Friday, September 14, 2012


We have a women's relaxation retreat for church this weekend.

Okay, so the majority of women think they are going to a QUILTING and relaxation retreat.

I'm not.

I do have, however, a project to do and have got all the bits and pieces together.  Including the fact that my red and black inks arrived from Pencraft in Adelaide this week in plenty of time for the weekend.  They are wonderful and have great service - even suggesting a substitution for what I wanted when my first choice was not in stock and might not have made it in time.

I'm planning on taking some photos, but I won't necessarily have internet connection.

Watch this space...

And the chance that any of the quilters are likely to want to work next to me and my red and black ink?

... Good thing too!  I'd hate my ink to get all spoiled by contact with fabric.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I made a deal with myself that I couldn't get a new camera until I had a job.

The number of words I need to explain this post?

(Mental note: Clear the table before taking photos)

Pictured: Nikon Coolpix P510.  In red.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Freaky Friday


I've been looking for work now that I'm back in Australia after the trip of a lifetime and only studying part time.  I had sent off a few applications for jobs around the place as I saw advertisements, but hadn't really focussed on the job hunt as yet.  Last week I had two to submit: one by noon Wednesday and a second that closed Friday.

I can't now remember if it was Wednesday night or Thursday that I received a phone call to come in for an interview for the first, but the interview was scheduled for 2pm Friday afternoon.  So I handed in one application on the way down for the interview for the other.

It's a bit freaky when your job interview is in the Deputy Principal's office.  Not just any Deputy Principal's office, but the very office that the Deputy Principal of your own High School years worked in.

Anyway, did the interview, went home and about 1.5 hours later was offered the job.  That in itself was freaky enough, and I had to request some "breathing space" before giving them a final "yes" because it was just too quick for my brain to compute and because God had basically had to yell pretty loudly to get me to even consider applying for the other job that I'd just applied for that afternoon.

Anyway, they were keen for me to start ASAP as the lady currently doing the job is leaving Wednesday and it's such a procedure intensive position that a couple of days of handover is a really good idea.

So I started 8.30 this morning.  When taken up to the office I work from I recognised the old Maths staffroom from my days.  My debating teacher used to work from here (there were about 6 teachers in a space that now holds 2 people).  The old Graphics block that was pretty much the end of the universe before you hit the top oval is now quite central with all the buildings that have sprung up on the aforementioned oval.  I get to use the staff toilets, which were always off limits as a student (and don't have any graffiti).

I'm working in a role to organise work experience placements and school based traineeships and apprenticeships.  A role to use my brain, but is only 4 days a week to leave me some study time.  I also get school holidays.  Bonus.

The chance that this will feel normal any time soon?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jerusalem - Ginosar

SUNDAY 17 June

We had to pack up to move, then take our bags downstairs. The staff took our bags down to the bus, which met us after church.

We attended an arabic service at the Anglican Cathedral.  We walked up from the convent in good time (particularly given that we thought the service started 30 minutes earlier than it actually did)

An easier day in that we spent much time on the bus.  Sitting down in air-conditioning is good!  As we went down to Jericho we were once again going through the Judean wilderness.  It is very dry and stony.  We also played once more with crossing the sea level line.  We had lunch at Jericho, and there was the inevitable gift shop. This was the first time I saw Phoenician glass, which is hand blown and has very interesting patterns on it.

We stopped again at Bet Shean when we were nearly at Ginosar. This is a first century Roman town, and much of it is still visible.  It is one of the cities refered to as the ‘Decapolis’ (Ten Towns). You can see where the Cardo is, the Roman baths, the theatre.  We only had a short time to look, as it was the hottest time of the day.  We then had a ride in a tractor train around the hills and up to the bus park, which was through some shops and in the modern town.

Arrival at Ginosar was well organized. We said goodbye to Ammin the bus driver, then settled in to our rooms.  The accommodation here is really lovely, although there's heaps of walking to get anywhere.  I'm sleeping on a trundle, and two single beds have been pushed together as a double for Mum and Dad.  It is pretty roomy, and the kitchenette has plenty of room for clothes washing.  The bathroom is pretty tight.  All are nicely finished and air conditioned.

Dinner was at a buffet.  Looks like the food will be good here. We chose to have a reasonably early night.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Masada & Qumran


This was probably the hardest day for me.  There was a lot more sitting on the bus due to the distances we covered, but it was also a really hot day.  

