If you’d told me…

If you’d told me, say, 20 years ago, that in my late forties I’d be just about living and breathing netball, I’d have laughed.  I’d never played it – and indeed, I still never have.   We were also possibly a bit wary about having our weekends tied up with sport commitments – so I didn’t really intend to get that involved.

Funny how things turn out.   I only chose netball as a sport for our eldest to try because at around age six or seven the local netball didn’t travel all over the district. Same place, same time, every week. With a husband travelling around overseas all the time, and three kids, I decided that sounded like a good idea.

Hah.

So she liked it, and then so did #2. And then so did # 3.   A few years later #1 started playing rep – and so the mother with a conscience went to an AGM, feeling like she should contribute something. The Dad got interested (because he has a team sports head), and has even coached a couple of years, done the umpire exam, and gone to a couple of coaching courses.

And this year (as I’ve said before), they’ve all been playing rep, and the eldest has been coaching rep, and Ms 14 has been helping coach Ms 11’s junior team.

And it feels like it’s been carnival after carnival; we were in Sydney last weekend for the three-day State Championships for Ms 17, and there’s a one day carnival tomorrow for the younger two. In two weeks time we’re back down south again for State Age.

Just when I think that in July I can celebrate the end of the madness, I realise that there are two age carnivals to go to in August, and that I should be doing something for the netball association in the next week about organising teams for that – because it shouldn’t all be about rep.

I just feel like I bloody live at the netball clubhouse.  (I’m managing the canteen ordering this year, so I spend Saturdays in the canteen as well as ‘being there’ for the training twice a week.)

In a bit of a twist, it’s the Daddy who is the one actively involved in the game itself – he’s coached, and played a couple of mixed comps, and (as I’ve illustrated before here) gets out in the back yard shooting goals with the girls.  He has a tactical team sports mind – something that totally eludes me.

The discussion of tips and tactics often continues inside….   Did you ever see Bend it Like Beckham? There’s a scene where Keira Knightly’s character’s Dad is using table implements and condiments to explain the rules of football to his wife…

… well, we get the netball version happening here:

The glass of water and the beer bottle are the goal posts. The beer cap is the centre circle. The forks represent the transverse lines. (The hairy knee has nothing to do with it, other than to perhaps indicate the owner of the finger doing the pointing.)

I can’t see all this being over any time soon. While Ms 17 may well be going away to uni next year, there are a few years left yet with the other two…

Meanwhile this year it just feels particularly all-consuming.

Funny how life turns out sometimes.

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Chasing the weather

I have recently found out about this really cool Aussie weather website called The Weather Chaser. If you, like me, have a fascination with checking out ‘The Radar’, you’ll just love this.

On the Radar Loop link, radar images from the BOM weather watch radar network are archived (some back to 2008). So when you get a big rain event, you can, basically, enter the dates, and then watch it in replay.

This is one for our neck of the woods over the past few days – the weather event that included the tornado/waterspout/twister that wreaked absolute havoc on the little seaside village of Lennox Head on Thursday morning.

If you click on the link below it’ll take you to the ‘replay’ for that period.  Lennox Head is up near Byron Bay.

See : 256km Radar Loop for Grafton, 23:00 01/06/2010 to 23:00 04/06/2010 UTC

On Thursday I caught the bus – at 6.30 am – up the coast to Tweed Heads (got there at 11.30) – bought a car (a private sale) and drove back home again. Needless to say with the rain we had overnight, and the forecast, I was a little bit anxious about my four hour plus drive home. I was lucky – it was all heading south, so I only copped rain the last 30km of my trip.

The bus, on the way up, was actually scheduled to stop in Lennox Head itself – needless to say that didn’t happen. The bus had to negotiate  some floodwater on the way up – and on the way back I had to first queue for yonks, then drive our lovely clean ‘new’ car through water on the way back.

I also had to queue again further south as the involuntary audience to a truck being towed back out of a ditch near some canefields.

