Tuesday 29 July 2014

Far Better Man Than I Am

For regulars, you will note I have an internal turmoil at the moment, with wanting to make the world a better place but not knowing how to go about it. I truly believe it is our duty to take responsibility for the world we've created but we seem to have lost our way.

I was saddened to read a truly selfless hero passed away today. The news article is here and the story is that of Sheik Umar Khan. While caring for patients stricken with Ebola, he contracted the disease and died a week later, at the age of only 39.

Ebola has been claiming hundreds of lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak in February. It is a highly contagious horrific disease, and there is no cure. The medical staff and aid workers caring for these patients know the risks they are taking. I can't express the admiration I hold for them, in their ability to still turn up and help.

Sheik Umar Khan was the only specialist in viral haemorrhagic fevers in Sierra Leone, so the loss is great medically, but also a tragedy for an exceptionally brave and generous human.

If religious, please pray for the millions of citizens in those countries at risk, and the wonderful men and women who are risking everything to help those in dire need.

If keen to help, there are links to donate to Medcins Sans Frontiers, Map International or send me the details of other organisations on the ground in those countries to add here. This is not a sponsored post, I am just greatly moved by the news and I thought the world should know of the sacrifice some people make for others.

Linking up for Open Slather

Removed from reality?

I am looking for work. At the start of this year, I signed up to Seek.com to be emailed relevant jobs. Seven months in, I have applied for three. One was overseas but I figured as it was all internet based, I could maybe talk them into letting me work from here. I receive a seek email about twice a week. There has been 2 jobs that would suit me.

I am not on the dole, thankfully. I am not 'bludging'. I am genuinely trying to find work. I am not even looking at the income as a deciding factor. In fact, I am looking at jobs that are a fifth of what I used to earn.

If I have only found three jobs to apply for in seven months, how is ANYONE meant to find 40 jobs to apply for that isn't wasting time for all those involved, from job seeker to recruiter or employer?

I understand that there is a perception of people rorting the system, and there are always a few bad apples in every bunch (of anything), but should extra pressure be put on those that are trying to find work and start over?

If I were a recruiter, or a CEO of a corporation that has regular staff turn over, I'd be voicing disapproval very loudly, as you will pay heavily for these 'initiatives' and your voice will carry more weight than those actually expected to find legitimate work for their future.

This budget policy seems so removed from the reality of looking for work. I would love to see Senator Abetz trial the system for 8 months first to see how it works. First he needs to live on ZERO income for six months (good luck with that!), and then apply for 40 jobs a month while working for free to receive any welfare benefit. Then let's hear if this policy is the way to go. No need to limit it to Senator Abetz, the man with the plan, Mr Hockey could join in too.

Who's up for the challenge?

As always, you don't need to agree with me, but I will delete offensive comments aimed at me, other commenters or members of the Liberal Party.

Linking up with Things I Know, because I know these changes will lead to less jobs being advertised and more jobs being given only by word of mouth, to avoid the inundation of irrelevant applications.

Monday 28 July 2014

First of the Month Fiction - August

The offering this month was the beginning of a longer story that I was trying to write for a competition but I just couldn't get it to go anywhere. I like the idea as a starting point but am a little directionless in where to go next (thus the clumsy car crash) and the characters weren't strong enough to carry it further. So it's rather inadequate, unfortunately, but may turn into something down the track - feel free to chuck an idea my way...it's a fictional offcut:

We were driving home from school, and the kids were chattering merrily.

"Mummy, can I have some chocolate?" Olaf asked

"We don't have any, Sweetie"

"Yes we do. Daddy bought some at the shop"

Ruby pipped up angrily. "Shh, You aren't supposed to say anything!"

"What do you mean?" I asked, confused.

Ruby grinned proudly "Daddy got some chocolates to send to his friend but he didn't want you to know about it. So he told us to keep it a secret."

My mind spun circles for an instant, but the crunching metal and shattering of glass suddenly changed everything.

You know me, when in doubt, kill 'em off!

Newbies, rules & examples here (100 words exactly or less than 30). Everyone, put your stories in the comments and link your blogs so we can see your unrestricted glory.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Standing Still

I was deeply moved by a post I read this week - an anonymous guest post on depression. The bit that really nagged at me however, was when he tried to tell his wife. I don't think she was uncaring, and I don't think she reacted differently to a million other people when having that conversation. I also understand why he brushed it aside. We all go through things that seem to be hard to explain to those we love. What causes the problems, however, is that we accept defeat so easily. We don't try to make them understand, or aware of how we feel. Distance is created, which enhances the loneliness of the situation.

There is a quote by Bill Willingham (in his genius series Fables) "The tide comes in. The tide goes out. We're always on our way somewhere, even when standing still".

So today, ask your partner how they're feeling. Tell them you love them. Really listen to what they're saying. Ask that extra question. Remember the surface may seem the same as always, but that may be masking what is really running through their head.

Conversely, if you have something you need to share with your partner, share it. Don't cut them out of your life - and that is what you are doing. You are taking away the opportunity for them to help you, or support you, or share the ride with you. You are not letting them be there with you.

Obviously, I am not an expert in relationships or depression, so seek professional help and take my opinion with a grain of salt. It is just that, an opinion but I do believe from time to time, it is worthwhile to ask 'Are you okay?'

Linking up with OneMotherHen for #OpenSlather.

Monday 21 July 2014

What I learnt from Saving Mr Banks

I was dying to see this film but when I went to see it at the cinema, the projector broke and I had to see 12 Years a Slave instead. So I'll admit, I had high expectations but when I finally got it on video. I was a little disappointed, as I found it quite depressing, rather than the raucous feel-good comedy I was expecting. However, I think that's more me, rather than a fair judgment of the film. Everybody else I know absolutely loved it and describe it as 'gorgeous' and 'sweet'. So see point number 2...maybe it's me!

It did raise some interesting points though:

1. Travers says "Being a mother is a job, a very  difficult job and not one that everyone is up to, one that not everyone should have taken on in the first place". I found this interesting as it's not really an attitude you hear anyone say these days. Or I don't, anyway. I think there's something touching in the brutal honesty of it. It's kind and forgiving as well as harsh and judgemental at the same time. When she said it, I recoiled but it stopped me in my passive viewing and made me think.

2. "You expected me to disappoint you, so you made sure I did." This is huge. A danger we have is projecting motivation onto people. There is no reality, only perception, so we need to be very careful about what we focus on, and make sure we aren't creating our own misery.

3. "Don't you want to stop remembering it that way? We all have our sad tales but don't you want to finish the story and let it all go? Don't you want to live a life that isn't dictated by the past?" I loved the positivity in this statement. That it is that easy to change our life. We can take control and finish the story.

4. Stay for end credits - they play the actual tapes of the sessions - I found that really interesting.

5. One for the writers "That is what storytellers do - we restore order with imagination and we instil Hope in life again & again" I loved this description - obviously it depends on the story...

Snip, snap...

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Things about Social Media I don't get (because I'm old)

 1. That guy putting his pants on without hands. Why did that go viral?

 2. Cats (but I'm right on the Sloth bandwagon so don't be offended if you are a cat post-er, you can be all Judgey McJudgy back at me)

 3. The bubble fat ad - been looking at it for about a year now. If I haven't clicked on it yet, I'm probably not interested. Though I am slightly revolted every time I see it.

 4. The FB algorithm that means I never see my actual friends pages in my news feed, only commercial ones...

5. That Robin Thicke's PR peeps didn't see it coming with #askThicke.

6. Friends that never respond to your detailed direct messages.

7. People on SM, looking but never joining in or posting...

8. Pinterest. I just don't get it...

9. People not on SM at all. Aren't they just a tiny bit curious?

10. People telling you what to post on your FB page (like this).

Linking up with One Mother Hen for #OpenSlather

Friday 11 July 2014

Would the Minister for Women please stand up?

The actual question, but less catchy title, is would the Minister for Women please stand up for the women in need?

Unfortunately, due to funding cuts, a number of inner Sydney women's refuges are being forced to close - including one for young people. It appears there will be less than 3 girl only youth refuges in Sydney. Due to lack of funding, the current rate of turn-away at domestic violence refuges is one in every two women.

On top of this, there are 15 districts where no such services are available for women and children in need.

I won't pretend to know anything about what it's like to be in that situation, but even as an outsider looking in, surely this should be top priority for the Minister for Women? Why is nothing being done to stop the closures?

As a concerned citizen, if you live in NSW and feel the same way, please gather some signatures on the petition below and post in to the address on the top.

For those not inclined, be grateful you have never needed to flee for your life. For me, it's a matter of 'but for the grace of God, go I'. The usual frivolity and mayhem will resume this week....

Digital Parents Blog Carnival

Monday 7 July 2014

Why I write...

Why do I write what I write?

So why do I write? It all started on maternity leave - I used Kidspot as a way to break the isolation when the baby slept. I'd fritter away an hour happily chatting, answering questions and eventually, writing a few blog posts. I liked getting the views, and I got a lot of enjoyment from the 'company'. It really made a difference to my days, especially those when I saw no adults in real life. I will always be thankful to Kidspot for that.

So when I had a year to go before looking for work, I decided I'd write a blog, as that seemed like a way to make money that wouldn't impact on the needs of the rest of the family. Stop laughing. I'd never even read a professional blog. I had absolutely no idea.

Fast forward six months, I realised I would never make money, unless I made a lot of changes to the blog. As you know, my heart wasn't interested in those making those changes, so now Where the Wild Things Were is just a blog for me. I empty my head, trying to make sense of the world. Join in, or ignore it. Hopefully there is something that resonates with someone.

I write for Weekend Notes, to make a little pocket money, but mainly to share great places to visit, or to boost deserving businesses. I won't review anything I don't like. I don't want to waste time reading bad reviews, I only want to read about where I should go, and so I work on the same theory for others.

I am most proud of my travel blog, the poorly named Holidays, Hellidays and the Journeys in Between (seriously, what on earth was I thinking?), which currently has a post being translated into German for a website, and has pieces published in a US travel magazine, plus pictures published in the Huffington Post. However, as it is self-funded travel, I only publish once a month.

The short answer to the question, is that I write because I like to. I get a great deal of enjoyment from it.

How does my writing differ from others?

I don't have 'a voice'. I have my voice. It's not aimed at an audience, unless the audience is like me. It gives me an enormous amount of freedom, to write whatever I want to write. This, however, also limits my ability to make money from the blog.

What am I working on?

I am looking for work writing, and in the meantime, I am writing some articles with the aim of selling them into more mainstream media. I also write short stories for writing competitions. Without the deadlines, I don't seem to get motivated to sit down and write fiction. I have an idea for a children's book, which I want to complete before the end of the year. Wish me luck!

Re-purposing this old post for #Lifethisweek on how my blogs started. I clearly never got round to writing the children's book...hmmm.