Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

We will meet you in the book-shop

September 27, 2016
Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

I could hardly believe that it is has now come to this. People that bother reading my blog should know I do tend to exaggerate and with a fair bit of word-knitting, twisting and turning, manage to make events and experiences as truthful as possible. With school holidays our grandsons often use the time to visit us for getting and renewing their pancake hits. Their mother is often fed up and glad to be rid of them. We, on the other hand make them wash cars and give them money for the lollies-shop.

A major achievement has been a break-through in travel arrangements. They now come by train. It saves a lot of ‘I spy-I spy with my eye’ while in the car driving home all the way from Sydney. The older one lords it over the younger one, and driving while controlling a fight in the back seat brought this Grandma and Grandpa often close to strangulation or teenticide. (with a quick burial of both of them under a large gum tree.)

They have now gone home again. The eldest likes basket-ball and is now over six feet. The younger boy loves fiddling with his IPhone, almost doubled over it in concentration. He stays up and watches soccer being played late at night. I discovered a jar still full of black Kalamata olive liquid except, there were no olives. It’s useless asking, ‘who ate all the olives? They have reached the age of no return, and I have given up about making them feel rotten, let alone guilty. However, they did heed our constant nagging for getting to read words in books. Oh, we were relentless, and told them that words are the only way to make sense of the world and their future.

It’s not easy to get older and facing adulthood. There could well be a nagging suspicion there must be more to life than one day after the other, to be conquered and gotten through. Their belief in two headed monsters at the sea bottom and fairies in the forests are been given a severe dent, looked at with suspicion and some doubt. However, the repeat of experiences does also coincide with curiosity about sex and what might be possible with those stirrings down below.

I know when I discovered sex more than sixty years ago, I felt a huge load being lifted. This is what it is all about! Why did someone not tell me? How terrific! What a discovery in my early teens. I must tell my friends about this.

Of course, now I think is THIS what has driven me? How pathetic. All that heaving. What madness. Are you for real? Look at yourself. Look at peoples faces instead of their crotches. You should be ashamed of yourself, Gerard. My mother was right. Stop it! Go to confession.

On the second day, the boys wanted to explore a very large second-hand bookshop that opened up here in Bowral. It is called, not unreasonably ‘Reading’. So, we told them we would follow after a couple of hours and asked them where we will meet and have lunch. You know what they said?

“We will meet you at the bookshop.”

Now, wasn’t that something to lift the spirit. I reckon their Mum , Grandpa & Grandma must have done something right.

Another Magnum Opus?

September 23, 2016
garden

garden

With the terror of our Strata compound life now bedded down with the doona pulled off the carcasses of the cowering recalcitrant owners versus renters, it is time to move forward. The weather, after a few shy days of an almost warm sun has turned cool again. Spring can’t make its mind up knocking off Southern Highlands windy weather.

Another notification by Amazon crediting my account with the previous month sale of both my books, pleased me no end. Not that the amount was anywhere in the league of a Mark Zuckerberg earnings, but… a sale is a sale. Somewhere in this world people are reading my books and that is very pleasing. It’s what I try to think about pushing aside other thoughts preventing me from a sound sleep. That’s part of many years lived and memories piling up.

The third book will be a compilation of when I started writing. It would have been around two thousand and eight. I knew many English words already then but had never anticipated that I would try and put them down on paper in a reasonable manner and order. WordPress tells me I have now written almost nine hundred pieces. Where has the time gone, my Mother would say while sighing.

So, the first sixty thousand words I wrote about my brother Frank’s life-long battle with chronic schizophrenia interwoven clumsily in our family’s story of migration to Australia in nineteen-hundred fifty-six. Here is a sample of some of those words.

“That something was not quire right about my brother Frank came at the time at the age of eight or so, the teacher noticed Frank’s beautiful handwriting. While the hand writing was in long up and down strokes, with swirly Ws and majestic Ms, the problem was not the beauty of it all, but more the time it would take him to perfect this skill. In fact, he would painstakingly take all day to do what should have taken him one hour. No matter how he was praised and how we all stood back in awe of his beautiful writing, the friendly urging to keep up with the rest of the class was ignored and he would take all the time in the world to perfect his writing. This wanting to be perfect in whatever he undertook is what would plague him for the rest of his life.

