Friday, December 31, 2010

wow. 2010 is over.

A good year. Less angstful than other recent ones - which has probably made for a more boring blog. Thanks for sticking around.

703 posts. That's down a little on last year. I've been busier with work and stuff. Most of the stuff I've posted has been pretty forgettable. My controversial (stupid) posts on schooling drew the most comments (200ish) and probably lost me quite a few friends. But I've been pleased with some of the poems I've written.

Satellite (for Andrew)
Australia Post Does Not Deliver to Mars
The Soprano Will Always Get The Man

Looking at them with a bit more distance I want to put my red pen to some lines and I might, maybe. Remind me to never use the word 'soul' again.

nothing to do tonight?

You're welcome at our place. Fb me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

which natural disaster will it be for the 2011 richardson family getaway?

At the last major get-together we had serious bushfires. Prior to that it was a cyclone.

Next week we head to Christmas Creek. There's been quite a bit of rain. Will we have a flood or a landslide?

dreamworld today

I can live a happy and full life without ever going on another ride.

Really. What's the point? A long wait* followed by a minute of going up and down and around and around.

I prefer my adrenaline served in a different cup.

* two hours for a rollercoaster.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

story by nathan

Santa ran down the road calling for help. He was calling for help because he was being chased by The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™ . But then he saw his evil brother Satan who was holding a big sandwich. He said, “Mum & Dad wanted you to have this.” But little did Santa know that it was actually made by Satan. The sandwich was full of cannabis.

Satan offering his brother Santa a cannabis sandwich
Santa ate the sandwich and had a sudden jolt of energy and he rushed at Rudolf. Rudolf noticed that Santa had a pistol. Rudolf dived down. BING!!! BANG!!!!! BOOM!! Then Rudolf suddenly noticed that The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™  had come. The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™ was made by Satan when Santa started giving out presents and breeding reindeer. The members of  The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™ were Satan, Rudolf, Stinker, Fatty and boomer. Santa saw he couldn't win so went and hopped on his loyal reindeer Hopper and took out his iPhone 4 and called his elves. In about 4 minutes the elves arrived. The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™ saw that they couldn't win but when Rudolf was about to order the retreat Santa fell over. He wasn't shot but had had too much cannabis. When the elves saw this they ran as fast as they could back to the ELF HQ ™.

At ELF HQ ™ the elves planned their attack. The elves stepped out. They realised that The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™ was near. The Major General stepped out and took out a bazooka!! Suddenly the air was full of bullets. Boomer was cutting down elves with machine gun fire. The Major General was hit in the leg and was taken away and treated in hospital. The Lieutenant General wasn't so lucky. He was shot in the head and all his brains fell out. Then he was shot in the belly and all his guts fell out.

Stinker dived for the Major General’s bazooka. “He got a bazooka!!” cried a random elf. A bullet whizzed past Stinker and hit Fatty!! Fatty was not dead but dying. His blood started to make a river. The river of blood swept the elves back to ELF HQ ™.

river of blood

Stinker fired his bazooka at the elves as they were swept away. Then Santa stepped out of ELF HQ ™. The elves got out of the river of blood and started shooting The ANTI~SANTA TEAM ™. Rudolf ordered the retreat. When Rudolf was running Santa jumped on him. Rudolf got out a knife and stabbed Santa and all Santa's guts fell out. When the elves saw this they fled to the elf council in the South Pole.


Pictures by Joel. More here.

pics by joel

reindeer with bazooka

secret underground elf headquarters
about-to-be-dead Santa

next blog

Is it random? I hit 'next blog' 30 times and 28 of them were obviously written by christians. Does google skew it to my interests?

top 5 things about Nathan

It's Nathan's birthday tomorrow. Given his commitment to the blogosphere, I thought it appropriate to mark the occasion here - in list form because nothing beats a list for succinct and interesting briting (blog-writing).

Top 5 things about Nathan Campbell

1. He shares a birthday with Jesus. That's special. He also has other similarities with Jesus, like putting himself out for other people.
2. Nathan (with his omni-competent wife, Robyn) has been a student minister at our church this year. Andrew and I like this.
3. Nathan has a fast mind. Really fast. He can think and type twice as fast as I can think or type.
4. Nathan never finds fault or criticises something without being 100% committed to finding a solution for the problem. In fact, criticising is not really what Nathan does. He put's his mind to work at fixing stuff.
5. He trawls the internet and discovers gold. Without Nathan, I'd never have benefitted from the ministry of this guy.

