Horses

Giving my shadow side permission to write leads to raw writing:

I’ll be honest. If you went to the races or bet on a horse today, I’m judging you. You don’t need my approval by any stretch, nor do I need yours. I have strong beliefs about how animals are treated and I see the races as a glorified excuse to binge drink in fancy clothing. Nothing to do with horses. Horse racing is an afterthought to many who attend the races. This breaks my heart. And when I allow myself to get really dark, it disgusts me.

There are plenty of reasons to get dressed up, and if you really want to wear a fascinator, you don’t need the races to give you that reason. There are plenty of reasons to party, but using horse racing as an excuse it pretty sad. Especially considering how the welfare of the horses seems to take a back seat when it comes to the races.

I know people in the equine industry both as hobbyists and professionals and most of them care deeply for the horses. They aren’t who my judgement is for. It’s for the mindless party that doesn’t want to know what happens to the horses before, during or after the races. There are plenty of meme’s and posts and websites and even billboards that provide us with an opportunity to get educated about how the horses are treated.

And to be transparent, before the final race today, I found myself thinking about looking for evidence to support my view about poor treatment of these beautiful animals. But this isn’t about evidence, this is about what the races have become. It’s about feeling deeply saddened when I see photos of people I know going to the races, and hearing about people placing bets to gamble on the outcomes. This just seems ridiculous to me. It’s about the principle of not wanting to support something that is so bad for the physical welling of the horses. I can’t conscience being supportive of it.

I won’t apologise for judging you for going to the races or for betting, and you need not apologise for how you respond to my judgement. Let’s release ourselves from “I’m sorry but,…”  We can have different perspectives on it. I won’t unfriend you, but I will respect you just a bit less. I want you to care as much as I do but I recognise that different things are important to different people, horses for courses if you will. I’m not even going to ask you to reconsider your perspective, if you’ve read this far, you’re most likely aligned with my passion for animal rights. If you have and you are, thank you.

 

This post is day 16 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Cleaning

Cleaning out the house for new renters brought a few thoughts to mind today. I thought about what I learned over 10 years ago from environmental cleaning expert Bridget Gardner about non-toxic cleaning. She said the best thing to use is hot water and a microfiber cloth with a bit of elbow grease. So that’s what I used.

I thought about how much I hate cleaning, especially stuff that 1) will be dirty again in minutes, 2) you can hardly tell it was cleaned and 3) won’t be appreciated by those it’s being cleaned for. But I couldn’t not clean.  Oh did I mention, cleaning up after other people, yeah, I love that, not. However, I expected it to be worse.

I thought about how gendered cleaning is. That might be related to why I hate it so much. In fact, I don’t really want to talk about it anymore. Actually, I’ll make one exception.

The technology that helps me clean. At our new place, we have a couple of robot vacuums that clean the floors. They’re not perfect but they are pretty good. I like having them. I also really appreciate our dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. I love how much time they save me and reduce the need for me to clean things. I’m grateful to be alive at a time when this is a possibility.

Derby

Today I watched the Rebellion 2017 Roller Derby Tournament, a friend was playing for the winning team. We watched a game yesterday as well. Being in that environment felt different. I felt more at home among women with coloured hair and tattoos.

Mothers with families, fathers taking care of children while moms play derby. It was a great community feel, lots of people cheering for their friends and getting in on the excitement of the game.

This is not your average ‘women in sport’ experience. If you’re not familiar with Roller Derby it’s worth checking out. This isn’t a women’s league of a primarily men’s game. There are a few mixed teams but the vast majority of derby is women playing their hearts out. This is a full-contact sport. It’s one where having thunderous thighs and hefty hips is an advantage to block the jammer. And if you’re small and speedy, you’re likely to be a sought after jammer.

It’s also a reasonably complex game with lots going on, numerous officials to track various positions. As a spectator, there is a lot to pay attention to. I’m not going to go into detail here, I recommend watching Whip It or this video to learn about the game.

My point is that it’s a very different experience from most of the sport out there, that I find generally unappealing. I’ve watched womens’ Australian rules football, especially last year when the historic AFLW league was formed, and a little bit of netball and gridiron or what is called football in North America. I don’t mind it but it doesn’t excite me the way derby does.

