If you had ten copies of yourself, today, what would you have them do?

ME 10

Can you imagine what the world would be like graced by ten copies of me – and the original me, making a total of eleven Flamingo Dancers. upon this earth? I think the original Flamingo Dancer might just need a cup of tea to handle all the excitement, too!

Do I want them to even a few scores, or to go forth and enjoy? The temptation is to send a couple forth with sticks to beat the brains out of a few people who could do with a good sticking (no one ever expects revenge by a lady). That’s not in the spirit of my New Year though, so I guess to answer my own query, I will turn my 10 MEs to fun and good times.

FD1. She will go to cooking school and learn to do all those things that professional chefs appear to do so effortlessly. She will cook for all family occasions, and all our meals will be healthy, gourmet delights.

FD2. Is going to go back to university, to study all the courses I would like to study  just for the sake of knowing – psychology, or art, perhaps. Not maths though, never maths.

FD3. She will be the writer. A great book, an enduring classic no less, will be the fruits of her keyboard. Of course when it hits the best seller list, I will send her back to the cupboard and take over the book signings. Better still, she can start work on book 2.

FD4. Poor workhorse, she goes to work, she lives the ordinary life that keeps the food on the table and the roof over our heads.

FD5. She is going to sewing class to learn to sew, something I never really had interest in, but wish my mother had encouraged when I was younger. Mum was one of those mothers who was always conceded that we would sew our fingers together or worse still, break her sewing machine. She sewed, and I am not sure she wanted us to challenge her skills so major lack of encouragement meant no interest on my part. So FD5 is going to make up for past stupidity. FD5 will create haute couture outfits that hide the lumpy or saggy bits while accenting the glorious bits (I have a great butt, and it should be appreciated)

FD6 is going to be the brave one. She is going to go to some far country and help women get an education. Or to help nurse sick children or feed the starving. She will earn forgiveness for all my evilosity.

FD7. She might, I think, run for politics and sort this country out. Being the Flamingo Dancer, no doubt she would soon be Prime Minister and later leader of the UN, and eventually, the world would recognise her greatness, and elect her Queen of the World for life. As per FD3, this is when the original FD, me, myself and I, will take the stage. FD7 can then go home and clean the windows.

FD8. FD8 is to be a Cuddle Mum, one of those lovely women who volunteer in hospitals to nurse babies when their parents can’t be there, or read stories to sick children in hospital. This is something I have always thought I would like to do, but now that I live in the country is probably less of a possibility, but then again, who knows what life will bring.

FD9. Oh the hell with it, FD9 is going to woman the Stick List, and beat all those people who have irritated me throughout my life. Coworkers who were bitches, or just annoying; employers who were pigs, and generally anyone who has irritated me to any degree throughout my life. Beat hard and beat them often. Revenge is too sweet not to take the opportunity.

FD.10. She is going to learn how to give me a really good massage. No more paying for massages, or having to leave my home to obtain one. She will soothe my aches and pains on a daily basis, bless her little FD replication!

And Me, me? I will sleep, and eat, read and create. I will travel, watch the birds in my garden, and do whatever I damn well please.

Where do I sign up for delivery?

ME2

one cup or two; or how never to trust your sister

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All my life, I have been of the opinion that my older sister is a far better person than I. Slowly, I am coming to the realisation that she has a degree of evilosity far higher than I ever suspected. Not equal to mine, but certainly living and breathing in the background of her goodness.

My sister, with her sneaky, evil ways, manipulated me into entertaining. A morning tea, with two aunts (our mother’s younger sisters) and a cousin, in MY house. I do not entertain. Yet, there I was with the floral tea set and tiny sandwiches, accompanied by flowers from my own garden.

I am not sure how it happen. It was a very professional sneak attack that left me at her mercy. An aunt mentioned that she would like to have a cup of tea with us. When and where was left undeclared. This was mentioned from time to time,but noting concrete was ever established.

Then, during a phone call it was mentioned with a little more emphasis. Three aunts, the sisters our Mum spent most of her time with in recent years. My sister posed the possibility of her place. The aunts live in my Village though… and they are old. Before I knew it, I was volunteering my home.

I know, even I couldn’t believe the words coming from my own mouth!

