August 19 2012

Testing app posting!

So, today I have a pile of stuff to do. I have marking, planning, housework, washing, and shopping to get through. What am I doing instead, you ask? (or you would ask if anyone was reading this??) I’m app shopping. I just downloaded iview – Doctor Who on my phone? Yes please!!! – and after a post on yammer from a colleague, thought I’d check out the edublogs app. That’s what I’m posting from, just to check it out!!

January 23 2012

Run Like A Mother …

How cool is that book title? I’m hunting the book down at the moment, in the hope that it might give me some support in making my new venture stick past my first few forays. Yep, I’m taking up running. Well, to be honest, I don’t know that you could call what I did last night “running” … it was more an energetic walk, with spurts of jogging as the voice in my head told me to “start running now”. My beautiful friend Tracey has recently started to do the C25K program. I’ve always secretly wanted to run …. something about the idea of just me, and the road, and my thoughts, seems appealing. But when you are unfit, and overweight, how do you get to that? Yeah, I didn’t know either – and it was easier to just sit at home and dream about it, but not actually do anything to get me there. Procrastinator, anyone? Last night, I decided it was time to do something about it. Rather than wait until the weather was good, or the stars were in alignment, or we could afford to join a gym, I pulled out the joggers. I searched for some pants – and found them, thanks to my husband’s suggestion (how is it he knows so much about my wardrobe? scary!) And I left the house, iphone in hand, and went for a walk/ jog. How did it go? Much better than I expected, actually! The first session on the C25K app program gets you to walk for a 5 minute warmup, then alternate 60 seconds running with 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes, followed by a 5 minute cooldown walk. I felt better in the running phase than I expected – I really liked it, truth be told, even though I couldn’t breathe particularly well. I also didn’t manage to run for a full 60 seconds at a time, which was a bit of a disappointment, but I’m going to go again tonight, and try and push it a bit more. I’m hoping that before I move on the second day of the program (it gives your 3 days per week of training) I’ll be able to do the first one properly! After I got home, looking like I don’t know what, I felt exhausted. Sore. Tired. Beetroot red. But, I also felt really good. It reminded me of when I used to do karate, and how satisfying it felt after a good training session. And also, how good it felt to do something for me. So I’m on a mission to make this a habit. It’s certainly better than some of my other ones!! I’ll keep you posted about how I go. The scary thing? I was searching on ebay last night for a bike. I secretly harbour the dream to do a triathalon. Yeah, I laugh at me too …. but I’m still keeping an eye out for a bike, for me and for Kelsey, who wants to go exercising with mum!! Till next time …. take care of you! Love Tamara

January 15 2012

Inconsistently yours …

Yep, it’s been ages again. Are you surprised? Me either. I logged in today to discover that there were about half a dozen posts I’d started over the past year, but didn’t get around to finishing them – so I deleted them. Moving on. So, it’s 2012!! Did you have a great Christmas? I did – so relaxed. Christmas eve was spent with some wonderful friends who have become very important to us. Christmas day we went to Mum’s place, with all our family around, and it was very laid back – just the way I like it. Boxing day Dennis and I spent at home by ourselves, as the kids visited family (woo hoo!!) And then we started packing. Our usual 2 weeks at Colo over new years seemed even better this year … partly because I had Dennis there pretty much the whole time, and partly because we decided to just take advantage of the time to relax, and take the opportunity to spend with our wonderful kids. Plus, as always, there are friends and family there – with some new friends this year!! Some highlights for mw …. jet-skiing, which we all loved. Kayaking, which Tayla took to like some kind of waterbird to, well, water. Some of the best books I’ve read in a long time (partly because I haven’t had a chance to read ANYTHING in a long time!) And the realisation that, yes, all the hard work I’ve done on myself in the past year or so has paid off. I’m happy in my skin, and I’m happy in my head. I think taking this time out gave me the chance to reflect on it, which I haven’t had time to do over the past very hectic 12 months. This time last year I was in the middle of some serious work with my psychologist. It was tough. I didn’t want to go back for another appointment, but I knew I had to, or I’d just be living in the same kind of trauma I had been for years – coping, but kidding myself that everything was ok. So I went back, again and again, until it DID get easier. I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished, both for myself, and for my family. We rock, collectively, and I adore who we are, and I don’t think that would be so easy for me to say without the work I’ve done, and in some ways am still doing, on myself, and how I feel about who I am. So, that’s how I’m starting this year. No resolutions, because they don’t often stick…. just some reflections, and lots of gratitude. How about you? What are you doing to kick off this new year? A couple of pictures to finish off – the first, my beautiful family, as we got ready to take Kelsey to her year 6 farewell. Yes, she’s heading off to high school this year. No, I’m not nearly ready for that!!

