I have two new students staying with me for a few weeks. From Thailand. Both girls are 14, and luckily their English is pretty reasonable. While it is a bit of work having people, especially young people you have to cook & clean for…it is nice work.
Last night the girls made me their favourite meal. Do NOT ask me to spell it. I have no clue, but it tasted pretty good.
I have known this statement to be true for a while. Last night it was proven to me again. In a movie of all things. And perhaps in a movie where you would least expect it.
Through my two children I was introduced to the Fast & Furious movie franchise. I never expected to love these films…but I did. These movies are what you would expect…in a way. They have fast cars, crime, shoot outs, but they also have family and family values.
I looked forward to each and every new release…only once did I have a moment of…oh dear…really.
So it was with sadness that I heard the news that one of the stars of these movies died. Paul Walker died too young.
For a time I wondered if I would watch this last movie of the franchise with him in it, because it was only possible to be released with two of his brothers standing in for certain scenes.
I am so glad I finally did see it. Even if it broke my heart watching the ending. Knowing that those scenes had been filmed with the intention of saying goodbye from his cast members.
Vin Diesel may not be everyone’s cup of tea…but his tribute in the last scene…well it reminded me that family is those that live in our hearts and not just our veins.
I know this to be true because I have family that in no way are related by blood. They are related by heart, because I love them as dearly as it is possible. Just as I love some family by blood as well. So I know what Vin Diesel means when he says…”I used to say I lived my life a quarter mile at a time, I think that’s why we were brothers, because you did too. No matter where you are, whether it is a quarter mile away or half way across the world, you’ll always be with me.”
I swear…the stunts are fantastic…I held my breath with the car and three buildings one. I really did. Please…please watch this wonderful movie. You will not regret it.
I don’t have many memories before I was eight that did not have my Auntie Ed [short for Edna] in them. Auntie Ed was tiny. Seriously tiny. She was also a force of nature. Not someone you fooled around with. Auntie Ed had a way of looking at you that made your bones rattle when you had done something you knew was wrong. She [as we Aussies like to say] called a spade a spade.
Auntie Ed was the youngest of my father’s siblings. She had one other sister and four brothers. Though I actually lived with my other aunt, every holiday was spent at the home of my grandparents, where Auntie Ed lived. As well as holding down a job, Auntie Ed cared for my grandparents. My grandmother was blind and my grandfather had taken to his bed when retired, so her plate was full.
She never had her own children, as she married late in life. I always found that such a shame. Auntie Ed would have made one hell of a mother.
She loved golf. She was a wizz at gardening. I think the tomato plants were so scared of her biting wit they wouldn’t dare not flourish. As for her peas. I can’t remember a Christmas where I didn’t turn green from eating them. Each day we’d pick a bowl and it would be my job to shell them. Luckily we always picked way more than needed so I ate my fill as I shelled away.
Earlier this year as I picked peas in my own garden I was transported back to that time.
At the back of my grandparents’ house was a neighbour’s mulberry tree. To this day the smell of them sends me in to a tizzy of ecstatic delight. Auntie Ed had little sympathy the day I raided the tree and ate myself sick on mulberries that were still too green. I think she was actually secretly giggling at my discomfit. I learned a lesson that day…or maybe two. Never steal from the neighbours, and when you do make sure the fruit is ripe.
It has taken me years of practise to try to achieve a reasonable level of competency with baking. But I will never reach Auntie Ed’s standard. I can remember standing in the tiny kitchen as she threw ingredients together for her always perfect scones. I don’t remember her ever measuring anything…not ever…yet time after time they came out of the oven…perfect.
Christmas was a special time at the house in Campsie. Auntie Ed made her Christmas cake and the one thing I craved more than her peas…her Christmas pudding. As she sliced it open and served it with a piping hot homemade custard…the only thing that could make it better was knowing that somewhere inside I would find a shining silver sixpence.
Auntie Ed collected spoons. As I do. I am the proud possessor of some of her collection.
In 2007 The Daughter and I went to Sydney to visit with her. I am so glad she got the chance to meet my daughter, and profoundly saddened she never met my son. We stayed with Auntie Ed and I’d like to tell you about something she did…or rather said…that might help you to know this tiny powerhouse of a woman.
The Daughter and I were sharing a room. Sadly [like my father] I snore. This is not a little snurk now and the, rather like a train, an endless train right next to your ear. So at some point during the first night The Daughter grabbed her bedding and moved to the lounge. In the morning when Auntie Ed got up she she smiled at the Daughter. Then commiserated with her about how she had heard me too…all the way in her room.
This morning…my cousin rang me to tell me that Auntie Ed, at the grand age of 99, had passed away. While I understand when people say what a life she had, and yes she sure did…I am sad. So sad. You see, there are actually some people this world is better off because they are in it. My Auntie Ed was one of them. Today the world became a lessor place. It lost one of its best and brightest stars. I lost the greatest aunt a girl could wish for.
