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November 30: Training Day

Today I spent the whole day in training. These training days can go one of two ways: a complete waste of time, which finds me fighting to keep my eyes open by the end; or the chance to enjoy a break from the usual work routine and learn something new.

Fortunately, today was the latter. It was a small group, the training schedule was relatively informal and–most importantly–there was catering.

Definitely not a bad excuse to escape the office for a day 🙂

November 29: the end is nigh

Today I’m starting to get a real sense of the end of the year looming.

Yesterday, the Elderbeast had his final PEAC session of the year, and today brought his final Mindfulness class. Next week the Kinderbesten both have their various Christmas assemblies and sing-song type affairs. Meanwhile, I have my ‘Christmas’ party at work on Friday.

Obviously, it’s not even December, and yet things are starting to wrap up. The campus has entered its seasonal Deathly Hush phase: exams are all done and the students disapparate. We’re talking about next year’s [work] projects as if this year’s projects are no longer a thing. There’s that conflicted sense of starting to wind down, while also trying to wrap up as much as you can in the remaining weeks of the year.

I’m beginning to stress, albeit very mildly, about how to keep the Kinderbesten occupied over the Christmas break. My mind is starting to occupy itself more and more with thoughts of how to manage the logistics of Christmas and New Year.

On the positive side, the beasts are dead excited about opening the first window on their LEGO advent calendar on Friday. I’m even more dead excited about being able to start on the mince pies (I have a personal rule that I never eat mince pies before December 1). I’m also looking forward to the break from work, and the chance that it offers to rest and reset–and do all the seasonal fun stuff too.

So, Christmas: bring it!

November 28: Work time

Today was one of those days where everything just took too long.

Most of the day went okay. Most …

Then I had a 30 minute meeting, that should have probably only been ten minutes, that ended up taking an hour. After that, I had answer some emails, before rushing home as we had a deployment scheduled for 5pm and I needed to be ready to do some post-deployment testing. Naturally, the deployment was delayed and took place an hour later than scheduled, which delayed the testing which took longer than expected anyway because things weren’t quite right.

At the end of it all I was exhausted. It was like the last hour of my working day had ended up taking four hours–which it pretty much had.


November 27: Writing FTW

So, a cool thing happened today. I was working on the story I wrote about earlier this month, and making some of the changes I wrote about making, and I realised I was having a pretty good time doing it.

The changes seem to be pushing the story in the right direction, and for the first time in a few weeks I felt like I wasn’t simply writing for the sake of writing: I was writing something that might possibly end up worth reading.

I’m sure it’ll take me many more weeks to maintain sufficient motivation and enthusiasm to get this one over the finishing line, but it’s good to know that the spark is still in there somewhere.

November 26: Quiet time

This weekend I made a conscious decision to keep the weekend entirely to myself. I did my food shopping after work on Friday, enjoyed the rest of the evening with my Friday Horror companion, then did some brief Christmas shopping on Saturday morning … and that was it. For the rest of the weekend I stayed at home enjoying my own company.

I had a couple of reasons for doing this. Firstly, I’d been wanting to have a #childfree weekend completely to myself for a few months now, but there was always too much fun stuff happening. Secondly, I was in need of some time without any background noise, or the stress of having to be at particular places at particular times. In fact, now that I think of it, I have a thirdly as well: namely a few niggling odd jobs that I wanted to get out of the way without having to worry about running out of time.

My running theory was that I would get intensely bored and, having had this mythical complete weekend to myself, would quickly decide that I never wanted to do it again. Except it didn’t quite happen that way. What did happen was that I had enough to time to get almost all of my to do list done and spend a whole bunch of time sitting on the sofa watching TV. And, when I wasn’t doing that, I was eating lots and lots of delicious food.

Pretty good, all in all–and a much needed couple of days that allowed me to reconnect with that whole ‘quality of life’ business. I watched some things that I really, really enjoyed. I made my house a marginally better place to live in, with a bit of strategic cleaning and tidying. I also treated myself to some good food. That’s not a bad couple of days 🙂

November 25: Western weekend

This weekend I took a break from my typically genre based viewing and went all in on the western front. Yes, I know ‘western’ is a genre: shut up.

