Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Testing, testing. One, two, three, testing...

Hi everyone,

It's 1am, so this will be a shortish entry.  I'd planned to have been asleep for a couple of hours by now, and it surely is time to be in bed.  But, it'll be longer than I can comfortably do by phone.  So, I blog by laptop.

In essence, it's been a day when the universe kept throwing things at me, things that would in the past have had me going off the deep end, and I just kept sailing through them.

So, I overslept (woke at 8:30am!) but kept my head and got dressed, got the tram, and had a think and sent myself an email with the list of things I needed to tackle this morning before Court, but would now need to find another way to do given the late hour.  Other issues came up in the morning alone, to do with a medical witness on leave, and an employer contact being away, and the Court being cranky about a delay in a matter (which was, admittedly, mostly my fault).  Then, I was in court all morning in the matter from yesterday.  I tackled a swathe of jobs over lunch and steered my secretary into rescheduling a fairly important meeting for me (rather than insisting on doing it myself, which my control-freak tendencies would usually have done).  Back to Court for the afternoon, then back to the office, arranged two lay witnesses and an interpeter (well, my secretary did that) for tomorrow, and had a difficult conversation with a manager from the government agency we report to.  I made one sloppy mistake in that conversation - a mistake an articled clerk shouldn;t have made - but that still didn't have me freaking out.

I was late at the office tonight, unintentionally.  But, at 9:30pm I got an email from my boss re the matter in court today, and I thought it'd be better to send a short but meticulous reply tonight rather than drop it on her first thing tomorrow morning.  Doing this right took about an hour and a half, so I wasn't out of the office till 11:30pm.  I intended to get dinner again from the Hungry Jacks I went to last night, but there was a long queue of people and only one or two people serving, so I went to another place across the road (Pie Face - something of a disappointment: the pie was OK but a little short of flavour, and the danish tasted kind of funny), and came out in time to see that I'd missed the last tram back here.  OK, nothing for it. It's too late to walk back (let alone being in a suit and office shoes).  I got a taxi, which actually got me back here before the tram (which we passed on the way), which is how I can rationalise the time to write this.

And when I got here, I found I'd received in the mail a birthday card from my parents-in-law (pictured).  They're such sweet people, and I'm just so happy I get to be part of that family as well as my own.  I kind of took the card as a sign from the cosmos that whatever test I was being set today, I passed it.

And, it's my little princesses actual birthday today, so there will be joyous greetings, and hopefully Fedex will finally get their presents out of sodding Anchorage!

OK, bedtime.  See you tomorrow.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Big Monday

Hi everyone,

My word but it's been a big day!

It got underway with me being on my feet a bit before 6am.  I didn't get a bunch of sleep.  Despite being really tired, it took me till about 2pm to get to
sleep.  Anyway, I had a powerful motivation to be on my feet: skypage with the Rachel and Grace and Joni before the munchkins' birthday party this afternoon (over there).  Joni had them down for a nap so to be refreshed for their party, but I happened to come online just as soon as Grace woke up and Joni was dressing her for the party.  Their Aunty Sabrina had had little shirts made up for them with their names and "2" on them.  So cute.  Grace is just a beautiful kid, golden haired and a look of sweet mischief on her face.  And lots of new words: "I'm two" among others!  I'm so proud of her.  She and Rachel are just the best things in the world.  After about 20 minutes Rachel started to wake up, and people started to arrive for the party, so we really couldn't get skypage up again until later when Joni was driving the girls back to the new place.  She held the phone facing back so the girls and I could see each other.  Rachel is as cute as ever, although the poor little munchkin surely got my hair: A cute little mop (in her case) of unmanageable curls!  I did have some competition for the girls attention though: Joni had the car's DVD player on playing "The Princess and the Frog".  Maybe I should learn to play the trumpet.  Or put on a Cajun accent and learn to play the accordion (or maybe not: last time I tried to do a Cajun accent - while reading the girls a "Clovis Crawfish" story - Joni gave me a look that said "please don't ever do that again"!).  By that stage her phone battery was dying, so we called it quits and said "I love you"s and I headed off to work.

I went direct to the Magistrates Court so I could pick up the ball from my boss for the matter on foot this morning.  We had some unsuccessful settlement discussions and went to the limit of the insurer's instructions and, having no other options, started running the matter.  As of this moment the worker is giving evidence.  It's probably best if I don't talk too much about the case itself.  All I'll say is that the lack of sleep kicked in about 12:30pm, at which point I began to struggle to stay awake.  Shamefully I was falling asleep at the bar table!  Anyway, coffee and lunch perked me up for the afternoon session.

There was one other development this afternoon to do with the case and another matter the government authority we act for has an interest in.  I was going to write about it, but on second thoughts I'd better not (confidentiality issues).  Suffice it to say one word: stress!!!

I was later than I planned to be at the office, but productively so so that's OK.  It was 9:30pm by the time I left, and I was fairly hungry.  I knew it'd be well after 10pm by the time I got back here, and I really couldn't face cooking up rice and warming up soup, so I decided to say screw the budget and got dinner at Hungry Jacks on the corner of Russell and Bourke Streets (whence the photo).  Fries, OJ and a Whopper never tasted better!

