Custody Battles Are A Special Version Of Hell..

One of the biggest challenges in my life was a nasty custody battle that the Other Half and I went through. I’m nt going to write very much about that here on the blog.. I can’t go into details for obvious reasons. I don’t want her googling things specific to the case and ending up here.

Custody battles by their very definition set people against each other. It is a “battle” – and the only people who profit are the lawyers. I think there’s been enough of that in this world. If you are engaged to be married, consider making a “parenting pre-nup” – people do that for money but not for any kids who might arrive? I think that’s very unfair to the kids.

If you have children and you are currently happily married, here is what you should do. Sit down now, while you are still together, and make a plan that puts the children’s needs ahead of yours. Kids need access to both parents. Kids need to be put first. Kids need as little disruption to their life as possible. Consider making the Childrens Bill Of Rights your guide to how both parents should act if the worst happens and you end up seeking a divorce.

If you get divorced – that is between you and your partner. The kids are often damaged beyond repair because their parents are angry, just furious with each other. They cannot see past their rage. There is parental alienation, there is asking the kids to choose sides, there are things said in the presence of the children which can never be unsaid.

NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO DO THESE ABUSIVE THINGS TO INNOCENT CHILDREN.

No matter how mad you might be, no matter how terribly the other person might act, no matter what one party does to the other party. Yes, it is abusive – emotionally. It can scar a child for life. It can change how they relate in their own relationships. It can create fears and make it impossible for them to have a marriage of their own that works.

In a situation like divorce, you have to choose to take the high road, 100% of the time. If both parents did that, things would be simple and easy. But there is often one party who refuses to behave in an acceptable manner. Sometimes one party believes their needs trump everyone else’s needs. To those people I say – Karma is going to get you eventually. Trust me on that. I’ve seen it happen.

I screwed up myself. I was young. I was idealistic. I saw how that woman treated the child I adored and it made me so angry. I made mistakes because of it. I did not like how she treated me or the other half, either. I allowed my anger to dictate my actions. I eventually learnt there was another way to deal with things, a better way. By then the damage was done.

I’d do things very differently now but when you’re in the moment, and this woman is calling you after she’s sat down and interrogated the child for two hours about everything that happened over the weekend and she’s on the phone to bitch about something insignificant that happened on the weekend, it is hard to keep your cool.

An example – she called to admonish us because we “exposed” her child to the wrong brand of soap. He’s a delicate child and can only use a certain brand, according to her. She has no proof of this, the child does not have a rash of any kind, but she wants to make sure that in future you adhere to her soap standards, or else. I wanted to throw the phone. I kid you not. But I was pleasant and polite, and I agreed to do what she wanted, to keep the peace.

But the demands kept coming. It was only a matter of time before the word No was said in response to a ridiculous demand. I can’t even remember now which one it was. There was so many of them. Saying no to her was the worst thing we ever did because it enraged her – we should have just kept saying yes and then doing what we wanted anyway.

So what if you are taking the high road and the other party is not? It is difficult. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes taking the high road is no fun at all. You still have to do it. Write “Sometimes taking the high road is no fun at all” down. Put it on your fridge. I have it written on a piece of paper in front of my computer. It has kept me going through struggles I cannot write about here on the blog.

If you’re a Dr Phil watcher like I am, you may be aware of the case of Sam and Lindsey Porter, two children who were picked up by their father for visitation and then never seen again. Ya’all in the States need to know we in Australia tend to get shows a lot later than you do, and also a lot of shows are repeated over and over on Cable.

A lot of people are anti Dr Phil and anti Oprah. I like Dr Phil and his approach to things. I don’t always agree with him but that’s not the point. I like Oprah’s lipstick lately, it is sparkly, and she always wears great shoes. Both Dr Phil and Oprah inspire people. We need more inspirational people in this world..

More importantly, I believe you can learn a lot about yourself from watching other people and both these shows give all of us an opportunity to do that.

When I first saw the show where Dr Phil was talking to Tina Porter I went to the Sam and Lindsey website mentioned on the show to see if there was any news about the kids, and there was not. I honestly hoped that the father had taken them and left them with someone else. The father was being held in jail because he would not say where the kids were.

The other night my parents were here for dinner (both of them are huge Dr Phil fans lately) and they mentioned that the kids had been found – and they were not alive as I’d hoped they would be. As soon as they left I got online to find out more. This article seems to have the most info – Porter children’s bodies identified. They were found on September the 9th.

How does something like this happen? It is simple. One parent puts their needs ahead of the needs of their children. One parent puts their anger, hurt, and other emotions ahead of the needs of their children. One parent puts their need to win ahead of the needs of their children.

Mr Porter was very selfish. It seems to me from what I have read –

– He wanted to stop paying child support.
– He wanted to win.
– He was angry at his ex-wife.
– He wanted to take those children away from his ex-wife – if he couldn’t have them all the time, then she couldn’t either.
– I firmly believe he intended to kill Tina Porter as well. She is extremely lucky to be alive. She was within moments of being murdered.

You hear people give parents who kill their kids labels – like monster,for example. He is not a monster. He is a pathetic, stupid, horrible, crappy person. That’s all there is to it. I see people also try to blame this on the “drugs”. The “drugs” had nothing to do with it. I don’t believe what people will say to remove responsibility from the people who do these things.

If he was mentally ill, I might be willing to have a little compassion. I saw an Oprah show where this guy who was depressed killed both his kids.

He was having thoughts which he never told anyone about because he thought his kids would be taken away. Because he never told anyone, he couldn’t get help with it. He was in therapy and could easily have got help. They would not have taken his kids away, they would have just made certain he wasn’t left alone with them. But his wife left him with the kids while she went to get her hair done, and when she came back they were both dead.

As much as I wanted to judge him and say how horrible what he did was – and it is a horrible thing – etc, I was remembering the irrational thoughts I had when I was depressed – all of them towards hurting myself, thankfully, and not someone else.

However this Porter father? I hope he never gets out of jail. He tortured Tina for years refusing to say where the kids were. He *enjoyed* doing that. That’s before we even get into the murders of two innocent children who more than likely, loved their father.

In fact I wish we could create a special kind of hell for him, where Mothers get to torture him back. Each Mother would approach the tied up man, and choose from a long list of painful yet not life threatening options – everything from slapping him hard across the face to pricking him with sharp needles to hot wax torture, *and* each Mother gets to kick him hard in the nuts. All day long, every day. The Death Penalty is too quick and easy for him. He deserves to be in pain. He has caused everyone who loved those kids such pain.

Please, if you are a parent, don’t ever do these harmful things to your kids. Take the high road – and ask your partner to commit to doing the same long before you consider a divorce.

Are you looking for the Hump Day Hmmm’s? This week they are at Emily’s blog so head on over to check it out.

Hump Day Hmmm, mistakes I made

The Oracle Knows All.. At Least Some.. Well Really Just One Thing.

So, you’ve moved to the beach? You’re going to need an Oracle. What is an Oracle, I hear you ask? It is the God of the Ocean. It is the one thing you must consult before heading off to the beach. It is vital and important, not just for beach walkers but for boaters and for fishermen..

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I do not believe in any One God, but I do believe in the Oracle. And now I am going to show you the Oracle. Are you sitting down? Paying full attention? ;) This is *important*!!!

