Sunday, 30 November 2008


78 arrrHere's pirate Littletree. She made this pirate get-up for craft at the library storytime this week :)

It's been a pretty busy week for us, dealing with the wreck of Little Blue Sky, and searching for a new car.

(Anyone know of an early 90's model Toyota Corolla Hatch for sale. Preferably a 5-speed manual 1.8L in metallic green, with rego, let me know! Well, anything in that variety of cars will do, but that's what I really want.)

And... we put an offer on a house to buy, which was accepted. So we wait for the building inspection and for the lawyers to sort out the sale. details to come!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Drowning in Printer Packaging

My replacement printer arrived, which was nice. The packaging was incredibly funny though.

It came in a MASSIVE box with this printed on the top:


"You'll like what's NOT in this carton

You'll like what you don't see: NO plastic peanuts, NO polyfoam, NO loose mess - nothing that isn't conscious of the environment.

This carton is made from recycled materials. We recycle our own cardboard and paper to form part of the recycled cardboard used to manufacture cartons..."

Well, it all sounds very nice, BUT, the printer itself came in it's own box, which was inside this box.


So, basically, the fancy environmental, recycled box was just a waste of a box for no good reason. CIMG5093

Then we open the printer box to be greeted by a paper warning me not to touch the print head and to be careful of the ink cartridges.

So I took that paper out, and what was under it?

Another paper warning me to be very careful of the print head and the ink cartridges.

Sounds serious! I started getting nervous about the handling of said print head and ink cartridges!


So under the second warning paper, the printer was encased in polystyrene and wrapped in a plastic bag

I took the plastic bag off, to reveal...

CIMG5096Another plastic bag.

Once that was off, the printer was covered in protective plastic strips, with a warning notice about loading the paper.


So much for "environmental" packaging!

I opened up the manual to begin set-up, and the first page was... you guessed it! Another warning about handling the print head and ink cartridges! CIMG5100

Then I opened the front of the printer, as per the instruction manual, only to be greeted by...


Just in case you missed the first thousand warning notices!

Anyway, I got through the set-up pretty easily, and so far so good, it all works nicely :) It has all kinds of fun features, the best being that it works through our wireless network, so I don't have yet another cable tangling up my jungle of cables, and I can print from wherever I'm sitting with the laptop; even out in the garden!

And by pure coincidence, the printer totally coordinates with my laptop! shiny silver with glossy black trim! I hadn't even thought of that part when I chose which printer to buy, but it's a nice bonus :)


Wednesday, 26 November 2008


It's a miracle.

Yesterday, Littletree, Purple and I went to look at some properties, and on the way home, we had an accident.

It all happened very fast. I lost control of the car around a bend; we slammed into an embankment at about 80kph. The car bounced back, span around 360 degrees and went off the road into a gully.

The car stopped, barely an inch from rolling down a 20M drop. 

74 crash

Amazingly, the car didn't roll off the cliff, and all three of us were able to clamber out of the car and walk away unscathed.

Some passersby stopped and helped us out; we were pretty shaky and in shock.

We had to wait a while for the roadside assistance service to come out, then wait a while longer for a tow truck to come, and then even longer for a different tow truck to come and the police to come.

It was quite an event for the truck to winch the car out of the gully and tow it away; the police needed to close the road while that was happening.

After the car was out, one police officer went over to see what had saved us from going over the cliff. He stood there shaking his head, and then looked at me and said "someone was really watching out for you; I can't see anything here that stopped you from tumbling down the cliff"

It was really scary looking down over that drop. There wasn't anything I could see that would have stopped us from rolling over. I guess we were being watched over, that's for sure.

It sucks that our beloved Little Blue Sky is now dead, and I had to pay a fortune for the tow truck, and now we need to buy a new car, but thankfully, we weren't hurt. (well, I banged my knee, which is giving me some trouble, but nothing serious).

Even more lucky, our friend, who is borrowing our van, Sunshine from us, came to our rescue and picked us up, and arranged for us to rent a car from a friend of hers, so we already have a new, temporary car. I've dubbed her "Murky".

