Another year

“Oh wud some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us” – Robert Burns

I need to lose a couple of kilograms.  They just attached themselves to my belly sometime over the Christmas period (ie early December to early January).  I have managed to get rid of all the chocolates and shortbread I was given for Christmas (by eating them, of course).

I love Christmas!  Christmas Eve was shared with my three daughters and their husbands, seven grandchildren, one (an only) beloved ex and her husband.

Christmas Day lunch (turkey with the works) was at beloved ex’s home with family and Canberra relatives.  After lunch, I drove to Sydney to share dinner with my brothers and sisters and their families.

I spent a few days down at Jervis Bay with my sister and her husband and managed to get in a number of swims in the beautiful waters of the Bay.  It is a beautiful part of the world and one day I just might move there.  On Sunday we visited Bundanon, Arthur Boyd’s home and studio on the Shoalhaven River.  Just wonderful!

Bushfires have been raging across Australia since the weekend.  So far there have been no human deaths but quite a few homes have been lost, particularly in Tasmania.  The extreme weather events will continue and we still dig up coal to sell to other countries to slowly make our planet uninhabitable due to extreme weather events.  I despise the coal industry!

Before Christmas I won one of 20 double passes to see a preview of the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery followed by a delicious breakfast. I’ll be going to the exhibition again when my sister visits in a month or so.

I have no great plans for the year ahead.  Life is good and I’m quite happy just going with the flow.

Meanwhile…

Family: I’ve had lots of cuddles with my latest grandchild – he’s so cute.  His dad and big sister appeared on page 3 of Wednesday’s Canberra Times riding their bikes around the lake. I’ll be going to Brisbane for a while to visit my youngest daughter, R, and her family (I have 3 gorgeous grandkids up there and miss them heaps).  I’ll be catching up with daughter 2, J, during the week and having fun with her two kids. I visited my sister at Jervis Bay for the See Change Art Festival and had a great time  – our youngest sister was also down there.  We then all headed for Sydney to celebrate youngest sister’s 50th birthday.

Friends: We had a Euro Vision Party the other week and had a ball.  Tonight we’re off to Pulp Kitchen for a dinner.  Last night we attempted to visit the Silk Road Markets at the National Museum – so did half of Canberra.  It was mayhem! I was the only one who actually got there and I didn’t stay.

Books: I saw Jeffrey Eugenides at the National Library the other week and bought Middlesex and The Marriage Plot – enjoyed them both.  I also dusted off To Kill a Mockingbird and enjoyed that immensely.  I completed a survey conducted by ACT Health and the ANU and consequently won a $100 Amazon gift voucher.  I may buy some books on poetry.

Carpe Diem

It’s a boy

Grandchild number 7 was born last Friday.  Lots of trauma during the birth but mum and bub are both fine and are now home. I arrived home from Sydney on Sunday and went straight to the hospital for a cuddle.

My baby sister turned fifty on Saturday and we had a family get-together at Parramatta.

May Day

Well bugger me! It’s May already.

So what have I been up to over the last couple of months?

Family: We’ve had a few family get-togethers.  My eldest grandchild, KMan, turned 7 and we had a party for him.  On Easter Sunday we gathered at my daughter J’s place for an easter-egg hunt and we had a family Dinner to celebrate a visit from my Queensland family.  Daughter K’s pregnancy is going well and bub is due later this month.  K is looking forward to starting maternity leave.

Friends: I continue to have regular dinners with BFF and her family which is always nice.  Our group of friends have also had a couple of restaurant nights, Friday night drinks, the odd lunch and a trivia night!  I managed to catch up with my former university workmates  for a lunch.  They want me back but I tell them they can’t afford me.

Movies: I went to the movies a couple of times over the past few weeks.  First I saw Coriolanus which I enjoyed but found a little jarring at times – a brave effort to present a Shakespeare play, originally set in ancient Rome, in modern-day Bosnia.  I also saw Margin Call with great performances from Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Simon Baker and others.  And of course, over the Easter weekend I dusted off my Chocolat DVD and had a good laugh and a bit of a cry.  I love that film.

