Thursday, 20 December 2007

Light the Christmas Tree


Tonight I put up the Christmas Tree. I realised while I was doing it that I haven't put up a tree for the past two years. I felt I should make an effort this year. My parents are coming to my place for lunch on Christmas Day and son will be dropping by in the afternoon. The longest part of putting the tree up was untangling the lights.

This reminded me of putting up our tree when I was a child. Every year we would spend what seemed like hours trying to work out which bulb in the set of lights had blown and therefore preventing all the lights to work. We had a beautiful set of hand painted lights on our tree. One year however, it all got too frustrating and we bought a new modern set that meant we wouldn't have to go through that rigmarole again. I miss those lights (we threw them out!). Simple as the new ones were, they were very boring. And frustrating as it was each year, that was part of the family ritual at Christmas.

Perhaps I'm missing some Christmas ritual.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Greed of Christmas


We had our Christmas lunch at work today. It's a variation on the traditional Kris Kringle. Some of you may know it as I have heard of other places that do it. Everybody brings a wrapped gift within the agreed price range. Everyone is given a number between one and the highest number of people that are present (pardon the pun). Number one chooses any wrapped gift from the pile. They unwrap it in front of everyone for all to see. Number two has a choice of choosing another wrapped gift from the pile, or if they really like what number one has unwrapped they can 'steal' that gift from them. Number one then has to choose another wrapped gift from the pile. Number three then has the choice of a wrapped gift or one of the gifts already unwrapped.....and so it goes on. You can see from this that the higher the number you have, the more choice you have. If someone has their gift 'stolen' from them, they can only choose from a wrapped gift, they are not allowed to 'steal' another gift.

Now this can either be great fun, or it can fall flat. It being great fun relies on people putting niceness aside and taking what they really want. It's a time of putting aside hierarchy in the organisation. People have to know they can take from their supervisor, or even the manager, without any ramifications (and hey....we're talking $10 - $15 gifts, so it's not as though an Ipod is at stake!). Some people find this a difficult concept. There are those who always take from the pile. There are those who will do a perusal of the opened gifts to put on a show, but you know they will always return to the pile to take an unwrapped gift. There tends to be a few favourite gifts that constantly change hands. They are usually funny or useful gifts. There are also some staff who seem to have their gifts 'stolen' 3 or 4 times!

It was fun today. We ended up with 44 people there. This included many volunteers who come. I always reckon it's a good sign when relatively new staff feel confident enough to 'steal'. Also when volunteers, who spend most of their time in client's homes and rarely come into the office, so potentially may not feel as connected to the wider team, feel confident enough to 'steal'. Our manager had her gift stolen three times! There was the odd surprise. As one particular staff member got up to choose a present, I thought, 'M will take from the pile, she's far too nice to 'steal''. But no, she went over to someone else and 'stole' a book entitled Wild Sex! It was a book about the sex lives of animals! I love it when people surprise me.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Questions vs Answers


I was reading Slow Lane Dan's latest entry and it reminded me of a piece of writing taken from Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet:

Be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart

Try to love the questions themselves

Do not seek for answers that cannot be given

Because you would not be able to live them

And the point is to live everything

Live the questions now

Perhaps you will then

Gradually

Without knowing it

Live along some distant day

Into the answers

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Cycling


Being inspired by a friend, I've got my old bike out recently and started riding again. I'm covering a different role at work at the moment which means I don't need my car for work, so I've even been riding to work on occasion. The last two weeks I've ridden three out of the five days. It feels good to have the car unused on certain days. I feel like I'm doing something for the environment. I work about 15 minutes from work by car, and I'm finding that it takes me no longer to ride to work. There is either a bike lane on the road, or a bike path between my home and work, so I feel quite safe, despite it being inner city. I'm surprised by the amount of bicycle traffic on the road. Coming home the other night I had to wait to turn right to give way to no less than 10 cyclists on the road I was turning into. What I really like about riding to work is that I am getting exercise by doing something I have to do, rather than exercising for exercise's sake Ideally I feel that what we do in our day to day lives should provide us with enough exercise. I've always thought this has parallels with spirituality - but that's another blog (perhaps).

Thursday, 6 December 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.......


Despite the previous post, I’ve been thinking of my response to Christmas. I’ve always had some ambivalence about Christmas. It used to hold more of a religious/spiritual meaning, but that is no longer present for me. This year I seemed to have been able to avoid all the hype leading up to it. Every now and then I am surprised by seeing Christmas decorations around in shops and houses. I’m surprised by my response to it which is quite a strong feeling response. My initial reaction is a positive one, but it’s linked in with memory rather than being based on something current. There’s a realisation now that it is a hollow meaning, it’s only about what it used to be, not what it is now. That tends to flatten the initial positive memory. It’s a feeling of something good that cannot deliver. As you can see my response is still very much in the feeling mode and not at all thought out, hence these ramblings. The time of night I’m typing this might also have something to do with it! So enough ramblings.

The two things I still like about Christmas are carols and the food. Nothing beats Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter (known to some as Hard Brandy Sauce) whilst watching some Carols By Candlelight.

So what does Christmas mean for you?

Direction?


I’m interested in where my blogging is going at the moment. I have been far from prolific (to state the obvious!). I’m not entirely sure why that is. Life is going along really well at present in terms of family, matters of the heart, work directions etc. I feel that my blog has become a bit of a ‘what I’ve been doing diary’, which I tend to think must be quite a boring read. I haven’t been doing as much of the ‘thought/feeling exploration’ as I have in the past. I’m interested in why this is. Maybe it’s to do with the feelings and thoughts I’ve been exploring lately and not wanting to put them ‘out there’. Maybe I’ve become too insular to explore wider things or to engage with day to day experiences in a way that links them with the bigger picture of life. Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe my blogging is just coming to a natural conclusion.
So many maybes! Perhaps I ought to not worry about it and let whatever happen happen (take a chill pill, to quote son!).

To carry on with the diary aspect of this site for anyone who may be interested, so tennis grand final is tomorrow night. Yes we are playing the same team that we had the altercation with a couple of weeks ago, so it should be an interesting experience. Choosing the final team turned out to be not too bad an experience, with only one girl quite upset – and her father. Whatever decision I was going to make someone wasn’t going to be pleased for various reasons. I am proud of son, who was one of those not playing, in the way he took that news. Anyway I have to say I’m pleased it will be the end of the season after Friday night and I can have a break from it for a while. That will leave only cricket to focus on during the weekend!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Sporting Parents Are Soooooooo Ugly.............


.....and I don't mean physically, although some are much more pleasing on the eye than others.
Tonight we had the first tennis final for son's tennis. During the season you have to play players in the same order each game. For example, with five girls in the team, you rank them all and of the three that play, the highest ranked has to play No 1 the second highest No 2 and the third No 3. My understanding was that that didn't have to be the case during the finals. I was sure that I had checked that out during the season. So based on stats during the season I played a girl who would normally have played No 2 during the season, as No 1 (I hope you're keeping up with this!). A short time into the game a mother from the other side came up to me and asked if I realised I was playing the girls out of order. This resulted in three people on their mobiles to various association gurus to determine the rules about this. It was determined that I had done the wrong thing, so then came the decision about what to do. Do we stop the games and start again, do they make us forfeit, or do we just keep going, keep things in perspective (ie. this is kids tennis, not Wimbledon, and no money involved!). It was decided to keep things going - although the opposition was divided on this. The opposition team manager was a really nice, easy going bloke. He was happy to let it pass, but other parents weren't so happy. At one point he said to me 'We seem to be the only two calm parents here'. I don't know that I was that calm, but certainly wasn't treating it like the end of the world as we know it! Unfortunately it got a bit nasty on both sides. We ended up losing (it wasn't an elimination final, so we get a second chance), but they still wanted to put in a protest (the poor team manager was very embarrassed).
If we win next week, we will end up meeting this team again in the Grand Final. It will make for a VERY unpleasant final.

