Monday, January 28, 2013

there's no holding back a river

The first time my house flooded there was no warning. I had my parents living with me as they were in the process of building a new house. There was an afternoon of torrential rain, the sewage main backed up through the house while we were watching television and before we knew it we had to pick up our toothbrushes and make a run for it. Today we're sitting in the house again with too much time to prepare. The Burnett River is set for record breaking levels. During the GREAT FLOODS of 2011 I didn't see a drop of water from the storm water drain that runs at the back of my property in my yard. This morning I have my own river views and a pool. It came up in the night.
Last time I lost all my shoes, some furniture, an entire house of floor covering and other bits and pieces. This time all my shoes are up high, shelves are all emptied, all furniture is on blocks and crates and the piano (which survived in 2008) is on a trolley ready to roll outside. Violin, viola and other precious things are in the car ready to go. I also have made a preliminary call to my insurer to start the ball rolling if need be. In other words, I have been fortunate this time to be able to be as prepared as I can be. There's no holding back a river.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a la Mr Henry Rollins

The best thing I watched on TV this week was the documentary about Bill Hicks on ABC2 on Sunday night. Of course I recorded it and watched it on Wednesday but we won't quibble over the details. I am ashamed I was not particularly familiar with Bill Hicks. I had heard his name here and there but never really got any further than that. After watching the documentary I was mightily impressed that such a small "l" liberal, subversive comedian made a career of any kind in the USA. I was also very sad that he died so young of pancreatic cancer. The footage of his final shows made me think that he was on the brink of a big career that would have transcended comedy and morphed into spoken word political comment a la Mr Henry Rollins. We shall never know. I also finished my bingeing on Being Erica thanks to BBC IPlayer. Sadly, they don't have Season 4 but I read the summaries on Wikipedia and I think I will manage without seeing it. Canadian television is interesting. Why don't we get more of it? And last night, once I had seen Federer put Tomic back in his place on the tennis, I watched the final episode of Season 3 of Treme. While not without its flaws I have grown to love those characters as well as the look, feel, pacing and of course music of this great program. By the end I was sad, hopeful and uplifted all at once. If TV can manage that then I think it's okay. If you have never seen Hoop Dreams then you must watch it tonight on ABC2. It's a classic documentary and a devastating expose of the Great American Dream.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Challenge accepted

So this might well be a post about work. Yes, it is. This time last week I was very glad that I had got the whole "first day back at work after Christmas break" thing out of the way before a full week. All the little stresses with taking on a different role were starting to be ironed out and I felt much more confident about the week. I'll let you in on a secret. The thing that was worrying me most about the new role was the calculations involved in the workload document. One thing it seems academics have lots of time for is spending hours coming up with complicated ways of calculating and distributing workload. One of the things I have to do as Head of Program is put together a workload document that does these calculations so that every permanent/fixed term staff member is meeting their required workload for the year (eg. full, fractional ) AND in doing so make sure that the delivery of the program's courses is fully covered in both internal and distance modes according to the estimated quotas for students. This also needs to be done in such a way that we are not spending over our budget with casual staff BUT by the same token we employ the necessary casual staff so we don't find ourselves with permanent staff almost double a full time load (as happened on occasion last year). So it's a balancing, problem solving, mathematical act that requires a calculator. I had been putting off looking at it but on Wednesday I forced myself to open up all the various documents and start at the very beginning. Because as we all know the beginning is a very good place to start. What I found as I put some attention and time into this was that far from being the pain in the neck I had imagined it to be, I was actually enjoying thinking about the big picture/little picture problems that had to be sorted out. In fact, it was shall we say....rewarding! Now there's a surprise. Of course there's every chance that this time next week I might be throwing the workload document out the window. But for now....let's be positive! Challenge accepted.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

and I am cute too....

So it seems that today is the last #blog12daysxmas. I thought we had a day to go. I know I promised to write a post about what I read in 2012 but seriously, I didn't keep track. That's why I just signed up to goodreads now and started a 2013 shelf which I hope to add to through the year to make a 2013 post about my reading habits possible. So far there are 2 things on it. If I crack 50 books for the year I'll probably be doing really well. I do know that I tend to avoid fiction these days - unless it's classic stuff - your Dickens, your Brontes, your Austens etc etc. Contemporary fiction makes me cranky, disappointed and more often than not bored.

