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Amongst other things, this is a love story.... the theme changes occasionally... this year it is fitness and learning to love yourself.

31 December 2013

Stop the chatter, silence and bad drivers.

Thanks search for silence in google images... sorry didn't get the link and am in a hurry :D

After the year 2000 fizzled into just another day, I remember saying and believing, that if you weren't depressed you were in denial.

Some people handle depression, anxiety and  stress better than others. I have basically lived with depression since I was born.  I cried a lot as a baby, big tears. So I'm told. Yet everywhere I go people comment on my smile. "You're always so happy," they say.
"Happy to see you," I say in return.

I'm not faking it, I am generally happy, smiley and friendly too. Some have even said I'm the most positive person they have ever met, and it's probably true, there are a lot of miserable people out there. I live with these feelings of heaviness, and a constant chattering mind, just like I live with bad drivers on the roads. I used to get so angry at them, chase cars that cut me off, tailgate slow drivers, yell at red lights, speed - all the time - I hated idiots on the road and I was one of them.

Now as we come to the end of Twenty Thirteen I realise a lot has changed. The chatter is less constant. I only ever seem to get anxious if I have misplaced something. I could probably control it but it's like a twitch that feels good to let out once in a while. I am also a much better driver. I still see dumb moves on the road every day and traffic lights keep turning red.  I decided a long time ago, that letting them annoy me was like signing a contract that every single time I get behind the wheel of a car my temper would be ignited. As if there isn't enough stress in the world.

Moving to a one traffic light town has helped, but the biggest change of all is a shift from being personally affected by everything and believing it is happening to me, to a more simple habit of observing the world around me.

Silence could very well be the key. Try practising a day or two of silence.  Joshua Becker in his article "A simple experiment to change your view of words" gives simple instructions on how to get the most out of silence. One step at a time. It's like a grown up version of the "who's going to talk first" game with a purpose, other than keeping the kids quiet.  There are no strict rules just try to remain silent and pay attention to what you hear.

To round things up here is my favourite track about silence.

Signing off for 2013 with a big thank you to all who supported my blogging adventure, and best wishes and peace to all for 2014.


28 November 2013

It's time to move on.

Thanks happiness coach

Hi Gary,

I have been totally stuck on my dream board post.  I was sure it would be of great benefit to many people. I have been keeping busy.  I have started working part time in the local pub, and writing a blog for a business in Melbourne, it's a little naughty as well as a whole lot of nice, and we have agreed that I need to remain anon. on  that one.  I have also been crocheting a lot, people seem to really like all those little knots raveled together.

Christmas is around the corner, I can hear the souls of restless people making shifts in one direction, or another.  I myself, am preparing to travel Downunder for the warm solstice season, and some bonding with the nuclear family and rest of my tribe.

I completely avoided Nanowrimo this year, I couldn't bear the disappointment of another unfinished manuscript. I've decided I might try my hand at songwriting - I used to do that a lot as a kid, on the back step in the rain, when I was too upset to talk. Perhaps I'll start with a song a day for the A to Z challenge in April.

Your blog, and your It's all about this post, inspired me to put fingers to keyboard, mostly because I knew you would stop in for a visit, and I figured this would at least make you smile...It's no Sinead v's Miley, but it's my public letter to you (one of many I imagine)....  the gratitude circle keeps spinning.


Ida C

13 September 2013

Dream boards.

Have you ever made a dream board?

Start by imagining or drawing 9 squares or circles.  Behind each square you put an image or a thought.  My earliest dream boards consisted mainly of kittens doing lots of different things.  Favourite story characters, horses, puppies, a day at the beach and cartoons also featured prominently. Once you have all your squares filled, choose or point to a number on your imaginary dream board, close your eyes and wait to dream.

I forgot about my dream board until I shared the idea with B2 (Bonus child 2, Boy 2, youngest Brother,) he was worried about having nightmares.  B2 loved the idea and let me put kittens behind his number 1, he choose puppies for number 2 and then I left him alone to work out the rest. Only nice things. Sweet dreams.

Thanks openspacesfengshui.com, you can try using the significance of each number to guide your dreams.
In honour of my childhood dreams, I think my number 9 will always be reserved for kittens. I will reserve a couple spots to sort out current issues.  How to dreams, problems to be solved, people I want to see or stories I want to write all make the list and if there is any room left over I just ask for something nice.

What would you rather dream about?
Have you come up with your own inventive ways to stop children being afraid of nightmares?

12 September 2013

Injury shame and bragging rights.

When I was a kid I used to exaggerate and fake injuries.  If I had one or two mosquito bites I would cover my legs with pink dots of calamine lotion. I used so much lotion that I would refill  the bottle with shampoo, so Mum wouldn't know how much I wasted. Then there was the time a faked a sprained left wrist, so I could bandage it before a 'know your left from your right' test.

Sports injuries were something to be proud of. The more swollen, black and blue the better.  A slight tap to the eye would have me staring at the mirror to see if I was going to end up with a 'shiner.' People don't really care about other people's invisible pain, evidence of injuries bought me a type of nurturing I craved.

