Friday, October 27, 2017

Need Knowers and Makers...

My name is Sif and I'm a Need Knower.

Wondering what the hell I'm talking about?

On Wednesday night I went to an event hosted by Swinburne University called TOM. The purpose of TOM is to bring together teams of people with a range of engineering, IT, and disability related qualifications to design technologies which will enhance the lives of people with disabilities. For this purpose, the teams have a 'need knower' who supplies a challenge for the team to solve. The need knower presents a situation in their life which they would like to change or improve, and the makers in the teams have 72 hours over a three day 'makeathon' to produce a solution.

Vision Australia is supporting the event and as such they submitted a number challenges, of which two were taken up by two teams. One of the challenges submitted by another staff member on my floor was to solve my problems with Harlem's harness being too short in different situations, and me not being able to carry two harnesses with me. Additionally, in navigating with a GPS - no GPS apps offered the micro directions walkers need. They usually require walkers to 'head south' rather than 'turn left' for example, and they can't seem to navigate with micro directions required for walking from A to B in a city.

The hope is that finding solutions to my challenges will then be able to serve people around the globe.

Cool, huh?

An adjustable harness would make a huge difference to me, as in Winter I wear shoes with heels, but in Summer I wear flats. I got Harlem in Summer, so it was a few months before I realised the harness becomes too short when I'm in heels, this puts me off balance and forces me to walk slower with smaller steps.

A micro directional GPS would mean being able to get useful directions to non-commercial or tourist attraction places.

So, last night was the initials meeting of the needs knowers and the makers where we all got together and figured out the details of the challenge. The makeathon is six weeks away and in that time we plan to meet another couple of times. Then on the weekend changing over from November to December the team will put the research into practice. I will be at the makeathon for some of the time, so they can test the solutions.

I'm pretty chuffed to able to be part of a process like this.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Oops!

You know the saying,'The best laid plans of men and mice...'

I love a good plan. I spend a lot of time planning things. I like ticking of lists. Sometimes though I find that I have forgotten to add all the things into the plan that will make it work...

Take, for example, my plan to pay 'all the things' before Christmas. By all the things I mostly mean school things. You see, we've never been able to pay all the school things before. It will be quite an achievement and I have been looking forward to it for many, many years now. I've been looking forward to being 'just a regular parent'. Constantly going cap in hand to school administrations is soul destroying. Why anyone would think people on welfare like being on welfare, is beyond me. No one likes being the person who can't afford anything.

I was talking to a young colleague a couple of days ago. She hasn't had children yet and didn't realise that public education isn't free - and in fact, it can be very expensive depending on the school zone. Yes, there are charities that help, but they are so overburdened that there is no way they can meet the needs of all the families not managing to buy uniforms and books, or pay for excursions and camps.

So, this year, I have been very excited. I've laid out my plan, figured out the total and when different items are likely to be due. I've figured out exactly what I need to put aside for each item. It's all very well thought out...

Well, I thought it was.

I was all set to pay for Bryn's year 7 camp, sent Dave off to the school on Monday to pay it. He came home and reported that there were insufficient funds on the card. Insufficient funds? I didn't understand. I'd actually seen the balance of the account drop by the correct amount during the day and believed he'd paid the camp fee.

When I had a closer look, I realised that while money had, indeed, been paid out to the high school, it turned out to be music tuition fees, not the camp fee. Bugger, how did I forget about the music tuition fees? I was suddenly $500 behind the 8 ball. No worries, I could easily catch up this Thursday - and that is the plan at the moment.

But then, I came home last night and found a school notice on the kitchen table. It was requesting payment for Bryn's swimming lessons. $118 isn't a lot in the scheme of things anymore for us (it used to be everything!), but I simply haven't budgeted for it. So, now I'm having to rejig everything, and the part of me that grew up in a household of constant financial battle feels anxious.

It'll be fine, it is just that as a person who likes to plan, I kick myself when I get caught out by the unforeseen.

Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hmmm...

I submitted a paper proposal for review in mid-September - it was six weeks after proposal submission closed, but I'd asked if it was too late to submit and been told I could submit if I got it in that week because reviews were beginning. So, I got it in almost six weeks ago. I haven't heard back and the conference is in a month's time, so I'm guessing I didn't make it through. Oh well, at least I gave it a shot, and well, that's good considering I withdrew from the degree earlier this year and it would be so easy to just call it a day on my research.

I think there is another call-out still open where my paper might find a home.

It's strange, that life seems so distant to me now. It is difficult to reconcile the stress I was dealing with this time last year with the turn new direction my life has made in the past twelve months. I am still passionate about my area of research, and still keeping abreast of incoming research - and it is good to see more coming through in English, when it has predominantly been the domain of Latin-American and Chinese research.

I do watch conferences come and go knowing I can't take time away from work to attend them, it's one of those things that comes along with being a responsible adult I guess.

I have been scheduled to facilitate a group here at work during the week of the AAWP conference. I really want to hear back from the committee about my proposal before I make my apologies for that presentation. Maybe they'll get back to me this week? Is that realistic? I hope so.

Meanwhile, I'll keep plugging along researching for this paper, or the next one, and making sure I don't fall behind just because I'm not at Uni anymore.

Monday, October 23, 2017

You have got to be kidding me, kiddo.

Three times in the last week Erik has reached out to his father and me. I was thinking this was a good thing - and possibly it is - however, I've detected a pattern...

So, the first time was when he tapped me on the shoulder, as I mentioned in a blog post last week. That time, he wanted me to contact my brother to ask about Erik getting a tattoo. Of course, if he is determined to get a tattoo, then I'd rather he get it from Mike because I trust him. At the time I didn't think too much of it because, well, I was just happy he even spoke to me, something he hadn't done in nine months.

A couple of days later, he rang Dave. None of his friends were at school, and he was a bit bored, and by the way, could his dad take him for a driving lesson so he could get his hours up... Luckily for Dave, who would not have coped well sitting next to a learner driver in his own car, he had an appointment to go to.

Then last night he called again, but Dave was making dinner and said he'd call Erik back. Some time after dinner, Dave called back. Erik sounded him out about getting back in contact with his Nanna. He said Sam had encouraged him to do this before Nanna died. Nanna is in great health for a woman about to turn 89, her death is not imminent, but he felt he needed to get back in contact with her and didn't want to just lob up on her doorstep. This showed a little wisdom on his part because either his Nanna would give him the cold shoulder, or she would tear strips off him for putting his family through everything he did last year.

Still, it was surprising he wanted to connect with his Nanna suddenly.

Oh, and by the way, did his dad know if Erik still has that trust fund? If so, when would it become available?

Hmmm, are you seeing the pattern?

Dave told him he had no idea what the status of Erik's account was. He didn't know if she'd kept it, or divided it between the other boys - she was quite upset by Erik's behaviour. If she had kept it, it wasn't likely to become available until he was 21.

What cheek - and that is putting it nicely.

Mum would say it was because I raised him wrong. She would say it was because I am like my Nanna and I taught him to be money focused. I can tell you I did not. This self-serving behaviour sickens me. He seems to only be making contact with us to get something for nothing. He isn't getting too far with it, but that is beside the point.

He seems to think we can't see what he is doing. I have to wonder how much Sam is behind this. Well, maybe not the tattoo, but certainly contacting his Nanna. As he said, she has been encouraging him to do that. She seems very manipulative. She doesn't want him to see his parents, but she encourages him to see his grandparents (who, by the way, raised his parents). I have to ask, what business is it of hers?

Her own relationship with her family leaves a lot to be desired, so where does she come off judging our relationship with Erik. Can't she see how he uses people? How he has used her. How he manipulates people? Maybe she thinks that is okay. Maybe that is why she judges us for trying to stop him from doing just that.

In any case, it is disheartening to see that Erik seems to only be interested in relationships he can use to his advantage. Thank goodness none of the other boys seem to have this trait, you know, despite me being so much like my dad's mum, and being such an awful parent, and overall awful person.

I'll leave you all with this thought; isn't it funny how it is the narcissists who accuse other people of being toxic and horrible when those people stop being useful to them or won't stand for being used and disrespected?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Secrets and lies...

Yesterday I got off the bus at Doncaster on my way home from work, and as I walked along I felt a tap on my left shoulder. I turned around and saw a tall kid in a school uniform, and it took me a second to realise it was Erik. You know, I'd often day-dreamed about getting off the bus and running into Erik, but it never happened until yesterday.

He said I'd been walking directly toward him, Harlem - not recognising him - must have guided me around him causing him to have to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. I hadn't seen him, I had passed by him, he did not need to attract my attention, but he did.

