Monday, May 31, 2010

It's A Matter of Perspective


They gave her the label that implied she was broken, maybe not defective as such, but not perfect, not like the rest. And people accepted the label and stopped looking for the real beauty, stopped seeing her for what she really was.

And we all went along with it - after all she was
too tall
flat chested
boobs on legs
black
white
a whore
fat
skinny
"emotional"
a victim of ....
pre-menstral
menopausal
high-maintenance
blonde
frigid
not smart enough
too smart
a barbie
"independent"
a lesbian
barren
a bitch
a slut
just a pretty face.

No wonder she felt like she should be in the gutter.

But if you look at her, you may see a tear, but you will also see her radiance. Pick her up, nurture her - see her for all of her.

Writer's Prompts Daily

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Parcel



"I am going to send you a present"

"You don't have to do that"

"I am not doing it because I have to" (laughs)

"That's not what I meant"

"I know. So what present do you want?"

(aaah) "I don't want anything"

"Everyone wants something"

"Not me"

"Okay let me think - books, too easy. Jewelery, not you.

"You don't have to do this you know"

"We have been through that. Lingerie, na, you wouldn't wear it. A painting, no your walls are full"

"Are you finished yet?"

"Not till you tell me what you want"

"I have no idea"

"Yes you do, you juts don't know it yet. Plants, well you like your garden so that is a good idea, and you have some inside plants too. A food hamper - no you can cook better than anything I can buy"

"What if I did have a little idea"

"Well ...." (silence)

"I do want one thing, maybe"

"Finally" (laughs)

"I want to be loved"

Writer's Prompts Daily

Saturday, May 29, 2010

That Day

Now that I am even more securely holed up in my hermit life I had initially dismissed "that" day but my mind has been wondering this evening. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the sisters here, to celebrate that - and I could coincide the dates.

Yes I know we could go out for dinner but I cook, I am me, it isn't an option. I am thinking that if I chose my menu carefully (well more carefully than usual) and spread the cooking over a few days I could pull it off!

So, at this stage I am thinking an Italian theme, four courses, 7 guests (my table seats 8). Hey I can do that standing on my head.

And then I have further thought that last time I had one of "these days" I had three parties in the one day. Now that is pushing it (it was 10 years ago and a lot has changed lol) but I am thinking about a morning/afternoon tea for another day - and I might even invite boys to that one.

Yes I reserve the right to change my mind but so far I am liking it .... now for the "save the dates" ....

I Have been Awarded


Yay! The wonderful Welshcakes has honored me with the Sweet Blog Award (which is an award that brightens her day).

So in the tradition of the net, I too pass it on (in no particular order) to:

It Was Always Simple written by a true wonderwoman (if if she can't see it all the time)
Sicily Scene (yes I know this is Welshcakes) but it has introduced me to food I didn't think was possible, and a land I have never seen
Rat Sass written by a generous soul who always makes me smile

:-)

Story Time


The stories are not just fairy tales they are the history of a people that stretches over nearly 100,000 years. They are the stories of the Dreaming and why the world is the way it is. They are the lessons on what to eat, when to travel and how to treat each other. The songlines are maps that allow peoples to traverse thousands of miles. They are passed from generation to generation with a scared trust that will allow their transmission for time forever more.

In my culture (a white Western one) we are reliant on the written word - in books, in newspapers, in documents of all kinds to keep records - if I want to check something I can look it up, if I want to understand something, I can research it. So many cultures, including the many indigenous peoples of Australia, have traditionally relied on oral traditions.

I understand it but I cannot comprehend the nature of being the storyteller or the keeper of the tales - the honor, the responsibility, the need to tell the stories just as they were told to me, to teach the dances the way they have always been taught, to ensure that the generations that would come after me would understand themselves, their land, they culture.

I am fortunate to live in an age where people of my culture can learn some of the stories too - from books and tv and radio and the internet. In my community one of the Uncles even does a traditional storytelling sometimes. And I can learn the stories from my land - Noongar country, and the land I live on - Gumbaynggir country, from all over Australia. And I can learn stories from all over the world from peoples that all have something to teach, something to contribute.

Those who call them "primitive" have got it oh so wrong.

Writer's Prompts Daily

Just Breathe ....



Breathe. let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.

Oprah

Photo: "Love" by lazychris35

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Splat!


Learning how to walk is something that most of us only have to do once. An inherent lesson is that you will fall- sometimes it will hurt, sometimes it won't but you need to take the risk in order for that extra degree of independence.

The first time I saw Jaida fall on her butt while learning how to walk (on of those non-hurt-yourselves-fall) I cracked up laughing - it was such a definite "splat", I said it out loud in between guffaws. I noticed her face was about to launch into one of those "I fell over so I must cry" moments but then there was a flicker and then she laughed too. And so "splat" entered our world.

By the time Jaz came along and was going through the same stage, Jaida was an expert. There were "splats" flying left, right and centre. Jaz, ever the entertainer, started doing it just for the reaction. Jaida joined in and instead of playing "statues" we played "splat".

You can never have too much laughter in your life. And it continues over the years as they ask me to tell them a story about when they were little - which is usually a repeat of a core three or four stories.

And I know that as I have grown there are times I too go splat - maybe not literally but certainly metaphorically. I try so hard not to screw up my face and wail in embarrassment and pain that isn't there - I just call out splat and see how long I can laugh for :-)

Writer's Daily Prompts

Thought For The Day



Love truth, pardon error.

Voltaire

Art by Vian Sora

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Law of Attraction

Laws of fact are based on consistency - gravity, as an example, is always there, always the same. The second Law of Thermodynamics has no exceptions.

And then you have the ever-popular "The Law of Attraction" which is basically summarized as what you put out to the universe is what you get back - to differentiate it from karma in which case you get what you deserve, or from prayer in which case a god or other deity determines your blessings.

So each day otherwise rational human beings people are sending out positive vibes for money or a partner or a job or a new car, and when this does come to fruition, credits it all to The (alleged) Law of Attraction. If the reward is not forthcoming, then obviously the time is not right but it will be along when that changes, or, you are also sending out parallel messages that you are not worthy so you need to do some self work before your reward can be received.

Crap!

Now there are some things in this world we can control, and there are others we cannot. Not matter how many people "wish" for a sunny day for their wedding, the weather is controlled by factors well outside of their desires and will continue on its own path.

And there is no way that you can tell me that when I was raped (asleep in my zipped up tent) , I was sending out messages to the universe that I wanted it to happen. And the same thing applies to people that starve to death, old people who get beaten up during home invasions, children that are abused in any form, or the people in Hiroshimo who had their day interrupted some years ago by the dropping of a nuclear bomb or two. But if I give The Law of Attraction anything more than disdain then I would have to acknowledge that all of these people "asked for it", they weren't victims, this was exactly what they had ordered from the ever-providing universe.

It is insulting, it is degrading and it is so very, very wrong to even suggest a thing.

Oprah and The Secret and Eckert Tolle and everyone else who spouts this crap, or says they believe in it,  have a lot to answer of by spreading this bullshit.

Image: "Seeking refuge" by TheHarlequinsMask

Color My World


Some colors just go together, others don't look quite as right. And this applies whether you are a painter, fashion designer, decorator or whatever.

Nature though ignores this rule completely. Nature is not aware of the color wheel, of complementary colors or contrasting options. Nature has never heard the "rule" 'red and green should never be seen and blue and green should never be seen without something in between'. Nature's palette is determined by other factors and the result is amazing.

The ocean continually amazes me with its changing palette of shades of blue and turquoise and grey and green and silver and aqua.

The sky mixes various blues and white of clouds during the day and then exploding at sunset in reds and purples and oranges and corals and silver. Nighttime makes it black highlighted with the sparkles of stars, the greys of clouds. Sunrise is a muted palette of pastels in all shades.

Flowers of all sizes mix colors like an abstract painter under the influence of hallucinogens. And that doesn't even begin to describe who they choose to grow next to, or the planting patterns that we come up with.

And of course, fruit comes in all colors - eating a fruit salad is more than a collection of vitamins and different textures - it is a rainbow for the body. I personally, wouldn't have it any other way.

Writer's Daily Prompts

Philosophy of Food



Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.

Alice May Brock

Art: "Colours of Tuscany" by Lisa Lorenz

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Level Paying Fields

Australia does not subsidize their farmers like the EU and the US do and it is a great source of angst when one is trying to be competitive on the world stage.

Australia does though subsidize many industries, including agriculture, through direct investment, tax breaks for the film industry, items like the diesel fuel rebate for mining and agriculture, subsidies like the one that was implemented to "save" the sugar industry or to compensate dairy farmers when faced with deregulation after a 10 year warning that it would occur, import duties which affect any number of industries. There are also incentives for manufacturing, technology and education industries, to name but a few.

And is landcare a subsidy or an investment? I think it would depend on your "green" credentials. And is government "incentives" for the car industry in South Australia self-serving? I think it depends on whether you are one of the workers or not.

