Tag Archives: Life

Happy Birthday Clint Eastwood

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The 31st May is Clint Eastwood’s Birthday.

And Brooke Shields,
Colin Farrell
Lea Thompson
Tom Berenger
Chris Elliott
Don Ameche
Walt Whitman
Denholm Elliott
Prince Rainier of Monaco
Jim Bolger
Tommy Emmanuel
Justin Madden
Corey Hart
Sarah Murdoch
and a few other peeps here and there.

Oh, and it’s mine.

But since my 40th Birthday, exactly five years ago, I no longer celebrate or even recognise it as a special day. I don’t answer the phone when it rings, I don’t check my Facebook until the very end of the day to thank any Birthday Wishes, I don’t accept any invitations to dinner or lunch, and generally I just ignore the day altogether.

This year I received just one card in the mail – from my ex-BFF’s Mum (not my own Mum).

My girlfriend Sally also dropped a card off to my place, on her way home from church. I took some two day-old soup to her place a couple of hours later and we watched the footy and crocheted in front of the fire. Max LOVES going to Sally’s house. He knows we’re heading there as soon as I turn off the highway and stands with his front paws on the dashboard.

And now it’s over, and I don’t have to feel the hurt and the reality of how alone I am – as polarised by a birthday – for another twelve months.

By which time,
I am planning on not living in the Purple House any more.

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Personality Of A Sink Hole

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I started writing this post in late November 2014,
and just couldn’t face finishing it before now.

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For my fortieth birthday, I had always planned an amazing day. An amazing weekend, actually.

  • A rural campground, with huts and a central hall
  • A treasure hunt
  • A dance party
  • A decorated table for all of my presents
  • Handpainted sign posts
  • A giant scrabble board on the grass
  • A camp fire
  • Lamb on a spit
  • Fairylights adorning all the trees
  • Crusty rolls made on site
  • A decadent brunch the next morning, brimming with eggs, bacon & chocolate milkshakes
  • Handmade Thank You gifts for everyone

It was to be a whimsical and fun spectacle, that whenever one of my guests thought of it it would involuntarily make them smile.

But I could not make it happen. It’s true I was in no financial situation to be able to create my dream 40th, but that aside – I was at the beginning of a downward spiral of self-doubt, a bout of Depression that would last over four years, and, a period of my life where I would not even know who I was. I didn’t know it at the time, but my fortieth birthday was the beginning of the loss of my identity.

I was to become utterly lost.

I had recently been approached by a local man for a physical relationship. Although I was quite clear that I was not interested in a purely physical relationship with a man as I now knew that I deserved to be with a respectful and loving partner, he pursued me with some vigour. So he made a small amount of effort spend time with me and my boys; sitting with me as I watered my front lawn, sharing a beer on my front verandah, or sharing a dirty martini and funny stories late at night as we both suffered from insomnia.

Then one blistering January afternoon, I was sitting in my little Beep Beep (car) with the air conditioner on absolutely full bore. My north-facing fibro house had turned into an oven on this 40*+ summer day and my trusty car was my only form of respite. It was so hot even my scalp was sweating!

Without warning the passenger door of my car opened and there was said gentleman, and he proceeded to inform me that he no longer wanted to spend any time with me as although he believed that he was no longer in love with his estranged wife (and mother of his four children) who had cheated on him and then thrown him out of his home, he was in fact not ready to pursue another relationship yet. Unless it was a purely physical one.

With that, he left.

And I sat in my Beep Beep and cried, hot salty tears. I cried because I had finally been strong enough to insist on what I believed I deserved and had missed out. I cried because I was hot in all the wrong ways. I cried because I was lonely, and broke and desperate for someone to love. A friend or a partner or family.

And I had noone.

And so the months ticked by from January to May. As my 40th drew closer, I discouraged any attempt by my few friends to have a party for me. I didn’t want to celebrate a birthday that brought me no real joy. I was not happy in life and didn’t want to pretend otherwise for others. However one of my friends thought my protestations to be false and truly believed that I should have a birthday. It was a milestone and I deserved a party.

So she went through my phone and found some contact numbers and organised a lunch for me.

