Friday, November 30, 2012
So I have started back on the social scene having taken time out to regain my bearings.
Tonight I was out to dinner with two extraordinarily odd gentlemen. Both exceedingly polite but both with incredibly focused issues that they were passionate about and really detested.
One was an avid apple computer hater....I love my apple products, but I'm also ok with PC's. Made for a bizarre moment in the conversation when they described their distaste with extreme fervor.
The other hates Toyota cars with the same passion.
Dinner was fairly mediocre but the conversation was fascinating. Apple hating man was also craving to be centre of attention. This proved frustrating but not so as his snobbery to wine....I like good red wine but refuse to pay anything over $40 a bottle when the restaurant has cheap food. That's the sort of place we were in.....the wine price was incredible.
The food took two hours to get to us and I was struggling to remain focused.
I should point out we were the only three at dinner.....I had no light relief.
My brain now hurts from the intensity of the conversation based on things that make you so passionate about hating them.....
Before you ask where I've been.......I will tell you eventually but I have decided to now use this forum to sort out my social life and again with no names.
Monday, June 6, 2011
There is a tradition throughout Europe where padlocks are clamped onto a bridge with names or initials on them. It is to signify true love....the major places where I saw this tradition was Paris, Florence and Verona.
So many things amazed me about Paris - in particular the artworks, the architecture and the general atmosphere. Life seemed to begin 9pm each evening......not sure when it ended as I was tucked up in bed as each day had a new set of adventures that had to be undertaken.
I learnt many things here......communication is incredibly important, ie where and when to meet your travel partners when you even THINK you might separate.
Highlights of Paris.....The Louvre - but not for the Mona Lisa.....just everything else. My jaw was constantly in the open position! Palace at Versailles and the overall architecture.
(General architecture....grand staircase in the palace in Versailles and a quick look at the gardens there....)
Things that I wasn't to fussed over....The queues at the Eiffel tower and everywhere else and the fact that there were army officials with machine guns at all the major features.
I loved the interesting things there that were different from Paris. The fact that many people did not speak English which challenged my French speaking abilities. I have to say that I loved the challenge and it has sparked a little interest in my linguistic skills.
Did I dance on the bridge? No......but only due to it's age and width.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sure enough, I got into bed and did not sleep for 5 hours!
I then slept for 5 hours.
I then sort of got through the day in a slight delirium.
10.30 pm got to bed and asleep. Awake midnight. No more sleep.
Sunday was my godsons 4th birthday. Nothing like going to a 4 year old party when you are vague as all giddyup!
Dozed on the couch at 6.30pm....awake at 7.30pm. Bed by 7.45 asleep not long after. I woke at 5am this morning. I am still very tired but I am not delirious. The aim is to have another early night tonight......maybe after my current favourite tv show has finished.
I will review my trip and put in a few photos tomorrow.
Thank goodness I don't have to work until next week!
Monday, May 16, 2011
We arrived yesterday and it was warm, today not so. As we left the hotel it started to spit a little but this soon became quite strong rain and we all ended up going back for umbrellas and warmer tops.
The past four weeks have been interesting if not very educational. As usual, you learn lots about yourself as you travel but most importantly you learn about others. One of the women - the one who wanted to sit a lot in Paris, is really quite painful to travel with. To give her some credit this is her first major journey overseas besides Bali and she is extremely set in her ways. I am frustrated with her continually comparing, out loud, the city, service, food, whatever to that in Melbourne. Yes, I realize that I live in an amazing city BUT we are traveling and things will be done differently. It's like comparing apples and oranges. I cringe each time I hear her open her mouth in regards to the situation we are in.
What frustrates me mainly is that she orders from the menu without asking any questions then complains when what is delivered doesn't meet her expectations. The classic line today might explain things far more clearly....."the Italians could learn a lot from the ones in Melbourne." This line I couldn't let go as it was so patronizing......I pointed out that the italians in Melbourne have adapted to Australian expectations and what we get is one aspect of Italian lifestyle. She had a few more patronizing statements to make but I let them go.
Of my own opinions regarding the food - I have only really had one bad meal. This was in Barcelona on our last night before getting on the cruise ship. It started raining and we dived into the first place and ordered a few things. One of my companions looked at a few 'specials' on a poster on the wall and was told "no madam, they are decoration only." I decided that a local meal would be good....no. When in Barcelona do not get sausage and beans. That's what you get...nothing more nothing less. It was disgusting. Everything else I have ordered has been an adventure but always tasty.
