Living your life can be an act of rebellion.

Here’s my big lesson this week: Living life for yourself can be a HUGE act of rebellion.

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In modern day society, hubby and I don’t live a conventional life. We don’t have a huge mortgage. He works, I stay home with the girls, and work my home businesses. We don’t have credit cards – we try to spend only the money we actually have.

Sure, I could go back to full time teaching now. We could buy a new car on credit, take out a mortgage to buy a new McMansion in the suburbs and “have it all’. I could eat dairy and meat. That would make a lot of people around us much more comfortable.

But I value what I do for my family by being at home much more than society could pay me for working full time. My girls wont remember a shiny new marble benchtop, or a new car. But they will remember walking home from school hand-in-hand with Mummy, and having hot pikelets for afternoon tea, and climbing their swingset until its time to run over and hug dad as he pulls into the driveway.

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My husband loves his job. I love mine. We do ok. We’re ok with not having a lot of stuff, because we have SO SO MUCH to be grateful for.

But this week, I’ve been challenged: Do I have the courage to be what I am, and to do what I do, even if it makes some of the people I love uncomfortable?

I read this article by Julia over at SacredFamiliar and it resonated with me a lot.

I spent ALOT of my teens and 20s doing what I thought was ‘best’. I had the voices of my parents in the back of my head at all times, and I always did what I thought would make them happiest. I never made a decision without mentally consulting everyone I knew to check if they’d be ok with it.

But actually, it’s not my responsibility to make everyone else comfortable and happy.

What if I had the courage to live my truth? With no apologies. And no explanations.

What if I called myself a witch.

What if I said, “I choose not to work fulltime.”

What if I said, “I don’t want a big new house.”

What if I said, “I actually don’t support the dairy farmers’.

These statements are all potential time-bombs. They all have the potential to be misunderstood. To be criticized. To make people – including the people I love – VERY uncomfortable.

But here they are. In writing, for all to see. My truth. Here’s me having the courage to speak it. Here’s me being FUCKING BRAVE. My act of rebellion.

Here’s me living my life for ME, not for what others will think.

Because – hand on heart – “This is what’s important.”


 

 

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Another Day in Melbourne

I took a strange journey to get here, where I am now. Not in the physical sense – although it was a day’s travel, but in the mental and almost spiritual.
At my previous job I was, in my mind at least, on a path to career progression. I was given a lot of opportunities (ones I felt I earned) and it seemed that things were going well. A good job with a career path – I knew it would not be forever, in my mind I had always known that if I really wanted to reach heights in my industry I would have to at least try a different work environment and were I was that meant moving (relocating). I was surrounded by family and friends, with interests outside of work and a huge network to call on.
Then it happened.
I am not sure if I didn’t try hard enough, or if I didn’t impress the right people or even if it had nothing to do with me at all, but I missed out on a promotion.
I had been working that position in an “acting” role for nearly 12 months – getting some good results and making positive changes. Even winning an award – which I attribute to the changes I had made.
That really set me back, and with a new baby on the way I had to make a choice about my life and my family.
Now I’m not going to get into the whole debate over who should or should not provide for the family – hell if things were different and I needed to I would stay at home with the kids. However, our situation was that I need to be the one providing at this stage and my wife supports that and I support her. As far as I am concerned we are both working full time – I just get a pay cheque for mine!
So I needed to decide if I was going to stay in the position I had (my substantive role) and wait around for another opportunity with no guarantee or look for something else.
I will admit that I was pissed off – I was angry (and so was my wife) and I did really start looking for alternatives.
An opportunity came up, 800 kms away, in a different state far away from any family or friends, with no support network in a very different (although similar) work environment.
I applied for it. Thinking if nothing more this was a chance to get my resume into order and hopefully practice some interview techniques.
Not only did I get an interview (phone followed up by in person) I landed the job a few short weeks before my second child was born.
The decision to take this job came not from the anger and disappointment I had felt but from several moments of serendipity.
Call it fate or whatever but ever since saying yes and exposing myself and my family to this big upheaval the choice has been vindicated in more ways than I can recount.
Today was filled with such moments.
We had learnt about a kids event at Art Play that was on today, it’s a short train ride to the City so off we went, all four of us for a day out.
It was a little rainy as we came into Flinders Street station and we stopped for coffee and some morning tea. Then crossing the road to Federation Square we sat and drank and ate while a street performer (from Circus Oz) did a 30 minute show – brilliant, funny and I even partook with some assistant work holding his unicycle.

