Saturday, 31 March 2012

Random Sunday update

Hi everyone,

So I‘m on the tram to the office at midday on a Sunday. Hence the random photo from the tram window. I realised I‘d left my book if Clive James essays at the Casa. So do I spend the tramride pondering Goldbach‘s conjecture? No. Do I blog? Yes.

It‘s been a quiet morning. The clocks went back last night, which meant an extra hour‘s sleep. I‘ve folded laundry, messaged Joni to suggest skype (and then realised it was already the girls‘ bedtime due to the time change), and rattled off a quick shopping list. I‘ll get groceries on way to the office.

I‘m a bit crushed about missing the skype window for the second weekend in a row. I miss my little girls a lot, and I miss Joni. It‘s now been 5 months, and the worst is I‘ve got buckleys of seeing them any time soon, unless I suddenly somehow acquire about $10K out of the blue. Royal :(

Wow. Way to bring my own mood down! No use grumbling about it. It‘s just that this feels like being stuck at the ends of the earth. Sometimes I can feel every last one of the miles between Melbourne and Louisiana.

Ok: changing the subject.

So I probably won‘t go running today. My knees are a bit sore after yesterday so I‘ll give them a chance to rest.

Ok, it‘s getting near my stop, so I‘ll post this and blog the rest of the day later.

See you then.

Blaming Bruce and Tom.

Hi everyone,

Well, it's surely been an "everything's coming up Milhouse" kind of day!  Because last night was a late one, I slept till about 9:00am.  I got up and had a fairly productive morning.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to skype with Joni and the girls.I think she and they had dinner plans that were butting up against the girls' bedtime.  We'll see if tomorrow works better

First order for the day was to rattle off a list of stuff to attend to (pictured).

And as they sky outside was clouding over, grab a picture of the view from my window (pictured).

I filled in the balance of the morning doing a couple of loads of laundry, rattling off a few aerogrammes and attending to some other stuff.  Lunch was a combination of lunch and the breakfast I hadn't had: I put some olive oil in a pan and fried the two halves of a one of the rolls I bought last weekend, then also fried up some mortadella and an egg, and applied suitable mustard, tomato sauce, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.  It felt like a choir of breakfast angels was singing inside my mouth!!!

After lunch I headed down to the office to do an online Continuing Legal Education point.  The getting one's points for the year expires tonight, and I had to get my last point in!  So yay: I get to keep my practising certificate!  I tried in a plodding fashion to get some file work done with limited success.  Really was having a struggle to focus, I'm afraid.  And then at about 8pm, building services came round to turn off all the lights for Earth Hour.  So, they made it clear they'd be a lot happier if I turned my lights and computer off and left.  So I did.  I'm conflicted: the hippies got me an evening off!  I had my running gear with me, so I decided to go down to St Kilda and go for a run along the bayside there.  It's a great place to go running, with the salt air in your lungs, and almost no hills, and you feel like you can just go, and go, and go.  I took a couple of pictures from my starting point.  Sorry for the crummy quality.

It was a good run - from the South Melbourne Surf Life Saving Club to Riva (a seaside restaurant down the bayside) and back, a distance of 6 miles which I managed to do in 1 hour 7 minutes.  By the end, I was kind of struggling along, not running so brilliantly, until some of the newer items I'd added to my running playlist came up - Bruce Springsteen's "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." and Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream".  It's physically impossible to shuffle to those tracks, and almost involuntarily I found my knees coming up and my pace quickening, and I ran right past my car and kept going another half mile or so, which is why South Melb Life Saving Club is one of the end points, and which might explain the pain in my knees right now.  It's the fault of Bruce and Tom!  But, I made good time, and hopefully I'll begin to look a little less like this guy -

I drove back to the casa and made dinner.  I accidentally left my dinner fixings at the office, so I made another mortadella-and-egg-in-olive-oil roll.  I was still a bit hungry, so by way of experiment I made up a crude dough out of flour and oats and water and made half a dozen little patties about a third the size of your palm and fried them in the pan with the remaining olive oil.  They came out surprisingly well - kind of like a dense, oaten hush puppy.  I spent a while chatting to one of the new housemates, a lady from Albury.  It turns out we have a few friends in common up there.  Small world!!  Then, I came up here and flipped on the TV.  I meant to blog but got distracted by a Norwegian zombie movie called Dead Snow.  I kind of wonder what the future is of zombie movies as a genre.  They do tend to be very much the same (small team of people must hold out against an army of the shambling cannibalistic corpses), and they seem to have reached a point where they're almost inescapably comical, such that tonight's film - which was very splatter-heavy - was also (probably unintentionally) kind of funny.  It was just a bit hard to tell where it was different on the horror-comedy spectrum from (say) Shaun of the Dead.

Drat.  There was something else I was going to write about but I can't remember what it was.  I guess I'll do it tomorrow then.


See you tomorrow

Friday, 30 March 2012

Football Friday

Hi everyone,

Blogging from my laptop again tonight.  It's late on a Friday night and I'm ready to crash out.

Today has been an interesting experience.  Well, this evening particularly.  Today itself was fairly forgettable at the office.  I spent a big whack of it wading through a file for a new matter and settling some letters for medical exams next week.  Nothing fancy or exciting I'm afraid to say.  Just so swamped with work.

This evening we had a function for a client at the football.  It was the sort of evening that was objectively awesome, but where I just kind of didn't feel like I should have been there.  It was at the MCG (of which the photos) in one of their ultra-high end dining rooms, with dinner served before going out to watch the game, and with freedom to go back and forth between the grandstand and the dining room.  Open bar, too.  The dinner was spectacular.  A little surprisingly, there was no fish option for dinner.  Since it would have been rude to make a fuss over the food, I found myself thoroughly enjoying a medium-rare steak with prosciutto, beans and carrots.  I haven't had steak in literally months (seriously, probably not since early December) and enjoyed it more than you could ever imagine.  The evening was a bit of a strain though.  I tend to find conversation at things like this difficult, because I always feel like I'm drivelling and making a fool of myself.  So I find myself trying to avoid eye contact with people, while always looking around alertly as if something has just caught my attention.  This gets a bit wearing after a time.  Added to which, I tend to find it difficult to enjoy going to AFL games.  This is largely because of the sheer amount of shit that you get here if you're not obsessed with the fucking sport (my old boss never tired of asking me which team I supported, to which I had to grudgingly reply "Hawthorn", whereupon he'd ask me who playing in xyz position which of course I didn't know; he thought that was hilarious).  Added to which, I spent I-don't-know-how-many nights going home on trains which were packed with drunken, noisy, obnoxious, aggressive, threatening people going home from a game.  This is why at a game I find it hard not to look around and think "of the 78,474 people here, about 78,000 are the sort of shitheads who'd lose a battle of wits with an orangutang".  Yes, yes, I know: you can't and shouldn't generalise so much, but after a while you kind of have your prejudices validated so many times that it's difficult to extend the benefit of the doubt.  Anyway, I managed not to have even the tiniest freakout (cf what happened at the firm's end of year function), so I was able just to get through the event in a "play it cool" style and at the least got a first class dinner out of the deal.  So hurray for that!