How grown up does she look? And no-one is allowed to mention how tall Kieran is either – sheesh. Who told these kids they were allowed to get so tall on me? The last picture I’ll leave you with broke my heart. It was a quick snap of my gorgeous girl, who looked at in the camera screen and said “Wow, I’m pretty”, with a tone of total shock in her voice. Yes, yes you are my princess … but you are SOOOO much more than that.

Every time I look at this pic now (which is often!!) I get a little tear – how can she not know she’s beautiful? I keep reminding her now – but also, that she’s soooo much more than just a gorgeous exterior! She’s sweet, and generous, and quirky, and dedicated …. one of the most amazing people I know, and I’m so proud to call her mine. No promises about what may or may not appear on here in the coming weeks or months – I might post some of the scrapping the girls and I have done in the next couple of weeks. I might not post until next January again!! We’ll see. Take care of you and yours!! Love, Tamara

June 18 2011

Saturday ….

Licenced under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Licenced under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

So, it’s been 2 days, and I’ve already failed my self-imposed “blog every day” mission. Quite frankly, I’m not surprised – I don’t know what I was thinking!! But I’m back today. It’s been a quiet Saturday at home. After some early morning mum’s taxi duties, taking my son to rehearsals for a school show, and my daughter to gymnastics, I’m been pretty much neglecting all other parental/ domestic duties today. Washing? Sorry, can’t do it, I need to find some CC pics for my wiki page. Vacuuming? Wish I could, but I’m looking for the most user-friendly (read: easy for me to set up without ruining anything!!) platform for my discussion group to use on monday. Eating? Why yes, pass the freddo frog!!

So, the scourge all all procrastinators has hit me today. Twitter is failing to play nice, both on my DER laptop and my beloved iPhone. My first attempt at creating a google doc has disappeeared into the ether somewhere (or the cloud, as the case may be). And I’ve realised that my way or organising my links? Yeah, it’s not really working for me. I can’t find anything I want.

So, I’m resorting to blogging, on the premise that at least while I’m typing something I’m feeling marginally productive. In the hope that someone other than me, and possibly Damian, will read this, I’m putting a call out for your ideas.
Digital devices in the English classroom. What works? What doesn’t? What don’t we know about, because no-one has tried it yet? If you could choose ONE thing you’d like to try in your classroom, but aren’t sure how, what would that be? I’m looking for the answers to questions I don’t know yet. Help a sister out!!

K, off to make a coffee, harrass another freddo (don’t you love fundraising chocolate boxes????) and try twitter again. If nothing else, today has shown my how much a part of my working life that little blue bird has become!!

Take care,

February 26 2011

New addictions …

Twitter. Yammer. Polyvore. Ecaudor Dark Chocolate Magnums. Yep, it’s been a great couple of weeks!!

My confidence ...

My confidence … by princess-tamara on

Not a lot of scrapping going on, but I’m becoming rapidly addicted to the creative possibilities of Polyvore …. and I’m seriously developing a shoe fetish!!

In other news … work, work, work. Loving it, but it’s taking up a lot of time, which means that some things are having to go! Thankfully, the things that are giving way are non-essentials – you know, housework. That kind of thing.

Oh, and if you have been stalking this blog waiting (IM)patiently for an update since my last post, I’m terribly sorry …. I’m not a good blogger, am I? lol

I have been doing some scrapping over the past month or so – mostly at the Scrapgirls mother daughter retreat, which was a blast. My gorgeous girls and I had a ball, and they both won prizes, the clever little things! Also had a wonderful day scrapping with Shelee and AT …. belated thanks for a lovely day, ladies!

