Friday, March 31, 2006

I always liked that bit on Saturday Night Live.

note to self: Never again buy clothes when PMSing. Cardy with one big button? err, what the hell were you thinking?

note to self: Laughing while eating marshmallows is a bad fucking idea.

note to self: Not knowing something is fair enough, thinking it'll get you through a class on clay is just plain dumb.

note to self: Three cups of coffee before 9.30am is not a good way to go when you want to create a nice serene atmophere in the art room. OKAY KIDS OKAAAAYYYY??!!!!!!??!

note to self: Do not laugh when children are doing immitations of Van Gogh cutting his ear off and then try to reign them in again. They already know they've got you.

note to self: Wine does not make a bad headache feel better.

note to self: Agreeing to supervise the Art Club on a lunchtime after you already have yard duty means that you will not actually get to eat lunch that day. You are an idiot.

note to self: Stop being so nice to people or they'll keep walking all over you. sigh.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

ciao mate

We have a preoccupation with food.

How do I even begin to describe the process that got us to this simple dinner? It was months in the making.

You start with tomato pasta sauce made from scratch last January. This means buying the tomatoes from a trusted dealer (yes, you read right) - crate after crate of tight red skin encapsulating ripe tomato juice - sorted, cut, squashed, seasoned, bottled with basil stuffed in the bottom and top of each bottle, boiled in drums on an open fire, and left to cool. Months later you are digging the bottles out from the bottom of a dusty cupboard in the cellar to start the process of making the sauce. You pour, add, season again, add meat, other bits and pieces, leave it to simmer until the smell has permeated into all nooks and crannies including the bathroom and there you have your simple napoletana sauce. Others would just buy the Leggos ready made pack. Oh the shame!

During the day sometime, in a spare hour or three you prepare the filling - ricotta cheese, egg, various seasoning and parsley/spinach all combined and put back into the fridge while you concoct a smooth dough from various ingredients. You then nurture the pasta dough under a warm tea towel until it has risen and then you beat it down and roll it out again, and again, and again - pressing it against the rollers on the machine and watching it come out smooth on the other side while your hand gets tired from turning the crank on the side of the shiny pasta maker.

Then you scoop, fill, and cut the sheets to the perfect size and there you have some plain ravioli. You could probably just as easily buy something similar from the Latina fresh packets found the fridges in your local supermarket. Just add water and you're done. Well, I suppose you could but you actually wouldn't dare.

Luckily you've already gone down to the local Mediterranean supermarket where you know you've bought a decent slice of Parmesan cut straight from the wheel. You grate it yourself - and place it in the fridge for later. None of this packet stuff. Oh no.

Boil, drop in the pillows of ravioli, turn occasionally so it doesn't stick, re-heat the sauce, drain, sauce, cheese...eat.

You remember a time, long ago when you were just knee high to a grasshopper, when the wine was also homemade, the sausage too - but those days are over. Some things are too cumbersome to keep doing in suburbia past a certain age. Tonight it's only simple old lamb and pork (yes, two) and salad collected from the garden just 10 minutes ago - simple olive and salt dressing.

While you eat, everyone discusses what they ate last night, and the night before, and the night before, what others are eating, how to cook the crackling on the pork just right, how apple sauce is strictly for the Aussies and Brits, how the meal could be improved. There are constant apologies for the lack of eggs in the pasta, or too many, or how it needed just two more minutes on the stove.

You pause and everyone is on your back, Why aren't you eating?, What's wrong? What's the matter? Oh Dio, you no like my food! on and on it goes until you have decided to brand yourself with deaf, dumb on your forehead. It probably still wouldn't work.

Just another meal with your Uncle and Aunt and selected family; no biggie.

The culture shock from inside here and outside there is overwhelming sometimes. You realise that you've never had baked beans on toast before, an Aussie staple. You've never had beans from any tin. Never. Never wanted it either, if truth be told. In your family the beans were grown in the back-fucking-yard mate.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the art of not knowing anything much.

Have you ever had to instruct someone how to do something you don't know how to do yourself? Sometimes being a teacher is less about sharing knowledge and more about bluffing it - and this year this rather embarrassing fact seems especially true.

What are the words that bridge the knowledge gap and make learning functional? This term I feel a bit like I did in my first year of teaching. There are so many things I don't know how to do or achieve. All the mountain tops are hidden behind thick clouds. Who knows how far up they go? I'm a little terrified of not really knowing what I'm doing.

Thursday I have to teach a class on clay. The tiles we're making will go on a mural that is going to live at the school forever. We have one lesson to get it right. No pressure! I haven't taught a class on clay in ...ooo.. NEVER! I haven't actually worked with clay since I was in year 8 and I made a bust of a duck (yes, it was a little surreal I admit. The whole family laughed when I brought it home and it became known as 'the ugly duck'). Can't wait for Thursday! Go team.

I'm what you would call a learn by experience type girl. It isn't enough to plan and theorise (though I like to theorise, often too ridiculous to mention things) - I do best by living in the moment, testing my flying skills for the first time when standing on the edge. Gee..perhaps I should have practised this before. Ahh, let's just hope for the best. Every time I think I'll learn from that mistake; leaving everything until there is no other choice but to plunge in, but I still keep doing it. Despite the laid back approach to life, I would be nothing without my nervous tension.

I haven't exactly planned properly for this term yet. I haven't even thought about that movie project. I haven't devised proper assessment piece for the levels. I haven't organised the art show, or the artists' project or anything. I haven't I haven't. I haven't. I haven't. I approach it all like a clean slate. But it's not.

Today was a good example of how I work with the clean slate. This morning, still deliberating of what I was going to achieve today with the grade 3 and 4. I knew that I wanted to do a Ken Done inspired series with one of the levels at some point, but I didn't know what. I wanted something Australian, without it being all about the outback all the time. You know, Pro Hart died today and so Australianness and Australian artists were at the very forefront of my mind as I rubbed sleep from my eyes. Ken Done, I knew depicted Sydney and none of that seemed very relevant to me or what I wanted to achieve right now. I wanted his enthusiasm for Sydney, somehow transpired to Melbourne. This morning while looking desperately for a piece of artwork to inspire some sort of Australianness and Melbourne spirit, I came across a picture of Sidney Nolan's Footballer.

Of course Sidney Nolan is best known for his iconic depictions of Ned Kelly, which I may revisit later in the year. But Footballer is a striking painting and since I am about all things Melbourne I saw the opportunity to trick the children into being interested about an artist while including something very Melbourne related and topical (the football season starts this week). This is truly a city which loves its football. I was surprised about how interested the children were about Sidney Nolan himself. They adored the stories I relayed (hastily grabbed just half an hour before they walked in the door, actually), of his life - his paintings - his vibrant colours and haunting story telling through pictures. I was interested too, feeding off their enthusiasm; them feeding off mine.

They were to create their own AFL picture using a few cues I had for them that were inspired by Nolan's painting. The clean lines, the prominent footballer, the fence line, the goal post. Apart from that - they had free reign. It's amazing what kinds of things children will come up with. The pictures were all different, amazing, vibrant - and this was before we added the paints.

The visiting artist decided to use my rushed together lesson in her own program, which was very flattering since the lesson was at best hastily stitched together with hope and nervousness. But somehow it came together. I've had worse lessons that take weeks from conception to birth and are still stagnant and boring. Sometimes not knowing allows us to take the journey with an open mind, and heart. I'm hoping this will happen with the clay work. It had better. I haven't got knowledge fall back on now, do I?

What do you ever *really* know to begin with anyway? And when I think about it, there is no mountain top is there? Life is really only a series of never ending footsteps that take us closer to the end without ever taking us anywhere at all. Putting aside death: Is there ever really a finish line? We're always constantly evolving aren't we?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The thrilling of Miss M.

This is the story you need to remember when the well is dry. And dry it is.

You are eleven; finally beyond two hands and it is grade 6 camp. An idyllic farm near Warrnambool. There is a pool and animals that make weird noises at 5.30am. You are not a farm girl, but you love this. You love seeing the waves of muted colours outside your window each morning. You love the quiet contemplation of the gums standing straight on the closely shaved hills at dusk. The scavenger hunt they've organised this late afternoon is a fun idea and * the boy who thrills you is your partner; drawn out from the bottom of a sock. Fate, and you both know it.

