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Sunday, December 12, 2010

NO TIME MEANS NO TROUBLE

Work is interfering with my blogging.

I would like to write about so many things. Most of them work-related but feel that my views may get me in trouble... so I'm keeping them to myself until I find a clever way to weave them in between the lines.

Plus I don't have time. Seriously. All this unpaid overtime means I don't have time to go to the toilet let alone blog...

But I still love you all!

And need you more than ever!

TAKE CARE BLOG WORLD!

The only good thing about not having any free time whatsoever is that I don't have free time to think...THINKING always did get me into trouble.

But I'm still here... just a dormant volcano hiding behind a dormant blog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE DAY OF THE ROBOTS

Hello!

Is anybody out there still?

It's been a while...

This blog was begun merely for the joy of expression and it did give me pleasure weaving my useless gibberish for a while. Lately, though, there has been little joy. Not even scrabble gives me much satisfaction.

It's hard to find joy when you can literally taste the bitterness of an economic recession. Corporations are shutting down and the big black hole of joblessness is sucking in more and more people.

The pain hit hard last week when the chilly breath of unemployment whispered "You're sacked!" to my most beloved colleague. On his first day back from holiday leave he was stabbed with just one word - "Cutbacks!" He was given seven days to pack before becoming a part of the 15 percent unemployment statistic.

What saddened me the most was my own reaction...or lack of! Ten years ago, a feisty me would have fought for a fellow colleague's livelihood. The 42-year-old mother of two did not. I swallowed the pill and got dumped his work (which translates to him being sacked and me doing more work than what I'm getting paid for). "I'm sorry!" I kept apologising to him. "I'm so sorry!"

I did try to stick up for him. But just with words. As if words mean anything when not backed by solid action.

I did write a note to the spy...THIS SPY LOOMING OVER THE DOORWAY TO MY DESK...CLICK HERE IF YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE CAMERA.... I scribbled something cliche about worker exploitation and held it into the camera's face for a moment or two...

"Hello Big Brother!" I said as I eyed the lens. "Welcome." And I felt the noose of the new order tighten around my soul.

As for my other colleagues. They were even more silent than I. That's it about the economic crisis. People become dehumanised as they worry about the consequences of losing their little jobs, getting littler by the moment... until they become as little as our little lives. And rather than react to the constant degradation, unpaid overtime, we all clam up. Like robots.

Remember when I used to wonder if I was an alien.... CLICK HERE.... Those concerns seem so extravagant now... These days, I wonder if perhaps I have stopped being a living being altogether and have entered a robotic stupor. Worst still, I feel as though I am surrounded by robots... So much so that sometimes I want to kick them just to test if they are alive.

I want to scream - "Hey folks! Wake up! Stop being so bloody professional and take risks! Make mistakes! Stick up for each other! Love! Laugh! And above all be human!"

Thanks for listening anyone who's out there... Even if that "anyone" is none other than my new best "friend", BIG BROTHER! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

LIVING TO 88

Good old Aunt K passed away at the age of 88. A long life one would say, but I guess not long enough for those who loved her. I wonder if it was long enough for her or if she would have thought it sweet to have some more - perhaps just a glimpse at being 89 may have pleased her.

Can it be so bad to die at 88? In Asian cultures, 88 symbolises fortune and prosperity (that's why the Beijing Olympics opened on 8/8/08). But all those 8s were not so fortuitous for the late Aunt K. Or were they? Was death a precious release? Truth is, there was too much dignity and deportment shown by her progeny during the funeral. All four of her seeds wept in silence, solemnly and to themselves as people of good upbringing so often do. I am often suspicious yet somehow strangely comforted when upbringing triumphs over despair. There is strange consolation when order and dignity are chosen over chaos.

But what can I know of the funeral party's real feelings? After all, I had only seen Aunt K several times in my life, and those times were so long ago. She was such a quiet woman who had not left much of an imprint on my memory. Her four children, however, had an abundance of joy in their youth that made me feel somewhat lacking as an only child. There was much warmth in their large living room. Well, at least it seemed large then when I was only 10.

Surely they had taken their togetherness for granted for the three sons had scattered across the globe and the daughter felt weary from having to deal with her mother's health problems alone.

The funeral reunion brought them together. The last time had been at a wedding or some baptism, I think. Now they were grey-haired, no longer boisterous or looking like they had once had fun. So dignified and grave. Reserved.

Once again, I remembered my own age and cringed at life's inevitable cycle. Oh, the irony that this boring woman lived so long, when Alexander and Vivi had died so young even though they were so memorable...but, we shouldn't think such things, especially at funerals...

Unable to handle this thought and incapable of handling the feeling that I was voyeur to other people's pain I looked away. And then I left, leaving them to deal with their loss. After this blog entry I may even forget about it... After all, I knew Aunt K so little and was never quite drawn to know more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, V!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIVI!

Do we miss you?

At first it felt like numbness, followed by a poetic type of sadness as I frantically sought you in Ekhart Tolle books and Freud. And bit by bit, life went on. I even made new friends - Saturday Morning Friends as part of my "this is how I keep alive" routine...Many times, when I'm with these "friends", I resent them a little for not being YOU and Alexandra.

Oh, it's not their fault. It's just me being elusive...not quite ready to let new people into my heart. Wanting to prove that our friendship was strong enough to withstand your absence.

Trying to keep you alive by bothering you with my thoughts, chatting with you in the dialogues of my mind, conjuring you in my dreams, prodding you to be a middle person between me and God when I pray is not exactly letting you Rest In Peace like you're supposed to. But, regardless of the meditation tapes and energy channeling, you never really did like peace very much, did you? Isn't that why you married the saxophonist?