75 murky

We don't really like Murky all that much, but at least she's sort of green, and at least we have a car to drive until we can buy a new one!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Home School Camp

We went away for our home school group camp this weekend, which was a wonderful finish to a crap week :)

The camp was at a caravan park on the beach at Brooms Head, about 2.5 - 3 hours south of here. We packed up the car on Friday morning and drove down with Princess and Queen.

Brooms Head is a beautiful camp site, we had spaces to set up right on the beach, overlooking a beautiful lagoon.

62 camp

It was pretty windy, but the weather stayed fine and sunny the whole time, which was lovely.

The experience totally concreted the idea of living in community for me. We were about ten families, and for the most part, the kids were all running around together, doing fun kid stuff, learning and having a fantastic time. They were totally free, and there was always enough adult eyes kept on them that I didn't have to worry about hovering over Littletree every minute.

The kids played a lot on the beach, exploring, collecting cool shells, rocks, seaweeds, sponges, urchins and starfish, building sandcastles and running around.

63 camp beach

We all had some nice swims in the lagoon, which was perfect, as it provided a nice safe area for the littlies to swim in without waves or deep water. There were loads of big pelicans that we got a pretty close look at as well.

65 camp beach

The kids also loved the steep grassy slope that rose behind the camping area. They spent ages rolling down the hill, and then sliding down on their boogie boards.

They also set up an elaborate roadworks game with toy witches hats and stop signs and stuff. It was great to see how the kids worked out all the rules of the game. They even played for a while at setting up a little roadblock on the driveway past our tents. The few drivers that came through were happy to play along :)

61 camp traffic

We did another weaving workshop, which was great, I made a little basket out of copper wire that Littletree propptly commandeered as her own.

70 camp weaving

Funnily, there was a playground at the camp site, but it went mostly ignored, the children shunning the swings and slides in favour of scrambling around the rocks and exploring the beach and playing in nature :)

We had a great weekend and I'm glad to be home and enjoying the sunshine.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Printer Problems

I hate printers. I've always hated printers. Because they don't work. They never work and everyone knows it. It's just that no one will admit it because we think it would be admitting technical ineptitude. but it's not. Printers really don't work.

They're a huge waste of paper, because you need to take at least six attempts to print anything, and the ink is toxic and there's all the waste of the ink cartridges. Not to mention the expense of the ink! Printers are pretty cheap these days, but that's because the manufacturers know you'll spend a fortune on their branded ink.

Printing was the bane of my existence all through high school. I would get my homework assignments all typed up, spell-checked and formatted perfectly in an hour, and then spend the next 5 hours trying to get it to print right. I'd stay up till 3am trying to get the paper to stop jamming, the alignment to work, the pages straight, and I'd end up arriving to school late the next day, bedraggled, sleep deprived and stressed with a note from my mother asking for an extension till the next day, because we couldn't get the assignment to print. I think I got extensions on every single assignment I ever had to hand in.

So I resisted getting a printer my whole adult life. We never really needed one until now, and for the rare occasional time we needed to print something, it was no problem to go to town for that.

That was fine with me, but this month I enrolled in a course that requires me to print out assignments. The printing requirements were somehow in the fine print, and I might not have taken on the course if I knew I'd need a printer. Oh well.

So I bit the bullet, did a bunch of shopping around and research. Looked at printer costs and features, compared ink usage and power usage, and read endless reviews. I decided confidently on a Canon Pixma 620. It might not be the best choice, but it was the best thing I could find with the information I had, I found a good price for it, and I ordered one.

So far so good.

It was delivered the following day, which was nice. Of course I had to pick it up in town, since we live in a rural area where couriers fear to tread. I got it home in it's box, and opened it up.

So far so good.

I was happy to see that it co-ordinates perfectly with my laptop; shiny silver bits with glossy black trim. It took about 2 hours to get it all unpacked, and set up, with the software installed on my computer. I did a couple of test prints; one document and one photo, just to see that it worked. I was amazed that it did. no problems, wireless and everything.

