Monday, 22 June 2015

Calling all Husbands, Brothers, Sons, or Mates

The following appeared on my Facebook page and as the mother of a son and the wife of a husband it reached out to me.  I'm taking it home and popping it on the the back of the door in front of the "thinking chair", you know the one i mean.  That place where men go and solve all the problems of the world for what seems like an inordinate amount of time.

No seriously, i want to give this to every man i know and say "Hey, how are you doing, really?"

If like me this speaks to you, pass it on to your male loved ones.  They may just look blankly at you (like im expecting mine too) but print it out, put it somewhere where they'll come across it so that if they ever get to that point of needing help then they have somewhere to start.   

Seems to me that much of the advice given is pointed towards being independent both in thought and daily living.  Taking control of your own self worth and your ability to look after yourself both emotionally and physically.   I gave this to someone at work who is going through a messy divorce and he said to me that he wishes someone had given it to him 12 months ago.  I asked why? He said because despite some of the advice being so simple it would have given him a starting point to recovery.   He is still on his journey but found worth in this article so i'm passing it on to you.

from David Dixon.  

Dear Fellow Brother,
I have a lot to get through today but first I want to share with you a scary statistic.
 Did you know that Male suicide is 3 times higher than that of Females?
Why is this? This should be alarming to us all. Considering how easy it is supposed to be to be a guy – it is also quite hard.
To be honest – I believe the fact we are told to man up and that emotions are feminine has a lot to do with this statistic.
 We are told to toughen up and to be a man. Have some cement and harden up.
Men don’t cry.
So we keep it in.
We don’t talk.
Which in turn means that we don’t learn how to deal with our struggles and more importantly – our emotions. A lot of the time we end up feeling alone and overwhelmed.
But you’re not in it alone.
We are in this together. We are all brothers. I know we are ‘Blokes’ but it is important to tell your mates and brothers to that if shits going down, that we can talk.
Life can be shit sometimes. But its shitter without your best mates around.
I personally have gone through my ups and downs and I expect there are more to come. That’s kind of how life is really. I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t considered driving my car off a cliff. That I felt consumed by my problems and mental dialogue. I wouldn’t say I have had depression. But I believe its real. What I do know though are these two things;
1.      I never ever wanted to feel like that again
2.      I never want any of my mates to ever feel like that

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It takes a strong person to put their hand up when they are drowning in their own thoughts and problems and I am here to tell you there is hope.
I want to share with 50  things I have learnt along the way that helped me. Some you may align with and some you may not. Some are directly related to the above statistic and some are things I wish I knew as a teenager.
I wanted to make it a flowing letter but naturally, it came out in dot points.
So, to every Husband, Brother, Son and Friend I share with you some of the tips, quotes and advice that has helped me:
1.      Respect every female regardless of how they act.
2.     Never hit a woman. Ever.
3.     The first one to get angry loses.
4.      Get up early. Achieve something before the world wakes. Read, run, lift or listen to a podcast. Just get up.
5.      Give to charity/community – but don’t go around telling everyone. Don’t do it for recognition. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
6.      Do something active – join a sporting team or community gym.
7.      Tell people how you feel. Not just angry feelings – I mean emotions.
8.      Tell your parents that you love them. Honestly – they fed you and wiped your arse when you couldn’t do it yourself.
9.      Write down your goals. Again. And again. And again. It will get easier to be clearer each time.
10.  Hold the door open for people. Not just females but also for your fellow bros.
11.  Go for girls outside your “league”. Because this is the best way to learn that no one is.
12.  Learn to say sorry – and actually mean it. Also – learn how other people communicate. Sometimes you need to show people you are sorry. Whereas others need to hear it.
13.  I want to say find a mentor but it doesn’t work that way. Rather, follow your passion and give to the community. People of influence will want to help you. Probably because both of those things are genuine.
14.  Never buy flowers to say sorry. Always buy them for no reason at all.
15.  Learn how to cook. Something. Anything.
16.  Buy a slow cooker.
17.  Always stand up to shake hands.
18.  Shake a woman's hand – not too tight but enough to match their grip.
19.  Give compliments – to both genders.
20.  Find someone you can talk to.
21.  Don’t always give answers. We want to fix things. Sometimes people want to talk but aren’t ready yet for things to be fixed.
22.  Ask for permission to give advice before giving it.
23.  Eat your damn vegetables.
24.  Read books – not comic books.
25.  Listen to podcasts.
26.  Trust your gut.
27.  Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
28.  The truth always comes out and character never lies.
29.  You can disagree but don’t attack someone or belittle someone for their opinion.
30.  Bringing someone down doesn’t make you any better – it is a direct reflection of you.
31.  If someone hurts you – don’t hurt them back. Try to understand why they are lashing out first.
32.  Someone only ever hurts you when they themselves are hurting. No one has ever hurt someone from a place of happiness.
33.  Never, ever bully someone. Especially over the internet. It is one of the WEAKEST social aspects that the internet has brought to mankind.
34.  You are never too old to change a habit.
35.  You are never too old to tell someone how you feel.
36.  Silence is deadly and it is not weak to speak.
37.  Study the universe, stop and look at the stars. You will somehow learn more about yourself if you do.
38.  No one owes you anything. Nothing. You are not entitled to anything. So you want something. Go out and get it.
39.  You can have anything you want. You just have to outlast and outsmart the problems.
40.  Find a form of art that you are proud of – make it your hobby or work.
41.  Build or create something tangible throughout your life. This could be a cubby house, a bridge or even a book.
42.  The harsh reality is that one day a bus is going to come and hit you. Hopefully not literally, but at least metaphorically. You and I both don’t know when that day will come. So don’t live in an illusion that you have time. You don’t. Be patient but hustle and create chances. Understand that time is the last thing you have and the first thing we take for granted.
43.  Eat food. Not healthy food or clean eating. Just food. The “It grew from the ground or had a mum kinda food”. Everything else is slowly poisoning you and the genes you are passing down.
44.  Travel. You will grow as a person every time.
45.  Spend money on experiences and memories.
46.  Don’t set goals based upon your current circumstances and resources.
47.  Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.
48.  Buy some nice cologne. Seriously. People remember smells more than anything.
49.  What happens is not as important as how you react to it.
50.  And sometimes, family isn’t always blood…

