Choose life. Life is wonderful.

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.

Sunday, 10 August 2014


There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

I agree with this sentiment. In my life there is always something to be thankful for.

I struggle with chronic clinical depression. One of the worst effects is that it makes me sluggish, especially at the beginning of the day. As well as taking medication I have a number of strategies I employ in order to make my day as bright and productive as possible.

Each day when I drive down the street for the first time in my car I think of five things I am thankful for. As a Christian I thank God for these things but if you are not a Christian I think the exercise of recognizing there are things to be thankful for can be important in keeping  positive.

What am I thankful for today?

  1.  I am thankful that I have a whole day stretched before me without anything pressing so I have a chance to catch up on things.
  2. I am thankful that my daughter R has been enjoying her trip, caravanning around Australia and  that she is safe.
  3. I am thankful for the relationships I have with both my daughters and their partners.
  4. I am thankful that Jasper the grand-dog has stayed well over the past 10 weeks while I have been looking after him and we have not had a trip to the vet as we usually do.
  5. I am thankful for P:-). I'm not quite sure what I would have done without him the past few years.

Sometimes I don't feel very thankful for anything. I just want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. But the exercise of thankfulness always makes me more positive. It is  a discipline I have acquired over the years. I find that I need discipline and routine in my day, both physically and mentally.

So today I decided to do something physical and took Jasper the grand-dog for a walk.

There is a bit of a hill to negotiate and I have been pleased to find I wasn't quite as unfit as I thought I would be. (It's a few months since I did a walk around the block. I shall have to try and make it a more regular thing even when I don't have Jasper.) Of course we walked quite slowly, stopping to have plenty of sniffs and mark territory along the way.

On my walk I pass this wonderful letterbox covered in lichen.

My letterbox is sturdy but rather plain metal and cedar.

The rocks nearby are covered in beautiful lichen, so perhaps I could get some to grow on the wooden sides of my letter box. I have found a way to encourage the growth of lichen on wood. It doesn't look too difficult so perhaps I will give it a go.

The moon has been bright the last few nights.  Here are some pictures of the the moon through my mango tree taken last night.

I took this photograph from the top of my street when I took Jasper, the grand-dog for a short walk.

Jasper is till with me for another 3 weeks.

I shall miss him when he goes but he is a very needy dog - and I am such a pushover when it comes to little dogs.

 Interesting sites

  Contemporary version of the traditional wagon dwelling. 

Photo source
I love this little house. Maringotka is a contemporary version of the traditional wagon dwelling. Created by Prague studio Miramari Design, Maringotka can be used as a vacation home, for housing workers, as a hotel/resort unit or as a full-time residence. Click here  to see more.

Train in Hanoi, Vietnam

Photo source

Photo source
A few months ago Inhabitat reported that an iceberg 10 times the size of Manhattan broke away from the Antarctic into Pine Island Bay. Now that iceberg is drifting out of the bay and into the currents of the Southern Ocean.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.

 Marcus Aurelius

The future can be a disturbing thing. I had my life mapped out when 10 years ago my husband dropped a bomb-shell and left what I thought was our very happy marriage of 30 years. He had met someone else. Wow! What a life changer. Everything changed. I lost my best friend. Everything changed emotionally - not to mention financially. I felt totally alone and I hardly knew what to do from one minute to the next.

But 10 years on I have built a new life. I learned that I am a much stronger person than I thought. Now the future never seems fixed for me. I have learned how things can change in a heart beat. But I have learned what things are important. And I have learned that I have the skills and the faith to get me through anything.

And I needed them when I was unexpectedly made redundant at the age of 58 - 2 years ago. After a year of uncertainty where it looked as if I would have to sell my house, with a lot of belt tightening, things have worked out far...

I no longer have a future mapped out. I take everything a day at a time and try to enjoy the small moments and know that with God's help I can deal with whatever comes my way.

A nice thing that came my way last week was an unexpected trip to Merry Beach with P:-) and his daughter M, son-in-law B,  grand-daughter S and a little niece J.

We were camped right on the beach front, and the evening we arrived there was a beautiful sunset.

Sunset from our awning.

Sunset from our awning
The sea was calm and the evening still.

