Friday, December 28, 2007

Out-Going George.

On Christmas Day we had all our children around for lunch along with a Nephew. And a good time was had by all I think! After lunch and a walk around the block with our girl’s dogs the nephew went home and I sat down to collect my breath and thoughts and there was a stupid Cartoon on the TV about a Monkey called Curious George. Well today I am going to tell you about another George.

Now this George is a little dog, not a monkey, but like us you may be forgiven if you think he is “a little monkey” at times. As many small little dogs, he is very happy and out-going in nature and by nature too!

The little blighter is always looking for a way to escape his yard and wander the streets as a free spirit, which dog collectors and His Mistress, all frown upon. No matter to George. Give him half a way and he will do the rest. This is the second time we have had them (George and Charlie, the other daughter’s dog) around. The first time was when we took them to the Groomer's. Well that time, they both managed to get out but fortunately didn’t go too far.

So this time I barricaded under the gate where they got out and was sure they wouldn’t again. Well not there anyway!

So on Christmas morning, the two dogs were in the yard when suddenly our first-born decided to check on George, as she couldn’t see him. She could see Charlie but not George. Before very long she was back inside saying, “Dad, I thought you said George couldn’t get out!” Meaning he had!

Sure enough he had and after getting him back inside I found where he had pushed aside what had looked like a solid post and removed some Plastic edging about 6”(15cm) high and about 16 feet (5 metres) long, and left it on the outside.

For a while I was mystified on why he had got it outside and why it had tooth marks all along it. By my reckoning he should have been able to have gone over the top of it without having to move it, and if he had to move it, he would/should have only had to move the end near his gap, to get out.

A real mystery for a while and then suddenly the “Penny Dropped”! He didn’t do that to get out.

He did that trying to get back in! Having got out, he obviously decided it wasn’t much fun without Charlie and so tried to get back in and so, having got over the obstacle easily one way, found it difficult to get back in from the low side and so at great effort, pulled it all out to the outside, explaining how it got there and how it had tooth marks all along it. Yet he still couldn’t get back in without my daughter going out and bringing him back in.

As I thought about it I wondered how often we do a similar thing. How often do we fight against the barriers and boundaries imposed on us? How much time and effort do we put it to fight through these boundaries, only to find that the “Grass on the other side is no Greener” or Better? Then try and find our way back to the right side of the fence, only to find, like George, that despite our efforts it is not possible, with out Help.

As a Christian I believe that, that Help came in the form of Christ at Christmas time, to enable us to get back on the right side of the fence.

However, no matter what you believe, as you approach this new year will you just stop and re-evaluate where you are now and how well off you really are or aren’t, before trying to escape to something that you may later wish to escape again.

Instead of wasting all your energy and efforts trying to escape something without fully evaluating it first, try appreciating it first. Likewise try using your efforts and energies to improve where you are even more, rather than wasting your time and efforts in trying to escape, when it is not really necessary or beneficial in the long run.

What say you? Walter

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Xmas or Christmas?

Before I became a Christian I had no problems with writing Xmas for Christmas. It was only after I became a Christian and heard other Christians saying how they hated seeing Xmas for Christmas that I too started to hate it also.

However now, years later knowing the facts behind the use of Xmas for Christmas I have no personal hang-ups in using Xmas instead of Christmas, whilst allowing for the feelings of those who still hold my former Christian view.

So what changed my opinion on the use of Xmas for Christmas? Well first, let me ask you what does Christmas mean to you? Or what do you understand the Word Christmas to mean?

The word literally means Christ’s Mass. Now, Mass simply means, the celebration of the Eucharist. And the Eucharist is variously known as Communion, The Lord’s Supper, or the Lord’s Table. A special Celebration of Jesus’ last Supper Celebration. Hence Christmas, simple means the Celebration of Christs’ Mass, now commonly held on December 25th.

So that briefly is what Christmas Means. So now let us look at what Xmas means.

The earliest followers of Jesus were often persecuted and forced to worship in hidden locations. Often these believers would scratch the secret symbol of a fish on the ground to help them safely identify other Christians. In the Greek of this period, the letters which make up the Greek word for “fish” also spelt out a secret message about our Lord.

I = Jesus.

X = Christ.

TH = God’s.

Y or U = Son.

S = Saviour.

From this, it is obvious that the X stands for Christ, and so we see that both Christmas and Xmas mean exactly the same thing. Xmas is simply an abbreviation of Christmas using the Greek symbol for Christ. Thus it is not offensive or derogative to Christ or Christians, in any way. However if I know it will upset someone if I use the Abbreviation, I will not use it. Unless I believe that I will also get the chance to attempt to correct their opinion of the use of Xmas for Christmas. What say you? Xmas, or Christmas? Walter

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

IXTHYS. The sign of the fish.

Have you ever seen a car go by with a sticker of a fish on it and wondered what it meant?

In the first 300 or so years of Christianity, the earliest followers of Jesus were persecuted and often forced to worship in hidden locations. Often these believers would scratch the secret symbol of a fish on the ground to help them identify other Christians.

Not only was fish a common food of the day, but also as such it was often used and referenced to by Jesus himself, during his ministry. However of more significance to Christians is the fact that the letters which make up the Greek word for “fish” also spell out a secret message about our Lord Jesus Christ.

I = Jesus.

X = Christ.

TH = God’s.

Y or U = Son.

S = Saviour.

Throughout the generations, the fish symbol continues to identify the true followers of Jesus Christ. Even today the fish symbol transcends differences in cultures and denominations, and helps Christians to identify one another.

So in closing, what does the sign of the fish mean to you? A meaningless symbol? A Puzzle? A Bumper sticker for the car? Or a special message to you? Walter

Monday, December 10, 2007

Changing Old Traditions.

For as far back as I can remember at Home, we always had a live Christmas Tree when possible. For as long as I lived at home it was the Boy’s job every year, to go down and around the paddocks somewhere and Cut down a native Cypress type of tree. I have no idea what its proper name was but in our family it was always call a “wild Cherry tree” although as I said it looked more like a Cypress than an actual cherry tree. In latter years when a decent “wild Cherry tree “ became too hard to find Mum went over to live Pine trees and only later when the kids moved out, she turned to an artificial tree.

When I married and moved out we started out with a live tree each year but with the various moves over the years as we prepared for Missionary service, we too went artificial for a while.

We did go back to a live trees for a while when we moved to Transkei (South Africa). Yes, we had live trees right at our first Christmas there. Even if our first Christmas tree there, within weeks of arriving, was only a live potted Philodendron, it was quite effective when lit up and decorated. Later we also progressed to live pines, and finally when they became too scarce over there, back to artificial.

Upon returning to Oz, 6 Christmases back with this one, our first-born demanded we go back to live trees, which we did, and she is still doing this year.

We however have gone over to artificial again, even though live trees are still readily available. But this year we were looking for a smaller, less messy tree and so settled on a Smallish artificial one. A cheap and nasty one at that too! However with a bit of fake snow, and just the lights on it is starting to look reasonably presentable.

As hinted in previous blogs my artistic skills when coming to decorate things, is pretty basic, and my part of decorating the tree, after setting it up has always been relegated to throwing a few strings of lights around it and leaving it to the Girls to hang the baubles and tinsel on it.

