I believe them. Don’t you??
Photo pulled from the internet. No ownership citation available.
I believe them. Don’t you??
Photo pulled from the internet. No ownership citation available.
Every once in a while it occurs to me that it might be time to shake up my exercise levels again. Usually such a thought is sparked by one of those oh-no-don’t-tell-me-it’s-shrunk-again moments when I decide to try something on that I haven’t worn in a while—‘Mmmmm . . . I don’t remember this being quite so snug the last time I put it on . . . and I don’t recall it showing off all those wobbly bits quite as much either . . .’ Sigh.
You might have gathered that I am not really a fan of exercise per se. I exercise because I ‘should’ (and obviously need to) but not because I enjoy it. There have been periods in my life when I have done much more regular exercise than I do now (like going to the gym religiously 4-5 days a week) and periods when I have done a good deal less (like lazily lifting a glass of wine while watching exercise videos . . . ) but there have been very few times I can remember actually enjoying the exercise itself. (I admit I have enjoyed the benefits of regular exercise but the actual bending and lifting and running—not so much.)
(Just quietly, I blame my parents. Neither of them had the slightest interest in sports, or indeed exercise of any description at all that I noticed, and they obviously passed this apathy-gene down on to me.)
In spite of this I do force myself to be not entirely sedentary. I walk the dogs every day (although the dogs are getting older and therefore slower and so I am too. Getting slower I mean. I’m definitely not getting any older). I do a bit (a very little bit) of weight training every day (for the ol’ bingo arms) although how much I achieve often depends on whether the girls decide to ‘help’ me along with the process (lying on your back holding a barbell above your head while three little dogs lick the sweat from your eyes, ears and nose can be a tad distracting) and I also ride my (stationary) bike for around 30 minutes a day. Granted I sometimes catch myself pedalling more slowly than perhaps I should because the book I am reading at the same time is getting kind of interesting and I can’t read it quite as well if the pages keeping jumping up and down and . . .
. . . okay, yes, maybe I could stand to need to kick it up a notch. I’ll sit down, make some decisions and draw up a new plan of attack. I’ll do that. Later.
But first I think I’ll join my Maudie for a quiet little nap. Decisions are always so much easier after a nice little nap . . .
It’s a hard life being a dog. Or, to clarify, it’s a hard life being a dog in my household. My three little girls are fed, watered, washed, brushed, walked, played with, fussed over and loved to within an inch of their lives on a daily basis, and frankly (but don’t tell them this) I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes, just sometimes, I do feel they can be a tiny bit inclined to take advantage of my good nature . . .
Anyone who has ever raised a dog knows that dogs like their routines. Routines are comforting. Routines are safe. Dogs like to know what to expect and when to expect it. (An early morning walk, breakfast, mum goes to work, sleep, mum comes home, ten minutes of over-the-top silliness followed by an afternoon walk and play at the park, dinner, and then more sleep. Perfect.) Of course, day to day (human) life means it is not always possible (even if we wished it) to do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time every single day but even so we usually manage to rock along at a fairly steady momentum at my place. So you would think, wouldn’t you, that my girls might allow me just a little bit of slack on the odd occasion when something goes a tiny bit awry . . .
There they were, all sitting in a row patiently awaiting their breakfast (well,okay—Molly was squeaking under her breath and stamping her feet but that’s about as patient as she gets) and I went to the freezer and . . . oh-oh . . . no chicken necks. Sigh. I knew right away I was in trouble.
Okay then. Deep breath. Smiling brightly and looking down at their eager little faces—”So girls. Why don’t we try something different for breakfast today? Who’d like a ‘lolly’ instead?” (Lollies are in fact doggie-chicken-sticks and I am usually all but knocked over in the rush when I offer them as a treat.)
I was met with blank stares.
“Come on! You love lollies. Here Molly, you have this one.” (There was method in my madness. Molly can always be relied upon to never turn down food of any description. She’s rotund, but she knows she’s fabulous so she cares not a whit.) Sure enough she took the proffered treat and disappeared into her basket. Two more to go . . .
