The Standard Iceberg Rose

roses onlineI cannot stare at this blank page any longer. Writers blocked has plagued me for two years now and the pressure has mounted into a definite immovable, impenetrable block. My agent constantly calls me asking how many words in I am and what kind of food I would like at the release party. I can’t handle it anymore. My last novel was a fluke and I can no longer deny it. The standard iceberg rose was nothing more than a stroke of luck. Its name came from my wife’s obsession with the beautiful stem roses we had in our first garden together. She would spend a few minutes every morning staring at the long stems holding up our crisp white rose bushes. I managed to draw enough magic from each of those flowery moments to produce one above average book. I simply cannot find it within me again. I have started so many times, I have written over a hundred first pages but the second and thirds are nowhere to be seen. My dear wife is constantly trying to inspire me, she is forever ordering roses online and planting new spring flowering bulbs for me to dwell on. I told her I need to look beyond the flowers now, the iceberg rose is no longer my muse. The problem is I do not have a new one and I fear it cannot be chosen but rather it must choose me. The money has pretty much stopped flowing in now from book sales so I do what I can in terms of readings, events and freelance jobs. It doesn’t compare to the cash flow of a few years back, we were jetting off to Italy for long weekends and impulse buying whenever we fancied it. These days even the online rose ordering has to be spaced out between paychecks.

The Maternal Flower

standard roses for sale onlineFor as long as I can remember I have taken my mother to see the spring flowers bloom in the countryside. When I was younger it was her taking me but now the roles have reversed. As her mental state has deteriorated many have told me there is no point taking her to the roses as she has no idea where she is or what is going on. Tell me what you want but I see her eyes light up as the beam of the blooming roses hits them. She may not be able to find the words to describe the feeling but I recognise it on her face, she is joyful. I believe the smell of the flowers awakens memories of her youth within her and while she may not be able to articulate it she can certainly feel it. After this years trip I decided to bring her some of the joy from the flowers on a more regular basis. I bought some roses online and had them planted at her residential care home. I made sure that if I couldn’t make it myself then someone would take her out to them everyday and let her sit there and enjoy them. People have so little time for the elderly these days it sickens me. My mother spent years ferrying me wherever I needed to go, putting food on the table and clothes on my back. The very least I can do is provide a calm and happy environment for her to enjoy in her later years. I know they are only standard roses and to many it may seem an irrelevant attempt at getting rid at some of my guilt. But I truly believe it makes a difference. Her senses still have a memory and a real sense of calm washes over her when she is amongst the flowers.

Studying childcare as a mature aged student

early childhood care and educationThere are a lot of reasons why returning to studies after many years in the workforce is challenging. In fact, they don’t make it easy for you right from the start. It’s been yonks since I finished my HSC – I don’t even have a record of it, and this proved to be a problem while trying to apply for childcare courses in Melbourne.

It’s been worse for friends of mine. They can’t source their high school certificates because it’s been so long, and then miss application deadlines or the university won’t recognise their documentation. Some of them had to take uni-preparation courses. Fortunately for me, although I did have to go through the same hoops, the childcare education colleges were slightly easier to deal with compared to say the technical courses.

I ended up getting my high school certificate after this huge rigmarole and then applied for the course. But the journey didn’t end there. Now I have to adjust to life as a student.

I’m currently taking a certificate 3 in early childhood education and care near Melbourne. I was so excited on my first day – I felt just like a young woman again! But as the classes progressed I found I couldn’t keep up as well as the other students. I guess when you get older your brain doesn’t absorb information as quickly. On the other hand, I do have an advantage over them because I have a stronger attention span. While the other students gaze into the distance or flit around between lecture, phone, laptop and day dreams, I’m sitting there with 100% focus on the class.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the workforce in my new career. I guess it was quite late for a career change but it’s what I needed and it feels good. You never know, maybe working in child care will prove energizing and keep me feeling young for a few more years.

