Archive for November, 2012

Ah, But Age is Wearying Me

November 28, 2012

Another birthday is upon me and dear friends it is true that I am not as young as I’d like to be but not as old as I want to be. Yes, youth has gone but death should be many years off yet. My genes seem to indicate this, with a father in his 80s and 3 out of 4 grandparents making well into their 80s too. One dose of bowel cancer and a broken neck are cancelled out in this equation.

What have I learned this year?

Some birthdays are harder than others. None of the early ones were that inspiring, but 14 with Jeremy was lovely and 19 was completely memorable, falling as it did (like so many other birthdays between 17-23) at the end of the exams season. I didn’t find 21 that wonderful, too much expectation and therefore too much deflation. 23 was one of the best birthdays ever, shared with dearest ex-step mama; along with my erstwhile father we had a riot of an evening in a fab little restaurant in Hobart called Cooney’s – no longer there, methinks. Thirty was okay, Alice Springs Sheraton, two lovely kiddies, a second degree and my first year as Head of Department. But the early thirties were troublesome, not sure why now in the mists of time but recall several dinners in tears for no apparent reason. Forty was good, one of my best times, at home under the great house in Darwin, fairy lights in the palm trees around the pool, loads of punch and great friends. 50 was a struggle. Life should have been so much more together and calmer and why wasn’t I content?

So this year I am calm. Really calm, not just pretending. I know bits of life are still not where I want them to be, but whose life is ever under control? Liars and fools?

Shall I count my blessings?

1. I am still alive – now 10 years out of the cancer mines, so pretty well all clear. Bits of me hurt and don’t work as well as they should but my body is holding on – not as many signs of decrepitude as might have been.

2. I still have most of my teeth – one dentist trip in 31 years is quite something (yes, I ought to go back but fear still lives in the dentist’s reclining chair)

3. My skin is quite lovely really, soft and smooth. Indeed the odd nasty line does come and not go but overall my skin is pretty good. (See, years on the water in the sun does not make you a wrinkled old prune. I owe it all to L’Oreal.)

4. I remain married – my God, how I continuously wonder. But love takes many forms and changes and remains the same. It is good to be loved and accepted for who you are – yes, Bridget, just the way you are.

5. I have the best children on the planet. The boy-genuis, the girl wonder and the joy-bucket. How could anyone deny the wonder of the three best things on the planet.

6. I have great friends, at work, across the world – old and new. I love my friends and am thankful for FaceBook, in this regard.

7. I do actually have a job where I find joy and laughter (perhaps not always for the right reasons!) on many days. I love a child who believes me when I tell them my hair grew back pink after it fell out with the cancer.

8. I have things to look forward to, small things, like KFC and champagne and strawberries in the evening, holidays in France, Christmas with my family, finishing my PhD and being Dr Ms Pink, being part of my children’s life as they grow old and wise.

9. I enjoy and appreciate foolishness and I love the powers of laughter and joy.

I am slowing, I am tiring but I am not old, not done for yet. I still find the world absurd, and can smile more than I cry. I have years to go and much to do. Happy birthday to me. XX (Images from Private Collection and courtesy Google Images)

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Karma – It’s Gonna Get You

November 24, 2012

So life is still shit a lot of the time these days – it’s called being grown up and the sad thing is that when you were a pup you thought things would be all better when you got to this age. Hmm, sadly we know that things don’t necessarily improve with age or experience. You know from previous blogs that bitchy girls become bitchy women and bullying school kids become bullying bosses. But all is not gloom and doom on this late November day.

No indeed, dear friends, because there is always Karma. No matter what you do or where you go Karma will get you in the end. Remember Monkey, on his travels through China with Piggsie, Sandy and Tripitaka? All on their way to Enlightenment, with many a slip up along the way. The disciples fell from time to time: misbehaved, were tempted but every single time they were GOT – dealt with. Not by Triptaka, not always but by a greater force, Karma. Monkey, Piggsie and Sandy always got their just deserts. Badness was punished: goodness rewarded. It was a just world, even if it was full to the brim of fools.

And that’s what we want: Justice. Fairness. We want goodness to be rewarded, otherwise why do we struggle so? We want our efforts, our extra miles to be recognised. The desire to be Good, to be liked keeps many of us going, but also allows many of us to accept what is not right, or fair or just.

We want those who stray too from the path of goodness to be punished. We can cope with foolishness, with failure because we know that simply makes us human and to be human is to fail. But we cannot cope with malice, with lies, with undermining, with people who deliberately and calculatedly do us wrong; who go out of their way to do us harm.

