crypticgirl: (Default)
( Mar. 17th, 2009 07:50 am)
In spite of the sometimes 4:30am starts and 9:30pm finishes on the days when I'm flying interstate to go to one or two meetings, I love that air travel is a part of my job. I don't love the crowds and noise in the airports (though I suspect QANTAS club membership is really going to help me feel better about that), or the often crappy food on planes. I really don't like it when the plane is delayed because they have to replace a part right before takeoff, as per yesterday morning.

What I love is the idea that I'm actually flying. Not that long ago, relatively speaking, this would have seemed like magic to a whole world of people. I think it says a lot about ingenuity and unexpected turns in the way we function that this is now a common part of life. It makes me wonder what will be happening in another fifty or a hundred and fifty years that would seem like total magic right now.

Um. It's also probably got something do with the fact that turbulence just makes me think: "Cool! A bumpy ride!"

I don't remember the first time I flew in a plane. That's because I was flying from the time I was very small; we lived eight hours' drive away from the nearest paediatric heart specialist and the government paid for Mum to fly down with me for check ups until I had the operation which fixed the problem. My first memory of flying is probably around the time of that operation when I was four. I remember we got to the airport and it was raining steadily with nothing but grey clouds in the sky. When we got in the plane we flew up above the clouds... and there was the sun! I hadn't been expecting it all, and I remember so clearly how happy and amazed I was.

Last night's journey was a delight because I got the opposite. We came back into Melbourne weaving through thick grey rainclouds and the sun above was that deep golden colour it sometimes goes before it hits the horizon. The plane tilted down so we had the grey and gold and then the city laid out below, all those little houses where everyone's lives seem so big when you're down on the ground. It was beautiful.

The other reason I like flying is because it reminds me of one of my favourite Harry Potter quotes. They're in a state of heightened security because the Death Eaters are impersonating people, and Molly Weasley is checking that it's really her husband outside the door.


Molly ...what is your dearest ambition?
Arthur To find out how aeroplanes stay up.

It always makes me grin when I remember it, even though I'd rather not know myself. I could look up the science but somehow it's much better if I feel like I'm hanging in the air by magic.
I feel like I'm struggling with a lot right now.

Today I finally got around to doing the paperwork for the State Trustee for Dad's money. Funny how filling out a mostly meaningless bureaucratic form can make you so upset. Until I got here, I'd always thought that grief would be prompted by lived and living things, not a blank and impersonal sheet of paper. It probably doesn't help that I feel like I don't want any part of this process at all. I feel like I got my inheritance when I got to physically scatter his ashes. I got to do the real thing, the gritty thing, the beautiful deed in the sun. I don't want to move beyond that.

Still having fits of paranoia over my ability to do $NewJob well. It's only a month and a bit in, though, and there are some good indicators: they've paid for my QANTAS Club membership even though I'm still in the three month probation period, and my boss said "I'm so glad we've employed you" after looking over my first draft of my first major submission for them.

All the same, I would love to know when the sense of gutwrenching terror is going to go away. I know it will, it's happened before. As I said to Miss B tonight, having a good reputation can actually be a disadvantage when you're trying to get past the 'can I actually do this?' phase because you have something to live up to. You're high enough that the fall would be really bad.

Oh well. It's not like I've never had to break a fall before. *wry grin*

As for my romantic life, well. To adapt a Pratchett quote, if complete and utter romantic chaos was lightning, I'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting "All gods are bastards!". Sigh. No, I am not at the point of needing blind dates yet. You may not fscking well set me up. When I start writing like Helen Fielding you can step in.

Mostly I'm okay. I feel like I'm pushing my whole life up a hill in a tangled little ball some days, and I'm trying to untangle it as I go. But I have help to do that, and I can feel myself pushing forward. Better still: I know I need to be doing this.
Via [livejournal.com profile] rickybuchanan:

NASA is asking people to vote on the name for the new part of the International Space Station and Serenity is one of the options. At the moment it's the leading option by a whopping 76% of the vote, but I don't think that should stop anyone.

