Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter Show and Pho


We went to the Easter Show yesterday. We watched some interesting stuff in the main arena - I was going to say agricultural displays but mostly it wasn’t! - like motorcyclists doing stunts, cattle dogs rounding up cattle, horsemen stabbing balloons at a gallop (simulating WWI combat), gymnasts doing tricks on horseback, and wood chopping competitions; bought Show bags and nougat; looked at prize-winning art and flower displays; and tried lots of free food samples. It was a good day.

Last Wednesday I didn’t have anything interesting for lunch so I wandered over to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. I didn’t realise it only served Pho - noodle soup with your choice of meat - but that sounded ok so I ordered the beef. Yuk. Bland yet unpleasant. I ate only a little, went back to work and had my scorned sandwich. Next day the library team decided to go to lunch together as it was the last day of term and decided to go to... a Pho restaurant. A different more popular one that we had to drive to. Twice as expensive, only slightly better. I tried the chicken this time. Everyone else seemed to love it. I kept quiet and ate maybe a quarter of my small serve. All I could taste was coriander, which I don’t like. I kept thinking about my delicious Tim-made risotto sitting abandoned in the work fridge. Oh well.

Sad to say I don’t seem to like Korean either, going by a recent experience. Yet I enjoy Chinese, Thai and Malaysian, as well as many other culture’s foods - Mexican is my favourite. I like spices, but not many herbs. Coriander is just nasty!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Hello again


Hello again. I keep forgetting to post. Very busy with work plus all the other stuff that used to fill my days. Work at the library is going well. I have more experience so I don’t have to ask for help much, and I enjoy most of it - and the bits I don’t enjoy so much I still feel are contributing to the betterment of the world. Today I was sitting in the office (not at the circulation desk where we help people) and a student came to the door and handed me a little container of home made food and thanked me for taking lots of time to help her the other day. Wasn’t that lovely! It made me feel happy for the rest of the day, every time I thought of it. I’d already had lunch so I put it in the fridge to try tomorrow. I’m not sure what it is, something Middle Eastern. Kofta maybe.

I opened the library by myself today, coming in early and turning on all the systems and lights etc. Not difficult, but it’s a responsibility. I’d done it once before when Rita was sick, and I arrived 15 mins after we were supposed to open to find everything dark and patrons waiting at the door. I felt very flustered that day! This morning was much more relaxed. Another new responsibility is giving Library Orientation talks to class groups. That is stressful! I go through a PowerPoint of important info (how many books they can borrow, library fines etc) then show them around. I don’t know why they are only having Orientation now, at the very end of the term! I find public speaking nerve-racking, but I do ok.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for other jobs, just in case something really good came up. And I’ve been in contact with my boss from the library I did my work placement in, and she let me know of a job opportunity coming up there. Closer to home and better paid than this one. And they know and like me (and me them) so I feel like I have a good chance even though I don’t have a lot of experience yet. I was worried about telling my current boss (I had to ask her if she be a referee) considering she hired me only about six weeks ago, but she was lovely about it and even said if I got a short-term position they might be able to take me back afterwards. So I’m feeling very appreciated at the moment.

My weight has been stable, 71.8kg this week. I keep going on and off the Duromine (phentermine) because it is really disrupting my sleep this time around. But it does suppress my appetite, so after a few days off I try again.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Brain fog


Well turns out I was getting sick on the weekend. I gradually got worse on Sunday. I went to work this morning but came home at lunchtime. Tummy a bit upset but mainly exhausted and brain fog. My boss wasn’t there when I left - she divides her time between several locations - and I’m not sure if I’m entitled to sick leave yet. I can make it up in flex time, if need be. Not worried about it.

Explains my low mood. I’m actually quite enjoying work. I certainly like seeing other adults and having a purpose to my days.

My co-workers all seem very nice. Rita has only been there a year, and worked in school libraries before that. I can see she would be great with kids. Friendly and helpful. Husband in the army, four year old daughter. We’ve bonded over trying to lose weight. She is quite a large woman, and has her sister’s wedding in six months. The sister has had some form of bariatric surgery to lose weight. I had thought she looked Polynesian, but turns out she is Chinese, she had an ancestry test done and was nearly 100%. Dubravka loves hiking, don’t know much else yet. Stern/caring mother type. Old-fashioned librarian! Linh has been working there for 20 years, single with a garden. Did she have a fiancĂ©e who died or did I dream that conversation (or see it in a movie)? Asthmatic, gets a bit wheezy after a flight of stairs. Caitlin started after I did and is part time so I haven’t talked to her much, youngish, unlike me has worked in other libraries. Lives inner-city, a bit rough around the edges.

