Wednesday 29 May 2013

First of the Month Fiction - Midyear edition

What the what?? Where has this year gone?? It's that time again, write a story of 100 words exactly or less than 30 words (examples are here).

I set the task for myself to write a story that was a happy one (and didn't have creepy tones). I am not very happy with this offering, I'm afraid. I had 2 others that were better but one ended in death and the other in heartbreak - both started with a flower!  Funnily enough, apparently cheerful stories aren't my thing.

So again of the 100 words (title doesn't count).

First Love

Every morning he got up early so he could drop a red rose from the garden on her doorstep. He never told his friends as he knew they’d laugh. It gave him great pleasure knowing that when she left for work she’d find the flower and smile. He wonder if she knew it was from him. One day he’d tell her, though he knew they could never marry.

Miss Patrick watched as one of her new kinder pupils drop a flower near her door – she smiled and waited for him to be out of sight before she picked it up.

Please add yours to the comments below and link your blog so we can see your style without a word limit...until next month!

Linking up this old post with #InspireMeMonday 

Monday 27 May 2013

Self-doubt killed more dreams than failure ever did

Indulge me one more time, while talk once more of this self doubt that's plaguing me at the moment. I will resume focus on the big wide world shortly, but there seems to be a lot of it about at the moment, so I figure I'll get it off my chest and maybe give someone else a lift in process.

I wrote in a panic my feelings of self doubt and insecurity prior to attending the blogging workshop. Coincidently there were 2 other posts that day on similar feelings. After the workshop, very successful blogger, Interiors Addict,  wrote about her self doubt; she'd been a panellist, and had appeared super confident. She had alluded to it during the masterclass, but I assumed that was to make us small fry feel better about ourselves. Her surprising post blew me away!

So why is our perception so different to how we are perceived?

And can we ever change that?

It reared it's head for me again (thus the self-indulgent post), when I won the session with in the google analytics webinar, kindly put on by Nuffnang (if you missed, it was brilliant and now on utube!). To win you needed to come up with the strangest search terms to find your blog - so it was a no brainer I'd win. (Please people, said in a George Costanza voice). I was over the moon, as I really have no idea of all the things I could be using the analytics for.

Then about two hours later it hit me. I don't want them looking at my stats! They were talking in the 1000 views per day, and I'm not really in that league! Even I can see that it's ridiculous to be worried about it, and yet I am. I feel I should apologise for wasting his time...It's actually making me feel a little sick.

While travelling around The Lounge that night,  I saw a saying on a travel blog, (suitcases & sippycups I think): Self-doubt killed more dreams than failure ever did. At the blogging workshop, I learned that I would have self doubt but to just keep writing through that. So with a new mantra, I will try to hold my head high and remember the point is to get the most out of the session, not worry about what people think of me.

If I keep saying this stuff out loud (to the webworld), I'm hoping I'll start to believe it. If nothing else, it commits me to a course of action. Once I hit publish there's no backing out of it.

I will finish with that lovely saying of Maya Angelou and as an aside to those that did do the webinar, I've been eating dumplings for lunch every day since!

As Maya Angelou said "If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."

Thanks for your patience, we'll start solving the problems of the world next week and stop talking ME, ME, ME endlessly. Also First of the Month fiction is back up this Friday!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT! Swing by and see what everyone else is discussing...

Tuesday 21 May 2013

What I learnt from the Voices of 2013 Masterclass...

I wrote last week of my fears due to my social anxiety, and I'll tell you right now, when I walked in and saw everyone chatting and the wedding style round tables I almost turned tail and ran! I walked up to the emptiest table I could find (less chance of rejection) and asked Sara-May from Makeup Utopia if the seat next to her was taken. Phew. I had a seat...after chatting briefly, I was fixing up my name tag and praying that they'd hurry up and start, when the very friendly Amanda from A Cooker and a Looker came over and introduced herself. I can not describe that moment of relief, feeling I had a friend in the place (even though we had never met before)! I appreciated it so much - and replied like a moron 'oh, I wouldn't have recognised you, with your hair up'. I realised what I actually meant was, I wouldn't have recognised you unless you had your long hair out and were holding a baby, exactly like your cover photo, but we've already covered my lack of powers of observation, so I don't really need to dwell on that further.

I met quite a few more than my task of 3, but special mention needs to go to Maddie from Colour Me There who was there with her most darling little baby! The 4 week old didn't make a peep the whole afternoon - and was in the most fashionable baby bjorn I'd ever seen - that was how we started talking, I was staring at the material thinking it was nicer than what I was wearing...(baby 1: Me 0).

