Sunday, August 23, 2009

A life well lived, but not long enough.

Shelley. What do you say about such a wonderful person? She had such an enormous impact upon the world around her, as evidenced by the massive amount of people who couldn't fit in the chapel for the funeral, by the facebook, email, sms and personal words of sorrow, and by the uncontrolled tears that have flowed in the past week.

Tuesday .... I was on my way to work. Running late, as usual. I was going across the bridge over the M4 on Mamre Rd. The phone rang, and I almost didn't answer it ... I was driving, so I usually just let it go to message bank, but something made me check who it was. As soon as I saw my sister's name, my heart sank. She told me that Shelley had been unresponsive that morning, and they'd had to call the MET team. A quick change of plans, and a call to work ... before I knew it, I was at the hospital. It was way too familiar an experience. My mum was already there, talking to our cousin, who runs the Oncology ward there. Shelley was conscious, but really struggling. She was in an out all day ... awake, but not really lucid. Obviously very distressed, and in a lot of pain. One of her sisters was there too, another was on her way, and the third was getting ready to drive from Bourke. It was a long emotional day. Shelley's sons were there, looking as shell-shocked as I've ever seen them. My sister was holding it all together. Some special friends gathered, and were just legends. A bit after 7pm tuesday night, everyone else left the room. Shelley and Lorraine were in the room by themselves, with a nurse. And Shelley left this world the way she wanted to - with no fuss, quickly, and with the love of her life by her side.

I rang Dennis straight away, and Kieran could tell without being told what had happened. I stayed with Lorraine until after midnight ... a trip back to her place to put Bella-Rai to bed, have drink, then head back to the hospital to wait for Shelley's other sister, who was still travelling from Bourke. We didn't want to tell her over the phone, and we really wanted to be there when she found out. After spending a bit of time with Shelley, and seeing her so peaceful, it was time to leave. It was hard for Lorraine to walk out that door, and I can't even imagine what it must have been like for her.

Wednesday morning, we had to tell the girls. They lost it, understandably. Tayla said "why does this keep happening to us?" How do you answer that? I have no idea .... it's too hard for me to get my head around, so how do I expect a 6 year old to? They've been coping as ok as can be expected. We had the funeral on Friday, just like Shelley wanted. I spent Thursday night organising and editing photos of Shelley for the slideshow. It was so hard - to see that beautiful smile, the funny faces, and all the wonderful memories, and know that we weren't going to have any more of these. Even harder was getting ready to head off to the funeral. What a beautiful service though. Lots of pink - the guys in our family were wearing pink ties, we were all wearing rainbow ribbon pins, as well as pink ribbons in honour of all those fighting breast cancer. A beautiful photo, along with some special keepsakes sitting on top of the coffin. Shelley's biker bear and stuffed motorbike. Some beautiful words by one of the kids from the Cottage, the OOSH centre Lorraine runs, and that Shelley used to work at before she got too sick. Wonderful memories. Some VERY Shelley music. And a beautiful Bella-Rai, dancing in the aisle, wandering around and saying hello to everyone she loved.

Afterwards, we all went back to the Cottage for a celebration of a wonderful life. Kelsey and Tayla said that we had to have fairy bread - Aunty Shelley almost wouldn't come to one of Tay's birthday parties one year, because we weren't having fairy bread, so we had to make some so she would come. I think it was the kind of gathering she would have loved to be at ... all her favourite people. After that, we went to Lorraine's place for dinner and drinks - there was a huge amount of food left from the wake, and I think there still is, two days later!

How are we all doing? Good question ... and one I'm not nearly capable of answering clearly. I feel like a part of my broken heart is missing. The girls are slightly shell-shocked still. Kieran is wandering around looking a little lost. Bella doesn't know what's going on - it hasn't hit her yet that her Mumma isn't around, and it will take a bit of time for that reality to hit her, the poor little munchkin. Everyone else is missing that dry sense of humour, and that total honesty. Lorraine ... I don't know. She's missing the love of her life. I think she's feeling totally lonely ... surrounded by so many people who love her, she wants the only one she can't have any more. My already broken heart is breaking even more for her.

So, I guess this post, as sombre as it is, is a celebration of a life who has made mine so much richer for it's influence. I love her so much, my life is both fuller and emptier because of her. There aren't many people in your life who can leave such an indelible mark after 8 short years. Shelley .... always in my heart. Love you forever. There aren't many people I would choose to be bald for. You made us all better people, and more importantly, made my sister happy. We are going to be there for the family you have left behind, and make your legacy live on in the lessons you have taught us. What an honour, and a privilege. You really were the wild one, and we loved you for it.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Oh my gosh, the pressure!!!!!

From work, home, kids, Mandy .... I tell you .... it's everywhere!! lol

The past couple of weeks have been a nightmare, work-wise. Lots and lots of stuff to do. We've had program review on, so all our programs have to be handed in - and since we've overhauled what we are teaching, and there are new texts this year for the HSC, we've had a massive amount to do. Thankfully friday was D-day - almost all of them are done, and handed in. Just one more Richard 3 one sitting open on my laptop as I type, waiting for the finishing touches.

ALmost no scrapping done over the past few weeks, as I've been too busy with school stuff, and dashing backwards and forwards to the hospital to spend some time with Shelley. We had a fab day today with Bella, my little niece, coming over to play ... thank goodness I hadn't vacuumed before she came, as she thought it was hysterical to use the chip bowl as a hat. It was rather cute - only problem was it still had chip crumbs in it!!

