Monday, September 28, 2009


It is with great pleasure that I announce I have just made my 5th Kiva loan. Okay I am bragging a little but I also thought it would be a good time to remind anyone who has a spare $25 that they too can join in the Kiva-fun.

Kiva (and its partner organisations) give out micro-loans to people from around the world. And you get to pick exactly who gets your money. Once it is repaid it can either be reinvested (which is what I choose to do) or you can withdraw it.
There are many, many different worthy organisations out there and if you are already supporting someone else then please don't feel pressured. But if you do have US$25 burning a hole in your pocket, this is worth checking out.

Click on the logo for more info.

Beowulf, Buddhism and Bliss

Have I said before that I am loving my study. My brain cells are tingling and dancing and turning cartwheels.

Admittedly last term was a bit of a write-off (except for my assignment that I got 84% for - not bad since I haven't studied for 10+ years) what with all of the changes that were happening but I wasn't going to be deterred.

I am loving the challenge of extending myself. I am loving the challenge of thinking. I am loving the challenge of going places I wouldn't have chosen to by myself.

I spent three hours at a cafe today - sitting at a big bench under an oak tree, drinking coffee and doing my Beowulf stuff. Tomorrow I am going back to rading about Buddhist theory. My exam and assignment (both due on Friday) will be in on time and neither will be a first draft.

I have been saying since I started that I am doing this for fun. While I would certainly like to pass, it is not my aim to get 100% on everything. And finally I am beginning to believe it, to sit back and enjoy the journey that this path is taking me on.

Photo: "books and green tea" by suziqhorrorshow

Artwork of the Day

"Poppies 1886"
Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Modern Day ICE

After my 'moment' this week I realised that I needed to update my ICE (In Case of Emergency)details - Miss Weasley's phone number is still in my phone directory for one and she has been out of the country for a couple of years now.

One thing that does make me wonder is what to do with my passwords (for blog, email, banking and the like)?
I thought I could email them to someone but should their email get hacked (unlikely but possible) all of my personal details are out there for whoever. I considered writing them down and putting them in an envelope labelled 'open only in an emergency' but again if the house gets broken into it all of my details are available to all. I could go to the extent of getting a locked box in the bank but surely that is going overboard a bit.
Any ideas?
BTW does everyone know about the recommendation to add an entry to their mobile/cell directory entitled ICE with the appropriate phone number? Very handy for ambos, police or whoever.

Photo: "secure area" by nsa

Pita's Stroganoff

Pita has sent me her recipe for beef stoganoff and yesterday was the day. It was cooked in the crockpot (or slow cooker for those who prefer that term) and it was dead easy to make and delicious to eat. Highly recommended :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Maya Saya

We all have the power to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud.

Maya Angelou

Art: Butterfly Wings by Anthony Ross (I don't have an address for a home page)

Dance Dance Dance

Some 7 weeks ago I was trying to organise some home-help (vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, the things I can't do) for myself. It all started off very smoothly. Fast forward to two days ago, and 12 offices (and who knows how many phone calls) later I was told I was eligible but there was no government funding - I would have to wait until at least next May and the next federal budget (or if someone dropped off their books due to their death or moving into care).

Aaaah! I haven't had any help since the end of June and it was all a bit too much. Yes I had already rung Members of Parliament so I was putting together a media campaign to fix this problem (surely others were in the same position as I was).

Then at 9.30 this morning I got a call from one of the agencies who apologised for the mix-up and announced that they had found a place for me on their books. I have just now had a call from the local office and someone will be out on Monday morning to bring me the paperwork, discuss the details and get me on the roster.

How this happened (I got a bit sidetracked and hadn't started making my calls) I have no idea. Is it a miracle or is the universe lining up for me? No idea.

All I know is that now is the time to dance :-)

Photo: "dance like nobody's watching" by Rock-Angel

Photo Challenge - Fruity

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's A Plan

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?

Phyllis Diller

Art: "Colorful Dress" by Melia Dawn Newman

The Good, The Bad, The I Don't Know

Last night I thought I might be having a heart attack - for real.

