Category Archives: Other People’s Musings

The Mind Of A Child

Here are just some of the latests musings that have come out over the last few months from the matter-of-fact mind of my 10-year-old child:

What Do You See?

What Do You See?

What Do You See?

Kiddo was told at school he could make whatever he wanted, bar any weapons….he and his friend made these.

When the teacher admonished them for making ‘swords’ and told them they had to go in the trash, kiddo apparently looked at him in horror and with all the innocence only a 10- year-old telling a bald faced lie can muster said;

“What? Is isn’t a SWORD, this is Jesus’s CROSS, I can’t throw Jesus’s cross in the trash!”

He got to keep his ‘cross’.

Watching the Brady Bunch

Him: “Mummy, what’s that weird machine?”

Me: (feeling about 112) “It’s a typewriter, people used to type on them before there were computers.”

Him: “What! There weren’t computers? Is that back when grandpa was a kid? ”

Me:(feeling 212) “No, it’s when I was a kid.”

Him: (looking at me with renewed interest) “How old are you again?”

Learning

Hubby on the phone to Kiddo: “Did you learn anything new at school today?”

Kiddo: “No, we only learn something one day a week, and today wasn’t that day.”

Haircuts

Me: “We need to get you a haircut.”

Him: “I don’t want to, I hate hair cuts!”

Me: “I know you don’t want to, but your hair is a disaster it looks terrible, we really need to get it cut.”

Him: “But you told me it’s who people are, not what they look like that matters!”

Me: (Silence). I can’t think of one parent-y thing to say. It’s taken 10 years but he finally has me beaten down with this one.

Emergency Situation

“Today we had a drill for if someone comes in the school trying to kill us. We had run into the library and stay really quiet.

Some of the kids had a hard time being quiet, I think they’re the ones that are going to be killed first. I think that if someone might kill you, that’s a good reason to stay quiet.”

Riding a Bike

Me: isn’t riding a bike awesome? You have the wind in your hair and the road is your master…”

Him: “Well, the wind isn’t really in my hair, it can’t get through those tiny cracks in my helmet.”

Aboriginals and Oxygen

Him: ” I’m really glad God made oxygen here on earth, because it would have been crazy to arrive for the first time in Australia and see aboriginals with space suits on…”

Me: “Er, yes it would. You’re right, that was a good call on God’s part.

As you can see, every day is a mind boggling buffet of insane information!

Darwin Award Contender?

Following on from those ‘mentally challenged’ males who seek out danger and make stupid decisions that seem to exist en mass in Australia that I mentioned in my last post on the Anti-Venom shortage, here is a classic example of one such creature that was arrested a few weeks ago in the same state we live in.

This is an actual  police report that was released to the media about the incident:

ASSAULT POLICE/HRPCA

About 3am 4 April 2013 Police were about to leave the Station when they noticed a 2011 Holden Commodore sedan driving in a westerly direction at about 10klm/h.

The driver of the vehicle has allegedly leant out of the window and given Police “the bird”. He travelled for another 50 metres and then ran out of petrol coming to a stop. 

As Police approached the 38 old male he has become abusive towards Police. The male has advanced towards Police allegedly threatening assault. He was subdued with the use of OC Spray and due to his continued struggling he was handcuffed and conveyed to the Police Station. 

The male appeared to be affected by alcohol and was subjected to a breath analysis which returned a reading in the high range. A check of his licence revealed that it had expired on the 20 March 2013.

He was bail refused to appear at the  Local Court today.

Did I laugh my ass off when I read this? You bet I did!

Giving some cops the finger is dumb. Doing it when you’re running out of gas is dumber (running that low on gas is a whole new kind of dumb), running out of gas after giving cops the finger is bad. Being agressive and abusive towards them when they approach you is epically bad.

Doing all this while drunk and driving a vehicle with no valid licence is just plain stupid.

I suspect this guy will hear about this from his friends and family for a very long time. (Plus I hope they throw the book at him).

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In The Spirit Of The Holidays And All Things Good

Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

“You Must Be The Change You Want To See In The World”

Mahatma Ghandi

Though I spend most of my time making this blog one of light, airy humor, there are times where something of a little more substance is warranted – today is one of those times, and I do hope you read on, because this is vitally important.

One of the most poignant and valuable writers I have found on the web today is Southern Sea Muse.

She is a clinical therapist to ten broken children. Children that we – humanity – have broken. They were not born this way, but it has been their unfortunate lot in life to have the hope, faith, joy and happiness extracted painfully from them over time, by the very people who should have protected them.

