A tribute

19 March 2012

A Tribute ….

Today’s post is a tribute to the Golinski family.  My heart goes out to you.  May the darker days be less as time goes by, may the sun shine in your hearts again one day.

For those who don’t know the story behind, this is a tragedy where many questions abound.  I remember watching a happy, smiling Matt Golinski on TV in “Ready, Steady, Cook” competing against time and colleague in a fun cooking competition only to read the horrifying news after Boxing Day that he has lost his wife and three daughters in a tragic fire at his house.

http://www.news.com.au/national/dark-days-ahead-for-tv-chef-matt-golinski/story-e6frfkvr-1226231508988

Tears were streaming down my face because I could feel the pain this man and his extended family and friends were feeling at that moment in time.  It makes me realise how we often complain about small trials and tribulations in our lives until we are faced with a burden which is almost too hard to bear.

Yesterday his family was laid to rest and once more the pain and anguish was all too near.  I have never met them but have known of them just like so many of us know of someone.  I knew they only lived about an hour from me, going on in their own ways like we all do.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/funeral-held-for-rachael-golinski-and-three-daughters-killed-in-boxing-day-fire/story-e6freoof-1226302940883

My deepest sympathy to you all.  May peace be with you.

xox

Keep these three things in your hearts:

faith, because it can move mountains;

hope, because it keeps you going no matter what;

and love, the greatest of all.  Love never dies.

A quote on the introduction page in “My Steve” by Terri Irwin who lost our famous Crocodile Hunter in September 2006.

Third Date Rules – part Two

08 February 2012

The Third Date Rules – part Two

Third Date Rules for over 50’s
I am new to dating what is the Third Date Rule?

♥♥♥♥ *♥♥♥♥

Since my last blog The Third Date Rule, it has become clear to me that there is a definite need for more information about this rule.  More and more people have been searching answers to these terms on the internet and all point in the same direction.  What are the third date rules for over 50’s? or I am new to dating what is the Third Date Rule? are two of the more common questions.

Whether your are new to dating or have dated for a while, whether you are 20 or over 50, the question is still the same and needs an answer.  To simply say that it is a myth or a misconception is no longer a good enough answer for those who want to know.  It is obviously something being spoken about and there is a need for further clarification.

Dating should be an exciting time with minimum complications and it usually is.  Suddenly you hear the term “the third date rule” and you have no idea what it means.  What are you supposed to do, or not do?

What does it mean and where did it come from?

In short, the word “rule” is misapplied in this phrase.  There is no rule (per se).  The phrase has become more popular since Charlie Sheen used it in the TV sitcom “Two and a half Men” a few times and it refers to him usually striking it lucky on the third date with a girl. Not everyone watches the sitcom and thus is confused what this all means.

So therefore, what this rule implies is that people are more comfortable (and trusting) to have sex with someone on the third date rather than on the first or second date.  It is important to note now that you should only do what feels right for you and when it feels right for you and not let yourself be pressured into being intimate with someone when you are not ready to do so irrespective of how often you have seen each other before you do so.  There is no right or wrong time to decide when to take it to the next level, whether it is on the first, third or tenth date.

Since this phrase is now more popular these days, there is an unspoken expectation that the third date is “the” date that things might happen with some action in bed.  If you intend to play for keeps and you are not in a hurry to ‘test the goods’ so to speak, especially not on the third date, then there is no reason why it can’t be delayed by another date or two.  I personally reject the third date rule out of principle and since doing so feel more at ease and relaxed towards my date when we are on date number three.  If my date is not prepared to wait then I have lost nothing at all and just move on.

Getting to see your date for the third time also adds another dimension to the whole dating game.

On your first date you are taking in a lot of information, then go home and ‘digest’ all of what you have heard, what you have seen and anything else that has happened on that date.  The mind is tricky and usually remembers the ‘good’ stuff, the good vibes, and the feel-good endorphins kick in especially if the date went great.  Your radar may not have been up.

Come date two and you get another opportunity to assess this other person who could potentially become part of your life.  More information is filtered through to your brain and it confirms to you that “yes, you like this person and want to see him/her again”.

And then comes date three.  At this point you are not sure what to do next because you “know” there is a “third date rule” but have no idea what to do with it and might actually feel some apprehension about these unknown perceived expectations.

What do you do on a third date?