He walked me to where Dave picks my up and told me along the way he was going to see a friend who was coming over from Coburg. Later he revealed the friend was his ex-girlfriend. He said he was wondering if I might ask my brother if he could do Erik's first tattoo. He couched the question in another question about whether or not I was on good terms with Mike. I said we're always on good terms, we have never let our parents get between us. He wanted someone to go with him to Mike's if Mike agreed to the tattoo.

We got onto talking about Mum and Lester. He started with saying he really didn't want to say anything that was going to piss me off, but then - because, we've always been able to talk about stuff - he told me all sorts of things.

He told me that he'd visited them a few times this year, and every time, they spent many hours talking to him about the bible. I asked him how he felt about that and he said he just asks them a bunch of questions because he's been watching the show, 'Lucifer' and he wants to know how closely that adheres to what is written in the bible. He also told me they'd talked a lot about the End Times and the predictions in Revelations and how they thought it was all coming together now, and they expected the Day of Reckoning to happen in the next half a decade or so.

He said they wanted to take Ari out for his birthday but thought we wouldn't let them - to be honest, I don't think I would, given they have such a low opinion of me. I said to him, they might have thought of Bryn who they'd promised to do something special for for two years running, but then never did anything because they never had 'any money'. They always seemed to find money for home improvements, though, even replacing $600 worth of garden that was ruined when a tourist crashed into it, just a few days before Christmas. The same Christmas they didn't 'have a lot of money to spend on the boys' and I helped them pick out $12 worth of presents for each of the three younger boys. The same Christmas they later gave Erik a $50 voucher. The same Christmas that resulted in me asking them not to show Erik preferential treatment which led to mum stating that I had no right to tell them how to spend their money, and that if my kids cared about money so much then I had raised them wrong (they would care about the imbalance, not about the money. Erik had caused so much pain in the family, and it would seem to them that he was being rewarded while they were having to just understand that their grandparents were broke).

I was accused of being like my paternal grandmother, who mum always considered a miser. Which beggars the question, if money is so unimportant to my mother, why on earth did she care how my grandmother handled her money. The thing that gets me is not that I'm supposedly like my grandmother, but that somehow saying this is an insult. Mum (and Dad, who also made the same observation when I wouldn't let him criticise my parenting) is trying to control my behaviour by trying to insult me with the memory of my grandmother.

My nanna was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. She never liked any of her daughter-in-laws. They were never good enough for her sons. She forced her religious opinions on other people - like the time she called me a whore because I was going to move in with Dave with no plans of marriage (I didn't talk to her for 10 years after that). She tried to manipulate her children financially by saying she'd take them out of her will every time they upset her. She was also a busy-body, inserting herself in situations which had nothing to do with her among her family members.

So far, I have done none of these things, and would never do any of these things. Sure, I didn't like the girlfriend Erik was with when he moved into her house without a word to us. I really didn't like that the girlfriend had encouraged her mother to take Erik in so, 'he had a safe place to go'. Is not liking his girlfriend under these circumstances such an outrageous thing to do?

My grandmother had some great qualities too. She was fiercely protective of her family. She worked hard to provide for them. She adored her grandchildren. She was actually extremely generous to everyone (except her daugther-in-laws). She was fun-loving and always open to new experiences with not a shred of self-consciousness. She was her own person and didn't make excuses for who she was, whether people like who she was or not. So comparing me to her is not an insult.

Erik ended up coming home with us, he said he'd walk back up to his bus. He stayed for an hour and a half. At one point during that time, he got a phone call which he went to another room to take, and we heard him saying he was on his way to meet his friend and that he was walking there at that moment. He was lying to the person on the other end of the phone.

We all kept chatting and talked about him getting his license and going to RMIT and a whole bunch of other stuff. He told us Centrelink had chucked mum off her carers pension because she's eligible for an aged pension in Iceland. Now, she's an Australia citizen - can they chuck her of a pension just because she's eligible in another country? Is this a new Government scheme to save money?

Just as he was leaving, I asked him if he wanted to come for Christmas dinner at our place in mid-December. He said if he did come he would have to make up a story for the ex-girlfriend's family because they don't want him to have anything to do with us. I asked him why. He said they were extremely pro-vaccination and obviously we don't vaccinate. We have no issue with him choosing to get vaccinated though - he's of an age where he can read up on vaccines and make an informed choice, or not do any research, it's up to him, it's something he is capable of now. As well as this, he said we were polar opposites on a range of other parenting practices. I can only guess what these might be. Perhaps breastfeeding past 12 months, or homeschooling Erik until he asked to go to school, or homebirthing? Obviously, we are child abusers, haha!

