For the avoidance of doubt... Yes... I definitely have an opinion...
Welcome to my Blog!!
I'm not really a blogger... But I do like to put the world to rights and you can bet I have an opinion on most things.
I'm a little Welsh dragon that left the Land of My Fathers far behind me. I've flown far and wide.... and ended up
in the land down under
This blog is filled with all the stuff that's going on in my life, and in my head, which can be a little cookey on
times, so you have been warned!! And let's not forget my opinions and musing - I have a few of those as well.
So pull up a pew, grab a hot, steaming mug of something yummy, and maybe a cake to:
Life is always better with cake don't you think. And read...
I just starting blogging with the following groups:
I also write a Xmas Blog that kicks off 1st December....
"Tis the most wonderful time of the year"
....tag along for elvishness and merriment
|Prompt: "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" DAY 1137 – April 24, 2017 - Do you think that shame can be a trigger for anger? How?
Yes. I think shame is can be the trigger or cause of anger.
Shame is not a nice feeling. It's letting others and yourself down. It's failing. And it's usually accompanied by embarrassment and the fear of ridicule or abandonment. If the shame is big enough it can cause a lot of damage, especially if we don't have the tools and people around us to help guide us through it. If this happens, and we feel on our own or that we can't talk to anyone, it's easy to see why we'd internalise it and even start to hate ourselves. Left to fest it's an easy leap to anger; at ourselves, at our life, at the people around us that have helped/let it get this far. It's a very destructive circle that can be difficult to extract ourselves from.
There's also a psychological phenomenon called "transference" - I think, it's been a long time since I studied it... - where we transfer or displace our anger (although it can be any feeling) at ourselves onto someone or something else. There have been a lot of cases were abuse victims have struggled to direct and deal with their anger in a healthy way, and at the right people. It's often easiest to blame the people closest - whether that's yourself or those that love you and are trying to support you. We have a habit of lashing out. From person experience this was often when I wanted others to feel what I was feeling. I'd say horrible/unthinkable things just to inflict that pain on someone else. It never made me feel better. I guess I just didn't want to be the only one in pain.
It's also been said that we often see the things we hate/dislike about ourselves in others the easiest. I'm often horrified when I see some of my mother "flaws" (they aren't really flaws they are just things that bug me....) in my own actions and behaviours. It's like a mirror shining back at just showing us what WE consider to be our worst traits.
But I think I may have gone off topic a little.
While shame is a horrible feeling, it's also unavoidable. Everyone, no matter who they are, will be ashamed of something at some point in their life. I think of it like an infection or virus; if left to its own devices it can cause debilitating problems, and the sooner you start to deal with it, the sooner you will start to feel ok. What we often find, with the hep of hindsight is that most of the time we are able to ride through it and come out the other side fairly unscathed, but maybe a little wiser/humbler/stronger.
|"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" DAY 1136: April 23rd, 2017, Prompt - What is your take on remarrying after your partner passes? Yes or no, and why?
This is actually something that my husband and I have spoken about recently. Unfortunately, a number of our friends have recently (over the last 18 months) lost their significant other; two from vehicle accidents, and one from cancer. All were fairly young - under 50 - and each of them have dealt with their grief in their own way. It made us think about how we'd cope. What we'd do.
One of my husband's friends confided that he was lonely - his wife having passed away six months earlier - and was considering dating. While we supported him, a part of me thought it was too soon. At least, it would have been for me. And I didn't like the thought that Guy could/would "move on" so quickly either... so I asked him (my husband) if he thought he ever would.
He joked that I had put him off marriage for life and that he would NEVER go through that again... and then he turned to me and said "You it for me. There could never be anyone else. Now can we talk about something less depressing.." I have to confess this made me happy. I don't want to be easily replaced, and I'm glad that I've made such an impression on his life and his heart that it would be hard to find love somewhere else. I can't imagine marrying anyone else if Guy wasn't around. I can't imagine ever being able to love someone the way I love him. Or ever "getting" over his loss. It's a horrible thought. In the end we decided - very tongue in cheek - that we wouldn't want the other to move on - at least not for a long time. I think we even agreed to come back and haunt the other one if they "moved one" too quickly.
