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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Without a prayer...

With this link up, I had an idea to point out how un-Christian I felt the 2014 Budget was - I was going to change the words to a prayer accordingly. I googled a prayer for the poor, and this is what I found:

Prayer for the Poor

For the poor and the oppressed, for the unemployed and the destitute, for prisoners and captives, and for all who remember and care for them, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

Source

While it's wonderful to ask the Lord for help, I do believe we can start to have a little mercy on them ourselves. I am unsure how the Christian chaplains in schools sits side by side with a budget that neglects the oppressed, unemployed and poor.

However, when I read this, it has stopped me in my tracks. The Liberal Government aims to "Cut $2.5 billion from aged care programs, such as Meals On Wheels." What kind of person cuts the funding from Meals on Wheels? Who doesn't see the value in that programme, run mainly by volunteers? What excuse can you give to yourself to justify the lack of compassion?

I am at a loss with this.  This budget appears to be turning it's back on 99% of Australia. It is uncharitable, uncaring and unchristian. It is heartless and self-serving. I don't believe it is in the best interests of the people of this country, despite what Mr Hockey says.

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.”
Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Mr Hockey & Mr Abbott, consider that quote and please try again. This time, take into account the poor, the elderly, the unemployed and under employed, those with disabilities, those with large families and low incomes, those with medical issues and pretty much everyone on less that $250k.

I'm sure the end goal you desire can come in a less detrimental fashion. When you made that policy poster, you obviously had some plan - stick to that. Your Real Solutions pledged no cuts to Education, no cuts to Health and no changes to pensions or GST. Why don't you come back with the budget that was drafted for the Real Solutions Campaign. There must be some middle ground between the two documents.

Let's hope those chaplains do more than just pray for the Nation. No one sums it up better than Sleeping Beauty in the fabulous Fables series by the incredibly talented Bill Willingham: "Well fuck us, huh? Can I get an "AMEN" on that?"

 
AMEN!


Linking up with Always Josefa with Conversations over Coffee on prayer, and with some Grace for FYBF.
 

Monday, 26 May 2014

If I could turn back time, if I could find a way...

Now that I've given you all a very nasty earworm, I'll move onto my journey if I could time travel...I would travel back, long, long ago to have a little chat to a man, and try to change the course of human history. That man would be Noah, and the conversation would go a little like this:

Me: Noah, we need to talk. You are about to make a huge mistake. I know you've been charged with a task, but you need to reconsider...maybe "accidently" just leave two creatures off - or even just one creature off really, the female head louse. It's only tiny, it will barely be noticed. And in many centuries to come, I won't spend a good part of my life coming the f%$#ers out, night after night, causing floods of tears that quite possibly will require me to build an ark of my own soon...

Noah [looking doubtful]: Errr...

Me: You know what will happen, if you let them on, they'll be in your hair, then your wife's, then the kids - and you haven't even got one of those fine-toothed, metal combs. You'll just have to itch for forty days and forty nights (or is that Moses?). Anywho, it won't be pretty, but it will be too late!

Noah [nodding pensively]: Hmmm.

Me: And one last thing, don't forget the Unicorns - and don't eat them!

I bet that earworm seems preferable now to the head scratching some of you will be doing at the mere mention of head lice...


Also, if you like time travel movies, and don't mind subtitles, I liked this one: 11 A.M. It's a very simple idea that they let play out. You should be able to get it at the video shop (or wherever you down load movies from if you are younger than my 107 years)

First of the Month Fiction - June.

Seriously, I am now such an old lady that I can't go a week without saying "Where has this year gone?" Halfway, people!

Quick version - add your story to comments and link your blog. Stories can be 30 words or less OR 100 words exactly.

Mine popped into my head as I discovered yet another bruise on my leg while walking home from school drop off on a lovely sunny day (I have no idea how I get them, I must be so clumsy, I don't even notice - or possibly poor circulation?). As for the rest of it, well, you know I love my action films...


She hadn’t meant to pry.  He’d left his phone at home and the message happened to flash when she’d picked it up. The lies were clear. The late nights, the ‘conferences’.

A quick look at the credit card statements rang alarm bells. She knew what he was planning to do.

