OUR INTERWOVEN THREADS

My husband and I are opposites.  I have heaps of air signs and am up in my head, love working on computers, and could write until the cows come home.  Bryan has loads of fire signs, loves physical work, hates computers and can’t figure out the electronics of a TV for the life of him.

My husband’s worked on building sites for a lot of his life, mainly on high-rise buildings as a dogman before he retired. Dogmen are the ones with the walkie-talkies who guide the cranes to make sure buildings are safely erected and material is deposited in the right place without endangering anyone or damaging the material involved.

And through this work, Bryan’s taught me respect – respect for all those who do menial, physical work which is often overlooked but which is carried out with dignity and grace. He has taught me to value waitresses, checkout staff at supermarkets and big stores, those who work on roads, plumbers, the power workers who labour in dreadful weather to ensure continuity of electricity supplies, the ambulance and fire officers who have taken the path of service for the community, the emergency service workers who turn up to help people in danger, need or who require general assistance in difficult weather.  I have learned to value wisdom rather than intelligence because all too often I’ve seen wisdom trump intellectual learning many times.

I thought of all this when we drove into Coffs Harbour on Wednesday and saw that, overnight, a truck driver had missed the turn north of the Nambucca River on the Pacific Highway about 10 minutes from here, and landed in the river.  I’m very pleased to say that the truck driver is okay, because a passing car driver dived into the river and helped him escape the partially submerged cab. Connections, help from one person to another in need. I’m very sorry for the driver as he’ll have lost income and the repairs will be costly.  But I’m glad and relieved that his family will have him sitting down to dinner on Christmas Day, able to share presents or whatever makes life happy for him, his family and friends.

Truck drivers transport goods for us and it’s a pretty thankless task – long hours, dangerous conditions, pressure to deliver on time, accidents when drivers get tired and lose concentration. Without them, the goods would not be in our supermarkets for us to purchase.  Without the trucks, which are made by workers somewhere in the world, those goods wouldn’t be transported to us. And those goods are transported mainly by sea so we need mariners who sail the ships and crane-drivers to unload the containers which in turn have been loaded up by workers in terminals somewhere else in the world.

Many of the goods we buy are put together by workers who create the cloth or parts, then put together electrical items, or cars, or sew the clothes which we can now buy so cheaply because so much production has moved to countries where labour and production costs are so much cheaper. Many of the goods available to us are made by child and sweated labour although we don’t know exactly which items because the workers are invisible.

But in a globalised world, none of us lives in isolation.  We are all dependent on each other. And when we realise this, the idea looks complete empty and meaningless that there is no community, no inter-dependency, that we are individuals who are completely separate from others.

In the past decades of economic expansion and good times, the focus has been on the individual, on the ephemeral glitter that, yes, you can make good as an individual and you don’t need to care about others, it’s all about “me”, “I” and bugger everyone else. Only, of course, at present, the good times are falling apart and grinding to a halt.  The whole idea of living solely in the material world as the be all and end all, of living to shop instead of shopping to live, is coming into question.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.  I reckon that it’s opening us up to connections with each other as inter-dependent human beings again, of opening our hearts to compassion, community and respect for other people, wherever they are in the world, because we need people, just as people need us.  We are less when we don’t feel heartbroken at the idea of hundreds of children dying of hunger and malnutrition in the drought in Somalia and Northern Pakistan, or people in Thailand facing huge floods, or farmers in India committing suicide because of debt and famine and the failure of the monsoons.

I read in an article recently that aid workers can confirm first-hand the effects of global warming and climate change. They see the effects on the ground, in communities where they work. They see droughts as seasons fail to arrive as they used to. They see seasons shifting, intense heatwaves, monsoons failing, climates changing gradually but inexorably. These people are suffering because we in Western societies have been suckered by consumerism and ideas that the world is ours for the taking.  It isn’t. What we do here in the West affects people in developing nations who are least able to cope with the devastating effects of climate change. Bit of us are stuck to them because we got rich at the expense of Third World Nations. And bits of them are stuck to us to remind us that we need to re-visit our sense of entitlement, embrace the idea of living sustainably and not selfishly, and realise we’re all in this wonderful world together.