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My Oracle is a simple piece of paper with important things printed on it. Some people have an Oracle that comes in book form. Some people who are highly advanced creatures consult the Online Oracle.

oracle

As always, I hear your thoughts. Why is an Oracle necessary? Why is this important to someone who wants to walk on the beach? You see the above photo. That is a local creek. There is no bridge over this creek, and at certain times of the day where I am standing to take this photo I would be about neck deep in water. So the Oracle can help me work out when is the best time to take my beach walk and be able to cross this creek.

dolphins

What the Oracle cannot tell me is what I will see when I get to the beach, if there will be any dolphins there, if the weather will be ok, and a multitude of other things. It simply tells me when the tides will be high or low. Someone tells me this has something to do with the Moon, but I am not sure about this.

creeks

(image courtesy Google Earth)

As you see there are a couple of creeks on my beach walk paths. If the Oracle has not lied to me, I am able to walk a very long way on the beach. If I go when the Oracle has said “Don’t Go” I cannot walk very far at all.

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All beach photos in this post were taken by me earlier today – I saw two different pods of Dolphins today. I walked a long way but managed to lose my pedometer sometime after 4,256 steps. :( and I still had a long way to walk when I last checked the meter! I walked for over an hour and a half on top of my 20 minute short walk this morning when I foolishly did not listen to The Oracle and could not cross either of the creeks.

tides

This post has been a Hump Day Hmmm. Feel free to write your own Hump Day Hmmm, it is simple and easy to join in! The topic this week was –

Take a topic, any topic, something that is weighing on you, bothering you, troubling you…and find the humor in it. Write about it from a humorous angle. It can be general or personal, just take a troubling topic and bring out the humor. FWIW, sarcasm counts. Letter style, onion style, Shakespeare style, prose, any style you want.

I suppose The Oracle is not a troubling topic for everyone, but it has become a new troubling topic for me this week. I am now joined at the hip to a piece of paper because someone could not simply say – High tide is at midday and midnight, and low tide is at 6am and 6pm! No, they have to make it *complicated* and *ever changing* just to confuse poor little me. :( As much as I love the moon, I believe Juliet was right when she said –

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

beach walk, beaches, country life, Hump Day Hmmm, New South Wales, NSW, photo blog country NSW, seachange

Values And Strange Laws

Each of us get to choose our own values, ethics and morals. Where problems tend to arise is when some among us try to force their values onto us. Sometimes this happens because laws are created. There are some very odd laws around the world and today I want to mention a few of them, but first I want to talk about Senator Larry Craig.

This was brought to my attention first by Tornwordo at Sticky Crows and then by Julie Pippert at The Raven Picture Maven. I don’t know this senator from a bar of soap. This is the first time I’d ever heard of him. I read the police reports on TheSmokingGun, I even listened to the audio police interview before writing this post this morning.

I have watched plenty of episodes of COPS. I have seen men who have been arrested for soliciting a prostitute deny, deny, deny – even when they are told the woman they spoke to was a police officer, even when they are told the woman they were speaking to was wearing a microphone and sometimes a hidden camera.

I have seen drug dealers deny, deny, deny, they were selling drugs – even when they are told the car they got into had video cameras, when the officers they sold the drugs to were wearing microphones.

I have seen shoplifters deny, deny, deny – even when it is very clear from the video footage that they stole things, even when that footage is played back to them and everyone watching can see with their own eyes those shoplifters putting goods into their handbags and then walking out of the store. “Oh, I meant to pay for it, I just forgot”. Yeah right.

Do these people really think they can dispute actual video footage of them doing something illegal?

As far as Senator Craig is concerned, I truly don’t care if he was doing what they say he was doing. Three things only disturb me.

1. That he *might* be lying to his wife about something of quite a serious nature.

2. That he admitted to (and I heard it clearly on the audio interview) “peeping” – interference with privacy, which he did when he looked into the stall the officer was in. That was what he was charged with, as well as disorderly conduct.

3. That this occurred in a public toilet at an airport – which children could have been using. He could have been peeping on someone’s kids.

When you use a public toilet, you are aware that sometimes there are small gaps into which people could look. You expect that people are not going to look. In the state the airport was in, it is actually ILLEGAL to look. Specifically – from 609.746, Minnesota Statutes 2006 INTERFERENCE WITH PRIVACY –

(c) A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who:
(1) surreptitiously gazes, stares, or peeps in the window or other aperture of a sleeping room in a hotel, as defined in section 327.70, subdivision 3, a tanning booth, or other place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy and has exposed or is likely to expose their intimate parts, as defined in section 609.341, subdivision 5, or the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts;

It’s entirely possible that people who live in Minnesota are not aware of this law. In fact most of us are not truly aware of the laws which apply where we live. We know the biggies – speed limits, some road law, murder, rape, theft, that type of thing.

According to the Dumb Laws website, I can break the law here just by changing a light globe – Only licensed electricians may change a light bulb.

One law that I am well aware of is the Fog Light law. That is because it is displayed on big signs along a road that we drive along. However other motorists may not be aware of it – they *must* not be, or else they would not be driving with their fog lights on. Unlawful use of fog lamp will cost you a $79 fine here. A burnout – spinning your wheels to make them smoke – will cost you a $477 fine, and there are situations in which they will take your vehicle as well.

You can also be breaking a law by NOT doing something. In the road laws where I live, if you are not carrying your license and you are driving, you have broken the law.

Do I agree with speed limits? Sometimes. Do they fit my values? No. Am I required to follow them? Yes.

Do I agree with the “Peeping” law? Absolutely. Don’t you dare look into a stall in a bathroom!

Do I agree with the undercover operation that police were running there? Sort of. I believe there should have been more done to make certain that the person being charged was actually intending on performing some kind of sexual act within a public bathroom.

Do I agree that people who are innocent should EVER plead guilty? No way. If you did not do something, you should not be pleading guilty and you should always be seeking legal advice before you speak to the police.

That was Senator Craig’s major mistake. He was in a hurry to catch a flight, and so he spoke to the police and then decided to plead guilty. Part of the paperwork he signed states clearly –

I now make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of Guilty

Unfortunately the Senator has chosen to make the claim that he is innocent – NOW. I think the horse has bolted out of the stall (no pun intended) on that one.

Weird Laws Around The Place –

According to the Dumb Laws website (I haven’t gone to check the actual laws myself, I don’t have the time today, sorry!) here are some of the dumber laws.

Florida may have the most odd laws and here’s a few of them –

– You are not allowed to break more than three dishes per day, or chip the edges of more than four cups and/or saucers.

– Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal.

– Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

– A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.

– Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.

California –

– Women may not drive in a house coat.

– It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.

New York –

– It is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing.

– Women may go topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business.

(so just strip off that body hugging clothing and you’ll be fine!)

Texas –

– Up to a felony charge can be levied for promoting the use of, or owning more than six dildos.

– It is illegal to milk another person’s cow.

– It is illegal to sell one’s eye.

Massachusetts –

– At a wake, mourners may eat no more than three sandwiches.

– Taxi drivers are prohibited from making love in the front seat of their taxi during their shifts.

– No gorilla is allowed in the back seat of any car.

There are a lot more – check out what dumb laws apply where you live at the Dumb Laws website..

