Monday, March 31, 2008

Voice of the masses

Dear Student who STOMPED this,

I am sure you're feeling very pleased with yourself for creating such a stir. I am sure, also that you're feeling vindicated that justice will be served and your discipline master will be disciplined and dealt with and humiliated the way your friends were.

Unfortunately, your letter has not impressed me or those around me who have read it. In fact, it has blown up in your face because we all think that what you did was rather despicable. You have purposely and vengefully put up a good standing man to a public lynching he did not deserve. Understandably you are indignant that he meted out discipline and punishment for what was in your opinion an innocent act. Perhaps it is true that his ideas and values are of a different time but what you have done and what you have exposed him to is plain despicable and if nothing else, shows your adolescent penchant for rash pettiness and vindictiveness.

You feel that by doing this, you are alerting society to the injustices committed by an unreasonable disciplinarian. And you are supported by equally small and like-minded individuals who have risen to your call for a public lynching. Your bravado might be inflated by the bloodthirsty mob who are waving pitchforks and demanding a vigilante brand of justice.

What you have failed to see is that you have made it publicly necessary to question the integrity of someone who has done nothing but tried to serve the teaching community and taken upon himself the thankless task of trying to instil discipline into a bunch of youths who frankly wouldn't be none the worse to wear by being brought to the city gates and being subject to the biblical way of dealing with disrespectful. disobedient kids. I am certain, when you wrote the letter all you thought of was the best way to get back at this man.

Well, congratulations. You did it. Thanks to you, he will be questioned by the school, investigated by the Ministry of Education and he will have to walk through school and pretend to ignore and endure all the whispering that is going on about how he deserved everything that was coming his way. He will have to bear with those he is answerable to doubting his ability to do his job. Except that, he shouldn't have to. No one deserves to be called up by an investigative panel for such a non-situation. No one deserves such a mark on a so far immaculate and outstanding work record and performance. No one, who has shown nothing but loyalty to the institution and commitment to his job, who spends more time on his job than with his own family deserves to be treated with such disrespect and spite.

You've done what you set out to do. You've ruined a perfectly good man who perhaps by your standard is a little behind in the times but is a good man nonetheless. You've put him in a position where he has to defend himself, as a teacher, a disciplinarian but also as a husband, a father and most of all, an innocent human being. Was this what you had hoped for? If it is, then you have just proven all the sceptics of your generation right. There really is no hope and we really have failed at our job.

So, then, I have nothing else to say but good luck. I hope you sleep well tonight.

Yours sincerely,
An Adult.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 19:39

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Work place compensation

Because I've been grading papers non-stop for the last month and its intensity has increased in the last 10 days, I now have a Repetitive Stress Injury. I thought I'd sprained it carrying one of the kids but today, when I picked up the pen to grade my nth script, a sharp pain shot through my wrist.

I wonder if a wrist brace would work.


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 19:49

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Monday, March 24, 2008

This morning's top story in the National Broadsheet- Detained: JI member who trained with Al-Qaeda.

This led me to remark to Packrat rather snarkily, but then again, it is Monday morning so the snark factor is already rather high, that the point of the article was to go" So, we lost one but while out looking for that one... LOOK! We found another one! Yay us!"

I think it was Benvolio who said " Take thou some new infection to thy eye/ And the rank poison of the old will die..." Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 1.

Someone's been reading their Shakespeare.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:05

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Give me this day my daily fix

As I'm blogging, I'm also grading papers, trying to shop online as well as work the breast pump at the same time. It's quite a feat because the breast pump's balanced on my thigh and to make sure that it's at requisite level, I'm on tippy toes on one foot and I'm hunched over so the breast pump is less likely to burst forth and hit the floor and spill its precious cargo.

Anyway, such is my life now. I've hardly anytime for myself so when I do have time, I rush to do all the things I need to do for myself and even then, things get forgotten or de-prioritised. For instance, I've been needing to get my watch serviced, my hair cut, run errands for the children, visit relatives and not getting much of it done.

