thoughts du jour

  • "Spend some time alone every day."- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Volunteer to save the world

There is an easier way to helping save the world than pulling an Angelina and trying to adopt a child from every country. It's called volunteering, and you can guarantee to find yourself at least one voluntary position in the area you live in. You don't have to be rich enough to not have to work, you don't have to be retired, and you don't have to spend every spare moment you have doing it. All you have to know is where to look, what you would like to do and how much time you can spare. It's not rocket science.

Even the laziest of lazy people can help! Australian Red Cross has a volunteer program called Telecross Callers. This position requires the volunteer to work from the comfort of their own home, for 1 hour on their rostered days. The basis of the position is to “offer reassurance, personal contact and monitoring to people who are isolated and at risk.” Many people fear the idea of something happening to them and not being found for days, and this program is designed to reassure these people that they are cared for by someone.

Red Cross also offers a Teen Mentor program for those who are more inclined to help teens that might be “socially isolated or disengaged”. This program matches up the volunteer with a compatible teen, where the volunteer provides non-judgmental support and advice. And how much of your precious time will this take up? Anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour a week. That’s right. A week. Whether that means you sacrifice one lunchtime, or start one hour earlier so you can finish earlier. When you consider the possibility that that one hour a week might help a teen through the toughest time of their life, that time seems insignificant.

But Red Cross isn’t the only organization you can volunteer with. If event management is your thing, try volunteering with Oaktree Foundation, who helped organize the Make Poverty History concerts. Or perhaps you can work for RSPCA, helping organize fundraising events, sell tickets or even work in their shops. If this isn’t for you, there is also Saint Vincent De Paul’s, Cancer Council, even your local church, youth group or radio station! It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, there is a volunteer position to suit everyone.

If it weren’t for the amazing people that volunteer their time so that others may have a real chance at life, all these not-for-profit organisations would quite possibly not exist. If you are interested in keeping the karmic balance of the world, or just want to give back to a society and country that has given you so much, volunteering is the way to go.

Volunteer resources:
- Go Volunteer
- Red Cross
- Seek Volunteer
- Oaktree Foundation
- Australian Volunteer Search
- Conservation Volunteers Australia

Stay tuned next week for "The simple life: those were the days"

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Back and better than ever

Hi all! Thanks for tuning in! Sorry about the lack of posts over the last fortnight- I was on a wonderful honeymoon in Hawaii and was brought back to reality (which, as it turns out, is not so bad) on Sunday. Just a heads up that I received numerous responses form my dear friends about what they would be interested in hearing about, and so I have compiled a nice list which I will begin on Thursday, so stay tuned!
Coming up on Thursday:
Volunteer to save the World

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

What comes after marriage and having children?

According to society there are few milestones in a woman's life: the first kiss; the first period; the first time we have sex; the first time we have sex and enjoy it; the first time we move out of home; our marriage; and having children (not in any particular order). So what happens once we have successfully completed all of these milestones? Do we get a medal? Do we become known as successful women who have it all and have done it all? And what happens AFTER these milestones? Do we just fall off the earth? Or do we FINALLY get a say in what WE want to do with your life? And what about those that don't want to get married and have children? Are they written off by society as outcasts?

I'm 25 and already having reached all of these milestones I am beginning to wonder what society says I am "supposed" to be doing next. According to a lot of traditions and cultures, once I have had my quota of children there's really nothing left for me to do but grow older and and wiser. So, I think it's time we re-wrote the milestone's of a woman's life so that we have something to aim for right up until the day we depart this beautiful earth. Here are some of my suggestions:

- your first major family holiday
- your first children-free, romantic holiday
- your first fledgling flying the nest
- your last flegling fliying the nest
- your retirement
- your first career change
- your first home purchase

If you can think of anything else to add, please feel free to leave a comment! I just don't think it's fair that men get to have a mid-life crisis to look forward to after having children. We need our own mid-life crisis to look forward to! The time when we can go a little crazy and blame it on that infamous era in your life where you feel as though you are really losing your youth and you are desperate to keep hold of it.

Melbourne: my beautiful city

We have the pleasure of living in one of the best cities in the world. There is never nothing to do in Melbourne, and it doesn't even have to be a "city that never sleeps". There is so much culture in our beautiful city that we don't need to leave Melbourne to see Europe, the UK or the US because it's all right on our doorstep. Tiny, cafe cluttered alleys that smell like freshly baked bread, coffee and ciggarettes, how very Parisian; Mexican film festivals complete with Mexican food and beer; crowded jazz clubs like those you might find in Chicago, New Orlenes or downtown Manhattan, with cocktails to die for; live music of punk, folk or any other alternative style such as those found in the seedy parts of Manchester; art on almost every block that you don't need to travel to London or Amsterdam to see, because it will always find its way to our doorstep. And all of this in a beautiful city with amazing architecture, luscious gardens and a glorious, friendly atmosphere.
There are treasures all over the city, from the imposing gothic ANZ building on Collins St to the ancient graveyard buried under Queen Victoria Market. Have you ever been to the top of the Rialto building on a fine Spring day? Or walked around the Botanical Gardens early on a Sunday morning? You can do yoga there if you should feel inclined, or eat deliciously fresh scones by the lake.
I have lived in Melbourne for 19 years and I STILL manage to find a new little treasure every time I'm in the city. It's one of those places you could get lost in, and not be at all worried, because you know someone will be friendly enough to point you in the right direction, and there is always a good coffee or tasty cocktail just around the corner.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

What DO women want?

