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Fear can be crippling. It can steal your sleep, give you horribly deep worry lines and make you jump at the smallest noise. The worst thing about fear is that it can stop you having a full and enjoyable life and that makes me plain old mad! So, to kick fear in the you-know-wheres I thought I’d give you a list of funny phobias so that we can stick it to fear and not let it take over our lives; bring it into the light and have a good old laugh. It’s not to make fun of people who experience these fears but to give us scardy-cats a little laugh at ourselves and at fear itself!

Here are the funniest phobias I could find… is yours here?

  • Acerophobia- Fear of sourness.
  • Alliumphobia- Fear of garlic.
  • Anthrophobia or Anthophobia- Fear of flowers.
  • Apotemnophobia- Fear of persons with amputations.
  • Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
  • Aulophobia- Fear of flutes.
  • Aurophobia- Fear of gold.
  • Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
  • Chaetophobia- Fear of hair.
  • Consecotaleophobia- Fear of chopsticks.
  • Dextrophobia- Fear of objects at the right side of the body.
  • Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch.
  • Euphobia- Fear of hearing good news.
  • Geniophobia- Fear of chins.
  • Genuphobia- Fear of knees.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words. (HA HA)
  • Kathisophobia- Fear of sitting down.
  • Leukophobia- Fear of the color white.
  • Linonophobia- Fear of string.
  • Lutraphobia- Fear of otters.
  • Metrophobia- Fear of poetry.
  • Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons.
  • Onomatophobia- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.
  • Pogonophobia- Fear of beards.
  • Tremophobia- Fear of trembling.
  • Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat.
  • For more go to http://phobialist.com/

I wonder whether there are heaps of people who suffer from these fears or only a few? Hmmmm.

What’s your phobia?

I’m scared of whales… strange but true!!!

Image by Jeremy Kemp

Feeling dizzy? Getting confused? Running out of puff for no particular reason? Me too… I think. The whirr of life can make your head spin. ‘Round we go; another Tuesday almost done. Days filled with swimming lessons, soccer practice, lunches, dinners, crunch and sips’… endless stuff… and then there’s the holidays.

I love the holidays. But they, too, have their own circular motion. Here we go aaaagaaaiiiinnn! Spin! Sleep in late! Tough life. Watch a movie, make-a-tha-lunches, book in the cousins for a play, stay up late. Jeepers, it’s like we never stop. But that’s life and it’s a great life.

I love watching my kids grow up! I love that they still want me around (except when they’re playing some serious Lego and don’t want me to hear it). Yesterday my son asked my daughter who her best friend in the whole world was…are you ready for the answer…? She said, “Mummy!” Oh my goodness, stamp it, frame it and hang it in my bedroom why don’t you! Sweetest thing ever!

I love seeing their eyes sparkle with knowledge. Sounds a bit strange but I swear I can see them growing through their eyeballs. The light that grows in them as they grow is delightful. They grow in confidence as they grow in knowledge and they just love knowing more than their parents. And I love being ignorant!

I love their sweetness in their cuddles. I love that they still smell like babies, even though they’re both kids now. I love that they don’t smell like teenagers (no offence teens but that’s why people invented deodorant and air freshener). I love their lack of fashion sense: my daughter wore old tights with a sparkly singlet and and aged dress-up skirt to a party last week. Oh, with sparkly bangles too! Can’t forget that!

Ah how our heads spin with our never-ending ‘To do’ lists but look at what we get in return. Love! Magnificent, frustrating, incredible and unconditional love! You cannot buy such things.

Image by Tom Murphy VII

Being a blogger is like talking to yourself and hoping someone else overhears and joins in the conversation. It’s a bit strange actually, but I love it!

I imagine the internet like a web (ha ha) of people floating with laptops secured to their… um… lap. They probably have a coffee in hand, some have glasses perched on the end of their noses and a vague, cloudy look in their eyes.

