Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


P:-) and I spent a week at Davistown near Gosford. P:-)'s family and extended family have owned an old house there for over a hundred years and it has finally been sold. We camped in the back yard. Below is the old house.

Here are a couple of pictures of the house taken from across the water at Empire Bay. It is the house with the green roof.

Below is the view we see from our camp, across the water to Empire Bay.

We camp in the back yard with electricity provided by P:-)'s cousin next door.

I made a new awning for one of the bed ends and was quite pleased with the way it turned out.

A nest of ducklings hatched in the garden. There are wild ducks all around the place and they wander in and out of the yards.

We found the empty shells left and then spotted the mother and her ducklings.


To start with the ducklings would stay very close - bunched up against their mother.

After a day or so the little ducklings seemed to get a lot braver, still staying close to their mother but scattering out a little.

An evening walk led to a beautiful sunset.

Smoke from burning off at Kincumber enhanced the orange sky.

We took a drive to MacMaster's  Beach and stopped at this lookout on the way back.

 You can see Palm Beach in the distance.

I couldn't resist  including this collage of photos taken in the back yard,

We had a lovely, relaxing few days. But finally had to pack up for home.

An inquisitive  stick insect came along and landed on my craft supplies waiting to be packed, to check out what was going on. Maybe he wanted to come but I flicked him away before he was swallowed up in the van.

While we were away I spent time making a felt name for P:-)'s grand-daughter Isabel for her birthday. (It is more readable when it is vertical.)

Isabel loves butterflies.

We are in the process of planning another quick trip to Davistown before the business is finished. So next post should have some more from Davistown.

Interesting sites

 Could you live in a Tiny House?

Photo source

 Motivated by soaring house prices, you’ll-be-paying-it-off-until-you-die mortgages and environmental concerns – plus the realisation that the bigger your house is, the longer it takes to clean – there’s a new generation of home-owners who are doing something radically different. Building tiny houses, that are small enough to be towed along by a car. They have wheels, which means you can take your tiny house anywhere with you (while also complying with zoning regulations). Click here to read more. 


 Footbinding in China

Photo source
The practice of foot binding, which was banned in China in 1911 but carried on until women had the bandages forcibly removed, results in feet that are disfigured for life as the toes are broken beneath the soles of the feet. Photographer Jo Farrell is on a mission to photograph a dying fragment of Chinese culture: foot binding. Click here to read more. 

 Budapest Christmas Tram
Photo source

 In 2009 the Budapest Transport Company started a beautiful festive tradition of covering some of its trams in LEDs. But the beautiful appearance of these glittering vehicles is not the only thing that delights the locals. During the Christmas season, anyone with a regular ticket or public transport travel pass can ride the Christmas trams, which makes them a fun and budget-friendly way of getting around Budapest.Click here  to read more.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

The last couple of weeks I have been slowed down by a knee injury. After a week I visited the GP and started on some anti-inflammatory medication which has made all the difference.

I just came across this quote by Leo Babauta.

Once you’re back on track, you’ll feel great. Movement begets movement, and happiness as well.

It is certainly true that I feel a lot happier now I am can move again.

The powers that be have put new types of globes in the street lights. I have one at the front of my house. It is so light now that I could read a book by it I have my herbs planted nearby and it is really easy to go out at night and harvest the herbs.

My front footpath at night.
After undergoing the driest August for years we have had quite a damp September - the first month of Spring. This has meant the occasional rainbow. I couldn't resist a few photos of this one.

Rainbow from the front of my house
The ornamental plums on the footpath next door are in blossom.

P:-) has 2 rabbits living in his front yard. They are very cute - a brown one and a white one. They disappear for a couple of days and then they reappear. I hope they stay safe.

P:-)'s youngest son M had his birthday recently and his wife K made a beautiful cake. M loves Mustang cars ( and had one until his first baby was born) so K made him a Mustang cake with edible silver mustangs.

The cake was a delicious caramel mud cake.

And finally, I came across this bug on a tree in my front yard. I don't know what it is and it was quite small but quite impressive.

Maybe if you know it or can identify it you could leave the information in a comment. Thanks.

 Interesting sites

 Island residence

Photo source

 Nestled in the richly wooded grounds of a narrow strip of land on the island of Chappaquiddick near Edgartown, Massachusetts, this single-family residence is part of a collection of environment- and landscape-centric interventions that blur the boundaries between structures and landscape, and between inside and outside. Comprised of four structures – a 6,300 SF main residence, a 630 SF garage, a 270 SF storage shed, and a 130 SF boat house – the site is bounded by the ocean to the west and by a well-protected, shallow bay to the east.
Click here to see more.