Growing up, I had my fair share of real broken bones, sprains, strains and enough stitches to make my Mothers skin turn a lighter shade of pale. In many ways sport was a form of self harm that gave me enormous satisfaction on many levels. Sliding into home plate was always celebrated but taking it to the extreme, risking injury, and going down for the team felt glorious, blood was a bonus. Better to be safe than sorry is advice I now give, but never once took heed of.

Fast forward, and I truly hate when I casually throw a ball and re-ignite a bicep injury, to the point that I can barely stir a salad for a few days. There is a glimpse of former glory but no-one will ever again see how powerfully and accurately I could throw a ball.  If I dare to run even a few steps without warming up, I risk tumbling over and my ankle harshly reminds me of the time I played a round robin softball championship on a sprained ankle, all day, and 'thought' I was a 'hero.'  My hips, shoulders, neck, knees and fingers will never fully recover... then there's my hamstring, but that can only be called a sporting injury if dancing in an underground night club on a Sunday morning is considered a sport (perhaps that falls more under the self harm label.)
Badminton stretching attempt.  Thanks Birdie events

At the doctors last night, after a playing our first badminton game of the season, I adjusted the ice pack on my calf because it felt good. I could feel it working to prevent swelling and I was hoping for the best possible outcome. I gave my leg lots of Reiki and kept imaging the two loud pops I heard earlier were just the tiniest insignificant muscle fibres that would only be sore for a few days and heal fast.  I remembered how  I used to fake putting ice on an injury because I wanted (everybody) to see the swelling. I also felt the irony of injuring myself, even though I had stretched more thoroughly than before any other game last season.  I even used to fake stretching once upon a time.  Instead of bragging I am humbled. I play with three men, I have to work hard to put us on an even par, was I showing off?  Would it really matter if I lost a point here and there, what part of my ego allowed me to get injured instead of just letting that bird drop? Then there's my new racquet, was that a waste of money? Is it worth missing out on a few games or perhaps even the season, for the sake of getting that one shot over the net?  And ouch, calf muscle injuries that go pop, pop really hurt.

The doctors verdict was positive.  He says I can play again in a few weeks, but he's also one of those old types that doesn't believe in physiotherapy. I'll get a second opinion, it's hard to trust doctors when you're and ex-nurse and a natural therapist living in a foreign country.  There are language, culture and treatment differences, and the horrific experience I had with a dentist here, is enough to make me very cautious of all medical specialists.  I am not going to complain about the forced rest for a few days, the Captain set up a dart board in the basement yesterday, so I should be able to get some practice in before Sunday's tournament.  I wonder if I can play darts while sitting on a chair bar stool?

In my efforts to find the perfect picture for this post I learned something new.  Static stretching can actually cause more injuries...based on my limited research I have to say it makes sense to me.  Here's the link to the article 'Stretching before exercise is counter productive.'

This post proudly bought to you by a 'I feel stupid and smarter at the same time' moment.

29 August 2013

The eight natural doctors.

Go for a walk,
in the sun.
Take a deep breath.
Drink a glass of water.
Prepare a fresh meal.
Hug someone you love
laugh a lot or at least a little.
Rest and Repeat.

Thanks Free Range Stock

Fresh air

22 August 2013

Just add salt.

The first year I started cooking for my bonus kids was tough.  They seemed so afraid of some of the new foods I made that they would cry and even gagged a few times...they were used to their Dad cooking simple meals or buying them 'treats'.  I did my best to try and please them but there was no way in my lifetime that I was going to let these kids eat hot dogs, pizza and chicken nuggets as a staple on my watch.  Junk food was no longer to be considered a treat, and a whole lot more salad, vegetables and home made food was going to be on the menu.

Four things I did to introduce new foods.

1) Make a dish they have learned to love. The day before I make them something they never used to like but now do. I reminded them how they used to hate it, and praise their maturing taste buds. "When you were babies you only liked milk, now you are growing up and enjoy lots of new foods"... I encourage a conversation about the first time they tried something and the first time they liked it. I remind them that the food is the same as always but their taste buds are different.  I promised them that we only make them eat healthy, fresh food because we love them. If we didn't care about them we would let them eat all the rubbish they wanted and they would end up being unhealthy and most likely unhappy adults. I shared a few 'little known facts' based on my own experiences, like you only have to try a food 17 times before your taste buds learn to love it. The kids love reporting that they like a food before the 17th taste, though we never really keep count. It goes something like this. Child says "Ida I love celery now and I have only tasted it 9 times."  I say "wow you are growing up fast, soon you'll be asking me to cook mushrooms!"

Thanks Keli Nina Perkins

Add lots of salt and/or sugar.  If your kids love fast food and highly processed rubbish, all the real flavours come from salt and sugar.  I add extra salt to new dishes and let them add more salt, until I'm sure all they can really taste is the salt. Of course each time I cook the dish again I add more of what we like and a lot less salt. One chilli seed at a time (not the whole chilli) to build a tolerance. I introduce new flavours slowly, for example, I chop or wipe onion or garlic over the board then chop the other vegetables, so the subtle flavour of onion is on everything but you can't see it, then occasionally a few finely chopped pieces make it in to the dish... oops! It took a little time but now I don't have to keep onion in a separate dish for the adults, we all eat onion in our salad.

