Circling round-again

We are off to japan for Christmas! Just before we left there were a lot of stories on TV about the ten year anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami.  I hadn’t known how many people from Australia were involved, because I lived in Japan at the time.

Ten years ago, it was my last Christmas in Japan.  I traveled to Shikoku by myself.  It’s the smallest of the four main islands, and it’s haunted.  Until the 1990s the only way to reach it was by boat- no bridges or tunnels.  Historically it was an island that people fled to when they fell out of favour politically.  It is also famous for the pilgrimage circuit – 88 temples to visit.  I can remember my mother calling me to see if I was affected by the tsunami (japan was not at all) and that was the first I heard about it.  But the hotel I remember being in for that call was one I stayed in several days after the tsunami.  Not sure why it took so long, or if my memory is faulty. That holiday was one I really enjoyed, even though I was traveling by myself.  So I am circling back to a country and time I remember happily, even though it is an anniversary of a traumatic event for many.

The last time my husband and I spent Christmas in Japan was three years ago, 2011. It was the Christmas before we started ivf- the decision had been made, we knew we would be kicking it off once we returned.  So it is a little bittersweet to be going back three years later with nothing to show for that effort. That was also a happy holiday.  Very different from Christmas in Australia. 

So we are returning, hoping for a nice relaxing holiday.  Again, we know we will be doing a new IVF cycle in the new year, this time with donor eggs.  So looking towards the unknown again.  The thing about circling round is you do know some of the pitfalls, and some of the sweet spots.  I have a better idea of what next year may bring, both the good and the bad.

bits and pieces

Trying not to fret about things I cannot control.

My clinic considers that a period starting in the pm pushes day one to the next day. So, start shots a day later.  And technically day 13 for retrieval. But it’s the same day I would have had if they considered it day one a day earlier.

Working on Christmas ornaments for family.  Two so far.

Less than a month before we go to Japan.  Most things are organised, but freaking out a little.

 Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


Like little bees in the brain, buzzing around.

Sometimes I think I am at the point of being accepting of a child free life.  And then something happens, and I am not.  Frustrating.


Perspective on the news matters.  I read news sites that present a different spin to the main news media in Australia. I have a co-worker whose husband is a police officer.  She tends to be on the side of law enforcement. Ok no surprise there, but I read the news stories about the less intelligent things that law enforcement does.  Sometimes I point out the things that get missed in the other stories, but sometimes it is an argument not worth having.

I really don’t like it when the phrase ” if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” is trotted out about legislation or as an argument for greater police powers.  Everyone has done something that can be misconstrued against them.  Everyone.  And to complacently allow your abilities to argue against greater invasions of privacy and rights is just so frustrating.

I am having a very forgetty week.  Really simple things just slip my mind.  I think I need to have a quiet peaceful few days.

An old friend from soccer has asked me if I want to play at the masters.  I have done it before, but that was before my soccer club forgot I existed.  And I am very out of condition.  I do miss soccer, miss the joy of playing, but I hate playing out of shape.  And out of practice.  Maybe I should be looking for a futsal competition instead.

I am frustrated with Australia, but the US and UK ( our most viable options) are not awesome either.  At least some of the things I find frustrating here will exist there and there are other factors.  I like having a pretty much standard 4 weeks of holiday a year.  Small, but important.

Sometimes though I am amazed and gobsmacked by the fact that we (well some of us) live in societies that have managed to put in place a system where we can vote in a different government every few years and the party in power just steps aside.  For much of human history, and for most people this is not the case. People in power don’t like to give it.  

I am also amazed that we managed to live with multiple religions and that there is no direct involvement of religion in our day to day governing.  Another thing that is out of sync with so much of history.  And yet, for those of us who live in these societies, this is totally normal.  We can barely understand the meaning of a society and government that is tied to religion.where those who set the religious rules are also setting the rules for living over all.  For those of us who live among variations of various religions it is equally hard to envision why each sect would struggle against the others.  Why?  It’s not something we ever discussed in any of my school history classes. I cannot remember what made me realise that for a group that believes they must follow strict rules for salvation, the existence of a similar but not exactly the same group is a real threat.  What if you need to put your hat on before your shoes instead of the other way round to ensure salvation.  Such a small, but important detail.  I find it interesting, but it would have been/is a matter of eternal life or death.  How do we cope with this every day? The confusion of different beliefs, that we can still balance.





What I have been reading and thoughts

One of the books I read on the train journey was Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom. I liked buyology a few years ago, and this one was also interesting.

Basically all about how brands form a fundamental part of our lives, and how hard it is to escape. What was interesting to me was the idea that essentially what we eat, see and hear from very early childhood influences our tastes ( including brand preference).

This was interesting, because it explains why I don’t really drink much soft drink (none in the house as a child) and some of my lack of care on brands- we lived in south Africa when I was very little, so many of the brands that I would have seen, don’t exist! It is a scary concept of how much we are influenced, unconsciously. But I find the idea that are preferences are set so early fascinating.

But it was also brought home to me, when we went on our wine tour in Sonoma and napa. The hills we saw our my image of landscape- that was the landscape that imprinted on me the most. The yellow hills in the middle of summer, and the dark trees.


An observation on observing

We went to the art museum today. G had brought along the video camera ( did I write about that? Not sure, so will express my thoughts on that too) and tried to get me to talk to the camera so he could make a video ( which he did).

I am not a home video person. My family are not home video people. At all. So I was reluctant/ambivalent when G expressed a desire to obtain one. Which is why ours was second hand.

