Friday, December 20, 2013

Am I crazy or what?

Sitting out on a hot, hot day drawing when I could be inside in air conditioned comfort, must be mad. Came home dripping sweat and collapsed on the couch under the soothing breeze from a fan (I don't like air con unless absolutely necessary).
It was nice though, drawing 'en plein air' and I am gradually overcoming my shyness, doing something which has hitherto been  private, under the public gaze. Thankfully I was left alone, only one person approached me for a couple of dollars!  I saved my change though for the young busker who sawed out a whole hour of christmassy tunes on his violin. School's out today so we shall see and hear more of these enterprising youngsters in the lead up to Christmas.
The flower guy does a roaring trade because his prices are so modest, some of the local small florists seem to buy from him rather than pay wholesale. I bought two bunches of lilies for my friend Jan (remember Jan, she bakes) who is making us a roast dinner this evening, yum!
It was nice to work on real watercolour paper and I am still learning the quirks and idiosyncrasies of both the paper and the pigments.
Today's one.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hmmm, where were we?

A little nudge from my friend Gay in Tasmania reminded me that I haven't updated this blog in over a month, Oh dear!
I have been relatively busy, not in the going out and earning a living kind of busy or doing good works kind of busy, but lazy, self indulgent knitting, origami-ing, sketching kind of busy.
My latest project is sketching out of doors in the hope that it will, (a) get me out of the house and (b) gain me entree into the Facebook group Urban Sketchers who seem like a nice bunch of people, some of whom have promised to come to Newcastle in January to help me get a chapter off the ground here.
 A couple of my attempts:
 A bit 'wonky' but balancing  your sketchbook on your knees is clearly a learned skill!

In other news, during my massive decluttering phase preparatory to moving house I scouted out a few blogs and discovered that one of them, "365 Less Things" (HERE) was run by none other than a Novocastrian who was herself in the process of moving and weirdly only metres from me! Arrangements were made to meet and Colleen and I enjoyed a lovely lunch this week with the promise of follow up meetings, how good is that?
My new year etegami for the year of the horse have been made and I will send them out soon, sadly fewer than last year as the postage has become prohibitively expensive, Australia Post no longer offer postcard rates and stamps to America have risen by a whole dollar to $2.60. One dollar is not much but multiply that by 50 you can see the problem.
Anyway, here is the stamp I carved for my New Year cards and as I have many 'hobby horses' I thought it a good fit. I hope that everyone's 2014 is good and if 2013 was bad for you, maybe next year will bring "a horse of a different colour."
Happy Christmas everyone, especially the faithful few who follow this blog!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Half a century.

Today marks a half century since the Prof and I tied the knot. While it seems but a blink of the eye, a picture tells a thousand truths. This is me on our wedding day. I will spare you the current view!

 Oh callow youth, how could we have embarked on such a momentous odyssey at such a tender age? Oscar Wilde once remarked that "marriage is a triumph of optimism over experience" and it is clear that we were all optimism, certainly lacking experience!
However, despite a very few minor squalls, our ship has found calm waters and our optimism it seems was well founded. Two sons and four granddaughters make growing older more bearable, that and for the Prof, his Ipod on random play with all the Motown hits of the 'sixties while I busy myself making, doing and painting in our haven by the harbour.
We are enjoying our peaceful retirement and hope that our luck and health hold for a few more years.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Advantages to living small;

Perfumes fill the small space, flowers can be seen from all angles and things are readily at hand.....Disadvantages to living small; well apart from the obvious converse of the smell thing, I haven't found any yet.
Inspired by the perfume from some ripening peaches filling the apartment, the first of the season, I have been drawn back to the world of traditional etegami.
It is a darkish grey, rainy day, leavened only by a long walk to my favourite fabric store, listening to Herman Wouk's magnum opus "The Winds of War". The delectable smell of the peaches greeted me on my return and brightened my day. Summer is truly a'comin' in.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Don't be a galah!

