Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I didn't have to become perfect because I've learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness.

Janelle Monae

I actually haven't followed this advice, to 'embrace what makes you unique' during my life time but I am going to try now. (Poor Peter.........or maybe lucky Peter- who knows where the trip will end.)

I did actually 'embrace what made me unique' at one stage. I like to count things and have them in order. I count all sorts of things - stairs; how many times I stir my coffee;  how many things I have on the clothes line. I love systems and plans - you always have to have a plan. Over the years I have tried to convince my daughters to count things to help keep their lives organised.  You can probably see where I am going with this. As time went on and things got a little difficult for me and I saw some mental health professionals, it actually turned out I have some aspects of OCD - quite a few in fact. Not so much as to interfere terribly with my life, but 'what I embraced as my uniqueness'- the things I saw as making me an interesting person - were not so much interesting as a bit of a problem.

I didn't like maths much at school but I have always been fascinated by numbers. I love to know people's ages. And when I studied psychology, statics  was  like a dream come true. You can take amorphous things such as emotion or feeling and measure them and come up with mathematical results. I wasn't very good at actually doing statistics, but I loved the way you could say something was significant or not significant based on a number.

The first time I studied psychology was at uni, back in the 70's and I was too busy having a good time and then cramming when I had to. It wasn't easy to cram for a statistics exam. There was no point just learning formulae - you had to know how and when to use them. Needless to say I didn't, and my statistics exam in first year psychology was the only time in my life I failed an exam. I passed the overall subject with a credit because I hadn't done too bad a job on assignments during the year - and this was the time before calculators.

When I returned to uni to study more psychology in 1995, everything was on computer, although the internet hadn't quite taken off. I did a research project on teaching syllables to primary school students with reading disabilities. I just couldn't get hold of the statistics program I needed, even though I was prepared to buy it, so my supervisor did the stats for me. So while I am not particularly good at statistics I love the idea of them.

But before you start thinking I must have a very organised life I should tell you that some parts of it are so extremely organised that I just run out of time to organise the rest.

 And as for the idea that 'perfection is the enemy of greatness' I would rather change that to 'perfectionism is the enemy of greatness.'

And that is another whole story.


Easter has come and gone, and as important as this time is on the Christian calendar, Peter and I didn't manage to get to a formal Easter service.

We did attend a more informal service at Manna House. Peter and I volunteer on Thursday evenings at a dinner provided at our church for people who are lonely or down on their luck. I stopped volunteering for 2016 as I was tutoring, but I have cut down on that, and am back to Manna House again. 

For the Thursday before Easter the hall was decorated with greenery and candles

Easter Sunday saw Peter's family at Wollongong Botanic Gardens, picnicking and hunting for eggs and please note that no family faces have been depicted for privacy reasons.

We set up our picnic under the trees.

There was a beautiful view towards Mount Keira from where we were sitting.

This was the basket of eggs waiting to be hidden. Note the interested little hand.

Hunting for eggs.

Grandpa had some bags of Easter goodies for everyone - minus any chocolate but including a book. You can never go wrong with a book, although as Peter's eldest grandchild approaches 8 it will not be so easy to buy age appropriate Easter themed books. Maybe we will just establish a tradition of giving books at Easter.

We did manage to attend church last Sunday night. A cross was lit up on the stage. We actually arrived early for once.

Later in the night the cross became pink.

Ian, the head minister spoke on Romans 12  which talks about the way we should behave as Christians. It was interesting that he talked about pausing before we react when someone wrongs us. I had just been reading the same thing in a book my brother bought me entitled, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. This book is written by a psychologist who happens to be Buddhist, and I am not endorsing Buddhism as a religion at all, but I can think of a number of times in my life where pausing before I reacted would have been a good idea.

Climbing on my roof  

Climbing on the roof is a problem for me. It is just too high, but I am determined to do it. My roof leaks and I want to help Peter fix it. So I am determined to make it up there. Each day I have been moving up a step on the ladder and standing until I feel comfortable. 

There is a lovely view from step 7 and I only need to get up onto step 8 to make it onto the roof.

Below is a view with the ladder in the foreground. 

And more views from my back roof.


Little toadstools in a tiny cup.

Polymer clay toadstools sit on a polymer clay base. I need to soften it with some spagnum moss and little flowers.

I have finally woven in all the ends on my crochet cardigan and am ready to get on with the next part.

I am just hoping I have enough wool as I am making it from an old half knitted jumper.

This is the cardigan I am crocheting.

If you are interested you can find the free pattern here. 
Just remember American instructions are different from British and Australian instructions.

Easter Poem

This poem by Bruce Dawe, a famous Australian poet, is one I can't forget. A little late for Easter, it is written from the point of view of a Roman soldier at the crucifixion. It is so evocative of that awful morning. Yet there is almost a poignant humour to it because of the colloquial language.

And a Good Friday Was Had by All

You men there, keep those women back
and God Almighty he laid down
on the crossed timber and Old Silenus
my offsider looked at me as if to say
nice work for soldiers, your mind’s not your own
once you sign that dotted line Ave Caesar
and all that malarkey Imperator Rex

well this Nazarene
didn’t make it any easier
really—not like the ones
who kick up a fuss so you can
do your block and take it out on them

held the spikes steady and I let fly
with the sledge-hammer, not looking
on the downswing trying hard not to hear
over the women’s wailing the bones give way
the iron shocking the dumb wood.

Orders is orders, I said after it was over
nothing personal you understand—we had a
drill-sergeant once thought he was God but he wasn’t
a patch on you

then we hauled on the ropes
and he rose in the hot air
like a diver just leaving the springboard, arms spread
so it seemed
over the whole damned creation
over the big men who must have had it in for him
and the curious ones who’ll watch anything if it’s free
with only the usual women caring anywhere
and a blind man in tears.

Bruce Dawe   


Interesting sites

Green roofed hobbit house
Photo source
Click here to read about a green roofed hobbit house you can build in 3 days.

Randomness peaks at age 25

Photo source

'Our ability to avoid patterns is at its greatest in our mid-twenties, writes Andrew Masterson.' Click here to read more. 


 Too clean for our children's health

Photo source

I am currently reading a book about gut bacteria and how over cleaning can have a negative affect.Click here to read an article in the New York Times about how we may be too clean for out children's health.


Sunday, 16 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.)

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.


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.


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

 Mural bars of New York

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

 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. 

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.