When I watch videos on line ( as opposed to commercial movies and the like) the ones I am fascinated by are those that show people going about everyday life with little dialogue, and little attention to the camera. There was a really interesting one of 60s or so Tokyo I saw last week. What fascinates me is the people, not commentary on what they are doing. In the same way I love sitting on the bus or train, observing, I like watching the videos where no one is really playing it for the camera.

G wanted me to comment on the art exhibition, to engage with the camera and the viewer. I didn’t want to, and I suppose if I were videoing to do with the exhibit, I would want to set the camera up in a corner and use it to observe people’s reactions to the exhibit. There are privacy issues there, which is possibly why you don’t see many videos of street life, but its what I find fascinating.

This may explain a lot- G and I sometimes have very similar tv/movie tastes ( and really obscure ones) and then quite divergent. I have just realized I quite enjoy the ones that show me people just living, what they do to get by.



Back when I was at university I had a synchro coach who relied on her husband to balance her checkbook. She could not do it herself.  I was shocked and horrified (not that I expressed this).  I have very strong opinions about being able to manage one’s own money, particularly for women.

This is an area where women have historically been at a disadvantage, with society telling them that they are not able to be financially independent.  I find the thought that a modern woman is incapable of managing her own money and willingly cedes that control scary.  Which means that you can probably guess what my opinion is of some of the faith based organisations that insist that the man manages the money.  Granted, in our relationship there is one person who handles more of the money side- me.  Part of this is that I would not willingly cede all control of monetary affairs, the other part is that my husband is willing to do so.  But this post is not actually about money.

Anyway, the money issue is part of a larger issue of independence.  I have lived a fairly independent adult life. I moved to new countries/continents myself, went on trips by myself, and valued my independence.  My husband sometimes finds this worrying, I think he thinks I will wake up one day and decide I am better off by myself (no).  I know that he finds my sometimes efforts to remain independent, or do things my way, frustrating and a potential rejection.  They are not, but it is hard to explain.

Anyway recent events have caused me to realise how dependent I am actually am.  He manages all of our digital content- our ebook collection, our music and our video (all of our stuff is stored digitally)  I could do this if I wanted (i have in the past) but I realised last week that I have no idea how to manage the ebook side of it.  None.  Granted he has this control because he is pickier about the file naming conventions, but I have allowed him control (not that he may see it that way, I have also allowed him the work).

The other was more embarrassing.  I have no idea how to turn our smart tv over from live tv to our digital video collection or dvd player.  None.  Without him around I cannot do anything but watch free to air.  embarrassing.

And I could argue that I do useful things like cook, or the laundry, but the truth is he cooks more than I do, and he knows the washing machine better than I do.  So I am stuck as the ornamental half of this partnership.

KInd of disconcerting.

Learning new skills

As adults, we expect to be reasonably competent in most of our activities.  Or at least I do.  There are a few reasons for this.  Firstly, in terms of basic living activities, I have been doing them for many years.  Walking, pretty much down pat, ditto speaking and eating, and that all important use of the toilet.  Secondly, we tend to avoid activities that we are not very good at.  I dislike running, as I am very slow.  Not surprisingly I do not belong to a running club, nor do I run marathons.  I used to play some organised sport, but the delights of EBV mean that I am not allowed to (until August at least).

This means that learning new things is hard.  Of course, there is the bit where your brain has hardened up into set pathways, that doesn’t help. but I think the embarrasment of being incompetent at something doesn’t help.  When learning to walk, we are (presumably) happy to fall over and over if it means acquiring that awesome skill.  Also driving a car.  Children find it easier to not succeed in activities, and are encouraged to keep trying.   I don’t mean that it is always easier, but there seems to be less fear of being incompetent than there is an adult.

Anyway, I was reminded of this the other night, when we went skating at the open air rink in Brisbane.  Now Brisbane is not a place with a conducive climate for outdoor ice skating.  The rink is tiny, and lasts for 2 weeks, burning up a lot of power to stay chilled.  We have had a cold snap (with sunshine) which has meant that the ice is in better condition than last year.  I learned to ice skate at a very young age, and skated through my childhood, and even at university.  Greg did not (surprise surprise).  He has some roller skating ability, but struggles with ice, as do many people in Brisbane.  So, while I went round the handkerchief of ice many times, he managed 6 circuits in the 45 minute session.

It got me thinking about how hard it is to acquire a new skill, to admit that we have to fail, we have to appear incompetent (i think it is the fact that others can watch), in order to learn.  It ties in with another (as yet unwritten) post about creativity and creating, that so many people are scared to try something creative, because it won’t look as good as professional artists.  Well they probably didn’t look to great when they started either.

It is something I need to remind myself- no one is judging me on the quality of my knitting, except for me.  No one is looking at my pilates movements and thinking that I am a wuss.  It’s okay not to be perfect.

I do have one arena in my life where failure is the norm, and going back for another try.  I picked up the IVF drugs last week.  Then, after booking myself in for an industry conference (and being the only one allowed from my work to go) worked out that if all goes to plan, that will be the day of egg extraction.  So right now, really want my period to start 3 days late.  Of course, to not start at all would be better, but chances are slim.  So, I am unlikely to go, and I had to make sure my co-worker blocked off those hours to be able to go if I can’t.

One final note- we have identified about 300 books to be gotten rid of- if you are looking for classic sci-fi, or old Agathat Christie, drop me a line.  Happy to send if you cover postage.