I hope there's lots of music where you are. And booze, too! Have fun with Alexandra tonight. I'll be with you soon, darlings. Maybe I'm just as much already there as you are here.

Love you, babe.

DEDICATED TO YOU...STRAIGHT FROM THE EIGHTIES....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LETTER TO MY CRUSH

Dear Dipsomaniac Cartoonist,

Over the last few days we have come close. Indeed, you are pervading my thoughts, my life, my real existence.

When first we met at that damp, languid, flea infested, intellectual Cafe Kundera, there was a void in my life, a trace of nihilism I held dear.

Then you quenched my thirst. Yes, you said, "Here, let me feed you." I opened wide like a hungry blind bird and inhaled the generous smoke of your joint, held it deep within me, letting it turn into unbridled lust. How could I possibly resist transcendental decadence such as yours?

"The whole idea of lightness permeates our lives in the form of meaningless emptiness. Our existence is kitsch, a beautiful lie, which helps us to defy the reality of death and mortality," you say, citing Milan Kundera, at - where else - but the enigmatic cafĂ© bearing his name. You always know just what to say, always ready with a “Big Lebowski” quote up your sleeve for any occasion.

And while you cheat on your Dipsomaniac Cartoonist's Wife and I on my Purple Bull Husband, do I feel guilty? Heck no, there is not even a tad of remorse! That's the beauty of it, my friend with the sullen face who hides the funniest jokes! He knows all about you, and has accepted our torrid affair, patiently waiting for it to end like others before. I ask him if he's jealous and he just tuts complacently, leaving me free to trap you in the boudoir of my mind.

Besides, who could accuse us of breaking our wedding vows when you don't even exist! Infact, you don't even have a proper name as you're just a secondary character, a snippet from a novel that jumped out and bit my brain so hard that what was real no longer mattered.

Anyway, my darling figment of Elif Shafak's magical imagination, I just wanted to tell you - a few pages before the end - that my feelings for you are real even though you aren't. I'm so sorry our affair is doomed, but I guess that's one of the reasons I am so absorbed in it while it lasts (yesterday, I even missed my stop on the metro just thinking about you!) .

I could not resist sneak peaking to the end and gather you'll leave your wife though you don't know this yet. And soon after, the novel will end and I'll be available for my next Crush, because passionate relationships like ours can never last longer than the book of the moment.

Who knows? Maybe we'll pick up where we left of another time - we'll always have our bastard of Istanbul to return to. Or maybe I'll come across you again in another novel or another disguised version of you...

Take care dear love,

Thanks for the memories...

Your Dipsomaniac Purple Cow Reader.

The Dipsomaniac Cartoonist is a secondary character in Elif Shafak's Novel "The Bastard of Istanbul". My feelings for him are true and, alas, I don't even know his name...He is a nice release from the other issues focused upon in the book written by Turkish novelist Shafak, who tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian genocide in her signature style.

Monday, November 8, 2010

FEELING BLANK

Abstention: The act of withholding one’s vote


In a country where politics is hot, half the voters decided not to head to the ballots during yesterday's regional and local elections. That’s not only because we can’t stand GAP (CLICK HERE IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE LIAR!), it’s because we can’t stand any of the major candidates, hence, either way, we would lose.

When close to one in two voters abstain, it is not - as party leaders like to interpret – on account of citizens being “mildly dissatisfied” but because there is clearly a restricted sense of democracy and justice. A vote does not always equal democracy when the choices are strained. On the one hand, not-so-socialist GAP who has done his utmost to undermine the Greek economy with wreckless statements and lies to serve his hidden agenda and pump up spreads, all the while winking at stock-market profiteers. And then there is the "liberal" New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras stating he does not support the Memorandum, all the while grinning at the IMF and rubbing his hands with glee.

Yes, sadly democracy is dead in Greece, or at least comatose. We think we have rights and freedom of speech, but all this is just iconic.

So what can be done? For me, there are only two options - both of them radical (of course) - and yes, I am aware painful, but more equitable than Troika's fascist austerity measures striking at the backbone of workers without punishing tax evaders or profiteers. Here are the only solutions I can see: a) A military dictatorship, a few tanks rolling trampling down Panepistimou St and restoring some order to this place would be nice, or b) the people could take the situation into their own hands and actively show their displeasure by tossing out a corrupt system that no longer works. It will be interesting to see what the response will be at the next protest rally! Oh, and c) we can pray for divine intervention, but forgive me if waiting for GAP and his chronies to get their cummupance in the life after doesn't sit too well with me.

That’s it from the front. Promise to come back in my next post being my usual pleasant lame, superficial self. Maybe to talk about shoes or Lady Gaga (I nod in respect to Michael at Archive Five as I say this).

Until of course next week...when we have the second runoff vote.

PS Your responses to my previous post on SCRABBLE made me chuckle. Indeed, biting my opponents is something I have considered...thankfully, with FB scrabble I'm just biting air...

OH AND AS USUAL -  A SONG....CLICK HERE....ABOUT ELECTIONS...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

LETTER

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

Forget electronic communication, the lost art of letter writing is making a big comeback in Greece. Not just letters that blow your mind, but also letters that blow your fingers. Little bombing devices insidiously placed inside envelopes and couriered to embassies around town, conveniently just days before the local elections (November 7).

The Greek police has intercepted most of this explosive correspondence, claiming a victory of sorts to polish its tarnished image for all the other mishaps, such as the accidental shooting of a teen two Decembers ago that prompted massive riots or the James Bond-styled escape of prisoners using helicopters.

