Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it.


Image: "Woman with Canary" by Debby Haskard-Strauss

Bin Night

It is bin night. Not a big deal in the scheme of things.

But I have a friend who has volunteered to put the bins out for me and they haven't done it yet. Okay it is only 5.00 pm but I am beginning to assess my options.

Of all of the household chores I need to do, putting out the bins is the one I struggle with most of all. Fortunately I am not much of a rubbish accumulator so can afford to put the bins out fortnightly, or even less frequently, rather than weekly.

Which is why my friend is going to put the bins out.

So do I remind them? And if so at what time? The rubbish truck doesn't come around until 7 am tomorrow so there is plenty of time but I am quite sure they have forgotten.

No, maybe I being too antsy, this is the first time it is bin night for my friend and the neighbors don't have their bins out yet which would be an obvious visual prompt... well not all of the neighbors - the woman from six doors down still hasn't put hers out, and the gentleman across the road, down the end of the street near the corner has still got his tucked away.

It isn't a real problem if they don't go out tonight - they were emptied last week when I had a bout of energy but, well it IS bin night. Okay Pearl, sit back, breathe deeply .... and find a glass of wine and try not to think about being a control freak.

Image: "rubbish bin" by Semut23

It's All About the Gate

... isn't it?

I have had a number of visitors to the ol' mansion recently and many of them have the annoying habit of not shutting the front gate as they come through. Now I acknowledge it is there more for decoration than any practical purpose - there are no cattle being kept in; there are no burglars being kept out - but surely there is a great unspoken rule that if you open a gate (or door for that matter) then you close it again afterwards.

On a farm it is more than a rule - it is as natural as breathing. And you only ever make the mistake of not doing it once - again, a bit like breathing. Having to chase down a trio of bobby headed calves heading in three separate directions is not my idea of fun.

So, back to my gate. No, none of my guests are the farming type so I guess I shouldn't presume the knowledge but I am also wondering if there isn't something a bit more going on.

Could it be that I am getting stuck in my ways? Could it be that I am becoming or worse still, have become) once of those people that have a black and white view on the right-ness and wrong-ness of things?

I know I have been pernickety about how the toilet paper hangs for years but that isn't a sign - that is a clear case of right (end hanging over) and wrong (end hanging under) with even the manufacturers agreeing with me. And I do like my clean glasses and mugs to sit upside down on the shelf - it keeps the dusty and everything else, another clear case of right and wrong. And I do like my bathroom towels to be neatly folded vertically and evenly balanced over the rail with the folded side facing the door .... okay I think that one is just me.

So maybe I am becoming one of those people .... just remember that I am right - and shut the gate.

Image: "The gate .... is open" by realtimelord

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Help or Not to Help

I overheard an interesting conversation last week - a woman had told her husband to deny a request for help from another on the basis that as he didn't help anyone else, he shouldn't expect favors from others.

Now as the conversation went on there was a hint that the gentleman did help others, but not in the manner of frequency that the woman thought appropriate.

But setting that aside for now.

I thought we helped others because we could (skills, time, money or whatever) and because it made us better people for doing so. Maybe that isn't quite altruism, but surely most folks don't help each other with the expectation of getting something back, or considering that the person who they helped "owes" them in some way.

As much as I am cynical about the human race, please tell me I am wrong on this front. Isn't sharing ourselves in this way something that builds community, and friendships, and all of those other good concepts. And even if the other person is perceived as being selfish, would it be better to role model "better" behavior than reinforce the behavior that they are being judged for?

Yes there is a line in which if you cross it you are being used and I am certainly not advocating that we should give regardless, but that wasn't the circumstances here.

Tell me what you think and lend a hand if you can folks, lend a hand.

Image: "Tools" by spang141


You can't deny laughter: when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.

Stephen King

Image: "Smile" by !scoragra

Hanging At Number 5

 I went to Number 5 again today - i think this shall be my new haunt. For the uninitiated, Number 5 is a new cafe located at 5 Church Street in Bellingen. Very impressive .... and it does help that friends work there so there will always be someone to chew the straw with.

In any case I went for a coffee but couldn't help, as I do, spying on what other folks had ordered. The milkshake looked particularly impressive with a dusting of cinnamon atop its foamy head. I made an appropriately impressed comment and before I knew it, was presented with a shot glass sampler. The top photo is my proof. Now I figured this would just be a regular milkshake, unworthy of a photo so I drank it before I thought about it.

I was wrong - this was a drop of  heaven - real banana blended with homemade ice cream to create a thick (but not too thick) measure of lip-licking heaven. And as I was still drooling over the dregs of the glass, I was offered a chocolate one as well. Camera was immediately pulled out (bottom photo).