Whatever the case. While he is being secretive about his contact with us - which is ongoing and coming from him because we allow him to make his own choices about when he wants to talk to us - he is still seeking us out. Blood is thicker than water, and he knows he can tell us anything, because when we're not thwarting his desires, he doesn't view us as abusing him.







Monday, October 16, 2017

Phew, that was a busy weekend!

Now, usually my weekends (of late) have been about getting as much relaxation in as possible - and then the weekly cleaning routine. You know, beds (I change ours one fortnight and the boys the other fortnight), floors, toilets, laundry, all the fun stuff.

Didn't have a lot of time for much of that this weekend (ahem, toilets and floors did not get done - but they will today, because it grosses me out otherwise). This was because Saturday was all about appointments. It was GP for me because I have painful lymph nodes the size of grapes from a seasonal allergy which causes a horrid rash on my underarms, which I scratch, causing further irritation and in this case infection, oh joy. Then shopping for a laptop (2-in-1) for Bryn, which he knows nothing about, thank goodness. I have to remember to get the thing register for setup, I want to get all that stuff right this year, for once. And finally, getting Harlem washed, which was well overdue.

Sunday, was a write off as well, in so far as Dave and the older two boys desperately wanting to see the new Bladerunner movie. Ari was neither eligible to, nor interested in seeing Bladerunner. So, then someone (meaning me) had to take him to Lego Ninjago (which was better than I expected). I insisted that if I was going to be on Ninjago duty, I should get to go see a movie I like on my own - I love seeing movies on my own. So, I went and saw The Mountain Between Us, which was quite good. Sunday looked like this:

10.20am - Ari and I seeing Lego Ninjago
1.00pm - Dave, Luey, and Bryn seeing Bladerunner
6.00pm - me seeing The Mountain Between Us

As you can see, it was tag-teaming at it's best.

I need another weekend!




Friday, October 13, 2017

Discriminatory Public Transport Victoria Policy...

A couple of days ago I boarded a bus near my house. It was a bus I take every weekday morning, but that morning I tripped getting on because the driver hadn't lowered the bus. I told him he really should lower it, but when I exited the bus at the other end, he also did not lower the bus. So, reported the incident to Trans Dev. Then I received an email stating that the driver had tried to lower the bus but the mechanism hadn't worked (why didn't he tell me this?).

And THEN the email said it is Public Transport Victoria policy to only lower the buses automatically if the passenger is in a wheel-chair, or using a mobility scooter. In any other case, it is up to the passenger to ask that the bus be lowered.

Say what?

I wrote back and explained that a person with low vision or blindness is unable to judge the height of a bus, particularly when getting off the bus due to a common condition of not having depth perception. I asked how I would contact someone who I could discuss this with - so far, no reply.

This morning, I get on the bus, again not lowered. I couldn't see that it wasn't lowered so off course I didn't ask for it to be lowered in case it was lowered and I got lip from the driver for asking for the bus to be lowered when it already was. When getting off the bus, the driver asked if the bus was low enough (evidently the same driver), and I told him I didn't know because I could SEE to judge the height of the bus.

He said, as I was getting off the bus, which was too high, that the doors have to be closed to lower the bus?

HUH?

How on earth is a vision impaired person expected to be able to talk to the driver before getting on to ask for the bus to be lowered through closed doors, and if the doors are opened then the vision impaired person with have to ask for the doors to be closed again for the bus to be lowered. That will be popular with the other passengers...

Then when getting off the bus, how is the vision impaired person supposed to judge the height of the bus with the doors shut? Or again, ask the driver to close the doors to lower the bus while other passengers wait behind the vision impaired person.

Anyway, you can bet I'm taking this further.





























Thursday, October 12, 2017

All things education...

Yesterday, I went onto the high school Compass page to set in a parental leave notice for Lukas and guess what I found. Bryn now has an account! I showed him last night and he was, as expected, completely chuffed. This morning I received an email notice about registering his 'Bring Your Own Device' laptop, so I guess this weekend we'll be laptop shopping. I won't tell him until we're in the shop because he'd be completely unbearable until we finally took him. These are exciting times.