They have perfected the monitor stare, the google frown that comes from searching but not finding exactly what is needed cos there’s way too much out there. I’m hoping there is a wry smile on their face when they stumble on to my site. Not because I’m full of myself and think I’m amusing, but because I hope they find something useful, something to bring a little light to their day.

Blogging connections can be quite encouraging and friendly but we all know there’s another element out there. Whether they be just random spam or pointedly horrible, the ‘haters’ intrude on the peacefulness of a site with their sticky daggers and dark eyes. They’re unwelcome, slashing words are like acid to one’s soul and so, with a click of a key stroke I wipe them out of my site. Take that, haters! Fierce.

For the most part, blogging is a pleasure. It is nice and light and warm and fun! Recently I was in another city and happened to run into one of my readers who I didn’t know at all so it was extra special! (She was a cousin of a friend so not totally unrelated but …still!). It’s great to know that out there, on the ‘web’ you have invisible friends; people who appreciate and ‘get’ your thoughts and ideas.

So, if you haven’t given it a go, perhaps 2012 will be your blogging year! Let me know if you start and I’d love to read your thoughts and become one of your ‘invisible’ friends!

Once again, Merry Christmas! 2 sleeps to go. Woot!

 

I’m just back from a long weekend in Tasmania. One of my good friends lives down there and we had a whirlwind tour of the beautiful Apple Isle. Wanna see what we saw? C’mon then.

First was the tiny but beautiful city of Hobart. Compared with the enormity of New York City it is but a dot on the map. The best thing about its size, though, is that it is easy to get around. Not many traffic jams here. Yep, Tassie has a much slower pace. The people are generally more friendly than back on the mainland and the buildings are to die for. I have never seen more well-preserved convict buildings. Breathtaking… if you love architecture.

Tassie offers so much to the tourist. My local friend popped on her ‘tourist’ glasses for a few days as we jetted about in our four-wheel-drive. First was pizza at Salamanca; a popular and trendy part of Hobart. The food was sensational and the ambiance modern and cosy.

 

The next day we found ourselves in Richmond. A grand old historical town boasting Australia’s oldest bridge. We walked, we talked, we got lost, we walked across a weir to get back on track.

How adventurous were we? Then stop at the old fashioned lolly shop before heading somewhere even sweeter…

…the chocolate factory. Who doesn’t like chocolate? Hands down… strange people. This ordinary looking building houses the ingredients of Cadbury’s finest choccy. We sat through an information session which turned my pal off white chocolate forever (it’s made of fat people! Say no more). Back to another trendy part of town for some late lunch… day’s end.

The next day the sun shone and the Salamanca markets were jam packed with tourists just like us! We elbowed our way through the crowds, offering a polite, “excuse me” as you do in Tassie. The coffee was outrageously good, the parking a nightmare but we saw, we shopped, we squinted in the sunshine. Paradise!

With the clear skies, the next stop was a no-brainer, Mount Wellington.

Round and round we drove. Higher and higher. Through trees of green and towns of cuteness. We arrived. I staggered over to the edge of the viewing platform, feeling a bit weak of knee but keen to take in the breathtaking view. It was incredible. So darn high, looking over gorgeous Hobart with its waterways, other mountains and green, green everywhere.

After such a high, we were ready for a rest. Touring is hard work baby.

When the babysitting arrived, pally and I hopped in the car with packed bags and headed down/up to Port Arthur for a girls night away. We popped on our pjs, ate some delectable, sophisticated junk food, drank some Midori Splices (oh yum) and watched a sad, sad movie. The next day we headed to the Port Arthur site.

A spot of rain then blue skies for 5 hours. We walked, we sailed, we read and learned and listened. This is an incredible place. Not only is it famous for convicts and oldy worldy stuff but in 1996 it was the site of a horrific massacre which makes it feel very eerie. It’s like you walk around it ever so gently and respectfully. So much horror, so much history and sadness.

When we hopped in the car the rain began to pour down. We headed back to Hobart town and back to a sense of normality. This was my last night. As with all last nights a chilling was in order. We ate toasted sandwiches and watched another movie. Bliss!!!