I was expecting to enjoy the cruise but have now realized that life is not for me. Don't get me wrong, I haven't minded having someone do make my bed everyday, cooking for me and waiting on me. That has been a joy but when I travel I like to spend everyday looking at things. In the thirteen days of the cruise we had six days of "at sea". This frustrated me. My traveling companions seemed to like the down time but I really wanted to explore the places a bit more by land...not scoot on by on water.....Then there was the on board entertainment.....it felt like they were trying to set up a three ring circus for the entertainment of the guests.
Some of the things were really good but I was a mostly nonplussed by the rest. The night shows in the big theatre were thoroughly entertaining. The onboard musicians were amazing and extremely hard working but I don't do the nightclub thing at home and found the night time discos a bit too blech.
The friend I went with loved everything that they offered. She has done a cruise before and knew what to expect and was trying hard to get me interested in things. I did do a few things and did enjoy the hotel aspect of it, and for a day found the resort life great but cruising is not for me...at least not for the next 25 years.
I loved Greece and Italy. I'm not certain about Turkey. There were amazing things that I saw but I found that I was exhausted at the end of each and every day from having to concentrate on person to person dealings. The crush of people in Istanbul was suffocating as was the lack of women in prominent positions in tourist places. I learnt that if a man approaches you in the street to assist you, he wants to sell you something. This made for a few interesting encounters on our first day in Istanbul until we worked out the lay of the land.
My bartering on the second day there was getting quite good, although I still have a lot to learn. At least I can say that I paid no more than half price for anything...I think on a few things I might have been to cut the price further but when you calculate from one currency to another, then we paid nothing for what we got.
My favorite line in the Grand Bazaar was from a handbag salesman "let me sell you something you don't need". At least he was honest.
I've also had this bizarre experience of collecting phone numbers of men in nearly every city. It has been unusual but has done my ego a great deal of good.
There are things I will change about myself when I get home....I am planning on being out a little more than what I am. I am also going to ensure I speak more than one language. I have done well with my high school French and musicians Italian, but it is not enough.
I also want to make sure that I buy a house when I get home....numb one priority.
I have loved my travels but I am ready to go home now.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
It's always interesting to get on a plane and finding yourself in another country and really discovering your inner strengths.
I am traveling with a group of women that I really haven't really known before this trip. A week down and all is going white well. Of course there are the teething issues as we try to work out our differences of personalities...... We are four women who have been. Around a while and we are strong personality types. The woman I am sharing with is lovely and the most caring woman I have known, but I am a little frustrated by her nattering away to herself as she gets things ready in the morning.....night time nothing emits from her mouth as she sorts out her space so I find it interesting to have her chatting lots in the morning. I am not really a morning person so I have to look past this - which I am, but it is an idiosyncrasy that I find a challenge. I know that I have my own challenges for anyone sharing with me.
Paris was probably the best place for us to work out the way we work together. It is generally a safe place. Sure there are pockets, as in most cities, where it is dangerous but we are discovering how we work in a gentle place. I have discovered that I am the navigator and the interpreter. Today I even became the tour guide. I take 100s of photos a day then edit them down......it's fabulous.
Highlights of Paris include the view from the Eiffel tower and the amazing chocolate drinks I have had.
I have really hated the queues and did suggest we get out tickets for most of the major attractions, but it didn't happen so we waited a long time for tickets.....suggestion for future travelers buy your tickets early! Future trips for me will mean this.
I am tired due to little sleep and the fact that I am traveling with two women who believe you should be moving all the time....even without a real purpose....we discussed this over drinks and dinner tonight and I suggested again to purchase tickets to major attractions as soon as we land at our hotel in barcelona.....there now seems to be agreement over this. Once in the new hotel, I will write further...if there is free wifi...gotta love that!
Friday, April 15, 2011
The day that I moved house my mother ended up in hospital and it was discovered that the cancer that she had dealt with a few years ago has re emerged. Her protein count was high and the oncologist felt that we needed to reduce that. She started on a treatment of chemotherapy.
A month later and the protein count had halved. Another month and the protein count had halved again BUT a lump had appeared in her groin region.