A week before my birthday a box arrived from Sydney. A box I knew was from my ‘best friend’. A friend that I had been close to since we were 16. Twenty four years of our lives. We had survived our teens, and our twenties, and overseas adventures together, despite following very different paths and ending up in very different situations. I didn’t open my box on the morning of my birthday, as would have been my normal practice. I love surprises and I love being spoiled.

You see the morning of my fortieth was taken up by the needs of my Mother, who had insisted on coming down from Perth to see me on my birthday. Without giving away any of her confidences, I can only say that our relationship was hard work. For me anyway.

I finally had saved the money to have my car serviced (my present to myself – Happy 40th, Pia!) and had already fielded a phone call from my best Friend in Sydney. She mentioned a number of times that she was not flying over for a surprise visit and so I was not to expect it. I know that this sounds spectacularly weird, but it seems she was convinced that this was what I would have expected of her her. She had only a month prior, returned to work after twelve months maternity leave due to the birth of her second daughter. I didn’t for a minute contemplate that she would come to see me for my birthday. It just didn’t occur to me.

And so by 10am, I had fielded a couple of phone calls and seen to my Mother’s needs, and I had dropped my car to the auto electrician with a list of my car’s needs – and now finally I was in the shower. I was finally alone.

Until my Mum barged in and said that the auto electrician had rung and had asked if I really needed everything done, in particular one small but annoying task – to which she informed me that she had told them not to bother. The task was number one on my list that I had left with them. A task that had needed attention for three years and now I could finally afford to pay to get completed.

And so I emerged from my shower, dejected and full of dread for the day ahead. I hadn’t even dried my hair when my first birthday guest arrived. Bearing a gift from the local $2 shop that she informed me reminded her of our discussions of saving our pennies for a trip to the French countryside – a cardboard box with a picture of the Eiffel Tower. She then told me I need to get my glad rags on, as she was taking me out for a birthday lunch.

Yippee!

The town where I live is seaside and has the most wonderful beaches. Long white beaches where my dog(s) can romp. Deep blue sea that is rarely flat or still. Every now and again you can see a seal or dolphin fins. There is of course the obligatory seaside restaurants, which is where my birthday event was to take place. Waiting for me at the allotted table were two more friends one of whom looked like she was ready to throw a glass of water over the other – I was soon to learn why.

Why do some people complain so much
about their lives, like husbands, children, jobs, homes, pets
– when all they have to do is make change?
Why do people insist on being unhappy?

Now when do you think the real fun and games with my Mum began? Can you guess? I’m going to boring and tell you . . . the games begun as soon as the waitress arrived at our table and asked “would anyone like to order a drink?”. Well! Did she what!?!

But first, FIRST she had to (HAD TO) say . . . .

“Ooh I’d love a drink. But I don’t think I’m allowed to.
Am I allowed Pia?
Am I allowed to have a drink?”

So I spent the next two hours making polite conversation while every nerve, every sinew and every vessel in my body was SCREAMING for me to run away. To get away and be by myself. But I stayed.

I tried drink a revolting cocktail put in front of me, and I ate a meal I could not taste and I accepted two more gifts that were purchased by well meaning friends that in fact did not suit me or meet any of my needs.

My Mum spoke fondly of the gift she was giving me – the gift she ‘gives’ me every birthday and every Christmas – a promise to take me shopping for something that I need or want. Whatever that may be, and something I usually don’t receive. It’s been that way for over twenty years.

I’m told that it’s the thought that counts.

So the excruciating ordeal came to an end, with a jolly invitation from my Mother to everyone at the table to come back to my house to have some birthday cake. With a promise to all that the birthday cake, was in fact my favourite dessert. Finally, something I may actually like on my birthday – as my favourite dessert is pavlova with strawberries and cream. Yum! Anyone who has ever met me knows how much I LOVE pavlova.

So home we headed to my fibro shack to sing the obligatory song and enjoy the sugary goodness of my favourite dessert. God I was salivating all the way. We gathered in the front room, that was actually the largest part of my shop, and Mum brought in a white bakery box. The box was opened, candles stuck in and lit and then the song was sung. All the while my heart was turning to stone.

