because I know it might be a while before I write the next post

I wanted to write about the lovely food we've been eating. And post some recipes on the neglected recipe blog. And make a batch of Anzac biscuits to use up some old oats. But realistically that's just not going to happen tonight. I need to go have a shower before dinner in the park because I spilt icing sugar all over me when I pulled down a little bowl from the high shelf tonight after school without realising it was the popcorn sugar I put out of reach of the children yesterday. So sweat and sugar = ant feast. Mmmmm mmmm.

Here'a picture from last week's dinner in the park instead.
grace and gerard on andy's mates wacky bike
Gerard and Grace on Andy's friend's (apostrophes? no idea - too hot) wacky bike. All the dads and kids had a go. OK must dash, the ants are really freaking me out now. Grace needs to be separated from the telly and there's a sausage in the freezer with my name on it.
ps. Oh and I might be getting my computer back soon. Crosses fingers. Excitement.

summer blogging

The normal blogging urge seems to have completely left me. Still camping out on Gerard's desk and it's OK but I miss my computer, my chair and proper Outlook. I can get email but it's bigpond webmail, it's sucky slow and I can only see 10 emails at a time. And I miss all the handy files saved to my desktop, like the vegie co-op roster. Still, I've been crazy busy. All my causes, the school, the pool and the Kodak development seemed to have morphed into this big heaving mess of things. that. need. to. be. done. right. now. Before the next thing that happens and also needs to be done immediately. So instead of stressing about it and feeling overwhelmed, I just got in and did it. Although I made a big list first. And anything that I couldn't do, well I just moved on. And I've said no and hand passed some other stuff. I've been fiddling around on Facebook quite a bit, making pages and connecting them up to their respective blogs. Nearly everything to do with Facebook pages seems to be fiddlier than it ought. However the pages (Pool, School and Newlands Community Alliance if you want to fan any of them) are all working well now and earning their keep. All in all, I've managed to pretty much knock off my list this week and it feels really good.

almost a swimmer's view

What else? Oh, this is big. I've actually started the process of moving my blog empire from typepad to blogger. I've been wanting to do this for ages but the other day I was updating a link on the sidebar of the pool site and honestly, with typepad's system there is so much faffng that I cracked the shits, exported the blog file, ran it through the google converter and imported it into blogger. Just to see what would happen. And guess what? It flippin' well worked!! The whole process took about 15 minutes. Of course there are hours of site design yet to do, pages to tidy up and images to move before I repoint the domain name but I don't think it's going to be that hard - just a bit tedious. So I'm working out a plan and workflow to do all my blogs. Just doing a bit each week, I think it will take me until the middle of the year.

flags from underwater

Apart from being free, blogger has a much nicer editor now. I love how in the advanced editor, you can test your links as you add them. Also a fan of editing page elements from the page instead of having to look through the clumsy typepad library. And, as of two weeks ago blogger has pages! No more having to do a dodgy second blog with all the non page elements made white to fake a page. So yeah, I'm definitely moving.   


Mmm, and I went back to work this week. That was hard after four weeks. Every one seems so tense and grumpy. Stressed. And it was busy and I got shouted at twice on my first day back. Nice. On my second day, a customer told me not to get smart with them. Yeah well. Perhaps after being away for a while, you get a renewed perspective. It was great to get back to homelife at  the end of the week and do the school run. I really like it. Being a school mum. Grace seems to like being a school kid too. Except occasionally when it all seems too much. I'd write a bit about going to the pool too, but what can I say apart from the fact that it is wet and pleasant. We rather like it.