I took her to her specialist appointment and we discussed the new lump. Off we went to get a biopsy under ultrasound. I saw the size of the lump and it was massive considering where it was. 6.5cm x 4.9cm. Way too big for the body no matter where it is! I kept a straight face (read poker face) while I looked at this lump appearing on the screen in front of me.
My sister took my mother to her follow up appointment with the oncologist on Monday this week. He asked mum what she wanted to do. His discussion before asking this question was along the lines of we ignore the blood readings (all great and dropping) and notice the lump (growing by the day) as this is a real indication of what is happening in the body. The lump indicates that the cancer has taken a hold in the body and that even if mum took on the chemotherapy and radiotherapy, there is no guarantee that it will work.
Before any treatment (chemo/radio) we have to reduce the fluid in her leg. Her right leg is 2 - 2 1/2 times the size of her left leg I believe.
So mums decision was to reduce the amount of fluid in her leg. Then she is considering further...or she was until yesterday. Yesterday she made the statement "When I begin the treatment...." news to my sister.....
All of this is rather confronting to begin with. What makes the issue hard for me to deal with is the fact that my mother does not really want to deal with the information with us (her children) directly. After she had been to the doctor my mother asked my sister to ring the family as she couldn't deal with talking to two of my siblings. My mother then said that she was going to ring her friends........
I have been planning on ringing my mother to talk to her before I set off on my trip but she beat me to that.....
Her opening was "I haven't heard from you so I thought I should be the one to ring you...I thought you might need to discuss what I am going through." Why yes, I hadn't rung you as I was of the opinion you didn't want to discuss with your children your health.....we seem to be behind your friends on this issue, and then absolutely ripping the heart out of your kids when they don't ring you directly......damned if you do or don't.
I know that my mother is facing an interesting situation which may not work out in a positive way for her BUT I really wish she didn't sound like she was enjoying the ill health.
If I sound like I am being not being understanding then I apologise. My mother does not make it easy to help her......I love her but I hate her behaviour.
Having said all that, I am off on my trip and I will enjoy myself. I probably wont blog from there but I will put in some highlights for me when I return. Once I am back then I will think about the situation as is....
Monday, March 28, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
I arranged to meet a friend from work at 7pm. I thought at an Italian restaurant but she thought at the pub. In hindsight we should have started at the pub and ended at the restaurant.
One bottle of red purchased at the bottle shop and into the restaurant we go. The food was ok, we shared a pizza and it was just that.....nothing special like I am used to. (yes I am a food snob when I eat out.....especially on a Friday.) The conversation was quite good and after 1/2 a bottle of red each it was flowing quite nicely. I felt that there was something that she wanted to say but was not quite ready.....
After almost 2 1/2 hours we headed to the pub where the guitarist was playing.....or so we thought! I parked my car and in we went. I haven't paid a cover charge in years! Tonight I did. $7 and we headed to the bar. I got onto the non-alcoholic and my work friend had a shot of bourbon with a splash of coke.....ewww!
In amongst all of this a young puppy came-a-calling. This guy was 21 and he told us many a time! He insisted on buying us drinks - mere fact we had full glasses. In fact having a conversation with this guy was very much like trying to converse with a goldfish. The 3 second rule definitely applied with this guy. "do you want a drink?" "no, thankyou"
"do you want a drink? Can I buy you one?" "no, it's ok but thankyou."
"are you right for a drink?" "no, I'm ok"
At first I thought the pup was interested in me. WRONG! My friend was "cute" and the pup wanted to know if he could kiss her. When reminded that she had told him that she was 40 he decided that wasn't important. We then said it would be like kissing his mother......nothing..... The best part was the fact that he asked permission to kiss my friend from me! Once he realised that he was not going to be given permission, he left....
In amongst all of the non-action with the young pup, my friend decided that this was the time to let loose about her marriage. I copped an earful. I haven't met the husband and so could only stand there and nod my head and make the right noises. Not really much help. (I also decided that she might just be high maintenance......just putting it out there. Got no real ideas about it though, it was just my gut thought.)
I know that my friend wanted a BIG night out as she is bored with home....she never goes out, but I couldn't do that. 11.10 I was ready to get out the door. I told my friend and she agreed, although a little reluctantly.
If the music had been decent, the crowd just a little older (maybe by 10 years!) and there weren't so many idiots out, I might have wanted to stay. I had a good night really.......I think I did before the pub!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I'm reading some interesting books at the moment....
