UGH

February 27th, 2006

Wow. Today was really, really bad.

And tomorrow promises more fun and hilarity. I might just go to bed and not get up.

That seems like a good plan.

Take me home and leave me there

February 26th, 2006

It just started raining outside and it smells amazing. Musty, earthy, wet and green. There’s rumbling thunder in the distance, but judging by the clouds this afternoon we won’t get much of a storm. About half of what I could see from here is sky, and it was the most even I’ve seen it in a while; there was very little definition or body to the clouds.

I actually went grocery shopping today. This is something I generally detest doing, but I had run out of almost everything. Besides, I actually got my fridge dramas sorted once and for all this week. Only now I’m faced with too much choice. When you have a cupboard and fridge full of food the decision of what to cook becomes a bit traumatic. When all you’re faced with is some suspect looking cheese, tortillas and mango chutney, the choice is less arduous.

I have a good feeling about this week. Brenda isn’t here and the Turkey thing seems to be sorted, so I have the whole week to consolidate and try and get back under control. Last week, particularly the beginning of the week, was a bit of a free for all. I still have shit in my diary from Monday that I haven’t touched yet. Additionally, this week I have one on one meetings scheduled with everyone at work. I like these, because they turn into conversations rather than performance appraisals. And people dig being asked for their input and feedback – I’ve found they’re a lot more open to change that YOU put forward, if they know they’d be given a voice too, should they want something changed. Or something like that. Whatever it is, it all seems to be positive.

I’ve been thinking about real estate. This, for me, is odd, and even more peculiar is that it was bought on by a conversation I had with Brenda in the car on the way home from Canberra. I’m in a position where, should I knuckle down and save for a bit, I could purchase real estate. Only I’m not even sure if I want to do that. Something in me is holding back and really doesn’t like the idea. I think a lot of it is not wanting to be tied to one place. It’s really a concrete declaration, you know? Like, this is me now, see these roots I’m putting down? This is where I want to live. And I’m not sure here is my forever place.

Also, I’ve seen people financially crippled by mortgages. They want to own their own spot of the world at all costs and in doing so end up with repayments they can barely afford. I’m not willing to trade a huge amount of my quality of life for long term financial gain. Does that make me stupid? Probably, in the long term. I sure as hell could cut back on the money I spend on music, and there are other things I could go without, but when it all boils down to it I think living and enjoying each day is more important. Material possessions don’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things.

I think too that part of me expected to be doing this with someone else. It’s that whole lifelong ingrained stereotype thing – buying a house is what TWO people do, when they decide they don’t want to live with anyone else. I like the idea of doing it by myself though.

I’m in a position now where I should be thinking about it. Probably. And with that in mind I’ve actually been paying attention to For Sale signs on houses etc. in the area for the first time since I moved here. I’m going nowhere and doing nothing yet, but the thought is there. And once a thought is planted, who knows where it will go.

CALM. BLUE. OCEAN.

February 25th, 2006

Dear AAPT,

I’m pissed. Happy? It’s taken me three days to get to this point, but I’ve officially reached it.

Thursday night, when my username and password couldn’t be verified, I took it in good humour and figured (even though it was highly unlikely) that I’d fucked something up myself and hence couldn’t dial in. When I called the first time, and sat on hold for over 15 minutes, and was subsequently hung up on, I laughed about it, swore a bit, and then phoned right back. The second time you hung up on me I sucked a breath inward, then calmly dialled again.

When I finally got through to someone, he seemed helpful. I ignored the creepy innuendo and all the very bad puns he was producing, because he agreed to reset my password. Besides, the poor guy does night shift tech support for a crappy communications company so I was prepared to cut him some slack. Hmm he says, this is odd, there’s nothing wrong with your account and it’s not suspended (ah, NO). So he resets the password and I ask, okay to go right away? No, sorry he says, give it maybe 10 minutes and go again.

So 40 minutes later I try again. Dial tone, numbers dialling, handshake, and then NOTHING. Password and username can’t be verified. Too bad I thought, server obviously hasn’t registered the new password yet, it’ll be right by tomorrow night.

So I stagger home last night after 14 hours at work. I eat something resembling dinner and sit down to write about my day. Dial tone, numbers dialling, handshake, and again, nothing. Password and username can’t be verified. Again. So I think NO PROBLEM, I will call AAPT again and figure this out once and for all.

