I wouldn't like to be the one charged with writing the job description for mother. Let's just say it's a role that is complex and unrelenting but as a result overwhelming rewarding. Guide, counsellor, nurse, educator, driver, mentor, cleaner, social secretary, fashion consultant, personal shopper - there's never a dull moment. But from day one there's one job that's first among equals. A job that's a matter of life and death: caterer. Long before a child can wail "Muuummm. I'm starving. What's for dinner?" a baby is communicating just that loud and clear. And it pretty much never stops. As soon as I get to my mum's place I tend to open the fridge and ask "have you got anything to eat?" Unless you happen to like a dried up piece of cheese or a glass of milk that expired three weeks ago, in the case of my mum's fridge the answer is probably no. But still I ask the question. Feeding the young, or the not so young, is what parents do and what offspring expect long after they are capable of feeding themselves. Today, after giving up on mum's fridge I visited my old neighbour's John and Clare. It was feeding time. I was treated to a cupcake with pink incing and the magpies were given mince, lots of mince, because they had hungry mouths to feed. As soon as they collected a beak full of beef, they flew off to the lawn where the chicks were waiting. And weren't those little ones letting the whole world know in word and action that they wanted their share NOW (if not sooner). This was not a case of turn taking. I'm pretty sure either chick would have resorted to siblicide had a fair and proportionate share not materialised. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those cries amounted to "Not fair mum. She got more than me". Because the only thing more important than keeping up with the Joneses is keeping up with the sibling - especially at lean times.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
The old saying goes "Red sky at night, sailors' delight. Red sky in the morning sailors warning". Some versions replace sailors with shepherds. As I know about as much about sailing as I do about sheep, there's little I can add to that. But I do know the bible includes a very similar sentiment In the Matthew XVI: 2-3,) Jesus said, “When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; ..." Well if it's in the bible it must be true .... What I can say for sure is that the sky appeared red this afternoon. What I am less sure about is whether that was just because I was looking through eyes so tired and bloodshot that there was an inevitable red tinge that was nothing like wearing rose coloured glasses. I've reached the level of fatigue that is close to delirium ... I swear this afternoon I saw my son wearing a Nazi trench coat and lederhosen whilst cuddling a puppy. Actually that bit, I think was true. When you live with a Drama Teen strange costume choices are par for the course. In this case I was helping out Fame Theatre with promotional photos for an upcoming musical. Drama Teen has a role in The Producers which I hope explains the Nazi get up. The dogs came with me because we squeezed the photo shoot in en route to the dog park. I love these photo. There's a happiness and stupidity about it that brings joy to my very tired eyes. This is despite my realisation that posting a photo of one's nearest and dearest wearing a swastika is not without issues. At least he's not a royal heading to a costume party and it's not social media where all context is lost even for those who think context matters. Nazis are an historical fact and actors will need to play them even though I'm not to sure that lederhosen and puppies were part of the deal. But perhaps it's all part of my impaired sleep deprived thinking and it made about as much sense as some of the assignments I'd been marking ....
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
It's been said that if you look as bad as your passport photo, you are too sick to travel. I wish my new passport, which I collected today, was only that bad. I look like I should be on a terrorism watch list, although I suppose to be a good terrorist you probably should look "normal" and not like a terrorist, so I fail that test. Seriously, I get why in the animal kingdom there are reasons to look ugly and threatening. The stripes on the bees, the buzzing the stings are self-preservation measures. Those scales and spikes on the water dragons have a serious "don't mess with me" message. A turtle's shell protects, the noisy miners swooping deters, the cormorant's wing span display threatens (and dries the wings). But is there any good reason the conditions governing passport photos ensure ultimate ugly? I think not. We have moved to facial recognition software for security in airports. It would be pretty useless if it couldn't recognise you if you smiled or wore glasses or looked some way other than straight down the camera lens with a neutral expression. I can only assume that people in passport processing or border patrol have no sense of humour or everyone starts to resemble their passport photo after a long haul flight....
Monday, October 17, 2016
Let's be honest. Marking is not hard work like building roads or digging ditches. But it's bloody hard work just the same - mind numbing, soul destroying type of hard work. The jacarandas are in bloom which everyone in my part of the world knows means is final exam time. Students and those who teach them are all feeling stuffed. By lunch time my sight was blurring and head throbbing. I suspected an impending migraine but a rest breaks and pain killers fixed it in a way that wouldn't happen with a migraine. I learned a lesson I had learned but forgotten before ... less can be more. If you don't take breaks you will suffer. It's a false economy and you will just end up stuffed. So what did I do about being stuffed? A somewhat bizarre two pronged approach. Step one involved fresh air, exercise and dog love. A walk around Roma Street Parklands was a good preamble. The main game was cooking - and eating. Every time we hit marking season I start to bake. Last night it was chocolate brownies. Tonight I decided to stuff mushrooms, something it had never occurred to me to do before. With my late father's words in my ears "life is to short to stuff a mushroom", I spread my wings and stuffed mushrooms. And then I ate them. Not bad either. But will I make them again? Who knows what I will do in a marking-induced delirium. I'd ponder the question further if I didn't have marking or baking or eating or procrastinating to do
Sunday, October 16, 2016
follower or underling, servile and unimportant to do the rather unpleasant things you don't want to - presumably like marking and housework. But then it evolved, in the way words do, and it now means a yes-man, a nameless faceless servant. As I have zero desire to be a political operative or backbencher , the whole minion thing is apparently out. Boo hoo to that. I'll just have to rely on my dogs for the whole unquestioning loyal servant thing. They might not have the obedience thing exactly sorted but for loyalty and devotion you can't match a dog. Of course in more recent times minions have been hijacked by Universal Pictures and everyone can own a minion provided they were content for it to be plush or on Blu-Ray. Again Boo Hoo to that. Anyway, today I met a minion as I walked through the Convention Centre Car Park of all places. At the time he was sitting on the steps taking a break from minion duties (is that actually allowed?). Anyway through an interpreter (no really) I found out that he was promoting a Chinese investment company. As there was a distinct language barrier between us - and the promotional material they gave me was in Chinese - I am presuming it was all about getting your money to work for you or something. Perhaps so but I tell you what dressing in that suit in the Brisbane Spring is totally the job for someone willing to serve with unquestioning devotion to cause or cash or perhaps both.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
It's hard to believe but my "baby" sister turned 50 today. Bloody hell. I'm pretty sure last week she was tormenting me on the school bus. Time is a weird thing. Some times it feels like it is an eternity between the times we are all able to be in the same room at the same time. Some times the level of the conversation and the amount of teasing would make you think that only yesterday we were all living under the same roof. Tonight much focus was on the dress code. The birthday girl sent us all a text asking us to "dress" for dinner. As opposed to rocking up naked or in our PJs which naturally was what we had all planned for a night at a nice restaurant. We knew what she meant but that is never a reason not to tease and have a debate about definitions. Finally the edict was at the smart end of smart casual. And in the end I think we all scrubbed up pretty well really, especially given our advanced age. And of course we took the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry as well you should on such an occasion.