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

 

 

really, I mean really, they are just a pair of jeans

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

I bought a new pair of jeans and they declared undying love to me.

Well, what they actually “said”, what was written on the label, was:

I don’t want a personal relationship with my jeans. And if they really cared they would accommodate to meet my individual needs such as a muffin top.

I bought a new pair of jeans and they declared undying love to me. Well, what they actually “said” was:

We all need a people and things in our life we can depend on. A friend who’s in it for the long haul . A partner that’s strong and resilient and makes you feel great. … A partner, that just like you, gets better with age.

 

I don’t want a personal relationship with my jeans. And if they really cared they would accommodate to meet my individual needs such as a muffin top.

 

Why do we still say a pair of pants or a pair of jeans when they no longer come in two pieces like Queen Victoria’s bloomers?

 

none so deaf, none so blind

mens group 1

We have a friend, well, actually he is Mr FD’s friend from university days, so he is an “old friend” in many ways. Over the years we have maintained the exchange of Christmas greetings and occasional visits. Now Mr FD and Friend are semi-retired and have more time to use social media and exchange media.

An issue has arisen in that friend, a baby boomer as we all are, has a very binary world focus. This was highlighted recently when on a recent current events panel program on television, a man asked a question about tax cuts and then had to suffer the arrows of the public media as his private life was trashed. He asked one very respectful question to a politician and the hounds went for his throat. Friend was one of the hounds.

It seems that the if you fail in anyway, you must be punished. Everyone must be held responsible for who they are and what they do. It doesn’t matter if you are mentally ill, intellectually impaired, been mentally and physically abused, a member of the Stolen Generation, or any of the myriad other issues that work against children from the minute they are conceived.

Once, Mr FD and I probably would have held a similar opinion, but through the years, education and life experiences we have completely walked away from such a binary paradigm. If generations of your family have been used and abused, if you have been born with foetal alcohol syndrome, if you grew up in abuse and violence, extreme family dysfunction and poverty, can it really be expected that you are going to make all the right decisions in life not to end up on welfare, homeless or with a substance abuse problem?

I am not saying that a murderer shouldn’t be imprisoned. I am asking that a wider lens than black and white be applied. Friend cannot entertain the position we hold and has taken to writing long editorial type sermons on social media casting against our personal views. We have taken the steps of blocking him, sadly.

Mr FD doesn’t have a large number of friends, but he has decided to part from this particular friend, for he finds his opinions and behaviour abhorrent. Obviously friend always had these views but due to the small amount of contact we were able to overlook or tolerate his views through politeness, but now that he airs them daily on social media, and within the inner friendship group, his racist, narrow minded mindset is fully revealed.

If you sit by and say, or do nothing, are you not saying that prejudice is all right? Does it not reinforce postures that destroy individuals and divides society? As I explain to my students if you stand by and do nothing, then you are part of the problem too.

Mr FD has told friend why he can no longer sanction his views, and of course friend then had to make some very personal attacks on Mr FD, even suggesting that Mr FD has severe mental issues (and we all know only I can say that!). Friend just can’t tolerate the idea that someone may not think he is the fountain of all knowledge and that his edicts are incontestable.

My point is, that no matter our age, or what stage of life, we need to reflect on our values and acknowledge that just because we were friends with someone one, doesn’t mean we will always remain so. I think it is important to know our values, to stand by them and to live our lives accordingly. I also refuse to give up hope that one day friend will experience empathy for those who have the harder road in life.

our hearts should gently weep.

lights

An Australian television investigation has brought to public awareness practices within the Northern Territory juvenile justice system that rival Guantanamo Bay at its worst. Youths, mainly indigenous, aged between 10 and 17 have been kept in solitary confinement, stripped naked, thrown about their cells by adult males, hit, sprayed with capsicum spray, and strapped to chairs with spit hoods over their heads when they threaten self-harm. No doubt worse has happened. This has been occurring for years, and politicians and other authorities have been aware. It was only when they television report aired on national television that any action has been taken – the calling of a Royal Commission.

A royal commission is an investigation. At the end of a long series of investigations, testimonies and millions of dollars spent, a series of recommendations will be made that may or may not be enacted.

Once again, I am ashamed to be Australia. We consider ourselves, civilised, higher order thinkers. The depths we plummet to, so routinely, continue to astound me. “Man’s inhumanity to man” expands unrestrained.

These aren’t children who have murdered or raped. They are children from dysfunctional homes who have stolen cars for joy rides or broken into homes for money. Yes, they need to face consequences, but not the total annihilation of their human rights! How could any person think that beatings and fear would ever rehabilitate these children?

Why is it a wrong only when someone else knows about it, though?

All the politicians knew, many of them voted for restraint chairs and hoods, and they thought that was the correct way to treat a child? Now that the general public is aware they are all back paddling as fast as they can and denying they knew, or only half knew, even when there is documentary evidence that they did!

