Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Live Life Love Music

I spent a good part of my misspent youth watching bands do their stuff in pubs, clubs and outdoor concerts.  In 1981 I was in Year 10 (4th form in those days) and I was faking my way into pubs and clubs using my sister's ID (no photo ID's then).

I still see a band now and then and a few times a year I may get to a music festival.  I still have a big soft spot for those bands I first heard in my teens and a lot of the background noise to my childhood was the music played at my parents' parties and barbeques. Some of Mum and Dad's favourites were Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles. Then my older siblings brought in Captain Matchbox Band, Daddy Cool, ZZ Top, Rolling Stones and Creedance Clearwater.

It seemed all of my parents' friends were up for a party most weekends (especially in Summer) and Mum would rustle up a bit of lettuce and tomato or a giant potato and egg salad with a side of canned beetroot and corn on the cob. Dad would char some tiny, thin steaks and sausages on the big, metal plate he had suspended on bricks over a fire, which was his version of the barbie.

There was always loud music, lots of canned beer and cask wine, laughter, dancing and someone with a guitar. Dad would sometimes play the bongos, spoons or the tea-chest-base (which of course he made himself) and occasionally perform one of his party tricks (my favourite was when he would suspend himself in a perfect horizontal line from the clothes line pole, sometimes in his red striped pyjamas - I don't know why - but I was impressed by how strong his arms were).

(this is how I ended up on the Hills Hoist most times)

When I finally got to escape the backyard BBQ (which were actually always good fun with Mum and Dad for entertainment), I discovered live bands (professional ones).  My first concert was Midnight Oil on Wanda Beach where even after convincing two of my friends to go with me, they chickened out and I ended up in front of the stage with Peter Garrett's head sweat raining down on me (along with a torrential downpour).

Two of the earliest, and favourite bands were the Radiators and The Sunnyboys.  I must have seen the Radiators about ten times over the years and, unfortunately, only saw The Sunnyboys a few times. The first time was at Caringbah Inn with my sister where, once again, I wiggled my way up the front to look at them up close. Not quite a groupie, but I was transfixed.

Zoom forward about 30 years and I was transfixed again watching the ABC special "The Sunnyboy".  It was about the life of Jeremy Oxley and his battle with mental illness.  Absolutely brilliant film and even if you're not a fan of The Sunnyboys, I recommend you watch it. Jeremy is an interesting man and, in the end, a Happy Man.


So did music play a big part in your youth? What was your favourite band?

*Joining with Essentially Jess*

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Losing my shit

It really wasn't a bad day, a bit boring if anything. I did all the work I could find, I helped out at Reception and I had a lovely lunch with a friend.

I applied for a couple of jobs, both of which were completely different but equally suitable.  Seems I still don't know what I want.  Or need.

Had a half glass of wine and a good laugh with the girls before leaving work.  There was hardly any traffic on the way home and an interesting talk on Triple J. Then I went to take the turn on to my road and a car went right through the big, red sign that says "GIVE WAY". Then another big hoon-mobile shot through too, which almost cleaned me up and put an end to my moderately lovely day.

A great rush of hot anger went through me and I leaned on that horn like a mother.


My house is about four houses down from the intersection and the first car had pulled in to park outside my house while the hoon sped off. I went to go in front of the first car to park, but she then decided to first reverse then drive forward too so I was stuck out on the road in the traffic, not being able to even get in my driveway (which was occupied by Mr Moneymaker's car).

Getting even more hot under the collar I decided to park half in the driveway and half on the pavement and got out. Looking over at the parked car, two women got out in their Lorna Jane coordinated running gear, the passenger on the phone and the driver getting something in or out of her boot.  Calming myself, ever the lady, I politely asked her "Did you realise that was a Give Way sign there?" She replied offhandedly "Yes, I waved you through, I did give way".

Steam. "No you didn't".  I'm so polite I was grinding my teeth when I said this.  Jogging bitch replied "Oh, I don't have time for this" and waved me off. For real this time.  Her friend must have had a very interesting phone call because she did not pay any attention to us and walked quickly across the road.

You know when a situation like this arises and you think you know what to say and are sure that you will cut them down to size with your quick wit?  No?  Me neither.  So I growled "Yeah, I don't have time, you don't have time, time to kill someone" or something just as nonsensical.  She casually crossed the road as if I wasn't even speaking (well, to be honest I'm not sure she could understand my gibberish) and I stormed inside slamming the door.  After I blurted it all out to Mr Moneymaker who was on the phone to his sister who said to her "hold on a minute, my wife just walked in really pissed off", I then thought of all the things I SHOULD have said straight at her.  Like:

"What's your hurry? Late for your monthly jog?"
"Don't park your shitbox outside my house, you're bringing down the tone of the neighborhood"
"What's wrong? Lycra riding up your arse?"

