Thursday, 25 December 2008

Wishing you a very neutral summer solstice event


I hope your Christmas period is not this PC!


Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes
for
an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress,
non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice
holiday,
practised with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion
or
secular practices of your choice with respect for the
religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to
practice
religious or secular traditions at all.
I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and
medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted
Gregorian
calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of
choice
of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our
country great (not to imply that Australia is necessarily greater than
any
other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age,
physical
ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies
no
promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for
her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is
revocable
at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform
as
expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of
one
year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever
comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or
issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the sending of this message;
however, a
significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Always the Bridesmaid


Tonight son finally played his tennis grand final. This was two weeks late due to washouts twice in the last four weeks - who would've thought after the dry winter and spring we've had! Son left home tonight with four runners up flags from previous seasons. He ended the night with five runners up flags! He just can't seem to make it over the line. They lost quite badly, not helped by a player pulling out an hour before the game with an injury. We managed to get a substitute from a lower grade who hadn't played for a few weeks. They always have a little presentation after the game with the flags being handed out, which is particularly difficult for the losing team. I was proud of son who made a short but gracious and articulate speech as team captain. He sometimes does surprise me!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Flexibility


I worked an extra shift last Saturday. When I got home from work on Saturday night, about 10.30pm, there was a message on the machine from the Admin Coordinator at my other work. She said it was about 4.30pm and if I got this message in the next half hour or so, could I please ring her. My mind did go through the possibilities of why she might be ringing. I ruled out some work related matter, as she would have rung me on my mobile. Along with her partner she also runs a catering/food store, from where I am ordering my turkey for Christmas this year, so I thought it might be something to do with that.
Anyway, I got to work on Tuesday and she explained that they were catering for a function on Saturday night, which included supplying waiting staff. At the last minute they had someone pull out, so they were madly ringing around seeing if someone could fill in. She said, ‘I didn’t know if you had any waiting experience, but I thought you’re the kind of guy who can put his hand to anything, so I thought I’d try you.’
I was chuffed to be thought of as someone who could put his hand to anything!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Twas The Month Before Christmas


There are two things I like about Christmas - the food and the music. I do also like Christmas when there are young kids around, but mine is beyond that now. Whilst I like Christmas music, I only like it the two weeks prior to Christmas, not the two months prior! I can handle it in shopping centres and supermarkets because I can be in and out of them fairly quickly. I am back at the Nursing Home this week after a couple of weeks off for my placement and they have the Chrissie decs up and have carols going! So I'm going to have to put up with that for the next three weeks!
I've put myself down to do a nightshift on Christmas night. It will be very good money (relatively speaking!) which is what will see me through the night, that and me humming The Little Drummer Boy!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Winter, Spring, Summer or...


It's mid-late November here in Melbourne (doh....like it's not the same around the world!). What's different from other parts of the world is that it is late Spring, almost Summer. I'm inside looking out at a wet day, which is wonderful because we don't get many of them these days, even in the depths of Winter. But it is also now hailing!! It is 8 degrees at 10.30am. I love being inside looking out at a day like this. The only thing missing is my man to snuggle with.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Ageing Gracefully!


I had a very weird experience today. I went to a cafĂ© over the road from the offices of my placement. As I was paying for my coffee, the woman serving me told me I looked familiar. She asked me where I grew up. I responded with ‘Out east’, meaning not around here. She then asked ‘Doncaster?’ ‘This is scary’, I said. ’Is your name Campbell?’ ‘This is very scary!’ ‘Did you go to Waldau Primary?’ It transpired that we were in the same grade a few years at Primary School. I confessed to not being able to remember her and commented on her memory. I then jested that I obviously hadn’t changed much in over 30 (!!) years. She said my eyes were the same. She evidently was only referring to my eyeballs and not the crows feet around them!

Hidden illness


I am currently doing a placement for my nursing. It is a community mental health placement. It is with a service that assists clients who require fairly intensive involvement. It has been sobering to realise what some people in the community are coping with. Next time you’re in the supermarket queue or waiting at the bus stop and somebody is acting ‘differently’, consider that that person may be coping with a debilitating illness.

The Circle of Life


A couple of significant occurrences last weekend involving the generation either side of me.

Son had his first shave. He just had a bit of fluff and probably won’t have to shave again for quite a while, but it was his first shave and therefore significant.

We went to see my parents on the weekend. There were many dead-heads on Mum’s roses. It wasn’t that long ago when she would have been out there every day dead-heading them. There were so many that I felt a need to take the secateurs to them. Perhaps by getting rid of them, I could convince myself that Mum is still managing as she used to. I also think this will be the first year that she won’t be making Christmas puddings and cakes.

