Friday, 17 October 2014

Annapurna

This time 14 years ago I was hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

I stayed in every village mentioned on the news. I ate in the teahouses and slept in the lodges. I remember every step of the day we summitted the Thorong La pass (because it was so incredibly hard to hike at that altitude).

Every news report about the snowstorm and avalanches and dead trekkers gives me chills. That could have been me.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Your Royal Fix - iPhone Edition

I plugged in my iPhone for the first time in ages and 6 months of pictures downloaded. Here are some highlights:

When Sis was here in March we all went to a park and played ball. Except Princess. She sat and played games on an iPhone.







Over Easter we went to the coast for a few days.



We went to the golf club for lunch in May and the kids found an unattended golf buggy.





Pics from the dinosaur museum over the kid's birthday weekend.















A couple from our friend's property in the Hunter Valley a couple of weeks ago.





Our awesome paddling pool that we inflated last weekend.





Princess drew this picture last week: Mummy, King, Daddy, herself.
"Why have I got a beard, Princess?"
"No, that's not your real chin, Mummy"

Friday, 10 October 2014

Counting Chickens

Milord is being headhunted! He has just had a first interview for a job that sounds far more his style for a bigger organisation and bigger money. We are hoping like crazy that he will called back for a second interview!

We shouldn't be counting our chickens before they hatch, but we wouldn't be our usual upbeat, positive, impulsive selves otherwise, now would we?

In other news, last weekend was another long weekend (I don't know why they can't spread them out a bit more) and gloriously hot. The temps climbed to the high 20s and we all wore shorts and sundresses for the first time since last summer.

On Saturday we took the kids to the park again, and this time I took wellies and they paddled in the pools and streams. Next time I will also take a change of trousers as they managed to get soaked anyway!

On Sunday we went to the indoor pool for swimming lessons and general mayhem.

And on Monday we did some DIY. The smallness of our backyard has been an annoyance since we moved in a year ago. So last weekend we uprooted several large bushes and put them in pots around the side of the house, then laid fake grass where they had been, then inflated our huge paddling pool on the grass and erected a marquee over the pool. Pow - instant lawn and pool! The kids were seriously impressed.

We also plan to install a security screen door at our front door so that we can get a breeze through the house on hot days - the breeze always comes from the front of the house, and I am not comfortable having the door standing open with no barrier.

Although we are holding off on that for the moment in case Milord lands this job and we have to move closer. And find a new school for Princess. And a new daycare for King. And maybe need another car. And have more income and afford some other essentials like couches that are not broken and bigger beds for the kids and and and...

Aaargh - I hate this part!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friends without kids

Milord and I are at a stage in our lives where most of our good friends have small kids too. Almost all the people we used to party with 8 years ago have married and settled down and had babies at about the same time we did.

One couple hasn't had (can't have) kids. They have been very good about continuing to invite their friends with kids to visit and stay over (although they now limit it to 2 familes at a time)...

Nowever...

It feels like we are imposing these days. When our kids were babies and we were all in Sydney visiting was pretty easy, but now our kids are Loud! and Destructive! and Rude! and Always. In. Your. Face! That's just how 3,4,5,6-year olds are, and I will probably miss it when they are teens and won't come out of their rooms.

Last weekend was a long weekend in Canberra, and we drove 5 hours to spend a couple of nights with our childfree friends and another couple with kids the same age as ours. The kids got along great, the grownups drank and ate too much, it should have been fun.

Milord said he could almost feel the resentment rolling off our childfree friends towards the kids, and they seemed to avoid being around them. It didn't help that Princess had an upset tummy the first night and threw up across a couch and carpet, or that the little boys were determined to dig in the forbidden dirt (seriously?). Or that in the somewhat rundown house everything anyone touched seemed to fall apart (toilet seat, blind winder, draft excluder, tap handle... it got silly).

Sigh.

It was a relief to drive 5 hours home again where the kids could just be themselves with no judging. Maybe next time our childfree friends can come to stay with us instead.

