Secrets to a long love story

Spend quality time

Secrets to a long love story

The CatCat and Hubby story is a long one. We met in highschool, and through the many peaks and troughs we’ve managed to stay together, stay in love and stay happy. So it probably comes as no surprise that there have been a few people over the years asking me for the secret to our success. I’ve been hesitant to provide too much advice as I can honestly say that our relationship isn’t perfect, and nor is it easy. We argue, we’ve been through a few rough patches, and sometimes it’s just plain old hard work. And I have this strange relationship with Karma where I’m afraid if I give any advice or if I criticise I will be met with the exact opposite, just to spite me. I never comment on parenting for the same reason – I’m afraid that I’ll be cursed with an uncontrollable, tantrum throwing devil child some day. So at the risk of Karma coming to get me later on, I will pen a few tips for those that are interested.

Tip 1: Spend quality time together
Sounds easy right? But sitting next to each other on the couch while you’re both on your iPhones doesn’t count. Going out for drinks or dinner with friends doesn’t count either. What I’m talking about is 1 on 1 time when you can actually have a conversation with each other. Hubby and I do a couple of things that allow us some time together, that don’t even cost a thing.

If the stars align (i.e. he’s working and doesn’t have an early job), Hubby gives me lifts into work. It’s actually much faster for him to take a different route but the drive time (complete with traffic) gives us a good opportunity to chat. If we have time we stop off to pick up a coffee on our way and we chat about what’s coming up at work, what we might be doing socially (seeing as Hubby is terrible at keeping track of stuff like that), and we listen to AM radio (!) which often results in healthy debates over current affairs.

Another activity which gives us a bit of time together are our after dinner walks. These 4-6 km walks are only something we started recently as part of our health kick and they’ve worked a treat. We have really improved our fitness, and we get around 45 minutes to chat (when we’re not puffing from walking up those steep hills).

Hopefully that’s given you some ideas as to how to get a bit of extra QT with your love.

Watch this space for more tips and tricks for a long love story.

My husband is a hunter – my take on hunting

My husband is a hunter. There – I said it. For those of you not in Australia, unfortunately admitting something like that can be difficult here, especially in the cities. Guns and hunters have had some bad press in the past few years, not helped along by the media and the Greens. There is a perception out there that all hunters are irresponsible, intellectually inferior, blood thirsty, red-neck psychos, and that they’re out there shooting native animals for fun.

This image could not be further from the truth with the hunters that I’ve met. If people even bothered to talk to a hunter they’d find a bunch of law-abiding conservationists (that’s right – it’s not a typo!) who are out there trying to restore the ecological diversity of Australian fauna. All of them have registered firearms that are kept safely as per regulations. They all hunt on legal land – in state forests and on private property – and they all hunt feral species. They hunt the foxes that prey on our native marsupials, the goats and deer that compete with farmers for livestock feed and those rabbits that cause so much erosion. Many of them will hunt (some exclusively) to feed their families wild (read free range and organic) meat. They are normal tax-paying citizens – brothers, husbands, daughters, doctors, lawyers, IT geeks and the like.  So why the bad rep?

The Martin Bryant effect. Back in 1996 a psychopath called Martin Bryant went on a shooting spree in Port Arthur in Tasmania. He was sentenced to 35 life sentences for killing 35 people and injuring 21 and another 1035 years for other crimes. Bryant was also responsible for starting a media-driven public backlash against guns and gun owners, with Federal and State governments responding by tightening gun ownership laws and placing bans on certain classes of firearms. But here’s the thing – not all gun owners are psychopaths. With all the background checks that are done before one is allowed to obtain a gun license, I dare say that they are less likely to be psychopaths than the general population. And despite all the restrictions, we seem to be seeing more drive-by shootings of late. Why? Because the people responsible are not law-abiding gun owners. THEY’RE CRIMINALS, with no gun licenses, illegal firearms doing illegal things.

 There are always a small number of people who do the wrong thing. There are bad eggs in every bunch of people, and unfortunately the bad eggs are always the ones who get the attention. In a similar way to how Muslims/Arabs are tarred with the same brush as terrorists, I believe hunters are tarred with the same brush as poachers. Yes, unfortunately there are people out there who are hunting illegally on private property, however these people are the exception rather than the rule. Should there not be a collective effort to stop these people rather than the law-abiding shooters and hunters?

