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Monday, 27 October 2014

I Wonder

I was at the Rodriguez concert the other night, and I was struck with a thought when he sang the lyrics:

"And I wonder about the soldier that dies.
 I wonder will this hatred ever end"

I thought how funny it was that he became the soundtrack to the movement against apartheid in a country so far away, and he was totally unaware of it until well after the fact. Then I started thinking about how no one would have ever thought that apartheid was going to end, no matter what they did to try and bring change. Certainly Nelson Mandela would never have believed he was going to become the Prime Minister of the country and revered across the globe, as he sat there for much of his life in that tiny prison cell.

Then the big thought hit me. Maybe we are looking at things all wrong? That feeling that the issues are so overwhelming that we may as well not bother. All the problems of the world can be fixed - the poverty, terrorism, climate change, ebola, cancer, the wars, all of it. Nothing is insurmountable, it will, eventually come to pass.

So maybe we need to see our tiny actions as one part of a movement, that the numbers swell and the action is a surge that can eventually create change. Rosa Parks wasn't the one and only protestor of the day. There were thousands, all individuals making small stands. Her's was picked by the media to showcase, and thus we all know it nearly 60 years on. Not in any way diminishing her bravery, I'm just pointing out she was part of a movement, even if it wasn't planned that way.

I went to bed composing this post in my head, but in the morning, I decided it was too rambling and didn't bother writing it. Then I received this in my email:

"There are people who change the world everyday… People like you."

So I took that as a sign and sat down and wrote. Let's stop being overwhelmed by the problems in the world and lets fix this thing!

Linking up with #SunshineSundays  on Change.
For those that haven't signed up, My Journey, Am I there yet? sends out thoughts for the day - even if they aren't applicable to me at the time, I've used them as prompts for stories or blog posts. Definitely worth a look. 




If you haven't heard the story, get the film Searching For Sugarman from the video shop (or download on whatever you legally do that on).

Sunday, 26 October 2014

First of the Month Fiction - November

Straight into it - rules & examples here for new comers - all welcome.  Put your short story in exactly 100 words or less than 30 in the comments, and link your blog in the linky.

Mine, an attempt at a happy one - Ironically not entirely happy with it though (For someone who writes a lot about happiness, my fiction is much better the blacker it is):

The race official had never liked him. He knew they would do anything to stop him winning, but to disqualify him when he had actually won was beyond belief. He tried to complain but to no avail. He was told to leave the marshalling area immediately, and that rules were there for a reason. The trophy he’d earned would never be presented, at least not to him. 

Mrs De Santos rolled her eyes in frustration. “Why do we even bother with the sack race? Every year some kid tries to run in the sack. Without fail, it ends in tears!”
 
 
 
 
My other, an under 30, is seasonal, for Halloween.
 
Zombie Prom: an undead tale of love & loss


The young zombie lamented to her mother "but what if I never eat 'The One'!"
 
Happy Halloween to you all....
 
 


Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Elegant evening style under $50...WHAT?!

As an homage to Ness I will refer to everything as a piece (purely for my own amusement - I am sniggering as I type)...so this piece is from my favourite shop in Singapore - a little cheapie market with the best clothes, and my first (and only) shopping stop on every visit.

This piece set me back $12. That may've even been twelve Singapore dollars, which is even less but let's say it's a whopping $12 Aussie.











These shoes I had to buy to go with a cocktail dress - I made the mistake of getting this absolutely fabulous cocktail dress then realised I had nothing to wear with it - neither shoes nor jewellery. So that proved a more expensive lesson than I intended. However, as I needed shoes for just that dress, I set my limit for $30. I ended up getting these shoes for $25 (somewhere in the city) because they were deemed too tarty, uncool or just plain ugly for a normal price (they were a marked down mark down. I LOVE those!) I liked them enough, and they went with the cocktail number (which is way more than the $50 limit thus not shown), so I got them, and they go with this dress too...

