another step down the road

The cleaners have been through, the carpets are cleaned, and the For Sale sign is on the front lawn!

The Flamingo Dancer Castle is on the market. No going back now.

So many mixed emotions and a large dose of exhaustion, but a way to go before we are in a new nest.

Onward to the future.

mistaken moments in Flamingo Dancer history

All these years you thought that crowd was there for the Beatles, but in reality they were there for me! Who else would John, Paul, George and Ringo be gazing longingly at, but moi, Flamingo Dancer? I just happened to be standing on the balcony above…

Would I lie to you, baby?

on the shady side of the street

I was given street crossing duty at school this week. No, I was not working the other side of the street. Basically it means that I had to make sure that none of our students walked in front of cars. I asked, but was told that I was also not allowed to throw students under any buses either. However, to be honest, it was more likely that the students would throw me under a bus.

So, I stood on the footpath and watched the students stream across the road. Every now and again, a rogue parent would drive their car into the area, which they shouldn’t and I would throw myself, arms outstretched in front of the students and stop them while flashing a nasty look at the parent and motioning to them to move their car on. Not easy holding back an exiting mass of students and gesturing to drivers at the same time, and indeed a third arm would have helped, but by luck of nature I did not have one to offer.

One teacher takes photographs of parents doing the wrong thing in the hope that it will act as a deterrent.  I expect the majority of parents would either made rude gestures or turn to face their best profile to the camera. We are toothless tigers.

The exodus was over within ten minutes but I was required to stay there longer, so as the loaded buses left and drove past me I waved enthusiastically to each bus, thus cementing the opinion that “Miss in the library is a little weird”. I also love making really cornball teacher jokes, not because that is how I naturally act, but just to meet the expectations of students. It keeps them guessing too, as they are never quite sure if I am serious or not. That is where the little smirk I deliver at the end comes into importance. “She said it, but she’s funning, right?” Or is she?

It messes with their minds when I stand at the gate saying goodbye, “I shall miss you. Please come again tomorrow”  and smile widely as I wave them farewell.

One must find one’s joys where one can. I am not sure if this was one of those times though…

intelligent pursuits

Maybe as a result of making my beautiful brain work all day Saturday when it is more inclined to veg out, but I have fallen into a game of making up names for imaginary people today. In the elk of Teresa Green (trees are green)

Mister Mister

Finn Dorsal

Summer Beach

Randy Mann

Pepper Mills

Rose Thorne

Sonny Dea

Sue Mee

And your contribution to this lofty pursuit is?

working the day away

Saturday night and I have just consumed a huge bowl of vanilla ice cream sitting in my bed, for no other reason that I wanted too.

I have just spent the entire day at a teachers’ conference. Yes,  an entire Saturday that I am not paid for. I also gave up almost anentire week of my last holidays to go to a conference. So , please, next time you hear someone go on about all the holidays that teachers get, remind them that many of us give up many days of our lives without recompense  to learn for the sake of our students.

It was a long day, because some of the sessions I attended were not my first choice due to limited places, and worse still, bore little resemblance to the description in the brochure.

The first break out session I went to, I very quickly started to think I was either in the wrong session, or the wrong room, but checking my program once, twice, proved that was not true. A number of other people were having the same thought as they were looking around and checking their programs too.

Remember the eighties when time share holiday package were all the rage, and you would stupidly filled in some “competition” entry that promised you a prize, and you won every time – a very flimsy set of saucepans and a cheap imitation grandfather clock, but only after you sat through two hours and a lifetime of heavy marketing on buying a time share holiday entitlement?

Mr FD dragged me along to one once, when our daughters were toddlers and I was young and gullible. They whisked our children off to some  secret child minding centre where I soon realised they were going to remain under guard until we agreed to sign on the dotted line to pay for a  right to vacation for a week annually in their building until the scheme went bankrupt and we were left with a large loan and no holiday. While those around us signed up and popped champagne corks to celebrate their memorable moment, Mr FD and I worked out our escape plan. In the end we garnered where our children were being held hostage, so while Mr FD made a grab for the flimsy saucepan set and the imitation white plastic grandfather clock, I grabbed a daughter under each arm and we made our escape to the elevator. We dared not speak and barely breathed until we hit the underground car park and had our children strapped in their car seats.

