Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 30 March 2012

52 Weeks of Me: Memories

I didn't know where I was going with this theme and, after a thumpingly full weekend and a few earth shattering events in our personal (and business life), I just took some pictures. And even though this one is not flattering, or glamorous, and shows me in all my middle aged imperfection, I can show it to you because at the end of the day, it's who I am.

I also quite like the expression on my face because it's related to the story of the day. Here's what happened.

Every morning I drive through the back streets of our local suburbs, dodging main road traffic. One long, wide street leads down towards the forecourt of a reasonably 'well to do' private Catholic school and sweeps past it in a ninety degree elbow. As I approach it every morning, my mind full of the day to come, the details of houses, fences and gardens slip past me, blurred by the never-ending 'journalist vs politician' banter and traffic news on the the radio. It is only when there is some change to the routine landscape, something which jars my vision, that my conscious mind even registers its surroundings.

What exactly is that strange black and white shape up in the forecourt ahead?

From a distance, some sort of white column emerges, topped by a squashed black mass
(bahahaha...pardon the pun :-D).
I vaguely remember seeing something standing in that courtyard on previous mornings. Certainly not this incongruous shape though. Was it a rubbish bin? No, surely not. Mind you, evidently, something once regular and routine has been remodelled; perhaps by passing vandals? If it was a rubbish bin, the black top certainly doesn't seem to be rubbish bin shaped anymore...
What exactly have they done to that..........whatever it is.......... that I am accustomed to seeing there?
As I draw closer, the shape seems to resolve itself in my field of vision although my brain struggles to process it. Suddenly, a light bulb goes off in my sleep tousled cerebellum!

It's Lent! And this is a Catholic school.

Now, if you are one of those for whom the above two sentences mean nothing, let me enlighten you.

The season of Lent precedes the celebration of Easter in the traditional christian communion. A forty day period which recalls the time Jesus spent fasting in the 'wild', Lent is traditionally a period of mourning, self deprivation and reflection.

("Have a chocolate mate?" "Nah thanks, given it up for Lent.")

In addition to this self righteous, self-deprivation, many traditional Catholic churches practise the veiling of statues and icons during the Lenten period, as a reminder of........ (*thinks*)..............
(OK, I'm not actually sure what it's supposed to remind you of; maybe a symbolic 'entering of the grave' in order that the Resurrection be even more impressive? Who knows?)
 (and anyone who does is welcome to fill us in by leaving a comment btw!)

Anyway, as I approached this convoluted and perplexing shape in the front courtyard of 'Quite Well Off Catholic School', I had the kind of revelation that leaves you going:
'ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh' (sigh of revelation)
and then
(shriek of hysterical laughter as you really think about it).

They had covered the statue with a garbage bag!
I mean! WHAT were they thinking???????

Well, to be honest, I really don't care what they were thinking cause it gave me such a laugh that I reflected on it for several days afterwards, at those moments when only a laugh will do.

Here I am, minutes later, back in the car, still snickering.
For better or worse BA, this is your mother, and of these things memories are made.

Join Corey as she tracks 52 Weeks Of Me over on her site. Or better still, join in!

image credit

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Sometimes when you see things on the web you are are just blown away by the simplicity of the idea. This makes me wish I could add one of these to my kitchen eating area!!!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

52 Weeks of Me: Yacht Club Swing

52 Weeks of Me is a photo challenge set by Corey over at 'Living and Loving Every Minute'. The idea is to create a year long record of self portraits for your family to walk through in years to come. This week's prompt was 'Full Body Shot': a fairly intimidating task!

Himself and I have actually been socialising lately. On Friday night we went into town with some of my colleagues from Previous School and had a lovely dinner. I had hoped there might be dancing but we had to leave fairly early to pick up the BA from her boyfriend's place (I can't believe that statement is part of my life now).

But all was not lost......there was Sunday.