You know them; you’ve met them. Some were once your friends, some were colleagues, people you played sport with, people you socialize with: people you currently endure in the workplace. Sometimes, sadly, they’re a member of your own family.

We waste endless hours plotting against these entities of evil. We waste eternities of emotions on them but all that really happens is that you end up in an ever decreasing spiral of spite and misery, totally obsessed with ‘getting them back’. You become like them, plotting against someone else, taking on their malicious black hearts. But you must stop.

There are two essential points about Karma (from my point of view as a pseudo- Buddhist); both of which pivot on the ‘what goes around comes around’ view of life.

1. You get back what you give out. If you give love and laughter and joy and foolishness and passion and happiness you get it all back from all parts of your life. You know I believe in joy and I sincerely believe that you do reap what you sew – maybe not today or next week but you will get things back. And often in much larger quantities than you gave out.

2. It doesn’t have to be you who delivers the knock out blow to your adversary. It can be you and that will be the sweetest victory but don’t fret if you cannot manage to bring them down on your own, or at the desired time. It’s a pretty safe bet that as they treat you with contempt, disdain, and derision and do their best to destroy you, so they are doing to others. One day, on the ‘what goes around comes around’ Karmic principle they will get theirs. Someone, somewhere will deliver the coup de grace and bury your karmic killer for you. You will not need to lift your sword; they will be vanquished for you. It is, my friends, as inevitable as breathing. Balance will be restored in the universe.

Justice exists. Karma is real. Remember that being good and doing the right thing, just like smiling, takes you a lot further in the world. You have friends and family, you are loved and you will die mourned by many and greatly missed.  Your goodness will live on after you.

Your Karmic foe will fall from grace so spectacularly they won’t even see the ground before they are buried beneath it, and nobody will wipe a tear as the final sod is turned on their miserable little life. (Images courtesy Google Images)

Friendship – the art of infinite hope

November 18, 2012

I have reached such an age and lived a life such that I have friends across the planet and across quite an age range.  I consider this part of my life to be both essential and empowering. To have friends is to be affirmed, to be loved, to be accepted for who you are. Friends are as important as lovers and family.

Friendship is as much about forgiveness as about sharing and doing things together. We all manage to hurt those we care about, whether through carelessness, or some degree of malice. Being alive, being in relationships means we fall out, we drift apart: we forget why we were friends.

Watch small children, teenagers – what hurts them the most is not bullying (another blog) but when they fall out with their friends. They hate being shut out, ignored or forgotten. Often they don’t really know what’s happened or why – why the nasty comment, the not invited to the movies, the silence in the room?

As a parent the very worst thing is when you can’t mend or fix things for your child, when you can’t make their friends like them again, or explain why they’ve behaved as they have.

 

It’s also one of the mysteries of our own life – why do we fall out with our own friends? Consider the following:

Distance – when we move apart the closeness and sharing we once had becomes difficult unless we’re willing to work to keep the friendship going. FaceBook has overcome this to a large extent and we should be grateful for that but we’ve still got to post regularly and send messages to keep the love going.

Romance – this is a killer! Your friend’s partner (or your own) may not like you, or you them and it puts an enormous strain on friendship. There are ways around this, mainly to do with patience and kindness and a strong desire to keep the friendship going. Remember love is blind – for all of us – and sometimes your friends endure longer than your lovers and even when you do settle down you still need your friends. Being a friend when your friend has a boor or a fool or a bitch for a partner can kill the strongest friendship.

Core beliefs – this is where essentially you do not accord with your friend on a fundamental basis about questions of ethics, morality, politics, religion. If you see the world too differently it can push you apart. You can adjust to an extent but if it is fundamental to who you are, ie you are a confirmed tree loving Greenie and your friend is all for progress and business development then your friendship will fundamentally fail.

Trauma – illness, death, divorce, some of life’s nastier moments rent friendship in two. Sometimes your friends (you?) cannot muster the strength to be there for your friend when they need you most. Seeing your friend struggling through chemotherapy, getting over a stroke, dealing with the loss of a child or spouse can be too hard for some of us. We can hover at the edges, send flowers, bake a casserole, do the garden but when the trauma is on-going as these matters usually are, we need our friends to hang in and not everyone has that sort of stamina. Perhaps they feel that being too close will somehow taint their lives too?

Treachery – a wide and encompassing category. Sometimes our friends let us down so badly, they betray us so deeply it is a treasonable offence. The friend who steals our lover or partner; the friend who chooses the side against us; the friend who smiles with us but gossips about us; the friend who is so charming and beguiling it takes us ages to work out they are under-mining us, telling lies, betraying our secrets and trust. Treachery comes in many shades of crimson.