I did get to scrap this last night though - for Chooks Idol comp, which I'm loving. It was also chosen as layout of the day over there ... made me happy in my heart!! The challenge was to use fabric and flowers, and a mixed alpha title. Oh yeah ... it needed to be monochromatic!! Can you figure out what colour I decided to go with?? lol
This other one, very UN-monochromatic, was for a CC challenge a couple of weeks ago. And, I just realised that these pics of Tayla must have been taken around the same time - she's wearing the same shirt. Not that that is a big surprise though - she LOVED it, and would wear it every day if I let her. We used to have to hide it if it needed to be washed.
I'm going on LSBS retreat next weekend ... I can't wait!! So, Mandy, if you give me a bit of time to get home from that, and I'll have another update for you, I promise! Maybe even a Shabby layout, if you are lucky.
Ok, off to finish grappling with Richard and Pacino. Night all!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A shabby holiday!

Well, one week is down in my holidays. One more to go. What have I done? A lot of nothing. Some housework ... only some, mind you. Major renovation in Tayla's room - we pulled down her gorgeous castle loft bunk, and put her very pretty girly bed back in there. She's over the castle bed, which makes me a bit sad, but we've certainly gotten our money's worth out of it ... so look out for a pre-loved castle loft bunk coming to an auction site near you! lol

I've done some bits and pieces of school work - still have a massive amount to do though. Sigh.

I've been to the movies a few times - we all took the girls to see Hannah Montana, which was REALLY good. We even went and brought the soundtrack for it the next day. Seriously, I enjoyed it heaps ... so did Dennis. Oh yeah, the girls liked it too. lol I took Kieran to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince ... yeah, I liked it. It was good. I laughed a lot. I was sad at the end. But part of my sadness wasn't just for the death ... it was for the parts of the book that I had been looking forward to seeing on screen, that didn't make the final cut. Sigh .... I guess we'll just have to wait until November 2010 and July 2011 to see how the final films resolve all that, given that there was some stuff in HBP that I thought was fairly important background info for what happens in Deathly Hallows. Yes, I know, I'm a book snob. So sue me. lol My sister and I, after much running around the countryside to make a session that wasn't sold out, went to see My Life in Ruins, which was funny, light hearted, and just what we needed!!

Scrapping ... yep, done a bit. Not a lot, mind you ... but I've brought pretty new things, does that count?
This is my layout for the big band round of Chook Scraps Idol - the criteria was to scrap a double layout, with at least 8 pics, 3 pp and some metal. These are pics from my Nan and Pa's home town, taken on the day we went and put Pa's ashes in the memorial wall.

And this is my only-just-making-it-in-by-the-skin-of-my-teeth entry in the first challenge at Let's Get Shabby. We had to be inspired by this picture:

And I was very inspired!! I've gone with a pink, cream and green colour scheme from the pic, and chosen a picture of a beautiful girl wearing a hat. I've also placed text at the top and the bottom, ala the picture, and used some paint, stitchy and ribbony elements to shabby it up. I've also concertinad some layers of the flowers to mimic the fans in the pic - but you can't see that very well!

And the other thing that's got me just a little sad at the moment ... my boy has gone on a cadets camp. Yep, done that heaps before, and normally I'm cheering at a few days break from the testosterone-fueled drama that surrounds a 14year old. But this week, he becomes a 15year old. While he is at camp. And I won't see him on his birthday. I know, it happens right? But this is the first time I won't be seeing one of my kids on their birthday, and I'm a little sad about it. I'm sure we'll both cope though, and before you know it he'll be home and we'll be fighting all over again. Nice!

K, that's it for me - I'd better go and cook something for dinner. I've been all Masterchef inspired lately - last night was lamb shanks on a bed of mashed baby and sweet potatoes with steamed veges. Tonight, meatloaf. Dennis is loving not having to cook so much. I don't know how long it will last, though, so he'd better make the most of it!! lol

Saturday, July 04, 2009

One week to go!

It's almost school holidays here in NSW. I can't wait - catching up with some wonderful friends, scrapping, and sleeping in. Plus, some time with my kids. I know I'm going to have a heap of stuff for work, but at least I can do it at home ... unless of course I end up spending time at FarmTown! Seriously, could that game be more addictive? lol

I've had this layout sitting on my desk for almost 2 weeks. It's my layout for the next round of Chookscraps Idol. I love it, but I just can't figure out what else it needs - it doesn't look finished to me!! Anyway, I used one of my new glimmermists from Tattered Angels on it ... on the chipboard, more specifically. I think I'm going to be using my old chipboard more often! It's quick, it looks fab when the glimmermist soaks into the chipboard, and I just love it!
So what else has been going on? Sick kids - Tayla was home for three days this week, Kelsey 2. Lots and lots of work to do, to get ready for a program review at the beginning of next term. Cadets stuff with Kieran left right and centre. Tayla has a gymnastics competition on tomorrow, so thank goodness she is feeling better - I don't know what we'd have done if she couldn't go, she'd be unconsolable! That's about it really. The usual.
I've got a massive amount of housework to get done today, so I can feel not so guilty about scrapping tonight, so I should go. Take care!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

To get Mandy off my back ...

it's time for an update. It's going to be a quick one!

What's been going on lately?

  • P!nk concert ... omg. omg. O M G. It was amazing. Awesome. Loved it loved it loved it!!

