Friday, April 30, 2010

a moderately big success

Well here it is, the last day of April and I've managed to blog every day.

In some ways I achieved what I wanted to (writing every day), but in other ways I didn't get to the writing space I hoped to. Not surprising really - daily writing when busy isn't conducive to deep reflection all the time. There were a few topics I wanted to write about that I just didn't get to, or if I did, I felt they were half baked. But sometimes it was nice to just write about the light, trite events and share a little bit more of my world.

So here's the plan. I'm going to keep writing regularly. Not every day (I'm off away for the weekend. Yay!), but my goal is to write two or three times a week. That should keep the momentum going and give me space to air my opinions on things.

For now, I'm signing out for April 2010.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

big bad violent television

Frank is watching another war doco, this time about Australian soldiers at Kokoda. It seems to be a very sensitive documentary and certainly beats the tired Nazi documentaries on SBS.

I'm listening with one ear, but not watching. I've realised violence on television, or even the hint of it, does my head in. Even if I can't see what is happening, my imagination more than fills in any gaps and I feel ill at the thought of what was and is done, or what is imagined. It was after watching Sophie Scholl (and consequently sleeping poorly as I relived the guillotine moment that was really only a blank screen with all extra details created in my own mind), that I realised I should stop pretending I like gruesomeness and embrace my sensitivity.

So I was pretty disgusted when my brothers went and saw Inglorious Basterds and enjoyed it. I couldn't believe that they would firstly watch, and secondly enjoy a movie that, from all I read, glorified violence. My concerns don't stem just from my own sensitivities, but from what I observe at school where primary aged children watch more violent and scary movies than I ever will. If we who can discern reality from fiction watch violent movies and think they are OK, what about those who have blurred lines between reality and the big screen? Are violent movies feeding violence (in school and society as a whole), or are movies taking their scripts from real life events? I imagine it is a little of both, but I am deeply concerned for the children I know and care for, who watch extreme violence often. I am also concerned for what this will do for our society as a whole.

I should at this point confess my proclivity for murder mysteries. This is an anomaly, and I have noticed a shift when I watch too many - I feel kind of scungy inside. So I've cut back on them and taken this as my motto for the year:
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Philippians 4:8, MSG
I'm not sure I can beat the violence in the world - it is all pervasive, and even lurks in my heart at times. But perhaps if I fill my mind with the beautiful, not the ugly, I can push the violence and vileness out until it has no space left to hide.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

big flashback

I had a weird dream last night... not a flash back as such, but it featured Mel Gibson (who for some reason didn't look like Mel Gibson, and wouldn't talk to me), and multitudes of us being taught a new system of checking out groceries at the supermarket. Customers could walk straight through busy checkouts to us standing outside of Coles (it was definitely Coles), in the main shopping centre thoroughfare (where Mel Gibson was busking). We had portable scanners and tills and computers and quickly scanned the groceries and let customers get on their way incredibly quickly. Amazingly the whole store closed for half an hour while we had morning tea (in which I forgot to go to the toilet and was beginning to regret it when I woke up), and even more amazingly, our trainer was actually a doctor (from real life) who works at the local hospital. Like I said, weird. Go figure that one out for me!

That isn't the flashback. It is an incidental record of my dream world.

One of the teachers was talking about a student who was hamming up an injury for attention today. This was more than a little annoying, but as she told the story I had a flashback to myself as a primary school student who just wanted attention.

Someone at some point must have had a stiff leg, or sprained ankle, or similar injury that resulted in them limping. No doubt this garnered many a sympathetic comment, and suddenly a number of us were sporting 'stiff legs' and limps. I for one had nothing wrong with me. I may occasionally have had a slight ache in my leg, but nothing limp worthy. I was however good at acting, and remember being asked if I was OK while I lapped up the attention.

Some things never change. By this I do not mean I still feign limps when I want attention (I use other means now). No, I mean school girls never change. They're still blowing up injuries for affect... and still being as mean as we all were in my day, only now they send nasty emails and SMS, one of which I observed today. This is crazy girls! If you're going to be mean, don't do it in a way that leaves so much incriminating evidence... have you no sense?

Of course I don't condone meanness, I'm just trying to get my head around cyber bullying. It makes no sense to me, although I do get how devastating it can be... many the night spent tossing sleeplessly as I ponder a comment on my blog or a cyber snub and wonder what I did wrong. Hmmm, is there any link with my dream here? Does Mel Gibson ignoring me plug into a deep seated sense of rejection?

