Life is full

Helpmann Academy graduate exhibition. Wes Tully's award winning work.

The thing with writing here is that once I get out of the habit then it really slips to the back of the queue as far as things I feel I should do.

Also, the amount of writing here reflects just how busy my life is away from this website.

Late December I expressed an interest in being a juror for the Canadian weblog awards and got the nod in early January. It took up a bit of time and it was an interesting process to be a part of. The organisers do a fantastic job of getting the 50 or so jurors organised to look at around 15 blogs each for the first round, and then 10 for the next. And it all happened in the first few weeks of January while I was still on holidays so I had to squeeze it in around being away, and doing other things.

I’ve also been finalising a website for a clown friend, and if you’re in Adelaide and need a clown who’ll entertain the adults and the kids then he’s your man. I’ve seen him numerous times and he still makes me laugh.

We’re also back in the school/sport routine. The school thing is a post in itself and the lad is playing cricket on Saturday mornings again, and baseball on Sunday mornings although we’ve only one week to go. Now that he’s moved up the ranks ever so slightly in cricket we’re in for a longer game on a Saturday morning.

I’ve now resigned myself to just getting out there and enjoying while seeing it as a time to just sit somewhere and relax. After all if I was home I’d be doing something along the lines of chores if I wasn’t trying to sleep in.

And in other news, I’m finally off the hourly paid work roundabout and am now entitled to sick leave and holiday pay again. Unfortunately this is only until the middle of the year, and it’s still doing the same work but I worked out that even though my hourly rate has dropped, I’m still ahead.

Breaking eggs

When on Kangaroo Island recently we went to a birds of prey demonstration. I showed some photos of the birds earlier.

This bird – the Black Breasted Buzzard was very impressive. He hasn’t got his black breast yet because he’s still young, but it will come.

They have a clever trick when they want to eat an emu egg.

They find a little stone and break the egg.

Black breasted Buzzard - Birds of prey (Kangaroo Island)

Breaking an emu egg

Birds of prey (Kangaroo Island)

It might take them a few goes but they get there in the end.

Birds of prey (Kangaroo Island)

Black breasted Buzzard - Birds of prey (Kangaroo Island)

Apparently this is completely instinctual, not taught by their parents. Clever huh?

More things I love about you

It’s the eve of the beginning of a new school year. Where did the last six weeks of school holidays go? I joked to someone yesterday that it will be Christmas soon. I could have slapped myself, but I know that time is travelling faster the older I get. Scary.

Here’s some more things that my son loves about me according to his Christmas present to me.

MUM

Friendly, Nice,

Fun, Caring,

Jenny’s nice to be around.

Listens, helps, cares,

Epic, cool.

My mum

And here’s another one.

You like to play Skylanders with me,

unfortunately shop with me,

have a walk with me,

talk to me,

and much much more.

You can use the computer 1,000,000 times better than me.

You teach me.

You even created me.

You are the Best mum I could have!

The school uniform is all ready for the morning and I think this year is the first year in his seven years of school so far that he’s looking forward to going back to school. I hope it lives up to his expectations. It seems like yesterday that we were both anxious about his first day at school.

The things I love about you

Relaxing. Day 355/366.

I didn’t write that much about Christmas but my son made me something that I want to share.

He made me a little booklet with the title on the front ‘The things I love about you’.

I want to share some of those things.

The things that I love about you is when I ask for a hand you give me a hand.

You help with problems and find a solution.

You look out for me, and make sure I’m safe.

You care and respect everyone.

You listen to what they say and give every one an equal chance.

You have helped with maths, tried to help in spelling and helped my English and all.

We have had fights but they’re all solved. You’ve taught me right and wrong.

And I love you for that!

Awww.

Yes, I have tried to teach him spelling, and so have his teachers. I corrected the spelling mistakes and put some full stops and capitals in the above, but the commas are all his.

There’s more. But that’s to come. And I promised him that I’m going to do the ‘Things I love about you’ for him as well.

The circus

At Cirque du Soleil - take 1.

The circus was in town during the last month and on a whim I bought tickets for JJ and myself. A bit of an expensive whim mind you, and I didn’t even get the most expensive tickets.

It was JJ’s first ever circus and about my third Cirque du Soleil.

It was a 42 degree day when we went but luckily the tent was air conditioned. I’d had a quick glance at the website that informed me the two acts went for an hour each with a half hour intermission.

However, when the first half finished we were only about 35-40 minutes into the show. Bit weird I thought.

At the end of it I felt a bit underwhelmed and JJ wondered why we hadn’t seen any trapeze acts.

I didn’t think too much more about it until the next evening when a friend rang me and asked what I’d thought of the show as she’d been at the same one.

