Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I can't stay awake more than 15 minutes at a time

and when that happens, something is clearly wrong.

Began the day unable to eat breakfast, this in itself is a most unusual occurence.
I had my current book open in front of my porridge, but couldn't focus the eyes properly.
Another disaster.
Then my eyes kept closing with my head drooping towards the table.
What the heck is going on here?


I was up too early anyway, so decided to lie down for a while.
Fell asleep.
Woke up to find that "hit by a truck" feeling had returned and brought with it a feisty little friend who seemed to be taking great pleasure in stabbing my innards with miniature red hot pokers.

I phoned work and said I wouldn't be in, then fell back into bed.
The rest of the day has been spent sleeping in between record breaking speed dashes to the bathroom.
At one point I seriously considered padding the toilet area with pillows and quilts, maybe adding a bookshelf.
Might as well get comfy there, right?

Clearly, I have a virus.
Me!
I never get sick!!
Damn, double damn, triple damn even!!

I've been sipping water with honey and apple cider vinegar added all day, every time I woke up, and I don't feel as bad now, but I won't be eating anything, I figure the best way to rid myself of the red hot poker fiend is to starve him out.

Tomorrow, though, I have an appointment to keep.
It's New Years Eve and I promised to babysit my two youngest grandchildren.
I find it hard enough to cope with those two when I'm feeling well, when I'm not so good, like now, it's going to be a real challenge. They are 10 and 6 and just don't seem to be able to sit still more than 5 minutes at a time. I made the promise way back in September and it's too late now for new arrangements to be made.

If you see a new post here in a couple of days, you'll know I survived.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

nuffnang

I've been seeing the nuffnang logo on many blogs lately.

I'd like to know more about it.

What is it exactly?
An advertising system, yes, but for what?

How does it work?
Should I jump on the advertising train?
How would I do that and would it be worthwhile?
Or would it just take up space on my sidebar?

Detailed information would be helpful and appreciated.


Following on from yesterday, I'm much improved, although bloated and queasy from the amount of painkillers I took.
Lots of water, lots of sleep and I'll be fine.
All that's aching now is the usual arthritic joints. Neck, hips, one knee, lower back.
A few other minor spots, nothing I can't ignore.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

while I was off in la la land....

....daydreaming of christmas trees and pretty things and massive lotto wins, my body took advantage of my inattention, walked out to the busy street, got itself hit by an 18 wheeler barreling down the road at 3000 miles per hour, then calmly walked back inside and reattached itself to my daydreaming mind. (anyone who believes I'm serious is nuttier than I am)


How else do I explain the level of aching I'm feeling right now?


I'm downing pain relief tablets by the handful, (not really), and hobbling around like I was 87.
Which is a distinct improvement on hobbling around like a 95 year old, so things are looking up.....


I woke up this morning, feeling fine, ready, willing and able to go to work.
I watered the veggies, had breakfast, went to work.
No problem.

Once at work though, the troubles began, even though I didn't notice them at the time.


Up the stairs, down the stairs, up again, down again, repeat, repeat.
Offices, locker rooms, toilets, all upstairs.


Add carrying loose stock to put back on the shelves, add reaching up too high.
That last one is my own stupid fault, I should have gone to get a safety step, but that has to be carried back to the site of the item to be put back, and it was only one item....
Several times....


I really can be too thick headed sometimes, too impatient with myself, and with getting the job done.


So I progressed through the shift, (which is only 4 hours, I used to be able to do that in my sleep),walked on home, then laid down with my feet up on pillows, to give them a rest.
Varicose veins appreciate that sort of thing.


About an hour later, I started thinking about food, and coffee, so tried to get off the bed.
Oh. Dear. God.
I'd seized up. Like an engine without oil.
Rolled off the bed, crawled into the bathroom, and let the scalding hot water ease the aches a bit.
(Didn't really work.)
Swallowed some aspirin, went back to lying on the bed.
Twice.


Clearly, I'd rested too much on my 4 day break, and now my muscles were protesting at the treatment I'd given them today.



I'm up now, still aching badly, but moving more or less normally, and an early night, (there's only 3 episodes of Dexter left to watch)
more panadol/aspirin/codeine.....anything, anything! ....bring on the morphine! (just kidding)
and I should be okay to repeat the process tomorrow.

The other possibility for my aching is chocolate withdrawal. Of course that's usually just a headache...

Sigh.

Monday, December 27, 2010

potting up day

I had a lovely Christmas Day, with my family,
with this delicious white chocolate snowman making a sweet ending.
From Haighs of course.


