#1421 What you should do while the Land Down Under burns

I find it hard lately to look at a sunset without thinking the vibrant hues look a lot like flames.

20200105_205821

Most of the news, social media sites and influencers are talking about it. Even international sites and celebrities are getting in on it and pledging help to the cause.

Skies across our country have turned orange, red, black.

Australia is in the midst of a bushfire crisis.

benjamin-lizardo-icrhAD-qidc-unsplash

Photo by Benjamin Lizardo on Unsplash

There are no total reports yet, but there have been an endless number of homes burnt to the ground, there are missing persons and confirmed deaths including those of 3 volunteer firefighters, and our native animals have disintegrated to dust, with approximately 450 million animals dead.

There are ecosystems and animals that may near extinction or be wiped out completely after this event.

6 million hectares of land has burnt. When you look at that on a map, it would be like almost all of England engulfed in fire.

Flames at heights of 70 metres have been reported. In comparison, the Sydney Opera House is 65 metres tall.

The hardest hit states have been New South Wales and Victoria.

The situation is beyond catastrophic. Watching unfolding coverage and media footage, you can’t help but feel the pain and sorrow that the people who are victims to the bushfires and trying to save themselves and their homes, are feeling.

It is heart-breaking to see, and fighting back tears is something I’ve been doing a lot of lately.

In amongst all of this pain, there is something YOU can do.

We can all do it.

Which is why I am grateful. I am grateful I have this platform to use my voice in a positive way.

So many people are doing it, and so many more need to speak aloud.

Our fellow Aussies need HELP.

I am grateful I have the means to make a small donation, to go towards the bushfire appeal effort. Money that will be used to help those that have lost everything, who need food and basics, shelter and clothes and furniture.

To rebuild homes, towns, cities.

You can’t say that you can’t give anything. I don’t have a job, and I don’t even know when my next paycheck will come, but I know I can give something. Anything adds up, even small amounts, and that makes a HUGE difference.

If you have $2 to spare (and if you are reading this with your internet connection I am sure you do) then you can donate to the appeal.

Because if there are 20 people out there thinking of donating $2, and feel like it’s not enough, well think about it… 20 times $2 will equate to $40.

And at the end of the day $40 of something is better than $0 of nothing, especially when you’ve lost EVERYTHING.

Please make your donations to proper organisations and reputable names. Be wary of scammers (sadly they exist even in a time like this).

My suggestion is the Victorian Bushfire Appeal web site www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal and click on the ‘Donate now’ button.

You can read their plans for the distribution of the funds there. And remember that donations of $2 and above are tax deductible.

As horrific as the scenes and stories coming out of this tragedy are, I am comforted by the strong and wide display of love, care and support given to so many people in need.

I know what I am going to do right now… GIVE.

I know you can too. ♥

 

 

 

 

#1273 Shelter

A couple of weeks ago while walking back to work on a chilly but sunny morning, our takeaway coffees steaming in our hands, my work colleague observed something.

”I know we’re cold, but I can’t help but think of homeless people on cold mornings like this.”

The three of us paused. Here we were with warm drinks, willingly walking through the cold because we knew we’d be out of it soon… and back in our warm and safe work environments.

I’m thinking of that, and shelter again, more so because the last few days have been particularly hellish, with arctic winds and ferocious onslaughts of rain and hail.

Shelter. Only moments ago as I headed up to bed with tablet in hand, it started again… the howling winds. The downpour. You could hear how freezing it was, and it made me jump into bed even more eagerly.

I’m lucky. We’re lucky.

We have a roof over our head, we have shelter. And if you’re reading this, you probably do too. We have a place to shield us from these Wintry nights and provide us with a safe haven to close our eyes at night… we are truly blessed.

And as for the homeless? I don’t know what to say. I think it’s horrible that people have to live like that, and it pains me to see people sleeping around cardboard and asking for money on the streets. How bad a turn did their life take to end up outside, with no roof over their head?