A not uneventful day, you might say. But at least I got to check out just what the rain did (and how lucky I was!) afterwards!

I haven’t yet taken a photo of our new “baby” – and Himself is surprised I haven’t yet blogged it.  I guess I have the topic for my next post all sorted out.

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Precious moments

The girls had another rep netball carnival on Sunday. It’s the last one the three of them will be at as players.  Ms 17 heads off to her State competition in (under) two weeks time – the June long weekend –  while the other two have a few more weeks before “State Age” (12-15 yrs) the first weekend of July.  (And then they will be at separate venues.)

So, as any relatively chuffed Mum would do, I decided that the family photo archives definitely needed a photo of the three of them together in their rep uniforms. For posterity and all that. It’s been a significant netball year for the family .. right?

So…  second last time slot of the day – miraculously, all of them are off at the same time.

“Quick girls.. can I get a picture of the three of you?!!”

Pah.. sentimentality is the domain of soppy mothers, it seems.

Now I wish I’d just taken a video to record just how annoying two teenage sisters can be when you try to take a photo!

I guess this one doesn’t look quite as bad as it did through the viewer…

But Sentimental Mum thought it would be a bit nicer if they weren’t standing there like three random strangers … I mean.. would it actually  kill them to throw an arm around a shoulder? To look like they cared for each other. A bit?

Guess we mums live in the past a bit. We remember how CUTE (and snuggly) they used to be together…

And then, of course, we take a trip down memory lane.

*SIGHS*

Hmmm… There… about five years ago – a sign of things to come.  What happened to the side-by-side hug thing?

That was 2005 …

And, with Ms Eldest starting to get behind the camera herself, photos of the three of them together at all are harder to come by – never mind ones where they might actually come into contact with each other…

So.. in retrospect, it was something of a miracle that, on Sunday, I finally got this, after much nagging:

Look! Almost hug-like! (Though there’s a certain hand, belonging to Ms 17, that was on its way up to form rabbit ears behind Ms 11’s head.)

The only other consolation was that when I tried to get photos of other sets of sisters playing with the association, I had one pair standing in a similar stand offish manner… and then one sister of another pair said “no way” and bolted.

Teenagers. Gotta love ’em.

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Cinderella

“All you ever ask me to do is CHORES!”

Poor Cinderella.  She wiped her tear streaked face with dirty hands, filthy from having had to sweep up the ashes from the fireplace .. after scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush, and weeding the garden with her bare hands.

This outburst was prompted by the apparent heinous parental crime of  asking her to do her dishwasher unloading job.

Such cruel, cruel parents we are  – in her imagination.

The facts?  Ms Just About 17 was finally asked to empty the dishwasher at about 7pm on Sunday, after I had waited patiently for the “stressed” HSC student to time manage it herself, in between stints in her bedroom (presumably doing school work), and several “relaxation” stints of TV watching.

(Yes, I have probably overreacted to some experiences in our youth where I felt that parents were unreasonable about time frames…)

Didn’t we know how STRESSED she was? And how she needed her downtime. And she’s expected to do all these CHORES. We’re always nagging her to do chores, apparently.

We have this Roster, you see. It’s such a terrible roster.. each child has maybe one or two jobs a day, which translates to twice a week for each on each duty.  Sat and Sunday double up (to Ms 17s disgust, so I usually try to do the dishwasher one of those days. To keep it FAIR, you know.

Mostly, despite the fact that they requested a roster system in the first place, they don’t even manage to do what they are supposed to do.  (And I’m not very good at keeping on top of it.) I usually realise what’s not done once they are in bed.  Almost always I have to nag:

“And while I’m out do your jobs.”

None of it is Cinderella material either. Unpack the dishwasher is the most time consuming and “arduous”. The other meagre jobs are ’empty recycling’, clear table, fill up water bottles after dinner, put kitchen garbage in bin.

