Monday, 5 February 2018

12 months - Remembering Ruby

Saturday 3rd Feb was 12 months since Ruby died (my original post 12 months back). It seems such a long time and yet at the same time not so long ago. On Saturday my logical brain said this day is no different to the previous 364, but my emotional brain was on a rollercoaster ride. And to be honest it was in charge.

I felt like there was extra pressure on me and while I was ok, there was an undercurrent of sadness ready to leap out. I know I need to be aware of the “big” days and I make sure I am ready, have things to do, have family/friends/support around. But Saturday felt very different to Ruby’s birthday, Christmas and the 6 months. And I still don’t know why it was different.

I was planning on writing something and posting it. I tried all week and couldn’t really find any words. I had a number of ideas, but I just couldn’t piece it all together. On Friday night I sat down with the intention of actually getting it done - I couldn’t. Just could not write. And just too upsetting (the bit about Depeche Mode, below, really set me off). On Sunday was able to write most of this post. I could write again. And I was back to where I normally am.

Ruby didn’t want those of us who knew her to be sad. She said to many people in her last week to not be sad and that she had had a good life. I'm trying to live up to that - have a good life and (for the most part) be happy. We only get a short time in this life and don't know how long we get, best not to waste our lives - and Ruby really didn't want me to waste my life.

A few times in the past 12 months (and honestly it has happened more often recently) I have found myself wishing I could tell/show Ruby things. I like to think she would have enjoyed Depeche Mode’s new album Spirit (released only a month after she died and the first single came out the day she died) and U2’s Songs of Experience (she did like Songs of Innocence). Or how the kids are doing - Tim being so improved at spelling and so interested in geography or how tall Jeremy is getting or how well he is doing at swimming.

This morning I have a counseling session. I have been attending these about once a month since last February. I think I am doing well and have been thinking for some time now that this would be the last one. It will be my last one. For now. I can always go back if I need to.

So while there are times when I really miss Ruby - I think that I was really lucky to know her and have her in my life. We all were.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 - best bits

While 2017 started with losing Ruby I wanted to review the good/wonderful things from 2017. So in no particular order my favourite bits of 2017:
  • This photo of my boys at the ashes scattering. Sad but beautiful.
  • Thor: Ragnarok - seriously go see this movie (Teaser trailer). It was such a fun film! I had high expectations of this film and it more than delivered. And yes this was in a year that also had Wonder Woman (also great, I just had more fun watching Thor) and Star Wars - The Last Jedi.
  • Star Trek: Discovery. Star Trek is back on TV (well on Netflix) and it is very good. The season gets better with each episode. Looking forward to the second half of the season in January 2018.
  • Game of Thrones Season 7. Wow! Just wow! I’m a big fan of GOT and this season was great. They have really picked up the pace now they are beyond the books. 
  • Doctor Who: Series 10. Peter Capaldi was fantastic as the Doctor and this was a solid season. The Christmas special was a good sendoff. And while I am sad to see him go, I’m also really looking forward to seeing Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. 
  • Apple Watch. A 42nd birthday present. I have always loved wearing a watch and after a false start with a Fitbit (bloody things fall apart after 6 months) I bought an Apple Watch (Series 2) for my birthday. It’s been great and has actually to me to start exercising regularly. And I have had fun collecting a “few” watch bands...
  • On the subject of birthdays I had a great 42nd birthday. My beer appreciation tour of the rocks in Sydney went very well...
  • Conversations with my boys about Ruby. Some really beautiful and thought provoking moments. 
  • Friends who helped, offered help or checked up on me and the boys throughout the year.
  • Management course in August. Less for the management parts of the course! More that I realised being me and happy with that was very important. 
  • I can’t separate them - the three concerts I went to this year. Each was great in its own way. Peter Hook and the Light. Midnight Oil. Icehouse. Even though they were at the end of their respective tours the Oils and Icehouse were still on fire and were really enjoying themselves. 
  • Gingerbread - I worked out how to make it. Woohoo! Now to perfect it in 2018...
  • My new Skoda Octavia RS. I was sad to sell my Golf GTI (see An Ode to my Red Golf GTI) but the Skoda has been LOTS of fun to drive.
  • U2s new album - Songs of Experience. This is a great album and really spoke to me in many ways. More on this in a future blog post...
  • Writing this blog. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017


Today Ruby would have been 42. Ruby loved birthdays and celebrating them - especially her own! I collected some of her birthday photos (there are lots from her 40th party) and put them up on Flickr. I didn’t plan it this way but it ended up as 42 photos:

I have found sorting out our photos to be a good way to remember Ruby. Writing is harder - this is why the wedding anniversary blog post was so short - it was just too hard to write any words.