I mention this memory, as those same feelings came back to me as I sat in that session. The presenter was so bad, the session such a misrepresentation of the reality, that I felt like a trapped animal. I could have easily gnawed off my own leg to get out of there before the hour was up.

The next session was made a little more interesting by the appearance of a man who sported a head of hair that looked like on of those faux fur hats women thought were so fashionable in the 1960s. My mother had one, that she wore to church every Sunday in winter and it made her look like a Russian Cossack, but even the Queen was wearing them at the time, so what else was my mother to do? I don’t doubt my sister probably found it recently while clearing mother’s house. I hope she killed it before she put it in the bin.

The last session of the day was also a misrepresentation, but by this time (4-5pm!) I had given up the will to live, and I was on a depressed downer from the three cups of bad coffee I had consumed throughout the day, so I resigned myself to my fate.

The presenters were from a very posh private school, and talking about an online learning system that it turned out that people in the government schools had never heard of, so they must have been far more pissed off than I, for I had at least completed a workshop in the system last year. They bubbled on about how wonderful this system was and how their students spent hours on line at home doing their homework, yadda yadda yad, which just forced me to say “well, that is great, but many of our students are poor and or in foster care and there is no internet at home. How do you get around that issue?” That is the real world, people. Yes, our students all have lap tops, subsidised by the school and the government, but we can’t make the assumption that they have internet connectivity. Digital divide, alive and well.

They imitated goldfish for a moment, before blinking their eyes and ignoring my comment. The idea of a world without connectivity was so far removed from their deep carpeted school halls that it was beyond their comprehension. It was not even in their mind set to even check if their students had a connectivity issue, because in their world those things just don’t happen.

The haves and the have nots, so alive and divided; and that is why I sat in my bed on a Saturday night and ate a bowl of ice cream.

move over Julia Childs, Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver, here comes Flamingo Dancer!

I strained my shoulder preparing a leg of lamb for the oven. It was a dead leg. I didn’t have to go out and rope a live lamb, or anything as adventurous as that. I merely had to take it out of its vacuum sealed pack. And that is how I was injured.

SIL dropped in on Tuesday with a leg of lamb that she intended roasting in our oven so that we could use it for meals the following day when I wanted to devote the day to final house decluttering. It was to be waiting for me when I came home from work. However, by the time she made the half hour trip across town with it, her plans changed and she decided to go to the movies. So, the leg of lamb became my task.

I arrived home to have Mr FD inform me that I now had extra cooking on my clean-up day. He didn’t quite understand my hesitancy over his sister’s thoughtfulness. Deciding I really had other battles to win, I said no more and accepted my fate.

Next day, I took the meat parcel from the fridge and cut the seal with the kitchen scissors. I pulled on the plastic, but nothing gave. I cut more plastic and grabbed more handfuls of packaging, but it still refused to give. Repeat and repeat again.

The vacuum seal was so tight that the inside layer of wrap was actually impaled into the top layer of the meat. I positively had to wrestle that damn lamb leg across the kitchen bench and back again. I screamed at Mr FD in the next room that I was going to need a lie down after freeing the damn roast. He chose to ignore me. He also chose to ignore the fact that I was muttering nasty things about the past three generations of his family as well.

One more heave and the leg was free of its shroud, just as I felt my right shoulder screamed in protest. I required pain killers to get through the next day.

Mr FD may need painkillers a lot longer than that though, once I recover, for if he didn’t have such a “thoughtful” sibling, I would have a functioning shoulder.

And the lamb roast? It was baked with a layer of mustard and eaten accompanied by roasted vegetables, gravy and a sense of sweet revenge.  I was very careful with the carving knife though.

mixed messages from Mr FD


The nose knows no nos. It accepts yeses, though.

Mr FD.

I purchased a new deodorant, but when I needed it I couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually it was found – Mr FD had stored it with the household cleaning products.

I will give him the life saving grace of assuming his actions were a matter of mistaken identity, rather than a lesson on hygiene requirements.

one step back on the path

Today is the Ekka holiday and even though I work in the adjoining city I have the day off as well. I haven’t been to the Ekka (show/fair) since I was pregnant with Son – 27 years ago. At that time I was still suffering morning sickness (all day) and daughters were  not quite 4 and 6, so I think the ordeal of the crowds and financial debt was enough for me forever and ever, amen.