Fly, my pretties!
There's nothing like the feeling of corn kernels from a can squishing underneath your feet. I was cooking dinner and wanted just some of the corn for my salad, but decided to drain all of it and transfer it to another container. Let's just say the colander - and my hand - weren't as steady as I'd hoped and the corn went everywhere. I got most of it up in the first go, but light surfaces and yellow substance don't work so well with my vision, hence the squicky feet.

This was promptly followed up by going downstairs to discover that the dryer in my apartment complex is broken. Discovered, of course, just at the end of finishing my washing cycle. Sigh. I have called the company, and when I am less irate I will go back down there and post a sign about it being broken to hopefully save someone else the same trouble. If I did it right now it would probably read something like "DRYER BROKEN. COMPANY HAS BEEN CALLED. NO LOVE, THE CHUMP WHO FOUND OUT THE HARD WAY."
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There's a fine line between being German and being a dickhead. Also, there is no distinction between living in Dickson (a suburb of Canberra) and being a dickhead.
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crypticgirl: (Default)
( Feb. 14th, 2009 01:34 pm)
I've spent the last week or so teetering on the edge of exhaustion. Too much to do, not enough Leah to do it. I think I've worked out what day it is again, finally.

I apologise profusely to anyone I've neglected - particularly [livejournal.com profile] thefurball.

In other news, I'm now on Twitter. Same username as here.

*wanders off for another twelve hours of sleep*
Today I got photos of my half sister and half brother. I now also have photos of my (older-than-me!) niece and nephew, my half-sister's kids. If you thought that might make me feel weird about the odd generational stuff in my family - my half siblings came along about twenty five or thirty years before I did - it gets weirder.

I have been a great-aunt for the last nine years. I have three great-nephews and a great-niece.
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When I started the new job I finally got around to asking someone about Fringe Tax Benefits. In Australia, if you work for a non-profit you can get your employer to pay a certain amount of your wage directly to certain things, like rent or credit card debt. That amount of money is considered tax free. It's a way to make up for the relatively low pay in the sector.

So I've set things up so that they'll pay my rent directly, but there's still some room. In fact, from January to March you can put in more than normal. I decided I needed to get some credit card debt quickly, so I finally got around to buying a TV.

The new TV is 32 inches of big, black shiny shining shineyness. It practically has its own event horizon.

Now if only I could work out how to turn it on.

*headdesk*
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crypticgirl: (Oh CRAP)
( Jan. 29th, 2009 12:52 am)
I cannot sleep without my vibrating alarm clock. The vibrating alarm clock is about the size of my palm and clips to the outside of my pillow case. As promised on the package, the clock vibrates when the alarm goes off. This is how I know to get up in the morning. I either press the magic button and get up or I sleep through it and my dreams suddenly include trains or earthquakes. Occasionally, I press the magic button and sleep through anyway.

My mobile has an alarm and a vibrate function, but no way to be kept securely under the pillow or in the pillowcase.

Tonight, of all nights, I have lost my vibrating alarm clock. This morning I could have sworn I left it on the bed. Not there. Not under the bed, or absently picked up and moved to another room. I am naked, sweaty and pissed off. I have begun looking in increasingly bizzarre places, so I can confirm for you, Dear Reader, that the clock is not hiding under the dancing cow. Nor has it fallen into one of my purple Docs.

Gah. It's times like this I really hate not being able to see properly.

Now that I've vented I think I'm going to have one last look before going to bed and risking a late wake up. It'll turn up sooner or later.
Or your air conditioner retailers. We don't much care which.

This afternoon it was forty three degrees celcius (109 F) at 4:30. It has now 'cooled down' to 37 degrees, or 99F. It was so hot today that the train tracks on one of the major city lines buckled. Of course this happened right before peak hour so there were delays and cancellations all over the place going home.

It is expected that the temperature will be the same tomorrow. And Friday.

