May 30, 2006


The daughter person is leaving tonight and going to live with another family. I have thought about it, and this all started when she started to have to obey some rules rather than just do as she pleased.

So I'm really happy that she is leaving! She is saving me from the huge battle of teaching her about discipline, both self discipline and being disciplined by others.

It takes a stressor out of our home, and gives me back my room. What's not to like?

Posted by Toni at 08:27 AM | Comments (3)

May 29, 2006


Kind of late for the theme, but I did think this was a good one. I often day dream about having heaps of money arrive in my life.

I'd pay the mortgage. That would be a great thing! Then work becomes optional.

I'd get a bigger car as the one we have is really struggling with the amount of stuff and people it has to carry around.

I'd get the pool removed from the back yard, and get the hole filled in, and then get proper soil replacement put over the entire space so that it was a little higher than it is now, cos its a bit of a dip, flat back yards are better - and pay for grass to be put in.

I might pay for the house to be painted for us.

Get some new carpet, and line the two rooms that still have scrim in them.

I might get a new fence down the side of the house.

And some furniture in the lounge - I'm so OVER the bare board look. Its Minimalism in its final incarnation, and when its gone we could use the room.

A bigger more powerful computer and true broadband would be good. Some shelves in the garage. A new bed for the senior son, as his present one is held up with firewood stacked under one corner. Some drawers for the husband.

but apart from the shopping list, what I realised was that I don't want to change my life much. I like my job, I like where I live, I like the people I see. so I might change some of the little things around me, but if the money didn't turn my head to mush, I'd like to stay pretty much the way I am now.

Altruistically - I'd like to start an investment scheme for people to get into their own homes, or improve the sub-standard home they are in now. I believe a lot of the health issues in this country are related to the cold damp draughty homes we live in, and fixing that would be a good thing. I also think that if people feel good about their homes (or any other aspect of their lives, but this happens to be an aspect which is fixable with money) that the pride in themselves in that part of their lives flows in to other parts of their lives. So a nice well maintained home, might flow into a healthy well maintained body, and then into healthy thinking patterns. Its worked for a lot of people, though like every program not everyone... Its worked for me, so I want to give other people the chance to try it.

PS There's toothpaste smears on the computer scree. Ahh, the joys of living with kids.

Posted by Toni at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2006

Perfect peace

Spent the day at home doing nothing - and tonight the daughter person is staying elsewhere and I don't have to cope with her teenage angsts for 48 hours.

Made tin on toast for me and the boys tonight, and then we all made chocolate self-saucing pudding. We enjoyed that.

Am seriously Csidering having a long hot bath...

Posted by Toni at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2006


Yesterday one of my good friend at this here institution of education lost their job. It was nothing personal apparently but the person in question has been through other rounds of job cuts and knows they do get personal round here. Who you are counts as much as what you do.

I now have had everyone I really liked here last year leave, which only leaves one person here that I really like and spend time with out of school. There are lots of people here that I talk to, but that is a different status.

Being friends with me seems to be a recipe for leaving...

Posted by Toni at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

On the importance of passing the shit on.

You will have noticed that lately there has been a bit of whinging going on round here about the daughter person. The selfishness and selfcentredness has been getting to me lately, and also R. R tends to talk to me about the things that are bothering him - its like, you know, part of being married and stuff. The problem is that all the faults of the daughter person are being Cstantly reinforced. All her good points are being ignored.

So last night I rang the local organiser for these kids and said I needed a break, pronto. Like this weekend would be good. And she agrees, and also wants it to be for the whole weekend, so the daughter person would be picked up from school after the last bell, not even come home to be picked up from there. When she said that my heart went pit-a-pat with happiness, so I figure I'm more than overdue for the break. But no-one can have her in their homes, and there is a camp this weekend, so the plan was she would have to go to camp afterall.

I already knew she did not want to go to camp AT ALL, and so I was anticipating she would be upset by the news. I stewed on having to tell her. I was worrying about it and a little sorry for her. But she emerged from her room after I had a shower, and I broke the news of my weekend break and her weekend horror. Nope, she was not happy. Yup, she is going to ring the local organiser and try to get out of camp.

And I felt like the problem had ceased to be mine, and had become hers. I ceased to worry. I'm now looking forward to the weekend, and not Csidering too hard what her weekend will be like (a bit of selfcentredness and selfishness going on there). But I feel like the problem has arrived now at the right persons plate. I was worried about telling her, not worried about what she might do for the weekend. I passed the shit on, and it felt good.