We got on the bus and headed for Masada first. This was the fortress palace that the Jewish rebels against Rome made their last stand.  It did not end well for them, but is celebrated in Israeli folklore as a group of people who chose death as free people under God, rather than living as slaves to a foreign power.

Nedal (our guide) had joked that the cable car was broken, but it wouldn't have been very funny had it been true!  There is a snaking walking trail up the side of the mountain, but it wouldn't have been an easy climb.   It was hot.  We really only did the palace end, where there were Roman baths and storage for food.  We could look over the edge at the lower levels of the palace.  There was a bronze model that showed how the water was collected into the cisterns.  

We also went to see where the Romans had their Hebrew slaves build the ramp for the siege tower, and where the breach in the wall happened.  From the top you can see the remnants of the Roman wall around the whole hill, including watch towers and garrison camps.  It would have been scary to see them and know that they were going to get you.  Josephus might have been recording what they did at Gamla, with casting of the lots to see who had to kill himself at the end (after killing the remaining leaders, who in turn had killed their families).  But they have found ostraka with names on them (including one of the leaders of the revolt).

It was hot, did I mention that?

We then headed up to Qumran.  This is where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls, and was an ascetic community in the desert.  The was a section in air-conditioning, where there was the inevitable gift shop and a restaurant.  I'd be more prepared for the restaurant now, but it was very confusing with multiple lines and the menu at the front that didn't relate to which line you needed for the food of your choice.  It seems to be the way they can process bus loads of people coming continuously.

We had a wonder through the gifts shop, too.  Dead Sea Mud, and some books and things.

We then went into the audio-visual section, and Nedal talked to us about some of the findings in the dead sea scrolls.  It was so cold - I think I was running a temperature and it was uncomfortably cold almost to the point of teeth chattering.  Standing around was also taking its toll on me.  It was a relief to get back outside into the heat, although it took me a while to thaw out.  There are remnants of the Qumran community here, communal buildings for scribes and dining rooms, etc. they haven't found cells/bedrooms, but in this era they often slept on the roof, which haven't survived.

We came back via Jericho and Mt Temptation.  We were shown a sycamore tree in Jericho and Nedal talked about Zachaeus while we all went snap-happy, until Nedal pointed out that sycamore trees don't live for more than 400 years, so it was likely not the one Zacheaus climbed into.

The slab traditionally believed to be where they prepared Jesus' body for burial.
When we got back to Jerusalem we had a short break (on the bed with feet up) and then went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  There is a place where you can touch the stone that was like a skull.  It was limestone that was flawed and couldn't be used for building, so was left in situ.  It was also the town dump.  Although the church is very orthodoxy and over-decorated, there is an atmosphere of prayerfulness.  Or at least there is until the orthodox and catholic liturgies start to try and drown each other out! (The Catholics have an organ.  There’s no way the Orthodox are going to win.)

I didn't go into the sepulchre itself (there was a huge queue).  Greg who is familiar with the building looked like he was heading in another direction, so we went into an unadorned cave with a central preparation area and small niches off it where bodies were buried.  

I was struck by the number of young men in the orthodox community.  I would have expected declining numbers and older men.  Apparently monks are celibate, but priests are expected to have families and live in their villages.  Bishops are drawn from the monasteries, therefore are celibate.  Just so you know.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012



The deck outside the dining room at Ecce Homo
It's even quite chilly this morning, the birds are going gangbusters all around in the early morning coolness. A little hazy today, as if yesterday was a special "welcome to Jerusalem present. It's 6 am Friday, and as our guesthouse is on the Via Dolorosa, I am listening to the strains of "Were you there when they crucified my Lord" as a group at the first station of the cross. We walked it in our orientation tour on the first day, but not in a devotional way.

We left at 7.45 for the bus at the bottom of the Lion Gate, and headed into Bethlehem. It's not that far from Jerusalem really, but through a wall and checkpoint - easy enough for us to get through, but significant for the local Palestinian population who need papers (we did need to have Passports with us, though, just in case).

The hills as we travelled were different here than on the other side of town.  There is some vegetation, it's easier to see people making a living (or animals not dying) from these.  Lots of rocks, though, and quite steep in places.

We started at the Herodion, walking up to the top was an effort, but seriously worth it.  Herod built his palace, then had earth stacked around it to form a hill. It was probably the best place we've been to yet to see a bit more of the scale of these palaces - there are a couple of stories of rocks still standing on each other.  You walk down into it and it's quite cool in the shade.  