The eleventh of August 1939 would prove to be a most unfortunate date for Frank to be born. The rumblings of unrest in our part of the world were getting ominous and louder. Sometimes one could easily surmise that Frank’s problems started at his conception. Not only the wrong time for births in general, Rotterdam was also a bad place and the wrong place, especially around August the following year when I was born as well.”

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470095148&sr=8-1&keywords=oosterman+treats

Our Garden is an Opera

September 20, 2016

img_0935

The way out for discontented souls, is to settle in a beautiful garden. The sustenance that greenery gives, is at times preferable to other contacts. Respite from turmoil and Executive Committee Meeting trauma, needs again to be sought. Emanuel Kant knew that. “We have to be the active originator of experience rather than just a passive recipient of perception.”

Temporary relief might be given by a good discourse with dogs and in some cases even cats. But a good garden is for most cases the only way to regain composure and the soul becalmed. Some peace has returned in our living compound and Body Corporate front. No more thefts but we did notice the instigator of all the turmoil, the Chairperson, talking to the gardener. She was waving her arms about, perhaps in support of more residential parking embargos. Who knows and is it important compared with the beauty of our flowering Clivias?

img_0952clivias

A lovely silence since. The little sparrows are twittering about in anticipation of some breadcrumbs. The local Council has put posters up on telegraph poles warning people of diving magpie birds. Some children are wearing helmets with large angry faces painted on the back of them. Some adults look angry enough and don’t need helmets. Many also swing branches about or umbrellas. Life is not dull if you know and are perceptive to the things that might go around you.

This is why an outing to shops can just be as exciting as going to the opera. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve shopping or buying things. Nor does going to the opera needs music to be heard in exclusion to other sensational things. In my case, it is my hearing impairment, whereby I have to improvise and make sense of whatever else is going on. This sense at times might have to move away from the auditory factor. In fact, with imagination and some deft improvisation one could say, all around us is opera. Opera is a dramatic work in which music plays some role but not all. Thinking of some of Gustave Mahler’s music I am right now hearing his famous Adagietto from Symphony no.5 and it sounds as beautiful as when I had my full hearing.

That is not to say, hearing the music played live would not be even better, especially with a nicely dressed audience within the splendour of the Wiener Staatsoper.

Of course, if we accept that opera is al around us, including even, or perhaps especially at Aldi, one really needs to ramp up a willingness to let wonderful experiences be absorbed, wash over us, and take on board that even the little things can grow into big things. Last week, I think it was Friday, we were patiently waiting for the conveyer belt to bring our goods to the cashier who was seated on the special ergonomically designed seat. All cashiers at Aldi are seated on those chairs. (Please note that the personal at Woollies and Coles stand up all day behind the cash register.)

When it came to my turn, the previous shopper presented me with a mauve coloured walking stick. ‘Is this yours’, he asked? ‘No, not mine,’ I replied. It was one of those walking aids that had a four pronged foot at the end of it. I suppose it gives greater balance and security to those not so confidently fleet footed!

Now, what the drama or opera of this story is that it begs understanding and a great deal of musings, on how someone in need of this special walking aid could leave the shop, continue his/her normal live ( the mauve colour might indicate a female, but ….?) and be unaware he/she lost a vital piece of medical equipment. Did his disability miraculously got cured after paying the cashier? Did he /she walk out risen from the near lame? A more cynical person might well surmise it could be a case of someone claiming an invalid parking license, giving it convenient parking spot permits near shops.

Now, this story goes a full turn. The Chairperson, responsible for the mayhem about non problem parking issues is pretty good footed, but…I did notice she has now a disability sticker on her car.

Who knows?

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470095148&sr=8-1&keywords=oosterman+treats

The reindeer in Finland are getting nervous. Christmas is nigh.

