Flamingo Dancer of the Streptococcus

I have a cold and I know who is to blame. No, not the germ laden students at school, or my fellow shoppers at the local shopping mall. It is Mr FD’s fault.

No, he doesn’t have a cold. On Sunday he asked me to go to the local pharmacy on his behalf, and I had to sign for the item and naturally, I used the pen they had on the desk. Obviously the pen was covered in plague and cold germs and my delicate immune system succumbed by Tuesday. Hence it is Mr FD’s fault that I have a sore throat, headache and aching ear.

And he knows he is responsible too.

a day in the life of…

The electric kettle in the library work room is possessed as it has taken to turning itself on when no one is present. It is a noisy kettle so no one can mistake its call to action, and it is freaking the heck out of some of the staff. My erstwhile assistant has volunteered to purchase a new kettle (and yes she knows about my love for my blue light kettle) so we can exorcise the kettle on the morrow. Perhaps at first light with a crucifix and a clove of garlic?

We had a lockdown practice at school. It was planned at a time when no students were in the library, so it was just staff. The IT guys all headed for the windowless toilet with their laptops (it is a toilet designed for wheelchair access so plenty of room! They weren’t up close and personal. The school is also wireless.) The ladies on the other hand headed to the windowless compactus room, which, while it does not have running water and a toilet, does have a fridge, a water cooler and books to read.  It was only after we go in there that we realised that we should have all grabbed a bean bag and then we could have been comfortable for some time and maybe even pretended not to hear the all clear.  There was a bucket of sorts for “emergencies” but none of use considered our friendship strong enough that we could have bodily functions in the presence of others.  I’ve been married to Mr FD for 35 years and produced three children with him and still cannot share the bathroom for such needs. He on the other hand has absolutely no compunction in doing so, as well as his flatulence in the bed, but we won’t unearth that tragedy right now.

Of course we couldn’t fit in the compactus room if we had classes, but we figure that it would probably be one of the students going for us, so they could all hide down in the library amphitheatre that does have a window, but it is high and covered by a blind. One of the problems with a library that is walls and walls of clear glass louvers.  The other is that we boil in summer and freeze in even what passes for our winter.

My office, also with louvers, receives no sun, so is becoming a frosty hole as the temperature declines. A staff member found an electric heater for me, and it is now plugged in a corner of my office, waiting for its call.  We debated about purchasing some of those heated lap rugs that are appearing this winter, but my concern that I might nod off on my chair and I think it is unseemly for the librarian to be viewed in her glass office (interior wall is clear glass!) drooling and snoring behind her desk, or worse still, on the floor.

And you thought the life of a teacher librarian was dull! There are always important issues to be dealt with on a daily basis, my dears. Vital issues. Who brought the chocolate biscuits?

Ode to Can

Ode to Can

There’s a four lettered word
As offensive as any
It holds back the few
Puts a stop to the many.

You can’t climb that mountain
You can’t cross the sea
You can’t become anything you want to be.

He can’t hit a century
They can’t find a cure.
She can’t think about leaving or searching for more.

Because Can’t is a word with a habit of stopping
The ebb and the flow of ideas
It keeps dropping
itself where we know in our hearts it’s not needed
And saying “don’t go” when we could have succeeded.

But those four little letters
That end with a T
They can change in an instant
When shortened to three.

We can take off the T
We can do it today
We can move forward not back
We can find our own way.

We can build we can run
We can follow the sun
We can push we can pull
We can say I’m someone
Who refuses to believe
That life can’t be better
With the removal of one
Insignificant letter.

Sadly, this lovely poem was written by an advertising executive for a bank ad. The ad features actress Toni Collette who reads this so brilliantly, but again how sad it is a bank ad.  Even so, it is a poem to reflect upon


guess who came for dinner

A thief entered my mother’s room at the care facility last night. Luckily, she and the other residents were together in the dining room, when a young man entered the building and started to rifle through rooms.

Mum’s was the fourth room that he entered and somehow he triggered an alarm in her room. Two staff members confronted him, but he managed to escape. He was going through Mum’s handbag when discovered. She had nothing of value in her handbag, just some store loyalty cards and about fifteen dollars in cash. My sister has all her important cards.

The police were called, naturally, but Mum was not told about what happened. They phoned my sister and she agreed not to tell Mum as nothing was lost (she probably won’t remember the money) and it is best not to worry her as she has started to really settle in now.

Obviously, the thief knew the routine as he struck when it was meal time aware the staff would be occupied with the residents in the dining room. Heartless to strike at people so vulnerable.

To think Mum lived all those years in her home, the last 12 alone and was never robbed, and here within her first month in a place we considered safer for her, she is a crime victim. The security of the facility has been my main concern since the night Mum wandered out into the street. I know they can’t lock them away, but I do think they should have more secure systems, such as locking the front door. They do at the facility where Mr FD’s Mum is a resident, though most of the ladies there are capable of answering a knock on the door from anyone wishing to enter. Mum’s companions all have walkers and are less mobile so staff would have to answer the door, but I do think it needs to be considered.

