Saturday 28 February 2015

I've just discovered I'm too old to wear....

I was invited to a Survivor party, where we were required to dress as contestants on the tv show. I googled a few images of Elizabeth (as that's how long ago it was since I watched it) and came up with an idea of the attire....

I already knew I was too old for a midriff so opted for a boob tube buff that went all the way down to my waist....

However, I discovered a few other things I'm too old for:

1. Plaits. My partner opened with 'What's with the Pocahontas look?' I looked ridiculous.
2. Boob Tube. I have sadly discovered I have back fat. That's too depressing for further discussion.

On the plus side, I got to wear sneakers to a party and over-bronze my body (which was meant to be sunburn but everyone kept commenting on my tan....maybe I should do that more often?!)

The highlight, I got to smash a tile with a hammer...but my pent up aggression was commented on, so maybe there's an issue there I need to investigate.

You don't need to watch the clip, and rest assured I looked nothing like this.

Would you survive on Survivor? Who would you go as to a Survivor Party?

Linking with #IMustConfess as I really shouldn't have gone out in public dressed like that - and last night I noticed 3 people in the street wearing boob tubes, and all I could think of was how old and fat (on my back) I'd become - it was depressing...some things will haunt us in the most unexpected ways....

Monday 23 February 2015

First of the Month Fiction - March

As I've mentioned, I've gone a little off the boil with the writing of late. So here's something I whipped up quickly (as you can tell).

Newcomers - rules & examples here. Add story to the comments, link blog...(Stories can be 100 words exactly or less than 30 words).

He had tried again but failed. A slight sinking in her chest brought sadness to her eyes while the grin she plastered to her face was unwavering. He looked around and physically deflated a fraction as the disappointment rolled over him in an engulfing wave.

Slowly he made his way to the edge, then collected himself as he got out of the pool.

She rushed over to greet him.

“Great job! You were fantastic!” she enthused.

“Thanks, Mum.” He smiled. “I was close.”

It was a familiar dance for them both. Simultaneously they thought ‘I hate the stupid swimming carnival’.

Sunday 22 February 2015

Even MORE Riddle Me This?

These have all come up over the last week - I am amazed at what I don't know! Can you help?

1. Once the egg is fertilized, what makes the bones start to form? How does just a tiny egg and sperm suddenly grow a skull? (Who knew I'd be more comfortable with the sex talk than the science part?)

2. Why is it, if humans from the same family have a child there are risks of mental degradation but with horses, they're thoroughbreds? (or in the child's terms, with humans it's bad, but with horses it's good?) Why doesn't it cause problems with the horses brains?

3. In evolution, what is the point of the moody adolescence? (That's my question, obviously, but figured I'd chuck it in there).

4. Does a blind person need to blink? (My question, does a person with a glass eye or no eye need to blink?)

5. Why is the rude finger rude? (I would also ask why are swear words considered bad - I understand the biblical ones like damn but what makes certain words for body parts or functions worse than others?)

6. When a baby is just born, does it know who it's dad is? (I wonder if it even knows it's mum?)

7. Does anyone really expect Beyoncé to be airbrushed in real life? (That's obviously my question - and I'll add I thought she looked great anyway, so I really don't get that was a story at all).

8. . Why are fat cells different to normal cells, or do just all cells get fat?

9. Is DNA what makes something a living thing?

10. Did you know the Devil spelt backwards is LIVED? This was pointed out to me by my 6 year old who misread a scripture find-a-word. There has to be a story in that! (I know that's not a question but it blew my mind)

Do you have the answer to these questions? Do your kids ask you questions you can't answer on a regular basis?

Linking up with #MummyMondays

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Conversations with Change

I write a lot about change, because I think a lot about change. Changes I need to make, changes I want for the world, changes that are happening to me, whether I like it or not.

Jodi Gibson wrote a post questioning how much we are shaped by our past? I would argue a lot, be that us avoiding being our parents, repeating past mistakes, or being the person we want to be, that we weren't before or wasn't modelled for us.

It doesn't have to be big, traumatic moments that shape us. All moments shape us, and how we think.  All things, big and small shape us, so we really can't judge what an effect they have on us, as even the tiniest thing makes us act differently 'next time'. It's not good or bad. To put it in the most simplistic terms, I buy the books and board games for my kids that I loved as a kid but we didn't own - I seem to love those ones more than the ones I had. I don't know why I do this, but the pattern is there. Like it or not, we are the sum of a million tiny moments and we build on that with every minute of every day. We can work to avoid reacting one way, or the past can cause us to react a certain way but the end result is still the same. We are shaped by our experience, even if it is to make sure our experience doesn't shape us.

The good news is we can change. It is easy for us to change. At any point in time, we can take a different path. It's not the huge hurdle we think it is, we just need to add that moment of decision into the pile that shapes us.

You can turn over a new leaf at any moment, create a new beginning just with a thought or tiny action. It will slink by unheralded, but in time you will look back and see the change.

If you fail, decide again, and again if need be. It's as simple as that. Intellectually we scare ourselves away from change, as it seems so big. Yet it is just another one of those moments that pile up and shape us over time...As Winston Churchill said "To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often."

Linking up for 
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Monday 16 February 2015

Treading water

I took a long time off over the holidays, and thought I would come back, burning to write - to write reviews, to write stories and to maybe eventually start on one of my three book ideas. Yep, I have great ideas for three different types of books, that in 4 years I have yet to put pen to paper on any of them. I also have a picture book that needs work to make it better. It's written, but the rhyme needs to be reworked (because I whipped it up three hours before a competition closed, so as you can imagine, the execution is a little crappy while the idea is solid).

I was very busy with a few fiscal and travel matters the last few weeks, but have now seemed to have dropped the ball completely for no apparent reason other than lack of motivation.  I have a backlog of reviews to write, and I seem to struggle to get my posts on prompts in on time. I have three short story comps ticking to deadline and none of my broken or bitter people are popping into my head to tell me their tale.

I think I just need to write, but I seem a little too good at coming up with excuses not to sit at the laptop.

I am finishing off Amy Poehler's Yes Please (This book is a must read for everyone, especially women and there are more posts still to come on her inspirational way of thinking). She talks a lot of passion and drive and has a saying, 'the talking about the thing is not the thing, doing the thing is the thing'. In my case, I need to remember the thinking about it amounts to naught, and until I sit down and write, it is nothing at all.

Doing the rounds of Facebook are Neil Gaiman's 8 rules of writing. I will focus on the first 3 (the full version can be found here):
  1. Write
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
It's tiring to tread water for too long, it's time to move forward, to finally swim.

Linking up with Things I Know and Weekly Wrap Up

PS Not relevant to the above, except the work of another SNL writer, but I've just finished The Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handey and it is hilarious. I can't remember the last book that made me giggle continuously out loud.

Monday 9 February 2015

The grass is always greener....

We went to the Pop Art exhibition on the weekend, and while I love Warhol and Lichtenstein, when I saw their works on display, I felt a little 'meh' and moved on quickly. I was more taken with the works unknown to me in the European room and the Australian room. I said to my partner later, I thought it was because I'd seen the famous pieces so much previously, they'd lost their impact. They no longer caused a reaction or even engagement. The less famous works made me look and think, and caused immediate reactions.

This is a little like marriage and relationships. After years, there is a danger of neglecting our partner. We see them day in and day out. We put all our energy into the work day when they aren't around, come home to collapse on the couch, and cease to really talk. We want to write or read or watch tv, to unwind. This, however, is not good long term, as we risk becoming invisible to each other and that can lead to dangerous territory. For some reason, over time, we become very careless with those we love.

A friend complained that they were driving to a party and her husband was grumpy and didn't want to talk. He then spent all night chatting animatedly to strangers he would never see again, jovial and aiming to please. In the car on the way home he announced he was too tired to talk. She was angry that he seemed to be interested in everyone on the planet except her. "What does that leave me with?"

Like the art, the constant company doesn't make the person less interesting or less valuable, but we need to be aware of our treatment and reaction to it. Make time to ask about their day, take interest in the projects and activities that are coming up. Part of sharing a life together is not necessarily doing everything together, but sharing the experiences none the less. Celebrate the wins, lament the losses, no matter how small and mundane. No one likes to feel invisible. If you know more about what your colleagues are doing, or the events in the lives of your facebook friends than what your partner has on this week, then you are skirting dangerous territory*.

The grass is always greener where you water it.

Linking up this old post with #KCACOLS because we've just gone into lockdown on the first day of the school holidays and all the holiday travel plans have gone up in smoke. Meant to be writing a post on optimism but I'm lacking that a little at the moment, especially as it appears we didn't act as quickly as we should have. Of course, all this is nothing compared to what you guys in the UK have been through, so for now, it really is a small inconvenience more than anything else. My fingers are crossed this is not us finally getting a real wave of the virus.
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

*I think this also applies to children, especially teenagers. Make time to really connect with their lives. It's tough work, and they aren't always keen to share but the same rules apply.
This post was inspired in part by a story Tegan wrote here for #SunshineSundays

Sunday 8 February 2015

What I learnt from Kingsman

This movie is what it is, and doesn't try to be anything more. It's silly, and it won't be winning any awards but I laughed a lot more than I thought I would, and it made me realise I'd probably watch Mark Strong in anything. It also made me want to watch Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy again...

However, it did have a couple of things that stuck with me.

1. Samuel L. Jackson is hilarious in this, and I can't remember him being funny before. I know he was funny in Pulp Fiction, but that was a different sort of funny...this is fabulously absurd.

2. There is an environmental theme in this film, and Jackson gives a speech where he says 'Money won't change this. The Politicians have buried their head in the sand and stood for nothing but re-election'. It sums up the current state of affairs pretty well - unless behaviour is changed, then no amount of money will fix the issue. Politicians have chosen to ignore this route for economic reasons, so as not to damage their chances of another term. And we will wear the cost of that sooner than we think.

3. There is a big speech which unfortunately I can't find on the internet but the gist was that Carbon emission trading was a red herring, and we are well past the point of paying for the problem to go away. We need to radically change our behaviour and take action. He has another speech where he refers to humans as a virus destroying the host...while obviously I don't agree with his plan, it did make me think about how much longer we can really dance around the issue.

4. For the record, China's Secret Service (from Wikipedia, I'm not a spy) is Ministry of State Security (MSS). I LOVED that bit!

5. Lastly, they quote Hemmingway, with these words to live by “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” That is worth striving for throughout life, whether you're a gentleman spy or not.

Linking up with #IMustConfess - I had planned to be on topic but got distracted. In short, I have an iPhone but I haven't drunk the Koolaid. I want to switch to Samsung because I drop my phones in the pool and the bath. I just need it to be small enough to fit in my tiny evening bags (for babysitter txting) and I need the energy to be bothered learning a new phone...

Friday 6 February 2015


"Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand" Unknown

A friend who is a great traveller, was pregnant, and she mentioned that after the baby was born, they were planning to go away. She paused and looked at me, waiting my reaction. I, of course, asked where and enthused at how great it would be. She breathed a sigh of relief and said "You're the only person that said that. Everyone else keeps saying 'Having kids will clip your wings' and really negative things like that." I commented that cost of kids clipped your wings - that extra airfare, the extra accommodation if you aren't allowed to cram into one room, but the kids themselves? They love it!

Why do we humans jump so quickly to squash other people's dreams? How much is it out of fear for us, and how much is out of a sort of jealousy, that if their life is not what they wanted, neither should ours be? If it's based on fear, they will eventually come around to the idea. If it's jealousy, then they'll never be swayed. Caution is not the same as fear. Listen to reason, think things through but don't heed the naysayers.

In hip hop, there are plenty of 'in your face!' songs, where they retell of how many people told them they would fail, but look at how successful they've become. There is a lot of 'if I can do it, when the world was against me, so can you - just don't listen to them'. I think it's really positive, and a great message. To try and fail is far better than to never even try. When they tell you that you can't, say 'Watch me!'.

If your dreams are too big for those around you, it doesn't mean there's a problem with the dream. Just prove them wrong.

"Laugh at me and walk away. While I stand my ground, I know your thoughts will sway." Luke Garner

(Linking this old post with #FortheloveofBLOG because this week's post has a linky attached for First of the Month Fiction. What drives me crazy is how quick people are toy tell us that we're no good at something, that we'll fail, that their thing is better, that they're no point in trying, and what drives me crazier is how quick we are to believe them. Well, not anymore. bud! )

Tuesday 3 February 2015

If I ruled the world....

Linking up this old post with the #IMustConfess, because if I was Prime Minister, this would be the change that I instigated. I would also tax big corporations (and the rich) so that the poor, elderly and struggling got a lift. I'd focus heavily on education, both schools and University, making a good education attainable for all. (I might also make the Minister for Women female, but that's another story...)

Cambodia has an incomprehensible recent history. Our trip to Siem Reap was a life changer for me. If you want to have a holiday that ticks all the boxes - history, wonders, luxury, relaxation, great food, culture, then Siem Reap is the place to go. The biggest thing that you learn however, is that things don't have to be the way they are. We can all work together to bring about change. For those interested, my travel blog covers what Siem Reap could teach the world otherwise, here's what it taught me.

Our tour guide for the temples worked with an orphanage, the land mine museum was opened to fund an orphanage and the removal of land mines, every restaurant seemed to have some program that put back into the community, even the large chain hotels and the street markets seemed to do something to give to the people.

There is no reason, in our wealthy economy that corporations couldn't do the same. We as individuals could do the same. As we build up a level playing field in our own country, we could then reach over the oceans and continue to build a better planet. If everything we do has a community development inbuilt, our lifestyle wouldn't need to change greatly, but our way of thinking would. With that, would surely come a more peaceful and harmonious existence across the globe.

In New National Anthem, T.I says 'stop waiting on folk to help you, help yourself, it starts with you...get yourself out, reach back, get somebody else out...and that’s the way we’re going to get ahead...sittin' around waiting on government to do something for us, ain't never gonna happen partner, they don’t give a fuck about us.'

The positive thing is, we don't need to wait for me to rule the world, we can just start changing our ways. If we all start to change how we do what we do, then the benefits will soon follow. Ultimately, it's all up to us. Nobody needs to get left behind.

Linking up with #IMustConfess

Monday 2 February 2015

Everybody needs a Hype Man

The wiki-definition of a Hype Man is:
A hype man in hip hop music and rapping is a backup rapper and/or singer who supports the primary rappers with exclamations and interjections, and who attempts to increase the audience's excitement with call-and-response chants.
Music writer Mickey Hess expands the term as follows: "a hype man is a figure who plays a central but supporting role within a group, making his own interventions, generally aimed at hyping up the crowd while also drawing attention to the words of the MC". It's a really positive aspect to the music when you see this live. As the audience, you are required to participate, and the hype man forces you to be 'up' & engaged.

We are all the central figure in our own lives, but play a supporting role in the lives of many, many others. As such, we need to think about what we bring to the table in each relationship. Are we building the other person's confidence? Do we sing their praises to others? Do we point out their great qualities when they're focusing on their failures? Do we celebrate their successes without stealing their limelight? Are we urging people to be up & engaged in their lives, and the lives of others?

There is a quote from the book Eat, Pray, Love doing the rounds on Facebook which sums up the role of Hype man perfectly: “[Saint Anthony] said, in his solitude, he sometimes encountered devils who looked like angels, and other times he found angels who looked like devils. When asked how he could tell the difference, the saint said that you can only tell which is which by the way you feel after the creature has left your company.” It's not the kind of friend you appear to be, but do you leave the person in a better place when you spend time together?

I'm not saying you can't be down, nor even have days where your own problems overwhelm the interaction, but do you see the best in your friends? Do you let them know you appreciate them? Do you make them want to be the best they can be?

There was a post recently (and please link in the comments - I didn't note it down, thinking my memory was going to be up to the task) asking 'Who's on your cheer squad?'. While it's important to surround yourself with supportive people, it's equally important to lead the cheer squad for others.

Don't wait for disaster to rally around a friend. Lift them whenever possible. You never know when they're needing it most.

Now everybody put your hands up....

Linking up with #MischiefandMemories