September 17, 2016

images Christmas shoppers

In the local Highlands Newspaper I noticed an advertisement seeking volunteers to act as Santa. Experience not required, but joviality and those with a deep ho, ho ho given preference. Females with rich chest resonance and dark vocal qualities accepted too. Glass ceilings are being broken here!.

Christmases are coming earlier and with greater urgency. We don’t want to miss out. Business is business and it can’t be harmful if we get the consumer alerted out of their winter slumber a bit earlier. Soon, the heat will be upon us. The cicadas are bursting out of their seventeen year wait already.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2001/02/17/2822486.htm

The Big W store near us has unpacked the Christmas cards and the novelty store nearby is selling beards, holy tinsels and mitres for aspiring Santas. It took us a couple of years to get used to this tropical Christmas. Instead of Holland’s snow and fondant we were supposed to take to beer, barbequed prawns and gherkins pierced enfolded in ham. The first Christmas in church the solemn suit was replaced by singlets, shorts and sweat. The local priest was not unknown to exude alcohol vapours when giving communion at the mid-night mass. Huge bogon moths would swirl around the lights as well as the heads of this herd of pious but slightly inebriated parishioners. One could almost hear the refrain; ‘Rudolf the red nosed reindeer.’

It did not help Dad’s resolve to accept this different type of Christmas. The jolliness of Australian Santa wasn’t really any different from the more solemn North European version, although at the time when we left in 1956, I don’t think that buying presents and spending money was as yet a big deal. It was more atmospheric and certainly a celebration and time of joy in each other and family, including the community. We would go around shaking hands. I suspect that my parents would have missed their own country most at times of Christmas.

We, the kids, would of course be found on the beach and surf, get coconut oil sprayed to hasten the browning up, and eat hot chips when hungry. I had an enormous balsa wood surfboard which I would paddle beyond the surf and miraculously did manage to ride some waves back in. Now, sharks and high rates of melanoma have put a dent in that part of culture. The beaches are notably quieter. Many a surfie is seen scanning the water for any sharks while shark spotting aeroplanes circle overhead. It must be tempting for sharks to see those legs dangling from surfboards. It is their territory.

Perhaps, bush walking and outback adventures will now become more popular. It is rather nice to sit in the shade of a large coolabah tree, sip a cool beer taken from the esky while having a small fire on which to cook some cutlets of lamb or even prawns. At least, your worst opponents might be a snake that got disturbed by you. We are reassured that snakes generally are shy and tend to crawl away. That must be so reassuring. I would rather go bush than surf in the sea.

In any case, Christmas is still three months away. I find the whole idea of yet another Christmas coming a bit disconcerting.

The art of genuflecting is disappearing

September 15, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

When political figures meet they often will shake hands. The recent climate change meeting or COP21 (Conference of Parties) showed endless footage of people facing the camera while shaking hands. I never understood that this has to be filmed. I mean; who thinks that shaking hands is so interesting that they actually want to see a film reportage of it? The Chinese leader was a bit bored by that conventional gesture. He looked as if a lemon had difficulty being accepted. Shaking each others hand and fingers interlocking seems a reasonable thing to do in accepting the other person as an equal. A kind of, let’s be friendly and acknowledge each other. The arms and hands are the logical tools to do that with. One could perhaps use legs and feet, but balancing on one foot would be difficult, especially for the elderly.

There are some cultures that have different methods of greeting. Here and there nose rubbing is normal and the ‘Dab’ amongst the young is also practised. See below.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dab_(dance)

But, the gesture of acknowledging each amongst royalty remains stuck in genuflecting or curtsying. I am not totally sure of this ritual between royals but certainly in strangers or other non-royals we are supposed to do a bit of a dip on one knee and then, if done appropriately, might be given the opportunity to touch the hand of the Royal. It is supposed to be a sign of one standing above the other. I am not sure if I could or even would do this. Apparently, if one is lucky enough to meet a royal, many are urged to practise the art of genuflecting well before. No doubt, one could even do a course in genuflecting, a bit like when I took dancing lessons from Phyllis Bates’ dancing academy back in the late fifties. This was held above a milk bar in Sydney named ‘Spyros.’ At that time a malted milkshake could be bought for one shilling and sixpence. I had to make sure that the book was held between the teacher’s and student’s breast or chest. It is still a much revered achievement that I successfully managed to do that. I remember the title; it was ‘Of Human Bondage.’ Of course, holding a book between a royal’s chest (or breasts) and a ‘common’ while genuflecting would never do.