You have spent the year watching him during silent reading over the top of your book. He sits two rows across and one desk down. At one stage he was moved right behind you but that wouldn't do. It didn't allow you the distance to look and wonder. Luckily he was moved away again and you could go back to watching him mouthing the words. You are the shy dork. He is the blonde sporting hero. Let's face it, you're still the dork - He's probably still the stud.

You are both picked as leads in the school musical and sing a duet together. He always wants to get together at lunch time to rehearse all lines and the song. You hardly know what to say to him, he almost makes you stop breathing, stop moving, stop everything.

He tells you little anecdotes about his weekend, tries to teach you how to kick a footy (you are terrible, of course), claps your high jump achievements (you have a great scissor kick), helps you up the stairs when you hurt your ankle during gym and slaps your hand the hardest when bush dancing. A girl collects little seashells like these. The lovely things stay in your heart.

So back at the farm, you set off for the scavenger hunt. This is a team to be reckoned with, you gather small artifacts from around the farm at lightening speed. A leaf in the shape of a country. Something blue. Something light... You're going to win. You have all the grand ideas and he has the know how of how to make them happen.

The last question stumps you especially. Something pretty. You look around at the scenery. The whole place is pretty. If only we could take a photo you muse. Maybe I can draw a picture of it... You look at * to get his opinion and find him staring at your face, smiling at you, the sky almost indigo behind him ..or we could just take you back, it is almost a whisper but the grin reaches his eyes. To this date the best pick up line you have ever heard and the last thing you ever expected to hear. umm you blush eloquently. He picks up a flower and gives it to you and grabs your other hand.

You are last back for the scavenger hunt.

Why do you choose to remember this innocent story beyond any others; more adult or juicy?
It's simple;
You want to be *that* thrilled again. Girlishly, blushingly, tantalisingly thrilled.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Naughty Miss M.

When I was a kid I loved Enid Blyton (who didn't?) and I went to bed each night with my cup of hot chocolate and read my book until I fell asleep. The Naughty Amelia Jane series was my absolute favourite, even more so than the Magic Faraway Tree or Famous Five.

It was about a group of toys who came to life when the boys and girls weren't around. I fancied my toys doing that also, so it wasn't a big stretch for my rather active imagination to see my own cabbage patch and eeyore toy doing the same thing. In the stories Amelia Jane was the ring leader and biggest trouble maker of all the toys. She was a rag doll, which explained a lot really (apparently rag dolls are loose and from the wrong side of the tracks..oh Enid, you're a gass really!). She would rile up the other toys and convince them to do naughty, naughty things so much so that the faires would have to come and save their sorry arses before the kids came home and realised that their toys were actually alive and sold them to the local circus or something.

Mum used to say that I was like Amelia Jane, because as the older sister I would lead bro into trouble. In fact, now that I think of it I'd get blamed for a lot of things that he did, even when I wasn't involved. When I'd say that it wasn't my fault I'd get "well, you're the older sister and you should look after him and make sure he's behaving" and I'd get into trouble anyway. That's a shitty deal - damn those younger siblings and their angel wings. Thanks mum - this explains much about the perception I have of myself as flawed in every way (save that for the mental health entry)...

I thought Amelia Jane was a little misunderstood. She knew that she was naughty but it was like a compulsion. Afterwards she was always so very sorry to have lead all the good toys astray and promised to be more like them in everyway. You see, Amelia Jane wasn't one of those new fangled factory made toys, she was held together with the evil, evil threads of home making. Poor Amelia, you could hardly blame her. Besides she was the one who always paid the most for her crimes anyway. err..anyway

Although I was painted as a naughty Amelia Jane at home, I was an absolute angel in public and especially at school, people couldn't believe that I wasn't mute. I was so shy I'd run and hide behind the paisley (yeah, you read right) couch when we had visitors that I didn't know and would have to be coaxed out of hiding with ice-cream or threats (both worked well). But I suppose if you had to twist my arm about it then I was a bit like Amelia Jane when I was comfortable. Yes, I knew as the oldest sister and cousin (that we associated with) that I could make my younger brother and younger cousins do what I wanted. Most of the hair brained schemes ("let's jump on the couch!", "let's use Dad's saws and nails to build a cubby", "it's not really stealing if noone knows it's missing", "let's make $50 worth of prank calls") were my brilliant idea. Hey, I was the outgoing, outspoken persuasive one (what the hell happened?) except when I was in public. Maybe I'd already been labelled as naughty and there was nowhere else for me to go.

I came across a piece of writing I wrote here, and saved as a draft. I may have posted it in lookingsideways but honestly I can't remember anymore. I keep being reminded of it as an example of my Amelia Janeness:

My cousins lived in North Fitzroy until I was about 5 or 6 years old. When I was 2 I took my best cousin T (who was almost 2) by the hand and led her down the driveway out onto the busy road and down the street and almost under a tram. This sounds exactly like something I'd do. I probably looked like butter wouldn't melt and my teachers wouldn't believe you if you swore black and blue about it but I was trouble. Probably still am.. I've heard this story a million times. Mum was 9 months pregnant with my brother and when she realised we had gone missing she ran down Liverpool St. holding her pregnant belly with both hands and racing for Nicholson St. There we were, stepping onto the road when she grabbed us both by the collar and pulled us back to safety. I spent many years after that leading T into this forest or down that overgrown pathway. She always followed and I played on that a lot. As the older cousin by 8 months I was hard to resist. This bizarre story has been reconstituted many times, so now I have hazy memories of myself on unsteady feet waddling along the road dragging T behind me. She is wearing a red wool-knit sweater, which I have seen her wear in photos of us when we were toddlers. I don't know whether to trust these memories or not. As I said, the story has been told and retold as folk lore until my brain has absorbed them as visuals.

You know, this entry was going to be about The Fonz. No kidding.

Friday, March 24, 2006

looking forward

v. trav·eled, or trav·elled trav·el·ing, or trav·el·ling trav·els or trav·els
v. intr.

1. To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey.
2. To go from place to place as a salesperson or agent.
3. To be transmitted, as light or sound; move or pass.
4. To advance or proceed.
5. To go about in the company of a particular group; associate: travels in wealthy circles.
6. To move along a course, as in a groove.
7. To admit of being transported without loss of quality; Some wines travel poorly.

I'm feeling uninspired lately. Or rather, I am feeling lethargic and low which in turn leads to apathy - which inspires absolutely nothing which then makes me feel low.

Cycles, eh?

I've been thinking a lot about escaping. It's been a long while since I travelled and I'm ready to do it again. As much as I can get used to the comfort of complacency I am a girl who is in constant need of newness. New places. New thoughts. New stimulation. I want rivers not pools. The thing is, most everyone has already paired up (people are having....families folks..FAMILIES!) or is completely engrossed in their careers. Noone wants to pack up and just leave everything behind, except me. I think about it all the time.

So, do it alone you stupid wench. God you annoy me so much. I wish I could strangle you and dump you in the Yarra where noone will ever find you except the radioactive eels, I hear you say...well, I'm at that stage where I've only just realised that I can go to the movies alone without freaking out. The thought of just leaving alone really terrifies me and yet I think about it a lot.

I know that it can be difficult for girls travelling alone as well and stories I've heard from friends about travelling alone haven't all been life affirming and happy. I'm not dumb. I know there is a double standard for men and women - travelling and otherwise. I don't want to get caught up in a stupid situation. I guess stupid situations exist in everything huh? I also know that I always think about changing my life when it's nearly my birthday and I get scared about things being so stagnant for yet another year. I genuinely love Melbourne. It's my home and my love - really, I've been to Europe and while many of the cities are more beautiful, have more history are colourful and inspiring they are still not Melbourne - which is where my soul lives. But, still something has got to give.

It's not Melbourne.
It's me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So you know that I had a little flirtation with personal ads a while ago

Well, I'm now addicted to reading them.. They can be a little hard to believe
..but I promise that I am NOT bullshitting you with this.

..the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Go Aussie, Go!

I am a great sporting fan!

Okay, that's a lie. I pretty much don't give a shit most of the time. But, hell you can't help but get involved in all the CommGames hoopla when it's right on your back doorstep, can you? Where else are Australians going to get a chance to rake the gold in but at the CommGames; competition of around 60 3rd world nations and a couple of first world ones! Bonus if youre part of the first world.