I shall have to investigate how they managed it but this had a real depth and roundness to the chocolate - no cheap syrup was used in its creation. To choose which one was better would require the same effort as choosing which of your children you love more - not impossible but emotionally draining.

I can also highly recommend the homemade chips - fabulous. And don't forget to ask for a serve of their own Church St mayo on the side - a delightful mix of dill and mayonnaise and other secret ingredients.

Stay tuned while I try the rest of the menu :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wow What A Year

It is amazing what can happen to a woman when she stops being a hermit and steps out the front door and into her community!

I am now officially the Secretary of the Northbank Community Garden for a start. I will only do it for a year - they are going through the incorporation process and there is all of the paperwork to get gone - it makes my brain cells tingle with excitement with excitement every time I think of legislation and minutes and the like lol.

Then of course there was the incredible inaugural Bellingen River Festival which surely is one of the most exciting projects I have ever been a part of. The actual day was, as the name suggests, a celebration of our River and there was bands, workshops, guided walks, a program run by our indigenous people, canoe races,a  lantern parade - oh the list goes on - and all for the cost of a gold coin donation ($1 or $2). 

My component was the Storytellers tent (yay!). I have spent the past few weeks running around town interviewing all sorts of people and beginning to collect photos that tell a River Story. I have started a project on ABC Pool to allow them to be used for future projects by others (and they are also all stored in the National Library). And on the day we had poets, people telling stories, a photo display as well as an audio/visual presentation.

I am now looking at pitching a program for ABC's Radio National based on storytelling and using some of the work created for the Festival.

Oh and there is my beloved Foodbox which I am actually stepping back a little - helping out with packing the boxes and other little bits - not for any reason but that I am trying to balance everything out. I was doing a newsletter and recipe development as well as media/public relations but they has been passed on to others.

Oh, and I did a quick trip to WA in July - and will be going again in three or four weeks - and yes it shall be blogged this time lol.

So all in all, 2011 has been one of my best ones yet - and there are still two months to go :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Laughter is inner jogging.

Norman Cousins

Image: "laughter" by lauafer

Life Doesn't Go On Forever

I have been thinking a lot about the nature of life recently - or more specifically death. We, as a society, are becoming so obsessed with prolonging life I am wondering if we are forgetting how to die. No this isn't an original thought but it has been occupying my time and brainwaves.

An every increasing amount of research is being poured into curing all the ills that befall us. The healthcare costs of first world nations continue to increase somewhat out of control. The breach between the haves and have-nots continues to widen. And all for what? We are born to die.

I was listening to an ethics program last nigth that was debating whether one fo the newer cancer treatments (costing $100,000 a year) should be given to a person that might only get another three months to live, as opposed to one who's life could be extended by two or three years. I wonder of that money couldn't be better used feeding or educating hundreds for that same period.

Now this conversation is hard to have because people seem to automatically want to preserve their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones. And that is not wrong. There is also a whole lot of grey in the argument. Is someone (say the most brilliant surgeon in the world) more valuable than (say) an artist, or a farmer, or an unemployed drug addict? Is my child more worthy than the child of someone I don't know who lives in a country without the resources that Australia has? Is an extra few months so someone can witness the birth of a grandchild or an equivalent big happening worth more than those same months without the event?

I am just beginning on this one.

Image: "Holding Health" by LoverDgirlA1065

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Money's Too Tight To Mention

The budget is getting stretched way too tight and something has to give. I will either need to find a housemate or earn some money.

In principal the first is the easiest on my part but, if at all possible, is the one I wish to avoid. My space is so very precious to me and even if I can find the perfect person to share the place with, they will still be taking up space.

So now I look at Plan B. We have a number of markets here in town so that becomes an obvious option. The big one would be most ideal but I physically can't walk that far - no it isn't far - but it just isn't an option.

So I look to the smaller markets. They do have the advantage of being on twice a month and have just implemented a "car boot sale" type component. I need to find some more info but it would mean that the car is right next to me eliminating the need for walking. I will still need to lift and carry but I might have to suck that one up (or agree to find a housemate).

My initial idea is the rag dolls and felt bits (finger puppets, mobiles and the like). The rag dolls would be in the $20-ish range but the others would be under $10 - with the finger puppets at about $2. Maybe I could look at volume if nothing else lol. And there are the tea towels I have blinged as well.