  • Work. Busy .... total understatement!! Parent teacher interviews. Subject information session, which was awesome, but full on. Reports, which had to be completely redone ... argggh. Oh yes, and I've been teaching sometimes too ... what a novel idea!

  • Sad news. We're getting our heads around it, but those of you who know what's going on will know the depth of my sorrow right now.
  • Kids stuff ... Kieran has cadets stuff left right and centre, Kelsey has Karate grading coming up soon, and Tayla has her state trial gymnastic competition in a couple of weeks, so has been having extra classes, and loving them to bits.
  • Scrapping ... I've been doing not a huge amount, but really enjoying the freedom of it! The journal-it challenges are great, and no pressure at all. I've been doing an Idol comp at Chook Scraps which is fun.

Is that better Mandy? In your honour, you lovable nag, here's a layout ... from the last round of Idol, and looking decidedly shabby. Speaking of which - check out my new pic in the sidebar over there, which you can click on to go straight to the new Let's Get Shabby blog, which has it's first fab challenge up!! (You can click on the pic, as always, if you want to read the journalling.)

K, I'm off to bed .... have fun people!!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Loving a lazy long weekend!

Sigh ... bliss. Friday night scrapping with the totally awesome Nic. Saturday catching up with my sis and mum for a d&m, then home for housework duty (I'm pretending to be a mature and responsible adult .... LOL) Saturday night, a couple of friends came over for dinner - Dennis knows Bruce through work, and I've met him a few times, but his wife only once before. It was really lovely to catch up with them, and share a great meal and a few nice drinks (I have a new fave sparkly wine!!) Today, we slept in. I'm still in my pj's. The kids are playing Wii. I'm wasting time on facebook. I'm scrapping tonight, and planning the same kind of day for tomorrow as I have had today. Totally awesome!!

It hasn't been all great - my SIL Shelley is in hospital, with an enlarged liver. She's not been well for a week or so, since her chemo and radiation treatments ended, so we're glad she's getting some help now .... fingers crossed.

Oh, some super-exciting news!!! The beautiful Mandy and and wonderful Julie, along with some over super-awesome scrappers, have set up a new challenge blog. It's Let's Get Shabby, and I so can't wait until the first challenge is posted. Check it out!! I'm also loving the new Kiddilit challenge blog that's been going for a few months now ... planning on scrapping a layout for the Wild Thing challenge tonight!

K, here are a couple of layouts I've done recently ...

I can't believe he's 15 next month. SOOOO in denial here. It's just wrong.

My final challenge for ScrapTherapy - each of the DT members picked a challenge element that we thought best fit our style, then created a sample layout encompassing all of these elements. This was mine - and I'm really happy with it!!

This one is for Round 7 of the Idol comp at Chook Scraps ... the challenge was to do a layout using black, white and touches of one other colour, masking and dimension. My new Tim Holtz clock mask and glimmermist arrived the day before this challenge was due, so I had fun playing with them ... I think this layout needs something else, but I'm not quite sure what, so I'm leaving it for the moment. I've been scrapping so many pics of myself since I had my hair cut!

What a tom-boy ... she is so girly, but so rough and tumble at the same time!! Love this paper range, I wish I had more of it left.

And finally, this fortnight's layout for Journal-It!! - the theme is to scrap an affirmation. Pop on over and check it out if you haven't seen it yet - no pressure, no prizes, just some great inspiration to create some layouts with journalling that is meaningful for you!
K, off to play more facebook games... thanks for stopping by!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 30th .... one of those days.

Have you ever had one of those days that was incredibly sad but at the same time truly wonderful? Yesterday was one of those days for me. It was a year since Pa passed away. The reality of that hit me like a ton of bricks. ONE WHOLE YEAR. 12 months. 365 days. However many minutes they sing about in Rent. Lots and lots of time. So why does it seem like only yesterday? Mum's taxi was in full swing yesterday, with Tay's gymnastics class, and Kieran needing to be at Blacktown to march in the Festival parade, and both these events happening at the same time. So for the first half of the day, I didn't have time to think much about it. But after lunch, I sat down, and contemplated the past year. It's been full of good and bad. Lots of tears shed. Lots of breathless gasping nights where sleep only came through sheer exhaustion. But also, lots of moments of laughter through the tears.... moments where we reflected on a life well lived. Moments where we remembered joys shared over a bad joke, a silly trick, or a special hug. Lots of moments, good and bad.

What occured to me yesterday was that 12 months ago, I couldn't imagine ever smiling again. I couldn't imagine NOT thinking about how many pieces my heart was in. But there have been whole hours, sometimes even a full day, where I haven't thought about Pa. That just seems a bit wrong, doesn't it? People are supposed to say, at times like this, that "I've thought about you every day", "you are forever in my heart". I was feeling a bit guilty about that .... but I shouldn't, right? This is what is supposed to happen. You are supposed to feel better. It doesn't mean I miss him any less ... in fact, if it's possible, since Nan died I miss him more. So, I'm celebrating my dead people today, and am very grateful for their lasting impact on my life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Some good news!!