Sister did the inviting. Next I knew, two cousins had been invited as well! Then, Petite Fille started asking to visit Grandma and Augie Dog, so Daughter1 was added to the list. In the end, one aunt declined and a cousin never replied in time, to the message left on her answering machine. So, it was six ladies, Petite Fille and cousin’s adult son who has Fragile X Syndrome, a quiet man who loves to paint.

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I chose the tea set that one of the aunt’s had given us as a wedding gift, though when I mentioned the fact she could not remember. It has only been almost 38 years! The other Aunt, is famous for her sponge cake, and she baked a sponge for our morning tea. It was even better than I remembered. She is so particular that she claims even the brand of fresh cream can impact on its perfection! It was such perfection I ate two slices!

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Cousin is a family historian and she brought many photos of ancestors. I saw photos of my great grandparents ( a gorgeous couple, obviously where my famous beauty originated). There was also a photo of our mother as a tiny child with three of her sisters (7 girls and 2 boys in her family, two others died as infants). It was the early 1930s and they were ready for church in little winter coats and hats. My mother always looked like my mother. You know, how some people change as they grow up? Well, my mother always had the same face. Age has not changed her. We missed our mother from our gathering, but she cannot leave her care facility these days…

It was a superb morning, though I had to play hostess. Of course, I performed the role superbly, but I must make sure I gird my loins against my sister’s sneaky evilosity. If I am not careful, she will have me being social to the masses, and we know that can only end badly for all.

The benefits of a staycation

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Nothing like a Pimms in the early afternoon. Imbibing a drink (or two) at home, means that when the inevitable drowsiness that always follows when I drink alcohol, I can toddle off for a little nap in my favourite place in the whole world – my bed.

I have never been into camping. For me, there is no sense in going somewhere when I will be less comfortable than where I live.

I want cleanliness, (to be honest, if the place was cleaned to my usual home standards, even I probably wouldn’t want to stay there! Cleanliness. in this case, means pristine.) I don’t want to be reminded that someone else has slept in the bed, or sat on the toilet before me – even though they have. Probably, thousands, have!

I want airconditioning. No humidity, no sweltering heat, no freezing in the middle of the night.I have that at home. Okay, if I went to a country where air conditioning was not available due to national decree I would make the most of it. I am talking about “if” I have choices.

I need somewhere I can plug a hairdryer in, if I wish too. Better still, if they supply the hairdryer and I don’t have to lug it from home.

I don’t need a stocked minibar, but I do love room service. I like my late night snacks. Some nights, after a day of sightseeing or travelling, the thought of leaving the room and seeking food is one activity too many. Let me order in a bowl of fries and I will be a happy woman.

I demand ample tea and coffee making supplies. During our last trip, to Melbourne, the cleaner told us the room allocation of tea bags was four per person, per room. Hello, no. We developed the habit of walking down the corridor as they cleaned and self catering our needs from their trolley. Otherwise, I would have purchased my own. One must have tea. And milk. Never enough milk. I drink milk in my tea and coffee.

Once, when staying in Adelaide, we found a blood stain on our white sheet – prior to us entering the bed. Ugh. It was not a happy trip. It was also not the only error in that particular choice of Mr FD’s and he is still learning his lesson on that one.

The bathroom also needs good ventilation. I do not want to have to travel with a candle in a tin to rid the bathroom, and our room, of bodily odours. Not that I have any, but Mr FD is sadly human. Doesn’t take much to install a bathroom fan – in fact make it a fan heater and your will score top marks, Mr Hotel Manager.

Late checkout is a blessing. Not being charged for a late checkout is utterly civilised, but seemingly more rare these days. It is nice to be able to freshen up before that trip back to the airport.

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I don’t want to hear the neighbours. I have more than half an acre between our neighbours and our house, at home. I realise that is impossible in a hotel, but at least make sure I can’t hear their voices, their television, or their plumbing. And never their children!. I want to pretend I am the only person there, except for Mr FD. If I can pretend he is not there all the better.

I need decent pillows, and more than one per person. I have neck issues, I don’t function well with a pillow that instantly flattens to the same width as the fabric of the pillow case. If I wake with a headache, your day will not be a happy one.

