As I mentioned in a previous post, I have entered the Australian Writers’ Centre, Best Australian Blogs 2013 Competition.

As with last year, there’s a People’s Choice round.
The voting for that ends tomorrow – April 30th.

I’d love your vote in this category…if you feel I provide worthy commentary on issues concerning our planet’s current lack of balance – socially, economically and environmentally – all knitting themselves together and into a bad knot.

The equal value of women is on top of my list – not to be like men (because that doesn’t even make sense) – but to be an equally respected and important half of every society; just like the nature that surrounds us.

I also want to add that the wonderful and extraordinary women I’ve met during this journey with the blog thus far, has been a blessing. x

Anyhoo…it would be awesome to receive your support.

Just click HERE to vote.

*big smile*

A moment of reflection.

February 1, 2013

I was breaking up a small altercation between my daughters tonight – where my eldest responded in a mean way to a kind gesture from her sister.

I was sitting on her bed, a short time later, discussing why she had responded in that way. I quietly said to her that there was enough nastiness in the world, let alone in our house with the ones we love. As I said it, I was looking at her bedside table lamp – it’s a lit up, Planet Earth.

So massive…and covered in exploitation; greed; hatred; violence; intolerance.

Everywhere – from war, to big business and in our very homes. People gaining from the suffering of others – whether emotionally or physically.

Yes, there’s love; kindness; empathy – I profoundly feel these within myself and know many who do too – but it’s not big enough. Mean is bigger.

Question #142: Why have we let our world become like this?

*Deep breath*

Today I start a new journey.

My husband had a serious accident playing soccer (football) last week.
He had just finished kicking the ball – so his foot was up a little – and his opponent came in very hard. His kick landed like a king-hit under my husband’s foot.
It smashed his ankle into his tibia, which split at the base, and then sent a crack up the tibia, where it fractured half way up the leg. The surgeon said he had never seen anything like it – only in car accidents. His leg is now in a contraption with pins keeping his leg in place and it will take a further two operations to hopefully get the job done.

In an instant, our world was turned on its heel – on many levels which I won’t bore you with.
The worst part is his suffering and for me it’s a helplessness at not being able to ease what he’s going through.

On another level – a different level – I feel a similar helplessness for our suffering world.

Why is today a new day?
Because when this accident happened, and the seriousness of my hubby’s injuries hit home, I felt a peace wash over me – a calm strength. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t had a few moments where I’ve had to breathe deep and refocus, but calmness is what ultimately gets us through life’s blindsides.

I’m going to do the same here, when discussing life’s issues with you.
At times, I have let my feelings of anger overwhelm my expression into something unleashed. I don’t like it when I do that. I lose you.

But my heart is in the right place.

I continue to fight for a balanced existence.
I feel it is the true secret to life – in every way.

I wish for a future where we shed our cloak of silence, stand up and push back on the practices that are taking over our world’s psyche in this detrimental way.

*Deep breath*

So, now we’re back to the chat with my daughters – back to the beginning – the place to start change:

Our children.

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Strength to you all.

x

Whether you’re a busy mum at home, a full-time worker or sit somewhere, anywhere, in between these two extremes; whether you have children or not –

Women MUST look after themselves.

Two days ago, at about 3pm, I fainted here at home and took a heavy spill.
It was a combination of three logical components that brought it about – which makes it even more concerning; how quickly we neglect the simple things.

1. No water.
It was a hot day – low 30s – and I hadn’t drunk any water yet.

2. No food.
I was waiting for my cousin (who was visiting from Perth with her fiancé) to have lunch. Their road trip got delayed. At around quarter to three, I was reheating my lunch when they arrived.  So it got put off again.

3. Heat.
The girls were in the pool, so we went out back. I started to clean the pool for the girls and move the vacuum out of the way. I got very hot.

When I went inside, the change of bright to darker light and hot to less-hot, made my head spin. I thought it would pass, so I started to offer my cousin lunch options.