I had a call from Sonia the psychologist this evening.  For various reasons (long story, involves Medicare) the session we were going to have tomorrow morning has been rolled over to Wednesday next.  Which was a bit of a shame as I was interested in running my own recent better spirits past her and getting her take.  We had a bit of a chat by phone and I explained about the "breathing space" conversation and how I've been since then.  Her view was essentially positive: Things with Joni had been left in an objectively good state after the flowers incident, and my own better frame of mind seemed encouraging.  I like Sonia's approach: not everything has to be overanalysed and not everything has to be pathologised.  At the risk of spoiling a good thing I'll try and get some time between now and next Wednesday to do a quick synopsis of my own mental state, essentially to be able to present it accurately.

OK, I guess that's it for the day.  Hope all's well with yourselves.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Hi everyone,

It's been a quiet day for me.  Quiet, but not entirely comfortable.  Some people talk about not feeling comfortable in their own skin, but today it was the skin itself that was the issue.  You remember the blister I mentioned in yesterday's post?  Well, the biggest one is at the base of the middle toes on the right foot, and is about the size of a fifty-cent piece.  For obvious reasons I've been hobbling like buggery today.

The skin fun continued when I noticed either a rash or a nasty breakout on my shoulders and forehead.  For a while I tried to figure out what I'd eaten that wasn't agreeing with me and couldn't think of anything unusual.  After a while I twigged that my forehead was the effect of wearing a cap while on the walk yesterday - the really irritated bit was where the band was on my forehead.  And my shoulders were where the strap of my bag had been.  My chance to feel like I'm fifteen again!

The day itself got off to a slow start.  I'd planned to do a load of laundry this morning but found I was a dollar coin short of being able to run the machine.  I'm not short of clothes but I want to keep on top of it.  Anyhow, instead I attended to some paperwork here and then decided to go to the office to get things ready for tomorrow.  On the way I got the minimal groceries I needed for the week (basically, bread rolls, ham and oats).  Work was productive and I was out the door at 9pm.  I know that sounds late, but I was OK with it.  I had a flash of insight that saved me a couple of hours on one job.  Part of our work is preparing summaries of significant cases we've finished.  I had two I needed to have done by tomorrow, and with a heavy heart at about 6pm I thought: OK, better bite the bullet and do them, expecting a good couple of hours work.  After about 30 minutes I realised that most of the details I needed were in the letters of advice I'd already written and had approved for release.  About 45 minutes of copy, paste, and edit had both jobs done!  Maybe the first time I've successfully "worked smarter" - I can't believe it's taken me so long to twig to doing this.  Yay me!

I checked Fedex's website again today.  Our bloody box is still stuck in sodding Anchorage and won;t be there for the girls' party and probably won;t even be there for their birthday.  If I sound cranky it's because I am.  I actually got them what I thought were good gifts (those of you who know me know that I'm usually a bit hit-and-miss with gifts) and I want them to have them.  Gripe.  Still, it's hard to hang on to a gripe with the girls' party coming up tomorrow morning (Melbourne time).  Can't wait to see my three ladies!!!

The evening was a quiet one here.  I finished last night's bag of gumbo with some rice for dinner.  I polished my shoes (attached - you can tell I'm running out of things to include as pictures!) and now the room smells intoxicatingly of shoe polish.

I guess that's it for the moment.  As I said, it's been a quiet day here.  Hope you're all having a good day too.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Long walk Saturday

Hi everyone,

As you probably saw at a glance, this entry is photo heavy.  Hopefully I have enough text to do it justice.  And hopefully you all like the pictures.

So today began with an email from Joni about the box-o-love.  She's had to try to move house and manage our munchkins AND suddenly found she had to deal with a Fedex/Customs issue.  It's completely stupid we have to manage all this bullshit.  Our kids are bright, but I don't ACTUALLY believe they're importing parts for a nuclear reactor yet.  The wonders of stupid bureaucracy.  Hopefully it's sorted now.  Happily I did hear from her again later in the day: she's now into the new place but Rachel was throwing a fit and didn't want to sleep.  Rach doesn't always handle change well.  Poor Joni - I hope she got to sleep last night.

My own day was a very long walk: I've been enjoying walking a lot lately, so I decided to get my exercise for the week in and walk from here to the Yarra River and then walk up the Yarra as far as my boots would carry me.  I first went through the gardens beside Parliament House and took a photo of the fountains here.  I like fountains - in a place as dry as this, they just say "prosperity" to me.  I also took a couple of pictures of Princess Theatre and in the Gordon Gardens.  So, herewith a picture of Adam Lindsay Gordon - he was my grandfather's favourite poet.  I wish he (my Grandfather) could have lived a bit longer.  He was one of those rare people who loved completely unconditionally.  He'd have thought the world of Joni, and she would have liked him too.  And our little munchkins... We'd never have prised them back out of his hands.  Ah well.

But I'll meet him later on in the place where he has gone: Rudyard Kipling, Gunga Din.

As well, in the Gordon gardens there was another fountain that was carved in prison in the 1870s - very clearly Victorian-era, but also quite pretty.  There were a lot of weddings that I went past in the Old Treasury Building and in the Treasury Gardens (among other places).  I hope it works out for them.  They surely had a beautiful (if rather hot) day for their weddings.

I crossed the Yarra a bit down from Birrarung Marr and then walked up the Yarra, past Melbourne High School and past Power House Boat Shed, and kept going.  This took me into the most leafy green and wealthy bit of Melbourne, in Toorak.  Every house looks like a mansion, and (shall we say) non-European cars were a distinct minority.  I eventually would up at Toorak Road and (fortunately) decided to turn right.  This was fortunate because my internal compass was telling me to go left, thinking that would take me north and to a road which would intersect both Toorak Road and Nicholson Street.  I turned left only because I could see a couple of big churches and it seemed to me there'd be shops and somewhere to get lunch.  So, I went right and soon found I was headed back towards South Yarra which basically fitted my plan.  I even was lucky enough to find a supermarket on Toorak Road (which surprised me a lot; Toorak Road is a very high-end road - Kind of like St Charles Avenue in New Orleans, but with less classy architecture and more high-fashion outlets).  So, finding a supermarket meant I could get lunch with my small change (2 bread rolls, an avocado and 3 mandarins - total spend $4.70).  I have to say I enjoyed it a LOT when I found a little park with a bench where I could make up lunch!