I have to say the future of our society doesn't hold much hope with the example they have!

Why do people get so affected by sport, especially parents?!?! (Don't worry, that was a rhetorical question - I know it's all around projection issues!)

Friday, 16 November 2007

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs


Today reached the low 30's (celsius) here in Melbourne. That's pretty high for mid November. Tonight at son's tennis it was a balmy evening. With daylight saving we didn't have to put the lights on until soon after 8.00pm. Once they were on however, it was like an invitation to a bug party. They came in their thousands. All sorts of bugs, from little mosquito types to larger cockroach types. They were hovering under the lights and also all over the courts. The kids had to ensure they kept their mouths closed while they played. It was like being in a Hitchcock movie.
Tonight was the last of the home and away matches. We're in the finals which start next week. One of the more difficult aspects of being team manager is that I have to decided who plays in the finals. We need three girls and three boys to play. I have four boys and five girls to choose from. Therefore three kids are going to miss out. They are all pretty even in ability, so there aren't obvious kids to leave out. I'm too soft to find it easy to tell kids they aren't playing in the finals! I don't know how I'm going to decide, and then tell them! I've got less than a week to do the deed! I hate this part of the job!
Thanks to those who have been enquiring about my shoulder/neck pain. Much better now. The semester is over which is great. Last Monday was my first day of no Uni or other responsibilities. I had a lovely day. I could get used to part time work and no study. Although the bank balance may object!

Friday, 26 October 2007

A Pain In The Neck


Over the last couple of days I have developed a pain in my neck, radiating from my right shoulder. It is too much time at the computer studying and perusing the big wide world on the web. Actually it's not enough time studying and too much time perusing! This morning it was quite bad, so much so that I resorted to some medication. While I was out and about today I dropped in on a Chinese massage place in a shopping centre. These places seem to be becoming quite popular here in Melbourne, where you can pop in unannounced and have everything from a five minute neck massage to a full body massage. I asked for a twenty minute neck and shoulder massage. It was pure and utter HELL. It was AGONY. It almost got to the point where I had to ask him to stop. I did come out feeling less tight, but the pain was still present in my neck. I might have to have more concentrated therapy. I have moved my computer mouse to my left which I do from time to time. They say that is good for the brain as well as the body.
I finish study for the year in a few days time. I also need to spend less time perusing. 

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Attend the Tale.....

.....of Sweeney Todd. This is Johhny Depp's latest film due out early next year. He plays these sort of roles so well don't you think? A perfect match with Helen Bonham Carter in such a setting. After whilstling a happy tune all week I'm now swinging my razor wide. Those around me had better be careful!
I really need to learn how to upload videos on to this blog. May have to call upon a learned  friend for assistance. Call now made and video now uploaded!! I'm impressed.....I hope you all are.

Toad
Uploaded by IMLX

Friday, 19 October 2007

Shameless


This is a British TV programme set in working class Manchester. It revolves around a family called the Gallaghers. The patriarch is the perpetually inebriated Frank. He has six kids who are basically brought up by his eldest daughter as his wife ran off with another woman. It has quickly become a favourite of mine and when it was on here I used to dissect it with a work colleague the following morning. This particular colleague ended up getting the first three series on DVD and leant them to me. I find the show hilarious as well as frequently poignant. I think part of the attraction is that it is so different from my middle class experience of life. I find it alluring and at the same time scary. Initially I thought of it as hyperbole, but I think that it is probably reality for many people in various places around the world.
Having borrowed the DVDs, I didn't want to have them for too long, so I have been immersing myself in them for the past couple of weeks. That in itself has been an interesting experience, to watch so much of a particular show (about 30 hours worth) in such a short period. It has been good to catch up on some episodes that I missed and have some of the missing links explained.
Apparently series 4 & 5 are also now on air in the UK. Well worth a look.

An Actress To Remember




I woke up this morning to hear of the death of Deborah Kerr. She was the star of such films as From Here To Eternity, The King And I, and An Affair To Remember. I was saddened to hear of her death. This surprised me and I wonder why. I enjoyed the films she was in. She could always get me to 'whistle a happy tune'! In many ways her death is part of the death of an era. The actors and actresses of the 40s and 50s, and perhaps even 60s, had a different style to today's stars. (OMG I just realise how OLD that makes me sound!) Will we remember Sharon Stone, Johnny Depp and Kate Winslett in the same way?...........OK, so we may well remember Johhny Depp!

Friday, 12 October 2007

Sport, Sport, Sport.


We're just past mid-way of son's tennis season. The benefit of Friday night tennis is that we don't have to choose between tennis and cricket for that couple of months when they overlap. Cricket starts tomorrow. What joy! What bliss! Can you taste the sarcasm?! Tennis I can actually quite enjoy, cricket is more of a struggle.
Tonight, at tennis, a couple of sisters joined us after being overseas for a couple of months. I hadn't met them before. I placed them together in the girls doubles. They asked me not to do that again as they don't play well together because they fight all the time. The classic line of the night: One said to me, "She annoys me and she thinks I annoy her!" The joy of teenage girls!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

A Matter of Quality


Today and yesterday we had surveyors come through our workplace as part of our accreditation process. The system we use has something significant happen each year, but every four years is the major survey, where every aspect of what we do is scrutinised. We've had two surveyors over two days. Being a small organization, everyone is involved in some way. There has been heightened anxiety over the past few weeks. As a generalisation we know we do a good job, but there is still some anxiety in making sure we have the evidence to prove this.
We passed with flying colours, although there is always room for improvement. It was a positive experience for us. Two years ago, when we had our mid –cycle survey, the two surveyors we had were very business like and not particularly effusive. Working in health care, palliative care in particular, we can be (a bit too?) warm and fuzzy and like to be treated in similar fashion. So some staff found that process to be a negative one. So today, whilst being given areas for improvement, we were also praised for the many areas in which we are doing well. For some staff it was a healing experience.(!) (See what I mean about the warm and fuzzy!!?!)
In theory we should have our systems and processes all in order so that surveyors could come in at any time and be satisfied with what we do, without the mad dash to have all our i’s dotted and t’s crossed in the weeks prior to their visit.
It never seems to work that way however!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Father-Son Relationships


Son arrived home this morning. He had a great time. We learnt a bit today of his time away, but as is his wont, information will come out in the days and weeks to come,. I have a feeling quite a few sentences will begin with “In America they……”. I’ve had a full couple of weeks, with mostly good things, but I have missed having him around.
I was over at my parents yesterday. I have mixed feelings about being with my parents. I like spending time with them because they’re getting older and who knows how long they will be here. When I do spend time with them however, it is highlighted for me how little they know of my life and how close we’re not. I know this is as much my doing as theirs. I grew up feeling that my parents didn’t listen to me and so I slowly withdrew. They’re now at that time in their lives when they are more able to listen (and have been for a while), but over the years I’ve withdraw so far from them that I don’t know how to let them know something of what’s going on in my life (and I’m not just talking of what I had for breakfast and the latest movie I’ve seen). I feel that if I did open up to them there is nearly 30 years of catching up that would be needed to occur.
I feel particularly distant from my father. I think part of that is because there is nothing we ‘do’ together. When I’m over there I help Mum in the garden, something that Dad isn’t into at all. So because I can’t ‘do’ anything with Dad, it makes ‘being’ with him difficult when there is little of any consequence that passes between us.
I used to be arrogant enough to think that I would have the ‘perfect’ relationship with my son, that we would have flawless communication and a ‘smooth’ relationship. I’ve gained enough wisdom to know that that won’t be the case. The difference I hope for in my adult-adult relationship with him over the relationship I have with my own parents is that he will be able to talk with me not only about what’s going on for him in his life, but also that we would be able to talk about our experience of him growing up, from his perspective as a child and from mine as a parent.
Learning from experience, that sort of adult-adult relationship requires open communication in the adult-child relationship. I’m hopeful for an ongoing positive relationship with my son.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

