Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Moving tomorrow

This is going to be my last post before I move, and probably my last until the middle of next week, as I won’t have internet at home for a few days until my housemate’s boyfriend can make the house’s wireless network accept my computer.

Dad and I took a large van, trailer and car load down today, which turned out to be about half of what needed to go, but I’ve still got several hours’ packing to do tonight – mostly kitchenware, random bedroom items, some ornaments, and framed pictures. I’m going to be working until midnight, I’m sure, and I’m already exhausted.

I had a horrible time getting Jemima to the vet this morning – possibly the scariest drive of my life. Firstly she didn’t want to go at all, as she’d been in a manic mood all morning and was enjoying running full pelt around the place. So she was not pleased at all to be shoved into a carry case. About 5 minutes into the drive she managed to get part of the case’s system of zippers and velcro open, and stuck her head out of the case, which was on the floor in front of the passenger seat. I had to stop – in a lane, as there was no emergency lane – and put her back in.

I tried to block her from getting out with various things, but as I was pulling on to the highway she got out again. Luckily there was an emergency lane there, and I stopped and put her back in again. I noticed that inside the carry-case there was a small tether designed to clip on to a collar. I clipped her into it, shut everything up, and took off again. Within minutes she’d managed to get out again as far as the tether would let her. We drove the rest of the way with Jemima resting her upper body and head on the flat place in front of the gear stick. She was curious about what my feet were doing, and kept trying to get closer, so at the traffic lights I kept having to push her back towards the passenger side. And she took a swipe at my leg at one point (drawing blood even through my jeans, I discovered later!).

By the time I got to the vet, having gone the long way there because I was too scared to go on the freeway with Jem potentially able to get loose, I was half an hour late for my appointment and totally frazzled. I’d managed to phone to say I’d be late, and they were very kind about the frazzlement. I bought a good old-fashioned cardboard carrier to bring her home in, although she ripped into that with her claws and did nearly manage to get loose just as I got home. Tomorrow she’s going inside Case 1 then Case 2 then an ordinary cardboard box with a few small holes drilled in it and the top taped down. I’m not playing that game again! 

The good news is that the vet says Jemima is in perfect health, and she’s now up-to-date with all her immunisations, worming, flea treatments etc. And I think she’s even speaking to me again lol.

Friday, March 30, 2007

No cats were harmed in the making of this curiosity . . .

No, curiosity has thus far not caused Jemima to get herself into any strife, but I swear it’s not for lack of trying. The scattering of boxes, rolls of tape, pens, green bags and items of every description all through the house has caused her no end of amusement, and has left me feeling that I’m shouting at her every couple of minutes. *Crash* “JEM!” “Meow?” *Crinkling sound* “Mima . . .” *guilty silence*. And try assembling a box when the cat is pouncing on it every time it moves, and then pounces on the tape or the stanley knife every time you put them down. It’s not easy!

The house is currently (7pm on Friday night) at the stage where it looks like there’s no possible way I could be ready to move by Sunday morning. I know I will be, even if it means just chucking things in boxes and sorting them out later, but from this vantage point it looks hopeless. I really need to do another couple of hours’ work tonight, and I’m not looking forward to it. I did a full day at Subway today, after a full day’s packing and moving yesterday, and I’m wiped.


On Tuesday I had another of my ongoing de-stressing appointments with the counsellor at uni, and we discussed the feelings of frustration and helplessness that I was having over moving house again. From an outsider’s perspective, he came up with an insight that’s strongly affected how I see this move, and I wanted to share it. Basically: this move is the latest in a string of 12 moves over the last 10.5 years. The first of those moves – on December 16th, 1994 – was entirely out of my hands. I was 14, and I was told that a) Dad wasn’t coping so I had to go and live with Mum, and b) that this was non-negotiable. I did not want to move, and was very angry and depressed about the arbitrariness of the move.

