Friday filibuster

Hiya. It’s been a couple of weeks. I’m a hopeless blogger in that I lose track of days and then it’s a week between blogs and before you know it, October’s here already.

I don’t mean to do this, but I get busy sometimes. Even when I’m not “work busy”, other things such as birthday shopping get me otherwise occupied.

So, hello. I’m back. Last week was a fairly shitty week, when I had to accept I was not offered the job – they DID get back to me eventually, and it confirmed my supposition. But the letter was lovely and apparently I WAS impressive and had excellent skills – I just didn’t match the skills they needed for the job right now. There may or may not have been retail therapy.

Back to the drawing board. I’m doing some editing work, and applying for a DECRA, and eventually I will actually start my monograph. It’s a slog, so I’m ignoring it for now.

It’s a news blog day today!

In renovation news, all the electrical work is now done and I’m just waiting for the final bill. I still have to paint some of the sections and gap fill etc, but it’s not far off completion in the bathroom at least! (excluding the oil paint on the windows, for which I actually have to wait until it’s cooler). IMG_2974IMG_2981IMG_2969

The room looks quite chic but the tiles, lights, mirror and fittings were typical Australian prices and we didn’t go for the most expensive selections at all. Perhaps the most expensive element was the vanity unit, but I don’t have a break-down of the actual cost as it was built into the total price. The really fun part, after selecting all the bathroom fittings, was finishing off the decorations. It’s lovely to get some plants in the house: I’m a truly terrible plant keeper so these are surviving despite my best attempts to neglect them. Choosing vanity-ware, towels, bins and toilet brushes was ridiculously fun, too, and I’m so happy with the end result.

The other day I actually washed the floors throughout the whole house, so we’re nearly at normal again.

housewife

Personally I think housekeeping is a Sisyphean task for which I am singularly unqualified, so I prefer not to do it much. We are tidy people and I do clean up after myself on a daily basis, but I don’t count that as housekeeping: that’s more about managing personal cleanliness. (Put it back where you found it, or find a better spot for it!)

When DH and I were both working long hours I hired a fortnightly cleaner. The cleaner was rather passive aggressive, complained a lot and would try to destroy my vacuum cleaner through little vicious acts of sabotage. She went.

Anyway. Cleaning out other areas of my life: I’m over the pity party, so I’ve switched my brain back on and I’m determined to maintain a gritted teeth joie-de-vivre. Which is rather contradictory but what the hey. I’m almost at the “I really really need to tackle the tax” thought, and the creative and academic writing will continue now. I’ve had to accept that I won’t see any money for my efforts, but we can mostly cope. I AM gigging and teaching a bit, which is good, and I’ll keep trawling job sites for more work.

And soon I’ll have a go at painting the bedroom and lounge room, because they need doing. I just have to buy some more ceiling paint, grit my teeth, and do it.

Plenty of teeth gritting this year!

In other news I’ve decided to keep live chickens for eggs. Huzzah!

aston_chicken_coop_with_chickens

I’ve seen the hens and coop ($370) that will be perfect in our large backyard, and we don’t require a permit. It’s a stupidly expensive thing to do, given that we can buy a dozen free-range eggs for $6, and we rarely go through more than a dozen a week ($312 per year on average), but I want to control some of what I’m eating, from a purely ethical stance. In Australia while we have basic guidelines in place around free-range chooks they are not enshrined into law. The basic guideline states there should be 1500 chooks per hectare (1000m2), which gives them about the size of a queen sized bed each to scrabble around in. This is ok, but the powers that be (big food companies – is there a word that mimics “big pharma” for food?) want to make it 20,000 chooks per hectare. This is unacceptable.

Also, I want to know what my chooks are eating. We’ll feed them a combination of chook pellets (fish byproducts I’m told but there are vegetarian options), corn and wheat grain, and leafy green things. It’s not the cheapest option in the world – backyard farming – but it’s a fun thing to do and it’s not like I don’t have the time to keep my animals.

