Thursday, 22 March 2007

Holy cow but the time goes past fast. What have I got to show for not having been here for so long? Well, a few hats - my knitting project for March - and a much tidier garden. I've managed all but 2 days of an hour a day in the garden this month. I've weeded, pruned, planted, shifted, and cleaned up around the pond so the duck can get in and out easily. She likes to have a swim at about dusk, so once she's had it I put her to bed for the night in the aviary. This is not, you understand, a small aviary. It's 2 meters high, 3 metres across, and 8 metres long. It contains about 50 zebra finches, 6 Chinese painted quail, an elderly bunny called Twinkie, and, at night, the duck - a khaki Campbell/Indian runner cross called Clayton. As Clayton arrived as a duckling she imprinted on Twinkie, and thinks she's nocturnal. By day she hangs around with our hen, Tui, when she's awake. Being a teenager, she sleeps a lot during the day, leaving Tui to get on with her chicken-y things.

Gotta go already - the teenager has come home from making scary movies with her friends (see:

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Busy busy busy

Well, goodness. It's been three weeks since I was last here. Shows how hectic work has been. I had three meetings in one night (all prepared by me, as secretary), minutes to type up and distribute - the last job not yet done - and a magazine to publish. The magazine is fun. A couple of years ago I set myself the goal of having my own column, and now, as Editor, I have one. It's only bimonthly at this stage, for cost reasons, and my new goal is to upgrade it back to monthly, which it was until last year. Only, why would I create work for myself? Because if it's monthly it can be more timely. A lot of stuff I find on the web and in other newsletters I get can't be included, and instead I post it on the website of the organisation I work for (, but I know that that isn't the first port of call for a lot of our members. It certainly wasn't for me before I took the job. So I need to be mindful of what the members need - timely and frequent information on competitions, events and useful and interesting publications. All in good time.
I'm still getting the hang of the job. I've already missed the deadline of the first funding application I was to make, because I was foolish enough to try and have a life outside work. I went away for the weekend between the committee meeting that approved the funding application and the deadline, so I didn't get all the paperwork done. Fortunately there's another funding round in the same organisation at the same time the following month, so I'll get it done this time.
The good thing is that, working from home, I've figured out the best working routine for myself. I work in the garden in the morning and do a twenty-minute de-clutter of the house afterwards (divergence: I have lived in my house since 1973 and brought up 4 children here, the last of whom, at 16, still lives at home, and I still have nearly everything I ever acquired in my child-raising days, along with the detritus of a great many hobbies). After a post-gardening shower and lunch I aim to start work at 1pm, and work 4 hours. By doing this 5 days a week, I fulfill the requirements of a twenty-hour a week job, keep the garden looking good, and am slowly working on the house, which is much too big a job to contemplate doing any other way.
I'm not technically employed for twenty hours, but to carry out the duties outlined in my contract. However, for what I'm being paid, twenty hours is probably on the generous side, and I can keep on top of most of it in that time. And 4 hours, 5 days a week, is a good rhythm. It also means if I start late (as I sometimes do after sleeping in during a particularly demanding week) I just keep working until my 4 hours are up. It works! Without the constant demands of children, I find this very satisfying.
The best part of working from home is the dress code. That's not to say that I slop around in a house coat and slippers - no. I like my clothes too much to neglect wearing them, and I do have to pop out to the bank or Post Office occasionally. But there's no uniform, no expected standard, and I can indulge my dressing preferences in whatever way I like, which in the past has generally earned the desciption of unusual. I prefer unique, myself.
And I can take time out to watch my grandson Zac play soccer, as long as I make up the time. Or visit my dad. Or have lunch with my sister. It's all good really. Why doesn't everyone do it? Probably for the same reason it took me so long to do it - the security of properly paid employment.
Anyway, I'm happy and contented with my lot these days, which hasn't always been true, and I'm still finding the time and creative energy to write new poems. Two this week, and one of those is a re-write of one I wrote about ten years ago, which never quite seemed to work. With the benefit of ten years of experience and the increased knowledge I've gained in that time, I've managed to make it work, and I'll enter it in this year's competition (which is another thing I'm responsible for).
Enough. I've got a poem to type up and try and finish. There's one line that's giving me trouble. If you ever read (somewhere) a poem called emo serenade you'll know I resolved it. You heard of it here first.