Of the 11 other moves, some were my decision, some were whole-family moves from one house to another, and some were forced on me by circumstance (when the place I was renting was sold, or when I hurt my hand, for example). But none of them were totally arbitrary and entirely managed by someone else. I had some say in all of the rest of the moves, and positively agitated for or eagerly anticipated several of them. Some of them were extremely well-organised and planned by me. This current move was motivated by my decision to remove myself from an untenable situation, and all of the arrangements are well in hand. Circumstance has played a part, of course, but I’m in control. I've only felt out of control because I've been applying the helpless rage I felt towards the first move, to every subsequent move.

This was a “wow” moment for me. It probably sounds obvious to others, but I have a lot of trouble valuing myself and my own actions, so it simply had not occurred to me that I was actually doing pretty well to have everything under control and organised etc. That revelation made me critically re-examine all of the other moves, and it’s become clear that apart from whole-family moves and that one first move, a) I’ve actually been capably managing my movements since I left home when I was eighteen; and b) I’ve been getting better at it over time.


So I’m feeling a lot more secure about my ‘nomadicness’ now. And I’m starting to see that ‘home’ isn’t necessarily bricks and mortar. I still want to be a part of a community and have a single home where I stay put for many years, and I’m sure that will come eventually, but I’m now able to see that I’m managing the process in the meantime, and that I do have a sense of ‘home’ that moves around with me. It feels good to know that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The antics of Jem

I’ve noticed, as Jemima’s personality is developing beyond the kitten stage, that she is a very vocal cat. This is possibly because I talk to her constantly! She has a meow for every occasion, and I’m starting to understand what she means some of the time, although some of her little communications are still mysterious to me.

I’ve finally found a brand of wet food that she likes, and I’ve noticed that once she’s realised that I’m getting her tin ready (usually around 6pm) she can be very sharp-tongued about any delay lol.

She amused me greatly the other day – I was at the laundry tub washing her bowl ready for her meal, when she leapt a good metre off the ground on to the lip of the tub, which is only a couple of centimeters wide, and managed to aim herself so she landed right under my arm where she could look into the sink. It was a fantastic jump and incredibly cute.

I love my kitty

Ooh, yep, it's Autumn

Only a little over a week ago, I was sleeping with the fan on and the windows wide open to try to cool my hot, stuffy room to the point where I could sleep. But the last few mornings it’s been chilly and crisp, and last night I had to put the fan away and break out the heater for the first time this year. It won’t be long until it’s time for the hot water bottle to make an appearance.

I love the early days of Autumn. The skies are clear and richly blue and the sun is warm, but a cool southerly breeze keeps the temperature pleasant. I wish I could go sit in Kings Park and write instead of being stuck in my house packing!

The temptation to skive off packing and go enjoy the day is especially strong as I picked up the hire car this morning, so I’m mobile. I’m hiring it until Monday to help with all of the errand-running and small-item shifting I’ve got to do before and during the move, not to mention taking Jemima to the vet and a few other things that you just can’t do on the bus!

But, alas, I have far too much to do to go off and be a nature spirit for a day. The packing is going slowly due to my demotivation and apathy towards the whole moving process. Blech. There’s nothing complicated left to do, I just have to put things into boxes with some minimal sorting of types of things, but I’m finding it hard to keep going and not get distracted.

I’m looking forward to being in the new house, though. It’s the closest I’ve ever lived to the CBD, and I’m going to enjoy the convenience. And the bus goes right past the Perth Zoo! I haven’t been to the zoo for many years – I can’t think how many years, or even why and with whom I was last there – so I’m hoping to get there sometime while I’m living so close. Maybe I should try to convince my fellow grad-dip-ers that a picnic at the zoo will be the perfect post-exam de-stresser.  

The savvy amongst you will realise that this post itself is a procrastination tool. Back to it, Christine!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


My stepdad came over today and picked up all of the furniture that won’t fit in the new house, plus a few boxes of stuff I won’t need or can’t be bothered sorting until I’m in education department housing somewhere next year. The new house is fully furnished except for the bedroom I’m in, so the stuff to go included my couch, dining suite and entertainment unit, leaving the living area an open, desolate place containing a beanbag, a bookshelf, a few random boxes and cushions, and a TV sitting on the floor.

