Do Fish Dream ?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Perfect Sister

Many of you may share my image of the "perfect sister". She understands you intuitively because she had the same parents and shared your childhood. She laughed and cried with you through all your early adventures: family outings and holidays, summers at the beach, shopping expeditions, getting through school, experiments with haircuts and makeup, surviving first loves and losses.

She accepts and supports you even when she would choose a different path. Although you started out as big or the little sister, you evolved into equal friends. She never complains that your parents gave you more and that's why your life turned out better. She is always there for you in moments of crisis, knowing what you need without being told.

She can listen to you without offering advice when you just want a sympathetic ear. She was your ally in childhood who helped you deal with your parents, and later, she was your partner in coping with their illnesses. She gives you what no one else in the world can give you – a lasting connection to your childhood and family. Your sister shares your memories of all the important people and events in your life even after everyone else is gone. She's the one person you have for your entire life.

Some women are actually blessed with that perfect sister, and they can't imagine life without her. But for me, the reality doesn't live up to the ideal. I don't have anything in common with my adult sisters. In fact, as sad and harsh as this may seem, I would pick neither for a friend. I'm not sure why, but we keep experiencing upsetting conflicts and disappointments. I guess I struggle with why my sister relationships don't match my expectations or the "cultural ideal" - but in reality I know that it is my expectations that are the problem.

For some reason, I keep expecting that my sisters and I will have the kind of relationship that would do Pollyanna proud - the kind of relationship that I suggested above. But the reality is that whilst my two younger sisters are very close, I am the odd one out. They phone each other and visit each other regularly and have a close relationship. And this makes me jealous. It makes me sad. I feel excluded. Now, you would think that at my age (44 next month), I would be well and truly over this kind of nonsense, but it hurts ... it really hurts. I understand that I have taken a completely different life path to them both, and I have fundamentally different life philosophies, ideals, values and beliefs. So, yes that sets us apart. As does the fact that geography separates me from them - they live in the same state, whereas I live in a different part of the country and have done so for most of the 27 years since I left home.

But, for some reason instead of accepting that those differences set us apart and accepting that we will never have the close relationship that I crave, I have booked a ticket and a hire car and will be travelling to visit with them next weekend. No doubt there will be "issues" - snide remarks, sideways looks, strongly voiced opinions on my parenting and career choices, whispered conversations just out of earshot - and I will end up in tears and wonder why I keep putting myself in this situation time after time, expecting different results.

I know I need to accept that which I cannot change - and I can in a lot of other areas in my life - but I'm really struggling with this one.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Be A Voice for Tibet

China’s leaders are determined to use the Beijing Olympics to build international esteem. Six months out from the opening ceremony they are facing the prospect of widespread condemnation over their human rights and environmental record. But there is still time for China to save itself the embarrassment. Constructive steps towards the resolution of the Tibet issue would be a good start.

In Australia, with a recent change in government and the Dalai Lama on his way to Sydney in June, there are new opportunities for us to play a role in reinvigorating the China-Tibet dialogue.

A few people have questioned why I am so passionate about this situation; here are a few facts that I hope speak for themselves:

A Brutal Occupation:

For centuries Tibet, a high altitude plateau between China and India, remained remote from the rest of the world with a widely dispersed population of nomads, farmers, monks and traders. Tibet had its own national flag, its own currency, a distinct culture and religion, and controlled its own affairs. In 1949, following the foundation of the Chinese Communist state, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet and soon overpowered its poorly equipped army and guerrilla resistance.

China’s actions in Tibet over the past 50 years have created a climate of fear that still continues today - torture and imprisonment for peaceful protest, and economic plans that discriminate against Tibetans, threatening their unique identity. The PLA maintains a strong presence in Tibet and China’s military control is expected to increase with the 2006 opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

Human Rights Abuses:

Human rights conditions in Tibet remain dismal. The Chinese government continues to violate the basic human rights of Tibetans as provided by both the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s own constitution. These include the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

Despite China’s assurance to the International Olympic Committee that the awarding of the Olympics to Beijing would bring about improvements in human rights, there is now robust evidence that the human rights situation in Tibet is deteriorating. In 2007, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported a three-fold increase in arbitrary arrests and detention since 2006.

Religious Persecution:

Tibetan Buddhism has been fundamental to Tibetan culture for over one thousand years, shaping the very fabric of traditional Tibetan society. It is implicated in everything from environmental management and education to social cohesion and national identity.

Systematic repression of Tibetan culture along with forced “patriotic re-education” continues to take a heavy toll on the people and environment of Tibet. Despite a growth in international support for the Dalai Lama and Tibet, the Chinese government has intensified it’s attacks on him. Tibetans including, high-ranking Lamas, are commonly forced to publicly denounce the Dalai Lama.