But you were not answering the phone. In fact, every time I called you told me how busy you were and hung up on me. After maybe 40 minutes of that I gave up and decided that really, I didn’t want to write about my day. And I didn’t want to read anything online or do anything else that might help me unwind.

I get that I’m a dialup customer, and I get that barely anyone on earth uses dialup anymore, and I GET that really you probably don’t feel it’s worth using huge resources to support us dialup users. But here’s a tip – if you’re experiencing ‘unexpected call volumes’ both night and day for 3 days, it becomes EXPECTED, wouldn’t you think? Who do you think you’re kidding?

So please, fix the fuck up on my account so I can log in from home. Additionally, please put on more creepy night shift support guys to answer the phone after midnight, because constant calling and being hung up on makes people mad.

Hate,

Karen.

…..

Dear Wilberforce,

I love your quiet streets and your quaint shopping centre. Even though the smell of your turf farms gets a little much at times, it’s nice to be surrounded by green grass and not house farms.

But WHY OH WHY does your infrastructure have to be so crappy? Why can’t I get broadband? This dialup business is getting old.

Please, sort your shit out.

Patiently,

Karen.

…..

Dear Gerling,

Your new song makes me chair dance. MWAH for that.

Love,

Karen.

…..

Dear Karen.

STOP IT. You’re annoying.

Blah,

Karen.

That’s where the truth is at

February 22nd, 2006

Everything seems to have gone terribly wrong that can.
But one breath at a time is an acceptable plan,
she tells herself.
And the air is still there.
This morning it’s even breathable,
and for a second the relief is unbelievable
and she’s a heavy sack of flour sifted,
her burden lifted,
and she’s full of clean wind for one lean moment
and then,
she’s trapped again.
Reverted, caged and contorted
with no way to get free,
and she’s getting plenty of little kisses
but nobody’s slippin’ her the key.

February 22nd, 2006

…t…i…….r…………e………….d.

Actually, exhausted. To summarise today –

3 hours of writing, compiling and binding (with Carole’s help) a hastily written document requesting policy change.

Talking Brenda down from setting the photocopier alight when it jammed.

9 and a half hours of driving. 7 of those with Brenda in the car. DAMN ALL AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC AIRLINES TO HELL for not offering enough services from Sydney to Canberra.

Canberra – the city with no soul.

3 hour meeting with DIMA big wigs. That woman had the strangest mannerisms I’ve seen in a long time, but she knew her 442 shit inside out.

Positive news regarding the fucked Turkish jockey situation. This is a big relief.

Very strange conversations with the boss concerning kitchen design, different ways people love each other and growing roses during said 7 hours driving.

Mix 106.5, Love Song Dedications.

Human Nature (at this point my involuntary gag reflex kicks in).

5 minutes at the office to check email, drop Brenda off and get changed.

Back in the car to drive to Hellen’s place because (and sometimes I truly astound myself when it comes to misplacing and forgetting things) I forgot my phone charger and my iPod. Not such a big deal normally, except Brenda needs the charger to take to Turkey tomorrow. Long story.

Maybe half an hour at Hellen’s place which involves talking and laughing and making fun and being made fun of. All of a sudden my debilitating exhaustion becomes mild tiredness.

Drive home. Log in. Stare.

And tomorrow, reprieve.

Silence is golden

February 20th, 2006

Pretty much since Friday morning I have been surrounded by people. It’s great, and I truly love the company, but coming home tonight felt like exhaling.

Melancholy. I think it’s a combination of using my brain full tilt for 3 days, spending the weekend with people, and listening to Death Cab for Cutie for 3 days straight.

I bought the Inhaled compilation from 1997 yesterday when I was in Newtown. My brother had it years ago (and probably still has it) and when I saw it for $15 I couldn’t resist. I listed to Titanic Days by Sidewinder, Popular by Nada Surf and The Outdoor Type by the Lemonheads all the way home. I also found Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks by Modest Mouse, which I’m really excited about listening to.

The course was actually fun. The really positive comments from the course coordinators combined with my really good mock exam results make me feel a lot more comfortable about the exam. All those doubters can bite me.

I also met some really cool people. Trish from Brisbane who I know I will keep in touch with, John from Newcastle and Annette from Blaxland. It’s nice to have comrades. I liked the format of the course, in that there was usually about an hour and a half of solid knowledge stuff, and then a quick test. Also, they fired questions at you regularly and there’s nothing I like better than being put on the spot like that and knowing the answer.