SSM takes it upon herself, to spend her days doing what she can to restore their faith in us, willing them to give us another chance.

In her spare time, she portrays in such vivid detail on her blog, the lives of these children – I feel like I have stepped into their world – if only for a moment. In response to her herculean efforts, it’s up to us (yes, you and I), to take up the baton and do what we can to help her on this mission to restore what she terms as their “disintegrated hearts.”

Especially at Christmas.

SSM writes very openly in her blog about how she sees these children and their experiences, and it is insight into a world I personally cannot comprehend. A world, I need to hear and learn more of, because without education there is no understanding, and without understanding there is no call-to-action.

This being the case, I thought it a perfectly worthwhile venture to repost her latest post here (with her permission), in the hopes that more people will not just continue to stop and be thankful for a moment about how fortunate we are, but more importantly, take action and do what we  can for the forgotten children who exist in our cities.

To pave the way for a better future for them and children like them.

Without further ado,

The Sequestered Angel Tree

by Southern Sea Muse

In a land far away from our minds stands a lone angel tree today, seen by few, known by fewer. This tree is different from the rest.

You know of the others. Right now in stores across the United States stand hundreds of “angel trees,” decorated with carefully disguised identities of needy children in the community. These are children who through no fault of their own are in situations which render them financially less fortunate than other children on Christmas day. These children may live with their families or perhaps are foster children, but they still have the freedom to live with a family, attend school, and, although challenged, have a fairly typical daily routine in the daily world.

Allow me to introduce you to a similar, but rarely-seen angel tree.

This tree also has the names of carefully disguised identities of needy children, but these children are apart from the community. These children are the emotionally less fortunate who, through no fault of their own, have been subjected to and somehow survived unconscionable circumstances which have scarred their souls so badly, that they are unable to function in society as we know it. These children cannot live in a home, neither with family of origin nor foster home. These children cannot attend school due to their disintegrated hearts.

These children are locked away in an institution, both for their safety and for the safety of the community, or because they are the most emotionally fragile of children. They simply cannot handle life as we know it. They are there to mend their hearts and souls, and remain there until they are fit for society. This may take days or weeks for those in acute care; months, or even years in the long-term residential facilities…all of which are eternities, in a child’s eyes.

There they spend their days and nights, eating and sleeping, playing and fighting, wondering how they got there, and contemplating what they need to do to get out. There they try their hardest to get through each day with the shadows of their past following and haunting them, trying to do what schoolwork they can, trying to get along with others, with varying levels of success.

Some try their hardest because they have hope. Others do not try because they have given up hope, and need encouragement from one moment to the next. Still others try their hardest to show others their very worst, because if they can be disliked or violent enough, they can reject others before others have yet another chance to reject them…at least it is one thing in life they can control.

Their angel tree sits quietly in the corner of the small, empty lobby, the only unlocked room in the building. Other than the receptionist, it is only seen by the few still connected to these children who are able to visit: the state worker who must ask the child to choose between a voucher for clothing or a voucher for toys and who will be home with their family on Christmas; the ashamed, distant relative who is reluctant to be involved but wants to make a good show, the occasional lost driver who took the wrong turn down the end of the long road; the tireless staff and nurses doctors. Oh, and the UPS guy and mail carrier, neither of whom bring things addressed to specific children living there, except on rare occasions.

The requests for needs for these children seem somewhat unusual. The angels on this tree bear wishes for things like socks, because their roommate flushed their last good pair down the toilet during another one of his nightly rages, with enough bone-rattling shrieking to create a new nightmare for another child down the hall on the unit, unable to sleep…and not a shred of memory of the crisis, come sunup.

Like playing cards, since many of the games on the market, electronic or otherwise, further cause them to be unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, and may trigger violent flashbacks. Or reinforce their tendency to want to solve problems with disconnected sarcasm and indifferent violence.

Like soft, stuffed animals or dolls, since anything battery-operated requires batteries – and anyone who’s been behind those locked doors long enough knows that if you slam a battery in the door near the hinges just right, it will expose a very sharp object that can be found in the core of the battery, which can then be used as a weapon to hurt someone. Or, for the self-harmers, to cut on themselves and draw blood, and wind up wearing scrubs and on 24/7 observation for days as a result. It is unfathomable to think how a young child might learn such behavior, but there it is.