Many Tibetans wanted to celebrate the awarding of the US Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama in October 2007. However, even simple cultural gestures, such as the burning of incense and whitewashing of monastery walls, were swiftly halted and prohibited by local police. The Drepung Monastery in Lhasa was surrounded by armed troops and road blocks set up to prevent news of events from spreading. Under Chinese rule, the education made available in Tibet actively suppresses Tibetan religious and linguistic identity.

According to a 2008 report, the Chinese authorities in Tibet are making life difficult for Tibetans who are not fluent in Mandarin by passing laws to minimise teaching of Tibetan in schools and by replacing Tibetan language with Chinese language in many spheres of public life. As a result, many Tibetans send their children on the dangerous journey across the Himalayas to study at Tibetan schools in India.

Environmental Concerns:

With an average elevation of 14,000 feet, the Tibetan Plateau is the highest and largest mountain plateau on earth. Towering above the vast Eurasian landmass, Tibet is the source of major rivers feeding India, China, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia. Exploitative and unsustainable development policies, coupled with escalating impacts from climate change, are exacting an alarming toll on this fragile and environmentally strategic region.

Under Chinese rule, traditional nomadic pastoralism has been replaced by intensive industrial agriculture unsuited to the arid conditions of the Tibetan Plateau. Over-grazing, soil erosion and the steady drying-out of the plateau due to climate change are turning the vast rangelands of Tibet to desert. These trends are destroying Tibet’s traditional rural economy and reducing the productivity of one of the world’s most important rangelands.

With this once remote and inaccessible region now linked to China’s rail network, extraction of copper, gold, iron, chromite and other minerals required to keep China’s burgeoning economy afloat is accelerating, bringing with it a myriad of new environmental challenges. New large-scale infrastructure projects and a ten-fold increase in visitor numbers over the last decade are placing further strains on Tibet’s environment and culture.

Economic & Social Development:

While China’s central government has spent billions of Yuan on new infrastructure in Tibet, urban-centric investment strategies, focussed on integrating Tibet into the Chinese economy, have in many instances reduced the wellbeing and prospects of Tibetans.

Coercive displacement of nomadic communities from areas designated for industrial agriculture is driving more and more Tibetans to the cities. Unable to speak Mandarin and lacking familiarity with Chinese work culture, they are unable to gain employment in new growth industries such as tourism.

With the completion of the Beijing-Lhasa railway, a new wave of skilled economic migrants, lured by high wages, is further reducing employment prospects for Tibetans. Education initiatives for “closing the gap” between Tibetans and Han Chinese are grossly insufficient. Official figures up to 2005 do not show any improvement in education levels, with 45% of Tibetans still illiterate and only 11.5%having the benefit of secondary education. These combined trends have entrenched a pattern of “ethnically exclusionary growth” in Tibet, resulting in by far the widest rich-poor divide of anywhere in China. While there are many winners among foreign investors and Han Chinese, Tibetans are being progressively marginalised.

Quite simply, there has never been a more important time to be campaigning for Tibet.

China's Perfect Zero

Click here to view an animated short film revealing why China needs more than great athletes to win gold: China's Perfect Zero

Friday, April 18, 2008

Intenational Council of Manlaws presents.....

At the risk of offending the entire sisterhood out there :), I would like to present The International Council of Manlaws 30 Rules for Blokes......if you don't at least smile at a few of these, your sense of humour chip is seriously AWOL !

The International Council of Manlaws, Ltd.

1. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.

2. It is OK for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:

(a) When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
(b) The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her Blouse.
(c) After wrecking your boss's car.
(d) When she is using her teeth.

3. Any Man who brings a camera to a buck's night may be legally killed and eaten by his buddies.

4. Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.

5. If you've known a bloke for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever unless you actually marry her.

6. Moaning about the brand of free beer in a mate's fridge is forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.

7. No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man.

8. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.

9. When stumbling upon other blokes watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.

10. You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.

11. It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach ... And it's delivered by a topless model and only when it's free.

12. Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.

13. Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.

14. Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.

15. If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.

16. Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.

17. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.

18. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.

19. If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.

20. Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a mate of yours, except if she's withholding sex pending your response.

21. Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting weights:

A) Yeah, Baby, Push it!
B) C'mon, give me one more! Harder!
C) Another set and we can hit the showers!

22. Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing (i.e ., both urinating, both waiting in line, etc.). For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.

23. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.

24. The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend" have carnal, drunken monkey sex, the fact that you're feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other again before the discussion occurs about what a big mistake it was.