K, I’m off to wrap birthday presents – Bella’s third birthday party tomorrow, with a special guest appearance from Dora the Explorer – pop back soon, I may surprise you with another post, and some photos!!

Love ya,

August 15 2010

Our post-testosterone haze

So, a few weeks ago, slug boy, aka Kieran, turned 16. And for quite a while now, he’d been pestering us about his birthday party. Making plans. Reminding me ad nauseum that twiggy sticks were essential. Increasing the amount of guests (aka other slug boys) that he wanted to stay over. And last night, the x-box extravaganza took place. Slugs started slithering from their parental vehicles at about 4, and by 6, the house was over-run with testosterone. I was reminded why I’m glad that I teach at a co-ed school – 10 of them was bad enough, but a whole class of them??? Ugggh.

The big tv from the lounge room was moved to the back room, so they could system link the two tvs and xboxs and battle each other. Dennis was stuck with a little 34cm tv in the lounge room – it looks rediculous in our big unit! lol They were all glued to the tvs until dinner, aka plates full of meat and potatoes, was served, at which point they awoke from their previously catatonic state and went outside to eat. Then promptly started stick fighting with stumps, cricket bats and broom sticks. Note to self – next time, get parental units to sign an indemnity form.

Luckily, they all survived, then went back to the xboxes, after a quick detour for mud cake topped with proffiteroles with pretty sparkly candles. The girls and I headed out for a night at the movies – if you haven’t been to half pipe, the bean bag cinema, you really need to try it! At Hoyts Mt Druitt – not sure if they have them in other places as well, and it was fun. Tayla, of course, had to practise somersaulting from one to the next – luckily the cinema wasn’t very full! lol

I got home fully expecting to see the boys all still glued to the screens. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered them old school gaming. With dice, and a board. Yep, all crowded in the lounge room playing board games. I was shocked. Apparently they were lured from the back of the house by Angelina Jolie on the tv (entirely understandable!!!) and then felt the need to play a WW2 recreation game. Yep, Kieran’s friends are obviously as big military nuts as he is …. sigh.

Dennis and I went to bed at about 1am, and awoke this morning to discover that 3 of the slug boys had not slept at all … they gamed through the night. 2 of those have already gone home – they just couldn’t cope, I guess, and were probably asleep before their cars hit the end of the street. I spent an hour this morning cooking bacon and hash browns, and they are shooting at each other again. Not sure what time they are all leaving, but I hope it’s soon – I need a nanna nap!

So, the toll for the evening?
1.5 kg twiggy sticks
2 kg sausages
2 kg chicken kebabs
2 kg potato bake
2 kg popcorn chicken
10 bags of lollies and chips
5 boxes of softdrink (they were attempting to build an empty can pyramid – the crash at 3am indicated they were not too successful at that venture)
2 kg bacon
2 bags hash browns

Luckily, they didn’t want to appear too greedy, so not many of them touched the salad I’d so carefully prepared. Apparently, whilst green is great on camoflauge gear, it’s not so popular on your dinner plate. Who knew??

Whilst I complained on facebook during the night about the crashes, smells and other assorted noises in my house, I will say this …. we’ve done a good job with this boy. Whilst I was out shopping for his party food yesterday, he was tidying the house. At random moments throughout the night and morning, he’s come up to me to give me a hug and say thanks, and that he loves me. His friends are polite, responsible, and a really great group of people, and it’s been no trouble at all having them here. (I can say that because I’m fairly certain that none of them read my blog – wouldn’t say it to their faces though, they might keep coming back!! lol) So, while I sit here inhaling my 2nd coffee for the morning, and listen to them abusing each other (“stop shooting me!!!!!”), I’m reminded how blessed I am. It’s been a rough few years with this boy, but even at our worst, I know that it could have been way more horrendous, and I know that, compared to what others have faced, and are facing with their teens, we’ve got it easy. In fact, compared to what we went through first time round, this is a cake walk. I’m proud of the young man he’s turning into, and I’m proud of how we as a couple, and as a family, are dealing with it. Go us!!

Was planning on adding some photos, but can’t find the card reader – I suspect it’s in Kieran’s room, and I’m wary of venturing out there at the moment. Contemplating having a shower, then another coffee, perhaps followed by some rollerskating this afternoon? Not sure if my body is up to it, but it could be fun!

