Thursday, June 30, 2011

AFL in the mud

Why is it when the ground is muddy, boys will find any reason to roll in it, slide in it and generally get themselves dirty?!

The field where they were playing the actual game was muddy enough, but they decided to run around in the really muddy bits while warming up - they were filthy before the game even began!

Exhausted & muddy, after the game.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I did it!!! 25,000 words in 30 days!

Wow, I have done something I didn't think I could do.  I've amazed myself!!!

I've learnt so much doing it. 

I've learnt that I need to plot more before I start.  I have some major inconsistencies to go back and fix up where a character is acting in a completely different way to how they started.

I've learnt that I can write 500+ words in a 30 minute sprint - if I know what I want to write about.

I've learnt that I can in fact write after Billy is in bed, in front of the television, in the car, while people are talking around me, all of the places and times I said I couldn't - as long as I know what I want to write about next.

I've learnt that if I don't know what I want to write about, I can have perfect peace and quiet and still get no words on the page!

I've learnt that I really can write without succumbing to the perfectionist editing tendencies.  They'll come later!

I didn't write every day - but I only had 5 days when I didn't write anything.  My best day was 2003 words.  My 'worst' was 300. 

I'm definitely looking forward to taking a few nights off now and catching up on some reading!

After that, I have some more writing to do!  And no excuses for not getting it done :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I very rarely post photos of myself, so this is special :)
Now to get rid of that white belt!

'Kung Fu Panda 2' and 'James and the Giant Peach'

Billy's Dragon's group organised a trip to the movies to see Kung Fu Panda 2 today.  I haven't seen the first one, but this one was pretty cute.  Funny in places.  Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

I just bought myself aSony Bloggie tiny little digital video camera that slips in my pocket so expect more photos and videos popping up :)

Last night we also went to see a local kids Theatre group do James and the Giant Peach.  It was well done, but not up to the same high standard as the one they did last year (in my opinion).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Homeschooling Blog Hiatus

If anyone noticed, I haven't posted a weekly updates for a couple of weeks.  Mainly because not much exciting is happening here, and I feel like I'm posting the same thing every time.  I'm going to continue the break and just post if something interesting or out of the ordinary happens.

He's watching the same couple of school shows that he has most of the term, has done a bit of formal maths (Khan Academy - acute, right & obtuse angles), lots of informal maths, written some stories and plays.

Minecraft remains the current obsession.  Its now progressed from playing with it, to creating videos about it, to making his own worlds with the editing tool.  We've had some interesting discussions come from it.

His drama group is busily working on some top secret play that we'll see at the end of term.

The wet weather over the last couple of weeks has meant the cancellation of AFL training and games, but he's still doing Dragons, archery and I'm encouraging him to spend some time on the Wii.

Oh, and he's been busy doing a major cleanout of cupboards in his room (with my help) - setting aside all of the toys he's outgrown.

So that's it really.  Not even enough to make one exciting post :)  Just life as normal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Broke the 10,000 word mark

The title says it all really.  I've made it over 10,000 words - 10,379 to be exact. 

Happy dance!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Further than I've gone before...

Yesterday I passed 7000 words in my wip (work-in-progress) - in fact I passed 8000 words.  Still a long way short of the 55,000 needed for the category romance line I'm targeting.  But it was a personal milestone for me. 

I've started writing a few books since I made the decision twelve months ago to get out there and write, and stop waiting for 'someday'.  I started with a kid's book - that didn't get very far at all, but I still like the idea I have for it.  I started a women's fiction - I got to just under 7000 words in that one before life stepped in and I couldn't keep up the momentum. I've also written and edited a 3,000 word short story that I entered into a competition, and a few shorter pieces of flash fiction (< 1000 words).

So to get past 7000 words is exciting for me!  If (I should say WHEN!) I achieve the 25,000 words I've set as my goal for 50Kin30days, you'll hear me celebrating over in the US :) 

I write very bare bones - just dialogue and a bit of action - and have to go back in and add description and details later. It's something I'm working on.  So once I take those 25K words and flesh them out, I should be somewhere near the 55K.  At that point, I can proudly claim to have written a book!!

Still a long way to go, but baby steps, right?!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Time for a change

I had a sudden thought yesterday that it was supposed to be my last day of teaching.  Unfortunately though, the course was cancelled due to lack of enrolments.

About 10 years ago I went through a mid-life crisis of wondering what I wanted to do with my life.  I started thinking back to my childhood dreams of what I wanted to do 'when I grew up'.  It was always teaching.  Luckily for me, I ended up in IT instead - I don't think I could've handled being a primary school teacher like I wanted.  However 10+ years ago, I did take the plunge into adult education teaching. 

It was the perfect blend for me.  I liked teaching adults.  I was teaching at adult community colleges and on the whole, the people that were there, wanted to be there.  It wasn't like TAFE or Uni where they 'had' to be there.  These people had their own busy lives and had made the time to come along to a course to learn a new skill.

I was teaching computer courses - anything from web design to basic Windows & Outlook for seniors.  I was still working full-time when I began, and would teach at nights or on weekends.

When Billy was a baby and in preschool, I was teaching several days a week.  It started to wear me down.  I had to travel an hour each way to that college, so I was dropping him at preschool / daycare about 7:30 in the morning, rushing down in peak hour traffic to the college, teaching all day, driving home and picking him up about 6pm.  I hated it.  (And its my greatest regret in life.) I started to hate the teaching - teaching the same courses day in / day out.  And I hate to admit it, but I was turning into a really slack teacher.  Just there for the money.  The college was also in a bit of upheaval with staff leaving.  I ended up quitting that place. 

Some time after that, I was contacted by another adult community college in the area and asked to teach there.  It was back to a more manageable level - nights and weekends a couple of times each term.  I worked there for a couple of years - firstly in their Newcastle venue and then just at the local Maitland one.  They utilised high school rooms after hours so there was no week-day teaching.  As it went on, I didn't want to travel to Newcastle anymore to teach at night and I was becoming possessive of my weekends.  Pete was working long hours and away a lot, so I was trying to keep weekends free for us to do stuff or just hang as a family.  Then it became an issue trying to get the night courses so they wouldn't clash with Pete's squash nights or when I could get babysitting, and due to falling numbers, more courses were being cancelled than were being run.  I resigned from there.

Fast forward a year or so, and I was called by yet another local community college - this time an hour's drive away in a different direction.  They'd been given my name by college #2.  I'm a sucker and although I wanted to say no, I didn't.  So for the last couple of years, I've been teaching one or two days / term at this other college.  They had wonderful staff and a fully equipped computer room, so I really enjoyed the time, but I could feel myself starting to dread it again. 

I was ok once I got there and started teaching, but I was in danger of becoming slack again.  I'd be wishing the course would be cancelled each time rather than hoping it would go ahead.  This time I knew the danger signs and didn't want lower my standards.

So driving there last term, I made a split second decision - I've had enough.  I'm going to put my notice in.  I gave them a term's notice (which was the course I was supposed to teach yesterday).  They still want me to come back but I'm holding firm.

So that's it - for now anyway.  10 years of teaching has come to an end.  I may go back to it some day - who knows?  But for now my life is busy enough without that added burden.

And it feels great.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Writing Sprints

I'm just under 25% of the way through my word goal of 25,000 words.  I'm actually amazing myself!  The thing that is helping me most?  Writing Sprints.

Most nights, sometimes through the day depending on schedules, a group of us will meet in the RWA chat room and at a specified time, the organiser will crack the whip and we all write madly for 20 mins (or whatever time has been agreed on).

Then we come back into the chat room, compare word totals, moan about how what we're writing is complete drivel, share highs and lows in our writing, or just chat about what we're having for dinner :)  Usually after about 10-15 mins, someone pulls us back into line and we go off for another sprint.

I'm finding I can write 400-500 words in a 20-30 min sprint.  Two of those in a day and I'm right on track with my word count!  And its so much fun - knowing you have only a specified time really focuses the mind.  I may never be able to write any other way :)

Normally I'm a perfectionist when I'm writing - I write something, decide its not good enough, edit it or delete it, write something else and repeat.  Which is probably why I've never made it beyond 7000 words before..  Having that word goal means I can't afford the time to edit - I'm just writing and will edit next month.  As Nora Roberts says, you can't edit a blank page!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Billy's week 5th June, 2011


Learning about the Australian coat of arms and the state symbols at Cubs. (HSIE)

 Earnt a gold certificate on Mathletics - Finished the Time & Place section (place value, reading time tables, grids & charts)  (Maths)


Backyard Science, Cyberchase, Behind the News, For the Juniors (Human Body)  (HSIE, Maths, Science)

Observing the growth of the plants in the terrarium he made at cub camp (Science)

Being active:

Dragons martial arts, AFL training & game, archery

Having Fun:

Exploring Minecraft,  Lego, playing on the Wii

Drama  (Creative Arts)

Celebrating a cousin's b'day with family


Creating Minecraft videos (Science & Tech)


Specky Magee and the Battle of the Young Guns  (English)

Thursday, June 02, 2011


My wonderfully talented fellow blogger Christina recently did a cartoon categorising her son's interests into 'eras'. 

It really struck a chord with me - Billy too goes through stages where he is completely obsessed with a topic, and then just as suddenly, he switches to a new one.

Some of the stages I remember are:

* The Doodlebops era - this was a Canadian kid's show with brightly coloured 'people' - lots of singing and dancing.  This was possibly as far back as preschool days for him.  Every day he'd watch the Doodlebops over and over again, want to dress up like them, make instruments like them. 

* The magic era - he was obsessed with magic some time after that.  Watching magic shows, learning magic tricks, putting on magic shows to anyone who would stand still (or not!)

* The Ben 10 era - a kid's cartoon about a young boy who fights aliens by turning into various creatures with the help of his watch-like Omnitrix.  This was only a year or so ago.  He had (probably still has somewhere) the Ominitrix, the Ben 10 games, the Ben 10 pyjamas.... 

* The Simpsons era - this was last year from my very shaky memory.  He had to watch every single episode of the 20(?) seasons of the Simpsons.  Several times.  Now he denies ever liking them :)

* The Club Penguin era - Suji can attest to this one.  A kid's online gaming community where you 'waddle round and meet new friends'...

* The Minecraft era - this is the latest.  An online game where you wander round and build things out of materials that you mine from the ground. 

I actually realised you can track a lot of his eras by what cake he had for that birthday party!

We've had smaller obsessions along the way where he will watch every season of a show constantly - Prank Patrol and Scorpion Island spring immediately to mind.  They come and go...

Then of course are the book stages - the Dr Seuss phase, the Roald Dahl phase, the Goosebumps phase.  Currently its a Specky Magee phase.

And when he's in one of those phases, every single word that comes out of his mouth seems to start with "In Ben 10 / The Simpsons / Minecraft / Club Penguin / insert current obsession here ..."

Mind you, I don't want to look too closely at myself and my own interests or I might just find a similar trend (hmmm, the frugal stage, the gardening phase, the knitting phase, the writing phase...)  Yep, better not to go there!

Word count - 50K in 30 days

I wanted to put this cute little guy in in case anyone is interested in where I'm up to with my word count!  Last updated 21st June.