Well this year they have their own tree to do, and we ours. So there needs to be a change in our decorating traditions this year.

We are also having a luncheon fellowship from the Church here next Sunday with about 30+ men, women and children in attendance, plus a few blow ins before the event and so this year I have decided to let all our visitors have a part in decorating our “family “tree.

My intention is to ask everyone to put at least one decoration each on the tree. Both helping to decorate it and to symbolise them as part of our inner circle even if not immediate family.

How about you? Don’t worry about what type of tree you have but how are you decorating it?

How will you decorate your Tree this year and who will you include in your inner circle of Family? Christmas is supposed to be a time for family, so will you allow “family” even if in the broadest sense of the word, to be part of your Tree? Will you this year change Tradition to allow others into your inner “family” circle? Or will you keep others at arm’s length this Christmas? Over to you for your reflection.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Standout Or Middle Of The Range?

As stated in my article, “How Do You Like The Christmas lights”, I mentioned that after many years of desiring too, I finally achieved an ambition of mine to string up a few Christmas lights in the front yard and around the front of the house.

When I decided to start, only one neighbour in our street had his lights up. By the time I finished the neighbour on the other side had his up as well. Now nearly everyone has! (Not that I put that many up, just that I took my time doing it!) There are only 11 houses in our court and now only three don’t have lights up and ours just add to the scene on either side of us, and rather than looking inferior, look a whole lot better than being the only house in a string of 7 without lights.

As this is our first year in a home of our own, we have no decorations of our own and so are starting from scratch this year. So rather than spend a lot of money on a lot of lights and decorations, I brought only a few but of the cheaper type this year. This year I have gone for quantity over Quality just to get a few lights up and out there. Over the coming years it is my plan to by better and more specific types of lights and decorations. However for this year, just to get the show on the road I have settles for the rather bland and plain not flashing lights, just to get a “Show” out there.

So I have (and for only a few dollars) and even with little artistic flair, it will pass in the dark, particularly at the end of our court. Although Cheap, They are colourful and brighten up the place. Sometimes it pays to always buy the best and start out small, which is my normal philosophy but occasionally like here, one needs to throw their normal philosophy out the window, albeit ever so briefly. So this year at least we have an average display. Walking recently with my wife around our court after dark, we commented that although our lights weren’t the best in the street, they weren’t the worse either.

How about you? Are you sometimes happy to come middle of the range or are you only out for Number one spot and if you can’t get that, won’t even try? Are you even prepared to change your ways and thought patterns occasionally? Or are you so stuck in your old patterns that nothing can change without destroying you? How about considering things from a different perspective even if only once in a while? Or in this case, once a year! Over to you for your thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

How Do You Like The Christmas lights?

In the distant past I was not really into Christmas decorations and lights outside of the house. And during our time in South Africa, or at least our part of it, Christmas was very low key and certainly no lights or decorations outside. So it was a bit of a surprise when we came back to Oz 5 years ago to find many Houses and their yards all lit up at Christmas Time. Also a bit of a surprise to find Christmas “stuff” and Lights so reasonably cheap and plentiful compared to when we left Oz in 1990.

Since then it has always been a bit of an ambition of mine to string up a few lights in a bush in the front yard and around the front of the house. However my first-born would not let me do it. Whether it was because, “a few lights in a bush in the front yard and around the front of the house,” would look just like “a few lights in a bush in the front yard and around the front of the house”, knowing my previous decorating skills? Or whether she knew, also from first hand experience, that it would probably end up with her doing most of it?

For what ever reason, I was politely but firmly told, “Dad you can do that when you get your own home but not here.” Well guess what? We have our own home again. (Well a rented one anyway.) So this year I decided I would string up “a few lights in a bush in the front yard and around the front of the house”.

So I have (and for only a few dollars) and even with little artistic flair, it will pass in the dark, particularly at the end of our court. There are only 11 houses in our court and over half have lights up so ours just add to the scene on either side of us, and rather than looking inferior, look a whole lot better than being the only house in a string of 7 without lights.

They are colourful and brighten up the place and even if no one else appreciates them I do. What about you? Are you often hindered by the opinions of others? Of course there are times, like when you are living with others, that you have to take cognisance of the thoughts of others

However if it is not illegal or immoral and adds to the neighbourhood atmosphere, don’t let the opinions of a few others stop you if you have the means and opportunity. And even if it is not up to the standards of some others, so what?

Not good enough for others? Who Cares? As long, as they are good enough for you and doesn’t infringe the rights of others! What say you?

Friday, December 7, 2007

It Is Christmas Time Again.

Well it is official! Christmas time has finally arrived at our House! No! I have not just put up the tree or the Christmas Lights. (Although they are up now.) No! Christmas officially arrives at our house when we get our first Christmas Card or Letter. This Year Christmas officially arrived on November 30.

We have only received half a dozen so far, but they have started. So have I. In fact I have written off most of the cards I intend to send this year. About 80. I just haven’t posted them yet that’s all.

Every year I have the same problem of who will I send cards or letters too this year? In the past with close to 500 on our mailing list, we have run off a photo Copy card letter. But over the years since our return to Oz the number on the list has dropped quite considerably. Also with e-mail this year I will probably do another 50 or so that way. So now with still a large number on our list how does one decide whom to send a card to? And who, if any, to drop off the list this time around?

Well each year I have this same issue and each year I ask who hasn’t replied at least once in the last couple of years? It is they who get the chop and if there is any doubt in my mind, they get one more chance this year, and are then chopped off my list. Of course if they do write in the coming year, well they go back on the list again.

Last year on my e-mail list I cut quite a few off it, including a couple that hadn’t replied literally in years. On the bottom of my letter I wrote if I don’t hear from you this year I will assume you are no longer interested in receiving our news. Well these two who I thought were not interested, as I hadn’t heard from them in years, were the first to reply asking to stay on my list. So from that I never exclude anyone from my list without giving him or her one last chance.

What about you? Are you always prepared to go that extra mile and give everybody that one last chance? And not just at Christmas time either. What say you? Who will you give one last chance to? Over to you for reliction and possibly action now while there is still time!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Monastery Ridge Group.

In my previous Blog about, “Top Or End? You Decide”, I mentioned that we live towards the top of a slight rise on our side.

On the other side it is quite steep and overlooks the township Of Croydon. As such it was the perfect spot many, many years ago for a Catholic Monastery.

Over the years it has been slowly squeezed out by developments and rising land prices. So much so, that much of the land on the other side of the hill has been turned into a Retirement Development. With Land on this side being sold off, or in the process of being sold off to Developers. This latter process has not pleased all on our side of the Hill.

Not all agree with this new development, including some in our court who feel, that with the small size of the development blocks, right up against some of their fences, the new owners will have to build two story houses with resulting windows looking out on their backyards and pools etc.

Others just don’t want to see many of the big, old and significant trees on the sight chopped down. So a group calling itself the Monastery Ridge Group, was formed “ by local residents, who were concerned that the special features of the area were being eroded by inappropriate development.”