So as one generation heads to adulthood, the other is heading towards frailty and dependence. I, in the middle, am observing the circle of life.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Happy Anniversary


It’s been a busy week this week as I've done a couple of extra shifts at the Nursing Home. I have taken some time out however to remember an anniversary. Ten years ago, around this time, I came out as a gay man.

It started off with coming out to myself. This occurred during the watching of the movie ‘In & Out’ whilst sitting next to my then wife. Sounds weird, I know, but a story with some complexity which I might tell you about one day.

Very soon after that, a number of days from memory, I told the minister of the church I was attending at the time. He was very supportive and someone I will never forget and will always be grateful to.

Within another short period of time, perhaps a couple of weeks, I told my wife. This happened sooner than I had expected, again for complex reasons, which you may learn about in time if I feel I need to go into the detail. I use this experience as the benchmark for the hardest thing I have ever done. People have described me as brave for doing this, but the truth is I had got to the point where I felt I had no choice.

Then followed other family and friends. From hearing others’ stories of coming out, I had a very positive experience.

Ten years on, I can look back and know that I did the right thing. Being honest about and accepting my sexuality has allowed me to be more honest about other parts of my life as well.

I feel very fortunate. I have a son of whom I am proud and with whom I feel I have a positive relationship, I am still good friends with my ex-wife and I now find myself in a relationship that challenges and excites me. Even though this relationship is over 12 months strong, I still feel like a love struck teenager at times. I was telling a friend this and she said, ‘well that’s why you changed your life isn’t it’, meaning that was why I came out. I certainly didn’t think this at the time and if asked, wouldn’t have put it that way, but I know what she means. Part of the coming out was to be able to live in a manner that would enable me to experience life in as full a manner as possible along with all the feelings that go along with that.

I feel I’m getting too deep and tongue tied, so I’m going to finish now by wishing myself a Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

I'm tired and emotional at the moment....


It's due to a melange of reasons that is making it hard for me to have clarity.

I sat an exam yesterday for the unit that was the most badly administered and appallingly taught I have experienced thus far. The exam reflected this. I will pass, but it won't be my best result. On top of this I couldn't re-enrol on line due to an error in the system. When I pointed this out to the powers that be, it was acknowledged that the system was wrong, but that rather than amending the system, I , along with the others this was going to affect, needed to complete an amendment to enrollment form that I had to collect from the office.

I also didn't want to be at the exam on Wednesday as I would rather have been at a funeral. A friend died suddenly last Friday. He was the husband of a good friend at work. She was working on Friday and got a call from the police informing her of her husband's death. She was out on the road at the time, so a colleague and I went to collect her and drive her home. It was a great shock. The funeral was the same afternoon as my exam and changing it would have required moving a mountain. I was able to drop in to the 'after party' however.

I continue to find my colleagues at the Nursing Home very difficult to work with.

I am finding it a slog to complete the last weeks of the project at my other job. I have realised that project work isn't really my 'thing'. It's good to learn that of myself, but I am finding it a struggle to complete that which I have started. A mixture of laziness and lack of commitment methinks!

That workplace is also tensioned filled at present with various office politics at play. At times like this I find myself being the one unloaded to by various people. My stars this week told me I was good at that!

I'm contemplating a sickie tomorrow. Haven't done that for many years.

Amongst this melange have been some positive items of note.

Son has tennis of Friday night's. Last Friday I met him at the courts and was running a bit late due to D's death. We were hosting so there were things to be done. As I was sweeping the courts he came up to me and asked how work was. This in itself is not unusual, but in that context, where we were both focussed on something else, it was good to know that he has sensitivity to his environment and those within it.

I was feeling particularly flat last night when I got home. I then got a surprise visit from my man. It was a good night. He and son get on really well - even if it is at my expense at times! I like that - the getting on, not the my expense bit!, although I don't really mind that!

Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a feelings guy, that I could process more clearly by thought, but that's who I am and it does have some positives.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Racism


Someone I know sent me this in an email. I like it because it gives specific examples which helps to ground a subject like this.

From Australia I can't verify some of the specifics, but I can imagine they are accurate.




How Racism Works
What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman to whom he said 'I do'?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.


You are The Boss... which team would you hire?
With America facing historic debt, two wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank failures, trillion dollar Federal bailouts of private corporations, etc.
Educational Background:
Obama:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
vs.
McCain:
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire ?


THIS IS YOUR NATION ON WHITE PRIVILEGE

By Tim Wise [A national anti-racism trainer]

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "f***n' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their f***n' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot s**t" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all kill themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological
principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a "light" burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, - which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Frustration!!