Our first day the pleasant weather carried over. This photo below was taken just after we saw a pair of whales out to sea.

Flat sea on Day 1.

The next day the wind came up and the placid sea became rolling waves.

Big sea on Day 2

Rolling waves

One of the pleasant features of Merry Beach is the large number of kangaroos that frequent the camping area.

Kangaroos in  caravan park

Every now and then one can be spotted on the beach.

Kangaroo at the beach

The kangaroos have to be watched around the camp as they like to get into the food and garbage. Below is a picture of one taken through M and B's caravan window at night as it forages around outside our caravan. 

Kangaroo outside our caravan at night.
 The picture is a bit grainy, taken through glass and in the caravan night light.

Our caravan stood up well in the wind. One metal strut came unbolted but P:-) managed to fix it.

Our caravan at Merry Beach

We got the brunt of the wind since we were right on the beach front.

The girls enjoyed watching the ducks.

S,M and J watching the ducks

We had a lovely time. The weather wasn't great but our caravan is cosy. I am looking forward to our next trip.

 Interesting sites

Fortune Cookie Tiny House

Photo source

Zyl Vardos has designed and built a mobile tiny home with a balcony for a client. And in this post, you’re going to get to tour the entire thing!  Click here to see more.

 Whales in the desert south of Cairo

Photo source
The deserts of Egypt contain some of the best preserved paleontological sites in the world, one of which is Wadi al-Hitan or the Valley of Whales. This remote valley in the Western Desert, some 150 km southwest of Cairo, contains valuable collections of fossils and bones of a now extinct, suborder of whales, called the archaeoceti. These fossils explain one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going
mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. Click here to see more. 

I choose freedom

Photo source

 "I live my life by this philosophy: I choose freedom. I choose to buy experiences, not stuff."
Click here to read more.

Sunday, 13 July 2014


To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

My first post for over a month! This is the longest time I have gone between posts since I started blogging 3 years ago. I've been a bit brain-dead.

Winter has finally set in. Although sometimes it is bleak, I still love the view out my back window. I love living in the trees.

Casuarina outside my window

Hairpin Banksia at the base of my casuarina

The trunk of the casuarina is covered in Lichen.

Jasper the grand-dog is snuggled under a quilt.

Jasper under a quilt

Jasper keeping warm.

I go down to my daughter's house- just a few minutes away - on Mondays, to put out her garbage bin. She is away for three months, travelling around Australia in a 4WD and caravan. I put her bin out every week so it looks as if there is somebody there, and take it in on Tuesday.

Even though it is winter the hibiscus in her yard have beautiful bright blooms.
My daughter thinks these hibiscus flowers are gaudy but I don't think there is such thing as a gaudy flower.

P:-) and I attended a funeral on Friday - down near Nowra. I was amused to see this sign in the cemetery gardens.

Warning at memorial gardens.

It was a fairly new area, with lots of bushland around, but we didn't manage to see a snake. I do think it was too cold. Snakes are cold-blooded and need warmth to become active.

It was a pleasant drive down to Nowra as it always is.

We followed the expressway around the outskirts of  Kiama.



 Then turned off the highway to travel through the sleepy town of Geringong.


We continued on from Geringong, past the golf course....

Geringong golf course.
....and then down to Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach

I am pleased to be back on track with my blog. Writing each post helps me to see the positives in life.

Interesting sites

 Treehouse over water

Photo source
Treehouse Solling is located beside an old forester’s house in a small valley in Lower Saxony. It stands on stilts without relying on trees for structural support, and it measures almost 400 sq ft over two levels. Click here to read more.

 Dam building threat to Amazon

Photo source

According to a new report, a wave of dam building threatens the Amazon river and five of the six main head rivers in the Andes drainage area, which could permanently destroy the open flow of rivers for countries that use the water.  Click here to read more.

Mar Chiquita, or Little Sea

Photo source
Mar Chiquita, or Little Sea, is a small beach in a protected cove near the eastern end of a long rocky wall exposed on the coast of Manatí in northern Puerto Rico, about 40 kilometers west of San Juan. The oval shaped beach lies behind the rocky wall in a small cove protected from the rough Atlantic. Click here to read more.