The boys and I treated today as a celebration of Ruby. We had breakfast at her favourite pancake place (Pancakes on the Rocks at Northmead) and made her a birthday cake tonight. And of course we drove her car! The boys (and myself) would not have it any other way.

One of Ruby’s bequests was a donation to the Love Your Sister. I thought that today was a good day to make that donation. If you really want to remember Ruby please donate to cancer research. Here are a couple of links:

Thursday, 30 November 2017


Today is 15 years since Ruby and I were married in a lovely church in Randwick NSW. 

It was a beautiful Saturday in 2002 - both sunny and rainy (it was a bit like that today in Sydney). We managed to go to a couple of places for photos (Clovelly beach and Mrs Macquaries Chair). The reception was at the ANA Hotel (now the Shangri-La) which had fantastic views of the harbour. The following day we headed off for our honeymoon in Hawaii.

I will let the pictures tell most of the story.
We picked 30 November as it was close to Thanksgiving in the USA - so it would be easier for USA relatives and friends to attend. So while I have been a bit sad today - I am also thankful. Thankful that I met and married this wonderful lady. Thankful that I did get to spend (all too short) time with her. And thankful for our two boys.

Friday, 17 November 2017

An Ode to my red Golf GTI

Today is the last time I drove my red Golf GTI
My cars are family members, and I don’t want to say goodbye
Such fun to drive for the past seven years
Parting ways has brought me to tears

The GTI is fun, the GTI is fast!
Driving it was such as blast!
Turbocharged, awesome transmission!
Sticks to the tarmac, beats corners into submission!

For my boys this has always been Dad’s car
They love my red Golf that they can spot from afar
Always asking are we there yet?
Rides in this car they won’t forget

But after seven years it’s time for a change
So my car ownership I must rearrange
However, today is not about sadness, in fact I’m most keen
To add a new family member: an Octavia wagon of colour most green!

It has been two months since my last post. While I do have a couple of posts in various stages of draft, it was more fun (and quicker) to write a post about my GTI. 

I'm really really picky about my cars, so I tend to really like my cars when I do choose one. This GTI was on another level though and it was so good in many respects it made the next car very hard to choose. Its funny though, I wasn't originally going to get a GTI. My last care was a Golf GT Sport (pre-cursor to the diesel GTI - the GTD) so I had decided on changing it for a new model Golf GTD. At the time the GTD was on a 6 month waiting list so the dealer offered me the GTI at the same price. After thinking for approximately 1.243 seconds I went for the GTI. 

I have truly loved owning and driving this car. However,  it was time for a change and I decided not just to get the newest GTI and go for something different. But my review of the new car is for another blog post... 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

How are you doing today?

I was asked by several people if I was doing ok in the 2 years when Ruby was sick and while I was unable to talk about what was going on, at the time I really appreciated it. Today (September 14) is R U OK day and it is a good day to ask someone how they are doing, don’t just ask today, ask any day of the year R U OK?

Four seasons in one day
Lying in the depths of your imagination
Worlds above and worlds below
The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain

I have been asked a lot in the last 7 months “How are you doing?”.  The odd thing is I do wonder if people are just asking how my day is or how I am doing coping with my grief/loss/dealing with life/bleakness of existence etc.

Even when you're feeling warm
The temperature could drop away
Like four seasons in one day

How do I answer? That always depends on the day and what I think the question really is. Most of the time I do say some days are bad and other days are good and that I am taking each day as it comes.

Smiling as the shit comes down
You can tell a man from what he has to say
Everything gets turned around
And I will risk my neck again, again

No really, how are you? It is a bit of a cop out/cliche that I say some days are bad and some are good - but it is so much easier to say. Honestly, it would be more true to say that some hours or minutes are really good and other minutes are bad.