Rainbow Cupcakes

Princess wanted a Rainbow cake for her birthday which looked seriously difficult to make, so I made rainbow cupcakes instead. I experimented all week following various recipes (rainbow cupcakes are not easy! we were all sick of cake by the time I got it right!), and this is what worked in the end:

Makes 7 cupcakes (the original recipe says 12, but I always ended up with 7 or 8)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 bottles food colouring, red, blue, yellow, green
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with patty cups.
  • Cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat the eggs in one at a time adding a little flour in each time until the ingredients are mixed.
  • Add the vanilla essence and mix. Then add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time mixing after each addition.
  • Divide the mixture into 5 bowls and mix quite strong colours (red, orange, blue, green, purple)
  • Blob colours into the cupcake cases. I couldn't get layers to work so I went with a more random effect!
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
You have to put in quite a lot of food colouring to get a great effect. Be warned though - overdoing it can give you blue or green poo - Princess was thrilled! "Maybe tomorrow my poo will be purple!"


Blobs of cake mix.


Cooked.


I cannot decorate a cake. Luckily my kids are little enough that Cake! and Icing! and Sprinkles! is good enough no matter how it looks.


I forgot to get a shot of a cake cut through, but you can get an idea here:

Friday, 26 September 2014

Bravery

I've been getting some lovely responses to my newsletter, some from friends and family I haven't heard from in a very long time (I guess if you stop writing to folk they'll stop writing to you? Huh. And if you stop blogging then people stop visiting...)

Mostly they have been messages of "Wow, that must have sucked, glad you are through it".

Today a friend wrote to tell me I was "brave" to leave Sydney and my life there for a new life in Canberra. I responded with this:

Funny, I don't think we were brave to move to Canberra. Is it brave to take the only job offer you get when you are about to have to sell your house just to get by?

That's like saying you'd be brave to leave a burning building LOL!

To me, the brave thing was holding the marriage together through it all. No fighting, no nagging, no blaming, biting my tongue day after day until we found our feet again. Being supportive when I really wanted to scream and run away. Being kind when I was angry. Being loving when I felt betrayed and disrespected.

Now that felt like staying in a burning building.


I've also had people tell me I am "brave" to share what I've been through.

Is sharing brave? I suppose it did take an effort to hit "send" or "post" and to open myself up again after so long.

I'm tired of hiding how I feel. I have built barriers between myself and the rest of the world, to the point where my own husband was blindsided when I told him that I couldn't cope any more. That if we didn't do something about it then the marriage was going to fail. That I was sad to my core.

I couldn't blog or write emails to friends, because I was living a lie and couldn't bring myself to write it too.

It was, I think, necessary. I don't see how we would have pulled though with me being all Drama!Queen at the same time.

Hiding my real feelings was hard. Was it brave? I suppose it might be as brave as staying in a burning building until you are sure your family is out!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Personality Profile - Kingdomality

If you have 10 minutes to spare, have a look at Kingdomality. Just 8 questions, which try to determine what medieval personality you might have.

I am: The Black Knight

Your distinct personality, The Black Knight, might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time.

Your overriding goal is to win.

You approach each task or situation as a contest to be won strategically and efficiently.

Because you can control your feelings, it is not unusual for you to charm, as well as successfully delegate tasks and responsibilities to the more emotional types. You are often concerned with what's in it for you. You seldom involve yourself in activities where you can not foresee a reward for your investment or effort.

On the positive side, you can be analytically empathic and logically persuasive.

On the negative side, you may be unemotionally manipulative as well as impulsive. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms.


That's... not bad, actually!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Quality Time

Last Saturday Milord, myself and the kids went off to try out a playpark I'd spotted while out walking with Mom. It is on the shores of a huge lake, but set back in the trees beside a carefully designed water feature of streams, bridges, rocks and pools that will be great to splash about in when it gets a bit warmer. There are also grassy areas where we should be able to kick a ball around.

We parked about 10 minutes walk away so that the kids could have a ride on their new bikes on the way. They are still getting the hang of pedaling, so this is just the right distance to practice.

