Where The Wild Things Are

I am beyond excited about this film.  As a devotee of the book as a child, I have been reading it to my own son for about the past year.  His imagination is very wild, so the illulstrations sometimes ‘scare’ him, but I just know that once he sees this film, he will understand the innocence of it all.

Bring on October 2009.

(Yes, I’m back!  Wedding and Honeymoon posts will come very soon!)

Valentine’s Day

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This is a drawing my boyfriend Matthew did in response to the bushfires. This Saturday is Valentines Day. If you like, print out this drawing and give it as a Valentine to someone you love. Let them know that instead of buying flowers, chocolates or champagne, you have donated to the bushfire relief fund instead.

To donate click here.

Feel free to pass on information to as many people as you like.

Rachel Knepfer and Matthew Martin, Coogee, NSW

Link to PDF

The Heat Is On

Everyone is talking about global warming.  Pretty hard to ignore really when there’s a massive heat wave breaking all kinds of records in Australia and a freeze in the UK that is dumping snow in a usually snowless London.  You can’t really ignore global warming now… it’s here and it’s happening.  Question is, what are we doing about it?

I think there are enough blogs out there that discuss philosophically and literally what needs to be done.  Sometimes though, it’s the smallest thing that can make you realise just what the impact is likely to be in the future.  For me, it was a couple of photos below… the fact that humans are destroying this planet and while we go on about the impact on future generations (of humans), let’s just stop for a minute and think about all the other living things on this globe that don’t really get a say in how their planet is treated.

I just received this on an email…. 

It has been so hot in South Australia for over a week… 40+ degrees Celsius everyday, very dry also.

A guy lives at Maude.   His wife sent him these photos of a little Koala which just walked into the back porch looking for a bit of heat relief.    She filled up a bucket and this is what happened!

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Speaks volumes really, doesn’t it?  It’s cute yes, but also horrifying that an animal that would usually steer clear of humans is reaching out to them now for help to cope in these extreme conditions.

Makes me feel sick to think of all the carbon energy that was used in the last week with airconditioners…..

Say Goodbye to Meat

So on Monday of last week, as we drove home from a swim in my sister-in-law’s pool… my son bursts into uncontrollable fits of sobbing.  It scared me so I pulled over and asked him in a panic “what’s wrong?!?!”

In between sobs and sniffs, he tells me that he doesn’t want to kill animals anymore and that he doesn’t want anyone to eat meat because it’s killing animals.

I was a little taken aback, I had no idea where this had come from.  I asked him, but he was just too upset.  I asked him to tell me why he was so sad and he said, with the most conflicted look on his face “Because I like meat, but I can’t eat it anymore because it’s killing animals!”

I tried to offer the alternative of organic meat – that comes from animals that have a good life on a farm and when they die it “doesn’t hurt” (little bending of the truth…) but he wasn’t having a bar of it.  I reminded him that becoming a vegetarian means no more ham, no more bolognaise, no more lamb cutlets, no more chicken… and he was adamant – he wants to be a vegetarian.

So for this last week I have sat back and just watched whether or not it was a passing melt-down, or whether he’s serious.  And it looks like he has his mother’s genes in that once I make a decision about something, I throw myself at that decision wholeheartedly, and so has my son and being a vegetarian.

On one hand I am proud of him for the empathy and awareness he has for those around him, it’s such a beautiful thing to observe in someone so young and I hope he holds on to that trait for the rest of his life.  On the other hand it now poses a massive challenge for me in making sure that he gets enough iron in his diet and variety such that he can stick with his no-meat diet and not just slip back into eating meat just because he’s bored.

I am also quite comfortable becoming vegetarian myself if required, but Adam most certainly will not do that, so I need to ensure that we all have balance and the other unexpected factor in my son’s decision to become vegetarian, was trying to explain to him that while we all have the power to make personal choices for ourselves, we cannot force our opinions onto others.

Would love to hear advice from anyone that became vegetarian at a young age… or any recipes!!

#051 : Go Skydiving

I’ve wanted to go skydiving since I was about 18.  At that time I dated a guy that was a bit of an adrenalin junkie and so I think very early on I got an appreciation for the high one can get when taking a bit of a risk.

I’ve put it off for no other reason than money, a sense of responsibility to my son and just generally procrastinating.  But I sat in bed last weekend and thought, jeez if I don’t go now the sense of responsibility will only get worse with marriage and more kids…. so it’s kinda now, or never.

So within the space of 48 hours I had researched and chosen which place I was going to do it and booked it for today – Sunday 18th January, 2009.  I drank a little too much yesterday, so despite getting to bed early, the nervous energy coupled with a mild hangover played havoc with my stomach this morning, but after a Gatorade and a shower, we were set to go.