So, since #1 and I are both teachers, it's the school holidays, I had already watched all the episodes of The Late Show and Scrubs (season 3) and since we both enjoy hanging with the local bogans we decided to go see the cycling time trials today... you know, since it's just on the road and it's free and well, it was at St Kilda! Who doesn't love St Kilda? (I think they might have shipped out the homeless and prostitutes for the week - it looked rather spectacular).

Firstly, we had to work out how to use the new fangled ticket machines on the tram. Okay, yes, technically I have used public transport since they brutally got rid of the lovely tram conductors (who probably all fought in our wars and would give you an extra hour on your 2 hour ticket if you were nice to 'em) - and replaced them with the cold heartless clang of "progress", but they take a bit of getting reaquainted with (all those colourful buttons and ..thinking about whether you can get away with being a senior citizen). Also, how much change does a girl need? It's lucky I have the world's biggest handbag with everything in it because I don't think I could have found $6.10 in change for a zone 1 full day faire otherwise. SIX DOLLARS AND TEN CENTS. Fucking hell - we could have split a cab instead one way and not have to put up with the pink shirt lady fighting with the driver about obstructing the doors. ugh.

Anyway, we finally got there..amused as hell and hot - and found a little spot where we could cheer the Aussies home!

...yeah we lasted about 30 minutes before what can only be described as a Bushy (may have just been a wannabe) came along, stood alongside us and started banging on the sponsorship boards when the competitors rode past. If they weren't an Aussie (ie; MOST of the field) then he'd boo as well. Yep, did I say we liked hanging with the bogans?

Then a small child holding two blow up cylindrical Go Australia tubes started banging them together at high speed, which caused a noise that even deaf old ladies living 30km away in a sound proof nursing home would have heard. Sponsorship bushy + idiot kid. Love your work Melbourne! #1 and I both glared at the kid until he stopped banging the tubes together and burried his head in his mother's armpit. It was a reflex, I swear! The mother looked behind her at what made her son cower but we gave her sweet smiles until she turned back around to the bikes and we resumed glaring hard. The bushy was harder to tame, so we waited for the Aussie guy to come around - yelled our heads off and then went off to find some really expensive but stale food.

Then we sat on the cool grass under the palms and had a good natter about teaching and friendships and a bunch of other stuff that noone but us cares about.

Best part of the day, really.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I've had a headache that no amount of pain killers will cure. It's been my constant companion for three days now, sometimes making my vision blurry, but mostly invading my dreams in twisted ways (remind me to tell you the one about the dead prostitute). I've been stuck in doors a bit - kicking the shit so to speak. Daydreaming a lot. Sleeping. Reading..

I've been flicking through my copies of The Sandman (Neil Gaiman), which I tend to do every now and again. When I first began reading them I didn't actually earn enough to buy all the trade paperbacks straight out. I'd read the thing in a few hours and then wait in agony until next pay day so I could buy the next one. The guys at the comic book shop knew me by that stage ("hullo again!!"). Good lord. I promise I'm not a total geek...okay yes I am. They are probably my most favourite series of anything ever made and I can get a bit precious about lending them out, as proven by my constant badgering of E when I lent it to her. It's not that I like comics as a rule - but this series was so well written, complex, sad..

One of my most favourite of Neil's retellings (and god knows, being the pop culture whore I am, it's always the retellings that fascinate me more) is that of "The Song of Orpheus". The crux of the story is that in order for Orpheus to save his one true love from eternal death he must travel to the underworld. He is promised her life, but only if he walks away without looking back.

along the way..

and she was there..but because he didn't trust that she would be, she dissapeared.

Some people find trust so easy and I've been part of enough drama groups to know that when it comes to those lean back and I'll catch you games I have a hard time not shitting my pants. I can think of moments that have fucked with my mind - little guestures, off hand comments, promises not kept..all those things and more. I guess everyone goes through them. But I can't really think of many times that my trust has been reaffirmed. I must make bad decisions.

I know that those funny little quirks that make us who we are are comes from somewhere else. Especially since I've become a teacher I can see where children's insecurities/strengths/comforts come from. They are not always so black and white, but mostly - you can trace the trail back and find something, somewhere - if not in the home then somewhere else.

But I realise it's been a problem for me since forever; I've known that I need to do something about it. But how do you make it better without making it worse? I don't really know how. But I think about changing it.

It's so easy to lose everything with a dumb move..

Sunday, March 19, 2006

boys and their blahs.

If I get the Sunday Herald Sun it's because:

a) I'm sick and in need of comfort (tabloid newspapers are sort of like comfort food..bad for you but oh so much fun).
b) Feeling like gossip is more important than news.
c) just not really caring about the rest of world.

I can safely say that I am experiencing all three at the moment, (specially A. I don't know how the germs got to me, since there hasn't been a child near me since school finished, but there ya go).

So, I'm reading through the Sunday Magazine over my bowl of chicken soup (yeah, I had chicken soup for breakfast, I'm sick dammit!) when I come across Will Anderson's article about how women wait for phone calls from men and don't understand why they don't call. Finally, someone has addressed this phenomenon and put their name to it!

Call Waiting by Will Anderson
Now, like I said, I'm no sexpert. I don't have a BA in BABES or a PHD in Pretty Hot Dudes, but I have watched almost every episode of Sex and the City and even in bloke-land, five days is a long time. After all, it's an entire test match.

My general rule - and by that I mean the rule I am making up right now - is that waiting for a guy to call should be like waiting for a cheque to clear at the bank; if it hasn't happened in three working days, it probably isn't going to happen.

Look, I know from watching late-night telelvision that you girls like to sit around in the bath, or washing the car in your bikinis waiting for guys to call, but let's get serious girlfriend (sorry, turning into Oprah for a second). If he really likes you, he could be sent to jail for a crime he did not commit and he would use that one phone call to ring you, "just to say hi!".

I'm sorry to break it to you, ladies but if a guy really likes you, no amount of soggy Nokia broken fingers or alien probing will stop him from finding you. Put it this way; If Osama Bin Laden had the phone number of a girl George Dubya thought was really hot, he would have found him two years ago.

So why would this guy not call? Well the first thing to consider is that, unless he happens to be a balding, tubby champion leg-spinner (ed: Shane Warne), most Aussie blokes just arent that comfortable on the phone.

The second - and probably more likely reason - is that he's just not that intrested. But when it comes to being honest with women most men are complete cowards.

I'm not proud of it, but I think there could well be a couple of girls I dated at high school who I'm technically still going out with becuase I didn't have the guts to ring up and break it off. If you're out there, girls, I'm sorry.. and happy anniversary.

In fact, if you want to understand the male psyche, you need to go no further than the classic male break-up line; "it's not you...it's me! If a bloke drops the it's not you it's me, bomb on you, it means one of three things:

- It is you - especially that annoying whistling sound your nose makes when you sleep.
- It's not you - and it's not him either. It's the sexy new temp, Jessica at his office who always wears the miniskirt and the long black boots.
- Or finally, it's not you, it's him and his desire to get our of your house and home to finish the next level on the Nintendo you got him for Christmas"

Thank you for that insight, Will Anderson!
Now, I just want to know how the "hunters" in this tribe we call humanity got to be so cowardly and why they can't just own up to the fact that they are not going to call (ever). They don't want coffee. They don't want ice-cream at luna Park and they definitely don't want to get together later for dinner and babies. It's okay. It's fine. We understand that new MAC extra long lashes and suspender lacy pantyhose; may not work for everyone we meet. But for fucks sake just be honest about it.

Is this so hard boys? Is this really so hard?

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I have a couple of friends who are weak huggers. What's up with that? I've known them both for about 10 years and we're all fabulous friends but they're weak huggers. It's a fault that gives me pause. Maybe they don't have the upper body strength to carry it off..I don't know. Though I can't imagine that it would take that much effort. It's a hug!

I'm of the opinion that if you engage in the hugging movement that's sweaping the nation (followed by cheek kiss..how continental are we?) then you ENGAGE IN THE MOVEMENT! Good god, the last thing I want to do is go for the hug and end up feeling like I've broken someone's bones by accidently resting my arm against theirs or violated their privacy and will have to defend myself in a court of law. If you are uncomfortable with the body contact required for hugging then just don't hug! It's as simple as that, really. But don't tease us real huggers with the weak hug!

