A Published Author, No Less!

‘Leaf’ is my first published collection of poems in which I explore my own humanity, experiences, and observations about life in a way that will challenge the reader to see things from a new perspective.

‘Leaf’ is listed on Goodreads, and available as a paperback or an e-book on Xlibris, Amazon, iBooks and kobo.

You’re also welcome to visit my website at www.jvlpoet.com
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You know you’re from Warrnambool when…

You know you’re from Warrnambool when the conversation goes like this: 

Him: So, you haven’t seen much of Amanda this term.

Me: No. She hasn’t been to school, obviously, and she hasn’t been coming out for drinks. 

Him: Has she been going to Simon’s?

Me: No, we’ve been going to the Clovelly since it got cold. 

Me: Oh! That Simon’s! (Where Simon is Amanda’s fiancée who lives six hours’ drive away.)  Yeah. She has. 

Tonight’s public service announcement.

I would just like everyone to know that Sean is really, truly, great. 

He always listens. He cares about me and my life. He encourages and defends me. He is a truly great friend and brother.

He reminds me that being under-appreciated is worse than being overworked or underpaid, and then he shows that he appreciates me.

And then he makes me laugh with inappropriate humour.

How could I not love this guy? 

  

I’m so glad we adopted each other. I’m so glad he is as happy about that as I am. 

A piercing experience!

In the last few months since hearing about the daith piercing and its effect in reducing/controlling headaches and migraines, I have done a fair bit of reading and research. 
I decided it was something I would do one day. I figured that if it had no effect on my headaches, I’d still have a cool piercing. 
This afternoon, after 4.5 days of a particularly nasty thumper of a headache and not much sleep, I made an appointment for 4.30pm. 

This headache had persisted for almost five days despite the not-for-the-faint-of-heart painkiller routine that I have for my back and other chronic pain.
The room and bed were super clean, the body piercer was knowledgeable and told me all I needed to know about this piercing. 

She also showed me information about this point in the ear, used in both acupuncture and acupressure to control not only headaches and migraines but also tension and anxiety. I was impressed by how much she knew about the non-body-piercing aspect of the physiology of the ear. 
The piercing itself took less than three seconds from start to finish, and all I felt was a quick sting. 
By the time I got home 45 minutes later, the intensity of my headache had already reduced by about half. The light sensitivity that I had experienced for days had disappeared, and I no longer felt sick turning my head from side to side. 
Usually, this kind of headache leaves me feeling exhausted and dopey, like I have been hit in the head with a rubber mallet, for a day or so after the pain itself subsides. 
As I write this, only three hours after the piercing was done, I have only some twinges of pain and none of the usual lethargy.  
Am I impressed? Heck, yes!
I wasn’t expecting anything so prompt or marvellous! And even if this turns out to be some hinky kind of psychosomatic/placebo effect, I’ll still take it. 

  

And, as a bonus, I have a really cool piercing. 

Illusions of familial bliss. 

Yesterday afternoon, I went to meet LMC at the corner as she was walking home from school. I needed to go to the supermarket, and I didn’t want her to walk all the way home when I was in town anyway. 

I waved as I saw her walking toward me, and she broke into a run.  Then she threw her arms around me and said happily, “Boy, am I glad to see you!”

Before she had a chance to explain why, two ladies who had just walked out of the bank and stopped nearby  both smiled at what they saw and heard. They probably thought I was her mum, and that she just loved me that much. 

One said, “Oh! How beautiful!” The other said, “That’s so nice to hear! Just lovely!”  

They both beamed at LMC and then at me, as if I had performed some kind of child-rearing miracle. 

As LMC and I walked away, she explained that she wanted to go to the supermarket, and she needed to work out what to wear for a disco-themed out-of-uniform day for school. And could she have something special for an after-school snack?  It wasn’t so much that she was happy to see me: it was rather that it suited her hopeful plans for me to be there at that time. 

Even so, I’m glad she didn’t blurt that out in front of those ladies. It would have been awful to shatter their illusions of our idyllic family life almost as quickly as they were created. 

Kia Ora and going the Extra Mile.