Occasionally I’ll ask for a bit extra – “Can you get the clothes off the line please.”  And taking turns on a weekly basis to do the bathroom vanity, which Ms 17 manages to skive off because she doesn’t use that one. (She uses ours.)

And they’re supposed to share the table-setting each night.

But apparently I had the hide to ask  Ms 17 last week (or was it the week before?) to help her sister get the clothes off the line  – AND demand it be done THEN (as it was getting dark and damp outside.)  My GOD, she was chilling out, de-stressing, watching TV.)

Occasionally I manage to get them to make a salad. Or chop up some veggies. Ms 17 specialises in avoidance tactics here, so much so that it’s usually less stressful for ME to do it myself, than nag. (And then shout.)

Somewhere along the line I’ve failed miserably at this part of parenting.

No sweeping floors, cleaning loos… (only occasionally, in one of the visitor-induced household freak out clean ups do they get asked to vacuum.)

This girl has it TOO GOOD. As I told her (in a very loud voice, numerous times).

“You don’t know you’re alive!”

“Ohhh, get over yourself.”

“Stop carrying on like a bloody Princess.”

So take note.. those of you with younger kids. Get in early, before they have had a chance to hone their avoidance tactics, and expectations, and get them used to the Cinderella treatment. Else you’ll end up with a Queenager with a Princess complex like mine.

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Netball, netball, netball

THREE of them now, playing rep for our little association and too much netball is never enough round here right now.  It’s a busy term.

I got hold of some photies  from the carnival I..we… had to get up early for…

You could say that these images represent a pretty big portion of my life right now.  They are not always in the green … but there’s a lot of it going on. Let’s see… between the three of them there’s either training or a game Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and just about every second Sunday this term.  (Confession: I don’t watch all of that.)

Acknowledgment to friend and fellow parent, Renee, for the photos.

Thankfully it all starts to abate soon. Ms 17-in-a-few-days-time heads off to the State Championships on the June long weekend, and so then the training eases off for her.

The other two (and with Ms 17 coaching the youngest’s team!) will head to State Age the first weekend in July – at which their ever loving parents must somehow split themselves, over the three days, between venues that are nearly an hour apart!

Next term will be so much less manic.

Meanwhile, though, I am pretty chuffed to see them all enjoying their sport, AND having the opportunity to take it to the next level.

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Great Distractions

Well, yes, I’m a Procrastinator Extraordinaire – as some of you will have figured out by now. It doesn’t take much each day to derail me from my good intentions.  Pretty much ANYTHING on the computer will distract me from a new day’s resolution. Reading blogs – never mind writing them. Check Facebook. Check Twitter. Check email. (Lather, rinse, repeat.) Play around with netball photos and the website. Check the newspaper online. Check out my favourite Timewaster sites.

There is so much I should be doing, that I have pushed my writing to the side, and even been contemplating a blogging sabbatical . Hell, even an INTERNET sabbatical. (This house will never get cleaned, and the renovations never done otherwise.)

Today, though (while still procrastinating about my procrastinating)  I got completely sidetracked with making a Watermark for my photos. Oh BushBabe – it wasn’t a priority today, but I couldn’t help myself once given the instructions in your post. Suddenly the idea of doing a watermark on my photos gained the highest priority.

I even went font hunting. (Love this site – Abstract Fonts )

After much trial and error, I’ve come up with once I like.

I think.

Now I’m not so sure.

Does this look better?

Is it opaque enough? What else could I have done to it to make it watermark-y?

Or what about something like this…?

Actually, I like that last one. But how do I make it look good on a dark background?

Should it be bigger.. or smaller?

Should I even bother? I mean, my photos aren’t that good.

Well.. I’m now awaiting BB’s instructions on how to make it into a photoshop Action.   And hoping that somewhere down the track this photoshop experimentation leads to something worthwhile that doesn’t make me feel quite so much like I’ve procrastinated the day away!

