Oct 15, 2014

12 Resolutions: October (and September recap)

This year I'm playing along with #12Resolutions on Twitter and Facebook. The idea is to set yourself short-term, achievable goals, one each month. 

For September my goal was to do floor exercises for 15 minutes a day. 


Not much to recap.

I forgot my resolution! Literally forgot it. I completely forgot I had any resolution going on at all, so needless to say, floor exercises did not happen. We had a lot going on in September - it was a busy and tumultuous month.  No doubt exercises would have been very helpful, if I had remembered I was supposed to be doing them.

'No I can't remember!' by Neil Moralee, Flickr

Anyway, we shall move on.  

For the rest of October (we're already halfway through!) I am making a simple resolution, to get more sleep.  We're approaching the end of the year and things are getting busier. The past couple of months I've found it quite hard to keep up with things and keep my equilibrium, and sleep can only help.

What's on your to-do list this month?

Oct 7, 2014

Drama Mama

Parents who don't do paid work outside the home will sometimes blurt out how it must be nice escaping the chaos of home to go to an office with non-sticky surfaces, cafe coffee and lunch breaks, and they are right of course. When your children are very young, work is lovely (and yes, easy) compared to staying at home.

What's hard is managing it - the juggle, the extra organisation required, the 'double shift' piling laundry, food prep and cleaning on top of a day at work, and managing the emotions of tired and overwrought family members - primarily yourself but also the children.

The other bit that's hard is The Drama.

I can't come in today, my kid's sick. I have to leave early, my kid's sick.
I have to go, my kid's just had a melt-down at school.
I'm going to be late, my kid's sick.
I need to work from home next week, my kid has a specialist appointment.
Sorry I'm late, I just couldn't get my kid ready on time today.
Sorry I'm late, my kids are sick and I had to take them to my mother's so I could come in today.
Oh, can I work from home every Thursday for awhile, so I can attend [insert crucial school/kid-related event here]?
Sorry I'm late, my kid got head lice and I had to shampoo the flammable chemicals out of her hair this morning. Oh and I have to leave right on 5 because it's my turn to do the after-school-care pick-up. And can I leave early on Friday, as I have to take my kids to the school disco which starts at 5pm?

All these are not including the myriad number of times you don't attend school events, get a friend to give your kids a lift, have your mother come by the house at 6.30am so you can leave on time, dose your kid with Panadol and send her to school and hope for the best, or win an hour-long argument with your spouse about whose turn it is to take time off work to tend to a sick child.

To make up for late starts I usually take a shorter lunch break, or I stay back a couple of times a week (and that always has consequences at home).  I'm no martyr and my job and employers and my manager are all fantastic, so I'm not complaining. Not at all.

I'm highlighting how embarrassing it is, sometimes. I don't want to be Drama Woman. I don't want to take advantage of my employer's awesome understanding and flexibility. But sometimes you have dramas.

When I was twenty-six I worked for awhile at a cafe run by two sisters. They were fairly wealthy and people grumbled that their husbands had bought the cafe for them so they would have something to do. But they learned the job quickly and they worked really hard, and they were there every day. One day one of them had her two little kids with her during closing time, and while she tried to pitch in and do all her usual work, she just couldn't in the end, so she asked me to do some extra stuff she would normally do herself. I was tired and grumpy and I did not cut her much (any) slack. I was really annoyed she had the kids there. I made it pretty obvious I was annoyed. I had to stay back later because she had kids with her, who did not belong in the workplace. I was not happy that the rest of us had to make up for her (obvious!) lack of organisation and work ethic!

Did I ever give any thought to the fact she turned up every day and worked hard, and never mentioned her kids or how she juggled her life? Did I even consider the fact that this was the only time we ever saw her kids, and that she might have been truly stuck this one day?  Did I have any compassion for what she was dealing with that day? No, I am sorry to say, I did not.  All I saw was... drama!

You can buy this shirt at Sugarbunny Shop

Oct 3, 2014

Things I Think While Using Public Transport

  • Jeez, people are funny looking

  • Where do I go for my train? Why can I never remember which platform?

  • Man it's crowded.

  • Still so many people hanging out "under the clocks", are they still meeting friends there? That's what we did before mobile phones.

  • Why does this concourse still always smell of urine? It's open 24 hours, it's floodlit, there are shops and people and police everywhere. When are people pissing?

