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The end of the line [25 Oct 2007|08:23am]
[ mood | empty ]

This blog terminates here. All out, all change. The "zygal" phase of my life has finished. Zygal was the business I set up to publish text books and to fund my research. The zygal blog was set up to introduce a blog into my teaching. But that's all over. I've been declared persona non grata by Sydney Uni, so I've taken the hint and jumped. Other stronger people will stay and make the Uni declare them redundant in a formal sense, but I couldn't cope with being told I was useless on a daily basis. That's my weakness, I guess.

I’m gonna blow this damn candle out
I don’t want nobody comin’ over to my table
I got nothing to talk to anybody about...

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connection & meaning [11 Oct 2007|08:11am]
[ mood | reflective ]

Further to what I said earlier, Open House is a book with considerable depth. Sure, you can read it as a predictable superficial story of woman-gets-dumped-by-long-time-partner-but-finds-self, or you can read an analysis of how she comes to understand the importance of human connection in her life. I reckon there's lots of quite profound thruths in there, including reflections on the variety of human responses to the question of what is the role of relationships in the world. Also, a lot of the books content addresses the dichotomy between what we say and what we mean.

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A gay lunch? [10 Oct 2007|01:18pm]
[ mood | calm ]

[Pride flag]
I just realised that I'm having a "gay" lunch - the Woolies Rainbow mix - well it's hardly a rainbow - what they sell under that name is shredded carrot, broccoli stalk, and beetroot; to which I add tomato and golden squash. Hmmm....needs more blue colour...any thoughts?
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tough times [10 Oct 2007|05:20am]
[ mood | apprehensive ]

I am now the proud "parent" of two queer kids! The Italian boy who became our "son" for 5 months in 2000 has announced to us that he is gay. I am very pleased for him, that he now feels self-confident enough to be able to come out. That must be a wonderfully liberating experience!

...but on the other hand, I can't help but feel a certain amount of apprehension and concern for him in terms of the extra life-difficulties that this situation will involve. For example, I just can't imagine him fitting in to the gay male scene that I see in Sydney...but I guess the reality is that I know bugger all about what it's like to be gay. Nonetheless, it's probably not unreasonable to assume that it's tough at times.

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another new book [09 Oct 2007|08:24am]
[ mood | inexplicably apprehensive ]

I've finished Evensong by Gail Godwin, and I'm now reading a library book: Open House, by Elizabeth Berg.

Evensong was good. And I think I've now read every Gail Godwin novel. I know there's another one on the way at some stage...when she wrote to me recently, she said she had been busy trying to meet her publisher's deadline for a new novel.
In fact here is her (or her work experience student's) letter:

Dear Michael Lee,
There is nothing more satisfying to a writer than to receive a thoughtful letter like yours of June 20th. My only excuse for not having answered it until now is that I have been working away on a new novel whose deadline suddenly looms very near...However, I do apologize. It is quite wonderful to think of you, off in Australia, jogging along to work with one of my books in your backpack. Thank you for all your generous observations about my work, and I am so pleased that you enjoy it.
Kind regards,
Gail Godwin

My copy of Evensong is an ex-american-library, large print, hard cover version, which I have torn into two for easier (lighter) transport in my backpack. Being torn in two, I can't really donate it to the 2MBS-FM book-and-record bazaar, so it's either destined for the bin, or that inveterate bin-scavenger, daiskmeliadorn :-)

New book is going OK. Sure, it's a lightweight, but it does have moments of significant depth and interest. And many of the issues that come up are ones I relate to.
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true love? [27 Sep 2007|09:22am]
[ mood | empathic ]

In announcing the Pastorale Symphony he was about to play on ABC Classic FM, Damien Beaumont told us that Beethoven said:

 "I love a tree more than a man"

"Right on, Ludwig", I hear some people saying....and of course, others will be saying "What's the difference?"
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latest book [26 Sep 2007|08:22am]
[ mood | reflective ]

[Gail Godwin]

Gail Godwin
photo by Jerry Bauer

I'm now reading Gail Godwin's Evensong. This is the sequel to Father Melancholy's Daughter, which is a story of a priest with depression whose wife leaves him. The daughter of that book goes on to become an ordained priest in Evensong, and is married to a man who is religiously trained but works in a counselling role rather than a parish priest. He, like his partner's father, is inclined to self-hatred and depression.

An aside on Gail Godwin is relevant here....I wrote to her to tell her how much I liked her work, and I received a very thoughtful reply! Whether the reply was written by GG herself, her agent, or a school kid on work experience doesn't really matter; I imagine that she wrote it, and fantasise that now we have a "connection"!!

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latest book [21 Sep 2007|08:54am]
[the art of mending]
now reading. . . Elizabeth Berg's The Art of Mending

A librarian's synopsis:

Returning home for a family reunion, Laura Bartone and her brother, Steve, are stunned
by their sister's allegations of shocking behavior on the part of their mother,
and must come to terms with the truth and lies within their family.
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protein [11 Sep 2007|08:30am]
[ mood | compromised ]

[tofu - now off the menu]

I am now quite convinced that I'm tofu intolerant. Having done a couple of test-consumptions, I found that I always get diarrhoea after eating tofu.  It would be nice to know just what aspect it is that causes the problem....I don't think it's soy in general...could even be a common contaminant - an organism of some sort such as Yersinia enterocolitica (a bacterium).  Doesn't really matter I guess...