The general effect of this denuding of my living space is that I’m feeling very depressed and lonely this evening. I hate moving house, hate it bitterly, and I just keep moving, again and again and again. I can never stay in one place long enough to put forth roots, and half the time I wouldn’t want to anyway as I don’t want to stay in the area. Or I do put down roots in spite of myself, and it hurts like hell to leave. I still miss Sydney and I thought I hated the place when I was there!

I never signed on to be a nomad 

The emptiness of the house is making my life feel empty too. I’m lonely. Not for friends, but for a significant other, or rather the significant other. Whoever he is. I’m sick of waiting, hoping, longing. I’m tired of not meeting anyone the least bit interesting. I’m tired of guys I could never like taking an interest in me. And I’m really tired of meeting wonderful guys who are taken . . . that has happened an obscene number of times in the last three years. I’m doing everything I should be doing, but I just haven’t been lucky yet. I’m fed up with waiting and there’s not one damn thing I can do except keep on putting up with it.

Jemima doesn’t like the new furniture arrangements either. She keeps hunkering down in the middle of formerly-occupied bits of floor and looking at me. She’s not going to enjoy moving house, but since she’s stuck with me, poor little Jemmy had better get used to it. That’s our life.

I’m exhausted and ought to go to bed but I can’t face lying there in the dark turning my troubles over and over in my mind. Or worse, losing it and starting to cry when there’s no one here to make me stop. Either way I know I won’t be able to sleep. It’s going to be a bad night and all I can do is postpone it as long as possible, as the world gets quieter and the house feels bigger and the loneliness just doesn’t stop.

Haha . . . ooops . . .

Daylight savings ended in Western Australia today. I knew that yesterday, but when I woke up this morning, planning a very long and full day of packing, I totally forgot about it.

My stepfather is due here at 3pm to pick up all of the stuff that won’t fit at the new house. At what *I* thought was 3:20pm, I gave up waiting, decided that the only way to make him turn up would be to do something else, and switched my computer on.

When I switched it on, of course, the time in the corner was 2:26pm. I realised right away what I’d done, and laughed until I cried. Of course, my stepdad wasn’t late – he wasn’t even due for another 35 minutes!

At least I phoned at what I thought was 9am this morning to confirm times, instead of what I thought was 8am. My parents are early risers, but even for them 7am on a Sunday is not phone call time.

And YAY, daylight savings is over! I hate it with a passion and hope it never comes back.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Last Saturday, a big storm went over parts of Perth, and it happened to come down full force on my mother and stepfather’s house. Their roof always leaks in hard rain (the tiles are old, the house needs re-roofing) and this time it did its best, leaking in a place it’s never leaked before, and drenching Mum’s entire very expensive computer setup. Thankfully the only thing that died was her keyboard, but she was very upset and panicky about it. Halfway through the mop-up, my stepdad James, who is in the SES (State Emergency Service), was called out to help secure other storm-damaged houses. Mum was very upset that he was going off with the SES and leaving her with the house in that state.

Mum: “Well what am I supposed to do if it starts raining again and we get another leak?”
James: “Phone the SES?”

Even Mum had to admit that was funny :-D

Aaargh, why now?!

For more than a year – since before I left Sydney – my pet writing project has been stalled. It’s a fantasy novel that I’ve been working on, in various forms, for the last ten years. It’s currently on Version Three, and there have been a plethora of rethinks and plot changes in between versions. The original, adolescent Version One got a fair bit written before I abandoned the concept and moved on. Version Two ran for 20,000 words before I encountered a fatal plot flaw and had to start all over again. I lost a lot of my new planning when my computer died in September 2005, and since then I just haven’t been able to get it together to get the plot working, much less put down a single line of text.

