Archive for August, 2012

Half-hearted, or a monkey?

It’s best not to discuss one’s flaws online. That’s the impression I get. Potential employers scour the internet and choose not to hire you based on the ghastly things they find. But today, for the sake of this blog, I’m going to throw caution to the windflowers.

The other night, a friend accused me of pursuing projects “half-heartedly”.


It was something I REALLY didn’t want to hear. Me! Half-hearted! Be still, my heart which only beats on the off-beat. 

How could he have said that? After all, I cannot STAND people who pursue things half-heartedly. For years I prided myself on being a perfectionist, because I thought that meant I wasn’t half-heartedly approaching my work. So of course, I got quite defensive and blurted out “I don’t do things half-heartedly! I just do things slowly!”. See The Tortoise and the Hare.

But it’s been nagging me ever since. Do I really have commitment issues? This morning, when I looked at this blog, I realised I’d written two posts in the space of a fortnight. I had intended to write daily. The guy may have a point. Even if it is the point of a rusty stake which he has stabbed through my semi-heart.

But see, it’s the plight of the perfectionist. It’s a problem I’ve not yet overcome. We’re all aiming to create this…

…but we aim so high that we tire ourselves out, ending up with bits of greatness amongst giant gaping holes…

…because, so badly, we want to avoid creating this….


This lovely painting is the handiwork of Cecilia Giménez, an elderly Spanish woman who made headlines recently when she “restored” this century-old fresco of Jesus. The paint had been peeling off substantially, so Cecilia took the initiative to try and salvage it. The monkey-like result has both mortified people, yet drawn crowds of thousands to the church.

She’s clearly a “get-it-done type”, that Cecilia. The sort who would say “don’t worry about it not being perfect – just get the thing done so we can all go out to tapas”. And who are we to criticize? Thanks to her, Jesus now has a whole face. It may look like he’s addicted to botox injections but nevertheless, He has a face. Even Steve Jobs used to tell his staff “real artists ship”. Cecilia has shipped.

I’m not going to get snarky here. Sure, I used to look down on people who cared more about “completing a task” than “aiming for transcendence via high quality work”. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that if it weren’t for loved ones badgering me to finish things, I’d never have passed pre-school.

So, I think the key here is it’s okay to aim high and it’s also okay to allow yourself to paint a monkey – but keep painting those monkeys consistently. With enough practice, discipline and healthy ambition, your monkeys may start to look like Jesus.

Then, and only then, should you dare go anywhere near a 19th Century fresco.

And so…I will continue blogging.


When in doubt, add a Greek column

What is it about humans and the “exotic” – how we give everything a theme, a flavour of somewhere else? The other day I went for a long walk with a friend exploring the streets of my local suburbs. Lots of new houses were shooting up – many of them a little bit “pseudo-Spanish-villa” or “pseudo-Swiss-chalet”. Some actually did look inviting, others shouted “I am not in Tuscany but I wish I was so badly that I’ll put this curly wrought iron fence on the balcony whether it matches or not”.

The houses that were the most adorable (I say that because I’m trying to be the glass-half-full girl – secretly I wish someone would blow them up) are the brick boxes built in the 80s. They could be houses, they could be apartment buildings, or they could be a governmental test of my mental ability to endure poor aesthetics. “Let’s see how much ugliness she can survive before she snaps and vandalises – at which point we move in quickly and slap her with a monstrous fine”. Sorry, I don’t really think of the government in that manipulating way, but I caught a glimpse of Big Brother on TV last night and 1984 has been dredged up from my subconscious.

These buildings I speak of are the rectangular prisms which look as though, if you ate them, they’d taste like cheap rye crackers. They have no shape and the bricks are the colour of, um, clay. But not just any clay. Clay that is the colour of cheap biscuits! But it doesn’t stop there. It’s as though, on completion, the builders have realised that these boxy structures are lacking a little “something”, and have tried to remedy the situation by cementing Grecian columns-as-railings on the balconies.

If President Obama were to see this, he’d call it “putting lipstick on a pig”. Then he’d slow-jam the news.

Despite my put-downs, I do think it’s quite sweet. And let’s face it, a Greek column is better than no Greek column. But what is it about these other cultures that appeal to us so much? Are we that unhappy with our culture in Australia that we’ll do anything to brainwash ourselves into thinking we’re actually in the Greek Isles?

Perhaps this need for escapism is universal. Are there retired couples in Athens building Queenslander-esque wooden houses on stilts? Are Swiss farmers training their cows to squawk like cockatoos? (The “moo” is just so…ordinary).

And don’t get me started on the names people give their houses. One clay-coloured property had the words “Las Palmeras” glued to the front fence. But it wasn’t an exotic manor in the heart of Spain filled with the smell of tapas and the sounds of Flamenco. It was a small residential property with three palm trees out the front.

Truth be told, I actually do like these little tributes to the Mediterranean. Sure it may be putting lipstick on a pig – but everyone loves Miss Piggy!

Seize the day, Snazzles!

I’ve made a pact. Not with myself. There wasn’t a board meeting and my right hand didn’t shake my left hand. But I’ve made a pact with a close friend that we’ll both get up at 6am every morning. Over Winter, we’ve become lazy when we’d much rather “seize the day”, as they say. (Obviously the person who came up with that phrase managed to get a good sleep-in because at this point in time I couldn’t conceive of coming up with such a snazzling phrase). Is snazzling a word? *She looks it up*. No, it’s not. “Snazzy” is what I’m after. “Snazzling” sounds like the overly dressed-up child of “Dazzling” and “Snazzy” – the names of a bogan couple who are hoping their child will become the next Kim Kardashian.
My point to this paragraph of “z’s” (believe me, that’s what I’d like to be doing right now) is that I’m starting a new phase of my life, and with that comes this new blog. I’m going to seize the day! I’m going to look for new adventures! I’m going to push outside of my comfort zone! I don’t expect it to be easy. In fact, I take inspiration from the words of the late, great wizard Albus Dumbledore, who once said “We must choose between what is right, and what is easy”.
Right now, I could easily be sleeping.
Nevertheless, I’m drawing on every inch of willpower I have because this lifestyle change has been FAR from easy. But despite everything in my body telling me to do otherwise, I’ve stuck with it. Sure it’s only been two days – but that means I’ve had a 100% success rate! And yes, there’s a glass half full of water on my bedside table. Actually, there are two glasses half full of water and three mugs half full of tea. Some might call this “lazy housekeeping”, but I call it “real-life reminders of the power of positive thinking”. Next week I’ll be giving people the chance to witness this transcendental art installation piece for an entry price of $20. There’s also a one-off deluxe $50 ticket which will grant you entry to the cup gallery AND give you the exclusive opportunity to wash and put away the cups.
I digress.
Here, I’ll be documenting my thoughts and adventures – whether they actually BE adventures, or merely everyday experiences looked at through rose-coloured glasses. (Possibly the 3D glasses handed out at that preview screening of Brave). It’s really a writing exercise I guess, a place where I can consistently channel my creative energy. And no, I won’t be working my way through Julia Child’s cookbook, though I would be content for Amy Adams to play me in a movie. Even Snazzling Kardashian could do it if she stays away from lip fillers.
I hope you enjoy my quirky ramblings about the world. May the blogging begin!
P.S. The deal with my friend is that we both wake up, and stay up, at 6am – otherwise the sleeper-inner must bake for the other person. It’s entirely possible this may turn into a cooking blog after all…


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