Not that much harm would have come to the recipients: People like French President Nicholas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and good ol' Silvio Berlusconi (who likes to get his fingers burnt, anyway...more recently he got a bang out of a 17-year-old). And how much harm can an itsy bitsy bomb compact enough to fit in a letter actually do? It's not like anthrax. At best, it may prompt a fire or a burnt finger or two.

Just in case you were wondering, though...My fingers are still intact. It's just that I've been using them to do other stuff...evidently not blogging. (SCRABBLING has been frantic though).

I've also been stalking your blogs. Shamelessly. Yes, I have! (And speaking of letters - What's with the 30-day letter challenge so many bloggers are hooked on? CLICK HERE FOR A RECENT ONE! (Seems to me that we may be on the verge of a global letter-writing epidemic. Remember when people used to put ink to paper way back then?)

Promise to write soon.

Hugs and kisses,

PC

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MIND THE GAPS

A GAP I'll Never Jump Off...
Sydney's GAP is a breathtakingly beautiful suicide spot at Watson's Bay in the Easern suburbs. It is privy to scarily frequent police patrols due to its inordinate amount of suicides - an average of 50 per year.

A GAP I'll Never Shop From...

Then there is the other GAP, first established in San Francisco in 1969 with franchises that currently number 3,465 worldwide and include brands like Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperline and Athleta.

Its success is seeded in misery. I wonder how many fashion savvy consumers proudly sporting the GAP label are aware of the fact that their precious garment may have been created by children working as slaves in Indian GAP factories. How many buyers actually took notice when the store's sweatshop workers in Saipan brought a class action suit against the company for unpaid overtime, unsafe job conditions and forced abortion policies? A 20-million euro settlement followed - a bargain price for sold-out consciences...

A GAP I'll Never Vote For...

Here he is...Socialist/neo-liberal non-Greek Hellenic Prime Minister
George Andreas Papandreou (GAP).

Our very own Greek GAP has his origins in St. Paul, Minnesota and is the son and grandson of former Greek prime ministers (in the land where nepotism rules). His mother's side is American-born Polish. Educated in Toronto, Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stockholm University, the London School of Economics and Harvard University...Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Only, here's the itsy-bitsy problem, nobody thought to teach him the Greek language (though his command of English is also rather as limited as the scope of his leadership). Infact, it may have been the evident language difficulties that may explain why he did not understand it when outgoing Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis pointed out that Greece was in dire economic straits.

He entered government with huge  lies  promises that were followed by enormous cutbacks to pensions and other benefits. Meanwhile, one in five companies are currently threatened by closure as unemployment figures skyrocket! He opened the door to the IMF without so much as a referendum and managed to destroy decades worth of workers' rights and social welfare acquisitions in just a few months. Sharp cutbacks without thought of incentives or development.  

Oh...and here's another little problem...Greece's prime minister doesn't quite feel "Greek". Infact he is slightly embarrassed by his Greekness which may explain why Eurogroup Chief Jean-Claude Juncker issued a statement concerning to Papandreou's criticisms of the Greek people as "corrupt" - a huge blow to the country's market credibility. Meanwhile, has one person gone to jail for the harm that has been done to this land ? Of course not, because there are many insidious interests at stake.

I guess the Greekest politician one can find at the moment is French MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit (red Danny who turned Green and maybe is a paedophile but that's another story) who dared to say what no "Greek" politician had the guts to state: The country's woes were a common European secret that Germany and France have kept under wraps for years in order to force Greece to spend billions of euros in arms deals in a vicious upward patterned debt spiral.

I guess,
as Australian songwriter Richard Clopton said -
"For every credibility GAP there is a gullibility fill."

But let's all just be wary when picking our gaps... 

PS
October 28, 1940, is the Greek national holiday known as "Ohi (No) Day" that commemorates Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas' resounding "No" to the Italians marking Greece's entry into WWII (His exact words were "Alors, c'est la guerre" - "Then it is war"). Though a dictator and Germanophile fascist sympathiser, Metaxas managed to capture the pulse of the nation by standing up to the Italians and Germans and has gone down in history as a national hero that protected Greek freedom during a fascinating page in the country's history. And it's a page we should remember these days - the days of "Yes" and subservience.

Friday, October 22, 2010

THE NEW "ME"

Let there be DRUM ROLLS...

What better day than on JAVA's FOLLOW FRIDAY to do the unveiling?

So here it is - the new Purple Cow "me" - courtesy of my creative and talented fellow blogger extraordinaire (more drumrolls please): The amazing LJ Ducharme who muses behind the guise of a mugwhump. CLICK HERE TO REACH HER BLOG... Isn't it cool?

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;


But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
 Who'd have thought that when I clicked the NEXT BLOG button a few months ago, I would be just a click away from the new "me". I'm told that I'm 3 inches tall but thanks to grand gestures like this it feels more like 10 feet!

Thank you so much LJ for your inspirational Purple Cow that already has rejuvinated my interest in blogging.

So guys, if you want a new "you", too... You know where to click.

PS In a short space of time I received a lovely package with lip gloss and Canadian chocolates from Ro (CLICK HERE), a letter addressed to me by Robin (CLICK HERE) and now THIS... I am so humbled. Thank you. I would never have guessed that blogging could be such a fun and rewarding experience.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MAMA DEAREST

I don't like my mother very much!

We are not really that close, but we pretend to be.

I call her everyday. She rarely calls me. Mostly, she tells me routine things about her doctors and what's been on television. We talk about nothing and argue about everything.

Oftentimes we lock horns as we view life from different perspectives. We exhaust ourselves but - driven by this inner need to stay in touch even though its bad for us - we always make up in the end.