So I have sent off my email looking for info, and in the meantime shall continue to sew sew sew :-)

I could of course get some of my work published which would be even better again .... but I think that that is a bit too much to wish for :-)

Image: "Money money money" by  duchesse-2- Guermante

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Kinda Thinking

I would be content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think interior decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

Anna Quindlen

Image: "books autumn." by m0thyyku

A Question of Ethics

I have attended my first meeting of the local writers group and find it incredible - not only is there a great range of people, there is also the opportunitiy to have my work critiqued.

And now I have a problem. The group meets at the local club. And the club has pokies.

I am from a state that doesn't have the ubiquitous poker machines - well they are in the casino but that is it. Over here they are in every pub and club. The money from these allegedly goes back into the community - and about5% of it actually does. The rest of it goes into promotional activities for the venue (for example cheap eats) or just into the general revenue. Most venues scream that they woldn't remain viable without these gambling mosters that flash and scream at the patrons, urging them to gamble more and more.

Now I accept that not all gamblers are problem gamblers, and there is a vast range of alternative places for one to gamble if the machines weren't there but I made a decision I wouldn't become a member of any venue that had pokies.

So now what to do. I have to join the club to attend the writers group. Do I join and compromise myself, or do I keep my principles and miss out on developing my craft in this way? I have discounted the option of discussing it with the group - when you question pokies over here, people look at you as if you had just sprouted a new head. And the two people I have mentioned it to in passing point out that I am only there to use the meeting space, and I am under no pressure or obigation to gamble so it is no big deal.

What to do, what to do ....

Image: "Gambling Gummy Bears" by radioPooh

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Having a dream is what keeps you alive. Overcoming challenges makes life worth living.

Mary Tyler Moore

Image: "Mirrored Reality Dreaming" by oO-Rein-Oo

The Politics of Food

Writer and Masterchef judge Matt Preston made a particularly insightful comment about the politics of food the other day. His focus was on how Australia still upholds European ingredients (truffles, foie gras etc) as the peak of food perfection when we have a number ourselves.

I have extended that thought and now consider the political nature of all food. Whether it be those who have much, and those who don't have enough; to eat meat or not; food miles; ethical growing methods; price; water usage, fair trade ... the list goes on. However you look at it, food is a political issue.

And even for the consumer that ignores all else and just wants to pay the least amount possible for their food, it is political.The politicians know it and the supermarkets know it. An example I saw in the catalog of one of our big supermarkets (the one with a W) was extolling the benefits (cost and taste) of their beef as the cows had spent 100 days being fed quality grain. Sounds much better than admitting they were feedlot animals lol. And then there is the fast food company that quickly mentions in their jingle that their chickens live in fields .... when the company that supplies them doesn't sell free range products. Don't tell me they weren't buying into the politics of food.

And then there is the politics of health claims of food products which i haven't even begun to discuss here.

I look at the marketing of food differently when I have my "politics" glasses, as well as the "sell sell sell" glasses on.

Comfort Food

With the help of Miss Kylie, I have perfected the Potato bake. Actually I take that back, Miss Kylie's is the most perfect of perfect so mine isn't quite that good, but it does a good impression so that makes me happy. It is funny that such a simple food had foiled me so many times before (I think it came down to just not cooking it for long enough) but bingo! I am now on a winner :-)


Okay that is me expressing my pain. I don't like talking about it because it sounds like I am whinging and I am sure it bores the listener rigid ... or makes them want to do something and there is nothing I can do - and I do appreciate that not only do some people have more pain than I do, they also have serious conditions to go along with it. But it is day 34 of my latest run of bad pain and I need to talk to someone so I figure this blog is as good as anything.

Now I say up front that I am not having spasms today (and haven't for the last week), and they are the factor that I struggle most with so that is one blessing. But this pain is more intense - and not only sharp, but sometimes feels like tearing. I did some research to distract myself yesterday, well looked up wiki and discovered that this latest round of pain focuses on the inguinal ligament (see I am learning human anatomy). I am still working out the name of the rest of the muscles that I can feel but it is safe to say all of the ones in the pelvic area are alive and well at the moment lol.

And it is at this time that I get increasingly frustrated by the things that I can't do. I have wanted my little patch of garden done for months now - I did start it a few weeks ago so it is half weeded, with newspaper down ready for the mulch to be added. Seriously, if I wouldn't think it would take more than an hour of no-so-hard work to finish. I have tried to pay someone for nearly a year now but can't find anyone (yes I am serious). So every time I leave the house, all I can see is the job half done. Part of me is getting frustrated enough to just finish the rest off - I mean how much more damage can I actually do to myself?

