Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

In reverse order, so you don’t get worn out by the home-related words, of which there will be many:

I’ve been rather sick for the last week. First was a head cold that I caught from Jed. Overall rather mild, didn’t need to take time off work, but still sniffles and fuzzy headed not as good as being well.

Then on Thursday I spent the day in bed (and the neighbouring bathroom) with a stomach bug. Thankfully it was a 24 hour bug, but my stomach has been very delicate since. Eating has been problematic, with my energy spiking and crashing ever since whenever I eat (or don’t for too long). Not very fun, but I’ve had this happen before and know what to watch out for.  Hopefully it will even out while we’re in Devon and in time for Christmas. Being fed regularly might help, rather than the ad hoc eating patterns Jed and I have on weekends.

The interview last Wednesday, so you can all stop crossing fingers, etc. The  job was quite similar to the one that I had in Sydney, that I enjoyed immensely. I walked away from the interview thinking it had gone reasonably well. Felt I’d stated my case as a desirable employee, my knowledge of waste infrastructure projects and experience in case managing them, and that I’d built a rapport with the Chief Operating Officer. As long as I was what they were looking for then I’d be fine.

I received an email on Thursday stating that I’d not been successful. In the midst of being sick this didn’t really register, but since then I’ve been feeling a quite lost and despondent. Not sure where I belong or what I’m doing or where to go from here. Income is not an issue (yet) as my current employers keep renewing my contract. But, it is increasingly apparent that the team I’m working for does not fit my workstyle. Almost detrimental to my confidence and sanity in many ways. I need something else. But if it’s not a job with London’s Waste and Recycling Board then I’m a bit lost where my skills and knowledge are needed, where I should be targeting. What to do as a small fish in a large pond.

I’ve been feeling this very strong urge to run back to Sydney (and take Jed with me) and beg DECC for a job again, for the security and stability I had in Sydney. If only this was feasible. Perhaps I need to learn to live with a modicum of uncertainty and instability?

They’ve invited me to call to discuss the decision, which I will do on Monday (if there’s time after the drive to Devon) or Tuesday. I’d really like to know the basis for the decision, if there’s something I’m overlooking during interviews, or whether it was simply that there were more qualified candidates that pipped me to the post.

Right then, HOUSE


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Another two weeks have passed since I wrote a weekly update. It’s been a combination of busy work (finally!), waiting to get some photos uploaded, and then a down period in the middle of last week which means that the post I wanted to write would have been more down than it deserved to be. We’ve all had enough of down posts recently. At least I have. I’m starting to worry that you’re all going to think I’m a big puddle of sadness and depression and homesick, when there are moments of fun and happiness and comfort. So, on with the last two weeks:

Funghi on log in Banstead woods. Autumn = leaves and mushrooms!


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I was walking home from work the other day thinking about the ways that I am enjoying being surrounded by music and how it has been a major factor in the recent mood shift, increased hope and joy in my life, and possibly even affected my energy levels and fitness, and decided to write a post about it. Then my new (shiny!) MP3 player randomly played some Cat Empire and I realised that I could do this subject no better justice than to repeat the lyrics to one-Four-Five:

“Cos these three chords make people
Feeling better all the time ah
They keep repeating
Like a scratch on a cd
But it’s quality cos these three harmonies
Breed positivity
Protecting against insanity
Of modern insecurities
Believe me when I tell you
All you need is to be hearing all that

One four five
To make you high to make you high”

The whole song suited exactly what I was trying to say, with a bouncy catchy beat, and a horn section. What better way to exemplify it?

But there is more to be said than simply “music makes us all feel better”. Let me take you on a journey…

If you’ve listened to my radio show then you may have heard some of this before, if so I apologise, and you should stop reading and continue listening to the show! (aside: the fact that there is a Cat Empire song to describe my mood fits the “there’s a Cat Empire song for every show, no matter the theme” rule).

I have an odd music background. My mother was an infants school teacher, who had a love for singing and musicals, especially Andrew Lloyd Webber. So I grew up surrounded by music that you can sing to. Nursery rhymes, Rolf Harris, lots of Play School in the early years and then Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Beatles and Elton John in my later childhood. Not very hip music, I know. The only saving grace was my father’s love for obscure early Moody Blues. Then in early High School came the Top 40 obsession as a way of not being quite so much of a social outcast. This meant I missed the early grunge music, BUT I did develop an appreciation for old skool hip hop, which is not so bad.

Then Thailand. Thai pop music is an interesting music genre, which really doesn’t change. I find it amusing that I can go into a Thai restaurant, have never heard the song and can still sing along to it. A theory I tested on my Cathay Pacific flight recently where the Thai Pop music channel was the only one worth listening to.

My real education in music started in 1996, with the people I spent most of my time with post-exchange. I was introduced to Beck, Weezer, Ween, Custard, the Whitlams, Esquivel, Radiohead, REM, and triplej in general. Happy music time, also happy life time, as if the two were interconnected.

Then around 2000 this stopped. My absorbtion of, and time spent listening to, music reduced to what I heard while while driving. And as triplej seemed to be playing more hip hop than I was willing to listen to at this time I switched to other generic stations, including AM (poor little Datsun, it didn’t have an FM radio). I was also too poor to buy CDs, so that avenue closed. Oddly this is the point that I started the downhill slide into a mild depression and the point at which I started to lose a sense of myself.