Bizarrely, I was not nervous once we got there, at all.  Just pure excitement running through me.  Even when we got into the tiny little plane, I still didn’t start shaking or sweating or get butterflies.  I thought that if ever I was to be nervous it would be the plane ride because I hate light aircraft.  There was another girl jumping in the same load as me and she was shitting her pants.  She kept staring at me saying, why are you so calm?!  haha.  She screamed the whole way down.  She was the last to jump, but the first on the ground, probably because her tandem partner just wanted her off him!

There were three of us in total jumping, all tandem and I was glad I went second only so that I could see the first guy fall out of the plane – that was awesome.  Getting ready to go, pulling your feet out of the plane and hanging in the door there waiting to go is the only time I was a little scared… but you get no time to even think about it before you’re suddenly spinning around above the earth and coming into freefall (220km per hour!) and lapping up every second of the 40 seconds of plunging towards the earth.  It was in a word, INCREDIBLE.

I could just go again and again and again.  In fact I can’t wait to go again because now that I know what to expect, I think I will be able to appreciate the freefall more – it was just over so fast!

Thanks to Melbourne Skydive Centre for incredible service – it’s a credit to them that I was so calm about the whole experience and enjoyed every moment of it.

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Starting the year on karma’s good side

So this year I will be getting married, taking the trip of a lifetime with my new husband, striving for senior management status at work (and if that goes pear-shaped, falling pregnant instead) and before all of that, I am planning to jump out of a plane at about 10,000 feet.

With that in mind, I thought I should start the year out on the right side of Karma.  So on January 5th, I dealt with butterflies and nausea to walk into the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in Southbank to donate blood.

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The last time I had any blood taken from my veins was over 6 years ago when I had my pregnancy test at the doctor.  I fainted in the pathology room  and had a massive bruise on my arm for ages afterwards.  So I warned them as I filled in the oodles of paperwork but they assured me that if I felt lightheaded or faint or weird in any way they would just stop the procedure immediately.

I was freaking out a little, which showed in the fact that my blood pressure dropped after the needle was put in and it took AGES to get 500ml from my little veins.  The machine kept beeping (to tell the nurse that the blood flow was too slow) and the people around me came and gave their blood and left in the time it took to drag 150ml from me!  But aside from that – I did it!  I am so proud of myself for overcoming my fear of blood to do a good thing.

I will be doing it again too, when I come home from my honeymoon and this time I will be registering on the bone marrow registry as well.

Reaping What You Sow

It’s been hard to keep up with my RSS reader over the Christmas break, we spent much of it away from computers and while I had my little fix of Facebook for mobile and caught up on a couple of my favourite blogs via the web browser on my blackberry, the service where I was staying was average at best so it was just all a bit too much effort.

So I was just about to go and “mark all as read” on my RSS reader because I can’t stand that little (1000+) sitting in the tab telling me how slack I have been, when the most recent post on A Buddhist Perspective caught my eye.

Cause and effect is a natural, universal law; as natural as a leaf floating down from a tree, as universal as night following day. Since causality is a natural law, there is no judge or ruling body that determines our consequences. Neither is there blame or anger.

Simply put, we reap what we sow. The seeds we sowed with our past thoughts, speech, and actions determined our lives today. And just as our lives today were caused by those seeds, what we think, say, and do today will shape our future.

I spent much of my holiday giving thought to a situation I find myself in right now that I never ever dreamed I would be.  I’ve questions the causes, the seeds I have sowed – my thoughts, words and actions – over and over and over in my head and also contemplated them with a couple of close friends.  And this passage just reminded me that no matter how crap I feel about it, at least I don’t feel anger or blame – towards myself or anyone else. 

Knowing we too have planted the seeds for hardship and suffering what can we do?

We can look around and decide what we want to continue and what we hope to never see again, and then determine the seeds for both. And we can understand that while we may not be able to change everything we wish; it is the right thing to do. We can then work to plant the good seeds as we create the conditions that enable those seeds to flourish and our bad to lie dormant.

By understanding that everything, even a careless word or unkind look, is subject to causality, we can ensure that all our thoughts and actions arise from the wish to behave virtuously and live compassionately.

And as I continued to read the post, I realised that this is exactly what I was doing this holidays – making some really, excruciatingly tough decisions that kept me awake at night and had me reaching for a box of tissues on more than a handful of occassions – but in doing so I was planting good seeds for the future and trying to look for the virtuous intentions behind the actions of both myself and others.

In 2008 I planted many seeds that delivered me incredible rewards and results.  My 101 Things in 1001 Days has been a positive and driving force in this, as has the therapy I have sought for both myself and my relationship.  Approaching life with an attitude of gratitude has opened my eyes to so many new possibilities and had a positive impact on the expectations I have previously placed on some of my closest relationships.  I’ve found new ways to feel empathy for people that I have struggled to understand for years, in particular my father.

One of the things that really warmed my heart over the new year was to see the number of visits to my blog from people seeking to write their own 101 in 1001, and to the 2nd most visited post on my site after this, those seeking to write a letter of gratitude to someone dear to them.

Here’s to everyone that is sowing positive seeds for 2009.  May you reap what you sow, and then some.