In the box was a cake with lots of cream and chocolate spindles – I had no idea what it was,
but it was not a pavlova.

My Mum then proudly instructed me to cut everyone a piece. So I did. With every cut and every serve my heart sank further and further down my body, heading to the bottom of my belly. God I wish this day would end. Then one of my friend’s piped up with a compliment to my Mum for the delicious Black Forest Cake, and asked me the last time I had had one. I had managed to this point to just cut, serve and keep my mouth shut. So when presented with the situation where I had to either lie or tell the truth and I genuinely did not have enough energy left to lie. So I told the truth.

“I hate Black Forest Cake, because it has fruit in it (cherries).
It’s actually my sister, S2’s, favourite dessert”

Now, my Mum has a particular talent for being dramatic and to ensure that she stays the centre of attention, especially with a few drinks under her belt. She has the knack for acting the part of martyr. We’re talking BAFTA quality acting! So despite the disappointment being my own, it was in fact my Mum who put her head in her hands and exclaimed loudly “I’m so stupid” “I can’t do anything right” “I’ve ruined everything!” Each proclamation was also embellished with “tsk” and “ugh”.

Such drama – over a cake.

An hour later, everyone bar my Mum has left and it is time to collect my car, minus the most important work, and try to salvage some sort of joy from the day. Or am I being ambitious? Despite my little house only having one bedroom, I manage to avoid my Mum for the better part of the evening, and she takes herself off to bed with more profuse apologies for the cake (’cause I really want to relive that moment!).

And I finally get a chance to open the box from Sydney. The contents of which, requires a blog post all of it’s own.

And thus – my 40th Birthday was over.

Thank fuck!

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We Are Not Wholly Bad Or Good

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Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.

Dylan Thomas

How much do you berate yourself for past indiscretions?
Not at all?
A little?
A lot?

 I have a great deal of trouble trying to reconcile myself with mistakes that I have made. For a long time, I have been the ‘scape goat’ in my family. I have always admitted to my mental health issues and often apologise for what I have done wrong, but

(and it’s a big BUT)

there are mistakes that I have NOT apologised for, and there are situations where the anguish felt by others had nothing to do with with me – even though I was perceived as the instigator/wrong-doer.

And the accumulated guilt from all those years of being held responsible, along with genuine mistakes that I have made eat away at my insides. I have absolutely no idea as to how to deal with this ‘guilt’.

No idea what-so-ever.

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Source: HappyJar.com

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Information Overwhelm in Today’s World

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Just a week ago, Pip from Meet Me At Mikes published a pretty full-on post: “How to beat information overwhelm and still care about the world“. It’s about how we have a tendency to click past or mute anything that is tragic or confronting. Earthquakes, genocide, terrorism, economic collapse – sometimes it IS all too much.

But is switching off the answer?

Pip talked about chemical reactions our bodies have when we get this feeling of overwhelm. She talked about our social conform driven by Social Media. She discussed our glazed eyes at the news.

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Pip

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BUT, she also discussed ways in which to deal with – a pretty big deal in my opinion. She didn’t ignore the reality of our lives and all the stimulus we are exposed to, instead she used it as a perfect example of how to attack this Overwhelm and how to still make amazing change in our communities and the world at large.

Although it is a hefty read (you need a good 10 minutes, uninterrupted!), it is genuinely worth it. It is insightful and intelligent and gives us all hope that we aren’t all sheep.

 

ps

Check out my comment at the end of the post, as I discuss how I deal with Overwhelm . . .

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For instance, this is not a normal occurrence in Oz.

Although in saying that, last year I did have a kangaroo stuck in my backyard and I don’t live in middle of suburbia, I certainly don’t live in the bush either. I live in a rapidly expanding and quite large town (officially a City, but come on!) in the South West of Australia and although we do have a mob of kangaroos living in a large paddock on the edge of town, I’d hardly say a kangaroo in the backyard is a normal thing.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3052325/Meet-Dusty-kangaroo-sure-s-dog-hates-cats-Young-roo-eats-sleep-cuddles-family-s-puppies-adopted-road.html#v-3989905050001

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Why The Death Of A Dog I’ve Never Met, Broke Me

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You would be forgiven for believing that we have never lived in a more dangerous and deadly age.
Death penalty by firing squad.
Deadly earthquakes.
Extremists murdering school children.
Deadly riots in the ‘Land of the Free’.