Our backyard is quite open. We will put the chookhouse in a shady area, but we also have to worry about foxes and snakes. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen a snake in our neighborhood, and Poppy the dog will kick up a ruckus if there’s a fox around. The possums don’t seem to have any natural predators here so they are fairly free with their wanderings, which makes me think the wildlife here is contained to birds and big-ass insects. I’m channelling my inner farmer here. My ancestors were farmers and I have kept chooks before. I love the gentle noises they make and the feel-good self-sufficiency of the backyard farm.

Of course, if I was a truly ethical eater I’d probably be a vegetarian. But it’s the little things that count. We try to buy bacon and pork products from a local butcher who sources ethical producers (those who don’t keep the piggies in little nasty pens, but give them room to move and live a short but hopefully happy life before they go to the slaughterhouse). And for years we’ve been eating free-range chickens, pole-and-line-caught tuna, farmed fish (we have a great farming industry in Australia that uses lots of efficient, earth-friendly practices), so on.

So I’m looking forward to naming my not-yet-purchased chooks, perhaps after Gilbert and Sullivan characters: Buttercup, Katisha, Yum-Yum? Ideas for names welcomed!

And now: I’m baking home-made muesli and spaghetti bolognese and delicious brownies. Hola!

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It has been a month since my last confession…

I’m not Catholic. Never was, despite my surname. So, apologies for stealing this confessional statement. But, wow! Hasn’t time flown!

No news is good news, right? Well….kinda. In my life this month, a bunch of stuff has been happening – mostly good, some not so good.

The new car is AWESOME. I love driving it. Tick!

My diet is TERRIBLE. But I’ve not gained any weight that I can tell. And I’m back on the straight and narrow today. Tick!

My exercise regime is LAUGHABLE. But I’m working on it. Little tick for motivational purposes.

My work life is FANTASTIC. I love my job. I have a minor yearning for some performance stuff but otherwise I have the perfect gig. Now to make it a permanent tenured position (never going to happen, but hey, a girl can dream). Tick!

My family life is WONDERFUL. I love my husband. We are easing into a lovely place – teasing yet caring, understanding of each others’ scruples but not averse to raising the eyebrow on occasion. Or the ire. I love my boys and miss them terribly but I saw them just recently and spent guilt money on them because I can. My extended family are all great and doing amazing things. Tick!

My social life is OK – could be better – I have little time to visit friends and have not called anyone lately, even though I’m a constant on FB. Bad Jessie. Must call friends and SEE them. No tick – a cross instead.

My PhD study is AWFUL. I have no time to work on it consistently, I have even less time to care about it at the moment, and I got the most horrible response back regarding the gaping flaws in my Methods Chapter. So I’m taking time off it again. Because I’m sick of it and I want a new supervisor who is pleasant and personable and who is a mentor and whose caring approach makes me want to do better. Right now I feel nothing but RAGE. No tick here. Cross.

The house renovations are SADLY in hiatus while our weekends are busy, but we are in the planning phase of the next job. If my youngest boy comes to live with us I will have to find another place to work because we can’t all fit into the house as is. And we will need to renovate the interior in order to get everyone to fit. This could be fun AND expensive. Half tick for planning, at least.

The dog is getting BETTER, calmer, and her training is going quite well. I’m a bit lazy about it and we rarely have time to do much, but she’s getting there. She’s a bit neurotic around the kids, who tend to psych her up a bit and make her jumpy. She growls at us when she is on her bed at night sleeping (with her eyes open), and we walk past. We are training her out of that, too. Half tick for perseverance and her ability to sit, drop, leave it, and sit on her mat.

Finally, our spending is a tad OUT OF CONTROL. This is what we bought yesterday. Because hubby was complaining about the poor result we were getting from our coffee machine (5 years old and is starting to fail a bit), and he wanted a new one. And I wanted a red one. We got a new, red, expensive, beautiful machine: a Breville 900CB. It’s awesome. Truly.Breville coffee machineOur coffee now tastes amazing and the machine was laughably easy to set up. But no tick for thrift. Big cross for being a spendthrift.

So, there you go. Ticks: 5 full, 2 half. Crosses: 3. Hail Marys required: none. I’m an atheist. Looking forward to when those crosses on my PhD become ticks, and when our spending is pulled back – this will NEVER happen because we want to renovate the house and that’s exxie. I can, at least, do something about my friends. See y’all soon. xxx