I told her I felt a bit underwhelmed with it all and she told me that they’d cut quite a few acts. She’d spoken to others who’d been and she’d had a look at the website and realised that we’d missed out on some of the really good acts.

She’d rung up the head office in Montreal and was trying to sort out some sort of compensation for not seeing the show. She thought as we lived closer that we could go in if we wanted to see what we could sort out.

There had been no communication whatsoever to us that the show was being cut short. That annoyed the both of us. They’d cancelled the matinee show the day after hours when it was around 45 degrees. I think they perhaps should have cancelled ours. I can understand they’ve got to consider the welfare of the performers but….

So, the next day JJ and I went back to the circus and explained that we weren’t happy with missing out on a chunky proportion of the show and was there anything they could do for us?

I’m not comfortable complaining about bad customer service or about something not meeting my expectations but my main motivation for this was the amount of money we paid and not getting our money’s worth. Also, I felt cheated and I don’t like that feeling.

We ended up getting tickets for that afternoon’s matinee. At the beginning of the show we were informed that the show may be modified. If it was I didn’t notice as we saw the trapeze act – spectacular. And the trampolining – really bloody excellent.

So getting tickets for another show at such late notice worked for us because there were seats available in the same price range as we’d previously had. For those with more expensive seats probably not so much.

And after seeing the show again, JJ and I both felt totally satisfied.

Luckily my friend has got tickets to see any Cirque du Soleil show under the big tent anywhere in the world to make up for their lacklustre experience.

So we were much happier customers afterwards. We even spent $15 on two drinks, $11 on two icecreams and JJ bought the CD – well he chipped in a few bucks and me the rest.

After Cirque du Soleil - take 2.

 

Do single parents have a voice?

Mother and son. Day 117/366.

This year is a federal election year and it will be an interesting one.

I’m not that political but I will watch with interest and participate as much as I can in a good outcome.

The current Prime Minister had female bloggers to afternoon tea a couple of times last year to let them, and through them their readers, know that she’s listening. Well I hope she is.

But when the single parent pension is cut for people whose youngest kid is over eight, I’ve got to wonder if they really care about women’s issues because let’s face it, most single parents caring for their kids are women.

Mrs Woog eloquently wrote:

2013 is election year. It’s not going to be all sparkling bubbles and cherries.

Let’s start with the fact, that as of 5 days ago, single parents have lost between $140 – $200 a week once their youngest child turns 8. That is 84,000 families affected.

Right now. Today.

Jenny Macklin, $35 a day will not pay for your blow-dry.

Seriously Jenny Macklin, you think you could live on $12,000 a year? Really? Show me.

I was on the single parent pension when JJ was born and got it until I started working four days a week which meant I got cut off from it and its benefits. During this time I relied solely on it for six months before I went back to work three days a week. Just as well JJ was a baby and the thought of going out was too much. Just as well I breast fed. Just as well I used cloth nappies, because I had just enough to pay my mortgage, pay bills and buy food.

Last year when I lost my job I had to go on Newstart, as even before the recent single parent pension changes, if you were a single parent you could no longer get these benefits if your kids were over eight. These were changes that Howard introduced six years ago. And don’t get me started on dealing with Centrelink and going on Newstart. I shouldn’t have bothered. It was a complete waste of my time for many reasons.

Anyone who has tried to get a job part-time knows that it’s not easy. Even if employers say they are family friendly, it’s quite often a load of crock. I don’t think I’ll see working part-time accepted as par for the course in my lifetime – and maybe it will never happen. But it should.

But back to the Prime Minister and getting female bloggers to her joint for high tea. Were any of these bloggers single parents having to rely on benefits? If so I’d like to know, but I think not and this is why. Single parentsĀ  usually have some sort of part-time job, or a full-time one, and are running around looking after their kids as best they can and don’t have time to make their voice heard. No single parent I know does live on benefits alone. I know there probably are some who couldn’t be arsed getting a job and think it’s their right to collect benefits and I’d say its these people the government are targeting.

There’s some very ignorant comments on a story Mamamia did about these changes, but some well considered ones too that tell the stories of people who are really going to suffer.

A woman I know was freaking out about these changes late last year. She has to pay rent, she’s got three kids all over eight years of age. Her ex husband just lost his job and she’s only working around 15 hours a week because she had major trouble finding even that part-time job. She told me that the competition for part-time admin work is really tough.

Apparently if she’s doing it tough she can turn to a welfare agency. Like they’re not under a lot of stress already!

And that’s the other thing about single parents going on the dole. You only need to earn a small amount of money from work before your dole payments get cut. The single parenting payment cut off amount was a lot more lenient.

I’d like to hear stories from people that these recent single parent pension changes are going to affect. We need to give them a voice.