2015 Update…

Thank you so much for your continued support and interest in this page. Unfortunately I have been unable to post over the last little while as I’ve been busy with a new business venture. I haven’t forgotten about this site however and I am aiming to be back and finishing the Card Meanings for the Rider Waite as soon as my circumstances allow. Please be aware that I don’t monitor this site very often so I will be unable to respond to requests for help anytime soon but that may change in the future. In the meantime. Thanks for visiting and enjoy….


Very Superstitious …

I confess that I hate to love superstitions. I know. Its very un PC of me. Very unscientific. But its that small ethnic part of me that I simply cannot get rid of.

I confess-

I believe that if my ears are burning, then someone is talking about me. I still haven’t made my mind up about whether the left ear means good or bad. And I really don’t know what to do when both are burning. Maybe someone is bagging me out and someone else is defending me?

I won’t walk under ladders. For the very practical reason of not wanting something dropped on my head if nothing else.

I do wear new knickers on New Years day. I don’t know why exactly other than my grandma said so and it’s a good excuse to buy new knickers.

The needle trick has always worked for me. That is, you thread a needle with a piece of cotton and hold it above a woman’s palm. Each time she closes her palm and opens it you lift the needle steadily and it will predict the number and sex of her children (including ones that don’t survive). The needle will stop eerily dead at the end of the list of children. Straight line for boy, circle for a girl.

The itchy palm thing has also worked for me. Right palm itchy, money coming to you, left palm itchy, money unexpectedly going out.

I always put money (like a dollar or two) in a wallet if I buy one for someone as a present, so that their wallet will always have money.

If I see a penny (or indeed any kind of coin) I will pick it up.

I do knock on wood when I’m talking about something I consider good fortune.

If an eyelash falls out, put it on the back of the hand, make a wish and throw it over your shoulder. If it flies off the hand the wish will be granted. Technically, I don’t actually believe in this one, but I do do it. Go figure.

I don’t break mirrors. Haven’t yet and (knock on wood) I won’t.

However, I don’t believe every silly superstition out there. Two things that I definitely don’t believe in-

Black cats being bad luck- I like black cats. Actually, I like cats of all kinds.

The fear of the number 13.

Some of them are hilarious. For example-

If you go to the bathroom in the night with no clothes on, insects will fall on you. (er, really?)

Dropping a pair of scissors is said to warn that a lover is unfaithful. (too bad if you are just clumsy)

To cut bread in an uneven manner is a sign that you have been telling lies. (or that you are really bad with a knife)

If a girl loses a garter, a proposal of marriage at an early date is foretold. (probably because any girl looking for her garter on the street is bound to attract male attention. What a shame we don’t wear garters these days)

Lightning will never strike a person when he is asleep, nor will it visit a house in which a fire is burning. (this one just makes me wonder how on earth they discovered this.)

Women should not whistle, for it encourages evil spirits to visit them. (I think this one was invented by men who didn’t want women to be better at whistling than they were)

It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match. (Oh! I know how this one started! This was a World War I story The Diggers discovered that in the dark, keeping a match lit for long enough to light 3 cigarettes was long enough for the enemy to see them and sight them across the trenches, then shoot them. Hence 3 cigarettes became unlucky- due to too many people getting shot)

Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house. (there must be more murder in the rainy season)

Salty soup is a sign that the cook is in love. (Or ethnic)

A wish will come true if you make it while burning onions (aha! Now I know!)

Lettuce is believed to have magical and healing properties, including the power to arouse love and counteract the effects of wine. (I have got to stop feeding my kid salads)

When you cross a railroad track you need to touch a screw so you won’t get pregnant. (ok, I confess, I really want to know how this one started.)

In defence of superstitions, they made sense at a time when people had no other answers. Way back when people asked their parents and grandparents “why…”  these were the answers they got. I think they are wonderful, hilarious and worth preserving as part of our links to our past. So long as we don’t become crippled by them then what’s the harm?

What are your superstitions?

There Can Be Only One?

How many times have you heard someone say “but its my only vice?” This remark has always been something of a head scratcher for me. I mean, why exactly do we think its ok to have only one vice? For that matter why should it be ok for us to have any vices at all? Is it because we secretly hate those few perfect people who never do anything wrong?

I admit that I have more than one vice. There I said it. Now, who exactly is it that is going to come and slap me on the wrist and tell me that I have to give them all up, except for that one last little small one that is ok? I smoke. (Though I have quit twice in that last two years. I’m hoping it’s third time lucky). I like a drink on occasion. I have also been known to gamble, but never over my head. Are these things still vices if they aren’t having a detrimental effect on my life? Or is it only a vice if someone else says so?

Ask just about anyone and they’ll admit to at least one vice. Justify it even by saying that they don’t do anything else so it’s ok to have this one. They may have given up many young adulthood bad habits but hang on to just one long into middle age. As we get older though shouldn’t we be aiming for perfection? Shouldn’t we be trying to get rid of all of our bad habits if we want to live longer, healthier and wealthier lives? Maybe we feel like if we give up all our bad habits life won’t be fun any more and no one wants that.

Maybe it’s because there’s something annoying about people who don’t have any vices. Those paragons of perfection that make us feel guilty for not being able to live up to their shining example. Luckily I don’t know many people like this. I’m blessed with imperfect friends who are much more fun to be around, except on the occasional hungover Sunday morning when I curse whoever’s idea that last Pina Colada was.

So how about you? Are you fallible human or paragon of perfection? What one vice can’t you forgive in someone else?

Unintended Consequences of Feminism Part 5- Where To Now?

Possibly one of the greatest developments of modern society is the rise of subcultures. These days there is a far wider spectrum of what is considered normal. At the last Australian Census we discovered that the nuclear family now makes up less then half of all Australian households. The rest are populated with single parents, single people, extended families, same sex couples and other variations of the word family. Mainstream society is far more accepting of subcultures then at any time in the past. We’re learning to be more accepting. Hopefully this trend will continue.

Despite all the arguing that goes on in chatrooms and on blogs around the world, when it boils down to it we are sharing ideas and being exposed to opinions we would otherwise never have come across. And while it often just gets us even more entrenched in our own ideas it does force us to think those ideas through, to articulate them to someone else who is more then ready to pull our ideas to pieces and display all the faults in our logic. This is a good thing. It’s a learning curve that forces critical thinking. We should be able to defend our ideas and presumptions as well as learn from others. For every person that posts a comment on a blog or gets involved in a heated discussion there are many more who are still making up their minds, who are reading and learning. Hopeful, this accelerated learning and interaction will continue.

Personally, I would like to see feminism become less contentious. Most women I spoke to about  this are divided about the idea of feminism. They felt that to criticise the movement was somehow traitorous. But they all admit scruples about  feminism itself, not wanting to be seen as bitter women with an axe to grind. And most women don’t agree with the most radical extremes- like the idea that all sex is rape, or the demonising of all men as evil patriarchal overlords. Most women like men, we want their respect, not to grind them into the dirt under our heels as it sometimes seems the extreme feminists want. So perhaps a move into less extremism would be good. A more balanced approach to equality, one that doesn’t involve alienating the majority. 

Ultimately, I would love to live in a world where gender isn’t ever an issue. Where we aren’t locked into roles to play simply because of the sex we were born. I’d love for my daughter to look back with incredulity at the thought that the world was ever divided by gender roles the same was I was surprised that women weren’t always able to do or be whatever they wanted. The only way to achieve such a world is to teach our children our ideals. Raise them that way. Because gender roles are simply a by product of our society and we are society. Its too easy to make problems of society ‘out there’ or someone else’s responsibility. Its too easy to forget that each and every one of us is society, or the public. It used to be easy to let out opinions be formed by the media, by newspaper and magazine articles- now, we can form our opinions on the internet, through discussion and wide research of opposing ideas. We can share our opinions and actually take part in society in ways we never imagined before the Internet Age.

I think the best way forward for the feminist movement, if it wants to include all women not just the loud and bossy radicals, is through meaningful discussion. We have achieved the laws we need, all that remains is to change the way we relate to each other. The only way to do that is to just do it. High and mighty attitudes don’t help. Assumptions don’t help either. Real discussions go both ways, so its important that we actually hear the concerns of those who disagree with us, be they men or women, and actually address those concerns. Changing the world isn’t an easy job, and it was never going to happen over night but a lot of progress has been made.