The zealots got into this palace, too, and there is some damage due to the tactics against them.  There were a pile of cannon balls as we left (okay, round stones that were catapulted in).

We went into the tunnels.  Herod had built an aqueduct to the bottom of the hill, then slaves would bring the water up, then others put it in the cistern.  The ones who knew where the cisterns were never got out of the job.  Because they knew the secrets of the palace, there were killed when they could no longer work.  Herod "The Great" seems such a lovely sort of bloke! (There is actually a story that he took hostages from among the first families with orders that they were all to be killed on the day he died, just so he knew that SOME tears were shed on the day he died.  Apparently they didn’t do it, but I'm not certain there was an overt party either.)  The tunnels got us back closer to the bus, so we didn't have to walk all the way back up to the top of the Herodion in order to get back. That was very welcome.

After this we went into the city to meet with Norah from Kairos.  They have written a document that looks at the problems and issues that exist.  Norah is a gentle, humble and strong person. A refugee.  But she is just as worried about what is happening to the soul of Israel as she is standing against the injustice perpetrated by them.  A remarkable woman and one who I will remember her spirit, if not her face.

We had lunch there with her.

We then headed out to the shepherds fields, which now is a suburb of Bethlehem.  There is a cooperative souvenir shop there. Beautiful things from wood carving to jewelry.  I could have spent a whole heap of money there. There was an absolutely gorgeous Noah's ark there for only US $8600. It would have been too big to bring home.

St Jerome - translated the Bible into Latin
Our last stop was the church of the nativity.  Very ornate and different denominations have jurisdiction over different parts of it.  We saw the stable cave with all its trappings, but I much preferred the less ornate caves around the back.  Nedal (our guide) stopped us in Jerome's cave and talked to us for a bit.  It is unadorned, and the cave outside is the other end of the one considered the cave of the nativity. I could have spent longer here, but the time we had was nice.  It was also cool.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day Two: The day we nearly killed our guide with the amount of sightseeing we managed...


The alarm clock started at 3.30am. We are very close to the temple mount and so can clearly hear he loud speakers starting up with the daily Quran reading prior to Dawn prayers.  Lucky us.  Convents have no air-conditioning, so you don't want to close the double-glazed windows to keep out the noise. Our fan is broken.

An early start to go to the western wall tunnel.  We had breaky at 6 am, and the quality of the light was beautiful (took some photos across our view of the old city).  We have excellent views from here. It is so central to things.  Mornings and evenings are delightfully cool. 

For this trip and the following one to the temple mount we needed to make certain we were dressed modestly - no knees or shoulders showing.

It's very moving, women praying there because the archaeologists have found a gate that is closer than the Western Wall to the presumed location of the Holy of Holies, therefore it is considered as close as they can get to God.  It feels terrible to intrude on them, although very interesting archaeology.  Its amazing that the ground level has risen so much, although with the history of destruction makes it logical.

We went up to the temple mount. You are not permitted to take bibles or religious materials as they have had difficulties with Christians going up there to pray for the mosques to be destroyed.  Jews (orthodox ones anyway) are not permitted to go up there as they may inadvertently step on the place where God lives.  The mosque is built in an octagon, which was an early Christian style.  Apparently when they first built churches, rather than meeting in homes, they added up the letters of ιχθυς (fish) and it came to 888.  Hence an octagon was the shape they preferred. we had great views over the city and to the mount of olives.      As I walked around I looked for really big paving stones that looked weathered, because those are more likely to be left over from the Herodian Temple.  Who knows that I might not have stepped in the footsteps of Jesus?  He was at the temple, after all! 
We walked out past the golden gate. This is the one that the Messiah is supposed to come through. The moslems have closed it and now use it as a room so that the messiah can't come in that way.  Of course, we know that he already has come through it.

We then went to the archaeological park at the city of David. They are excavating some houses that were built into the walls of the city.  They are tiny, the distance between walls constrained by how far palm branches could hold up a mud and straw roof until it dried.  They have also found a stepped stone wall that held up a platform for a bigger house. Maybe David's palace?

They still hope to find things in the archaeological record that might point to David or Solomon. David took over the Jebusite city without conflict, so there is no destruction layer, but there isn't any indication of a change in occupation, either, or the grand structures that Solomon is supposed to have built.  Keep digging, guys!

