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, May 30, 2011

The Wordless Gospel.

"No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once." — Oswald J. Smith

What do soccerballs & the gospel have in common?  And does David Beckham know about this?

The things I get to know!  Seriously.  Here I was, cheerfully telling everyone that yep, South America.  They play soccer there.  Liddy plays soccer.  Actually, South America is obssessed by the *Beautiful Game*. Every street kid can play.  They have the sort of footwork our kids can only dream about.  Liddy & Chile = soccer .... & the gospel.

Someone got there before me! How did that happen?  Some smart cookie put Chile, South America, & soccer together in their head & went,  there's gotta be an angle to this!   This is the result: The wordless gospel!  You even get to kick it around! You can even download it as a teaching tool here.

So how does it work?  This has been designed for oral cultures.  I did get a giggle that this popped up after my last post nattering about oral traditions.  I also got a giggle that it popped up after Liddy had done a weekend course on sorytelling the gospel because this makes it incredibly easy.  Basically you have one standard soccer ball  made in 5 different colours.  Each colour represents an aspect of the bible story & you can tell the whole thing from go to whoa using the colours on the ball. Gold is for God who is perfect & lives in heaven & who loves us.  Black is for our sin.  Red is for the blood of Christ who died for us.  White is for the new life in the spirit & green is for our continuing to grow in Him who loved us enough to die for us.  Each aspect can be developed further but this really tickled my fancy as an educator.  Look at all the learning styles it incorporates: visual, auditory, hands on, kinesthetic! Man!  I just love this.  Not only do the colours remind  people themselves but every kid can use it as a teaching tool themselves.  How brilliant is that?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The use & abuse of magic.

"She wants to be flowers, but you make her owls. You must not complain, then, if she goes hunting." ~ Alan Garner The Owl Service.

My friend, Jeanne, wrote last week about The Secret Garden & certain passages she found disturbing & it got me thinking, don'tcha know, about the use & misuse of magic in literature.  So I've been chewing it over in my mind: What is magic?  Is it always bad/good/indifferent?  I mean, there's the Harry Potter crowd screaming that the whole series is demonic & goodness knows what else & I gotta say, my issues with Harry Potter are simply & purely that they are bad literature. End of.  And the ranters & the screamers, if they've even  read the stuff, know zilch about magic if they think Harry Potter is using it. He waves a bit of stick around, puns in Latin & people get all hot under the collar about it when honestly, don't you think the whole exhibition is really rather silly?

I feel the same way about Frances Hodgson Burnet's *magical* elements. It just strikes me as rather silly. Surely no~one in their right mind would believe this stuff?  I am probably wrong.  See I got raised on a very different sort of *magic*. C.S Lewis skirts around it but never really deals with it.  Tolkien gets it but misses his mark. And then there is Alan Garner.

Now to my mind Alan Garner is one of the most brilliant writer's for child or adult of the last 50 years.  His writing is terse, succinct, yet loses nothing of tension, atmosphere, or suspense.  And he gets *magic*.  It is not about waving bits of stick around, about chanting ritualistic phrases [though he wasn't above using them in the Weirdstone of Brisingamen & people should have been worried because he used *real* spells & consequentially refused to write the whole thing ~ just in case...] or funny hats & cloaks of invisibility.  It never was & the best fantasy writers understand this.  The very best understand something else too; they understand there is both darkness & light ~ & still, it is not about chants or spells but about human nature.

It is easy when an author uses standard fantasy elements to get caught on those & just write the whole thing off as *magic* & therefore *bad* if you're a good little Christian because we're told not to dabble in the stuff ~ & nor we should.  There are books out there, written for children & young adults, by practising Wiccans & Pagans pushing their theology on unsuspecting readers & it's not Harry Potter.  If you have ever been unfortunate enough to run into the real thing you will understand Harry Potter really is a cardboard weapon.  It has no real clout.  Magic is a literary device & that is all it is. The real stuff looks very different.