Well, no guess about who has gone to the top of the stick list – actually he will be lucky if he only gets the sticking he so richly deserves if I get my hands on him. One day he will be an old person, and I hope bad karma rains down on him!

the spice of life

As happens on the odd Saturday morning (all right, frequently on a Saturday morning; regularly on a Saturday morning) I woke in a tiny, weeny bit of a mood. Nothing too bad, I just wanted to rip Mr FD’s head off and shove it where the sun don’t shine. No particular reason, no different to any other day; for most days I could happily render him undone. It is called marriage.

I thought it wise to restrain my natural inclinations of death and destruction and took my feelings of aggression out on our pantry. We have a walk in pantry and most of the time it looks like a tornado has passed this way. My mission is to work magic and prepare the house for sale; my devious plan is to appear as though the perfect life waits who so over buys our house. In other words, I am trying to channel Martha Stewart, without the domestic inclinations and pull at their emotional heart strings. I told you I was evil.

The pantry is a task that I have avoided for some time which became evident to me as soon as I started going through the spice rack. Racks. I still don’t know why I had four, yes FOUR bottle of chilli flakes (hot), but as most of them had a use by date of 2009 it wasn’t a subject that I lingered on long. In the end three garbage bags of spices and out of date food stuffs went into the bin. Yes, it occurred to me also that I could have possibly cleared the national debt of Greece and saved the Eurozone with the money wasted on excess, but perhaps it is best to thank the Big Whatever that no one has died from food poisoning in the Flamingo Dancer family in the recent past.

At least I found nothing dated with an expiry date prior to 2003. We moved into our house late 2002 which is no doubt the last time anything was culled, and we would have restocked when we thought we had a need after that. Notice I said, thought we had a need? Most of the spices were unopened. Obviously about that time I must have been imagining I was a gourmet cook and needed every variety of spice. I think it was the period when Martha Stewart got parole and I became addicted to watching her show, thinking I actually wanted to cook. Happily, I fought the good fight and reformed my Martha ways, though it was a close thing. I knew I was too close to the dark side when I started contemplating edge designs for shelf liners.

It is easy to make decisions about throwing things when you know that you not only have to pack it to move, but you may be the one carrying it out to the moving van and from the moving van to its new cupboard! So, maybe I have found the penultimate in minimalism and decluttering. Just move. A little excessive though, but it does seem to have its merits.

This will be our sixth move and I must say that I have become hard hearted over recent years. I must have been a marshmallow in the past as I have come across more than a few boxes (and not just boxes of books) that we should have thrown out before the last move and didn’t. In the end it always comes down to physical exhaustion and deadlines, both causing things to be packed and included in the camel caravan, instead of binned. Knowing we will be downsizing too is a great motivation.  I don’t want to be a slave to my house, garden or belongings anymore!

Tonight, I will fall into bed tired, but experiencing those superb feelings of superiority that one always feels after completing some domestic duties. I shall bask in my own glory, and hope that tomorrow I can still walk from all the bending and stretching in the pantry. If not, I may just have to rend Mr FD as a morning stretching exercise.


turning the page

My mother was a fast reader, and a slightly odd one. Ever since she was a girl, she had read the end of a book first because she couldn’t wait to learn how things turned out. I realized, when I started writing a book about our book club, that, in a way, she’d already read the end of it — when you have pancreatic cancer that’s been diagnosed after it has spread, you can be fairly certain of what fate has in store.


I have to admit that I often do the same thing myself – read the end of a book shortly after starting it (and not because I think I am about to be hit by a bus). It doesn’t ruin the reading for me at all.

In fact, if I am really absorbed in a book, it slows down my reading pace if I know the ending, and I enjoy the book far more. If I didn’t read the ending I would race through the book, maybe missing important, or enjoyable sections in my quest to “know”. There is also nothing worse, to me, than racing through a book that I really enjoy, for I am so often filled with such regret that I have finished the book that I am bereft with the loss.

Okay, I know some of you are now thinking “oh FD get a life – or another book!”, but how often have you really enjoyed a book so much that you have wanted to start reading another one exactly the same, right away? Except, it is not that easy is it? Often even the same author doesn’t satisfy that hunger. I’m not so silly now, am I?

It is like eating a three course meal just to get to dessert, when if I just ate the dessert I might skip one of the other courses and therefore save the kilojoules. Think about it. I am going to eat the dessert no matter what, but if I consume more food than I need to get to it, doesn’t it make more sense just to eat the dessert and maybe lower my meal intake? Of course the dessert would be fruit and carrot sticks on a bed of lettuce so I would be getting a fruit and veg, no high sugar intake, in say, chocolate cake. Work with me here people.

We don’t always have to do things the way they are always done, just because they are always done that way. (Still with me?) Thinking outside the square is what got us the circle. Eating dessert first may make me slimmer. Reading the end of the book before the middle helps me to appreciate the entire book and the reading process.

I rest my case.

[hello? Was that a tumbleweed blowing by? I am sure I can hear a dog barking in the distance…hello? Did you read the end of my post and go out for dessert? No one appreciates genius…]

need to know basis

How much information is too much information?

In these days when there seems to be no boundaries limiting self disclosure, what is going too far? In a recent interview with school staff, including the male Principal, a mother of a prospective student described the difficulty of the student’s birth, and the fact that Mother Dear had required stitches after the birth. May I just add that this is a twelve year old student going on the waiting list for next year, not a new born going on a kindergarten list!