My cousin shared with me a couple of things, these things…they make me smile…because I know that there were people who were with her that loved her right until the end. Auntie Ed had been in a home in Australia. When he got the call that she was failing he spent the day with her. One nurse came in to Auntie Ed’s room. She asked him if she could give ‘Auntie Ed’ a kiss. You see they all knew her as I did…she was Auntie Ed…and they loved her.
So…a life well lived. A person well loved. A woman who gave me so much more than just a love of spoons. For all this I am grateful. I just wish Auntie Ed could have lived forever.
I was…and am I huge fan of Sons of Anarchy. I watched the first episode and was hooked right though to the end.
It was a violent TV show. There is no getting away from that. With all the love stories, all the camaraderie…there it was…violence.
It made me wonder. What made me keep watching? Yes the scripts were incredible. The characters mind blowing. The performances…at times there were no words for how good the acting was, but these were violent people living violent lives. So what was it that drew me to this series?
I think I have figured it out.
They did at times what deep, deep inside I wanted to do. We all want to be good. We all to be humane. We all want to take the high road…most of the time.
But there are times when we want to take the other road. We think don’t do it. But…oh my God how we want to. We want to inflect pain. We want to take our pain out on others. We want them to know…what they have done to us.
This violence lies in each of us. Some are just better at controlling it. Thankfully.
But there is always [I think] a moment where we would love to let loose without consequence.
So programmes like this…they let us let go with emotion, they let us revel a little in taking revenge.
It shocks me at times the violence I feel. Have always felt. Have always kept inside. Have never acted on. But it is there…inside.
There was one character I identified with. Gemma. Gemma was a bitch. But she was I who I wanted to be at times. When a boy broke my daughter’s heart or a friend caused my son to lose confidence I wanted to commit violence. I never did. Because that is not who I am. But I wanted to take them apart…piece by tiny piece. I know there is a blackbird perched outside my window often.
Gemma came to a sad end because she did what we do not do. She lost what it was to love, really love and except the consequences, which is what we do. That said…I still understand the violence of her feelings about protecting those she loved.
My best friend took a long time to get to know. She…yes she is a she…is a rebel [in her own way]. According to Jung she fits the rebel archetype that he ascribed to. You see she sees injustice everywhere and wants to shake up the entire system! According to Jungian psychologists, this type believes rules are made to be broken and is driven by the desire to shock and provoke people. She is deeply principled but still possesses a free spirit with few boundaries. I believe she has the potential to really change things, if she learns to reign in her rather extreme tendencies.
You might be surprised to learn that the colour of her aura is…
White – the colour of Perfect Balance – surprising I know, but the longer her I know her the more I realise that her strongest qualities are more spiritual than physical.
If I had to think of a quote that fits her it would be this…
“It is during our
darkest moments that
we must focus to see
Any idea who said that ??
She hasn’t had the perfect life experiences. At times she has been broken…but never it seems beyond repair. She’s had more than her share of heartbreaks, conflicts and disappointments. It was hard, but she always tried to see the bright side of things. When she looks back, I remind her that those experiences helped her become the person she is today. She is living proof that no matter what, the human spirit can always evolve and find happiness!
I have heard people describe her as unique, different. She reminds me of Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter. Always marching to the beat of her own drum.
People tell her that she is incredibly clever [she has her doubts], but she sees things in a completely different perspective to most other people and I think sometimes that does give her some valuable insights. Although most would describe her as an extrovert, they are not right. In reality she is still a shy little girl and is actually a bit of an introvert. She is incredibly comfortable in her own company. Over the years one thing she has learned is that being yourself is much more interesting than being someone else.
Her favourite Luna Lovegood quote: “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”
Astrologically she is a lion.
But deep down she feels much more in tune with Pegasus.
She has been there with me since before I knew what memory was. She laughs at my jokes, she cries at my losses…she even tells me when I am wrong sometimes. Not that we always agree on that.
I have loved many friends [and still do] in my lifetime. But learning to really know her, to understand her, and to love her as my best friend has been the longest journey of my life. Because she makes it hard sometimes…to know the woman behind the mask.
Luckily she stuck with me while I make my way on this journey of self discovery. I sure hope she’s around for a while longer because every day with her is a surprise.
and everything else falls in line.
You really have to love yourself
to get anything done in this world
– Lucille Ball
Oh…and late at night when she can’t sleep, when the characters on the page won’t do what she wants, when the photo images all seem blurry and not very good – she does way to many stupid quizzes. Even she admits that !!!
She also goes looking for hilarious videos. Just to make you smile !!!
This morning Gilly messaged me with the news of Christine’s passing. As I went to her blog to read Stuart’s post I was not surprised to find the tears rolling down my cheeks.
Friendships come to us so unexpectedly at times. We might be sitting in a Chinese restaurant when it walks in, in the shape of another 17 year old. It can happen at a writers’ group when a smile across a cup of coffee cements it then and there for life. My friendship with Christine happened over the internet. One day I opened up my comments and there she was.
2011…the year I started blogging. As I progressed further, so did Christine. Time and time again she took me home. When I would visit her blog there would always be some sense in me that was awakened. Her photos let me smell the grasses that lined the dunes of the beaches she walked. I could taste the salt spray that the sea breezes left on my lips as she caught a sea bird riding the air currents over blue waves. I could feel the softness of the petals as Christine brought me closer to the flowers in her garden or on her many walks around the land I still call home.
Her visits and comments so often brought a smile. Some were cause for reflection.
I have read…though not yet commented on some wonderful tributes that have been written for Christine. It is not that I don’t want to…I just can’t yet for some reason.
I know that today…when I speak to some friends here of my sadness, my sense of loss…they will not understand.
We do not always need the physical presence of someone to feel the pull of friendship, the camaraderie of interests or of having shared roots of heritage.
For them blogging is an artificial world.
For me it is the world coming to me. It is what allows me the great joy of finding people to enlighten me, to make me laugh, to make me cry…to connect with on so many different levels.
Christine did all that and more in the three years I have known her. I will miss her wonderful photography. I will miss her joy in her life. I will miss her wise words. I will miss Christine.
I am grateful for the chance to have had her in my life…fleetingly, from afar, but most definitely a presence. I wish I had had the chance to meet her in person…but I met her spirit. How lucky am I.
Perhaps it is fitting that when I checked my comments this morning…the very last comment on the blog is from Christine.
Farewell Christine. You will be missed.
Invocation – Rod McKuen
It may happen
that in some hidden
you’ll rise up
and come to me
in solitude or silence.
We will meet
as we have met
on a train or at the end
of some new train of thought.
Regarding animals would you prefer not having them around or having domestics pets, farm animals, or seeing them in nature or the zoo?
I would shrivel if I didn’t have my fur companions. That said I feel there should be more restrictions placed on people having pets, and most certainly breeding them. They are not and should never be treated as commodities.
Living here in New Zealand where factory farming has become the next big thing I abhor animals being kept in these atrocious conditions. It astounds me that with so much land available we lock chickens up in tiny cages where they can barely turn around let alone take any pleasure in their lives. They live in great smelly buildings instead of breathing fresh air and being able to scratch and roll in the dirt. Our pigs are just as badly off. Most are locked in pens and sow cages that stop them from nurturing their babies who are then taken from them for slaughter. And now our government is allowing cattle to be treated in a similar fashion.
As for zoos, I am in two minds when it comes to them. I have seen too many animals kept in conditions that make their lives miserable. Thankfully many zoos are now changing, and realising the need to provide a natural habitat for these creatures. While I understand the work some zoos do in educating people and allowing them to see these animals and hopefully develop empathy for them there are still way too many factors that bother me. Case in point the zoo that recently bred a giraffe then while he was still a youngster shot a bolt in to its head as he was surplus to their genetic needs. I deplore this attitude many humans have of believing we have the right of dominion over other species. Until we put that behind us and make sure these creatures are able to roam free in the natural habitat then we are nothing but slavers.
Are you a collector of anything?
Oh yes I am.
I inherited this addiction from my darling Auntie Ed, my father’s youngest sister.
If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?
If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to?
1 minute 29 in…oh that is so me !!!! Then there is 2 minutes and 41 seconds. Oh yea baby !!!!
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I am grateful that my fire is fixed as it turned cold all of a sudden, and that my three fur babies are all well and content. The upcoming week looks a bit wet…so I am grateful for that. It makes me feel less guilty for being indoors and working on the book.
I know…reaching for the sky here. But one of the reasons I like this competition is that they are pretty strict on you submitting natural untouched images.
This was after a lot of help from friends narrowing it down. The thing with competitions like these are that they are so subjective depending on the judge/s.
I loved last year’s winners, however the year before I was left stunned at at least one of the choices. Not because it wasn’t a great photo, or that it didn’t perfectly fit the category, but because there were so many better entries.
I am curious.
For those of you who read this blog, and who enter a competition or two, what helps you to make your choice/s about what images you decide on ?
Do you go with your gut ?
Do you ask for other opinions ?
Do you check out the judges and see what their body of work is all about ?
Do you look at past winners of the competition ?
There are four categories in this competition. I went all out and entered the lot. I was allowed five entries in to three categories.
These are the images I picked in the end.
Society & Culture
And then there was the category Photostory. For this you were allowed to tell a story in six images. Boy did that do my head in. Last year’s winner really nailed it. Not sure I have, but I gave it my best shot. This is my Photostory about ANZAC Day.
I am sure some of you will disagree with some of my choices. I would [as always] love to hear your opinion. Now it is time to get busy on the next lot of entries…due on the 13th of this month.
Oh…completely off base. I started a photography course online. I don’t know if you have heard of the MOOC List.
“MOOC List” is an aggregator (directory) of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from different providers.
There are some big institutions offering free courses in a huge range. You don’t always get a certificate…some you do. But you learn from some of the best institutions in the world for free. I am doing a month long course that is offered through Open Universities Australia. Wish me luck.