Monday, December 27, 2010

On Christmas

This Christmas was a different one for me. Not only was it characterised by constant and unrelentingly bad weather, but I also spent it at my house. This is significant for one reason: I have never, in my 29 years, ever not spent Xmas Eve at my parents' farm, and gone to church at 8am the next day.

When I realised this, I felt really adult all of a sudden. Because now I get to create my own traditions, and not have to blithely follow those of my family. C and I will, in future, decide what we want to do for the holidays, instead of just showing up at the usual family 'do'.

In the end, I had a tiring, fairly stressful Xmas Day. But it was heaps of fun and comparatively less frightening that attempting to help my mother put on lunch for twelve, or whatever the number of guests is for that year.

We had a champagne breakfast with bacon and eggs, then I spent the rest of the morning prepping lunch. My brother and his girlfriend arrived and we ate well, but not too much. Everyone liked everything (phew). And then we drove to the farm for dinner, at a leisurely pace due to the ever-present rain.

I got some lovely presents, and most of all I loved spending heaps of time with my family and loved ones. Even more pleasing, I don't feel like I've over-eaten this year. And I've barely had any drinks past the one glass of wine in the evening.

Now my thoughts turn towards the next milestone - my 30th in two weeks' time. And I haven't even sent out the invites... GULP.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On rain

Rain Drops

Today I'm thinking about rain. Because despite it being December, it's been uncharacteristically wet this year. It feels like it has been raining for a month, and I'm just so darn sick of it!

December and Xmas time in Queensland should be sunny and unrelentingly hot. My days should be spent loving the air conditioning in my office and going home to jump in the pool for half an hour before dinner. Instead, it's just rain, rain, rain; plus the added bonus of sporadic flooding and hail to go with it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am as romantic as the next person about the gentle sound of rain on the roof, and the wonderful smell of damp earth about a shower... but this is getting ridiculous!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On U2

Firstly, I would like to thank my long-suffering boyfriend C, for going with me to the concert. He doesn't even like concerts and also is not too hot on U2. But he did it anyway! Love him lots.

We started the evening with dinner – a shared pizza at Roma St Transit Centre. I don't know why, but in a decision that I would later regret (given the humidity and distance), we decided to walk to Suncorp Stadium. Should have taken the train. Then I could have arrived fresh and bright-eyed instead of sweaty and grumpy!

Anyhoo, we went in our gate and walked about ten steps and there was our aisle! We decended the stairs to find ourselves in row 11. And amazingly, nobody came to sit in front of us! I figured out that this was because no tickets had been sold for the first 10 rows. I'm assuming that was to keep a buffer between us crazed fans and all that expensive equipment? Not to mention that we were sitting directly in front of the 'star path'. C explained that to me – it's the term security uses to describe the route the VIPs take at a venue. Below is a pic that gives you an idea just how close we were to the action.

u2 004

The downside? We were basically behind the stage. Now, as I only paid $40 each for our tickets, I didn't really care where we sat, and I was prepared for 'partial view' seats anyway. Turns out it was pretty great anyway, for the following reasons:

  1. As previously mentioned, nobody sitting in front of us to obscure our view

  2. Ditto, right in front of the Star Path, so we watched Jay Z and U2 walk onto the stage, and leave

  3. We could see the whole concert on the 360 degree video screen

  4. We didn't have to stand for 4hrs, unlike the poor plebs in the main arena. I understand they paid a lot more than us too. Well, for them it was probably worth it as the 'inner circle' part was pretty much in the thick of the action, but I'd prefer a seat any day. That said, U2 is one of the only bands I have stood for, and that was on their previous Vertigo tour.

u2 002

u2 003

The action kicked off with Jay Z at 6.45pm. Turns out he didn't make use of the huge stage or move from the front part, so we didn't really see him, except for his hat. I wonder why he couldn't run around on all the circular stages and bridges like U2 did? So he did about 8 songs, only three of which I knew. 'Empire State of Mind' went off, I love that song.

Then there was a break whilst roadies struck Jay Z's equipment and set up U2's. This took about 45mins I think. And then the big moment!

I have never been so close to the band before, and being able to see them so close as they strolled up to the stage was awesome. I really, really wanted to yell out 'I love you, Bono!' but Im pretty sure that C could have died of embarrassment so I just screamed a bit.

