Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 27 February 2012

In Which I Am Officially Declared Old

So my class of Year 9s are a nice bunch. They can afford to be; I don't actually teach them anything.

They come to me twice a week for Curriculum Support, which means they bring their homework or any projects or assignments they are having trouble with. The atmosphere is relatively relaxed and light hearted and on Friday I decided to kill a few minutes at the end of the lesson with a 'quiz'.

Now let me further set the scene for this by bringing to your attention the very now, hip and happening expression used by teenagers everywhere (well at least here...):

'LIKE A BAWWSSS' ('Like a boss' for those who do not speak teen).

The origins of this expression lie in a fairly 'out there' music clip by an outfit called 'Lonely Island'. (May I just say that I am introduced to these things by my 13 year old stepson and his bogan mates although they would deny that they deliberately 'introduce' me to them. They just use these expressions, then snicker and look guilty and I google it later.)

A quick google will bring you to 'Like a Boss': watch here if you dare. The clip contains strong adult themes such as drug use, depression, suicide,  self harming, auto erotica, defecation and a bit of micromanaging. There is also an 'f' word. On second thoughts, don't watch it, but then you won't understand the rest of my post! Oh the dilemma!!!!

Things like this always challenge me and take me back to the things I used to laugh at when I was a Uni student. Himself was hilarious when I played the film clip for him. He got most uptight and proclaimed the whole thing 'juvenile'...well...YEAH!!!!! Hellloooooooooo!!!!!!

The other Lonely Island number which totally cracked me up was this one. "I Just Had Sex",  has so much to say about men and women. Just before I assumed the 'cats bums mouth' position (which I was expecting to assume from the first lyric) I began to laugh and then it was all over.
Funnily enough, Himself had the best 'cat's bum mouth' evah when I played it to him!!!! hahahahahahahahah. Given his colorful language and slightly permissive view on life, the word 'irony' springs to mind. Himself and I are the grown up rebel generation. We embraced 'Rocky Horror', everything Python and Detachable Penis. How is it that we are offended NOW??

Anyway, back to the classroom. I am not sure how it came up, but in some context I looked at one of pupils and said 'Like a Bawssss'. His response was  both hilarious and demoralizing. "OMG he exclaimed, "You can not say that, in fact, no one under 30 can say that!"
There was much laughter and me justifying myself but the moment passed.

And now we  are back at the beginning of the story. 

At the end of the lesson I declared a quiz: "answer a question and you'll be able to leave"
I announced.

Knowing the clientele and having had the previous discussion about 'Like  Boss' I called the first question:
"Which band sings 'Like a Boss'...?
The silence was deafening! Not a hand shot up. They all looked at me blankly!!!!
"Come ON." I said, "Someone MUST know!"

From the depths of the silent room one of my babies responded.." I didn't know it was a song..!'

"HA!" I exclaimed. "Ha! Do not EVER tell me I cannot quote the words when you do not even know the SONG it comes from!!!!!!"

Breaking quickly away from the subject (I had this sudden vision of the whole class going home and googling the song...have you watched the clip??? well then you know what concerned me...)
I suggested "Complete the lyric!"

"She loves you......"

Again the silence was deafening.

"Come ON guys!!!!!! It's the Beatles!!!!"


"Alright...try this..."will you still need me, will you still feed me.."


"Oh COME ON GUYS!!!!! Didn't you sing this in primary school??????"

"Give us something we KNOW" they huffed indignantly.

Now, I listen, with the BA, to the indie music channel in SA, I watch that hideous MTV every time I am in the gym, I know the titles of songs like 'Firework' and 'Rolling in the Deep' but do you think, in that moment, I could think one ONE single lyric?????????????

I dragged about desperately in my memory and came up with:

"I'm on the right track baby........"

"I was born this way!" shrieked an excited voice from the back of the room. 15 pairs of eyes swung around to survey him.

"Probably not the best song to admit I know..." he muttered as he made his way to the door, the lucky first leaver.

After that I resorted to asking about the capital of Australia, a scary moment as most of them thought it was ACT!

But I was left feeling shocked by my inability to recite lyrics, something I have always done well. I blame the BA and her dedication to indie music but there is a deep and cutting realization that I am now my mother. I clearly remember how she would exclaim in indignation about my ability to sing the lyrics to so many songs........

Those were the days.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Whine Whinge Whinge: Ahhhh That Feels Better

I'm in the mood for a right royal dummy spit!
(NB :if the meaning of this quintessentially Australian expression escapes you, see image at right).

I don't know whether to start with the speeding fine, the unethical 'event' photographers or my husband's iphone failing to send me emails!
 grrr  >:-(

Let's start with the latter as I ought to have posted a '52 Weeks of Me' photo sometime this week. As I have not yet retrieved my camera from Kindergarten Friend's place (despite trying to organise a pick up on at least two occasions) Himself once more helped me to take a photo (on his iphone) and emailed it to me. He has now emailed it three times and to two different email addresses and I still have not received it!! What recourse do you have for this phenomenon? Would do you call when your electronic bits do not make it through the ionosphere?
Where is the salesman you can shout at?????