Take care everyone – have a great sunday!

August 4 2010

A long time between drinks.

Almost a year, in fact, since I posted on here. And what a year it’s been. I’ve been going through a lot …. WE’VE been going through a lot. As a couple, as parents, as an extended family, it’s been emotional, and exhausting, and scary, and amazing …. it’s been full of a lot, and I can’t begin to find the words to express it all here. I will say this though …. I’m so very grateful that I have so many wonderful people around me. I’m so very grateful for the man I get to call mine every day. I’m so very grateful for these children who I probably don’t deserve, but who still call me mum anyway, and who love me in spite of all my hangups about myself. I’m so very grateful for these crazy beautiful wonderful women that I call my friends. And I’m so grateful for the gift of a wonderful woman who I don’t know very well, but who has been an enormous help to me, and is still helping me work through all this baggage that I’ve been hanging on to for such a very long time.

So, I’m blogging again …. for no other reason that, as part of some much needed therapy, I’ve started writing. And I forgot how much I missed it. And, I’ve been reading some blogs, and I’ve been moved. Inspired by the lives of some wonderful women who are struggling with the ordinariness of womanhood. Enchanted by the strength that they have shown in embracing that ordinariness, and celebrating the amazing worth that is them. So I decided it was time to get back to blogging. I’ve spent the past hour or so reading over my old posts, with tears streaming down my face, as I relived some wonderful moments. As I remembered the pain of loss, and the stinging tears that accompanied my last meal of eggs and soldiers. I’m so glad this blog lurks here, holding these reflections for me, and I don’t want to forget them.

There has been a lot going on over the past few months, and I’m still really overwhelmed with it all. Lots of elephants, big and small, lurking in the corners of my livingroom. What are the elephants? They’re my baggage, both spoken and unspoken, and I’ve spent a lot of time ignoring a lot of them, but it’s been getting harder and harder lately, and to be honest, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I mentioned blogs I’ve been reading …. the most powerful, and the most profound for me, is Tracey Clark’s collection of reflections on Enoughness …. I Am Enough. Such beautiful women. Such real stories. And each time I read one, I’m struck by how similar in so many ways they are, or were, to me. I’m really sick, in this elephant-ridden room, of feeling like I’m not enough, so I’m taking hold of the promise of me, and giving myself a break. My dead people would be pissed at me for giving myself such a hard time. I’m pissed at myself for giving myself such a hard time. And if I know nothing else about that awesome man I call a husband, I know that HE’S pissed at me for giving myself such a hard time! So I’m trying to be nicer to this girl who is me, and I’m hoping that she gets better at accepting that. Am I Enough? Right now I’m not 100% believing of that, but I’m getting closer!

Wow, that’s a deep one for my return to the blogosphere huh? I guess I’ll be around more often, as I get back into the swing of this writing thing …. I’d forgotten how much it helps me clarify my thoughts when I purge those thoughts from my crowded head. Even if no-one is still reading this, I will be …. so thanks for reading, me, and I’ll talk to you again soon!

August 23 2009

A life well lived, but not long enough.

Shelley. What do you say about such a wonderful person? She had such an enormous impact upon the world around her, as evidenced by the massive amount of people who couldn’t fit in the chapel for the funeral, by the facebook, email, sms and personal words of sorrow, and by the uncontrolled tears that have flowed in the past week.

Tuesday …. I was on my way to work. Running late, as usual. I was going across the bridge over the M4 on Mamre Rd. The phone rang, and I almost didn’t answer it … I was driving, so I usually just let it go to message bank, but something made me check who it was. As soon as I saw my sister’s name, my heart sank. She told me that Shelley had been unresponsive that morning, and they’d had to call the MET team. A quick change of plans, and a call to work … before I knew it, I was at the hospital. It was way too familiar an experience. My mum was already there, talking to our cousin, who runs the Oncology ward there. Shelley was conscious, but really struggling. She was in an out all day … awake, but not really lucid. Obviously very distressed, and in a lot of pain. One of her sisters was there too, another was on her way, and the third was getting ready to drive from Bourke. It was a long emotional day. Shelley’s sons were there, looking as shell-shocked as I’ve ever seen them. My sister was holding it all together. Some special friends gathered, and were just legends. A bit after 7pm tuesday night, everyone else left the room. Shelley and Lorraine were in the room by themselves, with a nurse. And Shelley left this world the way she wanted to – with no fuss, quickly, and with the love of her life by her side.

