Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 4 August 2019


Since I love to eat, and consider food part of my "medicine" to keep me healthy, I budget higher food prices into my (very modest) budget. Produce is unquestionably the foundation of good health. When you enjoy delicious fruits and veggies because they taste great, then you will keep eating them. That's why taste matters.

  Starre Vartan


The quote above mirrors my experience. I have a modest income but most of it goes on fresh fruit and vegetables. I make all our meals from scratch, so as not to rely on chemical additives. 


Every Friday I visit the fruit market. We make a day of it. I take my mother and daughter, and Peter usually comes along for the ride. We travel a few suburbs to find the fruit market of choice - the Leisure Coast Fruit Market and Deli at Fairy Meadow.

 My weekly buy always includes sweet potato, cauliflower, lettuce, rocket and mushrooms and then whatever else I need for that week such as carrots, onions etc.


The truth is we don't know if cancer and other types of digestive diseases and health problems are connected to the array of additives and chemicals present in so many processed foods. (We do know that nitrates in processed meats are carcinogenic.) Since I had cancer recently I prefer to take a precautionary approach. 


Fruit and vegetables are the basis of good health. I love to eat and try new recipes. I like to buy good quality produce because it tastes better. I like to make all my meals from scratch so I know what is in them without the artificial colourings, flavourings, extra sugar and additives to give something a longer shelf life.


I have read various opinions about eating organic produce. At this stage I have avoided the extra cost as I am on a limited budget, and they are not available at my fruitmarket.  But this may change.


I lost 6 kilograms before Christmas. I managed to put it all back on again over Christmas when I stopped sticking to my Plant Paradox regime. I am back on my eating plan and gradually losing weight again.


This style of eating is based on promoting healthy gut bacteria and reducing inflammation. I saw Kelly Clarkson on TV explaining that she had lost a lot of weight following the Plant Paradox program so I decided to give it a try. Unlike other diets I have been on, there is no calorie counting which is great, although there are quite a few restrictions. But it is all healthy eating.


I plan to start a new blog based on the Plant Paradox program, providing recipes that I have tried, are budget friendly and have ingredients available in Australia. I'd like to try some of my recipes on this blog first. Maybe I could get some feedback.


A granddaughter's christening

(Please note that faces are not shown to protect privacy.)

Our little granddaughter was christened on the weekend. It was held in Helensburgh Catholic church.


The baby slept through the service, and barely stirred when she had water poured on her head.

Peter's daughter Megg made a beautiful carrot cake which was cut and shared at morning tea.

A walk by the lake

Peter and I took a walk by Lake Illawarra. The white spots are pelicans. There must have been fish out there. 

Another photo of a dandelion on Peter's front lawn. 

I just couldn't resist it.

Article in Medium

Photo source

I have written an article for Medium, Do You Feel Like Giving Up? Read This Now.

Interesting sites 


1.  Beautiful hiking cabin in Norway

Photo source


This cabin was made with 77 panels. Click here to read more. 


2. Why don't birds' feet freeze?


Photo source

 Birds' feet don't freeze in winter. Click here to read why.

3. This 'king' once ruled Antarctica

Photo source

This king once ruled the green, lush forests of Antarctica. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019


Falling in love with starting is easy. Falling in love with finishing is hard. But, if you can learn to fall in love with the art of finishing—and the process of overcoming adversity, failures and working around obstacles—you’ll consistently follow through on your ideas.

  Mayo Oshin

When I read this quote I thought, "That's me!" I am not good at finishing things - household chores, crafts -  all sorts of things.I start things and do part of them really well and then get sick of things or forget about them. I am super organized in some areas such as my recipe collections and laundering clothes. Then I am completely disorganized in other areas such as actually getting the clean laundry into cupboards - and there is only me in the house!

I have mentioned before that I am looking for the  optimal   system for getting things done and finished. I just don't get the things done each day that I plan. I have tried various systems including the Bullet Journal System which many people swear by, but just made me very anxious.

