Thursday, November 22, 2012

'Our Town'

As I go about the busyness of my day I feel content in the knowlege that the characters of our town are busy going about their business, starting their day, finishing their breakfast, getting their tools ready for their day on the job.  I drive past my neighbours' houses and feel a sense of belonging just knowing that I am one of them. We.. together... in our town. I may not even see any of the people on my street in  a day but there is a connectedness, a bond that we share. Their houses are a comfort to me and represent the people inside.  We live in this time, in this part of town and for a short microcosym of time we are in this same place together. I gain support from knowing that, as I drive past their houses and I love them for all their quirkiness and interesting ways.

There is the man who rides his bike really fast around the town. Sometimes he comes up behind you in your rear view mirror and you jump. There are the beautiful 'Bill and Ben' brothers, who are now in their late sixties, but continue to dangle in the wind as they climb tv towers to work for our community in their elecrical business. There is the lovely lady who rides her bike past my house after working in the local op shop. She tells me she is taking a treat home for her cats and one for herself, as she waves the bottle of brandy aloft. I only know her by her first name, but we always have a chat. There is the inventor who's real life job is a physiotherapist, but all around his house and work place are his efforts at cooling the building using other means. He reads voraciously and is way ahead of his time in many aspects of his thinking.
There is our local priest who laughs so loud it wakes the sleepiest parishioner- he was told, 'Father we will remember your laugh in the holy land' on his latest pilgrimage. There is the grumpy woman across the road who refuses to talk to me because I allowed my child to walk on her fence- once. I said to our painter,' it only happened once' and he said, 'well that was one time too many!'

Sometimes though, you drive past a friend's house and feel instant anxiety as you sense all may not be well but search desparately for a logical solution to the picture. It happened a year ago when I drove along our street to see crime scene tape surrounding a friend's house.  The street our children walk home along, when they come from their bus had played host to a stalker with evil on his mind. Our innocence was lost in that moment when we realized what had happened to one of our young beautiful people. The young lady left our town and her predator is now in jail. Still we watch as we didn't before!

Today I felt that fear again, as I drove with my children past another  friend's place. There were two police cars in his yard and I prayed that it was a break in, we'd all laugh about our friend and his bumbling ways. His prayer before lunch as we sat at our favourite cafe..him with his overalls with one strap dangling. The way he'd drive over to the wrong side of the road just to say hi, as you walked home and then continue to drive along chatting to you. Or the time when he found my daughter and I searching for brown paper bags at the supermarket and insisted that we leave immediately and drive past his house where he would find his brown paper bags, no longer needed by a growing son. Sure enough, as we drove home, there was our friend standing out the front of his house, flagging us down, true to his word. That's how it had always been. We would call him when we needed work done at our house. He would tell us his entire life story and we would be happy to share the time with him. He was kind and good and troubled by life, but trying his dammdest to find his way back, by giving back in many important ways.

I drove on to deliver my children to school and it wasn't until later in the day after doing a million other things that I heard the terrible words that sealed his fate. You see this kind hearted warrior had taken his life this day and now I drive past his house and it sits in darkness and we are all blessed from knowing you my friend. I just wish you could have felt that in yourself. We will miss you..........

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Man- I can see his halo!!!

"Oh my man I love him so, he'll never know...All my life is just a spare but I don't care....
when he takes me in his arms...the world is quite....alright..." so go the opening lines to a song I know so well. I sang it many many times as a 9 year old standing on our makeshift stage in the loungeroom with Barbra Streisand joining me in full voice as we jointly sang to our romantic crescendo accompanied by the crackly vinyl of my  Mum's  'Funny Girl' record.

I want to stay with that thought as I bask in the aura of my man newly returned from Israel where he has been on a pilgrimage with other school leaders and our bishop. I sat there with our three beauties and watched with them as he walked away from us and onto the plane. We waved furiously and he waved back as he retreated into the door of the plane. We sat and watched as the plane taxied down the runway and ascended into the sky and the children and I felt a sadness descend upon us.

It's been 10 days since he went away. Today we sat at that same window and watched as his plane landed. He walked back to us today with a golden aura around him.I could see his halo!!! I want to hold onto that aura for a while and come back to this page to remember it as the stresses of life seep in and chink away at our perceptions.

