Tag Archives: awesomely awesome

Movement Makes Music with MSO

For years, when the kids were little, I would read about performances of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) created specifically for kids to enjoy.  Of course with the juggle of work, other kid stuff and generally being too busy, we never made actually made it to a performance.  I was delighted when I was contacted by Alison a the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to offer me tickets to take the kids along to a performance.  As usual, we had a crazy busy weekend ahead of us but the planets aligned and ice-skating was moved back a few hours so we had a morning free – the perfect opportunity to finally take the kids.  Alison did stress that the performance was aimed at 3 – 8 year olds, that my kids being 7 and 9 might be a little old for the show but I know that they love music and that I want them to love dance again so I was willing to give it a shot, I would take the kids to a performance of Movement Makes Music, a unique collaboration between the MSO and the Australian Ballet Dance Education Ensemble will engage children aurally and kinetically. Performers will highlight the links between movement and music during this 50-minute show, in which audience members will be moved, inspired and enchanted.

I must admit that I was hesitant that boy-child would moan and complain all morning (as he  frequently does!) so it wasn’t until we were in the car and on the way there that I actually told the kids where we were going and braced myself for the whinging.  Guess what?  There was none, we were off to a great start!

We made it to the venue with plenty of time to spare and found ourselves a spot front and (almost) centre on the floor, ready to enjoy the show. As we were waiting for the performance to begin, boy-child declared that if he was in the orchestra, he would be wearing a green shirt.  I wondered why he would wear a green shirt and he pointed out that not only was green his favourite colour but it was also the colour that the woodwind musicians were wearing and since he plays clarinet he would have to wear green too!  He then went on to point out that the string section were wearing blue shirts, brass in red and percussion in yellow.  Already I was impressed at how much he was enjoying being there and the performance hadn’t even begun!

I really didn’t know how the show would be tailored to suit young children but found that the conductor used the time between pieces to introduce a different member of the orchestra, highlight the instrument that they played and talk about how it would be played in the next piece of music.

The dancers from the Australian Ballet were beautiful, showing how music can be influence dance and movement.  Girl-child barely blinked the entire time that they were on stage.  Boy-child was entranced by Patrick tap dancing different rhythms and then hearing Rob repeat the rhythms on a drum.  He was even more impressed when Rob beat a rhythm on the drum that ended in a drumroll and Patrick was able to tap that same rhythm and drumroll.

Sure my kids were amongst the oldest there but they had a great time.  In fact they both had such a great time that they are wanting to know when they can go back to the symphony.  I don’t think the planets will align to allow us to go back during the school holidays but if they do, this is what I would love to go to – Peter and the WolfProkofiev’s story of the irreverent Peter has resonated deeply with generations of children, enchanted by its power and sense of fun. Now BreakThru Films and Se-ma-for Studios, in collaboration with BAFTA-winning director Suzie Templeton, bring this mesmerising and enchanting classic to the big screen.

Thanks to MSO, I was lucky enough to have free tickets to take the kids along to see Movement Makes Music, but the opinions expressed are mine and those of my kids.  We had a great day and only wish that we had discovered MSO Family Classic Kids a few years ago.  Family Classic Kids is the MSO’s popular program of concerts for children aged three to eight years of age – and a great way to introduce young people to the wonders of orchestral music. With the children sitting right next to the Orchestra, there are opportunities to sing along, respond to the music with movement and actions, follow a story and maybe even conduct.

As a bonus, the kids had their photos taken with some of the musicians and the dancers!

Being shy around the amazing performers!

Don’t just listen to me rave on about how much fun we had at MSO, check out what my kids thought here and here, also head over to Stuff With Thing to see what Heidi and Annie thought too.

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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in all in the family, the monsters


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Sundays in my City #71 – Out and About along the Creek

Unknown Mami

Today the sun was shining and it was the perfect day to be out and about.  First stop was to watch girl-child play soccer before heading out to visit friends to help celebrate the 2nd birthday of their daughter.  Of course you would think that with 4 kids running around the yard there would be plenty of photos to take, but taking photos would involve moving from my sunny perch on the deck so sorry, no pics of cute kids happening today.

