Tuesday, February 23, 2010

more than worth it

So for the weekend, Luke, Leia and two others took the undergrads off for the weekend to go and collect things for their projects.
I had mixed feelings about the weekend - it was being run by a new lecturer who was a little out of his depth, it involved me driving an automatic car (I've never driven one before) with a trailer (ditto), I was utterly exhausted to start with (and crabby to boot) and it was at the farm where I did my fieldwork. On one hand, other people there is just weird, it's almost like having a gazillion guests in your home, on the other hand, it was an opportunity for not only going home again (n a sense), but also an opportunity for me to show the plces I've spoken about to some of the people I care about so much. One of the people there was in undergrad with us and had spent a week there with us waaaay back in the day so it was really fantastic to spend a weekend with him back in the group, and it was one of those special situations where someone has been gone for ages but still slots right back into place with no awkwardness at all!
By the time we got there I had been well and truly yelled at (sorry Leia, but I've never had a trip where the vehicles in convoy have to stay so close), we had lost the lecturer a few times, met the parents of one of the students, spent two hours (so almost half the trip) compiling a playlist for in the car (it played through the night and still had enough songs to see us home again and still not be even close to finishing). On the plus side, besides having a talkative bunch to play 20 questions and I spy on the way down, I DIDN'T have to drive an automatic, and a few students had dropped out so we didn't need trailers. By the time we got there I was bouncing around to be home again, and managed to take having someone else sleep my bed relatively well in stride.
And what an awesome weekend! I got to enjoy being there without having to do much work, got to show some pretty special places to some pretty special people (sorry about those hills guys, I thought the walk would be shorter), track down some lizards for photographs, get a lovely unilateral sunburn (complete with t-shirt sleeve effect), finish my marking, bond with some KIDSes and generally have a weekend in the bush, and feel at home not only in the farmhouse but in my own skin as well.
Photos will follow, I'm afraid I have well over 300 to sift through, so it might take a while, but they will appear soon!
P.S. I haven't been blogging as I've actually been getting work done, hence blog writing and reading has taken a backseat. I am still reading as much as I can during morning-tea break, but unfortunatey the reprioritising of life in general has hit blogging hard...

Thursday, February 18, 2010


*This is one of the ‘secret’ posts I wrote a few months ago, that I am resurrecting in order tog et some actual work done. And to clear out the giant pile of drafts a little bit.

I. Hate. Facebook.

I hate that it only shows the smiles.

I hate the silly smushy statuses “I love my snookums so much mwah mwah”, “my angel I miss you so much I haven’t seen you in two WHOLE hours!” or the mom-stuff (why do you feel the need to update the world that you just changed a nappy?).

I hate the attention grabbing type “Is sad today :’(" because apparently a bunch of relative stranger commenting with “*hugs* makes it al better? (and yes, I have been guilty of similar updates, and I hate myself for it).

I hate the way people put up pictures of events where they had a great time, while knowing that that person they didn’t invite (for whatever reason) will see them and feel unwanted.

I hate the way nobody ever writes anything but then random relative strangers (I don’t keep track of who I’m ‘friends’ with) stop you on the street to comment on something you wrote 6 months ago.

I hate feeling compelled to watch people living their lives in all the gory detail while feeling that mine may be somehow inadequate.

I hate the social uproar that can be created by the click of the “remove friend” button.

I hate seeing photos of the kids I used to babysit getting drunk and puking. It makes me feel old. And kind of freaked out.

And yet I still keep my account open.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A scary few weeks of hyperventilating followed by a crying session and panic-attack later, I seem to be getting my priorities straight. Long live the getting-work-done mojo!

I will blog more when I have less work threatening to topple over and bury me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

you had to be there

While drinking tea, I was telling Leia all about some or otsituation of dramadramadrama:

  Leia: it's like a vicious circle
  Me: of custard!
  Leia: ?
  me: what? Custard is scary!
  Leia 7 me (unrehearsed): run awaaaay!
  cue helpless giggles
Because we rock.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's been a mixed week, starting with enjoying the horrendous sight of the bruises and ended with being really annoyed by the fact that the giant purple blotches are actually a little bit sore. Seriously, I haven't been for a run in a week (busy weekend and then falling off bikes), I can barely manage tai chi and ice-skating with swollen bruises on lower-shins meant that my skates actually gave me beautiful purple bruises-upon-bruises around my ankles. that's a lot of bruises.