At this location we also entered into the water source tunnels.  There is an earlier Jebusite shaft where the women would have lowered jars down into the spring. We saw where the spring gushes out, very dark and difficult to take photos.  There is also a small tunnel where they dammed up the spring, and then the water would have risen to a point where it flowed along to a more convenient location. It was narrow, with not much room for feet, but wider where shoulders were - not regular walls by any stretch of the imagination.  At various points where there were low spots in the roof, they'd attached cushioning, I thought that would be a great idea for Chris, but there was only one place where I needed to duck.  Some of us may go back to do the "wet" tunnel if we have some spare time one afternoon.

We then had a short bus trip to one of the possible sites of the pool of Shilom (Siloam).  More rubbish than water at this point, but there were stepped structures round it.

Bus back to town for lunch in the central square area.  We had a walk around and found slushies, the remnants of the old wall, and the Roman Cardo.  We gathered at the appropriate time only to visit the remnants of the old wall and the Roman Cardo.  We then headed for the burnt house, which was really interesting.  We had been told we’d have to wait for an English session, so I headed off to use the facilities.  Thankfully I told my ‘buddy’ because they headed  in while I was away and at least they knew where I was (and so did everyone else!).

The burnt house is an excavation that is now in a building, and they’ve made a multi-media display about the fall of Jerusalem.  Incredibly well done, with screens for projection and the filming done on a set resembling the layout of the house and it has reference to the few items discovered there.

The last stop was the Davidson Centre.  This leads through to the southern steps of the temple, where they have dug down to the Roman era foundations.  It was getting pretty hard to keep going at this point and quite warm - we kept looking for seats in the shade everywhere we went.

Came home for a lie down - very foot sore.

Later we headed out with Greg to a little cooperative where they sell work done by Palestinian women.  Lots of tablecloths, various liturgical dress components, bags, etc.  Some of it excellent work.  Mum really had to think hard about which she’d bring home with her.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Okay, okay - try this. First Day of our Holiday

12/13 June  HOME - JERUSALEM
The longest day of my life.  I'm not entirely certain when one finished and the next one started.  We started on the lunchtime bus to Brisbane, followed by a transfer to a bus going to the airport.  One young asian traveller hadn’t been told to change buses for Toowoomba at the Transit Centre, and was rather confused to end up back at the airport where he came from.
Ran into Ken at the airport, then met some others near the check-in.  Greg made it at the time he’d said, but most of us had checked in by then.
Planes are cramped, and sleeping with little ability to recline isn't conducive to actual sleep.  Watched half of Downton Abbey in between drinking and looking at any lights that came up as we passed over Indonesia, Singapore, India, etc. Possibly slept for 3 or 4 hours, but not much.  Of course, chasing the sun (or rather the dark) meant that it was 15 hours through the night, we arrived in the dark at Dubai, then were in Amman by about 9.30 am. 
We were met by a lovely guide, Gehan, who gave us lots of information, possibly too much for our tired minds, but we kept asking questions.  It was really hard to get photos in the bus, desert hills with no planning.  House, desert, house, new road, tents and camels, irrigation business.  Stupid digital cameras take too long to switch on and be ready. I would never try to keep a herd (what is the collective noun?) of camels on a town block not much bigger than ours.
We descended into the Jordan valley.  The country changed a lot, more irrigation for one thing. You can see the hills of Israel in the distance, and our first glimpse of the Dead Sea as we came across. It was very blue and doesn't really look dead at all.  There is a constant haze in the distance, whether pollution or simply dust, or a combination of the two.
Crossing the border from Jordan into Israel took some doing.  I'm not certain which of the checkpoints were Jordanian to get out, which were Israeli and which we're Palestinian authority, but there were lots of them, most with guard houses, razor wire and concrete defensive structures. We came over King Hussein bridge. No water, tiny stream. Not much work in crossing it today, I think the Bible is making a big fuss about nothing - I'd be more worried about snakes in the long grass than the depth of the water.  And I definitely wouldn't be trying to dig around for 12 stones to build a cairn to celebrate the event.  Then again, if God's telling your illustrious leader to do something, it probably makes sense to just do it.
One of the crossing places we got VIP treatment, waiting in comfortable seats in airconditioning, with continual offers of drinks while they scanned our luggage and did something with our passports.
The Ecce Homo Convent is interesting, with many stages of building within it. This means lots of stairs. It's also within the old city, which means a tractor comes to take your luggage, and you walk up and through the Lion Gate to get here.  Most of this part of the city is made up of buildings that have been pulled down and then re-erected many times. Arches that were once impressive become much smaller as the ground level rises within them as each occupation layer is built upon the last.
By this time I'd lost my ankles entirely.  A short lie down with legs on Mum’s port on a table at the end of my bed, then a shower before going our for an orientation walking tour.  The architecture is amazing. A very old city that has been destroyed and resurrected many times, some stone re-used so that you get a price of decorated pediment in the middle of a wall.  Other places an arched opening is "bricked in".  Some stones are so old that you can hardly see the decoration any more.
Dinner started with a cool cucumber soup, which sounds a bit weird, but was really refreshing. Then salad and stewed "granny" meat, with a very light chocolate cake for desert.
Early to bed was essential.  Dinner at seven was about 2 am our time with only a few hours sleep the night before.