25. It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for her to drive yours.

26. Thou shalt not buy a car in the colours of brown, pink, lime green, orange or sky blue.

27. The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox. End of story.

28. There is no reason for blokes to watch Ice Skating or Men's Gymnastics. Ever.

29. We've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the definition of each is listed below:

"GUTS" is arriving home late after a night out with The guys, being assaulted by your wife with a broom, And having the guts to say, "are you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"

"BALLS" is coming home late after a night out with the guys smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the arse and having the balls to say, "You're next!"

We hope this clears up any confusion,

The International Council of Manlaws, Ltd

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Amazingly Simple Home Remedies

Sometimes kids you have just have to smile despite yourself :)

1. If you are choking on an ice cube, simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat. Presto !! The blockage will instantly remove itself.

2. Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.

3. Avoid arguments with the females about lifting the toilet seat - use the sink.

4. For high blood pressure sufferers, simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure on your veins. Remember to use a timer.

5. A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. Then you'll be afraid to cough.

7. You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use the duct tape.

8. Remember - everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

9. If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Beijing Olympics ... A Catalyst for Real Change or a just another major Sporting Event ?

Although given my current work situation, I am not as active as I would like to be, I am a member of the Australian Tibet Council (ATC) The ATC works to promote the human rights and democratic freedoms of the Tibetan people. ATC is an independent, non-profit Australian organisation funded solely by members and supporters.

ATC undertakes a range of campaigns and advocacy work including promoting support for negotiations between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government to reach a just resolution to the Tibet situation; promotion of religious and cultural freedom and human rights, particularly in the case of Tibetan political prisoners; and the protection of the Tibetan environment and the prevention of the inappropriate exploitation of Tibetan resources.

The Chinese government continues to violate the basic human rights of Tibetans as provided by both the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s own constitution. These include the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

Despite China’s assurance to the International Olympic Committee that the awarding of the Olympics to Beijing would bring about improvements in human rights, there is now robust evidence that the human rights situation in Tibet is deteriorating. In 2007, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported a three-fold increase in arbitrary arrests and detention since 2006.

In September 2006, Western mountaineers witnessed an unprovoked attack by Chinese border patrols on a group of 75 unarmed Tibetans fleeing Tibet for Nepal which resulted in the death of 17 year old nun Kelsang Namtso. In late 2007, Runggye Adak, a 52-year-old nomad, was sentenced to eight years in prison for simply calling publicly for the return of the Dalai Lama during the popular Lithang horse festival in Eastern Tibet.

China promised increased media freedoms ahead of the Beijing Olympics. However, major media watchdogs, including Reporters Without Borders and the World Association of Newspapers, have reported increased restrictions on foreign media, intimidation of journalists and heightened internet censorship.

I don't want to undermine the Olympic Games, nor does the ATC, but given the spotlight of the world media is currently on China, there has never been a better time for the rest of the free world to put pressure on the Chinese government to end their human rights abuses. If you are interested, and share our concerns, please click on this link and make your voice heard by signing the petition - make these Olympic Games more than about sport; make it a catalyst for change.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pay It Forward

I've taken this straight from the Blog of the Divine Ms MG; it sounded like so much fun I decided I wanted to play too. The rules of this fabulous game are set out below:

The rule for Pay It Forward -The first three people to join the challenge on my blog will receive a gift handmade by me. I will have 30 days to make and send your gift. You must then do a post on your blog inviting 3 people to join your Pay It Forward and receive a handmade gift from you. Sounds easy enough right. The first three people who leave a comment saying they want to join will receive something made by me.

Now folks, don't get toooo excited - I'm not one for 'making things', so you can expect the unexpected :) But, the first three people to leave a comment here will receive something personal that I have "made" myself (and no Tex, you can't play and get dinner made for you tonight - family are specifically precluded from entry :)

Okay people, get on board ... I will happily post the items overseas .... this is going to be fun.

Friday, April 4, 2008

It's Not Fashionable but.....

....I am absolutely passionate about my AFL footy. I have followed the Essendon Bombers AFL Football Team for 40 years and there is nothing (ok, very little) more I love than sitting in the stands of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) watching my Bombers beating an opposition team (especially if that team happens to be Collingwood, which incidentally is Tex's team !) or if I can't be there to watch the action live, I will sit in front of the TV and watch the game. While I would prefer to watch my team, it doesn't even have to be them - I will sit and watch any AFL teams play (although I must admit I do struggle to watch interstate teams ie. those not from my home state of Victoria) !

Boys, if you are not an Aussie Rules fan, get on board ! It is a game of consummate skill, characterised by athleticism and high marking:

....and a bit of biff:

Girls, even if you cannot stand sport, there is something here for you too:

Bomber Boys in surf:

and the gorgeous Matty Lloyd:

I guess my fanaticism was borne out of being the eldest of three daughters of a sports-mad father who did not have any sons. So, I became the tom-boy of the family, getting footballs, cricket sets and blundstone boots while my sisters got barbie dolls. I'm much more feminine these days, but still love my footy in the Winter and cricket in the summer.

Fortunately, I live in a home with other footy fanatics - Tex loves his Magpies and my son plays AFL and follows his Sydney Swans with equal fervour :)

I bloody love footy season !!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Quick Word On....."The Talk"

Every child at some point should be made to endure "The Talk": those few carefully chosen sentences we use to explain to our offspring where they came from and what brand of absurdity is happening to their developing bodies. Modern parenting commentators like to suggest that The Talk, done carefully and honestly, can in fact prove a rewarding experience for parent and child. This is so not true. The Talk will go badly for you, just as it did for countless thousands before you.

You will not bond with your child, nor will you impart anything greater than mutual embarrassment and disgust. Not only will you be forced to describe an activity that, minus dimmed lighting and a 'come hither' expression, must sound an awful lot like a fairly misguided game of "Twister"; you will also leave your children with little doubt that you engaged in this bizarre ritual on at least one occasion in the past.

Far preferable to The Talk, is the "Here, Read This" method of sexual education, in which a sufficiently ambiguous cartoon picture is worth a thousand words. This approach lets just enough information fall through the cracks so that no teenager could possibly approach sex with any sense of confidence or haste.

This was certainly the rationale favoured by my parents' generation. Not wanting to stumble over terms that sound like obscure casserole ingredients, mums like mine instead handed over Where Did I Come From ?and instructed us to go forth and read.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. Although I did initially fear it was my parents' way of telling me I was adopted, I quickly came to realise that this was in fact the evidence I needed to prove that they had once liked each other.

Whatever your chosen medium, whatever your timing and whichever pathetic excuse you choose to introduce this unnaturally earnest trans-generational conversation to your offspring, simply remember that it pays to approach The Talk much like The Act itself: minimal build-up, ambiguous penetration, zero follow-up and fleeting satisfaction. Any questions ??

(image from: thecreatorspalette)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Minority Rule - Yeah !

Okay, this is going to be a little melodramatic, a teeensy bit tongue in cheek, and a heck of a lot emotive. But seriously kids, I'm fed up....sick and freaking tired of those who prize rules and legislation above all else and who place limits on others and refuse to give them a voice. I'm angry that those people hide behind empty meaningless words which they do not understand - like morals, social standards, ethics, social behaviour and political correctness. Those same people who have the gall to intimidate others in the name of rank or social structure, or 'righteousness' - a timeless word that belongs to everyone. It's too bad it does not unite with 'tolerance' and dance with 'individuality' and blend with 'acceptability' and stay away from 'justice' - an obscure word that has legitimacy to the one who applies it, and no useful function to the one to whom it is being applied.

The majority-rule society has produced heartache and intolerance; when all throughout this time, members of the minority have made an impact. For better or for worse, it is the daring few who have shaped this so called majority-rule society. Inventors, pioneers, radicals and visionaries have ventured from the lonely and costly camp of 'minority' only to be obstructed by majority-rule concepts that tolerate inferiority, hinder progress, harbour injustice, and pose limits within the status quo.

What is sad and insulting is that the majority basks in benefits and riches that were originally afforded by individuals who sacrificed their sanity, their freedom and their life. I am fed up with and frustrated by the inefficiency, inaccuracy, inconsistency and untruth I witness every day within bureaucracies.

I acknowledge that nothing is ever final, that possibilities are endless, that life is never simple, that a rolling stone does gather moss, that a watched kettle does boil and that those who cry last, cry the most. And most of all, I know I have the potential to stretch boundaries; the creativity to break new ground; the vision to shape new futures; the determination to realise my dreams; and the courage to break out of this majority rule typecast. And, damned if I'm not going to try - even if it means I'll have to infuriate the establishment along the way .... Let's kick some majority arse fellow minority-rulers :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Days

Nah, still got nuthin'. I'm hoping the freakin' Easter Bunny will bring back my missing mojo - in the meantime Bloggers, have yourselves a fab weekend :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Easter Punters

I'm back from my week away, but I seem to have lost my blogging mojo.....I've got nuthin'. But, just wanted to say "Happy Easter" to everyone anyway :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Job By Any Other Name

"I have been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves"

Bruce Grocott (1940- ), The London Observer, 1988

It was a rude awakening indeed to discover that the primary source of my parent's misery (work) was the same life goal they wanted for me !! Could all the learning and angst and preparation of childhood be for this ? A job ? (Why yes, my child, it is. And you'd better just start thinking about what you're going to be when you grow up. After all, it's pre-school next year and you don't want to be the only child there without a vocational calling.) But, onto that treadmill I hopped some 27 years ago, and like a hamster on a wheel, it's been a continuous cycle ever since.....

So, assuming the sun comes up tomorrow, it's off to work I go....for a week of 14 hour days at an interstate location - and all without access to computers from which to Blog. So, I wish all my Blog Mates a week filled with (virtual) sunshine and happy times. I will look forward to checking in next weekend :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Don't Worry, What's Happy ?

My friend Sarah over on A Whole Lotta Nothin' recently wrote a damn fine post on Happiness and it got me thinking. There is so much emphasis on the quest to "be happy". But keep pushing people to better themselves and you'll only serve to remind them how crap they are. Push the bar higher, we'll only feel lower to the ground. So, what's so wrong with us anyway ? Is everyone else really so much happier and more successful than we are ? Are we truly just one of the unlucky ones ? Or does it simply look that way from the perennially slow check out lane ?

What do we even know about happy and successful ? Is that pleasurable moment boys when you knock the top off your sixth beer during Friday Night Footy really happiness ? Or does it just smell like it is ? Is success something that can be measured by money or status ? Then where does that leave Fred Hollows ? Anyone who's helped save humanity without sending them an invoice ?

The point is, if we knew what happy and successful really were, we wouldn’t be constantly chasing them, dodging them, meditating on them, studying them, worskshopping them and generally suspecting that everyone bar us has them. We'd have pinned them down, toasted the spoils and organised a testimonial dinner by now. Game over.

But of course, the real appeal of happy and successful is their sheer elusiveness. They're always but one more holiday, two Lotto wins, and three self-help books away. All we do know about happy and successful is that we're supposed to be chasing them. For that is what we've always been told - by our parents, our teachers, our mentors, magazines and movies - since Day One. Try harder kids ! Study longer, reach further, jump higher ! Come one, happy and successful can't be too far away now. You won't get them standing around pulling your sisters hair, you great dork.

We think we are missing out on something. But, missing out on what ? When was the last time someone who wasn't on smack came up to you with an idiotic grin on their face and said, "I'm blissfully happy and wildly successful ! I've got everything I ever wanted and more ?" Or even, "You know, I'm frequently satisfied with various aspects of life and I'm not presently in jail. Could it be that I'm happy and successful?".

I’m guessing, not recently. In reality, none of us knows what happy and successful really are or precisely where our hopes and our realisations might have already intersected. All we do know is what we've been led to believe so far, which is that giving us this existentialist struggle for ideals that are by definition always out of reach, equates to settling. This simply sets us up for a prolonged series of disappointments that we come to think of as 'life' - you know, it wasn't meant to be easy !!

What if an alternative perspective enabled you to keep a better focus on the things that matter, the things that don't, and the things that probably do, but are really too much bloody hassle ? What if there was a fourth window on "Play School" that made the ordinary among us look brave and strong and the high-flying supermen and superwomen look reckless and just plain silly ?

Here's a final thought punters.... what if okay was really okay ?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I've Often Wondered.....

....exactly what it is that Meatloaf won't do for love ??? I mean, he'll do anything for love, but he won't do ....."that" !

So, punters ... any clues as to what "that" is ??

I'll be awarding a prize for the best entry (ok, no I won't....but I thought that might entice people to respond:) How lame...)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Parenthood - It's Not All Beer and Skittles

But, parenting does come with its bonuses. For a start, there is that amazing period of unconditional love that immediately precedes a baby's discovery that nipples come in plastic varieties too. There's the day that your child wins his or her first grand final in their chosen team sport - on of the best big-heart moments you'll ever feel. And, there's the day they painstakingly select for you the best nursing home available for the price.

But, it's not all beer and skittles folks. Without nobbling the Federal Government's earnest push that having several children is something other than a long and tedious journey of mundane and thankless self-sacrifice that no amount of cheap lavender body lotion on Mother's Day could ever be worth, it's only right that I set you punters straight. In answer to a recent weekend newspaper article trumpeting the "Eight Surprising Ways That Kids Make You Healthy", here is the mediocre low-down"

You will laugh more: Actually, this is quite true. Parenthood often does make you laugh uproariously and often. Unfortunately, it's usually an inopportune moments, like in the middle of a job interview when the prospective employer mentions that your position entails a lot of overtime and would that be a problem for you ? NO, of course not. I mean ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha, HA, HAAA, HAAAAAAA !!!

You'll get the best workout: Also true to a degree. Certainly, in between chasing your arse, running out of excuses, skipping over the rude bits in a video, springing for other people's kids at McDonald's and jumping to conclusions (My lipstick is missing: I bet the lounge room is sporting a new mural), you could become one of the most active people you know.

Your love will grow stronger: Naturally. In the absence of sex, one tends to focus on the finer points of love, like waving to each other across the dinner table and buying milk and bread on the way home without prompting.

Kids enrich your life: The subtext here is that kids introduce honesty, perspective and fun into a previously shallow life. Hmmm, sleeping in uninterrupted, lazy mornings in bed, going out til all hours in the morning, spontaneously deciding to take a trip down the coast, eating toast for dinner instead of cooking vegetables - yep, sounds heavenly ... um, I mean shallow...

Kids give your purpose: Whether that comes before or after they give you headlice, I can't be sure, but no doubt it's worth waiting for.

Mothers have a decreased risk of breast cancer: Apparently, if a woman has a child between the ages of twenty and thirty, her risk of breast cancer is halved. Could this be because her breasts are only half as big after weaning ?

You will eat better: Well, yes. Through the responsibility of parenting, you will learn to cook more vegetables. You will also learn to dispose of them quite efficiently at the end of each mealtime, and you will learn that kids, like adults, love a good pizza.

Kids make you super-cool: How this translates to being happier and healthier I'm not sure, but I have to admit that only through having a child did I learn that Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson are actually three different people, and that fashion wise, ground-in dirt is the new black. All of which should prove very handy one day when I least expect it.

(Of course folks, this has just been a bit of fun in response to the nonsense of the article. It annoys me when people suggest that being a parent is all sunshine and light. It has been at once, the easiest and the most difficult thing I have ever done. My life has been, and continues to be, full of unexpected delights because I am a mum to Zach. Yes there have been lots of difficult times but there has never, ever been a time that I questioned my decision to become a parent of one. Of all the things I have ever done in my life, and no doubt of all the things still do do, raising my son is my single most important acheivment and infinitely the most rewarding - I love you Zach) xx

Sunday, March 2, 2008

C'mon People - Lighten Up !

I've noticed a few of my Blog mates have been feeling a bit pissy, a bit down, a bit cranky or just in a bit of a funk of late. As for me, I'm feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed in my new job, and finding not all people are playing nice in the sand-pit with me. So, in a feeble attempt to lighten things up a bit, I suggest we all download one of these mood badges every day for the next week, and substitute it for our employee name tags - and proudly proclaim what we've been dying to say for ages .... Go on, I double dare ya - let's mess with their heads :)

(I wish I could credit someone with these, but they were sent to me by a colleague - they've been around forever, so many of you will have already seen them - but they are still worth at least a smile :)

There's a few special ones for my Blog Girlfriends....

But I've added a few generic ones that the boys can use too .....

And just because I think clowns are evil (especially since reading and watching Stephen King's "IT"), I'll throw in a couple more ....

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Love, Compassion, Happiness

"Love, compassion, and concern for others are real sources of happiness. With these in abundance, you will not be disturbed by even the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you nurse hatred, however, you will not be happy even in the lap of luxury. Thus, if we really want happiness, we must widen the sphere of love"

The Dalia Lama (I promise, this is My Last Post from him :)

Kids Books - 2008 Style

"Once upon a time, there was a little pony called Neddy who couldn't run very fast, so his owner sent him to the factory where he was minced up and made into glue. The End"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tex Tagged Me - Book Meme !

Tex (aka Mr-I-Hate-Memes)tagged me to do a freaking Meme here goes:

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book with more than 123 pages.
2. Go to page 123 in the book.
3. Find the first 5 sentences.
4. Post the NEXT 3 sentences.
5. Tag 5 people.

Taken from the book, "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, Chapter 10, "Don't Be A Pussy":

If you do decide to partake in a vice item after thirty days, it cannot be out of weakness or for a lack of preparation. You should never be somewhere and just say, "Fuck It". It should be a calculated, scheduled, premeditated choice".

Not everyone enjoys Meme's as much as Tex, so I won't comply with instruction #5 :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The First Day

I've recently started a new job - same company, different site, completely different focus. And, frankly, I'm amazed that anyone ever starts a job at all when you consider the horror of The First Day - those inexplicably cruel first 8 hours of a new job. The federal government would do well to scratch beneath the surface of unemployment and find that all those 'lazy good-for-nothings' are actually highly motivated, educated people rendered foetal by the prospect of The First Day at a new workplace.

The First Day collects every awkward and unpleasant emotion that one is capable of experiencing without wetting themselves, wraps them in a half-price suit, and presents the finished ensemble to a band of strange faces whose collective expression says plainly, "We were hoping for the pretty chick who was interviewed on Wednesday or the funny guy who we saw on Friday".

The First Day leaves for dead the discomfort of one's first day of school because certain types of behaviour have become socially unacceptable between the two events. It's no longer cool to cry uncontrollably, to run back to the car or to bury oneself under pillows in the reading corner. There's no kind hearted teacher around (don't be taken in by the welcoming grin of the HR manager) to blow your nose or to sit beside you when no-one wants to have lunch with you.

And adults can be even more cruel than school kids. Once they've formed their little cliques within an office, you can circle around the periphery until your pen spontaneously combusts - no one gives a fuck.

Why don't they care ? Because they're First Day graduates ! They've done the deed, felt the fear, scorched the demons and moved up in the line. They're not New Guy anymore, because YOU are. Now it's your sorry turn to find the toilet all by yourself.

Sure, you could always ask someone for a little early guidance and direction, but there lies a dangerous path. What if you asked The Wrong Person ? For the uninitiated, The Wrong Person within a workplace is the one who will unwittingly tar you with the brush of uncoolness. This person is broadly disliked and avoided, and usually with some justification. They may be a work-shirker, a buck-passer, an arse-kisser, or maybe they simply smell. Whatever the case, they're bad news and will drag you to the bottom of the heap faster than you can say internal transfer.

There is, of course, a beautifully mediocre solution to avoiding The First Day, and that is to skip it entirely by calling in sick and rocking up on the second day. no-one would accuse you of pulling a sickie so early in the piece; in fact, they'll probably feel compassion that you should have experienced such a shaky start to your new career (memo to self - next time I develop a DVT, make sure it coincides with The First Day). They may even take you under their wings and invite you to weekend barbecues. Many months later, you can humorously reveal over a number of drinks how you deliberately avoided The First Day and went to the movies instead. The Office Legend is born !!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Where There's Smoke .... there's Dumbness

While I'm on health matters, I feel compelled to touch briefly upon the issue of smoking. I'm sorry, but it is one of the dumbest things a person can do. Smoking claims more human lives daily than text-messaging drivers, yet no amount of rotting lung pictures will curb their ways.

The answer, for the sake of the human race, is to sack all the BMW-driving ad people paid to conjure up images of fetid body organs and instead fork out a far more mediocre sum of money to an advertising campaign that embraces the more subtle side of ordinary. Behold a new generation of cigarette-packet wake-up calls:

WARNING: Smoking produces unsightly rectangular bulges in your shirt pockets and trousers.

WARNING: Smoking outside buildings makes you a captive audience for street sellers, religious zealots and bums wanting money (for cigarettes).

WARNING: Smoking seriously limits your first impression prospects with potential bed partners - seriously kids, you are not going to get a root if your breath, clothes and hair smell like a filthy ashtray.

WARNING: Smoking makes you look like an addict. And seriously, that's about as attractive as socks with sandals.

WARNING: Smoking will hinder your career prospects, mainly because your non-smoking workmates don't actually appreciate picking up the slack caused by your frequent twenty-minute disappearing acts. Sometimes they even call you the 'fat lazy bastard downstairs again'.

WARNING: All smokers cough like old men sleeping in bus shelters.

WARNING: Smoking causes you to assume permanent awkward hand poses and finger gestures, with or without cigarettes within smoking distance, turns your fingers yellowy-brown and your nails soon resemble the texture of a gnarly horses hoof.

WARNING: You do smell bad. NO, really, you reek.

WARNING: Smoking makes you the enemy of large blokes called firemen.

WARNING: 19,000 people like you died of a smoking-related disease in this country last year. Oh, but you're different, aren't you ?

WARNING: What are we going to say at your funeral ? That you went before your time ? That your death came as a terrible shock to us all ? HA ! Bring on the "I told you so's" !!!

(Okay, I'm now standing in front of you smokers with a bloody great target on my chest, so feel free to take pot-shots back at me :) (I do a shed-load of things others would no doubt consider very dumb)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm HOT !

