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I need to make a list of shit I should do when I’ve got free time instead of idly browsing the net. To be fair I was trying to get ideas for Xmas but am no closer to knowing what to get either of the girls. They’re adults with pretty much everything they need. More personal stuff is so subjective I’d be scared of getting something they don’t like. It doesn’t need to be much for H. I shouted her a DNA test. I did the same for C for her birthday. (The results will be interesting.) I’d like to get bro to do one as well. I think it’s like an addiction really. I’ve just bought myself one at Living DNA because I wanted the mitochondrial DNA test. I’m excited about that.

And now my mind is a blank again. I’ve been thinking of scanning some more ephemera. I should get back to my old book blog and continue that. Hmm. Then there’s my grandmother’s diary that I didn’t complete. Yeah, where is it? In a box somewhere.

I’ve been reading and watching stuff. The Belgian TV series Salamander is very good as is Riviera. I started watching a documentary about the development of babies in the womb last night. Can’t recall any decent movies watched lately. Ghost Writer was a disappointment. I wish I could watch some of the British Why do you think you are? but they’re nigh impossible to view if you’re not in the UK (not every episode is on Youtube) and they no longer release them on DVD. How fucking inconsiderate.

Ho hum. Did I mention something about organising my genealogy files? Yeah, I haven’t done anything about that. Useless.

Still making my way through the collection of music bro gave me. Just started playing a mix and what comes up but a Rory Gallagher song “Do you read me?” I haven’t heard that song in DECADES! Ah, brilliant.

Yeah, rambling again. Must do something productive!

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Randomness

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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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.

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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

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I can safely say I’m sick of cold, wet weather.  Sunshine has been sporadic for the past month or so.  Apparently, so far, it’s been the coldest, wettest spring in Melbourne for several years.  Great.  I shouldn’t complain – it would be the same or worse in the Manawatu.

I am still jobless, sadly.  I have applied for a few jobs but haven’t been able to get an interview as the other candidates were of a “high calibre”.  Great.  I am disappointed in the agency I’m signed up with.  I’ve had two phone calls from them in three months.  I called back immediately after missing one of the calls but by the time I managed to contact them, the position had gone.  Thanks.  Not impressed.  The woman I had before was brilliant.  This guy doesn’t sound like he gives a shit.  I saw a job advertised this morning.  It was for a one year contract at the same place I had an interview at late last year.  I figured I should apply for it, after fiddling with my CV again, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it.  The interview had been one of the most humiliating experiences of my life: – a panel of about five people seated around me, unsmiling and unfriendly.  I stuttered, spilt the glass of water, and seemingly didn’t answer their odd questions to their satisfaction.  Just to get to the interview was a one hour tram ride from the CBD.  I can’t go through that experience again.  I willed myself to apply, but then just cried.  I can’t do it.

Some days I’m really depressed about the situation.  Other days I try to think positively and fill the day with interests.  I’ve done a couple of (free) courses online, the latest one being a four-week photography one through RMIT, after a six-week genealogy one through the University of Tasmania.  I am doing weekly blog entries about genealogy.  I have just written another one which has taken most of the day.  When it’s fine (which it certainly isn’t today), I go for walks and take my camera with me.  In the evenings I watch one of many excellent TV series and movies on SBS On Demand.

A trip is planned with the girls in November.  C wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday overseas, so we are going to Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.  If I applied for a job, or got given a temporary contract, I would have to say I can’t work for about three weeks in November/December.  Perhaps I’m better off being unemployed until then, although that’s a long time to be without a job.  The trip is something to look forward to in any case.  I feel in need of a holiday.  It gets very lonely being at home all day every day (even with the company of a cat).

I’m rather disappointed in the lack of communication from some friends.  Perhaps they are embarrassed for me being out of work, after my “great move to better things”.  I don’t want their pity.  Some positivity would be good, but I get nothing at all.  Disappointing.  When I don’t get responses to emails or messages, I feel there’s no point trying again.  Isn’t it rude not to respond?  I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand people.  I found an old email as I was emptying an account before closing it.  I guess I kept the email because it reminded me of the duplicity of some people who call themselves “friends”.  In the email she called me a bitch (among other things).  She said as a friend she could say such things.  Yeah right.  With friends like that, who needs enemies.  She’d said some nasty things about me to others as well, so it’s no loss.  Needless to say, she hasn’t been a friend since.  It just made me aware, after reading it again, that I just don’t understand why some people behave as they do.  What did I do?  I’m totally unaware of whatever they think I’ve done.  I grew up preferring animals to people.  Still do, for that matter.

I’ll continue walking my path alone.

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Kalang park, Blackburn

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I felt I should drop by. Strange, what did I use to blog about? Now I don’t feel a need. Perhaps it’s because H gave me a diary and I’ve been writing there instead.  It is difficult once you get out of the habit.

I am currently unemployed. My contract ran out and could not be renewed much to the disappointment of my immediate boss and colleagues. I applied for a couple of jobs but obviously didn’t have the required experience. It is a worry but the tax refund makes up for a couple of months of unemployment. I do hope something comes up soon. Do I have any regrets? No. The only thing I really miss apart from H, is being able to drive to my brother’s for a weekend of peace, lambs and Siedler.  I do miss that. There are some people I miss from work but continuing seeing most of them meant continuing working there and I no longer wanted to. Nope, I don’t regret my move. It’s just living with uncertainty.

I will spend a weekend in Geelong soon and am planning a visit to one of my cousins in Brisbane. It costs as much to fly there as it does from NZ to Aus, which surprised me. But it is a 2 hour flight. I hope I can visit Sydney soon and would love to go on an overnight train.  The only thing holding me back from lots of travel is the need to put Jasmine in a cattery (and I don’t have a car).

So what have I been doing? Lots of genealogy while I have a sub to findmypast.  I’ve embarked on another blog challenge – this time writing about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. So far I’ve done the grandparents. I start another genealogy course on Monday through the University of Tasmania.

There have been other niggling things to get sorted: the split-system air conditioning wasn’t working to blow out warm air; a blocked toilet; registering Jasmine’s microchip (which, according to one website, involved a trip to the vet); registering Jasmine with the council (yeah, cats are registered here and I wonder what the money’s for considering she spends most of the time indoors); ringing my aunt; tax return, etc. Of course the real estate agent dealt with the first two problems but it was good that I was home.  The other things niggled at me as they weren’t as straightforward as I’d hope they would be.

I’ve been watching some great TV programmes on SBS On Demand. There is so much good quality stuff to see. I’ve also been playing Sims 2, my only “vice” if you can call it that. I don’t know why I should feel guilty about it. Illogical isn’t it. Why should one feel guilty about a fun pastime?  It must stem from childhood. There were always chores or homework or practicing the piano to do.  Anyway, I have combined my interests in things medieval and non-serious writing by blogging a story of the lives of Sims in a medieval-themed neighbourhood.

I’m typing this on my tablet, which I hate, mainly because there is some warmth by the window here as the sun shines through on this side. My PC is in the spare room on the dark side of the building, unfortunately,  which means it’s cold.  If there are any typos it’s because of the vagaries of predictive text and the need to scroll back to proof-read. I’m now dying for a cuppa so will end here.

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I led a pretty spartan existence for the first week or two.  I made up the furniture from IKEA : a desk, drawers, and bedside drawers.  I needed help with the couch and bed.  The washing machine and fridge were delivered.  The fridge was a smidgen too tall to fit under the kitchen cupboards, but I’d got the cheapest fridge not the smallest (and it was still smaller than the one I used to have).  Electricity was connected ok.  Gas supposedly, although there was no hot water.  Had to get instructions on re-igniting the pilot light, then all ok.  Telstra a couple of weeks later.  Suffice to say they’re a nightmare to try and contact.

I had no TV to watch or music to listen to (the iPod, typically, had run out of battery life – it always does even when I don’t use it).  I bought myself a cheap transistor just for some noise, and joined the local library to be able to read something.  I did, belatedly, remember that I had an ebook reader and read about four old books on it before realising the battery was running flat and hence the visit to the library.  Eventually a guy had to come round to get broadband working, then I could use the tablet to watch SBS TV programmes on demand, including series 3 of The Bridge.  The rest of the time I played a couple of games on the tablet and went for walks to nearby parks.  I couldn’t buy much as I was limited to what I could carry (which wasn’t much if you added just one heavy item like cat litter).