I completely forgot to announce this, in my sorrow about another family funeral, leaving Therapy DT, and all the other not-so-exciting news going on! A few weeks ago Beth asked me if I'd like to be involved in a blog she is running, focused on journalling, which is really close oto my heart. Journal-It is not a typical challenge blog - it's not about winning prizes, it's more about inspiring you to create something with some meaningful journalling. This fortnight's prompt is about Your Favourite Phrase.
"Suck it up, princess!" has become a bit of a favourite around here - firstly to the girls, but it's also been adopted by my softball team when trying to get me to run an extra base ... sigh.
I went out to dinner last night at a tepanyaki bar with some friends for a hen's nihgt, and had such a great time!! Good food, good company, good coffee and drinks afterwards, and lots of laughs. Plus, I looked pretty hot, if I do say so myself - I got a new haircut yesterday, and I'm loving it sick! I didn't get a photo, though, so hopefully Gill has one that doesn't have me with food all over my face ... I was the only one in our group to drop the rice when it was thrown at me! lol
K, off to do some housework - nothing has been done around here for a while, because we've had heaps of sick people. Not me, touch wood, but I'm expecting it to hit me soon! Take care, and give the people you love a big hug!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Eggy tears.

How is it possible that something as simple as eggs and soldiers can bring you to tears? Well, this is a mighty powerful meal. Tonight, after a full-on day at work, physi for the girls this afternoon, and karate for Kels and I, I popped in to see my sis and her partner. Shelley's uncle died this morning. It's sad, but at the same time everyone is kind of at peace with it. He's had a rough struggle with health issues and dementia. We are all so sick of funerals though, and while we were talking, we counted up the amount of deaths that have affected our family or close friends in the past year. It's almost 12 months since Pa died, and there have been 7 more deaths since then. So, it was with that in mind that I came home. Got Kelsey some dinner. Carried poor little sick Tayla in to bed. Wandered aimlessly around the kitchen till I found something for dinner. Sat down to some boiled eggs and toast. And proceeded to bawl my eyes out.
Pa used to do this thing ... every time I had boiled eggs, he'd sit there, very patiently waiting until I finished. Then, he'd distract me. "Look, what's that?" Very subtle, he was. I'd turn around, knowing exactly what he was doing, but secretly delighted all the same. He'd turn the empty egg-shell over, and then when I turned back round, tell me to finish my breakfast. He'd sit there trying to contain the big goofy grin on his face, while I broke the empty eggshell. Then he'd laugh and laugh, and brag that he got me again. And I'd laugh too, partly because I wanted to humour him, but partly because I just loved this. I loved his reliability. I loved that he would continue to do something over and over again if he thought it would bring a smile to my face.

Love you Pa. Miss you every day.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Scrappy news ... happy and sad.

Hi all! Especially Mandy, who has been pestering me to update ... are you happy hon? lol
So, what have I been up to? LOTS!! School holidays ended with a totally full-on, but totally awesome, weekend. Saturday, Anzac day, saw us in the city. We went Jet Boating on the harbour - very fast, very sharp sudden stops, very VERY wet, and most of all, lots of fun! Kelsey almost cut off the circulation in my hand, and went VERY white, but she couldn't stop talking about it when we got off - total thrill seeker, that girl. Of course, well prepared mother that I am, had dry clothes for the kids, but for me? Nada. Thank goodness for the modicum of protection provided by the purple monk robes we wore, otherwise I may have been even more drenched than I was! We went in and back from the city on the Rivercat, which is well worth the trip, let me tell you! Lovely views, unhurried pace, a nice and relaxing way to get to Circular Quay. I'm going that way more often!
Sunday meant it was time for our house to be taken over by 9year old girls. Kelsey wanted a scrapping birthday party, and it was 4 hours of girly mayhem. Lots of fun though, both for the girls and for me. The made a wonderful little mini album each, painted a gift bag, played a few games, and made mini-pizzas for lunch. Kelsey has such lovely friends!!

After a very busy week back at work, during which I was acting head teacher (sheesh - full on!!!) I got to friday again. I had a yr12 excursion planned, to take my class to see a performance of Richard III by the Siren Theatre Company. OMG. I've never been so on the edge of my seat, holding my breath captivated by a performance of a Shakespeare play. Totally wonderful!! The only downside was that I had to lug my slightly under 23kilo suitcase there. The upside to that was, I WAS ON MY WAY TO CAIRNS!! ScrapTherapy retreat. Holiday Inn, overlooking the Esplanade. Water views from our room. The bestest room buddy a girl could ask for. Adjoining room with 2 wonderful chicks I hadn't met in real life before, but who felt like long lost friends. Three days of scrapping. More wonderful friends - some I've known for years in real life, some I was meeting for the first time, but all of whom are just wonderful beautiful ladies!! Lots of laughter. Lots of scrapping. Lots of shopping, eating wonderful food, and just enjoying some me-time. I was in heaven ... especially when I got to go and take some pics of the cute jellybean guys holding their privates!! lol

So, because Mandy told me to ... here are some pics of the weekend, both people and scrapping.

Nat and I with the little perverted jelly-bean men ... LOL
This layout has a story behind it - when I opened my suitcase at the hotel, I discovered my brads and buttons all through my clothes. It took me about 40 minutes to completely pick them out, and I was VERY careful putting my undies on for the rest of the weekend! The next morning, I got downstairs to the scrapping room to discover someone (cough*RACHAEL*cough) had spilt buttons all over the layout I was working on. They weren't the right colour, but it inspired me, and two hours later this layout was finished - man, it took a long time to do all these buttons and brads! Yes, I know there is purple ink on the photo - I need to reprint it. That's what happens when you try to recolour foam alphas ... tip of the day, just use sharpies!!