Suddenly my brain froze, turned robotic and shouted, “GET TO YOUR BED! NOW!”

I mumbled something incoherent to my cousin and started to walk down the narrow-ish corridor – my finger tips touching the wall for support.

My knees buckled and I slammed against the wall like I was in a pin-ball machine. That first jolt made me ‘wake’ for a second, which made me straighten up – at which point I blacked out enough to slam my way onto the tiled floor. I can still remember the smack of me hitting the tiles.

My cousin saw me fall and I heard the panic in her voice. I sat up in a daze and it took a while for my mind to start rationalising how I got there. I was covered in sweat.

The injuries were as follows:

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I sprained my left ankle, fell heavily just under my right knee, badly bruised my right arm (I rarely bruise) and my left bum bone took a hit.

Question #137: And why do women do this to themselves?

Because we instinctively but other people or other tasks before ourselves. Although all women aren’t like that, it IS the wonderful part of our nature that sometimes gets abused – especially by us.

So, keep up your fluids (especially if you’re in Sydney – just checked the temp. It’s 1.15pm and it’s reached 44.1 C/ 111 F! Hot damn!), eat and stay out of the heat if you can. I know that’s hard for some people – a cool shower, maybe.

Just take care.

Paula x

Well, I’m off to hang the washing. The first pieces I hang will probably be dry by the time I finish the rest.

 

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

Ten years ago, in the last days of December, I took a series of shots (including the following) with a borrowed Polaroid camera. My sister was overseas – whom I missed terribly – and she wanted to see a photo of me getting near the end of my pregnancy…as soon as possible. We reasoned that this would be the fastest way.

I know it sounds stupid, but that’s just the way it was.

No digital camera. No scanner. No FACEBOOK.

Although we can do this now in the click of a download, you only had two options just a mere 10 years ago (for me, anyway):

E-mail and real mail.
We went for real mail…

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…after all, I had two weeks to go.

Well, no I didn’t. An hour after watching the midnight fireworks over Sydney Harbour on the telly, I went into labour. I gave birth to my first child – a daughter – on the first day of the year.

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I write this today because I am feeling a concoction of emotions.

My baby girl is 10. TEN.
I know many of you have passed through this milestone with your children – sometimes more than once – but this is my first time and I can practically see her growing – right before my very eyes. I can’t help but see the flashes of the soon-to-be teenager, as well as the giving and loving young woman she is deep inside.

I also feel overwhelmed about the job I’m doing with her (and my younger daughter) – whether I’m royally screwing things up some moments and doing amazing stuff at others.

It feels like a pivotal time and I’m fastening my seatbelt.

I’m starting to fasten my seatbelt with life too.
I feel a buzz about this upcoming year – like there’s a change approaching. I can smell it in the air.

So in these remaining few minutes of the 1st January, I want to wish everyone a fantastic 2013.
May it present a fresh start in an important area of your life; or a new and more positive perspective.

May it be a year of positive change.

May this year be the one that sees a shift in our humanity.

In the words of John Lennon:

“You may say I’m a dreamer;
But I’m not the
only one.”

I’m also looking forward to the year ahead with you.

Lots of love,
Paula x

Well, we’re all still here. No apocalypse. Bit of a fizzer, really…a little bit of excitement might have been good!

Even though the end was nigh, I set out to my local shopping centre because I thought of a great book as a Christmas present and it was too late to order it online.

BOOKS.

I love books. I love bookshops, I love giving books as presents and I love people’s collection of books in their homes. I have some close friends who have wonderful libraries and whenever I visit them, I always spend some time looking through their books and generally borrowing one or two to read.

I found myself reeling in shock, however, when I saw that two of the big, reliable bookshops that had always resided at the shops, were gone. I literally had to walk from one end of the shopping centre to the other – ducking into Target/ Big W/ Myer (who do have books) looking for what I wanted, but to no avail. They only had a few aisles dedicated to ALL ages – half of what was on offer being cookbooks!

