Monday, 23 July 2007

Flirting with Stranger

I've found myself having a couple of flirting incidents in the past few days. The first was with a guy behind the counter at a newsagent I went into that I don't normally frequent. He was serving another customer that he obviously knew and so it was going to be a long conversation. So I gave him my money for the paper. We didn't say anything to each other, but it was the look and smile, both when I handed over the money and again as I walked out the door.
Today it was with a guy on the other side of a crowded lecture theatre. It was in a class that has students from a number of faculties, so I certainly don't know everyone. He first came to my attention because he was an older male (ie. over 30!), a rare species in the undergraduate world. We did the smiling a few times during the lecture. He then disappeared afterwards in the crush.
I have a sense of fun in flirting, but there is also a sense of danger (too strong a word but part of me is a drama queen!). What is their intent? Do they have intent? What is my intent? Do I want to do more than flirt with them? Why can't I just accept it as contemporaneous fun? Why can't I turn my brain off?
Methinks I think too much!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Stressed? Not me!

Today I was in a position to observe the affects of stress in others at work. We have been having a few IT issues over the last couple of days. Our electronic client system was down yesterday due to a planned change that had to be made. This didn't go as planned so the system ended up being down all afternoon. There were some residual issues today which caused further headaches. Generally speaking we are a cohesive team that communicates reasonably well considering we are a bunch of humans! It was interesting to observe the response to these IT issues by both our clinical staff and our admin staff. Both sets of staff were in such a state that they had difficulty appreciating the affect our problems were having on each other. This affected their communication to such an extent that a very sharp implement was required to cut through the air. Having a foot in both camps I was in a better position to appreciate both sides. Partly because of this and partly because I have just returned from leave and feeling stronger and calmer in these situations (unlike just before my leave!), I wasn't as affected by all this stress as the other staff. In fact I could step outside the situation and observe others' reactions. On one level it was quite amusing!
This afternoon I read my stars: 'Humour's the most appropriate tool against today's picky critics, allowing you a calmer mind space to formulate creative responses - and more tolerance for dealing with the world's less imaginative citizens'.
I'm glad I was being humourous internally - I don't think it would have been appreciated had I expressed that humour. I did take on a soothing, calming role however, and made quite a few coffees for people!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Back to Routine

Today was my first day back at work, my first afternoon to be more accurate. My timetable from hell requires that I work two half days in lieu of one full day. It is actually a pleasant way to return to work. I decided that I wouldn't do any REAL work, just spend the afternoon going through my emails and in tray as well as catching up on the office gossip. Nothing much has changed, everyone is still quite stressed. We are going through accreditation in October so everyone is focussed on dotting all our i's and crossing all the t's by then!
This season, by default (ie no-one else would do it!) I am the team coordinator for son's tennis team. This season he is playing on Friday nights. I have spent the last couple of nights making phone calls to introduce myself to players and try to work out a roster. I can't say this is a role I take on with great enthusiasm. It will place me outside my comfort zone as I attempt to coordinate people in a setting that I'm not particularly comfortable in. It's not a bad thing to be challenged in such a way. I'm not someone to eagerly takes on such challenges. I think that's partly because of my innate laziness. Who knows, I may even come to enjoy it. Hopefully it won't turn me into a Demir Dokic!

Monday, 16 July 2007


I got a flyer in the letter box today about a course entitled The Angel Awareness Programme. This programme is 'designed to unite and inspire Light Workers from around the world'. It's not really my thing, so I won't be doing anything with it, except placing it in the recycling, but it got me thinking about Angels. We all have angels in our life I believe. Some are angels who are constantly with us in our lives, those we can call on in times of need. There are other angels who pop into our lives, either momentarily or for a very short period of time when we need them.
A particular angel of the latter type came into my memory. It was when I was about 13 or 14 years of age. I was going to school one morning. I had got off at Richmond station (to give those Melburnites a visual) and this man started stalking me. From memory, I think he might have pushed me, but then started following me. I remember hiding amid the cars in a second hand car dealership right outside the station. Remember this was around 8.00am on a main street in busy inner city Melbourne. We started playing hide and seek amongst the cars. This woman, probably only in her twenties, then walked past on the street. Something made me decide to walk behind her. The man then followed me. We had walked a few hundred meters up Swan Street when the woman twigged as to what was happening. She stopped walking, turned around and asked me if this man was bothering me. I almost burst into tears as I nodded my affirmative (even getting a tad emotional now as I remember that moment). She then told him to nick off and 'pick on someone his own size', which he promptly did. I don't remember how she and I parted or what was said between us after he left. I should have reported him to the school, but I didn't.
I still have such a strong visual in my mind of that morning almost thirty years ago. I have a feeling that angel will remain in my memory for the rest of my life and I will be eternally grateful to that unknown woman.

