RSS

“Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care.” Unknown.

I used to shake my head sadly when I saw  ‘Do Not Knock’ notices on people’s front doors.  ‘Cranky old so-and-sos,’ I thought.  Welllive and learn.  I have lately joined the ranks of the cranky-old-so-and-sos and have now also attached one of these notices to my own front door.

Unfortunately, as I discovered this week, my polite little ‘Please Don’t . . . ‘ sign is obviously not bold enough to deter a rabid charity-door-knocker on a mission.  I might just have to start looking for something a tad more forceful . . .

I had never been unduly bothered by solicitations by salespeople, bible toters or charity workers until quite recently.  I monitor my home phone so I am able to pick up the calls I want and ignore those I don’t and I also put myself on the national ‘Do Not Call Register’, which, although I have no idea whether this is in any way effective at all, at least makes me feel as if I am being somewhat proactive.

I also tend to miss most ‘door-knockers as they usually make their rounds during the day, and at weekends the dogs usually hear anyone coming up the driveway long before I do, giving me plenty of time to prepare a polite response (‘Sorry—can’t talk now—eating.’) or, alternatively, find a place to hide and pretend I am not at home until they decide to move on.  (Now, don’t give me that look.  I am (almost) certain I could not possibly be the only one who has ever done that . . . )

I realise the competition is fierce.  A quick on-line search reveals there are around 54,000 charities and not-for-profits now registered in Australiaeach one jostling for our donation dollar.  I am sure most of these charities do good work, and every one of them means something to someone or they wouldn’t have been started in the first place, but it makes me ever such a tiny bit irritated (as you might have guessed) that I now feel like I have to put measures in place in order to avoid their constant, increasingly pervasive, solicitations.

Admittedly, my irritation has been somewhat exacerbated by lately being on the receiving end of a couple of quite unpleasant (dare I say, aggressive) phone calls from charities I already regularly supported, and had supported for years—both wanting more, more, more.  When I reminded one caller I already gave a monthly stipend he said, “I’ll stop calling if you double your donation”.  I kid you not. Needless to say I did not double my donation and, in fact, stopped donating to that charity at all.  It’s a shame, but I won’t be bullied. It also makes me  wonder how many other loyal donors have been pushed to the point where they ‘no longer care’.

On the bright side there are lots of other ways I can contribute and continue to ‘do my bit’.  I just have to start thinking about it differently.   I have started to buy extra dog food and treats on my weekly shopping trips and putting them in the donation barrel for a local organisation that fosters and looks after homeless dogs.  I regularly donate to local charity stores (and buy from them too) and will continue to do that.  And lately I have been thinking that I should take up knitting again.  I used to love to knit but haven’t done any now in years. After a quick search I found several sites that accept knitted donations.  I can can knit squares for blankets, or beanies, or gloves, or even teeny tiny jackets for little bald parrots . . .

I’ve just had a thought.  The next time I am caught by a charity caller I am going to stop them right in their middle of their well-rehearsed (and condescending) speil and hit them up with one of my own . . .

“You know your charity sounds fine, and I’m sure you do good things . . .  but why not think about donating to mine?  We need yarnlots and lots of yarn.  Just think of the good you would be doing, providing lovely new, warm, colourful clothes for people in need (and pouches for possums and teeny tiny jackets for featherless birds.) Only a dollar a day, that’s all I’m asking . . . and for only as long as you want to donate . . . (and, by the way, that really is a lovely shirt you are wearing, the colour really does suit you)  . . .  So, if you’d like to hand over your credit card details . . . “

 
12 Comments

Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

‘Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.’ Doug Larsen.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I’ve just been watching the early morning news on the telly.  I’m going to stop doing that.  Seriously.

I am an early riser.  I am up before 5.00am every day (yes, even at the weekends) because it really is the best time of the day.  It’s quiet and calm and peaceful and I like to take my time and kind of ease into the day.  The girls and I usually go for an early morning walk (although they have apparently decided that winter is here now and there will be no more of these until summer comes again), then I take a long shower, get my clothes and gear ready for work and settle down for a leisurely breakfast while catching up with what has been happening in the rest of the world.

Now, I rarely, if ever, wake up in a bad mood but I can tell you this—ten minutes of watching the incessant, arrogant, posturing and listening to the inane, condescending drivel some of our politicians and ‘world-leaders’ spout (and expect us to believe) is enough to seriously damage my early morning calm . . .

But don’t worry—I am not going to vent further about it here.  Frankly, I don’t have the time or the energy for it (and I don’t want to make myself even crankier).  Suffice to say I think we all need to be far more careful in future about to whom we hand over our city (and country) keys.

And, in an effort to preserve my early morning good-humour for as long as I possibly can, I have decided that from tomorrow I shall be searching for alternative viewing while enjoying my porridge and coffee.  In fact, I think I saw somewhere that one of the channels is now showing re-runs of Pinky and the Brain . . . 

. . . although, come to think of it . . . watching a cartoon about a couple of small insignificant creatures (‘one is a genius—the other’s insane’) who are constantly hatching plans for world domination?  How is that so very different from watching the early morning news anyway . . .

