Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I Walk

10am. I went for a walk. If sitting is the new smoking, I am heading for a premature death. So, that hour long walk every morning, must be doing me some good. Mustn’t it?

I listened to Willie Nelson. Stardust, of course.

I am still feeling very upset about Mark. Upset with myself, as much as I am upset with Mark. My response to him was terrible. I got that wrong. I didn't keep my cool. What to do now? It is moments like this that my yellow streak glows in all its saffron glory. I’m basically a coward, I know that. It is something with which I have always struggled.

I could say I was lost in my thoughts, I could say that, and while it is somewhat true, it is not true enough to say it… I ignored the construction worker’s instructions to use the opposite footpath at the corner of Queensberry and Lygon Streets, where they are re-developing the building on the corner. I had headphones in, but I could still hear her repeating the instruction over and over again, as if she expected me to comply. I don’t have the time, or the inclination, to cross the road to use the other footpath, I know it is probably your job, but sorry luv. I walked down the bike lane on the edge of the car lane coming towards me, closest to the closed footpath, thinking to myself, I can look after myself, luv. I don’t think she was happy, even if I didn’t look back.

And then there was another construction worker further down closer to Bouverie Street, where the construction finished. She took down the tape and said, “Would you like to use this footpath?”

“Yes, thank you,” I said.

Then she explained that the footpath would be blocked for the rest of the week and that if I was going to be walking through again, she suggested alternatives to what I’d just done. “There is a laneway just along Lygon Street a bit…”

“Oh yes, I know it.” And I will use that laneway tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever.

She will go far. She will be in charge one day. She did and said exactly the right thing to me… me, who, I admit, was probably appearing to be difficult, but really, I don’t want to put in all the effort to cross the street, and she handled it with charm and grace.

I felt a certain rekindled love for humanity after she and I had spoken. I did, I am not exaggerating. The sun was shining and I felt a certain spring in my step from her kindness.

11.11am. I got home.

I listen to Steely Dan, Aja.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Finances 101

A lesson in finances 101. No matter how friendly you think you are with your ex, no matter if you consider yourselves to be soul mates continuing long after you have finished your relationship, complete the finances, get everything sign, sealed and delivered, as they say. 

We had everything in both our names long after we were in relationships with other people. Mark had access to our mortgage that I had taken over as a part of our break up. He got one house. I got the other house and the mortgage. (We both already owned a house each when we met) He had access to, what was now, my mortgage and he used it as finance when he needed to. Both houses remained in both our names.

"It will be fine, Mark and relationship will never sour," I said to my friend Jill, which used to infuriate her.

"Don't leave anything to chance," Jill used to say. "Better to be safe than sorry."

"We're not leaving anything to chance," I'd reply. "You just don't understand what Mark and I have."

So for the longest time, my ex and I thought it would all be wonderful until the day we were old men staring at our final sunset. Eventually, at least 10 years after we'd split up, Mark got his finances straightened out because he has a kid, well, actually, the kid came of age and got it all straightened out for him. Mark always thought things would be cool between the two of us, as I did.

But, you know, as the kid straightened out all of Mark's finances, my still small voice said to me, as a gentle whisper, "time for you to do the same." I kept hearing this. "time for you to do the same." Yes, yes, I thought, I know you are right. "time for you to do the same." Okay, okay, already. 

And eventually, five years after that, I called our old Jewish solicitor, (we used the same solicitor, always did) Myron Swartz, whose first words to me were, "You know somethink, Christian, I have been vorried about jou for zee longest time."

"How so?" I replied.

"Well, Mark's daughter gave me quite precise instructions of vhat to do for Mark, but vhen I asked about you, she told me to do nothink. Nothink?  said Myron. "Zis vas crazy stuff! But, I hadn't heard from you, my boy, vhat could I do?"

"She told you to do nothing?"

"Yes, nothink," said Myron. "I thought it vas very strange. But vhat could I do?" 

I think Mark and I were Myron Swartz's first gay couple. And I think he kind of liked it, somehow. I don't know why, but I just got that impression. He always seems to take a shine to both of us. Mark always said he took a shine to me. "You know he wants you," Mark would say jokingly.

