Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas and so on

I've had a very nice Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Dad, Dad's girlfriend, my brother, my brother's fiancee and I gathered at Dad's, and we got Chinese takeaway and made a festive meal of it. We all sat around chatting until late, when I had to leave for midnight mass. I was rostered on at the cathedral, so no escaping it!

Midnight mass was fun - all four acolytes had the giggles and we kept teasing each other or making eye contact and grinning about things. It was a very delightful experience.

I wasn't in bed until 2:30am, so I was pretty tired when my alarm went off. I dragged myself back to the cathedral for a "big moment" - I was rostered on as Gospel Subdeacon, standing in front of the nave altar beside the celebrant, assisting with the major parts of the service. Scary, as I've only done it once before! This is how I looked:

There was a TV camera there, but the news I managed to tape only showed a few seconds of the footage. I was in it, but was facing the altar with my back to the camera, so you could only see my robes and ponytail! Pretty cool nonetheless.

After church I had lunch with Dad, his girlfriend and my Grandma. It was low-key as Grandma has COPD and poor hearing, so we can't be too boisterous around her. It was a pleasant meal, but I was glad to run away to my room for a while afterwards for some no-people time.

In the late afternoon I trekked up to Mum's for dinner. We opened presents then sat down to a fantastic traditional turkey meal, which Mum has down to a fine art. Afterwards we sat around chatting, reminiscing and joking for hours.

On Boxing Day I slept until midday, trying to catch up on some sleep. In the afternoon we (Dad, his girlfriend, me) went to Grandma's for afternoon tea, where we met my aunt, her girlfriend, and my 24-year-old female cousin whom I haven't seen for ages. We had a lovely time chatting about family and nibbling delicacies.

I'm determined to go nowhere and do nothing today, apart from sit at the computer, practise my French & German, and maybe write something. I'm tired, but it's been a good Christmas, and I'm sure I'll have lots of fond memories of it when I'm freezing my butt off in London this time next year!

I'm currently in the process of choosing my units for next semester. At this point I've decided to take Introduction to Literature and Thinking Theology (basically Theology 101). The degree keeps morphing in my head, but right now I'm majoring in Literature and minoring in Creative Writing and Theology. Part of my mind keeps pondering that it's not too late by any means to switch to a BTheol rather than a BA, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. So I'll minor in it, see how I feel about it. I'll go ahead with my plan to do this degree and get a PhD in Lit, then see whether BTheol still appeals. It's the next logical step in this faith journey, and has been calling me softly for some time, but I'm not at that point yet. If that's where I'm going, I'll get there eventually!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I can't believe it ...

This should not still be happening.

How can any parent or caregiver, no matter how tired they are or how annoying their child is being, not realise that HOT CARS KILL BABIES AND TODDLERS?!

They even have signs up at many shopping centres warning people that children can die if they're left in a car on a hot day. Thank God passers-by decided to smash the windows and extract the child before he suffered any serious harm. I hope the mother faces some serious consequences.

Parents & caregivers, do not leave your children in the car. Ever!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Stiff Lesson

In early December I had my Implanon contraceptive implant taken out, and I decided not to have another one put in. I realised that having the first one put in coincided with the beginning of my major weight-gain problems, so I might as well try without it for a while. I'm not sure I ever want to go back to hormonal contraceptives, but that's a thought for another day.

The upshot of all this is that, after a six-year hiatus, I'm relearning what a normal menstrual cycle looks like.

I don't remember stiff swollen legs as being part of that, but I can't think of any other reason why I would have them. And of course I'm a lot heavier than I was then, which could contribute to the difference. Either way, ugh. They feel horrible and look absurd. Puffy and hard to the touch and sore and stiff to move. Blech.

