Entrophy Sets In

No, I'm not dead. I feel ancient but I'm still hanging in there. Had a whole week of work, gradually starting to feel human again. I'll do a proper entry for ANZAC Day tonight but, for now, here's some photos. Enjoy.

There's actually a story to this whale, the story being that he has completely vanished. I'm pretty sure this photo gives a reasonably accurate depiction of his size so you can imagine our astonishment at his disappearance. This is not a toy for which hide-and-seek is an easy accomplishment and yet he has somehow managed it. Sneaking something that size out of the house is not an especially easy thing either so the only explanation is that we have a black hole somewhere in this house. I wish it would centre itself around my trash.

This one is for Bryan who seems to not know what a cow is or has some other nefarious reason for wanting me to take photos of them. This was taken at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2009. The petting nursery is one of the best exhibitions, I think, especially if you have a pressing urge to have your behind sniffed by various animals.

I have decided I want one of these. Scale model, remote-controlled R2D2. If the kids at school think I'm awesome for playing Pokemon, imagine if I took that in for Show and Tell! (As an aside, I may be considerably less cool once they realise I was lying about there being a secret level on Pokemon HeartGold for people over the age of 12. Children should be less gullible, I'm doing them a favour, really.)

After a week like last week, one of these would be handy, I have to tell you. Anyone else for a mulligan?

Organisation Schmorganisation

One of these days, I might actually get my act together.

So I'm off Newstart Allowance. Not because I have a fulltime job, that would be laughable. That would mean that I actually finished modifying my resume, did some job hunting, figured out what the hell I can actually put in for and was then not only successful in securing an interview but actually managed to receive a job offer. Employment baffles me a the moment since I have absolutely no idea what I want to be doing and I get the feeling that even if I did know, my only options for securing a chance would be some strange loop-the-loop practise because the job market and I seem to be at constant loggerheads with each other. I admit my confusion, demoralisation and disenchantment whole-heartedly. It's some kind of genius when you can't apply for graduate positions because of when you graduated instead of your actual experience since graduating and struggle to find jobs you can apply for as a result because everyone wants the cheaper graduate option and struggle again to find jobs outside of the teaching profession because, apparently, once you have your Education degree, you can't possibly want to do anything other than teach in schools with it. What a ridiculous notion that one might actually entertain applying their skills elsewhere or that people might actually just decide they want a change.

Don't even get me started.

No, I'm off Newstart because I forgot to lodge a form. They didn't owe me anything but I forgot anyway and then I didn't have the NEXT form so that was late too. I actually sent forms in this week but they crossed over with the cancellation notice that arrived today and, naturally, because of Easter, there were a few days lost in terms of being able to do anything anyway. I don't know how I feel about it. I suppose I should contact them but, at the same time, I've hated being on benefits because of the amount of hoop-jumping they put me through so maybe this is a good thing. Bad for my hip-pocket and that's worrying me a little but perhaps destitution is an added incentive to remotivate myself. I'm inclined, I think, to wait and see if they contact me once they actually get my forms but we'll see how I feel Monday. Can't do anything over the weekend anyway.

Quiet day today, onset of uterine rebellion. Two more days left of sleeping in before the possibility of work returns. Booked tickets tonight for my mother, brother and I to go see our football teams play each other at the end of June, that should be amusing. None of us have been to a football match before, not at this level, and I am certainly no particular fan but the experience will be fun, as will being able to gloat when our team beats my brother's. (After robbing us at the Grand Final last year, it's the least they can do.) I may have to clean my room before then since Grace has a standing threat to tell my mother on me but we'll see. I told her tonight, as I put her to bed, that when Mum and Michael are here I would sleep in her room on the top bunk and we could have a girly sleepover. She thinks it's called a sleepover because I'd be sleeping over the top of her and if she gets too uppity about my cleanliness, I'll put the fear of Karen in her by reminding her that the Saggy Baggy Elephant bum might just fall through the top bunk and squash her. We read that story tonight. She didn't correct me when I started pointing out the similarities between me and the principle elephant though she did reassure me when I asked her directly that I didn't look like an elephant. I asked her for her interpretation of my appearance. Her reply was "a saggy baggy chicken".

Serves me right, really.

Pre-caffeinated Wisdom

Ugh, I really hate that I'm addicted to caffeine.

Sometimes, I wonder how it happened. I don't tend to drink what I would consider to be an excessive amount of coffee and, when I do drink it, it's only decent-quality instant coffee, (if there is such a thing), as opposed to anything strong. I would have, I should think, maybe one or two mugs a day except when I am working. That is probably my downfall but even then, I think my intake increased by a mug. Maybe two. I always thought addicts were the ones who had upwards of 8+ mugs a day.