I am not arguing that this is right or wrong - it just is, a reality of the global world that we live in. And it could be argued that is still doesn't compete with the direct subsidies given to US or UK farmers (I am not even getting into French farmers lol). And it is difficult to compete financially with, say, Asian economies where the wages and standard of living is so much less than our. Layer onto that the requirements of various trade agreements we have entered into (is there any other way of describing the one with the US as "we got screwed" and everyone involved should be in sack cloth and ashes and tried as a traitor") which require a minimization of trade sanctions. And trying to play a "level playing field" when no one else is is self-defeating at the best of times.

So while it is important to acknowledge that we perhaps subsidize less than out international competitors, I think it is equally important to acknowledge that many, many industries are subsidized. So while we debate the pros and cons of a super-profits tax on the mining of our natural resources, keep in mind that many industries are dependent on government protection funds for their success.

One way or another, the taxpayer always pays ....

Image: "Wheat" by Konijntje

What Is The Truth?

Sometimes it is really easy to determine what is the truth or not but for the most part I am not convinced it is not easy and if I look to the philosopher's for guidance, I think they agree with me.

Consider a traffic accident as a random example. The two drivers and various witnesses may agree that a bingle had occurred but it is somewhat inevitable that the details between the stories will vary. Is anyone lying, probably not - it would depend on what they saw, what they think they saw and what they remembered.

Consider todays debate on how much tax the mining industry pays - the ATO gives a flat figure, the Treasury gives another that takes into account what subsidies are paid. Both positions are equally valid as being the truth, neither organisation is lying, there is a difference in interpretation.

Consider any random argument between a couple or friends - say something as stupid as "you never listen" (not a debate, just to clarify) both parties have their own opinions on the issue of contention. Both have their own moods, memories of examples and whatever else to bring to the floor, and all of that will also affect their ability to hear the perspective of the protagonist.

Consider the rights of refugees to seek refuge. Black and white it may seem. Layer on comments "queue jumpers", "illegals" and what may have seemed black and white may still be so, but from a different perspective.

Consider something as simple as "the sun rose today" ... well it didn't rise at all did it, maybe the earth and the sun are both in their respective cycles and there was a meeting of the two.

So is there any real truth? Science tends to define truth as results that can be reliably replicated but is that enough for humans and all of their pudgy greyness of existence, comprehension and reaction.

Photo: "Naked Truth" by Charlie C M

Orange Soup

Last night as a night for orange soup - and for just such moments, I keep a supply in my freezer. And no, orange soup doesn't have any oranges in it - it refers to the color. I make it in the crockpot and it is a mix of roast pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots (yes I know I have carrot issues but it does got in this soup), onions, red lentils, chickpeas as well as some random herbs and spices all cooked in a rich vegetable stock until it is almost a chowder consistency. Oh, and some bread for dunking purposes.

I tell ya on a crisp autumn evening, its good for the body and good for the soul.

Art: "Orange" by fallinreality

Morning Tea



I remember when you didn't meet up for coffee, you went to someone's house for morning tea (or afternoon tea depending on the schedule). Traditionally there would be three to five options available for guests. There was always hot scones, scalded or whipped cream and homemade jam (two varieties). And from there the creativity of the hostess took off. My personal favorites were: lemon marshmallow slice, shortbread with passionfruit icing, hedgehog slice, orange syrup cake, vanilla slice and custard creams with real butter icing and a touch of passionfruit.

There was mugs for the coffee drinkers and cups and saucers for those partaking in tea.

Any unlike today's High Tea tradition, you didn't need to get poshed up. Okay you didn't go in your gardening clothes either but you get the idea. And this wasn't an "event" it just, well, "was". The hostess didn't go to any trouble as such (it is no big deal to whip up a batch of scones or bake a cake) because baking was a regular part of life - you always had a cake and a slice or biscuits around the house.

Some of these women worked from home, others part time - all worked at the school canteen, the local show and a dozen other community events. And all were members of at least two community groups, and then there was the sporting clubs and maybe even a church group or two.

I remember the first time someone served Tim Tams - there was a mixture of shock that she served a "bought" item to serve to guests and relish that this holy treat was sitting in front of me, and that the plate would soon be offered in my direction. I had a similar experience with Kingstons :-)

At these morning teas (usually for between 5 and 15 guests - plus little kids) there would be lots of chatting about life and gardens and family and the goings-on of the world. There would be support for those who needed it. There was the organizing of babysitting swaps, recipe swaps, clothes swaps, magazine swaps and general advice swaps. It was women being a part of the sisterhood that has carried through generations since time immemorial.

This was a time of history that has well and truly gone - the sisterhood is still there, we just have recreated it to suit our world and lives - but I am so glad I got to experience it before it vanished completely.