And then there is the other stuff; the stuff that makes my blood run cold, that sends the hairs prickling up my spine & my blood thrumming because it taps into something elemental about human nature. I'm not sure how much or how well I am going to be able to convey what I understand about the proper use of magic, what it is & how it operates but the first thing that strikes me is power.  It is as solid & rough as rock.  It is not whimsical, flimsy or insubstantial in any way, shape or form.  This is because it is firmly rooted in reality & it's foundations are from our oldest literary traditions:  The Mabigoni, Beowulf, The Book of Talesin, the skalds of Scotland & Norway, and all those fairy tales that pre~date Christianity. 

The second thing I know is that all these old stories were teaching tools.  They were the schools of an oral population & they were used by the bards & file to educate people about right conduct.  Star & I are reading Beowulf this term ~ & very dull my avid fantasy reader thinks it.  She has gone so far as to question my sanity because Beowulf is a very bloody, very gory story full of monsters & cannibalism & if you like fighting, sword play & excitement ~ & of course that is the story. Dig just a little deeper & something far more subtle is at work.  This is a teaching story showing how great heroes behave, how fully human beings live out life with bravery, courage, generosity, courtesy...yadda, yadda...and they do so amidst terror & calamity & the uncertainties of life.

And there is the third thing: the best fantasy, or magic, has it's roots deep in another reality, one that used to exist but no longer does, another way of seeing the world, another way of being.  Now Tolkien & Lewis understood this intellectually & took full advantage of it.  Garner is different.  Born in Cheshire Garner was raised amongst a people who still adhered to an oral tradition, who still thought in an older way, still told the old stories & so when he writes of magic he is not using devices; he is calling on the very roots of an authentic tradition.  Nowhere is this more evident than in The Owl Service.  If you've never read this book you have missed a truly wonderful literary masterpiece!

Superficially The Owl Service is a retelling of the Welsh legend of Blodwedd, the lady made from flowers ~ but it is much, much more than this.   The original tale is one of the Mabigoni & very old.  That alone gives it the fairy edge of strangeness.  It is a tale of adultery & betrayal & there are certainly what one would call *magic* elements.  No man could, in reality, throw a spear clean through a rock & into his victim.  No woman could be made from flowers or turn into an owl.  But what happens if you see these magic elements as symbols, as literary devices to show us aspects of ourselves?  All women have dual natures, the sweet, the beautiful, the charming & the cruel, the hunting, the selfish.  Men have an innate tendency to be possessive about certain things ~ like their women & children.  Civilization might give a more acceptable veneer but scratch the surface & a Neanderthal appears.  And what happens when both men & women behave according to their baser natures?  See how the story then twists in your hands, just like any good fairy tale should, & becomes something else completely.  And what I particularly like about Garner is how one act can redeem the whole ~ & not from the one you expect. 

And these stories last because human nature has not changed in all the years since God plonked Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden.  There is no difference between David lusting after Bathsheba & Blodwedd wanting a younger, prettier man than the one she had been made for.  Fantasy & magic stories were never meant to be understood literally.  You can argue this from The Children of Green Knowe to Harry Potter.  The magic is only a device.  A symbol.  A representation of something else.  In the worst books magic is a space  filler with neither meaning nor substance.  In the best it is a sharp sword that cuts through our self delusion & reveals our true natures ~ & having faced our own demons we are left to choose whether we battle them with the courage of the great heroes that litter fantasy stories or flee in cowardly confusion from unpalatable truths.  There is no greater literary genre than fantasy ~ something even Shakespheare understood ~ but a discussion of the Great Man's literary sources must wait for another post.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Onward to Chile...

"I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China…I don't know who it was…It must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…And God said - "Well, she's willing." ~Gladys Aylward <

Time to update ~ because, well nothing much has happened for a bit.  Liddy was sitting on about 60% of the funds she needed & the clock was ticking down with it looking as if she would not reach her goal this year & would be forced to wait another 12 months.  As she hasn't been able to find work this was not news any of us wanted.  And yes, we heard very clearly, "Trust Me."