The special concern in our area is the block behind us. They have fought to have the number of proposed blocks on it reduced form 24 to 20 and now down to 17 for the latest proposal. They also claim some successes in saving local vegetation and trees. They appealed against a permit application to remove 63 trees from the property. After inspection by an independent Arborist, 32 of the trees were removed because they were in a poor state. So they have had a success with half the trees. I am not sure how long it will be before the remaining trees became unstable too, but for now they have had some success.

As hinted here, I am not sure how I feel about this group and their real motives behind this preservation move, but I do admire their zeal. They have found a cause that they believe in and are prepared to band together and do something about it.

How about us? You and Me? Do we have that same zeal for all that we do? Or are we just halfhearted in all that we do?

I don’t know what your particular cause is, but are you really committed to it? Are you prepared to give your all (within legal bounds) for your cause? Over to you for your reflection.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Top or End? You decide!

Ever since we have moved into our latest home, we have referred to it as being at the end of the court. And even instruct people to,” Just drive into our Court and you are already facing our place right at the end of the road.”

Recently we went to the Local Street Christmas Party and people kept referring to us as the people from the top of the street/Hill.

I guess technically we are at the top of the hill, but the slope on our side of this hill at least is not that steep that I have ever thought of us as living at the top of the Street, let alone at the top of the hill.

Thus it took me a while to adjust to what they were saying about us living at the top, as it wasn’t in our train of thought. However when we adjusted to their thinking, it did make sense and while we will still consider ourselves as living at the end rather than the top, we can now relate to their line of thinking.

Does that ever happen to you? That people use different words to you to talk about something near and dear or at least up close and personal, like where you live? How do you react to people who use different words and phraseology that you normally prefer? Do you try and force the majority to your view, Go with the majority, or stick with your own view come what may?

Just how do you react to people who think differently to you and why? Have you ever thought about how you act and react to others who differ in any way to you?

Over to you for some personal reflection time: Walter

Friday, November 30, 2007

All Cherries Aren’t “Cherry” Nice.

Although not a real orchard worker, I have worked on a few orchards doing casual work. Mostly fruit picking, even if only briefly. The briefest would have been one day, picking Grapes in Mildura. It was only ever going to be one day for which I was very grateful. For after 6 hours in the hot sun with a bent back, I could tell it was not an occupation I would like.

Since then I have picked apples, pears, nectarines, plums and a few lemons.

As well as that, for the first 28 years of my life my father had a fruit round and during that time for just under 3 years I had my own Green grocers shop, followed by another 6 years working in the fruit and veggie sections of Supermarkets. So much of my life I have been around fresh fruit one way or another and have a great appreciation of it.

As well I have also been around gardening most of my life and love that too, as a relaxation as much as anything.

Now despite these two great appreciations I have neve been attracted to the marriage of the two and growing Fruit trees for their fruit.

Apart from a couple of Feijoas at various places I can’t remember ever planting a fruit tree for myself, although I have planted a lot of peach and nectarine trees at one Orchard I worked at.

Me and fruit trees are only together if I move into a place that already has them, such as our new residence.

When we moved in, we found some grape vines along one side of the house and three fruit trees out the back. As they were dormient we had no idea what they were.

Watching them bud, flower and put out leaves and finally fruit, I was quickly able to identify the Apricot tree and a bit later the Plum tree from its fruit, but it took awhile to identify the final one.

Of all fruit, my all-time favourites would be Sultana Grapes (Known by some as Thompson’s Seedless) and big black cherries. And especially the Cherries because their season is so short.

So you can imagine my joy when I discovered the third tree was a cherry tree.

Recently I discovered that instead of being big and Black they were small and Red.

None the less I eagerly tried one, and was transported back in time to my childhood.

I don’t know if they were on the place when Grandfather bought it or whether he planted them but in my youth Dad had 5 or 6 small old Cherry trees in the back yard, and I still remember my first taste of them. It was the same as recently with those in our new back yard.

They were terrible. I won’t tell you the word my youngest used to describe the taste as you might wonder what we normally feed her. Lets just say both varieties are not eating varieties. MY father's were of the Jam making type and I suspect that that is all those in our back yard are good for too!

Isn’t that a bit like life? Whilst many things have the same name or of the same general type, they can be very, very different in reality and unless we are aware of this, we will be taken by surprise like I was with the taste of these cherries.

There is nothing really wrong with the Cherries other than that they are not the type I want. Sometime we don’t know or realize that there are different types of things like with the cherries, that are all suitable for their own specific purpose but not necessarily for our own desired purpose.

Now in my case there is nothing I can do as they belong to the Landlord. But if you are starting out to do something for the first time, do your homework first.

Don’t just rush out and buy the first "Cherry tree” or whatever you want, until you have checked out that it is the right type or variety for your need. For many things, like the Cherry tree, it will take many years of work and expense before you get your first fruit and you don’t want to waste all that time, effort and money on Jam Cherries when you want eating cherries or vice a versa, do you?

Before you rush into anything new check it all out very thoroughly and make sure you know as mush as possible or is needed to make the right choice.

Otherwise you may just have to live with the resulting problems and loose your investment.

Either that or make Cherry Jam! What say you?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Looking Cool, Or Looking A Fool?

Was down at our local Shopping Centre recently and saw a unique hair cut/style on an otherwise ordinary, prosperous looking young businessman. Now I have seen some interesting hairstyles in the past and even in this same shopping centre, but this one was unusual and unique in my sight. Although the guy had his sleeves rolled up to reveal tatts on his arms, he was dressed in a suit and looked quite respectable and unusual except for his hair.

It was nearly all cut very short and was little more than fuzzy dark brown all over except for an area from his ears around the front, which was dyed/ peroxided blonde and cut higher in the shape roughly of a Tiara that princesses are supposed to wear.

It was quite unusual and I hadn’t quite made up my mind as to what I really thought of it apart from strange, but by then had passed him and was a little in front when a lady about my age and her mother came around the corner and spotted him. Well, the changed look on their faces was priceless, as was their laughter as I heard one mention something about his hair.

As I laughed at their reaction I couldn’t help pondering what he really thought of it and how it made him feel. I’m sure that he thought he was so cool and unusual, but that is not how most surely saw him.

How about you? Forget your hair for now, but how are you presenting yourself to the world?

Are you trying to stand out from the crowd and “Look Cool” but in fact end up just looking a fool?

I realise that this guy is looking for attention and had he had a normal haircut without the peroxide, I probably would never had noticed him, but does he really want to be noted, not as cool but as a fool, by the numberless majority?

What about you? Are you trying to stand out from the crowd the wrong way? Are you coming across as cool or a fool? Is that how you really want to present yourself to the world? What say you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Obsessed or dedicated?

As mentioned in earlier blog, I used to work for a guy who, as a retirement hobby, grew a few camellias. A few thousand that is.

Now you may wonder why he grew so many and what he did with them. In my previous blog I explained that he was interested in trying to grow and name new types of flowers. In other words, to introduce to the public a ‘New’ Camellia. I don’t know how many different types and colours of Camellias there are already but there are heaps, and so finding a new one was never going to be easy, hence the large number of seedlings he grew each year, in the hope of finding that elusive one. Which I also mentioned previously he did, once! But what did he do with the literally thousands of un-needed plants?