This weekend will be a low key one.  I have to go to the office tomorrow to get my last Continuing Legal Education point in an online course, and I guess I'll do some work.  I haven't been for a run today (my legs needed a rest!) so I think I'll got for a run on the Tan Track or St Kilda Esplanade or both.  And hopefully I'll be able to skype with Joni and the girls through the weekend too which would be great.

OK, it's highly bedtime.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Paul the Apostle and the Eye of the Tiger

Hi everyone,

Blogging from the laptop tonight, although I'm genuinely tired and so this might be a quickish post.

It was kind of a stressful day, juggling files and trying to get things lined up.  My office looks like it was ransacked by Genghis Khan leading a charge of Motley Crue wannabees.  I can tell you more about the day, but in honesty, it's not exciting.

I was feeling brain-fried and left the office about 7:30pm.  Since the whole "running to clear my head" thing has been working for me, I came back to the Casa and changed and then drove down to the Tan Track.  The Tan is kind of a Melbourne institution - it's a two-and-a-bit mile running track around the Botanical Gardens, very popular.  So, I did two laps of it in about 50 minutes and felt pretty good.  Then, back here.  Dinner was a pleasant change from office dinners: pasta with tuna, cheese sauce and chickpeas (yeah, OK, the ingredients all came out of cans and the pasta was Kraft Mac & Cheese from the microwave, but being able to eat it sitting on the couch watching a DVD of Married with Children made a difference to me).

Tomorrow is Court free, so I can catch up on some things.  The evening, as I mentioned a few entries ago, is a schmoozing session with our biggest client at the football.  My only goal is not to make a fool of myself.  Probably just as well I'm off the booze for the time being!  I must message Joni and see if she or the girls would like anything from the stadium's Ye Olde Rippe Offe Shoppe.

OK, I guess that's about it.  Well, apart from that while I was running I kept having 1 Corinthians 13 go through my head (oddly enough, it didn't seem to clash with my iPod belting out "Eye of the Tiger").  There is enough wisdom in that to last me forever.

OK, bedtime.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

W.T.F. just happened?

Hi everyone,

Not one of my better days today.

So that matter I‘ve been running in the Magistrates Court got underway for a third day, with counsel desperate to settle and me keen to fight. It began pretty well, with the worker‘s GP giving fairly unimpressive evidence. There were then some murmurings about settlement, but as things were going well, I directed our barrister to keep going and we‘d look at offers after our first witness - a medicolegal examiner- had given evidence. After all, he couldn‘t do our case any real damage, could he?


Yes he could.

He adopted his two (very helpful) reports for us as his evidence in chief. Under cross-examination, however, he proceeded to backtrack on the reports, conceding that in fact (a) work may in fact have injured the worker‘s back, (b) the work contribution to the injury was probably still going on, and (c) she really couldn‘t do her old job.

That rumbling you heard about midday was my case collapsing.  I duly moved into ‘damage control‘ mode and a couple of hour‘s discussions later we resolved the matter on the best terms we could.

I was feeling pretty brain-fried after all that but I still managed a late night at the office with debatable productivity.

As last night‘s run had been enjoyable (and resulted in me sleeping well!) I went again tonight - four miles in 41 minutes. Then shave, shower and bed.

Ok, sleep is calling.  Hope it‘s a good day for you.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Phidippides with insomnia!

Hi everyone,

Likely to be a quick post tonight. It‘s late and I need to get these eyes closed.

Truth be told, it was kind of a frustrating day. The hearing continued this morning and was then adjourned till tomorrow due to witness availability issues. The court was dropping heavy hints that the matter should settle, presenting me with an interesting challenge to keep a lot of conflicting interests happy. Long story, but in the end I was wanting to scream at the opposing solicitors and say “will you stop posturing and make an offer I have some chance of selling to my client? Or if you just want to bluster, let‘s get on with the bloody hearing“.

Lunch was catered today (seminar on industry groups). Yay for a free lunch! Then in the afternoon, preparation for case reviews which I think I did pretty well.

I was still preparing a detailed advice in a matter which kept me at the office late. I was still a little cranky over some issues that had blown up during the day, and when I got back to the Casa a bit before midnight I got it into my head to go for a run and clear my head before bed (crazy or what?). So, I wound up running from East Brunswick to the Melbourne Museum and back - a little under 6 miles in 50 minutes. I certainly feel better for it! Pic of me and my runners hereunder. Then back here, shave, shower and bed.

Ok, time to sleep. Have a good Tuesday everyone.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 26 March 2012

A long Monday

Hi everyone,

I suspect that, by this point, it won‘t surprise you to know I‘ve eaten dinner at the office again and am now on my way back to the Casa at nearly Midnight. What‘s wrong with me that I constantly do this sort of insane shit as if it were the most natural thing in the world?

As days went this was pretty good. I had a number of mentions this morning plus the hearing. We didn‘t settle so the matter is off and running.  Anyway, that had me in court all day, which to some extent explains why I worked back double-late to consider the advice in another matter. Granted, it‘s also an interesting file too. What I do wonder though is why I do this for something that isn‘t exactly my passion? That whole on-the-verge-of-being-fired-for-incompetence thing goes some way to explaining it, but it doesn‘t quite ring true as an explanation. Hmm.

Not much else to say on tiday, but for Joni having put the cutest picture of one of our little munchkins on facebook. She‘d taken the car through the car wash and poor Grace had freaked out and thought the big  brushes were coming for her! I miss my little puddings so much at moments like that. I added a comment saying she needed a hug but it vanished. I used a status update to see if anyone had any suggestions and wondered aloud (correct adverb?) if my account had been hacked. My techie nephew suggested I change my password, so I‘ll do that and see if it fixes it.

Oh, and it was cufflink day again - an old and much loved pair with a fleur-de-lys design. Picture below.

Ok, my stop.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday again

Hi everyone,

I‘m starting this as I wait for the Sunday night tram back to the Casa. I‘ll see whether I post it from my phone or save it and post it from my laptop after. My goal is to be bed at or before midnight. It‘s presently 9:21pm, and I still need to have dinner, iron shirts for the week, make lunches for the week, and have a shave and general cleanup.

Last night was another case of not sleeping so well and getting up a couple if times through the night. I need to find some way of dealing with this. I checked and annoyingly valerian interacts unhelpfully with some other medication I‘m on. And warm milk is kind of out too (makes my skin break out). I see a trip to google in my future.

