Today's lovely moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Brisbane Craft & Quilt Fair
Brisbane Craft & Quilt Fair Oct 24, 2007 - Oct 28, 2007 Brisbane Exhibition Centre, South Bank, Brisbane, Australia
Yesterday, I went for a 'look-see' with my friend, Nadia. We were both quite excited at the lovely range of papers & beads, not to mention cross-stitch kits.
I don't do a lot of craft other than cross stitching because I think that there is enough stash in that one activity to make my workroom overflow & max the credit card. Every year, however, I make my own Christmas stationery, so yesterday I spent 3 lovely hours exploring the many stalls.
There was a glut of Swarovski & Delica beads, which I need for a future project, so I think I will return to the fair today armed with a credit card & a shopping list.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Celebrity vs Hero
I dislike to be found old-fashioned, but I have to tell you that I simply don’t get this mass-media celebrity stuff. I'm not talking about the recognition of people who have heroic qualities, who are 'save the day' kinds of people who have achieved something of note to gain public attention (perhaps as simple as something written, something sculptured, something fought for). I'm talking about the over-the-top media worship of people who are widely-recognised & famous who command a high degree of public and media attention but who don't seem to have done anything but be in the right place at the right time.
So what brought on this blog entry? Not so long ago we had the Paris Hilton fiasco. Should she go to jail, or not? That was unavoidable mind-numbing drivel. Then, we had the Britney Spears tragedy - for goodness sake, she's aged barely more than a kid herself & trying to cope with somewhere near 6 billion people watching (& supposedly having an opinion about) her every move! I thought having my mother watching my efforts of growing up & at raising children was a hard enough gig. If I was Britney, I too would be fluffing around somewhat & wishing that I could do it in private.
Today's headlines on MSN news (& it's the fact that this is considered headline news) highlight the Spice Girls' latest supposed rows & the fact that Sharon Osbourne envies Danni Minogue.
Those of you who know me well, know that I much prefer to read 'how to' articles than about someone else's opinion of a person. I don't closely read gossip magazines nor biography genre books. I don't watch soaps or 'real life' television. It doesn't mean that I live in a vacuum, either. There are some things you can't miss, a bit like the odour of garlic that permeates it's location. I don't think that there is such thing as a 'perfect life'. In my opinion, everyone on the planet breathes in and out for themselves according to circumstance, so what life choices people make are private & personal & not our business or open for comment. Hence to the headlines mentioned above, my response is: Who cares? Let these people's disagreements & envies remain private so that those envolved can gently sort them out.
I once complained to a women's magazine editor that I thought some of the coverage of people's lives was intrusive & best left alone. Her response was that it sells magazines, so obviously everyone wants to know, & therefore it's in public interest to print every scandalous innuendo that came across her desk (Yeah right! Getting photos to go with Diana's private life got her killed. How intrusive was that?)
In an abstract early morning way, I then thought some more about life (I hate this over-analysation gene! I'm sure Niew Idea & Woman's Day publishers - neither of which I read since the response to my complaint - love readers like me). Forget the supposed envy of Sharon; why would I want to be Danni Minogue or any of the Spice Girls for that matter? I like my own life & circumstances a whole lot better.
I know that there are flaws in the following argument but let's face it, in the most superficial way imaginable, I'd not like to be Posh simply because she looks (soooo hungry &) so miserable! I've rarely, if ever, seen a pic of Posh smiling, which is a pity, because while she is, in my opinion, far too thin to be beautiful she has some lovely facial attributes. It's those damned cameras intruding on her life, no doubt! The reality is that the Spice Girls probably get along fairly well & are not on the verge of a fight all the time. With a camera shoved in my face so often by people I don't know who are asking intrusive questions I would not ask of my best friends, I'd probably be construed as bad tempered too (hell, I get considered bad tempered if I squint without my glasses). For poor old Posh, it'd be like having a bus baring down upon her on the footpath every time she walked out the door - hard work & very intrusive. Give the girls a fair go, I say!
Danni has her own set of unenvieable circumstances. Yes, she is gorgeous, & she has a successful TV & singing career, a fabulous wardrobe of clothes & probably more money than my neighbourhood will earn in a life-time, but on a personal level, she's seemingly unlucky in love, mostly noted for the the size of her thighs & the changing shape of her nose (I thought she was most beautiful before all the reported surgery) and that she is the sister of the just-as-unlucky Kylie. Sadly, who takes any note of her supposed work with AIDS sufferers & promotion of gay society except, of course, those who directly benefit? Shamefully, mass-media hysteria wouldn't make her a celebrity if that's all she did.
All that hype aside, do you know why I'd hate to be (& therefore do not envy) Danni Minogue? I'd hate to be Danni simply because she's childless. For me, I wouldn't want to contemplate a life without my husband or children & all the wonderful years of chaos & music that went with them.