It's a sickly relationship with an all-round lack of respect. Mainly on her part. Just last week she bought the kids another bunny stating, "Don't put this in the same cage as the other one I got you! And remember, the pet owner said to keep them both in the house now that the weather is cooling down!" Though she knows I live in a flat...a small one at that. (How come she never bought me bunnies when I was a kid?)

The kids were chuffed! What a cool grandma to spoil them with bunnies instead of chocolates! Bunnies that pee around the house...with me sweeping the straw they leave behind...Bunnies that will probably reproduce so that we have more bunnies! (groan)

I continue to invite her to every joy in my life - baptisms, weddings, birthdays - though I know she'll spoil it for me, and yet somehow I feel like she should be there. She makes me beg for her to come until the last moment and then arrives like the Queen of Sheba to inspect and criticise. Or if I don't beg hard enough, she says, "So I guess you don't want your mama! Ungrateful child! And I came all the way from Australia to Athens for you, without you even asking me to!" (I don't add, "I only left to get away from you!")

She has never approved of my decisions or respected them and I'm afraid she'll die feeling disappointed in me. My husband she calls "Boufo" (even though I paid her the ultimate compliment in marrying a man who reminded me of her)...And that's her excuse for never baby sitting. "What? So you can go out with him! No way!"

Actually, she has had a derogatory nickname for all the people I've ever loved - none of them passed her inspection or if they did the opinion was fast reversed if she suspected I actually liked them. (Like my friends? Heaven forbid!) My mother never believed friends are for getting too close to and her advice has always been, "View today's friends as tomorrow's enemies." With such advice I'm surprised I ever had friends at all! Sometimes I wonder if I even know how to be one!

What will I remember from her? My ungratefulness at never quite being able to like the person who is responsible for who I am. Infact, not only do I not like her, I have a disdain for her hypocrisy and the lies that she herself believes, and I dislike the way she brags about herself and wishes to control her husband, her friends, my family, and of course, me...

In return, she feels I am a thorn in her side. She has such an inflated sense of self-importance that she feels that I am reluctant to succeed just to make her look bad to her friends who sit around and talk about their evidently more capable sons and daughters...

And that is the basis of our relationship.

I have never been quite enough, and she has always been too much.

Sorry mum. I don't like you but, judging from the way it hurts, I love you to distraction. We'd both probably give up our lives for each other in an instant, but how sad that we have difficulty being in the same room.
And speaking of mothers and bunnies, it's always good to remember this book by Clemence Hurd about the Mother Bunny who morphed into a fisherbunny, rock, gardener, tree, circus performer and the wind - all in the name of a mother's steadfast, unconditional love.

 

PINK FLOYD - MOTHER LYRICS

Mother, do you think they'll drop the bomb
Mother, do you think they'll like the song
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls
Oooh aah, Mother should I build a wall
Mother, should I run for president
Mother, should I trust the government
Mother, will they put me in the firing line
Oooh aah, is it just a waste of time

Hush now baby, baby don't you cry
Mama's gonna make all of your
Nightmares come true
Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you
Mama's gonna keep you right here
Under her wing
She won't let you fly but she might let you sing
Mama will keep baby cosy and warm
Oooh Babe oooh Babe Ooooh Babe
Of course, Mama's gonna help build the wall.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SONG IF YOU'RE A PINK FLOYD FAN!

Friday, October 15, 2010

THINKING ABOUT WET THINGS

Today is Blog Action Day and this year's theme is WATER. So come in, kick off your shoes, pour yourself a glass of water...
Make yourself comfortable...
And then, WATCH THIS! (CLICK HERE) It's something you already know, but is always worth remembering...

And now that we've all remembered, now what? Can something change... What can we do beyond a blog post?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - WATER

To quote Emily Dickinson, "Water is taught by thirst." There is truth to this poetically phrased notion...

But as we sit in the lap of luxury, reading poetry, analysing politics, playing scrabble and taking the internet for granted, billions of people around the globe are not just thirsting for KNOWLEDGE but for clean water...

This week, I'd like to join Java's Wordless Wednesday blog hop to inform you about the biggest blog event ever:
BLOG ACTION DAY 2010: WATER
brings 3,528 blogs from 125 countries together on October 15.
"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action." (from change.org)

And because a photo says a thousand words - here's my first ever Wordless Wednesday contribution...

Two Sudanese boys drink water with specially fitted plastic tubes provided by the Carter Center to guard against water-borne larvae responsible for guinea worm disease. (Photo from THE TIMES)

A girl and her father in Manila take advantage of a bashed pipe to wash their bicycle. (Photo by AP).
Rwanda. Carrying clean water for miles. According to the World Health Organization, globally, almost one person in eight lacks access to reliable drinking water, while a third of the world’s population lacks adequate sanitation.

If you want to take action - even if it is in a small way - hop aboard!

To find out more

 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

MY COSMIC WISH LIST

Following my "What ifs..." (CLICK HERE) inspired by Jeff's "Wouldn't it be Greats..." (CLICK HERE) I have decided to get a bit more specific in what exactly it is I want and put the law of attraction into swing...(Isn't that how it's supposed to work? "Need a lover or a house, just call on the universe to provide!") So here is my wish list, flung out into this convoluted cosmos...


I want my husband to not only love me as I know he does but to show me in elaborate and breathtaking ways even though I'll probably criticise him for it...

I want to win at Scrabble every time! ...and chess, too, while we're at it.

I want a cure for cancer, multiple sclerosis, insomnia and migraines too! (Though I remember reading that there already is a cure for cancer but people aren't talking about it as pharmaceutical companies would stand to lose zillions!)

I want people to be less tolerant and to stand up for their rights when the are trampled on!

I want Greece to have a prime minister who can actually speak Greek. (And for Greeks to finally realise that just cause he can't speak Greek doesn't mean that he knows English...)

