Thursday, September 15, 2011

In honour of R U OK Day

Mental health - it's a huge problem, and yet so under-discussed.  Today's R U OK campaign was planned to bring mental health to the attention of the masses and at the very least, make us consider what others may be going through and hopefully offer a supportive shoulder or ear to those in need.

In honour of this, then, I'd like to share the words of my favourite Dr Seuss book, which are wonderfully inspirational when you're feeling a bit fail-ish, lost-ish and overwhelmed-ish.

Oh! The Places You'll Go - Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

 And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets.
 Look’em over with care. 
About some you will say, 
“I don’t choose to go there.” 

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. 
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town. 

It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry.
 Don’t stew.
 Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. 
You’ll pass the whole gang 
and you’ll soon take the lead.

Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. 
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.

And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch 
with an unpleasant bump. 
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
 Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
 Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. 
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
 Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?

 How much can you win? How much can you lose?
And if you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters?
 Or, maybe, not quite?
 Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
 Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
 for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race
 down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
 and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
 headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
 or the rain to go
or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow
 or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
 or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go!
There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored.
There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
 Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road
 between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul.
On you will go though your enemies prowl.
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike.
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.
 Step with care and great tact and
remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!

So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Obsession with little scraps of fabric

Quilting Obsession.  I haz it.  I loves it.  I'm starting to dream in colours and squares, and that's ok.

A few pics of works in progress:

This one was a bit of a test run, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  Just have to actually quilt it now!

And this one is for my mama who is in to very girlie pinks and purples.  These are all the blocks just laid out together:

And here it is with the sashing nearly finished:

This really is rather good fun.  Just hoping I don't stuff it up after the eleventy billion hours of work that have gone into getting it to this stage!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TV Romance - I only WISH it was dead!


*Disclaimer - this post written from the depths of despair, so may contain multiple grammatical errors, overuse of capitalisation and the occasional rude word*

So I was just walking from the supermarket to the bottle shop, laden with bags, as you do.  Whilst passing the newsagency I saw the following magazine cover in the window:

and after muttering under my breath something along the lines of "OMGNOWAIDUDE", I found that I was becoming irrationally angry at the concept of Meredith and Derek splitting up.  Again.

Let me first set the record straight.  I gave up Grey's Anatomy some time around season 3 or 4, because the on-again, off-again romances made me want to stick knitting needles in my eyes during each episode, so it's entirely possible that I've missed something.  I suspect not much, however.

Why did it piss me off, you ask?  Well, it's like the whole Ross-Rachel thing.  All.  Over.  Again.  In stereo surround sound.  I barely survived The Whole Ross-Rachel Thing back in the 90's, or however long ago that was, and here TV goes doing it again.

In a nutshell - if two intelligent, gorgeous, and loving (albeit emotionally scarred to a degree that makes me giggle sometimes) fictional characters can't find love, what possible chance do the rest of us have, for eff's sake?

Don't these TV writers know that the only reason we put up with their on-again, off-again, nail-biting, season-finale-relationship-cliffhangy  melodrama is to discover that in the end that true love will win?  We don't want to see a couple struggle for years to overcome their personal issues, work crises, family dramas, sexy ex-partners and fashion accidents only to FAIL!  We are only too familiar with this end result - we want to see Happily Ever After.  No Matter What.

I do know why they do it, I do.  They want people to keep coming back again and again and again and again to see the same stories slightly re-jigged, with newer and more exciting obstacles for our hero and heroine to overcome.  Let's face it, if Ross and Rachel fell in love, had 2.5 babies and moved to the 'burbs in season 2 of Friends, no one would watch.

But I want it to end well.  At least sometimes.  Well, once.  I honestly can't remember the details of the ending  of Friends, but a quick google search gives me the idea that they ended up together.  In the last episode.  And how do we know that lasted?  Who knows what sitcom characters get up to after the series ends?  I suspect they got married (again) and took a honeymoon to Sydney and on the way home the plane crashed on a mysterious island where they...  Ok.  I'm getting silly now.

So Grey's Anatomy writer people?  I don't like this turn of events at all.  Google also reliably informs me that Patrick Dempsey (minor swoon break) has said season 8 will be his last.  Sort it out, writers - if they don't end up in Happily Ever After Land I'm going to be seriously pissed off.  Let's have a happy ending this time.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest post - should dad be allowed to "opt out"?

This is a guest post by Lisa, who I was pretty sure would discuss this topic a lot more sensibly and, erm, less emotionally than I would.  I was also involved in the online discussion she mentions, and was heartbroken by many of the views expressed by other women and mothers.


I’m a member of a parenting website that is mostly frequented by mums –stay at home mums, working mums, single mums, younger mums, not so younger mums. You get the point.

Recently a topic was raised to discuss whether men should have a set period of time to ‘opt out’ of paying child support for an unwanted pregnancy. The window of time proposed was the same for the mother to terminate the pregnancy. The mums on this parenting website are a clever lot but they can’t take credit for coming up with this proposal. An attorney in South Carolina coined the term “male abortion” and suggested this opt out proposal would give men equality in reproduction, in the same way that woman can opt out of parenthood by simply having an abortion.

As a topic on a mum’s forum it seemed like a non-starter. No mother would agree to take away a child’s right to financial security, just to save an unwilling father some cash, right? No mother would suggest that abortion is a simple option, right?


Debate was heated and probably half of the mums - and a few dads - agreed with a proposal. Some women argued that men can be duped into parenthood by conniving women. Others said the $1 billion dollars in child support owed by deadbeat parents was proof the current system allowed parents to effectively opt out - without signing away their rights to have contact with the child. In the opt out scenario, if a father opted out, his child loses their rights to contact the father at any point in the future.

The problems with this opt out proposal are so numerous and so obvious it’s not a reasonable enough idea to be convincingly half-arsed. Is there such a thing as quarter-arsed? Perhaps one eigth-arsed?

First, abortion is not an option for every woman. Some women have are passionately pro-life. For them, there is no opting out of an unwanted pregnancy so why should her male sexual partner have that right?

Second, abortion is not without risk or consequence. A man electing to walk away from the consequences of an ejaculation, is not comparable to a surgical termination of pregnancy. Suggesting these two acts are the same completely trivializes the very real physical risks to a woman who terminates a pregnancy, not to mention the possible emotional consequences.

Third, even unwanted kids have rights. International conventions and domestic laws give all children (even the annoying ones) the right to financial protection from their parents. Even if their parent doesn’t live with the child, has remarried, has more kids or is simply a self centred asshat, that child’s rights still exist. The parent’s wishes to safeguard their cash do not over ride a child’s need to financial security.

Fourth, this scenario puts 100% responsibility for fertility in the hands of women. Theoretically men could take no responsibility for contraception while having confidence that should anything happen, they have an equal lack of responsibility for the consequences. And that’s equality?

Fifth, this proposal would essentially provide financial remuneration for dads to abandon their kids. The money is a sweetener to stop men from attempting to have any relationship with an unplanned child. Surely a dad has more value in a child’s life than his wallet? And what happens if he decides he wants contact at a later date – does he need a bank loan to pay the years of child support, like a ransom – before that can take place?

The proposal is so ludicrous that it’s hard to find the upside.

But as ludicrous as this proposal seems it was recently tested in a US court. Naturally it failed because it’s not only morally repellant, but unworkable as public policy. However, in the court of public opinion, it could be a different story. If half of the women on a mum’s forum would support this proposal, presumably even more men would agree.

For once, I’m actually very glad that our judicial system is so ‘out of touch’ with public opinion.