Friday, 30 November 2012

In which I eat curry.

Hi everyone,

Quick post in between finishing one advice and starting the next.  I'm here at the office on Saturday again.  How I love the leadup to the end of the year!

Things have been good since the last post.  I had a case conference in a matter involving 3 other firms yesterday where I think I acquitted myself adequately.  It was a warm day again yesterday, so to be honest, the best thing about the conference was that to get there I had to go past my favourite hole-in-the-wall smoothie place - the Healthy Az Juice Bar on Healeys Lane, just out the back of the old old job.  If you're in the neighbourhood, I recommend the bananna and date smoothie.

Yesterday was - you guessed it, drafting another couple of advices, plus a case review with one of the bosses.  Not so productive; just, well, f***ed up again.  Sigh.  I came back to my desk and began googling "history jobs Louisiana" and "archaeology jobs Louisiana" and thinking "I have a first class brain ... how in smeg do I always manage to be a square peg in a round hole?".  At just the right juncture I had an email from Joni telling me the girls were much better and had loved the little piglets I sent them, so that was great and put me back on top.

After work drinks this month were Indian themed - hellloooo beef curry and butter chicken!  Thoroughly enjoyed it indeed.  Bought some Christmas cards and other odds and ends on the way back to the casa so I'll find some time this weekend to send some cards out as well.

Hope your weekends are starting out well.

More later.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

In which I worry, fail to be stressed enough, and do without a soundtrack

Hi everyone,

This entry will be less than the day deserves, but I'm trying not to let perfect be the enemy of good.  Also I need to get to bed.

It's been a hot day here - about 38C / 106F I believe.  My diary said it was appointment free, although that didn't mean I wasn't busy as I desperately cranked out another couple of advices and a bunch of other work.  I did get the first reprimand I've had since I've been there, about having too-high an average write-off for work done on files.  This shook me a little, as this was an issue at the last job, and I'm petrified of losing this job like I did the last one.  I think I can do better, with a little tinkering with my methods, so I'm sure I can rectify things, but it was still a little disconcerting.  Of course, I do have a Plan B ...


This evening was my night to go and make a plasma donation, and once again I almost got knocked back!  Last time it was because my haemoglobin was on the borderline of being too low.  I'd prepared for that this time, by last night consuming a can of "camp pie" for dinner.

They call this a "favourite Aussie snack" but my honest opinion is that there are no words for how truly, truly nasty this stuff is.  Imagine wet tissues, flavoured with unidentifiable meat and smelling like a wet dog and you'll just about have it.  However, I was back too late to cook last night, and I had a can of it from way back, so I just smothered it with Tony Chachere's and tried to think of something else while I ate it.

It did the trick, since my haemoglobin was now at a healthy level despite not having had red meat in a while.  The problem now, however, was that my pulse rate was too slow (46 beats a minute).  Considering I was about to be jabbed with a needle and wired up to a machine, and I'd just left the office, one wouldn't have expected me to be so chilled out.  I explained about the exercise I'd been doing, and a phone call to the Blood Bank's medical officer they OK'd me to go ahead.

After donating plasma I went back to the office and did some more work till 10:15pm, and decided to run from the office back to here, about 4 miles.  It was still 27C / 84F and humid as Hell, and I discovered I'd forgotten my iPod, so there'd be nothing to help me keep step and distract me from the ache in my legs and lungs.  Nonetheless, I made it without stopping, in a good time of 42 minutes (again, quicker than the tram would have got me back here).  By the time I was back, though, I was literally able to wring the sweat out of my t-shirt.  Still, it paid off inasmuch as I weighed in this evening and found I'm now down to my next target weight of 90kgs!  Very very pleased about that!!  Next stop is 85kgs, and then 80.  Hurrah!

OK, I need to turn in.  Big day tomorrow, with a conference and at least two more advices to draft.  Such is the life of litigation lawyer!

See you tomorrow folks.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

In which my brain shifts gears

Hi everyone,

I'm starting this post at about 4:15pm.  I've just finished an intense couple of hours overhauling one advice and I'm doing this to let my brain shift gears before I go back to the one I was doing this morning.

There's been a bundle of work done since the preceding post.  Yesterday the sky was clouded over when I left the house, but I thought I should be OK to get to the office before it rained, so I left the umbrella behind.




I'd just gotten off the tram a block from my building when the heavens opened.  The rain fell in sheets like it does in Melbourne and I spent some quality time huddling in a doorway waiting for it to lighten enough to make a bolt for the office.

