Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What do arses, Osama Bin Laden and prostate exams all have in common?

Hello fellow batshitcrazylaydeez. This post is for you. You know who you are.

Some of you know my day job is training people. Actually I prefer the term evil influencer facilitator. Training implies teaching and teaching implies knowledge and as discussed previously, I don’t do knowledge.

What I am good at is guiding*, and flying by the seat of my pants. I love that I can start a workshop knowing we’ll get to the destination but having NO IDEA what might happen on the journey there.

That’s what got me into training teaching guiding leading people astray facilitating in the first place.

The workshop journey is a thrill ride, a roller coaster, an adventure.

OK, sometimes it’s just a quick jaunt on a very slow merry go round, with horses so small nobody’s feet ever leave the ground. Those workshops are hideous torturous thankfully rare.

When I started the workshop today, I was a bit worried. Almost immediately it became apparent that most of the learners were “Investigator/Analytic” and/or “Orchestrator/Driver” types. These are the people who communicate in facts, figures, proof, knowledge. Left-brainers.

I’m a batshitcrazy person right-brainer through-and-through.


These types of communicators don’t respond to emotion, or intuition. My stocks in trade.

The universe had sent me a headache challenge. I know I was going to have to work extra hard to get them to step onto the roller-coaster.

So I did.

I dug deep and channelled my batshitcrazy – well – like crazy.

I joked. I flapped my hands. I talked about some of the dumb things I’ve done. I took risks – I rode that roller coaster right up to the very top of the highest crest.


I looked around, and every single one of those left-brainy-types was in that front roller coaster car with me. So we all hung on for dear life and plunged onwards.

I took them where I GUARANTEE none of them ever wanted needed expected to go. To Batshitcrazyville.

In fact, I took them just to the outskirts of Batshitcrazyville. Then THEY took the wheel and drove ME at break-neck speed down the main street.

Someone drew Osama Bin Laden.

Someone talked about arse.

Someone talked about prostate exams.

And for a change none of those someones was me!

And then we all sniffed pens.

What do you expect when you embark on a training journey?

* Footnote: When I was first setting up my business, I wanted a fancy shmancy Latin name for it. I decided on the Latin word for “guide”. I ran it through an internet translator and discovered that the Latin word for “guide” is “Rectum”. I squirted coffee out my nose. At work. Yay me.

I doubt Rectum Consulting will ever see the light of day. Ahem.

PS: This is where I’m staying tonight. This is one of the nastier places my training journey has taken me. If a picture paints a thousand words, 997 of these are “shit” and the other 3 are “Oh the humanity”!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Of mushrooms and disenchantment

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization, and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world.’ Precisely the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from public life either into the transcendental realm of mystic life or into the brotherliness of direct and personal human relations.” —Max Weber

Max Weber – sociologist – is talking about the loss of the sacred, the loss of our feeling of awe and amazement and the sense of magic. This loss has been brought on by the age of science, the extreme – and sometimes zealous – desire for rationality.

The loss of enchantment.

I get the desire to rely on science rather than “non-science”. Science has given humans an immense advantage in the survival of our species. I believe though that we have to be careful how far we take this reliance on our left brains.

There’s a danger in believing that if it can’t be proved, it’s not real.

I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe in God. So I guess I’m an atheist. I don’t believe we should all be living our lives by any set of rules linked to an external force that will reward or punish us for our behaviour.

But I look at some of the atheists I know and think they take it too far. Being an atheist isn’t about intellectual superiority, and shouldn’t become a cause pursued with religious fervour. Scepticism is taking over as a new religion. Take a look in the mirror you guys, you’re more like the people you’re being intolerant of than you realise.

I do believe in something other. I believe there’s more to existence than science can currently prove. And I like that. I feel no desire to debunk every possible belief that hasn’t currently been proved. I don’t believe that we must be rational at all cost. Where’s the fun in that?

I also don’t feel the need to preach to and convert everyone I know to the great god science.

Weber says that “ God, magic, and myth are now replaced with logic and knowledge.”
In Western civilisation, I believe he’s right.

What is the long-term cost to art, creativity, literature, as we leave belief behind us? What will this cost us if we continue to worship only at the altar of science?
What does it mean to our sense of morality, ethics, and values, if all we care about is rationality?Time will tell. For me though, civilisation without magic, without the unknown, a sense of the divine, the enchanting stuff that makes your hair stand on end because it triggers something deep in your more primitive brain, will be a pretty dull place.