Looks like wheat and dairy protein are going to be my mainstays.

[wheat]     [cow]
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[09 Sep 2007|07:47pm]
 i hate this computer. 

spent 30 mins writing an entry here, then IE crashed. 

Result: nothing. No draft saved!!! 

i am really pissed off. ... with this computer, live journal, and everyone.
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tears before lunchtime... [06 Sep 2007|08:33am]
[ mood | emotional ]

Oh geez....I'm a sucker for a tear-jerker. I've started a new book today at breakfast (a second-hand copy, which by lovely coincidence arrived from America just yesterday!). Just about every page so far goes straight to my emotional heart. It's by one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Berg - and yes, LiveJournal, I will spell 'favourite' that way...you can take back that red underlining >:-( 

The book is Talk Before Sleep, and is evidently written out of her experience, both as a nurse, and having a close friend die of breast cancer. Added to the emotionality of the situation this morning was the reporting by Paul Bevan of the illness of Pavarotti apparently reaching a near-terminal phase. All this talk of death then made me think of my own mother's death - which, although she is not apparently suffering any life-threatening illness, can't be too far away now that she's 81. (After all, I don't think anyone in my immediate family on either my mother's or my father's side has lived into their 90s for a number of generations. We're not a long-living lot, the Miles-Lees.) I'd like to help make her experience of dying to be as good as possible, in terms of her aims. Mostly that means to be living at home as long as possible, I think.

I ran 15 km this morning. The hamstring was kind-of-OK most of the time, and the early showers had cleared away by the time I hit the city, so I did my 'queer course' . Slowly. I needed to do the 15 km because, as often occurs, I ate too much last night. Having scrounged an apple tea cake from a bin on the way home, I didn't get enough takers to eat it at home, so I ate too much of it myself, despite having earlier promised myself that I would only eat one small slice at a maximum. When this happens, part of me says "Don't ever have temptations like this around the house. You know you'll fall for them." But another part of me says "What are you? Weak? Aren't you self-disciplined enough to control your eating habits?" I haven't reconciled those different perspectives yet, but I hate myself when I am weak and end up eating too much. I think I'd feel better if I removed the temptations from my sight.

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Barriers [05 Sep 2007|05:37am]
[ mood | melancholy ]

[APEC Wall]
The Great Wall has now extended across my  running route outside the Shangri-La hotel. It has open gates now, but I expect to have to take a major detour tomorrow. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the stupidity of these APEC arrangements.

Today my headache is worse.....have ibuprofen+codeine in my pocket - and I know how to use it. Maybe Toby's coffee will help (toast is a lottery, I'm not counting on it).
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same...better? [30 Aug 2007|05:26am]
[ mood | tranquil ]

So far today is turning out a carbon copy of yesterday. Same sleep pattern, same run, same tiredness and soreness. That's how I like life to be. Predictable. Most people would say boring. Of course there will always be random variations thrown in. Toby's breakfast was 10 out of 10 yesterday. Probably today they'll have run out of fruit toast. Actually, my alternative to fruit toast in such situations is their banana bread. I've been trying b.b. in other places lately and Toby's is the best by a long way. I'll have to try out the one that daiskmeliadorn reported...except I can't remember where she found it! Must look through her emails.

One thing from yesterday I don't want a repeat of today is being told off by the boss for producing a sub-standard piece of work. I have lots of excuses, but despite all those, I should have done better.

It's now after brekky. Once again, it was 10 out of 10! :-)
While at Toby's reading my book, I was amused by a comment by one of the characters that she went to church because "...having to go to church was the only incentive to get all the ironing done by Saturday afternoon...".
I don't have any clothes that need ironing.

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catch-up [29 Aug 2007|05:41am]
[ mood | tired, sleepy ]

Had a coffee with daiskmeliadorn yesterday evening. It was good to catch up on at least some of the issues and events in her life. She gets involved in so many things that it's hard to even keep track of them. I can't imagine what it's like to actually do them! In contradistinction, I've always been a fringe-dweller and uninvolved in organisations and activities. She clearly is tending to follow her mother in this regard....it's a positive, I think - to be self confident enough to put yourself forward.

Of course, the main point of this meeting was not to exchange information about what each other is doing, but to share some of our lives and to bring us closer together.

I slept very well last night (thanks Promethazine!) and didn't wake once till the alarm beeped me up at 03:00. Did another 15 km run, taking advantage of being still in pre-APEC time to run around the Opera House, Circular Quay, Walsh Bay etc. Felt tired at the end, and am not sure if my groin pains are coming back, but let's hope for the best! Have some on-going sleepiness due to residual effects of promethazine though....is it worth taking?

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[28 Aug 2007|08:51am]
[ mood | pensive ]

Another 15 km run this morning...it's hard to think of a better way to enjoy this preview of summer that we're going through. Called past daiskmeliadorn's place to drop in a book she wanted. I'll bet it takes her a long time to get through it, she seems so busy filling up her life with a variety of stuff.