The concert itself was just amazing. I think Brisbane should feel bloody PRIVILEGED that such an amazing band brought its goddamn freakishly cool rock show to town. The set alone was astounding, but U2 live is just another experience altogether. You know you're in good hands with them. There are no stuff-ups, no embarrassing musical errors. There's some political stuff but you do expect that because, c'mon, it's Bono.

u2 006

They kicked off with a short ditty of a song I didn't know, then went straight into 'Beautiful Day'. It was at this point that I may have lost my shit because I just love that song. It is my 2nd favourite. It started to rain halfway through 'Magnificent', but stopped by the end of the next song. It was like not even the rain would dare ruin the evening.

Their last tour contained a full set of political songs, with Bono even donning a headband with various religious symbols on it, signifying unity etc etc. I found though they still did a set of political numbers ('Sunday, Bloody Sunday', 'One', 'Walk On') it wasn't as pointed or sustained this time around. They did broadcast images of Aung San Suu Kyi during 'Walk On' though, and Bono reminded us there are still 2200 political prisoners in Burma.

The part I enjoyed the most was when the 360 degree screens segmented downwards, forming this amazing cone. The light show in this part was just amazing, and when the band was thrashing out 'Vertigo' and 'City of Blinding Lights' it was pretty overwhelming.

The only disappointment for me was that they didn't play 'Sweetest Thing', (not for me, for C, as it is his fave U2 song) and that they included quite a bit of stuff off the latest album, which I did not like. In fact the only song I can listen to off 'No Line on the Horizon' is 'Magnificent'.

We escaped directly after 'With or Without You', as I considered the evening to be complete at this point (them having played 'Streets' just prior). I believe they concluded with one of the new album songs but not sure which, all I know is that they were still playing it by the time we had walked all the way up to Milton station!

To conclude: I love U2, I love that they came to Brisbane and I hope they continue to grace us with their presence. And I hope with all my heart their next album returns to the greatness that they are capable of.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On housework

In my opinion, the division of labour in our household is in no way even. In my boyfriend's mind however, his ability to do the heavy lifting more than makes up for the mundane stuff he just doesn't do.

Sometimes we have a garbage standoff. I'm sure most of you are familiar with this little game - it's those times when you seem to be having a competition as to who can stuff the most rubbish into the kitchen bin. And when it's full, who can balance MORE crap on top. It's a game that requires nerves of steel and a deficient olfactory system - the bin becomes smellier and grosser each day as each person waits for the other to break and actually take it out.

A big embarrassed to report, that in our house, my boyfriend usually breaks first. But it takes at least 5 days. Now that's gross.

That said, he does do the things I hate: scrubbing the loo, getting the wheelie bins in. Occasionally he even vacuums and does washing!

And still our home remains a mess most of the time. I think this is the result of a number of factors - we're both low-level hoarders, and he has a tendency to just leave things where they fall eg. shoes, socks, magazines, clothes, books, junk mail... And then there's my tendency to just stop giving a shit about how the house looks during the week when I'm exhausted from work. So a little selective blindness goes on in our household for a large portion of the time.

I read an article somewhere that the key to domestic happiness and keeping your house clean is to do a little big each day, and not save it all up for the weekend. I'm still to master that skill!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

On selling things

For about a year now (feels like a decade), I've been wanting to have a garage sale. Because our house is full of excess furniture, and ugly items. For those that don't know, we basically bought my boyfriends' parents' house and when they moved out... they didn't take much with them.
Which is great, because we inherited a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. But bad, because we also inherited all the old ugly furniture and every single knick-knack they'd collected and hoarded over the past 15 years.

Since we bought the house nearly 2 years ago, I've continually wondered how a person could accumulate so much "stuff" that must be important (because it wasn't thrown away) and then not want to take it with them when they moved to another city. In my various spurts of cleaning out cupboards lately, I've found things such as C's mum's entire photo album collections, C's grandfather's war medals, certificates, awards, an entire collection of Elvis memorabilia and a whole lotta "stuff" that C won't let me throw out or sell because it's an heirloom, or important, or he just likes it.

But I managed to convince him we need to get rid of some of the larger items. Because it's a damned small house, and we have a serious storage problem. I want to replace the old sideboards and cabinets with bookshelves and the like.

