some need to be toppled off the throne of self, my dear,

revenge tumblr_mxckhw7GGi1qaobbko1_500

Would you like to know what kind of day I had? That is not really a question, because you are going to find out whether you want to or not.

Actually, today started yesterday.

Yesterday, Minerva checked her desk calendar and remembered that she was going to an all day workshop. I had chosen for her to go, for in three years she has not undertaken any professional development, and I knew that this particular PD was in an area where her knowledge and skills were lacking. Minerva was not happy. Minerva it seems finds being nice for any prolonged length of time just as exhausting as I do, and she decided I was going to suffer for suggesting that she move out of her comfort zone of the circulation desk for one day.

So, she harrumphed about the library all day, until I said “look, if you really, really don’t want to go, then don’t go” but she knew that she needed to go, and so she just harrumphed in a more passive aggressive way. Even the carrot of a day in air-conditioning on a 32C day was not enough to lighten her mood. In the end I just ignored her but not before saying in my own passive aggressive way, “I know note to self, never ask Minerva to do something she doesn’t want to do”. I knew she would be quite comfortable, and would actually enjoy the day if she allowed herself. Heck, I go solo to 8 or 10 of these kinds of days every year, even in other states!

As Minerva was going to be absent, and I was teaching three periods, but at least teaching in the library, I sent an email out alerting the teaching staff to the times, and that the circulation desk would be closed.

Except I didn’t count on the art department sending students down to collect old newspapers for the art room. Oh, and the deputy principal sent a student down to borrow a book “urgently”. So while I was within eyesight of my class, but not earshot, three students decided to go for some joint bullying.

Bullying has a weird hierarchy at our school. The white kids bully the African kids and the African kids bully the indigenous kids. Oh and everyone dislikes the New Zealanders and the South Africans. In this case it was two African kids bully an indigenous kid. Apparently this situation has been going on for a couple of weeks in a number of classes, but I was unaware until I returned and saw the indigenous student sitting with his head bent over his laptop.

I walked over to ask if he needed help and that is when I noticed tears running down his cheeks. I asked him to walk over to another area, as my intention was to speak to him to find out what his issues were, when he just ran. Luckily I was able to see that he ran to the Responsible Thinking Room, where I knew the teacher in charge would speak with him. I rang through to tell them what I knew.

The two boys said he was bullying them, but a quiet girl sitting nearby said they had been teasing the boy by saying he looked at “gay porn” on his laptop. I wanted to thump both of them, but knew the process would start and they would be “handled”. Sure enough, not long after they were pulled from class for a “discussion with consequences”.


I had one more class with my gifted and talented English students, a very short, rapid 30 minutes. Three senior students suddenly appeared in the middle of the class and said that they had been sent by their teacher to get a particular DVD. Three students mind you, for one DVD. I told them to go back and tell the teacher that I was in class and could not help. Back they went, but only minutes later, an office admin from another section appears to say that the teacher had phoned her to ask her to help find the DVD.

We lock the DVDs away as teachers have a way of borrowing without permission and never returning, so Minerva and I are the only ones with keys. So it amounted to another disturbance. Office admin noted  that the teacher had never spoken kindly to her until that moment. At this stage I was starting to boil.

If a teacher requires a resource I believe they should come before school, or in one of the breaks and borrow it, not plan on the way to the classroom and send students for the resource to waste half the class time; so that made me angry too.

I looked on the catalogue and the DVD had been borrowed by another teacher. Office Admin went to tell teacher. Then Office Admin and the three students return as teacher had asked her to select something else for them to watch! Yeah, well planned lesson, right.

I went ballistic and told the students to return to their classroom as the whole process was interrupting my class. There would be no further conversation or help.

Of course, after all that, I had lost any hope of engagement with my students, and felt like making an official complaint, but was wise enough just to vent later in an email to Minerva at her PD. It wouldn’t have been the first complaint against her. [Long term readers may remember the anecdote of the teacher who complained loudly that no one gave her an engagement card when she became engaged last year. It is about a third marriage. SAME TEACHER]

Minerva asked if I now missed her, and complained that I should have warned her the air-conditioning was so cold so she could have taken a cardigan.