My peripheral vision got a workout in these 10 days.  His absence allowed me to see so much that he is and  does for us and the wonderfulness he brings to our children -that is not me or what I give or am- but purely him. I saw from an outsider's perspective, how we are each able to give to our children in such unique ways.  Today, when I watched our family as we reunited with hugs and kisses and many stories, our three children tumbling over each other in their eagerness to tell dad about their lives in his absence. I saw it all as it is -a beautiful, tumbly, annoyagating love em to bits and know their frailties but love and accept them anyway kind of FAMILY. And I saw him for all of that too. We both smiled as we saw the circus that is us unfold in beautiful confusion. So many times I get caught up in the we should be this or that or you shouldn't do or be this or that and I didn't give a hoot about any of that today. I was just so fucking glad to see him.  Sorry but no other word will do.

He sleeps now but I thank you god for the love of my man and for our family. I have learnt in the past 10 days that for all the many possible wrongs we can find in our relationships and I'm the queen of  'shoulds' -if you are getting some huge things right, then that's a major investment in the life of your family. We are getting it right, as different as we may be, the glue that first bound us is still sticking!!!! Sorry just felt like ending on that super corny note.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


 Michael Jackson what a god! Just finished watching the movie that was made of his rehearsals. He truly was a genius.The way he used his body to show his experience of the emotions he was feeling- wow. The voice, the body, the demeanour. He flitted around the stage like a filament of dust, dancing in the light. He was so normal in some ways too. Laughing with his producers, getting the jokes. Telling Orianthe to place herself here, because this was her moment to shine. Wow- Orianthe what a wonderful experience that must have been for you, an Adelaide girl and so talented and here you are with Michael on stage playing to his incredible singing and dancing. Keep chasing your dreams girl you've been annointed for greatness. I could see how his kids just had this calm beautiful Dad who loved them. What a gift to them. It seems that despite all the madness of the media and the court cases, he was a kind loving father and that's how they'll remember him.

We are what we are, to the people we are with, for the time we are with them. You can reinvent yourself if you need to. Say you've been an angry person because life didn't happen the way you thought it would. YOu've been dealt some rough cards. You can reinvent yourself and influence those around you in a fantastic way.  Only humans can do that, only we have that insight. Get the help you need if you want to change and you can do it. Michael went from a terrible situation with a father who is still in denial about the way he treated him and even with that horrible legacy he became the father those children loved. What if today you turned yourself from gazing inward at your insecurities and looked at your children or your parents or your siblings and said, "what can I do to make their world better today?" Pay it forward people. Get the movie it really is wonderful. I mean the movie "Pay it forward" that will be another great influence on your life journey.

Getting back to Michael. I loved watching the rehearsal and seeing how he could redo a scene in his concert and make it better by a few changes. He had the concept in his head and he knew what he wanted to achieve and those that were with him for the ride, understood his greatness. I remember reading an article on Barbra Streisand, when I was a teenager. She was shooting the scene for 'People' in Funnygirl. The directors were happy as was everyone on the set and thought she'd done a wonderful job. But she kept everyone back well into the evening, going over and over the scene until finally, they shot it again. And everyone could see it was 100% better than the scene they'd been happy to say was in the can long ago.  She had a concept and she knew how it would look and feel.

Let's make our lives like that. Let's have that concept, have that vision of how it can be and let's strive to get that concept realized for our children our spouses our friends and family. It's a constant challenge and there are so many stresses and so much room for failure but keep the vision and you just might feel like Michael or Barbra after that scene was realized and the vision fitted what actually happened on stage. YOu can be proud that you tried and see the happiness in the people that you have influenced along the way.

Tip for the singers out there: Model yourself on a talented person you admire and try to copy their style for now, the way they sing and the way they express themselves that is you best starting point for developing your own style. I began with Barbra, Natalie Cole and Ella. They are great starting points for you girls. Good luck and Happy singing with love

Friday, July 13, 2012


I love road trips with my family. We've just returned from one such trip to Nobby's Beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland from Kadina South Australia where I live. And we're all bonded and ready for the new term. For some it may have the reverse effect, but for us, that time in the car all together for hours on end gels us together like nothing else. It's a good fit. My husband loves to drive and is happy to do the maximum amount of driving. I love to have that time in the front to read, write and plan. The children are learning to do the same. This time they each spent time drawing, playing with their little animals and people, watching DVD's, playing with Ipad's and Ipods and writing on the computer. We sing and play I spy. My son has  come up with a whole range of products he wants to make in the future including how he will fund them and the endorsements that will follow. He is a budding entrepreneur and time with no distractions in the car give him that time to explore his creativity. Of course there were fights but they sorted them out because they had to. But you know it works like a miracle for us.  Before we left, our son was spending lots of time in his room quite separate to the girls and the girls were pretty strung out with all that they were doing in the term. Now they are all spending time together and have done for the past eleven days.