Foolish me.

I think I proved yesterday just how dependent I am on coffee in the morning to make me feel human because I suffered through until about 11am thinking that I was 'coming down with something' because I was lethargic and still yawning and then, with one miraculous brew, I was saved. I don't think I'll wait as long today. I tried to cut caffeine out because it was the easiest way to deal with my slightly elevated blood pressure; I guess I'll have to start exercising instead.

Before I juice myself up though, it occured to me last night that some further explanation might be needed as to why I felt the sudden need to start up a blog. To be honest, a lot of the motivation and drive came from the blogs I actually read. This is something that started a couple of years back when I was a member of postcrossing.com, merrily swapping postcards with other people around the globe. It was a good hobby because, at the time, I worked in an office so there were no issues getting things in the post and my 'feature wall' drew a lot of comments, mostly positive. At about the time I was winding down because I had too many postcards and not enough money, a fellow postcrosser posted something on the forums that pointed me in the direction of Christi Thomas and I have honestly never looked back. As a teacher and Peter Pan advocate, children draw me in far more effectively than adults tend to and when I first started reading her blog, Christi was still alive. The journey her mother has allowed readers to take with her has been a real eye-opener and I constantly struggle to use the Thomas' example to make me a better person. The jury's still out on whether I've made any progress but the seed was definitely planted.

After 'finding Christi', I found myself submersing in the culture of blogs and journals online for children living with cancer, maybe not a topic people would consider particularly upbeat but that's because they don't know these kids. As a teacher, children are constantly motivating and impressing me on a daily basis. Cancer kids and their huge armies of warriors do more than impress me; they blow me and my little ship completely out of the water. When have I ever known pain and sacrifice and true heartache? For that matter, when have I ever known pure, unadulterated joy? By comparison to these families, barely ever and I'm constantly humbled by their honesty, humour, humility and...wait, did I say honesty? Crap, alliteration fails me again. How about 'huge hearts'? (Double point score!) I am both something and nothing as a result of touching base on a daily basis with these amazing people and I feel very grateful. They lift me up.

As I began the daily ritual of checking on 'my kids' and their families, one thing began to stick out for me as a reason for why I was taking the time, outside my own selfishness. I am not particularly good at putting myself first, or even second and third, and for a while it worried me that I was sharing in something that I wasn't really connected to. Was it voyeuristic? It wasn't creepy that I was looking into a family's private moments and absorbing them with all the love and devotion of a daytime soap advocate, was it? For I while, I struggled to find a motivation that wasn't entirely self-serving and then a few commments across several blogs that seemed to touch upon the same point made me realise that, for these families, their reader-base is vital. Whether their child is still battling or won their eternal youth, blogging seems to be more than just a way for the families to keep people up-to-date and to vent when things get tough. Don't get me wrong, those things are paramount, but a common fear amongst parents, especially if their child has earnt their wings, is that the world is going to forget. The world goes on, new things are created, things change, entrophy continues, and their child isn't there. The footprints stop and families appear to live in understandable fear that the tide is going to reach up so far and with such persistence that, eventually, the imprints that do exist are going to vanish. I think I can just about empathise with that without being presumptuous.

So, me, I'm a footprint warrior. My one job? To remember. In some cases, the memories are still amassing and those long lines of appearing footprints are the most awesome things on Earth to watch form. In the cases where the line has stopped, I cherish what was achieved, feel blessed to have been allowed access to the breath-takingness of some of the best kids on the planet and I remember. Remembering is vital.

And now I'm sharing. I'll keep adding blogs as I find them and whilst I'm sure not all of them will fit this theme, expect that many will. Helping to keep someone's memory alive is an honour I didn't realise I had for a while and if I can convert more readers to my zombie hoard, that'll be a job well done. So that's why I blog. In the first instance, as a means of maybe forcing myself to get on with that process of improving my situation but also to act as another link in the chain. Didn't realise I was passionate about this kind of thing? Well, now you do.

So go read. Go on, I dare you. I double dare you. Race you there.

This Just In.

Something is afoot in this house.

Also, trash photos as promised! I found I had them on my harddrive after all, which only goes to show that the reason I have no space left is because I keep doubling up on things.

An entirely intentional photograph of trash. She even threatened to show my mother.

Yes, Grace, I need to do laundry. Karen always needs to do laundry.

Karen's behind is the butt of many jokes. Apparently, I am fine though. It's not like an elephant's because it is not grey. And I don't have a tail.