What I was left with was a sore knee and an indignation that ran deep.

It was depressing on two levels – 1) disappointed that I had nowhere to peruse. Perusing is the best, something that just can’t be done on-line and 2) a wonderful tradition is being bullied out.

I stated my frustration on my Facebook page and found the majority of comment-makers concurred with me, whilst others suggested I give electronic readers a try. I have heard this argument before from a few friends and respect their freedom of choice in reading that way – but besides them holding 1000 books, I can’t see the appeal.

That’s the ONLY positive point, right?

I like to flick – sometimes a page back – sometimes a few chapters back. How easy is that on a device? That’s actually a rhetorical question – I’m not here to be convinced to read off a screen. I just did that marking the HSC and it did my head (and eyes) in.

I humbly smile to e-readers and say that I don’t begrudge your preference of ‘keeping up with the times.’ I just don’t share your preference. And that’s dandy – but it seems my choice is being shunted aside for what some feel is ‘the way to go.’

Now for the great part of this tale.

I few posts ago – Physiology – I recounted the joy of receiving a set of Children’s Encyclopedia Britannicas from 1970. The same man who found those, brought me my Christmas present yesterday evening.

A book.

A book called, A Woman’s Thoughts about Women.

An original…from 1858.

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Isn’t it magnificent?

Now I’m sure you’re wondering who it’s by. A woman, of course, but who?

Well, this is where I had to use the irreplaceable Internet to look up who penned this treasure, because her name isn’t mentioned anywhere in or on the book.

And the answer is?…Dinah Craik – an English novelist and poet. In this book she is only known as the author of her supposed best work, ‘John Halifax, Gentleman’ (1856). Interesting.

So, on this day when the world was to end, I found myself navigating (pendulum style) through this conflicted new-age world and how it reads and cherish books. From feeling quite glum about how decidedly books are being substituted with technology – to feeling elated (and it was elation) at receiving this rare and unique gem.

Yes, technology is a marvellous conduit for amazing things – it affords me the honour of being able to write – but…

Question #124: Does technology have to take over everything, just because it can?

I’ll be back soon with snippets from this book – I can’t wait to jump in a see through the eyes of a woman from 1858.

1858! So excited.

Deep Breath.

x

 

 

Nearly there.

December 3, 2012

I’m sorry for the long absences – I am so close to going on holiday, that there is a little drool pooling up in my mouth…I can just TASTE it. But before that happens, it’s the usual crazed frenzy that comes with finishing everything off.

I have a few posts cooking which I’m hoping to start publishing once the lunacy subsides.

Until then, I thought I’d share this photo I saw on the internet.

I think it’s a gem. Enjoy!

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Classic!

x

For those who read my last post will know that it was emotional.

No apologies here.

But as a response to a comment that was left, I wrote the following:
(maybe it will resonate with you more – same message – just more fired up)

Well, that’s a lovely way you chose to end your message. I’m sure you felt I deserved that somehow?
Don’t like reading emotional posts?
My feeling of despondency doesn’t need to be mocked by you and I don’t apologise for it.
I’m feeling a bit better now, thanks to your response. Just the ticket.
It’s clear you interpreted many things differently to how I expressed them.

The image is a bit cryptic. I want people to stand up because it’s the right thing to do, not seek attention. Maybe it was TOO cryptic – but hey, I’m writing for me and anyone else who is like-minded and gets what I’m saying. So although it’s not what I meant, I agree with you, yes, change will be televised.

The image you painted of ‘ambitionistas’ is a cliché. It IS as you describe – no argument – because society is conditioned to think ‘that’s the way it is’ and then, in turn, perpetuates the cliché. So yes, I agree, the stereotype of the ‘how-to-make-it-as-a-woman-at-the-top’ manual you just read from (written by a man) is spot. on.
Yes, there are women at the top in business – 3% of them.
I know the Achilles Heel of the ‘power group’ – I’ve been writing about it over and over again. There’s no need to patronise me.
Now let me explain, succinctly, the whole point of this last post.