As for my personal values, that’s a long post for another time. In this post I wanted to make you start thinking about how other peoples values are imposed upon you by various laws.

This post is a part of the Hump Day Hmmm – why not join in? All are welcome to participate.

Hump Day Hmmm

Fat Is The New Black.

Overweight people know what it feels like to be looked at and judged – but maybe EVERYONE knows that? Maybe we all judge each other based on appearance all the time? I know I do it. Do you?

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When we are walking down the street, we are constantly looking at people and making quick assessments. Will this person hurt me. Will this person try to mug me. Am I safe here? Is there anyone around not making me feel safe? Logically these are assessments we need to make in order to stay safe. The trouble is, we’re all making wrong assessments. We’re making assessments based on our own history, our past experiences, what we’ve read, what others have told us.

It is no different to you driving past a car accident. How many of you think “He must have been going too fast” “That car must have run into that other car” “He lost control going around the corner”. We want to try and learn from the mistake that driver made. Anywhere you have seen an accident, you will find it difficult to drive past that spot without remembering what you saw. Perhaps not consciously, but your subconscious will do it for you. There’s a whole science to accident investigation. Our assumptions are probably way off. We still make them anyway.

If when you were a kid, Santa scared you, you might subconsciously be scared of men with beards, right? You might have thought, when you saw that above image – that man has a huge beard, I find that scary, I would keep away from him. If you have had bad experiences with people of color, people of a certain sex, people who dress a certain way, teenagers, homeless people, bikers.. you will subconsciously steer well clear – maybe even consciously. People who have had good experiences with those people might give them a smile, approach them and say hi, feel more comfortable in their presence.

A book I highly recommend to change your thinking on many topics is Gavin De Becker’s The Gift Of Fear – here is a quote from it –

Our intuition fails when it is loaded with inaccurate information. Since we are the editors of what gets in and what is invested with credibility, it is important to evaluate our sources of information. I explained this during a presentation for hundreds of government threat assessors at the Central Intelligence Agency, making my point by drawing on a very rare safety hazard: kangaroo attacks. I told the audience that about twenty people a year are killed by the normally friendly animals, and that kangaroos always display a specific set of indicators before they attack:

1) They will give what appears to be a wide and genial smile (they are actually showing their teeth).
2) They will check their pouches compulsively several times to be sure they have no young with them (they never attack while carrying young).
3) They will look behind them (since they always retreat immediately after they kill).

After these signals, they will lunge, brutally pummel an enemy, and gallop off.

I asked two audience members to stand up and repeat the three warning signs, and both flawlessly described the smile, the checking of the pouch for young, and the looking back for an escape route. In fact everyone in that room (and now you) will remember these warning signs for life. If you are ever face-to-face with a kangaroo, be it tomorrow or decades from now, those three pre-incident indicators will be in your head.

The problem, I told the audience at the CIA, is that I made up those signals. I did it to demonstrate the risks of inaccurate information. I actually know nothing about kangaroo behaviour (so forget the three signals if you can — or stay away from hostile kangaroos).

In our lives, we are constantly bombarded with kangaroo signals masquerading as knowledge, and our intuition relies on us to decide what we will give credence to.

Australians are going to have a particularly difficult time forgetting those kangaroo signals, because we see kangaroos reasonably often. ;) Right Aussies? And I can tell you, every time I see one, the above passage is remembered within my skull.

So you may be reading this post wondering – where is she going to talk about fat being the new black? I’ve written before about being one of only two fat people in a room of over 500 high school students to hear a lecture titled “Fat People Are Dirty People”. That was over 15 years ago. Our situation has not improved, people.

Fat people are looked at, judged. People who are overweight can feel the looks of disapproval wherever you go, and they even come from people who aren’t exactly stick thin themselves. If you eat in public, expect disapproving glances. You can almost feel the people thinking “They shouldn’t be eating that”. Fat people are called names, have jokes told about them – and they are expected to laugh! – are taunted, teased.. they find it harder to get a job, they find it harder to be promoted, they find it difficult to travel – seats too small, people don’t want to be stuck next to the fat person.. this list can go on for pages, my friends.

Can you take that previous paragraph and say the same thing about a race, a color? Not these days. It is illegal to discriminate based on race. It is considered inappropriate to shoot disapproving looks at people of color or race. People of color or race are not judged on what they are eating – unless they are also overweight!

It is not illegal to discriminate based on weight. An excellent article you should read is Do We Really Need A Law To Protect Fat Workers? – a couple of quotes from the article but I hope you will go and read the entire thing.

“Hiring, firing, discipline, training, wages, we’ve got more than 40 studies now in both the lab and the workplace,” says Mark Roehling, a management professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “People in all of them tell you they discriminate on the basis of weight. I had one guy tell me there was one kind of person he absolutely wasn’t going to hire – a fat girl. And the punch line is, this guy was overweight himself.”

Consider Roehling’s survey participant, the one who told him “there was one kind of person he absolutely wasn’t going to hire – a fat girl.” Now replace “fat” with “black.” It’s the textbook definition of discrimination. And because it would be so unfair, so wrong, so illegal to follow through with it, it’s hard to imagine that anyone in today’s society would dare.

Another very good example of what I am talking about appears to have reared its ugly head on Facebook. According to mo pie from Big Fat Deal in the blog post Face! (Book) which I have put a couple of quotes from but again, I encourage you to read the full article –

Although Facebook does crack down on religious and racial hate groups, fat hate groups are flourishing. I’m not suggesting that these groups should be shut down; I think the worst ones (like “let’s kill all fat people”) have been, and I’m more inclined to let people say their piece than be censored, where possible. Even so, I did a couple of searches and poked around and found hundreds of groups dedicated to fat hate.

Here are some more Facebook groups: “Dammit, I Hate Fat Chicks!” “DISLIKES- FAT GIRLS WHO WEAR SKIRTS AND TIGHT CLOTHING” “Fat Chicks – Exercise or die!” “Fat people should go on starvation diets” “God d@mm!t I hate fat people!!!” and “If you’re fat…we aren’t friends.” A group simply called “I Hate Fat People” has 529 members.

Replace fat with black, hispanic, asian, any race, any culture – would it be accepted? No way! Facebook cracks down on religious and racial hate groups because LEGALLY THEY ARE REQUIRED TO DO SO. They are not required to do so when it comes to weight.

The sooner “weight” is added to the civil rights act in the US the better. The law says (in part, you can read the whole thing here) –

to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

And maybe a couple of other things should be added there – ie sexual preference and possibly others – what would you add?

Until then, it is accepted that you can say whatever you like about fat people, refuse to employ them, refuse to promote them, treat them with disgust, treat them without respect – and there is no way those people can do anything about it, other than to lose weight. I wouldn’t bother, personally. Losing weight does not always solve the problem, because once you’ve been a fat person you will always appear that way in people’s minds. I’ve experienced that myself as I wrote in my previously mentioned post..

So in the meantime, we overweight people have to accept ourselves as we are, and refuse to hear those who want to treat us badly. As Martin Luther King said –

Don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight; we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.

Thanks for reading my article, if you liked it, stumble it so the word can get out to more people. If you have a spare moment, please leave your thoughts in the comments. ;)

This post is a part of a two week special on Race, Society and The Internet in conjunction with the Hump Day Hmmm.

