"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Sunday, 31 January 2010

empty, then full.. the circle of life

this year, I was going to blog each day and try to keep it lighthearted & fun, all about the beautiful things in my life. but, life throws a little curve ball and I must run with that.. hence my posting of my feelings over the past few days. there is beauty in my sadness... however hard it is to feel the ache in my heart, I know that what I am feeling at this moment, is the beauty of being human.

i know deep in my heart, that the void that has been created by the moving of my friends, will be replaced with something else. that is the nature of things. but first, the wait. the pause.

do you lament what you have lost.. searching forever to replace it with replicas. do you rush to fill it with something, anything..

or do you
embrace the emptiness.
& get to know your own self.

when the heart is as empty as it possibly can be & can take no more..
and you least expect it, something is placed in front of you.

or have you been alert for something and there it is, yours for the taking.
you look at it. trying it on like a hat. does it fit? do you grab it with both hands and embrace life? you jump right into that river of life..

you are an empty vessel just waiting to be filled. when the time is right, you will be filled once again, and the emptiness will be long forgotten. a distant memory. the wax and wane of the moon. the rise and fall of the sun... the flow of life.

these are thoughts from my journal this morning

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Blue moon

Mary fabric & card collage by Colette

today, Celebrating our friend Phils birthday, a celebration on blue moon.. turned into emotional blues for me..of bittersweet memories

Phil and Wendy (his wife), friends of ours for 20yrs ~ lunch at their home with the Elmhurst Team. a gorgeous salad of cold cooked corned beef & salads, my lemon cake with passionfruit syrup..lots of wine & laughter. we get together always for birthdays, Christmas and New Years eve.. plus many other times in between. the typre of friends who you know are there.

Elmhurst was the Springwood Parish Rectory for many years and the 'Elmhurst team' was a group of 8 of us [Peter, myself & dutch husband, Maureen, Phil & Wendy, Bob & Marg (and the parish priest Father Michael)] ~ who spent at least 10yrs raising money to build our new Catholic church. Each month, we would prepare and cook a 3 course meal for over 20 people. Then set up restaurant in the old parish rectory.. a house of over 100yrs old.. full silver service, damask and lace, candleabra. with chocolates and coffee to finish..and charge people to come dine at night. all money was donated to the new church fund. and let me tell you, we raised quite a bit with our efforts. but more importantly we all became fast & good friends. cementing friendships that have spanned nearly 20yrs.
anyhow i often get slightly off track & dither...

Phil and Wendy announced today that they have decided to sell their home and move down to the south coast about 3hrs away... not far I know, but far enough not to be able to get together as often as we have done. when they told us over lunch today, I burst into tears. I tried so very hard not to cry..but the tears fell. I was fanning myself with my hands trying to stop the tears from flowing & assuring everyone that I was ok.. but inside I wasn't. I feel torn between being happy for them and sad for myself. I hate change. I don't deal well with it at all. and I feel dreadfully sad inside. times like this I feel totally out of control and of course I am. Not in control. I feel lost. I know all of this kind of things is the ebb & flow of life.. moving, change, and even death. but never can I get use to it. I fight it each and every time. feeling a loss deep in my soul. I grasp at straws. going into the past memories and I cry. but like Colette said in a comment: always remember that life is fluid, never static. feelings come and go, and you float with them.
But I just hate this lost empty feeling...

Friday, 29 January 2010

after all, tomorrow is another day.

yesterday, the Blue Mountains was hit by a storm.. the clouds started rolling in mid-afternoon. I was sitting in the hairdressers, while Sophie, my daughter played with my hair. totally oblivious to what was going on at Woodford..
on my way home,
Fire engines sped past,ambulances, sirens blaring out..
trees bending and branches blowing across as if the cyclone from Wizard of Oz was happening all over again..
i expected Dorothy or Toto to fly past any minute..
and as I neared home and the storm abated, I started to be filled with dread as I noticed smashed leaves all over the road like a green carpet... as I turned the car into our little street, a sight met my eyes, that made my heart sink.. I knew what was waiting for me at Inlgewood... and as I opened my old wire gates, I just stared. the whole yard was covered with apple leaves and branches. the pond was covered with leaves from another tree. tomato leaves lay all over the vegie patch and under them were my tiny little grape tomatoes..all hit by hail, not ordinary hail either. but sheets of ice. like broken window panes.. just lying all over my yard. my tamarillo tree shredded. ...what can I say. I felt like shaking my fist at God.. and I did.. as well as muttering a few choice words under my breath.
then I rang Marion, my friend down the road who wisely suggested that I shut the door and poor myself a good red wine.. and forget about it until tomorrow..