The Rose Boys


I was reading a post over on Nash's blog which reminded me of an incident with another nowhere near as famous person as Rick Springfield's mother. A few years ago I read the book 'The Rose Boys'. For those outside Melbourne and even for those non footy minded people in Melbourne, the Rose family is a famous Collingwood football family. Bob Rose and his 4 brothers all played for Collingwood in the 1940s and 50s, and Bob went on to coach Collingwood in the 60s, 70s and 80s. He and his wife, Elsie, had two boys. Robert followed in the family's sporting tradition and became an exceptional footballer and cricketer. Peter followed a different path and became a poet and publisher. Peter is the author of 'The Rose Boys'. To precis the book very simply and without giving it justice, it revolves around Robert's car accident at the age of 22 years, his subsequent quadriplegia and then death at the age of 47 years. It is a story written with great honesty and richness. I read most of it while I was away on holidays, staying with some friends. I came to the last chapter one night and whilst I really wanted to finish it, I had a sense that I would be so affected that I knew I wouldn't be able to go straight to sleep but would need to respond in some active way, if only to walk around the house. Not being in my own home, I didn't feel comfortable doing that, so didn't finish it for a couple of days until I knew I had the safety to respond in whatever way I needed to.
Anyway.....on to the incident.....I lent the book to my friend and work colleague, Louise. Louise was going to a shopping centre one day that she doesn't normally frequent. She took the book as she thought she may have some time to read it over a cup of coffee, which she did. She soon became aware of a woman standing next to her. She looked up at her and the woman said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but that's my son". Louise was a bit taken aback and just responded with "Oh..... Elsie" as if she was an old friend! They only had a short interaction as Elsie was with a group of friends and she returned to them. As Louise was leaving she asked Elsie if she would sign the book, to which Elsie agreed. She opened up the book and said to Louise, "Louise, this has Campbell written inside." "Oh.....yes.....could you write it to Campbell and Louise!?" So I have inscribed in my book, "To Louise and Campbell, Best Wishes, Elsie Rose".
I love this story. I often wonder what it was that made Elsie make herself known to Louise that day. One of the themes in the book is the struggle Elsie had with such sporting fame and the effect it had on her family. What made her identify herself as a Rose that day, when she had longed for anonymity for so many years. And when she said "That is my son" was she referring to Robert or to Peter?
Questions that will never be answered. A bit like life really!

Up, Up and Away


This morning we saw son off. He has gone to a tennis camp at the Bolliterri Tennis Academy in Florida. He will be gone for two weeks. Most of the time is spent at the academy with a three day stop over in LA on the way home. It will be a great experience for him. He is going with a group of 13 kids and 3 coaches. There was some emotion at the airport, mainly from the parents, but also some from the kids. I have to say I didn't feel that emotional. I guess being a 'share care' parent, I'm used to not having him with me for periods of time, especially when he goes away with his Mum on holiday. I do have this low level anxiety about him being on the other side of the world however. I'm not concerned about him being at the academy. It will be so structured and his days so full. I am slightly anxious however, about the days in LA. He's basically a sensible kid, but sometimes can get a bit silly in certain groups. There's some saying about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. I think that can apply to kids in terms of their sensibilities. Now that he's gone I don't feel so anxious. I guess I know there's nothing I can do but trust the universe that he will be safe and have a great time.
I don't think I nagged him too much. I just told him to ensure he wrote to his grandparents!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Cancelled


"You don't do much work with this nursing thing do you Dad", is the first thing son says to me when I unexpectedly picked him up from school today, just because I could, due to having an extra day at home. It pleases me that my son can have a respectful joke at my expense. It's not something that I would have had the confidence to do with my Dad at the same age.
We received notification this afternoon that the rest of the week of placement has been cancelled and we will do it next week instead. We received a very matter of fact email to this effect. It's not particularly matter of fact for me as I now have to negotiate with my employer to have next week off as annual leave, either as well as this week, or instead of. I'm fortunate to have a very understanding and flexible employer, but I don't want to take anything for granted.
This study thing continues to be anything but simple!

An Extra Day At Home


I've just got in from my placement at 8.30am. No I haven't been doing nightshift. I was up soon after 5am ., out the door at 6am to be ready to start at 7am. Got in to find that our clinical educator is sick. We're not allowed to be on the ward without her being present, so we had to go home. We got to go home early last Friday as she was sick. There has been an outbreak of gastro at the hospital I'm doing the placement at, with many patients and staff affected. I'm not sure if that is what she has. I'm convinced she's in the early stages of pregnancy, so she might just be feeling a bit queasy and not wanting to make things worse by being in a gastro infested environment. On Friday there were two other students who were off sick. Another student went home early because she was hit on by an agency nurse. He convinced her to give him her phone number which she regretted, so after discussion with the clinical educator she went home. So we're all waiting to find out if the clinical educator will be in for the rest of the week, and if not what will happen to our placement and whether or not we will have to make up the time later on.
So I have an unplanned day at home. I don't want to waste it. I felt I wasted yesterday. I was feeling a bit flat and unmotivated. I don't want to get to the end of today and feel I've wasted it. I'll start off by resisting the temptation to go back to bed!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Is it that time already?


Well it's the end of my first week of placement and so far it's gone quite well. It has involved shift work which has involved getting used to starting the day at different times and being disciplined about getting to bed early if I'm on an early the following day. An early requires a 5am. start. I normally start the day waking to the radio. I find it a more gentle way to begin the day than with a piercing alarm. I do occasionally sleep for a while once the radio comes on, so to be sure I do wake up in time, I've been using my mobile as an extra alarm, coming on at 5:10am. The other morning the phone alarm went off without the radio having come on. Whilst surprised I hadn't turned the radio alarm on the previous night, I got up feeling like I could do with some extra shut eye. I had left the kitchen in a bit of a state the previous night, so thought I would do some dishes before hopping in the shower. So with hands in the water I work out how long I can afford to do these dishes and still have time for shower and brekkie and be out the door in time to catch the necessary tram. I'm looking at the microwave clock thinking I can afford to do the dishes until 5.30 and it's now 5.23. Plenty of time. For a while I'm just staring at the microwave with that thought that intuitively I know something is wrong, but my brain isn't quite functioning well enough yet to work out exactly what it is. I then realise the microwave clock doesn't say 5.23, but says 11.23. Hhmmmm, why is it stopped at 11 minutes and 23 seconds? I must have stopped it cooking mid stream and not cancelled it. I check....no, that's not it. Hhmmmm..... that must mean that the clock is actually saying it's 11.23. I walk into the living room..... the clock says 11.25.....I walk into the bedroom....the clock says 11.24 (note to self: synchronize all the clocks in the place). It's beginning to dawn on me that it's not the morning! It then dawns on me that it wasn't the alarm going off on my mobile, it was either a call (which I obviously rejected!) or a text. It was a text. (Another note to self: see if I can use my mobile as an alarm but have the ring call on silent).
Oh well, at least I got the dishes done and got to have more sleep.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Lost and Found......or not