The big problem I have with weak huggers is that I feel like I'm imposing my hug on them. Sure, as far as I can tell, these huggers "go for" the hug too..but they just don't deliver! It's like trying to hug a feather. You know there's something there but it's light and fragile and will probably float away at any given moment. Are they afraid of being squashed and killed by my He-Man like powerful arms? Are they afraid of contracting some sort of germ from me? Do I smell? Do you secretly hate me?

And ultimately my mind goes here: Do weak huggers have the same weak body contact in bed? Is everything else sort of ...hardly there as well?

I don't mind the one arm huggaroo, I don't even mind the faux air kiss (sometimes it can be hard to get your lips to eachothers' cheeks at the same time), even the chest press is okay for some people but damn whatever it is put some oomph into it! I hate to be teased by the promise of a real hug and then coming away with nuthin' but dissapointment.

Hugs are great. I love them! They make you feel nice. They're friendly. They're sexy. They're sweet. You can get your arm around and steal someone's wallet if you're clever! I love hugs! Offer me a real one and I'm *there*. I like it how bodies go "squish" together! It's cool. It makes me smile.

Weak hugs make me feel cheap and dirty. They leave me lacking and unfulfilled.

I've got blue balls for real hugs.

Friday, March 17, 2006

fake mad!!!

I've had a gut full Ian Thorpe! A GUT. FULL!

First you can't swim because you're too sick, and NOW you turn up at the CommGames Swimming night in your "fancy pants", fashion hair and 21 day growth to watch your team win a couple and you don't even carry an Australian flag!

Where's the team spirit Ian? Where is it?

I had it on good authority (#1 was sitting 3 rows behind you) that you didn't even look SICK!

You need to take a good hard look at yourself. I am now putting you on my shitlist which consists of other notables such as Russell Crowe, Eddie Maguire, Darryl Sommers and GW Bush. You have joined the ranks THORPEDO! Go plug your $7000 leather/pearl necklaces in the US where they appreciate poseurs because the rest of us living in the arse end of the world have had enough of you!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Something makes me want to check the photo album. I do it every so often, looking for clues, trying to bridge the disconnect from myself that I sometimes feel. The memories are mostly sweet. Summer day photos, sometimes smiling (mostly pouting) of me in a red polka dot dress and t-bar shoes. Yellowing portraits of cousins I've never met and uncles and aunts that are nothing more than faces in albums. There is so much I don't know, nor will ever know, about this family of mine. Much is glossed over and waved away with the flick of a hand "oh that's not important", "oh I don't remember anything about that". I have no idea who I am, and that's a scary thing. How do you create a person from thin air? This could be my problem.

I run my fingers across the edges of happier times, before I was born or just after. My father with a smoke in his hand and my mother in a flowery dress holding me in her arms, in a christening gown. And there are a few others, smiling poses, hugging shots: I guess photos don't really show where the cracks are - you smile, you put your arms around eachother - the move is a reflex. Except me, of course - who pouts with wet lips in almost every shot. Scared of the lights on the camera or crying, or just grumpy - what a difficult child! I remember being prodded and poked or tickled to smile, but I wouldn't have a bar of it. Don't tell me what to do! I only really smiled later, probably after 2 or 3, when I realised that's what people wanted to see. The photos before then are very telling.

It's the solo picture of my father I come back to most. He is young and handsome and smiling. The colours have faded to orange and black. Somehow the photo means a lot, though I never knew him then. It fades a little more each year - every time I look at it, it seems that he is dissapearing. Soon it will be a shadow on a piece of paper. I hope my recollection does him justice.


I had this dream where I was was on the set of scrubs (but it wasn't scrubs - it was real) and the heating wasn't working. So Zach Braff and I (yeah, shuddup) were wondering how to get warm (okay I promise this is not going to turn into a porno) when I remembered a terminally ill patient who was into knitting. So then it became our job to get the terminally ill guy to knitt us a blanket before he died. Yes, you read right - I am the worst kind of person even in my dreams! Then in our hurry to get to him on time Zach and I got stuck in this elevator that wouldn't stop level with the floor. It'd go too high, or too low and you could hear the cable groaning and I just knew we were about to tumble to our deaths in a freak elevator accident on the set of scrubs! But somehow we managed to jump out right in time. Then I woke up.

There isn't a dream I have these days where I don't wake up and think that I'm a complete psychopath. I need to look into the wet dream thing instead. It sounds like a lot more fun.

Yesterday I went and had lunch with #1 and K. We gave K a beautiful japanese paper journal so that she can write her adventures down when she goes OS. K just looked at me and said "oh this means I'll have to give up my internet journal". Then they both started laughing at me. Yes, they were both with me when S rang and I was 'discovered' last time. God, that was 3.5 years ago and horrible, horrible, horrible. Should I even be writing this thing? I've had a couple of hits for lyric to "my eyes are dim I cannot see" and "It's a long way to tipparary" lately. It's only a matter or time before someone types 'completely insane' into a search engine and comes up with my journal and I'll have to go through it all again.


Things don't feel quite right today. I do tend to get like this before my birthday, but that's not it this time. 28 is less scary than 27 for some reason. I had a lot of issues with 27 being the last train stop last time. I honestly don't feel like that now - but I do feel sad and lost and ...unimportant. That seems weird. I hadn't thought about it like that before..it just came out now, but it's perfect.

I feel unimportant.

*edit* hey, who sent me an invite to dreamsbox? lol, smartarses.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Actually, it's the afternoon now..

When you're on holidays it's like living in an alternate universe for a while. You see and experience things that you wouldn't normally - such as daytime television and the next door neighbour singing you awake to pearl jam every morning.

Now, folks, I have indulged in a bit o' pearl jam in my time, I cannot lie. Alright, I was a tad obsessed - but it's okay, teenage girls are supposed to fantasize about politically left leaning, poetic men with long hair and deep voices! Suffice to say, I had a big poster of Eddie Vedder that I kissed each night before bed and a myriad of smaller ones that adorned my school diary (along with my pictures of various Hawthorn Football Club adonis') and at which page I would open to and just stare at when the maths teacher was trying to explain pythagoras (whaaa..?). It's a wonder I didn't fail the whole class!

Anyway, this morning although I was already awake the neighbour started in on his (very bad) impression of Eddie Vedder by singing "don't call me daughteeeeerrrr, not fiiiit tooooooo.. " etc. At first I was rather shocked by the sudden intrustion to my pleasant (err..what day is it again?) ..Wednesday morning but soon, as always I started laughing to myself. I picked my way out of bed and while trying to smooth my bed hair the right way back to normal; I muttered under my breath "you'd think he'd at least pick something current" - which of course was less a mutter and more a rather loud observation which drifted through my open window into his and the next thing you know the singing stopped and so did the music. There was an awkward silence for a moment that involved me wondering whether he'd heard what I'd said and him, I'm sure, was thinking that the chick next door is the world's biggest bitch...after which realisation I, of course found myself mortified beyond belief and dropped to my knees and crawled to the next room where I lay on the floor laughing my arse off.

Top o' the morning to you!

Monday, March 13, 2006

quote girl rides again.

me - what did you think of dinner?
bro - this place is dead to me now
so....I guess he didn't enjoy dinner then

me - aw, look at that dog, it's so cute! It's a little sausage one! *making cutsey noises*
*silence for a while*
bro - AWWWW look at that derelict! He's so cute! awwwwww, it's a little hobo! *making sarcastic cutsey noises*
very funny

me - if you had a kazillion dollars would you buy a porsche?
D - yeah, why not?
me - what's the point?
D - ..no this is what I'd do - I'd buy one of those showroom cars the kind you can't get anywhere and it'd have some big feature on it.
me - like wings?
D - yeah, fucking wings. Big ones! And I'd had a personalised license plate that said "I am so much better than you will ever be".
me - you're an idiot - you can't even *get* license plates that big!
just an everyday conversation part 1

me - would you rather be butter boy every day for a month or fill every single salt and pepper shaker all the way up lygon st every day for a year?
D - what the fuck is butter boy?
me - butter boy is something I just made up.
D - .... and?
me - it's when you smear butter all over your naked body and parade around the streets and the only interaction you can have with people is to say "hi, I'm butterboy! Would you like some butter?" Then you scrape the butter off your body and smear it on them.
D - can I say "hi I'm buDDa boy. Would you like some budda?" instead?
me - *thinking* yeah, okay.
D - I pick the salt and pepper shaker thing.
me - haha, you chicken shit.
everyday conversation part 2

