- April 2010
- 21 - Introduction To Volumes ...
- June 2010
- 20 - BLOODY SUNDAY: A ...
- July 2010
- 14 - Some Reading During ...
- 19 - Introduction to My ...
- August 2010
- 18 - House of Sand
- December 2010
- 16 - David Puttnam
- 16 - Hegemony
- February 2011
- 14 - SEARCH FOR MEANING
- 14 - MIA FARROW AND THE ...
- August 2011
- 15 - ALFRED KAZIN: Some ...
- November 2011
- 14 - SECRET DIARIES: MORE ...
- December 2011
- 02 - Annual Email for ...
- January 2012
- 12 - THE DIARIES OF ANNE ...
- 20 - Snippets
- May 2012
- 20 - FUNNIES UPLIFTINGS ...
- 20 - JULIAN, VIDAL AND ME
- 20 - LOVE AND LUST AND ...
- 20 - SUSAN SARANDON AND ME
- 20 - Mr JONES and ME
- 20 - THE UNIVERSE: And then ...
- July 2012
- 06 - Samuel Pepys and Me: A ...
- November 2012
- 03 - PAINTED WITH WORDS: Who ...
- 03 - SOME LIKE IT HOT
- 03 - THE LANGUAGE OF THERE
- 03 - JACKIE: I HARDLY KNEW ...
- 03 - MAKING SENSE OF OUR ...
- 03 - ROBERT HUGHES: GOING ...
- 03 - HERMANN HESSE and ME
- 03 - THE OLD TESTAMENT and ME
- 03 - BREAKING POINTS AND ...
- December 2012
- 29 - An EBOOK READER and a ...
- 29 - Annual Email for ...
- 31 - Annual Email for ...
- January 2013
- 27 - SOME FACTS OF HISTORY: ...
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- 27 - MIGRANTS: Letter Writing
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- 27 - CLIVE JAMES AND ME
- 27 - The Telephone and the ...
- March 2013
- 28 - SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED
- May 2013
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- November 2013
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- 20 - Annual Email for ...
- February 2014
- 18 - Some Thoughts on ...
- April 2014
- 20 - SOLITUDE: And The ...
- June 2014
- 20 - SHAKESPEARE: SOME ...
- August 2014
- 20 - Stuart Hall: Some ...
- October 2014
- 09 - Monty Python: A ...
- December 2014
- 08 - Annual Letter for ...
- 14 - Introduction To Volumes ...
- 18 - Ron Price's Annual ...
- August 2015
- 16 - Frank Kermode: ...
- September 2015
- 20 - Ron Price's Present ...
- December 2015
- 10 - Ron Price's Health: ...
- January 2016
- 25 - Ron Price's Health: ...
- 31 - Ron Price's Health: ...
- February 2016
- 25 - Ron's Health: ...
- 27 - My Family: ...
- March 2016
- 28 - Ron's Health: ...
- April 2016
- 05 - Ron's Health Today
- May 2016
- 13 - Ron's passing
Annual Letter for 1/'14 to 6/'15Part 1:
If you have come here from my website, or from some other website in cyberspace like Facebook, or one of the 100s of other sites on the internet where my writing is found, and if you are interested in this annual letter for 2014-15(1/'14 to 6/'15) to family and friends, the following provides a quite detailed picture. There are 4 more of my annual emails at this online diary: one each for the 3 previous years going back to 2011, and 1 for several months of 2015 and yet another for the period after 15/11/'15.
If you want to read those annual emails first, you will gain a setting, a helpful perspective, on this annual email......This annual email also updates the health of Chris and I beyond June 2015 and until mid-September 2015. But the full details of our health can only be found in my next annual letter for 7/'15 to 11/'15, and 11/'15 and beyond. Please do not phone or visit to offer your 'well-wishings." Reply, if you want to contact me, by email in as much detail as you wish, and I will reply briefly.
The above suggestion is for my many readers who, for some reason or another, take a detailed interest in my personal life and the lives of the significant others in my life-circle, significant--as they say in the field of psychology. Readers with a genuine interest in my autobiography have all sorts of internet options available. I leave this exercise to you. There is a great deal of my autobiographical writing in cyberspace. Googling the words: "Ron Price autobiography" will be a good start and so, too, will the link to the autobiography sub-section of my website at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/auto.html
This annual email for 2014 and the first 6 months of 2015 contains, in the main, an update on the significant individuals in my second affinal family, family by marriage. It is an update to 30/6/'15, some 10 days into the winter season Downunder. This is the last update to my annual letter for 2014-15; all future updates for the winter and future seasons in Australia will be found in my annual letter for 7/'15 to 6/'16 also available, as I say above, at this online diary. (Note: I have added, as I indicate above some information on my health up to mid-September 2015, but only some.)
This is a family I became a part of by marriage at a Baha'i ceremony with a marriage celebrant on 20 December 1975 in Albury, Victoria, Australia. That's only 6 months short of a total of 40 years of marriage as I write this update. "Tempus fugit," as my mother used to say and, for those who do not know any Latin, "how time flies!"
As I write this fourth edition of my annual communication for the year 2014, and the first half of 2015, the winter for 2015 in Australia is, as I say, 8 days underway. Winter in Canada for my family and friends back home has come to an end; the snow and cold weather of winter that had set-in for several months in that vast land, as well as in the north of the USA which had been hit very hard in those winter months is now long gone, as summer goes through its first weeks.
Readers who take a particular interest in climate can Google this subject and get all the detail they require for what it is like at this time of year both in Ontario in Canada where I used to live, and in Tasmania in Australia---my final home as I head into the evening of my life in my 70s, and 80s, if I last that long. I leave the details of the climate with climate enthusiasts.
Millions of letters in the history of letter-writing opened with a paragraph on climate, but that is not necessary now that Google tells readers more than they need to know. It is my intention to add to this annual email with one or two of my prose-poems at the end of this update. Only readers who take an interest in my online poetry need bother with these two pieces.
