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A quick post before I head to work. I have no definite idea of what I was going to say here, so bear with me.

I was on Facebook – yes I know – why do I torture myself? I really wish there was an alternative that people would actually use. Anyway, there’s one page I follow, which I shouldn’t. I almost always feel like commenting but instead keep the comments to myself. They obviously feel it’s a great thing and I’m thinking “Really? What nonsense”. The old saying “If you can’t say anything positive say nothing at all” (which is probably why I’m quiet much of the time). The ex used this saying at his mother’s funeral recently. What a hypocrite. He’s the most negative, critical person I can think of. Didn’t listen to his mother’s advice did he?

So yes, I had to dash to NZ for her funeral. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer a month earlier and given two weeks to live. She lasted four. I was away just two nights, as I didn’t have time to get Jasmine vaccinated and into a cattery. I left enough food but still felt guilty at abandoning her, all alone in Australia. It was nice to see some of the girls’ cousins and aunts. That family has a lot of bitterness and gossip which some partake in and others don’t. Needless to say I prefer the company of the ones that don’t. I moved away from Wellington to be away from all that and am now glad I’m even further away.

You can tell I’m writing as I think. As I said – no idea of what I was going to write here.

My bro just visited. He was doing one of his epic journeys around Australia, this time driving from Perth to Sydney, with a stopover in Melbourne, staying with me. It was great to see him. Visiting him is pretty much the only thing I miss about NZ. (I did feel a pang flying over the South Island on the way to Wellington though – I do love the South Island.) So bro stayed three nights. We visited my aunt (father’s brother’s wife) whose short-term memory has gone to pot. She asked us the same questions and mentioned the same incidents. Rather sad. When making a cup of tea she couldn’t remember what she was doing. Luckily she no longer cooks for herself but does still live at the home she’s lived in since the late 50s. Apart from memory she’s still astute. Bro and I spent some time with C and W, playing the obligatory Siedler (Settlers of Catan), going out to dinner, etc. We got a couple of walks in and the weather stayed nice most of the time, with just one afternoon of an impressive thunderstorm. He left on Tuesday morning, driving to cousins in Bairnsdale, before heading up the coast towards Sydney, with a detour to Goulburn where our father, grandfather and great-grandfather lived.

Now listening to some music he left for me – Erik Satie, which I’ve always liked, despite it being quite melancholy (and evocative somehow).

Bro’s visit prompted me to go through some old family documents which I brought over and never seriously looked at. I’ve photographed and scanned some. I only just noticed that my mother’s certificate of cremation had her middle name misspelled. At ex’s mother’s funeral the “celebrant” kept mispronouncing his mother’s name. You’d think they could make the effort to get a deceased’s name right. I found a letter from my mother but could only read the first couple of lines before tears formed. I had to put it away. Another time perhaps.

Anyway, both my physical and electronic files of family history need an overhaul and some tidying up and organising. Anyone who looks at it without me around would have a hard time understanding it all probably.

Well, I think I’ve rattled on aimlessly enough. Time to get ready.

I still haven’t decided whether I’ll write up the trip from a year ago. Time flies so damned quickly.

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People

I don’t get them. Even as a child I didn’t warm to most of them. They said hurtful things. I preferred the company of my dogs.

In the past two years I’ve experienced kindness and open friendliness from virtual strangers, which always surprised me.

I just had an email conversation with a friend back in NZ. “Friend” really means ex-colleague, as we didn’t socialise outside of work. I was cheery and answering her questions and it was all good until she made some spiteful comment, the sort to bring you down. It’s supposed to be said jokingly, I guess, but there’s really no need for it. Why can’t such people be encouraging instead of hurtful? I open up about my life and get shot down. Is it sour grapes? I still don’t get it.  I’m so glad I’m far away from that toxic atmosphere. I was humiliated at my farewell by a nasty speech “disguised” as humour. I wasn’t laughing. I was so hurt I cried instead of saying thanks. Someone even gave me a copy of the speech, thinking I enjoyed it. I ripped it up and threw it away in disgust. It was horrible. Why are people so nasty to each other? To so-called friends and colleagues? There’s no need for it. I guess they’re unhappy people with nothing good to say about anyone? I don’t know. I’m well away from it now, and thankful to be so. When I visit, which I will do next year, I’ll have to prepare for snide comments. Or maybe I won’t visit at all, but just invite a select few to drinks at a pub. So disappointing.

