Food 4 Thought – Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and drea,s

 

I added my post to Food 4 Thought for the first time last week and I was so happy to be chosen by Floss for the Spotlight post. When I read the prompt for this week I was not sure if I would be able to contribute but below are my rambling thoughts.  

As I write this I am on the eve of starting online delivery of high school classes. It is something that I, along with many teachers, have worried about, spent copious amounts of time trying to prepare for and probably a similar amount of time debating about the political reasons for being thrust into this very uncomfortable space. Something many people don’t realize is that, in Australia at least, becoming qualified to be a teacher takes four years of university study. During those four years all of our training is based around being in front of our students. Suddenly in the space of a few weeks we have been asked to turn that upside down and implement this new way of delivery. Yes some of the principles are the same but for many of us, myself included, technology is unfamiliar and frightening. Yet here we are being forced to use some fairly new tech in ways that it probably wasn’t really designed to be used.

Consider also that most teachers, the good ones especially, don’t choose to teach because they are full of knowledge that they feel compelled to impart to the world. We teach because we love kids. We want to nurture a young person and facilitate their growth into the best version of themselves. In the process of making that happen we form relationships and genuine, deep attachments to our students. To be suddenly forced to only see and interact with them through a screen cuts our souls.

So on this eve of remote learning my hopes are that I can still do my job well. That I don’t lose those little sheep that sit quietly in class confused and unsure of how to ask for help. The ones that really can only be helped when someone sits with them and says “Let’s do this together” while the rest of the class gets on with it. They are the ones that will suffer because if you ask them directly they will say they are OK. Only when you sit and talk with them do you see that they aren’t. How does remote learning work for them?

My dreams are similar. My youngest child is in her final year of high school. For her this is supposed to be the year of last sporting carnivals, reflective retreats, formals (prom) and savoring time with friends among the chaos that is assessment and final exams. Much of this will be taken away from her, and many others. It is not as dramatic as losing your parent to Covid-19 and not being able to be there as they take their last breath. But it is sad nonetheless.

I have spent seventeen years raising a unicorn. I dream that this setback will not stop her from being as fabulous as she has the potential to be.

This post is part of Food 4 Thought Friday. You can read other posts by clicking on the image below.

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This Teacher Life

Earlier in the week I posted about my frustration with Corona Virus. It was not so much  a comment about the virus itself but more groan of frustration with the way that people around me are reacting.

In case you haven’t read me before I am a teacher of teenagers. I teach Mathematics and Science to students aged between 13 and 18. I seem to have a way with students who find Mathematics difficult and who have disengaged from Maths learning due to continual failure, usually as a result of poor teaching to begin with but we won’t go in to that!!!. Consequently those are the classes I get assigned.

Teenagers love drama. My students, who aren’t really motivated to engage in learning, are particularly fond of it basically because it is the only reason they come to school. So after a day of dealing with constant questions about “When is school getting shut down?”,  ridiculous reactions every time someone in the room sneezes or coughs, and chatter about ridiculous rumors naming any number of people who are infected, I was done.

For the record at this time Australia is yet to crack 1000 cases (source).

Around the time I made the post I was also made aware that one person in the blogosphere at least was concerned about my reduced rate of posting. Thank you very much for your concern Mr A. So I am here to reassure everyone that I am not infected. I am also starting to think that I am living in the only country in the world that is not in lockdown.

The reason for the lack of posts? Boring, ordinary, end of term workload. As I type I am contemplating the draft assignments sitting on my laptop waiting for my pearls of feedback wisdom, the completed assignments waiting for my grading wisdom and the online lesson delivery resources that I need to prepare just in case the school does get shut down.

Despite what my students think, school getting shut down does not mean an instant holiday for everyone. For teachers it is about working out a whole bunch of new ways to convey ideas and information. For many of us it is about learning how to use technology that we are very unfamiliar with. I have been to training sessions to help with this in the last few weeks but still, when in front of students, the tools don’t sit as easily in my hand as a whiteboard marker and my voice. And that is when I am just in practise mode and can revert to the tried and true when a student really doesn’t get it. What happens when they are behind a screen?