I want politicians to be forced to live on the minimum wage for a couple of months in order to get a reality check and hopefully climb down from their ivory towers.

I want God to exist (believe it or not, I do, I really do...) and to make his (or her) presence a little bit more felt in this world.

I want my kids to have health, values and to be better people than I am.

I want to live to be 100 (but without arthritis and Alzheimers).

I want to love and be loved for what I am even though this is not always easy to love or nice (is that asking for too much!)

I want people to throw their rubbish in the right recycling bin (this morning I found food waste in the paper bins!)

I want to eat chocolate all the time and never get fat!

I want to get paid to do nothing all day...and to not have financial problems and be surrounded by beautiful things.

I want to visit the Himalayas!

I want purpose (a mission would be nice. Who knows? Someday I may get a brainwave like Robin)...CLICK HERE FOR ROBIN'S BRAINWAVE! And while you're at it, perhaps you may like to read the letter she wrote to me - CLICK HERE - it made me feel all fuzzy... (If you like, maybe YOU could write me a letter on your blog, too...)

I want to read books, lots of them, especially great ones...

I want to be a smart and self-actualised person and be able to not just read Archive Fire but be able to leave nice intellectual and insightful comments. (And while we're on the subject of this blog, I want to know what THIS (CLICK HERE) is...even though I am told that I would rather not! Please tell me someone, please, or else I will "go crazy, punch a senior citizen or something like that".)

I want to live on a farm (with lots of animals...including a donkey...and spend my time making jam.)

I want a little tattoo of a ladybird on my shoulder so that I can look at it as a reminder of how lucky I am.

I want to savour the flavour of each and every moment before it slips through my fingers...

I want to be brave and gutsy like Ingrid Betancourt (and while we're at it, I wouldn't mind meeting her either).

I want people who read this - YOU, yes YOU - to leave a comment just so that I know they came (and it doesn't have to be a nice comment, either, because I want people to be upfront and honest at all costs).

I WANT to say "Hello" to anyone from Java's brilliant "Follow Fridays" and "Thank you" to Java for hosting them. http://nevergrowingold.blogspot.com/2010/10/follow-friday-40-and-over.html

I want to know you, and through you, maybe get to know me a little better, too.




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SHHHHH!

I spilled the beans about my innermost secret to my two friends, Vivi and Alexandra. We all had a good cry about it after drinking two bottles of Baileys. No sooner did I blurt it all out that I began to hope they were too drunk to have realised the gravity of what I had just told them - for me, anyway.

"Goodness gracious! You stupid, stupid girl," hicked Alexandra. "Why did you never tell us this before?"

"I know why," said Vivi, the Wise One. I looked at her, curious..."It's because now we both have cancer. When we didn't have cancer she didn't want to tell us because she did not think we were flawed enough to be told. It's also why she married a man who has multiple sclerosis. She doesn't think that anyone who is normal, healthy, 'perfect' would understand."

I stared at her. Wide-eyed and suddenly sober despite the alcohol pulsating through my veins (sometimes the harsh TRUTH has a sobering effect - two bottles of Baileys wasted with just one slap of sincerity!). "You should have been a therapist!"

Now these two wonderful women I trusted are dead taking my secret with them to the grave. "Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead!" I remember reading that somewhere when I was a teen, then chewing it in my mind. It proved prophetic, I guess. And my secret is now a secret once more.

My dirty, cloistered, smutty secret! We all have 'em, don't we? Yet, in an Oprah Winfrey society we are told that it is healthy when we air private details about ourselves so that redemption can duely follow: "I am a homosexual!" "I was date raped but never told anyone!" "I had an affair with my husband's brother!" "I pee on my neighbours pot plants!" and then we all applaud that brave person who is supposed to feel somewhat liberated after finally not having anything to hide (for the record, these are examples of other people's secrets - not mine!)

People even pay good money to tell qualified strangers their secrets. And then these strangers say, "So how do you feel about that..." Until finally one is cured from secrecy - therapy they call it! Others go to priests and confess. Faith cures them. Forgiveness follows. Simple.

Too easy. Don't you think?

Friday, October 1, 2010

THE INVISIBLE BRA

How I hate it when mothers share personal titbits about their daughters' sexual awakening with each other! Do I really need to know which of my daughters' classmates has pubic hair or already has her period? Tell me, do I? My rule of thumb is to omit any details that my daughter would be mortified to have others know.

So it was the other day, when J, one of my Saturday morning friends whipped out a pink cotton brazier with teeny ants printed on it from her handbag and started waving it around as though it were some sort of banner. "I got it on special!" she said to the delight of all the other mums who "oohed" and "aahed" as she fanned them with the garment. I cringed as I noticed onlookers begin to pay attention. After all, there's nothing like a 40-year-old woman whirling a bra around in a public cafeteria to draw other people's attention. In Greece, anyway...

I did find out, though, that most 6th graders appear to be wearing one. It had not before occured to me that very soon we would have bras to think about.

I squinted hard as I tried to remember when I got my first bra. Though I can recall teeny details about all sorts of things, my first bra experience totally eludes me. Stranger still, I asked my mother and she does not seem to recall this milestone. Infact, she cannot even tell me what age she was when she got hers. Its like one day the women in our family were braless and the next day - puff! - as if by magic we were women who wore bras!

But shouldn't we have remembered this milepost in our development? Wasn't the day we wore our first bra as important as the day we tossed it out and burnt it? Why have we repressed this memory?

