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Sunday, 20 December 2015

First of the Month Fiction - Jan

Last post until Feb 1 (well, there'll be another First of the Month fiction, cos I like to keep you on your toes with random posting...)

Newbies, put a 100 word story (exactly) or one less than 30 words in the comments, then add your blog in the link, so we can check out your verbose awesomeness).

She was sick of her husband always working. Fed up with the lonely nights. It was worse at Christmas, magnified by the fact he'd sleep most of Christmas Day, when he was done for the year and finally spending time with his family. There was nothing special for her in the festive season.

The handsome young intern caught her eye and smiled. That magical grin of his. He wasn't perfect, a little short, but had a certain impish charm. One day she might succumb. "You're hair looks nice today, Mrs Claus." She flushed with pleasure, then busied herself with lists.

Happy Christmas to you all, and if you need help with New Years Resolutions, look at this article for some ideas (it's the one I posted before with all the F words, not suitable for work but absolutely suitable for easy changes to habits that could save the planet)



Linking with #OpenSlather

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Happy, Shiny and Bright


May you all have a wonderful holiday season, celebrating however you see fit.
Drive carefully, stay safe and see you all next year for a more successful 2016, however you choose to measure success.
I'm off to the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular, so the ongoing Christmas festivities continue for the youngest believer in our family.

Last xmas link up for the year, and I hope to get First of the Month Fiction up next week - just need some time to write!

Enjoy the break and Merry Christmas!




Linking with #FYBF and #TheUltimateRabbitHole

Monday, 14 December 2015

2015 - a good year?

2015 has been a difficult year, but I suspect the older you get, the more difficult life gets, so you need to learn to roll with the punches. However, that is just to preface the highlight reel to follow, because when I look at parts of 2015, it's also been a good year.

Little change workwise, but I was published again in the Hunter Writers Centre's Grieve Anthology and I was runner up in #SnapSydney (and thanks to Cannon, got a replacement camera for my beloved little point & click that was eaten in the surf).






We managed to visit the amazing Big Island & Kauai in Hawaii, and also sneak in a short trip to Krabi. I had fabulous 'me' time by going early and spending 3 days at the Singapore Grand Prix, though Kimi didn't win :(


In good news, I've decided to start backing myself a little more and working on my self confidence. I'm hoping 2016 means we've moved out of the tricky stage with one child (though there's a second child moving into that stage as we speak - eek!).

 
Lastly, for 2016 I intend to focus a little more on my happiness. Cut myself a little more time with friends or exercising, and noticing when I'm having fun.

I guess ultimately 2015 has been a good year, it just doesn't feel like a good year as I sink into the mundane waters of the day to day. Kids are hard, making an income is hard, juggling the two is, at times, difficult.


The amount of extra hours in the car since we moved to the apartment is physically exhausting (and it is hours a day!!) and leaving little time to do anything creative or worthwhile, however, with only one child to pick up next year, I'm hoping that resolves itself.

So I hope for an improved 2016, but will settle with finding the happiness where I can. Because it is always there, we just sometimes don't notice it.

May 2016 bring you all that you wish for.

Linking with #IBOT

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

More Kris Kringle ideas, but these help the world

I dropped into Oxfam yesterday and was amazed at all the goodies inside, only to learn they would leave with me in a bag and I'd be $100 poorer, though my shopping is now done!

If you're looking for Kris Kringle gifts, they have chocolates under the $10 mark, or bath salts and soaps - all fair trade, often organic and helping local communities around the planet.





These teas in gorgeous canisters are under $20, and the hibiscus infusion is delightful. (It was meant to be a gift but #IMustConfess I decided I needed to try it).




Worry dolls at $5.95 are the perfect gift for any parent of a teenager, or there are plenty of handmade Christmas decorations.



These statement rings will please any female in your life, young or old, and only $18.95.



If you can't get into an Oxfam shop, you can order online.

One other item, worth a mention: I got this in the Bockers & Pony hamper, so I don't know the price, but these were amazingly delicious (I ate the whole tin! Opps!).



Lastly, the fabulous Industrie Grooming kits are on sale again (better pics of what's inside on this post here) for $19.95, with proceeds going to cure brain cancer (Dr Teo). Available at Industrie stores or David Jones.



Any other gift ideas?

Add your Christmas posts, old or new, below:
Linking with #ChristmasLinkUP

Monday, 7 December 2015

Thinking New Year Resolutions? Think one that will change the world

I read this article, that unfortunately has lots of the F word in it, so not suitable for work, but a brilliant read on small steps we can all take to tackle the problem of climate change. Small changes here and there in our daily lives, when multiplied by many can make a tangible difference to the planet.

I urge you, when planning your New Years Resolutions, think about throwing in one or two ideas that not only make you a better person, but the planet a better place to be.

When not on a work computer, read this fabulous article (The title includes the F word, as does the URL).

Little by little, if enough of us start the wave of change, the tide will turn.

So let's start now, and let's start with ourselves. Isn't this worth saving?




Linking with #OpenSlather

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Happiness is....

For those that have been reading me with any regularity, you will know half my world view comes from an intellectual crush on Messrs. Vonnegut and Bradbury. In the case of Happiness, Kurt Vonnegut sums it up perfectly. In the book, A Man Without A Country, he tells of his Uncle Alex who would interrupt them when they were all sitting around laughing and remark 'If this isn't happiness, I don't know what is.' By underlining the moment as it happened, you're highlighting the appreciation of a moment of happiness for everyone present. Bookmarking it, if you will.

I think it's human nature to enjoy the moment but not 'collect' it in our store of emotions. We remember the terrible slight and drama filled incidents, ready to recall them at a moments notice, but forget the daily moments where happiness is the reigning emotion - walking down a flower filled street on a sunny day, laughing with a friend over something inconsequential, watching a movie in cool air-conditioned darkness and so on. We don't see them as important enough to matter.

That's the trick to life, however. It's ALL important. The mundane is probably more important than the big events, because that's what we squander the most time on. In a way, laughing in the car on the school drop off is more valuable than the big birthday dinner or even a wedding...we spend a lot more of our life doing one than the other.

Happiness is a day at the beach.
Happiness is a swim.
Happiness is laughing with friends.
Happiness is smelling flowers.
Happiness is buying a new book.
Happiness is finding time to read.
Happiness is dancing. Anywhere.
Happiness is first cup of coffee in the morning.
The list goes on endlessly.

For the next week, when you're happy, pause and take a moment to acknowledge it. See if your mood lightens when you realise how happy you actually are most of the time. Start building that bank of happy moments.

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" Vonnegut.

Fill in the blank. Happiness is....

Linking with #UltimateRabbitHole

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Who gives a crap this Christmas? Kriskringle Edition

I'm in a number of groups - two book clubs, a mah jong group and a few others, and every Christmas, we get together for celebrations and I like to give little gifts - just tokens, like nice soaps, Christmas pasta, hand creams etc. This year, I'm giving paper - but not just any paper. Toilet paper.

It's festively wrapped, and all good things for the environment, and the best part, has a charity arm too. So it's win-win all round. I'm figuring my friends will find it funny, and I'm not filling up the world with more things they don't need. You'll find it at Who Gives a Crap.


I did manage to get these super cute decorations for $1.00 a piece at Papaya so they'll get one of those too.


Lastly, I've discovered the perfect useful Kris Kringle shop - The Chef & The Cook. They have a myriad of chocolates from around the world, plus the festive Freckleberry range, under $10. They also have spices, sauces and delectable delights you don't find elsewhere. One of the kids is mad for Christmas Crackers and they have the most amazing collection - from high end glamour ones of the 12 days of Christmas to these super cool magic ones that include magic tricks as the prizes.


Are you hunting around for a Kriskringle gift? What are you thinking of getting?
And don't for get the It's in the Bag toiletries are to be dropped off before the 11th.

Add your  Christmas posts, old or new:


Linking with #FYBF and #UltimateRabiitHole

Monday, 30 November 2015

I'm too old for...Stereosonic



I knew I was too old for Stereosonic, but I LOVE Galantis and wanted to see Duke Dumont so went anyway.  As you do. I figured we'd be invisible so it would be okay.

We got on the train and the carriage when silent. All the young things, already off their chops, appeared to be paranoid we were cops. Fine with that. Expected.


I was surprised when they asked for ID. And then the eye bulge when he worked out the age and the ego deflating double take when he looked at me, implying 'What the hell are you doing here?'. Even that was anticipated.

I need to add, as an aside, I've never had a bag check where I've had to pull everything out of the bag, even tiny purses.

The issue for me, was the drinks. As I was not on the chemically enhancing gear, I wanted a drink. An actual real drink. Like an adult might drink. So I line up and look at a list of sugary liquids. You could not even buy a decent beer! And the only spirit was vodka, but NO TONIC! It was with Redbull or Lemonade. Nothing an adult would want to imbibe. And that's when it hit me. I'm WAY too old for Stereosonic....

Have you ever suddenly felt your age?

Linking with #WWU and don't forget to link your Xmas posts here

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Guaranteed Pick Me Ups

Lately I've been going through the wringer butting heads with a teenager*, and just general life chaos, so as a result, to settle my mood, I've had a few songs on high rotation.

Smile - Galantis (the clip is lots of nudie people making out, so not suitable for work, so this is the audio only, but listen and you'll feel the bad vibe lift away)



The other song, which has a real downer of a clip (not suitable for work) and frankly probably depressing lyrics but I don't understand what he's saying - I think the Elton John-esque rising notes taps into some happy mood from my childhood, is Avicii's For a Better Day:



Until recently I'd been going to Dancing in the Dark on a Monday night, and the hour of crazy dancing gave me such a high, that I began to get an anticipatory high all day Monday. Alas, they're no more, so I'm trying to get myself to No Lights, No Lycra but that's yet to eventuate in this busy xmas season. I have to say, the hour of dancing to Galantis yesterday gave me an instant high, that brought me peace for awhile...and a big grin to match.

I'm trying to be a little mindful of all the good things in my world, and trying to treasure minutes of quiet (most days seem to involve racing from one thing to the next, and that's becoming physically exhausting).

What are your tips for keeping your head above water?

Linking with #IMustConfess

*Needs to be said, a good teen, but a teen all the same....

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Xmas gift guide for the hard to buy for

Kids are always the easiest to buy for, it's the adults in your life that can make Christmas shopping tricky, so here's a few ideas for those hard to please giftwise.
 
 


Not sponsored, but awhile ago I won a Bockers & Pony hamper, and it was one of the only hampers I've received where I liked everything in it - not any 'filler'. This was the Cheers hamper, but there are Christmas offerings, and many other great gift ideas. With the red & white ribbon, it would make the perfect festive surprise. So if you're really stuck, or looking for a hamper to send, I'd look at Bockers & Pony.


If money's no object, I'd consider the Fly'n'Dine with Sydney Seaplanes. A luxury gift that makes you feel like you've stepped into another life for a few hours.

Or for a gift that gives twice - head to the Little Shop for handmade gifts where the proceeds go to hospitals.

These little pendants make lovely gifts from Udderly Mine.

Look for the local gift markets in your area. There are a lot popping up in December - and when you buy local, your hard earned cash is going into the community. The Artisan Markets are popping up in Annandale on the 5th December, if you're after funky handmade gift ideas.

If you are really stumped, why not head to Daddy, I want a pony! and potter around the sensational gift shop in Leichhardt. There's bound to be something there to solve your dilemma.

Linking with #OpenSlather & #MummyMondays

Add you Christmas posts below, old or new, or make a suggestion for other great gifts in the comments.


Monday, 23 November 2015

First of the Month Fiction - December

For newcomers, write a 100 word story exactly, or one less than 30 words, in the comment section - then link your blog.


Disappointment
They mumble a lot, and it can be noisy, the old man thought irritably. It can be confusing. New people turn up almost daily. They just can't keep staff. Otherwise, he liked it here, for the most part, he mused. It's clean, and it's sunny.

The young man pulled back the curtains. "Dad, it's me, Paul" He searched in vain for recognition, a flash in the eyes, that perhaps today his father remembered him for an instant. "Dad?" He stayed chatting cheerfully for awhile to the old man who stared through him.
He would return home yet again broken-hearted.

(This was a reject from Museum of Words - it's not fab but I kind of like it, so here it is)  Linking with #WWU and later #WeekendRewind
Your turn:

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Right now, I'm....

Busy, stressed, disorganised.

Not three words I'm comfortable with. I have too much to do, not enough time to do it. I'm not doing what I need to get done, nor what I want to do.

I want to write. I have stories in my head but no time to get them onto paper.

So advance warning, I'll be shutting up shop for a break, to write hopefully, from 16th December until the 1st of Feb. This is my Christmas present to myself. I will, however, continue with the Christmas link up every Friday, and First of the Month Fiction.

I hope to return with a new level of organisation and enthusiasm.

Now to get all this Christmas chaos sorted....

Linking with #IMustConfess

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Jingle all the way...


Christmas is fast approaching, and the days and nights are filling up with all the festive activities...
I've just been alerted to a wonderful charity, that's easy to contribute to. If you have a spare bag, you fill it with female toiletries, and drop it to a local collection point before December 11. It's nationwide, so well worth a look: Share the Dignity

Don't forget to link your Christmas posts, old or new, below, and pop in to read a few of the others....





Linking with#WorthCasing

Monday, 16 November 2015

Seriously...I'm kidding

I was deeply upset when I read the news from Paris, and then angry. Very angry that they picked on young people and families, all innocent of involvement in anything at all. The anger scares me a little. It's not fear, it's an aggressive emotion. I don't think it's a good reaction to this tragedy, but there it is regardless.

A while ago I read Ellen DeGeneres book, Seriously...I'm Kidding. It's a very funny, entertaining read that made me laugh out loud a lot, in very public places. It does, however, end on a serious(ish) note.  While describing her secret to happiness, among other things, she says "Contribute to the world. Help people. Help one person....Just help. Make an impact. Show someone you care...even if we try the teeniest tiniest bit we can make this world a much happier and healthier one. And if we try even harder, we can do some pretty spectacular things."


If the disaffected chose this path, instead of one of selfish destruction, image the different world we'd live in?

However, we can only manage ourselves, so we need to increase our contribution, or offer a contribution to a neighbour, friend, or stranger. We can make the world a better place, and let's face it, we really need to. If like me you are feeling anger, then channel that energy into something positive. If you can't change the world globally, just start with a neighbour. It's easy and if we all make life better for one person, then it's a movement on a grand scale of sorts.

Here's hoping we eventually see some pretty spectacular things.

Linking with the BookNook

Sunday, 15 November 2015

News and newsworthy

Over the last few days, a number of people on social media have complained we didn't hear about the bombing in Beirut. We did, or at least some of us did. There were actually plenty of news reports about it, however, depending on the news you seek out, you may not have seen it. I want to talk about our responsibility, one that we've let slip.

Somehow we have lost our way. Somehow we decided news needed to be entertaining and we lost interest in being informed. We decided we didn't need to pay for quality news coverage. We forced the mainstream news to compete with celebrity news and clickbait articles. We dumbed ourselves down. And now we complain that world news gets hidden in small Reuters paragraphs at the back of the news section of the actual newspaper, that we neither purchase nor read.

David Carr, in the movie Page One (on the New York Times) said 'The New York Times has dozens of bureaus all over the world and people are going to toss that out and see what Facebook turns up'. A lot of people did just that. And social media feeds are tailored to us, so we aren't going to see what we aren't 'interested' in. We may not even see what's true. If that is how you get your news (and I'm ashamed to say most days it's how I get my news), then you can't complain that you don't know what's going on in the world.

I have written before that I believe it's our responsibility to demand unbiased news, and be well informed, so we can be contributing participants on this planet. That may cost us a little money. It will cost us a little time (to read all the articles).

We can not blame the media for not covering something if we don't make it financially viable for them to cover it. Good news coverage costs.

For those that haven't seen it, the opening scene of the Newsroom sums it up well (on America no longer being the greatest country in the world, and it applies to us all):
"We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were....We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed...The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one."

I was in Bali after the school massacre in Pakistan and the newspaper there was full of letters to the editor complaining that Muslim Governments needed to do more than publicly condemn the actions of the terrorists with mere words. My news feed at home had not even shown there had been any condemnation, and it covered little more than the horror of the attack. So who's at fault? My media source? I would say yes, as I just get emailed clickbait headlines trying to lure me in to the website.

Really though, it's me. I'm the culprit that has demanded lessor coverage. I have said 'I won't click on this global political story but I will click on this Bachelor update', and I want you to somehow find me news stories for free. I have forced a change, and it's a change for the worse.

In view of global terror, I'm now complaining about what I've created, as if I'm not somehow at fault for my ignorance.

I believe it's up to us to change this. If we don't like the coverage, we need to go back to news that funds reporters to report, to dig out the stories we need to know. We need to tailor our news stream to cover real news, not scandals and gossip. We need to make sure we are receiving broader coverage, global coverage. We need to be the adults of yesterday. We probably need to pay for it too.

We recognize the problem now, so let's solve it. No news is not necessarily good news. Not now.

Linking with #WWU and #TIK

Both the movie and series mentioned above are worth a watch (in my opinion) - available here (the links are to JBHIFI but not for any reason, that's just who I thought of - it's not a special or anything) Page One and Newsroom (there are 3 seasons)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

For the next 7 Fridays, you can link your Christmas posts of past and present here - yep, that's all there is to go! Yikes!

Linking with #OpenSlather










Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Christmas posts link up coming this Friday




With seven weeks to go, I will be hosting a link up every Friday for your Christmas posts - old, new, just photos, whatever you want! So see you Friday for some Christmas fun!

What I learnt from Burnt...

Wikimedia Commons: Attribution: Eddie Kay
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Not a whole lot. I went to see Daniel Bruhl, and while he had a few nice moments, it was a bit of a waste of a role for him.

So this is more what I took away from the 2 hours in the cinema:

1. The director for Joy has a thing for Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, he used them in both Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle as well....

2. Do Australians have deeper voices than others, or when they wash out their accent do they get that deep Shakespearean actor voice? (I forget what the ad was for, but think Russell Crowe, Thor, and so on)

3. How much did Burger King pay for that scene in Burnt? Did anyone else find that odd?

4. 'There's strength in needing others, not weakness'. I'm still thinking about this. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, but I do know for some reason, a lot of us find it hard to ask for help, when we shouldn't.

5. I thought it was weird that the chef would be drinking plunger coffee - I know it's all cold press and back in fashion, but I just didn't believe it. Any chefs out there, do you drink plunger coffee? (Daniel Bruhl's character drank an espresso, so gold star from me!)

6. There's an Italian actor in it, I'd not heard of, Riccardo Scamarcio, who plays a character with few lines, but is in the background of a lot of scenes. I kept watching him half the time, as he was very 'busy', doing what he was doing, or watching the shenanigans of Bradley Cooper & Co. Will be tracking some of his Italian films down (where are the video shops when you need them?)...

7. There is an interesting line on addiction 'You're an addict. If it's not booze, it's drugs or fucking every woman you meet because you're addicted to how you feel every minute of the day'. I don't know how true this is, but I have seen people switch one addiction for a more acceptable one (or a less acceptable one, like the womanising). So it's definitely got me thinking....

8. It really just made me want to watch Rush again.

9. It made me hungry.

10. And I'm hungry now because I've been thinking about it.

Linking with #WWU & #TIK






Monday, 9 November 2015

Epiphany

Linking this old post with #IMUSTCONFESS because for some reason I thought the theme for this last confessional was 'a post that was hard for you to admit'. I think I somehow just invented that whole theme in my head but never mind.  I like this post now because I can see how far I've come. Still a long way to go but in much better place...so thank Kirsty for all the years! And good luck on the new ventures.

I was listening to the radio and the announcer  (I think it was Emma from The Edge), a young woman tells a story how in a past relationship, her partner never complimented her. Then one day, she was with some girlfriends who were saying 'I love it when my husband tells me I look hot' or 'My boyfriend says I'm sexy' and so on, and she realises "I'm with the wrong person. He doesn't appreciate me" and so they broke up.

Two things struck me with this story, firstly, she had such great self esteem that it hadn't been eroded by his lack of compliments, and her first thought was 'He doesn't appreciate me' rather than 'He doesn't find me attractive' or worse 'I mustn't be attractive'. I know I would definitely, especially as I age, be taking it as a flaw in me, not a flaw in him. I would love to have such strong self esteem - I don't know how you build it, but I'm working on it.

The second point that the story raised, was that she decided to break up with him when he wasn't present. They didn't have a massive fight that prompted it, she didn't limp the relationship through the unhappy death knell in an attempt to change him. She just decided she was worth better, and freed herself to seek it.

My ego has been taking a battering over the last few years, writing and aging are not kind to self esteem, and the weak just get weaker. (I've spoken before on the difficulty of keeping your head high after the multiple writing rejections). However, I've decided to work on it, as it's the new body I'm stuck in, so I may as well learn to love it, instead of hating what I see in the mirror.

The last few years have slowly chipped away at my self esteem, eroding it to unhealthy lows. I was surprised when I heard the story and I realise that must be 'normal' perception of self worth, and mine is the painfully distorted one.

There's a lot we can learn from Kanye. Stop laughing. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to never even hear the criticism, because your self belief is so great that you drown out the external negativity with an internal cheer squad? He said “Society has put up so many boundaries, so many limitations on what’s right and wrong that it’s almost impossible to get a pure thought out. It’s like a little kid, a little boy, looking at colors, and no one told him what colors are good, before somebody tells you you shouldn’t like pink because that’s for girls, or you’d instantly become a gay two-year-old. Why would anyone pick blue over pink? Pink is obviously a better color. Everyone’s born confident, and everything’s taken away from you”. Look at little kids at the school dance - they're loving themselves sick over their moves, there's not an ounce of self conscious judgement holding them back. Whatever they do is great, and they believe it. I want to get a little of that confidence back.

Why do we let other people take our confidence away? Why does society want to set so many limitations on our sense of beauty and value? It seems so mean and pointless. And if we can't keep our head above it, so self defeating.

So day by day I'm working on it, and hopefully one day I'll begin to believe it too.

I'll leave you with this quote “I believe in myself like a five-year-old believes in himself. They say look at me, look at me! Then they do a flip in the backyard. It won't even be that amazing, but everyone will be clapping for them.”  We'd all be happier with a little Kanye in our head.


Monday, 2 November 2015

Going the distance

As many of you know, my partner is a runner. After years of cheering from the sidelines, I thought I'd give distance a go and be the one getting the support. I don't run, and when I do 5km fun runs, I have the kids with me, so speed is irrelevant. So I signed up for the 7 Bridges walk, a 27 km walk for the Cancer Council, just to see if I could do it.

The distance was long enough to be a challenge, but not long enough to require training, as every mother knows, you do a lot of inconsequential walking around daily, so it was perfect for me.

I was a little nervous that it would be harder than I thought, and the need to get back for my son's concert meant that I'd need to keep up the pace all the way to the finish.

It was surprisingly easy and actually enjoyable! I'm not ready to sign up for Coast Trek (a 50 km walk) but I will definitely return next year. With better shoes (I'd foolishly gone in $20 kmart sneakers that were slightly too small), I'm sure we could shave off 20 mins to get us to the sub 5 hour mark. We stopped for 30 mins for a picnic lunch, and that for me was the highlight (showing my true colours), so that's non-negotiable - but a walking speed of 4 hours 30 mins would be the target (instead of the first attempt of 4 hours 50 mins of which I'm quite proud of).

The winners on the day were the zooper duper sellers - I had 2 along the way, and they were perfectly uplifting for the spirits, and cooling for the heat. I had a fabulously civilised corn quesadilla for lunch at the Lane Cove Village, which was delicious, and as I've mentioned, quite the highlight. And don't forget, of course, the 5 hours off kids duty (thanks to my partner) and the stunning scenery that Sydney is famous for, not to mention a leisurely walk and chat with friends, a rare treat, not to be underrated.

 
Now I'm not about to get a fitbit or anything crazy like that but I did do a 40 min walk yesterday instead of catching a taxi, so maybe, just maybe, I could be turning over a new leaf....

I'm adding this to the list, even though it's already done and dusted. I also need to say I'm extremely proud of myself that I didn't need to call this post "A bridge too far" and that I pulled up so well the next day that I could wear heels on Tuesday!

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
18. Write a book*.
19. Participate in a distance event (check)

Linking with #OpenSlather



Sunday, 1 November 2015

Lack of Respect

The Motherish had a post where a mother was complaining that her husband watched scary movies with her son behind her back, and that she'd been dealing with his sleep issues for years, not knowing that this was where part of the problem stemmed from.
I was more puzzled that she wasn't angry that he was deliberately lying to her.

To me, the issue was that he was saying to his son, 'I don't respect her, and you don't need to either' and that it was perfectly acceptable to do things that she wouldn't like, as long as you kept it secret from her.

I don't think he needed to have her approval to let her son watch scary movies. It's his son too, and he should be able to parent as he sees fit. If an argument or discussion evolves because of the difference of opinion, so be it. Parenting, like marriage, is about finding the middle ground. However, to decide that you don't care for your wife's feelings or opinion and that you'll just do what you want in secret, is displaying a lack of respect for your partner that I imagine is hard for her to overcome. It would put every thing you do in doubt, taint everything you say. As I've said before,  'It is better to have the argument before hand than argue later and bring betrayal into the already difficult situation'.

The deceit cracks the relationship, bringing a fissure into the ties of the couple. It's not an affair, it's not a gambling problem but it's destructive all the same.

I'm glad for that couple that she is only focusing on the inappropriateness of the scary movies, and I hope for them that the issue resolves itself. As they say in the book, Water for Elephants "at some point the secret itself becomes irrelevant. The fact that you kept it does not."

Linking with #MummyMondays

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Race? What Race?

I have three kids, at three different schools. I am time poor in a way I've never been before. I am in a logistical nightmare that I'm trying to adjust to manage better. I've had to change the orthodontist appointment because a school camp was announced. I had to rearrange the dentist because a last minute school meeting required my attendance. I have tight timeframes from 3 - 7.30 most nights.

So while I love the Melbourne Cup, I have managed to snaffle a dentist appointment that afternoon, so I will be in my car, racing to pick up all three kids to then make our way to the dentist when the race stops most of the nation.

I hope to head to the TAB during the day, or get a spot on someone's sweep, so I don't feel completely removed from society, but I won't be devastated if it doesn't pan out (I never win anyway, so I don't really understand why I bother).

I guess getting an appointment that all four of us can attend, that doesn't need to be rescheduled is my winning ticket...so for that I'm grateful.

To everyone else, enjoy your lunch and festivities, raise a glass for me and may the best horse win.

Linking with #WWU

PS As an aside, I saw a FB post of a traveller visiting our shores saying with derision that Australians (in Victoria) got a day off for the AFL Grand Final Parade and the Melbourne Cup but disgracefully did nothing for Remembrance Day. I can see to outsiders this would look bad. In our defence, we celebrate ANZAC Day with a day off, and I believe that we probably celebrate more in the respectful spirit of Remembrance with the minute's silence on the 11th of November than if we took a whole day off (because we all know that would turn into a party and we'd probably not notice the 11th hour at all.)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Writing my story

I'm not in a very good place to be writing my story at the moment. In fact I rarely get to write. I'm way behind on reviews, my blog posts uninspired, and the overwhelming crap of life is bringing me down. I seem to be using all my energy to bolster others, but lacking the cheer squad that I desperately need to regroup*. (As an interesting aside, I went to a parenting course, and at the start of the session, they said 'Parenting is hard. Have a think about who your support person is. Think about who you can call tomorrow and vent about what you need to download'. Quite possibly the most valuable thing they taught us.)

So, I will write in clichés, for that's the story I feel I'm writing at the moment.

Don't get caught in the chapter you're currently stuck in. If you don't like it, edit. Remove people, add action, whatever you need to do to make an improvement.

Don't make it repetitive. You can't live it, you can't write it. No matter what, find one small thing for you.

If you really have no words, add a picture.

Know that in the end, there's a happily ever after, even if that means you need to bin this story and start a new one.

For me, I need to make some time to write. The life I'm trying to create, the career and income, requires the written word, and some creativity. So to write my story, I need to ACTUALLY write a story.

"Rejected pieces aren’t failure; unwritten pieces are." Greg Daugherty

Linking with #ConvoCoffee and #OpenSlather

*I reread that and it's not meant to sound as the words imply. I've actually had some amazing support come from surprising corners of my world, and my regular good friends never fail. I just meant I seem to sink under the weight of a moment and there's no one there at the right time.




First of the Month Fiction - Nov

That went incredibly fast. I'm not organised, which seems to be my perpetual state at the moment.

My offering is a brief 30 words:

He was a man of few words, even less demonstration of affection. However, every morning he'd present her with a carefully made coffee. That gesture spoke volumes. Sometimes that's enough.

Newcomers, add your story in the comments and link your blog if you have one.
Stories must be 100 words exactly or less than 30 words.

Until next month!!

Linking with #FYBF , #WeekendRewind and the #UltimateRabbitHole


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Stuck on the sidelines.

It seems very unfair, that when you get to an age that your friends are kind and you have the confidence to stand up for yourself and defend how you want to be treated, that you have to watch the little people you love above all else, be hurt by the jerks of youth.

I don't blame the other kids, they can't be friends with everyone, unfortunately kids can be such cruel beings, sometimes without even trying. It's just one of those things. Made more obvious by the carelessness of youth. It's not malicious, just thoughtless. Sometimes you must watch as the other kids all paddle off in the canoe, and just wave from the shore then find someone else.

It is, however, heartbreaking for the mother when you can't actually do anything to change it. You can make a few suggestions but it's the fact I can do nothing to take their pain away that hurts me the most. I want so much to fix it, but I can't.

I guess ultimately, I know that they'll end up fine. It's just watching the bumpy ride to get to that happy, confident adult that I hate.

Sometimes it's so very hard to be a spectator.


Lining with #MummyMondays

Monday, 19 October 2015

Little Prince goes to the beach




We were lucky enough to snag a night away at this fabulous beach house - and the Little Prince came too. Alas my camera was eaten by the surf, and I'm now madly ebaying to buy a replacement (as the excess on insurance is more or less the same price as a replacement...). I did get to see two whales breaching, which was AMAZING, but the camera was already dead - and sometimes you just have to witness life with your bare eyes. Anyway, salvaged from the chip, here's what the little explorer saw....