I don’t think any of that is too much to ask, do you? I am worth it, and if I am going to make the effort to stay in their hotel and be nice to the masses enroute, it is the least they can do.

I like cable television with a full range of channels, as I do, at home. Not just sky news and fox sports. I mean, think of the marketing if you get some unsuspecting visitor hooked on decent cable, and then they might go home and subscribe for the services. Cut a deal. It is the least you can do, for me.

Oh, and towels that don’t smell mouldy. Thick towels that are line dried fresh in the sun. Yes, I have that at home. Not greyish towels that smell like they were picked up from the floor and rehung for the next guest.

The simple things in life really are the best, and a happy Flamingo Dancer means a happy world – for everyone else. Just do it!

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If history repeats itself

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Maybe, not the dinosaur, but…

I would “shirt front” a few kings, politicians and popes and tell them to “leave the girls alone”. Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, thank you very much, and if Henry VIII wanted to poke around and then fester into a stinky mess then what was sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! Off with his head!

I would make sure Australia’s education system was a federal one with no state interference and therefore uniform across the nation. Education would not be political, at all.

Parents would stop blaming teachers for their own bad parenting.

I would drown Rupert Murdoch at birth. How could such a wonderful woman such as Dame Elizabeth Murdoch have given birth to that manipulative creature?

Party politics would be outlawed everywhere, and “real” democracy maintained. Death to back room deals and faceless power men.

Arnold Schwarzenegger would be made to be the husband that Maria Shriver deserves.

Oprah wouldn’t be allowed to become so fixated on “stuff” and Martha would make it cool to make a mistake.

Reading would remain as popular as running around in exercise gear trying to look like a sixteen old, is now.

Makeup would never have been invented, nor would the word “skinny”.

Sugar and salt would be “sometimes” foods.

Happiness would be viewed as internal, not external to ourselves.

The world’s favourite colour would be blue.

Religion would not be based on punishment and reward, and difference would be exalted.

I would be boss of the world and loved by all. It would be a good world.

It would be a great world,

 

Two down, 363 to go!

You’ve been on hold for a day or two, haven’t you, dear? I have been off living a life.

A phone call asking for a New Year’s Eve babysitter, sent Daughter2 and I off to the city to care for Petite Fille while her parents partied their way into 2015 at a pool party. Daughter2’s Beau had already returned to the west coast and to work, so she had a quiet New Year’s with Mama on the couch watching truly terrible television.

We had gone out for take out Thai food and a bottle of white wine for dinner, and as we walked back into the house, Petite Fille declared “Party!” I wasn’t even wearing a paper hat! I think my granddaughter may be  a party girl at heart, if it is possible to be  a party girl at 22 months of age.

I have to admit that after two glasses of the wine, I didn’t actually see the New Year in. Daughter2 informs me I snored the New Year in, as if it was possible that a Flamingo Dancer would ever consent to snore; but I was asleep. Sleep is high on my New Year’s Resolutions List, so I am off to a great start for the year!

New Year’s Day we decided to go out to brunch, but being Brisbane most of the cafes and restaurants were closed for the public holiday, assuming everyone in the world was snoozing off a hangover. We found one restaurant with a spare table, but they told us there was a two hour – TWO HOUR- wait on food, so we moved on. The only other alternative did not warn us of any wait, but wait we did. It was well over an hour before our simple orders of raisin toasts and fruit salads arrived. Then they tried to give D2 cow’s milk instead of soy milk coffee, which would have given D2 a very distressing outcome had she consumed it. They made fresh coffee.

Jan2 was a wedding shopping day. Daughters went bridesmaid dress shopping while I stayed home with Petite Fille (and yes they found one). The ladies were gone all day – the first day D1 has spent away from Petite Fille since she was born. The most she has ever been away has been three hours previously.  We all survived, though Grandma was rather tired by the end of a day making buses out of chairs and rugs, and crawling around the floor finding pieces of duplo. I may have developed an eye twitch due to near exhaustion by the end of the two days, but all was good.

Big hugs for D2, as I left. She returns to Perth, on Sunday. I will see her once more, for a long weekend, before she returns for the April wedding. Looking forward to more happy times in 2015.

Living the life, as I said, even if all the niceness kills me in the process!