Maybe this expression is becoming obsolete but I heard it many times in my youth. It was usually said with an ironic slightly affectionate ring, much like the expression "you silly goose".
Why the galah has been libelled in this way is quite obvious when you see them in the flesh. They have a slightly goofy air and are given to screeching and panicking at the least disturbance. All this despite their gorgeous rosy pink and grey colouration.
Galahs do make good companion animals and can be affectionate but it is a shame to take them away from their natural habitat where they flock in large numbers, wheeling and screeching all the while.

I have a feeling my bird stamp carving phase may have run its course....we shall see.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I met one of my Facebook friends Carolyn from Melbourne in person and we shared a chatty lunch, afternoon tea and gallery visit together. I felt very connected to Carolyn online and happily that connection is now a personal one.
A funny thing happened when I returned home though, my 12 year old twin granddaughters gave me a stern lecture about people you meet online and how to protect yourself from predators. The education programs at school are working!
All in all a good week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

On the subject of opportunity...

It has been said that "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" probably meaning "take what you can and don't hold out for more in the future". Seems to me that our whole lives we are holding out for more and isn't that what life is all about? For some it is a promise of Heaven, for others it is for material things, for me it is friendship, developing a relationship beyond the superficial, so maybe being a "holdout" isn't a bad thing.
Todays nondescript little bird, a kind of generic sparrow type says that settling for the now, may lose you the opportunity for better things.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Appearances can be deceptive.

Today's bird, the cockatiel, also known as the Quarrion in Australia, is a small parrot which is fast overtaking the budgerigar as the most popular companion pet. He does look like a little clown but only those who have seen a flock of the birds on the wing can appreciate their aerial acrobatics. It seems like a good metaphor for how we view the people we meet. Flamboyance may disguise a rare talent or innate intelligence, best not to judge a bird by it's feathers!
A cockatiel named Karma is one of the stars of the Etegami Fun Club, appearing in photos of work posted by his owner, he is a well loved bird!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Today's bird.

Today's bird is a little Topknot pigeon who searches quietly in grassy areas for seeds. At our old house they would eat the seeds from our huge liquidamber tree which shed enough to keep a whole flock happy.
The most distinctive thing about these unassuming birds apart from a parrot like crest is the loud whirring sound made by their wings as they take flight, a sound I associate with happy times in my childhood, sitting alone in a paddock silently watching and dreaming. The colouration of the Topknot is quite subtle and beautiful with a slash of peacock blue-green feathers on wingtips.
I don't think I have done justice to the little chap but he brought back nice memories while I was painting and carving.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Today's bird.

The little Blue or Fairy Wren is tiny but fierce, he protects his band of wife, daughters and immature  males with a pit bull like tenacity. He is not averse however to skipping the fence into another wren's territory, looking to spread his genes a little wider. The joke is on him thought, while unguarded his wife is known to stray as well! A frequent backyard visitor the wren shelters in bushy shrubs and provides hours of entertainment to those lucky enough to host them.
Not sure if the words would qualify as a haiku but that was the intention!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


A couple more bird stamps. Stamp carving is proving to be addictive, so much so that I have had to sally out to buy more carving medium.
The admonition on the first card "sing every chance you get" is something I seriously believe despite having a singing voice that closely resembles someone using a saw. Singing cheers the heart and it is difficult to be miserable if you sing, hum or whistle a tune.
I am particularly prone to "earworms", those repetitive phrases or snatches of song that pester you for hours, demanding that you vocalize them. I sometimes wonder if the fact that I suffer from tinnitus makes me prey to them. In any case it does help to belt out the occasional tune (first clearing the area of sensitive souls).

The little skinny shore bird occupies his own special niche in nature, just as we all do.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Anybody out there?