I'll be honest, I was relieved when my socialising in the next break was cut short by a number of left messages from a friends husband about taking my son to the footy that night. By the time I'd talked to both parties and made the relevant plans, the break was almost done...

There are lots of eloquent blog posts of the afternoon floating out there at the moment, so mine is of the short point variety - what spoke to me in particular, but I can recommend this post by Karen Jane Charlton of the Rhythm Method: She sums up the inspiring speech by Hailey Bartholomew perfectly.

Now the useful stuff that I learnt:
1. Even when someone says no, find someone else who'll say yes.
2. Just keep going, just keep writing
3. Remember the internet is forever - if you're in doubt, don't post it.
4. Don't let self doubt get the better of you (HA!) - question it, refine it and then just do it for yourself.

On more practical matters:
1. Have a logo, and nice fonts; have simple navigation and don't clutter it up.
2. Make use of the google image titles.
3. Know why you blog

On PR and Advertising agencies:
1.They don't just look at the blog reader numbers, they look at the other social media followers/presence as well
2.Get your face in their face
3.Remember the relationship is with the ad agency not the brand.
4.Every time you write for a brand, you lose a reader, so you need to weigh up if it's really something you want to do.

While I wouldn't say I mastered the masterclass, I did learn a lot and I'm really glad I went.  Lots of food for thought, and it's always good to step out of your comfort zone, just to see what's out there.

Torshlusspanik List:
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Masterclass (check)
I fled with a marvellous goodie bag (as if the information wasn't reward enough!) and would like to thank Kidspot and all those involved in the organisation of such a great event. For a little fish like me, it was such a great opportunity.

Lastly, while I don't know these people, I thought I'd put up the link as part of community spirit. A blogger and her partner were recently killed in a car accident, and their children were orphaned, so if anyone is interested in donating to a trust that's been set up, here is a link:

And linking up with some grace for FYBF...See who else swung by here

Monday 20 May 2013


I am reading Entanglement, a Polish crime novel by Zygmunt Miloszewski, that has a whole lot of crazy psychotherapy theories by Bert Hellinger (which I could talk about endlessly because there's so much muck to wade through, but I won't). It has raised a query in my head however.

In it, the main male character constantly assesses every woman he meets on her looks - she's ugly, she's neither ugly nor pretty, when someone says 'say hello to your sexy wife' he wonders if they could possibly mean the woman walking around the house complaining of her latest illness and so on. Not necessarily in a lusty way, occasionally so, but more just as a general assessment. He even notices the appearance of women he sees regularly at work, each time he sees them.

At first, I thought it was just a quirk of this character. I then wondered if it was a weird characteristic of the author. Then I got to wondering, do all men think like this? Do they think it and then know not to say anything, to avoid grief from the women in their lives?

I have a mean jealous streak, so my partner knows not to say anything - and I wouldn't put him in the situation of having to answer that question (because we both know he can't win that one, no matter what he answers!).

If there are any men who stumble across this post (I am assuming my readership is female, as google analytics doesn't refine on gender), I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you assess every female you stumble across daily on their looks? (Speak freely as I'll defend you - I'm very Voltaire* in that fashion).

Not that you want to act on it, but is it just as part of the process. I read a blog (and I'm sorry I've forgotten where) a week or so ago where someone had been blindsided by a friend who made a move...and it was questioned if men and women could be friends? This is possibly part of the same issue.

I acknowledge I might be naïve, or am I just reading too much into this book? By the way, if it is just part of the plot that will be revealed later, don't tell me as I'm only 100 pages in...No spoilers please!!!

*Voltaire didn't actually say the much attributed quote, his biographer wrote it to summarize his philosophy "I may not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it"

**I, in no way, endorse Hellinger's theories, especially the controversial ones on incest and rape - what the what???!!!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

Thursday 16 May 2013


I'm going to the Blogging Masterclass kindly offered by the Voices of 2013 peeps tomorrow. However I am not a Voice of 2013. From what I can tell by twitter, I am the only non-finalist going. I have also not been to any bloggy anything before, nor have I met any other bloggers. I am also case study for social anxiety. Needless to say this is beginning to stress me out!

I'll be totally out of my comfort zone, and I really do feel like the little kid at adults table. I've an uncomfortable feeling manifesting, as if I might be found out, as a fraud if you will, mixing with the real bloggers. Confidence is not my strong suit, as you might be realising...

