30 April 2008
According to Mindset Media, which surveyed 7,500 Mac and PC users, they must be a Mac owner.
The research found that Mac users consider themselves superior to PC users, are more likely to use teeth-whitening products, buy organic food, purchase more shoes, go to Starbucks and drive a Hybrid car.
Qualities that Mac has capitalised on in its brilliant ad campaign starring Drew Barrymore's boyfriend, Justin Long, as the cool urbane Mac alongside the very uncool PC. Mind you, I don't think all of Apple's marketing campaigns are as clever - see my post Hey Apple, Bite Me on the MacBook Air laptop.
I was a devout Mac user for years but left the fold when I clearly couldn't come at the Hybrid car. Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that my loyalty was sorely tested when the 35 Apple support staff I spoke to couldn't help me with a certain technical glitch. All show and no substance worked for me for many years (when I worked around a design environment) before I became decidedly uncool and bought a PC. I still have my very first Mac stored away though. I miss the beautiful and clean designs but not the functionality. And regardless, I still am clearly self centered, arrogant and have a need for recognition. And I love organic food from backyard vegetable gardens, shoes, use teeth whiteners and go to Starbucks. But unlike many rabid mac users, I think PC users have a sense of humour and can laugh about reality. Check this out.
So, are you a Mac or PC User?
29 April 2008
I have finally heard a politician give a direct, honest, concise, non evasive and believable answer. In response to a question from a journalist on our local radio station just a few minutes ago, a politician replied, "I wouldn't have a clue".
27 April 2008
After two days of positive and inspiring messages I had convinced myself that I was ready to go on that balloon ride. Even though I'm tall I have this fear of heights. Go figure. In fact when I am in a multistory building my feet start to twitch if I go near the windows - instead of walking away, I want to do the opposite - and jump out the windows (and no, I normally do not have suicidal tendencies). It's just one more odd thing about me.
I usually get pushed by others to do things (and no I don't mean out of fourth floor windows). I mean to try new things and take risks. When I think about it, if it wasn't for others I may not have ever done a great deal. I never volunteer for things. I was not born with the brave chip.
For instance my fear of heights has been all consuming at times. Two years ago, I was on the Isle of Capri with a friend. Great, relaxing holiday until........she decided she wanted to go on the flying fox up and down a cliff face. I didn't. She said, "just come and wait for me while I go up then". Except, when we went to the entrance, they just pushed me on to the chair, shut the gate and I was off. No time to jump. Now when I originally thought of the Isle of Capri, I imagined soft white sandy beaches and blue oceans. A safe landing. Oh no. Its all cliff faces and rocks. High cliffs. The only consolation was there were lots of churches in case I needed the last rites at any stage.....and a burial. My shoes ended up over some poor Italian's vegetable patch and I screamed all the way up to the top and refused to come back down without having sedatives and a bottle of gin first. My advice is never look down. Ever. My friend was hysterical and crying - with laughter. She will never let me forget it for the rest of my life. The only upside was that I had a great excuse to buy a pair of wonderful Italian shoes (and I did feel great afterwards even though my clothes were drenched with sweat)..
Sometimes, the fear of humiliation overtakes my fear of heights. Once I was on my way to a management course in another city. I really didn't want to go. It was raining and a bus picked us up from the airport. Except not long after the bus collided with a tram stop. The driver was badly hurt and the passengers thrown about like clothes in a dryer. The only way out of the bus was through the window. Even under those circumstances I balked. I did it but just because there was no choice. And it wasn't even too far off the ground. I remember the CEO of the company sent us faxes saying how sorry he was to hear about the accident and, given we had been chosen for our management potential, we would get to go on another course soon. I wrote back and told him if this is the way he assessed people's management potential then I had clearly failed...I said he could have the dizzying heights of a management career on his own and stick any future courses. Thank goodness he just assumed it was the painkillers talking ...... let's say he never forgot me, I never had to do that course and nor did that crash do anything to resolve my fears of heights. It just gave me a new fear of buses (kidding).
In fact, I have seriously prayed that heaven is on ground level on a flat and even surface. And that I don't have to have a pair of wings to get in. No, the other option doesn't sound entertaining either because I don't do darkness and searing heat well either. But, just in case the only way to heaven is up, I know I have to conquer my fear of heights once and for all. How embarrassing if I can't get into the pearly gates because I was too scared to take a leap of faith.
So it's D day. It's not like I am talking about bungee jumping or sky diving. I mean it's only going up in the sky standing in a wicker basket with a balloon over your head. How hard could it be? I'll let you know.
I DID IT and I learnt some things I will never forget.
One, you have to get up incredibly early to catch a ride because the early hours are the calmest time of day for balloons to do their thing. Two, you have to be sure that the cane baskets you ride in are not made in Taiwan and are actually wicker (and I was caught trying to find the Made in..... sticker) and three, you also can't be scared of fire (because that is one big flame keeping the balloon aloft because they need a burner to heat the air in the balloon until it is hotter than the air outside the balloon) and four, and most important, accept the glass of champagne they offer you in flight because it can calm the nerves. If you can't loosen your hands from their tight grip on the side of the basket, or around the neck of the man standing next to you, kindly ask another passenger to pour the champagne down your throat. It's medicinal. And compulsory.
Most of all I realised that this was my kind of flying; serene, unique, an aerial nature walk. You don't feel any wind because you are moving at the same speed as the wind. I guess most of all I learnt that you should never look down to test the ground before taking your next step. You have to keep your eyes on the horizon and, with any luck, you will indeed find the right road.
I think I am learning to feel the fear and do it without being pushed to take the plunge. We are like ants in the overall scheme of things, and we really have to learn to get over ourselves and focus on real issues. Next, I might scale the Sydney Harbour Bridge....well sometime....or other.... I am sure there are lots of years left in me to give that one a go. I don't think you can see me in this picture - I'm the one on the floor of the basket hanging on to someone's ankles (just kidding...sort of).
A while ago I told you about how I won a Hollywood pack. Well, its started me on a journey of entering competions which require written entries. I find it strangely satisfying writing 25, 50 or 100 words when I am usually so verbose.
Yesterday I got a box of Maybelline cosmetics in the mail. The competition was to come up with a name for a new lip gloss and give the reasons why. The real prize for me was creating ideas and having them accepted. And since I am a makeup artist from way back I have loads of makeup, most of which I do not even use, so the prize will go to someone who can use them.
It was a small thing in the overall scheme of things but it also reminded me about something I easily lose sight of - that competitions are a lot like living life. You have to be in it to win it.
We have to be fully prepared to enter the race to win. We can aim big or small. We cannot sit on the sidelines, just going through the motions wishing for our luck to change, scared of taking risks or facing rejection. Life won't come to us, we have to sign up for it. It is like a roller coaster, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Sometimes we are lucky, sometimes not. Sometimes we completely come unstuck and other times we reach dizzying heights. But to reach those heights we have to be prepared to join in and risk the dangers. It's called taking a chance. Living your dreams. Living without fear.
25 April 2008
Now I've got to be honest, I didn't buy this book for any higher purpose such as delving into eastern philosophies. The real reason I bought the book was because I had a huge crush on Richard Gere for many years and, as everyone knows, the Dalai Lama and Rich are close....and that is where my thinking on the subject started and finished.
For those who want to know more about Tibet, its struggles with China and the Dalai Lama, watch this. Richard explains it so well.
Anyway, as it happens, I found the book full of good vibes and positive messages. His Holiness transcends cultural bias easily, which is perhaps what makes him such a powerful figure in our age.
This very eloquent man has some very simple answers to life's complex problems. And to be honest, if you are going to take advice from anyone then who better then a man decked out in bright orange robes and sandles.
So, while my crush on Richard eventually disappeared, my interest in the Dalai Lama, his books and his messages stayed strong. You don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate his wisdom.
According to His Holiness "if you desire happiness you should seek the causes that give rise to it, and if you don't desire suffering, then what you should do is to ensure that the causes and conditions that give rise to it no longer arise."
Told you it was simple. In other words, life goes by too quickly so a wise soul should not walk in uncomfortable shoes. Basically we don't have to deny ourselves the more pleasurable of life's adventures. So, on that note, I am going for a ride in a hot air balloon on the weekend and have promised not to jump up and down...and turn happiness into suffering.
PS I just watched that video of Richard Gere (ok, maybe 3 times) and it appears that crush has come back again. The man has still got it going on........big time....
24 April 2008
one Olympic flame
a journey of harmony
a beautiful day
20k of barricades
30 Chinese blue clad paramilitary flame attendants
80 Aussie torch bearers
a blanket of red Chinese Communist flags
10,000 loud pro Beijing supporters
500 pro Tibetan supporters
plus celebrity Buddhist k.d.lang
out swamped, out numbered, out voiced
10,000 bystanders watching, waiting
enormous media pack
500 police, costing $A2m
true democracy in action
Mainly peaceful, minor scuffles
7 arrests, no injuries
proud organisers,a big success
very symbolic, over and over
The flame intact, burning bright
Remind me again
What was the message?
I saw symbols today
Too many symbols
All too apparent
23 April 2008
There is a lot of discussion going on at the moment about the alleged polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints group whose compound was raided in Texas. Authorities have reportedly taken into legal custody more than 400 children and 133 women deemed to have been harmed or in imminent danger of harm. According to news accounts, pubescent girls were forced into spiritual marriages to older men. Inside the compound's walls, researchers say, a new reality was born, with members indoctrinated so fully they had no concept of reality outside the walls. They basically believe that women are there to be baby factories, and there is extreme patriarchal control of that group. If you've got a group that's abusing hundreds and hundreds of women and children, let's call it what it is, A CULT. One defined by charismatic leadership and abuse.
I get frustrated when I hear people commenting about how they cannot understand how mothers could allow their children to be abused like that. It's not that black and white, just as it is not for anyone involved in violent and abusive relationships. Look at these women's faces - blank. For anyone who doubts how people get into these situations read up some more on cults. May its sociopathic leaders rot in jail. And what a brave young girl who raised the alarm bells, let us hope she is now safe. The sad thing is the torture will continue for these 'victims' for some time to come.
It's just me. You may not recognise me but I will explain later.
This is just a quick message because I was lying in bed all night thinking about how you said you were signing up for Hot Yoga. I'm a bit flummoxed I have to say. Well, more than usual anyway. (I know you are going to be impressed with my use of that flummoxed word - well I saw it on the funniest website I have read for a long time called Wundurful Wurld - I have been busting to use it ever since. It's a true classic - yes, your mother is finally well read).
It didn't hit me at the time what you meant exactly about this Hot Yoga thing. In fact, I have come to realise that I don't understand a lot of what you say lately. I have already run through all the possibilities in my head and none of them are working for me. Whatever it is you are doing, it's bound to be weird and out there, right?
All I will say is this. Please, don't get burnt, will you? I'm not really worried because I know you are on the side of the angels not the beasts but...it's more about who else may be involved.
I just wish you would take up something I have heard of before like ballroom dancing, pole dancing or the like. Hot Yoga....I blame your father of course...his side of the family were real gypsies you know..
I mean if you are looking for cheap thrills go skydiving or dodge cars or something. No, forget I said that...I'm just anxious..
Also, while we are on the subject of odd things, you mentioned you were going to the gym to do your ironing. Yes, your ironing. I am still shaking my head. So you exercise there, sauna there, shower there, eat breakfast there, and now iron there. What kind of life is that? Just because they have a 'cool iron' there? It's a place of exercise and sweating not a place for domestic goddesses in training. You need to get a grip. Seriously. Next you will tell me you are sleeping there as well. There is a life outside the gym. And NO, it's not called the office.
On second thoughts, as long as the Hot Yoga is not done in the office or the gym, go for it. You need the change of scenery.
By the way, this is my new look. Subtle but stylish I think you will agree. I had no choice. My neighbour also told me I looked like the matriach of that crime family in the news at the moment. You know the one I mean. I thought you were just being a bit churlish when you said I was her double. Apparently you were right. I don't think I can afford to take any chances to be honest given she is on everyone's hit list. I honestly saw Madonna when I looked in the mirror not some hard nosed, bottle blonde crime figure. It's been a harsh reality to face I must say. I was scared to go outside and I found carrying a shovel in my handbag a bit heavy, hence the radical makeover. I thought I better show you the 'new me' in case you get a fright when next you see me. I am not entirely happy with the look given it is difficult wearing sunglasses 24/7 but I think I will easily blend into the crowd now don't you think?
PS. Just before I go I have to tell you about this Italian study they just released which says that Botox can easily travel to your brain. Some of us have less to lose than others though, so I still haven't given up on the idea. But, I wanted to let you know because your brain is your fortune (even though your face is equally as splendid) and therefore you cannot afford to take the risk to swap grey matter for wrinkle free skin, ok? A plump salary or a plump face, your choice. It's a risk I am prepared to take (when they invent injections without needles that is) but don't you take the chance when the temptation kicks in some time down the track. Too risky. Keep that to yourself though as it may give you a competitive edge in your line of work, if you get me.
19 days to Mother's Day, but who is counting....
21 April 2008
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed. There are so many opportunities, dreams, things to do and people and events which need attention. The question I always ask is are they urgent or are they important? They are rarely both.
Sometimes I feel like I am aimlessly throwing a random dart at the board of life just to give me a clue as to what I should do next. It's all a bit hit or miss though, even if it always seems to turn out alright in the end.
I always thought I knew exactly where my life was going until one day I got one of those curve balls thrown in my direction when I least expected it. A life defining moment. It changed everything. Now, I feel the pressure to spend my time on value added past times. The kind that mean something for me or someone else. To do more good, and have a greater impact, if you get me.
I think a lot. Too much at times. I have lots of ideas and concepts running through my head. Too many sometimes. To the point where it can paralyse me. I find in my professional life I can focus and plan easily. I can be quite anal about things, strategic and in control. However, on a personal level, with so many different layers, I find it harder to do. It's more the other side of me, the creative 'think in colours and curves' side. The kind that doesn't take too well to structure or doesn't fit so neatly into square boxes with preordained dimensions.
I have decided that I need to have a better and more planned approach. To my life in general. A clearer focus. I think I could be a bit more productive with a map and a shovel than just by throwing random darts every now and then. Besides, my aim is not the best (just ask the poor guy I hit with a dart once while aiming it very clearly at the dart board, as opposed the back of his head).
Maybe it's a midlife evaluation of sorts. Maybe it's a sense of my own mortality. It doesn't really matter.
Do you recall the 101 things in 1001 days internet project some time ago? I am going to do something similar. A list of tasks in a number of days. The tasks are going to be specific, realistic and stretching with a result that is measurable or clearly defined. Hopefully, it will give my creative brain a bit of a kick into shape. Who knows, when done, I may even post them.
However, while my plans have to be realistic my dreams never will.......ever.
How about you, are you a planner and has it worked for you?
20 April 2008
I was driving towards our Parliament House this afternoon and noticed a lot of temporary barriers being put up along the roadway. I later learnt that the barricades are being erected to protect runners in Thursday's Olympic torch relay from as many as 20,000 protesters (pro China and pro Tibet). The entire 20 kilometre route is going to be fenced off from the public as the relay will pass some of the nation's most sensitive buildings, including Parliament House.
It is apparent that trouble is expected here in Australia's capital. There is a lot of talk that plain-clothes Chinese security officers will be infiltrating the crowd. In a bid to out number pro Tibet protestors, the press is also reporting that the Chinese embassy has hired more than 50 buses to bring in pro-Beijing protesters, offering free food for participants. A friend of mine in the Chinese community said the embassy was organising Chinese students to form a human wall behind the barricade.
It's going to be interesting what happens next Thursday given this is the only city in Australia the torch will be travelling through. I will be going to take a look and will let you know what happens. Let's hope democracy rules, peacefully....and that the pro-Beijing protesters realise that they would not be allowed to demonstrate in China....so no agitation is necessary here either...thank you very much.
18 April 2008
I had an email from a friend who was telling me about an embarrassing sailing incident. It made me laugh. It got me thinking two things really. First, how I love open people who are willing to share their stories and laugh at themselves and second, just how many ridiculous things that have happened to me over the years that have left me wearing various shades of crimson.
These Embarrassing Moments have been selected out of a pile of many such moments (this strangely makes me happy when it clearly should do the opposite).
10. The Colour Purple - I was doing the makeup of a top politician who was about to appear on TV. He was sitting in the makeup chair sound asleep (or so I thought). I happened to mention quietly to someone else how I would love to paint a black eye on him because he needed all the public sympathy he could get given his unpopularity. He suddenly opened his eyes and said, "now, that is the best idea I have heard all day". He wasn't insulted but let's just say I learnt to keep my opinions to myself....for at least a week afterwards. However, I often wonder if I had given him that black eye, where he (or I, for that matter) would have ended up?
9. In the slips - I was getting a parcel delivered and I was standing there talking to the courier in the reception of an office. Suddenly, my petticoat just fell down around my ankles. I did not look down. I just stepped out of it and kept talking as if NOTHING had happened. He never said a word and eventually went on his way. Oh the humiliation.....
8. A way to get attention - I had to give a presentation at a seminar. I decided to try a new face mask the night before. Everything was fine when I put it on and took it off, BUT, when I woke up I looked like the elephant woman. I have never seen anything so scary in my life. I was allergic to something in the mask. The worst thing was I could not cancel the event at such late notice. I had to stand there in front of many curious expressions and looks of wonderment. It was humiliating, I have to say. But, that speech was one of the best I have ever done.
7. If I could only dance - I was demonstrating some new technology to a large number of people. We had done a lot of marketing, trumpeting the benefits of this equipment. Everyone was sitting there ready to see the magic .... and there was NOTHING. The fantastic, wonderful, brilliant piece of technology refused to do its stuff - leaving me with egg on my face and this mad wish that I could tap dance so that I could have at least given the audience some kind of show. Of course, as soon as they left it worked........beautifully. Never work with technology, children or animals.....they are the rules of life.
6. Red Hat Day - I had a job once whose title had the words Creativity & Innovation in it. Laugh, because you should. Anyway, in this job I had the pleasure of meeting Edward de Bono . He was truly fascinating and I learnt many wonderful things from reading his books and hearing him speak. He was, however, the sort of primadonna that only the famous can pull off. I happened to ask him whether he found it hard writing his books with a typewriter (rather than use a computer) given it was more difficult to make amendments as you were typing. He stared at me (glared, may be the correct term though) for what seemed like minutes. There was a deathly silence before he said quite abruptly. "I do not make mistakes". The End. Move on to the next question. Quickly.
5. Hands Off - I was in Rome's Fiumicino Airport going through security. Something about me must have triggered off alarms in the head of the female security officer. She decided to do a body search then and there in front of other passengers. No explanation. I was fully clothed but let's say her search was as close to assault as I have ever encountered. Everyone was staring and watching. Ohhh - I have avoided that airport since...
4. Down but not out - I had gone for a long, long walk in Manhatten and finally sat down in the gutter for a rest. Err, I must not have been quite aware of how 'good' I was looking after all the exercise because some kind soul walked past me and gave me some money. Don't worry I passed it on to someone more deserving than me at the next street corner and I have refrained from sitting in gutters since.
3. Oops, almost blew it - A friend's husband rang me up to invite me to a surprise party he was organising for her. Given other commitments, I wasn't able to make it. She rang me up a few weeks later and I asked her how the party went. "What party she said?" Oh dear...the party was on that weekend and I had assumed it was over already. I backtracked, sidetracked and fast tracked to get out of that one.... just by the skin of my teeth.
2. A Chain Reaction - I was in Stuttgart, Germany, with my daughter and my sister and her family. You know just out for a nice meal at a popular and tightly packed German restaurant. The restaurant was surrounded with candles and the atmosphere was lovely. The meal was great and we were really enjoying ourselves until.... I got up to visit the ladies room. By the time I came back there appeared to be a commotion going on at the table next to us. My whole family were standing up and they literally grabbed my arm and pulled me out the front door. It seems that when I got up to go to the ladies room, I knocked over a candle sitting on a ledge which then fell onto the handbag and coat of a woman sitting at the next table. No-one noticed until there were flames. She managed to rescue her things without too much damage but lets say it was a bit tense. I had no idea......absolutely no idea at all..
1. I hear you, I think - I was doing some community consultations on behalf of a government agency in different ethnic communities. I made a phone call to a community leader to arrange to come and talk to HIM about his views on a certain subject. All was fine. I arrived and met him in his office. EXCEPT it all went downhill quickly. He had made certain assumptions about my visit and from these incorrect assumptions he had made some grand plans. Involving me. He thought I was someone in the Government who had some kind of decision making power and influence. He asked me to follow him to another room which I assumed was a meeting room. WRONG. He led me into an auditorium with at least 1,000 people in it. He had a translator for me to use. A microphone and a stage. He introduced me as someone from the Government who was here to listen to the communities issues and complaints about ANY government service. I was mortified and had to explain that there had been a communication breakdown. Oh dear. It was THE most embarrassing moment of all time just because of the sheer number of people involved in the complete and utter mix up. Communication is such a difficult thing but language barriers can create all sorts of dramas if you are not careful...
Unfortunately when I think about it I have so many more of these stories. They often happen when travelling it seems and when I'm out of my comfort zone. There was the star struck moment in Abbey Road Studios, the time I lost a crate of champagne I was looking after when I turned my back for a few minutes and the time I lost my shoes, my balance and my dignity on a flying fox on the Isle of Capri...yes, I think I will need to repeat this exercise because these stories are even worse.
So, are you willing to share an embarrassing story with me? Just to make me feel better about myself of course.
17 April 2008
Christi from MacNellyFamilyAdventures made a comment about my blog saying, 'we're all not so different'.
That comment got me thinking.
I have lived in other countries and travelled a lot and, while cultural differences can be quite marked, we are essentially all the same. After all, if you go far back enough, we are all drawn from the same melting pot.
Australia is a very young country and so it has relied on immigration to become the great country that it is. Of course, I still hear people talking negatively about immigration policies and foreigners taking our jobs. It's the same everywhere, I am sure. Strange thing is, many of those who talk this way had parents who came from other countries to settle here (??).
My heritage is German, Polish, Irish and English (I would also like to be Italian and am trying to find a skeleton in the family vault just to prove it) but I was born in Australia. If you track nearly everyone's history it's going to throw up a lot of different bits of ethnic groupings. None of us is in any way 'pure'. The whole thing is a glorious cocktail. We have been shaken, stirred, melted and blended until any one of us would be hard-pressed to swear where we originated. Apparently half of all European males carry a line that can be traced back to Genghis Khan - and he came from Mongolia.
So Christi is right, the differences between us are so very little when you wipe away that veneer we all wear. Yes, we all may wear different clothes, speak different languages and have different customs but we all fall in love, all want someone to hold and hug, to have a family, to be happy and successful, not be afraid of the dark, to live a long time, die a good death, to not get sick, fat or old and we want to own a great pair of Monolo Blahniks (oh sorry, that's just my shallow veneer that last bit...).
What does it matter that we wear a grass skirt (and mine is an attractive little number as well), a tartan skirt, a suit or a sari or a loin cloth, if deep down we cry when we are hurt, laugh when we are joyful and our stomachs rumble when we are hungry?
Wipe away the veneer and you will see that we are all quite lovely and all quite human. Think about those people, who feel just as we do and have the same basic needs and wants we do, caught in wars and disasters. Everyone is touched in the same way.
A powerful movie that really bought this message home to me was Hotel Rwanda. If you haven't seen it I encourage you to do so.
It's easy to focus on our differences because it somehow makes others' suffering more palatable. However, the more we see, acknowledge and think we are the same, the less differences there will be.
Thanks Christi, for the reminder.
So, what kind of exotic cocktail are you?
(Photo by dbking, Flickr)
15 April 2008
The so-called Mediterranean diet cuts the risk of heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, according to research released today.
Piecemeal evidence over the last three decades has shown that a diet rich in grains, fruit, vegetables and olive oil but stingy on meat and dairy - washed down with a modest daily dose of wine - promotes health.
But a meta-study published in the British Medical Journal is the first to sift through all this data in an attempt to quantify the overall benefits.
"Our findings support a simple recommendation: eat in a more Mediterranean way because it reduces the incidence of chronic disease," the lead researcher, Francesco Sofi of the University of Florence, said.
Pouring over a dozen scientific surveys conducted since 1966 and involving more than 1.5 million people, Mr Sofi and a team of researchers in Italy created a scale of one to nine corresponding to different food groups.
Someone who consumed all the healthiest foodstuffs and largely avoided the harmful ones - a theoretically-perfect Mediterranean diet - would score a perfect nine, he explained.
The study found that a bump of two points anywhere in the scale - moving, say, from zero to two, or from six to eight - corresponded to a "significant reduction in overall mortality," Mr Sofi said. When broken down by disease, such a shift in dietary habits lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by nine per cent and from cancer by six per cent.
The study also evaluated a recent set of findings on the impact of diet on neurodegenerative disease, and concluded that going Mediterranean decreased the incidence of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's by 13 per cent.
These results are "clinically relevant for public health," and suggest that getting one's daily calorie intake from these food groups could play an important role in preventing major chronic diseases, Mr Sofi said.
The Mao Clinic website provides some tips about what is included in this diet.
14 April 2008
Through the centuries, women and some men have been searching for the ultimate contraceptive. Many different methods have been tried and many have failed. Some have been painful or comfortable and others ineffective and others effective.
However, finally there is a new Australian-developed contraceptive jab for men, taken four times a year, which has been proven to be just as effective as birth-control pills for women.
Sydney researchers found that the hormonal injection is a quick and reliable method of contraception for up to 95 per cent of males. Pharmaceutical companies have shown little interest in making it available to the public. Oh yes, I can see a huge dent in profits if the male jab was to take off. Let's see one jab every 3 months or a packet of pills every month.
The injection works by suppressing sperm output in the same way a vasectomy does but it's obviously not a permanent solution.
The World Health Organisation is understood to be planning an international study to test a three-monthly injection for men. Countries such as China and India, where population growth is exploding, are expected to be among the biggest markets for the new jab.
Can you see this taking off? I asked a few of friends what they thought and one female said, "it would be great but, no, I wouldn't trust them to do it", and another said " I would have to personally take him to the doctor to make sure he had the injection". Another said, " it's perfect for me because the pill makes me ill and my boyfriend would be willing to get injections". A male friend said, "it's disturbing that this drug is not being supported. Men have no reproductive rights. All reproductive rights are held by women in our society, bring it on".
More effective methods have got to be a good thing. It allows male and females to take control as they see fit. I agree, bring it on.
What do you think? Do you think the male contraceptive injection will take off?
13 April 2008
It's amazing how quickly you lose fitness. I know. I cycle in and out of it. Wrong. I know.
I went back to doing sit ups yesterday after a break. I used to do hundreds a day once. I don't like exercise, maybe because, like Posh, I hate the shoes. But I know...it's good for you and makes you feel great afterwards. Repeat after me....until it sinks in.
However, it's the only option because, unlike Posh, I don't like to starve. I don't have that kind of will power even if I did have that kind of death wish.
Anyway, enough about her, back to me.
Today I am feeling the pain. So, that means the exercise had an impact of sorts. A temporary pain in order to get a temporary six pack. Sounds stupid, but fair.
It got me thinking about how temporary lots of things are, besides pain and six pack abs (not that I've ever really had them but I am following The Secret methodology. I am visualising, asking, even yelling and I am waiting.....and so ready to give thanks, um, some time real soon would be good...). Do you think Oprah visualised Obama too?
Anyway, here is my quick list of temporary states - there are 11 just because I hate the perfection of even numbers.
2. Romantic infatuation
6. Bad haircuts
7. Hair dye
8. Ability to wear very short skirts, oh even just short skirts
9. Getting ID'd
10. Life itself
11. Doing sit ups
Sit ups - I am off to do some more now - why is exercise always harder the second day you get back into it? I will survive, somehow we always do. The fun is in the chasing, anyway.
Added note: To the very humorous person who asked if that was a picture of me exercising, I have this to say. I am blonde, yes, but not quite so hairy. I concede that we are both cuddly and that our claws do come out when provoked. We also have similar six packs (non-existent) and my technique is not quite as polished. I also prefer wearing clothes in cooler climates and most definitely while exercising. While I don't mind skating on thin ice and have done so for a fair proportion of my life, I prefer more comfortable surfaces to do my workouts. I know, just call me spoilt. However, I have been toying with the whole raw food diet issue and may give this a go sometime before now and death. So, that's where the similarities start and finish but thank you for your interest. Oh, and let me tell you, you will NEVER see a picture of me exercising on my blog EVER. I am not willing to take humiliation to entirely new levels, (well unless you do so first). But, just for you, I will post my top ten embarrassing moments of all time this week, and for your viewing pleasure there will be an exercise moment to smile about (without the accompanying graphics, of course). Happy now?
12 April 2008
Yesterday, Zoe Selina, an Aussie who writes a blog about her life in Norway, encouraged me to get involved in an equally challenging Hemmingway blogging meme and write my six-word memoir. I'm not really into tagging but this meme did pique my interest. Apparently Hemmingway was once asked to write a 6 word story. He did and it went like this - For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
In late 2006, SMITH Magazine ignited a challenge to readers to send in their own six-word memoirs. Readers sent in short stories in droves, from the bittersweet, Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends, and the poignant, I still make coffee for two, to the inspirational Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah and the hilarious, I like big butts, can’t lie. Smiths turned it into a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning which was released last February. They are now planning their second book.
I thought this may be impossible because I can't even restrict my conversations underwater to six words. But, here it is: my six word memoir. One day I will write my entire story.
What would your six-word memoir say?
11 April 2008
Moulds make the whole flower making process easy!!!
You get fantastic and very detailed flowers and the best bit is, anyone can do them.
I still make my roses from scratch but for all other flowers I use the moulds.
Best of all they are quick and simple to use. You should be able to buy these moulds at any good cake decorating supplies shop or online. I get mine via eBay.
This is how easy it is.
(A) To create flowers I used a Small Flower Set Mould.
(B) Roll a small amount of icing into a ball and dust with cornflour. Push into the mould.
(C) Continue pushing the icing into the mould, making sure you press firmly to capture all details.
(D) Using a spatula flat against the mould, in a back and forward motion, cut off the excess icing. You can now put the mould into the freezer for a couple of minutes to firm the icing if your mould has many details or your icing is soft.
(E) Flex the mould gently and ease out the flowers.
(F) The unmolded flowers are left to dry. Make sure you dust some cornflour underneath to prevent them sticking to your drying surface.
(G) Using dusting powders add some colour to the flowers.
(H) I dipped the paintbrush in water and then the dusting powder to give a darker colour for the details on the flower.
(I) The finished flowers.
Thank goodness, there is always one light on the horizon when it comes to getting my news fix - whether it be news of the good, bad or indifferent kind. It's a site I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago - Current.com. I like it because the news is reported by the readers as well and it is incredibly diverse. You will read and see things on this site that you may not find elsewhere.
Also in my web travels this morning, I found two inspirational videos about a couple of guys, one from Australia and one from Wales, who got 'discovered' because of their incredible talents. One is an opera singer who sold phones for a living and the other is a shadow magician who was a photocopier repairman. I had tears in my eyes watching both of these. There is something humbling when you see ordinary folk doing something extraordinary, often in complete unawareness of their incredible talents.
The first is a video that 23 million people have seen (while I was obviously sleeping). It shows Paul Potts' first appearance on the UK talent show, You've Got Talent. Paul doesn't look like your average superstar. When he comes out on stage you can see, from the judges' expressions, that they weren't expecting much either. Particularly when he said he was going to sing opera. He then opened his mouth and the rest is history. I could watch this again and again......and cry. Regardless of whether you like opera or not, I don't think there would be a human being out there who would not be moved by this clip. I love this song - it truly gives me goosebumps and inspires me no end. Little lumps of coal can indeed turn into diamonds, never lose sight of that.
The second video is of Aussie, Raymond Crowe. He had a hobby of making shadows on the wall with his hands, also known as shadow puppetry. He was asked to go on some awards show and he improvised his puppetry to the music, What a Wonderful World. So very clever. This YouTube clip got the attention of the Ellen show and various other talk shows and the rest is history. What a Wonderful World indeed.
Have a great day everyone and let's remember that each of us has something special to offer and we should never judge anyone too quickly (well, before they open their mouths at least).
Cinderella stories do come true and frogs do turn into princes.....just ask Paul and Raymond.
Keep your dreams alive everyone, no matter how big or small they are!
10 April 2008
Note to new readers: Message from your Mother is a series of 'tongue in cheek' letters written by Lilly to her daughter which are based ‘very loosely’ on their most recent phone calls. The messages are written in the kind of irrational way that seems to come naturally to most mothers when it comes to the lives of their children.
I was shocked to hear you were involved in a near accident last night but thankful that you were able to swerve out of the way of oncoming traffic. You always did have sharp reactions, usually to things I have said, but nonetheless....I'm just glad you're safe.
What did you mean exactly when you said that TomTom told you to go through a red light? You weren't having a conversation with him were you? Or letting him do all the work while you applied your mascara and lipgloss? Besides, I thought TomToms promised fun without compromising safety? Oh uh I'm sorry, I'm a little confused, I think that line may have actually come from someone I used to know....
Anyway, when you're able to stop shaking, and you're feeling like your old self again, you might find these latest 'pearls' I have, very useful. Only if you want to read them, of course. I am not forcing you to because I know its your life and I know you really don't like taking my advice.....even though it is my job to give it. I think if I checked my job description it says I have to do so until one of us dies. And don't get any ideas in that direction either - Mother's Day is on its way.
I am confident that this time you will appreciate my input. I have the answer to help you find 'the one'. I have scientifically calculated, based on my own experiences, that a single woman will meet 6,000 men in her life. Two thirds will be too young or too old. Of the rest, 2/3 will be married (even though 25% will pretend they are not), 18% will be gay, 3% will be sociopaths, 8% will have rotten haircuts, 4% will be lawyers and the rest may be possibilities. That's still a big pool of possibilities, right?
So, I have come up with a way to make it easier for you. I know you’re busy with your job and the gym, so this is kind of a fast track, no fail system. In fact, I based this on my experiences living in New York. You only had to stand still for five seconds and guys would come up and ask you 'in your face' questions to see which side of the possibility pool you fell into. It's a shame that most of them fell into the sociopath, lawyer or swinger swamps but I did learn something. Busy people have to go straight for the jugular. It's like speed dating with a difference.
So, once you have worked out that they are a possibility (with good hair of course), cut to the chase and ask them these questions on the first date:
Q1: If your company gave one-year paid sabbaticals, what would you do for that year?
This will tell you his true passions and priorities, showing you whether he is selfless, selfish, or overly ambitious.
Q2: Will you share an embarrassing moment with me?
This will tell you if he is secure enough to laugh at himself.
Q3: If your house were on fire, what’s the one thing you’d make sure to save?
This will tell you if he is sentimental or practical?
Q4: What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?
Maybe your date will say that everyone thinks he’s snobby and stuck-up, when he’s really just shy.
Q5: What’s the one life experience you want a do-over on?
Everyone’s got some regrets, and they speak tons about someone’s character.
Now the second thing I have to tell you is that apparently thin is now not in. Just as they had us all starving, now they've changed their minds. Aussie Men’s magazine FHM did an online survey asking whether readers found a size 8 (US6), 12(US10) or 14 (US12) model most attractive. 39% said the Size 14, 41% said the Size 12 and 20% the Size 8. The magazine editor said, “that it proves one thing, ladies, hoe into a hamburger, crack open a beer and we’ll love you just as much.” What have I always said?
And finally, you know how they, oh alright, I, say mothers are always right, well apparently eating an apple a day IS good for your health. They have just discovered that some compound in apples can dramatically improve lung health (and that may undo the damage of all those cigarettes you never wanted me to know about). Just saying is all.
OK, well I'll speak to you later and if I was you, I would give TomTom the silent treatment until he learns his lesson. Maybe he's colour blind, have you ever thought of that? On second thoughts, I'd ditch him - he has let you down badly. Sometimes, second chances lead straight to heartbreak.
Readers feel free to answer any of these five questions yourself, if you are game.
9 April 2008
Matt’s article, which of course has been crucified by bloggers, came at the right time for me.
I think he could be right. It’s hard to get a balance. Especially when you don't quite know what you're doing.
Richtel wrote about the recent death of bloggers from heart attacks and the complaints of other blogger survivors of weight gain and not sleeping well. Blogging is not necessarily a healthy past time, he asserts.
Blogging is absolutely addictive (as are most things in life when you think about it) and that can be unhealthy. I agree. And it’s not even my job. A sweatshop? Well I think it definitely could be if you are relying on it as an income. Writing posts for as little as $10 is harsh.
I don't find writing posts stressful. I love to write. In fact, readers may find my posts more stressful to read than I do to write them. But I do find the 'getting noticed' bit a little overwhelming.
How does your blog get noticed? I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I should be like one of those used car salesmen that have scantily clad females draped over their cars. What are they selling again? Sad thing is, I have noticed a few blogs that do just that. You know where the image looks as though it should be on an XXX rated site and the post on a Tech Blog. I guess there is a market for everything.
Does anyone else find blogging a complex game? We are all competitive beings. Everyone wants a bigger and better rank. The more I surf, and the more websites I click on I find more and more posts devoted to helping others gain that competitive edge. I’ve read the top 5, the top 10, the top 50 and the top 501 ways to optimise your Google rank, your Alexa ranking or your Technorati position.
My eyes just glaze over and I start thinking about other things. Like cupcakes.
You can easily get blogged down spending all your waking moments trying to weed out the blogging wheat from the chaff. Then you have to find time to network, socialise, spread your link love and click, click click. And don't forget the need to devise clever ways to get Google's attention and choose key words which are sexy, bold and searchable. Then, if you have any time left, you also need to live a life otherwise there's not much to talk about on a personal blog, is there?
I just want to blog and improve my writing. And find other funny, sincere and interesting people out there doing the same.
Yesterday, I baked instead. I chose death by cupcakes (gluten free ones at least, see image above) over death by blogging. See, I can never seem to do anything by halves. I think it’s called an addictive personality.
But I know that there’s more to Lilly’s Life than just numbers, whether they be measured by cupcakes or rankings.
PS For those who are cupcake obsessed and not just blogging obsessed, I found this blog called Cupcakes Take the Cake which has everything you ever wanted to know about cupcakes but were afraid to ask. May I suggest you eat something prior to visiting this site because it will be sure to make you crave something very sweet. And, the truth is, I don't want to be responsible for you becoming another blogger casualty.....
7 April 2008
Oh great, over the last week I found out that elephants paint, horses count and now it seems octopuses are at it around the clock.
Suzie, full of her usual scintillating riveting banter, rang to tell me about some sophisticated tentacle tangling techniques. Apparently octopuses have erotic sex lives. Go figure.
Many women have experienced men who have arms everywhere but it seems female octopuses may feel our pain. The love life of an octopus involves lots of jealous fighting, casual sex and sneaky cheating. Males display extremely aggressive macho behaviour and fight over females by wrestling each other to the ground and even strangling one another.
I mean who knew? It's always the quiet, shy, solitary ones you've got to watch out for...
PS To my male readers, females love funny guys as opposed to guys with lots of groping arms, so here are the New York Post's 50 most hilarious jokes of the last year. Promise they'll work a charm.
6 April 2008
I was thinking today how great it is to be part of the blogging world and what a powerful way it is for so many people in so many countries from so many different walks of life to be able to have their say and share their opinions. I guess where I come from freedom of speech is something we take for granted.
I was still surprised to learn on the Reporters without Frontiers website that in 2007, 37 bloggers (internationally) were arrested, 21 were physically attacked and 2,676 websites were shut down or suspended. I thought the most danger you could get into as a Blogger was for Google to ignore you. I assumed that these bloggers must have been affiliated to mainstream media but I thought I would do some digging to find out more.
It just so happens that the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 was released last week (featuring 169 countries). It seems that bloggers are now just as threatened as journalists in traditional media. And not just bloggers in war torn countries either.
As far as freedom of the press and where various countries rated, I was shocked at the results. For instance, Iceland was rated No 1, United Kingdom 24, Australia 28, United States 48 and Philippines 128. More predictable were the 20 countries at the bottom of the index, seven are Asian, five are African, four are in the Middle East, three are former Soviet republics and one is in the Americas. Click here for the full list.
Are you surprised where the UK, Australia and the USA rated? Then again, given our involvement in the Iraq War, why should I be shocked that government administrations wanted to have greater control over the media.
For those of us blogging away on the Internet and expressing our opinions left, right and centre, the following excerpt from a press release from Reporters without Borders is of interest,
I know that over 70% of blogs out there are personal online journals. The most that we concern ourselves with is whether we may insult family or friends. I guess we should be mindful that our blogs have the potential to be seen by people all over the world. Some bloggers who live in countries in the lower half of the list have added concerns. Blogging is serious business after all and not just in terms of dollars and cents.
The Internet is occupying more and more space in the breakdown of press freedom violations. Several countries fell in the ranking this year because of serious, repeated violations of the free flow of online news and information.
In Malaysia (124th), Thailand (135th), Vietnam (162nd) and Egypt (146th), for example, bloggers were arrested and news websites were closed or made inaccessible. “We are concerned about the increase in cases of online censorship,” Reporters Without Borders said. “More and more governments have realised that the Internet can play a key role in the fight for democracy and they are establishing new methods of censoring it. The governments of repressive countries are now targeting bloggers and online journalists as forcefully as journalists in the traditional media.”
At least 64 persons are currently imprisoned worldwide because of what they posted on the Internet. China maintains its leadership in this form of repression, with a total of 50 cyber-dissidents in prison. Eight are being held in Vietnam. A young man known as Kareem Amer was sentenced to four years in prison in Egypt for blog posts criticising the president and Islamist control of the country’s universities.
Perhaps I better give a few world leaders a break for a while.....just in case they slip down the list even more. We live in interesting times.
5 April 2008
Am I the only one who has to carefully edit their conversations with certain people?
The people, I am referring to are the over the top health fanatics, whose intentions may be pure but whose born again shove it down everyone else's throat attitude is suffocating to all who come within a five meter radius. You know the ones I mean. The ones who strike the fear of Satan in you when they suggest a visit to your house. The ones who cause you to go into near cardiac arrest while you manically search through every inch of your kitchen destroying any evidence of food items which have ingredients that end in – OSE.....because these people can sniff them out at twenty paces.
I really do appreciate the importance of a healthy lifestyle and I do the best I can. I just don’t appreciate having the all or nothing approach constantly in my face. But, if I did say what I really thought to these people then it would cause all sorts of dramas. Sometimes, you just have to bite your tongue and choose your words carefully. That, as you might have been able to tell, is a tough thing for me to do.
Here is an example of a typical conversation with one of these 'people' during the week.
Please note, anything in italics is what I should have said but I just cannot seem to spit it out for fear of causing drama.
"Hello", she said, "you are home, I was beginning to think you were avoiding me".
“Hi there”, I gulped, “Of course I am not avoiding you. How have you been?”
“Fantastic”, she said, “I have just paid for of an eight week adventure holiday which involves cycling across the Sahara, wrestling alligators in Brazil, free falling off the Harbour Bridge, climbing Mt Everest naked and swimming from Australia to Cuba…and back. I feel so alive and incredible. I am jumping out of my skin. What have you been doing?”
Note to reader – when she asks this she is always referring to what healthy and extreme past time I have been pursuing since last we spoke.
“Well, I have been doing lots of walking today”, I said, round and round the mall shopping before I had to have a rest at Koko Blacks the divine chocolatiers where I couldn't decide between the Belgian Chocolate Mousse Martini and the Silken Chocolate Tart, so I had both.
“And, I have been doing lots of weights", that would be lifting up the cocktail glass to my mouth too many times last night. "In fact, my personal trainer told me this week which machines I should be avoiding at the gym to get the most out of our sessions," in fact he said avoid every damn one of them because I never use them properly and therefore they are having zero impact. “I feel great, too”.
“Oh I must tell you”, she said, “I thought you would be really interested in something new I have found. I think you should give it a go. Apparently, the only proven way you can slow down the aging process is to reduce your calorie intake by 30%. Given you have wrinkles I thought you might like to try”. (Note to reader, she is serious about this, click here, for more info on the calorie restriction topic – these people look ill to me.)
“Right, that sounds interesting, I’ll check it out”, I said. Personally I don't want to look like an 100 year old prune simply because of malnutrition.
“Is that what you’ve been doing?” I ask. “If you are, then you may also be interested in this research which I found. If you drink 1,000 bottles of red wine a day it will slow down the aging process and cause death most likely but you would be a young looking corpse if that's any consolation. Apparently the resveratrol in the red wine works on a gene which controls the aging process. I have to say that at this point I am kind of favouring the red wine option over the starvation option though”. (Note to reader, watch here)
“So, how’s the yoga going?” she asks.
(Note to self, she has a mind like an elephant, even though she lacks the bulk, I must remember never to tell her my New Year’s Resolutions ever again).
“Well, I have been researching the best yoga style for me" I said. "I mean there are so many options really. What with Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini and Bikram. It's not an easy decision." The truth is I am not a contortionist and there is no way I would get my body out of some of those poses even if I managed to get into them, (even if Sting can and loves sharing the benefits of it over and over again). The best I will be able to manage is laughter yoga which is a good thing given I care about my face more than the rest of me.
She says, “I've been doing yoga every day and I must say its great for your sex life. It's the best I have ever felt”.
Too much information for me and and you're making me feel worse every second I stand here talking to you. With my blood pressure beginning to rise and my self esteem beginning to plummet I say, "Listen, it's been so nice chatting but I really have to go and get something out of the oven”.
(Oops note to self – never mention food it’s a red flag to a string bean)
“Oh what are you cooking?” she asks excitedly.
Oh shite, “Um that would be the new recipe I found, um, the no wheat, no sugar, no dairy, no fat , no ingredients at all coffee cake”, I mumble.
