Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tram update ... tired (and edited)

Hi everyone,

How are things?  I'm posting this from the tram; I'll probably post a bit more later tonight.

Tired as hell right now.  I expect thats because of getting to sleep about 3am on Sunday night and 2am last night (Skype and Coursera being, respectively, the culprits).  Although it might also be because work seems a little pointless at this moment. Indeed, so much so that today I spent about 3 hours applying for jobs today (applied for one in insurance and two contract roles in law reform).

Almost my stop. More later.

Hi everyone (again).  I posted that from the tram, as discussed, but decided to go back and edit it a bit and then I thought: just keep writing.

Anyway, here I am.  It's been what one might call a kind of standard evening.  I went for a decent run, had dinner, posted a few reviews on goodreads.com (if you'd care to, add me as a connection - the link should be there on the right), got caught up with blogs, facebook, twitter, dailymile and everything else in the wacky world of social media.  And now, about to go have a shave and another shower (the evening is really humid), then turn in and do some reading and an early(ish) night.  This will be a plus - this last week I've been working flat out in the evenings to get caught up with the course at Uni of Virginia.


Of course, I still have the course at Uni of Central Florida to catch up on too, but I'm only a week behind in that one.
University of Central Florida

Anyway, that's why it's felt good to have an evening of relative inactivity.

Back to reality tomorrow though.  Some recent developments in Floridian and Oklahoman law have brought to the fore a couple of opportunities for publication.  Also I'm still  trying to turn out a piece for the ABA Workers Comp Committee newsletter, and a piece for Agricultural History that I have about half written and need to finish.  And of course, there's that pesky "find a frickin' job" issue!

Anyway, that's my evening.  Hope all's well with you!

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 25 February 2013

A good day for history

Hi everyone,

I didn't plan to be posting this so late and from my phone, but here it is.

I wanted to say it's been a good day for history in my world. For one thing, I got an email this afternoon advising that a slot had opened up in a weekend course in marine archaeology if I wanted to take it. I snapped it up!  No, I'm not rushing out to buy the Indiana Jones hat. But, you have to start somewhere.

The other plus was that when I got back to the casa this evening, I found that I'd received historical literature variously from the Agricultural History Society -

the American Historical Association -

and Amazon -

Feels like I'm on the right path!  Which is good, as right now at work, with two weeks to go and no job in sight (and frankly, feeling physically sick at the thought of more legal practice) my motivation is kinda low.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Lame attempt at a catchup post

Hi everyone,

I know, I know: I'm being a bad blogger at the moment!  It's kind of been a big week.

For one thing, I've been catching up with the Uni of Virginia course in modern history. I may have said before, but it's genuine study: right now I'm doing the bare minimum required; if I were to step it up a notch and also do, say, the readings, it would be hard to tell it from a regular undergraduate subject.

Another thing that's hogging my attention at the moment is the sudden appearance of some historicolegal issues on which I can write with a degree of authority.  It's truly an embarassment of riches: I'm finding myself thinking "this is a great opportunity to get something into the Florida Bar Journal ... no time to write it from scratch ... maybe I can  cannibalize that thing I did a few years ago that nobody wanted to publish?"

I wonder if Hemingway had this problem?!?

Wednesday I caught up with a secretary I used to work with and also met her fiance. He's a sensible, down to earth fellow from New Zealand, and should be a good match for her. Photos from the evening below (sorry - yeah, writing this on my phone in the tram). But, they both love a drink. Guess who was staggering back to Brunswick on Wednesday night?

My stop is coming up. More soon.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A morning tram post

Hi everyone,

Posting this from the tram on Wednesday morning. Sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately. To the extent that I have an excuse, it's been a pure issue of time.  I'm trying to stay focussed at work, with limited success, and my time after work is very much dominated by the whole getting healthy thing and by the coursera courses I'm doing.

The hunt for work is kind of going nowhere. I'd be more depressed about it if I didn't know that of the five Comcare and abestos litigation lawyers in my department who've been made redundant, only one has found a job.  Which is why I don't feel as guilty as I otherwise would about putting energies into reskilling through coursera: finding a new position, either here or in the US, will need some new thinking and some new selling points.  Lord forbid that life should be boring!

Last night and yesterday have been much cooler than the preceding week of 30C/90F temperatures. Last night was the best night's sleep I've had in ages.

Catching up with Andrea, one of the secretaries from the old old job for a few drinks tonight. She's engaged now; really hope it works out for her. Drinks have been prompted by her being in Brunswick for a week due to home repairs.