But sometimes, sometimes we can come back from these things, sometimes the core of our friendship survives. Sometimes, and usually this is after time has passed and the wound has healed with the scar barely visible, we can find our way to let our friend back into our lives. Forgiveness comes in many colours of blue, shade of forgiveness that heal us as well as our friends.

Time allows the pain of betrayal, of being let down to fade, and if we’re lucky the good times of the friendship find their way back to the surface of your life and you can have your friend back again. But perhaps with a more cautious heart… (Images courtesy Google Images)

 

Bedtime Stories 1: Bedmates

November 10, 2012

I remember when to spend the whole of the night with another person was one of those things you dreamed of: to spend the evening in passionate embraces, the night snuggled together and the morning waking to breakfast, or coffee or another round of what you got you into bed in the first place.

Beds are wonderful things, places of rest, relaxation, passion and indulgence but they need to be an area of good manners and thoughtfulness too.

Are you being considerate towards the body you share with? Whether you’ve just started sleeping together regularly or have been at it for years, here are some things to consider  to help your bed-sharing along

The other person may not feel as you do about bed cleanliness and hygiene so you need to find a balance that works. Sheets and bedding does need to be changed regularly – nasty smells and stains do not for a happy bedtime make

The patterns and type of bedding may need to be negotiated too – all white, really? Pink or flowers everywhere – have a think about whose bed it really is…

Sharing the pillows, the doona the space needs to happen, one of you can’t hog all of everything – double, queen and king beds are made to share so make sure you only take up what’s rightfully yours

Leave the bed neat and tidy when you’re up for the day. A good airing is needed so pull back the doona, the sheets, the blanket, but leave it neat as if nice thoughtful people live here. (This can be one of those tipping point areas if one of you is a neat freak and the other isn’t and the neat freak is the first out of bed.)

Eating in bed can be a serious point of dispute – no-one likes crumbs under their bum – so think first before you stuff yourself with crumbly, smelly things in bed

Pets in bed can be another area of serious dispute – we used to sleep with the cats, at their different points on the bed, and sometimes the dog has snuck in but this is a seriously negotiated area – all that fur? (Babies in bed have similar issues but less fur)

Snoring is one of those sad inevitabilities of life, as we age and thicken. Even I have had to face this alarming fact. Dealing with a snoring partner is fraught – they will not take kindly to being smacked about in the night because you can’t sleep but you won’t get any sleep unless they shut up! A very tricky one. Go to bed first, encourage sleeping on your side, preferably away from the centre of the bed. Sleeping on your back after drinking or too much food is a primary cause. Most importantly be aware of yourself as a snorer and try to avoid the midnight punch-up because no-one’s getting any sleep.

Sleeping together is wonderful, it’s love, it’s companionship, it’s one of those warm and reassuring things in the day and it is the heart of our passionate life. Be a thoughtful bed-mate and you’ll reap the rewards. (images courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)

Re-finding the Joy Zone

November 3, 2012

Remember to breath – in, out, slowly, inhaling deeply, filling your lungs with air, making you stand tall again, filling you with renewed energy

 

Remember what makes you smile – the small things, a song, a blue sky, the train being on time, someone giving up their seat for you, your pet, a rose, a wonderful painting

 

 

Remember the things you love to do – draw, paint, write, cook – remember, making things brings joy to you and to others

 

 

Remember to be with the ones you love – walk the dog, share a meal, watch a film, have a laugh

 

 

Remember the good in your life – that you are loved, your work is meaningful, you make others smile

 

 

Remember to be still – not rushing, doing, stressing about every little thing; let anxiety go.

 

 

Stop, just be – smile, open your heart to the sunshine and joy will be yours again.

 

(Images courtesy Google Images)

November 1, 2012

Jactherat -Ephemera, lies & chocolate

Movember is upon us and in honour of those stout hearted blokes who’ll do the right thing with their upper lips here is last year’s post on the wonder of moustaches. Ah, me I do miss the 80s when you could find many a magic tash all over the place, when they were cool and the world was young and not so dreadfully serious. Enjoy, remember, appreciate.

Facial hair has moved in and out of fashion over time. The moustache was king in the 70s and 80s. It was never cool for women and is sadly no longer cool these days. But in honour of Movember here are some of the great moustaches of our times.

Tom Selleck as Magnum – you can’t beat the ever smiling Tom – brilliant eyes and great hair – he is the king of the moustache. (And was responsible for my better half and…

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