So, between Pauline Hanson with her racist discrimination, and politicians who disregard human rights, Australia is falling itself as a nation. This is not good enough. We need to look within and reflect upon our roles in our nation’s direction. Remember also, that choosing to take no action is a decision to allow things to continue. Think globally, act locally. Do something.

germs, politics, buffoons and general disillusion

red

I’ve been absent, not only from my blog, but from my life for several weeks now. This winter my immune system has taken quite a hit, and I have suffered from a series of upper respiratory infections that have brought me low, physically and mentally. This last weekend I closed the door, dosed myself with everything in the medicine cabinet and slept as much as I could. Today, Monday, I feel a little closer to “me”.

A colleague commented that I have been walking around looking close to death for weeks (true) and that she wondered if she needed to put a heart defibrillator on me, to jump start things again! She also said that she knows when I am back to normal because “you get louder!” I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt on that last comment. I know I can be loud; I am loud when I am happy. I am a loud person. Vocally. Flamingo Loud Dancer. Just don’t say it to my face and expect to survive the experience.

I have one of those year 7 classes (28 students) that are dreadfully immature, and answer every question with “I would kill them,” or “I would punch him in the face,” or “Superman would stop them!” They also think they have the right to chatter all the way through class, even when I am speaking. So, I have been sending streams of students to the Responsible Thinking Classroom to reflect on their behaviour and to write plans for their re-entry to our classroom.

It’s a fine line, because many in the class have ADS and so find being quiet difficult, but at the same time, they can’t interfere with my teaching or the learning of others. It’s not just the ADS students going to RTC, it is a plethora of mainstream students too. I have to be firm to maintain control, but in the meantime I am perceived as a meanie. I don’t think they have got the message yet, and so the stream of exits will continue until they do.

One lesson I kept them outside the classroom for 20 minutes as we went through checking that everyone had their laptop, pencils and paper, and then for everyone to calm down and wait quietly to enter the classroom. We had to wait so long that one student uttered, “But Miss, we want to learn our RE (religion).” No one wants to learn RE. which is most of the problem! So, finally I allowed them through the door, but a couple of boys misbehaved on their walk to a desk, so I pulled the entire class out and started the process again. I explained it to Mr FD as akin to breaking in a horse – you have to whisper to them to bend the spirit a little to maintain control. I don’t yell, scream, nag. I just stand patiently, explaining what behaviour is required until they listen. It’s going to be a very long term with this class.

Peppercorn and her parents are flying to Spain for a month, shortly. I wish they weren’t, due to all the turmoil in Europe right now. I know, we can’t live our lives in fear, but when I think of Peppercorn, who will only be eight months, well, it just makes me terrified. I know also that most of the terrorist attacks have been in France and Germany, as well as Turkey, but that doesn’t mean it will remain so. I want them to have a great time, even though Peppercorn will remember none of the adventure, but at the same time, I want them to remain safe. I just hope the time they are away passes very, very quickly. I shall have to keep busy in their absence. I shall just pretend that they are home in Perth and not across the other side of the world. We are not a very nice world at the moment.

Speaking of which – Donald Trump? Really, America, Donald Trump? He is the best you have right now? He’s a dangerous buffoon at the very least. I wouldn’t put it beyond him to get bored half way through a Presidency, if God forbid he should win, and just walk away from it all; or try to hire consultants to run things in his absence.

We have a dangerous buffoon in Australia. Her name is Pauline Hanson. She preaches hate, racism, bigotry, and all that is evil and she has just been elected to our Senate. For the next 6 years she has a platform to spread hatred. My reasoning is that the Liberal National Coalition (equal to the Republican Party in USA) have tried to control people by spreading fear. They have been so successful in creating fear in the electorate that now we fear anyone and anything that is different. Also, that there has been so much technological change that many people are finding it difficult to cope and this compounded with their general feelings of fear, have caused them to turn to these false “I will fix everything! prophets” Yes, we can all list things that are wrong, but how often do they come up with a sensible, workable solution? Rarely, if ever.

Pauline Hanson makes me ashamed to be Australian. Our previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbott did also. Not that his replacement is much better. This is not the Australia I want my grandchildren to grow up in. I don’t want them growing up in a world where there is a President Trump either, so I will light a candle and hope for Hillary. Social justice is what the world needs now, for the common good. Solidarity people, please.

 

education shouldn’t be about the next election, or how to peck teachers to death

00907_Black-Green-Office-Desk-4_RF_DSC00244

Today is a public holiday in our ever warm state of Queensland. It is May Day, or Labour Day. Last year it was moved to November, because of the political machinations of the previous anti-worker state government. New government and it has been moved back to its rightful place, but the Queen’s Birthday holiday which was in June (despite her birthday being in April) has been moved to November. I gather it was Business who wanted the change as we have all our public holidays in the first half of the year and none in the second half.

