Manners

Have you noticed that good manners seem to be going (or have already gone) out the window?

Call me old fashioned but manners cost nothing. Simple little courtesies like saying thank you, asking pemission, standing up to offer your seat to someone who is more in need. These are all little things that take hardly any effort, yet just make our world a little nicer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equal rights.

I don’t expect a bloke to stand up to give me his seat. I am perfectly capable of opening my own doors, and standing up on a bus. BUT, what about heavily pregnant women, Dad’s with their arms full of shopping and a toddler in tow that they are juggling on public transport and so on the list goes.

Yes, I’m on my soap box this afternoon!

Have you noticed the amazing propensity, especially on social media, for people to be very opinioned?

Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinions and to freedom of speech.

BUT, it has got to the point where what is expressed is often downright hurtful and inconsiderate. I was always taught that if I did not have anything nice to say I should keep my mouth shut.

Even when expressing a negative opinion, there are right and wrong ways to go about this. Name calling, swearing and involving children has no place in this.

Are we a world that is fast losing our emotional sensitivity? Is there any wonder that bullying and depression abounds?

What do you think?

Michelle

PS When someone does open the door for me – I simply say “Thank You” and smile – as opposed to biting their heads off!

Vale Derek Van Buerle

Derek was my cousin. To be precise, he was the eldest of the Van Buerle cousins. Both of us were born in Malaysia, and I guess Derek has been around my life forever.

We were not the type of cousins that saw each other often. My Dad worked for the United Nations so we lived wherever the UN sent us.

A a child I would see Derek when we went on home leave to Singapore. The visits were every two years. In between those times we’d correspond occassionally. Derek’s Dad, my Uncle Harry, also used to write and send me first day covers of stamps issued in Singapore.

At about 16 Derek was sent to Australia to finish school. I was at boarding school in Beirut at that time. We continued to stay in touch, but not as often, as by this time Uncle Harry and the rest of the family had settled in Perth.

Eventually, in 1981 I came to Australia and made Darwin my home. Derek, footloose and fancy free, came to visit, driving up from Perth. In Katherine he became very ill, I think it was pleurisy – but my memory is not the best – whatever it was, driving was very painful for him. We ended up driving down to bring him up to Darwin.

Derek liked Darwin, got a job and remained in the Territory for a while; we became closer once again. It was nice getting to know each other better as adults. We used to take turns cooking and I have fond memories of Derek pouring through my stack of recipe books deciding what to cook. He was always up for trying something new.

Derek learned to scuba dive while in Darwin, then headed off to the Barrier Reef for a diving holiday. Sorting through a box of stuff the other day, Cheryl and I came across this postcard dated 1987 that Derek had sent to us all.20170429_092025-1

One holiday let to another and he ended up back in Penang, where he met the woman who would become the love of his life – Maree – and mother to his three beautiful daughters.

Over the years, we didn’t see each other very much. I guess our lives got busy with kids and work. I caught up with Derek and Maree in Canberra and in Sydney, and there was the odd phone call and letter.

As cousins, we were all reunited three years ago, when my Uncle Harry, Derek’s Dad passed way in Perth. It was at the funeral. Derek had a bad cold, but was looking forward to going on a cruise with Maree in a few weeks.

The cruise was not to be. Maree called – Derek had been to the doctor. Leukemia. Derek underwent treatment and many of the Van Buerle family members were tested for suitability as a donor for a bone marrow transplant.

During this time, we stayed in close touch. I guess we were all reminded of the fragility of life, the preciousness of family and how fast time flies past. It brings into focus what is really important.

A couple of month ago – just after I had bought the house here on Bribie Island, I got a call from Derek. I remember the moment very clearly. I was sitting outside, on a fold up chair as he said “it looks like I’m going home sooner than expected.”

By this, Derek meant that he was going to be reunited with his Father in Heaven, and would be leaving this earthly life. Treatment options were exhausted. Time was running out. But Derek, in his own way, had made his peace with this world. He had his Christian faith and was unafraid of death.

As we finished our chat,  I promised to visit. Soon. Together with my cousin Cheryl, I flew to Melbourne a couple of weeks later – 2nd of April.  Cousin Michael, who lives in Melbourne also joined us.

20170403_183127-1
L _ R Juliet, Rebecca, Maree, Michael, Michelle, Derek, Cheryl, and Kathryn – 3 April 2017

Derek was frail and skinny. But still the same old Derek and so thrilled to see us all.Me_Derek

We laughted, we talked about death, we talked of childhood memories, we drank champagne and looked at old photo albums.

We spent a very happy couple of days with Derek, Maree and their three lovely daughters.

Derek kept thanking me for coming. My response “well, I rather come and chat to you when you’re alive than come after you have gone for your funeral.” He laughed saying “blunt, but true.”

As we said goodbye, I knew I was unlikely to see my cousin again in this life. But he was content and at peace with the journey ahead of him.

The end came faster than expected. Derek passed away last night at 7.15 pm.

Vale Derek – you’ll always be my eldest cousin that has a special place in my memories.

Rest in Peace

Lots of Love

Michelle xxx

 

 

 

Speed Kills

Indeed speed does kill, and too often the lives lost are the innocent and the young. Slow down and take your time – we only have one life and better to arrive late than not to arrive at all. Michelle

Katrina Fong Lim

Territorians have always had a love affair with driving at speed.

Just consider for a moment the controversy that raged about the removal of the ability to drive at any speed on the Stuart Highway. Or the raging popularity of events such as the V8s. And I get it, really, I get it but seriously? Enough is enough.

The speed limit across Darwin is 50 km per hour unless signposted otherwise. School zones are 40 km from 7 am to 5 pm. But remember, you still need to drive to conditions and on wet days, it is sometimes better to drive below the limit.

Across Darwin more and more people are demanding that drivers be made to slow down in the suburbs. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you view it, we have plenty of wide roads, built for speed limits over those that are posted. We have wonderful crescents…

View original post 389 more words

Marching on….into April

It’s 3 months since I last wrote here on my personal blog although the Dragon Sisters blog has more consistent publications. Guess that shows where my focus has been. On business. Afer all, when you work for yourself, you have to make hay while the sun shines.

On the personal front, our dear and old faithful dog, Janie, left us for doggie heaven. She was a part of our family for so many years, and is missed by us all. But it was her time to rest, so we let her go, via euthanasia. Sasha and I were beside her side until the end. She was 15 years old and had a very good innings.

Wayne is making steps forward each, and is on the long road to wellness. There are good days and there are bad days. But, he’s vastly improved. Cooks meals for Sasha and myself and helps out as much as possible given his restricted movement with his back. I am thankful for the small improvements and the fact he is no longer in that bleak and dark place of 12 months ago. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s been a very good 3 months on the business front. Many new clients, challenges and also a lovely trip to Bali for the Refresh, Reframe & Relax sojourn. If you follow me on Facebook you would have seen a few photos.

I loved the Bali trip as I got to present workshops all dedicated to Brand You, but best of all  was the daily pampering in the luxury our own private villa. Absolute bliss! We’re doing it all over again from 25th to 30 October. Can’t wait.

Now my friends, I know some of you that follow this blog are in business, so I’m taking the opportunity to let you know that Dragon Sisters has some openings for guest bloggers. If you’d like to contribute please get in touch and let me know what your topic is.

Love to hear what you have all been up to these last 3 months, if you’ve written a fantastic post, share the link below. I won’t be so tardy these next 3 months 🙂

Bye for now,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell 2016

It’s almost 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve here in Darwin as I sit down to write this post. Next to me is our old dog, Janie, who’s huffing and puffing her indignance at the fireworks that the loonies in the neighbourhood have already started to let off.