I fared well actually. My garden is a wreck, but of course we all know it will spring back in time. my neighbour had windows smashed, Frank our post master had his hands cut to bits while trying to put a cover on his car. Marion had all her screens slashed from the hail. A man was struck by lightning. a house was also struck by another lightning bolt.

twirling and swirling around, this little vintage umbrella would have been totally useless in yesterdays storm but just the thought of this jolly little umbrella in that storm, all quirky and cute, kinda takes away the sadness of the ruination, of my garden

today, I gathered those hail damaged little tomatoes, picked a handful of basil and crushed some garlic mixed with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt & pepper, and made bruschetta for dinner.. on gluten free Panne from Leura Deli. and THAT is making something out of disaster.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

inner sadness and then hail

fragile heart by Colette

for me it was one of those days, that no matter how hard you try, that sad feeling inside just won't go away. you have no idea where it comes from and it doesn't matter what you do to shift it.. it lingers.. it seems just to exist in the world is a struggle. standing at the sink, gazing on the garden, knowing deep in your heart that you are indeed blessed with many things, that sadness is still there, no matter how hard you try to feel joy. voices tell you to go with the flow.. love this moment! so all you can do is go with it.. knowing that it is but just a visitor. that light will come again. like Rumi says: Welcome and entertain them all! ~ the Guest House

I read somewhere that deep sorrow is a human condition. is that so? do you get melancholy moments? moments of sadness for not a reason at all?

thankyou so much for your blogging friendship.. and for the daily comments..I truly do appreciate each and every word that you write!!
(today, my garden was devastated by hail ~ it is in ruins.. today, as I stood at my sink, gazing on my garden.. wondering why I felt so sad... maybe my soul knew the storm was coming and that was the inner sadness I had felt earlier)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

forget me nots and sweets for the sweet

when my daughter Sophie was in high school, she studied art.
I packed her lunch nearly everyday...
slipping little treats in to make her know that she was loved..
you see she suffered dreadfully from 'teenage angst'..
she is a child after my own heart and I feel her pain so much sometimes...
and along with the little treats,
I would write her a small note
& tuck it into a special little fabric envelope that i had found at some op shop or other & then I would tie it with a piece of vintage blue ribbon.. it became a daily ritual of ours...

have a wonderful day, love M

with words of love, miracles, angels and joy... and she kept each and every one

one year in her art class they were asked to produce a piece of altered art ~ and my darling daughter gathered all those notes, along with bits n pieces that I had given her and she created an altered cup & saucer. she glued each and every note onto the cup inside and out and she filled it with little treasures.. a crystal, some pearls, a couple of sweets and a fake flower.

forget-me-not, love M xo

the saucer had an entire note that I had tucked into her camp bag when she went away
And she gave it to me for Mothers day that year... I know it's not Mothers day til May, but when i spotted this cup in my dresser this morning, I just knew what todays' post was going to be about.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

celebrating Australia day..

when I was a child Australia Day would come and go with really no fan-fare.. just another 'public holiday'... and it has only been in the last few years that I have noticed a certain patriotic feel come into the celebration that we call Australia Day...there are big celebrations on our Harbour in Sydney, people drive past with flags waving from their car aerials. we can even now buy paraphernalia with our flag on them to decorate our home with tacky plastic bits..

the past few years, I have always had a family 'real' Aussie BBQ ~ lamb, sausages.. pavlova and lamingtons washed down with beer, if you are a beer drinker.

our family dynamics have changed the past year ~ Caine moving away has left a void in our family group so Louisa my eldest daughter decided to have the family get together this year. to keep the family memory making continuing..

putting my rubber thongs on to celebrate.. not ordinary thongs, these are sparkly ones.. just wish my toenails were painted red.. and of course you are very privileged because I think my feet are ugly and never often show them in public

I took a pasta salad made by me with all home grown vegies from my garden ~grape tomatoes, zucchini, fresh beans, garlic & capsicum all slow roasted in Australian Olive oil..then tossed with balsamic, brown sugar and another drizzle of oil.

our Australia Day gathering was small.. but son in law Garth did us proud.. cooking in the high temps outside on the BBQ.. . it is going to take a little while for our family unit to settle into it's new niche.. but we are determined not to allow the sadness of the past year affect our gorgeous family! keeping joy in our lives in these little ways and creating memories for our delightful grandsons.
and later this evening we all went to Echo Point to sit and watch the sun set ~ kids ran around, parents sat chatting.. families picnicking.. tourists taking photos...all of this happened as the magnificent summer sun dropped behind the mountain..... yes, we are indeed the Lucky country.

