Can't be done in NZ

There is a new reality tv show from Australia starting soon called 'MasterChef Junior'. Like all the reality shows, there can only be one young winner. I'm not sure that I agree that kids should be subject to such things. But I do know one thing. That program would never work in NZ.

In NZ, you are taught from the get-go that everybody is a winner. Everybody gets recognition. What we used to call 'graduation' (that was only for your last year in school) is called 'prizegiving' because, you guessed it, everybody gets a prize (your grades and any accomplishments on a sheet of paper). Everybody gets to come up on the stage. Every year. From the lowest grades to the highest, each student gets at least one piece of paper. I don't know the criteria for not being on stage, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't happen very often.

In addition, you are taught that you don't have to do what you don't want to do. Seriously. Some kid flunked a test because he knew the material and did the first couple of questions but decided he didn't have to do the rest because it was repetitive. Never mind that doing all the problems of the test showed his ability to follow directions and complete a task. He just didn't feel like finishing it. I guess the teacher failed to mention that your grade was based on all the questions and not just the ones you answered.

 It saddens me to think what the school system is doing to our children. I suppose many of the students here in NZ will be having a huge eye-opener the first time they get chewed out or fired for not doing what they are told. I've tried to tell  the school authorities that they should be more realistic, but to no avail. I'm just glad that Otterboy has learned a lot about responsibility. I know he will fare much better than most in his class.


Recipe update

 I have found a different Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing recipe and have made changes in my recipe posted here. YUM!!


*Edit* I noticed later that this recipe has had over 200 views!


Grace's version of Charades

I blogged earlier that Grace loves to sleep on my shoulder (click here for that post and photo). But only when I'm on the computer. It sure makes it hard to type with both hands when a large part of my torso is used as a prop for a full-grown cat and I'm slouched at an angle away from the keyboard, but being the sucker that I am, I accommodate her most of the time.

Sadly, I'm the only one with that special touch, much to the dismay of us all. I assume it's because I'm here all the time and am more of a stable object in her life. But I really wouldn't mind sharing that 'burden' of being Grace's day-bed. Really, I wouldn't.

Well, lately, she has been more vocal on occasion, meowing while she paced in front of the computer room door. I'd open the door, thinking she wanted into the room and she'd walk in like she owned the place, watching to see if I'd follow. If I didn't, she'd meow to be let out again. But if I stayed, she'd continue meowing at Hubby's feet while he was in 'the chair'. We both would work hard trying to figure out what she wanted, but I had not a clue, so I'd leave. When I left the room, she left with me.

This went on several times but it seemed all very cryptic to me, being the anal person that I am. I don't 'think outside the box' and all that stuff. But Hubby to the rescue! He finally figured it all out. He's good like that.

She was trying to tell me to go into the computer room, make 'him' get up and sit down at the computer so she could have a nap on me.

All in all, not too shabby for not knowing English.


Baldrick's Big Day Out

Living in Stratford, with obvious connections to Shakespeare (he lived in Stratford upon Avon, I live in Stratford upon Patea), we have occasional days to go medieval. Last Saturday was one of those days with "Baldrick's Big Day Out" at the park. 

 There were wenches...

 and maidens....

 and knights! Oh, my!

And a very tall guy named Stumpy.

Click here for more photos.


mystery solved!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about our little container garden (click here for that post) and how pleased I was with its growth. As I went around the house taking photos to upload, I noticed this pot where we had planted some mystery bulbs.

Since they looked a bit sad, I was wondering if we had carried the bulbs around too long for them to grow properly.

 Or maybe they didn't get quite enough water, since the pot was under the eaves. 

Obviously, we did get a bit of growth, which was encouraging. But the stems (possibly crocuses) never got very big.

Then, yesterday, I went out to get the clothes off the line and saw this:

Yep. Mystery solved.


about people

When I first started blogging, I described myself as being 'older than dirt' and my new family had quite a few good laughs about it.The fact of the matter is, I've been around the block a few times and I've learned a few things about human nature. 

I'm certainly not a psychologist, but some things about people don't need a degree to be figured out--like the fact that we all see things based on our past experiences. 

Sometimes, the negative stuff others have had to deal with makes your words get twisted around in their head. For example, an effort to help can get you lashed at with a string of sentences that aren't even relevant to the situation--all in an effort for that person to defend themselves when it's quite unnecessary.

It's not fun when I have to figure out what's going on. It certainly makes the relationship tense and sometimes, it never gets settled so I'm not sure when I can get back to 'normal' conversations without my words dredging up the past disagreement.

Personally, I believe that all that we say or do is a choice. Our attitude is a choice. Once I figured out that the world doesn't fall off its axis if I don't defend myself to everybody about everything, I felt much better about the world. 

I could let things go without having to prove myself or correcting the rest of the world. 

I smiled more and had fewer headaches. 

I could hear and see things without that automatic defensive mode kicking in.

I could accept people for who they are and not judge them to be like the people of my past.

Even with the negative junk in my own past, I simply make the choice to not let those now-irrelevant things influence my here and now. Life is much easier that way.