**For some reason, blogger won't let me upload photos from my computer.  I haven't tried since this new layout existed.  I have no idea how to get my photos on any of the media that it will permit me to upload to.  So the chance that I'll be sharing scores of photos on my blog?   ....Hmmm.

****Got the photos to work!  So there you go!

Monday, July 23, 2012

So...Not as interesting as I'd thought...

Not the holiday, the blog.

When I logged on to write the first of my scintillating blog posts about the holiday of a lifetime I was confronted by the unexpected issue that the whole of blogger was in Hebrew...  and laid out right-to-left.

I guesstimated which buttons to press to get to log-in, and did so, but when it hit me back with what appeared to be an error page, I was, quite frankly, flummoxed.

It didn't help three days later to receive an email from Google, patting themselves on the back that when a crazy, identity-stealing stalker in Israel tried to log into my account, they stopped her.

Thanks heaps, guys.

So the blog really wasn't as interesting as I was hoping.

If I get organised, I could give some late snippets from my travel diary.  But my proof-reading editing Nazi self won't let me post anything until I've edited it, and I'm back in Australia two weeks into semester, therefore two weeks behind where I need to be, so editing may not be high on my list of priorities right now.

So how much diary should you be expecting for the next little while?

BTW overseas trip was GREAT!  I should tell you all about it sometime...

Friday, June 1, 2012

I just don't know what to do with myself...

Thank Goodness it's Friday.

And I'm not at all cranky at one of my peers who was gloating about having an extension... because HE still has to be sitting at his desk workin' like a dawg.

Now for the weekend of total collapse, followed by madly getting ready for an overseas trip.  Finally, I can start getting excited!

And the chance that I'm going to miss sitting at my desk for the majority of every day and thinking that 11.30pm is an early night?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It might get interesting here soon.

Situation: End of semester
Sleeps left: 10
Assessment to draft: 4
Assessment drafted: 1
Words to write: approx. 8200

Situation: Overseas Holiday
Sleeps left: 20

What amount of relaxation am I feeling right now?
≈ 0

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oooh, Threat!

I received an email notice from my Internet Service Provider letting me know that this month I'm coming close to my monthly download limit (too many downloads of articles and ebooks for study perhaps?) and unless I want to go to a more expensive plan, my connection speed will be reduced...

... to twice the speed I was getting last night.

How worried am I?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We had a really nice date and walnut loaf in the house, and I decided a slice would nicely top off our lunchtime scrambled egg on toast.

So as I waited for the egg to finish cooking, my Beloved watched the toast and I took the buttered slices and put them on the occasional table between our lounge chairs for later.

Served the scramblers, picked up our glasses and headed to the lounge with the uneasy feeling that the Little Black Dog was not under our feet as is normal when there we are walking with food.

Got to the lounge to find:

One empty plate...

One big, buttery smear on the floor...

One LBD licking his chops...

Hardly a crumb left.

But then, he's a dog, so the chance that I had to clean up the buttery smear in the end?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Introducing Yorick

A misguided member of my church decided it would be a good idea to give us a Cyclamen as an Easter gift.

So I needed an appropriate name...

How green are my thumbs?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What the?

I've previously described some of the impersonations that my hair has attempted. Although I didn't get around to taking photos, I'm reasonably certain that any reader could imagine them.

I woke up on Saturday and I really don't know what to say about this one:

Gone wild?

Gone Star Trek?

Attempting to fly?

The probability that the creature the hair adorns is in fact human?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Official Apology to my Beloved

A couple of weeks ago my little bro and his family came to visit. For their first evening here I cooked up a roast meal - the meat from our local butcher is just delicious and this roast was particularly tender and tasty.

There was some left over and I put it away in the freezer for a later date, having protected it from being eaten as seconds on the night itself.

