Wednesday, 26 August 2015

On family.

I've been thinking about this on and off for a while.

I have always envied people who got along well with their families. As well as loving their family members, they genuinely like them, and would hang out with them for preference. Sometimes I have aspired to be like that with my family, but it has fallen flat in the past and I end up feeling that painful mix of resentment and guilt.

On the other side of the coin, I think it is a terrible shame when there are such deep rifts within families that they no longer speak to or see each other.

My family is somewhere in between. The honest truth is confronting, but it is as such:

We have so little in common, apart from shared origins. We are vastly different in personality. Were there no shared origins, no interaction would ever get past the first contact.

There have been many times in recent years where I have bemoaned the lack of understanding within the family. I am sure my other family members have bemoaned the same thing about me. It all arises from the fact that we are essentially different despite the fact we are family.

Unfortunately, though, you don't get a choice about your family. In my humble opinion, at the end of the day, there is only one thing you have to do, and that is be there when they really need you. Of course you love them, but what is love without action?

Beyond this, I keep interactions pleasant and reasonably frequent, but brief and superficial. I listen, smile, nod and make the appropriate sounds, without offering much in the way of advice. I offer practical help.

I've stopped trying to rationalise or understand how they do things. I don't like being told what to do, and apply that rationale to them. I offer gentle but firm explanations of my boundaries when that comes up.

It might sound a bit cold, but it makes for peace and calm, and ultimately a more functional relationship.

What about you?

Saturday, 22 August 2015

I'm still here....

Oh hai.

I have been here, I have been fine, I have been kicking around instagram, but I have not gotten the head of steam to blog. My thoughts have not been able to form themselves into a coherent post. Today, since it's been so long since I've blogged, it's gonna be a bit of a mish mash.

I have handed in my PhD. Many people say "Oh, you must be relieved". Relieved isn't really the word. It is but one part of the research journey.

When I was pregnant, my thoughts were often directed to my future with baby. After the miscarriage, I ploughed a lot of energy into getting the PhD done, then finding something for myself to do in lieu. Friends, I am in the process of being appointed a postdoctoral fellow, part time.

Is this trying to sublimate/cover up my feelings re the m/c? Probably. But I cope with things by changing tack quickly. We fall down, we get up, and we run in a slightly different direction.

The research is hard work. I am already in the process of applying for outside funding, plus getting data together for papers, plus putting abstracts in for conferences. It pays far less than what I can earn. Yet it is something I enjoy, it's a self-actualisation thing. It plays to my nerdier and occasionally misanthropic tendencies (yes I have both).

And, if not now, then when? Gotta take advantage of the opportunities as they arise, am I right?

I am in dire need of another holiday, yes I know it wasn't long ago I was in Spain but that was partly work and when you work over weekends, the need for a holiday comes very quickly.

To this end, we are off to Penang in Oct.

This is a pic of Batu Ferringhi beach. Looks rather idyllic, but apparently absolutely teeming with jellyfish. Might just stick to the pool.

A hundred things to do in Penang, and, from my Malaysian friends, at least 93 of these things involve food. The rest involve hanging out by the pool or other body of water...very much looking forward to going.

Then a conference in Istanbul in November. Better get my finger out and write that paper. Boss has to let me go there if I have a paper in....

You know that whole thing about summer bodies being made in winter, well, since the PhD has been handed in, I have been giving that a bit more thought, because, you know, bikini and Penang. Hence I have been training like a demon at crossfit.

Yes I know the bad rap that crossfit gets, I know all the crossfit jokes ("If you are a vegan and a crossfitter, which do you talk about first?" etc).

But bloody ell I love it. I have been doing it of a morning and I just feel like a boss (pronounced baaaawwwwwwwssssss) all day. My pull ups are coming along, I am starting to get more confident with jumping on boxes, and I delight in telling my skinny friends that I would be able to deadlift them (last week I did a 60kg x 7 rep). Next, double unders and world domination.

I love that, without any particular running training, I can go out and run fairly comfortably whenever I like. I went for a little trot round the 'tan with my friend this morning, and it was magnificent. Melbourne has got the memo about it being spring soon and is starting to flirt a little. It has been a long, cold winter and errrrybody looked so happy to be out and about.

I cannot help but admire my new guns when I shower. Oh yes I do.

And they play punk rock or thrash metal while you work out, and that gets me in the mood big time.

My burpees are coming along.

I am feeling very confident in my skin, that is probably the best thing.

I have decided that it is also time to stop the snacking while writing. Hence I am drinking lots of herbal tea....

On the hippie vein, I am also doing yoga, to stretch out those enlarging muscles. I always start out like "na can't be arsed with this, too hippy" and finish out like "I feel marvellous". I never thought I'd see the day.

Anyway I can sense some eyes starting to glaze over at this point.

Being the beginning of spring, I am considering doing a wardrobe cull next weekend. If I don't feel fab in it, out it goes. I have stopped asking people how I look in things, because if I don't feel all "bam" in it, I won't wear it. 'Cept for tracky daks, which I am proudly rocking now.

I need to curate a good work/conference/doing talks wardrobe - "sharp and clever with a bit of quirk" is the look I am going for. Anyone got any ideas?

PS - After I wrote my little outburst re Puffer Jackets I found one at Witchery and luffed it sick so I bought it and I still luff it sick.

Monday, 3 August 2015

RIP, my namesake.

When I introduce myself, it goes a little something like this:

Me: "Hello, I am Cilla"

Them: "Oh Hi Celia".

Me: "No, Cilla. C-I-L-L-A"

Them: "Is that short for Priscilla?"

Me: "No, Cilla is the name on my birth certificate".

Them: "What nationality is that?"

Me: "British. As in Cilla Black, the singer. That's who I was named after."

(their response will depend on how old they are, if they are 45 or over, no further explanation is required)

I was very sad to hear that my namesake, Cilla Black, had passed away at age 72. That is not very old, and I had no idea she was ill.

She was very much loved in the UK, for her bubbly personality, common touch, big heart and bigger voice. I don't have the big voice (cept for maybe in my car) but the other things I can aspire to.

RIP Cilla Black.


Oh yeah, I have submitted my thesis.

Keen for other pursuits, I baked a Lemon Meringue pie, made with the surfeit of lemons we have

Celebratory dinner at a nice restaurant tomorrow, and off to the Dandenongs on the weekend.

That'll be all for tonight.

Q and A will be good tonight - no politicians so should be a good 'un.