Tired

That feeling you get when you’re so tired you just can’t be bothered with anything at all.

Part of it is the start of daylight saving, which always takes me a couple of weeks to get used to. Having to get up an hour earlier is never easy.

Last night I visited Geelong and didn’t get home until after midnight, having to wait half an hour for a train from Southern Cross. At least there were trains, I guess.

For some reason I’ve been browsing Facebook more often and this is a trap and I shouldn’t do it, especially when I’m tired.  Again, I get annoyed and I try to analyse why:

For a start, Facebook insists on showing what my friends have liked. I don’t particularly care what they’ve liked. If they wanted to share it, they could share it, but I don’t want to see some lame shit which just pisses me off. I loathe animals dressed up, for example. Some peope find it funny or cute. I just find it fucking stupid and disrespectful. Animals are not toys to dress up in your stupid bows or ludicrous costumes.

There are some pages I’ve followed out of interest but occasionally they post something that is just very depressing. I guess I’m guilty of sharing something that’s equally depressing but which I thought was important. I should know that others are not in the mood or simply don’t care. I fall into the “not in the mood” category at the moment – probably because I’m tired. Other posts such as ones about yet another massacre of yanks killing yanks – I really do not give a shit about. I’m fine with americans killing themselves. Makes a change from them killing others in countries where they shouldn’t be.

I make an effort to post something and get zero likes. It shouldn’t bother me. I’m not out to please people or get “likes” but it does indicate that people have looked at it or read it. Of course, they may have and not liked it. Perhaps Facebook should just indicate if people have actually seen it, otherwise you feel like you’re in a vacuum, talking to a wall. No feedback. I spent ages compiling a video of photos, for example, and I think two people watched it. Maybe more did, but just didn’t care enough to “like”. I dunno, what the fuck…

I keep seeing the same posts, whether they were posted yesterday or several days ago. I think it’s because someone has posted a comment? I don’t need to see it again, unless I specifically wanted to follow that post and see subsequent comments. I should be able to turn this off. And then sometimes when I refresh I get a whole batch of posts I haven’t seen and can’t find the one I was just looking at.

“Suggested Post”s – really FUCKING annoying. Some can scroll past it, but often you’re sucked into reading it before you realise it is just a fucking advertisement. And you keep seeing the same ones. Yes, you can choose to not see any from that particular fucking advertiser but I get sick of having to do this every single fucking time.

Being labelled “grumpy”. It’s Facebook that pisses me off. I should just close my account. I should reassess what I would actually miss by doing so. I don’t currently have time for genealogy so I’m not reading those posts. One daughter posts nothing at all, while the other does sporadically. Other family members post nothing at all. So what am I getting out of it? It’s nice to know what some friends (very few, in fact, actually post anything) are doing occasionally… They want to know what I’m doing but I rarely see anything from them – catch 22.

Amazing how many posts I’ve written about Facebook and I’ve still not taken the step of closing the account…

Arrggh!

My parents were friends with another couple who had children a little older than my brother and I. I met their daughter twice. She visited when I was a teenager. As adults we exchanged an annual Christmas card and letter.

Then she got hold of my phone number and started calling me regularly – from Australia. And her phone calls were never short. She used them to talk about her life and moan about her family or her health. It was a pain in the arse.

When I moved to Australia, naturally she thought she could phone more often. Thankfully for me the landline kept playing up and phone calls didn’t get through. I think she gave up after that (sigh of relief).

Then she found me on Facebook and messaged me every single time I had been online.

Now that I’m no longer so frequently on Facebook (or don’t make it obvious), she’s changed tack and discovered me on Instagram. She can’t chat to me but she posts about six photos a day which are not even hers. She finds some random sentimental shit of a picture and puts it up there – and then another and another. It’s driving me fucking insane.

I tried blocking her on Facebook for the same reason – sickening spam. But then she kept pestering me, telling me to alter my settings so she could see my posts. It may well be another reason I avoided Facebook.