I made up a table with eleven things to rate a job by (like travel time, job satisfaction, pay) and scored good, medium or bad for each. The current job got 2/4/5 (2 ‘good’, 4 ‘medium’ and 5 ‘bad’). I then thought about two positions I’d apply for if I ever see them advertised and gave my best guesses. One got 6/3/2 and the other 4/1/4 (2 unknown). It helps me clarify my thinking. This job is ok, but not somewhere I want to stay until I retire.

I missed my niece’s 6th birthday on Sunday. This week is Tim’s birthday then sister-in-law Ping’s, so I’d better be better by then!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Week two


I've got through a second week of full time work. Not as stressed and exhausted as the first week, but still very tired at the end of each day. A bit disillusioned that I'm doing very little of the things I was actually trained for - like cataloguing and helping people with research. I'm doing basic library tasks like helping people borrow and return books; but a lot of my time seems to helping students with computer stuff that I have no training or experience in. Some I can do - like show them how to format an assignment and print it - but often they need more complex tech help that I have no idea about, like getting them wi-fi, or helping them use computer programs I've never even seen before. I watch my colleagues and learn. But it's not what I became a Library Technician for.

I spend about half of each day on the circulation desk helping students, the rest in the office doing things like creating a PowerPoint slideshow for Harmony Day and updating lists of resources we have for the teachers of each subject. My favourite is when I occasionally get to work with actual books - like when I noticed we had different editions of the same book shelved in different places so I corrected the call number for the misfiled one and printed new labels.

Well, if it's not the perfect job I need it as a stepping stone to a better one. Maybe something better will come up. But I know the computer side is a big part of libraries now.

I'm more exhausted this weekend than I was during the week. Maybe I'm coming down with something.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Long week


I’ve finished my first full week of the new job. It’s been a bit turbulent. On Monday there was heavier traffic than I was expecting and I was 15 mins late, which wasn’t a drama for them but I found it embarrassing since it was only my second day. Lots of new things to learn all day and then horrible traffic on the way home. I was stressed about my kids home alone, and stressed about all the before and after school activities I had to get them to somehow while working full time. I was physically and mentally exhausted and miserable, wondering if I could tough this out.

Tuesday was better, I felt I was getting the hang of things. But then Wednesday Tim had to get up early for a flight so I woke too, did the grocery shopping before work, and I was on the circulation desk all day (helping people, mostly on my feet) and I was so tired again I wanted to quit. Thursday I was on late shift so I got to lie down for 15 mins in the morning after getting the kids to school and doing some housework before work ... I felt less exhausted Friday so maybe I’m getting used to it?

The job itself is fine, I’m quite enjoying it and the people are nice. I’ll write more about that next time.

I didn’t take Duromine this week, I was worried it could contribute to anxiety (although it’s never had that effect on me before) and difficulty sleeping. I did sleep better without it. But I’m back on it now. I am really keen to lose a few more kilograms. I’m determined to fit into those lovely black trousers this winter!

Jasmine had exciting news, she moved up to level 3 in Acrogymnastics at the start of this year and now she’s jumped up to 3A. She will be in a trio for the first time, instead of a pair, one of two bases with a littler girl as the ‘top’. From 3A the competitions get more serious, they judge things like synchronicity and the dance elements as well as the lifts and throws. It means up to 9 hours a week practice instead of 4! And proper fancy costumes instead of the team uniform. And National competitions instead of just State! So proud of her.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Library Technician


I started my new job on Friday, my first paid position as a Library Technician. (Short history: I did a BA, then was a public servant for ten years, married and had two children and stayed home with them, did post-grad cert as an editor and did freelance work from home for a few years, then did Diploma in Library stuff which I finished last year.) Library Technicians do most things a Librarian does except the management and admin stuff. This job is essentially the same as I did for work experience last year, so I know the computer system and most of the procedures although of course every library is slightly different. There are four other staff in my office, and another new person is starting next week. They have been understaffed for ages waiting for this hiring freeze to end.