My present family by marriage is a family that has gone through many changes, indeed, transformations in the last 41 years since I first became associated with it, when I was in my late 20s, in late March and April 1974. In that autumn season in Australia I began a relationship with a Christine Armstrong(nee Sheldrick). The relationship continued and, some 20 months later, on 20 December 1975, Christine and I had a simple, unostentatious, Baha'i wedding ceremony, as I say above, in Albury Victoria, a town on the border of Victoria and NSW Australia.
There were only a small handful of people present, quite unlike the great number who attended my first wedding ceremony in August 1967 in Scarborough Ontario when I was 23. I am now in my 70s and have no intention of marrying again, even should my wife pass away. After nearly 50 years in the institution of marriage as a husband, as well as an additional 20 years as an only child of older-parents in a small nuclear-family of 3, from the 1940s to the 1960s, I trust I will go the distance in this second marriage. If things go the way I hope, I will pass away before my wife who will be 70 in some 11 months. Of course, "no man knoweth when his own end shall be", as it says in Ecclesiastes 9:12 and Matthew 24:36, among other places in religious literature.
Christine, my wife(usually called Chris by her friends), was one of my students in what is now the University of Tasmania and was, back in 1974, a College of Advanced Education. I was her tutor in education studies; she was training to be a maths-science teacher in secondary schools. She, like I, at the time was separated from her first marital partner; we did not seriously think of marrying until the southern autumn(and northern spring) of 1975, forty years ago. She had two daughters who, in 1974 when we first met, were aged 8 and 3. Forty years later, Vivienne and Angela, those two little girls, are both working-mothers in their 40s and 50s. One is in nursing and the other in public relations and marketing. They both work in Launceston Tasmania, a half-hour drive from my home here in George Town.
In late 1973, some 27 months after arriving in Australia, my first wife(now Judy Noack) and I separated. We had been, at the time, living and working near Adelaide in the town of Gawler South Australia. Our divorce was formalized by law in 1975, as was Christine's. I won't give you an update on my first wife who has remarried and is living with her Australian husband in Canada. I also won't give readers here chapter and verse of the story of Chris and I, and her two girls, over the last 40 years. I deal with some of that story in my autobiography available at several places in cyberspace, FY possible I.
I encourage readers to go to my other annual emails for: 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. These emails are also found at this on-line diary, if you would like a more extended update and detail on my life and those significant individuals, as they say in psychology, who have been part of my life these last 41 years. These 5 annual emails(including this one) will fill readers in regarding my family life, at least to a limited extent, since 1974-1975, since the beginning of my life in this 2nd affinal family, as families by marriage are known in sociology.
It is not my intention, as I say, to write about the last 41 years in this my second affinal family, nor the 8 years in my first affinal family, 1967 to 1975, nor the 23 years growing-up and into my first years of adulthood in Canada in my family of birth. Each of these three families have extensive and elaborate family trees with more and more people on them as the years go on, both moving forward and going back previous generations. Indeed, I could write a book about all these people who, in a wide variety of ways and in different degrees of intensity and meaning became part of my life at different stages in my lifespan. But it is not my intention of discussing this great network of people whom most of those who read this letter will not know anyway, and will never meet.
If I did write about any of these other people and the many aspects of my life that are involved in their family networks this annual letter would become far too long for most readers. I'm sure it already is too long for many of those who have come this far in accessing my annual emails. I always recommend skimming and scanning to those in the Facebook-Twitter generations who come to my annual emails, generations who prefer the short and the sweet, the clipped and the concise, the terse and the pithy. Long and windy accounts of one's life are rare events now in cyberspace.
As I say above, the Facebook-Twitter generation I know, from my several years of posting at those popular SNS(social networking sites), likes the short and snappy, brief and curt, crisp and pithy, terse and succinct, posts to either read or write with, of course, all the visual and auditory additions that such SNS offer to their users.
This is but one of the many indications of the increase in the pace of life in this 21st century. It is also an indication of several other aspects of our 21st century culture with its 24/7 news, & dozens of sources of stimulation now available to keep everyone both informed and entertained in perpetuity.
The details of these last 8 decades of my life, 1943 to 2015, are not found in my annual emails, although I have made general statements, provided some general details, on those 72 years over the several lengthy annual emails now at this diary-website. I have written about: (a) what are now nearly 50 years of married life, and (b) more than 20 of single life, as I say above, in my autobiography. Readers with the interest can access that autobiography in cyberspace, in whole or in part, at many internet sites. I also write briefly about the lives of my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents going back into the middle of the 19th century---for those who have the interest.
This annual email follows-on from the last annual letter to family and friends, for 2013. This is an annual communication, and it updates the activities of: (i) my wife and I, as well as my son and his wife and daughter; (ii) my oldest step-daughter Vivienne, her husband Andrew, and their two children, Tobias and Kelsey; and, finally, (iii) the youngest of my two step-daughters, Angela and her son, George. Angela is a single mother, as I pointed out in that previous annual email. The previous 3 annual emails give many details about these three components of my family here in Australia, details that do not need repeating here.
As the year 2015 has just ended its 6th month; as I update this annual letter for 2014-15, and as I have now begun the decade of my 70s, I will add a few remarks to the previous annual up-date on these significant individuals in the inner circle of this family. I will also leave it to readers to read as much or as little of this annual email as they desire. In addition, I will provide below an update on my medical problems.
Chris and I are still dealing with our several infirmities as we head through our 70s. Chris will head through her 70s in another 14 months, beginning in 8/2016.
I deal with all my physical & mental problems by means of traditional medicine and psychiatry. The first detailed commentary below will give readers an outline of my medical problems and what I do to deal with them. I don't discuss these problems in any detail here, but I do so in my next annual letter for the last half of 2015. I am regular contact with each of the 8 doctors who now attend to my needs.
