Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

WHAT IF THE MIGHTIEST WORD IS LOVE? (Feb 2017)

 

 

 I have had 3 times in my life I have had to learn to 'dance' again. I don't think mine have been beautiful dances but more haphazard hopping around.

Everybody has traumatic experiences in their lives - they have 'weathered' all types of 'storms'.

I have 'weathered' the worst 'storm' I will ever have to survive, and I dance on...but sometimes I droop a bit, or maybe trip, but with God's help I stay on the dance floor.

This metaphor reminds me of the song Lord of The Dance. It is a beautiful song and tune. You can listen to it here, sung by John McDermott. 

 

 In the 1990's Michael Flatley, of Riverdance made the tune really popular with his Lord of the Dance tap routines. You can see one of his last performances here. 

 

Cute pig picture source

Wednesday already. My aim is to write a post to publish every Wednesday. Saturday was just not practical. It does take a bit of thought to write  about things when nothing much happens in your life, speaking of which it has been a non-eventful week - too hot to do anything much. We cancelled Jade's proposed birthday night on Saturday as I don't have air-conditioning and it was extremely hot. We are experiencing the hottest summer on record.

Craft

 The crocheted cardigan is coming on. (Click here to see the last post for details.)

 

Crocheting small flowers to decorate cards is the next project I have started.

For various reasons I am spending quite a lot of time at Peter's. I have offered to design and make Peter a low maintenance garden so he wouldn't have so much to mow, but as yet he has failed to take me up on the offer. So there is plenty of time to spend on craft projects, and I get bored doing the one thing so I have also made some polymer clay toadstools ready for some more projects.

 

Plants

Sunday was largely spent recovering from Saturday's heat. Peter and I popped around to Rhiannon and Bill's and Rhiannon had a new 'planter' on her fence.

 
This was a cows pelvis turned into a 'planter' for Spanish Moss.

Rhiannon has a collection of these bony 'planters' along her back fence with various succulents and Spanish Moss attached to them.

 

 

 

 

 

Jade and I potted up these succulents below, before Christmas and they have grown quite considerably. I prettied a couple of them up with dragonflies and toadstools, for gifts.

 

 
 Decorating

Bunnings is my favourite shop (followed closely by Officeworks and then Aldi). My last trip to Bunnings saw me purchasing a box full of Gloss White and Aluminium spray paint for about $25. This should last me for ages.

I am in the process of spraying the surrounds of a cane mirror from The Salvos.

 It was white but had yellowed over the years, so I began by giving it a coat of Aluminium. I find this seems to give objects a really good base for Gloss White.

The mirror itself is covered with glad wrap which was poked under the edge of the cane to keep it clear of paint. I hope it works. Now it just needs a few coats of white. I have just the place for it.

 

 

 

  Poems

 

 

When I came across this poem, "Praise Song for the Day" , by Elizabeth Alexander, I didn't realise it was written for President Obama's inauguration. I actually thought it was written in 1962 which turned out to be the poet's year of birth. It was actually written in 2009. So I think it is a poem that crosses the boundaries of time.

Praise Song for the Day

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues. 

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, 
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
 
Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, 

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, 
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.
 
 

When I read a poem, and it makes me feel or see something, at first it may not be easy to put it into words. 

But I like this poem because it makes me feel positive. It talks about the day by day things, the sacrifices made in the past, and the possibilities of a bright future.

Our move into the future is a combined effort, with all of us involved, as we go around our day to day business. The poet asks the question, 'What if the mightiest word is love?'

While it is written for the people of the USA it seems relevant to us as we have a similar society and are linked so closely to USA. It is also a poem relevant to each individual reading it. We all want, 'something better down the road...where we are safe'. We all 'walk into that which we cannot see yet'. None of us knows the future.

But,'on the brink, on the brim, on the cusp' of something new, we hope we are all 'walking forward into the light.' 

Let's just hope that 'on the brink' of Trump era, we are indeed 'walking forward into the light' and not backwards into the darkness.

'What if the mightiest word is love?' 

 
Pigs in love picture source.

By way of finishing I would just like to tell you about Powershop. I changed 
to them from Origin where I was spending around $125 a month on 
electricity. By changing to Powershop it cost me $98 from 1st January to
13th February - around 6 weeks. It is a very different type of electricity
provider. You can purchase your electricity  before you use it if you wish. I 
changed over on line and was so pleased with my saving I just thought it was
worth mentioning.  
 
 Interesting sites
 
 
1.
 
 Americans move away from meat.
 
  
The way Americans think about food is changing.They are moving away from meat toward a more plant based diet. Click here.



