Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Passwords and other ways of frittering away time and effort...

It has been a while since I posted. I could blame this sad omission on age and decrepitude, but perhaps, I think hopefully, I could blame the increasing waste of time spent on managing passwords. How to waste time and increase the already too high levels of frustration and confusion.
I do try to be organised. I really do! I write things like passwords down, and try hard to remember which is which. I reset a password only yesterday, and this morning it did not work, and I am sure it was not because I made a typo. Ah me, ohime!

If only I had a secretary! Surely that would help? I certainly need a gremlin exterminator!

And in the meantime, a tax return is due. I have spent time which otherwise might have been far more pleasurably and productively spent, in going through piles of documents. Yes, I know they should be neatly arranged in folder, and never ever allowed to hide themselves in miscellaneous piles. I am guilty on all counts.

I discovered no one had sent me a group certificate! Gulp! Why ever not?  I rang my tax person's firm, and was told that they can get all the required information all by themselves! Who knew? Not me! I spent some time on the phone yesterday with some of the relevant authorities, seeking to ascertain why they had not sent me the forms and the information. I am still confused, but when I talked to the tax agent, all became much more simple (thank heavens!) They will take care of it all.

Look, I would hate to have more complicated finances...And I hate the paperless society.
Although, having just sorted out my messy papers into a more rational and organised system (I hope) let me hope that not only is virtue its own reward, but things might be easier in future. And my chief tax advisor and I have talked and it seems all might be well.

But I realise the real reason why we reproduce... it is so the offspring can come to our rescue, in a loving, kind and tolerant way. And, of course, you realise that the real reason to have secretaries and staff is to avoid having to do all these things yourself.

I think I need now to go out for a restorative coffee.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

There is a party across the lane...

There is no point trying to get to sleep so far tonight. The pop music in the party in the house across the lane will keep going thump, thump, thump loudly enough to a) keep me awake, and b) make me rather irritable. Perhaps I should retaliate by playing an opera at top value, but I daresay those at the party would not notice.

The new neighbours are very pleasant. The house is new - rebuilt, as the old house was completely decrepit and had to be completely demolished.  A very old lady lived there, and eventually died. the house was sold, and then resold, and then completely demolished, and now there is a new house. As their party is sufficiently noisy to keep me awake, I am playing Handel's Ariodante, but am not concentrating much. One hopes that if it is background noise, you do not need tho concentrate, but somehow absorb it, and let it percolate into one's musical memory.That is the theory, anyway.

A friend and I went to see a film yesterday, of the opera Il Trovatore, which I love. The production featured rather elderly singers. Azucena and her 'son' Manrico both had greying hair.  And as Leonora proceeded, so as to take her vows to become a nun, I could not help noticing that she had pink nail polish on her fingernails. However, it is a fabulous opera, with glorious music, so I can excuse the pink nail polish. However I do not really like the transposition of a different period, from the composer's idea to yet another theatrical bright spark's new, improved and modern version. Often such productions do not work. This one did not, but the music is glorious.

In other exciting news, the tree across the road has fallen down. And this morning, there was a car parked across the entrance to the school, which rather impeded entry and exit. Sporting events take place at the weekend. Possibly there was some growling going on about entry and exits. I live in interesting times....

This afternoon friends and I went to another film. What a social whirl. And I am soon to go to Adelaide, with a friend, to participate in the Adelaide Festival. Wot larks...! More Handel. Oh yes, I can certainly cope...

Monday, 9 January 2017

After Christmas

Christmas was spent away, in my birth city, with family. It is a large family and the two children who live there are very far apart, so it takes more than an hour to get from one to the other. Depending on the traffic, of course. It had been my hope to contact old friends, but I did not manage to do so, what with family commitments and not having a car. I did see my oldest friend and her husband, as they live not all that far from my younger daughter.

We have been friends since we were five. Our parents were close friends, and Mary and I went to the same school, for the entire twelve years. Her mother died when Mary was five, and her father died when she was in her early teens. Her aunts then looked after the orphaned family.Mary is probably the person who has known me for the longest time, and whenever we see each other, conversation and laughter never flag, and nor does the affection and love between us. Even though I have lived in other cities since I was first married, and thus visit rarely, our ties and affection endure and flourish.
Back home now and the weather is doing its January heatwave effort, so being outside is not a good idea. Especially for people with fair skins.

Not much happens this month, so there is time to read all the newly acquired books. I finished another wrap for the refugees, in mauve and purple, edged with turquoise, and it is rather nice. The local market is open at the weekend, and there are lots of secondhand dvds and books to buy. The streets are livening up. It is a very pleasant and friendly area around here, lots of smiles and greetings and casual conversations. It is becoming quite hot, so I float around in loose clothing, contemplate my navel, read, and listen to lots of music. My choir recorded a CD late last year, and I have just played it again, and it is indeed rather good. Say I, modestly.

