Nov 20, 2014

Words for Wednesday: The Recession and the Future

It's been a while since I've done a Words for Wednesday, but this week's words inspired me, and also I can not often resist a rhyming challenge.

'Words for Wednesday' is a writing prompt held by Delores at Under the Porch Light.
Use some or all of the week's words, write a poem or a story or part of a story, and visit Delores' current week's prompt to let her know you've joined in.

This week there were two lists; I chose the rhyming one:







Here is my effort:

The Recession and the Future

The GFC caused wide stagnation
Unemployment, depreciation
The end of the US domination
Of economic occupation

Now things are getting better, slowly
So they say, though here in lowly
Mortal world it doesn’t seem so
Money’s tight and jobs are more so

We read the news with trepidation
Stories lend corroboration
To fears and predeterminations
Nothing seems in moderation

Is it a question of familiarisation?
What’s the secret of acclimatization
To economic deprivation
And social want and dislocation?

We hope for better, kinder days
A future mapped in better ways
We wait and wonder what will follow
When today becomes tomorrow.

Nov 17, 2014


When I was a kid my favorite ride at Disneyland was It's a Small World, but my favorite of the four lands was Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland entrance 1967
Tom Simpson/Flickr CC
Tom Simpson/Flickr CC

ATIS547/Flickr CC

Loren Javler/Flickr CC
Loren Javler/Flickr CC

Space Mountain was awesome - and the first proper roller coaster I liked.

The Monorail was kind of cool, though I never really understood the grown-ups' enthusiasm for it.

The People Mover was fun, because it took you past (or through) all the other good stuff.

But my favourite ride in Tomorrowland was the Adventure Thru Inner Space.

I loved every minute of it - from sitting enveloped in the blue, egg-shaped chairs, to entering the dark tunnel and being "miniaturised", even the huge creepy eye "looking" at us through the telescope. For a kid steeped in afternoon reruns of The Twilight Zone, and who loved science and daydreaming, it was perfect.

ATIS547/Flickr CC

I loved waiting in line and seeing the riders go into the telescope and then come out tiny at the other end:
Yes, on our first time there I asked my parents if those were the real people...

ATIS547/Flickr CC

Recently all this came back to me, suddenly, when I read an article about retrofuturism (you know the sort of thing: The Jetsons, houses under glass domes, meals in pill form, flying cars, etc). That shiny, happy, optimistic vision of the future reminded me of Tomorrowland.

My kids and I often talk about the future, as I started a kind of game with them about a year ago, where we imagine what cool things will exist in the future, and what their lives will be like. We talk about driver-less cars, working whatever hours you want, making meals at the touch of a button, flying to work with a jet-pack, things like that.  It's a lot of fun, and I do think kids should always be excited and optimistic about the future.  Kids these days can sometimes seem cynical and somewhat pessimistic, which may be a function of the times they're living through, or perhaps they always were. We do underestimate how canny kids are after all.

"The Future" by A 

I showed the kids the Corning video A Day Made of Glass on YouTube and they (and I) were in awe. We talked about how their houses in future would be like this, or at least partly like this, and I made no mention of the fact they'd probably have to be rich to have it, or that they might not ever be able to buy a house at all, or that even at best this vision of the future, like all others have ever been, is likely completely wrong.  We do also discuss whether some of these things - like flying cars - will ever really happen, or it they are too impractical, and to what degree we can or cannot imagine the future.

But mostly we just let our imaginations go and talk about what cool, awesome, labour saving inventions they will have when they are grown up.

Kids should see the future as a world of awesome and enriching possibility.

Nov 12, 2014

12 Resolutions: November (and October recap)

Hello again.

It's that time of year. Things are busy. But I haven't forgotten my November resolution (thanks Pandora for the nudge).

This year I'm playing along with #12Resolutions on Twitter and Facebook. The idea is to set yourself short-term, achievable goals, one each month. 

For October my goal was to get more sleep

Tick! I took that to heart. I've been trundling off to bed at a reasonable hour and feeling all the better for it, for the last few weeks. It has curtailed on online activity significantly, unfortunately. 
But there are only so many hours in the day and you can't do everything.

So anyway, on to November.

For November I'm taking a break from self-improvement and focusing on CLEANING, TIDYING and DE-CLUTTERING. The kids' ninth birthday is coming up and we're doing a party at home, and I need this home clutter free and crowd-friendly by mid-December.

So that will keep me busy.

I've already bagged up a lot of gear for donating and hard rubbish, and I have tidied our lounge-room which was a HUGE job. 

Our lounge room was very cluttered.

Put it this way: on Halloween night when the kids went trick or treating, I was able to just bend down and pick up their plastic pumpkin buckets from under my desk, where they had been dumped after last Halloween.