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

‘I like the word ‘indolence’. It makes my laziness seem classy.’ Bernard Williams.

As the week progresses and Friday draws ever nearer I usually start to ponder what I am going to be doing with myself over the weekend.  If I have errands to run, chores to do, projects to work on (or movies to watch) I’m good.  I schedule my time to make sure I get done what I need to get done and then the rest of my time is my own. Unfortunately, it is the ‘rest of the time is my own’ bit where I come unstuck.  I am always full of great ideas of things I would like to do in my ‘spare’ time but somehow I never seem to get around to doing any them . . .

Why?  Well, I wish I could tell you I had very good reason for my slothful inactivity—but, in all honesty, I can’t.  I just happen to be extremely lazy.  It appears to be my default setting.  If killing time were a profession I’d be a millionaire. Seriously.

I don’t like to think of myself as a lazy person though, and I’ve tried looking for another word to make myself feel better about it.  Lazy’ sounds so . . . idle. Bernard Williams is right—’indolence’ does sound a little better—but that’s all it does. The dictionary defines indolence as avoidance of activity or exertion; laziness, idleness, shiftlessness, inaction.’  That about says it all.  If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck . . .

Now I know I am not lazy all the time.  I couldn’t be even if I wanted to.  There are things I have to do which will not allow it.  I have to go to work every day (and actually achieve something while I am there).  I have to keep the house clean and the lawns mowed and the laundry done and the car serviced and a whole lot of other stuff . . . just well . . . because I do.  And that’s okay.  I can be quite productive when I have to be.  It’s when I don’t ‘have’ to be doing anything that my laziness really kicks in.

‘So what?’ I can hear you cry, ‘You’re allowed to to do nothing and be lazy if you want to.’   Thank you.  I appreciate your support.  And I know you’re right. Sometimes we all need time to recharge our batteries, veg out, and do absolutely nothing.  I get that.  But lately it doesn’t seem to be just a ‘sometimes’ thing (if staring blankly into space were an olympic sport I’d be a gold medalist) and it’s beginning to bother me.

(I can’t even pretend it’s procrastination.  I always try and do things I don’t really want to do as soon as I can and get them out of the way.  That way I don’t regularly wake up at 2.00am fretting about them and (the logic is) that will also free up my time (and brain) to move on to things I do want to do (. . . which I then don’t end up doing because . . . you guessed it . . .   Sigh.)

Anyway, I have whined about it enough.  Time to take action (as opposed to just thinking about taking action.)  A quick on-line search to see how other people deal with this kind of inertia (please God don’t let me be the only one) immediately brought up an article (seek and ye shall find) proposing that my problem might not actually be laziness at all (woo hoo!) but . . . wait for it . . .  ‘lack of motivation’.

Mmmmm.  Well, okay.  That sounds much nicer.  I’m not bone-idleI just lack motivation.  I’m pretty sure I can work with that.

To seal the deal, the article also contained a half page of dot-point recommendations (yay!—a list, and we all know how much I love lists) on how best to combat this appalling affliction (instead of just one say ‘get off your arse Sally and do something’ . . . )

So that’s it. I’m ready to go.  Watch out ‘free’ time.  We’re about to have a little talk . . .

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

‘Happiness is a warm puppy.’ Charles M Schultz.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

Last Sunday was the most stunning autumn day—bright, cloudless and warm.  The girls and I spent the morning out in the garden—me doing a bit of weeding, tidying and sweeping up after the last rain storm—and girls pottering around after me, supervising and offering helpful suggestions (in between bouts of dozy little doggie-naps in the sunshine . . . )

Around mid-morning I settled myself onto the garden bench to enjoy a quick cup of tea.  Mabel sat on my lap (why on earth would she sit on the dirty old grass when my lap was available), Maudie went to investigate whatever it was that was rustling in the undergrowth down by the shed, and Molly stood guard by the back gate (‘cos you never know who might try and sneak in while she’s not looking).  As I sat basking in the warm morning sun my mind started to wander (as it is wont to do) and I started to think about a telephone conversation I recently had with my mother where she asked me one, seemingly simple, question —”Are you happy?”

I remember being a surprised by the question (Where did that come from?  We were talking about her moving house . . . ) and a bit taken aback.  I had to stop for a moment to think about it.  But, you know, I couldn’t pause for too long or Mum might have imagined the worst (because mothers usually do) so I laughed it off and answered, “Well it’s all relative isn’t it?   . . . but I’m definitely not un-happy . . .”

On and off since that conversation I have wondered about her question—and my reply.  Am I really happy?

The word happiness originally derives from the Norse word ‘hap’ meaning luck, chance or good fortune.  A modern dictionary defines the same word only as ‘the state of being happy.’  I think I’ll go with the original definition because, while I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to be in ‘the state of being happy’ all the time, I do, however, feel I have been fortunate in my life.  I have family, friends, my health, a job, a place to live, and of course, my lovely dogs.  I could be a whole lot worse off.

Perhaps I would more readily describe myself as someone ‘cultivating contentment’.

