I have been remiss in posting the last week, so here is the catch up in one post:
Day 3 – Remove negativity – I am often trying to do this, even when the world rallies around handing out negative vibes everywhere. This week has been particularly trying as my son has had some incredible challenges which have not been easy to watch. But all the more reason to roll on to
Day 4 and 5 – Message someone special and Think of the Positives – Completed
My positives included a variety of things but especially being able to enjoy a restful and relaxing Christmas now that the hard work of getting the new house ready was 90% complete.
Is a home ever really finished? There always seems to be some little thing that needs doing in one’s home? Weeding the garden and attending to plants is a never-ending task; a shelf needs to be put up, photos attached to the bare Snowy Mountain white walls and there are still some boxes to unpack…. but we are concentrating on the positives here so my mind drifts back to Christmas.
Day 6 – Smile More
Very good advice
There were plenty of smiles on House Handover day – and every morning I wake up in this new house and look around at the fruits of our labour over the last year. It is a joy every day to live in this place. Sunshine, cool breezes, away from the bushfire threats and tonight, glorious rain! I felt like recording the sounds as it is a sound we so rarely here at the moment.
Day 7 – Cook a Healthy Meal – completed
I made these yummy vege frittatas with ricotta and parmesan cheese. Delicious. They freeze well too.
Day 9 – Take a long walk – I walked for 90 minutes – that should do it.
Day 10 – Do Something New – Still debating about what I can do…. I did co-start and join a Ladies Walking Group in my area. Yes, that ticks the box for this day.
Day 11- Read a good book – I finished reading Mons Kallentoft’s crime fiction novel from Sweden – Autumn Killing. A good twist at the end was a surprise. Not a bad read but I couldn’t focus on it properly as I started reading it so many months before.
The third day of the challenge tells me to Remove negativity in my life – well they picked a difficult time to do that.
I am so focused on the situation with the fires and the lack of political leadership, I let fly this morning on the phone at a bigoted old conservative voter.
“But what Can they do?” I was asked by this old man.
They can fund the Fire Service, and buy planes to fight the fires.
“Ah,” the old man said, ” It is the Greenies fault, they won’t let them do anything.”
Apparently a small number of Green party politicians in the upper house of Government, prevents the Government from any kind of legislative change or action.
This is the mindset of the ignorant.
The Prime Minister does nothing, except reiterate like a broken record, “I understand people are angry,” and it transpires that the State Premier of NSW has cut funding for the Rural fire service and equipment, right before the fire season started. What impudence.
Volunteer fire fighters are fighting fires without breathing masks or protective equipment, risking their own health and lives. Unconscionable actions by the Government continue, and very little comments from those who sit in their air conditioned offices overlooking Sydney harbour or Canberra.
People are missing, thousands of homes burnt to the ground, 11.3 million acres of bush and more each moment – lost. To say nothing of the loss of animals, the loss to biodiversity and contribution of smoke and carbon to the atmosphere. Unprecedented climate conditions and the politicians do nothing.
So perhaps I really do need to remove negativity in my life today.
I am too churned up and after anger, follows sadness.
That helps no one.
I have to let it go, breathe and find a way to channel the anger into affirmative action.
Sign a petition for action on climate change
Write a letter to your local parliamentarian requesting support for renewable energy and more funding fire services, fire management plans and fire fighting aeroplanes
Do what you can locally in your own back yard to help the plastic, (ie reduce plastic use, compost scraps, fire-proof your property, plant trees).
Join a Community group involved in rehabilitating bush, promoting land management
Donate to raise funds for those who have lost their home to fire
Share information on social media
Exercise your well considered democratic right at the ballot box.
My work takes me into the community working with people of all walks of life and I do enjoy it. Recently, I was required to catch a high school bus, with one of my clients, something that came with a few shocks and a few delightful surprises.
School Day Memories
Not having caught a school bus for many years, the prospect of doing so had me thinking of the halcyon eighties – read: the days before public transport was air-conditioned whereby temperatures inside a bus packed full of students surpassed 45 degrees Celsius, or way over 120 degrees F.
Just the kind of temperatures that makes the skin on your thighs stick like super glue to those hard vinyl seats buses are famous for. Fun? Not!
These ‘overheated tin cans on wheels,’ were filled with the happy chatter of school kids, but the fetid air was mostly punctuated with wafts of poorly maintained engine emissions as the diesel engines laboured up and down suburban hills via their given routes. Ah the joys, I thought.
