Monday, October 29, 2012

Tell Me What You Know





Curiosity is the very basis of education 
and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat,
 I say only the cat died nobly.
~ Arnold Edinborough   
 Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
~ John Cotton Dana
Imagination is more important than knowledge. 
Knowledge is limited. 
Imagination encircles the world.
~ Albert Einstein 

 It is important that students bring a certain 
ragamuffin, barefoot, irreverence to their studies; 
they are not here to worship what is known, 
but to question it.
~ J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man
I cannot teach anybody anything, 
I can only make them think.
~ Socrates 

 Education is an admirable thing, 
but it is well to remember from time to time 
that nothing that is worth knowing 
can be taught.
~ Oscar Wilde

The only person who is educated 
is the one who has learned 
how to learn and change.
~ Carl Rogers

I'm not afraid of storms, 
for I'm learning to sail my ship.
~ Aeschylus

 The object of education is to prepare the young
to educate themselves throughout their lives.
~ Robert M. Hutchins

 You can educate yourself right out 
of a relationship with God.
~ Tammy Faye Bakker

 
The ability to quote
is a servicable substitute
for wit.
~ William Somerset Maugham
 I hate quotations.
Tell me what you know.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This is Me: Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

I'm pretty open on my blog; certainly I've hit critical TMI mass several times. But it has occurred to me several times that there is no way to be completely open and authentic with my friends, with whomever is an audience for this blog. I tend to be a "glass is half full" kind of a person, a pull-myself-up kind of person, a person who wears the big girl undies. I very seldom write the negativity or pain of life. And does this make my life, or LIFE, look easy or simple. Or just something that it is not?

Well, I came across this blog post today by Joie on a blog called Creature Comforts. I'm not at all sure how I got there but I was very moved by her words and by the many other bloggers who had joined in on the goal of honestly and transparency. I'm going to add my voice to the truthsayers out here in blog land. Apparently this challenge became fairly popular earlier this year...I'm coming to it a but late.


AUTHENTICITY has been a personal goal and lifestyle for me for many years now. It became so important to me as, through my "recovery" from the early years, I realized that untruths were foundations for things that I believed in. I became stronger in dealing with those in my life who JUDGE and find others lacking. I became driven to be as truly authentic as possible...probably to the annoyance of those around me...LOL

Anyway, in the atheist and homeschool communities, in particular, I find it necessary to portray things honestly. I truly want people to change their misconceptions and to shatter the myths of these two important aspects of our lives in this family. Maybe I'm completely full of shit. But, if I am, then I am full of shit with complete sincerity and with the utmost of good intentions.

It is my hope that someone somewhere finds my words comforting, calming, and meaningful.

 I find this quote from Neil Gaiman's U of Arts Commencement Speech is truly inspiring.
The moment that you feel that, just possibly,you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right.
- Neil Gaiman
And so, taking a deep breath and quelling any fears I have about you judging me, I begin! I know that I am safe here with all of you.

All Things Pre-Adult
  1. I remember very little of my childhood.  Not that it was awful, but that I was so introverted and introspective and all things intro... But I do remember seeing a picture of myself one time where someone else was looking at me. I saw that picture and thought, "HEY, people can see me..."
  2. My sister Brenda and I climbed on to the school roof several times.
  3. My sister and I also used to "dumpster dive". We lived right next to the school. We would go to their "big green monster" giant trash can and bring home books and papers that had been thrown away an Play School! LOL Our basement was a mess and our parents were very tolerant and loving about it.
  4. I remember being a real SNOT to my dad during my teenage years. If he ever thought "I hope you have a teenager who treats you the way you are treating me", well, he got his wish!
  5. LOTS of promiscuity in those years. LOTS of it. (ages 19-25).  Sometimes I will remember a thing from then that I had (wisely) forgotten.. and get grossed out.
  6. Because of that, I lived two very different lives simultaneously. One in which I was very, very professional and respected. One that which I never spoke about and kept compartmentalized and secret. Anyone from LIFE #1 would have been shocked about LIFE #2.
  7. When I was alone and lonely, in public places I would long to know what people were saying to one another, what they were laughing about. I felt very isolated.
  8. It took me yeeeeeeears to love and accept the "female" part of myself. I had some pretty angry stereotypes about women in my head.
  9. I was always a smart kid. I would hide those things about which I wasn't smart. I thought that if I didn't already KNOW everything, then I wasn't smart.
  10. My sister and I had LOTS of silly "inside jokes" and we made fun of people alot.
  11. Actually, most of the "bad" stuff is pretty boring stuff. I always felt veeeeeeery boring and sometimes tried to put stuff I read in books into my own life...including some of the drama. Because I was boring and invisible.
Adulthood:
  1.  I hate being an adult. I detest the responsibility of all of the little crap we have to do to live in our society. Renew the sticker. Call the pharmacy. Take out the trash. Pay the state. Show your receipt. Tell your representative. Sign the form. Print out and bring this coupon. Replace the light bulbs. Replace the TP roll. Keep an umbrella in your car. Call the insurance company. Fill out the form. Mail in before September 1st. Compare policies. Prepare for the future. Read the signs. Hide a key. Submit your claims. Apply for a permit. Do not park in the red zone. Tip the waiter. Pay your fine. Water and seed the grass. Get a trim. Pay your property taxes. Change the oil. Make sure the address is visible through the window. Dust. Keep your shots up to date. Claim deductions. Use the edger. Post a warning. Remove the labels. Keep mittens handy. Submit your application. Remember your Personal Identification Number. Pay yourself first. Floss. Keep extra batteries handy. Buy some minutes. Balance your account. Weed. Inform everyone. Recharge your batteries. Change the filter. Renew your license. Be informed. Apply sunscreen. Get a check up. Return library books. Research options. Update your information. Send a card. Deduct your profit. Get a subscription. Blah, blah, blah. Hate it.
  2. I often stay away ALL NIGHT reading and then feel like total crap the next day.
  3. It matters to me when people read my blog. Maybe I'm still very externally-rewarded, but your comments are important to me.
  4. My sister and brother are not in my life at all. And I'm OK with that!
  5. Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs or from yard sales! And I'm OK with that too.
  6. I take an antidepressant that works GREAT! If I miss more than a day or two, my kids know it.
  7. I am a horrible housekeeper. I just find the work tedious, never ending, and annoying. It never ends. My husband ALWAYS picks up my slack.
  8. I read some total CRAP novels!
  9. I hate watching TV.
  10. But I LOVE watching movies.
  11. I have an itchy scalp.
  12. We don't always love Australia and we are very homesick some of the time. We are disappointed that more people don't seem to write or anything?!
There you go, some silly, some totally TMI. But I am willing to put the facts out there. I want to live the maxims BE HONEST and BE YOURSELF. So, if you have read this far, Thank You for taking the plunge with me and Thank You, also, for your kind heart and friendship.

If you are inspired to join this movement, check out the above link and read some of the blogs mentioned on Joie's post.
Reading some of those links was inspiring to me.
Peace.


~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Reasons Why You Should Not Homeschool

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mother, the Word



MOTHER  

No other single word has ever changed my life so much.

First, of course, I had a mother, and then I didn't. She left the family when I was twelve years old, just at that age when a girl needs her mother so much. I was followed by two sisters who had me as a mother figure. I was inadequate, but extremely well-intentioned with them. In all honestly, I can't remember alot of those days. Mostly I remember the congested, wordlessness of the intention We Will Not Miss Her.

Second, I was living under the roof of a man who honestly saw women as either virgins or whores. He also was left by my mother; I promise you, that anger and derision toward women did not fade away for years. My sisters and I internalized an odd identity of woman, and, by extension, mother.

Then, third, at the age of nineteen I found myself pregnant and, in no way, supported enough to become a mother. I made a plan of adoption for that beautiful girl. I have missed her every day since then.

No birth parent can adequately explain "why" they did it or what it feels like to not raise one's own child. It is a pain I will never be absent of, that truth that I would not be the best parent for her. She is, now, a mother herself. I had high hopes that these years would bring about a longing in her to want to meet me. Alas, that has not come to pass. So we all live with this decision having been made so long ago, no way to breach the gap.