I rang Dennis straight away, and Kieran could tell without being told what had happened. I stayed with Lorraine until after midnight … a trip back to her place to put Bella-Rai to bed, have drink, then head back to the hospital to wait for Shelley’s other sister, who was still travelling from Bourke. We didn’t want to tell her over the phone, and we really wanted to be there when she found out. After spending a bit of time with Shelley, and seeing her so peaceful, it was time to leave. It was hard for Lorraine to walk out that door, and I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for her.

Wednesday morning, we had to tell the girls. They lost it, understandably. Tayla said “why does this keep happening to us?” How do you answer that? I have no idea …. it’s too hard for me to get my head around, so how do I expect a 6 year old to? They’ve been coping as ok as can be expected. We had the funeral on Friday, just like Shelley wanted. I spent Thursday night organising and editing photos of Shelley for the slideshow. It was so hard – to see that beautiful smile, the funny faces, and all the wonderful memories, and know that we weren’t going to have any more of these. Even harder was getting ready to head off to the funeral. What a beautiful service though. Lots of pink – the guys in our family were wearing pink ties, we were all wearing rainbow ribbon pins, as well as pink ribbons in honour of all those fighting breast cancer. A beautiful photo, along with some special keepsakes sitting on top of the coffin. Shelley’s biker bear and stuffed motorbike. Some beautiful words by one of the kids from the Cottage, the OOSH centre Lorraine runs, and that Shelley used to work at before she got too sick. Wonderful memories. Some VERY Shelley music. And a beautiful Bella-Rai, dancing in the aisle, wandering around and saying hello to everyone she loved.

Afterwards, we all went back to the Cottage for a celebration of a wonderful life. Kelsey and Tayla said that we had to have fairy bread – Aunty Shelley almost wouldn’t come to one of Tay’s birthday parties one year, because we weren’t having fairy bread, so we had to make some so she would come. I think it was the kind of gathering she would have loved to be at … all her favourite people. After that, we went to Lorraine’s place for dinner and drinks – there was a huge amount of food left from the wake, and I think there still is, two days later!

How are we all doing? Good question … and one I’m not nearly capable of answering clearly. I feel like a part of my broken heart is missing. The girls are slightly shell-shocked still. Kieran is wandering around looking a little lost. Bella doesn’t know what’s going on – it hasn’t hit her yet that her Mumma isn’t around, and it will take a bit of time for that reality to hit her, the poor little munchkin. Everyone else is missing that dry sense of humour, and that total honesty. Lorraine … I don’t know. She’s missing the love of her life. I think she’s feeling totally lonely … surrounded by so many people who love her, she wants the only one she can’t have any more. My already broken heart is breaking even more for her.
So, I guess this post, as sombre as it is, is a celebration of a life who has made mine so much richer for it’s influence. I love her so much, my life is both fuller and emptier because of her. There aren’t many people in your life who can leave such an indelible mark after 8 short years. Shelley …. always in my heart. Love you forever. There aren’t many people I would choose to be bald for. You made us all better people, and more importantly, made my sister happy. We are going to be there for the family you have left behind, and make your legacy live on in the lessons you have taught us. What an honour, and a privilege. You really were the wild one, and we loved you for it.

August 2 2009

Oh my gosh, the pressure!!!!!

From work, home, kids, Mandy …. I tell you …. it’s everywhere!! lol

The past couple of weeks have been a nightmare, work-wise. Lots and lots of stuff to do. We’ve had program review on, so all our programs have to be handed in – and since we’ve overhauled what we are teaching, and there are new texts this year for the HSC, we’ve had a massive amount to do. Thankfully friday was D-day – almost all of them are done, and handed in. Just one more Richard 3 one sitting open on my laptop as I type, waiting for the finishing touches.