So to Tassie and my exceptional Tasmanian friends! Thanks for a fun and peaceful time. Think I will bring the Tassie way of life back to crazy Sydney!

Meet Two-ee. He is a bear with a stinky stomach and a greying fur. His brown eyes demand snuggles and his ears demand attention. He’s a sad sort of bear, with a traumatic past. You see, Two-ee was unwanted, unloved and unseen until…

Meet Ducky. This gal is ready to play, to fly, to live. Ducky has had many adventures over the years, without anyone really knowing. She’s a kinda superspy duck. And she knows everything. She has spunk, ideas flowing out of her tiny little ears and well… she’s just a little bit naughty. One day …

Meet Neigh. Named so because of his horse-like appearance. Having asked two year old son, what shall we call this toy, he answered with wisdom beyond his years… “Neigh”. And it has stuck. Neigh has been thrown around, left under beds gathering dust and snuggled until he thought he would pop. He is a loyal horse-toy. Despite years of neglect, he still loves to be loved when it suits the kid. But he dreams of…

Meet Isabelle-Amelia. She is a guard dog with a massive head and a small body. Her sad eyes pierce through the darkness looking for trouble. Her greatest gift is her cuteness (think Puss-in-Boots from Shrek 2). Whenever the boogie man comes near she pouts and looks up and he disintegrates. One look… she is that powerful. She came from a supermarket along with thousands of other cheap snuggly toys. She thought she would never be loved until…

Two-ee’s Story

…until Baby Bear was lost. Baby Bear was the first and most loved bear in the house. He had a long nose thread that set him apart from any other toy. One fateful day Baby Bear was lost. Was it at the KMart toy sale or the walk to the local cliffs? We will never know. All we know is that Baby Bear went to another world and Two-ee stepped up as the new favourite bear. Ironically, Two-ee now has a long nose thread… perhaps he’s trying to live up to Baby Bear, maybe it is a tribute. Our little insecure bear, you are loved even though you were 2nd!

Ducky’s Story

…one day Ducky ran away from ‘home’. She was at the treetop adventure park, looking up at the trees and longing to take flight. She giggled at the humans trying to fly strapped in tightly to their climbing apparatuses. She scoffed at their efforts to get back to nature in such a contrived manner. She sat on the picnic table and forgot about her little girl. The sun went down and still Ducky sat. The kids went home and still she stayed until a person in a strange shirt picked her up and took her inside. Panic set in. This was not her little girl. She started to cry, regret seeped through her stuffing and she called out to her little girl. The next day, to her relief the little girl’s cousins and grandma rescued her and on that day she vowed never to make fun of humans again!

Neigh’s Story

…he dreams of being number one. On his darkest days he even considers knocking Two-ee out of the window, or dragging his grey little form out into the garden, perhaps into the vege patch and leaving him for the possums. Under Neigh’s sunny exterior, there is a horse, one rejection away from despair and madness.

Isabelle-Amelia’s Story

She thought she would never be loved until… she met little girl. Little girl looked into her sad, lonely eyes and took pity. Little girl had just received her first present of money and was keen to spend it asap. Off to Coles she went, for her mother was a tightwad and loyal to her local checkout chick. The little girl rummaged through the box of snugglies. She considered the turtle but it was too green, she thought about the lion but he was too fluffy, then she spotted Isabelle-Amelia at the back of the box. Their eyes met, her barcode was scanned and I.A vowed to always protect little girl. And she has, ever since.

Don’t you love being a modern mum or dad? Oh the pressures our peers put on us! The competition, the label as a cruisy or helicopter parent, the playdates, the holidays, the clothes, the toys, the parties….  STOP!

I see myself as a fairly old-fashioned mumma and that’s cool and that’s my choice. Rock on! But it is hard being a more conservative parent in such a laid-back culture. My town is a fairly safe little number. It has oodles of money and stuff and everyone wears a smiley face. All good here. But it is hard being different. It is as if you are looked down on if you say ‘no’ to your kid or deprive them of anything in public, in front of all those beaming faces.

