Friday, July 27, 2007

Inflexible flex-time

Work has taken away my flex-time arrangement that was organised with the director of the writing and L10N group a year ago. At that time I was told that I should record accrued increments of 15 minutes here and there, and then take a day off once I had 8 hours or more. Apparently someone complained about this arrangement, in addition to complaining about the fact that I (am medically required to) work at home one day a week. Only weekend training courses or 2am seminars accrue time-in-lieu/flex-time. I was actually asked to not keep a record of the hours I work, and have been asked to quit the extras I do - social club secretary/finance/etc., editing bits and pieces for various departments. However, I was asked to stay on the OHSE committee because, in their words, "I'm the one who gets things done"..... :-/

So much for the flexibility proclaimed in job postings. The policies do not limit flex-time in this way. This will upset more than just me, many others seem to enjoy a lot more flexibility. I'm really upset by this, as the flex-time arrangement was so I could take a preventative break occasionally, without using leave.

Studying 'in my spare time' is not going so well - I'm typically exhausted from just working.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


nifwlseirff on flickr
I'm dead..... the seed potatoes and the rhubarb decided to sprout and had to be put into the garden *this weekend*, despite the fact that I was not feeling well enough to study :-\

So.... feeling much worse now, but quite accomplished. Trellis is up, passionfruit, blueberry, rhubarb, potatoes, natives and a random couple of my own pots of cuttings have been planted. I ran out of newspaper, and still am unsure what mulch to use on the 'common' areas down the drive. It needs eucalyptus mulch as there are many natives, but that's quite expensive.

I've yet to plant the onions, which are looking very sorry for themselves. The onions, a hanging rosemary and a bay tree are all that's left to plant of my last lot of nursery purchases.

I'd like to get a bunch of small 'food' shrubs for the yard, to put along the back fence. Unfortunately my normal nursery didn't have many when I put in my order. I should visit the Upper Gully market next weekend - they had a great variety of natives for a good price.

The ducks have come back to visit, and these adorable pair of king parrots dropped by. I haven't seen them since - we've been inundated with cockatoos.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New visitors and a splurge

New visitors
nifwlseirff on flickr

I really didn't expect to see a pair of ducks eating seed on our bannister! They stuck around for a couple of hours too!

I splurged today, on an electronic dictionary. I've continued to study Japanese for over a year now, and will stick with it. A good J-E dictionary and a kanji dictionary are way too heavy to carry around, especially when on public transport and suffering chronic pain anyway. I'd put the decision of for many months (at least 6 months), and am glad I did! The exchange rate is quite good for us at the moment! A review is inevitable once it arrives when I figure out the menus (which are, of course, in Japanese).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Public transport compensation

Public transport, at times sucks. Trains are often late (like last night), or, as happened last week, cancelled due to power failures. I've been lucky, recently, to avoid the older and grungier trains that are not heated, or cooled in summer. Connex, the company who runs the trains in Melbourne, is offering compensation for poor service in June to those people using monthly, six monthly or yearly tickets (less than 92% of trains ran on time). This is the fifth month this year that they have been obliged to pay customers compensation. Reasons given for poor performance include (paraphrased) 'Too many customers', 'Customer base growing faster than expected', 'Unfair speed restrictions', 'People are too slow to board' ... I'm sure their next step will be revise timetables and relax performance requirements.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Blood test results

Blood test, taken 18 June 07.

Shows I currently have a virus (bolded), but otherwise everything is normal, including kidney function.

White cell count 4.0 x 10/L (4.0-11.0)
HGB 138 g/L (115-165)
PLT 280 x 10/L (150-450)
Red cell count 4.9 x 10/L (3.8-5.2)
Eosinophils 0.07 x 10/L (0.01-0.4)
MCV 91 fL (80-98)
HCT 0.42 L/L (0.37-0.47)
MCH 30.1 pg (26-34)
MCHC 332 g/L (300-370)
Neutrophils 1.34 x 10/L (1.8-8.0)
Lymphocytes 1.94 x 10/L (0.5-4.0)
Monocytes 0.56 x 10/L (0.2-1.0)
Basophils 0.06 x 10/L (0.0-0.2)

Sodium 140 mmol/L (135-145)
Potassium 4.0 mmol/L (3.5-5.0)
Chloride 105 mmol/L (95-110)
Bicarb 28 mmol/L (20-32)
Anion gap 10 mmol/L (7-17)
Urea 2.8 mmol/L (2.5-8.5)
Creat 0.05 mmol/L (0.04-0.09)
Total bilirubin 5 umol/L (<22)
ALP 101 IU/L (30-120)
GGT 20 IU/L (6-42)
ALT 23 IU/L (5-30)
Tot protein 72 g/L (65-85)
ALB 38 g/L (34-47)

eGFR = 134

Bento #31

Bento #31
nifwlseirff on flickr

Breakfast: french toast and maple syrup. Lunch: devilled egg, steamed peas and corn, and raw carrot. Snack: 3 types of cheese, twiggy salami, pickled onion and dill pickle.

