First Term

What a different start was 2013 compared to last year? Runs were allocated and sent mid January as promised, giving Operators plenty of time to organize their Drivers, Vehicles and advise parents.

Of course there were still the last minute changes to deal with and start dates this year varied more than usual. Parents were unsure needing to make multiple changes with some of them wrongly advised which caused students to attend on days they shouldn’t, and others being absent when they should have gone. Some needed to be “transitioned” before their transport could start and even some schools had new units still under construction.  Adding to this is when finish times mismatch those stated on the Run Card. I wondered some days if I was “coming or going”. Ah? To pick up or not pick up, that is the question.

I think I have my head around it all now and as we start Week 4 Runs should go smoothly – well in theory they should. Fingers Crossed.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.” – Francis Bacon

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day

It is so lovely to see students leaving school on this day carrying a red rose given to them by an admirer. It is also nice of the schools to partake in such a lovely gesture by organizing these Roses be delivered in class to the named recipients.

A student on my Run was happy to have received a Rose today but I don’t think she fully appreciates yet the significance of this special gift, nor how envious I was. I explained to her that she can always keep this rose as a reminder that one person has admired her enough to send it and how the intrigue associated with this rose is what makes it so special. The wonder she will have in trying to think just who this person could be and the pleasure it will give her in the future remembering this day.

The envy you ask? Well that’s because I have never received a Rose or even a Card from a secret admirer which has forever left me wondering if ever I had one. Not that I would shed a tear over this now but it is something a female always covets.

Hubby – always the romantic – gave me a bunch of Dusty Pink Roses – my favourite colour. Not a secret admirer, but were equally delicious to receive.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.” – Author Unknown

 

 

 

Cruisin’ Part 1

We took 2 of our grandchildren on a cruise in the holidays. It was a surprise Christmas Gift for them and they were speechless to say the least. They scolded us for being so extravagant until I explained this gift was for US because we love their company.

Passports were organized, forms were filled, shore tours booked and the anticipation killing us, until finally the day arrived. Of course I had over packed, as you do, and Hubby kept reminding me of this, especially since it was HE who had to struggle with the suitcase.

We caught an early train to Circular Quay, checked in our luggage then enjoyed a coffee while soaking up the atmosphere of the harbour. Watching my grandson scoff down a huge second breakfast, I thought how fortunate for us that Cruising includes meals.

When it was time to say goodbye their mum couldn’t hold back her tears. Usually the sensitive grandson would have been upset by this but his excitement abated his reaction.

On our last cruise I became a club member for future benefits so we were quite delighted to find the best benefit presented itself as we boarded. In fact it was so good that I almost felt unworthy. There were two dedicated parallel entry areas, one for the masses, and one for us. Woo Hoo! We skipped past about a hundred people then on to the next part of the Check In to find another line just for us. Oh this benefit was worth every cent that I didn’t pay with their free membership. With the embarkation over, it was then time to explore the ship.

We headed up to the top deck to start our exploration. The backdrop of the city was perfect for the multiple photos I was compelled to take and having grandkids that are always up for some mischievous posing made for a perfect combination. Now if I could just get hubby to enjoy this part of my personality.

The pool deck offered free Ice cream so we grabbed a cone and continued checking out all the places we would be spending our nine days aboard. We checked all the show rooms, cafes and bars, but the granddaughter became the most excited once she saw the variety of shops. I could see this is where she would be spending much of her time. By 1 our rooms were ready so we went to unpack.

We had 2 double rooms side by side in the middle of the ship at the front. It was much cheaper than a quad room, and with the amount of luggage we all had, it was probably a good thing. Hubby was with the grandson and me with the granddaughter. Being16 means myriad products so I felt fortunate that she at least ‘allowed’ me one shelf in the bathroom. By now our room was completely cluttered and disorganized from our unpacking while surprisingly the boy’s room was neat, tidy and completely organized so they were both relaxing on their beds watching TV. Oh the benefits of being male, simplicity in everything.

It was time to go to the Buffet for lunch. The grandson was overwhelmed. He had never seen so much food and didn’t know where to start. His big blue eyes grew even bigger at the prospects of choosing from all the variety before him. The granddaughter, who began her lunch with chocolate cake explained, “you don’t save the best till last in case you don’t get to enjoy the best.” Of course she finished her meal with “the best” as well.

While it was really nice sitting there overlooking the harbour and pigging out, we thought sitting on a deck chair by the pool was the ultimate “cruisey” thing to do and so chilled a bit while listening to a Reggae band. Since the grandkids were too young and hubby doesn’t drink, the chore of making sure the ships cocktails were up to scratch was left up to me. They were. But to be sure, it did take quite a few to convince me.