Then we had a little play on the baby structure, went over to the the water feature and explored and threw sticks and paddled (very briefly because it was freezing!), and then wandered over to the play structure for bigger kids. This was quite challenging, with rope ladders and climbing walls and steep ladders the only way up. I was quite proud of how bold my kids were at scrambling up and then coming down a spiral slide. There are a few more challenging items in the structure that they didn't want to attempt, but I'm sure they'll get braver the more often we go.

After an hour or two they got back onto their bikes and Milord and I pushed them back to the car as they were too tired to pedal!

On Sunday, after swimming, Milord and I went out alone. This is most unusual, and it is something I asked for in the TALK - quality couple time. We hardly every get time alone. We went to the shops and ended up beside the same lake for a beer in the sunshine. It was very pleasant!

So, a weekend with quality family time and quality couple time - the first in many months and hopefully the first of many more.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Newsletter September 2014

I've been looking through my sent emails and it seems I haven't emailed y'all since November last year - can that be true? I am so sorry! I've been in a bit of a dark place and that made it hard to write a proper letter (everything comes out bitter or superficial), but Facebook is not really a substitute.

Can you believe I have been living and working in Canberra for just over a year now? If you had told me back in January of 2013 that this would happen I would have laughed at you. "I'm not going back to work until the kids are in school. We have an agreement." Oh, how we laugh now.

What an interesting time this has been. (I think that's a Chinese curse? Okay wikipedia says not. It should be)

Let us recap. In February of 2013 Milord had a row with his boss and left his job. Without talking to me about it and with nothing lined up. We have recently (finally) talked about it and he swears he meant no disrespect to me, it was a rage thing. Which makes me feel better. I suppose.

Although Milord was confident he would waltz into another job he was wrong, so I started job hunting too. We shoved the kids into a daycare they haaated so that I would be free to work and my Mom put all her travelling plans on hold. However, it turns out that no one in Sydney wants someone who has been a stay-at-home mum for a few years to write their software - there are too many superstars clamoring for every role.

Savings ran out and we began living on credit cards, my Dad's inheritance, charity and welfare. We cast our jobsearch wider, beyond Sydney and beyond the state of New South Wales. Summer ended. Milord did a project manager course, and I did a programming course. By mid winter we were close to selling our house. We finished off some renovations and repainted it ready for sale.

Then suddenly, finally, we started getting nibbles on the job front. From Canberra. Not where we wanted to live - but also not where anyone really wants to live, which is why there were opportunities. I had a couple of interviews and Milord had a couple of phone calls. Then I landed a job in Canberra! We packed up the house, and left Sydney, and got tenants, and rented a place twice the size in Canberra for the same money, and bought an extra car!

My job sucked and I cried every night for a couple of weeks but I adapted and I am still there a year later. They LOVE me and I have had 2 decent pay increases and I am now almost being paid market value. I am biding my time for another 6 months and then I will be seeking something better.

Then Milord got a job! He really hated it at first but they LOVE him and he has a decent pay increase too. He's also biding his time for a bit longer before looking around for something better. He promises me he will not leave this job without another one lined up - no matter how angry he gets!

The kids got into a great daycare that they adore, and Princess will be starting "Big School" next January which she is very excited about. While my Mom's plans are still on hold while she does the stay-at-home-Gran thing she does manage to get away for the occasional long weekend in her campervan.

We remortgaged our Sydney house and paid off the credit cards, and have been mostly in the black since then.

We had Christmas in Sydney, house/dogsitting for a friend for 2 weeks. It rained a lot, but that was actually nice as we had a traditional midday dinner at friend's and it felt right to have a grey wet day! The kids got so many presents that they were both presented-out! We visited people and had a big informal barbeque one day and oodles of folk turned up. At one point there were 12 kids in the massive inflatable paddling pool!

Just before Easter Sis came over for a visit. Her first time to Australia, and her first time out of South Africa since she was a kid! (And her first ever jetlag heheheheh) The airlines looked after her very well (she has cerebral palsy) and the travel went smoothly. Mom picked her up in Sydney and they did some sightseeing there but Sis spent most of her time with us doing the family thing in Canberra. It was wonderful to see her and she had a lovely time with her nephew and niece.