We are on the last push to putting our house up for sale. We have found a real estate agent that we can work with. Please don’t get me started on real estate agents, except to say that I group them with car and insurance salespeople, both whom my life experience has taught me that they are often shallow people who will use a façade of honesty until the contract is signed and then it is Drop Dead, Fred! I don’t expect this relationship to be any different, but it is a means to an end.

Earlier this morning I was packing our cds (yes, little ones, I still have music on compact disc!). I rediscovered some favourites and they are now in my car, ready for tomorrow’s school run. I shall be hitting the highway to the best of Carole King and Carly Simon on the morrow. There are some good things about moving, the push to declutter and the rediscovery of old friends.

I phoned Grandma Flamingo and three of her great grandchildren were visiting with their mother. GF always delights in their antics, so I didn’t speak to her for long to allow her time with her guests. There was a distant tone to her voice that I have noticed creeping in lately. I can’t imagine the range of emotions she must be experiencing as her life closes in.

I seem to be using the word “experience” frequently today. I guess that fits into the our series of moments doesn’t it, as we experience those moments?  It is taking those experiences and using them as building blocks that make us the people we are, and the life we choose.  I am glad that I have realised how the quality of those moments are the fabric of a happy life, and have reset myself on the path to a larger slice of happiness.

one in the bush

I always become a little reflective around August 13th each year, the “anniversary” of my eye surgery. The year was 1976 and I have had a one eyed view of the world ever since. I think about the events that culminated on that Friday 13th, what was and what has been since. I have to be honest that few days go by when I don’t think damn it!

It is not so much the loss of eyesight, but the constant need to be alert, as an artificial eye can cause unsightly discharges at time. I know it is a very minor thing, but to always be concerned about a build-up and how it might appear to the general viewing public is tiresome. I don’t complain, well not aloud, but some days I wish… but then don’t so many of us do that?

Our weekly assembly takes place in an outdoor undercover area, and this chilly winter’s morning, I set my chair up to the side, at the rear of the assembly, in a sunny spot. One of the perks of being a teacher librarian is that I don’t have a home class, and so I don’t have to sit in any special area; I can choose sun, or shade according to season.

By the end of the thirty minute assembly, I was toasted very nicely with my top up of vitamin D, but going back to my chilly office was not that inviting at first. I felt like a big floppy house cat and just wanted to laze a little longer in the sun. A cup of tea would have been nice too.

I have just read Stephanie Nielson’s memoir. American readers would probably already know her from her blog and appearances on Oprah, but for those who don’t; Stephanie is a young mother who was brutally injured in a light plane crash, along with her husband. The memoir reflects on her life before the accident, and of course, her fight to recover from that accident. Stephanie found great comfort in her Mormonism, and her family.

Her life is a stark reminder that we all need to enjoy each moment, but we all know that in our hearts. It is one of the tenets of life we know, but all too frequently forget to follow until, we do indeed have one of those life changing moments.

I have had a couple life changing moments, big and small, and I have found that I still forget to enjoy my moments. I think this is especially true for many of us when we are young. We just kick over the traces and boldly go forth again. It is only now that I am more mature, that I am actually taking more time to enjoy the moments. I think that it is that I give myself permission to do so.

Yesterday, as I walked into the school, a couple of brightly coloured parrots flew into a shrub and started to dine on the honey nectar in the flowers. They were so bright, and the flowers on the shrub were a bright red too, it was really a photographic moment so I gave myself permission to stop on the path and just watch.

I never would have done that when I was younger. I would have felt silly – gosh, someone might see me stop in the middle of the concrete path and stare into a shrub! How embarrassing!

Now, I don’t give a damn. I know the prize that awaits me. Two days later and I still have very clear treasured memories of the moment.

There is some regret that I had to wait for midlife to appreciate this aspect of my life, but I think, better late than never is probably the maxim to go with, rather than tarnish my thoughts and experiences.

So, if there is one thing I would like to share with you today, it is that if life is nothing more than a series of moments, don’t wait until many more have escaped before you stop to appreciate them – they do come in limited supply,after all. It doesn’t matter how silly we look peering into shrubbery, we know that the moment is good.

[And let us admit it, you will always look sillier than me, for I am THE Flamingo Dancer, so I have nothing to worry about.]