enter without so much as knocking

age

Yesterday, I was searching for an image of two mature women to represent my sister and I in old age. It was almost impossible to source an image that did not ridicule and marginalise older women.

Almost every image that I found of two women, represented the women as bizarrely dressed, smoking cigars, playing on children’s playground equipment , skateboarding, riding motorcycles or looking grumpy.

When are we going to stop this marginalisation of older women? Why do we allow, in fact, not only allow, but perpetuate the stereotype of the crazy old woman? Why does ageing mean that we either have to be grumpy and frumpy, or bizarre and childish?

I don’t want to act like a child when I am old. I’ve passed through that stage of life, why would I want to go back to it? I am an intelligent, independent women with all my faculties. I have worked hard to have the life I live, I am not going to stand by and allow the media to stereotype me as a weird or senile older person. If I don’t have respect for myself, why should others?

Repeat after me : I will not marginalise myself, or other women by allowing older people to be represented in such a manner as to cause disrespect or ridicule. 

 

guns and hypocrites

hands

Another day, another gun massacre in the United States. I feel sorry for the victims and their families; the lady who was a librarian particularly resounded with me. Who kills a librarian in a church – how vulnerable a victim is that? I just can’t understand a peoples that give permission to their neighbours to kill them, though – and the hypocrisy   of all the so called emotion that the nation parades as they pretend to grieve. If they care so much why don’t they change?

Maybe they need a program a little like the plain packaging program for cigarettes that we have in Australia. Ads in the media that simply say “guns are bad for your health”  with horrible disfigured gunshot victims telling how they get through their daily struggle; and then on the butt/handle of every weapon there should be a very graphic photo of a dead gunshot victim.

I suppose that a school filled with little dead children wasn’t enough, this won’t be either. Have your guns, kill each other, leave the world for the rest of us …

Shame Tony Abbott, Shame!

mmother

Happy Mum’s Day. I am having a quiet day, which is the best day for me. Once daughters become mothers, it seems that Mother’s Day changes. I am not saying that is a bad thing, or a good thing, it is just a thing, to be noted. And of course my Mum has dementia, and knows not what day of the week, or year it is.

I am however, scratching my head as to why the Abbott government has chosen this week end to announce that they are effectively making it more difficult for new mothers to be home with their babies in those first few months – and harder to find quality child care when they return to work. Could it be that it is a dung heap of males making those decisions?

Now that I have that out of my system, for the next ten minutes – actually, I haven’t. How the hell do they expect women to choose to have babies, which the government always expects, when they make it harder and harder to care for them? Why do they think our schools are having such behavioural problems, when parents are stretched to thin to be effective parents? Why do they think our children have such low literacy and numeracy issues, when parents have no time to sit and read books? Herding children together in groups at day care is no replacement for quality parenting. Teachers and child care assistants can not, and do not replace the role of parents in their children’s early years.

Such short term mindsets of our governments are harming our children and our future. Time for all of us, not just the politicians, to look beyond our immediate wants, and the next election.

Once, a hundred years ago today…

poppy

Today, April 25th is ANZAC Day for Australians and New Zealanders – the day we celebrate a great defeat. A bloodbath at Gallipoli, in 1915. We became the canon fodder offered by the British.

I like that we celebrate failure; for it is by failing that we learn from our mistakes – usually. Since 1915, we, the Australian peoples, have been involved in World War II; The Korean War, Malaysia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and now I.S, which is not a state, but more a state of mind; a mindset.

The war to end all wars did none of that. Some might argue that the impact of World War 1 has shaped our societies, and certainly our capitalist economies ever since. A lot of people become very rich, though the needs that war creates.

Mr FD’s grandfather served on The Somme. He was shot, luckily not badly, and went AWOL for a day or two, probably over a lovely lady, but he carried the experience silently throughout his life.

My family, second generation Germans and Poles at that time, experienced the other side. Knocks on the door, questions as to why a picture of the Kaiser, a memory brought by an immigrant, was on an old lady’s wall. Not internment as so many other innocents, but suspicion.