PS THE PHOTO ABOVE IS FROM THE "ARTY BRA PROJECT" THAT BEGINS TODAY AT THE FLAGSTAFF MEDICAL CENTER FOR BREAST CANCER! PERHAPS YOU'D LIKE TO DECORATE YOUR OWN BRA...TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT "THE BRA PROJECT", CLICK HERE

Thursday, September 30, 2010

QUESTION TAG

A while ago Robin of Your Daily Dose tagged me in a question chain game. Basically the rules are this, she asks eight people eight questions who in turn ask another eight people eight questions and so the chain goes on.

Sorry Robin for taking so long to respond - I guess life got in the way. But I woke up today feeling like I had all the answers and thought to take Java's Follow Friday opportunity and get down to it...

1.
We all dance with the seven sins from time to time. Which of the seven sins do you dance with most frequently, and why? They are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.
Wish it were lust, but unfortunately my sin is PRIDE! Both a virtue and a sin. Makes me want to do things better and rely purely on myself, but sometimes "better" is the enemy of "good"...

2.
If you could live for a week in the body of someone famous, who would it be? You would still be you, but you could access their need to know info as you needed to know it. Of course, the kicker is that they would live in your body and have the same priveleges.
No way will I let a famous stranger access my body and have unconditional freedom over my kids for a week! Nope, not even Jesus Christ!

3.
Do you believe that angels walk among us? That there are true psychics, mediums or anyone who is more connected to God than the average person?
I believe that angels are within us. Demons too. Its up to us how much we access these internal angels and demons. As for psychics, allow me to be skeptical of their underlying motives. What's in it for them? I guess, though, we all have an ability to develop our extra sensory perceptions.

4. 
Have you ever dreamt about a future event that happened, a past event that happened when you were but a very young child, or anything that was just so real, but otherworldly, that you felt its truth in your soul? If so, I'm listening. 
When I was a kid I would feel myself floating from my body and see myself lying in my bed. It was liberating but after a while I'd get scared and return. My mother said these were just dreams (I was a child with a vivid imagination), but later I learnt about astral travel and sometimes wonder if this indeed was what I was doing. I no longer have this floating ability. But I do find myself "communicating" with my dead friends in my dreams. My imagination, perhaps or communication with something beyond?

5. 
Do you feel like you have a gift that you aren't using? It could be for anything. Design, writing, art, photography, decoration. The list is endless.
SLEEP! I am the best person for this, and yet, regardless of this gift, I'm sleep deprived.

6. 
Is there someone that you are unwilling to forgive? Is it weighing on your heart? Eating you up on the inside? This is a yes or no. If it is yes, I hope you make the choice today to want to forgive and then let it go. Throw out your desire into the universe.
I can't forgive all the assholes that have created huge problems to this world we live in - people like George W. Bush whose greedy policies and deregulation helped cause a global economic meltdown. Let's not forget Tony Blair and all the others involved in the Iraq scandal. Worst still are the people whose names we don't know who choose the junk we watch on TV, sneak in GM products onto our plates, cause economic scandals for their own personal gain! Then there are the paedophiles and people who are cruel to animals...yeap...all those people. I hate 'em with a vengeance. Will never forgive the bloody bastards. NEVER! I hope they rot in hell!

7. 
If you were able to take away or add one element into the heart of each and every man, which one would be the one that would make the most difference in making this world a better place to live?
(Jeez, Robin, where did you get these questions from? Deepak Chopra?) OK, I'd take away people's ability to cheat. Not just infidelity in relationships but also fraud, cutting corners and scruples as they climb up the career ladder. Without cheating we'd be a more meritocratic society and people would ultimately get what they deserve. What I would add is empathy...I really wish they taught this at schools along with reading, writing and arithmetic. We'd be much better people if we could put ourselves in other people's shoes.

8. 
What is the last movie you saw at the movie theatre? Using the five star system how would you rate it?
It was "Singing in the Rain" at a summer theatre under the stars with my family and we left singing. I would give it a *****. (But then again I'm just an old fuddy duddy nerd...what would I know? Right?)

So, Robin, that's it! I actually had fun as it makes a nice change from me usually doing the asking! So thanks. Now it's my turn to ask a few questions though I don't think the questions I ask really are what matters. I believe a person can ask the most fascinating quesitons and get back boring replies and vice versa...

I NOMINATE...
1.
You again, Robin - yes, I'm not supposed to but how could I not nominate you? (Your dedication has helped keep me interested in blogging, after all!)
2.
Ro Magnolia cause I'm going to stick in an animal question in there somewhere and that would be your forte.
3. 
Kyann from Sanity is Overrated because she will poke fun at my questions!
4. 
Jeff because a man's perspective would be valued (even a man who writes romance fiction). Plus his photo on my followers list has all these question marks on it so it looks like he's just begging to be asked!
5.
Random Stranger - OK, another guy, but this one has experiences with job interviews and I'm counting on him to shed light on question no. 2.
6.
Phoenix cause being a talented, upcoming actress and all I may keep her answers for prosperity and maybe someday sell them as a scoop to some tabloid...
7.
Farmgirl Paints cause we have a tradition of me nominating her and her not partaking in this type of stuff.
8. 
YOU! Yes, YOU, reading this... Consider yourself nominated...

1) Why do you blog? Have the reasons changed as you've been doing it?
2) Why do they ask "What animal are you most like?" at job interviews? And what could they possibly learn about the person being interviewed when they ask this question? (Also feel free to share any other stupid questions you've been asked at job interviews).
3) If you were to arrange a randezvous with your 18-year-old self what would you say to yourself? How much would you have in common? Would you accuse yourself of something?
4) Imagine me? What do I look like? (Skip this one Robin as you've already seen me on FB)
5) Have you ever surprised yourself with your own wickedness?
6) What makes you special and different from this blob called humanity?
7) Do you ever wonder if you are wrong about everything you currently believe and hold to be true? And if it turns out that none of it is as it seems would you wish to be told the TRUTH a minute before you die or die not knowing at all?
8) So how come it's 8 questions? Why not 5, 7 or 10? Why 8? Do you want more or do you wish you'd had less?