The aisles were more often than not strewn haphazardly with school bags, of various shapes and sizes and the floor looked much like the shores of a tropical paradise post-tsunami. The omnipresent group of testosterone-filled teens adorned with lanky locks, smelly armpits and hefty doses of attitude, were constantly jostling for the privileged rear seats where the cool kids sat. Fun, I remembered. Maybe.
When the sought after back seats were already taken, the not so cool, lanky lads would hook their wrists into the straps that hung down the aisles, thereby securing their upright stability when the bus was in motion.
However, this also meant their sweat-stained, stinky armpits were fully exposed to the passengers sitting opposite. After a full day of [hyper] activity at school and minimal ventilation inside the bus you could imagine the atmosphere was close to combustion!
That’s right – year round subtropical summer is really great if you’re relaxing on the beach; not so great if you are travelling around on public transport. Even in winter, our sun is strong enough to induce a sweat with only the mildest amount of physical exertion. So, perhaps my armpits were not as sweet as a daisy, either! Oops – Note to self: arms down by your sides.
All up, I foresaw this upcoming bus trip as a bevy of aromatic armpits, filled with gum chewing teens shouting a cacophony of lewd/suggestive comments amidst their smartphone induced haze, complete with earbuds perpetually insitu. What WAS I letting myself in for, I mused?
If you are imagining this scene as I did, you’d be wrong.
For it might surprise you to hear this recent bus experience made me smile, a lot.
Waiting at the Bus Stop
The first kids to arrive at the designated wait zone for the bus were smartly dressed – shirt tucked in, hair neat and tidy! I was a little surprised but not completely convinced my stereotypes were not up to date, so I decided that a strict school uniform policy accountered for that anomaly.
Next, I was warmly greeted by a fifteen something teen who introduced himself as Colin. Colin politely asked if I was catching the school bus too. Manners? Surely this wasn’t the norm, I thought?
Add to that, another student followed Colin’s introduction in a similar fashion offering to mentor the student I was there to assist. [How sweet is that?]
I then passed several minutes exchanging small talk with these kids about favourite subjects and activities at school, when a young lad moved directly in front of my line of sight, enquiring as to whether I liked, ‘tea.’
A little confused, I replied that yes I did, in fact, like tea.
“I thought so,” he said, sporting a huge grin.
“Can you tell me why you thought that?” I asked, clearly unsure of where we were headed with this discussion on hot drinks.
“Well, Grandmothers like tea,” he said.
Me: Oh, he thinks I’m a Grandmother! I thought, under my breath. [I am not a Grandmother, btw.]
Let’s hope he was alone in this, I thought!
Me: “Can I ask you what makes you think I’m a Grandmother?” I asked.
“Your hair,” he said. “Grandmas have grey h….,” his voice then trailed off.
Me: “Oh, okay, so you think if my hair was grey, I might be a grandmother?” I suggested gently.
“Err, now I’m not so sure,” he responded, craning his neck to see the back of my head.
“No… it’s blonde,” he discovered dejectedly. “Oh.”
I guessed he was a little embarrassed. I was just about to reassure him all was okay when…..
This loud interjection created more than a few horrified looks at the bus stop.
“RILEY!” – said the boy, Colin, in a reproachful tone suggesting that he was embarrassed by Riley’s behaviour. “You shouldn’t say that.”
“A*SEHOLE!” – Riley said again, shouting louder this time. There was no sign of regret in his face.
Colin: “You’re not allowed to say that, Riley!”
Me: (thinking in my head) Admonishment from a peer? I like this Colin kid. Seems to be taking a responsible, leadership role.
“Sorry,” Riley muttered, his eyes now downcast.
Thinking that most high school bus stops would hear much more colourful language than this, I started with,
Me: “Listen Riley, it is oka…”
Riley: “A***hole, Bum, Sh*t.”
An awkward silence descended on the bus stop, then –
“Ah… Sorry.” Riley in a softer tone this time.
I had just started to think that poor Riley might have suffered from Tourettes, when I noticed a wry smile emerge on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
I looked away lest Riley see my own mouth curl upwards into a giggly smile.
Some things are still the same with teens, after all.
This bus trip was going to be okay and the air-conditioning meant it ended up being a lot of fun.