An announcement was soon made to gather for the mandatory Muster.  Though we have done this many times before I do take it seriously and wanted the Grandkids to do the same. Since being on our last cruise there had been the Costa Concordia incident so we happily went to our Muster station. But not all was right. The positioning of our rooms actually had us going to the Port side and the boys to the Starboard. (How about my Sea language? Took me a while, but when I attribute the shortness of the word Port to that of the word Left, I get it right. No I mean left. Well you know what I mean.) So here we are with the responsibility of assuring the well being of our grandchildren only to find my super duper swimmer of a husband would be on the opposite side of the ship if a catastrophe occurred. This was not good. Visions of the Titanic entered my head at this point.

It was finally “Sail Away”. Not quite as eventful as other cruise lines but none the less exciting. It took about 2 hours to get through the heads and in this time the Captain announced it could get a bit rocky due to a Southerly. This wasn’t pleasant news so early into the Cruise. I hadn’t gained my ‘sea legs’ yet.

We chose “traditional dining” with our sitting time being 8.30. This meant we catch the early show each night in the theatre. Tonight was a comedian. Not too bad but over the heads of the grandkids – I think?

I love the attention you receive from the dining staff. I also hate the attention you receive from the dining staff, and for or the same reasons. They are always there to enhance your dining experience and so – they are always there. Conversations were continually interrupted while they serve or clear or fill or inquire or sweep away bread crumbs. We couldn’t be rude to these lovely hard working people so we just waited out these repetitive routines then kicked back in where our conversation left off.

I decided to keep a diary of our trip and so after they had all settled in bed I went to the pool deck to enjoy a coffee and start writing. It was midnight by now and the swell was full on. The ship was really rocking and I wondered if it was going to prevent me from enjoying the experience. Would it be one of those nightmare cruises I have read about with me ending up spending the whole time sick in my stateroom? These thoughts were becoming a concern as I stumbled from side to side down the hallway toward my room. Would I end up ruining everyone’s holiday? End Part One.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

” Seasickness: at first you are so sick you are afraid you will die, and then you are so sick you are afraid you won’t die.” – Mark Twain

 

 

The Mechanic’s Workshop

I spend a great deal of time at my Mechanics workshop. Not by choice of course but there is no avoiding the many repairs and services warranted for the upkeep of my money producing assets so I need to frequent this place regularly.

My mechanic laughs at the way I describe my vehicle’s symptoms but he is easily able to interpret what my flailing hands and variously pitched grunts, groans and squeals mean when I explain each new problem. He then speaks to me for a bit in “mechanics language” before I interrupt and ask the 3 important questions. Is it fixable? Is it going to cost a lot? And – WILL IT BE READY BY 2?

Each year he throws a mini Xmas Party for all his customers who arrive late afternoon on closing day to find his workshop has been transformed to include a BBQ, Bar, tables, chairs and music. He provides a wonderful feast and it would insult him if we didn’t down at least one of his supplied alcoholic beverages. People from all walks of life have their cars repaired so the people to chat with is diverse.

This year entertainment was provided.  Well, entertainment for men anyway. No, it’s not what you think, there were no strippers. It was a “Team Bin Racing” Car Simulator, which came complete with a BBQ and a ‘coldies’ trailer. There were 2 audience screens at the front to watch how the current ‘driver’ was performing, plus sound and smoke effects for realism. While not my cup of tea it was actually pretty cool.

It is lovely of him to show gratitude to his customers in this way and while this annual treat may seem strange to some, a Xmas party at the Mechanic’s Workshop has become a much loved tradition. Thank you T.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“I couldn’t fix your breaks so I made your horn louder” – Author Unknown

 

 

 

Christmas Birthdays

I don’t recall the first time I was shown sympathy because of my birth date but at least once every year someone will always comment on its “unfortunate timing”. As a child I always thought this date must be a bad thing though I was completely oblivious as to why.

I disagree. Having a birthday a few days before Christmas is quite exciting because the air is filled with a great buzz of anticipation with everyone in a happy and joyous mood. The date is easier to remember and very often falls on a Christmas event where all the merry attendants – strangers or not – delight in singing you “Happy Birthday” and insist they buy you a Birthday AND a Christmas drink.

So to those who insist I must be deprived – not so. A birthday in this period is like a Christmas Entree.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“My Birthday! What a different sound that word had in my youthful ear.” – Thomas More

 

Home For Christmas

Yesterday my babies returned home for Christmas. All five arrived on the same day but at different times and I was delighted with each arrival.

I worry so much about them through the year when they are out in the world and away from the loving care I give them. Do they take in enough nourishment for their active lifestyle? Is their fluid intake sufficient? Do they have regular checkups? Do they have suitable shelter? Have they been kicked around and abused as they have been so often in the past?

