Tuesday, 28 July 2009


..... a return to yoga and blogging....both in the same night!!
Will it last??

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Hope for the Future

I realise that title is a tautology……but….

I went to my first Deb Ball on Saturday night. I don’t want to go into the whole relevance and meaning of the event in contemporary society, but what I was struck by was the amount of boys dancing with each other. The first couple I saw I assumed were a couple and I thought how brave of them. It became obvious however as I saw more and more boys dancing with each other, that it was a case of mates dancing with each other (not discounting the fact that some of them may have been couples – but that is probably my romantic overlay doing some hoping!). These boys were dancing with each other the way girls have always been ‘allowed’ to dance with each other. This dancing was quite tactile, with arms around necks and waists. This gladdened my heart and gave me hope….along with an acknowledgement of loss of not having that sense of freedom when I was that age.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Beyond Memory

One thing that the recent fires here in Victoria has made me do is reflect on what I would feel the greatest sense of loss around, apart from human life of course, should I lose possessions in a fire. For me it would be old family photographs. Someone at work said it would be items such as special things her children made and photos of them. I wouldn't feel such a sense of loss over them. Because I live so internally, if I have experienced something, my memory is a large part of my life. So because I was around when photos of my son were created, or I was there when he created that Picasso-esq piece of artwork, what is as important for me is my memory of that.
Old family photos of people I never met, or of my parents before I knew them, lie outside my memory. They are therefore more important than something I was around to experience.

This made me get around to getting a lot of them scanned so they can be stored in various places.
These are some of them. The oldest would have been taken in the late 1800s. Knowing that the taking of photographs took so much more effort a hundred years than it does now, hence their relative rarity, also makes them more special.My mind then begins to create stories around these people, based on some knowledge I have of them, but largely a romantic notion of their lives in those times.


I've just returned from a lovely long weekend at the beach. It was good to have a short break before the academic year starts - and that was yesterday for me. I've been working extra over February while I was able, so I got a bit tired and cranky. I felt like I was turning into a bitter, grumpy old man. It's not a good look!

I'm surprised how much I'm looking forward to this semester. The subjects I'm doing this year are more clinical in nature, so will be more of a challenge for me and partly a reconnection to why I'm doing this mid-life career change. The last year or so the subjects I've done have been more psycho-social in nature, which is what I do in my day to day work anyway, so was less of a challenge. Having said that, it will be a busy semester. I may have to re-evaluate how much I'm working. This is also highlighting one of the disadvantages of doing a nursing course part time. In the lecture yesterday which was focussing on pathophysiology, the lecturer said this first lecture will be largely a revision of the science you did last year. For me that was three years ago!!!!! I'm hoping some of it stayed in the deep recesses of my brain and will come forth when required!!

Full though it may be, I'm looking forward to the semester, which is a good feeling.

Monday, 2 February 2009

They Don't Make Cool Changes Like They Used To

I was still on leave last week, during Melbourne's hottest week. I would rather have been at work as I would have been more motivated and spent more time in air-conditioning. I did nothing. Even if it hadn't been as hot I probably still would have done nothing, but it would have been by choice rather than necessity. By Friday I was particularly grumpy, as I was woken up at 5.30am by neighbours who were mother and son having a conversation about son's need to be more responsible with his bankcard (I didn't think they still made bankcards!). I couldn't get back to sleep after that.
Since then I've felt flat and lethargic. The weather is better, although still into the 30's. I think the heat has exacerbated my cyclical feeling of flatness that has no particular cycle to it, it just comes and goes. Whilst this can occur frequently, I have a fear that I might remain there and while I'm there I tend to make things bigger in my mind than they are, so there tends to be more negative energy within me than I like.
I'm off to bed - hoping to wake up with more positive energy tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Road Trip

Last week son and I went for a road trip up to Canberra and Sydney for 5 days. We went to Canberra and stayed with friends. We visited the new Portrait Gallery (one of my favourites) and also saw the Degas exhibition. Son was remarkably engaged during these visits, making pertinent comments and asking relevant questions. We also visited the two Parliament Houses and the High Court, which son engaged with even more.
The family we stayed with is one with two parents and four kids, so it is a pretty full on household. The eldest child is a boy, about son's age and then the next three are girls. We basically did our own thing during the day, as the parents were working as was their son. One morning my friend and I were chatting before he went to work (it was not a holiday of sleep-ins!) and he commented on how quiet son was. We had a chat about context and relativity and then moved on. I think I managed to control my feeling of defensiveness!
We then went on to Sydney, the main point of the visit being to go to the one day cricket at the SCG. We were then told that our tickets would also get us into the domestic 20/20 final the next evening at ANZ Stadium. So we had cricket two nights in a row - what joy - what bliss! I jest, it was actually OK. I continue to be surprised at the extent I can engage with cricket when watching son, or with son. It's still not something I would choose to watch if I was on my own!
Son was in charge of the navigating, and he did very well in both Canberra and Sydney.
We are now at home sitting in the dark, trying to survive Melbourne's (possibly) longest heat wave on record. I don't really like them, but shopping centres have their place in times like this.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


The people we were with on New Year's Eve were talking about New Year resolutions and one was to make at least one new friend. I was struck by that. I don't make new friends easily and the thought of being so deliberate about making new friends is something I find foreign. When I think about where I have made friends that last, it has been through church (when I was involved) or through work. So it is in a context of having another reason for connection with someone, an almost 'doing' that occurs alongside the development of a friendship, and this is something that takes time and is certainly not a deliberate act.

