School day one, 2013

barrels of fun
The roads were open and so I made it to the first day of classes for 2013. I have a senior home class this year, which means a mix of students from years 10,11 and 12. Today I only had the year 12s as year 8 and 12 were the only classes to start. The 12s were there their to buddy with the year 8s.

My home class is in the library. Another class, a middle years home class of year 8 and 9 (and later year 7 when the change over happens in 2015) is also in the library, and they buddy with my class. Their home teacher is the learning support team leader and she had great plans for her first class with the year 8s but got called to an emergency meeting about a troubled student and didn’t appear for her class. So, I ended up combining her class with mine, which we were going to do, but towards the end of the class, not quite as soon as we did.

I haven’t had a home class at this school and so it was all new to me, but luckily the year 12s rose to the occasion and took the year 8s for a tour of the school and answered any questions I couldn’t.

The day kind of followed that; unorganised, organised chaos! Also, because of all the rain and moisture in the air, the humidity has been near intolerable and working in a library without air conditioning was not the greatest thrill in the world. We also had to line up for our staff ID photos, sweating from every facial pore. We weren’t dewey, we were drenched.

So tonight I am tired, still dehydrated and a little bit annoyed about a few things that happened, and something that will no doubt happen tomorrow. In all I am struggling to find things to be grateful for.
arrows University of Chicago co-eds Marian McKenney, Jane Brady, and Natalie Stern, 1935

Well, there was the grade twelve students been so mature and helpful. Scratching for more, or should I just be thankful for that one thing?

There was the new Lumineers CD that I listened to while I drove and from work and really enjoyed.

Augie Dog was waiting for me at the garage door when I arrived home, and didn’t try to knock me over in his joy at seeing me, for once. He is almost 6 months old now and A BIG BOY – I have the bruises to prove that!

I am going to leave it there – quit while I am ahead, because I have the feeling that if I list further things will turn negative. Such as, day one is over… and another 192 days to go!

Now I will have that drink, or six.

drink wine

after the rains

kangaroo girl

Sunlight glittered on wet leaves for the first morning in days, and she went unseen in the garden forest until she decided to move. Grey in the soaked green and brown vegetation she hopped onto the grey driveway and followed it up the slope.

She stood at the boundary of our property and the neighbours, on alert, but confident of her position. A human voice in the distance caused her to twitch her head ensuring her safety before she hopped forward and disappeared behind the hedge of trees towards the open bushland.

The gift of living in the country, living with nature.

 

 

mornings

grey skies and soggy feet

Flood Laidley Jan 2013 047

Flood Laidley Jan 2013 040

Overhead the poor man sitting on his patio (above) talking on his mobile and saying that the water was starting to drop. He has blue plastic pushed into all the weep holes in the walls of his house.

Flood Laidley Jan 2013 041

The frogs were in absolute frog heaven as we passed this area of grassland (below). They were croaking in absolute harmony and delight. There must have been a horde of them but they were all well hidden from our sight.

Flood Laidley Jan 2013 055

We lost town water, but were able to switch over to tank water. The power is still on which is amazing and I hope it stays that way, but anything can happen. Rain has been interrupted by periods of sunshine today, so maybe the worst is over for our area. As we passed the local high school which is being used as an evacuation centre Mr FD remarked that “There is a lot of agony in there”. Many of those within would have been flooded in 2011. The main business area is under water so life in general will be disrupted for some time. I fear some won’t make it back again. Cities down stream are yet to peak but expected to be lower than 2011.

Living the moment…

flooding 2013 style

blue bird

The flood waters are creeping down the main street of The Village. The locals are taking it in their stride with a horde of sightseers down watching the waters rise. In true Aussie spirit a group are sitting on the veranda of the pub, surrounded by flood water and drinking their way through the flood.

An automated telephone and text message came through to evacuate to the local high school but as we are much higher than the high school we are staying in our house (and probably wouldn’t get across the duck pond to get to it anyway!). We checked flood levels to ensure we were above known flood levels before we purchased the house.

We still have power, which amazes me. I hope it continues, but we are well stocked for torches and candles if need be. I froze water in large blocks to keep the freezer cold if the power does go out – I learnt a couple of things from the last flood even though it was in the city! This is when it pays to have a landline and a telephone handset that doesn’t work off electricity because if the power goes and mobiles go flat it is nice to have the old fashioned but dependable landline.

I suspect that school won’t be resuming on time, with Ipswich flooding to peak once at midnight on Monday and then again late on Tuesday. If it does, I know one teacher who will probably be absent!  Brisbane is expected to peak at noon on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. The Village is upstream from both and we are experiencing a peak tonight.

From our top garden terrace we watched the water gradually spread out across the plain and The Village. It really does look like an inland sea.

Tomorrow is another day, and we all hope the sun shines and everyone stays safe overnight. Two major floods in two years is traumatic and life destroying for so many people, some of whom are still to have their homes rebuilt after the last flood in 2011. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

It doesn’t rain, it pours.

umbrella 1

Queensland is in flood again, and while we are high and safe we are about to be cut off, if we aren’t already. Mr FD and I made a fast and very efficient trip to the local supermarket to stock up on milk, bread, eggs and extra dog food so we should be able to weather the next couple of days if nothing unexpected happens. Hopefully the power will stay connected as we haven’t purchased a generator as yet, but we did okay with the bbq in 2011 and a small battery generator to charge phones so fingers crossed. The reports are that once the rain clears in a day or so, it should all clear fairly quickly.

We are learning the joys of entertaining a large energetic puppy in wet weather. Augie Dog has been fairly well disciplined still asking to go outside to toilet, though he has been given the option of a puppy pad on the patio. We just have to whisk him inside quickly once his business is done, as he has discovered the joys of the muddy bare areas in the lawn. Luckily we have made a game out of rubbing him down with a towel and so he cooperates most of the time.

Reports of tornadoes in some area on the mid north coast of Queensland, and the warning is out for most of south east Queensland for more of the same. The wind has been building over the weekend and has been blowing a gale for awhile.

AS I WRITE THIS I HAVE JUST CAUGHT SIGHT OF AUGIE THROUGH THE WINDOW. HE IS COVERED IN MUD FROM HEAD TO TOE AND IS SITTING LOOKING AT ME QUITE JOYOUSLY . IT WAS MR FD’S WATCH.

IF WE RUN OUT OF FOOD, WE ARE FEEDING MR FD TO AUGIE.

 

I shall return later, I have a man to beat with a stick.

 

 

citizens of New Holland united

Australia Day 2013

Today we are celebrating Australia Day, though some indigenous people refer to it as Invasion Day, or a Day of Mourning. As I write this there are  flooding rains in the north of our country, raging bush fires in the south and pouring rain over The Flamingo Nest on the Hill. It is just over two years since the devastating floods that claimed the lives of so many victims, including my cousin whose body has never been found and many people still carry the scars and traumas of those days. The saying goes that every drought is ended by a flood. Now it seems that every flood is followed by a fire.

A woman, Ita Buttrose who has been a major player in Australian media for many years has been named Australian of the Year. I have to admit I feel that it was a safe and unimaginative choice for an election year. I personally was more excited about Akram Azimi‘s award for Young Australian of the Year, who by coincidence (?) lives by the maxim that I do and that is to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.  It may not always work in your favour, but at least you sleep at night. (Except for the stick list, but that is a whole different matter and not to be discussed today – maybe)

Australia is a large land, a land of contrasts, a land that can be beautiful and at the same time deadly. We are fortunate in that we have the benefit of great abundance of many things, but we are constantly reminded by events naturally and human caused that we need to value and sustain those gifts.

We are a land largely free of civil and political unrest, our diverse cultural mix manages cohesion most of the time, we have managed to separate church and state in recent times, and though we moan and groan about our political leaders they are a fairly benign group as a whole.

Many years ago we gave ourselves the badge of “The Lucky Country” and I think we can still wear that with pride. I am not claiming that we are better than other nations, but we are lucky in that by happen stance many of us were granted the gift of being born here, and many have been gifted the opportunity to live here.

No one has to fear a knock at the door, or going to the market for bread. We care for our less fortunate, though it can be well argued, not well enough. We have the freedom to go where we may, and to share discourses denied many other individuals.

We may not be sizzling the steak and sausages outside quite as much this year, due to rain and fire, but we can still all pause and be grateful for what we do have and why we have those freedoms and gifts.

Happy Australia Day!

more gravel than pearls

pearls 1

I wore pearls, three strands; my mothers. They didn’t make the day magical though.

Yesterday, our first day back at the school, was all pastoral care, lots of warm and fuzzy moments where we told each other how wonderful we were. Nice people being nice. So, you can understand my burden. By the end of the day I was exhausted by being nice, which is against my natural order and so took to my bed early.

Second day, today, was a little less taxing. Lots of meetings, none of which I was involved in as I do not teach a “subject”. My area of Information fluency sits like a little shag on a rock, all by its self. The IT teacher with whom I co-teach and I could have our meeting in a phone box, or in the corridors at school, which is probably where it will occur!

Tomorrow we do CPR training, annual event. I have no expectations of my dummy surviving. This year we answered an online questionnaire instead of having a human instructor, which was to save us time, and stop us stabbing pencils into our eyes through boredom. Many of us felt that the information given was inaccurate however and often the language was ambiguous.

For example, in one question about needle stick injuries the info sheet said to wash with warm water, and yet the question asked if  the wound should be washed with hot water. Some people would view warm and hot as very close things. Was it a trick question, or just a poor transcription error?

Previously, on multiple occasions in fact, we have been told that despite undergoing training we are not legally obligated to do any first aid if we do not feel comfortable doing so. Yet, in this instance they stated we are obligated to help anyone for whom we have a duty of care. It was such a poorly researched and presented site that I really suspect there are many errors.

So we may all fail, more because they have presented incorrect information than ignorance, but being opinionated and outspoken teachers we will no doubt argue our points and win the day!

High point so far? Well, I made a very nice smoked salmon wrap for my lunch.

I was given a new tablet laptop, so I spent some time getting it set up. Now when I doodle on my notes in meetings I will be able to not only doodle in colour and different pen widths, I will be able to save or email to friends as well!

It rained this afternoon the first time in weeks, and will probably rain all this coming long weekend, which doesn’t worry me in the least.

I suppose the very best thing is that I got permission to turn the raised beds in front of the library into a herb and vegetable garden. I have a senior home class this year (class years 10-12) and we will twin with a junior class, and as our project we are going to garden. What vegetables actually manage to survive we will either make into a meal and share, or the students can take home to their families. We may even get a worm farm!

My hope is to have a class that is a stress release to their day, build a sense of community amongst the students, and to get them in touch with nature (most of them are city kids). Everyone should know how to care for the earth, and to grow their own food. So  the whole project should be quite an interesting project, come what may.

And of course I shall wear pearls when we garden; all goddesses do!

Garden wall

In diving to the bottom of pleasure we bring up more gravel than pearls. Honore de Balzac