All these things are of concern which is why I love Christmas when for a whole 6 whole weeks I have them home and all to myself.

I woke this morning and all was quiet, did I dream this? Did all my babies really come home? I opened the front blinds and peered out the window. Yes, there they are. All five sleeping peacefully in my driveway. Now which one will I drive first?

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“The cars we drive say a lot about us.” – Alexandra Paul

 

A Big Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner I am again wondering where this year went. Luckily I like taking photos because this is generally the only way I realize there were actually events that I attended, so in fact I really MUST have experienced the past year.

It will be a big one again for us which is something hubby always disapproves of. Strangely though, this year he seems to be quite looking forward to it. I noticed this extraordinary change of heart came when one of the nephews asked if he could bring 5 Swedish Back Packers who want to experience a “Traditional Aussie Christmas”. When the brother described them as “drop dead gorgeous” Hubby’s mouthed gaped, and the son’s eyes twinkled, wondering just what ‘events’ he could tell them are “traditional”. I just counted numbers. My house will now be bursting at the seams with a total of 34 for a “sit down” dinner. Holly Molly.

I’m not sure if our Christmas’s are ‘traditional’ or not but the brother and I are still “big kids” when it comes to this day. We are compelled to follow our childhood traditions but have added our own flavour over the years, unique to us. The sons insist I don’t go overboard with gifts but this is impossible when they keep expanding the family.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your family and friends and enjoy whatever traditions you follow. Indulge in the wonderful food that simply makes the day complete – even if you do spend the following day suffering.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 

 

 

 

 

Twelvies

I asked my granddaughter how her shopping day went, expecting the usual “good thanks”, but I was surprised to hear in a disappointed tone “It was fine, but the shops were full of Twelvies”. What? Twelvies? What are “Twelvies”? This term was totally unfamiliar to me. She explained they are boys around the age of twelve who all dress similar wearing their “flat caps” believing themselves to be super cool. She laughed and went on to say that it was a funny sight to her and her friends because they remember also thinking themselves cool at that age. She said “As you get older you realize just how stupid you looked”. Oh, now it was my turn to laugh, after all, this was coming from a 16 year old.

Recently, with Puberty Blues on TV I realized just how much the use of my “seventies” language had all but disappeared. And yes. I too laughed when hearing it again on this show.

Dead Set, I remember calling my brother a Spaz and telling him to Rack Off, then Packin’ Death that he would Dob. It was fun to see all the Panel vans again. My boyfriend had one, and I proudly sat (as you did) in the middle of the front bench seat so as to be close with one hand on his lap and the other on the 8 track. No thought of seat belts back then. It would have been too uncool.

I lived in the St George area at that time and not that far from Cronulla actually, but it seems far enough that had I been a beach chic I would have been, according to the show – a “Bankstowner”.  Ouch!

Update:

Boyfriend became Hubby, Panel Van was traded for a Sedan and “shock, horror”, I ended up loving the little brother – go Figure.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
 

The TV Repairman

It’s amazing. I actually met somebody who talks more than I do. Yep, hard to believe, but true. Of all people it was the TV repair man.

A nice enough guy really but OMG OMG could he talk! I politely listened while I heard all about his current girlfriend, his past girlfriends, his first marriage and also his soul searching spiritualistic self learning healing techniques, and all this while only unscrewing the back off the TV. How many screws ARE there in an average TV?

He even described in detail the type of woman he is attracted to (thank God I didn’t fit THAT bill) and how he doesn’t understand why all his past relationships have failed since he “knew these women inside and out.” Hmmm? I was not sure if he was looking for some insightful answer from me on this but I dared not comment in case it triggered a recap.

Oh God, why won’t the phone ring? Why doesn’t someone knock on the door? Why is my usually noisy house so quiet? Please, let some random catastrophe occur. An Earthquake perhaps, or a meteor through the roof? I just couldn’t think of any reason to excuse myself and leave the room. I was trapped. I was now getting a psychology lesson in my own Lounge Room from a man I had just met who had an opinion on every topic imaginable and all I wanted to know was if he was going to fix my TV.

Luckily for a while my mind wandered elsewhere which was nice. Fortunately he didn’t notice this rudeness as I seemed to nod or answer in just the right place. I began thinking about how many people I have spoken to excessively who may have felt the same as I do now. Retribution is painful.

At last the phone rang. Great, the distraction I was seeking. It was the son wanting to know the condition of the pool. I told him all was good and to come on over. Please I thought, come quick. I returned to the lounge room briefly commenting on the reason for the call. Oh No! The TV Repair man is also an expert on Pools and Filtering systems and Chemicals and all the boring stuff in the world that I DID NOT want to learn.