Well Camellias, as well as being slow to germinate from seed and needing up to seven years to flower for the first time, are also not very vigorous growers, particularly with some of the more desirables colours. So what happens is that when the plant flowers and is assessed as not being suitable to grow on for its own flowers, it is put aside as Graft stock.

Here the whole plant (5 – 7 years of growth,) is chopped off a few inches from the ground and a cutting or graft from a more desirable named-variety is grafted on and this new plant grows on the old rootstock, and thus more named varieties become readily available. Not that my friend ever sold many.

As stated previously money was not the issue here. Propagating and promoting camellias was!

During my time there, although technically I worked for his son, when work was “light”, I spent a bit of time helping “Dad” with his “Babies”. Even to the point of helping him take and plant many of these new named plants over to the Olinda Rhododendron Gardens where they graciously set aside a large area for the Camellias to be grown. So most of Len’s earlier rejects were turned into more desirable plants and given to the community for future generations to admire.

Anyway as work was “Light” for a while, I moved on. Some ten years later I found myself as temporary Pastor of Wagga-Ashmont Church in Wagga Wagga briefly (before we headed of overseas for Missionary work). By that time Len had passed on but his legacy to the Camellia community hadn’t. You see in Wagga Wagga’s Botanical garden they had put in a Chinese Camellia Garden with the help of a Sister City in China. Of course most of the Camellias plants were Australian sourced. And on the Plaque at the gates of this garden are listed about 20 of the plant sponsors to this Project. Prominent among them is the name of my friend and his wife. Although He would have shunned the personal publicity, he would be among the first to step up to promote any project that would promote his beloved Camellias.

Even when planting at the Rhododendron Gardens, he was aware that, as Camellias were slow growing, that he would never see the established plants in their full glory, but he was committed to leave them behind not for his own enjoyment or benefit but for the benefit of future generations.

So you see a lot of time and effort, literally years of time and effort, went into a project that he would never fully see to its full glory, and it not only never gave him anything financially, but cost him financially, it did give him the chance to do what he loved and the opportunity to add something “new” hopefully to the Camellia world and even to giving the Wider Garden world and general public a thing of beauty and joy.

How about you? Do you see everything you do or try only in personal or financial terms or are you prepared to give of yourself for years to try and give something back to the world. Something that you may never live to see and appreciate fully but countless generations will? What say you?

Some might have said Len was obsessed but thousands now know that he was simple dedicated to his beloved Camellias. And I dedicate this Blog to the Living Memory off the late Leonard Ingsley Hobbs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A few Camellias?

I mentioned in my earlier blog that I used to work for a guy who grew a few camellias. What I didn’t mention was that it was only a hobby for him in his retirement years. I did also say that he only grew a few. A few thousand that is.

Now you may ask why he grew so many and what he did with them. I will answer the latter question in another blog but for why he grew so many, I can explain.

The first reason was, because he could. His family had all grown up and were successful and taken over the family business and he had more money than he could otherwise spend so he spent some of it on Camellias. So He grew the seedlings at his home and then grew the plants onto the flowering stage at the Business’ country property where I worked alongside my brother.

The other main reason was, that he was not just into growing Camellias but he was into trying to propagate and find new types or colours in the flowers.

Many Camellias set seeds but the seeds themselves require special conditions to make them sprout, so whilst I have done it a few times, it is not an easy process. Secondly Camellias take up to seven years to flower before you have any idea what the colour or shape of the flower may be. And of the thousands literally that one might grow, although the flowers may be very pretty, the chances of getting a completely different and desirable flower/plant are few and far between. I don’t know how many thousands of Camellia seedlings my friend Len grew but I do know that He only ‘found’ one uniquely different enough to name and mass-produce and put on the commercial market. Its name was Pavlova, named after the desert Pavlova that was served one night at a Camellia Society Dinner in Honour of some visiting American Camellia lovers.

And I think by the time it was publicly released he had passed on. So you see a lot of time and effort, literally years of time and effort, went into a project that gave little to him personally financially but it did give him the chance to do what he loved and the opportunity to add something “new” hopefully to the Camellia world.

So you see a lot of work and a lot of plants, for just the sniff of finding something different. In my next blog I will tell you what Len did with his excess plants. Bur for now what about your hobby? How about you? Do you see everything you do or try, only in financial terms or are you prepared to give of yourself for years if necessary, to try and give something back to the world. Is there something that you would love to do and can afford to do that you could do? Not for your own benefit but for the wider community?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Renewing Old Leaves.

It was stinking hot today and I walked outside past a couple of Camellia Bushes in our new yard. I have yet to see them in flower so can’t tell you what colour they are yet but I noticed that some of the old leaves were rather spotty.

I used to work for a guy who grew a few camellias and so I did pick up a little about their habits and needs. For instance, although they are best suited for filtered light or shade, some plants cope with full sun quite well. As a general rule of thumb though, it is the darker colours that flourish in the sun. Therefore the lighter the colour, right down to white, the more shade the better.

Also, although they can be sprinkled with water from above, it is best not to do so on a hot day as the sun often boils the water on the leaves before it has had time to be absorbed in or to evaporate from. If you do sprinkle them on a hot day and they burn and become spotty, you have to put up with them till the new growth replaces them. The only problem there is that it takes the Camellia bush three years to completely renew all its old leaves. So you can burn and ruin the look of your Camellia plant in a matter of a few hours, but have to wait as long three years to have it re-fresh itself fully.

A lot of our mistakes are a bit like that aren’t they? Easy to make but hard to cover up. So what do we do? Well mistakes will always happen no matter how careful we are, so when they do we just have to fix them up as best we can and live with the results.

With that in mind though, it is a wise move, is it not, to make sure every time you do something, that you do it properly at the start and take no short cuts or chances on mistakes happening.

It may be an old saying of my mother’s but the old maxim of, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So what are you doing right now that a little more care and prevention now will save you heartache and eyesores well into the Future. Just something for you to ponder on for today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Big Fish Small Pond - negatives.

As you probably know by now, I love pet fish and have had, and still have both tropical and Coldwater fish. As stated in other blogs, one problem with keeping fish is that you sometimes end up with fish that become too aggressive. Another problem is that there are just so many interesting fish out there that there is the problem of having to decide what types, varieties and even size fish you will have in your tank.

If you are fortunate and have the space, (& a lovely wife who will let you have more than one tank in the house,) that is not too insurmountable a problem and you can have separate tanks for different size fish. Smallish ones in one and biggish ones in another. {And if you are really lucky even a third tank for some others, who you would not normally put with your favourites.}

An altogether amicable arrangement, accept for one thing. What to do with the occasional fish that doesn’t clearly fit either designation and you have to decide whether to make it a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

Some people are a bit like this big fish - small fish Conundrum. Putting them in a small pond makes then the BIG Fish. If they are of benign character this is no problem. However if they are an aggressive specimen and have no bigger fish to keep that aggression in Check they can be disruptive to the whole eco system of the pond. Which being small offers little to protect the little ones from these aggressors.

How to handle the problem? Remove any and all aggressors either completely or to a bigger tank if possible/ practical, where they will be relegated to their proper place in the pond’s “Pecking order”. Alternatively move most if not all the smaller fish to a bigger tank where they will have the opportunity to ‘Shine” without constantly being bullied by not necessarily more important fish, just bigger aggressive ones.