And the room where it was held was great. It was wide, rather than long, and all the tables were put in a half moon shape around the lectern in the middle. But the front wall, behind the lecturer, was one great big window. And the window looked out on a small park in front of the Entertainment Centre, which seemed to act as a bit of a walkway between China Town and Darling Harbour. So, while we were shut in a room all day, it felt a lot like we were in a half way place between inside and outside. It made it all a lot more bearable.

And there were some seriously interesting things outside that window. Some of the things I saw were –
??? Lines and lines of people queuing for a bridal show on the Saturday. Usually groups of animated girls and women, but occasionally a harangued looking guy. I felt a bit bad for them – I mean, there is going to be a lot of ‘well, what do you think?’ and him going (and truthfully meaning) ‘really, I don’t mind, whatever you think’ and her going ‘I knew it! You don’t care about this wedding and you don’t care about me!’ Cue tears.
??? A group of around 10 Asian monks in deep red robes with orange sashes. The colours were amazing.
??? Around 4 people each day sleeping. These ranged from a young guy wearing headphones with nothing but a back pack, to an old woman with a lot of bags who appeared to be either homeless or in transit. Also, there was one guy who came each day with a white sheet to lay on the ground. That’s what I call organised.
??? Two Asian girls dancing. They were using the long glass doors from the side of the Entertainment Centre as mirrors, and it looked like they were practising for something. They were pretty good.
??? A couple kissing for a long while on a rug out in the open.
??? A crew consisting of a boom/sound guy, a camera operator and an interviewer interviewing random passers by for about 3 hours on Sunday.

With all of that you’d think I paid no attention to the course at all.

The thought of going into work tomorrow was abated somewhat by the idea of my boss being on a plane over the Atlantic. Now she’s not flying out until Wednesday. Not only that, I’m off to Canberra tomorrow with her to meet with a director of DIMA and the director of Racing Victoria to fix this Turkish jockey problem. It really has been the biggest balls up, but we’re hoping after tomorrow there will be a positive result for everyone. I think the fact that we’re bringing the Turkish Ambassador to this meeting has surprised them a little – they thought we were bluffing.

I’m not sure if I’m more anxious about the meeting or the 6 hours in the car with Brenda. I just know I’m going to say something I’ll regret later. Man, I wish sometimes I could just keep my trap shut.

Sleep now though. Gravity is pulling me.

Five…

February 16th, 2006

Things to be happy about –
??? Tickets to see Korn in April.
??? Wilco. I think I’ve mentioned that once before, but it bears repeating.
??? I had a real laugh today at something Josh said/did when the power went out. It was one of those moments when your stomach hurts and you can’t breathe and the tears are running down your face.
??? My house is clean clean clean. It’s the one bonus from expecting guests who don’t show up.
??? Tara spoke to Mum today and things seem to have evened themselves out. As they generally do.

Reasons to look forward to the weekend, even though I will be buried under migration regulations 9 hours a day Saturday till Tuesday –
??? Friday means the last day I have to work with my boss until March 20. I have so many plans for the next 4 weeks and so much I want to get done.
??? Company.
??? Sharing music with two of my favourite people.
??? My b-boy Brodie and my fly-girl Bala.
??? Hopefully the last 3 days of the course will help with the exam stress welling up inside. It did last time.

Albums that will NEVER be taken off my iPod. Ever. -
??? U2 – Achtung Baby
??? Tool – ??nema
??? Ani DiFranco – Living In Clip
??? Counting Crows – August and Everything After
??? U2 – Rattle and Hum

People I’d like to have to dinner and get drunk with and talk with till all hours of the morning (minus DiFranco and Bono because we don’t want this to be a real yawn) -
??? John Darnielle
??? Bill Clinton
??? Adam Spencer
??? Brett Whiteley
??? Joni Mitchell

This week has honestly been fucked, beginning to end, but just listing that shit out made me feel a lot better. Things are looking up though. Tomorrow night is about the vodka and the music. I could cry I’m so happy about that.

Also, I’ve started reciting in my head the words to the Sylvia Plath poem ‘Ariel’ to the tune from One Crowded Hour. It either means I’m reading too much Plath or listening to too much Augie March. I think I probably know which one it is.

Junoesque embodied

February 15th, 2006

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

The poem ‘Answer’ – Sir Walter Scott

You know, I knew I’d heard the title of that song before (YES I KNOW, I will shut up about it soon I promise). It’s just that songs with literary references make me swoon.