 People say, "I couldn't think of anything worse than 8-10 hour days in the car" but you know I find that I too am at my most creative when I have time and space to just be!!!! The trick is to try to create that in the time when they are at school and we are all busy again. It's not about the time in the car it's that the car trip is the holiday along with your final destination. We break it up during the day to two stops at rest places with their long drop toilets--phew-- and a nice lunch in a town along the way. Generally we stop at about 6pm in a town for the night. We found doing it that way we had three days of driving to get to Queensland. The first day was only 5 hours driving and we ended it at Broken Hill where my husband's mother lives. She lives in a single fronted old miners cottage. It's about a 10 minute walk into Argent Street from her place. The kids are so used to this trip as we try to make it every school holiday break. They run from the car on arrival at her pale blue house with the old iron front gate and she opens the door with hugs for all. She always has a 'nana tea' ready cooked with love and care. We have our routine in Broken Hill. The children always expect to go to the great playground in the beautiful tree filled main park down the road. They also love a trip to Westlands Shopping Centre and a walk down Argent Street with their Dad and I holding hands. Often we bring their scooters and they scooter beside us. The little one is learning now to join them in this.  Next day we left and headed for Gilgandra where we have a friend on a farm. That takes about 8 hours drive and then the next day after another 8 hours or so we were on the Gold Coast. Along the way the kids were able to see cotton fields and gather cotton off the side of the road for their morning talk, have a Chinese meal out in Gilgandra at the best ever Chinese restaurant called the Dragon and Phoenix and visit a rainforest. We only had five nights and four days on the Gold Coast filled with visits to 'the Worlds'. Our sons life long dream!!! But it was so well worth it and I've come home refreshed and calm and well planned out for the next term. You can just see that difference in me can't you, I'm mother of the year at the moment all stress abated. Ahhhhhh!
Here's hoping.!!!!   

Monday, June 25, 2012

Product Placement 101

It occurred to me the other day that the amazing amount of fights I have with my four year old about what to wear, could all be significantly reduced with a little 'product placement'. So she chooses to wear the summer dress with the shredded hoodie to go with it and the too large shoes that were her sisters. Well now Roberta get your act together, hide away certain particulars and 'product place' others!!! Not on her bed, that's too obvious and she'll just ignore that. You place them surrepticiously in her drawers ie. perfect skivvy on top of the pile in the right drawer and skirt you want her to wear in the  other with leggings nearby. The jacket you want her to wear you grab on the way out and stuff in her kindy bag. And you buy her new boots and shoes and hide the others. Imelda's got nothing on this kid.  Voila. Done and dusted and not one fight.

 I remember when my older daughter started to dress herself at a very early age I would sensitively notice people giving her a certain onceover and I'd say, "My girl dressed herself today," with a nod nod wink wink look to the other person. I can remember her looking up at me when it happened a couple of times and then she kind of just stopped dressing herself for a while. I learnt from that and carried guilt about how I'd stupidly wrecked something that I should have been proud of no matter what others thought. I will never do that again and I just agree in a proud way, if someone says about this child, "Oh did she dress herself today."Because I got's the child that I should be first trying to prove my loyalty to not anyone else. But that doesn't prevent you from 'product placement'. Of course the hair argument is still ongoing for both of my girls. For a very curly haired younger child who would love to have straight hair like her sister's there are only so many ways her hair can be done. Thank god for her latest whim which is to have pigtails. Today she went off to kindy looking very 'Cindy Brady' and for the moment enjoying it. That is until one too many people point out to her that she looks just like Cindy Brady and then it's all bets off. Not too keen to keep that look going once someone comments, are my little girls.

Anyway 'product placement,' extends to the kitchen and getting rid of all the not nice fatty foods whilst having plenty of fruit in the bowl and remembering to offer it. Easier said than done but still we can try. Sometimes I cut up carrot and apple in the morning and put it in a bowl and I'm always amazed at how quickly it disappears and then I think why don't I do that more often but then I don't!
You revert- and the snacks basket for recess is filled with biscuits, barbeque shapes and boxes of sultanas (that's ok). Lately my older two children have been taking Tim Tams to school. I convince myself that that's okay because they're not going to have any other sweets in their day and you need a slight sugar fix at recess time. Thank god for the kindy who has a 'no unhealthy food' policy- but then I'm always wracking my brains about what to put in there. The poor kid in my morning rush gets apples chopped up and carrots chopped up most days and a plain old sandwich while her brother and sister feast on Tim Tams and other exciting naughties. And why you ask don't I give the same apples and carrots to the others. I do! But they eat that for 'fruit time' and then I'm still lost on what they should eat for recess and- I revert.

