The eighties


Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

A lucky dip into the coin pocket of my handbag handed me a 1981 ten-cent coin. They’re a fairly annoying and useless little silver coin and for some reason you seem to accumulate a lot of them but never seem to be able to get rid of them.

Anyway in 1981 I was 17 and I was attending school doing my final year. I had no interest in school and couldn’t wait to be out of there so I could get a job, go to the beach and spend the weekends partying with my friends. Back then there was no mention of checking anyone’s age at the local Pub so I’d already been going there on weekends since I was 15 so most of my friends were older and already working so I was keen to earn some money as well.

As soon as I left school that year I went to the beach for two weeks and when I arrived home I applied for a job at one of the local accountants offices. I got the job and started straight away so then I rented a flat with a friend and moved out of home.

So I guess 1981 was the beginning of dealing with the grown up world for me.

This was taken in 1982 but I don’t think I aged much in that one year although I certainly look as if I’d packed on a few pounds, must have been all the alcohol and takeaway I was living on


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”


Done deal

I finished my TAFE course yesterday and I have a Diploma in Library/Information Services to say so. I can’t work out if that day I started the course 18 months ago seems like five minutes ago or a thousand years ago. I didn’t feel as excited about finishing as I was hoping to, I just walked out the gate for the last time and that was that; the world hadn’t changed, I hadn’t changed and no one really gave a rats arse about it, myself included.

A lot went on during that 18 months; Dad was sick for most of the year and then of course died, Betty died, Mum had her final radiation treatments for breast cancer, my best friend ended our 20 year friendship because she decided she only liked bright shiny new things to match her bright shiny new boyfriend and I left my home of twenty years and moved house. In between it was just assignment after assessment after essay and day after day sitting in a bare grey class room, so I just decided to put everything aside, concentrate on the school work and then think about them all later.

And now it’s later. So I’ll just take a couple of weeks I think and let my brain process everything before I decide what to do next. Anyway it’s really annoying how people say ‘so what are you going to do now’ because I might do absolutely bugger all now.

I had this dream on Thursday – Daz was talking to Mum on the phone and he wasn’t saying much, just listening and I started feeling anxious and when he finished the call I said to him ‘when you’re talking to Mum don’t be all quiet like that, you made me think that Dad was dead’ and he said ‘he is dead’ and I sort of laughed and said ‘oh, thats right’.

We’re having a wake in about a month when Emjay gets back and I guess that’ll sort of round all that episode out, finish it up in a way.

The first thing I’m going to do is have a massage on Monday, my neck is killing me, it feels as if it’s had concrete poured in there and I can’t move it any direction very far, I must carry tension there. Plus I can feel a migraine coming on as well and a cold. Bodies are funny things aren’t they, marvellous really – it’s as if it kept me going when I needed it to but now that I’ve finished it’s going to have a little mini breakdown on me. I don’t mind though, it just means I can spend a couple of weeks in bed catching up on movies and scanning in Mum and Dads honeymoon photos. So stay tuned for more photos.

Could have been a fib

Well it seems that I may have been telling lies this morning. After all that talk about working like a dog and being busy etc etc, there actually came a moment at about 3pm this afternoon when I wondered if I might die of boredom. I even sent a friend a text asking her if it was possible to die of boredom because it seemed imminent. The heat wasn’t helping either; what is it about librarians and their desire to maintain a warm stuffy workplace anyway? I thought librarians were all middle aged women going through menopause, I thought they’d have the temperature set to sub zero even in the middle of winter.

Anyway I survived and it’s another 8 hours ticked off the required 84.

Also, I’d just like to say that I was never a book lover who turned my nose up at e-readers; I love my books and my kindle equally – HOWEVER – after a day spent pulling down library book shelves, rebuilding book shelves, taking books off shelves and putting books back on shelves, tidying books on shelves, putting books back in their right spots on shelves because idiots shove them in anywhere and pulling rows of books forward on their shelves because one librarian likes them hovering near the edge while yesterdays liked them pushed back on the shelves, that I firmly believe that all children should be given a kindle at the age of, hmmmmmm, lets say 8. Bring on the electronic library I say – save trees, save space and save the shoulders of library staff.


Four words people – working like a dog.

Which sometimes seems a strange thing to say because if we were talking about Chicken Little that would mean lying around in your pyjamas all day watching movies and eating snacks. I’m sure that job exists somewhere but not on my radar just at the moment.

