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