I am my own doctor

I discerned the easy embrace, the clinging infiltration.

It was easy and almost soothing, maybe like drowning…?

Then I looked up and saw the blue sky and felt the fresh day.

black dog runnig

 

And it slunk away, spurned like a jackal in the face of a lion.

 

It will return for a sniff once or twice; such is the beast.

But I have its measure and offer scant sustenance for its cloying ploys.

I rejoice that it was sooo easy – all I did is look up and breathe!

 

The cur crept in on the tail of some lazy thoughts:

what a drag it is getting old and the pursuit of happiness is just a bore.

Mick Jagger sang it in 1964, would you believe!

Anyway, mother’s little helpers have been discredited.

 

But it isn’t really a drag, because you don’t feel old, (unless you fall over).

You may be gray and slow and can’t run, but that’s just your body.

You are your own doctor, because you choose how you feel!

blue sea and sky

(* click on the underlined text for the vibes, ek sê)

 

Some easy ways for good health:

Never forget blue sky

Sleep is the single most important thing your brain needs for optimal functioning.

Exercise – all regular physical activity increases blood circulation and levels of many different neurochemicals and hormones in the brain

Sunlight: It is known that sunlight can affect serotonin levels …and may also influence dopamine.

Massage – boosts serotonin levels by as much as 30% and increases dopamine, activates endorphins, improves sleep, and decreases the stress hormone, cortisol.

Meditation –  can increase concentrations of dopamine in the brain’s cortex.

Deciding – The act of intentionally making any decision has been shown to cause positive changes in attention and increase dopamine rewarding activity..

Setting and achieving goals – When you achieve a goal, dopamine is released. Dopamine is not only released when you cross the finish line. You get dopamine boosts at each step along the way, which helps to keep you motivated.

Habits – Habits, both good and bad, become the routine in your brain through repetition and dopamine release. Unfortunately, bad habits are the ones that often give you lots of dopamine. However, when you perform a habit – even a good one – you get a dopamine reward and it gets further wired into your brain, giving you more motivation to do it next time.

Petting a dog – Studies show that simply petting a pooch increases dopamine and endorphins.

Yoga – Yoga has been shown to increase dopamine levels – plus it reduces stress, increases oxygen to your brain with deep, slow breathing, and ups soothing GABA. Yoga helps ease depression and stress in many ways.

https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/

snoopys secret

Girraman-dha

currimundimouth

… that means  ‘Place of Flying Foxes‘ and that’s where we were yesterday. Not a dark, stark, spooky swamp, but a sunny, sandy beach and tidal estuary.

 

 

It’s now referred to as Currimundi, an Englification of the ‘foreign’ local dialect, no doubt. That’s an interesting digression: how the first ‘civilised’ or ‘literate’ visitors to a new land transcribe the local language… it has significant political effects. But that’s for another day.

I have been moved to write about the unfettered happiness and  evident joy of visitors to this natural playground, having been infected there last Australia Day.

currimundi under treesWe got almost the last space under a shady tree, which was lucky as the tide was high and thus the beach diminished. Gazebos and sun shelters were filled with coolboxes, the sand littered with lilos, floating unicorns, paddleboards, spades and frisbees – all the paraphernalia of dedicated beach experienced holidayers.

Nearly everyone wore a hat or cap and most wore ‘rashies’ as sun vests are called; the slip-slap-slop of sunscreen application was audible  – the summer sun is mean here!

Children splashed in the shallows and chased bream and garfish, idly watched by bikini’d grandmothers and ignored by teenaged siblings. Dads stalked the river channel with their one time a year fishing rods and mudprawn pumps; children plunged off the riverbank into the water with Tarzan yells, others rode the incoming tide at the rivermouth.

Paragliders sailed out of the sky onto the beach as the coolboxes were opened and serious relaxation started, to be followed by a gentle snooze.

BeachFunLaughter, squeals and smiles were the order of the day. It remains a seriously positive experience, despite some sunburnt edges and the loss of my sunnies when tumbled in the surging riverstream as the lake ejected its water back into the sea as the tide turned.

Oh happy day!

Never mind buying a pig in a poke – be glad it’s not a goat like Paddy McGinty’s .

Nobody  writes poetry quite like the Irish.

My grandfather was baptised in Killaloe and it was thought that perhaps the absence of a christening robe might have been due to this goat!

This poem is far better when sung, so I have included a video and the words, so you can then sing it to yourself.

Paddy McGinty’s Goat

paddy McGinty's goat

Bert Lee and R.P. Weston, 1917

Happy Hooleydays?

I received a ‘happy holidays’ non-Christmas card from a switched on friend and curled my lip in mild disdain. Why must a Christian First World tradition be modified into the New Age One Size Fits All practice?

It stuck in my craw…!

But like a burr on a blanket, it scratched. So I thought I’d scribble a blogbleat to vent my discomfort. I started giving the practice some thought.