Together – I think it’s a wonderful word.  The 99% – what an inspired phrase to bring us together! In this time of upheaval, we need to pull together, to pool our collective wisdom, to develop ways of production and commodity exchange which are respectful of the environment and heedful of the needs of the collective not the individual.  I really think we can do it because people – grassroots people – are so inventive, ingenious and inspired when the chips are down.  I do admit I’m a glass-half-full type of person but I think we’re needed to give pats on the back to the glass-half-empty types because together we can pool resources, inspire each other and create a full glass for everyone. 

MY LOVELY NEW, RED OFFICE CHAIR

I managed to get my very first e-mail circular posted last week (and it was pretty nifty, even if I do say so myself, lol), but since then I’ve pretty much been absent without leave.  The support strut on the base of my office chair collapsed last Sunday dumping me rather unceremoniously and painfully on the floor.

Fortunately there were no broken bones, just a bit of jarring to my system, a rather dodgy back and a few aches and pains. But the chair was beyond resurrection unfortunately so on Monday we trotted into Coffs Harbour to buy a new one.  We had been considering a second-hand one but my husband said that, as we’re planning to move overseas in the near future, we might as well buy a new one which he could put together and then re-pack when we sell our home (whenever that is). Bryan, by the way, is one of those amazing, rare, miraculous beings who isn’t phased at all by a flatpack but can take the packaging apart and put all the pieces inside together in the right order so that everything works first time. As you can probably pick up from my comment, I’m hopeless at this, so I’m deeply admiring of what I consider a wonderful gift and I tell him reassuringly from time to time that it’s why I keep him on!

When we got to the office store, I tested out various chairs but then saw a BRIGHT RED chair which looked brilliant – nice and shiny and sort of happy. So I sat in it and it was perfect, comfortable with great back support as I have a few back problems.  As it happened, none was in stock so we had to wait until Friday to pick up my new chair.

And as none of the other chairs in our home was very comfortable and my back was none too good after my close and unexpected encounter with the floor (Floor – 1, Mo – 0), I decided to take a break from computer work until my new chair had been put together.

So this is my lovely new chair, very flash, and I chose red as it’s a very energetic, grounding colour which will keep me (I hope) practical, down to earth and very productive.  It is quite bright, actually, it really hits you in the eye when you walk into my workroom but I LOVE it!

MERCURY RETROGRADE IN OUR DAILY WORLD

Mercury Retrograde happens when it looks as if Mercury is moving backwards from our position on Earth.  Of course it doesn’t happen in practice, we’d have some real shenanigans in the Universe if planets started bobbing backwards and forwards!  But this does have an effect here on Earth and I think it’s interesting to keep an eye on world events when this sort of cosmic happening takes place in the heavens above us.

The Magician - Thoth Tarot

Mercury Retrograde – this time taking place in Sagittarius – is a time of care, not only in communication, but also in checking that you back up your computer, you don’t buy new electrical equipment where possible, and you examine contracts very carefully. This particular retrograde also demands honesty but also care in expressing that honesty – don’t go blurting out the first thing that comes into your head, try for tact, but also acknowledge the need to be true to yourself.

The first thing that happened for me, on the day Mercury turned retrograde, was that my computer went on the blink. A similar fault happened before and I managed to correct the problem with a bit of patience and sheer luck as I really don’t know what to do if things go haywire in the gubbins of my infernal machine. This time I managed to resurrect my computer by getting it into reset mode where it returns to settings of a couple of days ago. And it worked, much to my glee.

On the same day, Thursday 25th, some interesting shenanigans hit the Australian Federal Parliament’s House of Representatives.  To explain the background to events last week, since the last Federal Election, the Labor Party has been in office with the support of the Greens Party and Independent MPs.  This unwieldy melange has tottered along with a one vote majority, leaving a lot of instability this year (and to my husband’s relief as I didn’t scream or yell or lie on the floor kicking my heels!).

