Ron Price's Summer Edition of his Annual Email for 2012/13
Part A: Introduction
This is the third autumn edition of my 2012/13 annual email. Here we are at the beginning of the sixth month of 2013; autumn has less than 3 weeks remaining before winter arrives Downunder. For those who consider the first day of the winter season in Australia as the 1st of June, winter is now four days old. Tasmanian winters, whether they are considered to begin on 1 June or 21 June, are nothing like the winters in Canada that were part of my life until my mid-20s. Summers here in this island state of Australia are not like the hot ones I experienced for more than 25 years living on mainland Australia or, indeed, the summers I experienced for another 25 year period in Canada before leaving what was called the Golden Horseshoe in southern Ontario. I left Ontario back in 1967 at the age of 23 & moved to Baffin Island; in 1971 I left that part of Canada a second time, on that occasion for Australia at the age of 26. The autumn season here in Tasmania is very much like the early autumn I used to enjoy back in southern Ontario from the mid-1940s to the late-1960s and early 1970s.
The winters in North America are not missed. Many Canadians, who can afford it, go to Florida for the winter. My first wife, now Judy Noack, who now lives in Ontario with her Australian husband, Evan, went to Florida this winter. In late February 2013, 60 million people were in the path of a severe winter storm. This was more than 3 months ago. You can read about it, if you are interested, at this link: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/21/us...orm/index.html The winters here in Tasmania are moderate affairs, somewhat like the late autumn season before the winter snows which I once experienced in Ontario until I left what was and is called the Golden Horseshoe in my mid-20s.
Here on the north-central coast of this island state, the temperature rarely goes above 25 degrees in the summer months. The girl who runs the local swimming pool is of the opinion that we had no days over 25 degrees this summer. Others in town say we had 6 or 7 such days. Summer in George Town begins in December & ends, as I say above, at the end of February, or 20 March depending on how you define the date for the change in seasons.
I have lived in this island-state of Tasmania for 19 of my 69 years. Some locals call this coastal area of Tasmania where my wife & I live the Tasmanian French Riviera or even the Australian French Riviera. Chris and I began to live on this Australian French Riviera in Australia's oldest town, George Town Tasmania, 14 years ago; it was our third period of years together in this beautiful island state beginning as far back as 1974. I have now lived in this small town of 5000 people at the mouth of the Tamar River, 5 kms from the Bass Strait, longer than in any other town in my life--with the exception of Burlington Ontario where I lived from 1947 to 1962, the age of 3 to 18.
The fires which hit Tasmania this summer did not affect the George Town area on the north-central coast where my wife and I live. I've had several emails from friends and relatives expressing their concern but, as I say, those fires have not had any effect in this part of Tasmania. Fires and floods are part of the Australian experience every summer, and this summer is among the most serious, at least in recent decades and, in many areas of the continent, on record. Go to this link for some of the story: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/Jef...?entrynum=2323 My guess is, though, that you have had a good-bit of the story through your own local media even if you are a reader of this post back home in Canada, if you are a friend living in Israel, the UK or the USA, or if you are one of the many others who come to this annual email from among my many internet readers. Climate change becomes a more serious topic every year as the extremes of weather, fires and floods, and as melting ice in the Antarctic or Arctic, becomes part of the daily mix in the news across this fragile planet. I have probably gone on a little too much about the weather and the climate. They are safe subjects even if somewhat trivial. I leave the more serious stuff for my next annual email which readers can access at this site and at an online diary.
There are two older towns than George Town in Australia. Hobart and Sydney are both much older, but they have become cities; and so it is that those wanting to attract the tourist dollar to this little place of 5000 people call George Town "the oldest town in Australia." I took an early retirement from the teaching profession in July 1999 at the age of 55, after a 50 year student-working life: 1949-1999. Retirement has been, for me, an enriching experience, especially after I also gave-up all PT and casual-volunteer teaching by 2005. This annual email tells a little about these last few years away from paid employment as well as the demands of involvement in most aspects of the wider community. Having some 60 to 80 hours a week free to do something else with my life beside a job and attendance at endless meetings, the nose-to-the-grindstone stuff of job life with its pleasures and pains, its responsibilities and its rewards, has been a delight. These retirement years have not been without their tests and difficulties, though, always a part of life's inevitabilities to some extent, it seems.