Keep them a little bit hungry and they are more likely to eat a new dish. This,I learned from a Grandmother who raised her 9 children, on a farm by herself after her husband died in his early forties. Serve a small breakfast and lunch and no snacks throughout the day. When the mid afternoon munchies arrive I offer them some water, if they don't want water then they are not really thirsty or hungry. If they are 'starving' I remind them that poor kids are lucky if they eat once a day, and they will survive the two hours until dinner time just fine.  No sweet drinks on the table, but plenty of water (for all that extra salt!).  Prepare the new food alongside a small portion of one their favourites. Give them too many choices and they are not going to try something new.  They are more likely to taste and appreciate a new food if they are hungry.  I also encourage them to help me in the kitchen and do little taste tests along the way.

Give them information.  What makes people unhealthy and fat, what vitamins make people's bodies grow strong, brains smarter and skin glow?  What is really in a hot dog and what is candy really made of.  I make them aware of how they are always hungry an hour or two after a pasta meal but rarely after a well balanced meal. I planted seeds and we watched them grow and tasted our produce with and without salt, accompanying other foods and decide what tastes better with what.

There were some meals where nothing seemed to work, so they ate a hefty serve of rice or potatoes, but with a bit of persistence they have learned to introduce almost everything into their diet, they even ate a mushroom and a brussell sprout each the other night, without complaining.  They ask me to make salads and flavoursome soups now, of course they still always ask for pancakes or burgers and I've heard them coaching their cousins about trying new foods, because they have learned that life is so much more interesting when your taste buds aren't boring or afraid of new flavours.

20 August 2013

Dog or no dog?

Reasons for and against and what type of dog.

I need to exercise. I feel obliged to take a dog out for a walk, but I don't honour myself the same way. Coming to terms with that might make a difference, one day.

It's hard enough work looking after house plants.
We go on at least two long holidays every year.  One is usually local that could include the dog.  The other is international, travelling with a dog is out of the question.

The children's Mum and Grandparents have agreed that they can keep the dog at their houses when we are away.

Regardless of how much the children want a dog I will end up being it's primary carer. I was aware of this before I planted the seed-

Vet bills, grooming and the necessary accessories are expensive.

We can't securely fence our property.  It snows in Winter here.  Whether it's for toileting or walking, like it or not, the dog will have to be accompanied when it's let out.  (Refer to point 1, this could also be an advantage).

It has to be an older dog. There are plenty that need new homes. It's fun to play with and train a puppy but dogs live a long time.  Small dogs can live for 18 years, ask a child to imagine still taking care of the dog when they are 30 years old. Also older dogs are likely to be toilet trained.  Do you think it's cruel or wise to consider that an older dogs lifespan fits in better with our future plans of possibly moving overseas?

It needs to be a small dog (not to small because the snow can get deep here) but big dogs means big poo, and I will enjoy daily or twice daily short walks, but I couldn't exercise a large dog properly.

We live by a fjord and a forest with great walking paths, but there are no designated leash free play areas in this town (or Denmark in general), this doesn't seem to be a problem to other dog owners I have spoken to, but I think it's mean.

After my last dog died I said I wouldn't get another one- I also said I wanted to be an eccentric old writer that lived in my tiny apartment in a big city, be single forever and never have children.  I have since become engaged to a man with two boys, and moved to a provincial town (on the other side of the world). I'm guessing that I was probably wrong about the dog too.

We met a man the other night who says his friend has a poodle that needs a new home. We should know by the end of the week if we are the right people for that dog.  There is also a 6 year old long haired daschund, named Buster, that has been living in a kennel for over a month because his owner is sick. We will visit him a visit too.

This is not going to be an easy decision. I will weigh up the pros and cons and eventually do what feels right.

16 August 2013

A comedy duo. #Australia's got Talent, #Dash and D'Bree

Dash and D'Bree, are like a cross between Patsy and Edína from Absolutely Fabulous and and Kath and Kim the iconic female comedy duo from Australia.  Their dedication to their dream is starting to pay off, and I want to support them. You can find out more about their origins on Dash and D'Bree's website. They are friends of mine, talented, intelligent, and provide an interesting insight into the attitudes and minds of the post X-generation. I can't remember what that generation is called... Is it the, I want to be famous and I'm not afraid to make you know why I think I should be famous generation. Dash and D'Bree are shop assistants that want to be famous and aren't afraid to reveal some youth truths as well as try and make everybody look and be as fabulous as they are.

Here''s a link to some of their uploaded videos, where you can see lessons in walking like a model, tv performances, stage shows, singing and other productions.

Their performance on Australia's got talent gave birth to the idea of a television show, the judges loved them and Danni Minogue said she just wants to hang out with them.