In my recent reading and search for helpful tips on being productive, I came across Ivy Lee. He was a highly respected productivity expert and pioneer in the field of public relations at the beginning of the twentieth century.

He had a notable system for getting things done, which he shared with various industries. It was a simple daily routine for achieving peak productivity.
  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

In a nutshell this system appears to work because it is simple; it imposes limits on what has to be done; you know where you are going to start for the day; and it requires single tasking rather than multi-tasking.

I have given it a try and found it quite successful. The secret is to still break tasks down into small pieces and don't make each of the  6 things to be done too broad.

Bonsai trees

This past week has been very quiet. I did some gardening.

I am making a collection of bonsai trees. I take them from the garden when they are very small.

So far I have 2 native Bleeding Heart trees ( Homalanthus populifolius)  and one I think is some type of acacia.

 By the lake

On Saturday Peter and I went for a walk by Lake Illawarra. I can never go past a dandelion ready to blow.

And I'm not sure what this flower below is but it seems to be in bloom most of the year and is very striking

After much searching I decided that it was probably the beginnings of a coral tree of some type.

Fear of the Inexplicable
by Ranier Maria Rilke

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished
the existence of the individual; the relationship between
one human being and another has also been cramped by it,
as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of
endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the
bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone
that is responsible for human relationships repeating
themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and
unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable
experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.
But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes
nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation
to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively
from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of
the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident
that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a
place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and
down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous
insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in
Poe’s stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons
and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about
us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
We are set down in life as in the element to which we best
correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of
years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we
hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be
distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to
mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors,
they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us;
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we
arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now
still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust
and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those
ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps
everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless
that wants help from us.

Interesting sites

1. Bubble domes in the Irish woods

Photo source

Scattered throughout a woodland resort in Northern Ireland, these bubble domes provide an unforgettable glamping experience. Click here to read more.

2. Dementia linked to lifestyle

Photo source
Dementia seems to be affected by lifestyle. Click here to read more.

3. Why the forest gives you awe

Photo source
 Why do we feel awe in a forest? Click here to find out.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019


There are events in our personal lives and our collective history that seem categorically irredeemable, moments in which the grounds for gratefulness and hope have sunk so far below the sea level of sorrow that we have ceased to believe they exist. But we have within us the consecrating capacity to rise above those moments and behold the bigger picture in all of its complexity, complementarity, and temporal sweep, and to find in what we see not illusory consolation but the truest comfort there is: that of perspective.
Perspective. How important is perspective! Some days events overtake us and can seem so crushing as to be insurmountable. Something small can just be the last straw to break the camel's back, but when put into the perspective of life and what is important that small thing can melt back into insignificance.

What about you? Do you have things that cause recurring anxiety? Worries about finances, health and relationships are common.

One of my major worries is my house and its continuing state of chaos. There is clutter and disrepair and at times my concerns can fall into hopelessness. I never seem to have the time. I never seem to have the money. I am limited by my bad back and constant pain. I am harangued by my obsessive tendencies.

Then I spend a few days with Peter. I stand back and put things into perspective. And I look at the big picture and I make some realistic plans. I am so lucky to have a house in a nice area. I am so lucky it is paid for. It nestles against the mountains and the bush and I never tire of its setting. I love the wildlife around it, and my house sits in the trees. For all its faults it is beautiful.

Major depression is the curse of my family. My children and I suffer from it. Treatment resistant depression has shaped my daughters' lives. It has prevented  them from living normal lives. It would be easy to view it all as a tragedy, but when we look at the big picture and how much worse things could be we can put it into perspective. We are so lucky to have the treatments that have become available in the last 30 years. My talented daughters are settled with wonderful partners. They will never be rich or own their own homes, but they live lives that are fulfilling as much as possible and that is what matters.

