Thursday, April 30, 2009


My name is Jeanie and I have tendencies towards workaholism.

I have tried to cure myself of it in the past.

When I first worked in the advertising industry, I often worked 16 hour days, learned the security code by heart, had my own taxi-driver and made coffee for the big boss every morning - as I was already there, it made sense.

I once worked 36 hours straight because a report was required.

I blamed the industry I was in, so I changed industries.

Workaholism came with me.

Since having 'Salina, I have worked (ha ha) hard to overcome the tendency.

When I was a sole parent, this was forcibly easier as the choice was 'Salina/work (although there were times when the sleep/work equation was harder).

Recently, economic circumstances and having an extra parent has meant that the choice between 'Salina and work had other factors, and I didn't feel as much guilt saying yes to a bit more work - and a bit more work.

The last two and a half weeks, I have worked a full-time job as well as for my clients. I love doing work for my clients. I love the job I was doing during the day.

I had to say yes to the full-time job, because the person I am filling in for had a very good reason to not be there for that time.

I had to say yes to all the little tasks of my clients because I want them to stay my clients.

I started work at 6 and would do an hour or two at home, before doing 8 hours at work then back for another little bit at home.

Sleep lost a little. V lost a little. 'Salina lost a little.

But hooray - the full-time component has wrapped up!!

Of course, the next few days I am trying to catch up on the runaround things I missed (couldn't say no to P&C, couldn't say no to filling forms and visiting various government offices), and so there is a very aptly named public holiday on Monday - Labour Day - where I think I will have wiped the slate.

I missed all of you - I have visited few and very rarely of late.

The money is good - very welcome indeed - but the sanity is required.

Balance is needed.

I - the I I was before being sucked back into the workaholism vortex - will be back soon, I hope.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I need to postpone...

I was flat out from 4.30 this morning - billed a few hours before going in to my other job, where there are 1500 28 page directories to be printed and folded (on a shared printer) AS WELL AS 5 different flyers to be printed and guillotined (1500 copies of each - some 2 to a page, some 4, some 8) AS WELL AS create an online newletter AND collate stats and surveys into a document for a federal department by Wednesday (thank goodness the girl who I am sitting in for is on leave for health reasons and totally bored at home who did some of that for me today) - oh, and having to move my car every 2 hours to avoid a parking ticket as I was late to work because V had an assignment due today and mine is the only computer that can print at the moment but doesn't have the software that V used - that was fun. My boss did take me out for coffee at 4, and then I left that job and went to a client's place who COMPLETELY stuffed up earlier this year and we are still trying to untagle that in each reconciliation and she needs it sorted to get her GST sorted for the quarter - soooo...

I got home at 1/4 to 7, to a glass of wine presented by my daughter, dinner cooked for me by her and V, a cake they had bought and decorated, opened presents and got many texts and phone calls, saw lovely messages here and other internet portals, a lovely bath and good evening.

Even though it got great by the end, I am still going to do something on a day of my choosing as my day got taken away!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can we postpone?

Last week was busy.

Last week was working full-time, fitting my clients in around the edges, spending quality time with V and sleeping the other 30 odd minutes.

This week is BUSY.

This week is working full-time (where the workload has suddenly gone OUT OF CONTROL), fitting my clients in around the edges (actually, sort of puffing over the edges), spending quality time with 'Salina and sleeping the other 30 odd minutes. V is finishing an assignment, so he doesn't appreciate the quality of time offered as he quickly fills it with trusses, moments and sines - I am assured I can save his quality time until he can appreciate it more. Which is good, because I like that sleep in the other 25 odd minutes.

Therefore, I am proposing moving anything that doesn't fit into my schedule back a bit - I am thinking by about 40 days - so how is the 12th of June looking?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Today brings renewed joy

Today, I awoke at my usual "oh look, I should be still asleep" o'clock and tried out my 20 minute rule.

So, as usual, I was up by 1/4 to 4 and cracking.

I did a couple of hours work and sent out my invoices for the week.

I saw the sunrise (well, lighten - too much development to appreciate the orb transit).

I contemplated my day and smiled.

Because today we are going here:

(well, down behind the hill on the far right where the showgrounds are!)
(oh - please note it will be much greener today than that - there has been rain!)

We will see family members.

And I get to see my gorgeous daughter after 6 days of her absense.

I missed her sooooooo much.

I know I mentioned appreciating her gone so I could cook curry - but I can always make two dishes.

It has been handy having access to her (my old) computer at crack of dawn so I can do the full-time work and my own work around the edges - this will go on for another 10 days (celebration on the 30th!!) but we will manage.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The silver lining

The day started a tad early to my liking.

