flattened and then some

boot

Two flat tyres; that is what greeted me in the car park after work. Spiked, hopefully not maliciously. Today, I drove Mr FD’s car to enable the tyres to be repaired.

I was in a meeting when a colleague tapped me on the shoulder to follow him outside. “Flat tyre” he informed me. A school secretary had noticed the tyre as she went to her own car. Colleague than offered to change the tyre so that I did have to wait for a repairman, which can sometimes take hours and the school is not an area to be in alone after dark.

It was then we noticed the other tyre was low on air, but neither of us guessed it was also flat.

The spare is a tiny “half” tyre, so I was speed limited to just 80klms an hours on the highway, which made me very popular. The fact that the tyre rim is bright yellow and half the width of a normal tyre must have alerted people to my plight. Still, I could sense frustration as drivers whizzed passed me.

The odd thing is that only a couple of days earlier, I was driving to work and had the thought, that I hadn’t had a flat tyre in a couple of years. Do we bring these things upon ourselves; sense them before they happen, or it’s all statistics – one day it is going to happen?

 

what happens on conference, stays on conference

Or Going To The Scary Heights

From every conference the general idea is that there should be at least one thing – an idea, concept, inspiration or skill – that an attendee can take away with them. The general consensus from the conference we were forced to attend on Thursday and Friday was, how could a conference organised by educators be so bad? Totally useless. Most of the presenters, while articulate and often witty, appeared to have no point to their presentations. What was the message?

On the positive, we had some fun. Minerva and I got to hang out for two days and laugh. In fact, she had me laughing so much at one stage I developed a coughing attack. We had to sit in stadium seating and by the time we entered our designated centre had to sit third row from the back. The presenters were just specks on the stage. We felt like we were in the naughty kids rows and so it brought the worst out in us.

A couple of colleagues in the row in front of us, played hangman, and other games with the pen and notepad that was in our gift bag. The other gift was a stress ball from a health fund – a large tooth!

After the conference we were walking across the overhead footbridge between the convention centre and the hotel ,where we had stayed overnight, when the foot bridge started to sway. It is a wide cement bridge that crosses over double lanes of highway traffic, so its not some flimsy construction. Our guess is that with the huge numbers of people on the bridge our movement created some kind of resonance and the motion caused the bridge to sway.

It swayed so much that it became impossible to walk without clinging with both hands onto the railings. Even then it was nearly impossible to proceed, but we were so worried about the safety of the footbridge that we hurried along the best we could.

I had flashes of memory of that footbridge that collapsed in Israel a few years ago and a number of Jewish pilgrims, many from Australia were killed. Minerva told me this morning that she had a nightmare about it last night.

I have emailed the hotel and the convention centre to inform them of the incident. I asked if safety checks had been undertaken recently, and suggested that a sign should be erected warning people to limit numbers on the bridge. A traumatic end to the conference – it certainly wasn’t a conference worth dying for!

Nothing like an Aussie barbecue, well, nothing like ours.

 

July 1959 Family Circle booklet called %22Whoop-de-do Barbeques%22 (Illustrations by M. Trinque)

Until this morning, I thought it was quite possible to argue that an Australian male is born with the innate ability to barbecue. I wouldn’t have been surprised if male Australian babies didn’t arrive wearing a humorous barbecue apron, a stubby bottle of beer clutched in one hand, and a pair of  meat tongs in the other hand. Until this morning.

Our school is divided into four “houses”; very much along the British school house system. The houses are primarily used for sporting events and each house competes against another. Our home classes are also organised along house groups.

This morning the house group that I belong to had a last day barbecue breakfast – eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausages etc. It was held at the school in an outside enclosed area just off the staff room. A popular spot on a Friday afternoon when the dart board gets a work over. The more drinks, the louder the voices and laughter.

The food was just about cooked when the gas barbecue started to throw flames up over the grill. The food that was cooked was quickly flipped onto platters for the table. The flames grew in intensity, and any remaining food was soon charcoaled to perfection.

The men manning the barbecue tried shutting down the barbecue hood to smother the flames, but to no avail. Luckily, we are a school and there is a fire extinguisher always handy. So, the barbecue got a good burst from the extinguisher. Smoke filled the space as the barbecue was wheeled out of the area and away from the building.

Most of us continued eating despite the smoke in our lungs. The gentlemen just need to refine their technique before next year, or we ladies may have to show them how it is really done!

Oh, and they need to replace the fire extinguisher… and probably write a report in triplicate.