I had better earrings to match but I dropped one down the sink when drunk(ish). So these I got for $16 online - I also got a number of pairs for xmas gifts so the postage is divvied up on the gifts, not this pair. I'll just wear one with my other ear covered in a fancy hairstyle to keep me under the $50 limit). Or I could wear these which were only $10.



There you have it, glam evening wear for under $50....

Linking up with The Fashionable Mum

 
 

What's in a name?

Whenever people ask me what type of blogger I am, I say travel. That's because of my travel blog. Easypeasy.

How do I describe Where the Wild Things Were? It's a long rambling description that lacks confidence. I woke this morning with an epiphany. I'm a 'mouthy mummy blogger gone rogue'. Sums it up without committing me to write about anything in particular. Take that pigeon holes!

How do you describe your blog to non bloggers?

Linking up with Things I Know

Friday, 17 October 2014

Celebrate the good

It buzzed past on my facebook feed that Mark Zuckerburg was donating $25 million US to try to stop the spread of Ebola, as it is in the critical stage, and needed to be contained NOW.

I clicked on the comments, and there was a trail of hate, along the lines of "Well he spent $100 million buying a private island" or the very mature "Facebook gives you Ebola". How does something positive attract all this negativity?

I have noticed on Facebook there seems to be people that can't help spouting hate - they see a concert promoter post about a pending concert, and instead of just scrolling past, they have to jump on and share with the world how much they hate the artist. I am dumbfounded by the energy involved on something that shouldn't even fill your thought processes for a nanosecond. If you don't like the music, don't buy the tickets.

Back to Zuckerburg. We all saw the movie, we all have judgments based on that telling of the story. However, this time he's doing something really generous, that benefits us all. So what if he got himself a private island at vast expense. I am paying off a house that is purely for my benefit. The price difference is huge but the end result is the same. The amount of his personal income he is donating to this cause is also vastly greater than I can give.

I find it a very disappointing side of humanity, this tendency for an outpouring of hate on anything and everything. I'm not saying don't voice your opinions on injustice. Just don't share your negativity on things that don't matter, and celebrate the good where you can. If we showcase and promote the good in the world, there may just be more of it!

Linking up with ThankfulThursdays, as I'm thankful some people are donating and providing money where it is badly needed.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Fear and Food for thought.

A friend posted an incredulous comment that people from West Africa were allowed to travel on planes on her Facebook page. I did notice apparently people in the US and Spain were still allowed on planes, even though they have Ebola too.

I will admit I had that knee jerk reaction when our plane announced prior to landing that anyone who had been in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea and Liberia in the past 30 days were to present themselves at Customs for Quarantine clearance into Singapore. "What?! They've been on the plane? What?! It's too late, we'll all have it!" (I would like to say I'm exaggerating but that over the top panic was exactly what went through my head. However, I have learnt that when ever you think or argue in terms of "THEY" (that nameless, faceless "THEM"), rather than specifics, you probably need to research a little more).

When you look at the cases vs populations of these countries, it is less than 1 percent of the total population. So her logic is 99 percent of the population should have their passports confiscated, just in case?

I'm not saying this is not a horrific situation with potential for global plague proportions. What I'm saying is we need to be doing the right things about it. We need to direct our concern into something useful. Quickly.

One of the major food delivery companies stopped deliveries to the supermarkets in some of the affected regions - and while I totally understand that, I wouldn't want to make those deliveries if it was my job or my husband's, it does mean it's harder to quarantine and isolate the disease. If people now travel for food and supplies, or enterprising people are moving into the region to sell food, then the disease will move into other regions, and so infection grows. How can we minimise the spread of infection?

What is being done to protect the people with the knowledge and expertise in the field of this type of disease, because the unfortunate side effect is, that those with the most experience are also the highest risk of infection, as previous mourned on this blog?

Those types of questions are more urgent to ask. Of course, those practicalities on the ground in a continent far away don't really impact me. Keeping 'them' off a plane does. I guess the difference is, do we worry about it not being our problem, or do we worry about stopping it being a problem?

Ebola is horrific. It is hard to contain. It is necessary to contain it to stop it spreading across the globe. Maybe we all should be grounded for a bit until it passes. Or at least put our thinking into something productive that will contain the disease, and the people at risk of infection.

There is nothing wrong with being scared. It's a very scary situation. If you are feeling panic, then get out your credit card and give generously. Medecins Sans Frontieres are on the ground and doing great work where it is needed. It is far more useful and productive than sounding alarm on Facebook. Spread the word on giving aid. If anyone raises the topic, ask them if they've donated. Make a difference.

This is not sponsored, I admire their work, you are welcome to link other organisations on the ground that are trying to battle the spread of this disease.

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF

PS Since I wrote this, the world has gone into a frenzy over 'no letting them fly'. If we learnt anything from Bird flu, the disease travels faster than the health warnings, so the only way for that to be effective is to let NO ONE fly, regardless of what country they are coming from. No one in and no one out (even returning citizens).

There has been talk of breaking protocol. The problem is the majority of countries don't have protocol on this, the US included. You shouldn't wait to get the disease to them implement protocol. You should have it in place prior to getting the disease. Singapore apparently does, Europe and Australia don't. Implimented with Bird Flu, there are airports & ferry terminals where you still walk through a machine that registers your temperature. This would be a very useful protocol to implement prior to boarding, but how you distinguish between normal flu and colds, I don't know.

Liberia shut it's borders (no one in, no one out) and at the same time, they made government restrictions on public gatherings. This was a warning at the height of the bird flu, remember? I am curious why that hasn't been jumped on again? Maybe because we feel safer and less inconvenienced if we make the solution 'don't let them fly, close the borders to them' rather than we have to forgo our concerts and other entertainments.

Lastly, there is a flurry of people saying that it's spread differently to how they're saying - that the 'government' are telling us lies about how it spreads. We have known how it's spread since the '70's, so rule that out. The bodies wouldn't still be contagious after death if it was airborne (though the droplets can fly through the air with a cough).
The reason why people should getting frantic about the nurse on the plane is because it can then have spread to not just where she went, but potentially to where other passengers went on their connecting flights, thus impossible to contain. Not being on the plane itself.

There is a good article in the SMH where the writer says that this is a case where throwing money at the problem will actually help. So maybe it's time we think about that instead.

A Toast

Em from Have a Laugh on Me titled a facebook photo with "Here's to being yourself and being loved for it". I was very taken with this, and decided on the spot it would be my new toast when I had nothing specific to toast.

I put it up on Facebook (announcing I was raising my cup of coffee and toasting all my friends).

This has been my most popular post in a while, and one person even thanked me saying it was exactly what they needed to hear that day (they'd been insulted the night before, for being perceived as difficult).

So I'm saying it to all of you. Something to remember for yourself, and something to remind friends.

And if you aren't already, follow Have a Laugh on Me on Facebook - she's inspirational, literally. (I'm just a thief! ;) Here's her post she wrote that inspired it on the nature of friendship.

Linking up with Thankful Thursdays, because I'm thankful to be able to feel this way around a lot of the people I know and Things I Know because I know I learn a lot of great sayings and attitudes from other bloggers.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Out with the old...


This is not so much items in my cupboard I'm embarrassed by (as requested by I Must Confess), but more a nostalgic sentiment I'm a little embarrassed of. I was culling the kids clothes - somehow my 6 year old was still wearing a size 1 tee-shirt. She and I were both reluctant to let go of it...You wouldn't like her when she's angry...






I got this jacket when my eldest was 3 - over a decade ago. I was flooded with emotions as I looked at it, and filled with an inexplicable sadness as I folded it up and bagged it.

