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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Don't ask if you're good enough, know that you are.

Daniel Dae Kim tweeted, on the USA making the 16 in the World Cup by goal difference, even though they lost their final game in the round: 'Whether you walk in from the front door or the back, what really matters is that you're still invited to the party.GO ‪#‎TeamUSA‬ ‪#‎WorldCup2014'

I think there's a lot in life that could use that attitude. We may feel like kids at the grown up table, at work or with friends, but if you are there, you are there for a reason. Does how you got there matter? All that matters, is that you are there.

When Steven Bradbury won his Gold medal, I used to get annoyed that he was asked to justify his win. The fact is, he did what he needed to in order to get to the final. The cards fell his way and he won gold. He won it. That is all. He didn't steal it, he didn't get given it. He won it. He didn't falter or make a mistake. He continued to do what he needed to do and he won the gold.

We don't need to doubt ourselves. There will be plenty of others to do that for us. We just need to do what we need to do, and keep doing it. We don't need to worry ourselves with the success of others, or what is expected. If we are happy doing what we are doing, that is the gold we are after.

Stolen from Lee-Ann Walker's wonderful blog:



Flower Friday

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

I suck at...

After last week, I think I can officially say I suck at hosting the Lounge. I was so excited, I wanted to make sure I didn't sleep in. I wrote my post early, and somehow published it accidently so that when you went to find it, it was hidden...Argh!

The other thing I seem to be sucky at, is thinking of a song that fits the theme "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" (but not that song). So any suggestions are welcome - but upbeat, not mopey.

And tipping the World Cup, I really suck at that. My tips for round of 16 is soooo wrong, and I am languishing way down the bottom (with over 100 people in front of me, many of them children!)

Lastly, I have a giveaway, so head over here if you are after a $50 Big W voucher, and more of this witty repartee.

Linking up with an apology to the lovely ladies at the Lounge.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Decline (and a giveaway)

The bride looked radiant.

At seven months pregnant she had a radiant glow.

Have you ever noticed once the children come along, the word radiant disappears from the description.

She looked tired or weary. The word mess creeps in. Grubby, dirty, stains...our blessed angels can often leave a trail of creative destruction in their wake, and much of that carries with them on their clothes...

I was offered a trial of Radiant Laundry products, and as a lazy laundress, I eagerly accepted as I'm always on the scout for something to salvage our much loved clothes. Life is too short to scrub. I will soak, and wash. That is it.

So with the official laundry liquid of the AFL (grass stains, anyone?), in the No Sort variety, I washed our bathmat (don't ask me how we get it so dirty, but we do!)

Before:



After:


Thumbs up from me!

The big news, other than a lazy girl's easy washing process, is that Radiant has given me a $50 Big W voucher to give away - in the comments below tell me 'Which variety of Radiant do you most need in your house and why?' Competition closes on the 2nd July and judge's decision is final (and all that jazz). To save you the leg work, there are 3 varieties: Brilliant Whites Sharper Colours, No-Sort and Sensitive. Each variant contains Colour Guard technology which is how Radiant keeps your colours newer for longer. If you want to be super studious, visit their website.

Radiant has been running a campaign of shorts on utube where they road test their products - literally. The experiments were done for real, with the shop assistants kept in the dark until after the clothes were returned. I'll leave you with the Hell on Wheels clip, as the 200 day countdown to the Dakar has begun (I wonder how Radiant works on fesh-fesh?).  In further housekeeping, how do bloggers feel about a paintball meet up?



I was not paid for this product review but Radiant is providing the Big W gift voucher prize and I received a sample product to test drive - I didn't buy new clothes to return to shops after messing them up (because that would require ironing), I just used it on my already trashed and tired clothes and filthy bath mat!

Linking up for #Open Slather

Monday, 23 June 2014

Conversations with Strangers...

Putting money in the meter early last Saturday morning I smiled at the young man picking up his ticket and asked "Did you watch the Netherlands this morning?" He smiled "Yes, great game. Here's hoping we can do the same." Given where we were parking, it was obvious we were headed to the same place.

In the queue for coffee yesterday, I asked the man in line behind me, "So was it a goal or not?" He laughed, "I'm French. Of course it was!"

What I love about festivals of sport, like the Olympics or World Cup, there is an instant conversation starter, and a friendliness of likeminded audience, keen to talk about what they've watched. There is a camaraderie created in the city, taking to the streets.

I can go to the footy or roller derby and start chatting to those around me.  There is a really positive side to 'herd mentality' at times, and it's a bringing together of a new tribe, if only for a short period of time...