Almost my stop. More later.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Lunch update

Hi everyone,

Short update over lunch.  Lord but it's been difficult to get properly in motion this morning (although I think that more than anything reflect having been up till 2:30am skyping with the girls last night).  It was a great skype.  It seems like Rachel has found her voice and is really talking now.  And Grace is as gabby as ever.  She was happily playing with the music box my mother sent her and looking lovingly at the little rotating ballerina and saying how beautiful she was.  I'll relay that to Mum in a minute - she'll be so pleased.  I'm assuming Joni hasn't sent a "thank you" to Mum.  Sadly, the phrase "thank you" doesn't seem to be part of her vocabulary any more.  If I sound disappointed it's because I am.  For so long I wanted to believe she was capable of better.

Will make a follow up call to a prospective employer after lunch.  Getting worried that I reek of burn-out!  And I guess I do feel a little lost, although being short of sleep may have a bit to do with that today as well.  I guess if all else fails, I'm still young enough to run away and join the Foreign Legion (so wikipedia tells me), although that is kind of a drastic way of achieving a life-reboot!

I guess that's enough for now.  More this evening.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Quick update

Hi everyone,

Typing this on phone at Shepparton; it should load overnight when the satellite passes overhead!

Good day here, but very warm. Family well, but disputes among parents, Little Sister and Michael over what to do with a stray/feral kitten.

Filled two tanks of water late afternoon. One new calf in evening.

A little post-birthday for me today. Mum roasted a chicken and Little Sister made the cutest cake in the shape of a train (battery too low to photograph it).  Really sweet and fun.

Warm night tonight.

More tomorrow.

Friday, 15 February 2013

eWOL again

Hi everyone,

Sorry - I've been eWOL again. Well, not quite eWOL: I just had some difficulty finding time to blog, between work, running in the evenings, doing a course in modern history through Coursera and making a plasma donation.

No good news on the job front. My departure was officially announced yesterday. Honestly, I'm having a struggle to keep focussed on the hunt for work. Just so ... tired.  I'm game to work but, I dunno, my brain feels like my legs did after the two hour run last weekend.  Well, it'll get right soon.

Typing this on the road: currently heading to Shepparton with Fran and Michael for weekend (random photo out window below). Stopped for coffee at Coburg McDonalds already (photo) but still very tired: woke up a lot last night because of some very weird dreams.

Ok, I guess that's the update.

More later.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Flames and Bones

Hi everyone,

Hope all is well with you.

It's been a fairly subdued day in my world.  That is, most of the day in my office preparing for a conference in a matter this afternoon, and then attending the said conference.  Nothing too thrilling to report, I'm afraid.  I did get a text from a friend advising me that she's found herself a job, which is great!  She'd found herself unexpectedly out of work too.  There's hope for us all!

After work I went to the Ash Wednesday Mass at St Francis.  I settled on a real challenge: I'm going to try and give up swearing for Lent.  I know, I know - I may wind up sounding like this song -

mr mackey - DON'T SWEAr M'-FUCKING-KAY?

but what's life without a challenge?

The evening was the best bit of the day.  After Mass I headed up to Chinatown to catch up with some friends from the old job.

We'd arranged to go to Ginza Teppanyaki - they do that thing (hibachi?) where they cook the food at your table and periodically you find bits of egg and plates flying in your direction.  It was a barrel of fun, and great to catch up with the crew.  They were awesome folks to work with and it was a job I was rather sad to leave.

And was there flame?  Yes, there was flame - 

There was lots of flame!

After dinner, we went a little way off of Little Bourke Street to a very cool but very macabre Mexicana bar that one of our number knew of.  When I say Mexicana, there wasn't a sombrero or cactus in sight: it had the sort of decor that you'd get if you put Victor Frankenstein, Salavdor Dali and Our Lady of Guadalupe in a room together, added peyote and left them to it.  So, there were photos from movies with neon lights protruding from the eyes, a lot of "Day of the Dead" themed makeup on statues, and lots of bones.  This light fitting should give you the general idea -

When drinks finished I walked back to Brunswick, partly for the exercise but mostly to help digest the massive feast of protein I'd had.  I have a very happy stomach right now!

Tomorrow is appointment free, save for an hour and a half team meeting at lunch.  It's all a little academic for me.  Still, there's a free lunch involved.  And a plasma donation in the evening, which I'm looking forward too.  I have no idea why this is one of the highlights of any given fortnight, but there you have it.  I'd go each week if they let me!