Happy birthday. Hope you get some presents not wrapped in christmas paper.

top 5 things to do with children unable to contain their excitement over christmas

1. Yell at them. This dampens the mood somewhat.
2. Tell them to clean their rooms to make way for the new stuff the could potentially get. Then tell them to clean the rest of the house as well.
3. Get Daddy to sing his mop-microphone, over-dramatic version of Silent Night. Heck, we're all excited! Not just the kids!
4. Tell them that for every 5 minutes they are unsettled after bedtime, they need to wait an extra 10 minutes in the morning before opening their presents.
5. Give them unlimited electronic time. At least it will keep them quiet.

Wendy suggested this list. I've done all 5 today.

trombone and clarinet

One of the advantages of being part of a small church is that not-so-great instrumentalists can take part. Our basic set up is pretty solid (piano, bass, guitar, drums) and over summer we're adding some kids into the mix. 

10 year old Josh is our summer drummer. He's pretty good. Amazingly good actually. I forget it's him drumming when I'm on piano.

My boy Nathan (10) has also started to join in. He plays one song each week on trombone. I write him out a very simple part that won't get in the way.

Joel (9) will be learning clarinet next year. We brought the clarinet home from school early to give him a head start. He's making his church debut tomorrow with a nice little alto line in silent night. Joel is a scream. He can't read stave notation at all (heck, he can barely read normal writing!) so I wrote out his part in stick notation (ta's and te-te's with letter names underneath). That seemed to be going okay (with Andrew pointing to the notes) but when his music fell off the stand he said not to worry about it because it just made it harder. He then played it perfectly without music.

I need to think hard about how to teach Joel music. I know how to teach kids to read staff notation. Joel can parrot off Every-Good-Boy-Deserves-Fruit and F-A-C-E Face, but if he still can't read the words in a sentence accurately and in the correct order, what are the chances of him being able to read notes? Should I even bother trying this? Maybe I should teach him scales and chords so he understands how music works and then encourage him to just make it up. 

top 5 gifts to give ME when you have no idea what to give

1. Blank book.  I like pretty. Not too small.
2. Nice pen or lead pencils.
3. itunes money or music shop voucher (instrument shop that is, not cd shop)
4. Good socks to run in
5. Anything with an apple symbol on it.

top 5 gifts to give when you have no idea what to give

1. Nice coffee or tea (male or female)
2. Pretty journal or blank book (female)
3. itunes money (either)
4. Lorna Jane cap/drink bottle/socks (female)
5. Borders voucher

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

top 5 songs I'd like my choir to sing in 2011

1. I'll stand by you (Pretenders)

2. Shackleton (Paul Jarman)

3. Something I write. Maybe with a planetary theme.

4. La-ti-do-re

5. Abide with me

top 5

Might break the silence with some lists.

Nathan's doing top 10s. I'll do top 5s. 



with Christmas blogdom.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

note to children

Please try to sort out your own troubles before coming to me. If you come to me we will go through all the steps of Conflict Resolution. It is a long process and it's unlikely that you will be declared an innocent party.

sola panel

I dropped a comment on Jean's post. Couldn't resist.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"In this brave new world of Biblical Womanhood...

...three kids just doesn't seem quite enough some days" says Karen.

For years I felt guilty for stopping at three kids. Or I thought it was guilt that I felt. Then I realised it wasn't that I wanted a fourth child, I just didn't want others to have four kids. How can I 'win' if my friend has more kids than me? The extra child makes her a better mother and makes the non-kid stuff I do not count. How can she be expected to do x? She has four kids! 

Stupid and twisted. It's not a competition! Why should it matter to me how many kids my friend has! I don't care if my friend does x. I don't do what I do to out do her! Her choices are none of my business!

$443 per child

Queensland parents apparently spend an average of $443 on each child's christmas presents.

It seems a lot, but we're spending twice that on just one of our kids.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Two nights ago I had a slightly sore throat and an ache in my left shoulder. I don't get sore throats or aches in my shoulder so I knew it had to be something serious. I put myself to bed early and took some panadol knowing that soon the fever would hit and I would be out of action for weeks if not months.

24 hours later, I was fine. No more sore throat and a shoulder that powered through a solid one hour weights class... making me fearful that I am victim to an even worse condition.

Luckily there are tests readily available for this kind of thing.

It seems I'm in the clear. Phew!