Not to be left out, Ari is only a few weeks away from his first ever school camp. He hasn't mentioned it, so I'm not sure how conscious he is about it coming up. While he is a child who talks non-stop about whatever comes into his mind, if he is worried about something, he tends to keep it close to his chest and we only find out about it if we ask very direct questions.

He did tell us the names of 2-3 kids are school who are his friends now. Two he was certain of and one his said maybe was his friend. That was actually a great relief to us because it seemed like he might never make friends - he reminds me a lot of Erik in that respect - a little awkward with other kids.

I'm not sure if the kids nominate someone they want to share a cabin with, or if they are allocated. At our previous primary school, the kids nominated their friends and the 'left overs' (the kids who couldn't think if anyone to nominate and weren't nominated by anyone) were bunked with each other. This led to a terrible first camp for Erik where his beanie kid was thrown in the toilet by one of the other kids. I'm not sure which method is better though because allocation doesn't guarantee harmonious cabins...

In other school news. I now have two engagements to speak at two primary schools (in Whittlesea and Templestowe) and one to speak for a certificate III course in Werribee. I have also been invited to speak at Victoria University and at a Disability Liaison Officer professional development day in Ballarat. Yesterday I was assigned my first Problem Solving Therapy client - to teach them how to problem solve in a methodical way.

All this education related activity is really making my heart sing! Finally being able to employ my communication and education qualifications is the best feeling - it justifies all those years of study. It is very satisfying having people appreciate all I am capable of, instead of projecting their own imagined limitations (if they were legally blind) onto me, not even giving an opportunity to prove myself.

I love this job!






















Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Shopaholic...

So, this is a real problem for me.

I have decluttered my house and I have committed to a one-in-one-out approach. The one-in-one-out approach sets out to not increase the quantity of a person's possessions. For someone who has just reduced their possessions by half, it is very important to not build up more stuff. I certainly do not want to be repeating this process in a couple of years.

This said, I have a problem. The one-in-one-out approach does not prohibit me from continuing to get new things. I just have to find something of equal size to get rid of. This brings me back to a harsh reality - I remain a shopaholic.

Case in point. Today I'm expecting two packages of scarves. I reduced my collection of 140 scarves, to 15 (possibly fewer). What on earth am I doing buying more scarves? Yes, I will be replacing one with another, I will also be reducing other things to 'pay' for these new scarves. Still, did I need more scarves? No, I did not. The scary thing is, I'm also expecting another package. AND, I'm hoping there aren't more I've just forgotten about.

It's a real problem.

I can hold the impulse at bay for a while and then I succumb to it. I think if it's inexpensive, it doesn't count, or if it's on sale, it doesn't count, or if it's moderately expensive but really good quality - I convince myself it's an investment... I know all of these justifications are false, but I employ them just the same.

I think I need some kind of therapy, but I don't even know where to start trying to find any. I'm not interested in going to some sort of support group. That's not my thing, so I'm going to have to investigate other options.

It's not good.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Migraines...

I've been suffering an awful lot of migraines recently, of the cluster variety. It has been worse than ever before. The worst I have ever had was about two weeks ago. I think it is my neck causing the trouble. In the car, because of the poof inside my shaper (the undergarment for my headscarves), my neck and head have been pushed forward. As well at that apparently, sitting on the fit ball has worsened the problem, so I'm back to sitting on a regular office chair. I've also got a cushion behind my back in the car seat which allows my neck to be in a neutral position.

Having the Maxalt helps in relieving the migraines, but I have to have one before I can treat it - Maxalt is not a preventer. I have tried a couple of preventers but they cause a brain fog that results in me forgetting how to speak (I'm not kidding) - the medication for the essential shakes actually did the same thing, so it seems neuro-medications don't work well for me.

Meanwhile, I've gone back to the LCHF diet, in hopes it will help. The last time I was consistent, the migraines reduced significantly - like from three a month to one in five months. At the moment I'm having 3-4 a week, often happening 2-3 days in a row (like over the weekend).

I've been on LCHF and so far it's not making any difference, but I'll stick it out and see how I go. Migraines suck and I can't believe I developed them in my forties when I hadn't had one in decades (not since per-pubescence).

Eye strain is another issue. Through Job Access I was able to get a BrailleSense electronic brailler (it's basically a tablet, but in braille). I'm slowly - very slowly - working on getting my speed up, but I'm nowhere near ready to use the brailler all the time.

Oh well, for now it looks like I'm just going to have to keep treating the migraines after-the-fact. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Love me an expo...