I spent yesterday morning at court negotiating in a worker's comp dispute which settled just after lunch.  Spending time at court is entertaining, but God it's time-consuming.  Anyway, I spent the afternoon drafting an advice and doing some other work.  I wound up leaving the office at about 10pm last night.  When I got back to the casa I ironed a couple of shirts and went for a much needed run to clear the fog from my head.

I had an email from Joni through the morning that the girls have picked up a bug.  She sent me a picture of them at the doctor's rooms.  Poor little Rachel looked so miserable and I just wanted to be there to pick her up and cuddle her and blow cool air on her little face.  I made do with ordering them each a little "get well" present on Amazon.

Disney Piglet Certified Organic Plush
At least I know they couldn't be in better hands than with Joni.

Last night's run was rewarding - about 6kms / 4 miles in about 33 minutes.  I was able to keep up a stiff pace the whole way and even manage a sprint over the last few hundred hards.  It's good when you can feel yourself getting stronger.  When I got back I didn't feel like eating so I gave dinner a miss and turned in.  Whatever the pros and cons of running late in the evening, it's greate when you've done it, and had a shower, and can then drift off to sleep feeling your muscles de-clench as the cool night air dances on your skin.

Today has been all paperwork, and one case review which I aced (after one yesterday which was a bit of a mess). 

A propos of nothing, I noticed the other day that I'm less and less interested in the opinion and editorial debates in the media than I used to be.  I always used to be fascinated by the debates in the Age and on the ABC and so on.  Now, it sounds to me so hackneyed, so mean-spirited, so pompous.  Is it just me that thinks that?  Or do you think one of the spinoffs of the 24 hour news cycle isn't an increase in the number of things people say as much as an increase in how often they say it?

All righty, I need to get back to business and finish this next advice off.

More later.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Lunch update

Hi everyone,

Here I am rattling off a lunchtime post.  How are we all doing?  I've just finished lunch and I'm trying to fire up to draft an advice in a matter where I really have nothing but bad news to share with the client.  And that's just sad.  I don't have the cheek to suggest we try and get the other side cryogenically frozen.

Patchy night's sleep last night - I've got to stop getting my exercise in after 9pm because it means you're still a bit pumped up when you're trying to turn in.  I don't think I was actually asleep until about 1:30am and then woke up at 4am because I'd set the alarm on my phone to 4am last week in a flush of enthusiasm and had forgotten to turn it off.  I was having trouble getting back to sleep so I got up and watched about 30 minutes of Good Morning America before sleeping again.

This morning's seen me in Court for a couple of mentions - I would have sent our trainee like I usually do, but I was expecting one of them to involve an argument about costs.  As it turned out, it didn't, and the trip to court is always kind of fun - you get to see all these people you know and like.  Mentiones done, back here to redraft a defence and settle an advice for tomorrow's hearing.

So there you have it: my day so far.  I'm trying to think of something good to do in the spirit of "25 days of Christmas" through December.  Anyone have any suggestions, aside from playing Amy Grant music and A Charlie Brown Christmas on a loop?  I refuse to spend the month wringing my hands and saying "poor poor me" - especially after I did a Christmas-card list yesterday and realised that, even allowing for the names I guess I have to remove from it given my circumstances, it's still a comfortingly long st of names.  So, any suggestions people?

OK, brew up the coffee: I need to pound out this advice.

More later.

Weirdness in motion

Hi everyone,

Posting this from my phone tonight; therefore forgive the screwed up punctuation. Sorry.

It‘s been a good Sunday. I got through some laundry and finished a big room-tidy this morning, and was done in time for a skype with my two little angels. They‘re doing so well, and growing up so much. It was great to see them and talk to them and watch them play. The only hard part was, afterwards, loneliness just kind of kicked in and made it hard to smile for a bit.

Went to the office for the afternoon and evening and had a very productive session. I‘m going to DEMOLISH this week.

I‘d planned ahead so to be able to change into running gear at the office and run back to the casa, about 4 miles. To do this trip by tram, I usually allow about an hour for waiting time, walking to the stop, travelling etc. Running? I was back here in 40 minutes without really flogging myself to keep the pace. Weird or freakin what?

Which reminds me: I must check the deadline to sign up to race the Puffing Billy steam train in 2013.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Catch and Re-Lease

Hi everyone,

I'm beginning this Saturday mornng post on the tram. As I said yesterday, I'm in town this weekend for work. I'm on the tram right now, and for my first coffee of the day I've promised myself something fun from Starbucks.

