A place for me to share, entertain, vent and discuss.

Archive for February, 2012

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 26, 2012

Post 54/365+1

Another list today.  This time a ‘to do’ list or a ‘bucket list’ if you like.

I am sure most of us have a list of things we want to do before we die.  My list includes travel, sky diving, owning my own business, spending more quality time with my partner and family, learning to abseil and rock climb, becoming a published author, winning lotto and quitting my job.

Travel is something I have always loved and I have a number of places on my list that I would love to visit during my lifetime including the Pyramids, Macchu Picchu, Victoria Falls, my father’s birthplace in Scotland, all of New Zealand and Canada, Italy and the Greek Islands.  But most importantly, I want to see my own country of Australia.  I have travelled most of the East coast as far north as the Sunshine Coast and across the southern coast to Adelaide.  I have visited the eastern side of Tasmania, but would love to visit the west of Tassie as well.  I want to see Darwin and Perth, the red Centre, the Kimberleys, and Kakadu.  I want to see them before I am too old to explore these places on foot; I love being up close to our beautiful natural assets and animals; feeling the spray of waterfalls and breathing in the fresh smell of forest areas and our oceans.

I want to photograph the natural wilderness of Australia, and capture the spirit of the land and its people.  I want to experience the way people live in different parts of Australia.

I also want to experience the cultural differences of other countries; the way of life, the food, the music and other arts.  Closest to my heart would be the opportunity to visit Scotland and see the place of my father’s birth.  The house he was born in some 75 years ago still stands;  Dad had the opportunity last year to go back to Scotland and during that visit was invited in to the house which is now owned by another family.  My Dad and his family left the home 60 years ago to migrate to Australia for a better life.  It was a very emotional visit for him as he looked out of the kitchen window across the green fields where he played as a child.  Despite never having visited Scotland, my sisters and I, from childhood, always had a strong desire to go there one day; there seems to be some kind of connection to the birthplace of our ancestors.  My youngest sister has since visited with her daughter, and my other sister and I are determined to get there one day.

I have never travelled overseas, and have made a start on my future travel plans by getting my passport application filled out.  Look out world, I am coming.

Do you have a bucket list?  Are there places you want to see before you shuffle off this mortal coil?

Quote of the Day:  Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.  ~Carl Sandburg

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 24, 2012

Post 53/365+1

I enjoyed some lovely pampering this afternoon. My partner gave me vouchers from a beauty salon for Christmas and I used the first of them to have a manicure and a massage today.

How wonderful to put yourself in the hands of a masseuse, and let the stress of the week drain away from your body.  Gentle, calming music and low lighting made for a peaceful environment and a restful experience.  A manicure followed and I felt much better when I left the salon.  Whenever I have a massage I promise myself that I will make it a more regular occurrence, but it never happens as often as I would like.  Given that I find them so beneficial, (alleviating headaches and stress) I should be more diligent about having a massage  more regularly.  It is a lovely treat every now and then.

I have another voucher to use before the end of June, so that will ensure another pampering session; maybe another massage and a facial next time.  Something to look forward to!

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We girls are so lucky to have a plethora of options when it comes to spoiling ourselves or having someone else spoil us.  Beauty salons for nails, faces, and bodies; hairdressers for cuts, curls, colours and do’s; health spas for the whole package.  Why would we not take advantage of these to make ourselves over and reinvent our image?  Whether it is just for fun, to de-stress, or to beat back the ravages of ageing, we all need to make time for ourselves, treat ourselves because we are worth treating well.

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Quote of the Day:  Why do we pay for psychotherapy when massages cost half as much?  ~Jason Love

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 23, 2012

Post 52/365+1

I read an article today that made me feel sad about the way society seems to be heading.  A  Brisbane father of two is holding the second annual “Be a Gentleman Day”.   Whilst this in itself is an admirable thing to do, it strikes me as unfortunate that he feels the need to have a special day on which people should act well towards one another.

What happened to the days when acting politely and with consideration for others was the norm?  Why do people today need to be reminded to be kind and caring toward others within their community?

I do not like rude sales assistants, but retaliating with further rudeness does nothing to alleviate the problem.  I tend to vote with my feet, and remove myself from the situation.  Yes, at times I seethe, and my brain works overtime thinking of all the things I would have liked to have said.  But I would have gained nothing from being rude myself, and I would have beaten myself up over it later, as I am not, by nature, that type of person.

I am disappointed that someone feels the need to have this special day to drive home the message that we need to be more gentlemanly or ladylike; surely we should be acting that way all the time.  It doesn’t say a lot about where we are heading as a society; I don’t think I would describe us as particularly civilised any more, mores the pity.

I hope that this man’s idea takes off and we all become a bit more aware of how our attitude toward others makes a difference, not only to others, but also to ourselves.  Many of us complain of poor customer service these days and this is just a small part of a bigger issue –  society is becoming ruder and less tolerant.  We are all in a hurry; we don’t want to wait patiently for others, let them go first, hold a door for someone coming through behind us, or let another motorist merge ahead of us.  Will that few seconds make that much difference to our day (or our life)?  I am sure that a kindness shown will!  Please don’t go complaining about bad service in a store and then go out and blast someone on the road while driving.  Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Do you have a pet peeve when it comes to manners or lack thereof?  Do you think “Be a Gentleman Day” will take off?

Kindness

 

Quote of the Day:  Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.  ~Maurice Baring

 

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 22, 2012

Post 51/365+1

An interesting day on the political front in Australia today.  Social media has been on fire with most of the top 10 trends today revolving around the resignation of Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister, and speculation about the leadership of the Labor Party. It is fascinating watching this drama (some say soap opera) play out via Twitter; now we not only watch what is happening, but we interact instantly with politicians, journalists and other members of the public, contributing our own opinions to the mix.

We have the opportunity to vent, rage, discuss, joke and laugh via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums.  No longer are we just a passive audience; our contributions become  a part of the wider analysis of the reaction to the news.  We are ahead of the TV coverage; social media is instant, we know immediately when breaking news happens, even when we are nowhere near a TV.  Then we retweet it, share it, comment on it, reply to it, and retweet it again.

Politicians and journalists give us short, snappy quotes in 140 characters or less, sometimes with links to more in depth articles.  Each tweet or comment is a mini headline;  I worry that people won’t click on the link and read the full story, it is easier to just read the ‘headline’ and form an opinion based on that alone.  And the reactions can often be extreme; either over the top rage, or ill considered support for the topic of the hour.

No matter what your opinion is about the current state of affairs in Australian politics, and no matter who you support when it comes to the leadership spill, please take the time to read the stories behind the headlines, make your opinions educated ones and contribute to the conversation with intelligence.  We may not be able to influence the outcome of what is currently happening, but an election will happen soon enough, and we all need to have the knowledge to make our votes count, and it is our individual responsibility to use our votes to shape the future of our country.

Quote of the Day:  Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.  ~Richard Armour

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 21, 2012

Post 50/365+1

Looking back at your childhood is a wonderful thing.  Remembering the special moments you enjoyed with siblings, friends or on your own.

So many things trigger our memories; it may be a certain smell or taste, a photo or a sound, and all sorts of memories come tumbling back.  The smell of the ocean transports me back to days spent camping at the beach with  my parents and sisters; I feel the warm salt air again, the sand between my toes and the cool of the water against my skin.  We would spend the day at the beach, carry home copious quantities of sea shells (and sand), play cards or board games and sleep soundly every night.

The smell of home cooking reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen; she was a wonderful cook and her kitchen was always filled with scones, pancakes, shortbread, soup, apple pies and so many other good things to eat; and all made with real butter, eggs, salt, and served with real jam and cream.  And the smell of lavender reminds me of the house we lived in for a number of years during primary school; it had a beautifully fragrant lavender hedge growing along the path from the back door to the side gate.  I did used to hate the bees it attracted though!

I loved the days spent during summer holidays riding my bike (no helmets worn back then, so the wind blew through your hair), playing with neighbourhood friends until it got dark and the mosquitoes were biting, and playing under the sprinkler in the backyard on those stinking hot summer days.  Then heading off to bed on cool cotton sheets, sunburnt skin stinging and mosquito bites itching madly beneath spots of calamine lotion.

One of my favourite past-times was to curl up with a book, especially on cold winter days when it was too wet to be outside,  the only sound would be the open fire crackling beside me.  I would devour a book in a day.  Other days would be spent playing games on the floor with my sisters;  building little houses with Lego blocks, or dressing our dolls.

We had wonderful freedom as children that we didn’t appreciate at the time.   It is a time we will always yearn for, wishing for the simple pleasures and release from adult responsibilities and worries.

Why not do something silly every now and then; run under the sprinkler next time it is hot, blow soap bubbles, go to the movies and see a kid’s movie (without taking the kids), lie on the floor and read (be careful getting back up!) and ride a bike downhill really fast.  Revisit your childhood and feel that joy again!

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Quote of the Day:  When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood.  ~Sam Ewing

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 20, 2012

Post 49/365+1

Quote of the Day:  I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer. ~Jim Carrey

I have started today’s post with the Quote of the Day as there has been a lot of media attention around the recent death of Whitney Houston.  So many celebrities seem to have it all – fame, money, beautiful homes, adoration of fans, world travel, jewellery, fantastic wardrobes and all of those things we all think we need to be happy.  But so many of them die sad, lonely, tragic deaths.

It doesn’t seem to me that celebrities are any happier than the rest of us.  In many ways they often appear to be less happy.  They give up their privacy and become little more than commodities in a materialistic world.  How and when do they get to enjoy those little things in life that we all take for granted?  A walk through the park with our kids, a leisurely shopping trip, dinner and a movie, camping weekends at the beach.  Instead they deal with constant media scrutiny, criticism if they gain or lose a few pounds, or dare to be seen in public without makeup!

I may not have everything I want in life, but I have everything I need and more!  I have a home; not a mansion filled with hired help but a real home, warm and filled with love.  I have a family who are loved and who love me for who I am, not what I am,  or for what I can give them.  I have peace and calm in my life, and freedom to do with my life what I please, without scrutiny or question from anyone except those I care about.

I can leave the house in casual clothes and next to no makeup and no-one is going to snap my photo and splash it across the front page of gossip mags (thank goodness!)  I don’t get criticised for the way my children dress/behave/speak/live their lives by anyone who doesn’t matter.  I am not dealing with the pressure to perform for a fickle public at every turn, and then having deal with the consequences of not pleasing said public.

So if being rich and famous isn’t the answer, what is?

For me, it is being happy with what I have; making the best of the opportunities I am presented with, and knowing that the love I have in my life is the most important thing to have.  I have never yearned to be rich and famous.  I am sure my life is far happier and certainly much simpler than many celebs, and that suits me just fine!

Fame fortune vanity happiness

Beginnings and Endings – Project 365 +1

February 19, 2012

Post 48/365+1

The weekend is drawing to a close and the working week awaits.  I have had a lovely weekend with the special occasion of welcoming a new granddaughter to the world.  The world always seems like a rosier, more optimistic place when a baby arrives.   I have had cuddles with her and she is tiny and perfect and beautiful.

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Menu for this week will be as follows:

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Sweet Potato Burgers with Avocado

Fish with Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

Vegetarian Lasagne

Steak with Caramelised Shallots and Steamed Vegetables

Pasta Matriciana

Looking forward to a delicious week of dinners.  My diet has definitely improved so far this year, with far less sugar and fat being eaten. Intake of fruit, nuts and wholegrains has increased.  I now take a small container of nuts to work each week and snack on these to ward off hunger pangs between breakfast and lunch.  During the afternoon, I have another small container with grapes to nibble on; this gives me my hit of sweetness each day.  Yesterday I made Vegan Breakfast cookies which are a delicious option for those mornings when I am running late for work and don’t have time to prepare breakfast.  These are made with rolled oats, banana, nuts and dried fruit. They are free of gluten, sugar, eggs and dairy.  http://blueberrygirlinoz.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/no-sugar-oat-drops.html

Vegan cookies with banana and oats.    VEGAN BREAKFAST COOKIES

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Wishing you all a fantastic week.  May all your plans come to fruition.

 Quote of the Day:  Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.  ~John Shirley