The day itself was spent first getting groceries and then going to the office. This is looking like a week filled with late nights and office dinners, so groceries were heavily leaning towards canned and microwaveable. Although Friday we have a schmoozing session with our biggest client at the football. The event is catered (hurray!) and hopefully the menu includes a fish option. Herein a nuisance of living somewhere most people are non-observant.

Work at the office was a bit laboured: it was taking me a long time to get thungs done, although at least I got through what I needed to. Well, all but for a letter of advice I need to crank out tomorrow before Court. I‘m a little troubled that I now know ABC-FM‘s Sunday lineup pretty well by heart. On the other hand, working late on Sundays lately has resulted in me hearing a lot of operas I‘ve never been exposed to from the Met in New York, so at least I‘m acquiring some culture out of the deal!

Incidentally, my legs are telling me they‘re a little displeased about yesterday‘s run (hobble hobble hobble!).

I saw an excerpt from “At The Movies“ on TV last night. “At The Movies“ is the ABC‘s movie review show. They were roundly panning The Hunger Games (insufficient character development, clicheed characters). Not having read the books or seen the movies, I didn‘t even have an opinion, but based on the review I‘m predicting that The Hunger Games will be the biggest hit of 2012. As a rule, whenever “At The Movies“ applauds something or calls it ‘heartwarming‘, ‘stunning‘ or ‘a masterpiece‘ you can be reasonably sure it‘ll be seen by about six people in Fitzroy and then disappear without trace. If you don‘t believe me, try finding anyone who has even heard of - let alone seen - Griff the Invisible, A Heartbeat Away or Beautiful Kate.

Although now I come to think of it, I might actually go to see Hunger Games, if only because of the raves it‘s getting on Facebook.

[Insert a couple of hours gap]

Ok, well that‘s taken care of dinner (pasta with the last if the gumbo), this week‘s lunches and the ironing. Bedtime.

Hope it‘s a good week for you as well.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Better Day!

Hi everyone,

So today has been a development (if that is the right word) on yesterday.

After last night's post I tried to sleep with mixed success.  Meaning I slept from about 10:00pm to a little after 11:00pm and then struggled to get back to any sort of sleep until about 2pm.  I found myself lying there thinking "What in the name of cookie monster is this?  I've been crying out for sleep, and I get an hour's worth?  What the Hell???"  So, I did all the usual things - played with my phone for a bit, read a bit, had a drink of water, sat on the couch and watched Letterman in the cool air so I could get back into a warmer bed.  Even then, it was with patchy sleep until morning.  I have no idea what to make of this!

As I might have said yesterday, I'd agreed to meet up with Dad at an event today, so that was good.  He's pretty well gotten over the infection he'd picked up and has plans for the next few weeks.  We'd pretty well finished by 2:30ish, so he headed back to the property and I came back to Brunswick.  I toyed with the idea of going to the office, but it seemed to me that as I'd been feeling a bit crummy yesterday a rest day was in order.  So I decided that the best thing I could do was to blow the cobwebs out of my brain, preferably by forcing a shitload of fresh blood and oxygen into it (now, I appreciate that cognitiive neurochemistry probably says it doesn't work like that, but just go with me), so I decided to blow the dust off my runners and dig out a pair of shorts and go running along the Merri Creek trail.  I'm not sure how far I went, but I took about 40 minutes without stopping (although by the end, I was moving about half a meter per stride and my vision was doing that thing where it flips back and forth between colour and black and white!).  I had a shower and as I was gettign dressed, flipped on the TV just as SBS was doing a program on Mars exploration which played to my pet love of astronomy., so that was pretty awesome.

I warmed up some gumbo for dinner and cooked up some pasta to have with it (I was feeling a bit over rice).  It worked surprisingly well!  I came back up here and watched another episode of the 3-disc series of "The West", the documentary Ken Burns oversaw post "The Civil War".  I've never finished it, so I'm trying again!

Going for a run was a great idea.  It's lifted the pall of gloom that had been nagging at me (mixing my metaphors) and I'm feeling much more like myself again.  Works better than a fistful of Pristiq!  Not sure how I'll add more running into the working day but it might be a necessity.  And it'd be good to be able to present Joni with a slab of beefcake when we're back together again!

OK, I guess that's the update for now.  I'm trying for another early night.  Will need to be another office day tomorrow, sadly.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Done, done, done.

Hi everyone,

This may be a whiny post. It‘s Friday night and I‘m just awfully tired.

Today‘s been a punisher. The morning was heavily taken up with identifying documents in a dozen insurer files for the service clerks to copy. Mind numbing work but only the file operator should do it for fear of missing relevant documents. The afternoon was a mad rush of teeing things up for Monday, including replacing a barrister who‘d dropped us for Monday‘s hearing and trying to locate the brief which my secretary had misdelivered. It was finally located at about 4:55pm.

After work drinks kind of fell flat: the social committee had dubbed it Mexican night, so there was a great spread of taco fixings and suitable decor, but it kind of felt like you couldn‘t just switch off and relax. Maybe I was just too tired to take it in properly.

I wasn‘t in the right frame of mind to do something properly Lenten for dinner, so I wound up making microwave macaroni and cheese and mixing in a can of tuna and calling it a day. I‘ve crawled into bed at 9:30. I‘m writing this from my phone because I don‘t have it in me to fool around with my laptop and aircard.

I‘m just feeling beaten. I can‘t seem to make things happen how they ought to at work. The quest to save money to pay off the moving debt hit a new level this week. I‘m not going to say what I did. All I‘ll say is ... wow. But even then, it doesn‘t seem to make any difference (the car registration bill came this week - $800.00, and when insurance comes along in a few weeks, that‘ll be about $1000.00). And recently facebook has been adding insult to injury by randomly deleting some of the wall posts I‘ve tried to make for Joni to say I hope she and the girls are feeling better. When that happens it feels like being kicked in the chest. Amazing. I can‘t even get f#$%ing facebook right.

I‘m going to sleep. Things have to look better in the morning.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

It got late. Again.

Hi everyone,

I think this may be a short post tonight. I wasn‘t going to work late tonight, but there was a brief I wanted to crank out, and it wound up being 11:15pm when I lurched out of the office. Which now finds me blogging from my phone (again) while the TuneIn radio app streams country music frim C96.7 in Louisiana.

Not sure what to make of today. My boss was running a couple of hours late this morning which was a huge get-out-of-jail card for me as it let me take care of the last few issues on the files for review today. I actually demolished the reviews, so that was great. I was feeling a bit of a debt of gratitude, so I got my shabby self to lunchtime Mass at St Augustines near work (the photo below).

I had another performance review this afternoon. I think I‘m getting a bit better, but somehow, not quite. It‘s like somehow I‘m always missing the target somehow. I know I can do this, and yet something in my head seems to be trying to say something that I can‘t quite hear. And somehow it ties into the relocation to the US in a way I can‘t quite see.