It's all too much of a rush. I know that I should get up earlier in the morning but I just can't seem to get it all happening. Every morning when I wake up I look over at the clock and it's always,  7.10am and then, well the game's almost lost. What happens is I visit each of their three little beds about three times gently at first whispering lovingly to them, "Time to wake up lovey," until by the third time my voice is showing a certain gravellyness as I say, "this is the third time I've told you to get up." Then follow certain gems such as, "I'm not your slave you know!" That line is repeated numerous times throughout the morning.

Gradually they dribble out to the table and we have a nice breakfast together but then follows the hardship of the dressing and the guinea pig feeding and the brushing teeth and just putting socks and shoes on for my 9  year old and well the 11 year old really doesn't have much trouble because he's taken to sleeping in his clothes so he can be ready quicker. So there he is in all his glory lying in bed with his school windcheater on zipped up with his prefects badge and athletics badge and sundry other badges winking at me as I greet him in the morning. And at night he says 'goodnight Mum, dI love you, could you put on the airconditioner and bring me a warm milk.' And then this morning the 9 year old couldn't bear it anymore because she said it was so unfair that I spent all of my time with the 4 year old because she could go to kindy later and I had heaps of time after I !!!!!!!!drove them to school!!!!!since they'd missed the bus again!!!!!! and I have yet again to travel the 100kmh 13 kilometre drive to their school in another country town!!!!! when they could have got up when I called them and caught the bus that leaves very nearby at 8.05am.   So the 9 year old was so upset with me that she started screaming at me in a wild animal kind of way, 'it's not fair....' and I tried to point out that she could be putting on her shoes and socks while I was doing the other one's hair and then I could do hers. But she was having none of it and kept right on at me until I bent and widening my eyes and clenching my fists did a very adrenalin pumping silent scream!!!! which must have looked quite frightening to my nine year old because she suddenly went quiet and allowed me to finish brushing her hair which was a mass of tangles because I forgot to buy conditioner. I could hear in the hallway older brother and little person very quietly saying, " Mum, we're going to the car now, we'll see you out there." And then my beautiful nine year old girl and I walked quickly to the car in silence. We backed out in silence and we drove in silence to school watching the pony's in the paddocks and the beautiful silent stillness of the country surrounds and we arrived at school to see my husband standing at the pedestrian crossing. Because he's on yard duty nearly every morning. No people, in answer to your oft repeated innocent statement  'that must be great having your husband as the school principal at your children's school because he could take them with him in the mornings.' Only an occasional occurrence!

So we pull up to see all the kids crossing the road for the Monday morning assembly and yes the Principal's wife is pulling up with her children late again. Get over it. We're here aren't we! I tell other parents, my role is to make them all feel good. They laugh and maybe there's some truth in that. I remember when my 11 year old was in reception, there was a casual clothes day and only he and one other child were dressed in their school uniforms. To make matters worse, their class had a special prayer session to which all the parents were invited and he was given a role to play so it was very obvious. I went into my husband's office and said, " couldn't we between us have somehow got the message that it was a whole school casual day today." He was too focused on other stuff to do with the running of a school. We laugh about it now and we learnt from it. I'm pretty good at making sure my kids have what they need for special event days. And I know that I have to keep up with all that news because he's just so busy. And I went home that day and brought back casual clothes for my son. For the record the other parent came up to me afterwards and said, " I was feeling so bad but then I saw that your son had his uniform on and I thought, oh well if it's ok for them, it's ok for me." See a very important role I have. Making the other parents feel comfortable and okay.

So Life Tip for the Day- Get up earlier than your kids. Get them up earlier too. And never think that your kids don't know what's really going on when another adult and you think your having signal that they won't get. And if your son goes to bed in his clothes just let him, it will help you be on time.
And most importantly - Product Placement- at every available opportunity.

Singing tip for today- Get lots of exercise and be healthy of body in order to sing with vigour.  Singing is an activity which requires both stamina and power. If you practice each day breathing deeply right down to your stomach and below. Filling up so that you can even feel your air coming into your back. Then try singing a long note and holding it. This exercise when repeated often will assist you to hold those power notes like Adele and Kelly Clarkson.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who has rights to our mind.

I was out with my good friends the other night and I felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld. They had now read the blog entries and I didn't know which ones they had read but I felt as I spoke like I was speaking for my blog. It's a very weird thing. You see I was writing this initially just to the universe and so I felt there was some godlike creature out there who it was all going to. But now wow I have people reading it and with that comes some sort of weirdo feeling of I don't know. I felt like I wasn't asking questions of them as I normally would but that I was living out a part of my blog and in fact this whole conversation could end up in a blog and that they might think that too. So it all felt very exposed and like my mind was sitting on the table with all of us as we chatted. And then one of my friends said, " I'll be disappointed if we're not in the blog," in a jokey way. But then I was going to write about our wonderful friendship and now I was thinking about all the possibilites for others to direct what was written. What a headf........

Okay calm down Roberta. Well now I am blessed to have so many friends. In fact one particular friend and I the other day, in all our glory, decided we were popular. Don't you love it. Still that's our opinion and it doesn't matter really whether we are or aren't it's our opinion.  So often in life I haven't been strong enough to have an opinion that was very black and white I'm a very grey person and that is wonderful because you can see every side to people's dilemmas --hence popularity !!! but it's a bit wishy washy don't you think.  I love the fundamentalists with their total belief and literal translations.
When my youngest daughter was born I was paid a visit by  a particular group of door knocking fundamentalists and invited them in for afternoon tea. We ended up meeting for afternoon tea at my house every Wednesday and I really enjoyed it. My friends all thought I was a bit desperate hence maybe not quite so popular at the time but I found it very reasurring to sit there talking about our separate beliefs and they were gentle in their prodding and I discovered I did have some particular beliefs.  Each time they visited they would bring another member of the congregation so I think I met most of the  members of their church during that time. My children loved their bible though it was a bit gory.

That time of afternoon teas and discussing the end times with fervour is a gentle memory for me now.
Ahh those were the days!!! Anyway my point was that perhaps my greyness is in fact more opinionated than I thought. I believe that all people are a potential friend and that sometimes it's a challenge to fit yourself into a situation where you can meet them and find that thread that links you. I've loved doing that with people in Pakistan in such different circumstances to here and in all the places of the world I've been. It's such a wonderful belief to know that every person is your potential friend it prevents you from having the usual concerns about whether or not you should speak to someone. YOu just do because they are on the earth with you at the same time. That's it you are all linked by that. So  I loved sitting with a family in their mud hut in the Swat Valley and communicated with them as they washed their mugs and plates in a copper bowl and when I sang for Oasis at the Hyatt and feared initially that they might bang a guitar over my head but found them bopping along to our songs on our first night there. Now that was a headf.... but noone is better or worse than the other we are just all people with a journey that leads us somewhere and the breaks along the way and how you deal with them are where you end up.

Well this all began as a blog to help people with singing and performance and I have certainly strayed. I was taught a wonderful little tip the other day for belting singing. And that is to try crying like a baby would and then lead into singing that power note. You really squish your face up like a baby would too when they cry. It's amazing the sound you can get with that belting singing if you try this method. Another idea is to say 'Hey you' as if calling across the room and then go into singing a belting note on 'you'....Kristin Chenoweth taught me that one in an interview I watched. She should know she has the Cheno note. But I think I'm getting a pretty good handle on that note too. It's all technique people. I believe you can all sing if you want to. And I intend to help as many people around here to sing if they want to. It's such a great thing to do.

Monday, June 4, 2012


So many of us are lucky to see colour. My son asked me tonight, "Mum what was it like in the olden days. Did it all look black and white?" Interesting!
Given my age I grew up with black and white tv and can still remember the excitement of our first colour tv. Unfortunately that coincided with me doing Year 12 which was really hard because the blue of, 'Gidget's' eyes (remember Sally Field) was so intense and Charlie's Angels so glamorous. I can occasionally still have a moment of 'Wow' with colour tv, remembering the gift that it was when I watch a movie with my kids.