So I am still here. My life is definitely not sexy at the moment. My writing is struggling but there are still bits and pieces happening when I get a chance. Roll on actual end of term holidays that are two weeks away.

Image result for school holidays gif

TMI Tuesday – Head Stuff

It is TMI Tuesday time again!

1. What makes you dislike life?

This question has me stumped. I don’t know how to answer without going into some long winded discussion about depression. I want to highlight that my depression is minor and I believe primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations and weird chemical imbalances in my brain. It is also mostly under control. I just have to remember to take time to relax.

2. When has a mundane occurrence or chance completely changed the course of your life?

One day a man came to the door of the house I was living in handing out flyers about ballroom dance classes at the community centre nearby. I had always wanted to try this style of dancing so I took myself along. At that class I met Mr Jones. It could so easily have been different. I could have not answered the door, not taken the flyer, not gone to the class… But I did all those things and well the rest is history.

3. What has taken up too much of your life?

Meetings. No one realises how much time teachers spend in meetings. Meetings about all sorts of stuff, admin stuff, behaviour management, teaching frameworks, the latest pretty data chart, results of standard tests the list is endless. Just like some of the meetings.

4. What is the most ridiculous rule you have to follow?

This is a bit controversial, but having to enforce uniform standards. For those in the US, it is pretty standard in Australia for school students to wear a uniform. State / public schools are fairly relaxed about the standard of the uniform. The school I work at is not one of those schools and so we, the teachers, are expected to enforce standards about the type of hat worn, tucking shirts in, pulling socks up, yada, yada. It is draining and many times I have asked myself if it is actually a productive thing. Really the only reason the school is so picky about uniform is for appearances. It doesn’t have any educational benefit.

5. What does the voice in your head say?

Right now it is telling me I should be going to bed very soon. Usually it says a lot of sarcastic, inappropriate things. Sometimes judgemental things but I am working on minimising those.

Bonus: What’s better than great sex?

Not a lot really. Interludes like this one inspired by sessions with JB really don’t have any parallel. The only thing could be a really, really, really good chocolate cake. But it would only just make it.

For more TMI goodness make sure that you head on over to the TMI blog for more fun!

TMI Tuesday – Would You Rather?

These questions always produce some interesting thoughts. So read on about my take on some seemingly impossible conundrums. When you are finished click the TMI Tuesday image to see what everyone else is saying about it.

1.Would you rather have one nipple or two belly buttons?

I am a big fan of my nipples so I don’t really want to lose one. I think there would be some people in the world, other than myself, who would be very disappointed if one of my nipples disappeared. So despite the fact that two belly buttons would be weird and a little annoying I am not ready to lose a nipple.

2. Would you rather always feel like someone is following you, but no one is, or always feel like someone is watching you, even though no one is?

Regular followers may or may not know this about me but I loooove being watched. This applies to being watched when I am dancing, read being slutty on a pole, or fucking. The feeling of having an audience turns me on so much. I would kind of like that feeling all the time. Although I acknowledge that it could get annoying from time to time it would be much better than that creepy “someone is following me” feeling.

3. Would you rather have sex in a cave frequented by tourists or sex in a tree house in your parents’ backyard?

Technically speaking my parent’s backyard is about 10, 000 acres and there are any number of trees to build a tree house in. So sex in a tree house in there backyard could actually be very private. Once when Mr Jones and I were dating we walked up a creek to this waterhole on a neighbouring property that we swam in as kids. Of course when in nature we were inspired to do what comes naturally.

Another one of our activities before kids was to visit National Parks, get naked and take photos in certain secluded spots. Sometimes we would get distracted and forget about the photos. I think I should see if I can find some of them sometime. The photos that is. So either of those options is fine with me.

4. Would you rather be unable to use search engines or unable to use social media?

Does WordPress count as social media? If so definitely not use a search engine. I don’t particularly care about good old FB but I am a little addicted to Twitter and I thoroughly enjoy reading what the bloggers I follow get up to even some of the non-sexy folk.

5. Would you rather get one free round trip international plane ticket every year or be able to fly domestic anytime for free?

Free domestic flight please. I have travelled very little outside of my country mostly to the South Pacific and a couple of times to New Zealand. I don’t have a driving passion to visit Europe as the vast majority of my work colleagues do. I am kind of interested in visiting Canada, The USA and Japan in that order but the idea of being crowded in with a bunch of tourists does not excite me.

Mr Jones and myself have travelled extensively through Australia, unlike many of the people I either work with or socialise with. We live in such a diverse, stunning country that I can’t understand why people want to spend such extortionate amounts of money to go stand with thousands of people to look at evidence of civilisation when right in their back yard is the awesome power of nature, coupled with one of the oldest cultures in the world living in harmony. But hey, each to their own.

Click herehttps://tmituesdayblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/tmi-tuesday-january-14-2020/ to see who else is sharing for TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday – Christmas Edition

I have been on holidays in Papua New Guinea so I am a bit tardy with my TMI this week. I will also preface my post by saying that living in a country that experiences Christmas in Summer means that a lot of the traditions that surround Christmas are irrelevant, and for a child growing up in this environment downright confusing. So my answers to the questions below will be very different from most. A bit like this image that I found at Kokatu.com.au

mad max santa

1. Have you ever kissed someone under mistletoe?

In line with the comments at the start of the post it is summer here. I actually have never seen mistletoe in real life so I guess the answer is no. On a tangent I got very excited recently on a visit to a Brisbane cathedral when I found a real live holly bush growing in the grounds. It was the start of summer so of course there were no red berries in sight but to see something that I have only ever seen in photos is exciting for me.

2. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Again the climate means that neither of these items is really happening at this time of the year. I have discovered, however that you can buy egg-nog in a carton (eeeewwwww). For the record I am not planning to try this any time soon. I do however enjoy a good hot chocolate during the appropriate season.

egg nog

3. Colored or white lights on a Christmas tree?

I had to ask girl child to demonstrate this to me. It turns out we have white and pink (I think it is meant to be red but that is what you get when you buy things from the dollar shop).

4. Real or fake Christmas tree?

Now as an adult living in the city fake because again, Australia. As a child living on a cattle station it was a custom to head to the creek the day before Christmas to harvest a section of a ti-tree which was placed in a bucket of wet sand and decorated. It only lasted a few days.

titree

5. What tops your Christmas tree?

We currently have a star. We used to have an angel but she died.

6. Candy canes, yuck or yum?

I am not a huge fan of candy canes. However I believe that this is probably because the kind we get here are mostly found in the dollar shop and are inferior. A friend was once sent some candy canes from the US and they were much better than any damn candy cane I ever ate. A question for my Northern Hemisphere readers; Is mint the best / only flavour you get?

7. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Even though it is hot and this is not appropriate for the climate Australians will still honour traditional Christmas food such as fruit cake and plum pudding. I am a bit partial to plum pudding and Mr Jones would not be impressed if it wasn’t served, warmed up with enough custard to drown it. I have made an ice cream version of a plum pudding in the past. I enjoyed it but not everyone else was convinced. This year my brother and his family will be joining us. They are mostly gluten and dairy free so for them dessert will be red and green jelly with fruit (yay!)

Bonus: Are you going on holiday during the December holiday season? Where?

I have just returned from an 11 day cruise to Papua New Guniea which I blogged about here.  Other than that I don’t think I will be venturing very far. I will need to recuperate after the family onslaught that will be my pending Christmas celebration.

Make sure you check out the other TMI participants and see what everyone else has planned for Christmas.

Big Hands I know Your the One

Before I start today I want to share one of my all time favourite songs with you

This song is symbolic of rebellion against the rules of the Catholic Boarding school I spent my teenage years in and also of drunk times in pubs as a uni student. It also sports one of the lines that has become a slight obsession of late.

“Big hands I know your’e the one”

hands

Does hand size have anything to do with penis size? I have no idea. But lately, when I am forced to endure meetings it has become a guilty pleasure to observe hand size of the men around me and speculate. Is it workplace appropriate. Probably not. Will I ever act on it? definitely not. Will I ever share my thinking outside the confessional booth that is this blog. Nope. So you lot and I get to smirk secretly to our heart’s content.