A couple of days later, I pulled it out to be used as cold meat for lunches for the big crowd we had that week.

My Beloved was at work and wasn't able to attend lunches during weekdays.

Last week he commented on the fact that we still had that spectacular roast meat to finish off.

How much was left for him?

PS I'm sorry, my love.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Accidentally Polytheistic

You wouldn't think that grammar could have an impact upon one's theology.

Until one is proof reading an assignment and finds "...Gods' purposes..."

Dumb apostrophe.

Of course, how often would I make an error like that?

(okay, so I make many, many typos)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I think it just likes us...

The neighbours have planted a grape vine.

It keeps trying to come over to our side of the fence. We push it back, it comes back over. (Not that we mind it coming over here, it's just that it belongs to them)

So most of the vine ends up on our side.

It must just like us.

Of course, how many bunches of grapes has it produced in this, its first year of growth?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's a good thing I don't live in Woolloomooloo

Had a fax today from a minister in Papua New Guinea who is a PNG national who my local church sponsored through ministerial education.

He's now posted in a remote village in the southern highlands, but from time to time we trade letters/faxes about life and what's going on for each of our families.

He and his wife have just had a new baby boy, and they've named him after the town in which I live.

How much sense does the title of this post make? No?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A compliment?

According to the course co-ordinator at my university I'm "academically incorrigible - in a winsome way"

And how much of an idea do I have as to whether it was a positive or negative comment?

Hmmm.... *goes off to find dictionary*

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Self Expression

My hair obviously feels that it's been released from the bondage of length and weight and now takes the opportunity to express itself each night.

I just wish I could understand what statement it's trying to make.

I was rather taken aback on the first morning of new short hair to see it in a rather good impersonation of Hugh Grant circa 1999.

Then there was the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo.

Then the mad scientist / conductor circa 1930.

This morning's effort was more of a "Drug-crazed Socialite, Morning After Mugshot".

Then again, when I think about it, how much do I want to know what it's trying to say?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


There are some things that bring joy to our lives.

Sometimes it's in successfully completing a task well.

Sometimes it's in the beauty of nature, or the kindness of a stranger.

Sometimes joy sneaks in amidst the mundane.

And sometimes it's in watching your dog try to catch the fly crawling up the screen - through a closed window.

How many flies did he catch?

Monday, February 6, 2012


I've pulled out my Greek books today and tidied up my storage space, which of course means reviewing the marks I got on the assessment last semester before I consign it to the archives.

And, boy was I so smart... and now can't recognise the half of the obscure grammatical points I identified in the final paper.

There's no resting on my laurels for this semester, though. Somehow I'd better pick it up prior to the beginning of the new semester when I'm doing New Testament Greek 3.

And what can I remember about hortatory subjunctives?

*brain slowly grinding into gear*

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


And how much hair do I have left?

... comparatively

And the chances of a good photo of me just when I want one?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Book Smell

I had a parcel delivered this morning.

Actually, two parcels - but one was for my Beloved's business and wasn't at all exciting, so the first statement shall be permitted to stand.

I had a minor melt-down when Google-chatting to Emily Sue, because I like new books where nobody has scribbled in or otherwise defaced my prospective property. But I am a realist and students on a budget should be somewhat thrifty. So I spent some time getting over it.

Then I checked out three websites for each of the 10 text books I need for this semester, and worked out which was cheapest.

And I was surprised that, for the most part, the current edition new texts were not that much more expensive than the current edition secondhand texts. (If indeed there were any secondhand texts from the current edition) They were, of course, significantly more expensive than the previous edition secondhand texts.

I have no idea why this was so, but I got stuck into the new ones and still came in under my book budget for the semester, so much so that I'm tempted to buy an additional Jewish study Bible that is recommended (but not required) reading for Introduction to the Old Testament. Wouldn't it give a great alternative perspective?

And what is truly delightful to this obsessive bibliophile is that they smell like new books. No highlighting, no notes to distract me, and my new Fourth Edition Greek New Testament is still in it's plastic wrap with a gold seal stating "The Preferred Text for Scholars" kindly informing me of my growing status as a scholar of ancient languages.

And the chance that I'll miss the tiny amount I spent extra to get new books?

Friday, January 27, 2012

And I'm like, "what the?"...

Went down to grab some groceries and go to the bank.

Not necessarily in that order, because I needed the money to be able to get the groceries (and don't ask why I don't simply get cash out at the supermarket, because I have the uncanny ability to pick the checkout that has insufficient cash to be able to oblige me and therefore have to go to the bank anyway).