Denial can be so powerful when suddenly you are given the thing that you lacked. Last year I had laser treatment on my eyes. I went in a week from reaching for my glasses on the bedside table in the mornings, to jumping out of bed pulling on my clothes and going for a walk with the dog. Ok, so that didn't last but the absolute amazement of sight still floors me and I remember to take a moment and be grateful.  I got my first pair of glasses in Year 6. We were at the War Memorial in Adelaide and my class were reading all the names on the big panels. That's when I realized that I couldn't see what others were seeing. Until then it hadn't occurred to me. When I first wore the glasses to school it was a real 'eye opener!' because I hadn't seen the freckles and lines on people's faces before and now there they all were.  Over the years I have been lost at the beach when I couldn't find my step-sister and had to go up to some blurry faces and ask, 'Can you point me in the direction of the voice calling my name? ' We laughed and laughed about it afterwards. But there is a fear that goes with being incredibly short sighted as I was (legally blind without the aides). What if you can't find your glasses or what if you are out swimming and you don't find your way back. The same step-sister and I were on a bus from Kathmandu to Calcutta. She had Delhi Belly and kept having to stop the bus for quick runners (so to speak). At one stop at about 2am  my partner nudged me from my lethargy and sent me searching for her. So there was I stumbling about in the dark at some dismal truck stop in the middle of nowhere, again calling her name. We came together and stumbled back to the bus, except as we took the steps up to the seating, my sister exclaimed, 'this isn't our bus!' We were left stranded me, with no sight and no passport and her with no passport and Delhi Belly. We still quote my now famous line, " Cally, one day we'll laugh about this." As the men zeroed in on us offering us rooms to stay and advising us conspiratorially, we became more concerned. Luckily the bus returned for us after delivering people to different towns and we went on our way. I couldn't see a thing except the faces coming up close to me and it was frightening and surreal.

My Mum paid for me to do a 'Natural Vision' course run by a lady called Janet Goodrich who claimed she had restored her sight with eye exercises and the daring act of getting rid of her glasses. Part of the homework was to remove your glasses or lenses and do something out in the world without them. I decided to visit the deli across the road. But when I managed to cross the busy road outside of our house I couldn't tell whether the people were looking at me and after making my way to the counter, didn't know whether to talk or not. We rely alot on visuals when we have sight and the absence of the visuals is very disorienting. Again the anxiety levels rose and the whole experience was like a nightmare. I felt so glad when I could close the front door of my home behind me and retreat to the glasses which I so relied upon. In the exact place where I knew they would be, because when you are that vision impaired, no matter how messy you are, you alway know where you put your glasses.

So now the world is a clearer place for me. I can't believe I am driving around without anything and getting straight up in the morning and walking around my house. We don't all know the extent of each other's differentness and it often amuses me that many people who can see ok choose to wear the glasses all day while the ones who are severely eye challenged often appear normal because they are wearing contact lenses. Nothing is as it seems. Which brings me back to 'colours'. Was the world black and white my son? In some ways it was and for me I liked to remove my glasses occasionally and then it would all be a big blur and I would try to experience the other senses in the comfort of my own backyard and I enjoyed this. No, life was pretty colourful full of family get togethers and green lawns with roses in the front yard much like you have it now. Sleep well precious boy.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Trivia in my head

Do you remember the year at the Grammy Awards where Faith Hill stepped in at the last moment for Whitney Houston? I do. Do you know the names of the bronze pigs in Rundle Mall in Adelaide? I do- Horatio, Oliver, and Truffles for the record. They were named by children in a competition. Do you remember the show on Oprah where Peter Walsh was helped the lady who was a hoarder and her husband showed hoarder tendencies by being unable to shred his receipts until he'd looked at each one of the thousands. Do you link people's looks and find similarities between say Sean Young and Lorraine Bracco; Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Torro; Susan Sarrandon and Leslie Warren or people you know and movie stars. I have said for years that my god-daughter reminded me of Uma Thurman and she did some new face matching app the other day on her phone and laughed hilariously when the match that was revealed for her face and a movie star was indeed Uma Thurman. Maybe that could be a new job for me matching people to their most likely superstar.  Trivia like that comes to me day in and day out. It drifts across my mind and out again. And I love it and love that I can do that but find there's not much place for it in the day to day doings of my life. Feeding it more now is the use of the Ipad and you tube. Don't you love it. I can check up on any one and see what's happened in their life from start to finish in some cases. We can flick from their very first post to the end days of their lives in a matter of minutes and we can refresh our memories on singers that we've forgotten. I'd forgotten all about Toni Braxton and her beautiful song 'Unbreak my Heart'. And then I found it and her powerhouse performance at the Grammys. Wow. Now she's in my life again and I'm watching her and her sister's in their reality show and it's all so familiar again. It makes me realize that it really is all about that five minutes of fame for everyone. The stars of today won't all be remembered in fact only a few. Wow U-tube gives you access to people like the famous lady conductor of the 1930's can't remember her name but man was she sexy in her backless gowns and the way she moved with her all girl orchestra. Will add the name later. It's a circle she was so advanced then and must have been shocking to many. We see that again now with the choirs and orchestras moving and creating movement as they entertain with their voices. I thought it was all new but this lady was doing it in the 1930's. What an innovator. Be the change you want to see that's what Gandhi said. Be the change you want to see. That's fabulous- keep embracing life and challenge yourself go for something a little outrageous and see how you feel Like my nameless blonde conductor of the 30's be the change be the difference.   