“Oh gosh”, she said, “that sounds so Zen, what’s it got in it then?”
“Oh a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I must email the recipe to you when I get the chance. Anyway, lovely chatting as always but I must get going otherwise it will be dinner soon".
“I’m just having a new Feng Shui East Peruvian vegetarian dish I found, it's a tofu bean blanddisgustingcrup salad", she gushes. "What are you having?”
“You know, come to think of it I think I will start that anti-aging diet right this minute", I said with a hint of exasperation in my voice. "Thanks so much for the anti-aging tips and I’ll let you know how I get on. Bye”. I skipped the food and went straight for the red wine.
…Gulp. Gulp. Gulp…. mumble, mumble - blue and green should definitely never be seen unless there's a colour (and an ocean) between them.
Three hours later my head hit the pillows.....
I didn't wake up 10 years younger because 1000 bottles is far more than you realise but the resveratrol did leave it's mark - a big headache. However, I still woke up with the same view I always had, that a little bit of this and a little bit of that always does a power of good. Why do we have to be so far left or right of centre anyway?
4 April 2008
Today I was walking along near the lake thinking about a very special friend who is going through a very tough time. She lives many thousands of miles away and I was wondering what I could say to let her know how much I care.
Then I saw this beautiful rainbow appear to the right of the water fountain. It made me think of the song Somewhere over the Rainbow first made famous by Judy Garland.
Finally, I realised that sometimes there are no words we can offer to someone who is going through a difficult time. Sometimes, a song can say it far better than we ever could.
This song is for a very special young woman who means the world to me.
I love the late Eva Cassidy's version of this song. Listen to it with your eyes closed or while looking at the picture of our beautiful lake. I will guarantee your troubles will seem to melt away like lemon drops.....even for just a little while.
Somewhere over the rainbow
skies are blue
and the dreams
that you dare to dream
really do come true ...
3 April 2008
What a woman Blanche Ebbutt was and what sterling advice she dished out to newly married men in her 1913 book called Don'ts for Husbands. Thank goodness she may have had an impact because when you see what she has to say, you get the impression that being the 'little plaything' of years gone by was not such a great position to be in.
Blanche wrote the following tips to help men in their personal relations with their wives.
Don't keep up the 'poor little woman' pose for too long. A woman may like to be a plaything for a little while, but the novelty soon wears off.She is my hero, some men like an echo indeed.
Don't condescend; you are not the only person in the house with brains.
Don't be surprised, or annoyed, or disappointed, to find, after treating your wife for years as a feather brain that you have made her one, and that she fails to rise to the occasion when you need her help.
Don't nag your wife if she has burnt the cake or forgotten to sew on a button. She doesn't want to be told of it over and over again.
Don't scowl or look severe. Cultivate a pleasant expression if Nature hasn't blessed you with one.
Don't talk down to your wife. She has as much intelligence as your colleague at the office; she lacks only opportunity. Talk to her (explaining when necessary) of anything you would talk of to a man, and you will be surprised to find that she expands.
Don't take the attitude that wives, like children, should be seen and not heard. No doubt you are a very clever fellow, and it is an education for her to listen to you, but she may also have some views worth mentioning.
Don't expect your wife to hold the same views as yours on every conceivable question. Some men like an echo, it is true, but it becomes very wearisome in time.
Oh Blanche, I am sure this was meant to be serious when you wrote it but I'm so glad it sounds hilarious now. And to anyone who reads this and doesn't find it a little bit of a 'departure' from your current circumstances, please know that there's a better life out there for you. Read this post then 'rise to the occasion' and run, before it's too late.
This is the second in a series of posts about a book called Don'ts for Husbands written by Blanche Ebbutt and published in 1913. You can review the first part here.
2 April 2008
I posted way back how I was going to concentrate on a few more creative hobbies this year. One of these was painting.
Well I was doing a bit of research and found this. I think this artist has somewhat of a competitive edge. Looks, personality, talent and so awfully cute.
Watch this elephant, rescued from abusive treatment in Burma, paint a self portrait. You'll be amazed at how his talent unfolds. So touched by their horrific backgrounds and loving personalities, ExoticWorldGifts.com now supports, "Starving Elephant Artisans" by selling their paintings so they can continue to have a new life in Thailand. Whether they are trained or they have natural painting helps keep them alive as it takes $900 a day just to feed them.
Actually I would like whoever trained this chap to give me a lesson come to think of it. Yes, I too would perform for coconuts and claps......oh please, no untoward comments about any other physical resemblances...we don't want to insult the elephant.
I do want one of those paintings though.
I have just been at the hospital taking my father to see a specialist.
Now I am quite familiar with this hospital because he once spent almost a year there. Long story. One mistake after another. Of course his story is one that is repeated again and again in public hospitals all over the world.
Today I had time to walk around while waiting. I noticed things that I had never seen before.
Hospitals are like small self sufficient communities. You can do everything there. Eat, sleep, have your hair done, shop for clothes, toys, newspapers, flowers or even have a BBQ on the deck. Not only that but you get all the other benefits of being surrounded by medical professionals. You know, those ad hoc services like life saving operations, baby's r us and nips and tucks on demand (if your wallet and poor self esteem allows).
Somehow today I found it all a bit disturbing.
There were all these people being wheeled down the corridors and many others were wandering around in dressing gowns with bandages, tubes hanging out of them, in wheelchairs and looking drugged to the eyeballs. And then, there were others pacing up and down with worried looks on their faces. Exactly what you would expect to see in a hospital I guess.
Until I saw the Cafe. It was a huge Cafe (now named by me as McHospitals) selling nothing but cakes, cookies, donuts, fries, milkshakes, hamburgers and sweets. It was packed with people and there was a queue out the door. Was I in a shopping mall or a hospital or isn't there much of a distinction anymore?
I know hospitals are businesses but don't they have some responsibility to the communities they look after? Aren't they in the health business? Or, is it just good business on their part. Do hospitals have to have a marketing strategy to get new business and retain the business they have? Do they have a revolving door strategy? I can see it now.
Feed our patients and visitors trans fat laden foods with a smile and eventually they will come back to us being wheeled into emergency after an unfortunate heart attack.
I know, it's a pessimistic view but if we don't feed children rubbish in schools why are they doing it in place where people are sick and need all the care they can get. It's not like they are offering a healthy choice. Healthy is not profitable in a hospital it seems unless they are opening us up to try and undo the damage unhealthy lifestyles create.
Health is the one thing that no amount of money on earth can bring back once we have lost it. If you have any doubts go hang around a hospital for a while and you will be bought back into reality about how important your health is.
Are hospitals giving us more than we bargained for? I found it a scary but powerful reminder that I also need to take my own health a little more seriously.