  • I can't run. I need to think. I get my thinking done while I run.
  • This weekend could be fun, but could be unbelievably awkward (you know when you know that 3 people are going to the same even and none of them get along and someone will end up freaking out and running off crying while the others sit and listen to the awkward-crickets?)
  • It's hard to skate when you can't really bend your left knee. The cold was a fantastic numbing agent though!
  • Marking. Markingmarkingmarkingmarking
  • Teaching undergradlings to use a computer. Fun times.
  • General lack of sleep made me a bit sick. the fever has gone, so I'm hopng it's over now.


  • I learned a new technique for helping my balance in skating and it made a HUGE difference!
  • an awesome half-hour chat with my tai chi class. I never would have thought that I'd feel so close to a random bunch of people so quickly, particularly since I'm a lot younger than most of them (there are about two people my age and they aren't always there, the rest are my parents' age).
  • I spent the morning with my mom and we didn't fight. To be fair she DID decide to try and set me up with my optometrist (she went as far as saying he had displayed 'mating behaviour' towards me) and I let it slide.
  • Leia is ok, which is a relief as I was very worried about her, and will be reassuring myself of her okay-ness by feeding her copious amounts of chocolate cake over the next few days.
  • my team won at Trivia-night last night! who knew that one team member's knowleddge of obscure geography, another's interest in weird medical conditions and my reading random books on science would be so handy?
  • The students aren't as bad as they were. Annoying and a bit dumb, sure, but they're beginning to show some personality!

All in all not entirely a bad week!

How is everybody else doing?

Monday, February 08, 2010

uh... ow!

So I just had the most awesome weekend EVER!
It started on Friday when I met with the Oxfordian and the Oracle as well as Luke and another friend. It was a nice way to start the weekend, particularly after two hours with my kiddies who are developing a little bit more attitude than I'd like - I'm starting to wonder if letting them use my first name and playing games (I divide the group into 3 sections and we have little contests)and making jokes was the right tactic...
From there I went off to meet CG, La and another friend for dinner which was fantastic, I haven't been seeing much of La lately and I'd really missed her.
Saturday was a super-busy morning at work, where I got some marking done, but mostly ran around like a headless chicken trying to get everything done. The afternoon gave me time to nap, and then head off to a lovely dinner and then goth-clubbing with some new friends. I may have gone slightly out of control, although there were no hats, I ran around deciding amongst the new friends that they were all awesome people and they can all stay...
Sunday morning started badly, when I was woken up at 6am by some rather chatty hadedas outside my window, but ended up fantastically when I got to go mountain-biking!
Bear in mind that I hadn't been on a bike that wasn't rather securely bolted to the floor in well over a decade, so it was a shaky start (I can balance relatively well, but steering is a bit of an issue).
A few minutes into it I was finally going pretty well, negotiated my first puddle (with some shrieking) and managed to stop veering left as much when I turned a corner and realised that the track had washed away. Whoops. Somehow I managed to prevent myself from flying over the handlebars, but not without taking the bike to the shins in a pretty nasty way. Once I'd stopped shaking enough to get off the bike and walked a bit we got going again.
A few minutes later when I'd finally got the hang of changing gears without wobbling and having to stop I heard a loud bang, turned around to see that the person cycling with me had a broken chain. Whoops.
So we started walking. And walking. It was a rather warm day, but the place was BEAUTIFUL and it was so nice to be out of the city for a bit! We managed to freewheel the downhill bits. I'm a bit nervous of going downhill (I feel a bit out of control) so I went a little bit too slowly, hit a bump and went for a fly into the grass. Soft landing and nice grass actually!
From there we went back to the house, had a lovely lunch, and I learned to pick grapes, play "who wants to be a millionaire?" with a 93 year old and generally sat around feeling quite content, albeit sleepy listening to the conversation. The funniest part was hearing someone yell "Who left the door open? The horse is inside again!"
When I got home I passed out for a few hours, and then went off to gym (I figured blood-flow through bruises would help the healing agents get there) and had a great time (I love my Sunday night session,it's such a nice way to start the week!) and went home and had a chat with CG and another friend before I went to bed.
All in all a pretty decent weekend!
And the best part? I got to spend the day today showing off my bruises - it seems the grass was not as forgiving as I'd thought and right now it looks like I got kicked repeatedly in the shins by a large horse, which I'm happy about because there's nothing worse than hurting and having nothing to show for it!