While weeping in the kitchen, she noticed the knife block. A plan fell into place.

Last week the tennis ladies hadn’t believed she’d slipped from the ladder. They exchanged a look, the more she protested.

She could already hear the lawyer convincing her to use the ‘battered wife syndrome’ defence.

For newcomers, there are examples here.

Linking up with Jess for IBOT.



Thursday, 22 May 2014

I must confess I'm exercising my right to go off topic.

It's that time of year, my facebook feed is a flurry of a 'fun' game to raise awareness. I suspect it's to raise awareness of who has a tattoo and who is getting one, or probably breast cancer, but as I steer clear from these games, they don't make me very aware of anything. In fact, if this is a game for Cystic Fibrosis or Depression or Mental Illness, it's raising even less awareness, because I'm just assuming it's for breast cancer.

I know heaps of people like this game and feel they are doing some good with it. I won't be all Negative Nelly, but can I make a suggestion? When you alter your status to raise awareness, can you at least include a link for people to donate (if you aren't donating yourself) or a link to a blog of someone going through cancer (something that will actually spread a substantial awareness, and maybe help in someone in some more tangible way).

I learnt more from Nick Greiner's candid admission about why he got a mastectomy, than any of the recent facebook status games. I was unaware that men got mastectomies (though I knew they got breast cancer) and I was unaware it started sometimes with bleeding nipples, not the lump that we are taught to look out for. And to any men who read this blog, don't ignore such signs!

You can call me a party pooper, and I know it's just a bit of fun, but I just think there can't be any harm in trying to actually raise money at the same time. If I've missed how this game works, let me know, because maybe I'm missing the point in ignorance...

Linking with Kirsty  on Monday for I must confess on exercise...(for those of you questioning my early posting with this, if you haven't worked it out already, I am in fact, a Timelord, and am not bound by the conventional calendar and clocks of mortals). Also linking up with Paula for the No Rules Link up party

I am not affiliated with any of these, but felt I should practice what I preach:

Donate to Australian Cancer Research Foundation

Donate to National Breast Cancer Foundation

Donate to the Cancer Council of Australia

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Even more Riddle me this?

1. How does a gullet work? I don't get how the food gets in if it's a closed throat, so to speak? (I am not being funny, I seriously don't get it - and am possibly that stupid).

2. How can I get a bruise this round on my arm and not know how I did it? I actually thought it was a burn at first because it was so red in the shower. Surely I should have hurt myself at the time?

3. Why don't more planets have rings?

4. Why was Wanatabe the only person allowed to say Godzilla in the movie? Is that a racist joke in there?

5. Why even bother with Binoche? That could have been anyone at all - including some extra for about $100...(Let me tell you, I was so disappointed! I love Ms Binoche)

6. Which idiot decided it's cute to have kids in action movies? It's not. It's stupid and ruins the film by boring us all to death and making the mature people like myself pretend to vomit, while rolling eyes so much that you can't actually watch the film anymore. (On racist things, has anyone noticed how American films always put the Asian kid in a baseball cap? Indiana, Godzilla, Walking Dead? What's that about?)

7. Where have all the good guys gone? (See what I did there?)

8. I have started learning German (in the car, so I'll be fluent in a few days). I learnt the words for 35 different types of wine in lesson 2. I still don't know how to pay for them. Will Germans pay for my drinks or will the next chapter be what to say if you're arrested for not paying in a bar?

9. How many beers is our Treasurer hoping to win in this lawsuit, and will he give the beers to charity? Or will he give them smokes instead? (Of course, was it really defamation as he was actually selling tickets to the sit down with him for 7334 beers a person?)

10.  We were watching Veep last night, and in it, a young man said "I'll be 22 when I finish College, and I know I'll have to carry that student loan debt with me for the next 27 years". It was meant to be depressing. Can I ask why are we taking on that highly flawed system, when we had a much better one?

Give me the answers or pose some of your own questions...

Linking up with One Mother Hen for #OpenSlather

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Cause for celebration...

On the weekend, we had a party - it was dress up and the invite was along that theme. A number of people rang to ask if it was for a birthday, or what the reason was for the party? No reason, just for fun.