I have a very low threshold at the moment for any incompetence, inefficiency and stupidity that impacts on me. I attended one of the most frustrating lectures I've ever experienced today, and trust me, I've experienced many. As I type this, I think it was probably more the mood I was in that the fact that it was the worst lecture. Nevertheless!!
This lecturer has not attended Powerpoint 101 tutorials and knows nothing about how to use the medium as an educational tool.
We watched a video, but only after nearly 15 minutes of fluffing around trying to get it to work, followed by needing to watch it rewind from the end before starting it again because somehow that's the only way he could get it to start at the beginning! If he wasn't handing back our assignments at the end of the lecture, I would have been out of there like a shot. I guess he does have a degree of cleverness about him!
It is a Mental Health subject and some of the subject matter today covered sexual disorders. There was a scarily confusing discussion about homosexuality and paedophilia, with no clear clarification by the lecturer.
When I finally got my assignment I walked out using some of that language from the previous post!

WTF!


I was reading an article in the magazine of last weekend's paper which was an interview with a local actor. It naturally quoted him many times and I lost count of the number of times I read 'f**k'. It got me thinking what power language has. Now everyone who reads that knows that it stands for 'fuck', but for some reason, we feel that putting it in black and white is just too much for society to read. I tend to think if only two letters of a four letter word are going to be left out, why bother? Are most people's sensitivities pampered to by only reading 'f**k', instead of 'fuck'?
I grew up with a blanket ban on swearing in the house. I remember Dad having a go at me for saying 'blast' once. This was from a man whose strongest expletive is 'blow'! Personally I thought there was only a small degree of difference between the two words, but I had obviously crossed the line.
While I'm not in favour of hearing the word 'fuck' in general society, I guess I'm saying that when it comes to the written word, there is no degree of difference between 'f**k' and 'fuck', so let's call an expletive an expletive!

Monday, 22 September 2008

A Mixed Bag


I have just come in from a most frustrating shift at the Nursing Home. I was working with a woman whose communication skills were poorly lacking. She constantly replaced a sentence with a word and expected that to suffice. At other times she would keep repeating the same thing to me despite my acknowledgment of what she was saying. At one point I even had to raise my voice to her over a resident as she appeared not to have heard my response to her repetitive statement! Very unprofessional of me, I know.
There is also so much cliqueness and bitching that goes on amongst staff. I find myself becoming increasingly adept at ignoring people!
It is the residents however, that so often make it for me (cliche though that may be!). A resident told me tonight that I do very well.............for my age!
Thanks 90 year old Daisy!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

More fractured ribs


Last night when I got home from work, I had the phone call I had been expecting, although I didn’t realise how much I was expecting it until it came.

There was a message from Dad on the machine saying that Mum had had a fall and was in hospital. It was nothing major, but she had broken five ribs and bruised her shoulder. This in itself wouldn’t have required her hospitalisation, but she also had some blood in her lung, so they wanted to monitor her for infection and blood clots.

I saw her tonight and she looked quite good. She wasn’t distressed or confused. She was annoyed that she has had her share of falls outside on hard concrete which bruised and battered her, but it took a fall inside on wall to wall carpet to fracture her ribs!

She seems to be handling the pain well – and don’t I know about that pain having fractured my own ribs in the past
….well, one rib…….
......................................well maybe it was only bruised, but could well have been fractured!

Recovered Documents


Amidst my feeling of disequilibration, I had a mini IT crisis at work. Of course it wasn’t really a crisis and at any other time it wouldn’t have felt so, but it is times like these when the proverbial mole hill appears mountain-like.

I had been working on a number of documents using a USB stick and a laptop at another site than my office. I did the silly thing of creating it on the USB stick with the plan of copying it in onto the laptop, rather than the other way around. Before I got to copy it three of the four documents somehow corrupted and I couldn’t access them anymore.
When I got back to the office I asked the IT person there if she could help. She had a quick look but said it was beyond her, so suggested I send them to the IT department at our head office, which I did. That was last Friday. When I got back into the office on Tuesday I had an email from him saying, in essence, sorry but there’s nothing we can do.
I could have done them again, but that would have meant another half a day wasted. I was feeling immobilised by the situation. Last night however, I was round at my man’s, who is something of an IT whiz – AND HE RECOVERED MY DOCUMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another reason to love him!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Disequilibrated


This doesn't quite explain how I feel at the moment, but I like the word so I thought it would be a good title!
I completed an essay recently and was going through some of my old ones to double check my referencing. When I was looking at the old ones I realised that I only did them last semester. It felt like at least a year ago. That was a reflection of how I'm feeling about study at the moment. It doesn't really feel connected to anything at present. I don't feel like it's leading me anywhere. I don't feel like I'm learning anything from it right now. I feel like I'm going through the motions.
At work I'm feeling a bit anxious about the project I'm working on. It's coming closer to the end (December) and I don't have as much of a sense of the end result as I would like. I guess I had hoped that I would end up with something solid and concrete that would make a major impact on the industry. That 'ain't gunna happen! It may be that I end up with more questions and answers, with yet further recommendations.
I guess I'm wishing for some more stability in my life, perhaps even some more direction. When I feel like this my natural response is to stop moving, to stop searching and just remain where I am and do very little...and yes, wallow a tad as well. Somehow I do end up moving on again, I feel the ground is stable enough to keep on in some direction.
Don't worry, this isn't major. I go through disequilibration from time to time. It's just uncomfortable for a homely cancerian like myself.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Skipping


