Tag Archives: #humor

Scrambled eggs, scrambled brain

Scrambled brain
I beat my two organic eggs, fresh from my chooks this morning. I’m grateful for the mundane as my brain runs in overdrive. Strategies to write on how to talk to communities across a 500 kilometre (310 mile) radius and budgets to assign, assignments to mark, getting boy three to karate after school, time to see Mum, when would I fit in a yoga class, washing to do, time to write my blog… and it’s only lunchtime.

All that high-speed flitting and I can feel my little brain vibrate in my skull. I can hear it buzz, feel it hovering beneath its casing, straining to be released.

The fork clinks the side of the bowl with each flick of my hand. The two varying shades of yolk, a sign of natural egg production, split and mesh with the well-formed whites and skim milk. I grind some mixed pepper into my eggs. Coarse shards fall into the pasty goo and their pungency spikes the rich, fullness of the eggs.

I pick at a piece of hay from the side of the bowl. It must’ve fallen from the eggshell when l cracked the egg in. I beat again, appreciating that homegrown eggs always smell better than store bought.

I’m aware suddenly, of eyes staring at me. It’s my pale blue-eyed dog, or rather my amphibious dog. She sits on her butt with her hind legs spread out like frog’s legs as her body is slightly long for her short legs, the result of a German Coolie and Cocker Spaniel cross.

It’s unusual for her to be sitting because if she’s not running around the yard barking gruffly with a ball in her mouth at dogs passing by, she’s foraging around my feet for dropped food. I don’t mind her doing that, unless I’m chopping onions and then l become anxious. Onions for dogs are as bad as lettuce for rabbits, maybe even worse.

I don’t know how long I’d been beating but my eggs are well and truly blended pale yellow. I rest my fork on the side of the bowl and notice black and grey specks floating to the top. Maybe it’s more hay. I look closer and pick out three spots.

More surface. I look closer. Where are they coming from? Maybe specks of chook poo fell from the shell. I look at the broken shells but they’re clean. I always wash any muck off the eggs before I shelve them.

Maybe something was inside the eggs. More flecks surface, some deep pink and beige. They must be diseased eggs! But how can they be?

I pour my mix down the sink. It’s such a waste. I start again – eggs, milk and pepper.

Again l beat and again, flecks of black and grey appear once I stop beating. What’s happening to my eggs? Maybe it’s some infection inside them!

And then l realise. It’s the ground pepper – mixed, coloured peppercorns of pinks, black, whites and greens. Talk about a scrambled brain!

Fifteen minutes of relief

melted wordsBeads of sweat trickle in constant stream down the centre of my back as I move into the tram to head home. The doors seal behind me to leave the dry heat and baking tar outside. City pollution can’t linger in this heat – even my eyelashes feel as though they’re melting.

I find a seat towards the back of the tram and plonk beside a young woman. She’s flicking through the pages of a thick book of readings, similar to mine in my bag that I just used to teach in the tutorial. I’m glad to see she’s reading them.

The coolness within the tram grips me and is in stark contrast to the saturation of 40°C (104°F) heat outside. The relief is more than wonderful. As the tram eases away from the stop and we head towards the CBD, I ease into the coolness. My faint reflection in the tram window reveals strands of hair that have fallen from hairpins. They dangle as moist rat’s tails with ends that stick to my neck.

A squeaky scrape over the tracks jars me and I tune into the chuckling speech of two middle-aged women sitting diagonally opposite.

‘I wake him at 7.30,’ says the round-cheeked woman as she nudges into the side of her taller friend. ‘And then I go back at quarter to eight, and then at ten to eight, calling him, Ge-rald,get up!’ She giggles with her friend as a cheeky, little schoolgirl, and catches me watching her. She smiles warmly to welcome my stare, in.

‘Sometimes, mine asks me to wake him at 5.30 so he can get to work early,’ says the tall friend as she heaves a bunch of red curls up from her neck. ‘Stan-ly, it’s time to get up, I call.’

Their giggles grow sassy.

Ger-ald, get up, I keep calling,’ sings the round-cheeked woman. ‘And then I finally yell, get in the shower, Gerald! And he does.’

The two are in full laughter and I can’t help but tune in to them. Some passengers attempt to look everywhere but at the two women, while others have growing smiles they tuck into tilted heads. I feel the skin on my cheeks stretch and I realise I’m on the verge of giggling with them. I shuffle in my seat and look out the window at the busyness in the heat haze.

Stan-ly, get up, I call,’ says curly haired woman, and I immediately swing back to them. ‘And finally he’s up, sometimes two hours later!’ She drops her head into her friend’s arm and laughs into it.