(One of the suggestions she made was that she could stay the weekend at home by herself. We don't think she even knows how to start the microwave, let alone how to work the can opener, which happens to be an elderly army one and not obvious on how it goes. I supposed she might eat takeaways for the weekend, but it sure didn't sound like any plan that would give me a relaxing weekend. She might do her own washing but I'm Cfident she would not do ours, and yes we do hers when she puts it in the baskets. She might vacuum, but I doubt the dog would get a walk. In short, I'd be thinking too much about what was going on at home and not relaxing enough.)

And by the way, R is out tonight, and away all weekend too.

Posted by Toni at 08:28 AM | Comments (685)

May 23, 2006


The daughter person is getting a bit of a hard time at the moment. She is irritating R in particular by not thinking of anyone else but herself. So she wants to put on washes Csisting of only her shirt and not put in the obvious family wash. Then she forgets to put the shirt in the dryer - when R does it she says sorry to ME. I pointed out that thank you to him was more appropriate! Then when we go out to the garage where the dryer is, all she has done is pull out her shirt and not even turn the dryer back on... or put in the other half of the wet wash. I know it is because she is the age she is, but the total self focus gets tiring. When she makes a drink at night, she never asks if anyone else would like one. Its getting to the point where I really need a break!

On the much happier news front, we are now newly auntified, as a neice was born last night at about five thirty. Both are happy and healthy, which is great as the elder sister to this girl was born two and a half month early and was much more of a Ccern.

I'm off to the museum with the elder son this afternoon, and I am embarrassed to Cfess this is the first time I have been to the local museum, which is apparently a pretty good one Csidering the amount of money they get from the council to run the thing.

Posted by Toni at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006


When I go to work in an new organisation I always turn up with the intention of not getting involved in the politics of the place. Just getting into my own space, and doing my job. Not getting involved in the campaigning for more space, more money or more status that occurs with any large group of people.

I'm coming to the Cclusion this is a really stupid ambition.

Every place I have been to I have been involved in the politics eventually. And because I don't actively seek alliances right from the start, or get into one or the other groups, I end up fighting from my own corner with no one on my side with me. And invariably, the fight starts over something totally innocuous, which then blossoms totally out of Ctrol.

I think what I need here is a new ambition. I need to seek powerful alliances who share some of my views on how or why to do things. The principle of getting on with my job and not getting distracted needs to be achieved with a tandem ambition to be a person with allies and influence in the organisation...

Posted by Toni at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2006


Went to an outreach night for our school tonight, seeking to Ctact the parents of our catholic feeder schools. Must say, powerpoint produces a very slick presentation when you've been practising. The digital camera give the opportunity to create new presentations of recent events and slot them into previous shows - its a great tool.

Very quiet day today, fomenting dissent. Will see how it develops and then tell you a tail of great steaming piles of shit. Literally.

In the interim, I gave a class a test today. Some of them are doing really well, and trying hard to get credits. Others are making no effort whatsoever. I gave the book Sisomo to one of them to read so he wouldn't get kicked out for two periods in a row. He was surprised I would read something that Ctained anything interesting to him. It is by Kevin Roberts and is about the future and present use of interactive screens. Like the one you are reading now...

Posted by Toni at 09:05 PM | Comments (189)

May 17, 2006


I have agreed to make the skirt of the ball dress for the daughter person. Foolish me. But I did have the good sense to say no to making the corset. Giffy will be so disappointed in me, but I thought that A) I didn't have time to make up all those little pieces into a garment and B) I have never made one before and this was not the right corset to learn on. So half the outfit is going off to a dress makers. Phew.

But I am getting SO nagged about the whole thing. "When are we getting material?" "When are we going to see the woman who makes the corset?" "When are you going to start working on the skirt?"

My technique to deal with this has developed immediately, without thought and without planning. My technique is to palm as much of the work as possible back onto her. She can cut out the pattern. She can iron the pattern. She can pin the pattern. She can cut the material. I can show her what to do, and she can do it. It will be a fantastic learning experience for her.

And it puts most of the onus back on her, and right off me.

Its really hard having someone come into the house like this. When we are well rested and have low stress/pressure it is fun and no problem. But when things are a bit more strained, ie normal every day life, I can get very sick of having to turn the bathroom fan on because she forgets, and replace the toilet roll because she forgets, and tell her when to get up and when to go to bed, because otherwise she would forget. Its another baby!

Had a lovely time with the fourth form today doing periodic table stuff. They worked hard, and packed up about five minutes before the bell as they had worked hard and had enough, and I thought they were right. Good music in the classroom made it a fun day...

Posted by Toni at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2006

Martyring out

Being a martyr used to be something that R and I would say to each other. One of us would be doing something that needed doing, but doing it in a very grumpy way. So the other would ask if they were being a martyr? Or were they martyring out? If you needed to explain the grumpyness we would claim to be having a martyr moment.

Tonight, I am having a major martyr moment.

