Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

....a staggering 24,000 species of native plants have been identified compared to England's 1700 native plants . The Culture Portal

John Williamson sings about a home among the gum trees with its verandah out the front, clothsline out the back & the odd kangaroo or two. We have all that. Which stands to reason. Eucalypts are the most common species of anything around here & can grow up to 50 metres.
Eucalypt comes from the Greek & means *beautiful bark* ~ & bark is often one of the outstanding features of a eucalypt. Stringy bark gums come with hairy hides where the bark peels in long wiry fibers. In other species it peels in long ribbons. Yet in others the bark flakes to reveal the new gorgeous creamy salmon wood beneath. Round here we get lots of iron barks which have rough bubbly bark. Distinctive, I think, is the term best used.

Eucalypts are tall but shallow rooted with high oil content leaves hanging vertically & providing scanty shade. They are often deliberately planted to drain swamps & we have 2 very large species growing below the high water mark on our foreshore. Their wood burns hot & for a long time so they are an excellent firewood.Euculypts is what everyone thinks of when they think Australian tree. They're those things koalas live in & koalas eat gum leaves ~ though the reality is they will only eat the leaves of certain species. Eucalypts are as common as mud. What scientists get really excited about is the wollimi pine. I am not going to tell you how old scientists think this species is. If you believe in *young earth* the figure will be just wrong & anyone else can go look it up. What is exciting is the wollemi is considered a *living fossil* known only through fossil remains until 1994 when David Noble discovered one growing in the Wollemi National Park near Katoomba, land of the 3 sisters. Wollemi is an Aboriginal word meaning "look around you, keep your eyes open and watch out". What is scary is that only 40 trees are known to exist in the wild though a conservation effort is under way that has all sorts of people growing & cultivating them. Why not? Apparently they make a good indoor plant. At a full height of 40 metres I don't think so! However they do have the lowest known genetic variability of any plant species.
Then there is the Huon Pine ~ one of the oldest living trees on the planet & the first Australian conifer to be exploited commercially. It can grow for 1 200 years but even more interesting is the Mountain Ash which has the notoriety of being the tallest flowering plant in the world though no living species is taller than the long lived Californian Redwood at 115.55 metres & currently the world's tallest tree. Unlike most Australian trees the Mountain Ash does not rejuvenate well after fire & is propagated only from seed. It does, however, grow at the rate of a metre a year & heights have been recorded of 140+ metres. Between January & March white flowers appear, lasting for 1~2 weeks, followed by pear shaped fruits. Leadbeater's possum requires mature Mountain Ash for nesting & lyrebirds often like the understory as the Mountain ash produces 3 times more leaf litter than most other species while in a forest of Mountain Ash none of the crowns touch each other.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

“Chaos results when the world changes faster than people”
We are dealing with so much crap ~ which the dictionary defines as: nonsense or lies; insolent talk or behaviour or behaviour/talk meant to insult, humiliate or slight [not meant in the really vulgar sense]. It has gone on & on [for months] & I really wonder about people. How can they live their lives like that? Why would you want to? Any extra drama at present is just not welcome so naturally roadworks made getting to rehearsal yesterday the sort of fraught making exercise that will last me for several lifetimes & choir blew up in my face ~ literally. Nothing to do with me. I just happened to be standing between the 2 antagonists when it went down. To say nothing of html woes. I don't do html.


Dear Lord, have I practised patience, longsuffering & forgiveness enough yet? I am feeling emotionally fragile.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Animal Antics.

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ~ St. Francis of Assisi

All the animals around here are mad. Absolute. Raving. Lunatics.

Let's start with the cockatoo, who at least was a visitor & doesn't reside permanently on the premises.

The cockatoo arrived latish in the afternoon & perched on the verandah rail. He was a glossy handsome male who looked like he could eat Issi for lunch, no problem. Dearest called me to look & I dutifully looked because they are very pretty, if destructive & prone to the sort of temper tantrums you expect from a 2 year old.

Luckily Iss was still in bed or things could have got very interesting indeed as Mr Cocky investigated our verandah. It didn't take him long to find the bird feeder. Now Dearest had seen my inept attempts with a hammer & nail & thoughtfully shown me what an improvement it was if I let him do the hammering. Being a dutiful & submissive wife I handed over the hammer & refrained from issuing instructions at the time or I would certainly have pointed out his attempts were not proof against marauding cockies. I'm telling you, this bird was an expert marauder.

I don't encourage the big birds [because they scare away all the little ones] so our feeder was one of those long tube ones with a very small spill tray & Dearest had thoughtfully hung it under the verandah rail beside the birdbath & the tree growing through the deck. Believe me, it wasn't easy to reach, for bird or animal but this cocky took one look & knew he'd just found lunch if only he could get at it.

He hopped along the rail & tried sticking his beak in. The feeder swung about wildly but was proof against all his attempts to get more than a very small dribble of grain. The cockatoo then proceeded to work the nail, twisting it round with his bare beak. Dearest & I watched mesmerized as this bird used his beak as a tool to twist the nail & twist the nail. He hung upside down & had a jolly good look at what he needed to do. He paced along the verandah rail having a jolly good think about it like a Churchillian senator. He looked at it with his other eye, decided he was twisting the wrong way & changed direction. Within moments he was lifting the feeder off its nail with his beak. It was too heavy for him to fly off with the feeder in his mouth or it would have been gone. He attempted to heave it up on to the rail with his talons but the feeder was pretty full & in the end he opted for dropping it on the deck where it broke apart. I'm still looking for all the bits of the feeder.

Issi is, quite simply, a raving lunatic. He has Ditz & my routine down to a T. I'm pretty sure he's worked out which boat we come home on because 10 minutes after the boat goes past the point the car pulls in & he can hear both the boat & the car well before they're anywhere near our place. He also thinks we're stupid. He knows for certain I'm blind.

When I'm gone Iss hangs round Dearest like a bad smell. If I'm gone for longer than usual Iss becomes neurotic & needy & drives Dearest nuts. [Singapore is going to be fun!] When Iss hears that boat he slinks out the door & plants himself in the middle of the drive with the look that says, I have waited here patiently for you all this time. Liar!

We were gone longer than usual last Wednesday. We were a little later leaving the jetty & Iss must have got anxious because as I chugged up the hill towards home a grey & white furball streaked across the road & raced for home like a cheetah. Iss had come looking for us & was a lot further from home than he usually goes but he streaked down the verge frantically, beat us home & was plonked on the bricks looking pained by the time we arrived. He can't fool us. Ditz, who picked him up, giggled, "He's too puffed to even purr."

It's nice to be missed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday's Woes.

I'm not really a good singer. But most people aren't, either. Robyn Hitchcock.

Ditz has her moments. I told her she had a fortnight to prepare for her audition. She looked me straight in the eye & said, "Mum, that's 6 days. I have 6 days." She was right. She did have 6 days. I'm the one who can't count ~ or read the calendar. Something.

I believe Ditz said something about killing Alison which I chose to ignore, poor kid. She was buzzing like a bumble bee in a bottle & kept asking me what she was going to sing. Naturally any suggestion I made was met with rolled eyes & disparaging comments. Six days just isn't long enough to learn the sort of songs that Ditz normally chooses for her audition ~ ethereal, harmonically difficult, key changing songs that I actually like & enjoy even though I'm not doing the choosing ~ which is a good thing when I have to listen to them ad infinitum. No way was Ditz going to get something like that together in 6 days.

U~Tube. Don't you just love U~tube? This is what cheesey pop songs are for, folks! Musically unchallenging, lyrically repetitive, completely uninspiring. I can assure you that 6 days of listening to I want you to want meeee every available waking moment & I too wanted to kill Alison! A Cheap Trick hit that sold millions that really makes you wonder what people are feeding their brain.

I seriously don't think this song moves out of one octave but at least there's none of those high operatic notes either that give me such a pain in the head! We are talking about a song where I can hit most of the notes & I have about a 5 note range! Ditz complained I kept getting the words wrong but she would sing it in the car & it's one of those terrible, mindless songs that gets stuck in your head & goes round & round. UGH!

So we bused in to town early so we could pick up our Singaporean dollars [2 weeks & counting down to lift~off folks] & I picked up a pair of washable silk pants for me [A$10~at the thrift shop & nothing at all wrong with them] detoured into the craft shop for the metal bits so we can hang our paintings which we did manage to meet the Art exhibition entry deadline for this year before wandering up to the school for Ditz's audition.

We timed it a bit early so Ditz could duck into the loos & change into her *audition top* & were all ready to go when Alison arrived. She was the bearer of good news. Ditz has passed her exam. No details yet except that she was very soft, which she is in her upper register, but a pass is a pass & given the way Ditz feels about exams any sort of a pass is a bonus. I like the exams because it is something tangible I can show her supervisor for all the music Ditz does for *school*.

Scales. Ditz can manage close to 3 octaves on a good day. According to Alison she's gone by her high G. According to Ditz her G is fine. It's the F her voice cracks on. They can argue that one out between them. What did shock Alison was how far Ditz could go in the other direction to her bottom G. I know there are musical terms for these but no~one here is that musically adept yet. Suffice to say I know all about Ditz's ability to sing in her boots. It's her party trick because she normally looks & sounds like a high soprano ~ which she isn't.

Ditz then let rip with I want you to love me & it was all Ditz & I could do not to burst into giggles. Power. Raunch. Grunt. Alison has never heard Ditz sing like that before & she was genuinely shocked. I get it all the time. As I told Alison, that's how Ditz sings when she wants to show off & I am so over it! Poor Alison. She is having to rethink everything she thought she knew about Ditz!

Ditz is spewing. She's just graduated to the Alto section! That means she has to relearn all her music. *snigger* You know what they say though....Altos Read Music [the implication being of course that sopranos singing the melody never need to learn & therefore are 2nd rate musicians; snarky]. I should stop reading Facebook buttons. I laugh at the wrong things.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Share a Little Prayer With Me.

"The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed" ~ Hudson Taylor

I have two daughters ~ the lunatic one & the other one. Chalk & cheese. The difference between strong drink & Adam's Ale. I'm more like Ditz but it is Liddy I admire.

I have watched, with some bewilderment & the sort of bemusement that just doesn't comprehend how on earth this even happened, the Lord plant a seed in Liddy's heart that is about to reach fruition.

I am a parent of little patience & when I lose it I can rant to some purpose for a considerable length of time. One of the things my kids quickly learnt is never, ever whinge about how badly off they are because I can tell you the sort of stories than will make your hair stand up straight & fall right out! No child from a white, middle class, western world culture should ever whinge they are hard done by! End of story. They are marrying babies to old men in Africa, selling them into sex slavery in the Middle East & plain shooting them to death like vermin in Brazil. I shoot my mouth of a lot on occasion. Liddy was on the receiving end of one of my rants; the one about shooting the street kids in Brazil. It roused her horror & empathy. She worried at it like a dog with a choice bone. It bore unexpected fruit. It was as though God stretched out his finger & said, "You".

So far as Liddy is concerned it has been a slow & painful process waiting on the Lord, growing in the Lord, being patient while He put everything in place. Liddy is not one of my patient children. Actually I don't think I have any patient children. She has fretted & fussed, ranted & raved, despaired & desponded, questioned if God really meant it when He said, "You". It seems He really did after all. This is the opening we are asking for prayer on. She has nearly 12 months to prepare for this. Twelve months to be sure this is God's leading in her life. Twelve months to garner a prayer base. Notice street kids & soccer ~ the two great loves of Liddy's life!

So if you are the praying sort ~ & I know quite a few of you are ~ please pray for Liddy & God's leading on her life but also pray for the rest of us because we are called to let her go & fulfil the destiny of God on her life. I'm not stupid enough to think this will be easy. Chile is a long, long way from home. Two years can seem like an eternity.

Just one thing though, Lid: when you get lost in some strange Chilean city, don't ring home & ask me to get on the net, look up the city map & talk you to your destination! I won't thank you for it & I will worry far to much about you being let lose on your own!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

When I have a kid, I want to put him in one of those strollers for twins, then run around the mall looking frantic. ~Steven Wright
Twin ~ from the German twine meaning two together. Gemellology ~ the study of twins.

Theo & Dino, our monogyzetic twins ~ meaning they started life as one egg that had a difference of opinion early on. These are the rarest of the usual twin pairings & though most people refer to them as *identical twins* the term is misleading. Yes, they experience nearly identical brain wave patterns, & share the same DNA, & blood group but they have different fingerprints, different personalities & slightly different body build. There is a scientific basis for these differences ~ all to do with how the egg deals with the mother's DNA & far too complicated for a science moron like myself to attempt to explain in layman terms.

My usual bodyweight before menopause was 7 stone [98 pounds] on a 5'5'' frame. I nearly doubled my weight during this pregnancy & was lumbering around at a whopping great 13 1/2 stone! That's a 182 pounds people! I looked & felt like a beached whale or a galleon under full sail ~ & this is why so many twin pregnancies are considered full term at 36 weeks. Very few of us carry our babies past 37 weeks. The pressure on the uterus is just too great. To say nothing of the bladder!
The stats for having identical twins are quite high though the overall rate of twinning has increased dramatically thanks to fertility drugs. However Nigeria has the highest incidence of twinning in the world because they like yams & yams apparently contain an estrogen like follicle stimulating hormone. They also have more identical than fraternal twins, which is unusual. Identicals are rarer than fraternals & not governed by maternal genetics. I don't think China likes yams. They have the lowest twinning rate. The rest of us just put it down to God!

People are fascinated by twins. Shopping with young twins is not advisable. Every stranger you meet will stop you so they can coo & tell you their twin story. I have never been talked to so much in my life & dreaded going out with the boys in tow. A five minute stop could easily turn into 5 hours! When you are breastfeeding this can become messy & distressing.

Why this fascination? I guess most people are intrigued by the 25% percent of twins that *mirror~image*. I mean, how bizarre is that? Even ordinary identicals draw attention & it has it's uses. I well remember a teenaged Theo throwing a brand new shirt to his brother & saying, in all seriousness,"Here. Try this on so I can see how I'll look in it." He did the same thing with haircuts as I recall! But that's only 25%; the rest aren't mirror images of each other & twinning is remarkably even~handed falling pretty neatly into 1/3 identicals, 2/3 fraternal & of those parings 1/2 of all identicals will be boys & the others will be girls. Fraternal twinning neatly divides into 1/3 boy/boy pairings, 1/3 girl/girl pairings & 1/3 boy/girl pairings.

There is plenty of weird stuff about twins & that's before you get into all the stuff everyone has heard about of twins separated at birth! There's the *vanishing twin*. We've actually experienced this one. Our oldest was a twin too but the developing embryo died very early on in utero & was reabsorbed into my body. This is actually not all that uncommon. The rate of fertilized twins is much higher than the actual birth rate would indicate but the majority leave almost no trace of ever having existed.

Then up to 22% of twins are lefties. That's more than double the general population. Or the bizarre fact they aren't always even born on the same day. Think midnight, people, though the longest gap was a whopping 85 days! Oh, & don't forget the really strange ones when different fathers fertilize different eggs. I find this one strange beyond belief because a woman's body actually welcomes the sperm of a long term partner over that of a stranger & her body will often *attack* foreign sperm. I'm sure it's more complicated than that or this phenomenon would never occur. Just the same...

Then there is the ideoglossia ~ the *secret language* of twins. Yep, we did this one too ~ & the boys taught it to Liddy. English is actually a 2nd language for Liddy. Personally I think it is probably a combination of littlies mispronouncing words & truncating their language. Lots of nouns & verbs, some adjectives but very little of anything else.

So we have: Fraternal twins
& identical twins...
& mirror image twins.

There are also super fecundation ~ that's when two ova from the same cycle are fertilized at different times.

There is mixed chromosome twinning~ when identical boys are conceived but one twin *loses* his Y chromosome resulting in a boy/girl pairing. The girl will always have Turner Syndrome.

There are co~joined twins & parasitic twins. Parasitic are beyond the realms of the weird & wonderful into the truly bizarre.

And my favourite ~ when an egg splits early & then gets fertilized separately! This can result in opposite sex pairings who share 75% of their DNA ~ lots more than fraternal twins usually do & can look very alike.

Elvis & Liberace were both twins but I am in good company. Shakespeare fathered twins ~ Hamnet & Judith. Even way back then artists chose strange names for their children. What sort of a name is Hamnet? Sadly he died young & by the 2nd generation Shakespeare's line had died out ~ but that is another post entirely.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday memories.

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. ~Duane Michals

Photographs are for all sorts of reasons. This is Ditz at my mother's house, years back now, but it is still the epitome of Ditz: laid back, soaking in luxury, her eyes on her mama. Not all that much has changed. It is such a Ditz photo; one of my very favourites.
Liddy was a very different sort of a child: serious & intense. Not much has changed there either. It is all the unsaid things in this photo that are important. It was taken at a family wedding, with the whole clan abounding & everyone wanting to cuddle my adorable *porcelain doll* child, who was having none of it. What you can't see in this photo, though it is there if you know what to look for, is my mother's love & pride in her first grand~daughter. Liddy is named for her. It is scary how alike they are & the dress Liddy is wearing was made for her by her ma.

Now my mother is a seamstress extraordinaire. She is patient & painstaking & a real perfectionist & this dress is exquisite. There are eyelet ribbon inserts for the peach coloured ribbons & dainty ruffles & Liddy looked exquisite in it. It is one of the few dresses Liddy has ever worn & nearly all of them have been made by her ma, for Liddy, with love!

Actions speak louder than words. This was taken shortly after Ditz was born & Liddy learnt one lesson I never said a word about: a good mama puts all her offspring in bed with her & cuddles them to sleep. Isn't she adorable? What a good mama she will make!

Ever want to know why I married Dearest, just look at that hair! He was very close to his nan but every time I look at this photo I can't believe that there was ever a time when you could pick a great big bunch of Christmas Bells like that! They are gorgeous & stunning & these days all too rare

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tail of Mouse...

In the eyes of the mouse the cat is a lion... Proverb.

In this house it is a well know fact I'm a sook; softer & squishier than marshmallow. I always weep at the sad part in the movie ~ & the sentimental part ~ & the happy bits. I coo at babies in prams & talk to stray cats that cross my path. I get all emotional at our athletes winning gold at the Olympics, or our socceroos scoring brilliant goals against the Italians [especially the Italians]. I'm also prone to weep when I'm particularly happy.

Being well educated I understand that other people find this more than a little off~putting so we carefully cover it up with worldly cynicism laced with irony & satire & find ourselves very funny indeed; BUT... my house is not fooled. They know mum's a soft touch & a tear at the right moment, a little wobble in the voice, a lip that trembles ever so slightly & down I go like a house of cards. Even Iss knows it! Sad to say even the cat can manipulate me. Actually I don't feel too bad about that. Cats are masters of manipulation.

You need to know what a woos I am or the mouse just doesn't make sense.

It's not even summer yet & our day temperatures are in the high 30's C [high 80s/90sF] with humidity to spare & the whole house has been flaked out under the fans ~ even the cat. Issi barely moves until after 3 pm when he hightails it outside to sprawl in the coolest breezeway he can find & there he lolls until the house cools down enough that I can bring Iss in for the night & shut the house up.