On Thursday, the Speaker – a member of the Labor Party – resigned his position at very short notice to rejoin the ranks of backbench MPs. And in a bit of deft juggling and behind-the-scenes manoeuvring, the Labor leadership managed to get a defector from the Opposition to take up the position of Speaker, which also meant he resigned from the Liberal Party. It detracted one vote from the Coalition and added one to the minority government giving more certainty in government – perhaps as you never know when The Trickster is involved.

In point of fact, the MP in question had been facing a pre-selection battle where he was certain to be unseated prior to the next election. So he had nothing to lose by jumping ship to take a very important, pivotal position in the House of Representatives.  He actually had a lot to win as he gets heaps of perks and a huge hike in salary. Whether this political sleight-of-hand and backroom dealing will blow up in the face of Labor leaders down the line remains to be seen, but it is certainly like a trick cigar exploding in the face of the Federal Opposition who had been confidently predicting an early and easy ride into government.  Another example of Trickster jokery, perhaps!

But it also seems to me that, if you know certain galactic events are taking place, it’s worthwhile placing extra awareness and attention on the world around us because you can place seemingly unrelated events in the context of galactic goings-on. I thought that the trickery, games and the fact this position actually involved the Speaker position was a simply wonderful example of what can erupt on Earth when heavenly movements exert their influence at this material plane. 

And then on Saturday, the news broke that NATO forces had managed to attack and kill 25 or more soldiers of a supposed ally, Pakistan. This was most likely due to a stuff-up in information with the wrong forces being attacked by mistake. It could, however, have huge ramifications for the whole region, including US and NATO relations with Pakistan and the course of the war in Afghanistan. Another example of Mercury Retrograde trickery and  stuff-ups in the field of communication.

It’s not my intention to sit in judgement on these events, although obviously I have my own views, but I like to highlight events like these  because they illustrate so well our cosmic links and our inter-connection with far more than is visible to the naked eye in our lives here on the material world of Mother Earth.  It reminds me of the words of Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter: “Vigilance! Vigilance! Vigilance!”, only I’ll change it to: “Awareness! Awareness! Awareness!”. And you can add “Vigilance!” if the fancy so takes you!

KARDASHIANS VS. RHETT BUTLER

I have been extraordinarily lucky until recently to have been completely unaware of the existence of the very vacuous Kardashian family.  I did see vaguely something about Kim Kardashian getting married and making a motza out of it and wondered who she was, but mercifully that was all.

Then we happened to be watching one of the Gruen Transfer shows, which analyse the world of advertising and is very, very funny, and lo and behold, I found out that Kim Kardashian happens to be very wealthy because, well, because she’s a celebrity – one of the airheads with no other attributes other than an ability to whip up hysteria (and lots of dough) around a rather empty ability to, well, be a celebrity.  Says a lot about society, doesn’t it? I also found out she sells handbags and her marriage has gone down the drain after a miniscule number of days which makes me think, well, so much for the sanctity of marriage among heterosexuals, why not give gay people the opportunity to try marriage, they’d have to get better mileage out of this venerable institution than many of the heteros for whom it’s more like changing the lifeboats every time their marriage boat sinks.

Anyway, back to the main game.  I turned to my husband and said: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn, as Rhett Butler would say”.

And my husband, who prefers things like big buildings and big things and how to create them and all things geometrical and to do with model railways because you get to use geometry and electrical skills on those, looked blank.

So I said: “You know, Rhett Butler, in the movie and book. The movie was the first to use tracking to film a huge crowd scene, it was innovative and opened up a whole new vista for film-making”.

And he said, quick as a wink: “Oh, I know, Wuthering Heights!”.

And I said with withering (or “wuthering”?) scorn: “No, you idiot, don’t you know anything about books and films? It was about the American civil war and it also had Vivien Leigh in it.”

“But she’s English”, said My Beloved. “Why was she in a movie about the American Civil War? Are you sure it wasn’t Maureen O’Hara? Or Bette Davis? Or Joan Crawford”.