R was home sick yesterday and spent the great majority of his time on the computer doing St Johns study stuff. Which as he doesn't actually have an assignment to do, is just wallowing around in interesting information. Not really working in my mind.

And then today he went off looking like a mobile corpse (quite funny really as the last two days of last week he spent on a military course on how to deal with real corpses). He went to the doctor at camp and was told he should be in bed, but that as he wasn't he could indeed go on St Johns shift. He had already been up so being up even longer would make no difference.

So he comes home and gets fed a meal, and leaves immediately. I get to not only make the meal but also to clean it up and deal with the children for the evening and get them into bed and do the washing. Its the kind of thing that would be okay if I was a SAHM but actually I have a full time job, and really don't need two. Its like family stuff is nothing to him and St Johns is everything, or at least almost the equivalent in importance to the army...

So I'm feeling very put upon - the salt in the wound is that one of the boys might need to see a doctor, while the medic is out of the house! I feel like I am carrying the whole family responsibility and that R is not acting as a full and equal partner in the venture.

By crikey, and I complain about the management speak from the principal.

Posted by Toni at 08:40 PM | Comments (205)

May 15, 2006

The cold

It was sooo cold today. I think this would be the coldest day we have ever experienced in Wanganui - I think it may also be the first day I have kept my heaters on for the whole day.

I had to borrow a jacket so I could go out and do duty. Dumbo here forgot her jacket.

We had a family re-union in the weekend at Taupo. I haven't seen all these cousins since the funeral of my grandfather so it was actually a matter of working out what their names even were. And the partners were definitely in the introduction category! Some of them I think it was the first time I have ever met them. Mostly the weekend was okay - there was a lot of room and a lot of kids and cousins. If someone got a bit tiring or even irritating it was possible to wander gently off into the distance. And having kids means I can always go off and check up on what they are doing.

The only unpleasantness was when my father got shitty because he couldn't find me. I had let go of the baby for a moment, and he was snatched up and taken for a walk. The elder child had wandered off to chase girls (this was the occupation of choice!) so I went for another swim this time with the daughter person. There wasn't anyone who seemed to need to know... but father got very cranky while trying to find me. Him and my brother I think wound each other up, so when they did find me they were in a fine state. Father grumped about how he had been looking all over camp for me, and then turned round and left.

It seemed he didn't know why he was looking!

The brother then got it into his head that my children needed to go to bed. It is the seCd time he has felt he could improve my parenting. It makes me laugh! Both kids were as happy as sandboys, as the little one had slept for between four and five hours that afternoon and the other was totally engrossed by the tv. So I ignored him.

Since having children of my own I have discovered how little I know about how to raise children, and how even less I know about how to raise other peoples children. Something I was once much more expert about.

Oh, how the mighty have improved

Posted by Toni at 07:39 PM | Comments (192)

May 09, 2006

Heat and silence

While I type this the year 12 and 13 students are doing a test. Some of them have not even started to deface the paper with their thoughts, and they have now had half an hour to bless me with their knowledge. It is very noticeable that the year 13 are the least knowledgeable or even interested parties. The year 12 students, apart from the autistic one, are working really hard and making good progress.

I am feeling a bit deflated by the staff while at the same time quite pleased with the students. Too many of the 'adults' I have spoken with today have been negative or hypocritical, and so I have been hiding out in my room.

Its still a fantastic thing to me that I have my own room at school where I teach all my classes, and that generally I don't have anyone else coming in here to teach their classes. I DON'T HAVE TO SHARE. And like the very nearly two year old in the house, I like that. The students are starting to have homework that results in the decoration of my walls and that looks good. And today we made models of the atom with polystyrene balls and wire, and hung them from the rafters. It was a great way to keep two year 10 classes amused and entertained, and they may have learnt something from it as well! They even restrained themselves from covering the floor in polystyrene, which was something of a relief to me.

Its very warm in here today, and with this test thing going on, very very quiet....

Posted by Toni at 02:09 PM | Comments (823)

May 08, 2006

On the total futility of worrying

Well the daughter person fessed up about the boyfriend though she claims they are not going out, just very good friends. Very good, from what I saw on Friday myself.

Then on Saturday she wanted to be able to stay with him.

She's seventeen, and perfectly capable of telling porkies, so I thought it was in my best interests to let her stay with him. But I am not happy about it. Not Happy.

Its not that I don't trust her. I do actually. I trust her to do the safety first stuff. For me, casual sex is not a good thing, and it seems that she is not planning to sleep with everyone who might fancy her. So I trust her to only be sleeping with someone she really wants to be with.

But I don't trust this boyfriend. I don't trust any male of that age (17 years) to have Ctrol over his hormones. Or any female either. That's either me being realistic from my own memories or from what I have observed as a teacher, or I am just a sad cynical negative type, making wild generalisations about teenagers.