So I am setting myself a little challenge (mainly to distract me from the fear and nerves that are building, and so I do actually get something out of it...).

I am hoping to meet 3 people (at least). This may not sound like much of a challenge, but for me it is HUGE. I'm the person that HATES walking into a party, and dreads the question "So what do you do?".

I am wanting to learn at least 5 things I can share with you all. (Ha! You all know it all already...but humour me).

If I concentrate on these small tasks, I might be able to drown out the loud, critical voice in my head and enjoy the afternoon. (I'm so neurotic I can manipulate's quite ridiculous really). At the very least, I might hone some skills and provide a more entertaining platform for my musings.

So as with all new experiences for me, onto the list it goes....

Torshlusspanik List:
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something*
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Blogging Masterclass

I know I used this before but it perfectly sums up my world view, and I apologise for a second time to the creator - I've no idea where I found this, but it was made by some one way cleverer than me.

*Just to rub salt into the wound, my 9 year old has invented 4 things since I set this task # 9 - designed and created from scratch. Son 4: Mum 0.

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF...

Monday 13 May 2013

Choosing between husband and child...

Linking up this old post for the Lounge this week, because I'm re-asking the question, is there a hierarchy in family? Who's needs trump the needs of others? And how do you decide?

Forgive me this indulgence, but I'm still putting this to rest in my mind. It's not a Sophie's Choice kind of decision, it's a totally first world problem, yet I'm still uncomfortable with my choice.

My husband is running the New York Marathon this year - he has run it previously and when he did, we had a little second honeymoon without the kids. We had an absolute ball, doing all those things you can't with children - 3am in a comedy club, fancy night at the Opera, sleeping in until noon (that was actually an accident and we were meant to have checked out...but that's another story) and so on. I was in the process of working out who could look after the kids when I discovered that my eldest would be starting his end of year exams while we'd be in New York. It's his first year of high school, and he's in a selective stream. He is not the most organised child on the planet, and while still adjusting to high school, I decided that I couldn't put extra pressure on him by being away during his exams.

I believe it's the right decision, and I'd hate for him to drop out of the class he's in because he didn't do well  in the exams (or was late to school because he got lost making his way from a friend's house). I believe it's the right thing to do - how can we expect him to take his school work seriously if we don't? Yet why do I feel so guilty?

My husband has been fine about it - all he said was that he'd still be going (and I knew that, my intention wasn't to stop him going but to let him know that I wouldn't be accompanying him), yet I feel I've let him down, and in some way betrayed him by choosing my son over my partner in life.

I'm not entirely sure why it sits uneasily with me. I've always believed that it's a disservice to children if their parents put their wants above all else, yet here I am doing just that. It's not exactly a 'want', but the child is the focus above the partner. The person who chooses to spend their life with you should surely be given the same if not higher focus than those precious biological by-products of that love?

I found a marathon for next year that is at a more 'kid friendly' time of year, and offered that as a suggestion, in the unlikely event funding be available. I've made it clear that it's not that I don't want to go with him, but I feel the timing is bad. It's not disappointment, though I am a little, obviously. It's guilt, and I feel I'm being mean to him. That's all coming from me, he's in no way saying anything to make me feel bad.

So if I believe it's what I need to do, why do I still feel so guilty about it? Is it the right thing to do? Any advice welcome (even if you're telling me I'm wrong), so I can put these uneasy feelings to rest.

Is it right to put your kids before your partner? Is it right to put your partner before your kids? Is there no right or wrong, just what works for you in each situation?

Monday 6 May 2013

Mother's Day - yet another thing to divide women

I'm linking up with an old post, as I'm having a day off from the computer to see my mother (and hopefully sneak in a movie on the way!). I am glad I didn't see this carry on this year around, but last year I was well & truly fired up. Linking up with a Mother's Day post on Sunshine Sundays.

I saw this on Facebook today, and it made me furious. "Is it horrible to think that your idea of a perfect Mother's Day is a day without your children?" We are all used to the bottle vs breast feeding debate, the working Mother vs SAHM battlelines and the anti-daycare brigade. But Mother's day? This is now used as a thing to divide women? I was floored. Why is motherhood constantly used as a thing to pit women against each other? And why do women so easily buy into this divisive behaviour that the media constantly throws at us?

Firstly, a little history on Mothers Day - and remember, these facts have been rattling around in my head for a long time, so perhaps Wikipedia will have more factual facts - but this is my understanding of the origins of Mother's Day. In the UK, the Mothering Sunday ay was so servants and factory workers that lived away from their families and worked every day, could have a day off to see their children (and mothers?). One day a year.

In the US, it started as a thing for adult children to write a letter to their mothers and show their appreciation of their mother. The woman who campaigned this holiday later petitioned to cancel it when it became over commercialised with flowers and cards (I believe she said 'it's a sorry state of affairs when a son can't put pen to paper').

It was never meant to be about presents, but we seem to have no issue with that (and in some weird thing, Australia is one of the few countries that see perfume as a promoted Mothers Day idea). Why don't we get all outraged at those who accept gifts on Mother's Day? It was never meant to be about Motherhood in general. It was about you, the adult, making an effort for your mother, whom you no longer lived with.

Will anyone be posing the question "Is it right to accept a gift from your husband on Mother's Day, or should he only give to his own Mother?" No, because that wouldn't divide women and have them throw on their judgmental capes.

No one is asking "Do you manage to see both your own Mother and your Mother in Law on the same day? How do you decide who misses out?" No, that won't be asked or probably even considered by the media.

But how about those "horrible mothers" that want a break? Why does anyone even care? Do people care if you celebrate Christmas lunch or dinner?

You know what I think is horrible? Using Mother's Day as a tool to divide women for the sake of social media sport.  If you want to celebrate motherhood, don't buy into the debate!

Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) (part 2)

My daughter made a belt at preschool. She decided her dress needed a belt so she made it out of paper, all by herself, and wore it for the rest of the day.

It's not the first time she's done this. She's also made a hat (though the Cancer Council wouldn't approve it) and some Hello Kitty ears, and worn them for the day. Unprompted, all by herself.
I don't think my child is a genius, budding fashion designer or anything exceptional for doing this.(though we all know our own kids are better than everyone else's). I think all kids do this - they have this spark of creativity and imagination that can solve their problem instantaneously.

My question is, at what age do we lose it? And more importantly, why? Why would humans be created (and I mean in the sense of evolution & Darwin or God, either is applicable) with this imagination if it never gets used beyond youth? It's almost like a super power in children that fades with age.

So why get it in the first place? What is it's evolutionary/survival purpose?

And why do we have to lose it? Have we, the society,  created the constraints that make it obsolete?
Why can't we say "I'd love a Dior dress, I'll just use that butchers paper and whip one up" and then see it as an item of perfection, and worthy of wearing for the day?

No matter how happy an adult is, it's never the same as that unbridled joy of a child. The child who is so content to slide endlessly down the same slide or create a hospital in the living room to be the nurse and care for the sick toys.

Once it's lost, can you never really get it back?

I'm curious if anyone has any insight on this? Or does anyone else even worry about the concept? (I know I'm probably out on a limb here...)

Linking up with #AwwMondays

PS. A long while back, I wrote this lament to the loss of imagination in our humdrum adult lives, so clearly I have more of an issue with this than most, as it's cropped up again for me.

Thursday 2 May 2013

What I learnt from Die Hard.

1. You could smoke in airports (once upon a time) - and I don't mean in that gross hazy box, I just mean strolling around the baggage carousel.
2. Sexual harassment didn't matter in the corporate world (once upon a time).
3. The guy that plays the limo driver is the young guitar thief in the Blues Brothers (in the guitar shop of Ray Charles, who shoots at him)(once upon a time).
4. The actor who played Mr Takagi was a big star in the Flower Drum Song (Rodgers & Hammerstein musical) and went on to be General Li in Mulan... He's Hawaiian not Japanese.
5. Alan Rickman type villain doesn't need to creep in with guns like the rest of his crew - he just strolls around with his hands in his pockets...
6. If you are dragged out mid-coitus by crazed gunmen toting machine guns, you'll try to put your top on, screaming...
7. If you somehow get on the police emergency channel and tell them there are terrorists with automatic weapons, and then there is a gun fight broadcast over the channel, the police will send a 'black &white' to drive past, but only if he's free...
8.If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, jerkoff. (All wisdom should end with a rude word to make people laugh while learning something philosophical)
9.Sometimes, if you are German and you didn't understand an instruction, it's much clearer if it's repeated in English.
10. The assistant who gives out Gennaro's address to the tv reporter is Penny Marshall's daughter, Tracy Reiner (she took her stepfather's name - Rob Reiner)
My 12 year old didn't recognise Bruce Willis for awhile, because of the hair..(proving some people do look better with age). Some people also look way better without hair. Positive message for us all. Lastly, and most's still good! Yippee Kai ay, motherfuckers!
Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF. See who else is there by clicking here