Spring is letting winter know that it's time to go

I’ve let this blog languish almost as long as it’s been winter. Spring is on its way though and is letting winter know it will be kicked to the kerb for another nine months. Maybe spring will help renew me around here too.

It’s been an interesting few months.

I overheard a conversation in a cafe a few weeks ago which could change my life in a fairly major way even though I’d been heading in that direction anyway. Am not spilling beans on this overheard conversation until things are settled though.

I was on the radio recently. I was approached out of the blue to speak about venting online from an online specialist point of view. While I was being briefed/asked if I would go on, part of me was thinking – no, no no. The other part of me thought, what the heck – take a risk. I listened to the other part and did it. Without having listened to myself I think I did okay. And I didn’t embarrass myself or get stuck for words. I was on the other end of a phone which made it a bit easier I think, and they had another person on discussing the same topic so the focus wasn’t totally on me anyway.

My son is a few months into his 14th year now and it’s an interesting journey. I’m finding I have to let the type of control I used to have with him go. I’m finding that really hard. It’s particularly hard around how much time he thinks he should spend playing xbox, compared to the amount of time I think he should be allowed on it. Overall though, he’s pretty pleasant and seems to be liking high school.

Balloon glow

Balloon glow event at Strathalbyn.

I’d heard about this event – the Balloon Glow – a couple of years ago and went to see it but was a day late.

This year, I heard about it again via a photography group I’m in and thought I’d drag the lad out to see it with me. A friend came along as well. I didn’t bother hooking up with the photography group in the end. Once I saw the amount of people I didn’t even try.

We got there about 5pm and realised that it was a very popular event by the amount of cars crawling the area looking for a park. I managed to find a park a few blocks away and walked there. While we lined up a very stressed mum walked past us with her baby in the pram and toddler whinging next to her. We heard her say, ‘Well we’re not going back. There’s so many rude and inconsiderate people in there.’ It didn’t bode well.

We paid our entry fee and walked in and saw queues of people surrounding us. I saw the longest queue for the toilets I’ve ever seen anywhere. We thought we’d get some fresh donuts but saw the queue for that and decided against it. My son and my friend bought a hot chocolate – surprisingly there was no queue for that – but I declined because I didn’t fancy queuing for the loos afterwards.

My first thought was that this event was really badly organised but then I realised that there’s no way they’d expected this amount of people as they obviously hadn’t catered for them. There were no portable toilets anywhere and there definitely wasn’t enough food and beverage stalls to cater for the crowds.

While we waited for the balloons to arrive on the oval and be inflated, the lad decided he was bored and would like to go and get some donuts so I handed him some cash and let him go. Bless him, he came back with some just as the balloons were being inflated.

We were told to not stand on the dog track so everyone moved back off it. Then we were told that we could indeed stand there, so maybe it was a bit disorganised after all.

All that aside, it was pretty spectacular. We had to stand back to start with and then were allowed on the oval to get up close. It’s then you realise just how big these balloons are, and how hot and big that flame is to keep the thing inflated.

There was no reason to hang around after the light show so off we went to buy some food. We went past the busy pub and settled for the not so busy one around the corner. I think they need Gordon Ramsay in there to roust them up. The service was abysmal, and the wait for the food was long. And the choice of food was schnitzel, steak or various forms of fried seafood. The one special – lamb shanks – were all sold out by the time we ordered so I had fish and chips.

So, it was an interesting evening in seeing how bad organisation is done with some pretty lights thrown in.

Joy in the simple things

Birds having a great time frolicking in the rain

The lad and I were driving to go and help with the food shopping for his camping weekend away the other night when we saw and heard all these birds frolicking up on the wire. He got me to stop the car and got out to take some photos (so photo credit to my son on this one). I’m glad I took the time to stop. It was a back street making it easier to pull over and stop. We’d actually left the house a bit earlier instead of the last minute rush as is often the case.

It was raining and the birds were relishing the rain. It’s been a dry summer, therefore we’ve not had too many rainfalls recently.

They were making a heck of a noise and there were even birds hanging off other birds. It was great to see, and to hear. Do they normally hang out together like this around sunset, or did they come together because of the rain?

Too often the rain keeps us indoors but I quite like a walk in the rain. The dog doesn’t mind it either. He doesn’t like a gentle sprinkle with the hose and he definitely doesn’t like being washed, but add a lead and walk into the equation, getting wet doesn’t matter. The rub-down when we get home is worth it too.

Adelaide Festival 2015 – Blinc

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

It can be a Herculean effort to take the teenager out with you, but persist. It’s easier to leave them at home to do more Xbox time, but once they get over the whinging they can be quite pleasant company and actually enjoy themselves.

Mama and son

This time we went into town to see the lights of Blinc before they finish up this weekend.

It’s pretty special seeing Parliament House and the Festival Centre adorned in pretty pictures and lights and the accompanying sound interrupts your thoughts every now and then when you’re close to the speakers.