Hygiene products are also popular, since the hospital-issued products are not exactly kid-friendly, and it is much more fun by far to brush your teeth with sparkly bubble gum toothpaste, like most other children enjoy on a daily basis. A pretty ribbon for her hair. An emery board, since nail clippers are not allowed on the premises, and long nails can be used to gauge eyes in a sneak attack from behind. A SpongeBob blanket for a bed instead of the typical ho-hum hospital sheets. Warm Cinderella footie jammies. Or a visit from a volunteer big brother/big sister or mentor, an objective other who will play a game with them and listen to their story…a story most can’t bear to hear, a story which defies common sense and human rationality.

Food item requests are never found on this angel tree; some children are on strict diets due to side effects of medications. And besides, the child who roamed the streets for his next meal has been known to wheel deals with other children: “I’ll give you the coupon I earned for extra game room time, if you give me your snack.” Snacks are then discovered hoarded under mattresses, up in ceiling tiles or in the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom which the adults all assumed were locked and childproof.

Some children ask for earmuffs to block out the incessant noise, which may come from either side of their skull at any given moment.

How did they get there, anyway? It may be because their parents sold them for sex in exchange for drugs. Or left them for long periods of time to fend for themselves. Or perhaps they locked them in closets or entertainment cabinets for their convenience. Or molested them repeatedly over the course of years.

These are the children who don’t know where their parents are, and the parents are either dead from their misdeeds or are happily homeless, preferring drugs and alcohol over their child….or simply abandoned the child and left the state, never to be heard from again. Some children may know where their parents are, but their parents voluntarily turn them over to the state because they don’t want them anymore. These children may have been in 15 foster homes, with no stability or sense of permanency. These children may have been along for the ride and witnessed a drug deal gone bad, resulting in murder. Or witnessed murder in their very own living room. Or tried to murder their family during a psychotic episode.

The end result is a child who is unable to make sense out of the world, who relates to others as they have been related to, and who does not and may never know childhood, as it is supposed to be known.

These are the children we forget about because they are quietly locked away from the rest of us while they pick up the pieces of their bewildered, shattered lives. You will not see them in schools or on sports teams. You may spot them briefly at the store, at McDonald’s or on a playground closely monitored by staff, if they are deemed well enough to go out into public at the time and their medication and behavior are stable. If that is the case, you will likely not know it is them you are seeing, and it likely will not register in the moment you see them, just where it is they lay their head at night – a place where they must be to work out their raw feelings of depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis…their fear, their disappointment, their confusion, their rage

The angels on their tree represent a completely different type of need – a need that is real but often goes unknown and unheard by most.

Still needing and wanting to believe in something despite their inability to trust mankind, the younger ones hold fast to their belief in Santa. No, there is no chimney in this place, but they are assured that Santa has keys to the joint, nonetheless. Their lives may have taken an unthinkable course, but their anticipation and hope in being loved and cared for like any other human is entitled to, is no different from yours or mine.

I urge readers (and writers) to locate the nearest children’s psychiatric hospital in your area (and they are there, somewhere…I cannot point you in the direction of the children I know due to privacy and confidentiality issues). Please consider dropping off a small gift  for one of these children who will wake up Christmas morning behind locked doors…on the inside looking out, never sure when they will be ready, if ever, to be the one on the outside looking in.

This gift needn’t be material…write them an anonymous letter and tell them how brave they are, how proud you are of them for enduring all they have. Tell these children that they can do it, that they are loved, admired and respected. That they are believed, that their feelings are real and important. Tell them that they matter. Color them a rainbow with your words, that they might be assured that their world will hopefully not flood like that again.

Such a small gesture has incredibly meaningful ramifications.

For what is small to us, is huge to them, bigger than we might ever guess…whether or not we remember about their angel tree now and in years to come. Like a standout, cherished childhood memory, they will remember, and it may just be the one memory of hope and love that will help heal them on their horrific journey. It may be the one thing they have, hold, hang on to and refer back to as the biggest spark of light that brought them through their darkness.

God, help us all help the sequestered and forgotten children of the world, the ones least seen in our communities – the ones who most need miracles and a reason to believe again.

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Dear Father.

My father is by nature a fun-loving person.

He was the one who short-sheeted my bed as a kid – so when I got in I couldn’t get my feet down to the bottom – the one who filled his left had with axle grease, hiding it as he put out his other hand offering a handshake. When I responded in kind, he grabbed me, pulled me close and rubbed the axle grease in my hair.