Once we bid our friends farewell, we thought we would so some exploring in their neck of the woods, an area that we really haven’t explored before.  We found a few geocaches that needed to be found and headed off to find them.  All three of them were along a walking track by a creek, in fact the same creek that we spend hours by in our neighbourhood, the same creek that is flooded and not very creek-like here!

A girl on the bridge.

This is how you cross a bridge, right?

Enjoying the view (from the bridge railing!)

Of course with new adventures comes new playgrounds to explore.  The boy folk loved this vomit inducing spinning thing!


As an added bonus, the 3 caches that we set out to find were all found.

 Head over to Unknown Mami and check out some of the adventures others have had during their Sundays in my City.


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Sundays in my City #71 – A Day Out in the City

Unknown Mami

I have had a wonderful, indulgent weekend.  Today I met up with friends in North Melbourne for brunch at the Auction Rooms before heading in to the city to wander a bit exploring the streets and laneways before joining more friends for afternoon tea at Chocolait.  Talk about a great day and awesome food overload – YUM.

Enjoying Brunch

Recycling - Green Printing

The perfect afternoon tea!

I have spent more time in the city this past few weeks than I have in what feels like forever.  It has made me realise just how much I love Melbourne, wandering streets and laneways, exploring shops and loving the pleasure of a quiet day out with no obligations other than having fun.  As an added bonus, all of the walking we did today, from North Melbourne in and around the city and South Bank then back home was about 11km – surely that would have worked off some of the calories from afternoon tea!

 Head over to Unknown Mami and check out some of the adventures others have had during their Sundays in my City as I head back out in the cold to pick up the kids from the party!


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Sunday Selections – Happiness

What better way to post more photos from my recent trip to Papua New Guinea than to join in with FrogPondRocks (great chatting to you last night!) and Sunday Selections.  I have titled this post Happiness because it was apparent that the kids we met along the track were always so happy, you couldn’t help smile when you were around them.

Games in a circle

Beautiful Smile


Happy Kids

 I can’t help but smile when I look at these photos and remember the fun of my time in the jungle.

Check out all the other awesome Sunday Selections, better still, play along too!



Posted by on July 31, 2011 in and they call this work


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Awesome Sauce and I LOVE Twitter

Today just hasn’t turned out the way I planned but that isn’t a bad thing.

I started off feeling a little blue with all the twitter chatter about the excitement of the Bloggers Brunch and Blogopolis and all of the fun that I was missing out on.  It was easier to avoid Twitter to prevent becoming all dwelly about not going.  I was looking forward to catching up with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys, so that was much better than missing out entirely!  Work changed those plans and I had to cover an event for a colleague so my plans from escaping in time to catch up with Trish went out of the window.

Then as I was sitting around waiting for my physio appointment, I had a quick squiz at Twitter and posted my desire for a ticket to Blogopolis.  Well lets just say the planets must be aligned in my favour.  Thanks to a few re-tweets, I have a ticket headed my way.

And as a Friday bonus, I the physio realigned my ankle and for the first time since I have been home it doesn’t hurt.  I can actually walk without a limp and I am even allowed to start running again next week.  Could the day get any better?  I was thinking no but then found out my new manager at work will no longer be my manager, I get to report to my old manager that actually gets the work that I do and how I work!  Talk about awesome sauce.  To top it off, I am heading out to a work function with most of the guys from Kokoda this year and a few from last year’s trek.

Awesome all the way – today is a GREAT day.


Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Uncategorized



Day 7 2011 – Ofi Creek to Goldie River

With the changes in the schedule this year, I would be missing out on one of my favourite days of last years trek.  I love this day last year because despite being unwell, I was full of energy and in the first group to make camp for the day, that meant I was first in to the creek to relax.  The camp we stayed at last year was beautiful and I would miss being there but I was also thankful that we wouldn’t be required to start walking at 4am on the first day and doing multiple river crossings in the dark!

Day 7 this day would now be a combination of my favourite walk, the section from the beautiful Ioribaiwa to Va Ule Creek and also my least favourite walk, up Imita Ridge and the IV!  I was interested to see how I would go on such a crazy day.

