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Monday, September 26, 2016

Why I Love People Born in September.

It was my birthday yesterday, along with a lot of other people who have been celebrating on FB lately. 

 So many people celebrate their birthday in September. December is clearly the month for hanky-panky after all the Christmas spirit having been imbibed, probably leading to surprise pregnancies nine months later.

It’s a wonder everyone born in September doesn’t have foetal alcohol syndrome. Our mothers were probably off their faces when they conceived us, guys.

Or maybe we all do have it and we just don’t know it, because we have it.

Do I have it? You’d tell me if I did, wouldn’t you?

Oh well. What I don’t know won’t hurt me, I suppose.

It’s not funny really. I’m not making light of a serious subject. I’ve looked up the symptoms and I think I do have it actually and it’s why I have so many friends born in September. We’re flocking together.

Of course the most important thing about birthdays is the receiving of presents and these are the presents I received in no particular order of favourites.

Scotto had a portrait of my son (with my grand dog in it) put on canvas.

I can’t publish the photo because my son hates me putting him on the Internet and as he wasn’t born in September he probs knows better than I do.

My dogs gave me nothing which didn’t surprise me. Thankless bastards that they are.

My sister had one of my favourite wedding photos made into a decorative cushion which I really loved.

It was my wedding, btw. Not just my favourite, random wedding.

My Mum and Dad bought me a very large green tablecloth which I picked out myself and which I adore because it will cover my big wooden table where I’ve planned a lot of future Italian type family gatherings. (Certain members of the family are banned from sitting at the table unless they fold the tablecloth back because of their propensity to spill rum and cokes and flick smoldering ash. One of these family members was born in September… just saying.)

My five children (under the bossy guidance of my only daughter… thank God I had her because none of the boys would have had the impetus) arranged for a voucher from Stefan so I can have my sandy/beige foils re-done.

And even the government sent me a little present which was a lovely, totally unexpected honour.

Birthday Bowel Testing Kit!

We had a backyard party under the tree with all the animals attempting to steal food from the table and king parrots hanging around the pool fence.

The best gift was that my sister and her family came all the way down from North Queensland to celebrate with me.

Admiring her from across the table, I commented that my niece looks a bit like Audrey Hepburn. Mum pitched in that people used to say that about my sister, Sam, when she was young.

“These days, I just look like I ate Audrey Hepburn,” my sister complained bitterly.

I spat my champagne all over my new tablecloth at that one.

She’s a laugh, my sister. She was always described as the ‘beautiful’ sister by outsiders when we were kids. Now that I've figured out about the foetal alcohol syndrome thing I can finally accept why that was without feeling extremely vilified. 

I couldn't help the way I looked. 

It. wasn't. my. fault.

So… since my birthday last year I have sold and bought a house, resigned from my job of ten years and worked at five different schools, dined at almost every surf club on the Gold Coast, gained an extra five kilograms, taken up extreme bush walking, lost 2.6 grams and spent at least $2000 at the dentist who is seemingly collecting my extracted teeth to sell for a bucket load on the ivory black market.

I’ve also learned to find my way around the Gold Coast without using the GPS or ringing Scotto in tears, shrieking into the phone and hyperventilating that I’m “fudging lost again”. 

I wonder what the next twelve months will bring.

These are my three main goals:

1. Get a proper job.

2. Lose 4.9974 kg

3. Grow back my teeth.

Do you make goals on your birthday? Are you a September baby?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Stick that in your Fanny Bag!

Remember this time last year I was boring you all stupid with posts about my buffalo grass? I went on for months didn’t I?


But now you have to get ready for an inundation of posts about bush walks.

“What the fudge are these piddling, tiny things supposed to fudging be?” I screamed at Scotto this morning after the parcel delivery guy had zoomed back out of our driveway on his scooter.

“What the fudge are these? Snake Gaiters for ants?” I ranted.

I’d ordered (online) snake gaiters from a company I will (for legal reasons) call, ‘AnnaFuckonda’ and even though I had ordered ‘small’ because I’m sort of small, they’d sent me the ‘Junior” version which I presume must have to them meant fudging ‘six years fudging old’.

