Got the dogs life

When it’s dinner time around this place it gets pretty interesting. Not for me mind you, but for my dogs. The one that coined the phrase ‘It’s a dogs life,’ was pretty much on the money when it came to my dogs. They do indeed have a ‘dogs life,’ and there is really nothing that it can be compared to around these parts.

Life is pretty easy lolling around on the cushions in the air conditioning, barking at a few stray pedestrians that pass their way, and vying for the occasional belly scratch. But when it comes time for the main event, dinner, you’d think they’d never  been fed.

We have a ritual, me and the dogs. I make the food. They eat the food. And anything else that anybody is eating in the house is also up for grabs. Around 6 in the evening the natives get restless. I swear that their stomachs can tell the time. It’s like a sixth sense, the gradual gravitation towards the kitchen and the almighty big white beast that is the keeper of the culinary delights.

I like to cook my dogs dinner. I don’t believe in canned food. It makes their poop smell worse than it should. I cook up a batch of mince, rice and vegetables that generally lasts them about 3 days. The cooked meals remain in the fridge in a special container, and they know it’s there. They have watched and learned the routine. I cook and I store in the white beast. I am a major hunter and gatherer in our household. I am a dog god.

Around 5:55 pm I am watched like a hawk. When I finally move towards the kitchen, a frenzy ensues and they do a lap of honour around the kitchen table in a dry run for the bowels that are not there yet. On non-cook days I get the container out of the fridge, the bowls off the shelf and the spoon out of the cupboard. I can see them creeping closer out of the corner of my eye, as I pile their delicious mix into their respective bowls. Angus, my cheeky Bichon boy, slides up beside me and settles into what I call the ‘drop zone,’ so named because it is the best place to be if there are any tidbits dropped from the counter, and he has first dibs on it most of the time. Ruby-Rose, my fat and fluffy Bichon girl hangs back a because she knows that I will always flick a bit of mince off the counter in her direction after I put it in the bowls. She is the hoover of the outfit, and can find a grain of rice from 30 feet away. D-dog, my trusty maltese hangs way back from the fray, as he’s old enough to know that he’s not going to get it any sooner by making a fuss, but he’s still going to get it.

I put the dinner bowls in the microwave and set it for 1 minute. Yeh, I know…I can hear you saying, geez, do they have to have it warm? Yes, they do. It’s balanced and nutritious, why can’t they have it served warm too? Anyway, back to the microwave.

‘ Ding!!’…signals an uprising of epic proportions as they jostle for position. If I’m not quick enough it’s a major drama and you can hear them from a mile down the road. I know this because I live in a quiet street and about 6 months ago around 6:10 pm  the guy down the end of the road came down to ask me if they were okay.

I’m almost knocked over in the frenzy as they rush their respective offerings. I place them down one by one and then back away. I watch them as they literally try to ‘out eat’ each other so that nobody can get anybody’s. It reminds me of a few birthday parties that I went to when I was a kid.

And then it’s all over just as quickly as it began.  They each do the ritualistic ‘bowl check’ to make sure that nobody has left anything behind, god forbid, and then they head out the door to do the rounds of the garden.

I find that I am smiling.

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A little bit of Christmas

Well, it’s almost that time of the year again. Time for the coming together of family at a mutually agreeable point on the map, to eat too much, talk too much, and argue about nothing, for yet another year. Don’t get me wrong. I like Christmas. It’s a nice time of year and I get to see different people and have lots of bbq’s. I just don’t like the commercialism and the giving of presents to people that you will only see again, if you are lucky, in another year, at some other mutually agreeable point on the map, and do it all again.

What’s it really all about?

I’m starting to think about Christmas day with a mixture of expectation and trepidation. Expectation because my lovely husband will be home from sea and will be here for Christmas. Trepidation because said lovely husband, bless his cotton socks, has invited my family over to the island to celebrate the festive occasion with us.