The speeding fine is just downright irritating; irritating because I have been pinged on the same section of road once before when I hadn't really realised that it had a 50km speed limit. This time, even though I now knew the limit, I had not even cracked the 60km/hr mark (the old speed limit and the one still in force on major roads) when they got me!!!!! AND.... a $312.00 fine! Not $150, not $250 but $312!!!
Revenue raising.........>:-(

Then there's the photographers: I'm sure that, nowadays, the same things occur world wide but when we went to Formals in the 'old days', there were a few happy snaps taken by my dad with his Minolta SLR in our lounge room (as shown on the right here). Now of course, there is a whole industry around Formals, including the 'formal portrait photo rip off'! It goes like this: as the young people arrive they are lined up like so many sausages in a factory and marched past the ubiquitous sky blue cyc (with stars) to primp and pose in 101 variations on an awkward position. They fill in a form with their name and address and are given an idee number for later use on the website.

Armed with their idee number they dance the night away and then dash home to call up the photographers website and check out their glory. They then post a whole bunch of the online photos (with the copyright watermark in place) on facebook; howl with laughter over their own exploits and forget the photos were ever taken, especially when the dress you're wearing looks like this and you would like to rethink your hair and make up. But no, you cannot forget them! They turn up on your doorstep!! Unsolicited, the photos arrive in a package, addressed to the irresponsible, underaged teen, who promptly puts them on a bookshelf and forgets about them. Until you find them and check the paperwork, only to discover that the photos are 'worth' $169.00 all up (there are about 10 of them) and the 'return by' date expired over two weeks ago!! (suspiciously close to the arrival date I think, but that's another story).

Himself informs me that this is actually illegal but being a good and conscientious citizen, I paid the dosh................ and wrote them a nasty letter.

I'm sure it will make a huge difference to their business practices.


But I felt better. Oh and I didn't pay the whole $ 169.00, I only paid the 'early bird' discount price of $147.00. So there! I dare them to challenge me on it!!
I am such a rebel.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

52 Weeks Of Me: Dark

Well, how late can you get on a post??

52 Weeks of Me is hosted by Corey over at 'Living and Loving Every Minute', on a Saturday no less! Now, my excuses start with the fact that I recently had the absolute joy of attending the engagement party of my Kindergarten Friend, an unmarried man of my age who, in a blessed turn of events, met his soul mate three years ago and finally proposed to her on Milford Sound at the end of last year. Why is this relevant? Because I left my camera at their house!

I keep meaning to pick it up but haven't made it back yet and so I commissioned Himself (who really is a lovely patient husband at times) to take a 'dark' photo of me with his phone. After several exceptionally unflattering shots, I decided on this one. Certainly for my family it will 'ring bells' as I sit silhouetted by the ubiquitous computer monitor. For those with an eye for detail, spot my handsome nephew on my pinboard along with my husband, my baby (when she was a baby) and the medal awarded to me by my bestest work colleague for me managing to keep it all together last year!

I may sit in the dark but my life is full of light.

If you fancy joining us on the 52 Weeks of me Journey, click over to Corey's place by using the button.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

It's Amazing What You Find When You Clear Out Your Files

Many years ago we still played with video cameras.

Here, the BA's friend, Smidge, interviews a famous Hollywood movie actress a la "Thank God You're Here!"

The BA is behind the camera.

I had forgotten all about this.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

To Complain or Not To Complain: THAT Is the Question

OK. So now I'm going to tell you the story of 'Bad Doctor'.

My Baby Angel is incredibly robust. She rarely visits the doctor. In fact, so unaccustomed is she to illness that she was about 9 before she had to stay off school with a bad cold for the first time.  In obvious distress and confusion she was heard to wail, "Muuuum, I can't breathe!!!" Recently, she's had the occasional flu/cough thing as her diet and bed times move increasingly out of the sphere of my control but nothing warranting a surgery trip. Which is why, as she complained yet again about the heat rash on the back of her legs, I was faced with the prospect of finding her a doctor.

I was mindful of the fact that, at 16 and a half, she is going to want to start visiting the doctor under her own steam. Perhaps not straight away but certainly in the near future, the idea of being taken to the doctors by Mum is bound to become anathema. So, obviously, we had to pick a surgery nearby and easily accessible by public transport. Check.

I called the surgery to book an appointment and got the standard "Which doctor would you like to see?" Well, call me coy but I only see lady doctors so that was my first request. After that, I told the receptionist it was for my daughter and she suggested Dr HNB. A quick check of the surgery's website informed me that Dr HNB had a certificate (and special interest in) adolescent and children's health. Bingo! We thought.

It was a cheerful BA and I who fronted to the surgery that sunny morning. We had a list of 'little things' that we wanted to ask about: the heat rash of course, a nasty dark mole on her neck, her non-meat eating diet and tiredness.....but I figured we could knock them off pretty quickly. Imagine our confusion when Dr HNB stalked out of her office and called our name with the withering tones of someone who wished to God she had put down Law instead of Medicine on that fateful uni application form.

