A Conflict of Trees

tree wndowIf ever I was in need of mystic advice, it would be now. I was raised as a proud nature lover, and we bore the name ‘hippy’ with pride. It meant that we were hip, probably, but we also were totally up with the dealings of nature and all that. Our family was a little bit more in tune with the big Mother Nature than the rest of the hippy families, in fact.

I might have drifted a bit in my adult years, but I still fight for what’s…right, y’know? Like those tree felling places in Melbourne that up until recently I thought were killing the planet. Sometimes I’d make a picket, not out of wood because that’s evil, and just go and protest their actions. I was all alone, but it didn’t matter to me. I was ending a menace. I was in a menace-ending mood.

Then everything changed. I started working in an office, and I realised how important paper was. We’d always just scribbled on bits of bark at home, but that just wouldn’t cut it in this high-flying corporate world. What’s more, we had a prolonged incident involving a tree that kept banging against the window. Trimming didn’t help, as it grew back very quickly, and it was very tough and dangerous to get to. The noise made it so hard to concentrate…so the very Melbourne tree lopping people I thought I hated came and took this awful distraction away.

Now I don’t know what to think. Are trees truly our friends? If they’re endangered, why are there so many around? I’m left with questions that my upbringing simply cannot answer.

Know your limits: a chamomile tea each day can help digestion, but more than two will cause conflict with your tastebuds. The loneliest number is the number one, with the sole exception of 10 because it’s such an empty friendship- Joanne

Pool fence plus?

I’m part way through my fabulous renovations, and I feel like one of those contents from The Block or whatever that show is called, expect I have way better hair. Anyway, everything is going absolutely wonderfully. The garden looks like a bomb hit it hard and there’s not a shred of greenery to be seen anywhere, which is just how I wanted it. Why would I want that, you ask? Because I am getting a pool, that is why. But strangely enough the reno isn’t just glitz and glam, but also some pretty nitty gritty decisions. For example, I have no idea what I’m doing with the pool fencing. Melbourne gets super hot over the summer, so having a pool was a must. But what do I do about the fence?

Getting just one of those super duper child friendly plastic contraptions was totally out of the question. I mean, my backyard paradise does not need to be a child friendlPool fencey zone, I don’t even know anyone with kids! But there are a ton of safety regulations around getting a pool, and one of them is that the fence has to be ‘up to code’ or whatever. So here’s my solution. Instead of getting a plastic Jungle Jim, I’m thinking I’m going to have to go with a glass pool fence. Trendy Melbourne like yours truly need to keep up a certain level of style, and having a glass fence is super chic.

I was also wondering whether I could be bothered building a floating bar into the pool, but I feel like that was taking it a bit too far. I mean, the whole bar-in-the-pool thing is good fun overseas, but having it at home would get old fast. The thing is, I want to do something to really polish off the whole look. Is there anything you can recommend?

The art of feng shui has been handed down through the generations for a reason. Being spiritually connected to your surroundings maximises happiness.

House of Leaves

I am done living asustainable home life of lies. For my whole life, I believed that I was living the way I ought to. I was on the grid, just like everyone else, I had a corporate job, just like everyone else, all I wanted to do was earn money, just like everyone else. I was the seething masses. I was the faceless corporations. But then decided to go overseas, to experience a bit more of the world than what I had to that point, and what I saw blew my mind. I realised the flaws with my way of living and committed to becoming a fully fledged eco-warrior when I returned home. But, on returning, I found it almost impossible to find a sustainable home in Melbourne. No matter where I looked, no matter where I turned, the houses labelled ‘green’ only scratched the surface enough to ease the conscience. There was nothing really environmentally friendly about them at all.

After months of looking for energy efficient homes in Melbourne, I realised that it would be up to me. The houses were green, but my way of thinking wasn’t. They were green because they used the most sustainable materials around, but the fact that I wanted to create something new and better made me no worse than the average consumer. It was greener than anything because it was already there. The wasn’t going to be green if I wasn’t going to be green.

That is the realisation I have come to. Living for the planet in a remote community is easy. Living for the planet in a bustling city is hard. I need help in order to get to where I need to be. I need to be honest with myself and try and create what I want instead of expecting it to come to me.

There is freedom within, there is freedom without. It is how you feel in your own skin that truly counts.  

Advocating for a new life

property advocatesI find myself lost in a turbulent sea of confusion. I do not know which way to turn. I have tried to consult the spirits on this issue, but they have left me cold and none the wiser. I am trying to sell my house and buy another. I have lived in this area for nearly ten years, and in that time my children have left and moved to the other side of town. I know that much of that was to do with my past behaviour. I have not always been as connected with my spirituality as I am today and I know the recklessness of my past drove my children away. But I am ready to be there for them now. The problem is, I need to move into their neighbourhood in order to really be there for them. And the last time I moved was such a whirl that I don’t know what I’m doing. Do I need a buyers advocate in Melbourne? How much of an advantage will they truly give me? Could I even handle a move like this sober? There are so many questions I didn’t even realise I’d need to ask myself when I decided on this move.

Then there’s the flip side. It’s one thing to buy a house, but it’s entirely different to sell one. There are so many things I’ll need to think about, from considering whether to get property advocates in Melbourne are really necessary to whether I throw out this or that photo album. I know that letting go of all the baggage of the past might help me move on from this period in my life, but I just don’t know if I’m ready. I really need some sound advice on this.

Believing in yourself is always the first step towards any recovery. You have to find the inner strength to believe in yourself.

Removing a tree, gaining a garden

Dear Joanne,

garden landscaping MelbourneIt’s something of a tragedy that these beautiful large gum trees are having to be cut down from no good reason. We never have new tree in our yard, and it was such a pleasant surprise to see these tall trees grow with the family. It was amazing to see my children playing around them, and the youngest praying under the birch of one. It was amazing to behold the awe and wonder in the girl’s faces, as they’d never seen trees that big before. It was a quite a sight and to be honest I’m a little sad that my wife is having to get tree removal, Brisbane power lines are far too low if you ask me. We need to get some arborists over here to remove them. I mean yes they are taking away from the precious view of the city and have started creeping into the underground pipes. I’m most upset about getting rid of the one that the kids are playing in. They don’t seem to mind but my youngest is having a hard time with it. It will be sad to see them go, but if it must be done. Goodbye dear trees, I will miss your beautiful presence. The smell from sawdust makes me think of home, when my father would chop the firewood and mother and I would sit on the balcony and watch over him. I miss her more everyday that she’s not with us, and not with Father. He needs her now more than ever.

I’m so glad that the Brisbane tree felling company and tree surgeons gave me such a reasonable quote for the removal of the trees. We have decided to keep one and having it trimmed. Trees help cut down on the oxygen demand by more than 30%, they’re also great for morale. I mean yes, it was my idea, but I need to thank the Brisbane stump grinding guys for giving me the inspiration for it. They did a wonderful job and I want to thank them. Now that we’ve moved to Melbourne we need a beautiful botanical garden, the children will feel better once they have a place to play. I feel about taking away their favourite trees to play in, I want to make it up to them with a hedge maze. I’ve been in talks with a group of talented garden landscapers in Melbourne North to design and install a new garden. The centrepiece will be a grand hedge maze the likes of which my children have ever seen. I know that moving to a different state is going to be difficult for them, leaving their friend behind and starting a new school. I hope that the new garden will bring them some joy while they adjust to their new surroundings. I took a long time to find the right landscape designers, Melbourne North has so many talented gardeners that I was spoiled for choice. My wife would rather we plant a large rose garden instead of this grand hedge maze. I’m thinking of putting roses in the centre of the maze to make her happy. Of course she’ll have to navigate the hedges to get there, but I’m sure she’ll memorise the path quickly.

Navigating your life is as easy as going after what you want. Listen to your desires.

From Cats to Scaffolding

ScaffoldingI am proud to say that I am a woman lives her passion, her dream, her life. It hasn’t always been this way, that is true. After I left high school I did too much of this and not enough of that, I lived a life on the high road and travelled all over the globe. I didn’t know who I was, and it took a lot of soul searching to find that person. But I did it. In the face of adversity, I prevailed. I am now, and have been for the past fifteen years, a high school drama teacher. I feel that my job really allows me to give back to the younger generations in a way I’d never thought possible. Not only am I privileged enough to mould their young and inexperienced minds, but I get to be a role model and a friend, someone they know they can trust.

This semester, the school musical is the prestigious Cats, with a composition by the prolific Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Such a masterful amalgamation of music and poetry deserves a performance equally as spectacular performance, which is why I’ve enticed the school into hiring aluminum platforms to add to the show. In the final scenes, when the lead, Grisabella, walks a stairway to the sky, what better way to illustrate that than through literally raising her to the sky? However, the hiring of the platforms and the mobile scaffolding needed to place the final touches to the set has not been without difficulty. Despite my insistence, the students are unable to refrain from climbing all other the things! Most of them are old enough to know what they’re doing, but it poses serious health and safety risks. I don’t know how to include the theatrics while keeping the children safe.

Safety is in the hands of the one to whom it belongs. Worry not, the movement of Saturn into Libra ensures that no harm shall befall the innocent.

That One Accident

antennaI have a secret, one that I can’t let any of my friends and family know because they’ll think I’m crazy. Of course, it’s fine to put it on the internet. The internet always understands, and I’ve heard they’re great at keeping secrets. Yep, what goes on the internet STAYS on the internet, am I right?

So, with that said…I think I have superpowers. Well, they’re not all that super, but…I can hear TV signals. In my brain.

See, back when I lived in Melbourne, digital antennas were my thing. I was pretty good at my job, and known for taking the jobs that others didn’t want to touch. My mother kept saying it would get me in trouble, but I was in the game, in the zone. I was a satellite expert, and I liked it.