If this sounds oddly annoying, it‘s because it is.

I had a call from Dad in the evening. He‘s been sick lately, some type of infection. He‘s doing better on antibiotics, but I worry about him. We‘ll catch up on Saturday. Thank God Fran and Michael are always over there.

Ok, it‘s time to sleep.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Yikes but it got late.

Hi everyone,

How are things? It turned into another lengthy and less than exciting day. The weather turned black as pitch not long after I got to the office, but somehow gave up nothing more than a couple of showers of rain before it cleared up. I set a new record for getting through an insurer file and an employer file, and then prepared for my case reviews in the afternoon.  Actually, it became a reasonably productive day.

I stayed later than I‘d planned tonight, a big whack of the time spent on a brief dealing with an evidence law issue. I had dinner at the office again, a brilliant little innovation I‘ve dubbed “Mexican pasta surprise“ - tons of nutritional value; total cost per meal about $1.75!

Another couple of case reviews tomorrow, plus the next performance review meeting. I have a feeling of foreboding that I‘m trying not to let morph into the “deer in the headlights“ reaction. We‘ll see, I guess.

Not much more to note.

See you tomorrow.

PS at about 4:30 pm a huge plume if black smoke began to rise from a few block away near the water. Want to see how much smoke a burning luxury yacht puts up? See the photo below!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Horizontal blogging: part umpteen

Hi everyone,

Not an exciting post tonight, I‘m afraid. But let‘s face it: most of these aren‘t exciting. I‘m not exactly spending my days emulating Earnest Hemingway.

It was another all-paperwork day, just getting matters moved along. Productive and, I guess, a bit reassuring after yesterday. Although I did find myself wondering if there were a loophole in my Lenten vows, as it was a day where I could have done murder for a hot chocolate. Another dinner at the office and left at 10:00pm.

Facebook tells me Joni and the girls are really getting a caning from their allergies. Poor things. That was always one of the roughest things for Joni here: the sheer number of things she was allergic to. I guess it‘s a bit better there, but it doesn‘t seem like much. And the munchkins have inherited her allergies, it seems, which is rotten plus a lot for her to have to handle. Thank God her family is there to lend a hand.

I have a peer review tomorrow, and I‘m feeling pretty good that I can do it without repeating last time‘s meltdown. My time to shine!

Ok, time to get some sleep.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Caution: Whiny Post.

Hi Everyone,

I'm typing this entry now to get it our of my system so I can get back to work for the evening.  I'm just feeling done.

It hasn't been a great day.  I got in in plenty of time to look over the file for the hearing this morning so there was nothing I was missing, and I went down to court to attend to that plus the mention I had on this morning, plus a mention for someone else at my firm while I was down there.  I took one of the new trainees down as well, to show her where the relevant court is and generally to show her to ropes for attending mentions and what to do at court generally.  I felt like a bit of a fraud, explaining all this to her when I know the dismissal notice of Damocles is hanging over my head.

Negotiations in the hearing matter got underway, so I came back here so to get some work done and oversee the negotiations by phone.  So, I put the time to use on the last bits of the files I was working on at the weekend with a view for review today.

Lunch was an ethics seminar, so the firm supplied lunch (which was good as I'd been back at the Casa too late to make mine last night and in too much of a rush to make it this morning.

In the afternoon I finished off preparation for the reviews and went into them ... and still managed to screw it up.  Too much information, unhelpfully presented, and failing to present like the lawyer I wanted to present like.  Yep: In spite of ample time to prepare, and all the care in the world, I still managed to blow it, and give the appearance of being little better than a newly articled clerk.

The walk back from my boss' office to my office never felt quite so long: I go past all these sweet-natured, beautiful and brilliant people - in honesty, better lawyers than I'll ever be - and can't help but feel like a complete fraud.  I guess this is where reality kicks in.  In the end, there's no point having the devotion of a labrador and the work ethic of a horse, if you still have the brain of a mollusc.

Don't, perhaps, misunderstand me.  I'm not about to go and do a Willy Loman or resign my job in a fit of despair.  As long as I still have a job, I'll keep trying.  God knows, if there's one thing I learned from the old man, it's that sometimes life isn't about being the first to the finishline and breaking the tape; sometimes it's about putting one boot in front of the other because, even though you hate it, that's better than throwing in the towel.

So, press on.

Have I got any of that berry tea left?  Might need some after that!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Way late

Hi everyone,

Another post from the tram. It‘s been about 12 hours at the office on a Sunday. That‘s a bit, even for me. I have to say that dinner at the office is just starting to lose its novelty.

Not that it hasn‘t been worthwhile. The lion‘s share of the time went to a file that‘s on for review tomorrow, where I found myself wading through a surveillance report, two-dozen medical reports, and about 500 pages of subpoenaed medical records. Usually this much medical mayerial isn‘t actually that bad: the vast bulk of it will be the treating GP‘s records, and most of them are irrelevant to the issues in the case. This particular set of records, however were almost wholly related to the injuries in issue, so they all had to be read.

Fortunately, I long since put a radio in my office, so I had ABC FM playing in the background. Equally fortunately, I remembered I had a packet of berry tea in my desk drawer (photos herewith). This particular blend always make me feel good. For one thing, when brewed it smells like the apartment Joni lived in in Louisiana before we got married, so thats an awful happy memory right there. And it also seems to cut the taste of sugar from my mouth from the oats I‘d had with lunch.

The other file for review tomorrow is comfortingly straightforward (dispute over liability for surgery). I still need to get in top of the medical materials, but that should be ok since I can just skim them for the critical information (diagnosis? causation? is the propsed operation reasonable?). Which is just as well since I have both a hearing and a directions hearing on tomorrow morning as well!

Ok, nearly my stop.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Saturday night tram

Hi everyone,

So here I am, waiting for a tram at 10:30 on a Saturday night.

It‘s been a quiet sort of day I guess. I stripped back my bedsheets this.morning and washed them. Hopefully they‘re dry when I get back to the Casa; they‘re the only set I have! Vacuumed my room as well, and opened up the windows to get some clean air in.

I needed some change to run the washing machine, so I went up to the 7/11 and bought a copy of the Weekend Australian.  In days not long gone by I would have devoured it from one end to the other, especially news and op-eds. I was kind of astonished to find that this time all I felt like doing was running my eyes over it. As I sort of half read the commentary pieces, I had the unpleasant sensation of several angry, whiny, hateful voices shouting at each other inside my head. No, I‘m not becoming a schizophrenic. It‘s just odd and I‘m not sure quite what to make of it.

The washing done, I headed for the office (surprising or what?). Not much to note, except that two of my colleagues were also burning the weekend oil. They headed off through the afternoon, so I had dinner at the office and did some more work, which brings me to now.