Naughty me, letting the real world eclipse my cyber world but it is back to business now that we're settled into the new digs.
Life here is unbelievably interesting and having lived in the semi 'burbs for ten plus years I am loving all of the activity going on around me. Ships in, ships out, fun runs along the waterfront, a constant parade of people strolling along the boardwalk and the merry chatter of diners in the restaurants below in our building. Thankfully the noise doesn't annoy me as many of my friends have predicted it would, they are happy noises although the party two floors down was a worry on Saturday night, it shut down at the civilized time of 11pm.
Our state has been ravaged by bushfires for the past couple of weeks and the air is thick with smoke, not good for the dodgy lung people but I can always close the doors and put on the aircon, so lucky we can do that.
One of the lovely things about living on the fourth floor is that we see "eye to eye" with the birds  and fruit bats that fly by. Maybe that is why I have decided to carve bird stamps. The birds here are mainly sea birds but the ones I am carving are rather generic at the moment,  not sure where I'm are going with it but fun to do anyway.
I love the cheeky poem, thank you Philip de Vos.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Back again and it is nearly that time again, the time that dentists love, Hallowe'en. The usual stamp, firstly for my brother who likes this kind of stuff (attested by the large tattoo in Gothic script on his forearm) and whose birthday falls on Nov 2 the day Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead. Secondly for my correspondents in California who also observe the day and thirdly, well, just because!
I did think of using a line from the old spiritual "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones but went with something that would round up all the ideas about Hallowe'en.
Don't eat too many lollies (candy, sweets)!

Monday, October 7, 2013

A door closes and a sliding one opens...

To my lovely new view!

Well, we are in the new place and it looks like it will suit us just fine. The only thing left to do is to hang the paintings and sit back and enjoy.
Amidst the madness of the big move I did find time to sit down and carve this stamp. (I find stamp carving to be a very calming activity). I thought the image and quote were very appropriate, we have left behind my big fishpond and the week has been a frenzy of cleaning the old place and painting the  new so I made the stamp to send on an etegami to the two mates, Betty and Jan (remember Jan? she bakes) who pitched in and helped us with the final clean up of the old place.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vale Buster.

Not to go into details but the fact that I havent blogged in so long will give a clue as to how my life has been these past few weeks.
Today is a particularly sad day, our little mate Buster had to be put to sleep, he was very ill with cancer and refused to eat anymore. The vet said it was the kindest thing, so while I was out attending the funeral of my next door neighbour, the Prof took him on his last trip. I have done this kindness to other pets and now it was his turn to do the deed.
The Universe has a strange way of aligning your stars. One of our main worries when we first embarked on the idea of living in a fourth floor apartment  was how  Buster would cope. More to the point, how would we cope! That problem is resolved but I would rather have the problem than the solution any day.
This will be the first time in our married lives since we returned from California to Australia in 1969 that we have been dogless for any length of time. The house feels strange and eerily empty but I am resolved not to succumb and get another little dog, all things change and the big change is coming up for us.
On the positive side, we have the keys to the new place at last and can now start moving things in, the view from the deck is lovely at night with the harbour lights and the tugs whizzing around.
Downstairs in our apartment building there is a Subway franchise, the next  building has a Minimart and there are heaps of restaurants, the favourite of which is "The Salty Squid" so we will be able to survive in our dotage as long as we can crawl to the elevator!
This house is rapidly emptying of almost all of the furniture and everything else that  cluttered up our lives but the problem remains, will my half dozen 6ft by 4ft paintings crowd us out of the new place?
Stay  tuned!
My favourite photo of Buster and me taken late last year in happier times.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

First you play...