The back of the TV was finally removed. Now it seems I was to suffer a lesson on the workings of a TV and all the possibilities that could have made it stop working. God, any more lessons and I swear I could repair it myself.

Writing the receipt was a long arduous event with him stopping to chat after every syllable. I didn’t look at him as he spoke. I just kept my eyes glued to the receipt book as if to psychically will him to keep writing. Seeing him out the door was an event in itself. How many times does one have to say goodbye before the person replies the same?

The Result? My TV did not get repaired so I had actually paid money for what turned out to be the most boring non productive Saturday morning I have ever experienced. Come to think about it, it must be the most boring 10 mins you guys have had in reading about it. Ah well. Suffer.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“The expert knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.” ― Mahatma Gandhi.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Calls Back?

What is the etiquette when a phone call drops out? Is there some protocol that should be followed to which I am ignorant?

I receive a phone call and talk for a while before realizing I have been cut off, and that the last 10 mins of my conversation was spoken only to an inanimate object. Apart from feeling like an idiot, and annoyed that the conversation momentum is lost, I am unsure of what I should do now. I hesitate in calling back the person who called me wondering if it is the originator of the first call who should do this, or should it be me, the recipient?

With no return call forthcoming I realize the other person must be waiting for me. So I call them, only to find their phone is now engaged. They also must have pondered the same question. So, both of us are now fully in sync causing a continuous occurrence of both phones being free or engaged at precisely the same time.

So please, if anyone knows the “rules”on this can you inform me? Or is this a topic way too petty for me to worry my little self about?

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“We’re the phone company. We don’t care. We don’t have to.” – Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

Saturday Night Rue

I regret not accepting the offer from friends to stay the night after a social evening instead choosing to drive home. A trip we had made a hundred times before.

As always, non drinking hubby was driving, leaving me to become drowsy from the earlier consumed wine. Being a “back seat driver”,  this works well for our marriage. Sleeping makes me oblivious to his driving so we arrive home still being civil to each other.

I had just tilted back the seat and closed my eyes when I heard him curse loudly. It wasn’t the volume of his words that alarmed me but rather the attached panicked inflection which implied a pending catastrophe. With my sudden surge forward from the brakes being heavily applied it took only a split second for me to open my eyes to witness whatever ominous doom was about to unfold.

In this short time my mind had strangely played out the expected scenario. With his sudden outburst implying an inevitable hopelessness to this looming situation, I anticipated tail lights of a huge truck with which no doubt we were about to collide. Eyes now fully open, my expectation was wrong. There was no truck, there was no obstruction, there was no inevitable doom. The road was clear. I quickly realized the doom wasn’t pending, it had happened.

He had hit a Kangaroo. What? My life flashed before my eyes because of a kangaroo? I was almost fully alert by now and quickly asked if we should go back and check on the Kangaroo to which he replied “there’s nothing we can do for the kangaroo, I’m more worried about the damage to the car.” For a second I felt bad for the kangaroo until the words “damage to the car” really had me wide awake. Not the car. Not the cost a lot of money NEW car. There was a single street light up ahead so I asked him to pull over to check the damage. Really though, this was a stupid request. What good would it do us to know how much damage there was? We could do nothing about it now anyway and knowing would inevitably cause an even more depressed drive home. But I HAD to know.

He had barely pulled over before I unbuckled my seat belt in readiness. Weirdly, as I did this, my mind was happily acknowledging that at least I now know that the seat belts work in the new car, having locked in with the brakes. I bolted out of the door and rushed to the front of the car hoping only to see perhaps a little ding or a bit of washable blood splatter. What I saw was not even a remote thought in my head. I screamed in horror. Hubby, still yet to exit the car, envisaged from this scream a totally smashed in front end. Then he also was in shock.

Protruding from the grill was a big brown furry Kangaroo bum and his long thick tail. The top two thirds of its body was not visible because it was jammed inside the motor. It looked like one of those fake animals that you attach to your boot.

A couple of deep pitted growls later (from me, not the Roo) I began assessing our situation. We were in the middle of nowhere with a dead Kangaroo lodged tightly in our car with no means to release it. Again with the stupid thoughts, I actually toyed with the possibility of continuing home this way. After all, we had just travelled at least a kilometre in this manner.

With Hubby smirking at my “blonde” moment I soon realized that I hadn’t bothered to factor in the impact damage to the engine which soon became evident at the sight of water flooding from underneath. My next thought was of who could help us? Call NRMA. Surely amongst their array of tools they would also carry Kangaroo Removal Equipment wouldn’t they? Ok, so another stupid thought but hay, at this time I was a bit short on ideas.

