speak to me

Have you ever read a sentence, a paragraph or even just a word that you thought really spoke to you? Well, I found this site today where the words really do speak to you – they beg your indulgence.

A fun way to spend five minutes – or an hour!



Saturday morning in the park with Freud

My dream started with a composting toilet.

It was a large square wooden pedestal, or more accurately “thunderbox” in the Australian vernacular, but exquisitely crafter from Nordic pine. It appeared to be sited into a grassy knoll in the cubicle. (I must have been channeling the London Olympics opening ceremony with its meadows and hills). There was moss and flowering nasturtium clustered around the wooden base.

And it was in the middle of New York.

It was in a public restroom/ toilets. I waited my turn patiently, but I was a little anxious that men kept coming into the restroom, and they appeared oblivious when I pointed out the females only sign.

I soon resigned myself to their presence and took my turn in the cubicle, but it appeared that people kept popping their heads over the top and giving their opinions about everything.

I announced myself as a first time Australian in New York and walked out to use the basins. This was five stars with toothbrushes and warm towels for my use. It was then that I noticed a female attendant, and started to become anxious about how to tip her; or rather how much to tip her, and explained that I was Australian and we don’t tip. I wanted to give her five dollars, but she insisted on a dollar, and I could keep the toothbrush as I appeared to have forgotten my own. I resisted and gave her five dollars, which she ripped into pieces.

This upset me, as ripping it up meant that neither of us had the five dollars, so she picked the pieces up again and I left with the toothbrush.

When I walked outside, there was a long queue to an Indie outdoor concert where my sister was waiting. My sister was not my real sister, may I add, and I was not really me. We were both very pretty, happy twenty somethings.

By now, I felt like I was in a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie; especially when I walked along the queue and was joined by a tall handsome young man and his friend, who chose to sit with my sister and I. We were soon laughing and romance was obviously in the air.

My brain was telling me that I had the plot for a romantic comedy, that I was on the road to replace the lately departed Nora Ephron, and having some fun along the way when Mr FD’s voice broke though and he started rambling on about snakes.

His dream ended my dream. I wonder what Professor Freud would make of that!

funsy onesy

I have been much too serious and adult lately. It is getting to be a habit and I have to admit that it can be really boring at times. Adulthood has not lived up to youthful expectations, and I think that if someone just sent you a memo about the time you learnt to read and told you, then maybe we wouldn’t race so hard to grow up.

Dear Kid Sucker,

Adult life is not the fun you think it is, basically it is a load of responsibility and stress and not much else.

Take your time, enjoy the moments.


The Big Whatever.


But even as I write these words, I suspect that there are some out there who did get the memo – those who exhibit Peter Pan symptoms and maybe even a whole generation of twenty somethings. I am just annoyed that I didn’t get the memo.

The issue is though, what to do. What is “fun”? Many things I thought were fun no longer appeal. Gosh, my mind is a blank, I can’t even dig up an example of anything fun from the FD crypt at all. There’s just an echoing silence in there!

“Fun” – well, things I like to do now are:

Read in bed

Have a massage

Take tea with my daughters after a movie

Dream of a comfortable retirement

Watch leaves move on trees (in Mr FD’s case this would be watch grass grow – that man loves a green lawn).

Bake muffins

Lunch with my dearest friends

Do nothing

Exciting list, but that is fun to me, and now that I think of it, always has been. So there you go, just proves that I grew up too soon. I had middle aged lady fun even when young! Maybe I can look forward to a second childhood in old age and make up for wasted time!

Now I know why I never became a scientist…

Fruit flies offer DNA clue to why women live longer

Fruit fliesFruit flies can give clues to what happens in other species. Scientists believe they have discovered a clue to why women tend to live longer than men – by studying fruit flies ...

Now I know why I never became a scientist, beside the fact that I could never balance a chemical equation. Dumbo me, if I had been going to study why women live longer than men, I would have gone straight to researching the male and female human. Never would it have occurred to me study fruit flies to gain data about humans. Is my head a buzz with shame and regret!

