A Special Gift

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My birthday was a couple of months ago but I recently received a slightly delayed gift.

Our younger daughter was working on this project when her life was thrown into disarray with the sudden death of her partner.  In between everything else that was going on she continued to steadily embroider this piece.  Apart from her desire to complete the gift for me, I am sure it was beneficial for her to have this project to work on.

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It is now hanging up in my sewing room where I can see it as I sit at the sewing machine.

I had no idea that my daughter could embroider, let alone produce a piece of work like this.  What a clever girl she is and I am a lucky mum that she chose to make this for me

The thing I like about this story is the value of skills from days gone by.  I am sure you could reproduce this using a fancy computerised embroidery machine but like so many artisan skills there are so many more benefits to this endeavour than simply the production of the finished piece of work.

What skills have you taught yourself with the assistance of Google and YouTube?

Still Here

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I thought I better make an effort to write something to let you know that I am still here and OK.

Why haven’t I written anything for a while?  Work is busy, but no more so than usual.  I am doing all of the normal things at home – washing, ironing, preparing meals and so on.  There have been a few social activities that have taken up a bit of time.

The real reason is simply that I have not felt like writing.  Several times, I have sat here with every intention of writing but I just feel an overwhelming sense of inertia.  Everything seems quite pointless.  It is difficult to express but I expect it is grief in one of its many guises.  I know it is nothing to what my daughter is experiencing but a challenge nevertheless.

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Please bear with me and hopefully my regular posts will return soon.

 

War on Waste

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As I mentioned in a previous post, it seems that the recent ABC series has brought the issues of waste, landfill, over-consumption and single-use items into focus for many people who had previously not really given a great deal of thought to these matters.

It is even more exciting to see some of the actions that are occurring as a direct result of this increased awareness.  One example is Frankies at Forde in the Canberra suburb of Gungahlin.  The photo below is from their Facebook page.  It would be great to encourage other cafes and coffee shops to do the same.

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Have you observed any other changes as a result of this program?

Zero Waste Shopping

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As you probably know from some of my previous posts, I try to minimise the amount of packaging we accept when we are shopping.  Fruit and vegetables are relatively easy to find loose and I buy dry goods from bulk bins in my own bags and containers.

However, some other items are a bit more of a challenge.  Today I want to share what I bought yesterday.

At the Co-op I bought brown rice from the bulk bins in one of the tulle bags I made a few years ago.

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The next stop was the local IGA where I bought salmon fillets.  I handed over this plastic container, the staff member weighed it and then added the fillets.  The sticker is on the end of the container and I remove it as soon as I get home and the residue comes off fairly easily.

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The next stop was at the vet where I needed to get some more medication for our dog.  He only started this a couple of months ago and I was given 40 tablets in a small ziplock bag.  When I needed more I took the bag back to be refilled but was unsuccessful in my attempt to reuse it and ended up with a new bag.  This time I tried something different.  I took an old tablet bottle of my own (label removed) and asked if they could use that and label it.  The receptionist checked with the vet who said it was fine to reuse.  Now that the precedent is set and it is labelled I should be able to continue to do this on a regular basis.

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Our final stop was in a relatively new shop called ‘Healthy Homewares‘.  It was interesting to browse around and I ended up buying 3 different brushes.  All are made from natural materials, unpackaged and even the labels are cardboard and tied on with natural twine.  No plastic in sight.

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I am not always this successful when making purchases but it is certainly great when you can.

A Critical Mass

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The Australian government continues to lag behind most of the rest of the world when it comes to any kind of action with respect to climate change.  I have often thought that any serious action would need to be driven by a groundswell of public opinion but despaired that it would ever happen.

For many years I have felt like I was swimming against the tide as I refused excess packaging, tried to avoid as much single-use plastic as possible and generally tried to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible.  Gradually, I have seen an increase in groups and individuals trying to make a difference but recently this seems to have taken a definite upswing.

There even seems to be some interest in the mainstream media with programs such as ‘War on Waste‘.

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Are we reaching a point where there are enough voices to actually begin to make a difference?  What do you think?

Unexpected

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Two weeks ago I published my last blog post.  The content emphasised the ordinariness of my day.  I had made breakfast and a new batch of gluten-free muesli.  My day continued in a similar vein as I did some housework and then spent time in the garden.

I came in to the kitchen just before 5pm so that I could begin preparing dinner and the phone rang.  My younger daughter had just found out that her partner had died suddenly and unexpectedly.  To say that her world had been turned upside-down would be an understatement.

At times like this everything else becomes totally irrelevant.  30 minutes later I had showered and packed a bag.  GMan had booked a flight for me and we headed to the airport.  I flew interstate to be with my girl at what was undoubtedly the most difficult time of her life.

She has received an enormous amount of love, support and strength from family, friends and work colleagues.

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On Monday we farewelled ‘the tall guy’ who was on the threshhold of the rest of his life and my daughter has lost her life-partner.  He was much loved and an inspiration to many.

Rest in peace.

I cannot end this post without a reference to the health condition which contributed to his death.  This link explains a little about Marfan Syndrome.  The incidence is apparently about 1 in 5,000 which is more common than I realised.

Making Breakfast

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It is Saturday morning here in Australia so it was time for a slightly more leisurely breakfast than our normal weekday routine.  We leave too early to consider having breakfast before we go so I have all of the necessities in my desk and I eat breakfast at the office.

Today, however, I had to make up some more cereal as I had run out.  I eat a gluten-free diet so I make my version of muesli.

Gluten-free Muesli (bulk quantity)

3 cups pepitas
3 cups sunflower seeds2 cups dessicated coconut
1 cup flaxseed meal
2 cups almonds (chopped)
2 cups sultanas
1/4 cup powdered cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and then store in an airtight container.

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Breakfast

3 spoons of muesli
1 spoon chia seeds
1 spoon psyllium husk

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I then add 2 – 3 serves of fruit and enough water to absorb the chia and psyllium.  You could use milk or yoghurt if you wish but I choose not to have them on my cereal.  If the fruit you have is lacking in moisture or intense flavour you could also use a little fruit juice.

Today I used 2 cubes each of frozen mango puree and passionfruit pulp which were surplus from the summer as well as 1/4 of a home-grown pawpaw which was given to me yesterday.

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A truly refreshing start to the day.

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