*wilts*

[livejournal.com profile] mum2hailey, what was that you were saying about wanting summer? I'll swap continents with you right this instant!
Details:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me!"
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will post the answers to the questions (and the questions themselves) on your blog or journal.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. And thus the endless cycle of the meme goes on and on and on and on...

I'm still waiting on another set of questions, but I thought I'd answer [livejournal.com profile] mynxii's:

...below the cut )
crypticgirl: Kermit the frog smiling and waving a hand (woot!)
( Jan. 25th, 2009 12:01 pm)
It says a lot about how much I love scarves when I'm delighted to recieve a thick, woolly scarf in the middle of summer. Of course, it helps that the scarf of scarfiness is purple and handknitted by a bona fide Nanna. I don't remember my own Nannas, so I always appreciate the power of having a good one.

Thanks again [livejournal.com profile] rickybuchanan. :)
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crypticgirl: (me!)
( Jan. 17th, 2009 12:18 am)
1. Change is slow. Don't beat yourself up about that fact. Don't stop. Change is slow. It will come.

2. You're stronger than you think. Trust what you know. Trust who you are.

3. Being weak isn't a crisis. It's a change. Move through it as you would any other change. Live it.
It occurs to me that I haven't really written about my post-Christmas time with Miss Maybe. She stayed here for four and a half days. The length of time worried me a bit beforehand - we haven't had a lot of contact over the last few years and I was a bit concerned that one of us would come out of the experience in a body bag. So I made sure I had things lined up for us to do, meaning we'd have lots of time outside the flat in which to not kill each other. Not to mention all the witnesses in public places...

As it turned out, things were fine. In fact, having her here helped me out of a rut as well as giving her some space. We did city touristing, Haigh's, snarking the city circle tram plus The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on the Tuesday. Complete aside: Am I the only woman on the face of the Earth who thinks Brad Pitt has all the charisma of wet cardboard? Give me Nicolas Cage any day. Wednesday we toddled off to Luna Park with [livejournal.com profile] sjtaylor for to be hanging upside down and going sideways... then some drinking in the night. Thank $deity it wasn't the other way around. Thursday was spent napping and snacking, also known as 'snickering at the fact that she gets hangovers and I don't' and Friday was a visit to Miss B's place for lunch and gossip.

It was good to spend time with her, and to see that some of the things about our lives have changed since we were teenagers (as you would hope), while others haven't. Good to see the people we've become as well as the ones we're trying to be.

The Big Things Of Note were:

1. Haigh's caramel fudge rocks. If you have the chance to buy it and the inclination for that kind of stuff, seriously, don't miss it.

2. When you have a white cane and you are guiding two other people with white canes, the reactions are priceless. Most people assume that a white cane means you can't see at all, which obviously isn't true for me. First you notice a lot of people stopping dead in their tracks right in front of you. Then you can practically hear the cogs turning as they absorb what must be a pretty unusual sight. Finally the penny drops, and they leap out of your way just in time.

My ability to track these things is limited, but I have the funny sense that small children stare less at you if you have a cane and you're in a group with other people who use them. Maybe it's because one person on their own with something different is a curious sight, a whole bunch of people using something you've never seen before might trigger a 'this is a social norm I don't know about yet' response rather than a 'that's a special thing, isn't it?' one.

3. Going on a ride which spins you in all different directions or hangs you upside down is made heaps more scary by not being able to hear. This visit to Luna Park was the first time I'd been to an amusement park since I got the implant, and I have to take off the external part on particularly violent rides. You know that ride where they leave you hanging completely upside down for a good thirty seconds or so before the ride moves again? Much worse if you can't hear that there's no announcement about a malfunction.
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Today I had my last day volunteering with what will soon be my paid workplace. In the afternoon we had a meeting which gave me a much clearer idea of just how big the gaps in my knowledge are. In my current job, I'm expected to be across a range of issues for one disability group. This task isn't easy, but it's made more simple by the fact that I happen to have that disability; my experiences aren't the only valid ones, obviously, but they do provide a starting point or a point of reference.

