Planking Mario’s, School Principals, and Lunar Eclipses.

We love my son’s school. Love. If I could go back in time and go to school again, I’d attend myself.

It’s one of those nice unexpected surprises in life. You pretty much assume that you’re going to like some things about your kid’s school, tolerate others, be totally agitated by a few, and pretty much just get through. When your expectations are exceeded, it’s like winning the lottery.

Before my son started at this school, we checked out another. We met with all the appropriate people and liked them. It seemed like a good fit, the grounds were well-looked after, facilities were great, class sizes reasonable. It ticked all the boxes – until we met the principal.

I’ve had a theory since High school that all school principals are assholes (sorry to all the principals reading, but bear with me on this!) My principal(s) were very small men (figuratively), who took great pleasure in being king of their castles, and wielding the power whenever possible. I went to a private schools so rules were usually more strict and discipline was of primary importance.

One such rule was when you were old enough to get your drivers permit, you could only drive your car to school on approved days. The reason?  There was not enough parking in and around the school for teachers and students.

What this translated to for most students, was the permission to drive to school a day or two per week, necessitating train and bus transport for the remaining days.

This is almost an exact replica of my first car. Except mine was a faded baby-poo green. I'm sure you can imagine my popularity and level of coolness.

Unlike most of my more intelligent counterparts, who drove whenever they liked, and parked a decent distance from the school – walking the rest of the way and keeping the school none the wiser – I decided to confront the system with honesty, and buck it to their faces.

Why, I questioned, did the school not plan for this growth and expansion by choosing a location with ample parking? What was the board of directors doing about this issue? Many hours of valuable homework time were being lost by seniors, wasting time on public transport when they could be home focusing on work (or the latest cosmo magazine and manicure), depending on your definition of ‘work’.

I found a lovely old lady who lived a few houses up from the school, who had no car and an empty driveway. She was more than happy for me to park my car at her house every day. The principal declared it a ‘no-go’. It would be unfair to other students, he claimed.

My father got involved and there was a lot of back-and-forward letter writing for a while, before, totally exasperated, dad decided to call the principal and talk it out – hopefully solving the problem once and for all. I don’t remember much about the conversation other than hearing him shout “You have your head so far up your ass you can’t see the light!”

My father was not prone to bad language. In fact, this might be the only time I ever heard him use the word ‘ass’. Clearly this principal had driven him to the point of absolute frustration with his lunacy. I understood completely.

As I heard him hang up the phone, I smiled to myself, knowing that only a positive outcome for me could come from such a statement.

It did. I drove every day for the duration of my schooling.

I digress.

When we met with the principal at the alternate school we were checking out, he put out his hand to shake ours and his voice boomed; “You are so lucky to find a space with us…. this school has such an exemplary record, we have a waiting list of people desperate to get in. You really should consider yourselves incredibly lucky. I was honored as one of the top 20 principals in NSW in 2002.”

2002!! That’s like 9 years ago dude! Before wireless internet and Justin Beiber (his fame – not his birth – though it’s probably a close call). It barely counts as this decade! (Judging from his personality,  I also suspected the criteria was very ambiguous.)

I mumbled something polite, while giving my husband the look. The look said; “we are not sending our kid to learn under this douches guidance, under any circumstances.”

We left and I exclaimed, “Can you believe it? I thought it was only because my last memories of school were as a kid, that I thought all principals were such douchebags! They’re still douchebags, even though I’m an adult!”

(Perhaps not the most eloquent way to describe it.)

My opinion changed when I met my sons current principal.

I liked him immediately. As we toured the school he shared story after story with us, keeping us laughing and impressed all at once, but what sold me was this statement;

We have a zero tolerance rule for bullying in school, we don’t have a bullying problem…well except for Jennifer L,” he sighed dramatically.

Jennifer L is a grade A student, prodigy at violin, mathematics state champion 4 years running, volunteer firefighter and all-round incredible person. Unfortunately she had a fight with her boyfriend in the senior center last year and slapped him across the face and she’s been labeled as a bully ever since.”

“I flinch every time I see her, or use a book as a protector shield if she comes to my office – I just never know what she might do. She is mortified. I use her as the example for bullying for every new student that comes in the school.”

His eyes twinkled as he described the situation and his mouth showed the beginnings of a smile.

It was hilarious imagining this super-achieving ‘good girl’ let the emotions get the better of her (as only teenage girls can do) – and slap her man  – and then be the poster-child for bullying for the rest of her school life.

I loved it. And so did he. The smile on his face told me he enjoyed telling the story and he enjoyed ribbing her about it at every opportunity. I suspect she is able to laugh about it too.

So here my son will stay (at least until their bullying mascot graduates and then we’ll need to reconsider our options), and in the meantime this school has given me hope that there are school principals that exist who are nice, normal, amusing, and not on some kind of crazy power trip.

Thank you to all those who fulfill this role with dignity, fairness and kindness.


As we all know the lunar eclipse happened on Saturday night (Australian Time). It started about midnight and I had decided to stay up to watch and try to get some photos.

Clouds did not predict a successful outcome

I am not particularly great with a camera. I love photography, but the aperture, ISO, white balance..blah, blah, blah… is just all to technical for my little mind and so I just randomly change these things up and down as I take photos and hope I get a few that work. (Really, I do. Makes my husband crazy.)

