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It Takes All Types

Although you'd never know it, she really was quite a character with the most wicked sense of humour.

Not always the life of the party, and some would say tending towards being a depressive, on her good days she really was quite a character with the most wicked sense of humour. She just wanted to be given a chance.

Hands up – who here has a Facebook account? Or you know of someone who has FB? Or you’ve at least heard of FB? Ok, good, you’re still with me… Now when you see posts with titles along the lines of “the types of people you should unfriend immediately”, if you’re like me then you’ve probably clicked on those links because you thought you’d be given useful information. Vital information. Information that would render sleep impossible if you didn’t click on the link to be informed of what you should do. The world’s a scary place you know with lots of weirdos so anything I should know about who I should unfriend, I need to know about!

I fell for that trick today, I wouldn’t so much call it ‘click bait’ because the article was genuine, only that the information was useless to me. It mentioned all the people that are currently my FB friends – the braggers, the depressives, the politicos, and others – you get the picture, apparently they’re the ones you need to unfriend immediately if you value your sanity. Just your typical human with all their flaws and idiosyncrasies. We all have friends who love to brag about their life, their possessions, their travel, and of course they can be annoying but not worthy of being unfriended. And the depressives, well life is pretty tough for them but I wouldn’t turn my back on them. And the politicos, if you’re on opposing sides then they’re either good for a laugh or they can show you how the other mindset ticks. If you’re on the same political side of the fence, it may help re-assure you that your beliefs have merit.

The best thing about social media platforms like FB is that if you’ve had enough of hearing about someone’s fancy car or holiday, or how someone may be struggling with their self worth, or perhaps you’ve had a gutful of seeing nothing but political links from your friends’ posts, the simple solution is to log off. I understand you can only complete so many eye rolls a day, so instead, log off and go do something else. You don’t want to unfriend your friends based on some lists that want you to reject everyone who isn’t like you (and by that I mean perfect, of course…*ahem*…). In fact, be thankful you have the ability to log off for if they were sitting in a cafe somewhere and they were boring you with all their braggery or depressiveness or fist-shaking bluster, you can’t exactly get up and leave. Yes, be thankful they’re on the other side of your screen and you can walk away without causing offence.

If we all developed the attitude of rejecting everyone who annoyed us, we wouldn’t have any FB friends or real life friends for that matter. And there’d be no need for a social platform like FB… It takes all sorts for this world of ours to go round so maybe a little tolerance wouldn’t go astray.

Strange Days Indeed

Sometimes the past doesn't want to be left behind.

Sometimes the past doesn’t want to be left behind.

Your word of the day is keta. Did you know keta refers to an image that pops into your head, in a random way, that harks back to the distant past?

Has this ever happened to you? One minute you’re walking along to work, past the smokers that are relegated outdoors even in the rain when suddenly an image flashes in your mind and one you had forgotten about, but is now for some unknown reason front and centre. The image so vivid that it makes you gasp which in turn makes the smokers stop puffing on their soggy cigarettes to check on you. You pretend that you’ve tripped on some unseen and small obstacle, lamely smile and walk on. The vision leaves you feeling a little shaken, because in today’s keta, the image you saw was a memory that occurred many years before and one that had left you emotionally wrecked at the time (and some say you’ve never recovered from). You blink your eyes rapidly and try and push that image away but it’s still visible even through tightly closed lids. As suddenly as the vision appears, with all the emotions that go along with it, the image disappears, like a tv being switched off. On, off. There, gone. Your emotions settle down and instead resume an air of what the fuck as you walk the remaining distance to work. All is normal in your world until you get home and you randomly see a pinterest post on an interesting word. And that word is keta.

Would You Like Some Rain with Your Tea?

I wonder if they'd notice if I just stood by the curtains and totally ignored them?

I wonder if they’d notice if I just stood by the curtains and totally ignored them?

Another rainy day. Summer has racked off somewhere and hasn’t left a note saying if or when it’s going to return. On a positive side, my garden won’t need any watering for a while now.  …On the negative – I hope all this rain doesn’t rot the root system of  all the plants! There’s rain and then there’s far too much rain.

