ANZAC day, a personal approach

Last year, on ANZAC day, I wrote about the dark side of this event in the Australian calendar.

You can read it here: http://ANZAC Day's Dark Secret

In response to these thoughts, rather than attend the War Memorial Services, I’m creating a more personal approach.

Instead of listening to stories designed to whip up the Patriotic spirit, I’ve chosen to light a candle. With the candle keeping me company, I sit and dwell on all the reasons why war is not the best way to win at anything.

Not only do I consider war in the context of the ANZACs, but I also spend some time soul searching for when I’ve instigated war and conflict within my own life.

The solution, if it cannot be found in the wider world, can be found at home with oneself. And for that to happen, it’s important to take time out from the busyness of society and look towards one’s own life and impact upon others.

What thoughts do you have on how to cease war?

What personal stand are you making in order to create a more peaceful world?

21st birthday parties

Today, marked a milestone in my cousin’s life. She turned 21.

And so all the relatives descended upon her parent’s home to celebrate.

In all reality, it was just another excuse for family to meet and catch up. It was a good excuse. I’m not taking away from it’s importance. But at every chance, my Mother’s siblings love to socialise with each other.

It was also a monumental event in other ways too. The Mothers and soon to be Mothers, in the next generation, had a chance to compare notes and share the intimate knowledge that only Motherhood can give you, with each other and the other uninitiated cousins amongst us.

It’s times like these, I’m proud to be an Auntie.

Embrace the next generation. They are a precious legacy.

Hello again.

In case you’re wondering, I still consider myself to be a Real Writer. This is even though it may appear as though I’ve disappeared.

But it’s all good.

Recently, my job at work changed, and all my spare time hss been devoured with learning as much as possible as quickly as possible.

My hope is to add more content soon.

Watch this space!

Giving yourself a voice

Recently, I’ve learnt a new skill.

You see, I’ve always spoken up for the lost, disillusioned and disenfranchised. But for myself? Hardly.

But something amazing happened a month ago. I finally burst out what had been nagging at my conscience since the beginning of the year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my work colleagues, my organisation, and adore my boss.

But the work itself?

I was bored, and had skills I wanted to flex, but were not needed in my current position.

So, I took two weeks leave. And I emailed the big guy himself…my CEO.

To cut out lots of irrelevant detail, I’m now an Editor, complete with new software, new microphone, and camera.

I’m now responsible for generating content to be used for promotional purposes.

So, what are you putting off? How are you selling yourself short? Who do you need to speak to in order to change things?

Join me I realising your dream career. Maybe the only barrier is that you need to speak up for yourself.

Winter heating

I’m writing this, on my phone and snuggled under a blanket.

Winter heating doesn’t need to be expensive.

A hint is to invest in a good quality woollen blanket and keep it on your favourite lounge chair.

The other secret is to have a couple of wheat bags. Mine is currently hot from the microwave and sitting on my knees under the woollen blanket.

For the price of some wheat and a piece of old flanelette I have a lovely sausage shaped source of delicious warmth.

Another trick I use is to burn a candle and watch the flame. I was inspired by a friend who has a fireplace. I’m so envious and threaten to not leave when it’s lit on cool Winter evenings.

Anyway, as my house doesn’t lend itself to having a fire, I’ve compromised by lighting candles and keeping them in strategic places in my living room.

How do you keep warm in Winter?

A little spot North

Tea Gardens is a stone’s throw from Port Stephens and the other reaches of Newcastle, NSW. It’s a pleasant little spot, and has a ferry operating across the harbour.

It was this ferry that I caught between the wharf outside the Tea Gardens Hotel and the other side of the harbour.

Sun streamed through the gaps between the clear cafe blinds that served as windows on the small vessel, as the captain navigated his way through a shallow harbour. It’s size is bigger than Sydney Harbour, although being much shallower, it doesn’t draw the bigger cruise liners that frequent the larger city.

Lunch was had at the Hotel. Simple and filling, it was salt and pepper squid served with chips and a beautiful salad.

But what made the trip memorable wasn’t the dolphins, or the sea turtle, neither of which I saw, unfortunately.

It was the lovely couple I met while the vessel chugged its way past the marine wildlife.

All for the price of an honest compliment, we struck up a conversation, easy to become immersed in, and we learnt a little of what we had in common.

So, the next time you’re out in public, say hello to the person next to you in line, and smile. You might just have a chance encounter with a kindred spirit.

Apple crumble

This is a guest post from Katrina.

It’s winter and time for some comforting sweets that will warm you up in no time. Everyone has probably eaten it at least once. It is a great accompaniment to a roast dinner. Make sure you have some ice cream on hand or hot custard if you like. Have you guessed what I am talking about?

Well I am talking about good old Apple Crumble with a few options and a twist thrown in.

First the crumble topping. I like to use oats to give a bit of crunch. You will need:

1 cup of plain flour

½ cup of oats

½ cup of desiccated coconut

¾ cup of raw sugar

125gm butter

In a large bowl add dry ingredients and blend well. Add softened butter to bowl and rub in with the tips of your fingers.

Find yourself a deep pie dish or shallow casserole dish. Choose from one of these fillings:

  1. 825gm tin of pie Apple, drizzle with iron bark honey and sprinkle with some lemon or lime zest. Top with the crumble topping and scatter a few slivered almonds. Brush with a little melted butter.

  2. 825 gm of pear halves. Drain and quarter spread over base of pie dish. Add a handful of pitted prunes. Drizzle 1-2 Tablespoons of port wine. ( for kids you can add some boiling water to some plum jam). Add a small pinch of cardamon to fruit mixture. Top with crumble topping.

  3. 825 gm tin of peach slices drained. Peel and slice 2 large golden kiwi fruit and arrange over peaches. Spoon over the pulp of 2 passionfruits then top with crumble topping.

Place in a preheated oven set at 200°C or 180°C (fan forced). Cook for 25 to 30 mins or until crispy on too. Serves 8.