Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

THE BEAUTY THAT STILL REMAINS (April 2017)

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. 

 Anne Frank

Anne Frank at School  (Photo source.)


I read The Diary of Anne Frank about 40 years ago when I was teaching it to a year 10 class. It is about a teenage girl in Amsterdam in the Netherlands during World War 2. She was Jewish and her family was hidden in secret rooms behind where her father worked, in order to save them from the concentration camps of the Nazis.

After 2 years her family was found by the Nazis and she was taken to a concentration camp with her sister. She died here soon after from Typhus.

Her father was the only member of the family who survived until the end of the war. He returned to Amsterdam, found Anne's diaries and had them published. They were translated into many languages and read all over the world.

I don't know if the quote above is taken from her book, but it is a sentiment I try to live by. 

But another quote I came across, is by writer, Anne Rice. "To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself."

The last few weeks I have been a bit down, and as usual when I am not feeling great, I decide not to continue with my blog, because I must be stupid to think people will want to read about my boring life. Today, as I was thinking I might start again, even if it is a bit stupid, I came across Anne Rice's quote and I thought, that even though I write in a very small way, I can take that risk. You have to take risks all the time. So this post is just a quick hotch-potch of the last few weeks. I began writing it - decided I was going to stop - then decided I was going to continue. It is a great record for me to look back on even if nobody reads it, and it makes me look at the positives in life. That was my initial aim in starting it.
 





A Plethora of Birthdays 

Several weeks ago weeks ago was Mum's 85th birthday. My grand-nephew turned 3 the next day. So my lovely niece and her equally lovely husband hired a house for the weekend at Wombarra, and had a 'party' for Nanna and Patrick.

This was the Treasure Island cake they shared, complete with volcano.



Below is the Treasure island cake with the volcano alight.



Here we are playing 'Pin the badge on Chase' from Paw Patrol. (I have deliberately not shown any faces.)



Two weeks ago was Kasey's 30th birthday. Kasey is Peter's  beautiful daughter-in-law. We had a great family get together. All the little cousins had a lot of fun. Peter has six grandchildren now, and I am so lucky to be able to share them with him.   

The cake was decorated with fresh flowers.

 

Kasey looked beautiful as always in a sparkly pink dress. And two of the little cousins enjoyed watching the candles on the cake being lit. As always I don't put faces, especially of the children, but I have caught a side shot of Kasey here and I hope she won't mind.




Last week it was Ruby's birthday. Ruby is one of Peter's 6 grandchildren.She turned 5 and we had fun at the MacDonald's party room at Engadine.                                                       
Ruby's Mum Kasey, cake maker extraordinaire, made her this unicorn cake. Not only did it look fantastic, it tasted delicious, especially the icing.(Always my favourite part of the cake!)












  
  I haven't forgotten Beth's birthday. She is Peter's youngest daughter and child and turned 29. We had a lovely lunch  at a hotel in Sylvania, but for some reason, sadly, I didn't manage to take any suitable photos. (And no! I wasn't drunk.)
    
                  
Decorating

I continued my budget decorating in my 'Scandi-Christmas' style. I can make it as 'over-the-top' as I like because I can. I bought the tablecloth below at Vinnies for $2 and think it suits my theme quite well. I have virtually no budget at all so am viewing it all as a big challenge and a chance to be creative.


And with added bananas for Peter.




In the garden

Rain and more rain... and the appearance of toadstools everywhere. Below is a selection from my front garden and footpath.


























I also have some beautiful bark on the tree on my footpath.




Craft

These polymer clay toadstools are cooked and all ready to be used. I am very slow at getting around to all the things I want to get done.


My crochet cardigan continues to grow. Before I go any further I need to weave in the ends, which there are many of, because the wool kept on breaking as I unpulled it from another cardigan I had started knitting many years ago.

This is how the actual cardigan is supposed to look when it is finished.



 This is how the back of it looks at the moment and I have probably woven in two thirds of the ends.


   
 It looks dreadful now, but I'm sure it will all come up ok when it's finished and pressed.

Poetry

I came across the poem below by Louis Carroll and really liked it. Any poem about boats make me think of my brother and my lovely Peter.
 
Photo source

 A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky
by Lewis Carroll
A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?



I love the soft images of this poem. It reminds me of the first 10 years of my childhood. We lived near the beach and the days I remember were like this. Playing by the sea, feeling that life would always be the same - there were so many years ahead. As young children my brother and i 'lingered in that golden gleam' - life was stable and happy and safe and far away dreams of the future were hazy but also 'gleaming'. But life changes - the seasons change. 

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:



Interesting sites

1.
 Mural bars of New York

Photo source
 Click here to visit some bars with wonderful wall murals in New York.

2.
 The last meal on earth.

Photo source
  Click here to read an interesting article entitled 'The Last Meal On Earth'. It is about the decline of the Bluefin Tuna and their popularity on the dinner table, especially in Japan. 


3.
Invaded by flowers
Photo source


This is a beautiful article. Click here to read about a town in Poland that decided to cheer things up after WWII and never stopped.
  

Thursday, 2 March 2017

SMILE BECAUSE IT HAPPENED (March 2017)

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. 

Dr. Seuss



This is good advice as you get older, especially as you reach my age of 62, and it is very easy to look back on the fun days when the kids lived at home and we were all together and long for those days.

Better to be thankful for the good times of the past, and look forward to the future to make more good times.

I have spent 52 years missing father, but ever thankful for the 10 wonderful years I did have with him before he died. He was a man ahead of his time - a very 'hands on' father who told me I could be anything in life that I wanted to be, even if I was a girl. It makes me very sad that he missed so much of my life.

BUT...how lucky was I to have my beautiful memories to look back on, so I can look back and smile. 

 
James Edwards 1922-1964



It has been a quiet week with a trip to Stanwell Park on Wednesday to see Peter's GP.





Decorating

I am redecorating on a budget of almost nothing. I am making use of all sorts of things that once I wouldn't have given a second glance.

My mother was clearing some things out and gave me this old wooden lamp base she had once bought at a garage sale. 






A coat of aluminium spray paint completely changed the character of the old wooden lamp base.








 The lamp shade came from the Salvo's at a cost of $4. I was really just looking for a frame I could cover in chicken wire, but then decided that the shade looked quite good.



 Because the lamp shade didn't fit the base I made a set of 'washers' out of an ice-cream container to hold the shade in place.


 Below is the lamp switched on.




 


Below is a close-up of Jade's sculpture under the cloche.






The table itself was found at the Salvo's for $8. It was originally black so also received a coat of the aluminium spray paint.





Finds

These fans were bought for $4 for the 3 at Vinnies. I think they are beautiful. I have plans for them. 






In the garden

On Monday we had some time to spend in the garden so we added some more mulch to the front.



I bought this pot at an op-shop for 50 cents. My son-in-law drilled a drainage hole in the base, potting mix was added and then some mint cuttings. So far they are growing well.



This tiny seedling is one of several growing in the lavender cuttings. 





I think they are tree ferns as this small tree fern growing behind the sage in the herb garden nearby began the same way.




In the kitchen 

Leek and asparagus tarts.

Makes 4 tarts
Serves 8

I bought 2 leeks and 2 bunches of asparagus at the fruit market. I decided to make some leek and asparagus tarts.





Ingredients

2 leeks washed and sliced
2 bunches of asparagus.
4 squares frozen puff pastry
beaten egg
200g Fetta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
12 tiny tomatoes
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup of sour cream  
2 beaten eggs


Chop and sweat down the 2 leeks.



Cover 2 bunches of asparagus in boiling water and leave for 15 minutes. 






 Cut 2 squares of puff pastry in half. Cut 4 one centimetre strips off the long side of each piece. Place a strip around each edge of the pastry rectangles. Make knobs for corners with left over pastry. Coat edges with a beaten egg.
Sprinkle a quarter of the Fetta cheese over each rectangle. Cover with leeks. Place asparagus along edges and across pastry. Top with tiny tomatoes cut in half.


 Sprinkle half of the fresh thyme over.

Mix half a cup of sour cream with 2 lightly beaten eggs. Spoon onto tart between asparagus. Sprinkle with remainder of the thyme and bake at 220 degrees for 20 minutes.

 











Interesting sites


1.
 Hobbit home built for sheep

Photo source
 Click here to visit this abandoned hobbit - home, built for sheep. 

2.
 The scale of the large

Photo source
 Click here to watch a short video of the comparison of sizes and distances in space, beginning with ourselves and ending up with the universe. This is done by the Khan Academy. I really like their stuff.

3.

Photo source
Click here to read a really interesting article from the New York Times about how success can make you sick. This sort of explains why in my case depression can lift in the short term when I encounter a crisis.