Ha. Craziness all of it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

short shrift (there is nothing big about this post)

Some time last year I ordered a craft item off the internet. Suddenly I started receiving catalogues every month or two, with pages and pages and pages of every craft gadget you could ever imagine. It's interesting to flick through, tempts me occasionally (though I have never ordered anything more) and boggles the mind with all that is available. However, I didn't ask for it, I don't want it and it is an enormous waste of paper... if I want something from them, I know how to get to their website!

So I phoned up today and unsubscribed. And it was suprisingly easy. I feel all self righteous and most definitely pleased.

That and giving the telemarketer short shrift, I'm feeling strong. I can resist the marketing machine!

(Three days to go!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

big dud

Every month of daily blogging needs to have a dud post. This is it.

(Actually I may have already done a dud this month...)

Kind of a weird day today, in which I remembered a semi-arranged appointment and fitted it in, before forgetting another appointment was cancelled and turning up anyway. House clean and tidy. Bought most of the supplies I need for the group of 30 (gasp) women anticipated for necklace making tomorrow. Keeping it simple and hoping it goes OK.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

is this for real?

Apparently it has been perfect weather for mushrooms. Wet and a little on the cool side. Not that it has been very cold, or wet, for that matter... I can't remember such a mild, sunny autumn. But we are getting rain every week or so (I still find this amazing after the big dry of recent times) and this is what I found in my garden yesterday.

Align Center

I know they are more than just fairytale lore, but didn't know that they could be found in Australia, and are in fact well established here, to the point of displacing native fungi species in Tasmanian forests. I hope whatever ate one side of this mushroom had a nice trip and survived. I haven't noticed the chickens behaving too strangely, though a few eggs have been dropped on the ground from the perch rather than laid in their nest. Are they our mystery mushroom munchers?

These ones are ugly but plentiful...

...and these are well past their prime, thought still impressive. I did think they might be edible, but didn't have a proper look, don't really know what I'm looking for and decided not cook any up just yet.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

the state library of tasmania is hugely awesome

Last night we watched Miss Potter. What a lovely little movie! We really enjoyed it.

The story was made all the sweeter by being a freeby... yup, borrowed it from the State Library. Search for DVDs and there are *masses* of them! All available for free. Just thinking what I'll borrow next.

I know I've waxed lyrical about it before, but I love the library. Why didn't I start using it earlier? Books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, reference... so much on offer.

Friday, April 23, 2010

a big unravelling

I've been knitting a lot lately, a pleasant spin off of working less. I get all the little jobs done during the day and can chill out in the evening. In the last five weeks I have knitted the front and sleeves of a jumper for Frank.

Alack alas, the front has good tension, as do the sleeves... but the back I knitted last September was far too loose. I'm pretty sure I used to knit tightly, then I changed the way I hold the needles and suddenly my tension became loose. It's much more efficient to knit the new way, but the jumper back was way oversized as I adjusted my gauge.

So today I gritted my teeth and did it... frogged, unravelled, pulled apart the back while Frank quietly wept. The jumper he thought was days away is once again weeks away.

Me? I found it strangely therapeutic, although I dread the thought of reknitting a whole back... I won't be making this a habit! For now I'm giving myself a 'big grey jumper' break and starting a red alpaca scarf for myself, to add a bit of colour to life.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

take a big breath

Last night a bunch of us met together for Curious, a fortnightly spiritual conversation. We've ranged through quite a few different topics over our three years, including living with integrity, living simply, and creative thinking. Lately we've been watching Nooma DVDs, and last night we chose Breathe.

It was startling in its simplicity. God's name in the Old Testament Hebrew was YHWH. Too holy to pronounce, it was more a breath than a name. In breathing the hallowed name, one breathed the essence of God, spirit, life. Perhaps by the act of simply breathing in and out we all acknowledge God who is life and breath, whether we mean to or not. Perhaps we might connect deeply with God by focusing on our breathing, drawing in God's goodness, exhaling the gunge from our hearts.

Now maybe this is all too airy fairy for you, but somehow last night we were all caught up in the simplicity of knowing God with every breath. There is something very freeing about meeting God through something we do every minute of every day of our lives. No straining or toiling, just breathing God in, acknowledging the gift of life. I think we all became more aware of God's presence in us as we drew each breath.