Stick list, all round.



“We all of us need to be toppled off the throne of self, my dear,” he said. “Perched up there the tears of others are never upon our own cheek.”
― Elizabeth GoudgeThe White Witch

calling no more

We woke this morning to the news that Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) of Ghostbusters fame has passed away at the age of 69. I feel as though an old friend, or a kind but not seen too often uncle, has died.


For you see, when SON was three and four years of age, the Ghostbusters movies were at their height. While his sisters were at school, he would watch the movies on video over and over again. He had all the action figures, and a ghost busting gun that shot foam projectiles at imaginary ghosts while he searched for ectoplasm. His world was ghostbusters to the extent that his grandmother sewed him a little ghostbusters costume, a pair of overalls, that he would wear day in day out and just like a favourite sookie rug could only be washed when he was asleep at night. I still have then, faded, the hem marks a reminder of how he grew along with his imagination.

When he started kindergarten, he signed all his paintings, EGON, the first word he learnt to spell! His kindergarten teacher asked me one day if Egon was his middle name.

Son was going to grow up and be a scientist. He said he was going to build a big house for himself, and another house, behind his for me (I have no idea if his father came into the equation! Some things are better not to ask!)

On summer holidays at the beach, we heard on the radio that the ghostbusters car was touring and would be on show in our area that afternoon. The excitement of our little boy as he got to see the “real” ghostbusters car, is a lasting memory.

Eventually he outgrew his overalls, and ninja turtles replaced ghostbusters, but there for awhile we knew exactly “who you gonna call.”

R.I.P. Harold Ramis. Thank you for making one little boy’s imagination take flight.

A Day to remember, but would rather forget

There was once a little girl named Petite Fille, and she lived with her Mummy and Daddy in Australia where little babies learn to swim when they are very tiny. Petite Fille had also just spent a week on holiday at the beach swimming in the ocean and in the resort pool. Oh, she loved to swim.

Petite Fille also has a glamorous and unique Grandmother named Flamingo Dancer, but that is a story for another day.

One day, Petite Fille’s Mummy and Daddy decided it was time to take her to a church to be baptised. Her Mummy bought her a new dress, which was long and white, with lots of tulle. She looked very beautiful.

Her grandparents were there to witness the moment, and her Aunty and Uncle, to be her godparents. It was a bright sunny day and everyone was excited.

In the church was a baptismal font. It was a very, big baptismal font. In fact many called it HUGE.

font 2

And that is when the trouble started.

When Petite Fille saw the bubbling water in the font, she wanted to touch it. So her Mummy leant her over to touch the water…and then Petite Fille wanted to jump in the baptismal font and swim about like she did at swimming lessons.

She cried, and squirmed, wriggled and reached as she made every effort to dive into that font.

font 1

Eventually her Mummy rolled her onto her back and the nice Priest (just don’t stand too close to the nice Priest dear…but that is also a story for another day) poured water over her forehead. That was so much fun that Petite Fille wanted to do it again. So, she threw herself backwards in her Mummy’s arms trying to get more water on her forehead. And again.

After what seemed a long time, but was in fact only a short time, the baptism was over. Petite Fille went home for a nap, and while she napped her Grandma,Grandpa and Aunty went to a coffee shop to drink coffee to settle their nerves.


The morale to this story – baptise your children when they are very tiny, and well before they start to swimming lessons!

The icing on the cake

Consider it the First Birthday party to top all First birthday Parties. The bar has been set.

It was a lovely celebration for our Petite Fille, who arrived fashionably late after a morning nap. The party was hosted by her other Grandmother, The City Grandma, which suited us so well, as the chaos and destruction at party’s end was all hers. (We did remember our manners in time, though nap time beckoned after so many hours of being nice, and remained behind to assist with righting the mess.)

Even Petite Fille’s new little twin cousins, now four months old, came and despite their best efforts at being cute and cuddly twin boys, didn’t steal her thunder. Not that she would have allowed that to happen, she is my granddaughter after all! I can never work out cousin relationships, I mean the boys are the children of Mr RD niece, so does that make them third cousins? Once people start talking first cousins once removed I get totally lost, as it sounds too much like a mathematical equation, and as we all know this teacher librarian does not do math.

Petite Fille has never eaten sugar, her father the food technologist rather dedicated to a no sugar lifestyle for her, so when she got to eat her birthday cake her face lit up. She was allowed seconds.


I teased her Daddy that it was all over now, she was obviously a sugar addict, but her ensuring pig out on fruit put paid to that theory pretty soon.

So birthday season is open in the Flamingo Dancer household. Son’s birthday is next Friday. He is somewhat older than one, but a cake is still on the menu. His eating style may be much the same though!



It was a bad day, at the end of a long, hot, bad week. I emailed Daughter2 that I just wanted to survive the next couple of days. D2 made a remark wondering what life might be like in twenty years for me.

“I shall have alzheimer’s and sit on a chair while everyone runs around doing everything for me,” I replied. “And I am going to say f*ck it! to everything and everyone that annoys me. You will all think it is the dementia with a touch of tourettes, but I will really mean it.”

“I will know, and I may wash your mouth out with soap” D2 emailed back.

“Then I shall go on YouTube and tell the world how you treat a poor old lady…”

In my old age I shall be formidable as always!

Ladybird, ladybird, stay awhile

Tomorrow is Petite Fille’s first birthday party, though her actual birthday is Sunday. Sunday she is being baptised (yes, it has taken a little time for her Mummy and Daddy to organise things). Can you believe it is a whole year since our granddaughter was born?  It does remind me how quickly time passes, yet again.

Petite Fille is having a Ladybird birthday party with all her Mummy and Daddy’s friends and their children, as well as all the babies from her play group. Her Aunty, Daughter2 is flying home from Perth, not just for the party, but to be godmother next day. Son is to be godfather. (Her Daddy is an only child so no family to choose there). More cake, and Sunday her actual birthday is when we will give her our gifts.

Daughter1 has asked their friends not to buy Petite Fille any gifts, as she already has so much, rather to bring a plate of food for lunch, which makes things much easier. I am in charge of the cake.

In the past, I made all sorts of cakes for our children, but it has been a few years now, and as there are so many people coming to the birthday party, I didn’t feel all that confident. Luckily, I was able to find a woman who lives in The Village, who makes and decorates cake, and for just $70 (compared to $240 in Brisbane) she baked an egg free, nut free cake, and decorated it as well.

First Birthday 2014

Now I just have to get it to Brisbane in one piece!

I see that you are so funny

Mr FD thinks he is very funny. A few years ago we were discussing buying a new car, and for some reason he started talking about a yellow car. “Eminently practical” he declared, “A good safety colour”.

“In your dreams, ” I replied.

So we roll up for the demo drive and the salesman rolls out a yellow demo car. Ha Ha, Mr FD, you are so funny. Just by chance there had been a yellow car on the lot and so he had arranged for it to be presented on the day. We bought neither that make, or colour in the end. Note to salesmen, don’t side with Mr FD.

Today, he had an appointment to get new eye glasses. He has two eyes, so I don’t listen to his moaning about blurry vision very often, and I didn’t this time either, until I received an email at school asking if I had the health care card. He needed it to access the rebate on new glasses.

For weeks, ever since we changed health funds I have been “reminding” him to request a second card, which he finally did, two days ago! So, our only card in my purse, I had to run out between classes, wait ten minutes in 35C heat on the street, as he was ten minutes late and hand him the card.

glasses big

I was already home when he returned, sporting the worst pair of grandpa eye glasses I have ever seen. I thought I would be diplomatic, but I failed I just gaped and then burst out laughing. Big, thick bifocals. He acted so proud, but I started to suspect something was afoot when he didn’t get a little annoyed at my laughter, for usually when I ridicule his choice, which is almost daily, he gets a little, shall we say, annoyed. Not that his reaction stops me in anyway. Bad taste has its own punishment.