Restoring and maintaining a happy environment is all important whether in a fish tank or the work place. Where do you fit in and do you need a change of fish tanks? Not necessarily for your own sake but for the sake of the others, because you have simply become too big (even if only in your own head) for the common good.

Again what can you do to restore the natural or safe environment? Over to You: Walter.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stupidest question to Richie Benaud,

I know that there are some parts of the world where Cricket is not big, but where it is, so is the name Richie Benaud. Richie is the Doyen of Cricket Commentators, both in England and Australia, where he commentates on both Countries’ Home Summer seasons. He has done this for so long that recently he was able to say that he had not experienced a winter in over 30 years, as he is in England during their summer series and in Australia during Ours. As well as writing 7 books on cricket he has been commentating for BBC Television in England since 1960 and Australian Television since 1977, so is well known to TV viewers and mobbed every where he goes. But just how well do his so-called fans know him and his background?

The other day, in a Newspaper article he was asked what is the question you are most asked? He replied, “Did you ever play first Class Cricket?”

Talk about a stupid question. Talk about knowing somebody and yet knowing nothing about them at all! When I told my First-born about this question, she just rolled her eyes, as if to say, “Just how stupid are some people?”

To answer that question I can’t, because you see anyone who has ever watched the Cricket on TV for any length of time can’t help but hear references made by others to Richie about cricket during his (Benaud’s) playing days. Yes he played first class cricket. Yes he played for Australia. Some 65 Tests in fact. Not only did he play for Australia in Cricket but he also captained the Test Team for 28 of his 65 Tests, never loosing a series under his captaincy. Not only that but he is also one of only 10 Australian Cricketers to score 10,000 runs and take 500 wickets.

But and apparently this is the big problem, that was long, long ago and it seems forgotten too. It seems many today are only interested in his current fame and not his whole game. Thus they know of him; know what he looks like, but know nothing about him. Hence the stupid question. Not once but repeatedly too!

So how well do you know someone you profess to admire, someone always before your eyes, but not necessarily your thoughts? With an election coming up soon I think it is a relevant question. On what do you base your admiration/ support? The few sound bites on TV with out any regard to where they came from or how? Some fancy thoughts but with no thought or any idea on what they base their thoughts and ideas on? Are these personal thoughts from experience, or the ideas of others, whether tested or still untested?

Of course I think it goes without saying that this assessment is relevant all the time too and not just at elections. So on what do you base ‘Your Hero Worship” On a partial knowledge of the person and facts? Or on a complete knowledge of the subject of your current attention.

Finally, how do you deal with stupid questions like this? Questions that would never be asked if people really knew you and not just knew about you? It seems to me that these people are only flocking to Richie because he is somebody “Famous’ but they don’t really know why. Nether the less they want to be able to boast that they spoke with somebody famous but then show their ignorance with their in ane questions.

What about you? Do you always think before you speak, or do you just ‘gush out’ the first things that come to mind? Over to you for your reflection. Walter

Friday, November 9, 2007

Too Aggressive?

As stated in other blogs, I love pet fish and have had many over the years, both tropical and Coldwater fish. Love em, even if “you can’t take a goldfish for a walk”! However, as with everything, there are occasional problems. One such problem with keeping fish, of either type, is that you sometimes end up with one or more that become too aggressive and bossy for a small communal tank and have to be removed or kept alone.

If you have the tanks and space this can be a viable and practical solution enabling you to keep all of them, just separately, that’s all. However, sometimes and mostly most often, this becomes too impractical as you can quickly run out of tanks or room to put all these tanks, or both. Thus a sacrifice has to be made. Either to get rid of the other fish and keep the aggressive one, or to keep the non- trouble fish and get rid of the aggressor. Neither is necessarily nice or desired, but often it is the only practical solution.

Sometimes I think life, (particularly in regard to work situations,) is a little like a fish tank. People from all different backgrounds and types and ages are put together in an artificial environment and told to get on with it. When everyone is swimming in the same direction every thing is fine but when someone tries to dominate or claim exclusive rights to certain areas, trouble can arise. Now a little aggression in life is a good thing and there are some people who I have met who need to find a little in their lives. Mostly however, we find one or two, otherwise fine and desirable specimens, who have just a tad too much aggression for the welfare of the whole group. And unless something is done to control or remove that aggression, the whole group will suffer and be stressed even if it is just trying to avoid confrontation.

How is your work situation? Is there an aggressor in it that needs to be reigned in? Worse, is that aggressor you?

Remember, a little aggression is a good thing, but too much of a good thing is not. Maybe you need to stop and smell the “seaweed” for a while and take a realistic stock of your present “Pond environment” and your role in making it a happy and productive place. What say you?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lawn mower Diet.

I am the sort of person who has never had to watch my weight or diet my whole life. It may be more by good luck and genes than good management, but it is a fact. So diets don’t have any attraction to me. However it is increasingly being pushed in all the media that Australia is fast over coming America in the race to be the most obese Country in the world. Hence there has been a massive increase in the advertising, promotion and inventing of diets.

The Media has been full of it lately. On the current affairs programs of late have been a couple of more innovative yet still practical ones introduced to the world at large.

One was the Clothesline diet. Where a young lady self-conscious of the stares of others, would not go walking in public, but decided to walk around her ‘clothesline (The rotary Type) for a certain time everyday to substitute for walking in public.

The most recent I heard was a week or so ago and is called the Pram diet. A young first-time mum decided she needed to lose weight and so placing her baby in the pram (What we saw on TV was actually a Stroller) and off she went. First she started going further and further everyday, then she started to add extra weight to the pram such as water and books etc, and then she started recruiting others to walk with her.

{Actually both these ladies wrote books about their diet plans and both added one extra ingredient. An ingredient that all diets must take into consideration at some point and that is, both eating healthier foods and smaller portions.}

It seems to a dumb old layman like myself that when it comes to losing weight, there is no quick and easy solution and the old ways are best. What is the old way? Eat healthy of all 5 food groups; eat smaller portions; and get plenty of exercise.

Now of course we all know that don’t we but we find it hard to do don’t we? Especially the exercise part. That’s where my “New “ Diet comes in. It doesn’t help you in the food department but my diet involves plenty of exercise and plenty of upper and lower body exercises too. What is my fabulous diet secret?

Mowing the lawn! It is a regular activity which, as I said gives you plenty of exercise, and upper and lower body movement too. It is a great exercise and practical way to lose weight isn’t it? After all it is a re-occurring event and something that needs doing anyway and if we don’t do it, we are just going to have to pay someone else to do it aren’t we?

And there in lies one of the great paradoxes of our time. The things we used to do that burnt of excess weight, like house cleaning, mowing, walking the dog, even washing and hanging out the washing is now being out-sourced to others, while we pay fortunes for fancy diets and Gym machines, ‘to try and control” our weight!

Crazy isn’t it? What’s your solution? Mine is just eating properly and doing the “Normal” energy/weight’ burning jobs around the house yourself and saving the money spent on diets and gym equipment, for other things. What say you? Walter

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cold-Water Fish In A Warm-water Tank.