Check out the clap rap video from their first audition.. (Did you spot me smiling in the audience?)

Here's a link to their facebook page... 

and their twitter is here https://twitter.com/dashanddbree

They are in the process of raising some money for a new web series.  This  is a rags to riches story I want to see come true. I believe they only need a few hundred dollars to reach their modest goal. This a shout out to them and their hard work, the world will be a funnier place if more people meet their talent.  Even if you have absolutely no intention of handing over a single cent, click on the link for a taste of their humour and skill, and like or join their fb or twitter. I love their 'you can't say that' comedy a lot,  mostly because they do say and even sing about it.

Click here if you want to learn more about their appeal.

14 August 2013

When Abstinence becomes Indulgence.

 I have mastered the art of indulgence and rarely chosen, or adhered to, abstinence. So I used my ability to twist things around in order to make sense of it all and asked myself how to make abstinence an indulgence?

Instead of indulging an insatiable appetite The Captain and I have abstained from re-filling our plates with 'left overs' and started indulging a desire to be healthier and happier.

Abstaining from late night television and cuddling on the sofa means we have indulged in more sleep and better moods.

Abstaining from pasta and potatoes means we  have indulged in more colourful vegetables, beans and salads.

Abstaining from sugar has re-introduced fruit as a naturally sweet indulgence.

Abstaining from extra salt means indulging in herbs and spices.

Abstained from spoiling each other with immobilising treats, indulge in long walks in the forest.

Abstain from back hunching hours on the computer, indulge in lengthening stretches that give birth to long forgotten endorphins. .

Abstain from a sedative lifestyle, indulge in skipping ropes and racing heart beats.

Abstain from wasting money, save instead for indulgent holidays.

Abstain from talking too much, indulge in words of new stories you hear.

Abstain from controlling, indulge in spontaneity, at times it's the other way round.

Abstain from criticising  yourself and begin to indulge a desire to be loved - by you.


The Captain saw 14 shooting starts last night, I asked him if he wished my wish, be fit. He answered if that will make you happier then I wished it 14 times.


This from the man that  loves decadent meals.

Me: What, no cheese?
Him: Not today.


Me: I bought you a present.
Him: Chocolate?
Me: No. A skipping rope.
Him: *finds you tube clip on how to skip rope - starts skipping*
Me: *Wipes dust off my rope.*


This from the Captain, after a night shift, whose favourite dock has always been his own bed.

Me:  It's windy and raining, perfect day to spend in bed.
Him:  Mmm - I'll make you a coffee but you have to be dressed by 11.00. We're going for a walk.

Complaining is an indulgence I might just abstain from too.

12 August 2013

The Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest

Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest!

In honour of Gary (and special mention to Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar) 
Gary at Klahanie is many things including lover of animals, enchanted forests and humans, especially the people that live outside of society's perfectly formed cubes. He is courteous, wise, funny and one of the first bloggers to make me feel welcome in blogland.  If you visit him and share his virtues you will be welcomed too.  He also whinges a lot, about blog hops and blogfests especially the #atozchallenge which he anti-supports to such a great extent that I am sure many people have joined the challenge just because of him... 

This is the  Anti-blogfest Gary Fest, created in his honour for (i'm guessing here) '(less) shits and (more) giggles' and is hosted by:

Mark "Madman" Koopmans
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Rockin' Robyn Engel
Life is good Tina
Morgan Shamy.

The rules: Create the titles of three PG-13 blogfests you would never join and then add a descriptive sentence or two

1.  Abstinence and Celibacy blogfest.  No blogging for one month - not even a 'this is not an official post' posts - and no reflections post or you will be disqualified from participating for up to 3 years depending on length of the post and how much you whined. Also taking holiday's doesn't count.

2. The look at moi look at moi i'm so great and have really really great products i want you to buy and i don't care how great you think you are just read my blog and buy my products and leave a comment so everyone can see that you think i'm great too.......but don't expect me to reply to your comment or even read your blog and there is no way i will ever comment on your blog .......ever..... but I will email you and try to sell my products.....grammar anarchy blogfest. Rule number one: the only acceptable punctuation is lots of ellipses. Rule number two: Just read my blog and buy my stuff.

3. The A to Z bigot list. Lists must be in alphabetical order: you may choose one minority group and list 26 things you hate about them, or 26 minority groups and one thing you hate about them.  Technical point... there are more women than men on the planet so they are no longer a minority group. 


So there they are, 3 blogfests I would never join and I am sure Gary would never promote... though I'm thinking grammar anarchy on it's own would be one he might support in it's own right. Check out his blog here, I never know what to expect but I'm always glad that I took the time to read something he or Penny wrote.   

Dear Gary I hope you have fun on your day.

I wish I knew how to add the linky list to my post... check out the hosts pages to see the list of other participants

9 August 2013

NaNoBloPo - Didn't hot used to mean stolen?