Privacy during a flight
Photo source

The ‘b-tourist’ is made of an elastic fabric that fits many seats sizes. After assembling the piece, it offers one their own private space to quietly eat, read a book, watch a movie and to sleep without being disturbed. the side of the material has a pocket inserted into it where one can place small items they may wish to keep close by during the flight. Plastic rings are also applied along the edge, which enable the width to be easily adjusted.
I like the look of this. Click here to see more.

 Migraines - what are they?

Photo source
No one knows for sure the exact mechanisms that cause migraines, but we do know it’s a neurobiological disorder. If you suffer from migraines or know somebody who does, you should find this article very interesting.Click here  to read more

Sunday, 24 August 2014


Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent. 

No one starts off being excellent.
Most things you are good at you have to work at. Sometimes that means failure.

"The trick is that I learned it’s completely fine to try and fail, to put yourself out there and not be perfect, to say hello to someone and have them not instantly love you, to create something and have people judge you." (Leo Babauta)

Time is ticking by. I promised myself I was going to start some type of business to supplement my pension, but so far I haven't done this.

I have been trying to make presents to save some money, but find it very time consuming. 

I think I may try tutoring again. My specialty is reading and spelling disorders. If you have a problem reading or spelling then I am your woman. I studied this as part of my Master's degree - quite a few years ago now - but that was my primary role when I first started working at The Annexe, a small alternative school for students with major behavioral problems. I have never met a teenager who doesn't want to read well. I have never met a child or teenager I couldn't help. But I lost a lot of my confidence after being made redundant, even though The Annexe closed through lack of funding.

But I think it might be time to step out and give it a go.

How to start?


The local fruit market I go to has a notice board where people pin up their business cards (which luckily I had printed a couple of years ago when I first heard I was being made redundant), and other advertising.
This is my business card.

My business card

I'm not sure if I have the right information on it.

I need to design some sort of A4 size ad. I don't have a coloured printer so I shall have to do something by hand - or at least colour it by hand. I want it to be something that looks professional but stands out.

I plan to offer people a free lesson first. I am good at what I do, but I want to charge $50 an hour which is the current going rate for one on one tutoring. If  I offer a free lesson first I might be able to hook them.

Now I have written this down I will really have to do something about it. I will be at the fruit market on Friday so I will aim for then.

There was a new bird outside my window today making a lot of noise - pretty noise. I used my What Bird Is That Book and identified it as a Golden Whistler.

Golden Whistler

I haven't seen this bird around before, but it seems it is quite common in the forests of the east coast of Australia.

I cooked some yummy mushroom soup tonight. it is really simple and tasty. Here is the recipe.

Mushroom soup recipe

I buy mushrooms already chopped and on special at Woohworths. These can be frozen until you need them. I bought this lot of mushrooms for $2.19 for 500g a couple of weeks ago.

Soup before it is blended

Mushroom soup
In the end we didn't eat it. P:-) rang to say he had hurt his knee and wasn't coming over so it has gone into the freezer for next Sunday night.

Jasper the grand-dog has gone home.

I really miss him. I would love to have a little dog of my own but I am out too much. Maybe one day.

Interesting sites


Family lives in a Tiny House

Photo source

Scott Stewart (owner of the Slabtown Customs company and designer/builder) gives you a complete tour of their Flipped Loft tiny home while it’s furnished and being lived in. It’s a tiny home for a family of four! Click here to see a couple of interesting videos.

 Volcanoes under Antarctica

Photo source
Antarctica is a land of ice. But dive below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and you'll find fire as well, in the form of subglacial volcanoes. Click here to read all about it.

 Spring babies

Photo source

Around the world, animals new to this earth experience life. In zoos and in nature, photographers captured a variety of species during these moments. Click here here to see some beautiful photos.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Jervis Bay

Be the example of compassion for others around you.

Compassion isn't always easy. Sometimes it means loving the unlovable. Sometimes it means giving up something we would rather keep - that may be time or money.
Compassion isn't necessarily a pleasant feeling. It needs to be acted on in some way or it can leave you feeling very uncomfortable.
Compassion requires empathy.
Some people see being compassionate as being weakness.
I would like to be remembered as being compassionate - both in my work and in my personal life.
And perhaps my greatest legacies are my daughters. I am extremely proud of the way they have grown into compassionate and caring young women.

