Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Uncategorized

Why am I blogging ???

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

“There was this forest that was on fire, and all the animals left homeless by the blaze were standing on the edges of the forest wondering what they should do because the fire had a hold on the trees. A hummingbird swooped down and dipped her beak into a nearby lake and flew over the flames of the fire dropping that teardrop of water onto the fire. To and fro the hummingbird went between the lake and the fire. The other animals cried out to the hummingbird, “you are crazy, that will never put the fire out. What are you doing?”, and the hummingbird turned and replied “I’m doing the best I can.” – African fable.

IMGP6130

Me – harrassing some local Laos pups.

 

I have recently embarked on a fantastic blogging course –  “Blog with Pip“. One of our first lessons involved the telling question, “why are you blogging ?” So, to address this question, along with a little bit of an introduction to me, read on !

The essence of why I blog is to encourage us all to find the little hummingbird (in the above fable) within ourselves in this scary, crazy, mixed up world.

Part of my make up is that I am a chronic and incessant worrier about EVERYTHING. I worry about it feeling like summer in Sydney when winter is just around the corner. I worry about the plastic in the ocean, deforestation, over population, rampant consumerism, the demise of the bees…etc etc etc…but mostly I worry about animals and how we treat them.

I am also a compulsive hoarder of information about everything that interests me (from building the perfect compost heap to buying a cruelty free doona). Storage of my copious amounts of information is haphazard and messy and takes the form of torn out magazine articles drifting around the house, scrawled notes and bookmarked laptop pages. A blog is the perfect way to organise and present my new found wisdom in a logical, readable way.

It is slowly dawning on me that we have choices to make from the moment we wake up to when we fall asleep at night. These choices involve everything from the toothpaste and shampoo we use in the morning to the way we transport ourselves to work, our choice in photocopy paper, the coffee we drink, our lunch, the woolen jacket we wear, the sunscreen we use, how we wash our clothes, our toilet paper, the restaurant we eat at, the businesses we choose to spend our money at to our glass of wine in the evening. The list goes on and on. Every facet of our ordinary lives involves a choice – but how do we make the kindest one ?

Our current government in Australia has deviated so far off the kindness path that we cannot rely on them to make our world a nicer place. It really is up to you and me to pull our weight, educate ourselves and be that little hummingbird. But, I need your help too. I like to convince myself that every little thing helps but the enormity of the problems with our earth and treatment of the animals and people who live on it means that a collective effort is needed.

This is where me and my little blog step in. I want to continue to research and present a regular post on these everyday choices and how we can do things better.

The “animal activist” (of which I am an armchair one) world is a confronting one which makes me lose sleep most nights. It also reveals an incredible insight into humanity – from the compassionate, selfless and brave souls out there to the most hideous and repugnant beings imaginable. It shows what excuses we all come up with – whether it be religion, tradition, convenience, ignorance or greed – to be cruel or inadvertently thoughtless.

I have faith that most humans are inherently kind but it can be hard to make the right choices without a lot of research.  Factory farming, animal testing, puppy farms, palm oil ingredients and the like are purposely hidden from us. None of these issues are advertised or appear on the news. The country displays at the Easter Show won’t show our children how the majority of smart mother pigs exist in their barren sow stalls. Advertising is often misleading and our laws permit and, therefore, normalise a lot of the cruelty in our world (sow stalls, bobby calf disposal and  live animal export come to mind).

I am keen to master the art of  being an effective blogger and communicator so I can find some willing hummingbirds to join me on my quest for making the world a better place – for both us and the animals we share it with. I want my posts to be informative enough to make you want to take action or some change in your life but not so confronting that you turn away. I am keen to ensure that I concentrate on the positive – whether it be obtainable changes we can all make to promoting lovely ethical companies where I am sure we would all much prefer to spend our money ! 

I feel like the world of blogging has opened up a thousand doors for me. It has given me a format to learn within and has revealed a multitude of other blogs that I can learn from. It has thrown me into a world of wise, articulate, funny, resourceful, like minded and intelligent people and has made me realise just how much the “everyday person” has to offer. I’ve come to realise that everyday person includes me.

Read More

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014.

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

“Live each day as if it’s your last”, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that ? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy ? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try to be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at….something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.” – Emma Morley, a fictional character from one of my all time favourite books “One Day” by David Nicholls.

This post is not really keeping with the theme of the blog but, then again, part of treading kindly surely involves sharing what you have enjoyed throughout the year ?! Without further ado, this is what I have enjoyed in 2013 (am sure my Virgo friends will be proud of my diligent list makings skills throughout the year !) – peppered with a few pics of an animal, Garp (along with his best friend Ivy), who knows how to lead the best life ever…..and his tips on how to do so.

IMG_0943IMG_0420IMG_6209IMG_0414IMG_5823

Embrace Friendship (and symmetry)

 

Books – Fiction

Like A House on Fire – by Cate Kennedy. The equivalent of people watching in a book (short stories).

Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love – Sarah Butler

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

The Sunshine Years – Asfaneh Knight

IMG_5411

The occasional bout of naughtiness is ok

 

 Books – Non Fiction

Madness – Kate Richards (unputdownable memoir about mental illness and what it feels like to live with).

Sex, Drugs and Meditation  – Mary Lou Stephens (did not make me want to do a 10 day silent mediation retreat but was entertaining and enlightening to read about)

Free the Bears – Mary Hutton (if you need some inspiration about wanting to make a difference about something you are passionate about)

Quiet – Susan Cain (if you loathe the limelight and are after some explanation as to why – a very interesting read !).