I'm now reading Robb Forman Dew's book The Truth of the Matter. It's part 2 of a trilogy (or maybe just a 2 part story, I can't identify a part 3). I hope that doesn't spoil part 1 for me, whenever I get round to it. That's the good thing about my age-related memory loss, I guess, I can re-read something and it seems like I'm reading it for the first time! (Apparently) this book is largely about the schism between the public and the private self. That sounds like a pretty interesting topic to explore; I am constantly aware of my public persona, and the degree to which it matches the real, private me. In fact, this blog's existence is tied in with this. The blog is a way I get in touch with the me which is not necessarily on public display.

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increases [27 Aug 2007|08:24am]
[ mood | ok, considering ]

I'm gradually increasing my running distances. The last two weeks I have been able to do 75 km without any apparent adverse effects, so I'm going to try to get back to my target of 85 km per week, that is, 15 km on most running days . Today went OK. I did the run that you might call the "queer course"! It takes me up Oxford Street to Taylor Square then to Centennial Park and back nearly past [info]daiskmeliadorn
's place and thence to Haymarket. A nice run, with a bit of hill climbing but nothing too steep. The 15 km took an embarrassing 105 minutes (including a couple of bin-stops and clothing changes).  The aim will be to decrease that time gradually to ~90 minutes over a period of months.Stand by for complaints about injuries!!

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sweet [26 Aug 2007|05:57pm]
[ mood | reasonably satisfied. ]

Lunch with Annette has gone well. Absolutely beautiful day....lee_seamus did the barbeque and then we sat out on the deck in the warm spring sunshine and talked. My dessert turned out rather well, I think. I made a rhubarb and apple sponge pudding and it completely satisfied my need for sugar for about the next week and a half! I made an extra one (smaller version) which Annette was pleased to receive to take home for the week to come. The non-rhubarb-eaters had a chocolate mud cake from Sweet Delight. The main course was the usual sort of stuff for the omnivores, while I had veges in black bean sauce - very tasty.

I had ginger-marinated tofu at the neighbours last night, made by the neighbour's son, Nick (who has just joined L's company, after an introduction by L). It will be interesting to see if it gives me the same adverse effect that my own tofu has done recently...it's now nearly 24 hours later and nothing untoward is apparent at this stage! Yesterday I was planning to make a rhubarb crumble cake for todays dessert, using a recipe that was in yesterday's SMH. Well it turned out that the neighbour saw the recipe too and made it for last night! Hers was very nice; but not quite sweet enough or rhubarby enough for my current desire. So I was able to "have my cake and eat it too", so to speak.

We've also sorted out daiskmeliadorn's birthday celebration today. So that's good, especially for a plan-well-ahead-type-person such as me. It's a pity she couldn't make it here today for the BBQ. It would have been good for us all to hear what's happening in her life. Hope her retreat had the desired effect....

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OK so far [25 Aug 2007|05:21am]
[ mood | temporarily relaxed. ]

I reckon I must live under a black cloud...literally. The Weather Bureau radar shows almost no rain in a 128 km radius, but it's raining at my place! At least it's the one day of the week when I don't really care because I'm not running this morning. The washing can go in the dryer, and I have another excuse not to mow the lawn!

We (well, mostly lee_seamus) have set up a new router (which allows wireless connections) on our home network system to try to improve reliability of our internet connection. It's working well so far, in both wired and wireless modes. Probably half the neighbours are using it too!.

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food [24 Aug 2007|05:17am]
[ mood | yeah...OK... ]

End of the Play School week today. I didn't find any suitable food in bins this morning, so I'm nice and hungry for breakfast. I might linger a little longer than usual in Toby's so I can make more progress through my current book...and maybe finish it this weekend so I can return it to the library. I'm quite enjoying it now, although it started out a bit dodgy. I read a review of it which said that there was too much detail about dogs and food. That was true at the beginning, but it has been put into a more solid context now. I think she's deliberately setting up the animal lives and relationships to compare and contrast to the ideal human relationships, and to see people change from animal-like existence into more fully human ones. They're also the linking elements between different aspects of the plot. The food does come up quite a bit, but again, it makes sense in the context of the plot and the characters.

Anyway, it's been good enough that I think I'll put the author's other novel, Three Junes, on my "to read" list, despite the fact the it has been absolutely panned by at least one critic.

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not much happening [21 Aug 2007|05:27am]
[ mood | calm ]

Ahhhh....nice to run without rain and strong winds. And even better, to be relatively free of running-related symptoms. The right "groin" pain I developed last week did just disappear when I ignored it. The right hamstring is still a little sore, but doesn't seem to be getting worse.  I'm still sore from the fall down the stairs and my back is still bruised from the book I was carrying yesterday. If only I hadn't woken with a headache.

Last week I formally announced my resignation from my old teaching job. As I had been working up to this for quite a while, this act turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax. Also, the official "last day" being 6 months away means that the reality of final departure is still quite a way off the horizon.

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