Imagination turns thoughts – 22nd September 2020

Tried talking to computer to record these but it’s difficult to talk and think sometimes – tells you something!

Nice dreams, didn’t want them to stop – Amy and I were at a public bath with Chris and Hillary – I don’t remember why or how.

I wasn’t tired last night – slept late. Feel okay now after exercise.

First Thai lesson today. Nervous but know it will be okay.

Look forward to coffee as always. Thoughts flip down the river but don’t come now as I’m writing. My stuck mind.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I went shopping yesterday which gave me plenty of time to do things I want to do today.

It’s nice… it’s my mind that’s off guard – 1st July 2020

Kids come back to school. See how it goes.

Tigger sprays on the floor. No tissue to clean.

Good five-minute warmup workout better than yesterday. Happy – feeling happy a little tired and sleepy but awake if not alert. Some aches from drilling on the weekend. Hurt hurt. Yawn. Did things and doing things – keep going – want to do more. Have things to do at school. No problem.

Enjoying life – reading, music, TV – looking at the stars – the rain – not so much the heat! I can’t stay happy. Amy is happy most of the time. We have our world – we only let the right people in.

Weight: 79.3kg
Resting heart rate: 44

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I don’t have to do any work this morning even though the kids are back at school. I offered to do something but was told it was ok.

Paycheck to paycheck, living for what? Every night I get drunk to get sunk – 11th February 2020

The continuum of Problem-solving:

You solve the visible problem.

You solve the problem that caused the visible problem.

You avoid the problem.

When solving visible problems, it’s easy to signal value creation to others. If you work in a large organization with a regular paycheck, few people ask if the problems should exist in the first place. Instead, everyone thinks you’re indispensable because you’re so busy solving problems.

As you move toward avoiding problems before they happen, visibility decreases. Explaining what you do all day becomes harder and more subjective. Rewarding people for something that didn’t happen is very difficult. Thus, it becomes risky for the employee to avoid problems.

From Farnam Street’s Brain Food Newsletter

“If you work in a large organization with a regular paycheck, few people ask if the problems should exist in the first place.” Reading this took me right back to my old IT office job.

I really loved that job when I first started. It was overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I worked my ass off to learn as quickly as I could. Years later I was rewarded with a technical administration position, which was better than it sounds.

It was a steep learning curve which involved a lot of testing, installations, maintenance, programming and 24 hour support. The product was a top of the range piece of software. It had just turned the year 2000 and money was flowing freely through the institutions that were supported. Work was interesting and fun.

Slowly, money started to dry up and upgrades were delayed. Often the users would demand it whilst their finance departments would not agree to pay for it. These battles went on consistently for about a decade. During that time all that I needed to do was to make sure the thing kept running. My typical work day could be over after 5 minutes of checking emails. So I made good use of the super fast internet, the office supplies and the printers.

Eventually they started replacing the product I was supporting with a cheaper alternative. Of course users complained because now their minor problems were turning into major problems. To save money, costed money. But it was more cost effective for my employer to pay penalties to the customer for fuckups than it was ensure the fuckups didn’t happen in the first place.

Eventually, after 13 years of arguing for better planning and products, sitting quietly doing my own things on company time, I was made redundant. It was an amazing relief to be honest, and it changed the course of my life. Much for the better, I like to think.

Now, wherever I am working, I can see the same redundant systems in place. The ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra hasn’t managed to infiltrate everywhere as yet.

It won’t work,
Won’t work no more….

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for our beautiful house. It feels like a home.

I am so happy and grateful to make friends with these puppies, even though they ate my shoes.

My war, you’re one of them – 31st January 2020

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

I’ve never been a manly man. Well, I say that, though I can remember trying to be one from about ages 11-14. Then I started getting bullied a bit at school and realised I wasn’t ever going to be a strong boy physically.

Not me but you get the idea…

I retreated into my mind but taking resentment and bitterness there. I filled myself with seething hatred for everything around me, confusing what I considered personal injustice with larger injustices of the world. Everything was against us. It was us and them, whoever us was and whoever they were.

I dove head first into the moshpits of punk rock. Besides my mother, punk really was a rock for me to hold on to. Sometimes I clung too tight but eventually I found my way.

Justice and fairness are still amongst my top character strengths, thankfully along with curiousity and gratitude – those two came later.

These days I’m trying to calm my mind to bring some inner peace but the tunes of yesterday still rattle around from dawn to dusk. This inner noise is it’s own sort of peace, it’s familiarity calming, the anger gone.

Man is spelt big M.A.N. it’s the letters of the law,
Man is spelt big M.A.N. that’s who the law is for.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for the supportive teachers around me. They have helped me cover a lesson today and it was easy to stand once I found the right person to talk with.