I kept walking down Toorak Road to Claremont Street in South Yarra and turned down it back to the River and walked along it to the Royal Botanical Gardens, so I went in there to explore a bit.  I discovered the Californian Garden.  I think it's new, but it has a swathe of specifically Calfornian plants like barrel cacti and tall cacti, and trees and the "petticoat palm".  Really awesome!!!  I went on from there to the Arid Garden and Guilfoyle's Volcano (in essence, more cacti).  I do love plants especially for how they can take you to someone else's environment, someone else's world.  It's almost like being transported to another world.

I went around the gardens a bit more before I headed back to the River.  By this time two things were happening: (1) the sun was beginning to burn my neck and left forearm and (2) my feet were beginning to hurt.  I decided to press on and walked back to Swanston Street, then up Collins Street to Spring Street and back to here.  The last two miles surely had me hobbling as blisters began to REALLY sting.  Google Maps tells me the total distance travelled was about 17 miles!  I'm kind of pleased I managed it, but don't plan to do it again for a while.  I had a shower and cooked up some rice to have with defrosted gumbo from last week (or was it the week before?  It's frozen so it wasn't a problem either way).  There's a new housemate, so about 5 of us sat up and talked until about 9:30.  She seems a nice person - she's a paramedic and surely had a bunch of stories to tell!  At 9:30 I decided to bale and head up here and have some chill out time.  And now, blogging.

Tomorrow I'll attend to a few things that came in the mail this week (bills, fun stuff like that) and then got to the office to set things up for tomorrow.  Oh, and I must tee up a skype time with Joni. Hopefully things are getting more peaceful there for her and Rachel eventually got to sleep last night.

Hope all is well with you all.  See you tomorrow!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Friday night

Hi everyone,

It became a late night, but a pleasant one.  Hence, this post is going up a bit later than usual.

The morning was a little unexpected.  One of the first things to happen was a meeting between me, my secretary, one of the partners I report to, and the section's business manager.  Essentially it was to help us find more effective ways of working together.  It wasn't in my diary, so I was caught a little flatfooted, but we got some good ideas out of it nonetheless.  I'll need to put in some effort training her to take more initiative, and to pull her up for sloppy work a little more (she's pretty good, but every so often some basic things get missed - pot, meet kettle!), but if it works it'll advantage both of us, so that's positive.  I do appreciate that the firm does want me to succeed (I also appreciate that this isn't entirely altruistic on their part, but you know what I mean), rather than just allowing things to drift.  There's some good articles on the ABA website about practice management too, so I'll spend some time this weekend picking that source of knowledge too.  Still, it's promising.

There was a lunchtime seminar today.  The seminar was a presentation by two of the trainees on sentencing policy, which was well done but not especially imaginative.  However, it also involved the firm supplying lunch which I'm a big fan of!

The afternoon was a bit of a shambles, juggling things for the hearing on Monday plus a few other things for early next week.  They all got lined up, but it was a near run thing!

After work drinks went late again (possibly related to drinking the firm's grog and eating its food).  I planned to go home after, but I wound up going along to dinner at a Korean place and then to a bar afterwards with two of the folks from work.  The odd thing was, the total cost of the evening's festivities was $21.00 (believe me, I checked) which still seemed like a reasonable expense.  I hope so.  I always worry about money, especially because we're paying down the cost of the move and until that's done, I'm stuck over here.  I could say more on that subject, but you can see my point.  On one hand, one needs to be a little sociable, but on the other, I want to get back to my family as soon as can be had.  still, it's not THAT bad - we've already paid down about 25% of the total debt we had post move, so we're pointed in the right direction, but you can see why it's usually not far from my mind.

I had an email from Joni this morning advising that she had also sent the 3299 form to Customs, so hopefully the box will get to the girls before their birthday!  Or, maybe it'll let them have it over a few days which might be cool too in a way.  As long as it gets to them and doesn't come back here, I'll be happy!

After dinner and drinks I headed back. I took a few photos while waiting for the tram (herwith), and got back here just on midnight.  Then shower, blog, and shortly bed.  Not sure what to do for the weekend.  I have a ton of dinners prepared and frozen (genuinely, a good 2-3 weeks if I cook up rice with them) so cooking seems needless.  I should do some work, but not for the whole weekend, so we'll see.  Maybe I'll pull on my boots and spend all of Saturday walking?  Hopefully I'll have an idea over night.

OK, time to log on, post this and get to bed.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Australia Day

Hi everyone,

Well, that was Australia Day!  I attended to a few things at the sharehouse in the morning and then headed in to the office to catch up on the jobs from the week I hadn't done.  The first thing that presented itself was actually the delay of the birthday box in Anchorage.  In essence, Joni had been onto Fedex in the US, who'd advised that an invoice was required and also a "Form 3299" was needed.  The latter I'd already done, but we can't get a consistent answer on whether she has to fill it in or whether I do.  The invoice was readily tackled.  Anyway, I've emailed what I think are the right documents to Fedex and hopefully that will get it sorted.  If it doesn't, and they send the box back, I will be f****ng livid.  I'll check before I log off tonight and see if there's any progress.  It did feel good to bounce emails with Joni about it.  I dunno, as if something had turned a corner.  I'll assume we're still in the breathing space zone untill I'm told different, but I just kind of felt like if we were in the same geographical place, I'd be spending my weekend building a white picket fence.  Maybe I'm imagining it; still, it's a hopeful feeling and that's good enough for me.