I'm also declaring it an exercise rest-day.  However, the self improvement bug is to be satisfied this evening by tidying my room at the casa. At the moment it looks like a scene from Hoarders - a boatload of old newspapers and scraps of paper and odds and ends.  I'll also do a couple of loads of laundry and get groceries.  I should make it look good since I've just agreed to lease it for a further six months.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

OK, I'm at the office now.  I settled on a gingerbread latte from the good folks at Starbucks.  I can assure you it's up to standard indeed!

What I was about to say just before was that I'm tinkering with the idea of decorating my room for Christmas.  The part of me that wants to be part of the decorating buzz is at odds with the part of me that knows space is at a premium.  It probably sounds a bit lame, and a bit at odds with being a guy at all, but I actually like all the Hallmark card stuff.  I like being able to put on some Amy Grant or Bing Crosby and put a shot of rum in a hot chocolate and write cards and all.  Which reminds me - if you're reading this and want to go on my card list this year, shoot me your address to  Those of you who know me know I love nothing more than sending mail!

And, I just got the news on twitter that LSU chewed up the Arkansas Razorbacks!  The Thanksgiving LSU-Arkansas game was the first college football game I ever saw (in 2005).  I'm taking this as a good omen.

Well, I guess I should post this and get on with reading this file and cranking out an advice.  Hope you're all well and happy!


Thanksgiving for One

Hi Everyone,

Thanksgiving day here (after allowing for timezones). Naturally, not a holiday, so it was me and the files at the office.

As with most of the holidays this year, I'm a little conflicted. I've absorbed so much American DNA that for better or worse the holidays do mean something to me. But I guess you can also understand why at the same time it feels a little like salt being rubbed into the wound.  Still, to play with the metaphor, salt is a somewhat crude antiseptic, which is why I'm not fighting the hurt so much as getting to know it.  As I've quoted before: if you're gonna eat tuna, expect bones.

So, this evening's Thanksgiving-for-one was marked by a 6km run, a weight check (down to 91 kgs!!!), and then turkey breast sandwiches with Jarlsberg cheese and pumpkin soup (yeah, it came from a can rather than being home made - sue me for knowing my culinary limitations!).

Ain't no point frying a turkey for just yourself!

It wasn't a bad way to so dinner, all things considered.  If I'd been able to watch the replay of the Dallas-Redskins game on ESPN it would have capped it off nicely, but unfortunately one of my housemates already had the TV and wanted to watch every last nauseating ABBA infused moment of Mamma Mia.

Incidentally, my initial idea for tonight was to get some turkey meat and fry it it peanut oil.  It's probably just as well, as the only obviously available turkey meat at the supermarket was this stuff -

I'm sure you'll agree that that idea kinda had "EPIC FAIL" written all over it!
I messaged Joni this morning to give the girls a kiss and wish them happy Thanksgiving.  They must have had an awesome - and nap heavy! - day.  Love those little princesses - hoping I can tee up a time to skype this weekend.

OK, I guess that's it.  I'm in town this weekend so as to catch up on work - a little bit swamped right now.  Will try to get something fun in as well though.

See  you tomorrow folks.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wednesday already??

Hi everyone,

Sorry I've been a little patchy with the blogging the last few days.  As you can probably tell from the title, it's been an incredibly busy couple of days, between working flat-out during the day and exercising a lot during the evenings.  The exercise is partly for health reasons and also because it seems to give me a good kick-along during the day.  Kind of, run the brain to empty at the office, then go and pump some fresh blood into it in the evening and recharge it.  All of which is great but does mean I haven't written anything more than a very short - and I suspect abortive - history piece about the recent demise of the town of Quitman, Missouri.  On the plus side, one of my news alerts told me of pending changes to the Oklahoma workers compensation laws, which has prompted me to send an email to a legislatrix there seeking further information and which might, perhaps, offer me the chance to get my name out there and keep building the contacts.  As I see it, it's critical I keep moving forward with the move plan and don't let it drift.  I don't want Grace and Rachel to think I'm over here because I don't care about them.  I want them, when they're old enough to understand, to know I came across as fast as energy, earnings, and a somewhat restrictive skill-set could achieve it.

This evening's exercise was swimming at Melbourne City Baths, to give my legs a workover and also not to pound the crap out of my knees.  I got to a new record of 46 laps (1380 metres).  If it hadn't been near closing time I think I could have got to the mile!  Well, next time.