There is something powerful in this image. A few weeks ago I was at a 'Teaching Stillness and Silence' training day. At one point we meditated with YHWH breaths as our focus. At the time I was slumming around, trying to figure out where evolution fits with my belief system, or where my belief system fits with evolution. I was confused, angry, and maybe even feeling betrayed - by God, science, and by my own crazy thoughts. It seemed to me that if science is right (and some scientists I know who also follow Jesus believe the science is right), then evolution is a likely course of events... And suddenly my beliefs were shot. If we all arrived here via evolution, life became meaningless in my mind. What was the point and purpose of life if we crawled out of the slime? If this was true, God may as well be dead. I was having a crisis.

There I was, doubting the very existence of God in the face of strong scientific evidence for evolution, and they asked me to breathe the hallowed name of God. YH (in) WH (out). YH - WH. YH-WH.

Something broke inside me and my eyes filled with tears. I'd be lying if I said all my doubts and questions were instantly erased, but suddenly they did not matter. YH - WH. YH - WH. And as I breathed in and out and focused on breathe, life, God, peace crept in. The mystery of God at work in my heart.

I can't pin God down any more than I can pin down a breath of air. At once ethereal, yet so very real as I am sustained, released, transformed. Breath is fragile and powerful at the same time. I can't see it, I can't explain it but I know it is there. And when I breathe God, YH-WH, YH-WH, I know God is there too. I feel it, moving within me, changing me, softening and making me whole.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a big evening, too big to blog

I knew I should have blogged while the barley risotto was cooking in the oven! Now it is quarter to eleven and I'm tired and need to go to bed.

We had 'Curious' our discussion group on life, faith and spirituality, tonight and the conversation was stimulating and invigorating. It reminded me of something that happened a few weeks ago which I might share tomorrow when I will (hopefully) have more blogging time.

For now goodnight. Sweet dreams.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

another headachy day

I still have a headache, and my the base of my skull is kind of stiff and sore and I wonder if that should worry me more than it does.

Anyway, here are a couple of things I liked about today:
  1. I found my hairbrush. This is a *big* deal. Yesterday I decided I had left it behind in our lovely weekend accommodation. I looked in all the bags we took (because even though it was only one night, I still took lots of bags of things to do while Frank helped people climb trees. Knitting, reading, letter writing... you name it, I had it with me!) without success. Then today, I checked another pocket of my current handbag formy list for the day so I feel productive... I couldn't find it, which means I did nothing all day, but voile... there was the brush. I didn't realise my bag had enough space to hide something as big as a hair brush. Anyway, I'm pretty happy to have found it.
  2. I forgot to take my name tag off after work, and the man at the nursery said 'That will be $50 Cecily' as I bought my gardening clogs (because I am convinced I will garden more with the proper footwear), and I got all embarrassed and quickly whipped the badge off and into my bag. I hate advertising my name to all and sundry, which is why I write a blog with my name plastered all over it. Snigger. Anyway, he asked about the company I work for and we ended up having a conversation about the value of quitting work and being happier with less money. It was quite deep for a two minute transaction, and I felt better for knowing I'm not the only one making crazy decisions to work less but gain more of life.
And now I must to bed. Goodnight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

i have a big headache...

... and therefore will not be blogging tonight.

Actually I threw panadol, water, sugar, food and sleep (not in that order) at it and the situation has slightly improved. However, I am now heading to bed to sleep, sleep, sleep.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

a big dose of beauty

It started on Friday when I went to the Launceston Art Society's Eskleigh Tasmanian Art Award exhibition. There were so many beautiful paintings and so much skill on display I could only whip out my mobile and take a few sneaky shots to share later with Frank... although thinking about it now, perhaps I could have bought one and taken it home for Frank to see in real life! Budgets and tight schedules being what they are, I could not linger and I could not buy. Miniscule, poor quality photos on my phone were all I could manage, and since I can't work out how to get them off my phone, that is where they will stay.

Thankfully my memories of the exhibition are better quality, and I walked out of Eskleigh feeling rich with amazement at what people can do with pencil, paintbrush, ink or oil. All the way back to town I chuckled, and shook my head in wonder and murmured with delight.

Saturday morning, and Frank and I were up with Hector for an early trip to Hobart. If you've never seen the sun rise over Ben Lomond and Stacks Bluff, then I highly recommend an early morning drive down that way. Quite stunning, and then once the sun is up, that autumn goldenness steals over the hills and trees and sheep and it is wondrous.

Soon Frank was watching people climb trees at the Tasmanian Tree Climbing Championships while I hit Salamanca with my aunt, uncle and cousins.