Monday, 25 January 2010

a birthday cup of tea.

Happy birthday Pa!
One hundred years ago. today.
a brick-layer by trade.
a hard worker
my direct connection to Cornwall.

He taught me about books and how you could travel the world from an armchair. He gave me my love of chooks. he loved his poached eggs each morning and cherished his cup of tea.. he loved opera

But best of all, he gave me my love for old things… from when I was a little girl he would take me to auction houses and sit me atop of boxes of sundries while he frantically bid for items he wanted… until I reached an age that I could bid for myself…

I was the apple of his eye and I miss him dearly… he wanted me to be a singer.. opera no less.. but life had other plans. I have so many things I want to talk to him about… do you think that he is still around me... even though he has been gone for over 20yrs? yesterday, I asked for a sign, that he was still around me ~ this morning on a whim.. I visited a blog and found a post that i had missed previously and there was my sign.. a cup of tea..

Sunday, 24 January 2010

blessed are the Bread Makers

ST ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY: The Patron Saint of Hungary, Bakers and Bread Makers.
ST. NICHOLAS OF MYRA: the Patron Saint of Bakers.
ST. PETER: Patron Saint of Bakers...

I need them all, I need all the help I can get in the art of making of bread..

a week or so ago, dutch husband bought me a bread maker (and a coffee maker, but that in itself is a whole other story!). he bought it so that I could satisfy my whim of making the home-made bread that I craved after staying at the haunted farmhouse, while visiting my son.

I usually buy organic spelt bread from an Artisan bread shop in Springwood..

the bread making machine sat in all its glory on my bench until I found the courage to at least go and buy a pkt of pre-mix to get me started and I quickly read through the instructions.. thinking to myself that this cannot be too hard. everyone bakes bread, don't they? I mean it is not rocket science and you don't need a University degree do you?

friends were telling me they had a loaf baking at that very minute. their homes smelling delicious with the smell of home made bread.. I carefully, oh so carefully measured the water and pre-mixed flour. adding the yeast in the little pocket as instructed. pressing the start button four times for the french bread setting as suggested. and it started.. whirring and clicking happily away. while I envisioned fresh bread, organic butter and sylvanberry jam.

peering periodically into the little window on the bread maker. I could see it rising and rising.. until it started escaping over the edge of the bread pan, acting very much like a Triffid. I quickly grabbed the instruction manual as I raced up the hallway thinking I was being chased by a triffid or even worse, The Blob and it was clearly stated that 'anyone baking in 'high altitudes' above 700ft, should use less yeast.' You see, yeast rises faster at those altitudes. and surprisingly, Woodford is in a high altitude.. I was thinking more along the lines of the Swiss Alps or Mt.Everest.. not simple little Woodford.

the bread came out looking about as lopsided as the Pisa muffins... I am not a bread-maker and I think the bread makers should be deemed Blessed.. are you a bread-maker or a bread-eater?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

tin cans and other such stuff

my friend Marion is a potter [her garden is gorgeous - I must show you one day.. full of interesting bits.. she could be called 'Queen of the make-do'.. most of her garden is created from stuff she finds on council clean-ups'..] A few years ago, Marion created some clay garden stake toppers that she had seen in a gardening magazine. she is very talented and made a batch of mixed colours: plain clay with various glazed colours of Verdi blue, Tuscan yellow and eau-de-nil green... and she gave me a few for my garden..

I had vague memories of my grandfather using old tin cans in his garden on top of his stakes and I started to collect empty tin cans.. and so began my collection of rusty tins on top of stakes.. much to the amusement of my friends..especially when I begged, borrowed or stole their tin cans from the rubbish heap

then i got very creative and used old cups that had lost their handles..

oneday an old man was walking past Inglewood, he glanced over the fence, pointed at my various array of stake toppers & commented .. "did you know that they were actually used to stop people from poking their eyes out while gardening?" .. I told him that I had been thinking they were more of a decorative thing or even maybe snail traps as snails seem to love congregating inside..... but of course his theory made sense !! ~ ...

I should have listened closer to the wisdom of the ages because today, while weeding around my garden, I bent near a stake and it stabbed me just beside my eye, up my cheek and across the eyebrow.. and now I have tiny little splinters all over the left side of my face.. making for a very nice look..

Friday, 22 January 2010

precious life

sometimes, you can be sitting there completely absorbed in your own little world & one thing happens that makes you stop and realize how your own problems pale into insignificance

we stress & worry about 'getting' cancer.. fear eating away at us... the word just sends shivers up most of our collective spines.... as if cancer is the worst thing that can happen to us

but cancer is most times curable.