Okay so now I am getting into whinging, not having my little patch of garden looking pretty does not rank in the top 10 problems of the world .... or even the top 10 of Australia. It is just so damn (insert expletive here) frustrating.

I have been looking at marijuana for pain relief but have decided no, aside from the fact that it is illegal. For a start, it stimulates the appetite and I do not need to be putting on any more weight so that is a real consideration. The second is dosage, there would be a variation in the amount I would need to smoke each time. It may sound silly but having too much getting stoned and accidentally falling over is something I need to avoid at all costs. So that is out. So there is not pain relief options open to me at the moment.

So I come back to square one, suck it up and get on with it.

Image: "Ouch" by Kyndlefire

Thursday, May 12, 2011

And So It Is

We are only rich through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse.

Anne-Sophie Swetchine

Image: "Happiness part2" by Eredel

What Does History Smell Like

This was a random comment that was in one of my pods and it has stuck in my mind. So what does history smell like? We see so many visual representations (real or imagined) of various moments, and in some cases we can even touch items but I must admit I have never considered what things smelled like.

My first thought went to the street of Dickensian London. With the prevalence of raw sewage (for a start) I can't imagine it smelt very pleasant. And what of the original forests of England, or Germany, or the Americas, or anywhere else? Or any pre-mankind, untouched landscape for that matter.What would the Temple of Dionysus have been like - I assume there was incense (for example) but what kind I wonder?

And then my mind goes to the fabric that made up the robes that Roman leaders were meant to have worn - were they a soft, luxurious cotton fabric, or was it more coarse? I know it perhaps a little silly but I am getting a whole new perspective on life in previous times - and a greater sensory appreciation of my own

Image: Unsure of the painting's name but I sourced it from here

Lumberjacks Perfected

I don't like dates. Actually I need to clarify, I will projectile vomit if my tongue feels a date on its tastebuds. It is not something I can control. You can then imagine my "delight" when I was asked to make a lumberjack cake! Nonetheless, I girded my proverbial loins and got going. Actually time was short so I skipped the "cake" and decided "muffins" would be much more practical. Accidentally I tasted one of the extra ones - I was just trying to taste the topping but a little muffin got included. WOW! I couldn't taste the dates - even though there is a ton in there. In fact most of them appeared to have "melted" into the muffin. These are gorgeous!

After some tweaking the original recipe I have some up with what I determine to be the "perfect" Lumberjack Muffin. I couldn't decide which photo to use - the one with or without the flash - as neither is ideal, so I have included both.

1 1/2 C apple, peeled and chopped
1 C dates, chopped
1 t bicarbonate of soda
1 C boiling water
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 - 2 C SR flour

1 1/2 T butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C milk
2/3 C shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare muffin pans - this recipe makes about 12 regular muffins AND 10 - 12 mini muffins.

Place the dates in a bowl with the bicarb and boiling water (yes there should be fizzing), making sure the dates are covered. Add the apples on top - these don't have to be fully covered by the water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl beat eggs, sugar and oil for 3 minutes.  Add the apple and date mixture (including the water) and fold. Then fold in 1 1/2 C flour until well combined. If the mixture is too loose (it should be a wet batter but not watery) add the extra flour.

2/3 fill each muffin hole. Bake for about 12 minutes until almost cooked.

While this is happening, prepare the topping. Add ingredient to a small pan and mix until butter is melted.

While still in the tray, top each muffin with a small amount of coconut mixture. Return to the oven and cook for about 8 minutes.

PS: A Lumberjack Cake recipe is pretty generic but in order to be ethical I got the original ones here and here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Life, But Not As We Know It

Normally when I stop blogging it is because I am fighting the black dog but this time I have a far better excuse - I have become a bit of a social butterfly! Yes my dance card has been full and life has been a bit of a whirl.

So, a brief summary - I have won a couple of games of Scrabble but lost a whole lot more - still laugh a lot though. I have started going to the local writers group - got some great feedback for my first piece. I have been playing Auntie with baby Aeson (who is now nearly six months old). I have been visiting with baby Finn and parents - yes he has been born and moved into his nursery is just awesome. I have been working on two paintings - finished one, not quite finished the other. I have been making rag dolls (photo and separate post to come). I have perfected a couple of recipes (separate posts to follow). The new Pool is looking fabulous and working equally as well. I have been meeting new people (who will hopefully progress to being friends). Oh, and I have done a little road trip too lol.

So, I am off to read before going to bed but will have posts and photos for tomorrow :-)

Image: "Im the social Butterfly" by making-new-art

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fruit and Vege Boxes

I have joined a local initiative and received my first box today. It is part of the "eat local" efforts. So for $30 I have enough fruit and vegetables to last me nearly two weeks - so very exciting. I can get it weekly but as there is only one of me, I think I can extend it.