I’ll wrap this up with one last thought. Perhaps the single most important thing to keep in mind is that life itself is a work in progress. We shouldn’t be aiming for an end goal at all. So long as we continue to fight injustice where ever we find it, so long as we aim for fairness and equality no matter what gender, or shape, or colour, sexual preference or difference at all then we’ll be working towards a better world. And so long as we do our bit, every day, in all the little ways like smiling at a stranger or helping someone who needs it, then we will be working towards a world where the very concept of discrimination is as abhorrent to us as slavery. We may never reach Utopia but we should always strive for it.

Originally Published on Rusty lime 16th July 2008

Unintended Consequences of Feminism Part 4- Equality?

The notion of equality has always puzzled me. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s in a world that taught me I could be anything I wanted to be. It wasn’t until I got older that I learnt that things hadn’t always been that way. That once upon a time women weren’t allowed to do and be whatever they wanted. My confusion about equality was that it seemed obvious to me that people weren’t equal. Not that women were less then men or men less then women, just that some people were smart, some were ambitious, some were rich and some were poor. It wasn’t about gender- it was about people.

Feminism fought for the rights of women everywhere to loose the shackles of a male dominated society, fought for equal rights under the law and fought for changes in society that had kept women “in their place” for centuries. And they succeeded. Women do have those rights so vigorously fought for, but equality still doesn’t truly exist. The idea of equality does, but in the real world we aren’t all equal. A white, middle class, well educated woman still has a lot more opportunity then a poor woman, with little education who comes from a non English speaking background. At least here in Australia. 

What has changed though is the single most important thing and that is the law. So, now we live in a world where legally, women have every right that men have. But has that given us an equal society? No. Because discrimination still exists. Not just discrimination based on gender (but that’s a different story). Attitudes are harder to change then laws are. It takes generations. My generation was the first to grow up in a world where women could do anything and be anything. And will take a few decades more before the women of my generation are in positions of power. The women currently there had to fight for recognition as equal to their male counterparts; they were swimming against the tide. It never occurred to the men I grew up with that any woman was less then them, after all, most of them were in school with girls who were getting better grades then they were. So in twenty years time, when the people currently in their 20’s and 30’s find themselves CEO’s and ranking politicians I’m betting there will be as many women as men. Women who will be busier doing their jobs then watching their backs.

Feminists fought for our right to not be excluded from any type of work based solely on our gender. They abolished the division of “men’s work’” from “women’s work”. Which was great in theory but to this day you can still see that the majority of women go for certain kinds of work and the majority of men go for others. I don’t know of any little girls who grow up wanting to be say, bricklayers. This is what I mean about being puzzled by the notion of equality. I may be able to be a bricklayer, but not only do I have no interest in it, I simply wouldn’t be as good at it as most men. And while I’m sure men would love the notion of being a lingerie salesman, most would admit that they wouldn’t be very good in the job. This is not to say that individuals can’t be good in any job. I’m sure there are fantastic female bricklayers and male lingerie salesmen, but the majority of people will find themselves in work that suits them best, regardless of sex. Yes. There are exceptions to every rule, but I’m talking about majorities.

The unintended consequence of the feminists fight for equality was the notion that to be truly equal women had to be like men. We were under-represented in certain areas of the work force and this was something that needed to be fixed. Now that we have the right to do whatever job we apply ourselves to we can see that there are certain divisions of labour. Not because we are oppressed by male chauvinist pigs but because we ourselves are drawn to different types of work. More women get joy and satisfaction out of being primary school teachers then men. More men get joy and satisfaction out of being miners. We can’t impose a rule which says every profession must be split 50/50 down the middle, equal representations of both sexes, it simply doesn’t work that way.

True equality is like Utopia. It’s a great ideal and something we should strive for, but it doesn’t exist in a flawed world. It can’t. All people are different and our genders are the least of those differences. As the saying goes, “There are more differences within the sexes then between them”.