Don't get me wrong I'm not against re-marrying. Actually, I'm all for it. I think people have a right to be happy. I think the human heart has an inexhaustible capacity to love, and that love isn't restricted to just one or two people. If something was to happen to me I'd want Guy to be happy, and if he was able to find that with another person, and that person could be there for him and Theia, then I'd be ok with that. I'm just not sure that I could do the same if the roles were reversed, but I guess that's part of being in love with the person you marry. It's always going to be you and them.
|Prompt "Blogging Circle of Friends " - April 20th was the day I got married when I was 16 to my first husband. *FacePalm* So with that in mind, let's discuss the biggest mistake you've ever made in your life. Did you know it was a mistake before you did it or after you did it? If you could have a do-over would you do it again differently or the same? What did you learn from this situation?
I'm not going to say that I haven't made mistakes, because I have, and a lot of them; bad decisions, embarrassing moments, and betrayal and broken trust - on both sides of the equation. I've been hurt by them. Ashamed. Sorry. Wow... I mean pretty much every emotion you can think of - good and bad.
Sometimes the mistakes took me completely by surprise and shattered my world; like when I made the mistake of taking a short cut through a dimly lit junior school late a night by myself, and fell prey to "monsters" hidden in the shadows. I'd been warned so many times by my mother, but I was young and in invincible. I just didn't realise invincible and untouchable weren't the same thing. I'm still here. Still standing tall. But I also carry those scars with me and will all my life.
Then there are the mistakes that I seemed to welcome with open arms; the ones that were attached to thrill seeking and adrenaline, to feeling alive, damn the consequences and after shocks that I knew were coming. It was only after the dust settle that I could see the damage I'd caused to myself and those around me; like starting an affair with my boss when I was 21 years old. It was stupid. I should have known better. He was my boss for goodness sake, living with someone, and 10 years older than me. On paper it was destined to fail. If I'd been one of my friends I'd have argued against getting involved. But, I "knew" better, and one mistake led to another, and another, and it snowballed into a whole heap of bad decisions and lies which resulted in me losing my job, my "friends", and the guy I was supposedly in love with... was it all on my shoulder - no - but some of it was.
So, what is my biggest mistake? It's probably the one I'm feeling the aftershocks to right now. And it's the only regret I have. For those of you that know me, you will probably already know, and it will come as now surprise. That's not to say if you ask me in 10 years whether I will still feel like this. Time has a way of changes perspectives - especially mine.
My biggest mistake was asking my mum and dad to stay away just after my little girl was born. I had only meant for them to postpone their visit for a few days, a week at most, but I ended up upsetting my mum and she put off visiting for a whole month and as a result my dad passed away without seeing/meeting Theia. It's my greatest mistake because there is nothing I can do to fix it. I'm powerless. With all the other ones I could at least attempt to rectify them, but this. This is final. This is permanent. It's absolute. But the shining light from this is the lesson I learnt. And it's a harsh lesson. There may not be a tomorrow (depressing I know), so make the most of today.
Theia is, of course, very loved - she's a little bundle of smiles and giggles how could she not be. My mother dotes on her, and I know my father would have as well. And I'm lucky, I have some wonderful memories with my father and the stories that he told, and I have a talent for writing (sort of) so I can pass these stories onto Theia in my favourite medium.
One of my favourite lines/lyric is "Your mistakes do not define you now, They tell you who you're not." its a line from "It's The Only One You've Got" by 3 Doors Down. It completely resonated with me and has stuck with me from the first moment I heard it - to be honest the whole song has... I guess it has become a mantra of sorts as well, and something that I tell my friends if the right occasion arises...
I'm not perfect. My life is a colourful patchwork train of decisions - good and bad, but I love the picture they paint. It's a collage that needs to be stepped back from to really appreciate it. I am not defined my mistakes. They are just moments in a lifetime. I think that's the real benefit of time and hindsight, we can learn from our mistakes, accept the consequences, and appreciate where we are and how we got here.
|"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" - "To find yourself." What do you think this phrase means? Write anything you want about this.