I'm pleased to report - and a little surprised - that the attitudinal change I blogged about the other week  appears, genuinely, to have stuck.  I've never felt this durable before in my entire life, or this settled, or as comfortable inside my skin.  I'm struggling for a simile here.  It's as if, having worn a too-small wetsuit for year, that crushed your muscles and restricted your breathing and wouldn't let you stand straight, you'd finally taken it off, and felt the sun on your skin and your joints free up and your lungs fill, as strong and free as a Mallee bull.  I guess I sound like a broken record, but I wish Joni could see me like this, and not like I was when I was falling apart.  Well, no point brooding over it.

I should close this and go and have a shower and wash this chlorine off and get some sleep.  Thankfully tomorrow is an appointment and meeting free day, which is just as well - two advices to crank out and a Mount Everest of medical records to wade through.  Starbucks card on standby!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Lunchtime Update

Hi everyone,

This is a quick lunchtime update.  Things are going reasonably well.

I got back to town last night at about 11pm.  Showered and shaved and then skyped with the girls for a couple of hours.  Oh Lord, so beautiful and so sweet.  Grace was happily telling me she'd had a wonderful dream in which she was a princess.  And not just any princess, but "Cinderelly!" and she got to ride in the pumpkin carriage.

Rachel was feeling a little sick, and Joni said she'd thrown up overnight, poor kid.  But, she did still have her juice and fruit loops, and she was playing fairly nicely with their puzzles with Grace.  Although, when she came to play with the farm puzzle, I couldn't help but think how far away they are from their farmer grandfather, and my heart rather ached. It seems strange to say it, but the more I look, the more I see how mum and dad miss Grace and Rachel too.

Today has gone OK - static exercises to get the blood pumping before work.  In at the office a bit before start time and having a productive morning so far - the new approach to advices is paying off already, which is very promising.  Need to get proper groceries this evening.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sunday and lunch

Hi everyone,

Typing this post on my phone while having some downtime after Sunday lunch.  Busy morning. The calves we moved yesterday busted out of their paddock (again) and are now in a rather more secure paddock with the Maine bull.  We headed over to the property at Mt Martha to straighten up some fencrs there. Slightly difficult drive over and back as Dad was very much in a mood to talk and I couldn‘t seem to get my head inti th conversation space. Not sure why - usually that only happens when the blues are troubling me, which they aren‘t.

Anyway, fences attended to, we came back here, watched Landline and had lunch. Not sure what the plan is for the afternoon.  Will need to leave a but earlier than usual this evening as I have a skype date with the girls tonight at 11pm.

The photo below is from the chair I‘m in this minute.

More later.

Going Agricultural...

Hi everyone,

This post is coming to you from my phone from the parents‘ place.

It‘s been a good day. Slept well and did static exercises for 30 minutes in place of running.  I then had a meat-heavy brunch.  Yay protein!!

Drove down to here and spent the balance of the day working with the old man. Moved half a dozen calves from the yards to the dam paddock.  Tidying up around the house for the rest of the evening.  TV, dinner and bed.

Very peaceful and quiet here tonight. Parents looking well, although Dad us planning to get an exercuse bike to let him rebuild leg muscles that have atrophied a bit since a hip injury earlier this year. I worry about him.

Sleep time.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A blogging on blogging linkup!

A linkup?  Why not.  Let's talk about this blogging thing

What is your blog about?

My blog is best described as an online diary.  Usually I'll update it once a day, mostly in the evening; sometimes at lunch or on the tram to work, with whatever I feel like describing.  Usually that'll be what's happened that day, or something that I need to talk about / vent about, or something I want to share.  I try not to go heavy on the opinion blogging.  There's more than enough of people in the world who are convinced about the rightness of their views.

Why did you start blogging?

I've always loved writing and wanted to see if I could write every day.  If you look at the early posts you'll find them more self-consciously "literary".  It then morphed into a way of dealing with some personal issues I was having, and then into a way of writing and being friends with a whole new cast of characters in my life.

What's something your readers know about you?

They know I have two daughters I love more than anything.  They know I'm living in a sharehouse.  They know I'm trying to get fit, and they know I find the world a fascinating place.

What can't you live without?

Oxygen.  Terrible important stuff, oxygen.

What inspires your blog posts?

Whatever's happened that day, as a rule.  Sometimes what's in the news.  And often new steps on the way to self-knowledge.

What do you do when you feel uncreative?

It doesn't happen often, at least with on-blog writing.  When it hits with off-blog writing I'll often just pick up the pen (yes, pen, with a nib and a bottle of ink) and start writing any half baked ideas I have, and just turn out a few pages of dross and rag ends of thought.  This is usually enough to flush at least one good idea out of my melon.

How has blogging changed you?