My first wife & I arrived in Australia from Canada in July 1971 to primary school teaching jobs with the South Australian Education Department. We taught in Whyalla South Australia and, by 4 June 1972, some 41 years ago, we were back from Sydney where we had been enjoying our first summer holiday in Australia, and we were back in our classrooms. We had hitch-hiked together from Whyalla to Sydney in the first week of our summer holidays. Whyalla was-&-is a steel-port-city and we stayed in that city for another 7 months before moving to another part of that state--just outside of Adelaide in the Barossa Valley. I taught in South Australia's first open plan high school in 1973 before moving to Tasmania in December 1973. Instead of having more than 20+ hours of student contact in a high school, I had just 10 to 12 hours of contact in a position entitled: senior tutor in human relations. I worked in a college that was a teacher-training institution & it is now the University of Tasmania.
Tempus fugit, as my mother used to say and, for those whose Latin is non-existent, the translation is: "time flies." It seems to fly faster as one gets older---and I'll be 70 in 14 months, in July 2014. In some ways it's hard to believe that I have now lived in Australia more than 40 years, some 60% of my life-narrative. The aging process is an insinuating & seductive one; it seems like just the other day that I was an adolescent(1957-1963) in southern Ontario, and then a young adult(1964-1984), the years from 20 to 40 according to one model of human development used by psychologists in relation to the lifespan. With the marvels of modern medicine I could live until I'm 100. The year would then be 2044!
Last year's annual email can be found at: http://www.theforumsite.com/users/ro.../journal/80828 ....That annual email for 2011/12 has more information about my family and the significant individuals in my life, as they say in psychology. There is no need for me to repeat all that information in this year's edition of my annual email. With more than 2200 hits to my 2012/13 edition, and nearly 800 hits to this 2013/14 edition, the result is a total of nearly 4800 hits to my 3 annual missives over the period 12/'11 to 6/'13, I feel that this new form of sending out my annual email is a useful one. From 1967 to 2010 I sent annual letters, and then emails to a small group of friends rarely more than 25, and only once or twice more than 100.
I now write several editions of my annual emails, not only for family and these old friends and associations, but also for the many readers I have picked-up during the last 17 years when I have had a website. Beginning in 1999, the year I retired from FT work, I began a reinvention of myself as a writer & author, poet & publisher, editor & researcher, online-journalist & blogger, scholar & reader, literary marketing-man, office assistant and cleaner. After what had been a 50 year student-and-employment life from 1949 to 1999, at the age of 55, and another 10 years of an early retirement, a sea-change as some call it, I was able to enjoy two pensions. I now enjoy an Australian pension, and a Canadian pension for my work in Canada from 1961 to 1971 before moving to Australia.
My blogs are another type of communication tool written with various literary and social constituencies in mind in cyberspace. You can read my blogs by googling: 'Ron Price blogs' ...The 1000s of hits I get at my numerous blogs, totalling dozens now on the world-wide-web, is another story. In my new literary roles, I like to have readers. It's a bit like talking and the need to have listeners, although the desire to be liked and to be popular presents its own problems as most of us are only too aware. I also have several books and literally hundreds of essays and poems at this link:http://bahai-library.com/author Readers have to type the word "Price" into the search box & then click on the word "Search."
In our world of print & image glut, readers at the above link should not feel obliged to read any of the 50 items & thousands of pages of stuff they will then have access to read! Readers can also access a multitude of my posts at a wide variety of discussion forums in cyberspace by going to this link:https://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&sug...w=1200&bih=597
Part B: My Emails/Letters and My Style
Some argue that a person's letters are a much more reliable guide to the understanding of a human being than are their essays or novels, their poems or social networking posts, or even meeting them in person. I'm not so sure of this, though, for there is: epistolary disguise and image creation, postures which replace relationships & positions that leave out much of a person's reality of life. Readers get what might be called a social-literary presentation of self. Letters are seen by some analysts as a place where a part of a person's identity emerges, even a type of theatrical attentiveness with its concern for appearances, or a carefully arranged series of signs--among other functions and roles for their writers.
The letters of the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley reveal an astonishing single-mindedness in his pursuit of his ideals, but they also reveal a ruthlessness and even brutality in disposing of anyone who got in his way and whose views he found disagreeable. He loved humanity in general, but was cruel to many individuals in particular. To put this another way: he did not suffer fools gladly, as they say today. He burned with a fierce flame and many who got near to that flame & its ardor were scorched. He always placed ideas and ideals before people. Such is the view of F. L. Jones, the editor of two volumes of Shelley's Letters (1964). I mention Shelley here because his style is not mine. Kindness, as another poet once said, is the lodestone of the hearts of men; "it clotheth words with meaning," as that same poet went on to say.