The reason for it is work. Mountains do not describe the amount of work I have. I'm always working. I'm either at work or out somewhere grading papers. In between all that, I go home to eat, see my husband, my children and sleep.

Because I mark out, I end up spending money on drinks. I usually end up marking at McDonald's because it's much cheaper than a Starbucks although I love the smell of fresh coffee. Anyway, I'm there, I shell out $2.65 for a large iced lemon tea that hopefully it lasts throughout the time I'm there. Funnily enough, I'm always sitting next to some students who are studying; sometimes for the same paper that I teach.

And according to the older generation around me, I've lost a ton of weight since I've gone back to work. No surprise there since I'm on my feet and there's lots of talking and pacing; that's what I do when I teach, I pace. But I've realised in the last 2 weeks or so, I no longer look so emaciated and I wonder why. I mean, it's not like I'm stuffing my face or anything. Then I realise it's the sugar and it's the gummi bear thing all over again. Because I drink a 16 oz cup everyday, even though there's no fat in it, there's heaps of sugar and even though I could well afford to put on a bit of weight, it's still a shock that I'm drinking so much of the stuff that it's actually tipping the scales for me.

Another bad thing about it is that I'm seriously getting to the point where I'm addicted to the stuff. It's like I need my daily fix. It's like coffee for other people. I'm not exactly sure which is worse. But rather than sit here and ponder this, I'm going to get dressed, go off to get some work done and possibly go somewhere where there isn't an iced tea in sight.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:38

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200

" I hate my life" so she says with great vehemence.

I really do.

It's Friday of the one week vacation which has turned out into absolutely NOT a vacation at all. Every single day has been spent grading assignments. My typical day has looked something like that.

7 am- wake up with the kids, play with them for a bit and give them their breakfast.
8am- I take a shower, get Packrat up and we prepare to leave.
9am- 12pm- Holed up at some MacDonald's or other, grading papers.
12-2 pm- Come home for lunch, see the kids if we're lucky.
3-6 pm- out again grading papers.
6-8pm- Come home, get the kids to bed and have dinner. Dozing a little while Evan nurses himself to sleep.
9-11pm- Out again, possibly at Macs AGAIN, grading.
11-1am- Come home, shower, do the necessary before hitting the sack, hoping that I get 4 hours of sleep before the babies descend upon me.

So there, that's a typical day for me. And I realised with a tremendous amount of guilt that through the entire week, we haven't spent any type of special time with the kids. We're always rushing in or out, giving them kisses as we pass them by and promising some time later that we will come home and play with them. Which hasn't happened and I'm sad to say is not going to happen before term reopens on Monday.

The amount of guilt mixed with anger that I feel is tremendous. I will kick anyone who tells me that I have done a good and noble thing, dedicating my vacation to my work and I shall be commended for it. I will also kick anyone who reproaches me for not spending quality time with my children because I am already full of self-loathing and self- reproach for failing to prioritise my family over my work. And this is where the anger comes in for it has been insinuated that I haven't been doing a good job with the balance and the juggling and this comment isn't talking about how much time I'm not spending with my kids.

I feel like I've failed. My children have hardly seen their parents the whole week and I have been told that I should have planned the week better to factor time in for them. My response was that I tried, but failed miserably. And I don't know how to try harder. I don't know where to find the time to spend with them while completing all the things I need to complete. It's easy to say, ignore all else and just block out some time for the kids. But what about that fear that creeps into your throat and threatens to strangle you because there's so much else that requires your time and attention and even if you don't want to do it, you have to because that's what adults do?

I wish I was easy going enough to let it slide, to chill and say fuck all to work because I've done what is humanly possible. But I can't. The 16 PF PErsonal Career Development Profile I did recently highlights that the strongest trait that stands out has to do with Apprehension, Worry and High Anxiety so I worry, I stress, I angst and I'm wound as tight as a taut rubber band and the ability to chill and to forget about things around me is not in my vocabulary.