Look, I know, intellectually I know, God is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills; He made & owns everything in the world & out of it.  Therefore I should just trust Him, right?   We live too close to the edge of disaster all the time for that to come easy.  I was starting to fret. Then in a matter of hours the last few hundreds rolled in & that allows us to plan ahead a little & work towards the 100% funding it would be nice for Liddy to have.  It means she can organise her passport & think about her air fare, plan her luggage, start preparing mentally because there is a good chance that when she comes home we won't be here anymore on our little island in the sea so goodbye really is goodbye.  Yes, we are planning a move ~ maybe.  We have somewhere in mind but feel God is still preparing the place & there is still unfinished work for us to do here. 

So to all those of you supporting us in prayer & financially, or just following along ~ thank you! So much!  Yes, it is super exciting & yes, I 100% believe this is the work the Lord has called Liddy to ~ just the other day the Lord was asking if it was still a yes from me if Liddy went & we never saw her again, if she went & was unable to return home?  and I was like, What?!  Seriously?  But it is still a yes.  Just the same, we are talking my daughter here, the baby girl I thought I would never have.  After 3 boys & twins no less, girls were looking a remote possibility.  We are talking my baby, the kid who stood on street corners & rang home to ask me to google & give her street directions.  We are talking the kid whose love language is quality time & who spends hours chatting with me.  The kid who owns the Skype. So yeah, I am looking at Dearest's little ebay business & calculating a laptop with inbuilt camera & Skype because there is no way, Hosea, that that kid is going to stop talking just because there is an ocean, a continent & several time zones between us! Nope.  Won't happen.

Short term, she is speaking tonight & again on Sunday so prays would be appreciated.  Long term, thank the Lord for His peace ~ because we do have peace.  Lots of froth & bubble on the surface but the depths are undisturbed. Gratias.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lessons from the desert.

Am I willing to give up what I have in order to be what I am not yet? Am I able to follow the spirit of love into the desert? It is a frightening and sacred moment. There is no return. One's life is charged forever. It is the fire that gives us our shape. ~Mary RichardsAsk any Aussie; the middle of Australia is a desert.  Several deserts.  Most of us live along the *coastal fringe* with our beaches & our surf & our great white sharks ~ & life is good.  Seriously.  Anywhere along the coastal fringe has a pretty temperate climate ~ unless you are unlucky enough to live in Melbourne, or possibly Hobart.  If you want snow you go to it; it does not come to you.  We whinge about our cost of living but we're a western country & our standard of living is better than 3/4 of the world's & I'd hazard it is probably the best in the world from what I've seen travelling.  We just don't know how lucky we really are.

We joke about our *dead centre*.  We know the desert is encroaching at the rate of 4 miles a year.  We watch the Leyland Brothers [remember them?] & the Bush Tucker Man but we don't go into the desert ourselves. There's nothing there but mallee scrub, red sand,  scorching heat.

Early in our marriage the MOTH worked out west on the oil rigs & he got to know the desert as few people ever do ~ & he fell deeply & irrevocably in love with the dry places no~one goes.  And he saw, just once, the desert after the floods & there was so much wildlife: birds & frogs, kangaroos & lizards & snakes.  Swarms of them.  Everywhere you looked.

I have been thinking about our deserts, about the frogs who burrow deep into the sand & hibernate until the rains come, about the birds that suddenly breed prolifically, about how all those animals survive the dry years because I have been in a dry place spiritually.  I hate the desert places.  I like to be green & well watered & the ease of lush pastures.  Yep, that's me, lolling in the lush grass beside gentle steams & here is the thing.  Those beautiful lush pastures are a dangerous place to be. 

If you plant a tree in the desert it is going to do one of 2 things.  It is either going to curl up it's toes & die or it is going to send it's tap root surging deep down into the sub~soil to the water table & the streams of fresh water hidden below the ground.  When times are good & easy those same trees grow shallow roots because there is water close to the surface & they fall over in the smallest storm.  The trees that learn to endure are deep rooted ~ but they never get that way without adversity.  They mightn't grow so straight, or so tall, but they grow strong.  Bits of them get brittle & break away but the trunk is solid.  It is only the extraneous the tree discards, dropping unnecessary limbs, shedding foliage that drains it's limited resources. Only what is important is maintained.