Iss likes to have company so his people make a point of visiting with him periodically throughout the evening because Iss is a splendid host & greets this attention with delighted purrs & chirruped greetings. Thus I pottered outside last evening to chuck my cat under his chin & tell him what a good & splendid puss he is, which is only what Iss expects if anyone goes outside at all. Imagine my surprise when a quite unexpected squeaking emanated from under Iss's nose.

I rushed to turn on an outside light because we have plenty of ground dwelling birds & Iss is a cat after all. Not a bird.

People, I do not like mice. I don't. They are little & furry & they're vermin & they make my skin crawl but oh! The poor little thing! A little grey field mouse with enormous black eyes, barely out of babyhood & crying in high pitched terror while it tried to snuggle against Issi's warm & furry hide. That was one little mouse that had completely lost the plot.

Cat or no cat, mouse or no mouse I couldn't stand it. I scooped Issi up & brought him inside. At least the mouse could die in peace, which it did, but it made me feel better knowing Iss wasn't outside dabbing it with a curious paw just to hear it squeak till it died.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Travelling with Ditz

Oh, yeah. I do those, "Nah neh nee noh noooooo" type things, too ~ don't they have names for these? I sound like a raving lunatic. Anon

The Arts are more than a little weird ~ to say nothing of the Artists! OK, Ditz has gradually been growing out of her more extreme ADD tendencies but performer that she is she is prone to start up no matter where she is. Have you ever heard singing warm~ups?! Singers wandering round in an agitated state drinking galleons of warm water [warm, cold is bad for the throat], nighing & nanging before a performance I understand & the chances are high that everyone else in the Green Room is doing the same, or similar. Even a compere needs some blubbery lipped relaxation techniques but to hear sounds suddenly emanate from Ditz's room that sound like a horse in extremis or with a bad case of flatulence is unnerving, to say the least. It is unnerving for unwary drivers with little experience of her & boat~fulls of people are starting to think the child's not all there.

Soft ninging is one thing, up & down a scale, but when she starts up with the strangled cat routine, or the one reminiscent of fingernails down a chalk board, I'm generally pretty sure she's forgotten she's in a public venue. People tend to give us a wide berth. No idea why.

Ditz does not travel well [& I'm about to be locked in a plane for 8 hours with her! Give me strength!] Each week as we travel by boat to her various destinations she starts the same refrain. "Talk to me." I'm telling you, it's a real conversation killer! Especially as I wisely travel with a book & generally manage to immerse without trouble. ADD Ditz finds it almost impossible to concentrate on a book when she is travelling. Instead she wants to be entertained & I am meant to be the entertainer.

On a good week Ditz will draw ~ & as she is a good little artist that keeps her happily occupied for some time. The rest of her time she drags out her music & begins sight reading. Within minutes she is humming away softly. Any phrase giving her difficulty gets louder ~ I guess so she can hear herself ~ but of course, if you are going to sing you need to warm up properly first! There is just no way to convey the variety of odd sounds that child manages to produce in the name of Art!

The thing is, on Wednesdays there is a whole roomful of them all doing exactly the same thing. I can't be the only parent suffering from odd noise syndrome.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Taking another breath...

Well then; I now do plainly see/ The busy world and I shall ne'er agree. Abraham Cowley.

We have stuff happening we can't share with the whole world yet because we haven't told all the people important to us first ~ & it's not my story to jump the gun on either ~ but it is keeping us all very busy. Yes, I know; we already have Ditz's circus happening. *sigh* At least I can't complain life round here is dull. Dull it certainly is not!

So yesterday, while I was on the mainland I ordered our Singapore dollars. I get this hollow, plummeting in the pit of my stomach feeling just saying that. It's getting that close. Oh my! The kids get off the plane & go immediately into rehearsal. Oh my. I have my blue card [which says they've dredged through my records & so far as they can tell I am not a threat to any child in any way, shape or form] so I can help supervise our under 18s ~ who in all honesty are probably far more worldly~wise & savvy than I am ~ just under 18. We don't have shoes ~ for either of us. We don't have black stockings. Actually I think I'd better stop right there before I panic completely. Just breathing....

We are really struggling to school. Between the heat & sheer exhaustion & all the extra travelling we are just too tired to care. I can't even blame Ditz wholly for that one. I just can't seem to wrap my brain round what still needs to be done but we are plodding along as best we can. Thankfully our supervisor is really understanding & as we've always been on the ball up till this point she is giving us plenty of leeway. Whew!

So what went in the egg basket this week? Well, Ditz's flute teacher informed us he won't be teaching at the next island over's school next year. He is still teaching locally so hopefully we can squeeze her lessons in on a Wednesday after he finishes school & before Ditz has to go sing for Alison. Might actually work better...Logistics. My poor little brain goes into overdrive trying to juggle all this stuff.

Alison, who is a mad workaholic herself, e~mailed audition forms out for 2010 & asked could she have them back Wednesday. Forms are easy so I blithely filled Ditz's out thinking we'd have till January for Ditz to find & rehearse her audition piece. She has a fortnight. There will be howls of outrage when I tell Ditz. I am not looking forward to today. Hopefully the child has something on hand that just requires a little tweaking.

Dearest has stuff on the boil that he is excited about. I am less than enamoured because he wants my help & input & I find it all terribly dull ~ unless it makes him lots of money, of course, when it will automatically become exciting & interesting. lol. Being the good little helpmeet I am I have been helping as best I can. Actually very funny. My arty~farty right~brained self sees his stamp shades far better than his left~sphere, logical, math oriented brain does. He is just a tad peeved about that.

We can't drive down our road because the curlews have chicks & they are nesting right plonk in the middle of the road & are moving for no~one & nothing. We are forced to drive around them with a wary eye out for stray fuzz~balls on sticks. The plovers have chicks too & are completely brainless parents, herding their unfortunate off~spring directly into oncoming traffic. Meanwhile the butcher birds have arrived to eye off their main chance to snavel a quick snack on the hoof, so to speak. I like butcher birds but am forced to admit their carnivorous habits are one of their less pleasant attributes.

I still have a house but it is not seeing much of me & even less is being done round here. The boys insist they are coming home for Christmas so I guess that at some point I will have to do something about that but honestly, at this point I have no time to spare for stray thoughts on it except in the most fleeting of ways ~ most of which is more along the lines of wishing the whole exorbitant excess would just disappear into the ether.

At one point in history there were contemplative monks who perched themselves atop pillars in the desert; those pillars are starting to look mighty attractive just now. At heart I am a contemplative hermity bookworm with no idea how I ended up in my life. What to do? What to do? Take another breath & go WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hot & Unhappy ~ Grizzle.