I seem to have been fairly busy lately. I'm bang in the middle of semester when assessment items are due. I am coping although I'm aware that I'm misplacing things at too regular a rate, which is probably an indication of something. The other week I lost/misplaced three things.
First thing I misplaced was my Ipod. It was missing for a few days and I was convinced that I had lost it, but then found it under my bed!!
The next thing I misplaced was a Police check I'm required to produce before beginning my clinical placement which I'm commencing next week. I had a few frantic hours of searching, convinced I had lost it and wondering how long it would take to procure a new one, before finding it in a pile of papers I had already searched through half a dozen times!
The next thing I misplaced, which actually proved to be lost, was my wallet. Yes my wallet, with not much cash (that I can remember) but all the cards that I need to survive in life! I searched high and low for it and thought that I might find it once I cancelled my bank cards, but no, it is well and truly lost! My student card was in there too, so I had to replace that. I knew it would cost me, but was more than taken aback when told it would be $60 for a new one. I had no choice but to get one.
I'm hoping that the old adage of things coming in threes is correct and that will be all that I 'misplace'. Probably if I was more organised this wouldn't happen to me.
In the whole scheme of things it is no more than an annoyance. It's important to keep things in perspective.
So I begin a two week clinical placement next week which I'm really looking forward to. This is the first in my course so I'll feel like real student nurse once I work with real patients.
Sorry, this seems like such a boring entry, but just wanted to let you know I'm still here.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Growing Up


"Gran thought I was you!" said son with more than a hint of pride in his voice after he answered the phone to his Grandmother the other night. Yep, that voice is broken, and without the shattering squeaks of high and low that often accompany the breaking. I remember my voice broke in the same way. I was older than son (do tend to be a bit behind in these matters!) but it basically went straight from boy soprano to bass without any coloratura intervals to embarrass me.
I also remember feeling quite chuffed when I answered the phone and people would say 'Hello John, how are you?' I would quite happily tell them I would get my Dad for them. They got a very different response from when I used to have to say I would get Mum after being mistaken for her!!
The joys of growing up!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A shared appreciation


My ex-wife is a good woman. We remain friends and have a very good co-parenting relationship. That is largely due to her. I have heard so many stories of men who have come out and then have a hell of a time trying to maintain some contact with their kids and that is due to their ex-wives. Now I know for my ex, my coming out raised a whole lot of stuff for her, not only in terms of her identity as a wife and the relationship she thought she was in, but also, coming from a conservative Christian background, there was the whole question of homosexuality itself. I don't know that any of that has been resolved (for want of a better word) for her, but she doesn't let any of those questions or doubts impede our relationship and more importantly she doesn't try to influence our son's views/opinions/thoughts on what it means to have a gay Dad.
We don't really talk about my sexuality and how that affects my life, and that's OK. I don't expect her to engage with that part of my life. I can imagine it may feel a bit like rubbing her face in it. However I have noticed a couple of times lately that she has made comments to me about good looking men in that 'sharing of appreciation' way that doesn't happen between straight couples. I was taken by surprise both times and wasn't entirely sure how to respond. I do find it a bit weird openly sharing an appreciation of the male form with my ex-wife. As well as the weird feelings there are also some warm feelings that come with it too though!
(The pic is of Ioan Gruffudd, one of the subjects of shared appreciation).

Monday, 13 August 2007

Hair, Hair, Hair.


My last entry got me thinking about hair (less provoking than racism!). When I was in England a number of years ago, my aunt showed me her plait that she had kept since her father (my grandfather) gave her a hair cut and cut off the intact plait (about 100cm or 40 inches) when she was a teenager, some 50 odd years earlier. I was amazed how it had maintained its colour (a deep auburn, almost red) and lustre. I was speaking with one of the nurses at work recently about the ongoing qualities of hair. She told me that when she has had families of patients who have died who want to touch their loved one who has died, but are anxious about how they will feel, she encourages them to touch their hair which will still feel as it did when they were still alive, rather than their skin which will be cold and hard to touch.
The colour of the plait was a deeper version of the current colour of my aunt's hair. I think that auburn colour is less likely to go gray. It runs in the family. My grandmother died in her nineties. At the time of her death, if you looked closely you would see some gray at her temples, but overall she was blond. In her youth she was also a deep auburn. She was very proud of the fact that she had NEVER coloured her hair! My father has a beard which is totally white and it creeps up his sideburns, but the hair that is on his head, well what is left of it, is still a light brown.
Ain't hair funny!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Racism and Mid-Life Crises


What do these have in common? Nothing really, but I got to thinking of them both after my son's tennis match on Friday night which is why I mention them together, no other reason.

Son is now playing in A grade and they pretty much run the games themselves. They umpire themselves and they resolve their own disputes. There is no coaching or involvement from parents allowed. One of our players had his father on the sidelines on Friday night. The player is of Middle Eastern extraction and when his father spoke, it was in his own language. A couple of our parents were beginning to think it wasn't a particularly good look from where we were sitting, that what was happening could be construed in various ways. The team manager of the other team soon came over to us and commented on what looked like was happening. He said he didn't want us to say anything to him on the night because "I know what these people are like. He'll blow up if you challenge him and I don't want any conflict".
I felt ashamed that I didn't challenge his notion of why he thought the other parent would 'blow up' based purely on what he looked like and the type of language he was speaking.

On a totally different level, one of the other parents on our team is a very good looking man. He may well not yet be 40, has a very open face with beautiful dark eyes. He also has that silvery grey hair that can add to the handsome look on younger men. It is beautiful. thick and wavy.
I'm convinced he's going through a mid life crisis, as he's gone and had it dyed!!!! He still has his beautiful. open face, but the overall look is just not quite the same. Hopefully this crisis will be short-lived.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Is it all about the sex?


In the Good Weekend (a magazine insert included in The Age on Saturdays and I think other papers around Australia) this Saturday was an article entitled Shades of Gay. It was about the role of gay people in public life and the perceived necessity by many of them to not be open about their sexuality for various reasons. It was a very thought provoking article which I would link here if I could. One particular paragraph caught my attention:
One of the problems...is that when it comes to thinking about homosexuals, heterosexuals have a habit of focusing too much on the sex. One of the reasons people don't come out is this. Heterosexuals are not imagined sexually by people who don't know them. Homosexuals are......Coming out means you have to tolerate being viewed in people's imagination actually f...ing. That is simply not the case with heterosexuals.
I think there is much truth in this about how gay people are perceived and what aspect of their life is focused on. Gay people have fought hard to be recognised as more than sexual beings. It has been argued that being gay is more than just about with whom we have sex. A whole culture has been created around being gay. This has been very important for many gay people, to feel that they belong to a community, that they are not alone. For many, their identity as a gay person is very much wrapped up in being part of this community, in fighting for their rights, in being seen as a distinct part of the wider society.
I have often thought about this. I have to say that if I had to answer the question "What is it about you that makes you gay?", I would have to say "The fact that I like having sex with men." That to me, is the only defining component of my sexuality. The rest is a social construct, which as such is very important, but is still only a social construct. I can see that this has the potential of me coming across as superficial, or perhaps naive. I agree that I probably am not political enough, that maybe I take advantage of all the good work done by others to make my life as a gay man easier than it might have been in years gone by, without contributing to it.
I guess in the ideal world who anyone has sex with wouldn't really matter (in terms of consenting adults) and therefore there wouldn't be a need for a gay community. But as we all know, this world ain't ideal and human nature will probably always require that minorities come together to create a 'culture'.
The article ends with a quote from an American senator:
If you want to live in a world where you can put a photo of your partner on your desk at work, put a photo of your partner on your desk and you will live in such a world. If you want to live in a world where you can hold your boyfriend's hand while walking down the street, then walk hand in hand with them down the street and you will live in such a world.
Is it that easy?