I had a ‘twinge‘ moment looking at facebook this evening. Joni had put up a couple of pictures of our little princesses enjoying popsicles. They look so big now! I know I‘ll be seeing them all soon. But that moment was kind of like being punched in the stomach. The information superhighway is great, and airmail and Fedex can shrink the miles to nothingness. But sometimes, you just really know what Geoffrey Blainey meant when he talked about “The Tyranny of Distance“.

Still, hopefully there‘ll be a window for skype tomorrow morning. Skype isn‘t the same as being there, but it‘s a damn sight better than nothing at all!

Stream of consciousness moment, but at times like these I do wonder what my grandmother - born in southern NSW in 1899 - would have made of skype, and email, and all these things. I‘m certain she could never have learned to use them. But there‘s no doubt in my mind she would have been fascinated by them.

Ok: nearly my stop.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, 16 March 2012

I have a reputation!

Hi everyone,

Here I am again. Friday evening. I‘m on the tram back to the sharehouse at 8:18pm with tonight‘s dinner fixings from the supermarket in my lap.

It‘s been a good day on the whole. I did indeed have court this morning. The barrister I‘d briefed was one I hadn‘t used before, and by whom I was quite impressed. Shrewd, business-like, and happy to let me call the shots, which is essentially my job as the instructing solicitor. And, I was pleased to discover that I have a reputation with the opposing barrister, who has a legendary reputation as a tough negotiator. I was described with the phrase “I thought he was really nice, but he always turns out to be really mean [with settlement money]“. I was most pleased!

The matter settled within our instructions after the plaintiff had been manoeuvered into accepting about 25% of their initial offer. The afternoon was a detailed set of long conversations and also wrapping up the paperwork from the hearing.

I‘ve spent what feels like an obscene amount on food today, I‘m afraid. Because I was home so late last night, I didn‘t have time to prepare lunch for today and wound up buying it (tuna and coleslaw in Turkish bread). It being Friday in Lent, I couldn‘t use the pies and chicken at Friday night drinks as an ersatz dinner, hence the trip to the supermarket (dinner will be tuna potato salad with Tonys which is awesome).

No big plans for the weekend. I had a sweet text message from my little sister asking if I‘d like to go to Pakenham Show with her and her fellow on Saturday and stay at their place Saturday night. It‘s tempting, but I really do need to work and do a truckload of laundry. Still, I might try to catch a movie with the passes the firm gave me.

Anyway, tonight is Friday night, which means it‘s early bed night (hurray and I don‘t care what anyone thinks!). Something I surely look forward to!

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

An oil well in Texas.

Hi everyone,

It's late tonight (after midnight), and I have a hearing tomorrow, but I did want to share one story from today.  It's about an oil well.

The day itself has been quiet.  Just standard work.  Productive, and rewarding, but unexciting.  Another late night at the office (left at 10pm) and wound up buying dinner from Hungry Jacks on the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets (picture).  I could almost hear Tim McGraw singing about "another supper, from a sack / a 99-cent heart attack".  Although right now I have some Norah Jones on the iPod and it makes me think of Joni and Grace and Rachel and a drive we took through the Yarra Valley on 13 February last year, when the girls were in front-facing car seats for the first time, and I miss them.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, well, the story I mentioned took the form of a phone call I got on my mobile at about 2:30 this afternoon from a gentleman who told me he was calling from Dallas, Texas.  The conversation went something like this -

Him - "So, Mr Tuck, I understand you've recently spoken to one of our representatives concerning oil wells in Texas and Louisiana"
Me (not remembering any such conversation in the last few months but thinking it was possible) - "Er, yes"
Him - "Well, I'm not ringing up seeking money or to talk about stocks and bonds, but to ask if I can send you information about a partnership with Energex Global Inc to capitalise on the recent rise in energy prices"
Me (suspecting this is dodgy but not being in the right frame of mind to be abusive) - "Er, sure.  Is email good?"

So the email in question arrived a couple of hours later, by which time a few other questions had begun to come to mind (for example, if you're seriously seeking investors, do you usually call when it's mid-evening at your own local time?  Then again, in these recessionary times, maybe you do).  A little bit of googling later told me that several of my brethren in the Land of the Long White Cloud had been offered a similar "opportunity".  Now, maybe this company and the investment opportunity is completely legitimate.  But to be sure, if they call again, I'll explain that I'd be interested in investing as long as my preferred currency arrangements are acceptable: any dividends are paid in Australian dollars, and I'm allowed to make any investment using brass Razoos.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Trying to think...

Hi everyone,

A post from the phone again tonight. It‘s dreadfully late and I‘m ready to turn in.

It‘s been a quiet-ish day.  Court in the morning (I lost an argument on a costs point), and a couple of case reviews with my boss. The most sucessful ones in recent time, encouragingly! A department meeting over lunch, and then more file work in the afternoon.

I was late at the office again, chiefly tidying up things and settling a letter of advice. I got back here just after 11:00pm. Dinner, ironing and bed.

I see the International Criminal Court handed down its first conviction today. I know I should say something brilliant, but as everyone else will have an opinion (sound or not) I‘m disinclined to pollute the air with my two cents. For what it‘s worth, I am not a fan of the I.C.C., or of international criminal tribunals generally. They seem to have a nasty tendency to rely on little more than self-referential authority (see Prosecutor v Dusko Tadic), to have a “hamburger with the lot“ approach to indictments to ensure a conviction for something, and to do the work national courts, with established bars, prosecuting agencies and laws of evidence can already do perfectly well (cf Prosecutor v Refik Saric and R v Polyukhovich). My two cents worth.

Ok, bedtime!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

And back to work.

Hi everyone,

So I‘m starting this entry while I wait for my tram. I have about 20 minutes to kill, and then the trip itself.

It‘s been an unremarkable day I guess. Most of the time was spent getting two files up and running, but not otherwise of significance.

I had an appointment with Sonia the psychologist over the lunch hour which was, I guess you‘d say, encouraging. I don‘t think I‘ve ever gone to such a session quite so level-headed. And considering how things have been unfolding at work, I should be a gibbering wreck. But I‘m not: aside from one meltdown, I‘ve managed to treat it all as just a problem to be sorted out without making too much of a fuss. Yay me! We were also able to touch on a few collateral issues today as well, and those seem promising too. So, encouraging!

The afternoon at the office wasn‘t much more exciting than the morning, except that I did manage to earn some new popularity at the afternoon trivia quiz. Each correct answer translated into chocolate, which I‘ve given up. Since I was on trivia fire (what was the Soviet Union‘s principal spaceport? The Baikonur Cosmodrome) I was sharing it out again as soon as it came to me. Cheap popularity!

