Protest

I can put my money where my mouth is, easy. But can I help raise funds for the same cause? Maybe I can make you, the reader, click with curiosity.

In Australia, we have an unfair and damaging approach to people seeking asylum. Refugees need our support more than ever, they face an uncertain, terrifying future due to unnecessary demands for refugee applications to be received by early October.

The ASRC (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) is continually raising funds to support refugees/people in crisis. This is not someone else’s drama, we live in a globalised world and refugees are our brothers and sisters. Please donate something so they can live their lives knowing people actually give a shit.

If you have already donated recently to this cause, then tell your friends to do the same. Wave the flag. Protest this unhealthy scaremongering of people in need by the Australian Government.

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Devouring Audio

I have no talent for putting on voices but as a professional podcast listener I think I am losing my own voice, opinions, thoughts and storytelling delivery? It’s not actually a bad thing, I feel like I find the equivalent of a new good book, Every Single Day. My communication to whoever will listen is as a puppeteer of all the incredible stories and knowledge I am ingesting as part of my podcast addiction. Some voices are just so tasteful, especially Brian Reed from S-Town.

It all started with a gift I received for my 40th birthday, a quality pair of Jabra Wireless Bluetooth headphones. This premium listening device has given me licence to listen anywhere and everywhere and when audio comes through your ears directly, the story gets personal. I wildly traverse from narrative stories to interviews to true crime and everything in between. I have a few years of favourites in my arsenal that I can revisit or share and I have relieved myself of any ‘stay-at-home Mum boredom’ that was creeping in, urging me to turn on the telly. Daytime TV does not compare to podcast/radio shows, period.

I have listened to some absolute rippers of late and although I think that most of them come under featured lists, there is a reason they are popular and I have to share them. I have mostly listed specific episodes because not all podcasters are good interviewers, so in that format it is largely the talent that captivates me. Here goes:

  • Homecoming is a beautifully crafted narrative from Gimlet media featuring Catherine Keener. Storytelling doesn’t get much better than this, the characters, the story and the delivery are perfect.
  • Phoebe’s Fall produced by Fairfax is sad, riveting and eye opening. It’s a one-off series of investigative journalism of a true crime, set in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Undone is a short series of podcasts that illuminates an event in history and connects it to modern day times. Have you ever heard of the disco demolition in Chicago in 1979?
  • Tim Ferriss chatting with Ed Norton, so much insight into NY life, drama, crowd funding and surfing. His chat with Debbie Millman is also worthy of an hour of your time, especially if you work in creative industries and grapple with artistic expression in the commercial sphere.
  • Marc Maron interview with James Hetfield (Metallica frontman), gold. Listen to it in your favourite podcast app, look for WTF with Marc Maron, it’s episode #775.
  • Malcolm Gladwell series, Revisionist History, my favourite episode…all of them, start at the beginning.
  • Ten Questions with Adam Zwar – the interviews with Yumi Stynes, Lally Katz, Wendy Harmer and Jane Kennedy are all standout.
  • Wilosophy with Tim Minchin. When Tim gets on a rant about Trump it makes so much sense, he can articulate an argument perfectly.

Stay-at-home parents used to watch crappy daytime TV to escape the drudgery of the cleaning trenches, now we can be inspired, uplifted, engaged and mobile thanks to digital radio advancements, mobile technology and the internet. I love podcasts and I vote.

If you want more recommendations, I have them ready to go, just ask in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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Breastfeeding, 10 months in…

Django is my second child, he is a boy, he is 10 months old. I have breastfed him since he was very first born. He was naturally delivered without intervention in a local hospital birthing suite. For the first 3 months of his life he did not sleep very much. He cried, a lot. Actually his temperament and energy to sustain screaming in the early months was very much like his big sister, who is now 3 1/2 years old. I have many theories about why they screamed and why I had no control to placate them both, but they are just theories and the 3 month hurdle is long gone. Post that short period, that feels like a lifetime, it’s really time to get down to business, because consistency and structure help.

Roxy&Django

Sleep deprivation and too much responsibility over a period of time, caused a mental health issue, namely anxiety, to rear it’s VERY UGLY head. It is a difficult time to recall, the pressure associated with that time and sleep deprivation eradicates memory. That is why it is very difficult to empathise with new mothers, our memories of that time are skewed.