Wikipedia tells me that Christmas cards were first produced for sale in the 1840’s by a founder of the Penny Post in England. Hmm! A marketing ploy!?

first xmas card
The First Christmas Card

 

Most emphasized merriment and happiness with scant religious tones that pervaded most cards in my Christmases in the latter part of the 20th Century.

incwala tromboneBut thinking about it more, I recall the Incwala holiday in mid-December in Swaziland – when the King was purified and the First Fruits were celebrated.

This common African ritual has been re-formulated in the US as Kwanzaa, an African American cultural commemoration and promotion of sound African communal principles.

Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples, later supplanted by the term Christmas tide.

Iranian people celebrate the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice as, “Yalda night“, which is known to be the “longest and darkest night of the year”. In this night all the family gather together, usually at the house of the oldest, and celebrate it by eating, drinking and reading poems. Nuts, pomegranates and watermelons are particularly served during this festival.

menorah

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. In 2017, Hanukkah is from in the evening of Tuesday, 12th December until the evening of Wednesday, 20th December.

omisokaŌmisoka (大晦日)—or ōtsugomori (大晦)—is a Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month.

The origins of Hogmanay may be derived first footingfrom Norse and Gaelic observances, including gift-giving and visiting homes of friends with special attention given to the first-foot, the first guest of the new year.

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December.

wassail

Wassailing was drinking an old English toast during the custom of carolling; Mumming was an old English practice of dressing up and partying, probably originating in the old Roman Saturnalia of mid-winter.

hollyHolly, ivy and mistletoe were used in celebrations of the Winter Solstice Festival to ward off evil spirits and celebrate new growth.

My conclusions after this brief socio-historical analysis are that:

  • The Christmas period is celebrated in many non-Christian cultures for reasons other than commemorating Christ’s birth.
  • Christmas cards are just commercial dross with no special intrinsic significance
  • People all over the world celebrate and feast at this time
  • For whatever reason, this time of year is a time to gather and feast with loved ones and rejoice in new life, first fruits and forget the evils of the past year.

Sorry to say, but the way the inclusive, bunny hugger, non-discriminatory world is going Christmas Day will soon be re-named Universal Happyday or some such anodyne label.

Whatever! – It’s a good time for a hooley or two!

Happy Hooleydays to y’all!

May y’all find some time to wassail with your cobbers, rejoice in the good things of life and be thankful._hooley_time

Caught in the rain

Up at 4h35Hmmm – looks a bit grey and they did say rain in the forecast.

Look South East: dark clouds. Lightening up in South West whence our rain is from. That means the rain has past. I won’t even need my hat – I hate rain on my bald pate;  it’s hot in  summer, but not needed at dawn.

Come Lulu, let’s get your lead on and away we go.

A quarter of a mile into the park and there are a few sprinkles, no worries…

Now a drop or two – if it gets worse we’ll duck under a tree. There’s no thunder or wind so more likely to be crowned by a kookaburra as crushed by a falling branch.

Damn, it’s coming down harder and the tree doesn’t work; have to dash for the shelter over there … it’s only 50 yards.

Haven’t dashed for years and I’m nearer 70 than 60 now, so it was not a walk in the park! My crocs nearly came off when Lulu ran around me, effectively trapping me in the lead, so I had to do a quick pirouette in the now teeming rain … we made it, eventually.

We made it – it won’t last long and at least in Queensland, the rain is warm and one dries quickly. Wish I had worn the hat!

Damn! Mosquitoes love stationary people! Hah! Got the bastard!

wet dog

 

What does one think about when stuck in the rain? Lulu is sulking because I won’t let her wander and sniff.

Murphy’s Law No 2(g): if it doesn’t look like rain it will.

Well, it is a fine opportunity to meditate. Wish I had read the book, done the course… my mind seems to go into flutterby mould when I try to focus…

I know – I’ll think of something to blog. Very little response to my last two serious bits, maybe it’s time to lighten up? How about some happy stuff, rather than the acceptability of lies and the new morality of the past? Mind you: I was right about Bitcoin! It will hit US$10k this week!

Here’s an idea: what about getting caught in the rain in the park! (just a passing memory).

I have just remembered a cardinal principle of my life: you always have a choicestand like this.!

 

Getting caught in the rain can be a miserable experience or it can be a good one.

It’s your choice!

 

You can have a happy day too, if you like…

meet me in the rain

The magic of Edward Lear

One of the sweetest things happened recently: our daughter confessed that  she always associated Edward Lear’s poem: The Owl and the Pussycat with us, her Mum and Dad. The connection had been made via two photos of us dancing: one at a school dance and the other at our wedding.

It is a wonderful poem with delightful images of traditional love rituals.

pea green boat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”

Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl, 
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”

 They sailed away, for a year and a day,                                 piggy ring
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
turkey marriedSo they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

by light of moon

Serendipitously, I quoted from Edward Lear’s Jabberwocky in my wedding speech which I related as my father’s advice on getting married:

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! 
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! 
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun 
      The frumious Bandersnatch!” 

 

We must never discard the magic interwoven in our memories nor disregard the fairies at the bottom of the garden.

 

Murphy’s Law No 147(b)

If you have a puncture while cycling, it will be in the proximity of the furthest point from home.          