Over Easter we went to the coast, to a town on the shore of a huge bay. The waves were small and the beaches white, it was not too hot and we all had a great time. Princess keeps asking to go back, and we have booked a house even closer to the beach for after this coming Christmas!

When winter arrived we were very glad of the central heating as we experienced below freezing temperatures at night (some of us for the first time). It snowed on the nearby hills a couple of times and we took the kids to see it. We built snowmen and threw snowballs and did a bit of tobogganing - it was good fun. Next year we may go to stay closer to the snow and maybe get the kids some skiing lessons - maybe!

Things are going well for us in Canberra - the quality of (family) life is way better than Sydney Inner West. Lots of space and a slower pace in general. And no traffic! I'd probably hate to be younger with no kids in search of a good night out, but that's certainly not on our radar.

My marriage took a beating over the past 18 months but we held it together, and we are now putting some work into repairing it.

We could do with some friends to take the pressure off the FAMILY... Milord is going to join the local golf course and hopefully make some friends. I am close to making friends with some workmates - these things take time, especially when we all have small children. Mom is going to campervan club meetups and might be making friends sometime soon too. Princess has made friends at daycare, and King doesn't know what a friend is.

So, that was my Most Excellent Interesting Adventure of the past year and a half. Sorry for the radio silence, I will try to correspond more regularly as I get my mojo back!

Old News

I am gathering documents to apply for British citizenship for Princess and King, and at one point I needed to list all the times I was out of the UK between 2002 and 2006. Who can remember that kind of thing offhand?! Not me!

So I logged into an ancient email account and went through some emails from my previous life. I found the info I was looking for, and I also found a window into the life of Saffa Chick 15 years ago. Quite fascinating. I've copied all my email newsletters into this blog to share - get a glass of wine it will suck you in for ages!

I was so young! Partying so hard! Kissing frogs! Hopping jobs! Travelling! Wow, no wonder I get homesick for that time and place sometimes.

I was also taken aback at how chatty my newletters were. Not unlike how chatty this blog used to be when I started it - I've lost my mojo somewhere along the way.

Perhaps I should start writing newsletters again? Facebook just isn't the same.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Whoo it's been a while!

I haven't been blogging lately.

My relationship funk, which started back in Feb last year, finally overcame me recently. I was also repeatedly ill with pretty bad colds, I put on loads of weight (I comfort eat), and it all dragged me down and under and I finally reached the end of my tether.

On the surface everything looked fine though, and Milord was completely taken by surprise a few days ago when I detoured our drive home to a pub for a TALK. A very overdue TALK perhaps, as we haven't ever thrashed out the events of last February. I thought I could just move on, but it didn't happen...

Anyway, the TALK went really well! So well that I feel silly for putting it off for so long.

The cloud of gloom at home has lifted, Milord is more involved with the kids and more affectionate with me, and he says his mood at work has even improved!

During my funk both kids had birthdays! Princess is 5 and King is 3.
We held a party at a local indoor playground in the Pirate Room. All the kids had an absolute ball.
I made Rainbow Cupcakes! I'll blog about that separately...
Friends came from Sydney and stayed for the weekend, and their son and Princess had a Sleepover in her room.

I have also started work on a major project as part of a team working clear on the other side of Canberra. It's keeping me very busy, and blogging isn't possible!

I will try not to disappear for long again though, now that my world is so much better.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Back on Track?

So, I've been a bit sick this winter. Three rather severe colds one after another have not been fun.

Being ill means I don't go to the gym. I don't stick to my diet. Aaaaand I comfort eat junk (and wine) too!

My Fat Jeans are too tight. *eeep*

I feel okay now, and it is time to get back on track! Follow weightwatchers. Cut back on the wine. Stop the snacks. Back to the gym!