The perception that killing is bad. I personally don’t hunt, or shoot for that matter. And I understand the moral tussle with the killing. I also don’t think I have it in me to hunt (but I have shot a gun before and it’s quite a thrill – very empowering). Does it go back to the 10 commandments and “thou shalt not kill”? Well you could safely say that I’m not religious, but despite that I’m pretty sure they meant people, not animals. Or is it the irk factor – the blood, the thought of gutting and skinning before it gets to look like neat fillets in the styrofoam trays on our supermarket shelves. Bingo. And that we’re so far removed from our food source that we refuse to acknowledge that the very meat we eat used to be a live animal running around (if it was lucky). Bingo. So as long as we continue to eat meat, wear leather shoes and handbags, we really should get a little more comfortable with killing. Just because someone else does the killing for us, does not mean we’re not involved in the value chain. Nor does it give us the right to judge those people who have the intestinal fortitude to hunt and gather for themselves.

Trophy hunting. I have to say that this is something I struggle with myself. There have been numerous conversations with my husband as I’ve tried to understand the sense of achievement that goes with getting a trophy stag. Quite often the hunters seem to be in a state of awe over these majestic beasts, so why do they want to hunt them? So here it is as far as I can understand. A) It’s the thrill of the chase. B) Generally they’re hunting for meat anyway, so the trophy is like an added bonus. C) They’re still a feral species that really don’t belong in Australia anyway. Once again the trophy is a bonus.

The media. The media has a lot to answer for if you ask me. The media can drive public opinion through carefully edited and crafted stories of half-truths, and unfortunately quite often the result is a blind following; a belief without question. So when the “news” reports on Barry O’Farrell’s decision to open up certain National Parks to hunters and ask the Greens for their opinion, there has been a decision to paint hunters as those blood thirsty, irresponsible red-necks. When Can of Worms does a badly worded poll on whether children should be allowed to learn how to shoot, without qualifying that they’d be under adult supervision and utilising an incredibly leading (and irresponsible) image, there is an outcome that has been pre-planned.

With this environment, it’s no wonder that the public has a negative perception of hunters. I have to admit that before my husband got into hunting I was probably with the larger population in blindly believing whatever the media fed me. It has been a learning process for me, however I truly believe that our hunters are out there (and at their own expense) working to help eradicate feral species. Yes, to do this requires killing, and yes there may be other bonuses such as meat or trophies, but the fact is they are doing a lot more than the rest of us to help our unique environment. And they’re not looking for thanks. They just want to get on with it without being harassed.

The importance of friends

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Society and human nature leads us to think that one of life’s quests is to find “the one”. However one of the perils of true love is that during the sunshine and rainbows of the honeymoon period the new partner can take precedence over pretty much everyone – friends, family and even children.  During this period (very much depending on the individuals involved) friendships in particular can suffer. Family will generally forgive and take you back in, however friendships are very much a two way street. Your friends will only put up with it for so long – if you don’t put in the effort, then one day your friends will give up on making that proactive contact too.

Being in a (very) long term relationship, I realised a long time ago that having a good bunch of friends, especially girlfriends, around you is essential.

1. “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” Friends help you to define your identity as an individual. Your interests, opinions and core values are all formed by bouncing off networks of people, and as you grow up, increasingly this network is your friends. I believe that learning how to be an individual is actually more important than learning how to be one half of a couple.

2. “Love is blind”. When your rose coloured glasses (or beer goggles for that matter) are on, it’s your friends who will be watching out for you. No one wants to hear negative things about a new love, or how you change for the worse when you’re with your partner, but believe me, generally it’s a million times better than regretting it later and a pretty much always it’s zillion times better than hearing it from family.

3. Girlfriends will tell you what you need to hear, when you need to hear it. Whether it’s when your butt looks big in that dress, or if you need to stop being a bitch to your mum/partner/children/others in general, your girlfriends will tell it like it is. Your partner/boyfriend/hubby will either a) be in the “love is blind” stage, or b) be in the “keep the peace” phase by ignoring it, not caring or just telling you what you want to hear.