How cool are these light-up skipping ropes? I've had this BG paper to use for ages, but it just didn't do it for me, so I was soooo going to use it before I came home!!

Room mates - Lisa, Natalie, Me and Rachael. What a top group of girls!!

And finally, the DT group, minus Julie who couldn't join us. Mandy, who is just too sweet for words (even when she IS harrassing me to blog!!), me, Narelle, and Leeanne, our Therapy mum.

Ok ... The sad news. (Hidden at the bottom of a post about things that made me happy for very good reason!! Lol) I have made the decision to step down from the Scrap Therapy Design Team, as have the other girls. It's been a wonderful experience, and I really thank Natalie and Leeanne for the opportunity. It's been wonderful working with such a wonderful group of girls, and this is not a decision I took lightly. It was announced on the forums this morning, and I thought I'd be ok with that ... I've been at peace with the decision for a while now. But to see it in print, and to make it public ... well, it just seems so real, and I've spent a few moments today in tears. I'm really looking forward to being able to scrap with the girls more, and to scrap without commitments to anyone else but me, and that's a really liberating feeling. I had wanted to be on a DT for a while before this opportunity came up, and I'm so thankful that this came along when it did - I can't imagine a better place to be a Design Team Member for, and a more wonderful group of women, both DT and forum members, to have shared this experience with. I know that after the end of this month, when my status officially changes, and I'm no longer able to do all that extra stuff that I do as an administrator, I'll probably have a few more tears, but mostly I'm very excited about seeing who the next lot of inspiring Design Therapists will be, and enjoying my role as Therapy Locum.
Leeanne has chosen a Guest DT for June, from some wonderful girls who were at the retreat, and will be looking for another group for July, before the new DT takes over. I can't wait to see what everyone does, it's going to be great!

So, off for some icecream, and some celebratory scrapping. I'll share some more layouts from the retreat soon - there are heaps!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This is a community service announcement.

Today be'eth a day of immense significance. Hirrah to Sir William Shakespeare, who would be aged 445 years today, if his life had not been arrested by the ravages of death. It has been proclaimed throughout the land that thou shalt speaketh like this noble gentleman today, and I entreat you to't!

For some Othello goodness, checketh this out. It maketh me happy in my heart. So, methinks thou canker-blossoms should'st speak out, loud and proud. Ellocute thyselves in a manner befitting a man who scribed more about sex and incest than any playwright of modern times would dare do. Methinks there is a double meaning in that!! (laugh-out-loudeth).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Holiday!! Oh yeah.

Man, I love school holidays. Love them!! We have just been chilling. My MIL came to stay with us over easter, and was here for 5 days. Love her to bits, but it's nice to be able to drink the last little bit of coffee in my cup without being jumped on for my mug, because she wants to wash up! lol She's awesome, and the kids loved having her here. I think it made Easter a little bit easier for everyone, because we could spend time with Grandma, and weren't so focused on the fact that it was our first Easter without both Nan and Pa. Tuesday after Easter was Kelsey's birthday ... she is seriously getting WAY too old, and too tall, and too amazing for words.

The best thing about the day was that Dennis and I had our whole family there. Dennis' daughter and her kids came over, and his son Garry and his girlfriend are down for the holidays. It was so good to see them all together in one place - it made Dennis really happy in his heart, I think, and it was the best gift Kelsey could have for her birthday - to have all her brothers and sisters in the one place for the first time in years. It was a truly awesome day. Aren't we a gorgeous looking bunch?

The kids and I went to Nurragingy the other day, and took some pics ... I'm so in love with that place, I can't even tell you. It's so beautiful. And when you have a beautiful place, a wonderful day, some stunningly gorgeous kids, and a great camera, you can't go wrong! I took hundreds of photos, and apart from the debacle of trying to get a pic of the kids laying on the grass with their heads touching from above, without cutting anyone off at the neck, they are all completely scrapable. In fact, I've already done some of them!!

It's been a week of letting go for me. Of realising that my kids are getting so much bigger than I'm ready for, and so much more independent. Kelsey has gone away with friends for a week, and she wasn't at all upset about saying goodbye to me. That's a good thing, I guess, especially as she used to be so painfully shy, but it just made me a little sad. Then, I said yes. I sat for most of an afternoon with my heart in my throat. I let my baby buy get on a train and go and meet some friends, all by himself. Yes, he's almost 15, and I could be accused of being overprotective, but it's better than the alternative, right? Sigh ... growing up way too fast.

Speaking of way too fast ... it's been over a month already since Nan joined Pa. So long, but so
quickly .... and while life is still going on, there are moments when I stop, and realise that it just doesn't seem the same. I don't know what it is - the colour of the sky isn't right. The birds are slightly off tune. The earth is slightly off-kilter. But then it passes, and I'm ok again. I remember how lucky we are. Totally blessed. Loving my life, ups and downs, and I wouldn't be anywhere else.
K, that's it from me at the moment ... take care everyone, hugs to you and yours!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hi ho, hi ho ...

It's off to work we go! It's been full on at work for the past couple of weeks, and will be the same, I think, for the next couple. Bring on Good Friday, I say! School holidays. Sleeping in. Catching up with family. Much needed scrapping time with friends. And just chilling ... how wonderful!!