On Sunday, Himself was heading to the Yacht Club to take a few shots at a social, fundraising event. I was supposed to be going in to work but, he asked me so nicely and, after all, he doesn't ask me often!

Unfortunately, the Club Secretary had been away and publicity for the event had been left until the last moment, resulting in a rather meagre turn out. In addition, a regional SLSC carnival was in full swing at the next beach, significantly reducing any available parking in the area. Consequently, the impressive musical line up had an audience of approximately twenty! Still, this had its advantages. After all, if you want to 'dance like there's nobody watching', it's usually best if there's as few people watching as possible!

Sometimes I don't understand how people can listen to music and sit still. It is virtually impossible for me. Does this make me ADD? Hyperactive? Probably! Someone once asked if I could 'speak' without using my hands; actually their exact words were "If we cut off your hands, would you be mute?"
The response from the other side of the Law Library was, "No, you'd have to wire her jaw."
Unkind I thought. :-)

But I digress: there is some music I just cannot sit still to and the band on Sunday knew most of it! There were blues, jazz and rockabilly. There were classics, rock and lounge: 'Route 66', 'Summertime', 'Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby', 'Jelly Baby', 'Dancin' Cheek To Cheek', 'Cry Me A River', 'Autumn Leaves', 'Green Onions', it went on and on! I was 'In Heaven'!! It didn't help that one of our yachtie friends is a rock and roll dancer and decided to try and teach me the cha-cha and the Lindy Hop!!!! I was a willing, if inept, student but more importantly it got me in the mood for dancing.

Which brings me to my 'Full Body Shot'. I asked Himself to try and get some shots of Yachtie Dancer and I, silhouetted against the afternoon sun. Instead, he waited until Yachtie Dancer had departed for his weekly Rock and Roll dance and I was blythely dancing away to myself, as the remaining 15 audience members gazed out onto the pond like ocean, totally unconcerned by a) the musical offerings of the excellent band and b) the ludicrous gyration of 'moi'.

Later that night I scrutinised the shots and couldn't help but be reminded of these:

UK: 1999

I'm pretty sure you can see the resemblance?

Dance on!!

For more 52 Weeks of Me, check out Corey's site.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Formal Dress Update

OK. Despite having ordered the pattern and her loving the fabric (we went and saw it in the shop), we bought a dress yesterday!

This is how it happened.

After soaking our senses at the Eastern Silk shop the BA expressed concern that we might spend a lot of money on the fabric and dressmaker, only to find that she didn't like the dress. She had a point. Mind you, just being in that shop with all the amazing embroidered dupion, georgette and crepe-de-chine made my creative juices boil. I am still thinking of doing a shorter version of the same dress for her 17th birthday....

So it was onward to the next dress shop. Here she tried on this.
I thought it was lovely. They didn't have her size but she wouldn't even let me get as far as asking about it. It was 'too much the same as what everyone else will be wearing'. Oh the cross of having to be 'different'. I am afraid it's in her genes.

At the next two shops (quite uninspiring, some of the ugliest combinations of fabric and lace I have ever seen!) she didn't even try anything on and we ended up in a heated discussion over the relative merits of going with what suits you vs trying to be individual. She was starting to come down heavily in favour of a fitted fishtailed dress similar to the first one she'd tried on. I'm not even going to go into my thoughts on the matter.

We decided to go for lunch and rest our brains. Calling into a nearby bistro in a fashionable area of the eastern suburbs, we passed another shop with dresses in the window. It wasn't a shop I'd heard of before and it was off the main road so it was a complete coincidence. Had we not eaten at the bistro we would never have seen it. Of course you know where this is going don't you?

We came home with a dress. It was in the mid price range, is more of a fitted sheath (although soft enough to please me) and fits her like a glove. It's black, which the assistant reliably informs us is not the general trend. Many girls are buying gowns in shades like the one above: coffee, champagne, apricot. Anyway, it's done. For better or worse! :-)

As for photos.....not sure if we're going to let you see it just yet......after all , there is hair and makeup to consider :-D

But what do I know? She'll probably post it on facebook today!