As I called the NRMA, who proceeded to supply me with a variety of unwanted numbers before finally being given their NEW roadside assistance number, hubby informs me that the Roo was in fact alive and was backing itself out from the car. “Holly Molly”. How could this be possible? This will be one angry Kangaroo and I wasn’t about to get in its way so I jumped inside the car while still trying to get through to the NRMA. I was forced yet again to listen to their endless spiel on their wonderful and varied services and their suggestion of going to their website. Who cares! I just want roadside assistance. I mean, why else would I call a “roadside assistance” number?

By the time Hubby realized the Roo was not “backing out” but rather its now limp body was sliding out, a car pulled up and a young guy offered a hand. He was an off duty policeman (never far from an accident) who grabbed an old towel from his car and managed to pull the Roo out and drag it to the side of the road. As grateful as we were for his help I would have preferred he stayed longer. At this point, any company was enviable to that of being alone on this dark lonely road with the eyes of a dead Kangaroo glaring at my every move.

Frustrated that NRMA only attend to breakdowns and towing our car would cost a fortune, another 20 mins was spent on the phone to the insurance company. A tow was finally arranged, son was called to collect us, and as I sat there waiting on this freezing night I thought back to the original offer we turned down of a comfy bed, a hot breakfast, lovely company then a pleasant DAY trip home. Grrrr. The choices we make.

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.” ― JK Rowling

 

Voting Day

You know all those pesky people who stand at the school gate thrusting all those how to vote forms at you? Well, due to a favor owed – I was one of them today. I had offered my services to a person I had recently met who had been very kind and supportive, and who I admire and respect. While I was sincere in my offer, I was not enthused about the day itself. I anticipated a rather laborious and tiring experience and no doubt would anxiously await the day’s end. Instead, my experience was the total opposite.

I had never done anything like this before so the idea of a new experience was exciting though my preconceived idea of what these “people” were like and the segregation I expected was adding to my anxious dread.

It was suggested that I arrive about 7am to get a “good spot” at the school gate. I wondered exactly what was meant by “a good spot” because all I had ever seen were people standing right in front of the entrance thrusting multiple colourful pamphlets at me as I tried to make my way through. I had always been displeased at the rudeness of this practice and wondered how I would cope now being one of “them”.

As advised, I took a chair, a mini table, through in a thermos of coffee then packed the car with the box of “how to vote” forms and 3 placards. I donned my provided T Shirt and Cap and drove the half Kilometre to to the school.

There were 2 others already securing their “spot” and placing their own placards. Not knowing exactly what to do I was relieved to see that one was a neighbour, experienced with the procedure. She politely helped me with the rules. Rules? Ok, so there are rules. Glad she was there.

The other man was also helpful and it wasn’t long before we were chatting away (not unusual for me) when the first of the voters arrived. I copied the others with their method of handing out these forms and before I knew it, I was a seasoned distributor.

By this time of course there were many many more supporters all handing out their preferred party forms and now a much larger area was covered by placards and people and I now know what was meant by a “good spot”.

The brother arrived to help not long after and settled into our spot. Typical of us, discontentment with serious matters inevitably turned to humour. I’m sure many voters had never been presented with these forms in such a manner before.

We would all be having a full on conversation about something, breaking from it automatically to offer our individual spiels to voters as we handed out the forms before picking up with our same conversation without a hiccup.

We laughed at all the excuses for not accepting these forms with the most common being the serious mobile phone conversation, pretending to be engrossed in a conversation while waving us away with their other hand as they walked in the gates. Then there were the ones with a small child on each hand (naturally we handed our form to the child instead). The dogs on a lead was a good one, and yes, we did try to hand them to their dogs. It was all done with fun and most people seemed to enjoy it, even stopping for chats again on the way out. One of the highlights for me was the amount of old friends and neighbors I was able to catch up with.

We were provided with a nice delivered lunch and then a dinner at a local Tavern in the evening. All up it was great fun and I’m looking forward to the next election.

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“Everybody is looking for an election where they can do something and participate.” – Rand Paul

 

Fathers Day

Men really DO have everything they need don’t they? Each year leading up to Fathers Day the family ask me what I think Hubby would like. Apart from a Cruise, a Sports Car or a Cute Young Blonde, I can think of nothing else he wants. There are just so many sox and undies a person can use so unless they get some creative juices flowing the default present is usually Scratchies in a card. This gift works well though, not only does Hubby enjoy the thrill of a possible win, the Scratchies themselves provide for a bonding moment with the grandkids as they ‘help’ him. Talk about bad parenting!

Naturally, the “bet on anything” son is not satisfied with just the Scratchie wins, he then instigates a “bet on the bet” so to speak. Betting on which person will win the highest amount. Seeing the 4 yr old’s eyes light up is a bit of a worry. He has no idea why this strange little bit of cardboard suddenly becomes $4 since he just learned that 2 shiny little round gold things is $4.