Many thanks to Julie Klop for bringing Weber to my attention.

A touch of magic in dull old Burwood is what prompted this post. This is a very large ring of mushrooms – a Fairy Ring – around a tree down the road from our house. I couldn’t get an aerial view to show it properly, but here it is – first as is:

And now showing the actual path of the mushrooms.

Magical, huh?

Where do you find the enchanted in your life?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A love letter to my brain

Dear brain,

I love you.

It’s true, we’ve had our differences with ourself over the years. You’ve often let me down – sometimes horribly.

It’s taken me almost 44 years to fall in love with you, and it happened – unlike shampoo promises – overnight.

I’ve been finding things a bit tough the last few weeks. (See when I Lost My Shit). Things culminated in last Thursday’s Bingle.)

Last night I felt quite low. I’ve been trying to kick start you to get writing again but I was feeling seriously intimidated by my worldly, educated writer friends.

I remembered watching the radiant, charismatic Professor Karen R Brooks talking on film about her favourite books. I tried to picture myself answering the same questions the interviewer posed.

My favourite books? Umm. Doctor Who when I was a kid. Sara Douglass and some other fantasy writers whose names I can never remember. Some great books I’ve read. That I can’t remember. A book I read last week. No, can’t remember who it was by. It was about… something.

My answers wouldn’t be erudite, witty, full of wonderful examples of timeless classics and newly found wonders of the literary world, because I have a dysfunctional memory. How then, can I ever be a writer?

My darling brain, you have, at any given moment, at least four subjects of thought happening. Let’s call them tracks. Sometimes it’s more like eight tracks, but not in a cool-alternative-look-at-my-retro-stereo kind of way.

In a holy-god-how-can-I-keep-everything-in-my-head-at-once-and-not-have-a-melt-down kind of way.

And then I have a meltdown.

You’re filled with any number of internal conversations at once at any given time. Like now:

  • Trying to focus on this post so that it doesn’t suck too much.
  • Lamenting the tiny missing diamond in your ring.
  • Wondering when you’ll get to see the next Game of Thrones episode and whether Tyrion will be in it and OMG WHY DID THEY TAKE THE KHALISI’S DRAGONS?
  • On the alert for the sound of thumping feet as The Child comes storming in to demand food/drink/cuddles/help with Paper Mario on the Wii. (Ah yes here he comes. Writing about him must cast a Summon Sprog spell).
  • Considering whether to wash clothes, given the craptastic Melbourne weather.
(And don’t think I didn’t notice that you made me open up the GoT Wiki to have browse in the middle of writing this post. Yes I know you needed to check the spelling of Khalisi but that doesn’t take 20 minutes.)

No wonder you go a bit funny when I add external conversations to these multiple internal ones. No wonder you often start one conversation and skip tracks during and end with a completely different conversation, giving everyone the shits confusing all and sundry.

Brain, you can’t learn in-depth information. You’ve made me a dilettante.

Or maybe a fairly rubbish polymath.

A half-arsed Renaissance Woman.

I know a little about a hell of a lot. Look up Jill of All Trades in the dictionary, my picture would be there. If I’d remembered to send it to them.

Looking back I see a lifetime of Anxiety Disorder and depression. You, my brain, have been on high alert in case you forget something for as long as I can remember.

I see difficulties with the most mundane domestic crap. I see the light, noise, frenetic activity of Saturday morning grocery shopping. I see the stress of keeping all those balls in the air while having four internal conversations, two external ones, filtering out all the other conversations around you and remembering to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I come home cranky, overstimulated and exhausted. Yay for weekends.

So here’s the deal. I forgive you for the challenges you’ve given me over the years.

The way you’ve left me feeling like an idiot, somehow different to everyone else. Somehow sub-standard.

Somehow not in the SMART PERSONS’ CLUB.

Somehow unable to do basic stuff everyone else finds easy.

I forgive you for being a disappointment compared to my highly educated, intelligent and spectacularly qualified family.

I forgive you because finally, I get it.

