Friday, April 29, 2011

Wot I've been up to recently

I've been a bit quiet for all sorts of reasons. Technically we've had a bit of a laptop malfunction - it can happen to anyone, you know! - and while I now have internet access again I don't yet have email on my laptop and have been borrowing dearest husband's every now and again to catch up. So if I've been a bit tardy with replying to you, now you know why! Normal service will, I'm sure, be resumed soon...

We've just enjoyed two and a half weeks of Easter/Autumn school holidays which coincided with dearest husband's birthday so we sneaked a surprise birthday celebration in on Easter Sunday under the guise of egg hunts and lunch - and it's darned hard to sneak anything up on him so I feel justifiably proud of myself! To save money I made the eggs, melting down several bars of chocolate that were lurking in my cupboard, thereby saving my waistline from excess! This is the result: the eggs were too large to hide so instead I hid little drawings of the patterns on the eggs, and the children hunted for the drawings and were able to identify "their" egg in the basket at the end. I also made the adults play for a change: they had to hunt for riddles that were clues, taking them from one place to another before they finally found their eggs in an egg carton on top of the microwave! The catch for them was that they got hand-marbled, blown chicken's eggs with no chocolate in sight, but since we served lunch immediately afterwards no-one complained. And the food was delicious, too... all our guests brought a plate of food to share so we had roast lamb, lemon-roasted potatoes, home-grown roast vegetables, a herby quinoa salad, fresh bread rolls, quiches and cheeses and dips and lots of other things, finishing off with fruit and I made a simnel cake.

Now that the party's over I've got back down to some serious work and have been putting many hours in at my studio, working towards the show. Nothing finished to show you yet, but it's coming along! I've been having fun with all sorts of things including my Christmas present which was a Dremel tool...

And finally, last but certainly not least, I can tell you that we were paid by that nameless Australian bank! They managed to keep us waiting again, phoning dearest husband the week before Easter and assuring him that the money would be in our account before the bank holidays but of course it wasn't. We emailed them on the 27th - his birthday - to follow it up and it finally arrived and was visible via internet banking at about 5pm, much to our relief. I was so relieved, in fact, after six months of nothing in my wallet and fielding dozens of phone calls about unpaid bills, that I was ill and had to go to bed... clearly I've been more stressed about things than I thought! But anyway, it was a great birthday present for M, and perhaps that was fitting timing. We're not out of the woods yet (I stand no chance whatsoever of clearing our credit card bill or fully paying our builder, poor man) but we're closer than we were and at least I know we can pay the mortgage until October when the next instalment arrives. Meanwhile I've taken all my paperwork in to TAFE so perhaps I shall earn some money soon, if I don't have a nervous breakdown about the exhibition first!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Drip, drip, drip little April showers

I wish I knew what bird this is/was! A week or so ago everyone in the house was cranky, but my irritation evaporated when I went outside in a huff to put some rubbish in the bin and came upon this little thing on the ground.

I think it must have flown into a window and become disoriented; at first I thought it had broken its neck but it was responsive when I picked it up. I think it is a female of one of the local wren species... it was so small - compare its size to the small jam jar lid we filled with water! Anyway, I put it into this basket with the water, on top of the verandah table so that the dog couldn't get at it, and it eventually flew off.

As for the rest, it's no wonder we've been cranky. We're still waiting to be paid the first instalment of the money we're owed, and it's just plain boring having to talk to people on the phone and explain it all again, and it's tedious pinching pennies all the time. But before you tell me off for whining (sorry!), I'm also aware of how lucky we are to live where we live and do what we do, and in the end my mother's yardstick doesn't apply: nobody died. I have been ploughing through stuff as fast as possible: a bookbinding class for a friend's children one weekend (photos will be up on the Rhubarb&Ella blog shortly), writing mountains of stuff for the school Board's upcoming AGM and Annual Report, refereeing academic papers for a conference later in the year, blah blah blah. I don't know that my fellow Board members are happy with me, * sigh * I've always been under the impression that confidentiality is a huge issue on Boards and within small school communities, but apparently my decision not to name names isn't popular... I'm familiar with the aphorism that it's impossible to please all of the people all of the time but right now I'd happily settle for pleasing some of the people some of the time!

There has been one bright spot, though: yesterday I went for an informal chat at the local North Coast Institute of TAFE about the possibility of me teaching printmaking/papermaking/bookbinding there. Whoo-hoo! I'd love to do that part-time so I am crossing all available fingers and toes in the hope that this might turn into actual paid work before the end of this year.


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