Everyone seemed nice and welcoming. I spent a lot of the day with my boss Angela who went through induction stuff (Work Health and Safety, computer systems etc) and got shown around bits of the campus at different times by all the others. It's the Library for a TAFE - tertiary education in things like child care studies, animal care, hairdressing, English for migrants, and High School equivalency. My job will be mainly helping students borrow and return books, use the computers and photocopiers, find stuff for research for assignments etc. Hopefully I'll get to catalogue new books. Apparently I'll be in charge of inter-library loans once I'm up to speed. Putting books back on the shelf. Creating book displays and helping plan and run library events.

 We have a tiny dingy tea room that we share with student services, not even on our floor of the building, useful fridge and microwave but not a pleasant place to eat so at lunchtime I went and sat in the shade in one of the courtyards. This is looking back at my building. There is a nicer bigger staff tea room in another building but you need a key and it wastes part of your break getting there and back.

I worked in the same suburb for my very first job many years ago, it is largely migrant from primarily Lebanese and Vietnamese origins - or it was back then. A lot of the female students I saw on Friday were wearing headscarves (Muslim?), and the three I helped find books about their home country for an assignment were from Lebanon, Yemen, and China. Quite culturally diverse, which is always interesting. Also the staff - of the five of us, my boss and I are of Anglo background (I am of English and Russian heritage), the others Russian, Polynesian and Chinese (I'm guessing by name, appearance and accent, I haven't had much time to get to know them yet.) No diversity in gender though! All women including the new Librarian starting next week.

I was so exhausted after my first day. My first full time work since I had kids. I'm glad I had the weekend to recover before heading into a full week.

Sunday, February 24, 2019



It looks like I will start my new job on Wednesday if they can get the paperwork through on time. It's the same position as I did for my work experience so I should be able to jump right in, and hopefully less than 30 mins drive away. I'm still a little worried about it being full time, and I don't know my shifts yet, but I'm trying to focus on the happy and exciting aspects. I guess I'm nervous! I've got my useful notes together, and my 'work' mug for tea. I've used it for over 20 years, ever since someone gave it to me in a Secret Santa at work. I use a cup and saucer at home, but this mug is small and delicate so I like it. Amazing it's lasted so long.
I'll have to plan for extra cooking at dinner to have enough leftovers for lunch for everyone.

On Saturday I did some vigorous gardening, hefting bags of soil around and digging out entrenched recalcitrant weedy plants in preparation for putting in some new shrubs. After an hour of hard work I was gently spreading the soil around with the edge of the spade when bam! a horrible back spasm hit me and I nearly fell over. I've never had back issues before except for soreness from bad posture at a desk all day. This was like my whole lower back was clenched up. Painful. It's weird that it happened then, not when I was doing strenuous work, but I guess I was bending and twisting? I held myself up with the spade and waited but it didn't seem to be fading. After a few minutes Tim wandered outside so he helped me to the garden furniture so I could sit. The worst pain went after about 15 minutes but it is still a bit sore two days later after hot baths and massage and heat packs and pain killers. Sunday morning when I got out of bed it took me 5 mins just to shuffle to the bathroom. I probably need to strengthen my core - I've had non-existent stomach muscles since having kids.

I dropped to 15mg Duromine for a couple of days but started 30mg again today, although it probably wasn't the dosage's fault that I was stress eating! I weighed 72.1kg this morning, a gain of 0.1kg. I feel back on track today.

It's been about four weeks since I restarted my gym membership and I've been twice, less than an hour of exercise total. Partly due to having the flu, but mainly I just don't want to go. I'll try to get there tomorrow with my sister-in-law if my back is ok, for a gentle oldies class that has replaced Zumba (shakes fist in annoyance) but then I will cancel my membership. If I can't make myself go when I'm unemployed with all the time in the world, there is no way I'll manage it while working full time and still being a good parent (and taxi service for the kids!). But I need regular exercise, as my sore back is emphasising. Dance at home with the Xbox and walking in my lunch break maybe. I enjoy both those things.

Last weekend at family dinner there wasn't really enough roast meat to go around, this week everyone dropped out of coming over except my father-in-law so there are plenty of leftovers (you can't really divide up a leg of lamb before you cook it). I do wish I knew before about 3.30 in the afternoon how many people were coming for dinner! Some number between just the four of us and 19 people. Most often around 12. But at least it motivates us to clean the house every Sunday.