Right now, I’m incredibly busy. I have to move house, I have three assignments due just after Easter, I’m working, and I’m still trying to have something of a life. The one thing I can’t afford to spend time on right now is my writing.

Yesterday, I had to pass a few hours in the city in between commitments, so I went to the city library to get out something to read. While I was sitting there, I had a flash of inspiration and, in one spurt, wrote the first ~500 words of the first chapter of the novel, the entire first scene. Then, at 1:30am last night when I finished the book I was reading and switched off the light, I had another flash, saw the second scene in my head and had to get up and spend an hour writing that too.

Now I have 1335 words of text typed safely into the computer, and I can feel more words frothing and bubbling in my mind. I just know that if I sat down somewhere comfy with a notebook, I could write another thousand today. BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME!

Why now? Where was all this inspiration last year, when I had every Friday free and ostensibly dedicated to writing?! Aack!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

And so it begins . . .

My two-week study break began today, and with it the sorting and packing begins in earnest. I’m determined to de-clutter and get rid of a whole lot of stuff I just don’t need before this move, although I have my doubts about whether I’ll really manage to get rid of many of the multitudinous mathoms I’ve acquired over the years. At the very least I hope to divest myself of a few small mountains of paper and some clothes I never wear. But it all takes time and energy.

I have to be careful not to spend so much time sorting that I run out of packing time. I have two weeks to pack everything I’m taking with me to the new house, but everything that won’t fit there, either in the house or in the storage room out the back, is going to Mum’s this coming weekend. That includes stuff like my washing machine, kitchen table, couch, entertainment unit, etc . . . so I have to be totally organised by this weekend so that nothing major gets left behind. I have a little leeway because I’ll be hiring a car twice next week (once during the week and once over the moving weekend) so I can run small stuff up to Mum’s if needs be, but still . . . I have lots to do, and I’m working Friday and Saturday.

It’s hot and humid in Perth at the moment – very unpleasant weather for hard physical work. I suppose a cold spell for my convenience would have been too much to expect in March!

Here’s some assorted photos from recent times:

Jemima nestled into Joneen’s cushion on the couch, before Joneen moved:

A very impressive cloud that built up to the north-west before a storm in January:

Jemima decided that the bathroom sink was a fun place to play – she would curl up in it and attack her tail:

Jemima cutely deciding that the sink was an ideal place from which to attack the camera:

Taken today, Jemima escaping from the heat by stretching out under the bathroom sink:

I need to remember to take photos of things other than my cat :-D

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Retrospective shudders

Years and years ago - just under 8 years ago in fact - I excavated a live spider during my very first excavation as an archaeology student. It was a big one, about 5cm long, and I've never seen one like it, before or since.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a book on the flora and fauna of WA, and it had a section on spiders, which mentioned the mouse spider. It turns out that the spider I excavated - the spider that latched onto my little trowel as I scraped it across its burrow, mere centimetres from my hand - was a female mouse spider, the most venomous spider in Western Australia.

Now I have this horrible creepy feeling all over :-/

This is a mouse spider, and about life size too, at least on my monitor:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

. . . uuugh . . .

"Wish you well"

I didn’t particularly like the Bernard Fanning song “Wish You Well” the first time I heard it. The signature lyric (“I just want to wish you well”) is exactly the kind of insipid platitude that my horrible ex-boyfriend from a few years ago used to use to cover up the fact that he was still trying to control me as he’d done during the relationship.

Anyway, recently I listened to the song’s lyrics properly for the first time, and discovered that when taken all together they neatly encapsulate how I felt when Daniel and I stopped seeing each other.

