Jan 20, 2013

Last two weeks in a nutshell

Things have been pretty busy for the past two weeks as I was preparing to go back to school. After New Year I start getting the urge to start doing prep for the new term. A lot is done at the end of the last term but there is always something else waiting. Each year I cover my books and files with a different set of paper.  Red and white are the colours I went with this time with black thrown in to break it up a bit. I like doing this at home during the holidays when I have time to fiddle around. It's quite relaxing sitting on the veranda doing this.
My paper

One of the files

We give our children pre-printed book covers. I am fussy about everything being done properly so I took mine home during the holidays so that I could stick the covers on myself and trim off any excess paper. A cup of coffee mid morning also is part and parcel of the process.

Table on the veranda with everything I need at hand

We are very happy not to be going away. Where we live is a popular holiday resort and over Christmas and New Year it gets really busy. Fortunately for us we live within walking distance of  "The Village".  I think Chez counted it as 254 steps from our place to the shops. As you can see in the pictures below we had some lovely sunny weather. 

The main road leading into the village from our side

 We cross this street on our way to the shops - at the bottom you can see the sea

I thought I would add a few photos taken downstairs in our very tiny garden. It is perfect for us because we don't need a big garden. It's nice to sit there and read and we can braai (barbecue) there as well . 

 Downstairs in our very tiny garden

 My spot for relaxing was on a lounger looking at this view. The pool is in front of us down a few steps so cooling off when you get too hot is not a problem.

 The book I was reading and my journal. I love the fact that there is no rushing around and I have time to read lots of books.

 Plants in containers to my right

During the last week of the holidays we also had a repairman in to fix up things in the house that were reported to the agent last year in March and nothing had been done. One of the repair jobs was for him to replace the cistern in Caelen's bathroom. We were sitting downstairs one day when we heard a loud noise but didn't know what it was or where it came from. It sounded like something had exploded. I couldn't see anything so left it, thinking it must have been next door. A short while later I thought I could hear running water so I went to investigate. I found a pool of water on the bathroom floor and more running down the back of the cistern. After switching off the water I lifted the cover of the cistern and saw a large crack running all the way down the side of the cistern. Mystery of the noise solved - toilet out of action! By the way, this all happened before Christmas and was only fixed after New Year. 

The toilet - she is broken!

Now it's almost as if we hadn't been on holiday. Daily routine has gone back to normal. The weather has been extremely hot and humid. We have had our aircon on most nights otherwise we wouldn't be able to sleep comfortably. February is usually our worst month but this year has definitely been hotter than normal in January. As I type this I am sitting in my costume and we have the aircon on which we don't normally do
during the day.

Jan 19, 2013

This and that......

Problems, problems, problems. I have been trying for weeks to upload photos to my blog but I couldn't  select the photos I to upload. Today Rhona suggested I try using Google Chrome and see if that changed things. Hey presto, I am back in working order again!

Me in Ciaran's room trying to get a half decent self portrait.

Once the tree is gone then I know Christmas is really over and it will soon be time to go back to school.
Before with feet

After with feet still in same position!

We were lucky with the weather this year. We often have rain on Christmas Day, however it was a fine day. New Years Eve was a different story - after the extreme heat and humidity we had thunder, lightening and rain but it didn't last too long. I stood on the veranda and watched the fireworks going off to see in the New Year. Chez was in bed already - he never has been much of a happy happy New Year person.New Years Day itself saw big black clouds gathering and we could see rain out at sea. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped (so happy to have cooler weather!) and it rained and rained and rained......... I wasn't complaining, the garden needed a good soaking.

New Years Day in sunny South Africa

With just Chez and myself at home New Years Day was very peaceful and relaxing. Ciaran was still in the Seychelles and Caelen went to Albert Falls Dam with friends for the big New Years' Eve party that they have there every year. I spent quite a bit of time playing around on the computer making journalling cards that I thought I might be able to use for Project Life this year. Yes, one of my goals is to complete a whole year of Project Life. This is something I have wanted to do for some time. I did start a few years ago on my own - no kit etc but I didn't keep it up. Rhona, on the other hand has been very good and she did keep it up.  Claire, Emily and I  are all going to do Project Life this year. I am really looking forward to it. I was going to start when I got to England but have decided not to wait till then but get started here without having the kit then continue when I get to England using the kit that Rhona has waiting for me when I arrive. Then I had the luck to be drawn as one of three winners who would each receive a place in the Digital Project Life class with Jessica Sprague as well as a free digital kit from the Project Life collection. How is that for a great start to 2013?

  There's my name - first on the list.