Hump Day Hmmm, life lessons, politics, what not to do, wrong world

Australians all let us rejoice..

Many Australians read this blog and I’d love for them to come over and comment on this post and give me their insights or perhaps make a post of their own. Does anyone else feel like they don’t belong here in this country, or is it just me? The Hump Day Hmmm topic this week is – Race, Society and the Internet. We Aussies have a unique view on this topic, I think.

Australia is a multi cultural land. I have been raised to appreciate and respect other cultures, traditions, beliefs – and I do. We have people from many lands who have come here. The Australian Census in 2006 lists over 30 different countries of birth for the current residents of this country – and one of those categories was “other”, so the real truth is difficult to know.

If you ask an Australian what does multi-cultural mean, they will generally mention food. Yes we have many different foods here in this country but it is about so much more. Language. Religion. Beliefs. Genetics. Art. All of that plus a lot more – right down to how the homes smell and whether you take your shoes off at the door or not.

Where I grew up was a fairly typical Australian neighbourhood. Across the road lived people from Sweden. They spoke Swedish and taught me some Swedish. They had a REAL pine Christmas tree. They had exotic names. Next door to them were people from Poland. They were stand offish. They decorated their Easter Eggs in the traditional Polish Pisanka style. Next door to them were people from Italy. Oh, the food. They took me to Midnight Mass and I adored it.

At primary (grade) school, my first best friend was Ellen. She was Chinese and just as much of an outcast at school as I was, which was why we got along so well. We both had a crush on Iva Davies from Icehouse. In year 7 there was a school camp, and Ellen was the only person whose parents would not allow her to go. In solidarity, I refused to go, and the two of us stayed behind, the only two out of almost 100 students. Her parents had a Chinese restaurant and we would go there after school, folding napkins, eating chicken and sweet corn soup, spring rolls and prawn crackers and drinking Coke. I still find it hard to drink anything else with Chinese food. The two are forever associated for me.

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Iva Davies, as he was back then. Noice!

My second best friend was Leila. She was from Iraq. Her home smelt mystical. I cannot describe it other than to say incense sticks and spicy food. She had arrived in Australia very recently and there was a lot of fear and concern for family and friends left behind. She had the most beautiful exotic clothes and gorgeous dark curly hair and this accent which seemed to be to be sent from Heaven. I wanted to talk like her.

My third best friend was Rachel. She lived three doors up. Her parents were second generation Australian, from English stock. Her mother had this major thing about naphthalene flakes and moths. She would sprinkle naphthalene flakes on the floor and vacuum them. The smell was impregnated into Rachel’s clothes and some of the kids teased her about it. Me personally I liked the smell from a distance but going into the house was difficult, you almost needed a gas mask to survive it.

We were the four – inseparable. We came as a package. When primary school ended, none of my three best friends went to my high school. I arrived there and I was the outcast. I was not stick thin. There were 500+ people in my year level. The only people who would accept me into their group were the “nerds”. Mostly I retreated within myself because people were so rude and nasty to me. I began to hate school and look forward to the weekends when I could see my old friends from primary school. By the end of that year the four became people I saw less and less often. They’d got involved with their own school lives – but where did that leave me?

I ended up going to church to seek out people I could be friends with. There I met my new best friend who was my best friend for all of high school and quite a few years after. She was second generation Australian, her parents were from the Isle of Man in the UK. She went to a different school than me, but she was an outcast there – she was also overweight like me and she was a diabetic. She spent a lot of time in the hospital which was near to me, and I spent a lot of time there with her. I’d walk to the hospital after school and stay there until my parents picked me up about 9pm.

Around this time next door to us on the right side a new neighbour moved in from Malaysia. He was a later addition to the neighbourhood, arriving in the late 80’s. He was not too much older than me and his parents had sent him and his brother out here to go to school. I had a major crush on him but I never said a word, feeling he would be terrified by it. Instead we became very close friends. He would go back to Malaysia for several weeks over Christmas and his absence was like a gaping hole. You took your shoes off at the door. Often Leonard would find large huntsmen spiders in his shoes and say maybe this custom was not a good idea in Australia.

The majority of the population here are not “native” Australians. I was born and raised here and no matter how much I might want to be, I will never be considered a “native” Australian, just like many Americans will never be considered “native” Americans – though I don’t think Americans feel it in the same way I do (do ya’all?). I do not have any Aboriginal blood running through my veins. Many Australians would consider that to be a good thing – I personally wish there was, for many reasons. First and foremost is I want to be considered a “native” Australian. I was born here. This is my country. To be told I am not native to my own country is honestly one of the most irritating feelings.. it seems petty and pedantic but it really stings and this annoys me more the older I get.

I don’t actually know very much about my ancestors or how they got here but I do know there’s Scottish blood on my Mother’s side and English blood on my Father’s side. Maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to men in kilts. :) I have never seen Braveheart and I don’t understand much about Scottish traditions. I am hugely attracted to Aboriginal Art. Something about it speaks loudly to me. When I first started doing art I kept seeing dot paintings in my head.

I’m no master in Australian History or anything, but over 200 years ago the English used to send their convicts here. People who stole a loaf of bread would be shipped out to Australia as a punishment. Whoever thought up that idea had obviously never been here. The place has amazing natural beauty. Aborigines have been treated very badly in this country since about the time the convict settlers arrived. There is a lot of anger on both sides – everyone is angry, actually. It’s not my intention to go back over the history and explain why people are angry and to be honest what is in the past should be able to stay in the past. Let’s live in the now, not the past. Right?

Of course things never work that way. The major issue is, somebody introduced the Aborigines to alcohol, drugs, and petrol sniffing. Some people tried to do good things and built houses for the Aborigines to live in, perhaps they thought it would help to make them “civilised”. They were quite offended when many of the Aborigines pulled out the floor and took off the roof – they need to feel the dirt under their feet and see the stars above their heads. Oh, and some people stole a bunch of their children, claiming those kids weren’t being looked after. In fact an entire generation of Aboriginal children were stolen out of their homes. The Other Half’s own Mother was one of this stolen generation. She wasn’t wearing shoes in her backyard. That is why she and her brother were taken away.

Aha – did you pick up on that? The Other Half has Aboriginal blood in his ancestry. Oh, he’s pretty white. You can’t tell by his skin color. We believe he has two generations of white blood, though nobody can be sure, that whole stolen generation thing gets in the way of the family tree, and his Mother did not truly embrace being Aboriginal because of being stolen. It was something mentioned in a whisper. He does have a lot of the typical Aboriginal genetic traits – a thick skull, a wider, flatter, sort of squished onto his face nose, curly dark hair. To me The Other Half looks a little bit like Guy Sebastian, except without the groomed eyebrows.

guy

Guy Sebastian from Australian Idol.

Guy is a fairly unusual Australian Idol – he was not born here. Guy Sebastian was born in Klang, Malaysia to a Sri Lankan and Malaysian father, and a mother of Portuguese and English descent who had been raised in India.

If you were to look at The Other Half chances are you would guess he is from the middle east – since September 11, he cannot get through security at the airport without being vacuumed to see if he is carrying explosives. People are always surprised when *I* tell them he is Aboriginal and their initial reaction is “I thought he was from (middle east country). He does not tell people. He doesn’t mind me telling them, but to him it’s not important. It is also not a part of him because he was not raised in that culture.

To me, who values the fact that he can call himself a “native” Australian, this is pure blasphemy. On one hand I can see why – some people have a stereotypical view of Aborigines – that they are drunk homeless people. It’s not true for the majority of Aborigines, but it *is* true for a small group of them. Of course that small group are the more noticeable ones when you’re walking through the park they are drinking in. If I had the smallest amount of Aboriginal blood in me, I would rejoice and embrace the culture with open arms, because at least then I would feel like I belong here.

Because they were treated so badly in the past, like America there is now the politically correct non discrimination thing going on. Some jobs are advertised with “Must be of Aboriginal descent”. The Other Half would never apply for one of those kinds of jobs, because he does not think it is fair to anyone. He does not want to be someone’s “token” Aboriginal. There’s also a large range of free services he would have access to if he chose to identify himself as being of Aboriginal descent. He won’t do it. He says it is because he has no proof that he is Aboriginal other than what his mother has told him, and what are they going to want, DNA samples? I say the same thing about those jobs where people have to be of Aboriginal descent – do you have to take along some proof?

I sit here in a land of many cultures, and I feel completely lost. I don’t have my own culture. I mentioned before when I was growing up in primary school my best friend Ellen was Chinese. That had such enormous meaning to me. She had a language of her own, her parents ran a Chinese restaurant, when you went to her house it was filled with traditional items from her parents homeland. My house seemed empty in comparison – full of love, but no cultural history. If you asked Ellen – what is your culture – I am sure she would have a list of things as long as her arm. If you ask me – what is my culture? I don’t feel like I have one. I don’t belong here. I am here, but I don’t BELONG.

To counteract this feeling of not belonging I have begun to carve out my own culture. I take pieces from other cultures that I like, and I adopt them as my own. I have a real pine Christmas tree. I cook Italian comfort food when I feel unhappy. I eat Chinese once a week and when I feel sick I cook chicken and sweet corn soup. I love Feng Shui, aromatherapy, incense sticks, Geisha dolls, midnight mass, the Norwegian language because it speaks to me on a level I don’t even understand, beaches and Aboriginal art.

None of these small, stolen traditions will ever fill that hole I feel. It will never make me belong the way I see people from minorities belong. I don’t have my own language – and when I do type the language I know, Australian English, I am accused of not knowing how to spell. Not just by people reading my own blog but by my OWN WEB BROWSER!!! Here we use ou – favourite, colour, etc. Words that I was taught to spell in school show up with a red line under them in Firefox.

Australians, I believe our biggest challenge is still to come. We now face a new religion arriving on our shores. It’s been here for a while but now it is beginning to make its presence known. I have never been more uncomfortable. I do not like some aspects of this religion at all, in particular the Hijab and Halal. Cugat once said something very intelligent to me about Halal and I hope he repeats it in the comments – about the origins of it.

I find myself offended by what seems to me to be a religion where women are considered lesser creatures. Of course I could be wrong but that is how it looks on the face of it. I believe I may be beginning to develop a prejudice against this religion and this means I am going to have to learn more about it.

Despite the same Qur’anic obligations being issued for men and women, rules regarding dress developed so that men were to cover from their navels to their knees, whereas a women were to cover all their bodies except what was essential, that is, the hands and face.

What offends me the most is Halal. The one thing I do consider truly Australian is the Aussie Hamburger – we put everything on there we can think of. Beetroot, egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pineapple, avocado. Now some places you can no longer get bacon because they are Halal. I wrote this post – Hang on a minute – on that topic back in November and also – Another non-religious post – as yet my views on that have not changed. I need to remember to look deeply to find the similarities between myself and people who follow this religion or else there’s a chance I might not accept them. That’s difficult when you feel offended as a woman by such a religion – how can I reconcile the woman I am to the women who follow something which seems to be oppressive to women?

Hump Day Hmmm, internet, life lessons, Muslim, religion, women

The Hump Day Hmmm – My own personal temptation island.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference

Back in the days before the reality tv show Temptation Island existed, I met with a man who can only be described as a powerful force – a cyclone perhaps – of temptation in my life. He was tall, blonde, devastatingly handsome in an Aussie Bloke kind of way and he possessed a set of legs the likes of which I have never seen since. He also enjoyed wearing the shortest of short football shorts and Rexona musk deodorant which on him took on a new fragrance I cannot describe at all other than to say it made my brain turn into complete spaghetti.

When *not* in his presence, I was happy to admit that he was financially a nightmare – he spent money like water. I spent money like water. The two of us together would have spent our way into a large financial black hole. He was also emotionally damaged and drifting through life without purpose, having been the driver of his car one evening on the way home from a function where he had not been drinking but the roads were wet and he was in a ute and the back end spun out when it hit some loose gravel. The passenger side of his car ended up wrapped around a tree. Sitting in the passenger seat at the time was the love of his life. He woke up having been thrown from the vehicle with two broken legs and was trying to make his way back to the car when help arrived, at which point he passed out. Some hours later when he regained consciousness in hospital, they told him that his girlfriend had died. He would not let ANYONE sit in the front seat of his car from that day forward – male or female.

I met him at work. He came in to buy something. He bought it from my boyfriend at the time, who I worked with. As well as the rest of my family – both parents, sister, uncles and aunts. At the time I felt completely trapped, like life was moving forward at such a fast rate of knots and I had no power over anything. I really didn’t know what I wanted in life. But from day one there was something between us and neither of us were sure exactly what that something was.

So, we all got to be pretty good friends. This was back in the days when I had a huge group of friends. He would visit the share house we all lived in (a story for another time) fairly often, but so did a lot of people. I used to cook the dinners in the share house and all the boys would be out working on cars or something, but he would come in and chat to me while I was working. I thought it was just me, that I was the only one who felt anything until one day and I can’t remember how or where or anything except he told me that if I wasn’t with a good friend of his.. I can’t remember the words really, I just remember thinking wow, this is heavy stuff. What do I do now?

Logically we talked about it. We discussed the complete explosion that would be created if we did get together. We discussed the fact that he was not comfortable making any kind of move while I was still with my boyfriend, and neither was I. We discussed the fact that I was not comfortable breaking up with my boyfriend without knowing more or having some kind of future plan. We discussed the fact that he did not like future plans. We discussed the fact that he and I were both financially irresponsible. And, we discussed the fact that we were both just plain crazy about each other. Endlessly. And at the end of all the discussion, we decided the most responsible thing to do was to do nothing – other than accept we weren’t going to be together because neither of us (me especially) were prepared to turn our lives upside down for something we knew nothing about.

As time went on and it got closer and closer to my wedding day, he told he he thought I was doing the wrong thing getting married, and I agreed with him. I didn’t know how to get out of the situation I’d put myself in. He didn’t know how to help me. Underneath it all for me was this feeling that I was meant to be with him. However the wedding was a like a Japanese Bullet Train and I didn’t know how to stop it – and I thought if I tried, I might just get run over by it.

I could just end the story there, but that isn’t where it ended. One night, weeks before getting married, myself and a few girlfriends had gone on a girls night out. The boys had all gone on a night out of their own. Adelaide was a small town and we were having our respective nights out in Hindley Street. So that increased the chances the boys and girls would meet up at some point.