What I learnt this week from the internet....(Race and Furniture)

This is a new series of posts, the reverse of Riddle me this, where I actually give you the answers, instead of asking you for them:

1. I was reading an article on cultural appropriation, and they were talking about feathery headdresses, and American Indians (they didn't have Native in the front, which I thought was the correct name) but later in the article, they were referring to bindi's and Indian Americans. It stopped me in my tracks as I'd never thought about, or heard this term. Obviously, yes, if you think about it, it stands to reason. Italian American, Chinese American, African American and so on...I'd just never heard it.

2. I purchased a new footstool and asked my son to move the 'footstool type thing'. He then asked why I paused. I'd paused because I grew up knowing this as a 'poof' and I figured it was called something else these days....but NO. It is still a Pouf (or Pouffe) and was NEVER a poof as our Australian drawl led me to believe. However, in Australia it due to our dangerously mistaken politically incorrect accent on this word, you may care to use Hassock or Tuffet (I got to 107 before I learnt what I tuffet was - I thought it was some sort of tiny grassy knoll you could sit on). So Footstool is the umbrella term that all of the above and ottomans fall under. Ottomans have the defining feature of storage inside.

3. Backpfeifengengesicht is a German word which means a 'a face in need of a slap'

What did you learn this week?

Linking with #OpenSlather

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Little Prince loves Sydney

A long weekend for the Little Prince....










"What matters most are the simple pleasures so abundant that we can all enjoy them...Happiness doesn't lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince       




Linking with #OpenSlather

Monday, 12 October 2015

Universal language

While on our holiday, the wee girl made a friend at the pool. They started to play a game together. He was a Chinese boy, visiting from China. She learns Mandarin at school, but only a year's worth so far. The game involved her counting to him in Chinese, he counted back in English and then hand signals did the rest of the game planning.

One of my favourite things when travelling, is watching the kids play with other kids who don't share the same language. It's amazing what games can be organised when the participants are prepared to make themselves understood through action rather than words. It's a shame we become less resourceful with age...

Little kids don't seem to be restricted by the idea that they don't speak a common language. Adults, on the other hand, even with a little of the language, are often self conscious about their ability to speak it,  and so we shut ourselves off from interacting with others, and maybe miss out on seeing the world from a different perspective.

What makes us suddenly cut ourselves off from people, purely because we decide it's too hard to communicate?

When I was 23, I was on a small plane with only Japanese passengers and a French pilot. After we'd landed, the pilot came in and told me that the transfer was late, but it was coming (we had landed at a very small provincial airport). I then had to charade to the Japanese that it was all okay, and we would be late. At the tiny resort, all the Japanese would smile hello, and on tours out to the sites, they'd sit with me, even though we couldn't talk (but we could point things out to each other). A few days later, one of the staff came and said to me "Why do they all think you work here? They want to give you a tip". It's a fond memory for me, and a reminder that we don't need to limit ourselves.

I wonder if we saw ourselves as more universal and less 'us & them' if we'd have a more peaceful planet?  It certainly couldn't hurt.

Linking with #MummyMondays

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Smell the roses




Today I was down in the dumps, for no reason in particular,  just a melancholy mood. So when I spied a beautiful bunch of long stemmed roses at the IGA's bargain price of $10, I decided I'd spoil myself. They were so pretty, that my mood lifted almost immediately - the idea of bringing them to the new flat, that is currently looming as a very tiny, lonely space that I'm dreading being in most of the time, made me feel better. I could picture them cheering me up on the bedside table, and somehow transforming my attitude towards the place with their presence.







The best part? They smell. That fragrant, sweet rose perfume. I've been lamenting lately that shop flowers rarely smell anymore. The scent no longer pervades the room like it used to. I keep smelling them like a drug, each inhale inducing a smile. And like Proust's Madeleine*, the smell brings memories of happiness, and transforms my mood. Sometimes, it really is as simple as that.

"Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth."
Dianne Ackerman A Natural History of the Senses

Linking with #FYBF and #WeekendRewind

(It needs to be said, I'm not really a rose girl - my favourite flowers are jonquils, and in their short season, when they drop to $5, I buy them each week, and have them in the kitchen where I get the most out of their strong fragrance. Rest of the year, I don't buy flowers. Until today.)

(*It also needs to be said, if you haven't read Swann's Way, it's more accessible than you would think, and actually very amusing.)