So I finally set a date for our garage sale, and we spent two evenings lugging furniture and books out to the garage.

the garage never looked so clean, I swear! see the creepy child-doll? I really wanted to get rid of that thing

I haven't mentioned the books yet, but there were plenty. All mine, so I take fully reponsibility for my book-buying habit. I really need to get rid of some (to make room for more, you see).
Anyway, 7am finds C in bed (he worked really late and only got home at 5am) and me sitting in our garage realising I have done no advertising and my signs suck.

my view at 7am this morning. a deserted street.

No customers for the first hour and a half. Only one random guy who came up and asked if I'd like him to mow his lawn. With our own lawnmower and petrol. For $20. I said no.

Luckily then my parents arrived and immediately started bustling about. Dad went down the street and stuck my signs to the street post. Mum helped with price labels. And at last I could leave them to watch the "shop" and get myself a blessed cup of tea.

Ended up we only sold a few items - some pot plants (which my parents brought with them as part of a clever marketing scheme, to draw punters in) and a single book. I think we made $8.

Oh well. Try again next time?

In the meantime, where am I going to park my car?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Christmas

Two months since I last blogged. By now, readers, you will realise that I am not the most consistent person in the world. I hasten to assure you, however, that there was a time when I blogged EVERY DAY. Granted, I was in Uni then and had a bucket-load of spare time to devote to things like fandom and livejournal!

So Christmas is coming. Every year I make an internal resolve to organise things in October, every year I don't. It's closer than I realized too when you split it up into pay days. I think I only have about 3 until the big day.

This year I am working until New Year. We get the public holidays off, but otherwise I'll be at work every day. Including Christmas Eve, which I'm not looking forward to. Taking calls at 5pm on that day from people with very unrealistic expectations about what can or can't be done will be stressful, to say the least. I have had annual leave the past two Christmases so previously I've escaped this chaos for the most part.

I actually don't like Christmas much. That is to say, I detest tinsel, Santas and all the tacky decorations that spring up like Holiday Fairy vomit at this time of the year. I caused a bit of a stir in my team at work when I asked them not to tinsel-up my pod with their decorating. Announcing that I detest Christmas apparently is a bit shocking. One girl sat there with her mouth open and eyes wide, like I'd just announced I eat babies.

But there are things I LOVE about Christmas too. I love finding and buying the perfect gift. I love wrapping presents and the anticipation of giving and receiving. And I love that I get to spend oodles of time with my family. That part makes me happy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


So you'll never guess what I'm doing right now. Nope. Not that.
I'm loading ammunition.

Yep, I've been putting freaking gunpowder into bullet cases, yo. Nothing sinister going on at my house, just helping C out loading his ammo for his target shooting on the weekend.

He's asked me to go with him and I'm reluctant. Not because I don't enjoy firing a few rounds myself - and he will definately let me have a go - but because it's really, really boring most of the time you're there. It's like being in the army; lots of waiting around interspersed with exciting but short bursts of gunfire.

Ah well. I'll take a good book and try to catch up on my reading. And compliment his shooting, of course.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On dentists

My tooth hurts. It has for three days now. It's not terrible, just a faint dull ache but I'm coming to terms with the fact a dentist will need to be consulted. This has made me realise, I literally cannot remember the last time I went to the dentist. I can recall going as a child, and doing all those fun things like get fillings and get your tongue stuck on the spit-sucker, however I do not recall ever going since I left high school. And that's 11 years ago!

And it's not even that I'm afraid. I actually used to quite like getting a tooth pulled, or a filling put in. It was interesting. And for some insane reason, I had faith that it wouldn't hurt. Whether it was the power of the mind or not, it never did. Even when one time the dentist offered to do a filling without any anaesthetic, which I enthusiasically accepted. Looking back, that seems bizarre. I guess I was just a strange kid.

I am afraid of one thing now though - not the pain. It's the cost. What does it cost to go to the dentist these days? I was kind of hoping it was one of those things you can bulk bill like the doctor, but I am informed no such luck. It's money I can ill-afford but I guess it's got to be done. Or I can put up with this tooth. Hmmm.

Friday, June 25, 2010

On tiredness

Last night when I got home from work, I was tired. I was tired when I went to bed, and I woke up tired with a headache. What have I been doing to myself? Nothing. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Just a boring, vanilla day at work and a coffee afterwards with a friend.