I lost half a kilo last week - another half and I'll be back in my Fat Jeans. Then 8kg more to drop the extra dress size I have been carrying around since I had my kids. If I stick to my guns I could do this in 16 weeks... so maybe Christmas? That would be the most awesome present to myself!

It's perfectly do-able. I just need to keep on track!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Snow!

I have had 3 colds back to back and it is all I can do to drag myself to work and back... bleah.

In other news - we live an hour from the snow! It tends to melt within a day or two, but a few weekends back the timing was right and the kids saw snow for the first time.

They thought it was awesome!!!!











Even away from the snow it has been rather chilly. The temp drops below freezing most nights, and on the weekend there was frost in the shadows and ice on puddles at midday.

We don't mind, as we have a very cosy house and central heating. Cars are heated, offices are heated and daycare is heated. It's a lot like a UK winter really, except that the sun comes out most days.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bonfire Night!

Last weekend friends of ours with kids the same age as mine were staying with family on a large property just an hour away. They invited us to stay over for a bonfire night, so along we went.





It was a cold, dry weekend. The kids all played together and had fun investigating the chicken run and the cow poo and the piles of fallen leaves. (You have to look quite hard for autumn leaves in Australia as the native trees don't shed their leaves. Luckily the property had several large oak trees which dropped lots of leaves)

The bonfire was in a field not to far from the house. It was huge!



We lit it at sunset - 6pmish - and various friends and family and neighbours came along too bearing food and wine. What a spectacular sight, and lovely and hot on a freezing night.





The kids went to bed rather late, and Milord came to bed at 1am after a lot of red wine around the fire with the boys. Of course little kids don't actually sleep in no matter how late they go to bed, so we were up at dawn. We cooked breakfast for the household and then Milord drove us home with a monster hangover.

By early afternoon I was the only one awake! King still naps anyway, Milord took himself to bed and Princess fell asleep watching a movie. I stretched out on the couch with my book and a glass of wine. Ah, the serenity!

Monday, 19 May 2014

How to dislodge an object from your toddler's nose

Yesterday we had a lazy start, then took the kids to the dinosaur museum and then to the pub for lunch. When we got home we set up some telly for them to watch, I did some laundry, and then I sat down to relax with my book and a glass of wine. On the floor at my feet was a tiny cylindrical piece of black plastic, probably broken off a toy - I picked it up and put it on the coffee table.

King came past. "What's that, Mummy?" "It's rubbish baby, will you put it in the bin please?" "Okay Mummy".

Shortly thereafter he gave a howl of pain. "Ow! My nose!" "Did you put that black thing up your nose?" "Yeah!" "Oh, King, you idiot."

We lay him on the kitchen counter and peered up his nostril with a torch. Yup, something black up there, beyond where I was comfortable poking tweezers. I left Milord in charge of Princess and the kid's dinner and off King and I went to the hospital.

One great thing about Canberra, the ER is just about empty on a Sunday afternoon! We were seen within minutes. The first doctor thought she could use forceps to get the piece of plastic, but the senior doctor felt that King was too little and that he would struggle and probably force the damn thing in deeper.

Then the senior doctor suggested trying something I'd never heard of: I took a huge breath and placed my mouth over King's, like I was trying to resuscitate him. I blocked his clear nostril and blew hard into his mouth. It was surprisingly awkward, but luckily King found it funny to have Mummy blowing into his mouth. On our sixth attempt there was a sudden wet explosion across my cheek - the piece of plastic was out, along with quite a lot of snot!

We were on our way home almost immediately. What a relief - the next step would have been sedation (and because King was eating biscuits in the car on the way to hospital we'd have had to wait 2 hours first too). We got home in time for King to have a proper dinner and bath before bedtime, and I had my well-deserved glass of wine at last!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Easter 2014

Over Easter we all went to the coast, to a small town called Vincentia on Jervis Bay. It's a 3 hour drive due east from home. We hired a holiday home just minutes from the beach and spent a week building sandcastles and paddling and taking long walks on the white sand.

We couldn't really afford it, but it was a much needed break...

(We don't usually dress King in bright pink, but his swimming shirt died the week before we left so he ended up wearing Princess' spare shirt!)













