Sunday, 24 June 2007

Pencils down, stop writing

Sound the trumpets and ring the bells, I have FINALLY finished the last piece of work for my postgrad degree. I can reclaim my life.

I started this degree in a fit of insanity less than a year after I finished my PhD (long before Pirate Jim was thought of) when I realised two things I wish I had of known years before: 1) that a phd really didnt mean a great deal when it comes to jobs outside academia, and 2) that an academic career really wasnt for me. The second point mainly came about because my first post-doc job was a dud, with a boss I didnt get along with, on a project that was badly designed by too many chiefs with me the only indian, on a topic I didnt even like, undertaken alternately in an office with no windows and a vineyard in the middle of summer that required me to be away from home for two weeks at a time.

So. Having discovered, the hard way, the truth of point 1, I decided I needed to do another degree, and I have to say that in the beginning I really, really enjoyed course-work postgrad study. Since the birth of PJ though, and the getting of my new job in the public service in Canberra (where I decided to aim after point 2 became abundantly clear), I've kinda lost interest. Especially given this last subject is a very badly taught - very, very frustrating given I've taught at the tertiary level for a number of years, and the amount of dosh Ive had to part with to do this course.

So, I put aside my perfectionism (which Im actually quite proud of myself for, in a kind of upside-down fashion) and just aimed to get through it and pass so I can take out the degree and get on with other, much more important stuff. Now I just have to hope I pass!

Not that it hasnt been really useful, and for the most part, really enjoyable, but I'm where I want to be for now so its time to move on. My Beloved is under strict standing orders to not let me anywhere near another course of study for at least 5 years.

Now I am free, free, free as the wind blows, free as the grass grows...ahem, sorry about that...but free to get on with all that stuff I have felt guilty doing with this course looming over me.

So please excuse me - if anyone needs me I'll in front of the telly , KNITTING.


Friday, 22 June 2007

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Taph has been inspiring me with her Cook from the Cupboard adventure. As a compulsive hoarder, who specialises in foodstuffs, I think its a great idea and was working up to jumping on board.

While we were away, however, it seems that someone else had the same idea. There was little Pantry Moth Party at chez Kitchen Table. Yuk. Pantry Moth is on my top ten list of most hated things.

I have spent several hours this afternoon throwing out around half my pantry - several shopping bags almost too heavy to carry, full of my "stash". Kilos and kilos of food - lentils, flours, nuts, biscuits, and, and, and. Enough to make you weep. And my skin crawl as I find all those little larvae in all sorts of sneaky places. Eeewwww.

Not the sort of decluttering I had in mind.

After this weekend, study with be offically over and I can join the land of the knitting again.

Until then,
G x

Sunday, 17 June 2007


We are home safe, but not especially sound.

I hate jet lag. I suspect when you're almost-two-years-old it's even more weird.

I base this suspicion on the fact that Pirate Jim has been awake between 11:30 and 4 am for the last two nights. And since jet-lag manifests in me as waking up in the wee hours with my brain buzzing and my eyelids somehow unable to even meet in the middle, let alone close, I havent seen a lot of sleep in the last three days. I've discovered this effect isnt dependant on having actually been asleep directly prior to the magic "wee hour" to be suddenly wide awake. Woo-hoo.

The flight home was a mixed bag. Leaving Frankfurt at 12.05 am is not a lot of fun, and PJ was (understandably) crotchety, but we managed to get him allocated a seat to himself and he had flaked before they turned off the seat belt sign. He slept nearly 9 hours, so both Beloved and I also got some sleep (learning from past experiences to give over the excitement of in-flight movies when there is an opportunity to get some zzzzs).

I'm very glad we did, because the next leg was a nightmare of epic proportions: a full flight with no chance of a seat for PJ, an hour delay leaving Singapore due to bad weather in Sydney, PJ sleeping one hour until they turned off the seatbelt sign, then short bursts of grizzling punctuated by long bursts of screaming for 6 hours. Much to the joy of our fellow passengers. Sadly, no one actually said anything negative to me - I say sadly, because the first person that did was getting the child to look after while I watched Happy Feet.

