An Origin Story

I’m on a mission!  To remind everyone of the joy of poetry.  And in particular, spoken word poetry.

 

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the Forgotten Art of Gift-Giving

My iphone cover is slightly embarrassing.  It is so sparkly (read bling!) that I have to hide it behind my hair whenever I answer the phone, particularly in professional contexts.  However, it makes me smile because it was given to me out of love by an eight-year-old.  She gave me what she would like herself and beams every time she sees me use it.  That’s enough reason for me to keep using it.

Being somewhat introspective at times, I’ve come to the realisation that my gift giving strategy is like that of an eight-year old.  I buy presents based on what I like, regardless of how it will be received by the other person.  Sometimes this works well (if I’m buying for a twenty-six year old female), but I don’t think a teenage boy appreciates being given a sportsgirl voucher.

As I think about this some more, I’ve come to realise that gift giving is an art and that some people are really good at it.  I can name every single present that my dear friend E has given me for the 6 years that we were in high school together- that’s because she understood me, took the time to notice and wasn’t stingy with her time nor resources.  They weren’t expensive gifts, but they were something that spoke exactly the right thing into my life at precisely the right time.  For example, when I was in high school I really wanted a trophy.  The problem with trophies is that they must be earned.  Being somewhat of an incompetent sports person, the only sport that I was vaguely good at was swimming.  So I joined the school swimming squad, practicing three times a week before school for a whole year – determined to win the end of year swimming meet.  I trained, I persevered and I won – only to realise that they give out medals for swimming, not trophies.  E noticed this….and for Christmas that year, she gave me a trophy for being a ‘champion friend’!

She’s the one who’s the Champion friend!!!  I went on to win a trophy for tennis a couple of years later – but in comparison – this trophy means much more to me.

T is someone else who is good at getting prezzies that make me smile.  Having noticed that I forever have problems with umbrellas which turn inside out (and often feel embarassed about this), he secretly ordered a Senz umbrella for me.  It’s aerodynamic, doesn’t flip, and should stand up to 80km/h!  Overpriced brolly- yes.  But totally happy – I bring it everywhere with me!

Do you struggle with giving meaningful gifts?  What strategies help you?

Fabulous Round Up Fridays…..

  • Open House Melbourne is happening next weekend on 28 and 29 July!  My picks (from experience) include Manchester Unity Building and Capitol Theatre.  Don’t miss this gem of an event.  NB.  Some buildings are balloted and some have massive lines – do you homework and plan ahead using the website.
  • Winter’s well and truly here.  Get your knitting on!  Easy, free patterns for woolly scarves and other favourites at justb.
  • For the photography lovers – flashback in time.
  • Nerd’s Eye View – a travel blog that reminds me of the power of story-telling.

Photo Credit: TimeOut

The Art of Losing

Throughout life, I’ve come to observe that there is a positive correlation between laziness and losing things – most noticeable in myself (sadly).  One of my closest friends is notorious for losing things also, but she is also great at telling us that she has not lost the item, just that it is momentarily misplaced.  The difference between the two eludes me.

Today, I received a call from a telemarketer (please keep reading……)  Usually, I automatically tune out once I work out that they are trying to sell me something or that I have won some holiday through some competition that I did not enter.  Today was different.  What they were offering was actually a clever idea.

It’s called Secure Sentinel.  The basic gist is that they provide a one call assistance should I experience the loss or theft of my purse, wallet or handbag.  Once I ring them, they automatically cancel all my cards etc on my behalf and assist with the re-registration process.  Snazzy idea, hey?  Unfortunately it’s a little expensive given that I don’t lose my wallet that often….and Melbourne is quite an honest city.  In fact, I met one of my good friends because she returned my misplaced mobile phone.  True story.

Perhaps.  One Day.  If I’m traveling the world or back-packing or become a millionaire, Secure Sentinel might come in handy! 🙂

And….who can write a post about losing something without quoting One Art by Elizabeth Bishop (and yes, this poem was read in the movie In Her Shoes in case you were wondering why it sounds familiar even though you don’t normally read poems):

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

Fabulous Round-up Fridays…..

One of the many delights about my workplace is that we (informally) participate in Fabulous Shoes Fridays – where we wear fabulous shoes on Fridays (this is rocket science).  In an effort to be more intentional about my blogging, I am committing to Fabulous Round-up Fridays – where I download thoughts that have crossed my mind during the week.  So if you’ve been too lazy or too busy during the week to notice the happenings outside your world, this will give you a taste!

