Last month, and December 2001

Here’s a summary of the top places this blog reached (for whatever reasons) in November 2019.

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Pretty modest really, but last month was up on October.

Now of course I am an Ancient Mariner of blogging, in proof whereof let us revisit December 2001 — except for some embarrassing bits. (If you want to see them they are there at that Internet Archive link!)

1 December: World AIDS Day: Stay safe and avoid complacency

Having said that, I mention that Ian Smith had some good news about a sometime Yum Cha friend whose recent visit to hospital caused much concern.

I reread December 2000 Diary (see Diary Key Page), and find it hard to credit the twelve months that have passed. One cryptic entry there is now cryptic for me too, as I do not recall what it referred to!

I have made additions both to the Gateway Page and to the page on Asylum Seekers. You will note a change to the subtitles of the Gateway Page, and alterations in my favourites. In its cryptic way, the third one is a tribute to the true highlight of my 2001. To which I just add: thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It continues to mean more to me than I can possibly say.

I don’t think I will have a problem recognising the reference there in twelve months time, assuming I am still on the planet. George Harrison, let it be remembered, was only six months older than I.

I am told George was an 80-a-day person.

I am pleased to report that despite a rather large number of hairy moments with withdrawal symptoms, I am still on track. The number of cigarettes is still zero. I feel the support of those who love me or care about me, and also value the good folk on Quitnet.

I promise to cease being boring on the subject of smoking in due course. Meanwhile, tracking my progress in public like this actually helps.

As I have said before, It took another TEN years before I finally gave up smoking!

6 December: Calmer…but not yet tranquil

Beware of a man giving up smoking, especially in the first week or two thereof. Do not confront him with sudden change or with anything that might tip his delicate balance. The result can be messy.

Friends need to be especially tolerant of aberrant behaviour. If they have supported the man in his project of giving up, they may be regretting their decison right now. They may be tempted to say “Please, start smoking again! We can’t stand this!” Do not give in to the temptation, but think of your friend’s better moments or track record over time, and remember that before long your friend will reappear as you remember him, and not as the writhing obsessive you see right now.

Yes, a good night’s sleep has helped. But I still need to be treated with delicacy… And on the subject of sleep, I blamed the 3-4 hours only I had on Tuesday night on two things: racing thoughts and leaving a patch on. Quitnet offers this on the latter: “Sleep disturbance almost always occurs in people who use the twenty four hour patch. Since your mind is unaccustomed to receiving nicotine while asleep, it can cause strange effects, including vivid, colorful dreams and difficulty sleeping.”

My best wishes to you all 🙂

 

10 December: Looking back over the week…and quite a busy day

I have found myself is the extremely odd position, as someone who was terrified of computers even until late 1999, that I am increasingly regarded by the English Department at my school as something of an IT expert. I actually did talk to a real one tonight, Malcolm, about some issues regarding our school LAN, and this may lead to a new perception of me at large! The Librarian is still amazed at the (rather easy) accomplishment of being able to tell her which kids have loaded games onto the Library machines and when!

Malcolm yesterday awarded his Quality Sustained Evil Award for 2001 (10 out of 10 score) to one of our fellow-diners. I can only concur!

Should my knickers get particularly into a knot in future, just say “Thumbelina” to me. If that doesn’t work, shoot me.

Over the past week one plus has been learning that I have some very remarkable friends that I need to treasure carefully. I have also found my feelings to be truly deep, and learned that needs to be husbanded carefully too–with an eye to the good of all involved. Wise but cryptic tonight, but one day all may be revealed. Not now though. I am very happy though, in the event… And so I bloody well should be.

15 December: My brother.

My brother and his partner have been living in Tasmania for many years now; I am not quite sure how many, but certainly more than five. Before that they lived in various parts of Queensland.

One of the ironies of their life together was that they were both married on the same day in Sutherland, way back in 1955, but in two different churches and to two different people. My brother’s first marriage lasted ten years, and it was after the end of that that he and Norma got together. I remember once saying to them that they could have saved a lot of trouble by getting it right on that day back in 1955, to which my brother replied, “Oh well, we still celebrate our wedding anniversary.”

While my brother and I have been in regular contact by phone, especially since our mother died 1n 1996, I have not seen him for many years, and Norma even longer. Unfortunately there is no way I can go down to Tasmania either, not that I could do much.

Ian and Norma were together for over thirty years. A second attempt at partnership suited both of them. They were kindred spirits, and were very lucky to have found each other. In the past few years Norma was basically bedridden, constantly on oxygen for her emphysema. My brother could not have been more loving and more devoted. He certainly had more peace and happiness with Norma over the greater part of thirty years than he had ever had before.

He’s not a young man now; neither of us is. I am not sure what he will do eventually–stay in Tasmania or move back up north. At one time he said he might move back to Queensland, should anything happen to Norma.

My brother had four children by his first marriage, some of whom I see from time to time. Norma had at least one daughter, whom I met, by her first marriage. Ian and Norma had no children by their relationship.

