101 things about me

Thursday, 28 June 2007

These are a few of my favourite things


A few days ago, I was reading a friend's blog and I came across something that has been playing in my head ever since. Amy had played with the song "My Favourite Things" from The Sound of Music and had made a personalised version. It has teased me from that moment. And so, everybody, hum the tune as you read... or sing if you wish.

My Favourite things...

Snowflakes in winter and bluebells in springtime,
Family board games, you time and me time,
Hot open fires and glasses that 'ching'
These are a few of my favourite things...

Sweet jaffa ice-cream and drinks in tall glasses,
Show-offs and posers that fall on their asses,
Old eighties music, that friends and I sing,
These are a few of my favourite things...

Steaming hot chocolate stuffed full of marshmallows,
Long stemmed red roses from my favourite fellow,
Christmas time presents, that Santa will bring,
These are a few of my favourite things...

Confrontation!
Indignation!
Leave me feeling mad
So I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Long walks in summer on clean sandy beaches,
Fresh river swimming (just minus the leeches)
Slow Sunday breakfast with vegemite toast,
these are things that I treasure the most.

Broad smiling faces of children in wonder,
Summertime rainfall with lightening and thunder
Kookaburras laughing, a canary that sings
These are a few of my favourite things...

Long converstaions with giggling girlfriends
Christmas and Easter, birthdays and week-ends,
Good wit and humour - the laughter it brings,
These are a few of my favourite things!

Crowded spaces
Tear stained faces
Leave me feeling sad
So I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

OK - it's official. I'm bored...

So I’m bored.
This is not just a spare moment in the day when it occurs to me I am uninspired and wish I was anywhere but here (though this is certainly the case). Oh no. This is SO much more than that!

I am bored. Groundhog day, what else can I eat? who else can I call? what would I like to be doing other that this? What is Paris Hilton doing at the moment? Who left that cup in the staff kitchen sink? BORED.

Bored bored bored bored (pause) bored bored bored!
How many Beatles songs can I list? What time will my next job land on my desk? Who will be the first to speak? How long will Matt be on his next call for? What time will I be able to leave today? Would anyone notice if I disappeared for half an hour? What made that mark on my sleeve? Bored.

BORED.
B O R E D
bored.
Beee Ohhh aaaahhhh eeeeee dddeeee
Bored

Is that how you spell bored? Am I going crazy?
No – just bored.

Friends

Last night I caught up with one of my oldest friends. I hasten to add she is not 98, she is 39 like me. Louise (Lou) and I have been friends since kindergarten - about 36 years. I cannot remember my life without her and so she is very much a part of my life and I have no doubt will continue to be so. She is as much like family as my own. She is a friend who knows me well, sometimes, I suspect, a little too well.

Despite my overseas relocation for nearly 8 years, we maintained our friendship and continue to connect easily and comfortably whenever we get together. Up to recently that has been a rare occurrence, but we are now making efforts to meet more regularly. There is a certain ease between us which comes from a long and trusted friendship. Seeing Lou has reminded me how lucky I am. I have great friends.

My friends have seen me at my best and my worst and most have stuck around despite it! We have shared secrets and dreams, midnight feasts and scary movies and burned marshmallows over the open fire. They have kept me grounded and given me shoulder shakes when I was being unreasonable. They have embraced me, advised me and scolded me. They have laughed at me when I was being too serious and made me laugh at myself. Many times we have laughed until we cried!

They have waved me good-bye as I have headed off on travels and have been waiting with open arms upon my return. Like Lou, they have stood the test of time. They have seen my 80's fashion disasters and some pretty bad hair days, they have seen me run last in the school athletics, listened to my Wham renditions and filled their mouths with minties until choking with laughter - all in the name of friendship. They have sympathised with my terrible nerves at exam times and tried to dispel my teenaged insecurities.

I have friends that are 'old' friends and amazing friends who have come into my life more recently, through work, through chance, through plain good fortune. They have listened with open hearts while mine was breaking and have warmed me with their love and encouragement. I am indeed lucky.

I am happy to say, bad hair days, hairy legs, warts and all, they accept me for me and they still embrace me with open hearts. They continue to bring laughter and sunshine into my life and they are amazing.

Just for the record...
Jane still holds the 'most minties in the mouth' record - you'll need 16 to beat her!

Monday, 25 June 2007

New 'fun' policy at work

It's all very well - encouraging fun and frivolity at work. It's a great idea and I applaud them for it. Really I do. But at the end of the day, when we want to leave on time and work isn't signed off until the dot of five (or after) because everyone has been too busy having fun to talk to their clients, well, it aint so much fun then.

