babies who lunch

The ladies lunched today. Daughter1, Petite Fille and moi went to lunch at a local garden nursery’s restaurant. Petite Fille turned heads as always; as witnessed by the man who turned to stare as we took Petite Fille’s photo. It was her first lunch out with her Grandma FD and her manners were impeccable – only two rusks hit the floor!
Petite Fille

Her ensemble is courtesy of Grandma FD, who as I have told you, has impeccable taste (yes I do!). I think she is just a wee bit too young for the pearls as yet, but in time…

following the green and orange halls

curious Electric Cabs In New York City – 1896

As soon as the glass doors whooshed closed behind us, I regretted the fact that I had not packed a cut lunch. On our mission to visit BIL in his hospital room, and show off my new summer frock, less than 30 seconds passed before I realised that the direction signs we had used to find BIL’s ward last weekend had now disappeared. It was even possible that the one arrow that there was no faced the opposite direction!

Twenty steps in, Mr FD and I had a discussion as to whether we took the elevator now or later, and I was right, only to find the hall we had taken previously was now boarded shut.

I spied a ward man approaching so asked him for directions, but he wasn’t sure and he found a fellow ward man, whom instantly we recognised as having assisted us last week. He looked at us with some recognition, because we are unforgettable and I was looking particularly fetching in my new summer frock, and between the two men we were given directions.

Somehow we were misled and found ourselves outside the hospital kitchen. I threw myself upon a woman emerging from behind the kitchen door, and she said though she was unaware herself she thought the tray ladies would know and disappeared on her own mission.

Another ward man appeared and we brought him into our little nation of lost peoples and he was about to try to explain the way to us, when our now regular guide appeared from the end of the hall. I had the sensation that he had followed us, with an expectation of getting his big jollies from finding us lost and bewildered, but I kept my suspicions to myself for the moment.

Mr FD greeted him, “I think you helped us last weekend, but we were trying to find our way out” to which he did not even change his expression and merely replied “I know”.

It was obvious that he was going to recount his explanation, but then he decided, “Follow me, I will show you.” At that he opened a fire door and we exited from the building and into a drive way. Across the road was the emergency entrance.

We followed like meek little sheep, which is not something that comes easily to either Mr FD or moi, scurrying to keep up to his pace. Into the emergency entrance, down another corridor, around two more corners until we came to a green corridor, then into the elevator, which we exited once before the doors even shut to allow a patient in a bed to go up first (manners are an essential around the sick and dying, alas and alack). Back into the elevator up to the sixth floor and back along more corridors, orange this time. The last twenty feet were the only bits that were familiar!

BIL was lying in bed, and Sister and their daughter were sitting beside his bed. BIL is even thinner than he was last week, the outline of his teeth evident through the thinness of his cheeks. His toes so thin I could see the entire length of his toe bones and exactly where they connected with his foot.

Yesterday, he had a day at their daughter’s and he seemed in a good frame of mind, but so thin and obviously still in pain as he asked for pain relief while we were there.

I modelled my new Sunday go to meetin’ dress, not that I go to any Sunday meetings, and my matching pearls, for BIL as I explained that I had dressed to honour him. He appeared to be impressed or it could have been a grimace of pain, but I choose to believe he was suitably impressed. BIL has always been a good audience.

An hour or so later we retraced our steps, but this time we had to do the go up to go down trick in the elevator, and luckily found our way to the main entrance without too much folly because there was no way I was going to ask for directions again. We shared the final elevator ride with a family of four adults who were looking up at the floor numbers as we rode the floors and muttering almost incoherently, “up to the 7th floor and down to the 4th and put the left and right foot in…”

As we exited the hospital I remember thinking that the little ward man would miss me next weekend, because we would be in Hobart and so unable to visit. I hope he can cope.

Hopefully BIL will be able to go home again soon, otherwise I must remember to pack a compass and some emergency flares along with a packed lunch!

How to survive in the workplace, or be killed in the attempt

Office 1940_Accounting_Work_Room_First_Nat_Bank_of_Chicago_OM

Why is it that on the first day of vacation I always feel as though I have run a marathon and wake with all the feelings of a hangover, having not consumed a drop of drink? Term exhaustion I guess!