After the show (we deposited some $’s into his hat because he truly was worth it) we turned to head down to Art Play and walked into the Greek Festival. We also found a Fine Design Market full of wonderful hand and locally made items. Deciding that we had come to see Art Play but wanting to come back, we moved on.
At Art Play my 3 year old played on the equipment while the baby was fed. We met a Chilean family who are over here for 6 years while the husband studies his Masters and Phd (on a scholarship). That put our lives into perspective – our move while a long way was nothing compared to coming to another country with a new language with three children (one born here) and no easy way to get to family.Β 

After all this play and looking at wonderful things we headed off for some lunch and a rest, and it was here that I realised that all we did that morning was within a few hundred meters of Flinders Station – a mere 30 minutes from our front door.
We planned one event, a trip to Art Play and instead saw, experienced and took part in so much more.
This day is typical of any day out in Melbourne.
We took a trip to Warrandyte last week (when my parents where visiting) and found not only some great shops, a kids play ground, access to the Yarra River and walks but a community theater group with a play that started that night. With grandparental babysitting we got to go and met some theater people – we plan on joining or at least trying to attend more shows into the future.
I took a big risk, and I won’t lie there have been moments that we have regretted it, the fear, the isolation, the unknown has contributed to us doubting our choice. We put ourselves out there and asked the universe to give us a break, a break we felt we earned and one that we worked for (and still do).
A friend once told me, “put our good vibes and you shall have them come back at you” – all I can say is that whatever happens and whatever the future holds this choice this step we took has been for the better and can only get better.
Looking to the future.

Passwords and Children

A recent post on Boing Boing regarding teenagers sharing passwords with friends and significant other has raised some questions with me – mostly based around my daughter and the world she will grow up in.

Now I regard myself as someone who at least is aware of most of the technology and the advances that it offers to our lives – I advocate for the use of new tech at work and I am always looking at ways to improve what we do. I love the fact that for Christmas using a Smart Phone, Skype and WiFi Daughter was able to show Nanny all her new presents and talk to Nanny’s face… this is now simple tech – available to everyone with a broadband connection and a few cheap devices.

But what about the future? What will my daughter grow up with and what will count as ‘normal’ or ‘expected’ in her life. Maybe it is my recent read of 1984 that has raised this, but what will be safe for her? I read alot about internet security and identity safety – do the current generation of young adult really understand that what is on Social Media sites is owned by the site? So they realise that Big Brother (the corporate world) is watching everything they do and say. Targeted Marketing is nothing new but so much more powerful with the use of Social Media and information data warehouses that are built from them.

Even this humble blog is not safe from it. The Google ads that are on this site are targeted to the posts that I write… If I write about my guitar lessons you see self help guitar ads, or guitar sales. This is what Google does best by the way and not necessarily a bad thing – but when does it become too much and what do we need to do about saving the future so that our children grow up safe…

I boil it down to trust. Like the article quoted in the Boing Boing post parents need to develop ways to create trust with their children… and so should these super corps with their customers and clients… Remember there are always alternatives and sometimes we just have to walk away…

There are different ways that parents address the password issue, but they almost always build on the narrative of trust. – The NYTimes

Another articled linked from Boing Boing details how parents can normalise password sharing. So will we require daughter to share her passwords with us? Not sure… will we want to be ‘friends’ or part of her social media networks? At this stage Yes! I am part of my nephews and nieces networks and even though I don’t interfere I can see what they are doing and sometimes pass on private messages when I think it is appropriate. But will I need to access their private accounts? I don’t think so – that is a trust issue and while privately they could be sending messages or doing things – that should remain their business…

My wife and I have separate bank accounts and a joint account for the normal life expenses – we have separate passwords and access to these. I don’t have or want her passwords for her Social Media pages and sites and she likewise – the trust we have in each other is formed by that. I don’t feel I need to have that part of her. That is her private business – If I need to post something about us or her I have my own accounts to do that.