It's the million dollar question isn't it? What do women want? And WHY is it the million dollar question? Because we don't really know, do we? We have our wants and needs, as all women do: to be loved; to be happy; to be successful; to feel fulfilled. But beyond that, or, more importantly, combined with that, we don't know.

"I just want to be happy," my friend says matter-of-factly. And although that sounds rather simplistic, it's actually the ultimate thing any woman could want. To be happy. That means, regardless of what job we have, what type of man we have, whether or not we even HAVE a man, we will be happy. To be happy means to be happy within ourselves. Not to rely on exterior objects to influence that. I don't need a man, or the perfect job, or loads of cash, because I am happy within myself, no matter who I'm with, what I'm doing or where I am. And THAT, my friends, is the million dollar answer.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

West end girl in an east end world

I've decided that in order to get a good build-up of writing behind me, it is imperative that I actually write. So, I guess I could use this blog wisely and attempt to put my semi-creative thoughts onto paper (or screen).

After being stuck inside for the last few days with mild viral meningitis, Shane took me and Lachlan into Brighton for some yummy lunch at his work,The Pantry. I never thought it was possible to be satiated with calamari and salad, but this lunch proved to be an exception to that rule. Lachlan seemed to enjoy his chicken and chips, although he got more joy out of eating tomato sauce than anything else. But his greatest joy came from meeting Guy and Julia's little girl, Lottie, who is 14 months. I think Lachlan is subtly hinting at wanting a little brother or sister...(sister, apparently, as I just asked him a few seconds ago). Anyway, he smothered her with hugs and kisses (to which I'm not sure Lottie knew what to make of that), and a few tentative eye pokes.

On another note, I feel torn between my western suburbs facade and my eastern suburbs inner yuppy. On one hand, I wanted to laugh out loud at the couple who bought their little boy in (not much younger than Lachlan) and sat a portable dvd player in front of him to entertain him, while they enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch. But deep down inside (waaayyyyy down) I wished that we were that Brighton couple and had enough money to buy a portable dvd player.

The day ended well, with some retail therapy. I can hear you asking "but how does a west side girl afford east side clothes?" Well, the secret is Quick Brown Fox, on Church St. It has adorable, multi-coloured, extremely funky clothes, shoes and bags, as well as other accessories, at ridiculously affordable prices. I felt like I had entered retail heaven, and I could have spent the rest of the arvo there if it weren't for Lachlan's tired rantings (albeit very quiet ones), and, of course, the lack of money. But I walked away extremely satisfied with a new black slouch bag, and a brown tweed jacket. I have to admit, the satisfying retail experience was helped by the woman behind the counter, who was young and friendly, and not at all pretentious. She helped me find a bag from the many they had in store, and had plenty of patience with me when I proceeded to pull the stuffing out of 4 or 5 of them to see inside.

All in all a very satisfying experience in Brighton that for once didn't leave me wanting to run away and start a new life with a rich Brighton boy. Rather, I learnt there's still hope for my poor, supressed inner eastern suburbs child.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Animal rights activists- do they go too far?

I read an article in The Age Education section on Monday 26 Feb that made me really angry. It was about people that conduct animal research on medication that could in the future be used for humans. Now, don't get me wrong, I think scientific research on animals in order to create better make-up or anything else uneccesary is cruel and inhumane. But I just wonder how these animal rights activists (ARA) think we are supposed to use drugs that haven't yet been tested on animals? I mean, what is the problem with testing a possible cancer cure or new, safe vaccine for the flu on animals? Do they suggest that we dimply don't test and act as guinea pigs for our own means? Should we just stop creating more medicines purely because we have nothing to test them on first? Can they justify the death of many humans for the sake of a few rats, mice and whatever else they use?

I'd really love to hear from an ARA if there is anyone out there. Not to get into an argument but simply to gain insight into the reasoning. I love animals, I really do. I wanted to be a vet when I was younger- before I found out how ridiculously smart you have to be. And before I found out it included putting animals down, something I don't think I could handle. But when it comes to testing possible cures, vaccines and immunisations for the possibility of saving thousands of human lives, then I'm all for it. Unless, of course, there is another approach.

You see, I know too many people that have died of cancer, too many people that currently have cancer. Cancer is the sort of illness that EVERYONE has been directly affected by it, whether having it themselves, or knowing a loved one who has it or has died from it. And unless we test them on animals, how can we come up with a cure?

The article mentioned people who have received death threats, had their property vandalised, been physically or verbally abused, received letter bombs and who knows what else, because they work in animal research laboratories. All I say is this: you know that loved one you know who is ill with some sort of disease? Unless these researchers do their job, your loved one will never be cured.

Comments are welcome. I'd love to hear the other side of the story.

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