In the new job I will be expected to be across the same breadth of issues for a much wider range of disability types. I've had contact with some of these disability types before through friends or family members, but that's not the same thing as lived experience. In some cases I've never even encountered someone with that disability (that I've been aware of). I'm certain that it would be a rare thing indeed to find someone who combined all the disabilities we cover and who was able to do the job. I'm just also aware that the level of responsibility I've felt giving voice to a community I call my own is about to ramp up significantly. Will I be able to do it? What if I can't?

Oh well. There's no way anyone could accuse me of settling for a comfortable life. Unless you wanted to get really smart-arsed about it and say that discomfort is my comfort.
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2008 has been a year of massive change. In the immediate sense most of it has been negative: my relationship with Matt ending, my guide dog retiring, my Dad dying. But I also have a new job, a new place to live which I'm slowly making my own, and a greater sense of the person I think I want (and need) to be.

This year is going to be all about working out how the newly rising parts of myself fit. Can I exert enough willpower to be consistent about things, to really do what is right as opposed to what is easy? Are there points of balance I need to find between who I am now and the ideal of who I think I should be?

I know I'll always have crap getting in the way of my ability to do the things I think I should... but part of steering myself well is responding to challenges in a way that fits best with who I want to be rather than letting them derail me.

My instincts tell me I can build myself something wonderful. I reckon this is the year to start.
crypticgirl: (Oh CRAP)
( Dec. 29th, 2008 11:46 am)
It seems having the washing machine in my building break has given me the kick up the arse I've needed to do a couple of other little things which will make my life much easier. Like, for instance, calling the real estate agent to get the very, very leaky tap fixed and calling the cleaning guy who was doing the house for Matt and I to get a quote for regular cleaning and some handyman jobs.

The plumber will be here soon, and the cleaner/handyman guy has just left after giving me a quote. He will be back Wednesday morning to do said handyman bits and pieces, which is a relief: the work that needs doing includes getting mold off the roof of the bathroom (there's no vent and opening the window during showers only helps so much), and replacing a light bulb or two.

These small things have felt hugely overwhelming for... well, months now. I don't know why it is that when I get hit with crises I can still do the 'big stuff' reasonably well, it's the little things which stop me dead in my tracks. I'm not a detail oriented person to begin with, and perhaps in times like these I tend to ignore my weaknesses.

I feel a bit guilty about hiring a cleaner on a regular basis, but once a month isn't a huge thing, and I can afford it with the new job. In fact, the new job is one of the justifications I'm using for this. I've already been through a lot of change in the last six months, and the next six aren't going to be a walk in the park either. I'll see how I feel about the cleaning service then. If it's taking away some of the overwhelmed feeling, then it's well worth continuing. I could probably get some of it covered by Home and Community Care for a little less, but frankly I feel like since I can now pay market rates, I should.

As for the washing, that's a pain in arse I will have to deal with straight away. I got my clothes into the machine before realising that (a) the coin slot is jammed and (b) the bottom of the tub had water in it already. I have Miss Maybe coming down to  stay for a week  as of this afternoon, and part of the washing load was the new sheets for the guest couch. Gah.

Those of you who have been in the lovely position of not having a car available AND having to work out lugging shit around with a guide dog or a white cane in one hand will especially appreciate why this a problem I'm not looking forward to solving. None of my friends live close enough that it would be worth visiting them over a laundromat. The washing machine company people said they'd fix it either today or tomorrow; if it weren't for the sheets I'd just hold out until then. It looks like the first thing Miss Maybe will be seeing of Melbourne is the inside of one of our exotic laundromats...