Originally Published on Rusty Lime 13th July 2008

Unintended Consequences of Feminism Part 3- Girls Gone Wild

While it may not be true for older women, for younger ones (approximately 35 and under) you are only truly an emancipated woman if you can freely express your sexuality. Most often that expression is supposed to come in the form of flashing your breasts at any guy who has a camera, going out several times a week and getting drunk, ‘hooking up’ with who ever grabs your fancy and wearing clothes that even hookers would be embarrassed to wear. Should you choose not to go for any of that then you must be repressed in some way (usually by your religious choices) and are therefore, not truly emancipated.

The girls gone wild phenomenon is personified byHollywoodstarlets-LindsayLohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton et al. They are the role models that teenagers and women in their early twenties see as powerful women; women who have it all. Power, money, great careers, fantastic looks, droves of guys desperate for them, and the real draw card- fame. Despite the considerable amount of words in print criticizing the failings of these starlets, they are still seen as a product of the feminist movement. And rightly so. Without all the great strides that our foremothers made, there would be no Paris’ orLindsay’s or Britney’s- they paved the way for women to be free to express themselves however they pleased. So where and when did expressing ourselves become about getting the most attention? When did it become all about getting a rise (excuse the pun) out of men?

Pop culture today is rife with overt sexuality, but its all female sexuality. It’s about women being sexy and gorgeous. Look at music videos, magazines, ads, and what do you see- gorgeous sexy women. Even mothers in popular culture are represented as gorgeous and sexy all the time. Its down right disheartening. That dominant, in your face, flaunt it kind of sexuality is fine, but its not the only kind there is. It is however the only kind that gets noticed in the 21st century.  

Male sexuality is much less in your face and, I would argue, public expressions of male sexuality is for the benefit of women. By which I mean, you don’t see alpha males being butch and macho. You see perfectly toned, hairless young men in their primes with expressions of docility on their faces. The stare out from their ads as if to say, “tell me what you want me to do”. Women stare out from their ads empowered, tough, in control- worth it. We live in an age of women on top. At least when it comes to what’s acceptable in the public arena.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that any of this is wrong. It isn’t. Women should be encouraged to be free of any hang ups and issues in regards to sex, but I’m just wondering if this is all there is? Surely life is more complicated then popular culture would have us believe. Surely there are other forms of sexual expression then the ‘in your face’ version? Surely, it is still sexy for men to men, not well built boys? And, my biggest question, why do women do it? Do we really need to be wearing the shortest skirt and the strappiest top to be considered sexy? Do we need to flash our tits at guys just because they ask? If it floats your boat as a woman well then sure, go for it, but it doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) mean that girls who don’t flash, the ones who like to dress appropriately for the weather, or who just like to be comfortable shouldn’t be considered sexy.

Popular culture is us. Altogether we make it up as we go along. We buy the magazines, watch the shows, listen to the music and so on; we’re the ones who accept and create ‘normal’. So why have we accepted a culture in which only one form of sexuality is in the spotlight. Exhibitionism is just a facet of female sexuality. Trawl through the porn sites and you quickly realize that men find just about anything sexy, but (outside of the porn industry) women aren’t encouraged to explore those aspects of sexiness.

In a way the overt female sexuality, now on sale at a store near you, is in itself another way of controlling femininity. It is less ok, in this day and age for a woman to be ‘soft’ then it is for her to be ‘ballsie’. Again, it isn’t anyone’s fault that it has become this way. It isn’t really an outright conspiracy to put women in their place. Its simply an unintended consequence of feminism. In gaining the right to express ourselves, we are left of the question, well, what do we want to express? Forty years ago we were burning our bras, now we are flashing them. Its still feminism right? Because its our choice. Maybe its just my imagination, maybe its just the popular culture I’m exposing myself too- it just seems to me that there isn’t a whole lot of choice about what we are expected to express. At least in terms of letting the world know that you a free woman with a healthy attitude to sex and how comfortable you are with yourself. In a way, the ‘girls gone wild’ are what you get when the popular girls grow up, and just like in school, so many of the other girls want to be just like them. Those that don’t want to be like the popular girls are the outsiders, the weirdos, the ones who were (are?) definitely not sexy. 