I love seeing children skip (not with a rope). I actually like seeing anyone skip, however I can't remember the last time I saw an adult skip, which is fair enough, I always try and skip unseen!
To me, the act of skipping is the epitome of lightheartedness. It's a reminder to me not to take life too seriously.
Today I witnessed a pre-schooler having a temper tantrum in the street. Her mother kept on walking. The little girl then started after her. She broke into skipping. I found this an interesting juxtaposition, one that I wouldn't have thought could co-exist - skipping whilst crying!
Maybe it's possible to not take life seriously in a serious manner!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

More Dot Points

4 things about this week:

** Maybe there is something to faith! Apropos of the previous post, this week actually does have a Spring feeling to it with some sun, some warmth and the aroma of Spring in the air.

** While working at the nursing home last night I had to park on the road. Somebody swiped my side mirror and broke it. They did clean it up so there was no glass on the road, but my mirror is still broken and I fear will cost a fair bit to replace. It's also VERY inconvenient, even unsafe, driving without a side mirror on the driver's side.

** I'm doing a project at work at the moment. It's my whole working life, but is a small blimp on the occupational radar of others that I work with and need information from. I feel I am constantly asking and nagging for information and for things to be done so I can progress with the project. This doesn't come naturally to me. I am way outside my comfort zone.

** Son is having an interview at a local supermarket for some work tomorrow. He's growing up!!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Spring?


For me, my first sighting of Jasmine indicates that Spring is just around the corner. I saw my first sighting this morning! hhmmm...I guess I'll have to take it on faith. It still feels like we're in the depth of winter.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Dot Points

I've tried doing a proper blog post in the past few days, but feeling very uninspired. Maybe this is to do with my ambivalence about maintaining the blog. Anyway, I thought I'd borrow an idea from The Other Andrew and do a '5 Things About'
So.... 5 things about this week:

*I returned from holiday at the beginning of the week from the northern climes of this great country - and now I'm cold!

*I went to yoga last night for the first time in many weeks. I'm surprised I wasn't sorer than I am today.

*Son has now surpassed me in height. He is pumped!

*There is a cafe near me called 'That Cafe'. I reckon you could do a 'Whose On First' routine around that name.

OK - that was only 4!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Is there more to life than this?


I work at the Nursing Home on a Monday and Tuesday evening. As I sat down to feed a resident on Tuesday night, a resident I had fed the night before, I thought to myself, "Here we go again, feeding the same person in the same bed the same vitamised meal. Is this what life's about?" I was thinking from my own perspective, but then I managed to remove myself momentarily from the centre of my own universe to think about it from the resident's perspective. She lies in the same bed, day in, day out, unable to communicate, having people do everything for her, including encouraging her to swallow. Is this what life's about for her? Does she have a different sort of life in her own mind that we are totally unaware of? Hhmmm....the thinking got all a bit too hard. Maybe that's why staff don't do very much thinking here, the job just gets all too hard if you think too much.
Sad.

More of Habit


Today I was talking with a couple of workmates - at work, but not about work! One of them, A, has recently had her relatively new partner move into her house with her so we were talking about how that is going. The other, G, then said to me, "So now we need to set you up with a man". "He's already got one!" says A. G then squealed "oohhh tell me, who, who?" My reflex response was to shhhsh her. I regretted that. It came across that I was wanting to keep it a secret, which isn't true, as many people at work know - I just pick and choose who I talk to about my personal life, as I'm sure we all do to varying degrees.
Again my response was one of habit. Whilst I was disappointed that that was how I reacted, at least I was aware of it pretty quickly, which is the beginning of changing habits that we want to change.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Habit


As I have eluded to before I am currently enjoying the company of a special gentleman. Over recent weeks and months we have been doing the meeting of the families, which has all gone well, despite some anxiety on my part. The most anxiety producing meeting for me was that of my ex wife, which occurred last night.

As I was thinking about this anxiety during the week I realised it was different to normal. It was more in the head than in the gut, more of an intellectual anxiety. I used to compartmentalise my life a lot more than I do now and so used to get anxious at various compartments mixing. What was happening for me in these events was that I had two compartments mixing and so my natural response of habit was to get anxious. To a large degree however, that’s all it was, anxiety of habit, not the real gut churning anxiety. So it wasn’t real anxiety that had an effect on me.