Thursday, 3 April 2014

Weight and Fitness

I don't mention my weight much anymore in this blog. Mainly because even I am bored with hearing myself whinge about how the post-baby fat Just. Doesn't. Go. Away!

I haven't given up. I'm still attempting weightwatchers during the week (although we're on a diet holiday right now because Sis is visiting) and still going to the gym regularly (2 to 3 times a week).

I'm getting back into jogging on top of the spin classes I usually do. At the gym, because I just don't have that sort of time when I'm home...

2 weeks ago I ran 5km in 42 minutes.
1 week ago I ran 5km in 41 minutes.
Today I ran 5km in 39 minutes.

My goal is to run 5km in 30 minutes. That's 6 min/km, and that's how fast I used to be able to run 5km before I had kids. When I was a dress size smaller. Surely that level of fitness will bring me back to that dress size? Surely?!

*sigh*

A couple of weeks ago I went through all my boxes and pulled out all my size 12s (If you are an American reader that's like an 8). I'm currently size 16. I can't believe I used to fit in those clothes - they're tiny! I haven't fitted in them since my first year of being in Australia - a husband who loves food and wine and a less active lifestyle blew me into size 14 quite quickly. That was 7 years ago and those clothes have followed me in boxes from house to house...

I have given up on seeing size 12 again. I sent most items to charity and gave a box of really lovely things to a skinny woman at work. I think she is shocked to have my old clothes fit her so well!

I have not given up on size 14. I will not give up! One of these days the exercise has to start making a difference, and the other 90% of my wardrobe will be wearable again.

Oh, and I'm currently 76kg.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Day in the Life of the Saffa Chick

2am. Something wakes me. Maybe Milord snoring, maybe a squawk through the baby monitor. I yawn, visit the loo, and walk the length of the house to check on the kids. In our next house I hope the master bedroom is closer to the other bedrooms - this would be perfect if I had teens, but it doesn't work for toddlers! I tuck both kids back under their covers and go back to bed. Luckily I am good at going back to sleep.

6:31am. Princess has a special clock in her room that shows a sun when she is allowed to get up. The sun shows at 6:30am on a work day. If she has been waiting for it then she arrives at my bedside within moments! I either hear her coming or jump out of my skin when she says "Good morning, Mummy!" right next to my head. I remove her nappy (she is not night trained yet, although we keep trying) and she climbs into bed between Milord and me for a cuddle.

7am. My alarm goes off and I go to have a shower. Mom has a shower at about the same time in the other bathroom, which generally disturbs King so Milord gets him up too.

7:30am. I am showered, dressed and have done my makeup with a little help from Princess. King has usually visited carrying his bunnies to say "Goo morni, Mummy!" and wandered off again. I tidy the bedroom then head to the living room for a coffee while Milord hits the shower. Mum is dressed too and has a cup of tea. We give the kids water, turn on iPads, select the kiddie TV channel and discuss groceries and dinner menus.

7:50am. Milord is dressed and ready to go. We gather up laptops and lunches and head to the door. Mom and both kids see us off with kisses and waves, which is very nice. Some days Milord rides a bicycle to work (then comes home with me with the bike in the back of the car) and some days we drive in together and he drops me off on the way to his office.

8:20am. I walk into my office. There are usually a couple of folk in before me - we are slightly flexible on working hours. I make another coffee, check my email, and settle into the work day. I have a muesli bar for breakfast, and there is a huge bowl of fruit on my desk for snacking throughout the day.

12pm. I walk briskly to the gym, change, do a workout, shower and walk back to the office. This all takes more than an hour but I work more hours than I am paid for so I don't care. Heat up a low-calorie microwave meal and eat it at my desk.

6pm. Let me out of here! The aircon goes off at 5pm in the office so by the time I leave the room is warm and stuffy and I have had enough. Step outside in the fresh air to find Milord waiting for me.

6:30pm. Home. Big greetings from the kids who are in the middle of bathtime with Mom. Pour a glass of wine.

