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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

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Hmm

Another couple of weeks have gone by.

I think I am not feeling motivated to write here because I have started writing daily in the app Diaro.  I find it pretty good, especially combined with the swiftkey app which makes it faster to type.  I mentioned this app on Facebook along with a list of apps to use for the new year. Of course it was ignored.

As for Facebook, I haven’t deleted my account.  On the rare occasions one of my daughters posts something, I can view it.  I’ve become a lurker, I guess.  I have checked it a couple of times, but seriously, I’m not missing anything.  I still get that feeling of irritation so I’m well out of it.  I do, however, miss posting the odd observation or sharing an article.  I could do that on Twitter, I suppose, but I rarely go on there.  Folkdirect, as predicted, is a dead duck.

Well, while I’m here, I can say I’m thoroughly enjoying the Australian summer, compared to the crap they’re having in New Zealand.  I saw an article that mentioned that the place I used to live had the least sunshine hours of the whole country.  No wonder I was often depressed.  I’m a sun worshipper, summer being my favourite season.  Fuck winter.

I still haven’t written about my trip.  One day I might feel the urge.  It hasn’t come yet.  Maybe it never will, but I feel I should.  My hand-scrawled diary isn’t sufficient.  This blog, although public, is for me to look back on.

Well, that’s all I feel inclined to write about at present. Another update in a couple of weeks perhaps.

Breaking free

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.

A new year

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.)

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The colonoscopy experience

You can safely ignore this post if you’re not at all interested, but there are some who might be.  I was certainly googling a lot to find out what exactly to expect.

I had had a colonoscopy in NZ about 10 years ago but it was a vastly different experience.  Back then I was given a laxative the night before (and no-one had warned me about leakage overnight) and then it was a fairly straightforward procedure with me being aware (I must have had a local anaesthetic).  I’m pretty sure I took myself home and that was that.  I wasn’t told about any findings so presumably all was good.

I tried to get another colonoscopy about five or six years later due to differing bowel habits.  The doctors at the time looked at me blankly but duly sent off a request – a request which was denied despite there being a history of bowel cancer in the family.  Bizarre.

In October I went to the GP here in Australia and she sent a referral off for a colonoscopy just like that, without me even requesting one.  She warned it could be six months or more.  Less than a month later I got a letter and headed off for an appointment on my return from my trip, to be told the procedure was the following week.  I was given a script for three sachets of powder to take at different intervals the night before and the morning of the procedure.  I was told categorically that someone had to pick me up afterwards and stay with me overnight.

Two days before the procedure I was told to stop iron supplements and stop eating seeds and grains.

The day before I was to have a light breakfast and lunch of only certain foods.  I had egg and potato.  After 1pm no food.  At 6pm I was to drink the first sachet of Picoprep (made up with warm water then chilled).

The Picoprep was revolting.  The instructions said to drink slowly.  I couldn’t have sculled it anyway.  It was horrible – an artificial lemony taste but sour, so I cringed at every mouthful.  I read that the effects could start from about half an hour afterwards.  My wait was four hours.  There wasn’t an urgent need but I went to the toilet maybe three times before waiting an extra three-quarters of an hour before going to bed.  The advice was to drink lots of fluids, so I had to get up twice during the night just to empty my bladder.

I got up about 6.30am to make up the Glycoprep – a litre of the stuff, to drink over two hours from 7am – again made with warm water and chilled.  One litre is about four glasses and it certainly took a while to drink.  I thought Picoprep was revolting.  Glycoprep was more so.  I could only have a mouthful at a time.  I found that having a sip of tea between each helped a little.  The black tea tasted very sweet in comparison.

I congratulated myself on getting halfway through then prepared the next Picoprep (why so many?, I moaned to myself).  After the third glass of Glyco I was feeling nauseous and after the last (hallelujah!) I was feeling positively ill – bloated, nauseous and slightly headachey.  I drank copious amounts of water and teas but nothing could get the ghastly lemony taste out of my mouth.  And then it was time for the last Picoprep at 9am.  At least it was only one glass.  My god, I felt horrible.  It was a mistake to buy lemon-flavoured iced tea as a drink – the smell was too much like the preparations.

The effects were interesting.  From brownish splat to a waterfall.  It was a weird experience.  I heard the sound of gushing water but had no sensation of it passing from my body.  But no-one had warned me about the smell!  Holy fuck!  It wasn’t the normal pooey-smell from a normal evacuation, oh no.  It was much, much worse.

Anyway, relief that the prep was all over, I continued with drinking fluids up until 11am, finishing my last mouthful of herbal tea at 10.55.  There was a little more to empty but it all seemed to have quietened down by 11.30 when I walked to the hospital for the 12pm appointment.  I had feared having an accident on the way, but it was fine.  No such feeling (what a relief!).

Are you still with me?  Well done.  The prep over with, I waited at reception, after “checking in”, for three quarters of an hour before a nurse saw me.  Lots of questions and forms (which she had to fill in) and stickers galore.  Two wrist bands of my details then led through to change into the gown and a robe, then more waiting.  I felt dehydrated but had another hour or more (one-and-a-half-hours in total) before my name was called.  Seven others were in the waiting room with me and their names seemed to be called before mine.  I was about to ask how much longer, in desperation, feeling awful and headachey, thinking they had forgotten me, when I was finally taken to a room to lie down.  Another nurse and anaesthetist prepped me and then it was a “15 minute” wait.  Half an hour later I was finally wheeled into the procedure room.  I had waited three-and-a-quarter hours from my arrival.  Why?  Why ask people to be there for three hours, dehydrated and starving?