Writer's Prompts Daily

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dreaming

I have been challenged recently about where I am heading in this life. It wasn't a personal challenge as such, just someone posted something and it has got me thinking.

I haven't really had any firm goals for my life - just looking for opportunities and assessing them on their merits. There are certainly some things that I would like to be different, that I regret if you will but nothing that will make a victim to the cause. I would certainly like to change some things about my present position but, for some aspects of life, you have to deal the hand you have.

I really like me and the person I am so I put a tick in that box. I get on really well with most people and have some of the best friends a woman could want so I put a tick in that box too. I live in heaven, I fill my days with activities that I enjoy and challenge me (more ticks).

But if I think about 5 years, 10 years, 20 years down the track, well things get fuzzy. How much can I determine my future, will I even be here, will any of us be? Should I focus on tomorrow (when the things I might want seem both unimportant and unachievable and won't determine who I am or my happiness anyway) or just suck the marrow out of today?

I have been contemplating this for a week and am no closer to an answer ....

Photo: "dream on" by indiae

It's All In The Attitude


A problem is a chance for you to do your best.

Duke Ellington

Photo: "Growing on a roof" by Anayil Liyana

Moments in Time


There are two moments in the day when time almost stands still - the first is just after sunrise and the second (you guessed it) just before sunset. The light seems to hang in the air for a few moments longer than it should before it continues on the inevitable path of time, of cycles, of change.

If one is lucky, you can have moments in your own life when the same time-stopping magic happen - maybe a first kiss with someone special, holding your child in your arms, crossing a finishing line. I have heard some deep philosophical discussions on this but I don't want the moments analysed - I want them there to be experienced and remembered.

And I do, everyday, in that moment after sunrise and the moment before sunset.

Writer's Daily Prompts

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Miss Manners

I know I sound like I am 100, and some days I feel like it and even thinking about posting this proves it but it has been on my mind so I am not going to censor myself just because it might make me look foolish.

When I grew up we were taught manners - please and thank you, Mr and Mrs (or even Auntie and Uncle), kids stood for any adult on public transport that kind of thing. Now I am not talking about giving anyone power over you, or undeserved  respect, I am talking about basic manners.

To give an example, you walk past someone staring at the opposite shelf in the supermarket - well you would say "excuse me"; if someone asked you for something, they would use the word "please" and then offer a "thank you" upon receipt.

I am not perfect in doing this EVERY time but I certainly do make an effort. So what is it with the younger generation who seem to have forgotten so much of this. Okay I know that is a broad brush and I can think of a number of "my" kids who are exceptions, but (to pick on the Gen Y'ers) if you are under 25 then things are different to 'my days'.

I understand that music moves on, and language changes, fashions come and go and that sort of thing - but I do miss manners, a lot. Please and thank you makes so much of a difference ....

Photo: "Curtsy" by oceangiant

These Boots Were Made for Walking ....


I have dreams of bushwalking.

The big one would be hiking through the Tasmanian mountains carrying my pack on my back. Being that it is a dream I would probably start with a weekender but I would love to do a week long hike - taking photos on the way.

WA's Bibbilum Track would be longer (I think they say 4 - 6 weeks) but much easier (WA is pretty flat compared to Tassie) but to go in wildflower season with a camera in hand would be a once-in-a-lifetime investment.

For an afternoon, the Bundagen walk - admittedly I wouldn't need the boots for this one. It is a very easy 6 km - 3 km on mossy tracks through the rainforest, 3 km on the beach and not a hill in site.

Yes, these boots would have a good life and end up with many stories to tell - although I can't promise they will stay looking clean and new for very long.

Maybe they dream of bushwalking too ....

Writer's Prompts Daily

A Matter of Perspective


We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

Charles R Swindoll

Art: "Glints" by mockingbird-girl

I Had A Win In the Kitchen

Well two actually.

On Friday night I needed to make an apple sauce to accompany my pork chop and twice baked potato. I combined apple puree (granny smith of course), ginger and white wine vinegar. Okay the ginger might be optional but otherwise it is a standard recipe and one I have made a million times. This time though, I got the proportions so perfect it felt like there was champagne bubbles in my mouth when I tasted it. It zinged!

Yesterday I made some hummus to go with my Italian bread. Again it was the recipe I always use (chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil) but I just jagged it more right than I ever have before. It sounds like something Nigella would say but I could almost feel a rainbow of flavors moving through my mouth - each ingredient being focussed, melding with the next - different flavors appearing in different places on my palette. Now I don't like the supermarket varieties at the best of time - they have no real flavor profile - which is why I make my own but this just blew me away.