OK, so they're not so witty.  If you have any suggestions, please let know. I need to memorise witty comebacks for these exact situations.

After I came inside I was still shaking after twenty minutes. I was thinking of either parking her car in so she couldn't leave, putting a sternly phrased letter on her windscreen or keying her car.  All really good revenge acts - if she hadn't seen where I live and what car I drive.  So I just gave good glare out the window when she returned to make her think I had done something to her car.  Also I decided that people like that will always be punished by Kharma.  I hope.

*Linking with Essentially Jess for #IBOT*

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stuff happens - nose picking, yoga phone, Bachelor Eye Language - it's time for #FYBF!

Stuff happens during the week that I really want to tell someone about, but by the time I get home or catch up with a friend, I've completely forgotten about it or too much time has passed for it to be relevant and then if I blurt it out randomly in some conversation with friends weeks later, I look like crazy-lady.

For example last week I was in the usual line of traffic trying to merge onto Epping Road after work when I looked across to the next line where a not unattractive young guy was busy discovering UFO's up his right nostril. I thought, hang on, this is disgusting but I wonder what he'll do with it when he finds one? Well he had made a thorough inspection of it on the end of his finger then, before the choice of where to get rid of it (steering wheel? door handle? seat? mouth?!?!), he looked across at me smirking and then guffawing out loud at him.  The lights went green and both lanes moved on except he kept a constant car length back from mine.  I guess he was more than a little embarrassed as I was virtually laughing in his face.  I also made a vow to myself to NEVER be tempted to have a bit of a pick in the car. People are watching!

Then there was that time at band camp yoga where it was all zen and the hypnotising voice of Phil the yoga guru was getting us all stretchy and twisty when I look at the young Chinese girl in front of me who was half heartedly bending and reaching then twisting, all the while scrolling through her Tumblr on the iphone next to her. I let it get to me and instead of being all relaxed and peaceful, I was annoyed and holding back my old lady tsking while in resting baby pose. Why can't they get their hand off it for a minute?!?

show off! (from here)

And I can't start talking about The Bachelor because the best bits were so well covered in this hee-larry-os review by Rosie Waterland at Mamamia - so read about Dirty Street Pie Laurina and the Eye-Touching Trauma here.  Rosie really should be getting a commission from that show.

There's also the fact I've signed up at work for Steptember which is fundraising for Cerebral Palsy Alliance by doing at least ten thousand steps a day.  I'm mostly getting them done by doing a lot of document deliveries from one end of the shopping centre to the other, circuits of the Bay Run and the yoga classes - yes they can be converted to steps!  Its the asking of donations I'm not great at.  So if you want to help me out there and help those living with Cerebral Palsy, please go here.


Well, I'm glad that's all out of my system. I hope some more stuff happens next week that I can share with you.

*Joining With Some Grace for #FYBF*

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When a vision becomes reality


I'm not a complete sceptic when it comes to positive affirmations and visualisation, but I do believe in thinking positively with most things.  It was only the other day that I realised I had actually visualised a life for myself almost 20 years ago that is now true.  Whether it was coincidence, an accident or good planning, it came to me while walking around the bay on Sunday that while sleeping on my couch in 1996 and after being mighty disappointed that I hadn't been able to see Crowded House perform for the last time on the Opera House steps, I had what I thought was a vision but may have just been wishful thinking.

I had imagined myself divorced from The Plumber, sitting in a lovely, big house looking out on the water, having two kids (specifically a girl and a boy) and being in a happy relationship.

At the time it had been a bit of a pipe dream. Firstly, I had been with The Plumber since I was 16 (I was 30 in 1996). Secondly I had tried to leave three times in the last five years. Don't ask me why I didn't make it permanent, I can only say it was a combination of a lack of confidence and fear of the consequences.  Thirdly, I was flat broke - most of our money went on the rent and some very stupid personal loans, along with an obsession with horse riding, breeding large dogs and an alcoholic husband who was mostly unemployed. We had been surviving on $30 a week for some time.  Fourthly, the possibility of having children was already a lost cause as we had been trying to get pregnant for about five years.  And I had got used to the idea. In fact I thought it was probably a good thing as The Plumber wasn't exactly father-material and I had realised I had only thought I wanted to have a baby so I could love something other than the four-legged creatures in the house.