Boxing day?
Well, a garden is a never ending task.
There's always something that needs doing.
Seedlings that have grown too large for their starter pots need to be moved into more permanent homes.


I put these mortgage lifter tomatoes into the same tub with the lazy housewife beans. I didn't expect the tinier seedlings to survive the move, but they're standing up well. The beans haven't broken through the soil yet, but I expect them to any day now.



Here's a closeup of the strongest one. Another week or so and the bottom leaves will be removed to stop soil borne diseases from splashing up onto the plant when I water.


This one is the yellow peach tomato that I bought from the community garden. It's almost tripled its size in those few weeks. The small seedlings to the right are mini rockmelons. I didn't separate the seedlings, just planted the entire root ball from the smaller pot. This way the roots have no disruption to their growth, much less transplant shock too. As they grow, I'll train each one in a different direction, to hang over the side of the tub and sprawl where they wish. Maybe. I may buy one of those wire pyramid cone shaped thingys and train the melons up that. Along the long edge of the tub I have planted carrot seeds.



This tub has the mini capsicum seedlings, again each root ball has been left undisturbed, so there will be 2-3 plants growing together supporting each other. I can't wait to eat mini capsicums!


The dividing line ^ has three heirloom carrots, holding up surprisingly well.



See?-----------------------------------------^



What looks like an empty space behind the carrots has more bush beans planted in it.
After all the transplanting, it was cleanup time.


Another recycling tub, with soapy water that has a little bleach added. Soak the pots for an hour or so......



......grab an old dunny brush, give them a good scrub,



....toss them out on the grass to dry.
Empty the tub, go inside and have coffee.








Friday, December 24, 2010

it's over

The great mince pie bake of 2010 is over.


At last!
Finally!
Finito!


My kitchen is a wreck.
I love mince pies and I don't mind making them, mostly because I get to eat the ones that turn out wrong.
The cleanup is the worst part.


Because I make these on the dining table, there's usually flour and sugar tracked between there and the kitchen, which means cleanup means vacuuming as well as all those dishes.
I quite like washing dishes.
But vacuuming sucks!


Sigh. Better get started......

Thursday, December 23, 2010

mmmm, choccies

Just look at what I was given today!
Everyone got one, it's the staff Christmas gift from management.



See the tag printed on the front? Isn't it nice when management says thank you?

I'm taking this opportunity, and this tag, to "personally" say thank you, thank you very much, to all my lovely readers and commenters. I've enjoyed interacting with all of you, I've enjoyed seeing new people pop in and clicking over to see what their blog is all about.
Thank you too, for all the encouraging remarks about my photography and my not-so-gifted- words.


I have a lovely four day break ahead of me now, on one of those days, I'll be attending a family Christmas lunch, which promises to be the lovely day it always is.
On the other three days, I'd love to say that I'll be sleeping late, sitting around with my feet up, reading books instead of blogs, but that won't be happening.
There's shopping to be done, gifts to be wrapped, mince pies to make, and I have newly transplanted seedlings to be babied for a few days. There's also roses cuttings that need to be moved into bigger pots. So the pots need to be washed and sterilised a bit, then dried in the sun, before I can move the roses. There's 5 left out of the original 30 cuttings. I thought there was 4, but one that looked dead decided to hang in there.

So Merry Christmas to all of you, have a wonderful break, eat lots, drink lots, but not too much, sleep lots, hug all your friends and family.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have choccies to eat......




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

well, it's done

I've transplanted tomatoes, mini capsicums, mini rockmelons, even 3 heirloom carrot seedlings.
Carrots don't usually transplant well, if you don't get the roots down nice and straight, they'll grow all twisty. That's what these 3 will probably do.


I also planted more carrot seeds, yum, along the edge of the tubs with the newly transplanted tomatoes, those carrots should grow nice and straight.


I planted more beans too, bush beans this time, not climbing, so they won't need support and I'll have lots and lots of beans to freeze. Beans are one of my favourite vegetables.


I had a little potting mix left over, so I moved the borage seedlings into bigger pots and gave them each a stake for support, because once they flower they shoot skywards.
Once I know they're going to survive the move, I'll position one at each end of the garden to bring the bees.


Hopefully, I'll have male and female flowers on the pumpkin and melon plants at the same time, so the bees can do the pollinating for me.
If not, I have a new small paintbrush and a clean jar ready to brush the pollen from the male flowers into, then I can transfer it onto the female flowers when they appear.


Everything was then given a good watering with some Seasol in the water, it helps to guard against transplant shock.