Being  a disciplined thinker, I didn’t invoke any special inference the last time I had a puncture just after I turned to go home and had to walk 2 miles to get there. However, it seemed more than coincidence when I had a puncture yesterday, just 100 metres from where I turned to go home. This time it was a 4 mile walk.

Maybe next time it will be 8 miles from home… except that I am going to carry one of those puncture fix kits from now on!

black schnauzerJust as well for that bit of reverse fortune, as the black dog had slunk in for a sombre lurk and the enforced march cleared the air; black dogs don’t like competition, so it slunk off!

I think it slipped in with my tax return. This is my 4th year of involuntary unemployment, so I have little to distract the taxman with. That doesn’t make completion of the form any easier! One would think that by now the Revenue dudes would have worked out an idiot proof format so that any dummy could complete a return…

But… wait… maybe they did … and my brain has atrophied to super-idiot size…!  See how easily the black dog slinks in? Its the government’s fault and I don’t have a vote even though I do pay tax…. rage can get the endorphins flowing nearly as well as exercise!

My consolation is that I have time to enjoy the birds making their nests and write mimosawonderful books about myself and sniff the subtle anisescent of the spring flowering mimosa on the wattle trees.

photoOf great joy right now is the bright colours of my nasturtiums, which are nearly my favourite flowers now, especially as they are entirely edible: flowers, leaves and seeds

Hmmm… maybe I should be finding a new project to distract me – this design by IKEA caught my eye:

ikea-flat-pack-garden.jpg

It’s a flat-pack garden farm of the future – I have the plans if anyone wants to build one: all you need is a saw, hammer and a screwdriver.

Or maybe this is more your style? ikea garden

Whatever – the point is that we all need to start growing our own vegetables…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early morning Spring song

I let Lulu out this morning

And walked on the dewy lawn

While she sniffed and wee’d.

morning star

The morning star still guarded the departing night

Bright and clear, defying its extinction.

Grey pink clouds foretold the arrival of big brother Sun.

 

Butcher birds are singing choruses to each other;

The honey eater is twitter-chattering,

mimosa

Yellow mimosa is breaking out;

Nasturtiums are overflowing –

the bright orange and yellow petals promising joy.

purple bauhiniaBauhinia, the purple herald is in flower.

 

The air is soft and the breeze gentle.

Time again to awake and welcome the new year.

Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo
Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba,

Early morning singing song*

*Chorus from Good Morning Starshine by Oliver – sing it out aloud, it’s quite easy!

Old Friends

Last week I wrote of the passing of a kinsman and how my world seemed to shrink, but the warmth of our association remains.

This week I write about old friends with whom my wife and I spent time over the weekend.

Old as in ‘older than us’ from where we lived before, who are still good friends.best old ones

We were neighbours and shared a love of plants, summer lunches, sometimes heated discussions, poetry and word plays. We shared similar Southern African origins and discovered that we were almost related, with a sister and an uncle romantically linked for a  while.

alphabet friendsThe word “friend” comes from Old English “frēond”, which is actually the present participle of “frēogan”, which means “to love” and “to honor”.
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

Synonyms: 1. comrade, chum, crony, confidant. 2. backer, advocate. 4. ally, associate, confrere, compatriot.

Tick all boxes!

goodbye friend

 

 

 

The sugar snake

When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. That is peace. I had to have a toothache in order to be enlightened, to know that not having one is wonderful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

But we forget about that and still drink Coke. coke sugar

The average person in industrialized countries consumes about 33.1 sugar snakekilograms of sugar each year.

Sugar has been implicated as chief culprit in the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, hyperactivity and Alzheimer’s disease

My Dad died from dementia, diabetes and depression which are by-products of sugar consumption. I am overweight and my brother has diabetes.

Sweetness and sugar pervaded human taste buds and became embedded in our tastes. An injection of sugar into the bloodstream stimulates the same pleasure centres of the brain that respond to heroin and cocaine – it is literally an addictive drug.

Most modern day people are aware of this and cut down on sugar in their tea and stop drinking Coke.

But sugar is everywhere:

If a slippery slab of barbecued ribs makes your heart skip a beat, there’s a good reason why. Blame the 13 grams of sugar for every two tablespoons of BBQ. And with all that grilled meat to coat, who stops at just two.  too much sugar

Fruit yogurt is one of the biggest sugar bombs on the shelves, with 19 grams of sugar, no wonder it tastes like dessert! Dried fruit might as well be candy. Just ⅓ of a cup can have 24 grams of sugar.

A granola bar can pack 12 grams of sugar, so be sure to read the label before demolishing one.

Some types of energy drink pack 83 grams of sugar – no wonder we get a buzz. killing me softly

Sooo … what’s the point?

My point is that we are not just talking toothache here – we are talking disease and death. Don’t be blasé about this – it’s a real threat to all of us!

Taxing sugar is probably a good way to go. Education and example are even better. Become knowledgeable and talk to your children about controlling their own destinies.

But it’s not easy, you have to be strong … not many succeed.

If you acknowledge your addiction, you can significantly better your own health.

But if you don’t, you won’t.

 

sugar diseases