It’s to ask why we’re standing idly by and letting the shit state of things STAY THE SAME – if not worsen.

That’s it.
So thank you SO much for stating the way things are. I’m aware of them – communicated through every post – and that’s why I’ve moved just a little bit further along and started to speak up – in the hope of waking people up into ACTION with a simple raising of their voice – ESPECIALLY women.

Until women say enough, it ain’t changing. Hence the name of my blog.

We are emotional creatures which is just as valuable and needed in our world. So I WAS despondent – but you have just lit a fire in my belly.

PS Do you even understand the lyrics of Hey Jude? The first verse you put in, is saying don’t hold it in – a fool for bottling it up and playing it cool. I’m not carrying the world on my shoulders, nor am I playing it cool. ???
The movement is on my shoulders? Yes, and I’m acting. Starting with me. I’ll do.
Hope MANY will join me…but there won’t be any cameras.
Get it?

Deep Breath.

No, I have not dropped off the end of the Earth.

I am, however, living through the most intensely busy couple of weeks…ever.

At the moment, I’m away from school for two weeks as I’m involved in HSC Drama marking. The week leading up to me leaving, was chaos embodied and resulted in the sorest, most hideous, volcano of a pimple, make an appearance on my chin.

It’s still with me – over a week later. Awesome.

My hubby turned 40 on the weekend – that was a nice break from the ‘full-on-ness’ of it all – but then it was back to work.

In less than two weeks, I’ll be screening the documentary Miss Representation. I’m running this completely on my own – amongst all this lunacy – and I haven’t even secured half the people who I need to break even.

Even though I’m starting to feel a tad stressed (and then some), I organised this screening because I think it’s something we all need to see…plus the fact that I wanted to see it for myself too! So I’ve concluded that whatever happens, happens – and it’s all good.

Anyway, nothing you haven’t heard, felt and/or experienced before – but I just wanted to touch base and say that I’ll be ‘back’ in a few days.

I’m sure some of you were pining away without me – hang in there…it won’t be long! Hee heeeee.

Ever feel like the cartoon below? I do. And I LOVE going out. That’s how tired I feel….so I’m off to bed now.

Deep Breath.

zzz z z z…..

x

A hairy moment.

August 14, 2012

It’s time to get a little more light-hearted; time to have a bit of a giggle.

So here we go…Female Body Hair – mainly of the leg variety.

I am of South American background and have been a fairly, hairy human from when I can remember – well, my legs especially.

I recall the serious discussion with my mother and grandmother, looking up between them, as to whether I was old enough to shave or not. Being ‘too young’ at the start, I began my hair removal journey with creams. That smelly, stinky stuff – and this was around 1980 – you can only imagine how bad that stuff was back then.

I then graduated to razors and have pretty much had to stick to them ever since. Thirty long years.
But that is not from lack of trying every other affordable way. But to no avail.

The method I wished worked for me, is waxing. I have tried. Many times. But thanks to the substantial dose of exposure to the Aussie sun at the beach, coupled with natural genes, my leg skin has been rendered a tad leathery and has, in turn, made my legs a haven for in-grown hairs. No amount of exfoliation and cream to soften the skin, seem to do the trick when I wax. So it’s shaving or nothing.

The final downer? That if a shave in the morning, I can feel the buggers poking their heads through by late afternoon…OK, a slight exaggeration; but only slightly.

One night in Winter last year, I was shaving my legs in my teeny, awkward shower; balancing precariously on one leg – it’s such a pain. And I felt this pinprick of annoyance, wanting to shout, “Why do I have to do this?” …even though I was in my ‘down time’ of shaving.
(Winter affords me a lovely window where I can let the legs get a bit gorilla-like, as they’re always covered).

So when did this irritating and expensive habit begin?

