Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Sports Mode On My new PAS!

Took my new camera out for a test drive at the Baby Angel's recent netball game. Hadn't realised there was a 'sport mode' that takes multiple fast shots! It's very funny because as you scroll through the pix in the camera display, it looks like an old flickery movie as frame follows frame.

Oh, and did anyone notice that the BA looks like she needs a bath??
That would be her spray tan.
All the girls had them! One of the netball mothers commented that, 'you could tell which ones were the year 12s because they were the ones with the orange legs!'  The BA's wasn't that bad, it just didn't look right on her, fair as she is.

Also, I was slightly bemused about the economics of the situation:
Me: BA, do they do half tans? Like top half and bottom half?
BA: Yes, of course...
Me: And are they cheaper?
BA: (rolls eyes) du-uh....
Me: Then why didn't you just get a top half done, seeing as how you will be wearing a LONG DRESS!??

Of course the simple answer to this was that they would be wearing short dresses at the After Party.

On a completely different note: it occurred to me tonight, that in the time it takes me to rearrange the dishwasher so that everything fits inside and exposes a significant amount of its surface to the spray jets, I could have washed the dishes. But it's a point of pride isn't it. Like doing one of those 3D puzzles; you know, the ones that come apart and then you can't get them back together again?

Have a good week all! I'm off to hospital on Wednesday for shoulder surgery. Oh joy.

Oh and I suppose you want to see a photo of the Formal dress?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Formal Looms

So this weekend is The Formal.
Tonight we were combing the mall for a suitable pair of earrings to compliment the dress purchased way back in March. The spray tan is booked for tomorrow as as I write she is closeted in the bathroom exfoliating her legs in preparation.
I remember getting ready in the boarding house and eating macaroni cheese with the boarders because my date had gone back to the US two months beforehand and I had been charged with decorating the hall. Tan? Hairdresser? Make-up artist? Pffffffffft.
Did it all myself.

Funny, come to think of it, I look pretty much the same at my wedding! Talk about lack of imagination :-D

But the lead up has not been without drama (of course, this is the Flaming Sword after all). About 6 weeks ago the BA called into my school on the afternoon of our Formal. Now let me explain that that BA attended my current school for 5 years before transferring to Alma Mater and then St Saviours. She has many good friends still at the school, and seeing them all in their Formal gear was a little bittersweet for her. After all, she could have been with them.

And then she saw one of her friends looking stunning in a gown which was a cross between this

and this.

The top was like the first one, with the ruched midriff, the skirt was more full, like the second picture. And it was green.

Now, I've got to admit, it looked stunning on the girl in question. She wore it with long gloves which really added to the elegant effect. But the BA was infatuated.

"Muuuuuuuuum. I don't think I like my dress..." she squealed as we drove home that night.
"Get over it," was my rather unsympathetic response. Remember after all that I was the one who traipsed around 40000 shops with her, rejecting dress after dress.
"But, hers is so pretttttttttty!!!!! I think I would like a full dress after all."

At this point may I direct you to this post where I had planned to have full dress made for her? And recall her concern that she mght not like it once it was made? Is it any wonder I had zero tolerance for this sudden turn around?

A few days later she texted me from a meeting with her friend in town.
"Muuuuuuum. J will lend me her dress if I want it. Can I try it on please?"
My response was curt:
"You already have a dress. Quite an expensive one if I recall..."

The nagging continued for several days. 'But why can't I just try it on?', 'O's mum bought HER a different dress; in fact she bought her THREE dresses!!!!'....

More fool her, I thought!

For goodness sake, why on Earth would you buy your 17 year old three different dresses to choose from for her Formal? And we are talking $400.00+ dresses! What message is this sending her?

What bothers me about people with this mentality is that they are often hard workers with their own businesses who have come from modest families and, through hard work, made good. Their progeny, on the other hand, have never worked for anything in their lives and grow up believing that their parents' efforts somehow entitle them to an easy ride in life. And to be fair, it is not surprising that they believe this. Three dresses?? I ask you!!!!

After a week of whining about this other dress I suggested she had three options:
1) wear the dress
2) wear the friend's dress and pay her dad and I back for the unused dress
3) (and this was inspired) wear the friend's dress but do not expect another dress for the end of year Graduation Ball and instead, utilise one of my two wedding dresses. The other formal dress would be available for wearing to another occasion in the future.

She jumped at this suggestion and quickly borrowed the friend's dress to try on. Now, I gotta tell you, on her it looked nothing. Seriously! The colour was wrong, she only just squeezed into it leaving her with an effectively bandaged chest and, being slightly beefier than her friend, the full skirt just looked limp. Regardless she took photos and emailed them to all her friends. Their response was typical 17 year old platitudes. Not one of them would tell her if she's not looking her best, for fear she may say the same to them one day!