Who hasn't felt a little lost at some point in their life? I have. In fact, I frequently feel lost. We are used to having things a certain way and when that unexpectantly changes we can feel just a little discombobulated... I do love that word. And it doesn't have to be a major alteration, even a slight deviation to our route can upset the apple cart.
I think to find yourself is to find balance and contentment in your life, maybe an element of control.
I didn't feel like myself after having Theia. I felt like I was in someone else skin. My body was recovering from a C-section so I found even getting up from the sofa difficult and had to be helped in and out of the bath by my husband, which was hard for a VERY independent women to cope with. My hormones were ALL over the place. I was emotional.... irrational.... fragile.... I couldn't watch an advert on TV without a box of tissue in case an animal protection appeal came on.... poor little kitten and puppy. I was "stuck" at home with a tiny little person who only slept, pooed, and fed, and whose main communication tool was different pitches of crying, for hours at a time. I was going insane. I had no control.
|"30-Day Blogging Challenge" - War Chest Wednesday! Is trying to colonize other planets for human settlement a good or bad idea and why? If it's good, what steps would you see having to take to go into something so big? If bad, what should we do with space programs besides replacing satellites every few years?
I honestly think it's inevitable that we will one day settle on other planets or in space, and not just because I secretly harbour dreams of being a space cowboy/pirate; sailing the black in my hodge-podge, tin can of a ship, that also serve of my home, which I cobbled together from the bones of a old space ship and repurposed space junk.... I may or may not have watched Firefly a few times... Shiney....and be slightly obsessed with Star Trek.
We, as a species, have been fascinated with space and other life since we first looked up at the sky, and today's technology allows us to delve into this even further... whether it's international space projects, programs, and missions that see human beings living in space for months at a time, unmanned missions to mars with scientific, all-terrain robots, or telescopes that search for goldilocks planets. It's an exciting time in our history. Is it a good thing? Well, as long as we learn our lessons from how we've treat our own planet, yes. It shouldn't be seen as an excuse to do what we want. It could be a fresh start for those who venture off world and also for those that stay.
Off-earth colonization is a long way off... probably centuries off in reality... but I believe that's where we are heading. I mean there was that call a couple of years ago for people to submit application to move to Mars.... I would love to go but I have none of the discernible skills needed - I'm not a scientist, doctor, or farmer, and we couldn't take our dog... which sounds like an odd thing to be a show stopper, but it is... That and we now have Theia.
There are so many things to consider:
Would this be a private or government funded project? Would it be international? There would need to be a HUGE amount of money plunged into a project this size - it would be in the region/size of the economy of a large, industrial, country at least, if not doubled.
Where would we colonise? The Moon? Mars? I don't see us venturing further a field before we at least attempt it in our own back yard so to speak - unless there is an extinction level threat - but that seems more Hollywood....
indent} We'd need to research the terrain to establish where the best place to build a colony would be. What resources or geological traits would the landscape have? What benefits or obstacles would this present? There would need to be research missions organised. Probably with several information gathering robots to take samples and measure the environments.
What technology and materials would we need to build a habitat that could contain/support a fledgling society? How big would it be? Would it be pods? Domes? Would they be linked or self contained. Would we need vehicles to travel between them?
We'd need to understand how we could create, reuse energy, water and how to grow food in a harsh environment.
How would we get the building materials to the colony? Are we looking at just lots of rockets or new designs to make things more effect and multi-purpose?
Would there be shuttle/supply runs to the colony from earth? Would this be temporary? How long for? How often? What would be needed?
How many people and who would be in the pilot scheme (I think there would have to be a pilot scheme). What skills would be needed? What testing would need to be carried out (physically as well as psychologically)? Would it be a simulate test on earth first? How long for?
What would the exit/evac plans be?
