Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A very idle persiflage, somewhat aggravated and despairing

It is not so much that I have been idle, it is just that the things that have been in my mind are really not things I like to blog about. I cannot always be letting off steam, complaining about the technical confusion and ignorance, or the fairly torrential rain, or the cold, or the complexity of my future. No, I need deep and meaningful things to occupy my mind and thus be suitable and/or worthy thoughts to scatter upon the ether.

I had a go at writing a scathing analysis of the way journalists and commentators treat the political process, concentrating instead on leadership possibilities, public opinion polls, haircuts, suits, jackets, and, God help us, that our Prime Minister is photographed in a magazine and she is knitting a kangaroo for the expected royal baby. Shock, horror, gasp. No leadership challenge has yet happened and Kevin Rudd has just gone again to China, and there are only another two days to go before Parliament rises.

Anyway my article did not get published. Not that I was surprised. I suppose you cannot expect to get published if you criticise journalists and their failure to report what the Government, Parliament and its members are actually doing. Especially if you ask sarcastically whether the media owners and their hench-people are not rich and powerful enough yet. Don't worry, all the reactionary shock jocks are out there, blathering away, stirring up discontent by abuse and trivialisation.

So I am bit depressed, as well as angry, about the future of our polity.

Some tweeter poured scorn on the Prime Minister on the basis of what she knits might wind up being given to the homeless.

This made me really angry. I, and hundreds, nay, probably thousands of women are knitting and crocheting wraps to be given to refugees. I have made quite a number in the last year. My little group consists of wonderful strong women who are spending a lot of time and energy, not to mention quite a lot of money to pay for the yarns, to help desperate and homeless people in other countries. Such work makes us care for each other. And it makes us care for others - all those out there, out of sight, out of mind. It creates social capital. This is a small contribution overall, but it seems far more worthwhile than the sneering of journalists and shock jocks.

It is about time we recognised our good fortune, and ceased abusing, sneering and whinging.

I did watch, on the Public Affairs Channel (APAC), a Round Table discussion on the Constitution and on the referendum proposal (whether or not local government should be recognised in the Australian Constitution). It was held at Parliament House, in one of the committee rooms, with several MPS participating, and notable and erudite legal experts, political scientists, journalists and historians discussing the issues. It was a civil, moderate and reasoned discussion from which any viewer could learn a lot.

Did it get any coverage?

I bet not, except possibly in the Canberra Times, as its political editor is excellent, informed, erudite and well-spoke.

Why don't we acknowledge the good, as well as the bad?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The manifold irritations of life

Cliches thrust themselves at my tired and indignant mind. Having changed ISPs, ostensibly for the better, the faster, and the more reliable, here I sit clicking away, seemingly fruitlessly, and I suppose that when I get home tomorrow from classes, I must yet again face the the tedious and infuriating business of ringing the ISP and saying What the hell-....!

Something is not working properly and I am vexed. Very vexed, in fact. I should be working through the homework for tomorrow's Italian class, but am floundering around, clicking futilely here and there, and AM NOT IN A GOOD MOOD.

Today I had an Apple class. At one stage, I said, Ooh, I made a mistake. Evidently saying you made a mistake shows you are uptight and blame yourself, instead of thinking it through. Yes, I suppose so, but I still think I made a mistake, and so what? Nobody is perfect, and actually I am quite good at mistakes. Witness coming home and trying to make a new appointment for my next lesson, only to be confronted by a recalcitrant computer and sundry error messages, and then trying to work out what the hell it all means. It did not like my password. Neither does my ISP. This all means more time on the telephone trying to work out what the hell is going on and what the hell I should be doing about it all.

After several years of failing to learn more about the computer, due to ageing and ailing husband and associated worries, his death and the subsequent legal issue, I tend to think it would be good for life to go more smoothly and not to be so beset by puzzles and problems. And, if such problems rear their very ugly heads, that I could cope with them intelligently and bravely without wanting to smash it all to smithereens.

I am so tired of trying to be brave and positive.

Instad I will have a quick go at the Italian homework. Very last minute effort, this is. I do tend to try and fly by the seats of my pants.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Unfolding lives

As a child you make various assumptions about your future, and as you mature, you think you are choosing a partner with whom you share interests and abilities. So when you reproduce, there are inherent expectations. Or rather, there were for me. Somehow I expected that I would have a lot in common with my children, and that we would share the central passions and interests of our lives.

Life turns out to be quite different. It is not that I don't love my children or admire their abilities and achievements. I do, but there is always some feeling of surprise, that they do not seem to resemble me to any great extent.

They are themselves.

When my elder daughter was born, she looked just like her father. Red hair and all. When I carried her into the pharmacy a few weeks later, the pharmacist commented that no one could accuse me of anything - she had recognised the baby from her resemblance to her father, before she recognised me.

Newborn babies do seem to resemble their fathers. Perhaps this is one of Nature's tricks, to ensure the continuation of the human race, to make babies resemble their fathers. So that their fathers don't take one look, conclude that this child cannot be theirs, and kill it forthwith. Perhaps these refections are fanciful.

The endless variety of life, and reproduction never ceases to amaze me.

As babies grow, they grow into their very own selves. They don't necessarily remain as chips off the old block. Nor do they fit into the same old mould. Human genetics gives us infinite variety. It is all quite amazing.

And we don't know, of course, just what character, talents, characteristics a child will develop. A child is not a clone, thank goodness. We do not have a Brave New World. Not yet, anyway.

Because the character and personality of a child unfolds and develops gradually, we see something like a shutter by shutter  - frame by frame development. Part of the flowering of a human being is genetic, part environment, part chance, opportunity or circumstance. Repression, or lack of opportunity may stunt or thwart development or flowering.

It is my elder daughter's birthday at the end of the week. Living far away, I won't be there to share it with her. I will be thinking of her, and of all her achievements, in so many diverse areas. Of her life, her independence, her relationships, her mothering, her dancing, her positive personality and achievements, and the realisation of her dreams and ambitions. I see emerging some aspects of her life and talents which we share, and her continual expansion and widening of her horizons. I love and admire her. I wish her a happy birthday and many fruitful years.