  • Why are there so many cops here, what's going on? Maybe this is one of those terror threat things, should I be worried? Be alert, not alarmed. God, what a joke. Hoodies, backpacks, burqas. If I were a radicalised young Australian where would I take a bomb, here or Chadstone? Surely Chadstone makes more sense and would be easier. God, please let it be Chadstone and not here. Oh my god I can't believe I just thought that, I didn't mean it. What's happening to us, this terror alert crap is corrupting us all. Or maybe just me, I'm a bad person. No, I'm a good person for recognising I might be a bad person. Oh god, not this stupid feedback loop again. The loop - I need to make sure I'm on a Loop train. Does this train go through the Loop? Shit, I didn't pay attention and now I don't know. What station is this?

  • OK, do I need to be at the front of the train or the back of the train? I can never remember, I never pay attention. Oh my god, like it matters! What, I have to walk an extra 50 metres when I get out? No, it's about time and efficiency, it feels good to manage this properly and get out just where you need to be. I rarely do that though. 

  • Oh right, back of the train. I'll remember that next time.

  • Seats, seats, are there any seats? There's one but it's in the middle. There's got to be an edge seat somewhere. Shit, I missed it. Should have taken the middle one. But so uncomfortable. Standing is better. Long time to stand though. I can't find a comfortable way to hold my bag. I should have brought a cross-body bag instead of this handbag with tiny straps I have to hold. It's hurting my back, the drag on my arm downwards. I'm not game to put it on the floor though. Damn, commuting is so much easier for men without handbags.

  • Who the hell keeps their bag on a seat next to them when the train is full?

  • Ugh, this person, hogging the edge seat. Just move over, would you? So annoying.

  • I'm just going to stay on this edge seat, people can step over to get to the middle. It's too squishy in there, my legs don't fit and I get cramps. 

  • Man, walking three blocks uphill from the station to my work has killed me! I'm so unfit. What's happened to me, I used to walk everywhere.

  • It's nice to sit and read while commuting to work. Much better than driving. Though I do miss listening to Red and then AM on the radio. I could stream it on the phone. But how much data does that use? Funny how radio is no longer going to be free once it's all digital. Analogue radio is free but digital radio isn't, that's quite a change really. Like everything these days, every element unbundled and costed out, let pricing dictate behaviour. Bloody economists. 

  • I want to play Candy Crush but it's too embarrassing on the train. Maybe another game. Is Subway Surf embarrassing? I'll just read the news instead. Twitter is ok, I can scroll Twitter. Not Facebook, obviously. Facebook is embarrassing. Why the hell do I care what people think about what I'm doing on my phone? Well that's just how society works, it's human psychology, quite normal.  

  • What station is this? Should I call Y for my lift now or is it too early? They don't have enough of those train maps up on the walls, why is that? They used to be everywhere. Oh, I see, the trains now have bigger windows, there's not as much wall space. Hey, remember back when they had poetry on the train walls, was that here or in London? That was nice.

  • Oh this poor woman with a pram and crying baby. How awful. Ugh, hope that kid stops crying soon though. Maybe I should try and cheer it up. But what if I fail, that would just be awkward. 

  • What stop is this? Oh my god, have I gone past my station? It's so dark out there, I can't see a thing. Where are we? 

  • Going in to work on the bus and train is OK, quite nice actually. But man, coming home sucks. Too crowded, and the trip takes too long. I'm exhausted. It saves money though. But shit I'm so tired. Bugger it, tomorrow's Friday, I'm driving.

"Commuting II" by Rebecca Wilson via Flickr Creative Commons

Sep 29, 2014

Young, Female, Talented, Hated

People don't like show-offs, or arrogance. I get that. I agree with them. Justin Bieber is understandably lambasted for his antics. Kanye West attracts (gentle) mockery for his attitude and lifestyle.

But other than Justin Bieber, I don't really see young famous guys attracting the level of hatred and mockery landed on young women. Young female stars are not lauded much for their talent, even when they are very talented.

Miley Cyrus is almost universally reviled now. For some bad taste dancing and probably a touch of arrogance. But listen to her songs: she has some great arrangements, and her voice is incredible. She may be young, and she may be annoying - but better get used to her, she's going to be around for a long, long time. I fact, I think she will be a HUGE star, and will last. She reminds me a bit of Madonna in her early years, but with the difference that unlike Madonna back then, Miley Cyrus can really sing.