I had the tightness across the chest, pain was going down my left arm as well in the muscles that head up to the jaw, I was feeling nauseous and was a little short of breath (although that could have been anxiety). After about 40 minutes I took myself off to the hospital just to be sure (which they said was the right thing to do but insisted I should have called an ambulance instead of driving myself, even though I am a 'country girl').

They hooked me up to the machines, gave me a pill to put under my tongue and an asprin and time passed. After another 30-ish minutes it all went away. The ECG didn't show anything much and I passed the trop test (I don't know the full name of the blood test - it was one of those long medical words).

They wanted me to stay in overnight so I could have a follow-up blood test but I chose to go home instead, although I did commit to going back at 2 am for the test (which I did).

I went home and went to bed. My mind was racing - did I have enough spare pyjamas, are my general affairs in order (in that do I have anything important to do in the next few days - I would need an extension on my assignment/exam for one), should I tell anyone, please let me talk about this to someone.

The night has passed and co-incidentally I am going to my doctor today anyway so I guess I will talk to him about things.

I have no fear of dying (I have my will, my funeral insurance, I am at peace with life) but I am feeling very vulnerable and alone just now. Time to pull myself together and keep going - no point dwelling on it all. But I do feel like a hug and someone to tell me it will all be okay.

Photo: "This Heart" by littlemewhatever

Magnolia Moments

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

I have been contemplating ideas for this week's photo but I confess I think of Sammi everytime! No idea why lol. I think I might have to come up with something else :-)

This Friday 25 September: Fruity
Friday 2 October: Season
Friday 9 October: Landscape

Happy clicking folks :-)

Weather Report

I am a big fan of the golden light that comes about at certain times of the year - most noticeably Autumn (or Fall for the Americans). I awoke this morning to beautiful golden light. But not the good kind (which only comes in the afternoon anyway). This is a massive dust storm in which the top soil from the west of the state has been picked up and is being carried across the state. Sydney (5 hours south) was a brilliant red but has now faded to the gold that the rest of us is experiencing.
It is a great time for photographers (this shot was taken from underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge) but not so good for the farmers.

Studying Hard or Treating Me

I was having new carpet laid in my hallway today and as that means I wouldn't have access to the computer or the bathroom (and I dislike being in the house when people are working there) I took myself out.

I say upfront I was heading for the library (free of charge which suits my current circumstances) to sit and do some study but you can imagine my dismay when I got there at 8.30 am only to discover that it didn't open until10.30 am. What to do, what to do?

Taking $20 out of my "Fly me to America" fund I headed for the local cafe "Lodge 241". And when I say local, I mean this is about 100 m from my house. Not that I have been there before because it is too far for me to walk to and too short a distance to drive. Okay I don't have an excuse that covers the entire past three years but that one works for now. But as today fell into the "special circumstances" category, and as I was already in the car, to the Lodge I went.
Here I dined on ricotta hotcakes with banana, bacon and REAL maple syrup, along with 3 coffees (long blacks). Delicious all round. Okay I had the three coffees over the three hours I spent there so don't think I was just buzzing.
And you know I was studying hard (one exam outline done, 2 study questions finished) because I didn't even take a photo of my food!
So good I think I might even see if Ic an budget to do this regularly - a treat for me as well as being very productive.

Definitely Not Normal

Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

Jodie Foster

Art: "Give" by Bernadette McCormack


I have been up half of the night due to dreams - not bad dreams, vivid dreams.

For many years I was plagued with repetitive bad dreams so I started sleeping with the music playing, then in later years the tv, and now my mp3 player. That pretty much stopped them - well except for a couple of times a years.

But these wern't 'those' dreams, they were new and demanding my attention. Do they mean something, I have no idea - not anything obvious anyway. But I am a little unsetteld, and so very tired.

Sigh ....

Art: "dream" by monokowalla

Monday, September 21, 2009

For the Kewl Kids

Guido Daniele is the artist behind these pictures. He takes 3 - 4 hours to do each one and often uses the hands of his children as his palette. :-) I have a heap more (including a Dalmation) so I will post them on Sunday for you :-)

The Garden Is Done

I initially had great plans to fill the garden with five different types of tomatoes as well as herbs, herbs and more herbs but reality bites and I am not able to take care of that sort of garden anymore. So, I have gone to a cottage-type with agapanthus, gardenias, jasmine, lavender, rosemary and daisies. These will all grow and fill the space negating the need for bending down work (like weeding). I will put the tomatoes and herbs into pots where I can manage them a bit better.

Anyway, it had been five months of not being able to find someone to help, or people promising to turn and and then not so it was all a bit of a mess.

Then the trusty Abbey turned up with shovel, garden claw and a lot of elbow grease and weeded it for me (leaving the mint, parsley and oregano intact). I managed to get a couple of the pots in myself (bad move) before Kylie arrived and finished them all for me. Then the ground was then covered with layers of newspaper and a pile of organic sugar cane mulch.

I can now announce that it is done. All it needs to do now is grow :-)

And it is now a friendship garden because there was no way I could have done it without them. MWAH :-)

Welcome to Me

You're who you are and if people don't like who you are, all they're going to get is who you are.

Avril Lavigne

Photo: "Individual" by T-Nelly

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tell Me A Tale

You've got to be original, because if you're like someone else, what do they need you for?

Bernadette Peters

Art: "Woman with canary" by Debby Haskard-Strauss

A Season for Everything

Okay so it has unofficially been spring for a few weeks now but I have got over my angst at the early passing of my beloved winter and am now beginning to enjoy the magic of the new season.

I am continually being blessed with the sounds of songbirds (and a few that just make weird noises), the croaking of frogs (I don't know where they go in winter but they are back now), a chorus of crickets and all that is wrapped in the scent of jasmine which is flowering in abundance next door.

Okay so I know it is all a bit purple but at least I didn't start on the flowers that are blooming, the sun that is shining and the gentle afternoon breezes lol.

And yes, it is all balanced with a lack of rain and an increased risk of bushfires. Let's hope the rain comes and diminishes that risk sooner rather than later.

Art: "Spring Breeze" by m0thyyku

For Shutterday

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another of My 'Quirks'

I don't like brushing my teeth. I never have. I like the 'clean mouth feel' but I don't like the brushing. I do have sensitive gums and that has been one issue. Mainly though I just REALLY don't like the taste of toothpaste. I actually dread it. My tastebuds begin to curl up and try to hide at the thought of putting that stuff in my mouth.

I am tired of having a fight with myself twice a day just to take care of basic hygiene (yes I am 39 not 3) so I have taken the big step of buying an electric toothbrush and trying a new toothpaste with more of a taste of cloves than fake mint. I am reasoning that even if I just to a very short clean, it will be more productive with an electric brush than a manual alternative.

And I don't really like the clovey toothpaste either but it is better than the mint version. And if I can't convince myself to keep using it, then I will be heading for the kids section of the toothpaste aisle.

Sigh ....

Artwork of the Day

"Vase with Daisies and Poppies"
Vincent Van Gogh

Photo Challenge - Clean

Learning to Drive

A friend is learning to drive. Now in New South Wales, once you have your Learner's permit you need to drive for a certain number of hours in a variety of conditions before you can actually take the driving test.

She has been doing the big trips with her partner but has asked me to come with to practice 3-point turns, parallel parking and the like so we have been out for a couple of times to do just that.

It is an honor that she trust me and has asked me. It is confronting to have to manually think about everything that I now do automatically (fortunately Miss L does have a 'real' instructor, she is just practicing with me). It is fun to spend time with each other. It is a little disappointing (from a purely selfish perspective) that she will have her licence soon and this moment too will have passed.
Maybe it is more important that the moment happened ....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just for fun :-) The sound isn't the greatest and I am not sure why the video is of dogs (something for Abz and Pita) but give it a go.

View from the Cafe

A Wonderful Day

Okay I know it is only 3.30 pm but I have had the best day.

Whilst at my last job, I worked for a few months with an amazing woman named Amber and today, after what seems like a million failed attempts, we got together for lunch. We treated ourselves to the views and atmosphere of the cafe at Park Beach where the food was great but the company even better.