The last time my beloved did this I was tempted to strangle both my brother for insulting me, and my mother, for justifying his statements and letting him get away with it. Sadly, my poor mother hasn’t quite gotten out of the habit of putting the proverbial Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot biscuit in her first born’s screaming mouth to muffle the howling.

As second born into a family that doted on the first born for many years, my life was a living hell, until my brother discovered girls, and then he left me alone.  He still manages to make it difficult for me times, especially when we get together for our Christmas gatherings. I have to watch my husband more closely as the day progresses.  If his jaw tightens continually and his eyes glaze over, I know he’s had enough, and it’s time to give out the sweets and say goodbye.  I’m surprised that he’s made it this far into our relationship without a physical confrontation with my brother to defend my honour.

I guess it’s honour that keeps my husband from giving my brother the old one-two occasionally. He likes my Mum and Dad, and to him, he wouldn’t be doing the right thing if he didn’t invite my only brother into our home.

I suppose then this is what Christmas is all about. Putting aside personal biases, and being nice. Trying to do the right thing, and be a family. Rising above the ignorance and arrogance, and keeping yourself together.

I really would like to punch my brother in the nose though.

MT me

Well, another day in the trenches, so to speak. I’ve been hard at it, hitting those keys and trying to make sense of my practice medical transcription reports. It can be very frustrating, as I have probably already mentioned in previous posts. I had no idea, before I started this project, that this world of teeth grinding, hair pulling, and nail biting, actually existed. Well, in my case it is. I can only hope that I improve in the future and can make a decent living out of it.

There is a cyber world of people out there, tapping away at their keyboards in the comfort of their own homes, listening to reports not unlike these training transcriptions that I am doing now.  They type these difficult reports with ease because they have been doing it for a while. If you ask them about their jobs, more often than not they say that they really enjoy it. And why wouldn’t they? If you have the right equipment, the experience, and the inclination then you too can become an MT and earn a living from home.

I’m hoping to get through this course sometime in the new year and graduate. Graduate being the key word here. If I don’t graduate I don’t get a job, so the pressure is on. In my own mind anyway.

I have plans for myself next year. I hope to be working in the MT field by the second half of the year. This will coincide with my husband’s return to study on the other side of the country for a twelve month period. I’m going to need to be earning a living for him to get through it all. The last time he hit the books I worked and held the fort, and the time before. In return he has put me through university, and now he is putting me through this course. It’s a two-way street of sorts. We help each other out to reach a common goal. The bonus with this course is that once you are employed as an MT by a MT company, you can often work in different places, just as long as you have a good computer, keyboard, Internet access and privacy. How good is that? I can work from home, or I can join my husband and work while he studies.

So I will be back at it tomorrow, and most days until I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am a tad better at it than I am right now.

Stay tuned…

Acceptance

I’m having a blue day today. Not a bad day. That’s different. A bad day is when I’m late for work, get pulled over for speeding, arrive at work late anyway, get docked for it, have to work with the office manager from hell, miss lunch, get a migraine from not eating, and drive home in peak hour traffic. In another life I used to do that, but not now, and not today. Today is a blue day.

Today I’m at home.  To be honest, I’ve been at home for a few months now.  Mainly for health reasons. I”m studying, and working on working next year, but not today. Today I’m giving myself permission to feel down if I want to. I let it stay and I don’t fight it.

I recently had an operation that I am recovering from. It takes a while for the body, and the mind, to recover. Fourteen years ago, I had an operation to remove a brain tumour from my head. It took a long time to recover from that too, sometimes I think I’m still getting over it. In my mind, the recent operation and the past operation,  although unrelated,  have reinforced a sadness inside that will take a while to go away. The first operation rendered me infertile. I was unable to conceive naturally afterwards, and the subsequent IVF treatment over the years ended badly, with two miscarriages on our final attempts.  My most recent operation was a complete hysterectomy, necessary for me to remain in reasonably good health, but not without it’s physical and emotional trauma.

