Monthly Archives: June 2011

Yesterday I remembered to focus on the good thing

You’d think I’d know this rule. I’m a teacher, and it’s one of the things that we often get drummed into us. One bad comment outweighs about ten good ones, in the mind of a kid. So no matter how many times you compliment, congratulate or acknowledge a student in a positive way, one negative comment can put you way back behind the eight ball again.

Now apply this to being a parent. I adore my kids, and I know full well they’re pretty darn awesome. I listen to friends and acquaintances talk about some of the problems they have with their kids and I really do appreciate how darn good mine are, for the most part! But all too often, this seems to lead to me expecting MORE of them. I want them to do better at school. I want them to always use their manners well. I want them to clean up after themselves ALL the time. And get ready for school QUICKLY (it’s the same routine every morning, so why does it take 15 minutes some days and an hour and a half on others!). So often, that means I’m nagging, or getting cross, or saying, “Yes, but don’t you think you could…”. And I’m trying really hard to focus more on the positive, because I know how important that is, and how downhearted a kid who is good, and trying his/her best, can get if all they hear is a variation of “You need to do better.”

Yesterday in the car on the way to school, my 8 year old countered my point that he needed to do more practise on his times tables with, “But I DO know my 12 times tables!” And he proceeded to tell me them. I was a bad mummy. Instead of being delighted with this, what did I do? I said, “That’s great dear, but when you REALLY know them, you won’t have to think about them, they’ll be automatic.” Then we got to school and off we all went.

I thought about my response a bit later in the day. He’s eight. Why wasn’t I just delighted that he could think his way through the 12 times table? What a wasted opportunity to show him I thought he was awesome.

When I picked the kids up from daycare in the afternoon, the first thing I said to Master Eight when he got in the car was, “You know, I thought about what you did this morning with your 12 times table and I realised that I didn’t tell you how awesome I think it is that you know them!” Well, you should have seen the gorgeous smile on his face, to receive the compliment. And that means that he had realised it too, and it meant a lot to him that I’d acknowledged it, even ten hours later than I should have.

Sometimes we need reminding that little things are big things to kids, and when they do good, no matter how little it seems to us, that we should give unconditional praise, and not always be looking for the next step up.

My kids are great – I need to tell them that more.


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WA Premier’s Book Awards

For the second year, I’ve been a judge for these awards. Last year I did Children’s and YA on my own; this year, it was rather more sane, with two of us judging the YA and then we also have the children’s shortlist to read, so there will be four of us deciding the winners for both shortlists. There’s some fabulous books out there by Aussie authors!


Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards shortlist announced.

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day today announced the shortlists for the 2010 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards.

Mr Day said a record number of 571 entries were submitted this year, compared to 400 for the 2009 awards.

“I am pleased these important awards are attracting so many entries from a wide range of publishers,” he said.

“This year, a People’s Choice Award has been added to the mix of categories.

“The six titles short―listed in the Fiction category will be eligible for this award, and I encourage avid readers and book club members across Australia to familiarise themselves with each of these fantastic works, so they can influence the outcome.”

Voting on the People’s Choice Award will commence on July 25 and finish on September 2. The voting form will be available on the State Library’s website.

The winners will be announced in September 2011.


Non Fiction

A Three-Cornered Life: The Historian W.K. Hancock Jim Davidson UNSW Press
Breaking News Ben Hills Scribe Publications
Into The Woods: The Battle For Tasmania’s Forests Anna Krien Black Inc.
Macquarie Harry Dillon and Peter Butler Random House Australia
Reading by Moonlight Brenda Walker Penguin Group Australia
The Quest For Justice Ken Crispin Scribe Publications


Body in the Clouds Ashley Hay Allen & Unwin
Indelible Ink Fiona McGregor Scribe Publications
That Deadman Dance Kim Scott Picador Australia
Traitor Stephen Daisley Text Publishing Co.
Utopian Man Lisa Lang Allen & Unwin
The English Class Ouyang Yu Transit Lounge Publishing


Burning Bright Caroline Caddy Fremantle Press
Colombine, New & Selected Poems Jennifer Harrison Black Pepper
Fire Diary Mark Tredinnick Puncher & Wattmann
Phantom Limb David Musgrave John Leonard Press
Pirate Rain Jennifer Maiden Giramondo Publishing
Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewett Kate Lilley UWA Publishing

Children’s Books

Henry Hoey Hobson Christine Bongers Random House
Mirror Jeannie Baker Walker Books
Sarindi’s Dragon Kite Janine M. Fraser/Illusrator Elise Hurst Harper Collins Australia
The Red Wind Isobelle Carmody Penguin Group Australia
The Three Loves Of Persimmon Cassandra Golds Penguin Group Australia
Toppling Sally Murphy/Illustrator Rhian Nest James Walker Books

Young Adults

Anonymity Jones James Roy Random House Australia
Happy as Larry Scot Gardner Allen & Unwin
The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals 2 Michelle Cooper Random House
The Midnight Zoo Sonya Hartnett Penguin Group Australia
This Is Shyness Leanne Hall Text Publishing Co.
Wavelength A.J. Betts Fremantle Press


Do Not Go Gentle Patricia Cornelius HLA Management
Gwen In Purgatory Tommy Murphy Currency Press
Life Without Me Daniel Keene Currency Press
Love Me Tender Tom Holloway HLA Management
Quack Ian Wilding Currency Press
Songs for Nobodies Joanna Murray—Smith Currency Press

State Library of Western Australia WA History Award

From the Barracks to the Burrup: The National Trust in Western Australia Prof Andrea Whitcomb and Dr Kate Gregory UNSW Press
Till the Stream Runs Dry: A history of hydrography in WA Bill Bunbury Department of Water
The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861 Phyllis Barnes and Dr James Cameron Hesperian Press
The Forgotten Explorers: pioneer geologists of Western Australia, 1826-1926 Dr J. J. E. Glover and Jenny Bevan Hesperian Press
Vite Italiane: Italian Lives in Western Australia Dr Susanna Iuliano UWA Publishing

Digital Narrative

Only a small number of entries were received for this category and there will not be a shortlist. An encouragement award will be announced at the award presentation ceremony.