I could block her on Instagram, but then she’d contact me some other way to tell me to unblock her.

She is a persistent arsehole. Several times she asked for my brother’s phone number so she could hassle him and he doesn’t even know her. I refused to put him through the same annoyances. What a pain in the arse. I have no idea what to do about her. I even tried reporting her to instagram because what she posts she does not have ownership of, but their “reporting” facility is bullshit. They keep making you fill in forms and there’s never a “submit”.

If the silly cow insists on posting more than five posts a day, I’ll block her and tell her why if she fucking hassles me about it. Fucking moron! I’ve had it with her.

Postscript:  I just counted how many posts she’s done in the last 24 hours – 10. Ten pictures of random shit – flowers and puppies and other sentimental garbage – it’s fucking spam is what it is. I have now unfollowed her.

Sorry, I had nowhere else to vent and I had to vent.

PPS: She’s since sent me several messages, noting that I was no longer a follower, wondering why that was, and asking me to follow her. Persistent, as I said. If she continues to send me annoying messages (only she would figure out that you can send messages, which I wasn’t even aware of), I will have to be brutally honest as she is immune to social cues.

Shakespeare

Recently I came across a DVD set called The Hollow Crown, which turned out to be collections of Shakespeare’s plays. I haven’t seen a Shakespeare play in a long while, so grabbed this. Some good actors and none of this modern adaptation shit.

1st So I watched these and thought of my father who was a huge fan of Shakespeare. I followed along bits of Henry V in his 1923 copy of the Collected Works of Shakespeare (and discovered a fair bit of dialogue had been cut, so it wasn’t so easy).  I returned that DVD and saw another – from Henry VI to Richard III. Brilliant.

2nd More good actors. Excellent. As I watched, I looked up wikipedia, realising how little I know about this period or at least about the kings before Richard III.

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead”

Coincidentally, Melbourne has a pop-up Globe theatre showing a few Shakespearean plays for a limited time in the King’s Domain. I saw this with interest on the news, but was put off by their adaptations to make the plays “less stuffy” – dancing to Polynesian music, for example. Yeah, na. I’m a traditionalist. Having said that, it would be worth going but I could only afford the cheapest ticket. Shows are so expensive here (I miss Summer Shakespeare in Palmy).

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I had this thought while walking to the train one day, that I wanted to try creating an online “newsletter” in a grid format with thoughts, pictures, events for friends and family. Apart from the fact I couldn’t find a suitable website for that (and I couldn’t get a WordPress format to work), I later thought would I really want to share that with people on Facebook, for example? My answer was no, and that I had a blog I never updated. I guess it’s the feeling that something is missing from Facebook. I do visit it (but mostly to look at genealogy pages) but don’t feel like sharing anything, and I still hate scrolling through heaps of shit (including the “suggested posts” which are just advertisements for dubious products or points of view – one a Christian one against gay marriage which I marked as offensive). I’ll mull on it.

 

Currently listening to: Gotan Project – Lunatico

Rambling

It’s an interesting thing, this starting again, reinventing yourself in another place, apart from friends and (some) family.  It’s hard to describe.

I was on the train yesterday looking around, always seeing people I’ve never seen before. If I’m on a regular train at the same time each day I will occasionally see a person I’ve seen before but my current work is part-time (at least it’s permanent and not contract) and so I travel at all sorts of times. No-one knows me, no-one judges me, no-one even gives me a second look, and I like it. Too often in my previous life of routine and predictability, seeing the same people day in and day out, I did feel self-conscious for some bizarre reason. If I did something different or wore something different, people would comment (or when I did want them to notice something different, they didn’t). I felt judged. I felt labelled. I was expected to behave in a certain way because that’s the person they thought me.  I’m not expressing myself well here.

Now my mind has gone blank.

It’s cold today and I’m resisting the urge to put the heater on. My hands are finding it difficult to type smoothly. I look out on a totally different environment to one I used to live in, sitting in a chair I never used to own, surrounded by furniture I never had before, in a rented two-bedroomed unit instead of a three-bedroomed house.  I no longer have that “security” of my own home, but I don’t care. The choice was staying in a cold, damp house I didn’t love, in a town I had grown tired of, seeing only a grey future in a boring retirement home, or moving to insecurity and uncertainty, exploring a new environment with more of a feeling of “living” rather than just “surviving”. There is more to life than a job you hate. Ultimately, of course, you can’t change yourself or who you are, but you can change what you do (without judgement?).

