Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Times of Change

2008 was a year of change. Most people would think of the Obama election, the international financial downturn or even the Beijing Olympics. But I found it a time of flux on the personal level.

For a start, I left my job at the Church Office after twenty years there. I’ve only had two jobs in my life, each lasting 20 years -- what a boring CV that would make.

I got myself a new car (well, newer) after the old one virtually fell to pieces -- it wouldn’t go up hills anymore, rather like me. With all the automobiles in the world, I ended up with a Toyota Corolla, notoriously the world’s most reliable and dullest vehicle.

My financial problems were somewhat alleviated when I began receiving a regular payment for being partly disabled. This came about when the Employment people offered me a particular job and I expressed doubts that I could handle it. “Do you have any health problems?” they asked. I replied “No, apart from being a near-sighted hard-of-hearing diabetic with a bad back.”

I’m now on an interesting variety of prescription drugs, pills and tablets. I’ve also been trying to remember to take St John’s Wort twice a day -- it’s useful for mild anxiety and nervous tension, but you can’t take it if you already have a prescription for anti-depressants.

Probably I would feel better if I could get more rest. I’m tired all the time and have been for the last year or so. Recently I’ve started limiting the amount of coffee I consume; I suspect I’ve been drinking more and more of it because my body is seeking some form of stimulant to make me feel more lively.

On the home front, my sister Julie was saddened by the death of her favourite dog, Saj the mastiff. This gentle giant had survived an operation for cancer the year before, and in fact the bills for it ended up outliving him. (I think they should all be paid off by next month.)

One of the big problems on the domestic side is the large number of poultry in my backyard. It started out when Julie brought over some chickens from her place, some because they were in poor health and some because they were specimens she wanted to breed from. You can probably guess what happened -- a few moments of inattention and we had a poultry population explosion on our hands.

Let me tell you -- that business about roosters only crowing at sunrise is something that they thought up for the cartoons. These ones crow morning, noon and night.

On the plus side, I have been able to start reading again a bit. The last decade I
have been reading less and less, until it was a struggle to even get through the morning paper. But this year I have been able to read a few light novels without too much exertion. Part of the problem I guess is my graduated-lens glasses which stop me from reading in bed; I have partially overcome that by reading e-books on the little Asus EEE mini-computer that was a retirement gift from the office.

As for the future -- well, we shall see.

I continue to spend a lot of my spare time on my current hobby, collecting Old Time Radio programmes. This is one case where synchronicity timed it perfectly, with the invention of the MP3 sound file and the wide spread of the Internet. These two things have made it possible for me to hear old shows that I never imagined I would ever enounter.


There was a lot of fuss recently about whether Vegemite contained too much salt to be consumed without a health warning. I tend to agree with one website that said “Vegemite is a condiment. Condiments tend to be bad if you look at them in isolation - but hey - we do not (well most of us) eat vegemite by itself.” He went on to advise us to check the fat content of salad dressing and check the sugar content of the chocolate you sprinkle on your latte before worrying about the Vegemite on your toast at breakfast.



Alan Rider is back on air again after a few weeks away sick. I always enjoy his
show Theatre Organ Showcase