By the time it got to 6pm I was figuring out when to head back here, and so I checked when the fireworks for Australia Day were on.  Turned out they were starting from 9:15pm, and one of the launch platforms was the Eureka Tower which can be seen from my building.  So, I stopped long enough to watch the fireworks (whence the photos).  Well worth it - I love fireworks!!

I trammed it back here and watched a little of "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" on Go (but had a hard time figuring out if it was horror, action or - possibly unintentional - comedy) before having a shave and a shower and turning on the laptop.  So, not an exciting day, but it was pretty productive and if it's resulted in the fedex issue being sorted, I'd even say it was stirling.

OK: Time to turn in.  Tomorrow is Friday.  No plans for the weekend but I have a bit of a yen to head to Flinders, maybe on the Saturday evening.  We'll see.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Australia Day eve.

Hi everyone,

Not sure how this post will turn out.  I know I haven't posted properly for a couple of days.  Tonight it's Australia Day eve and getting close to midnight.  I've spent the evening in an indulgent place: I made up my mind to watch the whole of one of the Underworld movies, rather than just the second half or so (which is what I usually watch when I stumble on the movies when I'm flipping channels).  So, this evening I watched "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans", which means I've more-or-less watched the trilogy.  I was kind of surprised to find how much I liked them. I've usually been fairly dogmatic about cinema: If you want to make a popcorn movie, make a popcorn movie.  If you want to make a splatter movie, make a splatter movie.  And if you want to make an arthouse movie, make an arthouse movie.  But don't try to combine them.  Which is why, for instance, I didn't have much time for "Saw-whatever-sequel-it-was" (another film I found while flipping channels one night) seemed to have pretensions to having some higher moral while also having artfully semi-black-and-white scenes of bodies being mutilated.  I understand it was meant to be a horror movie, but honestly I just found it boring and unpleasant and I'm not sure I lost anything from the movie by flipping back and forth between it and "Man vs Wild" (Bear Grylls has better dialogue, by the way).  Anyway, back to "Underworld": It actually seemed to work as a mix of popcorn and artsy filming.  Either it's appealing to me in some oddball way, or I'm more broadminded than I used to be.  I wonder what I'd make of "300" now?

From the rambling of the last paragraph, you can probably tell that I've had a few drinks.  Specifically, the tail end of a bottle of Crown Royal and now some of a long-hoarded bottle of Amarula.  The Amarula is nice, but a bit sweet for my taste.  On ice it'd be ideal, but after a while it gets cloying.  I don't have a real buzz going; only the sort of vague feeling of relaxation you get when it's a public holiday tomorrow and you just kind of feel like playing "Tiny Dancer" over and over again.

I could do a recap of the last few days, but I think a lot of it is fairly predictable by now.  I've been managing work better, and I've been eating my way through a hoard of leftovers from last week's cookapalooza.  I was late at the office last night (late being about 8pm, followed by dinner and the end of another Underworld movie, hence no blog post - sorry).  By about 6:30 tonight I could tell I wasn't going to get much more work done, so I pulled the pin and came back to the sharehouse (on the way taking a picture of the old-style traffic control signal outside the RACV building - picture herewith).  When I got back here I put on my other pair of boots and went for a good brisk walk on the Merri Creek Trail as far as North Fitzroy, whence come the rest of the pictures.  Sorry, they must be getting a bit predictable by now.  Then back here, dinner and movie.

I had a quick exchange of emails with Joni today over the form US Customs need filled in to get the birthday box out of Anchorage, AK.  I wanted to message her a lot of times today, just to tell her I love her a lot.  I just miss her and our girls a lot, and I so much want us to feel like a family again.  I can hold on and let her have as much breathing space as she needs, but I just wish she could see me now, how different I am from the problematic guy she's had for the last too-long.  I know she reads this blog, so I guess she can indeed see, but I guess she needs to know this isn't just another (sigh: "another" barely covers it) flash in the pan.  That's fair.  So, I hold on.  The thing is, in a strange way maybe I needed the "breathing space" even more than she did: when she said that was what she wanted, it scared the bejeezus out of me.  I can safely say that the blue devils haven't really troubled me since then.  Maybe that was the shock that I needed to pull it all together.  I don't know.  I guess what I should do is just try and be as good and loving a husband and father I can in the circumstances that present, and trust God for the rest.  I know she loves me, and I love her, and I can let her have all the time she needs.

I had an odd experience today at lunch: my skin is diabolical at the moment, so I decided to stick my Y-chromosome in the cone of silence and go and find someone in the pharmacist at the base of the building and say: "what can I do to fix this?".  So, at lunch I found myself talking to a beautician!  Well, she warned me not to use the abrasive facial scrubs (this, she explained, was only making things worse) but instead to use a more gentle face wash and an oil-free moisturizer, and if that doesn't help, come back for a (ruinously expensive) tube of pure calendula (sp?) cream.  I should feel weird about this, but to be honest, this just feels like just one more part of my life that I need to fix up.  So, let's get on with it.  At this rate, I can't be far off the pedicure that Joni has always wanted me to get!  And well, why not?  We'll see.