I advise others with serious medical issues to always: (a) get second opinions, if it is at all possible, (b) get copies of blood tests and (c) copies of letters to and from the various doctors to each other as they all continue to manage their physical health problems. I also advise others to set-up their own files as they begin to be their own doctor in consultations with the several experts in the fields.
I see a GP and a second opinion GP here in George Town several times a year, & a psychiatrist in Launceston once every two or three years usually to help me deal with medication changes for my bipolar I disorder. I also see a renal physician, or nephrologist, for my moderate chronic kidney disease phase 3, and a mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I see a urological surgeon for my enlarged prostate; I also see a gastroenterologist for diverticulosis, blood loss in the gastrointestinal tract, for a gastroscopy, and a periodic colonoscopy, diabetes2(D2), jaundice(J) and pancreatic cancer(PC).
With a podiatrist for my foot fungus and various other foot problems, an optometrist for my cataracts, the side-effects of D2, and an annual update for my prescription glasses; with my dental work in the hands of a dentist and a dental technician to help me take care of my two partial plates and my last 6 teeth, I am more than happy to pay tribute to the wonders of modern medicine in all its labyrinthine forms and sub-disciplines. Whatever troubles the world is experiencing because of its ties with many outworn shibboleths in the fields of religion and politics, the fields of science(S), technology(T) and medicine(M) have transformed and continue to transform our world, at least for those like myself who have the advantage of being able to access these fields.
For those who are into the vast tracts of alternative medicine, I am happy that you NOT write to me with your concerns and your advice for my several medical problems. I am in VERY good medical hands, and am enjoying the pleasures of retirement as I go through my 70s. I have many local people who provide me with curative advice in the areas of alternative medicine, and several who provide me with: (i) supplements and aromas, (ii) medicines, and particular vitamins and minerals, and (iii) an assortment of meditation, yoga and mental hygiene techniques.
I also have access to: (a) homeopathy, (b) naturopathy, (c)chiropractic, (d) osteopathy, (e) energy medicine, (f) various forms of acupuncture, (g) traditional Chinese medicine, (h) Ayurvedic medicine, (i) Bowen therapy, and (j) a wide range of faith healing prescriptions. The internet, too, is full to overflowing with advice that I can access 24/7. I have benefited for decades, indeed, since my childhood, from advice in the many healing arts thanks to a mother for whom the subjects of healing and health were at the center of her religious proclivities. I now benefit from having a wife who knows more about anatomy, physiology and general medicine(due to her interests in science and her own health problems) than I will ever know. She has proved a useful helpmate in our four decades of marriage(1975-2015). It must be said, though, that I now use the many forms of alternative medicine very rarely.
Chris deals with a mild inflammatory problem. Her problem is in the area of rheumatology. She has mild fibromyalgia according to her rheumatologist, but Chris does not agree. Her hypothyriodism has been corrected in the last 12 months. I won't add to the present level of information regarding her several health problems, information already indicated in previous annual emails, other than to say: (a) Chris's infirmities are all "works in progress; (b) I suffer hardly at all due to the several medications I take, and (c) Chris has more of a battle due to physical discomfort and fatigue especially on some days which is exacerbated if she gets a cold(which these days seems often due to her catching a cold from her grand-children!) .....things have improved in the colds-department, though, and her general energy levels are better than they have been in years.
Chris's thyroxine levels have been largely worked-out to her satisfaction, and this has brought her much relief to several of her symptoms. Both of our conditions are difficult for others to understand and, unless others are particularly interested, it is only on rare occasions that we even discuss our health 'challenges' to use a word of increasing popularity in our culture.
Both of us still have relatively active lives, in spite of these infirmities, and I have summarized these activities in several ways in the previous annual emails for those with the interest. After 20 months of the evolution of this annual email for 2014-15, and with the year 2015 now less than than 4 weeks from the autumn season(in Canada), I will say no more about Chris and I.
My annual letter for the last half of 2015 is now online at this site in two parts. It contains updates on the significant individuals in my life and there is no need, therefore, to add anything more to this annual email for 2014-15. This, then, is the last edition of my annual letter for the year 2014-15. I will not be adding any updates to this annual email for 2014-2015.
Not everyone is into writing lengthy annual letters/emails and not everyone enjoys reading them. To all those who have come this far in this particular annual email, I encourage you to read as much of this communication or as little as you so desire; also write as much or as little in response if, indeed, you want to write anything at all.
From time to time in my annual emails I mention some aspect of the Baha'i Faith that is relevant in the Baha'i calendar. I also write about what that aspect is all about to the Baha'i community which I have now been associated with for more than 60 years. Wikipedia, that most popular of the online encyclopedia, has a detailed, an excellent, series of statements in relation to all the significant dates in the annual Baha'i calendar for those who come to this annual letter and who also have an interest in this subject.
I leave it to readers to access Wikipedia to the extent they wish, not only in relation to the Baha'i Faith, but also in relation to dozens of aspects of life in Australia and Tasmania, as well as Canada, which are now covered in great detail at many cyberspace sites. It is for this reason that there are many aspects of life which I do not discuss in this annual letter like: the weather, the landscape, the many details of local culture and history, inter alia.
As I update this annual email some 120,000 localities in the world where Baha'is live are about to commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Bab on 9 July at noon. As I say, readers who are interested can go to Wikipedia for a detailed exposition of the details of this event on the Baha'i calendar.
I do not write about my wife's brother and sister and their families, nor the many other people on my family tree here in Tasmania; nor do I write about my wife's 96 year-old mother, or any of the extensions of my family in Canada, or my first affinal family in Canada with its extensions in the USA and Australia. My birth family in Canada, where I was born and where I lived until I was 26, is also not included in this up-dating process. Readers will find some comments and references to those 2 families, and my first family by marriage, in the earlier decades in my life, if they want to go back over those earlier annual emails at this website, this online diary.
