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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Last week I promised I’d have updates for January by the end of the week. It’s now Monday, everywhere on the planet.

Here’s the first part of a (hopefully) 4 part series to catch you all up on the end of December and January. The other three will cover home & local area and work & future direction, and things that happened that were not Christmas.

Obviously I need to resolve to either follow through on promises, or not make promises in the first place. Gentle self-awareness suggests that the second option is probably more realistic.

We spent the week before Christmas at Jed’s parents place in Devon with all the family, including his sister. Overall it was quite a pleasant week . As I’d spent Easter and another weekend in Devon I felt much more comfortable with the routine of the family, and I suspect they felt more comfortable with me.

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This is your 5 month warning:

My wonderful sister has decided to get married in late March next year, so I am going to be in Sydney again sooner than expected. With Jed.

Yay sister marrying fantastic guy! Yay March is one of my favourite times of the year in Sydney! Yay being able to see people that I’ve been missing lots! (apparently this is another Yay post – might need a new tag)

We’ve starting talking about what we want to do, and the major thing is – see people! We’ve not booked the tickets yet, but I imagine we’ll be there from around 21st March until about 4th April. So, make a note, find time for coffee/beer/lunch/amusing diversionary entertainment, I’ll probably organise at least one central pub-type gathering in Newtown (yay Newtown!)

Incidentally they’ve chosen a date that is exactly one year since I stepped on a plane. Spooky!

-I went through all the photos of my sister and I, and decided that this was the one that made us both look equally good, also it has the awwww factor appropriate for this post. This was my 30th brithday cake, as made by my sister, a replica of the one my mother made for my 1st birthday-

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My uncle, who also worked as a public servant for the NSW government at the same time I did, has a slogan which he repeated ironically everytime we discussed our work:

“Working to make the state of New South Wales a better place for the people of New South Wales”

Now, irony and self-deprecation is appreciated in our family, so it was always delivered in a slightly sarcastic, political patter, so you didn’t take it too seriously. But now I wonder.

My work ethic has substantially dropped off. I’m just not really interested in what I am doing at my current position, and every so often I wonder why, as this place does have the potential to be fantastic, so there must be something specific.

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I had this drafted in my head yesterday, but then work landed an URGENT!!! item on my desk in the morning which had me running around drawing lines on maps for the rest of the day. Not that this is a bad thing. Unless you were waiting for this update.

NB: This post is ENTIRELY from my perspective. In reality it was a lot more nuanced than this. As all personal interactions are.

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  1. Turning off the TV redirects attention
  2. Dinner eaten at the table creates better manners overall
  3. Don’t ever mention anything you own that you might not want to share on a continual basis. Like games on an ipod (which I’ve not mentioned, and never will).
  4. Learning the names of teddy bears creates a non-confrontational way of getting a small person to bed when at a BBQ. “Henry says goodnight, Horace says goodnight, incidentally so does L”.
  5. Kids don’t like being told that they’re behaving like they’re in a younger age group, and will assist with behaviour modification, if you do it the right way
  6. Food is more likely to be eaten if you assign to a broad category they know, rather than a specific foodie description along with “give it a try”
  7. Playing sharks and alligators while walking up the street is fun. As is playing wash-the-dishes while waiting for a bus
  8. “I’m bored” often means “I’m lonely, pay me attention”
  9. “I’m hungry” often means “I want crisps, or I’m bored (as per 8)”. Practical suggestions will not really help.
  10. “I can’t do this” often means “I want to check that you care about me enough to do it with me/for me”. See also no. 11
  11. It’s too easy to do everything for a child, but really, you shouldn’t. Particularly one that has learnt that everything gets done for her when she asks, and uses this as a proxy for checking that the adults around her care about her, or she’s not thought through how to do something. The more she does, the more confidence she’ll have to do things, and the more she’ll be at home here.
  12. There is a time for fun, a time for affection, a time to be strict and a time for quiet. While option 1 might be the preferred default for the child, options 2-4 also need to happen.
  13. Apparently I have a no nonsense voice and don’t-mess-with-me raised eyebrows. Works on 9 yr olds who get lazy about asking for stuff out of their reach on the table, and 5 yr olds who are behaving horridly.
  14. I am a responsible adult in her life, but not THE responsible adult, so can and should take a step back.
  15. However, part of my job is to act as a buffer and helper in the parenting duties and a re-assurer that this is normal and she’s a good girl, and he’s doing a great job.
  16. Ultimately it’s all about reassuring in many varied ways that she’s important and cared for and part of her Dad’s life.