and then you pay! A short break in Sydney last weekend left me with some much needed visual stimulation and unfortunately, a cold! It seems that crowds and I don't agree despite precautions, handwashing obsessively, avoiding obvious sneezers etc, it was almost inevitable that the lurgie would find me.
Apart from the obvious discomfort of the cold I have a feeling of being becalmed in a sea of stuff which must be dealt with before the big move... seven weeks and counting. Difficult to motivate oneself but the time does slip away. In preparation I am busying myself (if sitting on the couch and sewing and knitting can be called busy) with finishing up the backlog of crafty stuff I have managed to avoid. The tag ends of former obsessions, teddy bears, knitted bunnies and sock monkeys. I don't want to start the new life with a hoard of half finished projects cluttering up the place.
Sometimes I wonder about my liking for infantilia but mostly I just shrug it off as the end result of a deprived childhood and a liking for small things.
Another project this week has been to make cushions using some not too comfy feather pillows which should be perfect as they don't have the annoying habit of sliding off the leather couch. It gave me the chance to try out the look of stamped bees using a stamp I made for an etegami.
The linen fabric "took" the stamp well and as the ink is impossible to wash out of clothing, I am hoping it will survive on the pillows.
The weather was perfect in Sydney and I was able to make a few sketches in the Gardens and around the art gallery, heaven to be out in the sunshine with nothing else to do but sketch and look at art! I could get used to that.

This was the first outing for a new LAMY pen, very nice for thick and thin lines with the same instrument. So, no etegami today...maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


This week a call for etegami on the subject of gratitude made me step back and assess my life and the things I am grateful for.
First and foremost, I am grateful to BE here, grateful for this great age which we in the developed world share, the world of instant communication, Internet friendships which will never be face to face but nonetheless bring an added dimension to our lives. I am grateful for all of the obvious things: dodging death and reaching a great age, access to good medical care, children and at risk of sounding like one of those boring Christmas newsy letters, grandchildren. Perhaps it would be easier to list the things I am not grateful for but at the moment I can't think of a thing!
Oh I forgot that I am grateful that the poo pumpers have vacated our back garden and drainage wise it is "good to GO" (see last week's post).
So on to the etegami for this week......

That's the Bluebird of Happiness by the way!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I guess everyone has a pedantic pet peeve and foremost amongst mine is the use of the word "Hero"in inappropriate ways. Sportsmen who save the day are called "Heroes", people who help old ladies across the road are "Heroic". The currency has certainly been debased but truly there are people who should be described as heroic: nurses who have to tolerate bad behaviour from patients they are trying to help and who have no option but to remain calm and professional, people who grind away in deadend jobs and who go home to their families every day without complaint, these are heroes.
These ponderings have been set in train this week by what can only be described as a truly pooey situation in our neighbourhood. Yep, the huge sewer main which runs along our back fence has imploded causing chaos downstream from us. Thankfully (though I do sympathise with those affected) we haven't had any issues. We have however endured the constant noise of the large trucks pumping waste from the access point in our garden in order for them to rectify the problem. Large bright blue hoses snake down our driveway, traffic cones block off the street and we have become quite a tourist attraction for local rubberneckers.
All of this activity prompted me to think that these folks who are here working late into the night in the cold and with a job description that isn't that attractive are the true heroes of our civilization. Workers in the frontline, doing a job nobody tells their careers adviser that they aspire to and remaining steadfastly cheerful through it all. Doing a job that most people are grateful that they don't have to do themselves.
Public sanitation has possibly saved more lives than antibiotics and all other medicines combined but nobody gives that a thought when they yank the chain!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Never, ever....

 ever buy a treadmill!
As a necessary condition of our move to a smaller house we are shedding larger items of furniture and various things that have accumulated on our surfaces much like limpets on a rock and they are sometimes proving as difficult to move as aforesaid limpets.
So, on to the treadmill. The treadmill (hardly used)  is a huge beast purchased by our son for us when the Prof was experiencing some health issues in the vain hope that it would encourage a healthy lifestyle (did I mention it is hardly used). As I write four grown men are attempting to get it through the door (it got IN the door) but it is stolidly refusing to go out the door!
Stay tuned...
My Saturday etegami does seem a mite gloomy but hey, with the weight of the treadmill on my mind, who can blame me? (Don't get me started about the monster barbeque!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Star Trek, "To boldly go..."