And so the idea of big hands = big cock has led to some interesting ideas and endless entertainment both at work and in other places. Of course I have absolutely no intention of embarking on an actual research project about this. Even though as a scientist I instinctively want to prove a theory. The problem I have is that when I am in a position to observe penis size I don’t really think too much about hand size. When I am observing hand size there is usually NO FUCKING WAY I am going to ask the subject of my observations about his penis size.

Case in point. My current principal has big meaty hands. When we shake hands they swallow mine. He is a big man. Tall, broad and an ex football player. Probably attractive in his own way but I have cultivated this filter in my brain that does not allow inappropriate thoughts to get too out of hand when I am at school. We are never going to have a conversation about my lifestyle. EVER. So I am left to speculate when he goes on a bit too much in staff meetings.

Sometimes amusing yourself with your own twisted mind is enough.

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Please make sure you check out the other better writers at this week’s post

TMI Tuesday – Feeling the Love

Slightly out of whack this week. Wicked Wednesday was up before TMI Tuesday. Life is threatening to get the better of me but I am making moves to keep it under control.

As usual enjoy the words here but make sure you visit the TMI page to see what everyone else is up to.

1. Tell us something weird about yourself.

Tricky question. Weird is really a question of perspective. Some of the vanilla people in my life would think meeting men for sex is weird. Some of the people in my Gemma life would think getting up at 6.45 on Sunday morning to go to Mass is weird but I do both of those things.

Something that people from both sides of the fence might find a little weird. Peanut paste (butter for the Americans) and honey on toast. Don’t knock it until you try it. And if you are truly brave, licking Vegemite off the knife.

2. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?

There are obviously a lot of travel destinations that would be nice to visit. Darwin springs to mind, Japan and also Canada. I also liked my friend Mr A’s response to this question. Right where I am at the moment.

3. What can someone do to make you feel more loved?

I am an obstinately independent beast. I struggle to let people do things for me which is a problem I really need to address. It is really just the little things that do it for me. Things like noticing and doing kindnesses without being asked.

4. What are 2 good qualities that first drew you to your current or last significant other?

He has a VERY nice penis. I am talking not too big, not too small, just right. In good proportion, no weird bends and just generally attractive. As shallow as it sounds it is definitely one of the things that won me over.

The second one? I think the fact that he was one of the few people in my life at the time who didn’t want to make me into something other than what I was. It was very reassuring to be with someone who thought the life choices I was making at the time were pretty good.

5. What 2 qualities in your significant other (current or last) can send you running far, far away from them?

My daughter and I joke about Mr Jones turning into a “fuddy”. Especially since his retirement about a year ago Mr Jones is showing some old man behaviours which is a little bit irritating. Actually, sometimes it is a lot irritating. One of these is driving like a grandpa which I don’t mind too much but the kids find endlessly irritating. Especially when I am away and he is on transporting kids to school duty.

Bonus: What does your partner miss the most about you when you are apart?

Probably having me in bed with him is the thing that brings it home. This isn’t because he needs me to sleep or even misses the sex but more he misses having my company and listening ear. To be fair I sometimes feel the same way when he is away.

TMI Tuesday Expectations

After a bit of absentee time I am back at least for the spring break. Answering these questions this week has been surprisingly therapeutic so thank you TMI Tuesday.

1. What makes you insecure?

Honestly, at the moment, almost everything. From fretting about social acceptance, to worrying about my performance as a teacher. I am really down on myself at the moment. Guilt is a dominant feature of my emotional landscape which is something I need to learn how to deal with. I am making progress some days. Other days not so much.

2. What do you expect from a romantic love relationship?

What I have in my marriage; complete honesty, acceptance and support for my life choices. My marriage is slightly unconventional in a lot of ways but it works for us and as I get older I care less about what is socially acceptable and more about what is functional for me.

