dogs, foibles and the human condition

fence hole

The sun is shinning, the birds are chirping, Mr FD is still away…

The only downside of Mr FD’s absence has been Augie Dog.  Mr FD usually sees to Augie’s nightie toilet issues, but when he is away it falls to me. The uninterrupted nights I dream of become a bit of a farce when Augie starts whimpering bedside to go out for relief. A forty kilo Golden Retriever will not be ignored!

We don’t have doggie doors, as it would have to be the size of a small adult, and would just be an open invitation for snakes and other wildlife. Augie is more of an indoor dog as well, due to the snake issues, and limited fencing. That said, he does not suffer from his lack of independence.

stroll

Augie is also well trained. He knows exactly when it is time for me to rise each school morning. Sadly, he thinks I should rise at the same time on weekends and vacations as well! Sometimes, I just take him out to the toilet run before returning to bed, other times we take tea and toast together. He likes his toast still warm, buttered; peanut butter is permitted. So is vegemite, jam, honey and anything else Mama FD is having on her toast!

In the next couple of weeks, Augie will be getting a short back and sides trim for the warmer months, and maybe the piles of hair, full tufts, that he leaves everywhere will decrease. False dreams I know! Some days I do feel as though I just follow him about collecting hair. If only I was one of those women who turn animal hair into useful things like face washers or boot liners. As it is, I would probably vomit at the mere thought of it!

I did once in my earlier fashionista days wear a dress that had a portion of rabbit hair. That didn’t bother me until much later, but in the end I think I was almost relieved when I put on baby weight and we parted ways. And yet, I can tuck into a large beef steak with wild abandon. We are complicated individuals, we humans.

The issue I am grappling with today is : do I shed the pjs, or not?

greet

over hill, over dale, we hit the boozy trail

lunch duo

Friend and I had a boozy lunch, if one glass of wine can be called a boozy lunch. Then we set to fixing the ills of the world. If you were sitting at the table next to us, we would have sounded like two grumpy old ladies, as we sorted politics, society’s meanness to others, childrearing, religion, dietary habits… oh, world peace and harmony in general, according to us!

After the caffeine of our  meal’s end coffee wore off, I realised how incredibly tired I felt. No doubt a combination of being nice for too long and righting the world’s wrongs.

I thought of many intelligent and witty comments to write as I drove home, but now that I am here with laptop and fresh tea I can think of none of them.

One thing has resurfaced – how much I love living in the country. To reach our rendezvous at restaurant in nearby village, I merely had to turn left out of our driveway, drive to the end of the road, turn right into the main street, waiting for three car to pass, then a left turn and follow my nose through the countryside to the restaurant, parking right outside the door. 7.4km – less than 10 minutes at a lovely country speed.

Dolce Far Niente.

duct

budding affairs

training bra

Ladies of a certain memory bank, do you remember – training bras?

What exactly were they “training”?

Upwards, ever upwards?

I remember when I was “trained” in this way. My mother was sewing a funky new outfit for little Miss 12 year old Flamingo Dancer. It was the era of large psychedelic floral geometric fabrics and wide legged flared paints. I had a competitor’s birthday party to attend (yes, dear reader there were those who dared to compete in days of yoe, before wiser heads prevailed), an all girl teenybopper afternoon affair, but nevertheless one in which I needed to shine. Always a trend setter, dahling.

My chosen ensemble was red and white, with about a three inch vertical opening down the spine, held shut by a very wide band of fabric. Nothing was exposed, but it did mean I would not be wearing the “singlet” that my mother always insisted I wear even in heat waves.

This presented a real problem for my mother. I found her deep in conversation with my sister who is eight years older than I, and therefore more  woman of the world at that time. A major decision was made.

I swear angels sang on high when my mother turned to me and announced “You’ll have to wear a bra!” The ultimate status symbol – a bra!

Of course, I couldn’t allow my mother to know that my heart had jumped within my chest, and black and white stars flashed before my eyes. I stilled my breath and replied “All right,” sounding just a little put upon.

Now, let me just impart an important piece of information. There was absolutely no need for an over the shoulder boulder holder. Flat as. Also, the chosen fabric was a heavy, thick weave; not even Superman’s x-ray eyes could see through it. However, IT WAS DECIDED and I was powerless to object… as if.

Off to one of the two clothing stores in our small country town, where there were two changing booths with fabric curtains that the haughty female assistants loved to pull back to expose you to all as they asked “You right?”

Mother and Mature SalesLady had a heads together conference, with much tongue clicking and viewing of stick figure me and I held my breath when MSL muttered “…not sure we have that one that small…” Eventually a long white box was produced and there gleamed my precious. Virginal white, size 10AA. It was a little big (I think I was actually a size 8 but with broad shoulders) , and sagged over one or two relevant areas but it was a BRA!