One the night of the party, more people asked why we had the party? A friend even gave me a birthday present! I pointed out it wasn't my birthday and she said "oh, well, here's a present anyway". 

Is this because at my old decrepit age, no one has parties anymore? Or do people not have parties for no reason? We do Halloween and Christmas parties, but this is the first in a long time, just because I wanted to.

My ten year old asked if he could have a party for no reason - I said "Sure, when you're an adult" because kids really only do have a party if there's something to celebrate.

Is it really that odd? And if so, when did we stop having parties? And why did we stop?

As I discussed in this post a while back, maybe we should get in the habit of just celebrating 'another day of life'.

On a different note, this week I've cracked 50,000 views over the blog(s) and at the end of this month I should rack up 100,000 views over at Weekendnotes (& related hubs). I'm having a minor celebration, though I know these numbers are laughable to the fiscally successful bloggers and writers...nevertheless, I'm having a little celebration in my head because I'm happy with those numbers. I am jumping the gun on my 2 year blogiversary, by 2 weeks, but you already know how flexible I am with the calendar. Which reminds me, First of the Month Fiction will be up early, as I'm going away for a few days...

Linking up with the Lounge on birthdays and celebrations

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Where have all the good guys gone?

I want to talk briefly how saddened I am by the new budget. The impact personally will be marginal (excluding the Superannuation and retirement impact, which seems like it isn't happening as it's still a long way off). I am one of the lucky ones. However, I am truly saddened by the implication it says about us as a nation.

We used to be the good guys. We were the race that did the right thing, even if there was no personal benefit. We were the people you could depend on, to selflessly chip in. Part of the Anzac spirit was that we were "naturally egalitarian". The tall poppy syndrome is due in part to our preference for the underdog or 'battler'.

This budget reflects none of these. We as a nation, for economic reasons, are turning our backs on the less fortunate, both at home and abroad. We are no longer extending the helping hand. We are no longer looking after our frail and weak.

I understand books have to be balanced, and money has to come from somewhere, but I think it is a sad day indeed when the people of this nation aren't the priority.

I have no solutions (though there are protest marches in both Sydney and Melbourne this weekend), but implore you to please think deeply about whether we have a moral obligation to help others.

While I won't go into all the specifics, obviously Medicare, Bulk Billing and Foreign Aid, Disability and Aged funding cuts are the main issues what have distressed me, I do have to question one, as it seems so impractical and ill conceived. The huge amount of money put aside to fund sending Chaplains into schools; couldn't that have just gone to the schools (or to the CSIRO, as let's face it, praying to cure cancer can happen anyway)? The ethics teachers volunteer their time - they aren't paid. I presume currently the scripture teachers are the same. Couldn't the chaplains do the same? Don't you choose (and pay) for your child to go to a religious school? One reason for that is there are a lot of different religions. You pay for your child to go to the school that supports your religion. Will the chaplain be my religion or do I have to change my beliefs to fit with the variation of religion you set up at the school? Has any thought been put into the practicality of this funding? This will not even be pleasing the religious - if you are Catholic and the funding goes to a Church of England chaplain, that won't work for you. Nor will the converse. One religion doesn't fit all. Even Christianity varies greatly.

We were once a better people. I loved Australians for their sense of justice and what is right. It made us better than other people in the world. We've lost that moral superiority. I hope it will be found once more.

As a foot note - please note, while you don't have to share my opinion I will delete any comments that are abusive towards me or other commenters. I will also delete comments that are abusive towards individuals of the Liberal Party. So play nice.


                                       Digital Parents Blog Carnival

Monday, 12 May 2014

How do we know what we know?

