Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paco, Come Home

In a small town in Spain, a man named Jorge had a bitter argument with his young son Paco. The next day Jorge discovered Paco's bed was empty - he had run away from home.

Overcome with remorse, Jorge searched his sould and realised that his sonw as more important to him than anything else. He wanted to start over. Jorge went to a well-known store in the centre of town and posted a large sign that red "Paco, come home. I love you. Meet me here tomorrow morning."

The next morning Jorge went to the store, where he found no less than seven young boys named Paco who had run away from home. They were all answering the call for love, each hoping it was his father inviting him home with open arms.

Alan Cohen

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No More Shopping! That's IT!!

I *may* have bought a skirt on eBay last night (Cooper St, less than $20 including postage), and 3 pairs of shoes ($40 for all 3) this morning.

The skirt was Mr20's fault, he thought it might work. And at the price, how could I not? That was his logic, and I may have gone along with it. As you do.

I have the start of a good collection of basics. Now I can add a piece here and a piece there, as they jump out at me.

The exception to this rule (of course there is an exception) is the Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland palette, and the OPI Alice in Wonderland collection. Alice rules!

Well, actually, the Queen of Hearts rules. Pure evil, wearing a fabulous crown. Phwoar!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drink a cup of concrete, and harden the **** up!

Is the name of a group on Facebook. I find it rather amusing that quite a few of the people I know who have joined, could follow that advice. But that's not what I want to talk about.

Today (January 26th) is Australia Day. Captain James Cook landed at Botany Bay on this day in 1777, and claimed Australia for the British Empire. As you do. Or as they did back then.

This is one of a whole 2 days I believe should be observed public holidays (the other being ANZAC Day). I am a patriotic Aussie, and damn proud of it.

What I am in no way proud of nor impressed by, is the letter I read in today's paper. The author was a lawyer at the Aboriginal Legal Centre (or some such) in our State capital.

I don't have it in front of me (left the paper at work), but the gist was that to celebrate Australia Day is offensive to Indigenous Australians - *hackles rising* because it is the day when Australia was invaded, and the slaughter began. What the writer forgets is that they were NOT the original inhabitants of Terra Australis, they actually travelled across a land bridge from Indonesia, and wiped out the people who were here before them.

And Tasmanian Aboriginals (as I am sure this woman would identify herself) were in decline well before white settlers arrived. Yes, the whalers, convicts and cockies may have helped speed up their inevitable demise, but they didn't cause it.

But, whatever you do, don't let the facts get in the way of putting your name out there.

I am an Australian. I am of Tasmanian Aboriginal descent. I do not find the celebration of Australia Day offensive. What I do find offensive is this woman (or anyone else) - telling the world what I feel. THAT is offensive, in the extreme.

The Aboriginals were slaughtered, and the conditions many live in today are abhorrent. But that is not the fault of anyone living today. Not one of us was drawing breath in 1777, so why are we still harping on about it?

Kevin Rudd said "Sorry". For what? Being of Anglo descent? I didn't want his apology. Kevin Rudd never did a damn thing to me. Well, not in terms of my Aboriginality anyway.

The fact is, we are Australian - our background makes no difference. We are 1 nation, not 2, or 3 or 10.

It's time to grow up, let go of the past, and forge a positive future, working together to make a better world. And, while we're at it, harden the **** up!

Before you decide about your aim in life.........

...... check your ammunition.

Lounge sports

What is it about watching sport on TV that is so exciting?

For a long time, I couldn't answer that question. I would rather be out there playing than watching. As I get older however, I find I prefer life as a spectator. These days, just thinking about playing hurts.

I have watched a bit of tennis this Australian Open. I got home after a 14 hour shift, turned the TV on, and there was tennis. So I 'watched'. All I can tell you is that some bloke called Rafa was playing, and won. I think he won. I seem to recall seeing that in the next day's paper.

Cricket though, oh yes, now THERE is a sport I can enjoy - the Hobart test this year was awesome - I watched that at work with the boys. There was beer, cricket, commentary and debate (ours, we kept the TV volume down). It's no fun to watch by yourself though. Rather like Aussie Rules. I like to watch that, and comment. Especially the finals. The rest, I can take or leave. And the rugby State of Origin, and when we play the All Blacks. I holler, tick off the umpires, ask the players wtf were they doing, and have a wow of a time - all in my own loungeroom. Or at work, much to the amusement of the patrons.

I will never be one of these people who plans their week/day/year around what is on TV. I can't do it. If I miss a match I wanted to see, I am disappointed, but life goes on. I was probably out, thinking how much fun I could have playing, if only I didn't hurt so much.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Whoa baby!

It's time to slow down a bit. Not blog posts (although I have gone a bit mad of late), but shopping.

In the past 2 weeks I have bought (eBay unless otherwise stated):

2 black dresses
1 pair of Diana Ferrari blue flats
1 blue and one beige short sleeve blouse
A grey skirt
Dark green short sleeved shirt

9 camis in 6 colours from Charlotte Russe - this is a US store, with FABULOUS basics at great prices. Even with shipping through a 3rd party, these were cheap. And the quality is wonderful (I shopped there on holiday).

I am also planning to buy a pair of pants. 5 days to go, and they are at 99cents. I was debating a shirt and a blouse. But I decided to give them a miss, the shirt was sky blue, and that is a risky colour for me. The blouse was satin, and shiny stuff tends to look cheap on me.

I also bought a new mobile phone - but that was a real essential after this week - my current phone has no camera, and if ever I needed a camera, it was this week.

So now, I have the start of a nice basic wardrobe. Finally.

And now I MUST stop shopping. Although, excepting the phone, the whole lot comes to less than $120 - including postage.

Lonely Planet v. Devonport Tasmania

We had a wee bit of a storm in a teacup here this week. In a rare, and (to me) very welcome attempt to stir things up, our local paper printed the Lonely Planet's opinion of Devonport on their front page. It wasn't pretty. I laughed til my tummy hurt. Not because it was funny - it isn't. But because it is so accurate, and I could imagine the indignation of the ivory tower dwellers on reading it. I wasn't wrong. What can I say, I have a thing for kicking over apple-carts.....

Lonely Planet said:

Visitors to Devonport, Tassie's third-largest city, are usually coming or going rather than staying. The Spirit of Tasmania Bass Strait ferry arrives from Melbourne every morning, perforing a deft 180-degree pirouette in the Mersey River before sailing off again at night. Locals line the riverbanks to watch, wave and imagine places elsehwere and more interesting.

Actually keeping tourists (and their money) here seems a challenge too large. Devonport remains a sedentary, mildly menacing place; speeding rednecks yell (expletive) at unsuspecting pedestrians, and the McDonald's drive-thru is the place to be on a Saturday night.

This is one of things I love about Lonely Planet - concise reviews. Yes, it is 1 person's opinion. That does not make it any less valid. Not 1 person I have spoken to in the past 3 days has disagreed. Only 1 letter to the Editor has disagreed. The Editor disagrees, but only to a minor extent. Teenagers don't disagree.

The only people up in arms are the politicos and tourism operators. They even went so far as to list 10 things to do here. Most are seasonal, and 3 aren't even IN the city.

Granted, the walk along the foreshore is pretty. But - most days, at certain times, you run the gamut of louts sitting in the carparks, playing their music loudly, swearing and posturing like animals in a zoo. I for one am not getting out of bed at 6 in the morning so that I may walk the Parade in peace.

Same goes for walking through the mall - louts hang about in groups, trying to out-number and out-pose each other.

Fridays and Saturdays after 5, stay away. The inmates run the asylum then, and they are NOT friendly. The reason McD's drive-thru is the place to be is because you don't want to go inside - the security guards get danger money for a shift at Macca's.

This IS a pretty place. But it offers nothing for anyone to do. The nightlife is a non-existent, unless you want to get king-hit - there are no concerts/music except for the Jazz Festival (seasonal), or pub bands, where you get king-hit.

I am hoping that the politicians and tourism operators see this as a chance to improve and change what is (or isn't) in place, but I am not holding my breath. I am watching for a large delivery of sand, that they may bury their heads further.

Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1954) said;

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remember........

True love stories never have endings.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Lesson from Frogs

A group of frogs were travelling through the woods and two of them fell into a dep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good a sdead.

Finally, one of the frogs took heed of what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.

When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

The story teaches two lessons|:

1 - there is power of life and death in the toiongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.

2 - A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path.

The power of words, it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit in difficult times.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bucket Lists and Goals

I must admit, I never really had a Bucket List. I never really had any goals in life either, apart from raising my children to be happy, physically, mentally and emotionally balanced and healthy adults, with a clear sense of right and wrong.

Now, as I approach the big 40 (which is far less scary than the big 30 was), I find myself with goals AND a bucket list. I am not entirely sure how I feel about either of these things.

Actually, I am going to lump them in together. Because essentially, a Bucket List, and a List of Goals are the same thing. They are just wearing different clothes. The List of Goals is the tradie, with dirt under his nails, and his hair all mussed up from grotty jobs he has driven to in his ute. The Bucket List is the sauve, suited and groomed gentleman of the evening, the one who whisks you off in a limo for a romantic evening.

So, my Bucket List is a tradie who scrubs up well. And he drives his ute at night, to whisk me away for a romantic evening down the pub.

And here he is, in all his (rather short, but nonetheless sweet) glory:

Live and work in another country for at least a year
Get my 'perfect' job, a mix of office and field work
Connect with my children as adults
Visit the cities of my dreams - New Orleans/Prague/Dublin/London/Marrakech/Paris
Have a white Christmas (even though I despise snow)
See my Mum married and settled
Watch my grandkids grow up
Enjoy seeing my children as parents

Mum

I have an interesting relationship with my mother. It's - complicated.

We'll start at the beginning.

I was born a girl. Not a good start. Nanna may have forgiven Mum for being who/what she was, had I been a boy to carry on the family name.

I was an accident. There were no plans for children for several years. And I was a sickly baby, born at a time when Mum still had dreams she thought she could achieve.

At the time of my birth, Mum and Dad (and me) were living in a ramshackle house, at Hastings. In 2010, it's a good 90 minutes in a fast car, on good-ish roads, to the nearest doctor/town. Back then, the roads were terrible, so speed wasn't an option. Mum didn't drive, and Dad worked. There were snakes, cockroaches were all over the place (this is where my phobia began), spiders, scorpions and no help for miles if something went wrong.

As the years passed, Mum and I clashed. For as long as I can remember, we had screaming arguments. Usually ending with a smack, and me in tears. Once, when we lived at Raminea, I ran away from home - I hid under the bridge, and talked to the ducks. I was maybe 3 or 4 at the time.

But there were good times - when we lived at Glendevie, we went strawberry picking. I had a calf named Strawberry, a cowgirl outfit, and a scooter. When the bantam rooster took to me, and ripped my legs to pieces, Mum nursed me so tenderly. And she cried non-stop.

She hand coloured, in soft pastel hues, the pictures on my Mickey Mouse Club membership card - which became my most prized possession for many years. She made me the MOST amazing dresses and skirts when I was in primary school - she was/is an incredible seamstress. She made my Grade 10 Leaver's Dinner outfit. I hated it (it wasn't what I wanted) but I wore it with pride, and held my head up, because my mother, who couldn't afford a couple hundred dollars to buy me a dress, sat up nights, to make me one. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't a style that really suited me, but it was made with a lot of love.

Part of my problem with Mum goes back to living in a small town, and being outcasts. The fact that Mum had to take in mending and ironing, and sold hand-knitted items to those who ordered them. I was already sensitive about public opinion and seeing my mother bowing and scraping to these tossers (many of the well-to-do came to Mum) gave me the irrits.

Of course, now I realise she was just doing what she needed to to keep us fed, housed and clothed. Many were the nights she and Dad had bread and dripping for dinner, after we had eaten. Not that we missed out on bread and dripping, far from it!

And then, we moved here. Mum got a life. Dad was working. As the eldest, the responsibility to cook, and keep an eye on my siblings, fell to me. And I hated it. And I blamed Mum. To a degree, I guess I still do. But then again, as the 2nd eldest of 9, she did the same thing. Perpetuating the mistakes of her parents, as it were.

When I fell pregnant with Mr20, I got terribly ill. I was prone to fainting spells, which got worse after he was born. I wasn't able to go to the toilet alone, let alone be left alone with a baby for hours while my husband worked. Mum gave up 6 motnhs of work to sit with me through the day, so The Mister could go to work.

Probably the thing I struggle the most with is the way Mum treated The Mister's children from his first marriage. Until recently, they were treated as unworthy of notice (again, she should know how that made him feel, Nanna did the same to us). Mr20 and Mr14 were the bees knees. Mr24, not so much.

These days, that has changed. Mr24 is her grandson, Mouse is her great-grandson, and the apple of her eye (after Mr20 that is). She loves them, and accepts them. And it makes me very happy. And it would make Dad happy too.

Part of this is due to age and mellowing, part is due to PB (who she will marry in October), and the rest is due to the realisation that they are ALL her family, and the only grandchildren/great grandchildren she will ever see.

These days, Mum and I have both mellowed. I accept that she has her faults, and that a LOT of the things she has said/done down the years I don't agree with. And she accepts that I WILL do what I want, regardless.

I am still the black sheep, I always will be. But Mum and I are now friends. We will not always agree, we certainly won't see eye to eye on everything. But we both accept that the other is going to make their own decision, and offer support when required. Unconditionally. Which for us is a huge step.

Please, don't think from reading this that my mother is a bad person. She isn't. She is a good woman, and a product of her environment. I see that now. I was there, and I saw some of the things that shaped her, even if I didn't understand them at the time. I can accept how that made her what and who she is, and I love and respect her because not only did she endure those things, but she came out the other side.

My mother, as much as my father, shaped who I am. If Dad gave me the foundation, Mum gave me the structure - or what the structure will be. I will go to Uni, get my degree, and a 'good' job. Because I want to, and because it has always been my mother's dream that at least 1 of her children go to Uni, and do better in their life than she did.

That lot has fallen to me, and I am damn well going to make her proud. Love you Mum!

The Year of Self list

As I said a few posts ago, this is officially the Year of Self. And in that vein, I am making a list of things to acquire/do. I have managed to make it to every one of my hair/brow appointments for the past 3 months - not 1 cancellation. This is a minor miracle for me. And a big step forward.

So, the lists. We'll start with Things To Do:

Work hard at Uni, get good grades and have fun.

Get my Learners, and get 200 hours practice by the end of the 12 months I have it.

Get a working wardrobe. Not a 'work wardrobe', but a wardrobe I can pull together an outfit for any occassion, at any time, without hair tearing and tears.

Get a list of employers to hit for my cadetship.

Wear the wardrobe I acquire - not live in old faithfuls all the time.


Things To Acquire:

Chocolate brown leather boots, knee high, with a 2-3 inch heel.

Items to make up the working wardrobe.

Jo Malone Vanille et Anise - want to try it out first though.

Added:

Get a Hot Stone massage - I have never had a massage (it's a trust/control issue)

Have a manicure, and try to get a pedicure. I won't promise the pedi, I have a thing about my feet being touched, but I am goint to try.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For all my friends............

.......... I am missing you more than words can say. I cannot wait to 'see' you all again.

But it is necessary for me to walk this part of my path alone. I know that you will all be there, when I come to the end. And I hope that I never come to another fork in the road that will take me away from you.

Without all the love and support you have offered me down the years, through all the horrible times, where I really did feel alone in the dark, I would not be here now, and I certainly would not be the person I am. You made me a better person.

Each and every one of you contributed to my sanity, my strength, and kept me going, when all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner. Your belief in me helped me believe in myself, and still does.

Thank you, my dearest friends, for believing in me, giving me strength, loving me, and making me a better person by your actions. I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

Making snap decisions...

I have a tendency to do this - it's a marked trait of my personality, and not always a good one.

I am worse with big decisions - I'll ummmm and ahhhh for a while, then Bang! decision made, action taken, no turning back. But there's always a trigger, even if it seems to be totally irrelevant to others.

Like this week. After Uncle Tom passed, I spent a good 24 hours soul-searching, and then, inside of 48 hours, I had resigned my membership of the forums of which I was an active member, and had started the process of abandoning FaceBook for a while.

My reasons for this were/are many and varied, but the overwhelming one is that I have been using the internet, and especially the forums and FB, to procrastinate and hide. I am at a point on my journey where I need to either take the next step, or remain standing still. And, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I suck at standing still for too long.

So, I walked. I have done this before; it's another not-always-good personality trait - people have been hurt in the past (when I was 17 my dog died, I packed my bags and left home, telling no-one why - only in recent years have I told my mother that was the trigger). It's not something I can help, it's instinctive, I do it, and then, when the dust settles, I go "That could have been done better!"

I did try to do better this time, I let people know I was leaving, and why. I am terribly sad (I cried on the day I deleted), I am already missing my friends, but, I am sure of 1 thing - and that is that I WILL be back.

This is just part of the journey out of the dark - I need to enter the light the same way I left it - alone, with my head held high, and knowing that if it gets too hard, I can turn to my friends for help. They were there for me all through the dark, and they will be waiting for me in the light, and I cannot wait to see them all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Farewell.........

Yesterday, after a long, sad illness, my Uncle Tom passed. He went to sleep and didn't wake up. A good way to go, if there is such a thing.

When I got the news, I cried a little, but for the most part, I was glad he wasn't suffering any longer. And angry that he suffered at all.

Tom was an active man his whole life (or the part I knew him). He'd take off fishing for "2 or 3 days" and be gone a week. My Aunty Dawn refused to worry. He'd either be alright, or he'd drop doing what he loved. And then he'd come home, announcing that "I'm back. Bet you thought you'd got rid of me this time!" before retreating to the shed to make more flies, or paint something that had taken his fancy. He was a talented fly-fisherman, and an equally talented artist.

3 triple bypasses didn't slow him down much either. Diabetes was what stalled him in the end. And he hated it. He had to give up drinking, smoking (he loved a pipe in the evening), and lollies. Well, he kept the lollies. Right to the end, he loved Clinkers and Jubes.

He loved my aunt with all his heart, and that feeling was returned. He was her world, and she was a very big part of his - he really started to go downhill when she died the year after my Dad. He sold the caravan that they had spent 30+ years travelling the country in, and retreated into a twilight world.

It was horrible to see this, and not be able to do anything. This was a man who had packed a whole lot of living into his years, as a rail worker in the US, back when Northern Nevada was just a dust bowl (his words when he found we were travelling there), and as a submariner in WWII. He ran away from home, and put his age up to join the Navy when he was a young lad, in between the wars. He lived life to the full, found a great love, and had it returned in kind. He had no regrets about the life he lived - he made the msot of every oportunity. At the end, he knew he was loved, and that he mattered to someone. We should all be so lucky.

So, why this rambling post about Uncle Tom? Because with his passing, I am letting go a large part of my past.

Dawn was my Dad's favourite sister (she and Aunty Bette essentially raised him while Nanna nursed Pop through the living death that was Parkinson's Disease in the 40's and 50's) and Dawn and Tom were a big part of my childhood. Every summer, they'd land at Nanna's for a few weeks, parking the caravan on the lawn. They'd spoil us rotten, taking us to Quiet Corner, or the Shell Cave, or walking along the beach to the shop for a (normally forbidden) Choc Wedge. Memories of summers past aren't complete without cricket on the lawn, and Dawn and Tom.

So now, I must move on. With Tom's passing, my last connection to those days is gone. And it's hard to do. I know I can't go back, and I really don't want to - but I don't want to let go either.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Year of Self - aka My Accidental New Year's Resolution

I don't know how it happened, I swear. I never make New Year's Resolutions anymore, because I never follow through. But somehow, I made one this year. At the 11th hour as it were......

It's all the fault of Mr20's school, they sent me a refund for a payment I made ages ago, and I forgot about. As you do. And, as I was killing off the last of 2009 looking on eBay for one of my To Buy in 2010 items (a nice leather bag), I fell head over heels in love, spent a good chunk of the refund (with no guilt), and my resolution was born.

The bag is gorgeous, the remainder of the refund is still intact, and I am rather proud of myself. I have made a resolution that I will be able to follow. And I started the year off with a shopping high- always a good feeling.

I have re-assessed the Shopping Ban, and am giving myself permission to put myself first. I will still bank a chunk of every week's wage, but I am going to make sure that I don't miss out, in favour of everyone else.

So, here's to 2010, the start of a new decade, and the next step on the journey out of the dark.