As for the spat between us and the nasty one; let me just put this one up as a response to a dear follower on my previous piece.

The person we feel is responsible to the threat that we should go and sell up, also has a thing about the Royal Family. When the English Prince Phillip was given a Knighthood by Australia, she fully applauded the move by our previous government. It was such a silly move that the government subsequently lost the election.
We joined in the chorus of most, in condemning and rubbishing the giving of Knighthoods and Dame hoods. However, the nasty neighbour is English and when she holds Court would bore us to death about her regaling the English monarchy to its minute detail. She hinted she actually was the illegitimate fruit of one of the many Prince Phillip’s amorous conquests, supposedly consummated in a swanky address along the Seine in Paris.
We finally had enough and refused to genuflect and told her off. She is silly.

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473900528&sr=1-1&keywords=oosterman+treats

The resignation of the Body Corporate Secretary.

September 13, 2016
Almost There

Almost There

Just as I was relishing my new career as Secretary, practising rocking backwards and forwards on my heels, when all has come to a sudden (but not grinding) halt. Readers might remember that on a fortuitous Monday a week ago, I was nominated as Secretary in running together with Chairperson and Treasurer our Strata titled common property. It came out of the blue. Helvi and I both though something was brewing at the AGM which was held at the official address of the Body Corporate. There was an unusual air of joy and conviviality about at this particular meeting.

I accepted gracefully, and even got up from my chair to thank the attendees of the meeting, greatly humbled by the occasion. Who would have thought, and so late in my life? Dad would have been so proud. It brought back memories of the times many decades ago when I was secretary of the Parramatta scooter club. The meetings then were held above the Ambulance hall, an address which came in handy when our president had a nasty fall on his Vespa going down a steep mountains at Stanwell Park during one of the much loved treasure hunts on scooters. I had a Lambretta.

But, lets go forward again. At this AGM meeting it was agreed another small meeting would be held just by the committee. It was to be held the following Saturday at the Treasurer’s town-house just diagonally opposite ours. The meeting was at 5.30 pm. After arrival, the resigning Secretary and treasurer were present and after a few minutes the Chairperson took her chair by sitting on it. The Secretarial books were handed over and I produced my sharpened pencil and shining new note-book to start my duties as the new Secretary. My first entry were noting down the names of all three committee members including my own name, which I still remembered.

But then it all came to crashing halt. At precisely 6.05 pm, I resigned when it became clear I was being groomed to foment discord and disputes between the neighbours living next to the Treasurer and Cahirperson. I walked out and before their meeting was even finished I tucked my letter of resignation under the doors of the three committee members that were still holding the meeting, no doubt discussing what to de next. Looking through the Venetians I noticed they were sipping gin and tonic!

Here is me my letter of resignation.

On 10 Sep 2016 6:43 PM, gerard wrote:

Hello all,

I am sorry but hereby terminate my very short stint as secretary for the Body Corporate at 7 Ascot Rd. I was looking forward to making a contribution to our community and an even nicer place to reside in.

The stumbling block is that I was asked by the Chairperson to write a letter to all residents to park all cars in garages. Any cars superfluous to availability of garages to be parked on the street.

For years, some cars were parked in garages and some in front or alongside garages without any problems. It now seems to have grown into an issue. As most families now have more than one car, I was unable and certainly unwilling to antagonise residents to find alternative parking arrangements on the street.

Number 1 doesn’t even have a garage and parking has never been a problem till lately.

I will not be part of a revengeful shit-fight between some residents.

Yours faithfully,

Gerard Oosterman

Sausage roll entitlements during local Government voting.