I have to admit that while NaNoBloPo has give me a reason to blog, the prompts for the 'HOT' theme aren't inspiring me in a positive way. Need I remind you that there are no rules even suggesting that you have to use the prompts, you don't even need a theme to join, so with no-one left to blame, it's time for me to have a positive attitude check. This week's prompts and the reasons I've avoided them are:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Would you want to be known as hot?
Admittedly my social life, since moving to Denmark, is somewhat limited to family, classmates and the local pub (which, coincidentally is owned by a fellow Aussie woman, that has lived here for 20 years.) She has become a friend and my mentor and the only reason I visit the pub as often as I do, which isn't often, but I'm on a first name basis with all the regulars!  One of them recently asked me why I don't have any tattoo's, because he thinks they are hot. The only part of my body he could see was my wrists and neck. No I don't want to be known as hot.  I also don't want to know if the other regulars think I look hot, pregnant... or not, and I tire of the ass and breast comments every time my friend or I wear anything other than wet weather gear or practical uniforms. Paris Hilton popularised the word hot, anything from a car to a baby is labelled hot, once upon a time a hot car meant jail time.  Hot or Not is what stops me leaving the house some days, I can't be bothered putting on a costume and my house clothes are either too hot (i.e very little) or just too daggy to be seen by the general public, some people would think me walking around the house without a bra on is hot, others will shudder at the image.  I don't want to know if anyone thinks I'm hot or not, but I love that the Captain thinks I'm beautiful.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Is someone hot forever once they're labeled hot? Or is hotness fleeting?
Ok so Sophia Loren is hot, isn't she?  Are great weddings hot even after the marriage has fallen apart? Are couple's hot for getting back together or is never breaking apart even hotter, what about those cold nights? Is it hot to be liked by everyone, does that make any of us hot?  I guess the easiest way to answer this question is to keep asking questions.  
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Gina Lollobrigida declared 40 "hot." What do you think is the "hottest" age for women?
Her image is hot...but I can't even picture that now. She was an actress right? I'm guessing she has dark hair and if I google her I'm sure I can find a photo of her in a red dress. I think every woman has potential to look her best towards the end of every decade, energetically by mid-late 20's, 30's, 40's etc, we have embraced a decade of change and released the fear of getting a decade older. We haven't started worrying about the looming next decade yet, the peak has been reached. Gina Lollobrigida must be hot because the last three letters of her name are.
Friday, August 9, 2013
How is a red hot second different from a regular second?
More questions. Were you closer to first or third?  It's still second.  Second in charge (2ic). I am a two person, born on the second, and my initials are IC.  I am an natural 2ic. If hot meant funny I would think that's hot. 

Ok, maybe I have been in a 'not so positive' mood all week, but I really think that these questions require too much thought or they are just so cliche and simple, that I couldn't be bothered putting too much thought into them.  On the other hand there isn't much thinking going on around here about anything else I could be writing, so I procrastinated then ended up doing the prompts.  Hopefully there is a shift next week.  
If my surprise visitor on wednesday night was any indication, then there are going to be some changes on the way.  
My surprise visitor flew silently into the house after midnight, at first I thought it was a large moth. The second time it flew past I thought it was a very quiet bird. By the time I woke up the Captain and he stood up, we both realised it was a bat.  In many cultures Bat is a symbol of rebirth.
Thanks domrador.

5 August 2013

What makes a woman hot? NaNoBloPo

Today's prompt for NaNoBloPo is What make a woman hot?

Well all I can think of for now is how hot I was on Friday night at a double 40th birthday party I was at.  It was over 30 degrees, no air conditioning and no sign of a cool change as the night heated up.  I was wearing a black outfit and yellow shoes, the Captain thought I looked hot but he is incredibly biased.  There was lots of hotties partying all through the night. It was so hot the next morning I decided to have a nap on the hammock outside because it was just too hot to sleep inside.

Other hot things on my radar this past month have been:

 My friends Ode to Aphrodite facebook page, it's for the wild woman at heart.

The 2011 movie Hysteria that I watched the other night.

A fascinating article or blog post about the wisdom of females, their genitals and the etymology of the terribly misused C word.

This clip about the first female runner in the Boston Marathon

and another clip that has been doing the rounds on facebook recently.

Reclaiming power, facing changes, overcoming challenges all these things are hot, and curry, which happens to be simmering on the stove right now, the Captain is pouring the wine and it smells ready to eat, so ciao for now.

4 August 2013

Have you ever Nano...ed?

In November 2012 I became a Nanowrimo winner for the first time... google it if you are interesting in finally committing to a writing a novel, the goal is to write fifty thousand words in a month.  Many people have successfully published books as a result of their Nano efforts, and it opened up a whole new world to me.

This month I've decided to joined the NaBloPoMo challenge tomorrow is the last day to join here.

I am already a day or three behind.  There are prompts here, if you choose to follow the prompts the theme is hot, otherwise you can write about whatever you want, it appears weekends are not counted.  There doesn't seem to be any rules or regulations, just some usual blog hop courtesies etc... 

The first two prompts are...

Thursday, August 1, 2013
Do you like hot drinks such as coffee and tea?  
Yes and Yes.  I love coffee so much that I get annoyed if it isn't made properly.  I am yet to taste a well made cafe latte in Denmark, unlike France  and Melbourne my hometown has a great reputation for perfect coffee.  I like espresso too, no sugar thanks. The Captain makes me coffee with steamy, frothy milk shaped loved hearts on them.

I never get tired of them, though I know he would love to get more creative eventually.

Friday, August 2, 2013
How do you like to warm up when you're cold? 
I never understood what really cold was before I moved so close close to the north pole.  In these parts of the world nothing quite warms you up as good as sensible layering of clothes and the famous Danish coffee punch.  Warning I did not say it tastes good.  Strong black coffee, two spoons of sugar and a generous dollop of Danish Akvavit (a herbal infused vodka type liqueur).  The new floor heating and a hot spa bath downstairs works wonders too!

That's it for now see you Monday

27 July 2013

Insert interesting title here... #tomorrowland

Insert interesting post here.

Followed by a majestic photo.

Present interesting points with humour and wisdom.

Conclude with a philosophical or broader outlook.

Ask an empathic question that reflects my own struggles and/or understanding.

Acknowledge potential comments that will either affirm values and beliefs or simply provide a connection with people you care about and haven't forgotten.

Smile, remember that misery, confusion and sensory overload is better than denial.

Sometimes a day at the beach turns into a summer holiday, other times it just means sand in your sandwich.

End with an original and unexpected quote, that may or may not be relevant. Smile again.

Escape to Tomorrowland (online) for the weekend. Sing, dance, burn some calories and replenish the rhythm...

http://www.tomorrowlandradio.com/  ... Ministry of Sound UK  can put you in the mood before the live show kicks off from Midday til 1am, Belgium time.

You tube Channel link...  a little annoying with all the ads, but fun to watch while you listen live on one of the many radio stations all around the world.  Have you ever been to a dance or music festival? Some of my most magical memories are of dancing with friends and strangers...

Now the weekend has come to an end here's a few links that have been published around the net.. but if you google tommorowland 2013 you will find more...

one of my favourites... Armin Van Buuren.. I saw him do a live set for 9 hours in Melbourne a few years ago... it was incredible

here's a good list of several other artists performances...


All the best


25 June 2013

Personality versus Skills

How many times have you worked somewhere and thought you could do better than your bosses?  Maybe you watched people with less experience beat you into positions you deserved, or maybe you just felt you missed out because you didn't look the part, too short, too fat, too sexy, too *insert nationality or colour of skin here.*  Or maybe the opposite is true, have you ever scored a job because you charmed your way through the interview?

Yesterday I scored 100% for my Danish oral exam.  I usually do well in exams. Í am accustomed to distinctions, high distinctions and have even won a few achievements and memorial awards. I know how to give the assessors what they want, but this perfect score came as a surprise to me.

It certainly comes as no surprise, to anybody that knows me, that I did particularly well on an oral exam... "She can talk with a mouth full of marbles under water, talkative, have a chat  and, does she ever take a breath" are sentences I have heard often...at least until I moved to country where I needed to learn a new language and listening became more important than talking.  I still share my views but with far fewer words, because I'm really not that good at Danish yet.

I have trouble pronouncing the difference between U and Y (a vowel in Danish) which to an untrained ear sound exactly the same. Then there is there 3 extra vowels, Å. which sounds (to me) like O, Æ which sounds like the A in way, and Ø which should be classified as Denmark's biggest natural disaster...and the source of many 'rød grød med fløde' jokes...

 It's not easy.

They Danes swallow their d's, g's and v's and r's which makes it impossible to hear the difference between syv, (seven) syg (sick), syd (south), or sy (sew)...because they all sound like soo.

I know I made the assessor laugh a few times, I used all my acting abilities to act natural, and like many danes, I uuummed and aaahed a lot between words and sentences, a tactic to try and stretch the time and find forgotten words. I chose a subject I am familiar with and had memorized my talk, but there were questions and diagrams I hadn't seen that I had to describe and discuss... and I know there were grammatical errors.  At one point I completely forgot the words for advantage and disadvantage, so I talked about both the the positives and negatives of the advantages and disadvantages...and talked and talked and talked. The only question the assessor asked me was if I was a Doctor or medically trained?

I would have been proud if I scored a pass, and impressed if I scored anything above 60%, my accent is thick, my grammar is atrocious.  I put adverbs in the wrong place and mess up tenses all the time. I forget words and just can't get my mouth around some of the really long words... 100% feels like I cheated, that I fooled the assessor into believing something that I'm not, and now my Danish friends and family think my perfect score means I can speak and understand perfect Danish. I'm afraid Danglish will have to suffice for a while longer. 100% is not a true reflection of my language skills, but perhaps it's a true reflection of two of my other favourite skills, the arts of acting and communication...and of course I have to give some credit to my fabulous teachers.

I am truly baffled by the results, getting more than I deserved, the opposite of being cheated but the feeling is very similar. The relief that it is all over and knowing I can go forth and enjoy a stress free Summer makes it easy to move on and just be grateful.