Are happiness and contentment the same thing?  I don’t know.  What I do know is, that Sunday morning, sitting peacefully in the sun with Mabel all warm and sleepy on my lap and Maudie and Molly pootling cheerfully around the garden, I felt pretty damn content . . .

. . . which, truth be told, also made me pretty damn happy . . .

How could this adorable sleepy face not make anyone happy?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

‘. . . and quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle, the magpies said . . . ‘ Denis Glover.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

Tap, tap.  Tap, tap, tap.

I know what it is before I even look up.  There’s a big fat magpie baby peering through the office door . . .

Tap, tap, tap.

He steps back and looks up expectantly.  After a moment, unsure, he looks over his shoulder (past his sibling who is hopping from one foot to the other and chortling excitedly) to mum and dad, awaiting further instructions . . .

. . . quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle . . .

He turns back to the door.  Tap, tap, tap.

Okay, okay, I give in.  Time to raid the college biscuit barrel for a tasty treat for my little magpie family.

They seem particularly fond of the custard creams . . .

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

‘The dog is the perfect portrait subject. He doesn’t pose. He isn’t aware of the camera.’ Patrick Demarchelier.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I am not sure whose dogs Patrick Demarchelier was speaking about when he made that comment but it certainly wasn’t any of mine.  My girls are all complete ‘posers’.  All three of them love the camera and can go from fast-asleep-and-snoring to wide awake ‘pick-me, pick-me’ party smiles, olympic-worthy cartwheels and posey ballerina-leg-lifts within seconds of a camera being pointed in their direction . . .

Unfortunately, they also seem to have figured out that my sketching presents the same opportunities for them to shine and I can assure you that if Maudie had been awake while I was trying to sketch her this weekend she would have been right up in my face, pointing out her ‘best side’ (and giving advice on which pencils I should use) and it is unlikely there would have been a completed sketch to share here now.

As it was, the weather turned all wet and cold and rainy on Sunday and the girls, being the sooky-la-las that they are, decided (en-masse) that winter had finally come and their best option was to try and sleep their way through it.  Thus Maudie found herself all warm and dozing in the prime spot for winter warmth—on her blankie in front of the heater in the living room.

Well, perhaps not the prime spot—that actually appears to be my lap—but after a short, sharp kerfuffle Mabel beat her to it and Maudie was relegated to the next-best-thing.

I have to say—she doesn’t look too unhappy about it, does she?

 
10 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

‘Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three—and paradise is when you have none.’ Doug Larson.

Alexander Graham Bell’s notebook entry of March 10, 1876, describes his first successful experiment with the telephone, in which he spoke through the new instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, who was in the next room.  Mr Bell writes, “I then shouted into M (the mouthpiece) the following sentence: ‘Mr. Watsoncome hereI want to see you.’  To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.”

My first thought on reading that statement was that if Mr Bell had ‘shouted’ into the mouthpiece, Mr Watson might well have heard him from the next room without the help of the new invention anywaybut then I realised that was probably a tad mean-spirited. There is no doubt the invention of the telephone has had a massive impact on the world as we know it and unless you are living an extremely isolated existence (or are over 141 years of age) it seems almost impossible to imagine life without one.

Recently, however, by circumstance rather than choice, I was given a taste of experiencing just what that might be like.

Just before last Christmas I discovered my home phone was not working.  No static, no funny clicks on the line . . . just . . . nothing.  As you might imagine, an inordinate amount of time was spent to-ing and fro-ing with the phone company before the problem was eventually correctedthree weeks later.  Then, barely two months along the track, the line went dead again.  And then again another month after that.

The first time I felt quite anxious and agitated.  It really bothered me.  I felt ‘cut off’ and that feeling didn’t really go away until the phone came back on line.  The second time it happened I was irritated, to say the least.  Now I would have to go through the whole telephone company rigmarole again . . .  this is so annoying . . . and I really don’t have time for this . . . and it’ll probably take another three weeks and  . . . then . . . somehow . . . I kind of forgot all about ituntil one day the phone rang again and I realised it was fixed.

They say ‘third time’s the charm’ but I guess I will have to wait and see whether the phone company’s ‘fix’ will stick this time.  Surprisingly, I now find myself quite unconcerned.  I have come to realise that it is actually quite pleasant to not have my evenings and weekends constantly interrupted by people wanting to leave messages for the local aged care facility (my number is one digit different from theirs) or having someone insisting I buy funeral insurance (bastards) or hit me up for donations for dying pot-plants in Bolivia . . .

Maybe, just maybe, I don’t actually need a home phone at all . . .

And then my mobile died.  Sigh.

There seems nothing I can do to resurrect it.  (As John Cleese  would say ‘It is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker.’)  I admit I felt a little panicky.  No home phone and no mobile phone.  I at least need a mobile phone.  Don’t I?  What if I need to contact someone urgently?  What about emergencies?  What if?  What ifwhat?  Well, I can’t think of anything right here and now but somehow I still seem fairly certain that I really should get a replacement.  I’ll make it a priority.  I’ll do that.  Soon.

Maybe next week.

Or the week after that . . .

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: