Category Archives: Stuff that doesn’t fit…
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On January 26, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships from Great Britain arrived at Port Jackson, which now forms Sydney Harbour. The First Fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip. He established the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia. By 1808, January 26 was being celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day” with drinking and merriment (and not much has changed!).
Thirty years after the arrival of the First Fleet, in 1818, the Governor of Australia ordered a 30-gun salute, hosted a dinner ball at Government House and gave government employees a holiday. In the following years, employees of banks and other organisations were also given holidays. In the following decades, horse racing and regattas were popular activities on January 26.
In 1838, Foundation Day was Australia’s first public holiday. It was also the occasion of the first public celebrations of the founding of Australia. The shores of Sydney Harbour were crowded and there was a firework display. By 1888, January 26 had become known as ‘Anniversary Day’ was celebrated in all colonies except Adelaide. In 1888, the centenary of the arrival of the First Fleet was celebrated with ceremonies, exhibitions, banquets, regattas, fireworks and the unveiling of a statue of Queen Victoria.
The colonies of Australia federated to become a single Commonwealth in 1901. That year, Australia’s first Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Sir Edmund Barton announced an international competition to design a flag for the new nation. It attracted 32,823 entries. Five near-identical entries were awarded equal first and the designers shared the £200 prize.
The Aussie Flag was flown for the first time in September 1901 at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the seat of the federal government at the time. It can be flown every day of the year. As the nation’s foremost symbol, the flag should be used with respect and dignity.
By 1935, January 26 was known as Australia Day in all states except New South Wales, where it was still called Anniversary Day. In 1938, large-scale celebrations were held. These included a re-enactment of the landing of the First Fleet, which did not mention the convict status of many of the passengers on these ships. The re-enactment included the removal of a group of Aborigines. Shortly before the celebrations, a group of Aboriginal activists arranged a “Day of Mourning”. They used this to campaign for citizenship and equal rights for Aborigines.
From 1946, January 26 was known as Australia Day in all states. However, the public holiday was moved to the Monday nearest to January 26 to create a long weekend. Since 1994, the Australia Day public holiday has been on January 26 in all states and territories.
The anniversary of the first permanent European settlement in Australia is not a cause for celebration for all citizens. Indigenous Australians often feel that the celebrations on Australia Day exclude them and their culture, which was thriving for thousands of years before the arrival of the First Fleet.
Notwithstanding, it is an opportunity for ALL Australians to come together to celebrate their country and culture (most at BBQs & picnics). There are reflections on the achievements of the nation and explorations of way to make the country even better in the future.
Australia Day is a public holiday in all states and territories. All schools and post offices are closed. Some public transport services do not operate and others run a reduced service. Stores are often open, but most have reduced opening hours.
In some places, particularly Lake Burley Griffin, spectacular public fireworks displays are held. In addition, the Australian of the Year Awards are presented. These are awards for Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or community.
So I’m off to celebrate but here are some interesting facts:
- The Australian Coat Of Arms has on it a kangaroo and an emu. The reason for this is that the kangaroo and the emu cannot go backwards but can only walk forwards.
- Australia is the sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. However our population remains relatively small at just over 20 million.
- Australia is the only country that is a continent. The mainland is the largest island and the smallest, flattest continent on Earth.
- Australia is the driest, inhabited continent on earth. The only continent drier than Australia is Antarctica.
- The interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid.
- More than 40 000 years before the arrival of European settlers, there were an estimated 300,000 indigenous Australians living on the continent.
- There are many claims to the fact that the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per head of population than any other community in the history of mankind.
- Australia, founded by convicts. The homicide rate is in Australia is 1.8 per 100,000 of population. The United States was founded by religious zealots. It’s homicide rate is 6.3 per 100,000. Almost 400% greater than Australia.
- About 160,000 convicts arrived over 80 years. That compares with free settler arrivals as high as 50 000 a year.
- Australia’s first police force was a band of 12 of the most well-behaved Convicts.
- About 30% of the Australian population was born overseas
- Aborigines, the indigenous people, now only make up 1.5 % of the population. There are no Tasmanian full-blooded aboriginals left.
- Bob Hawke, a prime minister of Australia, became inserted into the Guinness Book of Records by drinking 2.5 pints of beer in just 11 seconds in 1954 (it happened before he became PM)
- Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea on 17th December 1967, and was never seen again. The event has been referred to as ‘the swim that needed no towel’.
- If you happen to be near The Great Barrier Reef and need to mail a letter or a postcard, you can. There is a mailbox located on the reef and uses the only stamp licensed by The Great Barrier Reef.