I’d been reading about a new Netflix show called Godless that sounded pretty darned good, and with it being only 6 or so episodes long I saw a chance to binge the whole thing over the weekend . Of course, I didn’t realise until I got started that each episode was abut 70 minutes long, but I got halfway in and got thoroughly hooked.

I’d also treated myself to a couple of new blu-rays in a 2 for $20 deal: Tombstone (which I’ve only seen once, but loved and have meant to add to my collection for a while now) and Heat (another film I’ve wanted to rewatch for a while). For my Saturday evening viewing I initially chose Heat, but switched it out at the last moment in favour of Tombstone, which seemed a more appropriately themed choice. It was definitely the right decision: Tombstone has so many great lines and great moments, plus a career-best performance from Val Kilmer, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it.

There’s also a difference between Heat and Tombstone which swung my choice. Tombstone has a rich vein of humour and ‘spirit’ running through it; it’s a film that takes absolute joy in the story that it’s telling. Heat, conversely, is a relatively cold and passionless affair–not necessarily the thing you want for a Saturday night.

(For the record, I did find time to settle down in front of Heat on Sunday afternoon – and also thoroughly enjoyed it).

November 24: Dracula (and mushrooms)

I have two updates today!

Firstly, I tried a new thing for dinner: mushrooms fried in butter and soy sauce (with a pinch of wasabi, for good measure). OMG: revelation! Now, I’m a big fan of fried mushrooms, and I’m a big fan of Marmite – and this is basically like both in dinner form. I strongly suspect that this dish will become a staple of my #childfree weekends from now on.

Secondly, we watched the 1958 Hammer remake of Dracula for Horror Friday. While I love many of the Hammer films, including many of the Dracula entries, I’ve never been a huge fan of this one. However, I bought it on bluray a month or so back and have been quite keen to give a fresh evaluation.

… and I’m still not sold. It’s not as dull and stagey as the 1931 version, but it’s still a strangely tempered affair. Christopher Lee displays some of the qualities that would immortalise him in the role, but is distractingly perfunctory at other times. The story is tightened up from the original, but relocating it in its entirety to England (while saving on the budget) robs it of the other-worldliness that provides part of the compelling mystery of Dracula himself.

It’s one of those films that you have to admire for having earned its place in film history. I may yet give it a further viewing, but for now it seems to be one of those movies that hasn’t quite transcended the era in which it was made.

November 22: Swings & Roundabouts

Today I’m thinking of swings and roundabouts.

Despite my deep sadness over yesterday’s news, I’m feeling better than I have done in the last week or two: meanwhile former colleagues of mine are probably having a terrible time.

The Elderbeast heads off to his mindfulness class; but before it we have a terrible, stressful argument before I can even get him out of the door.

I head to the shops to pick up some more christmas presents. I find what I’m after, but my inspiration for further presents evaporates in the space of minutes. I leave the shops victorious in my purchase, but feeling defeated.

That’s the sort of day it was.

November 23: Threads

Today, while thinking of routines and restoring balance, I was reminded how quickly all of that can be disrupted. At work, I found out that one of the main suppliers we deal with had gone into receivership. While this was hugely disruptive on a professional front, it was also remarkably upsetting on the personal front: people I have worked with for the last several years have just found out they’re about to lose their jobs.

It’s a reminder that we’re not always in control of our routine, nor do we necessarily own the balance of our lives. Things can happen that will throw it all in the garbage.

But, I guess if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that these things can happen, and we will stubbornly persist regardless.

Also, it would be remiss of me to let this date pass without wishing my favourite Doctor a Happy Birthday 😉

November 21: Restoring balance

I’ve decided it’s time to restore some balance to my life. I’ve put a lot of stock over the last few months towards maintaining the routine of work, school and daily life in general. As a consequence, my life seems to have tipped too far towards the mundane. The ripples from the dramatic change in my personal life–which made everything seem new for a while–have settled. Daily life is now just the same things every day, week in, week out.

I’m not exactly looking for fireworks, but now that I’ve established that this new life works–and that the kinderbesten are both fine–it’s time to focus on making it work for me. It’s time to make sure that the mundane moments are counterbalanced by moments of enjoyment.

As usual, I don’t have any specific plans in this direction. I’m sure I’ll just figure it out as I go … stay tuned!

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