I have to deal with a great deal of criticism on the internet since: (a) I write at 100s of sites and 1000s of threads in cyberspace, and (b) I often deal with controversial subjects. I wrote the following brief essay in response to the various forms of vituperation found in cyberspace and which I have received from time to time. That essay was found in the last edition of this annual email for 2012/13; I'll just post a link to that essay and leave it to readers to click on if they are interested: http://www.shadowedrealm.com/forum/b...n-prices-blog/
The forms of assistance that people request range across a spectrum of desires at Social Networking Sites(SNS). I am asked to comment on: (i) pictures of individuals, their children &/or friends, (ii) some of their philosophy or religion, their psychological and social enthusiasms, or their interest in food or fashion, (ii) their support for, or criticism of, a cause like: dogs or dolphins, animals or attitudes, seals or sadists, trees or terrorists, cats or kangaroos, the homeless or the homosexual, peace or progress, art or armies, flora or fauna, and/or (iii) a virtually endless list or litany of topics and subjects. As I say to such people, "go to this link." I also say, or encourage them, to read as much of this very long thread at the following link, as much as their passions and prejudices, proclivities and penchants can stand: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/PSYCHOL...tionships.html .....I make this suggestion to readers here because this long thread at this link at my website tries to cover every conceivable type of request that comes my way in cyberspace. If readers so desire, we can get into a literary exchange beyond the one-liners which characterize SNS like Facebook. It goes without saying, of course, that those who do not desire any discussion beyond one-liners will simply ignore the above link after reading a few words or, perhaps, a few paragraphs.
Part C: Means of Communicating These Days
I would now like to make some very brief & final comments to close this third autumn edition of my annual email for 2012/13. One advantage of writing online, as I pointed out last year, at least at some sites like this one, is the freedom writers have to revise their work. I often revised last year's email. Circumstances in my life and the life of the significant others, as psychologists call the members of one's immediate family, among others who take on a special importance to us in our lifespan, are always changing. I have placed the links to my annual emails in the autobiography section of my website so that readers who want a broader context for its contents than just the last two years can read the material I have placed in the long autobiography sub-section of my website at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/auto.html And, if they have no desire to read stuff at my internet site or, indeed, anything else I have written in cyberspace, they should feel free to do so. In some ways, this goes without saying.
Part D: Concluding Words
D.1 A GENERAL RESPONSE AND CONCLUSION
I trust your life is a comfortable one even if busy and demanding in its various ways as most people’s lives seem to be these days. If you enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle now in your retirement, as some who read this email do, may such a leisurely pace continue and with it good health and plenty of energy to enjoy what some call the declining and/or reclining years of the evening of life. If you are still jobbed and raising a family, we wish you well in coping with life's many demands. I get many humorous emails, others with words of wisdom and still others with clever and sometimes amazing photographs. I have written a general response to such emails at: http://www.volconvo.com/forums/gener...unication.html ....FY possible I.
D.2 SOME CHANGES IN IMMEDIATE FAMILY
1.1 My son, Daniel, and his wife, Zuriash, as well as my 21 month old grand-daughter, Grace, are now living in Launceston. They lived in George Town for two years after returning from their years in Israel at the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa. They now live in a house only a few doors away from where I lived when I first came to Tasmania in January 1974 to work at the university of Tasmania as a senior tutor in human relations. Daniel wanted to be closer to his job as a technical writer with Tas-Gas, a retail provider of natural gas in Tasmania. There are also more services in that city of 100,000 than there are in this little town with a population of 5000. There is, too, a Baha'i community of some 30 people in Launceston with 3 Baha'i communities in nearly towns each with less than a dozen members. Daniel's part-time job of 3 days a week allows him to play a more active part as a father with his wife Zuriash--for their little daughter Grace. If he had a five day, 40 hour a week, job he would not be able to play the part he now does in helping Zuriash raise their daughter. Launceston is only a half hour drive from George Town and so my wife and I will still be able to play our grand-parent roles, although somewhat less than we did during their two years in George Town.
1.2 My step-daughter, Vivienne, and her husband Andrew have had no major changes since I wrote in the last edition of this email, this internet post. Vivienne has been working as a nurse at the LGH, the Launceston General Hospital, for more than 25 years. Raising two children, both teenagers now, and being a working mother and wife, as Vivienne has been now for 20 years, is no easy task. My other step-daughter, Angela is now finding this out---and Angela's task is even more demanding, in some ways, since she is a single-working-mother whom I will say a few things about below after making some remarks on Andrew, Vivienne's husband, and their two teenagers.