 
There was a myriad of more items I was tempted to keep, rather than share them with others in need. But I didn't. I took a few photos and ruthlessly packed them up and sent them off. Hopefully to be used and loved, rather than sit in a draw for sentimentality. I was, however, very sad to be folding a lot of those outfits for the last time, never to see them again.

What is it with us, parents, and our kids, who are still around, still in our house, in our lives, sharing OUR life and experiences, that we hold on to these tangible memories of when they were small, as if they were a different person? I know, they actually were a different person, and our relationship was different and we were different. Our whole experience of them, and with them, was different.

As I looked at these clothes, I was definitely mourning something, but I'm not sure exactly what, as the feeling seems to have become attached to the clothing rather than an actual memory or realisation. Is it my lost youth, their youth or just life passing by in general?

We were talking about aging on Facebook and a father I know said the only thing he'd do differently was have more time with the kids when they were little. But the kids are there now, he could have time with them now. It's harder, it's maybe not as much fun as it was (because we have to start including their wishes into the equation), but you can find the thing that can be your 'glue', brief as your time with them is. Revel in those moments. They're equally special and in five years time you'll be missing those just as much.

If your own parents are still alive, maybe share these feelings with them, as they probably feel the same way, but at the same time get the joy of seeing you a successful adult, and the grandchildren starting the cycle all over again.

I couldn't really think of a post on Share for Sunshine Sundays, so I'm sharing my sentimentality, and I Must Confess some items of clothing I adore, but am embarrassed by the strength of my affection for a shirt or jacket. Linking up also with #MummyMondays


Do you keep your babies clothes? If so, why?

PS I put this one back in the cupboard for a bit, then almost with tears welling in my eyes, decided I was being silly and sent it off with the others. That shirt has been proudly worn by all three kids, until they decide they aren't Bombers anymore and go to the dark side (Swans).

Thursday, 9 October 2014

What I don't get about the internet (Variation on things I don't get cos I'm old)

1. That a porn star would need to go on Mixxxer to find casual sex? I find that so weird. (Did anyone else see that article? I suspect it's just bait to lure all the non pornstar men onto the app, on the off chance they get to make it with a porn star).

2. I don't get Mixxxer or Tinder or any of those - but I'm old and conservative. If it makes the dating sites more about people wanting a relationship, then I guess that's a good thing?

3. That I can write a post where I use euphemisms to describe hideous body distorting breast implants and get a lot of hits from the non English speaking world (obviously looking for porn) but when I write about Vagina Cakes, using the word vagina repeatedly, none of the pervy trolling I feared appeared. Obviously the word vagina is not sexy.

4. Notice how many things with the internet have to do with porn, even if you aren't a porn person? Type in anything and something you don't want to see will turn up. What did all the porn fans do before the internet? Or did the world's obsession with all things naked and sexual grow with the internet?

5. Why do the porn people track me down on Twitter - I'm a chick, an old chick at that, I don't want to look at your "sexy pics" or see celebrity blah naked...

6. Why is the internet going mad over the fact that a reality tv show contestant was just in it for the fame?

7. Why do people have opinions on your profile pic? You change it too much, you need to change it, it shouldn't be of you as a couple, it SHOULD be of you as a couple, it shouldn't be of your kids, why isn't it of your kids and so on...(You see it the most, do what suits you!)

8. How easily misconstrued what you write on Facebook can be. A lot of things read flirty/sleazy/aggressive/sarcastic when they may not be intended that way. Sometimes I notice what I wrote reads snarkily or sarcastic, when in fact I am actually asking the question.

9. My news page that opens when I start my computer is becoming more like a tabloid each day, or a TV show review page...How do I get the real news again?

10. I grew up without the internet. Can you imagine going back? On the flipside, as it's such a time stealer, can you imagine how efficient you'd be with all the extra time you'd suddenly have?

Linking up for #OpenSlather






Monday, 6 October 2014

Is everyone hanging out without me?

