The one thing my husband does better than me…

eggs

Poach eggs.

Mr FD poaches eggs the way they are meant to be poached. In a saucepan of boiling water with a splash of white vinegar. Pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good.

I do not.

The only way you will receive a poached egg from my kitchen is if I have an egg poacher. One of those pans with an egg poaching insert with little cups to cradle the egg.

Even then, I can’t guarantee the quality of the poaching. Sometimes, I overfill the pan with water so that boiling introduces water to egg. Worse still, is when I crack the egg and maybe a little egg spills into the water. Then, of course, everything boils up and over. Not nice.

Any other type of egg, I am the master. Fried, scrambled, omeletted (is that a word? If Shakespeare could make up new words, so can the Flamingo Dancer!)  Just not poached.

Mr FD does not poach eggs often. When he does, it is a huge drama. It involves a cast of hundreds, well, me anyway. He has this terrible case of selective amnesia that overtakes him every time he is in the kitchen which means he can never find mixing bowls or spatulas. He always knows where the fridge is, and the bottle opener, but that is about it, poor dear. He always needs my expert location skills. Fetch and carry skills too.

The kitchen is usually a mess afterwards and Mr FD needs a long lie down from the stress and exertion. It’s not a pretty sight, especially Mr FD lying down.  One is left feeling that maybe the price for those poached eggs is to high for optimum enjoyment.

question

And your partner? Is it possible they can do anything better than you?

black and white, pink and blue

sisters 1

The moment I saw this picture I thought of my sister and I. My sister is eight years older than I, and a far better person as well. We are very different individuals.

If this was really a photo of my sister and I and acting as a metaphor for our lives, Sister would be wearing the pink dress, all feminine brightness and detail. My favourite colour is blue, but I know that even if the dress wasn’t blue, I would be wearing the gingham check.

My sister is colour, “prettiness” and frill. I am, less is more. None of those fluffy, puffy sleeves for me! No lace, just clean, sleek lines.

Maybe, it is the fact she is eight years older, making her a teen in the sixties, whereas I became a teen in the seventies, and so we had very different cultural influences working to shape us. In her world the woman was still vey much the home maker, whereas in mine, we were  starting to move towards the balancing act of career and motherhood. I have been a working wife for a large part of my marriage.

Sister also spent her entire schooling under the Nuns of No Mercy, whereas I escaped to the local state high school. I was thirteen when she married and left home. It was a lonely time.

In some ways, I think it is these differences that may have brought us together, for we are very close. The age gap of course is of no difference now, that I do like to let her know she is in her sixties and I am not!

Yes, this image, very much represents my sister and I.

budding affairs

training bra

Ladies of a certain memory bank, do you remember – training bras?

What exactly were they “training”?

Upwards, ever upwards?

I remember when I was “trained” in this way. My mother was sewing a funky new outfit for little Miss 12 year old Flamingo Dancer. It was the era of large psychedelic floral geometric fabrics and wide legged flared paints. I had a competitor’s birthday party to attend (yes, dear reader there were those who dared to compete in days of yoe, before wiser heads prevailed), an all girl teenybopper afternoon affair, but nevertheless one in which I needed to shine. Always a trend setter, dahling.

My chosen ensemble was red and white, with about a three inch vertical opening down the spine, held shut by a very wide band of fabric. Nothing was exposed, but it did mean I would not be wearing the “singlet” that my mother always insisted I wear even in heat waves.

This presented a real problem for my mother. I found her deep in conversation with my sister who is eight years older than I, and therefore more  woman of the world at that time. A major decision was made.

I swear angels sang on high when my mother turned to me and announced “You’ll have to wear a bra!” The ultimate status symbol – a bra!

Of course, I couldn’t allow my mother to know that my heart had jumped within my chest, and black and white stars flashed before my eyes. I stilled my breath and replied “All right,” sounding just a little put upon.

Now, let me just impart an important piece of information. There was absolutely no need for an over the shoulder boulder holder. Flat as. Also, the chosen fabric was a heavy, thick weave; not even Superman’s x-ray eyes could see through it. However, IT WAS DECIDED and I was powerless to object… as if.

