Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Change, and then change back...

About eight months ago, after about 20 months of wearing headscarves, I decided I needed a change. My hair had grown sufficiently that I was able to get it permed, so that is what I did.

Recently, the perm has started to fade. The roots are flat because they grown out about 10cm since the perm, but the perm itself is becoming more like a wave than a curl. I've been debating getting another perm, but then I find myself drawn back to wearing headscarves.

Of course, this year I've done a lot of decluttering and among the things I decluttered were my scarves and shapers. Since it's my birthday in another 2.5 weeks, I have bought myself a birthday present (which I was going to have to do anyway). Soon, I'll be receiving a new shaper in a different style from what I had before, and a couple of new scarves.

I'm itching to get back into wrapping. A lot of my co-workers have said they miss my scarves, which is encouraging. Others have never seen me in a headscarf. Will be interesting to see how they react.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Plans for 2019...

I've spent the day planning for 2019. I've been working in my current position for 18 months and I'm starting to think about where I might go next. I have some idea of what I want to build skills in but wanting is not the same as getting, right?

So, finding a new job is one of the plans I have for next year.

The other two things have come to the forefront because of my NDIS plan. By some sort of mistake I was given a plan where I only managed one small part. I applied to self manage and after six months I've finally got the freedom to choose who provides the services I have listed in my plan.

So, I'm employed a cleaner and I'm now claiming for our gardeners. I already had begun working with the person trainer, but I was reading my plan yesterday and realised to my horror that I haven't used a cent out of a couple of the categories on my plan.

As they say, 'Use it, or lose it.'

One category is capacity building in relation to my writing - which is a skill I aspire to hone. So, I've decided to employ a writing mentor. I want to work on the book I started a couple of years ago, but have completely set aside since starting work.

The other thing I'm going to do is get myself to a physio. One of the things I think is underlying the relentless migraines I've been experiencing for a few years now. I have found a physio clinic in my suburb which I think might work for me. I've never been to a physio, so I'm a little nervous, but if I can get some relief, I'll be over the moon.

I only have until the end of March to use as much of the remaining funds. I'm not how close I'll come but I am going to have a good go at it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Teenagers and the failing parent...

There seems to be a trend going on in this household, the trend of, 'You did this, so you're a terrible mother!'

One kid remembers me throwing glasses at him. I'm serious, he thinks I threw glass glasses at him. Let me make sure I'm completely clear (no pun intended), I have never, nor would I ever, throw glass at my children.

Still he is adamant I did, and I'll be honest, there is no defense against a child's memory. What do you say? I didn't? I tried that and was told that well, he remembers me doing it. The next boy says he remembers me shirt fronting him, and that he hit my arm and I've never touched him since. Dave heard this one and immediately recognised a story from his own childhood. The next boy had me locking him in a laundry - I did once put him in a laundry after he dropped a glass on the kitchen floor, smashing it into pieces, I put him in the laundry so he wouldn't walk on the glass while I cleared it up. There wasn't a lock on the door - when is there ever a lock on a laundry door? The fourth child remembers me smashing his iPad and throwing it in the bin. I did throw his iPad in the bin, and it was smashed, but he did that himself months earlier.

Dear Lord.

Ari isn't a teenager yet, but the other three are, and I cannot do anything right.

Today, when I conveyed my annoyance - i.e. I told him I did not appreciate being manipulated by him and his girlfriend to have her stay over the other night when I had specifically said she wasn't staying over because he had a VET exam the next day, Luey expressed his annoyance i.e. he changed his story about six times in the span of a sentence.* It seems when he asks me and I say he can he have a friend stay, he always gets into trouble afterwards. I pointed out that every single time he's asked me if a friend could crash the night I've said yes - and he hasn't gotten into trouble afterwards. In the first eight days we lived here he had four friends stay over, this last stunt made five.

At the moment I'm getting the silent treatment - which will last until he needs money for something.

Anyway, he said he asks me stuff and I give him a vague yes because I'm not taking any notice and then he gets into trouble afterwards. Then he says I'm never around. There you go. I started working a ago, before then I studied about 25 hours a week out of the house for three years. So let's see, for the first 13 years of his life I was around 24/7, then part time during work hours, until I started working full time last year. Dave has also been around full time since almost 10 years ago. Our kids have had no shortage of parental contact. Never around, uhuh?

I'm not sure it is possible to a good parent - well, certainly my kids don't think so. Don't let anyone fool you. Toddlers are not the hardest age. Toddlers think you're the world. Teenagers think you're the end of their world as they'd like it to be.

I was horrified when Erik moved out. I felt ashamed. Since then, I've heard multiple stories of friends of my kids, or kids they know off who just take off to live at a mates house or to couch surf. I've heard of teenagers having the locks to their family home changed after they repeatedly took off. I've heard of teens coming home after skipping town for a weekend with their mates, and being shown the door. This seems to be happening all the time. Can so many parents be so crap, or are kids spoiled? Is this new, or is it something people just don't talk about?

Is it a lost cause to try and be a good parent in your child's eye?

*I may be exaggerating slightly here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This blog had a near death experience...

It was about two months ago when I came to the blog to look for something (this blog is an archive of photos for me), and found my blog was gone. In its place was a link to something a little less savoury. I was pretty shocked. It turned out that my yearly registration payment had not been successful because I changed banks earlier this year and simply forgot I had this automatic payment going on the blog. I had had notices but I get those every year just in case my payment isn't automated, which of course I thought it was.

Getting the blog back in my own possession and securing it for the next five years was not inexpensive, but hey, this is something of an ongoing project for me. I haven't been active lately, partly because I get started on a blog post and just don't get as far as posting them.