I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea all those weeks ago when I marked it on the calendar, but in less than an hour I’ll have friends coming over to dinner. All that time ago, the thought of having a summer bbq was just the thing we were all looking forward to. Fast forward to today, and I’ve been willing the phone to ring and have my friends on the other end cancel their plans. No such luck unfortunately, the phone hasn’t rung all day. It’s days like today where I would love nothing more than to be sitting reading a book, or binge watching tv, or painting or drawing or anything other than entertaining. It’s a precious day off and I’ve spent it preparing for this evening. I know once they get here, I’ll be fine, I’ll stop be-grudging the fact they’ve invaded my space (sometimes I do wonder whether I have late onset introvertism…is there even such a thing?) and I know we’ll have a good time. I’ll bloody make sure we’ll all have a good time!

It’s inevitable they’ll show up in less than 30 minutes. Hopefully I’ve prepared enough food and that it will be delicious – fingers crossed. Is it almost time for them to go home now??

Ready, Set, Sleep

Yes, this will be me sleeping for 8 hours each night. Not sure how I feel about being watched over by swans though...

Yes, this will be me sleeping for 8 hours each night. Not sure how I feel about being watched over by swans though…

One of the challenges I’ve set myself is to get 8 hours sleep a night. Well, the plan is to be in bed for 8 hours each night. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be asleep for the whole 8 hours, what with menopalooza and sleep being so elusive when you’re in the throes of hormone inbalances and everything, but I do want to give this a decent go. I’ve read that getting a good night’s sleep helps in all sorts of ways and I want to see for myself if I’ll become more productive, content, less forgetful, and generally balanced within myself. So with that, this post is short and to the point as I have about 20 minutes before I need to hit the sack and try and see what 8 hours sleep feels like.

Why is it that when you’re at a time in your life that you’re able to have a full night’s sleep, stupid hormones muck you about and say nope, no sleep for you. Stupid hormones.

What Keeps Me Awake At Night #1

Remember when goods lasted the distance, you were served by knowledgeable sales staff and didn't begrudge paying for the quality because you knew the product would last?

Remember when goods lasted the distance, you were served by knowledgeable sales staff and didn’t begrudge paying for the quality because you knew the product would last?

Sometimes in the small hours when I can’t get to sleep I lie there thinking of nonsense. I try and solve problems that don’t even exist. I have one-sided arguments about politics, the newspapers, the world in general really. Last night found me trying to work out just when retailers decided that reducing their prices and of course the quality of the goods would be a great strategy.

Have you noticed that in every shopping centre and high street there exists at least one of those two dollar shops? You know the ones – The Reject Shop, Hot Dollar, Dollar King and just so many more. Walking past them the aroma they all share oozes out of the store. They have a unique smell to them, is it the formaldehyde? The cheap plastic? And the items are all coated in a fine layer of something, a dust, that sticks to you if you handle any of the items. I avoid as much as possible going into those sorts of stores. Their smell bothers me. The claustrophobic feeling of being buried under the bulging shelves never to be seen again bothers me.  The low quality of the goods bothers me. Aisle after aisle of so much cheap tat. I cannot bring myself to buy anything electrical from those sorts of stores for fear of it zapping me. And the ‘branded’ items like the toothpaste or shampoo or dishwashing liquid, has anyone actually tested them to ensure they contain what they say they contain?

I remember years ago the novelty factor of these stores. Consumers were skeptical for the reasons I mentioned above yet enough people gave them a go so much so there really isn’t a town that doesn’t have at least one of these cheap shops in it. I thought the novelty would wear off but instead the more established retailers that once sold some semblance of quality have lowered their bar and have joined these cheap shops in order to compete with them. Retailers such as KMart, Big W and to a large extent Target now offer unknown electrical branded goods, very cheap clothing that would barely last a season and so many other un-branded or ‘home brand’ goods that are cheap cheap cheap.  $3 tshirts, $5.00 pairs of men’s shorts, $15 inflatable two-man raft – is it really possible to make such items and sell them for those sorts of prices? If so, just how much are the actual makers of these goods being paid? How long is this cheap cheap cheap strategy going to last for? Why have we become such a throw-away society? Does anyone even know how to darn socks anymore? Do the employees who make these cheap cheap items get paid penalty rates, or get paid fairly? Have they finished their schooling? And what of the second hand shops, the thrift shops who relied on consumers buying from them for their affordability? How are they helping who they normally help when consumers no longer go there to buy their cheap clothing instead preferring to shop at these retailers who really have their customers in mind and want to offer them the best deals. Yeh, right… I understand the Mighty $$ wields a lot of power, but why have we allowed retailers to take us on this ride of lower quality goods that don’t last and are possibly even dodgy and perhaps even unethically produced/sourced? Just when will this low quality and equally low pricing strategy end?

That’s what kept me awake last night. It still bothers me now. It will continue to bother me for as long as the smell of these cheap two dollar shops continues to assault me each time I hurry past them when I’m visiting my high street shops. And don’t even get me started on customer service…

When the Hidden Emerges

This is Louise Jane Jopling - oh to have a snippet of her confidence and ability!

This is Louise Jane Jopling – oh to have a snippet of her confidence and ability!

If you had said to me a year ago that my late on-set drawing skills* would inspire others to pursue drawing I would have laughed and laughed. Me? Draw? AND inspire others? What planet are you actually from? And yet, apparently that is the situation I find myself in.

There has always been a strong creative drive in me. Every so often I try new crafts, but it has always been a dream of mine to draw and paint. I feel that I would go mad if I didn’t do something creative, I don’t feel complete if I’m not expressing myself creatively. Even writing this blog no matter how sporadic is an outlet for me. And so I found myself attempting yet again to draw and for some reason it has all clicked. Now, I’m not saying I’m any good – and no I won’t be sharing here if that’s ok – but the drawings are good enough for me to wonder why I’ve never known that I had this hidden ability. I know that in my younger years some comments made casually by an art instructor stung and I’m still feeling the effect of those words. When I look at some of my drawings, I question how it was possible I was able to execute them, such is still my doubt. Yet I am trying to  ignore that voice of doubt and just continue drawing and painting and creating. And I can’t tell you how incredible it feels to be told that my drawing is inspiring others to get their pencils and paints out – and in each of the cases, the paints are out for the first time in a long time. Life is simply too short not to fit in some creative pursuits and to be able to inspire other, wow, that is such a bonus.

While there won’t be any exhibitions or commissions any time soon, I’m going to pursue this new-found “skill” and create as much as I can.

 

*I’m still cringing when I read the word “skills” as I still feel that it is flukey that I’m drawing and painting, that my most recently completed drawing and painting is my last. That suddenly I won’t be able to draw or paint again. I can’t think of another word to replace “skills” with, so have no choice but to leave it there and cringe as I read it back. Blargh!

All I Want…

Happy New Year To You

Happy New Year To You

There seems to be a change in the air. I’m seeing it on social media and it seems more common than in previous years. What is it? It’s the anti-resolution resolution. It’s the “I’m not making a resolution this year because I don’t want/need to lose weight/get fit/eat healthy/go to the gym/be ashamed of who I am/change in any way/etc etc”. I’m a little bit skeptical when I see these posts and memes. They seem to almost shame those who still choose to make resolutions – “oh you are so last century with your need to make resolutions/ resolutions are going to fail anyway so why are you even bothering/ all the clean eating is a con anyway so why bother/ you won’t last past two weeks at the gym/ come on, let’s open a bottle of wine, one glass won’t hurt you or your cute little resolution/ etc etc”.

We are all different, we don’t all follow the beat of the same drum, that I understand and accept. I see January as a time for a clean slate, a clear view to the year ahead and the possibilities. In the way that I dislike December (see my previous post on this), January seems so fresh and promising. I’m still in holiday-mode, the Christmas leftovers are all but eaten, there isn’t the exhaustion of Christmas and having counted down the start of the year it’s the time to reflect on what could be. This anti-resolution fad wants to ignore all that and pretend it’s still December, still the current year with all it’s same-old same-old. If you’re as old as I am maybe you remember the chalk boards we had at school. Remember how lovely and fresh they looked at the start of the school year, at the start of each term after they’d been given a good clean and a lick of paint? And how tired and foggy and almost illegible the writing was by term’s end, so much chalk dust on the board, in the air… Yes, a clean slate, that’s January for me so I will continue to make resolutions and I won’t be shamed into not following the anti-resolution lot.

So, what are my resolutions? Have I mentioned that I’m middle-aged and menopausal? Health has  become more important with each advancing year, so this is a big issue for me this year. Looking after my health, both physical and mental, will be my priority. I’m going to say ‘no’ more often. I’m going to continue pursuing my creative hobbies and maybe even add a couple more to the mix and ignore the internal voices that say I’m not good enough to give it a try. I’m going to try and learn how to accept compliments instead of fobbing them off as people being polite to me. And I’m also not going to care what others think of what I say or do – surprisingly this gets easier with each passing year.

On that note, Happy New Year to you. May 2016 be everything you’d like it to be.

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