I read this and was stunned: Hong Kong "not only has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it ranks third in a list compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2011 of places with the least homicides.
Hong Kong — with an intentional homicide rate of 0.2 per 100,000 people in the last 16 years — only lost out to Monaco and Palau, where there have been zero recorded murders." (Travel article 10 things Hong Kong does better)

Now I've been to Hong Kong, and I didn't experience any fearful, violent situations. In fact, we had a lovely time, it's a great city. So I'm not sure why I was so surprised by this fact. Monaco didn't surprise me at all - who couldn't be happy there (and it's so tiny)? It's not that I thought Hong Kong was a dangerous place, but it is like a big city, and with that comes a certain level of crime (as does Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and so on).
After further thought, I've decided it's the fault of the movies I watch. In HK made films (or Chinese films, that are set in HK), there are drug lords and shoot outs galore - or just martial art violence. So I've just accepted a 'Hollywood' version of events as reality, without even thinking about it. Jackie Chan, I blame you for my ignorance.

Which got me thinking, what else have I done this with? Is my reality based on fictions I've acquired and taken as truths? Unfortunately, you don't know what you don't know. But it has made me think perhaps I need to be more open minded on ideas and experiences (and places) or at least think about the basis for some of my opinions.

Have you ever had your reality shift in an instant, based on misinformation?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Astonishment

I was flicking through facebook and came across this on the Codeblack Life page:
When was the last time you astonished yourself?

It alarms me, that I've never astonished myself. Ever.

I've done things I'm proud of, but never actually been astonished by it.

I put it up to my friends on FB, and the only offerings returned was that one person astonished themselves at the age of 45 by losing their "childbearing hips" that they "would always have" through running and diet. Another astonished herself that she made the Masterchef  4 tiered cake and it looked perfect and was edible....That was it. I got a number of likes, so I suspect others were like me, and could not think of a single example. Astonished by others, and that's not always in a positive way, but never really by our own actions.

So while this goes onto the list, and may take some time to fulfil, I'm asking you, when was the last time you astonished yourself, and what was it?

Torshlusspanik List:


1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Masterclass (check)
12. Perform a rap song (check)
13. Trampoline adventure (check)
14. BMX Riding (check)
15. Do a cart wheel (check)
16. Ride an Electric Bike (check)

17. Astonish Myself

Linking up for Open Slather.

Monday, 5 May 2014

What I learnt from Spiderman


No spoilers ahead, but I will say stay for after the credits - I squealed with delight when I saw where they are heading next (causing great mirth for the guy across the aisle from me). So exciting!!

1. I touched on this with Frozen so I won't labour the point. When asked who he is, Max says "I'm nobody" to which Spidey says "You're not nobody, you're somebody!". And when those 'I'm just a mum' feelings creep up on us or we're feeling very insignificant and inconsequential in our jobs or with our blogs, let's remember, that we are still very much a somebody...We shouldn't get lost in what we perceive as success and important. We should live by our own definitions.

2. Going straight to the big one "What makes life precious is that it ends. So make yours count."  Don't spend your time trying to be what other want you to be. Do what you love to do because "Even if we fail, there is no better way to live."

3. There is a very lovely scene with Sally Field which I won't try to quote here, but if you are a single mum doing the hard, dull child raising, and feeling like you can't compete with the adoration of the Disneyland Dad (or converse, a single dad trying to compete with Disneyland mum), then know that ultimately, 'you are enough'. It's voiced in this film in a very touching scene that had the whole audience engaged, nodding along and wincing at her pain. You should see it just for that, and for reinforcement that you are doing the right thing, and it will eventually be recognised by your beloved child.

4. Gwen - I liked this character because she has a strong head on her shoulders. She makes decisions when Peter Parker won't (or is messing her around). She draws lines in the sand and demands behaviour that respects her. Lastly, she won't be pushed around. "Nobody makes my decisions for me. This is my choice. Mine!". Nice to see a strong female for a change.

5. "I always thought I'd have more time". We always do think we have the time to do later what we want to do. But eventually we don't. (See point 2.)

6. "There are always stepping stones in progress". This is voiced to explain mistreatment of human beings. It makes me think of a number of decisions our current government is making, and of the US military propaganda term 'collateral damage'. Perhaps instead of making sacrifices in the name of progress, we need to reconsider what we class as 'progress'.

7. The scientist, explaining why he started his work says he "Looked at the world around me and thought we can do better, we should do better". I say this is what we all should say, and start to make it happen in our own small way.