1.2.1 Both Kelsey and Tobias, two of my three step-grandchildren, have had changes in their employment-student life. Kelsey, now 17, gave up her first job serving at a local bakery back in 2012, and has begun her two years at a matriculation college in Launceston. Tobias, now 19, has two part-time jobs, an evening PT dish-washing job which he has had for more than a year. His other PT job is also in Launceston at a bookstore. Tobias started an academic program at the University of Tasmania in the faculty of health sciences and medicine, but after several weeks found it was not for him. His experience reminded me of what happened to me in my first year of university in 1963. After quitting university in October 1963, I re-enrolled in November, the same day JFK was assassinated. It was, indeed, a day to remember for me in more ways than one.
There is always a lot happening in the private and public lives of most people, of which my family members are no exception. If readers want more details about any of my family members they need only ask. Angela, the youngest of my two step-daughters, is now 42. As I mentioned in the last edition of this annual email, Angela had a permanent marketing and publicity job in Perth Western Australia with Karma Resorts. She was at that job for about 6 months. As I also mentioned in that previous edition of this annual email, the job paid so well that she decided to resign from her job in mid-2012 in Tasmania and move to Perth. She and her soon to be three-year-old son, George, lived in Swanbourne Western Australia--a seaside suburb of Perth.
In the first week of February 2013, they moved to Melbourne. Angela has lived and worked in Melbourne before; that city has a better job-market for her skills, and she is now closer to her family in Tasmania. In her first week in Melbourne she got George into day-care and began to live in a rented house. By this week, the first week of June 2013, after more than four months in Melbourne, Angela has had several interviews, but a full-time job has not yet materialized. Her experience also reminds me of the 5000 job applications I sent out over the period of my working life: 1955 to 2005. Many have to run-the-gauntlet in the job-hunting world. Angela is an enterprizing woman. Even without a FT job, but with PT work she is able in one way or another, to keep a roof over her head and food on the table as they say.
In early January 2013 Angela resigned from her job in Perth due to difficulties with her supervisor, but she has a fabulous CV, and I'm sure she will have a new job soon. A supervisor, or one's boss, can be a difficult person to negotiate with in life as I found out over the years, and as millions of others do as well. Angela knows this only too well. She is now less than an hour by air from Melbourne to Launceston to visit her family, and she will fly over, probably every three months or so---time will, of course, tell. Angela's university studies were at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology(RMIT) in Victoria in the fields of marketing and psychology. Readers can access Angela's Facebook page, or my own Facebook page, a page at which I post a great deal of my writing, at this link:http://www.facebook.com/ronprice9
1.4 A major change has taken place in my life due to a new medication for my bipolar disorder(BPD). I take a cocktail of seroquel and effexor and have taken it now for more than a year. The main effect, among others, is that for the first 10 months I went to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., and got-up between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., although in the last 4 months I have started to stay up later. That relatively early-to-bed and early-to-rise pattern had not been part of my life since high school in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Seroquel has only been on the market since 2004, and is used extensively for those with PTSD. You can read a more longitudinal account of my BPD at this link on my website:http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/Bipolar.html ....if you are interested.
1.5 My wife, Chris, has finally received a diagnosis for the several health problems she has had in recent years. Her rheumatologist thinks she has fibromyalgia, a medical disorder which you can also read about at Wikipedia , if you are interested. Chris thinks she has an illness known as hypothyroidism, and not fibromyalgia. Needless to say, this package of medical problems and their associated symptoms does not make her life easy. In the last several months, though, Chris has worked-out her thyroid levels to her satisfaction and this has made her daily life but more manageable.
1.5.1 I'll keep in mind, though, what my mother used to say , when I was a child back in the 1950s, namely: "when you get old, boy, one of the main subjects of conversation is your ailments." I shall say no more, then, on this subject here! Readers who want to know more of my experience of bipolar disorder over 7 decades can go to this link: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/Bipolar.html at my website. Those who know Chris well usually phone her or send her emails.
1.6 Most people never talk about the details of their finances except, when they are inclined, to a small circle of family and friends. Like peoples' sex-lives, their finances are outside the conventions of normal personal discourse, for the most part, both in cyberspace and real space. I'll say several things here without giving too much away---at least from my point of view---if not from the point of view of all my readers. From my point of view my remarks are what you might call a moderate confessionalism, if indeed, the word 'confession' can even be applied to these revelations about my finances. Of course, what is moderate and appropriate to one person is often seen as extreme or inappropriate to another. As one aphorism I have often used goes: "stories about people are seldom good, a silent tongue is safest."