All the food is seasonal and within the food miles (yay). This time we got potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, parsley, cucumber, bananas, apples and tamarillos. Actually I am sure there is one or two more things - that's right - pumpkin :-)

So tomorrow I shall make my famous (with me anyway) orange vegetable and chickpea curry (vegetarian). And then I shall have enough for Saturday (election day). Actually I might even cook up a few dishes - I am thinking about a pasta with a creamy mushroom and parsley sauce - to put in the freezer. And I could even make a parsley pesto, or twice baked potatoes stuffed with herbs ... hmmm, so many possibilities :-)

I just remembered, there is some very fresh ginger in there as well - I will put some in the curry but then I am thinking about maybe making a ginger syrup to serve with a fruit salad made up of the bananas and tamarillos. And a ginger, apple and cucumber salsa which would go beautifully with (say) a pork chop.

I think I am going to love this :-)

Jewish Apple Cake

3 C SR flour
2 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
3 T orange juice
2 T vanilla
3 medium peeled and thinly sliced apples
5 T sugar mixed with 5 t cinnamon and ½ C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Line and grease a springform pan.

Combine flour and sugar. Pour in oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until well blended, to yield a very thick batter.

Combine the apples and sugar-cinnamon mixture just before preparing layers. (if allowed to stand, the mixture becomes too wet).

Spoon a third of the batter into a well-greased tube pan. Add half the apples, but do not allow them to touch the sides.

Layer another third of the batter on top of the apples, add another layer of apples, and finish with remaining batter.

Bake for 45 minutes, then check to make sure cake isn’t getting too brown. If it is, cover with tin foil. Bake for another 30 minutes. Wait about an hour before removing cake.

Serve hot or cold. Delicious!

Based on a recipe I found here.

Decisions, Decisions

The State Election is coming up on Saturday and I am genuinely struggling with who to vote for. The Greens are an easy first preference but that isn't going to get me anywhere so I have to decide on who is going to get my number two vote.

Option 1: The state Labor party has been in since Adam was a child and is making a real mess of things. Not to mention they are self-imploding. And, I have vowed an declared to never vote for Labor again due to their refugee policy.

Option 2: The incumbent member is from the National Party. Now he is an excellent local member - advocating for a full range of local groups (such as the local hospital) as well as having provided me personally with excellent service on the occasions that I have had to contact the office. Having said that, the party is anti-gay marriage, anti-republic, anti-so many many things that I find important. Bit of a dilemma here.

Option 3: Lunatic fringe (Christian Democrats) - not a chance.

Option 4: Independent. Hmm, well I got a flyer from an independent in the local newspaper this week (see photo). No policy details, no contact details. Being an intrepid sort I hunted him down anyway. I asked what he stood for. He replied that he would represent what we (the electorate) wanted. Sounds good but such a cop out. I explained that he wouldn't be holding a referendum before each vote so where did he stand on the popular issues. Got a heap of spin as a reply - oh he tried to sound genuine but I have been around long enough to understand it is just empty spin (with a lunatic fringe crossed with a populist tinge). And he is very focussed on the southern part of the electorate and don't believe he has any intention of doing anything real for my section. And he is incredibly naive in the small suggestions he did put forward - a policy needs to be integrated to be realistic, not just a knee-jerk reaction. Why can't an independent be a candidate who actually has real opinions - who actually stands for something real, who has a belief, a plan. I might not agree with them but it would be oh, so refreshing.

So now I am still none the wiser on where my second preference will go. Two more sleeps to figure it out ....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Party Wrap-Up

Yes last night was the night of the party and present - and it was a blast.

There is a lot to be said when there is about 40 (ish) people, most in costume (Circus theme), there is face painting for all; a Lady Gaga birthday cake, spit roast for dinner and glow sticks to wear on various body parts!

I went as a fortune teller and was fortunate enough to have my makeup done by a real makeup professional (including sparkly false eyelashes - bought when I was Miss Weasley on the Sunshine Coast a few years ago). I must admit I felt very girly and pretty :-)

I confess that I left early but I did arrive early too so I am hoping that balances out in the scheme of things. I wasn't drinking but I was so hoping I would go through a RBT on the way home - I would love to admit that whilst I was dressed up all silly, had glow sticks on my earrings - and another around my neck, I had my arms painted with "tattoos", I had stars on my face .... I was stone cold sober lol. It didn't happen but it amused me on the drive anyway.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting Ready for Baby

It is only a couple of weeks to go now and my sewing projects are almost finished (will they ever really be done ... probably not lol).  Anyway, thought I would share some photos of my efforts.