Now it's time to cross my fingers, hope, pray, light candles......
Maybe I should make a sacrifice?
Anyone out there have a lamb or kid they don't need? Rooster?


No? Okay then, just prayers and hoping.



And here, before I forget, is the spider that I found yesterday.
I was tipping over a brick, (with gardening gloves on of course), so that I could check it for spiders, before rolling it around the side of the house to stand pots on.


I saw this------->





I got an old tomato stake and pulled him out, and he just sat there, looking at me.
Probably enjoying the sun.......
He's rather magnificent isn't he?
About an inch or maybe a little more, from nose to tail, bigger if you include legs length.



Here he is looking straight at me. If you look closely he appears to be frowning.
At this point, I decided I really didn't need that brick, so I put him back and rolled the brick over the way it was.



He won't bother me if I don't bother him.

I also spotted a couple of redbacks.
Spiders, not cricketers. (or whatever sport that is they play)
They got squished. And their eggs too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I have bees in my yard!

This is what has brought them in.
My borage cuttings are flowering.


The flowers open as pinks, and gradually turn purple,


before becoming bright blue. The bees love them.


I also have this old planter tub filled with potting mix and compost, which I planted today with lazy housewife beans.



Along the side of the house, under the shadecloth, there are 4 recycling tubs filled with the same mix.


These will be planted with seedlings that I started in small pots and now need to be moved.
Like these seedlings of miniature rockmelons. I love mini rockmelons, each one is about the size of a tennis ball when fully grown and ripe, so I can eat the whole melon at once and not have cut melon sitting in the fridge getting forgotten.


These are butternut pumpkin seedlings and heirloom carrots. They'll be staying in this large pot, it's raised off the ground so the pumpkin vine can spill over the sides, there's plenty of room.
The tall stem you see is a frangipani cutting.



I have tomatoes ready to be moved to larger pots, so they'll go into one of the recycling tubs tomorrow and get staked as they'll be quite tall.


In this next largish pot, I have seedlings of mini capsicums. again, mini fruit, yum, and small enough for one person to eat in one go. These are a mixed variety with the capsicums coming in red, yellow, orange, and brown as well as green. I've never grown these before so I'm really looking forward to seeing the fruit.



And just look at my baby cos lettuce! It's beginning to form a central head. At this point, I could pick and eat the outer leaves and it will continue to grow, but it's been a bit slow getting started, so possibly it's bitter instead of sweet. Lettuces need to be grown quickly. I'll try a bit on the weekend and see what it's like.


I also found a huge black spider hiding in some bricks.
I'll save those pictures for tomorrow........










Monday, December 20, 2010

Himeji Garden Part Two

This is the brochure available just inside the Gatehouse.
Once again quotes from this will be in italics.






This is the Teahouse, (Chasitu).
The tea ceremony originated in the late 13th century and aims to create serenity and calm in the hearts of its participants. The elegant plainness of the Teahouse has always contributed to this ceremony. Built of classic materials, (timber and thatch), the Teahouse is represented by an open pavilion, like the porch of a zen temple.


Here is a long view of the Teahouse, you can see there is a bench seat built along one side, while the other side is plain wall.



Here is a closer look at the seat where I sat and waited for the latest rain shower to pass.
(I don't like the camera getting wet).



It's a simple wooden bench, with no adornment whatsoever to detract from your contemplation of the Sea of Sand you are looking at.



This is a little greenery just beginning to grow on the plain wall of the Teahouse.



Here is the roof of the structure, I glanced up and thought it was very photoworthy.





Sea of Sand, (Kare-senzui)
The rocks and raked sand, though small in extent, invite the viewer to imagine the vastness of the sea with its islands and continents. As Buddha said, "With our thoughts we create the world".

This is a long view of almost the entire Sea of Sand. Just beyond the fence is a Jacaranda tree.
Even the fencing is simple wooden construction.


Some of the rocks, isolated in the sand, like this one that was right in front of me, are flat, circled by rings representing ripples in water.



Others, grouped together on the perimeter, represent continents, still with the ripples that represent waves coming in to shore.



Other rocks are larger and upright, like island volcanoes perhaps.



Well, (Ido)
Originally, the well provided pure water for the Tea Ceremony.
I thought this was just another of the many pretty water features dotted throughout the Garden, until I read the brochure.

The rock has a shallow channel along the length of the top, with the water welling up from the centre, and spilling over on all sides into the shallow pool below.

Here it is from the other side.