"There's a Mrs Swartz of 35 years standing." Myron used to tell me, my vife of 35 years. 

"Why do you think he always told you that?" said Mark.

"Don't be ridiculous."

Anyway, we straightened it all out, it took a little time, but then it was done.

Anyway, now it would appear, all these years later, that Mark and my relationship is souring. Mark has a few money issues. Mark is the Hare and I am the tortoise. He spends all of his money as soon as he gets it, and fortunately, he has always had a great talent for business, but, as I said, he never saves any money, never has any in reserve, which usually always works for him. And as I said, he is clever and he gets things done, up and running, in the time it takes other people to grasp the ideas of what they should do. It is, of course, a part of his makeup, a part of who he is, a part of his feelings of success about himself.

Me, on the other hand, I'm the tortoise. Steady and sure as I go. I always have savings, I always have money in the bank. I am very cautious with what I spend and in what I invest. I don't splash the cash around. I don't feel the need to pay for everyone. I don't ever want to spend all of my money. That just isn't something that gives me pleasure. I sleep soundly at night knowing no matter what happens tomorrow, I have the reserves to see my way through even the very worst scenario.

So, as it turns out, we have come to a point in our lives, when Mark is skint, and I am flush. Oh, before you feel too sorry for him, he has assets, just no ready cash. He has a large debt, that he is having trouble paying and he thinks I should have offered to pay it.

And I have said no.

And he is really shitty about it. He has always thought I did better out of our breakup, but again, I save my money, I don’t spend it. Apparently, we have always looked out for one another, (my interpretation of that is that I have always looked after him… and, perhaps, on one of my bad days, I might say Mark has always looked after Mark) and I have now betrayed the trust we have always shown each other.

I say, me paying his bills is not sustainable. He needs to take action to fix his spiralling expenses, me continually picking up the tab, when I no longer work, will only drain my finances as quick as it is draining his.

And besides, I am not his partner any longer, I haven't been his partner for 15 years. I have been with Sam going 8 years.

So, I am now very thankful that I did straighten out my finances and that they are separate to Mark's. Oh yes, I am very thankful. (Laugh) I'm not going to tell Jill that she was right, she would enjoy that just a little too much.

I kind of miss those days, with our Jewish Lawyer, Myron Swartz, and our Jewish Accountant, Asher Leibowitz. "Clayton to Caulfield," the two of them used to say. "Ve got it covered." What those two couldn’t come up with? I tell you. The laid back, well dressed, Myron and the fat, gravel voiced, chain smoking, always with his shirt tail hanging out, Asher.

Asher just smoked in his office, fuck OH&S rules.

“Can I smoke?” I asked questioningly when I first saw him in his office. It stunk like an ashtray.

“If you smoke, smoke. You wanna smoke, smoke. Smoke. I smoke. You smoke. We all smoke. You can smoke.”

“Okay then.”

“Here, let me get you an ash tray.” He’d dig under the piles of papers covering his desk for one. Mark hated Asher because he never stopped talking. Never… stopped… talking.

Myron had a neat desk, with only the applicable paperwork out on it. I’m sure he had vanilla candles burning somewhere.

Asher went to Guido to get his pot supplies. Naturally. I’m sure, Mark hooked the two of them up. Asher was a quite a head. Guido said he was one of his best customers. We were all devastated when Asher lost everything in the GFC and consequently killed himself. We were all upset, each, possibly, for different reasons. Best accountant I ever had. A huge number of pills and a plastic bag over his head, was his method of choice. Is that even a thing? I thought.

“Are you sure that it legal?” I’d ask Asher.

“What’s legal?” he’d say. “Who looks at it? Who decides? We all come up with different interpretations. It is all just a matter of how you look at it.”

I’d look uncomfortable with the explanation.

“Perception?” he’d say. “You just have to look at it the right way, to get the right answer.”

"I... see?"