But, there in perhaps lies the secret as to why women live longer than males… we would have more sense than to spend time researching fruit flies, when there is shopping to be done! [Spot the gender stereotypes…]

an annual event on a daily basis

I have an addiction. I guess as addictions go it is not altogether a bad one; at least I am not haunting the back streets searching for my next hit (not that I couldn’t, I just don’t). I just go online and order it up anytime I fancy, and the postman delivers it to my door.

My addiction? Memoirs written by women; in particular, memoirs with a self help slant. The types where some middle aged white woman travels the world to find herself; a little Elizabeth Gilbert, but usually older (okay, my age). They decide to spend a year finding happiness, calmness, or themselves (who are there all along, standing just behind their shoulder throughout the whole journey, what a surprise!).

I don’t really understand why I am addicted to this genre, as while I enjoy them, I feel a constant tug at my thoughts. Two things in particular haunt me. One, it is always upper middle class white women of usually independent means, or rich supportive husbands who abandon hearth and home to discover that life is wherever you are. If someone has ever read of a poor indigenous/African/black/Asian single mother who managed this feat I would love to read the story! I could find myself if I could stare at a cone shell on a faraway beach too if I had oodles of money – if my guilt gene was first removed too.

These women always write that they read this book by so and so, or whosemacallit, and lo, they just happened to be nearby, or  lo, they jumped on a plane and flew right to Paris and on the off chance phoned them and lo, they said come on around, and they discussed the meaning of life for three days straight before setting off on a Nepalese trek to a hermit cave, where lo (I do love my los) they could mediate for hours on end without their mind wandering even once as to how their birkin bag made it unscathed to the mountain top on the back of a llama.

I know if I tried such a trick the phone would be slammed down so fast my eardrums would hum. Darken their door – well, restraining orders come to mind first.  No little llamas to lead me to nirvana, I’d be trucking my Target backpack all the way on my little own back. All the way back home once the border guards released me, that is!

The other type of memoir I fall for is the tree change. The city slicker who buys 90 acres on a whim one autumn afternoon and decides to raise goats and truffles ten miles from town. Oh, life is a hoot as those damn goats eat her Stella McCarthy one off designs that she has hung artfully over a string line (cue photos of elegantly pinned floral items) not to speak of the night she has to have a cold shower, but all turns right when the tall dark handsome country stud with his independent ways arrives on the scene to tune her engine. Cue happy ever after a life of gourmet farmers markets selling to their city slicker friends who marvel that a goat can be so cute and give milk at the same time!

These are things I do not wish for. I don’t want 90acres to care about, I don’t want goats and most of all I don’t want city visitors, but I can’t help myself. My addiction must be fed.

Right now I am spending a year with a woman whose rich invisible husband has no qualms as his wife meditates herself around the globe, and somehow makes her mother’s Alzheimer’s about her. We are finding calm together, apparently. One side of my brain is yelling “Oh for God’s sake you self-indulgent,  whinging, whimp” while the other side of my brain is loving every word (particularly the rich invisible husband).  I can’t help myself.

After that I will be spending a year by the sea, swimming the wild waves and collecting sea glass as a metaphor for my existence until I find my inner self (once again, where it was all the time, but now released by a fat book deal arranged by friends I meet on a sand dune one winter’s noon).

Addicted? Main lining, baby.  Jealous? You bet your little La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX® hiking shoes. I guess that some are there those but to do and write, and others are left to read and wonder how far she can get on $3.85 and a long weekend.

the times are indeed a changing

In many ways we don’t notice the changes that sneak into our daily lives through the use of technology, but I was reminded of this on Sunday when I went to buy a small thank you gift for a woman who is coming to our school to present a workshop for teachers later this week.

Previously, one might have purchased stationery for a teacher as a gift, and heavens we teachers have always loved stationery; but now that we have laptops, iPads, iPhones and all the programs that allow us to keep files on the skydrive, addresses in our email and facebook pages and calendars on our phone etc. there is little need for notebooks, pens and post it notes. Now there are even electronic sticky notes for our desktops, so I even baulked at buying Kath Kidson sticker pads, a personal favourite. Technology has wiped that fall back gift line off the line, especially as this particular presenter is speaking on IT!