Up so early feel so bright
Didn't get much sleep last night
Freight train rattled through my head
Whistle blowing love is dead
Is dead

Heart attacked by fear and doubt
Won't be long till the truth comes out
First impressions never last
Lover's bonds they hold so fast

Restless future burning bright
The past is holding on so tight
Never heard the warning bell
And I just want to wish you well
I just want to wish you well

Welcome swallows dip and swing
Take their cue from the slightest thing
Rolling fog into my room
Why’d you give up on me so soon?
So soon

Restless future burning bright
The past is holding on so tight
Never heard the warning bell
And I just want to wish you well
I just want to wish you well
I just want to wish you well
I just want to wish you well

Why’d you give up on me so soon?
Why’d you give up on me so soon?
I just want to wish you well
I just want to wish you well

The only line that doesn’t really apply is “never heard the warning bell” – I heard it all right, I just ignored it and hoped it would go away!

Quite apart from its relevance to that situation, I love the evocative language of the song – the metaphor of the train rattling through one’s head is delightfully vivid, and having seen how swallows behave when flying together, the line about them captures the image neatly. The song is full of rich descriptive language, which I love. So it’s now got two thumbs up from me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This and that

I got a compliment from Dad yesterday. He was talking about someone annoyingly passive, and then he said, referring to me: “With you, you might not achieve something the first three times, but there’s always a sense that you’ll keep going and there’ll be a 27th time and suddenly, crack, you’ll do it.” By which he means that I’m persistent and always keep working until I get where I’m trying to go. I thought that was rather nice :-D


I’m feeling a bit sore and sorry for myself – for some reason a tendon in my right ankle has become inflamed, and of course the physio wanted to poke and prod it to find out what the problem was. It’s all taped up now, and I have to wear extremely sensible shoes for a couple of weeks. No ballet flats for me! Plus I have to have it poked and prodded again next week. Stupid ankle.


I forgot to mention this but the house I was looking at moving to, mentioned in previous posts, turned out to be perfect, and I’m moving in two and a half weeks (probably on April 1st). I can’t wait – transport to uni and work is going to be much, much easier from the new place, as are other little things like going out in the city of an evening, and getting to the Cathedral on Sundays and in particular for all of the services at odd times that are coming up at Easter. The only Easter services I’ve ever been to were either a) ones at which I was an alter server or pastoral assistant, or b) the one at which I was baptised and confirmed. I’ve never got to sit back and enjoy them, and I’m determined to do that this year.

I think that’s all for today!

Monday, March 5, 2007

New Week . . .

I’ve been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series for the umpteenth time, as light relief from my heavy schedule of 20-30 papers or chapters to read for my classes each week. I found the quote below in Anne of the Island and it felt very close to what I’m feeling this week:

For the next three weeks Anne and Priscilla continued to feel as strangers in a strange land. Then, suddenly, everything seemed to fall into focus – Redmond, professors, classes, students, studies, social doings. Life became homogenous again, instead of being made up of detached fragments. The Freshmen, instead of being a collection of unrelated individuals, found themselves a class, with a class spirit, a class yell, class interests, class antipathies, and class ambitions.

This is exactly how things have been so far this week . . . well, apart from the “class yell” lol. Classes have settled into regular attendance, we can now recognise most people in the course by sight if not by name, friendships and groups have been established, readings are starting to make sense, etc. It has indeed all fallen into focus.

I didn’t really expect the ‘class’ feel of this degree. A bachelors’ degree is by nature fragmented, as everyone does different units; my honours group was so small that it didn’t count (and I wasn’t on campus much anyway); and my previous graduate diploma only had about 30 people in the course and they all seemed to be majoring in different areas. This year’s course has around 180 students in it, between Grad Dip Ed and B Ed, Primary and Secondary. We don’t all share the same set of units, it depends on which course we’re doing and how we’re doing it, but we’re all there to learn to be teachers, a homogeneity which makes up for the variation in units. It also helps that most of the B Ed students are right out of high school, so they’re still in their teens or very early 20s and haven’t quite lost the high school class mentality.