In today’s world, as an unintended consequence, women are defined by their place on the sexiness scale.Lindsay’s been in and out of rehab for the past few years, hey not to worry, she’s still sexy, right? Britney may be a hot mess but she can still sizzle in her music videos.  The message is that all is forgiven to the sexy hot young thing. You can get what you want if you are prepared to flaunt it. I have heard young women boasting about what freebies they could get thanks to the sheer power of their breasts. You can bet your bottom dollar that the feminist movement wasn’t aiming for that when they were busy fighting for our rights.

Originally Published on Rusty Lime 11th July 2008

Unintended Consequences of Feminism Part 2- “Having It All’ Syndrome

Of all the unintended consequences of feminism, this is probably the most discussed one. Since women won the right to be breadwinners in their own right; won the right to choose what they wanted out of life, there has been an unspoken expectation that they must ‘have it all’. 

The ‘ideal’ life consists of getting a good University degree, working hard and progressing nicely in our career until about 30 or so, then meetingMrPerfect. Kids come somewhere between 33 and 40. After that women are not only expected to work while raising perfect kids, we’re expected to keep spotless households and ferry our kids to numerous after school activities and help them (read- make sure that) they are top in their classes of everything at school and will never be tempted to break any rules. All this while still progressing in our chosen career and (hopefully) furthering the feminist cause by reaching the pinnacle of success in our job. Oh and of course we’re supposed to be up for red hot sex several times a week and look completely fabulous 24/ 7. At least, that’s the message I get about the perfect life for women.

Any deviation of this ideal is met with, “But of course its your choice,” said in a slightly condescending tone, meant to convey understanding but actually conveying the message that somehow, you aren’t tough enough, or that somehow, you are letting down women as a whole for choosing not to have kids, or choosing not to have a career, or choosing to have a simple job so that you can actually spend time with your kids.

The scariest thing is that it isn’t men who did this to us. We did it to ourselves. Behind every marketing push, every magazine article, every expectation is the underlying competitiveness of women. We want to be better then the next woman. We want to have better kids, a better husband, a better car, a better house, be more beautiful, take better care of ourselves- you name it, deep down inside we women want to be and have the best. Which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Of course we should expect the best for ourselves and aim for the highest we can achieve, but at what cost? If it isn’t the best is it still good enough? And if only a few can truly have the best, where does that leave the rest of us? It leaves the rest of us in a kind of purgatory of un-achievement- of settling. And one of the greatest crimes a woman can commit is settling. Settling is ‘giving up’. Its taking the easy way out. Its about not trying hard enough, all of which seems to be more important than actually being happy. Feminism came out of a desire for happiness, but it has given us more things we need to be happy. And settling seems to be mere contentment- not the giddy achievement of true happiness.

Probably the best thing about this unintended consequence is that the pendulum is swinging back the other way. In defense of feminism, ‘having it all’ was never really a goal anyway. It was just a byproduct. Also, it doesn’t only apply to women, it applies to men as well. Now more and more women are stepping up and saying that its humanly impossible to be everything and do everything. And in our heart of hearts we hate those women who accomplish it. Never mind that they are women who have achieved something extraordinary, gone above and beyond the call of duty for their partners, children and themselves. They have shown dedication, determination and deserve admiration. What we women see is someone makes us look bad. If she can do it then why can’t I?

In the 21st century though women are claiming back their right to not have it all. More and more women are opening up about not wanting children, or about not wanting a career and being perfectly happy raising their children. More and more women who did attempt to have it all and fail are admitting that trying wasn’t satisfying. The pendulum is swinging towards doing just a few things really well, instead of trying to do everything.

The heart of it though, lies in one thing- the value of women. ‘Having it all’ syndrome was born out of our desire to be as good as men at their own game while, at the same time, keeping what was best of womanhood. The lesson we have learnt is that we can’t be all things to all people. And we can’t expect men to either. Quite simply we need to learn for ourselves and teach the male half of the species, that our value doesn’t need to be earned. Our value as half the human race is intrinsic. What ever we choose to do with our lives should have no bearing on our contribution to society. Mothers have felt the need to defend their value and have offered up many humorous emails and jokes about the value of what we do. Career women feel the need to defend their decision not to have kids. ‘Having it all’ syndrome won’t have truly faded away until no woman feels the need to defend her choices in life and till each and every women feels valued simply for existing.

 Originally Published on Rusty Lime on 9th July 2008