And as for the murders, violence and intolerance far, far away, I recall sadly the words of the great Tom Lehrer: there are some people in this world who do not love their fellow men, and I hate people like that!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Avoidance strategies

There has arisen in me a strange reluctance to write Christmas cards, and time is whizzing past, and is being squandered in crocheting, book sorting and rearranging, general tidying up, and trying my best to have long telephone conversations. I cannot think of what to write on the Christmas cards, other than Happy Christmas and New Year (which sentiments I extend to any reader flitting in).

I started writing. A list sneaks out, of how I spend my time - singing, Italian, crocheting, seeing friends, talking to  family, but it all seemed so ordinary and boring. Nothing much new going on.
Which is good. But it all seemed so boring. Not to myself, but to the hapless reader.

But I feel tired, - not so much tired as having lower energy levels - which seems related to getting older. It is easier to crochet, and to read, and to listen to music. To play CDs. There are so many of them that I doubt I could listen to very many of them before the edge of the mortal coil is reached. At least I have plenty to read, or to re-read. I keep buying books, both new and second-hand. The local second hand market usually has books as well as lots of DVDs,  and it is amazing what can be found. And my, how the finds can fritter away the time.

Discarding books (or at least attempting to do so), is a laborious and time-consuming activity. One must be reasonably certain that the decision to weed books is sound, and not merely due to tiredness or aggravation. I need to be pretty sure that I will never want to read this or that ever again. There is now more room on the shelves. That situation will not last...

I started re-watching I Claudius recently, and it was surprising to note how comprehensive and slow paced it is. Perhaps I will not persevere with it.

I will be spending a week with my children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, grandchildren and our descendants. And if I get my act together, it would be good to see old friends.

A couple of weeks ago I drove to Canberra, to attend the 40th anniversary of the medium density housing complex where my family and I used to live. On my journey from Sydney, I had a flat tyre, which was so scary. The steering was shuddering and I had no idea why. I phoned the NRMA Roadside Help, and had to wait for three hours before help arrived, and then had to spend time getting the new tyre put on.  It put me off highway driving.

At the anniversary celebrations there were lots of old friends and neighbours, many of whom still live there. It was so good to see them all, and to find that despite the years which have elapsed since I left and moved here to live with Dr P, the friendships and linkages were still there.

My son and grandchildren and I walked all around the complex, looking at the communal gardens, the plant growth, the things which have stayed the same and the things that have changed. Flocks of white cockatoos still abound: noisy birds that they are! At the Community Centre, there were quite a few speeches which covered the origins, construction, the communal building of brick paths all throughout, how we managed to get a communal swimming pool, and a communal vegetable garden. I used my iPad to videotape the speeches and to take lots of photos, and the screeching of the cockatoos continued throughout.

I hope to visit again and to keep up at least some of the renewed friendships.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Bracing for racing

Today is Melbourne Cup Day, a public holiday in Victoria, but not in my state. However I did watch the race, and listened to a lot of the commentary. Unlike my darling, talented horse-mad daughter, the racing photographer, I have trouble telling one horse from another, and nor do I like to get too close to a horse. They kick, given half a chance.

Some weeks ago I did go to the races, to look after my granddaughter while her mother worked, and I quite enjoyed it, but once was enough. And it did seem that if you wished to be taken at all seriously at the races, you would have to wear a ridiculous thing on your head, and stagger around precariously and dangerously in 5 to 6 inch stiletto heels.

I am not a gambler, being totally convinced that the odds against my ever winning anything, however trifling, are enormous and winning anything, even two bob, is far outside the realms of probability.
Back to the heels, momentarily. It does seem to me that wearing such high heels is both dangerous and very bad for your feet, and so it seems to me that wearing them indicates a certain female foolishness. And your feet will not thank you, as time goes by, for wearing them out far sooner than nature intended.

In the olden days I did wear high heeled shoes, and thought I was very glamorous. However, reality struck, and these days I go about in very sensible shoes indeed. Lace-ups with orthotics. And it did seem to me that if wearing high heels made you look so gorgeous, glamorous and irresistible, more men would wear them, (although I do remember that the men in one of other of the Georgette Heyer romantic novels did mince around in them).

Ah me, the days of reading escapist romantic fiction. I do still re-read Georgette Heyer, mostly because her writing is both excellent and totally captivating. Her books make good reading for  the ten to 15 minutes before you turn off the light and try to sleep. I am also re-reading Jane Austen, and a biography of George Eliot, and reading about how crabb'd and confined were the lives of women, makes me rather depressed.

Perhaps Melbourne Cup Day makes the mind move in mysteriously frothy and romantic ways.