This term we had a group of trainee teachers at the school and one of them (a girl!) almost set the staff kitchen on fire, and that led me to thinking about staff room rules. We all know the frustration that goes before someone sticks one of those “your mother doesn’t work here” signs above the sink, and the plaintive email that gets sent requesting “would the &()^%%#@#$@% person who took the CONTAINER WITH THE PADLOCK, CLEARLY MARKED NICOLE AND WITH THE SEARCH LIGHTS AND GERMAN ALSATION GUARD DOGS CIRCLING IT FROM THE STAFF FRIDGE PLEASE RETURN IT, AS IT HAS MY EXPRESSED BREAST MILK INSIDE,” that has everyone sniggering at Nigel who has a milk flask pressed to his lips as he wonders why everyone is looking his way.

So, I have started to make my own list of dos and donts. Obviously as number one, especially if you are hoping for a full time job is don’t burn the place down!

1. Take your own cutlery – no one ever does more that a quick flash under the cold tap so take your own.
2. Having a mug that has your name on it, or “I love my Mummy” emblazoned on it, will not stop the big hairy guy named Boris drinking from it. My mug has my name on one side and Queen of the World on the other side – no one uses the Flamingo Dancer cup; mainly because I keep it on my desk!

3. Staff “bring a plate” parties – means bring something to share. If you are going to be the cheese and kabana sausage girl stake out the claim early and stick to it, though be warned that after morning tea meetings may reek of garlic. If you have a signature dish that wows everyone away never bring it, unless you want to stand at the stove at 10 o’clock at night after football training, dance lessons or a gym workout.

4. If you are whispering about someone and they walk into the room, don’t suddenly raise your voice to twice its normal level and say ” and then you add the flour” as it is a sure give away that you were talking about that person.

5. Never tell anyone that you heard “Bruce has got the promotion before they even advertised the position!” until Bruce actually gets the promotion. Then you can start the rumour about Bruce and small boys.

. If you use the microwave and something spills, clean it up.

The staff fridge is not the place to incubate your cancer cure, take it home.

Don’t take a lunch box the size of a small van to work and squeeze everyone else out of the fridge, either.

If the employer doesn’t provide milk, don’t use other people’s milk. If you agree to share make sure you take your turn at providing it. A long life milk in your desk drawer will solve all memory issues when it is your turn!
10. If you have cheap shit teabags, don’t exchange them for colleagues’ expensive imported tea. Also with empty food containers – if you use recycled take away containers, don’t exchange it for the Tupperware in the dish drainer.

11. If you go to another staff room, don’t assume that their beverages are your beverages. People count their coffee beans.
12. Flush the toilet. Use a brush if there is one…
13. Don’t announce that you always unlock the door before you wash you hands in the bathroom. Yes you did, and we are still talking about you!
14. When a colleague turns their back on you and starts typing on their keyboard they no longer want to know  “you know what they should do…”. Leave their office.
15. Politeness doesn’t mean they agree with you.
16. In a group setting don’t talk about anyone, especially the boss, unless you have clear sight of every entrance, and you are leaning against the wall so no one can approach from behind.
17. Also, in a group setting, never count on the volume of chatter staying at the same decibel level. Someone should do a PhD research project on predicting the time that silence will fall in any group setting.
18. Always pay your social club fees even if you don’t participate. You may at least get a pathetic card when you leave.
19. Always sign the group cards even if you don’t know the person “you know the Asian guy on the third floor”, because the person taking the card around will tell every person signing after that. Colleague didn’t sign a couple of cards this week, only to be presented with a signed card for her birthday at the same morning tea…awkward

Never use the excuse ” I don’t have any money with me today” as an excuse not to buy a ticket in the chook raffle or lucky number bingo, as they always reply “you can pay later”, for once just be honest and say “no thanks” no explanation but if need be say it is against your religion, unless you are catholic because everyone knows Catholics gamble!

21 Don’t ever give anyone a solid glass paper weight – they may be tempted to use it against you.

22. If you know someone has a HUGE dog, don’t end every, and I mean EVERY conversation with “when are you going to bring that puppy into work?” Colleague is doing that to me, and I shared my annoyance with Minerva, I mean Augie Dog is fully grown and a BIG boy, and a school of 900 plus kids is not the place for him, and now when Minerva hears the remark she starts to snigger, so  I have to put up with the irritating “when are you going….” as well as Minerva sniggering.

So, what sage advice would you share with the about to be initiated?

it is a teacher’s life for me

Live 1

One half day and then the term three comes to an end. A ten week, fourth term will bring us to the end of the school year and my fourth year of teaching. Five years since I was “redundant” at the Basement of Discontent.

