101 things about me

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I think I might be onto something... I may never have to shop again.

And this would be a good thing. Because... (gasp of horror) I HATE TO SHOP. Seriously.

When I was small, my Mum (in an effort to avoid any confrontation) let me choose what I wanted to wear every day. She would look out the window and tell me what the weather would require and then I would dress accordingly. Pretty clever on her part, and we never did clash.

HOWEVER... I do hold her entirely responsible for the fact I have absolutely NO FASHION SENSE AT ALL! And as a result, I'm not much of a shopper. I have never been one to follow the latest fashions and would far prefer to have clothes that can be worn for however long I like them and not be met with looks of despair if worn one season too many.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a total disaster and I do like to look good... I just don't list clothes and fashion as a high priority.

I have been saying for ages that I would love a personal shopper. Someone who knew me well enough to know what would look good on me, but also know what I wouldn't like. Someone to push me a little, but not make me look like a 40 year old trying to look like a teenager! And let's face it, I was a teenager in the 80's, so no wonder I don't want to go back there!

So, I'm at work yesterday and we're talking about the sales. And no, I haven't been. Mostly because I haven't much felt like facing the world right now. Nor battling with the crowds. And whilst I know I could do with a few bits, well... it's hardly high on the list.

I joked that I would be happy to hand over $100 to each of them (two workmates) and let them go shopping on my behalf. Well! They got all excited, they squealed with delight, smiles filled their faces, their eyes glazed a little and before I knew it, the deal was done.

Right now, I'm happy - I don't have to shop. They're happy - they get to shop and spend someone else's money. And hopefully, when they return with all their bargains, I will be even happier... They may even get a regular gig.

Seriously, I think I might be onto something.
I may never have to shop again.
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Wisdom Works...

Take a minute to pause and reflect. It's worth it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Escaping reality...

Some days I just wish I could escape.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Love thy neighbour...

I live in an inner city suburb of Melbourne where old weatherboard houses are pushed in between blocks of flats and clinker brick commission houses of the 1930's. There are pensioners who grow veggies in their front gardens, living next door to city workers in townhouses. Couples with kids or dogs (or both) and couples without.

Many people greet each other with a nod or a friendly hello in the street, whilst others keep to themselves. Without doubt there are a few oddballs. Despite (or maybe because of) the range of characters, the area maintains a local feel.

There is a local milk bar on the next block which originally sold papers, stale bread and limp groceries, but is now a meeting place for a coffee and a chat. The old timers sit amongst the new comers and watch the world go by with little changing across the years apart from the inevitable turn of the seasons.

It's pretty quiet mostly, despite it's inner suburb location, though true to high density living, not much goes unnoticed.

Whilst out and about, I will sometimes say hello or briefly smile in greeting and mostly people are friendly... and yet there are some characters I tend to avoid. It's not conscious exactly, I just don't go out of my way to greet them. One such person lives across the road and is a pretty rough looking guy. He's big, generally goes unshaven, has wide shoulders and dresses in an oversized T-shirt and shorts, no matter what the season. I know he is there and I am quite sure he has seen me too, but he keeps to himself and I am quite happy with the situation as it stands.

So this morning, as Mal was unlocking his car (an original 1978 mini), he was taken a little by surprise when this guy called out from the other side of the road, trying to get his attention.

It seems a few nights ago, he caught a few young guys trying to flip over Mal's car (three of them on a section each) and he told them in no uncertain terms to piss off! Thankfully (and not surprisingly) he didn't get any arguments and they left post haste. "I'm a pitt bull, I am" he told Mal with a smile. A smiling pit bull.

They chatted briefly and Mal thanked him before he continued on his way, giving each each other a nod as he drove away.

Just one of those days...

It's a grey start to the day. I'm rugged up - still in my winter work-wear and it's nearly the first day of summer. I've made it to work, on mucky roads in impatient traffic.

I'd rather be walking on the beach, preferably in the sun, but even here would be ok...

Where would you like to be right now?

This web cam picks up the view of Bass Strait and Point Lonsdale back beach. Point Lonsdale is the town where I grew up. You can click on the link here and see 4 different views from the Lonsdale Lighthouse. Of course, it's a lot nicer on a sunny day.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Sunday, 9 November 2008

This is my favourite quote...

Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.


I actually used this quote for an earlier "This is" post, but I couldn't resist using it again. It really is great motivation for taking a leap into the unknown - being bold and seeing what might happen.

So what are you waiting for?
You heard the man! Begin it!
Go for it!

The theme for this weeks "This is..." came from Ashley at Strawberry Kisses. The "This is..." meme was started by the very creative Angela of Three Buttons fame.

I have other quotes I love too... just click on "quote of the day" link below to read a few more of my favourites.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I was shot and I survived...

A few months ago, Mal needed a model for his photography course and so I (rather reluctantly) volunteered. I agreed to model for him on the proviso he was to delete any really bad pics and that he retouched out any spots or major wrinkles. I thought that was more than reasonable!

It actually went quite well in the end, thanks to some good lighting - Oh and Mals photography too! Once I relaxed, we even had a bit of a laugh.

He said he didn't have to do TOO much retouching, and at 41, I am happy to believe him!

You can go and visit his new web page here at PortraitPro...
It's still in it's early stages, but he already has some great shots. Go to his gallery and take a look!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Quote of the day...

Kind words can be short and easy to speak
but their echoes are truly endless.

Mother Theresa

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday.

71 today.

We celebrated together... seven of us in all. It was a special lunch of roast lamb, birthday cake and chocolate brownies shared with good company.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

My favourite things...

This was one of my earliest posts and I had a lot of fun with it. I thought I might revisit it here today and get this little tune dancing around your head for the day. And sometimes it's just good to rembember there are good things in the world... and sometimes the simplest of things bring joy to your life.

So time to sing-a-long everyone! You know you want to!

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...

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

You may even want to give it a try yourself and make up your own version. If you do, come back and let me know - I'd love to sing along to your version.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Word Verification Interpretation...

Is it just me, or does anyone else have issues with word verification?

I have a ridiculous amount of trouble with word verification when posting comments on blogs. It is not unusual for me to have to try a few of times before I finally get it right. I have even lost comments when I screwed up too many times! (By the way, if my comment on your blog lacks wit, the first one was better!)

Maybe it is my eyesight. Maybe it is my typing (a high possibility). Maybe it is because some of the letters just seem to blend into one another. Whatever it is, I really don't know. I just know there are days when I struggle to get it right.

BUT. Something has changed.

Has anyone else noticed that lately they have become easier?

Some almost read like real words.

And mostly I have managed to get them first time. Ha!

Oh and some are just a little bit funny.
I just had to add this one... a giggle for all the 9 year old boys who drop by my blog!

And finally. Do you believe I have just created an entire post on this subject?
Good grief.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Most days I feel like I'm still in my 20's...

Yes, today is my birthday. Most days I feel like I'm still in my 20's, so finding that I am now 20 years past my 21st birthday somehow comes as a bit of a shock. Seriously. 20 years ago I was 21. Gheeesh!

I'm 41.

Don't worry, I can't believe it either.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A welcome laugh...

I was sent this pic sometime ago, and being that I like to share a giggle, I have been intending to share it with you for sometime. Of course with everything that has been going on... well... It's a bit later than planned. But a smile is better late than never.


To everyone who has emailed, called, sent me messages of love and support and left me a comments on my blog over the last few weeks, and to every one who has been touched by recent events in my life (and maybe wanted to comment but didn't know what to say)... Thank-you all.

Your thoughts mean so much to me.

I have been told, laughter is the best medicine, so, have a laugh and stay healthy and happy.
And maybe leave the bells and pepper spray at home!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Spring has sprung...

Hellllooooo Springtime!

Well, winter is now officially over and I am so so SO happy to say good-bye to winter and hello to spring. The last 2 months have been horrendous for a number of reasons (I may well fill you in sometime) and with the first days of Spring it feels like there may well be hope in the air.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Flashback Friday...

This is me (again) with my two older brothers. Summer tans and barefoot freedom. Fantastic.

I think it's Lake Eildon in the background. It is pretty full here, but now 35 years later, and after a stretch of years of drought, it is currently at 19% capacity. With 515 km of shoreline, it stores six times as much water as Sydney Harbour at full supply level. That's one hell of a lot of water!

We're going to need a lot of rain to get back to those levels again!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Just sitting... thinking...

deep thoughts

I found this on FLICKR today here
Does anyone know if this is OK re use of photos viewable to the public on FLICKR? As long as I give credit to where I found it... is this OK?

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

One word...

I first saw this on Curly Pop's blog recently and since then, here and here too.
Thought I would join in the fun. I can't resist a good list afterall.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your significant other? Mal
3. Your hair? Brown
4. Your daughter? None
5. Your son? None
6. Your favorite thing? Family
7. Your dream last night? School
8. Your favorite drink? Water
9. Your goal? Creativity
10. The room you’re in? Studio
11. Your church? Everywhere
12. Your fear? Grief
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Tropics
14. Where were you last night? Calligraphy
15. What you’re not? Tech-savvy
16. Muffins? Mmmmm
17. One of your wish list items? Peace
18. Where you grew up? Point Lonsdale
19. The last thing you did? Email
20. What are you wearing? Nothing*
21. Your TV? Hidden
22. Your pets? None
23. Your computer? Apple
24. Your life? Rollercoaster
25. Your mood? Mixed
26. Missing someone? Daily
27. Your car? Mini
28. Something you’re not wearing? Make-up
29. Favorite store? Art
30. Your summer? Glorious
31. Like (love) someone? Yes
32. Your favorite color? Pink
33. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
34. Last time you cried? Yesterday
35. Who will repost this? Ames

*I am really - just checking you were still reading...

Have a great day everyone! If you want to join in, copy and paste, enter your own 'one word' answers and post on you blog. Have fun!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Overheard conversations...

On the week-end, I was visiting a friend in hospital and arrived just at the end of the rest period. The friend was still asleep, so I made my way to the patients sitting room to wait for a while.

I took a seat on the sofa and opened a magazine which did little to hold my attention. There was an elderly couple sitting together talking. They both sat at the only table in the room, facing each other with their hands resting together on the table between them. He was obviously a patient (being dressed in a flannelet dressing gown and slippers) and she was his wife. I know this because I had seen her arrive at the hospital a few days earlier with his walking frame and as she wheeled it along at a brisk pace, she informed us it was for her husband.

It was impossible to ignore the conversation. She spoke quite loudly and he spoke with a very proper English accent, not unlike what I would expect of an army Colonel. Their shared conversation bought a smile to my face. The first thing that got my attention was his distinct voice saying (without a hint of hesitation) that "the only thing that is keeping me going, is the strength of my love for you my darling". She smiled at him and squeezed his hand and commented about the view.

She continued with her talk of getting older and how, now that she was 84, she had to limit herself to only one visit a day. He agreed wholeheartedly, saying she was not to exhaust herself. "It's not like I'm 80 anymore you know" she replied with another smile and another squeeze of the hand.

"I do love you, my darling" he said later in the conversation and she smiled and they were silent for a moment in each other's company. She did not return his words, but she continued to smile and her face glowed. That their feelings were mutual was without question. They were there for one another and no-one could intrude on their time together.

The above image was created using WORDLE.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

I am a gold girl...

You Are A Gold Girl

You're dependable and hard working. You never miss a deadline - and you're never late.

You have a clear sense of right and wrong. You're very detail oriented.

You get frustrated when your friends are sloppy - or when they don't follow through.

You're on top of things, and you wish that everyone else was!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

This is my trade secret...

Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.

If you want to be creative.
Get going and live creatively.
Get on with it...
This is my trade secret.

Do not procrastinate.

If you have a dream.
Start living it.
If you aren't sure what it is you want to do...
start the ball rolling and do SOMETHING!
ANYTHING to start the momentum.

Things grow when they are cultivated and given a little TLC.
If you want to follow a different path or make a change, you can't do it standing still.
Be Bold. Be Brave. And as Goethe says in the above quote... begin it.

The theme for this weeks "This is..." came from Amelia at bollewangenhaptoet. The "This is..." meme was started by the very creative Angela of Three Buttons fame.

This is the winner...

Congratulations to Melbourne based jeweler Kate from The Monday Project who is the lucky winner of my first blog giveaway. I will be dropping by tonight to give her the good news. Drop by and say hi too. Kate and Sophie (Sydney based writer) set a new monthly project on the first Monday of every month and they invite everyone to take part. Hey guys - that's tomorrow! Go for it! I'll see you there!

It seems we all love the art of blogging.
Sharing of ideas, support, inspiration and a sense of community were all sentiments that were repeated in all of your comments. And I can't agree more. It is a creative outlet that continues to motivate and inspire me and colour my life. So thanks to you, for all your blogging goodness and for all your lovely comments too.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Flashback Friday...

This is my Mum at two and a half years of age. I love this photo. Believe it or not my Mum has almost dead straight hair.

I imagine she spent the night before in rags to make those gorgeous curls. I am amazed they managed to get her to smile for the photo as I imagine she would not have slept too well!

I haven't been blogging at all this week as I have been unable to access a computer. I will be back next week. Thanks for all your comments, I'll come and say hi soon I promise. Don't forget to leave a comment if you want to take part in the giveaway on the "This is" post. There is still time.

See you Sunday.
Have a great week-end everyone!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

This is my gift to you...

In February last year I started blogging. It was something I had been contemplating for sometime, but true to form, (being a great procrastinator) it took me sometime to sit down and just do it! EVENTUALLY I created my blog using a Blogger template, added a couple of personal touches and in no time I was hooked. I have never looked back. In fact, I often find myself creating new posts in my head and could easily spend hours visiting other blogs. Mal regularly complains about being a blogging widow!

What continues to surprise and please me, is how many creative, wonderful people are out there and the number of people that drop by and say hi! There are many bloggers I like to visit regularly and then so many new ones I keep finding! You all colour my internet life.

In September last year I added clustermaps to my blog, to track how many visitors I get. This week, I reached a grand total of 10,000! Yes, TEN THOUSAND visitors to my blog! That is amazing to me and is definitely worthy of celebration. And so, as the "This is" theme for this week is of our own choice, I have decided to make it my first blog giveaway in honour of the occasion. This is my thank-you for your inspirational blogs and comments.

So, post a comment by midnight next Saturday and you will be in the draw to win. What do you love about blogging? What is your latest blogging find? What inspires you? Who inspires you? On Sunday of next week, I will draw the lucky winner and post it on my blog.

This is what the lucky winner will win. Can you tell I like pink and that I have a 'thing' for notebooks? I made the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie badge. I plan to add a couple of other bits too, but I will wait now until I see who wins and go and take a look at their blog to see what might be suitable.

Good luck everyone, have a great week and thanks again for visiting.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Flashback Friday...

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”

Apparently all good adventures require a funky handbag! You know... so you can carry all those adventure requirements... a compass, a pocketknife, a bar of chocolate!

Have a great week-end everyone.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Recipe for Jacinta...

The Recipe For Jacinta

3 parts Talent

2 parts Pride

1 part Wisdom

Splash of Giddiness

Finish off with a squeeze of lime juice

I found this on Helen's blog... Weary Words Go take a look and say hi while you are there!

Have a good day everyone.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The only one...

I saw this clip on Boobook's blog way back in February. I love it. Hope you do too.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

This is what makes me happy...

1. Window Seat, 2. Beautiful bedding, 3. Frangipani 4, 4. Jump, 5. Sunny smile, 6. Scrabble Dreaming, 7. Full bowl of maltesers, 8. Deserted Beach, 9. Beautiful Shells

It seems to me, that we sometimes forget to acknowledge even the simplest of things that make our lives more pleasurable. And often we spend so much time pondering on the battles of our lives that we don't even realise how lucky, or happy we are.

I have been thinking about it a little lately. Trying to be more aware of the things that bring joy to my life. More often than not, it is the small things that make me happy. So I have made a list, for a couple of reasons... A good list makes me happy and, I have decided to list only 10 things, so I have time to go and visit everyone else's "This is" posts for this week. I hope you have all enjoyed the theme... and you have a happy Sunday.

This is what makes me happy...

A free table in the window of my favourite cafe makes me happy.

Slipping into a freshly laundered bed after a long day makes me happy.

The smell of frangipani on a warm summer evening makes me happy.

Living a creative and adventurous life makes me happy.

Summer smiles make me happy.

Using all my tiles in scrabble on a triple word score... makes me happy.

Curling up, with a good book and a full bowl of maltesers, beside an open fire makes me happy.

A walk on a deserted beach makes me happy.

Beautiful things make me happy.

My family and friends makes me happy. When everyone is healthy and happy - so am I. I am happy when spending time in their good company, sharing stories over a healthy meal, laughing. Being happy together. THAT is what makes me happy.

Thanks again to Angela for creating the "this is" magic

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Dance a little...

Celebrate people - it's nearly the week-end.
It's time to dance...

As written in The Age

...A goofy dance started in a Brisbane office block has taken the world by storm and its creator, Matthew Harding, to the four corners of the globe and most places in between.

Harding, 31, is the latest internet celebrity to ride YouTube fame all the way to the bank, but, unlike the transient notoriety most web video stars enjoy, Harding's 15 minutes of fame have been going on for three years.

Over the past 14 months, Harding and his girlfriend have been on a tour to 42 countries for the sole purpose of filming him dancing badly at various international locations and in front of some of the world's most famous landmarks.

The result is a 4½-minute video clip, published at the end of last month, which has already attracted more than 6.5 million views on YouTube and more than 1.5 million views on Vimeo.

You can read the rest of the Article here.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

This is... the theme for this week.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it is that makes us truly happy... It is so so easy to get buried under the daily battles and forget the simple pleasures that bring us joy... the love we have for our family and friends, the tune of a favourite song, the beauty that surrounds us daily, the sounds, the visions and the smells that colour our world.

And so the theme for this week (I hope you enjoy it) is...

This is what makes me happy.

Thanks Angela for asking me to suggest the This is theme for this week.

*I have used this photo before and you get to see it again today, because I love it and it makes me happy! Have fun everyone and see you on Sunday.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Getting your wires crossed...

Some days it seems like the message just doesn't get through... And looking at these pics, it's hardly surprising. In fact, looking at these pics, you'd have to wonder how anyone manages (in technological terms at least) to communicate at all!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

This is what gives me goosebumps...

The idea of deep water (and especially rough seas) gives me the goosebumps.

I have been swimming with the dolphins and seals in Port Phillip Bay and I grew up near the beach, but deep water and rough surf in particular, gives me goosebumps BIGTIME!

I don't get seasick and I am a regular user of ferries, I really don't know why I have this reaction... A rough trip to Maria Island off the east coast of Tasmania on school camp? The movie Perfect Storm? Too many episodes of Gilligan's Island? Perhaps it is more the idea of being out of control in rough water maybe? Whatever it is, the idea of deep water is definitely goosebump material.

A couple of months ago, when I found out my brother was going deep sea fishing off the southern coast of Victoria. I've gotta tell you, my stomach lurched. When I imagined him taking a charter boat out into the ocean, over 40 kilometers off the coast with the aim of catching a bluefin tuna, all I could see were stormy seas and big big waves. I am relieved to say arrived home safely and was even published in the Geelong Addy, having landed the catch of the day!

Tim Smith of Point Lonsdale with the bluefin tuna he caught off Portland aboard Adamas Charters on Sunday. (Photo Rod Lawn).

The theme for this weeks "This is..." came from Flightless Boyds. The "This is..." meme was started by the very creative Angela of Three Buttons fame.

I see I get to choose the theme for next week - I have been thinking about it all day and I am still undecided... I will let you know by Wednesday... Have a good week everyone.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Flashback Friday...

Have a great week-end everyone.
Do something you love.
Be creative.

Go crazy.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Not just pink boas and heavy make-up...

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Dame Barbara Cartland. Happy Birthday Babs!

Some time ago, I stumbled upon a documentary about Dame Barbara Cartland. I paused for a moment to amuse myself, and found, to my total surprise that I was transfixed. She was an incredible woman. I had always imagined her pink outfits and thick make-up to be an indication of a woman of little substancce. I was wrong. She became a mainstay of the popular media in her trademark pink dresses and plumed hats, an expert on matters of love, marriage, politics, religion, health and fashion. To most people she was known for her prolific romance writing, but in reality she was so much more. Barbara Cartland was an amazing woman.

Not only was she a successful and well-loved author but she also lived a truly amazing life which spanned two world wars.

She was born 9th July, 1901 and her father was killed on a Flanders battlefield in World War 1 and her mother raised her and her two brothers - who were both killed (one day apart) in World War 2.

Cartland became successful as a society reporter and writer of romantic fiction. After a year as a gossip columnist for the Daily Express, Cartland published her first novel, Jigsaw (1923), a slightly naughty society thriller that became a bestseller. One of her plays, Blood Money (1926), was banned by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. She sold over 1,000 million books sold in over 36 countries, giving her a place in the Guinness book of Records.

During the Second World War Barbara Cartland was Chief Lady Welfare Officer in Bedfordshire looking after 20,000 service men and women. She had the idea of gathering as many wedding dresses as she could for hire, so that service brides would have a white dress to wear on their wedding day. She bought 1,000 second hand gowns without coupons and made many brides’ big day, very special. In 1945 Barbara Cartland received the Certificate of Merit from Eastern Command.

The war marked the beginning of a life-long interest in civic welfare and politics for Barbara Cartland, who served the War Office in various charitable capacities as well as the St. John Ambulance Brigade; in 1953 she was invested at Buckingham Palace as a Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem for her services.

In 1955 Barbara Cartland was elected a councillor on Hertfordshire County Council and served for nine years. One of Barbara’s passions was fighting for better conditions and salaries for midwives and nurses. Through this cause she became a Dame of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, Chairman of the St John Council in Hertfordshire and Deputy President of the St John Ambulance Brigade.

In the early 1960’s she campaigned for the rights of gypsies’ to have a permanent place to live which resulted in an act of Parliament. One of the first gypsy camps was opened by Barbara Cartland in 1964 and called Barbaraville and there are now 14 in Hertfordshire. This has meant thousands of gypsies and their families have a place to call home and their children can be educated in their local area.

In 1964 Barbara founded the National Association for Health in the UK, of which she was President.

As well as her romantic novels she also wrote books on health and vitamins and was a great believer in the healing power of honey and the benefits of vitamins. She also wrote a number of cookery books; the recipes from which were often used in the House of Commons.

In 1978 she sang an Album of Love Songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1981 Barbara was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List by Her Majesty the Queen, for her contribution to literature and for her work for the Community.

Barbara Cartland produced a total of 723 titles. After years of wearing her trademark anti-wrinkle cream and heavy makeup, she had herself photographed repeatedly without any cosmetics before she died. She was 98 years of age at her death.

Due to her concern for the environment, she requested to be buried in a cardboard coffin. This request was honoured and she was buried at her estate in Hatfield under a tree that had been planted by Queen Elizabeth I.

Much of the information for this post was found at barbaracartland.com

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Brothers young and old, save up your pocket money...

I used to be TERRIFIED of spiders. There was never space enough for me and one spider in the same room!

But then, 2 years ago, I faced my fears, took part in the "Fearless Program' for arachnophobes at Tooronga zoo in Sydney and I was cured. Yes cured. I can honestly say I have held a LIVE, hand filling, genuine, Chilean Rose Tarantula in my bare hands and I would do it again. If you are brave enough, you can read about my experience and see the picture to prove it here.

Today I saw in a local toy catalogue, you can buy one of these little beasties and play havoc with all of your arachnophobic friends and family.

Yes, it's a remote control tarantula! My brother's would have got their money's worth with this in their arsenal of tricks! It would have seen me running for the hills.

What will they think of next?

Saturday, 5 July 2008

This is my most treasured childhood possession...

This is a collection of my most treasured childhood possessions.

I was trying to decide what I was going to include and was thinking I might even struggle a bit! Then, this week-end I have been staying in Point Lonsdale (in my childhood home) and managed to find lots of things hidden away in back room cupboards and in secret drawers.

Turned out, I couldn't decide what NOT to include, so I have included a small selection... Favourite dolls, swap cards, the small pop-up toy and my most treasured childhood book The Big Tidy-Up (a recent acquisition) all feature strongly in my childhood memories.

Off to see everyone else's treasures now. Have a great week everyone.

The theme for this weeks "This is..." came from Teacups on Treetops (go and have a look at her blog - it's very cool!). The "This is..." meme was started by the very creative Angela of Three Buttons fame.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The Exhibition...

1. Degreaves Street, Melbourne, 2. Exhibition set up, 3. Exhibition set up, 4. Exhibition set up, 5. Red Wine Label (from lino cut), 6. Sculpture, 7. Exhibition - Jessie's Sold Print, 8. Exhibition, 9. Cathedral Arcade

As you all know, my Arts course finished last week, with the final exhibition opening on Thursday night.

It was held in The Pigment Gallery which is in the iconic Nicholas Building in the Flinders Lane arts precinct of Melbourne. It's a pretty small gallery and while this meant a restricted amount of work could be hung, it also meant the space was intimate and not too overbearing. It was a great night with lots of friends and family coming to look at the gallery and a selection of our work. We had red and white wine which was labelled with 2 lino prints from class (one mine and one from Meredith) which looked great.

The exhibition was open for another 2 days, giving us all the opportunity to sit in the space and greet visitors.

It was an interesting exercise and a good chance to get ideas for future possibilities. Three items sold, including Jessie's print which is pictured above. Micahel also sold his Tasmanian Tiger lino print to Jessie's uncle who had a tattoo which was (funnily enough) also of a Tazzie Tiger. Incredible coincidence. Congratulations also to Simone for selling one of her prints.

Thanks to everyone who came by and said hello.

Unfortunately not all works were pictured above. You can go and look at a few more images of the exhibition and my art at my FLICKR page.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

What I miss about London #3...

Of all the things I miss about London, I miss my friends the most.

I lived in a number of houses in London, sharing with as many as 10 other people in Stoke Newington, to just the two of us (me and Al - my partner at the time) in Chiswick, Kew Gardens, Shepherds Bush, Manor House and Richmond.

In such an incredible city, many of my memories are connected with my beautiful friends. Amongst them, we shared a house (and became good friends with) our Brazilian buddies Lucia, Felipe and Monica (and her Pommy partner Robert). We shared home-made chocolate brownies, tv show Friends, a good laugh and a passion for car boot sales! We often ate together, and celebrated many special occasions in their good company.

We had a couple of great parties - this one was a 'crazy' party. We all had to dress up in something 'offbeat'. It was a funny funny night. When they first entered our room - converted into the dining room for the night - we stood and laughed at each other uncontrollably for ages before we all got it together! I couldn't find a photo of me, but I wore a garbage bag with a trim of pegs and a plant pot on my head, complete with plant!
from left, Robert, Al, Lucia, Monica and Felipe.

We don't write often, and even emails are pretty sporadic. Nevertheless, I think of them a lot, with a smile on my face, and miss them to this day.

It happens to be Lucia's birthday today.
Happy Birthday Lucia!

Monday, 30 June 2008

You've got to uphold the dream...

So, I'm back at work this morning - my arts course finished last week (sob sob). It feels like a bit of a daze really. A few nights out... the exhibition... lots of talking... out and about...

Now, here I am, where I was just 5 days ago and the seat feels unfamilliar. As if I shouldn't be here! Maybe I am imagining it.

Then, I go to flip my desk calendar to today and Friday's quote catches my eye. Funny (and oh so true) given last Friday was the last day.

"You've got to create a dream.
You've got to uphold the dream.
If you can't, then bugger it. Go back
to the factory, or go back to the desk."

I kid you not. I have no idea who this Eric Burdon is, but I like him. He is a wise man. And the timing of the quote could not have been more perfect.

We spent much of the week-end discussing how to avoid a return to the full time 'office job'. How to live the dream and afford to live at the same time. I'm working on it people, cos, as my buddy Mr.Burdon says... "you've got to uphold the dream".

Happy Monday everyone.

*Turns out Eric Burdon is singer in The Animals. Thanks Sherrin!
This weeks "This is..." and Exhibition update to come in the next few days. Stay tuned!

Friday, 27 June 2008

All I Really Need To Know...

All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten
By Robert Fulghum

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Opening night...

Tonight was the opening for my Art course exhibition.

Great night. Big Day.


Will post tomorrow with pics and more details.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Reason to celebrate...

It was a quiet week-end. Mellow. I travelled to Point Lonsdale Saturday morning and I enjoyed the company of my parents until late Sunday.

Sunday night I watched in awe as my friend Amy sang in her first solo performance, with family and friends there to cheer her on. I felt lucky to be part of the group of people she wanted to share this with - and she was amazing. She looked so calm and relaxed on stage and sang beautifully - a natural.

And on top of these simple joys, I quietly celebrated the passing of the winter solstice. The shortest day of the year is now behind us, and although we are only in the early days of winter, I feel like we have turned the corner and we are on the return journey to Summer.

It's a good reason to Celebrate!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Flashback Friday...

Is it really Friday? Already?

Incredible... Time for a drink!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

FLICKR Game...

1. Cinta, 2. Chocolate, 3. Queenscliff, 4. Pink, 5. Wallace and Grommit, 6. Water, 7. London, 8. Chocolate Brownie, 9. Happy, 10. A good laugh, 11. Curious, 12. one little acorn

I have seen this on a few blogs now and decided to join the fun. You can have a turn too if you like. Here are the rules...

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Created with flicker toys

Sunday, 15 June 2008

This is the space in which I create...

This is my desk at home. It is the place where I do much of my creative work when I'm not at school. There are a few creations in view - a couple complete and many more ready to begin. Each item in the pigeon holes is intended to inspire. From calligraphy inks to juggling balls, mind puzzles to beads and japanese brushes... It's quite a mix. Of course there is jar full of pens and brushes and a number of books, blank paper and photos on my desk close at hand.

The camera is my Dads. I used it recently for some photography as I wanted the transparencies which are larger than normal (6 x 6). It takes great shots, and has a three or four step process before you can flick the button to take the shot. It's certainly not as instant as digital, but the results are pretty amazing.

So, the area in which I create is small, but as long as I keep it relatively tidy it is a pleasant place to work. When I need more space, the kitchen table is my next option.

The subject for this weeks "This is..." was bought to you by Michelle from Quilting Mick. The "This is..." meme was created by the magical Angela of Three Buttons fame.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Flashback Friday...

This is me with my 2 brothers.
I'm the one in the funky hat!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Quote of the Day...

Happiness cannot come from without.
It must come from within.
It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.


Sunday, 8 June 2008

This is my favourite travel memory...

I love to travel and whilst it has been a few years since I travelled overseas I have some wonderful memories. I saw some incredible places and met some wonderful people. It was an amazing time for me.
In 1989 I spent 4 months doing an overland trip from Kenya to Morocco which finished in London. It was a journey that included Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, African Central Republic, Zaire, Nigeria and Algeria and more. It allowed me the opportunity to see the mountain gorillas in Zaire and travel across the Sahara desert. I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and saw wild animals in their natural habitat including elephant, cheetah and lions.

At 21, it was quite a trip. I look back now and am amazed at how lucky I was... I think it was a combination of good fortune and naivety that saw me go to all these exciting places and travel so safely!

This photo was taken in Zaire when we stopped in a town for supplies. The kids were always so excited to see us. I love their smiles. It was a picture that captured their delight and excitement. And if you had turned the cameras on us, we would have been smiling just the same. It was pretty contagious!

The subject for this weeks "This is..." was bought to you by Hila from Your Cover's Blown.
The "This is..." meme was created by the magical Angela of Three Buttons fame.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The roller coaster life of the budding artist...

Do you believe I am nearing the end of my Arts course? I have barely posted about it, but I must tell you it has been amazing. I feel like a new person. As hoped, it has been an intense introduction to fine arts and given me a chance to immerse myself into creativity. I have been so lucky and feel so privileged to be a part of such an amazing group. It has been a great taster, but as with many entrees it has left me wanting more... looking forward to the next course.

I am already stressing about leaving the group, about keeping myself motivated, about whether I can continue my studies (if work will allow it and if I can afford it) and about returning to full time work in the meantime.

I have learned a lot and grown a lot, and I have loved the course - a lot. I have been challenged continually. Most of all, I have been surprised to find that the course has been as much about the mental journey as the development of skills.

My inner critic has become my constant companion.

I’m good, I’m bad. I’m committed, I should be committed. I have progressed, I have regressed. I am competent, I am incompetent. I have talent, I have no talent. I have high expectations, I have low expectations. I am overwhelmed, I am underwhelmed. I am confident, I lack confidence. I’m positive, I’m negative. I have ideas, too many ideas or too few ideas. I lack time and then when I have time, I waste time.

And while I know I shouldn’t, and I try not to, I see the quality and quantity of other people’s work and I can’t help but compare their work to my own and I feel overwhelmed. What am I doing? Who am I kidding? Why am I bothering!

Take lino and print making for example. I wanted this to ‘be my thing’. I love the graphic qualities of print making. I love the technique. I love the feel of the tools in my hands. I love the results. And yet, when I see fellow student's results - their detail and their imagination - I compare myself to them and I am inadequate. I paralyse myself into inactivity.

Self imposed pressure rests on my shoulders every time I pick up a pen, a paintbrush, a tool to carve lino. If it was someone else having these feelings of doubt, I would reassure them they were doing ok, to keep going. And yet I can’t seem to give myself the same freedom... the same reassurance. I am trying, trying, trying to shake off these self doubtss and focus on my own art and no-body else's, but it is a constant battle. It's like riding a roller coaster.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Did I tell you I went paragliding...

I went paragliding at Easter-time and I can't believe I forgot to tell you! Following my most recent mosaic, I received an email from an friend (and regular visitor to my blog) who reminded me I didn't post about my paragliding experience. So here is the update.

Before I begin though, I should just explain, parasailing is the one where you are pulled up off a water based platform and sail along, being towed by a boat. That is parasailing. I went paragliding.

Paragliding is where you go to an elevated area, run until the wind fills the sail, lifting you off the ground and where (hopefully) the thermals carry you higher and further away from certain a death plunge. It's where you glide around in the thermals and eventually (ever so calmly) return to the lower landing area and glide (ever so gracefully) to a stop. That is pretty much what paragliding is supposed to be. In a nutshell. In theory.

...ever so gracefully... hmmm...

1. SignLifeAway, 2. Instruction, 3. Bright, 4. View

I think you can probably tell by my face in the pic, I was pretty nervous... Looking at it now, I can well remember what he was saying... "so, when I say 'GO' you run straight toward the cliff, and keep running until I say stop! OK?"

Do you see the puzzled look on my face? The one where inside my head I am saying "What do you mean run straight toward the cliff and DON"T STOP! Are you !!*?&^# CRAZY? ??? You can't be SERIOUS" (do the "You can't be SERIOUS" in a John Mcenroe voice and you'll get the idea!)

Surely I had misheard? But no, it turns out, my hearing was fine, it was just my legs that were beginning to fail me!

Mal had organised it. As a surprise. Yep. It was a surprise alright! He's a gem hey! Actually to be fair, and not quite so melodramatic, I had wanted to go for ages, so it was in the ranks of a good surprise.

Of course I was nervous. As I signed my life away on the liability forms, I couldn't even spell Malcolm's name.
The writing was a bit shaky too if I remember correctly. But, as you know I survived to tell the tale, and I have to admit, it was an incredible rush.

I was attached securely. Believe me I checked. A few times. I was attached to the sail (the wing) AND to my instructor. (You don't seriously think I was going to do this by myself did you? I'm crazy yes, but not THAT crazy!)

The wing was lifted into the air and collected by the breeze. And we ran. The wing filled and pulled backward. And we ran. And the edge of the clearing loomed and disappeared out of sight. And we ran. And our feet were no longer touching the ground. And I ran. Feet madly running in the open air until I was told I could stop and I was hitched into the harness. And I sat, holding onto the straps and looked around.

It was FANTASTIC. An amazing view. Pine trees way below and mountains around us. Dark clouds at the horizon and in the distance and the township of Bright lay in early Autumn reds. There was a pretty good breeze, cool, but not cold and I even managed to take a couple of quick pics. We could see other gliders circling and riding the wind. We also circled and lifted briefly, but were unable to find any decent thermals and so it wasn't long before we were heading (at a pretty decent pace) toward the landing field.

Did I say field? Did you picture a cleared area with soft grass ready to cushion and welcome us to the earth in a pillow of loveliness. If you did, you would be wrong... So so wrong. It was a landing field - in a paddock. Yes a paddock. A paddock where cows roamed untethered. Where prolonged drought had turned the earth to uneven humps and pockets. Where there was no welcome mat and no soft landing place. Where uneven ground and a tiny gust of wind unceremoniuosly dumped this earth loving sailer into the dust. Where I was dragged for a few meters until my instructor managed to bring our gravel grazing journey to a stop.

So much for the ever so graceful landing. He was rather good about it really, given that I was his first tandem to trip the entire week-end. Maybe it had something to do with the fact his fall was well cushioned! Yes - you guessed it - by me!