Recently I became involved in a Facebook spat in which a male acquaintance made a joke trivialising rape, and he and a group of other male acquaintances began abusing a female friend of mine who called them out on it. They started claiming that feminism has gone too far and society now discriminates against men. One guy cited violence against men and its low reporting & conviction rates as an example of this. No. Violence against men is trivialised by the male-dominated and patriarchal justice system, and the reason why it is trivialised is that our society still believes that men are superior creatures and should be impervious to an attack by a mere woman. It's a sexist attitude against women that keeps violence towards men out of the spotlight.

I was reminded of this the other night when I was watching Sydney's "Carols in the Domain" on TV. The male presenter was the first on stage and introduced the female presenter. She walked out, and he said "doesn't she look gorgeous? Couldn't you just wrap her up and pop her under your tree?" UGH. NO. She is a person, not a thing. GAAAAAG. The female presenter looked askance at him; my family were staring at the TV in astonishment. From his still-gleeful expression, I'm sure he had no idea he'd said anything inappropriate.

When that kind of attitude is so prevalent even amongst those in the midst of the politically correct media spotlight, how can anyone claim that we've gone too far? Utterly ridiculous.

I got a book store gift card from the school board at the staff Christmas lunch (as did the rest of the staff), and I spent it buying reducing the cost of "French for Dummies" and "German for Dummies". I'm determined to have the basics of both languages before I go to the UK, so that I feel more comfortable in the solo continental travelling that I'm sure I'll be doing. I want to brush up my Italian too. I can still mumble a few phrases - last night I was with an Italian-Australian friend of mine and managed to say "I speak a little Italian, but not well. I studied it for two years at university." clearly and correctly, so I must still have some of the knowledge stuck away in there! But I'll leave that until I get French and German sorted.

Am I crazy? It's possible :P

Friday, December 18, 2009

Farewell, School Number 2

I cleaned out my desk and shelves at the Montessori school today, said goodbye to my co-teacher, and left.

I'm not really sad to be leaving. The ridiculous parent attitudes, the school's role as a social "too hard basket" and the effects of the financial crisis have made this a torrid year. I'm sorry that my early enthusiasm about the school was shattered. The year started out with such promise:  a good job in a gorgeous school a suburb away from where I grew up, teaching in a child-oriented and relaxed environment. It seemed so wonderful. But underneath the shiny exterior was a seething mass of bitter untrusting parents, disrespectful and disengaged children, insular teaching cliques, and politics, politics, politics! I was exhilarated when I started, and thought that I would stay for years. I'm sorry that it didn't work out that way, but at the same time I'm glad I didn't get drawn in and enmeshed with all the craziness. I'm still free to walk away, and I'm walking to something even more wonderful. Next year is going to be glorious!

I'm a little sorry for my co-teacher too. She's losing a very strong co-teaching arrangement, but has to carry on the class regardless. At least most of the really nasty families are not coming back next year, so she will have a nice class to work with.

I'm going to miss my kids, and particularly the little choir I built up out of nothing. The kids sang their hearts out at the family gathering on Wednesday night. When I get a copy of the video I'll post a bit here - the quality won't be good enough for me to worry about posting it like I would with a photo. They sang beautifully and the parents were blown away - one mother told me afterwards that her 6-year-old son had never even mentioned that he was in the choir, so they were blown away when they saw him up there singing! They were also all so pleased that the kids sang a capella, so they could actually be heard. And here was me worrying that it would be odd without backing music! It was a real triumph and I'm so proud of those kids! I will miss that kind of achievement, but new experiences await. And who knows, when I find a permanent position at a school in London, I might just make music there too.

I went shopping after my trip to school. I got all but one of my Christmas presents, along with a bright pink leather cover for the ebook reader I'm getting from Dad, and four t-shirts to supplement my summer wardrobe. A very satisfying exercise.