As stated in other blogs, I love pet fish and have had, and still have both tropical and Coldwater fish. One problem with keeping fish is that you sometimes end up with fish that become too aggressive and bossy for a small communal tank and have to be removed or kept alone, and sometimes this becomes too impractical as you can quickly run out of tanks or room to put all these tanks, or both. Running both Cold water and Tropical fish means that you have to have separate tanks for both varieties, as each one doesn’t always like the temperature of the other’s water as I mentioned in Tropical Fish In A Cold Water Tank?

Now that being said, you can successfully (?) go the other way and put gold fish into a tropical tank if you have to, which I have done. Oft times to the amazement of others! However it is not recommended as a long-term solution, even though there are many short-term benefits. Benefits, such as increased activity and increased growth in size. However to counter all these increases, there is one major decrease and that is in life span. Yes putting a goldfish in warmer water will have short-term benefits but will also result in quicker mortality too!

So, how are you swimming today? Are you swimming in your proper environment and growing naturally or are you swimming in waters not properly suited to you? Oh yes you may even be reaping great short term benefits, but at long term costs as to your health and mortality.

Maybe today is the day when you need to move back to your proper conditions. Maybe watch your diet, your exercise, your free time, your stress levels, your - - - - - (You fill in the Blanks!) Anyhow, it is something to think about isn’t it? Walter

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What’s Your Focal Point?

On and off, since I was a teenager I have had pet fish, as I have always loved them. Shortly before we found ourselves having to make the decision to leave South Africa to return to Australia, I bought some more Cold-water fish, in an attempt to lower my stress levels.

Obviously now, that wasn’t enough and the painful decision to pull the plug on our work there was made. However before we left South Africa for good, we moved to another site as temporary relief replacements. It was there that I discovered the joy of keeping tropical fish, even if it was only a few Guppies in a Bowl.

So when we did return to Australia and resettled again, I bought myself a big Christmas present, a 4-foot Fish Tank and set myself up with tropical fish. For a while there, we were constantly buying new fish but eventually we got the water conditions right and the fish not only lived but started growing too. During this period I also had the loan of a 6-foot tank for over 12 months and so the fish grew some more before they had to go back into the 4ft Tank. What this meant was that I had quite a number of large interesting fish.

Of course even with perfect conditions you loose fish and so it was with me over the 5 years since I started again. Anyway with the last move coming up we let the tank run down in numbers and have only started to restock now after every thing has settled.

We actually have quite a few in the tank again and quite a good and varied group too, but there is something missing. As I thought about it, I decided it was “colour” so I started to look out for any ‘colourful’ fish to fill the need. I am still looking but in my looking I have seen a lot of other interesting fish that are not necessarily ‘colourful’, and then I realized what was really missing in my fish tank.

Not so much ‘colour’ as ‘character”. Something different that was the focal point for people’s passing attention. You see, over the years I have had some interesting fish, particularly small sharks and catfish that have grabbed people’s attention, for their unusualness. It was these “interesting” fish that drew their attention to the tank even if they didn’t normally like pet fish. Now I currently have lots of varied tropical fish, but nothing, not one, that is ‘spectacular’ to automatically draw people’s attention to the rest of the tank.

How does that sit in your life situation, your work? Is your work, good, solid, plentiful, but without any real focal point, to attract people’s attention to your work with the hope of closer inspection of all your other ‘little fishes’?

Do you yourself even know what your focal point is or should be? Just another though to contemplate as I relax and enjoy my little 'fishies", hey? Walter

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tropical Fish In A Cold Water Tank?

For a person who doesn’t particularly like cold weather I could be seen by some to be living in the wrong place and State, but before you start talking about whether I should rather move to Queensland, let me say I love it here in Victoria and am in no inclination to move, just now thank you all the same. As for the colder months, well, fortunately we have access to good clean Gas Heat here and that suits me just fine. I like gas heating as it is quick and reasonably cheap, unlike electricity. Although having said that I do have some electric heaters too. But I mostly use them for the Fish Tank, so that I can keep Tropical Fish in an un-tropical environment. I like Fish and particularly tropical fish. In South Africa, in the place where we were for the last few months, it was possible to keep Tropical fish without heating the water, but not here in good old Victoria, Australia.

For a little while, in the summer at least you could probably keep tropical fish here without heating the water, but if you want to keep them alive during the winter months than you just have to have heated water. But not too much either or you will have roast or broiled fish instead. No for tropical fish there is a limited range of heat needed. The temperature needs to be just so and no more. Too much and they will die. Too low and they will die. Do it right and you will have little trouble. Do it incorrectly and you will soon have no fish!

How are you swimming? Are you a tropical Fish trying to swim in an unheated pool? You may survive for a little while when conditions are good but as soon as conditions change you will struggle and unless you can change the conditions, you will die, metaphorically if not literally.

In the wild some tropical fish move with the water temperature, and when it cools they move onto the warmer waters. If you have that opportunity then I suggest you take advantage of it and move with the weather. But where you can’t, make sure that your “Heaters” are in good working order long before winter hits.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Do you really want to be alone?

I sometimes hear people say,” I just want to be alone. I wish people would just disappear and leave me alone.” Now I know they say that but I wonder if they have really thought that through

People need people whether they realize that or not. John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island*”, yet I wonder how many secretly wished that they could just find a deserted Island somewhere and ‘leave ‘ the world?

As a kid I loved the Robinson Caruso story, and so I was intrigued when I got a little older to hear that it was loosely based on a true story. I say loosely because I just read a brief account of the original Robinson Crusoe, and he was not shipwrecked. It seems that one Alexander Selkirk was a master on a ship under a Captain who it turn was under the overall Command of William Dampier. (The first Englishman to reach Australia.)

It seems that Selkirk and the Captain did not see eye to eye on anything to the point that Selkirk begged Dampier to leave him on the then deserted Island of Juan Fernandez, which Dampier did, and sailed on. Over the next 4 years Dampier’s fame and fortune waxed and waned and he found himself at the helm of a Privateer, which called in at Juan Fernandez some 4 years and 4 days after Selkirk was left on “His” island at his own request. He may have been happy at first but by then he was now only too happy to be back in the company of “his old commander and that bloodthirsty botanist, William Dampier”.

It seems at first the island was Selkirk’s ideal, but after 4 years, he was only to happy to get back into circulation, even if the initial long and unpleasant journey was going to be in the company of a hard and ruthless task master.

What about you? Don’t learn the hard way that no man is an island! Yes by all means temporary withdraw if you really must to catch your breath, so to speak, but remember isolation will not really help and that, "People really do need people". It is not just a catchy slogan but also a true fact of life.

So get out there and live your life among other people, and don’t withdraw completely. Believe it or not you need other people and they need you! Walter

I will leave you with John Donne’s quote: “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. (Meditation XVII)”

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Named After A Sir!!

In a couple of recent blogs I have been talking about the sometimes strange sources that some parents use to find names for their Children, but did you know (Or care) that I was named after a “Sir”? No, not sir Walter Raleigh; nor Sir Walter Scott! And most definitely not after the new type of Lawn grass now available! No! This time Grandfather’s source of a suitable name for his grandson was acceptable and I was named after Australia’s very own Sir Walter Lindrum.