Motor Neurone is not.. we heard yesterday along the community grapevine that someone we know (the wife of a golf buddy of dutch husband) has just been diagnosed with this dreadful disease... and while I don't know her very well, my heart goes out to her and her family.. it has certainly bought home to me, just how very lucky I am that I had cancer and how important community is... when things like this happen.. people cook, help out in anyway they can and pray for the family affected... I love it.

how precious every single moment of life is.. I want to grab it with two hands and run.. and i pray that I become a 'better' person for the life that i have, every single moment. the sad, the happy and the in-between.... cancer was a gift, in hindsight

Thursday, 21 January 2010

floral memories

cleaning my dining room this morning.... memories started to flitter through my mind.. they do have a habit of doing that!.... the other day while visiting my friend Avis, I mentioned how beautiful her hydrangea bushes were.. (they have started to fade and are in that dry state between summer and autumn.. I hope to gather some next week to hang in my kitchen window..)

~ that conversation & hydrangeas replayed in my mind this morning as I dusted .. words leading to memories of how my nan always bought a bunch up for my mum when she came visiting, all wrapped up in wet newspaper to keep them fresh and always with some alum which apparently helps them to stay fresh and upright in a vase...

and how my friend Peter, who is a florist, gave me a stern lecture once, because I had a bunch of them on the table and they were wilting.. he grabbed one from the vase and proceeded with great ado, to show me what to do as soon as I picked them.. which was to plunge them flower head first into a bucket of water....

someone else told me to smash the end of the stems to help them drink up the water...

being inspired by all of this wisdom coming to mind, I made a quick phone call to Avis to ask if she would mind me ducking round to gather a bunch.. not at home.. bother. I left a quick message ...

desperate to have a bunch of hydrangeas... I made yet another phone call to Marion, who lives just down the road.. and yes, she had one.. and only one.. and as gardeners are apt to do, she said I could have it. jumped in my car, drove the short distance to Marions to get that precious head of blue and bought it back home...they say, that flowers given with love from someones garden are the best kind to have .

and as I plunged the flower head into a bucket of water, cut the stem and smashed it and panicked that i had no alum in the house.. the phone rang.. it was Avis .. 'of course, you can come around anytime to gather hydrangeas, or anything else for that matter.. you are always, welcome'

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

there's something about Harry & Charlie

grandma is at the door! I wonder if she bought me a Freddo Frog? (I didn't. because he is not allowed to have chocolate.. so I took him one of my Pisa Muffins (thanks Pam)..)

with all that happened last year within our family circle, it has really bought home to each of us, just how important family are.. so today I took myself off and went to visit my eldest daughter Louisa and my two Grandsons Harry & Charlie..

yes, I know these aren't my toys.. but I have heard they are fun to play with..

I promise I didn't do it... I didn't lick all the cake mix from this bowl.. it is clean and out of the cupboard...

these are so much more fun than the building blocks..

I am practicing for when I go to Grandma's place and I can lick the bowl there
do you remember ever licking the bowl when your grandma made a cake.. the mouth would water in anticipation.. and you would hold your breath, wishing with all your might that there would be some left for you...

the newest addition to the family.. not so little Charlie.. 4 mths old now! gurgles and smiles nearly all day, except when he is sleeping..

yes, grandchildren help heal pain & heartache - their smiles & cuddles.... they are the promise of the future that all will be well...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

whatever our souls are made of, his & mine are the same

sometimes, fleetingly, melancholy visits... and there is an emptiness of heart and no explanation for it at all.... but there is a sacredness in that emptiness too: to know that the melancholy is part of the ride... a lump in my throat that feels like I swallowed an orange.. dutch husband has returned to work this week and it feels like part of me is missing...missing his voice asking 'do you want a cup of tea, Babe?' (his pet name for me)... missing just knowing he is in the other room, or sitting watching a movie with him. having him there every second of the day.

to keep myself occupied today, I made some Banana, apple and nutmeg Victory muffins.. don't ask me why they are called victory muffins.. I have no idea at all..mine are not picture book perfect.. they rose up over the top of that muffin pan and kept going..ending up like the Leaning tower of Pisa...they would be shunned by the chic little coffee shops... the icing was runny because ~thinking of my waist line~ I used low fat cream cheese instead of the full fat, .. imperfect? or perfect?... depends which eyes you look at them with...

he is one of the kindest, caring and gentle people that I know ~ (and he loves me & my muffins)... and he is mine.. I am a lucky there such a thing as a soul mate? yes, I do believe there is.. I have mine.