S - so, we missed you at K's party.
me - yeah I was at RO's going away.
S - why is she going away?
me - she's got spouse leave - you get up to 3 years...I wish I could take spouse leave. It sounds cool.
S - ...they keep the job for 3 years?
me - yeah, well it's up to the prin - and I think the spouse actually has to be in another state or living OS and you join them, but mostly yeah.
s - ... you should get a mail order spouse mez!
me - no fucking shit!! I want me some of that spouse leave!
when girls get together the logic astounds all part 1

S - how's F?
me - yeah, she's good. She's got a plan.
S - what's the plan?
me - she's going back to work 6 weeks after the baby is born.
S - that's the worst plan I've ever heard!
me - TELL me about it!
S - who the fuck wants to go back to *work*?
me - exactly!
S - we understand eachother so well.
when girls get together the logic astounds all part 2

S - I just hope we actually get to have sex on our wedding night.
me - yeah, you should both pencil that one in.
many couples don't, apparently

#1 - I'm going to J's going away party this afternoon.
me - oh yeah? ...oh WAIT?! He's actually GOING to meet the internet girl?
#1 - uh, actually he's *marrying* her!
me - but they haven't even met!
#1 - I know!
me - the thing about the internet is that you don't really find out about people's negative points. Those usually come out after someone's done something to annoy you and then you realise.
#1 - yeah, everyone's pretty worried about it.
me - she could be an axe murderer! How would J know?
#1 - oh, I'm not worried about him. I'm worried about *her*! Have you actually met J?
point taken

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Even though I am now an art teacher I am still drawn to the kids section in bookstores. In fact I was drawn to the kids section even before I started teaching! I love bookstores in general - I don't care if they are cramped dusty affairs where the treasure is in the inscription or glossy huge spaces that cater for the masses. I love the smell and feel of them - and I buy too many to even finish (I probably have about 30 on my shelf that I've yet to read). Life gets in the way sometimes. I almost died on the spot when I stepped into the reading room at the British Museum in London a few years ago - a circular room with floor to ceiling books. I stopped breathing. People urged me to hurry along but I stood rooted to the spot with my mouth open and knees weak. God, I'm such a dork. But I'm drawn to books - like I'm drawn to notebooks, sharpened pencils, spongey erasers and reems of paper. Yep, dork.

A bookstore is where I found myself last night; pre-movie (Capote, v.good). I was looking for some good art books that were geared towards children, but found myself mesmerized by the reading books instead. There are so many good ones. I don't know how parents can avoid going bankrupt over them. I would insist on one of each book for my child, hard cover - reading room, comfy chair, art corner. sigh. I guess that's what I really wanted as a child but never got. I don't know how I ended up so interested in them. My brother refused to read but I wouldn't let books alone. You know how kids throw tantrums in supermarkets because they want a lolly? I threw tantrums because I wanted books - but books were expensive and my mother (who took care of the money side of things) rarely let me indulge in that. I'd pick those Little Golden books up off the rack and try to slip them into the trolley but I was only allowed to have them sometimes. This was before I could actually read the words, mind you. I remember being pretty proud of myself when I finally worked out what they were on about.

In grade 2, I remember only being allowed to borrow 2 books from the school library. It was agony. I wanted more than two (which I suppose is always the case with me..I want, I want) but it wasn't to be. Sometimes I would sneak them out anyway - it was the 80s and this was a time before sensor beeps at the door. In fact my best friend and I would go into the school library before school, unlock the back door and steal into the place at lunchtime when noone was around and pretend to be the librarian; stamping the books and swanning around. My parents would have been mortified and disowned me if they ever found out. My mum and dad were less than impressed by my devotion to books. I would spend all my time either daydreaming or with my nose in a book. They thought education was the most important thing they could offer me (because they hadn't had it), but that I took things too far. Not reading again! You're going to go blind! I heard it so often, I recited it back to them and added that reading doesn't make people blind so ner! I guess I was precocious - though my school report always said 'quiet and conscientious' - I suppose I was that too.

That year, grade 2, I begged to be allowed to borrow from the local public library. I remember my mother being especially perplexed by my wanting such a thing. Didn't I have a million books at home already? Why didn't I just read them? But she took me anyway, because I complained annoyingly until she had no choice. I could have spent hours in there - but was always dragged away before I could complete my journey from book to book. The library was also where I discovered a lot of music and film. I owe a lot of my obsession with pop culture to the public library.

I haven't visited a public library in many years. I've got (hundreds of dollars worth of) fines in all of them within a 20 km radius. I am good at borrowing, but not returning. So sometimes I treat bookstores like public libraries instead. I go in, I touch all the covers, flick through them and daydream. There was a toddler in the child section last night who was pointing at each word and saying lalala. Sometimes I want to give random children gold stars. I get so excited by children who love to read. It melts my heart when they can get through a page when before they couldn't and they look at you all surprised becuase finally, it clicked and they can read! It's the best thing I can do for a child I think - teaching them how to read - so, that is probably why I'm not going to be an art teacher forever, you know?

One second I'm sprouting about boys being idiots and then next I'm embarrassing myself about loving books. I don't know what you must think!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This is a man's world.

I'm not PMS, so this is my real non-hormonal personality here. Turn and run while you can, I just happen to be in a ranting mood these days.

Dear Men of the world,

Poor you.

It must be very hard to be a man these days and have to deal with the crippling horror of not knowing how to act now that the new fangled women libbers (or should that be "womyn" eh, EH!) have come along and ruined life for your gender. Once upon a time it was okay to thump a girl on the head with a mallet and drag her off to the cave but gee, now it's there are all these damn rules like asking what she thinks and having to listen to her opinion and stuff. How can you keep up? I mean, what does it really mean to be a man these days?

You keep telling us how confused you are as to how to act towards women. Should you pay for dinner? Do you have to hold the door open? Ladies first or not? Are you allowed to cry and watch chick flicks? And most importantly, is it okay to say no, when she asks you to go to the shops and buy the supersize pack of tampax? This is a concern for you, we know! You keep reminding us of that fact again, and again, and again.

You know what my biggest concern is?
1) Getting to my car without being sexually molested.
2) men making laws that dictate what I can and can't do to my body.
3) once I have my sperm doner baby; being able to afford child care on my single teacher salary.

But yeah, I get it. It's just so hard to make those ground breaking decisions about holding doors open and stuff! It must be very confronting for you to decide how to deal with your new role in a changing world. Maybe you are turning into women and women are turning into men??!! omg! What will you do? Perhaps there is a self-help book out there for you to buy to get over it. Meanwhile I'm going to go enroll in a self defense class, okay?

mez XXOO

ps: Being a gentleman is a really nice way to go. Any chick who doesn't appreciate it is not worth your time anyway.

Friday, March 10, 2006

the circle game

It's already the holidays, can you believe it? We've had a short term 1 because of the Commonwealth Games and now we're going to pay for it because the other 3 terms are really, really long ones. Kids have a limit - 10 weeks for a school term (normal) is pushing it a bit. By week 8 the kids are already bouncing off the walls, but for those two last weeks you can kind of reign them in and kick them when noone is looking or something but any longer and I'd imagine it will be teachers underneath desks and kids hanging out the window. I'm not looking forward to coming back to a long horrid term 2.

Melbournians, apparently haven't been embracing the CommGames as we should. We're a cynical bunch, I admit. But dammit, that's why I like Melbourne. I'd hate to put up with people who have obviously had too much sun and are eternally optimistic about everything. Boo! Get realistic kids! Anyway, Hughsey, Kate and Dave on the Nova breakfast show picked up on the cynical attitude that Melbournains had about the games and have been trying to rev up enthusiasm. Yesterday they asked people to ring in with their positive comments about the games. Every single call had someone sarcastically putting on a fake happy voice and complaining about something ("gee, I can't WAIT until I'm stuck in traffic all day!" or "Won't it be great when we get all these new visitors who drop rubbish everywhere and then we get to pick it up!"). I'm sure it was entirely unplanned, this influx of cynical callers, which is what made it more funny. Apparently Sydney can't wait for the whole thing to fail. Well, the opening ceremony has an inflatble tram with wings decending into the MCG. For fucks sake. I apologise in advance folks! Talk about naff.