Therefore the dream/vision was pretty unattainable to me at that time.  But it was such a strong picture in the depths of a very depressing time, that I've remembered it perfectly. And with all the things that's happened in my life since - divorce, marriage, kids, buying homes, travel, happiness - I've only realised recently that the vision I had on that old couch in a miserable rented house in 1996, has become my reality.

Visualisation seems like it might be a real thing! Unfortunately I haven't seen Crowded House since.


*Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT*

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Think. Plan. Do.

(This is what I looked at for an hour tonight)

There's not many opportunities for me lately that let me just sit and think about stuff, but the traffic has been so bad getting to and from work lately (what is it about rain that always puts a stop to everything? Its just water for goodness sake!), I've had plenty of time to tune out of bad drive time radio and just THINK.

Besides a really interesting session on Triple J the other night about the furore over the blog showing women explaining why they don't need feminism (so frustrating hearing twenty something women saying they are against feminism because they make their own choices in life and are enjoying equal rights - not realising if it wasn't for the generations before they wouldn't have this freedom! grrrr!), I tend to wander around in my head (in between singing Its All About The Bass 'Bout The Bass, No Treble).

(This was built for revenge - to block the view of the tree killers on the bay)

Some of those thoughts are what job would I really want to do, or how could I make a living from home, or why do I keep saying what I would like to do and don't actually do anything about it!?!?! PLAN!

So when I saw that this subject keeps popping up in front of me, I realised I can't say "I wanna" or "I'm gunna".  So I've applied for this free session (you may have seen my blatant plugging of Suzi's 3 Month Coaching Program here) and if you would like to get your own 45 minutes of free coaching, click here.
(Some graffiti is just great art)

*Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT*

Saturday, August 23, 2014

When Memory Lane has been renovated

Its not always wise to visit the streets of your past.

They may seem smaller and less sparkly than you remember, but sometimes, even worse, they look exactly the same.

To explain myself, I spent last weekend with my sisters (Sister T and Sister D) playing in the suburb I grew up in, Cronulla. I haven't lived in the Sutherland Shire (it wasn't called "The Shire" when I was there) for almost 18 years.  But last weekend I had a bird's eye view from the sixth floor of the Rydges Hotel.  Even with the rain and the black clouds, the beach was still beautiful.

Of course the first point of call was the lounge downstairs for a quick cocktail then, after way too long getting ready, we took ourselves down the mall and found a trendy bar that wouldn't have looked out of place in Newtown or St Kilda. It was furnished with beaten up old wooden furniture with a feel of Southern Moonshine. The bar was very hipster so we sat in a quiet corner to have a drink. OK that's quite different to what we would have done 20 years ago but even more telling that time had definitely passed, is we were ordering food - shock horror - and sadly had to bring out reading glasses to read the menu.

But we couldn't sit still, as usual, and went out to find some music. We headed towards the RSL where a lot of nights were spent dancing at the Friday night disco in our youth. It was now about twice the size and unrecognisable - or as Sister T said "walked down memory lane and discovered its been renovated". And there was no music!  We had heard there was music in Gymea so assumed it was at the Tradies' so hopped into a taxi - nothing will stand in our way of a night of dancing.

Turned out the Tradies' had also exploded into a glass and steel monolith - and no music. The night was turning into a dud.  We were all dressed up and nowhere to boogie.  Luckily the reception guy at the Tradies' told us about the Vinyl Room which we had heard rumours about earlier.  This sounded right up our alley and it was only a billionty metres down the road (well it felt like it in high heeled boots).  Upon approach our dim dark memory was awoken and we realised it was a bar we used to go to way back when. After paying the door girl a whole five dollars(!) she said yes, its been there even before she was born (hurrumph) and it was called Cascades. It all came back to us and in unison we said "Oh God, its Catch Aides!!" Well that's what we all called it in the 80's.

It was a desperado type pick up joint but because they played all our favourites we always ended up dancing there all night.  Even our brother was known to lurk in the corner.  And yes, they still played all our favourites and everything else from before 1990.  At that stage, around 10pm, there was only a handful of mostly single males there but it soon filled up with dozens more drunken, dancing dudes. And some girls.  And of course we ended up on the dance floor as well.  Its easy to dance when you know all the words.

The next day was a late breakfast in the mall, shopping for stuff to wear that night (Rundles is still there!) and reminiscing about shops that had disappeared - like the toy shop, the pie shop and Jolly Rogers. Three staples as a kid.  I remember saving up my pocket money to buy a piece of tiny, wooden reproduction doll's house furniture each week, then it would be treating myself to an apple pie with cream and as a teenager buying my very own records (or cassette tape) - my first was The Chipmunks (I was so cool).

We spent the afternoon at Northie's in Old Joe's which is a reproduced Milk Bar that was situated next to the old Cronulla Worker's Club over the road - now torn down and fancy restaurants in its place.  They've put in the stuff you would expect like a pinball machine and Space Invaders game table (I wonder if they had come from the old game parlour, Flashez, where I used to spend all the change I pinched from Mum's pokie money?).  There were old photos of Cronulla, a Jackson surfboard (Sister D's husband used to work at Jackson Surfboards in the seventies, so had to take her picture in front of it of course) and retro furniture - which I loved so much I Instagrammed it.

 

Besides the Kettle of Tea With Norma (a very tasty jug of cocktail goodness), the best thing at Old Joe's was a ping pong table.  It's taken over forty years but I think I may have found my thing. Its a sport that I both really enjoy and I'm quite good at it.  Sister T and I spent so long playing table tennis, Sister D was able to pop over to the hotel for a Disco Nap.  We had so much fun we're thinking of buying a ping pong table.  Or just getting the net to stick over the dining table.

That night Sister D had a school reunion at The Taren Point Hotel so Sister T and I tarted up got dressed up again and went looking for somewhere to eat.  We ended up meeting some friends at the Cronulla RSL for dinner and stayed to hear a band called Too Many Guitars which were a group of teachers who played pretty good covers (even fitted in a couple dances, even though my feet were still killing me).

The 'old girls' eventually turned up and there was more dancing.  It was still pouring rain by the time we left so three tired 'ladies' huddled under an umbrella and hoofed it back up to our room.

The next day we donned our very bright matching hoodies (a coordinated rash online purchase a couple of months ago) and hit the mall again for breakfast which for some wanky reason was served on a square slate tile similar to what I used to have on my kitchen floor (have you ever tried to eat poached eggs off a tile?). We did drew out our grumpy old ladies card and asked them to be brought back out on plates. They won't forget us in a hurry.

I kept forgetting that we looked like a very unfit sporting team on their end of season weekend away and wondered why everyone was giggling at us. At least we could find each other - we stood out like very bright dog's balls!



Have you had a recent run down memory lane? Has it been demolished or spruced up since you were there?  Have you ever looked as ridiculous as these three?


 "It's a Bird Thing - you wouldn't understand"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Coaching Program and Retreat Deal - #IBOT

*Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT*

After the sadness of last week, I think its best that instead of trying to work my tired head into creating an original blog post this today, I use my space to promote an opportunity my chiropractor told me about yesterday.  He started the Petrozzi Wellness Centre where I've been going to keep my bent spine in working order for about the last ten years.

The resident psychologist, Suzi Petrozzi (who also happens to be my chiro's wife), has developed a coaching program specifically for women which includes a 3 day retreat in Kangaroo Valley!  She can help you achieve your personal goals and be the best you can be (read more about it below).

Suzi Petrozzi is a coaching psychologist, and an expert in helping women who are at a life transition step into their calling and start living a life of upliftment, purpose and meaning.

It sounds wonderful and as it's a saving of $900 off the regular price, its a bargain too!  The deal runs out on the 29th August 2014 and places are limited so get in quick!  You can call them on 02 9518 0096 or email Suzi at suzana@petrozziwellness.com.au -  I might even see you at the retreat!


Save $900 on 3-Month Coaching Program with Suzi Petrozzi

Move Forward Creating Your Ideal Life…with this 3-Month Coaching Program for Women

Includes a Bonus 3-Day All-Inclusive Retreat in Kangaroo Valley...SAVE $900


Are you holding yourself back in life from achieving more? Are you tired of the 'same old, same old' way of life? 
Are you feeling disconnected from the people in your life?

Are you yearning for the freedom to be authentic and loving?
Are you ready to become a recognised leader in your personal and professional life?

Would you love to work with an expert Coaching Psychologist who knows how to move you forward...closer to your dreams?

I've worked with thousands of people just like you and coached them to create amazing changes in their life.

I invite you to join my exclusive 3-Month Coaching Program which includes a BONUS 3-Day Retreat in the heart of Kangaroo Valley. 
 