OK, I guess that's enough for now.  More tomorrow.  Hope all is well with yourselves!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

From having been eWOL

Hi everyone,
Posting this from my office at lunch hour. Sorry for being eWOL for so long. I've been trying to write a catch up post, with limited success.
Anyway, overall things have been good the last week or so, save only for the issues currently going on in my life. And even they aren't so bad; just unsettling. Although, a big whack of my life has involved being excessively settled, so there is something to be said for the "stone in a rock tumbler" aspect of the whole experience.
It was my 35th birthday last week, which means I'm halfway through my allotted three score years and ten. It was a little curious this year: usually I sort of try to let my birthday go by unmentioned.  This year, I didn't make a big deal of it, but I felt calmer and, I guess, more joyful than I have in quite some time. One can overanalyse feelings, and I'll resist doing that now. Suffice to say I was really touched when my assistant got me a birthday cupcake from the bakery next to our office!
As you know, I've been spending a lot of time at the weekend with the parentals at Shepparton. It's calving time for the heifers there, and already there's one calf that's being bottle fed.  When I was up there the weekend before last Dad did find himself having to pull a calf from a heifer in trouble.  This, incidentally, was something we all saw quite a bit of as kids: look no further for the reason none of my sisters have children!
The Saturday of that weekend was a Beef Week event at the property of a couple of friends of the parentals who are Maine-Anjou breeders. This coincided with the AGM of the Maine-Anjou breeders society.  It was great to see how happy Mum and Dad seem to be with all the new friends they've made through the breeders' society - It really makes me glad to see them happy.  Added to which, the AGM was accompanied by a first class lunch of roast, grilled and corned beef from the breed in question. Great reason to break the diet!
Stopped in Rushworth on the way going there -
which allowed me to get my newspaper fix with the Shepparton News and the Kyabram Free Press
On the way back, we swung past the block at Rushworth to pick up a trough which had been earmarked for giving the cattle at Shepparton a mineral supplement in the form of rock salt and molasses.  Clearly cattle like the whole "salty and sweet" thing. I must try giving them Reeses peanut butter cups one day.
Work is kind of problematic: I feel pretty guilty over how many headaches I'm causing for the gentle, kindly, supportive folks I work with, and yesterday that sent me into an absolute tail spin of self-loathing and guilt and upset. Suffice it to say the Nikes got a workout last night that had nothing at all to do with fitness and a LOT to do with clearing my head.  A lot of the closest friends came running (well, posting) when I alluded to this on Facebook, and that was a true feel-better moment too!
At the weekend I was had Sunday lunch at Second Oldest Sister's place, and she made surely the mother of all birthday cakes: the pictures (which I'm having trouble posting but will put up after) don't at all do it justice!
Saturday of the weekend I'd earmarked as time to write -
look for a job, and go for a LONG run. Sucessfully did all of those things. For the run I went down to St Kilda late afternoon and went running along the Esplanade. Beautiful sunset (snapped from phone while literally running!) -
although I looked less stellar after two hours and 19kms!
I got the tram back from in front of Luna Park.
Skyped with Grace and Rachel Saturday evening. As always, a very bittersweet experience.  Well, at least I know they're clearly growing up to be beautiful little people.
I was as stunned as the rest of the world by the Pope's decision yesterday to step down.  Oddly, the last pope to step down (voluntarily) was St Celestine V, for whom I took my confirmation name.  I know I should be poring over the news reports, but somehow I'm not keen.  So many people, especially in the online comments, seem to hate the Pope, the church, and often Catholic en masse, with a venom it's hard to credit.  Do I want to wade through it?  Not especially.  So many people seem to have so little to say, and to say it so often and so loudly.
OK, I guess that's a catch up.  I'll post again tonight, I expect.  Sorry again for being away so long!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

My 35th Birthday ... Preview

Hi everyone,

This is a "Note from the Management" post.  Sorry I've been e-WOL for a few days.  It's been kind of a mess with work and all.

Anyway, today's my 35th birthday, and it's genuinely been great.  Normally I kinda don't react to 7 February much at all, but today's been ... right.

Anyway, I'll say more tomorrow, but it's after midnight and I still need to wash off a ton of chlorine and get to bed.  Promise to update properly tomorrow!

More soon.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A note from the management

Hi everyone,

This post is just my quick apology.  Sorry I've been AWOL from the blogosphere a bit lately.  It's past my bedtime even now: I've been up overhauling my linkedin page and cold-emailing for jobs (Australian Pastoral Funds Management and Nagambie Mining, for two). 

Will do a longer post tomorrow.  Sorry about this.

Oh yeah, and I got another letter printed.  Nothing fancy (and a bit of recycling of ideas) but anything that shows history's practical uses has some value, I think.

More tomorrow.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Eyes ... closing ...

Hi everyone,

Quickly posting this from my phone as I lie here in bed at Shepparton with the window open and the wind blowing outside.

It's been a punishing couple of days, and feeling even lower because today is my daughters' birthday.  I spoke with them by phone at their bedtime today. Joni had previously sent me a text saying she was taking them to a Mexican restaurant for their special pre-birthday tea because they'd asked for salsa, and was getting cupcakes for their little school birthday party tomorrow. It hit me how I've now LOST all those moments. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound.

This. Just. Sucks.

Drove up here with dad after work as I had nothing planned for weekend except writing. Mum has been here all week and seems happy to be so.

Definitely time to sleep.

See you tomorrow.