Thursday, 9 December 2010

Update

Just read the September post and need to update.

My new job is still brilliant, I don't think I have ever felt as if I've fitted in so well or so easily in any previous job. A lot of this has to do with my new manager who is excellent and whose attitude towards me, all OSH issues and everyone else in the department is second to none. She is calm and knowledgeable and absolutely lovely as a person. She has made it very easy for me to learn the systems and the culture and to be who I am and do the work that is required in my own way. She's brilliant.

Also, I went into hospital for a "procedure" that has completely given me my life back. I am no longer in any pain from that part of me at all. I can again sleep and walk, and concentrate at work etc, etc! It's fantastic and I am so grateful. To life. To the doc who did the op.

Also, I still have my house, which is very good considering what I did to it, i.e. nearly set it alight. Went to work first thing in the morning with a gas ring on full underneath a cast iron pan (so it would dry and not go rusty after washing, don't you know) and left it there for 11 hours, yes, eleven hours. On full. I realised what I had done 10 hours and 50 minutes after I did it, on the way home. When I turned the corner into my road (at 110kmh) I really, really thought I would see a black and charred mess and smoke curling up to the sky. I didn't and I was SO grateful lying in bed that night, in amongst my cool white sheets, on my lovely comfortable mattress, in the quiet and the peace of my own little house.

The glass hob had shattered from the heat and that was it. The bottles of oil next to the hob were intact. The roll of kitchen towel next to the hob was intact. The wooden work surfaces and cupboards all around the gas hob were all intact. Lucky, lucky, lucky that day. OMG.

This is the third time I have had a fire story in this kitchen. Is that the lot? I sure hope so, not sure my nerves can stand any more! It took me a full 24 hours to come back to normal this time! Thankfully the insurers have a stupidity clause called "accidental damage", thankfully.

Another development for me is going to philosophy classes. I intend to blog the stuff I've learnt. I'll see how I go.

I saw a little boy flying today

I saw a little boy flying today, it was quite beautiful :) His father was carrying him horizontally across the road and he was flapping his arms madly and keeping his little legs straight. His dad carried him down the road and I watched for as long as the traffic lights let me and he kept those arms going with energy and purpose, I am sure he was flying :) I think I saw his dad's feet leave the ground.....

Saturday, 4 September 2010

New Job, Happiness!

I have a new job. I am very happy about this. My last job was doing my head in and I hadn't realised how badly until I left and during the week between jobs felt as light as air! That dragging, dread-loaded feeling of impending doom was evaporated. Surprise! There was no weight on top of my head bearing me down into the ground! Relief. Smashing, wonderful, marvellous! Even though, the last three weeks of the job were probably the best there ever were. I could sit back and watch the drama's and general shenanigans, knowing that I had no part in them, did not need to take part in them, or any sides. I did not need to try to pacify anyone, or reason with anyone, or even please anyone, I could just watch them all at it and smile, and breath, and leave. Beaut. I probably have not yet quite recovered from the general wearing down-ness of the last 17 months, but I'm getting there.

My main concern right now is my health and trying to disguise from everyone at work just how much pain I am in and hoping against hope that I am doing OK and they are not disappointed in my performance. Because as sure as eggs are eggs, I have had a flair-up of the marvellously reliable-under-stress, IBS and after 7 days of working, had to take myself off to the emergency department of the hospital and beg some painkillers.

However, I think the job is going to be brilliant. I am really enjoying the walk back and forth (I drive 5km, park and walk 3km), the way everyone relates to each other and to me (with respect and good will), the clean kitchen! I have a theory, I think that the morale of a workplace is directly related to how clean they keep their communal kitchen. UCH kitchen - dreadful and sticky. DMP kitchen - immaculate. The proof of the pudding workplace is probably WAIMR where the kitchen was dire and the fridge was a science experiment, but there was a lot of stressed people and a lot of unhappy people, I was OK but knew how bad it was for some of the others, and the kitchen? - bad. QED? Not a big enough sample size, really, but a theory in the making!

There is a very wide range of types of people at the new place. There are men, for a start! There is also a wide age range and (apparently) because it is a government department, there are quite a few long-serving staff members. One of my team has been with DMP for 43 years! Amazing in this day and age, I didn't think that happened any more. That demographic has its own special needs and becasue I work in occupational safety and health, their needs are partly my concern. All new stuff.