Saturday in Hobart without visiting the market would be a dead loss if you ask me. I don't buy much, the stalls barely change, but I love to go and mooch around. You'll find three-packs of winter socks, vintage clothes, sheep cheese, wooden paraphernalia, soap... and craftsmanship of the highest order. One lady makes necklace pendants from broken china, a man had handmade snakeskin sandles and wallets. There were beads and scarves and felted hats, and a strange woman paraded around her stall caressing her knitted wares with a $50 note in a strange form of money dance, all the while with a knitted possum perched atop her head. Nearby was the elderflower cordial and raspberry chilli chocolate sauce, of which I required only a taste to be convinced to part with my money. I left Salamanca marvelling at the creativity and ingenuity of the human spirit.

Frank was still assisting at the climbing championships, and while he soaked up the sun at the base of a tree, I sat on the beach and read a book. There's a reason why Sandy Bay is called Sandy Bay, and I wasn't the only one enjoying the incredibly warm autumn weather. Families, and dogs, and couples and grandmas and grandpas were everywhere. We were onto a good thing and did our darnedest to make the most it!

After a night in some rather lovely accommodation (in which we were upgraded to the King Suite... nice!) we headed back to the park for a serious day of competition. Well Frank did... I headed back to the beach and finished the book.

All the while I kept thinking how beautiful the world was, and how spoiled I was to be able to just sit and enjoy it. The whole thing kept getting better and better. I drove to Kingston to meet my newest first-cousin-once-removed and enjoyed being with family then came back the scenic route, and somehow stayed on the road despite trying to geek at the view around every bend.

And then it was all over. We got in the car and drove home, and the autumn dappled light shone through yellow leaves and the goldenness kissed the hills and trees and sheep and it was wondrous.

Home now and I feel over stuffed with beauty. There's an Italian saying, or so my pen friend told me when I ate too much at that amazing restaurant her family took me to in Ravenna: 'sto sca piando'. I have no idea how to spell it, or what the Italian words even are, but that's it phonetically.

The literal translation is "I'm about to explode". Which about sums it up. I have seen so many wonderful things this weekend, and enjoyed nature and human creativity at their absolute best. I could not possibly fit any more goodness in... or I just might explode with rapture.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

a break in the bigness

We interrupt this big month of daily blogging to inform you the author has... left the building. She is having a lot of fun pounding the pavement in Hobart and will come back tomorrow with renewed vigour to carry on posting to the end of the month. That's the plan anyway!

Friday, April 16, 2010

it all seems more real when you've been there

I have a handy defence mechanism for coping with the overwhelming pain of the world. Turn the television off and it all goes away.

It's a faulty mechanism I know, but how much grief and disaster and death can a person take? Sometimes I reach my limit and as the compassion fatigue seeps in I can only think of escape. I do my best to respond, feel the pain, be generous, but it just never stops.

So I was pretty detached when Haiti happened. Then there was Chile. I found the Polish plane crash more comprehensible - getting my head around 96 dead seemed so much easier than hundreds. Or hundreds of thousands.

And now there is China. I would like to turn the television off and pretend it hasn't happened, (say it isn't so) but a dear friend was only three hundred kilometres from the destruction. Four years ago I was only four hundred kilometres from the epicentre. Remembering back to the places we visited in 2006 and the people we met, it is easier to imagine what is happening and be moved by the loss.

China seem to have it pretty much under control - as much as you can control an earthquake. I suppose by that I mean there are no calls for donations. But here is my small tribute to those who have suffered loss in this earthquake.

Qinghai Province, rooftop of the world.

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i'm becoming too big an eccentric even for myself

I might go back to using shampoo after a most uncomfortable trip to the hairdresser in which I worried the whole time about her thinking my hair was terrible. She didn't comment on my hair, but she did say my scalp was very dry. Ya. I guess bicarb soda will do that. It also explains the itchiness.

So it's either time for shampoo or... I don't know... avocado? Egg? Both are supposed to condition beautifully. If I can just get over thinking it's a waste of food! Stubborn as ever, I'd like to get to a year without shampoo before I give in. Four months to go.

On the bright side, no nits or lice on me. That's a relief, especially after yesterday, when a child draped my scarf over her friend's head. Five minutes later I saw lice crawling on the very same head. I'm not sure if I can ever wear that scarf again, although a wash might do the trick.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

a big assignment

I'm exaggerating. I have a 500 word article commission. No biggy, although it does help me work towards one of my list items from the other day. It will, however, prevent me writing a more significant post tonight.