Inspiration came this week while I was watching the latest Star Trek movie for the umpteenth time (yes I am a Trekkie and I loved the original TV series). I managed to extract several quotes that make perfect sense to me and it dawned on me that Mr Spock is one of the great philosophers, in fact I think he is probably behind all of those pithy motivational quotes one sees ricocheting around the internet. It is possible you know as he can time travel!
Seeing a very old Leonard Nimoy play the original Spock is a bit salutary when one thinks that when he was a young man I was a young woman. It must have been all of that time traveling that made him so wrinkly, I can't possibly have aged the same as he?
I am willing to bet, dollar that I am the first etegamist to use one of Mr Spock's epigrams on an etegami, any takers?
I married this saying with an image of one of the magnolias currently blooming in our part of the world. Perhaps because I think that all of nature is somewhat improbable, including that apex of creation the sloth (you though I was going to say man didn't you? but truly isn't the sloth just so cool?).
Maybe a sloth will feature in my next etegami, now how can I get one to hold still for long enough to be painted?
To round off the week, two etegamis of the same duck but different sentiments.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Marking time.

Winter, or rather the cool weather that we have which passes for winter, is my least favourite season. No looking forward to hot chocolate, cold walks or tumbles in the snow in this household. Instead you will find me grumbling and snuffling under heated throw rugs.
Adding to this sense of melancholy is the news that we have had a spill in leadership in the Labor party and our first woman prime minister has been dumped in favour of a former leader who it is hoped will lead us to victory in the coming election. There is an abiding sense in Australia that she has led us into an abyss of debt and has ruined the country, this despite a triple A rating from international credit agencies and an economy that is the envy of the world...what do we have to do? It would enlighten some of her critics if they looked farther afield to see what real poverty, instability and debt looks like but alas the conservative mind very seldom looks farther than its own wellbeing.
Sorry about the rant but the vitriol directed at Julia Gillard by her critics, the personal attacks (many disappointingly by women) and the ongoing campaign by the largely Murdoch controlled press to return us to a conservative government has been disappointing to say the least.
Back to my other passion...etegami!
Looking at these huge luscious California strawberries I bought yesterday it occurred to me that the Beatles were prescient, we do have strawberry fields forever! It is strawberry season somewhere in the world at any given time and they are only an aeroplane flight away...this may not be a good thing but it is a real manifestation of that much used seventies term the Global Village.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A miserable week.

Yes, it's cold, yes, it's wet and yes, I am still chewing on the malaise left by last week's excursion...but there is light at the end....etc.
All of which have left me in a rather philosophical state of mind and wanting to express myself in a Haikuish kind of way. The Prof says it is a bit late in life to start writing poetry, all the good poets died young to which I retorted "not the Haiku masters". This caused a minor choking incident  (tea inhaled can be quite distressing) but a hearty thump on the back got him back to his normal docile self and peace was restored in the household.
Stamp carving is a sovereign way to achieve that longed for state  where one's mind is totally engaged but not stressed...aaah peace!

As for the intrusively large name stamp, that is a result of ineptitude, not ego, I like the idea (a bean with the 'C' forming the dark embryo of the bean) but shall have to refine my carving techniques a little to scale it down a bit.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Post hubris malaise.

Surely in the handbook of psychiatry there is somewhere a description of idiots who bite off more than they can chew despite years of suffering the consequences of their actions? I would definitely be one such case.
Wednesday, a lovely train trip to Sydney with my good friend Jan (she bakes remember?) to see the biggest,  brightest wonderfullest craft show in the Southern Hemisphere (well, a little hyperbole will get you everywhere I have found). That is; a three hour trip, three hours walking around the show (maybe not the biggest, brightest etc,), three hours back and to top it off, a night out with friends!
Result? predictably, a day in bed, another day in my slippers and who knows what the morrow will bring?
I have done a couple of etegami though, another "recipe" card and a little something to send a friend.

I did have fun making the buzzy bee stamp.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Life after the open house.