I was relying on these gaiters because we are doing a LOT of bush walking and frankly, I’m sick of looking out for random snakes. I just want to walk along enjoying the scenery knowing if a fudging taipan decides to lunge at me he will bounce off the Teflon gaiter thing and have to go to the dentist for a root canal and crown because he knocked a fang out.

But… naturally, the eejits who organise internet packing of stuff couldn’t do their fudging job right and now I have to continue to risk my life walking amongst venomous reptiles who aren’t afraid of a silly pair of Kathmandu hiking boots.

I looked around a few internet sites and apparently Australian snakes are a bit feeble and can’t bite much because they have small fangs so I’m thinking if I wear jeans I should be fairly safe until I can order some new snake gaiters. Of course, I make Scotto walk ahead of me on our treks in order to scare away the snakes with his heavy trudging but he can’t really be trusted because most animals like him and the snakes would probably let him pass and then take an instant dislike to me. 

That is the general pattern of my life anyway.

We called into the Mitre 10 on the mountain before our gaiter-less walk this morning. The guy there told us that as it is spring time, the snakes are a lot more active and that their venom is more potent but not to worry as they are more scared of us than we are of them.

I call bullshit. I am definitely more scared of them. Even though I’ve never seen one.

What I will say is that I’m becoming addicted to the pure, clean oxygen, the smell of the rainforest, the meditative clumping of boot steps, the sounds of whip birds and kookaburras, the burning in my thighs as I climb the mossy rocks, the cool, ginger-pepper air and the squelch of wet leaves under my feet. It’s the best free exercise you can dream of.

I bloody love it.

I've ordered a fanny bag (online) to carry my asthma puffer, three compression bandages (in case of snake bite) and a packet of aspirin in case of unexpected stroke. We should be safe unless the fanny bag turns out to be designed for a six year old.

What’s your favourite form of exercise?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I'm Occasionally Highly Visible

I sent an official resignation letter to my old school yesterday advising them I will NEVER be returning. That means I’m stuck here on the Gold Coast, with no job, no family (except parents) and no people that know about my shady, nefarious past.

That’s one thing I suppose.

So it looks like it’s a relief teacher’s career for me from now on.

Woo hoo.

Today, I had Prep, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 and Grade 4 for an hour each.

It was a bloody long day.

It was all going splendidly until I slithered into Grade 1 and accidentally instructed the kids to glue a particular worksheet into their scrap books. By the manner in which the stressed out teacher entered the classroom in a highly anxious state, after the hour was over, I realised my instructions had actually been, “Under no circumstances let those brats glue the worksheet into their scrapbooks!” instead of what I’d misheard it as, “Ask those brats to stick the worksheet into their scrapbooks with full gluey adhesive, non-removable Selley’s Aruldite.”

The teacher was not happy.

I then had to borrow her ‘high visibility’ jacket to do a handball-swerving, playground duty and managed to spill cranberry sauce from my turkey/salad/cranberry wrap all over said jacket.

Oh well, orange is the new black, so I’ve heard.

I tried to wash it out under the water bubbler but by the time I handed it back to her it was a soggy, disgusting mess and looked like someone had had their period all over it.

I’m guessing she won’t be requesting me back into her classroom even though she was very nice about the whole thing.

I wish I could listen to instructions more closely. In my defence, I did ask the kids at least five times whether or not they were supposed to glue the worksheet in and quite a few responsible looking ones said, ‘YES! Mrs. Poinker,' which at the time, I took to be an honest and reliable answer.

Little liars. They probably just wanted me to get into trouble.

You just can’t trust Grade Ones.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Pursuit of Thinness

Twin Falls Springbrook Mountain

I read a meme the other day about how someone’s greatest fear when they were growing up was a fear of quicksand and yet since they’ve now grown up to the age of 50, they’ve never once in their lives encountered actual quicksand.

As a child, I was afraid of quicksand too after reading Victoria Holt novels in the 70s (and also as a result of watching Gilligan’s Island) but I’ve never encountered quicksand in real life, thankfully to God.