It makes me wonder - if I, a girl of not-yet-30, with no children with only a laid-back boyfriend to keep alive, am this exhausted from a day's work, how to working mothers get anything done?

I could barely cook anything for dinner last night. Embarrassingly, I nagged the boyfriend into shoving a few frozen chicken tenders into the oven and we had these with some salad. Not very nutritious, but it was the best I could manage, due to the fact I hadn't had time to go to the butcher and my other half does not even think of such things half the time.

Now imagine the working mother. Gets up, gets everyone breakfast and off to school. Goes to work. Works. Catches the long train or bus home after a stressful day in the office. Picks the kids up from childcare or where ever, goes home. Cooks dinner. Listens to everyone's stories. Cleans up the kitchen, stacks the dishwasher. In between she might put on a load of washing and later put it in the drier. (I imagine this is what might happen as my household of only two people cannot get by only washing on the weekend). Tucks kids in bed. Finally has a moment to herself and indulges in a well-earned cup of tea. What a day!

I can't even fathom it. And it makes me feel exceedingly worried why I find it so hard to even squeeze in a half hour workout at the gym three times a week. Maybe I need some time management lessons. Or just need to pull my socks up. We'll see.

Monday, June 7, 2010

On camp

For the last three days I have been at camp. I haven’t been to camp for 13 years, the last time being Year 12. Ironically, it was the same darn camp! Located on a beautiful lake and nestled amoungst the surronding bushland, I felt quite cut off from civilisation. I didn’t even think about TV for the first 24hrs. It was a strange sensation, being unable to watch telly or movies; or text whenever I wanted. My mobile service provider had no coverage, but some of the other ladies had service. I noticed their mobiles were constantly ringing, and they were forever dashing out of the main hall to deal with family crises. I must admit to feeling a bit smug at these points. Unreachable exc ept by the public phone at the camp (and this number given out with strict instructions to the boyfriend: for emergency use ONLY), I was very close to being unplugged.

There’s a book I want to read, called ‘The Winter of our Disconnect’, about a family that isolated themselves from all modern communications and technology for six months. I don’t claim to want to serve that period of disconnection for myself, but for the three days I did, I was happy. There was something satisfiying to just experience the world. Not to constantly check emails, texts, tweets. Not to be constantly bombarded with advertising, and given news updates even if you don’t want them. As a side note, I have basically given up watching the news because it’s so distressing. I know it’s a head-in-the-sand attitude, but I know that if it’s important enough, the news will get through to me. You can’t avoid it, even when you’re cut off in the middle of the bush! This was demonstrated by a text to my mother by my father, referring to “that UFO”. She had intermittant service on her mobile there, but the only person bothering her was dad. Turns out he was one of many people to spot a supposed UFO at 5.45am on Saturday morning in the skies over Queensland. He was most excited, then disappointed that it turned out to be a privately-launched rocket losing orbit.

The camp itself was for scrapbooking. Yes, I am aware of scrapping’s old-lady image. It could do with a public relations overhaul, I must say! But I’m unashamed of my love for it, and am even a consultant for Creative Memories, a traditional and digital scrapbooking company. The camp was exclusively for CM consultants and their customers – and is so popular that this year they are running not one but two weekend retreats. Basically, we scrap the entire time. And eat. But mainly scrap. I got so much done, I actually ran out of photos and paper by Sunday, and truthfully will be quite happy if I do not see a scrapbook page for a week. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing after all!

So my weekend went something like this: arrive, scrap, eat, scrap, bed, sleep, morning walk, eat, scrap, eat, scrap, eat, scrap, bed, sleep, morning walk, eat, scrap, eat, scrap some more... All in all I had a wonderful time. It was a great opportunity to catch up on my projects, and basically do more scrapping than I had collectively done in the last 6 months! And I got to spend heaps of time with my mum. I will definately be going again next year. The comraderie, and happy vibe of a roomful of women all doing what they love was too, too enjoyable.

Friday, May 28, 2010

On blogging

I haven't written a post in a while. To be honest, I just don't think to do it. My day is filled with work, checking Twitter, surfing sites that make me smile like failbook and fmylife, and Facebook games during my breaks. I don't use the internet at home much. And I watch TV probably more than is healthy.