In typical addictive personality fashion, I tried to work out later if it was something we had done from the outset. I mean, we were a bit late but she wasn't standing out in the foyer waiting for us so..... ??? Whatever it was, she was snippy from the get go. She marched us in and sat us down, then rolled her eyes as we did that familiar mother/daughter dance:
"Tell, the doctor why you're here.."
"Well, it's nothing really, I mean, it's like, well there's not much to see, it's probably nothing.."
"Oh for God's sake...she gets a heat rash on the back of her legs."
"Muuuuuuuuum" (spoken through clenched teeth)....
I mean, I know it's pathetic but surely we're not the first pair to air our changing relationship in public? And not even in public! In the seclusion of the surgery no less! Surely, that's what adolescent health care is all about???? Well, at least partly about?

She got out her torch and ordered the BA around to have a look at the back of her legs.
"Huhm," she snorted dismissively,"well, sit down, I'm not going to talk to your bottom."
Suddenly I have a distinctly uneasy feeling; this isn't going the way I imagined and yet, despite my intellect, strong character and usually forthright nature, I wonder if there is something I am missing? Perhaps this is part of the bedside manner recommended for adolescents?

The discussion around heat rash, wearing cotton clothing and 'there's not much I can suggest' went waaay longer than it needed to. In the end, bigmouth mother suggested some hydrocortisone,
Dr HNB agreed and we moved on to item no 2.

Again, the nasty black mole on the back of the BA's neck took longer than necessary to analyse. Apparently it was my fault that I didn't know the year, nay the month, nay the DAY it had appeared on her neck......as that may have made a difference to the treatment. Let's face it, we don't know if it's a melanoma, we could leave it there and see if it changes or we could make arrangements to chop it out. I get that. She gets that. Let's choose and move on!!

Next: diet and sleep.
Last year, one of the BA's teachers mentioned that she thought the BA may be iron deficient because she is very pale and she is often tired. Of course, she is pale because she is my daughter and we do not produce melanin (hence concern over mole), but she is a picky eater and not a great lover of protein so it did worry me vaguely that we weren't catering to her burgeoning adolescent need for nutrition.
Dr HNB: So, you're tired?
The BA: Well....yes....sometimes.....but...I....I mean I....
Dr HNB: What time do you go to bed?????
The BA: Well, sometimes it's quite late, I mean, on a weekend, and then some week nights I have 
                things on and home work and stuff so I...
Dr HNB: Do you get 10 hours sleep a night?
The BA: Errrrr no, I don't think so.
Dr HNB: Well then, there's your answer! It's not rocket science you know! If you're tired...get more

At this point, my internal dialogue was having a raging debate with itself.
Me: Well she's right
Me: Yeah...but there must be a better way to say it
Me: Perhaps it a kind of tough love thing? That she learned at her adolescent health course?
Me: OK....and maybe the BA will actually take it on board since she's being so blunt.....
Me: Yeah but she's being so blunt!!!

At this point, foolishly in hindsight, I decided to let the BA have a chat to the Doc alone on the final, and perhaps most important issue. It was girly health thing and I thought I was doing the right thing by giving her some autonomy but even now, as I read back over the unfolding of events, I can see that leaving her alone with Dr HNB was a mistake. Firstly, as I announced I would leave them to it, the Doc pulled me up in no uncertain terms and told me that 'if I had a lot of things to discuss in the future, could I please book a double appointment'. A small gasp of surprise and I was apologising and assuring her that we would do that next time.
Oh the wisdom of hindsight.

Twenty minutes later the BA emerged from the surgery, weeping and broken. The doctor had told her that she was cross because we had made her 45 minutes behind schedule! But that was OK because
Dr HNB had also told her not to worry because she was the second teenage girl she'd made cry that day!!!!!!!!!!!!
A simple "please make another appointment, we've run out of time," would have sufficed!!

>:-( grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

We will not be going back to Dr HNB.

So what am I trying to say by telling you this story? Well, the BA will not let me write a letter of complaint and I wonder whether that is right? Should this lady, whom I am sure is probably a fine doctor, be allowed to tout herself out there as specialising in adolescent health, whilst at the same time being almost the polar opposite of what a doctor of teenagers should be?? Should I be informing her that her bedside manner is lacking. Would she care? What do you think? Should I ignore the BA's social reticence to inform the woman of her effect on others??

To add insult to injury, she charged me $150.00 for an extra long consult and when the rebate cheque came back....it was made out to the BA!


(PS: Have you worked out what Dr HNB stands for????? Here's a hint. It's not complimentary).

Image credit 1
Image credit 2

Sunday, 5 February 2012

52 Weeks of Me: At Arm's Length

Today's prompt:  'At Arm's Length', had me thinking about keeping things at a distance.
And there's so much to say about that, I won't say anymore.