The other day we had a curriculum day at school. I remember curriculum days from when I was in primary school. The announcement would come over the loud speaker about it and everyone would suddenly start cheering and stomping their feet. A holiday for everyone! Now that I'm a teacher, let me tell you there's no cheering or holiday (but there are a lot of comments about how nice school would be if we didn't have any kids! har). Basically the day is filled with listening to teachers talk about improving the curriculum and then going through PDs about how to improve gifted education and differentiating the curriculum (which is the current buzz). Meh, it's basically the same old shit everytime. I tend to doodle on my pad and try to look interested - obviously I fail miserably because people are always coming up to me and telling me that my facial expressions are priceless. ugh, I need to stop thinking of 'if s/he was the last person on earth would I sleep with them' type senarios. It's not good for when I'm trying to appear professional.

Being the art teacher I'm finding that staff meetings and curriculum days are not really very relevant to me anymore. It's a bit sad. I actually *like* learning new things (despite attitude above) and if I could afford it I'd love to go back and study more. But, I hate learning new and interesting things that I then can't actually use. It's depressing.

Half way through the day the specialist team (we're not really a team, but we call ourselves that to stop ourselves from feeling sad and lonely) went to tackle the new curriculum document that is coming out in schools this year. About every 5 years there is a shake up of the edu system and teachers are asked to remodel and change the way they're doing things. For instance, for the last couple of years there has been a push towards health/PE/differentiation/values in the curriculum and the new document reflects this by asking us to be more integrated in our approach to teaching and especially to include values in the what we teach. I have a *big* problem with the values bit.

Values are very personal and should be taught at home and reinforced at school in the school rules and general school attitude only. But primarily it is a parental responsibility to teach their children how to behave and how to be a good person. I really don't want to start poo-pooing parents all the time but for fucks sake RAISE YOUR FUCKING CHIlDREN YOURSELVES! Teach them what to eat! Teach them how to dress! Teach them how to behave! Teach them how to be good humans! Yes, schools have rules which reflect general values that hopefully everyone is teaching their children (respect, golden rule etc), but in the classroom values should be incidental and reflected in attitude rather than explicitly taught. Teachers do not need the responsibility of teaching children values as well as everything else. We also don't need the responsibility of being held accountable if values go wrong - which, let me tell you will happen if we put 'values' explicitly in the school curriculum document. Already teachers are blamed for every ill in society! We're a bigger scapegoat than the Muslims and the Unions!

Anyway, this is not the point. Besides that the new document does not really outline what we should teach. It's very...sparse. I read through the art section and nearly tore my hair out - it's like dealing with a kid who did something bad but won't actually admit it. You go round and round in cirles but in the end there is nothing you can pinpoint that will give you a clue. Yep, this is what the new document is like. In some ways it gives teachers a bit more freedom - in other ways if I go by the document I have *no idea* what to assess! There are *no* guidelines at all! There are no real standards! I am at a loss. You realise that I have to make up some concrete standards now.

Yes, the girl who has never taught art before needs to make up standards from which to assess. And you know what I'm going to do now, don't you?

Yes, I'm going back to the old document!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

everybody get together try to love one another right now.

There is a lot of talk in the media about immigrants to this country needing to accept Australian values as their own before they become Australian citizens.
But what are Australian values anyway?
According to the government these are the Australian values that should be accepted.
Nothing in there about slapping people on the bum with your rubber thong at the beach or getting piss drunk on crap beer and shouting "milk, milk, lemonade - round the corner chocolate's made!" to school kids going on an excursion.

So, I don't really know what makes these values particularly Australian then, nor why we need this sudden focus on values in our new citizens anyway? What about the freakshows who were born here but insist on being racist arseholes (ie: Pauline Hanson - to flog a dead horse). She was in GOVERNMENT! I think before we start focusing our hoity toity "values" on immigrants we need to look at what is already going on out there by people who would probably consider themselves the 'first Australians' (laughable really, since weren't the Aboriginals the first Australians?).

Values, I think are an extremely personal thing and while there is nothing particularly wrong with the values outlined by the department of immigration I just believe that values are what you teach your children, not what is implored apon you by your government.

It gives me the creeps that the government wants to outline particular values for us anyway. Who are they to tell anyone how to think anyway? Enforce the law by all means, but tell someone what to believe? I don't think so.

The values thing is a scapegoat anyway. It is an excuse for Peter Costello (god help us when/if he becomes PM) to reignite the "this + this + this is unAustralian" debate by singling out muslims. When Pauline Hanson was around it was the Indonesians and the further back we go the more we'll find.


The last time I checked I had difficulty even defining what "Australian" was - let alone what unAustralian is. It's an empty word that is used to provoke meaningless arguments.

Really, the one time I actually thought "gee that's really unAustralian" was seeing the footage of the Bondi(*edit: cronulla*) riots. I couldn't believe there were people fighting about something other than whether Home and Away or Neighbours was better.

Which is the better Australian Soapie?
Home and Away



Paradise Beach

Parliment Question Time

I am above all that soapie crap because I'm a pretentious arsehole. How dare you make such a dumb poll!

I watch them all because I am a pop culture whore.

I stopped watching Neighbours after Bouncer died.

I stopped watching Home and Away after the first Pippa left!

Current results

thanks to matt for introducing me to the poll website. <3

err, not sure how to get rid of all that space between post and poll - sorry!

Miss or Mistake?

Phil brought it up so blame him, but I have been thinking about this in the last few days. Honestly, I've probably spent a lot of my time thinking about it because it's quite fundamental to who I am. I spend my day being called a title and a last name. Personally, I prefer being called by my first name by students but that isn't going to happen at the school I'm at. And yes, it does happen in some schools. I don't think the title adds any kind of authority with kids (I called my friends' parents Mr and Mrs right up until I was in my late teens, kids now do not do this at all, not even in prep!) - and so it would be nice to be just Marianne sometimes.

The little Miss in me is playful and mischevious though. When somone refers to her I am immediately reminded of my youth and place - my elders say it patronisingly but with a wink and sometimes, to be frank I prefer it to any other. It's sort of sweet. But sometimes it just seems a bit strange and beneath me, or beneath anyone over the age of 16.

I am a Ms as well. Ms does not add anything to my personality except professionalism and if I'm going to have any title at all, it might as well be a professional one. It also implies that I am a feminist (not a "feminist..but"), which I am. I believe in Ms, she has served me well - and when people slip up and call me Miss I refer back to the Ms in my head and she assures me it's okay (they'll pay. ha). But when I try to write her down in front of my name, somehow it does not seem right. When people say it, I tend to laugh because it sounds a bit wrong. I cannot embrace all of her, for sometimes I am not Ms. I am young and unsure and not always steadfast in everything I do - and Ms intends to imply that I should be.

Miss and girl are not the same and although I don't always choose Miss, I do choose girl. Anyone who has ever studied an inch of semantics will be able to tell you indeed that a rose by any other name does not smell as sweet. Every word, has behind it a wide and rich history - of glory or pain or subservience (especially gender and racially related terms). Each word is representative of a lot more than the word implies. When one uses a word, they use it's whole history as well.

So, despite this, or perhaps in spite of it; girl is my title of choice. Lady is refined, she is held up on a pedestal and oft she is thrown down from that pedestal in disgrace, when she doesn't measure up to her own title. I don't want to be her. I don't feel like her. Ma'am is too old and I am not a madame, nor will ever be. Woman is somehow lower than girl, and at the same time the grown up version. But she is a subset of man and I refuse that entirely - I am more than only my gender. I am more than a rib.

Girl. She is full of youth, and I don't mean chronologically. She is in need of nurturing and taking care of, but she is also defiant and independent and willful. Girl is ready to learn, and ready to teach (you will learn too, in spite of yourself). She is quirky, and playful and sweet in many ways that ladies, madames, mistresses and women are not - but she is stubborn probably has more growing up to do than any of them do too. She has not quite yet fulfilled her potential but she's searching... constantly.

I choose girl.
I have that choice.
Did the "Ms." give me that choice? Well, I like the contradiction in that even more.

As for "Sir" that's a whole other entry.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

dumb question..