“Here Maudie, you have one too.” Maudie obediently took the lolly from me . . . and then very carefully laid it at her feet. She gazed back up at me.
“Mabel?” Mabel sniffed the end of her chicken stick daintily and then turned her head disdainfully away.
And then Molly reappeared, “Hey mum, that was great. Thanks for the lolly. Now where’s my chicken neck?” Sigh.
Now I love my dogs dearly and fully acknowledge they run my life, but I was also not about to make an early morning, pre-work dash to supermarket to buy them chicken necks when there was a perfectly delicious alternative being offered. I stood my ground. (Buddy Hackett’s mom would have been proud.) But—wow. Those eyes. Three sets of what-have-we-done-wrong-and-why-won’t-you feed-us eyes watched every morsel of my own breakfast disappear into my mouth. They followed me silently into the bathroom and watched me brush my teeth and they continued to watch from the bed as I dressed for work. Not a grumble, not a whimper, not a sigh was uttered. Just those eyes. You’d think after decades of owning dogs I’d be immune but—nope. I got out of the house as quickly as I could . . .
Needless to say, by the time I got home all was forgiven. I was met at the gate by the usual over-excited onslaught and then we went to the park to play. When it was time for dinner I had a brainwave—“Hey, what say you all have chicken necks for dinner (well of course I picked some up on the way home) because you didn’t get one for breakfast?”
I swear I saw their faces fall. Does that mean we’re not going to get our regular dinner . . .
Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
Have you ever had a go at one of those inkblot tests? You know—when you stare at an inkblot and then have to describe what you see within in it . . . a bat . . . or two people kissing . . . or monsters devouring the earth? After this week I really hope I am never in a position where I have to do one of these tests for any medical or psychological reason because I am pretty sure I would fail dismally . . .
One of my homework assignments for my ‘Imagining’ course this week was working with ink-blots. ‘Oh what fun’—you might think. ‘Simple’—you might think. Splash a bit of ink on your page, blow it around a bit and then use your imagination to create some fantastic image. Sigh.
Well, I now have pages and pages of ink blots (as well as ink spray up the kitchen walls, across the sink and even on the floor—a can of compressed air rather than a straw for the ‘blowing’ seemed such a good idea at the time) but, alas, not much else to show you. My fellow classmates produced some of the most elaborate, astounding, fanciful (and one or two slightly disturbing) images I have ever seen. Me? Mostly all I saw was inkblots.
This using-your-imagination lark makes my head ache . . .
Well, it’s Friday. Again. And while I am always pleased to see Friday come around (be it Friday the 13th or no) I am not always quite so sure how it got here. This week was a case in point—I am quite certain the last time I looked up it was actually only Tuesday . . .
We have just completed our first week of Term 4 here at the college. I did manage to have a few days break away from the office between last term and this. It wasn’t a long break because although we had no classes running there was still plenty of work to be done but I booked three days leave and with the following weekend and a public holiday thrown in I had a lovely six day respite from students, databases and ringing phones. The girls and I went for long walks, dug holes in the garden, read books and watched old movies. Bliss. Alas, that time passed all too quickly (as it usually does) and I now find myself back in the office and knee deep in paper again.
It is an oft-observed phenomenon that time seemed to pass so much more slowly when we were younger. Each day we had to spend indoors in the classroom seemed interminable as the hours dragged on (and on and on . . . ), the school terms between holidays were excruciatingly drawn out and long-awaited birthdays never seemed to come around often enough.
But then, on the plus side, summer holidays when you finally got to them, stretched out in an endless stream of long hot days spent outside lazing under a shady tree, or boating, or swimming, or at the beach eating ice-lolls and watermelon and (in my case) getting horrific sunburn, occasional heatstroke and sand stuck in places it was never meant to reach . . .