Looking forward to your answers...


PS Hello to all Follow Friday blog hoppers! Nice to meet you!
Wishing you a good start to OCTOBER!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WHAT A DIFFERENCE FIVE YEARS MAKE

5 years ago, my eldest daughter's 1st grade teacher told us to give kids autonomy by not intervening in their homework. Last night, my youngest daughter's teacher told us to practice vigilance, instruct them to correct mistakes and she even announced that there would be parent-child school assignments. (groan!)

5 years ago the pupils changed seats every week so they could get to know their classmates. Last night we were told that they would stay in the same seat so as to feel more secure in their class environment.

5 years ago the teacher had rigid rules when it came to shaping letters. Last night I was told not to worry that my daughter does her "o's" in a clockwise direction and her "l's" upwards rather than top to bottom.

5 years ago I didn't realise there was such a thing as school violence until 4th grade, not because it didn't exist in the school, but because such issues were treated with the utmost confidentiality (ie, swept under the carpet). Last night we were told that in the first week of school two first-graders had already started harrassing other children and we were advised to have chats with our kids about the importance of speaking up and bullying.

5 years ago I wore a tailored suit to the parent-teacher meeting. Last night it was jeans and I still felt over-dressed!

Yes, times have changed. But beyond that, my daughters are going to two different primary schools with different approaches. One is rigid, snooty, expensive and filled with prominent members of society. The other is arty, biomatic, free, difficult to get into and affiliated with the university. One is opera, the other is rock...

So different, and yet both are considered the "best" the Greek elementary education system has to offer. I guess at the end of the day what counts isn't the system but the exquisiteness and unswerving dedication of those who serve it.

And at the end of the day - there is one common denominator regardless of the school...parents' stupidity (my own included). 5 years ago and last night, as the teacher went on and on and on, explaining what should be evident to us, but apparently is not, my mind drifted...and before I knew it I had filled a blank page infront of me with doodles... (Let's not forget I'm a parent school dropout. CLICK HERE FOR MY EXPLOITS)


Sunday, August 29, 2010

THIS IS NOT A LOVE LETTER

Another letter that will never be delivered to its true recipient...Maybe, it's just for me... 

Dear Purple Bull,

So here we are again, my "love". Another year under the same roof, but essentially on different planets. There is beauty in that, I guess. How boring if we were overly familiar!

Remember my fantasy. Yes, THIS ONE! (CLICK HERE) We never did get round to it, did we? I pleaded with you and even made up a cute song and dance, but you stood your ground. And now that your business has folded, you have suddenly remembered our long lost love that was supposed to be your boobie prize when things got tough. But you did not tend to it and it seems to have shrivelled up... It was not a low maintenance plant, my dear. It needed to be watered on the odd occasion. You started off well, planted the seed of passion with grand gestures and beautiful words, and then forgot to harvest, to cultivate, to sow... But you were no gardener nor were you a poet, just a pragmatic business man.

How frustrating it must have been for you when we first got married and I kept saying "I love you!" and leaving little love notes everywhere. Embarassing notes stuck onto your money when you opened your wallet, annoying notes you'd almost choke on when biting your lunch, silly notes in your smelly socks...You see, I felt that I had to say it for both of us as you had already made your intentions quite clear: "I said it once. It still stands. If something changes, I'll let you know." 

Eventually, I stopped saying it, too. I could see that it tired you so. And I found other things to say.  More "important" things about the day-to-day running of our affairs. But when I stopped my declarations  -  I stopped feeling them as well. Then followed a whole domino effect - a chain reaction that finally lead to a communication meltdown.

So how come we're still together, my "love"? I won't hide the fact that divorce had crossed my mind.

What saved our marriage, though, believe it or not was history. No, not our own personal history, made up of a tapestry of precious personal memories that I appreciate more than you will ever know, but social history itself. It occured to me one day that the crumby institution of marriage was never created for the purpose of fulfilment. You see, marriage was initially more about pooling resources and reproducing...The notion that it was about making you feel happy was a wrong approach cultivated during the Industrial Revolution when "work", "ambition" and "marriage" suddenly acquired new meaning making us expect joy from things that are drudgery.

So I stopped thinking of marriage as a source of happiness and channeled my interests elsewhere - into our children, reading good books, going to protest rallies and other creative outlets (perhaps this blog is one of them). And this has worked for me.

I stopped expecting to be wooed. I became less romantic, more cynical...a worst enemy of Valentine's Day than you ever were. Don't blame yourself for this. These were my choices. I decided to stay and face things like a brave coward. And it wasn't even just for the kids that I made this choice.

I felt relief that our marriage was indeed as a marriage should be - an institution! And we were just another conventional couple prone to the same feelings as hundreds of other compromised couples around the world. Sometimes it helps to view things objectively, spherically and unemotionally. I can't say this satisfied me, but I understood at least what I was doing...

But then I became a blogger and began to read things like THIS and THIS (read no. 2) and THIS and THIS...

And I am beginning to wonder if perhaps we are tricking ourselves. Perhaps there should be more than THISWhat if I was right in the first place?

Worst still, amidst all this confusion, you are suddenly remembering things I once believed in but tossed out the window just to salvage our marriage. For heaven's sake, why are you suddenly flirting with me, now, after all this time? Where did this come from? Has an alien invaded your body or is this just you coming out? And how can I trust that this is not just another whim so that I can decide whether to roll up the emotional curtains that are protecting the window of my soul...