And the other thing is desert things learn to endure.  They grow patient, waiting for the rains ~ & when the rains finally come they aren't washed away in the floods but they bear bountiful fruit, 10, 20, 100 times. I understand.  I just don't like it very much. *sigh*

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular. ~Kathy Norris

I am deeply & illogically insecure.  This is not a mature, adult, position to take so mostly I pretend that I'm as competent as the next person & swan round make~believing I can actually manage my life.
It's not true, you know.

This week the hot water system blew up.  There was this most enormous bang in the middle of the night & the sulphuric smell of fried wiring.  And somewhere in my deeply illogical brain I wondered if, if I ignored it, it would somehow have magically fixed itself by the morning.  It had not.  The hot water was cold.

I hate dealing with tradesmen.  I only ever want them when something has gone wrong & they always want to tell me things I don't want to hear ~ like, "Lady, your hot water system is screwed.  I can patch it together for you but the sooner you replace it the better."  And in my head I have this long list of reasons why that is not going to happen any time soon & why I will be giving the problem to *The Money Man* just as soon as he crawls out of bed.  And why, when I have multiple men in the house, am I the one discussing electricity & hot water systems, which I most emphatically do not understand, with the tradie?

And then there was the external hard drive thingie ~ which I got to buy having had a most disturbing discussion with a young & incredibly arrogant young man who made it quite clear he knew perfectly well I had no idea what I was talking about. OK, so it is true I was totally clueless but I was parroting what I'd been told very nicely & we would have done much better if he had just explained simply & clearly because that is the nice, polite thing to do when you are dealing with a clueless older lady who then has to go home & try & explain what she most emphatically did not understand to the MOTH [man of the house], because he's the Money Man who gets to say whether we actually spend that exorbitant amount of money for something now neither of us understands.

And there was the fridge ~ which made strange noises & decided it no longer wanted to be a fridge or freeze my meat or do any of the things for which it was given ample kitchen space.  Instead it wanted to grow strange fungi on my vegetables & yoghurt my milk & do other unmentionable things I didn't want it to do ~ & therefore required replacing. Too much drama.  If I want drama I talk to Star.

See I don't do well with life.  It is all just a little overwhelming & most of it I don't get.  I understand things like the Culdees & Arthur & how the Vikings moved their longships across open ground & the genetics of red hair ~ all of which is perfectly useless ~ but the insides of my car engine is a mystery to me ~ & not one I particularly want to solve.  Fridges & hard drives & hot water systems are just plain boring.  My eyes glaze & I have this most awful tendency to shrug & step around them.  Dead is dead & replacing them means another problem further down the track & it's getting old, this buying stuff just so it can break down.

I have reverted to type.  I am reading the latest archaeological take on Arthur & the piles of new evidence that change everything.  Books are nice & clean & the blood doesn't leak everywhere & stain the furniture.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I love Rocky Road ~ Al Yankovic
 Seven o'clock in the morning & the temperature is barely hitting 15 degrees C.  It is cold.  The hard edges of the day are as sharp as crystal.  There has been heavy dew & the earth smells richly damp & exotic.  The cats are in kitty heaven.  Even Marlow has braved the outdoors, slinking along on his belly, nose twitching.
 Star has been making Rocky Road.  Mmmm.  Hot chocolate & Rocky Road, cats snuggling, long afternoons under doonas watching old movies or, in my son's case out on the freezing water catching prawns.
He's gone for a week, doing some course that actually requires his physical presence so we are spared the fishy smells for this week at least.  Winter seems to have arrived with a vengeance.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Walking in the Spirit: The Quaker *Stop*.

"Didn't thee have a *stop* in thy mind?" ~ Thee Hannah ~ Marguerite De Angeli
My lovely friend, Ember, has been on a fascinating journey & has been sharing how the Lord is leading her while all of us wide~eyed & avid readers goggle at the ups & downs of her journey amongst plainness & simplicity in a very modern world. And when you  find you are being led down the narrow paths, the paths that most of us avoid because they are so very narrow ~ & lonely ~ & require so much of trust because there is only the Spirit to guide & even fellow travellers will baulk & say, "Thus far & no farther," there are many stops & starts & false leads & retracing of one's steps to begin again. Amongst the old signposts is one I know as the Quaker *Stop*.