We bid our farewell to Ofi Creek and the guesthouse we stayed in, knowing that it would be the last guesthouse available to us – there was no guesthouse at Goldie River waiting for us.

Goodbye 'luxurious' guesthouse!

By now all sections of the track seemed to blend into one another.  You would walk up for hours and then down for hours and repeat.  Starting from Ofi Creek, in a valley meant the day started with an up.  I preferred to walk downhill but at least getting the first section of uphill over and done with in the cool of the morning would be a great thing. I started out with the slower group and tried to keep everyone motivated as we climbed.  I still hated walking uphill but at least by now my ankle had stopped hurting every step, either it was just my new ‘normal’ or there were no more ligaments left to damage.  Either way I was thankful for the need for fewer pain meds (morning tea was only a single nurofen rather than 2 and I skipped the panadol with lunch completely!)

Walking in to Ioribaiwa was a beautiful sight.  I beautiful village with magnificent views of Imita Ridge.

Heading in to Ioribaiwa

From Ioribaiwa it was a great downhill section of track and the beginning of more than a dozen creek crossings.  We stopped briefly at Va Ule to chat to a group of trekkers who were resting there before walking further towards Imita Ridge.

Another water crossing - no chance of dry shoes!

It was as we were walking through the creek heading towards the ridge that we saw tv cameras filming – they were filming a story on the last group of trekkers we had passed in Va Ule and the group they were travelling with.  The group was made up of returned soldiers, many of whom were injured in Afghanistan, as well as family and other supporters of the RSL in a effort to help rehabilitate the injured soldiers whilst promoting the needs of the returned soldiers.  The group included the amazing Damien Tomlinson who was seriously injured in Afghanistan, losing both his legs and suffered serious upper body injury as well as Ray Palmer, the father of one of his colleagues who was killed in Afghanistan.  We spoke with Ray not long after Damien passed us and he was so inspiring that we all wanted to cheer and wish them every success on the journey ahead of them.  I am really looking forward to watching the full story on Sunday Night when it airs in a few weeks.

After the last few river crossings, it was time to start the climb up Imita Ridge, my nemesis.  Even feeling fit and healthy it was a really hard climb.  Again I had the task of keeping everyone moving and not giving up and I was glad to have something to focus on other than how difficult the walk was.

Climbing Imita

A fellow trekker was really struggling and for a while we thought that the IV on Imita would become a feature of this years trek also.  This was me last year

IV on Imita 2010

and this year in the same place with trekkers from last year and feeling so much healthier!

A healthier me in 2011

Fortunately he was ready to go after a decent rest, a serious dose of electrolytes and other magic provided by the paramedic.  Like me last year, when he regained his energy he really flew down the Golden Staircase.  Not wanting him to be trapped walking at the speed of slower trekkers, I kept pace with him for the descent and it was a bloody fast pace, we kept overtaking other trekkers!  We did stop for a photo or 2 on the way down but really didn’t stop moving until we reached our lunch destination.  After a quick break for lunch, the 2 of us were off and running again, this time with a porter to ensure we didn’t get lost heading toward Goldie River.

Before long we could hear the sound of the river in the distance and soon after the screams and squeals of other trekkers enjoying the cool of the river.  We weren’t far from camp and that kept us going at our crazy speed.  Naturally our campsite was on the other side of the river.  It was probably a good thing, who wants to cross a river first thing in the morning when it is still cold and dark?

The final crossing

It was great to make it in to camp but strange to have to set up a tent before I could sneak off for a swim.

It was hard to believe that the trek was almost over, only one more sleep and a mere hour of walking was all that remained.  I wasn’t sure that I had reached the headspace I was searching for during my journey but I was loving being back in the jungle and meeting new, wonderful, inspirational people that I can now call my friends.  I would be sad again to leave the jungle but ecstatic to say that I walked the track, this time without major medical intervention.

The other Day 7 from 2010 when we walked from Naoro to Va Ule was very different to this years experience but they were both extremely enjoyable.


