Friday, 23 May 2014

Student protests

The photos I have here are from:

I have seen on the news that students, particularly university students, in some Australian cities have been demonstrating to express their discontent about the budget put forward by Joe Hockey, the Treasurer. They seem to think that this behaviour will cause changes to happen. They seem to think that shouting, damaging property, and assaulting people will convince the government to change its plans. I agree that we all have a right to express our opinions on this matter. I completely disagree with the violent actions of some of these protestors. These students have an easy life compared to many in this country.

Life would be wonderful if university education was free. Life would be wonderful if everyone could be paid a huge pension by the government and do no work. Life would be wonderful if all the grass was green and the weather was always perfect. Life would be wonderful if we were always happy.

But that is not reality. There is no bottomless pit of money to give everyone a magical lifestyle. Or a bottomless pit of happiness. Nothing is ever free. Socialism is a wonderful ideal and I truly believe that we as a country should help those in dire circumstances or unable to help themselves. I also believe very strongly in the benefits of education.

I am sufficiently realistic to know that money means something. It can not legitimately be printed without the resources to give it value. The government can not give away money it does not have, when the country carries a huge financial debt. I do not want my country to go down the path I have seen for Greece and other European countries.

I deplore the actions of the demonstrating students. I think they should formulate an alternative plan and present that to the treasurer. These university students are being greedy when others are in real need.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sewing accessories

Have you seen this?

Maybe it is the choice of colours and fabrics, but these items are lovely. Very feminine. Very Japanese. Quite shabby chic.

You could take the method and do these projects in your own favourite fabrics and still have something fabulous. Each item takes just a few scraps. Can you see these in black and red satin with gold ribbon? Or ethnic prints with wooden beads? Thai silk? Leftover bridal fabrics?

If you look through Naoko's blog you will see some really interesting stuff. The fish-shaped waffles were a new thing for me. And I really liked how she turned a sweets tin into a sewing kit too.

Many thanks to Naoko.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Beautiful tropical morning

This morning was gorgeous. Sunny but not hot. Clear. A light breeze. Quiet. Just perfect for a walk along the beach.

Shade. Quiet. Soft sand. Palms. Clear water. Shells. Driftwood. Tropical. Sailboats sliding across the blue. Like a dream come true.

The tide was very high and we paddled at the edge of the water. I picked up some huge barnacle-encrusted oyster shells. A distance along the beach were fishermen.

What do you think that is darling? Something was travelling along in a straight line about 20 metres out from the water's edge. Not a dolphin. Not a turtle. Not a fish. Oh, yes, it's a crocodile. Was it small? Well, no.

I guess the crocodile was enjoying the lovely morning too.

One fisherman watched him as well. Packed up his net and left. The other fishermen were a little foolish and stayed. A dog came down to the water to play, bringing his owner and a ball. Crocs really like dog meat. I did not want to watch. We left.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Does it work?

Last night as I was watching the news I saw one story about Mothers Day activities in my country and another story about attitudes towards girls and women in another country. I am not a huge fan of special days but I began thinking about what they achieve.

What does Mothers Day achieve? Is it just a huge marketing opportunity designed to sell, sell, sell? Or is it really for recognising that mothers perform valuable roles and deserve more respect? Does Mothers Day bring the family closer? Is it sentimental nonsense? Pink and fluffy images instead of character building reality? Mothers Day actually does achieve something very important I believe. If I look at places and cultures that do not have Mothers Day I see something less in the way women are treated, less respect than in the other places.

Yes, I do know that Mothers Day is a product of our culture, our religion, and our politics. But put it in a different cultural setting and I think it would still work.

If Mothers Day was celebrated in Nigeria, would Boko Haram still regard the education and nurturing of children as worthless? Would the value placed on girls and women be different? If Mothers Day was celebrated in Pakistan, Iraq, and other Arab countries would some of the terrorist bombing slow down? Would there be more thought given to who is injured or killed? If Mothers Day was celebrated in the Ukraine would the political unrest there be different?

I think all these could well happen. I do not think Mothers Day is a threat to any religion. Buddhist, Taoist, Moslem, Jew, and Christian all value compassion and kindness. Violence does not hold hands with Mothers Day.

I think Mothers Day causes us to stop and think, to question our feelings towards our mothers. This then flows on to a greater understanding of the lives of others. We then feel less like the centre of the universe and more like one small part of something bigger.

When I look at these photos of some of the mothers in my family I know that these women are valued highly, not just as reproduction machines, but as intelligent compassionate people. They handle challenges and overcome them, speak different languages, travel to far places, run businesses, and love. They do not all live in the same country but they do all live in a society that values them.

So yes, I think Mothers Day really does work. Mothers Day achieves a lot more than a smile in the heart of dear old Mum.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mothers Day


It's a beautiful day. It's Mothers Day.

Pink pyjamas
Camilla and I did the 4km walk this morning with thousands of others in a sea of pink.

Muscles and a pink dress
Gotta admire men in pink dresses raising money for a good cause. Pink pyjamas. Pink tutus. Pink wigs. Pink shirts. The list could fill a page.