That was a little light bulb experience, to realise how I’ve changed over the years.

Part of my lack of anxiety was also an indication of how comfortable and ‘right’ it feels to have this man in my life.

Oh and last night went off very well.

Monday, 30 June 2008

I'm injured


I've bruised a rib - if I'm being a drama queen I say I've fractured a rib. Son and I were having a playful rough and tumble on Friday night. We still have these from time to time. It is son who initiates them. I think he is trying to assert himself as stronger than me. I engage with the desire to maintain my role of 'top dog'. He is getting too big for that and I am getting too old. A knee or elbow landed in my stomach and great pain followed. It was manageable over the weekend, but on Sunday night I engaged in some too strenuous activity and today I am uncomfortable most of the time and in pain some of the time.
It has brought the sub-conscious to the surface as I've become aware of muscles I use unaware. Coughing and laughing are painful. One interesting context I notice it is driving. Getting in and out of the car is no mean feat. Turning the corner in the car, I'm aware of the inertia of my body that my muscles normally take care of while I concentrate on the road.
I hope it'll be better soon as I had to call in sick for my shift at the nursing home tonight, and think I'll probably have to do the same tomorrow night.
In the meantime, I'm making the most of the drugs!

Friday, 27 June 2008

End of Financial Year


We had a number of new chairs arrive today for our meeting room at work. A number of new handsets for mobile phones are being distributed as well……
Oh yes, it’s the end of the financial year…..use it or lose it.
Imagine if all the left over amounts of money could be kept and used for important things in subsequent financial years. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of that before!

Communication


I’m finding the communication with my colleagues at the Nursing Home a tad frustrating!

A couple of scenarios:

“Pass me that please” she said, her hands busy attending to a resident and her head down.
“That?’ I reply
“Yes that.”
“The blanket? The towel? The pillow?”
“The towel”
“Sure I can pass you the towel”




“I’ll grab this one and you grab that one”, she said, taking hold of the one and only pillow in sight.
‘That one would be…?”
“His head”
“Oh….ok!”

I don’t think I’m expecting a particularly high level of communication….but maybe I am.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Wearing History


I’m rarely in attire that calls for cufflinks. I do however have one shirt that calls for them. I was wearing it a while ago when I went to the theatre. I was wearing this particular shirt a couple of Christmases ago and I was talking with my parents about how cufflinks would suit it, but I only had one pair of jade cufflinks which wouldn’t have gone with the shirt. Mum told Dad to get out his array of cufflinks. My Dad is not one for putting on a show as far as dress goes. He dresses for comfort rather than looks – a point of contention for Mum and has been for all their married life. His collection of cufflinks is quite small and I don’t think he’s worn a pair for over 40 years. Most of them were typical of the 50s and 60s – large and garish. He did however have two pairs (pictured) that were simple and elegant. They belonged to his father. One pair is silver and the other gold. The gold pair have my grandfather’s initials on them. As you can see, they are two flat pieces of metal joined together by a chain. They are not particularly easy to put on, but once on I like their look. I also like the fact that I am wearing some family history. I’m imagining that my grandfather might have got one of the pairs, perhaps the engraved pair, for his 21st birthday. That would make them over 80 years old.
I like that!

Life Is A Balance


Life is very full at the moment. It’s all good stuff, but I do need to make sure that I am able to give attention to the important things in life. I’ll be doing two regular shifts at the nursing home, with other shifts available at times if I want them. I have my ‘regular’ job, which is two and a half days a week. I’m on semester break at present, but will be back at Uni in about 3 weeks. I’m only doing one subject this semester, so will be able to cover all that in one day. I want to make sure that I am not so distracted as not to be aware of how things are going for son and to be able to ‘hang out’ with him. I also want to ensure that I have time and attention to give to my relationship (don’t tell him I described it thus!), which is many months strong now and going in a direction I like and want to maintain.
So as I said, it’s all good stuff, but does take some balancing.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Where will we end up?


I have recently started a new (additional) job. I have started work as a Personal Care Worker at an Aged Care Facility. The reason for this has been two fold. 1) I need more money! 2) Doing my nursing part time, the time gaps between my clinical placements is so much longer. I have a fear that the next time I’m in a hospital doing a placement, I will take too long to get used to ‘handling’ patients again. This work will help me to ‘keep my hand in’ so to speak. Personal care work is good basic nursing, providing me with valuable experience.
I have to say it has been confronting on various levels. The very environment is confronting. Spending time in a large living/dining area that is quite noisy as residents are chatting, yelling, singing, just sitting blankly, playing with food, playing with themselves, undressing and dressing themselves is an assault on the senses. The smells of a nursing home are particularly assaulting. All smells, those of things that go into the body and those that are expelled from the body, all seem to merge into the same odour.
Seeing humans being treated as objects is confronting. This sounds critical, and on some level it is, however there are times when that’s what I feel I am doing when I’m washing and changing severely demented people whose limbs are as stiff as a board, or waving about like a brandishing weapon.
It is confronting to think that this is how many people end their lives, herded together with similar aged people whose worlds have diminished to what is happening within a couple of metres of them. (This is particularly so for the man in his late 40s who is a resident there due to his MS). It is confronting to think that maybe that’s how I might end my days, or more urgently, how my parents might end their lives.
The very experience of starting a new job, learning where things are kept, trying to remember other staff’s names, learning the ‘culture’ of the workplace, has been exhausting. It has been nearly nine years since I started a new job in a new organization. I haven’t been a newbie for so long. Being the introvert that I am, it comes at some cost.
I make it sound like it’s all negative, but it’s not. I am slowly finding my place, how I relate with the residents in a way that I feel is right for me, how to wind down after a shift…….and I’ve had my first payslip which helps greatly!!

Monday, 9 June 2008

I'd Love To

I've not been in this exact situation, but I have been in situations where I've wondered who someone is talking to.


Found on Queer Humor Tube

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Letting Go


As I've mentioned before, and my paucity of entries indicate, I'm feeling ambivalent about my blog at the moment. I had almost decided that I would stop blogging, then last night I went through the entries and comments on my blog since I began it. I was quite moved by some of the content of both the entries and comments. I had forgotten much of what I had blogged about. It got me back in touch with the sense of community I felt in the blogosphere. It also reminded me of the expressive outlet it was for me, as well as assisting me in clarifying some thoughts and feelings that I had.
I'm not exactly sure what has changed for me in recent months....well I do actually, but I don't want to go into that now....maybe down the track....or maybe not.
Re-reading the blog however, has made me realise that I'm not quite ready to give it up now. I don't know what the future will hold for it, but right at this moment, I can't do it.
Sorry for this obscure entry - I just wanted to say that I'm still here but don't know for how long.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Awe inspiring bugs





Hi all,
Yes I'm still around. I was thinking that maybe my blogging days are over, when yesterday I had this experience that I wanted to share.

I was outside digging in the communal garden when I caught some movement in the corner of my eye. What I saw was a caterpillar in its cocoon. I then saw that there were another couple close by that were on the move. I initially thought they were caterpillars doing their metamorphosis into butterflies, but thought it was the wrong time of year for that. What I finally realised was that this was the last stage of their cocooning process and they were moving to their final hibernating place. One moved across a 5 metre concrete path to find its resting place. Their cocoons are such intricate abodes, I'd love to know how they create them.

I've recently got a new mobile for work that means I could take these pics and movies of the event.

I was very moved by what I saw, seeing nature at work. These are things we can often miss in our busy lives and its good to be reminded of the workings of nature, especially in the inner city suburbs. I found it an awesome experience, in the true sense of the word.

I actually find it quite awesome that I was able to work out how to catch the experience on the mobile and transfer it to this blog, but awesome in the more popular sense of the word!

video

Friday, 25 April 2008

Spam


It can be a funny experience checking out the subject matter of the spam that comes through our filter at work. The other day one was entitled 'Can angles have sex with humans?'
.....hhhhmmmm

Monday, 21 April 2008

A wandering mind


I was soooo not into being at yoga tonight. The instructor on Monday nights talks too much for my liking and tonight I found it VERY annoying. So very early on it was only a physical experience for me, with little thinking about what I was doing. Hence my mind wandered as it is wont to do.

One of the problems I have when sitting in a cross legged position, is maintaining a straight back. It was a bit uncomfortable tonight and I started thinking
... what would an osteopath do for my back. This reminded me of having drinks with a couple of friends a few weeks ago where the osteopath of one friend came into the wine bar and engaged quite a bit (and unprofessionally we all decided) with said friend. This friend has seen him at one of the gay friendly medical practices in Melbourne. This got me to thinking how difficult it would be for a gay doctor working in a gay friendly practice to be active in the gay scene and not frequently come across their patients.

.....How did I get on to this? Oh yes, my sore back....oh well at least it made me forget about it for awhile. Actually I also forgot I was in a yoga class, so I blinked my eyes open to find everyone else doing something totally different from me!

It was one of those nights!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

What the........


I often find my weirdest dreams are short, sharp ones that occur just before I wake up, when I sometimes think I'm semi-conscious.
The other morning I had one about a new health kick that involved drinking your pubic hair!
WTF?!
What was going on in my sub-conscious?!?!??!