  • Not being the most fashion savvy girl in the world, I’ve only just begun to notice that coloured fashion tights are the next (or past) big thing.  I ordered a greeny-teal-coloured variety from ebay and wore them for the first time today.  There was a genius moment when I looked down at my legs and thought this is what Elphaba wore in Wicked. 
  • Different Kinds of Happy a sweet song about the beauty of a covenant promise.
  • Never be too busy to notice the struggles of those around you:  Stress Down Day.
  • Tom & Katie’s divorce.  Breaking up is hard.  Breaking up in the public arena is harder.  Breaking up and being told that your divorce was a ‘lucky strike’ is not warranted.
  • Going on holidays?  Some rules to fly by to avoid your luggage going missing.
  • Darrell Lea calls in administrator.
  • New York Times Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies – they’re my favourite too.
  • Learn something- Futurist till Forty
  • An exercise to warm up, repair your voice and expand your range: Sirening.
  • Spontaneous brunch outing at Palomine (236 High Street, Northcote, Melbourne) – bliss.

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The Lazy Person’s Guide to Trying Something New (Singing)

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” ―Yip Harburg

I find singing both the easiest and hardest instrument to master.  Easy because it is accessible for most people.  You don’t need to buy an expensive instrument, or take out insurance for that matter, before you can start.  Hard because the instrument is not ready made.  It needs to be trained up gradually (and your health is crucial to its upkeep).

Few suggestions for those starting out:

  • Join a workshop (if you’re not sure whether you’re committed to getting lessons yet).  One of the best ones I’ve been to are held by The Idea of North.  There’s no pressure to do any solo singing.  They give excellent bite-sized tips on warm-ups, exercises and how to maintain your vocal health.  It’s exciting talking to those who sing for a living and still maintains that passion!  Plus they’re extremely personable and a joy to talk to.
  • Drink water.  And some more.
  • Practice.  Often and much (everyone sounds like an opera singer in the shower).
  • Never strain your voice.  If something feels unnatural, stop.  Your vocal range is something that develops overtime.
  • Breathe!  Don’t forget to breathe.  And when you breathe, don’t raise your shoulders.
  • And the most important one – enjoy yourself!  That’s why we sing 🙂

Too Lazy To….Decipher the Art of Really Looking at a Painting

Art Galleries used to scare me.  There’s something rather other-worldly about stepping into vast silent space, surrounded by somber paintings.  Others seem to hold a secret knowledge and speak a secret language that I don’t understand – they mutter something about why the big toe at the bottom left hand corner of the painting was painted inversely on purpose (and which I completely overlooked!).  If there was ever a time I felt amateurish and inadequate, it would be smack bang in the middle of an art gallery.

However, if you distill everything, looking at paintings is really much easier than we make out.  I love this quote: “…..passion for a particular painting doesn’t always have to be underwritten by a reason.  The painting we would rush to save first from a fire isn’t always the most ‘important’ one.  Like all objects, paintings can carry memories and stories for their owners that no one else could guess at.  Perhaps there’s a painting on your wall that marks a moment, or reminds you of a place, or was given to you by someone who matters.  Perhaps what you love in it is a thread of humour or poetry that would snap.  Either way, when someone asks, ‘Why do you like it?’ every once in a while it seems fair to exercise the fan’s prerogative: ‘I like it just because.’ ” (Paton).

Sometimes we make life too difficult.  We are more concerned about capturing the sunset with our cameras than enjoying the magical twilight between day and night.  We are so concerned with finding the secret meanings behind the painting, rather than how it makes us feel.  Sometimes the answer “just because” is enough.  However, if you want some guidance to enhance your experience of appreciating paintings, here’s a very rough guideline (for the average lazy person):

1. Take your own sweet time- no one’s rushing you.

2.  If something seems a little strange in a painting (proportions, colouring, subject matter etc) – ask yourself why the painter has created it like so!  Is there something they are inviting you to see?

3.  Try and understand the context in which the painting was created – put yourself in the painter’s shoes.  Read the guides if necessary (there’s no shame!).

4.  Imagine who the painting was painted for.

5.  Trust your observations- expand on what you see rather than obsessing over hidden meanings.

If you are interested in learning more, there is no better book on this subject than ‘How to look at a painting’ by Justin Paton (Winner of Montana Book Award for Contemporary Culture).  I love the way it reaches out to the average non-art expert, making the world of Art Galleries accessible to everyone.

Despite being lazy, I am never too lazy to visit an Art Gallery 🙂