Watch out blokes, this will be TMI for you to handle - one strictly for the girls only...After a surgical hysterectomy and oophorectomy 2 years ago as a cancer prophylactic, I was plunged overnight into instant and acute menopause. I suffered intense symptoms within 6 hours of the surgery and was prescribed HRT by the surgeon. Since this time, I have been asymptomatic and apart from the freedom experienced from an absence of menses, I have not noticed any change to my mood or my lifestyle. Well, that was until I developed a DVT a month ago and because it is a high risk factor for blood clots, my specialist stopped my HRT immediately. And, I'll never be able to take it - or any plant estrogen - again. Since going cold turkey, my menopause symptoms have returned with a vengeance and I am struggling to deal with them. I feel old, I feel useless, I feel out of control .... I feel my body has let me down. I'm only 43 and I did not bank on dealing with this stuff at my age.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Insight from the Dalai Lama Pt3: Perspective

"Every day the media reports incidents of terrorism, crime, and aggression. I have never been to a country where tragic stories of death and bloodshed did not fill the newspapers and airwaves.... But the overwhelming majority of the human race does not behave destructively; very few of the five billion people on this planet actually commit acts of violence. Most of us prefer to be as peaceful as possible"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Insight from the Dalai Lama Pt2: Serenity

"If a person's basic state of mind is serene and calm, then it is possible for this inner peace to overwhelm a painful experience. On the other hand, if someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, or any form of emotional distress, then even if he or she happens to be enjoying physical comforts, he will not really be able to experience the happiness that those could bring"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Please - Act Your Age Not Your Shoe Size !

Although my biological age is 43, I frequently forget 'cos in my head I'm still that funky 25year old from yesteryear (WTF ??? Who says yesteryear other than old people ??) Anyway, I get lots of frights when I see myself in the reflections of shop windows because I think, who's that ? Yikes, it's me !! So, as a result, there are those times when I'm out shopping or getting dressed to go out and I have to give pause and consider..."Am I too old to wear this top/those boots/these jeans/that groovy necklace ?" You see kids, I have a seriously morbid fear of being thought of as "Mutton-Dressed-as-Lamb" (or MDAL). Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, the MDAL phenomenon rears its seriously ugly head an older woman tries to get away dressing like she’s in her twenties - or scarily, even younger :)

Fortunately, I have a 15year old son who helps to keep me honest in this regard. No question, Zach likes his mum to look cool, but if I step over the MDAL line in the sand, he let's me know. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I was going to watch him play cricket and was dressed in jeans, boots and a Green Day t-shirt. He looked at me and said, are you going dressed like that ? I said, ummm yes. He said, the jeans look good, but I'm not so sure about the t-shirt mum, no offence..... (even though I was the one who took him to the freakin' Green Day concert :) But, no offence taken, offending t-shirt off, another found that passes the test, and we are out the door. Zach often tells me that I look good and he likes it when his friends tell him he has a groovy mum, and so when he suggests in his tactful, sensitive, diplomatic way that perhaps I've started to MDAL up a storm - I take note and take immediate action.

Perhaps I should hire him out to give advice to those MDAL victims in Sydney ?? 'Cos, over the weekend I was out shopping and a middle-aged woman walked passed me wearing uber-trendy denim jeans, stiletto heels, a breast-hugging, bling-encrusted t-shirt with the word "Princess" emblazoned in rhinestones, and hoop earrings that were large enough to shoot basketballs through. Now, I need to clarify that this woman would have easily been in her late 40s, a time in one's live when you could be viewed as a classy dame, but seriously this woman looked like a pro (and I don't mean as in athlete :) During the evening, I spied yet another similarly-aged woman who was wearing a short pleather (not even real leather - double ugh) skirt and a flimsy top that was barely containing her obviously fake, rock-hard bowling-ball tits. Her hair was so chemically damaged it looked like a haystack and her skin was so tanned by the sun that it looked like the leather from my grandfather's wallet. Although both these women were quite attractive, that's absolutely no excuse for them wearing things that could be found in the Myer Miss Shop clearance rack, Valley Girl or Supre. Girls, PLEASE don’t do this to yourself. It just makes you look so sad and pathetic that you’re holding on to something you had a long time ago. Hey, I can understand a girl's need to remain cool and hip as the years go by, but that doesn't mean you have to look desperate !

Older women can still look hot and sophisticated by wearing clothes that suits her age. There is nothing sexier than a woman who knows how to dress appropriately. Lastly, welcome your more "mature years" with open arms. Some of the classiest people still look sharp despite their age. Learn to work with what you have and don't try to hold on to your youth by dressing like a cast member for the next instalment of "High School Musical."

Monday, February 18, 2008

War Games, circa 1995

The following is the transcript of an actual radio conversation in October 1995 between a U.S. Navy ship and British authorities off the Scottish North coast. The transcript was released by the MoD on the 10/10/95:

BRITISH: Please divert your course 15degrees to the South to avoid collision.

U.S. NAVY: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

BRITISH: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

U.S. NAVY: This is the Captain of U.S. Navy Ship, I say again, divert YOUR course.

BRITISH: Negative, I say again, you will have to divert your course.

U.S. NAVY: This is the Captain of the Aircraft Carrier, USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic Fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15degrees North, that's 15degrees North, or counter measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.


My Goal in Life

My principal Goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am :)