Nothing is solved by violence, be it global or domestic. Yes, celebrate the failures of war, the loss of life, so that, maybe, one day, a generation will finally realise that nothing is worth war and destruction. No one ever wins… and it never ends.

Gallipoli. 25th April. 2015.

Gallipoli. 25th April. 2015.

are we jettisoning our children into solitary confinement?

house 1

During the recent state elections I confirmed that my students are an excellent barometer for what the community is thinking. I asked them what they thought of the State’s Premier, and the Opposition Leader. I did this knowing full well that they would be parroting what they heard adults saying. They all hated the Premier, and were more favourable on the Opposition Leader. Election Day, the Premier lost his seat in the state’s parliament, but his government appear to have lost the election, though it is hanging on a knife’s edge with vote counting still taking place.

This week, I asked them if they ate dinner with their family at the table each night, or did they all take a plate and sit in front of the television. I was not anticipating their answers.

The majority of the students said that they actually took their meal and returned to their rooms to continue doing whatever they had been doing, such as playing on their computers.

That struck me as incredibly sad. These children are away from their families all day, and yet they are not even coming together in a central place to be together.

When our children were at school, we always ate together at the table, and some of the conversations were memorable. Since they have flown the coup as adults, Mr FD and I have fallen into the habit of taking our plate and watching the evening news together, which we debate hotly. We are still communicating.

These children are functioning on a minimum of parental time, and that saddens me. No wonder we are having to teach this year’s, year seven and eight students to say please and thank you, for a start!

Another place we used to be with our children was driving to and from school. Now I see the students riding in their family cars with earphones firmly inserted in their ears. If we aren’t careful, they even hide them in their hair and use them in class!

Are parents too exhausted from modern life to go the traditional mile with their children? Why are we jettisoning our children into a solitary confinement? Where are parents finding the joy in their parenting?

The Young Person’s Guide to Life : Living Beyond Your Means

piggy iou

Or, How to Work Hard to Be Poor:

  1. Get an arts degree so that you end up being a barista.
  2. Become a teacher and get underpaid for the work you do.
  3. Borrow from everyone you know.
  4. Apply for every credit card you find for the maximum they will allow you to have.
  5. Max out those credit cards every month
  6. Buy a house when interest rates are really high and lock in that interest rate so that when rates fall, yours doesn’t.
  7. Have a child. Have several children.
  8. Give your child full access to your credit card
  9. Tell your child you will pay for their education and forget to point out that the offer is good for only one university degree.
  10. Tell your child, they will always have a home with you, no matter what.
  11. Start your own business.
  12. Keep up with the Joneses… and the Smiths and the Browns.
  1. Offer to be a bridesmaid for all your friends.
  2. Have your hair styled at an inner city salon.
  3. When looking for a venue or a caterer, tell them upfront that it is for a wedding.
  4. Tell yourself that you are really going to enjoy your vacation trip, because you deserve it.
  5. Think that “stuff” will make you happy.
  6. Buy clothes before you shed the weight.
  7. Host Christmas.
  8. Go to the dentist.
  9. In Australia, think that your private health insurance will cover all your medical expenses.
  10. Be a teacher in a religious school because they will always be asking you to support some charity or other. Every day.
  11. Expect to eat healthy food at every meal.
  12. Take the family out to a nice restaurant.
  13. Leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute.
  14. Offer to buy the first round of drinks.
  15. Throw a party for your one year old.
  16. Retire
  17. Outlive your retirement fund.
  18. Require regular medication, multiple medications.
  19. Own a dog.

Why do people say Australia is upside down, down under?

australian world map

Australia is not upside down. A little racist, bigoted and intolerant at times, but never upside down. Unless, it is 4am on a Saturday morning when all the pubs have had to close, and the drunks fall out into the gutters. Then things might be upside down.

If you look on a map, Australia is pointing the same way as all the other continents. The writing on the map is the same way too, thus proving my case (well, it does in my world)

It anyone is upside down, it is the “northern” half, because who celebrates the New Year last? Don’t argue, just nod your head in agreement and make out I know what I am talking about.

I think I can feel the blood rushing to my head…