Fourth, many years later, I became a stepmother to two children. Two children that were (and are) amazing human beings! I profoundly felt the need to mother them. However, I was not their mother. Their mom is their mother. I did everything in my power to be the best stepmother I could be.  I love them deeply and truly.

Finally, at the age of 33, I became a mother.

Nothing, I mean NOTHING, could prepare me for that experience!  I thought I would understand what it was like. I thought "I've got this one in the bag!" I thought I would be all-organic, all cloth diapers, all patient, all loving, all angelic. I thought I would be just one step below Carol Brady.

As a woman about to enter her fifties soon, it might seem that the word MOTHER would have lost it's power to me. It is still a mystery, a mystic thing, and a mission for me.

Mother.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You might also enjoy:
Habits for a Happy Homeschool

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Logophile

 








The first person who gave me the love of words was my dad.  He didn't have much free money, but sometimes with that money, he bought himself books.  Most of his books were DIY or engineering books, science, mechanics, and, oddly, some of the supernatural and Erich von Däniken "Chariots of the Gods" type stuff of the 70s.  But every so often he opened up the word books.


Dad's books were celebrations of language, specifically the English language.  He had several books in that little glass-fronted book shelf in his room that were entitled things like "The Romance of Languages", "Words and their Origins", and William Safire's "On Language".  At those rare times when he could relax and pick up a book, he would lay down, turn on his little reading light, and start thumbing through a book.  At those times, I'm sure he would have preferred to be alone.  But the sound of that little light turning on was like a call to intimacy for me.  I would lay down next to him and read over his shoulder.

I loved learning the history of words, how their use evolved over time, how new words are coined.  It's a fascinating study.

When Dad died, none of my sibs expressed much interest in his books; I gathered up arm loads of language books and brought them home.  In my little shrine to Dad's library, I have some of my favorite books, books that I shared with Dad and that I, now, share with my own kids.

What would I say to him today?
I often told him, before he died, that my love of reading and of language came from him. That would make him smile.  I'm glad he knew about this since there really wasn't much else that we shared.  Sadly.


Logophile:  Lover of words

Monday, October 22, 2012

I am my Child's Inner Voice

atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent atheist parent
I have come to the frightening conclusion
that I am the decisive element. 
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather. 
I possess tremendous power 
to make life miserable or joyous.
 I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, 
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. 
In all situations, it is my response that decides…
~ Goethe
 
We were all at the pool today and the kids were entertaining themselves by imitating Jerry and I, by saying things that we have said.  It was a real eye opener! I was shocked with the things that they said to portray me!  Small comments I don't even remember saying... Everything they said was said in a joking manner just to tease me with myself.

I would say, "Oh! I don't say that!" They would both look at me with that look...that oh YES you did say this, Mum look.

Things like:
FUCK THAT!
(YES, that IS the first one they said!)
You're Beautiful.
Let's talk about it.
You can tell me anything.
OH FUCK!
You love me so much!
I'm going to kiss your whole face!
I want to be with you to talk.
FUCK!
You are always learning!
Come over here and hang with me.

Wanna talk?

Well, not perfect, but *smile* I'm glad to know that they don't have the same messages in their heads that I do!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I wanted to write more here, but I have writers block on this subject.
Maybe I'll come back and add to it...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you like this post you might also enjoy:
How I Planned to be as a Parent

Good Day Sunshine


Is it sunny where you are?

Well it's very sunny Down Under today because the lovely Bec of 42 Squeeze has tagged me for a sunshine award. Thanks Diane, I'm very touched!

Sunshine Award
So the deal is that I have to answer these 10 questions and then nominate some of my favorite bloggers to do the same. So here goes!
  1. What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday movie?   It's a Wonderful Life
  2. What is your favorite flower?  Hydrangea
  3. What is your favourite (non-alcoholic) beverage?  Iced tea
  4. What is your passion?  people
  5. What is your favorite time of year?  Australian ALL YEAR or St. Louis AUTUMN
  6. What is your favorite time of the day?  Talking with John and then Elizabeth at the end of the day.
  7. What is your favorite physical activity?  hanging up clothing on the clothesline 
  8. What is your favorite vacation?  A year in Queensland!
  9. What song is stuck in your head right now?  I Dreamed a Dream, sung by Fantine in Les Miserables
  10. What are you reading right now?  The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale

And I'm going to share the sunshine with these fine people.
If you haven't already read their blogs, run! Run now!