My not making friends easily is partly my introverted nature, partly laziness and partly commitment anxiety.

I was talking about this with my man who pointed out that I don't want new friends. There is some truth in that. I'm the kind of guy who has a small number of close friends. I'm aware that I can be intense about friendship. To me I have either friends or acquaintances. Others would talk about different levels of friendship, whereas I tend to be more black and white about it and those that I would call friends are the type of people I know I could call on in times of need.

There is a new PCA at the Nursing Home who is newly arrived in Australia. He came here to study and I think is struggling in various ways - financially and in feeling connected here. He has been very friendly towards me and I'm aware that that creates some anxiety for me as I think he would probably like to become friends with me. I need to just chill and let what happens, happen.

I am aware that most of my friends are older than me, so if I live to a ripe old age, I could be a lonely old man. Maybe I should be more deliberate about cultivating younger friends!!

An interesting thing, friendship, isn't it?


The other day I was relieving on the reception desk at work. A man rang up to make a change to the next appointment for his partner. My natural instinct was to ask for 'her' name, however there was something in the way he introduced what he had to say that made me ask for 'his partner's name'. His partner was indeed male. It shows the enculturation of this gay man that his default position is the assumption of an opposite sex partner. We've got a way to go.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Homophobia......oops, sorry, Homonegativity

Yesterday at work we were talking about actors and started talking about a particular Australian actor. A work colleague said she didn't like him, she thinks there is something 'weird' about him. She started to say 'I'm sure he's a closet...' then stopped. I didn't actually hear this, but another colleague did and encouraged/challenged her to finish the sentence. She said she didn't want to in case it would offend me, but in the end she was open about the fact that she thinks he's a closet gay - 'Not that there's anything wrong with that!', she was quick to state. I did point out to her that she had linked his 'weirdness' with his supposed homosexuality. 'I knew you'd be like that', she said, 'That's why I didn't want to say it'.
But she was thinking it!
This is a woman who wouldn't see herself as homophobic, or homonegative (is that the correct adjectival form?!), and I have to admit, neither would I.
I guess it's out there in subtle forms.

Monday, 5 January 2009

What day is it? Where am I?

I used to wake up and not have to think twice about what day it was. Recently I have been waking up and taking a moment or two to register what day it is - and hence whether I need to get up straight away, or can steal more time in bed. I think this is partly due to not having as regular a routine as I used to.
This morning at work the boss wished a staff member who had just returned from leave a 'Happy New Year'. I then wished the boss Happy New Year. 'But we've already said that to each other', she replied. 'That was before New Year, not after it'. 'But we saw each other on Friday!'
...maybe I just need a holiday!

Sunday, 4 January 2009


I've just had a call from my father to inform me that my brother is coming over from Perth (to Melbourne) in a couple of weekends time - just for the weekend, arriving Saturday and leaving Sunday. He's coming on his own, without his family. It's a long way to come for one night! Apparently it's not business, for which he sometimes comes. He's also staying at Mum and Dad's. This is out of character for him. My mind is running wild with possible reasons. It could be as simple as he feels his parents are getting older and he wants to take opportunities to be with them more. Or maybe he's going to make some announcement!
....time will tell!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Leading or Following?

I did an extra shift at the Nursing Home on New Years Day (afternoon, not morning!!). There are many staff who like things done a certain way – ie. their way! Generally speaking I find it easier to go along with them. As long as things are done well and safely, I don’t mind.

On New Years Day I was partnered with an agency PCA. This meant that I had to take the lead. I was pleased that I could do it – in terms of taking responsibility for making sure that everything that had to be done was done.

It’s good to be reminded that I can take the lead when necessary.

Large or Small?

The other weekend we went to a gathering for a family event of my man. We come from quite different families. Mine is small and reserved. I have one brother who lives on the other side of the country. Apart from my parents, I have no other family in Melbourne at all. I’m not close to my brother, so we have very little to do with each other. I’m not particularly close to my parents either. My definition of not being close is not sharing much of what is important in our lives together.

The man’s family is much larger and less reserved. I can’t really comment on their closeness, according to my definition. There is all the activity and mayhem that goes with a larger family.

I feel that I have been welcomed into the family. It’s always good to feel welcomed. I often, although not always, find myself attracted to that which is different from my own experience. This is particularly so when it comes to family. So the combination of being attracted to and welcomed by the family, gives me a very warm feeling. My attraction to larger families is that I think they will be closer than mine.

I’ve been partnered to someone before with a large and different family to my own, so I know that I am idealistic about this. There are pros and cons of both small and large families and size does not define closeness. I still find however, that my initial response to a larger family is that they will be closer than mine. When I stop to think about it, I know this does not make sense. But at the moment I’m enjoying being connected to something different.

The man also has great friends who have welcomed me as well.

It’s all a great start to the New Year!