Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010: it's a wrap

Another year almost done... In Decembers past I have posted a wrap up of the year's most gleeful happenings without any attempt to weigh up the good with the bad because this blog is not concerned with bad stuff.

But this year that approach doesn't feel right. Good things  - wonderful things - have happened, but 2010 has been the worst year of my life. As many of you know, my father died in April after being diagnosed with a terminal illness at the start of January. There's probably nothing that could balance the 2010 scales of happiness after that. I'm not happy really (for various reasons related and unrelated to losing Dad), but I'm working on it.

That said, although Dad's illness and death were harrowing, difficult times are fertile ground for personal growth, and so it was for me.

I realised I am much stronger than I thought. You don't really know what you're capable of until you have to face it head on and just get on with it. I have more faith in myself now. I know that whatever happens, I'll get through it. That's a nice feeling.

I never thought I would be able to stand up in front of all those people at Dad's funeral and speak, but I had to do it for my Dad and I did (I looked at my hands just before I stood up to speak and they weren't even trembling). I can only describe the way I felt afterwards as euphoric. It was an awful day, but an amazing day.

Anyway, enough of the bad-but-good stuff. Here's the unadulterated good bits:

* My trip to New York  was far and away the best bit of 2010, because it was my first ever trip overseas AND I WENT TO NEW YORK! I fell instantly in love with the place. I had the best time and I'm already thinking of going back.

Taking an overseas trip was the number one thing on my list of 101 Things to do Before I'm 40 and I crossed it off before the year was half over. I finally went to another country! Finally!

* Not only did I take my first overseas trip, I did it on my own. I'd never wanted to travel alone before (partly why I got to 38 without having travelled) and before Dad died I was a bit scared about it. I wasn't sure how I'd go. But after his funeral, I wasn't worried at all and I didn't need to be. I hit the ground running - I wasn't scared, I didn't feel overwhelmed, I didn't get lost, I didn't miss any flights and I cruised the subway like a native (well, almost). I felt damned pleased with myself!

* I finally quit the mind numbing job that had me feeling like I was wasting my life away. It was like shedding an old skin and did wonders for my state of mind (albeit temporarily).

* I've had no trouble finding new jobs, even if I haven't settled into a permanent role yet. Despite feeling initially overwhelmed (particularly in my first temp role), I've surprised myself how with quickly I've got the hang of things. I have more confidence in my abilities now.

* I'm working in the area of law I always wanted to work in and I'm working in a top tier firm - it's a looooooooooooong way away from my old job at the firm with 15 people!

What a year of high highs and low lows. It certainly hasn't been boring! It's been a period  of personal growth and some progress in a few areas where changes needed to be made. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm facing in the right direction at least.

I'm looking foward to 2011. It's going to be hard for it to be worse than this year, but I'll probably also have to work at making it better than this year.  I want to go overseas again, get settled into a permanent job once more, get some of my health issues sorted and...well, I'd like to be in a relationship again. I've had enough of singledom.

You never know what's around the corner...

And lastly....

As always, I've had lots of lovely feedback from you guys. I always say I write this blog for me, but really, it just wouldn't be the same without the comments and emails from you. It's gratifying to know people are reading my nerdy little ramblings (and more so that they keep coming back to read more). You have consistently been a source of glee. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Wishing you a gleeful festive season and good health and happiness in 2011.

* I'm visiting my mum for Christmas from 24 December until 2 January so posting will be sporadic at best.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ducks, extra leave and an anniversary

I saw this little duck family on my way to work this morning and then I saw it again on my way home. The ducklings are so tiny..

Mama and Papa Duck are one of two pairs of ducks who seem to call the banks of the Yarra between my place and the city home. I do see larger groups of ducks from time to time, but I see these two pairs on their own all the time (although I suppose I'm just assuming it's the same pairs! I need to start looking for disinguishing features.)

There's also a pair of swans which live in the area and have hatched cygnets on the bank.  I know they're the same pair because one of them has a marker with a number around its neck. I like seeing the familiar birdy faces. It's like having pets, but without responsibility and poop duties.

I got my extended holiday! Yay! Just as well because I've compiled a rather extensive to do list that will no doubt fill up the whole 16 days.

Yesterday was my sixth anniversary of moving into this flat. That's the longest I've lived in one place since I left home (although I was at my last place for five years).