My thoughts are a-muddle (is that a word?). Time for a cup of tea and then to get ready for an afternoon shift.

Long time no write

I was sitting in the sunshine, purring cat on lap and was about to finally update this blog on my tablet, but the tablet is flakey and slow. I couldn’t view the screen to write on when it was vertical, but when turned side on I had about half a centimetre left to actually see what I was writing once the keyboard came up. Totally useless.

Now I’m here (on the PC), I, of course, have forgotten what it was I was going to write, so I guess I’ll write what comes to mind here and now.

Umm…

Life is fine. I still enjoy living in Melbourne despite some loneliness at times. But then I was often lonely back in NZ as well, especially after H left. (The house was way too empty and I couldn’t live there anymore.)  Now, when I see an aeroplane in the sky I don’t yearn to be on it. I love trains so enjoy commuting. There are plenty of birds to listen to and the sun shines way more often. There’s little rain and it never lasts long. I think I’ve used an umbrella about twice and have taken it with me and never had to use it. It does get cold though, but nothing that gets close to freezing. I don’t like anything under 15 deg C so that’s what I call cold and the average here at the moment is 14. They keep saying that Melbourne weather is changeable but compared to the Manawatu, it isn’t at all. There it could be nice and sunny in the morning and then turn to crap. Here it stays pretty much the same all day – if it’s sunny, it will be for most of the day; if it’s grey, it will stay grey most of the day. The weather forecasts are pretty accurate.

Talking of never wanting to go back (in my mind anyway)…  I never completely closed my Facebook account, heading in there very occasionally to see what family members were up to, never staying long, never scrolling through. Then I got sucked into it briefly by a message from FB telling me to upload a picture so friends could recognise me. It’s one of those stupid things that FB says like telling me I should celebrate my friendship with A because we’ve been friends for six years. He’s my brother for fuck’s sake. They keep mucking about with settings but don’t make it intelligent enough to recognise that some “friends” are tagged as relatives. I don’t want to go back to it. I scrolled a bit and saw a mixture of posts from 1 hour ago to 23 hours ago to 3 days ago. WTF? I want to see the latest, dumbarse fucking Facebook. I loathe the bloody thing, but if you’re not on it, you’re not in the loop.  I think it’s rather sad that the only means of communication these days seems to be through Facebook. After I did upload a stupid picture of myself I was inundated with “likes” and comments. The vast majority of them haven’t once emailed me in all the time I’ve been here, even those that I actually did write to (I have been slack on the communication front I must admit). I could be dead for all any of them care. Two of them have visited Melbourne without getting in touch or letting me know. So much for “friends”.

Do I miss NZ? I don’t miss the Manawatu or the place I worked. I do miss my bro and driving through the countryside, visiting him or friends, or the beach, say. I struggle to think of anything else. I’ll visit sometime soon, but have no plans yet.

This arvo I’m off to the rare book fair with M (a fellow Kiwi) which I’m looking forward to. I’m glad she’s come over to live. It’ll be nice to have someone else to hang out with at times. I don’t go to shows because they’re so expensive (so I do miss things like Summer Shakespeare) but there is always the gallery and interesting exhibitions. I enjoyed the David Hockney exhibit but didn’t go to the Van Gogh one, as I’ve been to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam (and he’s not a favourite artist of mine). There’s always something on somewhere – it’s just a matter of getting there.

Well, I’ve run out of shit to say. I still haven’t written about the trip to Myanmar. Perhaps I will. I finished a genealogy challenge so might feel more enthused to update this blog. I haven’t even updated my photography one as I’ve only taken photos on my mobile recently and didn’t’ think any were particularly good. I’m pretty slack on transferring photos from mobile and camera (when I do use it) to the computer. I just did the mobile transfer of five months’ worth of pics. Still haven’t done the camera transfer. I might take my camera this arvo.

Adios, and if there are any readers left, thanks for reading.

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Buddha day, Fed square

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Korean girls in costume, Fed square