2.
 Presidential butterfly
Photo source
Click here to read about a butterfly named after Donald Trump. 



3.
 Tiny DIY Trailer Home
Photo source
A young couple on the move build a small home that will go wherever life takes them. Click here to read about them.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

THE JOY IN MOTHERHOOD AND OTHER SNIPPETS(February 2017)


The joy in motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times, but amid the challenges there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
M. Russell Ballard



I love quotes. Since I was a young teenager I have saved them and written them down. Now when I come across them in my reading, and I find they say something to me, I save them for my blog. I have a system of writing them up where I never know which quote I will come across on the next post I do, and now on my blogs, even though I consider it terribly self-indulgent, I have been commenting on them from a personal perspective.

This quote on motherhood made me really think about what it was like being the mother of two creative children, who just didn't fit comfortably into mainstream schooling or life.


While I love my children more than anything in the world, motherhood has not always been easy. It has been a long, long road. Dealing with childhood depression in both my daughters in their early years was very difficult. Seeking and fighting for professional psychiatric help for my children, in the early 1990's, when there was far less awareness, became a way of life. My husband and I home-schooled our younger daughter right through high-school. In year 9 my elder daughter was the only child in NSW to be enrolled in High School part time and home-schooled part time. We knew this because at the time my husband worked in head office for the Department of Education.

I don't remember ever falling out with my daughters, even in their teenage years, although we did have occasional disagreements. They are both artists and we fostered their creativity as much as we could. With depression raising its ugly head in both my daughters at an early age, I made the commitment never to give up on them.

Thanks to their genes, every day is a battle. I know because I share some of these genes.

Motherhood has held many moments of joy for me. There have been hard and frustrating times, and there still are. But now my daughters fight their own battles and I will always be their to support them.

For me, 'the shining moments of joy and satisfaction' come when I see the caring and compassionate individuals my daughters have become. I am very proud of them and I admire them greatly for not just giving up. I would like to think that their father and I have played at least some small part in them becoming such wonderful women.








Last Sunday Peter and I went to a 50th wedding anniversary. The beautiful cake below had a photo of the bride and groom 50 years ago. It was edible - made of icing.



Peter's elder sister and her husband have been married for 50 years and it was lovely to join other close family members and friends to help them celebrate.


A trip to Helensburgh on Wednesday to attend a medical appointment, saw us driving through quite a bit of fog on the top of the mountain.




January, in New South Wales,  Australia, has been a heat wave month, and it looks as if February is going to be the same. It is great to have some cooler weather for a few days.



On Friday morning I had coffee with my lovely friend J at Wollongong Harbour, or Belmore Basin as it is officially known.






Again, it was a grey day, but lovely sitting outside to sip coffee and catch up. We met at church a few years ago, and although J has moved on to a new church, we have a lot in common and keep in touch.

She brought me some resources for tutoring and some other bits and pieces which I really appreciated.

Tutoring has started again and I love working with my students. A year 11 student is beginning Ancient History and when I worked with him yesterday I was surprised how much I could remember from my teaching many years ago. I will enjoy studying this again to keep up with my student. 








Craft


I have begun crocheting this cardigan with some wool I have had for years.





The cardigan is growing slowly.

You can find the pattern for the cardigan here. 
It is an American pattern so double crochet actually means treble in English and Australian crochet.

In the Garden

Decorating and gardening have taken a back seat to some other things so far this year, but little by little things are taking shape.

Blue glass containers were ideal for some potted succulents at the front of my place. I plan a colour scheme of blue and grey out here.







My container gardening has been spurred on by an article I read here.


On Saturday night I plan to cook a vegan dinner for my family. It is to celebrate my daughter's birthday and she is vegan. Her birthday was actually about a month ago but she wanted to spread the family occasions out a bit, after Christmas and New Year.

I make sure there is plenty of vegan food at all our family get-togethers, but once a year, for Jade's birthday, I make the meal completely vegan. Jade has been vegan for over 20 years so I am quite skilled at vegan cooking, but this time I will try some new dishes - vegan lasagne, potato and rosemary pizza and Golden Rice Pudding with Turmeric, Ginger and Pink Peppercorns. I haven't quite decided on the rest except for a chocolate tart with an Oreo crust that is requested at every meal.

The plan is to have an evening playing a new version of Trivial Pursuit, but at the moment another heat wave is on the way and the forecast for Saturday is a maximum of 39 degrees and a minimum of 28 degrees, so I am not quite sure as to whether we will postpone the evening for another night when it is cooler, as I don't have air-conditioning.  We shall just have to wait and see.


Interesting sites



1.
How to choose plants for your home
 
 Click here to see a video with some useful information about how to choose plants for your home.


2.
 Ice in Northern Canada is breaking up
 One of Canada’s most northerly communities reinvents its relationship with a thawing landscape. The ice around Nain is breaking up. Click here to read more.

3.


Sailing through garbage
Photo source
I sailed from LA to Honolulu with Danish nonprofit Plastic Change to finish a global survey on ocean plastic. Short answer: The Pacific plastic problem is probably worse than you thought.

Read to the end of the article to read the scary information about microplastics.Click here to read more

Monday, 30 January 2017

ONE OF THE GREATEST GIFTS (Jan 2017)



It is always easy to say nothing. Just to let time pass. For we lucky ones there are so many people we could thank for being part of our lives - so many people who make a difference. 

