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!