(Confession: I'm tired and unmotivated and that has more to do with me not writing much, but since I'm into justification and delusion, please let me sit with it)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

a big contradiction

Kevin Rudd wants to introduce sweeping reform to the funding and provision of healthcare in Australia. Some people like the idea, but not everyone is convinced. I wouldn't like to hazard an opinion either way, but I listen with interest.

This caught my ear tonight. Kevin Rudd is throwing daily buckets of money at the states in a bid to buy their acquiescence to his proposed changes. Despite this, some state governments are worried they will end up with less money over all. Kevin might be dishing out the dough with one hand only to take it away with another. He claims the states will not be worse off in the long run but this does not seem possible... so where is the extra cash to come from?

Taxes on cigarettes of course!

Now it is no done deal, but rumour has it that the federal government will revenue raise by increasing tax on every packet of cigarettes. The price may rise from AU$13 to AU$20 for a pack of 30 over the course of a few years.

Is there a little big anomaly here? Cigarettes make you sick, so sick the health system is crumbling under the wait of chronic illness linked to smoking and other lifestyle factors. Increase the price of cigarettes and people will smoke less, or so we hope. This is good of course. But if people smoke less, the government will raise less tax and funding to the health system could be jeopardised. And chronic illness is just that. Chronic. It isn't going to go away just because a few people stop smoking when their cigarettes cost too much. So really, for this to be sustainable, the government needs people to keep smoking, so they can keep collecting the tax to keep the health system that is crumbling under the weight of chronic disease going, so the chronic disease caused by smoking can be treated.

Taxing cigarettes and alcohol is a crock. It might reduce consumption a little (I have my doubts - we always find money for things we really enjoy and want), but the government then has a vested interest in keeping us smoking and drinking in order to keep the money in the coffers.

I'll keep listening to the health debate, but right now, this is not my idea of a good idea.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a big insight

My family decided to call me on speaker phone tonight. I like that. They were thinking of me while they were together and they wanted to share.

The only problem is, when people call me on the mobile on speaker phone, I can never hear properly. Voices are distant and muffled and fuzzy, and the only thing that comes through clearly is the laughter. And is that laughter directed at me? Are they laughing because they think it's funny I can't hear them? Is it all a big joke to make me look stupid? I feel nervous and embarrassed and I just want it to end.

Of course it wasn't a big joke. My family love me, they were thinking of me, they invited me to join the evening.

Thank you. I love you all too. (That is a very, very, very enormously big display of emotion right there. Read it and treasure it. It may not happen again for a very long time. That is the warped-ness of our family)

Suddenly, in a moment of blinding insight, I realised this must be what it is like for deaf people. Kind of getting the drift of what is happening, not really hearing, lip reading a bit he... damn, they turned away, seeing signs of laughing or sadness but perhaps not quite knowing why. So. cut. off.

A healthy moment of insight I feel. A sneak peek into another world.

So thank you for calling me on speaker phone... but please could you pass the phone around next time. I really did want to talk to you all!


Monday, April 12, 2010

there's a big millipede in my bathroom

I have no idea how it got there (walked perhaps?), but there is a big millipede in my bathroom. This morning it was behind the toilet. Right now it is crawling along the grout on the side of the bath.

I wonder if it tracked its way from one side of the toilet to the other by following the grout lines. Does it tell itself 'must not step on the tile, must not step on the tile'? Or maybe 'whatever you do, don't step on the crack!'

That would be a bit trickier, with one million legs and all: carefully place four feet over the line, arch the back right up, slide the back feet carefully forward to the edge of the crack without overbalancing, edge the front feet forward until body is almost parallel with the floor but not quite, then jump the back feet over. Alternatively, while in fully arched position, throw oneself over the line.

If he's still there tomorrow (or is it a she... or are millipedes hermaphrodites?) I'll take it outside. I just don't like to touch them.

(all this to say, today was a rather higgledy piggledy day, but there was some progress on the list)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

it is possible i am a big fraud

I was talking to a friend last night.

She would like a husband.
I have a husband and would like a child.

We compared notes on our tendency to miss the goodness in the now through longing for what we don't have. What a waste of all the richness! We encouraged each other to grab hold of the moment, live in the now and make the most of what we do have - because it is good.

