Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The fun of public transport


This afternoon I went into the city to an information session about this library course I'm thinking about doing. I was a bit apprehensive as it was so very hot, and I was right to be! I'd left time to get lunch before the 2:00pm session, after a 1 hour trip in (car to station then train), but I couldn't face eating in the heat, at least none of the greasy food from the hole-in-the-wall outlets I could find near the station. I ended up with a milkshake in a shady spot with a bit of a breeze, I suppose that almost counts as food. I asked for half syrup but it was still horribly sweet.

The info session was good, best thing was I can do some subjects in class and some online to make the timetable fit being home outside the kids' school hours. The course is a one year Diploma which would make me a "library technician" - somewhere between a librarian (managing) and a library assistant (stacking shelves etc). The course starts in three weeks, after the kids are back at school.

It was after 3 when I left, I thought about going home but felt I really should eat something first, even though it was still too hot for food to seem appealing. We don't have a big bookshop near home but there are a couple of great ones in the city, so I decided to head over to one and get food on the way, I had a particular restaurant in mind and could catch a bus up the main road. But the road was closed for roadworks, so no buses, and the restaurant wasn't there any more (ok it's probably been 15 years since I was there), so I trudged along the sidewalk in the heat, uphill, not interested in any of the fatty fast food that I would usually love. I could have got ice cream but there was no where to eat it except the hot street so I just kept trudging along getting hotter and more miserable.

I finally went into an air conditioned food court near the bookshop and had a cool drink and a crepe with strawberries. It wasn't very nice but I made myself eat it. And did feel a bit better. Then bought a book for the train ride home.

It was approaching peak hour but I got a seat on the train and was enjoying my book. A few stations from home the train stopped for a long time then pulled into the next station and we were all told to get off and catch arranged buses as there was a signal failure problem. I squished onto a bus with about a million other people, packed under some guy's armpit, and swayed to the rhythm of the bus driver's aggressive cornering. Confusingly it didn't go to my station, or even one on that line, but to the major shopping centre where we often go to the movies. There I was told to change buses, and caught an ordinary one that was heading where I wanted to go. Not directly, of course... first we took in the scenic back streets. Every time I thought we were headed in the right direction we'd turn a corner and head off on a tangent again. But all things must end, even seemingly interminable bus rides, and we finally got to the station where I'd left the car, a full hour later than I'd expected. To see a train pull in from the city and disgorge its load of passengers... I guess they'd repaired the problem.

I slumped the couple of blocks to the car in a defeated sort of way. At least I did well over 10,000 steps today!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Maybe by next Christmas


The pool builders are back from their Christmas holidays today. The guy who is doing the rock edging and water feature came out to offer his services for other landscaping (laying paving and building us new steps). We liked his concept and are waiting for his quote. But he told us something very sad, prefaced by "can I be honest?" (always a bad sign) he doesn't think the pool will be ready before the end of summer. We still have a month and a half left! But there is still a lot to be done: the plumbing and surfacing the concrete and a million other things. This guy isn't the site manager but he is pretty experienced in the industry. Sad and disappointing - we were originally told "by Christmas"! Maybe they meant Christmas 2017.

Standing out in the sun talking to him in the middle of the day for 40 minutes on a scorcher was no fun. Felt a bit sick. I should have got a hat but I didn't know we'd be out so long. At least Tim is home at the moment to talk to the tradesmen so he doesn't hear everything second-hand through me.

Although he took the kids out for an hour this afternoon and as soon as they'd gone there was a knock on the door - I thought it was him having forgotten something. But was a delivery guy with a stack of big boxes and heavy bags of rocks! Good timing Tim (getting out of the heavy lifting). I got the guy to carry it around to inside the side gate. Pool stuff like the filter and pump apparently, the rocks are part of the filter system?, we had no idea it was going to be delivered today (or any day).

...well surprise surprise, the back of my neck is now a lovely shade of magenta.

Saturday, January 14, 2017



We don't know our older neighbours on one side very well and at first thought they were a bit grumpy, but they seem nice now. We haven't spoken to them much but the husband suggested a couple of times (when he saw me home with the kids on school holidays) that we were welcome to use his swimming pool if we wanted. I really didn't feel like we knew them well enough, it was too awkward, although of course I thanked him and said we might. But then he asked us to feed his dog while the humans were away this weekend, and that made it seem fair for us to use the pool and also not having them there helped! We went over this afternoon, played with Casper, and had a swim in the pool - with Casper! He shed a lot of hair, both in the pool and out of it, poor thing looked so hot. He is an elderly golden Labrador.

I fed him in the evening, and as I'd been warned he inhaled his dinner in about 12 seconds. And looked around for more. It was the right amount of food for him, but I did feel a bit sorry for him that someone so motivated by food (as all Labradors are) only got to eat for 12 seconds a day. He should learn to savour it!

I've been thinking seriously about the "what am I going to do with my life" question, and one option I'm considering is becoming a librarian. There is a one year course that I can do either in the city (might be tricky to fit within school hours, especially with all the travelling) or online. And even while studying (especially online) I could look for work, my previous qualifications and work experience (not in libraries) might help. I want to work part time. I love books, there would be some desk work but not all day, quiet and indoors, contact with people but I wouldn't have to sell anything. The TAFE course has an information session on Wednesday that I plan to go to, and I'll also go talk to my local librarians.

As with any job or study, it will affect the time I have to write (particularly with my RSI that restricts daily computer use) but I can't stay home forever. I need to think about the direction to take my writing too... do I work on the sequel to my existing book that hasn't yet found a publisher (need to spend time there) or start on a new idea that is percolating?

Thursday, January 12, 2017



Yesterday we saw another movie, "Moana". The kids don't seem to want to do much else. Just mooch around the house, which is fine with me.

Today Jasmine had a friend over, and they spent three hours giggling in her room. Weirdly her friend had my exact boots (I don't know why she was wearing boots on a hot summer day) and when she took them off she had the same socks as I am wearing today. So do I have the fashion sense of a twelve year old, or does she have that of a 46 year old?

When Emily's mother dropped her off I invited her in for a cup of tea and we had a chat. I am trying to be brave and make new friends. Seemed very nice. I was a bit secretly miffed when she had two sugars in her tea, admitted to a sweet tooth and love of desserts, her husband works for Coca-Cola,and she complained about being slack about exercise since Christmas... yet is very slender! Nice teeth too.

I am thinking more seriously that I need to get some kind of part time job (school hours) for the social aspect and the sense of purpose as much as the money (but I would like to contribute money to the household too) - but I have no idea what. Maybe I should start by looking at local job ads and see what is available?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017



I knew my legs would be sore today, but I was wrong about which bits. My calves hurt the most when actually climbing up the rock stairs, but it's the muscles at the front just above my knees that are stiff and sore now. Going down stairs is very painful!

Didn't do much today. Just the grocery shopping. I feel guilty that we didn't do more but it was so hot today. The kids played board games and iPad games and got bored. Tomorrow will be worse, 38 degrees C.

I wish we had our pool.

Sunday, January 8, 2017



Weight this morning 80.1 kg, up a little.

I knew today was going to be hot, tomorrow very hot, Wednesday stupidly hot. So if we wanted to be outside at all, it needed to be this morning. We went to a park by the river, but the kids didn't approve as the playground equipment was all on sand and they didn't want to get sand in their shoes. So we went for a walk. "Along the river" quickly became an almost vertical climb up the side of the ravine. There were steps cut into the boulders and carefully placed rocks, up and up.

And up and up. A couple of times I stopped for a rest and claimed I couldn't go any further but we kept going until we got to the lookout more or less at the top. At least I think this was the advertised official lookout, there was a little plaque on the rock but no fence, I didn't go too near the edge! My calves were hurting quite a bit and I bet I'll wake up stiff and unable to walk tomorrow! I took some photos from the top but they don't really show clearly how steep it was or how high above the river, which you can just see between the trees.

We climbed down again (hard on the knees), had a rest in the shade, then drove home and had some ice cream! It wasn't really part of my diet plan for the day, but then neither was an exhausting hike in the heat. More than an hour later after a rest, ice cream, and a cool shower, I was still hot and tomato-red in the face. And rather shaky about the legs.

Family Tree


On Friday Tim was home sick, yesterday I felt awful, neither of us is fully recovered. This flu or whatever it is keeps going around and around the family, or I suppose it could be more than one virus. This bit was nasty.

We were supposed to have my aunt and uncle over for lunch today. My dad's brother and his wife, they live in the country (retired farmers) many hours away. I've probably seen and spoken to them more times in the past two years, due to my father's illness and death, than all the previous twenty years put together - but before that when I was a child a spent a month every summer on my grandparents' farm. They lived next door and had three kids, my cousins, around my age; so I spent a lot of time in their house. Anyway they were visiting their son (my cousin Ashley) only an hour away from here and were going to come over and see us and our "new" house. I was feeling rotten this morning and also worried about if I was contagious but didn't like to cancel when the visit was such a rare occurrence. But Ashley called to say that they were sick so couldn't come. Of course I am sorry they are sick but for myself I was so relieved! Wouldn't have to spend the day cooking, cleaning and being cheerful and social when I just wanted to collapse in front of the TV with a book. I hope we all feel better soon.

It turns out Ashley and his sister have been investigating our family tree and have put quite a lot online on an ancestry website. They gave me access and I was able to give them some more info about my branch of the family. It's fascinating!

Tim's dad and brother came over in the afternoon to play Dungeons and Dragons but I don't play any more so that didn't bother me or interfere with me resting. Jasmine looks after little Emma. My sister-in-law has been confined to the house for 30 days after giving birth to her new baby (Chinese tradition, to let the mother rest and get to know her new baby) although she did come over for Christmas, we haven't seen her much due to the illness going around so we haven't gone over there with our germs. That "moon time" is over in two days and hopefully we'll all be well and able to socialise again.