So, there you go, after 12.5 years, this blog was almost lost to the binary void. I'll post this little story and then come back with some usual programming. Thanks for the long suffering of you who continue to check in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


I have just been handed a new project. A program that needs reviewing. This program has been running for nearly a decade and has changed little in that time. The attendees love the program for the most part, but as they get older new people don't seem to be engaging with the program because it is not perceived as relevant to them. It's now my quest to make it relevant to younger people and to create other programs for even younger people.

This project assignment has come along quite suddenly and not without conflict (not with me). Basically, I'm taking over from a lovely colleague who was made redundant and also managing the feelings of loss and confusion the clients and program volunteers are experiencing as a result of this unexpected change.

Change is inevitable and sometimes it's fun and exciting, but other times it's frightening and sad. My job is shift the latter toward the former with the members of this group.

This project will allow me to develop a number of demonstrable skills and attributes; problem solving, client management, staff management (volunteer staff), flexibility, initiative, innovation, creativity, conflict management, conflict resolution, adaptability, and leadership. I could probably think of a few more, but this list is plenty.

It's all a bit daunting and not the path I had envisaged for myself, but hopefully it can contribute well to the goals I have for the future.

My main concern is that it will take me away from my pet projects. Somehow, I have to make this all work.

Monday, June 04, 2018

That time I was going to be on reality tv...

Did I tell you about this? I don't think I did. Skip over if you think you've read this before...

I was approached last December by channel nine to be on their show, 'This Time Next Year'. It was after I'd participated in the TOM makers conference at Swinburne last November. They had wanted to cover the conference but had just missed it, so they'd asked if there was anyone from the conference they might be able to put on this reality TV program, and my name had been given because I don't mind talking in front of a camera. Let's face it, I'll talk to a table leg, so a camera is hardly a challenge.

Anyway, they interviewed me a couple of times, but I was struggling to find anything I really wanted to achieve in one year's time. Keep in mind that last year was pretty amazing for me. I had published a book, published an academic paper in Australia's top writing journal, found a job, and a bunch of smaller achievements. I just couldn't think what my next goal to conquer might be.

We scoured me life for something that might be achievable in a year, but in the end we couldn't find anything that would compete with the 1000 other possible stories. It was all very hush-hush because while filming was set to start at the end of February, the story wouldn't be aired for a year, I couldn't tell anyone about it. The irony was that I never watch reality TV, it has no appeal for me as a viewer at all.

The reason this has popped back up in my conscious is that yesterday I received an email from the lead of our TOM team. He had been approached by the TOM conference leaders to see if we might want to take our project from prototype draft to completed prototype. We're having a meeting next week with the organisers, nothing is a given, but it's nice to be considered.

I'm not sure which project they mean because we actually had two - the adjustable harness, and the find a friend (not the real name just in case this because reality) app. I personally think they app would be more interesting, but maybe they mean the harness.

While participating in the conference last year, I had both the TOM people and a TV station (I can't remember which one - obviously not nine) filming me and my teams progress. So, I did make it onto TV last year. I kind of liked that!

So, there you go, my encounters with television.

Friday, June 01, 2018

I've been sick...

The reason for my absence of late is illness. I have three medical certificates to prove it. I had a bad cold for a week and a half - sore throat, loss of voice, temperatures. I felt pretty lousy, really.

Then when I finally got back to work, I broke a tooth and spent the next day at home after going to the dentist for what the dentist described as a 'very deep filling'. He was pretty pleased with himself when he was able to save the tooth rather than pull it. I'll be going back in a couple of weeks to have another couple of teeth looked at before they break as well.

We've had some interesting times of late. Luey snuck out of the house about a week ago and went about an hour away from home to smoke some weed in a park with a mate - it was his idea - and as they were headed back to the mate's house they were pulled up by the police. The first we knew about it was when the police rang our doorbell at 12am.

Yesterday, Luey went to the police station to receive a formal warning. They took his mug shot. They told him that this would go on a permanent record, but that it will be deferred (he should answer in the negative if anyone asks if he's been in trouble with the police). They did, however, tell him that if he was ever caught again he could be charged, not only for the second offense, but the first as well.

Obviously, his dad and I are not at all happy with this situation and hope he is smart enough to realise how serious it is. What is really getting to me is that in every other part of his life he is going gangbusters. He's doing really well at school, really well with his music. He helps around the house (well, more than he used to). Basically, he's a model kid, and then this.

Meanwhile, Erik rocks up on our doorstep the night before last and tells us he's in deep do-do and he needs our help. He says, he owes a lot of money and has more bills coming. We're talking over $1000 here. He was basically asking us for money. We have helped him out to some extent, but some of the costs I'm refusing to pay off - you know, like his amenities at the woman who picked him up in the middle of the night without a single word to us. There is no way I'm going to give her a cent!

He is leaving high school in the middle of the year because he knows he won't pass year 12. He had told us, quite defiantly, at the beginning of the year that he would be graduating at the end of the year - despite having a crappy academic record that was overlooked by the school because they wanted to 'give him a chance' (they thought we were being too hard on him - I can tell you right now, he would not be dropping out now if they had just let us parent him with the strong boundaries he's always needed).

It's hard not to feel that we are failures as parents. I know, on paper, we are not. Seriously though, the older boys are making stupid choices.

Erik swears up and down that he knows he's screwed up and he's making a change. He is no longer couch surfing because he wasn't willing to follow the rules at that woman's house. He has broken ties with his arsehole 'best' friend (who is definitely headed for jail). He's got a 'plan' for the next year or two.

I'm finding it hard to believe he'll follow through though. I've become quite jaded where he is concerned. But maybe I'm wrong... Let's hope so.

Change, and then change back...