My mother did not drive so as we walked home I held my paper wrapped precious as if it was a devotional offering. Mother was under the impression that I would wear it only on “special occasions” with the back exposing ensemble, silly woman. It was apparent from day one that Precious and I were now inseparable, to the point that a second was purchased just so the first could be pried from my stick form for laundering.

It was about four years before I needed to up a size for in those days my figure rivalled Twiggy’s without the held of a cocaine diet. In fact, if memory serves me right, I may have made it to a 12A, more due to wide shoulders than growing mammary glands, just in time to discard my bra to make my feminist statement a few years later. Such is life.

What was being “trained”; my chest or me? Was the whole concept of a training bra merely to enculturate me into my assigned place in society? And why did shop assistants get their big jollies from exposing women in their undies to diminishing gaze?

Sisters, have we progressed at all? Are we caring for each other? Me thinks not so much.

 

Women’s dress size conversions:

AUST

8

10

12

14

16

18

US

4

6

8

10

12

14

UK

8

10

12

14

16

18

EUROPE

36

38

40

42

44

46

JAPAN

7

9

11

13

15

17

Laying low

playground

Last day of term commenced with Mass, then a joint morning tea where everyone, students and teachers, brought food to share. I have never seen so many packets of potato crisps in one place in my entire life (we call them “chips”; we also call fried fresh fries “chips”. It is a hangover from our colonial days!) After morning tea there was a “blow up” carnival – amusements all built on blow ups or inflatables – gladiators played in a bouncy air ring with balloon batons, a bouncy castle, a bouncy surf slide, bouncy boxing and … a rocking bull!

I must have finally lost all semblance of youth, for during my half hour of duty minding the students undertaking bouncy boxing and watching them hand the inflated gloves and head gear form student to student was “oh my, the head lice, and hand germs!” It almost made me ill just watching the communal gear…ugh. The high point was standing there and wishing and hoping that some of the more “challenging” students got a good biffo, even if it was with an inflated glove!

A group of students and teachers formed an impromptu group and jammed for the last hour which gave everyone time to chill out and then the bell rang, and I was no longer a Flamingo Dancer but a giselle racing to my car. I was in my favourite chair at home by 4.30!

car bye

Saturday morning, I farewelled Mr FD and his sister on a trip to visit an old family member with a milestone birthday. I have stayed home to spring clean and chill out. I just couldn’t face a nine hour drive  only the day after the end of term.

So, instead I made a huge dish of fruit salad to share with Son. We had strawberries, blueberries, pear, apple, mandarine, banana and black grapes. Delicious. I have also baked a classic chocolate coconut slice, the recipe I was given in year 8 at school, to have with coffee when Son’s mate visits this afternoon.

choccoc

Augie and I are about to take an afternoon nap which is now my prerogative for the next few days.

Living the good life.

wake up and don’t smell no coffee, so no crying over spilt milk

coffee in australia

I may be on someone’s stick list.

There was this coffee machine, and this coffee machine was looking for a new home, and some IT geek had the great idea that he wanted the coffee machine to live in the library’s work area where there is a very small kitchenette. This workroom is in the centre of the library and is ringed with louvered windows so that we can supervise students in a 360 view.

I was not officially informed but heard of this via the grape vine. I was not happy.

Now I have nothing against coffee, good coffee. I even have a barista’s diploma from a previous career! I just don’t want a coffee machine in my work area. It is a small work area with very limited bench space. We are are school of over 1000 students, a lot of textbooks pass through that room.  Also the noise of grinders and steamers would disturb classes in the library. Not a place for a coffee machine.

Also, none of the ladies in-house drink coffee to the extent that we want a coffee machine. Said male offered to set up the machine each morning – no doubt to enable him to make his coffee, but there were no offers of cleaning at the end of each day, and there was no way Minerva or I were going to do it.

Minerva was more concerned that she would be “house mother” washing coffee cups, and machine bits, and wiping surfaces. Mother doesn’t work here!  I was concerned about loss of work space and book damage.

So, I sent a request to She Who Must Be Obeyed in Admin and asked for it to be a no go. She snapped back with a little reply that stated that it was a communal area, to which I replied that her reply showed a total lack of knowledge of what we do and I was a little tired of the lack of recognition and respect for what we did.

I went home and drank a large scotch and then meditated for about 10 minutes. Minerva went home and steamed anew. This morning a conciliatory email from She Who Must Be Obeyed. We emailed a make up kiss kiss hug hug.

He however, bounced into my office upon being denied and asked “Who has been planting seeds of discord?” Yep, he could a straight answer, but as I said he didn’t offer to clean and supervise, not a complete solution as I was more worried about space and books, but might have been a more professional approach. No doubt, he is home sharpening his stick, but sometimes we just have to stick to the instant…or walk 10 metres to the main staffroom where there is a giant coffee machine – and where he actually spends his breaks.

One library without a coffee aroma.

 

P.S. If it had been a tea maker, we might have worked something out…