Readers can also access my autobiography, as I say above, at various places in cyberspace by Googling "Ron Price Autobiography". I leave all this to each reader who accesses this part of my website, and this annual letter. Everyone can read as much or as little as they like, and respond in writing if they so desire at: firstname.lastname@example.org ..................................................................
My son Daniel, who was 37 in August 2014, returned from Addis Ababa Ethiopia with his wife, Zuriash, and their 2 year old daughter Grace 15 months ago, back in January 2014. They had a two-month stay with Zuriash's family, and took-in some travelling in parts of Ethiopia where Zuriash had not been, even though she was born and raised in that interesting country. Daniel & Zuriash are now nearly 6 years into their marriage which took place on: 9/9/'09. They were living, as I also indicated in a previous email, only a few houses from where I lived in 1974 on first arriving in Launceston more than 41 years ago at the age of 29.
Daniel has been working, as I again indicated in previous annual emails, as a technical writer and statistician with Tas-Gas, Tasmania’s No.1 natural gas retailer. In January 2015 he began a new position with the same company which goes by the title: "gas contracts administrator". He also went from working 3 days a week to full-time and, of course, he makes more money. The job paid over $80,000/annum which is more than I ever made in any of my jobs. I remember my father having the same experience back in about 1960 in one of my summer jobs which, back then, paid $60/week. It was more than he had ever made in his working life on his weekly salary.
The 3 days a week allowed him to play a more extensive part in his role as a father and husband, as well as secretary of the local Baha'i community, among other volunteer activities. This FT job pays more money, as I say, and it will enable Daniel and Zuriash, all being well, to buy a house and get off the rental treadmill. I'll keep readers updated on the lives of my 3 children and 4 grandchildren in my next annual letter for 2015.
Daniel was asked more than a year ago if he wanted to work an additional day to the 3 he is already working but, as he headed for the age of 40 in the next three years; he was in no hurry to work full-time due to what he saw as the convenience and suitability of his PT job. This job provided enough money to pay the bills and, at the same time, allowed him "to work to live" instead of "living to work." This idea, this way of putting it, is one that people sometimes use to convey a line of thought in relation to their job-life and their personal-non-job life.
Vivienne, my oldest step-daughter at 47, and Andrew her husband, had been living in their new house in Launceston for 6 months(1/'14 to 6/'14) when they decided to separate. They have now been married for 25 years which is 3 times longer than my first marriage from 1967 to 1975. This new house was to be the first stage in their downsizing.
V's and A's two children, now 21 and 18, are still at home, at least part of the time and, in all likelihood, they will both move out for good in the next year or so. Their home is a lovely place in another part of Launceston not far from where they used to live for many years. It has an indoor swimming-pool and sauna. Both V and A(Andrew) continue at the jobs they have had, and which I have already written about in this series of annual emails. I've enjoyed my first swim in their pool and my first sauna, and Chris has enjoyed several. What a convenience to have in one's home!
Separations, of course, bring a whole new episode to one's life-narrative. V and A have now been separated for more than 1 year, as I write this update of my annual letter, & who knows what will eventuate in the months ahead in their relationship. It would appear, though, after 1 year apart, that the two of them are not likely to get back together again. They are still on talking terms, and just celebrated that 25th wedding anniversary. Marriages are complex affairs as most people who enter that state and stay in it for years will testify. I will keep readers informed of the eventualities as they come to fruition in the months ahead in 2015. I will keep readers informed in my annual letter for 2015 not in this annual letter.
Andrew has been living in other parts of Launceston since their separation as well as back in the family home due to the advantages financially. Separations are complex affairs; I speak from experience, although that experience was some 41 years ago in my case. Separations from lengthy relationships are just one of the many complexities of modern life whether one is single, partnered, or married. It is interesting that here in Australia, the largest demographic group for marketing people is "single people living alone." I could hardly believe it when I read that statistic several months ago.
Until last summer, Vivienne and her daughter Kelsey manned-the-roost, as they say, and kept home and hearth running most of the time when they were not occupied with their busy lives at work, at school and out-and-about with friends and life's assorted activities. But Kelsey is now living in Hobart and has started her first year in Agricultural Science at the University of Tasmania. She will now be at home only on the occasional weekend and holiday. At least that is the current situation as we all head through the first weeks of the winter season here in Tasmania. Viviennne is happy to have Tobias, now a young adult, back home with Kelsey having moved to Hobart.
Tobias, my step-grandson, is now 21 and is(as I say) back living at home after a year in other flats in Launceston. His job, girlfriend and various personal interests kept him in that world of 'out-and-about'. Tobias had been working as a bar-man at a casino in northern Tasmania for the last 12 months. Tobias was an assistant manager at the New York Hotel in Launceston where he had been working PT for several years.
Since March 2015, Tobias has been working as a pick-up or forklift driver. He often has to get-up at 4 a.m. but, at 21, he has had an interesting range of work experience. I'll provide updates on him and others in the 2015 edition of my annual letter. Everyone's life is a story in flux with the changes and chances of life impacting on former routines, routines which I have only written of briefly above.
I'll say a little more about Angela, who began doing communication consultancy work in the last year, in addition to a new PT job here in northern Tasmania. Angela is a specialist in marketing and is a communications practitioner who is recognised for her senior consulting work. In early September 2014 she began to work half-time with an organization called 'Rural Business Tasmania.' This organization is part of the Tasmanian School of Business & Economics Corporate Internship Programme of the University of Tasmania. She is involved with the review and revitalising services to the rural sector on this island state of Australia.
This job is child-friendly in the sense that it allows her, as a single-mother, to pay the bills and raise her son without too much of a stretch of her personal and psychological resources as would be required in a FT job. It's not an easy role but, after many years in the fast lanes of the business world, Angela is coping well. She has now been at the job for 10 months and, although she is not as passionate about her job as she was in her last position in Melbourne, it pays the bills and allows her to be back in the bonds of her extended family and the friends she grew-up with here in Tasmania.