Join me for this exclusive program where you will:
  • Get clear and focused on what you want in life
  • See things in your life finally start falling into place
  • Be yourself, laugh and relax more
  • Start attracting more positive people and experiences
  • Have closer and deeper relationships
  • Have the confidence to let go of things that don't make you happy
  • Make decisions with confidence
  • Create more joy and happiness
  •  No longer worry about what other people think you should be doing
You will get:
  • Weekly 90min group teleconference coaching calls, over 3 months,  where you will be coached on the framework to successful living
  • One monthly 60 min 1:1  coaching session with me where you will have the opportunity to refine and action your goals.
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Reserve you place now in this exclusive 3-Month Coaching Program with a BONUS 3-Day Retreat at a special price of $2097 (this is a $900 saving of the usual $2997  when you book before the 29th August 2014 midnight AEST). BOOK NOW! 

Suzi Petrozzi is a coaching psychologist, and an expert in helping women who are at a life transition step into their calling and start living a life of upliftment, purpose and meaning.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When the funny goes away

I know I'm not the only that was heartbroken to hear of Robin William's death today.

I've loved him since Mork 'n' Mindy and I watched the video of him in "An Evening at The Met" so many times in the '80's I used to know parts of it off by heart.  I realised he was absolutely off his dial during these years but it did not take anything away from his comic genius, it was just really really fast comedy.  

His movies were diverse, from Mrs Doubtfire (which is on tonight), to The World According to Garp (loved this book and movie), Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Night at the Museum, Aladdin and Happy Feet.  He also appeared in the video Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.



There wasn't too much said about mental illness in the '80's.  But as time went on, more and more people in the spotlight came out and said they were suffering.  It wasn't just drug and alcohol addiction but an actual illness that they were self medicating.  I'm no expert, no counsellor or psychologist (I did do one term at TAFE as part of a Human Resources certificate - the only interesting part of the course!), but I believe there are huge number of people suffering an actual mental illness but seen as just junkies or drunks.

And to those that think depression is just a case of feeling sad sometimes, they haven't felt it or lived with someone who has.

How much do we know about depression and why do some people have it - what is it in the brain that just decides that it cannot cope with life. I'm not a researcher so have gone the easy way out and have included a Fact Sheet from The Black Dog Institute here.

Robin Williams loved to make people happy and worked hard at being the funniest man alive (in my opinion). But as he has said in various interviews, when he wasn't performing for an audience or a fan, he was a quiet and contemplative person.  He watched and saw the comedy in everyday situations and made fun of serious people.  

I absolutely loved Robin Williams and so did a lot of other people in the world - his wife, his children, his family, his millions of fans.  And if all that love couldn't save the funniest man on the planet, what kind of fucked up sad disease is that?

(If you're feeling sad and need help, please find some useful information here.)

If you want a laugh, watch this. Thank you Robin.

(An Evening at the Met, circa 1981)

and this from 2008 on my favourite British talk show.....

RIP RW x

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sunday with Mizuno, Morgan, Lucy and Scarlett

Last Sunday we found ourselves in a shopping centre with no real purpose except to find coffee. This was after browsing in a bike shop down the road for Mr Moneymaker (he's been riding, spariodically, a bent $20 model from the local garage sale for awhile now).  So what do we do when we want to fill in an afternoon? We go to the movies!

The only movie that mum, dad and son could agree on was Lucy but it wasn't on for an hour so I took the opportunity to get myself a new pair of runners.  I know, I don't run.  But that morning I took part in the annual Bay Run and actually ran for some of the 7 kms.  It almost killed me and I'm still walking two days later like I've had a double hip operation, but I ran further than I ever had before.  Therefore I thought I had better get some good support. I had tried a pair of fancy ones on at the finish line (they had sports retailers hawking there of course) which were 'on special' for $180!!!


I'm a bit frugal when it comes to spending money on clothes and shoes for me, so I couldn't really justify that much when I'm likely to only put them on twice a week at most.  But I noted the Japanese brand (Mizuno) which had great support and there they were on sale in Footlocker for only $80! Winner!  The only downside is they are butt ugly. A sort of pinky purply colour.  And not a nice pinky purply either.  But it doesn't matter, they feel good and hopefully next time I wear them I'll be able to run and not end up walking like a wooden doll.

The movie Lucy was full on.  If you don't know of the movie (in fact the title just reminds me of a troublesome Rottweiler I once owned), it stars Scarlett Johansson who inadvertently takes a new super drug into her body which, frankly, gives her super powers and then kills her within days.  After growing her brain capacity to 100% of course.  Sounds a bit science fictiony but I found it thought provoking.  And pretty cool. Plus Morgan Freeman is in it.

There was a bit of shocking violence in it which in hindsight, was probably not appropriate for my 11 year old son to watch, but he enjoyed the action scenes and the concept that dolphins use more of their brain than we do.

So all three of us got something out of it as Mr Moneymaker now has a new star crush as he's sacked Cameron Diaz because she's getting to close to his own age.  So thanks Scarlett, for making it that much harder for me to put the lights on ever again.