However, the truth is the opposite.

We live in the safest ‘age’ since we evolved into being 200,000 years ago. Although this knowledge doesn’t really dampen the genuine sorrow following the tragedies we have seen in the past week. Carnage and death all over our blue planet. Mostly by our own hands.

However, it’s not any one of these tragedies, nor the combined sadness of them all that dropped me into a sea of sadness this evening.

It was the death of a dog that I have never met.

My online friend Mel, lost her beloved poodle just recently. And I sobbed as I read her words. I crumpled  in my chair and covered my face with my hands, and sobbed. I still feel utterly wretched at losing Horatio and Jack eleven months ago. Almost a year – I can’t quite believe that number.

Ginger having a nap after a bedtime story

Ginger having a nap after a bedtime story

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Despite all the human casualties that have passed in the near gone days, only the news of Ginger’s death was enough to make me succumb to misery. Dogs are such genuinely wonderful creatures whose hearts are larger than their earthly bodies. All they do is give.

But somehow I need to move past my sadness, so I will attempt to empower myself with the words that Mel shared about her departed pooch . . .

 . . . . ” all pets returning to their healthy state, trotting around with butterflies and birds”.

So my Beloved Jack & Horatio – please take Ginger under your wings and show him around. Show him where the sweetest water is, where the sunniest patch is and take him to your fluffy warm bed each night.

I know you’ll all be best buds.

I love you.
Thank you for loving me all those years.

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Nepal and A Window

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Do you every truly appreciate how lucky you are?
I mean REALLY appreciate?!?

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I look at the photos of Nepal and feel sick to my stomach.
The carnage caused my Mother Nature on a completely peaceful and generous peoples, makes me feel nauseous. I know that ‘Western’ lives were lost, but in truth I feel more for the villagers and farmers who have been decimated.

They can’t get on a plane and fly somewhere else.
Fly away.

If you, like me, would like to make the smallest of difference to the life of these people then I am begging you to please donate to Charity:Water NOW.  Charity:Water has been providing clean water to villages in Nepal since 2010. They are making a clear and positive difference to lives that deserve better.

They deserve our compassion and empathy.

Don’t just sit there feeling like shit and turning your eyes when the news feed pops up and shows you the devastation . . . . help fix it!

The donation screen automatically shows US$100, but I can’t afford that – I only have $5 to donate. But $5 from ten people is $50, and $5 from one hundred people is $500. Your money will make a difference no matter how small the contribution.

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Nepal Charity- Water

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Go change the world peeps!

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 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In other news, I have just ordered a new kitchen window from China.
Yep from Alibaba.com.

I have my lean and poor little fingers firmly crossed, that I am not just throwing away $515 (AUS).
Money that took me eight nights of hard yakka to earn.

Classic-modern-house-aluminium-sliding-window-made.jpg_220x220

aluminium

But here’s why I’m taking the risk . . . .

The window
* is constructed by a Chinese subsidiary of a German company
* complies with not only Australian Safety Standards but also EU standards
* is double glazed (holy sheeeet!)
* that has solid aluminium construction
* will be shipped to my capital city in just five weeks

I got a quote from a local supplier for a the same size window that was
* only single glazed
* was half the thickness in aluminium framing
* cost $1200 (yep – more than four times the cost)
* available in four weeks

Now you can see why I am taking the risk with my meagre funds.

And although I am a massive supporter of ‘Buy Local’, the truth is that my ‘local’ could be doing exactly what I’m doing – send the details to China and get it manufactured and shipped here.

They could open a dialogue with a company in China, build a strong relationship and then put 25%-50% on all orders. For none of the work, other than a few emails. They could still make a profit and remain open.

We have to start thinking globally when we want our businesses to survive.
We have to make the World Wide Web work for us.

Well, that’s my two bobs worth anyway 😉

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Enough Australia. ENOUGH!

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Pages and pages of junk mail, encouraging us to BUY in the lead up to  ANZAC Day

Pages and pages of junk mail, encouraging us to BUY in the lead up to ANZAC Day

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One of the most painful elements of living in society is the bulk actions of others.
* Mob mentality
* Online trolling
* Consumerism
* Popularity of the Mass Media

Sometimes I can understand why people become hermits!

Despite all my ups and downs in life, my depression, my financial failures, my family, men, bullies and surviving an abusive relationship – I still participate as a member of my community. Despite many days of wishing to be dead, I still pushed forward looking of ways to stay alive and perhaps even become happy.

I knew in my head that if I just stayed alive, perhaps even tried to connect with a few people, then my life would eventually become richer and happier. A lot of very successful** people that I have seen or heard (workshops & podcasts), have shared their own failures in life, repeating the mantra that you only succeed by putting one foot in front of the other and taking a step. Then another step. Then another.

I really admire these people.

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Seriously – an ANZAC Bear?!?

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They look at the world with a clearer vision of what they want from it. What they’re prepared to ask for. What they’re prepared to give back. What theybelieve they deserve. They hold a certain quantity of disbelief (disrespect?!?) for mainstream media – knowing that what pushes a story isn’t accuracy, it’s popularity!

They know that to succeed you have to work hard and smart. They know that getting rich quick – doesn’t exist. They know that the images and lairy headlines on the magazines and daily newspapers and popular websites (ninemsn or yahoo) are tainted with bias, subjective ‘journalism’, sensationalism and many times, downright lies.

These people that I admire don’t subscribe to the need to consume everything just because it exists. Even though they can all afford to spend and spend and spend and buy, buy, buy – they are intelligent enough and intuitive enough, to know that this will not bring satisfaction. They buy out of necessity not need.

And they are not often swayed by promotions that use emotion to encourage a purchase. The kind of emotive pressure that is applied at Christmas and Mothers Day and Fathers Day, etc. You know what I’m talking about – the fluffy slippers in early May, the cologne in September and Danish biscuits in a tin in  December.

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Yes - please honour the sacrifice of tens of thousands of dead Australian by buying a pretty apron!!!

Yes – please honour the sacrifice of tens of thousands of dead Australian by buying a pretty apron!!!

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But over the past decade or so, this whole notion of ‘themed’ shopping has exploded in Australian culture. And it is really starting to piss me off! I mean, do we need plastic cups for sporting events (World Cup), or mini action figures for sport seasons (AFL), or activity books for religious holidays (Easter), or temporary tattoos for national celebrations (Australia Day), or giant (gargantuan in fact!) bears for American traditions (Valentines Day)?

Or . .

. . . and this truly and completely annoys me  – genuinely makes me angry –

when a solemn occasion such as ANZAC Day is used to promote the consumption of goods.

Coles – will donate 12c (twelve fucking CENTS) from every purchase of chic chip cookies (that cost $2.50).
Australia Post – wants you buy books, bears and aprons!!!
Macquarie Mint – are offering various ANZAC coins.

I believe that we have gone too far.

These items would not be available, if we weren’t in fact buying them. It true. Think about how early in the new year that hot cross buns eventuate – mid January – and this is because we buy them. We don’t wait or save them for a special treat on Easter Sunday. We buy them, eat them and re-purchase them many times over before April even arrives.

I so dearly wish that as a nation, we were more cognisant of the consumption and waste we are all participating in – every time we buy something that is seasonal.

I wish we didn’t buy Easter eggs early, only to consume and be forced to buy more.
I wish we didn’t buy an ANZAC dressed bear from the post office.
I wish that we didn’t buy the stupid sign from the $2 shop that says “Santa, please stop here”.

I wish that we were smarter than all of that!

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The greatest honour you can pay on April 25th, is to get out of bed early and go to a Memorial Service.
It is a truly moving experience and is the least we can do to thank those who died or survived any conflict where our troops and support staff were sent.

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Make the effort - it's the least we owe them

Make the effort – it’s the least we owe them

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Marie Forleo
Natalie Baldock
Marnie LeFevre