This year, at the request of a nephew, our families, with a Father Talley of 9, had a combined Fathers Day lunch, and just like with our Christmas gatherings, family rivalry was active. To start, a game of Bocce in the back reserve saw their competitive nature in full swing. Being at a numbers disadvantage, our team did surprisingly well. In fact the nephews were at an embarrassing loss until the final throw which saw our team utterly demolished.

Not satisfied with the initial defeat, they went on to challenge us again, this time with a game of Guesstures. Surely we would do better at this. Surely a non physical competition will see our family triumphant. There was much laughter as we each contorted with strange and unavoidable actions and positions, embarrassing ourselves for the sake of the team. What a great day. I hope yours was also.

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

Oh, the outcome? I’ll keep you “Guessing”.

 

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” Charles Wadworth

A Bird In The Hand

Well not quite – in the mouth of the dog more accurately. After trying unsuccessfully for many years to catch one of those ‘pesky flying things’ he always sees in his domain, my dog couldn’t believe his luck today when one was a tad too slow. Finally he had one between his jaws only to realize he needed to decide between the joy of the catch, or the wrath of his screaming master – me. He chose the latter. With a mouth full of feathers he was locked up while I deliberated on what to do with this half dead pigeon, or perhaps dove, on my lawn.

Not being good with this type of thing my first thought was to ring the eldest son to come to the rescue. His advice was “mum, get a shovel and whack it over the head”. Ok, so this was not in my being so I called my second, more sensitive son. His advice was “mum, get a shovel and whack it over the head”. What’s this? Now I have a half dead bird an extremely agitated dog and two psychopathic sons. This was not a good start to the day.

I rang WIRES, sure that they would help, but they couldn’t. My poor half dead bird, with the pleading “help me help me” eyes was not native to Australia. Not worthy of help, it just had to lay there slowly dying while all the much loved and protected “native” birds pick it to pieces. That’s Specieism.

Son number two, feeling sympathy for me came over and placed the bird in a basket for me to take to the vet. All will be good I thought, but the look on the vets face contradicted her words when she said “the bird should be fine”. In fact, I sensed her real thoughts were that perhaps I should have saved myself and them the trouble, and just – ‘got a shovel and whacked it over the head’.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.” ― Eric Berne

 

Teacher’s Crush.

I didn’t have a “teacher’s crush” when I was at school, though I hear it is quite common. Waaaay back “in my day”, teachers were mostly to be feared, not admired. Fear of “The Cane”.

I must say, my teacher was a bit reluctant giving the Cane to girls so we did have an advantage. We also used this TO our advantage when wanting some of those annoying boys to cop it.

I didn’t escape entirely though, I also had to line up one day with the boys, hands stretched out waiting for this stick to come sharply down and sting my fingers. It hurt, though it felt strangely good to receive this punishment because it immediately removed my “goody two shoes” tag.

My memory of this male teacher was his morning routine. After the obligatory “Goooood Moooorning Mrrrrr Buuuuckly”, he proceeded to take a Bex powder (a crushed pain killer that came in a paper wrapping).  He took this every single day for the entire year. Were we really that bad that he needed to take a pain killer in preparation for the headache his class was about to give him? Perhaps we were.

High School male teachers were not much better and so any “crush” would have been for the few really nice female teachers that were enviously “cool”.

My “teachers crush” has surprisingly come late in life. Each day as I drop the high school students on my Run to their school I can’t help but ogle the male teacher who stands every morning in the freezing cold by the front gate to say “good morning” to all the students as they arrive.

He exudes genuine happiness with this huge smile on his handsome face. (body’s not bad either) Such a lovely welcoming thing for him to do and I’m sure it must make those female students “think twice” if they are tempted to be absent.

This unexpected pleasure has added to my joy of driving these students each day. Now, instead of being envious of the “cool” teachers, I desire them – and envy the students.

 

Cheers

Buttercup

 

“It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone – but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.” – Johnny Depp

 

 

 

Ducking Mad.

Those freezing mornings of last week are now replaced (at least temporarily according to the weather reports) with a more mild temperature and lovely sunshine. Time to get in some well needed and long overdue early morning walks.

This is good timing, having a few weeks left before I have to fight off those dreaded magpies. Is it just me or are they getting worse? I’m sure years ago there weren’t as many of them in suburban areas and they certainly weren’t as aggressive.

At the risk of looking like a goose I have tried all the recommended armour against attacks, from wearing a hat backwards complete with sunnies, to carrying sticks and huge Golf umbrellas. Hearing that hair colour is a factor, I have been blonde, brunette and redhead, all to no avail.

The experts say these birds only attack certain types of people. Certain types?? What does that mean? What “type” am I?