3am, and my mind, seeing a chink in my consciousness, whirred into overdrive.

Every time sane me would plea "more sleep please" it would take a tangent and weave an elaborate list of what I should do, what I need to do, how much I need to do it and why.

At 3.11 I warmed some milk and begged for just a nap before I have to emerge from slumber.

At 3.19 my mind was still harping and carping - it blogged, it boasted of the beauty of what I could do should I rise, I cursed and it sang with "get up" tunes and threatened to drive me insane.

At 3.23 it took a different tack, and pondered on the placement of the cat, somehow making philosophy out of the furball's desire to sleep on my feet - lucky Eddie.

At 3.29 I tossed and turned, trying to switch off. Then I gave up.

Therefore I have been up already 3 hours - not a great deal to show for it, true, but while the world of people slumbered I stumbled around some of my internet haunts, sorted my home-based workload and started that doggarned list.

And then I looked outside.

The clouds were the most amazing range of reds and pinks. There was a rainbow adorning the Western sky. Two kangaroos were grazing in the park across the road. The birds began their morning song.

And I realised that there was one more thing to add to my list this morning - counting my blessings.

And really, even the early waking was a blessing - who knows how much I would have missed otherwise?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jeanie's Aussified Indian Feast

Welcome to dinner.

We are having tonight what we had last night - I am cooking it all over again because IT WAS THAT GOOD!! and tonight, you get to share.

Firstly, you will note that 'Salina does not have a place at the table tonight. This is due to my suddenly working 11ty-thousand hours next week, which happens to be school holidays and what-the-ho - there is no vacation care left unbooked. She doesn't mind being shipped off to Auntie BB's, Grandpa certainly doesn't mind an offsider for his little mustering jaunts, and I hope Auntie BB doesn't mind the extra (ravenous) mouth to feed.

I miss her already, though.

But I don't miss having to wrack my brains for child-friendly versions of something so scrumptelicious as the following.

Got your bibs on?

Firstly, I am not retyping the recipe I found through Chef Google, instead I will give you the link for an excellent Madras Beef Curry from Taste magazine.

For the accompanying dish, I have to google my own brain, as it was one of my vegetarian staples from long, long ago.

Jeanie's Aussified Palak Paneer
  • oil
  • garlic - few cloves minced
  • ginger - bout the same amount as the garlic
  • good shake of cumin seeds
  • 4-6 cardomom pods
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • bit of tumeric
  • few curry leaves
  • some chili however you find it
  • diced onion
  • oops - nearly forgot some lemon juice
  • tin of tomatoes
  • Spinach - lots cooked/frozen and chopped
  • feta cheese

How to make it
  • Heat up the oil
  • Add the spices and fry while you chop the onion
  • Add the onion and cook while you look for the can opener.

  • The good news was I didn't need a tin opener, as I spent a week while rinsing out my eyes.
  • Add the tomatoes and mush in with the spinach
    check it out - cubies!!

  • Cook for a while and adjust liquid a little if required
    mmmm - soylant green

  • oops - if you forgot to put the lemon juice in with the onion - ahem - now would be a good time to do so!
  • Cube the feta and add
  • Cook for another 10 minutes while your rice cooker does its thing
  • Eat!!

Beautiful with rice. And natural yoghurt. And nan/roti/chapati/heck, bread!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Last night, V mentioned 'Salina's latent tendency towards martyrdom. Then he smiled - because really, he entered a family of martyrs when he married me (and not just because he married me, BOOM BOOM)!!

Its in the Jeans. Or rather, its in the bloodline that happens to be peppered with Jeans.

My grandmother was a Jean. She was the mistress of martyrdom.

My father was not a Jean - but he learned at the foot of his mother's pedastal and passed on pearls.

I am a Jean (d'uh) - and as you may have gathered from some of my more whingy epistles, I can do a mean line in martyrdom myself.

So it is no wonder that 'Salina (who has a Jean in the moniker) can martyr it up if the occasion requires.

I mean, really? Its much more fun to whinge with purpose isn't it?

That being said, my grandmother was an amazing lady, martyrdom notwithstanding.

My great-grandfather was a master horseman, renowned for the stock that he bred and the horses he rode.

Grandma suffered middle-child syndrome - one of six, she was the youngest girl* , a bit of a tomboy, a horsewoman in her own right and plenty headstrong.

She was a member of the Queensland team who took the challenge to New South Wales Ladies Campdrafters in the 1920s.