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This post specifically targeted at previously non-blog users, who are now reading this blog, especially mothers, aunts and sisters. This post is going to be at the top of the page for a few weeks, so just scroll down a bit for the new posts. Cheers!

One of the funnest things about a blog is interaction. Primarily I chose this method of communication as it’s an easy way of of sharing information with a lot of people, oh and I get to use fun colours AND add photos into posts where relevant AND keep a whole bunch of information in the one place.

But, the part that makes it even better is conversation, the people that you know are reading it actually telling you what the post made them think about, asking questions to extend the conversation. Think of the post as the starting point and then go from there.

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On Monday, I didn’t go to Windsor Races. Negotiating getting out there and back home to Surrey without a car was too much. It can take up to 1.5 hours to get home from London after peak hour on a weeknight, and I’m still not feeling proficient enough at navigating around England and organising myself and Jed to get to events on a school night.

However, I did decide to apply for a permanent position in the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change (yes, that’s right, another DECC) as they had a general recruitment round closing on 6 July, one of which was a set of positions titled “policy adviser”. I rang their contact to see what the deal was, and it seems there are 70 positions going over 7 pay grades. I spent most of the week getting this application ready, which was sent off yesterday afternoon. Either I’m a shoe-in as I have the experience they’re after, or I completely misjudged the position description and they are after a middle manager. Doing a direct comparison of pay scales would lead me to believe the first, but there was a criterion about leading and developing a team which concerns me. Oh well, all will be revealed in time.

We had lovely tapas meal in Reigate on Wednesday night, to allow us both time to recover from a rather emotional Tuesday night. It was the predicted 3-month blow-up of reality hitting home. This has all been a bit tougher than I was letting myself acknowledge it would be before I left. This time round my move overseas is semi-permanent and I’m doing it without a support network. Dealing with my own slight panic at the lack of taken-for-granted security that comes with knowledge of a society and a wide network of people to interact with, while emotionally supporting a partner who aches for a different life but doesn’t quite see how to achieve it, nor really believes he (we) can do it, and also doesn’t ever seem to have had anyone tell him he’s doing a good job.

Work [1] has also been a bit slow of late, with many of my projects either waiting on feedback, being taken to meetings for approval without me being informed, or decisions being made without telling me so I can keep up. This was fixed later in the week, but it’s made me realise that this position is one of those that has lots of potential, but the working practices will eventually drive me batty. Perhaps I’m not cut out for local government work? The constituency is too close and too apparent, and hence upper management reacts more easily.

Friday night I cooked an experimental Japanese dinner, which was very tasty. Although, since a large plate of gyoza was the centrepiece of the meal it would have been hard to make it untasty. J

Saturday and Sunday Leylah was over after a week in France, and we mostly stayed around the house. It must be an odd space for her (and hence for us when she’s over) as she spends half her time there but I suspect it’s not really ‘home’. Partially there’s no space that is specifically hers, so at frequent intervals she will declare that she is ‘bored!’, but listening to the tone of voice I suspect that she is actually ‘lost’, not knowing what to do, and not feeling she has permission to make changes that would stop her being bored. Previously it was a house of two Bachelors where a girl child would come to visit, and mostly get waited on. Since I’ve arrived we’ve created a bit more structure, furniture and belongings have been moved around so the place is a bit nicer to be in and she can get to glasses and plates (and has been told she can use the microwave to reheat food!). It’s a work in progress, but will probably only improve in a big way when we move somewhere else, sometime in October.

Lastly, on Saturday night I saw my beloved Cat Empire in concert in London. Which made it the 7th concert of their’s I’ve been to in 2.5 years. They are that enjoyable and varied. I went with 4 of Jed’s friends (there was a last minute mix-up with Leylah so Jed stayed at home) who had not heard their music before and I’m glad to say they loved it. However, they also made me go to the Australian themed walkabout pub nearby (where I proceeded to have a rant that it wasn’t an actual Australian pub, there was no Cooper’s available, and there was no beetroot on the burgers), and then we had Australian themed meat pies afterwards. The pies were really good. The pub wasn’t.

[1] I know I’ve not actually said what I’m doing. Short story: it’s pick-up project work for a London Local Authority, initial 3 month contract, which will likely get extended unless I find permanent work.

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