I’m gonna stop now.

I’m getting shortlisted for jobs but unfortunately I’m bombing out in the interviews. Next week is my last job interview. I’ll be retiring after this. It’s too hard to keep going.

What friends and family fail to understand is that I’m really terrible at Vivas. I seem quite robust and confident, but I panic when spoken words are required. So interviews, which are vivas for jobs, do me in. I can’t think on my feet. I respond to fairly asinine questions with even more asinine answers, and don’t even ask me to tell you a story about how magnificently I managed something. I won’t remember it, thus will panic and relate instead some terrible unrelated story.

I can’t remember my value proposition, and I think I’ve reached the end.

I’m done now.

Also, I think I’ll take a little break from this blog. If you’re all still interested in my renovations you can access my other blog The House That Jess Built at brisvegashome.wordpress.com, in which I chat about the endless house painting I seem to do.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing my research journey and other life events with me. I have really valued the small community I joined, your kind words and commentary, and camaraderie.

Take care.




Fall from grace 

Some of you might know my house Reno blog. A little light reading for those of you desirous of some Schadenfreude!

Well, just as you think you’re really hitting your straps, along comes a minor disaster to keep the hubris at bay. As I was standing atop my 6′ ladder with a full 4 litre can of acrylic…

Source: Fall from grace 

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee I’d invite you to take your pod espresso out on the spa deck overlooking the tennis court. Because, folks, we are AWAY at a lovely country retreat with a spa and a tennis court and a deck and a spot for Poppy the Groodle. It’s quiet and the birds are singing. Yesterday we sat in the spa and drank champagne while Poppy barked desperately at us because she doesn’t like the spa engine noise. Funny girl. 

It has been a shit week, folks, and I’d rather not talk about it, so here’s some super positive news: my bff has gone and got herself a dream job on the coast! 

So very happy for bff. Her working life has been, like mine, an uneasy mish mash of casual and part time Uni teaching and research work, and she was despairing of ever getting that tenure track lectureship. But huzzah, she was called up and offered a newly vacant job on the spot, because she was  appointable at a previously unsuccessful job interview at the same uni.

SO proud and pleased for my awesome friend. I’ll miss our regular lunches when she and her family move to the coast but it’s the right step for her, career AND family-wise. 

And it’s an excuse for me to travel to the coast more often. 😉

So the nearly ideal jobs keep trickling in. 2 at my uni of choice: one is a truly perfect-for-me tenured lectureship that will be hotly contested, and the other is a 2.5yr part time research position. I know I’m a serious contender for either but jobs are scarce and the competition fierce. 

I want the lectureship very badly. It’s in my areas of interest, and it’s promoting research teaching. I’d be totally awesome at this. I love research. I enjoy teaching it, and I enjoy finding out stuff. 

But the other job would also be awesome. I’ll take either, but obviously if it were a choice I’d go lectureship any day. So onwards with the key criteria….

So, I’ve finished that article…

I’ve actually finished the book chapter I was writing and I’ve finished editing the book. I’m lazing about on the couch now, wondering what to do next. Friend reminds me to keep job seeking (in freaking Barcelona? Hong Kong? Winchester? Singapore?), write my book proposal and then begin another article. Between you and me, I’d like to be paid for my work. 


I made a ripper brunch today. Here’s a picture:

Yes, I poached the eggs. You’re welcome. 👍

That’s all I got today. I think I’ll take a nap. Maybe I’ll finally begin that Goodreads book thingy I promised to start all those months ago. I still haven’t yet read a book: does erotic fiction count?!

Anyhoo. Ciao for now. 

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, or, as an old friend used to call it: a brew (something keenly satisfying about calling it a brew. It can mean tea, coffee, a beer or alcoholic beverage, and no one need be any the wiser), you’d notice I’ve gone for the 2nd cup already. Had a poorly sleep last night and in the end gave up and watched 3 episodes of Daredevil. 