Books: Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs has been sitting on my bookshelf for years and I finally read it.  He is a fine writer.  I also opened my copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare and read Coriolanus before going to see the movie.  One of my farewell presents when I finished working at the university last year was a signed copy of  Tim Bonyhady’s book Good Living Street, a story of several generations of his family from their life in Vienna, patronage of the arts, flight from Austria with the rise of nazism and life in Sydney, Australia.

Culture: My sister visited and we went along to the Renaissance Exhibition at the National Gallery.  It was interesting in that it covered a period when artists were beginning to use oil paints and moving to canvas.  There were some brilliant pieces but also a lot of pretty average stuff.  I much preferred the Picasso exhibition in Sydney that we saw in February.  While my sister was here, we also visited the Canberra Glassworks which was a real eye-opener.  It’s been around for a few years now, but this was my first visit.

Reunion: My high school classmates got together recently to celebrate our collective recent-or-near-future 60th birthdays.  The turnout was not as great as previous years but there were a few guys turn up who I hadn’t seen at previous reunions.  This was quite interesting given we went to an all boys school.  I was chatting to a couple of my classmates when another came up and asked me how I knew the two guys I was talking to.  I told him I went to school with them and then watched as he slowly processed this information.  It took a while for the penny to drop.  A photographer who came to take some photos also wanted to know how I was associated with this group of old, grey, balding men and seemed quite surprised when I explained that I went to school with them.  It was a good day and I look forward to our next reunion which will be in late 2014.

Other:  My new year resolution to keep the weight off is going well.  I’m now 16.5 kg lighter than I was last August! I just love being able to wear some of my old clothes.  The local ABC radio station has been reading out cryptic crossword clues during the Breakfast program and inviting listeners to come up with the answers.  I have been getting a few mentions on air (as Peta of Holt) for my solving ability.  Canberra is beautiful at this time of year as the leaves turn bright yellow, gold, red and orange.  I’ll need to turn on the heating soon.

Well, that’s about all I can recall.  Next post should have a photo of my new grandchild.

Tempus fugit

I’ve just returned to Canberra after another delightful few days at Jervis Bay.  And here we are at the end of February already.

I am really enjoying my retirement!

It has been a very mild and wet summer but I’m not complaining about that.  I have never seen Canberra look so green at the end of Summer.  We’ve only had a handful of days where the thermometer has nudged above 30.  Nevertheless, I managed to spend 3 days lazing on the beach at Jervis Bay in early January.

I’ve seen another couple of movies and enjoyed them both – Midnight in Paris and The Descendants.  And I just love the quote from the Descendants where George Clooney’s character says “you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing”.

We had a bit of a family gathering last Saturday night.  A cousin’s son does a Roy Orbison Tribute show and was playing at the Huskisson RSL Club.  Three of my cousins, a brother and a sister and their partners were all there to enjoy a dinner and the show.  The show itself was actually very good and it is always nice to catch up with the cousins.  We generally only get to see each other at funerals!  I also had a ball with some of my sister’s friends who joined our table.

Earlier this week my sister and I travelled to Sydney to see the Picasso Exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.  It was wonderful.  What many people do not know it that he was a very good drawer and could have followed a conventional path of painting life-like portraits and still-lifes but chose to take his art in a brilliant, unconventional direction.  I’ve booked tickets for my sister and me to see the Renaissance Exhibition at the National Gallery in 4 weeks time.

My youngest daughter and her family have moved to Brisbane and I really miss them, especially the 3 grandkids.  I’ll plan to head north during the winter and spend some time with them.  We spent a lot of time with them before they left.  My other two daughters are still here and we have had a couple of birthday parties for 4 and 2 year olds already this year.  And grandchild number 7 is due at the end of May.

The pace at which this year is flying by means that it will be no time at all before the new arrival is enjoying the cuddles and love of our family.

Carpe Diem.

TDOR Canberra

I went with some friends to Canberra’s TDOR ceremony yesterday evening.  It was held at The Gods Cafe at the ANU’s Arts Centre.  Quite a few people were there and once again it was pleasing to see a large number of our allies turn up to show their support.