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Day 6 2011 – Menari to Ofi Creek

When preparations for this years trek began, we planned on following the same route as last year and stay in the same villages as last year.  Of course those plans didn’t account for other trekking groups on track at the same time, travelling in the same direction and wanting to stay in many of the same villages.  As a result, we changed the villages we were going to stay in for the last few days.  Instead of walking from Menari to Naoro on Day 6 we would be continuing up the remaining false peaks and down the other side to Ofi Creek.  Now I said in the Day 5 2011 post that I was already freaking out about the day of walking ahead of us because it was the fist day of me being sick last year and that was when we had a relatively short day of walking up only 7 of the false peaks.

With such a huge day of walking ahead of us, our wake up call was bought forward from 5am to 4am.  It was still dark when we left the village by torch light.  It seemed wrong to be leaving what felt like an abandoned village, it was so quiet with everyone else still sleeping.  It was important to get going early, there would be large stretches of track ahead that wouldn’t be under cover and it promised to be a hot day despite the overnight rain.

Knowing that my head wasn’t in the right space to be walking alone so I made sure I surrounded myself with the more vocal and entertaining members of the group to begin the walk.  In fact I moved between groups, from helping those struggling at the back to being up near the front.  I didn’t mind where I was walking as long as I had someone to chat to the entire time.

The first section of the walk was a fairly steady climb and then a steep descent into a swampy area.

Stairs in the Jungle

Thanks to all of the recent rainfall, the swampy areas were extremely swampy.  In many places there were skinny logs across or through muddy patches to try an make it easier and safer to cross.  That was the theory but clearly it didn’t work that way for me.  I managed to slip off a log that was completely submerged in mud and you guessed it, roll my ankle, for about the 30 billionth time, making my limp rather more pronounced.

I was thankful that the log I slipped off was in a shallow (only ankle deep) muddy patch, rather than a mud hole like this one!

Stuck in the mud!

Isn’t it great to see just how supportive we are in helping him get out of the mud?  It was much more fun finding a camera and taking photos instead!  It is OK, I am sure he would have done the same thing if any of us had fallen into the mud.

We continued through the mud and slush until we made it to Browns River.  The river was very full and moving quickly and was one of the more difficult river crossings we had to make.  Luckily there were plenty of porters around to help us cross safely.

Browns River

After the river crossing and a quick break that I should have used to my advantage to have my ankle re-strapped but didn’t, it was time to keep on moving, up all 9 of the false peaks.  It was around this time last year that I started to lose my grip on reality.  I knew that we were to climb 7 of the false peaks, and potentially further, but I don’t remember much about the actual climb.  After about 3 or 4 of the false peaks we found some shade to have a quick rest and for me to be re-strapped because the tape had ripped through and was no longer holding my ankle in place.  I was thankful for the break, it gave me a chance to re-group my thoughts and psych myself up to keep on walking.

We made it to Naoro, after the 7th false peak, the place where we stopped last year but this year we had to keep on going another 3 or 4 hours.

The walk into Naoro

I was feeling good at this time but many of the others were struggling with the heat and the paramedic was working overtime to ensure everyone was hydrated and healthy.  I also had an advantage that I knew what was ahead of us in the next section of the walk (done on Day 7 last year), I knew that the last 2 false peaks were the hardest but that the walk down into Ofi Creek would be one of the steepest walks but also one of the most beautiful, with somewhere to swim when we made it to camp.

Looking down at Ofi Creek

Having another beautiful place to swim made the extra walk worthwhile (there was no swimming in Naoro unless you walked down the 7 peaks to Browns River – not going to happen!).  What I thought was ironic was the crazy busy-ness of the campsite, there were 2 or 3 other groups camped there and it was pretty squishy.  (It was the only campsite that I actually saw rats in!)  We were the only group to be heading towards Owers Corner, nearing the end of our journey so it was great to be offering words of encouragement to the other trekkers.

Only one more day of real walking left – the extra walking today meant that we would have to walk a little further tomorrow to find a decent camp but that would leave us only a very short walk on the last day.  I wasn’t so sure how I was feeling about not having a giant walk on the last day, I was pretty sure that the walk tomorrow would more than make up for it!

Day 6 2010 – Menari to New Naoro was a very different day to this one!


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