I've been thinking about this for a while. Not that I spend every minute of every day wishing I was having a baby (although sometimes I come close), but I think about how I am living my life. It is an interesting thing, resigning from one of my positions and being at a bit of a loose end while I wait for the next door to open. I have time to do all the things I have longed to do for years, and yet I still have not done them. (In truth, some days seem even busier than when I was working, so it is not just that I am becoming a lazy slob)

Could it be that I do not live in the moment? I have a phantom, fantasy life in which I imagine myself doing all sorts of wonderful things, but I don't put in the effort to make them happen?

I am part of a group here called 'Micah Action Group - MAG'. We are supposed to be about action. Doing something to fight global poverty and promote progress towards the millennium development goals (MDGs). I might have joined the group, but I still haven't done anything concrete to bring about that change.

I like knitting. I love knitting. I spend hours on ravelry searching for patterns, drooling over other people's projects, looking for yarn... if I put that time into actually doing the knitting, I would have finished a hundred garments by now.

I sometimes wonder about writing more. Even just an essay or two would be good. I barely put pen to paper.

I dream of a vegetable patch to die for. Occasionally I set foot out there and plant a few seeds, water every now and then, read a gardening book. A few vegies grow, but diseases take over while I stand by envisioning a lush patch of ground.

The list could go on. A lot of the time I don't make the most of the minutes I have. Not working in formal, paid work leaves a lot of space for time wasting.

So here is my plan. To capture those minutes not spent at work and turn them into something wonderful and productive. Instead of just dreaming about doing things. I've written my list for tomorrow already.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

the big success of the summer

A couple of weeks ago I was all like 'Nooooo', digging my heels in and straining to hold back the sun and summer. Then the clocks turned back, darkness descended and the days began to cool. However it has all been so gentle and gradual I am actually enjoying it and looking forward to cold nights snuggled inside.

Here is my final hurrah for the summer - couscous and fennel salad. It's a twist on a recipe that uses bulgar wheat, which I replace with couscous.

2 cups couscous

1 fennel bulb, very finely sliced

1 red onion, finely sliced

5 tablespoons chopped mint

5 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons

Salt and pepper

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl, add enough cold water to cover, then set aside for 30 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. (2 cups boiling water for couscous and soak for 5 minutes) Line a colander with muslin or a clean tea towel. Drain the bulgar wheat into the colander, then gather up the sides of the cloth or tea towel and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible from the bulgar wheat. Transfer to a salad bowl.

Stir in the fennel, onion, mint, parsley, fennel seeds, oil, lemon rind and half the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then taste the salad and add more lemon juice if required. (I’m rarely organised enough to wait and taste and just tip in all the lemon juice!)

I made this more times than I can count this summer. Quick and easy and a hit everywhere I took it!

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Friday, April 09, 2010

a few things i noticed today, none of them particularly big

The chickens are laying less eggs, time to start hoarding
Hector seems to be sick, time for worming treatment
It is still just warm enough for clothes to almost dry on the line, even with cloud
The darkness is settling in earlier and earlier
Thai take away is a good option for Friday night
Fresh is the most awesome restaurant in town
Real, good conversation feeds the soul

Sometimes I like to appreciate the small things rather than the big. They make life what it is.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

the big political farce

Nearly three weeks ago we had a state election in Tasmania, but only today were the results of said election announced. A little bit to do with a crazy electoral system which sees a ten day wait between the initial count of primary votes and the ensuing complicated divvying out of preferences, and a hung parliament of buffoons who won't just get along with one another.

Ten Labor members, ten Liberal members, five Greens (woot woot) and the Liberals think they can claim victory because they won a few more primary votes, Labor vowed to hand over power if they did not win the majority of votes, and no one will talk to the Greens who just want to work together. Now the Governor has stepped in and declared Labour shall form the minority government while the Liberals are throwing a most unattractive hissy fit.

It seems to me this might be the perfect opportunity to work on a new style of government. Because I'll be honest with you - this adversarial way of doing things just doesn't cut it with me. It seems to be more about being in power and less about caring for the people. (The Tasmanian Government's silence and reluctance to intervene on ensuring Tasmanians have safe drinking water is a case in point. Their refusal to listen to the wishes of the majority on the pulp mill is another. I could fill a blog with other examples. We have been left high and dry by the very politicians who are supposed to make decisions on our behalf.)

Of course, the politicians think we can't all see through their power tripping games. They pretend to care, throwing money out here, there and everywhere on projects they hope will win our hearts... and our votes.