Christine at Our Curious Home
Gabi at Luminous Fire
Leanna at Life on the Hill

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Five Battles I No Longer Fight

Atheist homeschool atheist homeschool atheist homeschool 

One of my favorite homeschool bloggers out there is Andrea, author of the blog Notes From a Homeschool Mom. She always comes up with wisdom that hits me between the eyes or puts context to something I can't quite put my finger on. Love her blog, check it out.

Anyway, she did a post called "Five Homeschooling Battles I No Longer Fight". Her list is GREAT and inspiring! So I am challenging myself, now, to write a post similar to hers. I want to prove to myself that I am truly moving forward and becoming a "better" me.

But, even more than that, I am aware that I gotten tired of hearing myself say things again and again and again! I have lost the desire to battle those who can't embrace the lifestyle we have chosen.
Here is my list:
  1. I no longer keep homeschooling records. 
    I haven't kept them for years.  No one I know has ever been challenged by any authority to show their record books and so, after about five or six years of doing this, I decided it was just time-consuming and unnecessary.
  2. I no longer speak for my children when people ask them "where do you go to school?"  I now step back or move away a bit and allow them to speak for themselves. Allow them to handle the questions that the other person might come up with.  The kids themselves make great advocates for homeschooling because they are so well-spoken and cool.
  3. I no longer wait for anyone else to create a group or activity that interests us.  Now, I simply create those groups, activities, and events myself and spread the news that the opportunities are now available.
  4. I no longer read "Rainbow Resources" catalog from cover to cover. I no longer underline, check mark, and fold over pages of the necessary stuff that I WANT. In fact, I never open it at all! I don't CARE what is out there, we do what we do and I have done the research for hundreds of hours. I'm cool with what we use.  And,
  5. I no longer look at the "What to Learn in the Eighth Grade" type websites or books.  These collections of someone's idea of what we "should" do or "should" know are absurd and almost never include the cool stuff that we DO do.
I'm not as good as Andrea at standing up and saying "THIS is who I am," but I'm working on it! That is the thing I have always been working on in my life...but I'm getting better because that is a battle worth fighting for.

Peace!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
SAQ! - Seldom Asked Questions about Homeschool

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Moreton Bay creates the long coastline in and around Brisbane.  It is a sparkling, blue, gorgeous bay that sailboats cut in the wind.  Small white fish leap into the wind.  Blue bottle jellyfish tease and taunt and tarry just beyond the splash onto the pier.

Today was another absolutely stunning homeschool day beside the bay.  This bay includes nearly all of the coastline between Sunshine Coast to the north and Gold Coast to the south.  The town of Wynnum rests along this bay's shore like a floating dream.  Yacht clubs, seaside bike and walking trails, beach side swimming pool, dozens of play areas and climbing areas, kite flyers aplenty, and the luckiest homesteaders on the continent live in Wynnum!

This area has banyan trees, palms of many kinds, and knock-kneed mangroves.  Ibis, seagulls, and dozens of other bird species skim the waters and follow the tidal movement.  The bay is the only place in Australia where dugong gather into herds.  Whales, dolphins, sharks and loggerhead turtles also call this bay their home.

A cooling, steady breeze clears the head and brightens the smile of MY two homeschoolers!

There was snail play, crab discoveries, sea grass investigations, seagull chasing, blue bottle jellyfish observations, climbing, and splashing.  There was LOTS of splashing!
At one point, we stood on a fishing pier and shouted out to the sailors on the sea:  WE GET TO LIVE HERE!!!!!!!!

The kids standing at the end of a long pier, mud flats ahead

We have been suffering from homesickness something terrible.  I'm not going to hide it:  every one of us has had our moments of tears and heart ache.  We have had our days of staying home and crying on each other's shoulders.  So, a day at the beach is very welcome!  Our faces glowed with the day and we have carried that feeling all through the evening.

A twelve inch blue bottle jellyfish, washed up onto the beach

Wynnum is my favorite place in Queensland so far.  We have traveled both north and south, and will continue to visit many places on our frequent road trip.  But this place feels magical to me.  I have sat alone on the seaside wall with a very high tide and just let the wind blow around me, past me, almost through me.  The feeling of this is like returning to a place I have never been before.  It's like returning to my water home.

The kids running to the end of a very long pier, towards the water!
Somehow, each of us is feeling the pull of the sea.  Bonobo explores and runs free.  Watching him on a beach is like seeing him return to center.  He is confident and joyful and native.  The sea is jealous of the green of his eyes.

The Doctor is quite sure she is going to give up all other plans and become a marine biologist and study the sea.  She gets dreamy talking about the life beneath the white caps.  Today, she did something that shocked me.  She is not an "outside person", and generally prefers indoor activity.  Today, she sat on the end of this pier, picked up some sea snails, gave them names, and claimed them as friends (until returning them to their little home near the waves.)  Her coppery, red hair blows in the wind like a banner kite!  It's glorious to see!

One is named "Freddie", the other, "Highmore"
Off in the distance, we could see the international Port of Brisbane.  Quite a sight!  To a flatlander and middle-of-a-large-continent-dweller, such myself, it looked like CG!

Port of Brisbane
Moreton Bay, or Quandamooka, as the aborigines call it, was "discovered" and explored by Captain James Cook in the later 1770s.  The long-term history of this bay is one of ups and downs.  There have been aborigines living in the area for hundreds of years.  The arrival of the Brits was very unwelcome by the Nooghie, Noonuccal, and Goenpul people who tried to protect their home and hunting lands.  Intensive European use of the land was staved off until the very late 1890s.

Bonobo on the rocks
Brisbane has had two devastating floods:  2008 and 2011.  This flooding causes much damage to the environs in and around the bay.  This gem of a bay is protected and well-cared for.

We send our GREAT LOVE to all of our friends and family,
 and we encourage you to get outside and ROAD TRIP!


Favorite Blogs!



https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dE9sbllEalhVX1FQV2ExdzZmS0w5aVE6MQI admit it, I love reading blogs...though time doesn't allow it alot of the time!  But I have my favorites, those blogs that move me, inform me, even comfort me.
If you love reading homeschool blogs, let's have some fun!
The 8th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards have opened nominations with at least twenty different categories.

Join in the fun and nominate YOUR favorite blogs today!

CLICK HERE TO NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE HOMESCHOOL BLOGS:

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Son's Face




Every parent know that moment.  It happens totally without warning.  Life is moving by faster than you ever thought possible.
You are talking with your child when, suddenly, you see it.  A newness.  A changed plane.  A slightly-less-round cheek.  An expression.  An ennobling higher eye brow.  An infernal lengthening.  A stronger jawline. You might not be able to put your finger on it, but it's there.   A change in the face.
Did I see it today?
Can it be happening again?  So soon?

We were sitting here in the living room laughing and having a good time when I caught it, ever so slightly, a change.  Was it a new curve of his smile?  Did I see another brief gesture borrowed from an ancestor?  Is his face more "grown up" and less "little"?
The laughter continued, but now, with a catch in my throat.

It's there, time.

 It's working on him from the inside out ever so relentlessly.  Time is slowly transforming this lovely, smiling child before me into...something else.

How long will he have these meadow green eyes, gentle and smiling?  The tidy, dyed hair style that suits him so.  How long will those glorious round cheeks press against mine in a quick kiss?  Or that chin will rest on my shoulder in a hug?  How long do I have the smooth jawline, squared?  And how long before his sweet vocal chords descend an octave.
Will his laughter always bubble up in a glorious staccato?
How much longer do I have for those moments when he stared deeply into my eyes for extended moments and just smiles?
Or come in close for a kiss?
How long will his first thought be "I have to show Mom!" when he sees something cool? 
How long will he, guiltily, sweetly, tell me all of the secrets he hears?
How long do I have to tuck him in and listen to his plans for inventions or struggles with the day?
When will he forget to show me his ninja or gymnastics moves?
How long before something in this life crushes him under it's heel?

