What to do…

I’ve sat here, staring at the computer screen, for over an hour trying to think of what to write about this week. Actually, I’ve been trying to think of something all week.  Here’s how the thought processes go: What to do? What to do? Had a visit from an old friend, so perhaps I could write about that. Nah…boring to everyone but me. Advent starts this Sunday, I could…  But then many of my readers aren’t Christian and it’ll mean diddly-squat to them. I’ve been having flashbacks to my childhood lately, perhaps I could…nah, it’d just prove how much older I am than I’ll admit. Gosh my tinnitus is loud this morning. I could comment on the political scene but why get my blood pressure up? First candle for Advent is “hope”. Surely I can write something about hope! Eg I hope I can think of something for this blog. Can’t write about my eBook yet as it’s still not available. Ooh, that reminds me, I’ve got to pay the invoice they sent me or it won’t ever be available! Jokingly said “Let’s make the writers get together a faux book launch for my book” and now my friend has composed a launch speech, which means I should be more serious about it. I don’t have any posters or post cards or book marks or books to sign… Oh well, the cherries I bought will be nice for the afternoon tea. The Wonder Dog hasn’t done anything noteworthy to write about: slacker! Going to a farewell party tonight. Hate goodbyes! Mmmmm, pumpkin pie.  Stupid tinnitus. Stupid whiplash. Stupid back. Stupid cancer. Be thankful, you silly cow! I’m thankful I live in a country that, when I think the government is making stupid, irrational, reckless, cold-hearted decisions, I’m free to say that..out loud…in public and not fear any retribution. Deep breaths, watch the blood pressure. I’m thankful for all the lovely people in my life who seem to actually like me. Thanks everyone for the laughs, the tears, the hugs, the songs, the coffee (How I miss you, coffee. Stupid pills!), the silliness, the deep conversations, the meals, the presents, the parties… You get the picture. I’m thankful for my family: the one in which I grew up, and the one I got when I married the Old Boy, and the one we made together. I’m thankful I’ve written just over 400 words, which is enough for a blog, and my job is done....

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An apple a day…

I’ve always liked the American legend of Johnny Appleseed. The myth says that he strode across America randomly scattering apple seeds as he went. The truth is even better. His real name was John Chapman and, in the 1800s,  he actually planted nurseries of apple trees in several states, including Pennsylvania. He’d do it for free, wherever and whenever he felt like it. He’d give the nursery to someone else to profit from, but he’d come back every few years to tend it and give advice. He became a legend in his own lifetime; understandably so. What a lovely thing to do. Every spring I wonder if we had our own version of Johnny Appleseed here in my fair state. All along the country roads, you can see rows and rows of wild rose bushes, interspersed with large clumps of white irises. Those plants aren’t native to South Australia, so they wouldn’t have sprung up on their own. I picture a horticulturally inclined early settler, carrying his swag full of iris bulbs and rose cuttings, ambling across the countryside looking for choice spots to do some planting. What a blessing this has been to us. Someone, or some ones, have liberally spread some beauty around the countryside. Thank you Johnny Irisandroses guy! There is a modern day version of this: Trees for Life. This wonderful band of volunteers plant trees and bushes all over the place, with the aim of regreening the landscape and providing safe corridors for birds and wildlife to move through. I think they’re champs; some of the unsung heroes in our community. We can’t all hike across the countryside planting things. But, we can all randomly scatter the seeds of kindness, gentleness and grace wherever we go. Why not try surprising someone with an unexpected kindness. Smile at a stranger. It can be a sad, barren world for a lot of people but if everyone follows Johnny’s example and we all spread a little joy as we go, it could be a better place for all of us.  ...

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Go on, have a laugh.

Occasionally, when I was a child  in school we were asked what we would like to be. We could list up to 3 choices. I always put 2. My first choice was: a lady. My father had a book about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, full of photographs of the royal family, the ladies in waiting, the ceremony etc. I pictured myself in a fabulous gown, dripping with jewels and wearing a gorgeous tiara. I knew how I could make it happen: all I had to do was marry Prince Charles. I figured he’d be a fool not to have me. (Thankfully I grew out of that one.) My second choice was: a comedienne. My heroes were the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello (the Americans, not the politicians!), Benny Hill, Red Skelton, Danny Kaye, Norman Wisdom, Charlie Brown and the girls from St Trinians. (It was in the early days of television and most of the shows were imports from the USA and the UK.) My enjoyment and admiration of comics has never faded. I love watching good Stand Up comedy. Those people are so brave. They say: Here’s my heart. Here’s my view of the world. Here are all my strange quirks, weird obsessions and odd body shape. Have at it world. Sometimes they’re not that good and I cringe on their behalf. Sometimes they resort to blue jokes, smut and obscenities and I’m both disgusted and sad for them. I always think that when they resort to that stuff it’s because their skills of observation and imagination have deserted them. I don’t cope with Joan Rivers. She bases her humour on ridiculing and attacking other people. What is sad is that she doesn’t seem to realise it’s a form of bullying that reveals the dark, insecure side of her nature. But, as a lovely counterbalance, there’s Adam Hills: warm, friendly and able to laugh at himself. Good comics are like good books, they open up the world to us. The good ones put the spotlight on the unfair, the anomalies and the ridiculous. We laugh and laugh and laugh, and go home feeling good (all those happy little endorphins) and enlightened at the same time. We need the people who make us laugh. They help to keep us sane. Without the release of tension, the different perspective they bring to situations, and the sheer joy they bless us with, I think this world would be a far more violent, angry, dark place. Thank you to all the people who make me laugh, who bring me moments of joy and who remind me not to take myself so seriously. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” King Solomon the...