I am not a monkey, nor am I one of Pavlov's dogs. I personally do not respond to money being thrown in my face, and I resent being treated like an idiot, as if money will cover up the ineptitude and heartlessness of government after government, or switch off my brain to the reality of the corruption and complete lack of integrity we have experienced in this state. I am not the only one who feels this way, since the Greens picked up five seats and we have no majority. One can conclude we are all fed up.

Interesting times that is for sure. One can hope the Greens holding the balance of power might bring some accountability into our government, but I really wouldn't put it past Labour and Liberal to work together... once they get over their school boy antics, and put their noses back in joint after failing to win majority that is! In the mean time, keep holding onto that whiff of change. Everyone I have spoken to wants the politicians to get over their bipartisanship and work together... may it be so. But like I said, not holding my breath on this one!

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

comfortable shoes make a big difference

I worked a nursing shift today. Apart from colleagues, I rarely miss it when I'm not there, but I enjoy it when I am. The perfect harmony of casual work... if only I achieved this frame of mind more often.

Nice as it was to have a shift and the thought of more money (maybe I can buy some of this yummy yarn after all!), I was dreading eight hours on my feet. That wart I wrote about back in November... it still plagues me. Stubborn, nasty wart. And it hurts. Sometimes a lot.

Any normal person would, I suppose, have given in and resorted to a more conventional treatment like Scholl Freeze Verruca and Wart Remover. But not me. Oh no, I am made of sterner stuff. I am, in fact, sterner than a stern wart. Potato, propolis, dandelion sap, more potato and now tea tree oil... these are the remedies I have resorted to, and that darn wart just keeps on going. Right when I begin to hope it is going away (because every remedy has worked to a degree), the pain comes back and I can barely walk. To ease the pain I curl my toes, or hobble on the side of my foot. Before I know it my foot aches, my leg hurts and my back is crinked. I keep setting time limits on when I will give up and go the big freeze, but the pain eases just on the deadline and I give the tea tree oil a reprieve. Because it is working. A little. Certainly the pain has been less the last week or two. I think the wart may even be getting smaller.

Standing on your feet all day and plantar warts do not mix so well, only adding to my dread at being on my feet all day. Which brings me to another factor in the saga of the wart - shoe selection. It's all about appearances. Feet must look good, and shoes must match the outfit. (and the handbag if you are particular). So I limp along in shoes patently unsuitable to be paired with a plantar wart. Have you noticed the nonexistence of soles in shoe fashions today? Develop a verruca wart and you will. Walking one millimetre off the ground is, at best, unpleasant and, at worst, downright agonising when a stone pokes right through into the wart.

So today I got tough and strong and threw my fashion conscience aside. I wore running shoes all day.

And it was marvellous! My little foot felt so much better! Still a few twinges here and there, but nothing like the usual level of pain.

Of course I'm hoping this means the wart is about to disappear *poof* into thin air. Let it be so, let it be so. But if, perchance, the shoe really was the trick, perhaps (just perhaps) I should place comfort over fashion? In the interest of analgesia, good posture and natural gait? Can I do it?

Hmmm, not sure on that one - but hey, comfortable shoes make a huge difference! This should not be revelatory, but somehow it is.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

a big following. relatively.

As it stands right now, four people a day visit my blog. A few more read on facebook. A handful comment. Happy Chatter is not hitting the big time!

I used to care about this. I tagged assiduously, visited multitudinous blogs, left comments here, there and everywhere to elicit return hits and, oh... well... I posted regularly. That always helps. Somehow, despite all the effort, I never hit the big time. Six subscribers in Bloglines, twenty in feedburner, a technorati rating of diddly squat. Happy Chatter never really cut it in blog land.

Which is fine. My mum read it (sometimes), I developed a small international readership, we became cyber friends, we even sent each other real life items in the post. I realised there are more important things in life than blogging notoriety, and (let's face it) we can't all be famous with readerships equal to the population of Australia. I settled for writing for me, and when that kind of petered out I wrote facebook status updates. And that was it. Until now of course, when I am undergoing a blogging revival.

So what gives on my nursing reflection blog?! I haven't written for nearly two years, and in the least distant post I reported a desire to quit nursing. Hardly stimulating writing! And yet I surprised myself when I discovered I average 21 hits a day. OK, OK... still hardly making it in the big time. But not a zot added to the page for two years, and people still visit in (relative) droves?! I must have tagged and titled and written like a pro! Perhaps if I placed a few tastefully tailored ads on there I could even start turning around a bit of a profit?

For now I'm basking in the glow of blogging fame and refusing to think about consumption rebellion's 29, 2paw's 75 or fussy's 138 blogline subscribers. It's not about winning, it's not about winning, it's not about winning... but maybe I will start blogging about nursing again.