How long do I have?







Thursday, October 11, 2012

How I Planned to be as a Parent

challenging children
I started out the way every other parents-to-be does.  I was certain that I had some important beliefs on parenting my kids that I would never budge on.  No gun games.  No TV.  No yelling.  Letting my kids be very unique and quirky.  No spanking.  Teaching critical thinking.  Allowing and encouraging divergent thinking.  Organic only.  Teaching the kids to do chores early.  Reasonable and attached parenting...

Along comes my first child.  A daughter.  Her personality was so unexpected.  Her individuality is so strong.  Her desire to "follow" is stronger than mine.  Her mouth is...mouthy.
It wasn't long before I found myself spanking her!  Yes, I did. I spanked her!  Just a time or two, until I realized that I was doing that totally for myself.  LOL  (PLEASE, no criticizing me!)  I couldn't believe the stuff coming out of her mouth and I spanked her.  We still talk about this!  It was such an awful day, though, that the spanking was just the icing on the lovely cake of the day.
OH YES, and there was some yelling too...,

Along comes my little son who makes a "gun" out of a piece of toast while sitting in his high chair!  I'll never forget him holding that triangular piece of toast towards me saying "Cue Cue!"


Along comes every single unexpected event that had me turning on the TV, feeding my kids Happy Meals, yelling to be heard, telling instead of teaching, and fighting myself to avoid saying "Do you have to wear that outfit out of the house?"!

My husband, though, had far more realistic ideas of parenting our two since he already had two children from his first marriage.  Yes, Jerry has always been my balance.  He watches, listens, and then offers a little nudge to remove me from the edge.  He respects my desire for high ideals, and supports me as I find myself unable to live up to them.
So, from him I have learned to be GOOD ENOUGH.

While in graduate school I was taking a Neo-Freudian course on psychoanalysis.  The class was rife with many interesting ideas about being a parent.  The one thing I carry with me from that course is the concept of the Good Enough Parent.  No one can be perfect and all of us make weird, odd, even painful mistakes.  The Good Enough Parent still makes the mistakes, is still inadequate to some tasks, and probably asks their child to change clothes before leaving the house every now and again.  But the Good Enough Parent loves and learns, errs and adapts, is genuine and dependable, and just does their best with what they have.  The Good Enough Parent offers their child a "holding environment" that allows their child to try new things safely, to experiment with ways of being, and generally adapts parenting to the needs of their child.

I remember that concept well because it felt so forgiving, so empowering, and so attainable!
 And not much Freud is!  LOL


So, I have become the Good Enough Parent.  I like it that, at times, I honestly don't know what to do in a given situation.  That, of course, is because the kids are moving forward and changing.  Thus, I must move forward and adapt to their new "selves".  And I don't have to meet unrealistic expectations of my own in my head.  It's funny how wonderful it feels to let go of that "perfect" expectation, goal, desire.

Look, some days, I am EXCELLENT!  Other days...not so much. I find I am a happier, more humble parent when I acknowledge that, while I am not perfect, I am in fact Good Enough.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you like this post perhaps you will also enjoy:
That's My Girl
You Live and You Learn

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Road Trip: Somewhere Between Sunshine and Gold




Map of South East Queensland with distances from Brisbane
We live in the "busy" part of the Australian state of Queensland, south east Queensland, midway between an aptly-named city called Sunshine Coast and another aptly-named city called Gold Coast.  This area and its surroundings are often referred to as "Surfer's Paradise".
Now, we don't surf (yet), but we do enjoy the extended drive now and then and we've been SO excited by our destinations!  Within an hour's drive, I can drive south to Gold Coast, north to Sunshine Coast, and among the finest beaches anywhere.

ME!  I can do this!  LOL  (I was born and brought up in a part of the United States called The Bread Basket and The Plains.  Where I am from, it is flat flat flat and dry.)

