Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tres brief:

It's off to Japan I go in about nine hours; I think I've packed everything I might conceivably need; I seem to have gadgets multiplying exponentially, but that's all part of being young and high tech and high maintenance.

Have four inches of booky goodness for my flights plus a million songs on my ipod. And yoga nidras. And a plug converter (helpfully suggested by my husband, who jets off to conferences ALL THE TIME and so has to stay at home with the pug while I finally get to go away).

Packed: 2 skirts of conservative length for conference attending, flat shoes (black ballet flats), up shoes (shiny black mary janes), plain cardi (grey), sparkly cardi (black), little black dress (black), more casual dress (black and white) and plane blanket (black). Hmmmm. My violin case is also black. Should probably edit to add black/white/grey/pastel singlet/tees ....otherwise I sound a little risque. And underwear. Der.

Hope no-one has anything against goths. I think I've unconsciously styled my packing on the capsule style of visiting Japanese teachers (monochrome).
Could have modelled on style of another...he famously packs neat jeans, trendy jeans, and seven v-neck sweaters. All the same style, just different colors. With black/white polo to go underneath as appropriate. No, he's not gay, but I suspect his wardrobe is meticulously maintained by his wife.

Taking own hairdryer because I've never found another to be quite as good and I have room for it. Frick. No, I'm not. 240 V and 100 V are not easily compatible. Oh well. Lucky my haircut is so amazingly awesome I won't need it. And the humidity will probably render it useless anyway.
And now I've just read a post by Extranjera which is plunging me into flying freefall panic. lol.

The upside: Our garden looks great. My dad is a cool guy who will make endless tip runs and lecture me on the importance of REALLY cutting back roses. And I have an ipod because my mother upgraded the ballet school sound system and I was obsolete. So that's pretty awesome. And our deck is nearly done! Stairs go in on Saturday and I will return to a habitable deck I can once more eat breakfast upon without fear of plummeting to the ground. Yes, the bruises still hurt. There you have it. Let the transit begin!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Got deck?

It's squared off, has an approximate rail, and provided about and hour of quality entertainment for O today. Had something of a party this morning! Yesterday a parent brought about six cabbages and a small mountain of silverbeet to share about. Everyone has since departed their lesson clutching awesome homegrown and freshly harvested vegies :) Lovely people.
So, this morning saw E and his mom, followed by A and her mom... interrupted (happily) by O and his mom (aka my best friend, the other half of my brain, etc etc and so forth) while outside my dad did amazing and miraculous things to the garden and the builder and his lovely assistant built the deck. Got all that?

Moment of the morning: E finding NICE (not crunchy) tone on his tiny violin. And looking simultaneously awestruck and grumpy. Very funny. Oh, and A deciding she wanted an audience; in came O, in came mom, and they played "Kookaburra" (Twinkle Variation D, 8 semiquavers on each pitch) on one of the little foamy violins. O turns 2 in November. Don't know how we'll STOP him getting a real violin before 2 1/2....gee gosh DARN.

Have been listening to Regina Spector's new album Far and the last Clare Bowditch with great happiness. Such happiness that I'm not even a little bit obsessed with the whereabouts of my copy of Lionel Shriver's "The Post-Birthday World". You can tell, right?

It doesn't bug me at all that my habit of blithely handing out excellent books left, right and centre has resulted in zero copies of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" (I own TWO copies).

However, I might be better (only marginally) taking books I'm happy to jettison when read.
BUT, I don't want to waste all this quality flying (reading) time on crap books! Oh, the bitter conundrum.

Yes, I've thought of downloading to ipod, but can't turn the pages quite fast enough (there's not quite enough text per page at a comfortable font size). Mediocrity it must be.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh, West Wing. Why ARE you so wonderful?

Thursdays with O.

Decking is materialising with surprising speed. Yesterday there were struts, today there's actual decking. Tomorrow there may EVEN be stairs...oh, the joy!

Reading: Chalktown, by Melinda Haynes. Very good book. Gave up on the "Oh, I'm saving it for the flight" mentality and instead am now trying to FINISH book before flight as would be insanely stupid to take book with fifty pages left to read on flight. If you know me you will nod your head sagely at this point and say something like "Oh, YES."

To recap: pre-wedding (about six months pre) husband started to read Chesapeake. I'd already done so and recommended it to him. It went on our honeymoon with us. Then it came home with us. I think it got finished shortly before our first wedding anniversary. The joke being that while we were away I read the ten books I'd packed and then traded them in/bought new ones/read his.

Does anyone know how long it takes to send a fibreglass violin case from America to Australia? Incredibly, to purchase one here is between $400-$500. Bottom of the range, nothing fancy. BUT, Ebay is your friend! Buy it now for only $99US, pay $60US postage and TA-DAH!

One fire-engine red fiberglass case complete with hygrometer (measures humidity) can be yours. As long as you don't mind waiting a month. Which I wouldn't, except for the small issue of getting on a flight on Sunday. I'll (tragically) probably be separated from my shortly-to-be-beloved case by a couple of airport buggies. :P

BUT, at the library many wonderful books about fire-engines are completely available for instant gratification; it's quite wonderful rediscovering the local library through the eyes of an almost-2 yo. (Although our local library NOW is a much nicer and child-friendlier place than our OLD library. I remember damp carpet, dank little corners and squeaky stools which has particularly nasty groves for trapping little fingers.) BULL-dozer is the word of the millenium, so did we ever hit gold with a book titled...WAIT for it.... BULLDOZERS!

The text is truly gripping stuff; "Bulldozers push. Bulldozers change the shape of the land."
is followed by the heady rush of "Bulldozers have wide blades. Blades push dirt into piles."
And can you beat the adrenaline rush elicited by "Bulldozer drivers sit high up in cabs. Drivers use levers to lift and lower the blades."

Wow, in my next life I'm going to be a bulldozer driver. Or maybe even this life!I'm sure I could retrain. Seriously, no wonder kids want these jobs. I mean, all Daddy does is sit on a round and round chair. He moves a mouse thing to move boxes around on the screen. Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Follow up

So today it's one of my students' birthdays. He very sweetly brought cupcakes not only for his grade, but all the other violin kids. And me. And one I was told could go home to husband (after I gave his the option of eating it). Happy 12th birthday, dude. Hope we celebrate many more together.

I'm currently not-panicking about the impending Japan excursion; rather I keep picking up a particularly good book and then thinking, Oh, I must save this to read on the flight (along with four other books, I read FAST) and THEN I think "ERK! LEAVING country and term three and husband and pug and not-quite-completed deck in three days! MUST PACK!"

And then I sigh and think noooo, I still have teaching to do and realistically, anything I pack I will only need to unpack and reuse before I go. Packing will commence sixish Saturday night; my flight's six a.m. Sunday morning. Heaps of time.

Sadly, I rather overdid it today and my right arm is not particularly happy with me. I'll try for physio tomorrow but might have to play it by ear. Probably won't be dancing at Beaches tomorrow night but I'm sure the floor will be packed without us. P.S. Naomi you made my night ;) sorry there's not much to report today... and thank you for the link, Josh; hope your new accommodation is more salubrious and the pancakes less rubbery! Haunted is great, but I already knew that... I think it was the third rereading :) There's something fantastic about grossing self out with printed words.

And briefly in testament to how awesome the kids are I teach: two played a duet from memory at Assembly last week ... All the teachers are standing about saying "Wow! They're so incredible!" Mother of child no.1 rolls her eyes at this point and declares "Don't they KNOW they can play EVERYTHING from memory? I mean, really! We do this (Group lesson) EVERY WEDNESDAY!"
Yes, yes we do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Take heed, evil decks.

Apparently it's no longer enough to have Lego robots entertaining potential new students at a university open day, they must wear little t-shirts just like the faculty staff!

(Who will be wearing substantially larger t-shirts, just to clarify. IT geeks wearing shrunken tees? Eeeeesh.)

My darling husband drew me an excellently
detailed pattern (complete with helpful labelling so I knew the BODY should be WHITE and the SLEEVES PURPLE) and this morning I have made two little tees for robots as they gallivant through a tape maze and goggle-eyed students fight to sign up for a degree in Computer Science because they'll get to play with LEGO.
Clearly every geek's dream.

What the faculty won't tell them is that you DON'T actually get to program the robots until you're a postdoc student, and even then you'll have to do it in your lunch hour.

And the deck has disappeared! Lucy is newly confused this morning and has spent much time gazing out across the denuded backyard. She looks melancholy, but pugs usually do.

The burly assistant is off work due to a toothache (oh, the irony!) so we shall see how much more is achieved. For now I ought to make a list of things that need packing. It's summer in Japan...

Monday, July 27, 2009

What a day...

of nail-biting suspense (hey, any excuse in a storm) whike I waite to see if I had in fact triggered Armageddon. Turns out my polite email to the office was well received and I am not in the doghouse after all.
Nor will the doghouse spontaneously explode.
I hope.
Our deck has gone bye-bye today thanks to an industrious builder and his lovely beefy assistant. I'll put up a pic tomorrow. Hilariously, Lucy is VERY confused by the removal of her deck (home to kennel and transition area between back door and backyard. The fact that our sliding door is now some eight foot above ground level has not deterred her from asking to go out several times today.

The latest experience: Pug scratches at door. We kindly explain door isn't working and redirect to laundry door. Pug insists. We open door while holding onto pug, who noses about and promptly freaks out, thinking we're about to throw her into the abyss. Close door. Pug asks to go out. Sigh...

After facilitating manual exit from laundry door (read, carry Lucy to THAT door and firmly shove) pug can be heard loudly asking to come back in. At the bottom of the eight-foot drop. No, I'm not belaying you up the brick wall. Nice try.

As long as neither of us sleepily open the door for her tomorrow morning, we should be fine. I'm going to put a chair in front of that door right now just to stop myself...

In other news, my lovely father in law celebrated his birthday yesterday and my cake turned out beautifully. LOTS of chocolate, butter, cocoa, almond meal and egg white baked in a water bath (roasting dish half-filled with hot water) AMAZING. Ate far too much of it, but glorious. The sugar content incited hubby to skype some very funny interaction to his little bro in London... we're now experiencing the long, slow crash. Ow. We're so very very lucky in our families and all their acts of kindness. ow, if I can pay it forward by getting an OLD friend to move in with us for a while...happy days.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The day that was...

Sunday morning at the Music Cottage in Caulfield and time to hear another potted version of Suzuki ECE class and I wonder why the Association can’t organise attendance at events like this so they say “Hey, we see you’ve completed the ECE Course module I… and you’ve TAUGHT baby classes!

Well, gee whiz, this talk actually isn’t aimed at you, it’s an intro for teachers who don’t teach ECE and think they might like to.” Nope. Too clever by far. Instead, today is compulsory attendance for teachers enrolled in Intermediate accreditation. Mmm. Clever. I love driving to somewhere I don’t need to be on a Sunday morning to sit through something for (not the second time, that would be fine) but perhaps the fourth or fifth time? Come on, people. I’m going to JAPAN next week, can we not waste this time?

Ok. I realise this is hugely ungracious. It’s certainly not done to whinge about repetition; this being the foundation of the philosophy I spend forty hours a week teaching and lots more practising… but the incompetence that means we sit through non-informative content after paying huge amounts for the privilege on a precious and rare day off gives me the irrits.

On the plus side, last night husband and I ventured forth to Court Jester’s. Tucked away behind Victoria St, Brunswick, this place does great Polish food and ticked all my boxes when they agreed to cook me breakfast. At 8 pm.

Not even the man I married will do that.

Goulash, breakfast *kugel stack* and SWEET *mixed berry* dumplings later, I ate a mint and choc-chip muffin made with real mint and enjoyed a really good coffee. while carving up the table. No, we didn’t dance on it. But tools were provided and we were invited to scarify the surface of our dining table.
While discussing the private lives of our nearest and dearest, I decorated the table with a treble clef and a fleet of oms.

Rod chose to declare “I BRING NOTHING TO THE TABLE” (debatable) and followed up with a nice rendition of “TABLE HERO” in the style of “GUITAR HERO” in logo style. Another (far more imaginative) girl than me scratched out a knife and fork on the table where they would sit in a place setting, which was very good. Wish I’d had a camera!
And today after my little tantrum (which has produced an email which will possibly get me excommunicated) we've been lovingly cooked for and skyped with the J-Dub sojourning in London. Lucky bugger. Oh well, all things oriental shall be mine next week!