“Some people change their ways when they see the light; others when they feel the heat” Caroline Schroeder.

Funny, funny weather. Bitterly cold, scorching hot. I don't do well when the weather juggernauts like this. Storms rumbling round the horizon last night with the occasional sprinkling of rain & lots of wicked lightening. I am feeling brain dead & bone weary but then I hate the end of the year when everything unravels, it is stinking hot & there is always too much to do & not enough time to do it in ~ made so much worse this year. Thanks, Ditz!

Still, every cloud has a silver lining ~ or so they say ~ so if Liddy goes on holiday [as she has, her work situation now being completely out of hand & we feel the not so gentle hand of God prodding her in a new direction] & nicks off for a few days, I have no car so I can't take Ditz to rehearsals at Cooparoo, which means I can stay home on my island where at least a cool sea breeze relieves the scorching heat. I will have the car for the 1st week in December when VM goes into the studios & I have to find some place called Cannon Hill. Good grief! Who thinks up these names?! Someone hit my panic button about Singapore & I am panicking. What about? Who knows. I certainly don't, but hey, it occupies the mind in the wee sma's when I can't sleep anyway & so go on the computer & play mindless Jewel Blitz games. So sad. I can't even write a decent blog post these days. I look at the blank page with an equally blank mind. So unlike me. It's the heat. I swear the heat has melted my brains. I felt for Ditz. Her violin teacher has decided she needs some theory & in humidity just before the point of rain Ditz was required to exercise her brain, an activity she finds difficult in the best of circumstances.

My sons are out Dubbo way bringing in the wheat harvest. Guess it's even hotter out there. *Fans self dramatically*. See what I am reduced to! And we are still trying to finish up Ditz's math. For every sum she does she has to spend 20 minutes telling me how much she hates math ~ as if I didn't know. What I should dearly like to do with this child & her math is hand her the refedex, tell her to work out the shortest route to Cannon Hill, how far it is & how much fuel I will need to drive there 3 times in one week, find out if parking is available, whether parking is free or to be paid for, how much the parking will cost per hour, then work out what it will cost me for 8 hours of parking for 3 get the idea. Really practical, applicable math. Something there is a point to. Useful. I never can remember which way the decimal point is supposed to move & Ditz just doesn't care. Random decimals. Do you think it makes a difference to anything unless there's a $ in front? [joke, people!] Sweltering in the sub~tropics makes me just a tad tetchy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

The Piri Reis map that I mentioned earlier may go down in history as the most astonishing map in existence ~El Caudillo

I'm not enough of a scholar for this one but try this link.

The world is full of odd things ~ Piri Rei's map not the least of them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monday memories.

Only vegetables are happy ~ William Faulkner.

We bought our land for the views ~ not the soil. The soil is clay & ironstone & it sets harder than cement.

It has taken years of mulching, clay~breaker & fertilizer to get soil that will produce tomatoes & beans. I am picking enough beans for dinner every second day & a dozen or so tomatoes every day. We can't eat them fast enough. God is good.

Just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her. ~Wilhela Cushman

Because you may never see Liddy like this again!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not Hanukkah yet.

Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm,The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.~Emma Lazarus, "The Feast of Lights"

Hanukkah: the Feast of Lights, the feast of Dedication. None of our little home church will be around for the actual feast days. Ditz & I will be in Singapore. Our other family will be on a ship cruise. Still all of us have shared a spiritual journey this year & we wanted to celebrate. Everyone was keen for another New Moon festival, communion, Hanukkah, Christmas... & in my wisdom I thought, ach! Why not combine the lot? So we did; sort of. Christmas rather missed out, which is interesting.

So some rather interesting things happen spiritually. Firstly despite the work & preparation these festivals have not proved to be stressful. Big YAY! Secondly, we gave the preparation this time to the family with the gift of hospitality ~ not us, sad to say. Thirdly, God is working in our very inept attempts to follow His leading in this area.

We have done a new moon festival before when I explained the scriptural significance of what we were doing & why so I was thinking I could dispense with all that this time...until informed that our hospitality driven hosts had invited 3 other couples!!! I about died. Not because they weren't welcome but primarily because in our group I am the one who does the bulk of the teaching. It's just worked out that I am the one with the interest & access to research but I am really, really sensitive to the fact many Christians, especially conservative Christians, have issues with women in any sort of leadership role. Given we are doing some things that uninformed people could construe as wacky new~age stuff there were issues that needed to be addressed right at the beginning. No, we are not advocating coming under Jewish Law for we are saved by grace. No, we are not O.T Christians. No, this is not new age anything! Yes, we are relooking at the O.T in light of Jesus Christ because let's face it people, Jesus was a practising Jew. To know & understand Christ better it is helpful to understand exactly what He believed & taught ~ & as an observant Jew He most certainly partook in the festivals!

Hanukkah is perhaps the easiest festival to celebrate for beginners. No elaborate preparation is necessary & the colourful candles make explanations easy, even for children. Just the same with 15 of us gathered on the verandah, most with no idea of what they'd let themselves in for, & less idea of what I was rabbitting on about, there is only one place to put my trust ~ Jesus Christ, who promised that we would be given the words to say.

Now, as an aside, I usually wear a covering ~ see piccie ~ & I am well aware most women who wear a covering do so to show their submission to the headship of their husband. I think Dearest would die on the spot if anyone suggested any such thing to him, so that is not why I wear a covering. However, women who pray & prophesy [speak forth the word of God] are required to cover & the Holy Spirit brought this to my attention when I first began to speak publicly. You wanna bet I felt funny turning up at church with a bit of cloth on my head! You wanna bet that I got some very funny looks ~ & snarky comments. I don't mind being a fool for Christ but I have always found it difficult to explain my reasoning because so many people, still, don't like women in the pulpit at all! For any reason. However, apart from it being a scriptural requirement of women who prophesy or pray in public, I have found it really does serve as a reminder that I do not speak on my own authority but under the Headship of the Holy Spirit.

The long explanation on covering is because I am very aware of being able to tell the difference when what I speak forth is of God & what is just me rambling away. As can other people. being only too human it would be very easy for me to get a major swelled head. The covering serves as a reminder that I speak for Christ & I'd better be jolly careful to get my stuff right. I also don't lead. One of our men always does that ~ & the communion. Like my daughters I don't like responsibility.

Lastly we keep an open heart before God so that the flow of the Holy Spirit is not impeded & people are free to ask questions or comment or share what God has laid on their heart & revealed to them.