I said nothing. I let the dress trying on and picture taking run its course and then I took her shopping for earrings. Suffice to say that the dress has been returned to the friend and she is happily looking forward to wearing the original dress on Saturday.

Pictures to follow!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Saturday at Mount Wilson

Blondie is a friend from my Alma Mater days. A country girl, a boarder and a key player in many parts of my life, she lived for many years on a station west of Broken Hill but, in the face of continuing drought and an exodus of people from properties all around them, she and her husband decided to sell up and move closer to Adelaide, rainwater and a decent social life.

They have a magnificent property overlooking the coast with cows, olive trees, some grape vines and a hangar for the aircraft they're in the process of building. Yes, you heard me! Mr Blondie is a pilot and keen collector of World War 2 transport memorabilia. He has the plans for a Spitfire and has recently imported a genuine 1947 US Army Jeep but in his shed he is building a light aircraft. Once complete they plan to fly around the country at their leisure!
Alright for some :-)

On Saturday we were up at their place for a barbeque when one of the guests announced that he had to 'fly'. Literally.

A mob of them walked him up to the airstrip.

 I stayed back at the house with another couple and tried out the zoom on my new PAS camera.

Here's the wide angle shot....

And here's the zoom....

Before I could get too cocky, the throb of the engine told us that departure was imminent. I readied my lens...

  Brilliant huh? Oh well, I did get it in frame as it disappeared into the distance. 

Don't think I'll be giving up my day job any time soon.

Here's the Fingers of God breaking through the clouds later in the day after a walk which nearly killed me. There are bloody big hills on their property!

Oh and here's a shot of Blondie being the perfect hostess, doing what every modern farmer's wife does well, loading the dish washer!

On a completely separate note: here's my new office at Himself's work. Yes indeed, once a week on my day off from school, I will be a fully fledged member of the company, charged with paying bills, filing and keeping the books in order! I am pleased to report that I have filed all those piles of paper you can see on the desk.

I am sure they won't be the last.

A Play and Some Flaming Sword in the Classroom

That last post took two sittings to finish and, re-reading it, you can tell. But I've decided not to be too hard on myself re the quality of my writing but instead to just get stuff down.

So far I haven't been doing too well :-)

The follow-up to the plate smashing episode was seeing the Year12's actual performance last week. The play was entitled 'The Nerd' and it was a hoot. The main character was brilliantly played by a lad I had taught way back when he was in year 5. In those days he was a quiet and conscientious boy with a nervous laugh and an air of insecurity. On Tuesday night he was a fully fledged clown with multiple 'voices' and not a shred of self consciousness to be seen! He wasn't the only surprise. The son of our PE teacher had been a little more lively in his primary school days but known more for his musicianship than anything else. He strode onto the stage as a 6 foot tall 'business man' who 'hadn't laughed since 1974'. He was hysterical. I still smile thinking about it. Sadly, the two girls still hadn't really got the plate scene working, although I could see where they'd incorporated things we'd done into their performance. Oh well, the boys more than made up for them.

ETBED boy has been giving us hell again, of late.  The Friday before last saw him removed from his classroom, by the Head of School, and deposited in my care. He proceeded to try and trash the place although, compared to Slugger last year, he is really a bit of a light weight.

Firstly, he turfed all the furniture out of the doll's house and proceeded to throw it over the wall into my office where I was sitting, trying to ignore him. Seeing that this wasn't working, I came out and tried to engage him, to no avail. He overturned a chair and moved on to the whiteboard full of magnetic letters. Scraping them off in handfuls, he scooped them up and began hurling them at the wall. My good humour and professionalism was beginning to wear off. I grabbed both his hands and held them in his lap.
"You will NOT throw things around my room, I don't care how angry you are!" I seethed at him.
"What gives you the right to come in here and throw my things around? I don't care what you do with your own things, but you are NOT going to throw mine around. And if I have to sit here for the rest of the afternoon holding your hands...SO BE IT! It's going to be a pretty boring afternoon!!!!"
We eyeballed each other for a few moments and I let him go. He belted over to the opposite side of the room and picked up a rubber ball (don't ask me why we have these sorts of things lying around the room, it's a pretty multi-purpose room) and stood there holding it and looking at me. I decided to switch tack and spoke nonchalantly to another teacher in the room who was quietly trying to do some marking and ignore the ruckus. He walked past us with the ball and began to deliberately bounce it.
"I don't mind if you hold the ball, it's good for squeezing, but please don't bounce it in the classroom," I said, in what was a pretty good rendition of a calm voice. He immediately bounced it all the more. As he saw me get up and come towards him, he flung himself over the ball and curled up so that it was trapped underneath him. Fortunately he is Extremely Tiny, so it was no problem for me to flip him over like a turtle and wrench the ball from out of his grasp. He glared at me in fury and lashed out with his foot. I side stepped and in a mammoth show of self restraint, just stopped myself from kicking him back. "Don't test me," I spat at him," I will always win." And I strode away to secure the ball elsewhere. Something clicked within him and he rolled over, located a toy on a low shelf and began to play quietly with it. He did this happily for the next 20 minutes.
"By the way folks," I announced, rather breathlessly, to the other teacher and SSO present, "that was not how the text book tells you to do it!" They grinned.