It’s a place for rebels and misfits where I feel right at home. It’s appropriate to be as feminine or fat, sporty or freaky as you are or want to be. Fishnets, helmets and knee pads, heavy eye makeup, face paint or simple sporty gear, all common sights at a derby bout.

The other thing that struck me was that the post-game ritual is that everyone from both teams comes together as a single group for photos. The camaraderie and common achievement celebrated is really something. This is the kind of thing that gives me hope.

 

This post is day 14 of 45 posts for 45 years.

The Future of Lawns

It’s 2029 and the last holdouts are fighting for their right to have a lawn on their property. Their council has committed to being lawn-free by 2030 back in 2019.

Most of the rest of their neighbours took advantage of councils lawn transfer programs. Highly subsidised lawn alternatives such as mondo grass, native grasses and other herbaceous options had overwhelming uptake. 

Those who transferred their lawns to non-mow grasses and plants reported increased levels of satisfaction in not being obligated to spend time repeatedly trimming their grass and the reduced noise pollution (and air pollution) was also welcomed.

Some complaints of muddy yards were reported early on when residents were still learning how to effectively transfer to non-mow yards. Several local celebrities agreed to have their properties highlighted as a collective learning experience in both successful and unsuccessful transfers.

Can you imagine this future? What would it take?

This post is day 13 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Neighbours

We’ve lived in our new place for almost 4 months. Today I met our next door neighbours. It’s the last unit in the row to be occupied. Even though our settlement was delayed by 3 weeks, we were still the first to move in. It was easily another few weeks before anyone else moved in, a few sightings of new owners, but few resident owners.

When I was coming home today, there was someone in the garage next to ours, this was a first. I took the opportunity to say hello, I discovered that he and his wife are moving in over the long weekend from just up the road. They lived in another townhouse in the same development but found it was too small. He seemed nice enough and already familiar with the area.

It’s a whole new chapter for us, living in the newest neighbourhood in our suburb. After a very old crumbling house with a lot of land that needed lots of maintenance. We’re loving having very little lawn and not being responsible for mowing it. Having a large park right next to us to walk the dogs in every day. Ducks and frogs in the rain garden out front. Birds, trees, creek, a wonderful natural landscape, next to a group of boxy houses that all look the same. 

It’s an interesting juxtaposition. I usually advocate for everything human-made being regarded as natural, but in many ways, the development, with its rows of same shaped and coloured houses, across from a creek surrounded by native trees, shrubs, rocky outcroppings, grassy hillsides, they’re pretty far apart on the spectrum of ‘naturalness’. I’m not sure it’s useful to try and romanticise the park or demonise our new home, they are two things I appreciate a lot.

The point is that we share a wall and there will be people living on the other side of that wall after the weekend. I’m glad I met him and introduced myself. I’m looking forward to creating community in this new neighbourhood. It will take time but it starts by getting to know the people who live in our little row of boxy houses.

 

This is day 12 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Your Birthday

Today marks the 32nd year from the day you came into this world. My calendar reminded me and brought up the pain of your absence. You didn’t see your 30th year before you took your own life. You have no idea the impact you had. You probably thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.

Looking at your Facebook page today I see how much you were loved. My heart hurts though there is so much beauty in the memories people have of you. I want to post something but I don’t know what to say without sounding trite and feeling like it’s not my place.

I hardly knew you, in fact, we probably never even had a conversation, yet you made an impression on me. We were probably in the same room a handful of times and you were part of at least two of my communities. We’ll never truly know why you decided to leave us.  But the light that went out when you did cast a dark shadow on all our hearts. 

What dark thoughts possessed you to make the choice to end your life remind us of our own demons. It reminds us that we are vulnerable to the dark shadowy depths which we avoid. And of our avoidance of the things we don’t want to think about, the parts of ourselves we reject. It reminds me to be gentle with myself and love all the parts of myself that I struggle to give love to. Thank you for the gift of your life and the gift of the darkness when your light went out.