I actually had a total chill-out day yesterday ... we had people over for dinner on Saturday night, so flogged our guts out getting the house looking presentable. It was a really nice night. But the best part for me was waking up on Sunday morning and knowing that there was NO housework to do. Nothing at all. Zip. Nada. Zilch. So, our plans to go to the river for lunch went out the window. We stayed home. Me in my pj's all day (you reeeeallly needed to know that, didn't you?) The kids played. We did not much of anything. I read a book. Dennis watched sports on TV. And it was BLISS.... totally wonderful, and just what we all needed after the past few months.
I even did a bit of scrapping on Sunday night, which was nice!

So some of what has happened over the past couple of weeks ... the funeral was last friday. The day started with a major drama ... Tayla had a scarf that Nan had knitted her, and Kelsey wanted hers as well. Only problem was, Daddy couldn't find it. Frantic phonecalls to mummy at work ensued. I came rushing home and searched high and low ... yes, we found it, thank goodness. My wonderful awesome beautiful cousins from Perth arrived, and there were hugs and tears all round. My brothers arrived from QLD ... more hugs. We headed to the funeral, and met more family, who we only seem to catch up with at funerals ... we need to do something about that, I think! A lot of people didn't recognise me to start with, I don't think - they aren't used to seeing me without long hair! After Lorraine and I did our eulogy, though, there were more smiles of recognition ... well, smiles through the tears, at least. I was really proud of what we put together to remember Nan's life, I think it was pretty moving (if I do say so myself!!)

The priest who did the service was so cute - old, irish, a bit dottery, and slightly eccentric I think. Said Nan's name wrong. Was convinced that she was Irish too, to the consternation of my aunty. I had to laugh ... is that wrong? Ah well, I know Nan would have liked the Hail Mary he said in Gaelic, whether she was Irish or not!!

After the funeral, we joined the throng heading back to mum's place. You haven't seen a wake done like my family do. Or really, any gathering where people need to be fed. It's really amazing - like a military operation, only with icing sugar and cream. Unbelievable!! Fairy cakes. Date loaf - a total throwback to family get-togethers in my childhood. Scones. Jam slices. Pikelets ... not store-brought ones. Not packet shake and bake mix ones. Pikelets full of air, and an aunty's love. Heaven!! Mushroom cakes, which were secreted in the kitchen, and doled out to special people with the air of a clandestine drug deal. They certainly had everyone on a high! They were the highlights ... I'm so bummed that I didn't think to get a photo of the food table.

I was too busy catching up with the McDiarmid/Ryan Clan. Love these people so much, I can't even tell you. It was a wonderful amazing awesome afternoon, and I know that Nan and Pa had staked out a good possy up there, watching, laughing along with us all, shaking their heads in embarrassment when we told some of the stories about her she wanted to keep secret (we kept them out of the eulogy Nan, but how could I resist the bribery of a mushroom cake for a secret story?????)

Saturday, after spending some time with the WA clan, my sister and I had to play softball. It was our grandfinal. And, can I just say, with all due modesty and decorum, we so totally rocked. Extreme in our awesomeness, we were. In our division, there were three other teams. Two of them we beat comprehensively every time we played. The other team, though, which is from the same club as us, always gave us a run for our money. They had only beaten us once before the final series (and that was a game I didn't play ... does that tell you something??? ROFL). The first semi-final we played them to go straight into the grand final, and they beat us. Only just, and one of our team members ended up in hospital with a broken wrist. So, we had to play the next week to get another chance to get into the GF, and play them again. Which we did. And, as I think I mentioned before, we TOTALLY rocked. 15-0. Us 15, them 0, in case you are under any illusions as to how totally fantastic my team is. It was the best fun ... and even more wonderful because I know just how proud Nan would have been of us (now that she's finally gotten over her horror that I started playing team sports at the age of 32 ... "aren't you too old for that now Tamara?") My sis and I had the biggest cheer squad there - three car loads of rowdy relatives. So glad we won, they never would have let us forget it if we didn't!!
Oh, and for the record ... as vain as I am often accused of being, I could probably be forced to admit that I am perhaps NOT the secret to our teams' success. In fact, Belinda and I are first to admit that we are probably just the window dressing on our awesomely talented team, all of whom can hit, throw, and catch like I only dream of. I'm soooo amazed that by the end of the season, I was swinging and hitting almost as often as I was missing ... woo hoo!!

My girls stayed at my sister's place that night, and headed out to the club to celebrate for us, while I headed to Castlereagh Academy. It was time for Scrapgirls Cropfest, which has started on Thursday night ... so I had a lot to catch up on! It was really just wonderful to see the beautiful Tracy, Kylie, Nic, Sharon, Cath, Ali, Lorraine, Sue, Rae, Anne ... have I forgotten anyone? OMG ... yes! Belinda! Fellow rocking softballer, and all-round awesome scrapper. She also is a fairly mean cook, and fed us so well over the weekend. Luv ya B!! I created a few layouts, but it was just wonderful really to have a bit of time just for me. No family commitments. No work to think about. (well, yes there was, but I was in denial). Just me. Loved that ... need to do it more often.

Wow, that's a seriously long post, huh? So, here's a few scrapping things to check out.

This one is the beautiful little Bella-Rai. What a cutie, huh? And the mini-album is made from totally from Bella products, as part of a DT challenge for Scrap Therapy.

I have another layout to share soon, which is really special to me - the photo I shared last post of Nan and Pa sharing a smooch, using some of the most beautiful Melissa Frances papers. I have so many of these papers now, after winning a RAK recently with a heap more of them, so I'm going to do a RAK myself next post with some of these ... keep an eye out for that!