Double-gah. I can't believe I've just written so much about household chores.
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crypticgirl: (xmas)
( Dec. 25th, 2008 12:30 am)
When I was little my Christmases always went the same way: Get up before the sun to open presents. Eat chocolate for breakfast. Play with my 'new' things. New books or toys in my house were almost always second hand; growing up in a single parent household meant that buying things which had never been used before was a rare indulgence. Then we'd shuffle out of the house to go and have a bland Christmas lunch with my grandfather at the local nursing home. It was always thin slices of barely identifiable meat with watered down gravy and overcooked vegetables. My grandfather was always slightly surly with nothing much to say to us, and we were always writhing in our chairs, waiting to go to the river.

The river was our real Christmas place. It ran through a small farm owned by old family friends, hippies who grew most of what they ate and otherwise subsisted through the earnings of the husband, an accountant who I've never seen out of sandals and an old t-shirt worn down to the bare threads. They would invite all of their friends to their property for Christmas day - young and old, Christian or not. Many of their friends - and by association, my Mum's friends - celebrated summer solstice as a religious holiday, so Christmas celebrations were purely secular. There were only a few rules: Bring a plate for the trestle table set up on the riverbank. If you're male, you have to participate in a game of cricket or volleyball before you jump in the water. You can go into the water naked if you like, and if you want to wear swimmers you at least need to be comfortable with naked people around you.

I think there was also a rule about no dive-bombing off the log in the middle of the water. Of course none of us kids paid any attention to that one, so it wasn't really a rule.

I learned to swim in that river. Not in the same way you learn about in swimming classes at school, where they put you in a pool and make you practice careful strokes under a watchful eye. I learned to fight a strong current, to dodge others, to look for obstacles when you can barely see anything around you. I learned about tradition there, that tradition comes from a vision of better things and the desire of a lot of people to make it work. Sometimes, I learned, traditions also die. As the families grew up and the kids left the area the Christmases at the river have stopped. Barely any of us are local any more.

Since then I haven't really had a Christmas tradition. I've been hither and thither and yon, living in different parts of the country. Some Christmases have been with my mother by the beach. Some have been with the partner du jour and their families. One or two have been with my sister and her children, though I try to avoid those where I can because the temptation to say "Ye gods, why have you bought them ALL THIS STUFF?" is too great. Especially after a three hour repetition of the same battery-operated toy noise.

This Christmas day will be spent with Matt, cooking food and talking. He's in town because he's only got a short break and no desire to spend most of it travelling, I'm in town because Mum has just moved to a much smaller place and would like some peace and quiet. It'll be a good day, even if it doesn't get me any closer to building another tradition or routine.

I'm slowly coming to realise, though, that maybe I don't need a tradition or a routine. I just need good memories of Christmases past, and to create some good new memories out of the day right in front of me. So that's what I'll do.

Happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate it. And to all of you, may you have many good and loving memories to keep with you.
crypticgirl: (purrfect)
( Dec. 23rd, 2008 11:34 pm)
I went to a deafblind Christmas party today. I've been thinking about my progress with Auslan in terms of bit-by-bit, very slow advances. Today I realised I'd hit a turning point of sorts when Miss J came into the room and I was able to act as an interpreter both ways between her and someone else, even though it was just for a basic conversation. *is happy*

Then I was talking to someone about how sad I'd be to leave my current job. I made the sign for 'sad' just as I'd noticed the REAL CHERRIES NOM NOM NOM and she stopped me dead in my tracks. "No," she signed. "You've got the sign right but you can't make the sign for 'sad' with a big grin on your face."

Still a ways to go then.
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crypticgirl: Kermit the frog smiling and waving a hand (woot!)
( Dec. 20th, 2008 06:18 pm)
So, I have a new job. Same juggling game but more complicated. This is my idea of fun, and good career advancement to boot. I wouldn't have even been looking for a job but for the 'once inna blue moon' nature of this gig. Community sector policy, a step up from where I am? Yes please! This is one of only two or three organisations I would have jumped ship for.

(Mind you, I don't actually have any sense of where I want my career to go at this stage. "Forward" works, especially in the absence of any immediate to medium term child-rearing plans, a project forestalled by no immediate to medium term relationship plans.)

I start January 26th, which means it'll be a cruisy first day. :D
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