The important thing is to face anxieties head on. Take a step back, put them into perspective and then make a plan to deal with them.

A day trip to Belangelo State Forest

On Monday, Peter and I  visited my daughter and her husband , caravanning at Belangelo state Forest. I was expecting it to be cold, but it was absolutely freezing. They were the only campers there.

Belangelo is a state forest with rows and rows of pine trees planted for cultivation. When the weather is wetter there are lots of mushrooms, but this year it has been too dry.

Below is the view towards the small lake and in the bottom left hand corner you can see the outdoor heater that Rhiannon and Bill took with them. It was wonderful. I sat next to it all day.

Jasper, my granddog, kept warm snuggled up under Bill's jacket.

And he set up a little place for himself in the caravan to keep warm.


This week I made a birthday card. I used water colours and black pen. I made it for a little girl who has a thing for llamas so I hope she likes the card.

Interesting sites

1. The world's most beautiful bookshop in Argentina

Photo source
National Geographic stated that the world's most beautiful bookshop is in Argentina. Click here to read more.

2. Baby can't stop laughing after first hearing

Photo source
At 11 months this baby hears clearly for the first time and can't stop laughing. Click here to view the video.

3. The strange art of David Alvarez

Photo source

Click here to see the strange anthropomorphic art of David Alvarez.

Saturday, 25 May 2019


“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  

 Winston Churchill

I love quotes and save them for my blog as I come across them. I like to think about them and write a little bit on each one. I was a bit stumped with this one as it just seemed self evident.

But then I thought about how it applied to me and how important it is to remember that what we have or earn is not as important as what we put into life.

Sometimes I get a bit angry about my financial position, caused by divorce and redundancy. I am indeed lucky to have a pension. I have tried a range of ways to supplement my income but for various reasons nothing has been terribly successful - yet.

Meanwhile, when I am sad about things I need to focus on what I can do for other people. I do some volunteer work once a week at Manna House, a place for people to come in off the street and have a free meal. There are often days when I am not at my best do not feel like going, but I must admit, when I do go my mood usually lifts.

But giving in life doesn't have to be through formal processes. It can be in our day to day relationships. So often we forget to be giving towards those who are closest to us.

Alfred comes to stay
This week Alfred, my daughter's rabbit spent a couple of nights with me.

He ended up in a pen in my lounge room.

Having Alfred at my place is quite difficult as I have a full blown fur phobia. I have had it for about 50 years. It means I cannot cope with being near anything which is soft and furry such as rabbits or cats. Dogs are fine. They have hair rather than the soft fur of cats and rabbits.

I talk to Alfred and feed him. (He has quite a food regimen of greens, pellets and hay.) But I don't pat him.


I love terraria and set up a small one with some succulents my daughter gave me.

Interesting sites

1. 27 Beautiful sheds

Photo source
Click here to check out 27 great sheds.

2. Steam powered rocket is legit

Photo source
Click here to find out about this steam powered rocket and the opportunities it brings.

3. One word: plastics

Photo source
An island crusader in the Philippines takes on the big brands behind plastic waste. Click here to read more.

Saturday, 18 May 2019


I am looking for the perfect system, or probably more correctly, perfect systems, to help me run my life. I am constantly working at it and failing. Other people seem to have streamlined lives and tidy houses.

I am a perfectionist. Most people who know me would question this or maybe even laugh. My home is often untidy and I just can't seem to keep up with everything even though I am not working.

The reason for this is that I tend to perfect some areas of my life and don't have time to work on the rest. 

I like order. But I never manage to get everything ordered. My cooking and recipes are ordered. I always know what I'm cooking for dinner everyday - usually at least week ahead. I always shop for groceries with a list. I use a list of old and new recites.That system I have works quite well.

I'm sure there is a system or other suitable systems that I can develop so my life will fall into place. Other people seem to be able to put their daily life together a lot better than I can put mine together. But I never seem to find anything that works long term.