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Words, Words, Words


Last week a colleague and I did a presentation for a group of volunteers at a local Greek welfare agency. The level of English of the volunteers varied greatly so there was an interpreter there. While I have used interpreters in one to one encounters with clients before, this was the first time I had conducted a presentation with an interpreter.
I found myself trying to be as economical as possible with my language as well as thinking more about what I was going to say in an attempt to get it right the first time. I did have extra time to think and also to be more aware of reactions of the volunteers and how they were taking everything in. I have to take my hat off to the interpreter, who had an amazing memory (a staff worker confirmed that she interpreted everything correctly) and couldn't zone out for a second.
This got me thinking about language. Words are one of the most common forms of communication and yet they say it makes up a relatively small part of how we communicate. Words can be used to cut people down and to build people up. Words can cause great misunderstandings and can heal rifts. "Sticks and stones..." is the old adage, but we all know the power of words. If life has taught me anything, it is to not take words out of context, to not focus on throw away lines as the apex of a conversation. This isn't always easy to do I might add, given the influence of the spoken word. It can be a fine line between knowing the power of words yet not being so influenced by them.
It also reminds me of Eliza berating poor Freddy who just wanted to say 'I love you!'

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Hope


Sometimes we need to be reminded that life is not universally as we experience it. We found out today that one of my work colleagues, and someone who has become a good work buddy of mine, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I work for a palliative care service, so the people we see with cancer are a pretty skewed representation of those with the disease. We're trying to remind ourselves that many people survive cancer. 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive in 5 years (not sure of the stats beyond that).
There are times in life when we need to look beyond that which we know.
Thinking of you K!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Flirting with Stranger


I've found myself having a couple of flirting incidents in the past few days. The first was with a guy behind the counter at a newsagent I went into that I don't normally frequent. He was serving another customer that he obviously knew and so it was going to be a long conversation. So I gave him my money for the paper. We didn't say anything to each other, but it was the look and smile, both when I handed over the money and again as I walked out the door.
Today it was with a guy on the other side of a crowded lecture theatre. It was in a class that has students from a number of faculties, so I certainly don't know everyone. He first came to my attention because he was an older male (ie. over 30!), a rare species in the undergraduate world. We did the smiling a few times during the lecture. He then disappeared afterwards in the crush.
I have a sense of fun in flirting, but there is also a sense of danger (too strong a word but part of me is a drama queen!). What is their intent? Do they have intent? What is my intent? Do I want to do more than flirt with them? Why can't I just accept it as contemporaneous fun? Why can't I turn my brain off?
Methinks I think too much!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Stressed? Not me!


Today I was in a position to observe the affects of stress in others at work. We have been having a few IT issues over the last couple of days. Our electronic client system was down yesterday due to a planned change that had to be made. This didn't go as planned so the system ended up being down all afternoon. There were some residual issues today which caused further headaches. Generally speaking we are a cohesive team that communicates reasonably well considering we are a bunch of humans! It was interesting to observe the response to these IT issues by both our clinical staff and our admin staff. Both sets of staff were in such a state that they had difficulty appreciating the affect our problems were having on each other. This affected their communication to such an extent that a very sharp implement was required to cut through the air. Having a foot in both camps I was in a better position to appreciate both sides. Partly because of this and partly because I have just returned from leave and feeling stronger and calmer in these situations (unlike just before my leave!), I wasn't as affected by all this stress as the other staff. In fact I could step outside the situation and observe others' reactions. On one level it was quite amusing!
This afternoon I read my stars: 'Humour's the most appropriate tool against today's picky critics, allowing you a calmer mind space to formulate creative responses - and more tolerance for dealing with the world's less imaginative citizens'.
I'm glad I was being humourous internally - I don't think it would have been appreciated had I expressed that humour. I did take on a soothing, calming role however, and made quite a few coffees for people!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Back to Routine


Today was my first day back at work, my first afternoon to be more accurate. My timetable from hell requires that I work two half days in lieu of one full day. It is actually a pleasant way to return to work. I decided that I wouldn't do any REAL work, just spend the afternoon going through my emails and in tray as well as catching up on the office gossip. Nothing much has changed, everyone is still quite stressed. We are going through accreditation in October so everyone is focussed on dotting all our i's and crossing all the t's by then!
This season, by default (ie no-one else would do it!) I am the team coordinator for son's tennis team. This season he is playing on Friday nights. I have spent the last couple of nights making phone calls to introduce myself to players and try to work out a roster. I can't say this is a role I take on with great enthusiasm. It will place me outside my comfort zone as I attempt to coordinate people in a setting that I'm not particularly comfortable in. It's not a bad thing to be challenged in such a way. I'm not someone to eagerly takes on such challenges. I think that's partly because of my innate laziness. Who knows, I may even come to enjoy it. Hopefully it won't turn me into a Demir Dokic!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Angels


I got a flyer in the letter box today about a course entitled The Angel Awareness Programme. This programme is 'designed to unite and inspire Light Workers from around the world'. It's not really my thing, so I won't be doing anything with it, except placing it in the recycling, but it got me thinking about Angels. We all have angels in our life I believe. Some are angels who are constantly with us in our lives, those we can call on in times of need. There are other angels who pop into our lives, either momentarily or for a very short period of time when we need them.
A particular angel of the latter type came into my memory. It was when I was about 13 or 14 years of age. I was going to school one morning. I had got off at Richmond station (to give those Melburnites a visual) and this man started stalking me. From memory, I think he might have pushed me, but then started following me. I remember hiding amid the cars in a second hand car dealership right outside the station. Remember this was around 8.00am on a main street in busy inner city Melbourne. We started playing hide and seek amongst the cars. This woman, probably only in her twenties, then walked past on the street. Something made me decide to walk behind her. The man then followed me. We had walked a few hundred meters up Swan Street when the woman twigged as to what was happening. She stopped walking, turned around and asked me if this man was bothering me. I almost burst into tears as I nodded my affirmative (even getting a tad emotional now as I remember that moment). She then told him to nick off and 'pick on someone his own size', which he promptly did. I don't remember how she and I parted or what was said between us after he left. I should have reported him to the school, but I didn't.
I still have such a strong visual in my mind of that morning almost thirty years ago. I have a feeling that angel will remain in my memory for the rest of my life and I will be eternally grateful to that unknown woman.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Timetables


At the beginning of every semester I go through the same stress and annoyance over Uni timetabling. Trying to fit part time study during the day into part time work is a real pain. Despite knowing the beginning of every semester is going to be the same and knowing that somehow it all works out in the end, I still get stressed and irritated. I'm very fortunate to have a sympathetic employer who allows me to change my work days every semester, but I don't like to push my luck.
This coming semester is no different. I'm going to have to work 2 half days in lieu of a full day, which would be OK except I travel 50km each way to and from Uni. They've made another change to the timetable and placed a lecture bang in the middle of the day, so basically I just won't be able to attend it. This means I will be traveling a total of 2 1/2 hours for a 1 hour tutorial on one day!!
I really must want to do this!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Stereotypes Need unblocking