You can take me where you will
Up the creek and through the mill
Like all the things you can't explain
Four seasons in one day

Don’t BS me - How Are You Really Doing?

I am doing much better than I expected. Back in February I thought I would be a complete mess several months in. I’m not. While it is true I miss Ruby everyday and I do have very sad moments (a song, a photo or a movie can set me off), that doesn’t stop me enjoying life, friends, family and even work. In fact I appreciate these things even more than I used to - knowing that we only have a brief tenure in this life. And we don’t know for how long that tenure is.

Blood dries up
Like rain, like rain
Fills my cup
Like four seasons in one day

I have been doing to grief counselling every month since February. I steadfastly refused to go to any kind of counselling previously as I honestly didn’t think I needed it (actually looking back I did need it). I have asked my counsellor several times how she thinks I am doing - so far she thinks I am doing well.

It doesn't pay to make predictions
Sleeping on an unmade bed
Finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain
Only one step away
Like four seasons in one day

I really think I don’t need to go to counselling anymore. Therefore I will continue to go, probably until early next year. I think I can work out / recognise when I am having issues and I can always go back if I am having trouble. I also go to set a good example to my boys who I need to make sure get help if they need it. I know there are good/bad/indifferent days. I am prepared for some (such as birthdays, anniversaries, mothers day and others) and at this time I have enough resilience to get through the unexpected days.

Blood dries up
Like rain, like rain
Fills my cup
Like four seasons in one day

I thought I would try a bit of a writing challenge for this blog post and try and write something to the words of a song. I was listening to Weather With You by Crowded House recently and the song really spoke to me in a way I hadn’t considered before. It isn’t my favourite Crowded House song (that is Recurring Dream), but I have always liked this song. I’m not one for analysing songs/books and finding their meaning - but when I was listening to this in my kitchen I realised the song was really about the ups and downs of life. That really resonated with me and I thought it a good way to explain how I am actually doing. 

In reality other songs resonate with me more. U2’s One is a song I truly love - it has taken on many many layers of meaning over the years - even more so recently with the people close to me who have died in recent years - but the lyrics just didn’t work for this blog post (and it too is not my favourite U2 song).

Thursday, 7 September 2017

September Apple Event 2017 - my thoughts

Apple normally works to patterns. Each year there is a new iPhone and releases of their software platforms (iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS). This usually happens in the second week of September with the new iPhones available towards the end of the month. However, what we don’t have is a regular pattern for the AppleTV and the Apple Watch - so far they have been more sporadic. Though Apple does release new watch bands every 6 months or so.

What will be special is this is the first event at the new Steve Jobs theatre at the new campus.

I think the rumours are going to be spot on (MacRumors have a good summary). On 12th September (early morning or Wednesday 13th morning for those of us in the Aussieland) we will see new iPhones (7S, 7S Plus and the Pro with edge/edge OLED screen), iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11 and watchOS 4. We should also see a new Apple Watch (Series 3 with 4G LTE) and a new 4K AppleTV (with likely support for the High Dynamic Range - HDR spec) and new watch bands.

While the new iPhone design will be interesting (I wonder how they market the “notch at the top” and the lack of a home button) I think the more interesting items will not be hardware. First up there is no point releasing a 4K Apple TV without content so there should be iTunes 4K & HDR content (what will the price will be for these?). 

Second (and even more interesting in my view) is ARKit - this is the augmented reality system in iOS 11. This will make Apple the largest augmented reality platform in the world. So far we have already seen some interesting things done with this (virtual menus, redoing the Ah-Ha video - see below). But this is only scratching the surface. This is just a few of my quick thoughts  about tourist info so you can get information on landmarks nearby, augmented museum / gallery tours. And don’t limit this to being on a phone. While Google Glass was a failure, what a companion glasses to the phone? Possibilities…

Even though this is the 10th anniversary of the release of the iPhone I don't think that Apple will do anything special. The modern Apple is not a nostalgic company (with a few exceptions). They probably won’t even mention it. The rumours earlier this year about the “so called” iPhone X they were preparing of the 10th anniversary I don't think are true. We are getting the new design as it is ready. Pure and simple.

Lastly, the new feature I am going to first play with first is from watchOS 4 - Buzz, Woody and the gang as my watch face - awesome 😀