Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Another Month Gone

“Scatter  joy!” 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another month has gone so quickly. We have almost finished term 4 and then we will be into the final straight before Christmas.

I seem to be so busy. My diet with Manshake is going well. I have lost 4 kilos this month.

Peter and I continue our bike riding when we have time. Last Sunday we rode from Towradgi out to Bellambi.

My rock orchids are blooming. They put on a beautiful display but unfortunately only for a short time.

Last month it was Mitchell's, Peter's youngest son's, 30th birthday. The family held an Oktoberfest birthday (with a minimum of alcohol).

This is me dressed up for the party.

Somehow I had the idea that putting flowers on my head would make me look younger but I think it had the reverse effect.

They hired the Hut Dog to cater. At first I thought, "Oh no!". I hate hot dogs and thought I would just have to have a bun and margarine. But then I discovered these were gourmet hot dogs with not a frankfurter in sight. There were a number of gourmet sausage choices including a vegan and vegetarian option.They were delicious. I ended up having 2 vegetarian ones. I have actually bought same sauerkraut  this week to try and replicate them.

Peter and I went to the circus at Warrawong. It was surprisingly good.

I was impressed that the main animal trainer who was fantastic came out later as a clown. Other performers also multi-tasked.

And yes, there were animals there but they were obviously greatly loved. They use positive reinforcement to train the animals, and even with the lions - I wasn't expecting lions - there were no whips. The trainer constantly rewarded the lions with food. The ring master explained how they look after the lions on the road. They have an area they can roam in and an indoor area which has split cycle air-conditioning and a heated floor in winter. No longer are they just kept in cages.

These were animals that were bred in captivity and not particularly big. I must admit I may not have gone if there had been lions involved but I was very impressed. Apparently they are likely to live up to 15 to 20 years in captivity, but only 8 to 10 in the wild. I am interested to have a look at the area they are kept in  during they day.

I also enjoyed the clowns which I usually don't. They were very clever and modern.

I have been very lax on the craft front. I made a snowman.

My friend Michelle has been doing wonderful things at Platypus Creations. 
Go over and have a look at what she is making. 

Interesting sites

 Garden Igloo

Photo source
I want one of these garden igloos. A PVC cover makes them an all weather item. Click here to read more.

 Small shark eaten by bigger shark

Photo source

Things were bound to get weird when two men decided to fish right next to a nuclear power plant.

Palm Beach Pete.  Click here to see the video


Monday, 8 August 2016


When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.  

 Shannon L. Alder

What makes you joyful? Spending time with family and creating things makes me joyful. (And Words With friends!)

And for my Christian friends don't forget to 'make a joyful noise unto the Lord.' Psalm 100.

A piggy picture

It has been a pretty uneventful couple of weeks.

I have started a new diet with Manshake Peter's son-in-law Ben has had great success with it so Peter and I have decided to give it a go. It has taken me a little bit of tinkering around the edges to work out what suits me. I found that just adding 400mls of water to 2 scoops of powder was a bit watery.

So now I mix 2 scoops of chocolate shake with 250 mils of soybean milk; 1 scant cup frozen blueberries; 1/4 cup oat bran; 2 teaspoons cocoa; 2 teaspoons instant coffee; 2 artificial sweeteners. I whiz it all together and get a lovely thick chocolate goo that has to be eaten with a spoon. I divide this into two - one for breakfast and one for morning tea.

I repeat the process for lunch and afternoon tea.

The meal replacement shakes do contain milk products and I have been moving away from animal products to a plant based diet. (Except for fish which apparently makes me a pescetarian.) But I think it is worth a try.

So far after about 5 days I have lost 2kg so that is pretty good going and I seem to be able to function quite well.

Megg and Ben live at Bundeena and Peter and I went for a visit.

Bundeena is a small town on surrounded by the Royal National Park. It is a ferry ride from Cronulla across the Port Hacking River.

The view below is from the road to Bundeena with the view of Sydney in the distance. The city cannot actually be reached by this road as the Port Hacking River lies in the way.

This is the drive to Bundeena. This is a view into the Sydney CBD. What can't be seen is the Port Hacking River between the trees and the city.

We had a family get together for Megg's birthday at a park at Engadine

Megg and Sophie made a delicious chocolate and apricot cake which had to be left in the container while the candles were lit to avoid the wind.

Many of us enjoyed a game of soccer. (When I say 'us' I don't actually mean me.)

More soccer below. I think the grandchildren have monopolised the ball.

Note the scooters used as goal posts.

Below is little 6 week old Lucy all rugged up to keep out of the wind.

 I don't usually post pictures of grandchildren, but their faces can't be seen in any of these photos. I am hoping the adults included don't mind too much.

Weeds keep growing along the edge of my driveway next to my herb garden. Peter keeps weeding it for me but I have decided to do something permanent about it.

  l decided to try planting some nasturtiums along the edge of my driveway. 


This is also along the edge of my herb garden so it will make a good edition to it as both the flowers and leaves of nasturtiums are edible.

I'm not sure if there will be enough room for them to grow. Last time I planted nasturtiums elsewhere, Peter 'weeded' them so I shall be careful to educate him this time. I think now is a good time to plant, just before Spring.

This is sunset from Peter's place. I can never resist a sunset.