DMP is also very big on their wellness program, which might be the reason they are all so happy at work, or it might be the product of that general level of satisfaction with their working day. My job is to a large degree concerned with arranging the WoW (Working on Wellness) program, which is very new for me and is also very administrative and not much to do with "OSH". An audit has recently been carried out (there is an internal auditing department, which does a bloody brilliant job and if I decided to specialise in auditing, I could certainly look at going into) and as part of that audit it was highlighted that the department is deficient in the normal OSH skills, such as investigation, risk assessment and review of controls. These are my skills and I only need to be given a smidgen of a chance or a lookin, to be more than happy to train, investigate, risk assess, follow up and generally to have a rollicking good OHSy time! :) So, you can see the huge potential for satisfaction in this job.

Previously, there were no OSH qualified staff in the department, apart from the manager. Part of the audit outcome was to employ yours truly to fill this knowledge gap. The administration was admirably covered by my predicessor, who has just retired, I have no intention of doing only the admin. I have every intention of rattling that bit of the job off as quickly as possible and then getting on with the interesting stuff which is the hazards faced by the staff in the labs, and the staff who go on field trips into the bush maybe lasting weeks at a time. They have very interesting needs that are not covered by wellness programs! But, I am aware that the morale is very, very high and everyone is very proactive and positive about the OSH dept and their role within the organisation. I would not, for all the world, disturb that balance. It is very refreshing to be welcomed even when the person you are being introduced to know you are part of the OSH team! I am much more used to their face falling and to emails and phone calls being ignored and being argued with and managers brought in so they dont need to follow your recomendations, however mild! I am used to reports and audit findings being ignored or "lost".

So, maybe now, my life will improve and become lighter and more humorous once again. For it to become completely super, I need to be pain-free, that would be nice. I have a feeling however, that that might be a hard ask, and pain management might be all I can expect. If that could go along with enough sleep, it would do, really it would.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Carrie's Musings: Ergh, I'm sick, where's the Chicken Soup?

When I was revoltingly sick in 2008, I wrote down the recipe for Chicken Soup and thought I should repost it as it is, of course, a completely necessary agenda item when you are not well. Every time I get a cold, I make the soup. I try to keep some in the freezer for the next time I am sick and not in the mood to make the essential nectar but usually, I can't resist eating it as it is very, very delish! Each time I make it, it is slightly different depending on ingredients in the fridge at the time. The essentials are the chicken frames, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs for the stock. Then chicken on bones, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs for the soup, plus any other veggies in the fridge. This time around I used butternut pumpkin, parsnip, fresh peas and courgette. It's a good one! And really, don't use 58 peppercorns! But DO drink the brandy! :) OK, here's the link.....
Carrie's Musings: Ergh, I'm sick, where's the Chicken Soup?

Monday, Monday

I am not sure it is the thing to blog when you are not well, but as I have now seen no-one at all for three days and am about to go into the fourth and counting, I have to keep myself amused somehow. I thought I was going back to work today and have been joking about it on facespace but have woken up at 4am with my face and neck in severe pain and not a sore throat exactly but a feeling of obstruction. Even my teeth hurt. Not pleasant and as for that job interview I've got lined up for this afternoon, well, that would be good wouldn't it? Infecting potential new workmates before they are even workmates? Lovely. And I really couldn't do justice to myself right now and I look like a warthog. Possibly the elephant woman. What the bloody hell is going on with my neck and jaw exactly? Errk. Feel like death. So, thought I would blog it, the way you do :)

The World Cup is on, in case anyone hasn't realised that. Germany have just given Aus a spanking, expected outcome apparently. I'm sure I'm not the only Aussie with a sore head this morning, although for very different reasons.