Living in a home that is putatively owned by someone else is quite strange. Keeping it tidy and clean is now my job as a kind of custodian and is helping me with the "weaning off stage" so that I can  let my thoughts stray to furnishing and organizing the new space, on paper that is.
I have always maintained that houses are like overcoats, you can shrug off one and move into another that is more suitable without any qualms but with this place I am questioning my own philosophy. Is it ageing, the fact that I did move in meaning this to be my forever home after moving so many times before? It does seem that we are repeating a well worn theme, move in, make a lovely garden and then leave just as our fruit trees are fruiting, hedges hedging and shade trees shading.
This has been the longest we have lived in one place (11 years) in our married life so things are just that much more advanced and harder to leave. I console myself that I leave something to be enjoyed and hopefully nurtured by others.
We settle on our new digs tomorrow but because the current tenants have a lease until October, that is when we will move in. Amazing really when we only started to seriously look at alternatives to our home just before Anzac Day (April 25), to have things tied up so neatly, buying and selling, in only two months.
I have had time to do a little creative work as I have been a "bowls widow" this long Queen's Birthday long weekend, the Prof being absent almost the whole time gallivanting about on various bowling greens. He is a little sad this week though as his home club has closed it's doors because of a burden of debt too big to trade out of. Pity really as the club is in the park across the street from us and allowed him a celebratory (or consolatory) drink after a game without worrying about driving home. Of course this would all have become moot in October anyway and I suspect I will be chauffering  him and his mate quite a bit in future.

My first etegami is in response to a call for recipe card etegami by Debby, so a little humour seemed a good idea.

The second is in response to a call for cards celebrating the Japanese festival of Obon.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A quiet Hurrah!

There are moves afoot and barring unforseen circumstancess, the house is sold! At the one and only open house inspection our agent rounded up 26 couples from his database and of those, five made offers well over the asking price via a silent auction....we were amazed. We have signed the papers to exchange contracts and after the cooling off period allowed to the purchasers we can breathe again.
 It is said that selling a house and moving is one of the  more stressful things in life but so far, apart from the decluttering phase, this has been relatively painless. I guess it helps that we are happy and committed to the move and it is not being done under any kind of duress.
The new owners are happy too and seem to really love the oasis we have created here. The best aspect of the whole thing is that they are happy to allow us to stay in the house until October when our new place will be vacant.
Reading back over this it seems that I have used "happy" more than usual and I am happy with that!
Of course, now I am marking the time that I see each and every flower as the last time and that is a little sad but the new owners have said it is okay if I want to raid the persimmon tree next year so that is a bonus.
Time to get back to a little bit of etegami-ing and forget the constant cleaning and tidying for now!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Karma Chameleon...

Well, the die is cast, the stage is (almost) set, the Rubicon is crossed (anyone got any more cliches?); on Saturday we are having the first open inspection of our house which is now officially for sale. It is about now that I am reviewing my past lives. No, not Shirley Maclaine type past lives but the different places I have lived and how I coped with them. From farm to town to city to university campus, to farmlet, to Research Station, to suburbia and  none of these have prepared me for the big change about to happen. A small two bedroom apartment, albeit with stunning views but with no place for a single op shop trinket.
I have now officially entered the "shedding" phase of my life. After a lifetime of accumulating it is a weird headspace to be in!
The question remains, can I fit into the rarefied atmosphere of what I have in the past gleefully called "the white shoe brigade", those retirees with their nautical themed clothing (navy and white, though they never sail) or will I still be the faded Hippy in the long skirts and the dangly beads and scarves? I leave you to guess.
Which brings me to today's etegami!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Gues what I am listening to?

I am listening to; "A Feast for Crows" by George R R Martin. Having listened to the earlier books in the "Game of Thrones" series, the horror continues but the narration by Roy Dotrice is so good that the story is spellbinding. My friend described the television adaptation of the books as "a soap opera" but I don't know what kind of daytime television she is watching!
Listening while working on my etegami, there were black crows on my mind.

