Archive for August, 2008

Feeling vincible

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up feeling invincible? On top of the world? The sun is shining – and you feel strong and beautiful – as if everything is going your way…

Well, yesterday was not one of those days.

It all started unravelling on Friday, when I knew that I was coming down with the same bug that had felled the family earlier on in the week. A fire in the throat, enormous glands and a band of cockroaches in my head playing the steel drums.

Come yesterday morning, the cockroach band was playing havoc in my head and stomach, so there was only one thing for it. A frantic dash to be sick in the toilet.

It’s hard to feel invincible with your head stuck down a toilet bowl. In fact, it makes you feel very vincible (if that is now the opposite of invincible).

Today I have woken up feeling weak, hungry and very dehydrated. But I do not need to commune face to face with the toilet bowl. And that pesky band of cockroaches has disappeared.

So, adieu – porcelain tormentor!

Until next time!

By the way, I hope you guys are having a better weekend than I am!

Thought of the day

If you want to turn your thoughts into clouds, then go to: Wordle!

Tantrum your way through work!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine wrote a post (in Swedish) about her child tantruming, and she wondered what would happen if she went round acting like a six-year-old in her daily life.

Mmm… I thought. Now that would be something worth trying out at work!

This was before I got going with my own blog. I intended to start a blog and then write about this badical new method that I dub “Doing business the six-year-old way”. I got going with the blog, but then got sidetracked by all sorts of subjects… like: rain, getting wet, the Olympics, school, sadistic tooth cleaning, annoying salesmen and some crazy onions.

Today, my friend took up the suggestion of trying out this new business method in her blog. That was it: if I procrastinated any more, then my method would be patented and successful before you could chant, “Losers weepers! Finders keepers!”

The golden rule of this radical new method is this… come nearer… and I’ll whisper it to you:


First of all, if you don’t have any handy six-year-olds at home, then you can use a two- or three-year-old. Note how they take a deep breath, open their mouths, look at you for effect, and then start screaming at the top of their voices. The kind of scream that shatters glasses, windows and eardrums. Note how they go red in the face, and then scarlet, then purple and finally puce. And if they still don’t get their own way, note the graceful way they will throw themselves on the ground, stamping their feet and fists in fury. And – if all else fails – watch out for those angry teeth!

Try out a few tantrums at home first.

Then you’re ready to give it a go at work. Salary negotiations would be the perfect time to use this new method. Name an astronomical wage rise, and then start screaming when your boss says no. If the boss does not give in, throw yourself on the ground (remember to wear trousers or clean underwear that day), stamp your feet and scream, “But I WAAAAAAAANT that much money a month. I WAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNT it!”

If you are not ready for the full-blown tantrum, then try turning on the tears. Let’s say that you went out to a fancy restaurant with friends last weekend, had way too many bottles of champagne and expensive food and ended up footing the bill.

You then decide to claim the money back on your expenses, and call it a ‘working dinner’. The company accountant is usually wise to this sort of ploy so will probably say no at this stage.

Do not be down-hearted: get that mouth trembling, pout with the lower lip, scrunch up your face and get those tears flowing. (You might need to cover your hands in onion juice or stick yourself in the butt with a sharp knife to get the tears started.)

You’ll be surprised by how often crying works…

One final tip: if these methods fail and you get fired (remember that new ways of thinking are hard for others to accept…), then just act like any kid would. Mooch around the house for a couple of days, then wander into the office and go back to work as normal. When your boss comes out to talk to you, then just wave and smile and ask, “Do you want to come out and play?”

Humble onion thoughts

Warning! I’m having another ‘Princess Fiona’ (Shrek) moment!

Apparently, I transgressed in my last post by not using a picture of the onion flower. I apologize to all of you with green fingers and/or a sense of curiosity.

Anyway, the gentle inquiries of readers and friends triggered another ‘wise’ moment of contemplation about the humble onion. You see, the onion is the ugly duckling of the vegetable world, the Jekyll and Hyde, a Princess Fiona and ogre all rolled into one tear-making round ball of tastiness.

Meet the onion as we know it in every day life:

The humble yellow onion, or its more exuberant red cousin:

When it flowers, it really comes into its own! Like an ugly duckling transforming itself into a swan.

And my, my! Aren’t those flowers beautiful!

Truly lovely!

But the onion is not just about taste and looks: it is perky and has a great sense of humour. It is the clown of the vegetable world… Sometimes, it can transform from this:

Into this:

Don’t know about you, folks, but I’ll never look at an onion in the same way again…

Onion thoughts

Have you ever noticed how life is like an onion?

It comes in layers…

… and as you peel each layer away, a surprise is revealed.

Sometimes, you come across something beautiful.

And sometimes it makes you cry.

Making the impossible possible

I just love it when the impossible is not impossible; when the boundaries of impossibility become possible!

Take sprinting, for example…

First of all, people thought it was impossible for the 100 m record to be broken. But Bolt smashed it – and our pre-conceived notions.

Then came the 200 m sprint. Impossible to break that record said everyone in the know. After all, that record has only been broken every decade or so.