Somewhere there was a minor god of travel sick of creating turbulence over Chicago, because PJ finally fell asleep in my arms as the pilot said "crew please be seated for landing" as we came into Sydney. Really bloody funny, thanks for that. Nothing like waking a sleeping baby to make everything good with world.

Flight on to Canberra cancelled due to bad weather. Managed to get onto next flight 30 minutes later. Take that, malevolent minor god, ha.

We landed in Canberra around 9am to pouring rain (all the better for finding the car in, my dear) and freezing cold. Brrrr. travel time: 31 hours.

Friday - sleep, unpack, store cupboard dinner Taph would be proud of. Well, maybe not proud, but certainly supportive.

Saturday - shop for supplies, wash clothes, unpack. Get to bed just in time to fall asleep before PJ decides its play time.

But now PJ and Beloved are finally asleep, I have caught up on blog reading and emails and local news in between more loads of washing, and the sun has finally shown itself. I can't believe its back to work tomorrow.

YARN UPDATE: due to my fluff-up of Paypal, and the vagaries of german banks, my internet yarn order containing local SnBer's yarn didnt arrive to home in Germany before we left on Wednesday. It should have made it on Friday, and be posted on again on Monday. Hopefully at my door in about 10 days.

I'm hoping to get to SnB today. Somebody prop me up if I doze off in my mega-double-choc-jamacian-mocha-soy-chai-latte-thingy. Until then, time for another cup of tea.


Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Bis naechstest mal

I had such plans before this trip to blog every couple of days as a diary of our trip. I even started taking photos of our meals and street signs and such things with plans to blog about them. I'm not sure why I'm so a) surprised and b) disappointed I didnt, because I plan to keep a diary every single trip and fail miserably. Despite having a home base at my parents-in-laws, there's always too much going on - people to see, places to visit, beer to drink, hangovers to recover from.

Even though we have a broadband wireless connection and the laptop on the dining table, the best I've managed is email checking and a brief look at the newspaper and weather most days.

First researching and writing my essay got in the way - I finished it on Wednesday moring, yay! Just a short exam to go and I'm DONE.

Then I simply had to research both on-line yarn shops, and find those on our travel routes, to make sure I knew everything I could about yarn available here. After our third yarn shop today, Beloved finally turned to me when we got back in the car and said "NOW do you have enough yarn?". He clearly still has much to learn. But I did say, very meekly, "yes" because he has been sooooooo patient with me, helping out when my german fails and making phone calls to fix the stuff-ups I made on my internet order. I really must get around to knitting something for him very soon!

Last night was the first at home in over a week - I hope you can forgive me for knitting for a short while in front of the telly before crashing out instead of blogging.

So tonight is our last night, we leave for the airport tomorrow evening and will be back in Oz Friday morning. I'm always sad to leave, because I feel very at home here, but I am ready to get back to my "stuff", as one always is after time away. Especially my pillow - I love my pillow and german ones just don't stack up. Its not just the ones of the spare bed here - believe me, after extensive research I've never found a german pillow I like. But that is the subject of another post.

I will blog about our trip - waffles, Schutezenfest (beer, oomptata music and firearms, woohoo!), the Germany-formerly-known-as-east, cultural challanges (including pillows), walks in the forest and our trail-blazing attempt to find every yarn store this side of the Rhine.

Until then, we have some serious packing to do.


p.s. hope you are all safe from the wild weather so many places seem to be having.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

In summary....

Days: four

Kilometres driven: 1250

Kilometres walked: feels like the same

Time spent in traffic jams on autobahns: 1.5 hours

Distance travelled in traffic jams: 11 kms

Trucks counted while in traffic jams: 2,500 (after which point I quit)

Guesthouses: three

Fackwerk (half-timbered) houses: squillions

Beaches: one

Lakes: many

Mountains: several

Weather: first rain, then fine; around 20oC

Beers: a few (-ish)

Travelling in former East Germany: a little weird

Yarn shops: two

Yarn bought: ummmm, some....

Rows knitted on front of Geoff's Vest: not enough

Words written on essay due 31st May: zero

Look on Pirate Jim's face when he sees us after 4 days: priceless!!

Must, must, must get essay written. Promise more details and photos when some progress has been made.