Your Hypochondria Rating:Low
It is unlikely that you are a hypochondriac. You may occassionally fret over your health, but this is not abnormal. Health fears do not dominate your day and cause unnecessary anxiety, and your outlook in this area appears well within the normal range.
Hypochondria Symptoms and Treatment

stuff god likes

An RE idea for second half of term one.

Stuff God Likes
1. Justice (?)
2. Mercy (Mt 18 - parable of unmerciful servant)
3. Grace/generosity (Mt 20 - parable of workers in the vineyard)
4. Faith (Mt 8 - faith of centurian)
5-6. The Cross

Weeks 1-4 could each be represented by a big jigsaw puzzle piece. We put all the pieces together then turn over the puzzle to reveal the cross. Talk about how justice, mercy, grace and faith all meet at the cross.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm 'Humbled'

Actually, no. I'm amazed at how brilliant I am.

Quieting amazement at one's own brilliance does not equal being humbled.

Please don't confuse the two any more.

ps. Being humbled usually involves humiliation.

burn the land and boil the sea.

Finished rewatching Firefly. What next?


Series 4 - The New World will be on in the middle of next year. Like series 3, it will follow a mini-series format with one big connected story rather than jut a different monster each week. It will have 10 episodes. Can't wait.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


After doing a little less for the last few months, I'm back into it. Each week I'm aiming for:

- 3x 5km runs
- 2x weights classes
- 3x 1.5-2km swims

The swimming is easy. The kids swim too. It doesn't take much out of me. The running is painful and slow. It only takes 40ish minutes but wrecks me for hours afterwards. Pump classes are fun but more of a hassle to organise around the kids. I've upped my weights a little. In itself, this release isn't too hard but with heavier weights it's a killer. I'm currently lifting 32.5kg for squats, 20kg chest, 20kg back, 5kg biceps, 25kg lunges, 10kg shoulders.

I love summer. Feel like life doesn't get much better than this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the complementarian/egalitarian debate continues

Click here to see the latest comments.

Or put comments on this post so I don't have to keep moderating them (I moderate on posts more than 2 weeks old.)

Joel's Christmas List (unedited)




(Joel is 9)

I will be really disappointed...

... if I don't get a dvd of Eclipse for Christmas.

Just saying.

last night...

...we heard Peter and Christine Brain speak at a ministry couples dinner.

They suggested that the ministry spouse should aim to be a non-anxious presence.

I like that.

I can do that.


So if there was some great cataclysmic event and you were the only person left on the planet, would there be any point living? What would you do once you had food, water and shelter sorted?

Monday, December 13, 2010

the five love languages for

You know the books. There are many of them: the five love languages, the five love languages for couples, the five love languages of children, the five love languages for adolescents, the five love languages of apology... Gary Chapman has done great work with this series and it's all immensely helpful. But I think he's left one out. The next book that Gary needs to write is...

The Five Love Languages of Pets: How to express heartfelt affection for and commitment to your pet.

I often see my dog sitting outside my door looking so sad. Her love tank is empty. But how do I fill it?

I think you'll agree that this book needs to be written.

My research so far suggests that dogs speak the same five languages of love as do their human owners.

1. Words of affirmation ('Good dog!')
2. Quality time (Come and sit over here!)
3. Receiving gifts (Mummy's got something for you! She's got you a big bone, yes she has!)
4. Acts of service (Walkies? Dinner?)
5. Physical touch (You want a pat. Yes you do!)

I'm still trying to work out my dog's primary love language. How about your precious pooch? Do any of the five stand out? Gold fish owners - what do you think? How does your pet best receive love?

(Andrew has just accused me of big time anthropomorphising. Oh well.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

don't close your eyes

On tonight. Come along!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

clarinet day 2

I played this round with myself.
Still having trouble going over the break. I'm fine once I'm there, but moving from A-B is tricky.

Still having trouble going over the break. I'm fine once I get there, but moving between A and B is tricky.

I just got an email from Nathan (age 10)

My Christmas wish list
Electronic devices
Macbook/Dell laptop
Computer Games
Lego Star Wars the complete Saga Wii
Super Mario galaxy Wii
Super Mario galaxy2 Wii
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii
Harry Potter
Star Wars
The 39 clues book 5,8,9,10
Harry Potter Series
Mr. Beans Holiday
The ultimate disaster movie (Mr. Bean)
New essential elements 2000
Star Wars Music Book

Friday, December 10, 2010

clarinet day 1

I'd welcome hints from any clarinet players out there. I'm teaching myself.