But this isn’t that kind of post. Rather if I can point out how lucky we, the majority are to have shelter, and how we should really appreciate the things we take for granted, then maybe we too can be more mindful and aware of the plight of those less fortunate… if not by our generosity towards them to keep going, then at least by an increased awareness, simply an acknowledgement that we are not all so blessed.

Food for thought. Goodnight.

#1097 Going Ga Ga for Live Aid

Ok fine.

I get it.

I have a thing about gay men…

They are some of my favourite-st performers, after all.

Like Freddie Mercury. It has been a very Queen-heavy week for me.

I’ve been coming home to an empty house after school drop-off and filling it with ROCK ROCK ROCK.

Today I put on a random playlist of the group via youtube as I set about in cleaning the house.

My Oh My.

I’ve listened to these performances individually many a time, but never in a whole, to realise the full context and width and breadth of their set at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Wembley Stadium.

Here I was, a little toddler, pushing 2 years old… and these guys were creating the greatest rock performance of all-time.

Have a watch of the exhilarating, fist-pumping 21 minutes. Tell me what you think.

At 2:45 begins my most favourite bit of the set. The intro to Radio Ga Ga, my current obsession.

But, for some of that context I mentioned earlier… over 70,000 people clapping in unison people.

70,000.

Just in in the UK. Because Live Aid was a joint concert effort to raise money for people starving to death in Ethiopia, and was back off the “Do They Know It’s Christmas” single effort.

While the UK performances began at Wembley at approximately 12pm, they continued at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia in the U.S, for a crowd of 100,000 just before 2pm UK time, with the concert amounting to about 16 hours of live performances.

It inspired concerts in other countries around the world on the same day, and the scale of this Live Aid event, the largest television broadcast of the time, was that about 40% of the world’s population watched it.

Most likely your parents… and most likely mine.

So when you take the above performance with all this info, knowing Queen were performing to approximately 1.9 billion people around the world…

WOAH.

Just let that sink in.

And his a capella section at the end of Radio Ga Ga, showcasing his vocal range and ability to stir a crowd, became known as “the note heard round the world.”

What a legacy.

“Alright!”

 

 

 

 

#844 Sick days

On the 7th day of Winter, the snowman gave to me…

My first cold for the season!

Humbug.

Sure it is a tad early to be getting all Christmas in July jovial, but apparently it ain’t early at all to be copping colds and flus from every direction I turn.

It is inescapable, really. And all the while, it is so easy to fall into the whinging and crying trap, the ‘woe is me’ and ‘I hate Winter fan club!’ (I have a list to counter that!)

But really, despite our colds, despite our flus, we are so lucky.

There are people who are really sick. I was reminded from different sources today that life is not fair, and heard repeatedly of death and serious illness and misfortune. I also received a phone call from the children with cancer charity, asking me to purchase some raffle tickets off of them. I humbly accepted.

And while I have felt worse for wear, I actually have it good. I have a roof over my head. I have heating at the touch of a finger. I have an electric kettle that boils water for my steaming lemon, honey and ginger teas, a stove for warming up milk for hot chocolates when the teas becomes mundane, and… I have blankets.

I lay down this afternoon on the couch, and baby girl came right on over to promptly cover me with the throw. She then found some more blankets from her bedroom, layered me in those, before saying with an adorable smile “Mama me look after you to get better,” before turning on her heel and leaving me to… recuperate?

What? Was this legit? I relished the feeling of peace and calm… for 2 minutes.

She came back, adamant that she was going to lie down beside me on the couch, and I shuffled over, getting squashed against the back of it. I lay there like an awkward sardine in a can, one hand outstretched over me, the other on her, as I drifted to and from sleep, both the TV in the background and the YouTube videos she was watching of kids playing with barbie dolls, drifting over to wake me up every so often.

I was awkward, I was sick, and I wasn’t really at peace. But I’d take this version of ‘sick’ any day.

#775 Making it ‘Work’ on Good Friday

So many things NOT working today.