- Who's Pulling Your Strings? - basically a book that looks at how to change how you respond and set yourself up for manipulators.....
- Habits Aren't Just for Nuns - a book that looks at how you set yourself up, particularly your mindset, for healthy relationships.
- The Art of Loving - a much older book (written in the 1950s) that looks at the world of love and the various love relationships you can have, starting with the self.
I also feel that I have the ability to look at where I am in a much more relaxed fashion without the overriding feeling of guilt. That's not to say that I am not susceptible to stupid thoughts, but rather that I am able to actually recognise them (hopefully) and treat them differently to what I have done before.
This is the first weekend, or even weeknight, that I have taken any work home with me. I made the decision to not engage heavily with my work. It seems to have paid off. I will work a little later each night of the week, but I feel that I give enough during the day and that I need to ENSURE that I switch off as much as possible. This weekend I have really played with a wikispace for my senior music students. I have uploaded so much stuff and set up pages which I can add to throughout the week. It excites me no end! By setting this up, I am hoping that I have extra time in the class to do practical work with the kids.
I feel much more in control than I did in Jan.....
Saturday, February 26, 2011
I have had time to think about what I had written and what I was really going through.
I discussed the post with a couple of people and after I had thought through what I had said, what had happened and my reactions, I decided it was better to get rid of it.
The post wasn't a true indication of who I really am.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I am not the happiest at work. I love my job.....
I love the kids.
I love my peers.
I don't love the crap that goes on elsewhere within the workplace.....things that make me have to balance my creativity with the work place ethics/policies and anything else that detracts from my ability to free-form think.
The analogy of my life (according to my counselor) is the soul is like music - it can be bold, it can be vulnerable and it can be beautiful. The teacher aspect of my life is the guardian who is always wanting to protect the soul......It's always strong and is always looking for ways to protect me...
this is where the inner conflict starts.......this is where the question of who am I trying to please begins.......
I have a big couple of weeks (maybe longer) ahead of me.....
Just thought that you would like to be kept up with the journey.....
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I have just watched some ads for magazines that are telling me what I NEED. Basically, I need the magazine. I have also seen many ads for slimming products and companies. Having not watched tv I have realised how many times these ads come up! How many kilos can you lose in one month? How many dress sizes can you lose? Watch tv long enough and you lose your self esteem.
I have now watched some tv shows and I am wondering who wants to watch them? I think I will go back to the doctor imposed blackban of tv and current affairs......
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Had a great rant today at the ENTIRE staff I work with. What amused me was I pretty much called them all "pigs". But then if the shoe fits! (to do with a number of people's inability to actually get their dishes to the dishwasher and rubbish in a bin!) Obviously my friends are nothing like this!
I'm much more in control of the thoughts that dance through my mind.....Reading two great books to help me sort out the trash from the treasure. "The Art of Loving" and "Habits aren't just for nuns". Very simple to read and easy to understand books. Highly recommended.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
In this world of hi-tech, I have noticed that many who text messages and email have forgotten the "art" of capitalization. (ie to know when to use capital letters). Those of you who fall into this category, please take note of the following statement:
'Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.'
I cannot stress enough that proper use of grammar can be most important!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I returned to work this week and it has been good to get some basic idea of a routine sorted out. I have decided to leave work each day at 4.30, although today I failed dismally as I was talking to people that I care deeply about. Tomorrow is the day that I will start that plan.
Yesterday was a particularly hard day in my return to work. We were informed that one of the students from my 2009 year 12 class died over the weekend from natural causes.
He was at his girlfriend's house and got up, then collapsed. She was the only one there and tried to revive him but couldn't. He was/is 19. She - 18.
They believe it to be a heart attack - but an autopsy will have to be conducted.
I can only imagine the turmoil the parents of this beautiful young man must be going through. His younger brothers must think that they are living a nightmare. I know that when my father died when I was 12 I kept thinking that one day I would wake up and it would all just be a dream and my father would walk in the door. He never did, and I found myself in a spin most of the time.
I am blown away by such a tragedy. I don't know what to think, let alone do. This young man had a zest for life that was inspiring. 19 is way too young. I am angry, I am sad and I am numb from this news.
This is what I have learnt:
Hug your kids.
Hug your parents.
Be thankful for every day that you have.