She was a gorgeous spinster of 27 before she agreed to marry my grandfather, a fellow drafter but from much more humble parentage. They married on Christmas Eve in a town** somewhere between her family property and his dairy/sharecropping farm.

Family-lore has it that a promise was extracted of a five-year plan towards something a bit more along the lines of her heritage.

Just after the 5 year mark was achieved, she had a hyperactive 5 year old boy and a sickly 3 year old girl, was stuck in a town miles from the property they bought while her husband worked at a meatworks - if the meatworks wasn't running, they had no income.

Of course, the fact that the first words my father heard at his new school were "scab labour" - they weren't said fondly - meant that the town experience may not have been happy times for any of them.

The next 5 years there were happy moments - on an idyllic property approximating the promise - but not quite.

For many of those years, she was single mother to those children while her husband scoured the state for something better, something achieveable (in those days the government controlled any property transaction and wouldn't always agree to such transactions) and she ran things at home.

They finally found Granite Glen, and despite some hardships (horses with strangles, feuding neighbours, bushfires and droughts) these are the days where the family lore is golden.

But it wasn't really.

See, my grandfather was very ill with a brain tumour - he had been operated on once, but was not expected to make old bones.

They also had a new baby - much wanted, much doted upon but much younger than his siblings.

And then, she had 3 children and her husband had died. She lived on Granite Glen trying to keep it all together before admitting defeat and bringing my father home from boarding school to help.

I have grown up with these tales (and many more - we are that sort of family) and as you get older, you read more between the lines.

She was an incredibly strong woman - not always easy to get along with, not always easy to please - but fiercly protective of her family and her ways.

She survived incredible hardships using the tools she had available.

We all accepted (or learned to accept) her ways, and it has only taken a few self-help books and hours with therapy to learn that the way she ran it - and lived her life - is not exactly regarded as "healthy" in terms of therapy speak. But she survived and so did her children.

So if I - or my siblings or father or daughter - hanker towards "endurance over the shortcomings of others" and "look how well we have done despite" attitude, please smile and realise we see the humour.

Because frankly? We know it could be worse, but if we magnify the troubles of now and our endurance, then we might never have to learn that lesson.

* - forever unfavourably compared to an older sister who died young (but had mastered quoting the alphabet and scripture before passing). Its amazing what you learn when you read your grandmother's autobiography - and yes, she did pen one.

** - the town is actually my nearest big smoke these days!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

1451 blogs posts to read

And no time in which to do it.


Yet again, it is Jeanie losing greatly against the requirements of life.

I knew I was going to be pretty busy with a part-time temp role, but of course my other life has sped up with more work to fit in to shorter time, an infectious (but completely unsick) daughter home from school, a husband studying up a storm and some time required in the interim for sleep (hubby is doing the housework - yay!)

I love you all, I miss you all, and I want an hour to catch up.

How is late April for you?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Friday the Third(eenth)


I had a big day, as happens in life I went from "needing a little extra work" a week ago to "Oh My everything happening at once".

So I decided to start early, and at 5.30 was tootling away at the 'puter - which was dandy until between 6.30 and 7.00 when my internet speed went to 0.

I rang Bigpond, and after an interminable conversation with a computer got to speak to a lovely young lady from the sub-continent who, after asking me about the lights on my modem advised me that it appeared the whole of the network in Queensland was out and would be until 1pm - maybe 11.

After I got off that call, my blood boiled at the 'not good enough'-ness and called Bigpond back.

My conversation with the computer was a little terser this time, and Mohammed advised me that I had told the previous lady the wrong information about my lights and therefore the problem was with my modem and me and there was nothing wrong with their network, and to be a good girl and call the manufacturer of my modem/router and get them to fix my problem.

I had to wait until 8am to call Netgear, and they took me through various tests and told me to get back to Bigpond armed with the right jargon words needed to assure Bigpond that the problem did not lay with their product.

The good news was that the computer in Bigpond now recognised my phone number and put me directly through to the person line.

The lovely Rosetta, a supervisor, advised me there might be a problem with my modem that those jargon words would not cover, and so I should test the system by turning it all off for 20 minutes and then reset it all, and if it still didn't work to call back and they would escalate my issue.

I did as I was told (because I had no alternate plan) and of course the results of the test were that I should call them back to escalate the claim.

The Bigpond automated routing service obviously REALLY knew my number by then, because twice they sent me into the purgatory of dead-phone tone before giving me lovely hold music interspersed with marketing.

I on hold music when a call waiting signal came through - as I had only waited 7 minutes at this point, I was willing to throw it away if someone wanted to call me. It was my mother - and I had a "short" conversation with her.

