Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting older and getting fatter

So I've put on quite a lot of weight over the past few years. Polite friends and acquaintances always make smooshy 'mmm, aaaah, oh I wouldn't say so' kind of noises whenever the topic comes up. But it is a fact, I am now about 10 kilograms heavier than I was 10 years ago, give or take a bit. It's just extra stuff I carry about with me.

It's funny that it keeps coming up with these polite friends and acquaintances. Conversations about weight seem to happen often - it's amazing how many times a new woman acquaintance will basically introduce herself by telling us all about her various food, weight and body issues. I do it too, I know. I don't think it's such a good idea, really, but it seems to be part of ordinary life.

So we talk about our bodies; post pregnancy, after starting postgraduate study, after being in the public service for a few years, back when we were young, after an unhappy love affair. We talk and talk and talk about it. We emphasise our bad points and wax nostalgic about ones we imagine were good back in the day.

Some people talk about their exercise regimes. One woman runs home from work, one cycles and swims every day, one runs up various mountains around Canberra. I know all about it. I know all about which treats people cannot say no to. I know all about the social value of walking to the coffee shop for a morning caffeine and sugar hit with the work crew. I know all about the work events that centre on cake or sausage rolls.

But I'm getting a bit tired of it all, actually.

You know what my body did once? It grew a baby. How ace is that? You know what else it does every single day? It lets me smell and taste and see and read and think and work and listen to birds and look at all the people around me and notice things. Thank you, body, I love you very very much. I will try and make it easier for you to do all those ace things by remembering to take good care of you, just like I take good care of other things I love.

Friday, February 25, 2011


So the box that the husband sent from Vietnam arrived with the coffee in it. Joy.

The people from Buon Ma Thuot must be kind of buzzy, I guess. But happy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jeannie Baker at the National Gallery Australia

Ooh, ooh, ooh*, I said, that looks interesting:

Mirror: intercultural understanding for parents and educators
National Gallery of Australia
Thursday 3 March 5.30 pm
Jeannie Baker, author and illustrator of childrens stories, discusses Mirror, her recently published childrens book about the parallel lives of children living in different cultures. Inspired by childrens exhibition Connections.

*I really did, in a quite squealy sort of tone.

Oh listen, it's the Prime Minister

Julia sounding very Prime Ministerial on Radio National, huzzah. She is telling us nice things about what it is to be Australian (adaptable, resilient, not selfish) and that a carbon tax will certainly have price impacts because that is the whole damn point - to make polluting more expensive and to make not-polluting less expensive. It's not, as they say, rocket science.

Unless you actually have a very polluty rocket, but I understand that rockets are quite expensive regardless.

No news on a pullulating tax, which is good news for my pumpkin plant.

Oh, look, it's Cleopatra

If denial rises any higher we're going to need Anna Bligh round here, I fear.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh I don't know

Stuff happened, and then some other stuff happened. Traffic.

Angry at woman at the service station.

Ice cream. Lentil salad. Not in that order.


Compliment on cupcakes.

Blood out to the Red Cross. Crackers and cheese in from the Red Cross.

Fainty man.

Leftover salt and vinegar chips. Give em away give em away give em away now.

Multiculturalism, yes, racism, no.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Townhouse and debts.

So it seems we may have bought a townhouse, good bank willing and the creek don't rise.

Actually, it's a building society, not a bank, we are waiting judgement from. Is a funny old thing, telling a building society everything about your financial history. Also, I think instead of first home buyer grants, the government should just wipe your HECS debt, should you happen to have acquired one over a 20 year period.

And I would just like to say that 'indexation' over the period of my various HECS debts adds up to $5569 (including minus $3.00 in 1998 during a period of negative inflation). That's a graduate certificate or half a masters degree right there. Effectively in my earning career I have so far not quite managed to pay off the indexation. This seems somewhat wrong-ish to me.

I don't think our townhouse will be the same as Mr Darcy's townhouse.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Having a career through training courses

In the comments down there, a person named Anonymous said she was being sent on a training course to learn how to have a career. I, too, will be attending such a course in some few weeks. After that I expect you all to address me as 'sir' and to compliment me on my suit.

