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2016-02-27 03:42:43 (UTC)

My Family: 30/3/'16- Retrospect and Prospect

My Family: 29/3/'16:Retrospect and Prospect

Section A.1:

It has been several months since my last update on the lives and activities of my family here in Tasmania, my affinal family as they say in law and in cultural anthropology. Affinity, as distinguished from consanguinity, or Felationship by blood/birth, is the kinship relationship that is created or exists between two or more people as a result of somebody's marriage. The affinal family I write about below is my second(1975 to 2016); my first lasted from 1967 to 1975. I do not write about all my affinal family members only my 3 children and their spouses, my wife and I, and briefly about my four grandchildren. If I did write about the aspects of the lives of all my family members I could fill yet another of my many books.

Most readers who come to this annual letter will have little to no interest in the sorts of details in relation to all these several family members. For the most part these would be details about people readers have never met and will never meet. My consanguineal(birth) family in Canada, and my first affinal(marriage) family, are not dealt with here. Readers with the interest, though, can access these details in my now extensive on-line autobiography. I write this statement for my own interest and a small handful of others to whom I send it by email.

My nausea and anxiety, part of pancreatic cancer for many weeks, are now well managed, but my lack of energy, my deep fatigue-weakness, in the last 2 weeks, ascites(see the separate post on my health for details here) prevents my reading and writing to any significant extent. Cyclizene, a sub-cutaneous drug at 80 mg/day also contributes to my lethargy, although not as much as on 100 mg or 90 mg in recent weeks. Due to this lack of energy, the following account was written little by little over several weeks.For more on my health go to another post at this site.

As the month of April is about to enter its 1st week, I want to say a few things about my family here in northern Tasmania. I would write more as I say, but my health, my pancreatic cancer, leaves me with little energy for writing or much else. I add a little each day about my family and, in the process, this document has become somewhat long for many readers. Just skim or scan or stop reading when you have had enough. In the last week I have had to deal with ascites which I discuss on a separate post at this diary site.

I also comment on my consanguineal family(son, his wife and my grand-daughter) The comments are brief but they provide a good general picture: retrospective, the present and prospective.

Section A.2:

Angela, my 45 year old-step-daughter(45 in December 2015), has done a little travelling at various times in the last 15 months. It is hard to keep up-to-date with her many travels; the following are some of the details in the period from January 2015 to April 2016. I won't give you all the details but some of her travels include the following: (a)In early January 2015 she returned from her 16 day holiday in Bali with her son George;(b) she and George and Angela's new man/partner went to Bali again in late September 2015 for a ten day holiday; and (c) she will be going to London in the UK for ten days in April 2016.

She and George are now settled-in to the autumn season of job and school, family-life and the routines associated with their several interests. Angela lived for a few years in Bali, worked there and has a coterie of friends whom she likes to visit from time to time. She also has friends across the Bass Strait in Melbourne, and friends in Sydney and Perth whom she now visits from time to time. She spent a week in the Easter season of 2015 with friends in Melbourne, several days in July 2015 in Sydney, and a weekend in Melbourne in August; she also spent another 10 days in Bali beginning in late September. She and George were back home in early October. As her travels continue into 2016, I will report some of them here, if I can find the energy in the months ahead. Her trip to London is on the horizon; the man who flies the plane is Angela's new partner, Tony, a Qantus pilot. She is off to the UK this coming weekend.

Angela is a "get-up-and-go" sort of person, and I will report on her galivanting hither and yon, as I have reported on her galivanting in the last several years, from time to time in these annual letters. She is back to her job in Launceston, a job I have described in detail in my annual letters, the letters for 2014 and 2015. George is back at the Launceston Church Grammar School and in prep-grade one for 5 year old children. This is the same school Angela went to when she lived with her father in her teens; her father also attended LCG school, as it is sometimes called. At the moment a new job beckons, a job I will write about below.

The routines of Angela's little family are back to normal as Australia goes through this autumn season which opened one week ago. The life of a single working mother is not an easy one. Since beginning her current PT job in September 2014, Angela is now working about 5/8th of a 37 and 1/2 hour working-week after starting at half-time, and supplementing her income through various online consultancy jobs in marketing and communication, her specialist fields. In late 2015 Angela picked-up a 20 hour a week job in marketing at Pipers Brook Winery. In discussing her jobs with me recently, Angela expressed her interest in keeping some hours from her old job with Rural Business Tasmania when her new job becomes FT. I'll keep readers up-to-date in the months ahead, energy permitting.

