13 Jun 2013

I'm still here

Some blog posts almost write themselves. I sit down with a vague idea in my head, and very soon the post is there, complete and finished. Other posts, not so much. Like the one I'm trying to write now about our year of Living Science. It is not a difficult subject - I know what we've been doing and why, what books we've read, and how we've done it, but I just don't seem to be able to get it together onto the page...or screen...as it were. Part of the problem, I think, is trying to include too much, and so I've tried coming at the post from different angles - the philosophy, the booklist, the whys and the hows, but still...nothing.


In the mean time, we've been working hard to finish up AO6 Term 2, attending the ballet, celebrating a wedding anniversary, reading some terrific books, and planning a family holiday. All of which may be slightly more interesting than science anyhow. Maybe.

All this to say that I'm still here, and I still love you, and eventually I'll get our AO6 Living Science down for you to read. Right now, though, I'm going to give myself permission to just have a chat to you. I'm going to try writing about something different. Maybe that will work. Who knows?

There is still an Expidit shortage right around Australia, and so we are no further on with our lovely library. I'm sitting in there right now, though, glass of Sauv Blanc at my elbow, and Kenneth McKellar on the stereo. That's a voice of my childhood. You can listen along with me if you want:


We've been getting quotes on things like restumping and plastering. How exciting do you think my life will become when we start repairing the house! It is getting closer, and I can't wait!!

In other news, we've had to net the Kitchen Garden to protect it from those marauding possums. Grrrrr. They don't seem to care for the lettuces and coriander, but the silverbeet, peas and broccoli are having a really hard time of things. I planted some carrots today. Hopefully the possum will think they're coriander or something that he doesn't find yummy. We've been cooking our pumpkins up into big pots of lovely soup. Pumpkin soup is our very favourite.

We've finished a few books, and started a some new ones. Jemimah finished Animal Farm today. What interesting discussions we've had about that. She's currently reading a pre-publication version of a new middle school book about Princess Catherine (aka Kate M.) She was asked to review it by the author, and she is feeling delightedly special to have been asked. I'm reading and being exceedingly challenged by Francis Collins' The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Hubby is reading Dying for a Chat by medical oncologist Dr Ranjana Srivastava. See what an eclectic family we are? We're still reading Swiss Family Robinson, and we're just about to start Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Eothen: Traces of travel brought home from the East, by Alexander William Kinglake, God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew, And Karalta by Mary Grant Bruce are also in the book bag. All are good.

I've been interviewing at work - something that I find quite interesting. How do you imagine me as part of an interview panel? I sort of play friendly cop. Sort of. We have two positions available, and were getting pretty close to having decided, I think. Next comes training. Somehow, that's not so fun.

In a little over three and a half weeks Jemimah and I will be in the USA. That is rather surreal. We're visiting California, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. Disneyland is on the itinerary as well, of course. Ahem. I was 11 years old when I last visited America, the same age as Jemimah is now. I hope her memories are as pleasant as mine are. Tipping is terrifying me. Does anybody have some tipping tips for me? Aussies don't tip, you see, except for exceptional service, and I am really scared I'll get something thrown at me for giving the wrong amount.

Well, I think I've run out of interesting things to tell you, and I really should go and cook dinner. Chicken, spinach and feta risotto. That's what we're having. You?

What would you like me to talk to you about? Maybe I can find a topic that doesn't distress me as much as Living Science. That would be very good. In the mean time, thanks for being my friends.




  1. Well, being one of your non~sciencey friends I'm happy to discuss anything bar math or science! ;) Books is good. Art. Gardening. Travel. And I am happy to hear about the house. I am still praying for you about that! ☺ Meanwhile I am down to my last subject & have an assignment to finish.

  2. Ohhhh, I have an illustrated version of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that I want to read sooner than later. :o)

    Oh a trip to the USA. That will be fun. :o)

  3. On tipping: In CA, our habit is to simply double the tax (which is listed separately on your bill, so this is easy to do) and then round up to the nearest dollar. I don't know about other states (which works out to about 15%), but that will get you by just fine while you're here. :)

    Only tip in restaurants with a designated server. If you are basically in a fast food or sandwich/salad joint, but they deliver your food to your table, you probably don't need to tip. You can watch other tables for social cues, or another good way to tell is if you have to fill your own cup. If you have to go to a dispenser for a soda, tea, water, etc., you most likely do not need to tip!

    Oh. And you don't have to tip me. I serve food for free! ;)

  4. ps. E-Age-Eleven just finished Verne's The Mysterious Island and then moved on to Journey to the Center of the Earth. I think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is slated for the near future! He told me enough about the first one that I got hooked and now I'm reading it... :)

  5. Loved it all. Tip is 15% at a "sit down" restaurant. Motels....optional. Hotel...something. Skycaps at airport--depends on amount of luggage. Taxi--up to you.

    I hope, hope, hope you'll let Jemima post a) her review of the new book, b) her impressions w/photos of the USA--that would be very interesting and fun!!!! Where will you be visiting in Tennessee?? That's a fast drive for me! (No pressure--I know the itenarary is tight).

    GREAT, fun post!

  6. Loved hearing about what you've been up to. Naughty possums. I hope you win that battle.

    As a former restaurant owner, I can tell you that we never expect foreign tourists to tip - though it is appreciated when they do. We don't change our service either way.

    As an American, if I'm thinking of leaving less than 15% that means I'll have a word with the manager. 18-20% for stellar service. You'll not want to double the tax in Mass. as it would signal the server they'd done something wrong ;)

  7. My dh has had a few trips to the US and he said crossing roads & getting in & out of cars was something he had to take care with & consciously think about which side of the road he was on; I'm getting a bit nervous planning a trip from Sydney to Adelaide with my 3 youngest. I've driven around Australia on my own but I was young & stupid & didn't have kids. I'd love to go to the US for a home ed conference but I'll have to wait until next year. Have a great time!

  8. This is like sitting with you on the couch chatting, that is what I love about your posts. WOW, you are so blessed to be going to USA, very exciting indeed! I haven't seen the Northern lights but I have been VERY blessed to be at the right place at the right time to watch the majestic Southern aurora lights travel across the night skies, I will never forget the experience, it was amazing. Thank YOU for being my friend! xox

  9. You can write about just about anything, I'll read it! And I think you need to take me to the US - I've never been :-) So lots on that please!


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