All posts filed under: Modern Life

I’m dreaming of a light Christmas

This Christmas, instead of running around like a turkey with an aversion to stuffing, I’m going to be channelling my inner John Farnham. I’m going to “take the pressure down”. In my household, with two small kids and two working parents, we’re pretty busy most of the time. At Christmas we’re even busier, with Christmas parties, preschool graduations and no end of end-of-year gatherings. That is part of what makes this the most wonderful time of the year. It’s spending time with people we love, celebrating our achievements and remembering how much we have to be thankful for. Of course, there’s also gift giving and feasting on holiday foods, as well as the cultural or religious traditions your family adheres to. But if all these events are going to make it onto the calendar, and if I’m going to make it to January with any calm left, then something will have to give this year. I’ve decided I can’t do it all, and I don’t have to. Our family is doing a Secret Santa for the …

Girl Vs Internet Logins

In the battle between saving the forests and saving my sanity, there can only be one winner. At last count I have about 25 online accounts of varying kinds. Each has their own web address, client number, username, password, secret question, mother’s shoe size, wizard’s spell to be chanted at midnight under a full moon. In an effort to save trees and, while they’re at it, shift responsibility, companies are constantly pushing us to access everything online. Sounds good in theory, everything at your fingertips. In reality, you’re in password hell. As I see it, you have only two options. You could use the one password for all your accounts, or use a different one each time and write them down somewhere useful, but not so useful that a robber or cyber-hacker can find them. Either way, you’re screwed. Here’s a rundown of the companies I’m in online relationships with: bank other bank insurance company Centrelink Medicare superannuation fund other superannuation fund electricity company digital newspaper subscription motor registry domain name provider email host other email host …

An Ode To Moving House

The pitfalls of renting are many and varied. From not having the long-term stability of living in one place year after year, to constantly being at the whim of landlords’ decisions to increase rents, to not being able to hang your mirror in a spot where you can actually see your head and your body at the same time. There are some upsides, like not being responsible for plumbing repairs or tree removal, but that about covers it. Aside from property, most other assets actually depreciate over time. That new car you just bought will be worth half what you paid for it in just 2 years, your office photocopier worth a little less with each tax return. Yet year after year, renters find themselves paying more each week for what is essentially an older, more worn out version of the building where they eat, sleep and do laundry. As sure as the sun rises, renters know one day they will have to move out. Unable to renew our 12-month lease, we had been put …

Back In My Good Books: A Story About Discovering Irish Authors In Cyberspace

I have previously written about my sense of malaise at not being able to remember what I was supposed to look up online, and about being underwhelmed by the web when I use my phone instead of my computer. I was annoyed with myself that my web surfing had been reduced to quick scrolls with a finger instead of delving down rabbit holes of wonder, and I was always being distracted by what was coming at me via email and various social media channels. My fault entirely, but still hard to get over. To overcome this, I have been consciously trying to go directly to webpages which I love, or blogs which make me happy, to see what’s happening there. That way I get to see stuff I am choosing to see, rather than the stuff choosing to see me (I’m looking at you, facebook). Recently I found this post on one of my favourite sites, Meet Me At Mikes, and it took my eye because of the reference to a podcast with the children’s …

A Piece of Work

I get sideswiped by doubt each time I think about calling my next interviewee. What if they’re not home? What if they are but they say ‘no’?  What if they say ‘yes’? I just pick up the phone and dial, no thinking, no hesitating. It’s got to be done. Otherwise I would never write another profile. I must. Today I show up at the arranged time only to find my subject not at home. I should have called in the morning to re-confirm. I thought to, but didn’t. What if they had wanted to back out at the last minute? I’ve got my reporter’s notebook with my questions written out. And my pen. But my shorthand is that bad (where bad means non-existent) and I never leave enough space to scrawl down the answers fast enough, so I just end up recording the whole conversation each time. I wonder if she’ll think I’m an upstart? I am quite a bit younger than her, and not nearly so experienced in anything at all. I wonder if she’ll …