He would on occasion start a food fight at the table, flicking peas at us with his fork, much to my mothers exasperation.

I remember the time when we were traveling Europe on vacation and he spent a whole day with me in a pinball parlor – spending an exorbitant amount of money – for a day that by most mothers standards (including mine), would be considered a complete and utter waste of family time and finances.

Still, these are the moments kids remember, so perhaps they weren’t so wasteful after all.

These days he’s much more serious, he owns stores in the Sydney area and is always pouring over the books and dealing with some crisis or another and when he comes to visit it’s inevitably a whirlwind trip, because he has to get back to put out another theoretical fire back at base camp.

Until recently.

He and my mother recently left on a trip to Canada for 5 weeks. Australians get a minimum of 4 weeks paid vacation leave every year, so its pretty standard that if you accrue some leave, people will go overseas and stay for 4, 5 or even 6 weeks.

They’ve traveled the east coast of Canada visiting Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, over the border into Buffalo? (am I right here?), and by all accounts are having a ball. I have deduced that they are also very relaxed as I see signs of the man who once was.

I worked this out, primarily by this little stream of text messages my dad sent me. His messages are in white, mine in green (note the time he sent the first message).

This is what old people do when they relax, they go insane.

My question re: ‘The funny weed’ refers to what my parents call marijuana.

My husband finds it mildly amusing that my parents wont actually use the word marijuana (as though by using it, they may give it credence), so they call it ‘the funny weed.’

My sister and I just find it hugely irritating and tell ourselves that that’s what old people do, so we don’t think any less of them.

Here, the absurdity continues:

As you can see, I have a 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality.

I gave up in the end and decided to fight fire with fire, and it all pretty much went downhill from there.

And here is where it becomes painfully obvious whose child I am.


He never responded after that, I guess that one had him stumped.
After about a week I called my sister to see if she had heard anything from them – she hadn’t. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Have you heard from the olds?”

Her: “No, you?”

Me: “Not after those insane text messages, do you think they went crazy and performed some kind of suicide pact?”

Her: Nah, dad wouldn’t want to miss out on the Holiday business at the stores, they’d do it after the new year if they were going to.”

Me: “Do you think they’ve been eaten by a bear? Do they have bears in Canada or is it just moose? I think its moose – and they can be very violent – so can the beavers. Maybe they were attacked by a pack of rabid beavers?”

Her: “I’m headed to their house now, if I take (boyfriends) car I can beat you there and clean the place our before you arrive. There’s all that artwork and jewelry and stuff. Though mum wore all her most expensive jewelry and dad had on his nice watch too.”

Me: “Well if you clean out the house I’ll be going to collect the bodies, and I’ll pry it all from their cold, dead hands if I have to.”

Her: “We’ll flip for the jewels, OK?”

Me: “Seems fair.”

They called later that day. They’re fine.
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A New Diet. Like Atkins, But With Even Less Happiness and Pleasure

10,532 steps

Image by Newbirth35 via Flickr

My sister just started the Bodytrim diet. From what I can ascertain, it’s kind of like Atkins, but with even less happiness and pleasure.

I’m a fan of diets, and by fan I mean I like to discuss the positive and negative aspects, and then trash them mercilessly when they don’t work. For me, being a fan of diets is kind of like being a fan of Stephen King novels; I like to read and discuss them in my social circles, but I don’t really want to integrate the content into my own life – It just sounds too painful and unpleasant.

Here’s how the first few days of Bodytrim went for her:

Day 3 on Protein only – 6 small meals a day.

“I’ve started checking my incisors to see if they’ve lengthened from my extreme carnivorous diet. If one more person walks past me with a cookie or bread I might physically attack them.

My body is also wondering why I’ve suddenly taken to pouring 2 litres of water into it a day. In an obvious confused panic it’s decided to balance the intake with output (approximately every 20 minutes) – The positive is I’ve stopped waking up at night for a drink. The negative is now I just wake up needing to pee.

Monday afternoon I took the dog for a walk to make up my 10,000 steps a day. After 20 minutes I limped home with 10 cent piece blisters on my heels – I’ve decided bad things happen to people who exercise. Tuesday I figured I could just use my step machine instead. Inside. With bare feet.

The guy on the DVD tells me I’m doing a great job and my body is now a ‘fat burning machine’. I want to punch him in the face.

He also told me all my ‘cravings’ for carbs would disappear completely by the end of the third day. He lied. I just want a bucket of mashed potatoes, lined with greasy chips, smothered in full fat gravy.