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Images of an early start.

I don’t do mornings very well at all, so anytime I’m up before the sun requires some acknowledgment at the very least.  And I’m always after some sort of silver lining – something to take the edge off how hard it felt hauling my sorry backside out of bed in the dark.

The girls had a rep netball carnival yesterday at another country town. Google Directions reckoned on it being a 2.5 hour drive – although Mr Navigation here assured me it could be done in around 2 hours and 10.   He’s usually pretty good on estimating this sort of stuff – and I learnt from another carnival drive  a couple of weeks ago that Google Maps/Directions tended to be  overly generous on the time required.  (What did we do before Google maps? Actually look up maps, distances,  and do some mental arithmetic – allowing for slower speed limits through towns? To actually think?!)

So I’m thinking “Google says 2.5 hours –  Himself says a smidgin over 2 – let’s allow 2 hrs 15.”  Arriving by 8.15 for a 9am start seemed perfectly reasonable.

Of course the carnival draw changed a couple of days ago – now an 8.30 start for Ms 11’s team – meaning we needed to be there by maybe 7. 45 – well before 8am at the latest. Suddenly I’m looking down the barrel of a pre-5am wake up – something I’m not particularly good at.  (I don’t like seeing that “4” on the digital clock!) It’s also been a while since we’ve done this ‘getting up in the dark’ lark for our bike riding follies, so I’m quite a bit out of practice.

And then I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Dreams. (Or nightmares, rather…)  I dreamt that we were heading to this carnival, but I stopped to buy a coffee at a town along the route. But the service in a cafe was really slow (and they ignored me!) – and the next thing I was buying tea towels (!) in another shop – tea towel designs I didn’t even like. Go figure.  The dream degenerated, as they do, into crazier and crazier things – and I would wake up, relieved that it was just a dream – but stressed that I was thereby not getting my precious sleep – and then I’d fall back into the same bloody dream again.

Needless to say didn’t wake up feeling particularly refreshed. Thank goodness Himself was driving.

He set a departure time of 5.45 –  though I tried (to Ms 14’s chagrin) to get us out the door a few minutes earlier.  (And she doesn’t believe in giving yourself even 30 seconds to spare when you get ready – you time it to the last nanosecond – with no contingency time allowed!)

Then, for some reason,  Himself, despite his knowledge of the route, brought the Sat Nav along. “Karen“.  And as we set off just before 5.45, and I entered in our destination,  SHE reckoned our ETA was 8.13.

!!!!

Despite all that I think about “Karen” – of course I STRESSED!

Mr Navigation played it cool, and half way into the drive, the ETA had been scaled back to around 8am. I did suggest that being booked for speeding would not only be a financial blow, but it would eat into the time he had just made up.

Of course, in hindsight it is obvious that Google Directions calculates these time estimations on a speed of around 80 kph rather than 100.

And of course we got there at 7.45!! – among the first people to arrive.

And I didn’t need to stop for coffee OR tea towels.

And those silver linings that I look for? Well, there are positives to early morning starts I guess. There was no time, of course,  to do a BushBabe and stop for photos! But I couldn’t help snapping a few through the filthy windscreen and hoping that some might turn out.

Half, of course, were blurry and useless. But I don’t mind these:


Now that’s something I wouldn’t have seen had I done my usual Sunday morning thing.

I didn’t get round to taking any photos at the netball – I left that to others with better zooms on their cameras for catching action shots.

And I didn’t get one of Ms 11 playing for the first time in the association rep dress.  Or, a first time shot of the THREE of them in their rep dresses.  Or a shot of a very tired Ms 16 who played AND coached.

We arrived home after sunset, did lazy takeaway pizza for dinner, and had all the girls – including myself – in bed early.

And preparing to do it all again in two weeks time! Well, actually – that carnival is only a 20 minute drive away, so I may actually let the sun rise before me that Sunday!

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