An article entitled “Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture” by Christine Hope, says that:

…businesses began “encouraging” American women to shave their underarms around 1915, when sleeveless fashions became popular. Harper’s Bazaar featured an ad stating: “Summer Dress and Modern Dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair.” Yet another revenue stream made possible by human insecurity.

The war against nature’s leg warmers came a bit later, as changes in clothing allowed women to display more than just an ankle. According to Hope, convincing women to shave their legs was more challenging, so advertisers pulled out all the stops. “Some advertisers as well as an increasing number of fashion and beauty writers harped on the idea that female leg hair was a curse.”

A curse? How absurd, right?
Anything to get women to buy…and they do. A recent report I read, claimed women in Australia spend $100, 000 on razors and $30, 000 on waxing – a year.
Insanity.

Secondly, in the big scheme of things – centuries actually – this leg hair removal business is a really recent event; only about 70 year. When I think about all the women in history, who were loved – adored – worshipped…they would have ALL had hairy legs, hairy pits…the works.

All. Of. Them.

Question #82: Isn’t it a shame that so many ‘beauty necessities’ for women, are SO unnecessarily entrenched?

It didn’t seem to bother the men (or the women) of the past.

So am I saying that I’m going to stop shaving my legs?
Hell NO!!
I’m too conditioned and so is the world around me; it’s not a good look with my dark, luscious South American hairs. I have to say, I always envied all my fairer Aussie girlfriends…with their invisible leg hair…

…but the main reason I brought this up, is the mere FRUSTRATION that it’s just another thing we have to spend money on to make ourselves conform to a very recent norm.

My 7 year old daughter recently asked me (with a perplexed expression) why I removed my leg hair and I told her that that’s the way I was brought up but that she doesn’t have to. It probably won’t work because I’m not modelling it – but who knows, if enough girls reject removing their body hair, then it could become the norm just as easily as this one did.

So on I go – with razor in hand…

…Oh, look! A photo of what my legs look like after a few days.
KIDDING! (sort of).

Deep Breath, girls!

x

Six Months.

July 10, 2012

It seems incredible, but it was six months today – in the very early hours of the morning – that I started writing this blog.

This is my 80th post, yesterday I passed 8,000 hits and asked my 70th question.

Woooo Hoooo!!

When I started, I thought that I’d run out of things to discuss. I had a few things that I definitely wanted to say, enough people in my life had heard it! – Haha! – but I was actually nervous about running out of steam.

But I’ve been proven wrong. It seems there is a plethora of material and actions to question – as we try to navigate through the machine that’s become a monster of consumption and lead our children through it.

There are two main objectives that I want to explore – in my true quest of balance: a) question how society (the village) is raising its children – by mainly asking women what they (we) can do to change our circumstances and b) hold a mirror to the huge amounts of outstanding and wonderful women out there, who are so clear and strong as to who they are and inspirational role models.

On a daily basis, I hear about unique women and all I want to do is write about them!…but then something pops up in the media that I need to discuss and put these lasses on the back-burner. But I promise to focus more on the ‘good’ – for a more balanced perspective, of course! *wink*

The time factor is an issue. Although the school holidays are currently affording me a pause from the crazed, daily routine and giving me the opportunity to write – the end is nigh and it’s back to full-time work on Monday. I’ll write when I can, even though my desire to do so outstrips the pockets of time available. Shorter pieces, maybe…although I can’t seem to stop once I get on a roll!

Thanks to all of you for joining me on this journey. At times I feel a little disheartened about things – will we actually be able to put on the brakes a bit? Not stop, just slow – but there are also other wonderful moments when the comments and insights you give me, fill me with hope – plus the fact that there are many, many other voices starting to be heard. That’s the way!

The picture below is me – now – in the glow of the laptop…literally on my lap!

I look forward to more conversations, comments and perspectives, from both women AND men; young and old. Ideally I would love more teens and young adults throwing in their thoughts…that would be awesome!

Basically, everyone’s welcome – without judgement; only questions and chats.

Tell your friends!

Deep Breath.

x