The course started on Monday 7th January. This was our last week of school which meant I would be able to spend some time getting to grips with the materials etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot. It was just what I needed to help me with Photoshop Elements. I bought Elements 10 last year but needed help in using it properly. I managed to complete Week 1 and was very pleased with my effort. Hopefully now I will be able to continue for the rest of the year and produce fairly decent pages. Of course, true to form I am behind by 2 weeks but I want to see what I can accomplish tomorrow. Even if I get Week 2 done that will be better than nothing.

Week 1 Page 1 - My very first page of Project Life using the Cherry Edition

Week 1 Page 2

I really started off well, writing every day in the new journal that I bought. Then last week we went back to school full time.  I never even gave writing in the journal a thought - too much else to think about and get done just to survive the week. I will definitely make more of an effort from now on. If I canmanage to do 1 post every week then I'll be happy.

Jan 6, 2013

Frustration, confusion, helplessness...what to do?

There should be a post prior to this one BUT....Right now I am one very frustrated lady! I am having problems updating my previous post which is still saved in draft form. I have been trying for the last 3 days to upload photos to my blog post and it won't let me choose Browse to select the photos I want from my laptop. What is different? Why can't I upload my photos? I haven't had this problem before so I am stuck. If anyone reads this and can shed light or offer suggestions I would be most grateful.

On top of that my camera has "gone funny" again. It does this every now and then for no reason. I go to take a photo and it freezes. I can't  focus and the lens is stuck in place. I am useless on Manual - my focussing is rubbish. It looks in focus to me when I take the photo but when I look at it on the computer it is nine times out of ten blurred. Do I hear cries of.... "You need another class?". Yes, I do, I know that ...one day.....

This is so frustrating - I have the digital Project Life class that I won a place on starting tomorrow. Yes, I entered my name on Becky's blog to win a place on the digital PL class starting on Monday 7th January - never expecting to be selected, but you have to be in it to win it.....so I entered. Blow me down my DS phoned from England on Friday night and said "Did you enter a competition on Becky Higgins's blog because if you did I think you're a winner!" I couldn't believe it - quick swop to Skype to find out more from Rhona and at the same time go on to Becky's blog on my laptop and there it was at the top of the prize winners' names - Norma Nell, Umhlanga, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa THAT"S ME!!!!!! I was so excited, ME a winner? Yay! I never win anything............well,  not any more! We laughed and chatted some more - big smiles and squeals of delight - Too much of excitement!!!! (South Africans will understand this!)

Rhona urged me to reply straight away - there was a message for the 3 winners to contact Kari from Becky Higgins.com. I didn't need to be told twice so the e-mail was duly sent. Now to await a reply. First check on Saturday and there was nothing new but then, there is a considerable time difference between South Africa and America. Second check a little on later on and there it was in my Inbox - a very nice e-mail congratulating me and requesting that I advise them of which edition I want to use - in addition to winning a place in the class,we also get a full digital PL kit from AC Digitals - WooHoo!!! Roll on Monday, I can't wait to get started.
There is 1 week of holidays left before school reopens for the start of the new school year. Teachers go back on Monday 14th Jan and the children start on Wednesday 16th. The first day back is always taken up with meetings. Normally we have our management meeting the Friday before school opens but this year we are having it first thing on Monday morning. This will be followed by a Combined Staff Meeting. Our school is split into 2 campuses. The Foundation Phase, where I am, goes from  Grade R ( Reception Class) up to Grade 3 (Year 3) and the next Phase from Grade 4 to Grade 7 is on a separate campus just down the road from us. At the start of every new school year we have a comnined staff meeting with the teachers from both campuses getting together on the Senior Primary Campus. When that's over it's back to our school campus for our own meeting, then it is Grade meetings. We have 3 Reception classes and 5 classes in each grade. Each class has 28/29 children in it. We are the biggest school in our area. So, as you can see, most of the first day is taken up with meetings. The next day is to get the classroom ready for the new arrivals and do whatever still needs to be done in preparation for the First Day.

I love that anticipation of meeting my new class and the fresh start that the new year brings. I love the eager anticipation on the faces of the little ones. No matter how long you have been teaching, if teaching is your passion, you will experience that thrill every year.

OK - back to where I started with the one week left bit.... that means that I will have time to get stuck in to the class and hopefully get to grips and learn lots. I have got Photshop Elements 10 but I really need help on using it effectively. I can do some of the basic things but need lots of advice and tips on how to make the most of PSE. Completing Project Life will be a challenge  but I am up for it. Watch this space.......................    :)

Now let me keep trying to see if I can reslove my problems. Have a restful Sunday.