… and sometimes these family members who aren’t blood are the ones that save your life. They don’t know they did. All they asked was “What’s up bud? Everything OK?”.
Silence is deadly, gentleman. This is my message to say that I am here to listen. If you feel the same then feel free to pass on this message to someone who needs to hear it.
To every person who helped me out of my hole – thank you. This is me paying it forward.
Yours Sincerely,

Brother Dave.

Not everything that appears in social media is bad.  This one, i think, has merit and value for both men and women and especially for all those boys growing up without fathers to guide them in the ways of manhood. 

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Escape to the Country

This Sunday saw my sister, Glenda, and I escape to the country with Chelsea and Maison.  It was freezing but we had work to do so donned jumpers and work gloves for a day of wood gathering and chopping.  It didn't take long to warm up despite being only  4 degrees.  There was plenty of beautiful winter sun but not much warmth in it.

The children enjoyed the tractor rides to the work sites the best and Henry gave them a good long run before we left mid afternoon.   I couldn't believe how hard they worked.  They were lifting and carrying really big branches and logs, and what they couldn't lift they rolled.  Not once did they ask for treats or rewards.  I especially appreciated that when we first arrived i took them for a walk around the 12 acre property and it was all "my feet are wet", there's poo everywhere" and by the time we left they were dirty and picking up logs covered in ants and had the biggest widest smiles on their faces.   Sometimes it does one good to get a little dirt on you. Me included.   I love these days of hard work and breathing fresh air and i was hauling logs alongside Henry and the kids.

The pyro in me enjoyed the bomb-fires we lit to burn off the fallen limbs which helps to reduce the fuel for fire season.   We managed to increase their  home woodpile and fill the back of Glenda's 4WD with enough small logs to keep my little chimnea burning for the winter.   Win Win for all.

Not an awful lot happening at the moment. I seem to be hibernating when not at work.   Rob and I managed our weekly "date" at Bunnings where we were looking at lighting and (Lord save me) some work tools for Rob.  I have married the most indecisive man, Full Stop!  I could have walked around the massive building twice in the time it took him to buy one screwdriver.

He looks pretty happy, as i walk by.  

Little did he know how close he came to being clonked on the head with the biggest shifter i could find.

Cheers to all, hopefully something really exciting will happen soon and I'll be really interesting then!

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Its My Birthday!

Two years old now and still melting our hearts.  

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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Winter Arrives in Oz - Brrrrrrr

This picture was taken by my boss, Paul, up at Mt Macedon on Thursday, picking Elly up from school.  Got to love that hat/scarf.   I think it looks so beautiful.  So i fired one back at him from our office in West Footscray which he had left 40 min before.