Chocolate and Zucchini


The other night I had some zucchini I wanted to use, so came across a zucchini and chocolate cake recipe. I've since discovered chocolate and zucchini is a big industry - there's even a blog!!
I took it to work yesterday. No-one could taste the 'secret' ingredient. I guess zucchini doesn't have much of a taste. The texture was different though.
Son said he didn't like it - but I think that was just on principle!
A good way to increase your veggie intake!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Vicarious Travel


With all the protests lately in support of Tibet, son and I were talking about the country and he asked where Tibet is. He immediately regretted this as my natural response was "Let's get the atlas". He outwardly groans when this happens because I can spend hours pouring over the atlas. It's how I do my travel! My imagination goes wild as I plan intineries for myself, taking note of out of the way places as well as more well known cities.
I could say I am well travelled, which is true. The vast majority of it however, was done before the age of 5 when my family lived overseas. My adult travel has been restricted to the U.K., Italy and Hong Kong.
Despite my love of travel, it always seems to be something I will do 'in the future'. The future has been and gone and is always with us as well as ahead of us. Maybe I need to grasp the 'always with us' definition.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

People vs Computers


Due to the storms here in Melbourne last Wednesday, many people have been without power and telephone lines for a number of days now. My parents have been one of those with no phone access for nearly 72 hours. They are with Optus and so I have been ringing Optus for them for updates on how the reconnection is going. Each time I have rung I have been confronted with the automated voice activated programme, requiring me to speak a word or short sentence in response to questions. Nine times out of ten I am not understood, despite my deliberate enunciation of words. It got to the point where I just ended up saying 'Blah, blah, blah', as I knew that that would get me speaking to a real person much sooner!
Apart from the first time I rang, when I was in the presence of my mother, it has been a most relevant opportunity for cursing as a release of frustration (apropos of a recent blog entry). I would far rather press numbers on the keypad than speak to a machine. Why do they feel a need to anthropomorphise (my computer's not underlined this to tell me it's not a word!!) machinery? Do they have evidence to show that this is more efficient than other methods of getting to speak to a real person?
Maybe I'm just getting old!!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Homophobic?


I came home from yoga last night and son was watching the premier of the new show Power of Ten. It's a quiz show where contestants have to guess the percentage of Australians that answered a question a certain way in what was obviously a very dubious poll. One question was "How many Australians had their first pash before the age of 10?" Yes, the questions are of that calibre!!! I can't remember the result, but it was quite high. The presenter, Steve Jacobs, asked the guy who got closest to the right answer when he had his first pash. The guy responded '9 3/4'. Steve Jacobs then said, 'I hope you didn't go to an all boys school!'

Am I being oversensitive in finding this offensive, in thinking that we've got a long way to go before homosexuality is seen as not deviant? What does such a comment say to the kids out there who do have a crush on their same sex friends at school? Is this a form of homophobia?
I'm surprised by the intensity of my response. I might even write a letter to the paper!!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Visuals


I've been reminded recently how much of a visual person I am. It had been (too) many days since I had seen someone in particular and I was missing him. As I was shutting down my computer, he appeared on my desktop (I have a group of photos from a recent trip away that randomly change on my desktop). I was surprised at the intensity of my response. I also thought myself an idiot for not using photos earlier. Not that photos are a substitute for seeing someone in person, but being the visual person I am they help to connect me with people.
In my new role at work I have been meeting people that I have not met before but have spoken with on the phone for many years. When I speak with someone on the phone I always have a visual of who I am speaking with. If I haven't met them, I need to create that visual. It has been interesting to see how accurate my visuals have been, or not in some cases!
I've always thought that if I were to lose either my sight or my hearing, I would prefer to lose my hearing.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Ageing


I was speaking to my mother on the phone this morning (when she rang at 9am on a Saturday morning – yes I was awake but still in bed!). I wanted to check something she had said the other day about some treatment she was having that confused me. In the course of the conversation she admitted to having fallen outside her neighbours house yesterday, which led to a general discussion about how she is feeling. At one point she said she thinks she’s ‘coming to the end of the road’. I didn’t quite know how to respond to this. I smothered my immediate response, which was to deny that – I hate it when people deny others’ feelings (and this statement was one of feeling as much as thought). There was enough of a pause for her to say ‘Go on, say it, what else can you expect’. I was honestly able to say that wasn’t what I was thinking. She then saved the moment by moving the conversation on.
The problem is I do think she is coming to the end of the road. Not that I think she is imminently dying. But she is coming to the end of the road as she knows it. The road of independence, of not being constricted by her body. I guess she’s come to the bend in the road called old age.
She’s finding it hard and I don’t know the best way to support her at this time.