No longer - our lounge room is now spacious and clutter free. (Clutter free for us, that is. It'll never be minimalist).

So what's on your to-do list these days?


January: walk 5 times a week (achieved - I now walk daily)
February: write 2 short stories (failed - wrote none)
March: write 1 short story, and start Project Management course (done)
April: visit GP and complete or schedule the follow-ups (done)

May: complete one module of Project Management course (failed)
June: working day money savers: public transport and packed lunch (done)

July: pay attention to needs, moods and emotions to manage reactions (done, and ongoing)
August: limit time-wasting activities on my phone (done - and still going pretty well)
September: 15 mins floor exercises daily (nope)
October: get more sleep (yes)
November: de-clutter, tidy and clean house for December entertaining

Oct 15, 2014

12 Resolutions: October (and September recap)

This year I'm playing along with #12Resolutions on Twitter and Facebook. The idea is to set yourself short-term, achievable goals, one each month. 

For September my goal was to do floor exercises for 15 minutes a day. 


Not much to recap.

I forgot my resolution! Literally forgot it. I completely forgot I had any resolution going on at all, so needless to say, floor exercises did not happen. We had a lot going on in September - it was a busy and tumultuous month.  No doubt exercises would have been very helpful, if I had remembered I was supposed to be doing them.

'No I can't remember!' by Neil Moralee, Flickr

Anyway, we shall move on.  

For the rest of October (we're already halfway through!) I am making a simple resolution, to get more sleep.  We're approaching the end of the year and things are getting busier. The past couple of months I've found it quite hard to keep up with things and keep my equilibrium, and sleep can only help.

What's on your to-do list this month?

Oct 7, 2014

Drama Mama

Parents who don't do paid work outside the home will sometimes blurt out how it must be nice escaping the chaos of home to go to an office with non-sticky surfaces, cafe coffee and lunch breaks, and they are right of course. When your children are very young, work is lovely (and yes, easy) compared to staying at home.

What's hard is managing it - the juggle, the extra organisation required, the 'double shift' piling laundry, food prep and cleaning on top of a day at work, and managing the emotions of tired and overwrought family members - primarily yourself but also the children.

The other bit that's hard is The Drama.

I can't come in today, my kid's sick. I have to leave early, my kid's sick.
I have to go, my kid's just had a melt-down at school.
I'm going to be late, my kid's sick.
I need to work from home next week, my kid has a specialist appointment.
Sorry I'm late, I just couldn't get my kid ready on time today.
Sorry I'm late, my kids are sick and I had to take them to my mother's so I could come in today.
Oh, can I work from home every Thursday for awhile, so I can attend [insert crucial school/kid-related event here]?
Sorry I'm late, my kid got head lice and I had to shampoo the flammable chemicals out of her hair this morning. Oh and I have to leave right on 5 because it's my turn to do the after-school-care pick-up. And can I leave early on Friday, as I have to take my kids to the school disco which starts at 5pm?

All these are not including the myriad number of times you don't attend school events, get a friend to give your kids a lift, have your mother come by the house at 6.30am so you can leave on time, dose your kid with Panadol and send her to school and hope for the best, or win an hour-long argument with your spouse about whose turn it is to take time off work to tend to a sick child.

To make up for late starts I usually take a shorter lunch break, or I stay back a couple of times a week (and that always has consequences at home).  I'm no martyr and my job and employers and my manager are all fantastic, so I'm not complaining. Not at all.

I'm highlighting how embarrassing it is, sometimes. I don't want to be Drama Woman. I don't want to take advantage of my employer's awesome understanding and flexibility. But sometimes you have dramas.

When I was twenty-six I worked for awhile at a cafe run by two sisters. They were fairly wealthy and people grumbled that their husbands had bought the cafe for them so they would have something to do. But they learned the job quickly and they worked really hard, and they were there every day. One day one of them had her two little kids with her during closing time, and while she tried to pitch in and do all her usual work, she just couldn't in the end, so she asked me to do some extra stuff she would normally do herself. I was tired and grumpy and I did not cut her much (any) slack. I was really annoyed she had the kids there. I made it pretty obvious I was annoyed. I had to stay back later because she had kids with her, who did not belong in the workplace. I was not happy that the rest of us had to make up for her (obvious!) lack of organisation and work ethic!

Did I ever give any thought to the fact she turned up every day and worked hard, and never mentioned her kids or how she juggled her life? Did I even consider the fact that this was the only time we ever saw her kids, and that she might have been truly stuck this one day?  Did I have any compassion for what she was dealing with that day? No, I am sorry to say, I did not.  All I saw was... drama!

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