TITLE- Smoke Screen DATE- 1958 NOTES- Publisher- Brown & Bigelow. by Gil Elvgren (1914-1980)

I’m calling yoooooouuuuu

baby doll

I lost a large part of the night to Nelson Eddie calling Jeanette McDonald – a solo bird calling in search of a mate; an Australian Love Call, so to speak. Nelson was lucky that I could neither pin which tree he was serenading from and that my throwing arm is not what it was (if it ever was!); or stones may have flown. Instead, I lay awake envision him in someone’s Sunday stew pot.

Sunday morning, I felt like I was hungover without any previous enjoyment. Tired and emotional, I wrote what I hope is my final word on the student issue – still unresolved, and no doubt will remain so as the students are not willing to be honest. Of course, the fact that they caused mayhem in the library and made a rude finger gesture towards me has been lost in all the pretend issues, but I refuse to give them more power and so will no longer sign anything. My parting comment is that they have learnt behaviour that works for them and now they will use it towards other teachers.  I am finished.

baking 1

So, what to do when I am feeling tired and emotional? Bake a second dried fruit Christmas Cake. It emptied the Brandy bottle! This cake will fly with me to Perth. I was allowed to use brown sugar in the second cake, instead of the rice syrup that Daughter 1 asked for in my first baking. Daughter2 is of the mind that Christmas cakes should not be messed with, a child after my own heart. The texture and taste were superior in my mind, but the proof will be in the eating.

Mr FD calls nightly. Poor Uncle has real mind and body issues, and it appears that the family has to set in place the power of attorney to protect his interests. He’s 91 and has faired well until the last couple of years, but this year in particular he has declined. The problem is he lives alone, having never married. He had a farm manager couple who assist him, but you can’t allow the manager to run the properties without oversight. So this week, Mr FD and his cousin will be visiting the lawyer and the health authorities to gather help and support for Uncle. Even though Uncle has set all this in place, he will be very difficult to gain cooperation from.

The problem when they slip in and out of dementia is that they don’t consider there is anything wrong with them. We have been through this too many times now, with both my parents; Mr FD’s to a lesser degree and now Uncle. Expertise in a field we don’t desire.

Petite Fille, hopefully is coming to visit next weekend. If the weather is hot, I will roll out the water slide for her, and we shall slide down our hill under the sprays. Now that’s something to look forward too!

Jupiterimages

Mind, body and spirit are out of kilter this past week or two. The false student allegation, though not believed by administration has sent me reeling.

There is such a process of interviews and meetings when these types of conflicts happen that it takes on a life of its own, parallel and yet utterly intertwined with the usual day to day processes of living.

I have had a meeting with Principal and a Deputy, plus my legal support. All agree that there are so many holes in the girls allegations, and more than a slight whiff of collusion that any intelligent person can see that their allegations are false. However, procedures must be followed and hence the human cost.

At the same time I have applied for a job in another school. Not actually prompted by what has happened, except for the fact that if Admin don’t put a lid on this type of student behaviour then there will be open season on teachers at the school. No, the school where I applied for a position is just a nine minute drive from my garage, through The Village, to the school’s staff car park. 9 minutes versus 40 minutes. Time saver, car saver, tiredness saver – and less chance of a car accident, as no highway driving, especially when tired. Feeling very mixed emotions, but it is just an application, that does not mean a job offer.

Mr FD decided to take me out for a sightseeing trip yesterday, as we have been doing the last few weeks, but I found no joy in it. Often, and for no particular reason, I felt almost as if I wasn’t in my own body, and very close to tears. It was a short trip, no stop for coffee.

Sometimes, I wonder if I am causing myself to have these thoughts and emotions. Am I doing it to myself? Then again, and I can’t put this into accurate words, even if I am doing it to myself, is that not a symptom of something? I am worrying me.

Perhaps, the summer vacation, just four weeks away, will give me a break. A few weeks in Perth, welcoming our new Grandbaby, Peppercorn, hopefully will be just the tonic I need to get my Flamingo Dancer mojo back into service.  Peppercorn may arrive earlier than expected as Daughter2, now 33 weeks, was diagnosed with high blood pressure and has had to cease work immediately, after planning to work another three weeks. I wish I wasn’t so far from her, especially as her husband is a FIFO (fly in, fly out) mining engineer and not there for four nights a week, during which time she is without any real support. I just told her to phone the ambulance if anything concerns her and not to worry about feeling silly if it turns out to be something inconsequential. Lives matter more. Not making me feel any better though.