We will need to be aware of these challenges as Daughter grows up… and I hope we do the right thing by her – but I am prepared to fail at some of it and hit the mark with others… That my friends is LIFE.

The full New York Times article

Future Thoughts

I have been absent for some time now – we still do not have Broadband and I will not lament that state of affairs in this post – needless to say the Internets in Australia need an over haul and I hope a re structure.

Any hoo – I have a job interview on Wednesday for a Full Time position at Council – Woot to me!!! That means I will be earning about the same as Anjel and at last we can really start to plan for a better future… what the Mortgage and all we really need to get ahead on that so we can build up equity and look for other things we can invest in for our financial future.

So I have been having Future Thoughts… what will life be like with a new job – permanent high levels of income… well for a start we can pay off a few debts and start looking forward to a time when we can get a new bathroom or a new kitchen or a newer car or even a new computer or an Xbox360 for me!!!

For a start I think I would settle for a new hard drive – I am having issues with my C-drive and I think my Video card need new drivers or else I might need a new card as well… spots on my monitors… yuck!

Well that is a start to the return of the Strange Blog… hopefully now that I at least have dial-up I can update some things on here and stay in touch with ya’all!

Caio

Envrionment

OK time to get all practical and environmental on you all. I have just been visiting Todae and checking out there impressive catalogue of low power usage items, solar and wind power generators and assorted other items. Go and check them out if you have the time, I have selected a few items that I think are both useful and easy to use and install into your everyday house – then I get into the bigger and more fanciful items.


The picture above is a shower saver which can be viewed here it is really just a switch which turns off the water so you can soap without wasting water then switch the water back on to rinse off. This is something that I think would easy to use and something most homes could easily install.

LED lights, basically use put in LED light instead of Halogen globes or use them in the normal Bayonet or Edison Screw sockets. Prices range from $14.95 and they can

longer then normal globes. Go here to check out all the styles and types.


Portable Solar Charges, for anything from your Laptop to your mobile phone, all through the use of the Sun. The price point of $149 is steep for the initial costs but I guess you will make that back with use of the charger – as it can charge a range of items and has a USB port a standard Car Charger port and a lot of adaptors for popular phones etc it can be used to charge almost anything. Something to think of a special gift or purchase with the tax cheque. More info here

OK so you want to save 50% of your electricity bill – install one of these! At $17,000 it will take a few bills to save the initial cost but it is effective and very efficient! I worked out that own electricity bill is approx $1000 a year (give or take) so if I saved 50% that’ll be $500 a year so in 34 years I would make back that initial cost. It seems a little extreme and I guess if I were building a house and installed this as part of construction the cost would seem less… I am not sure though $17,000 is a lot of low power usage items that I could buy for my house and reduce my electricity usage through that… If costs are lowered on such items then I guess it could get better in the future.

But at least they are coming down in price and like all new technology as we get better making them the costs are reduced. So I say if you can afford panels on your home get them so people like me can one day actually afford to buy them…

I guess like most things it is do what you can, we really must look at ways we can change our behaviour and our usage of things like oil and power. I do not believe that nuclear energy is the way to go we can use Wind and Solar energy to create better sources of power.

I heard a scientist on the Morning Show on Triple J this week talk about the MANY uses of Oil other then burning for energy and I wonder if we will find ourselves at a point in the future unable to comprehend why we burned a resource that is so useful. Maybe then we will realise that sometimes economics and business are not the answer to our needs, maybe then we will kick ourselves for being so damn stupid. I doubt it though.

Old Tech

Oh boy… This article is a MUST read for all tech heads… Mind you, you’ll probably know about these but it is fun to remember them – or at least remember a time when things like

  • The Lisa
  • the Psion
  • Commadore 64
  • Atari – before they where just a publisher
  • and many more

I loved the Nintendo Game and Watch – I had some driving game, but my friend had the TWO screened Donkey Kong and I used to play that as much as I could… of course he loved playing outside so we never really got to play it as much as I liked (he also had all the big Transformers – but I had Optimus Prime, so that was OK)

To think we are now in an age where our hand helds are joining up with our consoles and we can play against each other, or in co-op with hand helds… I love how technology makes all these things possible and there is still so much more to be achieved.

What ever will be THE next things… will iPhone really be the way ahead or will Nokia come out with something more spectacular…