1.6.1 In the years 1999 to 2005, I retired after more than 4 decades of paid employment: FT, PT. and casual. With the money from my superannuation my wife and I fully-paid-for the 3 bedroom house we bought in Tasmania. We still live in this house and its value has gone from $100 thousand to $300 thousand. Back in 1999 we put the rest of my 'super', some $30,000, in the bank and investments. Now, 14 years later, my wife and I have an annual income from our pensions and investments of a little less than $30,000. We have no debt, and that $30,000 remaining from my super is gone. We took out a small reverse mortgage in 2012 and so, barring some unforeseen calamity, we should be financially comfortable ,for as far as the eye can see in this changeful life, into the last years of our late adulthood and old age(80+), if we last that long.
1.6.2 On our current annual income , though, we have to watch our pennies. Travel and tourism is virtually limited to non-existent. The daily exigencies and necessities get paid-for, but the kind of retail therapy on which our consumer society is built, and in which Chris likes to indulge on occasion, also has to be limited. We should be able to 'go the distance,' though, in this life with its financial slings and arrows. I could say more, but this is a succinct summary. Readers do not need to send me information abouti) internet-money-making opportunities, (ii) the problems of a reverse mortgage, or (iii) any other general financial advice. Chris handles our finances now as she has done for the 4 decades of our married life and, I might add, as my first wife did in those 8 years of my first marriage.
I am also happy not to receive any advice in relation to my general health and diet, exercise and how to lose weight, as well as how to deal with my bipolar disorder(BPD). I have gained 70 pounds since going on a medication for BPD in 1980. As I head for the age of 70, I have had enough advice on many a subject in the last 7 decades, enough to sink a ship, as they say. Chris and I are financially comfortable. I have no desire, nor does Chris, to spend my time earning extra money. I spent some 50 years, 1955 to 2005, trying. I also have access to 100s of pages of advice on health and healing, food and diet, at my fingertips in cyberspace, advice and information by the bucket-full!
1.6.3 I provide as much information as I am comfortable about revealing insofar as my sex-life is concerned over the lifespan at the following link. For the voyeuristic and the prurient, as well as for the curious and the simply interested who come to this my annual email, they can now enjoy a reward! I have written several pages of a prose-poetic story of my sex-life; readers who have read this far in my annual email should be rewarded. That reward, if reward it is, is located at this sub-section of my website: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/auto.htm ......I hope readers enjoy these personal and more general comments on this far-too-overemphasized aspect of contemporary culture.
D.3 ANNUAL EMAILS AND WELL-WISHING
Last year's annual email for 2011/12 has been in cyberspace for some 20 months. This is the third autumn edition of my 2013 email, updated to 4/6/'13. I have received several lengthy replies and many short and medium length ones to what are now 3 annual missives in cyberspace. Fewer & fewer people are inclined to write at length & in detail these days. I am happy to know that my 3 annual emails have now received nearly 4800 hits, to say nothing of the hits I get at sites with no counters. If the vast majority of the people who make these hits have no desire to respond in writing that is fine. I get a plethora of short emails and dozens of responses at the many sites at which I am registered in cyberspace. I also have to deal with more than 200 emails every day from the vast network of sites at which I have published my writing. Most of the 'friends' I have across the internet do not write to me frequently . If they did I would spend far too much time in answering emails & not writing poetry & prose.
It is writing poetry & prose, what has become a series of books, not answering emails and incoming messages, that has been engaging my attention during these years of my retirement from paid employment. For the 35+ categories of incoming emails to which, for the most part, I write no replies go to this link:http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/auto.html
Peoples' disinclination to write lengthy emails/letters is partly due to the popular use of: (i) SNS & other kinds of internet sites, and (ii) text-ing and telephoning. The general hustle-and-bustle of life and society 24/7, as they say these days, also contributes to this reality. We all have our own likes and dislikes, tastes and tendencies, as well as personal activity preferences, when it comes to what we do with our time. Whatever you do with your time, and however you want to communicate, indeed, if you want to communicate at all, may your activities give you pleasure and meaning. Chris and I trust your world is a harmonious one and that it will remain that way for many years to come. I will write the first winter edition of my annual 2012/3 email sometime later in June or early July 2013. It is this 2012/13 annual email which will contain family updates. My 2013/14 annual missive has moved on to other subjects than family happenings. Readers wanting to read this 3rd annual email need to go to this link:http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...-for-2013-2014