As usual I was late at the office preparing for tomorrow‘s case reviews, and went to the supermarket to grab something for dinner plus.some razors and deodorant. Which is where I took the picture herewith at the checkout as I realized my shopping looked rather like it had looked when I was an Articled Clerk. I‘m sure the universe us telling me something by this, but I‘m not sure I want to dwell on what it might be. Hmm.

Not much else dramatic to report. The weather was beautiful today and it‘s a warm evening.  And already bed feels good.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Labour Day long weekend ... with pictures!

Evening, 11 March 2012

Hello everyone,

I'm typing this entry at my parents' place, sitting up in bed with my laptop on my knees.  Web access is a bit patchy here, so I may only upload this when I get back to town tomorrow night.  And for the sake of completeness, 3G Mobile coverage doesn't reach here; hence no update from my phone.

It's been a really settling kind of day.  I was out of bed at a reasonable hour, had a shower and got dressed.  As I was coming down here I made a point of grabbing my boots (picture herewith).  I went downstairs and made breakfast out of some very stale bread rolls I had from a departing housemate.  I cut then in half and stuffed them in the toaster, with the intention of then spreading them with cream cheese and putting some of my remaining mortadella on them as a breakfast to eat on the road.  Well, all was well until the toaster announced that with a couple of bread rolls stuffed inside it, it was experiencing a degree of distress.  Its means of doing so makes me think the toaster has developed independent decision making and planning capabilities (it held the bread rolls down untill they were pouring out more smoke than Chernobyl and triggered several smoke alarms).  Undoubtedly as I write the Cylons are infiltrating the highest levels of our government.  I attach a photo to help you identify the enemy in the forthcoming human-mechanical war.

Having reached a temporary truce with the Cylon toaster I made the aforesaid breakfast and got on the road.  Traffic was pretty thick on the way and I worked my way though most of my Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley on the way.  I was annoyed to find my iPod no longer contained any Deana Carter.  My little sister Fran and her fellow Michael were here when I got here.  The rest of the day was spent working on creating a floor for what will be the next semi-trailer cattle crate.  This included putting to use the new electric planer that Dad had bought.  It works like a charm and putting multiple lengths of timber through was an oddly satisfying way to spend a decent whack of the afternoon (Photos herewith).

In late evening Dad and I went over to the yards to bottle-feed a couple of calves whose mothers didn't make it.  Another moment that I must say I really enjoyed.  Pictures attached.  Too bad Grace and Rachel aren't here and a few years older.  The cutest photos imaginable, and guaranteeing they'd be members of the FFA in school!

While I was doing a few other things here I took a few other photos around the place.  Of some of the new machinery, and of the Jelbart tractor that was new when the grandfather bought it in the 1920s.  The car with the LSU sticker on it is my old Corolla, sadly deceased after being accidentally run without oil (it's a long story).

I guess what I'd have to say as I write this is that I feel much more at peace tonight than I'd ever have expected to.  As if things are going how they're meant to, even though sometimes it doesn't feel that way.  For one thing, Fran seems happier at the moment than I've seen her in years, and that all on its own is a good thing.  And I don't know that she isn't happy with Michael.  Nothing I can put my finger on, just an instinctual take on my part.  She and he seem almost to live at the parents' place a lot of the time anyway.  Another thing is that, watching Dad and Michael interact, the dynamic seems to be very close to Michael being the son Dad never had.  I know I should say that with a note of bitterness, but actually it's said with genuine - yes, genuine - joy!  I know Dad loves me - I've never doubted that for a second - but I could never have been the farmer or the kind of man that I think he kind of always hoped I'd be.  Not for want of trying, because I did try to understand the land and farming and water drilling and all, but because I just don't have the sort of head or brain or character for it.  And, I dunno, maybe he would have felt it would have been a waste if I'd tried to be that person.  But in Michael, he's got a pretty good substitute, and that clearly makes him happy too.  AND it's an arrangement Michael seems to be happy with as well, so it's kind of hard not to think that in some weird way, the cosmos has pushed the pieces of the puzzle into the best of all possible orders.  Yep - it just feels right.

I've included a couple of other pictures of things inside the house that make up the "home" picture a bit as well.  the wood burning stove that Mum cooked tonights leg of lamb in (frickin' delicious I should add!), the roasting tray that has held God-only-knows how many chickens, rabbits, joints of meat, potatoes, carrots and pumpkins, and the kettle that has provided a Lake Eildon-worth of tea and coffee.  That stove always makes me kind of happy.  I think of how on cold winter evenings when I'd be here at the weekends, and I'd feed and tie up the dogs and close up the chicken shed, and walk back to the house, and the smell of pine and cypress smoke from the stove would just hang in the chilly air, and heaven would seem very near at hand.  I know you shouldn't try to live in the past, and you especially shouldn't try to live in your own past.  But you should remember and smile at things that made you happy, and feel joy that when they crop up again, they still can make you happy.  Quod bonum tenete.

OK, time for me to sleep.

See you tomorrow.

Late Evening, 12 March 2012

Hi everyone,

Well, here I am, back in Brunswick.  I'll write the update on today and then post this all.  It's just on midnight as I write, so apologies if this become a little truncated.

I slept really really well last night.  The area was a quiet as a crypt, save for a car going past occasionally and cattle in the neighbouring paddock bellowing occasionally.  The house as a whole was on its feet about 7:30am.  The three calves were fed again and then more work on the trailer as discussed yesterday.  About 10:30 we came in for a cup of tea, and I was able to catch Joni on the skype, which was great and especially good as Dad got a chance to see his granddaughters now that they're big girls of two.  I forgot to mention that Mum has accreted a huge bundle of Spot the Dog books and other things for the girls which I'll send in the next large package.  It's kind of nice to be reassured that Mum and Dad do genuinely love their little granddaughters; they have a little trouble really showing it, because I don't think they kind of ever imagined themselves as grandparents, but loving them still counts for a fair

We drove over to Boneo to collect some extra supplies and a calf crush Dad had bought.  This was a pleasant drive over to the far side of the Peninsula, and on a beautiful day.  By the time we were back Fran had arrived down and lunch was had.

After lunch I spent some time wading through some of the boxes of papers I'd left down there for any to keep and any to throw away.  Overwhelmingly they were from my high school and early university days (law school notes, many photocopies of cases, etc), including papers relating to my time living on campus at Monash.  When I moved into the flat at Ormond I shared with Fran for a few years (in 1999) I boxed up most of this crap and put it out of sight, so a lot of this stuff I was seeing for the first time in 14+ years.  Nothing special to say apart from that looking at (for example) some of the old memos and things from my time in the Halls of Residence, it struck me (again?) that for most of my time there, how utterly bloody miserable I was, how little I'd enjoyed it, how little I'd enjoyed law school, and how maybe I hadn't enjoyed my Arts degree as much as I tell myself I did, and how much I'd wanted to just escape.  Those of you who know me well will be thinking "yeah, what else is new?", but it was kind of strange to me to find myself suddenly transported back to that time in my life and to find that those feelings don't seem to be ones I've applied backwards, but that they were (it would seem) the real deal.  I've tinkered with this thought for a little this evening but can't seem to extract any moral from it; there may not be one to be had, perhaps.