Angela has recently taken-up dancing lessons and adult ballet in the little leisure-time that she has. She lives just off the CBD in Launceston in a house right beside the school to which George goes. She rents-out, sub-lets, part of her flat to help defray the cost. Angela is an enterprising woman with a rich background of both academic, job and life experience behind her as she goes through her mid-40s. We see Angela from time to time here in George Town when she and George come for visits. Occasionally one or both of us visit her and George in Launceston.
Angela was employed until more than a year ago in a job I reported-on briefly in my last email. It was a job which was highly suited to her role as a single mother since she did not have to work evenings, or at the weekend, as she had done in her previous job. She was able to give much more of her time to her son, George, who will be 5 years old in September 2015. It was also a job in which she could invest her passions and social concerns. I will describe that job briefly below since it was an interesting part of her working life.
Angela was the Manager of Fundraising and Events with an organization known as "Child Wise." Child Wise is Australia’s leading child protection charity at the international level. It is, and was, committed to the prevention and reduction of sexual abuse and exploitation of children around the world. Child Wise’s primary focus is to prevent abuse before it happens. Their programs are child-focused, award-winning and informed by a fundamental belief that children have a right to physical and psychological safety. Child abuse in its many forms is a global problem that knows no borders. Her employers, Child Wise, work in Australia, Asia and the Pacific delivering programs to prevent abuses against children.
Angela was highly suited to this job due to her general career trajectory with its 18 years’ experience in a number of industries throughout Australia, Asia, and beyond. She has worked with organisations including: global telecommunications behemoths Alcatel- Lucent and the Nokia-Siemens Networks, as well as an Indonesia head-quartered global property developer, the Karma Royal Group. Most recently, in 2013, she worked with national event specialists, SuperSprint.
Angela is an energetic and seasoned marketing, communications, events, and fund-raising professional and, as I say above, has had many years, in the world's many fast lanes. At the moment she has slowed-down, at least to some extent, in this PT job which allows her to focus on raising her son George and on her several life-interests during the time she is not at work.
That previous job, a fund-raising and marketing position came to an abrupt-halt in early March 2014 for a complex set of reasons associated with a change in direction of that charitable organization's mission statement and with their inability to continue to finance Angela's position. Angela commands what you might call "an executive salary" for some of the many jobs in the public relations industry. Even on her PT job now in Launceston, it is enough money for her to pay her bills and lead a busy life raising her son George.
I have followed Angela's career with interest in the last two decades, beginning as that career did back in 1996 after her graduation from RMIT(The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) with a BA in Public Relations and Psychology. My own career was heading to its end back then in 1996, and in 1999 I took an early retirement at the age of 55.
I look forward to Angela's personal & professional development in the years ahead as she continues through the challenges of her remaining years of middle-age: 44 to 60, and as she raises her son, George, who as I say above, was 4 years old on 20/9/'14. Angela is now living back in Launceston with her son George. She and George stayed with her sister Vivienne until early October 2014 when they moved into a lovely flat in Launceston close to George's school and to Angela's work. Occasionally Chris or I baby-sit George or he comes to our home for the night. He is a delightful little boy!
Angela is hoping to buy a house in the near future and get off that rental-treadmill. In the meantime, though and as I say, she has sub-let part of her flat and so now has access to another baby-sitter, an important commodity when one is a single mother. I have always admired Angela's enterprising spirit. Her father has been very generous over the years in assisting Angela financially. My wife and I have not had sufficient financial assets to help Angela in the way we would have liked to do. But her father, a Robert Armstrong & a retired pharmacist aged 73, helps her from time to time. He is in an aged-care facility and in a wheel-chair, partly due to a football accident he had many years ago. I came into Angela's life when she was 3 and, as a step-father, I have now been in her life for over 40 years!
Running the gauntlet in the job-world presents individuals with many challenges. This has been true for my son & for my two step-daughters, as well as their respective partners, in the years of their adult lives, as it was true for me from the 1960s to the beginning of this 21st century----and as it is coming to be true for my grandchildren, at least two of them. They each and all deal with that gauntlet in their different ways, to say nothing of the other 3 major life-gauntlets: marriage-partner-relationships, health-hygiene, and interests-leisure-time. These other major aspects of their personal lives are each stories in themselves which I won't go into here in any more detail.
After being employed myself from 1950 to 2005 at a vast assortment of jobs, I am more than a little happy to have my working life and its FT, PT and casual-volunteer aspects, behind me. My 3 children each have many years to go in their working-employment lives. The 3 of them each have one to three decades more of paid-employment before retirement arrives in their lives. This, of course, depends on how their careers develop and when they want to enjoy their retirement years. Not having to concern oneself with earning a living, raising children and paying the bills is an evolving story for each individual in their lives. So, too, is retirement an evolving part of one's life-narrative. With the advances in modern medicine I could be around for another 3 decades or more!
In recent months in Australia there has been talk of raising the retirement age to 70! The job-world is a gauntlet, as I say above, for millions, a gauntlet which must be run along with those other gauntlets I mentioned. It is difficult for most people to win on all these fronts all the time as they go through the several stages of their lifespans.
All the above individuals have on-going stories which I will continue to report-on in my next annual email for 2015, as it goes from month to month from July onwards. Much happens in the daily round; it is my intention to highlight only a few aspects of the lives of these several significant family members, and the life of my wife and I.