4. “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer.”  ―  Ed Cunningham. Verbalising thoughts and having someone listen is a much bigger deal than you may realise. At a primal level, that very act of listening is recognition – that you are a human and that you matter. Think about those rare days when you don’t see another person for a while, like when you work from home. There is almost a yearning to talk  to someone else, because just that very act makes you feel human again. On a less deep level, your girlfriends are the ones who will listen to you bitch about that work colleague that always has her cleavage out, listen to you whinge about your bloated tummy, or workshop that really annoying habit your partner/family member has.

5. One day you may not be part of a couple. Not something that everyone wants to think about, however a likely scenario at some point in your life whether it be temporarily or more permanently. Quite a few years back my boyfriend (who is now my husband) took a job that required him to be overseas for 12-16 weeks at a time. It was a massive adjustment for me, as I essentially spent a good portion of time living pretty much as a single gal. Without my friends and family, I would have been lost. I was turning up to parties and big events like weddings on my own, and he wasn’t around to celebrate my birthday for a few years too. My girlfriends (and my brother particularly) kept me entertained, ensuring I didn’t feel left out, and that my birthday was celebrated properly and in style.

It’s true you’ll always have family, but family is not always what you need. So put in the effort and nurture the friendships. As you grow older you’ll start to realise how important history is, and you’ll need people to reminisce with. And as you move through life, pick up as many good friends as you can service. Because your friends are the family that you choose.

Getting out and about in Sydney

Curra MoorThe Hubby and I are making a concerted effort to change our lifestyle. He’d like to be lose a few kilos while I just like the idea of being healthier. We kicked it off in February after a couple of gluttony, with an aim to minimise processed food, carbs and no alcohol (for me anyway). We also started walking at night 2-3 times after dinner just around the neighbourhood. Six weeks later and we plan to continue this new lifestyle. We’ve both gained fitness and lost some weight, although we’ve picked the alcohol back up and relaxed some of the rule a little.Walking has been great for us- we get more time to actually talk to each other rather than just cohabitating the same space. If the hubby happens to have a weekend day off (which is unfortunately rare) we try and get out bushwalking. This Saturday Hubby found a great loop walk at Curra Moor in the Royal National Park. The walk starts off in a coastal bush type environment, decorated with some beautiful angophoras, colourful wild flowers and grass trees. The path then heads to the coast, where you walk cliff side and see some stunning views looking across the Pacific Ocean. The highlight of the walk is definitely the waterfall.

View across the waterfall to the Pacific Ocean

Being at the top means you miss the spectacular drop into the ocean, however the sandstone plateau that preceeds the fall are gorgeous.

These rock pools are so typically AustralianThe walk continues along the coast then loops back in to the car park. All up the ten(nish) km walk took us 2 hours.

After the walk we headed down to beautiful little Bundeena, where we grabbed a sandwich and ate it by the beach. A perfect finish for our little outing.

Sydney has so many beautiful places worth exploring. Time together with the hubby and the calorie burning can become just incidental benefits.

If anyone out there has any good walks I should consider, then do let me know!

catcat intro

Oohhh – my first ever post! I’m really not sure how this is all going to work out, but I’ve always had random observations, opinions and alternative views that I enjoy sharing, so this is as good a soapbox as any!

Let me introduce myself… I’m CatCat. I’m a thirty-something professional marketeer in Sydney. I’m married to my highschool sweetheart, and despite immense family pressure there are no little kidlets yet. I’m a second generation Aussie. My parents are both Thai and have been in and restaurants forever. Being Sydney born and bred, I love the lifestyle that this beautiful city offers – beaches, cafes, restaurants and a good proximity to a variety of outdoor fun. I lean to the right, however I have this (sometimes annoying, and sometimes useful) ability to understand pretty much all points of view, so I end up sitting on the fence somewhat. I try to stay up to date with current affairs, with a particular interest in social media.

I think that’s it from me tonight. I’ll find something interesting to write about tomorrow.

CatCat 🙂