Despite all of this – it appears my body is listening to the program – I’m losing about 1kg per day. I’m not really freaking surprised.

PS A girl from my work just came around as I was writing this and offered me a Lindt Hazelnut Chocolate. So wrapped up in this email was I, that I took it and stuck it in my mouth without thinking – only to realise in horror as I turned back to my screen that “BODYTRIM UPDATE” was glaring at me.

I spat it out.

If my body register’s that sugar count I’m going to kill it.”

As you can see, this sounds like a super-awesome diet plan.

In fact I was so taken with her description, I am planning on paying the $169.95 to buy the book and DVD myself. Not for the conventional reasons though, I’m purchasing it so I can hear a man (any man – I’m not particular), tell me to my face, that my body is a fat burning machine.

It’s one of those bucket list moments that I thought would never happen, and for $169.95, its a steal.

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Workplace Relations

I spent the afternoon on the phone to a friend who is having a world of problems with her boss, who she happens to be related to.

After many pointless conversations (read: arguments) she has decided to do things the “American way”. She called up the family shrink and made an appointment for the both of them. She’s decided that if she cant have a logical and reasonable discussion about business one on one she may have better luck with a therapist in the middle of the equation.

I find this whole thing very confusing and time consuming. I don’t know about you, but I’m a simple Aussie girl. In my home country if compromises are not being met and agreements can’t be reached, the negotiations are much more solution-focused:

One of us punches the other in the jaw the favor is returned and whomever throws the most effective blow is the winner.  We then resume business with the necessary changes in place.

Sure its not as classy, but it is much more cost effective and involves very little down-time.

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People Who Have Fun

Hubby just made a call to a supply place and no one answered. The phone diverted to their voice message and here’s what he heard:

“Thank you for your call, please leave a message and maybe a little titbit about your childhood.”

I LOVE the mind that operates out of the box and has a little fun with everyday life.

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Guns

Before you get all worked up on me, this is not a post on if we should or should not have the right to bear arms.

I have no opinion to offer on the matter, other than the fact that judging from my point and click ability (think: TV remote) I should definitely NOT be someone who should be given a licence to carry a gun.

I don’t know why the TV does not respond to me when I point the remote at it and click, but it doesn’t. Time after time, it just wont. I can even take the remote right up to that little light on the box-system-thingy that its supposed to register to, and press, press, press…nada.

Inevitably I hand it to my hubby after professing that; ‘the batteries are most definitely dead. This time they are really fried.’ Of course you all know the rest of the story…He ever-so-gently presses those little rubber buttons while barely aiming in the general vicinity of the TV unit and lo and behold, the TV stations flip like animation on crack.

Back to the guns.

I was having a conversation with my next-door neighbors friend at a party. Let me preface this by letting you know this particular friend is so pro-gun he has a firing range in his basement. (Seriously.)

So he is giving me a lecture on why women need guns.

I am a complete pacifist and animal lover, so he’s trying to convince the girl who once screamed at the wildlife to “run, run, run for your lives!” on the dawn hunting trip an old boyfriend was told never to bring me on again. Without question, he was not going to get anywhere with me, but he clearly is completely unaware of this.

His argument is that when I find myself walking alone in a dark alley late at night (he clearly has ZERO understanding of my life) and two men with guns jump me and try to rape me, wouldn’t I be so happy to have my handy little girly pistol ready in my handbag to deal with these hideous thugs?

So as much as I really don’t want to argue with my neighbors friend, this whole scenario just defies logic, so I simply had to make a point that was just waiting to be spoken.

(Eloquent Me) “Uuuhhh, welll…hmmm….. honestly, I’m not so sure that when these 2 men with guns jump me because they find my post baby body so irresistible, that I would really be in a position to be able to ask them politely to stop, to give me the opportunity to retrieve my own gun from my handbag so we can at least have a fair fight…”

(This of course assumes that this girly gun is at minimum the size of a large Chihuahua, because anything smaller than that simply disappears into my Bermuda-black-hole-of-a-handbag and can take up to 24 hours to be located at any given time.)

He looked at me blankly. I’ve always wondered what that means; ‘he looked at me blankly‘.

Now I know.

It means he looked at me with no recognition that I was an equal life form. And then he said; “You women simply can’t understand good logic”.

Then he turned and walked away, with me standing there with my mouth gaping wide open. It was by far, the single most bizarre conversation I have had at a party outside of the state of Texas.

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