I used to blog a lot. Well, I used to post on Livejournal a lot. I'm not ENTIRELY sure that's the same thing. I always treated LJ as a sort of empty bucket into which to spill my thoughts. That was the least gross metaphor I could think of, y'all should be grateful…
So maybe that's why I made the transition to Twitter so successfully. I have so many random thoughts, it's the perfect recepticle. I don't often think long and hard about things. Or feel compelled to share these more in-depth thoughts with people.

That said, I have heaps to say about stuff. I think I've got to get out of the mindset of trying to make every blogpost 'interesting' or 'funny'. And just blog about life. And things. Because things are cool. And stuff. Stuff's good.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On flu

With news reports saying that this year's flu season will be even worst than the last, I can actually see myself turning into a young, female version of Howard Hughes.
You see, I hate being sick. Yes, I love time off work (doesn't every body?) but it's hardly ever worth it when you feel so bad. You can't even enjoy the best things in life - like eating, reading, or tv - properly because you just feel so awful. On the upside, sleeping becomes a hobby, or even a sport.
I'm giving serious thought to public transport during this Autumn/Winter and am considering paying for parking in the city just to avoid it. I just don't want to be somewhere where people sneeze into their hands then put them on a pole, or a handhold. Or cough on all the people within a 2m radius. I don't know about you, but hearing one of those hacking, chesty coughs that sound like bronchitis immediately make me feel sickly.
And yet, I haven't seriously considered getting a flu needle. There are apparently two types of vaccination this year - one for swine flu, and one for the latest strain of influenza. My mum gets them every year, but she's a teacher and you know kids; walking virus factories...
If anyone has an opinion, I'm interested. Should I get the vaccination? Or rely on natural immunity to get me through the flu season?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On tea

I really love tea. Tea shops fill me with delight. I'm going to visit a new one this afternoon with Ms B, my friend and fellow tea-lover.

But I wasn't always this way. Right up until my teenage years I couldn't stomach the thought of tea or coffee. I didn't like caffeinated drinks at all. But I vividly remember the exact moment I discovered I liked tea.

I had tried a few sips of my mother's Bushells before, but she always had hers unsweetened. I found it gross. One night when I was a teenager, however, I was asked to housesit for our neighbours whilst they were out for the evening. The lovely wife left me behind the most gorgeous tea tray with a china cup and saucer, a silver teaspoon and some Dilmah teabags. So I tried some - and found the wonderful additions of milk and a teaspoon of sugar made it just right.

To this day I am a big fan of Dilmah, and have one every morning with my breakfast. But I'm also constantly on the lookout for interesting black teas to try - ceylon, darjeeling, yunnan, assam and also Australian blends are my preference.

And at the end of a long day, there really is nothing to beat a sweet milky cup of tea. Well, actually a cuppa is great any old time. Hopefully I'll get to try something new this afternoon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On childhood

My favourite radio station this morning posed a caller question: What did your dad let you do when you were a kid? Some people rang in and said Dad was in the army, he let me fire a cannon when I was 10. One said they were allowed to drive the car when I was very young, etc.

It occurred to me that my Dad and my mum too were pretty "loosey goosey". Considering we grew up on a farm, they really let us do some dangerous things. But then again, perhaps they was teaching us stuff. And they knew that an adult, be it our aunt or uncle, or our nanna or poppa, were never far away.

From an early age we (being my brother, my cousins and I) were allowed to wander pretty much where ever we liked, with the exception of the barn and in the hay bales, due to the danger of snakes. That did however leave a large amount of places to get in trouble, including the dairy, the cattle yards, the pigsties, the grain silo and the tennis shed. All perfect hideouts for poisonous animals of various kinds, and, upon reflection, all pretty much custom-made kiddy death-traps. There was a lot of potential for accidents but I guess our parents knew we had enough common sense not to hurt ourselves. In fact, the only accident I remember that predates our teen years was when my cousin fell out of a tree (we were playing "Ghostbusters, which should enable you to date the incident) and broke his arm.

One of my first memories is sitting on dad's lap being allowed to "drive" the tractor while he was ploughing. Of course, I did little more than turn the steering wheel about in a random fashion but at the time, I was amazed. I was driving! Go me! I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5.

I also vividly recall at around the same age racing along, perched precariously on the back of the motorbike. Gripping his waist tightly, we'd go almost sideways when he changed direction mustering some flightly cows. Later, he tried to teach me how to ride it, without much success. Riding it solo was scary. Then again, I was only 12 and my feet barely touched the ground on either side.