It's a simple matter of opinion, I know. Why Danni doesn't have kids is her business, not yours, nor mine. I wouldn't dare express any opinion, if I had one. I simply wouldn't want to be her because she doesn't. Everything else she has would not make up for that lack, for me.
I don't know anything much about Sharon Osbourne except that she reportedly has a family comprising of three biological off-spring & an adopted child from a deceased family friend (I've heard her name but then I googled her to find out who she was). I read that it's a supposedly wacky family but am sure that the fame game probably makes it seem wackier than it would be if it was Joe Blog's family down the street. It's all an author's opinion & heresay. Anyway, the point is that if I was childless, I'd be wanting to do whatever & pay any price it takes to have three kiddies of my own. Lucky Sharon. Lucky Posh.
In my humble opinion, no gig in life beats being a parent & all it entails. Being a celebrity (famous for being famous) is a dead end game. Being a parent is to be rich, heroic & immortal. I have the finest furnishings: kids.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thanks for all the lovely compliments about my stitching. You readers are very encouraging!
Apart from one book on the bottom shelf, I've finished a lot of the big stuff. It's now time to go back and fill in the minutiae.
I think that this project would have been far better done on a larger count of fabric. It's supposed to be 14 count but I think it's 16 count. Hence, some of the details are lost. A pity.
Just as an aside ...
I've done enough gridding on projects to now know that you need to remove it before you begin the backstitching. Be wary of splitting the tacking threads! They come out quite easily if you take care.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Only small changes this week even though I seem to have done a fair number of stitching hours compared to the previous couple of months.
I can't believe the difference between stitching on light & dark fabrics. Black is such a challenge that I've taken to wearing magnifying glasses & using stronger light because of the colour - anything that helps!
Nevertheless, Fred's still a cutie & a joy to sew.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Fa bel tempo oggi, no?
Ieri, ho avuto mia prima lezione in italiano perché in 2010 desidero andare in Italia imparare come cucinare.
Yes folks, I'm learning Italian! For my next significant birthday, Paul & I want to spend three weeks at cooking schools in France & Italy. I can already write & speak fluent French, but I don't think that wee bit of Italian for opera I studied at university is going to do me much good except when burning the spaghetti! Therefore, it's time to brush up on my day-to-day Italian.
Wish me luck!
Happiness & laughter always,
Monday, October 15, 2007
I could never work out why EVERYONE didn't remain friends. As a young person, I always felt that one should aim to be friends for life & that it was a responsibility to follow through with a friendship for as long as I drew breath. Then, I learned a valuable lesson about people coming into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I learned that it's not imperative or possible that everyone stays forever active for/with you.
The thing is to identify what positions people hold in your life. When you know which time-frame a person occupies in your world, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a reason, it's usually to meet a need you have expressed. They may have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. These people are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. Sometimes there is nothing left to say.
What we must realise is that our needs have been met, our desires fulfilled, & the 'work' is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a season, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real.
But only for a season.
Lifetime relationships teach you lifelong lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
Cherish every one of these groups of people. Rejoice in their role in your life. All are important people who blissfully enrich your existence. You, in turn, touch their lives too.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Matthew Absalom October 8, 2007
AHEAD of the October 1 release of the Australian Primary Principals Association "Charter on Primary Schooling" I was hoping for a visionary document. You know, one that warms your heart and sets your brain abuzz all at the same time. What I got was a disappointing rehash of the usual complaints.
If you haven't read it, here's a quick summary: too much is expected of primary schools so we need to identify core elements of the curriculum and focus on those. I bet you can't guess what the core elements are? English (literacy), maths (numeracy), science and social education. Nothing new there.
Critics of education in Australia have been calling for a return to the so-called traditional disciplines which has seen the canning of SOSE at secondary level in favour of history and geography.
Yet, the APPA has opted for a catch-all core area entitled social education. This is symbolic of staid thinking. The principals scramble to say that "all eight learning areas are worthwhile" but it is clear that this is just talk. They even suggest that the arts, languages, learning technologies, and other activities can all be delivered through "the core areas".
I have three main problems with this charter. First, while whingeing and whining about the cluttered curriculum and the "growing trend to load the primary school with every issue that others are unable to solve", the principals turn around and say that primary schooling is the "only means by which every child can gain access to essential learning" and that quality primary schooling is the cornerstone of a "good society".
I agree unreservedly with the need for good primary schooling but I think it's a bit rich of the APPA to claim to have a key place in society but only on their own terms.