The thing about me is that I'll ask the questions that everyone is thinking but can't be arsed asking themselves. It's probably the only way in which I'm actually direct. If I want to know something I'll just ask. I don't ever mean to do it in a mean or nasty way. I'm certainly not a bitch about it - but it just all comes out because I'm curious about the details. I want to know dammit! Why won't you tell me? Tell meeeeee!

In my first year at the school the staff had to do this course in resilience. This mostly involves dancing around barefoot while clinging finger cymbals and hugging trees, followed by a healthy lunch of beetroot slices and alfalfa shoots on rye bread and then finishing it off by telling eachother how wonderful and gifted we all think we are, (when really it's apparent that we all hate eachother). Part of the day had us analysing a bunch of categories and having to nominate eachother to go in each category. I was nominated for:
Prin actually nominated me as Inquisitive. She said that I asked questions and was interested. At the time I just shrugged it off as her trying to include me in on something as people might not know me well enough yet (I had only been at the school for about a month at this stage). But as the years have gone on I realised she was right. I guess I am inquisitive.

I don't do well (understanding-wise) when people are vague about the who, what, why, when, how? I don't understand it when people speak in metaphors. It took me so long to get the gist of what S at the school was going on about because she is one of those metaphoric people ("oh well, they'll all work it out really quickly once the game is written down" - who knew she was talking about Literacy groups?). I had to go next door to RO and have everything translated for me in English!

The thing is, I want to know exactly what makes people tick. I want to know what your politics are. I want to know if you believe in god and why. I want to know if you're a feminist and why/why not? God knows I don't actually judge people (well not much anyway) based on their politics/religion/sexuality/idealistic beliefs. For the most part, my best friends don't share my ideological beliefs and neither do my family - but I still love them. I like them more if they're willing to talk about it actually, because then I "get them" more. I'm just interested, really!

But, I'm a hypocrite. If I don't like the question, I'll find a way to sideswipe it - or just refuse to answer it at all. So there you go.

I hope you don't hold that against me.

So I read this little tidbit where Jonathan Rhys Meyers says that

"I've only had one girlfriend who I didn't cheat on. Men are like that. No matter how many times you eat pasta, some night you're going to want steak."

and that The star also claims Brad Pitt couldn't help leaving Jennifer Aniston for co-star Angelina Jolie because he is a man.

I pretty much hate Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Jennifer Aniston's tan on the Oscars last night was ridiculous!
(as an aside, I want to have Jon Stewart's babies).

So, whaddya reckon (not about Jon Stewart..about the cheating thing)?
yes I bloody *know* that women cheat too. Don't get your knickers in a knot! ;)

Cheating in general - Is it human nature to cheat? Okay? Not okay? Guilty?

Monday, March 06, 2006

photo day

Usually if I forego breakfast (and let's face it, if I can't even find my shoes in the morning you can bet that I haven't got time to park it and eat a leisurely meal at the crack of dawn) I can get ready for work in 20 minutes. Okay, half an hour.

That involves
* dragging self out of bed
* figuring out what to wear
* figuring out the jewellery I want to wear
* lipsincing to [insert dumb 80s track] into my hair brush.
* shower/dry off
* hair (okay, sometimes I get a bit desperate and don't actually do anything with my hair (including combing) and just pin it up instead hoping that noone will notice...err)
* makeup
* get dressed
* find shoes OR watch (an ordeal every morning for some reason)
* take bcp
* feed squishy face and moo-moo head
* leave.
* realise I've forgetten lunch
* run back into the house find bread and cheese (or other), slap cheese between bread, wrap in glad wrap at lightening speed.
* leave.

20 - 30 minutes (depends how long I decide to take on that singing into the hairbrush bit).
Having breakfast would mean I'd have to get up earlier and I laugh at that suggestion.

On school photo day (today) - this same routine takes 1 hour and a half. It's all slowed down like when you use the forward one shot button on the DVD player.
The kicker is that I didn't even look any different!

I asked to see my photo after the guy took it - boy was that a mistake. Some days you just wish you could go on extreme makeover and get the whole lot of you sanded away and elle macphearson put in your place. ugh.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


The day is already warm at 10am. March is the beginning of the paradox - hot summer-autumn. Here we have blue skies that threaten to break and dry ground with wet patches. We find ourselves driving up the Maroondah and the wind plays with my hair as I listen to the laconic tones of my travelling companions. Occasionally there is a shriek of laughter or a hushed whisper that breaks the monotomy of voices umming and ahhing. It is background noise mostly and I join in and tune out as it suits me. I look out the window at the trees whooshing past and navigate the way from the back seat. A mistake, I think - as I have never been especially good with direction, but I surprise myself and do okay.

The three of us are squashed into the backseat. Me, then R and then S. R plays with her blonde curls and pushes her sunglasses back so that her fringe is pulled back off her face. S is animated, hands everywhere as she describes the perfect pair of silver heels that she bought for her son's wedding. In the front A and RO ignore the rest of us and have their own hushed conversation. In the back, I keep dropping the Melway and losing the destination page.

The city dissapears behind us, ahead dry large patches of yellowing grass interrupt a sequence of olive coloured trees and low hills. We are almost there.

RO guides us up a dirt road and in front of a charming little blue hostel which overlooks a rippling damn and 40 or so rows of grape trees and we pile out of the car, stretching our legs and smiling into the sunlight. The sky is a dry pastel rubbing of deep blue. The lawned pathway is edged by a row of deep white roses and we make our way up it and take our seats on the patio/restaurant.

For a moment we are all silent except for the occassional peep of blue bells, and stare out at the hazy landscape. It is a typical Australian affair - greys, muted greens, browns, tans - splashed hapazardly this way and that. Not too far away are the rolling hills I spied on our journey up here and there they stand now, so close - a dusty brown against a blue sky. We marvel at the view, which is what city folk tend to do when they leave the city. An echidna waddles along in front of us and toward the grape trees sending us all into gasps of delight.

This is a table filled with a generation of women and a generation of teachers. S, the matron a lady of 60 then A who is 50 this year, followed by RO who is 40 and then R and I who are 26 and 27 respectively. But the numbers blend, they are insignificant except in the stories we tell. We sit there for hours before moving - sharing tales, tasting wine, swapping gossip and saying farewell to RO who has been my mentor, my best friend and saviour especially in that first year of teaching. This was my first team and despite the scattering of roles and ages we have bonded even more closely these past 2 years.

The Australian way is to share a laugh, drink some decent wine/booze, eat good food, sit back and enjoy the view. The "serenity" (so to speak) in this case was good. We settled back into our cane chairs and watch the sunlight make its way across the manicured lawns as we toast good times and following dreams.

By the time we reached Melbourne, the day had dissapeared behind the hills and the trees are dark sillouhettes against a dusky purple sky. We hug and kiss goodbye as the crickets make their sound; a strange background to the typical city whispers of wheels against tar roads.

Home again.

bookshelf ad

my strange dreams last night revolved around children mostly.
All set in the classroom on some sort of celebratory night at school.

Firstly I was given 2 puppies. One a Jack Russell, the other a little fluffy golden mutt, some sort of terrier. I loved them both immediately but knew I had to give them away in order to save them (god knows why?). So I sent them in a carry basket via a child to each classroom in order to procure a new home for them. The child came back with one puppy. It was the fluffy mutt. Of course, I thought. It became mine.

I woke and went back to sleep.

New dream, set on the same night. Same classroom.

I was looking after a lost child who was trying to find his parents. It was a child I taught last year. He wasn't particularly upset but I was, the place was crowded and I couldn't see where I was going. All I could do was hold tightly to the child's hand and move in a forward direction.
In our travels we came across a baby wrapped snuggly in a blanket - lying in a bassinett. It looked like Tutankhamen. I looked down at his sleeping face and wondered if the baby was mine.

I woke, confused and hot...went back to sleep.

Set on the same celebratory night. Same classroom.

I was asked by a man to make a commercial. It was a cereal commercial He wasn't part of the school, and I can't remember his face. It had to be finished within an hour Every time I tried to turn the camera on and take a shot a child would come up and interrupt me somehow and the scene was always ruined. We tried many different scenarios. The final commercial had the man climbing up a book shelf in the middle of the desert (but wearing mountain climbing equip..the shorts, the cable, the belt, everything). The shelf was an enormous thing, filled with wide heavy books. Every time the mountain climber took another successful step up the shelf he'd stop and eat a spoonfull of cereal. When he got to the top he punched both fists into the air and looked elated.