Tell you what though - I didn't sleep well on Saturday.

She came home at lunch on Sunday while I was out and went to her room, shut the door and went to sleep. I had no idea she was home...

At five o'clock I was thinking I should ring her and tell her to come home. I was doing some tidying up and went into her room, whereupon she said hello. I got one hell of a fright.

Turned out she had gone home with her female friend, and not spent the night at the boyfriend's place after all. She went with girlfriend at 3 o'clock, about the exact time I was lying in bed awake worrying about her and wether she was all right.

Here's hoping I learn something from this!

Posted by Toni at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2006


The foster daughter person goes to the same school as I do - and therefore the other kids love to tell me what is going on in her life that she may not have got round to telling me about.

Apparently she has a boyfriend. I know his name too...

So I've checked out what the staff think about the boy in question, and I asked one of the senior kids how serious it was.

Now all I'm waiting for is to be told by the foster daughter person. She is worried about it as she knows that with her only being here for one year, they are encouraged not to get too involved with only one person. IE no significant others. Me, I don't mind about that, I am just Ccerned that she doesn't start telling me lies about where she is and who she is with. A bit of truth telling about her having an actual boyfriend would be a good start, though you shouldn't take from that that I am angry. Yet. But I am thinking that I will be ringing up the place she claims that she is staying at and checking that she is actually there. This might produce some trouble, but might be less trouble to do early than when any sneaky behaviour is too well established as the normal.

Posted by Toni at 09:02 PM | Comments (820)

May 03, 2006

Lots of fun

I gave my third formers a chance to do something they have always wanted to do, but have probably been forbidden from doing before. I gave them lit candles and let them play with them. I had three proper experiments that they had to do, but after that they had free time to muck round.

The noise was great - that really busy noise 25 kids make in a room when they are doing stuff, but not being destructive or silly.

The fourth form assured me I was really boring yesterday. damn shame, cos I love talking about the weather.

That stressed student I talked about yesterday - he ain't getting any better. Honest true.

Posted by Toni at 10:08 PM | Comments (206)

May 02, 2006

Stessed students

Actually, in my life there is only one stressed student and that is the beloved husband. He is going to be on course this weekend, and was on course these past two days. Also in a fortnight he is going to be on course, and a couple of weeks ago he was (you guessed it) on course. All of these things run for a couple of days, and all of them from now on are going to have a pre-course assignment that must be completed before the course if he is going to pass.

Now us idiots that have been to uni probably think something like, 'so we pull a few all-nighters. No problemo.' And if he didn't have a 35+ year old body, and a family it would be sweet. Unfortunately reality is his body doesn't do the all-nighter thing any more without severe Csequences, and the family insist on getting some of his time and the happier side of his nature.

And then to top it off, the book he needs to do the assignment only exists at the station house, so he can't even work at home. So the all nighters (which he can't do) aren't even in the comfort of his own home. He'll be spending quite a bit of time down there, dangnabbit.

Quite honestly, I'm thinking he is perfectly justified in being stressed. And I'm not impressed that they also want him to do some shifts this month, when he is already down to do 6-8 days training and 3 assignments. I mean, its meant to be volunteer work!

Posted by Toni at 08:27 PM | Comments (196)

May 01, 2006

Epic journey into family life

We went in the seCd week down to Christchurch for my graduation. We had rain for the whole time, which was a shame, as Anna has come all the way from Ria to see New Zealand. We went down through the Lewis pass so she could see the mountains, and they were hiding behind a viel. We went up the Kaikoura coast so she could see those mountains and the sea, and they too were hiding. But we sure had a great binding time as a family. We did the luxury stuff, staying with my parents. Then we did the friendliest friends staying with Flick and Ali. They are so hospitable, they left bowls of chocolate beside every bed, and piles of towels topped with little towelling animals. Just like a hotel only a lot better, cos they were friends.
Graduation was fine, but a little disappointing. The PhD's get the same stage time as the diploma students, and I did expect a bit more fanfare for our achievements. Lincoln had twenty four PhD's graduating which was a record. Who knows if any of us will get jobs! The town hall was very crowded, but we did have fun, and they are the most dodgy bonnets to wear that human kind could invent.
Anna wore high heels, and really suffered. She says she will never wear them again - I think she will never wear them again for a long day event.
The trips between Wanganui and Wellington were really hard with the six year old full of energy. In a small car every irritation gets magnified, and he can be a huge irritation... But we made it and some great times were had.

I think the highlight of the trip for most of us was the seals in Kaikoura. And that was never billed that way. I think that happens in a lot of trips - something unexpected becomes the best part of the trip.

Posted by Toni at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)