Wednesday, 26 February 2014

onesie, twosie, buckle my shoesie!

The good old Aussie Macquarie Dictionary - interestingly I can remember the first issue which was pblished in 1981 - has again been working hard to find some more words to add to our already bursting vocabulary. 

Not surprisingly the 'peoples choice award' went to ..... drumroll..... the onesie. Now to those of you who have been on planet Mars for the last few years - let me describe a 'onesie'. Apart from being hideous most of the time (well actually all of the time) - it is what we old timers would call a 'jumpsuit' - but with a hood. So I guess you would call it a hoodie and a jumpsuit rolled into one = a onesie. 'ies' seem to be the fashion of the day. It should never be worn outside the house - or inside - in my opinion - although granted it does look comfy to watch telly and eat your dinner on your lap!
You too can wear a kangaroo for lounging around while shovelling crisp crumbs into your 'pouch'
You donkey you! What is it about the low slung crutch?
Oh and by the way the Committee's Macquarie Dictionary choice for word of the year is infovore. Never heard of it myself but it means and I quote "noun - a person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices." Now I have heard everything! 

What do you think of this new committee choice addition to our vocabulary? Would you ever use it? And would you use it scrolling your digital devices in your .... onesie?!
Good old Superman - well at least he can hop out of it and be Clark Kent in the zip of an eye!


Monday, 17 February 2014

The owl and the pussycat

I was reminded recently of this 'ditty' or nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published during 1871 as part of his book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. Click here to read the entire poem
A rather fury pea-green boat
 The Owl and the Pussy-cat 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!
I recently received one of the most charming 'animal' videos in an email recently. I really encourage you to click on it here to view. Sometimes nature shows us how 'uncomplicated' life can be and invites us to re-jig our preconceptions of cats and birds - or should I say an owl and a pussycat!

Now I'm rather drawn to owls since a haunting 'experience' I had when staying in a chateau in the south of France a few years ago. The wind came up in the dead of night so I decided to close the shutters. As I moved to the moon-lit window I was stunned to see an owl swoop towards me and hover just out of reach for what seemed like an eternity as we eyeballed each other.  He/she was so close that I thought he was going to come right into my bedroom. And then he swooped off before returning for a second look! And then with a hoot I can still hear he turned and flew towards the moon! Yes really. It was a most unnerving experience. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing upright! I finally closed the shutters and crept back to bed but sleep alluded me. He seemed to be hovering whilst I tried to dream.
This is the watch-bird watching you!! (
I think about 'my owl' often and have even begun a small collection of owls as a reminder of that strange and eerie moon-lit night in the beautiful French countryside. All I can wish for is that he was a wise old owl - I just haven't worked out his message yet - although perhaps it was to say - "please don't sleep in the nude - it's a sight to behold"!! But I'd like to think that it had more meaning than that!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A true story

I received some correspondence recently which included this 'story' and thought I would share it with you.
Harvard University

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University president's outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. 

"We'd like to see the president" the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day" the secretary snapped. "We'll wait" the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

"Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave" she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. 

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. 

The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was acidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus."

The president wasn't touched. He was shocked. "Madam" he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh no" the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit and then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. 

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we start one of our own?"

Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr and Mrs Leland Stanford got up and walked away, travelling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. 

People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did. 
But people will never forget how you made them feel. 

A true story by Malcolm Forbes
In memory of....
Mr and Mrs Leland Stanford- what a gentle handsome couple

Have you heard this story before? I hadn't but I'm so glad that I've heard it now! I hope you are too.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

I love her far horizons

A 22 year old homesick Dorothea Mackella (1885 - 1968) wrote the iconic poem My Country (click to read the entire poem here) while she was in England. And to this day it still resonates so much with all Australians.

I love a sunburnt country
A land of sweeping plains
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror,
The wide brown land for me!

A friend lives about 2 hours north of Melbourne in a smallish country town. Her home overlooks flat paddocks that we Aussies are so familiar with. Whenever I go to visit we sit out on the deck (another Aussie icon!), drink in hand (another Aussie tradition!), watch the setting sun and marvel at the changing colours of the sky. It really is a wonderful sight. It always brings a tear to my eye. This country of ours is a land of big skies, far horizons, wide plains, ancient rocks and gente low hills. A worn out ancient land. 

Mist rising and nature presenting herself perfectly
An ever-changing vista - how could you tire of it!
But even in downtown Melbourne the evening sunset can bring a tear to the eye.  Chatting on the terrace one evening (drink in hand) I had to rush in to grab my camera. The colour of the sky blew me away.
Inner urban Melbourne - sooooo beautiful
As Dorothea said "The wide brown land for me!" Are you a skywatcher - particularly with a drink in hand?