I was young and I also drank a fair bit, back in those days. By the time we met, in a nightclub I cannot remember the name of, I was fairly drunk. He was also drinking but nowhere near as drunk as I was. What I’m about to tell you might change your opinion of me, I’m hoping not, but I’m taking a risk here telling you.

I have no idea now how it happened. I cannot tell you how we got from inside the nightclub to outside the nightclub. I cannot tell you how we ended up in each others arms. I can tell you that waking up the next morning to see him lying next to me, I felt terrible, but not for the reason you might think.

You see, after we’d decided to get a taxi back to his place, he’d gone back inside. My husband to be’s brother had spotted us outside, and cornered him to discuss what was going on. Said brother was very drunk and didn’t remember anything later, but at the time he’d threatened to punch my temptation island’s head in if he touched me again.

By the time we got back to his place, he’d already decided not to let anything further happen. I was still fairly drunk, but he’d told me what the brother said, and put me to bed where I promptly fell asleep. When I woke up I was panicked. Would brother remember seeing us? Would this mean the wedding was off? But at the same time, I *hoped* he would remember. Because I was hoping for salvation from this doomed wedding train.

No salvation came to me as a surprise, and a few weeks later I got married. My temptation island was there. He danced with me, and we both brushed tears of regret away while we danced. I have not seen him in many years but I wonder where is is now.

I often wonder about the choices I have made in my life. Would I have ended up here if I had chosen differently? I’m happy where I am now, I’m glad I’m with The Other Half – who is financially responsible (well, more than I am, he loves his gadgets but it isn’t bankrupting us). who is happy to make future plans, and we’re crazy about each other. I know that this is where I am meant to be – I just wonder, would I still have got here if the brother had remembered?

The topic today is meant to be too much of a good thing, I’m not sure this fits – it might be not enough of a good thing but the other post I wrote ended up getting too personal for me, and I’m mentally drained after going there.

This is a post I wrote some time ago but did not post, I felt it was too personal. However reading it over today having just written a much more personal post I’m feeling ok with it.

Hump Day Hmmm, mistakes I made

Political Correctness – The Hump Day Hmmm..

Every Wednesday Julie Pippert from The Ravin Picture Maven holds a round table discussion. This week the topic is Political Correctness. I’m mentioning it up front in case anyone would like to give this topic a poke with a sharp stick themselves.

I would say my mother is the absolute queen of political correctness. Go along to get along. Let things go off your back like water off a duck. Don’t rock the boat, especially if you’re sitting in it. Don’t speak about how you feel. Don’t tell anyone your real thoughts. Keep up appearances at all costs. If someone is being a bitch, don’t call them on it. Take the high road. Rise above it. Blah, blah, blah.

She has been like this as long as I have known her. I wish I knew what earth shattering event caused her to shut down and install roller blinds over her real thoughts – but it was probably nothing more than someone disagreeing with her when she expressed an opinion, and she felt uncomfortable, so she decided the easiest way out is just.. shut up. She hates confrontation and will do anything to avoid it – unless she’s one on one with someone like me, who has never once barked at her when she’s told me what she thinks. Sure, I have disagreed, but somehow we manage to deal with that.

Due to growing up watching this in action, I am pretty much the complete opposite. I like to *think* I am, anyway. But when I look back and think about it, I have not always stood up for myself when I could have. Sometimes there were fights I just could not win. Sometimes the fight was not worth the effort. Sometimes it is easier to just turn away and close your eyes.

Some people have chosen NOT to participate in this topic this week – it’s a busy week for many getting ready to go to Blogher and meet their fellow bloggers. If it was politically correct to do so, I’d say there may be some who chose not to speak because they did not want to face the potential repercussions of speaking their mind on such a topic. I don’t know, but that is a possibility. It’s a shame because I would have liked to read their thoughts.

I don’t have a great many myself.. I’m not feeling particularly inspired today – in fact I am feeling a pull to the DVD player. In there is DVD #3 of season 2 of Desperate Housewives – hello, my name is Snoskred, and I am a Desperate Housewives addict. This show is one of the most politically incorrect that I can recall in recent history – it is actually a dark and twisted type of comedy. People are often surprised to find that out – I know my first impression of the show was that it was just another soap opera, but no! I wonder if maybe that is why people are so drawn to it. They like to see people saying what they really think – in particular I am thinking of the Edie character who never sugar coats things.

bree

My favourite character is Bree. The shot above is taken from an episode where her recently dumped fiancee turns up while she is serving dinner to guests with a karaoke machine. He’s determined to sing her back into his arms. Bree goes outside and tells him to can it, but he won’t. So she goes inside, grabs a shotgun, and shoots the speakers off the top of the van.

Maybe that is another reason why people are drawn to the show – we love to dream of what we *could* do, what we *could* say, if only our hands weren’t tied by this PC nonsense. If only we could be REAL instead of NICE.

I read an article a couple of days ago which I’m going to link to here, it gives an interesting perspective on a new phenomenon soon to shut us up more.. I had it put aside for the wrap up but it suits todays topic. A Weak Me Too Why being the real you on the internet might not be the best of ideas..

I’m off to the shops. I might not be around much tomorrow, we have to go someplace, but I’ll be back with photos before the day is out..

desperate housewives, Hump Day Hmmm

Letting go..

Hump Day Hmm

I have a very good friend who likes to wallow in – well, various things. The dark hole of depression, feeling sorry for yourself, mediocrity.. the comfort zone of sabotaging yourself and setting yourself up for failure, receiving all kinds of good advice, nodding and smiling and never taking any of it.

Now I’m a very supportive friend, but there comes a time when between two good friends you have to be honest with each other, and that time came eight months ago. I spoke to this person honestly – and politely – here’s what you need to do to get yourself out of this hole. I know how to get out of these holes, having been in them myself many times.

So, I then shut up and let them get to work – at the end of the conversation I said I wouldn’t bring it up but if they wanted to chat about it they could always raise the topic. Of course, they never did. A couple of months later this person was feeling sorry for themselves again and told me so, and a pattern began to appear. I’d say all the right things – here’s how to get out of this hole. They would nod and smile and promise faithfully that they would try it. A month or two later, it would happen again. The last couple of times, I haven’t been quite so polite about it. In fact I told them they needed to get off their rear end and get to work and I pointed out this pattern which I saw clearly.

Then just a couple of hours ago this person arrived on my Skype and from the moment they said hello I knew the deal – they were down and feeling sorry for themselves, and they were waiting for me to do my usual there there, here’s how to fix it, pump you up with positives, you can do it, ra ra.

There comes a time in any relationship where you have to draw a line. You have to let go. I’ve been propping you up for far too long now. I know you can do it. I can’t do it for you. Nobody can do it for you. I can make positive changes in my own life, and I do it regularly. But I CANNOT WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND FIX YOU – though you know I would if I could. It takes hard work, and you have to do the majority of it yourself.

The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.Jim Rohn

I’m a huge goal setter. I’ve spoken before about my depression and the combat strategies I used, some of them were goals that I set for myself. I set goals all the time – even silly stuff like playing a game on my computer – I’ll want to get to a certain score or achievement before I quit the game.

