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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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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.

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So it’s been nearly two weeks since my last entry – 2017 is flying by so quickly already. Hot cross buns are in the supermarkets. Back to school advertisements appeared from the 1st January.  Retailers seem to contribute to the sensation that the year is flying.  Ignore them, I say.

Just as I have decided to ignore Facebook.  More often than not, I would get annoyed by Facebook – for several reasons.  Over the years I’ve searched for alternatives but found none.  Google Plus wasn’t a valid one, I thought. Folkdirect seems a good basic alternative but no-one will switch.  Everyone is too glued to Facebook because their friends, family and other connections are there.

Anyway, the reasons:

I found that I was scrolling past a lot of updates because I found them boring, stupid, badly spelled or grammatically incorrect, or were photos of strangers. Why the hell should I see photos of a friend’s friend?  Most of the posts were totally irrelevant.  If I counted just the posts from friends I wanted to see it made up less than 10% of the “feed”, and even then I didn’t see all friends’ posts because Facebook decided I didn’t need to see them;

I loathed the “suggested posts”.  I could make them disappear with an app on my computer, but sadly not on the mobile and they pissed me off more than I can say.  At one point I wanted to throw my phone with force, I found myself so irritated.

Lurkers – the vast majority of my friends never posted anything, never commented, never liked anything – I forgot they were on Facebook.  What was the point of them being on Facebook?  To spy on others’ lives while offering nothing themselves?  It’s all take and no give.  Why should I share what I’m doing when they share nothing at all about themselves?  What I should have done, in retrospect, was just unfriend them.  I get nothing out of it, so why should they?  I’ve heard one say, as an excuse, that they didn’t know what to put up.  Well, how about what you’re doing?  That trip you went on? An opinion about something? Something that you read about in your friends’ feeds every day and never comment on.  I don’t know – I just find it a bit rude – like writing to someone and never hearing back.

The absolute waste of time.  I spent way too much time checking facebook for updates or possible comments or likes on something I posted.  If I got none, I felt disappointed and even rejected.  Not great for the ego when you thought something was worthy of posting.  But perhaps they didn’t see it?  I’ve had friends comment that they didn’t.  Thanks, Facebook.  Also, there were numerous times I went online for something specific but would check Facebook first and forget completely what I was going to do.  Not good.

Facebook can actually contribute to feelings of loneliness and negativity.

My family don’t actually use it much if at all.  Cousins, brother, and daughters rarely comment or post anything on Facebook.  I was getting nothing from them – the people I most want to keep in touch with.  Viber and email are the ways I keep in touch with bro and daughters.  I barely know my cousins anyway.

So there you go.  I’ve ditched it once and for all.  Already, after about one day, I feel more at peace and less irritated.  It’s a shame no-one will switch to folkdirect.  I’ll be there on my own.  There’s always instagram and twitter, but I don’t get the same sense of connection with twitter. Everyone tweets something but few actually have a conversation.

I’m also trying to ditch gmail accounts, which is harder.  I would have to let so many different organisations know.  I hate how Facebook and Google are so insidious.  They’re everywhere.  You can hardly do anything on the internet without having to link to them, and they follow your every movement for advertisers.  Google search has become really bad, coming up with totally irrelevant results.  They’re a joke.

Where there are alternatives, I will use them.

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Happy New Year.  It seems that a lot of people thought 2016 was horrible or expressed hatred for the year.  How can you hate a year?  It’s just a period of time.  I don’t think I’ve ever expressed a feeling of being glad to see the back of a year.  Time is precious. During any year you have good and bad.  Treasure those memories.  We’re still alive and have more to live.  Don’t take it for granted.

Anyway, I said that I would write about my trip.  I haven’t felt motivated, I suppose, because I kept a diary while overseas so felt like I’ve written about it, and also shared a lot of photos on Facebook.  I still don’t feel like writing about it all and uploading the photos again.  Perhaps in a few days.

So, I don’t have anything to say right now.  It’s a gloomy sort of day.  I guess I’m reflecting with sadness on past years and don’t really know what to do with myself today.  I got home about 2.30 am from C’s place and slept in until 10.25 am (after first being woken at about 6 am).  Since then I’ve mucked about, finally updating my genealogy blog at least.  I had thought about going out today but the afternoon is nearing the end and the weather isn’t inviting.  Tomorrow perhaps, although I’ve got to go and buy groceries yet again.

Sorry, a blog entry about nothing.  I’ll write later perhaps.  I’ll end here with my favourite photo of my mother (far more attractive than me), who died 38 years ago tomorrow.  She would have been 92, but she always said she didn’t want to grow old. (She got her wish. She never did. Be careful what you wish for.)

anne

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I will

I will write about my trip eventually.  At the moment I just can’t be bothered.  I can only put it down to depression – I just don’t want to do anything.  I have no energy, nothing seems to interest me, nothing seems to make me laugh, I just get annoyed at things (especially on Facebook).

I’ve only just recovered from bronchitis which I picked up thanks to sleeping in a mouldy hotel room in Yangon.  (Do not stay at the “East” hotel.)  So the constant coughing and wheezing hasn’t helped.  I was on antibiotics for a week (had to visit a doctor in Singapore) and antihistamines.  They seem to have worked.

Now I have a colonoscopy to prepare for this week.  I only found out last week that it was all on – very quick, but I can’t think of anything else.  I dread the preparation – drinking lots of revolting “preps” to empty the bowels and then the procedure itself.  It’s just hanging over me, so it feels like the whole of this week is a write-off.

So much for getting into any “Christmas spirit”.  It’s just a day of enforced “happiness”, eating, drinking, and maybe a gift or two.  It was easy to spend Xmas at my brother’s – he didn’t celebrate other than to have good food and alcohol – that’s all you need.  It helped being in the middle of nowhere too so you weren’t bothered by noisy neighbours or kids with toys.  I shall spend Xmas at C’s and it will be nice in their spacious house, but it’s still just an artificial day of meaninglessness.  The period between Xmas and New Year is also one of loneliness and heartache.  My parents died during this period so I just think of them and feel sad every year, especially if I’m on my own.

Meh, sounds like a dose of self-pity.  I need something to look forward to…

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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 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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