Friday, February 05, 2010

At a glance


While recovering from Sunday night’s introduction to coffee-tequila (not so much the tequila part as the twitching and bouncing around until 4am… thanks caffeine) I discovered I can no longer drink coke. Did they add extra sugar recently? It’s like drinking syrup.


Epically bad traffic meant that it took me over an hour and a half to drive 10 km, so although I left home early I was very VERY late to teach my kiddies. They’re a fantastic group though and I had a lot of fun with them (they think I’m crazy because I won’t let them call me ma’am, asked their permission to use bad language in front of them, and I told them to try and balance things so that they can pass their studies and also have some kind of life. Cue terrified undergrads!).

And hour later I met my second-years who are officially the dumbest and most annoying students I’ve ever had to deal with. Oh. My. Word.

Student (holding up a leafy twig): “Does this have leaves in Summer?”

Helen: Well what season is it?

Student: Uh… Summer (one of them thought it was Spring)

Helen: and does it have leaves?

Student: uh… I think so…?

Helen: So does it have leaves in Summer?

Student: I don’t know! How am I supposed to know that? That’s why I asked you!


After a delightful morning of getting actual work done, had to give a safety announcement to the second years – guess what, blades are sharp! It might hurt if you cut yourself. And you may bleed… Shock! Horror! Several students decided the best way to look for stinging hairs on leaves (like nettles and that sort of stinging) was to whip themselves with them.

They decided that the leaves must have stinging hairs because being hit by them (and I quote) “Really hurts”

At least I got to drive out in epic traffic and spend several hours ice-skating backwards (I got put up a class *happy dance*)


Had the BEST tai-chi class ever, going over the form I’m working on bit by tiny bit and nitpicking everything. Left there feeling invincible and went for a run.

Ended up not feeling so invincible. And now I can’t climb stairs.


Got to start my day with the delightful students, some of whom were unable to figure out what a petal was. One of them obviously eats garlic for breakfast (and always needs help that involves you standing nearby), another has the SCARIEST eyebrows I’ve ever seen (she’s waxed them off and drawn them in from the inside corner of her eyes (almost straight) up to her hairline). I am unable to talk to her without my eyes watering. Someone else has glowing eyeshadow (seriously). I hadn’t had coffee, and although some lecturers are quite relaxed, this one will NOT let me take coffee into a lab. grumblegrumblegrumble.

Have a great weekend!


(Courtesy of A Beautiful Revolution of course)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Nothing more than...?

It's no secret that I am scared of very little. Heights (well largely sorted, but I still... respect... them), failure, rejection... the typical stuff.
Another thing that I've never mentioned that sends me into an absolute sipral of terror (I'm talking wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-screaming type terror) is feelings... Like a while ago when I made someone cry. Horrible horrible experience. I just don't know how to deal wth people who show their emotions.
That said, I do tend to be somewhat more of an open-book feelingwise lately. I've always been vaguely exuberant and that's hit all-new epic proportions, particularly when it comes to tai chi, tae bo (why do I love it? they tortured us to a technoed up version of Enya on Monday, nothing like wincing in pain to an upbetified version of Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away), skating, hats...
I learned to show fear while abseiling with Leia (it manifests as uncontrollable shaking, anger, aggression and then really bad jokes) and anger while fighting with CG (not something I enjoy thinking about).
Right now... well I'm stuck in a situation where I don't know what I feel. I kind of bounce between happy, sad, terrified and confused, sometimes in a random order, sometimes all at once. And thinking about it is scarier than ignoring it, but as a girl I must think and analyse, and reanalyse, and think some more...