I think it's helped me to bring out a lot of new sides to my personality.  I think, seeing people whose lives are exciting and fulfilling helps challenge me to re-evaluate my own life.  Those who are content and peaceful help me to ask if I'm finding my own form of contentment.  And people who are loving and gentle remind me to keep those parts of my identity intact too.

What advice do you have for new bloggers?

If you want to be a blogger, blog.  Don't just say you have a blog if you never update it, and don't worry if you don't seem to have any readers.  Just keep writing and saying things and you'll develop a style of your own.  And read and comment on lots of other peoples blogs - it's a great way to make friends!

Last but not least! What blogs inspire you?

Ones you might not expect.  Two biggies would be Chasing Butterflies and Cori at Everyday Enchanted, because they're two people who always seem to have something bright and cheery to say.  I'd add to this list Little Red Blog'n Rouge.  Another great one is Figuring Out the Plot, by someone who really does make a point of living an extraordinary life.

I'd like to give a big shoutout to two other blogs by people who make an art of just getting out and living their lives and being real.  So, head on over and show a little blog-love to Heartland Girl and Land of Milk and Honey!

Looking forward to reading other peoples responses to these questions!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tuesday morning update

Hi everyone,

Starting this update on the tram on a Tuesday morning. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. I was on kind of a roll at the office, so I didn't leave till about 10:15pm, which meant when I got back to the casa there was time to make a couple of chicken and tomato sandwiches, have a shower and call it a day.

Yesterday was intense at work: some fairly tight deadlines we're working within.

Still feeling pretty good after Sunday‘s run, and if I'd had time yesterday I'd either have gone for a run or gone swimming.  In any case I got out some static exercises this morning and God willing will have the time to go swim this evening.  Or alternatively, be home early enough to cook up something with the burgers and sweet potato I have at the casa.  Either would be good.  I got an email yesterday from the run organisers telling me they had photos of me if I wanted to buy them.  Pretty incredible they can track all that for 15,000.00 people.  If you're wondering what a tubby pale thirty-something lawyer looks like in running gear, this is it!

I skyped with the girls Saturday night, and they just get prettier and more smart. And they act like they'll be good sisters to each other too as time rolls by: a little fighting, but also looking out for each other as well.  I was missing them Sunday so I messaged Joni and we made a time for Sunday night as well.  Grace knows to say “I love you Daddy“ at the end of a call, and both she and Rachel then blow me a small hurricane of kisses. :)

On the “getting closer to them“ front I found a web thing yesterday that draws radii on a map and and found out what States are within an 800 mile radius of the town they're in, this distance being approximately a 12 hour drive.  It turns out I should start looking for work in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia or South Carolina, with options on southern Illinois, southern Indiana and western North Carolina.  If any of you know of anything, let me know!.

Ok; getting near my stop. I‘ll edit this and post it at the office as the blogger app messes up punctuation.

Have a great day!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

In which I run ... quite a lot.

Hi everyone,

So today was the day of the City2Sea.  I was on my feet early, about 6am, as I was going to have to walk down to the Arts Centre where the starting point was (bugger all car parking and no public transport that early on a Sunday).  As it happened, a cab was going by just as I turned onto Nicholson Street, so I didn't have to prelude a 14km run with a 7km walk!

It was clear but still bloody cold when I got down there - the only place to be, especially once you'd checked your bag and taken off your over-clothes and gotten down to your running gear, was in one of the patches of sunlight.  Imagine a more sociable version of the "discovering light = life" scenes in Pitch Black and you've got the idea.  I'm happy to say I showed my Who Dat pride and went with a T-shirt celebrating New Orleans' win in the 2009-10 Super Bowl!

Who dat!

As you might expect, they got the fastest runners away first - the ones who had records to set and medals to win.  Then the common or garden runners and joggers like me.  Behind us were the walkers and folks with strollers and infants who were going to have a leisurely stroll in the Spring sunlight.

The starting archway

All up there were something like 15,000 participants and, yes, it was my very first 'official' run.  As you can see, I had lots of company just in my tranche of starters

The Blue group ready to start out

The course itself was very well laid out.  The service lanes in St Kilda Road had been closed to traffic, and a lot of the course itself was around Albert Park Lake.  The organisers had really done it up well - every mile or so there'd be a band - the Navy Jazz band was playing "Eye of the Tiger" as we passed Victoria Barracks! - or a broadcast point for Nova-FM, and at one stage even a barbershop quartet!  I skipped the first two drinks spots, but by the third (about 10km) I really needed that Gatorade to keep me going.  Still, I wasn't one of the people who'd elected to run in fancy dress.  Surely the bravest of those dedicated souls was the buy who was running dressed as the Kung Fu Panda -


The signs eventually told us "12km" and "13km", but by that stage I'm pretty sure I had gained a phenomenal amount of mass, as the space-time continuum seemed to be warping around me.  Certainly that's my explanation for why the last two kilometres were the longest I've ever run.  I crossed the finish line with a time of 1 hour, 33 minutes and 3 seconds.  I collected my finisher's medal.  Yeah, I know, it's like getting a ribbon for 'participation', but I've never had an athletic medal before and, gee I'm proud!