I’ve been working more like one of my fathers sheep dogs; running about, rounding things up, looking for things that are out of place, keeping things in line.

The days are ticking by though and my course will be finished in one more week and then it’s PARTY TIME!!

And why the frackola does wordpress always want to put my pictures at the top of a post even when I clearly want them at the bottom – been happening for a week now. Not, happy, Jan!!

walk with me

Walk to school with me.

It’s only a short walk, 1.2 kilometres actually, it takes me about 7 minutes. Depends how long it takes me to cross the highway.

First I need my ear muffs because it’s been freezing here this week.

And then I say good bye to Chicken Little. Because I’m the last one to leave in the mornings she tries to look as sad and lonely as possible.

Then I go up, or is it down, the laneway.

Then I run across to the middle of the road.

Then over the other side and past the guitar shop, the surf shop and the dodgy party bus hire place.

Then I cross the railway bridge and go in the front gate.

Over the creek and up the path.

And there’s my building. Much like any other institutional type building block.

Then it’s through the slippery floored foyer, past the wet paint and up the stairs. I go up and down a lot of stairs.

I have to say that the painting experience has been really bad. This is a government run place so they are using the biggest baddest cheapest pots of paint they can find. Grey of course. The smell is toxic and we have to keep moving from room to room to escape the smell.

But hey, today was the last day of the course I was doing. Last catalouging exam was today and I am now officially a library assistant. Now I get three weeks holiday and then I start the Diploma which takes another 12 months and then I’ll be a library technician. Go me.

I took these photos with my iphone using a cool little app called hipstamatic

hard yakka

Good grief, this learning business is hard work. I’m getting into a routine now. Get up at 5am, quick coffee, then a run or a walk (most days), shower and breakky (breakfast that is), into the office for an hour of work then off to school for six and a half hours, walk home, go grocery shopping, cook dinner, walk Chicken Little (most days), collapse.

I am now friends with The Indian Girl, who from now on shall be known as Harjinda. That is not how you spell it but thats how you pronouce it. There’s a funny little bit more on the end but I can’t catch what it is. I’ll ask her about it tomorrow.  She has been living in Australia for two years and still getting the hang of it. She wants to talk a lot so she can improve her english and I’m to tell her if she says anything inappropriate which is a bit of a worry because about 80% of everything I say is inappropriate. Lol, there was a moment today when she told Lou, one of the other girls in our group, that – if you get much fatter you will have health problems – that I felt could of been on the verge of inappropriate but Lou handled it fine. She knew what Harjinda meant.

She is in that situation that I think a lot of people find themselves in once they arrive in Australia. In India she had a qualification, worked with computers in some way, then came to Australia and couldn’t use it so she’s gone back to school. She told me that she doesn’t want to be home, washing, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking. I hear you!! She’s really putting in the hard yards to get ahead. She gets up at 4am (makes me look like a baby) because her husband gets up then to get ready for work. She spends over an hour, on two buses, morning and afternoon getting to school and back. She has a four year old in childcare where she lives and her two year old is living in India with her mother for the six months it will take to do this course. She said that between Australian and Indian cultures that is one thing she really notices and misses. When she was living in India there was always family there to help and to look after the children.

And she’s vegetarian as well. Religious reasons. We had one very confusing conversation, well actually we’ve had a lot of them but in this case we were talking about being a vegetarian (She hasn’t met many here) and I thought we were talking about if I ate figs and she was talking about if I ate pig. And I was saying – oh yeah yeah I love fig but they’re really hard to find where I live. And she must have been thinking, what kind of vegetarian is this!! Then I said – did you say fig?? No, no, pig, pig!!

I must say she has very nice looking lunches though. Today she had some kind of homemade stuffed chappati.