I’m grateful for what I have. My parents, a brother, a loving husband, and a son born previous to my history of bad health. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling a sense of loss, and an ache inside that can’t be fixed in a hurry. It’s not  independent of me, but it’s another part of myself that comes out every now and again on my blue days, and it needs to be accepted, not analysed. Why am I like this at times? I know why I’m like this. I wanted another child, maybe two. I can’t have them. I feel sad at times, but not all the time.  I accept this. Blue days only become unacceptable when every day is a blue day. And I’ve been there too, and managed to pull back from it when I accepted it rather than fought it.

I don’t think we are conditioned, as human beings, to be happy all of the time. It would be virtually impossible. But we can be at peace a lot of the time and accept what is. Having the blues is way of working through something the right way, and come out the other side with some kind of acceptance, understanding, or forgiveness. Some things can’t be fixed. I know that as well as anybody. Maybe they don’t need to be fixed. Maybe I can accept it for what it is. One day.

See it when you believe it

I was sitting on my veranda this morning with my Lady Grey tea, and reading the local newspaper. I like to pass the time this way occasionally, although I probably don’t get much further than the community pages and the classifieds. I find that watching the local news channel once a week and reading a newspaper occasionally is enough to keep me going without overdoing it and becoming paranoid about being bombed or murdered in my sleep.

The 6 o’clock news is enough put me on Prozac, with its pessimistic, often dramatised, view of what is happening  all around me. I understand that bad things happen to people, and bad people do bad things to others, but why does it have to be shoved in my face all the time?  Because it’s newsworthy, that’s why. And people will, more often than not, be interested in the bad things that are happening in the world, just as long as it isn’t happening to them.

We are often left unaware of the good that is happening around us, in our neighbourhood, and all over the world, because it’s generally viewed as ‘uninteresting’ by the media. Bad news is reported often, and if one bad story is bad enough, repeatedly. This perpetuation of bad news creates a social expectation that there will always be bad news, and we become conditioned to it. Good news becomes a rarity, and one must be very lucky, or work very hard to achieve it – or so it would seem.

I think that there is more good out there than people think. We have become a little pessimistic in our expectations, with misery often pedalled by the media in more ways than would have been possible a half a century ago. Bad news certainly travels a lot faster these days, with the advent of the Internet and the social media that goes with it.

The world can be a miserable place if you want it to be, if you believe everything that you see and hear, but it can also be a revelation, if you look at it a little differently.  It can be difficult at times, to look past the ordinary, the normal, and the accepted, to find something a little less ordinary, and sometimes even extraordinary. It can be anywhere, and if you look a little harder, it can be everywhere. The magic of just being alive, and to know how to live in the moment, makes every breath you take a reward. Breath it in. Concentrate. Feel the warm air passing through your mouth, feel the fabric of your clothes against your skin, the floor beneath the soles of your feet. The sunset from the veranda, and a clear sky at night, brilliant with diamond bright stars, suspended in a vastness impossible to imagine. A new day, the stillness of the morning air, heavy with the expectation of life.

It’s everywhere. Look around.

Changes


As I sit here at my computer, I think about how lucky I am to have what I have. I have a decent life, I have a lovely husband,  a son who I love, a mother, a father and a brother who are all in good health. I live in a nice house on an island. The weather here is warm most of the time, with mild winters.

I have my ups and downs. I’ve had bad health, and still do sometimes, but it could be worse.  I enjoy my days here. I play around on the computer, I do study courses, I tweak my website, I update a database for a voluntary organisation. I love technology. I love all the things that are available to me here, at my fingertips. I wonder what I used to do before I became reasonably technologically ‘savvy,’ and how easily I made the transition from ‘the good old days.’

I remember when I was a kid, a hard drive was the one we went on at Christmas time up to our beach house, where we didn’t even have a phone. We had to walk a mile up the road to use the local phone booth, but who cared? We didn’t need to call anybody. We were too busy being kids and having a good time.  And what about discs? They were something we threw around on the beach for fun to pass the time. The only information you could store on that was your name, in black texta, just in case the kid up the road tried to nick it.

Everything moved more slowly, and telegrams were the fastest mail ever. I could send one, and if I was lucky, the person I was sending it to would get it on the same day. Wow!  Now all I have to do is type a little, click a button, and somebody on the other side of the world would read this within seconds.  Wow!

I had fun when I was a kid. On the weekends and holidays I went out in the morning, and didn’t come home until just on sunset. I was a skilled builder of tree houses, wooden boats for the creek, and bonfires for cracker night. I didn’t stay inside much. Outside was always a much more interesting prospect. I didn’t have video games, I had board games, but even then that was only when I had nothing else to do and it was raining. I was fit and active. I was healthy and covered in dirt most of the time, I fell over, broke bones, split skin. And I survived.

I blew up the shed in the backyard when I was 13 years old. I fell out of a tree and broke my arm at 14. I played chicken with a goods train on the local train track on a bridge at 15.  I nearly drowned at 16. And I’m still here.

I grew up alongside a fledgling technological age, and I slowly embraced it as we both moved forward. I went to Tafe and university to learn more about this new age, while hanging onto the old ways.

I am really lucky. I have grown up in two worlds. The old and the new. I like both of them equally, and I move backwards and forwards between the two of them on a regular basis. I need to do this. As essential as my online world of business and learning is to me, it’s not the be all and end all. It’s not good for me to stay glued to the computer screen for too long. It’s nice to take a break and walk along the beach and dig my toes into the sand, and just be me.

I think about the kids that have been born in the last 15 years and I wonder if they will ever get the opportunity to do the things that I have done, or will their opportunities be dictated by the new technological age?

Perhaps they will seek out their tree houses and wooden boats in different ways, and develop virtual spaces where they can interact and form social alliances that I have yet to imagine. I can’t imagine it, just like somebody from the turn of the last century couldn’t imagine how we would be living our lives now.

It’s all relevant to space and time, and who you are. I will keep on moving with the technological age as best as I can, and as much as I would like. I may get left behind in the rush in my later years, but who knows? I may become a cyber senior citizen, a grey haired non-nomad who would rather see the sights of the world in a virtual hologram than in a Winnebago. Wow!

I wanna be an MT

I’m at it again. Online, typing my fingers to the bone and trying to make sense of this medical transcription course that I have become immersed in. I say immersed because that’s exactly what it is. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. Who would have thought that you’d have to know the in’s and out’s of the human body, the A to Z of medical Latin, and the finer points of grammar to become a fully fledged MT.

I am in awe of these ladies and gents, who sit hour upon hour, listening to what can only be described as an auditory medical minefield of epic proportions, divided up into intermediate, hard, really hard, even harder, and damn near impossible transcriptions. I have heard everything from muffled mumblings to nasally nonsense that not even Lionel Logue could decipher.

I’m determined, however, to continue on. If others can do it, then I must jump in with both eyes closed, just to see if I can do it too. I think that has been the story of my life. And what is life if I don’t give something a go to see if I can? It won’t be a waste. Even if I fail I’ve learned something else. Then I can go onto the next big thing.

My big thing next year is to get through this course and come out the other side with my certification, and a little more knowledge and skill that will enable me to do something that I have always wanted to do.

Make a decent living without having to leave the front door of my home.

All my life I have worked and studied hard. I have left my home day after day, year after year. I have left in the morning and come home at night. Sometimes I have left in the evening and come home the next day. The time that I had left to spend doing the things that I wanted to was limited and precious.

Next year I would like to turn that outdated aspiration upside down. I will work from home and leave the house for fun and recreation. I will have more time to spend with those whom I want to spend time with, rather than who I have to spend time with in the workplace.  I will have more time to look after me and others around me, rather than being away from those that I care about, and not being involved with their lives.

I know this would not be everybody’s cup of tea, spending so much time at home. But that’s not really the point. The point is that I will be happy. And that is the main thing in life.