Don’t just smell the flowers – make them

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I’ve tried to be more creative this year, professionally and privately.

In the school library, I have tried to make displays that are big and “in your face”, or interactive. Minerva, my erstwhile assistant, and I spent several weeks making large flowers from tissue paper for a “bloom and read” display. It was a big compliment for us when the art department asked for the flowers when we dismantled the display. They will be reused in their arts gala later in the year.

The interesting side bar, or maybe even the most important result, is the change that our flower making brought about in Minerva. In the six years I have worked with Minerva she has always claimed that she has no creativity, no creative abilities or talents. Of course, we all possess “creativity”; what we lack is confidence. Minerva was no different.

The simple act of folding paper flowers, experiencing the joy of creation, and sharing the positive reactions and comments of our community has opened a new mindset for Minerva that was totally unexpected. Now, instead of standing back and watching me create displays she is participating, to the point the she is picking items up off the side of the road to include in our work. She is also taking this mindset into her own life, looking at the world through a different lens.

It really is true that every journey starts with the first step, or in this case, the first tissue flower.

 

 

 

 

 

Mad dogs and Australians

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Well, Augie dog isn’t mad, rather just hot, as we were. We waited until 4pm but it was a 38C summer day, and so it was still more than hot, when Mr FD and I decided to plant some of the shrubs we bought this week.

The next fault in our plan was that where we had decided to plant was right on our front fence; that meant a walk down the hill. Mr FD must garden with Augie, so down we paraded : Mr FD pushing the wheelbarrow with compost and plants, Augie on leash beside him (on leash was we were working next to the road) followed by moi, carrying an assortment of tools and some fish emulsion. Not enough tools, as we soon realised that the ground was not only hard but had long established tree roots crisscrossing the area. A crow bar was needed.

It couldn’t be found in the shed, so Augie and I walked back up the hill to ask Son if he had any idea of its whereabouts. So that pulled Son into our adventure, much to his dismay.

I commenced pruning some of the nearby trees while the gentlemen dug holes, but I had to admit defeat as I became seriously breathless – the respiratory issue. Admitting defeat, I walked slowly back to the house, leaving the gentlemen to their endeavours.

When they returned, soaked in perspiration and heat exhausted, I was ensconced in air-conditioned comfort, cold drink in hand. Son had been bitten  inside his shoe by an ant- he is allergic to insect bites, so that meant antihistamines. Honestly, there was no nefarious plan on my part…

Mr FD has plans to finish the planting and to mulch the area tomorrow. It is expected to be 40C tomorrow. Son has already said not to speak to him.

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first, peel your banana

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Bananas don’t last long in the extreme Australian summer heat. Five were dying in our fruit bowl this morning. Mr FD manned up and added two to his lunch time salad, but two from five still left three. I decided to make the two ingredient cookies my granddaughters love (2 bananas : 1 cup rolled oats, bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes) . Except somehow I never manage to follow the recipe correctly – this time not quite enough rolled oats in the pantry- and so I topped up with muesli!

Earlier this morning I had noticed all the New Year Resolution posts popping up online. This year’s resolution for me was to be creative and I have given myself a 9 out of 10 for that resolution. Not quite a 10 because sometimes I am too lazy to do anything but sit and mindlessly flick through Facebook or mindlessly resort to old habits! By creative, I don’t just mean “arty”, I also mean trying too look at a world with a design mind – seeking new uses for things, being innovative in my life as well as creative. I am happy with what I achieved overall though.

Looking at the sad bananas in the fruit bowl, I though that maybe 2017 could be the year to work on food waste. We buy so many vegetables and fruits that just wither and rot in our refrigerator. Much of this is due to the fact that I have great plans for the week, but as each day passes and I get tired and the school work piles higher, I resort to pulling in for takeaway at night rather than even think about making a simple meal.  Bad girl!

Looking at it creatively, trying to minimise food waste also means that I am planning our shopping better – maybe even save money in the process. We will certainly eat better meals, and that will impact positively on my health, which we all know needs all the help it can get!

Mr FD  in recent weeks has become quite the hand at the barbecue, so if I  plan meals around that to start with, I can’t see how we can’t prosper. I have a slow cooker to use in colder months. It also continues on my 2016 creativity resolution, which makes me self-pleased. I am feeling superior already.

So, that’s it, folks – my resolution for 2017 is to reduce food waste in our home. Good for me, my family, the community and the planet. What’s not to love?

Just going to tell Mr FD what his first resolution for 2017 is…

 

 

 

Yes, I think it was today, or maybe it was yesterday

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Mr FD and I ventured our into the summer heat to visit a new garden nursery in our area. As soon as we entered I felt sadness, as it is obvious that this venture has a slim chance of being a success. The centre has only been open three weeks, but already the plants look neglected.