We laughed, we chatted, we laughed some more. I met her partner. Three hours flew by without any effort at all.

You can see from the photo we moved out of the protection of the cafe to the windy outdoor area and as much as that is not good for my hair style (what style!) it was refreshing and prevented the day from being too hot.

It was amazing and we won't be waiting so long for a catch up next time :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

Sometimes it surprises me how fast the weeks travel by. Maybe it is becasue we are getting closer to the end of the year .... have you noticed that this week's list includes October!

This Friday 18 September: Clean
Friday 25 September: Fruity
Friday 2 October: Season

Happy clicking folks :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nighttime Munchings

Next to my house is a grass strip which possibly could be a driveway for the house at the rear of the block next door. They access their by car place using a back lane so it is just used it was a walkway. Now I have never met these people. I know there is at least a woman and a man and a baby. There is often other people and children walking down the little alley and I have seen a total of at least five dogs and two cats. Now I am not sure that all of these people and animals live there - in fact I am sure they don't - they just randomly show up (okay the people are visitors but as the appearance of the dogs and cats don't appear to correlate with any of the visits).

What mystifies me is that between 10 pm and midnight each night something comes to the grassed lane-way and eats ... well grass. I can hear the grass being torn from the remaining stalks as each mouthful is taken. I have a big bamboo screen so, short of pulling out a torch and having a good gawk, I have no idea what this animal is. My first guess some months ago was a sheep but there is no other evidence of the animal existing on the property.

Even if I consider the possibility of native animals it doesn't get me much further - you can hear kangaroos come and go so it definitely isn't one of those, do wombats eat grass (and do they live in my area), what else if big enough to take significant mouthfuls?

The whole thing has me puzzled ....

Photo: "Night-walker" by Mon-artifice

Just For Today

Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.

Earl of Chesterfield

Photo: "Blue" by Linnette

Whaling Legacy

I have memories as a child of going to a whaling station where they were cutting up "the catch". Or at least I thought I had memories of it. Somewhere along the line I got the idea that commercial whaling in Australia had closed down before I was born. That wasn't too big of a deal - I just rationalised that I must have seen a movie when I was young. The problem with that idea was that I remember the smell and whenever I hear or see of stories about whaling the smell comes back as part of the memory.

It is with mixed feelings that I discovered that the whaling station in question closed in 1978. So my memory is validated (which is good) and then again, my memory is validated (which is not so good).
I am so very glad that era is over. Long may they swim free.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photo Challenge - Guide

Sorry folks, I missed this one. Having a bad run with the back and it's all a bit too hard this week :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Photo Challenge - Updates

I know we have had this banner for nine months now but I have to admit I love it. And no, it isn't because it is a compilation of my photos, it is Miss Kylie's artistic work that I admire. Every week it is like a little ray of sunshine.

Maybe I am rambling but sue me. I love it :-) (not the notion of being sued but our logo)

So where are we up to?
This Friday 11 September: Guide
Friday 18 September: Clean
Friday 25 September: Fruity

The One Day in September

It is that time of the year when the football (in all codes) begins to wind down. There is one aspect of this that find particularly pleasing - and that is that this ad is back on tv. Now I say plainly I am not a fan of the game but I do love the ad :-)


It has been five months since my garden (the whole 2 square metres) had any attention - despite offering generous payment for assistance. It was the middle of June since I was last able to have my home-help come by and do the floors.

None of it has been a big deal in the context of the whole world but it has been playing on my mind - especially as I have an inspection by the real estate agent coming up next Monday.

Then the magnificent Abz swept in. The garden has been weeded and the soil turned. My cobwebs have been eradicated. The kitchen floor has been swept. She is coming back on Sunday to vaccum and plant my new plants.

And during all of that she inisisted that I just sit and chat while she went about her business (not that I would have been able to do much anyway).

It was all topped off when she picked some flowers and brought them inside.

I feel so loved and nurtured. I am beginning to learn to receive as well as to give. Dance dance dance :-)

Monday, September 7, 2009