Friday, 16 March 2012

She Moves In Mysterious Ways

It has been another hard day in the dress shops. The BA teeters from one extreme to the other.
"I want red. I want feminine. I want structure. I want chiffon." And through it all the phone is snapping pictures.....snap, snap snap.
Mummy is there, purse at the ready and today I almost thought we had it!

It was a bright red Marilyn Monroe style halter top with a pretty ordinary skirt but the shop could make it up for her with a georgette overlay on the skirt......

Putting aside the five other dresses she'd tried on, we went home to Himself for a designers opinion.

Big mistake.

Himself's trouble is that, like most men, he favours a dress which demonstrates all the wearer's assets.
"What's that?" he exclaimed. " It looks like she's hiding."

Realising we could not rely on him for an objective opinion we went back to the photos. They all looked sadder and less inspiring on the computer screen. In fact, I was leaning back towards this one...
So I went on a pattern search. And found this.

Now I know that Vogue patterns are not well known for their accuracy of line drawing but I did also find a picture of the dress made up which inspired me.....

So then I was on a search for fabric....how about this embroidered silk dupion????

I am thinking: the halter top in a soft silk chiffon or georgette, perhaps in red to pick up the flowers in the skirt or just black. What do you think?

The BA is keen. Now to find a seamstress.

WHAT? You thought I was going to make it????????? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

These Were My Pupils.........

Sports Day at my old school. Unfortunately this event eclipsed the fact that my old House finally WON!!!!!
First time since 2003.

52 Weeks of Me: Outside (and other stuff)

Having finally got my camera back, I find myself completely out of the habit of taking photos. Nevertheless, with this week's '52 Weeks of Me' prompt in mind, I sat in the carpark of a local park and snapped myself 'Outside'.
I had just dropped the BA off at a party and the temp was in the high 20s. She insisted I walk down to the picnic spot with her and, as I had no sun hat, I reached into the back seat to utilise the only thing I had to hand, her school hat. Once she was delivered to her party I came back up to the carpark and sat on the gutter savouring the cool breeze before getting back into my stiflingly hot car (note to self: get air conditioning fixed). It was a delightful few minutes 'Outside'.

It was a long weekend here in Adelaide, celebrating nothing more edifying than a horse race.
Himself was disgusted.
"This has got to be the lamest public holiday in Australia!" he ranted.
"Come now," I suggested,"what about the Queen's birthday? Surely you can't approve of that holiday?"
"At least that's historic," he countered, surprising me once more with his fundamentally conservative nature. For a man who has worked at the forefront of the arts, wears his hair (what's left of it) long and is proud of the T shirts he designed in the 70s which read 'If It's Too Loud You're Too Old", he  exhibits some incredibly 'unhippy' -like values.
"At least she's our Head of State," he continued, "this is just a horse race!"
"What about the Melbourne Cup?" I cast out and reeled.
"At least the whole country is interested in that!" he exclaimed,"unlike this one, where 98% of the local population don't even know what we're celebrating!!!!!"
He does have a point. But who am I to argue with a long weekend? Lord knows with the incredibly 'full on' start to the school year, we could all do with a break.

The Baby Angel had a full calendar of events lined up for her weekend. She was little disappointed that tickets for the Womadelaide Festival were beyond her means. She was particularly disappointed when not only did her boyfriend attend all three days without her, but Boy Z was in the crowd with his father (at the tender age of 4!). She did not want for  entertainment however.

On Friday afternoon we commenced the hunt for the Formal Dress, had her hair cut and shared a pizza dinner before dropping her off for a sleepover at a friend's house. The following morning I picked her up ready to continue the Formal Dress Quest. At around 5pm we found the one I described here: this is my 'artist's impression'. The underskirt is actually the same colour as the overskirt ...