8 June 2013

Exams, endings and where's my birthday?

Apart from stress and judgment, exams are symbolic of change. They represent endings, new beginnings, uncertainty.  It's no wonder we had a couple of classroom battles in the last month. I have one more Danish exam on the 24th of June (happy birthday Sis) and so far I've passed the reading and writing.  I can watch and read news in Danish, have conversations with my bonus kids and the Captains family, and even manage a joke or two at the local bar now, but I still don't consider myself fluent. When I have a client sitting in the chair, I still have to point to parts of the body, or struggle with metaphors because we're not taught the names of internal organs, foot bones or complex emotional reactions in danish classes.

I've decided to keep learning Danish by studying 10th grade Biology and Psychology. The local school is a wonderful modern building with a great atmosphere and plenty of teachers I'll enjoy keeping in contact with. This decision is both a learning and networking opportunity and being close to home, it's a great excuse for a walk through the forest two days a week.  Ironically, even though I have studied both subjects at more advanced levels, I never studied them in high school - what you resist persists.

The classes will provide me with more words, more language, more inspiration. Do you think the kids will benefit from learning about nature and the mind with a therapist and ex-nurse in their class? Learning a new language has made me wish I studied so many more things. How cool would it be to know everything a linguist or anthropologist knows. My WIP has an anthropologist in it. My next book, perhaps a linguist, I can learn through my characters, what fun.

I am no stranger to exams in the heat of Summer, but I am a stranger to the end of the year being in June.  In Australia we grow up knowing about school years ending mid year in America and Europe, and it's a strange concept. The end of the year for us meant the start of Summer holidays, as well as preparing for Christmas, celebrating the new year, advancing a level in school and for me, born in January, I also turned another year older, that's a lot of new beginnings neatly packed together.

3am, sky doesn't get fully dark in summer
Sunrise at 4.30am
Summer in June and Christmas in Winter is wonderful, but I don't think I'll ever get used to my birthday being in Winter and the year not starting with a long holiday.  A break in the middle of the year, in summer, is perfect though. People can afford, or have time to go on holidays because it's not Christmas. The best of both worlds would be Summer at the end of the year and Christmas in the middle, or the other way around, just not together.

After 3 years I have acclimatised to the Scandinavian heat and can feel 'warmth' in the cold night breezes. Midsummer is celebrated on the 23rd of June, Sankt-hans-aften (St Johns Eve), the equinox or summer solstice, some say it is the official start of summer. Bonfires with witches on top are burned along coasts and waterways, all over Scandinavia. The days feel like they are getting longer but in reality they start to get shorter, the golden fields of canola are ready to be harvested, the blossoms have been replaced, and the vibrant greens that seemed to arrive so late will soon change to brown again. Queen Bernadotte of Sweden once said that there are only two seasons in Scandinavia, a white winter and a green winter.

sunset on Mariager Fjord
Despite the icy cold waters and chilly nights, I think my missing birthday is the main reason it never really feels like summer here. This year, some of my friend's are visiting  from Australia, (I've told them to pack some warm clothes). I'm starting a 'non' birthday barbecue tradition. Everyone should have a Summer birthday at least once in their lives, or celebrate festivals outside of their normal timezone, pretending works too.

The final photos for the day are some funny business the locals pointed out to me yesterday, quite literally in the center of town.  Here's the plant box.

Does anyone recognise the plant in the middle?

Did you know there is a Freetown in Copenhagen called Christania?  It's like a permanent hippie festival in the middle of the city, and it's main street is called Pusher Street, no need to guess why.

22 May 2013

Test are Tests

I have officially lived in Denmark 3 years and one day.  Today I have my final Danish exam. I'm lucky I have two passports, Australian and Italian, so the strict rules for immigration don't apply to me because technically I am an EU citizen.  I am grateful for this little bureaucratic blunder, but I also think it's unfair, that other women in my class, just like me, might get kicked out of the country if they don't pass this test.

It's a lovely language, but I underestimated how hard a new language for a 40 year old brain would be, especially because Danish generally has no real hard and fast grammar rules, and at least 40 different vowel sounds that are simply impossible to hear if you are not a native... it's that slight difference between the vowel sound in words like soup and soon... I can barely hear it English and I admit that it is hard, but every Danish person thinks they sound completely different in similar Danish words.

Then there is inversion, perfect sentences written words with wrong places doesn't that make not sense!  It's the difference between 'She wanted to leave the party, so I did' or She wanted to leave the party, so did I.  One tiny word in the wrong spot changes the outcome... and there is no sign language in a written exam.

Denmark is a tiny land, less than 6 million people speak Danish, it almost seems like a waste of time to learn how to speak it, especially because everyone speaks English, but there really is no better way to understand a culture than to understand the way they speak and thus how their thoughts are formed and strung together...

I can hold a conversation, I can read and write enough to pass a test, but I realise now that it will be something I never stop learning, just like English I guess...