What I have read most of during 2012 are memoirs and autobiographies. I love them. Mainly of comics and actors, but other real life stories as well occasionally. One book that I neglected to blog about during 2012 (after I had twitter promised to do so!) was Letters from Aspergia - self-published by @sulischild. Autobiographical - this was a tremendously insightful look at what it's like growing up and living as an adult female with Asperger's Syndrome. It made me look at myself and the people around me with fresh eyes and new understanding. I highly recommend you follow her and buy a copy. It also has beautiful illustrations.

Over the next little while I have to start reading for my research project on community cultural heritage. That's on my to do list for tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. I just need to push myself to get started and then I know I will be up and away! Like Super Grover!

Friday, January 4, 2013

of meditation and exercise

Today started a little inauspiciously. I woke up way too early and my brain clicked into gear immediately. My head was also a little woozy which I hate. I made myself do yoga breathing and this passed by the time it was time to get out of bed. I did my meditation before work and felt all the better for doing so. I go back to Saturday morning meditation tomorrow and am resolved to get back into my good daily habit as it really makes a difference. The first two days at work had been full on with so many things flying everywhere that I forgot to take time to breathe. Luckily, today was less hectic and I made time to concentrate in a clearer way. I felt like I had actually made some progress by the end of the day which was nice. What is less lovely is that the aches and pains in my hips (particularly right hip) have returned after 3 days of sitting at a desk. I am trying harder to take more regular breaks - stand up, stretch, short walks - but this pain had disappeared over the break altogether. It wasn't even bothering me in the night. That combined with the thigh pain from endometriosis sometimes makes me feel old. I must keep exercising and gradually increase my physical fitness. At the moment it's very poor! Oh that does sound like a New Year's resolution after all.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

reality sets in....and bites a little

I had every good intention to write a post about what I read in 2012. But now it is evening and I am tired and would not do it justice. I also realised that I haven't kept track of my reading in 2012 very well. I can however, write a post about the way my reading has changed since I bought my Kindle in early 2011. So I will do that on Saturday. Today was all about the second day back at work, or as I like to call it - the day when reality started to set well as starting to bite a little bit. My to do list for tomorrow is overblown...and I have started to write things down in my diary for months in advance. That's all okay but I don't yet feel like I have a good handle over the role. Cut myself some slack you say? It's only been two days! Oh, alright then. I staggered home this afternoon and slumped on the sofa, watched some telly, managed to go out to get takeaway and then realised I hadn't done my #blog12daysxmas for today. So this is it. It's not exciting. I just took advantage of the fact that QI came on so I could leave the television and not feel like I was missing anything. I am going to watch Judith Lucy on ABC2 later because she's one of my Australian comedy idols. Then I am going to go to bed and be full of gladness, Pollyanna style, that tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Heigh Ho

Well here we are at the 2nd of January and it's time to go back to work. I feel strangely calm about the whole thing. Anyway, that's boring talk. What happened yesterday? I sewed most of the afternoon. Then my Dad popped over to help me move my dining table into the music room where it now sits ready for sewing and music theory students. I just have to organise my growing stash of fabric into the wardrobe out there and that room is pretty much sorted. There is a big empty space in the dining area waiting for furniture to be delivered this morning. This confused the cat no end last night. Who had cleared this wonderfully big and cool space on the tiles for him? He sniffed around suspiciously for a while and then flung himself on the floor. I went for a walk just before the sun set. It was hot but at least there was some breeze. I felt virtuous. This exercise type activity must continue. MUST. Then it was home to have some ice-cream and watermelon and watch Being Erica. I downloaded BBC IPlayer so have access to the first three series which is nice because when it was on free to air here it was all a bit random in its scheduling. Canadian television....we need more of it! Anyway.... Heigh Ho!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

a place for everything

I have spent the morning as I mean to continue the rest of 2013 - catching up with a friend in person! We worked out we hadn't done this for the whole of 2012 and we live in the same town. I need to do much better this year with the whole work-life balance situation. Determination is what it will take. And I am determined. Yesterday was a day of sewing - a dress and a skirt. The skirt needs some altering as the pattern was not quite right. That is the job for this afternoon as well as some other sewing. I also plan to eat some watermelon. Clearly, it's a big afternoon ahead. Later the current dining table and chairs will be moved into the music room and all the sewing things will be finally put away in the big cupboard. Tomorrow the new dining table arrives together with some shelves for my study. I am excited about this as it means the house is in order with a place for everything and everything in its place for the start of 2013. Tomorrow is also back to work Wednesday. The only decision I am going to make about that before tomorrow morning is what I will wear. Stay tuned.