This past couple of weeks, I have set myself a really unusual goal – to drink more water. I mentioned an article I had read in one of my weekly wrap ups and said I was implementing this change – 9 Great Reasons to Drink Water, and How to Form the Water Habit – but what I did not mention is.. I dislike water. I always have. I would prefer to drink soft drinks, coffee or fruit juice. I used to drink one can of real Coke each day with my main meal but there came a time when I really didn’t feel like it, so I would drink fruit juice instead. Before I read that article, I had begun to substitute water every third day, instead of Coke or fruit juice, mainly because the meal I was having didn’t go with either of those drinks.

So with a goal like this, it helps to break it down. The guy who wrote the article (Leo Babauta) actually did that for me – thanks! ;) – by saying – “Best is to form a routine: drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, a glass in between meals, and be sure to drink before, during and after exercise.” This is my new religion. I have these plastic cups which hold 250ml (just over 8oz) and a chart where I gleefully tick off each cup I drink. I’m up to 8 a day. A huge change from one every 3 days.

Can you believe that after just two weeks, I would rather reach for water than anything else?

So what I know is, anything I want to achieve, I can set a goal, break that down into smaller chunks, and then set out to achieve it. If I can do it, anyone can. Me who is not very good at self discipline and who isn’t the most organised person in the world.

Sometimes it seems easier to stay in your comfort zone, to keep sabotaging yourself to stay there. The fear of the unknown, the fear of what comes next. It is no different to jumping out of a plane for the first time – except you’re basically jumping out of the plane for the first time over and over, heading towards a bigger unknown than you have ever faced before. Yes, it is scary. It can be terrifying. Who will I be without my depression? At the moment that is what defines you. That’s all you know. You’re gripping on to the doors of that plane so tight your knuckles are white.

You have to let go and jump out of that plane.. or else you will stay in that hole of depression forever, and I can’t be your friend if that’s where you want to be. You see, I dug my way out of that hole with my fingernails. When my nails were all gone, I didn’t stop digging. I used my fingertips. I was so desperate to get out of there my fingers were bloody nubs by the time I managed to climb out of there – but I made it. I’m baffled that you *want* to stay there. I can’t imagine why you would want to. It’s a horrible place to be.

If you’re willing to get out, I’ll help you. I’ll do everything I can. Except keep going round in circles like this, it is pointless and useless. I’m not going to keep enabling you to feel better every now and then – I want to enable you to feel better all the time.

Have you ever heard the Meatloaf song “I’ll do anything for love but I won’t do that”? So many people speculate about what the thing he won’t do is. The thing I won’t do is allow myself to be dragged back to that hole and pushed / pulled into it – not by *anyone* – because I know how hard it was to get out of there, how much it cost me, how much effort it took every day. I said in a previous post about depression

Normal people who have never been depressed will not understand the effort required to do just simple every day tasks when you’re down. Just to get up out of bed and have a shower seems like something impossible. The effort involved, to me it always seemed like someone had tied weights to my arms and legs, and it was difficult to move them. Probably most people who have been down will understand that.

I’m not going back there. It’s not until you get out of there that you realize how bad it was. Please, my friend, *please* let go of thinking your dark damp hole of depression is where you should stay. It’s either that, or let go of me, because you’re dragging me to a place I WILL NOT go.

depression, Hump Day Hmmm, moving forward, moving on

The Spider Intuition – what I carry with me.

humpdayhmmbutton1x2
The most important thing I carry with me –

One day years ago as I was driving to work, I suddenly had this thought. “There’s a spider in this car”. Ok, yep, sure, whatever. I laughed it off. “There’s a spider in this car.” said the thought, again. Patiently, but somewhat more urgent. I began to wonder if perhaps I was going crazy. “There’s a spider in this car”. Well, my gearstick is a large redback set into resin, so yes, you’re right. There is a spider in this car. “There is a spider in this car”. I thought we just established that?

It was then that I spotted movement above my head, and looked up to see this enormous huntsman spider at least as big as my hand run across the top of windshield directly above me. On the inside. I pulled over to the side of the road as fast as I could and jumped out of the car, screaming and shouting. As you do, if you’re like me with a spider fear.

In the midst of my crazy scared chills down my spine dance by the side of the road, I became aware that I was not quite alone. I saw a pair of feet appear out of the corner of my eye. When I looked up, I saw a policeman was standing next to me. He had a very large grin, and his hand on his weapon resting in the holster on his belt. “Do I need to shoot it?” he said. “It looked pretty big from where I was sitting. Well done on the pull over, by the way, I was worried you were going to slam your foot on the brake in the middle of the road”.

It turned out he did not need to shoot it, but he did attack it with a half empty coca-cola bottle that a friend of mine left in the back seat. By that time his partner had got out of the car too, and he and I were doubled over laughing as this spider ran all over the car avoiding the blows from the coke bottle while the original policeman read the spider his “rights” (you have the right to remain still while I squash you) in between telling us to stop laughing or he would make us kill it and he was laughing so much it was making it hard to outwit the spider.. meanwhile this spider was doing some crazy maneuvers in order to avoid death.

The policemen had seen it sitting above my head some kilometers back, and had been debating whether or not they should pull me over. That may give you some idea of the size of the creature. If not, I have a photo of a similar spider you could look at but I won’t publish it here knowing how scary many people find spiders. Email me, I’ll send you the link. The policeman eventually managed to kill it and I thanked them many times for their help and sense of humor before going on my way.

So, as the day went on, I tried to figure out – how had that little voice known? The spider was sitting above my head. I never saw it, the whole time I was in the car. It was not until I was driving home and I saw the sun glinting on a spider web trail that I understood – my brain had seen that web, and knew a spider must not be far off.

While you’re concentrating on the big picture, your subconscious is taking in many things in order to show you that big picture. My subconscious knew that web had not been there yesterday. My subconscious knows a million little things which it then adds up and if there’s something I’m missing, it chooses to communicate that to me. Yours does, too. This process is lightning fast and we’re not aware of it happening. We use it every day to survive without truly knowing that is what it is.

A book I read some time later expanded greatly on this concept. The book is by Gavin De Becker and it is called The Gift Of Fear. I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book because it will teach you how to listen to your intuition, not just in dangerous situations but in all situations. There’s also a lot of other good info in the book which will calm your spirit and teach you survival signals you can use, and how the media make us fear things we should not fear. He also has written a book that I believe is absolutely vital if you are a parent – Protecting The Gift.

“Intuition is the journey from A to Z without stopping at any other letter along the way. It is knowing without knowing why.” Quote from The Gift Of Fear

My intuition is the most important thing I carry with me. I take it everywhere I go.

The second most important thing I carry with me –

is the ability to be my own best friend. I don’t need to travel with an entourage. I don’t need the constant validation of others to validate myself. I like me. I think others would like me, if I gave them a chance to get close enough to know me. I rarely do that in real life. But even if they did not like me, it would not bother me. There’s a lot of people I don’t like, there’s no law saying everyone must be liked. You guys here probably are the ones who know me best, other than The Other Half and Sephy. I don’t think my parents know me as well as ya’all do.

The third most important thing I carry with me –

I can amuse myself, anywhere, anytime. As Thomas Harris wrote of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs –

Dr. Lecter amused himself — he has extensive internal resources and can entertain himself for years at a time….He was free in his head.