*Joining Essentially Jess for IBOT*

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dinner anyone?

Tonight I'm not discussing getting used to driving to and from work each day and trying to find ways to keep myself amused for 40 minutes each way.

I'm not discussing how I watched the slow decomposition of a cute black kitten on the median strip of Epping Road every day, how I considered stopping the first time I saw it to check to see if it really was dead (which would have probably killed not only me but the dozens of drivers that were zooming up at me at 80kms/hr).

I'm not discussing how I attempted to dress as what I thought would be a sexy female gangster in a pin stripe suit for a Great Gatsby themed party on the weekend, but I just ended up looking like an old lesbian with a machine gun.

I'm not discussing how I vowed (yet again) to join the gym (which is a two minute walk from my office) and make the most of it by building my upper arms so that I won't end up with chicken wings and strengthening my core so I can attempt to run at least some of the Bay Run this year, but have only been three times in four weeks.

I'm not discussing how surprised I was that when I had to put my phone in for a repair, I really missed it. I worried my photos had disappeared into the big grey cloud and I would never see all those invaluable text messages I was keeping for some unknown reason.

But I do want to talk about something I would really love to go to and have been waiting about a year for the opportunity.

My favourite magazine, The Collective, is hosting a dinner at The Commons in Sydney next Monday night and if I buy myself a ticket, I can take a friend along for free!  So if you're interested in really good food along with chatting with creative and inspirational people, plus an opportunity to ask Collective's editor, Lisa Messenger, any question you can think of - give me an 'Oi'.

You never know, that great idea you have in your bottom drawer might just gain some legs.
*Joining Essentially Jess for IBOT*

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Getting my Collective fix today

I've been working at a new job for two weeks now and though I've enjoyed it, I'm feeling soooo tired.  And I don't think its even the job itself, even though it is busy its nothing I can't handle. I think its the driving 45 minutes each way, every day.  I get home by 6pm which I haven't been used to for some years. Cooking dinner has become a little hit and miss lately (ie. whatever can be heated up or is made of mince).

Once that's all done and dusted and any taxi-ing to training or teen's work place, is over, I try to read the papers (well the weekend mags) that have been waiting on the coffee table all week (books are for reading at lunchtime).  I also attempt to get through any blogs I want to catch up on, any social media posts or emails but my eyes scream protest after looking at a monitor all day.

I'm not much for magazines so I have one favourite one that I hold a treasured subscription to and today Issue 12 was delivered to my letter box.


If you know me at all, you know I've been blabbing on about The Collective since Issue 1.  I've talked a few workmates from my old workplace into buying a copy. They subsequently bought me a subscription for my farewell gift then bought themselves one for the office.  When I visited them a few months ago, they have photocopies of the wonderful positive messages contained in The Collective posted up around the office walls.

My replacement started to tell ME about the magazine when I asked about the pinup quotes. I made sure she knew I was the one that first showed it to the manager!

Anyway ... I'm putting the word out there because I don't think a fraction enough people know about this great publication. Every story is about someone inspiring. People who put it on the line to do what they love. People with great ideas that actually do something about them (I'm hoping some of that may rub off on me). People that start up companies that are not only popular but can help others too.

I can see no good reason not to read about people like this (and I read every word of it). There is a part of everyone's story I can take away.  Whether they came from humble backgrounds and stuck to their guns to build up their dreams, or fought for others to achieve theirs, every defeat and failure that tested them was a reality check.

Most of the successful entrepreneurs profiled are young (well younger than me anyway) and it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling for the future of our society when its being looked after by these new kind of humanist kind of business men and women.

And though I haven't had a chance to read the new issue since it arrived today (well it is Tuesday, IBOT night!), I've had a flick through and a quote from the story on the cover girl, Lily Cole, gives you just a taste of what I'm talking about:

"I think you should always follow your heart in life, so wherever that leads you, go with it. I know it's always scary jumping from one thing to the next ..."

Let me know if you read The Collective or whether you think you might want to - it just might be the best magazine you've ever picked up.

**Joining with Essentially Jess for #IBOT**

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Swapping with Strangers - #IBOT

I love the thought of swapping stuff - clothes, books, ummm, pencils? Well, just not partners. No, not into that.  But there are bigger things you can swap - like homes!

Recently I started looking into house swapping as a way to make a European holiday a reality.  I even received a few requests from potential overseas vacationers that were keen to stay in our Sydney home.  And fair enough too, the photo I posted on the site was magnificent, in fact I had lifted it from the real estate ad we had first spotted before we bought our house.  All golden light and filters.