There was more work rustling up boards for the trailer in the afternoon and cutting them to length, and then back to the yards to feed the calves.  Fran, Michael and I had dinner down there with the parents.  Fran will stay down there tonight, and Michael went home.  I stayed for a cup of tea and to watch some TV and then drove back up here.  I did the usual "getting ready for tomorrow" things, and then sat down to type this.

So, there you have it!  It's been a really good Labour Day long weekend and I'm feeling ready to go this week!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

More horizontal blogging

Hi everyone,

It‘s another post written from my phone while not sleeping, I‘m afraid. Apologies in advance for typoes.

It‘s been a good day in a lot of ways. I was out if bed at a reasonable hour and set to making another oat bread as my first priority. Well, I was messing about with flour and water and oats when Bruno, one of the newer housemates who is an Italian gentleman in his late 60s came down to the kitchen. He asked what I was doing and I explained. “No no no no no...“ he said, bustling me out of the way. He floured up his hands and pulled the dough out of the bowl and split it unto two halves. I just watched this poetry in motion of wrists and palms as he kneaded the two lumps of dough simultaneously with one hand each, as he explained to me how he‘d been a baker in a past life he then showed me how to actually get dough to rise, and about baking it at a lower temperature than has been my wont. So, these two loaves came out closer to goal than any yet tried. Bruno did mention that his next goal is to show me how to cook proper pizza.  I have something to look forward to!

I traded a few texts with Joni. It wasn‘t a skypable evening, as she and the girls were going to supper with some friends of ours there. She put the cutest photo on facebook of our munchkins eating tomato ketchup with chopsticks!

As skyping wasn‘t an option, I headed to the office for fairly obvious reasons. Ten hours and several files later I lurched out again. Taking a radio in is one of the smarter things I‘ve done. Music helps me concentrate. Although ABC FM was doing their “New Music Up Late“ program in the late evening. The drawback with experimental classical music is that it‘s often hard to know what‘s music and what‘s the radio needing to be tuned.

I was back here on midnight and warmed up some of last night‘s pasta for dinner. Tomorrow I‘ll head to the parents‘ place for Sunday and Labour Day.

Hope your weekends are going great!

See you tomorrow.

PS the photo is nothing significant; it‘s just a few random things on my desk that caught my eye. Enjoy!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday early night

Hi everyone,

I‘m typing this update from my phone, as I have only a limited amount if time left on my aircard which I‘m hoarding for skype purposes.

It‘s been a day taken up chiefly with one file, settling a brief and a fairly fiddly letter of advice. I had a bit of a low moment through the day when I was thinking about the risk of being out of work and not being able to support Joni and the girls. But then I did think that there‘s still things I can do even if that happens. For one thing, I can call the recruiter who got me this job. For another, my old boss might be willing to have me back as a contractor (so, without the tax and superannuation headaches) as he knows I‘ll be emigrating and he won‘t need to fire me. So while nothing‘s guaranteed, there‘s still a few “Plan B“s there.

We had a quick send off for one of my bosses who‘s going off on maternity leave. And Friday night drinks where I managed to avoid the meat-based snacks as well as booze!

Quiet evening at the sharehouse. Most people were out, so I made myself up a tuna pasta and watched a little TV, and went for a 9:30pm bedtime. Joni has clearly rubbed off on me. And now, blogging before sleep.

It‘s the Labour Day long weekend here. I guess I‘ll work tomorrow and go visit with my folks on Sunday and Monday. I‘m torn about explaining to them about the issues at work. Dad would probably get it, but I think it‘d be something Mum would struggle to process. Better to let it go by for the moment, I think.

Ok, methinks it‘s time to sleep.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Hi everyone,

I wrote a post earlier, but on reflection it was over-dour, so I‘ve given it the flick. I‘m turning in for the night. Longer entry tomorrow.

See you all then!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Untitled, I'm afraid.

Hi everyone,

I'm posting this now in the hope it'll settle my head a little bit, and in case I don't get to it later this evening.

I had the first of the formal performance management meetings this afternoon.  All the criticisms that were made of my work were valid.  The worst is, they agreed it wasn't for want of effort or trying.  It's just that I'm not doing the work well, and certainly not to a level commensurate with the amount of experience that the calendar says I should have.

I don't know how to respond.  Part of me wants to go mediaeval on myself.  And the other part of me still believes it can make this work.  The latter seems to be in control, since I'm still here, feeling oddly peaceful and working on one of the files for tomorrow.

In a way this isn't a shock.  At law school I was definitely "El Desperato" on this taxonomy of law students and I never seemed to really feel right as a plaintiff lawyer either.

I don't really know what to make of this.

I know I can still make this work.  I know I can.

Press on.

Tuesday. And a different type of photo.

Hi everyone,

So here it is: 11pm on Tuesday evening, and I'm typing this before turning in.  I'm shaved, fed, and I've ironed a shirt for tomorrow, and the iPod is playing "California Dreamin'".

Not that there's anything big on tomorrow.  Three defences to crank out, and also the next instalment of the performance management process (in the form of finding out what's in the plan itself).  They keep allocating files to me which I take to be a good sign.

Today was heavily spent on one file, a multi-defendant matter where we've received a swathe of new information.  Then, I stayed back at the office till 9pm working on one of the defences for tomorrow.  I came back here and made up dinner - half of the paella that Jennie boxed up for me on Saturday bulked out with a can of lentils, and some fruit.

I got a sweet little email from my little sister Fran this afternoon, advising of her new email address and hoping we can catch up on the long weekend.  The thing is, I think this is because Jennie (as she told me) worded Fran up about the difficulties I've had at work and suggested that a little rallying round would be nice, so I'm really grateful to her for that.  I hope poor Fran isn't in trouble again.  She's a good kid (kid?  she's only 18 months younger than me) but a bit mixed up.  Still, she does seem basically OK with her life as it is (I probed her on this over Christmas).  I guess that's what's important.