K, off to eat some Bega cheese chips. Yummo! Take care, and hugs to you and yours.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Yesterday morning, just before 10am, a beautiful soul rejoined her beloved husband in heaven. My Nan, Esme McDiarmid, has been fighting for months, after being diagnosed with cancer that was pretty much everywhere through her body. She had radiation and a dose of chemotherapy. She was taking so many pills we thought she should rattle. As time went on she wasn't able to walk by herself, and in the last few days wasn't even able to get up out of bed. For most of those months she has been staying at my mum's place, just down the road from us, and was helped by her two daughters (my mum and aunty), and her youngest sister. Last week, knowing that the end was coming, she made the decision to go to palliative care.

Over the past few months she has been surrounded by people she loves - family from all over the country, literally, have travelled to spend valued time with her, and it's been lovely for us to be able to see her every day, and make the most of those few precious moments. On Monday afternoon, her pain became too much, and they doubled her morphine. My sister and I sat with her all monday night, but she wasn't really conscious ... sleeping, in obvious pain, and moaning quietly. It was so painful an experience for everyone there to see her like that, and it was heart-breaking to leave that night, knowing that it would probably be the last time we saw her.

As it turned out, it was. I got the call at work, and some awesome people stepped in to cover my classes so I could be with my family. I got to see her, lying there in her bed, the pain lines gone, and looking really peaceful, and as hard as that was, it was also kind of a relief, if that makes sense.

Telling the kids was the hardest, as we knew it would be. They were as prepared as they could be. They knew she wasn't well. They knew she wasn't going to get better. But the reality of a world without Nan hit them hard. Tayla, though, the little legend, was also a bit happy. "Now Pa isn't alone, him and Nan are together again." And that really sums it up for all of us, I think.

The funeral is on Friday, so I'm sitting here contemplating how to talk about this beautiful woman in a way that will do her justice. Love you Nan. Give Pa a kiss for us!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Really? It's necessary as a teacher to go through a massive about of bullshit for no particular reason at all?? I'm not talking about parents. I'm not talking about obnoxious students (and trust me, I have a few!!) I'm talking about staff members. I'm going to be very non-specific here (I don't know WHO stalks my blog from work! lol) but I'm so over people who think they are all that with no reason ... who talk themselves up ... who use big words to make themselves sound impressive ... who feel the need to attempt to put other people down to make themselves appear more superior. I'm SOOOO over it, and there are some days that I wonder what I'm doing with my life. Sigh. Today was a mix of one of those days, and one of the good ones - the ones where I walk out of a classroom just feeling alive, like I've made a difference, and that someone is a bit closer to being successful in their schooling career because of something I said or did. And THANK GOD that moment came not once, but twice today ... that's the only reason I'm going back tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that ... well, no actually, because it's saturday, but you get my point.

Hmmm ... what's going on apart from that? Lots of stuff to make me sad. Yes, I've spent a massive amount of time in the past 4 or 5 days just bawling. Bushfires. Loss. Tragedy. It's just inhumane that people are dying, not just because of a natural phenomenon, but due to the work of some sick disturbed arsonists. It's something I'll never understand ... and thank god for that.
For every beautiful image that comes along, like the wondrous picture of the CFA worker giving that koala a drink, there are so many more to break your heart. Houses. Land. Belongings. People. Too sad for words ... and it's not often that I'm lost for words really, so that's something huh. One of my classes today actually brought it up - we were talking about character traits, and they all had to pick 10 out of a list that described them. Compassionate was on the list, and one of the kids said that was me - and then asked how I was feeling about the bushfires. I said that, in all honesty, I just couldn't talk about it, and they all sat there stunned - totally stunned. "That's a first, Miss!" came the comment from the back of the room. Yeah, that lesson was one of my highlights ... love that group.

Other stuff to make me sad ... Nan isn't doing so well. Yet again, too heartbreaking for words. She has deteriorated a lot in the past couple of weeks, and whilst we are all hoping that she is here for Bella's first birthday, we aren't really holding our breaths. I'm just not ready ... are you ever? Crapola. Totally.

I was reading Lusi's blog today ... she has this "Get Real" thing going on, and I was planning on starting it - I was going to tell you about how I didn't make the beds this morning (in fact, I haven't in AAAAGES!!) and how my laundry basket is full to overflowing. I was going to tell you about a whole lot of average, ordinary, real-life stuff ... but I guess what I've already posted is just about as much reality as I can cope with today. Love the focus on the real Lusi - I think I've been doing that for a while actually! No-one could ever accuse me of being superwoman (except in jest! Lol) So I am going to leave the reality of destruction and despair as my "getting real" for today. And I thought I might share some of the other realities in my life that keep me grounded! Some layouts of my favouritest people. God I love my kids!!

These are all layouts using some of my yummy new Basic Grey, and my beautiful new printer ... oh how I love thee, Canon Pixma 630!! Just awesome.
Basic Grey is the MAN of the Month at Scrap Therapy this month - check it out, there is a lot of great stuff on sale, and some new ranges due in any day now!
K, I'm off to get ready for work tomorrow, and get the kids school clothes ready - they are having a mufti day to raise money for the bush fire appeal, and they are very excited about it - they have been gatherin every cent they can to take in!!! Hug your kids, and tell the special people in your lives how special they are!

Friday, February 06, 2009

A new profile pic!