As I said - EXPENSIVE!! And very time consuming. But inevitable... AND EXCITING!! SIGN ME UP SCOTTIE
|"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" Prompt: "In time, we hate that which we often fear" Shakespeare › Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Scene 3. Has this happened to you or to people you know? What are your thoughts on fear-hate connection?
I think Fear can be closely linked to Hate. So does Yoda and George Lucas:
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda.
I don't actually hate anything. Not truly. But then I don't really have a phobia or anything I fear either. I have things I dislike, or would rather avoid, but I've yet to encounter anything I physically can't do or handle if I must. Maybe I'm lucky, or lazy... Hate seems to take a LOT of effort to keep it fuelled. I have other, way more important things to concentrate my energies on...
My mother, on the other hand, is petrified of snakes to the point that she despises them. I can understand her reaction, but I think it's misplaced. I think psychologically it's called displacement or something like that; when what you actually hate is the feeling or reaction you have, but not the snake itself. Then again I guess you could argue that you resent the snake for making you fearful so you hate it... Poor snake.... it has no interest in you really and just wants to be left alone.
I genuinely feel for people with phobias. They (the phobias obviously not the people...) are horrible and debilitating. BUT I do believe they are a learnt behaviour which, with the right reinforcement, can be altered. I'm a great believe in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It's not a "cure". It's not easy. It's not fast. But it can work wonders. Why live your life in fear and hate if you have the opportunity to change it.
On a more serious note, the fear/hate combo can, in my opinion, also be seen in a lot of human interaction with one another; homophobia for example, has in the past (and unfortunately still does to some degree today) often stemmed from a fear that someone's sexual orientation will affect how others live their lives in a detrimental way. I have to be honest - this mind set boggles my brain, and not in a good way.
I have no idea how someone's sexual preference is as, or more, dangerous to society than someone taking drugs or carrying a concealed weapon,... surely those things are more impactful, but I have met people who are adamant that it is: that is will "corrupt", or other such nonsense. I don't think being gay is impactful on others lives at all; it certainly doesn't bother me or change my life if my neighbour, best friend, or colleague is gay; other than them being happy, stable people, I don't care who they sleep with. I also don't understand the whole "moral" argument... surely there are more important issues in our communities like poverty, domestic violence, and child abuse, than to focus on something that really isn't anyone else's business. But that's my rant over..
Personally I think this is a case of ignorance inciting fear. When we don't understand something, we are often fearful of it and if we don't manage or check that fear it can grow into hate, which isn't healthy and can be just as destructive as the fear, if not more so. Unfortunately I think this is human nature and we have to be very mindful of it to ensure we develop and grow past it.
|"30-Day Blogging Challenge" 50/50 - Tell us a little bit about your WDC handle/username. Is there a story behind it? Are you personally named after someone, family or otherwise?
My WDC handle is Stevie - I don't think I've changed it in the four years I've been a member of WDC; maybe once at Halloween. I see a lot of people with different, interesting handles, and I wonder whether I should update it a bit more, but then I get distracted by other things. And I am Stevie. Plain and simple.
My name is Stephanie; Stephanie Di Stefano - which now that I'm used to it (married name) I think rocks, but my nickname at school was Stevie. I was the only girl in the top set of science in year nine and the teacher frequently use to say, "Right lad, come on, gather round.", which used to annoy me as I wasn't a lad.... After about three weeks I decided to point this out to him,
Sir: "Come on lads, to the front please."
Me: "Erm, I'm not a lad!!!"
Sir: "Yes you are Steve, you are one of the lads."
....Laughter from the boys....
Me: "No, I'm really not."
Sir: "Ok, Stevie. Is that better..."
Well it stuck, and from then on all the boys in my class called me Steve or Stevie... They dropped the Steve by the second term. It continued for the rest of the time I was at school (until the end of year eleven), and I carried it with me when I went to college.
I see it as a term of endearment from the people that know my the best, and it suits my personality as I was never what you'd call a "girly-girl". I'm probably more girly now in my thirty than I ever was in my teens - I even wear dresses and shirts now, when I was never out of my jeans growing up.