I was in a pub watching the 2007 Grand Final when the a Cats supporter invited the lone Power supporter to come and share a glass of their victory champagne, having not spoken throughout the game except to yell at the screen.

It is a shame this friendliness stops once the game is over. We go back to our private worlds, unwilling to invite interactions with the world at large. We stay in our circles, we might occasionally share a smile or comment, but not with the same enthusiasm or frequency.

So for the next few weeks, I will revel in the fun and joyful sociability of those that love the World Cup, sharing the highs and lows of a month long celebration.

This was for the prompt Conversations with Strangers, which has been postponed until next month. So as is my want, I am going a whole month early with this post.

Linking up my now somewhat out of date post on Conversations with Strangers

First of the Month Fiction - July

Going super early as taking the school holidays off to enjoy life, watch the soccer undistracted and oh, that's right, focus on the kids...

Write a story in the comments - 100 words exactly or one that is 30 or less - and then link your blog so we can see your work in its unrestricted glory.

He knew this was it. His last chance to prove himself, or it was all over. He'd been in this job a long time, and while he didn't want to retire, he knew his time had come. If he didn't make the decision, it would be a forced humiliation. There was no alternative.

He walked out under the bright lights, a deafening roar filled his ears. He smiled to the crowd, trying to imprint this vision to his memory. His moment had come. He pulled on his gloves and moved into the goal square. The whistle blew and it began.

Enjoy the break, and see you on the flipside...

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Watch me.

Quick boost of positivity for those that need to hear it. I'm inspired by the Codeblack Life Facebook page who posted this: There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say, 'watch me'.

When your dreams seem too big for those around you, don't stop chasing it, just stop listening to the voices holding you back.

As discussed in Turbo sometimes they're just scared for you, and it will take a little time for people to come around the idea, but always remember 'No dream is too big, and no dreamer too small'.

Know deep down you are a tiny bit great!

Linking up with Thankful Thursday.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Lounge

No idea how to solve this, so if you came looking for The Lounge link up, click HERE.

I'm old and technically stupid, so this is as good as I can manage to fix it...argh!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Unusual Discourse on Love

I'm not entirely sure where I'm heading with this post, or if I even agree with what I'm about to write, but both quotes were enough to make me pause and give some thought to the ideas, so I thought I'd share.

I am reading Slapstick by the wonderful Kurt Vonnegut and came across this: (Note to put it in context, the children have only ever had contact with books, not the outside world.)

"'Eliza..so many of the books I've read...said that love was the most important thing of all. Maybe I should tell you that I love you now.'
'Go ahead' she said.
'I love you, Eliza,' I said.
She thought about it. 'No,' she said at last, 'I don't like it.'
'Why not?' I said.
'It's as though you were pointing a gun at my head,' she said. 'It's just a way of getting somebody to say something they probably don't mean. What else can I say, or anybody say, but, "I love you, too"?' "*

Now while I believe you do sometimes say it because you are bursting with affection at a particular moment, and you say it to kids without an expectation of reciprocation, I will admit, somewhat embarrassingly, I have in the past said it because I needed to hear it back (usually when I was feeling sick and sorry for myself!!). It is an interesting point, that it is virtually impossible for anyone not to say it back, thus rendering the sentiment almost useless. Which is why it means so much more when it comes at unexpected times, or in a note left on the kitchen bench or some such fashion.

I find it interesting that I think we say it to kids because we want them to know it, to feel protected in the safety of our love, with no expectation of the same in return. Do we do that with our partners? Or does it become a just habit, that throw away 'love you' at the end of a phone call or a manipulation for our own benefit? I'd be interested in what others think on this. I don't necessarily agree with the sentiment, but I haven't had an opportunity to experiment with my feelings and thought processes since reading the paragraph...And so it goes. Hi ho.

The other thought, was on the nature of love. "I have had some experiences with love, or think I have, anyway, although the ones I have liked best could easily be described as 'common decency'. I treated somebody well for a little while, or maybe even a tremendously long time, and that person treated me well in turn....Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go looking for it, and I think it can be poisonous.
I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, 'Please - a little less love, and a little more common decency.'"**

Now I do believe in love, and I do believe it can grow and last long periods of time. However, I also look at long marriages, or close knit families and see the truth in the common decency idea. Love can often take people for granted, or be careless or demanding. Common decency is always respectful. I'd love to know if anyone has any other thoughts to add on this.
Hi ho.

Linking up with #lifethiseek with a rather unusual post for me on love.

For anyone who hasn't read Vonnegut, start with Slaughter House 5 and then A Man Without a Country. I love Vonnegut - he's an underrated brilliant writer. And so it goes.