The old Quakers were unusual.  Firstly they were unashamedly & unambiguously Christian in thought & practice & while this is no longer always so many of their thoughts & ideas remain.  They were also what I would term charismatic ~ in that they were spirit~led.  I know most Christian churches give lip service to the power & place of the Holy Spirit but far too often that's all it is ~ lip service.  The reality of the Spirit is too frightening, too overpowering, too dangerous & so people hastily pack Him back in a box & close their ears. The Quakers, on the other hand, stepped completely the other way.  Their whole philosophy of religion was, & is, that God is available to everybody; that no intercessor is necessary because each & every one of us can hear directly from God.  Indeed, as God's children, there is something wrong if we are not hearing directly from God for ourselves.

I have talked about Quaker worship here. I mention it because both the *leading* & the *stop*, two sides of a single coin, have their origins in the depths of silence.  They arise out of listening for, & then heeding, the still small voice of God.

Now the *stop* is not conscience which is:  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. [Romans1:20]  There is set in the heart & mind of Man the knowledge of God, of good & evil, of right & wrong so that none will be without excuse on the day of judgement. That is basic.  All of us, whether believers or not, instinctively know certain things are wrong because the knowledge of God is in us & all around us.  Thus we know murder is wrong; theft is wrong; lying is wrong.  I can't think of a culture in any age that has condoned these things whether they practise them or not. 

If we indulge in certain acts our conscience will bother us because God is whispering that these things should not be so. At it's most fundamental the *Stop* is the warning to halt before proceeding on a wrong course of action into sin but it is also, in my experience, more than this.  A *stop* can be a call to wait patiently until all those necessary are prepared & all that should be in place is in place before way will open to proceed.  It can be a call to a complete halt allowing for greater light to reveal that a course of action is wrong & that one should no longer proceed along a designated path. It can be a call to wait patiently while others meant to journey with us catch up.  It can be the call that there is a change of plan.  It can be a place of enlightenment & also accountability. It's God's, "Whoa! Hang on & listen up!" 

I like the old Quaker way of phrasing things.  It speaks to my condition.  It speaks of a people conditioned to patience, humbly listening for the voice of their God.  It speaks, not of resolutions, but of the journey undertaken.  "Way will open..." speaking of the patience to wait & allow God to work.  "I felt a *stop* in my mind..." speaking of the humbleness to be corrected & directed by God Himself.  It speaks to me of the practise of holy family because God is our Father & like any good parent He watches over His offspring carefully & because He loves us there are many yeses in our lives but there will also be the Nos, the *Stops*, the pauses for thought & reflection.

There is a delicacy about God.  He is a gentleman.  Where I go thundering about like a blunderbuss minus my manners creating Havoc & High drama, God quietly minds His Ps & Qs & waits to have my attendant ear & if I am listening carefully I will hear, "Stop. Wait.  Proceed with caution. Way will open..."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I like Wednesday night rehearsals.   I like the music; the jokes; that singing makes Star happy.  Most rehearsals the kids work hard but there is the odd one that just seems to go right off the air!  Like last Wednesday.  As a hysterical impromptu circus it would take some beating & it was extra long because the kids were auditioning for a commercial ditty again.   Something that may go up on you tube in the hope it will go viral.  Something that may never even get off the ground.  Something Star came pretty close to *Staring* in ~ & missed out by a cat's whisker.

Which is how the cookie crumbles, dontcha know?  The thing is though that despite the high drama that tends to surround drama sorts ~ & make no mistake; music is drama ~ remember, they're the lot who invented opera! ~ we play it low key round here.  Music is what Star does & sometimes she is wonderful & sometimes...not so wonderful. To us it doesn't matter.  Star is our Star & in our eyes she will never shine more brightly than she does for us & well I can remember telling the perfectionist, Liddy, that whether she played National soccer or scored winning goals she did not have to *earn* our love.  Star needs no convincing in that department.  Being adored is her birthright.  Just ask her. 