September 10, 2016
Lobelia

Lobelia

If you are on the electoral roll in Australia you must vote. It is compulsory under threat of punishment. If you don’t, the fine is $55,-. Today, is compulsory voting day in NSW, Australia. It is for representation for local shires and councils. Many shires are now joined into one which makes it a bit difficult. Some shires have disappeared or overlap, and other shires had voting some weeks ago. I don’t know why, but in any case I just voted.

All the political parties were vying for prime positions outside our Bowral High School to hand out ‘how to vote’ pamphlets. Voting in Australia is not without complications. If you thought working out all the apps on mobile phones are complicated, wait till you vote for the local municipal elections. Syria has a problem with all the warring parties but so do our voting methods in local governments. Each year complaints are lodged with the Electoral Commission about unscrupulous people handing out those ‘how to vote’ papers. Innocent voters are almost choked or tripped over into accepting those papers. Bribes and incentives are whispered about too.

But, that is not all.

Another illegal practise is handing out free barbequed sausage rolls. They cannot be given for free, especially not when the barbeque is within a couple of metres near the frenzied ‘how to vote’ mob of people. It could be seen as an enticement to vote for a particular party. At the Bowral school the sausage rolls were available AFTER you voted. You had to leave the voting hall through a separate door distinct from the door given entrée to the voters before they voted. Relieved voters now lined up for Sausage rolls. Political party favouritism and confusion was thereby avoided and it complied with all electoral rules. In any case, the whole venue smelled deliciously of fried onions and the sausages. The mood was cheerful and here and there some light banter escaped involuntary.

You have two ways of voting. One way is above a line and one below a line. Indeed, the ballot paper has a black line across, about two thirds from the bottom up. You mustn’t vote below the line if you voted above the line. This truth is rock solid. However the reverse or converse also applies. If you vote below the line than it is equally forbidden to also vote above the line. Most people that are literate and capable of reading ( about 67%) would probably get it over with quickly and vote above the line first and forget about the poor sods below. Which in my view is not all that unbiased or fair either, giving the above the line crowd a bit of an advantage. I mean if I was a councillor I would not want to be featured below a line.

Compared with the strict rules governing the barbequed sausages etiquette. I question why this voting option would not be better dealt with with a vertical line drawn down the middle. It would appear to be fairer. What do you think? Or, would this suggest left or right leanings. I mean would the Labor party member want to seen on the right side of the ballot paper and conservatives on the left?

Nothing is easy and Helvi reckons I stink of fried onions.

No Plebiscite on Same Sex Marriage. Make it law NOW.

September 7, 2016

Australia does not want a plebiscite on SSM dragging the LGBTI crowd up in a shit-fight and costing $160 million. Make it law now by this simple format and message to your local member.
Please do it.

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Drunk with power

September 5, 2016
Japanese Windflower

Japanese Windflower

Thomas Grey once wrote,

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

It was always going to be an AGM that would be less boring than any of the previous ones. The furore about the public posters about the stolen cyclamen guaranteed a meeting whereby moving motions would thankfully be kept to a minimum. After arriving at 5.30 pm, Helvi and I took our seats around a large table. I immediately went for the head of the table. This would ensure that both my impaired ears were in line with whoever spoke from either side. I immediately noticed the carafes and glasses on their coasters in the middle of the conference table. The place was also heated. A sure sign that this Strata Body’s AGM was going to be a real bottler.

Five of the eight possible town-house owners, capable of voting were present and somewhat gingerly took their seats. We had anticipated that the issue of the posters was going to be kept last. There were still some issues to be dealt with, not least of all, the inevitable accepting of previous minutes of the last AGM and financial statements. I noticed that the Extraordinary GM whereby the dodgy quote for painting was dealt with together with the threat of the Strata Body Corporate losing their license, because of the irregularities of funding were exposed (by this writer) were conveniently not mentioned. The atmosphere was tense if not electrifying. AGM’s can never reach that sort of level. It’s not like a rugby game in Wales, nor like the procedure of politicians leaving the House pre-maturely and a Government losing a vote for the first time in over fifty years.

http://theconversation.com/turnbull-government-loses-discipline-and-votes-in-house-chaos-64772

At last after much wrangling the Poster issue was raised. It wasn’t a motion nor foreshadowed and I resisted the temptation to raise an objection. We were getting very hungry, and even though I drank some water, I don’t like gnawing hunger. But, and here comes the punchline. I was nominated ‘secretary’! After all that. The Poster complaint was wiped away when I mentioned we followed the police’s advice in notifying the neighbours by stapling up ‘Thief Alert’ posters. One lady had taken a large rock to the meeting, claiming it was hurled at her door as a result of my posters. She blatantly lied. I pointed out that putting up a poster doesn’t mean rocks would be hurled around.