Winter certainly arrived on time with the calendar date of 1st of June.  It has been the coldest run of below average temperatures for decades.  Brrrrrr   I don't think any of us were expecting it to be quite so cold. Waking to near freezing temps and maxing out at 12C by mid afternoon.   Leaving my office with a heater under the desk and going out into the factory has been like a walking into an icebox and the boys are all wearing beanies and fleecy jumpers while working.   I think Jon doing the powdercoating has the best job in winter.  He has ovens to warm himself up on though he wouldn't agree in summer when its 40+C out there.

Speaking of arrivals, there was a huge one this week.  Well maybe he wasn't so huge but the combined expectation of so many people waiting for him to arrive has put some mighty big pressure on this little guy to be at his cutest.  This week our beloved Kirsten and Jaxon produced a little baby boy by the name of Cooper McIntyre Durham.

Despite being a little late, all went well and Mum and bub doing well.

So my sister now has 3 grandchildren to cuddle and love.  Busy family this one.  Three weddings last year and now two more babies to join their cousin Banjo.  Facebook has gone made this week with well wishes and photos.  Its times like these i miss being at home.  I might have to plan a sneaky trip soon.

Other family news this week sees Mum's house finally being pro-actively marketed by a new agent from Griffith.  I think they scared the beejeebers out of her when they started talking about clearing out furniture, presenting the house, open days etc but she has been most impressed by the busy activity.  At 85 the decluttering process to get a house presented for sale was just a bit too daunting but with the help of family bulky furniture was removed and boxes and boxes of a lifetime of accumulated things found there way into storage.  You can view the You Tube presentation here.

Mums House - Leeton NSW 

As someone who watches a lot of real estate programs on buying and selling, i think they have done a great job with what they had.  The wallpaper definitely needs to go but i think you can see that the house has great bones and with the addition of a two bedroom unit for income, its a bargain at $250-280K.   Typically, Mum has already viewed and decided on her next house which will be in Narrandera, 30 min away and closer to Church and family.  After being disappointed in the couple of houses she was interested in she asked the agent if there were any others.  She walked in the door of one and turned to the agent and said "this is my house".   The owners have agreed to hold it until Mum's auction in July so we all have our fingers crossed.   She called me up and exclaimed "I've bought a house before selling the other one".  So excited.  She sounded like she had lost 20 years.  My sister Glenda has gone home this weekend to make sure she is out of the house for the first open day.  She has been upset by previous viewers walking around making negative comments in front of her. It needs updating but that is reflected in the price.  I sent flowers for the dining table to make it more homey.

With the temperatures being so low, i finally pulled down the last of the tomato vines.  Really!

I think tomorrow will be the last breakfast of tomatoes on toast using my own.  Lots and lots of green tomatoes to make into pickles.

The peas are looking very healthy but i doubt that the peppers will ripen, though you never know with that wall behind them.

I was watching River Cottage Australia Season 2 the other day and they made champagne out of Lilli Pilli fruit (known as Riberry).  Hang On, i have two of those outside my front door.  Given, they are not the 10 mtr high trees that were shown but......

I must have pruned the one on the right at exactly the right time as the other one on left has no fruit at all.   This one is loaded and my footpath is turning a shade of purple.  I never thought of eating them but they said that they tasted like a strawberry apple and you know what, they do.  Slight after taste but i image you could do something with them.  The birds will like them anyway.   Check out some recipes on this Australian bushfoods site.

I've added a few more plants to the fernery side of the house.  Its a jungle out there....

Its been a Bla week this week for me physically.  This blood phobia thing has got to go.  I've passed out twice this week and the resulting illness lasts almost a day.   Saturday night i saw something yucky on TV and Monday morning i cut my finger on a broken plate in dishwasher.  I had actually taken the day off to go on a day trip with Rob on his RDO.  Wasted day.  My boss says its much safer at work and i shouldn't have time off.  How stupid it feels but i cannot control this at all.   It doesn't make sense that i can work with meat and have no trouble but with people, i only have to talk about it.  Its happened several time this year already. Who can forget (I cant) passing out at a First Aid Course.  How embarrassing.  I think i am more afraid of being unconscious and then clammy illness afterwards.  I feel so vulnerable.  

 I'm investigating hypnotherapy.  Has anyone had this done?  It really is debilitating not knowing what your body is going to do.

Add to this a finger that got squashed while moving a freezer resulting in a black nail and black finger (ouch) and then on Friday i had a "thing" chopped off the top of my head at a skin clinic to send away.  I took Tom with me to drive and to care for me in case i, you guessed it, passed out. Its not funny!

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