- Much of the world’s opals come from Australia, which is usually anywhere from 85 to 95% at any given time.
- Australia was the second country to give women the vote.
- When a specimen of the platypus (a native Australian animal) was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
- The name Australia comes from the Latin Terra Australis Incognito which means the Unknown Southern Land.
Happy Australia Day to everybody – you should all go out and have a beer to celebrate!
- Was Australia invaded or settled? (theaimn.com)
- Why Australia is so appealing (nomadsworld.com)
- Australia Vacations (orbitz.com)
- Australia Day 2013: Come and see the real thing (Original First Fleet Convict Indents on Display) (archivesoutside.records.nsw.gov.au)
- Six million to take part on Australia Day (news.com.au)
- Australia Day Party Ideas (urbanspicehomewares.com)
I am dead, wrecked, exhausted…but I deserve it.
Yesterday was Henry’s (Mommy’s partner) birthday. He turned 78. (It was also my father’s partner’s birthday but I am no longer in his life (see The Pain of Family vs the Pain of Fibromyalgia!) Now, Henry is very well off and has been so helpful to me, in every way possible. I am unable to give him any gift that he can’t or won’t buy for himself; but I am able to ensure that he is surrounded by his friends and family for his birthday. So, we had a party…
Henry was born in Paris – it was only natural to have A Night in Paris as the theme.
We decided not to have snails and frogs legs, as most people wouldn’t like them, AND they’re REALLY expensive.
There were about 70 guests and I acted as the help; if I didn’t Mommy would have to do all the work and then she’d be in pain. This way, we shared the pain!
We tried to make the house look like a French bistro.
It ended up being a very successful party but I could really use a warm water pool right about now (and probably, a couple more days)!
Happy Birthday, Henry!
- Real Magic (fibromodem.wordpress.com)
Happy New Year, everybody!
Once again, it’s time to start again: clean the slate and hold onto our resolutions (for as long as we can!)
Hopefully we won’t just suffer with our pain; maybe we can find a positive side:
Someone once said ‘just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.’
In much the same way, when we are faced with a crisis (and we are definitely in crisis!), we must search within ourselves to find new resources & greater inner strength.
In Australia, we have a type of plant known as the Banksia. An interesting characteristic of about half of the species of Banksias is that the seed-bearing follicles only open with the heat of a bushfire.
A bushfire is a catastrophic and destructive event. However, the plants can only release their seeds during a fire. The fire then, is the catalyst for the Banksia to procreate and grow new young plants.
So, as far as the Banksia is concerned, the fire is a good thing. Without the fire, the very existence of the species is in jeopardy.
Like the caterpillar trapped in his cocoon & like the Banksia plant enduring a bushfire, we all experience the inevitable setbacks in our life that could potentially serve as springboards for our personal growth.
Let us all believe that the struggles we withstand awaken our inner giants – and make this year, a year of fulfillment and personal growth. Happy New Year to you and your friends and families.
I absolutely love making goals & creating plans. It inspires me to dream & make positive changes to my life. I can take time to reflect on what in my life is or isn’t working, & look at ways to move in the direction I want for my life.
I find that making goals in life works best when it starts with listing out my own values. This gives me a framework for deciding where to invest my time, & when it might be best to change a course. Because my values are also about relationships, this helps me to include people in my goals, not just concrete goals around accomplishments. I include values of self-improvement & character traits I aspire to. Though these may not be as measurable, my personal integrity is more important than the accomplishments I make.
I have a list of seventeen top values that I have revamped over the years. My overall mission statement is: I will strive for growth, healing & deeper spirituality, where I can truly love others, giving joy, grace, & peace to those I meet. Some of my values include building strong relationships with family, friends & neighbours. Others are about personal traits such as saying I am sorry, being forgiving, having fun & living a life of integrity. I also include fitness & health, making a difference, being financially secure & helping people in need.
Next I start with a free-write (brainstorm) of goals & hopes of what I would like to accomplish. This might be short-term or long-term ideas, as well as self-improvement type of goals. I try to avoid thinking too rationally when writing out my dreams, as this is something I will do later. For some, this might be better done by writing in paragraph form visualizing the life they wish to have, others prefer lists. It can sometimes help to look around at people you admire, & what are the traits & actions that draw you to them.
Once I have a list of goals & dreams, I begin to group them into categories & time lines for further evaluation. I will group together health goals, relationship goals, spiritual, personal trait goals, finances, etc. With each group I will think about what I can do in the next year to make progress in this area. For relationship goals it might be scheduling dates with my husband, planning some vacations &/or having a game night. For health goals it could be losing weight, going to a new doctor, trying a new exercise &/or meditating self-compassion.