This is actually stuff belonging to my brother, I have several things belonging to him in my room where I keep them for storage. This, as you can tell, was a properly set-up shot. Because, naturally, that was on the floor to start with.

I have to say though, she took all of those. She's proving to be quite a dab-hand at photography. Between the pair of them, with Grace's artistry and Cordelia's blatant desire to rule the world, we might be onto a winner.

Crud Collecting

Today I think I will talk about trash.

For whatever reason, I'm sitting here on my bedroom floor, in front of my little heater, having utterly failed to motivate myself to get showered and dressed yet and as I glance around this room of mine that contains all that is me, I find it a little self-righteous of life to have so neatly and metaphorically planted so much trash everywhere. Since I have never lived where I have had an entire space of my own, always being allocated only a bedroom amidst shared living space, I have always thought that my room was just an analogy of my life, or at least my head. I live in my room, I live in my head...you see how it works.

And now my room is full of trash.

Most of it is junk food wrappers. And soda cans. A lot of it is packaging and by that I mean the five thousand layers that things come in, including that layer of impenetrable plastic that never fails to slice open your finger after its refused to cooperate with the pair of scissors you're trying to plunge into it. I'm still waiting for the day where they indivdiually wrap face tissues. You know it's coming.

What annoys me most about this trash is that I swear I clean up mountains of it daily and though I have a sweet tooth, I can't fathom that I get through enough food for it to be multiplying at this rate. It's clearly procreating in my sleep, which is oddly how I feel about my sense of misanthropic despair at times. I go to bed and when I wake up, more crud. More crud on my floor, more crud in my head... My life is full of crud!

Which is not to say my life sucks. I'm lucky, just lazy, and I constantly try to keep my head far enough above water so that I can actually start being productive because I'm infused with a sense of guilt that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my life and countless millions out there would probably kill for it. Fight to the death with sporks kind of dedication. I actually kind of like my life sometimes but chemicals will be chemicals.

And children will be children.

A few weeks ago now, Grace went around with my little point-and-shoot camera taking photos of just about everything. (I should probably add at this point that I live with my cousins and their two children. Grace is 4, Cordelia is 1. They're my pseudo-children, the ones I substitute into stories because I don't have my own.) At any rate, I told her she could take photos of whatever she liked since I figured a 4-year-old is probably only likely to take shots of the floor, walls and ceiling if she manages to hit the right button at all.

She took a photo of my trash.

At some point, I will find it and upload it because I passed on all her photos from that day, including the huge closeup of my butt, onto her mother but let me just tell you that this was perfectly in focus and framed in such a way as to look decently artistic. A 4-year-old made my trash look good.

Now there's an analogy I can live with.

And So The Journey Begins

Anyone who knows me, possibly not a very long list if you want to get metaphorical, will know that I have a terrible track record when it comes to keeping blogs up-to-date. This appears to be an adjunct to my inability to keep a diary as a child and stems, I suspect, from an innate desire to keep myself private. Secrecy. Protection. I also have a feeling I have been, in the past, somewhat frustrated that my glances back on the writing that I have done never feels right. Despite every good intention when I start writing, looking back always made me think, 'Gee, what was I on that day?'

And then I got to thinking; well, people change. I've always been quietly in despair of the fact that I seem to barely ever change, that my life is one long stagnation because I won't get off my rather rotund behind to go and do anything for fear that I won't succeed at it. I have a very good imagination, there's a lot I can do with possible failure in the confines of my head. If this is evidence that I do have the ability to evolve after all, shouldn't I be rejoicing? Sounds reasonable to me.

There is also the strong possibility that I have always written with an audience in mind, even if I have feared that audience and even if the only audience is myself. I tend to be a bit of a showman with words because I enjoy them so much and witticism seems a growing addiction. It's not necessarily a bad thing but it doesn't really ring true during times when a straighter bat is possibly needed. Sometimes, things aren't funny. Sometimes, you have to start yelling.

And then there's a matter of what to write about. What do I do that's worth writing about? Most of the blogs I follow seem to be written by parents and as a teacher, I can see how that one role can spark up a lot of material for reflection. Wait a minute...I'm a teacher. Albeit not a fulltime one, but that's not quite the 'nothing' I tend to classify my life as being.


Maybe I can give this a shot.

So here we are, the road to Paradise. The hood's down and the music's cranked as loud as the FM radio stuck on hillbilly music can go, nose pointed towards the setting sun with absolutely no idea if the next turn is going to produce just more sheep in fields or a cow in the middle of the road. (Not an amusing thing, ask my brother.) After all, it's a funny thing, this phenomenon we call life. If I can't rustle up a few interesting stories throughout the week then I guess I'll just have to look harder for them.