Are You Addicted to Porn?

And by that I mean the real estate version – not the naked romp around the coffee table version (you may now have guessed that I don’t watch porn).

Real estate porn is a lot like food porn. Beautiful glossy pictures that make you dream of something you don’t have but would like. And as with food porn there’s no end of ways to get your fix – books, magazines, TV shows and countless websites. It’s harmless at first but it can quickly get out of control.

Most, if not all, of my friends are into real estate porn. We watch, read, Pin and discuss. What started as a little bit of idle voyeurism has turned into a daily, sometimes hourly, habit. Sometimes my friends and I watch together but mostly it’s a solitary pastime. Sometimes we go to open houses, experience the real thing, but generally we stick to the digital version.

If my social circle is anything to go by real estate porn is a growing epidemic. If you’re not an addict, you probably know someone who is. They can quote house prices, know all the latest listings and refer to agents by their first name. They know what a highlight window is and how much value a pool adds to a property. They’re in deep and they don’t know the way back.

So, my name is Wendy and I’m a real estate porn addict. Are you?

I’m Back

I have been missing in action for the first half of this month. B2 turned four (where did those years go?), we spent time visiting family and I tried to wrangle my character, Sam, through the minefield of relationships in his life – you know, just the usual like friends and family and his dead father’s secret second family. But all of this left little time for blogging.

On top of that, and pursuant to my last post, we’re still house hunting. This is becoming less fun, I can tell you. The anticipation and, to be honest, the potential to sticky beak through someone else’s house is fun but the feeling of, ‘no, not this one’, is less so. But then, how privileged are we that we’re in a position to be house hunting in the first place.

So, how’s your March been going? I’ve been amazed by how quickly the year has been flying by. What about you? And how are your New Year Resolutions faring?

 

Are You Content?

I only ask because it’s been on my mind lately. Hubby and I have been house hunting – what started as a bit of fun morphed into something more serious just before Christmas and we’ve spent the last few months reading through real estate listings and viewing houses. We’re also considering land, in case we decide to build. But more and more I’ve been asking myself, ‘why?’

We like our house and we have a beautiful garden. We’ve planted fruit trees which, if we moved, we would never taste the fruit of. What is it we’re looking for? And if we bought or built a new house would we really be more content?

So, I’m asking you. Are you content and if so/if not, why? Is contentment just a state of mind and how do you know if you’re on the right path in journey towards contentment?

Resilience

Resilience is the art of getting up after you’ve been knocked down. Sometimes it’s done with quiet grace, sometimes it’s done with fanfare and sometimes it’s done while your face is still red and wet from crying. The first is preferable, the last common.

There are people who say you need to know when to give up. Maybe. But I think that when it’s time to let something go then it becomes painfully obvious. Like when it’s time to move on from your first car – it let’s you know by refusing to start five mornings out of seven.

It’s much harder to keep going. Your confidence has been shaken, you doubt yourself and you’re feeling hurt and maybe a little badly treated. But you must keep going. Worse than rejection or failure is regret. So, dust yourself off. Have a cry. And then get on with it. You’ve got a lot more work to do.

I Must Get Back to Work

Did you know it’s February? February! Already! And I must, must, must get back to work. I’ve got excuses. Of course I do. B1 has just started school, it’s summer and the weather is beautiful, my husband and I are thinking of buying a new house and the real estate sites keep distracting me.

But I MUST get back to work. Right now my main character is stuck in limbo, waiting for me to end is plight. His dad is dead, his little brother is in hospital, his older brother is lost and confused, his mum is heartbroken. He’s discovered that his dad had a secret family and his just discovered half-brother is missing.

And I’m enjoying the sunshine!

So I must get back to work!

Put out your bats…

If you live in a cricketing country then you’ll probably have heard of the sad passing of Phil Hughes. Whether you follow the cricket or not, the loss of a young man in such a random way is heart wrenching, and the grief of people from all walks of life and across generations is a powerful example of our shared humanity.

Personally I don’t follow the cricket, the only thing more boring is golf and televised parliamentary sittings, and it would be wrong of me to pretend that I knew anything of Phil Hughes’ career. But I do know the impact he had on my husband, a man known for his reserve, who is a true cricket fan and an avid fan of Phil Hughes. A man who was truly shocked, stunned and saddened by Phil Hughes’ unexpected death.

From an authors perspective, it’s interesting to observe human nature and behaviour at times like this and, when emotions are new and sharp, to notice feelings and thoughts that you might otherwise have ignored. It’s an education to see how shared grief (or shared joy, fear, anger etc.) is expressed both publicly and on a personal level.

From a persons perspective my heart goes out to Phil Hughes’ family and friends and also to Sean Abbott and his friends and family who are undoubtedly going through a difficult time.

Five Reasons Experience is the Best Teacher You’ll Ever Have

Everyone knows that we learn best through experience and here are my five reasons why:

1) Experience is Patient

Eventually, even the most dedicated teachers have to draw a line is the sand and say that there’s no more time to learn something. Be it because the student just isn’t getting it, or because the end of the year looms and there simply isn’t any more time left. But this isn’t the case with Experience. Experience is patient. It might take you years to finally get the lesson but that’s ok with Experience. It’s in it for as long as it takes.

I’ve written three complete manuscripts in the last five years but only one has ever made it to a point where I would consider it ready for submission. That’s thousands and thousands of words and countless hours but the experience of writing has (and will continue) to make me a better writer.

2: Experience Can Be Cruel to be Kind

Some experiences just suck. That break up, this unflattering orange top, that weekend when you painted the kitchen and dropped a can of paint all over the floor (that was last weekend for me), all these experiences and a thousand more I haven’t mentioned are not nice. But, just like the friend that tells you that your bum does look big in that skirt, Experience knows that sometimes it’s better to take the knock and learn from it now, than to keep making the same mistakes.

3. Experience Teaches the Individual

When I was teaching, my colleagues and I put a lot of emphasis on individualised learning experiences. That’s because everyone learns differently. Experience knows this and naturally tailors its lessons to suit you. So, you’re not the only one in the world who needs to learn that rejection isn’t the end of the world, but your experience of that will be unique to you.

4. Experience Doesn’t Hand Out Grades

Grades are basically a benchmark based on what others think we should be able to do. In other words, they compare us to each other. But Experience doesn’t care about what other people your age can do, it only cares about what you can do. Experience will never tell you  that you’ve failed, because Experience knows learning is about growth, not grades.

5. Experience Really Does Want What’s Best for You

No matter how loud you yell at Experience or how hard you slam your door, Experience is still on your side. It may seem mean and unfair but Experience is pushing you to grow. Spent three hours putting up shelves only to find they’re as level as a slide? Next time you’ll use a spirit level. And while you may be cursing Experience (and shelves, your spouse and gravity in general), Experience has taught you a valuable lesson.

 

So, what has Experience taught you?

So…Here’s a weird question…

I have a strange question, and if you’re a medical professional or someone with experience in this that would be even better…

In a survival situation (let’s say lost in the wilderness or something along those lines) how is a woman’s menstrual cycle affected?

I know this is a strange question but Bear Grylls doesn’t stop in between eating bugs and making rope ladders out of vines to say, “and ladies, if it’s that time of the month…” so I would appreciate your ideas.

I have done a little bit of research which has alerted me to just how lucky I am…women living in refugee camps and women living in prisons in some parts of the world really struggle without sanitary napkins and other things my mum always referred to as ‘essentials’.

But there is no information (that I can find) about the menstrual experiences of woman who are forced into a survival situation.

So what do you think? And, why do you think it? Do you have experience in this area (either academically or personally). I would love to hear all your thoughts.

What Makes a Family?

I enjoy writing children’s picture books. B1 in particular gives me any number of ideas for new stories and I can then share them with my own little ones.

Invariably though, if I write a story with a family, there’s a mum and a dad. This is probably because I grew up in a ‘traditional’ family. My parents have been married for over forty years, and when I say ‘parents’ a mean my mum and my dad.

But there are lots of different types of families. Families with two dads or two mums, families with single parents, families with grandparents as guardians. All sorts of different families providing children with happy, healthy, loving homes.

So, does that mean there should be more diversity in the families portrayed in children’s picture books? I think so but I’m curious what you think.

And to be honest, I’ve never written a story with same sex parents. I’m nervous about hijacking a story, which is aimed at entertaining children, with a statement aimed at parents. But that said, it would be nice if diverse families were represented more…

…and didn’t even make us blink.

Mums

Today is my mum’s birthday (happy birthday Mum!) and I suspect Mum has had a wide range of birthdays. This year she is celebrating in England with my dad (who is also her husband, so that’s handy) and her twin sister (hi Aunty Trudy), but she’s spent plenty of birthdays without Dad, who works away, and plenty of birthdays with her kids – which I suspect was not always the gift you’d think. After all, even on your birthday, children demand need attention and care. Not just love, which is fairly easy to dish out any day of the year, but they need to be clothed, fed, woken up (if they’re teenagers), sent to bed (if they’re little ones), bathed, played with, refereed. The list goes on. So while I’m sure she would love to have us all with her (especially now we’re adults and can more or less feed, dress and bathe ourselves) I’m also sure she’s enjoying having a day that really is all about her (and Aunty Trudy of course).

But the thing is, because my mum was the sort of mum who gave me (and my siblings) time and energy and attention and affection and love, every single day of the year, I really miss her. Today especially because I would love to give her a present and have a meal with her. It’s something I’m really looking forward to when she and Dad are finally in the same time zone as I am. Which makes me wonder, will I ever stop needing my mum? If I need her now, when I’m thirty and have children of my own, is there ever a time when I’ll have outgrown my mum’s hugs and chats and advice?

I hope not.

And I hope B1 and B2 never do either.

So happy birthday Mum. Have a wonderful day. You deserve it.

And Dad, I miss you as well.