Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fortnight Ending 15 January 2015

Our first two weeks back in high-tide structured learning mode have been exceptionally busy, trying to get back into the swing of formal learning while fitting in new part-time jobs (the kids, not me) and trying to keep up with other fun things as well. I feel like I'm nearly ready for a holiday, but I'm hoping this coming week will be quieter which should help stop my head spinning a little.

As well as getting to grips with her new courses Miss 14 has had the local birding branch's newsletter to publish. Typos and technical difficulties abounded, taking up more of our first week than was ideal. But the newsletter has finally gone out and there is a two month break before she gets to do it all over again! She also decided to apply for admission to an ornithology field camp for teens. She is officially too young but several people suggested she apply anyway. We're hopeful that she may get accepted, especially if the course does not fill with those aged 16 and over. While the application wasn't lengthy it still took time. She also completed her submission for the group logbook for last month's field course. Miss 14 has now started work on the small regional column for our national birding magazine. Hopefully that will only take a day or two because she also needs to prepare a short talk on her experiences at the field course for the next meeting of our local birding group. And that is in ten days time. Gulp!

Mr 17 meanwhile had been trying to fit his academic work around a variety of social activities. Sadly, for him, his three best friends are all a year older than him and have completed their final year at school. While they've all got different plans for this year they all currently have more spare time than he has, and I'm not sure he's managing his time wisely. Hopefully this issue will settle down soon as their various courses and jobs come on stream. He also worked some extra shifts and some longer shifts which didn't exactly assist with completing school work. Still he has a plan to get back on track this coming week. So long as he does I'll happily chalk this fortnight up as a learning experience.

Ticket to Ride has become popular again and if Miss 14 and Mr 17 are both taking a break from studying at the same then they can normally be found playing a game or two at the dining room table.

Prior to the earthquakes we used to go swimming once a week. While regular large aftershocks were occurring nobody fancied risking it and then our two favourite pools were demolished. This meant the remaining pools were frequently crowded, which made the idea of swimming less attractive. So it turns out we haven't been swimming for five years! Miss 14 came to me last week and asked if we could please go, so this week we (Miss 20, Miss 14 and I) went. And (once I got the dreaded buying a new swimsuit task out of the way) it was great. The pool we picked is slightly out of the way but it wasn't crowded. So we'll see if we can start going swimming more regularly - perhaps once a fortnight.

Miss 14 and I watched the 1996 version of Hamlet, with Kenneth Branagh in the title role. Next week we plan to watch the 1990 version which stars Mel Gibson as Hamlet and we'll do a compare and contrast. We did find the 1996 version long and rather overdone in places. Hopefully we'll like the 1990 version better. We also continued reading the play aloud - just two scenes left to go.

We also fitted in four birding trips over the past fortnight. Some were surprisingly successful - distant views of two Australasian Bitterns  and our first sighting of a Gull-billed Tern this year - while others were simply frustrating - still no sign of the elusive Gray-Tailed Tattler and sunburn to boot (I obviously forgot to apply sunblock to one patch of skin).

Miss 20, Miss 14 and I braved the chill and  attended an outdoor performance of Macbeth (which we read last year) on Sunday evening. It ended up not being quite as cold as I'd planned for, although we were wearing several layers and wrapped ourselves in blankets later in the evening! Outdoor Shakespeare is a regular summer feature here but this was the first time the company has performed anything other than a comedy.  We thought it was generally well done - Miss 14 especially enjoyed all the blood - but I sometimes got distracted since I recognised some of the actors from roles they'd played previous years!

We've also been taking regular breaks outside to check on the state of our Monarch chrysalises. Plenty of butterflies have emerged this week.

We had drama with Basil over the weekend. He had five seizures in the space of a couple of hours which necessitated a trip to the after-hours vet, IV drip and other excitements. He was supposed to stay in overnight but once he was stabilised he became stressed and anxious, barking constantly. So, after checking we were okay with the plan, his owners collected him from the vet and dropped him back here. Luckily he has been fine ever since.

In amongst all this we've even managed to squeeze in a little academic work. Given everything else that has been going on it's perhaps fortunate that much of the material has been of an introductory and/or review nature.I think the academics will ramp up next week so I'm glad that (fingers crossed) everything else is settling down.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap-Up .


  1. I admire how Miss 14 is so committed to her ornithology. I hope you all get to go swimming soon! We love to watch live performances of Shakespeare--our first year homeschooling we went to see Julius Caesar after reading it and made so much more sense to me. I have a hard time understanding Shakespeare when I read it--so much easier when we see it live!

    1. Funny but I find Shakespeare easier to watch if I've already read the play - or at least a comprehensive story version. Not sure how long Miss 14's passion for birds will last - she is talking about career options - but right now I'm trying my best to feed it as much as I can.