101 things about me

Monday, 30 July 2007

Tasmanian beauty...

Mal and I have just returned from a long week-end in sunny Tasmania. I kid you not - it was sunny. The entire time we were there the weather was stunning. Apart from an hour or so of rain on Saturday morning, it was perfect for this time of year. There was patchy snow cover on it's highest peak (Mt Wellington) whilst at it's base the sun was shining and it was a winter warm 16 degrees!

We based ourselves in Hobart for the week-end and travelled in all directions.

What I love about Tasmania...
It is naturally beautiful, rugged, charming, artistic, welcoming and historic. The people are friendly and the hospitality genuine.
Tasmanians love good food and are happy and proud to share it in magnificent surrounds.

From the center of Hobart it is an easy 15 minutes drive out of the city, travel in any direction and you find yourself in the country. The coastal and riverside driving is spectacular, with mirror reflections of yachts and waterside homes stretching toward distant land. The views are breathtaking.

Salamanca Market bustles on Saturday morning
, crowded with locals and tourists alike. It is a lazy walk past stalls filled with local produce and craft, art and clothing, steaming coffee and tempting homemade treats.

A short drive south and the atmosphere is a little more subdued. Less people, little traffic and sweet sweet silence. The perfect balance of city and country all within easy reach.
Space to breathe and stretch. Beautiful Tasmania.

Flashback Friday

Speaking of flashback - you don't get much flashier than this! Woohooo! Look at the innocence in those eyes.

Other participants well worth a look...
Betty Jo

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Words of the wise...

This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples;
no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain,
our own heart is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness.

HH the Dalai Lama

Monday, 23 July 2007

Winter week-end with longtime friends

The past week-end I was lucky to spend some 'quality time' with Lou and her 2 daughters. It was an absolute treat.

I met Lou when I was about 4 years old and we have remained friends ever since. I have seen her girls grow from babies into gorgeous young women. Jess (in the middle) is 21 and Sarah (on the left) is 20.

How can it be that they have reached this age when it seems it wasn't THAT long ago we were that age ourselves?

Saturday, 21 July 2007

101 things about me...

I have seen this in a few people's blogs and love the idea - it's a great way to find out more about a person. I can't imagine I will have 101 things to share but let me begin and see what happens...
Grab yourself a drink, get yourself comfortable, this may take a while

1. I adore chocolate, milk, white, dark, plain, nutty and licorice, you name it, I'll like it - Oh except for coffee.
2. I have a terrible sense of fashion.
3. I talk to traffic lights as I drive, saying "Please stay green, please stay green..." and when the lights stay green I say thank-you. When they turn red, I reprimand myself for being so crazy.
4. Mornings are my favourite time of day.
5. I was born on the cusp of Libra and Scorpio, but I have more Libran traits.
6. I can't watch scary movies by myself.
7. I would sooner cuddle a puppy or a kitten than hold a baby.
8. "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" by Christine Anu makes me want to sing.
9. I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, but got sick and couldn’t attempt the final ascent.
10. I think it's important to defend what is right, particularly if it's hurting some-one incapable of defending themselves.
11. I read Gone With The Wind instead of studying in my final year at high school.
12. One of my favourite scents is frangipani.
13. I hated 80’s fashion and it hated me.
14. My favourite European City is Brugge in Belgium.
15. I am amused by wit, but find humour at the expense of others inane and not at all funny.
16. I sobbed so much watching the movie "Gorillas in the Mist" that people in the cinema turned to look at me as the lights came up.
17. I am a terrible liar. If I lie, it's written all over my face.
18. I love pens, paper and coloured pencils, leave me in a stationers or art supply shop and I can entertain myself for hours. Give me a bright pack of post-its, or a special piece of paper and a pen and I am happy.
19. I hate coffee and yet I like Kahlua and Tia Maria - go figure.
20. I believe that what goes around, comes around.
21. I love to go to the cinema alone.
22. I live in a flat in the city, and dream of one day building a straw bale house in the country.
23. When I was 6 I fell into an open fire. My oldest brother Tim pulled me out.
24. Some days I wonder if this may be my last day and I worry that I haven't told people I love them enough.
25. My favourite colour is pink.
26. I faint easily. Once I fainted in a doctors waiting room and when the doctor called for another patient he ignored me lying on the floor.
27. I don’t drink coffee or tea.
28. I hate being late, and I hate being kept waiting. Be warned.
29. I was in a radio ad for the Melbourne Boat Show when I was 12 years old. I don't even like boats.
30. I evacuated down the emergency chute of a plane following an explosion in the cabin as it was about to take off.
31. I hate Culture Club and hope I never hear another one of their songs for the rest of my life.
32. I have 2 older brothers who I love... I was glad I never had a sister.
33. I celebrate the passing of the winter solstice and look forward to Spring with anticipation
34. My first record was "My Sharona" by The Knack.
35. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid and buried some in the garden late at night after my parents went to bed.
36. I get cranky when I am hungry.
37. There was a total eclipse of the sun on my eighth birthday.
38. David Attenborough would be first on the list if I could host a dinner party and invite celebrities.
39. When I am feeling sick, sleep therapy is my best medicine.
40. I drive a Mini Cooper S.
41. "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Tainted Love" are among my favourite songs.
42. I always thought woodpeckers were a cartoon creation and didn't really exist. When I heard one for the first time (in Maine in America) I didn't believe it. It has a beautiful sound that reaches into the silence of the woods.
43. I don't drink alcohol very often, but I do like banana beer.
44. I would love to write a book, but I can think of nothing to write about except myself. I figure no-one would want to buy it, so why bother.
45. I love anchovies - they are sadly misunderstood.
46. Sometimes I would like to tell people to go away and leave me in peace.
47. I wish I had worked harder at school and cared less about what people thought of me.
48. I always wanted to pierce my nose but didn't because my boyfriend didn't want me to.
49. I sang "Our Lips are Sealed" by the Go-Go's at a Karaoke bar.
50. I was given a beautiful Mirka Mora painting as a gift and the girl in the painting reminds me a little of myself.
51. I learned the piano as a child, but I can’t read music. I remembered it all by heart.
52. I always thought my Mum was great for going grey naturally. I now dye my hair to cover my own.
53. Saturday is my favourite day of the week.
54. I am terrible at sport, and was always picked last for teams at school. Maybe the teachers should have chosen the less talented kids to choose the teams once in a while...
55. I have trouble spelling words with double letters, and yet I love repetition in numbers. I set my alarm for 5:55am...
56. I hang all my clothes facing the same direction.
57. For the life of me, I cannot tell a good joke.
58. My second toe is shorter than my big toe - I have been told this is very strange!
59. I cry at airports. Hello's and good-bye's, it doesn't matter! I even cry watching strangers!
60. I held a tarantula in my bare hands and now feel like I can do just about anything I set my mind to.
61. I wish that I had talked more to my Grandparents. As the time of their death becomes more distant, I miss them more.
62. I sometimes fear that I will not live long enough to do all that I want to do.
63. I imagine many people are getting bored by now and thinking of skipping ahead. I know this, because it's the sort of thing I do. Despite this, I never jump to the last chapter of a book - what a waste of a good journey!
64. Children crying sometimes makes me want to cry. Of course, having them sitting behind me on a plane for 4 hours with their feet digging into my back generates the same response.
65. A friend once told me I was a terrible dancer and I have been scared to dance in public ever since.
66. I hate my job right now.
67. Both of my parents were primary school teachers.
68. When I fly anywhere, I stand at the airport check-in and look around me at all my fellow passengers and worry that we may all perish mid flight. (See number 30)
69. I have lived in Richmond, London and Richmond, Melbourne.
70. I wore braces on my teeth as a teenager and didn't eat lollies for over 2 years. I have made up for it ever since.
71. I used a pendulum and chose the winner in the Melbourne Cup.
72. I eat when I am bored... and when I am happy... and sad... and stressed...
73. One day I want to shave my head. It will probably make my Mum cry. She screamed when my brother Tim shaved his head.
74. I lived in London for nearly 8 years and saw the Queen on my 23rd Birthday.
75. Once I trod on (and killed) a frog and cried with despair and guilt.
76. I like men with shaved heads - thankfully Mal is hair free (apart from some rather woolly eye-brows). Woo hooo! Hubba hubba.
77. I believe that practice makes perfect, but I want to be good now.
78. I am not a runner, but in my dreams I often imagine I am running a marathon.
79. I don’t think I ever want children.
80. At 39, even if I did want children, I consider it's now too late.
81. I love porridge for breakfast with cinnamon and a pinch of sugar.
82. If you littered, I could not help but judge you because of it.
83. "Silent Night" is my favourite Christmas carol.
84. I have been to a white witch to have my fortune told.
85. I convinced a camper (at Tanglewood 4H Summer Camp in Maine) to eat Vegemite and he agreed, thinking it was chocolate spread. The deal was if he ate it all, I would get him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of him eating his dinner. Needless to say, he ended up eating macaroni cheese.
86. I want to swim with the whale sharks.
87. Last year I swam with dolphins in the ocean.
88. I am scared of deep water.
89. I love car boot sales and love a bargain, but I don't much like shopping.
90. I love letters and numbers and use them a lot in my home decor.
91. I never owned a Barbie as a child, as my mother believed they were ugly and encouraged little girls to be obsessed with their bodies. Thanks Mum.
92. I like to sleep with the blinds open, so I can wake to the gradual lightening of the sky and sunshine across my bed.
93. My family avoid getting on planes with me (see number 30)
94. If I could go back in time and start over (knowing what I know now) I would return to my 28th year.
95. I have slept under the stars in the Sahara Desert (or is it Dessert? See number 55)
96. I love a good kids book, especially read out loud. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was always a favourite. Oh and who could forget, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
97. Summer is my favourite season. I hate being cold.
98. I always wanted to own a dog - something scruffy and friendly. A bitsa from the RSPCA. I think Rufus would be a good scruffy dog name.
99. I hate confrontation and avoid it at all costs.
100. I still wish on the first star in the evening sky.
101. PHEW… I love the journey, but I get a certain satisfaction when I reach the destination.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Flashback Friday

Inspired by my friend Angela, every Friday I plan to post a picture taken pre 1985. Welcome to Flashback Friday.

This is me with my 2 brothers. They both have a pretty firm grip on me, no doubt with good reason, as I look like I'm up to something. Trouble no doubt!

Flashback Friday... are you in?

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Time to slow down

When I least want to, when I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to do, when people are asking me for their attention and I can't say no, when I need to sleep but want to get up to walk in the pre-dawn darkness, at these moments, I remind myself of this saying I heard some time ago...

The hurrier you go, the behinder you get.

I have had it scribbled on a bit of scrap paper which I hide away and then find at the most timely moments as a reminder of what I need.

Slow down. Pause. Be still. Breathe deeply.
And then start again with a clearer and more peaceful mind.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.

Aye aye aye!

First it started with my company blocking gmail. It was a bitter blow. This was my only contact with the outside world in an otherwise long long day of work drudgery. I was unhappy with my quarantine. And then, as luck (and a tech savvy friend) would have it, we found a way around the block and secretly accessed our mail. There was elation, celebration and then (as our secret was discovered) commiseration.

I contacted tech and was given the usual 'company policy' line. There were no opportunities for negotiation. Believe me I tried. I even tried to defend it's use with work as my excuse. Alas the power hungry tech gods were unbending in their control.

I get it. Really I do. They don't want people using personal emails, tapping away the hours to family and long lost friends on work time. Emails can take up a lot of time to the detriment of work. I get it. And all this would be fine... but why then can yahoo, hotmail and messenger still be accessed. Where is the sense in that?

So in the end I gave up. Well sort of. I got myself a yahoo account and set up my gmail to forward all emails. At least then I could read my emails during the day and respond if I so inclined. NOW however, I can't seem to open my yahoo mail.

Monday, 16 July 2007

I love week-ends...

Great company. Good food and drink. A wood fire. A good book! Excellent conversation. A slow Sunday breakfast. Coffee and Cake. Great friends. Relaxation... All ingredients for another beautiful week-end.

I love week-ends.

Get a life...

In this world there are speakers and there are speakers.

There are those that inspire and lift you with their words, and those that seemingly have no message and prefer to share only their love for the sound of their own voice. There are speakers that want to share their dreams and others that send you to sleep. And then there are people who just hit the spot and through their words, your life is changed. Last Monday night I was lucky enough to meet one such speaker.

Erasmus School in Hawthorn was the location, and the speaker was Shane Mulhall, the head of the School of Philosophy in Ireland. What a pleasure to listen to the wisdom and humour of his words. He was an inspiration. His talk was titled 'Get a life'. I remain rattled by his words. It was the verbal shoulder shake that sometimes takes you by surprise and generally comes at just the right time.

He discussed life and our approach to it. He started with a list of questions. 84 in all. Do you love what you do? Do you wake in the morning enthusiastic about the day ahead? If you were to die tomorrow, would you be happy with what you had achieved, or would you regret inaction and a life of fear? He advised us to live a 'deathbed existence'. Imagine every day is the last and live it fully. Find those things which fill you with fear and do them... and eventually, you will fear nothing. Find your 'thing' - the thing in life that drives you, that is your gift and live it. His advice - Do what you love and fill your life with challenge. Continually extend yourself by doing new and amazing things. Welcome change. To do anything else is to live a lie.

He spoke for nearly an hour until we had a break and then returned to an hour of questions. During all of this time, despite uncomfortable chairs, an overheated room and the late hour, every person in that hall remained totally focused on him. Our group of maybe 500 or more remained captivated. He kept us enthralled the entire time.

Question time was equally impressive. He considered each question carefully, each time taking a brief pause before answering and he responded with incredible insight. He included personal anecdotes and humour. He was honest and sensitive. Confronting sometimes. It was personal and honest. He spoke of how he lives and he made it all seem possible. In fact, to live doing what we love is our obligation... in all aspects of our lives.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Woo Hooo!

She's all mine! Signed, sealed and delivered...
And she has a pretty cool name!

Monday, 9 July 2007

In Praise of Play

Yes - I am still here. And yes, today I was back at work with it's humdrum daily routine, having had the past week off.

The first week-end Mal and I went to Point Lonsdale, which I always love as it is going home for me in the true sense of the word. We warmed ourselves by the open fire with a good movie The World's Fastest Indian, good food and family for good company.

On Monday and Tuesday, we had a road trip to Deniliquin where Mal was running some first aid training. He had an arthroscopy on his knee the week before and was unable to drive, so I was chauffeur for a couple of days. Deni's 'Ute up a Pole' was the highlight of the trip, so the drive was worth it.

On Wednesday, I started a 3 day calligraphy course with the Calligraphy Society of Victoria as part of their Summer School in Winter, and it was fabulous. I am inspired once more. The three day class was called 'In praise of Play' and was about having fun with lettering using unexpected and fun techniques. The results were varied and beautiful (if lacking somewhat technically), and I am once again inspired to do more... For me, these three days were a pleasant reminder of the calming and therapeutic benefits of creative pursuits and in particular, the meditative peace it brings.

Here is a sample of some of my work...

Olive Bull was my teacher and her enthusiasm was impossible to ignore. She has been a calligrapher for years and now based in Tasmania, had travelled to Melbourne to teach for the 5th year at the summer school (in winter). She was a pleasure to work with.

I studied calligraphy when I lived in London about 15 years ago and loved it, but as with so many things I had neglected it for the past decade or more. I was taught by a woman who was taught by Edward Johnston who created the foundation hand. There was a quote I particularly liked at the time (which I believe is an American Indian saying) "The soul would have no rainbow, had the eyes no tears". It always appealed to me, but I had never heard it before, nor have I heard it since.

As I was collecting supplies for this week's course, I came across some of my previous work. Upon reflection, I realise, it was actually quite good and I now feel some regret that I did not continue... Amongst the pages was the 'rainbow' quote that I had written in foundation hand.

You can imagine my surprise when it was a quote that Olive used in her class this week. I had the work with me and later showed it to her. We were both amazed at the coincidence and she commented on the quality of the work, saying it was beautiful and she could tell I had been taught by someone from the school of Roehampton.

The following day Olive told me she had spoken overnight to someone about the coincidence of my Rainbow quote and that every now and again you meet a person, who you know should have continued with their studies. I felt very flattered and honoured by her praise. Of course this is my opportunity to begin again. Now. There is no point regretting the passing of time.