The diaper bag - fully lined, lots of pockets - and a pillow to lay bump on while he/she is being changed. And yes the actual pillow is waterproof so the cover can be taken off for washing. Hand-sewn appliques, machine sewing for the actual bag..

Rag book - learn numbers and colors and shapes. Most of it is hand sewn appliques, machine finishing. One zebra (black). Two flowers (blue). Three frogs (pink). Four bananas (yellow). Five mushrooms (pink). Six snowmen (white). Seven teddy bears (red). Eight balloons (orange). Nine hearts (brown). Ten stars (purple).

The other bits - curtains for the nursery, "cow jumped over the moon" painting, star mobile for the window, stars and moons mobile for above the cot, nappy stacker, box of bears (for random decoration).

Still to talk to Ayla about sewing some diapers but I have a couple of other projects to make in the meantime :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let the Sun Shine In

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.

David Viscott

Image: "sunny day" by Megson

Buffy In Australia

Yes it is true, Buffy Saint-Marie is touring Australia next moth - well a couple of dates anyway. I first "met" her when she was on Sesame Street in the mid-70's (yay I do have some early childhood memories). Apart from being an incredible singer - and playing a mouth harp (the first - and probably only - one I had ever seen) she was my first real live Indian I had ever seen. Prior to that it had been white folks, or people from the Mediterranean who were dressed up like Indians.

I can't remember what she said or did but I realized that the Native American's were a living breathing people and not just a caricature. A couple of years later when I was visiting Howard and Bev (family friend's who lived near Albany), Bev had a pile of necklace's that we were allowed to choose one from. I chose the one that most looked like Buffy's. I still have it today.

At some point in my teenage years I realized that she was a singer - and what a singer. I have really only seen her on YouTube in the intervening years.

I won't be able to make it it her concerts, but I am so very, very pleased she is coming to Oz :-)

PS: Other things I learned from Sesame Street - how to count in Spanish up to 10 (and a few other words too); how to cook a tortilla from scratch; how to say Happy Birthday in American sign language (and I could spell my name and do a couple of other words too); classical music is not all dull and boring; and, it takes folks of all shapes and sizes and colors to make a neighborhood - and it doesn't matter whether you are people or bird or monster, you have something to offer (even Oscar).

The show is so very watered down these days from what it was in the 70's - 80's - I watched it at the right time :-)

Yippee and a Dance Dance Dance

Yesterday I was given the details of one of the local Scrabble groups that was looking for a new member. I rang today. A Scrabble group is a bit like a book club - you need to have a combination of people that fit to the overall purpose, group dynamics need to be right. And with some Scrabble groups they play competition rules, others are a bit more flexible. And that is on top of expected standards of play.

This group sounds perfect - they have a mixture of abilities, no one plays for sheep stations, and is social as well as game play. Yay!

The meet on Thursday mornings (yes every Thursday morning) so there is only 2 more sleeps until I get to introduce myself and play Scrabble :-)

Big yippee and a dance dance dance :-)

Image: "Scrabble" by JASONgotSEOUL

Present Time

It is my much-loved Robbie's 18th on Saturday and I have been trying to figure out what to get him that doesn't involve the semi-traditional bottle of alcohol. I have settled on "pearls of wisdom" (pun intended).

I have bought a mp3 player and I am progressively filling it with music, and recipes, and podcasts and bits of philosophy and anything else I can think of. I am trying to record a little introduction to each of the pre-recorded pieces to explain why I selected them.

I know it is a bit daggy but I am hoping that I am of an age where lovable daggy is acceptable (especially as I was originally planning on doing the love a painting but he "pinched" one I gave his mother a year or so ago lol). And we do actually have a few common interests so not all of it will be from left-field.

In any case, he can put it in a back drawer and just pick it up periodically as he goes through life :-)

And, as it is a costume party, I will be dressing up (not usual for me) AND it will include a dress (which I still reserve the right to wear pants or leggings underneath but I haven't decided once and for all yet). Damn he must be special - it has been maybe 7 or 8 years since I last wore a dress :-) (and yes it does still fit). Photos to come.

I must admit I am getting a bit excited :-)

PS: There will be NO Meat Loaf - I have inflicted enough of Mr Meat on the lad already :-)

Image: "Pearls of Wisdom" by Anya-Lyssa

Monday, March 14, 2011

Imagine and Create

My future starts when I wake up every morning .... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

Miles Davis

Image: "Light painting 1" by 3mmI

Friendship Is ...