Callistemon in my garden

I have just turned 60. I am beginning a new decade. Where have the years gone? When am I going to grow up and become a neat and tidy person?
Turning 50 was a jolt but turning 60! I can hardly believe it.

The start of each new decade in my life has brought  something new for me - a change - new beginning 

0-10 years - the best years

For the first 10 years of my life I had an idyllic childhood. Our family of 4 lived by the beach and I had wonderful parents. Then when I was 10 my father died. Things went down hill decidedly.

Me aged 4

My teens - the unhappy time

My teens was probably the most unhappy decade of my life.  Much of the time I suffered from depression and was very unhappy and lonely. My whole personality changed. I went from being very popular and outgoing, to quiet and completely lacking in confidence. We had to leave our wonderful house at the beach. When I was 18 I started university and remade my personality, but I was still very lacking in confidence

My twenties - a time of promise

My twenties was probably my happiest time. I  began them by marrying my soul-mate. I graduated from university and became a secondary school teacher. Our two babies were born. We moved into our current house. Life held so much promise.

My thirties - things begin to fall apart

In  my thirties  I resumed working and I worked on and off full time and casually. I didn't really enjoy it but as long as my husband and daughters were happy I didn't really care about myself. But as I approached 40 things began to fall apart. After much heartache both my daughters at the age of 12 and 15 were diagnosed with clinical major depression and we have all battled this ever since. I was very down. My daughter's psychiatrist suggested doing something for myself - a whole new revelation to me - and so I began a Master's Degree in Psychology.

 My forties - a new life

My forties began with me studying again. Being back at university and studying was like beginning a new life. I was much happier. My confidence increased and it was as if I had a new life.  I completed my Masters  Degree and began work at The Annexe, a school for teenagers with behavior problems. I loved my work.   J and R still suffered with depression but they were managing TAFE okay. They had nice partners. My husband was my best friend and the love of my life. I was very content - probably more content and settled than I had ever been.

My fifties - the tough years

Then as I  approached my 50th birthday the bomb dropped. My husband - my soul-mate, the person I loved most in this world - was having an affair with a secretary at work. He left me for her. My world fell apart. My fifties consisted of me doing the best I could to make a new life. I felt I had to do this for my children. They were my number one priority and I didn't want them to have to worry about me. They were grown up by this time. I am so pleased that decade is over. It was hard work and I stepped out of my comfort zone on many occasions. I met P:-) half way through this time, when I was 54, which was a wonderful blessing. I was also made redundant a year ago which really threw a spanner in the works.

My sixties - the years to come

 And now I am 60. What will this decade bring? 
 I still live on my own but luckily I still have my house which I thought I might have to sell because I had lost my job. I am on pension, for which I am very grateful, although if the right job came along with the right working conditions I would happily take it. 
I am very positive about the next decade. 

How did I celebrate my 60th birthday? I kept it very low key.

I had a night out with my family at the Hellenic Club in Figtree. They have a delicious buffet where there is plenty of food or my elder daughter J who is vegan and her partner F who is vegetarian.

P:-)'s family had a lunch get together for my birthday. P:-)'s lovely daughter-in-law K made a beautiful chocolate mud cake layered with chocolate ganache.

My beautiful cake

The cake was delicious.

For dinner that night I only wanted something light so I had salad and wholemeal macaroni cheese, something I would not normally allow myself. The wholemeal noodles were a concession to being a bit healthy but I would just used normal pasta next time - when my next birthday comes along.

Chia seeds on my salad

And so a new decade begins.

Interesting sites

 Old lady refuses to sell house for commercial complex

Photo source
Surrounded by towering concrete walls on three sides, this hundred-year-old house belonged to late Edith Macefield, a stubborn old woman, who famously turned down $1 million in 2006 refusing to sell her home to make way for a commercial complex. Click here to see more.

 Tallest vertical garden in world in Sydney

Photo source
Across the towns and cities of Australia, stick-to-the-wall gardens are gaining popularity, and a new development in Sydney has the world’s tallest example. Ann Jones joins the men and women whose job it is to potter around the garden, 32 floors up. Click here  to read more and see a video.

 Crooked Forest

Photo source
In a tiny corner in north-west Poland near Gryfino, is a forest of about 400 pine trees that grow with a 90 degree bend at the base of their trunks, before rising vertically again. This collection of curved trees has been named the "Crooked Forest". Click here to read more.