I woke up from a pleasant doze, thinking I was on an aeroplane.  It had all gone well, and the ‘doc’ said I was as clean on the inside as the outside.  No polyps but mention of diverticular disease and haemorrhoids.  I knew about the haemorrhoids.  I was given some sandwiches and a cup of tea and water while a drip continued to rehydrate me.  Then I got dressed and waited for C to pick me up.  To make it easier for her to get to work the next day, I stayed overnight at her place, but had neglected to bring my Myki card so had to wait for her to get back from work the next day to take me home.

What I hadn’t expected – the constant gurgling from the innards from the day before to the day after, the smell, and the waiting.  I was told to expect gas (as they insert gas to expand the ol’ tubes) and possibly abdominal pain from that pressure, but I didn’t get that.  Gurgling and a couple of urges to pass more brown splattiness the morning after.

I’m so glad to have that over with!  I’ll know what to expect in about five years’ time.  And note to self: take a book to read!

Thanks for reading.  I found one such post very helpful on my search for what to expect.  I hope you have found this so.

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…

Long time no write

Well, a month.

I’ve had a couple of trips since the last post – just outings, I guess you’d call them.  One was to Williamstown, which I had initially thought to travel to by ferry, but as it was very windy on the day I decided to go, I went by train, which was quicker (and cheaper).  Unfortunately, the wind was cold, so any plans to eat my fish and chips in the park went by the wayside.

I get ahead of myself.

Exiting the train station I walked in the wrong direction for heading south to the seaside, or to Port Gellibrand coastal heritage park, to be exact.  It was a roundabout route instead, past an interesting hotel with a Titanic theme.

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The park was more barren than expected – just a huge grassed area with a timeball at one end.

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I walked about two-thirds of the way then sat on the other side of the road overlooking the sea.  I saw birds on rocks and with my camera identified them as cormorants.

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The seagulls were fun to watch as well,

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and the container ships in the distance.

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I wandered back towards the shopping area, spying a Willie Wagtail hassling a raven (must have been a nest nearby).  The raven wasn’t at all bothered.

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I wandered out onto the pier.  It was a pretty strong wind.

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It was early for lunch, but the cold wind made me want some hot fish and chips at the renowned fish and chippery.  I sat out in the sheltered part behind the shop and protected my food from a persistent seagull (who I was just about to take a photo of when someone shooed it away).

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It was a huge serving and very tasty.  I couldn’t finish all the chips.

I headed over the road to the information centre and grabbed a few brochures on walks around Williamstown.  I like visiting local botanic gardens so headed that way.

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It was a small botanic garden but pleasant

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There were a lot of dragonflies around – I’d never seen so many.

I kept going towards the attractive beach, sat for a while and observed people, then walked to Williamstown beach train station.  There were a lot of secondary school kids on the platform so I headed to the carriage at the front and avoided them.  It had been a pleasant day.

The second, more recent, outing was by car with C and W to Daylesford and Castlemaine.  Earlier in the year I had wanted to go to Castlemaine by train but then winter set in.  C wanted to go to Daylesford on the way.  W drove but wanted a coffee before we got there so we stopped at Macedon, a little village at the foot of Mount Macedon.  It was a sweet little place.

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We sat in the warm sun and had our drinks (it was wonderful to finally feel some warmth, such a crap spring it’s been).

Onto Daylesford and parked the car to wander the shops and find somewhere to eat.  A nice place.  I haven’t yet come across a rural town in Victoria that isn’t attractive. Maybe it’s the architecture.

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We had lunch at a vegetarian place but had to wait ages for our food.  I wasn’t impressed.  I don’t like wasting time waiting for food.  It impacted on our visit to Castlemaine.  After lunch we visited the botanic gardens on Wombat Hill, and I was delighted to hear the sound of kookaburras.  The sound always makes me grin.  W spotted them in a tree.

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That had to be the highlight of the day, really.

My initial plan for the day was to visit wineries near Castlemaine but as C is a drinker of cider, decided to visit the nearby cidery.  This made us late for visiting Castlemaine but it was very pleasant in the sun with our sampler, and we liked the cider so much that C and I bought a couple of bottles each.

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By the time we got to Castlemaine, it was about 4.30 – enough time to have a brief visit to the art gallery and museum.  Much of the painting was modern – I’m not a great fan, preferring the more traditional landscapes.

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We had a brief walk around but everything was, by now, closed.  Incredibly, for some insane reason, the botanic gardens are closed in the weekends.  How bizarre is that?  Isn’t that the ideal time, when people have to the time to visit, to open them?  Just weird.

Again, some wonderful architecture.

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We headed back to Melbourne and I enjoyed the countryside.  Some of it reminded me of NZ, especially on the back roads that we took.

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We had dinner in a Malaysian restaurant in Flemington, then C and W dropped me home.  It had been a great day.

I won’t write again until after my Asian trip.