And now it's raining! As there are now water restrictions here for the winter three months, I suppose even I should be rejoicing about that. And the weekend was glorious. I spent two days soaking up the sun and thinking I was curing my cold with the healthful rays, ha ha. Never mind. Will stop whinging on now and not blog again until I can think of something cheerful to talk about :)

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Scaryness

I was looking through my photo's today, trying to find an amusing picture for face book. I was looking through my 2007 holiday pictures and realised that was when I hurt my back and then thought about how much my day to day life has actually changed since then. I also realised how much older I look now than I did in 2007. I also then realised how much older I look and actually am since my husband left in 2005, bloody hell! 2005. Where has the time gone and what has happened to my face?! I am not happy! I am also rather scared about the whole getting old thing. I have always been apprehensive of "getting old" and especially of being alone (and found dead, half eaten by Alsatians, thank you Bridget) but today was the first time I actually felt a thrill of fear.

And of course I am not alone in this - I believe most of the human race has gone through this - old age and death - ooh, since the beginning of time probably, so no doubt, I will get used to it and adjust and stop being scared, no doubt. Jeez. When will that be do you think? Any time soon, cos this ain't a good feeling really.

On Monday, I have a job interview. That is scary too. Everything is more scary when you are alone and having to rely on yourself to not screw up. You have to make your own decisions and follow them through without a backup or having your significant other there for help, advice and love. There's just you, getting older, looking out at you from the mirror.

So, this is a humourless post. Lovely. Not guaranteed to cheer anyone up, including me. Damn it.

Well, my son has a new job and a brilliant girlfriend. They are lovely together and it is fantastic to see. Warms a mothers heart.

I went out with a new girlfriend during the week and her partner, and they were lovely together, it was really nice to see two people connect so well and just the way they were looking at each other was wonderful. There might be hope for me, you never know. It is of course in your own head though, isn't it? Relationships and whether you are capable of them, is in your own head. I don't know what I'm capable of anymore. I really don't.

On the bright side, I have some fantastic friends. The weather is marvellous and considering it is now winter (I must remember to turn off my reticulation before tomorrow night), there was an amazing number of people in the sea today. I was on the beach, fully dressed it's true, but it was really warm and no wind at all. Gorgeous. It really is a paradise here, I am extremely lucky. So, I need to stop being ungrateful and count my blessings, as my Oma would say.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Happy Birthday to me :)

Well. It's midnight 19th February and IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!! Happy Birthday Carrie :))) Here's to a FANTASTIC year my dear :) xxx

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Birthdays

Well, the last time I wrote it was my daughters birthday and tomorrow (in one hour and 12 minutes) it will be my birthday. The last year I will be in my 40's, I think that's pretty big. It's too late to worry by the time you ARE 50; 49 is the big one in my opinion. I'm still not sure how I got here.... 49 years, I swear I'm only 25 in my head, 12 on some days!!!!

Anyway, I am here, all well, all present and correct, all body parts fully accounted for, haven't lost any of them to date. Might have lost a husband and a daughter but at least haven't been so careless as to lose any parts of myself!

I am currently surrounded by the swirling, all-encompassing sounds of Ralph Vaughan Williams and his Lark Ascending, one of my most favourite pieces of music and the rich and gorgeous smells of chocolate brownie, which I am cooking to take into work tomorrow. I have spoken with my parents, which didn't work out quite as planned, I meant to cheer them up, them living in cold and snowy England with heatlh issues, but I think they were even more depressed by the end of the conversation! I shouldn't have mentioned the weather hey? But they asked! I should have lied! Anyway, they are so concerned with the health issues I think they forgot it's my birthday tomorrow, poor things. It's pretty wretched being here when I want to just pop over there for a visit, you know? On a regular basis, just pop in and help out. And then pop back over here to the sun! 35 degrees today and wonderful of course - I didn't tell them that though!



I sold my Benji yesterday. It was quite amazing actually. I put him online on Sunday, on Monday someone came to look at him, Tuesday they said they'd have him, Wednesday he's gone and the money is in my hand! How's that for ease? Incredible. My beautiful Astra, I love that car. Whenever that happens I am consoled that I have done the right thing and "it was meant to be". Probably rubbish, Piscean silliness, but you know, there have been lots of occasions when everything has just slotted into place with hardly any effort on my part and then I think, that's what was meant to happen, right time, right place etc. Coming out to Australia was one of those, we practically fell into the country. Finding the first house we bought in Aus was another, me buying my own house was definitely another. I looked for two weekends, found this one on the Sunday, bought it on the Monday, had sold mine - from scratch and moved into this one in 5 weeks to the day. Buying Benji was also an easy transaction, there he was, all masculine, powerful new and smelling good! :) Getting both of my last jobs was also the same amazingly easy situation. Which is why I think I am in the right place and on the right path in this job. I just have to realise it and make the most of it. That is why I have now sold Benji, I have decided to stay in this job for the duration. New boss, much better working situation now, am really enjoying it and everything feels so different now, it's great.

So. I will not be alone for life and my daughter will come back to me. I believe those things, I have to.

Anyway, tomorrow night my son is taking me out - always good! We are going to a jazz club where he has booked a table :) On Saturday I have friends coming round here for drinks, peachy, peachy, peachy! :))) The first week of March I am taking off work and maybe going down south for a few days. I am going to paint! I am. I just need enough time to recover from the week and to get into the right frame of mind to paint. Usually I'm in the right head space by Sunday night and then go to work on Monday! I haven't actually had any time off work (except for a couple of long weekends, one of those admittedly spent in Brisbane) for the whole of my time in this job, which is nearly a year. It is high time I had some time off and had a bit of a jaunt.


Then, the big plan is to book that cruise for my birthday 2011, when I turn 50! You know the birthday that isn't as important as tomorrows birthday! In 50 minutes when I turn 49 :( So, this cruise is to New Zealand and is a painting cruise, can't remember if I've mentioned it... the only down side I can see is that I am going alone and will have to share one of those little rooms (berth? cabin?) with a complete stranger unless I divvy up the difference. So, I will find out what the difference is and then, Bob's your Uncle :) Orf I jolly well go! Into the sunset etc, paintbrush and sick bag in hand!!!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Daughter mine. Prejudice.

Well, here we are a full year further on and still no word from my daughter. You have to admire her persistence. I am still none the wiser as to why. Why? Why. Am I ever going to be able to say that I had a meal with her or we went shopping today. That we phoned and had a chat. Three years now of no contact whatsoever. She has got married and bought a house, her cat (that I bought her when she was in primary school and she loved to distraction) is dead, run over. Was she upset? Is she happy? How is her life, what are her concerns and worries, what makes her laugh, what does she do in the evenings and at weekends? How does she feel, smell, look, sound? I am her mother, I do not know.

It is her birthday today, she is 23. At least she is alive and not in jail or in another country. She is working, she is at Uni, she is well, that much I know. There is nothing to worry about, unlike other unfortunate mothers who have had much less fortune with their children than I. Her birthday is always a time of sadness though and that is as it should be.

I have my son. I have a beautiful son who I am very grateful to and for. Thank you for that.

OK, so to distract myself from that I will talk about the lunch I went to today, a group of 8 women went to the Swan Valley and invited me along. Excellent meal, great fun, back to their holiday home for more drinks and chat. Good. Nice.

In amongst the chat, the talk turned to red heads. Wrangers. Ginger hair, carrot tops. What is the big deal I ask, don't know they answer but Australians have never liked wrangers. ?. The conversation carried on and they were all in agreement, all drunkish but not half as drunk as they were going to become. These were all intelligent and educated women, from England and Australia, aged between 28 and 45 (at a guess). It was a shock to the system to listen to this. How can anyone have a downer on people with a particular hair colour? What is that about? "My husband said if the baby comes out with ginger hair, you can put it back" Well. Rightio.

I was very tempted to substitute their "ginger hair" with "black skin" and see if anyone had any idea of what I was talking about. But they are not my friends, they are my friends friends and you can't really go tromping around with your big feet can you? Not nice. They were all lovely and friendly women who had made me very welcome. Possibly because I am not a red-head.

Personally I love red hair and can see nothing whatsoever wrong with ginger hair and white freckly skin, but THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Will we EVER get to the point where the colour of your skin, hair, size of you, accent, nationality, disability, sex, creed, age or any other THING is NOT NOTICED. What should be noticed is what you say and how you behave, what matters is who you are. All this other stuff is immaterial, unimportant. It is just the wrapping and it DOESN'T MATTER. Good grief.

And it makes me realise how close to the surface of civilisation is intolerance and prejudice. We think we are educated and kind - but if the right (wrong) buttons were pushed for long enough by the right (wrong) people - segregation, aparthied, racial hatred and the Holocaust is but a BLINK away.

I did leave at that point, the conversation had turned to other subjects but then started up again when someone else came into the room and I couldn't carry on listening to it. Obviously not drunk enough. I didn't think I was upset, but actually I was, so much so that I forgot to wish my friend a good day in her new job which starts on Monday, drat it.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Thoughts

I have been giving this some thought today. It is Monday, I am fine. I have been at work and talking with other people, laughing a bit at lunch, chatting in general. And this is enough. I am happy to come home, face book a bit, msn chat a bit, phone call to a girlfriend and then cook, hang out washing, strip the bed, cook some muffins. Eat. It is fine. I am happy. Tomorrow, as I mentioned, I am off to the beach (Seaside - so English, I used to call it the seaside when I was a child, always call it the beach now. Why? Seaside is so much better) with a whole group of friends and I am looking forward to that a lot.

Monday to Friday is great, even if I have a "bad" day at work, it is still better than a day alone at the weekend. I can come home and just chill and be happy.

The weekends yawn ahead of me, an unfillable chasm. Everyone is off doing their own thing with their own familys. And I fret. And chafe. And get depressed and then feel guilty because I live in paradise and I love it, but I hate to be alone for two days. And I know I am being pathetic and I should get a grip and count my blessings and I know and I will and I do!!

All those activities I have signed up for are on Monday - Friday. And the weekend is still an abyss. How the bloop am I going to fix this? Do I just suck it up, build a bridge, get on with it and stop bloody whinging? Whinging Pohm! Do I just keep going in the hope that I get used to it. Do I actively try to fix this and fill the weekends with interaction of some description. I am not asking the question really, I am just talking out loud and to myself, but if you have any opinions on this, do feel free to air them.

On Saturday, I was chatted up on the beach. Which is amazing and has never happened to me in my whole life before. Ever. I was in my usual beach gear of rashy and very battered hat, my equivalent of a gardening hat or a fishing hat. I love my beach hat but it's not exactly eye catching for the right reasons! Anyway, there I am sitting innocently under my shade umbrella with my nose in my book, when an Irishman appears and by the end of a couple of hours, he is under my shade and drinking my water! And swimming in my space! Amazing and fun, I didn't mind. He is on holiday and I am not in the market for gratuitous sex any more. Oh no. He did cheer me up, but you know, that is not what I want and I certainly don't want a fling of any description with someone on their holiday! Two weeks and he's gone? Chuh! I should cocoa!

What I want is lots of friends. Girlfriends. I am still recovering after all from 3 years of mistaken identity. I am not, categorically not, on the market. So, I was cheered up and then I wasn't cheered up at all. It would be good if I could just give myself a good talking to and that work. But it doesn't. What works is going back to work! What a laugh. And maybe that's all I can do, laugh at the vagaries of the human mind and mine in particular. Lovely little mind that it is, aaah. Bless!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Feeling sorry and pulling myself out of it

I'm not sure if I am feeling sorry for myself. I think I am. I think I need to pull myself together and stop sulking. I live in Australia. The weather is freaking marvellous at the moment, I went to the beach yesterday, it was gorgeous, I am going to the beach again on Tuesday, which is a public holiday. I have a house which I love. I have two bloody cars, and a job that I do not hate. I have a son who I have a really good relationship with.

And there I have to stop.

I have now spent two weekends alone and I am not enjoying it. My friends are either married or in new relationships and are all doing stuff. Without me. I am feeling sorry for myself aren't I? I am prepared to spend time not dating and not "hunting" for a man. I am prepared to spend the time learning who I am and what I like and don't like before I go anywhere near another poor man. But I am not, categorically NOT, prepared to spend that time completely alone and friendless. And that is how it feels right now. I am sure I must be mistaken and I am sure this is my fault, I am the common denominator between me and all my friends. So, what am I doing wrong? What is going on?

OK. So. What I have done so far to fix this problem:
1. Joined something called Getalife, a social networking group.
2. Joined a yoga class
3. Joined a philosophy class
4. Joined a dancing class
5. Enquired of the TAFE if I can study an Advanced Diploma in fine art part time.