a small project

A while ago Mary mentioned a project that I've been thinking about on and off. As I understand it, the project involves taking a picture of the same scene each week for a year. I thought and thought and then when I looked back on last years photos realised that there is one local scene I consistently take photos of and in a year it may not still be here. The old Kodak building is a landmark in my area (yeah, I know, I've pretty much just told you all where I live but I'm deciding I'm OK with that) and it's due to be pulled down to make way for a housing development.
As long as all the toxic chemicals are gone, I think the land is well suited to housing but I'm sad that the building can't be re-used (apartments? a high school?). I'll miss it's looming presence. The orange brick walls which glow in certain lights. The black stripes. We can see Kodak from our back yard, from the kitchen window. You walk past it if you go for a walk up the creek or just walking around the neighbourhood. I'd love to go inside but there was another fire there a week or so ago and I think it'd be pretty dangerous. I like these photos here and here. There's still heaps of stuff in there, like pictures and wood panelling and coffee cups in the tea room.
I don't know whether I'll post a Kodak picture once a week, but I'm going to try. Unlike Mary's project the pictures won't be from the same viewpoint each time as I'm going to try and document what happens to this particular patch of earth overr a year. Maybe I'll call it the "so long kodak project." We'll see.

plan b, it's always good to have a plan b

I had planned to blog everyday this week. Tuesday, my Outlook email stopped working and I obsessed with that instead. On Wednesday morning my dad came over to fix it up - which he did with a neat trick - copy and paste the error message into a google search and look for a reputable microsoft site or forum with an answer... why wasn't I clever enough to think of that? It's how I learn most other things. Anyway.... he then started to fix a problem with my super duper back up system, not that we've ever lost data off the hard drive and the program to create a new partition stopped in the middle of what it was doing and things went pear shaped from there. As he was about to go overseas for the next three weeks, Dad took my computer home and I think he may have pulled an overnighter to get it working. We talked in the morning before he went to the airport and I went to my shrink appointment - and it all seemed like good news. G went to pick it up but when he plugged it in at home and logged on, the machine powered down. He called me on my mobile and I sat in the lovely cafe next to Savers in the heat and just felt defeated.  When I got home, we tried a few more things and then Dad called from Singapore (yeah, he's pretty dedicated is my dad) and we tried yet a few more things. But we still can't turn the computer on and get it to stay on. Maybe it will be something simple like a switch. Or something complicated like one of the drives is corrupted. But I feel bereft. Like I'm missing part of my brain and part of my body. Yeah, addicted to the internet, my shrink suggested and I didn't even get that she was joking.
It felt like a chain of errors, but it's nobody's fault. Indeed I'm extraordinary lucky to have such a super fast and pretty computer. When it goes, as it mostly does, it is such a joy to work on, but it's like a car. Needs maintenance. And sometimes just a tiny bit of luck. So Plan B. Gerard has said I can use his computer (and isn't fabulous that he has a newly reconditioned almost as fast as my computer with a big screen now, so really I shouldn't complain should I?) and I've spent the best part of the day downloading a trial version of the photo software I like (and learning how to use the new version - which has some aspects I'm not totally thrilled about), setting up my favourites, getting the things I need close at hand, my flickr uploadr, cleaning up my file directory, importing my gmail contacts into my bigpond email account. Ugh. The email is the worst. I had my Outlook working beautifully. Everything went into the appropriate folder (some folders acting as a kind of to do list). Contacts and groups sorted. Bigpond webmail doesn't seem to have a way to add contacts from outgoing or incoming mail easily. And I have no access my email archives and I've missed a more than a few emails from the last couple of days.... Sigh.

But I'm up and running again. Haven't finished flickerating or blogging about our camping trip holidays yet, but the photos are on the other computer. Hopefully they are still there, because the next lot are my favourites of the whole trip. I guess they will look different in three weeks time.... so maybe the narrative will be even more backwards looking than ever. Nostalgic perhaps. I can work with that. So Dad, if you're reading - thank you for your massive efforts - we have plan B well and truly sorted and have settled in for the duration. Hope you catch up on your sleep and have a fabulous trip!