So, I just have to struggle on, get what I need to do done and try to be there as much as I can for my children and my husband who, bless him, has been extremely good at holding my hand and rubbing my back when it gets too much for me.

It leads me to question if I've taken on too much and why is it that everyone else can cope but I can't seem to and since it is expected of me to be able to cope, why can't I and why am I incurring the wrath of others by this seemingly obvious deficiency on my part?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:32

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Devil does indeed wear Prada

I haven't done one of these photo shoots since the kids were born. I spent a good part of this afternoon, decked up in clothes I wouldn't normally wear and pretending to away from the camera when in actual fact I am actually looking into it.

While waiting around in between changes, I realised how The Devil Wears Prada the fashion magazine is. At any photo shoot, there's a makeup-artist, a hairdresser, the fashion editor, her minion and the photographer. Of course, there is the model. There is an obvious hierarchy going on. The fashion editor, of course, rules the shoot. What she says goes. Too dark, too bright, shoes too high, too low. Whatever she says, whenever she snaps her fingers, her minion comes a scurrying. And this poor minion has the thankless job of having to do everything for the editor including read her mind as to how the editor wants me styled. Me, I'm standing there like the clothes horse that I'm supposed to be while the hair stylist combs every strand of hair into place and the makeup artist adds more blush or more tint onto my face or lips and this poor girl, and she is literally called "GIRL" is left rolling up sleeves, unrolling them, stuffing the bag slung on my shoulder with too much stuffing only to have to take it all out with the slightest 'tsk' that I would have missed had I not been looking in the direction of the fashion editor.

The photographer is not spared either even if he's given a little bit more 'face' than the hapless Girl. She directs the shots, she tells him what she wants to see in the photograph. When he just takes her instructions rather than look at the shot she is using to issue the instructions, she delivers rather icily the question of whether he can read her mind from all the way across the room.

So, even though I'd once loftily imagined that models had it good because when they were being photographed, all attention and eyes were cast upon them, I am having to admit, that isn't really true. Yes, they are all polite to me where I know I could have been yelled at for not having been able to cast off the perfect ballet posture fast enough and replacing it with a chillin slounch but I suspect that had to do more with the fact that in this circumstance, I knew someone in their organisation that trumped even the fashion editor in her ability to wear the Prada.

All in, I had fun. The clothes were great but I don't do this enough to actually be able to demand the clothes though I liked the bags more. The shoes I wasn't too keen about especially when I realised the key to throwing me off my centre of balletic balance was to put me in shoes I couldn't even stand in. This meant I had to hunch, round my shoulders, centre my weight all on one hip, cling onto the wall... all making wonderful shots but one extremely unhappy clothes horse. And when I commented to the GIRL that they were the most uncomfortable shoes I'd ever been put into and the designer was obviously a masochistic hater of women, she stared unbelievingly at me and whispered "but...they're Jimmy Choos". In her book, I had violated all things sacrosanct by complaining and that I should have been grateful that I had been deigned worthy to have those clogs on my feet. I refused to budge and stood my stand, as much as I could and pointed out that regardless of whose pencil it was that drew them on paper, the real product had no centre and all my weight was distributed onto my outer heels and if I tried to firmly centre my weight in the middle of the shoe, I'd break my kneecaps. So the sooner I got out of those 6 inch dominatrix stilletos, the better. That's where I left her standing gaping, open mouth, unable to believe that I was so cavalier about the Jimmy Choos.

We'll see how the pictures turn out and if they look presentable enough, I might post them. If they don't, well, shrug.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:01

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Eye Candy

Because I don't have time to formulate a thought, much less a blog post.

Because I don't have time to watch any tv.

Because I am running on 2 hours of sleep and watching my toe nails grow would be entertaining at this point.

Because I'm at the point where I want to just bury my face in the pillow, take 2 muscle relaxants and drift into chemically induced heavy sleep.

And because I don't have time to do any of this, I take joy in simple things.

Like enjoying eye candy and drifting into Mcdream land.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:28

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"