I’m a bit concerned by why I’m not sleeping and I’m beginning to think it’s about the amount of alcohol I ingest. Last night we had friends over for the first time in a year (amazing what a good stove will do), and over 5 hours drank about 2/3rds of a bottle of champagne. So not very drunk but pleasantly merry. Ate a truckload of pan-Asian food, even a fabulous ginger cake I had baked for dessert, so I shouldn’t have had trouble sleeping. But trouble I did! So I’m blaming the grog and am planning a little April Abstinence month. (And back to the gym for me, ugh).

It’s Easter Sunday and the weekend has been a solid one. Family, friends, cooking, baking, doing chook things, trying to revive the herbs that aren’t getting enough sun. It’s been relaxing and calm. Today we head southwest for a night in the Granite Belt, a lovely overnight stay away from the madding crowd. 

I hope your Easter has been delightful! Here, have an egg.  


I bin writin’ 

Having discovered I can write 9000 words in 40-odd hours (well all right, spread over several weeks), I’m tempted to attempt some bigger fiction works.

Currently I’m writing a research article. It’s a bit dry…

I’m busy. Happy Women’s Day (week, month, year.)

If only every week were like this one. As it happens, in the ebb and flow of my peripatetic portfolio career (circa 2009), I do get a few good weeks. 

This week I waved my arms about for 3 days in a choral workshop; taught singing one-to-one in my private studio; wrote an academic book chapter; and sang at a well-paid, important-for-mental-health gig. This is all paid work (nearly: the book chapter just makes the days go by and I enjoy it)

This week I talked to my daughter and hugged her, confounded at a work dinner my husband’s work colleagues who don’t see the rebel me, only the middle aged, middle class, cis-heteronormative white lady me, chatted to my mum, mourned the ongoing loss of my parsley and dill to the naughty-but-terribly-cute-and-somewhat-tame possums, walked the dog, cleaned the toilet, did some laundry, counselled a potential new student, bought a new cushion and bath mat, paid bills, cooked food, wondered why the maidenhair fern in the bathroom has suddenly crapped itself, read blogs, academic journal articles and the news, played way too much Sim City on my phone app (so not even that good, sadly), watched all of Mozart in the Jungle, started that show with the numbers in it about JFK, and mourned the loss of an old but beloved performer: Jon English, who died yesterday aged only 66. Tomorrow I do some more book chapter and attend 2 concert events. The first is a piano recital by Daniel de Borah, the second is Alan Alda’s play about Einstein. Plus with any luck meeting Alan himself. (Note to self: don’t mention the West Wing and your favourite Republican character!)

So, this week has been fruitful, in every sense. Plus, the US primaries are hugely entertaining and terribly frightening all at once. What a crap bunch to choose from. (Mind you, we in Australia can’t really talk. We’ve had a raft of horrible bosses for 20 years now.)

See you on Saturday when I write a weekend coffee share because I’m avoiding finishing the book chapter. 😜

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, you’d notice it was actually Monday morning here in the Southern hemisphere. This is flying under the radar of east coast USA, which is a cool (possibly frigid and snow-bound) 16 hours behind us. Therefore it’s only Sunday night somewhere in the world. I’ve already had 2 coffees and am very very ready for my third.

I’m dying here a bit. I had my job interview last Friday. It went really really well. Even if I don’t get the job, I’m not sure what more I could have done. I was open, friendly, answered the questions (which were easy and simple) to the best of my ability. I felt comfortable, at ease, poised and prepared. As I may have mentioned last week, I had a coaching which enabled me to get the best out of my elevator pitch, and illuminated my skills and strengths. I now know what I do really well, and I know I’m passionate about research. It has taken me until the last few weeks to work that out.

They have promised to call me today so my sleep has been rather interrupted. I’ve taken off the phone’s mute button; the default position. I’m not altogether sure they’ll ring today as tomorrow is Australia Day and it’s a holiday – there may be a Wednesday phone call instead.