Just to give you a tiny taste of what I am up against, the amount of Danish words is relatively small compared to English but compounding words is very common, according to wiki ''Speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode, which is 51 letters, is the longest Danish word that has been used in an official context. It means "Period of plan stabilising for a specialist doctor's practice," 

Try and get your tongue around that.

Wish me luck, this blog post bought to you by completely avoiding further study, because any and every danish word sounds like french to me right now... 

15 May 2013

What a wonderful world.

Blogging every day in May challenge:  A Day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - this could be "a photo an hour" if you'd like)

He spoils me with coffee and love hearts in bed, is there a nicer way to start the day?

I see fields of green, white and yellow too.

Find a happy rock at school - smile and the world smiles with you.

A spot of gardening, check out my lettuce seedlings.

Look out the window and see the Captain sailing towards home :)

Keeping this post short and sweet because as soon as the Captain gets home we are heading to the local for a traditional danish meal.

and maybe even a Tuborg

skål - [skoll] or cheers in any language.

Love and laughs

13 May 2013

A public apology...

Day 13 prompt -  Blogging every day in May challenge: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be. 

I apologise for the name of my blog.

Originally this blog was partly inspired by my reaction to the words of a fellow reflexologist Kevin Kunz, and I wanted it to reflect that the art of reflexology deals with the reactions between the body and reflexes found on the feet, hands, ears and head.

I apologise that it doesn't really mean anything if you don't know the back story.

I apologise that it's a bit of a tongue twister.

I apologise that the title is ambiguous and I want it to mean more than I can be bothered explaining.

I apologise that I am asking you to help me decide whether I should change the name of my blog to 'Ida knows', or 'Ida know' which is a play on the words 'I don't know,' and hopefully reflects that I don't pretend to know everything but what I do know I am certain of, at least until I know different.  I'm sorry that I haven't made people give me a dollar every time they said 'I dunno,' when referring to the pronunciation of my name, because I really would be rich, or at least have shouted a few extra rounds in bars all over the world.   

I'm sorry if my frank admissions about my own failings and abilities makes you feel insecure or jealous, because that is never my intention, I am sorry that I can't find a way to communicate my intention better, but I really don't understand the language of closed minds.

I am sorry for every time I have lost my temper with people who lose their temper with me or become defensive and rude -  especially if they should have just said "I'm sorry."  I am sorry that I go on and on or ignore them until I hear those two simple words. My ego wants them to realise how easy it is to say 'I'm sorry,' but some peoples ego's are just so big that they consider an apology to be either beneath them or an admittance of a character flaw, when in fact it's a simple recognition of greater understanding and growth.  Many people have become wiser by saying I am sorry and thank you in the same sentence.

I'm sorry that I'm not sorry for hurting or betraying other people, when their beliefs weren't true to me.  I simply don't know how to pretend they are right when they are wrong - e.g. bigots.

I apologise for getting frustrated with people that refuse to admit they are wrong. If I was a better person I would be like a lion that doesn't care about the opinions of sheep, but truthfully I love sheep just as much as I love lions and I do care. Deep down I know that sheep are scared of lions even though they are just as valuable and they need love, understanding, education and acceptance too.

I'm sorry I haven't thought of the worlds best song lyrics that changed the world, because I would have changed the world...  but maybe I can start with a good blog title.  

Cast your votes...  
  1. Stick to original title - Reflex Reactions
  2. Ida knows
  3. Ida know
  4. Something incredible that you think of...
I am sorry that I don't know for sure if there should there be an apostrophe in knows... Ida know's - Ida knows ??? - don't worry about answering that one - spell check just gave me the answer - but then again - Do you think I can claim poetic licence for using the apostrophe? - Or is it just to ambiguous?

Lots of love and laughs.  

6 May 2013

What do you do?

Day 6, Blogging in May Challenge: If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, 'what do you do'?

Thanks The things we say

I do smile a lot, apparently. Everybody talks about my smile. Photo's of me smiling are some of the worst I've seen, but people say it makes them happy so I don't really care what I look like. With smiles come laughter it's uncontrollable, unconscious, social and contagious.

I do unravel knots and help people to see new perspectives or re-affirm the ones they have.

I do nice, and not just during natural disasters. I used to think it was easier to be tough.

I do consider the environment, wherever I am.

I do nothing, it usually leads me to something and it satisfies the sloth, who’s just a part of me.

I do share my thoughts and feelings.

I do love mothers and fathers that aren't my own parents, and children that I haven't given birth to.

I do day to day activities of living, usually weekly, sometimes monthly, sometimes I avoid it or I just forget. I do them when I'm reminded or when I move house. I do try to walk through every door with something in my hand, that belongs where I'm headed.

I do fix things, make things and grow things.

I do always keep an eye out for animals, land, sky and sea. I say 'look over there' and 'did you see that?' a lot.

I do celebrate the truimphs, and console through the trials.

I do lot's of reading.

I do what feels right to me, and if I'm not sure I do ask.

I do love the one I'm with.

I do like to know what you do. I do invite you to share. Is it easy for you to answer what do you do, if you can't answer with your job?