microblog monday- in tune with the zeitgeist

Sometimes I feel like I pick up on trends and shifting opinions juuuust before they break through.  I don’t get much more than the vague knowledge that I knew about a new website, or trend or political moment before it was everywhere though. Sometimes I think it is just that I am aware of it that I see the stories.

A month ago I wrote a submission for work on fee disclosure in superannuation.  I included an analogy about how disclosing all the fees in each layer of investments would be confusing and about as useful as requiring the disclosure of the individual cost of each component of a car when you buy one.  It was not an entirely perfect analogy, but I thought a clear example of the requirement in a different context might help make my point.  The analogy stayed, even as much of my points were overwritten.

Today my manager comes to my section with a funny look and asks me where I got the analogy from.  Out of my own head, and perhaps some frustration with my car.  So, at the big industry convention last week, one of the major players (in the industry and in my state) gave a speech. She used a car analogy to talk about the industry.  It wasn’t mine exactly, as it was more about what the industry expects of members. But it was enough to ring bells for my manager.  Which means that the bigwig either read my submission (entirely possible) or I did just tap into the zeitgeist just before the wave broke?

It’s not bad, either way.  Either that part of my writing was good enough to catch the eye, which yay (although entirely uncredited as my name is not on the submission) or I am in turn with industry talk enough to write it. Which is also good, because I am meant to be aware of what is happening in the industry.

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


Today I finished a draft of a response paper that needs to be submitted Friday.  I have known we would be writing one since the draft Class Order came out, but we had to wait nearly three weeks for various management people to work it out.  Then I had to press for ideas.  Net result was that I had this Monday (yesterday) to Wednesday night to write it.  It’s due Friday. I am in meetings and events all day Thursday and I needed to give the other inputs time to read.  Anyway, I finished about midday today.  It’s not fantastic, but that is because I am having to argue a position I don’t completely agree with.  I had my manager and co worker read through, tidied it and sent it through.  So I have a whole extra day this week to finish other work stuff! Yay.  Actually a good thing, some other stuff has ambushed me.

I rang the clinic and forwarded my sisters referral.  Also yay. Although I did not make arrangements for my own cycle.  

And I rang and left a message with the therapist to arrange a counselling appt. 

both of these are things I have been putting off. So an actual achievement. 

And I went for a walk today. After little chance last week and an indulgent weekend, not so great.  But it is hot, and the part I usually walk on is blocked off for some form of construction.  I would be more tolerant of this, but the cyclists are still allowed to go through, so it can’t be major.

And here I am at the end of the day and I have read almost no microblog Monday posts, the day just ran away with me.  Not so happy about that.

Catching up

It’s been a less than stellar week, and it’s only tuesday!  I hsve a mental list of posts I want to write, but lack of energy at home.

Where to start?  

On Monday, where I found that a summay I wrote, for which I had to throw the rest of my workload under the bus for a week and am still dealing with the consequences, had been circulated to approximately no one in the past three weeks since i finished it.  Originally the plan had been to give said summary to someone else to jazz it up for the trustes (because that wasn’t insulting either) but that didn’t happen.  Anyway I had to go to a meeting today where the three other participants had received a copy of the summary and were starting a response to the original document based on my summary of it.  so three people read it.  It makes me feel less than warm and fuzzy about certain people at my work.  Thankfully they are not ones i interact with much. (for those that know me in real life and have heard me whinge about a particular character who usually adds to my workload- he was the one who actually got the ball rolling on other people seeing it and was not the cause of my issue)

Today when I totally blanked on an industry update (for which a substantial sum was paid to register) and thereby missed the first hour.  Gah.  And i reminded myself about it yesterday, but blanked today. Luckily, the parts i particularly wanted to hear were the ones that were scheduled later.  But i felt like an idiot, and was very frustrated.

The general feeling of meh.

The return of the person whose desk is next to mine after 9 weeks of holiday.  We are not at each other’s throats, but she is not a quiet person, and she is just about to start organising her wedding.  time to sort out some good headphones.

I talked to my sister about donor eggs last week.  She s still on board, but had seen a counselor and had some questions, issues.  She emailed me, and also indicated she didnt know where we were up to, so we could refuse eggs if wanted.  I emailed back about the fact that after 4 miscarriages and 3 failed IVF cycles donor eggs and/or PGD are serious options.  I havent really talked to my family about the last miscarriage, it was such a brief pregnancy that it never went far.  my mum knew about all three of the other ones, but i wasnt sure if my sister knew.  She didn’t.  We will try to schedule a cycle so she can come out for retrieval the weekend that we have our big family get-together.  That way she has something to look forward to, and it provides a reason for the visit for the curious. My mum knows that we are doing this, but I really dont want to discuss it with the wider family until it is something.   So my sister is one of those people who can manipulate her cycle with the pill.  I am not.  Which makes me very happy i am not going through IVF in the USA, so many clinics seem to use that as a start.

I need new sneakers.  I can feel the heel support in mine is no longer good.  I hate spending $200 on sneakers (the typical price for a decent pair here)  I know the value of decent shoes though.