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A productive day…

It felt like it at least. I was only home for a fairly short time during the day but got a bunch of jobs done I needed to do, plus the washing and some fun with the baby. Then the two of us went shopping – we didn’t have a very long list but it involved wandering from one end of our rather large shopping centre to the other for various items, and other than some very grabby hands in the clothing departments, he behaved very well for the two+ hours we were there! Given that he’d had such a short sleep this morning (burnt toast set off our apparently very sensitive new smoke detectors – they are VERY piercingly loud!), he did very well today. We went straight from shopping to school to pick up the big kids. This turned into an hour in the school playground with a bunch of other mums while the children entertained each other very nicely, then another hour and a half at a friend’s place, where again, the children were barely seen. Was very pleasant, particularly as I’ve been pretty caught up in doing house-prepping lately (among a lot of other things!) and haven’t been spending any time at the kids’ school or with friends from there. I really enjoyed catching up and chatting. Will make an effort to get back to playgroup this week too – had stopped going earlier in the year because the baby thinks that 9am to 11am is nap time, so there really wasn’t much point (plus, last year two hour playgroup tended to run on into cuppas at someone’s house after, and I was losing a day each week to it!). I think the boy is ready to move to one sleep more in the middle of the day now, so will experiment with that on Thursday.

We came home after our afternoon out and managed to keep the grumpy tired baby awake to a reasonable bedtime (he would have preferred to go by 6pm, but experience is teaching us this is a bad idea if we like to sleep past 5am). The big kids and I had our second tv-free-evening in a row (meaning that guitar practice, homework, reading and colouring have been on the agenda instead) and it’s been so peaceful! I’m thinking we might start a trend here 🙂 ) Think we might try it again tonight…

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Selling houses

This is not the first time we’ve sold a house. It is, however, the first time we’ve sold our house out from under ourselves, with three children living in it! All our other properties have been rented by the time we’ve put them on the market, so the pain of home opens, inspections and keeping the darn thing tidy hasn’t been ours to worry about. It is this time.

The first week was a major decluttering binge before the cleaning could even START to occur. We’ve got rid of a bit of junk already, but there’s a lot more to go I reckon (and the shed is pretty packed. I know there’s boxes in there already marked to get rid of, just haven’t got there yet!). That big declutter was a major help though, because keeping the house TIDY without all the crap in it is heaps easier, as is the cleaning that goes on before every inspection and home open, because there’s less to rehome before the cleaning can occur!

We’ve had five home opens now (two on the long weekend) and the agent has been pretty pleased with the number of people through. We’ve also had a few separate inspections, but no offers yet. This doesn’t actually surprise me. The market is fairly depressed right now, and we live in an area where there are new estates popping up all over. Our house has advantages and disadvantages to people looking. It’s an older property, and so doesn’t have that open plan living that so many of the new places have (nor, it must be said, all the wonderful internal storage space…). But because it’s older, it is far better built than most of what’s being chucked up these days, and it’s on a bigger block. It’s got fully established front and back lawns, plus the pool and shed out the back. Most new places these days have no room for all that, so that’s a plus. Even though we’ve only been here two years, we’ve done a fair bit of fixer-upping – a bit of plumbing and electrical replacing, new back patio, upgrading pool stuff, some tiling, new paint and window coverings and so on. But we know there’s still more that really needs doing (like revamping kitchen and bathrooms, and DEFINITELY new carpets). If we start moving into that territory now, we’re absolutely looking at lost money, because the value of the house really isn’t going to change that much, no matter what else we put into it. It’d probably sell easier, but we wouldn’t make any more profit from it. So it’s just not worth the money.

I’ve said from the start that it’ll be a certain type of person who buys this place. It has to be someone who wants to buy, not build; who wants character and an established place (in a lovely location) over modern and new. I reckon a young family or a semi-retired couple (and probably people from the UK!) will be our best bet. We just have to find them – or have them find us, more probably 🙂

We’re luckier than some – we’re moving because we want to, and we don’t have any deadlines on us. We have good jobs here, and no urgency to leave except that which we put on ourselves. So we can afford to wait until the right buyers come along. It gives me more time to get rid of the junk, I guess!

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I woke up yesterday with razorblades in my throat. Given all the colds and flus going around, I thought it was the precursor to a lovely bout with that, but while the throat got progressively worse through the day, no other expected symptoms arose. Then last night, I had so much trouble sleeping as every time I swallowed it hurt so much I woke up. It was hard to even drink water! But still no other symptoms. Not usual. So I went to the doctor this morning and I have tonsillitis! I’ve never had it before, so no idea why I’d suddenly manifest it, but there you go! Feeling quite well otherwise, although a bit weary from last night’s sleep deficiency. Talking hurts, but  I think I’ll be right to go to work – at least I’m not contagious!

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