The holidays are going well. I've been doing various things, even getting a bit crafty in an arty sort of way. My Scottish heritage won't allow me to throw out any half used candles that refuse to burn to their demise, so over the years I have kept them all with the thought of burning them down to make new ones. That was one of the tasks of this fortnight. I did go through a short candle making phase many years ago, so roughly knew what I was doing. So ventured into a craft shop to buy wicks, out with the old saucepan and down with the old candles off the top of the kitchen cupboard. Now I had no fantasies of these candles looking any good, as long as they burned, but I did try to melt the wax in similar colours so they wouldn't look totally hideous. All was going well until I began to pour into the plastic mould. I hadn't let the wax cool enough, so it was all too much for the yoghurt container which buckled under the pressure. This resulted in wax making it's way down my kitchen sink.
Now this was too much for my kitchen sink. I think it was the last straw with probably many years of gunk (yes I know it's not in my Aunt's dictionary, but I like the word) not allowing the wax to make it's way through the pipes as one would normally expect! Now I'm not the handiest of men, but I thought I should be able to fix this, so I borrowed a wrench from my very handy father (from whom these particular genes did not pass to this particular son) and attempted to unscrew the piping under the sink. To no avail. I called in the services of son as apprentice, but to no avail. I rang a friend who is a very Handy Man, but even his expertise over the phone could not make it budge. So having felt proud that I had even tried, I decided it was time for a professional. This decisive moment was on Friday evening, so with my Scottish heritage coming to the fore again (by the way I ended up making some very functional candles!) I decided to wait until Monday to call a plumber as it would be cheaper. So this morning I rang soon after 9.00am and he was here soon after 10. It ended up being a bigger job than I think even he thought as he was here for an hour and a half. He told me I would never have been able to unscrew it myself as all the rubbers and thingys (not the word he used) were shot. He ended up replacing all the piping, so $200 later I have a nice new clean plug hole. What more could a boy want?
Now this plumber was your typical tradie, a real ocker bloke, but as part of his departing salutation, he told me to 'Take care'. The judgements I make in life never cease to be challenged - and long may that live.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Heathcote and Part


Late yesterday afternoon I decided I would go and see the Australian Ballet's New Romantics. It was the last show and also the good looking (almost too perfect teeth notwithstanding) Stephen Heathcote's final performance, as, at the grand old age of 43, he is retiring as principal artist with the Australian Ballet. What I know of Stephen, which is only through the media, he's a really nice and down to earth guy. So at 4.30pm I nip into the box office, as the show is entirely sold out, to see if they have any spare or returned tickets. I'm told that they can now sell me (given the lateness of the hour) seats in a box that are normally reserved for wheelchair patrons. They ended up being very good seats, as long as one doesn't suffer from vertigo. There was no-one in a wheelchair in the box, just another woman who bought her ticket at 5.30pm and a man whose babysitter had fallen through at the very last minute, so his wife and 4 year old were sitting in their original seats and he got the not-so-short straw. The woman who was sitting next to me is the mother of a student at the Australian Ballet School and so was giving me a lot of insight into both the school and the company. Anyway, Stephen was given a wonderful ovation at the end of the show.
Another reason I wanted to see this production was that part of it was set to one of my favourite pieces of music, Spiegel Im Spiegel, by Arvo Part. I was first introduced to this piece in a post-coital moment by a lover who preferred listening to music over smoking a cigarette. It translates as Mirror in the Mirror and is a beautifully meditative piece. I normally go very inward when I listen to it, so it was a challenge to watch two people dance to it on stage, but they did so with exquisite grace.
It was a lovely night.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Long macchiato or Shiraz?


I just want to stay here! It's wet and miserable outside, I don't want to go back to work. I want to order a long macc and linger over it, the paper and a muffin. I don't want to go back to the office where a reasonable proportion of staff are off sick, meaning things need to be picked up by others, especially around a team training that's happening later this morning and much of that will fall on me. I'm currently missing a meeting (which ain't all bad!) because I had to attend to a crisis, which involved being abused by two separate individuals over the phone. Everyone's feeling overloaded and I'm sick of listening to their complaints of how bad their lot is. I just want to stay here and drink coffee, catch up on the news, increase my sugar levels and watch the world go by without engaging with it for a while.

All this was going through my mind this morning while I stood in the bakery. Seeing I had missed most of the meeting I thought it worthless going in for the rest of it, so I offered to go and pick up the birthday cake (because despite the crazy morning, we know what is important at work and celebrating birthdays with cake is one of them) as half the admin staff were off sick.
After the training, which was laborious, mainly due to nitpicking people who can't seem to appreciate the bigger picture (and I know I've described myself as anal in the past - but I am anal about the important things in life, unlike most other people in the universe!) I had moved on from needing to spend time in a cafe sipping coffee to going to the pub that has a fire and opening a bottle of Shiraz!

I think I need a break, which I am fortunately having next week. The above is really an average day at work and normally I can handle it without this sort of effect on me. Only two more days to go!
Thanks for listening to me complain about how bad my lot is. It's not really and I'll get through the next couple of days then have a change in routine for the next couple of weeks. Haven't got anything much planned, but it's school holidays here so my son and I will hang out together. Looking forward to not having to do anything in particular or be anywhere particular. It'll be good just to hang.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Tagged, yet again!


I’ve been tagged again! This will make 16 things you’ve discovered about me in 5 weeks, so they’re bound to be more trivial and boring! This pyramid is slowly building.

1. I was born in Princess Elizabeth Hospital in the country where the Princess became a Queen.

2.
I have one brother who is 5 years older than me. We are very different and not particularly close. The main thing we have in common is around parenting. We have the same parents and we became parents around the same time.

3. My favourite dogs are Great Danes. I feel in love with them when my family visited some friends in Yeppoon
(mid Queensland coast) who had two Great Danes (mother and son) and a cattle dog. They used to walk them along the beach, the cattle dog would tear up and down the beach while the Danes would lob along like
the day would never end. Maybe they reflect my energy levels. Of course Great Danes are not very good for living in a flat, so I’ll have to wait until I live in a more appropriate dwelling.

4. I have a sweet tooth. I don't like sweets as in lollies, but I love cakes and puddings and of course, chocolate, particularly dark chocolate.

5. Shiraz is my favourite drop of grape juice.

6. I love open fires and could stare into one all night.

7. As a child I played hockey and actually enjoyed it. As an adult I have not played any sport.

8. I'd love to learn the cello one day. I think it is a beautiful instrument with more depth than the violin.

Whilst I'm not going to build other people's pyramids, I did enjoy doing this again. Thanks Paul.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Sexual Harrassment?


I work with a good bunch of people. Some have become close friends. There is one woman, K who has become a good buddy over recent times. We have some things in common about how we see life. One thing we have in common is an appreciation of good looking and cute men. We were having drinks last Friday night after work and commenting on many of the men in the wine bar.
The other week we were having a meeting in an upstairs open plan office. An IT guy from our larger organisation came up the stairs. I got this kick under the table from K who was sitting next to me. I have to say it hurt as the heel of her shoe hit my ankle! I also have to say that the kick was totally unnecessary as I had indeed noticed Mr. IT who had been in once before and is very cute. I can’t say our attention was totally on the meeting after that!
It got me thinking. If we were two straight guys ogling women would we be seen differently. Ogling is too strong a word - we admire from afar and in no way that the gentlemen in question would be conscious of - unless our vibes are stronger than we are aware! Anyway, the question is, do straight men have such a reputation when it comes to women that when there are two or more men gathered and their attention is on women that they are seen as boorish? Are assumptions made that aren't made when women's attention is on men, or gay men's attention is on men, or gay women's......well you get my drift!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

With Thanks....



....to my IT consultant for my new background - the Campbell tartan of course....clever hey!