I have lots of fun things I want to be doing once I finish my work day!
Enough already. Let me leave on time.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

The man who planted trees...

The day I returned from my philosophy week-end, I found myself wandering through a local bookstore. A book I had read some time ago came to mind, and after a little searching I found the lone copy and I bought it. It is a simple story which illustrates beautifully how we can make immense changes in our world...

Having reread the story, I decided to give it to Michael (one of the organisers of the philosophy week-end) as a gift to be shared with all members of The Acorn Group. In the meantime, I have discovered it is readily available on the internet. Below is a link to the story (in it's entirety). It is well worth putting aside some time and reading it.

Click on the link below, click on plantedtrees.pdf to download, and open it up in acrobat to read and print if you wish. Enjoy!

The Man Who Planted Trees
by Jean Giono

Philosophy & The Acorn Group

I have to tell you about last week-end...
I went away with my philosophy group. It was restricted to only 20 participants and all of us had to be under 40! Given that I am heading at a radical pace toward the big four ohhhh, I though I had better take my chances while I could.

They had called themselves The Acorn Group. (I found this interesting given my "One Little Acorn" business name.) And this past week-end was our first trip away. I arrived at Allanvale farm, just 12kms past Ararat, ready for an exciting week-end on the farm. It was cold when I arrived - 7 degrees with a weak sun in a clear sky. I was already wrapped in extra layers of clothes and carrying a multitude of bedding and work gear to get me through the week-end. Apart from the cold there were few expectations.


The accommodation was in shearers quarters - two to a room. It was basic, with bare wooden floorboards, a single window, and a door with a wide gap at the bottom, which stubbornly refused to close properly and opened directly to the great outdoors. The furnishings fitted the setting well. There was a basic shelf for personal items, a small table between 2 narrow cast iron single beds and one wooden chair. There was no form of heating in the room and I was relieved to see an electric blanket on each bed, an advantage to being female that became apparent later when we realised the men had not been given the same creature comforts. There may well be a God after all!

In addition, the toilets (dunnies in true Aussie style) were outside and a brisk walk from our rooms. The showers were bore water and were in a small shed with cement floors. A boiler had to be heated by a fire underneath for hot water. I'll admit, it was more basic than I had imagined.

The central 'meeting' room where we dined, studied, meditated and talked, was warmed by a big country open fire and a kitchen adjoined it so that the smells of sweet vegetarian cooking drifted throughout. It was the hub where we all came together and it was welcoming and open. The setting (despite my apparent complaints) was perfect.

There was a wide variety of participants. From early twenties to late forties, men and women, single, married, students, workers - the only connecting thread was a shared love of philosophy.

The days were structured around studies, team activities, moments of stillness, group meals and fun and was both challenging and stimulating. We were continually reminded through our discussions how much philosophy had influenced our lives and thinking. Many participants said The School of Philosophy and it's courses had changed their lives. In regard to the week-end, I would be confident to say that every-one had a great time and we all look forward to the next opportunity to get together again. To all who participated - thanks. It was a great week-end.

So. One little acorn in a group of acorns. Hmmm. Seems appropriate really!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

good-bye little car... hello mini!

Today I farewelled my little car that I have had for the last 5 years. I am now driving Mal's Mini Cooper S which I will be buying soon. It is a great car and whilst there was a tinge of sadness saying good-bye to the Pulsar, I am happy happy happy to be a mini driver. (As opposed to Minnie Driver who I like, but I could never manage her hair!)

Woo Hoooo!

Beautiful


There's some amazing photography on the internet.
The more you look the more you find.

Malcolm sent me a link yesterday, and with a few more clicks I found photo.net. They have a section called 'Photo of the week'. The pic here is by Dariusz Klimczak.
Beautiful.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

It sounded like a great idea at the time...

It was a classic cold Melbourne morning. Bright sunshine after overnight rain, and fog in the air from our breathing. We had arranged with friends Heather and Dale to go on a bike ride from Mt Evelyn to Warburton (a distance of 33km) and we met around 10am to get going. It was a big day. The bike path runs along an old rail line which has been converted for walking and cycling.

It sounded like a great idea at the time. You know the sort of thing, like sticking you and your cousin's fingers to each other with super glue or painting your grandmother's car in the same pastel blue of the house or smothering oneself in black body paint for a fancy dress party. It all SOUNDS good to begin with, but then sometime along the way, reality bites. One large gallon of eucalyptus oil, a bottle of nail polish remover, and a mob of angry relatives later, and you realise your decision making process needs some fine tuning.

So it was on Sunday. It sounded like a great idea at the time. A comfortable cycle in the country, a pub lunch at the destination and a leisurely return trip with glowing faces and tired muscles. What we failed to consider was that we were riding a range of bikes and 2 of us at least had barely been on a bike since having to cycle to school! Add to that the one way distance had failed to be doubled, when we finally realised half-way there, it wasn't looking so appealing.

What was I thinking? Surely bike seats are not meant to feel like instruments of torture after 2 hours of cycling! I am still feeling the resulting bruises as I sit at my desk.

As it turned out, our determination paid off and we made it to Warburton just after 2. Unfortunately we missed the pub lunch by 15 minutes! Doh! Thankfully the local fish and chip shop fed us well with battered fish, chips and burgers and lots of fizz to replenish the depleted energy levels. As we ate the negotiations and bribery began. Without going into too much detail we concluded that the return cycle was not looking good. We offered to catch a bus back and get the cars, I offered a cab fare but the men were adamant. The fellas headed back on the 33km return trip and Heather and I cycled back 13kms where we took our rest and liquid replenishment at the local pub and waited for our rescue.

Later, as the light faded into the sides of the nearby hills, we got the message they had made it back to the cars and were on the way. It was one of the hardest things Dale said he had ever done. The last 5 kms were all uphill.

As I said, I love long week-ends and was especially grateful for the extra day off on Monday (Happy Birthday to the Queen!). In hindsight, it was a little ambitious. In hindsight, it was also a good day, despite the sore backsides! Certainly it was memorable. Next time however, when I get a bright idea, I'll recall the faces of my family when they discovered I had cut my 2 year old cousins hair the day before a beautiful baby competition, and I will think more carefully before making any suggestions!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Technology la la land

It seems to me, in all our definitions, there are 2 different types of people in the world. Those that care (and understand) about technology, and those that do not.

I most definitely fit into the second category. I once took on a role in the tech dept of my company, and it was the worst thing I ever did. I'll never make THAT mistake again (and I suspect, neither will my boss!) Don't get me wrong. I LOVE technology. In so many ways it makes my life more interesting and creative. The internet alone opens up my world. HOWEVER. What makes me sit very happily in the care-free zone is my inability to understand pretty much everything of a technical nature. I suspect I could if I made the effort, but in truth, I am just not interested.

I just want to turn things on and have them work! No explanation as to why or how it is working - I JUST DON'T care. Tell me it works and how to make it do what I want it to do, and I am happy. No flowery descriptions, no "or you can do this..." LISTEN Carefully - I DO NOT CARE.

If one day you take it upon yourself to give me your enlightened view as to how and why technology is so great and your latest discovery, be warned. I may look interested. I may even nod in all the right places, my eyes may be looking at you (or the said revelation) but in my head I am singing. Probably some song from the eighties - "Wake me up before you go go", "Don't worry be happy", "Tainted Love". It is keeping me entertained. I am nodding to the beat. Leave me to my tunes.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Philosophy on love...

Class was interesting last night. Only 3 out of a normal group of around 10 arrived. The evening was probably one of the coldest in some time so maybe that was a factor. I know the day was particularly slow for me at work and by the time 6.15 came around I would have preferred to have been at home.

Having said THAT it was also the best class so far. We spoke more on love and the natural occurrence of love between people. That when people first meet, before the prejudice and preconceptions kick in, our natural tendency is love. It is an interesting concept. What we need to do is give up those things which cover up the love; likes, dislikes, attitudes, demands, expectations. In reality it makes good sense, it is a simple practice which will require some conscious retraining of the mind.

As the evening progressed, the smaller group allowed an intimate and trusting space to share our thoughts. Shari spoke of a personal situation with her daughter, Maree contributed with a relevant story about her day and Tery (true to form) shared some of himself. I also shared in the conversation. David (the ever thinking analyst) finally felt it all come together. His smile lit his face.

As the group was so small, I think we all shared a little more than we would normally. By the end of the night, David thanked us all for contributing to his epiphany, and Tery sat smiling as we said our good-byes for the week. As always he sent us on our way with practices to follow for the week ahead. We all left feeling lighter and warmer.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Password Overload

It is a Monday and I have taken the day off. I am unwell. My mind is not focused and I have the remains of a jagged headache. I returned to bed (having informed my bosses I would not be able to make it to work) and slept some extra hours. I woke at 11am with the symptoms unrelenting.

Nausea, shaking hands, insomnia, a cold sweat. Yes, these point very squarely to a good dose of Monday-itis. I recognise this as I generally suffer minor outbreaks of the same illness, oh, about once a week! But it is not the case, because worse than all those symptoms, is my sudden loss of memory.

Just the other day, as I sat at my computer, hands poised over the keyboard, it hit for the very first time. My mind went completely blank. It's true. Completely. Blank. For the life of me I could not recall what to type in the required field. It was frightening. I didn't know what to do. So I sat back, paused and then plunged my head deep into the nearest sandpit and ignored my plight, hoping it would go away! Alas, I am still tormented, and after a week-end stressing and worrying it seems I can ignore it no longer.

I am unable to make a doctor's appointment until Friday (too bad if I am on my death bed, which thankfully, I am not!) and so I have spent the last couple of hours on the internet trying to determine (in true self diagnosis fashion) what might be wrong. After much perseverance, I have found the cause of my confusion. I am relieved to say I do not have scarlet fever or cholera, nor am I suffering from appendicitis or influenza. I don't have (nor do I want) leprosy or the plague. I have listed my symptoms and crossed all number of possibilities off the list. There is only one diagnosis that remains. It's official. I am suffering a modern affliction - password overload.

Yes it is true. It is a modern phenomenon. A result of living in this technically complicated era.

Now I don't know about you, but when I got my first plastic card to access my bank account via an atm, there was a certain amount of concern that remembering a 4 digit pin may well risk my financial independence. I memorised the number and as a safeguard, I also entered it in my address book, under a fake contact, with a coded phone number. That was over 20 years ago.

Our lives are now linked by cards, memberships, reward programs and security passes. We are told they make our lives 'more simple' but the passwords are piling up. My address book is now full of people who I don't know, from places I have never visited and my address book and I can no longer cope. Library, Ebay, Amazon, work email, home email, gmail, security passes into work, internet banking, phone banking, my gym membership, frequent flyers, the list goes on and on...

Each has it's own password, pin number or keypad combination. And I can't seem to remember any of them. I have no money, I can't ride my bike, someone has to get me into the office where I remain trapped until 5 when I am released, and I can no longer borrow a DVD from the local video store. I can't even gain access to the local gym (perhaps there are some blessings afterall!)

Apparently there is no cure. Apparently, it is an affliction suffered by many, most of whom remain undiagnosed. Maybe you suffer the same symptoms? Perhaps there is a need for a self help group. Maybe one already exists. If it does - would you let me know. It would make me feel so much better to know I am not alone. I would suggest you email, but I can't remember my password. Maybe you should phone or write me a letter! Better still post a comment.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Life is a bowl of cherries...

I sometimes wonder if I am living a cliche. I take it as it comes, one day at a time. When things aren't quite as I hope, I try to make the most of it and when things are going well, I thank my lucky stars. When I am really busy it seems I burn the candle at both ends. I count my blessings daily.

As for work, I could take it or leave it. It drives me crazy and it often makes me tear my hair out! Some days I couldn't care less, other days the world is my oyster and it's like water off a duck's back. Whilst I don't like to blow my own trumpet, I work hard for the money and do an honest days work. It ain't rocket science. Work is not the be all and end all and it pays the bills. Generally I manage to make ends meet.

I can be as stubborn as a mule, I don't suffer fools gladly, don't mince my words and sometimes it's my way or the highway. Many times I put my foot in my mouth. I should probably learn to bite my tongue. Apparently life wasn't meant to be easy! And it isn't always a barrel of laughs. What I want to know is, if the best things in life are free, what am I doing in the rat race?

I dream of winning the lottery. I would hit the road, take a well deserved break and live life on the edge. I would take to it like a duck to water. Certainly I would see the world through rose coloured glasses. Perhaps I would live dangerously, dance the night away, live it up. I could go anywhere at the drop of a hat. And when I get tired, I would take the load off my feet, kick back and relax and wait until I got my second wind.

Despite my lottery free lifestyle, lady luck has smiled on me. I have had my cake and eaten it too. I have been footloose and fancy-free and I've settled down. I am lucky to surround myself with those I love. They are my tower of strength. I wouldn't swap them for all the tea in China. Home is where the heart is.

My life is a bowl of cherries and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If your life was a cliche - what would it be? I would love to hear your thoughts!

au revoir automne...

Today is the first day of winter. I mourn Autumn's passing. I will miss the crisp mornings and golden afternoons, the fading days of summer warmth.

I am not a lover of winter. Winter is warm fires, heavy coats and snow, comfort food and walking in the rain. These things I do love. But winter is a relative with whom I want to visit and not stay. I don't love the short hours of daylight nor the constant grey skies, the shadowless days and the grey faces of people in the street. Everything fades to a pale winter grey that is a miserable carbon of the summer version. Roll on spring...