So far so good.

Then I went to bed. But when I got up this morning and turned it on, I got an error message. The damn thing wasn't working. I went right through the step-by-step trouble shooting instructions and the whole manual. Eventually I gave up and called tech support.

Of course, the printer has been deemed faulty, and I have been instructed to box it all up and send it back. They're sending a replacement.


This is my karma for hating printers I suppose. But they deserve it!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Majikfaerie and the House Hunters

It's a jungle out there. Literally. We live in the rainforest.

We've decided to move. You might remember my recent posts about house hunting; we're looking to buy a large property, but in the meantime, we've decided we don't want to stay in the house we're in any more. We want to rent a house in town till we find our dream property.

It's a big move for me, to leave the lush greenery and spring water we have here. I love our place, it's like living in a little hobbit house. But I have to admit; it's a bit too small for us - our house is a one-room cabin, about 60sqM including the little loft that's our bedroom. Not to mention that the flue is made from asbestos and cracking, and after repeated requests to replace it, the landlord isn't doing. And it floods every time we have a heavy downpour. Oh, and the snakes and spiders...

So, yeah. We agreed to rent a place in town. We even applied to rent a three bedroom apartment right in the centre of town, just 100 metres from Littletree's friend, Princess.

I'm not too keen on living in town, and really not keen on an apartment, but this place was somehow nice, and the location made it totally doable - Littletree would practically be able to walk to her friend's house any time. Princess' mother, Queen said we could use their big back garden to put Littletree's trampoline, and we made plans to share the kids often so we'd have more free time, and they'd have more play time. Littletree loved the place, she was jumping out of her skin begging us to get it and move in right away!

It all seemed perfect. And I did like the idea of not having to drive 12km each way every time we go to town. :)

Only we didn't get the place. Only 2 people applied and they gave it to the other couple. Why? Well, I called the agent and asked them. They said our application was incomplete.

WTF? When I put the application in, I showed it to the woman in there, and asked her about supporting documents we might need. I showed her my ID and our current rent ledger. She said the application was fine just as it is. So I thought it was fine. GRRRR!

Anyway, we didn't get it. What to do. Back to the drawing board. Hopefully we find something soon.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Capoeira Mud Wrestling

I gave a capoeira workshop today at the Home schoolers group, which was a lot of fun :)

50 capoeiraAbout half a dozen kids joined in; most of them got the gist of some basic moves, and I got a good workout into the bargain. (as you can see, I needed one!)

49 capoeira

It was really nice to get some exercise, since we've been pretty much at home the whole time since we went to pick Purple up on Saturday. He's been having a really hard time recovering from the jet lag this trip.

Here's Littletree practicing with a friend.

53 capoeira

After the workout, Littletree and Anasho cooled off by running out in the rain and playing in the mud.

56 mud

They had a load of fun, and thankfully the hall where we hold our group meetings has hot showers. I kind of pushed Littletree a bit to go in; she didn't like it too much (well, she was okay with it, but she got hysterical when I started washing her face)

58 mud

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Gazing 'Cross the Universe

As I mentioned earlier, Littletree has lately been fascinated with astronomy, begging for me to buy her a telescope. I'm still looking into it; it's such a tricky proposition to find the right balance between too pricey and too crappy with this kind of thing.

I thought we'd try to get some exposure to astronomy and see where the fascination takes us before I take the plunge and spend a bunch of money on something that could turn out to be an expensive doorstopper if she loses interest in 5 minutes.

So, joy of joys when I saw a flyer advertising an astronomy night at our local cafe!

We booked ourselves a table for pizza at the cafe, and arrived just in time to see the telescope being set-up.

Littletree was ecstatic, and asked loads of questions. She avidly watched a DVD presentation about the planets, and flipped through star charts and astronomy magazines.