7pm. The mad bedtime ritual of teeth cleaning, last wees, nappies on and bedtime stories. Lullabies. Last kisses, last sips of water, last hunt for a toy wanted in bed. At least one tantrum.

7:30pm. The kids are playing in their room. Another glass of wine. Either pitch in with cooking dinner or chat with the cook or watch the evening news.

8pm. Dinnertime. We watch something on TV. More wine. Maybe some fruit after the meal.

9pm. Stop the wine! Switch to water.

9:45pm. Get the kids up for a wee. Change nappies if necessary. Tuck them back in and remove any hard toys from their beds.

10pm. Clean teeth, wash face, into bed. Read my Kindle for a little while then switch it off and snuggle down...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Catchup

Where does the time go?!

  1. I had a birthday! Mom and Milord gave me a new Kindle, which is practically an iPad these days. All I wanted was a book that glowed in the dark so that I could read in bed without my bloke moaning... now a have a very sexy tablet too.

  2. I love being able to read in bed again.

  3. My birthday fell on a public holiday that only exists in my new state. Awesome.

  4. Several friends have made the trip to see us lately. We have great friends.

  5. My raise kicked in at the end of Feb - woohoo! Our improved circumstances mean that we get less childcare benefit and the increase in daycare costs just swallowed my whole raise. Fuckit.

  6. My sister is here from South Africa for a visit. It is her first overseas trip since she was 9. It has rained for all but 3 days of her trip so far.

  7. The kids think their Aunty is great because she is happy to play for hours.

  8. Princess has definitely emerged from the Terrible stage and is a sweet, polite, chatty little lady again. King has taken her place in Terrible-land. We look forward to getting him back in about a year.

  9. Being at work all day means I hardly see my kids. But it also means I don't see many tantrums either!

  10. Autumn is here. The trees are turning colour, the mornings are crisp, and our heating has started coming on automatically in the early hours.

  11. My recently-returned-from-maternity-leave co-worker has nowhere to go to express breastmilk except a toilet cubicle. I feel bad for her, and I absolutely cannot use the other cubicle while she's at it!

  12. We are about to consolidate our credit card debt into our mortgage. We are so lucky to still have our Sydney house! Thank you to Milord's Mum whose bequest let us buy it in the first place, my Dad's bequest which let us hang onto it, and my most generous Aunt who covered a few payments.

  13. This coming Friday is my 6th wedding anniversary.

  14. Next week I write the test to become an Australian citizen!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Taking Charge

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned I work for a cowboy outfit.

Minimal specs, insane deadlines, and no project management. Pretty normal for a starter job - I had several like this in my 20s - but a real annoyance once you've reached a certain level of seniority and experience. My last job before having the kids was at a big Bank working on a sharetrading system, and I got very spoiled by the amount of structure and communication and decent management.

Recently the boss decided to take a better approach to our development cycles. We actually break our work into tasks, prioritise, and commit to delivering certain functionality to the test team each week. This helps the testers prepare in advance, and therefore the testing happens faster too.

It's not ideal - the boss has tasked the business analysts to manage what really ought to be handled by a project manager, and we still don't have a team leader to keep people on track and to be the voice of the project.

Until now.

I have appointed myself the unofficial Team Leader for my project. I assign bugs, review tasks, and raise concerns for my team. I schedule our releases to Testing and chase the team to have their tasks completed, and I chase our deployment guys to get the release out in a timely fashion.

It was a role that needed filling and I think I am making things easier for my team, and of course for the boss.

I guess I'm earning that pay rise!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Princess' First Dental Checkup

All is well, she has great teeth and was a real trouper.



Sadly I couldn't take Princess myself - this working nonsense really gets in the way of important stuff - so Mom took her. Mom said the dentist was lovely and gave Princess a chance to examine all the tools first and they even did a little bit of polishing so Princess could get used to things going on in her mouth.

Here's hoping all Princess' checkups forever are as uneventful!

Unlike mine - I am in the middle of getting a crown on a tooth that has disintegrated for the third and final time. *sigh*