All throughout my life my mother repeated a mantra that I cried for the first 2 years of my life. I may have. However, when she would visit Django she often cited her experiences of my early life, changing her story, “you didn’t cry THIS much”. I probably didn’t, but her memory of that time is a fantasy. I don’t even remember specifically how my daughter behaved in that time or how she made me feel and that is only 3 short years ago. And, what difference does it make when you are ‘in it’ anyway. Comparisons of babies are of no use and no help to the mother who is drowning not waving.

I am a stay at home Mum. Breastfeeding, for me, is an ideal catalyst to healthy growth and connection for a newborn and beyond. It has definitely been worth the effort for me and my kids, although, I will never know what the alternative could have produced. I will never know if part of my anxiety was bred from a forceful drive to make breastfeeding work for us. It did and it also didn’t. Django was overfed because he cried so much, I thought breastfeeding him on-demand would comfort him, turns out it just depleted my energy stores and turned his poo green! Gross. My lovely neighbour knocked on my door one day to spruik a miracle cure from a pharmacy in the burbs, it kind of worked, so it was, indeed a miracle! He also naturally grew out of his neediness and tummy pain, his upper and lower brain (tummy) were developing.

postscript

This baby is now nearly 2. I wrote this post in the midst of breastfeeding him to document how I felt about his development and our journey to that point. Obviously this is a brief account, but I am happy to have written something down from that time and be able to re-read it knowing we have come so far. He is a walking, talking, feisty, independent and very cuddly little man. I am grateful for his presence despite his obvious drive to send me loopy.

 

 

 

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Did you know in the US and potentially in other countries too, wherever divorce can happen, that there is a blank space for the divorcees to fill in a new name post the legal separation? What would your name be after you had split from your marriage and were about to embark on a new life?

wild

I am half way through Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I love it, it’s a real page turner and a book I have read about for a while but never got around to reading. Thanks to bookies (the club) the impetus is there to start and finish Cheryl Strayed’s biography. She is also known as Dear Sugar, the previously anonymous agony aunt for Rumpus online. The collection of letters and her advice in reply is found in Tiny Beautiful Things. That’s where I first discovered her writing AND her style.

 

While she traverses on foot the Pacific Crest Trail that covers the Sierra Nevada mountain range she rediscovers her own power. Survival mode, in the desert and then the snow, delivers to her some insight into her own life and the world’s mystery and beauty. Motherless and single she takes to the challenge with a certain naivety, that state of mind almost mandatory to undertake such an effort, especially pre Google, FB and forums. What is a nature trail without it’s surprises, coincidences and ana(log) guide and guest books. I am not sure if she trumps that trail yet although I already feel like her self discovery learning curve is payment enough for her trials thus far. What a feat to even take the first step on the actual track of such a journey.

Always seems to be that I read a good book and before I blink again, it’s a film. Reese Witherspoon plays lead, Cheryl Strayed. I would prefer my own imaginative view of her story to stay intact but the screen pull and an opportunity for escapism is sometimes stronger than my resolve to keep what I have in my head sacred. We’ll see….

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Be the empty boat – philosophising

Rather than finding one website that captures ALL my attention, I keep finding great articles that further entrench my previous interweb finding which is, let go of the internet!  Ironic, I know.

I find the best material via – my twitter account, other people that I have respect for read articles and then post the same if they are worthy of any attention.  It’s great, it’s like a list of good things to read or a community noticeboard for everything that sparks my interest in the world.  But this isn’t about shameless self promotion.

I discovered a great ‘how to’ article about taking your life back from the evil digital forces, it’s here and it was first posted on the Harvard Business Review blog.  Easy read and sits perfectly in that meditative tradition of training your attention, focusing your mind and noticing your every move.  No more time wasters.

So once I remove myself from the internet, amongst other things, I meditate to remind me to keep life simple.  Take each moment as it comes and notice my reactions as they happen, accept what is.  Eventually, I will understand what sensations arise in my body before I react and I may be able to breath instead of reacting or jumping without any thought.  The lesson I keep finding solace in to help me remember to ‘keep it simple’ is a poem by Chuang Tzu, The Empty Boat.  It’s below – take from it what you will.  If you are as into this poem and it’s ancient teaching as I am there is a whole discourse that you can immerse yourself in to help clarify the message – check out Chapter 1, “The Toast is Burned“.