As you can see in the sidebar, it's now only 140 days until I leave for London. It was 186 days away when I decided that I was going. Time flies!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Days

School ends at lunchtime tomorrow, so I've got just over a day left at this school, plus the "family gathering" this evening. It hasn't really sunk in yet that I'm not going to be here in a few days. Right now the classroom is so full of life - Christmas decorations everywhere and glitter all over the floor - that it's hard to comprehend that on Friday morning I'll be packing all my things away and taking them home.

There's some things I'll miss and some I won't, but I'm having trouble focussing on reflections about my Montessori experience. The adventure that's waiting for me in May is so overwhelming that it's eclipsing all other considerations!

I've found evenings a bit strange this week. I've had nothing to do for school - no presents to create or cards to write or reports to finish. So I dragged out my writing again and started examining my abortive 2008 NaNo, of which I wrote 8000+ words before stalling out.

I realised two things about it. The first was that I was writing it from the wrong POV. It's a YA fantasy and it lacked immediacy, which will be solved if I write it in first person. The second was that I was trying to tell too many stories at once. The original story had got lost amongst several other stories that had crept in. At first I cut out a whole section of plot, but eventually I realised that I'm going to have to start over and take the story in a different direction (literally, in fact - the characters are heading into the wilds rather than to the city!). Irritating, but at least I'm writing again.

I'm being a lazy teacher today - I'm sitting at my computer while the kids colour in, do craft and play on the computers. I've got Christmas carols playing on iTunes giving the classroom a dreamy chilled-out feeling. It's very pleasant really!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Birthday Goodness :)

I turned 29 yesterday, and celebrated with a "Not Quite 30th Birthday Party" hehe. I won't be able to have the grand 30th shinding I was planning as I'll be celebrating my 30th in England, so I threw it a year early in a slightly less dramatic format. It was a great evening with lots of fun had by all.

Today I had lunch with various family members on Mum's side and had a nice convivial time.

These are some of the gifts I got:

A turquoise & silver pendant;
A pair of silver & amethyst earrings;
The Lonely Planet: Europe on a Shoestring;
The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel;
A box of Toblerone Tinys;
A bottle of Brown Brothers Tawny Port;
An Australia to UK power point adaptor;
A shiny black passport cover with cute things embroidered in black on it;
A necklace of blue Venetian glass beads;
A £10 note (worth $20 Australian; the start of my first-day-in-the-UK currency collection!);
An unspecified amount donated to World Vision in my name; and
A digital photo frame (major present from Mum, the idea being that I can put up any photo anywhere once I'm in the UK).

I'm also getting a BeBook e-book reader (major present from Dad - can't do without books even when moving continents!) and a silver and amethyst pendant, both of which are still in the post. I'm looking forward to those late birthday presents!

I've had a lovely birthday and I feel very privileged to have such lovely friends and family :)

Good Evening,

And welcome to Christine, Wondering.

If you've come from my old blog, I'm glad to see you again. If you're a new reader, good to have you here!

On Christine, Wondering you are likely to read about:

  • My preparations for moving to London, which happens on the 8th May 2010;
  • My adventures in the Society for Creative Anachronism;
  • Funny anecdotes about my family, friends, workmates and random others;
  • Things I've done as a part of my ongoing Bachelor of English and Creative Arts (literature / creative writing);
  • Food I've made, the more organic the better;
  • Random philosophy about life experiences;
  • My battle to eat better, exercise more, and become more environmentally friendly;
  • Anything else that it occurs to me to write about.

Essentially, it's a window into my life, no matter where you or I are in the world.

Comments and conversation are very welcome!

I hope you will leave a comment introducing yourself and linking me to your own blog if you have one :)


New Blog has arrived :)

With everything that's happening in my life, I decided that it was time for a new blog. I want to be able to share my blog with everyone and anyone, and I can't do that on the Insanity Outlet, with its 3+ years of very private ranting!

I will still use this blog occasionally as a place for not-real-life-safe outbursts, but the majority of my posts will now be on Christine, Wondering. Make sure you update your bookmarks!

The first post will be up there in about 15 minutes, all about my birthday :)