And the day had got away from me a bit, but it was, in my mind, just after lunch.

And I came out from the shop (into the rain - about which I shall not complain at all - we need it) and loaded everything into the car, and took my trolley back, and then jumped into the car only to find that there was a traffic jam getting onto the road.

There was a traffic jam getting onto the road, because the intersection just up a bit was in a traffic jam.

And that intersection was in a traffic jam because traffic heading into town was at a standstill.

And I sat in my little white car shaking my head and telling myself that I live in a country town and we just don't get traffic jams and hoping that there hadn't been an accident.

And then I looked at the clock. 3.20pm. And I was just up from the local High School.

Of course, because I never go near town between 3 and 3.30pm (particularly on a rainy day), I can remain in my steadfast belief that we don't have traffic jams in country towns.

Oh for the sleepy, dozy school holidays to be with us once again! When I can go where I like when I like without chaotic school traffic.

And the chance that I'm the centre of the universe?

Unfortunate, really.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nine cents

Okay, so not earth shattering, but I really enjoyed getting an email from Amazon regarding half my text books for first session which showed the amount I paid in Aussie dollars was less than the amount in US dollars.

And the chance that it was a huge amount in my favour?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not quite bright

For the third time in a row when washing our bed sheets I have thought, "I should clean up the dog's 'nuggets' before hanging out the washing."

For the third time in a row when washing our bed sheets I have gone to bring in the washing and found the fitted sheet hanging by one peg with the other end dragging around on the ground.

The chance that I have listened to my better self?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And it would mean that I don't need to buy stamps this year, except that it doesn't...

I've been working on cleaning up my study/office.

Not just cleaning up, but CLEANING UP.

Sorting through lots of pieces of paper that are no longer required and I don't need to look at again...

...and some that I possibly want to look at again from my current perspective, but realising that that is just the thought that lead me to keep the pieces of paper that I don't need to look at again, I've resolutely thrown these out too.

And in this process I've found lots of things that hadn't got into their homes. An envelope with $12 cash in it. And two separate stashes of postage stamps: Nine 50 cent fauna of the Rainforest stamps and twenty-six 45 cent Christmas stamps.

... And 20 sen from the Bank Negara Malaysia, which possibly doesn't add much to my stash, but nevertheless I found it.

So I wouldn't need to buy stamps this year, except that the cost of postage has gone up.

But still, I resent finding nearly thirty dollars worth of cash and stamps how much?

It's the only time I've ever known housework to pay. (Apart from the occasional coin in the bottom of the washing machine)

Maybe I can post Emily Sue's books back to her now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 The year of the Spiritual Disciplines

Okay, so I'm not exploring them all. But there will be a few.

Firstly, I've decided to take a semester off work so that I can study a full-time study load.

Guess what? Study is a Spiritual Discipline!

Because I'm taking time off work, the budget will be quite snug.

Guess what? Simplicity is a Spiritual Discipline!

I've been feeling a real call to prayer and meditation for this year, so I've made certain that my timetable includes sufficient time to make these areas of my spiritual life a priority.

Guess what? Prayer is a Spiritual Discipline!

It's making for a very interesting life. Grocery shopping now has something to do with God, because I have to shop within a tighter food allowance than previously.

Riding my bike places has something to do with God because I'm saving fuel money.

Avoiding junk food has something to do with God because there's only a small discretionary spending allowance for me and is it really worth it?

And ripping up Koorong catalogues without taking time to drool over them is about God, because my book budget for this year is restricted to textbooks (unless I choose to spend some of the disc. spend. allow.).

And now I just need to find a way to make travel overseas a Spiritual Discipline. Number of ways that have occurred to me?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Desperate Measures

There are times in a preacher's life where there don't seem to be any hymns that go where you want to go.

And some of us preach in smaller churches where there is a limit on the repertoire of the congregation and/or musicians available.

And although it is possible to select some rousing hymns that everyone knows that have nothing whatsoever to do with the selected theme, it is really very nice to have at least one that deals with where you're going.

So, in desperation, I started penning my own lyrics with some assistance from the lovely and talented Givinya who ironed out a dodgy line for me and told me that it was okay to have an anacrusis if I needed it.

So we'll be singing this on Sunday (to the tune Cross of Jesus):

Follow me! Our Christ to Philip

in that distant Galilee.

Instantly he went with Jesus.

What an honour: Called was he.