“The department is too underfunded and too understaffed to investigate anything off its own bat,” Asher would say. “Economic rationalisation, the best financial friend we’ll ever have,” he’d say. He’d laugh his throaty laugh, and lower his voice as if the truth deserved its own reverence. “Everything I do is legal, babe. It is called tax minimisation, not tax avoidance. Use the rules, they are your best fucken friend.” He’d laugh again. “I’m not driving my business into the wall to get some punk a few extra dollars, pay the right amount, but don’t pay a cent above what you have to.” He’d slide another white filtered Kent into his mouth. He was always sliding a white filtered cigarette into his mouth. “Cigarette?” He’d hold open his wooden cigarette box in midair, holding it by the lid.

Myron retired a few years ago. 
(I kind of think Myron put the accent on, but that is neither here, nor there)

End of an era.

So many eras ending.

It seems like a different lifetime.

Love affairs, friendships, professional relationships, they all end, one way or another. You've got to be ready for it, be smart, or wise, and look ahead, see what's coming. (Shrug, hands raised up) Be prepared.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Blue days, sunny haze, come what mays, upward we gaze

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lime Marmalade

Lime Marmalade. I found an unopened bottle of lime marmalade in the back of the fridge, the other day when I was rummaging about back there. I don’t know if it just us, but we seem to have a mysterious collection of bottles inhabiting the top shelf of our fridge. I don’t know if that is usual, but we do? I make attempts to clean them out from time to time, but who knows when you are going to want that Indian curry paste, or that Hoi Sin Sauce, or those imported capers, or, indeed, that mint jelly.

If you had asked me, I'd never have said that I'd like lime marmalade, but I do. It is yum. My god, it is good. Go get yourself a bottle, I recommend it. Woolworths Select, was my, Lime Marmalade, of choice, it is glorious. A couple of slices of sour dough wholemeal encrusted with sesame seeds, your Woolworths Select lime marmalade and a freshly brewed coffee somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, heaven.

Where it came from, I have no idea. Sam is not a jam boy, I am, but I am sure I didn’t buy it. It is a mystery. The goddess Laima, the goddess of fate, whose sacred tree is the lime, (Do you get the dual reference?) was smiling down favourably, perhaps. Maybe it was sent from God. Marmalade from heaven. The Miracle of the Limes, we shall refer to it from now on. People may come from far and wide to see it? Oh god, let’s hope not. People are annoying, so I can’t imagine what people driven with the fever of miraculous contemplation might be like? Hideous. If I cook some toast and the image of Jesus with a lime in his mouth (his head in a baking dish post crucifixion) appears, I won’t be surprise.

But, I do recommend lime marmalade for your toast. Lovely.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Golden boy, lives in a golden house, during the day he lives like a mouse, because he doesn't want to be seen, but at night he comes alive and dances like a queen

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Give way To Pedestrians

Hands up those people who, when they are behind the wheel of their car, don't know they have to give way to pedestrians?

No, come on, there are more of you than that that don't know drivers must give way to pedestrians.

I do a lot of walking and it seems to be most of you who do not know this road rule. All ages. All types. Blithely driving through intersections, even when good sense would have told them that it was dangerous, narrowly avoiding pedestrians.

Who doesn't know that when they come to an intersection and there are pedestrians crossing, no matter from which direction you come, you must give way to pedestrians. I've had people tell me that when pedestrians are approaching them from the left and the driver is turning left, the driver doesn't have to give way to pedestrians.

A couple of times, just lately, when I have nearly been run down, I have banged on the sides of the cars with my fist and called out, "Hey, give way to pedestrians." I tell you, it gets the driver's attention. Some have even stopped to justify their ignorance. I simply reply to them, "Learn your road rules," and walk away.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Is This What SnowFlake Means?

I went to make a purchase. The items I wanted were $1.25 each, or 10 for $10. 

As the girl rang the items up, she said, "Have you checked them?"

No, I hadn't, but I did. And, as it turned out, one of the items was faulty.

"I'll just have the 9 then," I said.

"That will be $11.25," she said.

"Oh, couldn't I just have 9 for $10?" I was in a hurry and it was a charity shop and the money was going to a cause I believed in anyway.

"Um, no," she said. She looked quizzical. "Because 9 come to $11.25." 