I think if I ever sink in quicksand I’ll try to float. If I get the chance, that is, before the undercurrent sucks me under. Luckily there isn’t much quicksand on the mountain where I live. There might be for all I know but it would be unusual considering we are quite a long way from the sea and any sand at all. We might have quick ‘soil’… but if it exists, I’ve certainly never heard of it.

Scotto and I have been on a fitness binge and have been doing an uphill rainforest circuit walk every other day. I spend the entire 30 minutes of the downhill trip staring at the ground in a wary hunt for Eastern Brown snakes and the remaining 30 uphill minutes, puffing and wheezing up the steps and slopes, checking my pulse and clutching the asthma puffer in my pocket, not caring a bit about snakes at all and mainly thinking about my heart, angina and possible strokes.

After about nine bouts of the Witch’s Falls circuit, we decided today to tackle the indomitable Twin Falls hike on Springbrook Mountain. It was four fudging kilometres. We were going to need an ambulance to meet us at the end.

I’m happy to say we did make it through the trek (despite two particularly vicious leeches which attempted to suck the strength from us) but because of my fear of snakes and strong desire to recklessly spend money I don’t have, I suggested to Scotto that we pop into the local outdoor activity outlet and buy some outrageously expensive hiking boots.

So in order to replenish our iron levels after the before-mentioned leech initiated blood loss, we enjoyed a hearty lunch at the Mudgeeraba Hotel (including wine), and we then decided to descend on the Kathmandu Extreme Level Sporting Shop at the Robina Town Centre.

I had to apologise to the girl who was attending us because of my blood stained socks (what with the leeches and all) but she waved me off with a laugh and was very happy about the two pairs of very exorbitantly expensive boots she was about to get commission on.

My boots make me think I could walk through the Kokoda Track like I was walking on to a yacht with my hat strategically tipped below my eye with a scarf that was apricot.

They are fudging excellent. Snake-proof too.

We’re thinking about Everest next, or perhaps Machu Picchu.
At least we'll look good.

So tell me, what silly things have you bought in the pursuit of thinness?

P.S. Scotto just got up me because I didn't credit him for the photos. Yep. He took 'em.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Robert De Niro's Mole

Like many of you, we give our four dogs lots of different names. Whatever comes out of our mouths at the time is what we call them, really. That’s how the name of my blog came about. I was calling out to my fox terrier,

“Oi, Punk! Punky… Poinky… Punky Brewster… Punky Punker… Pinky Punker… Pinky Poinker!…. Come here and get your disgusting bone, you eejit dog!”

That is honestly how I came up with the silly name for my blog.

Our German Shepherd sometimes gets called Robert, mainly because he so closely resembles Robert De Niro.

It’s mainly the mole on his muzzle. Our Germy Shepherd has a mole in the exact same place as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (or Jack Byrnes in Meet the Fokkers… depending on your level of intellect).

Mind you, I don’t believe Taxi Driver is more intellectually elevated than Meet the Fokkers.
Taxi Driver was a pretty boring movie and I didn’t even get one bloody laugh out of it, whereas, “Meet the Fokkers” was HILARIOUS.

Especially the part when the cat flushed the dog down the loo. I know there was no dramatic catharsis or complicated, ironic and studied, Freytag's pyramid involved… but there was the toilet humour.

Frankly, I think ‘Taxi Driver’ was highly overrated. Who cares about taxi drivers, anyway?

Only Uber drivers, I suppose.

Recently, my eighty-one year old, Dad picked us up when Scotto and I were going out for our anniversary lunch. Dad’s anniversary present to us was a lift to the winery and back. When he turned up he had an Uber sign on the dashboard which gave us all a laugh.

It wasn’t so funny later on when my elderly Mum drove up to the local IGA and the local louts kept trying to flag her down for a ride because Dad had forgotten to remove the sign. That, my friends, is a completely true story. Poor Mum.

We went over to visit Mum and Dad last night as it was Father’s Day and all. Dad had been on his death bed all week with the flu.