I then got hold music and marketing for 27 more minutes - one of the lovely messages was "have you spoken to your mother lately? How long since the last time? I bet she knows. Why not call her?" - can you believe it...

Finally, I got a warm body at the end of the phone - and Justin had an Aussie accent.

It was the only comforting thing in the phone call, as after telling me that it wasn't them and I wasn't told that and it couldn't be, he suddenly noticed that there was another query from my area and maybe that could be interesting and - oh, would you look at that, it seems that the whole region has a problem!

I agreed that was quaint and perhaps had a slightly heightened tone when he advised he would escalate the problem to one that actually had a technician looking at it, and there should be some answer by the close of business...

That was just my morning - the afternoon I spent in a beautiful heritage listed building formatting documents and fixing databases and then I had a 3.5 hour drive in the dark over country roads - it was only 200km, but when your high beam = 20 metres visibility and nice nature has a habit of hovering in the middle of roads oblivious your approach (so do the toads) and the roads have a habit of becoming bulldust without warning.

Ah - nothing like a whinge to purge it from your system.

So - how do you deal with life when it throws you lemons? (Besides blog, that is!!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

At the bottom of the hill...

Bush Babe told one of her earliest memories today.

I don't really remember that one happening, however it is in my memory of family lore.

I do remember another adventure we shared, though.

I think my mother must have been pregnant for a very long time with our brother, for there are many stories that include the line "when mum was pregnant with Pig" (well, okay, we don't really call him that, although there was a time in his life when his friends didn't know his real name) - sorry, I digress.

So anyhow, Bush Babe and I had a great little game that we played nearly every day this one Spring.

At the bottom of the hill, towards the river, was the corner of the paddock. There was the junction of three fences, three gates all meeting at a large gum tree.

On the unfenced side, there was a stay built with logs and plain wire, and at some point at the end of winter, a grass fire had charred the underside.

It was the perfect place for two little girls, aged 5 and 3, to head down to and get out from under Mums feet.

Mum didn't mind - we were country kids and quite resilient - and she could keep us in line of sight when she looked out of the kitchen window.

This particular month, The Cisco Kid and Pancho were directing our play - Bush Babe, being the elder, automatically assumed the role of The Cisco Kid while I played her sidekick, Pancho.

Many was the time we would gallop up to our hitching rail (well, she would gallop up on her faithful steed (and dear lordy me, I have forgotten the steed's name!!) and I would trot up on my mule) - and we would eat imaginary beans and shoot imaginary bad guys and have a whale of a time.

This particular day, we were in the good books with Mum (or she was particularly exhausted) and so she freed us to our fantasy land at the bottom of the hill straight after lunch.

It was a very hot day, and after some time of serious Cisco/Pancho action we were very hot little girls.

The obvious choices were to walk ALL the way UP the HILL to the swimming pool - or to sneak down to the river, where the water was murky and hiding grown trees and weeds that wrapped around your limbs.

Hmm. Tough one, hey?

Of course we went to the river. But we were careful - we didn't want Mum to get mad, so we stripped down to our undies and paddled on the edges...

It was a very hot day - so hot indeed that our teenage neighbour across the river had a boat load of mates zooming in their speedboat along the river.

We didn't want teenagers to see us in our undies, so we did the logical thing. We hid. Its easy to hide in a murky water accentuated with withered branches and weeds that could wrap around your limbs. You just duck - and pray.

The next scene in this memory is sudden and sharp.

Mum at the water's edge in the landrover, the engine screaming and her not far behind.

Its funny, but she didn't have much of a sense of humour about the whole situation - about the looking down the hill and failing to see her little Cisco and Pancho; about seeing empty clothes strewn on the edge of the river; about not seeing children splashing in the weeds, not seeing children among the white ghost branches, seeing only murky water waving with the splash of the speedboat.

We resurfaced and I don't think either of us touched ground as she dragged and threw us into the rover, neither of us spoke aloud at Mum's transgression at leaving a gate open on her trip down (although some versions of the myth having her driving THROUGH the fence) - we had one image in our mind, and that was the one she drew starkly as she explained we were in very BIG TROUBLE.

We are talking the early 70s here, and the early 70s didn't have namby-pamby parenting on tap. There were consequences that hurt - your pride as much as you skin, but it was a close race.

I got six (and we aren't talking her daily threat of wooden spoon here), but as the "older, more responsible" child, Bush Babe got 12.

And then, for the rest of the afternoon we were within 3 feet of Mum with a bottle of silvo in one hand, a rag in the other and a whole cabinet full of two generations of trophies to polish.