The finish line itself was in Catani Gardens, just beside the bay.  It was all set up for a families day, so there was free gatorade and water for runners, lots of barbeques and the like set up by Rotary and other volunteer groups, and all the fixings to encourage people to stay and have fun

So that was how I kicked off my Sunday - a great run finishing in a welcoming part of the city!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The changes that are good.

Many of us are controlled, knowingly or not, by assumptions. I think the biggest problem I ever had was that I came to assume I had no right to anything better than wherever I was at that particular moment.

When a lot of the voices you hear throughout much of your life tell you how second rate and contemptible you are (school and university, for instance), eventually you begin to take them seriously. And when the voice telling you those things is your own, it creates a self-sustaining demon. Because you accept as an article of faith that "something better" is not something you're entitled to, every experience you have tends to confirm this belief: it being the natural lot of humanity that many of our experiences are negative ones, you feel that you had them coming to you; should something good happen in your life, you automatically assume it was a fluke or a mistake. 

All of your actions tend to validate this state of mind: because you assume you don't deserve to do other than fail, you learn to tolerate and make the best of crummy things, not because you're a simple man and like them, but because you can never persuade yourself that there's an alternative.

How does this work in practice?  In my case, I assumed (for example) that I wasn't someone who would or could live somewhere good. That such a thing could be my life simply did. not. enter. my. head. This is why I voluntarily lived for several years in a small, fairly dingy flat. I assumed I couldn't have a good car, or aspire to own one that wasn't a pile of junk, and so I persisted in owning, one after another, a second hand Laser and then a Corolla, one of which had a slowly dying engine and the other of which was slowly morphing into the world's fastest pile of rust. It never occurred to me I could do any better. And it's also why I persisted in sleeping in a single bed despite something larger being well within my purchasing power.

I was marginally more sophisticated with work. I'd never done especially well at law school and only landed a job through personal connections. I always simply assumed that I would fail if I went to a bigger firm or a better job, and so I stayed in a poorly paid role that I found largely unsatisfying and which in the end drained my will to live, until an encounter with a very energetic recruiter resulted in a hiring process that took on a life of its own. I'd been to job interviews before then, sure, but I think potential employers can tell when you don't think you deserve the job: if you don't think you're a serious candidate for a role, there's no reason for them to think differently. This was something that I think my wife found incomprehensible and exasperating by turns: she would tell me I was a good and talented lawyer, and I could do better, and I'd either leave her feeling like she was talking to a brick wall or have a scrolling list of reasons why I would move but not yet.  This was, as it happens, the first issue which brought out how difficult my sometime issues were for her.  I'd been to a disastrous job interview on the Wednesday before Easter in 2009, and was pretty upset about it when we went to Lorne for the Easter weekend.  We had quite an intense conversation about it one morning on that trip.

Inevitably this belief made things bad romantically as well. Before my wife, I never thought I was the sort of guy who "deserved" (in the sense of, had a chance with) any girl, and so I either didn't try or tried in the most lame and half-hearted ways. I don't in any respect regret meeting, marrying and building a life with my wife, but I can understand why sometimes she must have wondered what was in my head. How can you believe you're the most important thing to your husband when all his life he's settled for anything he could find?

This is why I failed to cope when our girls were born. When the hard work began, of paying for it all and being an active and involved parent, being and achieving "better" (financially, time wise, personal attitude) stopped being (for want of a better word) optional and became vital. And because I'd spent forever convinced I could never achieve anything "better" for myself or anyone else, I didn't achieve it, and increasingly I unravelled at the gap between what was needed and what I could produce. That this same gap between what I considered myself capable of being and what I needed to be lead me to disaster at the old new job: while there were other factors, a near-complete lack of belief that I could be better in the way that I wanted to be was a big nail in the coffin.

This was, intriguingly, something I mentioned to the psychologist who my wife and I saw for marriage counselling, when I talked about being afraid to ask for things at the old old job despite my boss' approval being more or less guaranteed. I didn't recognise it then but this belief was clearly what I was referring to.