Off to one of the two clothing stores in our small country town, where there were two changing booths with fabric curtains that the haughty female assistants loved to pull back to expose you to all as they asked “You right?”

Mother and Mature SalesLady had a heads together conference, with much tongue clicking and viewing of stick figure me and I held my breath when MSL muttered “…not sure we have that one that small…” Eventually a long white box was produced and there gleamed my precious. Virginal white, size 10AA. It was a little big (I think I was actually a size 8 but with broad shoulders) , and sagged over one or two relevant areas but it was a BRA!

My mother did not drive so as we walked home I held my paper wrapped precious as if it was a devotional offering. Mother was under the impression that I would wear it only on “special occasions” with the back exposing ensemble, silly woman. It was apparent from day one that Precious and I were now inseparable, to the point that a second was purchased just so the first could be pried from my stick form for laundering.

It was about four years before I needed to up a size for in those days my figure rivalled Twiggy’s without the held of a cocaine diet. In fact, if memory serves me right, I may have made it to a 12A, more due to wide shoulders than growing mammary glands, just in time to discard my bra to make my feminist statement a few years later. Such is life.

What was being “trained”; my chest or me? Was the whole concept of a training bra merely to enculturate me into my assigned place in society? And why did shop assistants get their big jollies from exposing women in their undies to diminishing gaze?

Sisters, have we progressed at all? Are we caring for each other? Me thinks not so much.

 

Women’s dress size conversions:

AUST

8

10

12

14

16

18

US

4

6

8

10

12

14

UK

8

10

12

14

16

18

EUROPE

36

38

40

42

44

46

JAPAN

7

9

11

13

15

17

not quite the mouths of babes…

I threw a “what if” at each of my year 8 classes this week. What if humans could fly?

I changed the scenario to “What if only girls could fly?”

The immediate answer to that query, in both classes, was the girls answering “Then we could get away from the boys!”

And the boys’ answer both times ? “That’s not fair!”

 

on the straight path

 

male hairIn recent months there has been a real push for Libraries to maintain relevance by becoming maker spaces, a place to do as well as be. A worthy cause.

Our library accommodates lots of activities including Career Fairs and Science Fairs. There is also the odd impromptu event that pops up from time to time during breaks.

This week, two students garnered a bit of attention, by pulling a chair out and plugging in a hair straightener, as one student set to showing another student how to straighten hair.

The interest aspect was that it was two male students and a small male audience. It was a really powerful moment as not one negative comment was heard. I expect the sale of hair straighteners jumped at the local supermarkets too!

Chuffed all around

ODD 1

Mr FD’s full time job seems to have become maintaining his health in recent months with visits to the optometrist, pediatrist, physiotherapist, family doctor, dentist and now periodontist. Getting old is a full time job! It is also a growing expense due to major design faults with the human body – maybe The Big Whatever should have rested for a day before undertaking the construction of humans!

I arrived home with my post conference glow to be greeted with the fact that at the age of 64 Mr FD’s four wisdom teeth need to removed – on Tuesday. I guess the wisdom never functioned so what is the need to keep them anyway.

So, from Thursday night to today we have been in high gear in preparation for “the procedure”. It is taking place in Toowoomba which is some thirty or forty minutes drive from The Village, with a lot of road work in between. As I work 40 minutes in the opposite direction from The Village, it necessitates me taking a Family Care Day to drive and care, well, drive, at least. Then I get to spend five or six hours in a city which was home for 25 years but with which we now have no contact. See the inconvenience I am suffering?

Then there was the shopping list to the pharmacy for ice packs, pain killers, nausea medication, cotton pads and the list goes on. We had a complete list from the periodontist and I thought it would be a case of handing it over and paying for a shopping bag of goodies, but the pharmacy assistant had to second and third guess and confuse herself over every item on the list. I think she was somewhat perplexed in serving a person (Mr FD excluded) with any level of critical thinking and so had to argue every point.

I wanted to say, “excuse me, but I actually have a level of intelligence” with perhaps the addition of “more than the usual locals around here” but one must be politically correct, and so I had to work REALLY HARD on keeping my voice calm and jammer polite replies, but we must have been close to an hour in the damn pharmacy before we were able to obtain what was exactly on our list.  Not to self, take a cut lunch and a thermos on next outing to pharmacy.