For all of you who were wondering how the hair is growing back - check it out! I have hair again. It's seriously so much cooler - I don't know how I coped in summer with that much hair before! I'm loving it (even if I do look like a toilet brush ... don't you just love my DH!! LOL)

So, back at school. The girls are just loving their teachers and their classes. I'm loving my classes, but not so much my classroom - I had to move at the end of last year, and my new room isn't airconditioned. Most of our school isn't actually, so I guess I was lucky that I had aircon in my old room. I'm more missing my mural than the aircon though - 2 years ago my classes, who new how happy I was to finally have my own classroom, painted the back room of the wall for me, and I miss looking at it every morning. It made me happy. A big bright rainbow. Some very funky butterflies. Sunshine on one side of the rainbow, and storm clouds on the other. And beautiful fish and sea creatures swimming along the bottom of the wall. Sigh ... I miss my wall!

Not much more to report on at the moment - it's hot here, I'm sweltering, and sooo not looking forward to playing softball tomorrow!! It's wrong, it's just wrong. Thank goodness for air conditioning! Oh yeah - do you feel like scrapping tonight? Cybercropping at Scrap Therapy - it's OSCAR'S month!! Come along and check out the challenges and chat - bingo is on tonight! I'll be back to share some scrapping soon - I've been doing heaps, but I can't share them, as most of them are DT layouts. Take care!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What a day.

America officially has a new president. Yep, I stayed up all night to watch the inauguration. The coverage started around midnight here in Australia, with the official ceremonies kicking off at about 4ish ... I don't really know, as my eyes were falling out of my head about then. I did see most of it, but drifted off to sleep after Obama's speech, so I managed about an hours sleep before Dennis got up to go to work. Today Tayla has her BFF from kindergarten over to play - they are in full swing dress-up mode at the moment. I've had princesses, witches and fairies running all over the house, goodness knows what they are turning into now!
So, the inauguration. He's such a great speaker. I was moved, and I'm not even American! There's just something about a stirring political speech which speaks to my soul. Loved it!
Less than a week until back to school, and back to work ... so wishing we had a bit longer! I've been making the most of my scrapping time though, and managed to squeeze in some scrapping with Michelle, and some cuddles with Holly. Lots of layouts done for the LSBS cybercrop - it's the most challenges I've managed to do for this for ages!

This one was a pic I took while playing with the new lens ... working out how to get different things in focus in a picture. The Sass Lass Reindeer Kisses paper was just perfect - how cute are those little reindeer?

I love this diecut stitched cardstock - it's Bella. Add some cool papers, some gorgeous lace, and you have my favourite layout at the moment!!
This one was for a challenge set my Nic ... to scrap an ordinary moment. This was that day last week where the temperature hit a squillion ... the girls found their own way to keep cool!

Kelsey grading to Orange Belt/white stripe at Karate ... what a legend!
And, finally, Dennis and the girls cooking dinner. And he says I'M a messy cook! lol I used a lot of old supplies on this one - I'm trying to use up some old pp, so I don't feel guilty about the yummy new stuff I've got coming from Scrap Therapy. BG Bittersweet ... yumm!!!
K, I'd better go ... the girls are playing Dance Factory on PS2, and want to show me their moves. I hope they don't want me to dance, I don't think I'm awake enough to be able to follow all those moves!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scrappin' and singin' ...

I love listening to music while I scrap ... and Scrapping The Music has has some great songs the past couple of weeks! This week it's Pictures of You by The Last Goodnight. I love this song ... I had actually scrapped it once before!!
This is the one I did last night - another picture from Colo playing around with my new lens. I need to work on getting rid of those shadows a bit, but I love this photo - it's my neice, Bella-Rai, who is seriously the biggest character! She's a total clown ... love her to bits.
This is the one I did last year - lots of pics of Kelsey, between 1 and 2 years old. She's almost 9 now - and growing up WAY too fast!
K, I'd better go and finish de-christmasing my house ... there's still little bits everywhere!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know I'm late ... I've been on holidays!! Our annual NY trip to Colo. Bliss, total bliss. We slept in, ate too much food, had afternoon naps, spent time in the pool, went canoeing, did a bit more swimming, read, read some more ... the kids rode their bikes, got totally filthy, and had a fantastic time. I could fill pages with how much I love Colo! Plus, it gave me the perfect opportunity to play with the new lens I got for my birthday. I got some fantastic pictures, and I've already scrapped a few of them! I got lots of scrapping done while I was away - it was nice to scrap for the fun of it, not because I felt like I had to fit the layout to specific challenge criteria, etc etc. I had fun! So, what did I do when I got home? Did a challenge layout! lol of course. I can't help myself.

I did this one for Scrapping The Music - the song this week was Hands by Jewel. It has made me dig out my Jewel cd - I forgot how much I loved her music! This was my annual "NY reflections" layout ... very deep and meaningful. Look at that bald head! It's grown back a bit since then - I'm looking very fuzzball-ish right now.

I'm doing a "52 pickup" layout challenge this year - a layout a week, with specific criteria. The first one was to use some metal on your layout - and lets face it, most scrappers have heaps in their stash! I used an old metal frame on mine, cut in half for the photo corners. I'm going to do my 52 layouts using photos that I've taken in that week, so it'll be a record of my year. Some people at Scrap Therapy are doing a photo a day, but I just don't have time for that, so one a week is as much as I can commit to. This one is a picture of Kelsey at Colo, using my new lens.
K, that's it for now. Take care of you!!