I have just spent a wonderful evening with Wendy and Simon.

Simon cooked a whole snapper on the weber (stuffed with garlic, lemon, a splash of balsamic vinegar and seasonings). Wendy made an awesome salad. And there was baked potatoes (cooked in the weber) and garlic bread.

Add good conversation and lots of laughter and it was simply perfect :-)

And yes I did take the camera - I was just too busy to take photos lol

Image: "Friends" by Juliejxk

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"God" Has Spoken

I am reliably informed that the floods in Queensland were retribution for the deserving (or karma, depending on your perspective). Apparently the same applies in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Is it any wonder that I am an atheist?

Ray Martin Said It So It Must Be True

Or "Pearl has a rant"

I am tired of spending a lifetime around the mis-informed that pick up the mis-information and run with it. I know I have had a similar rant before but it just keeps coming at me.

Why do people limit their information sources? Even if you ignore the internet, there is the choice between commercial and non-commercial radio and television in Australia. Some newspapers are more reputable than others. Heads up - mass circulating emails/tweets/facebook messages and women's magazines are no source of anything credible.

Now the world doesn't have to agree with me on everything - and to a great extent I am not even contesting my "rightness" on most issues, but I am asking folks to educate themselves and not just take the lowest common denominator of information and take it as gospel.

Current affairs example - our illustrious Opposition Leader again crying "just stop the boats". You mean the boats full of people who are claiming refugee status - which is their full legal and human right to do so. You mean those people from Afghanistan (yes that country that we are at war with and is getting the life bombed out of it, with corruption running the few bits still standing), can't understand why they want to leave.

Or to take it back to land rights when I explained to the ignoramous (that I am related to) that it didn't mean our Aboriginal people could only claim land that they had a continuous, unbroken link to ie not or back yards. Says this brainiac - well why didn't they just say that in the papers? Well they did in the media I follow ...

Or to a classic quote one of the donators of my genetic heritage - "the Aboriginals are such a primitive people - they didn't even invent the wheel". Well, you try and live in this hostile, mostly desert country for 70,000+ years without a wheel and then come back and tell me about who is "primitive" mate!

I know some of this is history, and that's okay. I can't publish the latest comments to respect the privacy of identities of those who said them but damn it pisses me off. There is no excuse for ignorance (climate change is a fallacy, the American health-system-for-all is a conspiracy of evil, Muslims are "bad") in this day and age with reputable sources of information available at the click of a button.

... breathing deeply, and stepping off the soapbox (for now) ....

* I acknowledge that mentioning Ray Martin dates this but you could insert John Laws or anyone from Fox News. And I do acknowledge that Ray martin used to be a real journalist but his years on the most commercial of commercial tv news is his lasting legacy as far as I am concerned.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Things You Learn

Ayla and Nick have chosen to use cloth diapers - saving the disposables for when they are away from home. Some time ago Ayla mentioned that she was getting them made locally for (about) $10 each. I thought it was a bit rich but thought no more of it.

Having included a nappy (diaper) stacker in the care package for baby (photos coming) it occurred to me that I could maybe include a dozen diapers in there as well. A few clicks and I have been educated to the ways of the 21 st century.

Diapers are no longer flat white squares that you fold and clip or pin. They are individually sewn and shaped like disposables - for real! There is an ongoing conversation about whether to use man-made fabrics for the padding (it has a natural wicking to help keep baby drier) or to use the natural fabrics for a more environmental approach.

I worry about how long they will take to dry - a flat one takes no time, even in wet weather. These ones can have (maybe) 5 - 10 layers of fabric in the centre area so I figure will take much longer. In any case I will find out in due course.

So now I am just waiting to get hold of the parents to see if I can make a dozen or so or whether they already have the situation covered. Terry cloth (for the inside body) is only $6-ish a metre, you can use whatever you want on the outside (I have a big fabric box for just such occasions) and then there is only the padding. Then I just need some studs to hold it together and some elastic for the leg-holes.

So modern this 21st century lol

It's A Matter of Perspective

If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day.

John A Wheeler

Image: "Funny Worm" by Pekaraul

A Beautiful Idea

The mother of my grandchild had her baby shower last Sunday. I was a bit pukey so stayed home (after much thought and a realization that I was being selfish in wanting to take my germs to her place, just because I didn't want to miss out) but hope to catch up with her on Monday so she can be showered again.