We were also allowed to give directions when he was handling heavy machinery. He owned a tip truck and a loader, and my brother and I would help him load it the latter onto the tray of the former. He probably didn't pay much attention to our authoritative calls of "A little to the right! Now straight! Ok, left!" but he made us feel involved. He even let us drive it around the quarry on occasion. I loved making the bucket go up and down.

And then when I was entering my teens, he decided to teach us to use the shotgun. In case we had to deal with a snake on our own, I guess. I remember he took us up on the hill and lined up some soft drink cans for us to shoot at. How heavy that gun was. Right now I cannot recall if I even hit anything but at least from then on I knew the mechanics of putting in a cartridge and firing. Useful stuff to know, though I never fired a weapon again until recently when my boyfriend and I started sporting shooting.

C's childhood was filled with cool army stuff, because both his parents were enlisted at the time. He spent a few years when very young in Western Australia, and has some pretty vivid memories of the heat, using army jeeps as a jungle gym, and listening to stories about the regiment. I'll have to ask him when I get home what crazy stuff his parents let him get up to.

So what will I let my kids do when I have them? Probably nothing. I'll probably be a molly-coddler of championship proportions. Before I learn to relax, that is.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On stockings

There is a girl in my office who wears black stockings every day. I don't know how long this has been going on but we're in the last month of a Queensland summer and she's still wearing them.

Perhaps I should set the scene. This is Brisbane. Summer in Brisbane means daily temperatures regularly above 30 degrees Celcius and a high degree of humidity. Over the last week, we've had weather that I can only compare to Bangkok in May. As in 35 degrees with 90% humidity. It's been very, very uncomfortable weather. And still she wears stockings. I asked her if she ever gets hot in them, she said no. I haven't yet had the courage to ask her why she actually wears them. Hardly anyone else around here who wears skirts to work in summer does, which just makes it plain strange.

I was never a fan of stockings. I've owned a few pairs in my lifetime and I tend to buy one new pair every winter, which then never get worn except in the direst of circumstances (ie. pants are all in the laundry basket and a skirt is the only option).

They're so uncomfortable. And even though they cover your legs, you still have to shave them otherwise it's unbearable (for you and for others). And yet, I've always aspired to be that be-stockinged office girl, striding down the pavement in a sensible pencil skirt and heels, satchel at my side, on the way to my important work.
I think I've come to realise now those days will never come - putting that much effort into my work outfits is just beyond me most days. But a girl can still dream.

As me again in winter when it's zero degrees with an Artic wind blowing across the train platform.

Friday, February 12, 2010

On sleep

Sleep. It's a basic human need. Though my boyfriend continues to prove that we can go long stretches without it. Seriously, I've seen him charge on for over 48hrs straight fueled purely by caffeine drinks and pure grit. And still be able to function normally.

Me, I need lots of it. At least 7 hours a night or I'm useless to everyone. What annoys me though is I seem to have lost the ability to enjoy a sleep-in. I used to be a champion sleep-iner. During my uni years, I clearly remember not stirring until after lunch on days when I didn't have morning lectures.

Now, on days I'm not working, I wake at 9am at the latest and lie there thinking about how much I'd love to go back to sleep but worrying about all the housework I have to do. Yes, housework. Damn it to hell.

So if I'm not up and about by then I now feel like the day is half wasted! What a turnabout. Does this mean I'm growing up? But there's worse to come.

I've conducted a cursory study with the people I know who have kids. They are unanimous in their assessment of sleep after having children - you'll never sleep in again. Ever. I will be up at dawn every day for the rest of my life.

So having kids, it appears, seems to be like joining the military. Lots of getting up early and running about. I'll have to add that piece of information to the 'con' side of my Having Children list. Sleep'll be hard to give up, for sure.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