The smiles soon turn plastic and you’re left feeling like a backward, mean kinda mumma. Which I am not! One of the core dilemmas is sleepovers. For some this is a no-brainer. It can happen when the kids are  4, 6, 8 or any even number. No probs. It can even happen when the parents are relative strangers, which is a bit scary. Now that’s all well and good if that is what you want to do, if you feel comfortable with that. But what about us conservos? Us mummas who aren’t so free and easy?

Well, we are left, dry mouths hanging open, wondering what the heck the other cruisier parents think of us? Are our apron strings way too tight? Are they cutting off the circulation to our brains? What are we thinking, wanting to keep our little chaps tucked in their own beds while all the other town kiddies sleepover hop like it’s no one’s business?

I’ve already prepared my kids for the inevitable ‘missing-out’ factor. That is, no to sleep overs until we feel ok about it, no to sleep overs at relative strangers houses, no to ‘M’ rated movies, no to hours of  violent video games and no to walking around the neighbourhood on their own at all hours of the day or night!

For some, this would sound shockingly strict. ‘No’ is a bit of a swear word in our part of the world. But here it is again, no, no, no! Yes it easily flows off the tongue once you start using it. For me it is not a weapon of control or power but, hopefully, of wisdom. I see childhood as a slow progression into the world of adults not as a catapult. Too much too soon, culture, too much too soon.

If we give them everything now, they will have nothing to look forward to. And where’s the fun in that?

Each day we are bombarded with bad news. It’s no wonder we don’t want to have anything to do with each other. The world is presented to us as dangerous and full of conflict. So we build higher fences and carefully select who we hang out with.

This has to stop! When all we had was the newspaper, no nightly news or internet 24/7, were we happier? We may have been more ignorant but perhaps that is how we should be. There are some things that we just do not need to know. While it is important to understand how our world is working and where we can help, our brains get a little twisted when they are soaked in bad news hour after hour.

Look at kids. For the most part they are ignorant of what is really happening in the world. What a golden age this is. Their world is small and mostly safe. We hope! In this place anything is possible, dreams are big and there are no limits. My son has had the same awesome teacher for the past 2 years. He goes to a large school, so he’s been extra lucky. I’ve been talking to him about having a new teacher next year but he’s optimistic that he’s going to get the same teacher again. It’s a small thing, but to him, this is possible, maybe even probable. I love it.

One day we were travelling to my parents’ house and he said, “I wonder if nanny will have a present for me.” I replied, “Oh she’s not going to give you a present every time you visit, so don’t expect one.” His answer? “Oh mum, think positively”. I bowed my head and downed a large slice of humble pie. He’s a bright button with a positive outlook on life and I’m in awe.

Perhaps it’s time to switch off the news. The internet can be such a negative place as well. A little ignorance goes a long way. Let’s vow to have a technology-free day or week and see how it affects us! Are you in?

 

Image by Krish Dulal

Stop! Take a moment and look into the sky. What do you see? Clouds? What shape? Dinosaur? Me too! Now, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? Wind? (pardon me) Birds? Crickets? Nothing.

It’s important to have a day to potter. The art of pottering has gone out of style and I am suggesting that we bring it back! Remember those sun-drenched days when the kids got muddy in the garden while the parents pottered around them? There is a peacefulness that comes with slowly walking, doing little things and sniffing up the fresh air into one’s nostrils.

I’ve been watching my little girl potter in the garden. She has recently discovered the joy of our swing. Not sure why it has taken her so long but there you have it. She has also befriended a family of ants that live on the footpath in our garden. To them she is their guardian, their provider, their friend. She sits with them, singing her own song, while feeding them a mountain of grass.

I love that she thinks they are super cute. Not too sure if I want her to keep them in the house like she wants to though. When she is on her swing she is truly happy. You can tell by the way she talks to herself and imagines all kinds of crazy things. To her life is simple, fun and interesting. Don’t you miss that?

