Friday, July 1, 2016

Celebrate the small things: clothes

I'm doing some laundry this morning.The forecast is for a dry sunny day, but it's winter and there isn't generally quite enough warmth in the air or daylight hours to fully dry clothes on the line.

The other problem with winter laundering is the volume. More clothes are required in the colder months, and with only a smallish machine, more loads are also necessary. It takes longer to wash, dry and iron, and it takes longer to dress and undress.

What a tragic life. What a wretched man I am to be afflicted with these tribulations.

I'm thankful for clothes. I may have to wash them, but at least I have them. I can dress warmly and wear different ones every day. I'm thankful for the washing machine which does the work for me and I'm thankful for the sun, however weak it may be, and for the air, however cold it may be.

The washing machine is beeping its triumph. Time to hang out my clothes with gratitude.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: pizza

My stomach was insisting I eat and I agreed wholeheartedly. I opened Domino's online and was just about to order when the phone rang. My plans for beer, pizza and watching footy on the box were changed by this phone call.

'Would you like to go out with me?' said a familiar voice.

I was surprised, firstly to hear from her, and secondly that she wanted to see me, but of course I immediately said yes. An hour later I arrived at her place, went inside and waited while she finished getting ready. Although I was on time, and extremely hungry, I sat on the lounge and waited patiently for her. I wondered if she was gong to say anything to me, to continue our previous 'discussion' which had not ended well. She did not.

We drove to Shellharbour Workers Club, making small talk while I fought the distraction of my growling belly. With a sweet white wine for her and a schooner of Superdry for me to accompany my fancy titled pizza we sat, listened to music provided by a guitarist, and made small talk. I kept half an eye on the footy as I devoured my pizza with great relish. All the while I wondered when we were going to talk. The club was crowded but there was sufficient room for the elephant.

With my stomach full and the alcohol doing its job, I was reasonably relaxed and did not push the issue with her. Just after nine we left the club and I drove her and the elephant home. it was there that we finally talked.

I love pizza so I'm thankful to have been able to eat a gourmet one last night. I love my fiance, (although in a somewhat different way) and I'm thankful that the doors of communication are wide open between us and we are moving forward sans elephant. 

I'm just a little disappointed though because I forgot to bring the left over pizza home with me. It's in her fridge.The pizza may be cold now, but our love is not.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: My Greatest Achievement

The first time I cracked a can of Coke without spilling any of the precious liquid within, I was so pleased with myself, I blogged about it. I have hung my hat on such triumphs of human spirit, but deep inside there has always been the nagging feeling that there is more to life than the mastery of practical skills.

On Thursday, I had afternoon tea with my daughter at The Shed in Dapto Mall, and it was here that I experienced the highlight of my week. Of all the things I have achieved, both trivial and significant, nothing compares to this- which I always hoped and mostly believed to be true- I have good relationships with my son and daughter, aged 20 and 18 respectively.

As I drank Coke and she a chocolate frappe, my daughter said she feels comfortable with me and close to me, and when she thinks back on her childhood, she sees me, spending time with her: going to school events, taking her to gym training and competitions, playing with her, reading to her.

I thought I might have done irreparable harm to her, and to our realtionship as a result of divorcing her mother, but it appears I worked hard enough through her childhood to have earned her love and trust as a young adult. Now if that's not something to be thankful for, then there is no such thing.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Teach them well...not

This long weekend I've watched three games of juniour soccer and one of rugby league. People watching is another sport in which I have participated at the same time, and it has been, as always, quite fascinating.

There is a soccer competition for four and five year olds which is called mini roos. They play four a side, on a small field with small goals, no referees and no rules. They don't keep score either; it's not competitive. The idea is for the kids to have fun. You should see the hacking that goes on as little feet swing wildly at the ball and whatever else is near the ball. At some stage the children will learn that there is such a thing as a legal tackle and an illegal one: there are rules and their are penalties for breaking the rules. The parents at these games are very supportive of both teams, all the talk for the sidelines is positive and encouraging. I wonder how hard it will be for these little football players to unlearn the 'no rules' game into which they are being indoctrinated. 