And changing social attitudes means that chocolates are not always acceptable as everyone is always trying to shed weight and get healthy. Wine, well they may not be a drinker, and there are mixed opinions regarding gifting teachers alcohol as we are suppose to be role models

The last thing a teacher needs is usually another cup or mug, as everyone gives teachers cups and mugs. We’ve probably all done candles to death. So, I was starting to panic, and was going to just go for a bunch of flowers, but that seemed a bit naft and what if she is allergic? (Minerva is allergic to flowers and the last time someone brought flowers into the library I had to lock them in my office. I didn’t get them away fast enough and her lips blew up like a trout mouth and I thought I was going to have to apply an epipen to save her). So scratch flowers.

In the end I settled on bath fizz bombs in the shape of macaroons. Hopefully she will read the label and realise that they are not a food product. If she doesn’t have a bathtub, well. she can throw them into a bucket and soak her feet! Or better still, she can put them away to regift and claim that she has already started her Christmas shopping! Win, win there I say.

a bang of a mystery

We have lived in our house for ten years, and every Saturday for those ten years, around about 7 o’clock in the evening, we hear fireworks exploding. Before I go on, let me add that fireworks are illegal in the state of Queensland.

Every Saturday night, fireworks. We can’t see them, but we can hear them.

Ten years of it, and I have never ever found out who, what ,or why, someone is lighting fireworks. Then again, maybe no one needs to have a reason, maybe they just like to look at pretty colours, or make loud noises.

The irritation of a decade of not knowing is starting to wear my patience down, and as we know I have precious little of that in store, so I fear that when I do find out that who, what and why; and if it not something interesting like some Chinese weekly ritual and merely some dim witted locals, well then they may just get a cracker up their… well, I am too much to say more, but think of the word cracker, only a slightly shorter version.

to stick or not to stick, that is the question.

I am faced with a dilemma of monumental proportions. I have a colleague who works in the office opposite, our office doors open directly opposite each other, and he continuously comes into my office to give me his views on the world. He is young, racist and narrow minded. I want to hit him with a stick.

He is one of the I.T. guys though, and we all know that you don’t want to mess with the I.T. guys because they can make your life a misery for ever more. One of them set the spell check to change one women’s name when she sent emails and she could never work out what had happened.

To make it worse, the I.T. Irritant is hearing impaired and has a major stutter. It would be like kicking a puppy.

But I really, really want to hit him with my stick. I have tried all the usual hints, like continuing my work, shuffling papers, packing up my bag, leaving the room (he returns as soon as I do!).

The only thing that makes him scuttle is when his supervisor is sighted heading our way. I fear that he may think I am encouraging IT Irritant, when in truth, I want to drive my letter opener through his heart. I can’t shut the door, as then students think they can’t come to me for research help.

Today I ate my lunch and read the paper as he stood in front of my desk and yabbered away. I started to disagree with everything he said (usually I just utter things like “really”, “of course”, “no way”, “um, yeah”. He barely stopped for air.

Mr FD suggested that I shuffle papers and murmur that I have to get some really important work finished. I don’t know whether to take his advice, as I never have before in 35 years of marriage and if I do Mr FD may just drop dead from the shock, but that would be like killing two birds with one stone for me, so maybe I should.

I could talk to his supervisor, but Supervisor is not a man with a subtle bone in his body, and I think that is more than likely to end in Flamingo Dancer’s  name mysteriously being changed to Flaming Dumpster at the end of each email for the rest of my life.

I am thinking of resurrecting the voodoo doll from the Basement of Discontent and stitching a little penis on it (it needs to be male to represent IT Irritant; I do not have penis envy.) Maybe I could stitch the doll’s mouth shut, or poke a pin in its throat, just deep enough to give him laryngitis for a month or two.

Somehow I am going to wreak havoc on him, but maybe not before he builds my new library web site.  I missed a fine opportunity this week, when I was too good at holding in my evilosity, forgot that I don’t do nice and arranged a birthday cake for him (remember I have been ill recently) – I could have put laxative in his slice, or ground glass, or pins therefore saving the search for the voodoo doll.

Ah to hell with it, I am just going to put him on the stick list and beat him to a pulp.

Flaming Dumpster