In the middle of the night, I had an epiphany. I realised that, well, actually, you’re my brain. My answers to those literary questions would be crap because I can’t remember anything. But they’d be my crap, in my voice. With a little dose of batshit crazy self-deprecating humour in there.

If I come across as a scattered, batshit crazy person instead of an intellectual, professional, intelligent individual, so what? Maybe THAT’S my brand. THAT’S my voice. Batshit crazy person with no memory.

A while ago I wrote about being truthful (and warts).

My truth is scattered across a canvas of chaos, anxiety, and unhealthy doses of Shiraz.

And that’s OK, because a four track mind has to be better than half-track one, right?

Brain, I love you because of all the things you do that make me different. I love my batshit crazy, convoluted, crowded internal landscape, and I’m going to embrace it.

I love you because you finally found my – our – voice. I don’t have to compare myself with anyone else anymore, I’m free. Free to be my dippy, hopeless, forgetful self.

I get YOU.

Which means I get me.


PS – I tried to find photos for batshit and crazy but Microsoft clipart let me down. I think that's discriminatory. I blame the Republicans.

Have you told your brain you love it lately?

Friday, May 18, 2012

On the subject of bingles (not the Lara kind)...

Dear insurance company,

Yesterday, a parked car jumped out behind me and threw itself into my path.
There I was, minding my own business, reversing in the trusty Camry. At a snail’s pace. At dusk. Down an empty street. I was keeping my beady eye out the rear vision mirror for any pesky traffic that might turn up, when suddenly…

I had reversed slowly into a parked car. A suicidal Hyundai i30 LEAPT out from where it was parallel parked at the kerb, driverless, and THREW ITSELF at my rear bumper.

I clearly wasn't paying enough attention I swear, I tried to dodge it but it was DETERMINED to have a bingle with me. I suspect an insurance job, personally.
Yes, I’ve had my full license for two years (just). Yes, I’m almost 44. What’s it to ya?

No I haven’t taken any hallucinogenic drugs in the last 12 hours. God knows I’ve been tempted to reach for the Valium every minute of every hour occasionally this week but no.
Were there any contributing weather conditions? Yes - emotional weather of exhaustion and stress. No.

How would I describe the damage?

Frigging annoying.
Here’s my left rear bumper.

Here’s the suicidal Hyundai’s other car's bumper.

Can I put what happened in my own words? Only if you fancy having to go to counselling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder afterwards.
Here’s my son's an artist’s impression of it though.

No, I'm not the artist.
Yes I know he's drawn himself in the driver’s seat.

No he doesn’t have a license. He’s 7.
Why, would it help if I said he was driving?

Then no.

I suspect the random numbers of wheels on the cars involved might have been a contributing factor.

I did try to dodge. Really.
Have you ever had a bingle? Was it your fault?


My five awesome things about this week after losing my shit:
  • My son learned to spell 25 words this week
  • My son told me likes hanging out with me
  • I got to talk about alfalfa hair to people in the training I was facilitating today
  • The term “snazbig” is catching on (OK so that one is a snazbig lie)
  • It ended.
Now go check out SaturdayMorningOgreMum for more Lose Your Shit Friday goodness:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lose Your Shit Friday

I’ve worked in the city every weekday for the last two weeks.

Normally I work outside the home about three days each week. The other two days are spent working, but also catching up on all the household crap that needs to be kept track of. And taking deep breaths.

Today I lost my shit because I forgot to take my child to his regular gymnastics session last night.

And I only realised when his dad told me about it at 11.30am today. Thank god he did. Otherwise I’m likely to have woken up at 3am Sunday morning in a cold sweat of bad parenting terror yelling “FFS we didn’t take The Child to gymnastics!”

We could all do without that.

There have been other signs this week that things are getting on top of me.

Earlier in the week I spent an evening wondering where the roll of kitchen paper went. I KNEW I had some. I’d just been using it.

The next day I found it in the cupboard. Next to the saucepans. Why hadn’t I thought to look there? Because I never keep it in the cupboard. It’s always on the bench or in the pantry. I’d had it in my hand and put it in there while getting something else out.

I am seriously an idiot domestically challenged this week.

Several times this week I’ve been on the phone, and been gripped by a sudden need to check my calendar or make notes. I need my phone for this. Panic has wrapped its frigid fingers around my thumping heart. Shit! Where’s my phone? Oh god I’ve lost my phone!


