Thursday, August 30, 2012


We recently picked up a fortnightly domestic clean – which is hardly a drop in the ocean on the scale of our recent loss of income. But at least it’s a start and I’m very thankful for that.

When we went to visit and scope out the new job, the lady-of-the-house pointed out an area of bricks near the front door, which has been seriously impacted and will need replacing soon. She explained that the elderly gentleman across the road backed into this wall with his car.

I stood there, agape as my eyes measured roughly 15 meters (50 feet) between the wall of her house and the driveway of the neighbour’s house. Now I can understand how someone might back out of their driveway and into the side of a car parked against the kerb behind them.  I could even understand why someone might take a corner too fast and slew, out of control, into said brick wall.

But how could someone reverse out of their driveway, across a roadway and a nature strip, up and over a gutter, through a small garden, and still smack into the wall with sufficient force to stove in the bricks like that?

The lady-of-the-house is a gentle soul, who attempted to console the gentleman in question – telling him that bricks and mortar can be replaced, - the main thing was that no one was injured. And thankfully insurance will cover the costs of the extensive repairs needed.

But then the elderly gent had a further admission to make. It seems, a while back, he reversed out of his driveway and into the tree in the lady's yard!!!!!

Now I understand all about trying to help the elderly retain their independence. It would be a blow to be suddenly told you were no longer permitted to drive a car. To have to rely on public transport, and the good will of friends and family, to go anywhere outside of walking distance from your home.

But surely common sense must prevail here? This man should NOT be allowed behind the wheel of a car. He is just plain dangerous, and one of these days it won’t be a tree or a wall that he crashes into – but a person. I looked at the dent in that brick wall and shuddered at the thought of what he would do to flesh-and-blood.

This is not about discrimination against the elderly. This is not about the erosion of civil liberties. This is about public safety. 

©Lyn Murphy 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Judge Not

Someone I care about recently did something extremely stupid – something with some far reaching consequences.

My first reaction was anger and disappointment.

How could he do this? Hasn’t he learned anything over the years? He’s been so incredibly fortunate not to have ended up in goal for some of the stunts he’s pulled – and yet he just keeps on tempting fate. What is his problem for goodness sake???

But then I found out a bit more – not a lot, mind you. It was just a couple of brief statements really but it changed my whole perspective.

We all have different levels of coping skills. What will send me into a panicked frenzy might hardly raise an eyebrow for you. I know what pushes his buttons, and just those couple of brief statements told me that he has being having his buttons pushed so hard they are coming out the other side.

He’s crumbled under the pressure. And because he is who he is, the result of that crumbling has been some very self-destructive behaviour.

I’m glad he wasn’t with me when I heard the news. I’m glad he didn’t get to see my initial reaction. I know he feels bad enough as it is and the last thing he needs right now is to have more guilt added to the mix.

This experience has really made me stop and think.  As I said, I know him well and I know enough of the situation to understand what has happened here. But what if I didn’t? What if all I saw was this young man who repeatedly does stupid, irresponsible things? What if I shrugged my shoulders and said
“what a loser!’

And how many times do we do that – pass judgement on people without ever knowing the full story? The fact that he is reacting to stressors in his life doesn’t excuse the foolishness of his actions – of course it doesn’t. But perhaps we need to ask ourselves what acts of stupidity we might be capable of, if the right buttons were pushed for the right length of time?

If I crumble under pressure sometime in the near future – how will it help me if everyone shakes their head and says
‘what a loser!’
© Lyn Murphy 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Today ISN'T The Day

It’s a beautiful day today. It’s sunny and warm and people have come out in droves to make the most of it.

The sports ground adjoining a local school has some kind of Soccer- meet happening.  Mums and Dads watch from deck chairs and picnic blankets as their offspring charge about the field in their team uniforms.

All along the waterfront there are people jogging and cycling – people walking their dogs. The shelters are full of families having barbeques and picnics. Children dig in the beach sand.  They scream with delight as they run to escape the tiny surging waves.

People fish from the specially constructed platforms. They practise Tai Chi under shady trees. Some just sit and relax and watch the world go by.

I saw it all as we did some errands this morning and I had a sudden revelation.

Today ISN’T the day.

See – two weeks ago we received the shattering news that we’ve lost our major source of income.
We’ve been down this road twice before, but it never gets any easier. I’ve spent hours trawling the Job ads – applying for anything that looked remotely suitable. I’ve posted ads of our own and put together resumes to suit various applications.

And I’ve worried.

Unlike my husband Pete, who is the ultimate optimist, I have great trouble in simply believing ‘it will all be okay’. 

I watch the meagre balance of our bank account waver as the expenses keep rolling in but the income doesn’t. How long can we hold out before things start to get really scary?

But, today ISN’T the day. Today we won’t have to deal with all the horrible things I’ve been worrying about – like not being able to pay the rent, or the car payments. Today we still have everything we need to feel quite blessed.