Well, maybe now you’re getting what you expected – 21st January 2020

Eight rules for the school of life

1. Accept imperfection
– Perfection is beyond us.
2. Share vulnerability
– the bedrock of true friendship. Compassion for ourselves, generosity for others.
3. – Know your insanity
– warn others, contain our follies.
4. Accept your idiocy
– messing up is to be expected.
5. You are good enough
– ‘Ordinary’ isn’t a name for failure.
6. Overcome romanticism
– Love is patience and compassion for our natural weaknesses.
7. Despair cheerfully
– We’re not individually cursed and many small things should stand out: a sunny day, dawn and dusk, etc
8. Transcend yourself
– Cosmic humility is taught to us by nature, history, and the sky above us; delight in being humbled by it.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to know that I won’t be working at this school next semester. I’m sad in one way but excited in others. Knowing what will happen next semester is the best option.

I’ve got my own strategies for my life – 6th December 2019

What is an unusual habit or absurd thing you love?

I’m not sure that I have an unusual habit – if it’s a habit it would be pretty normal.

Absurd things I love though – that would have to be the music I enjoy. I really enjoy music that is difficult to listen to. Cerebral I guess most would call it. Sometimes it’s not even something I enjoy listening to – well, the music – I enjoy the process – the emotional response – even if it is negative.

Amy would be able to list so many things for me here – she really doesn’t enjoy most of the movies I like either.

Despite years of trying to shut my brain off, it looks like I actually enjoy thinking.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to wake up a little earlier than normal today and walk around my garden as the sun was not yet risen over the mountains. It was cold but peaceful. Kim joined me, running with her little legs as fast as she could.

Who the fuck are you to tell me who my friends are? – 27th November 2019

Who are you comparing yourself to?

I think I compare myself with most people in my life. Friends, family, relations. Is it productive? I’m not often jealous of things other people do or things that they have, except their happiness or serenity. They often seem more capable to deal with things, though perhaps they’re not? It’s just what it looks like to me.

I noticed recently some people saying things bad about others and took it to be more about themselves – so and so is a miserable bastard, he’s a moron…etc… I have to make sure to catch myself if I ever do that.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that it is sports day today and that I don’t have to teach. Many of the foreign teachers are hiding away inside maybe preparing lesson plans etc but I think I’ll hang around with the kids because this is the best time to be with them. They feel free and happy and will try to talk more than in the classes. The kids are why I’m here.

I leave my home, I leave it in the care of a friend – 30th January 2018

Hoo-ee!  I woke up yesterday morning after 16-20 hours of restless sleep, through 42-degree heat, though a cool change was in the air, it hadn’t quite made it to the upstairs in our new house.  I was totally betwattled.

Even the first coffee was no cure and I lurched around the supermarket uncertain why exactly I was there.  I figured it out in the end and shopping done I contemplated going back to sleep again.  The second coffee finally kicked me into gear but I had nothing to do except some reading and waiting for the man to come and give us internet again.  I stayed awake with both fans blasting and kids shouting in their backyard, perhaps hunting the floppy-eared white rabbit I saw hopping down the street earlier.

In fact, by the time evening came round I was no longer sleepy, contemplating security in our new house and a message I got from my cousin Sharon, that my mother was sick again and back in the hospital.  I got to sleep what felt like just a couple of minutes before my alarm went off and here I am back at work again, dopey-eyed with spinning stars.

My mother suffers from COPD, basically what emphysema develops into.  She needs oxygen all the time now and gets chest infections very easily which knock her down.  The infections are usually fixed with a course of antibiotics but consistently return when they are finished.  It’s been like this for the last 12 months or so.

She finally had to leave her home and now lives in a nice care home.  She was sad to leave and lose the independence she loved but she understands she couldn’t go on there anymore as she needs fairly constant monitoring.  The sale of the house should cover her care home expenses for a few years.

Being a practical sort, my mother often told me not to return to the UK for her funeral as it is a waste of money.  Amy and Sharon have both asked me if I want to go and visit but, practically, there isn’t much I can do for her, she will feel upset that I spent a lot of money to visit and I think she doesn’t want me to see her so invalid.  She has always been so strong.

She has a Do Not Resuscitate order in place, saying she doesn’t want to hang around suffering and just being kept alive for the sake of it.  She saw that happen with her sister.  I hope she’s not suffering.

I did go and visit her about 18 months ago after she was taken to hospital for the first time.  She was still able to do things to take care of herself at that time and it was really nice to be able to sit back and relax in my old family home, just chat and watch TV.  I actually enjoyed being back in the UK, it was the tail end of summer so some days were comfortably warm but it was also nice to feel that clean English chill in the air some nights.  These are memories I would like to keep of the last time to see my mother.  Somewhat selfish I know.

My mother’s sickness it most likely smoking-related, though she quit about 20 years ago already, she had smoked for about 20 years before that.  With cigarettes always around I soon started pinching some and the few times she caught me smoking she couldn’t really say anything to deter me.  I finally stopped smoking myself when my son was born.  My own father died of smoking-related lung cancer before I was two years old.