New tricks

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That’s one month’s supply, 4 pens, with my 15″ laptop for a size measure.

I started a new regime of weekly injections of the diabetes drug Byetta this morning. This is a weekly injection, instead of twice daily.

Byetta is a drug that stimulates the pancreas to produce what insulin it can in the presence of food in the gut. It was supposed to be used 15-30 mins before eating, so that it had time to ‘prime’ the pancreas once we started eating. But using it twice daily was literally a pain, and judging the 15-30 min interval was very difficult.

This new one is a powder to be mixed in a viscous fluid just before injection, in a special pen. It apparently forms a bubble of the mixed fluid under the skin of the abdomen, to be slowly released over a week. Clever.

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The weekly pens are much more bulky than the previous monthly pen, and I have to carry four per month (one per week) instead of just the one. They have to be kept cold, 2-8C, so travelling will actually be more difficult than before. (Not that I’ll be doing much travelling now. All my Bali plans have turned to ashes. Dust off, start again?)

I believe the main insulin injections are also soon to be available as a weekly, so that will be another welcome change. Not available yet, about another 6-8 weeks, I think.

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The census was held (or not held, depending on your point of view) while I was away last month, 9 August. When I got home, I found I have a census form and a bar coded number. I have until the 23rd to fill it out and send it in, I believe.

But if I was out of the country, I am not supposed to be counted, so I’m not sure what to do. I like doing these census forms and I believe in the usefulness of the data, so I’m tempted to just do it and send it in.

What a shambles that was. The Bureau of Stats says it was a denial of service attack that brought their website down, but University of Woolongong IT academics say there is no evidence from an analysis of net traffic on the night of any abnormal activity to indicate a DDOS. They say it was just poor software design that caused the breakdown.

We pay millions of dollars for this software, but it fails. Wasn’t it properly tested??!! Who’s going to take the blame? Someone must.

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I’m just starting to notice a change in the light, from winter to a spring and early summer look. Thank goodness. I’m still feeling cold, half way through September. Brrrrr.

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I’ve just finished reading a book, Can We Live Here? by Sarah Alderson, a British Londoner who, with her husband and three year old daughter, decided they’d had enough of the hectic London working life and set off on a round-world air ticket, trying to find a place where they wanted to live.

First stop was India, Mumbai, simply because they had friends there. Nope. Then to Goa, down south, where they liked it but found it incredibly hot, dry and dirty, and with limited things to do and not very nice living. She’s a freelance writer/author, so she needed to be able to relax and write for her living. Nope again.

Next was Singapore. Far too expensive, and far too glossy/clinical. I could have told them that, saved them the trouble. Nope again.

Penang? Sorta liked it, but dirty beaches. Not much else said about it, but they didn’t like it enough to stay. Move on.

Bali for a short stay. Aaah, that’s more like it. Nearly chose it, but …

Had to come to Perth for work reasons. Liked it, incredibly clean, beautiful beaches, great lifestyle, but far too expensive. I can’t argue with that. They liked it here, but couldn’t afford to live here. Move on.

A short stay in the USA, but fat people, bears, plastic grins, no thanks.

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Near Ubud, 1980   (C) PJ Croft 2016

So they ended up back in Bali again, specifically Ubud, and rented a house. The husband was a freelance designer and did a lot of commuting to Singapore for his work, but the wife was able to integrate with both the expat community, weird as it is, and a lot of the locals. It’s a long story, but they ended up staying five years in Ubud. It makes a great read. It’s not a how-to book, most definitely not a guide to living in Bali, more a collection of her blog posts and random experiences, especially about her daughter growing up in the Balinese way, free of TV and advertising pressures, learning how to play and make friends, going to a Green School where the kids learn to live with nature, having their own rice paddies and growing their own vegetables.

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Boys in the band, Ubud 1980   (C) PJ Croft 2016

But it’s hard for the woman to earn money, and she gets job offers, but they’re in London, and her husband gets a job offer he can’t knock back, again in London, so after five years she reluctantly decides the experiment is over and goes back “home”, in November 2014, to a British winter. It’s almost heartbreaking even to read about it, but she says it’s not permanent, that they will be setting off on their second quest soon.

It was noticeable that she feels Bali is being ruined by the swarm of tourism and people like us buying up land and building our retirement villas, but concreting over the rice paddies and jungle in the process. Having seen the traffic choked streets of Ubud recently, I can’t argue with that. Bali streets were never designed for the giant tour buses clogging them these days, nor the swarms of motor bikes, all angle parked. There are five million people in Bali, but there must be 10 million motor bikes. It’s awful.

The book is a bit hard to read. She’s a talented writer, very entertaining, but the language is fast, machine gun like, very English/London slang/colloquial. Worth it though. A memorable book.

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