How the movies teach us about life

Have you ever wondered about your children and what they will remember from their years with you. I sometimes wonder about videos and whether we are in fact manipulating what they remember. I am an avid video recorder of special events and everyday moments but often it's a special moment captured and the before and after isn't remembered what led to that moment or what came after. I've recorded me and my child playing a game of barbies but was I ignoring her just prior to this footage or was someone in the house getting upset or was there an unhappy time as has happened. Can I manipulate my son's life to remember more of the good times and is that what we do each day with our children. Bear in mind it's 4am in the morning and I can't sleep as I write this in Australia.

I was fascinated with the character played by Sean Young in the Blade Runner. Harrison Ford's character was in love with her- she was an android. There was a sad scene where she realized that all of her memories of a happy childhood and a mother and father whom she loved were just manipulations processed through her android brain and created for her. It was such an improbable romance but Harrison's character found the weakness in her and the vulnerability and loved it. I loved the movie with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke- Gattacca- for the same reason. He was a survivor in a world that had rid itself of much of the weakness that makes us human. I loved that she knew who he was but loved him anyway. I try to do that in my life but differentness is difficult in relationships and sometimes the dark or frail side of a person is the very thing that pushes you away. I know that if I can embrace that in my partner I will see more of the specialness of him.

Don't forget the Logan's Run premise. Michael Yorke's character lived the good life secure in the knowledge that he was one of the elite and had many years of enjoyment left. One day he visits the diary room and discovers that his time is up. The badge embedded in his hand at birth is now shining which means he's one of the hunted. His time is up. Then we see him gain a whole new perspective on how and why the others have chosen to run and hide. He discovers that he wants to live and chances everything because he now has nothing to lose in order to survive. We all wear that green badge on us and we think we have so much time but sometimes that little light goes off earlier than we expected it to. Or we do live a long life but it's still not enough time for what we wanted to achieve. I will find you the saying I read over and over in my twenties. It guided me in so much of what I chose to do. It talks about people trying to get things just right and waiting and hoping but not venturing. Until one day they wake up and they are sixty and it's too late to fullfill some of those dreams. How strange it is now to see that I am on my way to that magic number. Grab the opportunities people remember what Oprah says. It's not luck as people have often said to me about the great opportunities that I've made happen. It's about prepartation meets opportunity.   

An Ode to Wayne and Bella

We once knew a quirky couple in this town who set up a coffee shop called Firenze.All the locals found excuses to eat there just like in the movie, 'Chocolat'. I happened upon it on returning from a walk to the bus one morning where I went to drop my two older children. They would scooter beside me and then I'd stack the scooters under the Emmelunga and keep walking home with my baby daughter Gabrielle snoozing happily and cosily as we went. When I think back I can't believe I managed to do that and get us all organized for our quite significant walk but I guess I was awake and feeding anyway. Well on this day I walked down Taylor Street past what used to be the print and copy shop but instead the windows were all steamed up and I could see an ecledctic mix of chairs and tables inside. The smell of coffee and fine food wafted out to me and I was enticed and captured.As I entered a lady with a soft, shy and beautiful smile nodded in my direction and a rather scruffy curly headed barrista smiled too and began a conversation. Those early days of breastfeeding with my third child became special and golden because of stumbling upon that cafe. Wayne was the best maker of coffee and always experimenting with new blends and finds from different countries. He was a philosopher too and very creative with his musings. I would sit and each day find a new saying or photo or quote somewhere on the wall or ceiling. And Bella, well she was the Juliette Binoche of the Kitchen. The aromas of baked tarts, flans, tuna patties and muffins would waft in my general direction and I was wrapt and alone and together with them in my own special world of baby and mother. They were quite happy to chat as I fed Gabrielle there and we passed an hour together. Later my baby and I  would go there as she grew and now she is four and her and Mummy have a capuccino and a baby chino as we watch the cars go by.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Our time on earth

I am 51 years old now. That is incredible to realize. It's exciting to be this age and final to be this age. And strange to be this age with a young family where I feel so much like a young Mum. I have an 11 year old, a 9 year old and a 4 year old. I didn't realize it but I was a 1 in 1000 chance to get pregnant with Gabrielle my youngest daughter. Wow naievety and just going along for the ride (so to speak) are amazing gifts to have and of course I was just so dam lucky. So here I am reinventing myself again. Living in the country for the past 10 years after a great career in teaching and singing and travelling the world and now I am loving it all over again. Which makes me think that I will keep on reinventing myself at the different ages and each will be great. Still your own mortality looms like the people on 'Logan's Run' you know that green light will turn on one day and your number will be up.

My father died when I was 10 so I know the 'impermanence of life' to quote K.D. Lang (another of my favourite singers- forgot to mention her). I remember going up to communion in Mass and each time just saying that prayer in my head...'please God let Dad get better....I never thought it would happen. I guess when you are ten you believe in the possibilities of life and you don't know as much about death if you have been brought up in a happy family environment as I was. I didn't know what I could do for my Dad as he lay in that bed in their room day after day and I decided that I would tickle his feet. So I was the little girl that sat on the chair at the end of my Dad's bed each day and just tickled his feet. It probably became irritating but he never said. I remember the day he asked me to come and lay down next to him. He wanted me to lie on his outstretched arm and cuddle into him but he was so wasted by that stage that I held myself kind of up off of him in a half lying half suspended kind of way. He told me that he was going to die and he wanted me to take care of my younger brothers and sisters. I started to cry and right at that moment where we were about to share something so poignant my mother knocked on the door and said in a low voice...'Des, Larry Holmes is here to see you.' I remember I had to get up from where we were and walk out. I stood in the kitchen partly shielded by the fridge and I glared at the man who walked past through the kitchen and into Dad's bedroom. I hated that man for years (not his real name). He had come to close the deal on the new car that Dad was buying for our family to have when he was gone. And for years I have had that regret too about Dad and that moment. Later he called us all in...myself and my brothers and sister and we all sat on the bed with Mum and he told us all that he was going to go to heaven and he would still be with us and watching us. We started to cry and I remember this he said, "why are they crying...." a strange thing to say. I don't think he knew what to say. Mum said gently, 'because they are going to miss you Des." almost in a jokey way. It's funny how even in the most tragic circumstances you have conversations that are normal and life still happens. I can't imagine how hard that must have been for them. All of us sitting there on the bed where we had shared our Saturday morning cups of milky tea and cuddles with our parents. And now there they were telling us that Dad wasn't going to be with us anymore.
A few days later Mum told us that Dad was going to be t

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My how the time flies

Just discovered this blog again and see that over a year has passed since my last entry. Well I do have an 11 year old boy, a 9 year old girl and a 4 year old girl all on hand to make the days pass delightfully.
I have been involved in a number of singing engagements since my last entry. I assisted my partner to win 'Singing with the Stars," in the Make a Wish Competition held in the Wallaroo Town Hall to an exciting 800 plus crowd. We performed songs from Phantom of the Opera, complete with the fog machine and candles filling the stage. It was such fun choreographing the walk with my lantern through the crowd in darkness. The voice filled the huge hall with the pressed metal tin roof but noone coould immediately work out where the singer was coming from. Then the spotlight lit up the stage door and there he was my partner resplendent in mask and cloak singing in top voice. When he hit that big note in Music of the night the crowd roared and I feigned a fainting spell on my park bench. Then he gently offered his hand and drew me to centre stage as we blended our arms in supplication to the beautiful music of the night. What a glorious time we had on that stage as did all of the other contestants and for such a great cause.

Then in October last year I was lucky enough to have a wonderful committee help see a dream of mine realised. We put together a concert here in Kadina for Disaster Relief and raise a good deal of money for the Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts. The theatre holds 345 people and we filled it on the Saturday afternoon. The team I had working with me could have run any Corporate gig they were so diligent and energetic, I've never seen anything like it for enthusiasm. How fortunate was I to have an idea and then such backers to make it happen. We had local talent perform for the community and everyone had a ball. We had a beautiful visual presentation at the start of photos from around the world endorsed by wonderful photographers working for top magazines who followed up with emails to see how we went.

More recently my business idea is taking form. I have found that people have sought me out for singing lessons over the last few years. The whisper in my head has become a roar and now I have embarked on a turn in the road with my career which seems to encompass all of my previous learning. My main study has been in Special Education for this I worked and succeeded in getting the Bachelor and Masters Degrees. I've worked in the area for many years as a consultant but now see the possibilities for combining my love of singing, my interest in anything to do with visual footage of singers and celebritys and my special ed. background. I am gaining a growing list of students wanting to learn how to sing and perform and hope to extend this to students with special needs.
Will keep you posted.

Tip for the day----When you breathe take your breath right down inside of you. See if you can fill your diagphram with air. You want to expand the rib cage and fill the area inside and around to your back with air and strength to allow you to sing those big notes.  One tip I have learnt is to say 'shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh until you have no breath left and then allow the air to come back in naturally. See how that fills your body and provides a structure or support from which to sing.