On ambition

I turned 29 last month. There. I said it.
I'm a bit worried, not because I'm getting old(er) but because I thought I would have have achieved more by now. Well, be married with kids or something. Or at least know the direction my life was headed in.
When I was in high school I had a homeroom teacher who made use write down 25 goals at the beginning of the year. The first 5 were short term goals to be achieved by the end of the year. The next 5 were to achieve within the next two years. The next ones within 5 years and so on. Then he told us to write 5 very cool, very fantastic, hearts'-desire goals.
I don’t remember what my Fantastic Goals were (pretty sure there was "own a McLaren F1" in there somewhere though) but I do remember some of my 5-10 year goals clearly. There was Travel the World (tick), Live in London For A Time (cross), Go to Uni and Get a Degree (tick) Get A Well-Paid Career (half tick) and Find the Man of My Dreams (surprising, tick!).
And now that I think about it, that's a pretty good strike rate. So why don't I feel like I've accomplished much? I think it's mainly because I have never had any ambition job-wise. I really, honestly, never had a career in mind when I was growing up. When I left high school, I got such a good OP score everyone expected me to do law or medicine. I balked out of Law at the last minute and did what I had suddenly decided that I wanted to do - Arts (for fun) and Commerce (for practical job-getting). After four years of study, the only things I figured out were a) I hate finance and most forms of commerce; and b) I love Anthropology but not enough to make it a career.
And so I landed by a serious of unfortunate incidents into my current Contact Centre job. Five years later, I feel stagnant, I'm itching to get out and really, really over telecommunications.
But I've got the same damn problem - I don't know what I want to do with my life. I desperately need to find my passion. And pay the mortgage at the same time. I feel adrift, directionless and lacking in ambition. It's so bad I was half-tempted this morning to look at a correspondence course in interior design.
I want to be that woman in That's Life! Who writes in about how she always knew she wanted to be a zookeeper, and now she's caring for giraffes in South Africa or some such. Or the kid who always wanted to be a firefighter, or a doctor and every bit of his education and effort has been bent towards this goal.
I need advice, peoples - how did you figure out your passion? Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life?

Friday, February 5, 2010

On interiors

Somewhere along the line, I have acquired a taste for beautiful interior design. I think it's my mother's fault - she's kept me on a steady diet of 'home' magazines for many years.

My long-time love affair with 'Country Style' doesn't look like abating any time soon, and my house is filled with magazine holders filled with publications like 'Home & Garden', 'Home Beautiful' and 'Vogue Living'. I greedily paw my way through each new issue, wishing I had homes like those in the glossy pages of each bible (and at the same time wishing I could take photos like the ones in 'Country Style', they are so gorgeous!).

I dream of completely redorating my ordinary house - currently furnished in a style best described as 'busy mother haphazard, circa 1980'. You see, my boyfried and I bought his parents' house - and when they moved out, they left us a lot of lovely things. Useful things, like the dryer, washing machine, fridges and the dish washer. But also many other items - a lounge, a dining room set, a very large display cabinet and a collection of old drawers and cabinets that had seen better days.

Don't get me wrong- I'm grateful. I just want a house filled with OUR things, not THEIR things. I want a fresh look, perhaps a pretty French Provincial makeover in a palette of off-white, beige and soft cornflower blue. Or a green and white shabby chic house full of distressed white furniture and glass displayed on side-tables. And vases overflowing with peonies and roses. Or even an Australian colonial theme - wood floors, parquetry, beautiful silky-oak side boards and 15-ft ceilings with stunning light fittings. Ooo, and a wrap-around verandah. Littered with quirky 'found' antiques. Don't think I'm getting the latter though, as our home is brick veneer!

Recently, in a rash moment, my boyfriend and I decided to swap the living room and the dining room. It took us all day to move furniture, didn't really find a good new place for anything; then gave up in despair. As a result, there's a big bookcase blocking the light through the front window, boxes of stuff everywhere (we're gradually packing up the parents' knick-knacks) and for a memorable week, the cable tv cord running from one end of the house to the other. I just look at it all and despair. I have lacked the motivation to try to clean it up or rearrange anything.

I think I just need to admit to myself I'll never had a house worthy of 'Home Beautiful'. That might take away some of my stress about the state of my home. I am however hoping to find the motivation to get moving on the mess this weekend.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On exercise

Exercise and I have not always been the best of friends. In our golden period, we each acknowledged the other as worthy enemies and agreed to a mutally beneficial relationship. Exercise agreed to not be too demanding on me, and I agreed to actually do some.

Now I'm a gym member again after a hiatus of over 3 years and it's very, very hard to get back into the exercise groove. I'm not a self-starter at the best of times, and finding the motivation to go to go do a workout after a long shift of people yelling at me and cursing at the computer is hard. This situation is also not helped by the fact that my gym is frequently staffed by the most amazingly handsome, fit men and that I actually fell off the treadmill last week. Well, I didn't fall ALL the way down to the floor but I definately tripped and stumbled off the side. It wasn't even moving at the time.