Ok, believing it safe at least until September, I ventured out and chose the local pond as a pleasant spot to take in the fresh air and scenery without fear. IPod on full blast, not a magpie in sight, I was simply enjoying this pleasant moment.

I was especially appreciating the sight of a family of ducks who were also having their morning walk. Mummy and Daddy duck and about 8 cute little ducklings all waddling across my path toward the lake. How cute.

Suddenly, big black Daddy Duck, who I sensed had been giving me the “evil eye”, turned sharply then rushed up behind and bit hard into the back of my leg. What? Now cute little Ducks are attacking me? What is it with me and birdlife?

So much for sunshine and a pleasant morning walk, it’s back to the treadmill for me.

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir

The Detour

There has been a bit of a dry spell with this blog of late but I’m sure you all know how it is, busy busy with life. Anyway, just thought I’d share today’s events. With any luck I’ll finish all the half written Blogs one day and get them posted.

So much for trying to be a smart A… today avoiding a traffic jam. A right turn at the lights looked seemingly impossible and my radar detected an accident. Sure enough, road was being blocked and sirens were blaring, so I quickly chose to get out of that lane and continue ahead to avoid the hold up. A phone call (hands free of course) to another driver already stuck in the jam verified the prudence of my decision. Of course, as many of you mothers out there will testify to, every time you hear of an accident your thoughts quickly turn to which members of your family could be in the vicinity at the time. A quick mental check and only one’ location was unknown, so a hasty call to verify their safety while I continued on my new route.

This new route would add some Kms and a bit of time to my journey but I thought it better than looking at the back of the same car for half an hour. My smugness lasted about 5 mins. Ahead, even a worse nightmare greeted me. Another accident and even more of a hold up. “What luck”, not one but two accidents to deal with in the same afternoon and decision time was with me again. Do I persevere and crawl in the direction I am going? Do I turn around (somehow) and go back to meet up with the first, less severe traffic jam? Or do I turn down the first available side street and hope a hundred other cars don’t have the same thoughts.

I had places to be and things to do and sitting in my car (albeit new and comfortable) was not part of my plan. I chose remote option number 4. A Pub.Yes, a Pub had loomed up on my left, brain quickly determined Pubs have coffee, Pubs have beer gardens, I have my iPad, so “all’s good”, I can be productive yet relaxed while biding time waiting for traffic to ease.

I drove into the unsealed and bumpy car park and found a spot alongside some work vans and ‘glued together’ cars, and it was about here that I regretted being in my new, well deserved, long awaited and expensive car. It was out of place. Maybe so was I.

I wasn’t worried about entering a Pub on my own. It was only late afternoon after all, and pubs are nice these days aren’t they? And I suppose this one had a certain charm with its old rustic decor and dimly lit interior. I must say, the strange up and down flooring combined with sticky worn out carpet was a bit “how ya going”. I managed to only trip twice whilst making my way to the bar. The look on the face of the barman though – I’m sure he thought I was drunk.

I grabbed a coffee – free to boot – and went to find my quiet spot in the Beer Garden. Not aptly named in this case but it did have tables. Spoke a few pleasantries to the locals and to my surprise, an old friend, who I hadn’t seen for 20 years called out my name. Wow! And after 20 years she still recognized me? What a great compliment. NOT. It was my voice that she recognized. (Now if any of my friends are reading this, please get up from where I know you have been ROFL. It was the voice, not the volume of words that she recognized.)

We had a good time catching up with some lost years before I thought I’d venture home. I thought surely the traffic must have eased by now from those accidents. It had. But due to my longer than anticipated stay, it was now peak hour. Drat.

Funny how two unplanned and annoying detours had me ending up in a place I had never been to before, yet if both of those accidents had not have happened at that particular time I would never have met up with a long lost friend. Even bad situations come with their antithesis.

Oops! Got so involved with writing I forgot the time and have just smelled dinner burning. Poor Hubby. (Again)

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.” – John A Simone Sr.

The Yard Glass.

Many years ago my son was given a Yard Glass for his 21st Birthday. He proceeded to fill it with beer and began drinking while the neighbourhood vibrated from the noise of his friends chanting as he gulped. By the time his suffering had finished and he was splattered with beer, he passed this on to the next victim in line to compete in this strange ritual.

The aftermath of this party was the cleanup. When done, hubby and I were left with the dilemma of not only wondering how to clean this huge thing but also what to do with it. What does one do with a Yard Glass after the reason for its existence has passed? You can’t simply throw it away. After all, it was a gift, and an expensive one at that. But when would it be ever used again. Its owner is only 21 once. We found a spot for its eternal stay, alongside that of all the now useless trophies. And there it was laid – taking up valuable storage space, useless and unwanted – or so I thought.

