Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My Bestie Turns 50

We kidnapped my Bestie last Saturday. We whisked her away from her, somewhat demanding and attention seeking, Beloved and took her off to a 'girlie' lunch at a private dining room in a pub in the centre of town. It was only whilst sifting through hundreds of photos to make up a slideshow, that I discovered a picture which reminded me why that particular pub had rung a bell. It was the place where she met her first husband!

Regardless of this faux pas, the company were delighted by the elegant dining room and spacious balcony.
My Bestie, having been many things in her long career, has a wide and varied circle of friends. For example, in this photo there is: a high powered barrister, an ex member of parliament, the head of Creative Arts at one of Adelaide's most prestigious schools, a highly placed Business Manager in the Education Department's Finance Office ......and the owner and headliner of a local Strip Club. I'll let you decide which is which!!

Interestingly, the head of Creative Arts and the Strip Club manager had quite a lengthy and in depth conversation about the difficulties of getting modern youth to commit to something or give an impassioned performance.

The night before all of this, Himself and I sat up until 5am preparing a slideshow which contained some rarely seen shots of The Bestie. Creative Arts lady had delivered a packet full of faded 1970s snaps on the Friday. You know the ones; mostly orange in colour and shaped like a crisp after it's been peeled off the page in one of those monstrous 'magnetic' photo albums that everyone had and that did so much damage to our photos. Himself re-shot every, single, faded image and loaded them all up digitally. In Photoshop, he pressed a button and voila!!! Instead of a bunch of ginger haired girls with jaundice, he got things like this:

Here is a taste of My Bestie though the years:

Our house 1970-1
With parents circa 72? High school graduate.University Graduate.
Publicity shot for her first job. First wedding. Honeymoon. Yes, he took her skiing and we all came too. No wonder that marriage was doomed. Legs up to there! With her first hubbie outside my flat in Sydney.

Congratulations on 50 years Bestie. May you have many, many more!

Friday, 20 May 2011

A Kind of Rambling Post That is Somewhat Indicative Of My State of Mind.

Am I the only one who sees the similarities here? Forgetting hairstyle, background, light etc - do these two not look like the same girl??
First shot is from 1976; Middle Sis is wearing the old Alma Mater uniform. Must say that's one traditional thing I am not sorry to see replaced. See how nice the new one is?
Things are not much better on the Flaming Sword front I am sorry to say. Schoolwork, facebook, priorities and boys are the subject of much discussion here at present. Oh, and the possibility of attending the local public school if things don't change.

I guess this had to happen sooner or later. It's been pretty much a dream run so far. Well, all that is over now. I am walking the fine line between turning all this into a power struggle. I know who will win the power struggle (me) but at what cost?

I'll get back to you when I have some answers.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

So Let The Love Tear Us Apart

Unfortunately, my Flaming Sword has been in action this week as we deal with the aftermath of The Formal, The Wombats and a general inability to get on with things.

For all my espousing, the act of invoking consequences is an unpleasant one. I guess that's why I call it a flaming sword. The old adage 'this hurts me more than it hurts you' whilst not entirely true, does echo eerily around the walls at times like this. No one actually enjoys depriving a child of a prized possession or the opportunity for an outing and sometimes the results appear, initially, to be somewhat counter-productive.

When I think back to my own parents' attempts to dole out discipline and consequences, the thing I remember most was how the disapproval lingered. Years later, as an adult, when I made mistakes I railed against my mother's need to analyse the incident. Essentially, I knew I had done the wrong thing, I felt bad and I needed no further rubbing of salt into the self inflicted wound. So now as I wrestle with the naked resentment which comes from having one's comforts removed, I have to remind myself to roll with it. I have to try not to harp on about the infraction, not focus on the unfortunate behaviour; but equally shake off the rejection when day to day niceties are rebuffed. I have heard myself comment recently, 'I don't know why you're being snippy with me. I'm not the one who made the bad choices.'

Things have got to change around here. We have been doing too much. I have basked dangerously in the laurels of having a 'lovely kid', to mix a metaphor. I had momentarily forgotten that she is indeed, just a kid.

Unfortunately, it is the BA who has, ultimately, to suffer the consequences.

image credit

Sunday, 15 May 2011

First Lesson

Well, she has been driving with her dad, on his friend's farm, since she was 11 so I thought this driving stuff was all going to be straight forward. I thought traffic sense and road confidence and experience would be my brief as I waded into the 'driving lesson' thing.
She has mostly been driving an automatic.