Tonight I’m on a trans-Pacific flight from LA to Melbourne via Auckland. There are kids on this flight who have been on a trip to Disneyland courtesy of the Koru Care charity which is sponsored by Air New Zealand.  To continue the Disneyland experience, the flight attendants have all dressed up in fancy dress to serve the kids and make their flight more fun.   

 
Dinner and drinks were served by Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell, while coffee was served by a CHiPS police officer.  

 
I have to say that he did take it very well when I asked when the rest of the Village People were coming out.

I’m so impressed by the continual efforts of the staff to do everything to make the flight memorable and fun. It’s a great war to promote the charity, too. 

They’ve also been wonderful to me after a very long and emotionally exhausting day. After a painful and tearful farewell followed by extended flight delays and an international connection time that was whittled down from 6.5 hours to 47 minutes, in which I managed baggage claim, terminal transfer with all my luggage, check in and baggage drop, security checks and getting to the right gate before they closed the flight. When I realised I had made my flight, I burst into tears of relief. The attendants were just lovely and so supportive, and did everything they could to reassure and comfort me. 

I love flying with Air New Zealand and I love the way they treat their clients. They’ve won me. 

Fall.

Today the leaves are positively dive-bombing off the trees. 

  
The sun is shining again and the sky is azure blue, but yesterday’s snow has caused the autumn leaves to give up hope and cast themselves to the ground. 

  
Roads, garden beds and grass are carpeted with those who have already fallen, while other more hopeful souls still cling desperately to their tree. 

  
It’s easy now to understand why North Americans call this season Fall as well as Autumn. 

Even on a still, sunny morning, leaves dive and drift, collecting in rather tragic piles beneath the increasingly bare trees that only a week ago were vibrant with colour. 

In Australia, I never really had the perception of so many leaves falling and fluttering, or languishing in the breeze. Most of our trees stay green, and the occasional ornamental maple or elm shedding its leaves in a garden or the main street of a country town doesn’t really have the same impact, as beautiful as it may be. 

This sad abandonment of Autumn splendour has a beauty all its own. I’m very privileged to be able to sit here in the sunshine and witness it. 

The Perils of Trampolining.

Watching Family Feud this afternoon, the question was “Name a part of your body that might hit you in the face when bouncing on a trampoline.” 

After the regular answers such as hand, arm, leg, knee, and fingers, there was just one answer left. 

One guy suggested “your butt”. Hysterical. Not surprisingly, though, it wasn’t on the list. 

The opposing team suggested that a man’s junk might hit him in the face. 

Then this conversation happened between the three of us watching together.

V: “Do you want to tell me how a man is going to get whacked in the face with that?”

J: “You mean that’s never happened to you?”

Me: “If men could work out how to make that happen, they’d never be bored again.”

Those ten seconds were more entertaining than the whole show.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

Occasionally, I like to throw caution to the wind and do something dangerous. Intrepid and adventurous, that’s me. Completely aware of the perils ahead, I put my sassy pants on and set out for an adventure that has long been on the bucket list for this holiday. 

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company makes hand-crafted, fully customisable teddy bears that are unbearably adorable.

   
 
The bears all carry the trademark labels and eyes which distinguish them from other bears. The eyes have “Born in Vermont” imprinted in the iris. Too cute. Being from Vermont, the Bears all have a chubby tummy that is known at the company as “the belly that Ben & Jerry’s built”. 

   
   
There are hundreds of different outfits that can be purchased for the 15″ bears, reflecting seasons, occupations, sports and significant life events. Most of the bears have brown eyes, but can be customised with blue, green or hazel eyes. Paws and outfits can be customised with embroidery. 

   
   
The factory tour is fun and entertaining for all ages. I was really pleased to see the tour being led by a delightful guy who has a disability but is obviously living joyfully despite it. 

The bears are very reasonably priced in comparison to other top-quality, hand-crafted collectible bears, such as the Charlie Bears which I also collect. 

All in all, I had a wonderful day here. I made the experience complete by adopting a 15″ Maple Bear with blue eyes. It’s fair to say that he had a pretty good day, too.