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

I would have liked to walk through the lights in the rotunda in Elder Park but I hate queues so satisfied myself with a non-interactive look.

The elephant was pretty spectacular and the lad helped out a woman who wondered when the effin’ elephant was going to turn around. You have to go to the other side to see the other end, he informed her.

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

We wandered along the Torrens and admired other lights from Blinc and nearby buildings.

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

Adelaide OvalAdelaide Festival - Blinc

There are probably some we missed either because we were sick of walking or I’m crap at reading maps. But it’s great seeing Adelaide so busy and bustling with all of this activity. Pity there weren’t more regular trams at night-time – we saw our tram pull away just before we got to the stop and the next one didn’t arrive for another 20-25 minutes.

Looking a bit alien

‘So, how did you get to be an alien?’ I was asked.

‘You have to know the right alien,’ I answered back.

This was a brief exchange at Surrender the other night. About 40 of us gathered outside Parliament House to get our photos taken, professionally and by passers-by.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

I think we were a bit of a sideshow for people walking past.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

And I love how inventive a few of my friends got with their outfits.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

I went green. Body and facepaint for my face and neck, green hairspray, my green 70s onesie and my son’s cape worn inside-out (and borrowed with his permission). I’d bought some alien eyes to go on top of my head but will be returning them because the elastic wasn’t going to hold anything up, so I improvised with some pipe cleaners. And a little behind the scenes secret, it’s really hard to go to the loo in a portaloo when you have to negotiate a cape and a onesie.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

I didn’t take any photos at Surrender, but below is one at the end of the night outside the Festival Centre.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

Introverts at job interviews

Against a brick wall. Day 175/366.

I had a job interview recently and to put it succinctly – I bombed at the interview. I had a great written application and had it got to the referee stage they would have talked me up I’m sure, but the actual interview – it sucked. I sucked!

Yes, I had prepared but when it came down to it, all that preparation went out the window.

I really hate the format of the we’ll ask you a question comprising at least two parts, and we’ll sit here and look at you while you answer. I inevitably forget what the question is and I forget what I know.

I wondered if I was alone in this so I did a search, and surprise surprise – it’s a thing!

Susan Cain, well-known author of Quiet – a book about introverts says:

“The modern-day interview is mostly designed to hire narcissists,” Cain says, pointing to a recent study that indicates narcissists who have overt charm, verbal fluency and a take-charge personality, do better at job interviews than modest people.

I thought about it afterwards and thought that if the interview process were different, ie more conversational, I would have done a lot better. Or if I were given the questions in more of a role play situation I would have done a lot better.

I’m not afraid of talking to people and explaining my work to them. I’m not afraid of interview panelists either, but when a job’s riding on the balance there’s more to lose isn’t there?

I’ve rehashed over the process and wish I’d done a couple of things differently, and said a whole lot more but it’s in the past now and there’s not much I can do to change the outcome.

But I know I’ve got a bit of work to do for the next time.


Reminiscing already


I’m on holidays again. Last week we went away down the coast for five nights with some friends in a house we hired.

As it was pretty close to the beach I went for a walk along the beach every day. There’s something about walking along the beach with your bare feet in the sand and the water that’s very therapeutic. I love it.

Our five days went in a blink. One minute it was morning, next minute it would be time for nibbles and drinks before dinner. Times this by five and there goes your time away. Most of the holiday houses I stay in these days are newer than my own with newer everything (except kitchen that is). It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better except for if they have two bathrooms. Usually they’re lacking in the things you take for granted in your own kitchen, ie oven mitts, roasting pan, a decent potato masher, cake tins.

The cheaper places I’ve stayed at since I’ve been an adult have pretty much all had mice. In one place we could hear them in the walls and could see them running around at night. I’ve lived through mice plagues growing up in the country but even this put me off enough not to go back there even though it was a third of the price of places I’ve stayed at since.

Did you know that mice like chocolate? Another place I stayed at had mice come and nibble away to my room-mate’s chocolate during the night. We soon learned to keep everything as clean as possible and put food away.

But it’s this place that’s my favourite location. It’s a private property on Kangaroo Island with two, two-bedroom little shacks. The bed mattresses sag but usually you’re so tired at night that it doesn’t really matter. It’s near a river where you can fish, paddle your canoe and with a bit of an extra walk, get to the beach. Because it’s not really near anyone else the beach is usually empty from other people and it’s a gorgeous beach even if the water is a bit cool that side of the island.

There’s no tv in the shacks but it doesn’t matter when there’s a few of you. We’ve stayed up till all hours playing cards with the friends I’ve gone with.

Next week I go back to work and as usual I’ll miss this time of summer holidays. I’ve been grocery shopping for the week ahead. Back to making school and work lunches, getting up earlier rather than lying in bed reading, and – working.