It never stops. I am now a secretary. Unbelievable.

Stealing cyclamen is almost an oxymoron. ( seniors)

September 2, 2016

IMG_0829The Salvia

Could a gardener have stolen these cyclamen?

One would not think that stealing cyclamen is common. It defies logic. Why steal something so beautiful and totally free to look at? Is it true that the temptation to steal a beautiful object is in some people very strong and so overpowering it overcomes their moral stance and honesty?

We woke up one morning and after a good coffee went outside. It is a rather nice exercise, and we often look for new buds or growth in the garden. Our garden at the front is small. Through the years, Helvi managed to make it a small piece of paradise. We also have a small white painted cane table outside under our two windows on which we had three beautiful cyclamen. One really deep red-purple, a pink and one glorious white one. All flowering profusely and some twenty centimetres is diameter each. They were resting on ceramic dishes from which they were free to quench a thirst. The plants themselves were also surrounded by ceramic bowls. All scrounged from second hand places. The bowls and saucers were somewhat rare and beautiful but not in a pretentious manner detracting from the beauty of the flowering plants, they always would have first ranking.

Note how I wrote ‘had’ three cyclamen. As we looked around, and as it was raining, Helvi asked me if I had put the cyclamen in the rain. We both looked at the cane table and all was gone. It seemed empty. No matter how hard we looked, they did not return. We were stunned. How could this be. We looked in the bins next to the garage. As if they would re-appear, and after apologizing, somehow get back on the white painted cane table.

Both of us felt almost sick. They had been stolen. Unbelievable. Who would go and steal flowering plants? I mean, we could understand vandals stealing and throwing them about. We walked around the block of our eight town-houses in the hope of finding them alive and intact. No. Our sadness turned into anger. Who would do such a thing? As I was casting around again and looking opposite to the garden of our neighbour I notice that her ceramic angel’s head was gone as well. The three cyclamen and an angel head in one hit would not have been the work of school kids or any young person. It would have to be the work of an adult. Did the thief drive by and loaded up his/her car? The neighbour opposite told us that the Angel head was a gift from her mother twenty years ago.

After overcoming our sadness including dejection we decided to take action. We went to the local police station. After a few questions the police woman was going to write a rapport. I showed proof of identity, and supplied all the information regarding size, colour and details about the plants and the ceramic items, including their monetary value. We ensured to the police, it was the horror of the theft more than the value. She was understanding and fully understood.

As we got back I printed five posters;

“Thief Alert.” “You have been reported to the police”. “Please, return the items.”

All in very large lettering. I stapled the notices around our compound with one at the front on the street near the letterboxes. I felt good having done this plea to the thief’s conscience. But… much to my surprise, I was angrily reprimanded by one of our less convivial neighbour last evening. She bailed me up driving to the shop to get a bottle of well-earned good Shiraz. All red in the face, she was. “Why do you put those posters up?” This was followed by, ” I am a single woman and live alone with my children.” “I know delinquents, and you are inviting them with your silly posters.” I was listening and gave her the time to vent her anger, but at the same time felt a reasonable response welling up. “Yes, I said, but what about the theft of our plants and your neighbours’ Angel head?” “What do you want to do about it then?” She dismissed it totally and ripped off one of my posters.

The question is; what do you, dear readers think the right action would be? Just cop it sweet, do nothing? Or, should I proceed in stapling up more posters on fences , telegraph poles around the place? Warn others and try and get our cyclamen back.

Even now thinking of making posters offering “Reward for stolen Cyclamen and Angel’s head.”

What do you think?