Adult life is way too serious. I know it has to be that way but I think we can also choose to look up, to walk slower, to take a moment, close our eyes and sniff. As a mum I love learning life lessons by watching my kids. It is fascinating. It’s such an honour to witness the evolution of a person from babyhood to childhood and into those heavy adult years. I only hope I am a good enough guide, teacher, encourager to give them the tools they need for their futures.

My family is smack bang in the middle of birthday season. One is down, three to go. Fun, fun, funity, fun. With all this birthday cheer going around it gets me thinking about some fun party ideas.

For the next b’day shin dig we are going Christmassy in October. It’s my little girl’s 5th birthday and I kinda led her towards this I must say. Imagine it. Decorating your house for Christmas in October. Ridiculous, some might say but I say smart. Because then the Christmas season will last for MONTHS instead of weeks, I will get awesome use out of my beloved christmas decorations and I will be able to watch christmas movies and listen to christmas music way before the rest of you.

This party will have gingerbread house decorating  (which will double as a lolly bag), a christmas tree for the guests to put presents under for my girl, pass the christmas stocking and fun dress ups. Any more ideas out there? Can’t wait.

If you had an enormous budget, no real constraints what would you do to celebrate your birthday? I was thinking I’d love to recreate the diner in Gilmore Girls, get my hubby to wear a baseball cap backwards, a la Luke and the rest of the guests to adopt a character from the show. We’d drink coffee, eat pizza, tater tots, red liquorice, dessert sushi and lots of different sweet pies. Fun huh?

Or how about a party based on the Dr Seuss book, ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’? We’ll turn up really late so that everyone will be just waiting…We’ll hire the local Boom Band and import some howling Hakken-Kraks (I think pulling their tail does the job). We’ll make people think they’re awesome and then make them fail on tv or make them play against themselves so they always win and lose at the same time. Shoes! We’ll provide shoes with feet in them, heads with brains in them and elephants towing large sunshades over each person. And will it be great? Yes! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.

Oh the parties we’d have if we actually could. Money, time, stuff, things, venues, food, friends, creativity, energy… But I love a good party. Sometimes the simple ones are the best.

How about you share some funky party ideas of your own? We could start a movement of awesome, quirky parties across the globe.

Whaddya wanna do before you die? Do you have a bucket/wish list? Do you want to own a boat, sing in a cathedral or whisper sweet nothings in your loved one’s ear as you paddle through snake infested jungle waters?

If taken seriously, this question can be confronting. It challenges what we do day to day. It makes you think about whether we’re getting the most out of each day. Do you want to sky dive? Then what is stopping you? Book it in Eddie! Wanna learn how to sew a wedding dress or make a decent mosaic, go on, there are courses out there. You just have to do it. For me I would love to learn how to crochet. It’s a little bit granny but you should see what my friends can make with that little hook and a decent quality wool. Beautiful!

Dream destinations are on almost everyone’s bucket list. I am happy to say that I’ve been to almost all the places on the list in my head: New York City, Italy, Canada, France and Egypt. The problem is that now I want to go back and spend a decent amount of time eating, smelling, living these places. There just aren’t enough hours in a life nor money in the bank to make this all happen, so I will just be content with the scents and tastes I quickly experienced in the past.

Then there are the achievements. Do you want to be on TV or swim the English channel or be featured in The Guinness Book of Records? Perhaps you’re a crazy inventor-type with wild frizzy hair and ideas shooting out your ears. Invent away my friend. Do you want to write a novel? Start today! Maybe it is to have happy kids grow up to be happy adults! A noble cause indeed.

My dreams are not too lofty. I want to be able to work from home, writing, to be around for the kids when they come home from school and do a bit more travelling when the time is right. I want to renovate an old house, learn more about film and read more inspiring stories. And maybe, maybe one day write a book but it’s not a requirement, really.

Why do we make lists? Is it to keep us going through our daily routines? Is it because we are not content with what we have? What do you have on your bucket/ wish list? Do share.

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