There's not much more to post.  I haven't decided what to do for the public holiday tomorrow.  I suspect I'll wind up at the office as I'm a little bit (and genuinely: only about a day or so) behind with work.  And the Australia Day fireworks will look incredible from my office window!  We'll see.

Oh, one more thought: I've been toying with the idea of deleting (or heavily editing) some of the more miserable and gloomy blog posts from here.  Part of me wants to send them down the memory-hole, and part of me is averse to rewriting the records ("Oceania is at war with Eastasia.  Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia").  Do any of y'all have an opinion?

OK, I guess that's enough for one night.  I'll go and do the going to bed things and post this.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Last night's post

Hi everyone.  This is the post I wasn't able to put up last night...
===   ===   ===   ===   ===   ===   ===   ===   ==== === 

Hi everyone,

Here I am: 10:00pm on Monday evening.  StarStuff is on the iPod, the a/c is on, and I'm shaved and showered and blogging before bed. 

It's been a good day.  I woke up feeling refreshed and fighting fit.  I had one of our articled clerks make my appearance in the Magistrates Court for me this morning and put the time to good use on another couple of files that craved attention.  Then, prepared for case reviews with my boss this afternoon.  Probably my most successful review session so far: I was able to answer all of the questions that came my way and generally impressed.  Things are looking up!  Otherwise the day was pretty quiet.  Well, I got a message that the birthday package for the girls is held up in Anchorage, Alaska.  They say the contents were inadequately described on the consignment slip.  If it's not moved by tomorrow I'll see if I can email a clarification and get the damn thing moving again.  So near and yet so far...  Hell, the package has so far passed through the Phillipines, China and Taiwan; what's the problem now?!?

I had to go a bit later at work to finish off one of the case review actions from today.  I was home by 8pm.  Then, dinner was some of the hambone soup from the other night - really good!   A few chocolate biscuits and a nip of whisky for dessert.  Then a clean-up and blog.

I've been looking at my life, especially pre-Joni and a bit post-Joni, and seeing I was incorrect in being such a hermit.  You can only grow so far as a person when you're on your own, even if you do choose to be alone because being with others isn't your natural fit.  After a while, you run out of ideas, and just begin to tell yourself the same things over and over again.  Even if being with other people makes you feel a bit of a fish out of water, you should still do it, because otherwise you're not growing and developing; you're remaining obstinately the same.

And without other people, well, you might as well be a zombie: Zombieland (2009)
I think that's why my stubborn rejection of fiction was a mistake too, in hindsight.  Reading non-fiction, you're getting reality, no doubt.  Maybe someone elses analysis of reality, but reality still.  Fiction, in effect, takes you into someone else's dreams, and into the inner reaches of someone's mind.  It occurs to me that this is true whether it's the pappiest Mills & Boon novel or the plays of Sophocles (not every mind is equally worth exploring, but the principle is still sound).  [this raises an interesting question about social development and story-telling, but that's something I'm sure an anthropologist somewhere has already explored in massive detail].

Being self-sufficient and self-contained is great.  It does make you a person who can survive just about anything emotionally speaking.  But, that's still all you'll be.  To steal a line from one of those survival shows on Discovery Channel though: "I don't want to survive; I want to live".

OK, it's bed time.  See you all tomorrow.


Hi everyone,

Sorry there‘s no post tonight. I had one typed, but when I tried to log in my aircard said it needed financial encouragement. I‘ll post it tomorrow from work.

Have a good day people.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sunday Evening

Hi everyone,

So, here it is, Sunday evening, and I'm blogging while I have a quick drink before having a shave and shower and go to bed.  While I was at the State Library yesterday I utilised their web connection to update my podcasts and see what else might be on iTunes.  This lead me to a shitload of new podcasts including (joy of joys!), the StarStuff program!!!  Sorry; I'm an absolute sucker for space science.  So, that's what's on the iPod player as I type this.

It's bee a quiet day.  I did a load of laundry in the morning and then walked to Little Collins Street to get some photos of the girls printed at the Officeworks on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Street.  Up to date photos of my little angels are now framed at my office and also on a stickyboard at my room at the sharehouse.  Sigh: They're so pretty, and so sweet.  I'm so proud they're my daughters.  They're just ... perfect.  Maybe people don't believe it, but I look at my little family and I just feel ... incredible.  Like I discovered the best thing in the world and I get to be part of it.  I've been incredibly blessed.

After getting the photos made up I walked to the office and got caught up on some jobs from last week I didn't have time to do.  This took me to about 7pm, and then I went to the Coles on Spencer Street for a few groceries and then trammed back here.  Incidentally, going to the market last weekend has proved to be a stroke of genius: I did a quick inventory tonight and calculated that the accrued cooking of last week has taken care of dinner for the next 10 days - so, it will have gone for 2.5 weeks when all is said and done.  Yay me!

Did I mention that I retired a few books off my shelves?  I'm not sure.  The thing is, it occurred to me that the brain is only as good as what one puts into it.  And it occurred to me that if what I chiefly put into my brain concerns death, punishment, crime, cruelty and the like, then that's the road my brain will always have a tendency to take.  So, I've taken some of the books of my shelves and put then with my other stored junk - the books giving details of inmates executed in Texas since the 1970s, also the Hangmans Diary and books on Nazi scientists and Keli Lane among others.  I've had enough of macabre.  Which is also why I'm barely bothering to read the newspapers these days:  The Age has it's whiny, impotent, cynical and contemptuous voice; the Herald Sun has it's scornful, bitter, arrogant and unforgiving voice.  If that's what you read a lot, that's how you'll think, and how you'll act.  Screw that: I don't need to habituate myself to all that reflexive negativity.  Two fingers to the lot of them.