Yesterday we spent half an hour at the netball field carpark (after a sound win I might add...so she was in good spirits) just driving round the lanes, doing right and left hand turns and learning how to change up and down from first to second and back. You forget how instinctive it becomes when you have been driving for thirty years.

She did ok for a first lesson. Steering, or rather over-steering is a common beginner's trait and the whole alternate foot action of accelerator and clutch are like learning to waltz I guess. Or not. Anyway, 'flipper foot', as we call it, was proving somewhat challenging yesterday and the engine on my little Corolla was getting a good revving out from time to time.

The main thing was, we ended up still speaking and we did not connect with any solid objects; and I am laying bets on who makes the the first comment which mentions my proclivity for doing just that!

My own driving instruction was a staggered, if not staggering, event.
I got my Learner's Permit at 16 just like the BA and my Dad and I duly did the whole father/daughter learn to drive ritual which ended, predictably, in dark brows and no one speaking to each other. He then handed the job over to Kindergarten Friend who taught me well but gave up on teaching me to parallel park (or maybe I gave up, I can't remember). Parallel parking also resulted in the infamous adventure with my mum's floorsweeper. One day I used it as a marker pole to practise my parallel parking. I ran over it. So I put it back in the cupboard.

Eventually dad forked out $$$ for 6 professional lessons and at 19 I finally became a fully fledged driver. And went through a red light on the way home from the test.

Let's hope the BA has more innate talent than I do.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Mad excitement. The BA got her L plates today!!!!! This means that very soon she will be venturing onto the road in a motor vehicle. How is it possible???

It's funny. On the way over to the Snowies, we were listening to a broadcast of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and a laconic, female comic came on telling this story:

I'm really sick of getting emails from my married friends with pictures of their children and notes like 'Caitlin turned 5 last week. She's starting school soon. Can you believe it?' And I'm like...let me see...Caitlin reached all the normal milestones of childhood, attained the appropriate age and started school....yeah...I can get my head around that! I mean, if she had suddenly started attending school at one, or never walked and talked and THEN attended school, I would find it hard to believe...but really? Five?

And so I slap my wrist for suggesting that it is impossible to believe that my 16 year old daughter has gone into the Motor Vehicle registry, presented her documents, paid for her test, passed first time and paid for her license. Herself. I mean, it's what I brought her up to do! It's just I never really considered what it would be like to be right here, right now, heading into the golden twilight of my life as she launches into hers like a star filled rocket.

I was particularly impressed by the way she noted that most of her friends had been taken to the Registry and had their tests paid for by their parents. "I did it myself, Mum" she said. Slightly resentfully perhaps but still, I know that she has gained a great deal more from the experience than her friends have. In withholding I have given her a gift. She knows he is capable, that she did it herself.

Of course now I may have to teach her to drive. Look! Am I not a natural? I did after all teach No2 Son to drive at a time when his father refused to get into the car with him! I do not know why I am getting so many smirky comments on facebook about my driving ability. OK so I may have recently fallen asleep at the wheel, but really, when I think of all the kilometres I have driven over the years......the likelihood of accidents increases exponentially. That, at least, is my story and I'm sticking to it.

When I came home this afternoon and told Himself however, he was less than excited. "16?" he grumbled,"It's way too young to be driving."
"But," I pointed out,"You got your licence at 16."
"Yes, I know," he said, "but I was too young as well."


The Formal 2011

For those of you who don't frequent facebook (where the photos are posted the next day), here is my Baby Angel in all her glory at the school Formal.
It was a huge night, for all concerned-we didn't pick her up from the after party until 3am!!!!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

An Internet Sweet Sixteen

After a busy night at the Formal (more to follow on that), it was a very quiet birthday today for the BA, as she turned Sweet Sixteen.

With only Himself and I at home, we turned to the internet. That's Grandma and Grandad watching her on the skype video link.

So there were at least four voices singing happy birthday to her tonight.

Happy Birthday my Baby Angel. Now you're old enough to drive.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Snowy Holiday Part 1

I have so many things to tell you:

The big news this week is the upcoming Formal (Prom) and the BA's 16th birthday!!!!!!

*deep breaths*
I suppose that would account for why I am feeling so old!

We had a wonderful holiday in the Snowy Mountains, but there was too much driving and not enough stopping.