I can see how somebody freezing their family tail off in the suburbs of London would find it a very attractive proposition to swap their cold abode for our sun filled, bayside holiday home in the middle of an Aussie Summer.  I love it.  In fact, for the first three months living here almost four years ago, I felt like we were staying in a holiday home purely built for fun in the sun.

But as I want to holiday in the Northern Hemisphere, the time I would like to vacate is our Winter and their Summer - not keen on the cold.  Funnily enough, those coming South want to do the opposite.

So I'm not sure how it would work out timing wise.  Not only that, I know I'll be doing weeks of paranoid cleaning before hand and locking up valuable possessions like my teenage journals, wedding underwear and other secret stuff I can't tell you about.

So have you ever taken part in a house swap with total strangers?  How did it go?


(French holiday anyone - from here)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Simply Sketching

When I was a kid I used to watch my Dad sketch in a notebook that was always lying on the coffee table. This was usually on a Monday or Tuesday night because that would be the only times my parents would stay home from the club.

He would sketch all sorts of things. Things he saw in front of him (the TV, the cat, a glass or cup or even us) - he also made used to chew bits of paper and mould them into tiny goblets which he would throw onto the ceiling where they would stick upside down).  They weren't bad and it wasn't long before I started doing the same thing.  

He showed me how to draw a person by sketching ovals for each part of the body and limbs. I struggled with drawing faces and especially eyes but I loved drawing hands. Hands drawing hands drawing hands drawing hands.  In fact I made that my fourth form (Year 10 for you younger readers) end of year art assignment. Along with a painting of a photograph of my mother as a small child posing with her big brother for a professional photographer.  It wasn't very good but I still have it and every time it is brought out to be moved to another house I am reminded that no matter how many times I tried, I could not get those faces right. My wonderful art teacher, Mrs Whitehead, ended up painting their faces for me.

For a few years after I left school I still dabbled in sketching, even doing a few life drawing classes with my Dad (he was besotted with the French teacher).  But the most recent sketching I did was at my sister-in-law's hens night a few years ago where, among other activities, there was a nude sketching session.  I forgot all about the young and muscle bound model reclining on the pub's lounge and the giggling women sitting alongside me and was totally immersed in getting those curvy lines just right (along with some dark shadows in the appropriate tiny undies area).

But recently I felt inspired to pick up the pencil again after reading a story in my favourite magazine, Renegade Collective, about a gallery/library in New York called The Sketchbook Project. 

What a great idea!  I would love to go to New York (well, yeah, duh!) and visit this place.  I could spend hours just browsing through those wonderful books. But I will have to be satisfied with the Digital Library on their website.

So tonight, after I had poured myself a glass of wine and ate some pizza, I picked up a notebook and did a little sketching. Nothing fantastic but just stuff I could see around me - my dog, a couple of photos on the wall - and I quite enjoyed it.  I could see the purpose of the simple pleasure of using the other side of your brain to doodle aimlessly.

tonight's sketch - from top left: photo of daughter, sleeping Sydney, flower scribbled over a face which went wrong, photo of Mum and Dad kissing, my glass of wine (green bits are embedded in the handmade paper, flowers I think)
I think I'll do it more often.

What's your simple pleasure?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Going slow really fast

Its been two weeks since I've posted anything on here and feel I've gone back to "Slow Blogging".  Except for the fact I'm unemployed, I've been flat out (I won't say 'busy', apparently its not the word to use at the moment). Mostly applying for jobs, the odd temporary admin assignment and doing Mr Moneymaker's data entry.

Also I spent a glorious four days away at the Broadbeach Blues Music Festival with my sisters and cousin.  A veritable buffet of excellent live music, mosh pit dancing, wine, cheese, park dancing, champagne, seafood, beach strolling, margaritas, balcony dancing and a stint of slide guitar by yours truly on stage with a semi famous band.  Yes, four very mature women can still act like teenagers when enough good music and liquor is involved (I may post about it all another time).

But enough about me, how are you?

Then again ... in other news, I recently had my eyes checked and even though I've been wearing contact lenses for about a billionty years, I now also need reading glasses to wear OVER my contact lenses!  Aging sucks.  I guess its better than the alternative, aging I mean.  It will just mean its another thing I'll be searching through the house for because I was sure I left it right here!  Anyway, a couple of hours after my eye test, The Project presented a story on eyes aging and advertised this web site (coincidence much?).

So yeah, that's about me again but hey, its my blog eh?