Note to self: When your computer is back up and running, keep a contacts list in .csv on G's computer. And a copy of ACDSee. Just to make it easier next time. It's time I accepted the fact that there will always be a next time. And learnt to prepare for it better. I think that might be plan C. Here ends the whinge. And so to bed, to get under the doona. I know... it was too hot to breathe the other night. Perhaps it was the heat.

big first day at school

On Sunday I cleaned Grace's room to a degree of unusual orderliness and quizzed her on all manner of things - could she open her lunch box? what would she do if she wanted to go to the toilet and it wasn't playtime or lunchtime? how would she be brave of the noisy thing (aka the hand dryer, a major issue for a year or so)? what did she want for lunch? We even went shopping together and bought a lunch bag and some little freezer packs. Everything was laid on the table and labelled with a laundry marker or sharpie pen. We were ready as we were going to be. And Grace was super excited. I set my alarm. Just in case. But Grace and Gerard were up at 6.30 am anyway, ready to get ready. I had thought we were going to be really stupidly early, but we were just in time. The school crossing supervisor took extra care to explain the rules as each group of preps crossed the road and some of the grade six girls stood inside the fence exclaiming how cute the preps were. Grace walked along the last bit of the path to school holding hands with some of her friends. Her buddy pounced on her and gave her a big hug. Amongst the melee of parents and cameras, I got one serious "for nana" shot. The rest was pretty much a blur.
Inside we found Grace's hook for her bag and placed her lunch in the box provided. The class room was even more chaotic and for a moment I thought Grace would lose it. She stayed close and sat on my knee with her arms around my neck for a moment but then happily went off to play with the toy cars and loop de loop track. They're not silly, these prep teachers - lots of interesting playthings already set up. I felt all teary, well actually I did get a bit wet around the eyes, but I wasn't the only one. Lucky I had a champagne brunch with some other mums and dads (G went home to work on the shed extension) to go to. It was a good debrief and then I had some pamphlets for a community event to deliver and before I knew it, there were only two hours left until pick up time. Even so, I wanted to be a fly on the wall all day. To see how they were going, to know that she was OK. Apparently one of the last parents to leave peeked in the window and saw the kids sitting on the mat, happily listening to a story. 
When I arrived to pick Grace up, everyone was happy and excited. It had been a good day. Not that I could find out any details because if I asked Grace about her day at school, she said it was good and that she learned to use the noisy thing. So we went through the orange state government show bag they were all issued and checked out the propaganda while eating trashy fruit juice icy poles. A little while later she fell asleep on the couch in her fairy dress and woke up all rumpled and ready to give it another go tomorrow.

the pool and the caves

Apart from the thrill of camping, sleeping on the only lilo of three that didn't completely deflate each night, in a tent between mummy and daddy, Grace was most taken with two things. The pool and the caves. The first thing Grace wanted to do was swim in the pool and really, she would have been happy to spend a large part of each day there. The swimming pool is set into a rocky outcrop and water flows in from an under ground stream the cave system and is cold. Like swimming in an icy pole cold. At the other end of the pool, the water flows out again under the road and into a creek and so although it's really cold, it feels very clean and un gunky. Refreshing. All around are big pine trees and the overall feel is quite European or American (or so I imagine - never having actually camped in either place). The stone works and old signs add to the overall effect. Buchan Caves Reserve was first developed in the 1930's I think, and the trees were planted then. Not like your usual Australian national park, but interesting for a change. 
On one of the days we were there, it was very hot and muggy and plunging into the water was just delicious. Other days, you just had to remember that no matter what, it was bloody cold. So I tended to dive under very quickly and swim about until my body stopped feeling so shocked. Grace I suspect has ice in her veins.

At first Grace needed a little convincing to visit the caves. And I needed to calm myself. Caves freak me a bit but it was OK, very accessible with hand rails and lights and steps and a guide. Even so I wasn't keen to visit a second cave. Something about the clammy, cold air. And a kind of panic that remained with me for about an hour afterwards. I think it's fair to say, I'm just not a cave person. Grace on the other hand pestered her Dad to take her to other one. They had a great time while I has some peace and quiet, read the paper and had one of my two solo showers of the trip.
Mandatory picture of cave decorations above. They remind me of the kind of art one of my stoner housemates in a previous life used to like. Give me the pool any day.

Oh, oh look at the time! We have school tomorrow!