8.  There is a funny throw away line about the messy nature of relationships, and Harry says "I don't do complicated". Wouldn't it be nice if we could walk away from those friendships and relationships that are more work than pleasure? Maybe we should? Or maybe we work out how to un-complicate them (like Gwen does).

9. Peter Parker says of Spiderman "I like to think he gives people hope" when there is little hope. The big question is, is that enough? This was covered a little in Catching Fire too. Hope will carry a nation out of difficult times. Hope will be the silver lining in a dark storm. And as Gwen says in this film, it is our job to give hope to others. We can be the hope of the future.

10. The main thing I learnt was that you are never to old for a Marvel classic. I went to a Saturday morning session and was the third youngest person in the cinema (and I'm 107, so that's saying something, as the other 2 younger than me were children). We were all laughing and the guy behind me was crying at one point, so all fully engaged. While Spiderman may not really bring us hope in the real world, he can bring many of us pleasure.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

My Home Town - Sydney

In case you haven't worked it out yet, I love to travel. There are so many amazing places to visit in this world of ours, and I want to see them all. I've mentioned in the past my FOMO and midlife crisis when I realised a trip now came at the cost of not seeing somewhere else.

The flipside of this, however, is my contentment in where I live. Sydney is all things at once. A busy city, a bush escape, a graffiti laden street, an ocean view. Sydney is beaches and buildings. It's concerts and festivals.

Better yet, let me show you MY city.



This was on an adventure through suburbs unknown to me.




 A local park.


Even after all these years, I still get a buzz of excitement when I head to the Opera House.

 An ordinary sunset on an ordinary street holds beauty.
There is so much on offer if you stop to really look.







This is the drive to our regular BBQ haunt - still in Sydney but a world away from our inner city life.

From near or far, I still love Sydney's Harbour.
 












The amazing street art that adorns the streets makes a simple trip to the shops into an art exhibition. (I believe this is the exceptional work of the talented Linz, and please correct me if I'm wrong so I can give due credit)



Even getting caught in a traffic jam can bring a smile to my face.

So if I must stay put for the majority of my lifetime, I'm glad it's in this beautiful city. Ultimately, there's no place I'd rather be.

Linking up for #Lifethisweek as we're making the most of this beautiful city and the Festival of Sydney these holidays, as seen on my Insta account (https://www.instagram.com/lydiaclee/), and #PracticalMondays

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Fear and the Fearless

Thinking about the prompt of Fear, I searched my blog for posts I'd written already on fear. Nearly all of them were to do with the Torschlusspanik list. That list is pushing me into things that I'm a little apprehensive about. Yet I do them, and nearly all of them I'd do again, because I liked them. They were fun, and I realised I had nothing to fear in the first place.

So it's taken me awhile, but I'm learning that as Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Always do what you are afraid to do".

It's funny how as we age, or pretty much after the age of 10, we become so self-conscious of our inabilities, so scared of failure, or of hurting ourselves, beyond common sense and preservation.

I have a fear of flying. The irony is, I love to travel, so I have to do it. It is so noticeable, that strangers next to me on the plane open the conversation with "So, you're scared of flying?". I'm not sure exactly what I do, but I'm guessing I'm pale and agitated. It gets worse every year. It's not just mechanical failure that makes me scared. Well before September 11, I was casing the plane for terrorists and trouble makers (I also do the converse and check for who will beat up the 'baddies', being probably the only person relieved when sitting behind two Yakuza-looking guys...they wouldn't be putting up with anything!)

The worst thing is, I know one day it will stop me travelling. I dread that day, and I'll be fighting it with all I can but I know it will defeat me eventually. But until that day, I just have to endure the ten or so hours of mental trauma, to arrive in the other great countries on this planet.

So I say to you, write that book, keep working on your blog, enter that marathon, apply for that job, take up the hobby you've always wanted to try, move to that new town, do the thing that you want to do but your fears are getting the better of you. There may come a time when your fears win, but if you are reading this now, let me tell you, that time is not here yet. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to voice that fear. It's not okay to let that fear hold you back.

Just remember the flipside of fear is courage and "Courage is doing what you're afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you're scared".  (Edward Vernon Rickenbacker)

Linking up for I Must Confess it's travelling roadshow.