‘And then after twenty minutes,’ the round-cheeked woman snaps back through her raucousness, ‘I have to yell, GeraldGet out of the shower.’ The woman squints to furrow her brow, creating tiny, slit-shaped eyes. ‘You’ll be late for work!’

Curly-haired woman lifts her head and laughs hard. She’s barely able to ask her friend, ‘What do you do in the shower for twenty minutes?’

Ger-ald!’ mocks her friend.

Stan-ly!’ snaps back curly-haired woman.

‘It’s like I have three kids!’ The two laugh in rapturous ripples that come from the depths of their bellies.

I can’t help but laugh with them.

The round-cheeked woman sees me and asks through her cackling, ‘You’ve got one too haven’t you, an extra kid.’

I brush the strap of my dress that’s slipped from my shoulder, back up. I smile and wink at her.

My stop approaches and I stand up to walk to the door, clasping my satchel in hand. They slide open and I step down from the tram back into the heatwave that began ten days ago. My rat’s tails instantly cling to my neck as before but this time, I’m smiling a smile I can’t remove.

I begin to cook through to my middle as I stride a block to the train station. Beads of wet leak from my porous skin, as words that can melt as ink and leak from a page.

My menagerie

Boys and their games, dogs playing with chooks and chooks thinking they’re dogs … that’s life with two dogs, eight chooks and three boys.

Our two dogs are pure love, forever wanting to be with us. Yet both have some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Blue-eyed pooch will not leave you alone outside, dropping her ball onto your lap, into the clothes basket or into sauce on your plate after a barbeque dinner. Then, she waits, with her head pitched high and big, blue eyes fixed possessed on the ball, until it’s airborne and she bounds across the yard to fetch it and bring it immediately back for another throw. If you don’t play her obsession, she’ll snatch the ball in her jaws and dash to the next person. Then panting heavily and after many runs, she’ll splash into the fish pond to cool off.

Brown-eyed pooch is the princess of the household. If she’s not on someone’s lap, anyone’s lap, she’s sweeping the kitchen floor for anything dropped, or breaking into the chook pen to eat the chook’s food scraps. Holes in the chook pen have been crocheted with wire too many times to count. She’s the one too, who likes to chase the chooks and dodge them merrily when they taunt her. Both of the little dears howl whenever a chook clucks as it lays an egg or boy two plays his violin.

Chooks can have personalities bigger than their little bodies. Our eight live in a chook pen and garden in the corner of our suburban block. They regularly roam free around the backyard. We say they live in ‘chook heaven’.

Our speckled Plymouth hurt her leg years ago and is now our disabled chook that hobbles around the yard. Our bantam wants to be a mother and can sit on eggs that spread from under her and can never become babies. No roosters allowed in suburbia.

One of our Isa Browns thinks she’s a dog or possibly Houdini, and escapes from the pen by jumping up into a big Chinese elm tree and flapping over the fence. She waddles over to eat dog biscuits with the dogs or to the clothesline with the dogs and I, to scratch around our feet. Sometimes, if our escape artist has gone through an unrepaired hole instead of over the fence, the other chooks jump through after her in single file to scuttle across the yard and peck at dog biscuit crumbs.

At the top of the menagerie hierarchy, are the boys. They adore the dogs. Number three boy loves them so much that he scoots on his hands and knees over bare floorboards after them, stopping occasionally to lick me as they lick him. One late night, boys one and two found boy three asleep in the corner of the dining room where the dogs lay when we eat. When asked the next morning why he slept there on hard wooden floors, he replied that he wanted to see what it felt like to sleep where the dogs slept.

Number two boy is akin to brown-eyed dog, sitting and lazing about on bean bags, not moving unless he must. The manner in which they eat too is alike, both chewing meat repeatedly until finally minced enough to swallow.

Number one boy, well he’s something all on his own. He printed a t-shirt with an image of himself and gave it to boy two for his birthday last week, along with a broken-chained, tiny bike found dumped with in a lane. He makes short films on things like how to ride a scooter, pointing out all safety elements before scooting over a ramp to fall flat on his back. We laughed for days on that one.

But it’s not all fairy floss and lollies in our menagerie. One time, one of the chooks, a Hamburg, perched on the gate that led into the chook garden. As the gate was being shut, she slipped and fell between two palings of wood. Needles to say, her life ended quickly, and tears flowed.

With chooks out for a nosey peek and a bask in freshly dug holes in the sun, pets chasing one another in circles, and dogs sneaking into the chook pen to rummage over leftover food scraps or rest on boys in hammocks and on bean bags, it’s sometimes like watching an old, unfashionable movie or cartoon to the tunes of howls and cackles.

My menagerie of mayhem is mine and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. To me, it’s love in its purest form.


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