This 4th edition of my annual communication will be the final edition. All updates which become relevant will be done in the annual letter for the last half of 2015. In the meantime, I trust that all those who happen to read this annual missive for 2014-15 lots of energy, good spirits & good health as we go through the winter months which began on 21/6/'15, some 10 days ago as I write this final update. This, of course, depends on what hemisphere those who read this annual email live, and whether readers see the 1st of the month as the start of a season or the 21st. As I say above, if you feel inclined, do write back. My email address is: email@example.com
-----------------SOME PROSE-POETRY FROM MY POEM FACTORY-------
Peter James O'Toole(1932-2013) was an Irish-born, British educated, actor of fame who died nearly a year ago on 14/12/'13. He began working in the theater, and gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor, while I was making a name for myself in a small town in Ontario in pee-wee and bantam baseball for teens and pre-teens in the 1950s. O'Toole made his film debut in 1959, the same year that I was in grade 10, that I was in love with a girl around the corner named Susan Gregory, and that I joined the Baha'i Faith.
I have put together, in the 2300 words which follow, several pieces of prose and poetry, pieces I wrote in recent years since retiring after a 50 year student and working life: 1949 to 1999, & after reinventing myself as a writer and author, poet and publisher, online blogger and journalist, editor and researcher, reader and scholar.
These words below serve as a personal reflection on Peter O'Toole, his life, and my own life. I see our two lives in a curious & interesting synchronicity, interesting at least to me; if readers enjoy the following that will be a bonus to the pleasure I had in writing this prose-poetic set of words.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, George Town, Tasmania.
CINEMATOGRAPHY and ECCENTRICITY
IN LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
Perhaps I was attracted to the autobiographical aspect,the epic story, of a larger-than-life adventurer, T.E. Lawrence(1888-1935). His Arabian adventure in the film Lawrence of Arabia moved me, I recall, even after the passing of more than half a century. Perhaps it was the impressive cinematography that got to my emotions. Perhaps it was the music, the rich lyrical scores, of Maurice Jarre, someone I came to know a little about many years after seeing the film.
By the time I came to write this prose-poem, this reflection, after the passing of Peter O'Toole in December 2013, I had seen the film Lawrence of Arabia twice. In the 54 years since the start of the film's production back in October 1959, my own life has taken a circuitous route, a journey I could not, and did not, anticipate.
October 1959 was the month that the famous TV series "The Twilight Zone" started. I also began the first season of midget ice-hockey in October. I joined the Bahá’í Faith one evening early in that same month. O'Toole married for the first time in 1959; 1959 was a big year for this now famous man who has acted for the last time.
O'Toole was into autobiography and memoirs, as I have been in recent decades, and you can read about his memoiristic interests in the detailed account of his life at Wikipedia. I have now been working on my own autobiography for 30 years; I do not possess the genius for words which this man, who is said to have memorized all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, clearly possessed.
O'Toole played the role of Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. The film was first released three months after my travelling-pioneering venture began in Canada in September 1962 for the Canadian Baha’i community. Lawrence's life and personality were enigmatic and complex, solitary and adventurous. He was, we are told, given to masochism; he was often beaten when a child by his mother; his sex-life was problematic; we are also told he was excessively arrogant. These are qualities I have myself exhibited but, after more than 50 years of living, and after some reflection and reading, I don't think I have ever exhibited these qualities and these problems with anything like the same intensity as Lawrence did. Of course, personal reflections of this nature are, for the most part, hypothetical, like so many of the views we come to have of ourselves as we travel the road to the end of our days on this earthly life.
I have not been tested by envy or jealousy except on the rarest of occasions. I've never had trouble with sex in anything like the same way and extent as was the case with Lawrence, although I must admit that my sex-life in the last 50 years or so has not been an entirely easy road, to say the least. Fame and wealth, the frenzy of renown, have also eluded me and, in some ways, I am thankful. O'Toole had to deal with alcohol and cancer, diabetes and a blood disorder; I think I've had a healthier, and far less frenetic life; alcohol has never been a problem for me nor have drugs, although I've had to deal with the perils of bipolar I disorder, as well as other infirmities at I now head through my 70s in the years 2014 to 2024.
These qualities, these human problems and attributes to which I have referred above in the lives of either Lawrence or O'Toole , are features of life that characterize people's life-narratives, millions of people, in various degrees. People sometimes become more conscious of them, more articulate, when they go to write their autobiography as I have done in recent decades, and as Lawrence did in writing his, his Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Peter O’Toole(1932-2013), as I say, had his problems with alcohol, marriage, & health. He also had to deal with an extreme eccentricity, and a brilliance of sorts; he is and was a useful exemplar for students who study in the field of abnormal psychology. It seems, though, that they were useful qualities for his role in Lawrence, a man of brilliance and eccentricity as well. O'Toole said he was “a retired Christian” who had given up organized religion in his teens when my own life was just getting started back in the 1940s in southern Ontario in a region of Canada known as The Golden Horseshoe.
The historical man, T. E. Lawrence, took on the task, among others, of uniting the Arabian Bedouins against their Turkish oppressors. My task was one of trying to bring unity to a people as well, although in the years 1959 to 1962, my adolescence, when I first began to deal with this task, I had no idea of the scale, the nature and the complexity of the exercise, an exercise I have come to be involved with myself in some three dozen towns where I lived since my last year of adolescence in 1962—more than 50 years ago.
My task, my life, did not operate on anything like the scale that Lawrence’s did. My world was a micro-world; my mise-en-scene, was: small towns and cities, schools and places of work, families and small groups. I don't want to summarize the story of Lawrence nor the movie here, suffice it to say, the cinematography was breathtaking, and the music captivating. The music has hung around in my memory bank for decades.
Some argue that the music and the photography were the main reasons for seeing the film. Lawrence seemed to possess the paradoxical qualities of a man blinded by his ego, desirous of fame and yet, at the same time, self-effacing. The film works with themes of fate and war, Arab tribal disunity and national politics. Lawrence exists as a dark, blank shadow, a complex, jelly-like personality in a brightly lit desert. He is a man incomprehensible even to those who knew him best: intelligent, charismatic and slightly mad. In the end he could not bring unity to the Arab tribes, could not even begin to create an Arab state. It's been a problem writ-large during the recent Arab spring.