Section A.3:

Angela gets some financial help from her father in Launceston, and her X-partner who lives in Brazil. The exercise of being financially comfortable, and independent if possible, is no easy road for her, and for millions now in our complex global society. But, as I point-out above and below, Angela has begun a quite serious relationship with a Qantus pilot and, who knows, she may finally be headed for wedlock or a steady long-term partner. After 9 months into this relationship, the prospects are bright with promise.

Angela joined Rural Business Tasmania in September 2014. Angela is a specialist marketing, and communications strategy practitioner, recognised for her senior consulting work. Her work includes projects and event delivery spanning a range of industries. Over the last 20 years Angela has run successful consultancy services both domestically and abroad and has held executive management, leadership and project roles focusing on building business performance through innovative and creative campaign development and implementation.

Angela's auditing and analysis capabilities, I am informed by her current employers, are beyond peer. She has the ability to embed herself in a business and identify issues and untapped opportunities. It is these qualities, I am also informed at that company's website, which are at the forefront of her professional success. You can access Angela's online information at several internet sites.

Section A.4.1:

My wife and/or I occasionally see Angela when one of us baby-sits her five year old son, George, so that Angela can enjoy an evening out. Since the diagnosis of my pancreatic cancer, though, this has become a rare event. My wife often sees Angela when part of Chris's extended family takes part in some function like a birthday party for one of the family members, a wedding or a funeral. Occasionally Angela visits us in George Town--a 50 km drive from her home in Launceston--with her son George, sometimes with her sister Vivienne and, in the last few months, her new man Tony Powell.

In the last 9 months, as I say, a new man has appeared in Angela's life. His name is Tony Powell. After he got a degree in mathematics and physics, he flew jet aircraft in the Australian airforce before becoming a pilot as he got older. He now flies with Qantus. He, George and Angela spend a good deal of time together and their relationship is more than a little serious. He is a man in his 40s and a person of considerable professional and life-experience. This week she and Tony bought a house near Launceston and they hope to occupy the house in the next few weeks/months.

Tony and Angela are already making plans to build a home at Bell Buoy, part of the George Town municipality, after they get into their new home near Launceston. Tony helps both Angela and her father, a Robert Armstrong, who is in a nursing home. I am Angela's step-father, FYI, and Tony has visited my wife(Angela's mother) and I with Angela and George on several occasions already. I will keep readers informed as this aspect of Angela's life develops in the months ahead, develops in some interesting and, as things now appear, going-the-distance sort of directions. Time will tell. Watch this space.

Section A.4.2:

Vivienne, my oldest step-daughter, and her husband Andrew have now been separated for nearly 2 years. Viv and Andrew have put their family home up-for-sale. Kelsey(19), their daughter, has put her University of Tasmania degree program on hold for 2016 and she is looking for some PT work in the meantime; Tobias(21), their one and only son, was a fork-lift driver for some 8 months in 2015. He has recently taken on a job in Queensland as a car salesman and, by all reports, is off to a flying start. Since leaving high school Tobias has had a series of jobs and has never been on the dole. Kelsey is in her 2nd year of an Agricultural Science degree. She is taking the year 2016 off in order to decide the next step in her tertiary studies.
Both Tobias and Kelsey have highly active lives which would fill a book if I attempted to record all their comings and goings.

These last 2 years have been a difficult period for Viv, but she has developed many coping-skills in her job as a nurse in the ICU, and the renal unit of the Launceston General Hospital over the last 25 years. Viv is very helpful since she now serves as "our inside man" at the LGH and she has been in a daily/weekly consultation with my wife in relation to my health. Andrew, too, seems to be coping with the separation. He still works in the IT industry, and he has an interest in bike-riding which helps keep him fit and relatively free of anxiety. Occasionally Viv and Kelsey come for a visit, have dinner and socialize as they did on 28/3/16.

The separation-divorce process has many twists and turns, & this is certainly true for Viv and Andrew as well as their two children. Viv began dating just this week. The details of their first 2 years of separation would make yet another book, but I will leave further details for a future time. I will also leave further details on all the other members of my affinal family here in Tasmania, a family about which a third volume could be written. All readers will find here is a brief summary of the lives of this family which came into my life over more than 40 years ago.(1974-2016)

Section A.5

Daniel, my one and only son, began a new job in early January 2015. It was in the same organization as his previous job. This time he was on a five day a week schedule for the first time in several years. Nearly a year ago now, as I write this update, he decided that the job was not for him and he handed-in his resignation. He had been giving some thought to resigning for many weeks; it was not a hasty decision. The office atmosphere, according to one person I write to, was "toxic." Until he got another job in January 2016, he was what some call these days a house-husband. He has been at the job for one month as I write this update.

Dan comes to visit my wife and I every week or so and acts as my Carer giving, in the process, a rest to my wife from the often incessant demands my illness has made on her daily life. His work as a Carer has drawn me to him in many ways enriching our relationship. He and I had several good chats for an hour each during the two days he was able to come this week; he took me back to the hospital at 7 pm.

There are many demands/roles that have been part of his life, off-and-on, since Grace, his daughter, was born more than 4 and 1/2 years ago as I write this update. Daniel was employed by Tas-Gas in the retail division of this gas-provider in Tasmania. I described that job in some detail in my last annual letter. After running-the-gauntlet of job interviews for ten months he got a job with Tas-Water as an engineer in asset planning and management. He is no longer a house-husband, but he does play a much more active role as father and husband than I did 40 years ago. I gave much/most of my energies to job and community activity in the years of my second marriage, as I gaze back in retrospect at 40 years with my wife Chris.

Section A.5.1:

Daniel's wife, Zuriash, completed her Certificate 3 in Child Care at Launceston's Tafe college in early 2015; this Certificate was added to her BA degree in Economics at the University of Addis Ababa and her Diploma in Business from that same university. Zuriash needs an Australian qualification to work in the child care, welfare and social work fields. In February 2015 Zuriash enrolled at the University of Tasmania in an M.A. program in social work. It is a two year internal program and her program is now 50% completed as I update this annual letter; her degree will be completed by the end of 2016.

She and Dan have been another busy little family in 2015/16 with Dan at work and at home with their daughter, Grace, with Zuriash studying, and with life in a new Baha'i community. In January 2015 Daniel & Zuriash moved to another part of Launceston in northern Tasmania; it's the suburb of Trevallyn. They are now living just across the Launceston boundary, & just off the West Tamar Highway.

They are now living in the West Tamar municipality. Their weekly rent is far less than the rent they were paying, and their house overlooks the Tamar River; their new home is quite big enough for their purposes. They are surviving financially with: roof-over-the-head and food-on-the-table, as they say. My only son has been a source of pride over nearly 4 decades, and I look forward to his life-narrative as he will soon go through his 40s and 50s, middle age in the lifespan.

Section A.5.2:

D, Z and G are now in a different Baha'i community, a community with 9 Baha'is, and so their responsibilities are different ones in the West Tamar Baha'i community which has an elected Baha'i executive or LSA as locally elected Baha'i groups are called. Daniel is the chairman of that Baha'i community and does some secretarial work for the northern Tasmania Baha'i cluster of some 100 people. Daniel had been the secretary of the Launceston Baha'i community, some 30 Baha'is, for several years. Zuriash serves as an Assistant to the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position in Baha'i administration, in addition to her life as a mother and a wife, among her other roles in community life.

Her several roles, and especially her study program, keep her very busy. Grace recently has began her pre-school; Dan's role as house-husband has altered yet again, as I say, as has his being employed FT. He comes home to see Chris and I, and helps me get through the day every week or so giving my wife, just to reiterate, a bit of a rest.

The visits of my wife and I with Daniel, Zuriash & Grace were similar to those with Angela. D,Z, and G came for visits about once a month. Chris and I went to Launceston, on average, also about once a month. From time to time we used to go out to dinner at a local restaurant, or get a take-away. Daniel, Zuriash and Grace lived in George Town for a year or so before moving to Launceston, and so still have ties here. With my pancreatic cancer, though, my activities with family have altered, been severely curtailed and, as I say above, only Dan comes now and sometimes Grace. D,Z, and G do a little travelling usually to Hobart but also, of course, to family and friends in various towns here in northern Tasmania.

