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.

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.

the black trunk and the story it held within

theatre couple

Mr FD and I drove to the city to attend the theatre. Daughter2 had given us tickets to the Lion King which opened recently in Brisbane. It was a matinee, because we no longer pretend that we enjoy going out at night, especially as we now live an hour drive from the city.

theatre lunch

We arrived early enough to have a lovely lunch. I had pumpkin gnocchi with confit mushroom, thyme butter sauce and Pecorino Romano, while Mr FD partook of the seafood and saffron risotto with salmon, calamari, prawn, clams and lemon infused olive oil; both were delicious.

A joint decision was made that we would visit the bathroom before finding our seats. Mr FD of course waltzed right in, while I joined the tail end of the ladies’ line. I was still four from the front of the line when he reemerged. It was only as one reached the front of the line that a sign could be read: “There are only two toilets here. There are 9 on the next floor and 22 on the floor above that.” It would have been nice to have the sign where one commenced standing on line, not as one walked into the toilet!

Our seats were 14 and 15. The issue was that the seats went 14, 13, 16… It was wisely decided that as long as we were all happy a seat was a seat.

I adored the costume design, and the incredible voices. At times so much was happening on stage that I didn’t know where to look!  Incredible puppetry by the actors too.

As it was school holidays and a matinee, there were a large number of children present, naturally. During the performance, when Simba tries to wake his father  Mufasa, who has just died, he calls out, “Daddy!” and a small voice was heard from the audience echoing, “Daddy!” It was such perfect timing, a star was born!

After the performance, we sat out the car park rush with a coffee, before our trip back to the country. The barista, who had served us our lunch, remembered me as I ordered coffee and welcomed me back.  Of course he remembered me, I am unforgettable!


They wouldn’t allow cameras during the performance, so I have photos of the Brisbane CBD skyline to share. Blue sky, spring day.

Brisbane CBD skyline

Brisbane CBD skyline


Brisbane CBD skyline 2


This is the parkland, adjacent to the theatre, QPAC, Brisbane

This is the parkland, adjacent to the theatre, QPAC, Brisbane


“I AM the current curator of the black trunk and the stories it holds within.”
― Hope Barrett, Discovering Oscar

Blow, blow, blow the wind down.


It is not a night for either Flamingo Dancer or Augie Dog to be out. The westerly winds are howling around the house, and moaning through the trees in the garden. I pity anyone who has to leave there cosy homes tonight.

On the drive home the wind made continual effort to push my car into the new lane and it was quite a tussle at times to keep it on a straight course. It is a long time since I have experienced such strong winds. Tucked in bed with a nice cup of tea and my laptop I am a happy little homesteader.

First week of term completed. First week without our former leader. Someone commented today that the school hasn’t skipped a beat since he left. Also that everyone seemed more, well, authentic and at ease. The underlying stress and pretence has evaporated. We have an acting principal arriving on Monday who will be with us until the end of the year as they were unable to find a suitable replacement. I think this principal might be a “try and buy”.

By a quirk of circumstance, I know Mr Acting, as he was the deputy at the girls’ college our daughters attended in the 90s. He is a nice man and easy to approach so that augers well. However he has spent his career at girls schools, so I am sure our co-ed school will be quite a change for him, along with the issues our indigenous and pacifika students bring!

The down side of this week is that following the classroom vandalism over the holidays, someone has taken to throwing rocks and keying cars, along with breaking into them and stealing whatever they desire. They have done this to both teachers’ cars and to student cars. Our kids are not rich and those cars are often earned with a lot of hard work and assist them to get to their after school jobs which often assist their families, so it is a low blow. I heard on the grape vine that a parent may have taken a photo of the person or persons doing the vandalism. I certainly hope so.

Only nine weeks to the next vacation break!

Friday on my mind

bed fd

Friday night, rain falling outside, and I am in my favourite place – my bed. A quiet day for a Friday, except for being summoned to a “special announcement” by the Principal this morning where upon he announced his resignation. He is heading north for a big promotion. I know it is sometimes proven to be “better the devil you know” but honestly, not too many real tears will be shed. Of course, we pretended to be shocked and stunned, well we were to a degree for only a couple of months ago he announced to us all that he was going to stay another five years and he loved us so much. Yeah sure…


Minerva is off on a Ladies Weekend, drunkingly howling at the moon by now I estimate (she works a nine day fortnight and so today is her regular day off). She has been texting me all day with roadside updates as they ate their way across country to their destination. I expect her to woman the circulation desk under the darkness of sunglasses on Monday. No one knows how to truly party, like a long married fifty something woman!


I am so ticked off with our Prime Minister and the budget the just brought down, that while ill I emailed letters of dissent to the PM, the Treasurer and our local member of parliament, who sadly is one of his political persuasion. I know it won’t change a thing, but it made me feel better to voice my opposition. Not that I ever voted for them in the first place. No death threats so I don’t expect to be hauled off any time soon, though we are turning into such a police state anything is becoming possible. The Not So Lucky Country these days.It was a first though, as I have never written a letter of protest to a politician before. Is that one for a bucket list of some sort?