By the time his mother arrived, he had cleared up the mess he'd made, with only one prompt, and was standing next to me at a table, completing his maths worksheet. He leaned into me as we read the words and glued them under the appropriate shape pictures. We were friends again.

Last week he had a relatively good week and I was only called down to the classroom once. We're all praying it can be sustained this week. His teacher is in a better 'place' with him and I'm hoping we don't need to repeat the power struggle of a week ago.

Keep us in your prayers if that's your thing :-)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tales From The Chalkface

As my figure, identity and sense of humour spiral down the toilet of middle age, I can at least report a few  LOL moments from school of late.

The first one concerns some plates.

On a chilly Friday morning, having been absent from my place for work for approximately 24 hours (yes, I do have a day off....theoretically), I was greeted by an extremely anxious older teacher with the news that I was supposed to be doing a play reading with her at lunchtime.

Now usually, I have a fair idea of what I am expected to be doing on any given day at any time so this came at me from left field. I rapidly rifled through the card catalogue of my mind (hat tip to Megan) and  wondered if she was going the way of all 'oldies' and basically forgetting what she had been told?  There are, after all, a number of people with the same   or similar names to mine in our workplace; surely she had the wrong person? And yet, at the back of my mind I knew this was an appropriate question to ask me. My very, good friend, the Drama Teacher, has worked with me before in a semi professional capacity so I knew it was the kind of thing she might ask me to do. But surely she would have asked me in advance?

Deciding that it was a case of mistaken identity, I left the confused older teacher and headed back to my room to start the day. However, as Drama Teacher stuck her sheepish and giggling head around my door jamb, I knew there had been no misunderstanding.

"I'm sorry I didn't warn you," she laughed at my confusion, "I forgot you weren't in yesterday..."

So, exactly what did this 'reading' require?  I wondered.
Drama Teacher filled me in. Two of her Year 12s were stuck on a scene for their upcoming production. Her answer was to give them some other people to 'look at' doing the scene. Curly and I were the appointed two. Sheesh! No pressure then!!

My biggest problem was that I was scheduled to see WildBoy for his weekly 1:1 slot at roughly the same time. As he has been doing really well lately, I decided that I could reasonably invite him along as the 'audience'. I was pretty sure he would be excited by the privilege. Friday morning saw Wild Boy and I heading down to the drama centre to do the play reading. He was pumped! The idea of someone like a teacher playing the part of...anything...was hilarious! He chuckled non-stop all the way to the performance space.

The year 12 students were delightful. They gave us scripts and explained that they were going to do the scene for us first. It seemed they were 'blocked' and needed some alternate input. (That would be us!)

As I watched the scene unfold I was consumed once more by my natural sense of belonging in theatre. It has been 6 years since my tiny feet last 'tread the boards' but I buzzed with the frisant of participation and wholeheartedly embraced the nuances of character. (Why am I not doing this as a job???)

The best bit was that the scene involved breaking plates. The older, uptight character admits to the younger girl that she keeps her sanity by breaking things. She demonstrates this with plates. Younger girl initially indulges the older woman's habits and then joins in ! Drama Teacher said to me as  I mimed my heart out. "Oh, no...we want you to actually break the plate. We'd love to see how you do it...."

I glanced out into the audience as Wild Boy sat back watching me smash a plate to smithereens. The grin stretched his face from ear to ear. But there was no malevolence, no desire to join in; he rolled in the aisles at my silliness. He appreciated the humour. He talked to me about it non-stop as we walked back to the classroom!

"Oh Mrs A, hahahahah, *smash* flip, it went right up in the air!"

I smiled to myself as I imagined the conversation at the Wild Boy dinner table that night: Hey everyone! Guess what Mrs A did today in my lesson? She SMASHED A PLATE!!!!!

More later

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