Unity was elusive for Lawrence and for the Arabs for many reasons, as it is elusive for us in our 21st century planetizing world. The pioneers of our generations beginning, say, with the silent generation (1919-1939), have been able to construct only a portion of this unity, a stage along the way to the unity of humankind in the generations to come. These several generations have got some help from science and technology which have catapulted us into a neighborhood virtually overnight, at least as the bird of history flies. As Buckminster Fuller once put it: it’s utopia or oblivion. I’m going for utopia; there is little point in working for oblivion.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 28/12/'06 to 16/12/'13.
I had no idea back then that
I would be a bit mad, too, as
I journeyed across the desert,
the Arctic-ice, the many great
tracts of land playing my part
in trying to unite the peoples
of the Earth who did not seem
to want to unite at least through
the mechanism which I advised
and suggested-again and again-
for over sixty years, let's say,
back to the '50s as we were just
starting to go to the moon, to
rock-'n-roll, to a lot of other
stuff which you can read about.
The cinematography, the mise-
en-scene of my days, could be
magnificent in the hands of a
David Lean, a poetic imagery
with super-Panavision 70 mm
scope. You could even capture
the hills and valleys of my life
with a spectacular epic story, a
much larger-than-life idealistic
adventure & reduce my several
decades to, say, 150 minutes!!!
I had my eccentricity, but it
was nothing like Peter O’Toole’s;
I married someone who helped
to keep my eccentricities within
bounds of social propriety—and
thus function in society, in the
classroom and in the community
with its heterogeneity. But fame
and wealth would never be mine.
28/12/'06 to 23/10/'14.
SOME FINAL REFLECTIONS ON PETER O'TOOLE AND PEOPLE IN THE MEDIA
I found it interesting that Peter O’Toole and the director David Lean reportedly had a falling out after O’Toole turned down the lead in Zhivago. It was interesting to me, too, that Lean was married six times! This fact puts whatever sexual and marital troubles I've had in the six-decades, 1954 to 2014, in a helpful perspective. O'Toole's marital troubles make mine pale into insignificance. My slings and arrows have not been as extensive or as intensive as O'Toole's, at least thanks to the wonders of modern pharmacology and psychiatry.
These intensities and aspects of outrageous fortune which are often the case with celebrities of stage and screen, of sport & of the superhero world in all its many forms and sorts make for stories which come across our visual screen, onto our radar, so to speak. This is especially the case for the millions who take a serious interest in the celebrity world.
We who enjoy the pleasures of stage and screen, of the print and electronic media, can always find others who have had more difficult lives, and suffered far more than we and in whatever areas of our lives we have suffered. On the other-hand, we can always find others in those same media who are better-looking than us, more talented, more rich, more of virtually any human quality one could want to mention. Comparisons and contrasts are inevitable even if we are more than a little aware of that adage: comparisons are odious!
Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre, who wrote the rich, lyrical scores for films including Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, died nearly six years ago, on 28/3/'09, in Los Angeles at the age of 84. Next March in 2015 he would have been 90 had he lingered on. I post here this prose-poem as a personal quasi-eulogy to this pioneer-traveler in the world of music composition for film.-Ron Price, Tasmania, Australia
The shooting of the film Lawrence of Arabia was completed in the first two months of my own travel-pioneering life for the Canadian Bahá'í community, from 20 August to 20 October 1962. The film was released in North America on 16 December 1962, the year I finished my adolescent baseball and hockey careers, and my matriculation exams in Ontario at the age of 18 hoping to enter university the following year.
Lawrence of Arabia has been ranked as the greatest film in the history of the epic genre; it won seven Academy Awards that year, and it is today regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema. The film depicts the experiences of T.E. Lawrence, author of The Pillars of Wisdom, an autobiographical account penned in the aftermath of WWI. It tells of the experiences of British soldier, T. E. Lawrence, during WWI serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918 against the Ottoman Turks.-Ron Price with thanks to “Lawrence of Arabia,” in Wikipedia, 1 April 2009.
There are epics and epics, eh Lawrence?
Little did I know that I would come to
write one forty years later and they could
argue over whether I, too, was egotistical.
Your epic has many twists and turns, eh?
But that is the way life is, Lawrence. I’ve
found it so and I never even went to war,
but I must say, Lawrence, that my years
have seen a war of sorts; goodness, it has
never ended. It’s been an epic tale and(1)
associated with what well may become
the greatest drama in the world’s religious
history; that erudite Gibbon, in matters
ecclesiastical, wrote about the most awful
scene in the history of humankind only he
was out by, arguably, at least 1000 years!(2)
(1) American writer Henry Miller described as "far more terrible than the destruction" of the first two wars, the destruction we are now witnessing. The fires now in this 21st century "will rage until the very foundations of this present world crumble." –Henry Miller quoted in Geoffrey Nash, The Pheonix and the Ashes, George Ronald, Oxford, p.55.
(2) J. W. Swain, Edward Gibbon: The Historian, MacMillan, London, 1966, p.70.
1/4/'09 to 23/10/'14.
NEW LIFE AND A NEW LARA
Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre who wrote the rich, lyrical, scores for many films including Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia died, as I say above, on 28/3/'09, in Los Angeles at the age of 84. I post here this second prose-poem in relation to this famous composer, as a personal quasi-eulogy to this pioneer-traveler in the world of music composition for film.-Ron Price, Tasmania
Ten weeks after I had come to the firmest and most realistic of decisions I had yet made in my young life regarding my future career—the decision to become a primary school teacher--the film Dr. Zhivago was released. During my pre-adult life(1943-1964), I had wanted to be a bricklayer, a fireman, and a professional baseball player--in that order. My career as a primary school teacher also proved unrealistic, and was short-lived, although it proved to be much more realistic than those other three alternatives mentioned above, all of which were early life enthusiasms born of childhood and adolescent play and dreams.