My how things have changed. Nowadays, for me at least, it seems that Christmas and Easter may as well be the same festivity for the space we get between them, holidays are still fun but are over in the blink of an eye—and, well, don’t even get me started on how often those birthdays come around!
If you actually stop and think about it, time is a really weird thing and I am not the only one who has pondered as to why the passage of time seems to pass so differently at various stages of our lives.
One theory is that each unit of time that you live through is only a small portion of your total experience, so for a one year old child, one year is, literally, a lifetime. To a ten year old, a year is one tenth of their total experience, and so their ‘clock’ has only just begun to move. For those who are 70, 80 or 90, one year is nearer to 1% of their total life experience and so the shorter time that is left races ahead and the past stretches out far behind.
Perhaps it has more to do with anticipation and retrospection but, anyway, take it from me—reading up on the psychological, philosophical and physical theories about time can just about do your head in!
So I have decided that I like the Occam’s razor principle the best (the simplest explanation is usually the correct one) and in that vein I reckon Albert Einstein nailed it when he said, ‘The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.’
Now that’s a theory I can get my head around . . .
Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
If that statement is true this tree is as happy as they come . . .
The rainbow eucalyptus or Mindanao gum is one of those trees that you don’t really believe exists until you see it for yourself. The bark is the tree’s most distinctive feature. Patches of bark are shed annually showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones. The previous season’s bark peels off in strips to reveal a brightly colored new bark below. The peeling process results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue, and gray.
A very smiley tree . . .
I started a new course at Sketchbook Skool three weeks ago—‘Imagining‘. A couple of days into it and I was already struggling. What I long feared to be the case was actually proving to be true—I have no imagination. Put something in front of me and I can draw it. Give me a topic to research and I can write about it. Put a picture in my head and I can see it. But ask me to come up with something all of my own . . . that’s a whole other story . . .
I have always admired people with vivid imaginations. People who can visualise something in their mind and reproduce it in the real world. William Blake said, “What is now proved was once only imagined” and he was right. All the books, music, movies, art, buildings, science, technology and medical advances we have today—all dreamt up first in someone’s imagination. At only 16 years old Albert Einstein imagined himself riding alongside beam of light to “see” what the effects would be. It’s just as well no-one was relying on me to come up with that notion . . .
Imagine a life without imagination though. That’s not so easy, even for me. What would it be like I wonder, to live without any trace of visual imagination? To be unable to see daydreams. To be unable to conjure up the faces of your friends or family, or visualize scenes and characters in books you are reading? I recently discovered that there are certain people for whom this is the norm. These people have what is known as Aphantasia. They cannot—are physically unable—to summon up mental images—at all. It’s as if their mind’s eye is completely blind. Mmmmm. Perhaps I need to rethink my own self-diagnosis.
As you may have guessed I have never been an airy-fairy, day-dreaming, head-in-the-clouds kind of girl but perhaps that is because I have never really given myself the time or space (or permission) to be so. Maybe I have spent too much time dealing with what is and not enough time thinking about the what could be. I rarely just ‘play’ with my pencils and paints just for the fun of it (it seems a little bit wasteful when there was no end product in sight) and I don’t recall the last time I ever tried to write anything creative like a poem or a short story (possibly not since I was in school—way back in the dark ages.) Perhaps imagination is like a muscle and if it doesn’t get exercised (like a number of my other bits I could name right now, but won’t) it gets flabby and discouraged and refuses to cooperate. Sigh.
Okay then. I have talked about it and thought about it and it doesn’t seem like there is going to be any kind of quick fix (and even I can’t convince myself I suffer from aphantasia—believe me, I’ve tried!) so I guess it is something I am just going to have to work at. So I am going to go back into my SBS classroom now and hunker down and do some of the homework I have been studiously avoiding for the last couple of weeks. (Draw a feeling? How the hell do I draw a feeling? . . . )
I have to start believing that somewhere deep (deep, deep) inside me there must be some little kernel of imagination that I can tap into and begin to draw out little by little.
Wish me luck . . .