This book by Mindy Kaling is an odd collection of essays (for want of a better word) and observations by the writer best known as Kelly Kapoor of The Office (for those that don't know, she is predominately a writer for that show).

I am going to quote a large chunk from the book so I hope I am forgiven if it somehow rewards her with more book sales. Details on the book are here. It's an easy and entertaining read that you'll zip through.

Part of the book is aimed at teen girls (or just teens), and one part is worthy of a lengthy quote. In the chapter titled 'Don't peak in High School' she discussed the issues of being a wallflower, not being super popular, and that it's nothing to worry about. "Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in High School too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful...What I have noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also a big star in later life. For us overlooked kids, it's so wonderfully fair."

We know this. We've lived it and seen it. But as parents, we are too old (regardless of age) to have any idea about anything (even if later on our kids will remember we were right). Kaling is young, and famous. So that gives her kudos we will never have. And not the parent of our child. So they might even listen a bit.

If your kids watch The Office, get it for them, as it may just make some of High School a little easier, and for girls, it deals with dieting and body issues (and teasing). Maybe they won't 'get' it, but it can't hurt to hear someone else say the things we remind them of. If they don't know who she is, maybe read it yourself and work out how to sell them on the idea of reading it...

She's very honest about growing into your skin, working out who your friends are (and why) and all those other issues we face as adolescents. That teen stuff is so unnecessarily horrible - your world view is so small that it takes on a damaging disproportionate reality. If you only knew how stupid it all was, you'd be so much happier, hormones aside...

It's not a parenting book, it's classed as Humour/Autobiography. But isn't that how we learn best?

Linking up with I Must Confess, on High School in general, as I didn't really have a subject I didn't like in High School...


Misconceptions

Before heading to Germany, I read a number of etiquette guides on cultural differences and how to behave...I'm a firm believer of the 'when in Rome' theory, or in this case 'when in Berlin'. A theme in these guides kept popping up...'Germans are very serious people' and 'Germans do not suffer fools gladly' and 'Germans speak better English than you do'.

I will admit, I became a little scared of the Germans, even though I'd seen them en masse travelling around Europe, laughing and having a good time.

I had spent a month or two learning German from a CD in the car so I could cruise around with a few pleasantries and ask for things. I'd booked a few restaurants before I left, and all emails returned only in English, though I'd made the reservations in both languages. I'd taken this as a sign that they were unamused by my poor attempts to write in their language.

So I landed in Berlin with trepidation.

What I found, however, is that Germans are fun, friendly and outgoing. They are playful. We were having post marathon drinks at a beer garden, and a German started chatting with us. He had a very washed out accent that I couldn't place. I asked where he was from, to which he answered Berlin. I pointed out his odd accent was not a German one, to which he replied, "Oh, I'm putting that on for you, because you're Australian". He proceeded to talk to the American with an American twang and the Irish with an Irish lilt, switching as the conversation moved around.

In shops, everyone would answer me in German, even though it must have been obvious that I had limited ability, by how dreadful my accent was. If I looked confused, they'd repeat in English then switch back to German, so I felt remarkably fluent, even though I wasn't. They were very good natured in humouring my woeful attempts at the language.

The taxi drivers proudly pointed out monuments as we drove past, giving us mini-guided tours and helpful tips.

Not once did we encounter these gruff, humourless beings I'd read about (well, once, but that was our fault for not knowing the etiquette). How does this reputation come to pass, when it's evidently so far from the truth?

It was a great reminder, that while worthwhile reading up about cultural differences, to always keep an open mind. This can apply to people too, whose reputation precedes them. Just because your friend has issues with a person, doesn't mean you will too.

Just because one person has a bad experience doing something, doesn't mean you will. Don't bring the problems to the party.

In all things, it's worthwhile to be cautious but always keep an open mind. That is a big lesson for me, and a reminder I need to get from time to time so I don't cloud my own experiences.

Linking up with The Lounge on people

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Don't get caught up in the numbers...

Goldilocks and the two bears.

Snow White and the two dwarves.

Sometimes two isn't right.

Anyone who has left a bad relationship knows that one isn't always the loneliest number in the world.

If you're throwing a party, two might be a little depressing...

We have two eyes, two ears but only one heart and one brain.

Numbers are only a description of quantity, so any judgement is projected onto it by yourself or others. "I have two wonderful kids" or "You only have two kids?" The kids are the same, the number is the same but the statement and implied meaning is different.

Ultimately, we are all different. We are, in fact, unique. We may want our situation to change. We may be perfectly happy as we are. The numbers involved are rarely the issue.

Plato said "A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers". With all things in life, don't get caught up in the numbers...


Linking up an old post with #ThankfulThursday as I'm tearing around and too busy to worry about the numbers today.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Vagina cakes and other food we don't need to eat...

So I've been away and know I've no doubt missed a whole lot of blog posts on the recent fad of vagina cookies and cakes, but as they still seem to be cropping up in my Facebook feed, I do need to go there...

Firstly, if you want kids (or the world) to see what a vagina looks like, don't put it on a cake or a cookie. That is just plain nuts. There is nothing more to it than that. You don't make a digestive system out of cake. I do, in fact, make a brain jelly at Halloween, but the purpose of that is to be gross, so there you go, that's what your vagina cakes are. Gross (and insulting). I am also not a fan of penis lollies at hens parties, but that's another post - on food that is somehow meant to be "fun" but isn't. Fun food is crab baked in a bag or something, or a Halloween jelly brain...

Secondly, what's with the rainbow colouring? That's just as bad as the photoshopping. If your point is educational, don't make it rainbow coloured. No one has a rainbow coloured vagina.

Now as I'm 107, the last time I saw a Playboy was pre-photoshopping, so I've not even seen these new vaginas that the skinmags are promoting. I have seen the doco explaining how it all came about (for those that don't know, it was to do with the fold in the page and magazine staple creating visual image issues with the folds in the vagina). How this has resulted in women getting surgery to look like a photoshopped image is an indictment on the human race, and maybe worthy of a cake or cookie demonstration.

By all means teach your kids about the photoshopping and what a vagina looks like. An artist set up an installation where you could get a plastercast made of your vagina and there were 1000 vaginas on show, and no surprise, they all looked different. (Apologies on not remembering the artist's name that did this in England and I'm too scared to google to try and find it). The short version is, normal and stylised are not the same thing. All 1000 were normal. All 1000 looked different.

To anyone who has had to answer vagina questions from young kids while you're all crammed into a shopping centre toilet, you'll know that most kids get what it looks like. Maybe we don't need to teach the 6 and 7 year olds with a cake. We need to sit down with the teen and say "Hey, you know that porn photos are photoshopped - don't expect your girlfriend to look like that". You'll probably scare them off sex after that, as no teen wants to have that conversation with their mum, so it's win-win. Put it on a cake and you'll give them an eating disorder (and their girlfriend will NEVER thank you because they won't go near that either!)

Maybe I should have titled this 'Talk to your teen about porn'...

By the way, I will delete any comments that are offensive, and remember I'm 107 and easily shocked...(I'm guessing a google search may bring me some visitors that are looking for something else).
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I love travelling. My ideal job would be full time travel writer. There is so much in the world I want to see, and I get sad knowing there are things I will never witness first hand in my lifetime.

No matter how great a trip, no matter how sad I was to leave, there is always a moment of happiness when I walk in the door of the house, and nothing provides me with more comfort than sleeping in my own bed, with all the other beings of my family in their beds nearby, where they belong.

My little universe is small but it truly brings an indescribable but much appreciated contentedness.

For that, this Thursday, I am thankful. #ThankfulThursdays.
Linking up also with Things I Know