One thing to remember with goals is that it is about progress, not perfection. In 2012, I had a list of about 40 goals & I accomplished about 60% of them. Some of these goals were minor, such as putting pictures in frames & going through donations. Other goals were more significant like starting my blog & going back to yoga class. I never did finish doing touch-up painting around the house, but I am okay with putting this off another year. Even though I didn’t finish everything on my list, I can see that the year 2012 was filled with some new adventures & progress in areas that matter to me. The other goals I didn’t finish I can evaluate whether this is something I want to reconsider in the next year. Fortunately, 2013 brings new opportunities.
I am excited for what 2013 can bring & my personal goal of implementing the 15M plan. For 2013, I am going to focus more on making life style changes in increments. The 15M plan allows me to make progress even in the more difficult health days, as I focus on spending 15 minutes on the desired activity each day. Often when I am tired or feeling a great deal of pain, I lay on the couch a good part of the day & isolate. If I can focus first on 15 minutes of some type of exercise, it is a goal I should be able to attain most days, resulting in less discouragement & better health. When I am feeling good, I will most likely do more, but on a bad day this can help me shift gears. I will add other areas that I want to progress in such as writing, family time, cooking & doing chores.
Like many of us, I have goals for improving my health in 2013. I plan to do some experiments with the types of food I eat to see if they may be adding to my symptoms. I also will be doing health coaching for other people who want to improve their health. I hope to be able to make an impact on people struggling with chronic health problems & to give hope. I want to strive for more consistency in my life, & learn to work around the tough days.
Making goals can be a simple process or something you spend weeks processing & planning. The most important thing is to make some progress. Taking 15 minutes to write down 10 goals is a great beginning. For the artist among us, one can draw or clip out pictures from a magazine instead. You can post the list on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Others may prefer to spend some time evaluating last year, writing out values, & creating a detailed plan for 2013 like I have done. Finding a buddy to share it with might help keep you motivated & encourage a friend at the same time.
May 2013 bring you some great learning experiences & opportunities. May you see an impact towards the values you hold dear & be an encouragement to those in your path.
Give yourself a gift this holiday season…find the essence within.
We, as people, are forever attempting to be someone other than who we authentically are. We read an array of self-help books with the idea of attaining skills enabling us to connect with our true essence. Many of us have read it all before and yet we continue to strive to be that being outside of ourselves. Why would we endeavour to change the essence within when perfection comes from our own uniqueness?
Society, our peers, upbringing, education and the media gently, yet effectively, drive us to believe we are not quite good enough and change is desirable. In actual fact, the opposite rings true.
Our authentic self is never lost, only hidden. Some ideas I have personally discovered in order to rediscover the true essence within myself are:
- Repeat as often as possible, “I am perfect exactly as I am”.
- Ask yourself, what did I enjoy as a child? Singing, dancing, writing, public speaking, creating, poetry, carpentry etc.
- Then reintroduce at least one of these activities into your life. Who knows where it may lead. You may meet new friends or create an innovative business idea from something you actually love doing.
- Ignore societal views regarding age barriers. Who says you cannot be a famous violinist? Did you know current neuroscience research demonstrates that our brain is plastic and forever changing, growing and learning, irrelevant of age. Dreams are not just for the young (or perfectly healthy)!
- Say what you think and feel (of course, with a splash of diplomacy). It is not your job to tiptoe around others, making them feel comfortable at the expense of your own needs. Allow yourself to be lazy occasionally. There is too much pressure to be amazingly driven and goal oriented. It is okay to do nothing at times, staring into space thinking, dreaming and being vague – this is the space where connection with your inner voice is sometimes heard. Goals can be considered only once you have heard your inner voice, as there resides your base for building your life.
- Make choices based on YOUR OWN dreams. For example, many find it desirable to own a home; but, perhaps you would prefer to be a resident of the world and rent in different cities. Maybe you would rather own a business and inject your earnings into a creative idea.
- Be motivated by your soul, not by guilt. We are easily driven off our path through guilt. Guilt is not a good motivator. Guilt is instilled through various means that create a belief system from which we operate in later years. Let us all tame guilt and be free.
You may note a general theme running through the above ideas. You discover you by allowing yourself the freedom to make choices and decisions only for you. It may appear self-centred to approach life in this manner. The opposite is true. People who genuinely love you will be happy you are treating yourself as your own best friend. Your authentic way of life will encourage others to do the same and this will impact on their circles as well.
Reprinted from the December issue of LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA - like it? Subscribe for the next issue HERE
- Striving for Perfection can often lead to Suffering… (responsiveuniverse.wordpress.com)