How NOT to make money

We sold cupcakes at a market today. Wanna know how much money we made? Yeah, me too. Let’s work it out.

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I made the babies and the unicorn 🙂

I feel like a schoolkid with a smashed piggy bank, pouring the contents of the money bag onto the table and counting coins. There is $151. Woohoo! Okay, so let’s see how much of that is my actual profit.

I spent $20 on little boxes to put the cakes in if anyone wanted to buy more than one. That leaves $131. To book a table at the market cost $20. So, we’re down to $111. Not bad. Wait! I put $40 into the bag as the float when we started. That makes…$71 profit. *feels a tap on the shoulder* ‘You need to divide that by three.’ Oh. Okay. So my profit is $23.70. But I baked the cupcakes, which cost about $7.10 per batch. I made three batches. So I made $2.40 profit.

If I work that out as an hourly rate…12 hours spent making icing decorations, 3 hours baking, 5 hours last night putting them all together and 4 hours at the market today. That’s 24 hours. To make $2.40. Hmmm…10c an hour. If I tutor students privately, I get $40 an hour. Just saying.

On the positive side, I got to spend time with one of my best friends. Who else can say they get paid to hang out with their friends?

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A Valentine’s Day Poem

Valentine’s Day is a day of love
of ourselves mostly;
of the idea of someone to spoil;
of the misguided notion that a rose or a chocolate or a candlelit meal
will wedge itself into the heaving heart
or beating brain
or throbbing otherbits
of a worthy conquest.

Valentine’s Day is a day of desire
for things we cannot have;
for a chance at a different type of life;
for the joy of a fleeting night or week or couple of months
of feeling comforting arms
or supple legs
or throbbing otherbits
against our skin.

For Valentine’s Day I offer you no clichéd gifts or naked kisses.
I make no promises of feigned affection.

On this Valentine’s Day I want to allay your fears
and alleviate your frustrations
and alliterate your feelings
and so I wish for you a lifetime supply of non-stick pans.

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The Biggest Loser

So, I’ve started at a new school. I really wanted to be out of the classroom all day this year, but circumstances and my mortgage have conspired against me. When I left my previous school a year ago, I had a huge clean out and threw away more material than I kept. The few folders I retained were more as a token to teaching than the belief that I would need them again. Be that as it may, I find myself in this situation and must make the most of it. I always emulate the life of Brain and look on the bright side.

One of the bright sides at this school is the running of ‘The Biggest Loser’ competition in the first term. It is designed to help those who may have overindulged in the long holiday break by giving them a cash incentive to get back on the healthy weight range wagon. The winner will be the one who has lost the most weight as a percentage of their body weight in ten weeks’ time. The top three will share the spoils. I paid my $20 and weighed in today. I weighed a little more than I imagined without using the lead weights I had planned to sneak into my underwear. I did, however, wait until this afternoon to get my hair cut. Sneaky. And I painted my nails.

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This may or may not be me standing on the scale this afternoon

I have some strategies to ensure success. One of them is to give the other contestants home baking on a regular basis. I want to sneakily find out what they like so they cannot resist a weekly treat. Another strategy is to actually diet. What that will look like, I don’t know. I had coffee with Baileys in it when I got home this afternoon – I guess that won’t help much.

To be honest, I don’t think I stand much chance of winning. I only signed up to be a part of things. I’m one of those people who will always buy a raffle ticket. I’ll still give it a go. I wouldn’t mind carrying the title of ‘The Biggest Loser’.

Of course, if I get to the end of the year without having secured a management role with more responsibility and less teaching time, the title will be mine anyway.

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Pour some sugar on me

You know how I tried the High Fat Low Carb way of eating at the end of last year? Well, as predicted, I couldn’t sustain it for more than two weeks. It was counter-intuitive for me to eat so much fat. I’ve always used fats and oils sparingly. I guess different diets work for different people. What has worked for me in the past is Weight Watchers. I did it in winter when I wasn’t sitting around at barbecues, eating nibbles. Maybe I’ll try that again one day. Right now, I am trying something else.

What I have decided to try now is cutting out sugar. There has been a lot of discussion about sugar being the biggest cause of weight loss, health problems, tooth decay, bad choice in husbands (okay, so maybe there is no research to prove this, but I believe it!)

When I say ‘cutting out sugar’ I mean I will only eat it when it is ‘naturally occurring’. I no longer have sugar in tea or coffee. I don’t drink fizzy drinks/ soda/ pop – whatever you call the delightfully bubbly ice-cold summer drink. Unless it’s a lemon, lime & bitters. The sugar in that doesn’t count because the lime counteracts it. Here are some things I’m allowed to eat because the sugar is naturally occurring:
– Fruit. Currently, watermelon is my favourite. But all fruit is allowed. Even tinned fruit as long as it’s in natural juice because we all know that syrup has too much sugar in it. And dried fruit because some of the sugar escapes in the dehydrating process.
– Homemade muesli. I am in control of what goes into this. The oil, honey and brown sugar used to roast it is a natural part of the cooking process, and doesn’t count. (Recipe can be supplied 🙂 )20180128_061905

– Breads, crackers – all flour-based goods.
– Milk and dairy products.
What do you mean flour and milk turn into sugar?? Don’t be silly.