Now both of these cooking triumphs won't be repeated - they are not real recipes - just a combination of ingredients that you mix and blend. But I do have some more hummus to enjoy - and I took a photo so I will never forget the joy :-)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Smile :-)



Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have. It's much sexier than any body part.

Aimee Mullins

Art: "Mermaid Precious #8" by Karin Turner

Friday, May 21, 2010

Life Is ....


Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.

Wally "Famous" Amos

Photo: "Finches at Sunset, Bunya Mountains, QLD" by agedmusic

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just Do It


Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.

Anonymous

Photo: "JOY!!!" by azli jamil

First Memory?

The big day that will include a zero is still a way off but invariably getting closer and the reflection is continuing. I think I have worked out my first memory - I think it was before I started school and we were definitely living at Buckby Road so I narrow it down to the mid 70's - possibly around the same time as the spagetti sauce - actually the two are rivals for first memory.

Anyway, there was a program on the radio that was for kids - they read stories and poems (and not the picture book variety - real stuff I remember that), taught songs that sort of thing. I don't remember any specific examples but I do remember being a little excited whenever I stumbled across the program. I don't know if it was on irregularly or whether I was too young to understand the concept of the days of the week but it appeared as an unexpected surprise rather than a regular occurrence.

What I do specifically remember was that they introduced various instruments. I recognized the trumpet with no problems but I am sure that it was here that was the first time I was consciously aware of the cello. The mellowness of the sound, the voice of the instrument spoke in a way that awoke something inside me.

Now the Argonauts ended in 72 so it wasn't that (and I am assuming it is an ABC program because there would have only been one commercial station going then (6TZ who then became GWN Radio and then RadioWest) and I can't imagine it would have been involved in a non-commercial project), and Kindergarten on the Air had long since gone and I can't find nay history of the program. I have written to the ABC to find out if they can help.

In any case, I like the idea that my first memories were of my beloved ABC, books, and possibly Italian food.

Photo: "Childhood Paradise" by ahermin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Purple Memories

Way back when I was a child and before computers and photocopiers (yes even the ones with black screens and fluro green or burnt orange writing that hurt your eyes - and there was only text and no pictures of course and no internet either), the Gestetner and other mimiograph machines ruled the world.

Our school had one similar to the one in the photo. The school secretary would type up the sheets (yes on a typewriter so there could be no errors) and then they would be wrapped around the barrel, the liquid applied appropriately and then the handle was cranked sending out lovely purple work sheets. AND if we had been really good in class, we got to crank the handle (one turn per sheet) instead of the teacher (yes we fell for that one for all of primary school).

I mention this because that smell wafted through my brain today. I have no idea what it was and I am quite sure we inhaled far too much to be healthy but there is something farm and fuzzy about Gestetner memories.

Another Joy Moment


I won a little competition through my beloved Radio National - I got a pack of magazines as a prize :-) Is it possible that this week could get any better :-)

There Are Friends and Then There Are Friends


Dance dance dance :-)

The legendary David from Texas has sent me seeds - and not just any seeds - seeds from my most favorite flower in the world - Texas Bluebonnets :-). And have I met this guy before, no. Have I farmed with him - oh yes :-) The connection was made in the pixelated soil :-) My wonderful Miss Weasley sent me some a few years ago but I was living in a WA at that stage - which is very similar in weather to Texas - and in Texas these grow everywhere including along freeways and in vacant blocks - so being a responsible farm girl, I didn't plant them. Now though, I am in the sub-tropics and there is no chance of them becoming weeds here. The first seeds have been put into my little seed-raising house and will plant more each week so i have an ongoing display for the spring and summer. I'll keep you posted :-)

So very happy :-)

Live, Laugh, Love



Put yourself on view. This brings your talents to light.

Baltasar Gracian

Photo: "Colours of Earth" by Anayil Liyana

Red Shirts and Democracy

The Thai Red Shirts are not giving in and according to an interview this morning, many are prepared to die for the right to vote, for democracy. We have seen similar situations in Burma and with the Uygur in the last year or so. If you want to look back even over the past 20 years, the list gets long very quickly.

Added to that the collective "we" of the US, Europe, Australia and a myriad of other countries have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq to bring "freedom and democracy" to the citizens of these countries. Hundred of thousands of the troops, and perhaps more importantly, civilians have died in the process.

I am not in favor of the wars (Bush, Howard and Blair should be tried as war criminals) but all were re-elected by their people do I know I am in a minority with that view. And I am not taking sides with the Red Shirts or the Thai government. Nor am I promoting one political party over another.

What continues to astound me is that people are willing to die for the right to vote, for democracy, or for allowing others to have that right. And yet in the complacent West, so many do not vote at all. Okay the turn out for the last US election was up, same too for the UK but it is still pitiful. Australia is still compulsory for state and federal elections so our figures are always really high but if you take the number that turn up for local elections you can see the real apathy that exists within the populace.

How can people not vote when at some point they are affected by education, or roads, or tax, or welfare, or health, or whatever. Surely people have an opinion on at least some issues like equality for all, law and order, abortion, capital punishment, the environment ... well the list goes on. How can we be so complacent as to not take part in the process that determines how our communities will be formed. And how different would the their attitudes be if the option to be apathetic was taken away, they had no democracy - no voice, no choice.

It has continually astounded me that while some will die for the right to vote, so many who have it, take it for granted and abuse the privilege by not using it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rain Rain Rain

When I was growing up back in the dark ages of the 70's I heard of the legend that Inuit people had 37 different words for snow. Well to be fair, I heard the legend a few times over the years and the number changed but the first version was 37 so that is what I default to. I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was only a legend - I had carried it in awe for over 30 years.

What I have realized is that I am getting close to that for words or phrases to describe 'rain' - subconscious inspiration from the legend maybe lol.

I have been trying to collate a list and I keep thinking of new descriptors I use so please don't take this as complete but there is: a sprinkle, a shower, a misting, a drip, rain, light rain, horizontal rain, torrential, pouring down, drizzle, sun shower, deluge, storm, downpour, bucketing down, spitting. I will add the rest as a think about them :-)

Photo" "Flower on the Ground" by me :-)

Another Week

I have begun to truly love Monday's - they are the beginning of the week, hanging ripe with the anticipation of all that could be; the beginning of opportunities that will mark time that is yet to come, can't be repeated and many not even arrive; a time to jump into the abyss of possibility.

I look forward to being able to contemplate what I might have learnt at the end of this random division of time; what I might have experienced; how I might have changed.

I do all of this on a smaller level at the end of each day, but a week is a better gauge of patterns, of feelings of cycles. And I know Monday is completely arbitrary but then I also consider all forms of the recording of time by humble human beings to fall in the same category so it isn't an issue for me :-)

Photo: "Possibility" by BaRain

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just Breathe ....


Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Photo: "Personal Space (2010)" by Felidae

Everything Old is New Again

I am old enough to remember when the news was on they only referred to "the Thai Prime Minister" or "the German president" or whatever - never their names, just their titles. It was the same time when people would comment "good ol' Aussie name" and then laugh when someone with a European name was playing football, or in the Olympics or whatever. The "boat people" were coming so they weren't vaguely considered as "Australian" at the time, even after their refugee status was approved.

Some of it was certainly racist, some of it was ignorance (I mean who wanted to get one of those complicated foreign -type names wrong), and some of it was just adjusting to living in a country where everyone wasn't white and of English extraction.

SBS helped a lot.

I realize how far we have come when I consider "the Icelandic volcano" that has caused so many problems of late. Yes the famous Eyjafjallajokul :-) I am not pretending I can pronounce it. I have heard Robby Buck on ABC local say it - but he appears to be the only one on either station that is willing to give it a go, or get in the ballpark. It just brings back memories and makes me appreciate that we don't really use generic terms anymore - we,a s a country, have grown up a bit in my lifetime.

To B or Not To B


I am updating stuff in Pool :-)

Seasonality

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts from the BBC relating to agriculture and food security and the like and it has got me thinking. What applies to the England doesn't necessarily apply here in in Australia but bear with me.

The concept of something being "out of season" appears to have been eliminated for it will always be in season somewhere on the planet, or seasons can be replicated using hothouses and polytunnels, or the effect of the seasons can be minimized through breeding programs (genetically engineered or otherwise). There may be a variation in price through the year but generally availability won't be affected. I know when I was working with the lovelies they had no concept that there was a season for the growing of any particular crop.

As a result of this our expectations around food have changed and our diets and lifestyles have followed suit. I mean why both bottling your own tomatoes when you can buy them fresh all year around? I also acknowledge that there are social and economic issues including both parents generally working outside the house and having less time for these pursuits, house blocks being much smaller that the traditional quarter acre so there is less space for vegetables and fruit trees, and the overall urbanization of the population. Is this a chicken and egg situation? Not sure ....

I also acknowledge my passion for food within 100-miles of home is another layer of consideration. And I know that I have contradictory views in that crops like rice should not be grown in Australia for the simple reason of a lack of water but I like to eat rice. I also know that Australia exports large quantities of agricultural products and that changes to that would have a big impact, both socially and economically, on  individuals and the country as a whole. Not to mention the importance of balance of trade between nations and the existing treaties in this area. I also know that the size of this country and the range of weather experienced means that we are more able to produce food and less reliant on international imports.

So where is this all leading? Well if we, as a country, want to have food security as we progress thorugh the 21st century we are going to have to consider some questions before any answers can be found. Do we want to be self-reliant when it comes to food security or are we happy to collaborate with others? Are we really willing to consider the environmental costs of our food requirements (farming on marginal land, land clearing, water availability, various forms of pollution generated)? Do we want quality food, or food for the lowest price? Are we willing to make changes to the way we eat or live? What foods are now "basic" and we need to ensure they are "secure" and which ones are not? Are we willing to continue to subsidize some aspects of the agricultural industry to sustain communities and the individual farmers? I am sure there are more.questions but these were my starting points.

The reality is that I can find no outcomes to the proposition of food security until the answers come in. I know my answers - and acknowledge the contradictions that included in them. I think we as a nation need to have the conversation .... after there has been considerable education on the current realities of agriculture, and we re-connect with our food and its sources (yes the milk issue is still there lol). And we probably need to have the conversation sooner rather than later because the inevitable change that will occur will take time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rediscovering Music

I have avoided music over the past decade or so - the "modern stuff" doesn't appeal (and that makes me sound like I should be sitting in my rocker) and I decided somewhere along the way that I could use the moments learning something, anything rather than just listening.

That is beginning to change with thanks to a Facebook friend (who I do know in the real world but just haven't seen for 10 years or so) and YouTube. Anyway, she has been posting the most incredible music over the past little while and I must admit that I am being dragged back into the world or melody and lyrics.

Some of it is old stuff (you know the kind that we all grew up with and danced to and now the kids just crack up  at the thought .... until they realize that their fav has either re-released it or mashed a part of it) but the rest is new.

Artists that I would recommend are: Corinne Bailey Rae, India Arie and O-Shen. And if you have any recommendations that I should be leaning towards then, by all means let me know :-)

Oh, and I think the Meat Loaf days might be over ....

Photo: "Music" by KiddyGrinder

Passion and Purpose



We only have this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand .... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it's too late.

Marie Beyon Ray

Photo: "Precious Moment in Time" by MarkGalbreath

Eating with Maya

Well the moment has almost come - I shall be spending a week cooking and eating with Ms Maya (well working from her cookbook Pita sent me) for an entire week - and all of this starts next Saturday.

After playing with menus over and and over, I think I have finally decided on a plan.

Saturday: Braised Short Ribs of Beef with Twice Baked Potatoes

Sunday: Fried Chicken, Cold Potato Salad and Bob's Boston Baked Beans

Monday: Chakchouka (a Moroccan stew)

Tuesday: Onion Tart with Ashford Salad 96

Wednesday: Smothered Pork Chops with Braised Cabbage and Ginger

Thursday: Veal Medallions with Petit Pois, Minnesota Wild Rice

Friday: Smothered Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits and Haricots Verts

Now I know that is more meat than I would eat in a month of Sundays, and I can't see a whole lotta diet versions there but I don't care - I am going to live wild for a week lol. And I will have enough leftover recipes to do it again another time (it is a VERY good book) - and enough leftovers in the freezer to see me through Christmas :-)

Recipes and photos will be taken in due course..... and bookings are being accepted if anyone wants to join me :-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Tough Week and Things I Have Learned

I have just been through the worst pain week in my life and have come out of it knowing a few things.

1)  My internet friends are real friends and I miss them - especially when I can't contact them properly to explain why I wasn't around. I need to come up with a plan for that - maybe I do need a laptop.

2)  I am overall a positive person - even though I seriously considered calling an ambulance a few times this week (I am not sure the pain should have gone on for so long or the ataxia been as it was) and I was going mad through lack of sleep and pain off the Richter scale - I looked after myself and nurtured myself the best I could ( I read a million books that are favorites from long ago). I knew it would end and appreciated all the help that was offered. And I was complimented on being patient and kind when someone else was discussing their circumstances, been though they thought my situation was worse (I NEVER get into competitions about that). That isn't to say I was a martyr - way from it, but I kept trying to focus on the "later" more than "now".