And yes, I won’t harp on it, but Benson and Hedges had a hand in Norma’s suffering and death.

 

The deep blue skies wax dusky and the tall green trees grow dim
The sward beneath me seems to heave and fall
And sickly, smoky shadows through the sleepy sunlight swim
And on the very sun’s face weave their pall

Let me slumber in the hollow where the wattle blossoms wave
With never stone or rail to fence my bed
Should the sturdy station children pull the bush flowers on my grave
I may chance to hear them romping overhead.

–Adam Lindsay Gordon

And finally:

23 December: Almost Christmas

Yes, so close, but I still haven’t done my cards! Looks like I will be making a few phone calls, sending email or ICQ, visiting some (hopefully) and, a last resort, sending late cards.

Yesterday I went to the Green Park Hotel with Sirdan; in time PK, James, Sailor A, and a number of others, joined us. PK gave me a very nice bottle of whisky.

Today is another Christmas gathering at the Forresters Hotel, and it would appear quite a few are coming to that. The gathering there a couple of weeks ago was very pleasant indeed.

I received a lovely card from “Master Fu”, an ex-student (class of 2000) who has been doing well in Advanced Mathematics at Sydney University. He has a delightful way of expressing himself:

There are many thanks for many things, none of them comes easily with words, for gratitude is the heart’s memory: thank you for everything you have done. Yours, Xiang

Really nice.

If yours is a family Christmas today, have a really good one; treasure those times, as they do pass.

LATER

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The Forresters offered T-bone and mash as their $5 grill today, and it is so long since I have indulged in something so decadently Western; it was delicious. Company comprised Sirdan, James, Malcolm, the Empress, Bruce, Sailor A, Dark Cloud (a rare manifestation) and myself.

Still around…

My niece Christine contacted me yesterday, concerned that she hadn’t seen me on Facebook lately. I had in fact posted several items the day before! But I do indeed tend to repost items from media, my blog, and fellow-bloggers on my feed — though not randomly — which makes me suspect the issue with my niece has been the 2018 changes to the Facebook algorithm.

The other thing is that I am no longer on the internet from home, preferring free connection whenever I can find it — as here at City Diggers, for example.

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I did also have a food-poisoning attack Tuesday night through Wednesday — thanks to some dodgy Primo sliced English ham — and didn’t venture out until Thursday, and then mainly to post my footy tips at Steelers. Later I ate more than I should — though it was very good — at Illawarra Leagues, meaning a little more recovery was needed yesterday. But I seem to be doing well enough today.

Been reading though. More books from Wollongong Library, but more on them later.

Coming up to seven years since I smoked!

 March 2011 revisited — 1

Here’s how it began for me:

And that dominated this blog for the next couple of weeks, though by 9 March I was back home.

Of course that should be 2011…

Meanwhile. and not unrelated:

  • 30 days, 17 hours, 34 minutes and 24 seconds smoke free.
  • 1537 cigarettes not smoked.
  • $992.00 and 11 days, 17 hours of your life saved.
  • Your quit date: 2/28/2011 2:00:00 PM

The quit date is the approximate time the ambulance arrived…

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NOTE: The Quitnet calculator is no longer with us, but as a guess, seven years 2011-2018 would roughly be 130,000 cigarettes not smoked!!!! That’s over $12,000 a year times seven! $84,000!!!!

On mental illness in Wollongong

I was shocked by this on last night’s local WIN News.

Hundreds took part in Wollongong’s Walk for Pride this morning breaking down the stigma and starting conversations about mental health.

Currently, one in two people in the Illawarra is struggling with a mental health condition.

That Walk of Pride looks as if it was a good event. I didn’t see it as I was at home doing overdue laundry.

It took years for Woonona’s Madelaine Dunning-Baker to speak out about her mental health issues, but now she’s leading the charge.

The 21-year-old was the ambassador for Wollongong’s fifth Walk of Pride on Thursday – an annual event which promotes acceptance and understanding.

She led hundreds of Illawarra residents with a mental illness, their carers and supporters, and local service providers in the walk which culminated in an expo in Wollongong mall.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Share the Journey’; something Ms Dunning-Baker said has helped her to finally fight her demons….

South Coast Private Hospital CEO Kim Capp said such events not only helped stop the stigma of mental illness – which will affect one in four people at some point in their lives – they helped raise awareness about the supports available.

‘’For me this is a very important event for the community, for people who live with a mental health condition, their families and service providers,’’ she said.

‘’We know how very difficult it is for people to navigate the mental health system – so the expo provides them with a one-stop-shop to find out about all the services available in the community.

‘’Of course as well as educating our community about what’s out there, it’s also a celebration of well-being.’’

As part of the awareness month, Wollongong City Gallery is hosting an exhibition of artworks by patients from the Wollongong mental health hospital.