Like I am sick. Sore. Fleeting moments of tiredness and weakness overwhelm me.

Baby girl is sick. Still. Her voice is still hoarse, she needs constant nose wiping, from me ONLY (as apparently this makes it better) and is not drinking much fluids.

Hubbie is still run down.

My pre-Easter baking didn’t get off to a good start. The self-raising flour I needed, well suddenly it wasn’t appropriate to use… don’t ask me why… so Hubbie had to go to several servos to find some.

Then in doing my cake pops, I didn’t do the round cake balls big enough… and so once they were covered in melted chocolate, they started to S-L-O-W-L-Y fall down the lollipop stick, ‘til they sunk to a stop at the polystyrene board floor.

To make matters worse, I had to leave my family at 6pm… to drive in to work.

WORK. I have not worked a Good Friday, EVER. And now due to circumstances out of my control, I am. Until way past midnight. Apparently, no days are holy anymore.

You can be sure there has been a whole lot of whining today.

At some point though, I remembered something. I remembered the greater purpose of today, and the purpose was largely, the annual Melbourne Good Friday appeal.

Every Good Friday now, for years and years and years, the good people of Melbourne (and Australia, and I hope even, the World) have been donating selflessly to a children’s hospital that has done wonderful things, and continues to, to help sick, and I mean, really sick kids, needing care, love, services and support.

Here I was whining about the day and upset I was leaving my family for work… and meanwhile, there were loads of kids spending their Easter weekend at the Royal Children’s Hospital, away from their families, away from their homes.

It just wasn’t fair. It ISN’T fair. The words ‘really sick,’ and ‘child,’ should not exist in the same breath.

And so I urge you now to do what I am going to do this very moment: donate to a very worthy cause.

http://goodfridayappeal.com.au/

There is always far, far worse in the world… but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to do something about it.

Give that they may grow.

And so suddenly, I was happy, that my family and I were all in the same house today, and that I was there, to wipe baby girl’s nose…

 

 

 

 

#677 Christmas carolling in the car

Ok, well not all the traditional kind, but you know what I mean.

And so started the one hour 20 minute journey to the other side of town today. With my 6 stack cd player filled with 5 Christmas albums (I decided to let the Dirty Dancing soundtrack be the only non-festive number there), I popped on, one of the biggest royalty songs of this time of year –

I mean, who hasn’t yodelled along to this and thought they were the next Messiah, I mean Mariah, in waiting?! What a terrific song and very clever money-maker. Ka-ching! $$$

But then baby girl chimed in and decided she needed her festive dose of Hi 5. So on they came

It comes from a So Fresh compilation album I have, and seriously, there are times I wonder whether I should have shown her this song. It is sooo catchy, so just a word of warning to not let your toddler hear it, or else you’ll be hearing it in your head for days and days and days.

So that happened, and because I am all Christmas-savvy, I already had my ipod plugged in and set up to play George Michael of Wham! fame, the one and only, and of course what should then conveniently come on?

Last Christmas we lost one of the best musicians around, but we will remember him each time this year comes around, as he is immortalised in this song especially.

So after yodelling some more, baby girl wanted some more Hi 5. Fine.

A different version, different cast, just because I know you want to hear ALL the versions.

I then turned it onto side 2 of the So Fresh compilation to an absolutely brilliant and poignant song, a song that makes you think of the true meaning of Christmas, and appreciate all that we have in the world that we live in:

I fell in love with this song even more after watching a documentary on the making of it, many, many years ago, where I learnt many fascinating tid-bits, one of which being that Bono initially didn’t want to sing his famous solo line

“But tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.”

Geldof insisted his singing it would make the message all the more important and meaningful. A doco that I highly recommend and that I need to get my hands on once again. And then also, sending the message of charity at this time of year is more important than one of presents and materialistic objects.

