Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Wet Winter Solstice

I am grumpy today. It is raining again.

We were going to celebrate the Solstice today but with a house full of sick people, we will have to postpone it. Little Tree has a nasty cough and cold and Mr I has picked up a tummy bug from somewhere (let's hope he doesn't share it).

I have bought tickets to a film and feast night organised by our Local Food Network. The film is called "Grow Your Own" and sounds very entertaining. But first will be the feast made entirely of locally grown organic produce. Yum! Entertainment by a local band. So that will be my celebration.

This winter has been the wettest I've known here. We are meant to be in our dry season now. Yet the ground is soggy and squelchy as it has not had enough time to dry out from the floods and the air smells foul. The seedlings we put in months ago are struggling and many plants who have an aversion to wet feet have given up the ghost. Our terraced garden out the back resembles paddy fields and I'm sure everyone in this region would join me in shouting "We are sick of the rain". It must seem very unfair to other parts of Australia where they have been experiencing drought for years. To all those people in this area that are visualising abundance - STOP! Please.

In spite of my grumps, wherever you are, dear readers - I wish you an enjoyable solstice.

Blessings to you all.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Masterchef Reject

For weeks I have been reading the blogs of women who seem to be able to cook the most amazing food for their families or quickly run up a set of clothes for their children. So feeling pleasantly domestic and hoping to acheive a similar satisfyingly homey outcome I got out the appropriate paraphenalia. I now wish that, for the short period of time I spent at a particular school attending compulsory Home Economics classes (yes, they even set tests), I had paid close attention instead of yawning my head off, wondering how on earth this was relevant to me and dreaming of being just about anywhere else.(I only lasted 6 months at that school - I begged to be sent to a far more sensible school that thought cooking should be an elective, if anything, and where I could indulge in...oh my gosh, real subjects.)

Mr I once told me of the uncanny ability of the cooking staff at his Uni college to take clearly recognisable and palatable ingredients and turn them into the most unappealing meals. One such, he and his fellow collegians chose to call Chicken Trainsmash.

Hence the title I give to the outcome of abovementioned culinary adventure - a dessert I choose to call Apple and Sultana Trainsmash.

Little Tree was excited about helping me cook a new dish. We started out peeling, coring and chopping apples for stewing. This went quite well although Little Tree did get quite frustrated that the peeler would work for me but not for him. And decided after much trial and error that it would be better if Mum did that bit. He liked cracking the egg and mixing all the ingredients for the dough and was very helpful in instructing me how to use the rolling pin.

Having rolled the dough to the correct thickness and having spread a layer of stewed apples and sultanas over the dough - we proceded to the next step in the recipe book which was to roll it all up and slice into 7 or 8 segments. Had this worked we would have ended up baking something like this.....

Fate intervened. The dough started to stretch and stretch, stick to the floured surface and the fruit started oozing everywhere. At which point Little Tree stated quite categorically that "Mummy is eating that " and definitely not himself. Trying unsuccessfully to rescue everything I eventually decided I had two choices - throw the whole lot in the bin and leave it to more experienced bakers or to pick up the lot and dump it into the greased cake tin and cook it anyway. Well, being someone who hates to waste good food, I chose the latter while thinking that maybe it would still taste okay even if it no longer looked anything like the intended dessert. This was the result....

Having tasted it (very chewy) I know why the book calls for caramel sauce. Anyway, I made a quick call to Mr I to pick up some cream and crossed my fingers that I could at least make a decent caramel sauce.

In hindsight what went wrong? The dough was too wet - "add water to make a soft dough". What is a soft dough supposed to look and feel like? Obviously an assumed level of knowledge was required. The stewed apples still too warm ( I did wonder at the time) and next time, if there's a next time, I will roll out the dough on paper to assist in the rolling up. And maybe I'll stick to singing and shop at the bakery - that way we'll both be doing what we've spent years training for.

Evolution, Wise Friends and Nebulae

I can't believe we are halfway through the month already.