Now for those of you not interested in Billiards, you may never have heard of him, but back in the last Century, from the 1920’s right up to the 50’s (when I was born) he was the Crowned and uncrowned World Champion of Billiards. Even earning him a Knighthood shortly before his death in 1960.

Now with such an illustrious Billiards Player for a namesake, you would think that I would be a great Billiards player wouldn’t you? Well! Sorry to disappoint you but I have hardly played it in my life. One of the reasons that I have not tried to play it, is that I have tried long and hard to play snooker and I ‘suck ‘ badly at that, so I haven’ tried to even learn Billiards either! (I tried it once and found it too confusing!)

Just goes to show, doesn’t it, that no matter what we call ourselves after, or where our names come from, we have to bring our own talents with us. We can’t inherit them from our families and we certainly can’t draw them out of the sources or meanings of our names either. What we are, is what we are.

Sure, like Walter Lindrum, whose father and Grandfather were Billiard players and ran Billiard Parlours, we can get so much from our families and our circumstances, but ultimately what we are and what we become is up to us. Being named after a famous Billiard player has not helped me one bit to play the game. That’s not to say I haven’t been successful in my life. Just not in Billiards (or Snooker)! What about you? Has your “Name” helped or hindered you? Or like with me been totally indifferent?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Grandpa’s Naming Record.

Yesterday I posted an article about an unusual name my Grandfather suggested, unsuccessfully thankfully, for my brother. Now I don’t want you to think that grandpa was a little funny in the name department himself. No way! He only had two children; one of each and each one named their first-borns after him. Just as well they were both boys wasn’t it?

(As an aside, both were named after him but only one was given his English spelling, while the other was given the Germanic spelling of his son-in-law’s ancestors. Also helped to distinguish between the two too!)

Also in grandpa’s defense, although I don’t know if he picked them personally but the names of both his children were also standard. In fact his son’s name was so popular in our family that two of his grandsons ended up with it as a middle name and a great Grandson (my boy) as his first name. (As well another cousin, not related to this side of the family, received it as his first name too.) So it couldn’t have been too bad, could it?

Then of course then there is my name, that apparently grandpa was rather influential in choosing. I don’t know if after two other boys my parents were running short on acceptable names or not, but they allowed the name of another of Grandfather’s choices to be my name. (This person was a great and famous sporting hero of a generation or two earlier, and was to be the source of my name.) I will tell you who that is in another blog. This one is just to encourage you not to get wrong ideas about people or to write them off completely without knowing who they really are, because of an opinion or view based on one weirdish event in their life. So is there anyone around you that you need to re-evaluate your attitudes to? If so what are you going to do about it? Ignore them again or at least take the first step in reaching out and leave the next step to them. Over to you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What Inspires You When Choosing A Name?

When it comes to choosing a child’s name, many people use various and interesting and even downright weird sources for their name choice. Some have given their children names after famous people. One person gave his son the names of every player of his favourite football team. And others have equally weird sources for their choices.

I was thinking of this as I remembered the story around a proposed name for my brother. A name he fortunately never got. How would you like to have “Hiraji” for your Christian name?

Last year we celebrated my eldest Brother’s 60th Birthday. This year, this month in fact we celebrate my other brother’s 60th birthday. Although he never got here until the middle of the month, he was expected to arrive on Melbourne Cup day of that Year and the Story goes that my grandfather wanted to name him after that Year’s Melbourne Cup Winner. So I suppose it was just as well he was late as “Hiraji’ won with “Fresh Boy” second and “Red Fury” third! None sort of drip of the tongue like Jim, do they?

Still it good be worse! If they had have followed that line of thought I would have a sister called “High Jinx”, because that is the name of the horse that won the Melbourne Cup on the day she was born some years later. (Housie was 2nd & “Ilumquh” 3rd!)

So for those contemplating naming a child in the near future, have some care as to where you draw your sources. And like my parents choose names that the children can live with and not ones that make them the butt of outlandish jokes!

In the mean time, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, little Sis.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Seemed A Smart Idea At The Time.

Warren Buffet is one of the world’s richest men and made his fortune from being financially shrewd. Yet I read that a Furniture Store Chain, one of Four owned by him, has come a real cropper through an idea that must have seemed pretty safe and even clever at the time.

It seems that at the beginning of the recent Baseball Season, Jordan’s Furniture Chain came up with the idea of running a promotion offering customers all their money back; if the Boston Red Soxs won the Baseball World Series.

Well,now at season’s end, the Red Sox did their bit for the customers and won and now Jordan’s have to reimburse customers for more than 30,000 sofas, tables, and beds. Just as well for insurance hey? For although no one is saying how much, insurance cover is said to only cover $21.7 million, as some people apparently spent over &100,000 each re-outfitting their whole homes.

Taco Bills, apparently also offered a free deal but they were a little more cautious in their offer. They only had to provide a free Taco to anyone who turned up between 2pm & 5 Pm on October 30. Much less attractive maybe, but more realistic and affordable don’t you think?

Just shows that all of us make mistakes or over estimate the odds at some stage. Even the smartest do, so don’t sweat it when you do too! If it is a one off event!

If you keep making mistakes, then I think you do have a real problem and need to look into it straight away, don’t you? However, if it is only an occasional one and a new one every time, that is not so bad, and in fact shows that you are prepared to take some risks, doesn’t it?

It has been said that the only one who makes no mistakes is the person that does nothing. If they do nothing then there is no way they can make mistakes, is their thinking. However sometimes not doing anything is the biggest mistake one can make.

So as you look to and plan for the future, don’t be afraid of the odd mistake, but at the same time don’t take unrealistic risks (like Jordan Furniture) unless you have the financial wherewithal to back it, no matter, how unlikely it may seem of happening at the time.

So get out there and live your life; take a few risks, but make them measured ones, and don’t keep repeating the same mistakes, and have an interesting life!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You’re Leaving This For That?

Well here I am 3 months into my new job and day dreaming about some of the ‘Memories” of the old job. My last week or so at the Kiosk at the Railway Station was an interesting and emotional time for me. A very humbling one too, as I never realized how appreciative people would be for what really is little more than a smile and a cheery greeting. Because of the circumstances, there are no deep and meaningful conversations there, so I usually did a little stirring and people seem to love it. (In fact I even had one lady who I would swear that I had never seen before, jokingly rebuke me for not abusing her like I had the previous customer, whom I knew very well!)

You see I had a very good and easy rapport with the majority of my former customers. Although I’ve never had a religious discussion with any of them, I had never hidden my Christianity, and especially so when asked what I did on the weekend, so everyone knew I was “Religious” but that never stopped them from chatting with me about what I did ‘last weekend”.

One young chap during my last week there, that usually stirred me un-mercifully about my support of the Tigers, came up and overheard me say to someone else that I was leaving and I gave him a card as he left hurriedly to catch the train. The next morning I put out a few cards on the bench for anyone to take. Well this young bloke came back saw the cards on the bench and started to get stuck into me in his normal manner about advertising myself on company time. So I told him the reason for the cards (As in the June Blog, What Do I Do with This?) and his reply stunned me as he said, “You’re leaving this to do that?” He went on to say that he knew all about my Church activities but that he had no idea I was quitting this part-time job to take up that job full-time. He was equally stunned too!

