This thought for today just came my way:
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God...
It's actually a good thought for every day.
Thank you to the handful of friends (and one family member) who stayed in touch and encouraged me back to these pages. As satisfying as it has always been, it's hard to keep up with the blog when there's so much else I want to be doing. But I don't want to lose touch with a few special people I found in this funny, flimsy network, so I've taken a deep breath and logged on again.
I can't possibly write about all I've been up to in the time I've been off the air, but here's a sample:
Extending my knowledge on fruits, vegetables and herbs and how to prepare them in new and healthy ways.
While all the time reading, reading, reading ...
SO MUCH INFORMATION...
SO LITTLE TIME ...
I'll come back soon and talk about some of the many things I've been discovering.
I just came across this in my treasure trove of saved delights - now growing so large that I fear my computer may crash one day from their enormity. I have no idea of when or where I came by it; I should make it a practice of recording such details at the time.
Anyway, here it is for you to savour...
The lemon myrtle bush outside my bedroom window has just begun to flower again. The early buds are small and green; later they will become large white fluffy balls. Brushing the leaves brings out their exquisite aroma.
Backhousia citriodora is a local rainforest tree.
As well as being hardy and ornamental, it has many uses as a flavouring for food and in cosmetic products. 'More lemony than lemon', the enthusiasts say.
Lemon myrtle leaves are a good substitute for lemon grass, lemon verbena or kaffir lime leaves. I used some chopped in as flavouring when cooking rice this evening.
And now I'm sipping on green tea flavoued with the blossom.
Although in the wild they are confined to a narrow stretch of the Eastern coast, I am sure they would thrive in all but the coldest parts of this country.
You can read more about the tree here
Every Aussie should have one in the garden. And if you don't have a garden they will grow just fine in a largish pot.
Last time I went to the dentist he recommended a new product called 'Tooth Mousse' that he said would help maintain the mineral content of my teeth. 'Just rub it on with your finger', he said, 'after the usual brushing and the flossing and the antiseptic gargle'. (The visit before that he had urged me to invest in an electric tooth-brush. As a convenience his surgery carries both items to supply to their patients at a good price.)
Knowing what poor state my teeth are in, I was hardly in a position to argue that I didn't want to give the mousse a try, so I came home with a tube, although I must confess to not feeling entirely confident about the benefits of a product with such a silly name. With a sigh I mentally added an extra minute to my morning and evening ablutions schedule.
When will it ever end? My bathroom cabinet is over-flowing with 'products' designed to benefit or enhance specific parts of my anatomy. There are things for my hair, face, lips, cheeks, eyelids and nose. I have stuff for my hands, legs, neck, finger-nails, feet and heels. And these are just the things to put on the OUTSIDE. I have drawers full of powders, oils, pastes, creams, salves, scrubs, lotions, solutions, mists and sprays of every kind ... and now the mousse.
Some nights when I go to the bother of applying a full selection of this stuff, I feel I should be laying a sheet of plastic in the bed before I get in - to protect the bed-sheets from all the goo.
As a matter of fact, without due care, using some of these products can be quite risky. Ever used shaving cream instead of tooth-paste -- or hair-spray instead of deoderant, or vice versa?
A word of advice: don't ever apply hand-cream when you are about to drive the car. A couple of times I've had to pull over to wipe a slithery steering-wheel clean. And just last week I skidded on the bathroom tiles - courtesy of the lovely new peppermint 'foot rescue' the kids gave me for Christmas. Thanks to the towel rail I was 'rescued' all right - from a nasty fall!
To save confusion, storage space and a lot of precious time, someone ought to invent an all-purpose, head-to-toe body spray - something slightly oily, but edible, with nourishing, antiseptic properties and an appealing fresh aroma. But then what would we all give our mothers for Christmas?
This week we received news of the death of an old friend in a southern nursing home. She had died in November, well before I sent my usual card at Christmas, when I had promised to visit her early in the new year. Last time we saw her she said she was unwell and tired of living, and feeling very ready to leave this earth. Remembering that, I didn't feel so sad about hearing she had gone. But I would have liked to have seen her one more time.
Today I made time to catch up - by mail, e-mail and phone - with a number of old friends who are still around, but like me, getting on in years. It took most of the day, but I felt it was time well spent ... especially when this little poem turned up in my IN box this afternoon:
This is a great cleaning hint. Pity I don't have a cat.