It’s not even 11 o’clock yet and I’m ready for bed. It’s a new thing I’m trying – bed before midnight. So far it has meant a bit of staring at the ceiling, but I’m guessing that will get better if I try and reinforce the pattern.

I had an email from Tara today. It made me sad, because she was so nervous about telling us she’s not coming home until March 1. I’m fed up, and disappointed she didn’t contact me, but I don’t want her to feel like she can’t call. She must have asked me online more than 3 times today if I thought Mum would be mad. She has had a shitty couple of days – panic about missing the flight, disappointment about not coming home, coping with Stewart who is apparently really ill, phoning insurance companies etc. I guess the positive is, if this experience hasn’t taught her something, nothing will.

So I saw on Lateline just now that Peter Costello is supporting the RU486 bill. This is interesting, and the first amount of real sense I have ever heard from him. The experts (the TGA in this case) should make the decision about an issue such as this, not a politician who is coloured, consciously or otherwise, by personal opinion and experience. They say it’s about the health risks involved with the drug – if this were really the case I fail to see why the TGA shouldn’t make the decision. Most of the dialogue in the media seems to be about the moral implications. I’m flummoxed as to why we’re even having this debate – didn’t we already go through the whole pro choice V pro life thing? Didn’t we already decide that a woman’s choice was her own? Any debate that threatens that premise is a step backward.

It scares me to death that the Christian right wing is gaining more and more power in this country, politically, financially and socially. Why aren’t people seeing the correlation between here at what’s happening in the US, and feel scared too? People are generally so disunited with themselves, their lives and the people around them that they grasp for anything that gives them some hope or depth of being. The church, particularly this new brand of Pentecostal Christianity, prays on this. They set up ‘life centres’ in these large sprawling house farms they’re building outside the city, and people are filling the seats in droves.

If we could somehow find a sense of community again people wouldn’t need to look for meaning elsewhere. They work their whole life to get the material possessions they think they want, and when they get there they just can’t understand why there’s still emptiness inside.

And the irony astounds me – the same people who pity me because they think I’m ‘lost’, are the same ones looking constantly for guidance. I may not have a stellar sense of direction, but I sure as hell know where I am in the spiritual sense, and where I’m going for that matter. And that certainty seems to make them uncomfortable.

I got a question mark

February 14th, 2006

9:45PM and as yet no flight details from the missing sister. No word, even. I’m supposed to be picking her up from the airport tomorrow, which means by now she would have already left Vancouver and be in Singapore. I’m not making a trip to the airport on the off chance she’ll be there, but on the other hand I don’t really want a call at 9PM tomorrow night saying ‘ah, we’re here’. So I will wait. And I will field the calls from frantic parents, grandparents and siblings. And I will smack her up the side of the head if she ever gets home.

I get that she calls me because I don’t give her a hard time and make her feel guilty. But she’s gotta know, if she’s only contacting one person she has to GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO WORK WITH. Please. I have nothing to tell everyone else and I’m sick of making shit up so they’re not worried and/or angry.

We really have some shit to sort out when she gets back. Once I get her to Wagga, she can start dealing with her family issues and the rest of them can back the fuck off.

Colour me officially over it.

We had someone in to work today to get rid of the weeds. I made a comment about the courtyard last week – it has turned from a pounded earth patio into something resembling a cricket pitch. I guess it’s a combination of the rain and the warm weather we’ve been having. So we got someone in to fix it.

I wrongly assumed that by calling someone in to remove the weeds they would actually pull them out. Apparently no – seems the way to get rid of weeds is to poison them. I get nervous as hell when it comes to chemicals. I don’t like using fly spray, I’m funny about rinsing or wiping dishes after they’ve been washed and I rinse everything before I eat it etc. That might make me a bit paranoid, but I honestly don’t see how using all these chemicals can end well. So today we had a guy walking around outside wearing a mask and spraying poison and I felt a bit ick about it.

Brenda goes away on Tuesday next week for 3 and a half weeks. I am all kinds of relieved about this, because even though my responsibility steps up when she’s gone, having her in the office means a lot of hard work. Not just direct work – there’s a lot of side stepping and placating that goes on when she’s here. It will be nice to have a rest from that.

Abuse me more I like it

February 13th, 2006

People are fucked. No matter what you do to try and avoid hurting feelings, it’s impossible. Some people just want to be hurt.

Man, the next week is gonna ROCK :P

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