Chris and I see our 3 children from time to time, therefore, when they visit George Town. In addition, Zuriash's brother, Getnet Adem, who just got his PhD at the University of Tasmania in the field of agriculture, is job-hunting; on my family tree Getnet is my daughter-in-law's brother. Zuriash's family lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; I will leave further details about that part of my family tree to a future date since most people who read this annual letter will never meet any of Zuriash's family.

Section A.6:

My wife and I, another little family, a dyad as is is called in sociology, a group of two people; it is the smallest possible social group. As an adjective, "dyadic" describes the interaction of two people. I have described our dyadic relationship in some detail in previous annual letters, and so will not add much here. I have also provided a detailed picture of our health, updated to March 2016, at this online diary site. Readers with an interest in our health should read my many posts and future posts for 2016 and beyond.

The George Town Baha'i Group(GTBG) still has just 4 members with no one under the age of 60. We get together, on average, twice a month. The other Baha'i couple lives in the little town of Weymouth a half hour drive from George Town; it is still part of the George Town municipality. Weymouth is also a town, like George Town, on the edge of the Bass Strait. The GTBG is also part of the northern Tasmanian Baha'i cluster and from time to time we see one or two of the 100 or so Baha'is. Again, for me at least, this is another aspect of my life that has become virtually non-existent due to my pancreatic cancer.

If you want to know about any of the Baha'i terms I use in these annual letters you can find out their meaning on Wikipedia. I will add up-dates to this annual letter for 2015/16 in the weeks and months ahead as we go through the autumn season Downunder.

Section A.6.1:

Chris had been helping her Mother in various ways every Thursday from April 2014 to April 2015 because, at the age of 96, her mother needed assistance with shopping, with health problems, with gardening and household maintenance. Chris's mother has had what is often said to be "a good innings", but longevity brings with it a new set of problems, especially as a person gets close to 100!

Her mother has now been in an aged-care-facility here in George Town, and on a permanent basis, for 8 months as I write this update. This has eased my wife's sense of responsibility for her mother and the associated tasks and duties, at least to some extent. Chris now sees her mother once or twice a week in the aged-care facility; her mother will be a source of some concern to Chris probably until her mother dies. I often think Chris's mother, at the age of 96, provides a window for Chris and I into our own lives, at least to some extent. In another 25 years, say, about the year 2040 we will ourselves be in our 90s if, of course, we last that long! It does not look like I will survive until then, but Chris might.

Section A.6.2:

All the other significant individuals as well as other members of this affinal family in this family circle require no more updates in addition: (i) to those I have already provided in my last annual letter and my several posts here at this diary site; and (ii) to my comments above and below. I could write a page or two, as I say above, about my two step-daughters and their children since they are all busy people; there always seems to be something going on in their lives, and I could report in much more detail on their comings-and-goings if I wanted to add to this annual letter in more detail. But my commentd are brief.

I could write about: (i) their jobs, their relationships with family and friends, their interest-activity inventory, their health, and their plans & prospects; (ii) their celebration of events like Mother's and Father's Day, birthdays & anniversaries, Christmas and Easter, & (iii) their commemoration of funerals, and Anzac Day, among other tragedies and sad occasions in society past and present.

My children, my step-grandchildren, and my grandchild all have busy lives in all sorts of ways. For now, though, I shall leave further updates until later in the autumn season Downunder. Autumn is now in its 2nd week. Most people these days seem to prefer the Facebook-Twitter-style with communications short and sweet, pithy and succinct, as I say above.

Most of those people I know use texting, telephone, and personal visits in varying combinations. We all have our preferred MO for communicating. I am an email person. Long annual letters like mine, though, seem to be a dying art-form. Such is life! As the year 2016 goes from month to month in the autumn season in Australia, I will update this annual letter. When the changes and chances of daily living require additions for these significant individuals in my life I will add them here if my health permits. Such are a few opening notes in the above paragraphs for the year 1/1/'16 to 30/3/'16 and, eventually, the first half of the year 2016 at other posts.