And tomorrow? I'll just have to use my 'worrying' energy to look for new revelations to keep me positive and hopeful.

©Lyn Murphy 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Follow Your Beak - Part 2

Nearly a year ago I wrote a blog entitled Follow Your Beak, which was all about our parrot, Paddy, and how he had so limited himself by his own perceptions.

Paddy seemed to have lost the ability of directional flight. He was perfectly capable of flight – he would fly all around the house if startled. But the concept of using his wings to get from one place to another eluded him completely. He was even reluctant to WALK to his chosen destination, preferring to sit and squawk until Mum or Dad came to pick him up and carry him.
But then, after eight years of being our big sook – Paddy flew the coop – quite literally.

He didn’t just fly out into the lounge room in search of Mum or Dad as he sometimes does when he is startled by a sudden noise. He didn’t just fly after one of us to land on our shoulders.  He flew right out of the (briefly) open door and off into the wild blue yonder.

Now the story has a happy ending so don’t fret. Once out there in the big, wide world, Paddy reverted to his usual behaviour. He simply sat and squawked for someone to come and get him. Admittedly it took us a long and heartbroken twenty-four hours to find him on his perch in a tree in the next street. But he was quite unharmed – just very hungry and thirsty and extremely glad to see us.

In last year’s blog I wrote, and I quote ‘It’s not enough to know what you want to do and where you want to go in your life. You need to take the necessary steps to get there. You are really only limited by your own confidence, and understanding of the principles involved.’

Paddy decided he wanted to explore the world beyond the confines of our house. He must have realized that, in order to do that, he needed to fly. He seemed to have developed the confidence to do just that – but he didn’t really understand the principles involved at all.

Paddy has never been outside before, except in his cage on visits to the vet etc. It might have felt wonderful soaring up there in the fresh air – no walls or windows, no obstacles to bar his way. But he would have soon gotten very tired. He’s not like the wild birds that fly about all day, every day. When he landed to rest, and forgive my license here in attributing some very human emotions to a bird, he must have thought –

 ‘Oops. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea after all.’

He didn’t know how to get home again. He wouldn’t recognize our house from the outside. He was used to his nice safe cage with his food and water and his toys. He had no understanding whatsoever of the big, wide wonderful world out there, with all the strange sounds and smells, and the dangers facing a little bird all on his own. It must have been very frightening for him.

There are times in life when we have to make decisions – big decisions that can affect the rest of our days. Sometimes it’s very exciting to act on impulse and launch ourselves on some great new adventure. But, just because we can do it, doesn’t mean it is a good thing to do.

So when opportunities present themselves, by all means, follow your beak and go after them. Just make sure you know what you’re doing first. 

Just make sure you understand the principles involved.

©Lyn Murphy 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Checks and Balances


My Blogging muse has been on an extended leave of absence. Her position has been filled by the Creativity Muse who has inspired me to turn out large quantities of knitted, crocheted and loomed hats, scarves, Afghans and such. It seemed the two have conspired today. I’ve been crocheting a jacket for myself and yes, there are even life lessons to be learned in such a task.

I’ve never undertaken such a big crochet project before. This jacket is worked in one piece, from the bottom up, and it was labelled to be of Intermediate difficulty. Because a graph was supplied with the pattern, it was reasonably easy to figure out what I was supposed to be doing and I soon settled into a rhythm.

I got almost to the end of the second jacket front, which meant there were only the bands to be completed, when I realized, with a sinking sense of dread, that there was something wrong. The second front was wider than the first.

I hadn’t bothered to count the number of clusters had I? It was all (seemingly) working out just fine. I had just assumed that – since I’d been so careful about following instructions early in the piece – I could just cruise along and soon I would be modelling my finished garment and basking in the compliments.

But, somewhere along the line I had gone wrong, and now roughly two days’ worth of crochet needed to be pulled undone. I was NOT a happy camper, believe me.

I can make excuses of course. There have been some things going on lately in our household which have proved to be quite disruptive. It’s been hard to concentrate. There have been frequent interruptions. But the fact of the matter is – I got a bit complacent. I didn’t put in the effort and keep a check on what was happening. I just assumed that I had it all under control.

We do that often, don’t we? When we first start out on a new project, we are so careful, checking and rechecking everything, over and over again. But then,as we gain confidence, we begin to relax . After this we begin to become overconfident and even a bit smug. Until – wham - we discover a mistake which sometimes  might have devastating consequences.

Fortunately I only had to pull my jacket back to the spot where I began to construct the left front. And, thankfully, because my life is fairly low-profile, I’m hardly likely to be responsible for any worldwide catastrophes at any time soon.
But what if I’d gotten a bit complacent about something to do with my job – handling chemicals or balancing on top of ladders while trying to clean in high places? What if I’d gotten complacent about hygiene when preparing food for my family or about driving our car?

It really doesn’t matter how familiar I am with certain processes or repeating patterns within my daily routine. In order to avoid mistakes I need to maintain a system of checks and balances.

©Lyn Murphy 2012