That night the two of us watched Eddie Izzard together as she practised face painting for her Research project. Life has surely calmed down since last year.

So what was Himself doing as I had quality time with my BA? Well, the only up side of my ruined shoulder is that Himself has become a little more proactive around the garden. On Saturday, in perfect Adelaide weather (27C) he worked his b*** off in the front garden. These are his pruning and lawn mowing efforts.
 Amidst this sterling work we had a brief and heated conversation regarding the watering system. I have recently turned it off as a) it is autumn and b) we had a $960.00 water bill!!!!  Himself suggested, perhaps fairly, that I should have let him know as the grass is now a little 'crunchy'.

 Meanwhile, the downside of my ruined shoulder is my slackness on the house keeping front. This photo was taken in the family room at mid-afternoon. I am torn between shame and awe at the amazing work spiders do.

If only I could channel their efforts usefully!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Its Been A Long Time Between Posts

Where to start?

Let's start with the fun thing which is the search for  Formal dress. Now many of you will remember the drama last year as the BA approached her first ever Formal. There was demand for a dress, questions of alcohol consumption and sundry other dilemmas.

And here we are again! This time though it is her final year Formal and Mummy is prepared to go all the way. Well, within reason. Take for example the stunning dress on the right here. Now the Baby Angel looked A-mazing in this! She is decidedly more svelte than the lovely lady in this picture and we had visions of red accessories etc. It was DIVINE!!! The material was brocade and the centres of the flowers were textured. *shakes head*...... unbeLIEVable....

But then we saw the price tag. Not sure why I hadn't looked beforehand. Perhaps I was in some la-la-land which had me believing that if it was the right dress I would just find the money....
Yes, well, not THIS much money. Suffice to say that you could have sponsored 10 orphans for a year on the cost of THIS dress.

But oh my how we both wanted it.....

Onward and upward however. Today we went shopping again and came across this (see left). It is a Pippa Middleton inspired dress in satin with a chiffon overlay. The one the BA tried on was in a midnight blue and fit a whole lot better than this one does. She was very taken with it. I had my doubts. It seemed kind of uninspiring to me. We looked at a fabric swatch in a ruby red and agreed that would be a better choice, but in the end we came away empty handed and waiting to see what else we could find.

The next one that really grabbed her attention was a kind of flesh coloured number, very simple lines with black appliqued flowers. This one was top of the allowable price range so I am telling her that for this price she must really LOVE it!! It is fuller than Pip's with a satin underskirt and chiffon overlay, split up the middle so the satin is visible as you walk ( a little like a fairy tale dress ....ok...nothing like a fairytale dress actually). The neckline is square with decent width straps (appliqued flowers down the straps) and the whole thing is finished off with a black satin sash. It is kind of forties and classic, elegant but different; reminiscent of this whilst being entirely unlike it.

So, that is the fun part.

The 'not so fun' thing is my ongoing shoulder issue. This website describes it perfectly. Having suffered from bursitis in the past, I have avoided any gym work which involves weights and shoulders until just before Christmas when I was feeling energetic.  Gingerly, I used my little 1kg hand weights to do a few bicep curls and shoulder presses whilst running on the treadmill. Well, I knew when I got home that I had overdone it; I was sore and achy and not in a good way! The real damage occurred when, a few days later, I came rushing in to check something on the computer.

Sitting down hurriedly, I didn't notice that the cushion was hanging partially off my wheeled office seat. I sat on the cushion; commenced a downward path; stuck out my right arm behind to grab the chair and 'save' myself and felt the chair roll away at high speed on the hardwood floor with my arm still attached whilst my backside continued its rapid descent floor-ward. Result: my shoulder joint was pulled in two different directions at 90 degrees and I sustained a full thickness tear to the supraspinatus tendon.

I wasn't to discover this until last week however.