ALmost no scrapping done over the past few weeks, as I’ve been too busy with school stuff, and dashing backwards and forwards to the hospital to spend some time with Shelley. We had a fab day today with Bella, my little niece, coming over to play … thank goodness I hadn’t vacuumed before she came, as she thought it was hysterical to use the chip bowl as a hat. It was rather cute – only problem was it still had chip crumbs in it!!

I did get to scrap this last night though – for Chooks Idol comp, which I’m loving. It was also chosen as layout of the day over there … made me happy in my heart!! The challenge was to use fabric and flowers, and a mixed alpha title. Oh yeah … it needed to be monochromatic!! Can you figure out what colour I decided to go with?? lol
This other one, very UN-monochromatic, was for a CC challenge a couple of weeks ago. And, I just realised that these pics of Tayla must have been taken around the same time – she’s wearing the same shirt. Not that that is a big surprise though – she LOVED it, and would wear it every day if I let her. We used to have to hide it if it needed to be washed.
I’m going on LSBS retreat next weekend … I can’t wait!! So, Mandy, if you give me a bit of time to get home from that, and I’ll have another update for you, I promise! Maybe even a Shabby layout, if you are lucky.
Ok, off to finish grappling with Richard and Pacino. Night all!
July 20 2009

A shabby holiday!

Well, one week is down in my holidays. One more to go. What have I done? A lot of nothing. Some housework … only some, mind you. Major renovation in Tayla’s room – we pulled down her gorgeous castle loft bunk, and put her very pretty girly bed back in there. She’s over the castle bed, which makes me a bit sad, but we’ve certainly gotten our money’s worth out of it … so look out for a pre-loved castle loft bunk coming to an auction site near you! lol

I’ve done some bits and pieces of school work – still have a massive amount to do though. Sigh.

I’ve been to the movies a few times – we all took the girls to see Hannah Montana, which was REALLY good. We even went and brought the soundtrack for it the next day. Seriously, I enjoyed it heaps … so did Dennis. Oh yeah, the girls liked it too. lol I took Kieran to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince … yeah, I liked it. It was good. I laughed a lot. I was sad at the end. But part of my sadness wasn’t just for the death … it was for the parts of the book that I had been looking forward to seeing on screen, that didn’t make the final cut. Sigh …. I guess we’ll just have to wait until November 2010 and July 2011 to see how the final films resolve all that, given that there was some stuff in HBP that I thought was fairly important background info for what happens in Deathly Hallows. Yes, I know, I’m a book snob. So sue me. lol My sister and I, after much running around the countryside to make a session that wasn’t sold out, went to see My Life in Ruins, which was funny, light hearted, and just what we needed!!

Scrapping … yep, done a bit. Not a lot, mind you … but I’ve brought pretty new things, does that count?
This is my layout for the big band round of Chook Scraps Idol – the criteria was to scrap a double layout, with at least 8 pics, 3 pp and some metal. These are pics from my Nan and Pa’s home town, taken on the day we went and put Pa’s ashes in the memorial wall.

And this is my only-just-making-it-in-by-the-skin-of-my-teeth entry in the first challenge at Let’s Get Shabby. We had to be inspired by this picture:

And I was very inspired!! I’ve gone with a pink, cream and green colour scheme from the pic, and chosen a picture of a beautiful girl wearing a hat. I’ve also placed text at the top and the bottom, ala the picture, and used some paint, stitchy and ribbony elements to shabby it up. I’ve also concertinad some layers of the flowers to mimic the fans in the pic – but you can’t see that very well!

And the other thing that’s got me just a little sad at the moment … my boy has gone on a cadets camp. Yep, done that heaps before, and normally I’m cheering at a few days break from the testosterone-fueled drama that surrounds a 14year old. But this week, he becomes a 15year old. While he is at camp. And I won’t see him on his birthday. I know, it happens right? But this is the first time I won’t be seeing one of my kids on their birthday, and I’m a little sad about it. I’m sure we’ll both cope though, and before you know it he’ll be home and we’ll be fighting all over again. Nice!

K, that’s it for me – I’d better go and cook something for dinner. I’ve been all Masterchef inspired lately – last night was lamb shanks on a bed of mashed baby and sweet potatoes with steamed veges. Tonight, meatloaf. Dennis is loving not having to cook so much. I don’t know how long it will last, though, so he’d better make the most of it!! lol