3. What do you expect from a friendship?

Similarly to a romantic relationship. Honesty and acceptance. Something that many people seem incapable of. One thing that bugs me is the phrase “let’s catch up sometime” my cynical brain interprets this as “I feel like I should sound like I am interested in spending time with you but I really don’t want to commit because something better might come along”. I think sometimes I am a bit harsh on people and I know I could definitely be a better friend to many people in my life. I guess life is about the journey.

4. What do you expect from a Friends-with-Benefits situation?

High quality, inventive sex. As I tell prospective FWB’s; I am married, I can have lazy sex any time I want. I am not one of the people “stuck” in a sexless marriage. I am an adventurer looking for experiences. I don’t want fifteen minute sessions in the back of a car, or on someone’s couch. I definitely don’t want to leave feeling like, pardon the expression, a cum bucket.

5. What expectations do you have for yourself?

As I commented when reading A Gentleman in Barbarian’s Clothing I think my expectations of myself are a little high, leading to my issues outlined above. Writing this has been therapeutic to say the least and has sharpened my focus on what is important. So as of right now I expect myself to deliver high quality “content”, for want of a better word, in my life roles as a parent and as a teacher. This is something that I can deliver most of the time.

Bonus:   Post one picture (art, photograph, drawing) that depicts how you feel today.

Thi is an image that was taken a few months ago when my exotic dance instructor was putting us through our paces on chairs. It was a painful yet rewarding experience that scared the fuck out of me. The bruising is representative of how I am feeling right now. A little bruised by perhaps over committing myself in the last few months.

Happy Christmas From Down Under

Source: Imagur

To those of you who celebrate some kind of religious festival at this time of the year I hope that your celebrations met all expectations. I am sure that family was visited, food was eaten and presents were distributed.

As a resident of the Southern Hemisphere Christmas can be a confusing time of the year. Traditional foods such as roast meat and egg nog don’t fit with daily temperatures exceeding 30 degrees centigrade. Images of a fat man dressed in a thick red coat with big boots makes me feel even hotter. For me Christmas is eternally represented by long hot days, cicadas and what equates to summer holidays in the US.

Recently I was chatting with a twitter follower who lives in Arizona and he commented on the strangeness of celebrating Christmas in the middle of Summer holidays. I have never known anything different so for me it seems somewhat normal. When I was reflecting on this conversation later it occurred to me that it would be weirder to celebrate Christmas during winter but without snow and the need for heavy winter clothing. At least if it is officially summer you can reconcile with the idea that prevailing symbols are completely inappropriate. I would imagine being in the middle of winter with freezing temperatures and no snow would be significantly different.

Regardless, we are now past dysfunctional family meet-ups for another year and now free to celebrate summer with all it’s searing heat, sunscreen, nights sweating underneath the ceiling fan and days in overcrowded shopping centres. Despite the threat of an enormous electricity bill I think that I will be worshipping the air-conditioning god in the coming weeks.

Another Day in Paradise

Mr Jones has a slight obsession with sailing. At one time he nurtured a dream of sailing around the world, It is not a dream I have ever shared with him. I was not even a huge fan of sailing. Over the years we have owned various sailing craft which I have had varying feelings about. Several years ago we purchased a share in a 39 foot catamaran which has been one of the best sailing investments that we have ever made. In the time we have owned the boat we have spent many days bobbing about on azure coloured ocean enjoying the light breeze and sunshine.

I grew up a three hour drive from the nearest coastline. Holidays at the beach were very rare. I was never a huge fan of sitting on a beach amongst other holiday makers. I still don’t really like that. What I have discovered on sailing sojourns is the jewel that is Moreton Bay. Every trip I discover something new and different. Some new sea creature, a new way that plants and the land interact and an appreciation for the way nature seems to fit together so well. Seeing creatures with clever adaptations that perfectly suit their environment makes my biologist heart happy. It also restores my faith that life on Earth will survive the ticking time bomb that is the human race,

During the first evening of our current outing we spent time at “The Big Sandhills” watching the sunset from the top of the smaller dune. Our struggle up the steep mountain of sand was rewarded with some spectacular views.

I am convinced I live in the lucky country because I have access to such beauty and I am one of the luckies people because I take the time to visit places like this that are so close to my home.