go unnoticed.

Thank you.


Linking with #MummyMondays

Analysis of a life

I was asked to summarize a friendship. I had to write in unemotional terms how we had interacted over a decade. Not describe her as a great friend or a caring, generous, thoughtful person. Instead I had to talk about how we met and all the things we did together over that period. This task is harder than it sounds, If you are good friends, you do a lot together and it all blurs.

I found the upside to my lazy email system that results in my never deleting emails. I had plenty of emails to date stamp events. Weekends away, dinners and parties. Shared school and kids sport experiences. Obviously photos are a clue, but you do so much more together than you bother to photograph.

It was also odd the things you remember - not the event so much but the kooky conversation that took place, or an event that you weren't at but were told about excitedly after the fact. I knew her overseas holidays but had no timeline to them, as I was remembering our excited conversations in the lead up to the trip or looking at photos on her return. Our memories are not the clear history book we think it is, but as vague as poetry, an anthology jumbled together.

It amazed me how entwined our lives had been, and over such a long time. She's not even someone I would consider one of my oldest friends. In our heads we think we are living our own lives, but with a lot of our friendships, we are constantly sharing experiences. 


Friendship marks a life..."friendship is never anything but sharing." 

It made me realise how lucky I was to have such wonderful people in my life, people who've been walking beside me for a long time.

Have you ever had to analyze a friendship?

Linking with #Openslather

Friday, 9 September 2016

Run away to the circus







I've had a busy week with not much action to mention, but last week we went to Kooza! the Cirque de Soleil show that's currently in Sydney. As always, it's fabulous, and the best bit, it entertains the youngest through to the oldest in our crew, and that can be a tricky task indeed.

So lovin' what brings smiles to all five faces!












What are you loving this week?



Linking with #FridayPhoto