As one couple have always given me a Christmas present and since they found out about my Christianity, one at Easter too, so I was expecting a present from them, and maybe one or two others. Well one of the others, was this young man above (which was most definitely not expected). Again I was floored by his appreciation of me, when again all I have ever done for him has been the above friendly smile and ‘Cheery abuse” each morning.

Again I am amazed at how little one has to do to be appreciated. It is both humbling and frightening that so little can be so appreciated and it makes me wonder how unfriendly the rest of the their world is.

So all that is left to ask is, what is it that you are currently doing, as small as it may be, to encourage others? And how can you improve on that without trying to dominate others.

Remember, a cheery smile and warm hello can make a world of difference to some people! So why not give it ago your self and let me know how it went after a few months. Walter

Monday, October 29, 2007

Who’s Attitude Problem?

Recently saw a young lady with a slogan on her Tee shirt that took my fancy. I don’t agree with the sentiment but loved the audacity of it

It said, "Some people think I have an attitude problem. Those people are stupid.”

Does that sum up your attitude too? Do you see any and every problem you have as being the cause and fault of others? Do you automatically reject everything that you don’t agree with, rather than analyse it first to see if there is any truth in their statements.

Whilst there is also the danger that we can go to far the other way and see ourselves as the cause of all problems when we are not, I feel it is wrong to reject all criticism with out thinking about it first.

I don’t accept all criticism at face value but I do assess it all, and then make a decision. A decision whether to take some, or all on board, or to reject all of it. Analysing criticism helps to keep you on the straight and narrow, whilst also helping you to see where other people are coming from.

I am not saying that you should go out seeking criticism, but nor should you reject it out of hand either. Analyse it first before making any decision what to do with it. What say you?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Who pushed Your Buttons in the past?

Recently John Ilham passed away unexpectedly at only 42 years of age, from a heart attack while out jogging/walking his dog. John was an Australian success story come true. A Turkish immigrant that came here with His family when he was 5 and grew up in one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Melbourne. After starting work in a factory with his parents, he moved on to sales and at the age of 26 went into business for himself, selling mobile phones in a small shop. A notion that prompted one of his mates to call him, ‘Crazy”. A term he accepted proudly and used it with his name to make it his trademark. Now 16 years later “Crazy John’s” has 120 shops and is the biggest seller of Mobile phones in Australia. Recently John’s personal wealth was valued at 310 Million making him Australia’s 126th richest Person. Not bad for a poor immigrant child from the wrong side of the tracks, hey. So who pushed his buttons and inspired him to strive for better things?

On the days after his passing, two of our major TV networks showed in-depth interviews with him and his family done recently. And in both he remarked back to his last day at school where one of his teacher’s said goodbye to all the students and wished them luck or gave them words of encouragement, whatever. However when he came to John he was very negative and said he would never amount to much. And those words were the spur that drove John on to prove his teacher wrong.

Sure, the first few years produced nothing to do that, but John had dreams and ideas and followed them and eventually he succeeded even beyond his own expectations, even if death has now cut short further expectations. But this one person, evidently pushed his button’s enough to inspire him to do better than what would be expected from one from a ‘Broadie Boy”. (One from the suburb of Broadmeadows.)

What about you? Who has, or who can push your buttons?

What were your Dreams and expectations? What can you now do, even at this late stage, to bring them about? I don’t expect that you will ever achieve the wealth of Crazy John but who knows how far you will go, until and unless you try, hey? So will you? Over to you: Walter

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finally Cured At long Last!

Once upon a time, way back when. I really can’t remember the date but it has to be at least 15 or maybe even 16 years ago, I was mugged at knifepoint.

It was in a far away country and was in itself an almost comical event with the knife wielder and friends more scared at the time than me. As there were 4 of them and just me and my 8 or 9-year-old daughter, there really wasn’t much I could do at the time and it was all over before we could even get scared at the time.

As I said, the actual event was almost comical and not scary at the time, and I can say the actual event caused no physiological problems, but the aftermath did.

Even though this event happened out in the wide open spaces, I developed an extreme concern every time I went into confined areas like at the Post Office Private Mail Boxes or even public toilets.

However as bad as that was, it way nothing on the panic that occurred when ever I heard running footsteps behind me when out and about.

You see that was the last sounds I heard and the first inkling that I had that we were in trouble, a split second before I was confronted by my shaky knife wielder and grabbed from behind by another.

As I said that was another place and time but the anxiety of running footsteps has always been with me. Well until just recently that is.

A couple of day’s agio I decided to walk from the new place down to the Shops in Croydon in the late morning. As I did so I needed to cross the Railway tracks and did so at the Pedestrian Crossing at the Station itself. Now even though it wasn’t a bad time to be there Croydon Railway Station doesn’t really have a good reputation at the best of times, yet despite this I was happy enough crossing there. Although I must admit I did quickly pass a couple of guys who looked like it wouldn’t take much to set them off. Shortly after this, just as I was about to turn a corner and cross the track itself I heard really loud running footsteps and I just automatically checked it out of the corner of my eye and seeing someone running really fast, just jumped back against the fence. Not out of fear like in the past, just to get out of the way of being bowled over.

Well my reaction must have made the person running think I was scared (which amazingly I wasn’t) and so she said, “its all right mate, I just want to get to the Loo.” We both laughed.

It was only then that I realised that for the first time that I can remember in 15 years the sound of running footsteps evoked the right reaction and not one of fear.

How about you? Has something happened in your past, maybe even more traumatic than my “Incident” that has provoked an extreme result that you have since had to live with and live down? I have no answers here other than to say don’t sweat it and give it time. The more you worry about it, the longer it will bother you. As hard as it may be to do it, sometimes you just have to let it go and go with the flow. What say you? Walter

Friday, October 26, 2007

Back On The Computer.

The other night my last-born came around and used my computer and switched it off for the night. The next Morning I could not open the system at all, as it kept claiming it was shut down improperly and I had to do certain things to correct this. However when I did those certain things nothing happened, so I rang my computer expert and He said, “Yeah Dad what have you done this time?’

So I explained my problem and he said he would call by that night to see what he could do, and he did. I had to go out to a meeting and when I came home briefly before going to another, I saw him sitting at the Computer. With his phone in one hand to his ear and his other hand tapping at the Keyboard. He had tried to fix it himself but it was beyond him and so he was on the phone to his Mate who works with Computers getting further expert advice. I am still not sure what the real problem was as when I got home the second time it was fixed and he was gone.

Isn’t my computer saga a little like life itself? It seems that things are going well for a while and we don’t need anybody’s help or assistance and then for whatever reason, maybe our own or someone else’s, things go wrong. Some we can fix by ourselves, but with others, we need to call in help, whether it is from family or friends. Usually we go with those we know and try to keep the expenses down. But at other times we need to call in more ‘Expert” help than was first available. Sometimes, like that night you can still get this expert help for free, but at others you need to pay for it.

So forgetting computers for the moment and looking at life itself, is there something in your life now that you need to get help with? Perhaps you have tried to fix it yourself and failed, and maybe it is now time to go to others for help. Maybe it is even time to call in the experienced experts, the “Big Guns” for help? Sure it may be expensive, but you are worth it aren’t you? What say you? Walter.