What an interesting 16th birthday

Dodgem cars

It was my nephew’s 16th birthday the other day.

He was on his way to get his driver’s licence. His mum, my sister was driving.

They had a car accident and wrote off her car.

It didn’t put him off getting his learners permit, which he got first time.

Luckily they’re both okay. My sister got taken to hospital by ambulance and had to stay there for a few hours with a neck brace on but she’s okay now apart from feeling a bit sore and bruised.

Thank goodness. It could have been so much worse. In the last six years I’ve lost two cousins to fatal car accidents. For a year after that, every phone call I got at a late or early hour of the day freaked me out because I thought it would be more bad news. Growing up in the country I hear all too often of people dying in car accidents.

The driver my sister crashed into pulled out onto a main road from a side road and should have given way. He mustn’t have seen her. She had her lights on as it was a grey, wet morning and he still didn’t see her. He was about 86 years old. Him and his wife are okay.

My sister knows it’s a notorious intersection and had slowed down a little bit from 100km. She saw him, then saw him pull out, hit the brakes so was doing about 60-70km. She didn’t want to turn to avoid him as she knew that would make them roll so she aimed for the front of his car away from the passenger door.

Apparently many other people have had near misses at this same intersection so my sister’s contacted the Council to see if they can do something about it. Hopefully they can.

And, again, thank goodness they’re okay.

Glimmers of his younger self, and what he will become

Fork in the road

I see the maturity coming out in him quite often.

He knows when one of his mates are having a bad time and asks them about it. He’ll ask a couple of times and they’ll either tell him to back off or fill him in on what’s up. He does back off, or listens sympatheticallly and keeps it to himself. I tell him that’s important, the keeping to yourself bit in situations like this. Nobody likes a tattle tale.

He asks me what’s life about? Wow, I say. That’s the million dollar question. Lots of people want to know the meaning of life. He asks what’s the point of getting up, getting ready, going to school, coming home, doing homework, eating dinner, then going to bed. Why do we do it? Good question I think. I often wonder the same thing when I’m stuck in the day to day drudge.

Then I see him trying to hold onto his childhood when he asks for a tickle every night. I never do it properly. I don’t make him laugh but he still wants me to do it.

He also loves the game of ‘Where’s JJ?’ He says this as he’s in bed hiding under the blankets. He remembers the first time I went into his bedroom asking where is JJ, and then pretending to be cross that he wasn’t in bed when of course he really was in bed trying to stay still and pretending not to be there.

I see the teenager that he’s not far from becoming. He’s stubborn. He sometimes has trouble reconciling the fact that I’m the parent and the disciplinarian. I’m learning loads too and it’s not easy. Not easy for either of us I suspect.

I came across this article – an exerpt from a book called Masterminds and Wingmen. It’s about:

In a changing world, proactive parenting can be the key to steering your child around the many impediments towards young adulthood. In “Masterminds and Wingmen,” Rosalind Wiseman helps parents navigate the inevitable tests that they and their sons will face.

It talks about what to do if they do something wrong. It talks about discipline and effective punishments. Note: grounding doesn’t work. I think I’ll buy it.

I like the fact that he’s strong-minded and has a mind of his own. I sometimes hate the fact that he’s strong-minded and has a mind of his own.

He’s as tall as me now. Soon I’ll be looking up to him. Sometimes I look up to him because he’s teaching me something. I like that.

Our day trip to Cape Tribulation

Interesting tree

I’d had plans to update this blog more frequently while we were away and we even had ‘fast broadband’ in our apartment. Except it wasn’t fast broadband. It was more like dialup speed so uploading my photos to Flickr took FOOOOREVER so I just didn’t do it.  Also I was usually knackered by the end of the day when I had a bit of time to do it.

The above photo was taken on our day trip to Cape Tribulation. These trees are really interesting and you see a few of them up in that area where the original tree has been taken over by another plant to make that criss-cross pattern.



I didn’t really have a plan for our Cape Tribulation day trip so we did a stop on the way when we felt like it and did a walk through these mangrove swamps. The water really was that green.