Australia is facing a federal election in the next few weeks, so education and teachers are being  used as a political football, as usual. If only the politicians would leave education alone. I am becoming so angry that I feel like becoming an activist, but I have no intention of ruining my own life! Everyone has an opinion about education, but as Professor John Hattie argues, everything works to a degree, even what politicians suggest, but it doesn’t all work with the students or the teachers for the long term good.

Politicians don’t listen to educators, they are just running with the media, and the parents they have panicked, or miseducated in the first place. Teachers want the best for their students, leave education to the experts not the politicians. I know, they won’t listen – never have, never will.

The issue is, no one will want to be in education if everyone keeps picking on the teachers. Stop bullying teachers! Performance pay when you can’t select the students you teach? As though students should have a dollar value over the heads! Teachers forced to teach a curriculum they know is too crowded and too shallow for real learning, that doesn’t equip students for the world they will be living in, and yet we are to be punished if everything fails. No wonder the average career in education is five years (this is my 7th!).

I guess, I am asking that when we hear about testing and standards and performance pay, that we stop and think, and wonder what type of world we want for our children. I don’t think it is this one, and we all need to let our politicians know this. If the “little people” don’t speak up, then they will continue – it is up to us to state our needs and wants, and not let the politicians tell us what we want.

Of course, you could always let me tell you want you need or want!

Bad hair life

orange 1

I must be feeling a little snarky. Actually, I know that I am feeling snarky. Too much social media lately, mainly because I am brain exhausted and seeking to veg out and social media is a mindless filler. Well, most of the time, sometimes there is incredible information on Facebook or whatever and that is what keeps me checking in.

The snarky bit relates to those stupid memes where some dead celebrity os credited with saying someone deep and meaningful which is just not true. Also, the memes where it is declared that pain makes us a better person or appreciate the good times. Bollocks. Pain is neither character building or life enhancing. It just hurts and hopefully we survive it and get on with the rest of our life. Pain is not destiny.

Thursday afternoon, while the hairdresser was cutting my hair, she disappeared for a few minutes. She had cut her finger trimming the previous client’s hair and the band aid was inadequate for the stream os blood. The fresh band aid was soon stained with blood, but she kept on snipping. Lovely. I felt sorry for her, but, well you know, it was my hair!

My doctor is still fine tuning my blood pressure medication. Actually, I think he has lost the plot, but time will prove that to him. I have to monitor my blood pressure twice a day, at home. The sheet of paper I was using filled, so one night I grabbed the first thing I found on my bedside table – a tissue box. Do you think I need to transcribe it before my next visit? I just used the last tissue, so they could file the empty box.

Oh, the other thing that I am testy about, is the number of people pushing iPad apps for children, small children. Literacy and numeracy do not grow from an app. Children need good old fashioned play and adults reading to them, and that gives them the best start in the world. Conversation with their parents, experiences in the real world; not an app pushing a duck around a screen. Technology is why our kids have lost literacy skills. Don’t fall for it, people. Rise up and reclaim your child’s creativity!

Flying to Perth on Saturday for a play date with Peppercorn. My sister asked last Sunday if I had packed my suitcase! I beg your pardon? It is a six day visit to my daughter, who owns a washing machine, in a city. How much packing do I need? It is not an African safari with Dr. Livingstone. No, I am not a trial packer.

Son has completed his second master’s degree and this week is trialling with an IT company in the city. It appears that in I.T you don’t interview for jobs, so much as work with them for a couple of days. I don’t know which is more pressure – a interview or a  trial. SIL though had to have a series of interviews and a psych test, which had to be repeated because the software malfunctioned for his recent new position. That is cruel. Anyway, send the white light people that Son gets a full time position (and it doesn’t get outsourced to India!). Mr FD and I would really like to be empty nesters; though I think Son can work form home a couple of days a week with this position!. The other days are smack bang in the central business district, so maybe he will need country down time!

The last thing on my snark list for today is that I need to get my drivers permit renewed. Last time I could do a tick and flick online, reuse the existing photo. Okay, it showed dark hair and I am now grey but it is me, damn it. This time, because I have one sighted eye, I have to go to an optometrist and a doctor for eye tests. I have had one eye since 1976 and I have never had to do this much before. Why now? Money grab I guess, and as the optometrist will bill my medical insurance and the doctor the government, one can see how health costs are blowing out. Of course I could “pretend” no eye issues, but then if I had an accident I hate to think of the legal mess I would be in. So, two days of my precious holidays taken up with jumping through hoops for the nanny state.

Well, unloading on you has been most therapeutic; thank you. Just one question, are you feeling snark now? Snarkiness loves company, even introverted snarks.