As a teacher it was wonderful to hear from an ex-student I had not seen for 30 years. I was surprised he even remembered me, but then to have him say that I had made a difference to his life when he was 15 because I convinced others not to give up on him, was lovely. I was even more surprised to find that he was a deputy headmaster of a high school! He hated school when he was 15. But no doubt he will understand students who have difficulty with school and I am certain he will make a difference for being in the lives of his students.

It really encourages others to let them know that you appreciate having them in your life or having been in your life.






Decorating

Below is a picture of my table in January 2016. My daughter Rhiannon did the painting about 20 years ago when she was in her teens. There are various other frogs on the table.







Here is my table today in my Scandi-Christmas theme. 









The picture was $6 at the Salvos. (It is actually straight. I have to work on my photography.)The bowl with the balls in it is one Mum bought at a garage sale. The candle sticks are from Vinnies and sprayed silver (as you can see here.)
The table cloths are from Vinnies as well. The little oblong basket, also an op-shop buy, contains a pair of Peter's glasses. The dried flowers are from flowers Peter has bought me over the years. For some reason I always start my decorating with my table. Peter's back is a lot better on a straight chair so we spend most of our time sitting, at the table.


This cricket in my kitchen had been annoying me for days, being very noisy chirping.




He was finally found hiding in a dusty recess in the kitchen. I gently delivered him outside for which I am sure he was most grateful.

(Years ago we had a pet baby water dragon living in a large glass terrarium, and we fed him on crickets bought from the pet shop. The first time I bought the crickets I was unaware that as soon as I took the lid off the box holding them, tiny crickets would leap out like an explosion. I spent days picking up tiny crickets from all over the house. I certainly knew better next time!)



Speaking of my kitchen, it has seen better days. The veneer was painted 13 years ago as a temporary measure, as it was going to be remodelled. But life circumstances meant it is still the same. It looks worse because a utensils rod has fallen down.





One day it will be redone, but meanwhile a coat of flat black, and some white tile paint, like the one below may be a good idea...as well as a new utensils rod.


Photo source


One of my favourite birds is the Superb Fairy wren.
Last week Mum bought me this life size one, which I love.







Craft

Fairy villages in cups are quite popular at the moment. This was my first attempt and needs some refining. (And no...it is not in a cup.)









In the Garden

There is some great fungus growing on some wood on my back deck.


I am a 'fungusphile'. Fungus is beautiful. (Although I am not keen on mould in the fridge or general household mildew.) But the forest and garden have beautiful fungi.



The problem is that the wood is rotting and disintegrating, so it is going to need protection to keep it intact.




Meanwhile, this vine was winding its way up a poor neglected dracaena .




The vine was removed to give the dracaena a fighting chance. 

In October a tree was removed from the front yard and this is how it looked.




This morning I took a photo and this was my garden after Peter has helped me move a lot of mulch.


I have a vision for it now and plan to put some paths in there.

Reading

Today, in my reading travels, I came upon this poem, For Once, Then, Something by Robert Frost. He is an American poet who is one of my favourites. He uses aspects of his surroundings in rural New England as subjects for metaphors on life. In this poem he uses the idea of kneeling over the edge of a well as a metaphor for seeing his real self. I love his imagery.

For Once, Then, Something
Photo source

  
By Robert Frost          

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something

Frost uses the metaphor of looking into the well to explore the idea of looking into ourselves and seeing ourselves as other see us. I love his use of imagery. I don't think the photo I found quite does it justice.


This rural theme and closeness to nature links with the book I am currently reading - Walden, by Thoreau.




I am enjoying this book but finding it slow going. To put it simply, it is about a man who gives up 'civilised' life for 2 years and builds himself a log cabin by Walden Pond. He lives a very simple life, relying on his own devices to feed and clothe himself. 

The core of his introduction deals with the idea that owning a lot of things such as a big house or farm becomes a millstone around one's neck, and that the idea of abundant living comes through owning less.

I am always interested in these 'sea-change' stories, especially when they are linked to self-sufficiency and making things such as furniture from found objects.

This is one of the reasons I love the film Ring Of Bright Water, made in the 1960's  where the main character goes to a small town on the coast of Scotland to take his otter to live and to become a writer. He relies on what he can find and ingenuity to furnish his house and provide his food. 


Interesting sites


1.
Ballroom at Flinders St Station
Photo source
Flinders Street Station, the busiest railway hub in all of Australia, is home to a decaying beauty of a ballroom, an abandoned leftover from the bygone era of railroad romance. It id about to be refurbished. Click here to read about it.


 2.
Greatest science books of 2016
Photo source


Click here to discover the greatest science books of 2016.



3.   
 Self-driving cars are better
Photo source
Self-driving cars don't have to be perfect - just better than human driven cars. Click here to read more.