Dearest has a broken back so sitting for long periods is not very easy for him. We left after desert but the blokes were really getting into it & discussing scriptural matters, which delighted me. I have attended too many *fellowship meals* where anything but scripture was discussed. At least one of the new people wants to come to today's home church ~ for which Ditz & I will be absent due to sectional rehearsals. And a good thing too. Our little church has tripled in just 2 weeks & people need to know that I am not in charge. Everything gets shared around according to people's gifts & there is a place for everyone.

Well, Ditz & I have a boat to catch ~ & a long day ahead of us. Have a blessed Sunday, folks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


“The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.” Napolean Hill.

All the best ideas are owned by other people so I am stealing this one from my good pommy friends, the Hojos, who know a good thing when they're on to it. I haven't asked but I don't think they'll really mind. ;P
They did this last year & I thought what a ripper of an idea it was ~ & thinking was as fas as I got. It is still a good idea though. So this year I am determined to do it ~ which is always a good start & our mail being the way it is I have about a fortnight to make this happen.

Soooooo....if you are a regular reader/commentator here [& we all know who we are, don't we?!] & you would like a Chrissy card from your down under friend [if you are already down under you don't get anything special, like international stamps but you can play too if you like]
e~mail me your mailing address & I will pop a card in the post for you & if we are both lucky it will arrive before Christmas. Ok, you know what to do; go do it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I know what a sextet is but I'd rather not say ~Anonymous music student.

Huge day. Bigger than big. Exhausting. Ditz looked lovely & Alison seems to think she should have scored herself a pass. Sitting in the waiting area I could barely hear Ditz until she hit her high sustained notes & then it was like an erupting volcano! Funny kid. Unhappy to be left alone with the examiner ~ there's a reason this kid hates exams. Still she did it & again, as Alison said, she might be soft now but there's a big voice in there somewhere! We do actually know that. We get the full benefit in the car! With raunch'n'grunt.

I believe she lost the plot with her conducting & turned 4/4 into 3/4 ~ which hardly surprises me. Her counting has always let Ditz down.

The choir exam was cancelled at the last minute so we had 5 hours to kill before rehearsal. We went & saw Mao's last Dancer. Lovely music, gorgeous dancing ~ though Ditz could have done without the tights & cod~pieces! Simplistic politically but I didn't go to see this movie for the politics. I went for the music & dancing & was amply rewarded.

I know not all of you want to know all the grubby details about Ditz's music but I have family who read here, who are never at home [You know who you are! :P] or gadding about the tropics [yes, you!] & this way they can't say no~one ever tells them anything. Tell the world. Tell the universe. It pays to advertise. [BTW that quote origninated with D.L. Sayers in Murder must Advertise. I do so love Peter Wimsey!]

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

“My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop.” Mozart.

We do a lot of music round here thanks to Ditz & everybody seems to think we should know something about the great composers. Understandable but you know, all the books drag out the same old drivel: Born at such & such, did this, did that, died of this, got buried here & that is seriously dull stuff. Dead boring.

That stuff gives you no idea of the man which is why I dragged out Amadeus for Ditz when she got her first Mozart piece. Yes, I know it's not terribly accurate but it is fun & gives some idea of the period & the music & the feel of the culture. So with that in mind here's all the things you don't need to know about Mozart!

He played billiards. Not only did he play billiards he played well. He not only played well he often played all night & composed while he played. He did the same while playing skittles. No, he's not a role model I'd want for Ditz. I think he was seriously ADD.

He was very good at both math & languages. He was so good at languages he could talk backwards ~ fluently!

We've all heard an infinitum what a genius Mozart was; it's serious genius when you can identify a pig's squeal as being in G sharp when you are only 2!

He also had pets. His dog was named Trickster but Mozart always called him Sugar. The starling was another story entirely. Mozart taught it to sing some of his works! You have to wonder where he found the time because he was a serious workaholic.

Mozart could write music notes before he could write words & confessed all his best ideas came to him while travelling in a carriage, or after a good meal or at night when he couldn't sleep. He was terrible with money but could play the piano with inverted hands & used to play in a string quartet that included Hayden, Vanhal & Dittersdorf.

As for that laugh...well, Mozart's own sister described his laugh as sounding like metal scraping down glass.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Monday memories.

Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence. Ambrose Bierce

Dearest has a lot to answer for when it comes to Ditz; half her genes are his after all. And then there is the little matter of the play dough.

Ditz is only one of 5 & when she was small the other 4 were at the little island school. Of those 4, 3 were labeled ADD, a different 3 were kinesthetic learners, 1 was was labeled gifted but so sorry, we don't get funding to extend him so he is terribly, terribly bored & all of them were falling through the gaps in the system.

In an effort to address the pit falls in the education system I was doing a lot of teaching at home anyway. In an effort to address the pit falls in the system I accepted a part
time job teaching remedial reading at the school. I also taught remedial writing &, wait for it, remedial math!

I would tuck baby Ditz in a sling & I would teach & help out in my children's classrooms. If you want to keep your kids in school never, ever help out in their classroom! It absolutely destroyed any belief I had that the school knew what they were doing with my kids, never mind anybody else's.

Baby Ditz's grow & eventually Ditz was relegated to a playpen on the verandah while I taught. Later on she would very occasionally spend a few hours in the pre~school classroom. Not very many because she would march out at home time with relief written large on every pore of her being & announce crossly that the classroom was *noisy & naughty*. She had no intention of ever being confined permanently in such an awful place. It gave her a raging headache & she would swan round pale & wan for the rest of the day, quite unlike her usual exuberant self.

Being the nong I am I figured if remedial reading worked so very well on children of average intelligence who had somehow missed the reading boat it should work just as well on a rather bright little 4 year old who was susceptible to chocolate bribes & we began our homeschool journey.

There was just one little drawback to this journey; while I worked someone needed to watch Ditz. Often that someone was Ditz's daddy, Dearest.

Now Dearest's idea of watching a 4 year old was to switch on the telly but because I had firm ideas on the sort of viewing allowable for a 4 year old he only had one channel to choose from: the ABC. ABC viewing at that time of the morning ran in 1/2 hour segments of upper primary math, secondary school science, beginners French [at uni level], world geography for middle primary & English grammar. No wonder that child's learning is so uneven.

I would come home & be relegated with some very odd facts or go to teach a lesson only to find Ditz was somehow well past it & her first few years of homeschool were something of an erratic adventure & ominously easy.