From the sitting room comes the sound of young girls voices – or more precisely, young women – Sasha’s friends are here for dinner and to celebrate. The girls have been friends since creche and school days. In the other room sits my son, Wayne, and nephew Jonathon. Molly, our younger dog is in with the boys in the hope some extra food might come her way.

There are over 700 of you, my dear friends, who follow my personal blog – this one. I’ve been absent for a while and I hope you’ve been catching snippets on Facebook, but nothing beats sitting down and really writing.

This has been an incredible year for me.On so many different fronts. Some people are saying it’s been a terrible year, and yes, it has not been an easy one for our family either. BUT I choose to always look on the positive side. I also never wish away any of the time.

Why?

Because there is nothing to be gained by being negative and having a pity party. When it comes to time, it travels fast enough all by itself. Every experience we go through grows us – if we are receptive to the lesson. I also know I am very fortunate to be here – 19 years post breast cancer diagnosis.

For me, 2016 has been a year of many challenges. The struggle with Wayne’s mental health issues came to a head in January. It was a massive personal challenge for me to bring him back to Australia from Spain and then to cope with managing his illness whilst also keeping a business running.

My parents have deteriorating health and as they live in Queensland the bulk of the care has fallen to my sister, Yvonne. I’ve commuted up and down as much as possible to lend a hand where and when I can.

It’s been a blessing to have Robert, my brother, also living with me to help take on some of the load of house and garden, and be a general shoulder for me to lean on. His Australian immigration application is still being process, so there is still a degree of uncertainty as to his future in this country.

The upside of all of this has been that our family have grown even closer together. My truest friends, amongst which are some of my newest friends, have shown their support and I am forever grateful to them for always being there in my hour of need.

Robert and Sasha travelled together to Spain and UK in October.It was wonderful they were able to connect with some of my dearest friends.

Dragon Sisters, my business, has gone from strength to strength despite all the personal challenges. I believe this goes to demonstrate that the formula we teach really does work.

I learn something new every day, and am always grateful for each and every opportunity that comes my way. I continue to teach English on a very small scale as a volunteer, but have also completed a couple of larger commissioned projects for clients in Europe who developed Apps for English.

I’ve lost track of how many books and blogs I’ve ghostwritten or edited. Proud to say a couple have become best sellers – and I cannot name them because of confidentiality clauses.

Many changes are afoot for 2017. It’s shaping up to be another big year with my diary looking very solid up until early September 2017. I’m pleased to say it includes many little self-care “Me Time” trips with one of the highlights being the Ord Marathon 55km paddle in June 2017.

Wishing you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and every good wish for 2017.

Love,

Michelle xx

The cursed chair

A great piece here from Sasha

the short story press

A/N: inspired by my visit to the Thirsk Museum which displays an actually cursed chair. Happy Halloween!

Isabella trembled as cold, night air blew in from the windows. But she couldn’t just close them, if she did she surely wouldn’t be able to see or hear when her husband was approaching. He was late, he should have been back hours ago.

However he wasn’t back, and as the night drew on Isabella feared he might have died out on the moor. The candles had almost burnt out when the door heaved open. Isabella jolted at the sound, she’d fallen asleep on the lounge.

Bleary eyed she propped herself up and looked to see who was coming in, relieved to see her husband. But as her husband mumbled a greeting and went to recline into his armchair she couldn’t help but feel slightly ill at ease.

Then his late returns began…

View original post 942 more words

Saturday Word of the Day: Amphiboly

It’s more about how and where Sasha wrote this that’s really impressed me!

the short story press

*Amphiboly: ambiguity of speech, especially from uncertainty of the grammatical construction rather than the meaning of the words

It was very hard to understand Ewan, especially because he always seemed to use amphiboly. This made it maddeningly hard for any of his teachers to mark him appropriately, for he always seemed to be contradicting himself and yet also not? It was infuriating how long they would have to sit and ponder his ambiguous speeches, and yet he continued to maintain his pattern of speech even after they pleaded with him to change it so as his academic remarks were easier to understand.

-END-

View original post