"Really?" I said.

"Yes," she said.

"Okay... then, I'll get another one then."

She shrugged.

I went and selected another item and came back and put it on the counter. "That seems to be a bit silly," I said.

"How so?" she said.

"10 for $10," I said. "But I was willing to take 9 for $10."

"Oh, is it 10 for $10," she said. "Sorry, it is my first day here."

She turned to the fat queen who was serving on the other register. "Is it 10 for $10," she asked.

"Yes," he said. He looked at my items. "Oh... no... sorry," he dithered, "they are not 10 for $10, they are $1.25 each."

"No," I said. "They are 10 for $10."

"No, I'm sorry but they are not," said the queen.

"They have always been 10 for $10," I said. "I buy them often."

The queen started to open his mouth, but I spoke over him.

"Would either of you like to go and get somebody who knows what is going on?" I looked from one to the other. "I'll wait."

Well, they took offence. Apparently, I was being rude and hard to deal with.

Monday, October 23, 2017

I've Learnt How to Write My Points

I've learnt, as a direct result of having arguments/discussions via the written word, via some social media platform, or messaging, how to put my point forward without being aggressive, using bad language, or swearing. It is just as effective to state your case plainly and simply. I'm smart, I can construct an argument. If you swear, or call them the dickheads they clearly are, it just gives them a distraction and an effective "out".  Sticking to your own points and not getting distracted by what the other person is saying, is important too. 

I guess a university education does help a little. I've never given it much credit, I can't really remember it, nor did I enjoy it, but when I see how some people write so unintelligibly, I guess I have to give my education some kudos.

I used to come across as really aggressive, as some of my friends told me, now I employ an ask questions style, rather than a bombardment of what I think. And it works. 😀

We're learning all the time, I guess. My mother always said get an education. My grandmother said never stop learning geography, which in practical terms meant travelling. Be nice, society tells us all now a days. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Walked In The Rain

It got muggy and it rained. I went for a walk. I walked in the rain, it was warm and nice. I like the rain, when it falls gently from the sky, when it sprinkles like fairy dust, at worst putting crystals in people's hair. It was a bit humid, but not too much though, enough to keep me warm in my short sleeves. I had Lenny Kravitz on my headphones, his voice suited the day, just enough soul. I walked to Abbotsford and back again. The sky was grey. The colours were washed warm with a covering of raindrops. I like walking in the rain.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gotta Luv the Light

The sun shone down beautifully all day, the light sparkled, and it was hot. The hottest day all year, well, you know since winter. Lovely. I wore shorts for the first time this year, well, you know since winter. The dark is over, the cold has receded, the days are getting longer, and the warmth is on its way. I shivered with anticipation of summer, the first time I have done that since winter.

Actually, I quite like winter, and I hate the extreme heat of mid summer, never the less, I love the light and the longer days of summer, despite the heat. The warm, minty breath of summer floated through the house all day, that fresh air that feels as though it has never been sullied, never been anything but new and fresh.

I washed Buddy late morning, he gets a rash in spring, it is some kind of allergy, the vet thinks. I'm going to have to wash him fortnightly with medicated shampoo, maybe that will help. He comes upstairs and plods into the bathroom and climbs into the shower without a complaint. We sat together on the floor of the shower while we let the shampoo sit on his skin for 10 minutes. he just looks at me with his big, brown eyes. I'm sure if he could shrug and say, "And? What now?" He would. He did.

Sam came home and cooked chicken schnitzels and salad for lunch.  Yum, yum, yum. You'd think, me being home, I'd cook the schnitzels, but I didn't. Sam, of course, says I should, in those moments when he is fishing for relationship points, but he likes doing things his way, and he'd always cook, we both know that.

I trimmed the creeper on the side wall in the afternoon. The wretched creeper on the sidewall? The creeping fig that has turned into a monster, with its small heart shaped leaves now as big as hands. I listened to the latest Mick Jagger tracks, Gotta Get a Grip and England Lost. The day disappeared. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hungry All The Time

I seem to be hungry all the time, just lately, which is unusual for me. Sam and I had tuna pasta for lunch, then after Sam had gone I made bread and honey. There is something so prefect about fresh bread, butter and honey. Yum.