But the beatable wasn’t unbeatable … Bolt went on to set a new world record and, by doing so, pushed our boundaries of what we see as ‘impossible’.

What do you think is ‘impossible’? Take a good long think – and then think again. Is it really impossible? Or just hard to achieve?

When was the last time you made something you thought was impossible possible?

Well, don’t just sit there reading this. Go out and make those dreams come true!

Getting schooled

“Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of facts.”

– Henry Brooks Adams

It’s back to school tomorrow for anklebiter #1. Last year, at age 6, she went to a sort of starter class – a class in school that prepares you for ‘real’ school. A cross between pre-school and big school. But this year, aged 7, it’s down to business. Getting serious about learning. Yup – school is compulsory from Year 1 and onwards.

And already last year (to my secret delight), she was complaining about how school had too many rules, and why was using your imagination not valued as highly as being able to write on the lines…

As the old story goes: a girl runs up to her mum and says excitedly, “I’ve taught the dog how to roll over and play dead!” The mother is pleased and asks the girl to show her the new trick with the dog. “Play dead!” she says. The dog looks up at the mother with his big, brown eyes and wags his tail.

“But he’s not doing it,” exclaims the mum.

“Well,” replies the girl, “I said that I had taught him how to play dead. NOT that he had learnt it!”

There’s a whole new world of learning out there: I just hope that she learns to discover it with a sense of wonder, curiosity and joy.

Sizzling hot revolution

“The greatest invention since the steam engine!” says my husband, while MIT is more modest and calls it a ‘major discovery’. What is this major breakthrough? Storing solar power on a large scale for when the sun is not shining.

You see, not being able to store solar power has always been a barrier to utilizing the sun as a natural source of energy. But now, researchers from MIT, headed by Daniel Nocera, Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT, have come up with a simple, not too costly and very efficient way of actually storing solar energy.

Apparently, Nocera and another guy called Matthew Kanan were inspired by the photosynthesis of plants. They have developed a radical new process that will allow the sun’s energy to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. The oxygen and hydrogen can then be recombined later on inside a fuel cell. Result? Carbon-free electricity to power your house or your electric car, day or night!

This, my dear readers, is astounding news! Everyone should be shouting it from the rooftops! It’s a giant leap towards producing clean, carbon-free energy on a massive scale. It’s a vital step towards breaking our dependence on fossil fuels.

Just imagine – in ten years’ time – in OUR OWN lifetimes – we may very well witness the solution to the energy crisis (and a significant step towards reducing global warming).

Yes – we may very well see an era where fossil fuels become … well, fossils!

Inspiration in yellow and blue

I was looking through the values of a certain very successful Swedish business today, with stores all around the world. They sell Swedish furniture at affordable prices. OK – you know who I mean, right?

Well, I never thought I would be inspired by them, but I am. By the values that they try to follow. And I thought – yeah! why not try to use some of these values in daily life?

READY? Here are some of their values:

Work together with joy and enthusiasm. After all, it is difficult to go it alone all the time. And I like the joy part – we could all do with a bit more of that, right?

Be open to renewal and be willing to change. I agree – this can lead to surprising, innovative ideas.

Don’t waste time or resources. Good idea although time-wasting (like writing this blog or eating chocolate) is just too enjoyable to give up entirely…

The willingness to accept and delegate responsibility. Yes – dare to make your mistakes and learn from them.

Be humble. Be kind and generous and treat the ideas of others with respect.

Simplicity. Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

Leadership by example. As every parent will tell, if you don’t set a good example, then your kids won’t either.

Dare to be different. Ask why. Question. Go your own way. This is how you can create progress and change.

Keep your feet on the ground. Mmm.. I understand that you have to be realistic: it helps in daily life, I guess. But I still like to keep my head in the clouds.

On the way. Being on the way on your journey through life means embracing change, finding new ways of doing things.

My conclusion:

It’s your journey, how you travel through life that is more important than life’s destination.

So, what are the values that guide you through life?

Southpaws supreme

Today is Left-handers’ Day! Both the ankle-biters are left-handed (and left-footed), and we are already aware of the problems of using ‘normal’ scissors or trying to write in the same direction as everyone else.

Down the ages, lefties have been persecuted and ridiculed. The word ‘left’ comes from the Latin ‘sinister’, which today means ‘evil’. In many European languages, ‘right’ means ‘correct’ and is associated with justice, whereas the left side is associated with being awkward or just plain bad. And in many societies, the left hand is viewed as unclean.

Lots of lefties have stories to tell of their teachers trying to – literally – bash the left-handedness out of them. And even today I know people who do not want to let their kids eat left-handedly, but to hold their cutlery as right-handers do.

Left-handers are also known as southpaws (a boxing term) and in Australia, they are sometimes called Molly-Dookers. Why? No one knows!

My message to all you southpaws out there: be proud, be left. Don’t conform to the norm, but use those left digits and limbs of yours with skill and pride.

Left-handers are unusual; more flexible, more intelligent, better at multi-tasking and better at solving problems.

Darn it: I wish I were left-handed!