There were all the usual speeches before the start. Then between each race we were led in an aerobics session by excellent instructors. So much fun.

Afterwards Camilla produced a lovely breakfast, complete with her best retro plates and cups.

She did very well considering she rode her bike 15km to do all this with her mother. We were there well before dawn.

May you all have a wonderful day. May you remember not only your mother but also some of the other people who have been like a mother to you.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Mothers Day fun

Some people open their mouths to change feet.
These women were asked to tell something their children did not know about them. I hope they lied to the camera!!!

I am walking in the Mothers Day Classic with my daughter this Sunday morning for Mothers Day. She is bringing a picnic breakfast for afterwards. Simple. And no embarrassing TV nonsense.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Wedding anniversary

Today is our wedding anniversary. 38 years.

Married life suits me. It is safe to assume it also suits my husband.

What is our secret? I think it is because we can live together harmoniously. We like the same foods, colours, music, films, books, plants, adventures, people, and places. All these things combine to help us love each other.

Do we lose our patience with each other? Argue? Of course. We are human. That is what people do who are in close contact for long periods of time. That's nothing remarkable.

Before we married we discussed whether we would ever divorce. We decided that if that option was on the cards then the marriage was not. We solve our problems.

Is it an arranged marriage? No. We married only a few weeks after meeting and met the families months later.

Did family members attend the wedding? No, because it was too far for them to travel and there was nowhere for them to stay.

Have we encouraged our children to marry? They can if they want to, but they do not have to. It may not suit them. They must make that decision themselves.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Mature age and studying

I wonder if studying as a mature age student is considered recreation.
This year I am attempting some university study again. Only part time so I can still run my tutoring business. I transferred some clients to make room in my schedule.
Should be easy, because of all the previous courses I have done. It isn't. I am in deep water. Or swimming upstream. Or out of my depth. Or in over my head.

The other students in the class all seem to be really clever. Some are full time students from Asian countries. One woman has left her baby twins at home with her husband so she can do this course. She will miss their first birthday. Such motivation to create a better future for herself and in the long term for her family just amazes me. These Asian students have all made a big commitment and really must be successful or their family's effort will be wasted.

The class is in two parts, online and in person. I go on Friday mornings to hear the lectures and get any extra help. I listen carefully and think I understand but later find I missed the important bits. So I read. But I still feel that learning this material and the strategies is too difficult. Perhaps this is the Peter Principle - the one where we stop rising when we reach the level where we are incompetent. I hate that word 'challenge' some people use at this point.

Three assignments due. Very poorly done at this stage. Will be working hard at them of course. Must not let myself down by doing nothing.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Mexican embroidery

I once had a Mexican dress, long narrow with bright flowers on the bodice and a panel at the front. Actually I thought it was rather hot and impractical to wear here, but eventually my daughter wore it successfully. When we were involved in student exchanges one student from Darwin went to live in Mexico and brought back the most wonderful traditional outfit with a very full skirt. But I do not recall any embroidery on it. When I was young there was a fashion for wearing very elaborate pintucked dresses from Mexico. My other knowledge of Mexican clothing is even more limited - as seen in documentaries and tourist films.

This photo is from the facebook site mentioned.
I subscribe to the Nordic Needle newsletters and get them by email. Some are very interesting. This morning there was an article about traditional Mexican embroidery.

I followed the links suggested in the newsletter to find out more.

There is a facebook page that shows some of the variations in traditional dress.  This site shows both weaving and embroidery as well as clothing. It is well worth a visit. I admit I was a little surprised. There is so much to see and learn on that site.

There was a link to a blog. The woman who wrote the blog collected some vintage Mexican items and the photos are very clear. There is a link to a Mexican Folk Museum on that blog, another interesting site. And a link to this page of photos. Wonderful.
This is the style of Mexican dress
that was popular for brides
when my sister was married.

Mexican history and culture is complex and fascinating. Weaving of cloth had been part of Mexican life since about 1400 BC. Did you know that silk and wool were introduced by the Spanish? Until then the people had woven fabrics from the fibres of yukka, cotton, maguey, and some palms. The French introduced a more mechanised industrial weaving system late in the 1800s that replaced the home-based weaving methods.

Frida Kahlo, the painter, wore traditional Mexican clothing as a social message.

Do have a look at some of these pictures. Read a bit. I am sure you will be inspired too.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Old Favourite
I grow older and I recall enjoyable times past. (What a thing to say! As if anyone grows younger and remembers things! Is that tautology? Stupidity?)

As a young teenager I quite liked Elvis Presley. Then times changed, quickly. The Beatles came along. The Rolling Stones. A different style of entertainment. No-one listened to Elvis any more, well no-one I knew.

Somewhere along the line I saw a few Elvis movies and concerts on TV. My sister even had some Elvis LPs and a record player. I particularly remember the ending of the film Love Me Tender. Very moving.

One day recently I found a recording on Youtube of dear old Elvis singing this song from the film. And there close by was another recording of him as a mature entertainer singing the same song. The boy. The man. And I realised that he was actually very good at his job, very good.

An old favourite of mine- The young Elvis Presley

Have a look on Youtube for something you like.