*page 76, Slapstick, Kurt Vonnegut, Vintage 2008, London (copyright 1976)
**page 2, ibid.



Thursday, 12 June 2014

Alphabet of Authors

The Where the Wild Things Were approved reading list:

Art Spiegelman (Maus is a comic for the non-comic readers; won the Pulitzer)
Bill Willingham (love the Fables series - he's very clever)
Cormac McCarthy (The Road is amazing)
David Weisner
Eric Carle
F. Scott Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby is one of the best books written!)
George Orwell (Poor Boxer!)
Herman Koch (The Dinner is a great book)
I - Wake in Fright (Kenneth Cook)
Jon Krakauer (Always interesting topics)
Kennedy Toole, Jon (Confederacy of Dunces made me laugh so much!)
Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland is brilliant, though often read too young and dismissed)
Maurice Sednak
Nina Berberova
O.Henry (you can't like short stories and not know a few of his)
Pamela Allen (under-rated genius, in my opinion)
Q -  Michael Chabon The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay  (give me a break!)
Ray Bradbury (genius)
Sparkle Hayter (junk crime but fun, and what a great name!)
Tardi, Jacques (It was the war of the trenches is deeply moving)
U -  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (it has a U in it...)
Vonnegut, Kurt
White Guard by  Mikhail Bulgakov
X Needed a spot for Feed by M.T.Anderson, so it's here. (Geddit, X marks the spot)
Yoshimoto, Banana
Z, World War (cheating but it's worth a read - interesting ideas)

So if you're looking for something new to read, there's a few you may want to venture into...or not. Who'd be in your alphabet of authors?

Linking up with BookNook

If money were no object....

I'm very excited to be hosting my first ever link up with The Lounge! I've cleared some space for you all, and even put on some nibbles and drinks (or coffee and croissants, depending on the time you choose to join me here). So kick off your shoes and grab a spot on the lounge with me...Tell me, what would you do if money was no object?

I wouldn't change that much about my daily life - I wouldn't move but I might buy a weekender somewhere that we could duck off to and share with friends. I might put a bowling alley and pin ball machine in the basement (I'd also have to put in a basement), and I might actual do a renovation so the kids didn't have to share a room...but I probably wouldn't, out of laziness, rather than expense.

I wouldn't change their schools from public to private and I don't think I'd even go and buy new clothes.

I would, however, finally see some of those destinations that cost a bomb for a family of 5 to visit (oh, that's right, that's everywhere!). I would see this:

                                                       Image Credit

and then this:
                                                      Image Credit

and of course, what I dream about most at the moment, this:



And I would throw some monster parties, at harbour venues or on beaches with caterers and host huge movie nights hiring an outdoor cinema and book weekends away on islands with friends and their families. (Call me Kanye.)

While thinking about all my heart desires, I realised I already have a lot of it. It's not grand but it is what I need to be happy. And that realisation is worth more than anything money can buy!

It would be nice to know I would never need to worry about money, and it would be fantastic not to have to worry about these proposed changes to University fees (I would hate for my kids to have to carry a $120,000 debt from such a young age, ensuring they could never buy a house or flat in Sydney). I guess it would be nice to buy them all a house, because down the line that will only ever be for the truly wealthy, at least in this city...but that's all the pipedream stuff. For now, I've got what I need, and it's just about wants...and that's a blessed way to be.

Very excited to be hosting the Lounge this week, so please join in with your plans, if money was no object! (I've gone early in case I sleep in after the 2am start tomorrow! Go Aussies!!!)

Linking up with the Lounge right here!!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I may go M.I.A

By the time you read this, I will already have been up watching my first game for the World Cup. While not a regular soccer fan, I love the festival of football that comes around every four years. I try to watch at least part of each game, I traipse across town in the wee small hours to join like minded audiences and soak up the atmosphere. I've drawn the sweep, I've placed my tips (with scores) on every match of the first round (and surprisingly, have Argentina winning overall - you heard it here first).

I love the cocoon that you go into, where all you think and want to talk about is the last few games you watched...you will see me tracking down the men at the kids parties, trying to see who is interested and wants to talk World Cup (sexist I know, but that's usually how it is).

So, I give you fair warning - if I miss a post here or there, or if I seem even more pointless than usually, you know why...

And I have been lamenting the absence of a number of now retired greats - for those that have lived under a rock, this is still the best sports ad ever (note they are not sponsors of the World Cup, just very sneaky geniuses!)



So who's ready for the footdance?

Linking up with Thankful Thursdays because I'm thankful that it's finally here again, With some Grace for FYBF and lastly with Things I Know because I know that my heart will be broken when a number of teams fail to go through....