Getting into a lighter mood, I thought baby girl might appreciate an old favourite, a group I haven’t listened to for years, but when Christmas rolls around I pop on their ‘Snowed In’ album

It was Hanson, in all their youthful and Mmm Bop glory. She complained of course and said “me no like,” and I couldn’t help but think she had been brainwashed by a member of my family to say that, but come a few more songs and she was happy to hear their rendition of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and also the other old school tune, “Run Run Rudolph.”

Then some more “Santa Claus is coming!” Oh woe is me.

Come on, get up. I know you want to.

Then I was like fine, I need some proper crooning in the final part of our car trip, by the guy I have been missing from Christmas festivities because he is going through some family turmoil, which I will not mention in this fun and frivolous post, but Buble I am thinking of you and sending you my love, especially to your boy.

How amazing is he? I just love it, one of the best Christmas albums around, I tell ya.

Even baby girl sings this song along with me:

I kid you not, we were there singing “Feliz Navidad” together, and I reckon all her Dora the Explorer viewing gives her a good dose of proper pronunciation.

And there you go. How can I not be grateful after an hour and 20 minutes of such festivity and fun? We turned a long car trip into a party, and now even more than ever, I can say that “Santa Claus is coming! Santa Claus is coming!”

“Santa Claus is coming, Santa Claus is coming!”

“SANTA CLAUS IS COMING, SANTA CLAUS IS COMING, HE’S NOT VERY FAR AWAAAAYYYY!”

Your Welcome.

 

 

#662 Kinder days no. 5

When you have 5 hours to spare after dropping off your child at kinder, Christmas shopping becomes a WHOLE lot easier.

That’s where I headed today after giving baby girl a hug and a kiss before doing the excited stroll out the kindergarten door. To be able to shop alone, is bliss. To be able to do Christmas shopping alone, is well…

even better.

It was great in that I was able to tick more items off my list, have good and long hard thinking processes about others without a certain 4 year-old taking up all my time and attention… oh, and then there was Kmart.

I had a few things to look at in there, and thought to myself casually when I first walked in ‘I shouldn’t need a basket.’

I shouldn’t need a basket. Like geez. The question should’ve rather been ‘do I need a trolley?’

Luckily for me common-sense and past experience prevailed, and I got a basket, which half an hour later looked like this:

IMAG7305

I headed to the registers QUICKLY before I found something else I had to have, and have to convert to one of those pull-along baskets, when I saw something very, very important.

Only the day before was I talking about the Christmas Wishing Tree appeal with a group of women. As we spoke about how great of an idea it was, and how the presents went to less fortunate children and people, I realised that this year I would definitely do it. Each year I genuinely have wanted to, but opportunity and remembering to actually do it, as well as being near a Kmart about December-time, meant I never did.

I didn’t realise how soon the opportunity would present itself.

I bought a dress-up kit for a fellow 4 year old girl, and wrote that it was from my baby girl. I was actually teary as I headed over to the tree and placed the gift down, thinking

how fortunate are we to be able to buy presents for one another and give?

AND

how sad is it that there are people out there that do not celebrate Christmas like we do?

It was a sobering and humbling thought. There are those who cannot afford gifts. They are in life situations, dire ones, that are out of their control, and that they have little power over, and all they can do is watch those around them celebrate the most joyous time of the year.

I always figure: if I can buy presents for those I love, and things for myself, surely I can spare $20 here or there to give to someone in need?

I do this throughout the year when I can, extending a charitable hand to various organisations. But the thread becomes prevalent at Christmas-time, where we pointedly send off letters to organisations that have struck a chord with us, or who are doing work in a field that we feel needs more help and support.

Some people think Christmas is about getting presents. The real meaning of Christmas is to give, and to give with your heart and soul, thankfully and humbly and with gratitude.

So today I am grateful. I am grateful that I was able to get some personal Christmas shopping done for my friends and family. But I am most grateful that someone I don’t know, whose face I won’t see on Christmas morning, will open up a dress-up set and smile gleefully, giving a silent thanks that somehow, through some way, despite all of life’s hardships, the true spirit of Christmas is still alive in their hearts.

IMAG7307