It is very simple:  YOU decide if there is to be a so-called “rule” or not with your new date.  If you are concerned of your date’s expectation for your third date and you’re not ready to be intimate, then you could casually mention something prior to meeting each other that you’d be happy to meet “without expectations”.   Saying “without expectations” makes it pretty clear that it’s just another opportunity to meet each other, get to know each other without taking it to bed.

Talking about it beforehand allows you to feel confident and comfortable  to meet your date and before you notice it, you’re on date four.  What happens after date three is entirely up to you.

FREEDOM, FAMILY and FUN

26  January 2012

FREEDOM, FAMILY and FUN

Happy Australia Day…. a day to celebrate being Australian.

I wasn’t born in Australia but I have been living here for well over fourteen years.  As soon as I could, I applied to receive my Australian Citizenship.  I am proud to be Australian and very patriotic too.  To me, Australia Day holds a special significance.  It reconfirms my commitment to living here.  Not once in my entire fourteen years have I looked back and wished I was “back home” where I was born.  In fact, quite often throughout the months and years I have had moments where I felt incredibly grateful for what I have here available to me compared to so many others in this world.  There is just one word for it and its called FREEDOM.

What would it be like to keep looking over your shoulders to see if you are followed? 

I used to live in a beautiful country, lots of wild animals and yes, in my early years a lot of freedom.  This freedom changed slowly over the years as politics became more heated between the different races and war erupted, crime took over and a human’s life was worth nothing.

I had the best childhood years.  My parents had a huge house and garden (well huge in the eyes of a 10-year-old kid) and definitely huge in today’s standards.  I don’t remember my life until about age 4 or 5.  I remember we had a tricycle my sister and I shared, it was one of those really sturdy ones and blue.  I would be the one pedalling and my sister stood on the back of it.  One day we took it out onto the roads (unbeknownst to my mother) and went down a hill that was a bit too steep.  My sister became scared and jumped off which left me to tumble front end over, again and again.  The resulting bitumen scrape marks with blood and gore on my nose, forehead, knees and elbows where hard to conceal from my mother, who was needless to say, more than a bit angry at us doing what we should not have done in the first place.  This was quickly replaced by concern about me howling my face off.  (I knew how to make the most of this!).

We also built the most amazing “farms” in the dirt outside the garden.  It was complete with roads and cars and paddocks stocked with plastic animals.  To top it all off, we even managed to catch a few corn crickets (terribly ugly-looking things) which we tried to keep inside the fences.  The plastic fences were usually held in place by soft sand and obviously no match for this big beast.  Once, we managed to find a chameleon in one of the big trees we had in our garden.  We always climbed the trees.  It was pitch black and its two eyes kept moving in opposite directions, hissing at us to stay away.  I was fascinated by this creature and to this day feel a close affinity to a chameleon.  I spend many school holidays on a farm owned by a family friend with very few responsibilities.  As a kid I was really fortunate.  Those were good days….

Fast forward to my adult years.  We grow up and then realise that the long summer months of playing and freedom are gone for good.  Games replace the need to create a living.  Freedom is replaced by having to make choices every single day of your life until one day you wake up and realise that there is more to life than work and money and status.  My wake-up call came the year when I was doing really well in all areas in my life. I was managing a jewellery store for a very large, well-known company.  The shop was doing well, we usually met our targets and life was generally good… until the day the store was held up at gun-point. Freedom was replaced by fear, endless fear and continuously looking over your shoulder.  There is nothing quite like this fear.  Many more unrelated incidences followed that year and a good year turned into a horror year.  The talk of crime was on everyone’s lips, there was no escape.  It was then that the decision was made to migrate to Australia.

What does it mean to be Australian? 

For me, not one Australia Day celebration is the same.  I feel good when I am able to see families and friends gather together with their extended families, usually in a park or on the beach, having a barbecue (BBQ) followed by a game of cricket or other outdoor games.  If you closed your eyes you would be able to feel this energy around you.  The smell of BBQs in the air, the sounds of kids laughing intermingled with adult laughter and the sound of the cricket ball it makes against the bat when it strikes; followed by the hollering and cheering of success.   I love seeing these gatherings because they represent everything that I always long for.  FAMILY.  Huge big families, with lots and lots of kids of all ages, FUN and laughter.  I feel good when I see images on the television that night showing the various celebrations.   Many more people receive their citizenship on this day, a day of CELEBRATION and it is also a day of remembrance for those who have fought in the wars to give us this FREEDOM.  Maybe one day I too will have these very large family gatherings but for now I am just happy to be here and enjoy what I have.