Follow me! Our Saviour calls us

As he calls, so we obey.

Walking into love and learning,

faith in trusting his new day.

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

When Nathanael scoffed his doubts

Zeal for law, tradition, status -

Jesus’ wisdom found him out.

Come and See! So someone asked us

Child or parent, spouse or friend

Came to Jesus: True love, mercy,

Companionship that never ends.

Come and See! An invitation

From our lives to those we know.

Making certain we don’t veil the

King of Heav’n seen here below.

Of course, while Givinya is very good and very helpful in the improvement of verses, her strength is rhyming and rhythmic comedy. So she dash off a couple of alternative versions of the third verse, because I was having great trouble getting it to work.

An alternative version

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

zeal for law, tradition, status

proved Nathanael was a lout.

The Yorkshire version

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

zeal for law, tradition, status

Nathanael's questions came to nowt.

The Irish version (and my personal favourite)

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

So Nat and Phil, they filled their tankards,

Made a toast, and downed their stout.

The IT version

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

Nat picked up his bag and laptop;

Went to check the Saviour out.

And how many of these alternatives are likely to be sung in church this coming Sunday (except in my head)?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Never use an iPad on your desk

I was working on a major technological feat, trying to change settings on my iPad to get it to download my emails, which would have been much simpler had I remembered that I have an entirely different password for my email account than every other vaguely technological thing that I do.

As I was working through the process, I needed to delete some characters so that I could replace them with the correct ones.

For some reason it wasn't working.

But I did delete half a dozen emails from my computer.

The chance that I wasn't trying to use my computer keyboard to make changes on my iPad?


If Apple were really smart, they'd have a thingamy in the keyboard that could recognise which screen you are looking at, and adjust the input location accordingly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just for professional interest

Every now and then I go to other churches or listen to podcasts just to see how other people go about delivering a sermon.

I have just listened to 45 mins (and finally lost ability to continue to listen) of one from a young and vibrant church down in the "big smoke". I thought I might learn a thing or two about being relevant and communicating to younger audiences in the modern world.

It seems that it is perfectly natural to introduce your main point at least 35 mins into your sermon.

It seems that it is perfectly okay to bring in the scripture you want to focus on after 45 mins.

I also need to cultivate a whiny voice that can be raised continually until I reach a crescendo every 10 mins or so, possibly to make certain my audience are still with me.

Oh, and "if you agree with me, say YES!" falls quite flat on the podcast when there is no microphone for the congregation. In fact, if you need to stir them up, it's probably not genuine response anyway.

I reckon in the 45 mins I listened to there was about 10 mins of material, the rest was just waffle. And there could have been quite a bit to come, given the fact he'd just got his Bible out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've listened to sermons that were over the 30 min mark and I was sad that they finished ("where did the time GO?"), but this guy wasn't one of them. Unfortunately I've heard plenty more in the same style.

I realise, too, that there are people who have a 10 minute message that seem like an hour.

I guess I try to have a solid structure, solid research behind it, and make the presentation as interesting as I can. There's also much to be said for allowing the good ol' Holy Spirit to have a chance at moving you during both preparation and presentation. but I generally try to aim for about 6 hours preparation for a 15 minute talk, rather than the opposite.

Once I was presenting a professional seminar at a series of development courses and surprised one of the organisers by saying, "I generally try to stop talking when I've said everything that has to be said."

Chance that I'm going to email that pastor with some constructive criticism? ... I'm way too passive aggressive for that!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The LBD is okay.

I've calmed down now, thankfully. Walking Friday arvo the LBD and I walked into two loose husky-ish looking dogs, one large and the other huge, the largest of which decided to have a go at one comparatively tiny Border Collie.

Thankfully bravery is not the LBD's strength. He went all floppy and submissive and didn't get savaged too badly, although he was squealing the whole time as if he was being torn to shreds.

I had nothing to protect him with and knew that you just don't break up dog fights. You just don't. Yelling didn't seem to make any impact what-so-ever. Thankfully worried owner arrived to drag them off home just as giant dog let go and the LBD ran behind me for protection. It was good not to have to deal with round 2; or potential 2 on 1 action.

We were both a tad shaken to say the least. Having got him home and inspected as much of him as I could see for all the fur there doesn't seem to be any skin broken at all, so it seems that giant dog was just out for world domination, not actual damage.

If I had had any sort of weapon handy I would have proved whether I have a violent streak or not. Surprisingly I think I do.

And the chance we want a repeat of that performance?