It was a lonely time, but I just needed to go for a walk to re-confirm that I was in Australia: the birds, the gum trees, the heat, then I was happy.  I have always loved Australia from childhood on the family visits to Sydney and Melbourne.  My love for Australia does not mean I dislike New Zealand, but it was always a dream to live here.

Without my stuff around me it still didn’t seem real.  I had spent so much time and effort decluttering and preparing for this move (for at least two years), that I had not been indulging in my usual interests much.  And without the stuff around me, I was at a loss as to what to do much of the time.

However, my belongings were delivered and the place started looking more civilised and less empty.  I am still unpacking boxes.  I have about three boxes of stuff I don’t know what to do with (i.e. where to put the contents); about five of photo albums (no idea where to put them) and two boxes of my parents’ old crockery and antiques (again, where to put them).  I’d moved from a three-bedroomed house with sunroom, to a two-bedroomed unit.  Cupboards were even fewer here than there.  I will have to invest in an IKEA cupboard or some set of cane drawers or something to put family archives in.  I will need to start digitising the stuff or at least better organise it.

I have just managed to empty about another three boxes.  As I did so, I took a critical look at everything (with space at a premium) and have already put aside a bag of clothing/linen I don’t want and thrown out a few things.

There is a space in the kitchen, presumably where a table and chairs would go, although it’s a dark corner, which is currently chock full of flattened boxes and newspaper.  Once that’s gone, I will have room for said cupboard and/or drawers.  It will,  however, take me some time to get rid of it all, as recycling is only collected every second week and the bin is half the size of the one I used to have.  C and W are looking to buy a house so I can save the better boxes for them and put them in the garage.  I’m reluctant to put stuff in the garage as that’s where spiders tend to reside (and they’re not so harmless here).  I haven’t yet seen any (except for a jumping spider) but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

My stuff came on a Thursday, and I had gone into the CBD to see about a casual job starting the following Monday.  I haven’t, therefore, had much time to deal with all the boxes, but I am finally making headway.  I will need at least those drawers though.  The space has to be cleared if I want to get a single bed in the room.

Anyway, the job is good.  I’m enjoying it and the people are friendly and welcoming.  At lunch I can go to the Treasury gardens or Fitzroy gardens and enjoy the sunshine.  Commuting there is as easy as could be.  A six-minute walk to the train station, a 20-25 minute journey to the CBD, then come out of the station and cross the road.  I am very lucky.  Others who work there have commuting times of between one and two hours.  Wow.  Of course they probably own homes and homes are cheaper the further out you go.

Well, I think I’ve rambled enough.  Oh, forgot to mention the TV.  I was happy to see it delivered and got it out to set up.  Couldn’t find the aerial cable, which really pissed me off as I was keen to see The Bridge on the bigger screen.  I had to go and buy one, but the TV still couldn’t find any channels.  Frustration.  I had no idea who to call, then remembered I had a local rag, picked up from the library, which had trade advertisements.  Rang up a TV/aerial chap and he came round just yesterday.  Who knew that TVs are regional like DVD players?  I just assumed that TVs could be transported anywhere and work, but nope, my TV was only good for New Zealand.  If I’d known that I would’ve made sure to buy a multiregional one when purchasing it, as it’s not that old.  Anyway, the guy had a “set top box” which could find the channels and transfer them to the TV.  A bit of a complex way of watching TV (press this button on that remote, and this button on the other, etc) but at least I finally could.  I had at least been able to watch DVDs during the working week (including “Jeeves and Wooster” and “Snatch”).

And, finally, I was able to set up the computer with the help of a purchased Wifi adapter.  The modem is in the lounge and I didn’t want the computer there so had to get this adapter (computer wasn’t Wifi-compatibile).  Works like a dream.  I had to ask an old mate about what to do.  I had envisaged having to get a very long cord to connect the computer, or having to move the bloody thing into the lounge.  Now all sweet.

On that note, I’ll end here.

 

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