I can't believe I've got to stay so long here considering how often the flat has been sold, but I'm so glad I have. I love it. I won't be moving until I have to (as much as I'd like to live on the other side of the river).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Word nerdery and the joy of anticipation

Simonds Hall, Toorak Rd West

I went into the city today to do some Christmas shopping. I got sidetracked at Readers Feast and bought myself a new word book called I Never Knew There was a Word for It. It's a collection of expressions from around the world for "any feeling, act, object, animal or vegetable you could ever possibly need to describe".

From the back cover alone I have learnt the words fisselig (German for flustered into incompetence), noop (the point of your elbow) and crambazzled (a Northern England word for a man who's prematurely aged from drinking too much).

You know what this means? I'm going to be bombarding you with lists of my favourite new words soon. I haven't done that in ages.

I won't start reading it until after I've finished Anne of Green Gables. I've got to stop starting new books before finishing old ones.  

That reminds me...I have occasionally blogged about the pleasure of anticipation and I read this in Anne of Green Gables the other night, in a chapter headed 'The Delights of Anticipation':
"You set your heart too much on things, Anne," said Marilla with a sigh. "I"m afraid there will be a great many disappointments in store for you through life."

"Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them," exclaimed Anne. "You mayn't get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs Lynde says, 'Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.' But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed."
I have requested a few extra days leave from work, which would extend my Christmas break from 10 days to 16. I decided I need the rest more than I need the money. I haven't had a decent break all year - and it's been a big year (the two weeks in New York was fantastic, but hardly restful). I've got my fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cloud watching

Funny patch of cloud above Eureka Tower tonight (bonus chopper)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Here's some glee I prepared earlier

I've kind of been enjoying not having to post every day now NaBloPoMo is over, but I've saved up some gleeful stuff from the past few days.

I had my work Christmas party on Friday night and it was fun. They really go all out. It was at the Grand Hyatt Ballroom (lah-di-dah) and, in keeping with the circus theme, there were acrobats, funny mirrors, plate spinners, stilt walkers, clowns and a ringmaster for emcee. The three course meal was delicious. The band was funky. The dancing was vigorous.

The highlight of the night was the law graduate revue, which was a medley of singing, dancing, video vignettes and in-jokes (most of which I understood. Yay). There were parodies of the Old Spice ad and Master Chef, and the finale was a spectacular rendition of Robbie Williams' Let Me Entertain You (substituting the name of the firm for 'Me').

All in all, a great night. People say you're just part of a faceless mob working at such a large firm, but it really feels like there's a sense of community. Or maybe it's still all too new for me to be cynical about it....

(Oh, I didn't wear the dress in the end - I decided I would look too different to everyone else and I'm too new to be so bold. Sorry, no pics from the night.)

During the meal, one of my friends who started a couple of weeks before I did asked how old I am. Her mouth dropped when I told her. She thought I was younger than her. She's 27. For those who don't know, I'm 38. I love that moment. (That's what staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen can do for you.)

I was given a box of Lindor Balls on Friday as a thank you for my efforts preparing for a big trial that started in Sydney today. It wasn't necessary (especially as I'm paid for overtime!) but it's wonderful to know you're appreciated. 

As if that weren't enough, today the two solicitors on the case who are in Sydney had a box of cupcakes delivered for the many people who helped with preparations. A very lovely gesture. 

In even more work-related news, it looks like I will be made permanent at the firm, but not for another couple of months. I'm starting a new role in the same group next week and they want to make sure that works out before they sign me up.   

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snip, Santa, holidays

I had to make up many archive boxes today. Although I find the sound of cardboard scraping on cardboard almost as bad as fingernails down a blackboard, I did enjoy snipping the plastic tape that holds the bundles of flat pack boxes together.

My tram driver tonight (a man in his 50s) was wearing a Santa hat and had decorated his cabin with blue and gold tinsel. Teehee.

I have 10 days off at Christmas (the whole firm shuts up shop) and I can't wait, even though I won't be paid for the leave. I'm going to my mum's in Wauchope (northern NSW) for a few days, then having a few days at home. I love having time at home on the holidays. I often find it more relaxing than going away.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Not gerberas...geraniums in window boxes are everywhere
in the inner city these days. I like it. (That's cnr Little Collins and Bank Place in the city.)

And I'm back again even though I don't have to be!

I got a bunch of happy orange gerberas from the partner I work for to say I'm doing a great job. How lovely is that? I feel good every time I look at them. I would have been pleased with the feedback alone, but the flowers make it extra special. 

The job is challenging, but I do feel like I'm doing a good job. It's far more satisfying than my mind numbing old job.