Enough? New friends must be made this way? I also have applied for a new job that would include meeting a balanced mix of male/female employees, whereas at the moment it is 5/95% m/f and that is a sucky mix!

My ideal and has always been my ideal and what I have always been jealous of is a huge family mix. I married into a large family and then promptly left the country, why did I do that? Anyway, here I am and my total family now is my lovely son, and he is fantastic but there is only one of him and I miss all those fictional uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, parents, children. I remember once when I was in Victoria, we were invited along to another family's public holiday trip to the beach, god, there were loads of them and they talked and argued and dithered and ate and drank and bickered and chatted and laughed and watched the kids - it was fantastic and I was so jealous and I still am. I hate, I fucking HATE being by myself. I want a big family around me and all the social stuff that goes with that and all the family interactions, it brings me to tears just thinking about it.

Pathetic hey? What a mess. Living in paradise, alone. Fuck.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Note to Self

I have started to enjoy being home alone. I look forward to coming home and just being able to tune out really. Walking in the mornings gives me mental space, joy and calm for the day and I don't feel guilty in the evening if I am sedentary with a book and a glass of wine! My new years resolutions were to walk every day and to be on time for work! Both of these have pretty much been successful- in that I have walked every day and the being on time - well, as long as 5 mins after the hour is counted as still on time - that's a success too! :)

My new boss is brilliant so far. I love the way she works, organised and predictable. I know what to expect and it is all normal stuff as opposed to the Toon Town I've been getting used to! I hadn't realised how bad it was until it was all suddenly fixed in one swoop. However, having said that, I have just applied for another job. I saw it and was very attracted to the job description - am just waiting now to see if I get an interview. If not - that's fine, leave it in the lap of the gods and all that guff. If I do get an interview I can ask those searching questions as I'm being a LOT more fussy this time around, searching questions such as "How much Gov?" And "Is there a car?" and I will give some serious consideration to writing my own interview questions of them! To try and find out what sort of (mis)management style they might practise, especially after this shower and what I have put up with over this last 10 months, I think I need to be a lot more careful over what I get myself into! Bloody amateurs!

My life is uneventful at the moment, I have a reasonably quiet mind, which is unusual for me. It's as if all the dramas are happening to everyone else and I feel a bit like a calm space in the middle with all the whirling going on around me, not touching me. I am not being swept along or up into the dramas. My daughter is still out there somewhere on her own path and although if I do concentrate on it, it will tear me up but I manage to not think about it and can accept that now is not the time and maybe the time will arrive or maybe it won't and that is not my choice or within my control and so I can leave it alone and not pick at it. The crap at work is nowhere near as bad as it was but even so, I know that I can leave at any time if it doesn't shape up to the way I'd like it to be, in the meantime I can just let it be and let it develop over time. My own deadline for a decision is March but even that is flexible and not set in stone and right now, everything is fine, I can wait. And my mind is quiescent and calm. Still.

All this is very unusual for me. Action Girl here, have to be doing something for every minute of every day and achieve something, preferably LOTS of somethings, every day. To just sit back and observe it all going on around me and to be still in the middle is very calming and, dare I say it, healing. I feel as if I am progressing somewhere - not sure where but I'm enjoying the journey, so that's what counts I guess.

I have just finished another course of antibiotics, this time for an overpopulation of streptococcus and my insides are behaving rather well actually. Stuff goes in, stuff comes out, all in the right order and quantity, marvellous. First time for years. When my stomach reacts to anything now, I know what that something is within an hour! As opposed to the 24-48 hours previously, it was hopeless trying to find anything out, detective work would have baffled Sherlock himself. Even Robert Downey Jnr would have his work cut out!! :))) And it is amazing the difference on my state of mind that intestines not in revolt, or revolting, have on me.

So, in summary I am really enjoying the day and my time and space within the day. Walking first thing in the morning is a delight and concentrating on the people around me during the day and how they are feeling and being concerned and interested but not getting emotionally tied up in all the emotions myself, being quite dispassionate in other words, is very freeing, I have lots of mental space left over for myself. I don't know if I'm explaining it very well but, what the hell, I know what I mean.