I only worked one or two days a week for a couple of hours; barely paid for the petrol but it wasn't about the work so much as it was about making a difference for my kids. So I would rush round frantically each morning getting Ditz & I ready because Ditz had to have a bribe [snack], paper for drawing, lego & puzzles available. She would follow me out to the car tears streaming down her face & wave bye~bye until she couldn't see me any more. Then she would happily go inside & watch t.v with her father.

What I didn't know was that sometimes Dearest had to lie down for his bad back & that pretty much left Ditz unsupervised. In the event of an emergency she knew where to find her father & for company she had the cats, though both were more than a little wary of Ditz.

When Ditz heard the car returning she would rush out to greet me.

"What did you do?" I would ask.

I never expected, "I made playdough!"

I was more than a little surprised. Artistic endeavours with his kids have never been Dearest's thing. In fact I didn't even know Dearest knew how to make playdough.


"It's purple. Come & see."

Ditz dragged me by the hand into my house. A vision of white greeted my stunned eyes. Flour drifted over all the bench tops & down the hallways. Virulent spatterings of food dye splattered the white but Ditz had made playdough! Golly gosh, Ditz had made playdough. All on her little ownsome Ditz had made playdough. There was just one question still unanswered in my mind.

I took a shuddering breath & asked it. "Which recipe did you use? Cooked or uncooked?"

Ditz rolled her eyes at me. She's always been good at that.

"Uncooked of course. I'm not allowed to use the oven, remember?!"

I remembered all right. I was just surprised Ditz had.

Friday, November 6, 2009


“I think there's a difference between ditzy and dumb. Dumb is just not knowing. Ditzy is having the courage to ask!” Jessica Simpson

There's a reason Ditz got the nickname she has ~ & she don't like it. She floats this idea past me every few months where I change her on~line name to...oh, I don't know ~ Bubbles, or Fizz or something that sounds like she's a hood out of A Streetcar Named Desire.

I have trouble visualising her as anything but Ditz so the idea floats past & nothing happens except that shortly afterwards I roll my eyes & think, 'Yep; pegged it in one!' So here's the latest storm in a tea~cup, Much~ado~about~nothing according to Ditz.

Last night there was the concert that Ditz didn't want to do but off we toddled & in the back of my mind, where I keep my on~mind diary I thought there'd be this gap between the kids finishing up & any boat we could possibly catch so it was a leisurely drive home with a detour through whatever drive~through was open for food. I don't know what it is about singing but it makes Ditz absolutely ravenous & the first thing she says when she comes off~stage is, "I'm starving! Can we go eat?"

All that changed when the kids finished 20 minutes early. It meant if I hustled Ditz along we could make the earlier boat & that would be a very good thing because Ditz had to be up early to be on a boat for her singing lesson next morning. Food to be had at home so I hustled Ditz along & we piled into the car & made our boat with a respectable amount of time for a sedate walk to the jetty from our park.

I consulted my on~mind diary & made a note to remind Ditz her exam music with photocopies, was still sitting on the computer desk & she needed to put it in her music folder before we left in the morning because she would need it. When I mentioned it to Ditz she answered breezily that she had already filed everything & it was all in her folder & her folder was in her shoulder bag where it always was. She was good to go. I breathed a sigh of relief because getting either of us functional the morning after a concert is on the hit & miss side of things ~ more miss than hit.

Fast forward to this morning as we're in the island car driving to the jetty. Ditz, who had left her bag in the car ready for the morning, reached into it for the hair brush she keeps on hand [both my girls regularly dressing in the car en route to various appointments] & there was a sudden, alarmed silence. I breathed. I know Alison has sheet music & Ditz is supposed to know her words by now but the silence went on & on. If you know Ditz you know silence is an unnatural occurrence.

"What?!" I barked, not sure I wanted an answer.

"I left my music at the school last night."

Her entire repertoire! Exam music ~ with photocopies! Her exam details. Her registration sheet. Three years worth of sheet music. Now I was silent too. Less unusual with me but ominous. I was thinking frantically. We had no option but to continue on to the lesson & hope for the best. Ditz got butterflies because I told her she'd have to confess to Alison herself. What we were to do if no~one in the ensemble had picked it up & hung onto it I had no idea.

Ditz, having decided she was dead where she stood, was cheerfully contemplating the various ways in which she was about to die but despite various imaginative scenarios she was way off the mark.

As she walked into the studio her eyes whizzed around the room looking for any sign of the tell~tale folder. She studied the room carefully as Alison finished up with her previous student. No folder. As Ditz began her garbled confession with, " I think, I know I left.. ."Alison had to turn her back to hide her snigger. Ditz let out a whoosh of relief! No Alison didn't have her folder but one of the boys had picked it up & we can retrieve it at tomorrow's rehearsal!

Now is that Ditzy or what? In fairness Ditz saves these sorts of bru~ha~has for things not important to her ~ like school work. She is usually extremely careful about all her music stuff so this was something of an aberration but true to form. So like Ditz to lose the one essential thing she can't possibly do without on the eve of her examination!

Wearing the Proud Parent Insigna.

There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between. Sir Thomas Beecham.

Let it never be said that Ditz has no taste. She didn't want to perform last night. [Dare I mutter the word *snob* under my breath.] She whined about it. She complained she would look like a hopping heffalump [forget the rabbit & carrot jokes]. She said it would be bad ~ & it was.

I think I have listened to AVAE for far too long but AVAE were one of the guest artists & as a working musician you don't get to pick & choose. They pay you; you sing. So we starched her & primped her & shined her & off we toddled.

Now this was a school musical gala evening & as such meant to showcase their school talent & as a proud parent myself I surely understand the need to let all the proud parents preen in the reflected glory while their little darling struts their stuff. What's more the little I actually saw of it wasn't all bad. I could have done without the parents behind me yahooing & it would have been nice if the string quartet all counted to the same rhythm but when you have such a lot to cram into one evening & your venue isn't really designed with these sort of events in mind you are apt to have the lighting do strange & wonderful things, the microphone not work & these long pregnant pauses while the stage hands can be heard dropping the bass drum & a music stand or two behind the curtain.

I've sat through enough school events to know what I was in for. Ditz just hissed, " We homeschool so we don't have to do this!" What a convenient time to remember this! I guess homeschooling has its uses, even for Ditz.

In the end I think just 9 of the ensemble rocked up. Ditz was on her own for her part for the rehearsal but although another singer eventually arrived I never heard her though Ditz was quite audible.