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family and a portmanteau, hopefully without ado!

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A little bit excited this morning, for today, we are doing Christmas, Take 2. Daughter2 and Her Beau have arrived and later we will be joined by my sister, her daughter and husband, and their four children (the youngest being that little 825gram baby girl born in June who has since been pronounced “perfect in every way” by her doctors), as well as Daughter1 and family (yes Petite Fille is returning!), Son and Mr FD’s sister. Whew!

Simple meal this time, though I am tackling a turducken. My first. It is not a huge turducken, but considering the challenge a simple roast proved on Christmas Day, I am psyching myself up for the cooking! My daughters and son in laws are far better cooks than I, so I have plenty of assistance should I need it! Apart from the turducken, we shall barbecue bratwurst sausages which will suit the wee ones.

I have asked everyone to bring a salad, but to keep it simple. No stress intended for anyone. I think my sister is contributing a cucumber and tomato salad that our Mum always made, which I have found out is German in origin, naturally, but so simple I am sure it has spread across cultures. Sliced cucumber and tomato in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste and then fresh cream dressing. Just cream, nothing else. Nom nom. Mum grew up on a dairy farm and she knew many ways to use cream. One of the best was thick cream on a slice of bread sprinkled with sugar! Triple nom nom!

Bad, but good at the same time, if you know what I mean.  A little like me!

Tomorrow, we will be driving into the city to meet D2’s future inlaws. We have been conversing on Facebook but are yet to meet face to face, so Tuesday is the big day. We are meeting on neutral ground for lunch! They will be in awe of course.

Enjoy your day, I am going to make the most of mine!

Flamingo Dancer.

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Portmanteau : link to definition

Carrying my place with me

 

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I don’t know why taking the rubbish out to the bin led to my comment, but as I walked back through the front door, I couldn’t help remarking to Mr FD that “we really do live in the best place in the world.”

For those new to the flock, Mr FD and I decided on a tree change just over two years ago. We moved from a large, two storey house in a Brisbane suburb to live in a small “village” about an hour’s drive from the city. Our home is smaller, more manageable to suit our downsized lifestyle, and has the textures of brick and natural wood we love. Every room has a view of trees.

We have a tall cathedral window in our living room that gives us a floor to ceiling view of tall towering gum trees and our garden, as if there is nothing between us and the world outside. In fact, it does its job a little too well, as once or twice a week we hear the bam! of a bird making contact with the glass. We joke that one day the window will break and then we will replace it with a huge stained glass STOP! sign window, to warn the birds.

Living here means that I have a 40 minute drive each way to teach every work day, but that is a small part to play for the joy of living where we do. (And we traded my car in for a hybrid to alleviate the fuel issues). I can walk onto our patio any morning and watch a variety of birds catching their early worms, or maybe follow a wallaby making its way across our lawn. Our trees are old and very tall, and as I write this blog, sitting near the open window, I can hear the wind blowing through the branches of the gums. Just hear the serenity!

Our property is just over an acre on the side of a hill, and so we have the added gift of sweeping views across the valley. There is even a lake to be seen in the distance. Surrounded by trees, the front road is hidden and we can pretend the rest of the world has ceased to exist. I do, for days on end, when not interrupted by the need to go “out there”.

Add to that, our first family dog, a cream, golden retriever named Augie, who arrived as we did, and the cup really does runneth over.

“We really do live in a beautiful place,” I said.

Mr Fd replied, “Someone from overseas wrote to me that they were sorry for what happened in Sydney (a terrorist siege that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages) and I said, that though there are horrors vested upon us, on the whole we do live in the best country in the world.”

The best place in the best country in the world, that is where I live.

 

When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.

                                                            Alexandra Stoddard

 

Just putting this into words, has made me realise, that living here has made me a better person. I am no longer concerned about image, or ambition. I have slowed down. Now moments mean more than things. It would be nice to think that I am also a kinder, more forgiving person; mellowed a little, but at the very least, I am happier and so very content.

I wish to you all, that in 2015 you may find your little piece of paradise. If you have already, that you may hang on to it tightly and let it fill you, heal you and make you the person you wish to be.

Flamingo Dancer.

via Flamingo Dancer blog