Monday, February 27, 2017

When Tim is home

When Tim is home, and I move the garbage can out from under the sink into the kitchen, I can come back a little while later and it will be empty and clean.

When Tim is away and I move the garbage can out from under the sink into the kitchen, a few hours later the kitchen smells like garbage. Oh. I have to take that out.

When Tim is home, the junk mail automatically gets filtered and shredded.

When Tim is away, the mail builds up in the box.

When Tim is home, he meets Jonathan on Mondays on the other side of town with a big bag full of skates and a snack, just before lessons. And hauls another big bag away immediately after.

When Tim is away, Jonathan hauls two big bags up the hill to school, then onto the bus and train, and off to skating lessons on his own. I show up to help haul at the very end.

When Tim is home, everybody gets two kisses at bedtime and gives two.

When Tim is away, I only get one and I only give one.

When Tim is home, a hot dinner awaits my return on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

When Tim is away, we pull out cold bread and leftovers those nights.

When Tim is home, the cupboards and the fridge magically fill up with food. We're never low on milk, and the fruit bowl has at least enough apples to make it through tomorrow night.

When Tim is away, we ration fruit. Don't eat the last apple or you don't get one for lunch tomorrow. I have to stop at Oakleigh on my way home on the train to pick up about twenty pounds of fruit. And then haul them up to our apartment in time to turn around and catch the end of the skating lesson. Tired.

When Tim is home, I go to bed on time.

When Tim is away ... it's late.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


I spent ten days in Germany in February at a workshop. The venue was near the city where old friends live, so I was able to stop by and spend a weekend with Jorg and Anja before the workshop.

The weather was beautiful in Melbourne just before I left.

And also beautiful, but very different in Germany.

The workshop was held at a re-purposed palace.

With the ruins of an old castle on the hill.

It was a lovely journey. I spent time with old friends in a beautiful setting, made new contacts for work and discovered new and interesting projects and ideas for research.

And to add a little balance, the trip required a 14 hour flight to Dubai, followed by a seven hour flight to Frankfurt, followed by three hours on the train and then a taxi. And that was just the transit time, not the check-in time and wait time and layover time. My winter wardrobe was not quite sufficient, especially the shoes, for the wet and the mud and the slippery. I spent most of the week tired, although I did ok with the jet lag. I didn't get home until 1:00am Sunday and then had to meet a colleague for work at 8:30am Monday.

But all the good and all the bad has passed. The photos from the trip are lovely.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

First day of school

The summer holidays have ended. Jonathan went back to school -- year eight -- on Wednesday. Here he is the first day.

And here he is with his dad. He is getting really really tall. 98% percentile for his age, said the coach from his recent skating camp. Really tall.

And off on public transit on his own.

Later that day, needing to stretch my legs, I took a walk around campus, and found a large flock of corella cockatoos over by the main campus water feature.

And a pair of long beaked corellas, too.
The bird pictures really don't have to do anything with this post, or the topic at hand. I just saw the pictures and wanted to show you how lovely campus can be, on the side by the water feature, and how lovely birds are here. But you already knew that I have a thing for Australian birds.

And so back to the topic at hand, near the beginning of every school year, I realise I could be significantly more productive and efficient if I just organised my office a little better.

Trip to OfficeWorks.
Twelve whiteboard markers, one pale blue binder, and a large stack of paper later, I am ready for a very productive beginning of my own school year. Luckily I still have a couple of weeks before that happens.

Plain old boring life

The last time I wrote, I said that my next post would be about plain old boring life again. So I've been hanging around waiting for plain old boring so that I could write my next post. And it hasn't happened.

The week after my parents left, some crazy guy drove a car into a pedestrian zone in my neighborhood, killing six people, including a baby and a nine year old child. I was at work when I heard about it, 50 minutes away from home. And then I realized that Jonathan was supposed to be taking a tram down that very street, on his own, at that very time, coming back from skating camp. So I took a few deep breaths, trying not to panic, and sent a query text to Tim. And fifteen minutes later I knew that my family was ok. Both home, both safe, both ok.

But I'm kind of not ok. Sometimes I still have to take a few deep breaths, trying not to panic, letting my family live life fully rather than hunker down in a bunker somewhere with a two year supply of food and ammunition. Part of the job of being a parent is to let a child swallow up a huge portion of your heart, so that your entire happiness is wrapped up in them, and then let them grow up anyway. You can't put them in a bubble suit, steel reinforced, and follow them around every moment of their life. And even if you could, that wouldn't even necessarily keep them safe. Crazy things happen. And there is a whole third of my heart on the line, but I have to just let it go.

And that was only the first week.

The next week we celebrated Australia day, the national holiday, soon after a presidential inauguration in my home country. We stood and sang the Australian national anthem in church. And in my home country, the crazy guy who was now the president spewed out decree after decree about building walls, banning travel, taking away health care from vulnerable people. He didn't care how many people were hurt and how many everyday lives were disrupted. He didn't need a reason, because he was president. And I started thinking about how beautiful everyday life is, and how great it is to be able to just assume that people try to do the right thing, for good reasons. And how much we will lose if we can't assume that. We will have to hunker down in bunkers with a two year supply of food and ammunition just to protect ourselves from our neighbors. I don't want to live in that world.

Deep breath.

Being anxious makes life difficult. It's hard to focus on research, in particular, when you are worried or upset. And if I can't get my research done, I can't justify writing blog posts for fun. So I just don't do anything. Curl in a ball and dream up the floor plan of my bunker.

I hereby resolve to do a little better.