My thoughts are incredibly precious to me. You’ve no idea what goes on in my head, but if you could get in there and listen you would probably be rolling on the floor laughing. I usually am, in my head, at least. It’s like a really good episode of Seinfeld crossed with Jane Austen crossed with all the other authors on my bookshelf. I have a lot of fun right here in my own skull. That is one reason why drugs never appealed to me – why would I want to escape something so great as the insanity in my own head?

The fourth most important thing I carry with me –

I find and appreciate beauty anyplace I look. Whether it is a really gorgeous piece of fabric, or a stunning sunset, or even just the every day, I look for beauty in it. I waste as little time on the unimportant as possible. I have so little time here that I do not want to spend one minute watching the evening news or pandering to people I cannot stand.

The fifth most important thing I carry with me –

The tips I have been given from so many different sources. Like I said the other day about the Oprah tip –

Years and years ago she did a show on travelling and security and little tips. One of the things mentioned was going to the toilet in an airport, and it’s actually changed the way I view using public toilets anywhere. As in – I always walk to the very last cubicle. People are lazy in general, they will usually use the first ones they reach, so the last cubicle usually is cleaner and has more toilet paper. So even some seemingly silly advice like that can make for lifelong habits that can be of benefit. She was right, especially in Australia where not every woman watches Oprah. I bet in the US it meant the last toilet was the most used! ;)

Some of the really important tips have come to me from books, and many of them library books that I don’t own. So I can’t always give the proper attribution or name where they came from. I was going to try and list some of them here but I’m blank now. I’ll have to post them as they come to me. ;)

As far as literally carrying things with me –

The older I get, the less I want to carry. If I can get out of the house without my handbag and mobile phone, I will do so anytime. I prefer it that way. It might have something to do with me sometimes forgetting to pick those things up when I’m out. So far I haven’t lost anything but it is wiser for The Other Half to be in charge of important things like money, cards you use to get money and keys.

Aussie Police really do have a fantastic sense of humor, which is why I am so sad I cannot listen to them on the radio scanner anymore – they’ve gone digital. ;( I miss you Policemen!

Hump Day Hmmm, life lessons, spider

Karma. Or why it’s bad to be bad.

butterfly
In my work life, I’ve had to work for people who weren’t related to me from time to time. Working in family businesses does a couple of things for you.

– You tend to work a lot harder overall, because you’ve got a personal stake in the outcome
– You generally trust the people you’re working with because they are family
– You get out of the habit of watching your back because you feel (right or wrong) that your family has it covered for you.

I started out working for family when I was 13. That continued until I was 20, when the family business was sold. A manager who was not related to me was put in. I soon found he was a smarmy evil person only interested in career advancement. I was sent into the head office for 6 weeks, then sent back to my old store where he was now the manager. My first Saturday working for him, he sent me home to get changed. At head office, the staff were all told to wear jeans and a t-shirt for weekend trading, to make the customers feel more at home. He did not believe in this view. I returned dressed like I was about to take over the Presidency of the USA. And I took my time about it, because he’d made me very angry.

Working for him was not very much fun. He was the biggest ass kisser I ever met to anyone above him but the staff below he treated like dirt. He forgot the rule of do what you’re told.. He was fired soon after I told head office about the Saturday thing – several months later during a training session. I actually was kind of joking about it, but I’d made very good friends with the main boss and he had sent out a memo about this Saturday thing stating the dress code, and he was NOT happy with this manager going against his express wishes.

The second boss I had who wasn’t family didn’t know who I was when he hired me. My Dad had actually given *his* Dad a start in the industry. After sitting down and filling out the paperwork, I thanked him for hiring me even though I was the daughter of… The look on his face was horror. He said “Excuse me” and ran off to call his Dad right away. When he came back he had clearly been told that he couldn’t fire me having just hired me, so he was all nice again. He’d already made the decision to keep me on a couple of weeks then get rid of me. Two weeks later, I was politely shown the door. Two months later, his store figures were terrible, and he was replaced by head office with a new person not related to him in any way. He ended up going back to his Dad’s store with his tail between his legs.

What he didn’t know was, I was always loyal to my employer, just like I was loyal to any family employer. I think that was the major concern – I had several family members working for opposition stores. Whether he thought I was going to “steal” information or something, I don’t know but he misjudged me completely and karma bit him in the ass for acting like an asshole, not just to me but to many other people.

I wasn’t out of work for long. The next place I went to was a mobile phone store. I’d always sold mobile phones and had in fact won many awards from Telstra (our major phone company) for being mystery shopped in the past. The store I went to work for was a Telstra store. There’s about 200 of them in this country, they’re everywhere. This one was owned by a family business but they also had several other Telstra stores around the country, so I was in a store with a manager.

Managers can be excellent, or not. This one seemed to think every day was time for him to take time off without ever telling anyone where he was going. He’d open the store in the morning and then go out for coffee and a cigarette. That generally took an hour, putting him back in the store around 10am, where he would get on the phone and sound intelligent for all of 15 minutes, at which point he would duck out for morning tea coffee and a cigarette. This event usually lasted between 1-2 hours, at which point it was time for lunch. Lunch led into afternoon tea. He’d return to the store about 5pm for closing and general staff chit chat. By the end of the day he would have spent maybe 2 hours in the store, if we were lucky.

I worked pretty hard there, and the deal was you worked for three months full time on probation without being paid your commission. When they ended your probation, you were back paid all the commission. I had racked up a princely sum (especially for mobile phone sales, where you get maybe $5 per phone) which was enough to put a deposit on a house. Over $10,000.

The day came for the ending of the probation, and I was told that things weren’t working out, and they would not be employing me further. I felt like I had been hit with a truck. What was worse, was the guy LIED, saying he’d discussed issues with me. He’d barely discussed the *weather* with me, ever. He was never in the store long enough! I was so angry. He told me I was no good at my job blah blah blah. I left completely shattered.

However I did get a nice new shiny job earning a lot more $$$ working for Telstra who at the time were an excellent employer. He did not fare so well. The family behind the business decided to sell all their stores except the one he was in. They moved their head office into that store. That guy can’t even go to the toilet without it being noted now. No all day long coffee breaks, no long lunches, and he has to actually work!

Some months later a very good friend of mine at Telstra went to work for the same company. I warned him and told him what happened to me, in fact I begged him not to go there. He was a fantastic salesperson and worth much more than they would pay him. After three months, he was also told seeya later, he got in touch with me, we found out this was actually something they did to a LOT of people in order to make more money. My friend reported them, last I heard they were being investigated for several things. I should have sued to get that commission. He did get his, after taking them to court.

I do believe that Karma does come back to bite people in the rear eventually. Sometimes it might not be in this lifetime. I’ve not been a perfect person in my life and I have seen the Karma due to me actually come to me in some of the things I have been through.

I really wish that more of us explained the concept of Karma to our kids, because maybe there would be a little less unpleasantness, a little less bullying, a little less of the things that go on in school. Many of the people who were unpleasant to me in school have seen that Karma come back to them and I am sure if they knew then what they know now.. they would have chosen a different path. I would have chosen differently myself.

Hump Day Hmmm, life lessons, work