We are running a competition in our Library in which the students are asked to take a selfie (a good Australian word) whilst holding a book. They don’t have to actually read the book, just pose with it. The prize is a tablet worth almost $200. I stupidly thought that this would be one competition sure to have us inundated  with entries. Two weeks in and we have received three. Lots of emails asking for confirmation on details of the prize, or to ask what other prizes are also offered (iTunes vouchers) but no avalanche of selfies. A couple of emails asking if they can just take a photo of a book, or their pet reading a comic. One student asked if he could read a magazine in his photo. It is a worry, people. They are so apathetic. It appears the prize is not good enough (!) or taking a selfie and emailing it is too much effort for them.  Gosh, back in my day, yes my day, we would have lined up to win a block of chocolate! Another ten days to competition drawing so I guess we will hang out for last minute interest.


Sleep tight.

eating my words?

Reading one of those “ten ways to start your novel” by some “best selling author” that I have never heard of, is my tried and true way to procrastinate about actually writing that novel that I have waiting to write since I was twelve years old. I guess it is the modern equivalent of tidying a desk, choosing the right paper and lining the pencils up, all nicely sharpened. Busy Business that gets me nowhere.


However, at the end of the authors web page was an advertisement for statins. If high cholesterol is a requirement for being a successful author, I am an over achiever in that area.


Which reminds me, this was the delicious salad that Daughter1 created for our ANZAC Day lunch – spinach, roasted beetroot and pumpkin, chickpea and goat’s cheese with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Superb.

salad ANZAC

Curse of the Turtle

It didn’t take long for the turtle curse to evolve. I awoke with back pain on Wednesday, struggled through the day at work, trying to access trigger points by angling my back against wall edges (you know, those sharp angles where two walls join; there is probably a name for them, but in my brain they are wall edges, the sharp end of the wall that hurts, except for when you want them to hurt and then they do nothing) but naught helped. I drove home and went to bed. I did not go to work Thursday, which is still technically today.

May I make note that on my drive home, I noted no evidence of dead turtle upon the road, which could mean several things. One, it was forever erased by the passing of many tyres. The most probable. Or it crept away to die in the great turtle dying lands. Or the version I prefer, it was okay and dandy and went on its way after a slight fright and bump from my car. The curse that befell me belies that though, if one is the believer of curses, as I was not, until I drove over a turtle and woke with a sore back.

Not that I haven’t had a sore back before. I have, many times. Perhaps it is better not to become to carried away with the metaphysics of it all, and just say that it was the day that was.

I spent a disconnected day lying in my bed, snoozing. I did watch a movie I had taped some time earlier, Ruby Sparks; selected for the only reason that I recognised it from a book title we have in the library and I thought therefore I should check it out. One of those improbably romantic movies where a writer’s character comes to life, then really comes to life to live happily ever after. I enjoyed it. It met all my requirements – a happy ending. My movies must have happy endings, or I spend days ruminating in gloom, even though I know it is, or was nothing but creative fiction. There is enough unhappiness in the real world, I don’t need it in my moments of escapism.

So, I watched the movie, ate the fish and chips that Mr FD sourced for us, and fell back to sleep. The television was on as I slept, and somehow it became intertwined with my sleep and I remember waking and thinking that was a great dream; I need to remember that dream, but full consciousness wiped it from my memory instantly. Maybe there never was anything to remember at all. Maybe it was Ruby Sparks.

anzac day

Tomorrow, Friday is ANZAC Day, which is our memorial day for all those lost in futile wars when we tell ourselves we must never forget, and yet we never stop going to war. Our government announced the purchase of new war planes this very day. Cut the pensions of the retired, make us all work until we are 70 or beyond, but spend billions on war planes. What a perfect world. And yet we lay wreaths of poppies every year and say “Lest we forget”.

My wing is starting to pain, so I shall cease my deep and meaningful and wish you all a good day. We are barbecuing with Daughter1, Mr Boy and Petite Fille, and my sister who I shall always adore. She is the good heart, I the evil. No doubt I shall sit back on my pillows and pontificate to them as well.


tails of pussy cats and puppy dogs, and rudie nudies.

My sleepover with Petite Fille was extended until Friday morning. It was a busy time with a couple of firsts for me – I bathed Petite Fille for the first time (the bathroom may never be the same, just as well they are renovating in a couple of months) and I got to change my first ultimate and exquisitely pooed nappy (diaper in other climes, we say nappy short for napkin). I had been lucky on the nappy front changing many wet ones, and the slightly dirty one, but this was a bumper crop but some skills never leave you!

First day we played all day. Second day we went shopping and Grandma (me!) came home with a new pair of calf high winter boots, while Petite Fille garnered a cute cuddly soft toy cat, as she is besotted with pussy cats and puppy dogs as one is at that age, and a new board book,  Rudie Nudie. The syntax used is so perfect for a little one.


Third day, Mummy (Daughter1) and Grandma- me had in house massages, an hour of bliss each. Later in the day Mummy had a proper hair cut something she hasn’t managed for a few months! We like to make sure Mummy gets some “her time” when Grandma visits.