Unfortunately, this theory landed me with a hundreds of photos from the eclipse that were useless at best. Shockingly, a few of them did turn out OK and I decided to include them here. All I used was my Canon Rebel XSi, a tripod, my Front Porch, a Sigma 70-300mm lens, and a bottle of wine.

(Bottle of wine is mandatory, remember you are staring at a big light in the sky for hours with nothing else to do but check out the edge work on your neighbor’s lawn. Studying that edge work is a lot less arduous when you are liquored up. Trust me.)

It started really cloudy, so I didn’t get any good full moon shots, and I wasn’t sure how it would end up

They eventually started to dissipate and I decided to hang in there to see what might be

Clouds moving - Showing some promise

I got it!

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16 thoughts on “Planking Mario’s, School Principals, and Lunar Eclipses.

  1. Carrie says:

    YOU are pure, unadulterated entertainment.

    Being from a small town, we never had principals like that. Always friendly and family-oriented. Hate that you have to tolerate that. Talking about bullying…that first one seems somewhat like a bullying. In a way.

    Your eclipse pictures? FABULOUS. You did a fantastic job on those. Maybe it was the camera? Maybe it was the wine? Who cares…they are great!

    Mario did it for me. I just THOUGHT I loved you before. Now? I’m sold.


  2. Tina says:

    I’d like to know how your son’s school actually accomplishes zero tolerance. My daughter’s school claims as much but falls short on the execution. Thanks again for a great read, and photos.


    • Oh I have no doubt it happens, I think you’re right – it’s impossible for there to literally be ZERO, but of course, its an excellent goal to have and one worth persuing, and thus far save the few usual playground comments that kids will have in passing to one another, we have had no issues – yet!


  3. Dawn Marchment says:

    Great read Karen very entertaining , loved the Mario photo and the pictures of the moon.


  4. Awesome moon pics! And way to go, Mario…staying current with the trends! Too funny 😀


  5. Stonehead says:

    I went to eight schools with 10 different principals. A couple were outstanding, five were average, one was vile, one was useless and one was so forgettable no one noticed when he died in his office. True! He used to nap in his office and leave things to his deputy. When the principal died at his desk the office staff thought he was asleep. Everyone went home. It was only when the cleaner went to do his office next morning that it was discovered he was dead.

    As for current experiences with our own children, well, let’s just say that things could be better.


    • Surely there is a blog post in there somewhere? A principal that died at the desk and no one noticed? Fascinating! I hope you move onto better principals also – they seem to be sadly lacking these days, but I know there have to be a few gems in there somewhere – the world can’t be FULL of assholes – right?


      • Isaias says:

        Education has gone down the sewer for a few decades now. And not only in the US. And it’s not just the edtocuars. It’s also the left wing and their hatred for anything that has even just a remote connection to hard work and achievement. Over here, many years ago, the green party (aka the eco-commies) were screaming We need more academics! Well, what did we get? More people in medicine? Physics? Engineering? Nope. Medicine hasn’t really changed in the past years, and they always had their knock-out exams to make room for courses that only allow a certain amount of people (anatomy and dissection are the famous examples, they only have so many corpses to cut open.)No, what we got was psychology, philosophy and stuff like journalism. Yes, those are hopelessly overrun. Hooray, for those academics . Okay, Japanology is also overrun, but only in the first semester. Through all 6 semesters from start to BA we have a roughly 90% drop out quote. It’s currently so popular because of the manga and anime hype, but people are simply weeded out with the Japanese language itself. The language simply destroys all the manga and anime kids. What if left over after our lecturing ladies are done with the students is weeded out by scientific work. What graduates are the die hard people.Anyway.Meanwhile the green party went ahead and brought forth the idea that school kids, who fail up to three courses in a year, should still be able to advance to the next grade.Marxists don’t like smart people. They like stupid people, because stupid people are easier manipulated.


  6. societyred says:

    Great story! Very entertaining 🙂
    I agree about principals in general. When I was younger during the 60’s the Beatles were making their debut and we all wanted to have Beatle hair. I went to Catholic school (horror of horrors!) and our principal was a priest, (I think his name was actually father douchebag). One day he declared that boys’ hair would not be tolerated if it was long enough to touch their eyebrows. He staged a weekly event where he sat violators in front of the school, taunted them, and cut it for them. Ah, the memories…


    • Sounds very similar to my religious school. They actually dictated the type and style of the girls underwear that was allowed – and they checked! I kid you not. Those were the days…before we could all claim sexual harassment or something else justifiably disgraceful and wear our rebellious sexy underwear with abandon! 🙂


  7. zorgor says:

    Hey, faded baby-poo green is cool!


  8. your discussion about the school principals hit the nail right on the head! Although it’s been many years since our son was in school, I have vivid memories of very nearly going across the table after the counselor with whom we were discussing our son’s behavior in school, His suggestion that perhaps my son was causing some of the problems he was having was ridiculous, as anyone who knew him could have told you. At any rate, I had to be restrained, and I’m a pretty calm person.

    I’m convinced that principals of schools, as well as the majority of the counselors, are cognizant of the limits of their respective fiefdoms, and are resigned to the fact that they’re going no further, and are going to rule with an iron fist for as long as possible.

    Thanks for reminding me of how bad it can be.


    • Ahh…hopefully many of them read these comments and think about the legacy they are leaving. Sadly, I have heard this too often, happily, I have heard the opposite just as much!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me your thoughts!


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