I had thought a couple of cortisone injections to the joint would solve the proble, as it has for my bursitis and tendonitis in the past. Wrong. This one is going to need surgery.

I hate surgery.

I also have no health insurance.

In Australia that means I have to go onto a waiting list and as I have not even begun that process yet (all my previous treatment has been through a physio) who knows when my number will come up.
Meanwhile I am sleeping badly (see the website for reason) and severely restricted in movement. Most things at waist height are ok but even creaming some butter and sugar at the kitchen bench the other day proved difficult. I ended up holding the bowl off the bench, down at waist height.

On the plus side my family have been helpful but I suspect this will wear off. Sympathy has an expiry date I have found.

But I don't want to be sorry for myself. At least I have a working left arm and I can still run at the gym. And type!

Adios for now amigos!!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Brave New World Meets 1984

Today was school photo day. I love school photos because they track growth and development against an identical back ground in identical light. All change is beautifully described with none of the additional distraction of scenery, pets or family.

On second thoughts, I hate school photos.

Despite my reluctance to watch my visage wither before the camera, we get our photos free as teachers and it is always nice to have the whole staff photo with pics and names laid before you which, in the future, will help you answer the endless questions posed at dinner parties: "who was that skinny neurotic year 6 teacher who thought differentiation meant giving them 3 questions instead of 10? You know, the one who got pissed at the staff dinner and got off with the Reception teacher in the toilet at the restaurant." Of such things are memories made. Or not. Depending upon your own levels of inebriation.

So it was, with vanity aforethought, that I recently booked my cut and colour in time for the annual school photo fest. After all, much planning is required: up early enough to do ones make up without glasses; blowdry and apply product; find appropriate clothing. I felt, after all these years, that I had the whole thing under control so it was with surprise that I opened an email,  mere days before this standout event, which stated that we were required to wear blue....and nothing too bright mind you! And if we didn't do blue we had to come up with something neutral and, for God's sake, hold the pattern!!!

Now, my first response on reading this, was to glance over my shoulder to see if any security cameras were watching the way I chewed my nails when no one was around. I mean! Dictating the way we dressed for photos? Outrageous!! Big Brother is watching!!

So, what did I do this morning as I dressed for the all important annual photo shoot? Did I haul out the fuschia as suggested by an old school chum? Did I lift my metaphorical middle finger and stride proudly in wearing a pair of scarlet jodhpurs and hippy patterned cheesecloth shirt?


I am so pathetic nowadays. Twenty years ago I would have challenged the edict. In fact 25 years ago I did! Given the direction to wear a white or cream dress under my graduation robe, this is what I chose.
It is a measure of how far I have come in my journey that I chose a navy shirt and a neutral, calico skirt this morning. I meant to wear a rust coloured skirt with the navy shirt but,* gasp*, that would have contravened dress regulations! So, with very little left to prove, I toed the line. *sigh*

On arriving at the hall this morning however, I wished I had gone with my gut. Everyone was whinging! Most of us felt it was a huge imposition on personal liberties to insist that everyone dressed in a similar fashion/colour. There were oohs and aahs as people who danced close to the edge arrived. "Hey! That COULD be construed as green you know!!"

Of course everyone knew who to look for when it came to bucking the system. One was away. The other sported an attractive watermelon coloured T shirt. One of the fellows argued that he had bucked the system,  but we were not 'paying' a pink tie when the rest of his ensemble included a blue shirt and trousers underneath!!!

Then there was the fellow who turned up in a wild orange shirt. "Hello," noted Office Lady,"someone missed the email!!" Interesting that she didn't believe he was deliberately flaunting the dress code. I guess he just isn't that kind of guy.

As for me, I guess I have to admit my rebellious spirit lies quiet now. Except that it doesn't really. When that one wild, crazy lady waltzed in wearing tangerine I wished it had been me.

After all, what were they going to do? Make us sit out of the photo?

It will be interesting to see how many fold before the corporate will next year!

 picture credit