Cape Tribulation

The plant-life near the beaches is so different to our beaches down south. I like that you could go to the beach and have this shade so handy. The weather wasn’t really beach weather so we didn’t stop that long.

We ended up booking a jungle surfing trip. Jungle surfing is a fancy name for zip-lining through the rainforest canopy. You get harnessed up, then hooked up and zoom over to another tree to do it all over again.

Getting harnessed

On his way through the canopy

Jungle surfing

My little adventurer loved it and I enjoyed it too once I got over the fact that we were fairly high up. On the last tree you can hang upside down if you want. JJ had been on about wanting to do it and I thought there’s no way that I would. I got hooked up and the guy asked me if I wanted to hang upside down. When I hesitated he encouraged me so I thought what the heck, and let go of the green rope, flipped over and hung upside down while going to the last tree. JJ couldn’t believe I actually did it, and neither could I. Unfortunately the person who was supposed to be operating my camera stuffed it up and I got no photos.

We dropped into the Daintree icecream factory on the way back and had a taste of their offerings before heading back to the Daintree River ferry which we had to wait for this time. There was a fairly long line but quite a few cars fit on the ferry so it didn’t take too long.

Waiting for the Daintree River ferry

Attention to detail


I had a date day with The Surfer the other day and we thought we’d see a movie.

We sussed out which one we’d see, knew which time and which cinema it was on at so off we went.

However, when we got to the cinema neither of us could remember the name of the movie but as we knew the time we picked a movie showing at that time.

We sat through the ads for other movies and saw an ad to the movie we thought we were going to be seeing – Now You See It. That’s when we realised we’d stuffed up.

We ended up watching The Way, Way Back instead. I like Toni Collette so it was an immediate winner for me.

It could have been a lot worse, but luckily it worked out.

It’s this lack of attention to detail that sees me park my car in a multi-storey carpark and not remember which level I parked on.

However, my attention to detail springs to attention when I am getting dressed in the morning.

I usually start thinking about what I will wear to work the night before so I have a clear picture in my head of what needs preparing. I’m an iron as you go girl which I find much less fussy than having an ironing basket staring at me letting me know that I’m slack. Everything gets put away ironed or not. And in winter I don’t tend to iron as much.

When I get dressed I’m pretty neatly turned out with accessories to match or complement. And I often get compliments on what I’m wearing. One woman I used to work with recently even made an effort to tell me that she liked my style.

So who cares if I see the wrong movie because I didn’t pay enough attention, at least I looked good while doing it.

By the way, in the photo above, this wasn’t how we dressed to see the movie.

Finding time to do your singing practise

Band practise minus the singer (photographer). Day 280/366.

I’ve been doing singing lessons again. I used to do them in the late 90s and then stopped and thought I’d probably not do them again because I already had spent two years paying for lessons.

Since then I’ve been singing in choirs and doing a semi-organised thing with friends and more recently The Surfer, a friend of his and I have made a little band – two guitarists and me, the vocalist and occasional ukulele player.

I’ve got a reasonable voice but thought I could do with some polishing. Add that desire, and the location of the nearby music school it was a no-brainer to go and try it out.

So I’ve been going for about three terms now. My singing teacher is young enough to be my child but she knows her stuff and she likes similar types of music to me so we get on quite well. My last singing teacher kept bringing up artists that I’d never heard of or couldn’t stand – mostly the latter so it was a bit of a struggle to find common ground with song choices.

However, I need to practise during the week. This time round we don’t tape my lessons. Last time I used to tape the lessons and listen to it during the week while driving to work so I’d practise then.

I’ve put the songs I’m singing, or have sung onto a playlist on my iPhone and while I’m washing the dishes or preparing dinner I put that playlist on and practise. It’s a good way to not have the words with you although sometimes I need to momentarily stop cutting up onion and get out the words so I actually know what to sing.

I’ve also bought a contraption for my aging car so I can listen to the music, and practise, in there as well.

I should probably practise more but I figure I’m doing what I can.