It seems, my dear, that we have switched roles. That I have ended up being how you had begun and you are now seeking for me to feel emotions that I have trained myself to crush.

But it is our anniversary. As usual, we have both arranged different activities so that we don't have to go through the pain of looking into each other's eyes and remembering what we could have had before our egotistical personalities got in the way. Infact, we will each be in different countries on this date even though there was a time when you had promised to take me to the moon. Perhaps we can both pretend to forget the whole thing, as though it never happened (after all, it belongs to another lifetime and we were both such different people then). But regardless of this I must say thank you for the fundamentals, for just being there, even when you are not. Perhaps if we were to thaw it all out there may be love deep down. Oh, I think there is...don't you?

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

And for the record, yes, regardless of the handcuffs I would probably marry you again. Maybe I like bondage.
Sometimes, I can still see you underneath all that complicated stuff. It is you, isn't it?



Saturday, August 28, 2010

GYPSY

Do you know any gypsies? Every mention I've ever heard throughout my life seems to be dipped in bias, from "Babes in Toyland" where Tom is sold to the gypsies to Bizet's sensual and adulterous Carmen to Shakira's new song that I heard the other day on the radio...The refrain keeps up the stereotype that gypsies are swindlers who may "steal your clothes" and back down from "agreements." (Have you ever wanted to throw bricks at your radio? Happens to me all the time.)

And yet, each person - regardless of their culture or national group is - above all, an individual with personal hopes and dreams.

When we forget that, and begin to create stereotypes, things can get dangerous...

CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW DANGEROUS....DO THESE DEPORTATIONS REMIND YOU OF SOMETHING? HITLER, PERHAPS.  (I guess, when things get tough economically its always convenient to mislead the population by finding a scapegoat to blame)

In a European Union that claims to encourage workers' mobility, Roma gypsies - one of the most mobile groups - are being sent "home" when "home" isn't even a gypsy concept.

NOTE: Last year, Germany, Denmark, Italy and Sweden pursued similar policies against the Roma gypsies.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I REALLY SHOULDN'T BE DOING THIS!

I really shouldn't be doing this, you know! Just because I blog-hopped for the first time last week with some success does not mean that I am ready for a second round so soon. After all, I still haven't got to know my followers from the first hop all that well yet.

But this blog hopping is renewing my enthusiasm for blogging, you see... Of course, this may not be such a good thing, considering how I blog at work. Anonymously.

Blogging is addictive enough on its own...but mix in some hopping and working and that's just begging for trouble! It could prompt quite a scandal.

Like when my husband found out I was playing that shameful Facebook lollipop game... "Not only do you suck lollipops on Facebook but you have gathered thousands of points doing this! Who has been sucking you?" he accused, pointing the finger at me as though I was cheating with some FB lover and not just fooling around with old schoolfriends and a stupid application (so who says women over 40 are mature?) Now that I've lost interest in the lollipops, he's the one fiddling, finally realising for himself that its really no big deal. (Or is it?) But if he were blogging. That would be quite another matter. I would not like that one bit as this is my territory! (This and Scrabble)

Anyway, all I wanted to say really is "HI!" Welcome to my world... It's really nice to meet you.
PS. And, while I'm at it, why not try double blog hopping where I get to do Design it Chic's Boost My Blog as well as Java's Follow Friday? How's that for a dangerous double whammy? (Let's see what happens)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WHAT IF?


WHAT IF I had decided not to be born?

WHAT IF my mother hadn’t fudged my birth certificate so that I could go to school with kids older than myself and get a "head-start" in life?

WHAT IF my parents hadn’t sent me to that conservative Catholic school that they believed it was the “best education” I could receive?

WHAT IF I had done the sane thing and listened to my grandmother's advice about becoming a teacher (for mainly three reasons: June, July and August)?

WHAT IF I hadn’t left Australia to come to Greece?

WHAT IF I’d been unscrupulous and slept my way to the top when I was still daisy fresh?

WHAT IF I had been sick and unable to attend the fateful art gallery exhibition where I met my husband?

WHAT IF I hadn’t reprioritised my life upon having my firstborn?

WHAT IF I had listened to everyone (doctor, husband, friends, yikes...) and aborted the “second child” just as they suggested cause all their stupid tests showed all sorts of problems?

WHAT IF - instead of being cynical and skeptical - I had let myself fall for the romantic words and compliments dished out by my first love who suddenly crawled out of the woodwork after over two decades of absence?

WHAT IF Alexandra and Vivi were still alive?

WHAT IF I couldn't light up a cigarette to be mesmerised and side-tracked by the "dancing smoke" everytime I want to cry?

WHAT IF I succumbed to pressure and got a cell phone? (No way!)

WHAT IF I had not begun this blog and not met you people?

WHAT IF everything we know is just a figment of our imagination and that none of this is real?

WHAT IF I discover that everything I've ever fought for and believed in is sheer fabrication (yes, Robin, just like "The Truman Show"), and WHAT IF this discovery is made shortly before I die? Would it still be a discovery I would want to make?

WHAT IF there actually is a God?


IF
our lives had been different, would we still be the same…?
Is it our values that shape our lives or is it our experiences that influence our beliefs?


And, finally, WHAT IF I had not read  Jeff's "Wouldn't it be GREAT..." post?
Would I have still written this?  (CLICK HERE)
(Now you all know who is to blame!)

OF COURSE, NOBODY CAN SAY IT WITH QUITE AS MUCH PANACHE AS THE AMAZING F. SCOTT FITZGERALD...CLICK HERE TO SEE IT!


This moon picture is for Ro Magnolia.
Go to her blog to find out why!
;-)