As I've grown up Stevie is the only shortening of my name that I can stand. I hate being called Steph/Stef, which is what most people at work try and shorten it to - I say try as I usually correct them quite bluntly. But I also don't think that Stevie is appropriate for the office - where I want to portray a grown-up, serious vibe (it's something I have to work at lol), so at work I'm Stephanie.
My family refuse to call me anything other than Steph or Seffi - much to my annoyance, but I've accepted that it's a battle I'm never going to win; Seffi is what my niece and nephew called my when they were little as they couldn't say Stephanie and struggled with the "T" in Steph. I use Seffi as my gamer tag for most other things and I'm actually quite fond of it.
Stephanie is both French and Greek, but means the same in both languages: it means crowned in victory, which is funny because my surname "Di Stefano" which means "of the crown". So my full name means Crowned in victory of the Crown - clearly I am SUPER important...
When it came to WDC I wanted to be Stevie. I wanted to have friends on here and for it not to be formal, so my old nickname seemed perfect. My username - distefano_stef - is the same as my Twitter handle and as Twitter had limited characters it was the only thing that fitted. It's going on me... slowly...
So in short, I am a woman by many names: Stephanie, Seffi, or, to you my friends, Stevie - Just don't call me Steph!!
|"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” Rainer Maria Rilke What is your take on this quote?
I don't agree with Rainer Maria Rilke.
The notion is pleasant enough in theory, but that's about it. It's too simplistic for my liking, and I don't think our lives or the world is simple. They are messy and emotional.
I don't think you can have complete patience with unresolved things, because patience is the process of waiting for something, and sometimes things just don't resolve themselves; you could be waiting forever. Also, I wonder if this attitude would prevent people from actually doing anything to actively resolve the issue themselves, or would they just "sit patiently" and wait for it to happen eventually. I think it's far healthier to accept that things are unresolved, that it can take time to reach resolution, and that sometimes it will remain unresolved; you can then attempt to reach a place where you are comfortable with those outcomes, which is slightly different to "loving the questions themselves".
When people die unexpectedly it's often said that there were "unresolved issues", or that there were "things left unsaid"; people are often encouraged to write or talk to the deceased in an attempt to "resolve" this anxiety, but I think these are techniques to help us accept that we are never going to be able to achieve full resolution. They are token acts to sooth our souls, perhaps even our conscious, and/or vent our anger.
I have a tremendous amount of grief and guilt about the death of my father. I feel guilty because I stopped a visit for him and my mum to visit me, guy, and new-born Theia, when in hindsight there was no need to. I had my reasons, and there when genuine one, but that doesn't mean that I don't regret it, or that the situation is resolved. I don't think it ever really will be. I may be able to forgive myself and move passed it, or learn to live with it, but that's about it. I'm certainly not going to accept or love that that's just how I feel.
Don't get me wrong - patience is great. It's a personality trait I wish I had more of... especially at work, but it has it's limits. Sometimes the best thing is not have patience, or to have reached the end of what you had, as that can drive you forward into action. In my humble opinion, Action and Acceptance are far more valuable than patience when it comes to a happy life.
|"30-Day Blogging Challenge" - Motivational Monday! Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, born on this day in 1882, once said "I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues." How important to your success (in any part of your life) is it to surround yourself with talented, knowledgeable, and/or fun people?
YAY!!! We made it to the end of the 30 days. Well done everyone. It may not seem like much of a personal achievement for some of you, but it definitely is for me. It's the first challenge/goal that I set myself this year and I did it. I am one very happy little Welsh dragon.
On to the prompt...
I think the people who we surround ourselves with are incredibly important to our success. If we're "lucky" they can support us, inspire us, and guide us, but unfortunately it's also just as true that they can hold us back and inhibit our self-belief.
Personally I believe we have a mixture of people around us, with varying talents, beliefs, and knowledge, and their level of positivity on our lives changes like the ebb and flow of the sea. The key to being successful is to manage our relationships with these people and to take ownership of our lives - otherwise we'll just be aimlessly floating around enjoying the fair-weather when it happens upon us, or cowering in the storms when we don't steer ourselves away from those choppy waters.