3) I have an entire week of blogs which I will now need to type out and edit for relevancy

4) Whatever it is "this too shall pass"  and as Ms Maya says "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude" :-)

5) I never want to go though that particular form of hell again lol

Photo: "week two" by Ronaa

Monday, May 10, 2010

Backpackers Rejoice


Travelling on the euphemistic "fixed income" can be challenging at the best of times and this trip was possibly pushing it but sometimes a girl's gotta go what a girl's gotta do and a long drive was just what I needed.

And Melaluka Apartments solved the accommodation problem easily. It is the backpackers that is next to the white ute on the street. Wondering why I took and posted such a crappy photo? Well it is to demonstrate the distance to the beach .... see my car in the bottom right hand corner, well after I took this shot I literally crossed the road and I was in the beach carpark!

Now it is a backpackers so forget the spa and concierge but there is only 5 beds in the complex so it is nice and private, the place is REALLY clean, the bed was comfortable ... oh and did I mention I got a private room for less than $30 each night ... 100 metres from the beach in Noosa? And I got to sleep with the sound of the ocean each night.

There is no catch. And if there is 5 of you you can book the entire apartment out. I would highly recommend it and should I ever be back up that way I will certainly be staying there again :-)

Guess Where I Went on Saturday?



What a great set up! 

The train is a must - Ron the driver is nothing short of a legend, the information played over the speakers is absolutely fascinating and it is a great way to see parts of the complex that the public can't otherwise access. 

The landscaping is stunning. Many of the plants are named (which I personally appreciated - especially when I was checking out all the different ginger plants). The water ponds are places I could have stayed at forever. The range of birdlife (including the various domesticated ones) is wonderful - keep an ear out for all the birdcalls as you walk around.

The food area is a buzz. The hot food menu isn't extensive but so very well presented and quality ingredients. I chose the very simple basket of chips with ginger aioli, with a ginger beer (yes I was on a theme). Now the chips would have to be some of the best I had ever had - crisp, hot, the inside fluffy and the vital little puff of steam when you snap them in half. The aioli wasn't what I would personally call a true aioli (you gotta know I am picky) as it had a texture closer to a tartare but please don't take that as a complaint - the taste was divine and I spent time trying (unsuccessfully) to identify all the ingredients so I can make it at home - it would be great with seafood and salads and on bread and... well :-). There is also an ice-cream shop with all the flavors of the rainbow - especially those involving ginger - including a ginger and lemon sorbet that I meant to go back to but forgot.

The shops. There is a great range of character shops stocking the full range of commercial tourist gifts through to the handmade and unique. I must admit I skipped the t-shirts and stickers in favor of flavored macadamias (the mango and chili were my two favorites). Other highlights were the spices, the handmade soap (including the one that was "rainwater" flavored) and my companions were particularly pleased with the offerings in the fudge shop.

There is also a cooking school - which I shall save for another time lol.

Now this is not a full list - I am sorry to say that the pain got a bit too much after a bit so I had to cut things short (missed all of the honey displays for one) but that just makes it an excellent excuse to go back next time lol.

And the link (the website doesn't appear to do the place justice but always convenient to have to hand)....

Donuts Donuts Donuts

We don't have a Krispy Kreme around here but there is a store in the airport in Sydney so it is something of a tradition to grab a box on your way home.

I stopped to get fuel on the way home from my roadtrip yesterday and was delighted to find that there was a Krispy Kreme in the complex. One box of glazed donuts and I was back on the road.

Now I do confess that I ate two on the drive home but .... well I don't even know why I have to justify it lol.

So yesterday evening I had great joy in walking (and I use that term very loosely) around the neighbors dropping off my little treats. And explaining every time that no, I hadn't been to Sydney but had been in the land of bananas and sunshine. I think I had a greater joy in sharing them than eating them (and that is saying something lol).

I have often wondered why someone doesn't open a business up our way. And then I wonder if some of the magic of the donuts would be lost if they were available any time we wanted one. There would be no conversations about how Sydney was, no sharing with neighbors and friends, none of those little bits that add to the experience. On the other hand there could be donuts every day :-D

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tis the Time



When you're through changing, you're through.

Bruce Barton

Art: "End of season" by tomsumartin

A Moment to Reflect

My step-mom just rang to say goodbye.

Not totally out of line - I mean after three break ups and reconciliation and this one being final - it is a form of closure. And to be honest I just took it as read.

I guess what I am trying to process is why, after 14 years, it can just end this way. Now I want to be clear that I am not protesting - it is a bit hopeless to protest any change in relationship status - I mean if someone has made up their mind you have no choice but to respect it. But shouldn't I be more upset? Shouldn't we find a way to negotiate an ongoing relationship without the previous status?

What, if anything, does it all mean?

Photo: "Goodbye summer" by ideea