But there is always that little catch at a mamma's heart because it is our nature to want our kids to be ok about themselves; happy; succesful & rejection, however it comes & however much you know it's not personal, can sting so I was pretty proud of my Star.  Cautiously querying how she felt about it all Star cheerfully announced it was all good because she'd done one of these things & it was nice for the new ones to get a turn.  My Star is a generous little soul & she bounces well. Boiiiiing!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Deeply Regret to Inform you....

Chocolate, men, coffee - some things are better rich. ~ Anon

....That no~one guessed right.  Star actually killed my favourite cup [which was a lovely royal blue & white fine China affair] when she was a toddler.  I then had a succession of rather lovely mugs which my children also found irresistible & Dearest lost so many overboard the bottom of Moreton Bay is littered with our coffee mugs.

I did not expect you all to fall into the kitty~kat~kup trap seeing as I blogged about my regular mug here.  Yep. I have a plain thick worker's mug that is practically unbreakable.  I know; my children have tried.

The apple mug is indeed Liddy's despite the red herring she threw out & Star does indeed own the musical instruments.  Dearest also likes the simplicity of a plain mug & Dino is guilty of snavelling the kitty mug.

Julie, I think you came closest to getting them all right despite being first cab off the rank.  Well done, ladies, & thank you all so much for playing!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Into every life a little rain must fall...

You've come to the wrong shop for anarchy, brother. ~ Captain Jack Aubrey

I woke this morning to the slow drip of rain & the last of the tissue thin roses drooping under the weight of water.  There was a cat curled tight behind my bent knees, his nose tucked firmly under his tail, a barely audible purr emanating from somewhere deep inside.

It was dark & dank & cold as I pattered down the stairs, switching off all the lights Dino had left on as I went, to never get that first cup of coffee, hot & piping from the microwave.  Kirby promptly crawled into my lap because it had been a long cold night & he wanted warmth & cuddles & the steady thump of my heartbeat resounding through his small body.

We have the most beautiful fungi growing on our verandah.  The vibrant orange swirls glistening wetly light up the grey day.  Liddy is experimenting with soups.  Last week it was Potato & leek & gave rise to a Starism: "That looks like real soup!"  Meaning it looked like it came out of a tin.  Good one, Star!

With all the workers home & only wanting to curl up  under a doona with chocolate, a cat & a good movie I'm unlikely to get any actual work out of Star today.  Master & Commander might count only it's right out of period.  Besides we watched it yesterday, one of 3 Star got me on special & which I like despite the fact it makes me seasick.  Paul Bettany is easy on the eyes. The others were The Road [no good despite Viggo Mortensen~ someone needs to explain to the director that even if you have something important to say you still need to tell a good story or you may as well not bother] & Changeling, which was very good even though I do not like Jolie!  Liddy, who saw this one at the movies, declared it did her head in.  Call me cynical, but not the sort of stuff to do my head in.  I leave that to things like A Clockwork Orange  Both book & movie so did my head space in that I have never used them with any of the kids although I consider them to be absolute masterpieces of the genre & brilliant art. But not nice.  Not nice at all.

And now Kirby is back, snuggled under my chin & warmer than any hot water bottle.  There are compensations on a wet grey day when you own a smoochy cat.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Eeny, meeny, minny, mo....

If it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever. ~ David Letterman

In our house we have quite a collection of coffee mugs ~ more mugs than people as it so happens.  At present there are 5 of us: Moi! Dearest. Liddy, Star & Dino.  We each have our favourite mug.  Here they all are hanging on their hooks.

Now the object of this game is to see if you can match the coffee mug with it's owner.  Some are easier than others but I promise all the correct mugs are there.  Off you go!  Have fun.  Oh, & if anyone manages all 5 correctly [Not the people who live in this house!  Hear me, Liddy?]  I might manage to pop a little something in the mail for you.
PS: I'll run this one until midnight Wednesday May 11th our time then declare it null & void.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Wear these bright jewels, belovèd Beowulf;..."