On 22 December 1965, the day that the film Dr. Zhivago was released, I was on my way to a Baha’i-youth winter-school at the University of Waterloo campus in Waterloo Ontario just north of where I was living at the time in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe. I was one year short of graduation with a BA in sociology.
The film was shot in the previous months while my father lay dying at the age of 74 in Dundas Ontario. My mother, at the time, was finishing her working life as a secretary and poet, editor and writer, among other roles, and about to enjoy her dozen or so years of retirement before her death in 1978. In December 1965 I was in the middle of my second year of university and majoring in history, philosophy and sociology at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario. Hamilton is and was called the lunch-pail city of Canada because it was a working-man's city.
In the first year(22/12/'65-22/12/'66) of the release of Dr. Zhivago, a film that became one of the most popular 20th century movies, I moved to Canada's most southerly city, Windsor Ontario, to study under Dr. Jameson Bond, an anthropologist at the University of Windsor, and a Baha’i who had lived in the high Arctic for a dozen years; I also began my teacher-training and started a relationship with Miss Judy Gower whom I married 8 months later in August 1967.
After pondering, in a state of some anxiety, for eight months(12/'65-8/'66) the decision to teach school in the Canadian Arctic, and after finishing my degree; after selling ice-cream for 80 hours a week for the Good Humor Company during three summer months, and after attending a one week Baha’i youth-training institute in Michigan, I left my home town, my family and friends, and I started my teaching career on the fifth largest island in the world, Baffin Island, among the Inuit.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 30/3/'08 to 16/12/'13.
I knew nothing of Dr. Zhivago
until years later & little of
the Russian revolution, Stalin,
or communism for that matter.
I had studied Marx’s Economic
and Philosophical Manuscripts.(1)
I had discovered my own romance
not unlike Zhivago’s in another
revolution of quite another order
in a snow-bound world of another
time and place far removed from
Zhivago's world and my home-town.
With tragedy and a new high-seriousness
built into my daily life & with decisions
made--the entire enterprise came to naught.
The north, the Arctic, the Eskimos, health,
marriage, career and, like Zhivago, I found
an inner poetic beauty, a new life and--like
Zhivago--I created one with my own Lara (2)
and life went on and on toward my own
mysterious end which has not yet come.
(1) Written by Karl Marx in the summer of 1844.
(2) While married, but separated from my first wife, I formed a relationship with a woman who became my second wife in December 1975, and we have now been married for nearly 40 years.
30/3/'08 to 20/4/'14.
America's Tuning Fork
I only vaguely recall Pete Seeger from the 1950s, when I was in my early-to-mid-teens; his then hit record "Goodnight Irene" when he was with the Weavers is back there somewhere in my memory-bank. Perhaps it was in 1959, when his hit Kumbaya hit the marketplace, that he first came into my life on my little radio, in my little room, in my little house, in the little town I lived in back in the little world of the '50s. I had just joined the Baha'i Faith one evening in early October, and I might even have watched the first program of The Twilight Zone that same week although, in retrospect, I think that unlikely because my parents sold out Tv sometime before I got to high school in 1957.
By the '60s Pete was a big part of the public scene, and the 12 Seeger LPs someone gave me as a wedding present in August of 1967, placed him at the centre of my musical life. But it was not for long, as he slowly slipped to the periphery of my musical interests, and then right off my radar until two days ago when I heard of his passing at the ripe-old-age of 94!
So many of your songs, Pete, I played again and again and forgot they were yours. But you always seemed a humble sort of chap as you played through the heart of the protest movement of those '60s. Yes, Pete, you were right there at the beginning of my young political-religious life life using music to help others change the world, as you thought, and as I thought. And much changed, eh Pete? I'll say a few words below, Pete, to finish off this quasi-eulogy in appreciation for all you did for me, especially in my young life, in my teens and twenties, before life caught me by the jugular and sent me spinning far away from you and your music.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs with thanks to Wikipedia, 29/1/'14.
After '67 you slipped to
the periphery of my life
and right off my radar
for the next half-century:
now you are gone, Pete!
All your songs will stay with
those who want to listen, and
you'll still have listeners for
some time to come, Pete, eh?
For many you were America's(1)
tuning-fork, and you certainly
sang your way into my life in
those '60s when so much came
into my life that set the stage
for the long-haul, and it was
some long-haul for you, and
your 94 years, 25 years my
senior and always leading
even when forgotten, Pete.
I heard just yesterday that
you had passed on, and I
wish you well in that land
of light from which no man
returns, and I trust you have
had enough of this old world:(2)
"goodonyer", as they say here in
this world I now live, Downunder.
(1) President Barack Obama called Pete Seeker "America's tuning-fork"
(2) Seeger lived through a great tempest: 1919 to 2014
TURN! TURN! TURN!
Some eight years ago I listened to a radio interview with singer and songwriter Judy Collins, then in her late fifties. Margaret Throsby interviewed Collins on her ABC Radio National program, 6 December 2006, so my notes inform me as I go about writing this prose-poem. Collins informed listeners to that radio program that her mentor Pete Seeger had written the words and the music to the song "Turn Turn Turn" as early as 1954. Seeger did not release the song until 1962.
The year 1962 was the beginning of my travelling-pioneering life in the Bahá’í community. Judy Collins sang the song on her 1963 album, "Judy Collins #3". The year 1963 was the year of the formation of the first Universal House of Justice, an institution of more than a little significance in more than 50 years of my life-narrative. There was a significant turning going on in the Bahá’í community at the time, a community I have now been associated with for more than 60 years.(2)
In writing this song, Seeger had adapted the words from chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, 3: 1-8. He did this at another turning point in the history of the Bahá’í community and my own life. The words and that book of The Bible are often interpreted as conveying a spirit of fatalistic resignation. The words of Seeger's song have also been criticized as just being a series of over-simplifications. We all see things differently