Gold Coast is quite Miami-like, minus the crowds that typify Miami beaches (so far) and minus the extreme heat.  While in Gold Coast, a visitor could find dozens and dozens of wonderful city parks and free access land.  And the beaches???  White sandy beaches for miles.
And don't forget the jellyfish!  These beaches are also known for their jellyfish.  So we tip toe around the sand.  But the locals run free and never look down!  I'm hoping to lose my own fear soon!
We have seen jelly fish strewn all over beaches.  The blue bottles are to be feared, apparently, but BOY are they blue!  They look like, well, BLUE BOTTLES laying on the beach.  They are MUCH too gorgeous to be so sting-y.
I understand Gold Coast has a bit of Miami's "party town" rep as well...
In addition, several great theme parks, including water parks, ocean world parks with coasters, Warner Brother's Movie World, and many more parks and holiday resorts.

Now, let's travel an hour or so north of our home.  Now we are at Sunshine Coast.  A gorgeous and family-friendly locale.  Many unbroken miles of white sandy beaches.  Yes, St. Louis friends, these beaches are gorgeous.  With a slight, cooling breeze, it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen (except for the faces of my children!) 
Also, Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo is in Sunshine Coast!!!!  Now I have your attention, don't I?!

The southeast portion of Queensland has another feature that I must mention:  it's climate.
The people living here often warn me of the hot days ahead.  But when they quote temps to me, I just laugh!  They don't know that our hometown, the average temps can range from below zero F to 110 F.  This area of Queensland, the temps are SO MILD!  The averages range from 50F to about 95F, with little humidity.
We have been here for almost two months and have seen one light rain in the evening and some sprinkles overnight.  I know it WILL rain, but the temps this entire time have been AMAZING.
Paradise-like, even.

And, in between these two coastal cities, sprawling on either side of Brisbane, many many many small coastal towns with mangrove forests, beaches, quays, harbors, mud flats, parks, pools, and many local beach-front centers.  We have visited some of these small villages and towns and will visit MORE!  Each one has it's own flavor and culture around the lovely sea walls, bays, and bogs.

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Sometimes I stay awake at night planning on blog posts I really want (and NEED) to make!
Upcoming Posts I'm Excited About:
Aussie Birds
Aussie Wildlife
Our Travels
Aussie Friends
Homeschooling in Queensland
Food
Brisbane!!!
Being a Visitor in this land

If you have any questions about Brisbane or our experiences here,
Please ask!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Livng on the Edge of the Continent


I'm from St. Louis Missouri.  SMACK DAB in the middle of the continental US.  That is, literally, thousands of miles away from any beach (except for the man-made, shipped in sand "beaches" made from flooding a valley.)

Now, sitting here in Brisbane, Queensland, I am within five miles of the OCEAN!  And, somehow, deep in my psyche, I FEEL like I am hanging on to the edge of the continent, blowing in the breeze of the oceanic wind.
It is a good feeling, a tethered feeling, a freeing feeling.
Wellington PointI have never, in my life, lived this close to major water, and certainly not continent-edge water!  I love being able to drive five minutes to see water.  Ten minutes and I'm on the lovely shores of Moreton Bay, breeze blowing away anything in my mind...  Sitting on the side of the bay, watching the tide role away is, truly, the most centering thing I have ever done.
Bar none.  I had no idea I would love it so much.

The kayaks and catamarans move speedily across the horizon, paddles moving in unison.  Small white fish leap a foot out of the water and into the head wind.  Clouds rush overhead.  Seagulls glide by, close enough to see their wing tips.  The blues and greens of the waters merge and separate, reflecting the color of the sky.  Colors too vivid to believe.  White-tipped waves move toward shore, appearing and disappearing in seconds.  Sounds carry across the water.  Mud flats stretch out before me with walkers, bathers, fishers, boaters, people of all ilk standing in knee deep waters for hundreds of yards off of the sea wall.  Coastal villages worth exploring.  Mild temperatures that are balmy and cooling at the same time.  And the sea breeze heals hearts and minds.
I truly love it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Changing my Focus

I've decided to change the focus on my blog for awhile.
From now on, it will be:

An American in Australia
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What do you think about the new design of my blog?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Atheist Clip Art

Weird, I know, but I love making clip art.  
Here are a few of my favorites from tonight: