30 October 2008
Great in theory.
On my walk yesterday, I saw this signpost.
In my suburban neighbourhood.
True. As large as life.
Just staring at me. Encouraging me.
I have never noticed it before.
Wonder where it leads?
Is it a sign?
A sign of our times?
Somewhat freaky. In the middle of suburbia.
Personally, I am too scared to go in that direction. No matter how curious I may be.
For fear of the not only the journey but the possible destination.
Sometimes, for some journeys, you can reach the point of no return. Can't you?
What about you? Would you? Could you? Have you?
28 October 2008
They are not just any ordinary coasters. These are special coasters.
Just because of the fond memories they hold.
They are made from old vinyl records (does anyone out there remember them?).
Many of them are old Beatles records.
Hundreds of years ago I was on a working holiday in London. One of my jobs was selling Walls ice cream at the Home Show at Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
It required some talent let me tell you. And I wasn’t very good at it. No, not because I ate the ice cream but because I kept giving away the frozen assets to other store holders I became friends with.
Like the guys from Abbey Road Studios.
To be fair, I would throw the money in myself at the end of the day.
Which of course meant that I more than likely made zilch from the job. However, I gained much more from the experience.
At the end of the exhibition I won a prize (I always suspect I may have bought this with free ice creams) to go to Abbey Road Studios (where the Beatles recorded 99% of their music), then to the EMI factory, out to dinner and then to see Evita on stage. I also got piles of gifts, the packs of coasters being one of them.
The thing that struck me most was how old the recording studios were. I recall on one of the studio walls was a picture of the Australian Opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba who had recorded for EMI in 1904. She apparently died from complications from plastic surgery in 1931, the year Abby Rd Studios was opened.
Of course I was a bit too young (fancy being able to say that now) to be a real Beatles fan so I perhaps didn’t appreciate the significance of visiting Studio 1 as others may have. Out of the four Beatles, I followed John Lennon's later career and still have a collection of his poetry and music.
My friend and I had an amazing time though. The only problem was we went out to dinner with the head of the Studios and one of the engineers and we drank ouzo, a lot of ouzo, neat ouzo (it was the first and last time). I seriously do not remember seeing Evita at all although apparently I was sitting (or lying) in the front row. Possibly unconscious. Or asleep.
I did have the courage to see it years later just to find out what I had missed.
It’s amazing how the smallest of trinkets, which could be junk to someone else, can create such memories. I am just glad my collection of trinkets cannot talk.
That London experience was eventful to say the least. There are so many stories. In fact for some reason all my travels have been eventful. You will, no doubt, get to hear about them over time. As I am going to Thailand in three weeks I am sure there will be some more adventures, more sedate adventures, to add to the list (I am just praying that it does not include a plane falling from the sky or being in the centre of political unrest).
One thing I can assure you of, my next travel experience will not be ouzo laced. However, cocktails on the other hand, could result in a whole different story...
25 October 2008
It's been a lot more Martha than Madonna this week.
With just a touch of Ruby thrown in for something entirely unexpected.
I have been trying out different kinds of cupcakes all week for something special coming up soon. So I decided to have a bit of fun with it all and I wasn't short of taste testers.
I love the fact that the humble cupcake has gone gourmet and can be kind of playful, hip and glamorous (although unfortunately not yet calorie free). Who'd a thought it - apple & rhubarb and lime & chocolate.
However, who would also have thought that these small, innocent-looking creatures could be so deadly. After this week I would advise you not to approach a cupcake unless accompanied by both a cupcake wrangler (so that no injuries occur in the race to get the one you want) and an authorised health professional.
Ruby invited herself to help me because she is now obsessed with anything that may make it on the blog (yet she is too shy for pictures). I let her ice some of today's batch in her favourite brilliant blue and canary yellow (!).
"The cupcakes look beautiful, Ruby," I said when she finished. "How did you get the icing so neat?"
She replied, "It was easy. I just licked them."
Ah well..... looks like Ruby has her own personal cupcake stash for some weeks to come now...not sure there would be that much competition for that colour scheme anyway. Bliss.
Enjoy your Sunday - comments closed - take a break and go eat a cupcake.
24 October 2008
No, not Mine or Yours.
Theirs. The ones that don’t necessarily get ‘it’.
The whole Blogging phenomenon. That is.
Was it something I said? Yep.
Was it something you said? You betcha!
It hit me today about how much your writing and artistic endeavours are affecting my life. Yes, I’m talking about you sitting behind that computer screen.
It’s like some kind of 'blogmosis'. It creeps up on you and before you know it you are talking about your favourite blogs in your conversations with family and friends.
Today I met friends for lunch. We started to discuss politics. US politics.
In the course of the conversation we talked about political ads. I started quoting Matt's latest post from Matt-Speak. The words just slipped out of my mouth without a second's thought.
"Who‘s Matt?", someone asked curiously.
"He’s a great blogger from Texas" I said.
Then we spoke about a mutual friend who was going camping in the Tasmanian wilderness. I spoke about my blogging friend Robin from Naked in Eden who lived in the Australian rainforest for ten years.
"Who's Robin?", they chorused.
"She’s an inspirational blogger from New Mexico", I said.
"Oh right!" Eyebrows rose in unison.
I started to feel a little uncomfortable. I was inadvertently ‘blog-dropping’ to people who didn't have a clue what I was talking about. Maybe it was totally inappropriate of me. I could see the silent wheels of ‘WTF’ turning ever so slowly in synchronisation before me.
Then we got on to the subject of clairvoyants. I opened my mouth again. I told them about Henry from the UK (Soul Merlin who has three blogs), his wonderful spiritual experiences and his creative writing.
"Oh, he’s a wonderful blogger from the UK," I mumbled. " I think I need to send you my favourite blog links so you can see for yourselves."
My level of 'blog dropping' and my need to talk about them made me think about how much I am learning and gaining from seeing the world through others’ eyes. Reading blogs and hearing different points of view has increased my understanding about lots of issues. Even though I've never met any of my favourite bloggers and more than likely never will.
I only wish language and political barriers didn’t prevent us from communicating more freely with those in say China, Russia or the Middle East. How much more could we learn and therefore better understand?
We all know about the nature of ripples. We throw a stone and it causes ripples. We say something and it causes ripples. We take action and it causes ripples. We bloggers belong to a community – and our behaviour in that community causes ripples. All those ripples affect other people. Whether we realise it or not.
I’d therefore like to mention a few of my long standing favourite blogs (that I have had since Lilly's Life was born) that continue to create ripples for me. In different ways.
As well as Matt, Henry and Robin there is also Jon who is a freelance writer in Ireland, Tasha whose writing a novel online, Nina from New York whose art I have started to collect and who is a wonderful talent, Judi(jlo) whose jois de vie inspires me every day and the incredibly funny Horatio salt from Wundurful Wurld who is guaranteed to have you laughing for days. Go pay them a visit because they provide a balanced dose of what is entirely good for you.
Of course I have many more blogs that I have discovered in recent times and whom I follow and often feature in the left hand column of my blog (they aren’t ads they are just my favourite places). There are so many talented people in the world and all I can say is thanks for sharing and making my world a better and more interesting place.
Yes, I am looking directly at YOU!
Tell me, am I the only one that feels they are walking this fine line between the real world and the virtual world? Do you find yourself dropping names of bloggers into conversations or retelling their stories to others in your life? Have you actually met up with other bloggers or joined blogger groups where you live?
Image - Gettys
21 October 2008
“Hey Lilly, are you normal?” she said, as I was getting into my car this morning.
I thought I misheard her.
“Hi Ruby”, I said, “what did you just say?”
“Are you N - O -R -M -A-L?” she loudly repeated, looking through the fence.
“Right”, I said, “I thought that’s what you said”.
I chose to ignore her question. How does one answer that kind of question anyway?
I didn’t want to hear what else she had to say. Everyone’s a critic. Including a little three foot tall, four year old red head moppet who lives next door and dances to four middle-aged men who wear coloured skivvies. Like that’s normal...
Except her question left me feeling uneasy. I got in the car and checked in the mirror.
I had two eyes, a nose, and mouth. Check. Hair brushed Check. Clothes on. Check. I am missing something it’s got to be obvious right?
How can a four year old's question give me a complex? I am a confident, mature woman, right?
Nonetheless, I thought about it on and off all day. Who, after all, wants to be ab-normal?
I even googled the word normal - standard, average, typical.
I phoned a friend who lives nearby (I couldn’t trust that my daughter wouldn’t be on Ruby’s side so she was crossed off the phone-a-friend list).
“Tulip you’ve known me through thick and thin”, I said, explaining Ruby’s bizarre greeting this morning. “Tell me the truth; do you think I’m normal?”
“No Lilly, she laughed. You’re completely sane but no, I don’t think you're normal and I could give you many reasons why not”.
“Oh great, like what?” I said.
“Well, let me see. Let’s start with the simple things. It could be because you sometimes eat onions like most people eat apples (oh, I can hear you all groan but sometimes I get a craving for onions that medical science has never been able to satisfactorily explain), or you buy a book to go on the coffee table before you buy the table itself (doesn’t everyone? – it was Georgia O’Keefe after all and the table had to match the book) or you eat lettuce with almost every meal no matter what the dish (I like food that has a high crunch factor, so?) or you choose your alcoholic drinks by their colour (sometimes...often, ok, its...true).
“But”, she went on, “I think Ruby may have been talking about the fact that your blog has been a discussion point in the neighbourhood since Barry posed on his lawn for a photo in his dressing gown. You know for the post you did on Big Brother Google. I think the neighbours are wondering what may be coming next and who may be included”.
Right.... who’d have thought it. I am now part of the blogarazzi set. No wonder they scatter when they see me these days. It's a shame my neighbourhood is so normal though! Nothing ever happens besides the gorgeous Barry appearing on his lawn like clockwork every morning looking suave and sophisticated in his blue dressing gown. The rest of the neighbourhood will have to liven things up if they want to get my blog's attention.
PS. Hey Ruby, I can answer your question now. No, I'm not normal. I have my own unique style whatever that means...so go tell your parents I have my camera on me at all times, just in case...AND the more bizarre and ABNORMAL things you all get up to, the better! And NO, dancing with the Wiggles is nowhere near strange enough, do you understand?
So tell me readers, do your relatives, friends or neighbours read your blog ? Do they worry about what you may write about them or do they like being featured (with permission of course)?
And are you normal? (see.... how hard a question is that to answer).
19 October 2008
Today I wanted to share a few images of my makeup work. When I was in my late 20s I did a Theatrical Makeup Diploma which was a big departure from my 'normal' career - I have always been obsessed with makeup. I continued to combine the two careers in varied ways. You can read about my makeup obsession in one of my very first posts. It really has been an obsession since my childhood and those early days of colouring in.
My poor daughter was the guinea pig for many different looks while I was studying. She had black eyes, open wounds, makeup of every era, wigs, beards, aging makeup and so on. I particularly love the blood and gore - false wounds, limbs, aging etc. I also discovered a particular love for sculpting.
My only regret is that I have never mastered how to paint Angeline Jolie's face on to mine or anyone else's either. Ah well, makeup can transform a person but it can't perform miracles!
Truth is, I personally do not like to wear too much makeup myself I just like to put it on others!
Enjoy your Sunday everyone.
And yes, Des will be back from time to time when he is up to posting. He told me that he has a few posts in his head that he is working on now. Thanks for the big welcome you gave him to what I think is now 'OUR blog'. The smile hasn't left his face!
16 October 2008
Hello, my name is Des and I am a blogger!!
Lilly's guest blogger.
I am Lilly’s father; the one she told you is donating his pride and joy, his hair, to his loved ones (or at least the ones who need help in that area). I am growing it now so there's more to go round. It’s good to give back and if I had any more body parts that worked, I would happily donate them too. Unfortunately, I don't have any that do.
Lilly tells me I’ve finally arrived. It’s nice to be here. In fact, at 81 it’s nice to be anywhere.
I only discovered what a blog was a week or so ago. We never stop learning and the older you get the better it is to discover new things. At least that’s what I keep telling her. Personally, I still have time on my side.
Even though I'm ancient I still think I'm incredibly handsome. I'm also nearly blind so that may explain a few things. I believe our eyesight starts to fail the older we get for a reason. I think it's God's way of being kind to us as we age. He knows we still have to look in the mirror on the odd occasion and any nasty shocks could be detrimental to our health.
Fortunately, I am still in my first marriage. I guess it’s wrong to talk about my marriage as if it's a temporary arrangement but I think it’s wise to never take anything for granted. My current wife hates it when I talk like that. Being deaf helps me deal with her concerns in a polite, yet interested way.
I appreciate and love my wife a great deal though. She’s the talent in the family. She’s made it easy for me in many, many ways. For instance, we got married on her birthday. So every year I give her flowers and a present (I never missed even when in hospital - I didn’t want to risk a further injury). I can proudly boast that I’ve never forgotten our anniversary in 50 years.
Lilly has always been on the unusual creative side. She's No 3 of my five children. You know what they say about middle children. I guess I could tell many, many stories to embarrass her but after she read some of her blog to me I notice she does a fine job of that herself.
Has she told you the story about the time she got her hair cut by a la-de-da French hairdresser? She sobbed over that haircut for the next ten years. Never mention the words French or hairdresser to her in the one sentence, ever, because the waterworks will start all over again. Decades later. Or, did she tell you about the amount of time she spent as a teenager trying to make a simple sponge cake? Being the good parent I was, I encouraged her to live her dreams. A few months and two hundred failed, rock hard sponge cakes later, I was left with a very attractive path in my garden. As luck would have it, once she finally perfected the sponge she never made another one ever again. I better stop there though because she owns this blog and I shouldn’t really bite the hand that feeds me.
I don’t sing or dance anymore. Or bunjee jump. I do a little gardening. I watch sports. I listen to politics. I drink a Scotch whisky every day. And I like to talk. Strangely, my family encourage more drinking than talking. I eat five meals a day but still cannot put on weight. My boyhood dream was to be an astronaut. Sadly, while I now can finally make the weight restrictions, I seemingly don't make the age restrictions. C’est la vie.
Life is full of swings and roundabouts. By the time you get to 81 you’ve learned a lot. The hardest thing is trying to remember it all. I keep my brain busy. I think the most important thing I've learnt is that there is no point in worrying about anything. Most things you worry about never materialise anyway. Happiness for me has come from having a close knit loving family (even if at times you wish you lived in a different city), great friends and being involved in the community.
In my next post (if Lilly lets me back some time) I would like to tell you about the six essentials of life that my father taught me when I was a boy. If you think Blanche’s advice is behind the times, wait till you hear what my father said to me. Maybe some of that old advice is just what we need in these uncertain times (although I can tell you a whisky a day doesn't hurt much either).
Supposedly a good blog should have a good ending and beginning and nothing much in between (are you reading Lilly?), so I will leave it at that for now.
PS: Barbara, I have given careful consideration to your adoption request. Four daughters such as mine (think about it, that's Lilly x 4) would normally be quite enough but I have been looking at your blog and I see you are self sufficient, a fine cook, knit wonderful jumpers and are extremely witty. Given I already have one daughter who lives in the UK I don’t think one more would be too burdensome. As long as you never mention the medal haul the British took at this years' Olympics, things will be fine. I look forward to hearing whether this will be agreeable to you.
14 October 2008
Yes, these are the words of Blanche Ebbutt who in 1913 penned some 'must dos' for new brides. Apparently the state of your marriage ladies has a lot to do with the state of your partner's digestion.
Blanche wrote Don'ts for Husbands and Don'ts for Wives. I have written some posts featuring Blanche's advice for men but today I am going to feature a few of her tips for women, about food.
- Don't talk to your husband about anything of a worrying nature until he has finished his evening meal.
- Don't buy expensive food and have it ruined in the cooking. If you are not up to French dishes, be satisfied with English ones cooked to perfection.
- Don't insist in frying steak when your husband likes it grilled, or in serving his eggs hard boiled when he likes them milky.
- Don't be afraid of cold meat. With the use of a little intelligence you will find delicious ways of serving up 'left overs'. Some men like it, but cold mutton has wrecked many happy homes.
- Don't give your husband burnt porridge.
- Don't be careless about the way in which meals are served when you and your husband are home alone. Dainty surroundings do much to make eating an agreeable process, instead of a mere means of keeping oneself alive.
- Don't despise the domestic potato. The boiled potato is the rock on which many a happy home has foundered.
- Don't let your husband off the carving of the joint because he doesn't like doing it or does it badly. You have plenty of other things to do, and, besides, you don't want to show him up as a helpless man.
I couldn't resist, here are a couple of her tips about dress.
- Don't let your husband wear a violet tie with grass-green socks. If he is unhappily devoid of colour sense, he must be forcibly restrained, but don't be sarcastic about his taste in fashion.
- Don't allow yourself to get into the habit of dressing carelessly when there is only your husband to see you. Depend upon it, he has no use for faded gowns and badly dressed hair, and he abhors the sight of curling pins as much as other men do. He is a man after all, and if his wife does not take the trouble to charm him, there are plenty of others who will.
So take out those hairpins ladies, put on your 'best frock' and serve him up some porridge, not burnt of course, or some fancy leftovers. Oh and if he is wearing purple socks, with an orange tie and a tartan shirt wrestle him to the floor and sit on him until he is willing to come to his senses- just do not mention his poor taste in clothes, will you?So, what are your views ladies and gentlemen? Is Blanche's advice timeless or is it as dry as toast?
13 October 2008
12 October 2008
I seem to have had a little Martha Moment today. A rare event which seems to only happen when the planets are aligned.
1. Morning, beautiful day 2. My favourite Bircher Muesli 3. Scent of spring flowers 4. Baking Pumpkin Scones 5. and Gingerbread cake (recipe courtesy of Barbara Blundell) 6. Drive in the sunshine 7. Planting the new vegetable garden 8. Grilled Salmon and Salad 9. Apple and Pear pies 10. Rhubarb and Passionfruit 11. Blue Pacific 12. Goodnight, sweet dreams
And at the stroke of midnight, this rare cosmic event will dissipate and madness and mayhem will ensue. Ready for Monday morning.
Comments closed on Silent Sundays - relax instead!
11 October 2008
Yes, some of us know it as EWI.
It stands for sending an email while under the influence.
In the past we just had to rely on self control and possibly an understanding email recipient with a sense of humor to let us off the hook when we got it wrong. But now, 37 years after email was launched, along comes that ten year old prodigy Google to the rescue.
Google has launched Gmail Goggles through its free email. It is, by default, only active late at night and during the weekend—the times supposedly when people will need it the most.
In addition to doing a few mathematic equations, Goggles gives you a few seconds to think about whether or not your ex truly will be happy to wake up to a semi-coherent e-mail professing undying love and regret at the split. If you cannot answer the equations you apparently aren't in a fit state to send an email. Given the state of our education system this little enhancement should reduce the number of emails substantially, whether people have been drinking or not.
A slightly lubricated email (and lets not forget the text messages) sent in the early hours of the morning after several hours at the pub can be forwarded along to anyone and everyone, resulting in instant humiliation and possibly worse.
However, lucky for us, Google is going to try and save us from ourselves.
Do you think that Google is really doing us a favour by introducing an 'artificial conscience' into the email equation?
I don't think so. Stuffing up and making a fool of yourself can be character building. Besides, we know the two most important character strengths are self control and resilience. How do we become resilient if someone is there to catch us every time we show poor impulse control?
Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person by mistake? I have. And of course there are those emails I may have sent which I didn't regard as a mistake but the recipient may have.
I've never needed alcohol to cause my brain to short circuit. Stupidity seems to work just fine. I learnt a lesson early in my career and now my email philosophy is this - I never put in writing what I wouldn't say politely to someones face.
Given I like my readers to feel better about themselves and, in order to raise the collective self esteem, I'm willing to share my mistakes with you on this particular issue (I know, it's magnanimous of me) .
I once made a horrendous mistake with an office email. I had youth on my side and that's the only reason I'm telling you this. Youth is an excuse for most stupid mistakes in life. I'm just glad that Google wasn't there to bail me out before I pressed the send button. It was a lesson that I needed to learn earlier than later.
You see, I may or may not have sent an email meant for a co-worker about my thoughts on a particular CEO and accidentally sent it via group email to the entire department. Let's just say that there were thousands of emails sent that day with my signature. It was a particularly colourful and robust email. Perhaps one of my best. The kind that you will often find penned by a know it all, stupid, immature youth with no regard for 'how the system works around here'.
When I realised what had happened, I seriously contemplated overcoming my fear of heights by jumping out of the 16th floor window. I was beside myself. In fact, forget about drinking before sending emails I could have quite happily drowned my sorrows after sending the email.
I had to act quickly. There was only one option open to me before I was located, captured and dragged away to the mail room where I might have had to languish for the rest of my days licking envelopes. I had to take control of my inevitable downfall from the lowest rung of the corporate ladder to the gutter.
I rang the CEO's personal assistant and made an urgent appointment to see him. I had to do some fast talking as to why a lowly staff member such as I needed to meet with him. I believe the words, 'national disaster', may have sprung from my lips (in a loud screeching wail).
All the way to his office I was humming ...and now, the end is near; and so I face the final curtain. My friend, Ill say it clear, Ill state my case, of which I'm certain.....
I felt like a child going to the Principal's office. As I walked in he stood up to his full 6ft 4 inches. He shook my hand in a steel like clasp and said, "so what can I do for you?" My first thought was to drop to my knees, grab onto his legs and beg his forgiveness (and perhaps give his shoes a spit and polish while I was there).
But no, it's not really my style.
I just cut to the chase. Staring at his bald spot seemed to calm my nerves. In a nutshell, I just told him that I had unfortunately sent out an email by mistake to everyone in the Department telling them I thought he sucked. I said that given this was bound to get back to him with a recommendation that I be sacked, I thought I had better come and tell him to his face. Woman to Man. He laughed. And laughed.
Strangely, he never forgot who I was. He always spoke to me whenever he saw me, he ended up playing a hilarious practical joke on me. Although I did suffer somewhat at the hands of my immediate supervisors who were less forgiving, I not only learnt to keep my emotions in check when sending emails but learnt that CEOs, even ones I thought sucked, had a sense of humour. His attitude also taught me how to cope when as a boss, I was on the receiving end of such reviews myself.
So Google, I wonder, where's it all going to end?
What will you give us for your 11th birthday, a USB breathalyser ?
Perhaps for your 12th birthday you could give us an anecdote for foot in mouth disease. Now that, I could do with.
Anyway, Happy 10th Birthday Google, you've come a long way in a short time. You clever thing, you.
Do you have any embarrassing email stories? Of course we know that they wouldn't be about you but about someone you know...we totally get that...
9 October 2008
And a possible new guest blogger.
More about that later.
I spent some time with my father today while my mother was away.
My Dad needs full time care. He is 81, 6 feet tall, 60 kilos, nearly blind, deaf in one ear, not very mobile and has a mind like a steel trap.
He also gives the most incredible advice, has the most beautiful sparkly blue eyes, is sports mad and is incredibly funny.
As soon as I arrived he told me he was giving some very serious thought to being a donor when he dies. Now given he has already had about 15 surgeries and various body parts have already been 'removed' or operated on, I couldn't quite imagine what he had in mind.
"What do you want to donate Dad?" I asked.
"Well, I have only one thing of any use and I want it to go to someone in the family", he said very seriously.
I moved closer to him because I could sense this was going to be one of those conversations.
"What are you thinking you would like to donate?" I said.
He paused, and looked at me with a very solemn face.
"My hair," he said.
"Your hair?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes", he said, "My hair is the best part of me. So I want to give it to my son or son in laws given they are all follicly challenged. I just have to decide which one would benefit the most from a hair transplant."
I just shook my head and he burst out laughing.
I ALWAYS fall for his stories and jokes.
He then asked me how that internet writing thing was going.
"It's good fun", I said, "it's better than a therapist and today I even got my own dot com."
"Oh, I'm not even going to ask what that is," he said, "I just hope it's legal and above board".
He then asked if I would read some of my blog to him and explain how it all works. I've never really talked to him about my blog even though I've tried to encourage my mother (who is already a published history author) to start a blog. I just assumed that Dad wouldn't be interested.
My father used to use computers but he cannot read a computer screen now because of his sight. I read him a couple of my posts and some other blogger's posts (a few of you might get his reviews later - he was suitably impressed).
He then pointed to my new laptop and said, "what name did you give her?"
I said, "I don't have a name and why is it a her?"
"Of course computers are hers," he said.
"The minute you get a new one a better one will come along. Their language is impossible to understand and after getting one you´ll spend half of your salary in accessories." he laughed.
Dad then asked for some paper and a pen because he wanted to write something. I was curious because my father never writes anything now due to his poor eyesight.
He started writing quickly so I left him to it and went to get him a coffee.
When I came back he was just finishing his third page. He ripped the sheets off the pad and handed them to me.
"What's that?" I said laughing, "you haven't written a letter in 20 years."
"Oh, that's a story for your blog", he said matter-of-factly. "I hope you can read my writing. I think you need some help. You could be a lot funnier".
And of course, as expected, his story is hilarious. So, I guess I may have a new guest blogger on my blog (or he will want to start his own). So stay tuned. This is a man who makes jokes to the medical staff even as he is going under anaesthetic and about to be operated on.
He is proof that no matter what life throws at you, if you smile, share a joke and a laugh with those around you, you can get through most things in life. Better still, no matter how old we both get, he always manages to teach me important lessons. Today I was reminded that I need to focus on my father's many abilities not his many disabilities.
So stay tuned for Des Says. I guess I am happy to share one of the most important people in my life with you all.
A man with sparkly blue eyes, a great sense of humor and, as he said, a damn fine head of hair.
Please note the new Lilly's Life blog address.
7 October 2008
It was only one thought though because it was a very short run.
Normally when I feel the urge to exercise, I usually lie down and wait until the feeling passes.
But this gobal doom and gloom, which seems to be permeating my every waking moment, is forcing me to get a better grip.
And while I had a good thought as opposed to a good run, I feel the need to share it otherwise it will stay in my head and there is every possibility it won't have much company...
Besides, for this thought to take shape I really need YOUR help!!
My brother in law has just made 30 staff in his London company redundant.
It’s disturbing but common. And will put a great strain on many people.
Are we in free fall? Who's to blame?
I thought about this all day. I came to the conclusion that many of us (in the west) are wading around in murky waters weighed down by some kind of warped victim mentality.
About ‘our crisis’.
Whether it’s a crisis in relation to the economy, our leaders, our governments, our bodies, our church, our finances, our health or whatever! Someone else has to be to blame. Surely.
How could they? How dare they? Why did they? To us? Why?
When was the last time you heard anyone stand up and say yes, I'm to blame for the predicament I'm/we're in?
I am less disturbed about the economy, politics and the environment and more fearful about where humanity and our communities are heading.
We seem to have pushed the notion of personal responsibility and restraint out the window and replaced it with excess. In everything. At whatever cost.
And now, we may just be going to pay for it.
In this blame culture it’s easy to point fingers. We are in serious debt because we are enticed to take out more and more credit from pushy lenders, we are obese because fast food corporations serve us saturated fat wrapped in a bun, we are alcoholics because we are enticed by fancy sweet beverages which are marketed down our throats, we are killed on the roads because our cars are built for a speed we don't need, the earth is leaking because mammals just refuse to share their neighbourhoods with us, our children are getting greater diseases because companies are adding thousands of new additives to the market each year, we are lied to by our politicians because they cannot be trusted and we have no power over the process. Any of this sound familiar?
By blaming others and not taking any personal responsibility we are giving away all our personal power -to greedy people, corporations and politicians who just do not care about us as individuals. If we let people walk over our personal boundaries they will. Whether it be by the economic policies they introduce or the latest junk food that hits the market. It’s that simple.
Many people are genuine victims and face real disparities. There are people who are taken advantage of every day and it is these people who should be protected at all costs and helped wherever possible. And those of us with a voice need to use it loudly and more often.
Sometimes we are to blame for our situation and at other times we are targeted or manipulated unfairly.
We need to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, take the driver's seat and take back as much control over our lives as we can. We should not be so accepting or give people too much power. Instead, we need to demand accountability.
Those of us with children should be mindful about the impact our decisions are having. Apparently Generation Y think nothing of being in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars (with no assets to show for it). They think nothing of declaring bankruptcy simply because they cannot live without the latest material possessions. They are puppets of the big lenders and will end up owing hundreds of thousands in interest alone. Not only that, but their health is expected to be worse than past generations and health professionals are predicting this generation may be the first which does not live as long as their parents. But hey, who cares? You only live once right?
We cannot fix what cannot be fixed. We can learn the lessons and make some energetic progress towards something good. We need to share the burden and help those in worse situations than our own. We have more power than we give ourselves credit for. We need to grab this power with both hands and never let go.
With so many creative people in the blogosphere I thought it would be proactive to share practical ideas about how we can better cope during these tumultuous times.
How can we tighten our belts, save money, reduce debt, make money, reduce stress, help others, better live within our means and get better outcomes for our families? If you have ideas (ask your parents, grandparents, friends, co workers) they may be beneficial to share with others.
Please make as many comments as you can and I will compile a list, share it with everyone and give credit where it’s due. The more simple and practical the idea, the better.
What's your idea or do you have question others may be able to help you with? Please share and don't worry if we double up on comments we can edit later!
5 October 2008
What makes Aussies happy?
Well I am guessing the very same things that make people all over the world happy.
According to the 2008 Australian Happiness Index, rest, relaxation and entertainment topped the list for both men and women in the index, with quality time with your partner also making the top four for each sex.
But that's where the similarities end.