There’s a small amount of friction between the Grad Dip Ed and B Ed students – the B Ed-ers regard us Grad Dip-ers as “Johnny come latelies” who are trying to cram an entire 4 years’ worth of bachelor degree into a one-year course. Grad Dip Ed-ers regard the B Ed-ers as kids who’ve gone straight from school to learning to teach school and will then go straight back into schools again, without ever having explored more esoteric subjects or worked in the ‘real world’ (as we have, since we Grad Dip-ers all have previous degrees and most have professional work experience). There’s elements of truth to both attitudes, but luckily the friction is low-key and mainly manifests in the fact that each group tends to hang with its own and not mingle much with the others in workshops unless forced to do so! To come back to the quote above, this dichotomy echoes nicely with the frictions between ‘Freshmen’ and ‘Sophomores’ that L.M. Montgomery relates in the passage following the one quoted above.

Anyway, I’m feeling very comfortable with and glad of this whole ‘class’ feeling – I’m really enjoying the experience and I can’t express how glad I am to be doing what I’m doing, here and now. And next year, although I can’t foresee where I’ll be or who I’ll teach, will be a simply marvelous adventure.

PS: People who like the Anne books, watch this space: a treatise on education as portrayed in the Anne of Green Gables series will be appearing here shortly. I’m working on it slowly, but it promises to be quite interesting if you like that kind of thing!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Ohh, Jemmy-Cat!

Jemima's latest trick is that she's found some way of getting up on top of the pantry, and she likes to sleep there. I'm not going to try to stop her - she's not doing any harm up there, and besides I can't reach her to get her down. But it was quite alarming the first time, to walk into the kitchen and be miaowed at from above!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

She also did something hilarious the other day: in my house there is a stairwell which has metal banisters with metal mesh panels underneath them. I was on the lower flight of stairs and she was on the upper flight (the two flights run parallel and are separated by aforementioned mesh panels). Jem decided to try to leap over the banister at me. She got her front paws on to the banister and obviously meant to hook her back claws into the mesh, but she didn’t manage it in time and slid, hanging by her front paws, about a metre down the banister and fell off on to the landing. She was quite alright but looked very taken aback! I sat down on the stairs and laughed until I cried, it was that funny to watch.


General update: uni is still good, I’m very busy and I’m part of a few spontaneous study partnerships and study groups now. Work is also fine. I’ve started packing to move, and that’s going fine too. All is good.

I’ve also started examining more carefully the education department’s breakdown of the state, to work out what order I’m going to put the regions in on my job application form towards the end of the year. If I’m going to live in the country permanently, rather than moving back to the city, then I want to live in the Warren-Blackwood education district, or in the south-eastern parts of the Bunbury district. But for my first placement I’m actually favouring the Midlands district and the southern half of the Mid West district. You can check out maps of the districts here:

As it stands, my current ranking list is:

Mid West
Swan (Perth metro)
West Coast (Perth metro & north of the city)
Fremantle-Peel (Perth metro & south of the city)
Canning (Perth metro)

As you can see - if you look at the maps lol - I've left the two far north regions, Pilbara and Kimberley, right at the bottom. I really don't want to go that far! And the four metro regions are only just above those, as I do want to experience country teaching and besides it takes longer to get a job if they think you only want a metro placement. The Goldfields and Esperance are further away but still mostly feasible, and Albany, Mid West, Narrogin and Midlands are all close enough, and pleasant enough in terms of climate and vegetation, to be very comfortable to live in (apart from the upper reaches of the Mid West, but there aren’t many schools up there anyway, apart from Remote Community Schools, and I don’t intend to apply for a remote schools placement). Bunbury and Warren-Blackwood districts are my ideal – not only are they within a few hours’ drive of the city (as are Narrogin and the Midlands), but they have a splendid climate and the kind of vegetation I love. They’re also, however, highly competitive areas to teach in, so I don’t expect to get a graduate placement there. I’d be more than happy with a placement in the Midlands, Narrogin or the southern Mid West.

I spent a lot of hours with the education department’s directory of schools and a book of maps of Western Australia, to figure all that out!


Oh, and Matthew found some RAM he didn’t need and gave it to me, so my computer now works splendidly. Yay!