So sorry, if I have rained on any parades today. It’s Monday and I suspect few parades today anyway. Just letting you know that I wandering a little aimlessly right now. Hang with me, please.

 

Thank you.

 

 

Weapons of mean destruction.

stand of flamingo

Let me see, how can I describe today? &#()!&#*^!#^%%$$!!!!!! Shit.

An as yet unnamed African Australian student has made an allegation that I made a racist comment to her. Did not happen. 

I did ask her and a large group of her friends not to enter the library due to their behaviour in the previous morning break, as I expected a repeat of their aggressive behaviour.

In the earlier break one had given me the fingers when I broke up an act of aggression towards an Anglo Australian student. When I had called to the group to stop so that I could identify the student and send her to detention the group ran out of the Library. I didn’t get a clear view of her face, as I had been standing behind her, when she made the gesture.

I was stunned, to stay the least, when I received an official email requesting me to attend a meeting with the Principal and one of his deputies. I WAS VERY ANGRY.

I have informed them that I won’t be attending without a union representative, and that I require more detail to prepare my defence of these false allegations.

It is an occupational hazard for a teacher, being accused of things we do not do. Apart from that one incident, I have had no interaction with those students previously, so it is not like I have a bad relationship with them – I don’t have any connection to them at all.

I have told the Principal that I consider this libel and slander. I would have liked to have said a lot more, but of course one must be professional. A 12 year old can make such false allegations, a total lie, and I have to jump through hoops. I AM SOOOOOO ANGRY.

I want a verbal and written apology.

They ‘aint seen nothing yet…

These people are going to look after you when you are old…

doorMy students could not grip the fact that you can be a Christian but not a Catholic, but if you are a Catholic you are automatically a Christian by association.

No, it is not that they are devote Catholics and can not imagine any other world view. In fact, most of them follow no religion, though at a Catholic school.

I explained that to be a Christian one just had to believe in a Christian God; one could be a Protestant for example, or not follow any particular creed, but believe in God. To be a Catholic meant that you automatically believed in a Christian God.

It was too abstract for their low level of comprehension.

I went home and drank tonight. Not because they don’t follow a religion, it is just how far behind they are and how resistant they are to any assistance to progress them.

Not sure if it is time for me to surrender and move on, or not.

Fill it up, Sam.

Marie Antoinette and I

modern lore

Walking out the door for the first day of the new school term, I moved to tuck a tissue into the top of my bra. Only there was no bra! I had forgotten to put it on.

The situation was not helped by Mr FD immediately advising me that going braless was in no way a good idea and instructing me to return to the bathroom instantly!

 

Then I realised that our dog, Audie, is currently the weight I was on my wedding day, 48kg. That is a worry in more ways than one; the fact that I am nowhere near that weight now not being the least!

Not shaping up as a good week, so far.

In the Kitchen with Flamingo Dancer; and tomorrow is another day

Hedy Lamarr in Adrian -

36C temp today, but thanks to the assistance of air conditioning I managed to prepare meals for the next three nights. All Mr FD has to do is pop the dishes in the oven at the appropriate time and we shall feast like kings. Maybe not kings, but merchants. Sorry, history teacher poking through.

The reason for my domestic superiority? A cholesterol test that came back at 6. I already take 80mg of Lipitor every day, and I have decided that I am not going to add another medication to my already lengthy morning regime. My self selected challenge is to return for another test in 9 weeks, after making some effort for a change, and if I have, hopefully, the next test will show a positive improvement. If not, then I have to surrender to medication. My goal, naturally would be to shed all medication, but first things first.

So, to stay away from temptation, I put in an effort and made three meals. Exhausting. Being perfect is so exhausting, I think that is why so many of us fail along the journey. Fall down eight times, get up nine.

We are also holding a shared morning tea tomorrow for two colleagues in the library building. Instead of the usual sweet food, I baked my savoury mediterranean muffins, and will take some salsa to serve with them. I know Minerva is on a Lite and Easy diet over the last few weeks, so at least one person will appreciate them. I had to hide the muffins from Mr FD who scoffled  three down as they were cooling from the oven!

Back to school tomorrow. It was a nice break. Late today, Daughter2 sent through air tickets for Mr FD and I to fly to Perth in December to be with them when Baby Peppercorn is due. If Baby is late, Mr FD and I may just be able to squeeze in a trip to Margaret River – the food and wine area of Western Australia. Baby and Perth will hopefully get me through the next nine week school term.