Like I said, I don’t have sugar in my tea or coffee. I’ll let you know how the diet goes!

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If you prick us, do we not bleed?

Shakespeare understood blood. He knew the power it held over his characters and his audience. He used it in Shylock’s persuasive, and possibly heart-wrenching, utterance when trying to prove that we are all the same – ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’ Some people would do well to bear that in mind next time they are being racist/ homophobic/ sexist…

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Just thought I’d promote the awesome act of giving blood voluntarily

Shakespeare also used blood in Othello to show the extent of Iago’s villainy. Our hero, albeit a misguided and murderous hero, stabs Iago with the words, ‘If that thou be’st a devil, I cannot kill thee.’ (Well, he doesn’t actually stab him with the words, although that would be a play worth seeing.) His nemesis announces, ‘I bleed sir, but not killed.’

For Macbeth and his devoted (slightly insane) wife, blood becomes a symbol of their guilt for having killed the king. We all know the harrowing scene when the now totally insane Lady Macbeth imagines there is blood on her hands and she cries, ‘Out damned spot, out I say!’

What do these characters have in common? Blood. They know what it is and what it means.

Which is more than I can say for the doctor at A&E today. My friend tripped over an unmarked step in a shop and tried to rip her little toe off. (Hmm, that’s the second time she’s ended up with stitches when we’ve been together. And that’s why we don’t go drinking! Imagine how we’d end up then…) Anyway, the nurse had done the preliminaries and we were waiting for the doctor. He arrived and studied the wound. He pointed at her foot and said, ‘What’s the red stuff?’ She looked at me. I looked at her. She thought maybe he was referring to her nail polish. I shook my head and told him the red stuff was blood. He said, ‘Oh.’ Once he walked off we fell about laughing. Is it just us, or should a doctor know what blood looks like?

Maybe he needs to study a little more Shakespeare!

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Living in the Real World

Like Neo in The Matrix do you sometimes have difficulty discerning what the real world is? Do you ever find yourself in situations that seem so other-worldly, you start to wonder if you have slipped through a tear in the fabric of reality? That you have experienced a glitch in the Matrix?

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Dad on the beach

I have just returned from holidaying on the Gold Coast, which, some may argue, is not real. It seems to exist in a bubble of heat and tanned bodies and shopping malls. It gives the illusion that anything is possible.

One strange moment over there was one morning when we went for breakfast at a fancy mall. The ‘specials’ board advertised bacon and eggs for $10, so we ordered it. That’s exactly what we got. Bacon and eggs on a plate. No toast. No hash browns. No anything to soak up the yolk. I was perplexed and asked the waitress. She told me that if we had wanted toast, we should have ordered the $14 breakfast. So I paid $4 for a piece of toast. She seemed quite put out when I asked for butter.

Then there are other times when you have wonderful moments. Special moments. Ones that will stay with you even when you are back in the real world. Ones that make you forget you are trying to forge a new career, that there is so much uncertainty in your life, that you thought you’d be settled by now. Moments like dancing on the beachfront on Christmas eve with your sister and singing along to ‘All I want for Christmas’. Moments like holding hands with your dad while saying the Our Father in church on Christmas day (even though the only comment he made about my book, which I spent last year writing, was to try and point out what he thought was a grammar error!). Moments like drinking revolting coffee at a street-side cafe with your sister, but not really caring that it tastes foul because you are with your sister. Moments like playing cards with your children in a holiday apartment and betting with old five cent pieces.

Now I am home. And I know this is the real world. My neighbour is still single-handedly renovating his house with a hammer; my other neighbour’s kid is still whining every time she plays outside with her brother; my other neighbour’s cat keeps sneaking in to eat Lola’s food; and the creeper outside my bedroom window needs cutting back. Again. Maybe I should have taken the blue pill.

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My Dilemma

‘Dilemma’ song – sung to the tune of Camila Cabello’s ‘Havanna’:

Dilemma, ooh na-na (ay)
Half of my head has a dilemma, ooh-na-na (ay, ay)
Do I keep eating avocada, na-na-na
When all I want is a banana (ay)
There’s somethin’ that feels wronga (uh huh)
Dilemma, ooh na-na (uh)

So, I tried banting. Being the all or nothing person that I am, I didn’t start with an ‘ease into it’ week. I cut out all cereal, rice, flour, potato, pasta, bread and (apart from a few strawberries) fruit. I started each day with breakfast fried in butter. I had salmon and avo for lunch. I ate more vegetables than I had for about three years. The result? I lost three kilos in two weeks. ‘That’s awesome!’ I hear you say. And it is.

What’s not so awesome is the dilemma of having to live in the world. If I carry on with this way of eating, I will never again experience the sheer delight of watermelon juice running down my chin, or biting into a peach and having the juice dribble down my arm, or tearing the peel off a mandarin and squirting myself in the eye. On second thoughts, maybe I should be banned from eating fruit! I won’t be able to meet a friend for coffee, or enjoy a glass of wine on a Friday afternoon, or pop down to Mission Bay for a Movenpick ice cream on a sunny Sunday morning. I definitely won’t be able to smother a fresh croissant in homemade berry jam.

I want these things. I like food. I love the variety of food we have in the world. I like the freedom to choose to have fruit salad for breakfast. I don’t want to live on fats and meat. I guess it isn’t for me. 20171212_133537

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