A ship is a pretty good analogy for this prompt actually; the ship itself is our life; we're the captain of it; our crew is the people we surround ourselves with; and the sea/ocean is the world around us. Each member of our crew will have different strengths and abilities, and duties. If we want the ship to fair well on our journey then we need to look after our crew and ourselves, and nurture those relations. We also need to be mindful that maybe their own journey isn't on the same path as ours, and that is fine, we just need to drop them off at a safe harbour. It doesn't mean we won't see them again, it's just they have their own ship to steer.
Of course, we've all heard of Long John Silver, we've all probably had a Mr Silver in our lives at some point; plotting a mutiny and scheming behind our backs... those people just need to be shown the plank... the sooner they are off the ship the better... It might be painful. It might be unsteady sailing for a while where we sort out our equilibrium, but very rarely are we on our own - the term "all hands on deck" springs to mind along with ice-cream and movie night.
I'm very lucky - I've said it before - my husband is my rock, my centre. He's my first mate. I know I could cope without him, he knows I could cope without him, I'm incredible independent, but I don't want to. I don't need him. He's not a crutch for me. But, him being in my life makes my life better. Don't get me wrong, he drives me nuts on times. There are eyes-rolls, or scowls, or BIG sighs at least once a day. His flaws, on times, frustrate me, particularly when he leaves his clean folded clothes in the laundry basket rather than putting them away grr, BUT, I'd rather have all of that than nothing at all because he makes me happy. He surprises me. He makes me laugh. He's the one who encouraged me to write. He carried my father's coffin because I couldn't. He does the things I can't and gives me the strength to do what I must. For me, he is my perfect partner... Any success that I have will be his as well because he is a foundation block in its fruition.
|"30-Day Blogging Challenge" - The Sunday News! Please, I don't care what you want to talk about today, just no politics. Find a story that makes you feel good about the world and tell us about it.
This is going to be a short but sweet post today.
I found it hard to find anything in the news that wasn't political (blah, car crash, blah), or that wasn't depressing.... but then the Australian Open appeared on TV and I watched Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal. His 18th Grand Slam title. It was an inspirational achievement and a refreshing reminder that hard work and dedication can and does pay off, which has been sadly lacking in recent years.
Now, I probably should confess, I'm not a huge tennis fan. I was never any good at it in school, and up until recently (in the last five years) I didn't find it that interesting to watch, but I enjoyed watching the final today. It was like watching a match between two old rivals who thoroughly respected each other - because they do. It was hard fought. It could have gone either way. It's what all finals should be like.
Federer is 35-years-old; the same age as me, and he's returned to top form for this season's opener, as has Nadal, which gives me hope that I'm not over the hill yet... These two men have had a run of bad luck in recent years with injury, which has seen Federer seeded 17th and Nadal ninth; a big drop from the top two. Obviously this result will help boast their world ranking. This was also something I noticed at last years' Olympics - The amount of "mature" sportspeople representing their countries and bringing home the medals. I used to think sport was a short lived career option, with most people retiring above they hit the BIG 30, clearly this is not the case. Guy even jokes that there is still time for him to don the green and gold jersey (he's an Aussi.).
What I really enjoyed seeing was the trophy ceremony. The atmosphere was brilliant. I think it helped it was in Melbourne where the sun was shining. Both sportsmen had an opportunity to thank the crowd and their teams. They both came across as humble and grateful, and it was clear that these guys thought a lot of each other, with Federer even going as far as saying, "There are no draws. If there were I would have been happy to accept one and share it with Rafa.". If only more people had this attitude. I'll repeat.. Refreshing.
Now, I'm not suggesting that this has inspired me to pick up a tennis racket - quite frankly that would be dangerous for anyone in the same vicinity - but it has made me re-think what I believe my body's limits are. I might not be entering a grand slam any time soon, but there is no reason why I can't lead an active life.