Facebook tells me Joni had a job interview in recent times.  I guess it was in the breathing period time which would be why she didn't mention it.  Hope it went well for her.  I wish I'd made more of a point of telling her how proud I am of her, how much I just about boasted of her to other people.  Hope it went well for her.

(insert break for me to have a shave and shower and do the 'going to bed' things ... will leave this open and finish when I'm back in the room)

Back again, and now squeaky clean.

well, it turns out I don't have any further brilliant insights to add, so I'll fire up the aircard and post this and turn in.  Bed feels good already!

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Bullet points.

I‘m crashing out to sleep, so I‘m doing the ultimate cop out and blogging in dot points:

~ Joni and the munchkins are moving into the new place at the moment. Our stuff got there! Hurray!!

~ I got to have a quick skype chat with Joni this afternion - double hurray!

~ I spent the day in the State Library getting information into my head, which was pleasant.

~ Went for an hour and a half walk along the Merri Creek Trail in evening (whence come the photos). Finished the chicken and rice for dinner. Shower and bed.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Sleepy Friday evening.

Hi everyone

I have to say: there almost wasn't a post tonight. It's 11:20pm and I'm barely awake.  It's been a busy week, and one where an early night proved elusive.  Damn my urge to cook!!!

Today's been good.  I spent part of the morning actioning things from the last few days case reviews, and then shifted to drawing some rapid fire defences which took a big whack of the afternoon, and then rounded out the day with case reviews with my other boss till 6pm.  So, not exciting but very very productive.  Feeling good about it!  Honestly, do I think I was born to be a lawyer?  No.  Do I think that without my legal career I'd be lost and life would lose its meaning?  Also no.  But is it nice to think you're managing a few things without stuffing up, and without your satisfactions being flukes?  That is pretty good.

After work I had a few drinks at the Metropolitan Hotel and the Celtic Club with the folks from work to mark the birthday of a barrister who used to work there.  Honest to God? I've never felt so 'normal' at a social thing.  Not a freak, not a comedian, just a reg'lar guy.  Feels good!  They were going on to the Duke of Kent and then to parts unknown.  I was tired even then, so I bailed and walked to the Bourke Street Mall and got the tram back here.  Dinner was some of the chicken from earlier in the week and the creamy spinach rice.  Still good!  Then, back up to here, a glass of port and watched the tail end of "Maverick" which was about the frame of mind I was in (which says it all if you've seen the movie).  Then  a quick clean up and now blogging.

The plan for the weekend is the State Library tomorrow and then maybe go to the office Sunday.  Not locked in yet, but that's my present thinking.  Joni's given me the green light to tee up skyping times which is great, although for various reasons I think she'll have her hands full this weekend, so in the message I sent her it'll be on a "is this a good time?" basis if we are indeed online at the same time.  Fair enough.

OK, I'm nodding off here.  Bedtime.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Blogging on the couch

Well, here I am in the lounge room of the sharehouse. ‘Friends‘ is on the TV, people (including me) are cooking, and the Queen Bee is looking at the TV and everyone else with barely concealed contempt. My God, did I look like that when Joni was reading Harry Potter or watching Casino Royale? Really? What a frickin jackass.

It‘s been a long day. By 11:30am I was  completely worn out and out of ideas.  I pressed on to lunch and spent most of it reading The Fabric of the Cosmos. I got an email from Joni about our wandering worldly goods, which was nice. And, she put some recent photos of our munchkins on facebook and I was stoked about that. :)

The afternoon was back to back case reviews with both of my bosses which went well.  Before I got the tram back here with a view to an early night I fed the term Boltzmann Brain into google and got a long artcle from the NY Times. I might try and blog about it at some point. The universe is a wildly fascinating place.

Tonight‘s dinner is ham and bean soup. When I was at the market the other day I bought a ham bone from one of the stalls. It had a ton of meat left on it, and I kind of had a notion that I could make something like Senate Bean Soup. Which is how the said bone (somewhat trimmed) comes to be in a big pot now with chick peas, kidney beans, celery, bell pepper and onions.  Smells good so far.

Ok. I should go and stir the soup. I‘m trying for an early night so I might not post again later this evening.  We‘ll see.

Hope all is well with you!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wednesday with Chicken

Hi everyone,

It's after midnight, so I should be in bed and asleep.  It turned into a late night (I'll explain in a minute) and I'm typing this to settle my mind the better to sleep.

So this morning I was awake before 6am again. There was a breakfast seminar at work from 8am, and then a morning with a couple of case reviews with my boss plus regular file work.  Lunch was a team meeting to discuss KPI strategy (so hey ho for a free lunch), and then more case reviews in the afternoon.  I'd planned to get away from the office about 6:30/7:00pm, but I started drafting a letter of advice using a new method I'd learned from one of my colleagues.  One of my biggest weaknesses is efficiency, so I had a chat to one of the Sen. Assocs. at work who explained a more efficient way of doing it, and I was dying to try it.  It is quicker, and that plus a few other things she showed me will really help me leap ahead.  Good stuff!