Seriously though, I never imagined that after all these years the day would come when I had to make my own school lunches. I was a maker of awesome school lunches. Every school day I got up and prepared morning tea and lunch for my three kids. I’d cook pizza’s or scrolls, prepare gourmet sandwiches or wraps, pack fruits and nuts. And a lot of days I didn’t feel like doing it at all, but it was just nice to send them off with a lovely lunch. And all their friends were jealous because they either had to make their own or got money or a vegemite sandwich or nothing at all. Lol, although I did hear more than once that – I’m the only kid in the whole school that doesn’t get chips for lunch every day. (They were also – the only children who didn’t own mobile phones when they were 12). But one of the happiest days of my life was the day I realised that I’d never have to make a school lunch again. And here I am after twenty years still bloody doing it!! Guess I’ll have to update this page that I did a few years ago.

first day of school

Today was my first day of school. I found my lecture room and met my classmates. And aren’t we a strange little group. In fact you’d probably be hard pressed to find a stranger group than my little pod of fellow wannabe librarians. There are more men than I was expecting. Three men in their forties and three in their very early twenties. The three younger ones are real nerds. Real proper ones. Two of them seem to have formed an attachment to me. I’m not sure why because I hardly understand a word they say. Too much geek talk. I had lunch with a woman called Lou. She is very short, not even up to my shoulder. I felt like an amazon, which is rare for me. I’ve now met three people who are shorter than me. My daughter was with me when I met the first one. After the woman left Kimba turned to me in amazement and said – I didn’t think there was anyone in the world shorter than you!! And now look, another two. Who knows how many are out there.

There is an older woman with a broken hand, a very timid blonde girl who got lost on her way, a very loud happy man/boy called Darrell and a younger woman who I sat next to and found slightly scary. The first thing she said to me was – have you got any pets? Just like that. We were sitting there and she turned to me and said – have you got any pets? Then there is an indian girl and the teacher can’t understand a word she says and it just becomes awkward after a while. Good lord I don’t want to think about how many times the poor girl said the word faxing before the teacher worked it out. Then there are a few quiet timid little girls up the back and I really have no idea what they’re even doing there.  They don’t talk to anyone, they can’t even make eye contact with anyone and I can’t imagine them being involved in an area of work that requires you to interact with people all day. But who knows, maybe they’ll hit their straps down the track. There must be a few others but I can’t remember them at all. Which is probably even worse than being remembered as a mouse.

But the time passed pretty quickly which was good but it was still a massive day. Actually it was a bit boring this afternoon because we have to get through the fifteen hours of OH & S (occupational health and safety) first. And thats really just common sense but it’s part of just about every course you do these days. So I was there from 9am until 3.30 pm then I had to come home and finish up an order of tiles and take them to the post office, go and do the grocery shopping then go to work and do the invoicing for the month then come home and cook dinner.

But I have my student card!! That means I get half fare public transport and cheap drinks in town on Wednesday nights. Whooooo.


old dog, new tricks

Did I mention that I was going back to school? Well I’m going back to school this year. Full time. Which is really going to cut in on my new hobby of riding my bike to antique shops and the beach every day.

I decided last year that I should go back and study something. Mainly because I’m sick of doing office work. And lasy year I did an accounting software course and the business certificate III course and they were both really boring as bat shit.  Which is not only apparently boring but very sticky. And I thought that if I had to go back and do the office word and excel courses I’d probably have to kill myself first. And I figured I’d have to do the word course because while I was doing the business course I can’t even remember the amount of times I yelled out to Lizzie – HOW DO I PUT A BULLET IN A DOCUMENT AGAIN.

So I thought to myself, what do I like doing. Really love doing. And it was reading. Always has been. So I’m going off to do the librarians certificate and then hopefully diploma at TAFE. I don’t know what you call TAFE overseas. Maybe a community college or something. It’s where you go to learn a trade or do an apprenticeship. So hairdressers, beauticians, electricians, chefs, all sorts of technology, computer and business things, you can do aged care or animal care or you can become a mechanic or a cake decorator or a librarian.

I must admit that after a cake boss and ace of cakes marathon I did have a moment when I thought that I should have chosen cake decorating.

But anyway I’m doing it full time so I can get it over with in six months. Part time can drag on for two years. So thats monday to thursday (inclusive) 9.30 am – 4pm. Then if I love it I’m going on to do the diploma which will take another six months. It’s going to be a busy time because I still have to work part time and I’m still considering the tiles and if I’ll be able to keep up with making them or if I’ll take a break from them. Although I did just accept an order from the Taree Art Gallery.

And the certificate I’m doing is museum and library information services and I’m thinking now that I might really like to use it to work in an art gallery or museum rather than a library. Who knows, maybe I’ll just do the course then go back to riding my bike to the beach.

I start next tuesday.

I hope there are still some brain cells bouncing about up there.