Taylor Swift is someone everyone loves to make fun of, for her supposedly too-many boyfriends, her bad dancing, and her heart-on-her-sleeve lyrics. But how brave, to write and put your teenage poetry out there, and to develop and mature along the way. Apart from the early 'Love Story' which is pretty 'young' in its outlook, I have liked almost all Taylor Swift's songs. Shake It Off, her latest, tells how she intends to deal with "haters". It's probably all bravado but kudos to her. She's young and she's dealing with a lot for someone so young. It's not nothing to create stuff and put it out there and have every aspect of your persona so publicly mocked.

Lana Del Rey has been mocked for her "fake" image, and her past as a wannabe vanilla pop star. But she's a performer, and performers mostly want to be famous. Why wouldn't they try different ways to get there? Most of them have changed their image and their style at some point along the way. (Granted, perhaps not as much as Lana Del Rey). And whatever - it seems she has managed to find the style that really, really suits her. Rock on, Lana.

Katy Perry is mocked for, as far as I can make out, being a sex symbol but not a good enough one. I like some of her songs and don't like others, but I'm pretty fond of Katy Perry for embracing her pre-teen girl audience and treating them with respect and responsibility.

Lady Gaga, with her avante garde persona, gets a bit more respect, or at least is gently mocked rather than vilified. Maybe people are scared of looking as if they don't "get it", or maybe people think they can't figure her out enough to truly dislike her, whereas they think they have the others figured out.

In contrast to all the above, Lorde is universally admired. She is also very talented. But I guess it's much easier to love an "indie" star than the pop stars whose efforts to reach fame are probably much more visible and easier to mock.

I don't have any Miley Cyrus songs, but my iPod contains a few Taylor Swifts, Katy Perrys and Lana Del Reys, and a whole Lorde album. I have Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster on CD as the kids used to love it. Oh, and I've got one Justin Bieber song too (it was requested by my daughter but I don't hate it).

Sep 28, 2014

Sunday Selections: Phillip Island

I think it's about time I did another Sunday Selections post. 

Sunday Selections is a weekly meme hosted by River at Drifting Through Life. 

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River somewhere in your post
3. leave a comment on River's post and visit some of the others who have posted and commented

You may recall my car was written off in an accident about a month ago. Well, two weeks ago, we bought our replacement: a 2010 Honda CR-V. We were on the hunt for a RAV4, but fell in love with this one instead and bought it the day we saw it. We got it at a fair price, which is to say market value.  We're not good at price negotiation, but we bought it from a dealer and I do believe they always sell you at the price they intended anyway. At least these days with online markets and so much information about used car values and shopping out there, the prices are fair.

It comes with a hefty loan of course, but I do love my new car.

So last weekend, Y had a rare full day and night off work and we decided to take the car for a spin to Phillip Island.

We hadn't been there in years, though once upon a time Y and I used to drive down there quite often.

We had lunch at a pizza cafe in Cowes, then drove round to the Nobbies to see the seal centre, and to the penguin area to watch the parade.

You can't take photos of the penguin parade, so I don't have any pictures of that, unfortunately. But there is an app you can download with lots of pictures and information in it, which is very good. There are also some great pictures at the Phillip Island site here

So these photos are all of The Nobbies, looking out over the sea or to Seal Rocks. 

All a bit samey, but lovely anyway.

The kids loved the whole place but especially, of course, the penguins. It is truly fantastic, and quite moving too, to see the little penguins tumble out of the waves, huddle hesitantly at the beach under the soft lights, and then make their (surprisingly fast) waddling trek up the dunes to their burrows.

The best part is walking back up the boardwalks and passing the little penguins on the way. Some of them zoom straight to their burrows, some take their time and seem to enjoy the commune with other penguins on the way. Some sit and stare up at the people staring down at them. A pair we saw obviously had gone the wrong way, or too far, and were waddling back towards the beach, looking around them and making little sounds and conferring with each other as they went, looking just like a couple who has forgotten where they parked their car. 

They were still wandering around, not seemingly distressed and still stopping occasionally to trade low squawks with others heading up from the beach, when we finally left. It's such a treat of a thing to see - you just want to stay there all night.

But evenutally we made our way back to the carpark, and made the trip home, the kids happily snoozing in the back, Y relaxing in the passenger seat, and me enjoying the quiet drive home in the dark, in my awesome new car! (Last time I go on about it, I promise - but I had owned my last car for 9 years).

This Sunday, a less relaxing fate awaits. When Y gets home from work this afternoon, we are stupidly, regretfully, unbelievably... taking the kids to the Royal Melbourne Show. Ugh!

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