So, I didn't get away from the office till a bit after 8, which meant my schedule for the evening was out.  I was keen to try cooking a beer can chicken, partly to expand my culinary range and partly because I wasn't sure how long the one I bought Sunday would keep.  So I was home later than planned but decided, what the hell, go through with it!  So I did - photos herewith (along with some photos from last night's gumbo).  I made up a side of rice with cream and spinach.  The chicken itself was very moist and flavourful: I put some garlic and onion powder in the beer can along with some South African seasoning mix, and rubbed the outside of the bird with a mix of salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.  It was just a little undercooked; not so much you'd feel like you were on the verge of ptomaine poisoning, but enough that next time I'll cook it a bit longer and crank the oven up a bit.  Still, nice to know I can get it right!

Which brings me to now: shower, shave, and shortly bed.  As always happens in the evenings especially I keep thinking of Grace and Rachel and Joni.  We're still in the breathing space zone, and we can be there as long as she'd like to be, but I surely miss all my three ladies.  It's a strange thing though: I miss them, but when I think of them, I can't help but smile and be happy.  They're my rock.

OK, I guess it's bedtime.  Big day tomorrow.  A lot of files for review with my boss and my other boss.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cooking and Wine

It's just after midnight, and I'm typing this on the laptop because it'll be quicker than trying to do it on my phone.  Well, easier at least.  Forgive any mistyping: I've been cooking.

I'll explain in a minute.

So this morning I woke up just before 6am and lay there in the peace and quiet with ABC-FM on for a bit.  Then up, dressed, and off to the office.  I was able to rattle a lot of work off in the morning and also prepare for case reviews with my other boss this morning.  The day was, to be honest, forgettable.  Not bad, just a lot of phone calls and files to work on.  Nothing really notable I'm afraid.  But, I can feel myself getting (feeling?) better at the work and being a bit better at it.  That seems good to me.

This evening I made gumbo with some of the fixings I bought at the Market at the weekend.  All was well, save for having tried to economise by buying chicken necks rather than (say) breast meat or marylands.  As a source of meat, chicken necks work surprisingly well.  They're full of meat and in a stew the meat can basically be sucked off of them when you eat.  But, it means you have to spit a lot of vertebrae out as you eat which kind of detracts from the meal as a whole.  Hmmmm.  That said, the gumbo itself tasted great and I had more than enough left over to freeze for later.  I guess that goes in the "win" column!  Tomorrow is going to be fun too - I'll finally break out that frame and try to make drunken chicken.  This could be interesting!

Incidentally: I think I've put the sharehouse's queen bee off side.  On Sunday Sanjay (one of the housemates) let the TV remote out of his grip for long enough to wash his dinner dishes, and the Queen Bee grabbed it and changed the channel to something she wanted to watch through the window while she stood outside having a cigarette.  I murmured to Sanjay "shit mate, had you finished watching that?".  He just said it wasn't worth arguing over, but QB saw us talking and then pestered me saying: what were you talking about?  what were you talking about? (I just said I was asking how his day had been).  Now she won't even speak to me.  The theatre of sharehouse life!

Oh, and FedEx came by the office just after lunch and collected the package.  So happy the girls will have their presents for their party!  Oh, and I did I say I got instructions to put the offer with the hope of preventing the hearing on 30 January?  Hurray!  The auguries are good indeed.

Before I forget: why would cooking cause me to mistype?  Well, the gumbo needed to cook for about 2 hours, which basically meant 1.5 bottles of wine.  Enough said?  I hope so.  Which is why I'm now typing this post and barely resisting the temptation to sing long to George Strait.  And I'm thinking about the time Joni and I drove round the hills at the back of Bright with "Living and Living well" on  the car stereo.   Happy happy memories!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Another interesting day

It's been a good, and perhaps eventful, day.

I was running a bit late this morning due to oversleeping, the result of being in bed later than planned and also the cumulative tiredness from the weekend's walking.  Google Maps told me that from the sharehouse to my office is 3.8 miles, so doing that three times this weekend, plus other schlepping around, meant  I covered about 12 miles at the weekend.  I'm pleased about that.

Anyway, so I was running late this morning.  I got in on the dot of nine and grabbed my file for a directions hearing at Court and scurried down.  I'm hoping to do far fewer appearances myself from this point.  They always chew up a solid 90 minutes at least of the day and they're work I can easily hand to a clerk to do, so that's what I'm going to do.

My boss was back at work today and I had a few case reviews which went successfully and we seem to be on track.  Good.  At lunch I went to the post office to try to send the box-o-love to Joni and Grace and Rachel.  Australia Post said it was too big, and after a fruitless 5 minutes trying to talk the assistant into taking it anyway, I lugged it back to the office again.  Fun on a 30 degree day!  After work I went back to the office (more of this in a minute) and arranged for FedEx to take it.  I have to say I was impressed: They'll come and pick it up from my office (i.e. they come to me), they'll deliver it door to door, and get it there quicker than the postal service, and they're only marginally more expensive than what I was budgeting to pay in postage.  All praise to FedEx then!  I was kind of impressed that they could actually have done the delivery in two days if necessary, although at a hefty additional fee.  Still,  it's useful to know that if it's really necessary, I can get anything to Joni and the girls they need inside of 48 hours.

After work I came back here to collect some of my suits that need dry cleaning, to drive back to the office so that tomorrow I can take them to the drycleaners downstairs.  And yes: I made one of my titanic driving f***-ups.  So I carelessly decided just to go the same route as my tram to work takes.  This went fine until I found myself facing west at the intersection of Swanston Street and Bourke Street.  See, at this point, Swanston is a pedestrian mall, Bourke is a pedestrian mall and you're in a sunken bit of road where a U-turn is physically impossible in anything less durable than an Abrams tank.  So, with the setting sun in my eyes, I drove through a pedestrian mall.  Mercifully I didn't collide with a tram or (infinitely worse) a pedestrian.  I think I just used up all the divine protection in the car's St Christoper badge (which reminds me: I must thank Joni's brother Philip who gave us the badge!).