Monday, 9 June 2014

Just do it!

We live in a world where we want change but constantly just accept the status quo. We don't really try to change things because we say to ourselves, 'what can I do, I'm just one person?'

I was listening to Freakonomics and they were talking to Nancy Wexler about Huntington's disease. She said, on her mothers struggle to cope with being diagnosed (and the onset of the disease) "I think the only thing that really saved our entire family is that my father, being totally brilliant and optimistic, said, “Well, you know, let’s just find a cure.” So in 1967, our family started the Hereditary Disease Foundation. Curing Huntington’s has turned out to be vastly more difficult than we thought. But I’ve been working on it ever since 1967." (Full podcast transcript here).

I love this attitude - that when faced with adversity, a person can just say, 'well, let's change it." At a time when people didn't know much about Huntington's, he didn't see it as an impossible feat, just something that needed to be done, and he set about doing it. Both daughters have carried that flame on, and more can be read here, for those interested. However, my purpose is purely the attitude, not the remarkable work done by this family.

What holds us back, in many situations, is our decision to not do something about it. We want to be a writer, but we don't bother to write the novel. We want to change the political situation but we don't take to the streets. We want to help the poor, but we don't volunteer our time. We have a hundred reasons not to do something, when we really only need to do ONE thing.

So next time you hear yourself holding yourself back, limiting your potential or throwing an idea in the 'too hard basket', just think of the Wexlers or Aki Ra. There are people that make a difference, they just aren't people like us.

But there is absolutely no reason we can't be people like them.



(Image from FB but I can't remember where - if you tell me I'll add appropriate credit)

Linking up with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Optimism

Children have a built in optimism. More often than not. This is gradually eroded over time, and we become either the half full or half empty adults. It's such a waste.

I don't understand why we are born with such great qualities but these get quashed over time. I wish there was some way to get them back.

My daughter had made a Hama bead heart, and I ironed it, but there were two beads in the centre that would not stick together, so it effectively had a hole in the heart. My girl just looks at it and says merrily "It doesn't matter, it still looks a tiny bit great."

We can never be perfect, we can never get all that we desire in life but let's aim for realising what we have and what we do is still a tiny bit great.

Linking up with #IMustConfess on the prompt of things children say


Sunday, 1 June 2014

I hate being the new kid...

My youngest started school this year, at a new school. Knowing already how great it can be to have a support network at the school, I set about making friends. I have to race off at pick up so I can't stay and chat. Sometimes it seems very hard to break into conversations. Often, I just play on my phone because I'm not up for it.

Now the fundraiser approached, and we need a table of 10. I put it out in an email to the class, and gradually spots are filling.

I accept that my attitude is part of the problem - I've got my friends, I'm older than everyone, I've got a high school kid and I might just be a little over this school business (shh!).  I just hate being the new kid. I hate trying to make friends. You can't help taking on a little rejection, that may not even be there. I hate that awkward outsider feeling. For my youngest, however, it is a task I must take on, whether I want to or not.

Every four years, I organise a sweep for the World Cup, and this morning I sent off the email to my usual crowd I harass for my schemes, and was pondering whether to ask the new school parents too, or whether that would just make me look sad and desperate....I figured I'd see how I was going for numbers and then maybe, casually, mention it to one or two...

I returned home after the 2 drop offs to discover - BAM - all 32 spots taken in less than an hour! In fact, it's over subscribed so I'll need to work something out (After I sent out notice the sweep was closed, I got complaints from people who'd missed out! Never fear, the Dakar is only 7 months away! ). That's what happens when you turn off your phone...it's a crazy hive of activity in the interwebs! A lot of these people have never been in a sweep before, and have no interest in soccer, but they like me, and humour my eccentricities.

How are these two stories connected? This enthusiastic response has worked as a wake up call, that in fact I'm not some lonely, weirdo reject (well, maybe a little, but in a good way that I'm totally comfortable with), I'm just new and I don't know anyone. All of it, of course, is probably my perception.

What I need to do, is remind myself that a lot of the other parents are also feeling that. Maybe their aloofness is to do with them and not me.

I read an article by a woman saying the clique-y mothers were making her kid sad, because her child was being left out. While I hear her pain, at no point did she say she was inviting kids over, or organising a get together. Maybe start by taking those difficult steps yourself. Maybe the 'clique-y' mums won't be interested, but there will be some shy wallflowers who will appreciate it. Maybe the clique really isn't in your head, and they don't like you - but does it matter, if you're making other friends along the way?

And for all my money, I'd rather be known as inclusive than exclusive....

Linking up with The Lounge, on school stories - because in a week I'll be a new kid yet again with a whole new class!