Here's a whistle stop of the 'highlights'...or at least...memorable occurrences:

Good Friday

Left late due to a wonderful night of carousing with my good friend Ms Drama Teacher and her Beau. We played something called 'Nitty Gritty', yes, amazingly I say 'we'!! Himself actually indulged me by playing along. It turned out to be extremely entertaining and, although the young couple 'whupped our a***es' in the winning stakes, we had a good laugh and many interesting conversations ensued. Perhaps we should play it weekly? I mean....conversation????!!!!

But anyway, we left late because of this rare socialising.

After a long day of driving, we were facing the prospect of sleeping the car. The first town we pulled into at sunset boasted 5 motels...not one of which had a vacancy. Fortunately we were in my old stamping grounds near my first teaching post and I was able to reassure Himself that the next town, Balranald was, in fact, big enough to have motels. We pulled in at about 7pm and were delighted to jag a -1 star motel: no room service, a bathroom which required significant manoeuvrings to close the door, and resident mice.

Significant stretches of South Australia, Victoria and new South wales are currently afflicted by a mouse plague. Interestingly, the 10 Plagues of Egypt did not include mice! Boy, the Lord sure missed out on an opportunity there. As we sat in our room watching TV a very well fed mouse scurried across the room, stopped by the wall to survey us and then disappeared into the wall cavity. Now, I am not particularly phased by a 'mouse'; it is the copious quantities of them that disturb me. Having lived through the hideous mouse plagues of Booligal back in 1990, my radar was on high alert as we switched off the light and tried for sleep. Himself, after a long day's drive was out like a light in no time. I, on the other hand lay awake for hours listening to the scurries and scuffles within the walls. On occasion the noises would change and I was sure the Mickeys had re-emerged through the gaps in skirting boards to rummage about in our luggage. I would sit bolt upright, turn the light on and get up to patter around looking for evidence of the little b******* , my mind full of plans for home made traps. Sadly the motel room was lacking in any of the essential materials for these traps so my night continued in broken fashion.

Onward the next day: a brief but wonderful stop in Hay to see my Dear Colleague and her family.
As I said to her, why are all our daughters towering over us? Was it something we fed them???????
Over morning coffee we calculated that it was 22 years since we had taught together in Booligal. I must have mentioned it before but this lady and I were so blessed. Out in the middle of nowhere I was assigned a second teacher and I could have got anybody; but in fact I got Dear Colleague and she was the best thing since sliced bread. Additionally, we had to share a house which could have been a disaster; but which of course was wonderful. Twenty two years later we looked at each other with dazed and bewildered eyes and wondered where the years had gone. Then we looked at the children and thought, "yeah...that's where they went."

Later that day I fell asleep at the wheel and Himself put us back onto the right side of the road and was then very reluctant to let me drive ever again.

That night we made it into Canberra as the BA flew in from Sydney. Himself's insistence on navigating with nothing more than his iphone, is the subject of another blog post all on its own; however the good news is that, despite being unable to contact her on mobile as we approached the airport and having no idea of where we were, the BA materialised, standing on a corner, looking more and more bemused as Himself went round and round and round the roundabout looking for an 'appropriate place' to pullover!

That night was spent in a nice motel and the Easter Bunny came.

We found a church the following morning

and left Himself cleaning the car (locusts...mice...etc) whilst we celebrated Easter.

It was a lovely service with sparklers, bells, flowers, an easter egg hunt and a sermon on
Les Miserables. We felt totally at home.

Onwards, toward Tumut and Himself decided we needed to take the high road through a place called Wee Jasper. He said his motivation was to find a nice picnic spot and to travel on a road he had not driven on before. You can imagine the conversation:
Me: How about we stop here for lunch?
Him: Naaah, I think there'll be a better spot around the corner.
Me: Here?
Him: Nah.
me: Here?
Hi: Nahhhhh.
Me: It's going to be 4pm before we eat at this rate!!!!
(Gourmet Picnic to keep everyone happy)

And then it was on to the purpose for the trip, my bridesmaid's 50th birthday.

That's her on the left.

She was having a 'Sex and The City' cocktail party. More stress. I spent a great deal of time trying to watch the BA through the corner of my eye to see that she was not being fed illicit cocktails :-(
Apart from that it was a lovely evening. The next day we experienced autumn in Tumut and took in the Adelong Falls and Gold workings.
Can you see Himself reflected in the water?
These last three pictures are for my dad.
Standing on a rock I noticed this: and then turned 180 degrees to see this:
and then looked up and across to see the full picture.I think its a dyke isn't it dad?
(edited to add: Dad says 'yes' it is...and it bifurcates! Never say this blog is not educational)
Next day, up and over the mountains:

image credit: plague