Monday 30 May 2016

Weeds or Wildflowers?

We seem to live in a time where there is more depression and anxiety diagnosed than ever before. Despite living in an affluent and peaceful era in our country, discontent amongst the average person is at a record high. I was listening to this song (Thank you The Walking Dead), and it suddenly occurred to me why 'the blood beneath boils with unrest'.

We have lost our way, thinking only of ourselves and our own interest. We may not want to acknowledge it, but there is a subconscious guilt of dismissing concern for the welfare of all. As the lyrics state:

'I've lived enough to know the battle's never through you pass something down, no matter where or how will there be weeds or wildflowers affixed upon your bows'

In our state of affluence, we've been growing weeds. Perhaps we can no longer vote with our own hip pockets interests. Perhaps this time we have to vote for what is the best for the most people, not necessarily for our own personal wealth.

I'm not telling you who to vote for, I'm asking you to look at policies. Don't be distracted by the chatter, the loud circus that enrages or entertains you. Look at Medicare, look at hospital funding, look at services offered and environmental matters. Look at the future of farming and look at our role in the world. Consider the economics by all means, but don't just consider your own tax break. Look at the bigger picture, and ask questions. Alert those around you to matters beyond the sound bytes. Election campaigns are built upon keeping the public distracted and ignorant. We shouldn't fall for the media tricks anymore.

This time, make your vote with certainty. Remember that 'the world can feel the changes of a butterfly's wing'. What will you be leaving as your legacy?

Will there be weeds or wildflowers when you're done?

Linking with #OpenSlather

Thursday 26 May 2016

The spirit of Australia

In her post last week, Handbag Mafia wrote "The UN says that more people have been forcibly displaced around the world now than at any other time since WWII. It’s in the ballpark of 60 million people around the world." I'm not an expert with figures, but excluding the countries they're fleeing, and those in abject poverty and civil war, I figure the Australian share of that is at least 600,000, though possibly more. I believe we are nowhere near that figure, nor are we actively trying to help.

I understand there is a cost and our economy and government funding would be strained. I also understand that infrastructure and housing are issues not easily or quickly fixed.

My question is, do we have the right to turn our backs on them? Can we ignore their plight? Do we not have a responsibility to look after those in dire need? Wasn't that what made the Australian spirit in yesteryear? Doing what is right, rather than what is easy?

Nothing is insurmountable if people put their minds to it. Aka Ra has taught me that. 

There's a story that I've been reminded of recently, about people working together at great cost to themselves, to help others,  In 1943, when the Danes got wind that the Germans were going to round up their Jews, they set in to action a chain of events. In two days only, they managed to save the lives of almost all the Danish Jews. In two days, they managed to get 7000 Jews to safety in Sweden - many were rowed across the ocean in row boats by local fishermen. A simple yet monumental plan but extraordinarily dangerous for the Danish people involved.

Only 481 Jews were sent to a camp, and most of them managed to survive that, again thanks to the Danish people who gave them food and clothes and other necessities so they wouldn't succumb to the otherwise harsh conditions. This at a time when no one had much to spare. (As an aside, when the people returned from Sweden, they found their houses, pets and even gardens had been looked after by their neighbours).

If all that could be planned and enacted in two days, imagine what we could do if we tried?
I guess it comes down to the Australian people. Are we the kind of people who say 'it's not my problem'? Or are we the people who stand up and say to our Government, 'We no longer have a choice. We are ready to shoulder the burden. We will save these people and we order you to do it, as our representative.'

Is there still nobility in the Australian Spirit?

Wednesday 25 May 2016

The new guard

I will admit I'm not lovin' life at the moment. Not for any terrible reason, just an avalanche of little things - I'm very time poor at the moment and my wish to write has been over ruled by a litany of dreary time consuming demands that must be done as a priority. I'm physically tired, and I know if I could steal some time to exercise, that would help, but alas that's not working for me either.

However, such is the way of the world, and being a grown up.

The fabulous Shot gun wedding dress

At the gallery the other week, I was taken with an artist, eX de MEDICI who was formally a tattoo artist evolved into a street artist and now a fully fledged 'artist' in the National Gallery. I love the evolution, and have been saying for years that Adnate is the most talented artist on the planet at the moment, and the format is irrelevant. The street artists are the modern equivalent of the Fauves. They're changing the rules, requiring us to rethink our yardstick for evaluating art,  So I was pleased to see that the National Gallery was in agreement.

 Do you like street art? Who is your favourite artist?

Are you #LovinLife?

Linking with #PhotoFriday

Monday 23 May 2016

First of the Month Fiction - June

This month has really flown and I'm playing catch up on pretty much everything! Hope your month is more productive then mine.

Newbies, write a story in 100 words exactly or one less than 30 words. Then link your blog (or don't if you don't have one).

She knew she wasn't meant to talk to strangers but surely this time was different? He was not like anyone she had ever met before. She would tell her parents when they got home. It wouldn't be a secret. She was bored and he made her laugh. She was always alone. She knew she could run away from him if things got scary. She moved a little closer to hear what he was saying, but he stopped talking and looked away, busying himself with his shoelace.

“How long have you been living in our linen closet?” she asked the elf.

Have a great month!

An InLinkz Link-up

Linking with #FYBF

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Kicking around Canberra

This week has been uneventful. I'm packing the house up so floorboards can be put down, and just discovering how much stuff we have in the process. It's overwhelming. I've packed up 2 boxes for charity, but am struggling to find a charity to take them.

If anyone knows of someone who takes children's books and toys, in good condition and working order, let me know.

Last weekend, I was off on a girls weekend, and my roomy was a friend who'd moved to Brisbane, so we had plenty of time to catch up solo, as well as in the group shenanigans. I also managed to sneak off and met Leanne, which had been a long time in the making and quite the highlight for me. She's as warm and easygoing as her blog leads you to believe. It was like catching up with an old friend!

 It's so rare for me to take a break, to have an undisturbed night's sleep and to race around, free & easy. We ate, drank, went to galleries and exhibitions, and even for a hike up the hill at the Arboretum (I make that sound so much more energetic than it was). We also spent considerable time planning the next one. Daylesford here we come, apparently.

So last weekend I was truly lovin' life!

Monday 16 May 2016

Can you walk a mile in my shoes?

As someone who loved To Kill a Mocking Bird, I was quite taken with the quote "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.". However, forty odd years later, T.I raises a slightly different aspect, in his song Ready for Whatever, when he says he can't be judged (by the listener) for what he's done because he thought he didn't have a choice, given what had happened in his life, and how it framed his decision making, and he ends with: 
'You'll have to put yo self in my position
You can't expect me to think like you 
'Cause my life ain't like yours’

As someone who strives for empathy, I had a startling realisation to the truth of this statement while in Vietnam. I was reading a lot about the country, and I had started reading The Trader from Saigon by Lucy Cruickshanks.

Over the years, I've read a lot about the fall of Singapore and a lot of books set in Malaysia both during the war and after, however the Vietnam war was quite new to me, so I read a few books on the journalists and the fall of Saigon and then picked the Cruickshanks book because it wasn't focused on the war, and the rich Vietnamese history is so much more than that period.

Part of the story focuses on the rationing, and a stolen ration book. So it was that poverty post war, and familiar territory.  I'd read about 150 pages into the book when I suddenly noticed this on the back cover:

I was stunned for a minute while I recalibrated the setting. In my head, the book was set in the late 40's, not the mid 1980's! It completely threw me. Logically, I could see I'd just moved history around in a nonsensical fashion, but if you talk ration books, my brain immediately jumps to WWII, not late ‘70’s. All the other books I'd read set in Asia are referring to WWII if they are post war. 

Without the actual date mentioned, or defining situation, my brain just furnished the fictional world in dress and setting of the late '40's. It took what it knew, what it had learned over the course of my life, all my knowledge and put it into the world I was reading about. And it was wrong. Very, very wrong.

We are the sum total of every life experience we have, every lesson we are taught in school, everything we read and see, and it frames our world view, often without us even knowing. It's so ingrained, it taints every we see and think, and we're often completely unaware it's filtering our thoughts. Maybe we can't really ever walk a mile in someone else's shoes. However, we can and should, try.

If someone chooses to leave everything they know, there must be a very good reason. If they choose to risk their life fleeing, there must be little or no safer option. Maybe we need to understand more of their actual life, rather than sitting making judgments from our cosy living rooms. We can’t have a proper understanding if we are furnishing their world like ours, and giving them options and choices they really don’t have the luxury to make. As T.I says, we can’t really think like them if our life isn’t like theirs. And thankfully, for so many of us, it isn’t.

Linking with #BooknificentThursdays

Sunday 15 May 2016

A letter to my enemy

Anyone who has read me for any length of time will know that I am my own worst enemy. No one says anything as bad to me as the little voice in my head. It critiques how I look when I catch myself in the mirror, it judges my work and rarely finds it favourable, it worrys about things beyond my control.

There is no use writing a letter because it doesn't read.

However, I will say to it 'I don't have time to listen to you today' or 'I don't care for your opinion, keep that to yourself'. Then hold my head high and continue on my way.

It was once said to me at a lecture (not to me personally, but I've latched on to it). 'Often you aren't your friend. You don't have to believe everything your brain tells you'.

So if you have a nagging voice that chips away at you, today is the day you tell it to shut up.

To borrow from Kenny Powers, the only reply you ever need is 'That's cos I'm awesome'.

As an aside, in Amy Poehler's Yes, Please!, she writes a lot about this voice, and not listening to it. So maybe that's a better life manual than Eastbound and Down.

Linking with #Blogtober

Wednesday 11 May 2016


I came across a photography link up for reflections, so this is my first, and not very masterly attempt at that challenge. I was lacking my camera, so it's taken with my hideous appendage but the sun was putting on such a pretty show, and it made a very mundane activity quite spectacular that I had to try.

And that's the kind of thing that makes you love life (see what I did there? Double play on the word reflection!)

Are you Lovin' Life this week?

Linking with #WeekendReflection because I stumbled across it the other day and realised this must have been my first attempt at the link up...way back when....especially in times like this, finding beauty in the mundane is a special art.
Linking with #WWOT, #WordlessWednesday #AussieWordlessWednesday

Monday 9 May 2016

What are you listening to?

I get really bored with music. Mainly because I find some new music and then play it to death until I have to move on. The difficulty, is where do you find new music?
I usually shazam in bars or shops and then seek out the singer when I'm back at the laptop. Occasionally we find a spotify playlist out of France or Germany, and then I dig out the foreign bands.(I don't mind if songs are in another language, as I'm now of an age that I have no idea what they're talking about anyway - on that, can someone tell me what Galantis's Firebird is about? They lose me after the cinema.)

I was driving home one night and I saw this:

I said to my partner 'I just saw the coolest poster. I'm going to get tickets to Leon Bridges. He looks like the coolest guy ever. He'll be great.' So I put it up on FB that I was buying tickets and asked who wanted to come.

My partner, a little more sensible looked him up. He's huge, has played at the White House and the Melbourne gigs sold out on the first day. We liked the music. We got tickets and my FB post got a taker so we're going with friends. I'm very excited.

People keep laughing at my decision to go based on a poster - but posters are the same as book jackets, and they're designed to appeal to a certain market. So to me, it's as good a reason as any to go and see a show.

How do you find new music? Would you go to a concert based on the cool poster? Are you a fan of Leon Bridges? What are you currently listening to? And what on earth is Firebird about?

Linking with #OpenSlather

Sunday 8 May 2016

What would you do?

Instead of dispensing advice, I'm asking you, dear readers, what would you do?

I have a friend that makes jokes at the expense of my appearance. I know she thinks she is being funny and means no harm, but she only picks this one attribute and constantly throws out the insult at random parts of the conversation. It's not something I can change so I really don't understand why she does it or why she would think I would find it funny. I don't criticise her appearance so to me it feels like an arbitrary attack.

For those that read Epiphany, you know I'm working hard to improve my self esteem, and trying to stop people chipping away at my self worth.

If you were in my situation, what would you do? I fear the next time she does it, I'll tell her to fuck off and will cause a scene. Or worse, I might let rip on her appearance, which is just being bitchy.

However, she said it on Friday night and between that and another insulting comment (apparently it was open season on my appearance), I've found it hard to recover and feel good about myself. I know my self esteem is part of the problem, and I'm hyper sensitive to these put downs (and she probably is unaware of it) but I am really struggling to bite my tongue any more.

So if you were in this situation, what would you do?

Thursday 5 May 2016

Little Prince is Lovin' Life (in the Imperial City, Hue)

After such a great April, I feel a little grind in the logistics of this week, all the carting kids and excel spreadsheets. I did submit my story for the Grieve competition but time to write has been minimal.

Anyway, I can still look fondly at the photos, and next weekend I'll be MIA as I head to Canberra with a crew of 10 friends from around the country.

If you're heading to Vietnam, I'd definitely include Hue - it was my favorite of all our 5 pitstops. Also, there's no Little Prince in the top photo, I just thought you might like to see where he was standing.


Monday 2 May 2016

First of the Month Fiction - May

I've had a whirlwind month, that's been both fabulous and drama filled (more of that to come later on the blog). So straight into it. Add a story that's 100 words exactly or one less than 30 words into the comments, then link your blog (if you have one)

Mine is of the under 30:
As the coffin was lowered, she knew her world had shattered beyond repair. Forcing a sad smile at the little girl clutching her leg, she vowed to rewrite their story.

Linking with #OpenSlather