Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Feeling blue? Pat your pet!

"The late Dr. Johannes Odendaal, research professor of the Life Sciences Research Institute in Pretoria, South Africa, conducted a study with dogs and humans in 2003 that indicated petting a dog released endorphins as well as other "feel good" chemicals in the brain, including dopamine, oxytocin, prolactin, and norepinehrine. Dr. Odendaal also said that the same physiological effects would result from petting a cat." http://pets.thenest.com/petting-cat-release-endorphins-10269.html

Further research has also shown that these chemicals are also released in the animal's brain, creating a calming cycle between the pet and the petter (that's you). I'm sure many animals WERE harmed in the research that brought us that little factoid, however, knowing that your dog or cat is also happy you're petting them makes petting them all the better. Better petting? Yes.

My dogs make me a happier healthier person in so many ways. When I get home they are thrilled to see me and always do their best to impress me with their good behaviour so that I acknowledge them (thanks for that tip Cesar Milan!)

Even though I'm tired and it's cold outside I need to get my dogs out for exercise so I rug up and go running around the park like a loon, after which I'm warmed up, happy and relaxed. What a great way to start every evening!

And now I know that a pet from me makes them as happy as it does me, it's just more reason to pet them. Cesar also taught me the importance of WHEN to pet your dog: exercise, discipline and affection - in that order, make for a well behaved, happy dog and owner.
My dogs, Winstan & Jess

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why are overly chipper people so annoying?

I was a bit grumpy during the weekend; a late night coupled with a frustrating family visit left me with the rage rising on Sunday. With a smile plastered on my face I struggled through the rest of the day only to be stopped in my tracks by an overly chipper salesman at a juice bar.

He bounced up to me with a ridiculously gleeful look on his face and began to spew one inane comment after another about what a wonderful day it was (it was pouring with rain) and how he would be the happiest man on the planet to serve me a selection of juice. Sigh.

In any other mood his over-the-top service MAY have made me smile, however he was lucky I only glared at him silently (instead of leaning over the counter and squeezing his neck until his head popped off his shoulders with a comical plop sound, as I was imagining).

All afternoon I had managed to smile and nod and make my way through the generic conversations of the day without hinting to anyone how I felt underneath, but suddenly this in-your-face positivity was a hurdle I could not leap. 

So, why ARE overly chipper people so annoying? What is it about someone being SO happy that makes me want to kill them?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Extreme Day Dreaming

More than usual lately I've found myself 'zoning out' for extended periods of time day-dreaming. And the phrase day-dreaming doesn't even cover it... that makes it sound like I'm picturing fluffy white clouds and birds on my shoulder...

I think EXTREME day-dreaming is a bit closer to the truth, it gives you the idea that this is the bigger bolder brother of day-dreaming (who has a dark side).

You see most of these extreme day-dreams (let's call them X-dreams) revolve around me venting at people. Usually shouting, maybe being witty or cruel but sometimes my X-dreams escalate to brutality and I dream about hitting out too.

I'm not overly concerned about this; I've known for many years I have anger issues and I meditate regularly to keep myself calm and on an even keel. So I'm not worried that I'm going to act out one of my X-dreams... I just wonder... is this normal? Does anyone else do this?

I know I can interrupt the X-dream and focus my mind on the present moment to let it go, but I think it's happening more and more lately because I'm finding them useful as a mental vent.

For those unaware my father has bone marrow cancer (myeloma) and I guess none of the family are coping brilliantly. I certainly have felt a LOT more frustration and anger well up inside as I'm dealing with the various details of the disease and it's treatment, so maybe the X-dreams are just my mind's way of releasing those emotions.

Anyway if anyone out there has experienced anything similar, or just wants to let me know that I'm dangerous and should probably have myself committed... then let me know. All feedback is appreciated. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Samsara: The Movie

For anyone out there who hasn't seen Samsara yet, just do. Go watch it. What a great movie! For those who don't know what I'm talking about Samsara is a movie released in 2011 that shows images filmed around the world to a soundtrack. Sounds pretty boring right? Wrong.

I loved this movie. So much so I watched it again recently (which I rarely do with any 'documentary'). It's interesting because with no dialogue or voice-over, no point of view is offered. So YOU are the one who decides what the movie is about.

Obvious scene juxtapositions are offered to the viewer in the forms of birth versus death, the individual and the masses and man-made versus natural creations among others, but no political viewpoints are stated. This is why I find it so intriguing when people describe this movie as "politically charged" or similar.

There are particular scenes in the movie that I find more difficult to watch due to my own political leanings: the chicken tractor (I'm vegetarian and I find images of factory farming difficult to watch) and the women in prison watching the men dance are two such examples. The latter example riles my feminist core because I wish the women were allowed out there to dance too.

However these examples show that it is MY experience, MY life history that makes particular scenes in the movie 'political' - the movie doesn't make them political I do.

So go and watch Samsara. Not only will you watch a beautiful movie and listen to a gorgeous soundtrack, you might just learn a bit about yourself too!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Bettie Bangs are in!

Well I did it. I finally found someone I trusted enough to cut my Bettie Page fringe in Perth. After what seems like months of searching I found a great salon called Identified Hair in Kensington with an amazing hairdresser who has cut Bettie Bangs before!

I knew I was in safe hands when she had another client (before me) stand up and she cut her fringe free-hand. She did the same to me. I've never had a hairdresser stand me up so she can cut my hair free-hand around me. It was liberating!

Last night after my shower I blow dried my fringe straight down (as directed) and let the rest of my hair air dry. This morning when I got ready for work all I had to do was use my new mini-straighteners to give my fringe a slight curl at the ends and a light spritz of hairspray to keep everything in place.

Here is a quick self portrait I took to show you my first Bettie Bang styling attempt - not bad even if I do say so myself. And without makeup!