Third Time Unlucky


So Saturday morning saw a group of us standing around in the cold watching son's tennis team lose their Grand Final for the third time. They have been here three times now and that final win still eludes them. It was a very close and exciting game. Unfortunately there were a couple of unpleasant incidents - yep, you guessed it, caused by the parents. Demir Dokic was at his best, actually walking on to the court at one point to have an altercation with the umpire. The saddest moment for me was when he took his son away after he lost his singles game with a tie breaker (ie. a VERY close game). Now I don't have supersonic hearing, but I can only guess that he was doing a post mortem on the set with him, telling him where he could have won extra points. I reckon there is a time to experience life and a time to reflect on it and straight after a game like that is not the time to reflect. Overall we only lost by three games, I'm never sure whether it's better to be thrashed or be just pipped to the post.
Unfortunately for me, the day ended in a worse way. Demir had organised for the team and parents to go out for dinner to (hopefully) celebrate our win, which of course ended up being a commiseration. Now I really like son's friends, can't say the same for their parents (not all I must say). So I had a few hours on Saturday night of reliving every lost point of the morning as well as the politics of the tennis club. At least the kids enjoyed themselves.
So that's the end of another season until the next - only four weeks away!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Hello Young Lovers


My son’s tennis team is in the Grand Final of his tennis competition next Saturday, having won the semi final the Saturday before last. Last Saturday was a break being a long weekend here in Melbourne. The team coordinator, who is the Demir Dokic of the northern suburbs of Melbourne, felt the team should get together for a hit on Saturday anyway, so they don’t lose their groove. Now there is a girl in the team, lets call her B, whom all the boys like. She is quite aware of this and plays the field rather successfully. (We are talking 13 and 14 year olds). Now on Saturday B was focusing her attention on my son. After the hit in the morning we went for lunch and then to the movies for some team bonding. We went to see Shrek 3. The six kids who are in the team all got seats in the same row and the two parents (me being one of them, Demir Dokic the other) and Demir’s younger daughter got seats a couple of rows behind. As I woke up about three quarters of the way through the film (it just so happened that I saw it the previous night with much more pleasurable company and also I was tired due to said previous night) I sat up and noticed that B’s head was on son’s shoulder and son’s head was inclined on hers.
I have to say it gave my heart a little flutter – my little baby’s growing up! Also to know that he’s experiencing those feelings of the heart gave me a warm feeling. It got me wondering, do those feelings really change as one gets older? Sure we mature (hopefully), but do those raw emotions of the heart, in whatever form we might experience them, really ever change? I’m not sure that they do – and ‘ain’t that a grand thing.

Monday, 11 June 2007

The best mates I've never met


This was the title of an article in the Sunday Life magazine of the Sunday Age (newspaper in Melbourne, sorry couldn't find a link). It was about bloggers and the support they have received from readers of their blogs. Now I've blogged about this before, how I feel a part of a blogging community and yes you have all been very supportive in different ways. This has become a significant part of my life. I feel a sense of belonging. This is an outlet for many thoughts - my own as well as contemplating others'. I sometimes wonder though, is this a replacement for face to face communities? "There are people on the internet that I would consider closer friends than I have in real life" - a quote from the article. How close can an internet friend be. I mean, how effective is it to send off an email or comment on a blog at 3am when we're having a crisis? What would a health professional think if we gave them a blog address as someone to contact should we end up in an Accident & Emergency room of a hospital? Do we have more control over cyber relationships than face to face relationships? Is this why some people may prefer cyber relationships?
I guess the answer is that we should have a balance of relationships in our lives. Cyber relationships, important as they can be, should not be our only form of relationships, but be one of the images in our kaleidoscope of life.
I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to all you readers - for your comments and own blogs which have been supportive, amusing and thought provoking. You certainly add colour to my life.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Living On After Death


I was at my parents over the weekend. They had asked me to bring any photos I had of my aunt as a friend of hers realised he didn't have any of her and they said they would send him some. My aunt died nearly 20 years ago now. She was what is euphemistically known as a 'maiden aunt'. I've always thought that non-partnered aunts and uncles with no kids of their own are a bit like younger grandparents. They lavish more attention on you than the parents of your cousins, cause they've got the time, but are younger than grandparents, so often have more energy for you and are closer to your the understandings of your own age group (this is generalising greatly of course!). I always regret that I didn't get to become more of a friend to my aunt in that adult to adult way. I always wonder what it would have been like to have come out to her. I have a feeling she is a family member I could talk to more about it.
I have a few items of hers which are special to me. She began my collection of busts (of the musical masters variety) as I inherited hers. What I use quite regularly, which is special because it was hers, is her dictionary. Words and music were important to her. Whenever I look up her dictionary, I sort of feel that she is assisting my expression of life. This is one way that she lives on.
I sometimes wonder how I will live on after I'm dead.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

I'm Pissed Off!!!!!!


I live in a block of flats where we don't have any personal outside area. All the external area is communal. This is the main aspect I dislike about living here. I like the area and I like the size of the flat's rooms (it doesn't quite fit in to apartment title!). I miss having my own garden to potter in. I like everything else about it (except of course the way people handle their rubbish and recycling - why can't people be as perfect as me?!) So I have a small number of largish pots on the front communal verandah. I did have something small stolen when I first moved here a few years ago, but nothing since then.
I've been nurturing a fuchsia that I've grown from a cutting into a standard specimen. I have to admit to being rather proud of it. Well I noticed this morning that it was gone!! That and a pot of aloe vera that I also had. Now the fuchsia was not something you could pick up with one hand and walk nonchalantly off with. It was in a fairly large pot and was becoming a reasonable size tree (not the one pictured - mine was a pale pink and white one).
I could start again with another one, they're easy enough to grow from a cutting - but why? It is not only the loss of time and dedication in getting it to the shape it was, but there is the practicality of the pot and potting mix which I don't feel like risking again.
It's a bugger. I just hope it's gone to a home where it will be cared for and appreciated. One day, I'll have my own little plot of land again.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave...


I’m a simple man who just wants a simple life. So why is this happening to me??!?!!
Update on MrC&C.
We had dinner last night after yoga. A very pleasant chat, easy
communication….but no particular spark….nothing that says to me this is
going to be something long term….but an enjoyable, relaxed evening.

We finish up around 10pm and I’m home 20-30 mins
later. At about 10.38 (remember I can be anal!) I receive a text from FB
‘Hi Hows it going?’ Now he would never normally initiate anything so
late, so I put 2 & 2 together – thinking I’ve got 4. I assume he and MrC&C have been talking since we left each other and he knows where I’ve
been. So I text back with the supposedly quizzical ‘How did you know I
would still be up?’ ‘Lucky guess’ is his response! Having not felt it
was appropriate to ask MrC&C how he knows FB, I decided to ask FB, who responds ‘Out and about’, which is what I had guessed anyway.
This morning (hope you are keeping up) I receive a text around 7.30 from MrC&C.
‘Is it convenient for you to give me a quick ring? I need to talk with
you’. Being the compliant lad that I am, I do so. MrC&C wanted to talk to me about FB whom he tells me he’s ‘having some fun with’, but he is finding it a little tiresome as he describes FB as quite jealous of him in general, but particularly with me! When MrC&C got back to the car last night there were six messages from FB! He decided to ring him and only felt like telling him he had dinner with a friend, rather than stating it was me. He doesn’t want to be dictated by FB as to who he is able to speak with. Fair enough.
So this is where my maths didn’t quite add up! FB didn’t actually know we had been together, but I affirmed it! (I do hope you’re still with me)
So I thought I had better mention this to MrC&C. I think from what MrC&C has said, FB has not gone into detail about our relationship, but if he has half a brain he will have guessed.
My initial thoughts were that FB has lost the plot.....but then I think, well I know FB better than I know MrC&C (which I will admit, isn't saying much!) There's part of me that's wondering if MrC&C is being above board in all of this, a few things not quite adding up that he has said.
All of this is doing damage to my cerebral organ, so I think I need to stop
analysing it and just be circumspect in my dealings with both of these
gentlemen.

I've never really seen myself as Soap Opera material before.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

You Analyse Things Too Much Dad....