Why It’s Hard To Surf After a Feed

I have forgotten how to surf. I used to be quite good at it. I could do it for hours on end, as time seemingly stood still until at last I came up for air realising that I was suddenly hungry or cold. These days I can barely manage ten minutes at a time. We’re talking internet surfing here. If you ask me, it’s not entirely my fault. The decline in my agility is largely the result of the feeds delivered by a mob of little round-edged squares. Using a secret password, these guys have infiltrated the mini computer in my handbag, which, in medieval times, was once used for calling people. The bosses, Frankie “fb” Baloney and Enzo “Insti” Gramma, have convinced me that I’m no good at it anymore, that I can’t choose my own adventure in cyberspace. Their power is so influential and far-reaching that I now seem to spend 90% of my time online looking at content they’ve arranged for me instead. And I, like a poor sucker paying protection money, …

What Really Happens When Role Reversal Becomes a Reality

I’ve just finished my second week back at full time work since Seth was born nearly two years ago. So far, it has been awful.  Forget all that pie-in-the-sky talk about how I will work to support us while Tim will stay at home caring for our son and it will all be fine and dandy.  Turns out it’s not that rosy when it comes time to actually swap roles and responsibilities. The first day of work was the worst.  For a pretty unemotional person, I was almost in tears leaving home at 8am, kissing my son goodbye and knowing I was no longer his primary care giver. Are all working mothers evil and insane?, I thought. Because that’s what I felt like. When I got to work it was horrible.  That terrible feeling of being bombarded with not quite enough information to get a complete picture of how things work, but more than enough to make you utterly confused and exhausted.  I muddled through until the end of the day and unleashed all my …

How To Get That Fresh New Year Feeling All Year Round

It’s now four days into the new year and that lovely feeling where everything is new and possibilities are endless is quickly starting to slink away into the dusty corner where it lives for 360 days of the year. Something about the simple progression of the four numbers we write at the end of the date imparts us all with a fresh sense of wonderment, opportunity and imagination for what we can achieve, not just in the coming months but in our entire lifetime. In the real world, nothing has changed since I went to bed on December 31st and woke up on January 1st. I still live in the same house, sleep in the same bed and eat the same food. The sun still rises and sets at around the same time and people all over the world still face the same trials and challenges that they faced the day before. So what is it about the new year that makes us so hopeful for change and personal betterment? I think it’s because we need this artificial shot in the …

A Loyalty Scheme That Rewards Me For Being Me. It’s A Supermarket’s Bread And Butter.

I’ve just signed up for a supermarket rewards program. I hate rewards programs. I joined one in the past, but then I realised I needed 50,000 points to get a $29 blender and it would take me 45 years to accrue that many, by which time I would be 67 years old and could hopefully afford my own blender, not to mention the fact that the points would have expired after the first three years. So I cancelled my registration. I have even come to cherish the two seconds of freedom and wind blowing through my hair as I casually answer “no” when the checkout person asks if I have this or that card. The reason I have once again decided to sign up to such a condescendingly-titled scheme is not because I love my supermarket, or I want to get a dinner for two at Hog’s Breath in 10 years’ time. It is because the bread I like is cheaper if I present this particular card. That is the SOLE REASON. Contrary to what …

Turned 30. Still, It Could Be Worse

I just turned 30. In the week leading up to my birthday I put a colour in my hair, got a facial, and started wearing suncream every day like the beauty magazines advise. All of a sudden my DIY moisturisers (aloe vera, olive oil) just didn’t seem to be doing the job, and my knees hurt when I went for a run. Not to mention when I played netball against girls half my age. The furrow in my brow has signed a long-term lease and I am officially ineligible to apply for those competitions aimed at “youth” pursuing artistic or community projects. But I can’t be 30! When I look in the mirror I still see the same face I had when I was at uni, the same one I had when I got married. That girl wasn’t 30. I haven’t even learnt how to correctly apply my own makeup, or change a car tyre. Isn’t that something 30 year olds should know? What’s more, I’m not convinced that 30 is the new 20. Rather, …