One of the keys keeps on getting stuck - the one that I'd manage with the little finger of my left hand. Is this normal? Can I fix it myself?

a new toy

for me Joel. He'll be learning at school next year. I brought his instrument home from school today so I he can get a head start.

I've got an interest in Joel going well on clarinet. The kids had to do a written test to see who'd qualify for the instrumental program. Joel didn't qualify. (Written tests aren't his thing.) He was pretty disappointed - he's been wanting to learn clarinet for ages. I made some noise about it and he was accepted - but I was told that kids who go badly on that test won't be successful on an instrument.

Joel played for half an hour this afternoon. After 10 minutes he knew how to produce a nice tone and play 5 notes.

I started clarinet today as well. My tone is inconsistent and I'm having issues going over the break. I also don't really get what all the little keys do. Brass instruments make more sense.

Holiday Electronic Media Policy

Here is my new holiday EM policy for the kids.

I don't care how much time you spend on Electronic Media as long as:
- you are always polite and co-operative
- you do one hour (or equivalent) of exercise a day (N and J >750m swimming, M>500m, good length bike ride)
- you have reading time (N>1hour, J>30mins, M>15mins)
- you have at least 1 hour of creative time (includes art, lego, music practice, general play etc.)
- your stuff is put away and your room is tidy

Day one and things are going well. Not too much EM happening. Everyone occupied and happy.

What do you think? Do you have a policy?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Catapult party

We're having Micah's 7th birthday party tomorrow. Small. We're firing catapults with a few friends. Ammunition at this stage looks like being jaffas, marshmallows and cheezels. We're going for both distance and direction. Then we'll be playing 'bomb the brothers' and firing all sorts of yucky stuff at the big boys (who will be hiding behind card-board box barricades).

Micah doesn't like cake so I don't make him one. If I remember, I'll stick some candles on the pizza I bought from coles.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

awards night over

One school performance left.

Monday, December 6, 2010

started work on a new set of kids songs

I've not written kids lyrics for ages. Thought I'd forgotten how.

Then I was helped.

school report comments

Our kids have been blessed with great teachers this year. Reports came home today. I've enjoyed reading them. The teachers know our boys pretty well.

Those of you who know N, J and M, can you match the comment to the child?

1. It has been pleasing to see ________ working on his sometimes cynical nature.

2. ________ has taken his work very seriously throughout the year.

3. ________ has variable control of language elements such as grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and vocabulary.

4. _______'s specialised areas of knowledge and his willingness to teach his classmates have made him an invaluable member of our class this semester.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Are you happy?

What is happiness anyway? What does it feel like for you? What causes it?

[Please please please don't bring 'joy' into this. I just want to know about happy.]

Saturday, December 4, 2010

how many...

... episodes of Angel is too many to watch in a day?

the meaning of life?

Right now it's Angel.


Friday, December 3, 2010

are we there yet?

this has been a fantastic year

Work has become a bigger part of my life, with the moves from supply to contract teaching, classroom to music teaching, and working in a group of schools to working at just one school. I'm loving it and feel like I'm doing a good job. With the change of address and now living just across the road from school, family, church and work life feels smoother and more integrated. The kids love having me based where they are.

Still waiting to find out if I have a job next year. If I don't, it's back to the supply circuit (which is easy and lucrative, but not as much fun.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ideas for 2011

Can't do another bible musical next year. That's stretching the friendship. And 'Easter - The Musical' is a little confronting. So how about a Roald Dahl musical? The Enormous Crocodile? The Magic Finger? Any other suggestions? Needs to be pretty short.

But what about RE? Need something big to draw things together. How does this sound. An art show. We go hard at teaching all year and try to draw out certain themes, have a few little riffs that we keep repeating (We know God loves us because he sent Jesus to die for us, Faith is believing that God will do what he said he'll do...) then towards the end of the year give the kids our list of themes (God's love, faith etc) and ask them to create an art work depicting one of them. We give them a few weeks (in RE time) to work on it, and offer prizes. We get them to write a couple of sentences about their art work, then mount them up nicely and display them in the school hall (hmm... or church hall). We have a special week at RE where we give out prizes and choose a few paintings to talk about - maybe we'd chose some depicting God's power in creation, God's sadness at sin, God's love in the cross - and give a little talk tying them together.

We could make it a whole family event. Put on afternoon tea or something. Make it look like an art gallery.

What do you think? Would it work? Would it be worthwhile?