He who rules men, lives in confusion;
he who is ruled by men lives in sorrow.
Tao therefore desired
neither to influence others
nor be influenced by them.
The way to get clear of confusion and free of sorrow
is to live with tao in the land of the void.
If a man is crossing a river
and an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
even though he be a bad-tempered man
he will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
he will shout to him to steer clear.
And if the shout is not heard he will shout
again and yet again, and begin cursing –
and all because there is somebody in that boat.
Yet if the boat were empty, he would not be shouting,
and he would not be angry.
If you can empty your own boat
crossing the river of the world,
no one will oppose you,
no one will seek to harm you.
The straight tree is the first to be cut down,
the spring of clear water is the first to be drained dry.
If you wish to improve your wisdom
and shame the ignorant,
to cultivate your character and outshine others,
a light will shine around you
as if you had swallowed the sun and the moon –
and you will not avoid calamity.
A wise man has said:
”he who is content with himself
has done worthless work.
Achievement is the beginning of failure,
fame is the beginning of disgrace.”
Who can free himself of achievement and fame
then descend and be lost
amid the masses of men?
He will flow like tao, unseen,
he will go about like life itself
with no name and no home.
Simple is he, without distinction.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace. He has no power.
He achieves nothing, he has no reputation.
Since he judges no one,
no one judges him.
Such is the perfect man –
his boat is empty.

Go forth and click and consciously breath.

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Whoa yeah – give HECS the finger

Whoa and yeah are how you pronounce the last 2 letters of the Arabic language. I know because BBC offers a free language learning program that you can download or stream to get your started. Ultimately, you can learn a new language online for free, even something as technical as HTML. Forever I have been trying to retain some knowledge of Japanese, French and Spanish from my travels to each but without practice and a good memory I have no foreign language skills to spruik. I learnt the entire Russian alphabet, pronunciation and phonetics, before traveling to Russia and Ukraine. It helped read some signs, communicate with locals and generally feel more a local part.  

I know I could have continued my Russian practice upon returning to Melbourne but by that stage I had picked up pieces of Italian, Turkish, Arabic, Hindu and Thai. My memory served me well to make a jumbled mess of the aforementioned global tongues. 

So, upon further research, I noticed that there are a million free courses online for any faculty of learning, including classes from MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, etc. A whole range of subjects from master studies such as Biology, Psychology, Geography, Chemistry, Philosophy and more. Lifehacker recently shared a post on Spring 2012 courses from American universities, it’s incredible to think that if you want to learn about planets and stars you just have to go forth and click. There are also more practical courses available like Money 101 – it’s not about making money, it’s about managing dosh to suit your goals and budget. 

I’m a little inspired, using my brain seems to be the key.

Go forth and click.

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Clean theme – Wednesday Website Wack

Do you know this man? Read on regardless.

If you thought I had gone missing forever you were completely mistaken.  I was just off thinking and it was one week.  Thinking that I don’t always need a theme for this, it doesn’t always need to be heavy on the words with myriad links, it usually turns out that way once I start typing anyway. The great thing about WWW is I don’t need to follow suit but I can and this week is no different.
Last weekend a friend told me about her silent protest with her domestic cleaner over ‘green’ friendly cleaning products.  She bought all the ‘safe’ items for the cleaner to use and then comes home to the smell of bleach and a bottle of Domestos under the sink, clean house though.  She knows a confrontation is inevitable.  It comes as popular theory that the good shit is also the worst for the environment.  Is that really true and do I care so little about the environment that a little extra elbow grease in the bathroom will kill me more than I care about polluting my otherwise semi-clean beach with nasty ingredients? I doubt it. Even with a trendy camera filter, Windex still looks toxic.

Yesterday, I was flicking between a few thousand digital pages and I discovered the ecoholic.  I am always, always on the hunt for new green worthy websites.  They are a dime a dozen and there are only a small handful that make any sense, are well written and inspire the environmental soul to take some action, in the home and out of the home.  Ecoholic had a link to world renowned green activist, David Suzuki, I felt that this is exactly what was required, cut out the middle man, go straight to the scientific source. DS also has a blog link, which multiple people contribute to and has a good balance of humour and greenie knowledge and activism.  I signed up for his newsletter too as a way to remind me to stay on path when it comes to putting the environment first. I figure that’s the way it has to be, especially for our clean future.
I buy green household items from here.  Here is a make your own household items website for the $$ conscious and environmental consumer.
I researched and wrote this week’s WWW to the mixtape soundtrack by Steph Lund, my all time favourite musicologist.  I can’t beat this April mix, it’s download worthy.
Go forth and click.
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