Also, no one gets a pair of glasses delivered in one afternoon. In the end, he admitted that he had enlisted the optometrist in his evil plan. They had given him a pair of glasses that were designated for charity (you know, you donate your old glasses to be sent to some third world country. I always donate mine and wonder if some poor two eyed person winds up with them wondering why the lens in one side is so dodgy) so that he could stir me a little (stirring the lizard, Mr FD calls it).

Mr FD has dreadful taste in clothing fashions, and all manner of things and I usually don’t trust him out alone, so for a few minutes I did think what a waste of money as those glasses are going right back to the store, but there you go, ha ha ha, big joke.

Anyone want him?

P.S. The glasses will be going back to the charity box, but they are so ugly I am not sure that is doing anyone a service.

that does not compute


I know a lot of things. I am a teacher librarian, it is my job to know a lot of things, or to know how to find out information about a lot of things. So, why then is it that the area that I am asked the most questions about in the library is mathematics?

I see a student in the library, and as soon as I draw within speaking distance, they ask me for help. I get so excited when someone asks for me assistance. They love me, they really love me.

“Do you know physics, Miss?”

“No” sigh.

“Do you know polynomials and rational expressions, Miss?”

Do I look as though I know polynomials and rational expressions is what I want to ask, but I settle for, “I have an arts degree, my teaching areas are English and History.” Sigh.


“No, but I can tell you about the major causes of World War One!” I say, hoping to find some middle ground, some slither of information I can pass on.

“I don’t take history, Miss.”

“You read though, don’t you?”


Yeah, they love me, they really love me. In my dreams.



Most mornings I toast two slices of bread for my breakfast, and another slice for Augie Dog. Let us not go into how and why this morning ritual has become a habit, it would no doubt not favour me.

I pop my slices into the four slice toaster on either side, and then Augie’s slice goes at the far end. The moment that slice is designated to be Augie’s it becomes as if he has already touched it in some manner. It gets buttered separately to mine, and cut into quarters. If someone asked me to eat it, I would probably be ill, as in my mind it is Augie’s, the toast of a dog.

It is the same margarine that I eat, the bread treated in every way exactly as I prepare mine, touched by my hand only, but my mind considers it Augie’s toast, and Augie’s toast it is. He likes it best when I spread peanut paste on it too.

Nothing unusual about any of that is there? That is not a question requiring an answer, by the way.

bath of surprise

meditation 14

Well, I have to hand it to the slithery little sods, they appear to have a taste for the finer things in life. I walked into the bathroom this morning to take a shower and found another snake; in the spa bath. A quick exit and down the hall way I sprinted calling to Mr FD and Son.

They declared it a tree snake, and a young one. Kin no doubt to the one despatched in the hallway earlier this week. Son brought in a leaf rake and balanced it on that until he was able to set it free further down the property. He and Mr FD totally ignored my demands to “kill, kill, kill” from the patio where I had retreated with Augie Dog.

I argued my point with a hysterical biology lesson as to how one snake meets another snake and next thing we have many snakes, but Mr FD tried to pretend he thought it “cute”. I know he was just doing it to torment me and he shall pay long and hard for his misbehaviour…

Not sure if the snake had been coming out of the spa jets, or just heading towards one, I decided to fill the tub to flush out any possible companions out. I kept watch as the water rose over the jets, not sure what I would do if something did appear. No doubt another sprint down the hall, at the very least!  Nothing appeared, so I took a very fast and very nervous shower.

I was joining my sister for lunch, and the very first thing I did was order a glass of wine to soothe my rattled nerves. My stress was not alleviated by the text I received from Daughter2 who relayed a message from her boyfriend that snakes often get into the roof and slither on down. Comforting thought that no doubt will stay with me through the midnight hours, waiting for snakes to fall from the ceiling onto my head!

Yeah, sweet dreams, right.