Somewhat impatiently, I said no to all three, that it was indeed Vivien Leigh, that she’d been picked by sheer synchronicity for the role as no-one else had fitted it so well. And Clark Cable was just perfect in the role.

“If it wasn’t Wuthering Heights, what was it”, said Him Opposite (rapidly falling off the My Beloved perch).

And of course, once he’d damn well said “Wuthering Heights”, do you think I could recall the name of the book or movie? Not a chance. So I went to Google Vivien Leigh on the internet because I knew I’d lie awake otherwise trying to remember the name of the wretched movie.

It wasn’t helped by IdiotFace opposite (who had toppled right off the My Beloved perch by now) chanting: “Jane Eyre”. “NO, shut up, I can’t think”.  “Emmerdale. Days of our Lives. Coronation Street. War and Peace.”  And so on, and so on.

And then, at long blessed last, I crowed: “Gone With The Wind”.

And IdiotFace said: “Are you sure it was Clark Gable and not Robert Mitchum? Or Humphrey Bogart or Montgomery Clift?”. 

And the miracle of all this is that He Who Knows Stuff All About Movies is STILL ALIVE!

And by the way, I still think Clark Gable is absolutely gorgeous, as was Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and as is George Clooney,  Idris Elba (The Wire and Luther), Philip Glenister (Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes) and  I think (sorry to the fans in advance) that Laurence, sorry, Leonard DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt are weedy and wimpy. 

Now I’m off to make Sunday lunch, having got all that off my chest!

 

ROSES & MYSTERY FLOWERS

Our garden is going full bore now it’s spring, the days are much warmer and we’ve had quite a bit of rain.  So here are some flowers from our garden, some of them known (well, I’m not much of a gardener, but even I can identify roses, lol) while some are a complete mystery to us.

This is the Blue Moon rose which we planted last year. It’s been a bit iffy about growing but has finally decided to come good, although I’m not sure whether it’s the pats on the head from me or the threat to rip it out if it doesn’t show a sign of life from my husband. The latter, I think!

And below is a pic of rather pretty little, fluffy pink flower which has finally appeared on a tree which was hanging on in our garden when we got here. I say “hanging on” because the previous owner clearly wasn’t much of a gardener and the little tree had a very precarious hold on life. But my husband’s a great gardener, he tried a couple of positions for the tree, and finally planted it on the corner of our house to give it shade from the morning and early afternoon shade. We have no idea what this tree is, it’s grown steadily but this is the first year that flowers have appeared.  They start in the middle and we missed them at first as they’re hardly visible, and then they start appearing on the outside of the tree.  The tree is going great guns now, I’m pleased to say, and I hope it continues to thrive.

The flower below is from a bush in our garden and again, we have no idea what it is, just that these magnificent flowers turn up in late spring, don’t last long, but look lovely.

This bush is in the corner of our garden and it’s where we buried out lovely little Jack Russell, Rosie, just after we arrived here. She died of old age, and it seemed a fitting space for her. The bush has now grown over her burial spot and we think it’s a fitting memorial to our memory of a very  kind, loving little dog – and yes, I still feel tearful when I write this and think of our dear little dog who was with us for 16.5 years. She had a good innings – she travelled with us from Western Australia to Queensland; then to Scotland; back to Western Australia; over to Canberra and up northern New South Wales, then to Victoria, and finally to here on the mid-north coast of NSW.

This pic is of the native iris, a beautiful plant which flowers profusely this time of the year.  The flowers don’t last long, perhaps a day, but they’re very prolific.

And finally,  below is a pic of another one of our mystery flowers which could be an iris or a lily or whatever. The flower appears on the leaf itself and is out for about a day.  We noticed it by accident because it’s the first time it’s bloomed since we’ve been here. One of the pleasures of moving into a new garden is seeing the new plants and blossoms which appear over time as a rather nice surprise in a garden which changes so much with the seasons and over the years.

FROGS GALORE

We went out on our back verandah last night to move our chair cushions away from the front edge as it was pouring with rain due to a heavy thunderstorm moving over. And this is what we found sitting on the cushions of the chair below our kitchen window, cute, arent’ they?