Something changed about me where this belief is concerned this year. I'm not sure when it happened. Maybe when I started writing more. Certainly when I began the new job. And maybe (I know this will sound weird) when I started updating my LinkedIn profile, which is kind of like getting a huge high-five from yourself as you realise you're a better and more competent person than you thought you were, and that even what sounds like a boast isn't a boast when you can reliably back it up. For the first time that I can remember, "better" in my life feels like it's there for the taking. I don't think I've changed exactly, and I'm sure the world hasn't changed. But one thing has changed. I guess it's that I'm not afraid of everything any more.

The other thing that has changed is that for the first time that I can remember, I feel comfortable inside my own skin. Yeah, I know, it's a cliché, but it's the truth. I'm not perfect - I could have been a better husband, but I think I was as good as I could have been. I'm not in a position to be the father I thought I would be, but I can still be a pretty good one if I try.  And yeah, I'm a bundle of apparently mismatched pieces - the intuitive historian in the highly non-intuitive legal profession. Someone who loves American football and pre-Reformation music. I could pull apart and put back together a Ronaldson-Tippett engine given sufficient time, tools and unlimited amounts of WD-40, but also discovered on reading the shoe-heavy post of another blogger that I had an opinion about them (for the avoidance of doubt, I didn't want to be wearing them, but I did think they looked great). I'm good with going to the National Gallery, and also with going to watch the judging of Maine-Anjou cattle.

What I've come to realise is that all these pieces don't have to fit together in any particular way, and certainly not in a way to forces them to be seamless. If you relax and stop trying to force the different parts of who you are to fit together, they'll just settle down together in a way which you can intuit, if not actually understand or explain.  You'll really only come to grief if you do try and force them to fit together, because inevitably you'll find you're denying part of your own nature.  There's nothing wrong with bringing one of these pieces to the fore at a right moment and letting the rest slip into the background (one would not, for example, get into a deep discussion of the economic roots of the English Renaissance at the Pakenham stockyards), because that's the essence of being a whole person.  The word person, it's worth remembering, comes from the Etruscan word phersu, meaning 'mask'.  Everybody presents different masks (or sides of their identity) depending on the surroundings.  The only people who are completely consistent in the face they show the world are those with just one side to their identity.  Someone like that can only be a dreadful bore at best and a madman at worst.

I should add that this is something I'd never have figured out for myself without the help of a lot of truly awesome ladies (yes, all girls) who've been supporting me on the bumpy road that 2012 has been. Most of you read this blog, so take a bow JF, HD, KT, GD and SL. Thanks to you I can fist bump Popeye and say calmly "I yam what I yam!"

This year, as I said, has been a hell of a bumpy ride, and of course, there's a lot of things in it that I wish had gone differently. But then again, looking purely at what has come out of it for me, and the person it's let me become, I find it hard to regret it. As the sages who wrote Red Dwarf pointed out: "If you're gonna eat tuna, expect bones".

It seems strange to say it after a year in which I haven't held my beloved daughters for 12 months, and in which my marriage has run aground, I've been fired, had a full-fledged meltdown in front of one boss, spent countless evenings at the office and spent a fair bit of time  in some pretty dark places, but looking at all that has happened, and all that the future might hold, I feel like I'm probably the most blessed man who ever drew breath.

Tomorrow will be another beautiful day.

Friday, 9 November 2012

In which I go swimming

Hi everyone,

This isn't the blogpost I've spent a big whack of the evening writing.  I've put it to one side and I'll decide whether to put it up tomorrow.  It's probably one of the best I've written, but perhaps also one of the most revelatory.  Today's been a great day for feeling alive.  I was up early enough to decide whether to run or to do more static exercises (went with the latter, doing things that certainly challenged my stomach and leg muscles).  I was at work early enough to have breakfast there and get a jump on the day, which consisted heavily of shooting versions of advices back and forth with my boss.  Not the best day I've had, as this is work I should have done last week, but I have a system in place that means once these hiccups are through things will get better.  So, not a day that will get me "employee of the month", but one where a few teething problems are still being sorted through.

You remember the other day I was feeling a touch of the Makybe Divas?  After work today I decided to trade 'race horse' for 'river horse'.

Which is to say, I went swimming instead of running.  I went to the Melbourne City Baths.  It's a beautiful old building - over a hundred years old - just outside the CBD that has a 30 metre pool and also a well equipped gym of which I was a member in the beforeTime.

I'm the first to confess I'm no great swimmer, but I wanted to give myself some exercise besides running before Friday, so I wallowed up and down till I'd swum about a kilometre and felt pretty good for it.