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Good Health

While waiting to see the doc, yesterday, I had a quick flick through the magazines on offer, as you do. There was one called… Wait a minute; don’t want to get myself into trouble here. Er… Hmm… There was one called Well Being (wink wink). It had a full length shot of a glowingly healthy minor celebrity, her eyes sparkling and her pretty mouth smiling. That looks interesting, I thought, so I picked it up. Then I read the headlines and the titles of the articles inside and, suddenly, I wasn’t as confident that they had given the magazine an appropriate name. “Fasting made easy”; “the 5.2 day diet”; “the 2 day diet”; “the skip every second day diet”, and “how to lose your winter weight”. Maybe the last one was all right but I wasn’t keen to find out. Then, in big bold red print, next to the celebrity were the words: I believe in Chinese medicine. (I don’t want to offend any Chinese person reading this blog so you might want to leave now and come back next week.) Now, I know that acupuncture has helped myriads of people and the Chinese are great exponents of the benefits of massage. No problems with that. However, there are some aspects of Chinese medicine that are based on superstitious practices that date back to years before Christ. Being old, isn’t automatic proof that it’s right. Just like some Western ‘herbal’ remedies do, it totally ignores any scientific knowledge that has been gained in the past few centuries. For example: many Chinese herbalists still believe in the aphrodisiac and other health benefits from rhino horn. They ignore the fact that the horns are merely compacted and stiffened hair (no bone at all) and actually don’t do anything for your libido. Mainly because of their insatiable desire for the horns it is now official: the black rhino is extinct. Extinct! Not very healthy for the rhino. Not really very healthy for the planet. And, never was healthy for human beings. I put the magazine back down and entertained myself with my own imagination, instead. I dreamed of a world in which all life was respected. A world in which people educated themselves; read a lot; did their best to keep learning so that they weren’t sucked into superstitious, fear-based attitudes. Then I woke up. I remembered that I live in a country in which the newly elected government no longer has a Minister for Science (first time since the 1930s), has disbanded the Advisory Board for Climate Change and is seriously considering allowing the Great Barrier Reef to be dredged to make more sea ports for their buddies in the coal mining industry. Flipping heck! Goodbye dugongs. Goodbye green turtles. Goodbye Nemo. My apologies to the great Chinese nation. Obviously I can’t throw any stones. R.I.P. Black rhinos. I, for one, will miss you....

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Be safe out there.

First of all, please accept my apology for missing last week’s blog. For those of you who aren’t my Facebook friends, I had an accident: split my forehead open – to the bone – ; badly bruised and, I think, strained my right arm; wrenched my back and bruised my knees. Who knew going to the toilet in the dark could be so dangerous! Anyhoo, I was still feeling sick, sore and sorry for myself by the Saturday and I was still on a break from the internet. I’d look at the screen and feel woozy, so I gave up. It’s a shame because I had intended to share with you my lovely sea-side holiday. Oh well…maybe next year. I’m still sore and head-achey and a bit fed up with it all but on the plus side I now have a brilliant scar on my forehead. Eat your heart out, Harry Potter! I’ve given a lot of thought as to what to comment on this week but, let’s face it, the news is just too depressing. The world’s in a right old mess. It’s easy for a person to feel overwhelmed by the greed, heartlessness, injustice and stubborn ignorance that holds the world in thrall. One could think that there is nothing one can do. When I get like that I think of two things: 1. The story about the fella on the beach throwing back the stranded jelly fish one at a time. He can’t save them all but he can save some, and 2. God is bigger than me. However, there was one news item that made me laugh. Okay, I laughed in a cynical, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-what-were-they-thinking kind of way but a laugh nonetheless. It was a blurb about a relatively new airline to Australia from Malaysia. (Not the funny bit.) There was footage of happy Malaysian tourists being welcomed at our airport and there they were, right out the front: two blokes in costume. One was a kangaroo; fair enough. The other was a great white shark with a big smiley mouth full of sharp pointy teeth. Yes indeed: welcome to South Australia where you can cuddle a kangaroo, if you can catch one and it doesn’t kick you first, and then go for a swim and be eaten by Brucie. Ah hahahaa. Whoever thought that one up didn’t really think it through. Or, on a more sinister level, is it another part of the government’s plan to repel all potential immigrants who aren’t white Anglo-Saxon? Hmmm. Regardless of the motive behind the costume, I looked at the smiley man-eater waving to the crowd and I laughed myself silly. Thanks tourist board/advertising guy. You made a sick and sore woman feel a touch of joy. STOP PRESS NEWS: I’ve just seen a copy of the cover design for my eBook and it’s brilliant! If I knew how to post a picture on this thing I’d do it. I can’t wait for you all to see it. Huzzah! Until next time, stay safe people. Be careful if you go swimming, in case you become something’s lunch. And, be careful going to the loo: lift your feet.   ...

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