I was in my element yesterday.

Ultimately, I'm just very good at sales. My strengths lie in talking to people unabashedly and identifying ways to engage them - my ability to perceive what motivates people really helps with this. It is an odd thing. I'm actually shy with new people, though once I get the lay of the land I come good. Speaking for myself can be difficult because I suffer from foot-in-mouth, and worry about ostracising myself.

But get me to sell something to strangers; concepts, services, things even, and it's like I suddenly lose all signs of shyness. The key is that I have to believe in what I'm selling.

I realised this yesterday when at the expo. I loved it. I found it easy to start conversations with people - Harlem was usually the ice-breaker, people would come over to pat him (he was off harness), and I'd start a conversation with them.

When I got bored of doing that, I took a bunch of our referral cards and went around to the various other stalls asking them about their services and how I might connect people with vision impairments into those services, whether it be as participants, consumers, volunteers, or in my capacity as a Community Development Worker seeking to find venues where we could run our own groups and events. Then I'd ask them if you would be willing to tell any vision impaired people able Vision Australia. I talked about our services, our NDIS pre-planning, our pre-employment and employment consultant services, and even about puppy raising for Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (I don't have a SEDA dog, I have a Guide Dog from Guide Dogs Victoria, but in my capacity as a Vision Australia staff member on duty, obviously I would be promoting our business).

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to pre-employment course here in Kensington, and was asked (along with the other two people on the panel), what my strengths and weaknesses are. Weaknesses are always easy to come up with (though coming up with them in such a way as to not put employers off is a greater challenge). Strengths can be a lot more difficult. Now though, since last night, I know one of my strengths is being able to engage people with regard to concepts, products, and services I believe they can benefit from.

In any case, I had a blast!



Thursday, October 05, 2017

Back in Expo mode again...

Today I'm taking a team to Whittlesea Council for the council's Welcome Expo. It's my first project management role in a paid capacity and it's very exciting. Of course, I'm an old hat at organising expo participation so this hasn't been anything new to me in that respect. As well as this, I've gotten to know the Councillors in charge of this event well enough to be on a first name basis, which helps.

It's only a four hour Expo, so I've got two teams going, and I will be there for the whole four hours. We also have a fifteen minute presentation happening, so I've organised a presenter for that who will only be turning up for the presentation itself.

Because I'll be there four hours past my knock off time, I will be taking four hours in lieu tomorrow, and will be leaving at the start of my lunch break - so 4.5 hours in total. Given that I will be leaving so early, I'm thinking of seeing if my brother (who works only two stops up the line) has time for a coffee. I see him so rarely because we live on opposite sides of the city. Now that I'm working on his side, and only two stops away from him, you'd think we'd see each other more, but having worked here for almost six months (!) I have yet to catch up with him.

I want to see if he wants to come to our early Icelandic Christmas celebration - which I'm thinking now we might have to have on Sunday the 17th of December, rather than the Saturday because if Mike wants to come, he won't be able to make it on the Saturday because of work commitments.

The end of the year seems to be charging at me now. So much to organise. It's fortunate I find busy stimulating and fun, and not stressful, huh?

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Radio silence...

Do you think there's a time when there is nothing left to say?

I've been thinking about this a bit lately because I've been struggling to come up with blog topics.

Maybe it's just a case of being too content? That might sound odd, 'too content', people might say, 'Is there such a thing as 'too content'?' I think there is. There is an argument that artists require pain to be the most inspired. Pain is an experience which is most intense and needs out before it destroys the consumer. Contentedness, on the other hand is something people want to hang onto, and protect. It is a sense of ease which discourages action, discourages change.

So, maybe I'm too content because everything I do seems to turn to gold at the moment.

I fear being boring with all my contentedness, but also irritating to those who can't share my current experience. Misery loves company, right? A content person does not provide good company for a miserable person.

Perhaps all this contentedness is a form of misery - for an artist. Perhaps not having anything much to say is frustrating, even painful?

I know I find myself avoiding anything that threatens my peace. I am actively avoiding the news. I don't want to debate the plebiscite, or worry about Korea and the US playing with the toys of war. I am certainly not interested in the biggest massacre in modern US history. Particularly because the white US citizen will be passed of as disturbed and not a terrorist, you know because he's not a Muslim.

I'm jaded, and I want to protect this new found contentedness, and consequently I find myself having little to say.

Teenagers and the failing parent...