While on me, this is stuff I've been doing lately:

  • Listening to:  Every possible performer at the Broadbeach Blues Music Festival (did not appear in this clip but there is a secret video held of me on stage with Mason Rack...).
  • Watching: Fargo (though I'm two episodes behind so don't anyone tell me what's going on yet!). This is the best TV show I've seen since Breaking Bad - you must check out SBS on Thursday night.
  • Watching: The Voice - I've become strangely addicted this season, probably because of lack of Delta.
  • Reading: Bird by Bird - Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamont - a 'real' book about writing where the author 'speaks my speak'; and My Booky Wook, a Memoir of Sex, Drugs and Stand Up by Russell Brand - he's a very naughty but incredibly funny boy.
  • Reading: Renegade Collective magazine (time has got away, haven't had time to read the two issues I have on my coffee table but I really need to) - must have only subscription for inspiration.
  • Seeing: recent movies - The Chef - it made me want to go out and buy a taco truck and cook around the country; The Grand Budapest Hotel - a fun and silly movie by Wes Anderson.
  • Surfing: Seek.com.au; LinkedIn.com; EthicalJobs.com.au; Teachers.on.net and any other job sites where I can find that perfect job (if such a thing exists).
  • Working on: Cigno.com.au database (one thing I've discovered, there are A LOT of soccer club websites in Australia, thousands, in fact, and not all have contact details - so frustrating!).
  • Planning: a secret business idea that needs input from you, the reader - more to come later.
So once again, I've been doing nothing and everything, just trying to find my 'thang'.  What's yours?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What wants to live forever?

I want to feel this good
I've had my health and wellbeing in my crosshairs recently (its probably because I haven't had a job and had too much time on my hands). I've realised that I talk a lot about keeping healthy so I can live a long and fruitful life, but there hasn't been a lot of action done in the past.

But if I don't focus on it daily, I'll just keep doing the same unhealthy habits over and over again.

Tonight I attended a talk by Dr Michael Elstein at my local chiropractor's. He's a wholistic medical practitioner who doesn't talk a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo, but uses scientific facts about the human body and its fascinating way that it works to grow and heal itself. I particularly took notice of why we need to sleep when it gets dark and wake when the sun gets up (she says typing this at 11pm - again).

On an aside, he also talked about a prediction by Ray Kurzweil that we would all be living forever by the year 2045 or to quote Wikipedia:
He believes that with radical life extension will come radical life enhancement. He is confident that within 10 years we will have the option to spend some of our time in 3D virtual environments that appear just as real as real reality, but these will not yet be made possible via direct interaction with our nervous system. He believes that 20 to 25 years from now, we will have millions of blood-cell sized devices, known as nanobots, inside our bodies fighting against diseases, improving our memory, and cognitive abilities. Kurzweil believes that a machine will pass the Turing test by 2029, and that around 2045, "the pace of change will be so astonishingly quick that we won't be able to keep up, unless we enhance our own intelligence by merging with the intelligent machines we are creating".
Which means we will live on in our iPhones. Crikey, I better get my software updated now.

However, Dr Elstein made a lot of sense and as I couldn't take notes (I forgot my pen!), as soon as I got home, I ordered his e-book (only $5.99!), which will hopefully explain (at my pace) how I can get my system balanced through balancing my hormones.

I also attended a talk last week by Jean Kittson about her new book, You're Still Hot To Me: The Joys of Menopause. I'm not quite there yet (I only had two hot flushes a few months ago), but I thought I better get prepared.  She was surprisingly informative (I was expecting just a whole lot of laughs, not facts!) and highlighted the fact that there is next to no scientific research into menopause. This is pathetic.  I'm sure if men suffered from it (and I don't mean suffer the effects from their partners' menopause), it would be thoroughly investigated and treated.

I took the first step to cleaning up my system last week by buying a NutriBullet (well, I had requested it for Mothers' Day but ordered it by phone the next day). And I've been juicing everything in sight since, not just for me but for my family as well.  I don't always tell them that I might have put kale or spinach or celery in their juice, but they've been drinking it down anyway!  And my banana and mango smoothie is soooooo goooood!

Its only been four days where I've been having a vegetable/fruit juice in the morning and a banana/mango/yoghurt smoothie in the afternoon, so I'll let you know how I'm feeling after a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I'll be ramping up my 'getting-off-my-arse' exercise regime (I actually ran a whole kilometre at the end of my bay walk on Sunday!). That's after I get a job. Oh, and after my weekend at the Broadbeach Blues Festival with the girls (well, a girl's got to enjoy herself!).  THEN I'll get healthy.


Who Wants to Live Forever?