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South Coast Private Hospital, Wollongong

It is a fact that when you walk or bus from Wollongong Station one of the biggest complexes between the station and Wollongong Central is that private hospital and clinic. Makes me wonder about Wollongong! But the “one in two” quoted in the WIN story does seem a bit much! Compare Health Stats NSW.

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What I saw in December 2014

Photo recycle from Monthly Archives: December 2014.

Happy Christmas to all my readers

Posted on December 24, 2014 by Neil

Feel free to substitute a more relevant greeting if that is needed.

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That’s a view from my table at Diggers yesterday after lunch. Note the big x-ray envelope on the chair. As I said on Facebook: “Chest pain: not good at my age or any age. Went to doc. Probably muscular, but ECG not unambiguous. Need to recheck 27 December… If it gets worse, I call an ambulance and go to hospital. If not, better! Whatever, I still sing the praises of our health system — thanks Gough! No matter how it has altered, it is still far better than almost any country you can name. Protect it, people!”

OK so far.

Winding up the Redfern visit

Posted on December 13, 2014 by Neil

From Sunday 7 December.

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In Redfern Street

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These buildings have had a most interesting history over the past 40 years. Great and not so great, but rarely uncontroversial, things have happened here. See Church Mouse (A small voice from St Vincent’s Redfern), Redfern Jarjum College, and Jarjum College opens amid hopes and concerns.

REDFERN: Jarjum College, a new independent Catholic school for Indigenous children, was officially opened on April 12 [2013]  before a crowd of over 500 people. On the site of the former St Vincent’s Presbytery in Redfern Street an old building has been transformed into a small school with a current intake of 20 students…

…In officially opening the school Governor Bashir thanked the children and the work of Principal Beatrice Sheen as well as mentioning her own family connections to Redfern through her grandparents who lived in the area.

After working for a number of months at the new school, Lottie Ceissman is now one of its most vocal critics. She was recently dismissed from her role. As well as believing that she has been unfairly treated in her dismissal, she is also very critical of the direction that the school is taking and has raised strong concerns regarding the present quality of education at the school. “The Jesuits have come in with a ‘top-down’ attitude,” she said.

“They haven’t involved the local community. You cannot run a school like this. They are not learning reading, writing and arithmetic. They are learning how to do dot paintings. The principal is just trying to make it too ‘aboriginalised’. They don’t even have a proper play yard. I don’t want my job back. It’s an unsustainable place. They started 26 kids and now they are down to 20.”…

And then to Surry Hills

The Sydney visit ended with lunch with M at the Shakespeare Hotel in Devonshire Street — not as good as on earlier occasions as they mixed up our orders sending out very indifferent fish and chips instead of the much better grilled barramundi we were expecting.

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In the Shakespeare Hotel

M was a bit sore and sorry too as his bike had been hit by a taxi the previous Sunday. I guess all things considered he was lucky the injuries were not worse.

More from the Redfern visit

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Neil

From Sunday’s trip to Sydney.

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That’s the new building above Club Redfern

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And looking back from Regent Street/Redfern Street

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This street sculpture has caused some controversy. What do you think?

THE mother of deceased indigenous youth TJ Hickey is supporting a push to have the controversial Redfern Bower sculpture removed from the suburb.

The Bower was commissioned by the City of Sydney in 2008 as part of a $16 million upgrade to the Redfern St area…

Last Saturday: Wollongong Toy Run

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Neil

Back to The Gong for this entry. Last Saturday in Crown Street Mall I witnessed the 25th Wollongong Bikers’ Toy Run. This has become a Christmas fixture, not only here but elsewhere.

25th Annual Wollongong Toy Run (NSW); 6 December. Leaves 10.30 am sharp from cnr Shellharbour Road & Addison Street, Shellharbour; travelling to Wollongong Lower Mall (Crown Street). Please do not wrap toys/presents. Toys should be for ages 3—13 (ages 10—13 in most need).

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That’s the Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery, on stage, extreme left.

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Still in the present: Redfern revisited

Posted on December 8, 2014 by Neil

Sunday I took the 7.45am express to Sydney, getting off at Redfern.

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I hadn’t been to Redfern in quite a while. The immediate purpose of the trip was lunch with M at The Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills, but I decided, it being Sunday, to go early enough to attend South Sydney Uniting Church. I hadn’t been there for quite a while; I suspect this was the last time: South Sydney Uniting Church last Sunday. It proved a bit of a bonus because along with some old friends there were quite a few Indigenous Australian young people from Arnhem Land and Darwin down for some conference or other.

But on the way I paid another pilgrimage.

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Redfern Park

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Yes, home of The Bunnies!

Back in the present

Posted on December 6, 2014 by Neil

So humid, and so many storms lately! Here is the view from my window on 4 December:

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See Climate change: NSW to become hotter, more fire danger days and Sydney weather: The picture that captures story of city’s early-season tempests.

Yesterday morning in Crown Street Mall, Wollongong:

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Musicians from The Illawarra Grammar School