  To me …. THAT is Australia Day  ♥

Parenting after Separation, making the most of family changes

22 January 2012

Parenting after Separation

Making the most of family changes is not that difficult to achieve if you are open to cultivating a positive and flexible approach to family life after separation.  Looking ahead without dwelling too much on what has been helps to approach parenting issues in a realistic and light-hearted way, anticipating and adapting the extra dimensions in your family, seeing them as a challenge rather than as a hassle.

This is not to say that separating can be made to be positive just by will power.  Most go through a really bad time as we come to terms with what we are facing.  However, your children will do better if you are positive and confident with how you approach life in general.

Appreciating one another’s point of view on different standpoints is an important step towards successful co-parenting.

Helpful and unhelpful attitudes

Every parent wants to be a successful one.  We hope that our children will achieve everything we would like to have achieved ourselves.  We try to improve our parenting in all the areas where we feel our own parents got it wrong, and to give our children all those things we value about our own childhood.  We worry quite a lot about the effect our separation will have or is having on our children, and we want to do all that we can to make up for the changes they have to make.  We want to ensure that our children don’t miss out on all that is important.

There’s no doubt that parents separating is usually a sad and disrupting experience for children, but they generally get over it in time, and will certainly do so faster if it is handled well.

If you are able to put aside notions of blame, disappointment, failure, injustice and instead learn to understand how these factors will influence your and your children’s attitudes and behaviour then you are able to take on board a commitment to self-responsibility, personal awareness, patience and the potential for growth.

Language and labels

The last decade has seen a marked change in assumptions about parenting after separation.  It’s not just about ensuring that fathers have an equal right to parent when there is a family break-up.  It would seem that more and more parents are opting for shared parenting on an equal basis.

Therefore, instead of referring to your child’s other parent as “the ex” or  more formally “previous partner”, a more positive approach would be to refer to him/her as “John’s dad” or “Jenny’s mum” or even better, use the other parent’s name in reference rather than avoidance.  We were all given names and by using each other’s names in a kind manner allows our children to observe and reinforce our positive behaviour towards other people.

I read a blog the other day and the heading is “Put your words away” (written by earlbrussel).  It refers to a teachers who taught her children to “put their words away” shortly before crossing the road.  This has struck a chord with me.  If we as adults remember to “put our words away” before saying something negative, then the process of acceptance allows you to focus on what is important right now.

Accepting your ex for who they are allows you to focus on the needs of your children

Taking care of yourself

It is easy to get so caught up in the new parenting role that we neglect our own wants and needs.  We might feel guilty and selfish wanting to take “time out” even while our children are around, thinking we have to be there for them 24/7, play with them or attend to their needs all the time.  This is a trap most of us fall into at one point or another.  Don’t think that self-reflection , and looking after your own interests, is self-indulgence.  Children demand and hold your attention but why not show them and expose them to your world.  Do something that is important to you and share it with them.

Working towards successful co-parenting is a gradual process of attitude change.

♣ Image credit: office.microsoft.com/images/ MP900399506 & MP900409455

Toddler, running with wolves….

20 January 2012

Toddler, running with wolves…

It’s 5:15am and I wake up to the pitter-patter sound of my daughter’s feet on the tiles as she shuffles down the hallway to my room.

“Hello Mummy”, I hear her say with a bright smile on her face.

I know it is still too early for her to be up. “Oh Miss Magu, why are u up so early?” I sigh, wanting desperately to be still asleep.

“I got a poo!” she pipes, “I got a poo!”.   There is nothing I can do but get up and change her nappy.  I explain to her that it’s still early and she has to go back to sleep.

“Close your eyes sweety,” I say, “it’s still sleepy time, the sun isn’t up yet”.  She nods her little head in agreement and pulls the blanket back over herself.  “I want bottle” she starts to whine.  I get her some milk, hoping it will tie her over and help her get back to sleep.  It’s a habit I have been trying to break, she loves her milk bottle in the morning when she wakes up so early and sometimes even goes back to sleep again.  I close her door leaving only a small gap. All is quiet, she’s happy, I’m happy.

Today is garbage pick-up and I decide to take her dirty nappy out. The truck goes past at 7am and he’s always on time. I tip-toe past her room to the front door. The keys rattle as I turn them in the lock, the screen door squeaks just a little bit but loud enough for her young ears.  Not a sound from her room.  Its lovely and fresh outside, the air wakes me up but I want to go back to sleep.

I crawl back into bed trying to get to sleep, it took a while.  I must have dozed off into a micro sleep, couldn’t have been for long.  I open my eyes with my daughter’s face 2 inches away from mine.  With a big smile and as loud as she can she yells … “wake up mummy!”  And laughs.  She got that from the Wiggles, they say “Wake up Jeff” and he shakes himself as he wakes up.  It has become a game between the two of us, she plays it with her dad too… but sometimes it backfires… like today.

5:30am   “Honeybee!… why are you not sleeping? Today will be a long day for both of us”.  She is wide awake and I have zero chance of getting her to sleep but I try one more time.  “Hop up, come lie next to mummy and close your eyes, see mummy’s eyes are closed”.  She copies everything I say, in her babble.

“Close your ahyes (eyes).  Only lookie wit de ahyes”, she says innocently.  She’s still learning to pronounce the words properly.  “Lookie wit de ahyes”,  she repeats several times.  “Shhhh, sleep!” I growl.

Two seconds later she jumps up and slides down the side of the bed. The house is safe, she can’t get into trouble, she has toys and books to entertain herself.  I cannot help it, I listen out to her noises, what is she up to.  I needn’t to have worried she was back in a flash with two books, her hairband and her hairbrush and declares: “That maaine (mine), it go missi, it go missi”.

“What’s gone missing?” I ask but I cannot make out what she says.

I give up on the notion of any further sleep and get dressed.  What time is it?  Not even an hour has passed.  Little Miss M becomes more insistent and wails in a higher pitch: “It go missi, it go missi, oh no! Where is it?”.

I finally worked out that she wanted her toy necklace she was given for Christmas but we can’t find it anywhere.  I distract her, “what would you like to wear today, my sweet?”.  She walks purposefully to her wardrobe and points to her pretty dress. Something she has not done before.  I take the dress off the hanger and help her put it on.  She loves it, smiling and turns around in a twirl to make her dress flare up.  Then she remembers her necklace and starts looking again.  I busy myself in the kitchen and put the kettle on for a cup of coffee.  My kickstart it would seem, these days.

6:30am  Breakfast time.  Little Miss Independent does not want anything for breakfast, not even her favourite food, yoghurt.  She is becoming more insistent for something but I don’t know what she wants.  Opening and closing the fridge several times and tries to grab hold of whatever she can within her reach but above her eye level.  My patience is wearing thinner as she starts up her whining again.

Why do kids have to whine! For goodness sake!

I know she’s tired but can’t express it. Putting her back to bed is just as frugal. I grin and bear it but feel like mother wolf wanting to get her cub back into line.  She hasn’t really done anything to warrant it, except the whining perhaps.

Time passes slowly, we play a game, read a book and watch the garbage truck arrive, we wave to the garbage man, he waves back and again when he comes back down the road.  It’s time to change into her kindy clothes but once again Miss M decides its GAME ON and goes completely limp when I try to dress her.

It’s actually funny watching her as she collapses her whole body into a human heap, and she laughs her cute little gurgle laugh.  I tickle her knowing that usually does the trick but not today.  “I tickle you,” she laughs and bolts off down the passage, with no clothes on and as fast as her little legs would take her.

I see a little girl, she’s not a toddler anymore.  Has she grown overnight? She must have, no wonder she’s full of beans today, probably another developmental leap.

She sure is running, running with wolves.*

*Running with wolves is used as a metamorphosis by me to explain how I felt this morning. We do not have wolves in Australia, but some days I feel like I am the matriarchal wolf in a pack, fighting for survival. 

Image source: [IMG]http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc49/kfachko/ascension20by20denton20lund.jpg[/IMG]

I just don’t get it….

19 January 2012

I just don’t get it….

In a previous blog I wrote about the Third Date Rules.  Since this blog went live I have had several conversations with men and women who are on the dating scene who shared with me why they agree that the third date IS a very important milestone in today’s modern dating world.  We all know and accept that long gone are the days where everything develops at a snail’s pace.  Everything has become instant – i.e. instant gratification.  This includes text messages, emails and chats prior to meeting each other.  It is rare to find people who don’t use their phones to text.  By the time you meet you already know a lot of each other.

Another interesting fact is that the longer you chat on the internet from first making contact with each other the less likely you are to meet each other.  If you follow the most basic rules:

* don’t tell someone your address,
* always meet in a public place, and
* make sure you are not followed when you go home

then there is no reason to delay meeting each other.

As a single parent on and off the dating scene I have always maintained a very simple CHECK list:

(C) Character:  Who is this person in front of me, is he who he says he is.

(H) Healthy Relationships:  Take time and ask about his relationships with extended family members (subtly please).  The answer reveals a lot about the person in front of you.

(E) Easy to be Around:  Do you have common interests? It is ok not to share everything but there has to be something.  Does he love sport but you hate it? Warning flag should go up.

(C) Children: Does he have an interest in your own child, i.e does he ask you about your child(ren) out of genuine interest.  We all know to watch how people interact with our kids but watch out for the one who shows no interest in the early days, it won’t change over time.

(K) Kindness:  I love this one.  How does someone react in a restaurant when the food is of a poor standard and should be sent back?  Kindness goes a long way.

I just don’t get it…

why are people not honest on the net?

I cannot tell you how many guys I have had to listen to who complain about women dating on the internet who lied about their age, have a photo 10 years younger than they are, describe themselves as other than what they really look like and the just plain negative profiles  …  until I point out to my date that guys do exactly the same and that I too have been caught out with a few who did it to me.   My dates then go on and tell me how they take the time to send out personal emails and just don’t get a response back; or that they have paid for so many coffees, meals etc and never to hear from that person again.

I just don’t get it … 

why do they have to complain about such people…. move on! NEXT…

Recently I met a guy I thought had a lot going for him, we clicked on many levels and ‘sealed the date’ with a couple of kisses and cuddles. We agreed on a time and place for a second date, chatted on the phone a few times during the week and confirmed our second date for that Friday.   Do you want to know what happened next?

Nothing… absolutely nothing!… not a  phone call to cancel, no text, no email… just no nothing!  Silence, total silence.  No, he wasn’t in a car accident because he was still active.

Yup, you guessed it… I just don’t get it when…

….someone does not have the decency to say “hey, I think you’re great but you’re not the one for me”… what’s all this kissing and cuddling and just disappearing?  I just don’t get it!

Why a great co-parenting arrangement is beneficial to everyone involved

Why a great co-parenting arrangement is beneficial to everyone involved

8 January 2012

Today I would like to explore why having a great co-parenting arrangement in place is so important and beneficial to everyone involved.

I often wonder how could some relationships turn to total warfare between parents.  We start out as loving each other and liking things about each other.  We go out of our way to make the other person happy, we have children together ….. and then something goes wrong.  We fall out of love.  What was once love turns to hate, what was once doing something for the other turns to obstruction in every possible way and everyone gets hurt in the process.  It does not need to be that way if we just stop and think about it long enough.

If you “drop the rope” there is no warfare

My ex once said to me “drop the rope”.  It took me a while to fully comprehend what it really meant.  Basically it refers to the game of tug of war which is a sport that directly pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.  In this context, if one partner “drops the rope” then the other partner has no-one to fight with.

I stopped long enough to realise that he hasn’t really changed who he was when we first met, nor have I changed – we just became embittered by what was no more.

I slowly learned to “drop the rope” and by doing so I felt much happier within myself which in turn of course benefitted Little Miss M.  I was always careful not to let my disappointment, anger or fear out on her and once I completely embraced the idea the overall mood improved dramatically.  So then, once I managed to accept the break-up of our relationship, I was able to discuss co-parenting arrangements amicably and quickly realised that sharing Little Miss M on an even basis gives us time to “recharge your batteries” – so to speak.

In fact the benefits are tremendous.  Some are pretty obvious benefits such as:

  • she still gets to see her mum and her dad regularly;
  • there is no, or very little tension around her and in her world all she sees is that her mum and her dad love her very much;
  • we get time out without having to feel guilty or selfish;
  • there is still flexibility within the arrangement;
  • it allows us to date other people without having to involve our child or anyone else too soon;
  • you get to sleep in once in a while! (not easy with Miss M waking up at 5:30am most days).

The less obvious benefit and possibly a very underrated one at that is:

  • our child(ren) learn different things from both of us; or the same thing in a different way, expanding their horizon;
  • they are more balanced and the observed behaviour is one that is amicable.

I fully realise that not everybody is able to come to terms with a break-up without the help of mediators but if there is one message I would like to pass on today it would simply be “drop the rope!”

… it is what it is…