Stepping Stones, (Tobiishi)
No that's not a mis-spelling, it does have two "i's".
The stones of the garden path are of precast concrete. The placement of these stones is designed so that the visitor walks slowly to admire the Garden. Important viewing points are marked by larger overlapping stones called "label" stones. (yaku-ishi)

This path, near the Teahouse is bordered with Mondo grass.

Another section of the path, this one near the Gatehouse, is bordered on one side by flowers, many of them azaleas and lilies, and on the other side by lawn.



Throughout the garden are stone seats for sitting and quiet contemplation.
Or just for resting weary legs and feet. Weariness being caused by dashing to the shelter of the Teahouse everytime it started to rain......



The next photo is of a small section of the lake, (S'enui). At points around the lake are very large, flat rocks jutting out over the water, just a little. These are called perspective stones.

Perspective Stones, (Stupa)
These provide the perspective, (or anchor), points from which to appreciate the entire scene.
I stood on this perspective rock, part of which is seen to the right in the photo, trying to get a decent photo of the very large goldfish swimming there. See that faint orange smudge in between the rock and the lily leaves? That's him. He's easily 9 inches long and enjoyed teasing me by coming close to the surface then diving for the murky depths when I raised the camera.


After taking a gazillion photos, (well,120), I sat in the nearby Fasta Pasta Restaurant eating lunch, (lasagna and garlic bread), and scrolling through the photos. On the small camera screen a lot of them looked like green, followed by green, followed by yet more green. I'm pleased that on the larger computer screen, they actually look like the scenes I'd photographed.
There's a few more pictures that I haven't shown you, but I'll save those for some other day.
















Sunday, December 19, 2010

Adelaide Himeji Garden

Today I thought you might like to see Adelaide's Himeji Garden.


I took so many photos here today, this will be a divided post. Part two tomorrow.
I will be quoting directly from the brochure (in italics) picked up just inside the entrance, also called the Gatehouse. (Mon).

THE GARDEN
The Adelaide Himeji Garden contains features which are of profound religious significance to the Japanese people. It contains features designed to recall the beauty of nature.


The Garden blends two classic styles. The first is the "senzui", (lake and mountain garden), where water and the imagination create images of vastness and grandeur. The second is the "kare senzui", (dry garden), where rocks and sand evoke the presence of water, even the sea itself.


HIMEJI
On 19 April 1982, Adelaide and the ancient Japanese City of Himeji became sister cities.

Himeji is located 650km west of Tokyo and 8050km from Adelaide. With a population of more than 450,000, it is a major port and centre of industry and the headquarters of the Nissan steel company.


Today's photos feature the Senzui part of the garden.




The Gatehouse (MON)
The Garden's gate is modelled on a temple.




Nearby is a water bowl, (Chozubachi), so visitors may purify themselves by washing their hands and mouth. By kneeling to use the bowl, the visitor adopts a humble attitude, appropriate for the appreciation of the grandeur of nature.

Just look at the crystal clearness of the water dripping into the little rock bowl.




Okunoin Lantern (OKUNOIN DORO)
Made of granite, this splendid lantern was presented by the City of Himeji. The Japanese inscription reads: For the friendship of the two cities.

I forgot to photograph the inscription......



The Lake (S'ensui)
As the heart of the Garden, the lake's form is based on the character "shin" which means "heart" or "soul". The calm water suggests purity and tranquillity of the heart, which Buddhists believe is necessary if you are to achieve enlightenment: the ultimate happiness.
Water flows into the lake from a small waterfall which recalls the wild mountain torrents of Japan.
The lake is quite large, taking up a large portion of the entire garden, maybe as much as 40%. (?)


It is disected by this rock bridge, the rocks are huge, very easy to walk on without fear of falling in.




Here is another of the "lantern" style statues, this one in the lake itself, with the calm water perfectly reflecting it.






This is the little waterfall which feeds the lake.




And here is a closer look.





MILESTONE (Michishirube)
Inscribed in Japanese with the name Himeji, the milestone shows the distance to Adelaide's Sister City. In Japan such milestones often take the form of lanterns.




DEER SCARER (Shishi-odoshi)
Originally developed by farmers as a means of scaring off deer and wild boar, the large bamboo tube fills with water until horizontal and then empties causing one end to hit a rock with a "clack".
When I was here last, (probably 20 years ago), the larger tube was real bamboo and much larger than this current one which appears to be plastic. The water dripper tube is still real bamboo.




Here is the now horizontal tube emptying into the rock as it clacks onto the edge.




There used to be bamboo windchimes hanging in the garden as well, but I didn't see or hear any today.
To be continued tomorrow.......