This continued until 2005, when I was introduced to a game that incidentally had a streaming radio station attached, which I started to listen to for the 7 hours a day that I was at work. All of a sudden I was discovering new music again: ska, irish punk, nerdcore, acapella, electronica, obscure tracks from well-known bands. Essentially non-mainstream music. I remember feeling a sense of happiness and excitement while listening to this music, but also, at a deeper level a sense of it being a bit of a life-line from a couple of stressful, depressing situations. The happy bouncy music was talking to a part of my personality that hadn’t seen the light of day for many years.

It then propelled me to start listening to a broader range of music again. triplej became my regular radio station, along with FBi. I started going to live music gigs. Then I was hired as a DJ and I happily spend a couple of hours each week sharing the music I’ve found with a wider audience, but also planning out what I am going to play them in my downtimes and paying attention to the music around me and working out what I’d want to play for others and what I wouldn’t.

Music was the salve for my soul late last year and early this year. Angry music with a bouncy beat sung very loudly while doing the washing up in my house by myself was perfectly cathartic and a great emotional release. Reel Big Fish‘s “Everything sucks” and Lily Allen‘s “Everything’s Just Wonderful” were the two most played songs during that time, and I think they contributed to the calm exterior that most of the world saw the rest of the time. Over time I stopped needing that sort of music and moved on to other happier stuff like Darren Hanlon, Old Man River and Regina Spektor. Although RBF still has a special place for housework related activities.

I bought an MP3 player while I was in London, which then got loaded with a bunch of music at a friend’s house. Many, many people have commented on how much happier and settled I appear to be since the holiday, and while a break from life, and the time spent with good, fun friends while overseas did help I think that this “soundtrack” to the holiday was also a factor. It gave a sense of imporatance to the time there, so that I paid more attention to the magic of walking beside wheatfields in Derbyshire, or of walking around Camden Town like a local, but not, or of travelling over the Firth of Forth. There was a bouncy purpose to my step and a smile on my face.

This has continued since, albeit reduced a bit, and I think that being surrounded by music again has a strong part to play. It’s hard to be sad when you are bouncing down the stairs of Parramatta station to the Fratellis, or dancing to the Cat Empire on Croydon station, or tapping your feet in time to Regina Spektor, or being uplifted by the Levellers, or giggling at Tom Lehrer. It all reminds me of how lucky I am and how much there is to appreciate in the small moments of life, as well as the opportunities that exist in the large parts of life. Hooray for the Cat Empire and their lyrics that explain this state, “cos these three harmonies breed positivity”.

So true, so very true, and let’s keep it that way.

Now, if only I could get this Morrissey song out of my head…

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I found this list of uses for vinegar today. I knew this was good stuff, but 254 uses! Admittedly some of them are repeated, but still. A couple of favourites:

  • A quarter cup in a quart of water makes a good window cleaner.A reader adds: When you use vinegar in your water to wash windows, dry with newspapers. Your windows will sparkle! (I hate the smell of windex, but like shiny windows)
  • Set a container (shallow bowl) of vinegar throughout the house to absorb unpleasant odours. Works great on burned food odors. Do not use styrofoam. It will soak thru it. (Hooray! No more burnt chops smell!)
  • Use 2 cups of cider vinegar in the tub to soak sore muscles and add potassium to muscles. (mmm, more excuses for a bath)
  • Take 2 cups of grape juice, 2 cups of white grape juice, 2 cups of apple juice and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Mix well and refrigerate. Every morning before you do anything else, drink a small cup of it. Each batch lasts a week or two depending on how much you drink each morning. It tastes sort of like a strong wine. Since I have done this my energy level has increased dramatically and my coffee consumption has gone down. I also feel better altogether. (Sounds good, although the juice of a half a lemon in water is also good, and probably has the same effect)

Other “frugal living” stuff here, and a great blog that occasionally has posts on this theme.

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I pulled a small book from my bookshelf today, one that I had purchased years ago. The Mystic Medusa’s Surreal Field Guide: Virgo. The Mystic Medusa does amusing astrological readings, and doesn’t take herself too seriously, which is what I want in a prediction.

Randomly flicked through a few sections and here are some sections that made me laugh:

“It is astrologically impossible for a Virgo to be a der.”(that one is for you my dear derrbrain astrological twin)

“The astro motto is “I analyse”. Virgos don’t have a problem with the cliched ‘not being able to see the forest for the trees’ scenario. They see the forest, trees and early stages of leaf mould or little bug burrows in the undergrowth.”

From Dr Illich: “He aimed to analyse institutionalised structures of industrialised society, provide rigorous criticism and a set of alternative concepts” For why this one tickled my fancy read the saving the world section in this post.

“Yes, they are perfectionists. No, that does not mean that all Virgoans are up at dawn doing yoga stretches, extra-special toothcare and making sure they’re up with current affairs. But this is the curse of Virgo. The ones who aren’t doing that sort of thing are horribly aware that they should be.”

I just ran around Mystic Medusa’s site and found the oracles, which are fun. The results of the following questions amused me, and hit a chord.

“‘What Is Between Me & Success?’ – Lack of Initiative”
“‘Lovely Me: Am I Truly In Touch With My Emotions?’- Not really – you’re a bit numb but this is temporary.”

Of course these are generated from random numbers, but fun and thought-provoking.

That’s enough procrastination from house cleaning. Time to indulge that truly Virgo cleaning trait…

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