Or this less threatening version.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Out with the old....

yes, all of those treasures I have been holding onto for so many years, the "useful" things that never quite found their use and almost everything else we own was put out for the public to peruse at my garage sale last Saturday. What a dispiriting enterprise! Just as dispiriting as when the movers assess your belongings as "chipped, stained scratched etc". There was an apt quote by some 18th century pundit about the depression brought on by seeing your belongings in harsh sunlight on the footpath, I now know the feeling!
One thing that troubles me and it may be that some of my more "arty" friends may be able to relate to, is why I am having more trouble letting go of my huge collection of old bird's nests than I am of selling off or giving away my grandmother's good china, is there a lurking sociopath in my persona?
Despite the embarrassment of having to spruik your tawdry stuff to the hordes we did make a bit of money and lightened the load considerably. Unfortunately that was only stage one, stage two will come after the house is actually sold, that was only the decluttering phase, the getting rid of the hugely outsized furniture phase is yet to come.
Photos have been taken of our modest house which makes it appear as if it were a mansion, all prettified and uncluttered and shining clean......we are faced with the tense business of living a disciplined life until someone else can envision themselves living in a carefully staged set and then we can relax.
Consequently, painting has taken a back seat but here is an etegami I did last week.
We have now exchanged contracts on the new apartment, the cooling off period ends tomorrow and so I believe the die is cast. There is an air of unreality, as if we have set in motion a downsizing juggernaut and are about to be thrown under it's wheels! (in a good way).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

That was the week that was....

exciting, nerve wracking and busy!
Busy, because I am still in the throes of decluttering, brutally tossing out things that have accumulated like debris on a beach after a major shipwreck.
I have to search back into the memory banks to figure out when I decided that two complete sets of Blue Willow china, enough to cater for 16, became necessary. In future, to hell with the environment I say, if I ever have 16 people cluttering up my new much smaller place I will use paper plates! ( hope my friends will excuse my little outburst about the environment, I will recycle the plates).
After a visit from the local "antiquarian" my cupboards are a little like Mother Hubbard's but alas my purse is not much heavier. Nevertheless, it is a relief to unburden oneself of too many things, there is a definite spring to my step as I toss yet another accumulation of shredded paper into the recycle bin.
Nerve wracking because we have made an offer on an apartment and been accepted and pending paperwork we are committed to living in a very small two bedroom apartment until the local nursing home or undertaker gets first pick! The trade off in space will, I hope be compensated for by the view from the large deck where I plan to spend every  clement moment watching the passing parade of ships and people.

This is the view, courtesy of the Real Estate agent's brochure, from the deck. Newcastle harbour is very much a working harbour and is busy with large cargo ships, tugs and on the weekend pleasure craft. The view of the wheat silos and loading facility is especially dear to the Prof's heart, he being a plant geneticist involved with the wheat industry for most of his working life.
So I am trading this,
For the above and hope I don't live to regret it!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A bit of this and a bit of that and a whole lot of mess!

A fairly long break from blogging but I have not been idle.
Itchy feet ( ?) a change in health and the need to declutter have kept me busy. Almost fifty years of married life and I am horrified by the amount of 'stuff' we have accumulated. This is notwithstanding several major moves and previous attempts at clearing out our possessions.
What is exercising my mind at the moment is how to dispose of the many non valuable but sentimental items that I have inherited. I am sure  that neither of my children will want them, certainly the grandchildren will not but they do not fit into my contemplated future. Does one bite the bullet and cast them adrift or leave it to the next generation to do that? All of these things have become quite burdensome and one feels guilty to even think of giving them away. I am constantly reminded of that awful song by the very naughty Barry Humphries,'The Night We Burnt My Mother's Things".
We are currently searching for an apartment, with a view, to compensate for the loss of the garden. Believing as I do that I am quite an adaptable person I am sure nonetheless that I will have a balcony stuffed with plants as I go through the process of grieving for the garden. The Prof is completely oblivious of his surroundings and as long as there is a cup of tea and access to sports on cable TV he will be happy. You may wonder why we are thinking of the move but I have seen too many older friends sitting in a big house as the wind whistles through the deserted bedrooms and watching it slowly deteriorate around them. Better to jump than be pushed I say!
The changes may be in the medium to longer term as we hunt for the perfect place but in the meanwhile it is sooo good to toss things out!
A couple of etegami fitted in between slashing and shredding this week.