Little Tree is home from school at the moment with a nasty cough and cold. So we have train set, colouring pencils, puzzle books, toy cars, blocks and plastic animals from one side of the living room to the other. Making it somewhat of an obstacle course to get to bookcase/TV/stereo/sofa or just about anywhere. Apart from the sniffles and coughs and wanting to go to bed earlier than usual, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong. He maintains his usual happy, playfull, energetic self which is just delightful. I would find it distressing if he turned into a demanding, sulky, miserable child - that would mean he really was seriously ill.

I was recently lent a book called "The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness" by Dr Carl Johan Calleman. I found it fascinating in many ways. Not least of which the idea that my impression of the speeding up of time is not that I'm getting older but rather the increasing frequency of creative events occurring now (and has been increasing since "the big bang"). The idea that we are on the verge of moving away from the dualist mind to unity and co-creation seems to go hand in hand with the move by so many people this year (including me) to find a new path or approach to life as the old one no longer seems relevant.

Isn't it funny how things come to you out of the blue that support your journey.

Wednesday last week was one of those days when a quick walk into the village turned into a three hour sojourn into wisdom. Firstly, I bumped into a friend and her daughter and was invited to join them for chai. Daughter spoke about a dream and Simone, while trying to help daughter interpret it, reminded me that if I find my life not to my liking at the moment, the obstacle/s to finding it otherwise are in my mind. Later I bumped into another couple of friends who were talking about the holographic universe and how we are connected to everything else but our dualist minds cannot see this. Having left them to their shopping, I quickly came face to face with another friend who helped me reconnect with the truth that I am (as we all are) much bigger than the life in which I find myself . All these interactions put everything into a broader, deeper and richer perspective and I walked home feeling more profoundly "true" than when I left. That evening I found, quite by accident (or was it?), a programme on SBS called Cracking the Colour Code. It talked about colour and how we are able to see colour. What really touched me was the images of stars and nebulae and the knowledge that I am made of the same stuff. So there I was sitting on the sofa in profound awe knowing I am materially and energetically connected to those stunningly beautiful nebulae.

On another note. Last night I watched the second half of an interview with Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in creativity and innovation, speak about how we are letting our children and our society down with our current education system. He advocates a radical review of the system in order to nuture creativity in our children. To enable them to find that place in themselves where interest/talent/passion intersect and to support them on their unique educational journey. This does not happen with a standardised curriculum and assessment system and where different modes of learning i.e. visual, auditory or kinesthetic are ignored. Where maths, sciences and languages have more status and quite often more funding over humanities, art, music, dance.

I'm hoping to obtain a copy of his book "The Element: Finding Your Passion Changes Everything". I would love to find an alternative education for Little Tree. Unfornately, independent schools do not get the same level of funding for aides as government run schools and Little Tree needs an aide or I would have liked to see how he managed in the Steiner system. If I thought I was up to it, I may have considered home-schooling - provided he was able to socialise often with other children being home schooled. I just think a lot more lateral thinking and creativity could be used in teaching these special needs children - something further on which to ponder.

Love and blessings to all on your unique and wonder filled journeys.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Day of Winter

This is what I like about Winter - the skeletal frames of unclothed trees, accessorised only by filigree seed chandeliers yet to be dislodged by the wind.
Winter greeted us with a shower of rain this morning and given the frequency of floods over the last months I started feeling a little paranoid. However, the clouds parted and for a little while - long enough to walk into the village shops and back again - we had lovely sunshine. So, in honour of Winter I have included a poem written by fellow blogger Mark Williams.

Charm for a garden at the end of Summer

This hop-lapped vessel
a green lion
fiercely prowls.

Man-legged, leaf-shanked one,
hear! Stride bone-shards,

repent your sway
of moss and fern.
Cast off your herb-pelt

and with your roar, shiver
this sealed alembic:
let outside in utterly.

Call pear and apple,
bid them bare their breasts
to wasp's bite. Call swallows

to stitch up the wounds
with thread of shadow. Call night,
call winnower, eat ashes

and underglow. Set down clay too
for you, death,
bread's sunbrowned echo.

Pigeon and blackbird, hush.
Hold the curved silence
you remember from the egg.

O blood, thicken in the vein
sink down. O root beneath,
sing for the frost lode.