They’re Green Tree Frogs, and they’re about the size of a fist.  Their colour can vary from the bright green of these two, probably because they’re in the light of our kitchen, to a darker green which is the colour of the one on our front verandah, which we also found lurking last night.

This one is a darker green and is a regular on our verandah.  He’s also a regular at climbing into the drainpipe and croaking like the clappers which, of course is extremely noisy as the sound gets exacerbated by the close confines as well as echoing!

In case you think these little guys are sheltering from the rain, think again.  This is the season of the little Golden Beetles which turn up in droves from time to time.  The end up in swarms on the front and back windows, attracted by the lights, and we have had to fill all then nooks and crannies in the  back and front doors which had even the tiniest gap as these little sods would fight their way in . At one time I thought of re-naming our home: The Golden Beetle Rescue Centre as we were always picking them up and putting them outdoors.  The trouble is, they crawl or fly in, then fly around until they bump into something, then flop onto their backs with their little legs waggling furiously, unable to flip over. And they look really pathetic, so we take pity on them and return them to the outdoors.

So our kindly-looking, rather laid-back frogs are hanging around, trying to look innocuous and harmless, because they’re on a Golden Beetle eating expedition. And I must say, they seem to be fairly successful because they’re pretty plump and looking very well-fed. This is a close-up of the fattest frog. Don’t be fooled, folks, this is a Killer Frog, lurking in waiting for his victims – the Hannibal Lecter of the frog world!

DREAMS, TAROT AND RITUAL

I woke up this morning feeling rather heavy-headed after a dream in which I can remember approaching various stalls and people doing all sorts of things at the stall but none of them wanted me to help or were interested in me. 

It was a sort of depressing dream in one way because it represented the fears I’ve had all my life of not fitting in very well, being on the outside and being rejected.  I happen to know now that this is because I have both Pluto and Saturn snuggled up together in the eleventh house, in my natal chart and this represents both a need to work with groups but also an intense fear. So one of this lifetime’s challenges is to let go of this fear and open up to group and community work, wherever I end up when we eventually sell our house.

As with dreams, however, there are many layers.  And I realised that this dream also represents for me a need for approval for what I’m doing, something else I’ve struggled with after a childhood of trying to win (unsuccessfully) approval from my father. Whatever I did, it never seemed good enough. My husband confirmed this when I mentioned the dream to him and he said: “That’s telling you to stop looking for approval from everyone else.  You’re fine just the way you are”. Nice to get confirmation!

And then, as is my practice every morning, I shuffled my Tarot deck to see what card would emerge, as doing this encourages me to think about my energies during the day. Today I got The Emperor, and it really underscored that the dream left me feeling heavy-headed because it was about my fears, but by acknowledging them they had come to the surface.  And the Emperor turned up to remind me that I am powerful in my own right, I don’t need to follow what other people are doing, as I have my own unique energies and strengths to offer. Time to release my fears, folks, and get on with my own life and work – perhaps a message of hope and meaning for others!

Later on in the day, all this morning inner chat session led me to think about my connection with my ancestors.  I created a while back what I call an Elder Wand to honour my ancestors and all the friends with whom I’ve had connections in this lifetime (no connection to the killer Elder Wand of Harry Potter, by the way!).

I originally created an Elder Wand when I lived in northern New South Wales.  It survived a trip to Victoria when we moved there but got damaged on the way to  our present house. I came across the present piece of wood in a rather magical little wood near here, so re-created it in a slightly different form. However, we are intending to move home and there’s no way this wand will fit in.

I also re-considered how I wanted to keep the connection with my ancestors. So I decided it was time to let them go to their own destiny, for me to release the ties and for me to move into my own future as my own person. So I’ve dismantled the wand, tucked away all the treasures in my jewellery box, and created a nice little ritual to reflect the changes I’ve made today, all flowing – I might add – from my dreams and my Tarot card.

Funny where you end up – in quite different places at the end of the day to where you were at the beginning!