We had a good look through the telescope; we could see craters on the moon! As soon as she'd had a turn, Littletree ran to get her doll so she could see too

45 astronomy humit

Sadly, it started clouding over, but I found out that the people who do it, StarryNight do regular moon viewings in the area, and they have a planetarium for shows for school groups. I'm planning on organising them to bring the planetarium to our homeschool group one week :) It's very exciting.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Playing With Water

Littletree was feeling 100% healthy by last night, so today we came into town to go to the library for storytime.

I would like to make clear that while Littletree was delirious from fever, that is pretty normal for her with fevers. She was like that for only about 3 hours, and I was checking for other symptoms that would have indicated a trip to the doctor; there were none. The only symptom she had was fever.

I spoke with our doctor, who was of the opinion that there was no real cause to bring her in, and letting the fever run its course was probably the best action.

Anyway, after library we went for our usual play-date at Princess' house. It's a hot day, so Princess' mother got out the hose for a few minutes to cool the girls off.

41 water play

It was great to see Littletree running happily through the spray; she's come such a long way with regards to water.

42 water play

Just a year ago she was terrified of getting in water, and even a few drops splashed on her was enough to terrify her. It's been wonderful to watch her process, as she faces her fear and gets more and more used to being in water.

She still hasn't gotten to the point of full immersion, or putting her face into water, but we're getting there.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Dramas in the Majikfaerie Household

I was sitting with Littletree tonight, watching a movie, when we heard a rustle up on the pantry shelf. I thought it was probably a rat, but I haven't seen one for a couple of days, and this didn't sound quite like a rat, so I went to investigate...

it was...

36 snakes

Two brown snakes!

Naturally, the first thing I did was get my camera and snap a few shots.

I'm not much of a snake expert, but they looked like brown snakes, which are terribly poisonous, the second most poisonous land snake in the world. There are brown snakes on our property, so though it seemed weird to see two of them together, and at night, I had to assume that's what they were.

Not knowing what to do, I called my neighbour, who gave me the number for the local Snakeman.

The Snakeman came out straight away, despite it being 11pm. By the time he got here, my little brown buddies had slithered away, but he did look at the photos, and declared them not brown snakes, but brown tree snakes. Still poisonous, but not nearly as dangerous.

The Snakeman turned out to be an interesting guy, and we chatted for a while about shamanism and snakes and the Hare Krshnas. I told him about my drama last night with Littletree being sick.

Littletree came down with a fever the night before, when we were staying over at a friend's house. She wasn't too well all yesterday, being feverish and headachey, but last night around 7pm her fever spiked and she spent a few hours alternating between sleeping fitfully for about 15 minutes, and waking up and being delirious for a while.

It was pretty scary, at some point she was waking up and calling for me, she stared through me as if I wasn't there, and didn't seem to recognise that I was holding her. She started to see things I couldn't see.

Difficult though it was to see my little girl sick like that, I held firm in the knowledge that there is no danger in a fever whatsoever, as long as it's not a case of heatstroke or meningitis (both of which I can rule out), and did my best to support her, keep her hydrated, and let the fever run it's course and do it's work in healing my child.

At some point, I decided to burn some sage to smudge the house. I had a strong feeling that there were some negative energies around, so I worked on clearing them.

Right when I finished, Littletree settled into a restful deep sleep, and even responded lucidly when I carried her upstairs to bed, so I guess something worked. :) This morning Littletree woke up and vomited, still with a low fever, but by the end of the day she seems perfectly fine.

So it's been just one drama after another around here!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

New Article

My newest article was published on Essence of Life. It's called Letting Children Find Their Own Strength

It's about trusting children to know their own abilities.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Macadamia Castle

I took Littletree and her friend Princess to the Macadamia Castle on Friday, which is a local tourist attraction with a kind of farmyard petting zoo.

24 macadamia castle

The girls had a great time, they played a round of mini-golf

03 maca mini gold

Rode on the little train

05 maca train

Fed goats

20 maca goat feeding

Patted bunnies

18 maca seq bunny

And played in the treehouse

22 maca treehouse

It was a fun day anyway :) Littletree has been keeping me so busy the last weeks, I think we've been out every day, visiting someone or on some activity.