Am I hungry all the time because I am sitting on my fat arse? I think maybe that has something to do with it, if I have plenty of time on my hands, I have plenty of time to eat. But really, I think it is from quitting smoking recently. I quit again two weeks ago. I think smoking takes away your hunger, straight tobacco, that is. Not pot, I'm not talking about pot. And when you quit, your appetite comes back. I think it is a temporary thing, an adjustment period.

Speaking of sitting on my fat arse, if I sit at the coffee table with my laptop, it leads to inactivity. I'm tied to the small space to which my laptop projects.  But, of course, I can get the internet on the TV. I've just realised - how fucken slow am I - if I put Youtbe stuff on the TV, I can write on my laptop, but more to the point, I can wander around and do things at the same time, as the TV projects to a much wider space. Lovely.

It is a sunny day today, gorgeous really. Now I'm going to get onto some more plant maintenance.

I was going to work on my poetry? Nyr.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Sublime Spring Day

It is the most perfect day in Melbourne today, sparkling and lightly scented with the breezes of spring. Fresh as a mountain brook, as warm as a puppy's fur. I am lying on the couch reading. I am eating mandarins pretending they are donuts. Sam sent me a link for home delivered donuts, from which he said I am not allowed to order. (What does that say about Sam?) Ah, the flavour of those small, orange coloured citrus fruits, a taste almost as perfect as the sublime, spring day. Ive got an orange thumb nail from peeling multiple mandarins. I have the French doors propped open with ornate Edwardian bricks, I keep just for that purpose. Buddy is in his kennel. A fly buzzes in and then buzzes out again.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stop Adani. Coal is yesterday's fuel, the only thing a huge mine digging the stuff up will do is increase the pollution in the world

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Addicted to Mandarins

I bought naval oranges and blood oranges, with their flesh that is almost black and I bought mandarins, my currently addiction. Mandarin pith gathers around the edges of my fingernails. Lovely, hey?

I bought Gippsland Dairy Blood orange yogurt, the one with the great blobs of fruitiness.

I think this summer will be orange. I think the world already is. The new black.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Recycling Phones

I can't wait for the iPhone 10 to come out. Not for me, well, not directly. Sam will get the new iPhone and I will get his old iPhone, and his sister gets my old phone, that is how it works.

Well, that is how it normally works, but not quite this time. When Sam got an iPhone6, he got a 6plus, the large size phone, and I hated it, it was just too big.

I gave the 6plus to Sam's sister and she gave me back my old iPhone5, which I was very happy about. The only problem being, that my iPhone5 has a small capacity and I have been battling capacity issues, pretty much, ever since I got it back.

So, now, I'll get Sam's iPhone7 and my capacity issues will be a thing of the past. Yay. Not long now, a couple of weeks and I can have my entire music collection back on my phone, as well as as many photos as I wish. Yay again.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

You Don't See That Every Day

Sam was shopping in the Asian grocer in Russell Street. I was trying to be supportive and involved, but really shopping bores me to tears, so I was gazing out the shop's door to the sunshine outside. You know, holding the basket, as Sam perused the shelves.

A guy walked up and stopped outside the grocer. He had on one of those, what I call, pollution masks - I never really understand why people wear those things. As he stood in the sun, he pulled the mask down to his neck, took out a cigarette and smoked it. WTF? I thought.

Then he pulled the mask back over his face and continued walking.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Gotta Luv The Nanny State

I was looking at the CDs in JB, and the vast majority had offensive Langue warnings on the covers. 

I think that says something about the warning labelling system. 

Is this Political Correctness over-reach?

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Only in America

It is very hard to feel sorry for America. They have these deadly gun shootings, and afterwards they cry about them. Oh woe, poor us. And then... nothing... changes. And then they have another mass shooting, and it all repeats. Over and over and over and over again. Change your gun laws, or shut up about your shootings. Apparently, there have been more mass shootings in America this year than days. I hear about the latest shooting and, I have to admit, I think, Oh, whatever?