101 things about me

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Philosophy on calm

I have a busy life. I generally like it that way. It is self inflicted. I have so much to do, there is little time to waste. This constant need for activity adds a certain level of urgency to my life that I am trying to still, if only a little.

I have to remind myself that life is not a race. I am trying to "take it as it comes", to relax and enjoy what I can and a bit of calm too. It is another lesson from philosophy that instantly rings true but has long been ignored.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Postcard art

I stumbled across a pack of blank postcards in a local art shop on the week-end. It is a small and achievable canvas on which to play. I have done 3 already - 4 if you count the one I don't like. They are all different. Just a little bit of fun...

Watch that post box. You never know, one might arrive with unexpected greetings.



Saturday, 26 May 2007

Did some-one say spider?

As anyone who knows me (and anyone within earshot of my flat) would know - I have been terrified of spiders forever (well, for as long as I can remember anyway).

If there was ever a spider anywhere in the house as I grew up, it had to be removed before I went to bed. I became hysterical when a huntsman ran across my lap in the back of a friend's car. My response resulted in a screeching of brakes and an equally hysterical group of teenaged girls throwing themselves from the car as it was still drawing to a stop.

I will always remember the story of a childhood friend whose brother had strapped on his motorcycle helmet, only to feel the leg of a huntsman spider stretch down onto his forehead. The vision of one arachnophobic biker trying to unbuckle his helmet as 3 screaming women ran around him incapable of assisting, has left a lasting impression.

In my twenties, as I planned 4 months of travel in Africa, friends and family asked how I would cope with the spiders. I told them I would just have to deal with it. And so, on the night when hundreds of spiders ran across the ground as darkness fell across the Serengeti, I retreated to the truck. On the night I was meant to sleep in a grass roofed hut in Zaire, and half a dozen spiders and a few scorpions scuttled across the floor within minutes of the lights being dimmed, I slept outside. No safer in reality, but at least there was more space to run away if I had to!

Just last year, when I came across a huntsman in my kitchen one morning at 6am, and I had to get a neighbour to come and remove it with a vacuum cleaner, I finally admitted to myself it was more than a little ridiculous and something had to be done. It was time to meet the phobia head-on and deal with it.

Through some searching of the internet, I found Taronga Zoo in Sydney has a 'Fearless at Taronga' program. It is four and a half hours of education, talk, laughter, reality, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, NLP and confrontation. The team of Tooronga experts were given the responsibility of freeing a group of 12 arachnophobes of their terror of all things eight legged. With each one of us, they had a lifetime of fear to conquer. Without doubt, it was a big ask.

There were promises of handling huntsman spiders and even the possibility of holding a Chilean Rose spider (tarantula). When I enrolled in the course a couple of months ago, I decided holding the Chilean Rose spider would be my main focus on the day and a measure of my success. There were no guarantees, but with a recent 100% success rate of ridding all participants of their fear, it had to be worth the trip to Sydney. It had to be done.

I arrived at Taronga with high expectations and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. This has got to be one of THE most amazing thing I have EVER done. For a life that has so far included seeing gorillas in the jungles of Rwanda, white water rafting in the USA and more recently a year that has included swimming with dolphins and jumping from a plane at 10,000+ feet, that's saying something!


I had a GREAT day. It was all I had hoped for and more. I cannot believe the change across just 4 1/2 hours! As I said earlier, I have been terrified of spiders for as long as I can remember and to be totally freed from the paralysis of fear is incredible. I did all I had hoped. I held the Chilean Rose spider, a real tarantula, in my bare hands. I then caught huntsman spiders and held a couple, letting them run across my hands. Can you believe it? I can barely believe it myself. I now feel more than comfortable with a face to face encounter with a huntsman spider anytime in the future.

If you have shuddered as you read this post, felt a lurch in your stomach, the prickle of cold sweat has appeared on you forehead or you have even felt like vomiting at the thought of touching a spider, this program is for you. IF you are as terrified of spiders as I was, and you have managed to read this far, REALLY REALLY consider taking part in their next course. You would not be disappointed. All the team were fantastic, in particular Warrick (the zoo's spider expert and handler) and Sarah-Jane (hypnotist). The rest of the support team were really supportive too - and their enthusiasm was genuinely contagious.

I can honestly count it as a life changing experience. Really. This is no exaggeration. I actually held a Chilean Rose spider. A real, hairy, hand filling, live tarantula, in my own bare hands. Oh my God. It was amazing. It was the experience of a lifetime. If I can do that - I reckon I can do just about anything.

Celebrate the cauliflower...

I must celebrate the cauliflower, embrace the eggplant, applause the asparagus, praise the pumpkin, relish the radish, love the lettuce, admire the apple, cherish the celery, idolise the iceberg, honour the oat, worship the watercress, like the brussel sprout, adore the bean, applaud the capsicum, appreciate the aubergine, approve the chickpea, cherish the corn, credit the carrot, delight in the broad bean, endorse the lemon, fall for the fig, glorify the guava, go for the greens, hail the mango, honor the broccoli, idolize the grape, marvel at the banana, moon over basil, prize the pea, respect the strawberry, revere the cashew, treasure the turnip, value the almond, wonder at the walnut, adore the avocado, worship the coconut, appreciate the apricot, favour the paw paw, respect the cabbage, bless the beetroot, ritualize the peach, prefer the parsnip, glorify the grapefruit, laud the leek, elevate the plum, marvel the mushroom, idealize the lemon, immortalize the peanut, endorse the garlic, commend the cucumber, encourage the endive, advocate the kale, back the passion fruit, champion the cherry, choose the courgette, encourage the pineapple, toast the tomato, go for the gherkin, OK the orange, pick the pepper, prize the potato, regard highly the squash, root for rhubarb, sanction the sweet potato, support the suede and salute the spinach.

Above all - I Must value the vegetable and favour the fruit!
Woo Hoo!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

The week-end looms just a few short hours away. I have always maintained that the week-end begins as work closes on a Friday afternoon. And this week, with work surprisingly under control, it feels within reach.

Deadlines for the week are all but met, and the stream of new jobs landing on my desk has slowed. And my boss is wandering around asking if everything has been dispatched that is due. I am thinking he may be getting ready to send us home early. Now THAT would be a magic start to the week-end.

I have my fingers firmly crossed (2 finger typing remains unrestricted)!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Torture by Cake

No people, I am not talking about being beaten up by a boston bun, or violated by a vanilla slice. This is not donut danger, crucifixion by carrot cake or assault and buttery. I am talking about torture by temptation.

I am on the track to slim and slender. I am feeling strong. But then, as if to twist the knife of sugar cravings ever deeper, work delivers a tray of sandwiches and cakes for everyone's enjoyment. I am strong. I am. Really. It is however, a difficult path. Yes, I could eat the curried egg and lettuce or the roast beef and pickle sandwiches. Yes, there are a few rambling grapes on which I could graze. Yes, there is even a strawberry or two. BUT THERE IS CAKE, and who wants the other stuff, when there is CAKE?

It is torture and I am not as strong as I had hoped. I weaken. Give in to temptation. I take a small piece of coconut slice, followed by a covert cherry tart. Later a slice of apple crumble crosses my path. Carrot cake is my final crime. But (I convince myself) at least I did health - all fruit and vegies. I am told I should eat 5 serves of vegies and 2 of fruit each day. Only a few more left! It can't be all bad... surely.

Philosophy on love

Last night I returned to my philosophy studies. This is part three in practical philosophy. Part one was all about wisdom, part two was about happiness and part three is dedicated to love. Pure love.

In one way or another we are all looking for answers, direction and stimulation. Sometimes I think it is creating more questions rather than resolving them!

The group is all held firmly together by our tutor Tery Pope. He is a wise man. From Wales originally, his life experiences and knowledge is shared openly. He has a contagious excitement about the world around him and there is a twinkle in his eye that reveals a wicked sense of humour. He sometimes answers our questions, but when he knows we have the answers in ourselves, he pauses and waits until we answer for ourselves.

I like his silences. He makes me smile and gives me belief that there is much to be hopeful about. If I made a list of the people who have impacted my outlook on life, he would be there.

Monday, 21 May 2007

African Smiles


When I was 21, I travelled across Africa on an overland trip lasting 16 weeks. It was an incredible adventure which passed through many countries, some of which are no longer accessible. Africa is a such a vast continent filled with incredible landscape and animals, and beautiful people.

I took this photo out the back of the truck at one of our daily stops for supplies. We were always a source of fascination for the locals - in particular the kids. It is my favourite pic from the trip. You can't beat those smiles.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Amazing


Saw this amazing pic on The Age website yesterday. They are the webs of Orb spiders and the pic was taken near Ballarat in Victoria.The photographer - Angela Wylie. Had to share it.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Stepping outside the comfort zone...


Last year I set myself a challenge to step outside the comfort zone and do some different things. Live life a little more fully. Push the boundaries.

I did a lot of things that I never expected to do, or thought I could do. I swam with dolphins, I learned to dance, I dated on the internet (where I met Malcolm), I even jumped from a plane. It not only made my year more interesting, it made me realise I am capable of so much more than I believed. It was exciting and terrifying, and hilarious. It was pretty crazy at times. It was an amazing year.

It lifted my confidence and made me realise my own happiness is in my own hands. There is a part of me that still can't believe I actually allowed myself to fall out of a plane at over 10,000 feet. But it's true. I did. I even have the pictures to prove it. How relaxed do I look?

Feel free to add some things that have seen you stepping outside your comfort zone... you never know, it might give me some new ideas.

Beauty is everywhere...


Caught in a moment of sunshine.

Where are you off to?


I stopped in the outskirts of Bellingen and was greeted by this curious cow...

Camp Creative 2007


As part of my 'Year of Creativity' in January I traveled North to New South Wales to a town called Bellingen. This is the home of Camp Creative, an annual event where people come from miles to take part in creative pursuits. Courses run for one week and range from writing and painting to mosaic, circus skills and singing.

I arrived to find the small town flooded with more than 1100 participants. There were over 50 courses! It is truly an amazing setting for a fantastic week of challenge and fun. Logistically they do an incredible job. I went to write. The course I took was 'writing that article'. Now, it wasn't exactly the course I was looking for as I am not really interested in becoming a journalist. I want to use my writing more creatively. Having said that, I really enjoyed the week and learned a lot. I left all motivated to do a lot more, really spend some time developing my skills. Alas, I have not been as committed as I had intended. Time to get more motivated again.

I would like to return to Camp Creative next January. There is a certain magic there. An enthusiasm for stretching one's imagination and dreams. I am waiting eagerly to see what courses are on offer in January 2008 and may even suggest Mum comes along. Mal will be working by that time in January, so I think I may be leaving him at home!

I stayed at the local youth hostel. When I arrived, reception was closed and so I sat outside and chatted with the house cat. She sat on the table alongside this bunya pine cone.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Little Miss Cinta


This week-end saw us visiting Point Lonsdale and my Mum and Dad. We celebrated (in the form of coffee, cake, breakfast by the beach and other treats) Mother's Day. It was a lovely week-end. The weather was fine during the day and cool enough to light the open fire at night. A perfect combination. With hot chocolate and a shared block of Cadbury's it doesn't get much better.

I gave Mum a frame with 3 photo's. Me and my 2 brothers. All in school uniform and all taken at around the age of 13. Shiny hair, lightly tanned faces and white teeth. Not a bad looking bunch really. The frame came up well. And I think she was happy with the gift.

As I had promised myself, I sewed my own 'Miss Buttons' from the kit I bought from 'Sew Your Own'. Mum was there watching and rescuing when assistance and advice were required. The sewing machine has never been my best friend. It is a fine line we walk between success and frustration. This may well be the result of attending a school that prided itself with continuing more masculine teachings long after becoming a co-educational college. How can it be so easy to sew one bit of lace to absolutely NOTHING at all! Now, if I could sew with a hammer or chisel I might be an accomplished seamstress!

There was success in the end and well... here she is. (Thanks Mum xxx)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Inspiration


I have a girlfriend who has just created and begun marketing a new business called 'Sew Your Own'. It is going great guns. She is being kept busy keeping up with demand. And the product is beautiful.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Creativity

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I needed to concentrate on making my life more creative. I think I am creative. Sometimes. I have dabbled in lots of things. Calligraphy. Painting. Drawing. Writing. Singing. Knitting. Craft. Pottery. Glass painting. Indigo dying. I have tried lots of things.

Blogging is getting me motivated again. For the last few months it has intrigued and overwhelmed me - there are SO many creative, innovative, inventive and incredibly talented people out there. They take my breath away. It is both inspirational and daunting at the same time.

In my 20's I worked at Camp Tanglewood in Maine for two summers, where I ran the art studio. When I returned to Australia after travelling the word for 8 years, I did an adult apprenticeship in graphic prepress. The aim was to work in a creative industry and design for a career. Unfortunately somewhere along the way, work has evolved into a more administrative role. I have moved away from my creative pursuits. And so, given that I cannot give up work, my creative stimulation has to be developed more in my free time... Now, where did I put that spare time I had?

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

No more excuses...

I have no excuses and yet I have many.
I have been wanting to add a header to my blog - make it look a bit more creative - but for whatever reason (my computer is SOOO slow at home/the pic was too big/I didn't know what I was doing) I just couldn't manage it. And then, last night, as I played on my computer and Malcolm tapped away on the other side of the room, he set up a blog and added a header image without a problem!
Well you can imagine my need to follow suit, and so I shuffled him along and jumped on his PC (don't tell anyone) and loaded it within minutes. A bit of fine tuning, and I went to bed happy at my achievement. No doubt there will be changes in the future, but for now I am happy with the result.
My latest purchase from Amazon arrived yesterday - "Publishing a blog with Blogger" and it sits beside me now at work, teasing me to open it and delay my working day for just a little bit longer. It is a simple guide (which is ideal really) and I am hoping the results will show.
This morning, book at the ready, I am motivated once again. I have added links to some of my favourites. And I hope to add posts more regularly.
Have a good day!