I missed shooting the first part of the ad because a child was trying to show me something good he'd done and I stopped shooting to look at it. I didn't know how to tell the man I hadn't got the whole ad on film.

Then I woke up.

too much wine yesterday, me thinks.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I struggle.
I don't know why, but it's been that way all my life. I've not been one of those people that are blessed with good luck. That's okay, not everyone is.

I've had my legitimate struggles with loss and well, other things. But mostly I struggle with this uncertainty I have about my life. Perhaps it all stems from the bigger things. I'm not sure. But, I don't know what I'm doing. It worries me that I don't have more direction, or stability. It worries me that I am a drifter. I think I should be more like the others, husband, house, 2.3 children. But, I've none of these things. I seem to float more than I do swim.

You don't win any races by floating, my dear.

Years ago I decided I wasn't quite the same as other people. Not to say that I am in any way unique, but more just plain old different. The ways in which I'm different don't show so much anyway. They are certainly not obvious. They are inside and boy would you have to be some kind of locksmith to even vantage a peek. Perhaps it's a self-fulfilling prophesy that I did in the end not follow everyone elses straight pathway and not the work of destiny. Whatever the reason - I just find myself struggling to follow the path, and yet, still knowing that I won't.

Despite the uncertainty I have about everything I think and do, there are certain things I know. Every decision, every action, every event in my life I have somehow known. I knew I was going to do the things I did. I knew which people would let me down. I knew my father would die early. I know who to connect with and who not to. Sometimes I connect with people, knowing they will crush me to smithereens but I do it anyway. I have this thing in me that needs to turn the coin over to check for the tarnish. I don't want to do it, but I do anyway.

I often ask myself why I do this, but these kinds of questions just leave you more empty than you started and questions can lead you into thorny territory anyway. I should step away from that. If we're talking about being a glass, half empty of half full, what I need to surround myself with people who fill me up, rather than pour me out. Especially since I do the pouring out quite well already on my own. On the other hand, honesty is always the best policy - I'd rather be torn apart and it be true than patted on the head like some sort of unfortunate. I may need people to fill me with niceness, (and I am always surprised if or when they do) but I don't actually expect much from people - I've learnt not to actually. That is whole other story, or a different chapter in this same story that I can't bring myself to tell yet.

Maybe I just needed to be told I was worthy when I was younger. Maybe that would have made the difference I needed. I don't know how to change it now. I don't know how to pour the bad stuff out without all the good stuff going with it. I don't know how to do that. I don't even know how to stop pouring altogether. I bet that doesn't even make sense.

This all comes down to why I went into teaching. Somewhere along this beaten path I thought I might try child psychology - it was one of my original ideas anyway. In my mind all children need to be built up, not torn down. It breaks my heart to see sad children who lead lives beyond their years. It's not right. I can't tell you how many lives I've taken home with me and thought about at 3am when everyone else is asleep.

That first year of teaching was especially hard. I lay awake tearing my hair out about every second child. I thought about their abuse or illness or various sorrows. Teaching maths and english wasn't enough. It simply wasn't good enough. It was their problems that I wanted to solve. But I couldn't. I failed.

Oh..I have no idea what this entry is about.
I try so hard to fix other peoples broken bits - I want it all to be smooth going. I like doing that. And You know, everything is worth it - my whole crooked dumb unworthy life, if just one kid who missed out on the "I'm a worthy person" gene turns around one day and thinks they're worth it just because of something I said. That'd be worth my dumb struggles - crooked pathway and all.

Friday, March 03, 2006


good god, it seems wherever I go, trouble soon follows. One of Blogger's servers has crashed now? sheesh, I'm trying not to - but with two times in a row one can't help but take it personally.

I quickly went and saved all my writing - good to see that thought provoking and intelligent comment on Hammer has been saved for future generations to decipher.

I have one about Ian Thorpe coming up that should be as important and relevant to everyone as that entry on Eddie Maguire was. I am full of them folks. Not a one trick pony here, no Sir!

I've become addicted to diaryland surveys. I feel dirty.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This is not a pity party, don't worry.

The movie project is turning out to be bigger than Ben Hur. I asked VPrin about having a team of teachers do this rather than just one. He absolutely agrees with me - but doing something like this (and even me doing it on my own) requires time and money. Time out of the art room means that an emergency teacher needs to be employed for that hour/day. That also means money. Prin doesn't like it when time and money are involved. I don't physically have enough time release on my own to do this. I don't have access to the kids whenever I want them because I don't actually have my own grade. The logistics are a NIGHTMARE and everyone knows it but prin. I'm also handling another big project of my own.


You'd think that one day management would realise that it's needed to make things work properly. VPrin went to Prin and told her about the logistical problems and she thinks that it can be incorporated into my art programme. Yeah, it can if I want the art programme to suffer. Also, what am I supposed to do with all the other grade 5/6s when I'm only working with 8 kids on this?

The problem with management is that they want everything done with a smile on your face, with minimum fuss and maximum productivity. In the real world management don't actually have to do the plebby work that the rest of us are doing. They just manage the plebs - they are not plebs. And herein lies the problem. They are detatched from the everyday machinations of working life. They have their own deadlines and issues that have nothing to do with the rest of us. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I was reading this article in the newspaper about [insert new educational initiative] and I thought we could do that here. So, let's have a brainstorm and by next week we can have the whole school [proficient in new educational initiative]. Yep, I'll just drop everything I'm doing now eh? I'm not being patronising about it. It's just true - that's how it is, and I'd bet it's true for any industry, not just education. All managers are different. I know that VPrin can be very supportive but in the end Prin has own ideas.

Being a teacher is actually a really hard job. I know it sounds like it's all finger painting, singalongs and excellent holidays' but it's not. Some days are better than others - but it's never really just about teaching a grade and letting them go home at the end of the day. I tried to draw a mind map about it one day, but it got so complicated that I had to stop. There was too much to put in. Sometimes prin forgets this.

I'm going to try really hard to get another teacher, time and money in on this project - because otherwise I'm going to be swamped. God knows I've always cracked it and been in tears about every single concert I've 'directed'. Kids are frustrating because they can't always do what you want them to.

so, prin came into the art room earlier when I had a grade. When prin comes into the art room I know that
1) she's been thinking.. uh oh
2) she really, really wants to borrow something
3) she wants me to get something done really quickly.

ding! ding! ding! yes, folks door 3 - show the lovely lady what she's won.
Okay, plebby art teacher you have won a last minute job that has absolutely nothing to do with you or your budget.
what's that? Tell me more Sir!
Well, you know how you're loaded with money and time?
uh, no! But I'm listening
well, now with the money you don't have you can go and buy a whole bunch of resources and then spend all that time you don't have to plan and create activities for other teachers. Oh, and this has to be done by Friday morning because of the commonwealth games day you have planned.
Wait, I didn't plan any Commonwealth Games Day. I'm not on the committee! Wasn't someone else planning this shit ie: the COMMITTEE? Why am I being told now and not one week ago? Why me?
Because you're the art teacher you stupid woman. You're the fallback, wait until the first school concert, then you'll really be under the hammer. Now get to work! *whip*

Prin wanted every child to make a flag and all these huge fabric banners and have stencils of athletes etc on them. She just assummed that I had heaps of stuff in the art room - yeah right, I still haven't even done my first order yet. I'm running on empty at the moment. Then she wanted me to take the money for this C.Day stuff out of the art budget.
I just looked at her - my face must have said it all because she quickly added that she'd put them money back into the budget later. Then she wanted me to plan all these activities for all the teachers to do on Friday for the day so that when we get to the sport activities that night at school then it would look spiffy.

Great idea and all, pity about the time and resources though.

I knew that I had to swallow it though.

So I go down to the bursar and tell her about Prin. Bursar just gives me this knowing look and writes out a payment thingy (technical name..) for the art store not under the art budget but under the C.Day.Committee budget and tells me to go to town. hahahaha! score.

Then I went to the art store and I found the world's most loveliest lady who helped me with a whole bunch of ideas and stuff and recommended all the proper things to buy and offered me all these secret cool deals (like cutting material by half meter, which I know they don't do) etc.

Art people are good people. They are so much nicer and more helpful than the corporate whores one usually has to deal with when getting anything done. Yay for arty hippies!