The Dog is a stamp and I tried many captions but I like this one best as it suits my present mood.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The answer...

What is the question? Well it is the question that bugged the ancient Egyptians terribly, in fact they even deified a bug that rolled around a ball of dung for goodness sake!
The question is; "Where does the sun go when we can't see it?"I do strain to see the similarity of said dung and the sun but it made sense to the Egyptians I guess.
Now you can tell me the earth is round yadda yadda, but my answer is much more palatable, edible in fact. The sun sleeps in the fruits we grow and every morning a little bit stays behind!
Do you like that explanation for the wonderful colour in my latest crop of persimmons? (Don't ask me what happens in winter, some things just have to be taken on faith). I have been enjoying the crop, trying to draw it in Adobe Illustrator (#&*#) and just admiring the colour. I finally went back to my most enjoyable option and did an etegami.
The persimmon tree is in the front garden and almost every day when it is in fruit someone asks what it is. Some people don't like the slippery texture of the ripe fruit but the Chinese lady who serves us dinner every Thursday night at the local club didn't hesitate when I offered  her a share.
We have had bumper crops this year of grapes and mangoes. The grapes are the old Isabella type,which have a delicious intense musky flavour but many are put off by the hard skins and the seeds. It is funny that all of my friends, when they eat the grapes,  say "My grandma grew  these and I love the memories they bring back". My grandma grew them as well.
The mangoes have survived because I bagged the fruit (sometimes in a fairly unorthodox way by putting our odd socks on them..a funny sight but it worked) the fruit bats and fruit fly left them alone so it is mangoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner but I never tire of them.
Winter is when the citrus fruit comes in but this year is not so good for them, you win some you lose some.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Be warned before reading and take note of the subtitle of this blog "Diary of a wasted life". Ah well, the Prof assures me that most people do not rise above the mundane so I am not alone in filling my time with trivia.
A little potting up of succulents in the three pairs of superannuated Crocs I have been hoarding, naff (adjective, Brit. lacking taste or style) I know but a good way to keep something out of landfill. The inevitable etegami followed.
 It pleased me to consider myself sabotaging the natural progression of such things from factory to rubbish dump but I guess it is only a temporary reprieve.
Another project is the passel of bunnies ready to go off for Easter, they do seem to multiply like, well rabbits!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ten days alone.

Yes, the Prof has been away for ten days, dealing with some issues overseas and I have been guilty of one (?) of the seven deadly sins, (sloth for the curious!).
It is so easy to slip into a routine of waking late, going to bed late, eating to please oneself that it will be difficult to go back to the well  established routines. A family health crisis has kept me from feeling very creative so any efforts have been rather of the 'handle turning' kind I am afraid. Things are sorted now, so, heigh ho, it's back to work we go.
The garden is burgeoning but in that "early autumn, we've had a lot of rain, miss Haversham kind of neglected look". That reminds, me I should clear the dining room table, a couple of friends are expecting to be able to eat there tonight.
Apart from knitting rabbits, egg cozies and various animalia, I have been captivated by my latest project, stuffed lotus pods. No, you don't eat them precious, they are stuffed with fabric and fiberfill to make rather neat pincushions. Saw the idea on a friend's FB page and finally got to do something with the pods I have been hoarding from the last few summers. My very first and rather pretentious blog entry was about beauty, illustrated with a photo of my lotus in bloom.
A couple of etegami, the first again about the garden, we imported a load of soil and also it seems myriad kinds of fungi which I am enjoying at the moment after our heavy rain. The second, a card to contribute to a call for a "Cat Band" being assembled by a Japanese lady, a friend of a friend. Of course every band needs a singer so that was my contribution.