But the gym is definately better than walking. My mother walks every day at 5am, rain, hail or shine. Heat, flies or blisteringly cold artic wind also. She lives in a place that gets down to -7 degrees in July and she'll still go for a walk down the road. I tell her all the time she's a crazy woman but it doesn't stop her from nagging me about walking. I HATE walking. It's so boring. Even with music. If I could follow my Twitter list or play Petville or something while doing it perhaps I would like it better, but since that's not possible I will only walk when pushed. Or threatened, as is usually the case when I visit my mum.

But my fave exercise is swimming. I continually am amazed by the fact that I now own a house with a pool. Swimming is awesome. Pity it's only 7 strokes from end to end.

Maybe the gym is the best option for exercise, after all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

On hierarchy

It's funny the way people just naturally establish a pecking order. If you left a group alone in a room for an hour I'm sure by the time you checked on them they'd have a ranking system sorted out based on their level of attractiveness, or age, or perhaps who had eggs for breakfast.

My company is probably similar to many out there in that personal prestige is often based on your length of employment. Our employee numbers are issued numerically, so it's possible to tell by this ID approximately how long they've been stalking the halls, so to speak.

It's so prevalent past employees who've left and come back to the company will often ask if they can have their old ID number back, so as not to lose their place in the hierarchy!

At school, it was a different story. I still to this day have no idea what attributes the pecking order was based upon. I am beginning to suspect however that it was a combination of level of confidence, lack of nerdliness and money. Strange for a small country town, but there you go.

These days the only other hierarchy I'm a part of is my family. Not sure where I rank there, but I'm definately #1 daughter. Mainly because I'm the only one!

Monday, January 25, 2010

On snobs

I have been heard to remark in my working career that there is only one type of customer that irks me. That really gets my goat, boils my potato etc etc.

I can put up with the screamers. With the criers, the whingers, the raging angry people. I don't mind the sarcastic ones or the dumb people who just don't understand.

It's the Mrs Buckets of the world who annoy me. That's Bucket, pronounced 'Bouquet'. If you've ever seen "Keeping Up Appearances" you'll know what I mean. They're those ladies (or men!) who feel such a sense of entitlement that the circumstance of anyone saying 'no' to a request of theirs is just... unfathomable! Used to having everything handed to them on a silver platter, the idea that perhaps their money/position/rank/power cannot get them what they want RIGHT NOW is often very foreign.

They react in various ways, and I deal with them according to how I'm feeling that day. But every time I get one, I'm reminded of dear Mrs Bucket and her twinsets, pearls and gloves.

Just once, I'd like to take them down a peg or two. But maybe in another life. Until then, I'm icily polite and bluntly practical. Sorry Hyacinth, I guess I DON'T know who you are. And if I did it wouldn't make a difference!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On Travel

I don't often undertake long car journeys, but today I drove over 2 hours straight to reach my parents' farm. Once out of the city, it's a pretty straight shot up the highway so my mind can dangerously wander.
What never fails to amaze me is how the brain can always be thinking of two or three things at once yet still undertake all the responsibility of driving.
When I worked in a 24hr call centre some time ago, I used to drive 20mins to and from work. Sometimes, coming off a night shift at 2 or 3am, I would commence my commute and then, seemingly almost an instant later, I would come to myself and find I was pulling in my driveway. The scary part? I recalled almost nothing of the journey! It's like I had a driving autopilot that could go through the motions whilst my brain took a short break from reality.
Luckily that hasn't happened in some time.
I always find it interesting also that I get just as tired being a car passenger, as being the driver. What is it about car travel that is so tiring? The forced inaction perhaps? I doubt I'll ever know anyway.
Since getting a job in the city I have discovered the joys of train travel. I had undertaken train journeys before - in Europe, the UK and SE Asia, but never a commuter train. I now have a 45min ride each way and it has allowed me to get a lot of reading done, but I'm yearning for something a little more productive. I could almost consider this commute 'wasted time' except for the wonderful company of Georgette Heyer, Patrick O'Brien, Jane Green, Terry Pratchett, Kerry Greenwood and so many others.
I hope to get a laptop soon. Then maybe I can blog on the way. I guess we'll see.


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