 

 

This is day 11 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Entrepreneur’s brain

Tonight I met with the people who just finished the entrepreneurs’ program I’ve been running. Hearing about how much they valued it and the impact it had on them was incredibly heartwarming. Reliving the graduation night and listening to their experiences, the observations of a previous program participant quickly reconnected me to my own joy from the night. Less than an hour earlier I’d started to feel tired, but talking about the energy in the room and feeling the love from all of them at the graduation brought my energy right back.

I love that our brains don’t know the difference between thinking of something and experiencing it. In this case, it was a really good thing! 

One of the participants referred to our group as like ‘family’. That meant a lot to me. A whole new take on ‘chosen’ family. Many of them talked about how their friends and family just don’t get what they’re on about. Many entrepreneurs experience this. You have to be a bit crazy and super driven to pursue a business idea. Most people don’t understand this, what keeps people following their dreams. Other entrepreneurs do. It’s nice to be with them.

 

This is day 10 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Say Something

Thinking about choices we make to say something or not when we have the opportunity. I was driving to work last week and thinking about a program in peril that I have some knowledge of. A very limited perspective but enough to wonder if I said something if it would make a difference. I realised I had a choice to make. And fortunately, have the space to make it. My busy period is over and it gave me pause to think of the role I could play here.

Asking permission to advocate on behalf of the person in question, I got the green light. I’ve made an appointment with the CEO to share my observations. I can’t control the outcome but I can decide what I do about it. So I’m going to say something.

 

 

This is day 9 in 45 posts for 45 years.

One Week Ponderings

One week into this 45 for 45 challenge I set for myself. It’s been interesting this daily blogging thing. I’ve been learning about myself in the process. I’ve been sharing more than I expected. Through the writing, elements of myself emerge in unexpected ways. I start to write about something that seems fairly basic and then it goes deeper or reveals a new view of the topic. It makes for a more rewarding experience than I anticipated.

But it also feels a bit vulnerable.  I often question what’s appropriate to share, and often err on the side of being open. Sometimes I’m not sure what’s good to say that’s not normally said and what to keep private. 

I decided to do the 45 blog posts for 45 years on my personal website rather than my business site. And I have an IFTTT recipe from ages ago that automatically shares each new blog post on my business facebook page and twitter. Where is the line between personal and professional? Who is the person behind the persona and what is being real and oversharing?

Ultimately, the answers lie in the eye of the beholder. I can only ever guess and see what feels comfortable, appropriate, and a balance of courageous and safe.  I’m always interested in feedback and if you feel I’m sharing too much, I want to know. In the end, I will make my own choice AND I would rather have your honest perspective than not. That’s enough for today. Thanks for being here.

 

Day 8 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Frozen Bananas

You may have seen the article about the woman who died with a freezer full of bananas without ever having made banana bread. I was at risk of being that woman.

Then one day I actually made banana bread. And it was good. And Emma liked it. So I made more. For a while, I was making them every week. The weekly stint probably lasted all of three weeks but I was on a roll! I experimented a bit, nuts in the mix, nuts on top, roasting them first, using the butterfly whisk in the thermomix to make it lighter. I got pretty good.

Today I made banana bread for the first time in two or three months! I’d forgotten much of what I learned, tho I did use the recipe with the butterfly whisk. Yes, it made the dough lighter but it was a bit crisp around the edges. I also used half spelt flour and not as much sugar as the recipe calls for. It’s not bad, but I forgot about nuts. They really make it, especially roasted almonds. I’ll remember that for next time.

I’m really glad I used up the frozen bananas in my freezer before moving into the new house. There are no frozen bananas in our new fancy fridge. However, there were some very ripe bananas in the fruit bowl. They really wanted to be made into banana bread so I did. 

Some wisdom that I have adopted recently is that it’s less about what your goals are, (like making banana bread one day,) that counts. It’s what you do regularly that makes the difference. If you regularly put bananas in the freezer but don’t actually make banana bread, it’s a step in the right direction but doesn’t actually get you where you want to be.

We are creatures of habit, we have habits that help us achieve what we aim for and we have habits that hinder. It’s not easy to change these habits and takes determination and commitment. Now that I have the experience of making banana bread regularly, it’s easier to pick up the recipe and do it.

 

 

This is day 7 in 45 posts for 45 years.