The notion of "essential learning" is also problematic and leads to my second difficulty. Can we accept on face value research carried out "under the auspices" of the APPA? It would appear that this research has happily supported an agenda of stripping down the curriculum. Does this research define "essential learning" as having a narrow focus on four core areas?
My definition of "essential learning" would be somewhat different. To begin with it would reflect the fact that we live in a multilingual world, not one dominated by English monolinguals.
If we want to look at some research material, a good starting point would be the vast range of work that shows beyond doubt that literacy is not only learnt through English. In fact, learning languages is proven to impact positively on literacy in English.
This charter opens the door for schools to scrap logistically difficult curriculum areas like languages. There are already issues for languages in terms of teacher supply and quality, timetabling, resourcing and language choice.
The APPA wants schools to have the choice to make decisions on the basis of "an assessment of the needs of students, and the capacity of the school, including the availability of staff members with the expertise to teach the subject, time available, resourcing, support from the local community, the tradition and profile of the school".
This clearly would spell the end for languages in primary schools. The APPA says that "for all schools, the charter offers a mandate". If this mandate is to junk challenging learning areas then it is to be repudiated by parents, teachers and students alike.
According to current OECD figures, Australia spends the OECD average on primary schooling per student and our primary teachers are among the best paid in OECD countries. Our investment in primary education could increase: the US spends 1.5 times what we do per student on primary education. However, we spent 4.2 per cent of GDP on primary education in 2004 which was among the top levels of spending (UK 4.4 per cent, Iceland 5.4 per cent Sweden 4.5 per cent, US 4.1 per cent, Denmark 4.3 per cent).
This means that we can already expect high quality primary schooling. We need to be smarter about the organisation of the primary curriculum. One strategy would be to see languages for what they are - vehicles of communication and a means to understand the world, rather than an add-on which distracts from the core business of primary schools.
We need to harness languages, along with English, to achieve essential learning. The core areas that the APPA defines are accessible through all languages. Dealing with any language involves literacy.
Mathematical concepts are as easily taught in Khmer as in English. A unique and arguably more authentic way to understand Australia's geography would be through indigenous languages. Not all scientific discoveries were made by English speakers so what better than to approach these in other languages.
This might be obvious and I'm not trying to tell people to suck eggs, just to consider not putting all the eggs in one monolingual basket.
A charter for primary schooling that equips students to take their place in our multilingual world would be a refreshing change. A charter that recognises our country's language potential, as academic Michael Clyne describes it, is overdue.
The principals describe the charter as "a call to action for all of those who have roles in ensuring that a high-quality primary schooling is delivered to all our children". Let's take up this chance to discuss what real high-quality primary schooling should be about.
Matthew Absalom teaches in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/10/07/1191695736247.html
Long Time No Blog
Thank you everyone for you patience. I haven't been blogging at all lately. However, it's now back into the thick of it.
We've been living a full & interesting life here at Castle Bliss - or should I say 'away from Castle Bliss'?
The kitchen got finished & immediately I was back at school & busier than ever for three weeks. Fortunately, Spring break saved me! LOL (I tend to become one-eyed when school's a daily event). I again got a chance to stitch, play with Lucy & finally sort out the kitchen but then slowed down because we had visitors.
I'm working on my Renaissance Lady (not the one that everyone else seems to be doing) but now that we are home alone again, I can get back into some serious stitching. Yeah! Fred WILL be finished by the end of the year!
That's your lot for today. There are no pictures because blogger won't let me update.
Happiness & laughter always,
Long Time No Blog
We've been living a full & interesting life here at Castle Bliss - or should I say 'away from Castle Bliss'? The kitchen got finished & immediately I was back at school & busier than ever for three weeks.
Fortunately, Spring break saved me! LOL (I tend to become one-eyed when school is a daily event). I again got a chance to stitch, play with Lucy & finally sort out the kitchen.
We had our quick trip to Gosford & Laurieton which left us quite shattered for a few days afterward.
Then, we had a delightful visit from Paul's cousin, Ann. Her visit got us out & about in Brisbane. From Friday to Sunday we managed 2 trips up Mt Coot-tha (one during day, the other by evening at the start of a spectacular electrical storm), a River Cat cruise from Toowong to New Farm & back to the city, the annual Gallaxy Of Cellos concert at the Conservatorium put on by Markus & Mei-Lei Stocker (in which the Crown Prince played), numerous nosh-ups with the off-spring or friends (including a glorious breakfast at St Lucia golf course & afternoon tea at Southbank) - and, of course, Paul cooked.
Have I ever mentioned that Paul is a fabulous cook? It's his hobby. I never have to lift a finger to cook on weekends. In fact, last week's family dinner was at Castle Bliss & the only request made by any of the kids was that Paul cooked. How good is that? LOL
For an update, that's your lot for today.
Happiness & laughter always,