This glass has now become a 21st family tradition. It comes out every year or so to be handed down the line, first to the second son then on to all the nephews. On Saturday, the last of my 7 nephews had no choice but to continue this tradition even though he is a non drinker. Out of the box it came again, with coloured stickers now almost covering the entire glass. The nephew had the first sip then passed it on to all the other willing participants who each attempted to be the ‘hero’ and drink its entire contents. None could of course, to which as a mother and aunty, this was pleasing.

You may be wondering about the stickers. Well, just like in the movie “The Rat Race” with John Cleese, son number one also bets on anything and so, prior to each use, the guests are encouraged to place a sticker at the level where they believe the Birthday Boy will drink to. The closest takes all. Stickers are impossible to remove and this 21st is the 9th use of this Yard Glass.

At the end of the night, relaxing under the outside heater I couldn’t help but notice the sheer relief on the faces of my brother and his wife as the last of their seven sons had become of age and finally these hectic and expensive parties were over.

For me, thoughts turned to The Yard Glass. It was sad to know that this weird little tradition of both families gathering around a simple piece of strangely shaped glass celebrating together has now come to an end and The Yard Glass will be packed away once and for all. As I spoke of this sad event, a small voice piped up and said “No Way, my 21st is only 3 years away and Grandpa, can I have my party here?”

WOO HOO, looks like the tradition will continue for another generation. I glanced over at “Grandpa”. He had almost slipped off his chair.

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at the people who belong to us we see the past, the present, and the future” – Gail Lumet Buckley

Common Courtesy

That “age old” problem, lack of Common Courtesy has hit again. You sometimes see it in shopping centre’s or when phoning large corporations, and most certainly on the road. But as drivers, we also see this with some parents. Surely it can’t be too hard to give a quick call or text to advise when students won’t be attending school that day. I have heard all the excuses under the sun in my years of driving. “I couldn’t find your number”, “I was out of credit”, “the phone was not charged”, “I couldn’t find the phone”, “the dog chewed the phone”, “they cut my phone off”, “my husband smashed my phone”, or “He got sick just before you got here”, “he just soiled himself as we were walking to the door”, “I just remembered he has a doctor’s appointment”, “we all slept in”, then there’s this one, albeit trying to be helpful in her own way, “I knew it would make you too early to pick up the other kids if I had let you know that you didn’t need come here.” Wow. So I needlessly navigated my way through heavy peak hour traffic, spent my money on fuel to drive that unnecessary 40 klms just so it wouldn’t make me too early for the other students? How thoughtful?

Today though, was the other issue. The Wait for 3minutes only rule. If I have to get out of bed early on these cold winter mornings to be at the first pick up address on time, then provide free for the student, a warm, safe and comfortable vehicle in which to travel, surely the parents can also wake up at a reasonable hour to get their children ready. Instead with some, if you’re lucky, the horn will wake them, then comes a wave at the 3 minute mark to prevent you from leaving, then it’s open slather as to what time they do finally come out. One dedicated driver today did the horn bit a few times, made 2 phone calls to the house, then got the “wait wave” from the door, then the school bag placed in the car while still waiting for the child to appear. Her total wait time was 28 mins. This is just so rude and disrespectful to the driver. Have you ever noticed that it is also usually those same parents who are often “caught in traffic” and make you wait again in the afternoon. Gees! What is wrong with a bit of common courtesy?

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“No one is too big to be courteous, but some are too small” – Croft M Pentz

Mother’s Day

Mothers day. A time for relaxing and being spoiled and enjoying the devoted company of your children. Hmm? I’m not so sure. After all, for many, if not all mothers, it is actually one of the busiest days of the year.

When my children were young there was always the mothers day morning ritual of pretending to be asleep while listening to the rattling and banging in the kitchen for my soon to be served Breakfast in bed. Who decided this was a treat for a mother anyway? Acting sleepy, yet surprised, delighted yet fearful, I sat awkwardly upright in my bed, uncomfortable and cold, balancing a tray on my lap while “enjoying” my burnt toast, cold tea and overcooked eggs. I gave my best acting performance when I looked into their smiling proud faces to thank them for the “best breakfast ever”. The rest of this day was spent driving through traffic visiting the other mothers and grandmothers. Later, chores all done, kids in bed, finally in the night, it was “my” day.

My kids have left home now so I don’t get that breakfast in bed anymore. Instead, my treat has become their visits instead. These special visits now include grandchildren and this means my morning is spent preparing and cooking their favorite food. The rest of the day is spent with noise and activity and my evening is spent getting the house back to normal. Then finally in the night, it is “my” day.

Funny though, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Cheers
Buttercup

 

“Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster, too.” – Lionel Kauffman