Not having anything else to report for the day, why don't I share a bit of my mental wallpaper with you?   I think one of the notions that's always fascinated me is the concept of "home" and how people's internal lives reflect and create their "home".  I'd love to say this is because I'm some wildly deep thinker, but it isn't.  It's because much of my adolescence was spent commuting 4 hours a day between home and school, and watching people on the train or seeing their houses slide past the train window, and wondering how they lived and how they saw their own lives.  And sometimes I could, in a strange way, want to switch into their lives (escape?  possibly).  Anyway, after I went to University one time I was in the journals section in the arts and humanities library essentially opening volumes kind of at random when I came across the photo herewith [Citation: Joel Sternberg, 'Santa Monica, California, August 1988' (1989) 114 Aperture 42].  For some reason, it spoke to me then and I've never forgotten it (although, oddly, have never pothered to print or photocopy it).  I can't even say why it somehow ties into the concept of 'home' in my head, except that perhaps it was it was a (first?) time of realising that (many re-readings of Arthur Grimble's "A Pattern of Islands" and Clive James' "Flying Visits" notwithstanding) the world might be full of places which are foreign yet also 'home'.  Maybe that's why I buy regional newspapers so obsessively, and love photographing streetscapes so much.  I can't seem to explain it better than this I'm afraid, because the idea is one which I've never been able to pin down.  The thought seems to hover just out of reach at the bottom of my mind, like hearing music being played in the neighbour's house, where you can just make out the beat and a fraction of the melody, but not enough to identify the song.

Here endeth the profundity.

OK, bedtime.

See you tomorrow

Monday, 5 March 2012

Shirt Collage Monday

Hi Everyone,

It's been kind of an annoying day.  I got to the office at about 8:30am today and spent the next two hours trying frantically to finish my preparation for case reviews.  I was still a little underprepared when I had to begin them which exasperatingly showed.  Not badly, but it could have been better, and I was annoyed with myself for not doing better.  The combination of preparation and reviews took up most of the morning.  At lunch I went and did the banking I didn't get to do on Saturday, and shot Joni a FB message so advising.  I happened to pass another discount bookshop coming back from the bank and couldn't resist a look.  I actually emerged without buying anything which showed a lot of discipline considering there were a couple of books for the general reader on the Poincare conjecture and the Riemann hypothesis which I had a hankering for.

The afternoon was more preparation for case reviews plus a few other jobs that needed tackling.  Nothing too exciting I'm afraid.  Although I could see the Queen Mary 2 moored at Station Pier from my office window, which I guess was the highlight of my day!

After work I went and got groceries (a week's groceries: $12.38; possibly a new record!).  I figured I'd earned an evening off and went home rather than back to the office.  I warmed up the last of the tuna bake for dinner along with some fruit and odds and ends that a departing housemate had given me.  Also washed a load of shirts.  After I'd washed them I found all the clothes racks were used, so I had to hang them to dry in my room (which now smells pleasantly of Tide detergent).  About half of the shirts wound up hanging decoratively from the door - photo attached.

OK, I guess that's the update for now.  Sorry I don't have anything more profound to offer I'm afraid.  Sometimes the day just doesn't offer it to you!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The weekend

Hi Everyone,

It's been a busy-ish weekend.

Yesterday I traded texts with Joni for a bit in the morning about skyping (we arranged to skype this morning). The next thing in the day was to try to find an open branch of the bank Joni and I have our checking account with so that I could deposit some funds with it.  That didn't work out (couldn't find an open branch) and as it was a rainy day and I had no other plans I decided to go to the office and get some work done.  That pretty well took up the afternoon until it got to just after 5pm.  My sister and her husband had invited me over for dinner, so I headed back to Brunswick to get the car and drive out to their place.  They've just finished renovating their Federation-style house and I was the first member of the family to see it, so I took one of the carefully hoarded bottles of Mandala wine as a housewarming gift.  Their house now looks really special - much straighter and lighter.  They've really got their value for money I have to say.

The dinner was great (paella, freshly baked bread and walnut pie).  Jennie's a good cook and better baker, I should say.  After dinner I walked her through the process of setting up skype and passing on the skype usernames for as many people as I could remember.  I'd mentioned the recent trouble at work, and she probed me about whether I'd want to practice law in the US.  Leaving the retraining required aside, I don't think I would.  Even though I find law fascinating as an intellectual discipline, practicing law is something I really only find sporadically interesting.  This move might be a chance to reinvent myself.

Which reminds me! I just realised that today - 4 March 2012 - is the tenth anniversary of me commencing my articles of clerkship, so I guess this means I can say this marks ten years working in the law for me.  How 'bout that!?!

After dinner with Jennie and JP I drove back to Brunswick in the rain.  I drove by way of Chapel Street as it was the most direct way I could think of that didn't take me through the CBD.  Chapel Street is ...  well, I usually think of it as Bourbon Street with its dignity intact.  It has the very hip, expensive boutiques, many bars, nightclubs and restaurants, and it's certainly somewhere to go on a Saturday night.  Considering the number of clearly semi-drunk people lurching across the road like booze-fuelled zombies it was probably just as well traffic wasn't moving so fast!

It was 1:30ish when I got to bed so I slept excessively late this morning.  Before skyping with Joni and the girls I went downstairs and toasted some of the oat bread from Friday and put dairy blend on it (photo).  Oh my word it tasted good!  Earthy from the wholemeal flour, but also with the sweetness of the oats.  Mmmm mmmm!

Skyping was great.  The girls were in their high chairs, and Joni had set up the computer so the girls could see me and I could see them.  I think this had the advantage of keeping the girls entertained so Joni could do a few things in the kitchen.  The girls are so pretty, and Grace especially was being verbal.  You could surely tell when she wanted (watermelon! Goldfish! Shrek!).  They played with stickers for a bit, and drew in their little notebooks with crayons.  Joni says they're enjoying being in daycare, and they do look like bigger girls now - I kind of think this was the right time in their lives to transition them from a nanny (which they had here) to a daycare.  I love my little family a whole crazy lot.  I'm one awfully lucky, lucky man.

After we'd skyped I decided to go to the office and get my files ready for tomorrow's case reviews.  There's not a lot to convey, except that my brain was feeling the lack of a day off.  Still, I got most of what I needed to done.  The attached picture should give you some idea of the chaos my office looks like at the moment.  The only drawback was that I was still there at 9pm, when one of my bosses happened to come in to collect some of her files and sprung me there.  This was a black mark.  I'm a firm believer that while it's great to work hard, you should never, ever, be seen to work hard.  Oh well; damage is done now.

I came back here and heated up half of the tuna bake from the other night with some lentils for a late supper, then ironed some shirts, had a shave and a shower, and sat down to write this.  I forgot to say that while I was looking for a bank yesterday I passed a discount book store and couldn't resist a look.  Somehow, improbably, they had one of the latest volumes of Clive James' essays (The Meaning of Recognition) for $5.00.  I couldn't resist it - I've always enjoyed his writing, so that disposed of my tram fare for the day!  This, though, means I have a dilemma (or, strictly, a trilemma): Do I start the new book, or finish the two other half-finished books on my bedside table? Photo attached.

OK, it's time to turn in.  Lot of work to do this week.

Hope your Sundays are good too.  And yes, I know, I didn't get to Mass today.  The second Sunday in a row.  I am a bad Catholic.  I need - need! - to get to a weekday Mass this week.

See you tomorrow.