SPEED CLEAN FOR THE COMMODE
1. Put the seat and the lid of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet
shampoo to the water in the bowl.
2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the
3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both
lids. You may need to stand on the lid.
4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the
noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.
5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power-wash"
6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there
are no people between the bathroom and the front door.
7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both
8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom,
and run outside where he will dry himself off.
9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.
The usual time for my ape'retif is in the evening, but today I thought I should complete an important task - comparing the two bottles of aged Spanish sherry given to me at Christmas.
Among family and friends I am well-known for my liking for a nice dry-ish sherry. My efforts to convert others to share a glass with me have been in vain. Despite plenty of trial tastings of bottlings from other more illustrious vineyards, my preference has rarely wavered from the good old Australian, near bottom-of-the-range, McWilliam's Royal Reserve Dry Sherry NV. And, most conveniently, I can purchase it by the flagon (yes, I would like that in a bag please) from the local bottle-shop.
From time to time my status-conscious daughter appears with a bottle of a very special imported drop to tempt my palate. This Christmas there were TWO bottles; so to honour her efforts, this morning I decided impulsively to down the duster and sample them. I poured a small glass of each - plus one of my usual for comparison.
Mmmm ... both quite interesting, and indeed very, very dry.
The jury is still out. Another tasting is scheduled for this evening.
Now, in a somewhat relaxed mode, I will get on with the rest of my day.
Did I say Happy New Year?
My absence from this blog was unplanned. Some months ago I went on a trip and was unable to post for a couple of weeks. That broke the habit - and when I came home I just didn't get back to it. I have missed the people I always used to read, and every so often visited their blogs to see what they were up to. I noticed a few of them were taking breaks as well.
Anyway, I'm inspired by this new year to find my voice again. This Christmas has been one of our happiest. Kids and grandkids have been and gone, and there have been feelings of content and harmony all round. To cap it all, the weather has been milder than usual and some patchy rain has kept most of our trees and herbs alive.
Our trip at the end of the year was to Far North Queensland, where Cape Tribulation and Cooktown were two places I particularly wanted to see. Historic cemetries are a favourite of mine and the one at Cooktown was fascinating. Among the many interesting graves was a marker for the burial place of the Normanby Woman. It was a story I remember hearing as a child, and there beside her grave it held me in its grip once again.
Knowing how easily frangipanni cuttings strike, I couldn't resist nicking a branch to bring home to my garden. Once I have it growing it will be a lasting memory of my trip.
Another lasting memory is the moon-shaped scar on my forehead - acquired in a fall face-down onto a rock at Cape Tribulation. Dripping in blood and with gashes and bruising to my head and nose, I caused a necessary interruption to our trip as I was whisked off on the one hour drive to hospital at Mossman, where I could be patched up.
In the photo there are seven stitches hidden under my hat, but you can see the black eye and the plaster on my nose. My poor husband was conscious of a few sideways glances in his direction: my appearance probably did suggest the possibility of a small incident of domestic violence.
Now back home and nicely healed, I am excited that there are already new leaves on my frangipanni. And I am watching for the first of my souvenired tropical fruit tree seeds to sprout.
So, on with the New Year. Who knows what it will bring!
After my interstate trip of just a few days, I returned to find that while my back was turned my husband had taken the opportunity to do a little yard cleaning.
A tree feller had been called in to assist him in a deed most foul. Two mature trees that I had been passionately protecting from the axe for years, had each been reduced to a pile of woodchip.
The first was a tall gum in the front garden that had been dropping heavy branches each time a strong wind blew. (And which is why, my husband had constantly reminded me, they were once referred to as 'widow-makers'.) Well not any more - not this one anyway!
The other was a paper-bark that I admit was rather too close to the house, but which I appreciated for the shade it shed over the clothes line.
The dear old Hills hoist now stands in full sun.
I won't need to worry about bird droppings on the washing any more -- or the sheets getting caught up in the branches. Just remember to wear a hat when hanging out. And to bring everything in before it gets too faded.
Moving it was really good exercise.
Now when I stand under the clothes line I can see clear across to the vegie patch.
Only two barrow loads of chip to go!