At the weekend the choir gave two performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, which is quite wonderful, but an extremely strenuous piece to sing. Doubtless this is why I console myself with romantic fiction.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Election Day

Tomorrow is our federal election. The general expectation is that the government will be re-elected albeit with a reduced majority. It is a double dissolution. Changes were made to the voting system, and full preferential voting is now not compulsory.  It will be interesting to discover the effects of the changes. It is likely that there will be some degree of confusion about the changes to voting for the Senate. I await with interest. Perhaps the donkey vote will be less.

I have always  enjoyed election day. In its own way, it is quite a festive occasion. Lots of volunteers from the various parties offer their how to vote cards, and generally it is a friendly and co-operative day, with lots of chit-chat. Some voters accept all offerings, others pointedly refuse all but one. I expect I will be glued to the television once polling has closed, to watch the progressive count. In my opinion we are fortunate to have compulsory voting (although what that really means is that everyone attends the polling booths and has their name crossed off the roll )- and as  there is, of course, a secret ballot, no one knows how anyone else voted, unless the voters care to divulge their vote.

I have had an excellent MP. The last redistribution has changed the boundaries of my electorate, and so  I will be voting for a different candidate, who, fortunately, is also excellent. The voting system for the Senate has changed, and there will probably be a degree of confusion, but, one hopes that the informal vote will not be very large. The Senate will be interesting, as the preferential voting system has been changed. No one is making too many prediction about the effects.

The domestic front - today- was challenging. I came home after the knitting/crochet group meeting this morning to find a dead rat on the floor of the dining room, and I have no idea how it got in, let along how it died. My handyman, who is doing various repairs and improvements, might be able to work out the how and where. I sure hope so. It would probably be a good idea to call in the pest -exterminating people.

And then there are the human rats. I have had several telephone calls from people purporting to inform me that I have been evading tax for quite some years, and that there are warrants being issued for my arrest, and that I am liable for large fines. I am told by the police, my tax agent, and my local MP's office, that this is a fairly widespread scam, and certainly the foreign accents of the phone-callers seem to indicate that something is fishy. I reported all this to the police, who indicated that there was a lot of this sort of thing about, and that no, there was nothing they could (would?) do. My local MP took it on board, but no one seems to think that anything much can be done. You would think there should be some means of stamping out this kind of preying on people.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hobbling with intent

It is quite difficult to keep off your feet. It is about a month since I suffered this minor fracture and it seems that bones heal slowly. It is not nearly as painful, but has modified whatever tendency towards friskiness remains in this ageing frame.

Never mind. I have this morning swept up the broken glass left by the garbage collectors and my being is suffused with feelings of civic virtue. And I have phoned Bruce, who from time to time comes and does the accumulated repairs in and outside the house. I finished another wrap for the knitting/crochet group's rather impressive tally of wraps (aka hand-knitted/crocheted blankets).  And the alpaca jumper which has been under construction for - could it be almost a year? approaches completion. Once that is done, I can have a go at another jumper, of which I did the first row, ooh, maybe a year ago? One must always have projects on the go, and the stash of wool in my chest of drawers presents lots of challenges.

Some gorgeous blue mohair yarn - which has been biding its time for perhaps 20 years -  I know I have had the yarn before we moved from Old to New Parliament House - is now a jumper, knitted for me by a relative of one of the knitting group, so it does indeed seem as though, overall, national productivity has risen. And all of us in the knitting /crocheting group intend to keep it rising.

And I am reading a lot. Yesterday at the library I picked up a novel by Lynn Truss, and started reading it, but I don't know - it does not seem to work. So far. Perhaps fiction is not really her forte.

Thus disappointed, I picked up Dorothy L Sayers' Gaudy Night, which I first read years and years ago, and have continued to re-read over the years. But my copy, published by New English Library, Hodder and Staughton  has an editing failure. Harriet Vane, the heroine, is sending a reply to Lord Peter Wimsey's latest marriage proposal, which commences as a single Latin sentence, 'starting off dispiritedly, 'Num...? a particle which notoriously /expects the answer No.  Harriet, rummaging the Grammar book for polite negatives, replied, still more briefly,  'Benigne '-  but  this edition, doubtless produced  by either some idiot sub-editor or by an auto-correct function has substituted 'Benign'. and indeed,  my typed Benigne has just been auto-corrected. Aargh!

I hied me off to my local booksellers. Neither had the book in stock, and the second shop told me that it was in the process of being reissued. I bet the publisher will not pick up this egregious error.

I am restless. All this sitting around is frustrating. More briskness is psychologically necessary. And I want to GO somewhere, not merely hobble slowly somewhere.

Instead I will strive to finish the alpaca jumper. Not much remains to be done, except shape the neck, and this, alas, requires careful stitch counting. Then, of course, it has to be put together, and the edging done. Seize the day! Come the day!