And this is what I really like about Alison & the way she trains her singers. This wasn't a big fancy venue with a big fancy name attached. It was a big inner city school but those kids were expected to rock up as well prepared & professional as if they were about to sing for the Queen herself. Every performance is an opportunity. Alison used this evening to rehearse the ensemble exam repertoire. I got my moment. Ditz does a great job of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. She actually performs it rather than just sing it. Yeah, I glowed. That's my girl up there!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

All England is a garden...

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. ~George Bernard Shaw

This morning I got up to find the cloud clinging to the hill tops & the smell of rain on the air. It is still & grey. Even the birds are silent.

I notice that my lemon & white Yesterday ~ today ~ & ~ tomorrow has suddenly burst into a profusion of flower. It doesn't bloom constantly like it's gaudier mauve & white cousin but I prefer its more delicate colouring. The mock orange is budding, the scent permeating every corner of the garden.

There are things I need to do. The basil has finally died. I need to rip it out & deep till the ground. I need to pick beans & tomatoes. These homely tasks are tasks that have been performed down through the centuries. Every generation of man has gone out into the dawn to pick the bounty while the dew is still fresh on it & the air is clean & crisp.

I'm not a knowledgeable gardener. I plonk things in our red soil & rejoice if they grow, sigh with exasperation if they die & go out & buy something else to fill the gap. I water if I am home & remember. Things have to be hardy to survive. Just the same I have a large rambling garden full of interesting plants whose names I've long since forgotten.

God is a gardener. The first thing he made on earth was a garden. He sort of spoilt the effect by adding people & a snake but the idea was good. Do you know how many different plants are mentioned by name in the bible? No I don't either & of those mentioned most I wouldn't know if I fell over them. Cedars of Lebanon? Rose of Sharon? Most likely this plant but you know, translations...Hyssop? Pomegranates? And olive trees! I'll never forget my first sight of a mature olive grove in France. I had never imagined how pretty olive trees are! The silver & green of their leaves in the breeze is so delicate & fragile.

I'm incedibly ignorant about anything I can't get to grow here & lets face it; Australia has a particularly unusual variety of flora. So I was intrigued to run into Neot Kedumim. Neot is the Biblical Landscape Reserve ~ a living landscape that seeks to preserve & display & name many of the plants & flowers mentioned in the bible. Neot from pastures, kudumim meaning ancient. It spreads over 625 acre of Israel's Modi'in region in Israel's lowlands. It was so desolate the builders of Neot couldn't be accused of destroying or interfering with nature because there was literally nothing to destroy or interfere with!. It was so barren & stony they had to bring in all the soil by the truckload. The water was jerry canned in on the backs of donkeys.

You'd never know it now. Neot has received international recognition for ecological restoration. What a mouthful! Now if someone would just do something about our interior...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And yet again!

Scheherezade is easy; a little black dress is difficult. Coco Chanel.

We live on an island. We travel by boat. Half our roads are still red dirt. We are not fashion conscious...& then we got Ditz. We got Ditz & Ditz likes to sing . In public. The more public the better.

We travel to rehearsals & lessons in our daggy baggies, our ratty Ts & thongs [footwear people!]. We are practical & comfortable, toasty warm in winter, cool in summer & always modest! For snootier rehearsals Ditz has a choir uniform: nifty black pants & a bright orange polo. I thought we were all taken care of but then along came exams ~ & eisteddfods! Ditz needs a performance outfit.

Drama, drama, drama...but you all knew that didn't you?! For weeks we've been going across to rehearsal early & scouring the shops, haunting the change rooms, desponding as top after top Ditz liked & tried on just looked appalling on her figure! See it wasn't that Ditz couldn't find anything she liked. Lots of things appealed to her but when she put them on she looked most peculiar. She has a Junoesque figure & carries herself really well. All these skimpy, figure hugging outfits made for the Victoria Beckhams of this world do nothing flattering for Ditz at all.

There is a reason I have a wardrobe of threadbare clothing. The process of looking, trying on, moving along is exhausting ~ to say nothing of time consuming. Ditz's home choices are limited & time was ticking away. Eventually she chose a very simple top that drapes her figure. It is simple, stylish & elegant. It makes her look a million dollars! Originally she tried it on with a long black skirt & I thought she looked fantastic but Ditz wasn't comfortable & decided to go with long black dress pants with a fainter black stripe. She will look good & professional & hopefully get that little boost of confidence an outfit you actually like gives.

I haven't got round to dealing with her overseas shoes yet. I just know that one will be a cat fight! *sigh* I know there are people out there who actually like shopping but I am not one of them. What do you call an aversion to shopping for clothes phobia?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yes, well...

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. ~Mark Twain

Liddy, being the mature young lady that she is, was allowed to take Ditz to the science museum.
It was very educational.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

“They afterwards took me to a dancing saloon where I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice- 'Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'” Oscar Wilde

I knew that independent studies show that children who learn the piano do better in school, have better hand/eye co~ordination, better social skills & better self~discipline. To say nothing of improved math skills. So I organised piano lessons for Ditz & we all know how that turned out!

I don't even like the piano! I was delighted when she took up the violin & then the flute but Ditz likes piano. More particularly Ditz likes grand pianos. I thought it was an odd preference. A piano is a piano is a piano & they all sound equally dreadful but all is now explained. You can play a grand piano faster than an upright! True. Something about the hammers returning to their position faster on a grand & Ditz dearly loves fast.

Now a grand piano has an overall total string tension of close to 30 tons ~ which is simply phenomenal but keep the thing tuned! A 1/2 step drop in pitch can equal a change of 3 000 to 5 000 pounds in tension. Tuning can cause some instability ~which is just terrific given the size of the thing to start with.

And things just get worse because early music was written with gut strings in mind. Never say music isn't a very practical scientific study because gut strings meant an orchestra's pitch was set lower than it is today ... which means if you want an authentic performance today the piano requires retuning to a slightly lower pitch, which requires hours & hours to do, which leaves the piano slightly unstable as previously mentioned.

Just to make things even more awkward pianos are tuned differently in different countries. Many countries tune to a higher pitch than the A=440cps used in Australia. I guess an A is not always an A ~ or is it?

OK, I mightn't like the instrument but there is no denying the piano's versatility. Its tonal range extends from below the lowest note the double bassoon can reach to above the top note of the piccolo.

However Satie, whose work I usually quite like, lost the piano plot just a tad. He is responsible for the longest piano piece ever, a choice composition titled Vexations, a 180 note composition repeated 840 times & requiring 18 hours & 40 minutes to perform & a relay team of 10 pianists!!! I wonder if anyone has actually sat through an entire performance?