Caterpillar Contemplations

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." Lao Tzu

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A cup of tea?

Argh! I’m suffering a Facebook moment. I want to start blogging but I’m ridiculously compelled to find humor in the mundane. I want to pontificate and speculate and ruminate, but my inner voice is sitting there with a big blue pen pre-emptively correcting my words before they make the screen.

I … um … just made a peppermint tea. It’s pretty hot right now. (<— Facebook moment)
I need a mental firearm. A little handgun in my brain that can be pointed (sideways for added affect) at the little inner voice and tell it to STFU (shut the fuck up – for those of you who aren’t internet abbreviation savvy) and no, I don’t apologise for the language. Desperate times call for desperate measures and my inner voice is waaaaaaaaaaay out of line.
It’s probably ‘first time blogging for 2011’ nerves. I have big expectations for this year. I think the year has big expectations for me too. In fact, expectations appear to be flying left, right and centre.
To explain, I’ll start at the end.
Today, I had a meeting to discuss a new teaching job. I’ve been asked to teach drama to students who have returned to study. These are teenagers and adults that have left high school for various reasons and have decided to return and complete their VCE. Some, are looking after their parents. Some have been drug and alcohol dependent and some … have left an unstable nest and are facing the realities of survival.
The expectation is that through my classes they will emerge from their protective cocoons. Getting people to wriggle out of their shells is something I believe I do well – one on one. But on a group scale? Needless to say, after today’s talk, I’m slightly terrified. I take heart in the fact that I believe drama is an effective tool for achieving those goals. Believing in and helping people of all ages to aspire to become better people is a worthy pursuit. Hopefully, my commitment and belief to the overall project will guide me on how the hell to do it!
This gig has arisen from my new job at Performing Arts Headquarters in Bacchus Marsh where I now teach after school drama to kids. I’m terrible at first days but after a hesitant beginning, I am definitely warming to the work. I quake at excess freedom to do whatever I please. I need a nutshell – I thrive on railing against structure and confines. However … I’m beginning to learn, perhaps for the first time in my life, how to create boundaries for myself. I’m learning how to piece-size. And, in contrast to my new panic (mentioned above), I’m beginning to set realistic goals to meet my own high expectations. Mid year performances are going to be fun. And, if anyone is interested there will be an informal teachers performance night in May, where I get to strut my stuff. I’m attempting a German accent!
The fun and games don’t end there.
I’m currently enrolled in three subjects (four next semester) at SMB TAFE to complete my Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing – sliding in to graduate before a course revamp. This year I’m stepping into unfamiliar ground with non-fiction writing. I’m doing Journalism, Non-fiction Project and Writing Histories. More on that later … particularly for my non-fiction project (intrigued? I bet you are).
Next – I got accepted into the NEIS program, which starts next Monday. This will get me a Certificate III in Micro Business Operations, which is a fancy way of saying I should know how to run my small business. The business idea will unfold for you all over time (once it unfolds for me) but suffice to say it’ll be a freelance editing / writing venture. I’m going to see where it takes me, but given my multifaceted approach to life and work, I foresee it producing (at least in the beginning) only a third of my income. Eventually I’d like the majority of income through the business to be focussed on editing and offering advice on fiction manuscripts.
Floating around in the back of my head is to do my TESL (teaching English as a second language) certificate in order to teach English in China and around the world. And potentially at some stage, do my honors or masters relating either to writing or to performing arts – who knows?!.
Midway through last year I completed my Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment and over the summer (if one can call it a summer) holidays I sent my CV off willy-nilly to TAFE’s and training centres. I’d like to teach theatre, writing and editing and business administration. This should make up another third of my income (when I get some work that is).
I’m still working for the Royal Women’s Hospital as part of their education program (and loving it). I still work for the University of Melbourne as a CTA, tutoring medical students as part of their women’s health clinic – teaching patient centered care. I get the occasional gig as asimulated patient with Melbourne Uni as well. Sometimes I float in to see my boss at Gene Ethics, but Div has taken that job over from me so I’m just a ring-in. Given that I enjoy all these jobs for their own unique reasons, I’d like to continue doing them and combined they’d make up my last third. Making Alex a well-rounded income earning girl.
For those that didn’t know, we welcomed a new member to our family midway through last year – a kelpie cross border collier called Echo – quite honestly the sweetest dog in existence. No. Seriously! She tops the sweetness scales.

The cats are still going strong!

Nightmare (this is also my screen backdrop)
My son is doing well at school this year. He appears to be happy and confident. I love listening to him read either whilst I’m cooking dinner or just before bed at night.
He started soccer this morning. It was hilarious watching 6 – 8 year olds tearing around an indoor soccer field and clumping into corners, their little feet pummeling to get the ball out and in play again. He loved it! I loved it. I could handle being a soccer mum. I may not do the whole ‘school mum’ thing very well, but soccer – I can do that. Maybe, when he’s older, I may even graduate to the mum who brings oranges – ahhh memories.
Div, who has been slogging it out in Canberra working at the AIS teaching kids to swim, will be returning to the love-nest tomorrow (one more sleep!!). Huzzah! He’s going to study Biomedical Science part time this semester and it was confirmed earlier this week that he has a job with the YMCA. Much better work than the pathetic, demeaning, pay-crippled hospitality industry provides – there’s a rant for another day.
The garden is going nuts. A horrible year for tomatoes but an abundant crop of everything else. We have at least 7 pumpkins (that we can see), more zucchini than we know what to do with and carrots multiplying like rabbits. We’ve got silverbeet, ruby chard, beetroot, cos lettuce, green beans, butter beans, celery, basil, green squash and sweetcorn – OMG – the sweetcorn! Eggplants are just beginning to emerge but the chilli and pepper plants aren’t fruiting. I had my first ever crop of radishes this year – which tasted fantastic grated on salads. I worked out – after I gave up – what the mustard plants produced. I originally thought it was mustard seeds but impatiently expected them to emerge sooner. I didn’t realise the seeds don’t ripen until the plant is almost dead (much like a pumpkin). Our nectarine tree took a beating from the inclement weather, my berries are non-existent and my lemons still look like limes.
All in all. I’m chuffed. Stoked in fact! The raised garden beds are worth their weight in gold and the produce looks, smells and tastes divine. All they needed were a few more lady beetles.