I wanted a variety on Wednesday (4 July), as I would normally work from home, and needed something comforting to get through the day.

Garden progress

New lemon tree
nifwlseirff on flickr
Despite it being a raining and generally miserable day, I did manage to get the lemon, strawberry and the asparagus crown planted before I got too wet, and the ground got too dangerous. It doesn't look like it, but I did weed a little first! The lawn and the steps ended up getting too muddy and slippery to continue, and the rain worsened over the rest of the day. I've discovered a large hole near the fence - I must contact the neighbours as their chooks kept peeking through the fence at me and trying to eat the recently dug over weeds. I hope the hole was simply caused by a tiny landslide with all the rain we've had recently, and not from either the chooks or a fox digging.

The slope that the lemon is planted on is much steeper than I thought. It was very difficult working on the side where my left ankle was over-stretched - it still hasn't fully recovered. The incredible steepness of the slope does kill some of my plans - it drastically decreases the plant-able areas. Then again, I can put companion shrubs along the fence instead. Still to be planted is the passionfruit, blueberry (which is flowering!), rhubarb, bay tree, rosemary, lemon balm, brown onions (they want a weed free area, I'm sure I can't comply), and a bunch of native plants to pop around the non-food areas. Maybe it will stop raining for long enough tomorrow to get most of these into the ground.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Garden beginnings

Let's see if I can turn this weedy, steep, sloping garden into a productive food area. I sent in an order to my favourite nursery today for a bunch of food plants and herbs, and some associated 'stuff' (manure, compost, mulch, etc.). I'm hoping I can get away without terracing - I do not want to spend money on 'hard' landscaping. I need to get some bags of gravel to fill in those murderous steps, but I can't recall the nursery having any. Bulk delivery is simply not possible - I need to deal with bags. I hope I don't have to do a Bunnings run with the poor little VW and it's not-a-garden-enthusiast driver.

The steps are very steep and dangerous even when they are nicely packed with gravel. Their current state is awful. I've almost fallen down them three times already, and twisted my ankle on them once. I seem to have a habit of spending a load of time, money and energy on rental gardens. I know we aren't going to be here for the rest of our lives, but I guess this is what a hobby is about. Spending energy and money, for enjoyment, and in this case, pain! But it's good pain. Really!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Random musings...

nifwlseirff on flickr

My kitties haven't visited their sleeping spot all day! And I had to work at work on this Wednesday, because I forgot to put my 'work at home' request in before my manager left. Despite the medical specialist recommending this become a weekly occurrence, I have to raise a request each week, and deal with the grumblings each week. I consoled myself by leaving my computer on all day to watch the kitty spot, and the kitties are not playing nice.

I would have had a less stressful start to my day if I had worked from home too! The power for the trains was cut at Belgrave. I raced back to catch the VW-taxi from home to the nearest station (running is not-a-good-idea - still recovering from chest infection and asthma flare). I arrived at work only 5 minutes late. The bus kindly waited an extra minute for the train that was running late.

How would you account for teacher-student or teacher-graduate connections in LinkedIn?
The most sensible one that I could find is colleague, which is actually a correct choice in this particular instance.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Big step

Shedding nifwlseirff on flickr

I took a big step today.... I've enrolled in a TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I miss teaching, and found that I love learning languages. It will take a while to complete this course, then get accredited for teaching within Australia before I do a short stint teaching overseas. But, a weight has slightly 'shifted'. I feel lighter, but I know that studying on top of the demanding full time work I'm currently doing is going to take more of a toll on my poor health. Let's hope it holds up... I'm a little nervous becoming a student again - I spent many years evaluating others! I'm not at all nervous about the teaching part, only about how I'll be graded in this area. IT is much more black and white than evaluating a teacher's performance!


Thanks for the food!
nifwlseirff on flickr
We've built some bird feeders from scrap wood from the bookshelves, and after about a week, the birds discovered it.

 If we wanted, I'm sure we could go through 1kg of seed a day! But, we limit it to 2 scoops, one for each feeder.

The noisiest so far have been the cockatoos, with a flock of 18 being the largest that sat on our balcony. They visit a couple of times a day.

A pair of galahs have just discovered the seed supply, and a large number of crimson rosellas drop by throughout the day.

A somewhat confused magpie also picks out his favourite seed every day or two, a little strange for a meat eater!

Pigeons usually sit below the feeders and pick at the seed thrown over the edge, typically by the messy cockatoos.

I even saw a baby kookaburra this weekend. I do miss the little finches, there aren't enough shrubs for them to feel safe.

The cockatoos are quite bold, even taking Smokey for a walk on his harness didn't bother them (or Smokey!). They just ignored each other.