The accounting team at work has lost my expense claim for my ipad cover.  yet they will probably process my signed off deduction to purchase the old ipad immediately.  not impressed.

Oh, and i keep meaning to sign up for ICLW, but am freaked out and forget.


Having a few issues

I got in an argument with a coworker last week. I don’t think I have ever had a major argument at work, although I don’t know if this can be classed as major.

I understand that sometimes it can be difficult  to grasp new ideas, and that not everybody has the same friendly relationship that I have with technology.  But, when I learn a new system, or have a new process, I try to ask questions early on.  When I have issues with one of our databases at work, I don’t just go straight to my boss and say that there is a problem (or when i have to call it).  I try to work out if I have done something to cause the problem, or if there is something i can do to address it.  I tend to expect that others do the same.  I don’t mind helping others, but i expect them to have at least tried to do the work themselves.

Co-worker in question, does not always do this- she sees a problem and gets someone else to fix it.  I am sure there is logic there, everybody handles things differently, but it drives me nuts.  You do not learn by letting others fix your problems (which she knows, because she has said that she learns by doing).  But on more than one occasion, when she has had a lot to do, and a short timeframe, she has resorted to by the book rote actions (i am doing it exactly as someone showed me, even if there is something different that shows up in the process) or in the case of the assignment she had for an industry course, asking various people in the office for answers to the questions.  Not impressed in the least by this.

So, on friday, she asked in a meeting about why we were doing a particular step in a process, and I sighed.  She got narky.  Apparently my boss has also had a similar reaction when she had an issue, so me doing it as well just was the last straw.  I told her that the fact that she didn’t understand why we were taking that action told me that she wasn’t reading any of my research topics/paying attention to my work.  She didn’t appreciate that (although it did show that she wasn’t reading them, she couldn’t deny that).  I pointed out that to me, that indicated that she basically assigned zero value to my work, with the subtext (not explicitly stated) that if she was going to take that attitude about my work, i was not going to be overly tolerant of her failure tto understand the systems she has been taught how to use.  not a pretty argument, and the third person in the room spent the next 30 minutes trying to smooth things over.

She spoke to me as little as she could for the rest of the day.  I don’t know how long that will continue, but I am not entirely thrilled with someone complaining how much work they have, when i have been carrying part of their workload, on top of mine. I am also not impressed with someone who complains how they feel out of the loop, but doesn’t bother to read updates, or attend meetings to discuss changes.

I have no answers on this one, and it isn’t like we can avoid each other.

Control issues

I am feeling stressed, recent events have not helped, and very little is within my control.

IVF so far hasn’t worked.  So only one try, but what is not said before hand is how much worse it is.  I wasn’t expecting that (yeah should have).  The fact that you know that there was an embryo in there and still not pregnant.  This turns out to be quite painful, in a way that all of the IUI and “trying”attempts were not.  Cannot control what my body does, and I think this is hard.

Larger family issues.  We will indeed have a house guest for two weeks.  There are benefits to this, but we did not know the time of his arrival until today, and he arrives tomorrow.  No return flight booked (although a date has now been agreed).  Zero control over this. Zero.

Work issues- One of the elements of my job is the review of the documents that others write.  You would think this would give me some control, but no.  I am forced to read and reread subpar material.  These items are handed over with ridiculous timeframes- I am reviewing for compliance with legislation and regulation, it isn’t like I can skim through on the surface.  I do read very fast, but I need to process and review, and sometimes I need to vent for about 15 minutes before I can write a polite response on some of these items.  I will say I now appreciate good technical writing and good journalism, and I really notice when a news article is simply a reworded press release ( even worse when I reviewed said press release). An next time you groan at the terrible, dry financial product disclosure, spare a thought for the poor person who had read that in depth, and who tried fruitlessly to make it both interesting and compliant.

I went back to the gym last night, first time in about 3 weeks.  I often attend this class, and it quite good, but last night, my ribs decided to play slidy.  One rib slides over the other, and the PAIN is well, very painful. It feels as if my liver has tried to insert itself between my skin and my rib.  If I stand straight and still (or sit) and breathe, it will go away, but it tends to be awkward- everyone in the class is doing some yogaesque twist, and I am standing holding my ribs and trying not scream.  Last nights class was very twisty, and the slidy rib happened early, so I didn’t get as much out of it as usual.  Slidy ribs is a relatively new development for me (last year or so), so I don’t quite know what to do, I am thankful it is not like my officemate who needs to see a physio before he can straighten it out- so in agony until then.

It feels like I can control very little of my life, so I am obsessing about things I might be able to control (I walked 7000 steps today) to help get past the big obsession around the things I can’t.


A thoughtful afternoon

Well, the whole not acquiring stuff thing.  That didn’t work.