Mayo Oishin in her article,  Why Embracing Imperfection Will Help You Achieve Your Goals Faster.said,'It’s easy to get carried away with the never-ending search for the perfect plan to achieve our goals.'

And Leo Tolstoy said, ' If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.' And I must admit there are times that I despair at the chaos and incompleteness of my house and the uncertainty in my life, and feel that I am never going to get things sorted properly. Then I have to pull myself together and think about what is most important in life and all the good things I have even if it isn't all perfect. I have to tell myself not to give up and keep working on achieving a system that works.

A couple of years ago, before it became so popular, my brother gave me a copy of Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.  At the time I had a lot of trouble with the 'discarding' part of the process. I can always see something that can be made from something else and have difficulty throwing things away. But I am going to give it another go. She states that if you try to do little bits at a time, you never get to the end. So I am going to plan a day to work on my bedroom first and then other rooms.

I love writing and all sorts of art and craft. I never seem to get around to doing all the things I want. I am always too busy just trying to get tidy.

Jessica Able in her article Creative Compass says in regard to art projects that, 'By breaking giant projects down to tiny next actions (and then ignoring the big picture for a while) you can make concrete progress—without freaking out.'

So my latest plan is to relegate a day a week to organising a room, plus do something creative every day. I have 8 rooms I need to work on. Maybe after a couple of months I can get organised. What I tend to do is move clutter from one room to another. I get small spaces cleaned and decorated perfectly but never everything.

So I have to avoid perfection, move faster and just aim at general order, not very detailed order. Maybe everything won't be perfect but it will give me more satisfaction, and I just have to accept that that is just me.

 In my garden

The lyre bird that visits my deck has been back again. He comes and goes - sometimes disappearing for weeks before he returns again going through his repertoire of bird calls.


This past week I have been looking after my daughter's dog Jasper. He is my granddog and I love him.

He loves to lie by the heater.

 And lies on piles of clothing.

He is just totally cute.

I love having him but since I don't have fences it is a bit of a challenge.

Achievements this week

I have done a couple of things this week which I am quite pleased with. They are only small things but things I am pleased with nevertheless.

 I visited someone in hospital who I met through Manna House. (Manna House provides a weekly free dinner for people who may be short of money or just want some company. I volunteer there once a week.) She has an intellectual disability and is having some trouble with a knee replacement

The second thing I did was take my wig back to the wig library at Port Kembla Hospital. I had chemotherapy last year and as a result lost my hair. I wore a wig from the wig library for almost a year. It was wonderful. People who didn't know I was having chemotherapy just thought I had changed my hairstyle slightly. It was also wonderful to take it back. 

Poem of the week

I came across this poem, God's Song by Romella Kitchens. I thought it was quite beautiful.

God's Song - Poem by Romella Kitchens

God's Harmonic
Song of life sung by God.
Work the rows.

Golden silk of sun light.

God comes...
He laughs and sings with the angels as they all pass through.
He walks in the field of souls.
His harvest is our contentment.
The complete winning over of our beings.
Hear His rolling, sweet voice on the softest air?
How powerful yet gentle are the steps of His merciful feet.
All is radiant.
All is the figs of abundant profession.
The sprays of joyous green leafs and the cessation
of hunger profound.
We are fed by His tender gleaning.
Race through the fields of mankind and pick
perfect fruit of the spirit.
Song of Praise.
Song of the fulfillment of days.
Golden is the warmth of knowing God...
Golden and with the taste of honey.

Thank you for all those people who try to comment but for some reason the system won't let them. I can't seem to see what is wrong.

Interesting sites

1. Dodgem cars turned into street legal vehicles

Photo source
There are seven of these cars in California. Click here to see more.

2. Ikea and HP want keep plastics out of the ocean

Photo source
 Ikea and Hp have joined a coalition of companies called New Wave Plastics. They aim to include plastic from the ocean into their supply chain. Click here to read more.