I also watched an under 14's girls' match. They have rules and referees who enforce the rules albeit inconsistently. The talk from the sidelines is not always positive towards the players, and rarely anything but negative towards the referees. Only those who have refereed know just how hard a job it is. Referee bashing (not physical thankfully) seems to be a sport within sport. Coaches, family, and the players themselves criticize referees often, so players quickly learn to disrespect referees.

There was an incident in today's game in which a player was elbowed in the face. The rules state that this offence is a red card infringement, a send off offence, but the referee merely gave a free kick. The player who was elbowed had to leave the field, but was later able to return to the field. When she was ready to return, the coach instructed her to go after the girl who elbowed her. Revenge.

This is how we teach our children, while we shake our heads at the state of the world, and all its injustice.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: A Drive in the Country

Ninety nine percent recovered from the man flu, I write light of spirit and relatively clear of head, on this first Friday in winter.

Aside from feeling miserable and sick, the man flu kept me away from my dad, which was a huge emotional bummer. He is receiving chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer. Every other Friday I spend the whole day with him helping him do his delivery job. I do the driving and lifting. As I was unwell, and he has virtually no immune system, I could not risk his health by spending the day in a truck with him. Neither could I even risk spending the afternoon on the couch with him watching the footy, which is something else we regularly do together. I missed him, and at a time when I fear the chemotherapy is not helping, and I may soon lose one of my best friends.

Today, we were reunited: visiting homes and farms, from Bowral in the southern highlands, down to Yass, delivering fresh meat for people's pet dogs. The job is mundane, mostly, but we talked a lot about sport, politics, work and matters of the heart, and I am very grateful for the time with my dad. He needs my help and I am happy to do it. That's what I'm thankful for today.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: man flu

Everyone is well aware that man flu is one of the greatest medical afflictions known to man. The severity of the symptoms mark this illness as a dangerous scourge, and one with which I am now suffering.

A week has passed, and although today I have been out of bed for several hours, I have not yet fully recovered. When I finish this post I plan to return to a horizontal position under my doona, but I am making progress.

I didn't even leave the house for the first four days, during which time I had some lovely ladies providing assistance, demonstrating love through practical care.

My thanks today go out to my mum, my sister and my fiance, and as I am reminded of Paul's injunction to give thanks to God in all circumstances, I also express my gratitude to Him. I'm not thanking him for the man flu which kept me home from work, stuck in bed, and generally unproductive (a condition I detest) for a week, but I am alive, and I am not alone.

Photo sources:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Give me less

In the tradition of the great Charles Dickens, I present to you a tale of two television shows. 

I'm watching The Voice Australia season 5, and although I am well versed in the ways of modern television vis-a-vis self promotion and cross promotion, I still find it irritating to have to endure the 'coming up after the break' previews, and the 'before the break' reviews. At the beginning of the show, there's a recap and a preview and then a review and a preview at the end of the show. It's hugely repetitive, and for people like me who watch it all rather than dipping in and out, it's maddening. In my opinion, it minimizes a lot of the potential drama, and diminishes interest and excitement.

Classic case this week. All the advertising for the upcoming blind auditions on The Voice featured a dramatic moment when a singer collapsed on stage. Every single promo, both during the program and between episodes, showed her falling down. I had seen her fall down 47 times before I actually saw her full audition. There was no shock or surprise, no drama at all really. Had I seen it not knowing what was coming I would have been stunned, as were the coaches and the live audience, but I was only relieved that I would not have to see it anymore. Not for a while anyway. The Voice Australia 2016

I was reminded of a time I was watching The Footy Show (NRL). They held an arm wrestling competition which featured some current and ex players. Ben Ross and Wendell Sailor met in the final, and during the struggle, on live television, Sailor broke Ross's arm. The audience fell silent, horrified, as were the show's hosts and the television audience. Producers quickly cut to a break. I could not believe my eyes.

No one knew that was going to happen. It was an incredible and horrific moment. I've seen the accident a number of times since, and each time it has less impact, as was the situation with the Iranian singer who collapsed. I was ready for it, and she was perfectly fine not long after her fall, which I knew was the case as well because if she wasn't, we would have heard about it. The event was pre-recorded and as I said, I had seen her crumple on to the stage 47 times already. 

I think the way shows like The Voice are produced and presented to us as viewers, as consumers, says something quite poignant about us as people. What do you think?