There was a poor woman in the pharmacy waiting for a script who looked like a suppurating wound from head to toe, and while she was distressing to look upon I can only imagine what a misery her life must be. She adopted Mr FD and I however, in-between the pharmacy assistant appearing and disappearing on her fool’s errands, and tried to tell us her story. She wanted to tell the entire store her story, which may have been good therapy for her, but most of us had our own issues – I mean I had to lead a wisdom tooth suffering Mr FD around as he malfunctioned on pain medication.

I tried to appear sympathetic, and I was, I am guessing that she had a severe skin infection from eczema or dermatitis,  but when she started to complain about how the doctor would no longer allow her to drain her own infection by popping them I just wanted to throw up. I murmured soothingly comments, such as “oh dear, how uncomfortable for you, that must be distressing, and oh my how terrible” hoping my lack of questions or conversational natter would deter her but alas, no.

It came to the point where I was about to throw my arms around the pharmacy assistant and welcome her into my family if she took us to another department, when she actually did, and we were released from our incarceration.

However, not before Mr FD had to share a joke that he had created in the middle of the previous night, with the pharmacy assistant. I figured it was pay back for the suffering she had made me suffer, so I allowed him to roll.

My doctor says I am addicted to fishing. [Pause for the listener to react sympathetically] But it is okay because they are going to give me NEMOtherpay.

Yep, so chuffed was he with his comedic efforts that he had woken me the previous night to share his brilliance. Like I said, she deserved it. No doubt he will share with all on Tuesday prior to surgery. They may increase his pain level in return, but who would argue?

Mr FD stayed ensconced in the car, windows down a crack for ventilation, as I ran through the supermarket scooping up soups, custard, soft fruits, jelly and yoghurt for his invalid needs. Another budget blow out.

He doesn’t know it yet, but I am keeping tally on all my discomfort and efforts in his cause and he will be billed in kind accordingly. No more settling for a meagre cup of tea and a piece of toast when I am attacked by diverticulitis. I expect service with a couple S, man.

Tuesday, he is to be delivered to day surgery by 10am, nil by mouth. I shall depart to a fine restaurant for brunch, and maybe a spot of shopping, but if the weather is fine I shall walk some of the local parks which are beautiful even in the dead of winter, which is yet to arrive. Autumn passed still dressed as summer this year.

Then there will be the drive home, hopefully with a silent and docile pain relieved Mr FD in the evening to face the long first night.

Back to work on Wednesday. I think I will actually be looking forward to it!

two days after Christmas with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas two days after Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a computer mouse;
The stockings were lying by the chimney abandoned,
For St. Nicholas was long gone;
And the children were nestled all snug in their own homes,
While visions of gift card purchases swirled in their heads,

And Mr FD in his loose waisted shorts, and I in my pearls,
Had just settled our brains for a long afternoon nap —
When out in the laundry there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the hall I flew like a flash,
Tore open the door, and threw up my gasp.
The sun on the breast of another 36C day,
Gave the heat of summer to everything inside;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a full basket of wet laundry,
Vibrated off the machine top, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Mr FD’s quandary.
More rapid than eagles his excuses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and blamed them by name:
“Now! Daughter1, now! Daughter2, now! Mr Boy and Son,
“On! Augie, on! Petite Fille, on! Visitors and Relatives;
“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild cyclone fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the excuses they flew,
With the rooms full of  apologies — and accusations too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard the voice in my head
The prancing and pawing of each little truth.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the neurons inside words came with a bound.
My clothing may be all glamour, from my underthings  to my scarves,
But the laundry were now tarnish’d with dog hair and fluff ;
For a bundle of  wet clothing had been flung on the floor,
And I would look like a peddler who took no fuss:
Mr FD’s eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll bearded mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was white with the coconut flakes lingering there;
The stump of a sausage he held tight in his teeth,
And the aroma of garlic  it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a smug little face, and a giant round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right sodden old elf,
And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had everything to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And text’d all the children; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up his laughter it rose.
He sprung to his ipad, to record such a moment,
And away flew my calm resolve, like the down of a thistle:
For I heard him exclaim, ere he dove out of sight —
This message to all, and to all – FD admits a fault!

washing sign