Homeschooling is weird you know ~ especially when you get up there in the rarefied stratospheres of higher education.  Take learning styles.  You'd think they'd get a little more flexible the older a child got but no.  At least not in Star's case.  Star is set in steele. She is still the ADD kid who learns as she bounces off the walls & never seems to be paying attention to anything & swears black & blue education is for the piskies & no~one needs an education after grade 5.  She has a point ~ but let's face it, most educational facilities are glorified babysitting clubs & what is everyone else supposed to do with their kids?

Anyway, I've heard it all from this kid & I've decided she just likes lighting my fuse to watch me spark.  We started back on Monday ~ which Star later discovered was a public holiday which meant, in Star's universe, she shouldn't have been working & she was!  And I am most unpopular because I decided without consultation Star might as well use her brain to wrestle with Beowulf & Anglo~Saxon England this term.  It's pretty bloodthirsty all round which should have appealed but naturally doesn't.

Now Star deserves the Oscar for iconic whining.  How that child can go on & on about the dullness of her academic schedule because it doesn't matter what we choose invariably it is incredibly boring.  And having whinged ~ & whined ~ & moaned & groaned; having sighed & sobbed & produced every dramatic trick in her not inconsiderable repertoire this is what Star ordered for her light reading this term: I believe I've already mentioned The Lord of the Flies.  To that add: Wuthering Heights, Emma, & Don Quixote.   If I had actually requested she read any one of these books I should have heard all about the torture of her poor innocent mind & my cruelty to children but because she chose to read this...well, that's a whole 'nother matter, ain't it!  She also ordered everything the library has on Alfred & Anglo~Saxon England & Debussy's Clare d'Lune. 

And there you have it folks!  The end result of years of homeschooling.  Despite herself my Star knows how to educate herself.  What I am rather interested to see is how she does with the German text I found on my shelves ~ which is all in German with no translation. [that's what Google is for!]  because I really don't want to have to buy a text.  So far she seems to be managing.  I told you she had brains.  She just likes sitting on them. Six terms to go!  Oh, my!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It has come to my attention...

This morning it came to my attention that I am dead. 

 I don't usually open these obvious scams but this came up after I deleted something I had actually opened & I am still howling.  I mean, honestly.  Do people really get scammed by these things?

...However, we received a petition today from one Mrs. Christina Morgan that you are dead. According to her, you died in a plane crash as such your fund should be paid to her as the apparent heir. She has also submitted her Bank account with Federal Reserve System for the transfer of the fund to her.

To avoid undue delay or paying the fund to wrong individual/beneficiary, I have decided to contact you for confirmation. If I fail to hear from you after 72 hours, it will be assumed that the petition of Mrs. Morgan is true and the fund will be paid to her without further delay.
Therefore, if you are still alive, reconfirm your particulars...

I don't know a Christina Morgan.  I haven't been on a plane in more years than I can count & the lack of salutation strongly suggests these people have no idea who I am ~ but whatever.  If they don't hear from me within 72 hours, well I guess they write R.I.P over my e~mail address.  It's an absolute howler.  Mr. Desmond EKE deserves an A+ for providing one of the more creative twists on what is really only good old~fashioned theft!  And yet it never occurs to them the apalling grammar is a dead give~away!

We've reported more of these higher than I can count & they still keep coming out of Nigeria.  I'm sure not all Nigerians are scoundrels & thieves but these scammers sure are giving their countrymen a bad rep.  Still, that's the funniest thing to arrive in my mail in some time.  What's yours?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The trouble with sharing one's bed with cats is that they'd rather sleep on you than beside you. ~Pam Brown

 My Cat has a problem. He likes radioactive places...
 And high places...
 Warm places...
And other people's places.  I don't have a pic of him attempting to sleep on top of my head but no doubt it will happen ~ because he does.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Jihad will continue even if I am not around." ~Osama Bin Laden
When the twin towers came down Muslims around the world celebrated.  Now Bin Laden is dead the west is doing the same.  What is wrong with us? Is it only me who thinks this is incredibly sick?  When has hate ever healed anything?