Posts Tagged ‘school holidays’

Why do I work like this?

In May 2016 on May 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm


Sarah: Last week I ran a marathon and juggled burning batons.

Not literally in my running shoes plus fuel and matches of course, but it felt just as massive.

I had taken on a huge writing job for a new client, and it coincided with the second week of school holidays during which I had previously scheduled multiple allied health appointments for me and my kids.

Looking back, I’m amazed it actually got done. With early wake-ups and late nights and very high levels of screens and ignoring healthy cooking and being cranky with my children and pet, somehow it happened. A typical day looked like this:

5.30am –> awake and sitting at computer

7.30am –> love and breakfast for kids

8am –> load of washing on, then walk dog

8.30am –> more work for me, kids play and fight and play

10am –> hang out washing, dash to dentist

12pm –> buy and eat sushi for lunch, play at the park on the way home

1pm –> more work for me, kids on screens

3pm –> yell at kids to get off screens and do something active, they walk dog

4pm –> hair appointments

5pm –> more work for me, kids on screens with intermittent yelling

6pm –> take kids and dog to the local oval for a run and kick of the ball

7pm –> OMG what is for dinner?

8pm –> more work (husband cleans kitchen, plays with kids, gets them into bed)

10pm –> yes, still working

11pm –> suppose I’d better sleep

Why do I do this to myself? Why not just say no to the client, or delay the work, or opt for a simpler life with more sleep and lower income?

I love being busy and am at my most efficient and effective when I have a lot on. But every now and again I wonder if this is not the best way to operate. Things would be a lot simpler if I got a fixed job, walked away from the house to a set office, used more Out of Hours School Care and babysitters, ate takeaway and threw the clothes in the drier every day.

But then yesterday — as I took a deep breath and hid in the laundry and actually found pairs of matching clean socks — I listened to Radio National’s Life Matters program. In this episode, guests of host Cassie McCullagh were Professor Ross Anderson and Associate Professor Susan Bartlett of McGill University in Montreal. Speaking on the risks of heart disease and joint problems, Professor Anderson said:

Individuals who sit for prolonged periods of time, without interruption, are at greater risk.

A lot of Australians commute to work passively, in a car.

Most of us sit behind a desk or at a computer for the entire morning, and in many cases we don’t get up to take a break.

We sit at the cafeteria eating lunch passively, and then we go back to work and back home in our cars.

This is not the way I work. I suppose that’s good.

I also wonder if I would be as efficient if I knew I had endless hours in each day to dedicate to my writing tasks. Even today, when deadlines are less pressing, I can feel myself drifting off, thinking too much, checking out clothing online, seeing what everyone’s up to on Facebook.

Snatched windows of time in-between physical tasks forces me to focus and deliver. And it helps me lose my inner smart-arse.

Now excuse me, the dog needs a run. And so do I.

PS. I’ve written previously about the need to sit less in several posts: Sitting and standing, Making a stand, and The walking meeting

[image thanks to Ky:]


Happy Birthday Siding Springs! (#starfest2014)

In October 2014 on October 9, 2014 at 7:46 am

Kirsti starfest1 Khaiam with sun

Kirsti: The telescopes at ANU’s Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungle National Park are having birthdays! FOUR birthdays in fact. And they celebrated recently with one of the best programs for Starfest2014 to date.

The Warrumbungle Festival of the Stars is on right now, and runs until Monday 27th of October. It’s the community’s way of saying “we love astronomy and art!”, and Starfest2014 is a part of it. The event attracts professional and amateur astronomers from all over Australia, as well as families, tourists, travellers and science nerds from near and far.

I happened to go this year, and boy do I wish I’d had some more kid-free time for the adult stuff! There was Science in the Pub with Radio National’s Robyn Williams, and an all-star cast (pun intended) including @astropixie. There were talks by amaze-balls astronomers like Fred Watson and Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt, and astronaut Andy Thomas giving the Bok Lecture!

We got to see some talks for kids, and spent time in the exploratory centre at Siding Springs. Here I learnt I would weigh almost 2 tonnes on the sun but only about 10 kgs on the Moon (note to self: go there some day).

But we were absolutely blown away by the sheer size and workings of the Anglo-Australian Telescope, operated by the Australian Astronomical Observatory. It turned 40 this year, having taken its first photos in 1974. Over its life it has detected clouds near the surface of Venus, photographed the explosion of the Supernova 1987A (allowing astronomers’ unprecedented understanding of the death of a star), and identified (for the first time) an isolated brown dwarf star in our Galaxy! These, and oh, just a few other spectacularly life-changing things….

We were able to walk around inside it, stare in awe at the 3.9m diameter mirror, and then walk out onto the observation deck about 26m up, with the most incredible view of the Warrumbungle National Park ever!

Kirsti starfest 2 Warrumbungle panorama

So even though I am into tiny things with six legs on our own planet, Starfest2014 succeeded in blowing my mind with big picture space science. It’s worth the drive out there at this time of year as all the wildflowers are out too.

Ahhhh, school holidays, why are you over?!

Day 327. Vacation humour

In July 2013 on July 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm


The mid-winter school holidays are here in Australia.

In my house, that means lots of pyjama wearing, couch lazing, excessive screen viewing and parental work-load panicking.

Although we’re not going on an actual vacation, this cartoon did make me giggle. It’s exactly what I do on holiday trips.

Hope all you parents survive the next couple of weeks intact.

[image thanks to Unearthed Comics, via Karyn Traphagen]