Interesting sites

 Dumpster Pool

Photo source
 This architect saved a lot of money by building a swimming pool out of a dumpster or large rubbish skip.
Click here to read more. 

 Sand drifts in Shoyna

Photo source
 In the village of Shoyna in Russia, residents often have to dig their way out of their houses in the morning because of the drift of sand.
Click here to read more. 

 Dirty Thunderstorm

Photo source
 Click here  to watch rock, fires and lightning coming from a volcano in Japan.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


This simple quote holds a lot of meaning. Conformity for the sake of conformity can crush the soul. You don't have to look like everybody else. You don't have to think like everybody else.

No point living a double life. No point pretending you're a round peg when you're actually a square peg. It takes too much energy. No point comparing yourself to other people.

I come from a family of square pegs and managed to produce a couple myself. I think the quote above is really good advice for everybody. Better to be a square peg than a sheep.

A piggy picture.

Peter had a birthday on the 9th July. It was also his son-in-law Ben's birthday, so we had a little family birthday party for them both at Berkeley.

When I say 'little', nothing with Peter's family is actually little. Peter has 5 wonderful children who all have  great partners, and then there are 6 grandchildren. Ben's parents came as well as his 2 nieces and my 2 daughters came too. Peter has a small house. All in all there were 25 of us. But Peter's family all dig in and bring food and Peter does all the pre-cleaning and tidying, so this makes things very easy.

Peter doesn't see his grandchildren very often because he lives about an hour's drive away from most of them and they are all busy. So I always try to make it special to come to Grandpa's place. 

I am trying to make some traditions.

I decided to decorate with a woodland theme. I don't really think the photos do the setting justice. I was quite please with the effect.

These days when there are so many people we use disposable 'crockery' and 'cutlery, although I know this is not very 'green'.
I happened to have some blue plastic plates already so used these and it looked quite good.

I added balloons and flowers and pine cones. There were a few ceramic frogs dotted here and there.

I will add to these limited decorations each year.

The grandchildren decorated some hedgehog biscuits by dipping them in chocolate and walnuts and adding eyes and noses. I pre-made the biscuits and then provided melted chocolate, crushed walnuts and blunted kebab sticks to 'paint' on the eyes and noses. The only problem was that although the biscuits  were supposed to be shared for dessert, each child made two biscuits and wanted to eat both of these themselves.

The picture below was what we were aiming at but the kids did a pretty good job since the eldest was 7 and the youngest was 2. We will make them again next year. If you are interested you can find the recipe here.

I tried to do activities that all seven children can do as I'm sure that even if I chose more age appropriate activities for some of the younger ones, they would want to do what the older ones were doing anyway.

The kids also decorated the birthday cakes - one for Grandpa and one for Uncle Ben.

 Peter was extremely worried about getting icing on his carpet. But I spread a plastic tablecloth on the floor under the kids' table and they were very good. No mess at all.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of people as I was just too busy organising food to be taking pictures.

On Sunday we had a second celebration at Menai club. Megg cooked another 2 birthday  cakes.

Basically the same people attended as the day before, but with a few of Ben's friends added in.

The next day Peter and I headed off to Umina Beach for a short stay.

Peter and I spent five nights at Umina Beach in our caravan. Winter is a great time to go caravanning by the sea. There are very few people around and the rates are cheap.

Ours is the Hiace van still attached to our caravan.

While we were away I played around with some of the special effects on the camera on my phone. This was the walk down to Umina beach from the camping area.

Umina Beach at Sunset was very pretty.

Below is a photo taken at the same time as the one above and from the same position on the beach, but facing west. It almost looks like there is a bush fire behind the trees.

Peter and I visited Patonga, a pretty little village not far from Umina. It has a lovely little harbour.

This is the shadow of Peter and me looking out to the beach at Patonga


Patonga is a pretty little village not far from Umina. They make the best fish and chips. Lovely and crunchy.

After lunch Peter and I took a bike ride around the village. 

Here are some of the ubiquitous Central Coast ducks at Patonga

We visited Davistown a couple of times - once to see Peter's cousin and then again to ride along the foreshore. We always stop at the Little Teapot Cafe and I always have their delicious apple crumble and Peter has the burger with the lot.

The tide was low at Davistown as we rode our bikes along the shore. 

On the way back to Umina from Davistown we called at the pie shop at Ettalong which had been recommended to us.

It was a beautiful day so we sat outside. My spinach roll and Peter's steak and onion pie were delicious. We shall make this another regular stop on our trips to the Central Coast.

Sadly we had to come home on Saturday as I had to start tutoring again on Monday.
On the way home this car drove past us with a dog enjoying the ride. He had his head out and a pair of goggles on to protect his eyes.

Interesting Sites

 World's tallest skinny tower

Photo source
The world's tallest skinniest tower is in Brighton, England.

 Click here to read all about it.

 Coral reef sculpture

Photo source
Artist Courtney Mattison  has crafted a large-scale ceramic coral reef installation to celebrate the exotic beauty of coral reefs while highlighting the threats they face.
Click here to read more.

Film to end tradition of slaughter of whales

Photo source

Sea Shepherd has been working to shut down the Grindadrap in the Danish Faroe Islands since 1983. The Grindadrap (literally translated as “the murder of whales”) is considered a cultural tradition in this small group of rugged islands located halfway between Scotland and Iceland.
Click here to read more.