Home again to find the Augie Dog wasn’t feeling well and so Mr FD and Son took him to the vet. They did blood and faeces tests, gave him some antibiotics and changed his diet – no more chicken breasts or treats. He is on a dry “prescribed” dog food, and when I cut open the bag it smelled so yummy, I was tempted myself (but not quite enough). He normally won’t eat very much dry food, but he went back three times to his bowl for this one, so we hope it all helps him. He may have irritable bowel syndrome, or whatever the equivalent is for dogs! At least I might have someone who will sympathise when my diverticulitis hits!

On the serious side, please keep the people of far North Queensland in your thoughts and prayers tonight as Cyclone Ita bears down on them It is predicted to hit Cooktown as a category 4 storm at about 10pm Australian time tonight. For friends of GOF, he is not directly in the path but certainly will feel the impact in the next couple of days.  It is going to be a tough few days – this is the storm that smashed the Solomon Islands earlier this week. It was a category five but they think it has weakened  or will weaken near the coast. It must be frightening for the people in its path.

So, one week of vacation over, and WE are well pleased.

we’re all on a summer holiday,

wine glass 1

The big day arrived – school is out for 2013! Friday was a morning of finalising last minute textbook orders, clearing desks and exchanging gifts – so much chocolate I shall thunder through the school gates in 2014 if I consume it!

A few uncomfortable moments of bonding with people I least would have expected, and then off to lunch. It was catered this year by professionals, not by the office staff and so we did not run out of food this year.

In fact it was lovely – baked ham, roast, chicken and an assortment of lovely salads – and not just coleslaw and sad potato salad. There was actually a beetroot salad which I was particularly partial too!

Minerva had maneuvered the day off and so I was solo . I found a seat with the Learning Support team with whom I work with quite a bit, so was very pleased with myself. That is until the Principal thundered onto the seat opposite me, and his young ten year daughter who had already finished school, sat on the chair beside me! Oh no, polite small talk – and I  had  already consumed a good half a plastic cup of white wine!

This is a man with whom I have nothing in common, and with whom I had a clash in the middle of the year… so where to go? Since the “clash” he has never known what to say to me when we have met, usually a short conversation ends in silence, with him flapping his hands by his side for a few seconds before he turns and leaves (I know he is embarrassed, for he was totally in the wrong!).

So, harnessing supreme willpower to keep inside words from escaping outside,  (do not tell the truth, do not tell the truth) I launched into what a marvellous end of the year it had been etc. etc. etc, and he paused his eating long enough to declare that I had “done very well this semester, very, very well”. Thanks to the alcohol I almost teared up – just tired and emotional that’s all…  The Christmas card in my pigeon hole that he had signed stated that I had “shone”.  Nice to end the year on a positive note, but the trust will take longer than that to rebuild. Some people have the public persona of being benevolent, but in all reality they are vicious… and they always end up leaders!

After lunch there were some TWO HOURS of speeches. We toasted everyone, from trainees on work experience, to the deputy principal who is leaving to take up a position as principal. They were toasted with long speeches and then they responded with long speeches.

All this time we are squeezed in at long trestle tables with our necks turned almost to right angels to face the speakers at one end of the staff room. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that we all had neck and head aches by the end and were wishing ourselves far, far away. Squeezed in like sardines no one could slip off to the bathroom or top up empty glasses, so we all ran like gazelles at the conclusion of the last tearful farewell.

A double check of the library that everything electrical was switched off, windows shut tight and I was out to my car, loaded down with books and resources that I have full intention of reading and using for planning over the holidays, and as we all know will probably go untouched until the last few days when panic will set in.

So until January 21 it is open holiday season! May the strength stay with me!

wobbly bits

curious chess

This morning I felt an overwhelming sense of panic and I really had to fight not to lose my plot. Breathe, I told myself. I had three tasks with looming deadlines and my anxiety went into overdrive.

Last night I had halved my sleep medication as I have been feeling more in control and I can’t use the medication for too long. I would rather be off it sooner rather than later, so I thought I was doing myself a favour and decreased the dosage. I slept well, but this morning it was a struggle to face the world.

So, I mentally listed my tasks, knowing that only one should be done today; though if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be the end of my world, despite my catastrophe thinking. I listed them and knew that I needed to stop procrastinating to be less anxious, so my best avenue of recovery was to tackle them. Smart, Flamingo Dancer! In turn, I admitted to myself that there was no way that all three could be completed today, if they were to be done well, so I set myself the goal of completing two, and to work on the third early next week.

When I left work in the afternoon, I had those two tasks completed and forwarded to the stakeholders. I felt a real sense of relief to say the leas!. The third is not due until the 20th so I really shouldn’t be panicking, but anxiety doesn’t allow a quiet mind.

I was going to write, best to get that task completed and off my worry list, but truthfully, I will probably just replace them with another set of worry tasks – such is the anxious mind. I have long ago accepted that and now all I can do is try to calm myself and instead of avoiding the task just set to and do it. Yes, I will be anxious, but I will be less anxious!

I never claimed to make sense!