“I need to tell you all my passwords,” Dad croaked as he sat in his velvety dressing gown scoffing pizza. “In case I die. I think it might be happening soon.”

“Dad, you’re as healthy as a draught horse. You just had the bloody flu!” I scoffed.

“No, my dear, I should show you where all my official papers are in case something happens,” he rasped, whilst slurping up a generous bowl of apple crumble and cream.

“You’ll be outliving me!” I shrilled. “Shut up and stop talking about death!”

My parents love to talk about death. They look up the obituaries every weekend on Google to see who they’ve outlasted. Before I moved down here, whenever I talked to them on the phone, thirty seconds into the conversation, right after the “how are the kids?”, Mum would casually ask, “So… who’s died in Townsville, lately?”

Every time I take Mum to lunch she invariably starts discussing her will and what she wants done with her deceased fudging estate.

As I sit, choking down my toasted cheese sandwich, she relates explicit instructions on how she wants the money divided up between the grand kids.

The thing is, with my diabolical drinking habits and avoidance of medical tests, I’m fairly sure my parents will both outlive me.

And what will I care? I'll be dead.

So, anyway, my question is this… What nicknames do you give your pets?


Do you think "Robert De Niro's Mole" would be a good novel title?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Answering the call of the Wild Baked Bean

I’ve been taking a commercially baked, delicious oat bar thing to school to eat at morning tea, but as the kilos have continued to pile on to my girth, the virtuous oat bar has somehow become the scapegoat for my continued weight gain (it's not the vat of wine I drink every day… oh no, never that).

So instead of ingesting the highly processed, highly calorie laden and sugar-filled, oat bar every day, I’ve been eating a small can of baked beans instead.

Fibre… you know.

It was a shock to realise that even a very tiny can of baked beans has a thunderously, gaseous side effect and I’m guessing that at my advanced age, the farty effect is even more exaggerated.

Shortly after morning tea yesterday, as I was meandering past a group of grade ones during their dance lesson, I accidentally dropped a very robust and loud, fluffy monster.

Thinking like a ninja, I spun around quickly in feigned outrage, “Who was that???” I glared at the small children in mock horror.

The grade one-ers all looked at one another with suspicion, nudging each other in the ribs with their chubby elbows and staring at the skinny boy wearing glasses who was sitting in the corner by himself, the kid everyone always pick on, the odd boy who never gets chosen as a partner and picks his nose and has facial tics.

It MUST have been him who so rudely farted.

Of course, I let the innocent boy take the fall for my fluff. He looked like a patsy to tell the truth. He was asking for it, really.

You know I’m joking. Please don’t ring the Teacher Registration Board.
It’s very difficult teaching dance lessons when you’re full of wind. The knee bends, the jumps, the kicking the legs in the air… these actions avidly invite the random and explosive expulsion of excess air.

If it had been grade sixes I might not have got away with my subterfuge… but grade one-ers will be sucked in by anything.

The truth is, they giggled a lot and I suppose they did suspect it was me who fluffed, but because they’re grade ones they forgot about it ten seconds after it happened.

I could teach grade ones the same lesson every day for a year and they wouldn’t even notice anything unusual.

I had quite a few boys sidle up to me during the last three weeks and whisper in anguished voices, “Mrs Poinker, sorry, but dancing’s not my thing. I’d rather not participate, thanks.”

“You don’t like dancing? Well that won’t get you many girlfriends later in life!” I’ve quipped back.

“I don’t like girls,” has been the standard response. “I never want a girlfriend.”

I’m sure they’ll change their mind about liking girls but the terror and shame with which some of the boys approached the idea of dancing was enlightening.

I remember showing a grade four class the film “Oliver Twist’ once and one boy in my class almost had a fit because there were people dancing in the movie. He was truly tortured by musical theatre. He was in physical pain watching it. At one stage he started crying in frustration and torment.

Why do some males, young and old, hate the thought of dancing so much?

Even Scotto hates dancing. He pretended to like it when we first met but now refuses to even consider it.

Any ideas?

Also, do baked beans have the same effect on you?