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Poor, neglected blog. *pat, pat*

This is the obligatory “oh my goodness it’s been so long” and “I am planning to blog more” post that usually comes after a long absence. Also my first post for 2017. That’s weird. I suppose I could sum up the first quarter of 2017.

January

I started to get more involved with music at St John’s. I had been planning to wait for at least six months to get to know people instead of just barrelling up and taking over, but the need was obvious. I joined the 5pm service, which is very small (some weeks only about 10 people) and quite informal, and Pete was doing music (singing and guitar) every week on his own. He was very grateful when I offered to join him to sing. Many of the songs weren’t familiar to me; when we got together to talk about it, he said that he mainly chose songs based on whatever was in the CCLI top 20. So there were a lot of songs that sound great with a full rock band, but not so great with 10 people sort of mumble-singing and a guitar. We’ll work on repertoire.

George, who had been with us when we first moved to Tassie, came back for a visit now that we were a bit more settled. We caught up, went to the Launceston Aquatic Centre, Sheffield, the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, had a BBQ and played Finska in the backyard with the Barrys and Kate W, and generally enjoyed the mild Tassie summer.

The following weekend, mum and I flew to Sydney. I had booked tickets to see Ladies in Black for the Sydney Festival before there had even been an inkling of a thought that we would be moving to Tassie (that’s how quickly it all happened!). Of course we chose the  one of the hottest weekends Sydney had in a very hot January! But the show was great, we stayed at a cute little hotel in Darling Harbour, and got to catch up with dearly missed friends.

Then the weekend after that, I was off again to visit family in Malaysia. It was probably one of the most stressful bits of travel I have ever had just to get there; I had booked a ticket to Sydney from Launceston with a couple of hours space between landing and picking up the flight to KL. But I didn’t figure on my flight being cancelled because a crew member was sick and they had to wait for another crew member to arrive in Launceston from Melbourne before they could fly to Sydney. You probably know I’m not a runner, but I ended up running to catch the train between the domestic and international terminals, running from one end of the terminal to the other to check in while on the phone to my brother who was valiantly keeping the check in for the flight open, then we both had to run to the gate which was, of course, back on the other side of the terminal and we were the last ones onto the plane. I won’t be travelling overseas again any time soon, but if I do it seems I’m going to have to leave hours and hours just in case of a cancelled plane.

February

February was a lot more relaxed. I had a few more clients at the massage clinic in town, which boosted my confidence and confirmed that I do want to pursue that path and get my diploma in remedial massage. Unfortunately, when I started investigating, it seems that the government has changed the content of the certificate IV (which I’d already done) so it meant I’d have to ‘upgrade’ my current qualification, and the cost of that plus the diploma was way out of my league. So I figure I’ll just keep working at it and saving up for it; maybe I won’t get to do that study for a couple of years, but it’s something to look forward to and aim for.

March

We had a couple of lovely lunches with friends early in March – the Dormans visited from Sydney (Lisa is originally from Launceston) and it was so good to catch up with them and meet their newest bub. We also had a couple from church, Kathy and Monte, come over and it was just such a great few hours, talking about music and art and creativity. When Monte found out I was a flute player, he urged me to contact and audition for the symphonic band as part of the University of Tasmania Community Music programme that he had set up many years ago.

We saw a production of Wicked at the Princess Theatre, put on by the local Encore Theatre Company. I was so impressed by the quality of the show; excellent production values and the leads were really very good. We also went to Evandale to see the Glover Prize for landscape painting of Tasmania, and an exhibition by local artist Susan Waddell. Mum was so captivated by the paintings that she bought one and it hangs in pride of place above my piano.

I led the singing at the Launceston celebration of Bible Society‘s bicentenary, which felt huge. It’s funny how I don’t think I feel nervous at all about singing in front of people, or leading a service, but when I got up there I found my hands were shaking, which was so weird. Leading singing with a pipe organ can be challenging, as I find organists (because they can’t see the singer or hear anything) just do whatever they want and you can’t actually communicate during the singing as you might do with other band members (with eye contact or hand gestures, etc). But it went well (even if the hymns were a bit high as they always seem to be – did people have higher singing voices a  hundred years ago?).

I decided to invest in a new keyboard so that I could play as well as sing at 5pm church. I was so excited to get it (and so was everyone at 5pm), and I’m going to pay it off over the next several months. It’s a Yamaha CP-40 stage piano, and as soon as I got it I just sat down and started playing. My piano at home belonged to my aunt as a child, but it’s really just a sentimental piano these days and not a decent instrument. It’s been moved and knocked around so many times in the last 60+ years that last time we had it tuned the tuner did his best but couldn’t get it into tune. I started thinking I wasn’t playing that well anymore, as you know the saying goes that a poor tradesman blames her tools. But getting this new keyboard has launched me forward again to delight in playing the piano, which I love, and I realised that having decent tools actually does help.

Oh. And the other thing in March, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which really sucks. When I was younger, I used to be paranoid about diabetes, because mum’s mum had type 1 and died because of mismanagement. I’d think, I’m thirsty…does that mean I have diabetes? (for some reason, that was the only symptom that stuck with me). But as I got older I just stopped thinking about it, or didn’t want to.

When we moved here and changed doctors, they suggested that we get a whole bunch of tests just to have a baseline for where our health was at. So I guess it’s a good thing that it’s been picked up, because I can do something about it. The doctors have been brilliant, very helpful and kind. But it’s hard to sit with the diagnosis, because it’s a disease that has a lot of shame attached to it. It’s called a “lifestyle disease” which sounds just so…insulting. There’s this feeling that “you got it because you’re fat and lazy” (and I don’t think I’m either of those things). But it’s rife in both my mother and father’s sides of the family, I’m over 35, overweight and have a Chinese cultural background (all risk factors according to Diabetes Australia), so I guess I was just sticking my head in the sand about it all. At least my cholesterol and blood pressure are good.

An encouraging thing is even with just adjusting what we’re eating (not going on any sort of official diet, but just eating more vegies, less sugar and carbs) and doing a bit more exercise, the weight has started dropping off and I’m already feeling a lot better than I was. But I hate, hate, hate thinking about food, if it’s not to delight in it and cook delicious things. Meal planners? UGH. I guess I’ll get to a point where I start getting excited about cooking again and trying to think about interesting, diabetic-friendly things I can make. But I think I’m still in mourning about it not baking anymore (I love baking!). Anyway. It could be worse I suppose. But, as the optometrist said, “well you’re young so you’ll have to manage it for much longer.” Great. Thanks.

Okay are we all caught up? Well, to March, anyway.