I spent the afternoon at a work sponsored volunteer thing, sorting presents for the Salvos.  I was, as Greg named it this morning, the “sacrificial volunteer”.  The larger company I work for had arranged to have a company volunteer afternoon at the warehouse, and someone decided it would be a nice gesture if one person from each department was there.  So, I answered the phone the day HR was looking for volunteers and was duly press ganged into it.  I gather other departments actually had an option to volunteer, but the email never went round my little team.  I am not complaining, just noting.  And as I left, one of my co-workers mentioned she would like to have done this. Sigh.

So, we were dealing with the donated toys that people bring in to the wishing trees at Kmart and the like, and that are collected by workplaces (including mine).  Now, I was aware that it is good not to wrap the gift, because they do all get unwrapped at the warehouse and sorted.  Kind of sad, because some people clearly go to some effort to wrap the gifts and write little cards, but there are good reasons.

People sometimes donate junk.  Really unusable stuff, or old stuff.  These are meant to be new toys, not the garbage at the bottom of the closet.  So the junk has to be weeded out.  Then the inappropriate.  This is the salvation army so nothing that promotes gambling (so much for the roulette set) or violence (no plastic handguns).  And no food with alcoholic flavoring.

So all of that gets weeded out.  Then the rest gets sorted into age and gender related piles.  Because it is so close to Christmas most of the specific gifts, those that will be given out to kids this Christmas have been sorted and organised.  What we were doing is packing gifts into boxes for next Christmas.  So a variety of the boxes will be shipped to various bush towns for their Christmas processes next year.  It does make sense, it can take a long time to ship stuff, and this ensures that regional areas, which may have a lot of need, have it available next year and are not dependent on gifts from their area alone.

It is nice to see how many people do donate stuff,and how much thought goes into some of the donations.  I note that a lot of stuff for girls is violently pink, and a large majority of the boys stuff is cars and trucks.  Next year  I will keep this in mind and try to buy something different for my donated toys.

It also gave me the opportunity to observe some toy trends.  One of the toy companies has been especially enterprising, and has reissued a number of old standards with toy story decoration.  Toy story Trouble, toy story twister, toy story  board games.  Kind of clever, but a bit  sad at the same time- the only way to make it appealing is slap Buzz and Woody on everything.

Barbie has gotten a little racier than she used to be, and comes in some very weird guises (green alien fashion fantasy?).

And apparently one of THE gifts this year is Nerf bullet guns.  Well, not being passed on this year, and unlike some of the other stuff that is rejected for Christmas, it won’t be sold in the volunteer shops.  The working volunteers are free to take these home (for a donation).  So I now have some nerf guns.  So much for not acquiring stuff.

Edit: I should add it was quite an enjoyable afternoon, and I was glad I did it.

Dragon Boats

So, last Sunday I went Dragon Boating.  For those that don’t know dragon boats are a large canoe filled with people that paddle along in a race.  Similar to outrigger canoes except no outrigger.

This was was part of a charity dragon boat day down on the Gold Coast in a development called Varsity Lakes, to raise funds for Cancer Council.  The parent company of the place where I work participated last year and won, with absolutely no practice beforehand. This year they needed some extra female paddlers so I agreed to go.

It was not an auspicious start.  For various reasons, I was driving the work car which is a huuuuge Holden station-wagon.  well maybe it isn’t so huge, but after a couple of years with a Micra it feels massive.  Anyway I was driving it because Greg wasn’t allowed to.  And we had the table and marquee for our team in the back shifting around.  Lots of fun.  Then we got lost in Varsity Lakes due to windy roads, poor signage and the GPS.  So kind of grumpy in the morning.

We got there, and luckily were not in the first heat, but the second (I think).  This is what we looked like.

Starting off

Perhaps we don’t look that flash at this stage, just pushing off ready to paddle off to the start of the race.  At this point, although some people on the team had been in races together, as a group we had never paddled together.

The drum beater and the person on the steering were volunteers from a dragon boating club on the Gold Coast.  The boats were also supplied by a club from the Gold Coast.

Paddling along

We were still working on the whole paddling in unison.

More paddling

We did get better at the paddling in unison, and it is pretty good, you can really feel the boat move.

All together now
Racing along

There aren’t many pictures of the boat racing, because we were usually on the far side for the race.  Greg was kept busy taking pictures until he was co-opted into a babysitting role.  One of the other paddlers had brought his wife along (she also works for the company but is on mat leave) along with their two little kids.  The two year old boy was tagging along after Daddy and apparently decided that a lakeside visit(off the edge into deep water) was a good idea.  Mum was a little tied up with the baby so Greg had to go to the rescue, and was the semi babysitter for the rest of the day.  Which was very much appreciated by the parents.

I was stopped at work the next day and thanked again for Greg looking after the toddler.  Clearly, to get ahead at work, I need to accessorise with Greg, as he is a much bigger hit than I.  I am not complaining, it was just kind of interesting.

Anyway back to the boating.  After a day of heats we ended up in the final four final and came 4th against some very well trained teams.  Hard work.

Here are some more pictures.

After the last race

Heading for the start line

My arm and shoulder hurt a lot that night- I was very happy I had my fortnightly work massage the next morning.