Last night I put my wine glass down and couldn’t remember where I’d put it.

I am an idiot clearly not coping this week.

So today I Lost My Shit. On the inside. Quietly.

Has anyone seen my phone?

Five Awesome Things about this week:

1.       My 72 year old Dad had a major op and came through it OK

2.       My son showed improvement in his spelling

3.       I laughed at a lot of blog posts

4.       I booked my place at the Problogger Training Event in October

5.       It ended!

Thanks to Miss Cinders from Saturday Morning Ogre Mum for the Lose Your Shit Friday linky stuff. Go check her blog out - Share the LYSF love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are you smarter than a building? I'm not.

These last two weeks I’ve been in a building in the Melbourne CBD each day.
What I’m doing isn’t important (well of course it’s actually VITAL TO THE FUTURE OF MANKIND –  but not important to this blog post).

I want to tell you about the building I’ve been working in.

This building expects psychic abilities from its inhabitants. It’s one big intuitive intelligence test. It’s a VERY SMART BUILDING.


What’s missing from this wall, given that the wall is next to a lift?

And this one?

Yes there’s no button to call the lift, right?


Those big shiny gold decorations ARE the lift buttons.

Imagine, you start working in this building. On the first day, several of you poor shlubs stand around looking lost, searching for a way to call the damn lift. Someone smarter than you walks up and presses the upper side of one of these and miracle of miracles, that calls the lift.

Once you’ve passed (or in this case, failed) that intelligence test, and you get into the lift, you face another test. You have to put your access card against the sensor pad on this panel, before pressing a floor button.

Can’t see it? You know it’s there because you’ve seen people use it.

You try to find it.

This lift is currently under video surveillance and the security dudes ARE ALL LAUGHING AT YOU as you stand for a good minute wafting your card like an idiot in front of various parts of the wood panelling, to no avail. You fail this test too.

Down to the Ground floor.
Back in the front door. At least you can SEE the security access pad for this one. See?

And so to the final indignity. Lurking in the glamorously dimly lit bathroom, are high quality porcelain sinks set in marble. Luxury! I hear you cry. Yes! Stunning. But what’s missing from this picture?

You guessed it. They have no visible way of turning the tap on.

It’s another test.

So you thrust your hands at various angles, trajectories and speeds into the sink in your own embarrassing, tragic version of toilet jazz hands, frantically searching for the magic action that will trigger the invisible sensor and GIVE YOU WATER.

Someone smarter than you comes in and catches you gesticulating madly at the porcelain and informs you that only Sinks 1 and 3 work.

You sheepishly move to Sink 1 and – another miracle – water gushes out and you get to wash your hands. You feel proud of yourself. You got a sink to work. How clever you are.

This building has tested me this week and found me wanting. I am not intelligent enough to call a lift, press a floor button or turn a tap on.

Yes, when I took the photos of the lift buttons and the invisible security sensor pad, I locked myself out. I am dumber than a building.
Are you smarter than the building you work in?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Not such a super moon

Tomorrow (Sunday May 6) at 1.35pm is a Super Moon. So it’s one of these..

… on steroids. It’s the biggest full moon of the year, apparently. This is because it’s going to be closer to Earth than at any other time this year.

Now, I’m not very pagan. I’m barely a pagan’s left elbow, frankly. But I do notice when the moon is doing funky things.

I get way more prickly than usual (who knew that was possible, right?!). I get teary, despairing; I feel a hideous gaping void inside me. I also tend to go on flights of unnecessarily melodramatic self-pitying literary fancy.

So for now I need to hunker down and repel the almost irresistible urge to impulsively fill this lunar-inspired void with food, wine, clothes that I’ll later hate, a new pet, or expensive kitchen gadgets.

I need to sit this astral dance out. It’s going to take a lot of self-control. This is something I’m not renowned for.

OK one wine might be OK.

And I still want a dog.

Wake me when it’s Monday…

Friday, May 4, 2012

Did you know... levitating socks?

After a couple of grumpy posts, I'm still grumpy. I'll get back to purposeful blogging soon.

In the meantime, there's this...

Did you know you can hold socks up on the wall with the power of your mind?

Well, now you do.

Enjoy the weekend, if you can.

If not, remember this too shall pass.

Mwahs to you.