Saturday, September 28, 2013

Life spins

Life has been spinning me in a new direction.

When I resigned from my last employer feeling exhausted and burnt out, I didn't have another job to go to.  I wanted to head off on the path of training and assessing and pursuing my writing ambitions,, and to achieve this I enrolled in a bridging course to upgrade my training and assessment qualifications to the latest requirements, and registered a business name and commenced offering typing, training and resume writing services to people who wanted my services.

Then, when I least expected it, I gained a short term contract to 'fix up' the paperwork of an individual, which has led - quite strangely - to me last night having enrolled in Certificate of Registration course so I can gain on-going work for my business doing the accounts for a Real Estate Agency.

Being unemployed - even temporarily - was supposed to have given me with plenty of time with 'nothing to do' that I could use to sit down and work on my manuscript. Instead, 'unemployment' has caused me to become the busiest I have ever been gaining a day's work here and there, and running around doing the necessary things to get my business off to the great start it has seen.

So, just as all that was starting to 'settle down' and I would finally have gained the odd day or two of the desired 'nothing to do' I now have assignments and quizzes and lots of studying to do to enable me to finish the self-paced course quickly.

So, once again, I am all quite on the blogging and writing front - but I will pop by with a post or two when I can.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scary Bushfire drama

So, a bit of 'drama' for the day to get the heart rate pumping...

photo from

I was helping a client-friend with sorting out business paperwork today when the phone rang, but we were unable to find the telephone handset to answer it in time.  My client rang back the number of the missed call and then said, "that was strange. I it was a warning call advising that there is a bushfire in the local area."

We didn't think much of it, even though we could see that outside was a 'touch' smokey, but my client had barely hung up the phone when there was a knock at the front door.  While my client went to the door and worked out that it was locked and needed to get the keys, I caught glimpse of a uniformed police officer through a nearby window.

My friend hurried back with the keys and opened the door, and the officer advised us that we needed to vacate the area, as a bushfire was heading in our direction and the entire suburb was being instructed to evacuate as soon as possible.

No, the policeman didn't really care that my friend had firefighting equipment because my friend knew he lived on acreage next to a large nature reserve, and was every summer at risk during bushfire season. So, while the policeman moved on to door knock the rest of the neighbourhood, my friend and I madly gathered up all the important business paperwork that we had been working on and threw them into the boot of my car, along with his business laptop and family photo albums. 

I left amid the smoke becoming very thick and lots of smoldering embers falling upon us, and drove these 'devastating-to-be-lost' perishables to safety while my friend rounded up his many pets, secured his house, and got the firefighting equipment ready in case he needed to use it protecting his own and his neighbours properties.  It was only as I was driving out of the driveway that I could see just how close the bushfire was - in such terrible winds driving the fires to burn faster and furiously - when I saw a helicopter fly almost directly overhead and into the black and red haze ahead of me. And the idiot neighbour had stopped in the middle of the road, blocking exit, so he could video the helicopter dumping its load of water in attempt to dowse the destructive path.

I had no hesitation to drive over someone (I hope, his) front lawn so I could get around him, and exit the estate and get the hell away from the threat that hadn't been there a mere hour and a half earlier when I had arrived.

Lucky I knew all the backroads home, because all the major roads I would normally use were blocked because there wasn't just this major bushfire that the local rural fire brigades were fighting - the evacuation route that residents of Windsor and Richmond usually have to take to get to Penrith were blocked as well, as a separate bushfire of similar size and devastation caused traffic to become extremely (and unusually) heavy.

It was quite freaky being THAT close to an uncontrolled bushfire - it is almost a dark as night, but with a strange orange and red glow in amongst black and dark grey, choking smoke. It is scary having bits of ash and cinders floating down onto your windscreen; but nothing scares you more than feeling how strong the wind is blowing behind that fire in your direction.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire, and later downgraded the area to having to remain on 'alert' but no longer having to evacuate (but not yet able to return if you had evacuated).  My friend phoned to let me know that although he can see live flames from his front porch, the fire didn't get too much closer than when I had left.

I can tell you now... when a police officer instructs ME to evacuate, I didn't stand around arguing or questioning!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

I am such a Harry Potter nerd!

My baby girl (soon to turn 19) was bored while waiting to driver herself off to work today, and being in a super chatty mood having just returned from having spent nearly a month away house sitting caught me up to date on 'everything' that's been happening in her life that she hasn't already told me about.

To pass the time, she asked if I would like to play a game of 'Head's Up' (or, more accurately a similar app to Head's Up).  She knew I watch the Ellen Degeneres show sometimes and that I knew about the app, and even though I did have plenty of things I could have been doing instead, figured taking half hour out of my busy day isn't going to hurt me.

The first few games were fun, but nothing spectacular, and then babygirl found the category Harry Potter and she 'had' to have a game before she left. She held her phone to her head, I called out clues without giving it away and she tried to guess the answer. I shouted out things like "He is the main character!" and she guessed "Harry Potter", "the spell that Lupin tells Harry not to let become his signature spell" and she (correctly) guessed "Expelliarmus!"  That type of thing.

But our real fun began when we swapped 'goes' - with HER giving ME the clues, and my having to guess.  I got things like "damn, I forgot what this spell does - so just pass and we'll go to the next one".

I correctly answered every clue given to me, but received less clues than instructions to pass so we could move onto the next one - which caused us both to get a fit of the giggles.