Anyway, we soldiered on, determined to support a new local business, and chose three native grevillea shrubs, two native ground covers and some potting mix. The shrubs were obviously thirsty, so once home,  I sat them in a seaweed/fish mix for a couple of hours. Mr FD has promised to dig a couple of holes in the garden tomorrow, before the heat returns

Earlier this week, I was pruning a shrub on the boundary line. It was hanging over onto our neighbours drive, but as there is no fence, I was easily able to cross over to prune it. I cut a large section from the middle of the shrub and was trying to tug it out when the neighbour appeared. He offered to help me, and proceeded to give the branch a tug. Suddenly, he jumped backwards, releasing his grip on the branch. Something, possibly a bee or wasp, had bitten him on the lip.

Instead of going into his house for first aid, he whips out his mobile and calls his wife. He was about 10 meters from his door! His wife dutifully appeared with ice wrapped in a tea towel.

So I was trapped having to be nice. I had to stand and make small talk as he iced his lip, just in case he went in shock or something. Who said gardening was relaxing?

Mr FD, who had been further up mulching the prunings, decided he should find out what all the high society was about. Upon hearing of the misadventure, his only remark to our injured neighbour was, “Didn’t I tell you she is a dangerous woman!”

Just as dangerous he may yet find out.

 

Oh my, you did, didn’t you?

Well, America, you certainly did it. How could you do this to all of us?

 

I have always laughed at those preppers with their millions cans of beans and bottled water, but I am starting to feel like I should start putting my shoulder to the shovel to dig a fall-out shelter into the side of our hill. One thing for sure, I have promised myself to stop following the political media and much of the news for my own health and sanity.

 

I just can’t believe it – Trump? Really, that was the best you could do?

 

Ever since Bush2 dragged Australia into his global fights I have argued for Australia to stop following so meek and mildly into every American bully fest. The time is overdue for us to cut some ties now. Australia needs to stop trying to punch above its weight on America’s soiled coat tails.

 

Perhaps young middle class women don’t realise how hard the fight was to get them the freedom they trashed yesterday by voting for Trump. We, mothers, have failed to instil in our daughters how easy privileges and rights can be taken away.

 

My argument has been for a while now, that there has been too much change in our generations and many people just can’t keep up with the momentum. They are frightened and exhausted. A demigod who promises a return to what they think were “the good old times” is a salve to their dispirited world view.

 

I just can’t believe all this is happening

 

 

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I am really finding it difficult to drag myself through this day. Unexplained, unexpected, feelings of exhaustion swim over and through my body. I want to lay my head on my pillow, but instead I am hiding in my glass walled office reading book reviews in the Washington Post.

Minerva, whose husband is a bus driver, has just read online that a bus driver has been doused and set alight in Brisbane. It is not her husband, she has rung to check, but she is none the less, rather emotional. This incident, coupled with the four tragic deaths this week at Dreamworld, has made everyone reflect on mortality.

Mr FD visited a friend from high school this week. The friend has vascular dementia and substitutes odd words for the words he can no longer remember. Friend’s wife took Mr FD to task for not visiting when we moved to Brisbane in 2002. According to wife, “he was very upset” that we did not visit. Mr FD is now upset that he did not visit. The thing is, I don’t remember an invitation to visit. We sent a card and a letter every Christmas; they replied with a card, though no details of health, happiness or family. If we did not visit them, they did not visit us. When do the actions of one become somehow worse, more unforgivable, than the matching behaviour of another? Do they get the moral high ground because now he has an illness? Life has too many complications and rules.

Our Senior students have about three weeks of school left until graduation. One of my students has applied to join the elite engineers’ unit in the military – the ones that find the bombs. Why, I asked. “Someone has to do it miss, so why not me?” I argue that if no one joined the army then there could be no war, but he stares back at me like I have just proclaimed I have seen an alien. His father died two years ago, his mother has only him and his sister. How can you do that to her? I ask. What I am really saying is, how can you do this to me? I know I will watch all news reports for his name for a very long time. These kids slip into your heart.

During home class, my little family of students cluster close to my desk. They are like a little litter of puppies rolling around and near me, even the seniors. I would not be surprised if one curled into my lap one morning. Today, my army bound student sat at my elbow, as we discussed life’s lighter moments. How can you make such decisions at this age, boy? How can we allow them to make life and death decisions at this age? I want to tell him he can’t do it, but I merely ask, again, whether he has been given the date for his induction. No. Time to change his mind. Time to make him realise that life is too precious, that things happen to people, and – but he won’t will he? When we are young we think these things always happen to someone else, don’t we? Untouchable. Mistaken.