I caught the tram back here.  I was feeling lazy, so I went with toasted sandwiches of avocado, cheese and silverside for dinner, and then came up here to blog and, in a minute, have a shower and get the rest of the chlorine off before sleeping.  Will need to spend a big whack of the weekend working, I'm afraid, but it'll be worth it.  And I get to skype with the girls tomorrow night, and that's making me happier than anything right now!

See you tomorrow

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Hi everyone,

This post will be shorter than planned.  It's 12:30am, and I'm trying to go to bed earlier than I have been lately (as a rule, about 2am).  So, I'm uploading this in place of the post I'd planned as I've spent the last hour or so trying to get blogger to upload the photos I'd like to share.  Anyway, I'll put that post together tomorrow night when I have a little more time.

It's been another quiet day of settling advices and reviewing medical material here.  As I think I said the other day, one of the up sides of the new office I'm in is that it's fairly quiet and I can have ABC-FM or the Country Hour on if I want to.

I decided against running this evening in place of some exercises from the book I bought from the throwout table at Officeworks the other day -

The exercises in this are seriously good.  Yeah, I know, I'm not their target audience.  I don't care.  I'm feeling pretty good about life these days - I'm enjoying my work, I'm writing more and better than I have in my life, and my head's screwed on straight which is kind of amazing after the year I've had.  Why shouldn't I put this whole bundle in a healthy body too?  Mens sana in corpore sano.

Tomorrow is another quiet day - like to be sending the advices from today to the Client after review, and cranking out a brief and court book.  And hopefully go for a swim at Melbourne City Baths after work.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Another placeholder ... sorry ...

Hi everyone,

Sorry: I still haven't made time to do the weekend recap I promised (nor another great post which is at the back of my mind).  Sorry!

I'm not going to do a political recap tonight - more than enough ink will be spilt on that subject and I don't imagine I'm going to say anything especially novel about it.  Although the classiest comment of all came from my friend Kris, a rusted-on Democrat, who commended on Facebook -
I feel sad for everyone that loses. What a let down they must feel.
That is how a good winner talks.

My own  day was difficult - trying to work with about two thirds of my brain on the files and one third on the election results.  As most of you know, I'm not one of nature's multitaskers.  Went for a run in the evening - from the Casa to Trades Hall and back in a big loop and finally felt my legs kick in - that awesome feeling when you're running as strong and effortless as Makybe Diva and feel like you could go forever.

Anyway, that took an hour and was about 6 miles.  So, I'm feeling pretty good for the run on Sunday!

Anyway, it's 1am and past when I said I'd be in bed by.  Hope all your days are going well!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sorry - again

Hi everyone,

Apologies again.  I was late back to Melbourne, so I haven‘t had a chance to prepare a proper blogpost yet.

Sorry - will have a proper update soon.


Monday, 5 November 2012

An explanation

Hi everyone,

This is essentially an explanation post to say I‘m not dead!  I was at the office today but otherwise have neen all over the place for the long Cup Day weekend. Anyway, I have a couple of awesome blogposts coming your way real soon.

More soon,


Friday, 2 November 2012

Here I am.

Hi everyone,

Quick little update as my battery‘s almost out. Got down here intact. Roads quiet. Arrived about 1am. Now curled up in bed. Very quiet here tonight.

See you tomorrow.

Before the Road

Hi everyone,

I‘m typing this on my phone at the Casa. I hoped to type it on my laptop so the punctuation wouldn‘t be a mess, but the house wifi is having its usual evening tantrum. Gripe.

I have a good weekend lined up - Dad and I are going up to the Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally tomorrow, a vintage machinery rally, and then on the Sunday we‘ll go up to the Whittlesea Agricultural Show.  This should be making me feel great, but it‘s kind of making me feel low. I have to keep trying to pretend everything is peachy.  I know it should be easy to pretend that is real which I wish waz real but it isn‘t.

What in hell became of my happily ever after?  I should try and resist self pity, I really should, but, surely this is too high a price pay for not being fucking perfect.

Ok. I‘d better get on the road.

More later.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hi everyone,

Shorter post tonight for a forgettable day. A big whack of the day was spent writing and rewriting a summary of the new Civil Procedure Act. Now, it was genuinely great when I‘d finished it, but (a) I gave the job far more time thsn I should, and (b) I managed to do it so well, I‘ve now been tasked with keeping the section informed of all the changes in our field! This is either an opportunity or massive extra job, depending on how I look at it.

No run tonight, although I may go tomorrow morning before work. Giving my legs a little rest.

Cooler weather tonight, thank God.

See you tomorrow.