#*#?*#?*


Every now and then I need to check my language. Yes I’m talking about swearing here. I rarely swear in public, but I do tend to swear a lot to myself. There are times however when people are within earshot. What I like about swearing is how it can make you feel so much better. That’s why I feel it should not be overused. If significant words are used constantly, then they lose their power when you really need them.
That’s what I have taught son, that swearing has its place, but not to overdo it. This is in contrast to how I was brought up, where I remember being blasted for saying ‘blast’! The result of this is that son rarely swears (well OK, not in my hearing – but at least he has good self control!).
Yesterday I said a word in response to dropping something. The word was out of proportion to the act. I need to keep that in check.

Perceptions of Violence


I saw Drillbit Taylor yesterday with son. It is definitely one of those male adolescent movies, about a group of nerds who employ a bodyguard to protect them from the school bullies.
I found the violence confronting. It was very graphic for supposed school yard bullying. It probably also linked me in with my school yard experience, which whilst it had very little physical violence, had it’s fair share of stressful moments.
Later in the evening we were watching The Simpsons. The violence in that was no less graphic, yet less confronting.
It’s interesting that violence becomes more acceptable when it’s cartoonised. (hhmmm, I might have created a new word!)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Assumptions


Last year when I went to a palliative care conference here in Melbourne I got a shoulder bag which is of a convenient size, so I kept it and use it from time to time. I usually wear it with the logo facing towards me so as not to bring attention to it. Today I was on the tram with it and I noticed the man opposite me looking at it. "Damn", I thought, "I've got the logo facing out". After a few moments, he asked me if I was a palliative care worker. I replied in the affirmative. He told me it would be good for me (!) to read this article and handed me the 'mX', which is a free daily magazine type paper here in Melbourne. He smiled (smirked?) and then got off the tram. The article was about euthanasia, or more specifically about a woman in France who was unable to access euthanasia. (Because we here in Melbourne need to know about individual cases of euthanasia in France!)
I can only speculate about why that man thought I, as a palliative care worker, needed to read that article. Palliative care is widely misunderstood in the community, so it could have anything from he equates palliative care with euthanasia, so thought I would be interested, to him seeing palliative care as dichotomous to (with? - need to check my grammar!) euthanasia, so wanted to point out to me what I, by association, have prevented this woman from accessing. Given his smirk as he gave me the paper, I tend to think it was something down the latter end of the spectrum.
I must take this opportunity to do some public health to reiterate that palliative care isn't concerned with length of life, it's aim is to neither shorten nor extend life, but is concerned with quality of life, regardless of length.
Whatever you do, don't assume you know someone's view on something like euthanasia just because of their employment.

Monday, 17 March 2008

It's All A Matter Of Perspective


I had dinner with my parents tonight. They were talking of an 80 year old they know who has recently been in hospital. Mum commented that he has so many things wrong with him she didn't think he would 'make old bones'. I asked my 82 year old mother (rather bravely I thought!) what her definition of 'old bones' was. "Um.....85" she replied with an inflection in her voice.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Love Actually



The movie Love Actually was on TV last night.
This post was originally going to be a post about longer hair on men (more of that later), with Love Actually as a tenuous conduit. I got thinking more about the movie however, and decided that I really liked it. Yes it was Hollywood (or whatever the English version is) and had all the negative aspects those blockbuster films have, but it had enough of real life for it to be a more substantial film. For those who don't know the film it is about eight different stories of love between individuals that loosely connect with each other. Not all the stories were about romantic love between a man and a woman. There was an ageing rockstar's love for his long suffering agent, the step father's love for his stepson, the love of a sister for her intellectually disabled brother, as well as the love a young boy had for the apparently unattainable girl at school. The main thing I liked was that not all the stories had a happy ending. One left you with the feeling of potential for a happy ending, but only if much hard work is embarked upon and one ended abruptly leaving a space of emptiness. This is where it connected more closely with the stuff of life.
Now I'm known as a romantic, so that side of the movie appealed to me, but it was also a very funny film, with a great cameo by Rowan Atkinson.
Oh and the hair thing? Well I was quite taken by the actor Rodrigo Santoro (pictured above left). His hair is screeching out for my hands to run through it. There are not many men who can wear longer hair well, but for those that can, it is mighty appealing! The pic on the right (which was supposed to be at the end of the entry) has nothing to do with Love Actually, but another example of the hair thing (in more ways than one!).
Note to self: learn how to put pictures in different places in an entry!

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Changing of the Seasons


This week I had to drive to a hospital in the outer northern suburbs of Melbourne. I drove past a parade of trees whose leaves were turning their beautiful autumnal tones. Autumn is just around the corner - despite the late spurt of summer weather forecast in the coming days here in Melbourne.

Youthful Learning


We had parent teacher interviews at son's school last night. Why do they allow twelve year olds to teach? I'd swear some of those teachers have yet to reach puberty! Of course this is no reflection on my ageing process whatsoever!!