Monday, 18 January 2010

a long way from home..

shells hanging on my garden gate...
reminding me of days spent by the sea
love from, the Ocean

in love.
this is how I feel about my life, totally in love with...... what makes you fall in LOVE with your life?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

it's a wonderful life!

lunch by the sea

in an old beach shack that has been converted into a Thai paradise... green tea, lemon-grass, chilli and garlic..

a world away from Woodford, so it seems, but in reality only 90mins by car. undiscovered. a jewel near the ocean....

we sat dining alfresco with friends..

good wine, food and company.

chatter & laughter, spilling over the wine glasses ~ wishing the day didn't have to come to a close..

then on for coffee at the Grand old Dame ~ Como Hotel. majestic. and afterwards, "let's do it again"..... yes, promising to do it again. and soon

my life is good. And for this, I say thank You

Saturday, 16 January 2010

stories that feed MY soul

a pair of old shoes.. worn by a child.. what games did she play?

you might notice that my blogging style this year has taken on a slightly different slant. my words are a little different and most of the photos are my own (like the one above.. just an ordinary pair of old shoes).. that is because this year is the year that I am finding the Sacred in every single moment of my life. the sacred in the Ordinary... I have been reading Tongue in Cheek by Corey Amaro for about 4 yrs (if you haven't yet discovered her blog.. do yourself a favour and visit and read & read every single post..I promise you, you will not want to leave..) .. .. and her blog inspires me, always. I read her words, telling of her life in France married to a Frenchman (that is where I found the term 'dutch husband'), she tells of life as an american living in France, she tells of her love for the 'Brocante"; ... I am sure that her life is not always a 'bed of roses' but she never tells of those.. although if she does, she does it with an acceptance of life.. sometimes she might just post a picture, with one or two words.. but not a day does she miss..and that is what I intend to do.. every single day. blog. maybe not alot of words but always a post from me.. finding the Sacred in My Ordinary moments at Inglewood. can you do this? if you are blog-jaded.. can you find some sacred in your ordinary moments of life?

Friday, 15 January 2010

how do you take your coffee?

we are lucky here in the mountains.. we have a very multi-cultured community and hence, many little cafes & restaurants have sprung up all over the place.. dutch husband & I often travel to Katoomba.. 15mins away. for coffee...

FresH is one of our favourites..

a little coffee house, that sells fair-trade coffee and each week has a house specialty.. they roast and grind their own beans as well...

my choice is always a Latte made on soy milk

and Dutch husband prefers a skinny cappuccino..

but now of course, I have my own coffee machine.. and even a bag of freshly ground coffee beans sitting on my bench, I guess that means coffee at home.. no, no.. always, always make time to go somewhere special with the one that you love, to sip coffee, laugh, hold hands

and the bread? that is a story on its own.. a story for another day

at least the chocolate slice that i made early this morning, didn't fail me!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

home-made bread & pickled beetroot

since deciding to stay put here at Inglewood, I have become more of a domestic goddess than ever before.. dutch husband has bought me a bread-maker as well as a coffee machine & I have bought bunches of organic beetroot from the Co-op in Katoomba..the bread-maker sits on the bench.. scaring me witless.. I had visions of baskets of home-made bread but I am in fear of taking that first step... the coffee machine? well, i must find some coffee and then I will have a try.. but my friends have been throwing words at me like, 'make sure you buy an espresso grind' ... 'beware burnt milk', 'make sure that you warm the cups !!' and worst of all 'do a barista course'... pickling beetroot is easier.. I can do it with my eyes shut..

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

my life & love ~ plain and simple

this year, I decided to try to find the Sacred in every single moment of my life. sometimes it is more difficult than others.. take the heat for instance.. yesterday was hot. stifling hot.. when it seems nothing is really alive, it is just existing.. there does not seem to be any energy anywhere.. the birds are still, plants droop.

and people .. well they cope in whatever way they can.. (I don't like having my photo taken.. .. and I really don't like the photo of me above..I nearly deleted it.. but it is me.. pure and simple. I do not look like Michelle Pfeiffer, no matter how much I wish I did & I don't have God to thank for my jowls, I have my grandmother & my nose ~ from my Cornish grandfather)

I could not even face cooking dinner so Dutch husband and I decided to pack a bottle of wine, two glasses and a blanket and go to Katoomba, buy a take~away pizza and go for an impromtu picnic at Echo Point..

and that is where I found the sacred yesterday:

THIS is what my life is all about