Thursday, 12 July 2007


At the beginning of every semester I go through the same stress and annoyance over Uni timetabling. Trying to fit part time study during the day into part time work is a real pain. Despite knowing the beginning of every semester is going to be the same and knowing that somehow it all works out in the end, I still get stressed and irritated. I'm very fortunate to have a sympathetic employer who allows me to change my work days every semester, but I don't like to push my luck.
This coming semester is no different. I'm going to have to work 2 half days in lieu of a full day, which would be OK except I travel 50km each way to and from Uni. They've made another change to the timetable and placed a lecture bang in the middle of the day, so basically I just won't be able to attend it. This means I will be traveling a total of 2 1/2 hours for a 1 hour tutorial on one day!!
I really must want to do this!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Stereotypes Need unblocking

The holidays are going well. I've been doing various things, even getting a bit crafty in an arty sort of way. My Scottish heritage won't allow me to throw out any half used candles that refuse to burn to their demise, so over the years I have kept them all with the thought of burning them down to make new ones. That was one of the tasks of this fortnight. I did go through a short candle making phase many years ago, so roughly knew what I was doing. So ventured into a craft shop to buy wicks, out with the old saucepan and down with the old candles off the top of the kitchen cupboard. Now I had no fantasies of these candles looking any good, as long as they burned, but I did try to melt the wax in similar colours so they wouldn't look totally hideous. All was going well until I began to pour into the plastic mould. I hadn't let the wax cool enough, so it was all too much for the yoghurt container which buckled under the pressure. This resulted in wax making it's way down my kitchen sink.
Now this was too much for my kitchen sink. I think it was the last straw with probably many years of gunk (yes I know it's not in my Aunt's dictionary, but I like the word) not allowing the wax to make it's way through the pipes as one would normally expect! Now I'm not the handiest of men, but I thought I should be able to fix this, so I borrowed a wrench from my very handy father (from whom these particular genes did not pass to this particular son) and attempted to unscrew the piping under the sink. To no avail. I called in the services of son as apprentice, but to no avail. I rang a friend who is a very Handy Man, but even his expertise over the phone could not make it budge. So having felt proud that I had even tried, I decided it was time for a professional. This decisive moment was on Friday evening, so with my Scottish heritage coming to the fore again (by the way I ended up making some very functional candles!) I decided to wait until Monday to call a plumber as it would be cheaper. So this morning I rang soon after 9.00am and he was here soon after 10. It ended up being a bigger job than I think even he thought as he was here for an hour and a half. He told me I would never have been able to unscrew it myself as all the rubbers and thingys (not the word he used) were shot. He ended up replacing all the piping, so $200 later I have a nice new clean plug hole. What more could a boy want?
Now this plumber was your typical tradie, a real ocker bloke, but as part of his departing salutation, he told me to 'Take care'. The judgements I make in life never cease to be challenged - and long may that live.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Heathcote and Part

Late yesterday afternoon I decided I would go and see the Australian Ballet's New Romantics. It was the last show and also the good looking (almost too perfect teeth notwithstanding) Stephen Heathcote's final performance, as, at the grand old age of 43, he is retiring as principal artist with the Australian Ballet. What I know of Stephen, which is only through the media, he's a really nice and down to earth guy. So at 4.30pm I nip into the box office, as the show is entirely sold out, to see if they have any spare or returned tickets. I'm told that they can now sell me (given the lateness of the hour) seats in a box that are normally reserved for wheelchair patrons. They ended up being very good seats, as long as one doesn't suffer from vertigo. There was no-one in a wheelchair in the box, just another woman who bought her ticket at 5.30pm and a man whose babysitter had fallen through at the very last minute, so his wife and 4 year old were sitting in their original seats and he got the not-so-short straw. The woman who was sitting next to me is the mother of a student at the Australian Ballet School and so was giving me a lot of insight into both the school and the company. Anyway, Stephen was given a wonderful ovation at the end of the show.
Another reason I wanted to see this production was that part of it was set to one of my favourite pieces of music, Spiegel Im Spiegel, by Arvo Part. I was first introduced to this piece in a post-coital moment by a lover who preferred listening to music over smoking a cigarette. It translates as Mirror in the Mirror and is a beautifully meditative piece. I normally go very inward when I listen to it, so it was a challenge to watch two people dance to it on stage, but they did so with exquisite grace.
It was a lovely night.