G gave a wonderful talk (which should be up on Youtube in a few days) and the Gay and Lesbian Qwire sang beautifully.

As was the case last year, small plants were handed out to be planted in public spaces in honour of the trans men and trans women who lost their lives during the last 12 months because of transphobia.  (There’s one such plant thriving outside the ACT’s Legislative Assembly Building.)

In other news, I have now lost 12 kg and am happy to say I can  now wear clothes that I thought I would never wear again.  A couple more kilos and I’ll stop with the weight loss and concentrate on weight maintenance.

Lots of socialising coming up.The Denouement Dinner with the College of Law, the Legal Workshop’s Xmas party, my work farewell (retiring at age 60 to pursue a life of leisure) and my 60th Birthday Party in 4 weeks time!  Not to mention Xmas Eve dinner here in Canberra and the annual family get-together in Sydney on Xmas day followed by a few days down at Jervis Bay with my sister.

And come next May, grandchild number 7 should make his/her entrance into the world.

UPDATE

Canberra’s TDOR Video now available on Youtube

The video appears in four parts:
Part 1 and 2 – Gab’s speech
Part 3 – Tim’s speech
Part 4 – the Qwire’s closing two songs.

I’ve been poked..

..and I’m not talking about Facebook.  But more on that later.

Last weekend I had a couple of nights out where I found myself pretty much surrounded by strangers.  On Friday night I went to a local club where I had gone before with an old friend from the Democrats, expecting to meet her again.  Only when I got there, another of her friends told me that she wouldn’t be able to get to the club that night because of carer’s duties.  So I found myself with friends of a friend.  And I had quite a good time.

On Saturday night, another friend from my Dem days was in town and had invited a number of her friends to celebrate a significant birthday with her.  Again, I found myself surrounded by strangers as the other people attending were connected with her work or family.  And once more I had a really good time.

On Sunday I visited BFF and we caught up on all the gossip, cooked some dinner and watched a bit of telly.

And now for the poke.

Every 12 weeks I need to see a doctor in order to get a new prescription for my little blue pills.  I’ve been going to the same medical practice for close to 20 years now and it has changed quite a lot.  My original doctor there was murdered back in 1996.  Then a wonderful doctor there saw me through my transition to GRS and beyond before she went on a sabbatical.  Since then, I just ask for an appointment with whichever doctor is available.

So on Wednesday morning I went to see a doctor.  It’s bad enough when I have to pay over a large chunk of my hard-earned cash to spend a few minutes with a doctor who just pushes a few keys on her computer, prints out a prescription and then signs it.  But when she leans over and pokes my jelly belly and gives me a lecture on losing weight, it’s a bit much.  And then she made me stand on the dreaded scales! UGH

On Wednesday night I went to a talk at the University where the recent “Slutwalk” event was discussed and its role with respect to the annual “Reclaim the Night” rallies was questioned.  A really interesting discussion was had.  Many, myself included, found the use of the term “slut” to be problematic but the consensus was that both events are a response to men telling women how to behave to avoid  being raped.  There is room for both events (and more) with perhaps men telling men to stop raping.

I was invited to sit in on the first part of  the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council’s meeting last Thursday to consider its response to the ACT Government’s request for advice on implementing trans law reform.  I can’t comment on what happened at the meeting but I can  say that I’m optimistic that the views of Canberra’s trans community will be passed on to the government.  And I have to say that I am impressed with the number of powerful, non-trans people in this city who support our rights.

On Friday I got a text message from one of my daughters saying that she was meeting her sister for a chocolate fix at the Mall and inviting me to attend.  So at lunchtime I found myself with 2 of my daughters and 4 of my grandkids having a chocolate overdose.  While there, my youngest daughter said that she and her other sister had been discussing ways in which they could help the trans community and thought perhaps they could help by talking to people who are having trouble coming to terms with having a trans parent.  Have I said how proud I am of my daughters lately.  They are the best!

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