Planning Kids Birthday Party 101

birthday party venue hireIt was clear to me that the divorce was finalised. The papers hadn’t yet been signed but Tom and Julia had barely exchanged a word in two weeks. He called me almost daily to tell me how low he felt and that he just couldn’t help but feel guilty about the kids. I had never heard my brother sound so deflated before. I feared how he would handle Oliver’s impending 5th birthday. I stepped in and offered to help out because I didn’t think he could handle being all smiles and giggles for Oli’s birthday around Julia with everything that’s going on. I told both of them that I would handle it and they can focus on themselves, what are aunts for after all! After a quick search for fun kids birthday party venues in Melbourne I realised I had set myself a hard task. There was a lot to choose from. I can see why parents get so stressed out about arranging their kids birthdays. I narrowed it down to a couple of options and ran them by Tom. I’m not sure if he was even listening but he said they both sounded great and as long as there was a cake Oliver would be thrilled. I went with ice skating rink, from what I can remember kids love ice skating and of all the birthday party venues in Melbourne it seemed to be the easiest in terms of arranging food and entertainment. I really didn’t want Tom to have to stress out about it so I told him I would go with him and keep him distracted. I knew if I wasn’t there he would spend the whole time looking at Julia and Oli and fighting back the tears. Poor Tom, he just wanted the picture perfect happy family, he never wanted all this drama. I was hoping there was a chance the party might cheer him up, seeing Oli happy always made him smile and with this venue Oli was sure to enjoy himself.

Career change: early childhood development

early childcare courses

When I was 17 I was forced to complete an aptitude test at school. It was supposedly meant to make an assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and then give us a list of suitable career paths. It seemed I was destined for administrative work. At the tender age of 17 this answer did little for my confidence. I find myself now aged 32 and still working for a maniacal boss fulfilling my prophecy. My real interest had always been in kids. I am now auntie and take a very hands on approach to my nieces and nephews. Watching their development is fascinating, from newborns right through to bumbling toddlers. One day at work I decided that perhaps my school test wasn’t right after all but had just forced me down a path that I had never gotten off. Turns out I can complete an early childhood diploma online in just 62 weeks, allowing me to schedule it flexibly around work before I can start earning from it! I had already acquired quite a few books on childhood development so hopefully the content wouldn’t be too unfamiliar.

 

This would quite literally change my life. Getting to not only observe but shape the early developmental stages of childhood growth would be so fulfilling. Those first years are so important and I really feel that with a diploma of early childhood education I could actually make a positive difference in kids lives, unlike what that test did to me! The flexibility of studying suited me right now and the course is extremely thorough even involving a job placement within a pre-school facility. It will be great to get some actual experience with kids that aren’t blood related to me! The thought of spending my days with adorable little ones over my less than adorable boss is absolutely tantalising! It’s just a mere 62 weeks away.

Drain blockage saga

Melbourne blocked drain repairs

I dropped my iphone down the toilet. It is a common iphone mishap, aided by their sleek surfaces and ungraspable smoothness. Luckily it was before the deed had been done so no pegged nose required. So guess what they don’t tell you when you decide to invest in the 6 + model, it is in fact the exact same size as the pipe on a standard toilet drain. Yep, my iphone blocked my toilet and metal on metal doesn’t move so easily. With my tail between my legs and no phone to google on I had to use the old methods of finding drain repair. Melbourne is a modern city so listings were slim as most people turn to the internet when they are in need of domestic help. Drain blocked, phone broken, help needed.

Without a phone I didn’t have the tool with which to identify the help I needed nor contact them! It scared me how dependent I was on my phone, I was lost without it unable to interact with the world around me. I knocked on my neighbour’s door and sheepishly explained what had happened, obviously omitting certain details. I ‘lost’ my phone and my drain ‘mysteriously’ blocked itself. He was sympathetic and not only lent me his phone but recommended I use the same company that excellently dealt with his drain unblocking, Melbourne apparently plays host to more than one iphone toilet dropper. At least I would have a fixed toilet, my phone however would remain useless. I feared the damage would be too great for the old leave it in rice trick. No more iphones for me. I invested no more than $30 in an old school Nokia that has a firm grip and does not wedge itself in drains. Hopefully this would not only keep my drains blockage free but also wean me off phone dependence and open my eyes to the world!

The best way to study game design

Melbourne game design coursesI never expected studying game design and development to be easy – but I sure as heck never expected this. What with all the homework, lectures, and everything else – jobs, girlfriend and family obligations – there’s not enough time to do everything. I know what you’re going to say: that I should quit my second job and only work the one. That then I’d have enough time for my studies and homework. I’m sorry but I’m a glutton for money, and cash is not something I’m willing to sacrifice. Plus my girlfriend will probably leave me if I stop buying her gucci handbags and taking her out for fine dining. Yeah, she’s spoiled but whatcha gonna do? She’s too cute to give up.

 Back to my time constraint predicament, studying in Melbourne, game design courses in particular are very demanding on the hours. Anything IT related requires you study and network all the time. I thought to myself, ‘I would have time for everything if only I needed less sleep.’ As a result I’ve been experimenting with different methods to curb sleep. I heard about the little pills they give to overseas soldiers to keep them awake, but I thought that could possibly make me too belligerent. So instead I opted for polyphasic sleep.

 From what I heard about polyphasic sleep, I thought this could be just the right strategy to help me excel at my game development and web design course. Around Melbourne, a few people I know have tried it to great success. What you do is sleep for twenty minutes every four hours, that way you only need two hours sleep every day!

Sounds like a miracle solution, right? Well, not exactly. Imagine how hard it is to step out of your daily life for a nap: at work, at college, on a date with your girlfriend. It’s near impossible to structure your life around polyphasic sleep. Such a bummer, it held so many promises.

Professional Tour Guide

winery toursNo one really expects tour guides to be very imaginative people but there’s actually a lot of room for creativity. There are thousands of tours running in Melbourne and they all have paid guides, some of them foreigners, others locals. I’ve been in the business for a few years and I love this kind of work. It’s very satisfying to show off the best parts of your city to a group of tourists. I’m starting to think I want to get a little more creative with my tours and take my groups out of the city centre. So I’ve been going to some winery tours around Melbourne for inspiration.

The wine tours I went on were really excellent. I got to taste a lot of nice wines from the Yarra Valley, Macedon and Bellarine areas and also enjoyed hearty meals at the country estates. While on the tour I had some ideas for my own, for example I could dress up like Dionysus with a toga and laurel wreath and frolic drunkenly through the vineyards while briefing them on the details. I find it’s always good to break the ice with a bit of humour. Bellarine is a particularly popular area, so I’m thinking if I give a wine tour of Bellarine Peninsula hopefully that’ll boost my business. Things have been a little slow lately and I’m not entirely sure why. Ah well, there’s always off-season and on-season, and the economy has been a little slow lately.

I also had this other idea to take my tour groups to the beach. I thought I could spice things up a bit by dressing as a shark as a gag. You know how all foreigners are dead-scared of sharks when coming to Australia? They think someone gets eaten by a shark just about every day! It’s so funny. This ought to give ‘em a good jolt to the pacemaker!

This city is in need of a high quality signage makeover

signage
signage

Signage is something that should be considered before opening your small business

This city is beautiful, in its own way, but there are many who want to make it better. If you are a small business owner, or even a home business owner, you might greatly benefit from a signage makeover, or even just a few hints and tips.

Signage is one of the most important parts of getting a new business off to a good start. If you can show the world your style, your brand and your image you are much more likely to receive greater traffic when you open the store. This is important we yo first open, as the first 12 months of a small business are make or break.

Image is important, and getting a branded image, and using high quality Melbourne signage to broadcast that image to the city is even more important. Make sure that you have the best signage possible, and the most extensive range possible to ensure the widest reach.

signs come in all sorts of sizes and styles. There is a range of signage options to suit any and every home or small business, including:

  • Banners (teardrop, feather, pop up, pull down etc)
  • Corporate logo signs, including shop fronts
  • 3D signage
  • Vehicle signage
  • Window Frosting

Whatever it is that you or your business needs, you will be able to find it with the professional help of Melbourne’s vinyl experts.

Safety and security tips for small businesses

wall safe
wall safe

Preventing loss and criminal activity is important to any small business; you can help prevent that with a series of security steps.

Keeping your building or store safe is paramount for any small business owner, which is why it’s important to keep up to date on the latest security features and technology. There are a number of precautions that any small businesses owner can take to mitigate their risk of break ins, theft, and destruction, including surveillance cameras and CCTV.

Surveillance is a major part of any safety precautions taken by a business. Buying or hiring professional quality CCTV systems is a great deterrent for criminals, and can help to keep your premises safe from break ins.

Loss prevention is also a big part of security services for small businesses; lock and key systems, as well as secure home and office safes can all help prevent loss of merchandise, goods, and cash from the premises. Look for the finest wall safes Melbourne has to offer, from a trusted and respected security company.

There are a range of practices and techniques that need to be implemented within the hierarchy of small businesses, to ensure correct procedures are carried out. Handling money, as well as merchandise always carries risks, and you can help reduce those risk by implementing proper procedures, known to all staff.

business documents, especially irreplaceable, or highly valuable ones, need to be kept absolutely safe at all times. Buying a high quality document and data safe in Melbourne, especially fire resistant safes, can help your business stay safe in an emergency situation.