After dropping off the suits and finishing the FedEx arrangements I came back here and had dinner.  I'd planned to cook, but it was nearly 10pm and so I warmed up the last of yesterday's risotto.  Shower, shave, and now blogging. It's just after 11pm, and as soon as I post this I'm turning in.

Incidentally, my reader stats tell me I'm getting visitors from all sorts of exotic places - Malaysia, Taiwan, Colombia and the Palestinian Territories, among others!  Thanks for stopping by.  Stay classy!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Short update

This is just a short update by way of showing I haven‘t forgotten.  Presently typing this on my phone as it‘s late and I need to be sleeping.

It‘s been a good day. I watched the Saints game in the morning - it was a good game but a shame to end the season like that.  Walked to the office by way of the Queen Vic Market and bought the week‘s dinner supplies for what seemed like not a lot. On the way I passed through the Carlton Gardens (photos herewith). Did some work at the office, and also wrapped and boxed a package for Joni and the girls. I‘ll post it tomorrow.

I was missing my three ladies a lot when I left the office. As it happened, on the tram I found myself next to a family with a 21 month old toddler called Natasha. She was fascinated by the green leafy tops of the celery I‘d bought at the Market. Her mother was at the point where she was happy with anything that kept her up-past-her-bedtime toddler entertained, so that was fun. She seemed so much like both Grace and Rachel, so that put a smile on my face.

Then, back here. I made a quick tuna and spinach risotto for dinner, ironed my shirts and turned in.   Which brings me to now.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Updating the last few days

Sorry it's been a few days since the last update.  I'll try and recap now.  Right now I'm at the office on Saturday evening.  The day's been a little bit of a bust (or not, depending on your perspective).

So Thursday, as noted above, as a good day.  You remember how I was preparing for an application in the Magistrates Court?  Well, it was on for 9:30am Thursday.  So I went down to appear and make the application.  To be honest, without a lot of enthusiasm: My strike rate with applications lately has been pretty poor.  Indeed, to be honest I think I've lost 5 or 6 on the trot.  This, though, went well: I just took the Magistrate through the key bits of what we were seeking and otherwise let my affidavit speak for itself.  My opponent then attempted to put his case and, well, got thoroughly beaten up from the Bench with the court thoroughly dismissing the plaintiff's response.  Was this a milestone for my skills as an advocate?  Not especially.  But it was a hands down win based on solid lawyering and I was very pleased about it.  Honestly, I really really needed a win - really just because I wanted to be reassured I still had "it".  And, when I put this on facebook I got a bunch of likes from friends and that was really pleasing.  Including one from Joni, which made me smile more than anything else!

Friday was spent doing office things and settling a bunch of letters before my boss gets back on Monday.  I went to the farewell lunch for one of the office IT technicians who's off to sty her luck in England.  The lunch was at the Mail Exchange Hotel (photo herewith, partly for illustration and also because I rather like postal motifs as a design feature).  The food was good, but the seating very cramped and service terribly slow (about 3 dishes came out every five minutes - for a group of about 30).  After work drinks went late - till after 10pm!  Myself and two others went for a kebab before dispersing for our dwellings, which was fun.  When I got back to the sharehouse I flicked on the TV and watched the end of "Red Dragon" - nowhere near as gory as I'd expected a Hannibal Lecter film to be (I haven't seen "Hannibal" or "Silence of the Lambs").  Also somehow not as suspenseful as I'd expected either, although it was snappily written and had a stylish feel to it.

This morning I had breakfast and came into the city to buy birthday presents for Grace and Rachel, as well as a suitably big mailing box to send that plus various other items to Joni (costco bags, things we weren't able to pack or that didn't make it into the shipping container, etc).  I walked into town from Brunswick and went through Chinatown (photos herewith of both Chinatown and also of the Church I mentioned last Sunday which I passed).  It was just full of memories - past Her Majesty's theatre where Joni and I went to see "Spamalot" and "Chicago", and past Ants Bistro and Chine on Paramount where we had some great meals, and it made me miss her a lot.  After procuring presents I also got a haircut and came to the office.  I can't say I've worked especially efficiently; it's been easy to get distracted I'm afraid (although the view from my office this afternoon was pretty - I tried to capture a sunburst but I'm not sure it worked - see photo).  Facebook tells me that Joni and the girls had a big day in town with Aunty Paula, who put some photos of the girls up showing them at Chilis, with Grace coverred in tomato sauce and looking terribly pleased with herself.  That made me smile hugely, and I'm so glad the girls are getting so much love.

It's getting late, so I should head back to the sharehouse.  The Saints-49ers game is tomorrow morning so I'll be glued to the TV (also doing laundry).  Not sure about rest of day; may come in here but perhaps not.  We'll see.

One more thing: In one of my moments of distraction this afternoon I was looking at the Age's book review section, which led to some googling and then to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald from a few years back lamenting the state of Australian book publishing.  This then triggered one of my internal monologues along the lines of "Australian novels might sell better if they weren't so uniformly depressing etc etc".  I was shocked to hear my voice - even if only the voice inside my head.  It sounded so negative, so dried out and bitter and acidic.  The sort of voice you'd imagine coming from a talking skull.  Ugh - that's not the voice I want to be, or to sound like.  Not anymore.  Life is too beautiful to be so cynical and mean-minded.

See you tomorrow.