Creative 101: They gave me flowers

I like to write opening paragraphs to the great Australian novel. Just opening paragraphs, never accomplished the novel; well, not yet,anyway.

They gave me flowers


They gave me flowers the day my father died. They had taken him from me, and they thought that a bouquet of pale pink roses and baby’s breath would sage my emotions. My hatred.

It took me five years, but I got my revenge. The day I snapped those handcuffs on them, and pushed them towards the cells, I knew my revenge was complete.


I was wrong.

The Bully Mistress


I think I have been blooded as a teacher, if such a thing is possible. Metaphorically speaking, of course, though I would’t have minded spilling some blood.

Having quiet a pleasant lesson with my year 7 class on Friday, when one student announces that a student absent that day has created an online chatroom titled that the subject “sucks” (no doubt spelt sux, knowing the particular student, a  twelve year old, girl). By extension I therefore sucked.

Another student replies, “Did you see my comment?” Followed by three of the loveliest girls in the class declaring “I deleted it instantly”. I didn’t make a fuss, merely carried on working as it is best not to make an issue and give the matter legs.

Afterwards, I forward it to the Bodies That Be, and asked them to have a conversation with said student about the decisions she was making and the consequences of her own behaviour.

IT followed it up, students were pulled from class for assistance in passwords and access and it appears that the chat room has had it name changed and been shut down.

No doubt, the absent leader of the pack was alerted, and I hope will suffer a long anxious weekend waiting for Monday to arrive and her return to class.

This type of thing happens to many teachers at some stage. It is so easy these days when parents don’t instil the right values in their children. What puzzles me though, the girl in question is not one I have really had issues with. In fact, I have gone out of my way to assist her with technology issues throughout the term. Yes, she can’t handle simple things like remembering her password, but she can set up a chat room! I guess, I must have taught her something!

There are boys in the class who are almost uncontrollable, and other subject teachers are having the same problems as I, so it is not really my teaching or pedagogy in particular. I can only surmise that she is trying to fit in, or be Queen Bee.

I am not angry, I am more disappointed than anything. We have had a major problem with bullying in years 7-9 this year. I think because helicopter parents have created narcissistic kids with no moral compass. When the school approaches parents to try to work with them and the student, the parents push back and try to bully the school! Students continually attempt to bully teachers, and are ruining lives in the process.

I also feel so sorry for those students, who do the right thing, have that moral compass, for they get short shifted because of the time and energy directed towards the difficult students.

So Little Queen Bee, will be welcomed warmly back into my class next week, and we may just have an entire lesson on cyber bullying, with a very fine example of chat room bullying and “mean” girls.

loaves, fishes and a morsel of bread

vintage aladies

We ladies who lunch, did lunch. Previously, I mentioned that if I ordered a glass of wine, they would order water, if I ordered dessert, they always seemed to refrain.

This outing, I ordered a main course, and they settled on just an entree size.

My meal was delicious. Besides, I am convinced they went home hungry and ate vegemite sandwiches.


it’s the lies that always change things forever


I understand incompetence, and I accept decisions that I may not agree with, but the one thing I find very difficult to tolerate is when management lies to me, especially when I sit opposite them at the table.

Today, management lost my respect and my trust. I sat across the table and he, on behalf of they, told me one lie after another. Lies that I was easily able to disapprove. Then, he, on behalf of they, thought waving  possible promotion some time in the future, dependent on someone leaving if it was to be any sooner, would soothe it all away. Did he, on behalf of they, expect to still have my respect when I left the room?

We all make mistakes, and we all fail at times, but to lie is a choice, and I find that very difficult to accept, or to forgive. Respect zero.

I guess it makes the job easier in the long term – care factor in that area now zero.


The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!


Walking across the supermarket car park, I heard a female voice echo from a nearby car.

“He said I needed elocution lessons, so I said, “Fuck off”.”

I hastened my step.


The majesty and grandeur of the English language, it’s the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that ever flowed through the hearts of men are contained in its extraordinary, imaginative, and musical mixtures of sounds.

Professor Henry Higgins: My Fair Lady


Not quite, Dog Crosses Road.


Darcy Doyle

One aspect of living in a rural area is the sense of community that has been created over time; or as Mr FD like to tease me as I was originally a country girl, generations of inbreeding. My mother declares to this day, demented or not, that she and Dad were not related – well, not closely anyway.

People get to know people. Your electrician is my electrician, that sort of thing.

We have a little community magazine, that started life as a weekly paper eons ago, but is now just a little 6 or 8 page magazine filled with local news, photos of garden show participants and the largest vegetable at the local competition. It is like sitting on the deck with an old friend to share a gossip. Important stuff.

This week’s main article was breath taking however. Memorable.

It seems that a local business had need of the help of the local electrician. He assisted working through the night to restore their power. Job completed Sparky locked up, went home and then onto another job. Business owners returned next morning only to discover they needed Sparky’s help again. But alas, he had gone to another job!

The word from his wife was that the route might take him down the main street and right by the business. So ever the need, the Owner wrote a sign with the words “Dan call in!” and plants it on the footpath. Dan being Sparky’s real name – sorry if you thought he was really called Sparky.

Now it gets hilarious here…

Turns out Owner has an employee named Dan who was having the day off. Someone saw the sign and told Day off Dan he was needed at work. So Day off Day gets dressed in his work clothes and presents himself. What a hoot, the wrong Dan!

Yes, that is the kind of community we live in now. The simplicity is just wonderful – quarter page article and photo of the sign complete.


Don’t spoil my day by asking why they didn’t phone Dan on his mobile. Let me live in my Norman Rockwell fantasy a few minutes longer.


it is just a step to the left… or was that right?


I prefer to think it is exhaustion and stress, and not the ageing process or something nastier. Yes, I lost my coffee cup only to find it behind the open screen of my laptop and yes, I lost by detention pad only to find I was holding it.

I thought I had hit the trifecta when I arrived at work, picked up my mobile from the passenger seat and realised that it wasn’t mine. I had picked up Mr FD’s.

That’s ok, I thought. I have a mobile, and he will have mine for the day. No problem. Except another look at the passenger seat and I spy my mobile as well. Oh dear.

I went into my office and sent Mr FD an email telling him not to panic I had his mobile. Next stop was the staff room where I regaled colleagues with my unconscious slight of hand trick that had seen me leave the house with two mobile phones.

Minerva, my erstwhile library assistant, just shook her head. She shakes her head a lot in reference to me. She has made me promise that if I ever leave for another school that I take her with me. I think I make feel better about her own life.

I was a little worried though that I could have lifted an extra mobile without actually being conscious of it, and was wondering if I should book myself into somewhere quiet and sunny for a bit, when I returned to my office and found an email reply from Mr FD.

You don’t have my mobile, you have Son’s. He left it in your car last night when he borrowed your car.

So, I haven’t lost my mind, yet, though it did seem a nice place to be for a moment or two.

Five down, five to go


Friday night, pizza and a second glass of wine.

Half way point of the school term. Five weeks down, five weeks to go.

So over teaching ICT that I could punch a computer monitor in the screen. Teaching the exact same subject three times a week, after teaching it twice a week last term is driving me stark raving mad. I am not getting better at it, I am getting worse as I hate teaching it.

And then, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, gets up and pretends he invented the wheel of ICT by suggesting that all our kids be taught coding. Our kids are being taught coding. It has been in the curriculum ever since Julia Gillard changed the Australian Curriculum, a government Bill Shorten was a member of at that time.  He may be the one I punch out.

I am bored, the kids are bored, and we are all trapped in damn coding together. I think it is putting kids off IT rather that exciting them.

Teachers had professional development for three hours after school one evening. That made it an eleven and a half hour day for me. Tell me again how teachers only work 9-3… and you might be the one I punch out.


Luckily, the PD was interesting. Basically, pop psychology on how to be a positive work place and emotionally intelligent. The pop quiz showed that I am HIGHLY, nay, EXCEPTIONALLY, emotionally intelligent – like who would have ever thought otherwise? (Remember, I am looking for punching material).

The one person who really needed to be told to take a dose of positivity   pretended to be sick and left before the session started. The guy who keeps sitting beside me in all PD!  Not that it can be viewed as all bad, as at least he didn’t sit beside me nay saying everything.

Anyway, if you have to be there, make the best of it was my mantra and I quite enjoyed it. The presenter kept making us change groups, we could never sit next to the same person twice, so we were running around the place carrying chairs, but it was kind of fun. I must have gone too far with all the niceness though, because by the time I got home that night I was suffering from a massive migraine and needed to stay in bed the entire next day. Too much niceness.

Though I suspect the headache was already coming on prior to the PD as that morning I lost my coffee cup and searched all over the library for it, only to find it sitting behind the open screen of my laptop.

Then, I couldn’t find my RTC (detention) pad, and searched all over my office for it, and yes, found it on top of my diary that I was holding the entire time.

It was nice to know I provided Minerva with some entertainment.

Coffee in the park

Enjoyed a coffee in the park with Petite Fille this morning.


Yes, the playground at neighbouring suburb [ cappuccino drinking, professional parents, 1.5 children type of ‘burn]  has a pretend coffee machine in its play area! I can’t really criticise as Petite Fille demanded the froth off her mother’s coffee at breakfast today!

I was gifted breakfast out, another late Mother’s Day celebration.

corn fritter, bacon, mushrooms, relish, poached eggs on sour dough. I drank tea!

corn fritter, bacon, mushrooms, relish, poached eggs on sour dough. I drank tea!

Then it was on to an afternoon concert – rocking it with the toddler set at a Play School concert.

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time

Granny actually made it down to a sitting position on the floor without dislocating anything. Then, Petite Fille decided to sit on Grandma, so more muscles got strained and stretched to accommodate her. We took it to another level leaping and dancing with Teo and Rachel from Play School, with Petite Fille trusting Grandma to save her falling perhaps more than she should have! There were general celebrations all round when Granny could actually rise off the hard, timber floor after the 45 minute concert.

Sitting with Petite Fille on my lap, I looked over at her Mummy sitting on the floor beside me, and remembered that it only seemed a blink of an eye since I had her on my lap at a Play School concert (John and Bettina in those days!). Time passes so quickly, another timely remember to savour every moment.

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone…

Oh,  and I hope I can savour the moment of being able to walk tomorrow morning too!


Birds of a feather

The last couple of mornings, I have taken the end slices of a loaf of bread out to feed the birds. This morning, a rather chilly morning, I sat in my favourite chair with a lovely breakfast cup of tea. Augie Dog, however had other ideas, and after looking through the glass patio door to the garden beyond turned and barked at me.

Augie’s bark is a rare occurrence, and so when he does bark we normally pay attention. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that Augi wanted to go feed the birds. This is not in particular that he loves birds, it is more that it is one piece of bread for Augie, one piece for the birds!

So out we go, expecting the usual magpies and miner birds, but today we were blessed with a Kingfisher



and a dozen or more Scaly Breasted Lorikeets.

scaly-breasted lorikeet

scaly-breasted lorikeet

Terrible name, but so delicate and pretty. Very noisy though! We always know when they are in our garden, for when the flock, often two or three dozen birds, in our trees, their screeching rises above everything else.