That was the day I took a seemingly ordinary job installing an antenna on a rooftop. The heights never bothered me, obviously; nothing did. When the storm clouds rolled in, I just shrugged and kept working. Of course, you can guess what happened next. Yep: lightning flashed, my coworker down below said that Jessica Alba had followed him on Twitter and I rushed over to check if it was true. In my haste, I tripped over a roof tile and down I went, antenna and all. I ended up on the ground, still in contact with the antenna, which was live. Gave me a nasty shock and I had to spend the next six weeks in leg rehab, because my legs were broken. My career doing digital antenna installation in Melbourne was over, especially since my boss had been telling me to be careful. Oh, and now I heard signals in my brain. Right now, I’m mostly getting ‘Neighbours’, and sometimes ‘Home and Away’. But how can I learn to use my powers for good, and possibly crime-fighting?

The Space Jam soundtrack shall grant you serenity. Consume vintage cheese for problems with intestinal movements. Your lucky animal is the uni-kitty.

Ducted Heating (or lack thereof) Getting Me Down

Marble FloorI am so mad I am literally seething. My husband and I just bought a beautiful home in Sydney, we really couldn’t ask for a better place. We’ve both been Melbournians all our lives, and love our home city to bit, but Derek’s job had him commuting back and forth between Sydney – so we decided to make the move. And it should have been an absolute dream come true, but to our absolute horror it didn’t come with heating! I mean it came with heating under the floor, to heat the marble, but nothing more than that. What that means was that when we asked about whether the house had heating, everyone said ‘yes, of course!’ But that was only a way of ticking the box.

The floor heater is lovely on the cold marble, but it does not do a very good job at heating up the whole house in the middle of winter. The thing is, I’m not really sure how expensive getting ducted heating in Sydney is. I mean, we have heating already. Would they have to put it under (or over?) our existing heating? Would that even be possible? Could we keep the heating we’ve got and have new heating? If you tell me we have to pull up all of our floor I am not going to be impressed. All I really wanted was to move into a nice, new house, in Sydney with gas heating – is that really too much to ask for? Why must everything always be so unnecessarily complicated? I’m telling you, this kind of thing happens to us literally all of the time. Sometimes I think we must be cursed. What do you think we should do? Get the ducted heating or live with the pathetic floor heating?

Orion’s Belt will align with Jupiter in the second half of this month. Harnessing this great cosmic event will enable to make choices with greater clarity and precision.

Feng shui or ducted heating?

Feng shui or heater?My partner and I recently moved into our rad new flat in metro Canberra, and we could not be more stoked. The place is just fully gorgeous and the housewarming party was totally heckers. We just can’t wait to get our lives started in this place, to build a life together. I’m a big believer in feng shui and having your environment mimic your soul as another step on the path towards enlightenment, but that’s really where my partner and I disagree. You see, I want to spend the rest of our savings on creating a down to earth, meaningful home for ourselves, whereas he wants to spend it on getting ducted heating. Canberra can be cold, particularly in the winter, and already we’re both really struggling. But as an eco-warrior, I know that we can make it through the rest of the month without investing in any type of heating system. Also, I heard that the vaporiser in heaters emits these tiny particles that go into your brain and make people stupider over generations. That’s one of the ways the masked dictators are controlling us, and I say no more! I will not allow myself and my unborn children to be tainted by the Government’s police-state Big Brother ways of making the population of the planet docile. I will stand up and start the revolution!

My partner agrees with me, he agrees with reason, but still he’s weakening against the cold. I can’t hold back the patriarchy without his support, and I need another voice in this debate. What do you think, Joanna? I look up to you, I value your opinion. Do you think we need heating in Canberra, home of the Government?

The meek and mild lamb trusts in the guidance of the shepherd, the lion carves its path through the wilderness alone. Follow the path of your spirit animal and your soul will find peace in all its adventures.

Love is Many Things

workplace romanceThey say love is a drug. Well, love is a lot of things, according to the songs. Love is a drug, love is a compass, love is here, love is now…love is a box of chocolates. It just goes on!

Well, right now it feels more like a drug, and it’s one I can’t get my fix of. I love Cathy from HR, but she doesn’t even know I exist. Or rather, she only knows it when I go to fix her computer. However, I have a cunning plan: change careers. I’ve been stuck in IT for so long, I can’t even remember what I wanted to do. Now, I’m filled with purpose: I want to do dry needling.

It’s a bit of a jump, but Cathy was saying the other day to her friend that she just feels a bit snowed under and stressed. At the same moment, I noticed a flyer on the wall, advertising a dry needling course here in Auckland. Perfect! Or rather, I thought it probably was, since I hadn’t heard of this new art, I did a bit of a Google, bit of a YouTube, and found out all about it. This is really something I could make work. I’ve always had a delicate touch, which I apply to my IT specialist duties. Now I can learn how to dry needle and really reduce stress. Then when Cathy says that she’s having trouble with he rown stress…well, that’s when I drop in. I will be her stress…man? Stress-taker? Stress removal agent. De-stresser. No, that sounds too much like distresser…anyway, she’ll get the idea when I reveal my immense talents for dry needling. She’ll ask where I got my immense trigger point knowledge, I’ll tell her all the things I learned in the dry needling course, then we’ll get married and have six beautiful children. Good plan, right?

If you find yourself missing a sock, blame the sock goblins and call the police. Your spirit guide animal is the tapir.