Instead of gifts, Ayla requested that we all bring a bead. It didn't matter what sort of bead it was - just something that represented something special about Ayla or the baby, or our relationship or whatever. It is Ayla's plan to string them all together and then wear the necklace while she gives birth - so that we all are with her. Then the necklace will be hung up in the baby's room so that he/she will always have a reminder of the special people in his/her life around her. Surely this is one of the best ideas I have ever heard of!

I have made three so far - still can't decide which one is "the one" - I will post it when I have made a decision.

Ribs Galore!

I had ribs for dinner on Wednesday - with twice baked potatoes and homemade coleslaw. I was sure I had died and gone to heaven. I know I enjoy a lot of food and can't usually pick a favorite, but for my last meal I want ribs, ribs and ribs.

I am not really fussed whether they are beef or pork. I am not really fussed on what sauce or rub is used, I don't care if they are done in the oven, the slow-cooker or smoked on the webber. I am in love with ribs.

Now I would like to launch a challenge for myself to come up with the best rib recipe but I don't need to - I don't think you can make bad ribs. And I don't have a webber :-)

Sigh ....

I Wonder Why?

Why do we, as the public at large, take such an interest in the downfall of people affected by addiction or mental illness (or both)? Is it merely a perverse extension of  the gawkers that slow down to see a car accident? Is it a form of shaudenfreude? Would we react in the same way if it was one of our loved ones?

The local football codes seem to provide an ongoing list of people having one form of a breakdown or another. Hollywood provides their fair share too. In any case, isn't it a time to give the person space, time and privacy? Surely we must understand that they may not be in a position to make the best choices for themselves so just because they want to speak out, it doesn't mean we must provide a forum until they have finished a treatment plan. This applies more so if they refuse treatment but continue on their destructive path.

It is one thing to laugh at the proverbial clown slipping on a banana peel. It is quite another to revel in the downward spiral of someone who is ill.

My two cents for the day.

Image: "Palette World Breakdown" by farizasuka

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good Advice

There are times not to flirt. When you are sick. When you're with children. When you're on the witness stand.

Joyce Jillson

Image: "Elemental Goddess: Earth" by MissShyly

Ethical Dilemma

There are so many ethical choices to make each day.

To buy cheap milk from Coles - easy decision - NO. It isn't ethical for the survival of the dairy industry. The same applies to their free range eggs.

To support GM food - easy decision - NO. Graham did add a factor for my consideration - that being that many of the GM advances are really just a fast-forward of the natural breeding that farmers and producers have been doing for years. That is true but I object to the ethics of the food I eat being owned by Monsanto and co. I also object to the farmers not being able to store seed - especially those in developing nations. I really object to cross-species breeding in both plants and animals.

To support a price on carbon - easy decision - YES. It is only fair that the real price of products and services is part up for consideration in my decision making process.

To attend a wedding in Fiji - easy decision - NO. But what if it was my brother, or daughter or someone else of similar importance .... hard decision - UNSURE. I don't want to do anything to support the junta (including buying Fiji water - easy decision - NO) but if the couple had made their decision and weren't going to change it, I am not sure what I would do. I am not even sure there is even a "right" or "wrong" decision to make in this case - there are winning and losing arguments on both sides. Hmmm .... have to continue to ponder this one (and it is only a hypothetical for me).

Image: "the choice" by FaeriGirl

Delicious Dinner

Had a treat tonight - fresh (yellow) pears and Jindi brie. The cheese was a gift from the fabulous Val form next door. And I did consider caramelizing the pears, and adding some rockets and walnuts to make a salad. Or crackers and other bits to have a bit of a tasting plate. But sometimes I am just a wild woman so naked (the food not me lol) cheese and pear it was.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Travel Thoughts

It is getting close to the time where I want to book my travel back to WA for Graham and Nancy's wedding (which isn't until July but I like to be booked in early).

It will cost me $300 - $400 to fly. I don't really want to after the problems with Virgin last time. They didn't have my pre-booked wheelchair for me when we got back to Sydney and the airport was closing in about an hour. I had to walk (and I use that term very, very loosely) though to get my bag while accompanied by two apologetic (but so very patronizing) flight attendants. It was humiliating and crippling - and I am not sure which was worse.

I had a brilliant idea this morning - perhaps the train could be a viable option. Okay so it takes three days (as opposed to 7 hours) but I had a ball when I took the Indian Pacific when I moved over here. And I get to take photos! Small problem - it is $600 return. I am not saying it is poor value for money - it is just being on disability means that "money" is my issue.

How much belt tightening can I handle in the next month to get the extra money? Hmmm , need to look at budgets closely.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So Simple

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Dalai Lama

Image: "Kindness" by CarekillsKitty