It got closer and closer to baby girl having to leave to go to work, but she kept on insisting on playing 'one more game' because 1. we were having so much fun, laughing and giggling and trying to beat the clock, and 2. because she had to try super hard to be able to give me each clue so I could try to guess the answer.

So, even though we have both read the series many, many times, this morning I proved once and for that I am the biggest Harry Potter nerd than she is - so I'll wear this Title with pride :-)

Monday, September 02, 2013

You can piggin do it

I was browsing Ebay tonight when I came across this gorgeous little weight loss figurine entitled 'You can piggin do it!'


Cute, huh! ?

The affects of a positive work environment on the soul

After months of being told by my former employer that I'm 'not good enough' - which slowly eats away at your confidence even when you know they have it all wrong - today I enjoyed a really pleasant working today being appreciated and praised.

An old friend who runs his own business and I ran into each other after many years of lost contact and within a few minutes my friend was asking if I had any spare time to help him out in relation to his business paperwork which had become 'umm, sort of back-logged' and now had reached 'desperation point'.  He told me he wouldn't be able to pay me much - if at all - but once it was all sorted out, there was potential for me to gain paid work down the track if I was interested.  Already starting to get a bit bored and isolated while I look for work and complete my qualification upgrade, I figured there was no harm in doing something for someone else.

So I started doing the paperwork for him whenever I am free, and today, after making quite a significant dent I was pleased to be thanked, appreciated and praised for simply doing something that I enjoy and am good at.

It made me realise that it is not your employer who determines whether the working environment is positive, neutral or negative; it is the people who work alongside who make the impact.

For months I've been working alongside grouchy, fed-up, tired and overworked colleagues, who grumble and complain - and dare I say it, bitch - about everything - colleagues, the company, the industry - to make sure everyone else within the workplace ends up feeling the same way, creating a toxic workplace. No matter how hard you try to 'rise above it' or make changes for the better, without even knowing it you become one of them; and what you once enjoyed is soon no longer satisfying, and it is hard to get out of bed each morning and find the drive and motivation to return.

So it has been a very pleasurable day today not being under extreme pressure, working alongside happy, positive, enthusiastic and inspired co-workers.  Today is a day for me to stop and appreciate that my decision to leave that toxic workplace was the best decision I have made in a long time - although I wish I had of found the courage to do this sooner.

Feeling happy and content with life right now.


Teaching an old dog TWO new tricks!

Yesterday was Father's Day here in Australia and I spent the day over at my dad's house sitting down and letting him feed me with his (delicious) homemade cakes and biscuits and drinking one cup of tea after another.

My dad lives an hours drive away so with him always off busy doing things and my having worked full time until recently it had been some months since I last physically saw him (though we have spoken on the phone regularly).

Dad told me about how he and his 'girlfriend' (they've been together for years now) are going on a month's overseas trip in late October - and instead of telling me his travels plans, such as WHERE they will be going, my dear old dad excitedly told me how my brother (who he recently visited) had set him up with Skype so he could stay in touch while out of the country.

Dad whipped out a brand new funky little modern laptop with touch-screen capability (that he bought recently because it is light and easily fits into his backpack), and fired up Skype to show me (very proudly) how easily he can type messages to my brother and proclaimed that he can even 'if we are both online at the same time, talk to each other by video!'

I had to laugh.  Dad hadn't even tried to do any of that yet, my brother had just told him it was possible.

So, I took control of the keyboard/touch screen, added my own Skype contact, and because I carry my mobile phone every where with me and have the Skype app already installed, soon video chatted with my dad all the while having him sitting next to me.  He got all excited, and at first (because he is significantly deaf without his hearing aid) shouted at the screen as though I was hundred's of miles away (yes, I use the words miles instead of kilometres because my dad was raised on using Imperial measurements, and although he later learned metric, my maths genius dad always falls back on his imperial measurements if he is unsure of the accuracy of his metric answer); but he soon worked out for his own self that he doesn't need to shout - though I think we still will need to because of his lack of hearing.

At some point I said to him he should probably consider having a facebook account.  Both dad and his girlfriend were horrified by this suggestion to begin with, but I told them how it is just as easy to use as Skype - and actually allows for much better means of staying in touch with the family (seeing as we are all on facebook and not really on Skype).  It was enough for them to be happy for me to log into my own account, show them the types of things they can do - which soon got them past their 'horror' of joining facebook, and so, to make it easy for them, I opened up an account and sent friend requests to each aunt, uncle, cousin, and sibling relevant for my dad.

Soon, friend requests had been accepted, and lots of 'congratulatory' messages for joining facebook were flooding in keeping dad and his girlfriend busy and excitedly reading all these family contacts. I showed him how he can private message his contacts, upload photo's (so we can see the highlights of his trip before he even gets home - to which he got even more excited about).

So all in all, I had a great day teaching my dad how to use for his own benefit some modern technology.  Here I've been using facebook for years and its is just 'ordinary' to me - but it was an exciting new world for my 72 year old dad.

Happy Father's Day, dad.  May we have many more to celebrate together!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Happy Father's Day

I just want to wish all the father's out there a very special and happy Father's Day.

I'm off to go and have lunch with my dad - I haven't seen him in a while so it will be great to catch up on all the family gossip and spend some quality time with him.