You can see I have some prejudices about constructing a career. I hope the course I am attending is not one of those de-programming kinds of jobbies where I am beaten with hosepipe and not allowed to go to the toilet while having my eyelids propped open with matchsticks.*

I have attended very much training in my last three years as a public servant. My public service anniversary was, in fact, 4 February 2011. The first two weeks were entirely training, if you can believe such a thing. Important bits I remember are how fire sprinklers work, that we should have our chairs at a comfortable level, how to make a tower out of spaghetti and straws and that some of my new colleagues were so competitive that they would rather everyone in the group lose if they couldn't as individuals win. I am still processing that last bit, but thinking about it sometimes makes me cry still. I suspect they also taught us about filing, writing letters to members of the public and where the ATM was. That knowledge has all become so entrenched that I can't really imagine not knowing it, so I can't really remember learning it.

Other training courses I have attended at work include:
  • team building (and finding out what colour my personality is)
  • managing up
  • negotation skills (finding out what letter my personality is)
  • innovative thinking (finding out it doesn't matter what colour your personality is, provided you have six thinking hats of different colours)
My personal favourite trainig of all time is 'Public Service Accountabilities'. In this fabulous course (and I am not being sarcastic) you learn about what it is that makes public servants so noble and useful in the world, and how not to waste the money of the glorious taxpayer. I avoid wasting the taxpayer's money, and avoid traffic at the same time, but taking the train to the airport in Sydney. My next money saving attitude is to avoid going to Sydney in the firstplace, but sometimes that approach fails.

However, despite the smart-arsy tone up there, I do love going to training. One of the things I really, really miss about university is sitting around in a room with a bunch of more-or-less interesting and pleasant companions and just learning stuff. Apparently it turns out that I don't so much mind what stuff I'm learning. Although I can tell you, I won't be writing an essay on team building any time this side of NEVER EVER.

I could propose saving taxpayer money by doing less training, but generally each course does give one or two dashed handy hints or bits of information. And it also stops me from losing my mind and becoming very inefficient, ineffective and uneconomical.**

Anyway, I have no sensible way to wrap up this little diversion. The End.

*You can see which kinds of novels and movies I get my ideas from can't you?

**Recently the procurement guidelines were altered from telling us that spending had to be 'efficient, effective and ethical' to efficient, effective, ethical and economical'. This seems to be rather uneconomical and duplicatey to me, I must say.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I don't think I've ever had a career, as such, except for that kind of one where you are rushing down a hill out of control. That would pretty much describe lots of my life, with periods of finding myself in some kind of ledge or trench and stuck for a while in between the lurches. There's a Judy Horacek cartoon about being stuck in a rut that two friends used to say described me very well (I think they were my friends) but now I can say with dignity that I have been stuck in quite a lot of different ruts, actually, thank you very much.

At the moment, though, I am not stuck in a rut at work but am quite doing something I think is useful and important with people I like and that I am quite good at.

My new boss, who is one of my old bosses (twice in different jobs) thinks I need a career (you know, the kind of one where you have an orderly and planned progression to ever more high-paying and responsible jobs).

Have any of you had careers, of one kind or another?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In which I learn the present temperature in Brasilia and Juneau

The kid is having fun by looking up the names of cities he can remember, and finding out the temperature. We are enjoying the very hot and the very cold but the moderate is boring us. Most unlike real life.

I have also learned that there is a place called Livingstone in Scotland, and more than a handful of places called Livingstone in the United States of America. Many of them are experiencing the aftermath of that big snowstorm they had over there.

Apparently the cool change has arrived in Sydney, Australia.

The Internet. It educates and delights and occasionally drives wild with bored horror at the amazing level of detail available to those who can wreak the detail-evil (ie any child under fourteen).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Commonwealth public servant

Dear everybody

When I say I am a Commonwealth public servant it does not mean I work for the Australian Tax Office. Apart from anything else I can't count or add up.

I like to think that I write for Australia.

lots of love


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my

So this week it is a cyclone. Mum and her partner live in Cairns. She said earlier today that she has been saying goodbye to all her books, just in case the roof comes off.

At least we didn't send the junior up there for a post-flood, second attempt Queensland holiday I suppose. It must be nice for him to miss a disaster.

Thinking of other friends and family and family members of friends and friends of family members up north.

Not to speak of the iced-in Americans. What a strange few weeks.