But of course it’s Monday now and do you think I’ve done any meaningful work since I awoke? No, nope, non, nada, nyet. I DID get up and shower but my day has been otherwise characterized by lack of movement. Yet, I have a list of Things To Do. I have a DECRA to complete. I have some private teaching to plan (if I don’t get the job). I have 20 hours of editing work to do. I have a book proposal to finish and a monograph to write.

There’s plenty I could be doing. Dammit.

If we were having coffee I’d be telling you about the great weekend my hubby and I had in Sydney, that shiny, fast paced city. That we saw friends and shows and that I felt quite at home in a town that’s neither like Melbourne nor Brisbane. I’d be telling you about the rain that was a constant of the weekend.

I’d be telling you about a show we saw, ostensibly for children, composed by the brilliant Kate Miller-Heidke, called The Rabbits. It’s an allegorical tale about the 1788 invasion of Australia by the British, and the rape, destruction and desecration of the First Peoples of Australia (and their land) in the name of that abominable Roman concept of Terra Nullius (nobody’s land). It’s done beautifully, simply, and breaks your heart. Because its story is truth.

I’m an inhabitant of this land and have been all my life. My Irish, Scottish and English ancestors came here in the 1850s and worked the land, bred, and experienced both prosperity and privation. Even though for many years I was a single parent, poor and marginalised, I cannot imagine my children being removed from me and my homeland violated. I cannot imagine being part of a race who were so oppressed that the scourge of this oppression continues to this day through poverty, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, serious health problems, unemployment, lack of access to good quality food and water, education, housing, healthcare and legal services. And yet The Rabbits (published in 2000, written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan), this simple tale based on a picture book, let me imagine all of this and more.


(Copyright 1998 Shaun Tan. “They came by water”. Oil on canvas)

The book has won numerous awards and the opera (in all honesty it’s the most cross-genre work I’ve seen in forever because it includes operatic conventions, panto, pop, blues, and other elements I haven’t thought of yet, set on a stage) has been beautifully realised by Miller-Heidke. She is a composer of special quality. Trained as an opera singer, she has carved out a great career as a pop singer/song-writer. Her music becomes more sophisticated and beautiful the older she gets, yet it is mainly diatonic, tuneful and easy for the lay person to enjoy. The more educated ear also love her work because it sounds easy but just isn’t. She has that rare gift of eliciting emotion through key changes that a listener won’t understand unless you’ve been trained in it. And even then I cried. I just wanted to weep and weep and weep, but as I was not alone I felt hampered by social niceties, and therefore didn’t. Great art has the capacity to move you in all sorts of ways and this work moved me like few others. Take a look: The Rabbits

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about how good it was seeing an ex-student of mine act and sing beautifully in another show we saw called The Fantasticks. It’s a rather flimsy tale and with sinister undertones not fully realised in the rather meh production, but he was great. My lovely student. Very proud.

If we were having coffee you’d be one of several people I’ve managed to have coffee with over the last few days. The Sydney trip was not just for a job interview; it was an opportunity for rare catch-ups with friends and acquaintances. There was afternoon coffee with E who braved simply appalling traffic to get into the heart of town, a late supper with S who had just done a very awkward singing telegram, and brunch with one of my oldest friends C and his son, who is delightful, precocious and super bright. DH managed to be brave during it all – he’s not a friends-type of person, but he enjoyed the interactions nevertheless.

And if we were having coffee you’d notice I’m a little bit annoyed that the possums got to my herb garden on the back porch. It was only a matter of time, of course. Thus far they’re particularly fond of dill, parsley, and coriander. They’ve nibbled half-heartedly at the sage and won’t touch the rosemary, and aren’t interested in the basil, thyme or the oregano. The saddest bit is they’re not at all worried about the dog, who goes psycho when they arrive on the porch for their evening repast.

So now that we’ve had coffee and I’ve been procrastinating yet again, I’ll leave you with thanks and an invitation to join me again. Maybe not on a Monday morning, but on a lazy Sunday.

Au revoir!

(Weekend coffee share is hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. Why not join in the chat?)