Long term readers are now wondering about how time has passed and oh, my are we all getting old? but that is how time passes doesn’t it? One day at a time and then we pause and realise weeks, months and years have gone by us. Hopefully they haven’t just “gone by” but we have lived a life well lived in a way that has meaning to us, as individuals.

BIL is still in hospital but hopefully will have a day trip to their daughter’s house this weekend, and may be allowed home early next week. He has been walking with a walking frame a little too.

Mr FD’s niece who underwent IVF and is carrying twins has reached the 30 week mark, but started labour yesterday. In the hospital the doctors were able to stop the labour process so we are holding our breath and hoping the wee ones are patient a little longer.

Daughter2 and Beau are travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia, due back Saturday (to Perth, not to her Mama). Lots of happy snaps have been sent, and drinking from coconuts seems to have been a happy past time. I think the poverty has been rather saddening, which is one reason I really don’t have real plans to visit areas of Asia. My guilt would be too much on a holiday.

Does that sound selfish? I just can’t see how I could enjoy myself on a holiday amongst poverty and suffering. I know I could salve my feelings by thinking that my tourist dollars help but I know I couldn’t relax from my cares amongst other’s cares.

My two week break from school will be spent visiting the trio of my Mum, our grand daughter and her Mum (Daughter 1) and BIL. Then of course, as I have mentioned before Mr FD and I are off to Tasmania for a few days, including a Librarians’ conference (oh the excitement! Actually I really am looking forward to it – it is a life and something has to live it!)

the nice of niceness

Happy weekend

Exceptional weekend being nice. Saturday, a friend dropped in early morning for coffee, then in the afternoon we visited with BIL in the palliative care ward.

BIL may be able to go home this week if they can control his pain with oral medication, but he also needs to be eating, which he isn’t all that much. He has lost a lot of weight.

The hospital is undergoing major expansion and has become a very badly signed rabbit warren and we were exhausted by wandering hallways. Mr FD was hobbling on his sore knee by the end and we almost came to a stoush outside one ward where Mr FD claimed he saw BIL, but it was a public ward and I knew BIL was in a private room. I think Mr FD was just over his scavenger hunt for BIL and was ready to claim any man who had gray hair and looked over 70! To keep Mr FD marching I promised that if I spied an abandoned wheel chair I would push him the rest of the way! Luckily for me we did not come across any, or I may have required CPR!

Our exit journey was no better, as we were led into a dead end at a fire door only to be rescued by a cleaner who told us to take the elevator up one floor, to then go down three floors! Next visit, I shall pack a compass and a cut lunch!

I wore my new shoes to entertain BIL. They made me quite the “coolest teacher” at school last Friday. Who said Librarian’s are boring?

shoes vanns

Sunday we had a play date with grand daughter, Petite Fille who will be 7 months soon, and is sitting with grace, and sporting two teeth. Grandma was on all fours on the floor showing her the finer techniques of crawling, but I think the sight of Granny, bottom in air before her was too distracting for her to actually go to the mechanics of crawling!

Five more school days and then HOLIDAYS! Chill the bottle now!

I know what he means!

Mr FD visited the doctor’s office to hear the results of a recent blood test.

“Cholesterol level is fine,” said the doctor. “Sugar level is fine… is fine.. is fine,” he read off the list.

“Hypochondria levels?” asked Mr FD


Only Mr FD’s third visit with this doctor and already the doctor has Mr FD pegged!

still mean

So tired of teen age boys and their Justin Beiber haircuts which cause them to hang their heads to maintain it all hanging over their eyes, or to swing their heads back and forth like a horse chasing flies away, to maintain the side sweep. One such student in my class today spent so much time grooming that I snapped, “For goodness sake get a haircut that you can maintain, instead of that old man comb over!” I didn’t mention the oily hair and dandruff… yet.

Later,  an email popped up on my laptop asking teachers to request that the pop up student hair dressing activities taking place in the BOYS’ toilets please cease as the cleaners are getting tired of sweeping up hair!

Teachers were also to ask students not to spray deodorants in confined spaces as some students have allergies. It was a perfect opportunity on a 34C spring day to inform my students that deodorant and perfume were not, and never would be, a substitute for a daily shower. They looked aghast at my comments.

I may not win teacher of the year, but damn it felt good.