Australian men are happiest when they are having sex or surfing the net, but women prefer to get their endorphins racing by caring for their families, having meals with friends and petting their pooches.
So what’s that bird got to do with any of this?
Well I think birds can teach us a lot about ourselves.
The photo above (by Andy Rouse) is of an Osprey in flight.
You may notice that the bird is carrying a twig.
He is carrying it back to his female.
Every time the male offers the female a twig, she mates with him.
Now look at the intensity in that bird's face. He's like a man on a mission.
He knows he is heading straight for happiness.
And I guess his female, if she had any sense, is lying back with a cocktail in hand, watching the four walls of their home being renovated around her thinking about which new fish recipe she might try for dinner with friends.
Wonder what kind of pets birds have?
And what's the betting that these little Osprey urban dwellers chose that utility pole to build their home because they, like us, know that “you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much bandwidth.”
See, we are so alike. I jest.
Maybe happiness comes from the simple things in life. And it's no more complex than that.
Maybe, I could be a whole lot happier; perhaps I just need to find a man who brings me twigs (um after reading Gran's comment on this post mmm, I meant a man who ......., oh I think I'll leave it before I make it worse, give me some puffs of that asthma inhaler Gran (Gran Speaks).
Do you agree with the Happiness Index? What makes you happy?
Have a great Sunday!
3 October 2008
Not only is the economy in meltdown but apparently the cost of climate change “will haunt humanity until the end of time".
According to some know it all scientists (ok, they do good things for the world but this time they have gone too far), we Australians will be forced to eat kangaroo in the longer term as beef and lamb will be in limited supply and reserved only for the very wealthy.
For most of Australia's human history - around 60,000 years - kangaroo was the main source of meat and the experts think that we should now get rid of our 20 million sheep and 7 million cows and replace them with 240 million kangaroos.
This is all thanks to a special report commissioned by Greenpeace which claims that Aussies can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint by eating less beef and more of the local wildlife. And now everyone's suddenly getting over-excited about kangaroos.
Why? It's all because they don't err, break wind.
Or, to put it rather more scientifically, whereas cows and sheep release vast quantities of methane through belching and flatulence, kangaroos release virtually none. Not only are they cute but they are model livestock apparently.
I can see all our farm animals committing hari-kari over this announcement. And to think all I wanted was a Friesian cow, just one lousy cow to call my own! I can just envisage the cow police calling on me looking for Fanny Mae (my cow to be) under the bed or behind the couch and taking her away. Who would have thought that pet cows may soon be prohibited?
I am turning vegetarian. That has to be a better way to save the planet. And our kangaroos.
I will NOT eat Kangaroo. And I'm not going to throw a kanga on the barbie for anyone. The fact it was only legalised for human consumption in the mid 90s says something don’t you think?
Alright, I confess I had a taste, ONCE. But it was years ago when I was young, foolish and easily led (I am now older, foolish and easily led). It was a dare and I had to have three stiff drinks in a row for courage. The meat was dark, chewy and horrible. Worse still, for my punishment, I had horrific dreams that I had eaten Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo . One minute, Skippy was bouncing happily through the outback, ears flapping, tail flopping, without a care in the world. Happy. And the next minute, he’s on my plate and I am eating him without a care in the world. Happy. That’s a lot of guilt to carry, let me tell you and it will haunt me until the end of time.
I think eating kangaroo is about as disrespectful as eating your mother’s pet cat. And I don’t mean that disrespectfully. The Kangaroo is our national emblem. It’s image is on our coins. No, it’s too horrible to contemplate.
I don't care that Europe is mad for kangaroo. They don’t know what they are doing. Besides they probably think skippy is just a piece of meat lying on a plate covered in exotic sauce and accompanied by root vegetables. Here, we once sang about him as 'our friend ever true'.
The French eat it in steaks.
The Belgians like a nice bit of fillet.
The Germans are partial to a warming tail soup and the Russians are particularly partial to sausages - so partial that they eat more kangaroo meat than anyone in the world.
Cue depressing music. I think a little Leonard Cohen and a big piece of chocolate are called for.
I have lost the bounce in my step.
And, as for tuna being the new chocolate, arghhhhhhhhh!!!!
So tell me have you or would you eat Kangaroo? Or have you eaten something that is not usually found on the standard menu?
Update: This video features the Skippy theme song from the TV series and is especially for Rene from Not the Rockefellas - may you hum this all weekend!