.....so my son tells me. He knows his old man! This comment came last night whilst watching an ad on TV here in Melbourne that I think is hilarious. It's advertising some microwavable soup that takes 2 minutes to heat. The ad starts with two people just finishing having sex. He rolls off her with that deeply satisfying sigh and you know he'll be asleep in a few seconds. She gets up, walks to the kitchen just as the microwave clock hits two minutes. She takes the soup out to start eating it. The inference being of course, that she put it in there and set the timer before they commenced their coital activities. My analysis came when I commented on the fact that all microwave timer clocks count down, not up, so really what you would have seen is the 3, 2, 1....rather than the 1:58. 1:59, 2:00. However it wouldn't have been obvious that the soup had only been in the microwave for two minutes. That's what prompted son and heir's declaration!
At the moment I'm spending too much time analysing why it is that Mr. Cute&Curly has not responded to me when I left a message on his phone on Tuesday night. That's more than 36 hours ago! We had done a bit of texting to and fro during the day on Tuesday, but nothing since I actually left my voice on his machine.......hhmmmm maybe I should have had those elocution lessons as a child!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

I've been tagged!


So here we go....

1. I started off as a cancerous growth. My mother was told she had a tumour and needed a hysterectomy. Fortunately for me, and hopefully some others in the world, she listened to her body (which I gather was not a particularly easy body to listen to) and suggested to the doctor that she might be pregnant. The result - me!

2. I've spent a night in a brothel. I was about 4 years of age and was with my family. Apparently we were in Frankfurt and booked into an hotel that my father could see from where we were driving, but kept coming up against one way streets. He was getting so frustrated that when he came across a building that had a plaque with the Union Jack on it, he thought that should be suitable. Went inside to ask if they had a room for the night. When he got the affirmative he came out and got the family. I think reception were more than a little surprised when he walked back in with a wife and two small boys. Apparently it was clean but basic. Mum didn't sleep a wink, and not because of all the door banging and other nocturnal noises that could be heard. We left soon after daybreak.

3. As a child I loved vegemite and apricot jam sandwiches - yep, together in the one sandwich!

4. I'm a guy who doesn't really have favourites. I guess I don't like to be hemmed in, but one of the films that is up there for me is "Dead Poets' Society". I cried both times I saw it, especially the second time when I was on my own in my own living room. I like it even though it has Robin Williams in it. I think I have been eternally scarred by 'Mork & Mindy'.

5. When I left school I began a Business degree which I didn't complete. If I had my time over again I would do Arts and major in history. Don't know that it would have got me anywhere, but I would have enjoyed it.

6. One day I want to go back to the village in China where my mother was born and my grandmother is buried. It was pre-communisim so may not exist anymore.

7. In my late 20s I had viral meningitis and was hospitalised for a few days. Staff kept telling me it was as painful as bacterial meningitis, just didn't have the potential to be fatal. It certainly wasn't fun!

8. I think I'm becoming addicted to yoga - and not because of the class mates!!


I feel like this is one of those emails you get that tells you if you don't pass this on to 20 people within 24 hours some horror will befall you. Well I'm going to risk it and not tag others - but it was fun to do, thanks Nash.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Of All The Gin Joints In All The World.....


Generally speaking Melbourne is big enough for me. Occasionally however, it manifests some traits of a decidedly small country town (read village for northern hemisphere readers). Last night I received a text from FB which went something like:
FB: Hi how’s your day been?
Me: Good, fairly quiet, did some Mother’s Day stuff. You?
FB: Yeah, same. Do you do yoga?
Me; Yes
FB: Where?
Me: (I explain that I do it twice a week in different places but with the same instructor on Mondays and Wednesdays). Is this leading anywhere?
Long break in texting for about half an hour. My curiosity is roused so I send another text
Me: Wondering what the silence denotes.
FB: Sorry – I was speaking to someone who does Mondays class and spoke of Campbell and wondering if it was you.
Now my name (not Campbell!) is not the most uncommon name on the face of the earth, so wasn’t entirely sure it was still the same class so:
Me: So is it the same class? Who was it? Did they say I was cute and handsome and imagine I would be great in bed?
FB: Mr Cute&Curly.
Things are starting to feel a little more weird at this stage.
Me: How do you know him? (I’m not entirely sure that I really want to know this but I ask it anyway) & you didn’t answer my other questions!
Another long gap in texting. It is now getting quite late so I decided to leave it for now and pursue it in the morning. After a while though another text comes through with apologies for a stuffed keypad but basically says
FB: A friend, will explain tomorrow and didn’t speak re your sexiness.

So how does this leave me overnight? So someone I’m interested in getting to know better with a view to whatever might come along knows my FB!! This is very weird. My imagination starts to go off on all sorts of tangents. FB is not a particularly ‘out’ person, so it is interesting that someone he knows is inviting him to a gay men’s yoga class! How do they know each other? Do they have a similar relationship to FB and me? Questions, questions!! I try to focus on the positives: Mr. C&C remembers my name and remembers some of the content of our conversation, such as where I live.

FB actually rang this morning (a very rare occurrence) but I wasn’t able to take the call so he left a message saying Mr C&C was a friend he was speaking to who was trying to convince him to come to yoga with him. FB started asking questions about the class and participants and Mr C&C mentioned a guy he’s been chatting to by my name and he also mentioned where I live. FB said I know someone by that name who lives there, I wonder if it’s the same person – hence the text query. FB says that he won't be going to yoga - but that's not because of me he assures. FB ended the message with enjoy yoga tonight and say Hi to Mr C&C for me. So he’s spoken openly about me – although I don’t know how openly!


Anyway I go to yoga tonight and Mr. C&C pretty quickly comments on the smallness of the world prior to the class. Afterwards we are chatting outside and he mentions
various things that FB had mentioned about me as a way of prolonging the
conversation. I ask if he wants to go and have a drink. He says he's
unable to as he's meeting a friend for dinner, but perhaps next week.
We chat for a bit more, then he says 'Knowing I was going to have to
run off tonight I thought I'd give you my card, (he hands over said
item). Give me a call sometime.'

I'm taking this all as a good sign - we might talk in more depth about FB later, but at the moment it's all good, if not a little weird!

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

The World as Home


I had a drink last night with a woman who has
recently emigrated to Australia from the UK. She is a friend of a
friend who asked if I would contact her as she's feeling a little
lonely in Melbourne. I do have to admit, this was a change from my
recentGaydar dates!! Anyway, this woman came out to Australia knowing
less than a handful of people. She has spent the last 8 years in the UK
and a year in Switzerland. She was born and bred in South Africa. It's
fascinating the way some people are able to just pick up and move their
lives half way around the world. I imagine it's a big enough adjustment
if you're doing it to follow a partner or a job, but to make such a
move with no such motivation, no such promise of anything in
particular, is a leap of faith.
I admire her and others who make
such moves. I often think I would like to live elsewhere, just for the
experience of it. I mean live somewhere else with no plans of it
necessarily being temporary. I couldn't do that while my son is still
dependant and I don't think I could do that while my parents are still
alive. They're not dependant on me at all, but they are getting to that
age where anything could happen and my only other sibling is on the
other side of the country. Maybe I use these reasons as excuses and
when the time comes that I don't have those sort of commitments I may
not actually act on this fantasy. I guess time will tell.
Briefly
back to last night. If I hadn't organised drinks with Miss South Africa
via UK via Switzerland, I may well have had a drink with Mr Cute&Curly from yoga. We stood chatting very comfortably
outside for quite a while. He asked me if I was on my way home, so I
can only imagine what may have happened had I not had a previous
engagement. Methinks I will have nothing planned for after yoga next
week!