Changing Gears – Greg Forsyth (loved this book about a couple cycling through Australia and their quest for a more sustainable, meaningful way of life which sounds very earnest but it was very entertaining).

IMG_0546

Protest about what is wrong in this world

 

 Movies

Did not see nearly as many as I usually do…so just a select few…

The Quartet (sweet movie about the going ons in a retirement village filled with talented musicians).

Amour (bittersweet movie about old age) 

Blue Jasmine (a voyeuristic look into Cate Blanchett’s character’s life unravelling)

IMG_0759

Laugh lots

 

Series

The Bridge (continuing my obsession with Scandinavian crime shows)

Enlightened (cringeful to watch but very funny)

Top of the Lake (by the very clever, creative Jane Campion – set in New Zealand)

Twentysomething (very funny Aussie series)

Orange is the New Black (excellent black humour-ish series about women in a US prison – addictive !)

Redfern Now (from the superb Jimmy McGovern – loved “Cracker” 20 odd years ago and this too was a great series).

Girls (younger, quirkier and more realistic version of Sex In the City)

 

IMGP5278

Turn up the charm or cute factor if required

 

Music

Have reclaimed my youth by returning to JJJ which helped me to discover…

London Grammar

 

IMG_0842

Explore

 

Getaways

Mill Paddock Cottage in Mountain Lagoon, NSW.

Tegal Sari, Ubud, Bali

Naya Gawana Resort, Bali

 

Eating Out

Mocan and Green Grout, Canberra

Nourishing Quarter, Surry Hills, Sydney.

IMG_5835

Hold on passionately to what is dear to you

 

In 2013 I Learnt how to…

Make candles (and had lots of lovely people buy them to raise money for Animals Asia)

Grow mushrooms (a surprisingly complicated feat !)

Has been lovely….

Meeting some beautiful new people through my wing man Garp, gathering a few more likers and subscribers together to read my blog witters, getting down to Melbourne to see old  (figuratively that is !) friends and gaining more clarity and insight about what is important to me.

Would love to hear what has made you happy in 2013 in the comment section below. Am always up for some recommendations from like minded souls about anything.

As for 2014….I have a lot of  plans on the horizon which includes more travel, lots more animal product free cooking, clocking up 100km of hiking (get those walking shoes ready Sam), learning how to do Tai Chi (for my increasingly geriatric body and ever chattering mind), writing many more informative blog posts  and, of course, helping out the animals and environment however  and whenever I can.

IMG_5404

Stay unique and true to yourself

 

I hope that 2014 brings you happiness, fulfillment and adventures. Would love to hear what you hope it has in store for you ! xxx

Read More

Be a kind Christmas soul

Posted by on Nov 30, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“For it is in giving that we receive” – St. Francis of Assisi

petabackyarddog

An example of a dog helped by PETA’s “be an angel for a cold dog campaign” – the winner of our family’s Christmas Charity Kris Kringle in 2012.

 

With Christmas just on the horizon, I thought it timely to share some ideas about how my  family have wrangled around the whole stressful present giving issue. It is no secret that Christmas is becoming more about frenzied consumerism and less about the nicer parts about it (good food, wine and company).

As an atheist, the meaning of Christmas to me is nothing about religion and all about being generous to those who are not quite as lucky as most of us in Australia are (and, of course the good food, wine and company part !).

So, a few years ago, we came up with the idea of a Charity Kris Kringle in lieu of gifts (aside from the cherished children in our family – we only have a couple of them and they still get presents).

Each adult contributes a nominal figure (for us, $50 each) and writes down their charity of choice and puts it in a bowl. Child member of family picks charity name out and that charity scores the lot – usually around $350.

I have been accused of rigging this process or bribing my niece (the charity hat puller) as my chosen charity has won the last 2 years (weeehoooooo!).

Two years ago, the very worthy Brightside Farm Sanctuary in Tasmania won the spoils and last year it went to PETA’s “be an angel for a cold outside dog” campaign. ($265 buys a kennel and bedding for a dog in the US who has nil or inappropriate shelter from the elements – see pic above).

As for gift giving between me and my fella….we reserve this for birthdays and do the charity thing too for Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. Our house is filled with so much STUFF that we have come to the conclusion that a donation to each others  favourite charity is money so better spent (and far less angst inducing…..after many years together, it becomes harder to come up with that perfect gift!).  My favourite charity is, as it has been for about the last decade, the glorious Animals Asia and my fella’s is Medecins Sans Frontieres. Both do incredible, life changing work for animals and people.

If you are part of a family who wants to do the physical gift thing, have a read of my previous kind gifts post for some ideas. I have added a few new ones which have recently caught my eye so please re-visit this post for some ideas.

Also……Checking It Twice is a fabulous ethical gift guide (Thanks Al, I can’t stop stalking it since you put me onto it….here I am trying to be all anti-consumerist – and lists galore of beautiful ethical things stare tauntingly back at me !!) 

As for christmas cards and calenders, here are some links to my favourites. They are beautiful and creative and, best of all, a large part of the proceeds goes back to help an animal and/or person in need.

Cards

lamma_merry_christmas_cards_pk_of_20

Animals Asia cards

Edgars Mission cards

Unicef cards

Calenders

Monika’s Doggie Rescue (original home of our little black patch eyed hound so we are forever grateful to this great rescue group).

Animals Asia 

Ask Alice’s Wish You Were Here Charity Calenders – 100% of profits go to the Melbourne Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. (PS Their gorgeous stationary is well worth a look too – lovely, artistic, ethical company).

Until next time, stay calm during this silliest of  seasons. Would love to hear about any kind Christmas festivities planned. Stay tuned for my next post……kind eating suggestions for Christmas day ! 

 

Read More