Monday, April 05, 2010

the 'big lazy' post (or 'the big fringe')

Another day touring, another photo... another easy post! Tomorrow I promise to start thinking and writing more.

For now, enjoy a photo of the Low Head Lighthouse... that heart is for you Mum!

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

a drive up a big mountain

With visitors from interstate and overseas, Frank and I donned our tour guide hats and set off for Evandale and Ben Lomond. The weather was perfect, the scenery stunning, the company good and the mountain air invigorating.

So Ben Lomond might not be such a big mountain really, but it's big for Tasmania, and Jacob's Ladder (the windy, hairpin bend road to the top) is scary, and the cathedral pipe dolerite rocks are awe inspiring... so it is the big deal for the day.

And now a few photos to make you all wish you could have been there too:

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

a big risk

I've thought often about cyberspace and the wisdom of putting oneself out there. It is a risk, although I to date I have not run foul of it. No internet stalkers, not even real life stalkers hunting me down on facebook. Just me and my thoughts out there with the encouraging comments of friends both real and virtual.

One day, perhaps, I will compose my thoughts on the phenomenon that is facebook. (Not now, as it is late and I am talked out for the night) For now I am going to keep my thoughts to myself and explain a little about my blog.

My posts are but a small window on my world, my thoughts, my life. I do not write down every single activity I undertake. I don't even gather all my thoughts together in this one place - that would be impossible. I simply pen some of what I am pulling together in my head. I am a work in progress, and the process of pulling together will never be complete. I will never have all the answers figured out, my t's won't all be crossed, my i's might not be dotted, not everything will be reduced to a box or category. What you see here is me in all my muddledness and imperfection. It is me, but only a small part of all that is me.

In truth I think we are all in this situation - a work in progress without the answers figured out. So let us be gracious with each other as we let people into our attempts to do our best to walk through life well.

Friday, April 02, 2010

a big sacrifice

Good Friday. I doubt you need a little homily relating to the Easter story from me - we've heard it all before a thousand times.

Of course I'm generalising. Not everyone has heard it all before and some have never even heard of Jesus, but for those of us who know the story inside out, it can all become a bit tired. There are only so many different ways you can tell a story before the sameness of it siphons off the meaning.

Ya. I'm jaded. This may well be the only post amidst a globe of Easter blogs that isn't gushing with emotion at what Jesus did. Last year I focused on Lenten readings, and (for one who has heard the stories countless times) found them surprisingly refreshing. This year I have done little to prepare myself for remembering the sacrifice of Jesus. In my head I know it is enormously significant, but where is the swelling of my heart in response? Lost because the story has been weakened by too many tellings? Or could I not have heard it enough?

Here is a paradox. The message of a story can wear thin when it is told, and told, and told. Yet ritual breathes life into a story - the retelling keeps the deeper meaning near to the heart. Perhaps my problem is not that I have heard the story too many times, but that I haven't been giving it enough focused attention of late. I'm so caught up in the bigger picture of my faith I have forgotten a central pillar. And without that pillar, the big picture crumbles.

Time to go read the Easter story again and do some quiet reflecting. You might even find me in church on Sunday. Then again, maybe not - I have guests for the weekend.

I saw Gran Torino last year, around the time of Easter. (Spoiler alert) I wept buckets at the self sacrificial giving of Walt Kowalski. He gave up his own life so others could have freedom. The story of Jesus in a nutshell no? Maybe I'll go watch that movie then read the Easter story.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

too big a commitment perhaps

Unless it is leading up to November, I usually ignore NaBloPoMo notifications. Daily posting nearly kills me for that month, to the point that NaBloPoMo is becoming sufficient for the entire year - I can barely bring myself to post outside the November craziness.

Time to rein in the blogging malaise - after all, I did post recently about the need to write more, writing being good for the soul.

So I read the NaBloPoMo email, thought 'big' might be a reasonable enough theme for April, and decided to give it a go. Of course, there is an exit clause... I'm not signing up on the NaBloPoMo website, just saying I'll try and write. No need to announce this little attempt at regularity to the world. There is a high chance of failure! In view of my recent blogging silence, this is a big commitment. (Theme: tick)

On the upside, I got up at 6am every day this week and wrote a journal. I could be on a writing role.

And the moon was big and bright and beautiful as it set on one side of the sky and a smear of light spread on the other. (Theme: double tick)